Showing posts with label islamic scholar. Show all posts
Showing posts with label islamic scholar. Show all posts

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Story Of Islam Heroes: ‘Ata-Ibn-Rabah’

The Slave who became a Teacher, to King (d. 104 A. H 225)

The characteristic typical of all the Muslim heroes was their effort to direct their work for one and only one purpose; i.e. The pleasure of Allah. Whether in the Battle or in the mosque, in the royal courts or in the market-place those heroes conduct never faltered.

‘Ata-Ibn-Rabah’ was an eminent personality of the second generation of Muslims who met or attended many Companions of the Prophet (pbuh). ‘Ata-Ibn-Rabah was once at the doorsteps of the Umayyad; Caliph ‘Hisham-ibn-Abdul Malik’ in Damascus. Let us listen to what goes on between him and the Caliph.

The Caliph: ‘What can we do for you, Abu Muhammad?’

‘Ata-Ibn-Rabah’: ‘The people of the two ‘Harams’ (Mecca and Madinah), the guests of Allah (i.e. pilgrims) and the neighbors of the Messenger, give them their allotted annual gifts.’
The Caliph: ‘We will (Turning to Secretary): ‘Write a decree to that effect. What else, Abu Muhammad?’
‘Ata-Ibn-Rabah’: ‘The people of Hijaz and Najd are the heart of the Arabs and leaders of Islam, request that you return to them the surplus of their charity.’
The Caliph: ‘Yes, anything else?’

‘Ata-Ibn-Rabah’: ‘Yes. leader of the faithful, the soldiers at the frontiers of the Muslim lands. They are there in the face of your enemies, fighting whoever attempts to attack the land of Islam or hurt the Muslims. These people deserve generous salaries and supplies to be sent to them. For if they are lost our frontiers are gone.’

The Caliph: ‘Yes. (Addressing the Secretary) Write a decree to that effect. Anything else I can do for you?’

‘Ata-Ibn-Rabah’: ‘The Non-Muslim subjects living in the Muslim State who, in return for paying tax, enjoyed protection and safety) should not be asked to do things beyond their means. For whatever tax they pay you is a help against the State's enemies’.

The Secretary was ordered to write a decree to that effect.

The Caliph asks: ‘Anything else, Abu Muhammad?’

‘Ata-Ibn-Rabah’: “Yes. Fear Allah for your own sake. Remember that you were born alone; you will die alone, will be raised on the Day of Resurrection alone, and you will receive the Judgment alone. No one of your friends or relatives can be of any help at those times."

With these words ‘Ata-Ibn-Rabah’ bid farewell to the Caliph.

Before going out a man sent by the Caliph offered a pouch full of money for him.

‘Ata-Ibn-Rabah’, declined to take the money, quoting from the Qur’an: "I ask you no reward (for the advice). For my reward is with the Lord of the universe."

Now let's go back to the earlier day’s life in Mecca. ‘Ata-Ibn-Rabah’ was an Ethiopian, born a slave to a Mecca lady. Since his childhood he became interested in learning.

He divided his time into three portions:

*One third he spent in the service of his mistress carrying out his duties as a faithful servant.

*The second portion he devoted to worship and prayers, and;

*The third he devoted to learning whatever he could from the former companions of the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him).

The Mecca lady was impressed with her bondsman's devotion. So she set him free, giving him the chance to spend all his time in the Sacred Mosque of Mecca, learning first then teaching and engaged in devotions.

His knowledge and piety earned him a high place in the hearts of the rulers and the ruled alike. Of his knowledge we are told that a great man like 'Abdullah-Ibn-Umar’ was reported to have been surprised that people in Mecca needed to seek religious guidance from anyone while they had a man like ‘Ata-Ibn-Rabah’ amongst them.

In the presence of  ‘Ata-Ibn-Rabah’ even the greatest of Muslim Caliphs humbled themselves as we saw in the incident mentioned earlier (where we witnessed the encounter between ‘Hisham-Ibn-Abdul Malik’ and ‘Ata-Ibn-Rabah’).

In Mecca, another Umayyad Caliph, ‘Sulaiman-Ibn-Abdul Malik’, accompanied his two sons to sit humbly in the presence of the ex-slave to listen to his teachings in the sacred Mosque.

When he was asked about the man by his sons.

The Caliph answered, "This was '‘Ata-Ibn-Rabah."

Then he said, "My children seek knowledge. For through knowledge and learning the humble becomes great. The fool becomes wise, and slaves become superior to kings."

He lived about one hundred years and performed pilgrimage (Hajj) no less than seventy times.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Ibn Qayyim AI-Jawziyyah (691-751 AH.)

Through patience and poverty one attains leadership in religion.The seeker of Truth needs that will inspire him and push him upward and (religious) knowledge that will lead him and guide him."

hese words of  Ibn Qayyim AI- Jawziyyah sum up the personality of this great man, Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr, who is better known as Ibn Qayyim AI- Jawziyyah or Ibn AI-Qayyim, for short. He was born in 691 A.H.
He began his long journey on the road of learning early in his life, moving from one teacher to another to quench his thirst for knowledge. At the age of 21 (in 712 A.H.) Ibn AI-Qayyim met his teacher Ibn Taymiyyah another great hero of Islam and a revivalist of the faith. Their companionship lasted to the end of the teacher's life, Ibn AI-Qayyim kept close company to Ibn Taymiyyah with whom he suffered the pains of prison and flogging many a time.
Apparently, it was from Ibn Taymiyyah that he learn many special qualities such as frankness and courage, indefiance of the falsehood of others, including those in authority. For to both truth had to be said regardless of the consequences. But unlike his teacher, or Ibn AI-Qayyim was less fierce in his attacks (in words or action). The 8th century' Hijra witnessed a state of ignorance and feuds in the Muslim community. Muslims were fighting each other and each trying to impose his authority in everything including religious opinion and scholarship which suffered from stagnation. For the majority of religious scholars acted more like 'recorders' of knowledge rather than true scholars and teachers. To them their teachers were the main. If not the sale, source of knowledge, and the schools of thought they blindly imitated were the only acceptable ways.

Like his teacher Ibn Taymiyyah, Ibn AI-Qayyim spent his life in attempting to correct the wrong course the community was following. He fought the exaggerated reverence for the tombs of the pious despite the strong resistance he met with for the masses. He tried to show the errors committed by the misled sects and their blind followers.
For he considered that the disputes and fights among the Muslims of his time were caused by their sectarian attitude and chauvinistic practices, each one considering himself and his sector school of thought the only right one, and claiming that everyone else was on the wrong path.
Ibn AI-Qayyim spent most of his time and great efforts trying to unite the people, pointing out to them the dangers of blind imitation of the predecessors. He explained that  a Muslim should be open-minded; that is, he should accept what is right and good regardless of the teacher as long as what he or she accepts is consistent with the Quran and the Sunnah and the consensus of the scholars and thgeneral spirit of the faith. To him imitation was wrong in the following cases: 1) if it entails violation of Divine teachings, 2) if it represents an act of blind following of people we are not sure of their knowledge. 3) If it is in defiance of truth after finding it.
It was blind imitation that caused stagnation in scholar· ship and differences among people. Some so-called scholars, he pointed out, were not really scholars of Islam but rather simple propagators of others' opinions. To those people the words and views of their teachers or leaders were the only correct way of understanding the faith to the extent that they subjected even the interpretation if the Quran and the Prophetic teachings to the views of their teachers, which they wrongly took for the ultimate criteria.

Ibn AI-Qayyim considered that the sources of religious knowledge were to be taken in the following order:
1) The Our'an, 2) The Sunnah (Prophet Muhammad's teachings) and 3} The teachings of the companions of the Prophet. To these one could add consensus of Muslim scholars and analogy. Bigotry and prejudice were to him the enemies of learning. To propagate his views, Ibn AI-Qayyim wrote scores of books besides direct teaching.
In his own private life Ibn AL-Qayyim was a very pious and devout worshipper who spent most of his time in prayers and recitation of the Our'an. He was, in fact, an ascetic who rejected the unorthodox practices of some sufis (mystics) who claimed that religious teachings had external and internal sides, meaning that religious obligations (such as prayers, fasting during Ramadan etc. etc.) did not apply to them .
As pointed out earlier Ibn AI·Qayyim was a man of courage and frankness to whom truth was the ultimate goal. His open-minded and flexible attitude is reflected in his views on the correct understanding of religious laws (Shairah), and that these should be interpreted in the light of the circumstances of time and place, because Islam is intended and practicable for all mankind at all times. He wrote many books to

Explain this invaluable principle. Many of his views find their application in the legal system of modern nations more than six centuries after his death in 751 A.H.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Al Hassan Al Basri


-Tell me, Khalid, about the Hasan of Basra. I think you know him best.
-He is a man whose outside is like his inside, whose words are like his actions. When he tells people to do something good, he is the first to do it; and when he advises others not to do something; he is the first to shun it.
He has renounced what people have, but they are always in need of him.
-Enough have you said. Khalid. No people would go astray while they have a man like him in their midst.
This short dialogue between a well-known commander of Muslim armies and a friend of our hero summarized for us in few words the personality of AI-Hasan AI-Basri ,who is well-known in Islamic history for his truthfulness,authority on matters of religion, words of wisdom, Courageand other worldliness.
AI-Hasan AI-Basri was born in Madinah. His beloved mother was a former bondswoman of Umm Salamah the Prophet's wife, and his father Yasar was a former bondsmanto Zaid ibn Thabit, one of the scribes of Prophet Muhammad (salla-Uaahu 'afayhi wa-sallm).  His real name was AI-Hasanibn Yasar, but he is better known in history by the name AI Hasan AI-Basri ('AI-Hasan of Basra'). He was indeed a very fortunate child,  for though he was born after the death of Prophet Muhammad (salla-Uaahu 'alayhi wa-sallam), he was literally brought up in the Prophet's household: he spent his childhood with his mother's mistress Umm Salmah, stayed in constant contact with the other widows of the Prophet, was educated by their exemplary personalities and conduct and heard first hand reports about the Prophet (pbuh). Since Madinah then was still full of the former companions of Prophet Muhammad (sallalaahu'alayhi we-sallam) Al Hassan Al Basri had the golden opportunity to learn about Islam and its teachings directly from those great students and companions of Muhammad (sallalaahu 'alayhiwa-sallam), including people like 'Uthman ibn 'Affan, 'Abdullah ibn Umar and ·Ali ibn Abi  Talib (raadi-Allahu 'anhum) whose personality and fluency left a special impression on his character.
At the age of fourteen his family moved to Basra in Iraq, whence he got the name of AI Basri. AI-Basra wasthen one of the major urban centers of culture in the IslamicEmpire, and it was full of the former companions of Prophet Muhammad (sallal-laahu 'alayhi wa-sallam) who taught the principles and practices of Islam to the thirsty students andmasses. AI-Hasan AI-Basri , fully utilized the opportunity. Spendingall his time in the mosque, learning, especially at the hands of the well-known companion of the Prophet (sallal-laahu 'alayhi wa-sallam), 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ood. Since many people, rulers and masses were greatlyinfluenced by the new wealth and prosperity that followed the expansion of the Muslim State East and westward, theyneeded constant reminders of the dangers of overindulgencein worldly affairs and luxury. Al Hassan Al Basri was one of such reminders. To him, truth had to be said even in the face of tyrants. For a righteous man of Allah like him should have no fear of anyone except his Creator and Master. Anexample of his daring personality is the incident between him and AI Hajjaj who was a notorious tyrannical governor of Iraq. AI-Hajjaj built himself a big palace at Wasil,and he invited people to see it (to impress them). The masses crowded the place, full of admiration of the palace.
To Al Hassan Al Basri this was a golden opportunity to preach to people, warning them of the dangers of tyranny and indulgence in worldly gains. Naturally, AI-Hajjaj was not very happy with his doing. He swore to kill him. Sohe ordered some of his soldiers to fetch him. Uponentering, he walked with confidence towards AIHajjaj muttering some prayers. Suddenly, the tyrant was awe-struck and almost unconsciously invited our hero to sitnext to him with all humility and respect. Then, he asked about some matters of religion, attentively listening to AI·
Hasan's answers, while everyone sat in a state of astonishment. Upon leaving the guard of AI-Hajjaj, full of surprise at the sudden turn of the events, asked him, "When you entered and saw the sword ready you muttered a few words. What did you say?" AI-Hasan answered, "I prayed to Allah: '0 my Master and Protector! Reverse the rage of AI-Hajjaj as you changed the fire into coolness andsafety for Abraham."
Among the many memorable occasions of pious advice offered by Al Hassan to rulers was his encounter with a great governor of Iraq and Persia, 'Umar ibn Hubaira. It is reported that Ibn Hubaira used to receive from the Caliph in Damascus orders which smelt of injustice. So he invited two religious scholars, including our heroto seek their opinion and advice. Following are rough translations of our hero's words of advice:
"Ibn Hubaira! Fear Allah in dealing with Yazeed (the Caliph), and fear not Yazeed in your dealings with Allah. Remember that Allah can protect you from Yazeed, butYazeed cannot protect you from Allah. A stern angel who never disobeys Allah will come to you taking you from yourgreat and wide palace to the narrow grave, where you will find no Yazeed, but only your wrong actions with which youdisobeyed the Lord and Master of Yazeed. Ibn Hubaira! If you are with Allah, He will protect you from the wrath of Yazeed ibn 'Abdul-Malik in this world and in the Hereafter.But if you are with Yazeed in defiance of Allah's commandments,Allah will leave you to the mercy of Yazeed. Remember that one should never obey a creature whoever he might be in disobedience to the Creator."
It was with this type of words of wisdom that he  spent his eighty years of pious and ascetic life teaching and preaching, not only to rulers and the masses of his time, butalso to all readers of his wise sayings at all times.