Robert Kevin Jaques‘ work, Ibn Hajar: Makers of Islamic Civilization (I. B. Tauris, 2013), focuses on the life of one of the most eminent Muslim scholars, Ibn...

Robert Kevin Jaques‘ work, Ibn Hajar: Makers of Islamic Civilization (I. B. Tauris, 2013), focuses on the life of one of the most eminent Muslim scholars, Ibn Ḥajar al-‘AsqalānÄ« (d. 852/1449). Jaques provides his readers with a concise yet intimate biography of this great scholar based on the accounts of his students, chiefly the al-Jawāhir of al-SakhāwÄ«, and works penned by Ibn Ḥajar himself. Beginning life as an orphan, Ibn Ḥajar rose to the most prominent academic position as the chief Shāfi‛ī judge of the Egyptian MamlÅ«k system. His accomplishment made all the more remarkable as he had to contest with countless political machinations and personal tragedies including the death of many of his children. While many of Ibn Ḥajar’s contemporary’s rose and fell due to their inability to successfully navigate the ever changing political landscape, Jaques ascribes Ibn Ḥajar’s longevity and lasting legacy to his enchanting personality, religious devotion, and inimitable acumen; qualities often ignored or downplayed by social historians studying the political intrigues of MamlÅ«k society. Jaques discusses the significance of Ibn Ḥajar’s historical and biographical texts, such as the Inbā’ al-ghumr bi-anbā’ al-‘umr and al-Durar al-kāmina, but he devotes much time to Ibn Ḥajar’s massive commentary on al-BukhārÄ«’s Ṣāḥīḥ, Fatḥ al-bārÄ«. The study of ḥadÄ«th became Ibn Ḥajar’s way to combat personal losses and the constant threat of plague; phenomena which he believed were not occasions of Divine retribution for the transgressions of the community. Excellent in its composition and structure, Makers of Islamic Civilization: Ibn Ḥajar is a book which will benefit both the novice and expert in the study of Islam.

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