Introducing: Ali Ibn Qadi Ajlun

When I began this blog, one of my main ideas was to share some fruits of my readings of medieval and early modern Arabic biographical literature. With this post I will begin a series of shorter posts that returns to this idea. I could think of no better title for it than “Introducing:…”. The first person to be introduced was a member of the established Damascene Ibn Qadi Ajlun family which was featured here several times before.

Ali, or Ala al-Din, Ibn Qadi Ajlun seems to have been more of an outsider in a predominantly Shafii family—he was, as far as I can tell, the only notable Hanafi in their family. This was, however, the exact reason why Ibn Tulun included him in his biographical dictionary al-Ghuraf al-ʿaliyya fī tarājim mutaʾakhkhirī al-ḥanafiyya:

ʿAlī b. Aḥmad b. ʿAbd al-Raḥmān b. Muḥammad Ibn Qāḍī ʿAjlūn: the chief justice ʿAlāʾ al-Dīn b. al-qāḍī Shihāb al-Dīn b. al-qāḍī Zayn al-Dīn al-Zaraʿī al-aṣl, al-Dimashqī al-Ḥanafī.

He deputized as a judge in Damascus; then he worked [as a chief judge] and was dismissed and reinstated several times. He died on 9 Shaʿabān 882 in his house close to the Bāb Jayrūn. The prayer for him was held in the Umayyad Mosque, and he was buried on the cemetery at Bāb al-Ṣaghīr.

He was related to (qarībuhu) to the most just of judges Muḥibb al-Dīn Ibn Qāḍī ʿAjlūn, the khaṭīb at the Umayyad Mosque. And it was him who agreed to let [ʿAlī] preach there on Fridays.

One of the messengers (rusul) One of the … and he shrieked and the people with him and they said: “the judge Burhān al-Dīn al-Nābulusī came to said mosque to capture the Persian ḥājib and the judges presumed that that order was so, and they fled, then the tale became public (or was altered) and they became angry with the messenger, and the people beat him severly, so that he almost died. Then the khuṭba was resumed.

It is agreed upon that was on Friday, 28 Jum. I 880 that they invalidated the Friday prayer in this mosque [even] twice. The reason was that Shihāb al-Dīn al-Nābulusī, the father of the mentioned al-Burhān, did order the capture of a number of judges, when he had arrived as the wakīl of the Maqām al-Sharīf. The chief judge sayyid Kamāl al-Dīn al-ʿAbbāsī al-Mālikī had fled to this mosque at the time of the Friday prayer and waited for him there. The commoners (ʿāmma) helped him and repelled/abused (rajaʿū/rajamū?) al-Nābulusī.

Ibn al-Mibrad mentions him in [his work] al-Riyāḍ: “He had little qualities in the sciences and was a ‘friend of wealth’. He died 7 days before al-Ashraf Qāytbāy arrived to Damascus of “fahāq”.

Ibn Ṭūlūn, Muḥammad, al-Ghuraf al-ʿaliyya fī tarājim mutaʾakhkhirī al-ḥanafiyya, Istanbul, Süleymaniye Library, MS Şehid Ali Paşa 1924, fol. 156a.
Cite this article as: Torsten Wollina, "Introducing: Ali Ibn Qadi Ajlun", in Damascus Anecdotes, May 19, 2019,

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