Ibn Asakir

14. Bayan al-Wahm wa al-Takhlit fi Hadith al-Atit (“The Exposition of Error and Confusion in the Narration of the [Throne’s] Groaning”).3

15. Arba`un Hadithan fi al-Jihad.

16. Arba`un Hadithan `an Arba`ina Shaykhan min Arba`ina Madina.

Ibn `Asakir defined hadith in the following verse of poetry:

It explains the Book, and the Prophet only spoke on behalf of His Lord.

Ibn `Asakir’s son, Baha’ al-Din al-Qasim ibn `Ali, said:

My father was assiduous in congregational prayer and recitation of the Qur’an. He used to recite it once a week, concluding it on the day of Jum`a, and once a day in Ramadan at which time he entered seclusion (i`tikaf) at the Eastern minaret. He performed many supererogatory prayers, devotions, and invocations. He would spend the nights before the two `ids awake in prayer and supplications. He used to take account of himself for every passing moment.

Ibn al-Subki relates that the hadith master al-Mundhiri asked his shaykh Abu al-Hasan `Ali ibn al-Mufaddal al-Maqdisi: “Which of these four contemporary hadith masters is the greatest?” He said: “Name them.” Al-Mundhiri said: “Ibn `Asakir and Ibn Nasir?” He replied: “Ibn `Asakir.” Al-Mundhiri went on: “Ibn `Asakir and Abu al-`Ala’ [al-Hasan ibn Ahmad ibn al-Hasan al-Hamadhani]?” He said: “Ibn `Asakir.” Al-Mundhiri went on: “Ibn `Asakir and al-Silafi?” Al-Maqdisi said: “Al-Silafi (is) our shaykh. Al-Silafi (is) our shaykh.”4

Ibn Sasra narrated: “I used to rehearse with him the names of the masters he had met. One day I said to him: ‘I believe that our master never saw anyone like himself?’ He replied: ‘Do not say that. Allah said: {Therefore justify not yourselves} (53:32).’ I replied: ‘He also said: {Therefore of the bounty of your Lord be your discourse} (93:11).’ He replied: ‘In that case yes, if someone were to say that my eyes never saw my like, he would be correct.'” Al-Khatib Abu al-Fadl ibn Abi Nasr al-Tusi said: “We do not know anyone who truly deserves the title of hadith master in our time other than him.” Al-Dhahabi said: “I do not believe that Ibn `Asakir ever met anyone of his level in his entire life.” Ibn al-Subki added: “Nor anyone near his level.”

 Main sources: al-Dhahabi, Siyar A`lam al-Nubala’ 15:254-262 #5129; Ibn al-Subki, Tabaqat al-Shafi`iyya al-Kubra 7:215-223 #918.


1Dar al-Fikr in Damascus has published seventy of them to date in mid-1999.

2Translated at www.sunnah.org/aqida/tabyin_kadhib.htm

3See section entitled The “Groaning of the Throne” (p. 248).

4This could mean either that he considered al-Silafi the greater master, or that he implicitly admitted Ibn `Asakir’s superiority but expressed it in terms of the student’s requisite adab with his teacher. Ibn al-Subki noted that Ibn al-Sam`ani was superior to all of them except Ibn `Asakir, but that he was in far-off Merv, whereas the rest were in or near Egypt and Sham.

 Blessings and peace on the Prophet, his Family, and all his Companions.

copyright As-Sunna Foundation of America

Peace and Blessings upon the Prophet, his Family, and his Companions

© 2012 As-Sunnah Foundation of America

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