Majd al-Dīn al-Fīrūzābādī (1329-1415)

A Polymath on the Eve of the Early Modern Period


In Majd al-Dīn al-Fīrūzābādī (1329-1415): A Polymath on the Eve of the Early Modern Period, Vivian Strotmann provides a detailed reconstruction of the famous lexicographer’s and travelling scholar’s life and works. The ‘author of the Qāmūs al-muḥīṭ’ is widely known for his Arabic lexicon, which overshadows the astounding breadth of his writing. This polymathic aspect is elucidated through detailed reconstruction of al-Fīrūzābādī’s corpus, including examination of works that were considered lost and misapprehensions concerning ascriptions of authorship. Through minute analysis of biographical sources, the book shows al-Fīrūzābādī’s development as a scholar, his central role in the defence of Ibn al-ʿArabī’s teachings and thereby his importance as a powerful intellectual in Timurid times and for developments during the Early Modern Period.

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Vivian Strotmann studied English and Middle Eastern Studies in Bochum and Maynooth. She taught in and outside of university and worked as Editorial Assistant to The World of Islam. She now holds the position of Managing Editor of Entangled Religions.
"Strotmann provides a detailed exposition and discussion of al-Firuzabadi, evaluates the biographical information concerning his life, critically examines and highlights his work – unquestionably illuminating and helpful not only for Arabists, but generally for linguists and researchers in the area of biography. Strotmann’s is a work that attempts to reach beyond al-Firuzabadi as the author of the Qamus; she actually promises that this is a book leaving the reader with more questions than answers." - Stavros Nikolaidis, in: Journal of Oriental and African Studies 28 (2019)

"... Strotmann's work represents the first monographic study on al-Fīrūzābādī and the most successful and comprehensive effort ever undertaken to create the complete portrait of this great Islamic scholar, encompassing his biography and oeuvre, his intellectual network of masters and students, his relationship with political power, and his religious thought, thus establishing itself as the essential reference for any future investigation on the man, his ideas, and his written work." - Giovanni Maria Martini, University of Bonn, in: Al-Abhath 62-63 (2014-2015)
Table of Transliteration
List of Tables, Graphs, Photos, Maps and Texts

1. Introduction

2. Reports on a Scholar’s Life – Approaching the Sources

3. A Life’s Journey
3.1 Childhood and Youth (729/1329-745/1344): Kārizīn & Shīrāz
3.2 Travel and Teaching (745/1344-750/1350): From Wāsiṭ to Baghdād
3.3 Coming of Age (750/1350-759/1357(8)): The Damascene Decade
3.4 Further Travels & The Qāmūs (760/1358(9)-794/1392): Based in Makka
3.4.1 The Celebrated Qāmūs
3.4.2 Dating and Versions of the Qāmūs al-muḥīṭ
3.4.3 Editorial Decisions
3.4.4 The Floods vs. the Crown of Language
3.5 En Route to Yemen (794/1392-796/1393(4)): Baghdād, Shīrāz, Hurmuz
3.6 Years of Allegiance (796/1393(4)-817/1415): Between Yemen and Mecca
3.6.1 Educational Power: Two madāris
3.6.2 Political Involvement: Declaring a khalīfa An Abortive Opus: The Baṣāʾir The Second Qāmūs al-muḥīṭ
3.6.3 Religious Dispute: Defending Ibn al-ʿArabī

4. A lughawī and More
4.1 Matters of Reputation
4.2 Oeuvre
4.2.1 Accepted Works Adab ʿAsal Faḍāʾil Fiqh /Kalām Ḥadīth / Sīra nabawiyya Lugha Naḥw Ṣalāt Shiʿr Tafsīr Tarājim / ʿIlm al-rijāl Tārīkh / Buldān Taṣawwuf
4.2.2 Disputed and Doubtful Ascriptions Unica Authorship
4.3 Overview of Works
5. A Man on the Eve of the Early Modern Period

6. Summary

Works by al-Fīrūzābādī
Manuscript Sources
Printed Sources
Internet Sources

A Manuscript Source: al-Nuʿmānī’s Kitāb al-rawḍ al-ʿāṭir

Departments of Islamic/Middle Eastern Studies, students/scholars of Arabic lexicography, all interested in the history of sciences, travelling scholars, scholarly networks, Ibn al-Arabi and developments in Timurid times.