Now dear reader, we begin the study of the work The Key to Paradise by Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali.
He is the Imam and Hafiz, Zaynul-Din Abdur Rahman ibn Ahmad ibn Abdir-Rahman ibn al-Hasan ibn Muhammad ibn Abu-l-Barakat Masud al-Sulami al-Hanbali al-Dimashqi. His agonmen was Abul Faraj, and his nickname was Ibn Rjab, which was the nickname of his grandfather who was born in that month.
He was born in Baghdad in 736H and was raised by a knowledgeable and pious family. He died on a Monday night, the fourth of Ramadan, 795 in al-Humariyyah, Damscus.
He learned and took knowledge from the greatest scholars of his time. In Damascus, he studied under Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah, Zaynul-Din Iraqi, ibn an-Naqib, Muhammad ibn Ismail al-Khabbaz, Dawud ibn Ibrahim al-Attar, ibn Qati al-Jabal and Ahmadibn Abdu-l-Hadi al-Hanbali. In Makkah, he heard from al-Fakhr Uthman ibn Yusuf al-Nuwayri. In Jerusalem, he heard from al-Hafiz, al-Alai. In Egypt, he heard from Sadrul-Din Abul-Fath al-Maydumi and Nasirul-Din ibn al-Muluk.
Many students of knowledge came to him to study under him. Amongst the most famous of his students were: Abul-Abbas Ahmad ibn Abu Bakr ibn Ali al-Hanbali; Abu-l Fadl Ahmad ibn Nasr ibn Ahmad; Dawud ibn Sulayman al-Mawsili; Abdul Rahman ibn Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-Muqri; Zaynul Din Abdur-Rahman ibn Sulayman ibn Abul-Karam; Abu Dharr al-Zarkashi; al-Qadi Ala-ul Din ibn al-Laham al-Bali; and Ahmad ibn Sayful Din al-Hamawi.
Ibn Rajab devoted himself to knowledge and spent the vast majority of his time researching, writing, authoring, teaching and giving legal rulings.
Many scholars praised him for his vast knowledge, asceticism and expertise in the Hanbali school of thought. Ibn Qadi Shuhbah said of him, ‘He read and became proficient in various fields of science. He engrossed himself with the issues of the madhab until he mastered it. He devoted himself to the occupation of knowledge of the texts, defects and meanings of the hadith.
Ibn Hajr said of him, ‘He was highly proficient in the science of hadith in terms of the names of reporters, their biographies, their paths of narration and awareness of their meanings.’
Ibn Muflih said of him, ‘He is the Shaykh, the great scholar, the Hafiz, the ascetic, the Shaykh of the Hanbali madhab and he authored many beneficial works.’
He wrote many beneficial works, some of them outstanding such as al-Qawa’id al-Kubra fil Furu about which it said, ‘It is one of the wonders of this age.’ His commentary to at-Tirmidhi is said to be one of the most extensive and best ever written so much so that al-Iraqi; about whom ibn Hajar said, ‘He was the wonder of his age’; would ask for his help when compiling his own commentary on the same book.
The Key to Paradise by Ibn Rajab Al-Hanbali [Introduction to the Author] Pages 13-15