Abu Hafs Al Bulqini (724-805H) أبو حفص البلقيني
Sirajuddin `Umar b. Rastan b. Nasir b. Salih b. Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Shahab `Asqalani is generally identified as Abu Hafs or sometimes as Bulqini. He was born in Bulqini. He had memorised the Qur’an by the age of 7, and in addition,Al-Muharrar in Fiqh, Al-Mukhtasar of Ibn Hajar and one or two other books. He came to Egypt at the age of twelve along with his father. When the contemporary `Ulama tried to assess his power of retention; he impressed them by his ability and excellence. After staying there for some time he returned to his hometown. As he grew up he went again to Cairo and stayed there for a long period. He acquired excellence in various disciplines like Fiqh, principles, Fara’idh and grammar etc. Later on he devoted his total attention to Hadith: because of his insight and acumenship he meticulously studied Isnad (source/chain of narrators), Matn, (text of narration) and Rijal (persons citing texts). He had none equal to him in the entire Egypt. The list of his teachers is quite long to repeat, but a few names can be enumerated: Ahmad b. Muhammad al-Halabi, Abul Hasan b. al-Sadid, Zainuddin al-Katafi, Najmuddin al-Aswani, Ahmad b. Abdul-Mumin al-Damyati, Ibn Qamah, Ibn Qatabi, al-Astazabi Hayyan, Sheikh Shamsuddin Asbahani, Imam Bahauddin b. Aqil, Hafiz Mizzi, Hafiz Dhahabi and Imam Jaziri.
He traveled to Damascus where also he was granted him permission to quote/narrate from their texts. He also attended classes engaged by Sheikh-ul-Islam Taqiuddin Subki. He married the daughter of Imam Baha’uddin b. Aqul. Later on he became deputy (naib) of his father-in-law; the Qadhi. He performed his first Hajj at the age of 40 and also visited Masjid al-Aqsa. He made his second pilgrimage at the age of 49. He had a vast army of disciples. The entire Egypt following the Shafe`i school had Ulama who were either his own disciples or disciples of his disciples. He was appointed the Mufti at Dar al-`Adl (house of justice) in 765 H. He also discharged at the Madrasa-e-Badria, duties of teaching as Head. Later on he taught for several years the Shafai principles at Jama-e-Amr b. Aas (of Egypt). He was also appointed Khatib at Damascus in 769 H and later on became the Qadhi after the demise of Tajuddin. Thus he discharged responsibilities of both the kinds – academic as well as religious. He was renowned in distant places for his knowledge as well as for his potentialities. People from distant places used to come to learn from him. An academic assembly without his presence was not considered worth while – even if the Sultan was there. He has a number of books to his credit; out of which two commentaries of Tirmidhi are well known. He died in 805 H at the age of 81.