Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani
Ibn Ḥajar al-ʿAsqalānī or Ibn Ḥajar (Arabic: ابن حجر العسقلاني, full name: Shihāb al-Dīn Abū ‘l-Faḍl Aḥmad ibn Nūr al-Dīn ʿAlī ibn Muḥammad ibn Ḥajar al-ʿAsqalānī al-Kināni) (18 February 1372 – 2 February 1449 CE / 773 - 852 A.H.), was a classic Islamic scholar and polymath "whose life work constitutes the final summation of the science of Hadith." He authored some 150 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 Ḥajar al-‘Asqalānī
|Title||Shaykh al-Islām/ Ḥāfiẓ|
|Born||18 February 1372 / 773 AH|
|Died||2 February 1449 (aged 76)|
|Resting place||City of the Dead (Cairo), Cairo, Egypt|
He was born in Cairo in 1372, the son of the Shafi'i scholar and poet Nur al-Din 'Ali. His parents had moved from Alexandria, originally hailing from Ashkelon (Arabic: عَسْقَلَان, ʿAsqalān). 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 Quran 19 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 Siraj al-Din 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, Al-‘Asqalani married the celebrated hadith expert Uns Khatun, who held ijazas from Hafiz al-Iraqi and gave 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.
Ibn Hajar died after 'Isha' (night prayer) on 8th Dhul Hijja 852 (2 February 1449), aged 79. An estimated 50,000 people attended his funeral in Cairo, including Sultan Sayf ad-Din Jaqmaq (1373-1453 CE) and Caliph of Cairo Al-Mustakfi II (r. 1441-1451 CE).
- Fath al-Bari – Ibn Hajar's commentary of Sahih Bukhari's Jami` al-Sahih (817/1414), completed an unfinished work begun by Ibn Rajab in the 1390s. It became the most celebrated and highly regarded work on the author. Celebrations near Cairo on its publication (Rajab 842 /December 1428) were described by historian Ibn Iyaas (d.930 AH), as 'the greatest of the age.' Many of Egypt's leading dignitaries were among the crowds, Ibn Hajar himself gave readings, poets gave eulogies and gold was distributed.
- 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, which in turn is a reworking of an earlier work.
- 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
- Raf' al-isr 'an qudat Misr – a biographical dictionary of Egyptian judges. Partial French translation in Mathieu Tillier, Vie des cadis de Misr. Cairo: Institut français d'archéologie orientale, 2002.
- Namira Nahouza (2018). Wahhabism and the Rise of the New Salafists: Theology, Power and Sunni Islam. I.B. Tauris. pp. 121–122. ISBN 9781838609832.
- Muhammad ibn 'Alawi al-Maliki. "The Ash'ari School". As-Sunnah Foundation of America. Archived from the original on 12 Jan 2021.
Shaykh al-Islam Ahmad ibn Hajar al-'Asqalani (d. 852/1449; Rahimullah), the mentor of Hadith scholars and author of the book "Fath al-Bari bi-Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari", which not a single Islamic scholar can dispense with, was Ash'ari. The shaykh of the scholars of Sunni Islam, Imam al-Nawawi (d. 676/1277; Rahimullah), author of "Sharh Sahih Muslim" and many other famous works, was Ash'ari. The master of Qur'anic exegetes, Imam al-Qurtubi (d. 671/1273; Rahimullah), author of "al-Jami' li-Ahkam al-Qur'an", was Ash'ari. Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Hajar al-Haytami (d. 974/1567; Rahimullah), who wrote "al-Zawajir 'an Iqtiraf al-Kaba'ir", was Ash'ari. The Shaykh of Sacred Law and Hadith, the conclusive definitive Zakariyya al-Ansari (d. 926/1520; Rahimullah), was Ash'ari. Imam Abu Bakr al-Baqillani (d. 403/1013; Rahimullah), Imam al-'Asqalani; Imam al-Nasafi (d. 710/1310; Rahimullah); Imam al-Shirbini (d. 977/1570; Rahimullah); Abu Hayyan al-Tawhidi, author of the Qur'anic commentary "al-Bahr al-Muhit"; Imam Ibn Juzayy (d. 741/1340; Rahimullah); author of "al-Tashil fi 'Ulum al-Tanzil"; and others – all of these were Imams of the Ash'aris.
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- Thail Tabaqaat al-Huffaath, pg. 251.
- Kifayat Ullah, Al-Kashshaf: Al-Zamakhshari's Mu'tazilite Exegesis of the Qur'an, de Gruyter (2017), p. 40
- al-Dhahabi. Siyar A'lam al-Nubala'. 16. p. 154.
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