IBN KATHEER his biography
In the name of Allah, the Merciful
Ibn Katheer’s Biography
His Full name
He is the imam Al-Hafiz Abu Al-Fida Ismail bin Omar bin Katheer bin Daw bin Katheer bin Dera’ Al-Qurashi from Banu Haslah.
He was born in the year seven hundred and one (701 AH), as he mentioned in the beginning and the end book (al-Bidāyāt wa al-Nihāyat) in the village of “Majdal” from the works of “Bosra”, and its name is mentioned in The beginning and The end book
His father, al-Khatib Shihab al-Din, died in the village of al-Majdal in the year 703 AH – as the author mentioned in the beginning and the end book in an extensive translation of his father.
After the death of his father, the imam grew up in the care of his older brother, of whom he said: “We had a brother, and he was sympathetic companion”.
The eighth-century AH witnessed great events under the Mamluk state, which included the attack of the Tatars, some frequent famines and epidemics claimed millions of people, as well as wars with the Crusaders and many conspiracies and strife between princes and ministers.
Nevertheless, there was a prominent scientific activity in this era, which was represented by a large number of schools and a large number of writings, especially the encyclopedic writings among other writings.
Ibn Katheer’s Teachers
Imam Ibn Kathir studied at the hands of hundreds of shaykhs, among whom we mention:
- Al-Qasim bin Muhammad Al- Barzali, historian of the Levant d. 739 AH ,
- Sheikh Yusuf bin Abd al-Rahman al-Mazi died 744 AH,
- Al- Hafiz Ibn al – Qalanisi died 729 AH,
- Ibrahim bin Abdul Rahman Al-Fazari d. 729 AH ,
- Najm al-Din Ibn al-Asqalani,
- Ibn al-Shihnah Shihab al-Din al-Hajjar d. 730 A.H.,
- Kamal al-Din Ibn Qazi Shahba
- Sheikh Najm al-Din Musa bin Ali bin Muhammad al-Jail, then al-Dimashqi, known as Ibn al-Busais (d. 716 AH ),
- Al-Hafiz Shams Al-Din Al-Dhahabi (died 748 A.H.)
- Al-Qasim Ibn Asaker
- Ibn Al-Shirazi
- Ishaq Al-Amidi
- and many others.
Ibn Katheer’s works
Al-Hafiz Ibn Kathir left dozens of books in various scientific fields, especially on history, interpretation, and hadith.
Here are his most important printed, manuscript, and lost books:
A – Published literature:
1- Interpretation of the Koran – Tafsir Ibn Katheer
It is one of the books that are currently available: It was first printed in Bulaq at Fath al-Bayan al- Qanouji in ten volumes, it was then printed at Al-Manar Press in Egypt in 1343 AH by order From Sultan Abdul Aziz bin Abdul Rahman Al-Faisal, the imam of Najd with footnotes from the commentary of imam al-Baghawī. It was reprinted as an abridged version under the name “Umdat al-Tafsir on the authority of al-Hafiz Ibn Kathir – ‘Umdat al-Tafsīru ‘an al-Ḥāfīẓ ibn Katheer” in the year 1375 A.H., in five parts, from a precious manuscript in the Al-Azhar Library..
In his great interpretation, Al-Hafiz ibn Katheer adopted the method of interpreting the Qur’an with the Qur’an, then with the hadith, and he moved away from the Israelites and criticized relying on them except as permitted by Sharia.
Concerning the above, he says: “This and the likes in my opinion are the fabrications of some of their heretics, with which they misinform the people about their religion.” And in another place, he says: “And what we follow in this interpretation is to turn away from many of the Israeli hadiths of the time, for what they contain of lies.”.
2- The beginning and the end: – al-Bidāyat wa al-Nihāyat
Great literature in history which was printed several editions, and perhaps the oldest edition of it was in the year 1348 AH with the help of King Abdul Aziz bin Abdul Rahman Al Saud, at the Kurdistan Scientific Press on an illustrated manuscript in the Wali al-Din Library in Constantinople.
3- Collector of Musanid and Sunan – Jamī’ al-Masānīd wa al-Sunnan
A huge book, printed for the first time in the Scientific Books House in Beirut in 38 volumes.
4- Diligence in seeking jihad – al-Ijtihād fī Ṭalab al-Jihād
It was first printed in the Abi al-Hol Press in the year 1347 AH as an edited edition, then it was printed in the year 1401 AH in Beirut with the verification of Abdullah Abd al-Rahim Usaylan.
5- Abridgement of Hadith Science – Ikhtiṣār ‘Ulūmu al-Ḥadīth
Printed in Makkah in the year 1353 AH, edited by Sheikh Muhammad Abdul Razzaq Hamza. It was printed in Egypt in the year 1355 AH with the verification of Ahmed Shaker, then Shakir reprinted it in the year 1370 AH with additions to the explanation.
6- Hadiths on monotheism and response to polytheism – Aḥādīth al-Tawhīd wa al-Radd ‘alā al-Shir
Brockelman mentioned it in the Supplement to the History of Arabic Literature (2/48) and indicated that it was printed in Delhi in 1297 AH..
B – Manuscripts:
7- Shafi’i Generations:
A copy of it is a handwritten copy in the Manuscripts Institute in Cairo under No. (789), which was copied from the copy of Al-Katani in Rabat, and there is another manuscript in Shestrupty numbered (3390 ).
C – missing books:
8- Complete knowledge of the trustworthy, the weak, and the unknown – al-Takmīl fī Ma’arifat al-Thiqāt wa al-Ḍu’afāu wa al-Majāhīl
Mentioned in Kashfu al-Ẓunūn (1/471) and Ṭabaqāt al-Mufassirīna (1/110)
9- Planets Darari in history – al-Kawkabu al-Darārī fī al-Tarīkh
Haji Khalifa mentioned him in Kashf al-Dunun (2/ 1521 ).
10- The biography of the two Sheikhs – Tārīkh al-Shaykhayn
It was mentioned in the Beginning and the End (7/18) and the appendix of the Tadhkirat al-Hafiz al-Suyuti
11- The clear and precious in the virtues of Imam Muhammad bin Idris – al-Wāḍiḥu al-Nafīsi fī Manāqibi al-Imām Muḥammad ibn Idrīs al-Shāfī:
Mentioned in Kashf al-Dunun (2/ 1840).
12- book of judgments – Kitab al-Aḥkām
It is a large book that he did not complete, in which he reached the pilgrimage. (1/ 550 ).
And other books
Scholars say about Ibn Katheer?
Ibn Kathir, may God have mercy on him, was one of the most distinguished scholars of his time. His contemporaries and those after them praised him abundantly:
Al-Hafiz Al-Dhahabi said in the layers (Ṭabaqāt) of his Sheikhs: “I heard with the jurist, the Mufti, the Muhaddit with virtues, Imad Al-Din Ismail bin Omar bin Katheer Al- Basrawi Al-Shafi’i.. He heard from Ibn Al- Shiha , Ibn Al- Zarad , and a group, who had care about men, texts, and jurisprudence.
He also said about him in the Specialized Dictionary: “Imam Mufti, an accomplished scholar, an expert jurist, a perfect speaker, interpreter, narrator”
The scholar Ibn Nasir al-Din said: “Sheikh Imam, the scholar, the hafiz Imad al-Din, the trustworthy scholars of hadith, the principal of historians, the knowledge of the exegetes”
Ibn Taghri Bardi said: he worked, persevered, acquired, wrote, and excelled in jurisprudence, interpretation, jurisprudence, Arabic, and other things. He gave fatwas and studied until he died”.
Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani said: “He was very contemplative, and his works spread throughout the country during his life, and people benefited from them after his death”.
Ibn Habib said: “An imam who narrated Tasbih and Tahlīl, and the leader of the masters of interpretation, he listened, collected and classified, and he delighted the ears with fatwas and narrations, and he spoke and reported, and his fatwa papers flew to the country, and he became famous for his exactness and editing, and he was the head of science in history, hadith and interpretation”
Al-Ayni said: “He was a role model for scholars and Memorizers, and the foundation of the people of meanings and expressions. He listened, collected, classified, studied, taught, and compiled books. He had great knowledge of hadith, interpretation, and history.
His disciple Ibn Hajji said: “Was the best among those who memorized the texts of hadiths, and he knew them with their narrations, their narrators, their authentic and unauthentic ones, and his peers and elders would admit that to him.
And I do not know that I met with him on my frequent visits to him but that I benefited from him”
Al-Daoudi said: “He began to memorize the texts, and to know the chains of narration, ‘ilal, men and history until he excelled in that when he was young”
Death and legacy of Ibn Katheer
On Thursday, the twenty-sixth of the month of Sha’ban in the year seven hundred and seventy-four, Al-Hafiz Ibn Kathir died in Damascus, and he was buried in the Sufi cemetery with his Sheikh Ibn Taymiyyah, may God have mercy on them.
Ibn Nasir al-Din stated that he “had a well-known funeral, and he was buried according to his will in the soil of Sheikh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah in the Sufi cemetery.”