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Al-Qifṭī (Arabic: جمال الدين أبو الحسن علي بن يوسف القفطي‎‎ Jamāl al-Dīn Abū 'l-Ḥasan ʿAlī ibn Yūsuf al-Qifṭī, ca. 1172–1248) was a medieval Muslim writer. He is remembered today mainly for his History of Learned Men.

Life and Works[edit]

He was a native of Qift in Upper Egypt. He studied in Cairo, and moved to Jerusalem and later to Aleppo, where he compiled most of his works.

26 of his works are known by title, of which only two survive:

  • The History of Learned Men (Kitab Ikhbar al-'ulama' bi-akhbar al-hukama' , usually referred to simply as Ta'rikh al-hukama' ), which exists in an epitome by al-Zawzani (written in 1249). It contains 414 biographies of physicians, philosophers and astronomers.[1]
  • Inbah al-ruwat 'ala anbah al-nuhat which contains about a thousand biographies of Muslim scholars.[2]

Some fragments survive of the posthumous Akhbar al-Muhammadin min al-shu'ara' (Ms. Paris Arab. 3335).

The lost works dealt mostly with historiography, including a history of Cairo, a history of the Seljuks, and histories of the Mirdasids, of the Buyids, of Mahmud b. Sabuktakin, of the Maghreb, and of the Yemen.


  • A. Dietrich, "Ibn al-Ḳifṭī" in Encyclopedia of Islam (1999)
  • A. Müller, Uber das sogenannte [arabic] des ibn el-Qifti, Actes du huitieme Congres International des Orientalistes, Section i, Leiden 1890, p. 15-36. Online at Google books here [3]
  • R. Sellheim, in Oriens, viii (1955), 348-52.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ ed. J. Lippert, Leipzig 1903. Online at Google Books here [1].
  2. ^ parts i-iii ed. by Muh. Abu 'l-Fadl Ibrahim, Cairo AH 1369-74
  3. ^

External links[edit]