His name and his lineage:
He is Muwaffaq ad-Deen Aboo Muhammad, 'Abd-Allah bin Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Qudaamah bin Miqdaam bin Nasir bin 'Abd-Allah al-Maqdisee, then later became ad-Dimashqee, as-Saalihee.
He was born in Sha'baan in the year 541 H., in the village of Jammaa'eel, Jabal Naablus.
He memorised the Qur'aan at an early age, studied its sciences and was known to have a nice hand-writing.
His early life (youth) and travels:
- He went to Damascus with his family when he was ten years old, he read the Qur'an, and he memorized the Mukhtasar (Summary / Compendium) (of) al-Khiraqee.
- He travelled to Baghdaad with the son of his aunt (maternal cousin) al-Haafidh 'Abd al-Ghanee in the year 561 H. and they heard a lot from the many scholars there.
- He studied (Islamic) jurisprudence (fiqh) until he surpassed his peers/equals and he was very successful, thus he mastered the knowledge of the madhhab (school of law) and its principles.
His piety and his asceticism (zuhd):
He was pious, ascetic, God-fearing, consequently he had dignity, and he possessed tolerance and leniency, and all of his time he was preoccupied with knowledge and action, he would counter disputes with arguments and proofs/evidences, he would not become enraged or aroused, while his opponents would scream and become angry.
He left with his cousin, Al-Hafidh Abdul-Ganee, for Baghdad in 561 AH and caught up with Shaykh Abdul-Qaadir in his final days (i.e. before he passed away). They stayed at his school, learning from him as well as from other scholars and student of knowledge of that time such as Ibn Al-Jawzee, Hibat-ullaah Ibn Al-Hasan Ad-Daqaaq, Abi'l Fath Ibn Al-Battee, Abi Zur'ah Ibn Taahir, Yahya Ibn Thaabit, Khadeejah An-Nahrawaaniyah and others.
He also studied with the following scholars of his time:
Damascus / Syria - Abi Al-Makaarim Ibn Hilaal
Mosull / Iraq - Abi Al-Fadl at-Toosee
Makkah Al-Mukarramah - Al-Mubaarak Ibn At-Tabbaakh
Some of the Scholars that relayed his 'Ilm (knowledge) to us are:
He had a lot of students and from the more famous of them were Shihaab ad-Deen Aboo Shaamah al-Maqdisee – d. 665 H. – and al-Haafidh Zakee ad-Deen Aboo Muhammad al-Mundhiree – d. 656 H. – and others (of them):
Al-Jamaal Abu Moosa Ibn Al-Haafidh
Ash-Shams Ibn Kamaal
Zaynab Bint Al-wasitee and many others
He was known for his vast knowledge, wisdom and wit and renown as the Scholar of the people of Ash-Shaam of his time. Ibn An-Najjaar describes him as:
"The Imaam of Al-Hanaabilah in Damascus Mosque, he was a trust worthy, noble figure, extremely generous, of a clean character, a cautious worshipper, follower of the pious predecessors' methodology, emitting light (of knowledge and piety) and repectful. One may benefit from (just) seeing him before even hearing his speech!"
Some of his books:
The writings of the Imaam al-Muwaffaq are already plenty and they reach the level of excellence of the learned: Ibn Rajab said:
"Ash-shaykh al-Muwaffaq – rahimahullah – wrote a lot of good works on the madhhab, on the branches and on principles, in the (science) of al-hadeeth and the language and asceticism and the heart softeners, and his writings in usool ad-deen reach a level of high quality, a lot of them were on the path of the muhadditheen (the hadith – scholars), full of al-ahadeeth and al-aathaar and al-asaaneed (chains of narration), like the path/way of imaam Ahmad and the scholars of al-hadeeth."
Al-Mughnee - 10 volumes
Al-Kaafee - 4 volumes
Ar-Rawdah - 1 volume
Ar-Riqqah - 1 volume
At-Tawwaabeen - 1 volume
Al-I'tiqaad - 1 volume
Al-Mutahabbeen - 1 volume
...and many others
And from these writings are:
In (Islamic) Jurisprudence (Fiqh): al-Mughnee, al-Kaafee, al-'Uddah, al-'Umdah (al-Fiqh), and al-Muqna'....
In al-'Aqeedah: Luma'at al-'Itiqaad, al-Qad(a)r, Dhamm al-Taa-weel....
In Usool al-Fiqh : Rawdat an-Naazhir...
In Raqaa'iq (Ascetism): ar-Riqqah wal-Bukaa and at-Tawwaabeen.
(In al-hadeeth): Mukhtasar al-'Ilal al-Hadeeth li'l-Khalaal....
He has got other writings as well, which are between the stages of print and manuscript, we ask Allah to enable us to see the light (of guidance of these books) at a near time.
Statements from the learned about him:
Aboo 'Amr bin as-Salaah said:
"I didn't see anyone like ash-Shaykh Muwaffaq."
Ibn Taymiyyah said:
"No one possessing more understanding of the religion – fiqh – entered ash-Shaam - after al-Awzaa'ee - other than ash-shaykh al-Muwaffaq."
"He was al-Faqeeh al-Imaam, he narrated (ahaadeeth) in Damascus, he issued fatawaa and taught/gave lessons, he wrote books in fiqh and other subjects, summarized and long."
"He was one of the eminent imaams and an author of many books."
Ibn Kathir said:
"Shaykh al-Islam, an imaam an 'aalim, proficient, there was not found in his era nor before it by a long span of time, anyone possessing more fiqh – understanding of the religion – than him."
He died on Saturday, the Day of 'Eid-ul Fitr in 620 AH. May Allaah, subhanahu wata'aala, accepts him in His vast mercy, benefit us from his knowledge and gather us with his likes on the Day of Judgement, Aameen.
For discussion at length of the biography of Ibn Qudaamah turn to:
1. at-Takmilah fee Wafee-aat an-Naqlah by al-Mundhiree (3/107)
2. al-'Ibr fee Khabar min Ghabr by adh-Dhahabee (5/79-80)
3. Syaar A'alaam an-Nubalaa by adh-Dhahabi (22/160-173)
4. al-Bidaayah wa'n-Nihaayah by Ibn Kathir (13/99-100)
5. Dhayl Tabaqaat al-Hanaabilah by Bin Rajab (2/133-149)
6. Shadhraat adh-Dhahab by Bin al-'Imaad al-Hanbalee (5/88-92)
7. Mu'jam al-Baladaan by Yaaqoot al-Hamawee (2/159)
8. Fawaat al-Wafee-aat by Bin Shaakir al-Kattabee (2/158-159)
9. Fihris Makhtootaat azh-Zhaahireeyyah (qism al-hadeeth) by ash-shaykh al-Albaanee
10. Muqaddimah Tahqeeq Kitaab Ithbaat Siffah al'Uluw li bin Qudaamah bi-qalam al-akh al-kareem Badr al-Badr