The Confluence of the Seas


Multaqá al-abḥur (The confluence of the seas) is a celebrated work of Hanafi jurisprudence, written by Ibrahim ibn Muhammad Halabi (died 1549 or 1550), also known as al-Halabi. Completed in 1517, al-Halabi’s text is a handbook based on the works of four earlier jurists. Until the reforms of the 19th century, it was the authoritative source of many of the laws of the Ottoman Empire. The work contains rules covering practically every area of human activity, including religious practice, domestic relations, inheritance, commercial transactions, and crime. Al-Halabi was born circa 1460 in Halab, Mamluk Sultanate (present-day Aleppo, Syria), and studied there and in Cairo. He lived more than 40 years in Constantinople (present-day Istanbul), where he wrote religious and legal works and became a preacher in the Mosque of Mehmed II. The manuscript presented here has an illuminated title page. The text is rubricated and is an original work written down “by the hand of its author,” as stated in frame 447. The many marginal additions and comments are from other later hands, and are interleaved throughout. A three-page commentary at the very end, for example, dates from 1659.

Last updated: September 22, 2015