20 Muslim Scholars Who Were Bachelors Throughout Their Lives

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Deep Sigh!

I came across the book العلماء العزاب الذين آثروا العلم على الزواج written by عبد الفتاح أبو غدة in December 2019. It is a book on the biographies of Muslim scholars who did not marry throughout their lives. Although marriage is highly recommended in all Abrahamic religions, I was particularly fascinated reading the biographies of scholars who were outliers and remained bachelors throughout their lives while pursuing scholarship.

Here is a list of the 20 Muslim scholars (19 Males, 1 Female):

  1. ʿAbd Allāh b. Abī Najīḥ al-Makkī عبد الله بن أبي نجيح المكي He was a transmitter of different Islamic traditions. His narrations were cited by Muslim historians and hagiographers including Muḥammad Ibn Isḥāq. He died in 131 AH/748-749 AD.
  2. Abū ʿAbd al-Raḥman Yūnus b. Ḥabib al-Baṣrī يونس بن حبيب البصري He was an expert on Arabic grammar. He died in 182 AH/798 AD.
  3. Al-Ḥusayn b. ʿAlī al-Juʿfī الحسين بن علي الجعفي He was one of the narrators of Ḥadīth from Kufa in Iraq. He died in 203 AH/818-819 AD.
  4. Abū Nasr Bishr b. al-Ḥarith b. ʿAbd al-Raḥman al-Marwazī أبو نصر بشر بن الحارث بن عبد الرحمن المروزي He was famously known as Bishr al-Ḥāfī بشر الحافي. He was a classical Sufi jurist from Baghdad in Iraq. He died in 227 AH/ 841-842 AD.
  5. Abū al-Sarī Hanād b. al-Sarī Muṣʿab b. Abī Bakr Shibr al-Tamīmī al-Kūfī أبو السري هناد بن السري بن مصعب بن أبي بكر شبر التميمي الكوفي He was one of the most important narrators of Ḥadīth in the 2nd and 3rd centuries. He died in 243 AH/ 857-858 AD.
  6. Abū Jaʿfar Muḥammad b. Jarīr al-Ṭabarī أبو جعفر محمد بن جرير بن يزيد الطبري A classical polymath best known for his Quranic exegesis جامع البيان عن تأويل آي القرآن. He wrote on diverse subjects including mathematics, medicine and jurisprudence. He died in 310 AH/ 922-923 AD.
  7. Abū Bakr Muḥammad b. al-Qāsim b. Muḥammad b. Bashshār al-Anbārī أبو بكر محمد بن. القاسم بن محمد بن بششير العنباري He was an eminent Arab philologist of the ʿAbbāsid period. He is the author of the book on Arabic idiomatic expressions al-Zāhir fī maʿānī kalimāt al-nās الزاهر في معاني كلمات الناس. He died in 328 AH/ 939-940 AD.
  8. Al-Ḥassan b. Aḥmad b. ʿAbd al-Ghaffār Abū ʿAlī al-Fārisī الحسن بن أحمد بن عبد الغفار أبو علي الفارسي. He was an expert on the science of Arabic grammar. He died in 377 AH/ 987-988 AD.
  9. ʿUbaidullah b. Saʿīd b. Ḥatim b. Aḥmad Al-Waʾilī Al-Sijzī عبيد الله بن سعيد بن حاتم بن أحمد الوائلي السجزي. Imam al-Suyūṭī in his حسن المحاضرة في تاريخ مصر والقاهرة described him as an an expert in Ḥadīth and Sunnah and a vast traveler. He died in 444 AH/ 1052-1053 AD.
  10. Ismāʿīl b. ʿAlī b. Al-Ḥusayn Al-Rāzī Abū Saʾd Al-Sammān إسماعيل بن علي بن الحسين الرازي أبو سعد السمان He was a jurist, a scholar of Ḥadīth and an adherent of the Muʿtazili school of theology. He died in 445 AH/ 1053-1054 AD.

(The only Female scholar)

  1. Karima b. Aḥmad b. Muḥammad b. Ḥātim Al-Marwaziya كريمة بنت أحمد بن محمد بن حاتم المروزية She was a jurist and a scholar of the science of Ḥadīth. She was born in 365 AH/ 975-976 AD in present-day Turkmenistan. She was one of the best scholars in the science of Ḥadīth and Islamic scholarship in the 5th century. She was known for her high level of precision and excellent perfection and memorization of religious texts. Ignác Goldziher, the Jewish Hungarian orientalist who is considered one of the founders of Islamic studies in Europe, also wrote about her contribution to Islamic scholarship. She died in 463 AH/ 1070-1071 AD.
  2. ʿAbd al-Wahhāb b. Al-Mubārak b. Aḥmad b. Al-Ḥassan b. Bandār Abū Al-Barakāt al-Anmāṭī عبد الوهاب بن المبارك بن أحمد بن الحسن بن بندار أبو البركات الأنماطي He was an expert in the science of Ḥadīth. He died in 538 AH/ 1143-1144 AD and was buried in al-Shūnīziyya in Baghdad.
  3. Abū al-Qāsim Maḥmūd b. ʿUmar al-Zamakhsharī أبوالقاسم محمود بن عمر الزمخشري He was a renowned scholar of the Muʿtazili school of theology and later converted to Sunni theology. His famous book is the Quran exegesis Tafsīr al-Kashshāf ʿan ḥaqāʾiq al-tanzīl wa ʿuyūn al-ghawāmiḍ fī wujūh al-taʾwīl تفسير الكشاف عن حقائق التنزيل وعيون الأقاويل في وجوه التأويل. He died in 539 AH/ 1144-1145 AD.
  4. Abū Muḥammad ʿAbd Allāh b. Aḥmad b. Aḥmad b. Aḥmad b. Al-Khashāb أبو محمد عبد الله بن أحمد بن أحمد بن أحمد ابن الخَشَّاب He was an expert in the science of religion, philosophy, arithmetic, and engineering. According to the information on Shamela, Ibn Al-Khashāb is a playful scholar who loves having fun by playing chess. Among his work is the book الرد على التبريزي في تهذيب الإصلاح He died in 567 AH/ 1172 AD.
  5. Naṣr b. Fityān b. Maṭar Al-Nahrawānī Abū Al-Fatḥ b. Al-Manī الفتح نصر بن فتيان بن مطر بن المني النهرواني. He was a scholar of Hanbali jurisprudence. He died in 583 AH/ 1187-1188 AD.
  6. Jamāl al-Dīn Abū al-Ḥasan ʿAlī b. Yūsuf b. Ibrāhīm al-Shaybānī al-Qifṭī, جمال الدين أبو الحسن علي بن يوسف بن إبراهيم الشيباني القفطي He was a historian, biographer and a book collector also popularly known as الوزير الأكرم (the Honorable Minister). His most famous book is the biographical dictionary Kitāb Ikhbār al-‘Ulamā’ bi Akhbār al-Ḥukamā إخبار العلماء بأخبار الحكماء. He died in 646 AH/ 1248-1249 AD.
  7. Abu Zakariyyā Yaḥya al-Nawawī أبو زكريا يحيى بن شرف النووي‎. He was a historian, jurist and scholar of Ḥadīth science. He is the author of famous books including رياض الصالحين and التقريب والتيسير لمعرفة سنن البشير النذير. He died in 676 AH/ 1277-1278 AD.
  8. Taqī ad-Dīn Aḥmad b. Taymiyya تقي الدين أحمد ابن تيمية He was a theologian, jurist, and an author of a plethora literature in different field of Islamic sciences. He is the author of famous books including العقيدة الواسطية‎ and درء تعارض العقل والنقل. He died in 728 AH/ 1327-1328 AD.
  9. Kāmīl b. Ḥusayn b. Muḥammad b. Muṣṭafa al-Bālī al-Ḥalabī, famously known as al-Ghazī كامل بن حسين بن محمد بن مصطفى البالي الحلبي، الشهير بالغزي He was a poet and a historian from the city of Aleppo in Syria with a vast knowledge of jurisprudence and Ḥadīth. He died in 1339 AH/ 1920.
  10. Sayyid Maḥmūd Abū Al-Wafā Afghānī سيد محمود أبو الوفا الأفغاني He was an expert in Hanafi school of Islamic jurisprudence. He was born in Afghanistan and he studied at one of the oldest Islamic seminaries Jamiʾa Nizamiyya in Hyderabad in India. He died in 1395 AH/ 1975.

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