This book is a critical edition and translation of the medieval local history of Balkh, known as Faḍāʾil-i Balkh ("The Merits of Balkh"), which was completed in 610 Hijrī (1214 CE) in Arabic by Shaykh al-Islām Abū Bakr ʿAbd Allāh al-Wāʿiẓ and translated into Persian by ʿAbd Allāh al-Ḥusaynī in 676 Hijri (1278 CE). It is the Persian version which survives today and forms the source text for this book.
Balkh is one of the most illustrious cities of the Islamicate East, and yet we know very little about life in the city during the first five centuries of Islam (8th-13th centuries CE). The Faḍāʾil-i Balkh, the oldest surviving local history of Balkh, changes that. You can find out more about the book on the Oxbow Books website, and register for the book launch here.
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Introduction – This new Faḍāʾil-i Balkh publication and its contribution to book history
Sarah Savant (Aga Khan University, London)
Respondent – This new Faḍāʾil-i Balkh publication and its contribution to city/regional history and historiography
Jürgen Paul (Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures, Hamburg)
Comment – This first-time translation of Faḍāʾil-i Balkh and our new commentary: challenges and contributions to Islamic history (thanks to Gibb Memorial Trust for its trust and support)
Arezou Azad (University of Oxford)
Comment – (1) Behind the scenes of this new edition and translation and translation of Faḍāʾil-i Balkh; (2) Why was a Persian translation of Faḍāʾil-i Balkh made at a time when Balkh was in ruins after the Mongol conquest?
Edmund Herzig (University of Oxford)