Imam Fakhr Al-Din Al-Razi (the Tehrani) Shafi’i Ash’ari scholar
Abu Abdullah (also known as Abu Al-Fadhl) Muhammad ibn Omar ibn Al-Hussein Al-Taymi Al-Bakri Al-Tabaristani Fakhr al-Din al-Razi (Arabic:أبو عبدالله محمد بن عمر بن الحسن بن الحسين بن علي التيمي البكري فخرالدین الرازی ) was a Persian Sunni Muslim scholar (of Taymite Bakrite descent i.e. a descendant of Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq). His family were originally from northern Persia, Tabaristan (today known as Mazandaran) from the city of Amol.
He was born in 543 in Ray (today, a southern suburb of Tehran, Iran), and died in 606 in Herat (a majority Persian/Tajik city in today’s Afghanistan). Today Ray has been absorbed into the Greater Tehran metropolitan area, Iran, and is the oldest existing city in the province. He was a Shafi’i Ash’ari and is considered as one of the authorities of the Shafi’i Madhab. He was known for his very harsh stances against the Rafidah Twelver Shias. He himself has been heavily criticised by non-Ash’aris, especially for his Kalam. His opponents claim that he made Tawbah from certain beliefs such as his approach to Kalam (however he is considered as an Imam of the Ash’aris nonetheless, by supporters and opponents of his creed):
وقد اعترف في آخر عمره حيث يقول : ” لقد تأملت الطرق الكلامية ، والمناهج الفلسفية ، فما رأيتها تشفي عليلا ، ولا تروي غليلا ، ورأيت أقرب الطرق طريقة القرآن ؛ أقرأ في الإثبات : ( الرَّحْمَنُ عَلَى الْعَرْشِ اسْتَوَى ) ، ( إِلَيْهِ يَصْعَدُ الْكَلِمُ ) ، وأقرأ في النفي : ( لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَيْءٌ ) ؛ ومن جرّب مثل تجربتي ، عرف مثل معرفتي ” انتهى .
Al-Razi had written over a hundred works on a wide variety of subjects the most famous being Tafsir Al-Kabir (“The Large Commentary”), also known as Mafatih Al-Ghayb (“Keys to the Unknown”). It is among the greatest commentaries of Qur’an in Islam, in twelve to thirty volumes depending on the edition, he spent the last fifteen years of his life working on it and did not finish it. The commentator Abu Hayyan criticized its prolixity in acerbic terms. It is not unusual for contemporary works to use it as a reference. He also wrote on medicines, physics, astronomy, literature, history and law. Al-Razi could debate and preach in both Arabic and Persian.
People who hail from Ray are known as “Razis”, one of the most influential and greatest scholars of the Salaf Al-Saleh emerged from Ray, including but not limited to (unlike Fakhr Al-Din, who was of Arab descent, the following scholars who are all of Persian descent):
– Abu Hatim, Muhammad ibn Idris Ibn MEHRAN al-Razi (811–890), non-Ash’ari, Salafi-Athari. An ethnic Persian and notable hadith scholar born in Ray. Among his students were Abu Dawood Al-Sijistani (todays Sistan/Iran) and Al-Nasa’i (who hails from Nasa, a Persian Khorassani town). He is the father of Ibn Abi Hatim.
– Abu Muhammad Abd ar-Rahman Ibn Abu Hatim Muhammad Al-Razi (854-938), non-Ash’ari, Salafi-Athari. Son of the famous Abu Hatim. Ibn Hatim, an was an ethnic Persian and is considered the last major figure of Sunni scholarship in the city of Ray (Ray, respectively Tehran’s entire Sunni population has been forced to Shi’ism after the Twelver Shia Safavi dynasty took control over Iran. Historians recorded massacres and executions against the Sunni population, in particular the Sunni scholars. Whoever resisted Shiism was killed and thus many accepted Shiism by force.)
– Abu Zur’a Ubaydullah ibn Abdul-Karim, also known as Abu Zur’a al-Kabir (815/816 or 809/810, Rey, Iran – 878, Rey), non-Ash’ari, Salafi-Athari. He was a Muslim scholar, Muhaddith from Ray (northern Iran). Abu Zur’a Al-Razi was a relative of another famous Muhaddith Abu Hatim al-Razi (Muhammad ibn Idris).