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  • Middle East and Islamic Studies x


Ḥusām al-Dīn al-ʿAnsī

Edited by Sabine Schmidtke and Hassan Ansari

From the time of its foundation in 284/897, the Zaydī Imamate of Yemen was home to Muʿtazilī ideas. During the first centuries and starting with Imam al-Hādī ila ʼl-Ḥaqq (d. 298/911), Zaydī ideology included elements akin to the opinions of the Baghdad School of the Muʿtazila as founded by Bishr b. al-Muʿtamir (d. 210/825). However, in the 5-6th/11-12th centuries, we see a rise in popularity of Bahshamiyya ideas, a sub-group of the Basran School of the Muʿtazila around Abū Hāshim al-Jubbāʾī (d. 321/933). These ideas were systematized and elaborated upon by the Zaydī theologian al-Raṣṣāṣ (d. 584/1188). Among those who resisted Bahshamī ideas to defend the teachings of the earlier imams was the jurist, theologian and author of more than 100 works, Ḥusām al-Dīn al-ʿAnsī (d. 667/1268). This volume contains a facsimile of the largest copy of al-Maḥajja al-bayḍāʾ fī uṣūl al-dīn, al-ʿAnsī’s major theological handbook, covering the first four parts out of eight.

Al-Mashīkhah (Kanz al-sālikīn)

Ganjīna-yi khuṭūṭ va yādgār nāma-yi mashāhīr-i ʿilmi-yi Īrān az sāl-i 845 tā 1022 HQ


Najm al-Dīn Muḥammad Ḥammūʾī Yazdī and Sālik al-Dīn Muḥammad Ḥammūʾī Yazdī

Edited by Sayyid Muḥammad Ṯabāṭabāʿ ī Bihbahānī

In the history of Islam and the Islamic world, the authentication of knowledge has always been important. Thus, the Prophetic traditions are typically introduced by chains of transmission going back from the speaker, all the way to a direct witness of the Prophet’s sayings or deeds. And in scholarship, too, the ijāza or licence attesting to someone’s proficiency in some subject written by an established teacher was very important as well, comparable to a modern certificate or diploma. Against this background, the booklet published here is rather unique. This is because it contains study certificates and samples of the handwriting of various scholars and religious authorities, issued to five generations of scholars from one and the same family from Yazd, starting with Najm al-Dīn Muḥammad Ḥammūʾī Yazdī (d. 885/1480) and ending with Sālik al-Dīn Muḥammad Ḥammūʾī Yazdī (duwwum) (d. after 1022/1613). Most of the texts are in Arabic, while the poetry is mostly in Persian.

Al-Risāla al-muḥīṭa

Nuskha-yi khaṭṭi-yi shumāra-yi 5389 Kitābkhāna-yi Āstān-i Quds-i Riḍawī


Ghiyāth al-Dīn Jamshīd Kāshānī

Edited by Yūnis Karāmatī

Ghiyāth al-Dīn Jamshīd Kāshānī is one of the most outstanding mathematicians and astronomers in the history of the Persianate world. The son of a physician, he was born around 790/1388 in Kashan, where he lived most of his life. Many of his writings were composed in that city, including his famous Zīj-i Khāqānī. In 824/1421 he left for Samarqand, where he played an important role in the construction of the observatory commissioned by the Timurid ruler and astronomer, Ulugh Beg (853/1449), becoming its first director. In 832/1429 he was found dead near this observatory, outside the walls of Samarqand. A violent death is suspected, probably on the order of Ulugh Beg. The present work, completed in 827/1424 in Samarqand, is about the determination of the number Pi. An innovative work of great merit, its exactness was only superseded with the publication of Ludolph van Ceulen’s Van den circel in Delft, Holland, in 1596.


Fī akhbār dawlat al-malik Yamīn al-Dawla Abi ʼl-Qāsim Maḥmūd b. Nāṣir al-Dawla Abī Manṣūr Sabuktakīn


Muḥammad b. ʿAbd al-Jabbār al-ʿUtbī

Edited by Yūsif al-Hādī

uḥammad b. ʿAbd al-Jabbār al-ʿUtbī (d. 428/1037 or 431/1040) was a native of Rayy who, through family connections, had entered the administration of the Sāmānids in Nishapur, attaining the rank of postmaster there. After several intermediary engagements he entered the service of the founder of the Ghaznavid dynasty Abū Manṣūr Sebüktigin (d. 387/997) and then, of his son Maḥmūd of Ghazna (d. 421/1030). From the time that al-ʿUtbī was sent as an envoy to Gharchistān in around 390/1000, there is a gap in his career until he offered his famous history of the Ghaznavids presented here to Maḥmūd—also called Yamīn al-Dawla—in around 410-11/1020. Since he was rewarded with a postmastership in the relatively insignificant town of Ganj Rustāq—which he soon lost to intrigue—he must have written this Arabic work mainly as a means to securing a job. Early dynastic history, ornate style, invaluable source of information on the early Ghaznavids.

Arabic and its Alternatives

Religious Minorities and their Languages in the Emerging Nation States of the Middle East (1920-1950)


Edited by Heleen Murre-van den Berg, Karène Sanchez Summerer and Tijmen Baarda

Arabic and its Alternatives discusses the complicated relationships between language, religion and communal identities in the Middle East in the period following the First World War. This volume takes its starting point in the non-Arabic and non-Muslim communities, tracing their linguistic and literary practices as part of a number of interlinked processes, including that of religious modernization, of new types of communal identity politics and of socio-political engagement with the emerging nation states and their accompanying nationalisms. These twentieth-century developments are firmly rooted in literary and linguistic practices of the Ottoman period, but take new turns under influence of colonization and decolonization, showing the versatility and resilience as much as the vulnerability of these linguistic and religious minorities in the region.

Contributors are Tijmen C. Baarda, Leyla Dakhli, Sasha R. Goldstein-Sabbah, Liora R. Halperin, Robert Isaf, Michiel Leezenberg, Merav Mack, Heleen Murre-van den Berg, Konstantinos Papastathis, Franck Salameh, Cyrus Schayegh, Emmanuel Szurek, Peter Wien.

Arabic Historical Literature from Ghadāmis and Mali

Documents from the 18th to 20th Century


Harry T. Norris

In this work translations of four texts are provided from Ghadāmis and from Mali. The first is a biography of the Ghadāmisī scholar ʿAbdallāh b. Abī Bakr al-Ghadāmisī (1626–1719 AD), written by the eighteenth-century author Ibn Muhalhil al-Ghadāmisī. A second text is “The History of al-Sūq”, concerning al-Sūq, the historic town of Tādmakka and the original home of the Kel-Essouk Tuareg. The third text is “The Precious Jewel in the Saharan histories of the ‘People of the Veil’” by Muḥammad Tawjaw al-Sūqī al-Thānī, a contemporary Tuareg author. It pertains to the Kel-Essouk and their historical ties with the Maghreb and West Africa. The final text is a description of the Tuareg from the book “Ghadāmis, its features, its images and its sights” by Bashīr Qāsim Yūshaʿ, published in Arabic in 2001 AD.


Edited by Aafke M.I. van Oppenraay

Aristotle's De Animalibus was an important source of zoological knowledge for the ancient Greeks and for medieval Arabs and Europeans. In the thirteenth century, the work was twice translated into Latin. One translation was produced directly from the Greek by William of Moerbeke. An earlier translation, made available as a critical edition in the present volume for the first time, was produced through an intermediary Arabic translation (Kitāb al-Ḥayawān) by Michael Scot (1175 - c. 1232). Scot's translation was one of the main sources of knowledge on animals in Europe and widely used until well into the fifteenth century. As a faithful translation of a translation produced by a Syriac-speaking Christian, the text contributes to our knowledge of Middle Arabic. The De Animalibus is composed of three sections: History of Animals (ten books), Parts of Animals (four books) and Generation of Animals (five books). Parts of Animals and Generation of Animals were published by BRILL as Volumes 5.2 and 5.3 of the book series ASL in 1998 (ASL 5.2) and 1992 (ASL 5.3). The present Volume 5.1.a contains the first section of Scot's translation of History of Animals: the general introduction and books 1-3, with Notes. Editions of the two concluding parts of History of Animals, ASL 5.1.b, books 4-6 and ASL 5.1.c, books 7-10, are in preparation. Complete Latin-Arabic and Arabic-Latin indices of History of Animals will be published in due course.

Timurids in Transition

Turko-Persian Politics and Acculturation in Medieval Iran


Maria Subtelny

How did the the descendants of Tamerlane, collectively known as the Timurids, make the transition from a nomadic empire to a sedentary polity based on the Perso-Islamic model , and what effect did the process of transition have on their Turko-Mongolian customs and identity? This volume seeks to answer these questions by utilizing the Weberian concepts of the “routinization” of charismatic authority and the patrimonial household state.
Focusing on the period of the last Timurid ruler, Sulṭān-Ḥusain Bayqara (1469–1506), the author examines the impact of the introduction of Persian modes of bureaucratic administration on the evolution of Timurid government and describes the development of the agrarian economy of the eastern Iranian province of Khorasan through the Islamic institution of the pious endowment.
Based on an exceptionally broad range of sources in Persian, Arabic, and Turkic languages, the book provides a new paradigm for understanding the Timurids within the framework of post-Mongol history and offers fresh insights into Turko-Persian relations and the problem of acculturation in medieval Iran.

Indian Islamic Architecture

Forms and Typologies, Sites and Monuments


John Burton-Page

Edited by George Michell

The British scholar John Burton-Page contributed numerous formative articles on Indian Islamic architecture for the Encyclopaedia of Islam over a period of 25 years. Assembled here for the first time, these offer an insightful overview of the subject, ranging from the earliest mosques and tombs erected by the Delhi sultans in the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries, to the great monuments of the Mughal emperors dating from the 16th and 17th centuries. The articles cover the principal forms of Indian Islamic architecture -- mosques, tombs, minarets, forts, gateways and water structures -- as well as the most important sites and their monuments. Unsurpassed for their compression of information, these succinct articles serve as the best possible introduction to the subject, indispensible for both students and travellers. The articles are supplemented by a portfolio of photographs especially selected for the volume, as well as a glossary and up to date bibliography.


Efraim Lev and Amar

This volume uniquely looks into the practice of medical care in the medieval world, particularly amongst the Jewish communities of Egypt. It examines the medicinal prescriptions, lists of materia medica and letters between physicians, pharmacists and patients found in the Cairo Genizah. Most histories of medieval medicine of the eastern Mediterranean are based upon theoretical Arabic writings. Here the authors examine, analyze and contextualize these medieval prescriptions also from the perspective of ethnobotanists, and as a result, provide an innovative insight into the everyday practice of medieval medicine and the historical use of the medicinal substances in the Medieval Mediterranean world.
The result is a much needed contribution to medical-historical scholarship interested in the everyday practice of medicine of the common people of the medieval period.