The Scholars’ Love for Baghdad

“…Yunus bin ‘Abd al-A’la as-Sadfi said that ash-Shafi’i said to him: “Have you ever seen Baghdad?” He replied: “No.” So, ash-Shafi’i said: “Then you have not seen the world.”

ash-Shafi’i also said: “I never entered a land except that I considered myself a visitor except Baghdad, for whenever I enter it, I consider it my home.”

Some of them said: “The whole world is wilderness, and Baghdad is civilized.”

Ibn ‘Alyah said: “I never saw anyone more intelligent in studying Hadith than the people of Baghdad, or anyone as friendly as they are.”

Ibn Mujahid said: “I saw Abu ‘Amr bin al-‘Ala’ in a dream, and asked him: “What did Allah do with you?” He replied: “Enough of this. Whoever remains in Baghdad and is from Ahl as-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah and died will be moved from one paradise to another.”

Abu Bakr bin ‘Ayyash said: “Islam is in Baghdad, and it is like a hunter that hunts men, and whoever has not seen it has not seen the world.”

Abu Mu’awiyah said: “Baghdad is the abode of this world and the next.”

Some of them said: “From the best aspects of being a Muslim is to pray the Friday prayer in Baghdad, the night prayer in Makkah, and the ‘Id prayer in Tarsus.”

al-Khatib al-Baghdadi said: “Whoever prays the Friday prayer in the City of Peace (Madinat as-Salam – the name given to Baghdad by Abu Ja’far al-Mansur) will have the love of Islam increased in his heart, because some of our scholars used to say that Friday in Baghdad is like ‘Id in any other land.”

Some of them used to say: “I used to make sure to pray the Friday prayer in the mosque of al-Mansur, but I was offered a job that prevented me from praying there. So, I saw a dream in which it was said to me: “You left the prayer in the city’s mosque while every Friday, seventy of the awliya’ of Allah pray in it?””

Another one said: “I intended to move from Baghdad to another city. So, I had a dream in which someone said to me: “Will you move from a land that contains ten thousand of the awliya’ of Allah?””

Others said: “I saw a vision that was as if two Angels came to Baghdad, with one of them saying to the other: “Uproot it, as it is deserving of punishment.” So, the other Angel said: “How can I uproot a land in which recitation of the entire Qur’an is completed five thousand times every night?””

Sa’id bin ‘Abd al-‘Aziz bin Sulayman bin Musa said: “If a man has the knowledge of Hijaz, the manners of Iraq, and the prayer of Sham, he will be a complete person.”

Zubaydah said to Mansur an-Nimri: “Recite to me some poetry that will make me love Baghdad.” So, he said:

What can one say about Baghdad, with its sweet plants * And its religious and worldly satisfaction?

It brings life to the sick if he smells its breeze * And walks between the branches of its sweet-smelling plants…

So, she gave him a thousand dinars.

al-Khatib said: “I read in the book of Tahir bin Mudhaffar bin Tahir al-Khazin some poetry in his handwriting:

It is the beautiful land that has exclusively for its inhabitants * Things that are not found combined in any land;

A soft breeze that is balanced and healthy * And water that tastes sweeter than wine;

And its Tigris is two shorelines that have been carved out for us * With crown after crown and palace after palace;

You see it as musk and its water like silver * And the stones on its shoreline are like rubies and pearls…

And al-Khatib brought much more poetry, and what we mentioned suffices.

The building of the city of Baghdad was completed in the year 146 H, and some say it was in 148 H. It was also said that the trenches and walls around it were completed in 147 H, and al-Mansur persisted in building and improving it until the last thing he built was the Palace of Eternity (Qasr al-Khuld), as he thought that he would stay in it forever or that it would remain forever without being destroyed. However, when it was finally completed, he died, and Baghdad was destroyed many times, as we will show…”

[‘al-Bidayah wan-Nihayah’; 9/460]

3 Responses to “The Scholars’ Love for Baghdad”

  1. Simple Muslim Says:

    al-salaamu ‘alaykum,

    JazaakAllaahu khayran…


    Is Tarsus the city in modern-day Turkey? Do you happen to know what it was famous for in the time of the Salaf?

  2. Allahu Alam Says:

    inshAllah if it is possible can you add the original arabic poetry along its translation.. just like in sr. Fajr’s blog.. May Allah love you and reward you Ameen.

  3. Tarsus is in Turkey, yes. It was invaded by Khalid bin al-Walid when the Companions were fighting the Romans.

    As for the original Arabic poetry, I translated this out of the hard copy of the book, not an online version. I’ll look for it online, though, in Sha’ Allah.

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