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An excerpt from a leaf of the newly discovered manuscript of “Fath al-bari” at the Suleymaniye Library in Istanbul.

Early Drafts of a Classic Work of Islamic Thought Discovered

June 08, 2017

GW Assistant Professor of History Joel Blecher recently discovered the new manuscripts of two previously unknown versions of “Fath al-Bari,” a classic work that shaped the way Sunni Muslims understand Muhammad’s sayings and practices. Dr. Blecher visited the Suleymaniye Library in Istanbul in 2014 to examine a database of digitized manuscripts that can only be accessed in person, with the goal of learning more about how medieval Muslims interpreted Muhammad’s sayings and practices, called hadith. The manuscripts reveal how medieval Islamic scholars drafted and revised their understanding of Muhammad’s teachings to the early Muslim community.