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Short Biography of Imam Ibn Kathir

 

 

About Hafiz Ibn Kathir

He was Hafidh Abul Fida Ismail ibn Abi Hafs Shihabuddin Omar ibn Kathir ibn Daw ibn Kathir in Zar` the Quraishite – originally from Busra (Syria) – and raised in Damascus. Ibn Kathir was born in the year 701 AH in an area called Majdal, near Busra, west of Damascus. His father died when he was only four years old and was taken in by his brother and moved to Damascus in 706. Here, he learned from great scholars such as Ibn Asakir, Ishaq ibn Yahya al-Amudi and the Shaykh ul Islam  Ibn Taymiyyah who was extremely close to him. He also studied under various other sheikhs who gave him permission in fiqh and Hadith.

 He made many academic contributions to Islamic sciences. The following are amongst his most prominent:

  1. Tafseer of the Qur’an
  2. Al-Bidayah wan-Nihayah: a history of Muslims from Adam until Ibn Kathir’s time
  3. At-Takmeel: a book on the science of Asmaaul Rijal (profiles of transmitters of Hadith)
  4. Jami`ul Masaneed: a book that collects the Hadith from ten major books of Hadith
  5. The classes of Shafi`ee scholars: a list of scholars following the Imam
  6. Extraction of the traditions of Tanbeeh (a Shafi`ee book of jurisprudence)
  7. The commentary on al-Bukhari (which he did not finish)
  8. The book of laws (again, he did not complete it)
  9. The summary to the science of Hadith; a synopsis to the introduction of Ibn Saah’s work
  10. Extraction of the traditions to the summary of Ibn Hajib
  11. Musnad of the two sheikhs (Abu Bakr and Umar)
  12. Biography of the Prophet, sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam
  13. The epistle of Jihad

Ibn Kathir was renowned for his great memory regarding the sayings of Muhammad and the entire Qur'an. Ibn Kathir is known as a qadi, a master scholar of Hadith, and a mufassir (Qur'an commentator). Ibn Kathir saw himself as a Shafi scholar. This is indicated by two of his books, one of which was Tabaqaat ah-Shafai'ah, or The Categories of the Followers of Imam Shafi. Many people also regard Ibn Kathir as a precursor to the contemporary Salafi school of law.

Among his well Known Students are Al-Imam Zarkashi and Al-Hafiz Al-Iraqi.
He was a scholar and Jurist of  the Shafi`ee school of thought.

In later life, he became blind. He attributes his blindness to working late at night on the Musnad of Ahmad Ibn Hanbal in an attempt to rearrange it topically rather than by narrator. Ibn Kathir died in He was buried beside his mentor Ibn Taymiyya in the Sufi Cemetery of Damascus.

Imam Ibn Kathir died on Thursday, the 26th of Sha`ban in the year 774 AH (February, 1373 in Damascus) at the age of 74 Years, He is buried next to his Shaykh, Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah  May Allah be pleased with them both . Ameen.

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Say: O my Lord let my entry be by the gate of truth and honour, and likewise my exit by the gate of truth and honour; and grant me from thy presence an authority to aid (me)
{TMQ Al-Isra : 80 }

 

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