Article 4: The authors of Al-Jalalayn

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Jalal ud-Din Al-Mahalli

Jalal ud-Din Abu `Abdullah Muhammad ibn Shihab ud-Din Ahmad ibn Kamal ud-Din Muhammad ibn Ibrahim ibn Ahmad ibn Hashim Al-Abbasi Al-Ansari Al-Mahalli. 1

Born in the city of Cairo in Egypt, he memorised the Qur'an at an early age and started committing small texts to memory in preparation for entrance into seminary and finishing school in later life.

Al-Mahalli studied from a galaxy of more than 23 world renowned teachers, the most famous stars in some of those constellations being Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani, 2 Shams ud-Din Muhammad Al-Jazari 3 and Jalal ud-Din Al-Balqini. 4

Being in Cairo during this pivotal time, he was part of the aforementioned 'Great Simplification Project' and contributed greatly. The greatest contributions of this scholar were to hadith, theology, philosophical studies and tafsir. He was also briefly a teacher to Jalal ud-Din As-Suyuti, who would go on to become one of the shining stars on the horizon.

He died in old age after a lifetime of service and teaching and was buried in the city of Cairo.

Jalal ud-Din As-Suyuti

He is Jalal ud-Din `Abdur-Rahman ibn Al-Kamal ibn Muhammad ibn Sabiq ud-Din ibn Al-Fakhr `Uthman ibn Nazir ud-Din Muhammad ibn Saif ud-Din Khidr ibn Najm ud-Din Abus-Salah Ayyub ibn Nasir ud-Din Muhammad ibn Humam ud-Din Al-Khudairi As-Suyuti. 5

Born in Upper Egypt's famous town of Asyut, he was orphaned not long after and memorised the Qur'an at 8 years of age. He then made his way to Cairo and entered a fast track programme for scholars in the field of math, theology and hadith studies. His greatest teacher was Sharaf ud-Din Al-Munawi, 6 the grand commentator, mathematician and hadith master.

Upon reaching his twenties, he was now engaged in writing books, teaching and involved in a systemisation movement at the time. Al-Azhar, the chief Sunni institution of North Africa and one of the top three of the Muslim world, had started a simplification drive in all the sciences and required books to be written that were fit for task.

As-Suyuti and others willingly obliged and his 723 text written legacy lent a great hand to the endeavour. 7 At one point, As-Suyuti was Shaikh ul-Azhar but stepped away from it to focus more on his writing career.

Most of his written legacy has been published and in the field of tafsir, he left a great imprint. The first was a large tafsir Ad-Durr ul-Manthur was an inclusive, detailed and powerful addition to inclusionist tafsir lovers but he also wrote a simplified, smaller work known as Al-Jalalayn.

This was to be part of the great simplification project headed by Al-Azhar and it became popular in its own time. As-Suyuti breathed his last and was buried in Cairo, the city he had adopted that loved him and he loved it.

Their combined work tafsir Al-Jalalayn is a very quick, easy desktop reference that is authoritative, easy to grasp and devoid of much of the heavy theological overtones and quotations that preceded it in the tafsir literature.

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