A Scholar’s Journey from Timurid Khorasan to Mehmed I’s Bursa: A New Version of the Introduction of Haydar al-Harawı’s Sharh al-Kashshaf and the Construction of al-Harawı’s Biography from the Two Versions of the Introduction


Ḥaydar al-Harawī (d. 825/after 1427) was a significant scholar from Khorasan who migrated to the Ottoman lands. A distinguished student of al-Taftazanī, he earned high regard from Mehmed I and received patronage from him. al-Harawī dedicated his commentary on al-Zamakhsharī’s al-Kashshāf to Mehmed I with exaggerated expressions of praise and provided significant details about his biography in the introduction of the work. After spending many years in Ottoman lands, al-Harawī established contact with Shahrukh, the son of Timur. He rewrote the introduction of Sharḥ al-Kashshāf and dedicated the work to Shahrukh. This new patronage relationship is evident in the second version of the introduction, where not only the dedication part but also the content was rearranged concerning the new patron’s identity. Important biographical details not found in the first version are included in the second version, making it a crucial source for al-Harawī’s biography. This article brings the second version of the introduction to light for the first time, constructing al-Harawī’s biography by compiling information from both versions. While no specific dates are provided in either version, the duration of al-Harawi’s stay in certain cities is mentioned. Gaps in the narrative were filled based on historical events, allowing for accurate dating of approximately forty years of al-Harawī’s life, from Sarakhs through Shiraz, Tabriz, Shirvan, Bursa, Edirne, and back to Khorasan. This comprehensive overview sheds light on the relationship between scholars and rulers, the influence of political developments on scholarly life, and the intellectual world of a scholar dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge.


Ḥaydar al-Harawī al-Taftāzānī Mehmed I Timur Shahrukh Sharḥ al-Kashshāf