[Notes regarding the reproduction of the material are
Taj al-Din al-Subki, the author of the Mu`id al-Ni`am wa Mubid al-Niqam,
belongs to a large family of al-Subkis, whose members during the seventh
and eighth century A.H. made themselves renowned, not only for their
learning, high positions as qadis, jurisconsultants, professors,
preachers, and writers, but also for their high personal qualities. As the
family name al-Subki shows and historical records prove, the family of
these times came from one of the two villages Subk in lower Egypt, namely
the Subk in the province of Sharkiyya, near Memphis. Here, as we know, the
father of the author, Taqi al-Din al-Subki, was born. Mubarak says that
Allah had bestowed special favours on this village in allowing it to give
to the world two such men as Taqi al-Din and his son Taj al-Din .
The family, however, carried its pedigree back to the time of the Prophet,
and claimed to be descendants of the tribe of Khazraj, or one of the two
dominating tribes of the old city of Yathrib, the later Medina, who became
the followers, supporters, and champions of [the Prophet] Mohammad. Hence
the members of the Subki family call themselves al-Khazraji.
The pedigree of Taj al-Din, as constructed from native biographers, is
thus carried back through some sixteen generations to the time of the
Prophet. It runs as follows:
Taj al-Din Abu Nasr `Abd al-Wahhab ibn Taqi al-Din `Ali ibn Zain al-Din `Abd
al-Kafi ibn Diya’ al-Din `Ali ibn Tammam ibn Hamid ibn Yahya ibn `Omar ibn
`Othman ibn `Ali ibn Sawar ibn Sasawar ibn Salim al-Ansari al-Khazraji al-Subki.
This learned and distinguished family of scholars and high officials of
the 7th and 8th century A.H. we find divided into three lines, descending
from the great grandfather of the author. The family genealogical table
can be constructed as follows:
The Subki family of the 7th and 8th century A.H.:
Dia’ al-Din `Ali ibn Tammam
al-Subki, the great grandfather of the author, was a qadi
according to Ibn Habib.
Zain al-Din Abu Muhammad `Abd al-Kafi al-Subki,
the grandfather of the author, was also a qadi and traditionist. He moved
away from the village Subk, the family home, and settled in Cairo, where
he worked as a teacher of traditions. He died at al-Mahalla 735 A.H
Taqi al-Din `Ali ibn `Abd al-Kafi al-Subki,
the father of the author was one of the most famous men of his time. He
and his son, our author, were no doubt the greatest among all the Subkis.
Taqi al-Din was born in Subk 673 A.H., but as his father moved over to
Cairo, he received his education there. His teachers besides his own
father were Taqi al-Din Abu bint al-`Izz, `Alam al-Din al-`Iraqi, Taqi
al-Din al-Sa’igh, al-Dimyati, `Ala’ al-Din al-Baji, Sayf al-Din
al-Baghdadi, the great grammarian Abu Hayyan, Taj al-Din Ibn `Ala’. He
became famous as one of the greatest scholars and teachers of his time. He
was equally renowned as traditionist, jurisconsult, interpreter of al-Qur’an,
theologian, philosopher, logician and grammarian. He also enjoyed a high
reputation for his personal qualities and virtue. For many years he was
professor at the great schools of learning in Cairo, as al-Mansuriyya, al-Hakkariyya
and al-Saifiyya. In 739 A.H. he was called to Damascus to take the office
of head qadi, an office which he held for 16 years. At the same time he
was professor at the higher schools of learning, in Damascus as al-Ghazzaliyya,
al-`Adiliyya the great, al-Atabakiyya, al-Mansuriyya, al-Shamiyya al-Barraniyya,
and the tradition school al-Ashrafiyya. Taqi al-Din also wrote a number of
books. He died at Cairo 756 A.H.
Baha’ al-Din Ahmad al-Subki, head qadi,
teacher and writer, the oldest brother of the author, was born in Cairo
719 A.H. He studied Arabic grammar with Abu Hayyan, the principles of law
with al-Isfahani, and theology with his father, Taqi al-Din. When his
father was called to Damascus, although only 30 years of age, he was
already teaching at al-Mansoriyya, al-Saifiyya, and al-Hakkariyya. Later
be also taught at the chapel of al-Shafi`i, al-Khashabiyya, and al-Shaykhuniyya.
For some time he was president of the judicial court of Cairo. In the year
763 he was called to Damascus against his own will to take the place as
head qadi, after his brother Taj al-Din, who had been removed. In Damascus
he also taught at al-Ghazzaliyya, al-`Adiliyya, and al-Nasiriyya. The
following year, however, he returned to Egypt and became president of the
military court. He also continued his work as a teacher and turned out
many famous scholars. Baha’ al-Din was as famous as a teacher and author
of commentaries as he was for his piety, kindness and friendship. He was
known as a faithful attendant of the services at the mosque and he made
many pilgrimages. On one of those pilgrimages he died at Makka in Rajab
Jamal al-Din al-Husayn al-Subki, qadi
and teacher, the elder brother of the author, was born in Cairo 722 A.H.
As his brother Baha’ al-Din he studied with Abu Hayyan and al-Isfahani. He
came with his father to Damascus in 739, where he studied traditions with
al-Mizzi and al-Dahabi and law with al-Naqib. Then he went back to Cairo,
and here he taught at al-Hakkariyya, but he returned to Damascus, where he
devoted himself to teaching. In the beginning of 745 he supplied for his
father as head qadi and taught at the same time at al-`Udrawiyya and al-Shamiyya
al-Barraniyya. He died 755 A.H., a month before the death of his father.
Sadr al-Din Yahya al-Subki, qadi and
teacher, the grand-uncle of the author, had studied with the famous Sadid
al-Din al-Tarmanti, professor at al-Fadiliyya in Cairo, and also with
Zahir al-Din al-Tarmanti, teacher at al-Qutbiyya and the chapel of al-Shafi`i.
He was qadi at al-Mahalla and afterwards teacher at al-Saifiyya until he
died, 725 A.H.
Sadid al-Din `Abd al-Barr and `Abd al-Latif al-Subki,
the cousins of the father of the author, we only know by name, except that
the former had held the position of qadi.
Baha’ al-Din Abu al-Baqa’ Muhammad al-Subki,
head qadi, professor and preacher, the second cousin of the author was
born at Cairo 707 A.H. He studied with Qutb al-Din al-Sanbati, Majd al-Din
al-Zankaluni, Zain al-Din ibn al-Kinani, `Ala' al-Din al-Qunawi, his
grandfather Sadr al-Din, his uncle Taqi al-Din, Abu Hyyan and Gamal al-Din
al-Qazwini. He began to teach in Cairo, but when his uncle Taqi al-Din
went to Damascus, he followed him. In Damascus he became famous as a
teacher at al-Atabakiyya, al-Zahiriyya al-Barraniyya, al-Rawhiyya, and al-Qimariyya.
Later he held the office of head qadi in Damascus and was at the same time
professor at al-Ghazzaliyya and al-`Adiliyya. But already in 765 he
returned to Cairo as judge of the military court, and for seven years he
was qadi over the whole of Egypt. After that he taught at the chapel of
al-Shafi`i and al-Mansuriyya. In 775 he again came to Damascus and was
once more head qadi and professor at al-Ghazzaliyya al-`Adiliyya. He also
taught at the tradition school al-‘Ashrafiyya. A month before his death he
was made preacher at the Great Mosque. He died 777 A.H.
Taqi al-Din Abu al-Fath Muhammad al-Subki,
traditionist and professor; the third cousin of the author. Was born in
704 A.H. He studied in Cairo with his grandfather Sadr al-Din and his
uncle Taqi al-Din, also with Qutb al-Din al-Sanbati and Abu Hayyan. He
taught first in Cairo, then he came to Damascus and became professor at
al-Shamiyya al-Juwwaniyya, where he lectured on traditions. He died 744
Wali al-Din `Abdullah al-Subki, head qadi,
professor, and preacher, the second nephew of the author, was born in
Cairo 735 A.H. He studied with his father Baha’ al-Din and with al-Mizzi
in Damascus. Then he taught at al-Shamiyya al-Juwwaniyya, al-Rawahiyya,
al-Atabakiyya, and al-Qimariyya. He supplied as head qadi and was head of
the customhouse. In 777 he was appointed head qadi of Damascus, preacher
of the great mosque and professor at the tradition school. He died 785
Badr al-Din Muhammad al-Subki, head
qadi professor and preacher, younger brother of the preceding, another
second nephew of the author, was born 741 A.H. He studied, with his father
Baha’ al-Din and others. He distinguished himself in several branches of
learning. First he taught in Damascus at al-Rawahiyya and al-Atabakiyya.
Afterwards he supplied for his father as head qadi of Cairo and taught
traditions at al-Mansuriyya. When his father became head qadi of Damascus
he took his place as teacher at the chapel of al-Shafi`i and at al-Mansuriyya.
In the year 779 he was called to Damascus to take the office of head qadi
after Ibn Jama`a. After a year, however, he must give up this office in
favour of his predecessor and during three years he was kept out of any
public office. >From 784 to 789 he again held the office of head qadi, but
again he was removed. After the death of Ibn Jama`a he became preacher at
the Great Mosque and professor at al-Ghazzaliyya. The following year he
was called to Cairo as head qadi, but was twice displaced from this
office. During, the course of 18 years he was, thus head qadi four times
for a period of eight years and a half together. At last be taught at the
chapel of al-Shafi`i. He died 803 A.H.
The Subkis, as these notes on the lives of the different members show,
were a most remarkable family. At least a dozen of them were famous for
their learning and excellence of character. They held the highest civil
positions of the Moslem world as head qadis of Cairo and Damascus,
preachers at the great mosque in Damascus and professors of the great
schools of learning in both cities. Of most lasting fame however among all
the Subkis are Taqi al-Din and his son Taj al-Din, our author. Taj al-Din
is perhaps second to his father as a practical scholar and teacher, but as
an author he excels even his father in lasting fame, especially on account
of his two famous works Jam` al-Jawami` and al-Tabakat.
The Life of Taj ad-Din as-Subki:
The author, Taj al-Din Abu Nasr `Abd al-Wahhab al-Subki, according to Ibn
Ayyub, al-Ghazzi, and Ibn Shuhba was born in Cairo. Mubarak and al-Suyuti
use the indefinite term, al-Misri, the Egyptian, and Ibn Hajar omits the
place of birth altogether. The native biographers also disagree in regard
to the year of his birth. Ibn Ayyub, Ibn Hajar, and al-Ghazzi give the
year 727 A.H., Ibn Shuhba gives the same year but remarks that "others say
728." Mubarak and al-Suyuti give 729 A.H. as the year of the birth of Taj
al-Din. Most authorities agree, however, that he was 44 years of age when
he died, and as his death occurred 771, the year 727 is most likely to be
regarded as the year of his birth.
Taj al-Din received his first education in Cairo. The native biographers
always put his own father in the first place as the teacher of his son. A
long list of teachers with whom Taj al-Din studied at Cairo is given:
Yunus al-Dabusi, `Ali Yahya ibn Yusuf al-Misri, `Abd al-Muhsin al-Sabuni,
Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn `Abd al-`Aziz al-Sa`bi, Fath al-Din ibn Sayyid al-Nas,
Salih ibn Muhaqar, `Abd al-Qadi ibn al-Mutuk, and the qadi `Abd al-Ghaffar
Taj al-Din, however, received his higher education in Damascus, where he
followed his father in the year 739 A.H., being then a boy of some 12
years of age. In Damascus he continued to study with his father, but he
also studied with other famous teachers in that city. Thus he studied
traditions and Arabic grammar with Jamal al-Din al-Mizzi (654?742 A.H.),
the greatest traditionist of his time, also famous as jurisconsultant and
philologian, for 23 years and a half professor and head of the tradition
school al-Ashrafiyya in Damascus. He also studied with the great
historian, theologian, and writer Shams al-Din Abu `Abdullah al-Dhahabi
(673?748 A.H.), professor in traditions at the chapel Umm al-Salih in
Damascus. Ibn Hajar adds Zainab bint al-Kamal and Ibn al-Yarr, and al-Ghazzi
adds Taqi al-Din Ibn Rafi`, al-Najm al-Qahafazi and al-Hajjar to the list
of teachers in Damascus. But next to his father the teacher that seems to
have had the greatest influence over Taj al-Din and who apparently put a
great deal of confidence both in his character and ability was the famous
jurisconsultant Shams al-Din ibn al-Naqib, 662?745 A.H., professor at al-Shamiyya
al-Barraniyya in Damascus. Under him he did not only study but also began
to teach himself, as al-Naqib entrusted him with part of his own work as
teacher and legal counsellor. Yet Taj al-Din was only 18 years of age when
Besides hearing lectures and receiving instruction from those eminent
teachers he also carried on investigations of his own, and as the
biographers put it "he studied by himself" and perfected himself in the
knowledge and mastery of the different branches of learning "until he was
skilled in the knowledge of jurisprudence, traditions, grammar and
Then began, his public career as a jurisconsultant, teacher and writer.
"He began to teach, gave decisions on legal questions, traditioned,
carried on researches and occupied himself with literary compositions."
Taj al-Din, before he held any public office, taught for some years in the
higher schools of learning in Damascus, as al-Taqwiyya, al-Dimaghiyya, al-Nafa`siyya,
al-Qimariyya, the tradition school al-‘Ashrafiyya, al-`Aziziyya, al-Shamiyya
al-Barraniyya, al-`Adiliyya, and al-Masruriyya.
In the year 754 A. H., Taj al-Din held the office of Muwaqqi al-Dast,
which seems to be his first public office. The same year he supplied the
office of head qadi for his father, taking the place of his brother Jamal
al-Din, who died that year.
In the year 756, after having supplied the office for two years, he was,
by the request of his father, officially invested with the office he
supplied, and was thus appointed head qadi of Damascus for the first time
in the month Rabi` I. Thus at the age of only 28 years he reached one of
the most honoured and important civil offices of the country. This office
he held with short intervals until he died. He got into difficulties, as
the biographers put it, again and again on account of his decisions as
head qadi, was removed and then reinstated.
In the year 759, after having held the office for three years, he got into
some trouble and was removed as head qadi for the first time. According to
Ibn Habib the second cousin of Taj al-Din, Baha’ al-Din, took his place as
head qadi. After two months, however, he was reinstated into the office.
The same year he was also made professor at al-Aminiyya.
In the year 763 Taj al-Din was removed from the office of head qadi for
the second time. His brother Baha’ al-Din, who held office at that time in
Cairo, was called to Damascus, and against his own will he was made head
qadi in the place of his removed brother. Taj al-Din himself went to
Cairo, where he took the place of his brother as professor of Shafi`ite
law, and he also became preacher at the mosque al-Tuluni.
Taj al-Din did not stay long in Cairo. The same year he returned to
Damascus and began to teach at al-Shamiyya al-Barraniyya, al-Aminiyya, the
tradition school al-Ashrafiyya and al-`Udrawiyya, which schools, as the
biographers put it, "flourished under his hands."
The following year or 764 he was again reinstated as head qadi, which
office he now held for the third time. At the same time he was also
appointed preacher at the Great Mosque and made professor at al-Nasiriyya
In the year 769, or five years later, he had to pass through the greatest
trial of his life. He was then accused of dishonesty, removed from his
offices in disgrace and kept imprisoned in the castle for about 80 days.
The biographers always refer to this as the great trial of his life, so
great a trial indeed, that no qadi before him ever experienced anything
like it. They also intimate that it had something to do with his qadi?ship,
as he had trouble again and again on account of his discharge of that
The only biographer, as far as the editor has been able to ascertain, that
gives the reasons for this removal the third time and the imprisonment is
The statement runs as following:
Wa kana min aqwa al-asbab fi `azlih al-marra al-akhira anna al-sultan
lamma rasama bi-akhdhi zakawat al-tujjar fi Jumada al-Uola sanat 69 wajada
`inda al-awsiya’ jumlatan mutakaththiratan lakinnaha surifat bi qalam al-qadi
bi wusulat laysa fiha ta`yyin ism al-qabid fa-urida min nazir al-aytam an
ya`tarifa annaha wasalat lil-qadi [Perhaps it is an error for lil-qabid,
ed.] fa imtana`a. Qala: al-amr ila `azl al-qadi.
The translation of this passage would be:
And was the strongest cause for his removal the last time that the sultan,
when he had ordered the levying of taxes from the merchants in Jumada II,
the year 69 [of course 769 is meant, ed.], found with the executors a
large sum, which in the receipts was ordered to be paid out in the
handwriting of the qadi, but there was no indication there, as to the name
of the receiver. Then he asked from the Inspector of the orphans if he
knew that it had come to the qadi. Then he denied. He said: The affair is
a cause for the dismissal of the qadi.
Wustenfeld construes the causes of Taj al-Din’s removal from office as
being a legal decision, which he had given and which he refused to take
back. Brockelmann makes the cause the accusation of "Veruntreuuing von
The passage is not altogether clear, but evidently Taj al-Din was accused
of embezzlement of public money, over which he as qadi had control.
The biographers, however, agree that he was innocent of the charge brought
against him, as also further development of the case would show. At the
time, however, he was disgracefully dismissed as head qadi, as preacher
and as professor. He was also kept in prison for about 80 days.
His offices were given to his enemy Siraj al-Din al-Balqini. But if Taj
al-Din had enemies who tried to find excuses for ruining him, he also had
friends, who believed in his honesty and innocence and hence exerted
themselves in behalf of his exoneration and re-establishment. His friends
in Cairo were especially active in the defence of Taj al-Din. They
prevailed upon the Na’ib of Egypt, Ali al-Masidini, to send for Taj al-Din
and also for his brother Baha’ al-Din. Delegates were also sent to
Damascus for the purpose of bringing them to Cairo. At first only his
brother responded and Taj al-Din remained in Damascus, but when his
offices were given to al-Balqini, he also went to Cairo. Here he was
received with the greatest respect and enthusiasm. "The people rejoiced
over his deliverance," says Ibn Shuhba, "because he was dear to them for
his modesty and graciousness of disposition."
Taj al-Din stayed only a short time in Cairo and then he returned to the
scene of battle and disgrace, Damascus. Now "the people of Syria," as the
biographers say, took up the cause of Taj al-Din and exposed the wrong
done to him. As a matter of fact, he was exonerated of the charge brought
against him, and those that had wronged him must humiliate themselves
before him. But he took no revenge. He was kind and forgave all those that
had wronged him.
After his exoneration he was first re-instated as preacher at the Great
Mosque. The inhabitation and re-instatement of Taj al-Din annoyed al-Balqini
to the extent that he gave up his office as head qadi, left Damascus
together with his family, and settled in Cairo. Now Taj al-Din was
re-instated into the office of head qadi, which office he now held for the
fourth and last time. He was also made professor at al-Shamiyya. This was
in the year 770 A.H.
Taj al-Din only held these offices until the following year. That year a
dire plague, following on a severe famine, swept over Syria and carried
off multitudes of the inhabitants. Among the victims of this plaque was
Taj al-Din. He had preached as usual on Friday the 3rd day of Dhul Hijja,
then he fell ill on Saturday, the following day, and died on Tuesday
evening, the 9th day of Dhul Hijja, in the year 771 A.H. (July 2, 1370
A.D.) at his country home at Nairab, near Damascus. He was buried in the
family tomb at the foot of the Qasiun. At his death he was thus only a man
of about 44 years of age. [May Allah pour oceans or mercy upon his grave!]
Taj al-Din, as all we know about the events of his life, personality,
public offices, and literary works would indicate, no doubt was one of the
most prominent men of his time. He certainly was not only a man of
superior intellectual abilities and great learning, but also an active and
efficient practical man, a great worker. At the same time he was a man of
absolute integrity, enthusiastic, zealous, highanimous and kindhearted.
His intellectual qualities, as we have seen, were unusually early
developed, and what is more unusual also early recognized. Thus he had,
before he was eighteen years of age, proved himself in possession of such
a knowledge of law, such a power of judgment and such an amount of
teaching ability, that the great al-Naqib submitted legal cases to him for
decision and also handed over to him the performance of some of his own
duties. He was only 25 when he first supplied the office of head qadi for
his father, and at 28 he was appointed to the same office, being one of
the highest offices of the country.
As the biographers state and his works prove Taj al-Din was a keen and
ready thinker, a man of a clear and discerning mind. He would take in the
position in a moment. He was noted for his command of the Arabic language,
his great power of expression. He was a brilliant speaker, eloquent,
forceful, fiery, bold, persuasive and convincing. He was an excellent
improvisor, an art much admired by the Arabs, and a great debator. No one
of his age could compete with him as a debator, no one could excel him in
Taj al-Din was a thorough scholar. His learning included most of the
different branches of the sciences of his time, such as Arabic grammar,
interpretation of al-Qur’an, traditions and Arabic literature, but his
special field seems to have been al-fiqh, or Islamic jurisprudence. Thus
he enjoyed great fame as a jurisconsultant, equally skilled and
experienced. So great an authority in questions of law he was in fact that
he himself once wrote to the Na’ib of Syria, a modest man as he was: "I am
today on the whole the mujtahid – a supreme authority on matters of law –
of the world" . This statement, according to the biographers, was never
challenged. His work on the principles of law – Jam` al-Jawami` – is also
held to he the best ever written on the subject and remains up to this
time the standard text book for the study of Shafi`ite law at the great
Islamic University of Cairo.
Taj al-Din also seems to have enjoyed great fame as an authority on Arabic
books and writers. Thus Hajji Khalifa again and again quotes him as an
authority in regard to the authorship of some book, as authority on works
of law and as making comments and criticisms on books. He also gives
longer or shorter quotations from his own works.
Taj al-Din obviously was a man of great activity, a hard worker. His
researches, learning, eloquence and literary skill he put into practical
use in the discharge of his duties as head qadi, as teacher in a number of
schools, as preacher, and as a writer of books. Thus he was not only a
great scholar but also an able judge, a successful teacher and a copious
but conscientious author.
Taj al-Din was without doubt a man with a strong sense of duty and an
equal strong sense of right and wrong. His character was one of
unquestionable honesty and integrity. He was carried by unselfish motives
and lofty aspirations.
We will also have to regard Taj al-Din as a pious man. His great ideal was
Omar II, known for his piety, not to say bigotry. He was obviously
inclined towards religious mysticism. Thus he speaks with great deference
of the Sufis, and those he put forward as the benefactors of the world.
Taj al-Din was a man of no compromise. He is set in his own ideas and
clings to his own school. He was a pillar of the Shafi`ite orthodoxy. He
has no regard, no patience and no promise mercy for "the heretics." He
opposes bitterly every kind of innovation in religious as well as in
social life. But he is also just as uncompromising in his ideas and sense
of moral right or wrong most outspoken in matters of neglect, shortcomings
or wrongdoings, wherever found, whoever is concerned, high or low, friend
or enemy. He is most exacting in regard to the discharge of duty, a stern
advocate of simplicity, and he denounces fiercely and mockingly
extravagance and luxury. He seems to have been absolutely set, stern and
unyielding in what he considered right or wrong, unflinching in his
outspokenness, seemingly unmoved by any considerations, any influence. In
the great trials of his life, trials that naturally would come to a man of
such qualities, he also manifests resolute courage and unshaken
On the other hand, stern, unyielding and courageous, a fighting spirit as
he truly was, he had the reputation of being a friendly, sympathetic and
kindhearted man. This combination of a strong sense of justice and a kind
heart would be apt to make him, what he in fact appears to have been, a
champion of the humble, the needy, the wronged the oppressed.
A man like Taj al-Din would naturally make many enemies and many friends.
The bold and unflinching manner in which he, now fiercely denounces, now
ridicules the vanities, inefficiency, extravagances, and wrongdoings of
those in authority, as rulers, judges, scholars, would make enemies among
the higher classes. His care for the neglected, oppressed and wronged
would ensure him gratitude and affection. He would be as feared and hated
on the one hand, as he would be honoured and loved on the other. The just
and good would admire and support him; the bad and crooked would hate and
No wonder that his life was a stormy one. No wonder, that uncompromising
as he was, he got into trouble again and again on account of his decision
in legal cases. No wonder that he was displaced from office so many times.
But on the other hand, a man of Taj al-Din’s ability and high moral
qualities would not be easily gotten rid off, and he would be apt to be
recognized and promoted. Hence most of the native biographers sum up, as
it were, the story of his life by quoting Ibn Kathir: "There came to him
trials and difficulties, as had not come to a qadi before him, and there
came to him high positions, as had not come to any one before him."
Taj al-Din al-Subki has the fame of having been a copious writer in
comparison to the shortness of his life. As noted before, he was only 44
years of age when he fell a victim to the plague. Yet he has composed a
large number of books. These books made him noted as a writer during his
lifetime, and some of them have ensured to his name a lasting fame, or as
the native biographers have it "his works were studied during his lifetime
and after his death." His works, of course, represent the different
branches of learning and also the offices, to which he devoted himself.
They comprehend the subjects of jurisprudence, biography, traditions,
Arabic grammar, etc. Some are written in prose, others in verse. The
writings of Taj al-Din, which the editor has been able to trace, larger
and smaller, in all 31 in number, are given below. The grouping is,
however, inadequate and may be arbitrary. Some of the smaller treaties
might just as well have been put under another heading than that under
which they are found. But, as it was impossible to arrange literary
compositions of the author in chronological order, and as some grouping
was desirable, the following was adopted as a matter of convenience.
1. Jam` al-Jawami` fi Usul al-Fiqh, in seven books and introductions,
completed 760 A.H. at Nairab near Damascus, a compendium of the principles
of law. This is perhaps the most famous of the authors many works. It
remains up to this day the standard work on Shafi`ite law and is used as a
textbook at the study of law at the great Islamic University of Cairo. It
is the only work of Taj al-Din that so far has been printed [as of the
time this book was first published: 1908 C.E./1308 A.H.].
The following commentaries have been written on the Jam` al-Jawami`:
1) Tashnif al-Musami` bi?Jam` al-Jawami`, by Badr al-Din al-Zarkashi (d.
Abridgment of this: al-Ghaith al-Hani, by Abu Zar`a al-`Iraqi (d. 826).
2) Sharh Jam` al-Jawami`, by Jalal al-Din al-Mahhalli (d. 864), written
827, one of the most famous commentaries on the author’s work, printed in
Cairo 1308 A.H., and used with the Jam` al-Jawami` itself as a text book
at the University of Cairo.
on the commentary by al-Mahalli:
(1) Kitab al-Durar al-Lawami`, by Kamal al-Din ibn Abi Sarif (d. 907),
written 906 A.H.
(2) Hashiya fi Jam` al-Jawami`, by Abu Yahiya Zakariyya al-Ansari (d.
(3) al-Ayat al-Bayyinat, by Shihab al-Din al-Sabbaj al-`Ibadi (d. 992), a
work on the errors made by al-Mahalli in his commentary on the Jam` al-Jawami`.
Printed in 4 volumes, Bulaq, 1289 A.H.
(4) Hashiya fi Sharh Jam` al-Jawami`, by `Abd al-Rahman al-Bannani (d.
1198). Printed in 2 volumes, Bulaq 1285, Cairo 1309 A.H.
(5) Badr al-Din ibn Hatib al-Takhariyya, pupil of al-Mahalli, (d. 893).
(6) Muhammad ibn Dawud al-Bazilli (d. 925).
(7) Qutb al-Din `Isa al-Safawi al-‘Ighi, from Mekka, (d. 955).
(8) `Isa ibn Muhammad al-Barawi; MS Paris 806 (740 pp.).
(9) Nasir al-Din Muhammad al-Maliki al-Luqani.
(10) `Ali ibn Ahmad al-Najjar al-Sha`rani.
(11) Muhammad ibn Barri al-`Adawi (d. 1193).
Other commentaries and commentators on the Jam`
3) al-Buruq al-Lawami` fi ma Urida `Ala Jam` al-Jawami`, by Shams al-Din
Muhammad al-Ghazzi (d. 808), a severe criticism on the Jam` al-Jawami`,
put together into 32 questions. Taj al-Din wrote a new book in his own
defence – Man` al-Mawani` – against this commentary.
4) `Izz al-Din Abu Bakr al-Kanani (d. 819).
5) Shihab al-Din al-Raula al-Muqaddasi (d. 844).
6) Burhan al-Din al-Kabakibi al-Kudsi (d. 850).
7) Ibn al-`Abbas al-`Adawi.
8) Shihab al-Din al-Ghazzi (d. 822).
9) Shihab al-Din al-Kurani (d. 893).
10) `Abd al-Barri al-Halabi, the Hanafite, (d. 921).
The Jam` al-Jawami` has been put into verse by following authors:
1) Shihab al-Din `Abd al-Rahman al-Tukhi (d. 893).
2) Rida al-Din al-Ghazzi (d. 925).
A commentary on this versification by the author’s son Badr al-Din al-Ghazzi
3) al-Kawkab al-Sati`, versification by Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti (d. 911).
A commentary by the author on his versification called Sharh al-Kawkab
Taj al-Din himself wrote two books on the Jam` al-Jawami`:
2. Man` al-Mawani` `An Su’alat Jam` al-Jawami`, about 400 pages, written
as a reply to the criticism on the Jam` al-Jawami` by Shams al-Din
Muhammad al-Ghazzi (d. 808) in a work called al-Buruq al-Lawami` fi ma
Urida `Ala Jam` al-Jawami`. Taj al-Din takes up and answers 33 (Paris MS
gives only 32) questions, stated at the beginning of the book.
3. Sharh Jam` al-Jawami`, a commentary on his own legal work, completed in
770 A.H., or the year before Taj al-Din died.
Other books on al-fiqh are the following:
4. Tawshih al-Tashih fi Usul al-Fiqh, completed in 761 A.H.
5. Tarshih al-Tawshih wa Tarjih al-Tashih, an enlarged edition of the
6. Raf` al-Hajib `an Mukhtasar ibn al-Hajib, a commentary on the work by
Jamal al-Din ibn al-Hajib (d. 646), containing the principles of Malikite
law, and being an abridged edition of that authors larger work al-Muntaha.
Brockelmann does not mention this commentary, neither among the works of
Taj al-Din, nor among the other commentaries on this work. Taj al-Din
refers to this work of him in the Mu`id al-Ni`am wa Mubid al-Niqam. On
this work by Taj al-Din notes have been written by `Izz al-Din Ibn Jama`a
(d. 819) and by the brother of the author Baha’ al-Din al-Subki (d. 773).
7. Tarjih Tashih al-Khilaf, 1600 verses of the measure rajaz, in which Taj
al-Din, following the outlines made by his father and also adding a new
chapter, corrects the mistakes made by al-Nawawi in his works on al-fiqh.
8. Sharh Minhaj al-Usul Ila `Ilm al-Usul, a commentary on the work of al-Baidawi
(d.685). Taj al-Din refers to this work in the Mu`id al-Ni`am as a work of
his own. Brockelmann does not mention this book among, the works of Taj
al-Din. According to Ibn Ayyub the work had been begun by the father of
Taj al-Din and then completed by himself.
9. Sharh al-Saif al-Mashur fi `Aqidat al-Usul Abi Mansur al-Maturidi, a
commentary on the work of that Hanafite jurisconsultant.
10. Sharh Tanbih fi al-Fiqh lil-Shirazi, Taj al-Din being one of the
numerous commentators on this work.
11. Qasida on al-Ash`ari, 56 verses of the measure kamil, explaining the
differences between the principles of Abu Hanifa and those of al-Ash`ari.
[The other Qasida on al-Ash`ari comes under the heading Biography, next,
12. Kitab al-Fatawi, an edition of a work of his father, containing
answers to questions of law.
13. Kitab al-Ashbah wal-Naze’ir , a work on legal questions, according
to Ibn Najim (d. 970), the best work written on the subject.
14. al-Qawa`id al-Mushtamila `Ala al-Ashbah Wal-Naza’ir, a work by Taj
al-Din, mentioned by Ibn Shuhba and Ibn Ayyub, but whether this is a
different work from al-Ashbah itself the editor has not been able to
15. Jalab Halab (?) – written J-l-b H-l-b – also given by Ibn Shuhba and
Ibn Ayyub, consists of answers to questions on law, raised by Shihab
al-Din al-Adra`i from Halab (d. 783).
The most extensive and beside the Jam` al-Jawami` the most famous works of
Taj al-Din are his Tabaqt al-Shafi`iyya: Classes of Shafi`ites – or
biographies of illustrious Shafi`ite jurisconsultants from the time of the
great al-Shafi`i down to the author’s own time. Taj al-Din wrote three
different works on this same subject, a large work called al-Tabaqt al-Kubra,
a more condensed edition, called al-Tabaqt al-Wusta, and a still more
condensed edition called al-Tabaqat al-Sughra. These Tabaqat by Taj al-Din
have the fame of being the best biographies on Shafi`ite scholars ever
written, but strange enough, none of them have yet been published.
16. al-Tabaqat al-Kubra, or the great Tabaqat, is a very copious work. The
MSS, however, are scattered and more or less fragmentary. The illustrious
Shafi`ite jurisconsultants, whose lives and works are treated, are divided
into seven Tabaqat or classes:
I. Those who were pupils of al-Shafi`i
II.Those who died between 200 and 300 A.H.
III.Those who died between 300 and 400 A.H.
IV.Those who died between 400 and 500 A.H.
V.Those who died after 500 A.H.
VI.Those who died after 600 A.H.
The Paris MSS show the scope of this great work. Paris 2100, a MS of 442
pages, contains only the first of the seven classes. Paris 2101, which
must be a part of the last volume of the work, devotes 150 pages to one
man, or to Taqi al-Din, the father of the author.
17. al-Tabaqat al-Wusta, or the middle (sized) Tabaqat, the same
biographies as in al-Tabaqat al-Kurbra in abridged form, completed 754
A.H. The work, beside an index, consists of three parts:
1. al-Shafi`i and immediate pupils.
2. Those having the name Ahmad.
3. Those having the name Muhammad.
4. The rest in alphabetical order.
II Women, who had distinguished themselves in the
knowledge of Shafi`ite law.
III. Traditions gathered from al-Tabaqat al-Kubra.
18. al-Tabaqat al-Sughra, or the small Tabaqat, completed 760, appears to
be simply an abridgement of al-Tabaqat al-Wusta. The plan is practically
the same; only al-Tabaqat is very condensed, consisting in fact mostly of
names and dates. Yet the Brit. Mus. MS contains 300 large pages.
The following compositions by Taj al-Din may also be put under this head,
although they would be more accurately classed as eulogies than as
19. Kitab Manaqib al-Shaikh al-Imam Abu Bakr ibn Qauwam, an eulogy over
the virtues and good deeds of the pious Abu Bakr ibn Qauwam (584?656
A.H.). It is in fact an extract from a work by the nephew of Abu Bakr,
Muhammad ibn Qauwam (d. 718), to which Taj al-Din had prefaced an
introduction. It may have had a place in al-Tabaqat al-Kubra.
20. Qasida of the measure kamil, an eulogy on al-Ash`ari, the theologian,
philosopher, and jurisconsultant (d. 324) and the validity of his
21. Qasida, 22 verses of the measure basit, dedicated to Salah al-Din al-Safadi
On the subject of traditions Taj al-Din has edited one of his fathers
22. Tashhidh al-Adhan , a revised edition of his fathers work on
traditions Qadr al-Imkan fi Hadith al-I`tikaf.
On Arabic grammar and related subjects Taj al-Din wrote the following:
23. Tarshih al-Nahw, a treatise on Arabic grammar.
24. al-Alghaz, a book on the science of enigmatical language. Hajji
Khalifa does not give the exact title of Taj al-Din’s book but takes it up
among works on `Ilm al-Alghaz. Ibn Shuhba names Taj al-Din’s book Alghaz.
It may be the Qasida of which there is a MS in Leiden, "carmen hoc
25. Qasida, 37 verses of the measure wafir, on the significations of the
Other writings by Taj al-Din not classified above are the following:
26. al-Durar al-Lawami`, according to Ibn Shuhba, a work by Taj al-Din,
but the editor has not been able to trace it.
27. al-Ta`un, a treatise on the plague, where Taj al-Din discusses the
question whether it is consistent with true piety to attempt to evade the
plague or not.
28. Ad`iya Ma’thura [not Mantura, as Brockelmann has it, ed.], the
invocations with which Taj al-Din closed his large biographical work al-Tabaqat
29. A Prayer, composed by Taj al-Din in Cairo 764 A.H. and published by
Taj al-Din al-Malihi.
30. A Certificate, given by Taj al-Din 767 A.H. in Damascus to Muhammad
ibn `Ali al-`Asha’ir in regard to the mastery of his work Jam` al-Jawami`.
31. Mu`id al-Ni`am wa Mubid al-Niqam, the work here edited.
Source: This biography is a
reproduction of the section titled “II. THE AUTHOR” of the following book:
Al-Subki, Taj al-Din `Abd al-Wahhab ibn `Ali, Kitab Mu`id An-Ni`am
Wa-Mubid An-Niqam = The Restorer of Favours and the Restrainer of
Chastisements: the Arabic text with an introduction and notes edited by
David W. Myhram, 1st AMS ed. (New York: AMS Press, 1978). Reprint of the
1908 ed. published by Luzac, London, which was issued as v. 18 of Luzac’s
Semitic text and translation series. [ISBN: 0404112919]
Notes regarding the reproduction of the material
1. Almost all the footnotes were totally irrelevant: Some referred to the
page number in the accompanying Arabic original. Others referred to the
names and numbers of the various manuscripts of the book Mu`id al-Ni`am.
Others gave bibliographical references to the works of Muslim scholars
(Hajji Khalifa, Ibn Hajar, etc.), but the names of the books in the
bibliography are written in the editor’s native language: Swedish! This
made it both difficult and useless to reproduce here. Whoever is
interested in the references can check them out in the book itself. I kept
only the couple of “important” notes left. Some other “short” footnotes
were incorporated into the text in [square brackets with “, ed.” in them].
2. The last page of the book had an “errata” indicating 4 typos in the
print. But I found more than 100 mistakes in the above section only! I
tried to correct them, but I failed to do so whenever it was not clear
what the intended word was. This proved a sensitive issue when it came to
the (mis)spelling of a couple of names. I hope someone familiar with the
names of scholars mentioned here, can proof-read the above and correct any
mistakes in it.
3. I slightly altered the transliteration convention into a more
understandable one. The hardcopy has letters with dots under them and
slashes over them to indicate various Arabic letters that have no
equivalent in English. This was very difficult to reproduce on HTML.
4. I changed the word “Muhammedan” into the more appropriate word
5. Some words the editor used in English have a more familiar Arabic
equivalents. Examples are:
Traditionist = Muhaddith (similarily, Tradition = Hadith, and Traditioned
= Haddatha or taught the science of Hadith)
Jurisconsultant = faqih or Mufti
Interpreter = Mufassir
Theologian = Mutakallim
Philologian or Philologist = Lughawi (expert in the knowledge of language)
 From this statement it would seem as if also our author was born at
Subk. Some native biographers indeed only use the general term Egypt in
denoting the birthplace, while others distinctly state that he was born in
 Not a mujtahid on “Eheschliessungen,” as Wustenfeld has it. See
Wustenfeld, Der Imam el-Schafi`i. Abhandl. Der Konigl. Gesellschaft der
Wissenschaft. zu Gottingen, Band 36
 Whether Leiden 1843, the only MS known of a work on this subject,
really is the work of Taj al-Din, as Brockelmann states, is difficult to
determine, at least from the description given in the catalogue, as the
first part of the MS is wanting.
Article supplied courtesy Hani
Article taken (with Thanks) from Masud.co.uk
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