19 November 2017
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30 Safar 1439
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“Ibn al-‘Adīm al-‘Aqīlī and his history of Aleppo”, by Professor Al-Mahdi Eid al-Rawadieh

As part of Al-Furqān Islamic Heritage Foundation’s seasonal lecture series, the Centre for the Study of Islamic Manuscripts at Al-Furqān organised a public lecture on Wednesday, 4 October 2017. This was titled “Ibn al-‘Adīm al-‘Aqīlī and his history of Aleppo”, and was hosted at the lecture theatre in Al-Furqān’s London headquarters. The lecturer was Professor Al-Mahdi Eid al-Rawadieh, Assistant to the Director General, Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought, Amman, Jordan.
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Mr Mohamed Drioueche, Head of Projects & Publications at Al-Furqān Islamic Heritage Foundation, opened the evening by welcoming the guests and introducing the lecture. He

Mr Mohamed Drioueche, Head of Projects & Publications at Al-Furqān Islamic Heritage Foundation, opened the evening by welcoming the guests and introducing the lecture. He drew the audience’s attention to the fact that the Manuscript Centre had recently published a critical edition, comprising twelve volumes, of the Islamic history text titled “Bughyat al-Ṭalab fī Tārīkh Ḥalab” by Ibn al-ʿAdīm. In this context, Al-Furqān had invited the editor, Professor Al-Mahdi Eid al-Rawadieh, to illuminate important aspects related to this work and its author.

Subsequently, Mr Sharaf Yamani, Member of Al-Furqān’s Board of Directors, spoke on behalf of Al-Furqān Islamic Heritage Foundation, and its Chairman and founder, H.E. Shaykh Ahmed Zaki Yamani. He welcomed the guests and the lecturer and pointed out that the lecture aimed to introduce Aleppo’s historian, Ibn al-‘Adīm al-Ḥalabī, and trace the scientific and cultural journey of his life. Moreover, it aimed to elucidate the significance of Ibn al-‘Adīm’s contribution to historical writing on Aleppo, his approach to authorship, and the sources he had relied upon in authoring “Bughyat al-Ṭalab fī Tārīkh Ḥalab”.

Mr Sharaf Yamani pointed out that the lecture coincided with the publication of the book’s critical edition. It also co-incided with the continuing harrowing suffering of Aleppo and the surrounding towns and villages, witnessing destruction, death, and displacement of the population, due to the train of tragic events unfolding in Syria. The city’s heritage and archaeological features, as well as buildings steeped in antiquity have been ransacked and destroyed. These had formerly stood as testimony to a civilisation rooted in the distant past, and a history rich in events and incidents.

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Mr Sharaf Yamani, Member of Al-Furqān’s Board of Directors, spoke on behalf of Al-Furqān Islamic Heritage Foundation, and its Chairman and founder, H.E. Shaykh Ahmed Zaki Yamani.

Mr Sharaf Yamani expressed his immense gratitude to the book’s editor for the notable effort in producing a robust critical edition of “Bughyat al-Ṭalab fī Tārīkh Ḥalab”, indeed, delivering the book as its author, Ibn al-‘Adīm, would have wished. He also thanked him for the novel addition in Volume 11, titled “al-Mulṭaqaṭ min al-ḍāi‘ ”, where he recovered much of the missing material, arising from the loss of parts of the book. He also congratulated Professor al-Rawadieh on being awarded the Institute of Arabic Manuscripts’ (Ma‘had al-Makhṭūṭāt) 2017 Prize.

Mr Mohamed Drioueche then introduced Professor al-Rawadieh, and invited him to deliver his lecture. In turn, Professor al-Rawadieh praised Al-Furqān’s role in the preservation of the Islamic heritage, and thanked the Foundation for its gracious invitation. He lamented Aleppo’s suffering and the wanton, wholesale destruction visited on its heritage and cultural features.

Professor al-Rawadieh began his lecture by introducing Aleppo’s eminent and erudite historian, Ibn al-‘Adīm. He traced his scientific trajectory up to his death, mentioning his key books and works, as well as the sources to which he referred. He reminded the audience of the importance of this eminent scholar, his erudition, wealth of knowledge, and extensive reading. Not only was he a historian of the highest calibre, but a teacher, traditionist (muḥaddith), jurist (faqīh), vizier, man of letters, and biographer.

His book, “Bughyat al-Ṭalab fī Tārīkh Ḥalab”, is considered a seminal text in the history of Arabic culture and literature. It provides rich historical and geographical information on the Levant generally, and the northern region in particular. It presents content unique to Ibn al-‘Adīm, unreported by his peers, and indeed, the biographies mentioned within are of tremendous value.

The book’s value is also apparent, not only in presenting the history of the northern Levant, but in preserving large abstracts from many hitherto lost texts that are uniquely reproduced by Ibn al-‘Adīm in this book.

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Professor Al-Mahdi Eid al-Rawadieh delivering his lecture

The book covers many sciences, branches of knowledge, and arts. Its principal subject matter is biographies of those eminent persons and prodigies engaged in diverse fields of knowledge, literature, high office and politics. having a connection to the Aleppo region by virtue of residence or passage. Therefore, the work covers sundry areas of knowledge, including religious sciences, Ḥadīth narration, literary sciences—prosody or poetry, geography—especially from the northern Levant, and history over an extended period of the Islamic era. The book’s value and importance among peer works is quite evident, and is particularly appreciated by scholars in the field of history. This is due to the novel material, and unique information and accounts, and the approach to critically evaluating narrations and texts.

In his speech, the lecturer addressed his approach to critically editing and reproducing this book, providing the text with glosses and commentaries, including highlighted notes, to serve the text, which explain difficult parts and generally clarify the text. He also mentioned the challenges and problems faced in his work to produce a critical edition.

The lecture was followed by questions from the distinguished and knowledgeable audience regarding the diverse aspects covered by Professor al-Rawadieh.


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Professor Al-Mahdi Eid al-Rawadieh
About Professor Al-Mahdi Eid al-Rawadieh

· Assistant to the Director General, Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought, Amman, Jordan.

· Doctorate in Islamic History, University of Jordan.

Professional & academic duties

· Part-time lecturer, Faculty of Letters, University of Jordan.

· Researcher, Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought, undertaking the following roles:

o Researcher on the comprehensive catalogue of Arabic and Islamic manuscript heritage, and Director of the Institute library

o Assistant to the Director General, Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought, and responsible for Scholarly Research (Turāb, committee for Jordan’s enduring heritage)

o Executive Manager, Turāb for Publishing & Distribution, entity of Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought

o Chairman of the Higher Committee for Writing Jordan’s History (composed of six government universities)

Authored books & critically edited works

Al-Urdun fī mawrūth al-jughrāfiyyīn wa al-raḥḥālah al-‘Arab”, al-Mahdi Eid al-Rawadieh, Amman: Ministry of Culture, 2002 CE.

Al-Maṭāli‘ al-badriyyah fī al-manāzil al-rūmiyyah”, Badr al-Dīn Muḥammad b. Muḥammad al-Ghazzī (d. 984 AH / 1577 CE)", ed. al-Mahdi Eid al-Rawadieh, Beirut: Al-Mu’asasah al-‘Arabiyyah li al-Dirāsāt wa al-Nashr, Abu Dhabi: Dār al-Suwaydī li al-Nashr wa al-Tawzī‘, 2004 CE.

Awḍaḥ al-masālik ilā ma‘rifat al-buldān wa al-mamālik”, Muḥammad b. ‘Alī (aka. Subāhī Zādah) (d. 997 AH / 1589 CE)", ed. al-Mahdi Eid al-Rawadieh, Beirut: Dār al-Gharb al-Islāmī, 2006 CE.

Mudawwanat al-nuṣūṣ al-jughrāfīyah li-mudun al-Urdun waqurāh”, al-Mahdi Eid al-Rawadieh, Amman: publication of Higher Committee for Writing Jordan’s History, Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought, 2007 CE.

Part 8 of “Al-‘Ibar wa dīwān al-mubtada’ wa al-khabar fī ayām al-‘Arab wa al-‘ajam wa al-barbar wa man ‘āsarahum min dhawī al-Sulṭān al-Akbar: Tārīkh Ibn Khuldūn”, ed. al-Mahdi Eid al-Rawadieh and Dr Ihsan Dhunun al-Thamri, Tunis: al-Qayrawān li al-Nashr, 2011 CE.

Gharā’ib al-funūn wa mulḥ al-‘uyūn”, by an anonymous 7th Century Hijri author (probably), ed. al-Mahdi Eid al-Rawadieh, Beirut: Dār Ṣādir, 2011 CE.

Al-Durar min kalām Ahl al-Wabar – Ad‘iyat al-A‘rāb (al-badw)”, al-Mahdi Eid al-Rawadieh, Amman: Royal Islamic Research & Studies Centre, 2013 CE.

Bughyat al-Ṭalab fī Tārīkh Ḥalab: The History of Aleppo”, Kamāl al-Dīn ʿUmar b. Aḥmad b. Hibat Allāh Ibn al-ʿAdīm (d. 660 AH / 1262 CE)", ed. al-Mahdi Eid al-Rawadieh, (12 volumes), London: Al-Furqān Islamic Heritage Foundation, 2016.

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26/10/2017