Ibn Hajar is a widely loved scholar and commentator of hadith. He is the chief judge Shihab al-Deen who interpreted al-Bukhari in his valuable book Fath Al-Bari Fe Sharh Sahih Al-Bukhari. He was born in 773 Hijri and died in 852 Hijri.
He is originally from Palestine, but was born and raised in Cairo. He was the product of family who sought to foster his education from a young age. Although his parents passed on when he was very young, a relative sponsored his education. This relative was Zaky Al-Deen Al-Kharouby, the chief merchant in Egypt. He enrolled Ibn Hajar in Kutab “old fashioned school” where his early excellence was manifested. He completed memorising the holy Qur’an at the age of 9 (other sources say 12). He was described by the ability to memorise everything he read. Scholars stated that his ability to memorise chains was greater than Imam Al-Dhahabi. Imam Al-Dhahabi (who preceeded Ibn Hajar) was renowned for his passion for hadith, so much so, that he said: If the narrators of hadith were on one hill and I was on another one, I would call them with their own names, their fathers’ and mothers’ names, their ranking, those they narrated from and those that reported their narrations.” To surpass such a level is said to have a heart blessed with the mercy and light of Allah swt.
Furthermore, in Cairo, he studied under scholars of hadith such as Imam Siraj ad-Deen ‘Umar Al-Bilqini’ and Ibn Al-Mulaqn and Al-Iraqi. He accompanied Al-’Iraqi the scholar of hadith to the extent that he preferred him over his own son Abu Zar’a. He also learned from Sheikh Burhan ad- Din Ibrahim al Abnasi Nur Al-Deen Al-Haythami and Sheikh Taqi ad-Deen Al-Degwi.
It is narrated that Imam Al-Shawkani was asked: Why don’t you interpret Al-Bukhari for us? He replied: There is no migration after the conquest but jihad and good intention. How would I interpret Al-Bukhari after Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani who interpreted it in Fath Al-Bari?
It is said, after Ibn Hajar’s interpretation of Al-Bukhari in Fath Al-Bari, there is no need for further explanation.
Throughout his lifetime, he wrote almost 200 books. He had more than 50,000 people attend his funeral.