'Abd al-Malik ibn 'Abd al-'Aziz ibn 'Abdullah ibn Abi Salama (Ibn al-Majishun)

d. 214 AH

His kunya was Abu Marwan and Abu Salama's name was Maymun. Al-Lalaka'i said that. It is said that it was Dinar as al-Baji said. He was a client of the Banu Taym from Quraysh and then of the family of al-Munkadir.

Al-Majishun is Abu Salama according to what al-Lalaka'i said.

Muhammad ibn Sa'id ad-Daraqutni said, "He is Ya'qub ibn Abi Salama, the brother of 'Abdullah."


Al-Baji said, "'Al-Majishun' means 'source of water' in Persian."

Ad-Daraqutni said, "He was called that because of some redness in his face."

Ibn Khalid related from one of them that they were from the people of Isfahan and then they moved to Madina. They used to meet one another and said, "Shuni? Shuni?" meaning "How are you?" They gave him his nickname because of that.

Ibn Harith related that Majish was a place in Khurasan from which they were ascribed.


'Abd al-Malik was an eloquent faqih. He was asked to give fatwa in his lifetime until he died, as was his father before him. He was a faqih, the son of a faqih."

Mus'ab said, "'Abd al-Malik was the mufti of the people of Madina in his time. He was blind. It is said that he went blind at the end of his life. His house was a house of knowledge and the best house in Madina."


[Those in his family include:]

His grandfather 'Abdullah. He related from Ibn 'Umar and others. Muslim transmitted from him.

His grandfather's brother, Ya'qub ibn Abi Salama. He also related from Ibn 'Umar.

'Umar ibn 'Abd al-'Aziz: Muslim also related from him.

Yusuf ibn 'Abd al-'Aziz, the brother of 'Abd al-Malik. Az-Zubayr ibn Bakkar reports hadith from him.

One of them was Yusuf ibn Ya'qub ibn 'Abdullah ibn Abi Salama. He related from Ibn al-Munkadir and az-Zuhri. Al-Bukhari and Muslim related from him, and Ibn Hanbal and Ibn al-Madini and others transmitted from him.

His brother, 'Abd al-'Aziz ibn Ya'qub Abu al-Asbagh. He also related mursal hadith from Ibn al-Munjadir which Ibn Hanbal related from him.

Scholars' praise of him and their esteem for him and his excellence

Ash-Shirazi said, "He learned fiqh from his father, Malik, Ibn Abi Hazim, Ibn Dinar, Ibn Kinana and al-Mughira."

He was eloquent. It is reported that when ash-Shafi'i conferred with him, people did not recognize much of what they said because ash-Shafi'i had studied literature among Hudhayl in the desert, and 'Abd al-Malik had studied it among his maternal uncles of the Banu Kalb in the desert.


Yahya ibn Aktam al-Qadi said, "'Abd al-Malik was a sea which buckets do not disturb."

'Abd al-Malik said, "I went to al-Mundhir ibn 'Abdullah al-Makhzumi when I was young. When I spoke and he understood that I had good Arabic, he asked me, 'Who are you?' I told him. He told me, 'Seek knowledge. You have your shoes and water-skins with you.'"


Ibn al-Mu'adhdhal said, "Whenever I remember that the earth ate the tongue of 'Abd al-Malik, this world becomes insignificant in my eyes!"

He was asked, "Where is your tongue in relation to the tongue of your master, 'Abd al-Malik?" He replied, "When his tongue faltered, it was more alive than my tonque when it is animated."


Ibn Harith said, "He was one of the eminent fuqaha'. Sahnun praised him and preferred him. He said, 'I want to travel to him and to read these books to him. What he allows of it, I will allow, and what he rejects, I will reject.' Ibn Habib praised him a lot and used to elevate him in understanding over most of the companions of Malik."

Ibn al-Mawwaz said, "I remained with him after my uncle until the letter of the Amir al-Mu'minin came to him to ask him about some things. When the reader read it to him, he said to him, 'Change the letter and write its answer.' He dictated to him until he sealed it and sent it to the messenger.'"

Ibn Sha'ban said, "Al-Ma'mun wrote to him to appoint him a qadi. He was blind, and refused to accept that."


He was told, "If you go to Iraq, your eyesight could be healed. There are people who could cure it. You can look into your property." He had a boy with him who had some commerce which was shared with him. He said, "I will not leave Madina."

He mentioned that he was brought a cupper to cup for his sight. He said to him, 'You put such-and-such on your back lying down." He refused. He said, "I would not touch that whose reward Allah has made the Garden by hindering one of the obligations of the prayer."


Ibn Harith said, "He had a rebellious self. Malik spoke a harsh word to him one day, and he left him for an entire year. That was because he asked Malik about the difference between two questions and Malik said to him, 'Do you know the house of Ibn Qudama?' It was a house in which the young men played with doves. It is said that he alluded to the prison by it."


Scholars used to prefer him in the science of waqfs. Qadi Isma'il said that 'Abd al-Malik knew the position of Malik regarding waqfs.


He used to say after he lost his sight, "Come on and ask me about the difficult questions!" Isma'il the Qadi mentioned some of his words in al-Mabsut. Then he remarked about him, "How lucid were his words and wonderful his details and little his excess!"

Many people and exalted Imams learned fiqh from him, like Ahmad ibn al-Mu'adhdhal, Ibn Habib and Sahnun.

Ibn Aktam the Qadi said, "I have not seen any man like 'Abd al-Malik. If he had had people to question him - and he was one of those who heard his books - 400 volumes (or 200 volumes) could have been written down from him." (The transmitter was unsure of the number.)


An-Nasa'i said, "The fuqaha' of the cities from the companions of Malik among the people of Madina: 'Abd al-Malik ibn al-Majishun. 'Abd al-Malik ibn al-Majishun said much about fiqh and other things."

Ibn Harith said, "He knew a lot. He has a book which contains what he heard, which is known, a book which he wrote finally on fiqh which was related from him by Yahya ibn Hammad as-Sijilmasi, and The Treatise on Belief and Predestination and the Refutation of the one who says that the Qur'an is created and that humans have the capacity (to create actions).

Concerning his position on matters about people disagree and his following the Sunna

Abu Mus'ab az-Zuhri said, "The Qur'an is not created." He said, "That was the position of 'Abd al-Malik ibn al-Majishun."


Sahnun wrote to 'Abd al-Malik to mention to him what had occurred in a discussion on anthropomorphism and the Qur'an, and he asked him to give him an answer. 'Abd al-Malik wrote to him, "From 'Abd al-Malik ibn al-Majishun to Sahnun ibn Sa'id. Peace be upon you. I praise Allah to you. There is no god but Him. As for what follows, may Allah give us and you success in obeying Him. You asked about some questions which are not the business of the people of knowledge, and knowledge about what is not known. Those who passed before from the beginning of this community are enough for you. They followed with what is the best, and they did not delve into any of it. One comes to the deen like a virgin in her tent. She is not asked, 'How?' or 'From where?' Follow as they followed. Know that it is the greatest knowledge. A man who does not wish to speak of any of this lest he express disbelief and so falls into the fire of Hell."

'Abd al-Malik said, "If al-Marisi had been taken, his neck would have been severed."

He said, "I heard the scholars I met say, 'The Qur'an is the Word of Allah, the Majestic, the Mighty, and it is not created.'"


The Qadi, may Allah be pleased with him, said, "We mentioned all of this and we extracted it from the books of the reliable Imams to refute and invalidate what al-Baji related about his faults which is not sound about him and which is not recognised and so it is more fitting to leave it."


Ibn al-Lubbad mentioned that Yahya ibn Aktam the Qadi was with 'Abd al-Malik on his seat, and they were discussing the school of the people of Iraq and the people of Madina, and debating that. Ibn Aktam said, "Abu Marwan, we travelled to Madina for knowledge, desiring it, but in Madina you are not concerned with it. The one who travels seeking it is not like the one who is in it and then slackens."

'Abd al-Malik said, "O Allah, forgiveness! Abu Muhammad, summon for me 'Umara the mu'adhdhin from the people of Sa'd!" An old shaykh came and he said to him, "For how long have you given the adhan?" He replied, "For seventy years. I have given the adhan with my fathers, my uncles, and my grandparents. This adhan which I give today is that adhan which they told me that they had given with Ibn Umm Maktum."

'Abd al-Malik said, "If you say, 'You have slackened and abandoned this adhan of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace,' do you think that we do not pray? You have opposed us in it but there are other things more suited with which you can oppose us."

Ibn Aktam was ashamed and did not mention that he had refuted him.

The rest of his reports and his death

He mentioned that Ibn Abi Ishaq asked Ibn al-Majishun about a question and he answered it and he refuted him and he answered him. When that went on for a long time, he told him, "Get out. I am too skilled for you to refute questions against me."

He told Sahnun about that and he told him, "Yes, he is too skilled to be refuted."

'Abd al-Malik said, "I was friends with a man of Quraysh. There was some accounting to be done between him and his guardian, so he sat me down with the man and then spoke with the guardian. The guardian said, 'I took such-and-such and I spent such-and-such for you.' The Qurayshi said, 'You did not spend anything.'

"He said to me and my friend, 'Testify to what you heard from him. He is denying me my due.' I said, 'No, by Allah, we do not testify to it and we did not sit for this.'

"He said, 'Go with us to Malik. If he commands you to testify, then testify.' I said, 'Even if he were to command me, I still would not testify because I did not sit for testimony to give testimony.'

"We went to Ibn Abi Hazim and he told him the story. He said to me, 'He has no testimony for you.' Then we went to Malik and we mentioned the story to him and he told me, ''Abd al-Malik, do not testify.'"


The author said, "In our opinion, there is disagreement on this principle. There is disagreement on the interpretation of Malik's words regarding it. It is like that if he had concealed them so that they could testify to what they heard or if he made them sit for the accounting with the precondition that they would not testify. The sound version of all that is that they testify, whether or not he gives permission if they have grasped all his words."


At-Talibi related in The Book of the Garden, "'Abd al-Malik was excellent in dream interpretation. A man consulted him, saying that he had dreamt that his hand was a gold sword and he was brandishing it and then it folded back. He said to him, 'What you dreamt was good, may I be your ransom!'

"He was intent on it so to test him. So he said, 'A boy who will be born to you who is a hermaphrodite,' and that was the case."


Abu 'Umar ibn 'Abd al-Barr said, "'Abd al-Malik was very fond of listening to music, improvised and otherwise."

Ahmad ibn Hanbal said, "He came to us and someone who was singing was with him."

Ibn Ma'in said, "He came to us and we heard the sound of his musical instruments. Allah knows best, but this is why he did not relate from him in the Sahih."


He said, "When 'Abd al-Malik came to us from Iraq, he asked about it and he said:

            They are what you wish of noble men,
                but faithfulness is rare there.
           He says, 'You only see beauty,'
               what was he says is not true.


It is related from him that he said, "I listened to some witty words and I only had a shirt, so I gave it to the one who said it and asked my Lord to clothe me. We were in Madina and the man spoke to me and dictated them to me and he mentioned the report with the wittiness. I asked him to repeat it and he did not do it. He said, 'I will not give you my wit and manners.'"


'Abd al-Malik died in 212. It is said 214. It is said that was when he was about 60 years old.

Historical Notes

Bishr al-Marisi: an early Murji'ite theologian who stated that the Qur'an is created. He died in Baghdad in 218 AH.

Yahya ibn Aktam: the Shafi'ite Qadi of Basra and then Baghdad and one of the advisors of al-Ma'mun. He died in 242.

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