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Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti
Shrine for Galal El-Dean al-Seyoti in Asiut
Religion Islam
Denomination Sunni
Born 3 October 1445 CE / 1 Rajab 849 AH
Cairo, Mamluk Sultanate
Died 18 October 1505 CE / 19 Jumadi Ula 911 AH
Cairo, Mamluk Sultanate
Religious career
Works Tafsir al-Jalalayn Tarikh Al Khulafa Khasais Kubra Khasais Sughra Mazhar Jami al Kabir Jami Al Saghir
Influenced Al-Sha'rani, al-Dawudi
Arabic name
Personal (Ism) ‘Abd al-Raḥmān
Patronymic (Nasab) ibn Abī Bakr ibn Muḥammad
Teknonymic (Kunya) Abū al-Faḍl
Epithet (Laqab) Jalāl al-Dīn
Toponymic (Nisba) al-Suyūṭī, al-Khuḍayrī, al-Shāfi‘ī

Al-Suyuti (c. 1445–1505 CE); aka Jalaluddin; was an Egyptian scholar, historian 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-wuʻāh fī ṭabaqāt al-lughawīyīn wa-al-nuḥāh 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.

He wrote his first book, Sharh Al-Isti'aadha wal-Basmalah in 866 AH, at the age of seventeen.

Ibn al-ʿImād 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 ĥadīth, and answer my objections at the same time. In his time he was the foremost scholar of the ĥadīth 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."

In Ḥusn al-muḥaḍarah 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.

Major works

  • Tafsir al-Jalalayn (Arabic: تفسير الجلالين‎, lit.'Commentary of the Two Jalals' ); a Qur'anic exegesis written by Al-Suyuti and his teacher Jalal al-Din al-Mahalli
  • Al-Itqān fi ‘Ulum Al-Qur’an (translated into English as The Perfect Guide to the Sciences of the Qur'an, ISBN: 9781859642412)
  • Al-Tibb al Nabawi (Arabic: الطب النبوي‎, lit.'Prophetic medicine' )
  • Al-Jaami' al-Kabir (Arabic: الجامع الكبير‎, lit.'Large collection' )
  • Al-Jaami' al-Saghir (Arabic: الجامع الصغير‎, lit.'Little collection' )
  • Dur al-Manthur (Arabic: درالمنثور ) in tafsir
  • Alfiyyah al-Hadith
  • Tadrib al-Rawi (Arabic: تدريب الراوي ) both in hadith terminology
  • History of the Caliphs (Tarikh al-khulafa)
    • The Khalifas who took the right way, a partial translation of the History of the Caliphs, covering the first four Rashidun caliphs and Hasan ibn Ali
  • Tabaqat al-huffaz, an appendix to al-Dhahabi's Tadhkirat al-huffaz
  • Nuzhat al-julasāʼ fī ashʻār al-nisāʼ (Arabic: نزهة الجلساء في أشعار النساء ), 'an anthology of women's verse'
  • Al-Khasais-ul-Kubra, which discusses the miracles of Islamic prophet Muhammad
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