The Salafi Imam became well-known with the title ‘Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah’ because his father was the principal of the ‘Al-Jawziyyah‘ school in Damascus. As for his name, it is Shams ad-Din, Abu ‘Abdullah, Muhammad the son of Abu Bakr the son of Ayub az-Zura’i (an ascription to Azra’ which is in the south of Syria), then Dimashqi, Hanbali.
He was born on the 7th of Safar in the year 691H (1292CE), and was raised in a house of knowledge and excellence. This offered him the chance to take knowledge from the senior scholars of his time, a time when the various sciences of knowledge flourished. He studied under Ash-Shibab an-Nabilisi, Abu Bakr ibn ‘Abd ad-Da’im, Al-Qadhi Taqi ad-Din Sulayman, ‘Isa al-Mut’im, Fatimah bint Jawhar, Abu Nasr al-Baha’ ibn Asakir, ‘Ala’ ad-Din al-Kindi, Muhammad ibn ‘Abdul-Fath al-Ba’labaki, Ayyub ibn Al-Kamal and Al-Qadhi Badr ad-Din ibn Jama’ah.
He took knowledge of the laws of inheritance from Isma’il ibn Muhammad and read the Arabic language to ‘Abdul-Fath al-Ba’labaki and Al-Majd at-Tunisi. He studied fiqh with a certain groups of scholars, amongst them being Isma’il ibn Muhammad al-Harrani, and he took ‘Usul al-Fiqh from As-Safi al-Hindi. As for his greatest teacher and his shaykh whom he accompanied for seventeen years of his life, and who left the greatest impact upon him – then that is the Imam, the Mujaddid (Reviver), Taqi ad-Din ibn Taymiyyah. Ibn Al-Qayyim took the same methodology as him and traversed his path in waging war against the people of Innovations and Desires and those who deviated from the religion.
As for his own students, then they are many. Amongst them were his son ‘Abdullah; Ibn Kathir – the author of Al-Bidayah wa’n-Nihayah; the Imam and Hafidh, ‘Abdur-Rahman ibn Rajab al-Baghdadi al-Hanbali – the author of Tabaqat al-Hanabilah; and also Shams ad-Din Muhammad ‘Abdul-Qadir an-Nabilisi.
Holding fast to the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Messenger
Ibn Al-Qayyim lived in a time in which there was strife and internal confusion and chaos, as well as an external threat which was menacing the Islamic state. For this reason, he used to order with holding fast to the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Messenger, and the rejection of separation and disunity. Amongst his goals was the purging of the religion from the innovations and desires and returning it to its pure and original fountains. So he called for the destruction of the madhhab of blind-following (taqlid), a return to the madhhab of the Salaf and traversing upon their way and methodology. Because of this we see that he did not restrict himself to the Hanbali madhhab and often he would take the opinion and view of one of the various madhahib, or sometimes he may have had an opinion which conflicts with the opinion of the all the other madhahib. Thus, his madhhab was ijtihad and the rejection of taqlid [and this is the position with all the scholars of past and present but not that of the common person or muqallid]. As a result of this he incurred great harm and was imprisoned with his Shaykh, Ibn Taymiyyah, in the same prison, though in isolation from him. He was not released from the prison until after the death of the Shaykh. [The previous sentence may seem to indicate that they were imprisoned because of their not following a madhhab, yet their imprisonment had more to do with their ‘aqidah, which was deemed to be deviant by the many powerful and ignorant scholars of the time, may Allah have mercy upon them.]
He took to teaching and giving verdicts for a number of years and (all) the people without exception benefitted from him. The scholars also testified to his knowledge and piety. Ibn Hajar said about him, “He had a courageous heart, was vast in knowledge and was well acquainted with the differences (of opinion) and the madhahib of the Salaf.” Shaykh ul-Islam, Muhammad ibn ‘Ali ash-Shawkani said, “He restricted (himself) to the (most) authentic of evidences, and admired acting upon them. He did not depend upon opinion (ra’i), would overcome (others) with the truth and would not be harsh with anyone with respect to it.”
Ibn Kathir said, “He was attached to occupying himself with knowledge, day and night. He would pray and recite the Qur’an much and was of excellent character, and showed great affection and friendship. He would not be jealous or envious.” Ibn Kathir also said, “I do not know, in this time of ours, anyone in the world whose worship is greater than his. He used to have a particular manner with respect to the prayer. He would lengthen it a great deal, would extend its bowing and prostrating. Many of his associates would censure him at times but he would never return and leave alone this (action of his), may Allah have mercy upon him.”
Mulla ‘Ali al-Qari said, “And whoever investigates the book Sharh Manazil as-Sa’irin (i.e., Madarij as-Salikin), it will become plain and clear to him that both of them (meaning Ibn Al-Qayyim and Ibn Taymiyyah) were amongst the most senior from Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah and amongst the Awliya’ (of Allah) of this Ummah.” Al-Hafidh As-Suyuti said, “And he became one of the senior scholars in exegesis (tafsir), hadith, ‘usul, subsidiary matters (furu’) and Arabic language.”
He authored and compiled in the field of fiqh, ‘usul, biography (siyar), history and the sciences of hadith. Alongsde this he was a linguist, well-acquainted with grammar. He also wrote much poetry.
He passed on to the mercy of His Lord at the latter time of Isha’, on the night of Thursday, 13th of Rajab in the year 751H (1350CE) and was buried at the foot of Mount Qasiyun by Damascus, leaving behind many written works, amongst the most famous of which are:
- Shifa’ al-Alil
- Miftah Dar as-Sa’adah
- Za’ad al-Ma’ad fi Haydi Khayri’l-‘Ibad
- Hadiy al-Arwah ila Biladi’l-Afrah
- Ighathatu’l-Lahfan fi Hukm Talaq al-Ghadban
- Al-Jawab al-Kafi li man Sa’ala ‘an Dawa’ ash-Shafi’i
- Madarij as-Salikin fi Manazil as-Sa’irin
- Tahdhib Sunan Abi Dawud
- As-Sawa’iq al-Mursalah ‘alal-Jahmiyyah wa’l-Mu’attilah
- Raf’ Yadayn fi’s-Salat
- Kitab al-Kaba’ir
- Hukm Tarik as-Salat
- Al-Kalam at-Tayyib wal-‘Amal as-Salih
- Sharh Asma’ al-Husna
- A’lam al-Muqaqqi’in ‘an Rabb al-‘Alamin
May Allah have mercy upon this great and noble Imam, benefit the world by him and elevate his position, rank after rank, in the Hereafter. Amin.