History of Damascus

History of Damascus

Ibn Asakir

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  • EAN: 9780599657441
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Ibn Asakir was a Sunni Islamic scholar, a historian and a disciple of the Sufi mystic Abu al-Najib Suhrawardi.
Born in Damascus, during the reign of atabeg Toghtekin, Ibn Asakir received an extensive education, as befitting someone from a wealthy family. By 1120, he was attending lectures of al-Sulami at the Shafi'i madrasa, which was built by atabeg Gumushtegin. He traveled to Baghdad, following the death of his father, and went on hajj in 1127. He returned to Baghdad to hear lectures at the Nezamiyeh, from Abu l'Hasan al-Ansari(a pupil of al-Ghazali), lectures on the hadith of Abi Salih al-Karamani and Ibn al-Husayn Abu 'l-Kasim.

By 1132, Ibn Asakir returned to Damascus being married within the year. Civil disturbances forced him to leave Damascus and travel from Isafahan to Merv, where he met Abu Sa'd 'Abd al-Karim al-Samani. With al-Samani he travel to Nishapur and Herat and by 1139 he had passed through Baghdad on his way back to Damascus. Throughout his journey he collected numerous hadiths and had become a hafiz.

Under the patronage of Nur ad-Din Zangi, Ibn Asakir wrote the Tarikh Dimashq. In 1170, Nur al-Din built the madrasa Dar al-Hadith for Ibn Asakir.

Ibn Asakir studied under 80 female Muslim scholars.

This work is an attempt to present one of the great achievements in the Muslim historiography, Ibn Asakir’s History of the city of Damascus. After the author’s short biography, the work analyzes the content of History, its methodology, structure of biographies, its sources and im- pact on later Muslim historiography. Contemporary of Nuruddin ez-Zenki and Salahuddin Ejjubi, Ibn ‘Asakir (d. 1176) was a historian, great traveler, Shafi’i lawyer, poet, activist, Ash’arite theologian, professor of daru ‘l-hadis (school of hadith) and, above all muhaddis. Apart from his hometown Damascus, he was educated in Mecca, Medina, Kufa, Baghdad, Horasan, Isfahan, Transoxani, Merv, Tabriz, Bejhek, Nishapur, Herat and Mosul. He had over 1300 male teachers (shejks) and around 80 female teachers, which in fact were the sources of his Tarih. He authored 143 works. Ibn ‘Asakir started to write Tarih between years 525 and 529 of Hijra and he was doing it until the last days of his life. Just before his death he wrote the introduction to this work. His son Qasim did the last editorial work on Tarih which is, apart from other, incorporation of the ‘Asakir’s notes from the margins into the main text.

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