Archive for the The Lives of the Salaf Category

The Man Behind the Armor

Posted in Ibn Kathir, Original & Misc., The Lives of the Salaf on July 10, 2009 by Tarek Mehanna

Salah ad-Din al-Ayyubi.

He defied the odds in an era of darkness. He set aside the criticism of those who called him crazy for wanting to do the seemingly impossible: uniting the Ummah, standing up to the Crusaders, and returning honor where it belonged. He was respected by both his friends and foes, and is perhaps one of the few men whose name evokes feelings of honor and pride in the minds of so many people in every era and place. Even the generally anti-Muslim film industry in America could not help but portray the honor and righteousness that Salah ad-Din was known for.

We all know of how he laid waste to the Crusaders and had them chasing their tails in the battles of Alexandria, Hittin, Acre, Tyre, Beirut, Nablus, Haifa, Tiberius, Gaza, ‘Asqalan, Jerusalem, and dozens of other cities and towns across Sham and North Africa. We know of Salah ad-Din the warrior.

But, who was the man behind the armor? What was he like as a person? What was he like as a Muslim? What personality does it take to carry out such heroic feats and achieve such a status?

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Ibn ‘Umar: The Most Disciplined Youth

Posted in The Lives of the Salaf on May 18, 2009 by Tarek Mehanna

One of the Companions I feel the most affinity for is ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar. Besides his position as the son of ‘Umar and one of the major jurists among the Companions, one cannot help when reading of him but to come away with the image of a man who is reserved, knowledgeable, serious, and avoided anything that would waste his time and not involve benefit to himself or others – and this was witnessed from his youth to his death. All in all, he is someone that we would all love to be.

Some narrations collected in adh-Dhahabi’s ‘Siyar A’lam an-Nubala(4/346-373) and Ibn al-Jawzi’s ‘Sifat as-Safwah’ (1/214-222) give a taste of Ibn ‘Umar’s character:

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Ten Lessons Ibn al-Mubarak Taught Us

Posted in The Lives of the Salaf on March 7, 2009 by Tarek Mehanna

‘Abdullah bin al-Mubarak was a scholar known for simultaneously combining numerous traits of virtue. In fact, his friends would sit and count all of the good things that were part of his character and personality. adh-Dhahabi related that they said: “Let’s sit and count the good traits that Ibn al-Mubarak has.” So, they ended up listing: “Knowledge, Fiqh, literature, grammar, language, zuhd, eloquence, poetry, praying at night, worship, Hajj, Jihad, bravery, instinct, strength, speaking little in what doesn’t concern him, fairness, and lack of conflict with his companions.”

Reading through his life story, one sees exactly this and cannot help but to derive brief yet heavy lessons from how this man lived:

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al-A’mash: One Interesting Character

Posted in The Lives of the Salaf on October 16, 2008 by Tarek Mehanna

One of the scholars who is most interesting to read about is the Tabi’i Sulayman bin Mihran (died 148 H), also known as al-A’mash (one who has weak vision). al-A’mash had quite an interesting personality, as he was very pious and knowledgeable while also having a rough, sarcastic attitude that makes one smile constantly while reading through his tarjamah.

Here are some funny incidents of his collected from ‘Siyar A’lam an-Nubala” (6/419-434) and ‘Hilyat al-Awliya” (5/54-70):

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Why Sufyan Would Urinate Blood

Posted in The Lives of the Salaf on August 28, 2008 by Tarek Mehanna

Here are some compiled bits that can help us overcome fear of people and encourage us to speak the truth when it needs to be said in light of the words of the Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم) in ‘as-Silsilah as-Sahihah’ (168): “A man should not let his intimidation by people prevent him from speaking the truth if he knows it, witnesses it, or hears it.”

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Virtues of Reading the Stories of the Salaf

Posted in The Lives of the Salaf on June 28, 2008 by Tarek Mehanna

“…Indeed, the stories of the active and righteous scholars are from the best ways of ingraining virtuous characteristics into the soul, and they push it to withstand hardships and obstacles for the sake of noble and lofty goals, and they motivate it to imitate those who display sacrifice and bravery – all in order to cause it to ascend to the highest and noblest of levels.

This is why some of the scholars from the Salaf said: “Stories are soldiers from the soldiers of Allah. Allah keeps the hearts of the awliya’ firm through them.” The proof for this from the Book of Allah is His Saying: {“And all that We relate to you of the news of the Messengers is so that We may make your heart strong and firm thereby.”} [Hud; 120]

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Asad bin al-Furat: The Conqueror of Southern Italy

Posted in The Lives of the Salaf on June 27, 2008 by Tarek Mehanna

adh-Dhahabi introduced him in ‘Siyar A’lam an-Nubala” (9/14):

“Asad bin al-Furat, the Imam, the ‘Allamah, the Qadi, the Amir, the forerunner of the Mujahidin, Abu ‘Abdillah al-Harrani then al-Maghribi. He was born in Harran in 144 according to Ibn Makula. Others have said he was born in 145.”

In ‘Shajarat an-Nur az-Zakiyyah fi Tabaqat al-Malikiyyah’ (p. 62), Shaykh Muhammad Makhluf al-Maliki said:

“He traveled with his father when he was two years of age with the army of Arabs under the leadership of Ibn al-Ash’ath, and he entered Qayrawan in the year 146. He then entered Tunis and dedicated himself to reciting and studying the Qur’an and its sciences. He heard ‘al-Muwatta” from Ibn Ziyad (‘Ali bin Ziyad at-Tunisi), and when he was eighteen, he traveled east. He lived in Madinah for some time, and reviewed ‘al-Muwatta” with Malik himself.

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