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Born1329 CE
Died1414 (aged 84–85)
RegionMiddle East
Main interest(s)Lexicography, Arabic grammar, Philology, Arabic literature, Poet
Notable work(s)Al-Qamus al-Muhit
OccupationLexicographer ,Grammarian, Scholar
Muslim leader
Folio from a 16th-century manuscript of the Al-Qāmus al-Muḥīṭ Khalili Collection of Hajj and the Arts of Pilgrimage.

Abu ’l-Ṭāhir Muḥammad b. YaʿḲūb b. Muḥammad b. Ibrāhīm Mad̲j̲d al-Di̊n al-S̲h̲āfiʿī al-S̲h̲īrāzī (Persian: فیروزآبادی) also known as al-Fayrūzabādī (Arabic: الفيروزآبادي (1329–1414) was a grammarian and a leading lexicographer in his time.[3][4] He was the compiler of al-Qamous (القاموس), a comprehensive and, for nearly five centuries, one of the most widely used Arabic dictionaries.[5]


He was Abū al-Ṭāhir Majīd al-Dīn Muḥammad ibn Ya'qūb ibn Muḥammad ibn Ibrāhīm al-Shīrāzī al-Fīrūzābādī (أبو طاهر مجيد الدين محمد بن يعقوب بن محمد بن إبراهيم الشيرازي الفيروزآبادي), known simply as Muḥammad ibn Ya'qūb al-Fīrūzābādī (محمد بن يعقوب الفيروزآبادي).[6] His nisbas "al-Shīrāzī" and "al-Fīrūzābādī" refer to the cities of Shiraz (located near Kazerun, his place of birth) and Firuzabad (his father's hometown) in Fars, Persia, respectively.[1]


Firuzabadi, was of Persian[7][8][9] origin, and was born in Kazerun, Fars, Persia, and educated in Shiraz, Wasit, Baghdad and Damascus. He spent ten years in Jerusalem[10] before travelling in Western Asia and Egypt,[5] and settling in 1368, in Mecca for almost three decades. From Mecca he visited Delhi in the 1380s. He left Mecca in the mid-1390s and returned to Baghdad, then Shiraz (where he was received by Timur) and finally travelled on to Ta'izz[5] in Yemen. In 1395, he was appointed chief qadi (judge) of Yemen[5] by Al-Ashraf Umar II, who had summoned him from India a few years before to teach in his capital. Al-Ashraf's marriage to a daughter of Firūzābādī added to Firuzabadi's prestige and power in the royal court.[11] In his latter years, Firūzābādī converted his house at Mecca, and appointed three teachers, to a school of Maliki law.[5]


Al-Firuzabadi was the final authority in lexicographical history to cite his sources for each factual information he documented. There are around fifty references to the earlier lexicographical works in this collection. Al-Firuzabadi was so troubled by the requirements for a valid entry that he went so far as to enumerate the line of transmission from himself to Ibn Hajar, who obtained it verbally from al-Firuzabadi.[12]

Long after his passing, al-Firuzabadi's significant contribution to the evolution of lexicography in Egypt persisted. This was particularly the case for Hadith scholars in later times. But he wasn't by himself. Al-Sabban, who trained under al-Firuzabadi, likewise blended philological research with hadith study. Fakhr al-Din b. Muhammad Tuwayh was another writer who worked in lexicography and hadith during al-Firuzabadi's time. He wrote "Mama' al-Bahrayn wa Malta' al-Nitrayn," which was written to address the ambiguities in the Qur'an and Hadith.[12]

Sufism and relations with Ibn Arabi[edit]

Firuzabadi composed several poems lauding Ibn Arabi for his writings, including the وما علي إن قلت معتقدي دع الجهول يظن العدل عدوانا. Ibn Arabi's works inspired Firūzābādī's intense interest in Sufism.

Selected works[edit]

  • Muhammad ibn al-Yaqub, Firuzabadi. Qamus al-Muhit. Resalah Publishing. p. 1536. ISBN 978-9-933-44666-6.("The Surrounding Ocean"); his principal literary legacy is this voluminous dictionary, which amalgamates and supplements two great dictionaries; Al-Muhkam by Ibn Sida (d. 1066) and Al-ʿUbab (العباب الزاخر واللباب الفاخر) by al-Saghānī (d. 1252).[6][13] Al-Saghānī's dictionary had itself supplemented the seminal medieval Arabic dictionary of Al-Jawharī (d. ca. 1008), titled al-Sihah. Firūzābādī also produced a concise simplified edition using a terse notation system and omitting grammatical examples of usage and some rarer definitions.[13] The larger-print-two-volume concise dictionary proved much more popular than the vast Lisan al-Arab dictionary of Ibn Manzur (d. 1312) with its numerous quotations and usage examples.
  • Al-Bulghah fī tārīkh a'immat al-lughah (البلغة في تراجم أئمة النحو واللغة) (Damascus 1972, in Arabic).[14]


  1. ^ a b Fleisch, H. (1965). "al-Fīrūzābādī". In Lewis, B.; Pellat, Ch. & Schacht, J. (eds.). The Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition. Volume II: C–G. Leiden: E. J. Brill. OCLC 495469475.
  2. ^ "Ahl al-Sunna: The Ash'aris - The Testimony and Proofs of the Scholars". (in Arabic). Archived from the original on 28 January 2021.
  3. ^ Tottoli, Roberto (18 June 2018). The Wiley Blackwell History of Islam. Wiley. p. 624. ISBN 9780470657546.
  4. ^ Chejne, Anwar G. (1968). The Arabic Language - Its Role in History. University of Minnesota Press. p. 47. ISBN 9780816657254.
  5. ^ a b c d e Thatcher, Griffithes Wheeler (1911). "Fairūzābādī" . In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 10 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 133–134.
  6. ^ a b The Biographical Encyclopedia of Islamic Philosophy, edited by Oliver Leaman, year 2006, biographical entry for Al-Firuzabadi.
  7. ^ Hamilton, Alastair (2022). Arabs and Arabists: Selected Articles. Brill. p. 253.
  8. ^ Baalbaki, Ramzi (2014). The Arabic Lexicographical Tradition: From the 2nd/8th to the 12th/18th Century. Brill. p. 391.
  9. ^ Versteegh, Kees (1997). Landmarks in Linguistic Thought III: The Arabic Linguistic Tradition. Psychology Press. p. 33.
  10. ^ "Firuzabadi's al-Qamus al-Muhit", in The Khalili Collections
  11. ^ Introduction of Bassair Dhawi Tamyeez
  12. ^ a b Gran, Peter (July 1998). Islamic Roots of Capitalism Egypt, 1760-1840. Syracuse University Press. p. 65. ISBN 9780815605065.
  13. ^ a b Arabic Lexicography: Its History, and Its Place in the General History of Lexicography, by John Haywood, year 1965, pages 83 - 88.
  14. ^ Fīrūzābādī, Muḥammad ibn Yaʻqūb (2000) [1972]. Bulgha fi ta'rīkh a'immat al-lugha (in Arabic). Dimashq: Wizārat al-Thaqāfah; Dār Sa’d al-Dīn. p. 362.

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