Ibn Hajar al-'Asqalani
|Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani|
|Title||Shaykh al-Islām/ Hafidh|
|Born||18 February 1372
Cairo, Bahri dynasty, now Egypt
|Died||2 February 1449 (aged 76)
Cairo, Burji dynasty, now Egypt
|Resting place||City of the Dead (Cairo), Cairo, Egypt|
Al-Haafidh Shihabuddin Abu'l-Fadl Ahmad ibn Ali ibn Muhammad, better known as Ibn Hajar due to the fame of his forefathers, al-Asqalani due to his family origin (Arabic: ابن حجر العسقلاني) (18 February 1372 – 2 February 1449, 852 A.H.), was a medieval Shafiite Sunni scholar of Islam who represents the entire realm of the Sunni world in the field of Hadith, also known as Shaykh al Islam. He authored some 50 works on hadith, history, biography, tafsir, poetry, and Shafi'ite jurisprudence, the most valued of which being his commentary of the Sahih of Bukhari, titled Fath al-Bari.
Ibn Hajar did not interpret the mutashabihat, or 'unapparent in meaning' verses and hadiths in a literal anthropomorphic way. He states that:
Those who assert a direction for Allah have used this hadith as proof that He (Allah) is in the direction of aboveness. The vast majority of the scholars reject this, because such a saying leads to establishing boundaries for Him and Allah is exalted above that.
He was born in Cairo in 1372, the son of the Shafi'i scholar and poet Nur al-Din 'Ali. Both of his parents died in his infancy, and he and his sister, Sitt al-Rakb, became wards of his father's first wife's brother, Zaki al-Din al-Kharrubi, who enrolled Ibn Hajar in Quranic studies when he was five years old. Here he excelled, learning Surah Maryam in a single day and memorising the entire Qur'an by the age of 9. He progressed to the memorization of texts such as the abridged version of Ibn al-Hajib's work on the foundations of fiqh.
When he accompanied al-Kharrubi to Mecca at the age of 12, he was considered competent to lead the Tarawih prayers during Ramadan. When his guardian died in 1386, Ibn Hajar's education in Egypt was entrusted to hadith scholar Shams al-Din ibn al-Qattan, who entered him in the courses given by al-Bulqini (d. 1404) and Ibn al-Mulaqqin (d. 1402) in Shafi'i fiqh, and Abd al-Rahim ibn al-Husain al-'Iraqi (d. 1404) in hadith, after which he travelled to Damascus and Jerusalem, to study under Shams al-Din al-Qalqashandi (d. 1407), Badr al-Din al-Balisi (d. 1401), and Fatima bint al-Manja al-Tanukhiyya (d. 1401). After a further visit to Mecca, Medina, and Yemen, he returned to Egypt. Al-Suyuti said: “It is said that he drank Zamzam water in order to reach the level of al-Dhahabi in memorization—which he succeeded in doing, even surpassing him.”
In 1397, at the age of twenty-five, he married Uns Khatun. She was a hadith expert in her own right, holding ijazas from Hafiz al-Iraqi. Khatun gave celebrated public lectures to crowds of ulema, including al-Sakhawi.
Ibn Hajar went on to be appointed to the position of Egyptian chief-judge (Qadi) several times.
- Fath al-Bari – considered the most prominent and reliable commentary on al-Bukhari's Jami` al-Sahih: In 1414 (817 A.H.), Ibn Hajar commenced the enormous task of assembling his commentary on Sahih Bukhari. Ibn Rajab had begun to write a huge commentary on Sahih Bukhari in the 1390s with the title of Fath al-Bari. Thus, Ibn Hajar decided to name his own commentary with the same title, Fath al-Bari, which in time became the most valued commentary of Sahih Bukhari. When it was finished, in December 1428 (Rajab 842 A.H.), a celebration was held near Cairo, attended by the ulema, judges, and leading Egyptian personalities. Ibn Hajar read the final pages of his work, after which poets recited eulogies and gold was distributed. It was, according to historian Ibn Iyaas (d. 930 A.H.), 'the greatest celebration of the age in Egypt.'
- al-Isaba fi tamyiz al-Sahaba – the most comprehensive dictionary of the Companions.
- al-Durar al-Kamina – a biographical dictionary of leading figures of the eighth century.
- Tahdhib al-Tahdhib – an abbreviation of Tahdhib al-Kamal, the encyclopedia of hadith narrators by Yusuf ibn Abd al-Rahman al-Mizzi
- Taqrib al-Tahdhib – the abridgement of Tahthib al-Tahthib.
- Ta'jil al-Manfa'ah – biographies of the narrators of the Musnads of the four Imams, not found in al-Tahthib.
- Bulugh al-Maram min adillat al-ahkam – on hadith used in Shafi'i fiqh.
- Nata'ij al-Afkar fi Takhrij Ahadith al-Adhkar
- Lisan al-Mizan – a reworking of Mizan al-'Itidal by al-Dhahabi.
- Talkhis al-Habir fi Takhrij al-Rafi`i al-Kabir
- al-Diraya fi Takhrij Ahadith al-Hidaya
- Taghliq al-Ta`liq `ala Sahih al-Bukhari
- Risala Tadhkirat al-Athar
- al-Matalib al-`Aliya bi Zawa'id al-Masanid al-Thamaniya
- Nukhbat al-Fikar along with his explanation of it entitled Nuzhah al-Nathr in hadith terminology
- al-Nukat ala Kitab ibn al-Salah – commentary of the Muqaddimah of Ibn al-Salah
- al-Qawl al-Musaddad fi Musnad Ahmad a discussion of hadith of disputed authenticity in the Musnad of Ahmad
- Silsilat al-Dhahab
- Ta`rif Ahl al-Taqdis bi Maratib al-Mawsufin bi al-Tadlis
- "USC-MSA Compendium of Muslim Texts". Usc.edu. Retrieved 2010-03-21.
- Salmān, Mashhūr Ḥasan Maḥmūd & Shuqayrāt, Aḥmad Ṣidqī (1998). "Tarjamat al-musannif". Muʼallafāt al-Sakhāwī : al-ʻAllāmah al-Ḥāfiẓ Muḥammad ibn ʻAbd al-Raḥmān al-Sakhāwī, 831-902 H. Dār Ibn Ḥazm. p. 18.
- Ludwig W. Adamec (2009), Historical Dictionary of Islam, p.136. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0810861615.
- Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bari, (1959 ed. 13:383).
- Lewis, B.; Menage, V.L.; Pellat, Ch.; Schacht, J. (1986) [1st. pub. 1971]. Encyclopaedia of Islam (New Edition). Volume III (H-Iram). Leiden, Netherlands: Brill. p. 776. ISBN 9004081186.
- Thail Tabaqaat al-Huffaath, pg. 251.
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