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Virtues of the Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal

Virtues of the Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal: Volume One

Edited and translated by Michael Cooperson
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: NYU Press,
Pages: 592
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt9qfh41
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    Virtues of the Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal
    Book Description:

    Ahmad ibn Hanbal (d. 241 H/855 AD), renowned for his profound knowledge of hadith - the reports of the Prophet's sayings and deeds - is a major figure in the history of Islam. Ibn Hanbal was famous for living according to his own strict interpretation of the Prophetic model and for denying himself even the most basic comforts in a city then one of the wealthiest in the word, and despite belonging to a prominent family. His piety and austerity made him a folk hero, especially after his principled resistance to the attempts of two Abbasid caliphs to force him to accept rationalist doctrine. His subsequent imprisonment and flogging became one of the most dramatic episodes of medieval Islamic history. Ibn Hanbal's resistance influenced the course of Islamic law, the rise of Sunnism, and the legislative authority of the caliphate. tells the formidable life tale of one of the most influential Muslims in history.Virtues of the Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbalis a translation of the biography of Ibn Hanbal penned by the Baghdad preacher, scholar, and storyteller Ibn al-Jawzi (d. 597 H/1200 AD). Volume One presents the first half of the text, offering insights into Ibn Hanbal's childhood, education, and adult life, including his religious doctrines, his dealings with other scholars, and his personal habits. Set against the background of fierce debates over the role of reason and the basis of legitimate government,Virtues of the Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbaltells the formidable life tale of one of the most influential Muslims in history.

    eISBN: 978-0-8147-4539-7
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. xi-xx)

    Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal, who died in the 241st year of the Muslim calendar, 855 according to the Christian one, is probably one of the most famous Muslims in history. Thanks to him, many came to believe that the only right religion was the one practiced at the time of the Prophet Muḥammad. To keep their community together in this world and gain salvation in the next, Muslims needed to live as the Prophet and his Companions had lived: to eat what they ate, wear what they wore, buy and sell only as they had done. “Is there anything I’m doing...

  4. Note on the Text
    (pp. xxi-xxiv)
  5. Notes to the Frontmatter
    (pp. xxv-xxvi)
  6. Virtues of the Imām Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal

    • [Introduction]
      (pp. 1-13)

      The Virtues of Abū ʿAbd Allāh Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad ibn Ḥanbal, of the tribe of Shaybān—God be pleased with him!—by the great religious authority Abū l-Faraj ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn ʿAlī ibn Muḥammad ibn al-Jawzī, God be pleased with him!

      Praise God, Who did all things create with skill unmatch’d and chose of men who would come first and who behind. From humankind He raised His prophets and His seers, and of them both did make the righteous scholars heirs. Then of those knowing men did He a lesser number find, and to those few with gen’rous hand a...

    • Chapter 1: Ibn Ḥanbal’s Birth and Family Background
      (pp. 14-19)

      We cite ʿAbd al-Malik ibn Abī l-Qāsim al-Karūkhī, who cites ʿAbd Allāh ibn Muḥammad al-Anṣārī, who cites Abū Yaʿqūb al-Ḥāfiẓ, who cites Abū Bakr ibn Abī l-Faḍl al-Muʿaddal,² who learned it from Muḥammad ibn Ibrāhīm al-Ṣarrām; and³ we cite ʿAbd al-Malik, who cites ʿAbd Allāh ibn Muḥammad, who cites Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad ibn Ismāʿīl al-Mihrawī,⁴ who learned it from Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad ibn Yaʿqūb, the notary-witness of Būshanj, who learned it from Muḥammad ibn al-Ṭayyib ibn al-ʿAbbās, who [along with al-Ṣarrām] cites Ibrāhīm ibn Isḥāq al-Ghasīlī as saying:

      [Al-Ghasīlī:] I heard Aḥmad’s son Ṣāliḥ say that he—meaning his father...

    • Chapter 2: His Lineage
      (pp. 18-27)

      We cite Abū Manṣūr ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn Muḥammad al-Qazzāz, who cites Abū Bakr Aḥmad ibn ʿAlī ibn Thābit; and we cite Ismāʿīl ibn Aḥmad al-Samarqandī and Muḥammad ibn Abī l-Qāsim al-Baghdādī (of Baghdad), who [along with al-Samarqandī] heard Ḥamd ibn Aḥmad, who [along with Abū Bakr] heard Abū Nuʿaym al-Ḥāfiẓ report that he heard Abū Bakr Aḥmad ibn Jaʿfar ibn Ḥamdān report that he heard Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal’s son ʿAbd Allāh say:

      [ʿAbd Allāh:] We heard reports from my father, Aḥmad son of Muḥammad son of Ḥanbal son of Hilāl son of Asad son of Idrīs son of ʿAbd Allāh...

    • Chapter 3: His Childhood
      (pp. 28-33)

      Our exemplar Aḥmad was born in Baghdad, as we have mentioned, and grew up there. After studying with the teachers and Hadith scholars of the city, he set out to seek learning elsewhere as well.

      I read back to Muḥammad ibn Abī Manṣūr his report, citing Abū l-Qāsim ibn al-Busrī, citing Abū ʿAbd Allāh ibn Baṭṭah, who cited Abū Bakr al-Ājurrī (the brick maker), who cited Abū Naṣr ibn Kurdī, who said:

      [Ibn Kurdī:] Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal’s house had the One-Eyed Tigris²² directly behind it.

      We cite Muḥammad ibn Abī Manṣūr, who cites ʿAbd al-Qādir ibn Muḥammad ibn Yūsuf, who...

    • Chapter 4: The Beginning of His Search for Knowledge and the Journey He Undertook for That Purpose
      (pp. 32-53)

      Aḥmad began his studies with the learned men of Baghdad. He then traveled to Kufa, Basra, Mecca, Medina, Yemen, Syria, and northern Iraq, writing down what he acquired from the men of learning in each region he visited.

      We cite Abū Manṣūr ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn Muḥammad al-Qazzāz, who cites Abū Bakr Aḥmad ibn ʿAlī ibn Thābit, who cites al-Azharī, who heard ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn ʿUmar report that he heard Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad ibn Yaʿqūb report that his grandfather reported that he heard Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal say:

      [Aḥmad:] The first teacher whose Hadith I wrote down was Abū Yūsuf.³³

      We cite...

    • Chapter 5: The Major Men of Learning Whom He Met and on Whose Authority He Recited Hadith
      (pp. 52-87)

      I have listed them alphabetically by first name.

      Men named AḥmadAḥmad ibn Ibrāhīm ibn Khālid. Aḥmad ibn Ibrāhīm ibn Kathīr al-Dawraqī, called Abū ʿAbd Allāh. Aḥmad ibn Jamīl, called Abū Yūsuf. He was from Marv but settled in Baghdad. He sold wheat in Qaṭīʿat al-Rabīʿ. Aḥmad ibn Janāb ibn al-Mughīrah, called Abū l-Walīd al-Ḥadīthī and al-Miṣṣīṣī. Aḥmad ibn Janāḥ, called Abū Ṣāliḥ. Aḥmad ibn Ḥātim ibn Yazīd the Tall, called Abū Jaʿfar al-Khayyāṭ. Aḥmad ibn al-Ḥajjāj, called Abū l-ʿAbbās al-Dhuhlī, from Marv. Aḥmad ibn Dāwūd, called Abū Saʿīd al-Ḥaddād al-Wāsiṭī. Aḥmad ibn Abī Shuʿayb (whose name was ʿAbd Allāh...

    • Chapter 6: His Deference to His Teachers and His Respect for Learning
      (pp. 88-91)

      We cite Muḥammad ibn Abī Manṣūr, who heard ʿAbd al-Qādir ibn Muḥammad say that Ibrāhīm ibn ʿUmar informed him that ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz ibn Jaʿfar informed him, citing Abū Bakr al-Khallāl, who said that Muḥammad ibn al-ʿAbbās said that al-Ḥasan ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhāb said that he heard Ismāʿīl al-Daylamī report:

      [Ismāʿīl al-Daylamī:] ʿAmr al-Nāqid said, “We were studying with Wakīʿ when Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal came in and sat down.” He began describing how deferential Aḥmad was to Wakīʿ. Then he said: “I told Aḥmad how highly our teacher thought of him and asked him why he wouldn’t speak in his presence....

    • Chapter 7: His Eagerness to Learn and His Single-Minded Pursuit of Knowledge
      (pp. 90-93)

      Ibn Ḥanbal, may God be pleased with him, traveled great distances in search of Hadith and spent a long time acquiring it, and did not permit himself to be distracted by earning a living or seeking a wife until he had achieved what he set out to do.

      We cite Ibn Abī Manṣūr, who cites ʿAbd al-Qādir ibn Muḥammad, who was informed by Ibrāhim ibn ʿUmar, who was informed by ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz ibn Jaʿfar, who cited Abū Bakr al-Khallāl, who heard Abū Bakr al-Marrūdhī report that Abū ʿAbd Allāh said to him:

      [Aḥmad:] I didn’t marry until I was past...

    • Chapter 8: His Powers of Retention and the Number of Reports He Knew by Heart
      (pp. 92-99)

      We cite ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn Muḥammad, who cites Aḥmad ibn ʿAlī ibn Thābit; and we cite Muḥammad ibn Abī Manṣūr, who cites ʿAbd al-Qādir ibn Muḥammad, who [along with Ibn Thābit] cites Ibrāhīm ibn ʿUmar al-Faqīh (the jurisprudent), who said that he heard ʿUbayd Allāh ibn Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad ibn Ḥamdān report that he heard Abū Ḥafṣ ʿUmar ibn Muḥammad ibn Rajāʾ report that he heard Ibn Ḥanbal’s son ʿAbd Allāh say:

      [ʿAbd Allāh:] I heard Abū Zurʿah say that Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal knew a million Hadith reports.

      “How would you know?” he was asked.

      “He and I recited them...

    • Chapter 9: His Learning, His Intelligence, and His Religious Understanding
      (pp. 100-109)

      We cite Muḥammad ibn Abī Manṣūr, who heard ʿAbd al-Qādir ibn Muḥammad say that Ibrāhīm ibn ʿUmar informed him that ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz ibn Jaʿfar informed him that he heard Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad al-Khallāl report that he heard Abū l-Qāsim al-Jabbulī—who is sufficient authority for anyone—say:

      [Abū l-Qāsim al-Jabbulī:] Most people think that Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal became famous largely because of what he did during the Inquisition, but that’s not so. It was because you could ask him about any issue and he would answer as if he had all the learning in the world laid out before him....

    • Chapter 10: Praise of Him by His Teachers
      (pp. 108-145)

      As you doubtless know, a person’s character is manifest even in youth; the way a life begins gives a good idea of how it is likely to end. In Aḥmad’s case, piety and love of learning were evident in him from the beginning. As a result, his teachers praised him and granted him precedence.

      We cite Muḥammad ibn Abī Manṣūr, who cites ʿAbd al-Qādir ibn Muḥammad, who said that Ibrāhīm ibn ʿUmar informed him that ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz ibn Jaʿfar informed him, citing Abū Bakr al-Khallāl, who heard Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad al-Ṣāʾigh report that he heard Abū l-ʿAbbās al-Nasāʾī say:

      [Al-Nasāʾī:]...

    • Chapter 11: Teachers and Senior Men of Learning Who Cite Him
      (pp. 144-161)

      These include:

      We cite Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd al-Malik ibn Khayrūn, who cites Abū Bakr Aḥmad ibn ʿAlī ibn Thābit, who heard Abū Ṭālib Yaḥyā ibn ʿAlī ibn al-Ṭayyib al-ʿIjlī, who heard Abū Yaʿqūb Yūsuf ibn Ibrāhīm ibn Mūsā l-Sahmī report that he heard ʿAbd Allāh ibn Muḥammad ibn

      Muslim report that he heard Mahdī ibn al-Ḥārith report that he heard Abū ʿAbd Allāh al-Qaṣṣār (the cloth-fuller) report, citing ʿAbd al-Razzāq:

      [ʿAbd al-Razzāq:] We cite Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal, citing al-Walīd (meaning Ibn Muslim), citing Zayd ibn Wāqid, who heard Nāfiʿ, the client or freedman of Ibn ʿUmar, say that whenever Ibn...

    • Chapter 12: All the Men of Learning Who Cite Him
      (pp. 160-189)

      To make them easier to find, I have listed these figures alphabetically by first name and then by their fathers’ names.¹¹²

      Men named AḥmadAḥmad ibn Ibrāhīm ibn Kathīr al-Dawraqī. Aḥmad ibn Ibrāhīm al-Kūfī. Aḥmad ibn Aṣram ibn Khuzaymah al-Muzanī. Aḥmad ibn Bishr ibn Saʿd, Abū Ayyūb al-Ṭayālisī. Aḥmad ibn Bishr ibn Saʿīd al-Kindī. Aḥmad ibn Bakr. Aḥmad ibn Thābit, Abū Yaḥyā. Aḥmad ibn Jaʿfar, Abū ʿAbd al-Raḥmān al-Wakīʿī. Aḥmad ibn Jaʿfar ibn Yaʿqūb, Abū l-ʿAbbās al-Fārisī l-Iṣṭakhrī. Aḥmad ibn al-Ḥasan ibn ʿAbd al-Jabbār, Abū ʿAbd Allāh al-Ṣūfī. Aḥmad ibn al-Ḥasan, Abū l-Ḥasan al-Tirmidhī. Aḥmad ibn al-Ḥusayn ibn Ḥassān al-Sāmarrī.¹¹³...

    • Chapter 13: Praise of Him by His Peers, His Contemporaries, and Those Close to Him in Age
      (pp. 188-251)

      We cite ʿAbd al-Malik ibn Abī l-Qāsim, who cites ʿAbd Allāh ibn Muḥammad al-Anṣārī, who cites Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad ibn Maḥmūd, who heard the report from Ibrāhīm ibn Ismāʿīl the renunciant; and we cite ʿAbd al-Malik, who cites ʿAbd Allāh ibn Muḥammad, who cites Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad ibn Khuzaymah, who heard the report from Muḥammad ibn al-Ḥusayn; and we cite ʿAbd al-Malik, who cites ʿAbd Allāh ibn Muḥammad, who cites ʿAlī ibn ʿAbd Allāh, who cites Aḥmad ibn al-Ḥasan al-Muʿaddal; and we cite ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn Muḥammad, who cites Aḥmad ibn ʿAlī ibn Thābit, who cites Abū l-Qāsim ʿAbd al-Raḥmān...

    • Chapter 14: Praise of Him by Prominent Successors Who Knew Him Well
      (pp. 252-261)

      We cite Abū l-Fatḥ ʿAbd al-Malik ibn Abī l-Qāsim, who cites ʿAbd Allāh ibn Muḥammad al-Anṣārī, who cites ʿAbd Allāh ibn ʿUmar, who heard ʿUmar ibn Aḥmad al-Ḥāfiẓ report that he heard Muḥammad ibn ʿAlī l-Qaffāl report that he heard ʿAbd Allāh ibn Abī Dāwūd say that he heard his father say:

      [Abū Dāwūd al-Sijistānī:] If a man loves Ibn Ḥanbal, you can be sure that he knows thesunnah.

      We cite Ismāʿīl ibn Aḥmad and Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd al-Bāqī, who cite Ḥamd ibn Aḥmad, who cites Abū Nuʿaym al-Ḥāfiẓ, who heard Sulaymān ibn Aḥmad report that he heard Aḥmad...

    • Chapter 15: A Report That the Prophet Elijah Sent Him Greetings
      (pp. 260-261)

      We were informed by Yaḥyā ibn al-Ḥasan ibn al-Bannā, who was informed by al-Qāḍī Abū Yaʿlā Muḥammad ibn al-Ḥusayn, who cites, in Damascus, Abū l-Ḥasan ʿAlī ibn Muḥammad al-Ḥinnāʾī, who cites Abū Muḥammad ʿAbd Allāh ibn Muḥammad ibn Ismāʿīl, who cites Abū Bakr Muḥammad ibn ʿĪsā l-Ṭarasūsī and al-ʿAbbās Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad al-Bardhaʿī, both of whom cite Aḥmad ibn Ṭāhir, who heard al-ʿAbbās report that he heard his father report that he heard Abū Ḥafṣ al-Qāḍī report:

      [Abū Ḥafṣ al-Qāḍī:] Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal was once visited by a man from the Indian Ocean who said, “I come from the Indian...

    • Chapter 16: Reports That al-Khaḍir Spoke in His Praise
      (pp. 262-265)

      We cite ʿAbd al-Malik ibn Abī l-Qāsim, who cites ʿAbd Allāh ibn Muḥammad al-Anṣārī, who cites Ghālib ibn ʿAlī, who cites Muḥammad ibn al-Ḥusayn; and we cite Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd al-Bāqī, who was informed by Rizq Allāh ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhāb, who was informed by Muḥammad ibn al-Ḥusayn; and I heard Ismāʿīl ibn Aḥmad al-Samarqandī say that he heard ʿAbd Allāh ibn ʿAṭāʾ say that he heard ʿAlī ibn al-Ḥusayn al-Ḥusaynī say that he heard ʿAbd al-Karīm ibn Muḥammad al-Shīrāzī say that he heard Muḥammad ibn ʿAlī l-Ṣūfī, who like [Muḥammad ibn al-Ḥusayn] said that he heard Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd Allāh...

    • Chapter 17: Praise of Him by Pious Strangers and Allies of God
      (pp. 264-267)

      We cite Abū Manṣūr al-Qazzāz, who cites Aḥmad ibn ʿAlī ibn Thābit, who cites Ismāʿīl ibn Aḥmad al-Ḥīrī, who cites Abū ʿAbd al-Raḥmān al-Sulamī; and we cite ʿAbd al-Malik ibn Abī l-Qāsim al-Karūkhī, who cites ʿAbd Allāh ibn Muḥammad al-Anṣārī, who cites Abū Yaʿqūb al-Ḥāfiẓ, who heard ʿAlī ibn Muḥammad ibn Isḥāq al-Hamadhānī say that he heard Abū Bakr al-Rāzī say that he heard ʿAbd Allāh ibn Mūsā l-Ṭalḥī say that he heard Aḥmad ibn al-ʿAbbās al-Shāmī say:

      [Aḥmad ibn al-ʿAbbās al-Shāmī:] I left Baghdad to make the pilgrimage. On the way I met a man who bore the stamp...

    • Chapter 18: Allies of God Who Visited Him to Seek His Blessing
      (pp. 266-273)

      We cite Muḥammad ibn Abī Manṣūr, who cites ʿAbd al-Qādir ibn Muḥammad, who cites Ibrāhīm ibn ʿUmar, who cites ʿAlī ibn Mardak, who heard ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn Abī Ḥātim report that he heard Aḥmad’s son Ṣāliḥ report:

      [Ṣāliḥ:] One day I came home and heard that my father had sent for me the day before. When I found him, he said, “There was someone here yesterday I wanted you to meet. It was around noon; I was sitting here and I heard a man at the door. Somehow I felt drawn to him. I got up and opened the door....

    • Chapter 19: His Fame
      (pp. 274-283)

      In the chapter about his childhood, we noted that Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal was highly regarded even as a youth.

      We cite Muḥammad ibn Abī Manṣūr, who was informed by ʿAbd al-Qādir ibn Muḥammad, who was informed by Ibrāhīm ibn ʿUmar, who was informed by ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz ibn Jaʿfar, who heard Abū Bakr Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad ibn Hārūn al-Khallāl report that Abū Bakr al-Marrūdhī said:

      [Al-Marrūdhī:] I once said to Aḥmad, “There are a lot of people praying for you.”

      “That frightens me,” he said. “It could be a temptation to think highly of myself. Why do they do it?”

      I...

    • Chapter 20: His Creed
      (pp. 282-327)

      We cite ʿAbd al-Malik ibn Abī l-Qāsim, who cites ʿAbd Allāh ibn Muḥammad al-Anṣārī, who cites Abū Yaʿqūb, who cites al-Ḥasan ibn Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad al-Shīrāzī, who heard Muḥammad ibn Bakr ibn Muḥammad report that he heard Sulaymān ibn al-Ashʿath report that he heard Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal say:

      [Aḥmad:] Belief consists of what you say and what you do. It can increase or decrease. It is the only source of piety, and disobedience to God lessens it.

      We cite Abū l-Barakāt ibn ʿAlī l-Bazzāz, who cites Aḥmad ibn ʿAlī l-Ṭuraythīthī,182who cites Hibat Allāh ibn al-Ḥasan al-Ṭabarī, who heard Muḥammad...

    • Chapter 21: His Insistence on Maintaining the Practices of the Early Muslims
      (pp. 326-333)

      Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal, God be pleased with him, strove to emulate the practices of the early Muslims to the point that—as we learned from al-Ḥusayn ibn al-Munādī—he asked his wife’s permission to have a concubine in emulation of them. With his wife’s consent, he bought a woman for a trifling price and named her Rayḥānah, following the example set by the Prophet, God bless and keep him.

      We cite ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn Muḥammad al-Qazzāz, who cites Aḥmad ibn ʿAlī ibn Thābit, who cites Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad ibn Yaʿqūb, who cites Muḥammad ibn Nuʿaym al-Ḍabbī, who heard Abū Bakr...

    • Chapter 22: His Reverence for Hadith Transmitters and Adherents of the Sunnah
      (pp. 334-339)

      We cite ʿAbd al-Malik ibn Abī l-Qāsim, who cites ʿAbd Allāh ibn Muḥammad al-Anṣārī, who cites ʿAbd al-Wāḥid ibn Aḥmad, who cites Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd Allāh, who heard Abū l-Ḥusayn Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad al-Ḥanẓalī say that he heard Abū Ismāʿīl Muḥammad ibn Ismāʿīl say:

      [Muḥammad ibn Ismāʿīl:] Aḥmad ibn al-Ḥasan al-Tirmidhī and I were once at Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal’s and al-Tirmidhī said, “Someone mentioned Hadith scholars to Ibn Abī Qutaybah in Mecca and he called them a bad lot.”

      “Heretic!” exclaimed Aḥmad, rising and shaking out his garment. “Heretic! Heretic!” Then he disappeared into his house.

      I heard Mubārak ibn...

    • Chapter 23: His Shunning and Reviling of Innovators and His Forbidding Others to Listen to Them
      (pp. 338-347)

      We cite ʿAbd al-Malik ibn Abī l-Qāsim, who cites ʿAbd Allāh ibn Muḥammad al-Anṣārī, who cites Muḥammad ibn al-Muntaṣir, who cites Abū Bakr ibn Abī l-Faḍl, who heard Abū Isḥāq al-Anṣārī report that he heard Aḥmad’s son Ṣāliḥ say:

      [Ṣāliḥ:] Al-Ḥiẓāmī visited Ibn Abī Duʾād237and then came to call on my father. When my father came out and saw him coming, he shut the door in his face and went back inside.

      We cite Muḥammad ibn ʿUmar al-Faqīh and al-Ḥusayn ibn ʿAlī l-Khayyāṭ, both of whom cite ʿAbd al-Ṣamad ibn al-Maʾmūn, who cites ʿAlī ibn ʿUmar al-Dāraquṭnī, who heard...

    • Chapter 24: His Seeking of Blessings and Cures Using the Qurʾan and Water from the Well of Zamzam, as Well as Some Hair and a Bowl That Belonged to the Prophet
      (pp. 346-349)

      We cite Muḥammad ibn Abī Manṣūr, who cites ʿAbd al-Qādir ibn Muḥammad, who cites Ibrāhīm ibn ʿUmar al-Barmakī, who heard Ibn Mardak report that he heard ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn Abī Ḥātim report that he heard Ṣāliḥ report:

      [Ṣāliḥ:] Whenever I got sick my father would take a cup of water and recite something over it, then tell me to drink some of it and wash my hands and face in it.

      We cite Ismāʿīl ibn Aḥmad and Muḥammad ibn Abī l-Qāsim, both of whom cite Ḥamd ibn Aḥmad, who heard Aḥmad ibn ʿAbd Allāh report that he heard his father...

    • Chapter 25: His Age When He Began Teaching Hadith and Giving Legal Opinions
      (pp. 348-351)

      It is noteworthy that Aḥmad—God be pleased with him—would sometimes give legal opinions even in his youth and would recite Hadith if asked, without being concerned about his age, as we learn from the following report.

      Ismāʿīl ibn Aḥmad and Muḥammad ibn Abī l-Qāsim both cite Ḥamd ibn Aḥmad, who heard Aḥmad ibn ʿAbd Allāh al-Ḥāfiẓ report that he heard Sulaymān ibn Aḥmad report that he heard Mūsā ibn Hārūn report that he heard Nūḥ ibn Ḥabīb al-Qūmisī report:

      [Al-Qūmisī:] In 198 [814], I saw Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal leaning against the minaret at the mosque of al-Khayf.242When...

    • Chapter 26: His Devotion to Learning and the Attitudes That Informed His Teaching
      (pp. 352-355)

      We cite ʿAbd al-Malik ibn Abī l-Qāsim, who heard ʿAbd Allāh ibn Muḥammad al-Anṣārī report that he heard Abū Yaʿqūb al-Ḥāfiẓ report that he heard Abū ʿAlī ibn Abī Bakr al-Marrūdhī report that he heard Abū ʿAbd Allāh Muḥammad ibn al-Ḥasan ibn ʿAlī l-Bukhārī report that he heard Muḥammad ibn Ibrāhīm al-Bushanjī say:

      [Al-Būshanjī:] Once when Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal was dictating for us, a man from Marv named Abū Yaʿqūb asked him about a Hadith. Aḥmad told his son ʿAbd Allāh to go inside and get theBook of Useful Points.244ʿAbd Allāh brought it out and Aḥmad looked through...

    • Chapter 27: His Works
      (pp. 354-357)

      Our exemplar Aḥmad—God be pleased with him—did not believe in writing books. He forbade anyone to write down what he said or to record his replies to legal questions.252Had he believed otherwise, he would have generated many compilations and had many had many writings to his credit. His works are therefore compilations of Hadith reports, such as theAuthenticated Hadith Listed by Transmitter, which contains thirty thousand reports.253

      He used to tell his son ʿAbd Allāh: “Take good care of thatAuthenticated Hadithbecause people will need it.” He also compiled theInterpretation of the Qurʾan, which...

    • Chapter 28: His Aversion to Writing Books Containing Opinions Reached through the Exercise of Independent Judgment at the Expense of Transmitted Knowledge
      (pp. 356-359)

      Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal—may God be pleased with him—deplored the writing of books that drew excessive legal implications and opinions reached through the exercise of independent judgment. What he cherished was firm adherence to transmitted reports.

      We cite ʿAbd al-Malik ibn Abī l-Qāsim, who cites ʿAbd Allāh ibn Muḥammad al-Anṣārī, who cites Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad ibn Sulaymān al-ʿAbdūsī, who cites Abū Bakr Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad ibn ʿAbdūs, who heard his uncle Ibrāhīm ibn ʿAbdūs report that he heard ʿUthmān ibn Saʿīd say:

      [ʿUthmān ibn Saʿīd:] Ibn Ḥanbal once said to me, “Don’t look at ʿUbayd’s books, or whatever Isḥāq,...

    • Chapter 29: His Forbidding Others to Write Down or Transmit His Words
      (pp. 360-363)

      We cite Ismāʿīl ibn Aḥmad al-Samarqandī, who cites ʿUmar ibn ʿUbayd Allāh al-Baqqāl, who cites Abū l-Ḥusayn ibn Bishrān, who cites ʿUthmān ibn Aḥmad al-Daqqāq, who heard Ḥanbal ibn Isḥāq report:

      [Ḥanbal ibn Isḥāq:] I remember that Aḥmad hated to have anyone write down his views or his judgments in matters of law

      We cite Abū Manṣūr ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn Muḥammad, who cites Abū Bakr Aḥmad ibn ʿAlī ibn Thābit, who cites al-Qāḍī Abū Muḥammad al-Ḥasan ibn al-Ḥusayn ibn Rāmīn al-Astarābādhī, who heard Abū Muḥammad ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn Muḥammad ibn Jaʿfar al-Jurjānī report that he heard ʿAbd al-Malik ibn Muḥammad...

    • Chapter 30: His Remarks on Sincerity, on Acting for the Sake of Appearances, and on Concealing One’s Pious Austerities
      (pp. 362-365)

      We cite ʿAbd al-Malik ibn Abī l-Qāsim, who cites ʿAbd Allāh ibn Muḥammad al-Anṣārī, who cites Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd Allāh, who cites Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad, who heard ʿAlī ibn al-Ḥasan ibn Aḥyad al-Balkhī report that he heard ʿAlī ibn al-Faḍl say that he heard Abū Saʿīd al-Bardaʿī say that he heard Ibn al-Sammāk say:

      [Ibn al-Sammāk:] I heard Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal say, “Letting people see your inkwell is showing off.”263

      Al-Anṣārī said, “I think the Ibn al-Sammāk who reported this comment is Muḥammad ibn Bundār al-Sammāk al-Jarjarāʾī, who associated with Aḥmad.”

      We were informed by Muḥammad...

    • Chapter 31: His Statements about Renunciation and Spiritual Weakness
      (pp. 364-375)

      We cite ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn Muḥammad al-Qazzāz, who cites Aḥmad ibn ʿAlī ibn Thābit, who cites Abū ʿUmar al-Ḥasan ibn ʿUthmān al-Wāʿiẓ, who cites Aḥmad ibn Jaʿfar ibn Ḥamdān, who heard al-ʿAbbās ibn Yūsuf al-Shiklī report that he heard Muḥammad ibn Naṣr al-ʿĀbid report:

      [Muḥammad ibn Naṣr al-ʿĀbid:] I heard Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal say, “If you have a chance to do something good, don’t wait!”

      I asked him about going out to fight on the frontiers and he said, “Don’t wait: go!”

      We cite Ismāʿīl ibn Aḥmad and Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd al-Bāqī, who cite Ḥamd ibn Aḥmad, who cites Abū...

    • Chapter 32: His Remarks on Different Subjects
      (pp. 374-381)

      We cite the two Muḥammads, Ibn ʿAbd al-Malik and Ibn Nāṣir, who cite Aḥmad ibn al-Ḥasan al-Muʿaddal, who cites Abū l-Ḥusayn Muḥammad ibn al-Ḥasan al-Ahwāzī, who heard ʿAlī ibn Muḥammad al-Baṣrī; and we cite Ibn Nāṣir, who cites al-Mubārak ibn ʿAbd al-Jabbār, who cites Ibrāhīm ibn ʿUmar, who heard Abū ʿAbd Allāh ibn Baṭṭah report that he heard ʿAbd Allāh ibn Jaʿfar report that he [like ʿAlī ibn Muḥammad al-Baṣrī] heard Abū Yūsuf Yaʿqūb ibn Isḥāq say that he heard Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal say:

      [Abū Yūsuf:] I once heard Aḥmad say, “There are three ways to eat: with friends for...

    • Chapter 33: Poems He Recited or Had Attributed to Him
      (pp. 382-385)

      We cite ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn Muḥammad, who cites Aḥmad ibn ʿAlī ibn Thābit, who cites Abū Nuʿaym al-Ḥāfiẓ, who heard Abū ʿAlī ʿĪsā ibn Muḥammad al-Jurayjī report that he heard Aḥmad ibn Yaḥyā Thaʿlab report:

      [ Thaʿlab:] I wanted to meet Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal, so I went looking for him. When I found him he asked me what my field was. “Grammar and Arabic,” I told him. He then recited:

      You may think yourself unnoticed

      But One on high is watching you

      Never sleeping or forgetting

      Every deed done here below

      Heedless do we let the days pass

      Adding sin...

    • Chapter 34: His Correspondence
      (pp. 386-389)

      We cite Abū Manṣūr al-Qazzāz, who cites Aḥmad ibn ʿAlī ibn Thābit, who cites ʿAlī ibn Muḥammad al-Muʿaddal, who cites Daʿlaj, who heard Abū l-Faḍl Jaʿfar ibn Muḥammad ibn al-Ḥusayn report that he heard Abū Jaʿfar Aḥmad ibn Saʿīd al-Dārimī say:

      [Al-Dārimī:] Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal once addressed a letter to me as follows: “To Abū Jaʿfar—God grace you!—from Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal.”

      We cite Muḥammad ibn Abī Manṣūr, who was informed by Abū l-Qāsim ibn al-Busrī, citing Abū ʿAbd Allāh ibn Baṭṭah, who cites Abū Bakr al-Ājurrī, who cites Abū Naṣr ibn Kurdī, who cites Abū Bakr al-Marrūdhī:

      [Al-Marrūdhī:]...

    • Chapter 35: His Appearance and Bearing
      (pp. 388-395)

      We cite ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn Muḥammad al-Qazzāz, who cites Aḥmad ibn ʿAlī ibn Thābit, who cites ʿAbd al-Ghaffār ibn Muḥammad al-Muʾaddib, who heard ʿUmar ibn Aḥmad al-Wāʿiẓ report that he heard Aḥmad ibn al-ʿAbbās ibn al-Walīd al-Naḥwī say that he heard his father say:

      [Al-Walīd al-Naḥwī:] Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal was a handsome man of medium height. He dyed his hair lightly with henna, leaving some black hairs in his beard. His clothing was coarse but white. When I saw him he was wearing a turban and a breechclout.

      We cite Ismāʿīl ibn Aḥmad and Muḥammad ibn Abī l-Qāsim, who cite...

    • Chapter 36: His Imposing Presence
      (pp. 394-397)

      We cite Muḥammad ibn Abī Manṣūr, who cites ʿAbd al-Qādir ibn Muḥammad, who cites Ibrāhīm ibn ʿUmar al-Barmakī, who heard ʿAlī ibn Mardak report that he heard Abū Muḥammad ibn Abī Ḥātim report that he heard Muḥammad ibn Muslim say:

      [Muḥammad ibn Muslim:] We were too much in awe of Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal to disagree with him or argue with him about anything.

      This was because of how imposing he was, and how intimidating the devotion to Islam he had been blessed with.284

      We cite Muḥammad ibn Nāṣir, who cites ʿAbd al-Qādir ibn Muḥammad, who was informed by Abū Isḥāq...

    • Chapter 37: His Cleanliness and Ritual Purity
      (pp. 398-399)

      We cite Muḥammad ibn Abī Manṣūr, who cites ʿAbd al-Qādir ibn Muḥammad, who cites Ibrāhīm ibn ʿUmar, who cites ʿAlī ibn ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz ibn Mardak, who cites ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn Abī Ḥātim as saying that ʿAbd Allāh ibn Abī ʿUmar al-Bakrī mentioned hearing ʿAbd al-Malik ibn ʿAbd al-Ḥamīd al-Maymūnī say:

      [Al-Maymūnī:] I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone who kept his clothes as clean as Ibn Ḥanbal did, or took such good care of his hair, mustache, and body hair, or anyone whose clothing was as immaculately white as his.

      We cite Ibn Nāṣir, who cites ʿAbd al-Qādir ibn Muḥammad,...

    • Chapter 38: His Kindness and His Consideration for Others
      (pp. 398-415)

      We cite ʿAbd al-Malik ibn Abī l-Qāsim, who cites ʿAbd Allāh ibn Muḥammad al-Anṣārī, who cites Abū Yaʿqūb al-Ḥāfiẓ, who cites Abū ʿAlī ibn Abī Bakr al-Marrūdhī, who heard Abū ʿAbd Allāh Muḥammad ibn al-Ḥasan ibn ʿAlī l-Bukhārī report that he heard Muḥammad ibn Ibrāhīm al-Bushanjī say:

      [Al-Būshanjī:] Of all the people I saw in Aḥmad’s time, I never met anyone as mindful of religion, as careful, as self-controlled, or as abstinent as Aḥmad, nor anyone as learned or as discerning in matters of religion, nor anyone so generous in spirit, so firm of heart, so congenial in company, or...

    • Chapter 39: His Forbearance and His Readiness to Forgive
      (pp. 414-419)

      We cite ʿAbd al-Malik ibn Abī l-Qāsim, who cites ʿAbd Allāh ibn Muḥammad al-Anṣārī, who heard Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad al-Jārūdī report that he heard al-Ḥusayn ibn ʿAlī ibn Jaʿfar report that he heard his father report that he heard Abū ʿAlī l-Ḥusayn ibn ʿAbd Allāh al-Khiraqī report:

      [Al-Khiraqī:] I heard Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal say, “I forgive al-Muʿtaṣim for flogging me.”

      We cite ʿAbd al-Malik, who cites ʿAbd Allāh ibn Muḥammad, who cites Abū Yaʿqūb, who cites Abū Bakr Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd Allāh al-Laʾʾāl (the trader in pearls), who cites Muḥammad ibn Ibrāhīm al-Ṣarrām:

      [Al-Ṣarrām:] I heard Ibrāhīm ibn Isḥāq report...

    • Chapter 40: His Property and Means of Subsistence
      (pp. 418-423)

      Aḥmad—God be pleased with him—inherited from his father some tenements and the house where he lived. He rented out the tenements and lived off the rents, without having to ask anyone for anything.298

      We cite Abū Manṣūr ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn Muḥammad, who cites Aḥmad ibn ʿAlī ibn Thābit, who cites Abū Muḥammad al-Jawharī, who cites Muḥammad ibn al-ʿAbbās, who cites Aḥmad ibn Jaʿfar ibn al-Munādī, who heard his grandfather Muḥammad ibn ʿUbayd Allāh report:

      [Muḥammad ibn ʿUbayd Allāh:] Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal told me, “Every year I survey the house I live in and pay the alms-tax on it,...

    • Chapter 41: His Refusal to Accept Help Even in Distress
      (pp. 424-451)

      We cite Ismāʿīl ibn Aḥmad al-Samarqandī and Muḥammad ibn Abī l-Qāsim al-Baghdādī, who cite Ḥamd ibn Aḥmad al-Iṣbahānī, who heard Aḥmad ibn ʿAbd Allāh al-Ḥāfiẓ report that he heard Mūsā ibn Hārūn report that he heard Isḥāq ibn Rāhawayh say:

      [Isḥāq ibn Rāhawayh:] When Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal made the journey to study with ʿAbd al-Razzāq, he ran out of money, so he hired himself out to a camel driver for the duration of the journey to Sanaa. His companions had offered help, but he refused to accept anything from anyone.

      Sulaymān ibn Aḥmad said that he heard ʿAbd Allāh ibn...

    • Chapter 42: His Generosity
      (pp. 452-457)

      We cite Ismāʿīl ibn Aḥmad and Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd al-Bāqī, who cite Ḥamd ibn Aḥmad, who cites Aḥmad ibn ʿAbd Allāh, who heard his father report that he heard Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad report that he heard Abū Ḥafṣ ʿUmar ibn Ṣāliḥ al-Ṭarasūsī report:

      [Al-Ṭarasūsī:] Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal once dropped a pair of clippers³¹¹ into the well. One of his tenants came along and fished it out. Aḥmad immediately handed him some money—half a dirham, more or less.

      “The clippers aren’t worth more than aqīrāṭ,”³¹² said the man. “I won’t take anything.”

      A few days later, Aḥmad asked him,...

    • Chapter 43: His Accepting Gifts and Giving Gifts in Return
      (pp. 456-459)

      We cite Muḥammad ibn Abī Manṣūr, who was informed by ʿAbd al-Qādir ibn Muḥammad, who cites Ibrāhīm ibn ʿUmar al-Barmakī, who heard ʿAlī ibn ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz report that he cites ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn Abī Ḥātim, who heard Ṣāliḥ report:

      [Ṣāliḥ:] A man whose wife had just had a baby gave my father a footed tray of honey nut pudding. In return my father gave him some sugar worth a good deal of money.

      We cite Ibn Nāṣir, who cites ʿAbd al-Qādir ibn Muḥammad, who was informed by Abū Isḥāq al-Barmakī, who was informed by ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz ibn Jaʿfar, who cites...

    • Chapter 44: His Renunciation
      (pp. 460-469)

      We cite ʿAbd al-Malik ibn Abī l-Qāsim, who cites ʿAbd Allāh ibn Muḥammad al-Anṣārī, who cites Isḥāq ibn Ibrāhīm al-Muʿaddal, who cites ʿAlī ibn Muḥammad al-Razīnī, who cites Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad ibn Yāsīn, who heard Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad ibn al-ʿAlāʾ al-Ṣarrām report that he heard Sulaymān ibn al-Ashʿath say:

      [Ibn al-Ashʿath:] I don’t think I ever heard Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal mention the things of this world.

      We cite ʿAbd al-Malik, who cites ʿAbd Allāh ibn Muḥammad, who cites Abū l-Qāsim ibn Saʿīd, who heard ʿUthmān ibn Aḥmad ibn Jaʿfar report that he heard Muḥammad ibn Makhlad report that he heard...

    • Chapter 45: His House and Furniture
      (pp. 468-473)

      We cite Ismāʿīl ibn Aḥmad and Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd al-Bāqī, who cite Ḥamd ibn Aḥmad, who heard Aḥmad ibn ʿAbd Allāh report that he heard Sulaymān ibn Aḥmad report; and we cite ʿAbd al-Malik ibn Abī l-Qāsim, who cites ʿAbd Allāh ibn Muḥammad al-Anṣārī, who cites Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad ibn Maḥmūd, who cites Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad al-Ḥāfiẓ, who cites al-Qaṭīʿī who [like Sulaymān ibn Aḥmad] heard Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal’s son ʿAbd Allāh report that he heard Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad ibn Bilāl report that he heard ʿAlī ibn al-Madīnī say:

      [ʿAlī ibn al-Madīnī:] When I saw Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal’s house, all...

    • Chapter 46: His Diet
      (pp. 472-477)

      We cite Muḥammad ibn Nāṣir, who cites ʿAbd al-Qādir ibn Muḥammad, who cites Ibrāhīm ibn ʿUmar al-Barmakī, who cites ʿAlī ibn ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz, who heard ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn Abī Ḥātim report that he heard Ṣāliḥ ibn Aḥmad report:

      [Ṣāliḥ:] I remember seeing my father take dry crusts of bread, dust them off, put them in a dish, and pour some water over them to soften them. Then he’d eat them with salt. I never saw him buy pomegranates, quinces, or any other fruit except for melons, which he’d eat with bread, and grapes or dates, but that’s all. Sometimes people...

    • Chapter 47: His Indulgences
      (pp. 476-479)

      We cite Muḥammad ibn Abī Manṣūr, who cites ʿAbd al-Qādir ibn Muḥammad, who cites Ibrāhīm ibn ʿUmar al-Barmakī, who cites ʿAlī ibn ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz ibn Mardak, who heard Abū Muḥammad ibn Abī Ḥātim report that he heard Ṣāliḥ ibn Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal report:

      [Ṣāliḥ:] When my father got sick, he let them take care of him. To keep him warm in winter, they would buy thorn-bush roots and burn them in a narrow coal-pan.

      We were informed by Muḥammad ibn Nāṣir, who cites al-Mubārak ibn ʿAbd al-Jabbār, who cites ʿUbayd Allāh ibn ʿUmar ibn Shāhīn, who heard his father report...

    • Chapter 48: His Clothing
      (pp. 478-485)

      We cite Muḥammad ibn Abī Manṣūr, who cites ʿAbd al-Qādir ibn Muḥammad, who cites Abū Isḥāq al-Barmakī, who cites ʿAlī ibn ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz, who cites Ibn Abī Ḥātim, who mentioned that ʿAbd Allāh ibn Abī ʿUmar al-Bakrī heard ʿAbd al-Malik ibn ʿAbd al-Ḥamīd al-Maymūnī say:

      [Al-Maymūnī:] Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal wore garments of a medium length.345His outermost garment346was worth fifteen dirhams, while his tunic347was of the sort that could be bought for about a dinar. The tunic was neither too fine nor too coarse. His outermost garment was fringed.

      We cite Ibn Nāṣir, who cites ʿAbd al-Qādir ibn...

    • Chapter 49: His Scrupulosity
      (pp. 484-507)

      We cite ʿAbd al-Malik ibn Abī l-Qāsim al-Karūkhī, who cites ʿAbd Allāh ibn Muḥammad al-Anṣārī, who cites Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad al-Jārūdī, citing Abū Zurʿah Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhāb, or the other way round, who cites Abū Dharr Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad al-Bāghundī, who heard al-Dūrī report:

      [Al-Dūrī:] When Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal wrote me a letter of introduction to some Hadith transmitters in Basra, he called me simply “someone seeking Hadith.”

      We cite ʿAbd al-Malik, who cites ʿAbd Allāh, who cites Abū Yaʿqūb, who cites his grandfather, who cites Abū l-Faḍl ibn Abī Jaʿfar al-Mundhirī, who heard Muḥammad ibn Ibrāhīm...

    • Chapter 50: His Shunning Appointment to Positions of Authority
      (pp. 506-511)

      We cite Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd al-Bāqī, who was informed by Muḥammad ibn Abī Naṣr, who cites Abū ʿAlī Ismāʿīl ibn Aḥmad ibn al-Ḥusayn, who heard his father report that he heard Abū ʿAbd Allāh Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd Allāh al-Ḥāfiẓ, who cites Naṣr ibn Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad, who cites Muḥammad ibn ʿAmr al-Baṣrī, who heard Muḥammad ibn Ibrāhīm ibn ʿĀṣim, who cites Abū Bakr Muḥammad ibn Yaḥyā, the servant of Abū Ibrāhīm al-Muzanī, who heard al-Muzanī report:

      [Al-Muzanī:] Al-Shafiʿī said that he went to see Hārūn al-Rashīd and, after greeting him, said that he had just come from Yemen, which badly...

  7. Notes
    (pp. 512-539)
  8. Glossary of Names and Terms
    (pp. 540-547)
  9. Index
    (pp. 548-559)
  10. About the NYU Abu Dhabi Institute
    (pp. 560-560)
  11. About the Typefaces
    (pp. 561-561)
  12. About the Editor–Translator
    (pp. 562-562)