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Al-Ḥāfidh al-Dhahabī said:
Ahmad bin ʿAbd al-Ḥalīm - then he cited his lineage - al-Ḥarrānī then al-Dimashqī, al-Ḥanbalī, Abū al-ʿAbbās, Taqī al-Dīn, our Shaykh and the Shaykh of Islām, the matchless individual of the era with respect to knowledge, cognizance, bravery, intelligence, divine illumination, generosity, giving sincerity of purpose to the ummah, enjoining the good and forbidding the evil. He heard ḥadīth, and spent much effort from himself in seeking it, he wrote, and source-referenced, and looked at the narrators and their ranks, and he acquired [of this knowledge] what others besides him did not acquire. He gained skill in tafsīr of the Qurʾān, and he was immersed in its finer meanings, in a fluent manner... He excelled in ḥadīth and its memorization, few are there who memorized what he memorized in ḥadīth ... He had an extreme ability to recall at the time of establishing the evidence. He excelled the people in knowledge of jurisprudence, the differences of the schools, the fatwās of the Companions and Tābiʿīn in that whenever he gave a fatwā he did not adhere to a [specific] madhhab but was upon whatever evidence was established with him. He gained precision in the Arabic language, in its foundations and branches, in its explanation and variation. He look at the rationalities and he knew well the sayings of the Mutakallimīn, he refuted them, and notified of their error, and warned against them, and aided the Sunnah with the most apparent of proofs, and the most brilliant of evidences. And he was harmed in his path to Allāh by the opposers, he aided the pure Sunnah until Allāh raised his lighthouse, and united the hearts of the people of piety upon love of him and supplication for him, and He crushed his enemies, and He guided through him men from the various religions and creeds, and He made the hearts of the kings and leaders to be inclined towards compliance to him and obedience to him, overwhelmingly (most of the time). He (Allāh) revived al-Shām through him, nay, Islām (itself) after it had almost been defiled, by making firm those in authority when the party of Tartars approached, and brought their oppression. False thoughts were entertained about Allāh, and the Believers were shaken, and hypocrisy manifested itself. His virtues are many, and he is greater than that the likes of me should notify of his biography. If I was to swear between the corner [of the Kaʿbah] and station [of Ibrāhīm], I would have, I would swear that I have not seen the likes of him with my eyes, and that he has not seen the likes of himself.
As quoted from al-Dhahabī by Ibn Rajab al-Ḥanbalī in Dhayl Ṭabaqāt al-Ḥanābilah (4/496-497) through his work Muʿjam al-Shuyūkh.
From the forthcoming publication, "The Creed of the Early Kullabi Ash'aris."
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