Commentary by the Learned Shaykh al-Fanari on Saʻd al-Din al-Taftazani’s “Commentary on ‘al-Miftāḥ’”


Miftāḥ al-ʿulūm (The key to the sciences) by Persian polymath Yusuf ibn Abi Bakr al-Sakkaki (1160−circa 1228) is a monumental work comprising 12 sciences of the Arabic language. Generally divided into three areas (morphology, syntax, and rhetoric), al-Miftaḥ (or the Key, for short) became the subject of numerous commentaries. One of the main commentators on it was another Persian polymath by the name of Masʻud ibn ʻUmar al-Taftazani (1322−circa 1389), who wrote two commentaries. The longer one of the two gained great reception in its own right, and became known among scholars as al-Muawwal (The long commentary). As is the case with many pioneering works in the Arabic language, that long commentary itself became the subject of a new commentary (or supercommentary), which is preserved in this manuscript by Hasan ibn Muhammad Shah al-Fanari (1436 or 1437−1481 or 1482). Al-Fanari studied at the Aleppo school of Edirne (in present-day Turkey) and later moved to Egypt, before returning to Anatolia, where he sought the patronage of Ottoman sultans Muhammad Khan II and Bayezid II. This manuscript on rhetoric is entitled Hāshiyat al-shaykh al-ʻallāmah al-Fanārī ʻalá sharḥ talkhīṣ al-miftāḥ li Saʻd al-Dīn al-Taftāzānī (Commentary by the learned shaykh al-Fanari on Saʻd al-Din al-Taftazani’s “Commentary on al-Miftāḥ”).

Last updated: May 27, 2016