The famous Islamic historian and bibliographer, Ibn an-Nadeem
Compiled By: Syed Ali Shahbaz
On 20th of the Islamic month of Sha’ban in 385 AH, the famous Islamic historian and bibliographer, Mohammad bin Is'haq Ibn an-Nadeem, passed away. He was a follower of the Prophet's Ahl al-Bayt and the author of the famous encyclopedic work "al-Fehrist".
In his own words, this work is "an Index of the books of all nations, Arabs and non-Arabs alike, which are extant in the Arabic language and script, on every branch of knowledge; comprising information as to their compilers and the classes of their authors, together with the genealogies of those persons, the dates of their birth, the length of their lives, the times of their death, the places to which they belonged, their merits and their faults, since the beginning of every science that has been invented down to the present epoch: namely, the year 377 of the Hijra." Ibn an-Nadeem's choice of the rather rare Persian word "pehrest" (Arabicized as fehrest/fehres) for the title of his masterpiece on Arabic literature is noteworthy.
This work is ample testimony to his knowledge of pre-Islamic, Syriac, Greek, Sanskrit, Latin and Persian books. He gives the titles only of those books which he had seen himself or whose existence was confirmed by a trustworthy person.