Zakarīyā ibn Muḥammad al-Anṣārī, a Shafi’i jurist, teacher, and Sufi, was born in Egypt and studied at al-Azhar, the Sunni Islamic center of learning in Cairo. Throughout his long career (he lived about 100 years), al-Anṣārī held many positions as judge and Sufi authority. He is recognized as a major figure in medieval Sunni jurisprudence. He studied under the greatest teachers of the age and influenced later generations, being referred to by the honorific Shaykh al-Islam. Manhaj al-Ṭullāb (Students' guide) is an abridgement of Nawawī’s Minhāj al-Ṭālibīn (Path of knowledge seekers), a major juridical reference from the 13th century. It was followed by longer commentaries by numerous authors and became a standard teaching text, which was often reprinted at the Bulaq Press and elsewhere. The press was one of the principal institutions established by visionary suzerain Muḥammad ʻAlī (reigned 1805−49). Founded along modern administrative principles, it served the government and private persons by producing works of science, engineering, and history, as well as literary and Islamic classics. This copy was printed at the Bulaq Press in 1868 under the supervision of its director, Husayn Husni. The book is instantly recognizable in appearance, typography, paper, and layout as a product of this famous press. The colophon is typical of the times, containing a long encomium to Isma’il Pasha, Egypt’s ruler.
Bulaq Press, Cairo
Title in Original Language
Type of Item
194 pages ; 20 centimeters
- Khalid Azab and Ahmad Mansur, Matba’at Bulaq (The Bulaq Press), (Alexandria, Egypt: Bibliotheca Alexandrina, 2005), (in Arabic), http://www.bibalex.org/bulaqpress/En/Bulaq.htm (in English).
- Abu Futuh Radhwan, Tarikh Matba’at Bulaq (History of the Bulaq Press), (Cairo: Amiriyah Press, 1953), (in Arabic).
Last updated: July 21, 2014