The book at hand is quite distinguished in that it draws together a variety of disciplines in different fields of knowledge and the arts. Its main topics are the biographies of eminent personalities and intellectuals in the various scientific and humanistic sciences, as well as political figures and men of power with a connection to the region of Aleppo, whether by residence, or simply in transit. The book covers various fields of knowledge, including the religious sciences, narrations of Prophetic tradition (Ḥadīth), and works of literature, presented in prose or poetry. It features descriptions of towns and the countryside, especially the area situated to the north of the Levant, and it documents a long period of Islamic history.
The author of this book, Kamāl al-Dīn Ibn al-‘Adīm, was among the most eminent historians of his time. Indeed, he is one of three aides, who contributed - directly and indirectly - to the smuggling of manuscripts and their rescue from loss and damage following the events witnessed by the area during the Mongol invasion of the mid-seventh century Hijrī. Indeed, Ibn al-‘Adīm, Yāqūt al-Ḥamawī, and al-Wazīr Jamāl al-Dīn al-Qafṭiy, copied and included in their authored works long parts and numerous excerpts from books, literary works, and diaries - in the field of biographies especially - that were lost at the time; thus, they brought them back to light and informed the following generations of their subject matter and content.