Some of the Famous Muslim Scholars
Compiled By: Syed Ali Shahbaz
Islamic astronomers in Buwaihid-ruled Iraq and Fatemid-ruled Egypt
On April 30, 1006 AD, at a time when Christian Europe was in the dark ages, Islamic astronomers in Buwaihid-ruled Iraq and Fatemid-ruled Egypt recorded a supernova, giving descriptions of how light varied and was visible for almost a year. The speed of the still-expanding shock wave was measured nearly a millennium later. This is history's brightest "new star" ever recorded, at first seen to be brighter than the planet Venus. It occurred in our Milky Way galaxy, appearing in the southern constellation Lupus, near the star Beta Lupi. It was also recorded by Chinese astronomers as is evident from their books.
The famous Hadith Scholar, Mohammad ibn Abdus-Samad al-Baghdadi
On 21st of the Islamic month of Jamadi as-Sani in 319 AH, the famous Hadith Scholar, Mohammad ibn Abdus-Samad al-Baghdadi, passed away. Like his ancestors he dedicated his efforts to collecting authentic narrations from the original sources, quoting Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS) and Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). He has also chronicled the event of the Treaty of Hudaibiyya including the Prophet's statement on this day regarding the “wilayah” (divinely-decreed authority) of Imam Ali (AS), through Jaber ibn Abdullah al-Ansari.
The literary figure, historian, and judge, Muhassin ibn Ali at-Tanoukhi
On 21st of the Islamic month of Jamadi as-Sani in 384 AH, the literary figure, historian, and judge, Muhassin ibn Ali at-Tanoukhi, passed away at the age of 55. Among his works, mention can be made of the book “al-Faraj Ba’d ash-Shiddah” which covers the historical and social developments of the era. Another of his books is “al-Masajed”. He also left behind a Diwan of Arabic poetry.
The Islamic scholar, Abu Ja'far Ahmad ibn Ali Baihaqi
On 24th of the Islamic month of Jamadi as-Sani in 544 AH, the Islamic scholar, Abu Ja'far Ahmad ibn Ali Baihaqi, passed away. He was from Baihaq which later became known as Sabzevar in Khorasan, northeastern Iran, and was popularly known as "Bu Ja'farak". He was an authority on grammar, lexicography and Qur'anic sciences. He has left behind a large number of compilations, including "Taj al-Masader" and "al-Muhit fi Lughat-al-Qur'an".
Ahmad ibn Mohammad Ibn Ataollah al-Iskandari, the third sheikh of the Shadhili Sufi order
On 25th of the Islamic month of Jamadi as-Sani in 709 AH, Ahmad ibn Mohammad Ibn Ataollah al-Iskandari, the third sheikh of the Shadhili Sufi order, passed away in Cairo. He was born and grew up in Alexandria and was responsible for systematizing the order's doctrines and recording the biographies of its founder, Sidi Abu’l-Hassan ash-Shadhili, and his successor, Sidi Abu’l-Abbas al-Mursi. Ibn Ataollah authored a treatise on dhikr, titled “Miftah al-Falah” or The Key to Salvation, which is a Sufi manual of invocation. His compilation of aphorisms helped to make the group very popular. The wide circulation of his written works led to the spread of the Shadhili order in North Africa.
The renowned Iranian scholar of Arabic literature, Abu Zakariyya Yahya Ibn Ali Ibn Mohammed at-Tabrizi
On 28th of the Islamic month of Jamadi as-Sani in 502 AH, the renowned Iranian scholar of Arabic literature, Abu Zakariyya Yahya Ibn Ali Ibn Mohammed at-Tabrizi, passed away. He is the author of several commentaries on divans of Arabic poets, like “al Mu'allaqat as-Saba”, “al Mufadhaliyaat” and “al-Hamasa”.
The famous reciter of the Holy Qur'an, Qasem bin Fera ash-Shatebi, popularly known as “Imam al-Qurra
On 28th of the Islamic month of Jamadi as-Sani in 590 AH, the famous reciter of the Holy Qur'an, Qasem bin Fera ash-Shatebi, popularly known as “Imam al-Qurra” passed away in Cairo, Egypt. He is the author of a book on the seven different ways of recitation.
The Spanish Muslim poet Abul-Waleed Ahmad bin Abdullah, Ibn Zaidoun
On 1st of the Islamic month of Rajab in 463 AH, the Spanish Muslim poet Abul-Waleed Ahmad bin Abdullah, Ibn Zaidoun, died. Born in Qortoba (Cordova) into the Arab tribe of al-Makhzoum, he brought into Spanish Arabic poetry the rhetorical command, the passionate power, and grandeur of style that marked contemporary poetry in the Islamic east. He was also involved in politics and was opposed to the ruling Omayyad regime.
The Muslim botanist and physician, Rashid od-Din Souri
On 1st of the Islamic month of Rajab in 639 AH, the Muslim botanist and physician, Rashid od-Din Souri, died. As his surname Souri suggests, he was from the region of Sour or Tyre in what is now Lebanon, and is considered the founder of modern botany. His most important compilation is an illustrated encyclopedic book on herbs and plants.
The Egyptian Sunni scholar Abdur-Rahman Jalal od-Din as-Suyuti
On 1st of the Islamic month of Rajab in 849 AH, the Egyptian Sunni scholar Abdur-Rahman Jalal od-Din as-Suyuti was born. He was an expert in jurisprudence, hadith, history, exegesis of the Holy Qur'an, and Arabic grammar and literature. His books are still taught today in Islamic seminaries. In his exegesis titled "ad-Dur al-Manthour" (Scattered Pearls), he has pointed to the ayahs revealed by God Almighty on the outstanding merits of the Prophet's Ahl al-Bayt, i.e. Hazrat Fatema Zahra (SA), Imam Ali (AS), Imam Hasan (AS) and Imam Husain (AS). He also wrote a separate book on the Merits of the Ahl al-Bayt.
The renowned Arabic poet, Ali ibn Abbas ibn ar-Rumi
On 2nd of the Islamic month of Rajab in 221 AH, the renowned Arabic poet, Ali ibn Abbas ibn ar-Rumi, was born in Baghdad. The son of an Iranian Muslim mother and a half Greek Muslim father, named Abbas ibn Jurayj ar-Rumi, by the age of twenty he was an accomplished poet. His patrons included the Taherid ruler of Khorasan, Obaydallah ibn Abdullah, and the Persian Ismail ibn Bulbul. He was a follower of the School of the Prophet’s Ahl al-Bayt, and composed numerous poems in praise of Imam Ali al-Hadi (AS) and Imam Hasan al-Askari (AS) – the 10th and 11th Infallible Successors of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). He died of illness at the age of 59, although some have suggested he was poisoned. His Diwan is a masterpiece of Arabic poetry.
Gerbert d'Aurillac of France
On May 12, 1003 AD, Gerbert d'Aurillac of France, inspired by Latin translations of Islamic scientific works, introduced to Europe the Arabic numerals of the famous Iranian Islamic scientist, Mohammad ibn Musa Khwarezmi, died. He extensively utilized Islamic scientific works to build for the first time in Europe clocks, the hydraulic organ, astronomical instruments, and the abacus for use in mathematical calculations. It is said that he began to lead Christian Europe out of the Dark Ages, thanks to his study of Islamic sciences.
The Arabic grammarian of Fatemid Egypt, Abu’l-Hassan Taher Ibn Ahmad Ibn Babshad
On 3rd of the Islamic month of Rajab in 469 AH, the Arabic grammarian of Fatemid Egypt, Abu’l-Hassan Taher Ibn Ahmad Ibn Babshad, passed away. He was of Iranian origin and was born in Basra, Iraq, in a family of pearl-dealers who migrated to Cairo. In his youth he came to Baghdad to learn sciences, and eventually returned to Egypt. He wrote several books, and was a rich businessman but later in life, donated to charity all his possessions, and became a hermit.
The poet, Mohammad ibn Ali al-Waseti, popularly known as “Ibn Mo’allem”
On 4th of the Islamic month of Rajab in 592 AH, the poet, Mohammad ibn Ali al-Waseti, popularly known as “Ibn Mo’allem”, passed away at the age of 91 in Iraq. He focused on ethical and social topics in simple terms. Part of his poems is about mystical topics and some are eulogies. His Diwan of poetry has survived.
The Iranian mystical philosopher, Shahab od-Din Suhrawardi
On 5th of the Islamic month of Rajab in 587 AH, the Iranian mystical philosopher, Shahab od-Din Suhrawardi, was martyred in Aleppo, Syria, by the Kurdish ruler, Malik az-Zaher, the son of Salah od-Din Ayyoubi. Born in Suhraward, near the northwestern city of Zanjan, he went to Iraq and Syria to develop his knowledge. During his short life of less than forty years he wrote valuable works that established him as founder of a new school of philosophy, called "Hikmat al-Ishraq" (Illuminationist Philosophy). He is thus known as "Shaikh-e Ishraq". His views angered his opponents, who had him arrested or charges of heresy and subsequently martyred. Suhrawardi has left behind some 50 works in Persian and Arabic.
The famous Arabic literary figure, Mohammad al-Qasim ibn Ali al-Hariri
On 6th of the Islamic month of Rajab in 516 AH, the famous Arabic literary figure, Mohammad al-Qasim ibn Ali al-Hariri, passed away. Born in Basra in Iraq, which was then part of the Iran-based Seljuqid Empire, he is best known for writing “Maqamat al-Hariri” (The Assemblies of al-Hariri), consisting of 50 anecdotes written in stylized prose, which was once memorized by heart by scholars. He wrote this masterpiece of Arabic literature for Amid od-Dowla, who though a Shi’ite Muslim, served for a time as Abbasid vizier, and was son-in-law of the famous Iranian statesman and Seljuqid prime minister, Khwaja Nizam ul-Mulk Tusi.
The scholar and literary figure, Ibn Tarara
On 7th of the Islamic month of Rajab in 305 AH, the scholar and literary figure, Ibn Tarara, was born in Iraq. Among his works mention could be made of the voluminous book titled “al-Jalees as-Saleh al-Kafi wa'l-Anees an-Naseh ash-Shafi”. He passed away in 390 AH.
The Iranian historian, Abdi Bek Navidi Shirazi
On 9th of the Islamic month of Rajab in 921 AH, the Iranian historian, Abdi Bek Navidi Shirazi, was born in Shiraz. His main book is the history of the Safavid Dynasty, titled "Takmilat al-Akhbar", in which he has chronicled events beginning from the emergence of the Safavids till the year 978 AH. Among his other works, mention could also be made of a versified book titled “Jam-e Jamshid”.
The prominent scholar of the School of the Prophet’s Ahl al-Bayt, Ezzeddin Seyyed Hussein
On 9th of the Islamic month of Rajab in 963 AH, the prominent scholar of the School of the Prophet’s Ahl al-Bayt, Ezzeddin Seyyed Hussein, passed away at the age of 57. He was born in Lebanon and mastered the sciences of the day. He was poisoned and attained martyrdom on this day in the city of Sidon.
The literary figure, lexicographer, and exegete of Holy Qur’an, al-Anbari
On 11th of the Islamic month of Rajab in 271 AH, the literary figure, lexicographer, and exegete of Holy Qur’an, Mohammad Ibn Qassim al-Anbari was born in Baghdad. He had a powerful and photographic memory and was very modest in teaching. In his book "al-Musahef" he has mentioned the "tawatur" (continuously unbroken chain of narration) of the famous "Hadith Thaqalayn" in which Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) has explicitly stated: "I am leaving behind among you Two Weighty Things; the Book of Allah (Qur'an) and my progeny, the Ahl al-Bayt. Hold fast to them and you will never go astray, for the two never part with each other even when they return to me at the Fountain (of Kowsar in the Hereafter)." Among his other works, mention can be made of “Adaab al-Kateb”. He passed away in 328 AH.
The prominent historian and hadith scholar, Ibn Asaker
On 11th of the Islamic month of Rajab in 571 AH, the prominent historian and hadith scholar, Hafez Ali ibn al-Hassan ibn Hebatollah, known popularly as Ibn Asaker, was born in Damascus. After mastering Islamic sciences in his hometown, he travelled widely to acquire further knowledge and benefitted from the scientific centers of the cities of Baghdad, Kufa, Mosul, Naishapour, Marv, Isfahan, and Hamedan. He has left behind 134 books, among which mention can be made of the voluminous “Tarikh Madinat ad-Dameshq”. He was follower of the Shafei school of Sunni jurisprudence, and has mentioned at least 400 ayahs of the holy Qur’an revealed by God Almighty on the unrivalled merits of the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS).
The narrator of hadith and historical events, Abu Hudhayfa
On 12th of the Islamic month of Rajab in 206 AH, the narrator of hadith and historical events, Abu Hudhayfa, passed away. Among his important compilations, mention could be made of “al-Mubtada” on the creation of mankind and the biography of prophets. He has also narrated from Imam Ja’far Sadeq (AS), the account of Prophet Mohammad’s Me’raj or ascension to the ethereal heavens and back in a fraction of the night.