Biographies of The Authors of The Books of Tafseer – Dawud Burbank



Muhammad ibn Jareer ibn Yazeed, Aboo Ja`far at-Tabaree: “The imaam, the outstanding scholar, the Mujtahid. The scholar of his time: Aboo Ja`far at-Tabaree, the author of excellent works.

He was from the people of Aamul in Tabaristaan (a town 80 miles NE of Tehran in Persia). He was born in the year 224 H, and began seeking knowledge after the year 240 H. He travelled greatly and met the preeminent men. He was singular amongst the people of his time in knowledge, intellect and in the great number of his works. It is rare that anyone the like of him is seen…

Al-Khateeb al-Baghdaadee said of him: ‘He gathered such branches of knowledge as were not attained by anyone from the people of his time. He had memorised the Book of Allaah; he was knowledgeable of the different modes of recitation; he had insight of the meaning; he was a learned jurist with regard to the rulings contained in the Qur·aan; he was a scholar of the details of the Sunnah and of its chains of narration; the authentic and the unauthentic; he knew the abrogating texts and the abrogated texts; he was knowledgeable of the sayings of the Companions and the Taabi`een; he was well-acquainted with the past events and history of the peoples, and he compiled the famous book: ‘Narratives and history of the nations’; and he compiled his ‘Tafseer’: the like of which has not been written. He also wrote a book entitled ‘Tahdheeb-Aathaar’, and I have not seen a similar work the like of it, but he did not complete it. He also wrote many books about the principles and details of Fiqh, and his preferred sayings from the sayings of the jurists. He had certain verdicts specific to him which were preserved’.” [‘Siyar A`laamin-Nubalaa·’ of adh-Dhahabee: (14/267-)].

Concerning his Tafseer (printed in thirty volumes) Aboo Haamid alIsfaraayeenee said: “If a person were to travel to China to obtain the Tafseer of Muhammad ibn Jareer it would not be too much.”

Shaikhul-Islaam Ibn Taimiyyah said: “As for the Tafseers that the people have with them, then the most authentic of them is the Tafseer of Muhammad ibn Jareer at-Tabaree, because he mentions the sayings reported from the Salaf with established chains of narration, and it does not contain innovation, and he does not report from those accused of being liars such as Muqtaatil ibn Bukayr and al-Kalbee.” [‘Majmoo`ul-Fataawaa’:13/385]

Ibn Katheer said, concerning his ‘Tafseer’: “He authored a complete Tafseer which is such that it has no equal,” and concerning him: “He had high standing in worship, zuhd (abstaining from the unnecessary things of this world), piety, and establishing the truth: not being prevented from that by the blame of anyone. He had a fine voice in recitation, along with complete knowledge of the modes of recitation – upon the finest characteristics. He was one of the major righteous people, and one of the scholars of hadeeth who gathered in Egypt in the time of Ibn Tooloon; and they were: Muhammad ibn Ishaaq ibn Khuzaymah – the imaam of the imaams, Muhammad ibn Nasr al-Marwazee, Muhammad ibn Haaroon arRuwayaanee, and this one: Muhammad ibn Jareer at-Tabaree…” [‘al-Bidaayah wan-Nihaayah’ (11/156-)].

Al-Firghaanee said: “Muhammad ibn Jareer was of those who did not care about the blame of anyone for Allaah’s sake, along with the very great harm he suffered and the slanders he received from the ignorant, envious and apostates; but as for the people of knowledge and Religion, then they do not deny his knowledge, his abstinence with regard to this world and how he renounced it. He sufficed himself with a small inheritance left for him by his father in Tabaristaan.” And al-Firghaanee said: “I heard him say: “My father’s inheritance has been delayed, so I had to remove the sleeves of my robe and sell them.” [‘Tabaqaatush-Shaafi`iyyah’: (3/120), quoted in Dr. `Abdullaah at-Turkee’s introduction to ‘Jaami`ul-Bayaan’.]

It was mentioned about him that everyday for forty years he would fill forty pages with his writing; and that he originally proposed dictating his ‘history’ of a length of thirty thousand pages, and his Tafseer of similar length, but was dissuaded by his students and so reduced each of them to a tenth of the intended size, saying: “Indeed we belong to Allaah! Peoples’ eagerness has died!”

as-Suyootee said in ‘al-Itqaan’ (2/476): “So if you were to say: ‘Which of the tafseers do you direct us towards, and tell a person to rely upon?’ Then I say: The tafseer of Aboo Ja`far ibn Jareer at-Tabaree, about which the reputable scholars have agreed that its like has not been written in the field of tafseer. an-Nawawee said in his ‘Tahdheeb’: ‘No one has written the like of the book of Ibn Jareer in tafseer’.”

He passed away at the time of Maghrib on the night of the 28th of Shawwal in the year 310 H, at the age of 86 -rahimahullaah.


“The imaam, the outstanding scholar, the Muftee of Khuraasaan, Shaikh of the Shaafi`ees; Abul-Muzaffar Mansoor ibn Muhammad ibn `Abdil-Jabbaar ibn Ahmad, at-Tameemee, as-Sam`aanee, al-Marwazee, previously alHanafee, then ash-Shaafi`ee. He was born in the year 426 H…

He went out on foot to perform Hajj at a time when riding parties were prevented from travelling, so he and a group of people were captured by brigands. So he bore this with patience until Allaah freed him from these bedouins, and he performed Hajj and accompanied az-Zanjaanee.

He used to relate: < They took us captive, so I used to tend their camels. So it happened that their chief wanted to marry off his daughter, so they said: we will have to travel to a town to find someone to perform the marriage for us. So one of their men said: ‘The man who tends our camels is the jurist of Khuraasaan.’ So they asked me about some matters, and I answered them, and I spoke to them in correct Arabic, so they became embarrassed and excused themselves. So I performed the marriage for them, and said the (marriage) address, so they were happy and asked me to accept some reward from that, but I refused. So they conveyed me to Makkah in the middle of the year. >

`Abdul-Ghaafir said in his ‘Taareekh’: “He was the singular scholar of his age in excellence and behaviour, and in zuhd and piety. He came from a household of knowledge and zuhd. He acquired knowledge of Fiqh from his father, and he became one of the foremost amongst the people of speculation. He then studied the books of hadeeth, performed Hajj and returned, and abandoned the way upon which he had debated for thirty years and became a Shaafi`ee. He manifested this in the year 468 H and the people of Marw were thrown into turmoil and the common folk became perplexed. So letters were sent concerning him by the Ameer of Balkh which spoke harshly against him. So he left Marw in the company of DhulMajdayn Abul-Qaasim al-Moosawee and a group of students, and he was attended to by a number of the jurists. So he went to Toos, and proceeded on to Naysaaboor. So he was met by the students with a great reception in the time of Nizaamul-Mulk, and `Ameedul-Hadrah Aboo Sa`d. So they honoured him and gave him a position of great respect, and a gathering for admonition was established for him in the Shaafi`ee school; and he was an ocean with regard to admonition and he was a great memorizer, so he was greatly accepted by the people. He attained firmness and prominence in the Shaafi`ee madhhab and then he returned to Marw and taught there in the Shaafi`ee school, and an-Nizaam gave him precedence over his peers, and his students became apparent. Then he went off to Asbahaan in a state of high standing.

He wrote the book ‘al-Istilaam,’ and the book ‘al-Burhaan,’ and ‘alAmaalee’ in Hadeeth, and he stood firmly with the people of the Hadeeth, the Sunnah and the Jamaa`ah; and he was a thorn in the eyes of the opponents, and a proof for the people of the Sunnah.

[His grandson] Aboo Sa`d said: ‘My grandfather wrote a work of Tafseer, and in Fiqh, Usool and Hadeeth. His Tafseer is of three volumes’ … The Imaam Aboo `Alee ibn as-Saffaar said: ‘When I debate with AbulMuzaffar then it is as if I am debating with an imaam from the Taabi`een, because of the signs of the righteous people which I see in him.’ He also said about himself: “I never forgot anything which I had memorized.”

… He died in the year 489 H, having lived for sixty-three years – rahimahullaah.” [‘Siyar A`laamin-Nubalaa·’ (19/114-119)] Ibn al-`Imaad said about him in ‘Shadharaatudh-Dhahab’ (3/393): “The imaam, the eminent scholar, Abul-Muzaffar as-Sam`aanee Mansoor ibn Muhammad, at-Tameemee, al-Marwazee, al-Hanafee, then ash-Shaafi`ee. He learned Fiqh from this father and from others, and he was the imaam of his age in the madhhab of Aboo Haneefah. But when he performed Hajj, that which necessitated his moving to the madhhab of ash-Shaafi`ee became clear to him in al-Hijaaz. So when he returned to Marw he suffered great harm because of his changing over. He wrote many books regarding the Shaafi`ee madhhab and he wrote in refutation of the opponents, and he wrote ‘at-Tabaqaat’ which he excelled in, and he wrote a good and fine Tafseer…” -rahimahullaah.


“Shaikhul-Islaam, the outstanding exemplary scholar, the Haafiz: ShaikhulIslaam, the reviver of the Sunnah, Aboo Muhammad al-Husayn ibn Mas`ood ibn Muhammad ibn al-Farraa·, al-Baghawee, ash-Shaafi`ee: the scholar of Tafseer; the compiler of works such as ‘Sharhus-Sunnah,’ ‘Ma`aalimut-Tanzeel,’ ‘al-Masaabeeh’ and the book ‘at-Tahdheeb’ upon the madhhab, and ‘al-Jam`u baynas-Saheehayn,’ and ‘al-Arba`eena hadeethan’ and other works.

He acquired knowledge of Fiqh from the Shaikh of the Shaafi`ees al-Qaadee Husayn ibn Muhammad al-Marwaroodhee, the author of ‘at-Ta`leeqah,’ before the year 460 H….

Al-Baghawee was given the title ‘Muhiyyus-Sunnah’ (the reviver of the Sunnah), and the ‘the pillar of the Religion’, and he was a person of nobility and an Imaam. He was a person of knowledge and outstanding scholar. He abstained from the superfluous things of this world and was satisfied with a little. He used to eat dry bread on its own, but was criticised by people for that, so he began accompanying it with oil. His father used to make and sell fur garments (al-Farraa·). He was granted blessing in his writings, and granted complete acceptance with regard to them: this was on account of his fine resolve, and true and sincere intention. The scholars vied in acquiring his works, and he would not deliver a lesson except in a state of purification. He was moderate in his dress: he wore a crude robe, and a small turban – upon the way of the Salaf- which he wore and tied as they did. He was firmly established in Tafseer, and fully proficient in Fiqh -may Allaah have mercy upon him…” [‘Siyar A`laamin-Nubalaa·’ of adh-Dhahabee: (19/439-)]

He was born in the town of Bagh (30 miles NW of Herat in Afghanistan) in Khuraasaan, and travelled throughout Khuraasaan seeking knowledge, finally settling in Marw ar-Roodh (SE Turkmenistan) where he taught and compiled his works, and died in the year of 516 H at over eighty years of age.

Ibn Katheer said: “…He excelled in the branches of knowledge, and he was the foremost scholar of his time in them. He adhered to the Religion, was pious, a ‘zaahid,’ and a righteous worshipper.” -rahimahullaah. [‘al-Bidaayah wan-Nihaayah (12/206).’]


“He is Abul-Fidaa·, `Imaadud-Deen, Ismaa`eel ibn (ash-Shaikh Abee Hafs Shihaabud-Deen) `Umar – who was the ‘khateeb of his village – ibn Katheer ibn Daw· ibn Katheer ibn Zar’ al-Qurashee, al-Basrawee in origin, adDimashqee with regard to his upbringing, nurturing and education. He was born in the town of Mijdal, in the district of the town of Busraa, to the [north-] east of Damascus, in the year of 701 H, and his father was a khateeb. His father died when he was four years old, so he was brought up by his brother, the Shaikh `Abdul-Wahhaab, and he learned Fiqh from him at the beginning of his affair.

Then he moved to Damascus in the year 706 H, at the age of five. He then acquired knowledge of Fiqh from Shaikh Burhaanuddeen Ibraaheem ibn

`Abdur-Rahmaan al-Fazaaree, well known as Ibn al-Firkaah – who died in the year 729 H.

He also heard in Damascus from `Eesaa ibn al-Muta“im, and from Ahmad ibn Abee Taalib – who lived more than a hundred years and who was well known as Ibnush-Shihnah, and also known as al-Hajjaar -who died in year 730 H. Also from al-Qaasim ibn `Asaakir, and Ibnush-Sheeraazee, Ishaaq ibn al-Aamidee, and Muhammad ibn Zarraad. He closely accompanied the Shaikh Jamaaluddeen Yoosuf ibn az-Zakiyy al-Mizzee – the author of ‘Tahdheebul-Kamaal’ and ‘Atraaful-Kutubis-Sittah’ who died in the year 742 H; and he greatly benefited from him and became proficient in knowledge, and he married his daughter.

He also studied a great deal with Shaikhul-Islaam Taqiyyuddeen Ibn Taimiyyah, who died in the year 728 H. He closely accompanied him, loved him and benefited from his knowledge. He also studied with the Shaikh, the Haafiz, the historian Shamsuddeen adh-Dhahabee Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Qaaymaaz, who died in the year 748 H.

He was granted ‘ijaazah’ (permission to narrate) in Egypt by Aboo Moosaa al-Qaraafee, and al-Husaynee, and `Alee ibn `Umar al-Waanee, Yoosuf alHutanee and others. Al-Haafiz Shamsuddeen adh-Dhahabee said of him in ‘al-Mu`jamulMukhtass’: “The imaam, the muftee, the outstanding muhaddith, the precise jurist, the critical and precise scholar of tafseer. He has a number of beneficial works.”

Al-Haafiz Ibn Hajr said of him in ‘ad-Durarul-Kaaminah’: “He became occupied with hadeeth, carefully studying its texts and narrators. He could quote a great deal from memory and was delightful in speech. His works spread widely in his lifetime, and people benefited from them after his death. He was not upon the way of those muhadditheen who merely seek briefer chains of narration, and seek to distinguish shorter from longer chains of narration and other such disciplines of theirs; rather he was from the jurists of the muhadditheen.’…”

“His works included:

(1) ‘Tafseerul-Qur·aanil-Kareem,’ and it was one of the most beneficial books of tafseer based upon narrations. He would explain the Qur·aan with the Qur·aan, and then with the famous ahaadeeth from the dependable sources of the muhadditheen – along with their chains of narration. He discussed the chains of narration with the terms of rejection and acceptance, and made clear anything the narrations contained with regard to strangeness, being contrary to what is authentic, or confliction with the reliable reports. Then he would mention the reported sayings from the Companions and the Taabi`een.

As-Suyootee said: “The like of it, similar in form, has not been written.”

(2) His history entitled ‘al-Bidaayah wan-Nihaayah,’ in which he mentioned the stories of the Prophets and the previous nations, based upon what occurs in the Noble Qur·aan and the authentic narrations…then he carefully detailed the Prophetic Seerah, and the history of Islaam to his time. Then he went on to mention the tribulations, signs of the Last Hour, the forthcoming battles and the conditions in the Hereafter….

He died on Thursday, the 26th of Sha`baan in the year 774 H, at the age of 74; and al-Haafiz Ibn Hajr said: He lost his eyesight at the end of his life – rahimahullaah wa radiyallaahu `anhu.”

[Taken from the introduction to ‘al-Baa`ithul-Hatheeth’; the biography was compiled by Shaikh Muhammad `Abdur-Razzaaq Hamzah.]

Ibn al-`Imaad said in ‘Shadharaatudh-Dhahab’ (6/231/232): “…He had many students; from them was Ibn Hajjee who said about him: ‘He was the greatest memorizer of the texts of hadeeth that we have come across, and the one best acquainted with their defects, and their narrators, and the authentic and the unauthentic from them, and his peers and his Shaikhs acknowledged that for him. I do not think, despite the frequency with which I went to him, that I ever met him except I took benefit from him.’ Others, as Qaadee Shahbah mentioned in his ‘Tabaqaat’ stated that he was a particularly close student of Ibn Taimiyyah, and used to defend him and follow many of his views; and he used to give verdict with his view regarding divorce, and he was put to trial because of it and suffered harm. He died in Sha`baan, and was buried…next to his Shaikh, Ibn Taimiyyah.” -rahimahullaah.


Muhammad ibn `Alee ibn Muhammad ibn `Abdullaah, ash-Shawkaanee, then as-San`aanee [the capital of Yemen]. He was born on Monday the 28th of Dhul-Qa`dah in 1173 H in the town of Hijrah Shawkaan.

He grew up in the manner of students of legislated knowledge, memorizing the Qur·aan and becoming proficient in it, and he memorized many of the texts before he began serious study by the age of ten. Then he sat with the major Shaikhs, and he greatly occupied himself with studying history in the sciences of the language. His father did not allow him to occupy himself with other than knowledge, nor to leave San`aa. He sat to deliver verdicts at the age of twenty, and he had thirteen lessons each day: some he delivered, and others he studied with his Shaikhs. [‘al-Badrut-Taali`’: (2/215, 218-219)]

He authored 278 works, including works of Tafseer, Fiqh, Usoolul-Fiqh, the `Aqeedah of the Salaf, and in refutation of blind-following (taqleed). al-`Allaamah Hasan ibn Ahmad al-Bahkalee said…: (start of quote): “In the year 1250 H, in the month of Jumaadal-Aakhirah, our Shaikh Muhammad ibn `Alee ash-Shawkaanee passed away. He was the judge of the whole community, Shaikhul-Islaam, the verifier, the `Allaamah, the imaam, sultaan of the scholars, imaam of the world….

So in summary, he did not see anyone the like of himself; nor did he see anyone who had seen the like of him in knowledge, piety and establishment of the truth with strength of spirit and eloquence of tongue…. He was born on Monday, the 28th of the sacred month of Dhul-Qa`dah in the year 1172 H….

He studied under his father, and studied continuously under the Qaadee, imaam of the details of Fiqh in his time Ahmad ibn Muhammad alHaraazee, and he derived benefit from him in Fiqh… He learned Arabic grammar and morphology from as-Sayyid al-`Allaamah Ismaa`eel ibn Hasan, and al-`Allaamah `Abdullaah ibn Ismaa`eel an-Nahmee, and al- `Allaamah al-Qaasim ibn Muhammad al-Khawlaanee… and in many of the branches of knowledge he studied constantly with the reviver of his time as Sayyid `Abdul-Qaadir ibn Ahmad al-Kawkabaanee; and in the science of hadeeth he took from al-Haafiz `Alee ibn Ibraaheem ibn `Aamir, and from other Shaikhs besides them….

He authored magnificent, delightful, beneficial, and useful works in most branches of knowledge; from them ‘Naylul-Awtaar’ – a commentary upon ‘Muntaqal-Akhbaar’ of [Majduddeen `Abdus-Salaam] Ibn Taimiyyah – rahimahullaah- in four volumes the like of which is not to be seen in these times with regard to its careful verification and precision. He gave each matter its due right, with justice and fairness; and did not adhere to blindfollowing. He quoted the positions of the later scholars and of the Predecessors. His noble Shaikhs and other prominent scholars related it from him, and it spread throughout the lands in his lifetime. It was read to him many times, and the scholars derived benefit from it; and it was the only one out of his works that he was personally satisfied with, because of its high level of accuracy, and its close adherence to proof in the best manner. He wrote it during the lifetime of his Shaikhs, and they were able to point out certain points, which he edited.

He also wrote the large Tafseer entitled ‘Fathul-Qadeer’ which combined the sciences of narration of hadeeth, and its understanding… … And I [i.e. his student Hasan ibn Ahmad al-Bahkalee] learned from him in many of the fields of knowledge, and I took from him most of his noble works, and with his death the shining lamp of Yemen was extinguished for them; and I do not think that in precision and verification they will see the like of him.” (end of quote.)

And the Lord of creation, the One free of all imperfections-blessed this Qaadee and Imaam from the vast ocean of His Generosity with three things which I do not know to have been combined in these later times for anyone besides him: Firstly: Vast and deep knowledge of all the different branches, types and forms of knowledge; secondly: the great number of students he had who were verifiers, people of nobility and precision: people of discerning intellect, and outstanding virtues…; thirdly: the great number of his skilled and precise works, and his intricate treatises and responses which in their number outstripped great scholars, and whose precision and exactness reached every possible limit…”-rahimahullaah.

[‘at-Taajul-Mukallal’ (pp.452-461) of `Allaamah Siddeeq Hasan Khaan alQanoojee; and the introduction to ‘Fathul-Qadeer.’]


“Ash-Shaikh Aboo `Abdillaah `Abdur-Rahmaan ibn Naasir ibn `Abdillaah ibn Naasir Aal-Sa`dee, from the tribe of Tameem. He was born in the town of `Unayzah in the district of al-Qaseem [Saudi Arabia], on the 12th of Muharram 1307 H and his mother died when he was four years old. Then his father died when he was seven years old, so he grew up as an orphan. However he had a fine up bringing and it was noticed that from an early age he was distinguished by intelligence and a desire to learn. He read the whole Qur·aan after the death of his father and then memorized it completely, and he was fully proficient in it at the age of eleven. Then he occupied himself with acquiring knowledge from the scholars of his land, and from those who came to his land. So he strove and exerted himself until he acquired a good portion of every branch of knowledge. Upon reaching the age of twentythree he sat to teach. So he would learn and also teach, and spend all of his time in that. This continued until the year 1350 H, when he took charge of all teaching in his town, and all students referred back to him. He took knowledge from Shaikh Ibraaheem ibn Hamd ibn Jaasir, and he was the first teacher he studied with. He described his Shaikh as a memorizer of hadeeth, and he would speak about his piety and how he used to love and take care of the poor. Often a poor person would come to him in winter and he would take off one of his two garments and give it to the poor person, even though he himself needed it and possessed very little himself – rahimahullaah.

Also from his Shaikhs was Muhammad ibn `Abdul-Kareem ash-Shibl, with whom he learned Fiqh, sciences of Arabic language and other than that. He also studied with ash-Shaikh Saalih ibn `Uthmaan al-Qaadee, the judge of `Unayzah. He learnt from him Tawheed, Tafseer, Fiqh: its Usool and its details, and the sciences of the Arabic language. He was the one whom he studied with the most, and he kept his company constantly until he passed away -rahimahullaah.

He also studied with Shaikh `Abdullaah ibn `Aayid, and Shaikh Sa`b alQuwayjaree, and Shaikh `Alee as-Sinaanee, and Shaikh `Alee an-Naasir Aboo Waadee with whom he studied hadeeth, and took the six books and others from him with ‘ijaazah’ (permission to narrate).

He also studied with Shaikh Muhammad ibn ash-Shaikh `Abdul-`Azeez Aal Muhammad al-Maani` (the director of cultural/educational affairs in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at present); he studied with him in `Unayzah. Also from his Shaikhs was Shaikh Muhammad ash-Shanqeetee (who settled in the Hijaaz…) when he came to teach in `Unayzah. He studied with him Tafseer, Hadeeth, the sciences of Hadeeth, and the sciences of the language – such as grammar, morphology and so on.

He was upon a high level of virtuous manners, showing humility with the young and the old, and the rich and the poor. He used to spend some of his time sitting in gatherings with whoever wished to attend, so the gathering would be a gathering of knowledge. He was keen that these gatherings should discuss matters of knowledge and social affairs, and the people of the gatherings would derive great benefit from the useful discussions they involved themselves in. So their recreational gatherings were turned into gatherings of worship and knowledge. He would speak to each person with whatever befitted him, and would discuss with him matters that would be beneficial to his worldly life and his Hereafter.

He would frequently resolve dispute in a just manner which satisfied both sides.

He had great concern for the poor, the needy, and strangers and he would personally assist them as far as he was able, and he would encourage the wealthy people – those whom he knew to love doing good – to be compassionate towards them.

He was upon a very high level of good manners, chastity, purity of spirit, and firmly resolved and serious in all his affairs.

He was also the best of people in his manner of teaching, and the best at causing his students to understand…

He occupied himself most of all and benefited most from the books of Shaikhul-Islaam Ibn Taimiyyah and his student Ibnul-Qayyim. This benefited him greatly with regard to knowledge of Usool, Tawheed, Tafseer, and Fiqh and other branches of beneficial knowledge…

He was especially proficient in Tafseer, having read a number of Tafseers and excelling in it. He authored a fine Tafseer, in a number of volumes…entitled ‘Tayseerul-Kareemir-Rahmaan fee Tafseer KalaamilMannaan’.… He passed away at the age of 69 in the year 1376 in the town of `Unayzah – rahimahullaah…”

[Abridged from the biography written by one of his students and included as a preface to his Tafseer].

Posted from :
Tafseer Soorat-in-Naba’- from the works of numerous mufassireen.
Compiled and translated by Abu Talhah Dawud Burbank rahimahullaah