Ḥadīth Commentary in the Presence of Students, Patrons, and Rivals: Ibn Ḥajar and Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī in Mamluk Cairo

In: Oriens
Author: Joel Blecher
View More View Less

The following essay shows how commentaries on Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī in the Mamluk period were deeply embedded in the ethics and culture of live performance and vice versa. By focusing on the figure of Ibn Ḥajar al-ʿAsqalānī (d. 852/1449) and the composition of his Fatḥ al-bārī, the primary objective is to make visible the complex web of institutional, political, economic, personal, and normative motivations that determined how the Ṣaḥīḥ was commented on, and who had the authority to comment in the first place. Parts one through three of this four-part essay examine the formulation of Fatḥ al-bārī in the presence of students, patrons, and rivals respectively. Part four is a case study that compares a chronicle account of Ibn Ḥajar’s commentary on a ḥadīth in the garden of the sulṭān on a summer afternoon with a section of Fatḥ al-bārī concerning the same ḥadīth. While previous investigations of medieval reading and commentarial practices have often been limited to manuscript and printed commentaries or glosses as source material, this study draws on evidence from Mamluk era chronicles, biographical dictionaries and commentarial prolegomena to offer a “thick” history of the local times, spaces, and stakes of live and written commentary on the Ṣaḥīḥ.

  • 17

    al-ʿAsqalānī, Intiqāḍ al-iʿtirāḍ, 1: 7.

  • 21

    Shams ad-Dīn as-Sakhāwī, aḍ-Ḍawʾ al-lāmiʿ li-ahl al-qarn at-tāsiʿ (Beirut: Dār al-Jīl, 1992), 1: 43–5.

  • 23

    See as-Sakhāwī, al-Jawāhir wa-d-durar, 2: 675; al-ʿAsqalānī, Intiqāḍ al-iʿtirāḍ, 1: 7.

  • 28

    as-Sakhāwī, aḍ-Ḍawʾ al-lāmiʿ, 2:38. For relative values of dīnārs, consult Wan Kamal Mujani, “The Fineness of Dinar, Dirham and Fals during the Mamluk Period,” Journal of Applied Sciences Research 7, no. 12 (2011): 1895–900.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 32

    al-ʿAsqalānī, Intiqāḍ al-iʿtirāḍ, 1: 8.

  • 34

    al-ʿAsqalānī, Intiqāḍ al-iʿtirāḍ, 1: 8; s.v. “Ibn al-DJazarī, Shams al-Dīn,” EI II (M. Bencheneb).

  • 35

    al-ʿAsqalānī, Intiqāḍ al-iʿtirāḍ, 1:8. For a competing account, consult Anne Broadbridge, “Academic Rivalries and the Patronage System in Fifteenth-Century Egypt: al-ʿAynī, al-Maqrīzī, and Ibn Ḥajar al-ʿAsqalānī,” Mamlūk Studies Review 3 (1999): 85–107.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 36

    as-Sakhāwī, aḍ-Ḍawʾ al-lāmiʿ, 2: 38; Mujani, “The Fineness of Dinar, Dirham and Fals during the Mamluk Period,” 1895–900.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 43

    Badr ad-Dīn al-ʿAynī, ʿUmdāt al-qārī fī sharḥ Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī (Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-ʿilmiyya, 2001), 6: 311 (Kitāb al-Jumuʿa: Bāb Khuṭba ʿalā l-minbar).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 47

    See Jaques, Ibn Hajar, 106.

  • 53

    al-ʿAsqalānī, Intiqāḍ al-iʿtirāḍ, 1: 10.

  • 63

    al-ʿAsqalānī, Inbāʾ al-ghumr, 3: 62.

  • 65

    al-ʿAsqalānī, Inbāʾ al-ghumr, 3: 62.

  • 68

    ad-Dihlawī, Bustān al-muḥaddithīn, 235.

  • 71

    al-ʿAsqalānī, Inbāʾ al-ghumr, 3: 63.

  • 79

    To name only few, see John Henderson, Scripture, Canon, Commentary (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991); Glenn Most, ed. Commentaries—Kommentare (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1999); Paul Griffiths, Religious Reading: The Place of Reading in the Practice of Religion (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999); José Ignacio Cabezón, Buddhism and Language: A Study of Indo-Tibetan Scholasticism (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1994); Christina Shuttleworth Kraus, “Reading Commentaries/Commentaries as Reading,” in The Classical Commentary: Histories, Practices, Theory, ed. Roy K. Gibson and Christina Shuttleworth Kraus (Leiden: Brill, 2002).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 80

    José Ignacio Cabezón, ed., Scholasticism: Cross-Cultural and Comparative Perspectives (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1998), 237ff.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 81

    Ibid., 248.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 242 113 11
Full Text Views 140 11 1
PDF Downloads 19 9 0