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Al Haafidh Ibn Hajr Al-'Asqalani
(773H - 852H)

He was, may Allah have mercy on him, Shaykh ul Islam Imam Al-Haafidh Abul Fadl Shihabuddin Ahmad ibn Ali ibn Muhammad Al-Kinani Ash-Shafi'i. Not to be confused with a similar sounding name of another prominent scholar of Islam Al-Haafidh Ibn Rajab Al-Hanbalee (736H - 795H).

Al Haafidh Ibn Hajr Al-'Asqalani was born on Sha'ban 773H in Egypt, where he grew up also. Being raised by his father as his mother passed away in his infancy. So named Ibn Hajar due to a kunya he inherited from his forefathers, and 'Asqalani due to his birthplace in an old Egypt city (Asqalan).

He memorized the Quran at the age of nine years, and mastered Al-Hawi, the book of Mukhtasar of Ibn Al-Hajib and other books. He travelled to Makka and listened to the teaching of its 'Ulama. While he admired the knowledge of Hadith and began to acquire it from the great scholars of Hijaz, Ash-Sham, and Egypt, he stayed with and gained much knowledge from Zainaddin Al-'Iraqi for ten years. He also studied under Al-Balqini, Ibn Al-Mulaqqin and others. Many eminent scholars of his time approved his knowledge and allowed him to give religious verdicts.

He learned Quran and Hadith from Al-Izz ibn Jama'a, the language from Al-Majd Al-Fairuzabadi, the arabic from Al-'Amari, literature and poetry from Al-Badr Al-Mushtaki, and writing from a group of other prominent scholars. He also mastered recitation of the seven styles of recitation of Quran before At-Tanukhi.

He occupied himself with the promotion of the knowledge of Hadith. He dwelt in its study, teaching, writing and giving Fatwa (i.e, religious verdicts). He also taught the Tafsir, Fiqh, and worked as a Daa'ee in many places like Al-Azhar, Jami 'Amar and others. He also had been blessed with ability of teaching through dictation to his students from his memory. So named Al-Haafidh due to his famed memorization of large amounts of knowledge in Hadith along with the Quran. Many prominent students of knowledge as well as scholars used to gather in his circles as no other in his time.

Ibn Hajr authored more than 150 books - most of them being in study of Hadith - which flourished during his lifetime, kings and princes were known in his time to exchange gifts consisting of Ibn Hajr's works. His most famous books well-established in the Ummah include:

1. Fath ul Baari fi Sharh Sahih Bukhari:
A commentary on the superb collection of Hadith by Imam Muhammad ibn Ismail Al-Bukhari. The most famous and well-informative commentary on Sahih Bukhari.

2. Bulugh Maram min adillatil ahkaam:
[English: Attainment of the objective according to evidence of the ordinances]. A very popular book on Hadith as it relates to finding evidence for basic Islamic jurisprudence.

Al Haafidh Ibn Hajr Al-Asqalani was a prominent Qadi in Egypt as well as in Ash-Sham for twenty-one years. He was humble, tolerant, and patient. He was described to be hilarious, steadfast, prudent, ascetic, selfless, generous, charitable, and he spent much time in voluntary prayer and fasting. Those who came to know him praised him of his high standard of good mannerisms in dealing with rulers, Imaams, as well as those who sat with him young or old.

Ibn Hajr died after the Isha prayer on Saturday, 28th Dhul Hijja, 852H, may Allah reward him from his bou



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