The first Dar al-Hadith was founded in Damascus by the Zengid ruler Nur al-Din (al-Malik al-`Adil Nur al-Din Mahmud ibn Zanki (r. 662-671 H). The Dar al-Sunna school (subsequenty renamed Dar al-Hadith) was built with the purpose of strengthening the sunni doctrine, a charge entrusted to Ibn `Asakir, the erudite hadith scholar and historian of Damascus. It was the first in its kind, later followed by similar institutes, such as the Dar al-Hadith al-Kamiliyyah in Cairo built in 728 H, where Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani tought.
The sandals of the Prophet (s)
One of the merchants in Damascus had the honor to keep the shoes of Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him. Following his will, the shoes were moved to Dar al Hadith after his death, where they were kept in a wooden box located above the mihrab of its mosque, as a goal of seekers of barakah from near and far. The shoes were lost when Dar al-Hadith was burnt by the tatars during the siege of Damascus in the 8th hijri century.
Imâm Abû Hafs al-Fâkihânî (d. 734), a Maliki faqîh and hadith master, visited Damascus seeking the baraka of the the most honored Sandal of the Prophet (s), that was kept in a wooden box above the Mihrâb in the mosque of Dar al-Hadith. He bared his head and began to kiss it and rub his face over it. His tears flowed. He recited :
‘Is it Layla and her relation you wish,
or the world and all it contains?’
He would reply: ‘Grime from the dust of her sandals
is dearer to my soul and more healing for its ills.
Restoring Dar al-Hadith
In the 13th century H., a Christian family resident in Damascus, who owned the house next to the Dar al-Hadith Madrasah, laid hands on the Western corner of the mosque and turned it into a wine storage. Sheikh Yusuf al-Hasani al-Maghribi (d. 1279) took the issue to the local land authorities, then to the Sultan of Istanbul – all in vain. He then wrote and complained about the situation to his friend al-Amir `Abdul Qadir al-Jaza’iri (d. 1300 H). When the Amir came to settle in Damascus in 1273 H., he purchased the building from the Christians, restored it and endowed it as a waqf under the supervision of Sheikh Yusuf and his descendants. The son of Sheikh Yusuf, Sheikh Badru al-Din al-Hasani grew up in this house, and spent his childhood studying in Dar al-Hadith.
Dar al-Hadith was burnt again in 1912 during the uprising against the French, and many of Sheikh Badru al-Din’s books and hand-writings were destroyed. The madrasa was rebuilt, however, the mosque pertaining to it is entirely destroyed except a portion of the qibla wall containing the mihrab, which is incorporated in a private residence.
Sheikh Taqi al-Din ibn al-Salah: (577-643 H)
Sheikh Imad al-Din al Harastani: (d. 662 H)
Sheikh Abu Shamah: (599-665 H)
Sheikh Imam Al Nawawi: (631-677 H)
Sheikh Zain al-Din al Fariki: (d. 703 H)
Sheikh Ibn al Wakeel: (665-716 H)
Sheikh Al Zamalkani: (666-726 H)
Sheikh Al Sharishi: (653-718 H)
Sheikh Al Mazzi: (654-742 H)
Sheikh Taqi Eddin Al Sibki: (683-756 H)
Sheikh Taj Aldeen Al Sibki: (Born 727-Died 771 H)
Sheikh Abu Alfidda Ismail: (Born 701- 774 H)
Sheikh Bahha Aldeen Alsubki: (707-777 H)
Sheikh Wali Aldeen Alsubki: (735-785 H)
Sheikh Zain Aldeen Alkorashi Almalahi: (724-792 H)
Sheikh Shams Aldeen Aldimashki: (777-842 H)
Sheikh Alaa Aldeen Alsayrafi: (778-844 H)
References: GF Haddad: “Dar al-Hadith al-Ashrafiyyah” pdf
Tarikh `Ulama Dimashq