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. 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.”
Ismail Ibn Kathir
|Born||c. 1300 / 701 H|
|Died||18 February 1373 / 774 H|
|Era||Bahri Mamluk Sultanate|
|Denomination||Sunni (Classical Salafism)|
|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.
|Patronymic (Nasab)||ibn ʿUmar ibn Kaṯīr |
بن عمر بن كثير
|Teknonymic (Kunya)||Abū l-Fidāʾ|
|Epithet (Laqab)||ʿImād ud-Dīn|
"pillar of the faith"
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). 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. 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.
In later life, he became blind. 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.
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. Furthermore, like Ibn Taymiyyah, he counts as an anti-rationalistic, traditionalistic and hadith oriented. 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. 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)
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 the use of Isra'iliyyats. Many Sunni Muslims hold his commentary as the best after Tafsir al-Tabari and it is highly regarded especially among Salafi school of thought. 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 derived from Ibn Taimiyya's influence, who discounted much of the exegetical tradition since then.
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.
Tafseer al-Qurʾān al-ʿAẓeem is controversial in academic circles. Henri Laoust regards it primary as a philological work and "very elementary". Norman Calder describes it as narrow-minded, dogmatic and sceptical against the intellectuel achievements of former exegetes. His concern is limited to rate the Quranby the corpus of hadith and is the first, who flat rates jewish sources as lying, while simultaneously use them, just as prophetic hadith, selectively to support his prefabricated opinion. Otherwise, Jane Dammen McAuliffe regards this tafsir as, deliberately and carefully selection, whose interpretation is unique to his own judgement to preserve, that he regards as best among his traditions.
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.
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.
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.
NOTE: Many books listed here remain unpublished.
Ibn Kathīr is often portrayed as the “spokesperson” for Ibn Taymiyya, one who promoted his work and implemented his theories. Ibn Kathīr is more accurately described as a Shāfi‘ī traditionalists or a group of Shāfiʻī ḥadīth scholars who maintained a traditionalist creed.
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’.
Ibn Qāḍī al-Shuhba concludes mentioning that Ibn Kathīr was buried ‘next to his teacher (shaykhihi) Ibn Taymiyya’.
Abd al-Rahman ibn Katir al-Lahmi was the penultimate Umayyad governor of Al Andalus from October 746 until January 747. He was succeeded by Yusuf ibn 'Abd al-Rahman al-Fihri.Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Kathir al-Farghani
Abū al-ʿAbbās Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad ibn Kathīr al-Farghānī. (800/805-870) also known as Alfraganus in the West, was an astronomer in the Abbasid court in Baghdad, and one of the most famous astronomers in the 9th century. The lunar crater Alfraganus is named after him.Al-Hadid
Surah al-Ḥadīd (English: Iron; Arabic: سورة الحديد) is the 57th chapter of the Quran with 29 verses. The chapter takes its name from that word which appears in the 25th verse. This is an Al-Musabbihat surah because it begins with the glorification of Allah.
In his tafsir (exegesis) , Ma’ariful-Qur’an, Muhammad Shafi Deobandi wrote: “It is recorded in Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi and Nasa’i that Sayyidna ‘Irbad Ibn Sariyah (may Allah be pleased with him) said that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) used to recite Al-Musabbihat before he went to sleep and said: ‘In them there is a verse that is more meritorious than a thousand verses’.
“The collective name of the series Al-Musabbihat refers to the following five Surahs: (1) Al-Hadid; (2) Al-Hashr; (3) As-Saff; (4) Al-Jumu’ah; and (5) At-Taghabun.
“Having cited this Hadith, Ibn Kathir says that the best verse referred to in Surah Al-Hadid is verse (3). (He is the First and the Last, and the Manifest and the Hidden, and He is All-knowing about everything . . . 57:3).
“Among the five Surahs, the first three namely Al-Hadid, Al-Hashr and As-Saff commence with the past perfect tense ‘sabbaha’ (purity has been proclaimed) whilst the last two, namely Al-Jumu’ah and At-Taghabun commence with the imperfect tense ‘yusabbihu’ (purity is proclaimed). This implies that the purity of Allah should be declared at all times, the past, the present and the future.[Mazhari]”Al-Hashr
Surah al-Hashr (Arabic: سورة الحشر, "The Exile") is the 59th chapter (surah) of the Qur'an and has 24 verses. The chapter is named al-hashr because the word hashr, meaning 'exile' or 'banishment', appears in verse 2, describing the expulsion of Jewish Banu Nadir tribe from their settlements. The surah features 15 attributes of God in the last three verses. A similitude is given in verse 21. Verse 6 may be related to the controversies of the land of Fadak.Al-Qaria
Al-Qāriʻah (Arabic: القارعة) is the 101st chapter (sūrah) of the Quran with 11 verses (āyāt). This chapter takes its name from its first word "qariah", referring to the Quranic view of the end time and eschatology. "Qariah" has been translated to calamity, striking, catastrophe, clatterer, etc. According to Ibn Kathir, a traditional exegete, Al-Qariah is one of the names of the Day of Judgement, like Al-Haaqqa, At-Tammah, As-Sakhkhah and others. After a picturesque depiction of judgement day in first 5 ayaat, next 4 ayat describe that Allah's Court will be established and the people will be called upon to account for their deeds. The people whose good deeds will be heavier, will be blessed with bliss and happiness, and the people whose good deeds will be lighter, will be cast into the burning fire of hell. The last 2 ayaat describe Háwíyah in similar emphatic way as Al-Qariah was emphasized in the beginning.Araf (Islam)
A'raf (Arabic: الأعراف) is the Muslim separator realm or borderland between heaven and hell, inhabited by the people who are evenly balanced in their sins and virtues. This place may be described as a kind of beneficent purgatory with privation but without suffering. The word is literally translated as "The Heights" in English. The realm is described as a high curtain between hell and paradise. Ibn Kathir described A'raf as a wall that contains a gate. In this high wall lived people who witness the terror of hell and the beauty of paradise. They yearn to enter paradise, but their sins and virtues are evenly balanced. Yet with the mercy of God, they will be among the last people to enter the paradise. The Catholic scholar of Islam Louis Massignon believed, the christian concept of limbo was inspired by the Muslim interpretation of A'raf.Conquest of Fadak
The Surrender of Fadak, also spelt Fidak, or Fidk took place in May 628AD, 2nd month of 7AH of the Islamic calendar.The Prophet Mohammed had found out that the People of Fadak had collected in order to fight the Muslims alongside the Khaybar Jews. Therefore, he sent Ali to them.The people of Fadak surrendered without a fight, and pleaded for a peace treaty in exchange for giving away half their land and wealth to Mohammed.Fadak became Mohammad’s private property (a Fai), as there was no Muslim fighters involved in Fadak to share the booty with. Mohammed gave the wealth away to orphans and also used it to finance the marriage of needy young men.Expedition of Khalid ibn al-Walid (Nakhla)
The expedition of Khalid ibn al-Walid to Nakhla took place in January 630 AD, 8AH, in the 9th month of the Islamic Calendar.Khalid ibn al-Walid was sent to destroy the idol Goddess al-Uzza which was worshipped by polytheists; he did this successfully.Harut and Marut
Harut and Marut (Arabic: هَـارُوت وَمَـارُوت, Hārūṫ wa-Mārūṫ) are the two angels mentioned in the second surah of the Quran, who were present during the reign of Sulaymân (Arabic: سُـلَـيْـمَـان, Solomon), and were located at Bābil (Arabic: بَـابِـل, Babylon). According to some narratives, those two angels were in the time of Idrîs (Arabic: إِدْرِيْـس). The Quran indicates that they were a trial for the people and through them the people were tested with sorcery. The names are probably etymologically related to Haurvatat and Ameretat, two Zoroastrian archangels.Houri
The houris (; from Persian: حُـورِی, ḥūrī; plural of ḥaurāʾ or ḥūrīyah; Arabic: حُـورِيَّـة) are beings in Islamic mythology, described in English translations as "and splendid companions of equal age [or well-matched]", "lovely eyed", of "modest gaze" and virgins who will accompany the faithful in Jannah (Muslim paradise).Ibn Kathir al-Makki
Abu Ma‘bad Abdullah al-‘Attar al-Dari, better known as Ibn Kathir al-Makki (45-120AH), was one of the transmitters of the seven canonical Qira'at, or methods of reciting the Qur'an. His reading was generally popular among the people of Mecca.Al-Makki was born in Mecca and was one of the Tabi‘un. He met the prophetic companions Anas ibn Malik and Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr, and he learned his recitation method from a student of the prophetic companion Abd Allah ibn Abbas who in turn learned from Ubay ibn Ka'b and Zayd ibn Thabit who both learned directly from the prophet Muhammad. Al-Shafi‘i, the namesake of one of the four primary schools of thought in Sunni Islam, preferred to recite the Qur'an according to al-Makki's method.He died in the year 737CE. Though associated with the people of Mecca, he was ethnically Persian. The two primary transmitters of his method of recitation, Al-Buzzi and Qunbul, were Persian and Meccan respectively.Invasion of Banu Qaynuqa
According to Islamic tradition, the invasion of Banu Qaynuqa, also known as the expedition against Banu Qaynuqa, occurred in 624 AD. The Banu Qaynuqa were a Jewish tribe expelled by the Islamic prophet Muhammad for breaking the treaty known as the Constitution of Medina by pinning the clothes of a Muslim woman such that when she tried to move, her clothes tore and she was stripped naked. A Muslim killed a Jew in retaliation, and the Jews in turn killed the Muslim man. This escalated to a chain of revenge killings, and enmity grew between Muslims and the Banu Qaynuqa, leading to the siege of their fortress. The tribe eventually surrendered to Muhammad, who initially wanted to capture the men of Banu Qaynuqa but ultimately yielded to Abdullah ibn Ubayy's insistence and agreed to expel the Qaynuqa.Invasion of Banu Qurayza
The Invasion of Banu Qurayza took place in the Dhul Qa‘dah during February and March of 627 AD (5 AH).The Banu Qurayza initially told the Muslims that they were allied to them during the Battle of the Trench, however, later they sided with the Pagan Arabs of Quraysh and their allies. According to traditional sources, Jewish leaders organized efforts against Muhammad and the Muslims. Three Jewish leaders from the tribe of Banu al-Nadir, three Jewish leaders from the tribe of Wa'il, and various other Jewish groups and leaders united and pressured Banu Qurayza to betray their agreement to Muhammad. Afzalur Rahman states that during the Battle of the Trench, when the Muslims were surrounded by a large hostile force, the Banu Qurayza joined the enemies of the Muslims and threatened the Muslims from within the town itself. Waqidi claims that Muhammad had a treaty with the tribe which was torn apart. Norman Stillman and Watt believe such a treaty was "doubtful" to have existed, though Watt believes the Qurayza had agreed not to assist Muhammad's enemies against him. According to Mubrakpuri, Peters, Stillman, Guillaume, Inamdar and Ibn Kathir, on the day of the Meccans' withdrawal Muhammad led his forces against Banu Qurayza. According to Muslim tradition he had been ordered to do so by God.The Banu Qurayza, a Jewish tribe, were besieged for 25 days until they surrendered. According to Mohammed al-Ghazali, during that time the Muslims allowed the Jews who had refused to betray the Prophet during the Battle of the Ditch to leave and "go wherever they wished". Sa'd ibn Mu'adh, a companion of Muhammad, was chosen by him as an arbiter and all parties agreed to abide by his judgment. Sa'd gave his verdict that "the men should be killed, the property divided, and the women and children taken as captives". Muhammad approved of the ruling, calling it similar to God's judgment, after which nearly all male members of the tribe who had reached puberty were beheaded. The Muslim jurist Tabari quotes 600–900 being executed. The Sunni hadith do not give the number killed, but state that all pubescent males were killed and one woman.According to Ibn Kathir, Quranic verses 33:26-27 and 33:9-10 are about the attack against the Banu Qurayza.Researcher, W. N. Arafat places doubt on the description of events described by Ibn Ishaq (which was used later by Tabari as his sole source). Arafat states in regards to the reception of Ibn Ishaq's and Tabari's account: "The attitude of scholars and historians to Ibn lshaq's version of the story has been either one of complacency, sometimes mingled with uncertainty, or at least in two important cases, one of condemnatlon and outright rejection." Ibn Ishaq was criticized by Sunni scholar, Malik ibn Anas as being "a liar" and somebody "who transmits his stories from the Jews."List of Sunni books
This is a list of significant books of Sunni Islam doctrine.Luqman
Luqman (also known as Luqman the Wise, Luqmaan, Lukman, and Luqman al-Hakeem; Arabic: لقمان) was a wise man for whom Surah Luqman (Arabic: سورة لقمان), the thirty-first surah (chapter) of the Quran, was named. While the Quran does not state many personal details about Luqman's life, including when or where Luqman lived in
, later Islamic traditions have elaborated upon his story. Some tales portray him as a man of Nubian descent, while others state that he was of South Arabian origin. There are many stories about Luqman in Persian, Arabic and Turkish literature, and various tafsir collections comment upon these stories. The Quran does not state whether or not Luqman was a prophet, and Islamic scholars have differing views of the matter. The Bahá'í holy writings also make reference to Luqman.Millat Ibrahim
The Quran refers to the faith of Ibrahim (Abraham) as Millat Ibrahim (millatu Ibrāhīm). Millat Ibrahim denotes the ideology of Ibrahim in the Quran and how he reached them after his intellectual and spiritual journey.The Quran tells about his experiences in the quest for the truth. How he first considered a star, moon and sun as his gods but rejected them as mere creatures and how he finally believed in their Creator (Quran 6:76-79). Islamic scholars such as Ibn Kathir state that this episode is to be viewed as Abraham debating with and responding to the claims of his people; Imam ibn Kathir writes in his Tafsir ibn Kathir "We should note here that, in these Ayat, Ibrahim, peace be upon him, was debating with his people, explaining to them the error of their way in worshipping idols and images. ... When he proved that these three objects were not gods, although they are the brightest objects the eyes can see, (he said: "O my people! I am indeed free from all that you join as partners in worship with Allah.") meaning, I am free from worshipping these objects and from taking them as protectors. Therefore, if they are indeed gods as you claim, then all of you bring your plot against me and do not give me respite."The word Millah is used in 15 different verses of Quran. Ten of them (2:120, 2:130, 2:135, 3:95, 4:125, 6:161, 12:37, 12:38, 16:123, 22:78) refers, either directly or indirectly, to IbrahimQisas Al-Anbiya
The Qiṣaṣ al-'Anbiyā' (Arabic: قصص الأنبياء) or Stories of the Prophets is any of various collections of stories adapted from the Quran and other Islamic literature, closely related to exegesis of the Qur'an. One of the best-known is a work composed by the Persian author Abū Ishāq Ibrāhīm bin Mansūr bin Khalaf of Neyshābūr (a city located in Khorasan, Northeast Iran) the 12th century (AH 5th century); another was composed by Muhammad al-Kisai in the 8th century (AH 2th century); others include the Ara'is al-Majalis by al-Tha'alabi (d. 1035, AH 427) and the Qisas al-Anbiya by Ibn Kathir (d. 1372, AH 774). The narrations within the Qisas Al-Anbiya, are not about historical accuracy, but rather about wisdom and moral teachings.Tarteel
Tarteel (Arabic: ترتيل) is the Arabic word for hymnody, the term is commonly translated in reference to the Qur'an as "recitation, "in proper order" and "with no haste."
This word is used in chapter 73 named سورة المزمل, verse 4 of the Qur'an:
"and recite the Qur'an in slow measured rhythmic tones."The Arabic word translated as "slow, measured rhythmic tones" is tarteel. It is also the term used to define the rules explaining proper recitation of the Qur'an in the manner that Gabriel revealed it to Muhammad. While reciting one has to keep in mind the fasl (division) and wasl (joining) of words and sentences. The interpretation of the above mentioned verse according to Ibn Kathir is "recite the Quran slowly, making the letters clear, for this is an assistance in understanding and pondering the meaning of the Quran."
The fourth caliph Ali ibn Abi Talib said that tarteel is delivering words according to their makharij (outlets for sound or intonations). Saying the words clearly and slowly and reciting with understanding and uttering the contents correctly is of prime importance. One should neither recite the Qur'an with such speed that it might become incomprehensible and bore the listener nor the recitation be so slow that it takes a long time and puts the listeners off. According to him "Following the middle path is a virtue" or in Arabic: "Khayru l-umūri awsaṭuhā" (خير الأمور أوسطها ).Uz, son of Aram
According to the Table of nations of Genesis 10 in the Hebrew Bible, Uz (Hebrew: עוּץ ‘Ūṣ) is one of the sons of Aram, son of Shem. This makes him a great-grandson of Noah.
He may have given his name to an area of the Middle East, later inhabited by the Old Testament character Job. Flavius Josephus (Ant. 1.6.4) states the tradition that he founded the cities of Trachonitis and Damascus.
According to Muslim scholar Ibn Kathir, he was the father of ‘Ad, the ancestor of the people of ʿĀd.
Scholars of other Sunni Islamic schools of jurisprudence