Ibn 'Asakir of Damascus

Pages: 160
Subject: Middle East, History, Religion: Islam
Series: Makers of the Muslim World
Imprint: Oneworld Academic

Ibn 'Asakir of Damascus

Champion of Sunni Islam in the Time of the Crusades

Suleiman A. Mourad

A towering figure in the history of Islamic scholarship, who shaped biographical literature and the emerging genre of city histories
9780861540471 (5 Aug 2021)
RRP £25.00 / US$30.00

The Book

Ibn ‘Asakir (1105-1176) was one of the most renowned experts on Hadith and Islamic history in medieval Damascus, and author of a multi-volume history of that city. His was a tumultuous time: centuries of Shi‘i rule had not long ended, rival warlords sought control of Damascus, and Crusaders had invaded, capturing Jerusalem in 1099.

Seeking the unification of Syria and Egypt, and the revival of Sunnism in both, Ibn ‘Asakir placed himself in the service of Sultan Nur al-Din Zengi, advocating and designing propaganda against Shi‘is and the Crusaders. Through this and his writings that would influence Sunni scholars who followed him, he helped to lay the foundations for the eventual Sunni domination of the Levant, which lasts until this day.

Additional Information

Subject Middle East, History, Religion: Islam
Series Makers of the Muslim World
Pages 160
Imprint Oneworld Academic


About the Author

Suleiman A. Mourad is Professor of Religion at Smith College in Massachusetts, USA, and former Director of the Nantes Institute for Advanced Study in France. He specialises in Islamic history and religious thought, and how the challenges of modernity have led to major changes in Muslims' perception of and attitude towards their own history and classical thought.

Table of Contents




1  The World of Ibn ‘Asakir

Damascus in the fifth/eleventh century

The Burids

Nur al-Din

Status of Religious Scholarship

Back to Ibn ‘Asakir


2  Life & Career


Education & Travels

First Trip

Second Trip

Return to Damascus

Teaching & Character




3  Scholarship & Activism

Political unity and Revivification of Sunnism

Trustee of Hadith

The College of Hadith

In Defense of Ash‘arism

Tabyin kadhib al-muftari

Preaching of Jihad

Al-Arba‘un hadith fi al-hathth ‘ala al-jihad

Others Books on Jihad?

Religious Merits of Towns and Places

Fadl ‘Asqalan

Ibn ‘Asakir as Theologian and Historian

Was Ibn ‘Asakir a Theologian?

Was Ibn ‘Asakir a Historian?


Ta'rikh Dimashq

The Idea

The Book

Rehabilitation of Past Figures and Islamic Unity

Arrangement and Divisions




Modern Editions


5  The ‘Asakir Extended Family

Direct Descendants of Ibn ‘Asakir

Descendants of Ibn ‘Asakir's Sister

Descendants of Ibn ‘Asakir's Brother Muhammad

Other Members of the ‘Asakir Family

The ‘Asakir Family Tree


6  Medieval Legacy

Ibn ‘Asakir's Notable Students

Ibn ‘Asakir's Legacy through his Ta'rikh


7  Modern Legacy, Syrian Nationalism & Islamic Nationalism

The Late-Nineteenth- to Early-Twentieth-Century Context

The Late-Twentieth-Century Context