Capstone Dictionary of Unusual Words of Hadith and of Yore


Al-Nihāyah fī gharīb al-ḥadīth wa-al-athar (Capstone dictionary of unusual words of hadith and of yore) is a four-volume dictionary of words in the hadiths, or the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, by the medieval scholar Majd al-Din Ibn al-Athir (1149−1210). It is a specialized concordance of unusual or less-common words occurring in hadiths, supplemented by terms from the Qurʼan and early Islamic history. The work was recognized in its day as a significant contribution to lexicography and was incorporated into the magisterial Lisān al-ʻArab (The Arabic language) by Ibn Manzur (died 1311 or 1312). A note lists corrigenda for the Lisān based on Ibn al-Athir’s dictionary. The Ibn al-Athir family, father and sons, is commonly associated with the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, where they taught, wrote, and provided literary substance to the local court. They frequently traveled on diplomatic assignment. Majd al-Din Ibn al-Athir is sometimes confused in the secondary literature with one or the other of his brothers, historian Diyaʻ al-Din (died 1239) or ‘Izz al-Din (died 1233), who was also a scholar and court official but with a more literary bent. A commentary by the well-known Egyptian scholar Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti (1445−1505) accompanies the main text in the margin. After teaching in Cairo, al-Suyuti lived much of his life in seclusion. He is recognized for his commentaries on the work of earlier scholars and is the author of Jamiʻ al-jawamiʻ (Compilation of compilations), a standard reference on hadith. The present work was printed at the expense of ʻUthman ʻAbd al-Raziq, owner of the ʻUthmaniyah Press in Cairo, Egypt.

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Subject Date

Publication Information

Al-‘Uthmaniyah Press, Cairo


Title in Original Language

النهاية في غريب الحديث والأثر

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Physical Description

4 volumes ; 29 centimeters.


  1. F. Rosenthal, “Ibn al-Athir,” in Encyclopaedia of Islam. (Leiden:, Brill, 1986).

Last updated: June 9, 2015