'Abdur-Rahman ibn 'Ali ibn Jafar al-Jawzi was born in the city of Baghdad in approximately 1114CE and grew up studying under the leading scholars of the time, including his uncle, Muhammad ibn Nasir al-Baghdadi, a scholar of Hadith, Fiqh and Arabic grammar.
Ibn al-Jawzi became an outstanding scholar of the twelfth century especially in the Hadith sciences for which he was titled "Al-Hafidh". He also was noted for his scholarship in the fields of history, linguistics, tafsir and fiqh. In fact, he became the leading scholar of the Hanbali Madhhab of his time and played an important role in reviving and spreading it, especially after the become a favorite of the Abassid Caliph, Al-Mustadi (1142-1180CE). In the year 1179, he had five schools in the capital in which he used to lecture. However, his enthusiasm for his madhhab had created ill feeling and jealousies amongst the other scholars. During the reign of Mustadi's son, Caliph Nasir ud-Dinillah (1159-1225CE), he was banished to Wasit, where he remained for five years.
In the year 1199, he was released and returned to Baghdad, where he died two years later. Ibn al-Jawzi lived to the ripe old age of 87 and was a prolific writer throughout most of his life. Recently, Professor 'Abdul-Hamid al-Aluji, an Iraqi scholar conducted research on the extent of ibn al-Jawzi's works and wrote a reference work in which he listed Ibn al-Jawzi's works alphabetically, identifying the publishers and libraries where his unpublished manuscripts could be found. The number of Ibn al-Jawzi's books reached a staggering total of three hundred and seventy six texts.
However, even this large number cannot be considered surprising given Ibn al-Jawzi's high regard for time. He was reported to have said, "many people used to pay me social visits and I likewise until I realised that time is a most noble and precious thing, and hence began to dislike visiting. However, I became caught between two possibilities; if I refused their visits, I would ultimately feel lonely and miss something I had become accustomed to, but if I accepted their visits, my time would be wasted. Consequently, I began to avoid visits to the best of my ability and if it became unavoidable, I would limit my conversation in order to hasten the visit’s end. I also prepared work to do during my visits so that no time would pass idly by."
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