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Egyptian Arab historian
Taq? al-D?n Ab? al-Abb?s A?mad ibn 'Al? ibn 'Abd al-Qadir ibn Mu?ammad al-Maqr?z?
( ? ? ) 1364 (1364) Cairo, Egypt
1442 (aged 77–78)
Mawaiz wa al-'i'tibar bi dhikr al-khitat wa al-'athar (2 vols., Bulaq, 1854)
Al-Maqr?z? or Makr?z? (Arabic: ), he was Taq? al-D?n Ab? al-'Abb?s A?mad ibn 'Al? ibn 'Abd al-Q?dir ibn Mu?ammad al-Maqr?z? (Arabic: ? ? ) (1364-1442) was a prominent medieval Egyptian historian during the Mamluk-era, remarkable in this context for his unusually keen interest in the Isma'iliFatimid dynasty and its role in Egyptian history."
Al-Maqr?z? was born in Fatimid Cairo and spent most of his life in Egypt. When he presents himself in his books he usually stops at the 10th forefather although he confessed to some of his close friends that he can trace his ancestry to Al-Mu'izz li-D?n All?h - first Fatimid caliph in Egypt and the founder of al-Qahirah - and even to Ali ibn Abi Talib. He was trained in the Hanafite school of law. Later, he switched to the Shafi'ite school and finally to the Zahirite school. Maqrizi studied theology under one of the primary masterminds behind the Zahiri Revolt, and his vocal support and sympathy with that revolt against the Mamluks likely cost him higher administrative and clerical positions with the Mamluk regime. The name Maqrizi was an attribution to a quarter of the city of Baalbek, from where his paternal grandparents hailed. Maqrizi confessed to his contemporaries that he believed that he was related to the Fatimids through the son of al-Muizz. Ibn Hajar preserves the most memorable account: his father, as they entered the al-Hakim Mosque one day, told him "My son, you are entering the mosque of your ancestor." However, his father also instructed al-Maqrizi not to reveal this information to anyone he could not trust; Walker concludes:
Ultimately it would be hard to conclude that al-Maqrizi conceived any more than an antiquarian interest in the Fatimids. His main concern seems more likely to be the meaning they and their city might have for the present, that is, for Mamluk Egypt and its role in Islam. (p. 167)
In 1385, he went on the Islamic pilgrimage, the Hajj. For some time he was secretary in a government office, and in 1399 became inspector of markets for Cairo and northern Egypt. This post he soon gave up to become a preacher at the Mosque of 'Amr ibn al 'As, president of the al-Hakim Mosque, and a lecturer on tradition. In 1408, he went to Damascus to become inspector of the Qalanisryya and lecturer. Later, he retired into private life at Cairo.
In 1430, he again went on Hajj with his family and travelled for some five years. His learning was great, his observation accurate and his judgement good, but his books are largely compilations, and he does not always acknowledge the sources upon which he relied.
Most of Al-Maqrizi's works, exceeding 200, are concerned with Egypt.
Al-Mawi? wa-al-I?tib?r bi-Dhikr al-Khi?a? wa-al-?th?r (Arabic, 2 vols., Bulaq, 1853)[n 1]; French translation by Urbain Bouriant as Description topographique et historique de l'Égypte (Paris, 1895-1900; compare A. R. Guest, "A List of Writers, Books and other Authorities mentioned by El Maqrizi in his Khitat," in Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1902, pp. 103-125).
Muqaffa, first sixteen-volumes of an Egyptian biographic encyclopedia arranged in alphabetic order. The Egyptian historian, al-Sakhawi, estimated that the complete work would require eighty volumes. Three autograph volumes exist in manuscript in Leiden and one in Paris.