Ibn Kathir

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Ismail Ibn Kathir
ابن كثير.png
Born c. 1300 / 701 H
Bosra, Mamluk Sultanate (Cairo) now in Syria
Died 18 February 1373 / 774 H
Damascus, Mamluk Sultanate (Cairo), now in Syria
Era Bahri Mamluk Sultanate Mameluke Flag.svg
Region Sham
Religion Islam
Denomination Sunni
Jurisprudence unknown [1]
Creed Athari[2][3][4]
Notable work(s) - Tafsīr al-Qurʾān al-ʿaẓīm (Tafsir Ibn Kathir), a Quranic exegesis;
- Al-Bidāya wan Nihāya (“The Beginning and the End”), a 14-volume history of Islam;
- Kitāb al-jāmiʿ, a hadith collection.[5]
Arabic name
Personal (Ism) Ismāʿīl
إسماعيل
Patronymic (Nasab) ibn ʿUmar ibn Kaṯīr
بن عمر بن كثير
Teknonymic (Kunya) Abū l-Fidāʾ
أبو الفداء
Epithet (Laqab) ʿImād ud-Dīn
عماد الدين
"pillar of the faith"
Toponymic (Nisba) Ad-Dimashqi
Al-Qurashi
Al-Busrawi

Ismail ibn Kathir (ابن كثير (Abridged name); Abu al-Fida' 'Imad Ad-Din Isma'il bin 'Umar bin Kathir al-Qurashi Al-Busrawi (إسماعيل بن عمر بن كثير القرشي الدمشقي أبو الفداء عماد الدين) c. 1300 – 1373) was a highly influential historian, exegete and scholar during the Mamluk era in Syria. An expert on tafsir (Quranic exegesis) and faqīh (jurisprudence), he wrote several books, including a fourteen-volume universal history.[8][9] Al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani said about him, “Ibn Kathir worked on the subject of the hadith in the texts (متون) and chains of narrators (رجال). He had a good memory, his books became popular during his lifetime, and people benefited from them after his death.”[10][page needed]

Biography[edit]

His full name was Abū l-Fidāʾ Ismāʿīl ibn ʿUmar ibn Kaṯīr (أبو الفداء إسماعيل بن عمر بن كثير) and had the honorary title of ʿImād ad-Dīn (عماد الدين "pillar of the faith"). He was born in Mijdal, a village on the outskirts of the city of Busra, to the east of Damascus, Syria, around about AH 701 (AD 1300/1)[citation needed]. He was taught by Ibn Taymiyya and Al-Dhahabi.

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.[5] He married the daughter of Al-Mizzi, one of the foremost Syrian scholars of the period, which gave him access to the scholarly elite. In 1345 he was made preacher (khatib) at a newly built mosque in Mizza, the home town of his father-in-law. In 1366, he rose to a professorial position at the Great Mosque of Damascus.[5][11]

In later life, he became blind.[9][11] 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. He died in February 1373 (AH 774) in Damascus. He was buried next to his teacher Ibn Taymiyya.[12]

Creed[edit]

Ibn Kathir shares some similarities with his teacher Ibn Taymiyyah, such as advocating a militant jihad and adhering to the renewal of one singular Islamic ummah.[13] Furthermore, like Ibn Taymiyyah, he counts as an anti-rationalistic, traditionalistic and hadith oriented.[14] However Ibn Kathir distanced himself from the literal reading of God's attributes asserted by his teacher Ibn Taimiyya, who was accused of anthropomorphism, a view that was objectionable according to Ashʿarism.[15] Ibn Kathir did not interpret the mutashabihat, or 'unapparent in meaning' verses and hadiths in a literal anthropomorphic way. He states that:

People have said a great deal on this topic and this is not the place to expound on what they have said. On this matter, we follow the early Muslims (salaf): Malik, Awza'i, Thawri, Layth ibn Sa'd, Shafi'i, Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Ishaq Ibn Rahwayh, and others among the Imams of the Muslims, both ancient and modern that is, to let (the verse in question) pass as it has come, without saying how it is meant (min ghayr takyif), without likening it to created things (wa la tashbih), and without nullifying it (wa la ta'til): The literal meaning (zahir) that occurs to the minds of anthropomorphists (al-mushabbihin) is negated of Allah, for nothing from His creation resembles Him: "There is nothing whatsoever like unto Him, and He is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing" (Qur'an 42:11)[16][17]

Works[edit]

Tafsir[edit]

Ibn Kathir wrote a famous commentary on the Qur'an named Tafseer al-Qurʾān al-ʿAẓeem which linked certain hadith, or sayings of Muhammad, and sayings of the sahaba to verses of the Qur'an, in explanation and avoided to use Isra'iliyyats. Many sunni Muslims hold his commentary as the best after Tafsir al-Tabari[18] and it is highly regarded especially among Salafi school of thought.[19] Although Ibn Kathir claimed to rely on at-Tabari, he introduced new methods and differs in content, in attempt to clear Islam from any Isra'iliyyat. His suspicion on Isra'iliyyat probably dervied from Ibn Ibn Taimiyya's influence, who discounted much of the exegetical tradition since then.[20][21]

Egyptian scholar Ahmad Muhammad Shakir (1892–1958) edited Ibn Kathir's Tafsir as ʿUmdat at-Tafsīr in five volumes published during 1956–1958.

Faḍāʾil al-Qurʾān (فضائل القرآن) was intended as an annex to the Tafsir. It is a brief textual history of the Qur'an and its collection after the death of Muhammad.

Hadith[edit]

Al-Sira Al-Nabawiyya (Ibn Kathir).jpg

Al-Jāmi (الجامع) is a grand collection of hadith texts intended for encyclopedic use. It is an alphabetical listing of the Companions of the Prophet and the sayings that each transmitted, thus reconstructing the chain of authority for each hadith.[5]

Al-Baa'ith al-Hatheeth is an abridgement of the Muqaddimah by Ibn al-Salah in hadith terminology

At-Takmil fi Ma`rifat Ath-Thiqat wa Ad-Du'afa wal Majdhil which Ibn Kathir collected from the books of his two Shaykhs Al-Mizzi and Adh-Dhahabi; Al-Kamal and Mizan Al-Ftiddl. He added several benefits regarding the subject of Al-Jarh and At-Ta'dil.

Ibn Kathir wrote references for the ahadith of Adillat At-Tanbih, from the Shafi'i school of fiqh.

History & Biography[edit]

  • Al-Bidāya wa-n-Nihāya (البداية والنهاية "The Beginning and The End") is a universal history of the world from the Creation to the end of time. Ibn Kathir's great ten-volume magnum opus contains accounts of the early nations of the world, the Prophets and their biographies (seerah) and Islamic history up to his own time. Within the Islamic literary corpus it is highly regarded for its great extent and range, and has been widely translated. Abridged edition available in English.[22]
  • Al-Fitan, (كتاب الفتن والملاحم الواقعة في آخر الزمان) "The Sedition"; on the signs of the last hour; valuable for political details of his day. First printed in Cairo (1932–1939); several Arabic editions; Unavailable in English.[23]
  • Al-Sira Al-Nabawiyya,(السيرة النبوية) "Life of the Prophet Muhammad". Four vols.[24] Unavailable in English.
  • Qisas Al-Anbiya, (قصص الأنبياء) "Tales of the Prophets"; a collection of tales of the Prophets of Islam and others of the Old Testament; Extract published as Tuhfat an-Nubla' min Qisas al'Anbia lil'Imam al-Hafiz ibn Kathir (تحفة النبلاء من قصص الأنبياء للإمام الحافظ ابن كثير (Masterpiece of the Nobles from Tales of the Prophets by al-Hafiz ibn Kathir).[25] Unavailable in English.

Jihad[edit]

Al-ijtihād fī ṭalab al-jihād (الاجتهاد في طلب الجهاد), written by commission of the Mamluk governor of Damascus, is a defense of armed jihad and ribat against the neighboring Christian powers (remnants of the crusader states, such as the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia) based on the evidence of the Qur'an and the sunnah.

Other[edit]

  • Al-Hadi was-Sunan fī Aḥādīth Al-Masānīd was-Sunan, aka Jāmiʻ al-masānīd: collected narratives of the Imams Ahmad bin Hanbal, Al-Bazzar, Abu Ya'la Al-Mawsili, and Ibn Abi Shaybah, and six collected Hadiths: two ṣaḥīḥs of (Al-Bukhari and Muslim) and four sunan of Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasai and Ibn Majah. Classified under fiqh divisions.
  • Tabaqat Ash-Shafi'iyah ("The levels of the Shafi'i scholars").
  • Commentary on Sahih Al-Bukhari; unfinished work.
  • The ahkam - large volume on Laws (up to the Hajj rituals); unfinished work.
  • Summary of Al-Baihaqi's 'Al-Madkhal; unpublished.
  • Mawlid ("Celebrating the Birthday of the Holy Prophet").

NOTE: Many books listed here remain unpublished.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Was Ibn Kathīr the 'Spokesperson' for Ibn Taymiyya? Jonah as a Prophet of Obedience". Journal of Qur'anic Studies. 16 (1): 3. 2014-02-01. doi:10.3366/jqs.2014.0130. ISSN 1465-3591. 
  2. ^ Jackson, Sherman A. “Ibn Taymiyyah on Trial in Damascus.” Journal of Semitic Studies 39 (Spring 1994): 41-85, 48.
  3. ^ Makdisi, George. 1962. "Ash’ari and the Asharites and Islamic history I." Studia Islamica 17: 37-80, 76
  4. ^ Mirza, Y. “Was Ibn Kathir the Spokesperson for Ibn Taymiyya? Jonah as a Prophet of Obedience.” Journal of Qur'anic Studies 16, no. 1 (2014), 3-4.
  5. ^ a b c d "Ibn Kathir - Muslim scholar". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 26 March 2016. 
  6. ^ a b http://www.arabnews.com/node/219573
  7. ^ "Was Ibn Kathīr the 'Spokesperson' for Ibn Taymiyya? Jonah as a Prophet of Obedience". Journal of Qur'anic Studies. 16 (1): 3. 2014-02-01. doi:10.3366/jqs.2014.0130. ISSN 1465-3591. Jane McAullife remarks that ‘certainly the most famous of Ibn Kathīr’s teachers, and perhaps the one who influenced him the most, was the Ḥanbalī theologian and jurisconsult Ibn Taymiyyah’. 
  8. ^ "Was Ibn Kathīr the 'Spokesperson' for Ibn Taymiyya? Jonah as a Prophet of Obedience". Journal of Qur'anic Studies. 16 (1): 1. 2014-02-01. doi:10.3366/jqs.2014.0130. ISSN 1465-3591. 
  9. ^ a b Ludwig W. Adamec (2009), Historical Dictionary of Islam, p.138. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0810861615.
  10. ^ Ad-Durar Al-Kaminah (الدرر الكامنة) by Al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani
  11. ^ a b Ibn Kathir I, Le Gassick T (translator), Fareed M (reviewer) (2000). The Life of the Prophet Muhammad : English translation of Ibn Kathir's Al Sira Al Nabawiyya. 
  12. ^ "Was Ibn Kathīr the 'Spokesperson' for Ibn Taymiyya? Jonah as a Prophet of Obedience". Journal of Qur'anic Studies. 16 (1): 2. 2014-02-01. doi:10.3366/jqs.2014.0130. ISSN 1465-3591. Ibn Qāḍī al-Shuhba concludes mentioning that Ibn Kathīr was buried ‘next to his teacher (shaykhihi) Ibn Taymiyya’. 
  13. ^ R. Hrair Dekmejian Islam in Revolution: Fundamentalism in the Arab World Syracuse University Press 1995 ISBN 978-0-815-62635-0 page 40
  14. ^ Barbara Freyer Stowasser Women in the Qur'an, Traditions, and Interpretation Oxford University Press 1994 ISBN 978-0-199-87969-4
  15. ^ Juan Eduardo Campo Encyclopedia of Islam Infobase Publishing 2009 ISBN 978-1-438-12696-8 page 340
  16. ^ Spevack, Aaron (2014-09-09). The Archetypal Sunni Scholar: Law, Theology, and Mysticism in the Synthesis of al-Bajuri. SUNY Press. pp. 129–130. ISBN 9781438453712. 
  17. ^ Ibn Kathir, Ismail (2000). Tafsir al-Qur'an al-Azim. Cairo: Maktabat Awlad al-Shaykh l'il Turath. pp. 6:320. 
  18. ^ Sohaib Sultan Koran für Dummies John Wiley & Sons 2014 ISBN 978-3-5277-1039-3 page 114 (german)
  19. ^ Oliver Leaman The Qur'an: An Encyclopedia Taylor & Francis 2006 ISBN 978-0-415-32639-1 page 632
  20. ^ Karen Bauer Gender Hierarchy in the Qur'an: Medieval Interpretations, Modern Responses Cambridge University Press 2015 ISBN 978-1-316-24005-2 page 115
  21. ^ Aysha A. Hidayatullah Feminist Edges of the Qur'an Oxford University Press 2014 ISBN 978-0-199-35957-8 page 25
  22. ^ al Bidayah wan Nihayah Ibn Kathir Early Days. 
  23. ^ Kitab al-Fitan wa'l-Mulahim al-Waqa'a fi 'Akhir az-Zaman. 
  24. ^ as-Seera an-Nabawiyya. 
  25. ^ Tuhfat an-Nubla' min Qisas al'Anbia lil'Imam al-Hafiz ibn Kathir. 

References[edit]

  • Norman Calder, 'Tafsir from Tabari to Ibn Kathir, Problems in the description of a genre, illustrated with reference to the story of Abraham', in: G. R. Hawting / Abdul-Kader A. Shareef (eds.): Approaches to the Qur'an, London 1993, pp. 101–140.
  • Jane Dammen-McAuliffe, 'Quranic Hermeneutics, The views of al-Tabari and Ibn Kathir', in: Andrew Rippin (ed.): Approaches to the history of the interpretation of the Qur'an, Oxford 1988, pp.&nbs al hafid ibn kathir is not ash,ai

External links[edit]