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Waddy, C. (1934) An introduction to the chronicle called "Mufarrij al Kurub fi Akhbar Bani Ayyub" by Ibn Wasil. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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Jamal ad din Abu'Abdullah Muhammad b.Salim b. Nasrallih b.Salim b.Wasil was born in Hamah on 2 Shawwal, 604. He was brought up there, and educated at Jerusalem, Damascus and Aleppo. He spent seventeen years in Egypt, (642-659), and was there at the time of St. Louis' Crusade, and of the beginning of the Mamluk dynasty. He resided at the courts of several of the leading Ayyubid princes of the Seventh Century, A.H. (Mu'azzam of Damascus, Nasir Daud of Kerak, Ayyub of Egypt, Muzaffar II of Hamah, and his two successors), and he knew intimately many of their leading courtiers, soldiers and scholars. In the latter part of his life he was for many years chief Qadi of his native city, where he died on the 22 Shawwal, 697.;His great work, the Mufarrij al Kurub, fi Akhbar Bani Ayyub, was written towards the end of his life, and contains the history of the Ayyubids from their first appearance until 659. Ibn Wa?il had devoted much of his life to the study of History, and had written at least one and probably more books on the subject already, so that the Mufarrij combines the merits being written by a first-class historian and a close observer of most of the events he relates.;The Seventh Century, A.H. was a great period of scholarship, and especially was this so in Syria. Damascus and Aleppo were at this time replacing Bagdad as centres of learning, under the patronage of the Ayyubid princes. Up to the end the Sixth Century, almost all the leading scholars had studied in Bagdad, but with the founding of Madrasas in large numbers by Nur ad din and Saladin, the Syrian cities (1) became increasingly a gathering place for men of learning. Particularly rich was this period in historians. While Ibn Wasil was growing up, there was a flourishing school of historians at Aleppo, another at Damascus, and in his own town of Hamah there were at least three historians at work. As the century went on, the work of Baha ad din b. Shaddad and Ibn abi Tayy was carried on in Aleppo by Kamal ad din b. al 'Adim and Izz ad din b. Shaddad. In Damascus, the three great historians, Abu Shama, Sibt Jauzi and Ibn Khallikan were all writing their books a few years before Ibn Wasil composed the Mufarrij, and Ibn abi Usaibi'a belongs to the same period. Ibn Wasil is the last of the great historians of the century, and was himself the master of his successor, Abulfida. The Egyptian school of historians does not appear until the beginning of the Mamluk dynasty, and it is to the Syrian historians that we look for our knowledge of the Ayyubid dynasty. Of these Ibn Wasil was in the best position to give first hand information on the later period.;The style of these Seventh century histories is clear and concise, and Ibn Wasil snares this characteristic. The flowery eloquence of the lives of Saladin was looked upon with some contempt, as "a characteristic of the writers of former times, whom, you will observe, have much talk and little meaning, expressing themselves metaphorically. This is not really good style" (1) This is Abu Shama's opinion, and Ibn al Athir says much the same in his Preface to the History of the Atabeks. He has resolved, he says, not to write at length because of "the preference people have in our time for brevity." (2) This last word, (Ikhtisar), indicates the character of much of the work of scholars of this time, including Ibn Wasil. Many books were merely summaries of previous works on a subject, whether history or some other branch of learning, and Ibn Wasil's first historical work was a "Mukhtasar", to be followed by a longer "Tarikh Kabir". Besides this he wrote Mukhtasars of the Kitab al Aghani, of a work on theology by Fakhr ad din ar Razi, and of Ibn al Baitar's book on medicine. Three others of his works were commentaries on previous books, (Chapter X.).

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:17

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