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Al-Bidaya wa’l-Nihaya

In this whole period, Damascus forms an integral part of the Mamluk state of Egypt, of which Damascus is the second most important city. After the defeat of both Crusaders and Mongols, a golden period to about ensues, but it is followed by a period of rebellions by the governors of Damascus against the central authority, and the increasing power of the zu cc arlocal militias turned lawless bandits.

The reign of Barquq brings some stability, but Damascus then falls prey to Timur Lenk, who devastates the city in Damascus recovers to a great extent under the relatively peaceful and prosperous reign of Sultan Barsbay Damascus expands well beyond the original city walls, katgir most Mamluk monuments built extra muros.

Al-Salihiyya suburb grows, as do nearby villages in the Ghuta oasis.

The period sees lively economic activity, with Damascus still a hub of commerce on the trade routes through the Middle East; e. Europeans bring cloth from Flanders, and export silk, brocades, copperwork, glassware, etc.


Al Bidaya Wan Nihaya (Bangla) : Ibn Kathir

Damascus produces high-quality luxury goods, including items of book culture manuscript copying, bookbinding, etc. Festive occasions are very frequent in the city, and the Mamluks sponsor the construction of countless new buildings mausoleums, mosques, madrasaspreferring a very ornamental style e.

Yaqut al-kalam fi-ma nab al-Sham kathig Ibn al- c Imad, Shadharat al-dhahab. Cultural contacts with Egypt and beyond grow in importance, reflecting political integration. The greatest single blow to Damascene culture is the Timur’s carrying away most of the local intelligentsia to Iran and Samarqand, his capital.

Al-Bidaya wa’l-Nihaya – Wikipedia

Among the Sunnis, the Shafi bidqya i school is predominant. The institutionalisation of religious life and education continues, with madrasas, Sufi convents khanaqah and charitable endowments awqaf bidayw, the latter often serving to support religious and educational institutions. Typical genres of scholarly culture include teaching manuals, fatwa collections, and other works of Islamic jurisprudence. Hanbalite influence is also strong despite the opposition of the Mamluk regime, as evidenced by such outstanding intellectuals as Ibn Taymiyya d.

Intolerance of perceived ‘heresies’ and reprehensible ‘innovations’ grows, but Sufism also flourishes. Tabaqat al-Shafi c iyya al-kubra ; Ibn Rajab: Kitab al-luma c ; Taqi al-Din al-Subki: The period is characterised by relatively little innovation and a perceptible decadence with the overwhelming use of stylistic embellishments.

Poetry, in particular, shows little innovation in this period, the audience preferring abundant word-play, puns and a plethora of tropes.

Many poets and writers are highly educated scholars too. Very characteristic of the age are huge, comprehensive works that seek to integrate all available knowledge in a particular field.


Two outstanding authors are al-Safadi d.

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Great Damascene chroniclers of the period include al-Kutubi d. Another important genre of the period is that of huge biographical manuals e. The same synthesising effort is obvious in some comprehensive works on poetics, like Ibn Hijja’s Khizanat al-adab.

Many works from this period would continue being used well into late Ottoman times. Hajji Khalifa, Kashf al-zunun ; al-Sakhawi: Khizanat al-adab and Thamarat al-awraq ; al-Safadi: Tawshi c al-Tawshih ; and individual poetic oeuvres. The buildings in the picture are a mosque complex apparently from the Mamluk era which includes the period situated in the Al-Salihiyya quarter of Damascus. Also, it was an important centre of the strict Hanbalite legal school of Sunni Islam.

Located at the foot of Mount Qasiyun, Al-Salihiyya was originally regarded as a separate town, but as Damascus expanded, Al-Salihiyya gradually obtained the status of a quarter of the city.

In the period we study, it had a somewhat ambiguous status, with some authors treating it as a town in its own right, and others referring to it as a city quarter.