The Brilliant Lantern, or Commentary on the Lesser Compilation of the Hadiths of the Consecrated Messenger


This work in four volumes is a commentary on a collection of hadiths, al-Jami’ al-saghir (The lesser compilation), by the famous Egyptian scholar Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti (1445−1505). The commentary, by Ali ibn Ahmad al-‘Azizi (died 1659 or 1660), is formatted as an alphabetical concordance to al-Suyuti’s collection. Hadiths are examined in their morphological, grammatical, and lexical aspects as well as in the context of their transmission. The essence of medieval hadith scholarship was concern for the authenticity of the Prophet Muhammad’s words and deeds through many transmitters. Thus al-‘Azizi is at pains to categorize hadiths as strong or weak. The author depends most heavily for his judgments on the commentary by his near contemporary ‘Abd al-Ru’uf al-Munawi (died 1621) entitled Al-Faydh al-qadir (The powerful flood). Not much is known about al-‘Azizi. He is said to have written many works, but if that is the case, most have not survived. His name, al-‘Azizi, refers to the town of al-‘Aziziyah in the Nile Delta where presumably he was born. He was educated in Cairo and is buried in the Bulaq quarter of the city. Each hadith is signaled by an asterisk and overlining. There are frequent lines of poetry, marginal notes, and parenthetical remarks. The book was published in Cairo in 1862. At that time print production was a complex affair, and printing was a cooperative endeavor. Listed in the colophon are an editor, corrector, proofreader, and a specialized editor to collate the text against original manuscripts. The volumes generally display the care taken in the early publications of the Bulaq Press, but there is no mention of the press in the colophon.

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Title in Original Language

كتاب السراج المنير شرح الجامع الصغير في حديث البشير النذير

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430 pages ; 35 centimeters


  1. Yusuf Ilyan Sarkis, Mu’jam al-matbu’at al-‘Arabiyah wa-al-Mu’arrabah [Dictionary of Arabic Imprints]. (Cairo: Sarkis, 1928).

Last updated: June 17, 2015