Download PDF: [S] Who is Imam Jareer Tabari
Imam Jareer Tabari – may Allah be pleased with him – travelled the length and breadth of the earth in the acquisition of knowledge. He was a great authority in the Holy Qur’an, Hadith, history and many other branches of knowledge. In fact, in one stage of his life, he was so overtaken by poverty that he had to sell the clothes of his back and continue his studies. Imam Abul Fatah – may Allah be pleased with him – and others state that, “He was a Mujaddid of his era. He was also an expert in numerous branches of knowledge which are too many to list and he had written numerous books in various subjects.” (Al Ulama Al Arab)
Imam Jareer Tabari – may Allah be pleased with him – memorized the Qur’an at the age of seven and at the age of nine, he started to record Ahadith. At the age of only 12, he sought permission from his father to go and seek knowledge. This was in 236 A.H.
It is mentioned that Imam Jareer Tabari – may Allah be pleased with him – had recorded over a hundred thousand Ahadith from ibn Humaid and from many other authorities in Ahadith including Imam Abu Kareeb Mohammed bin Ala Hamdani – may Allah be pleased with them. Together with being a master Muhaddith, Imam Abu Kareeb – may Allah be pleased with him – was also someone who had a severe temper.
Tabari mentions that, “Together with many other students, I one day stood at his front door to seek permission to enter his classes. He then peeped through the glass. The students were also making a large noise to enter his classes. He then asked which of the students among us had memorised all the Ahadith which he had mentioned to us. Obviously, all the students began to look at each other and finally they looked at me and asked whether I had memorised all of these Ahadith. I mentioned that indeed I has memorised them. I then mentioned to the teacher that on a certain day, he had mentioned this Hadith and on a certain day, he had mentioned that Hadith. In this manner, I mentioned all the Ahadith which he had taught us.
“Through this, my teacher seemed to have had a change of heart for me and called me alone inside his classes. He then started to teach me alone and the other students were taught by me as I dictated the various Ahadith which I had learnt.”
The historians also admit that Imam Abu Kareeb – may Allah be pleased with him – clearly seen the amazing quality of this young man and understood that very soon, he would have a great status in the Muslim world. It is mentioned that he learnt more than a hundred thousand Ahadith from his teacher. (Taarik Baghdad)
In fact, Imam Jareer Tabari – may Allah be pleased with him – was such an eminent authority in Islam that one day he asked his students, “If I write a Tafseer of the Qur’an, will you read it.”
The student asked how many volumes would it consist of and he mentioned that it would contain thirty thousand pages. The students then informed him that if this is the number of pages, they would need the same age as Khidr to complete the study of this monumental work. Imam Jareer Tabari – may Allah be pleased with him – then only completed a Tafseer which contained three thousand pages and for seven years. He dictated this to his students and it was collated in thirty volumes.
It is mentioned that Imam Jareer Tabari – may Allah be pleased with him – also had the intention of writing the same amount of pages in the faculty of history. But again his students mentioned that people would find difficult to read such a voluminous work. Due to this, Imam Jareer Tabari – may Allah be pleased with him – wrote a short brief which is entitled, “Taarik Umam wal Muluk”. This is also in twenty one volumes and considered as one of his “small” works. (Taarik Baghdad)
Another amazing quality of Imam Jareer Tabari – may Allah be pleased with him – was that he was able to understand any branch of knowledge in the shortest possible time. He mentions that one day someone brought a question to him which involved the faculty of prosody and he mentioned to the person that he should come tomorrow. His intention was to first study this branch of knowledge. In fact, since this involved poetry and the various laws which pertain to this knowledge, he admits that he never took an interest in it.
He then asked for a book called “Al Urud” written by his close friend, Khalil bin Ahmed, and studied it during the entire evening. He admits that in the morning, he had become an expert in this field was able to answer any question in this faculty. (Taarik Baghdad)
He passed away on the 26th of Shawwal in 310 A.H. at the age of 86. He never married. Imam Abu Bakr Khateeb mentions that no one knew that he had passed away, but suddenly there were so many people in his Janazah that it had to be read many times over. In fact, it is said that his Janazah Salaah was performed many months over when people arrived from different parts of the Muslim world.
This clearly proves these were those blessed souls in Islam that had been sent by Allah Almighty to fulfil a great responsibility for the Muslim Ummah. This is also the quality of a Mujaddid that people are truly amazed by their knowledge and cannot comprehend from where these blessed individuals acquire their knowledge from. The latest example of Sayyidi A’la Hadrat Imam Ahmed RAza – may Allah be pleased with him – is also an example which we can present in this regard.