A Short Bio of ‘Ibn Hajar al-’Asqalaanee
He is ‘Abu Fadhl ‘Ahmad bin ‘Alee bin Hajar al-’Asqalaanee ash-Shaafi’ee. He was born in Egypt in 773H, and he died in 852H. He grew up poor given that his father died when he was only 4 years old and his mother died before that when he was only an infant. He ended up in the guardianship of Zakee ad-Deen ‘Abeel-Bakr al-Kharuubee who was a great trader who took care of his every need. So ‘Ibn Hajar entered the study when he was 5 years old and completed his memorization of Qur’aan at the age of 9 under Muhammad bin ‘Abd ar-Razzaaq as-Saffatee.
He went on Hajj at the age of 10 in 784H with Zakee ad-Deen, staying some time in Makkah. Upon his return to Egypt from Hajj in 786, he memorized ‘Umdat al-’Ahkaam by al-Maqdisee, Mukhtasaar ‘Ibn al-Haajib in ‘Usuul, Mulhat ul-’Arab by al-Harawee, ‘Alfeeyat al-’Iraaqee, ‘Alfeeyat ‘Ibn Maalik, and at-Tanbeeh in the branches of Shaafi’ee Fiqh by ash-Shiraazee.
It is said that he memorized Surat al-Maryaam in one day.
In 787H, his guardian Zakee ad-Deen died, may Allah have mercy on him, and ‘Ibn Hajar began to study the arts of ‘Adab when he reached 18 years of age. He really began in earnest to dedicate himself to the study of hadeeth in 793H, when he was 20 years old.
In 806H, his teacher in hadeeth became Zayn ad-Deen al-’Iraaqee. He stayed with him 10 years.
He was married at age 25 to the daughter of a Qadhee, and then married subsequently 3 more times, baring 5 daughters.
He traveled around Egypt starting in 793H, seeking knowledge, studying with the various ‘Ulamaa’. Then in 797H, he traveled to al-’Iskandareeyah, and then to Yemen in 799H, after which he headed to al-Hijaaz.
In 802H, ‘Ibn Hajar traveled to ash-Shaam hearing from its Musnadiyeen and ‘Ulamaa’. He stayed in Damascus for only 100 days, however he gave audience to over 1,000 small books of Hadeeth.
While in Yemen, his books Tahtheeb at-Tahtheeb and Lisaan al-Mizaan were transcribed by ar-Radhee bin al-Musta’thaan, in ‘Aden, in 816H.
In 817H, ‘Ibn Hajar received a copy of al-Qamuus al-Muheet from Fayruz ‘Abaadee.
‘Ibn Hajar is recorded to have had something like over 600 teachers in the various sciences. Among them are at-Tanukhee in recitation, al-’Iraaqee in hadeeth, al-Haythamee in memorization, al-Balqeenee, ‘Ibn Mulqin, ash-Shiraazee, al-Ghumaree, al-Muhibb bin Hishaam, and al-’Izz bin Jamaa’ah.
‘Ibn Hajar gave the khutbah in the Jaami’ of al-’Azhar starting in 819H, and then in the Jaami’ of ‘Amrw bin al-’Aas. He began giving Fataawaa in 815H.
Tahtheeb at-Tahtheeb is a summarized version of a previous book written by al-Mizzee in 742H.
His text compiles the statements of al-Mizzee in his Tahtheeb al-Kamaal, the statements of ath-Thahabee in this Tahtheeb, regarding the status of the narrators of the six books, namely Saheeh al-Bukhaaree, Saheeh Muslim, Sunan an-Nasaa’ee, Sunan at-Tirmithee, Sunan ‘Abee Daawud, and Sunan ‘Ibn Maajah.