Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti
|Born||3 October 1445 CE / 1 Rajab 849 AH|
|Died||18 October 1505 CE / 19 Jumadi Ula 911 AH|
|Main interest(s)||Tafsir, Sharia, Fiqh, Hadith, Quran, Usul al-Fiqh, History, Aqidah|
|Notable work(s)||Tafsir al-Jalalayn Tarikh Al Khulafa Khasais Kubra Khasais Sughra Mazhar Jami al Kabir Jami Al Saghir|
|Personal (Ism)||'Abd al-Ra?m?n|
|Patronymic (Nasab)||ibn Ab? Bakr ibn Mu?ammad|
|Teknonymic (Kunya)||Ab? al-Fa?l|
|Epithet (Laqab)||Jal?l al-D?n|
|Toponymic (Nisba)||al-Suy, al-Khu?ayr?, al-Sh?fi'?|
Al-Suyuti (c. 1445-1505 CE); aka Jalaluddin; was an Egyptian polymath, scholar, historian, sufi and jurist. From a family of Persian origin, he was described as one of the most prolific writers of the Middle Ages. His biographical dictionary Bughyat al-wuh f? ?abaq?t al-lughaw?y?n wa-al-nuh contains valuable accounts of prominent figures in the early development of Arabic philology. He was appointed to a chair in the mosque of Baybars in Cairo in 1486, and was an authority of the Shafii school of thought (madhhab).
Al-Suyuti was born on 3 October 1445 AD (1 Rajab 849 AH) in Cairo, Egypt. He hailed from a Persian family on his paternal side. His mother was Circassian. According to al-Suyuti his ancestors came from al-Khudayriyya in Baghdad. His family moved to Asyut in Mamluk Egypt, hence the nisba "Al-Suyuti". His father taught Shafi'i law at the Mosque and Khanqah of Shaykhu in Cairo, but died when al-Suyuti was 5 or 6 years old.
Al-Suyuti's studies included: Shafi'i and Hanafi jurisprudence (fiqh), traditions (hadith), exegesis (tafsir), theology, history, rhetoric, philosophy, philology, arithmetic, timekeeping (miqat) and medicine. He started teaching Shafi'i jurisprudence at the age of 18, at the same mosque as his father did. In 1486, Sultan Qaitbay appointed him shaykh at the Khanqah of Baybars II, a Sufi lodge. He was a Sufi of the Shadhili order.
Al-Suyuti was named the mujaddid of the 9th century AH and he claimed to be a mujtahid (an authority on source interpretation who gives legal statements on jurisprudence, hadith studies, and Arabic language). This caused friction with scholars and ruling officials, and after a quarrel over the finances of the Sufi lodge, he retreated to the island of Rawda in 1501. Al-Suyuti died on 18 October 1505.
The Dalil makhtutat al-Suyuti ("Directory of al-Suyuti's manuscripts") states that al-Suyuti wrote works on over 700 subjects, while a 1995 survey put the figure between 500 and 981. However, these include short pamphlets, and legal opinions.
Ibn al-?Im?d writes: "Most of his works become world famous in his lifetime." Renowned as a prolific writer, his student Dawudi said: "I was with the Shaykh Suyuti once, and he wrote three volumes on that day. He could dictate annotations on ?ad?th, and answer my objections at the same time. In his time he was the foremost scholar of the ?ad?th and associated sciences, of the narrators including the uncommon ones, the hadith matn (text), isnad (chain of narrators), the derivation of hadith rulings. He has himself told me, that he had memorized One Hundred Thousand hadith."[unreliable source?]
In ?usn al-mu?a?arah al-Suyuti lists 283 of his works on subjects from religion to medicine. As with Abu'l-Faraj ibn al-Jawzi in his medicinal works, he writes almost exclusively on prophetic medicine, rather than the Islamic-Greek synthesis of medicinal tradition found in the works of Al-Dhahabi. He focuses on diet and natural remedies for serious ailments such as rabies and smallpox, and for simple conditions such as headaches and nosebleeds, and mentions the cosmology behind the principles of medical ethics.
The family of al-Suyuti, of Persian origin, settled during the Mamluk period in Asyut, in Upper Egypt (from where they derive their name).