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 The Imaam of Quran Interpreters and the Grand Historian

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Join date : 2011-06-29

PostSubject: The Imaam of Quran Interpreters and the Grand Historian   Sat Jul 09, 2011 1:14 am

Ibn Jareer At-Tabari

The Imaam of Quran Interpreters and the Grand Historian

He is one of the greatest most renowned Muslim scholars of the third Hijri century. He was known for his deep knowledge. He was an outstanding jurist, the Imaam of Quran interpreters,

and a historian who wrote one of the most famous books on Islamic history that was ever written. He is the great scholar, Ibn Jareer At-Tabari.

Birth and Early Years

Abu Ja`far Muhammad Ibn Jareer At-Tabari was born in a town called Aamol, Tuberstan, Iran in 224 A.H. 839 A.C. He was brought up in a well-off family and his father was keen to teach him. He memorized the Glorious Quran when he was seven years old and started to write down Prophetic Hadeeths when he was only nine. Ibn Jareer At-Tabari had an ardent desire for knowledge ever since he was a child. In his early years, he realized that he could not achieve his scientific ambitions in his hometown so he left his town seeking knowledge when he was only twelve years old. He traveled to Rey, modern day Iran, and visited some of its cities where he met scholars and acquired religious knowledge from Ahmad Ibn Hammaad Ad-Dulaabi and Ibn Humayd Ar-Raazi, who were great Hadeeth scholars.

Travel to Cultural Centers

At-Tabari was not satisfied with what he learnt in Rey.

He traveled to Kufa which had numerous mosques wherein all types of religious and linguistic knowledge were taught.

He learnt the different ways of reciting the Glorious Quran at the hands of Sulaymaan Ibn Khallaad At-Talhi. His teacher in Prophetic Hadeeth was the well-known scholar, Abu Kurayb Muhammad Ibn Al-'Alaa' Al-Hamadaani. Noticing his early genius and ardent desire to seek knowledge, Al-Hamdaani paid extra attention to At-Tabari and made him one of his close students. From Al-Hamdaani, At-Tabari learnt more than one hundred thousand Hadeeths.

Later, At-Tabari left for Baghdad, the capital of the `Abbasid caliphate and the center of Arabic culture at that time. He devoted himself to acquiring knowledge and he studied the Shafi`ee Juristic school. Again he moved to Syria and then to Egypt on 253 A.H. when he was thirty years old after a long and tedious trip acquiring knowledge.

In Egypt, he met great scholars and learnt from people like Abu Al-Hasan As-Sarraaj Al-Misri, Yoonus Ibn `Abdul-A'laa As-Safadi who was the Imaam of the Quran Reciters, and Ar-Rabee' Ibn Sulaymaan who was the most outstanding jurist in Egypt at that time, and the student of Imaam Ash-Shafi`ee. All these scholars held examinations for At-Tabari and they all testified to his deep knowledge and extensive cultural background.

Back to Baghdad

After this hard journey in acquiring knowledge and learning at the hands of scholars, At-Tabari returned to Baghdad and settled there. He built a house and completely dedicated himself to acquiring knowledge and teaching.

He divided his time between acts of worship, teaching, and writing. At-Tabari was very active in writing to the extent that he used to write down forty pages a day.

He continued to do this for forty years without being distracted by earning a living because he was already rich. At-Tabari added voluminous and significant books to Islamic literature. Until now, people still read his books and benefit from them.

His works:

Imaam At-Tabari was well-versed in many branches of Islamic knowledge such as Tafseer (interpretation of the Glorious Quran), Hadeeth, history, jurisprudence, ways of Quranic

recitation, language, and literature. Yet, he mastered and specialized in three branches: Tafseer, history, and jurisprudence. He wrote two of the most important and voluminous Islamic books in Arabic. They are:

- Jaami` Al-Bayaan fi Tafseer Al-Quran (The All-Comprehensive Book on the Interpretation of the Glorious Quran): It is known, in short, as Tafseer At-Tabari. It is one of the most famous and voluminous Tafseer books; it is a reference for whoever wants to understand the meanings of the Glorious Quran. At-Tabari dictated it to his students and it took him eight years to finish it. He started in 283 A.H. and finished in 290 A.H. The book is printed in thirty volumes and is widespread among students of knowledge all over the world. It is available in academic institutions, public libraries, and universities.

- Taareekh Al-Umam wa Al-Mulook (The History of Nations and Kings): It is also known as Taareekh At-Tabari. It covers history from the origin of creation and the descent of Aadam to the earth. It also covers the stories of the Prophets and Messengers and the previous nations. In addition, it features the history of Islam from the mission of the Prophet, sallallaahu álayhi wa sallam, until the year 203 A.H. The book is printed in ten volumes and has been translated into several languages. It is one of the most important references for researchers and students of Islamic history in the first three Hijri centuries. All authors on Islamic history – until now - benefited from this book.

The Character of Imaam At-Tabari:

Imaam At-Tabari was known for his commitment, studiousness, and seriousness whether in acquiring knowledge or writing. He visited many countries for the purpose of acquiring knowledge although he was still young.

He used to write down forty pages a day and this explains the voluminous nature of the books he wrote.

Apart from being studious in acquiring knowledge, At-Tabari was kind, gentle, and friendly with his fellow Muslims, and he used to ask about their welfare. He used to pay attention to the way he looks and he was outstandingly clean and handsome. He also used to deal with his students in a tender and loving way and he was fair with them as far as teaching is concerned.

His death:

Ibn Jareer At-Tabari stayed in Baghdad concentrating on nothing except teaching and writing. He was highly appreciated by the caliphs and rulers of his time until he died in Shawwaal 310 A.H. Large numbers of people were present for his funeral procession and they buried him while feelings of sadness and mourning overwhelmed them.

Ibn Jareer At-Tabari in Brief:

At-Tabari was born in Aamol, Tuberstan in 224 A.H.

At-Tabari had an ardent desire for knowledge ever since he was a child and he memorized the Quran and Prophetic Hadeeths.

When he was twelve years old, he started a long journey seeking knowledge and he traveled to Rey, Baghdad, Kufa, old Syria, and Egypt.

He settled in Baghdad and devoted himself to writing and teaching.

At-Tabari was well-versed in many branches of Islamic knowledge such as Tafseer, Hadeeth, and jurisprudence.

At-Tabari left many books on Tafseer, history, jurisprudence, and modes of reciting the Glorious Quran.

The most famous of his books are Tafseer At-Tabari and Taareekh At-Tabari.

He died in Baghdad in 224 A.H.



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