Al-Fihrist fī akhbār al-‘ulamā’ al-muṣanifīn min al-qudamā’ wa al-muḥdathīn wa asmā’ mā ṣanafūh min al-kutub
by Abū al-Faraj Muḥammad ibn Abū Ya‘qūb Isḥāq al-Nadīm
Critical edition by Ayman Fouad Sayyid
Professor Ayman Fouad Sayyid received the 2013 International Book Prize from the Islamic Republic of Iran, for his critical edition of the “Fihrist” by al-Nadīm (1st Edition), published by Al-Furqān Islamic Heritage Foundation.
The “Fihrist” by al-Nadīm is the most important and ground-breaking bibliographical work, and this is the first authoritative, scientific issue. This key text is original and seminal in examining authorship, across its various branches. Moreover, preserving for posterity Arab-Islamic intellectual output, and Arab and Muslim scholars’ contributions to human civilisation up to the end of the 10th Century CE (4th Century AH). No book like the Fihrist was ever produced by Western civilisation, up until the appearance of printing at the end of the 15th century CE. The book presents a comprehensive view of Arabic culture, as it not only presents titles, but explains books’ content. Muḥammad ibn Isḥāq al-Nadīm organised his book into ten articles; the first six addressed the languages and religions of different nations, then the Noble Qur’ān, variant readings between transcribed Qur’āns (sing. muṣḥaf), and accounts of Qur’ān reciters (qurā’). The second article was dedicated to grammarians; the third to chroniclers, genealogists, and books of historical accounts (siyar); the fourth to poetry and poets; the fifth to theology and theologians; the sixth to jurists and traditionalists (sing. muḥadith); in the final articles, he addressed scientific topics, dedicating the seventh article to philosophy, sciences, mathematics, and medicine; the eighth to pastimes and myths, where the first ever mention in Arabic sources of the book, “Alf laylah wa laylah”, appears; he dedicated the ninth to schools of thought (madhāhib) and creeds; and the tenth to chemists.