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A landmark of hadith scholarship: rare first English edition of a noted Sunni text, printed in Calcutta

KHATIB AL-TIBRIZI, Muhammad ibn ’Abd Allah (Arnold N. Matthews, trans.).
Mishcàt-ul-Masábìh, or, A collection of the most authentic traditions, regarding the actions and sayings of Múhammed; exhibiting the origin of the manners and customs, the civil, religious and military policy of the Muslemàns.
Calcutta, T. Hubbard at the Hindoostanee Press. 1809-1810. 2 volumes. Small folio (23.5 x 31 cm). Contemporary sheepskin, flat spines with red morocco labels. [6], IX, [1], VI, 665, [1]; [2], VI, 817, [13] pp.
€ 15,000
The Mishcàt-ul-Masábìh (niche for lamps) by al-Khatib al-Tabrizi (also known as Wali al-Din, d. 741 AH or 1340/41 CE), a revised and expanded version of the Masábìh al-Sunnah by al-Baghawi, adding approximately 1500 hadith (short non-Quranic texts by or approved by Muhammad). This important Sunni text was first translated into English by Capt. Matthews of the Bengal Artillery. Although some of the original hadith are not included and others incorrectly translated, this attempt to publish a translation from the Arabic was a noted accomplishment for its time. The list of subscribers accounts for 122 copies, with an additional 100 copies noted as being published on order of the Governor General in Council for the Honourable Company. A statement in a 1848 issue of the Journal of Sacred Literature suggests that most copies of the work were destroyed at sea, yet it was still advertised for sale in 1817 in the Literary panorama (at the price of £4.4s).
Some browning throughout, more pronounced in endpapers, a short tear in the foot of vol. 1, not affecting the text, but still in good condition. A rare Calcutta imprint, bound in India. WorldCat 15466515.
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