Ibn Kathir

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Ibn Kathir (Arabic : بن كثير ) was an Islamic scholar born in Busra, Syria in 1301 CE. He was taught by the Islamic scholar Ibn Taymiyya in Damascus, Syria. Ibn Kathir wrote a famous commentary of the Qur'an named "Tafsir Ibn Kathir" which linked certain Hadith, or sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, and sayings of the Sahaba (companions of the Prophet Muhammad) to verses of the Qur'an, in explanation. Tafsir Ibn Kathir is famous all over the Arab world and American mosques, and is one of the most widely used explanations of the Qu'ran today.

Ibn Kathir was renowned for his great memory which helped him memorize many of the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad and the entire Qur'an. Ibn Kathir is known as a judge, a master of Hadith, and a mufassir or Qur'an commentator. Some regard Ibn Kathir as a precursor to the contemporary Salafi or Wahhabi school of law, but Ibn Kathir himself as a Shafi scholar. This is indicated by two of his books, one of which was Tabaqaat ah-Shafai'ah, or The Categories of the Followers of Imam Shafi.

Other books written by Ibn Kathir include "Signs Before the Day of Judgement" and "The Birthday of the Prophet" which supports arguments as to the legality of celebrating the Prophet Muhammad's birthday (seen as a reprehensible innovation or bid'a by some Muslims), and "Biographies of the Prophets

Ibn Kathir became blind just before his death. When Ibn Kathir died he was buried beside his teacher Ibn Taymiyya in the Sufi Cemetery of Damascus, Syria in 1372 CE.

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