And Seek (Allah's) help with patience and prayer: it is indeed hard, except
for those who are Humble [TMQ Al-Baqarah: 45]
Short Biography of691AH - 751 AH (1292- 1350 CE )
Ibn al-Qayyim Al-Jawziyya
Sham Al-din Muhammad Ibn Abi Bakr, Ibn al-Qayyim
al-Jawziyya. He was born in a small farming village near Damascus, Syria in 691
A.H/.1292 C.E, and he studied under his father who was the local attendant (qayyim)
of al-Jawziyya school. Later on, he pursued his quest for knowledge at the hands
of renowned masters and scholars of his epoch, as well as he studied the works
and teachings of sufi masters known in his time. His schooling centered around
Islamic jurisprudence, theology, and the science of prophetic traditions.
In the year 712/ 1312 at the age of 21 he joined the study circle of Imam
Ibn Taimiyyah who kept him in his company as his closest student and disciple,
who later on became his successor.
Ibn al-Qayyim was fervent in his devotion to his teacher, and he was an
excellent student and disciple of the great Muslim scholar Imam Taqiyyu-Deen
Ahmad Ibn Taimiyyah. He defended his religious opinions and approaches, and he
compiled and edited most of his works, and taught the same.
Because of their perception and opinions, both the teacher and the student
were unjustly persecuted, tortured, and humiliated in public by the local
authorities then, and they were imprisoned in a single cell, while other
disciples were kept separate in the central prison of Damascus, still known
to-date as al-Qal‘a. Among the imprisoned scholars, there also was a young man
named Ibn Kathďr who later on became as the most renowned Muslim scholar
and compiler of the most comprehensive Qur’anic commentaries ‘Tafsďr Ibn
Upon the death of Imam Ibn Taimiyyah, the disciples were set free from
prison, and Imam Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyya furthered his studies, and held study
circles and classes for his own students. Ibn Jawziyya taught Islamic
Jurisprudence at al-Sadriyya school, in Damascus, before he held the position of
the Imam of the Jawziyya school for a long period. Most of his writings were
compilations, although he authored several books himself, and manuscripts with
his own handwriting are preserved today in the central Library of Damascus.
In fact, it was considered an honor and a privilege to study in his circle.
Among the renowned Muslim scholars who studied under him, we mention Ibn ‘Abd
al-Hădď and Ibn Rajab and others who oft-frequented his circles,
and sought his company, such as Imam Ibn Kathďr.
Most scholars of the time have acknowledged the author’s excellence, and
profound knowledge of Qur’anic interpretation, commentaries on the prophetic
traditions, and theology. His extensive knowledge and understanding of Qur’anic
commentaries surpassed even some renowned theologians in Islamic history.
Ibn Kathďr spoke of him in his book ‘Al-Bidăya wa-’Nihăya, saying: “He
was most friendly and kindhearted, he never envied anyone, he never caused harm
to anyone, he never bore prejudice against anyone, and I was the closest to his
heart. Furthermore, I do not know anyone who is more devout in his worship than
him in our time.” A similar opinion also was quoted by Ibn Hijr.
Ibn al-Qayyim catered to all the branches of Islamic science, and was
particularly known and commended for his commentaries. Al-Hăfiz Ibn Rajab spoke
of his teacher, saying: “He was an accomplished scholar of Islamic
science, and no one could rival him in his deep understanding of the Qur’an
and prophetic saying, and his interpretations were unique in accuracy.”
Ibn Rajab narrated that his teacher Imam Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyya learned
the science of prophetic sayings (Hadďth) from al-Shahăb al-Năbulsi, Qădhď
Taqiyyu-Deen Sulaimăn, and Fătima Bint Jawhar, among others. During his early
student life, Imam Ibn al-Qayyim sought the company of most shaikhs of his
period, and he was particularly proficient in interpreting the Hanbali Muslim
school of thoughts.
His Spiritual Life
Imam Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyya was an avid and a resolute worshipper. He devoted
long hours to his supererogatory nightly prayers, he was in a constant state of
remembrance (zikr), and he was known for his extended prostrations. One could
see on his face the clear expressions of piety, and constant solicitation of God’s
bounty and favors.
During Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyya’s imprisonment in al-Qal‘a prison in
Damascus, he was constantly reading the Qur’an, and studying its meanings. Ibn
Rajab noted that during that period of seclusion, he gained extensive spiritual
success, as well as he developed a great analytical wisdom, knowledge, and
understanding of the prophetic traditions.
Upon his release, he performed the pilgrimage to Mecca several times, and
sometimes he stayed in Mecca for a prolonged period of devotion and
circumambulation of the holy Ka‘aba.
Al-Nu‘măn al-Alüsď al-Baghdădď once said: “His interpretations are
unique in accuracy.” The renowned Muslim scholar al-Thahabi once said about
him: “He gave great attention to details and references of the prophetic
traditions.” Furthermore, Shaikh Burhăn al-Deen al-Zări’ spoke of him
saying: “No one is as cognizant as Ibn al-Qayyim was in his time.”
Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyya’s contributions to the Islamic library are
extensive, and they particularly deal with the Qur’anic commentaries, and
understanding and analysis of the prophetic traditions (fiqh-u Sunnah).
He compiled a large number of studies besides his own books, including:
1- Tahthďb Sunan Abi Dăwoud (Emendation of Sunan Abi Dăwoud); 2- Al-Kalăm
al-Tayyib wa-al-‘Amal al-Sălih (The Essence of Good Words and Deeds); 3-
Commentaries on the book of Shaikh ‘Abdullăh al-Ansări: Manăzil-u Să’ireen
(Stations of the Seekers), which is considered the epitome of knowledge of sufi
books; and, Zăd al-Ma‘ăd (Provisions of the Hereafter), from which this book
on the medicine of the prophet is extracted, besides other manuscripts copied
with his own handwriting, and which are preserved in the Central Library in
Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyya died in the city of Damascus the year 751 AH/1350
C.E.,when he was scarcely 60 years old, and was buried at the cemetery of
Bab- al-Saghir, near the grave of his father - Rahimahuma Allah
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