The Life and Works of the Hanafī Jurist and Hadīth Scholar Qāsim ibn Qutlūbughā

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The Life and Works of the Hanafī Jurist and Hadīth Scholar Qāsim ibn Qutlūbughā

By Shaykh Muhammad ‘Awwāmah

Translated by Muntasir Zaman


His name is Zayn al-Dīn Abū al-‘Adl Qāsim ibn Qutlūbughā al-Jamālī al-Hanafī, better known as ‘Allāmah Qāsim. He was born in Cairo in 802 AH where he lived until his demise in Rabī‘ al-Ākhir 879 AH. Growing up as an orphan, he began his studies at a tender age and would occupy himself with tailoring, but eventually focused on acquiring knowledge – after exerting himself therein, he shone and showed brilliance. He began his literary career early, authoring his first book at the age of 18 on inheritance. From a galaxy of teachers, his most prominent teacher in Hadīth was Hāfiẓ Ibn Hajar and in Fiqh and legal theory Sirāj al-Dīn Qāri’ al-Hidāyah and al-Kamāl Ibn al-Humām. His student Hāfiẓ al-Sakhāwī said:

His dedication increased by frequenting the company of Ibn al-Humām. From 825 AH to Ibn al-Humām’s demise in 861 AH, he studied every book that was taught in his circle and learnt the most from him. The books he studied include the first quarter of his commentary on al-Hidāyah, part of Tawdīh of Sadr al-Sharī‘ah, and the entire al-Musāyarah (of Ibn al-Humām). […] He also studied books of Arabic literature and poetry, memorizing a significant portion thereof.[1]

Academic standing

His teachers respected him due to his academic excellence. For instance, Hāfiẓ Ibn Hajar authored al-Īthār bi Ma‘rifat Rijāl al-Āthār upon his request to compile a book on the transmitters in Imām Muhammad’s Kitāb al-Āthār. He then – at the age of 33 – studied it under Ibn Hajar, who authorized and described him as, “The eminent Shaykh, the qualified and unique Hadīth scholar. He contributed [to the class] and shared his observations on several places that were noted down and further illuminated the book.”[2] Later on in another occasion, he described him as “The authority, the learned, the Hadīth scholar, the jurist, and the prolific memorizer.” Bear in mind that the one conferring these accolades is Hāfiẓ Ibn Hajar, who requires no introduction. Al-Sakhāwī said: Read the rest of this entry »


A Day in The Life of Hāfiż Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalānī

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A Day in The Life of Hāfiż Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalānī

By Shams al-Dīn al-Sakhāwī[1]

[Translator’s Preface:

The beauty of the skies lies in the stars; the beauty of the earth lies in the pious.1

The following is a description of a day in the life of the great Hadīth scholar Hāfiż Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalānī (d. 852 AH). This was documented by his close companion and student Shams al-Dīn al-Sakhāwī (d. 902 AH) who penned a multi-volume work on his teacher’s life entitled “al-Jawāhir wa al-Durar fī Tarjamat Shaykh al-Islām Ibn Hajar.” This wonderful account of Hāfiż Ibn Hajar’s life, whose title aptly translates as “Gems and Pearls,” is a recommended read for any serious student of knowledge. –Muntasir Zaman]

As for a description on how he would spend his time:

In his early days, he (Allāh have mercy upon him) would perform the Fajr prayer at Jāmi‘ al-Hākim when it was still dark. Afterwards -perhaps after becoming a judge- he began performing it at al-Madrasah al-Mankūtamuriyyah[2] when it [the sky] was bright. He would go to the Madrasah from the private quarters of his residence. When he completed his prayers, if anyone required his assistance, he would speak to them; otherwise, he would return home and engage in the morning adhkār and recitation of the Qur’ān. He would then engage in research and writing until the time of Salāt al-Duhā and then perform it [Salāt al-Duhā]. Thereafter, if there were people seeking permission to read hadith, he would attend to them. Thus, some would read with transmission and others with commentary; he would remain seated with them until shortly before the Zuhr prayer. He would then return home and rest for one-third of an hour, and perform the Zuhr prayer at his residence. Read the rest of this entry »

The Correct Meaning of the Statement “When a Hadīth Is Authentic, It Is My Opinion”

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Translator’s Preface

The following is an excerpt from our abridged translation of the masterpiece, Athar al-Hadīth al-Sharīf fī Ikhtilāf al-A’immah al-arabic-calligraphy-3Fuqahā’, by the Syrian Hadīth scholar, the teacher of our teachers, Shaykh Muhammad ‘Awwāmah. There were numerous requests for an abridged translation of the work for the benefit of non-Arabic readers, as the original work is relatively lengthy. The abridged translation has now been completed. We will post sections of it in instalments and finally publish the complete abridgement in a separate post.

The excerpt before you is a clarification of a famous statement issued by the Imāms of the madhhabs, “When a Hadīth is authentic, it is my opinion.” In recent times, a literal and overzealous reading of this statement has led to a lot of confusion and misunderstanding. In this excerpt, Shaykh Muhammad ‘Awwāmah provides quotations from leading scholars of each madhhab that explain the correct purport of this statement. Moreover, he presents several examples of individuals who attempted to practice on the outward meaning of this statement and as a result were subject to criticism by leading scholars.

To make the article more reader-friendly, an idiomatic translation was adopted in several places. In contrast to the remainder of the abridgement, this section of the work was for the most part left as it is in the original.

Muntasir Zaman
Sha‘bān, 25, 1435

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The Secret to a Student’s Success

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It is inborn in our nature that we are always in pursuit of success irrespective of the goal at hand. From the eager medical student awaiting his test results to the restless bachelor searching for his other half, humans are constantly in the pursuit of accomplishing their goals. To be more specific, let us look at the average student in Madrassa who, after spending sleepless nights preparing for exams, awaits his report card in the end of the academic year with the hope of having passed. Although strenuous effort alongside sleepless nights may prove to be a powerful recipe for a student’s success as far as his exams are concerned, a very important, yet often overlooked, component for his overall success in acquiring knowledge is his conduct and mannerism towards the sources of knowledge. History bears testimony to this crucial fact, as the famous jurist al-Burhān al-Zarnūjī [d. 591AH] so truthfully writes,

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