Can you provide a brief biography of Hafiz Ibn Kathir (rahimahullah)?
Hafiz ‘Imadud Din Isma’il ibn ‘Umar ibn Kathir (rahimahullah) was a Shafi’i Scholar and renowned Mufassir (exegete). He was born approximately in 700/701 A.H in Busra, Sham. At the age of 6 or 7, he moved to Damascus with his brother after the demise of his father. ‘Allamah Ibn Kathir states that he begun his studies under the tutorship of his brother, ‘Abdul Wahhab. In the year 711 A.H, he had memorised the Quran.
He studied Fiqh under Burhanud Din Al Fazari and Kamalud Din ibn Qadi Shahbah (rahimahumallah). He spent many years in the company of his esteemed teacher, ‘Allamah Abu Hajjaj Al Mizzi (rahimahullah) and also married his daughter. He also spent time in the company of ‘Allamah ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullah). Hafiz Ibn Kathir (rahimahullah) was ‘Allamah Dhahabi’s contemporary and also took Hadith from him.
Hafiz Ibn Kathir (rahimahullah) taught in many institutions including the Darul Hadith Al Ashrafiyyah in Damascus -albeit for a short while-, an institute wherein luminaries like Allamah Nawawi and Subki (rahimahumallah) conducted Hadith lessons.
Among his students were: Imams Shihabud Din ibn Hijji, Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibnul Jazari and Badrud Din Az Zarkashi.
He authored many books in the various different branches of Din. Two of his books are extremely popular, viz. Tafsir Ibn Kathir and his book on History, Al Bidayah Wan Nihayah. Hafiz Ibn Hajar (rahimahullah) writes, “He had great awareness of [knowledge], his books traversed the different cities and towns and people benefited from them after his demise.”
He passed away in the year 774 A.H and is buried close to his teacher, Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullah).
References: Al Mu’jamul Mukhtass Bil Muhaddithin of ‘Allamah Dhahabi, pg. 74/75, Imbaul Ghumr, vol. 1 pg. 39/40, Ad Durarul Kaminah, vol. 1 pg. 400, Tabaqatul Huffaz of ‘Allamah Suyuti, pg. 533/534, Shadaratudh Dhahab, vol. 6 pg. 432, Al Badrut Tali’, vol. 1 pg. 102/103, Al A’alam, vol. 1 pg. 320, Ibn Kathir Ad Dimishqi of D. Muhammad Az Zuhayli
And Allah Ta’ala Knows best.
Answered by: Moulana Suhail Motala
Approved by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar