Shams ad-Dīn adh-Dhahabī (شمس الدين الذهبي), also known as Shams ad-Dīn Abū ʿAbdillāh Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad ibn ʿUthmān ibn Qāymāẓ ibn ʿAbdillāh at-Turkumānī al-Fāriqī ad-Dimashqī (5 October 1274 – 3 February 1348[3]) was an Islamic historian and Hadith expert.

Born5 October 1274
Died3 February 1348 (aged 73)
EraMedieval Era (Middle Ages)
Main interest(s)History, Fiqh, Hadith
Muslim leader


Of Arab descent,[4] Adh-Dhahabi was born in Damascus. His name, ibn adh-Dhahabi (son of the goldsmith), reveals his father's profession. He began his study of hadith at age eighteen, travelling from Damascus to Baalbek, Homs, Hama, Aleppo, Nabulus, Cairo, Alexandria, Jerusalem, Hijaz, and elsewhere, before returning to Damascus to teach and write. He authored many works and was widely renown as a perspicuous critic and expert examiner of the hadith. He wrote an encyclopaedic biographical history and was the foremost authority on the canonical readings of the Qur'an. Some of his teachers were women.[5] At Baalbek, Zaynab bint ʿUmar b. al-Kindī was among his most influential teachers.[6]

Adh-Dhahabi lost his sight two years before he died, leaving three children: the eldest, his daughter, Amat al-'Aziz, and his two sons, 'Abd Allah and Abu Hurayra 'Abd al-Rahman. The latter son taught the hadith masters Ibn Nasir-ud-din al-Damishqi[7] and Ibn Hajar, and through them transmitted several works authored or narrated by his father.


Among adh-Dhahabi's most notable teachers in hadith, fiqh and aqida:

  • Abd al-Khaliq bin ʿUlwān
  • Zaynab bint ʿUmar bin al-Kindī
  • Abu al-Hasan 'Ali ibn Mas‘ud ibn Nafis al-Musali
  • Ibn Taymiyyah Taqi ad-Din Ahmad ibn Taymiyyah
  • Ibn al-Zahiri, Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn 'Abd Allah al-Halabi
  • Sharaf-ud-din Abd al-Mu'min ibn Khalaf al-Dimyati, the foremost Egyptian authority on hadith in his time
  • Ibn Daqiq al-'Id, whom he identified in his youth as Abu al-Fath al-Qushayri, later as Ibn Wahb.[8]
  • Jamal-ud-din Abu al-Ma`ali Muhammad ibn 'Ali al-Ansari al-Zamalkani al-Damishqi al-Shafi`i (d. 727), whom he called "Qadi al-Qudat, the Paragon of Islam, the standard-bearer of the Sunna, my shaykh".
  • Ahmad ibn Ishaq ibn Muhammad al-Abarquhi al-Misri (d. 701), from which al-Dhahabi received the Suhrawardi Sufi path.[9]
  • Ibn al-Kharrat al-Dawalibi

Notable studentsEdit


Adh-Dhahabi authored nearly a hundred works of history, biography and theology. His history of medicine begins with Ancient Greek and Indian practices and practitioners, such as Hippocrates, Galen, etc., through the Pre-Islamic Arabian era, to Prophetic medicine — as revealed by the Muslim prophet Muhammad— to the medical knowledge contained in works of scholars such as Ibn Sina.[11] The following are the better known titles:

The most famous book of Imam Ad-Dhahabi
  • al-'Uluww
  • al-Mowqizah
  • Al-'Ibar fī khabar man ghabar (العبر في خبر من غبر ويليه ذيول العبر)[16]
  • Tadhhib Tahdhib al-Kamal; abridgement of al-Mizzi's abridgement of al-Maqdisi's Al-Kamal fi Asma' al-Rijal, a biographical compendium of hadith narrators from the Six major Hadith collections.
  • Al-Kashif fi Ma`rifa Man Lahu Riwaya fi al-Kutub al-Sitta; abridgment of the Tadhhib.
  • Al-Mujarrad fi Asma' Rijal al-Kutub al-Sitta; abridgment of the Kashif.
  • Mukhtasar Kitab al-Wahm wa al-Iham li Ibn al-Qattan.
  • Mukhtasar Sunan al-Bayhaqi; selected edition of Bayhaqi's Sunan al-Kubara.
  • Mukhtasar al-Mustadrak li al-Hakim, an abridgement of Hakim's Al-Mustadrak alaa al-Sahihain.
  • Al-Amsar Dhawat al-Athar (Cities Rich in Historical Relics); begins with a description of Madina al-Munawwara.
  • Al-Tajrid fi Asma' al-Sahaba; dictionary of the Companions of the prophet Muhammad.
  •   Tadhkirat al-huffaz. (The Memorial of the Hadith Masters); chronological history of the biography of hadith masters. Ibn Hajar received it from Abu Hurayra ibn adh-Dhahabi.[17]
  • Tabaqat al-Qurra (Categories of the Qur'anic Scholars); Biographic anthology.
  • Al-Mu`in fi Tabaqat al-Muhaddithin, a compendium of hadith scholars (Muhaddithin).
  • Duwal al-Islam (The Islamic Nations); concise political histories of Islamic nations.
  • Al-Kaba'ir (Cardinal Sins)
  • Manaaqib Al-imam Abu Hanifa wa saahibayhi Abu Yusuf wa Muhammad Ibn al-Hasan (The Honoured status of Imam Abu Hanifa and his two companions, Abu Yusuf and Muhammad ibn Al-Hasan)
  • Mizaan-ul-I’tidaal, a reworking of al-Kamil fi Dhu'afa' al-Rijal by Ibn 'Adi al-Jurjani (d. 277 H)[18]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Halverson, Jeffry R. (2010). Theology and Creed in Sunni Islam. Pelgrave Macmillan. p. 43. ISBN 9781137473578.
  2. ^ Spevack, Aaron (2014). The Archetypal Sunni Scholar: Law, Theology, and Mysticism in the Synthesis of Al-Bajuri. State University of New York Press. p. 169. ISBN 978-1-4384-5370-5.
  3. ^ Hoberman, Barry (September–October 1982). "The Battle of Talas", Saudi Aramco World, p. 26-31. Indiana University.
  4. ^ "Al-Ḏh̲ahabī". 24 April 2012.
  5. ^ The Female Teachers of the Historian of Islam: al-Ḏh̲ahabī (PDF)
  6. ^ " al-Ḏh̲ahabī." Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition. Brill Online , 2012. Reference. Princeton University Library. 09 June 2012, 24 April 2012
  7. ^ al-Sakhawi, al-Daw' al-Lami` (8:103).
  8. ^ Cf. al-'Uluw (Abu al-Fath) and al-Muqiza (Ibn Wahb).
  9. ^ Siyar A`lam al-Nubala [SAN] (17:118–119 #6084, 16:300–302 #5655).
  10. ^ Fozia Bora, Writing History in the Medieval Islamic World: The Value of Chronicles as Archives, The Early and Medieval Islamic World (London: I. B. Tauris, 2019), p. 38; ISBN 978-1-7845-3730-2.
  11. ^ Emilie Savage-Smith, "Medicine." Taken from Encyclopedia of the History of Arabic Science, Volume 3: Technology, Alchemy and Life Sciences, pg. 928. Ed. Roshdi Rashed. London: Routledge, 1996. ISBN 0415124123
  12. ^ Ibn Hajar, al-Mu`jam (p.400 #1773)
  13. ^ Maxim Romanov, "Observations of a Medieval Quantitative Historian?" in Der Islam, Volume 94, Issue 2, Page 464
  14. ^ Dhahabī, Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad (2003). Tārīkh al-Islām (in Arabic). Vol. 17. Beirut: Dar al-Garb al-Islami.
  15. ^ Dhahabī, Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad (1984). Sīr al-a'lām al-nublā' (in Arabic). Vol. 25. Beirut.
  16. ^ Dhahabī, Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad (1985). Al-'Ibar (in Arabic). Vol. 5.
  17. ^ Ibn Hajar, al-Mu`jam (p. 400 #1774).
  18. ^ al-Dhahabi, Siyar A`lam al-Nubala' (16:154)