al-Azdi Manuscripts and Copies in Print Open this page in a new tab

Mourad (2000:578) discussed manuscripts and copies in print
The two surviving manuscripts of Azdi's Futuh al-sham are now in the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, nos. Arabe 1664 and 1665. They comprise 82 and 149 folios, respectively. The first manuscript was copied in Jerusalem on 22 Dhu al-Hijja 613 (21 April 1217) by a Muhammad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghassani.6 The second, which is clearer than the first, was copied on 1 Dhu al-Qa'da 764 (12 August 1363).7 Arabe 1664 refers to Azdi's text under the title Kitab mukhtasar futuh al-sham li-l-Waqidi (Synopsis of the Conquests of Syria by Waqidi) by Abu Isma'il Muhammad ibn 'Abd Allah al-Azdi al-Basri. But this title does not appear in the other manuscript, and it seems that it was added later by one of the owners of that manuscript.

Azdi's Futuh al-sham also exists today in two editions. The first was published in Calcutta in 1854 by William N. Lees, who edited the work, with the title Kitab futuh al-Sham, on the basis of one slightly damaged manuscript found in India. A few pages at the beginning of that manuscript are missing or badly worm-eaten,8 as are another three pages in the body of the text, and few pages at the end of it.9 The second edition was published in Cairo in 1970 by 'Abd al-Mun'im 'Amir. 'Amir, not aware of the presence of the two manuscripts at the Bibliotheque Nationale, claimed to have found another manuscript in Damascus in a private library and to have based his new edition, entitled Ta'rikh futuh al-sham, on it.10 'Amir described the manuscript he found as complete, compared to the incomplete one Lees had published.11 However, by comparing both editions, it is clear that 'Amir copied Lees' text, concocting a few additions to make it appear different and more complete.12 Apparently, neither of the two manuscripts at the Bibliotheque Nationale seems to have been the one used by Lees, because they both contain the folios that are missing from his edition. In this study, Lees' edition is used as a base, and the other two manuscripts are referred to only when necessary.


6 Azdi, Futuh al-sham (MS. Arabe 1664 in the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris), f. 83a(5-8). Henceforth, Azdi (M1).

7 Azdi, Futuh al-sham (MS. Arabe 1665 in the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris), f. 149a(5-8). Henceforth, Azdi (M2).

8 The worm-eaten part at the beginning of the text is reproduced by Lees at the end: see Kitab futuh al-sham, ed. William N. Lees (Calcutta, 1854), appendix, 1-3. Henceforth, Lees.

9 About the condition of the manuscript which Lees used, see Lees, preface, v-vii; and for the three missing pages in the body of the text, see Lees, 90 (n. 2), 120 (n. 2), 178 (n. 2).

10 Azdi, Ta'rikh futuh al-sham, ed. 'Abd al-Mun'im 'Amir (Cairo, 1970). Henceforth, 'Amir.

11 About the manuscript 'Amir claimed to have found, see his introduction, 1-m.

12 After comparing both edited texts, I found them nearly identical in almost every respect. Both begin and end in the same manner; and curiously, the worm-eaten parts are in most cases identical in both texts. 'Amir also borrowed the footnotes and comments of Lees without acknowledgment. The differences, however, are mainly verbal; in a few instances lines or chains of authorities either are dropped from or added to 'Amir's edition. 'Amir neglected to refer to the missing folios of Azdi's manuscript, and interestingly enough, by comparing the mysterious additions that he makes in lieu of these missing folios with the respective passages in the two manuscripts of the Bibliotheque Nationale, it is obvious that they do not match: compare 'Amir, 102(4)-103(12) to Azdi (M1), 28b(12)-29a(9) and Azdi (M2), 52a( 1)-53a(8); 'Amir, 137(2-8) to Azdi (M1), 38b(16)-39a(15) and Azdi (M2), 69b(l)-70a(10). Moreover, the addition in 'Amir, 257(13)-259(6), does not figure, on the one hand, in either of the two manuscripts and, on the other hand, is not even in accord with the preceding section in his edition. Thus it is clear that 'Amir copied the text of Lees. For general comments on 'Amir's edition, see Akram D. al-'Umari, Dirasat tarikhiyya (Medina, 1981), 70-71, 76-79; Conrad, 29-32.