ABU’L-FOTŪḤ EṢFAHĀNĪ, ASʿAD B. ABI’L-FAŻĀʾEL MAḤMŪD B. ḴALAF AL-ʿEJLĪ, known also by his laqab Montaǰab-al-dīn (or in some sources Montaḵab-al-dīn), a well-known Shafeʿite scholar and traditionist. Abu’l-Fotūḥ was born in Isfahan in 514/1120 or 515/1121, and studied traditions there with a number of leading scholars, including Omm Ebrāhīm Fāṭema, daughter of ʿAbdallāh Jūzdānīya. Known for his piety and temperance, he refused to consume anything he had not earned by his own hand, and so supported himself by copying books and selling them. In 557/1161-62 he went to Baghdad to continue his studies in Hadith. The length of his stay in the capital is not known, but it was long enough to acquire the ejāza (license) of several Shafeʿite scholars of note. When he returned to Isfahan, Abu’l-Fotūḥ enlarged his reputation for skillful application of the law; his biographers report that his legal decisions were greatly relied upon in that important center of Shafeʿite learning. He died in Isfahan in 600/1203.
A number of works are attributed to Abu’l-Fotūḥ, although none appears to have survived. He wrote a Šarḥ moškelāt al-Waǰīz wa’l-Wasīṭ le’l-Ḡazālī, a commentary on ambiguous points of law in Ḡazālī’s two works; and Tatemmat al-tatemma, on a work by Abū Saʿd Motawallī. Ebn al-ʿEmād mentions a third work, Āfāt al-woʿʿāẓ, composed toward the end of his life, shortly after he decided to give up his activities as a preacher. Abu’l-Fotūḥ’s nesba, ʿEǰlī, refers to a large and well-known division of the Iranian branch of the Banū Rabīʿa.
Bibliography : Ebn al-ʿEmād, Šaḏarāt al-ḏahab, Cairo, 1350/1931, IV, p. 344. Ebn Ḵallekān (Beirut), I, pp. 208-09 (no. 90). Sobkī, Ṭabaqāt V, p. 50. Monḏerī, al-Takmela le-wafayāt al-naqala, ed. B. ʿA. Maʿrūf, Baghdad, 1388/1968, III, pp. 10-12.
(J. A. Wakin)
Originally Published: December 15, 1983
Last Updated: July 21, 2011
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Vol. I, Fasc. 3, pp. 291-292