Ibn Khallikan

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Shams al-Dīn Abū Al-ʿAbbās Aḥmad Ibn Muḥammad Ibn Khallikān
Title Chief Judge
Born (1211-09-22)September 22, 1211
Irbil (now Iraq)
Died October 30, 1282(1282-10-30) (aged 71)
Damascus (now Syria)
Region Middle East
Religion Islam
Denomination Sunni
Jurisprudence Shafi'i[1]
Notable work(s) Deaths of Eminent Men and History of the Sons of the Epoch

Aḥmad b. Muḥammad b. Ibrāhīm Abu ’l-ʿAbbās S̲h̲ams al-Dīn al-Barmakī al-Irbilī al-S̲h̲āfiʿī[2] (Arabic: احمد ابن محمد ابن ابراهيم ابوالعباس شمس الدين البرمكي الاربيلي الشافعي‎) (September 22, 1211 – October 30, 1282) was a 13th Century Shafi'i Islamic scholar. He was described as "a pious man, virtuous, and learned; amiable in temper, in conversation serious and instructive. His exterior was highly prepossessing, his countenance handsome and his manners engaging."[3]


Ibn Khallikan was born in Arbil, Iraq on September 22, 1211, to a respectable family that claimed descent from Barmakids.[2] He studied there and in Aleppo and Damascus.[4] He also studied jurisprudence at Mosul and then settled in Cairo.[5] He gained prominence as a jurist, theologian and grammarian.[5] Ibn Khallikan married in the year 1252.[5]

He was an assistant to the chief judge in Egypt until 1261 when he assumed the position of chief judge in Damascus.[4] Ibn Khallikan was removed from this position in 1271, returned to Egypt and taught there until being reinstated as judge in Damascus in the year 1278.[4] He retired from this position in 1281[5] and died in Damascus on October 30, 1282.[4]


Ibn Khallikan's most renowned work is the biographical dictionary entitled Wafayāt al-aʿyān wa-anbāʾ abnāʾ az-zamān (Deaths of Eminent Men and History of the Sons of the Epoch).[4] He began compiling this work in 1256 and continued until 1274, referencing the works of earlier scholars.[4] Deaths of Eminent Men does not include biographies of individuals already sufficiently covered, such as the Islamic Prophet Muhammad and the caliphs.[4] This work has been translated into English by William McGuckin de Slane, (1801–1878), and is over 2,700 pages long.[5] The British scholar Reynold A. Nicholson called it the "best general biography ever written".[3]


  1. ^ 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. 832. ISBN 9004081186. 
  2. ^ a b J.W., Fück,. "IBN K̲H̲ALLIKĀN". Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition. Brill. doi:10.1163/1573-3912_islam_sim_3248. Retrieved 6 March 2017. 
  3. ^ a b Ludwig W. Adamec (2009), Historical Dictionary of Islam, p.139. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0810861615.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "Encyclopædia Britannica Online, Ibn Khallikān". 2010. Retrieved May 22, 2010. 
  5. ^ a b c d e "Ibn Khallikan". Humanistic Texts.org. Retrieved May 22, 2010. 


  • Ibn Khallikān (1843) Ibn Khallikan's Biographical dictionary, M. de Slane trans. Oriental Translation Fund of Great Britain and Ireland, 1843. Vol. 1, Vol. 2, Vol. 3 & Vol. 4