Archive for the The Lives of the Salaf Category

Physical Descriptions of the Four Imams

Posted in The Lives of the Salaf on April 21, 2008 by Tarek Mehanna

Collected from adh-Dhahabi’s ‘Siyar A’lam an-Nubala”:

1 – Abu Hanifah an-Nu’man bin Thabit:

Abu Yusuf said: “Abu Hanifah was well-formed, was from the best of people in appearance, the most eloquent of them in speech, the sweetest in tone, and the clearest of them in expressing what he felt.”

Hamad bin Abi Hanifah said: “My father was very handsome, dark, had good posture, would wear a lot of perfume, was tall, would not speak except in reply to what someone else had said, and he – may Allah have Mercy upon him – would not involve himself in what did not concern him.”

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From the Jewels of the Tabi’in: Sa’id bin al-Musayyab

Posted in The Lives of the Salaf on February 9, 2008 by Tarek Mehanna

The Tabi’in are considered the second generation of the carriers of Islam, as they were the students of the Companions who carried the knowledge and Din to the whole World. After them came the Tabi’in to carry this trust after them. So, they traveled the lands – East and West – in order to spread this light to the corners of the Universe.

Most of the Tabi’in were from the students of the Companions, but there were also those of them who lived during the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him) but never got a chance to see him, such as ‘Abdullah bin Rabi’ah, Yusuf bin ‘Abdillah, ‘Abdullah bin al-Abbas, and ‘Amr bin Salamah, among others.

And from the major Tabi’in are: Marwan bin al-Hakam, Muhammad bin Hudhayfah, ‘Amir bin Qays, ‘Uways al-Qarni, al-Aswad bin Yazid, ‘Alqamah bin Qays, Jubayr bin Nafir, Ibn al-Hanafiyyah Muhammad bin ‘Ali bin Abi Talib, ‘Umar bin ‘Ali bin Abi Talib, Mus’ab bin az-Zubayr, among others.

And our story in this thread will revolve around one of them: Sa’id bin al-Musayyab (may Allah have Mercy upon him).

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“Am I one of the oppressors…?”

Posted in Ibn al-Jawzi, The Lives of the Salaf on February 9, 2008 by Tarek Mehanna

When Ahmad bin Hambal was imprisoned, one of the prison guards came to him and asked him:

“O Abu ‘Abdillah! The hadith that is narrated regarding the oppressors and those that aid them – is it authentic?”

He said: “Yes.”

The prison guard then said: “So, I am considered to be an aide of the oppressors?”

Imam Ahmad replied: “No. The aides of the oppressors are those that comb your hair, and wash your clothes, and prepare your meals, and buy and sell from you. As for you, then you are one of the oppressors themselves.”

[‘Manaqib al-Imam Ahmad’; p. 397]

Physical Descriptions of the Companions

Posted in The Lives of the Salaf on February 9, 2008 by Tarek Mehanna

Compiled from the first four volumes of adh-Dhahabi’s ‘Siyar A’lam an-Nubala”:

1 – Abu Bakr:

“He was white-skinned, skinny, with thin cheeks. He had a wrinkly face, deepset eyes, a protruding forehead, and he would dye his beard with henna and oil it.”

“He was white or yellow-skinned, handsome, with thin legs. His izar would not stay firmly tied around his waist.”

2 – ‘Umar bin al-Khattab:

“He was white-skinned, leaning towards redness. He was tall, balding, and had white hair around his head.”

“He was very tall, and extemely bald. He had reddened skin, thin cheeks, and the edges of his mustache were long and dark red.”

“He would walk so fast that it was as if he was riding a horse while those around him were walking.”

“He used to dye his hair with henna.”

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Imam Ahmad bin Hambal on the Thughur

Posted in The Lives of the Salaf on February 9, 2008 by Tarek Mehanna

Abdullah bin Mahmud bin al-Faraj narrated:

“I heard ‘Abdullah bin Ahmad bin Hambal say: “My father went out to Tarsus [*] and guarded the frontlines and fought there. My father said: “I saw knowledge dying there.”””

[‘Siyar A’lam an-Nubala”; 9/517]

[*] A city in present-day Turkey, where the Muslims were fighting the Romans.

Abu Muhammad adh-Dhuhali

Posted in Ibn al-Jawzi, The Lives of the Salaf on February 9, 2008 by Tarek Mehanna

He was known as Abu Hamdun ad-Dallal. He was one of the well known recitors, and was known for his righteousness and abstinence from worldly pleasures.

He learned to recite from al-Kisa’i and Ya’qub al-Hadrami.

Abu al-‘Abbas Ahmad bin Masruq narrated:

“I heard the recitor Abu Hamdun say: “I prayed at night one time, so I accidentally mispronounced a letter from the Qur’an. I lifted my eyes to see a light in front of me, saying to me: “Between you and Allah is me.”

So, I asked: “And who are you?”

It said: “I am the letter that you mispronounced.”

I said: “I will never do so again.”

So, I continued reciting, and I never mispronounced a letter after that again.””

Abu Muhammad al-Hasan bin ‘Ali bin Sulayh narrated:

“Abu Hamdun at-Tayyib bin Isma’il lost his eyesight, so he had someone leading him into the masjid. When they entered the masjid, his assistant said to him: “Mister, take off your shoes now.”

So, Abu Hamdun asked: “O my son! Why should I take them off?”

He said: “Because there is some impurity on them.”

ٍSo, Abu Hamdun became distressed that he could bring filth from his shoes into the masjid, so, he raised his hands and supplicated, then Allah returned his eyesight to him, and he continued walking.”

Abu ‘Abdullah bin al-Khatib narrated:

“Abu Hamdun had a scroll on which was written the names of 300 of his close friends, and he used to supplicate for them – one by one – every single night. One night, he went to sleep without doing so. So, in his sleep, he heard a voice saying: “O Abu Hamdun, why did you not light your lamps this evening?” So, he woke up, and lit his lamp, and began supplicating for each and every name on the list until he completed it.”

And Abu al-Husayn bin al-Munadi narrated:

“Abu Hamdun at-Tayyib bin Isma’il adh-Dhuhali is from the best of the righteous who is well known for his recitation of the Qur’an. He used to purposely visit the areas where there was a lack of recitors for the people and teach them. When they had memorized from him, he would move on to a different area doing the same. He used to always pay special attention to the outcasts in the community. May Allah have Mercy upon him.”

He narrated hadith from al-Musayyib bin Shurayk, Sufyan bin ‘Uyaynah, and Shu’ayb bin Harb.

[‘Sifat as-Safwah’; 1/492-493]

A Man from Egypt

Posted in Ibn al-Jawzi, The Lives of the Salaf on February 9, 2008 by Tarek Mehanna

One of the wise men of the past said:

“I passed by a village in Egypt seeking to engage in Ribat (guarding the Muslim frontier against the disbelievers), when suddenly I passed by a man in sitting in the dark. His was missing his eyes, as well as his hands and legs. He was suffering all types of difficulty, while saying: “Praise be to You, Allah – a praising that combines the praises of all of Your Creation – for what You have blessed me with, and preferred me greatly over many of those whom You have Created.”

So, I said to him: “For what blessing are you praising Allah? For what preference are you thanking Him for? By Allah, I do not see any type of difficulty except that you are experiencing it!”

So, he said: “Do you not see what has happened to me? By Allah, if He were to cause the heavens to rain fire down upon me, and I were to be burned up because of it, and He were to command the mountains to crush me, and He were to command the oceans to drown me, I would not increase except in praising and thanks to Him, and I request something of you: I have a daughter who used to serve me and break my fast with me. Can you see if you can find her?”

I said to myself: “By Allah, I hope that in fulfilling the request of this pious servant, I will gain nearness to Allah – the Mighty and Majestic.” So, I went out looking for her in the desert to discover that she had been eaten by wild beasts. I said to myself: “To Allah we belong and to Him we return! How will I tell this pious servant that his daughter had died?” So, I went to him and asked him: “Are you better in the Sight of Allah than Prophet Ayyub? Allah put him to trial with his wealth and his children and family.”

He replied: “No, rather, Ayyub is better!”

I said: “Well, the daughter that you had asked me to find, I found that she has been eaten by wild beasts.”

He said: “Praise be to Allah who has taken me out of this World without putting in my heart any love for it.” Then he collapsed and died.

I said: “To Allah we belong and to Him we return! Who will help me to wash his body and bury it?” Suddenly, a group of horsemen engaging in Ribat passed by, so I motioned for them to stop. They came over, so I informed them of what had happend, so we washed the man’s body, shrouded it and buried it in this village, and the group of men then went on their way.

I spent the night in the village unable to leave this man. When a third of the night had passed, I began dreaming that I was with him in a green garden. He was wearing two beautiful green garments, and he was standing up and reciting the Qur’an. I said to him: “Are you not my companion from yesterday?”

He said: “Yes, I am.”

I said: “How did you reach your current state (of health and happiness)?”

He replied: “I have reached a level that none of the patient reach, except those who are patient during times of calamity and thankful during times of ease.””

[‘Sifat as-Safwah’; 2/452]