Shaykh al-Qurraa, Imaam ibn al-Jazari (rh)
He is ash-Shaykh al-Qurraa’ wa al-Muhadditheen, wa al-Imaam Ahl al-Adaa’ wa al-Mujawwideen, Shaykh ad-Dunyaa fee al-Qiraa’at wa al-Tajweed, al-‘Allaamah al-Haafidh Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Ali ibn Yusuf ibn al-Jazari; Shams al-Deen Abu al-Khayr al-Dimishqi ash-Shaafi’i (rahimahullaah).
He was born in Damascus (Syria) in a place called Khatt al-Qassaa’een, on the night of al-Jumu’ah, 25th Ramadhaan 751AH, after Salaat at-Taraweeh.
The Imaam describes himself in his famous nadhm (poem) in ‘Ilm at-Tajweed (Science of Tajweed), al-Muqaddimah al-Jazariyyah (al-Muqaddimah feemaa yajibu ‘alaa qaari’ al-Qur’aan an-ya’lamah) as ‘Imaam al-Jazari’. ‘Jazari’ is a location in the Kurdistan/Turkmenistan/Iraq region. He belongs to a place called Ibn -‘Umar and the ‘ulamaa say that he has Kurdiy asl (Kurdish origins).
Imaam al-Jazari’s father was a taajir (a businessman) and Allaah (subhaanahu wa ta’aalaa) had not granted him any children for a period of 40 years. So his father decided to go and perform al-Hajj, where he went and drank from the water of Zam-Zam and made du’aa to Allah to give him a child who would become an ‘Aalim. And so Allaah accepted this du’aa and granted him with a son, who became the great Imaam ibn al-Jazari.
He grew up in Damascus, where he completed memorising the Qur’aan by the age of 13 years, and he began leading as-Salaat at-Taraweeh at the age of 14 years. He was from a wealthy family. He was described as being very light in his complexion and very eloquent in his language.
He acquired his knowledge from various places including Shaam (Syria), Misr (Egypt) and Hijaaz (Makkah/Madinah). The Imaam studied the Qiraa’aat ifraadan (which means he recited one khatmah for each Qiraa’ah e.g. one khatmah for Warsh, one khatmah for Hafs etc) and also jam’an (which means he completed a khatmah, combining the Qiraa’aat). He studied many books including the famous at-Tayseer of Abu ‘Amar ad-Daani and also ash-Shaatibiyyah of Imaam ash-Shaatibi. He was not just a scholar in Qiraa’aat but also other ‘uloom (Islamic Sciences) such as Hadeeth, Fiqh etc.
His teachers include:
Shaykh ‘Abdul-Wahhaab ibn as-Sallaar
Shaykh Ahmad ibn Ibraahim at-Tahhaan
Shaykh Ahmad ibn Rajab
Shaykh Abu al-Ma’aalee ibn al-Labbaan
Imaam al-Jazari was appointed as a Qaadhi (Judge) of Damascus and also Shiraaz in Iran. He built two schools called Madrassah al-Qurra’ in these places. He then sat in Masjid Bani Umayyah, al-Jami’ al-Amawee underneath al-qubbat an-nasr (the Dome of the Eagle), and after his teacher ash-Shaykh as-Sallaar passed away, he took the position of teaching the people from that place.
He passed away in the year 833AH and is buried in Shiraaz (Iran).