Summarized Biography of Abū Bakr ibn Abū Dāwūd رحمه الله

His Name and Birth:
He is ‘Abdullāh ibn Sulaymān ibn al-Ash’ath ibn Isḥāq Abū Bakr al-Azdī as-Sijistānī, more known as simply ibn Abū Dāwūd. Raised in Baghdād, ʿIrāq, which was known as the capital of knowledge during his time, it’s influence led him to becoming a great scholar who was firmly grounded in Ḥadīth like his father & many others who emerged from the land. His father is Imām Abū Dāwūd as-Sijistānī, the highly esteemed Muḥaddith & compiler of the famous Sunan Abū Dāwūd.

His Upbringing:
ibn Abū Dāwūd was born in Sijistān (present-day Sistān) in the year 230 AH, corresponding to the year 844 CE. He grew up in a household full of knowledge, wisdom, and religion. His father took special care of him since his childhood which led to him roaming lands in the far east and west; resulting in hearing from large groups of scholars regularly. Through the tutelage of his father & his extensive travels, he picked up a great deal of knowledge and gradually grew up to become a man of high determination. It’s been mentioned that he wrote over 1,000 Aḥādīth on the authority of Abū Sa’īd al-Ashaj in just one day, and by the time the month was over, he managed to collect over 30,000 Aḥādīth.

His Character & Personality:
Not only was he an extraordinary Muḥaddith, but he was also a Faqīh, Ḥāfiẓ, well-versed in ‘Ulūm al-Qurʾān, & participated in various studies regarding the Sharīʿah. In relation to his ʿAqīdah, he was upon the creed of Ahl as-Sunnah wa al-Jamā’ah & never quoted from anyone or mentioned anything regarding matters of ʿAqīdah & ʾĪmān except that the one being quoted or what was being mentioned was upon the creed of Ahl as-Sunnah.

Due to his remarkable amount of knowledge & notable status, many other scholars realized his virtues & didn’t hesitate to not only take knowledge from him as mentioned previously, but also let others know how fruitful he was as a person. Some of the scholars have said regarding him:

  • He was an understanding & learned memorizer.” – al-Khaṭīb al-Baghdādī
  • He was one of the seas of knowledge, so much so to the extent that some of them considered him to be their father.” – Imām adh-Dhahabī
  • ibn Abū Dāwūd was the Imām of ʿIrāq and he spread knowledge throughout the regions. Within his time in ʿIrāq, there were Shuyūkh who took chains of transmission from him, but none of them achieved his status or reached his level of proficiency.” – Abū Muḥammad al-Khallāl

His Works:
Majority of people know him for his two main writings: al-Hā’īyyah (poem on ʿAqīdah) & Kitāb al-Maṣāḥif (written regarding the collection of The Qurʾān). Besides these texts, he has written a number of other works, most of which focus on The Qurʾān. Some of his other works are:

  • al-Qirā’āt (القراءات)
  • Nudham al-Qurʾān (نظم القرآن)
  • Faḍā’il al-Qurʾān (فضائل القرآن)
  • an-Nāsikh wa al-Mansūkh (الناسخ والمنسوخ)
  • Sharīʿah at-Tafsīr (شريعة التفسير)
  • al-Maṣābīh fī al-Ḥadīth (المصابيح في الحديث)
  • al-Ba’ith wa an-Nushūr (البعث والنشور)

His Demise:
Abū Bakr ibn Abū Dāwūd, the Imām of ʿIrāq, passed away in Baghdād in the month of Dhū al-Hijjah 316 AH, corresponding to either January or February 929 CE. He was 87 years old.

May Allāh have abundant mercy upon Abū Bakr ibn Abū Dāwūd, his father, & reward them immensely for their great contributions to the religion of Islām.

[Translated & extracted from – minor rephrasement added]

Ṣafīullāh Labīb ibn Salīm ʿAbd al-Malik
10th of Muḥarram 1444