THE MASHĀHĪR AL-ʿULAMĀʾ AL-AMṢĀR OF IBN ḤIBBĀN AL-BUSTĪ (d. 354AH/965CE)

Muhammad Fawwaz Muhammad Yusoff

Abstract


This brief article argues that early Muslim scholars correlated knowledge with social endurance. Ibn Ḥibbān’s al-Mashāhīr is a compendium of biographies of men of learning from various regions of early Islam which contained many entries the subjects of which included came literary individuals who took an active role in encouraging the spread of knowledge.  This study attempts to examine the purposes, form, structure, content, total of figures, and basic strategies used in Ibn Ḥibbān’s Mashāhīr along with his general contribution to the science of ḥadīth transmission in the late third and fourth Islamic centuries. It has not, however, produced a comprehensive examination of the wide dimension of prosopographical texts available in Ibn Ḥibbān’s work. The task also involves analysing both theoretical and practical aspects of Ibn Ḥibbān’s method for organizing. In the arrangement of biographical dictionary Ibn Ḥibbān could reveal the genealogy of authority he had constructed over the path of his career on the following generation of scholars as well as enhancing of important centre of ḥadīth studies during three early centuries. Also, examining representations of towns or regions in the Mashāhīr over a period reveals culturally and historically specific meaning and yields insight into peoples’ relationships to political and social realities.

 

Keywords: Ibn Ḥibbān, Mashāhīr, ḥadīth, biographical dictionary, biography

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