When the Prophet, (peace be upon him) prayed to Allah for his cousin, Ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) to give him the understanding of His Book, it was the beginning of an era of Tafsir. The second generation of the Muslims (Tabiyeen) after the Sahaba, had six focused students who took lessons of Tafsir from Ibn Abbas ( Allah be pleased with him) and conveyed them to the next generations which is now preserved in the books of The Tafsir of Quran.
For the past seven hundred years,Tafsir Ibn Kathirhas held a lofty status on the shelf of Tafaseer.Tafsir means a detailed commentary of Qur’an which includes, the context of the revelation of each Ayat of the Qur’an ( regarding whom it was revealed and for what), Arabic terms which were commonly used when the Qur’an was revealed, relevant hadith which explained the Ayat, quotes of the notable companions and the tabaeen. Tafseer is essential to comprehend the Message of Allah and the laws of Islamic Jurisprudence. There are no less than a few hundred tafseer, some by authentic scholars, some by deviation and some a mixture of authenticity and personal opinions. Tafsir Ibn Kathir is considered to be the most authentic Tafsir of Quran.
Ibn Kathir holds a landmark position in Tafsir of Quran. He gives extensive cross reference from the Quran when explaining a particular Aayat. Then adds incidents from Hadith along with the quotes of notable Sahaba and their students. Qatadah, Mujahid, Ikrimah were among the popular students of Ibn Abbas who are extensively quoted in Tafsir Ibn Kathir. Besides them Ibn Kathir also quotes ibn Jareer at Tabari and Sufyan at Thawri.
Iban Kathir was the student of Ibn Taymiyah and along with Tafseer ibn Kathir, he has also compiled the universal historical events in a book with 14 volumes - Al Bidaya wal Nihaya- Ad Dhahabi, a noted scholar of seventh century Hijri and also a student of Ibn Taymiyyah said wrote about Ibn Kathir - He is the Imam and scholar of Jurisprudence, skillful scholar of Hadith, renowned Faqih, and scholar of tafsir who wrote several books.
Tafsir Ibn Kathir is the benchmark of tafaseer (plural of Tafseer) and most of the contemporary Mufassir of Quran, have widely borrowed and quoted from Ibn Kathir. Ahsanull Bayan in Urdu and Mohsin Khan in English are two popular summarised Tafseer of Quran that made Ibn Kathir as the foundation of their Tafaseer. The Urdu language translation has been in India Pakistan for the past few decades and the English Translation of Ibn Kathir along with other languages has been translated and printed by DarusSalam Publications - Riyadh.