Izz al-Din ibn 'Abd al-Salam

Al-‘Izz ibn ’Abd is-Salām
مخطوطة العز بن عبد السلام.png
Arabic calligraphy, His name & title written on it
Title Sulṭān al-‘Ulamā [1]

Shaykh al-Islam[2]
Born AH 577 (1181-1182 CE)[1]

Died AH 660 (1262 CE)[1][3]
Religion Islam
Ethnicity Arab
Era Medieval era
Region Arab World
Jurisprudence Shafi'i [1] [3]
Creed Athari
Main interest(s) Islamic theology


Islamic jurisprudence
Muslim leader

'Izz al-Din 'Abd al-'Aziz ibn 'Abd al-Salam ibn Abi 'l-Qasim ibn al-Hasan al-Dimashqi, Sultan al-'Ulama/ Sulthanul Ulama, Abu Muhammad al-Sulami, was a famous mujtahid, theologian, jurist and the leading Shafi'i authority of his generation.[1]

Birth and education [ edit ]

Ibn 'Abd al-Salam was born in Damascus in 577 AH.[1] He received his education in Damascus by such scholars as Ibn Asakir and Jamal al-Din al-Harastani in Sacred law, Sayf al-Din al-Amidi in usul al-Fiqh and theology, and Tasawwuf with Suhrawardi and Abul Hasan al-Shadhili.[1]

Imprisonment [ edit ]

In Damascus, as sermon giver (khatib) of the Umayyad mosque, he openly defied what he considered to be unsanctioned customs followed by the other sermon givers: he refused to wear black, refused to say his sermons in rhymed prose (saj) and refused to praise the princes. When the ruler As-Salih Ismail made capitulatory concessions to Theobald during the Barons' Crusade, Ibn 'Abd al-Salam condemned him from the pulpit and omitted mentioning him in the post-sermon prayer. He was consequently jailed and upon release emigrated to Egypt.[2][4]

Egypt [ edit ]

Having left Damascus, Ibn 'Abd al-Salam settled in Cairo where he was appointed chief judge and Imam of the Friday prayer, gaining such public influence that he could (and did) command the right and forbid the wrong with the force of the law.[2][4]

Ibn 'Abd al-Salam later resigned from the judiciary and undertook a career as a teacher of Shafi'i law at the Salihiyya, a college founded in the heart of Cairo by al-Malik al-Salih which had then barely been completed and which was, in Egypt, the first establishment providing instruction in the four rites. The biographers indicate that he was the first to teach Qur'anic commentary in Egypt.[1]

Ibn 'Abd al-Salam's exploits eventually earned him the title Sultan al-'Ulema (Sultan of the scholars).[2]

Works [ edit ]

He produced a number of brilliant works in Shafi'i jurisprudence, Qur'anic jurisprudence tafsir, methodological fundamentals in Sacred Law, formal legal opinion, government and Sufism though his main and enduring contribution was his masterpiece on Islamic legal principles transl. ara – transl. Qawa'id al-ahkam fi masalih al-anam.[4] Some of his more popular works are on:


  1. Tafsir al-Qur'an al-Azim,
  2. Mukhtasar al-Nukat wa'l 'Uyun lil Imam al-Mawardi,
  3. Al-Isharah ila al-Ijaz,
  4. Fawa'id fi Mushkil al-Qur'an
  5. Amali

Hadith / Sirah

  1. Mukhtasar Sahih Muslim,
  2. Bidayat al-Sul fi Tafdhil al-Rasul; available in its translated form as The Beginning of The Quest of the High Esteem of the Messenger
  3. Targhib Ahl al-Islam fi Sakni al-Sham,


  1. Al-Mulhat fi I'tiqad Ahl al-Haqq or by its other title; al-Radd 'ala al-Mubtadi'ah wa'l Hashawiyah; transmitted by his son 'Abd al-Latif.
  2. Al-Farq bayn al-Iman wa'l Islam or Ma'na al-Iman wa'l Islam,
  3. Al-Anwa' fi 'ilm al-Tawhid,
  4. Bayan Ahwal al-Nas yawm al-Qiyamah,

Tasawwuf / Raqa'iq

  1. Shajarat al-'Arif wa'l Ahwal wasalih al-Aqwal wa'l A'mal,
  2. Al-Fitan wa'l Balaya wa'l Mihan,
  3. Mukhtasar Ra'ayah al-Muhasibi or Maqasid al-Ri'ayah li Huquqillah,


  1. Qawa'id al-Kubra or by its full title; Qawa'id al-Ahkam fi Masalih al-Anam. Its popular commentary is available by Imam al-Qarafi who was one of his students.
  2. Al-Qawa'id al-Sughra, or al-Fawa'id fi Mukhtasar al-Qawa'id; is an abridgement of the above title.
  3. Al-Imam fi Bayan Adillat al-Ahkam, or ad-Dala'il al-Muta'aliqah bi'l Mala'ikah wa'l Nabiyin,


  1. Al-Ghayah fi Ikhtisar al-Nihayah; is an abridgement of Nihayat al-Matlab fi Dirayat al-Madhab of imam al-Haramayn al-Juwayni.
  2. Al-Jam' bayaan al-Hawi wa'l Nihayah; not known to have finished it.

Al-Fatawa al-Misriyyah, Al-Fatawa al-Musiliyyah, At-Targhib 'an Salat al-Ragha'ib, or by another title; al-Targhib 'an Salat al-Ragha'ib al-Mawdu'ah wa bayan ma fiha min Mukhalafat al-Sunan al-Mashru'ah, or by another title; Risalat fi Dhamm Salat al-Ragha'ib.

  1. Risalat fi Radd Jawaz Salat al-Ragha'ib or by the title of Risalat fi Tafnid Radd Ibn al-Salah,
  2. Maqasid al-Sawm,
  3. Manasik al-Hajj,
  4. Maqasid al-Salah,
  5. Ahkam al-Jihad wa Fadha'ilihi,

Reception [ edit ]

Zaki al-Din al-Mundhiri, the Shafi'i jurist, hadith expert and author stated that, "We used to give legal opinions before shaykh 'Izz al-Din arrived; now that he is among us we no longer do so."[2]

Qarafi describes Ibn 'Abd al-Salam as a "staunch defender of the sunna who had no fear of those in power"[5]

A number of sources report that Ibn 'Abd al-Salam reached the level of ijtihad transcending the Shafi'i madhab altogether.[2]

Death [ edit ]

He died in Cairo in 660 AH.[1]

References [ edit ]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Bosworth, C.E.; van Donzel, E.; Heinrichs, W.P.; Lecomte, G. (1997). Encyclopaedia of Islam (New Edition). Volume IX (San-Sze). Leiden, Netherlands: Brill. p. 812. ISBN 9004104224.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Jackson, Sherman (1996). Islamic Law and the State: The Constitutional Jurisprudence of Shihab Al-Din Al-Qarafi (Studies in Islamic Law & Society). Brill. p. 10. ISBN 9004104585.
  3. ^ a b Elmore, Gerald T. (1999). Islamic Sainthood in the Fullness of Time: Ibn Al-Arabi's Book of the Fabulous Gryphon (Islamic Philosophy, Theology, and Science). Brill Academic Pub. p. 45. ISBN 9004109919.
  4. ^ a b c Keller, Nuh Ha Mim (1997). Reliance of the Traveller. A classic manual of Islamic Sacred Law. Beltsville, Maryland: Amana Publications. p. 1064. ISBN 0915957728.
  5. ^ Holmes Katz, Marion (2007). The Birth of The Prophet Muhammad: Devotional Piety in Sunni Islam. Routledge. p. 1064. ISBN 0415771277.
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