MASHQI | Knowledge and Power


Making Books Talk: The Material Evidence of Manuscripts of the Kitāb al-Shifāʾ by al-Qāḍī ʿIyāḍ (1083-1149) for the Reception of an Andalusian Biography of the Prophet between 1100 and 1900

Dagmar Anne Riedel

This project is a reception study which will employ digital tools in order to analyze a diverse collection of codicological, bibliographical, and prosopographical data. Its starting point is a corpus of about 250 copies of the Kitāb al-Shifāʾ by al-Qāḍī ʿIyāḍ (1083–1149) that can be dated between the late 1200s and 1900. The Kitāb al-Shifāʾ is an Arabic biography of the prophet Muḥammad (d. 632) which over time became a bestseller of devotional Islamic literature. While the work has survived in hundreds of copies, we do not have a copy in the hand of the author, or at least one that was written during his lifetime.

The project aims to accomplish two goals. The first is to use the Kitāb al-Shifāʾ as a test case for the practical challenges of how to study a work with an extraordinarily rich transmission history. The second goal is to explore the reception of the Kitāb al-Shifāʾ outside the Islamic West and the traditional strongholds of Maliki Islam.

MASHQI (ID 706611) is funded by a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship (MSCA-IF-2015-EF) **of the European Commission’s Horizon2020 program for Nurturing Excellence by Means of Cross-Border and Cross-Sector Mobility (H2020-EU.1.3.2.).


Posts about this Marie Curie project on Dr. Riedel’s research blog on Islamic Books (ISSN 2328-8167)

Album with images of copies of the Kitāb al-Shifāʾ on Dr. Riedel’s FlickR page on Islamic Books