Al-Imam Ibn Katheer
His full name was Abū l-Fidāʾ Ismāʿīl ibn ʿUmar ibn Kaṯīr ( أبو الفداء إسماعيل بن عمر بن كثير), with the honorary title of ʿImād ad-Dīn عماد الدين "pillar of the faith". He was born in Mijdal, a village on the outskirts of the city of Busra, to the east of Damascus, in the about AH 701 (AD 1300/1). He was taught by Ibn Taymiyya and Al-Dhahabi.
Upon completion of his studies he obtained his first official appointment in 1341, when he joined an inquisitorial commission formed to determine certain questions of heresy. He married the daughter of Al-Mizzi, one of the foremost Syrian scholars of the period, which gave him access to the scholarly elite. In 1345 he was made preacher (khatib) at a newly-built mosque in Mizza, the home town of his father-in-law. In 1366, he rose to a professorial position at the Great Mosque of Damascus.
In later life, he became blind. He attributes his blindness to working late at night on the Musnad of Ahmad Ibn Hanbal in an attempt to rearrange it topically rather than by narrator. He died in February 1373 (AH 774) in Damascus.