Post-classical history

Diyā' al-Dīn al-Maqdisī (1173-1245)

Diyā‘ al-Dīn Abū ‘Abd Allāh Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wāhid al-Maqdisī was a Muslim historian and religious scholar from a prominent Hanbalī family of Damascus. He is often quoted in Arabic sources as an authority on twelfth- and thirteenth-century Palestine and Damascus.

Diyā‘ al-Dīn’s life was typical of men from his milieu. As a youth he studied in his hometown, then traveled to other centers of Islamic learning. Upon returning to Damascus, he established a college for the study of hadith (Prophetic tradition) and settled down to teach and compose works on hadīth, law, and local history. Of special interest are his vivid portrayals of Muslim life under Frankish rule, particularly in the region of Nablus, which were included in his hagio- graphical dictionary of Palestinian shaykhs, Karāmāt Mashā’ikh al-Ard al-Muqaddasa (The Cited Tales of the Wondrous Doings of the Shaykhs of the Holy Land). Diyā‘ al-Dīn propagated resistance and jihād (holy war) against the Franks in his writings and accompanied military campaigns of Saladin along with other men of religion who attended to the spiritual needs of the army.

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