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Jaʿfar b. Ḥasan b. ʿAbd al-Karīm b. al-Sayyid Muḥammad b. ʿAbd al-Rasūl al-Barzanjī, al-Ḥusaynī al-Madanī al-Shāfiʿī, “Zayn al-ʿĀbidīn” (الإمام السيد جعفر بن حسن بن عبد الكريم بن السيد محمد بن عبد الرسول البرزنجي الحسيني المدني الشافعي). He was born in the Islamic month of Sha'aban 1128 AH/1716 CE in the city of Medina in present-day Saudi Arabia. His father was the lecturer of the Al-Ṣiddīq Mosque in Medina and overseer of its endowments; while his great-grandfather hailed from Shahrazūr in Kurdish Iraq, and spent years seeking knowledge in Hamadān, Baghdad, Damascus, Istanbul, and Cairo, before settling in Medina.

Education and Scholarship[edit]

Al-Barzanjī studied first under his father and his father’s paternal uncle, and then under other scholars of Medina. He was a polymath who mastered various disciplines, including: the memorization of the Quran, its canonical readings, morphology, syntax, logic, rhetoric, inheritance, calligraphy, arithmetic, law, jurisprudence, metaphysics, philosophy, geometry, astronomy, literature, scholastic theology, lexicography, biography, Prophetic tradition (Ahādith) criticism, and Koran exegesis.

Occupation and Speciality[edit]

Al-Barzanjī excelled especially in oratory and composition, and quickly became well known as a sermonizer, imam, and teacher in the Mosque of the Prophet Muḥammad in Medina beginning in the Islamic month of Ramadan in the year 1159 AH/1746 CE. He lectured in the law of the four Sunni schools of Jurisprudence (Madhāhib), and was qualified to provide legal opinions (Fatwā) according to them all. He later assumed the post of Highest Juridical Authority (Muftī) of the Shāfites in Medina, serving therein until his death.

His Lifestyle and Disposition[edit]

Al-Barzanjī practiced worldly renunciation (Zuhd) for more than twenty years. Nonetheless, his custom was to wear the clothing of the scholars. He attracted many students from Medina and abroad due to the breadth of his scholarship, the excellence of his lectures and his skill in scholarly debate. He is described as having had a thin frame and a strong voice. He was also proficient in a number of languages, which permitted him to be consulted on difficult matters by scholars from all over the world.

His Death and Descendants[edit]

He died in 1177 AH/1764 CE, and was buried in the cemetery of Al-Baqi' in the city of Medina. His descendants continue to live in the city of Medina to this day.

His Works[edit]

His authored works, many of which have since been lost, include:

and others.


  • al-Ziriklī, al-Aʿlām (1997), 2:123.
  • al-Anṣāri, Tuḥfat al-muḥibbīn wa wa al-aṣḥāb fī maʿrifat mā li al-Madaniyīn min al-ansāb (1970), 89.
  • al-Murādī, Silk al-durar fī aʿyān al-qarn al-thānī ʿashar (1291–1301), 2:9.
  • Murshid, Ṭaybah wa ẓikrayāt al-aḥibbah (1416), 1:48-49.
  • Kaḥḥālah, Muʿjam al-mu’allifīn (1993), 1:490.
  • al-Baghdādī, Hadiyyat al-ʿārifīn (1951–55), 1:255-256.
  • Brockelmann, Geschichte der Arabischen Litteratur (1937–43), II:503, S II:517-518.
  • For his great-grandfather, Muḥammad b. ʿAbd al-Rasūl, see al-Ziriklī, ibid., 6:203-204.
  • al-Baghdādī, ibid., 2:302-303; Kaḥḥālah, ibid., 3:292.
  • Brockelmann, ibid., II:511.
  • Othman (translator), The Barzanjī Mawlid – The Jewelled Necklace of the Resplendent Prophet’s Birth (2009), Manaqib.

External links[edit]