TADWIN, AL-, brief popular title of Ketāb al-tadwin fi ḏekr ahl al-ʿelm be-Qazvin, a local biographical dictionary of Qazvin in Arabic compiled by ʿAbd-al-Karim b. Moḥammad Rāfeʿi Qazvini (b. Qazvin 555/1160; d. Qazvin, 623/226).

A number of points in the text itself make it clear that Rāfeʿi was working on al-Tadwin around the year 615/1218-19 (2nd ed., I, p. 380; Meier, p. 30, n. 64; see also 2nd ed., III, p. 19; cf. Zowayri, p. 60 with 2nd ed., II, p. 421).  After a short prolegomena, the work presents four introductory chapters (foṣul al-ṣadr), dealing, respectively, with the virtues of Qazvin, the etymology of its name, its foundation and its conquest by the Arab Muslims, and lastly, its topography and that of its hinterland.  These chapters, however, occupy only about 3 percent of the whole text (2nd ed., I, pp. 11-55), and the remaining portion of the work is entirely biographical in nature. 

The biographical portion begins with the presentation of the Companions (Ṣaḥāba) of the Prophet Moḥammad and the second-generation Muslims (Tābeʿun) who were linked, in one way or another, with Qazvin (2nd ed., I, pp. 56-116).  After that, the biographical notices presented are, in principle, those of the people who were “known for any kind of knowledge (ʿelm) and comprehension (derāya) or any bit of audition (samāʿ) and transmission (rewāya)” (2nd ed., I, p. 116; implying typically engagement in Hadith transmission) who were born in, lived in, or simply passed through Qazvin (hence the remit is not limited to the Shafiʿites, as Arioli appears to maintain; Arioli, 1978, p. 39; 1982, p. 67; and 1996, p. 51; see also idem, 1981, p. 32). The biographical notices are presented primarily in alphabetical order by the subjects’ given names, with those named Moḥammad presented out of order at the beginning.  The texts of the printed editions (see below) terminate with the notice of a Yaḥyā b. Zakariāʾ, which suggests that much of the section yāʾ is missing.  Still, the printed editions present over 3,400 biographical notices.  The title of the work, as stated by Rāfeʿi in its introduction, is al-Tadwin fi ḏekr ahl al-ʿelm be-Qazvin (2nd ed., I, p. 11), but it seems that the work had come to pass by the pseudo-title al-Tadwin fi aḵbār Qazvin, which has been adopted as the title of the printed editions, already by the time of Esnawi (d. 1370; Esnawi, I, p. 281).

Al-Tadwin belongs to the type of Arabic biographical dictionaries that display specific local interest, that is, the genre of local biographical dictionaries that has often been regarded also as a type of local history.  Indeed, Rāfeʿi considers his work as a history (taʾriḵ) and mentions such well-known works of the genre as Ḥākem Naysāburi’s (d. 1014) Taʾriḵ Nisābur, Abu Noʿaym Eṣfahāni’s (d. 1038) Ḏekr aḵbār Eṣbahān, and Ḵaṭib Baḡdādi’s (d. 1071) Taʾriḵ Baḡdād as the predecessors in the kind of historiography he was attempting to write in al-Tadwin (2nd ed., I, p. 10).  Al-Tadwin’s text presents the features of works produced in the last phase of the prevalence of the compilations of local biographical dictionaries during the period from the 10th through the 13th century.  For example, citation of the Hadith transmitted by the biographical subjects is significantly less frequent in al-Tadwin when compared with earlier works (Moriyama, p. 204).  Indeed, al-Tadwin is the last significant work of this genre (disregarding the continuations to and abridgments of previous works) to be compiled in Iran and the regions further east (Moriyama, p. 190).

Insofar as the local historiography of Qazvin is concerned, al-Tadwin comes after the work by Abu Yaʿlā Ḵalil b. ʿAbd-Allāh Ḵalili (d. 1054), most likely entitled Taʾriḵ Qazvin (Rāfeʿi, 2nd ed., I, pp. 10, 11-12, II, p. 406; 1st ed., I, p. 234 [missing in the 2nd ed.]; cf. Arioli, 1981, p. 39).  Rāfeʿi himself refers to Ḵalili’s work in his introduction as the predecessor of his work (2nd ed., I, p. 10).  Later, Ḥamd-Allāh Mostawfi (d. 1340) would rely heavily on al-Tadwin in the portions relevant to Qazvin in his Tāriḵ-e gozida and Nozhat al-qolub (Arioli, 1981, passim).  Rażi-al-Din Moḥammad b. Ḥasan Qazvini (d. 1685), the author of a biographical dictionary of Imami scholars from Qazvin entitled the Żiāfat al-eḵwān wa-hadiat al-ḵollān, claims that many Imami figures are presented as Sunni in al-Tadwin (Arioli, 1982). 

Al-Tadwin has been edited and published by ʿAziz-Allāh ʿOṭāredi.  The first edition was published in Hayderabad and was reprinted in Riyadh and Beirut.  The “second edition” published in Iran (Tehran) reproduces basically the same text and footnotes in a different form, but includes an introduction and commentaries by the editor, missing in the first edition.  The first four introductory chapters of the work have also been edited by Angelo Arioli (1996), who subsequently published an annotated Italian translation of the second half of his edition (2009).  ʿAli ʿOmar’s recent publication, based on his MA thesis in 1973, also includes an edition of the first four introductory chapters and the section dealing with the Companions that follows them (ʿOmar, 2009).  Most of the text of the introductory chapters can also be read in Persian in Golriz’s Mīnu-dar (I, pp. 94-120, 129-41).  For a discussion of the different manuscripts of al-Tadwin, see Arioli, 1978, pp. 41-45; 2nd ed., III, pp. 587-89.



Ketāb al-tadwin fi aḵbār Qazvin, ed. ʿAziz-Allāh ʿOṭāredi, Hayderabad, 4 vols., 1984; repr. Riyadh, 1984, and Beirut, 1987; 2nd ed., Tehran, 3 vols., 1997-98.

Primary sources.

ʿAbd-a-Raḥim b. Ḥasan Esnawi, Ṭabaqāt al-Šāfeʿiya, ed. Kamāl Yusof Ḥut, Beirut, 2 vols., 1987.

Moḥammad-ʿAli Golriz, Minu-dar yā “Bāb al-janna” Qazvin, Qazvin,  2 vols., 1989-90.


Angelo Arioli, “al-Rāfiʿī,’ in EI2 VIII, 1995, p. 389. 

Idem, “Il Kitāb al-tadwīn I,” Annali di Ca’ Foscari 17-3, Serie orientale 9, 1978, pp. 39-50. 

Idem, “Su una fonte di Mustawfī Qazvīnī,” in Alessandro Bausani, ed., La bisaccia dello sheikh: Omaggi ad Alessandro Bausani islamista nel sessantesimo compleanno, Venice, 1981, pp. 29-41. 

Idem, “Dei dotti contesi: Note alla Ḍiyâfat al-iḫwân di Raḍî ad-Dîn Qazwînî (XVII sec.),” Cahiers d’onomastique arabe, 1981, pp. 67-79. 

Idem, “L’introduzione del Tadwīn: Testo arabo,” in Rivista degli studi orientali 69/1-2 (1995), 1996, pp. 51-121. 

Idem, “L’introduzione del Tadwīn: traduzione e annotazioni,” in idem, Miscellanea arabica 2009, Rome, 2009, pp. 9-94.

Fritz Meier, Abū Saʿīd-i Abū l-Ḫayr (357-440/967-1049): Wirklichkeit und Legende, Tehran, Liѐge, and Leiden, 1976. 

Jalāl-al-Din Ḥosayni Moḥaddeṯ Ormavi, Fehrest-e asmāʾ al-rejāl al-maḏkura aḥwālohom fi ketāb al-tadwin le Abi’l-Qāsem ʿAbd-al-Karim al-Rāfeʿi al-Qazvini, Tehran, 1954. 

Teruaki Moriyama, “Hadīsugaku-bunken toshiteno Chihōshi-jinmeiroku: 10-13 Seikino Hensan-ryūkō to Sono Haikei” (Local biographies as Hadith literature: The prevalence of their compilations in the 10th-13th centuries and its background), unpub. diss., the University of Tokyo, 2009. 

ʿAli ʿOmar, Ketāb al-tadwin fi ḏekr ahl al-ʿelm be-Qazvin le’l-Rāfeʿi al-Qazvini: Derāsa le’l-ketāb maʿa taḥqiq al-qesm al-awwal menho, Cairo, 2009.

Maḥjub Zowayri, “Darāmad-i bar ketāb-e al-Tadwin fi ḏekr ahl al-ʿelm be-Qazvin, nevešta-ye Rāfeʿi Qazvini,” Ketāb-e māh: tāriḵ wa joḡrāfi, nos. 46-47, Mordād wa Šahrivar, 2001, pp. 58-61.

(K. Morimoto)

Originally Published: January 19, 2016

Last Updated: January 22, 2016

Cite this entry:

K. Morimoto, “TADWIN, AL-,” Encyclopædia Iranicaonline edition, 2016, available at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/tadwin-of-rafei (accessed on 19 January 2016).