He is the great scholar, the pious person, the Zahid (one who abstained from the unnecessary things of this world), the jurist, the scholar of the principles of Fiqh. The great scholar of al-Qasim, and our Shaikh, Abi Abdillah Abdur-Rahman ibn Nasir ibn Abdillah ibn Nasir ibn Hamd Aal Sa’di, from the tribe of Banu Tamim.
He was born in Unayzah, in al-Qasim, on the twelfth of Muharram 1307H, and he lived as an orphan, without either of his parents.
His father gave importance to his cultivation, and before his death he instructed his eldest son to look after him, and he took on the task of caring for him in the best manner. So he was equipped with a righteous environment, and with a great desire to seek knowledge, and he exerted in it day and night, day after day.
(a) His physical characteristics: He was of medium height, his hair was dense; and he had a full, round face, and a dense beard. He was whitish in colour, with a reddish tinge. He had a handsome face, with light upon it, and a pure complexion.
(b) His manners: He was good-humoured, and beloved to the people on account of his good nature. Anger would not be seen upon his face. He had a great degree of humility and modesty, and he was amiable, to an extent that is rarely found. He was humble with the young and the old, the rich and the poor.
He had a high level of manners, decency, uprightness, and firm resolve in all his affairs. He abstained from the unnecessary things of this world, and was one who witheld (from asking). He had selfrespect, despite his possessing very little. He felt compassion towards the poor, the needy, and the strangers. He would give money to the poor and needy students, so that they could free themselves from preoccupation with seeking a livelihood. He loved to bring about peace and rectification between the people. His clothing was moderate in fineness, and avoided conspicuousness.
His overriding concern in his life was to derive the benefit of knowledge, and to utilize his time for that. So he began with memorization of the Qur·aan at an early age, and he had memorized it proficiently by the age of eleven. Then he began acquiring the rest of the branches of Islamic knowledge.
He did not restrict himself whilst seeking knowledge to a single field of knowledge; rather he studied many fields: so he studied Tafsir, Hadith, Creed and Belief, Fiqh, Usul, Science of Hadith, the sciences of the language, and other than this. The Shaikh gave a great deal of attention to the books of the two Shaikhs of Islaam: Ibn Taimiyyah and Ibnul-Qayyim; he devoted himself to reading and revising them, and to memorising and understanding them, and to writing and abridging them.
He first sat to teach at the age of twenty three, and he used to divide his time between learning and teaching. He would spend some time in reading to the scholars, and some time in sitting to teach the students. He would also spend some time in referring to the books, and in researching within them. He would not allow any of his time to be lost without his utilising it, to such an extent that teaching in his city fell to him, and all of the students relied upon him with regard to their education.
Shaikh Ibn Sa’di -rahimahullah- gave great attention to writing works. He produced many works in the different fields of Islamic knowledge. Some have been printed, while others are, as yet, unprinted. So from the printed works are:
He fell ill in the year 1371 H, i.e. five years before his death, with the illness of high blood pressure and arteriosclerosis, and it would strike him time after time, and he bore it patiently, until he moved on to his Lord, at the time of Fajr, on Thursday the 22nd of Jumadal-Akhirah 1376 H – may Allah forgive him, and his parents, and our parents, and all of the Muslims.