This is the madressa (seminary) of Ibn Kathir, the famous mufassir (commentator) of the Holy Quran. It is situated close to the monastery of Bahira.

  • His full name is Abu Al-Fida, ‘Imad Ad-Din Isma’il bin ‘Umar bin Kathir Al-Qurashi Al-Busrawi. He was born in 1301 CE in Busra, Syria (hence Al-Busrawi).
  • Upon completion of his studies he obtained his first official appointment in 1341, when he joined an inquisitorial commission formed to determine certain questions of heresy. Thereafter he received various semi-official appointments, culminating in 1366 with a professorial position at the Umayyad Mosque, Damascus. Ibn Kathir wrote a famous commentary on the Quran named ‘Tafsir ibn Kathir’ which linked certain Hadith, or sayings of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him), and sayings of the Sahaba on verses of the Quran, in explanation. Tafsir Ibn Kathir is famous all over the Muslim world as one of the most widely used explanations of the Quran today.
  • Ibn Kathir was renowned for his great memory regarding the sayings of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) and the entire Quran. He is known as a qadi (judge), a master scholar of history, and a mufassir (Quran commentator). Ibn Kathir saw 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.
  • In later life, he became blind. He attributes his blindness to working late at night on the Musnad of Ahmad Ibn Hanbal in an attempt to rearrange it topically rather than by narrator. He died in February 1373 in Damascus.

Famous writings of Ibn Kathir:

  • Tafsir ibn Kathir
  • The Beginning and the End (Arabic: Al Bidayah wa-Nihayah).
  • Al-Sira Al-Nabawiyya
  • Tabaqaat ah-Shafi’iah
  • Signs Before the Day of Judgement
  • Sins and their Punishments
  • Stories of The Prophets

References:  Ibnkathir.atspace.com, Wikipedia.

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