Biography of Ibn Kathīr (d.AH774)
‘Imad al-Dīn Ibn Kathīr (raḥimahullah) lived in Baṣrah then Damascus, where he learned from the scholars of his time such as Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (raḥimahullah). He was a scholar of the Shafi’ī school of jurisprudence. He was born in the year AH700. He was well versed with a good memory and good understanding. He died in AH774. His tafsīr is among the most beneficial books of the tafsīr bil Ma’thūr (by way of narrations) with additional commentary. He followed al-Ṭabarī’s method in his tafsīr in explaining the Qur’ān by the Qur’ān, the Qur’ān by the Sunnah, the Qur’ān by the statements of the Prophet’s Companions and Successors. He was known to have good knowledge of history and this is shown in a separate, huge compilation called al-Bidāyah wa al-Nihāyah (which details history from Prophet Adam and wife Eve and other Prophets and Messengers followed by the historical accounts regarding the life of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ). He would also mention the reason for revelation of the verses concerned and Arabic definitions. His tafsīr was free from error regarding the explanation of the Names and Attributes of Allāh. Likewise, his tafsīr is free from innovations. Imam Ibn Kathīr (raḥimahullah) clarifies the belief of the Prophet’s Companions and their Successors in his tafsīr, like his esteemed teacher (Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah), Imam Ibn Kathīr (raḥimahullah) advocates a return to the beginnings, a return to the original state of affairs in understanding Islam.