Umm Faatimah Zainab: Teacher of Ibn Kathir’s Mother-In-Law and His Wife, and the One Whose Questions Ibn Taymiyyah Would Prepare For

February 22, 2013 § Leave a comment

The great explainer of the Quraan, Imaam Ibn Kathir, may Allaah have mercy on him, said, “And on the Day of ’Arafah did pass away the Shaikhah, the righteous one, the worshipper, the pious one: Umm Zainab Faatimah the daughter of ’Abbaas ibn Abil-Fath ibn Muhammad al-Baghdaadiyyah on the outskirts of Cairo, a huge number of people attended her funeral, and she was from the virtuous scholars, enjoining the good and forbidding the evil and standing against the Ahmadiyyah [a Sufi sect] and their association with women and boys, and she would refute their condition and the foundations of the people of innovations and others, and of that she would do what men were not able to.

And she used to attend the gatherings of the Shaikh [of Islaam] Taqiyuddin Ibn Taimiyyah and benefitted from him and others, and I heard Shaikh Taqiyuddin [i.e., Ibn Taymiyyah] praise her and describe her as having nobility and knowledge and he mentioned that she was able to recall [i.e., had memorised] much or most of Al-Mughni and that he [i.e., the Shaikh of Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah himself] would prepare for her due to the numerous matters [that she would discuss] and the excellent nature of her questions and the speed of her understanding, and she was the one who caused many women to finish memorising the Quraan, from them was my mother-in-law ’Aaishah bint Siddeeq the wife of the Shaikh Jamaalud-Deen al-Mizzee, and she is the one who taught her daughter, my wife, Amatur-Raheem Zainab, how to recite the Quraan, may Allaah have mercy on them all and be bountiful to them with His Mercy and His Paradise, Aameen.”

And As-Safadi said, “Faatimah the Daughter of ’Abbaas ibn Abil-Fath: the Shaikhah, the Female Scholar Capable of Giving Religious Verdicts [Muftiyyah], the Scholar of Fiqh [al-Faqeehah], the One Who Abstained from the Dunya [az-Zaahidah], the [Devoted] Worshipper [al-’Aabidah], Umm Zainab al-Baghdaadiyyah, al-Hanbaliyyah, the Admonisher.

She would ascend the minbar and exhort the women, and thus would they return [to righteousness] due to her admonition and leave off evil, groups of women benefitted from her exhortations and, after having been hard, their hearts softened towards obedience … and Ibn Taymiyyah, may Allaah have mercy on him, would be amazed at her actions and would praise her intelligence, her devoutness [khushoo] and her crying.

More than one person related to me that Shaikh Taqiyuddin Ibn Taymiyyah said, ‘I remained concerned about an issue related to her for she ascends the minbar [to exhort the women] and I wanted to prevent her, so I fell asleep one night and I saw the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم in a dream and so I asked him about her, and he replied, ‘A righteous woman,’ or he said something similar …’

And she, may Allaah the Most High have mercy on her, passed away on the Day of ’Arafah in the year 714 ah [1314ce].”

Al-Bidaayah wan-Nihaayah of Ibn Kathir, vol. 14, p. 82 and A’yaanul-Asr wa A’waanun-Nasr of as-Safadi, vol. 4, p. 28.

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