Thursday, December 13, 2007

Ibn Kathir - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ismail ibn Kathir (Arabic: ابن كثير) was an Islamic scholar and renowned commentator on the Qur'an.


His full name is Abu Al-Fida, 'Imad Ad-Din Isma'il bin 'Umar bin Kathir Al-Qurashi Al-Busrawi. He was born in 1301 in Busra, Syria (hence Al-Busrawi). He was taught by the great scholar Shaikh ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyya in Damascus, Syria and Abu al-Hajjaj Al-Mizzi, (d. 1373), main teacher of Ibn Kathir. Upon completion of his studies he obtained his first official appointment in 1341, when he joined an inquisitorial commission formed to determine certain questions of heresy. Thereafter he received various semi-official appointments, culminating in June/July 1366 with a professorial position at the Great Mosque of Damascus. Ibn Kathir wrote a famous commentary on the Qur'an named Tafsir ibn Kathir which linked certain Hadith, or sayings of Muhammad, and sayings of the sahaba to verses of the Qur'an, in explanation. Tafsir Ibn Kathir is famous all over the Muslim world and among Muslims in the Western world, and is one of the most widely used explanations of the Qu'ran today.

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 history, 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.

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 February 1373 in Damascus.


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