Sunday, 25 December 2011

Shaykh al-Islam Imam Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani (d.852 AH)

Shaykh al-Islam
Imam Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani
 (b.773AH - d.852 AH) ( 1372 CE - 1449 CE)

Abu’l-Fadl Ahmad ibn Hajar’s family originated in the district of Qabis in Tunisia. Some members of the family had settled in Palestine, which they left again when faced with the Crusader threat, but he himself was born in Egypt in 773, the son of the Shafi‘i scholar and poet Nur al-Din ‘Ali and the learned and aristocratic Tujjar. Both died in his infancy, and he was later to praise his elder sister, Sitt al-Rakb, for acting as his ‘second mother’. The two children became wards of the brother of his father’s first wife, Zaki al-Din al-Kharrubi, who entered the young Ibn Hajar in a Qur’anic school (kuttab) when he reached five years of age. Here he excelled, learning Surat Maryam in a single day, and progressing to the memorization of texts such as the Mukhtasar of Ibn al-Hajib on usul.

By the time he accompanied al-Kharrubi to Mecca at the age of 12, he was competent enough to lead the Tarawih prayers in the Holy City, where he spent much time studying and recalling God amid the pleasing simplicity of Kharrubi’s house, the Bayt al-‘Ayna’, whose windows looked directly upon the Black Stone.

Two years later his protector died, and his education in Egypt was entrusted to the hadith scholar Shams al-Din ibn al-Qattan, who entered him in the courses given by the great Cairene scholars al-Bulqini (d.806) and Ibn al-Mulaqqin (d.804) in Shafi‘i fiqh, and of Zayn al-Din al-‘Iraqi (d.806) in hadith, after which he was able to travel to Damascus and Jerusalem, where he studied under Shams al-Din al-Qalqashandi (d.809), Badr al-Din al-Balisi (d.803), and Fatima bint al-Manja al-Tanukhiyya (d.803). After a further visit to Mecca and Madina, and to the Yemen, he returned to Egypt. 

When he reached 25 he married the lively and brilliant Anas Khatun, then 18 years of age. She was a hadith expert in her own right, holding ijazas from Zayn al-Din al-‘Iraqi, and she gave celebrated public lectures in the presence of her husband to crowds of ulema among whom was Imam al-Sakhawi. After the marriage, Ibn Hajar moved into her house, where he lived until his death. Many noted how she surrounded herself with the old, the poor and the physically handicapped, whom it was her privilege and pleasure to support. So widely did her reputation for sanctity extend that during her fifteen years of widowhood, which she devoted to good works, she received a proposal from Imam ‘Alam al-Din al-Bulqini, who considered that a marriage to a woman of such charity and Baraka would be a source of great pride.

Once ensconced in Egypt, Ibn Hajar taught in the Sufi lodge (khaniqah) of Baybars for some twenty years, and then in the hadith college known as Dar al-Hadith al-Kamiliyya. During these years, he served on occasion as the Shafi‘i chief justice of Egypt.

It was in Cairo that the Imam wrote some of the most thorough and beneficial books ever added to the library of Islamic civilization. Among these are al-Durar al-Kamina (a biographical dictionary of leading figures of the eighth century), a commentary on the Forty Hadith of Imam al-Nawawi (a scholar for whom he had particular respect); Tahdhib al-Tahdhib (an abbreviation of Tahdhib al-Kamal,the encyclopedia of hadith narrators by al-Mizzi), al-Isaba fi tamyiz al-Sahaba (the most widely-used dictionary of Companions), and Bulugh al-Maram min adillat al-ahkam (on Shafi‘i fiqh).

In 817, Ibn Hajar commenced the enormous task of assembling his

 It began as a series of formal dictations to his hadith students, after which he wrote it out in his own hand and circulated it section by section to his pupils, who would discuss it with him once a week. As the work progressed and its author’s fame grew, the Islamic world took a close interest in the new work.

In 833, Timur’s son Shahrukh sent a letter to the Mamluk sultan al-Ashraf Barsbay requesting several gifts, including a copy of the Fath, and Ibn Hajar was able to send him the first three volumes. 

In 839 the request was repeated, and further volumes were sent, until, in the reign of al-Zahir Jaqmaq, the whole text was finished and a complete copy was dispatched. Similarly, the Moroccan sultan Abu Faris ‘Abd al-‘Aziz al-Hafsi requested a copy before its completion. 

When it was finished, in Rajab 842, a great celebration was held in an open place near Cairo, in the presence of the ulema, judges, and leading personages of Egypt.

 Ibn Hajar sat on a platform and read out the final pages of his work, and then poets recited eulogies and gold was distributed. It was, says the historian Ibn Iyas, ‘the greatest celebration of the age in Egypt.’

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Hajar departed this life in 852AH. His funeral was attended by ‘fifty thousand people’, including the sultan and the caliph; ‘even the Christians grieved.’ He was remembered as a gentle man, short, slender, and white-bearded, a lover of chess and calligraphy, much inclined to charity; ‘good to those who wronged him, and forgiving to those he was able to punish.’ A lifetime’s proximity to the hadith had imbued him with a deep love of the Messenger (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), as is shown nowhere more clearly than in the poetry assembled in his Diwan, an original manuscript of which has been preserved at the Egyptian National Library.

A few lines will suffice to show this well:

By the gate of your generosity stands a sinner, who is mad with love,
O best of mankind in radiance of face and countenance!
Through you he seeks a means [tawassala], hoping for Allah’s forgiveness of slips;
from fear of Him, his eyelid is wet with pouring tears.
Although his genealogy attributes him to a stone [hajar],
how often tears have flowed, sweet, pure and fresh!
Praise of you does not do you justice, but perhaps,
In eternity, its verses will be transformed into mansions.
My praise of you shall continue for as long as I live,

For I see nothing that could ever deflect me from your praise.


Fath ul-Bari fi Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari
فتح الباري
"Grant of the Creator"
is the most valued Sunni commentary of Sahih al-Bukhari,

written by Ibn Hajr Asqalani.

The foremost student of Imam Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani(RA)

Shams al-Din Muhammad ibn `Abd al-Rahman al-Sakhawi

(b.831 AH – d.902 AH) 

The foremost student of Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani and a great jurist, historian, and hadith master, Shams al-Din Muhammad ibn `Abd al-Rahman al-Sakhawi, like Taqi al-Din al-Subki and al-Suyuti, belonged to the Shadhili order founded by Abu al-Hasan al-Shadhili, as represented by the great Maliki Master Ibn `Ata' Allah, five of whose works al-Sakhawi transmitted to posterity, including the Hikam, from the Shadhili commentator Ahmad Zarruq (d. 899).

In his biography of the famous men of his time entitled al-Daw' al-lami` al-Sakhawi reveals that his father Zayn al-Din `Abd al-Rahman ibn Muhammad (d. 874) was a Cairo-born Sufi of great piety, and a member of the Baybarsiyya Sufi community where Ibn Hajar, Sakhawi's teacher, taught for forty years. [al-Sakhawi, al-Daw' al-lami` (Beirut: dar maktabat al-hayat, 1966) 4:124-125.]

In the section of his al-Jawahir al-mukallala fi al-akhbar al-musalsala devoted to the transmission of hadith through chains formed exclusively of Sufi narrators, Sakhawi states that he himself had received the Sufi path from Zayn al-Din Ridwan al-Muqri' in Cairo.[A.J. Arberry, Sakhawiana: A Study Based on the Chester Beatty Ms. Arab. 773 (London: Emery Walker Ltd., 1951) p. 35.]

In the same work Sakhawi also mentions several of his teachers and students of hadith who were Sufis. Here are the names of some of them, together with the words used by him to describe them in his biographical work al-Daw' al-lami`:*

Abu Bakr ibn Muhammad al-Hishi al-Halabi al-Shafi`i (b. 848) the head of the Bistamiyya Sufis in Aleppo, the mother trunk of the Naqshbandi Sufi order affiliated with Abu Yazid al-Bistami. He spent two years in Mecca with Sakhawi, who wrote him an ijaza or permission to teach.
In this ijaza Sakhawi calls him: "Our master, the masterful Imam of merits and guidance, the Educator of Murids (students in the Sufi path), the Mainstay of Wayfarers in the Sufi path, the Noble Abu Bakr al-Hishi al-Halabi, may Allah preserve him and have mercy on his gracious predecessors (i.e. the chain of his shaykhs in the Sufi path), and may Allah grant us and all Muslims their benefits." [al-Sakhawi, al-Daw' al-lami` 11:96-97, 74-75.]
Badr al-Din Hussayn ibn Siddiq al-Yamani al-Ahdal (d. 903): al-Sakhawi gave him a comprehensive ijaza granting him permission to teach all of his books.4
Abu al-Fath Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr al-Madani al-Maraghi (d. 859): Sakhawi took hadith from him. He was head of two Sufi khaniqas in Cairo, the Zamamiyya and the Jamaliyya. He led a life of seclusion for the most part, and wrote a commentary on Nawawi's manual of Law Minhaj al-talibin, and an epitome of Ibn Hajar's Fath al-bari because of his defense of Ibn `Arabi, he was murdered in front of the Ka`ba by a fanatic.5
Taqi al-Din Abu Bakr ibn Muhammad al-Qalqashandi (d. 867), also called `Abd Allah. He received the Sufi khirqa or cloak of authority in Cairo. He is said to have read the whole of Sahih al-Bukhari in three days while in Mecca. He lived in al-Quds, where al-Sakhawi met him and took hadith from him.6
Thiqat al-Din Abu al-`Abbas Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-`Uqbi (d. 861). He taught hadith and tajwid in Mecca, where Sakhawi studied under him.7
Kamal al-Din Muhammad ibn `Abd al-Wahid al-Sikandari al-Siwasi (d. 861). He was a master of all sciences and taught at the Madrasa al-Ashrafiyya in Cairo, after which he headed the Shaykhuni Sufi khaniqa. He authored many books.8
Abu `Abd Allah Muhammad ibn `Ali al-Husayni al-Qahiri al-Shafi`i al-Sufi (d. 876). Munawi's deputy judge in Cairo, a student of `Izz al-Din ibn Jama`a, Jalal al-Din al-Bulqini and many others, and a student and friend of Sakhawi's teacher Ibn Hajar whose work Fath al-bari he copied twice. A teacher of fiqh and hadith, he wrote an epitome of Ibn al-Athir's Kitab al-ansab. He was an old acquaintance of Sakhawi's father, and consequently treated Sakhawi himself "with indescribable respect." He was one of the ten students to whom Ibn Hajar gave his authority in teaching hadith after him.9
Abu Khalid Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr al-Jibrini (d. 860). He was a writer, archer, horseman, and Sufi shaykh at the zawiya (alcove-mosque) of Jibrin, where al-Sakhawi met him and took hadith from him. Sakhawi says of him: "He was handsome, modest, generous, courageous, and endowed with spiritual strength and virility after the shaykhs of true majesty."10
Zaki al-Din Abu al-`Abbas Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-Ansari al-Khazraji al-Sa`di al-Muqri' al-Sufi (d. 875). An associate of Ibn Hajar and a prolific writer, he wrote an autobiography in more than fifty volumes, although Sakhawi said he was unaffected, congenial, readily given to tears, and quick of repartee.11
Thiqat al-Din Abu `Ali Mahmud ibn `Ali al-Sufi al-Khaniki (d. 865). Born and raised in Cairo's Khaniqa al-Siryaqusiyya where he taught late in life. He died while at Mecca for the pilgrimage.12
Abu al-Faraj `Abd al-Rahman ibn Khalil al-Dimashqi al-Sufi (d. 869). He was a muhaddith. Al-Sakhawi studied under him in Cairo and at the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus.13
Al-Tuhfah al-latifah fi Tarikh al-Madinah al-Sharifah (التحفة اللطيفة في تاريخ المدينة الشريفة): About Madinah al-Munawwara.
Fath al-Mugeeth bi Sharh Alfiyat al-Hadith (Al-'Iraqi)
Al-Daw' al-lami` li ahli al-Qarni al-Tasi
Al-Jawahir wa al-Durar fi Tarjamat Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Hajar (al-Asqalani) ("Pearls and Diamonds: the Biography of Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Hajar of `Asqalan")
"Al-Maqasid al-Hasanah"
 "Ashratu Sa'ah" (Signs of the Day of Judgment) - which has been recently reprinted with 'Tahqiq' by Muhammad al-'Aqeel.
Al-rilah al-alabīyah wa tarājimihā (الرحلة الحلبية وتراجمها)
Al-rilah al-Makkīyah (الرحلة المكية)
Al-rilah al-Sakandarīyah (الرحلة السكندرية)
Al-baladaniyat al-ʻalīyāt (البلدنيات العليات): A book where he recorded the names of 80 towns he visited and took knowledge from its scholars.
 Bughyat al-rāwī bi-man akhadha ʻanhu al-Sakhawi (بغية الراوي بمن أخذ عنه السخاوي) or Al-imtinān bi-shuyūkh Muhammad ibn `Abd al-Rahman (الامتنان بشيوخ محمد بن عبد الرحمن): A dictionary that lists the names of all his teachers.
4 Ibid. 3:144-145.
5 Ibid. 7:162-165.
6 Ibid. 11:69-71.
7 Ibid. 2:212-213.
8 Ibid. 8:127-132.
9 Ibid. 8:176-178.
10 Ibid. 7:197.
11 Ibid. 2:146-149.
12 Ibid. 10:140-141.
13 Ibid. 4:76.



Wahhabi/Salafi says:


^Yasir Qadhi, nicknamed as “Abu Ammar” in the Al-Maghrib Institute Forums, had this to say of the great scholar, Imam Shams al-Din al-Sakhawi (may Allah bless him abundantly), known to be the foremost student of the eminent scholarly giant of Islam, Imam Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani.

Quote: Yasir Qadhi says:
“As-Sakhawi, with all due respect to his knowledge of hadeeth, was not purely upon the ‘aqeedah of Ahl as-Sunnah.” Source: Here


Imam Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti

 A Very Young Student of 

Shaykh al-Islam
Imam Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani

Imam Ibn Hajar - (b.773 – d.852AH) 
Imam Suyuti     - (b.849 - d.911 AH)

`Abd al-Rahman ibn Kamal al-Din Abi Bakr ibn Muhammad ibn Sabiq al-Din, 
Jalal al-Din al-Misri al-Suyuti al-Shafi`i al-Ash`ari, 
also known as 

Ibn al-Asyuti 

The mujtahid imam and renewer of the tenth Islamic century, foremost hadith master, jurist, Sufi, philologist, and historian, he authored works in virtually every Islamic science. 


"" The relationship between the great scholars of this ummah is an interesting one. I recently came across Allamah Abd al-Hay al-Luknawi’s work in which he corrects some of the mistakes found in the books of Nawab Siddiq Hasan Khan.

One matter which Sh. al-Luknawi and Nawab Siddiq Hasan Khan discussed in their written works in response to each other was the issue of whether Imam al-Suyuti had actually studied with Hafidh Ibn Hajar

Hafidh Ibn Hajar and Imam al-Suyuti
I was unaware that there was a link between Hafidh Ibn Hajar and Imam al-Suyuti. I had assumed that the latter had come sometime after than the former, however this is not the case.

al-Luknawi mentions in his ‘Nafi al-Kabir’(p.44) that,

 Hafidh Ibn Hajar passed away in 852H whilst Imam al-Suyuti was born in 849H. Working out the dates of the death and birth of these scholars it appears that Imam al-Suyuti was three and a half years of age at the time of Hafidh Ibn Hajars passing away.

Possible Scenario
al-Luknawi postulated that it might have been possible that:

 Imam al-Suyuti had been taken to Hafidh Ibn Hajars lesson whilst he was still a very young child, and had been present when a general ijazah had been given to the attendee’s, thus including him.

A Very Young Student
This possible scenario turned out to be true as mentioned by Imam al-Suyuti himself in Tadhkirah al-Huffadh in the biography of Hafidh Ibn Hajar that:

And I have a general ijazah from him, and I do not deem it far fetched that I have a specific Ijazah from him, for my father would visit him often.

Likewise in his Tadrib al-Rawi (2/407) he mentions the pattern chained (musalsal) narration of Huffadh wherein he mentions his narration from Hafidh Ibn Hajar by way of general Ijazah, adding that:

I do not narrate anything else by it (meaning the general ijazah) except this hadith

An Ijazah to a Child
What we also learn from this, as mentioned by the scholars (whilst discussing Imam al-Suyuti’s Ijazah from Hafidh Ibn Hajar whilst still a child) is that an Ijazah given to a non discerning minor is correct and valid according to the scholars of hadith.

We can also perhaps reflect on the scene of Imam al-Suyuti as a child of three and a half or younger, with his father in the gathering of Hafidh Ibn Hajar, and also the possibility (as pointed out above) of Imam al-Suyuti being taken to Hafidh Ibn Hajar who grants this very young child a specific Ijazah who then goes on to become one of the great scholars of this Ummah.


Rude criticism by al-Albani to Imam as-Suyuti (RA)

Al-Albani said in his ad-as-Silisla Da'ifa (3 / 479):
فيا عجبا للسيوطي كيف لم يخجل
“I wonder why as-Suyuti has not ashamed, because he's such a Hadith is mentioned in his al-Dschaami 'as-Saghiir.”
And he said in his ad-as-Silisla Da'ifa (4 / 386):
ثم إن السيوطي تناقض
“... And as-Suyuti contradicted himself”


Wahhabi say:

Articles Islamic Personality:
 Wednesday, February 21, 07


"Many scholars have compiled biographies al Hafizh broad. In one of the best, that is writing his students, Al 'Allamah as-Sakhawi, in his book, Al Jawahir ward Durar Tarjamati fees Ibn al Hafizh hajar.
And after all this, he, may Allah forgive him, have faith that is mixed with Asy'ariyah. Until he is Allaah, including scholars who menta'wilkan the nature of God, which sometimes with non-confirmation. This road menyelisihi salafush Salih .”1

 1 [Can be known from the view of Shaykh 'Abdul' Aziz bin Baaz for the book early juz juz Fathul-Bari. Similarly, several errors related to the belief that given comments by Sheikh Ali bin 'Abdul' Aziz bin Ali al-Syibl a further comment Shaykh 'Abdul Aziz bin Baaz. These comments were compiled in the book at-Tanbih 'alal Mukhalafat al' Faith Bari Fathil fees.]


^ “Shaykh al-Albanian says, is an oppression to say they (ie an-Nawawi and Ibn Hajar al 'Asqalani) and those like them, including to the ranks of heresy. 
According to Shaykh al Albanian, although both beraqidah Asy'ariyyah, but they do not accidentally menyelisihi Holy Scripture and as Sunnah.
Their assumptions, beliefs they inherited Asy'ariyyah is two things: First, that Imam al Ash'ari said that, though he did not say, except at the previous time, (then he left and headed for the faith Salaf, Red). Second, they think the truth which they do not .”[2]

2 [Cassette Man Man wa Huwa Huwa Al Kafir al Mubtadi '? Quoted from catatam feet Ajwibah al al al manahij Mufidah min As'ilah al Jadidah, case 221; Decrees Shaykh Salih al fauzan collected by Jamal bin Furaihan al Haritsi.]
[Magazine Edition Sunnah 11/X/1428 H/2007 M with a few changes]



Handwriting of Imam al-Suyuti (ra)

( Ref: Ahmed Taymur from his personal manuscript library as per his Qabr al-Imam al-Suyuti, p. 24, 1346AH)


75 Times

He was seen in a dream asking the Prophet (peace be upon him) questions about the hadith and the Prophet replying to him, ‘Ask, oh Shaykh of the Sunna.’
He himself saw in a dream that he was asking the Prophet (peace be upon him) about hadiths and the Prophet said, ‘Ask oh Shaykh of the Hadith.’

And he confided to his friend, shaykh Abd al-Qadir al-Shadhili, that he saw the Prophet (peace be upon him) in the waking state, saying to him, Oh Shaykh of the Hadith!’ 
So he said, ‘Oh Messenger of Allah, am I of the people of Paradise?’
So he (peace be upon him) said ‘yes.’ 
‘Without prior punishment?’
 So he said ‘yes.’

Abd al-Qadir al-Shadhili asked him, ‘How many times have you seen the Prophet (peace be upon him) while awake?’ He replied, ‘Seventy-some times.’
Imam Abdul Wahhab al-Sha’rani said, ‘I saw in Shaykh Jalaluddin al-Suyuti’s own handwriting a letter preserved with his companion Shaykh Abd al-Qadir al-Shadhili, to someone who had asked his intercession with Sultan Qaytbay.  Its text is as follows:
" Know my brother that I have been united with the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) until now, seventy five times in which I both saw him and spoke to him, in a waking state. And if it were not for my fear that I will be veiled from him (peace be upon him) if I approach the rulers, I would have entered the Citadel and interceded for you with the Sultan. But I am a man among the servants of his hadith, peace be upon him, and I need him to show the (true) hadiths that the hadith scholars have deemed to be weak, as correct, and that is undoubtedly of greater benefit than assisting you, my brother."

On waking visions of the Prophet (salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam) see:
Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim
Imam Jalaluddin Suyuti’s  Tanwir al-halak
Abd al-Qadir ibn Mughayzil al-Shadhili’s  al-Kawakib al-zahira.


 Imam Jalaluddin Suyuti(RA) 


The Holy Prophet
(Salallaho Alaihi Wasalam)
72 Times…


Edited by ADHM