An Analysis of Muḥammad ibn ʿAlī al-Tahānawī’s Approach in "Kashshāf iṣṭilāḥāt al-funūn" – The entry of "huwiyya"

  • Ismail Lala


The erudite Indo-Ḥanafī lexicologist, Muḥammad ibn ʿAlī ibn al-Qāḍī Muḥammad Ḥāmid ibn Muḥammad ibn Ṣābir al-Fārūqī al-Tahānawī (d. 1158/ 1745?), has hitherto been largely overlooked in Western scholarship. This, despite his lexical magnum opus, Kashshāf iṣṭilāḥāt al-funūn wa’l-ʿulūm al-islāmiyya, being widely used by scholars in fields from philosophy to astronomy, and from metaphysics to mathematics. The present study inspects the modus operandi of this enigmatic lexicologist by taking a detailed entry, that of huwiyya, as a case study to excavate the approach and techniques used by the author to compile his work: What were his objectives? And how does he achieve them? Who were his audience? And how does he cater for them? These, and other, questions will be considered through the window of this entry.

Keywords: Al-Tahānawī, Kashshāf iṣṭilāḥāt al-funūn, huwiyya, Arabic lexicography.