Al-Bahlul ibn Rashid, Abu 'Amr

d. 183 or 202 AH

A scholar of the Qayrawan

Muhammad ibn Ahmad at-Tamimi said, "He was a reliable man with great striving and scrupulousness whose supplication was answered. There is no doubt about that. He possessed a lot of knowledge."

He listened to Malik, ath-Thawri, 'Abd ar-Rahman, Ziyad, Yunus ibn Yazid, Hanzala ibn Abi Sufyan, Musa ibn 'Ali ibn Rabah, al-Layth ibn Sa''d and al-Harith ibn Nabhan.

He first busied himself with worship. When people needed him in knowledge, he listened to the Muwatta' from Ibn Ziyad and Ibn Ghanim, and he heard the Lesser Collection of Sufyan from Abu al-Khattab and Abu Kharija and the Great Collection from 'Ali ibn Ziyad. People wrote down a collection from him and he undertook to give them fatwas.

Sahnun, 'Awn, al-Ja'fari, 'Abd al-Muta'ali, Khalid ibn Ziyad, Abu Sinan, Yahya ibn Salam, and others of his associates and those after him listened to him.

Abu 'Abdullah al-Jadali said, "'Abdullah ibn Maslama al-Qa'nabi also related from him. He said, 'Al-Bahlul ibn Rashid related to us and he is one of the pillars of the Maghrib.'"

Yazid al-Faqir related from him and Malik ibn Anas looked at him and said, "This is the devout worshipper of his land."

**

Some cases were brought to Malik from Ibn Ghanim. He asked, "What does the pale one (i.e. al-Bahlul) say about it? What does the Persian (i.e. 'Abdullah ibn Farrukh) say on it?"

Sa'id ibn al-Haddad said, "There was no one in this land who established the Sunna more than al-Bahlul in his time and Sahnun in his time."

Abu Hatim said, "He is reliable. There is no harm in him."

Al-'Uqayli said, "He was a shaykh from the people of the Maghrib. There is no harm in him. 'Ali ibn al-Madini said the like of that."

Ishaq ibn Barqi said, "Bahlul was one of the companions of Malik, an excellent man."

Abu Bakr al-Maliki said, "Al-Bahlul was one of the people of excellence, knowledge and scrupulousness. He was known for that as well as worship and striving."

Sahnun said, "Al-Bahlul was a virtuous man, but he did not possess the fiqh that others had. I imitated him in abandoning greeting the people of sects."


The virtues of al-Bahlul, his scrupulousness, humility, good qualities and the rest of his reports


Abu Ishaq al-Barqi said, "Al-Bahlul ibn 'Amr said, 'I have not seen anyone who possessed more fear of Allah than al-Bahlul ibn Rashid did."

Sahnun said, "We used to visit al-Bahlul and we learned proper conduct from him."

**

Another said, "A letter was given to al-Bahlul and he opened it. It said in it, 'From a woman of Samarqand in Khorasan.' She had made fun of a man and no one but her had made fun of him. Then she repented to Allah and asked about the worshippers in his land. Four were described to her: Bahlul in North Africa was one of them. 'I ask you by Allah, Bahlul, to ask Allah to make me continue in what he has opened to me.'" He said, "The letter fell from his hand and he fell on his face. He began to weep until the letter stuck to the mud from his tears. Then he said, 'Bahlul! Samarqand in Khorasan! Woe to you from Allah if He does not veil you!'"

**

Sahnun said, "Rabah had renown. When he died, that went to al-Bahlul. That was only due to something hidden which he possessed."

Two women passed by him while he was delousing himself. One of them said to the other, "This is Bahlul." She said, "Because it is better for you to listen to al-Ma'idi than to see him." Al-Bahlul said, "This one has recognised me."

**

One day a man called him a hypocrite and al-Bahlul said to him, "I have informed my self of that and it rejected me and did not accept it. Your testimony and my knowledge agree about it."

**

Al-Bahlul had some food and prices rose, so he sold it and then ordered that a fourth of a qafiz be bought for him. He was asked about that and said, "We rejoice when people rejoice and we are sorrowful when they are sorrowful."

**

A group said, "Al-Bahlul went out once making for the mosque. When he was opposite the ruler's castle, the Sultan's servants came out of the kitchen carrying pots. They said to him, 'Come!' and placed a board with some pots on it on his head. When the people saw him, they leapt up on every side and wanted to attack them. They apologised, saying that they did not recognise him. He said, 'I did it myself. The believer must abase himself. Afterwards it will only bring good rewards.'"

**

One of them said, "I saw al-Bahlul going to his house wearing a rough silk hat, embroidered shawl and a Tustari shirt and sandals from Ta'if."

**

'Awn said, "Al-Bahlul prepared some food and invited a group of his friends to it. They asked him, 'Why did you do it without a reason?' He replied, 'I feared that I would be one of the Berbers. When something new comes to you, let one of you inform me. I am not one of them.'"

**

Al-Bahlul was generous. It reached me that he did not keep more than 500 dirhams.

**

Al-Haddad said, "My mother informed me, 'I went to al-Bahlul when I was a child. When he saw me, he said, "Blessed is Allah! He has refuted doubt by her! and he gave me 100 dirhams.'"

**

His slavegirl said, "I spent thirty years with al-Bahlul. I did not ever see him remove his garment from his body nor ever see him praying a supererogatory prayer. He would come and lie down with me as the mother lies down with her child. Then he would enter the lavatory and prepare for the prayer. Then he went up to his room and lock it. I did not know whether he was alive or dead although I once did hear him fall towards the end of the night. I thought that he had grown heavy with sleep and fallen."

**

He mentioned that a young man was studying with him and then turned to impudent behaviour. That reached al-Bahlul and it grieved him. One day when he was sitting, the lad came holding a mandolin and al-Bahlul noticed that and then the thought occurred to him: "Perhaps he is going to break it."

After that, al-Bahlul went to his house and invited him and greeted him and asked him what had kept him from him and began to admonish him until the young man turned to good and left what he had been doing. He clung to al-Bahlul and Allah gave him profit from him and he had some importance.

**

Abu 'Uthman ibn al-Haddad said, "I heard that one day al-Bahlul was visiting and his friend, Riyah ibn Yazid az-Zahid, was with him. Then al-Bahlul's brother came from the desert and began to go on extensively about the news of the rain and the crops. Al-Bahlul disliked that and changed colour out of sorrow for Riyah since he knew that he disliked mention of this world and its means. When his brother did a lot of that, Riyah got up and began to say to Bahlul, 'You have fallen from my eye. This world is mentioned in your assembly and you do not object or change it.'

"Al-Bahlul said, 'If I have not fallen from the eye of Allah, I do not care about from whose eyes I have fallen.' Riyah fell prostrate to kiss him and said, 'Yes, by beloved Bahlul. You do not care about whose eyes you fall from if you have not fallen from the eye of Allah.'"

**

Bahlul came to Ibn Ghanim the Qadi at Maghrib in Ramadan. He brought the water near so that those who were present could wash. They washed and al-Bahlul washed but did not eat. Ibn Ghanim the Qadi spoke to him about that. He said, "Am I am a sultan? Is my food unlawful? Are you not fasting?"

Al-Bahlul began to apologise to him and say, "It is food whose like I do not find in my house. If you burden me, it will be oppressive for me. I dislike to be burdened to do what is oppressive for me." Ibn Ghanim began and repeated his first words. Al-Bahlul apologised and did not add anything to his first words until the people had finished and left, and then Bahlul left."

**

Ibn al-Lubbad mentioned that a man asked al-Bahlul a question and he gave him an answer about it. Then he said, "Go to the Persian" (i.e. Ibn Farrukh) "and ask him." He went to him and he questioned him and he answered him with a similar answer as that of al-Bahlul. He went to al-Bahlul and asked him about it as well. He asked, "Did I not direct you to Ibn Farrukh?" He said, "Yes, and he answered me."

Bahlul said, "Perhaps you prefer some people to others?" meaning himself. "By Allah, if wrong actions had had a scent, you would not have sat with me nor I with you." He added, "Ibn Farrukh is the good dirham, and I am the counterfeit dirham."

**

Bahlul said, "I met Riyah ibn Yazid at the well of Zamzam when a Khorasani man was with him. They took water from the Zamzam well. They put it in some sawiq-mush, and I looked and it was honey. They said, 'Do not mention what you have seen.' I did not do so until he had died.

**

Ibn al-Haddad said, "Some drovers left twenty dinars with al-Bahlul. He had left twenty dinars with Dahnun. A beggar came to him and he said to Dahnun, 'Give him one of the twenty dinars,' and he gave it to him.' Then the drovers came to him and he said to him, 'Bring me the 19 dinars.' He told Dahnun to go after them. He found twenty dinars and said to Dahnun. 'There is no god but Allah. I see that you do not count well.'"

**

Sulayman ibn Salim said, "Mughith ibn Riyah came to Bahlul and told him of his determination to go on the hajj. He asked him, 'Haven't you been on hajj?' He replied, 'Yes, but I yearn for the Haram, the House of Allah and for the grave of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.' He said to him, 'How much did you prepare for your departure?' He told him, 'A hundred dirhams.' He asked him, 'Would you come to me with them and let me spend them in places and guarantee for you ten hajjs accepted by Allah?'

"Mughith brought him the bag and he left it under him and sat with him. He continued to give five and then from the bag. He said to this one, 'Marry with it and live on the rest.' To that one, 'Spend it on your family.' To the other, 'Veil your face with it,' until it was gone. After that, a virtuous man dreamt that someone came to him twice during the night and said, 'Go to Mughith and tell him that Allah has fulfilled Bahlul's guarantee.' The man told him that."

**

Abu Zarjuna said, "I dozed on a Friday night and I was hit with a club. I told al-Bahlul about that on the following day. He applied himself to asking me to put the make action of that man lawful. I said, 'They did it! Should they do that and then I make their action lawful?'

"He said to me, 'Is it easy for you that a barrier should come between your Muslim brother and the Garden on your account?' He kept on at me until I deemed what they had done to be lawful."

**

Harthima ibn A'yan, the governor of North Africa, arrived with his retinue at the mosque of al-Bahlul ibn Rashid. Bahlul was leaning against a post in front of the door of the mosque. Harithma leaned over in the saddle and told one of those with him, "Give him the bag with the dirhams and tell him: 'The governor tells you to share them out.'"

The messenger came to him and al-Bahlul said to him, "The governor is stronger in sharing them out than I am.'"

**

Sahnun said, "A man asked al-Bahlul about a question when I was with him and he answered him incorrectly. I spoke to him about that. He said, 'Don't you find that these young men injure us?'

"When a group agreed with me, I went out to 'Ali ibn Ziyad. I went out to him and while I was with him, a letter of al-Bahlul came to him. He gave it to me and I said, 'This is the question in which he disagreed with us.' He asked me, 'What do you say?' I said, 'Al-Bahlul said the like of this.' He asked, 'Who disagree with him?' I replied, 'I said such-and-such about it.' He said, 'You were right and he was wrong. Write that to him from me.' Then he told me, 'Cling to this man. He is righteous.'"

**

Ibn al-Haddad said that his father said, "Bahlul was one of the most jealous of people. No other man except him entered his house."

**

One of his companions said, "I came to him while his young daughter was with him. She was wearing a dyed garment. He said to me, 'I do not love anything the way I love her. I wish that I could offer her to my Lord.' Then I left him and then returned to him and people had gathered at his door. I asked and was told, 'His daughter has died.' I went in to him and comforted him. When he I turned, he caught up to me and said to me, 'By Allah, do not mention what I said (i.e. his wish)' as long as I am alive.'"

**

Zakariyya ibn al-Hakam said, "I said to al-Bahlul, 'Abu 'Amr, this recitation which is recited from you, is it something which you relate from the Salaf or is it something of your own opinion?' He said, 'I did not take it from anyone. However, I was travelling with my teacher and he ordered me to go to Musafir ibn Sulayman al-Wa'iz at the mosque when the reciters were reciting to him, and I stayed with him and learned that. Then I took account of myself and said, 'I will engage myself,' so I began to take a known assignment from my teacher. When I finished it, I went to his assembly and I benefited from it and the sweetness of that and its benefit has remained in my heart until now.' Then he said, 'If those reciters come to me, I listen to them. If they are absent, I do not send for them.'"

A man mentioned to Bahlul that he saw the sun and the moon enter inside him and Bahlul gave him an opinion that he would die. He recited, "The sun and the moon are brought together. On that day, man will say, 'Where to flee?'" (75:9-10)


His following the Sunna and avoiding the people of sects and his friendship and enmity


Bahlul went out to his companions one day and he had covered his little finger. His wife had asked him for something and he had tied his little finger with a thread so that he would remember it. Then he said, "I have concealed it so that I will not innovate." He covered his finger so that no one would see it and imitate him. Then he met one of his companions and confided the matter to him. Ibn Farrukh, his friend, asked him about that and he came to him to inform him that 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar used to that. So Bahlul took the wrapper off his little finger. He said, "Praise be to Allah who did not make me one of those who made an innovation in Islam!"

**

Ibn al-Haddad said, "Abu Sinan said to me, 'Sometimes I heard Bahlul from your house when he was shouting. He said, 'The sunna! The sunna!' and he insisted on it."

**

Sahnun said, "I came to Bahlul one day when a man from the people of sects was at his door. He asked me about the shaykh and I did not answer him. The shaykh was listening. When I entered, I greeted him but he did not answer me and turned away from me. When people left, I knelt in front of him and asked him, 'What is my story?' He replied, 'A man from the people of sects greeted you and asked about me.' I said to him, 'By Allah, I did not answer him at all.' He said, 'Welcome!' and greeted me. He said to me, 'By this the true is known from the false.'"

**

Ibn al-Haddad said, "Abu Muhriz al-'Iraqi the faqih came to al-Bahkul to visit him when he was ill. That was mentioned to al-Bahlul and he said, 'Tell him: if you continue to hold to your opinion, then do not come near us.'"

Sahnun said, "It was al-Bahlul I imitated in abandoning the greeting to the people of sects."

**

One of them said, "Bahlul gave two dinars to one of his friends with which to buy him some oil which he found sweet. He mentioned to the man that a Christian had some of the sweetest oil around. The man went with the two dinars and informed the Christian that he wanted sweet oil for al-Bahlul.

"The Christian said, 'We will seek nearness to Allah by al-Bahlul as you seek nearness to Him by him.' For two dinars, he gave him enough of that oil as he would give of a oil of lesser quality for four dinars. Then he came to al-Bahlul and told him the story. al-Bahlul said to him, 'You have fulfilled one need, so fulfill another for me and return the two dinars to me.' He said, 'Why?'

"Al-Bahlul replied, 'I remembered the words of Allah Almighty, "You will not find a people who believe in Allah and the Last Day who oppose Allah and His Messenger." I fear that I would eat the oil of the Christian and then find love in my heart for him so that I would become one of those who oppose Allah and His Messenger by turning to a little of this world.'"


His trial and his death


The Qadi said, "Al-Bahlul was put to the test at the hands of al-'Akki, the governor of Qayrawan. He was told, 'He undermined your authority," and his his position with him was weakened. So he commanded that he be taken and the people gathered with him. That increased his anger towards him. He brought out the army against them and they dispersed them. Then he commanded that he be stripped and flogged. A group threw themselves against him and were beaten. He was given with about twenty lashes and imprisoned. Then after what happened to him when he was driven off, some people with veiled faces met him and asked him his advice about rising up against al-'Akki and delivering him. He began to say, "No, no."

One of them said, "We were in a raid with one of the caliphs. We were with him along with 12,000 people of the ports. Every day he granted two of our needs. When we heard that al-'Akki had flogged al-Bahlul, there was unrest in the army. We went to the caliph's door and he asked us what we needs. We said, 'We make all of our needs help for al-Bahlul. News has reached us that al-'Akki has flogged him.' The chamberlain said, 'Fear Allah regarding al-'Akki's blood! If this news were to reach the Caliph, he would execute him. How could al-Bahlul be beaten and the people of North Africa not rebel?'"

**

Part of what moved al-'Akki against him was that he used to give presents to the Emperor of Byzantium. The (Greek) despot asked him for some arms, iron and copper. When he wanted to send that to him, Bahlul protested about that and admonished him about it since it was not permissible for him to do that.

**

Abu Zarjuna said, "I was with al-Bahlul when he was flogged. I heard the weeping of a man inside the door. It was Ibn Farrukh. He sat in front of it, weeping. Al-Bahlul asked him, 'Why are you weeping, Abu Muhammad?' He said, 'I weep for a back flogged unjustly.' He said, 'Allah decrees and determines.'"

**

After that al-'Akki regretted what he had done and said to Ibn Ghanim, "Can you let me see him?" He replied, "As for him coming to you, no. But I will call him and you can look from somewhere from which you can see him." He did that. When he saw him, he began to say, "Blessed is Allah. It is as if he were Sufyan ath-Thawri in his business.'"

Al-'Akki was very soon dismissed in disgrace and Tammam ibn Tamim was appointed.

It is related that when his feet were stretched to be bound, he said, "This flogging is part of the affliction from which I ask Allah well-being."

**

The jailor came to him in al-'Akki's prison and treated him, and he gave him a dinar and gave some dirhams to the person who with him. He did that with them for three days. Whenever they came to him, he gave to them. His companions feared for his needs when he came out. They said to the jailor, "He is well, do not visit him."

When al-Bahlul thought he long in coming, he asked his friends after him and it was as if he understood what they had done. They said to him, "A dinar a day!" He said, "What of it?"

Hafs ibn 'Umara, one of his companions, said to him, "I heard that ath-Thawri said, 'The truthfulness of the truthful is perfect when he does not want what is in his hand.'" Al-Bahlul fell on his hands and kissed them. He said, "I ask you by Allah if you heard it from him?"

**

The flogging which he had received healed except for the trace of one lash which festered. It became an ulcer and was the cause of his death, may Allah have mercy on him.

**

Al-Bahlul said, "I remained for thirty years saying in the mornings and evenings, 'In the name of Allah with whose name nothing in the earth or the heaven is harmed. He is the Living, the Knowing,' etc., and I forgot one day with al-'Akki and I was tested."

**

>

Al-Bahlul said, "I remained for thirty years saying in the mornings and evenings, 'In the name of Allah with whose name nothing in the earth or the heaven is harmed. He is the Living, the Knowing,' etc., and I forgot one day with al-'Akki and I was tested."

**

He mentioned that al-'Akki sent him clothes and a purse, but he did not accept that from him. When he refused it, al-'Akki asked him to make what he had done lawful. He said to him, "Not a lash fell on me but that I asked forgiveness for you, you wretch."

In one variant, "My hands were not released from the bonds but that I put you in the lawful."

**

He died in 183. Sahnun said that it was thirty-five days after 'Ali ibn Ziyad, and more than one person said that.

Furat said, "He died in 202 and was born on the same night as 'Abdullah ibn Ghanim in 128."


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