A biography of Ibn ʿAbd al-Hādī

This post presents the biography of Ibn ʿAbd al-Hādī from Muḥammad Jamīl al-Shaṭṭī’s Mukhtaṣar Ṭabaqāt al-Ḥanābila which was introduced in an earlier post. Ibn ʿAbd al-Hādī has received some attention recently for his large-scale book binding project, detailed in Konrad Hirschler’s newest book A Monument to Syrian Medieval Book Culture, which is very good. This post is no book review though. Rather it asks what a biographer some 500 years later deemed important enough to be repeated about Ibn ʿAbd al-Hādī.

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Teaching and transmission in 16th-century Damascus

The importance of any scholar can be justified with either of three arguments: They wrote many and important works, furthering one or even several disciplines; they taught many students who went on to become themselves important scholars; or people more generally benefited from their dispensation of helpful information. Ideally, a scholar would combine all of the above, which should reflect in them being appointed to influential positions in educational institutions. However, as today, so in the 16th century politics played a role in appointment processes, and often enough the person skillful in those could overcome someone more knowledgeable in the discipline to be taught.

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