Himas ibn Marwan ibn Simak al-Hamdani

(d. 303), of North Africa


Abu al-Qasim the Qadi. He is counted among the companions of Sahnun. He listened to him when he was a child. He used to frequent him with his maternal uncle, Ibn 'Ulaqa. It is said that he did not finish listening to the Mudawwana from him. It was said that the second part on marriage is all that remained of it.

Abu al-'Arab said, "In Egypt he listened to Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Hakam and others, and in North Africa to Sahnun, Hammad as-Sijilmasi, Abu al-Hasan al-Kufi and Ibn 'Abdus."

Ash-Shirazi and Ibn Harith said, "He learned fiqh from Ibn 'Abdus."

Abu al-'Arab said, "He was righteous, reliable, scrupulous, just in judgement, trustworthy, a basic faqih, and skilful in fiqh. Fiqh is what he had mostly. People listened to him."

Abu al-'Abbas ibn Rayyan, Abu al-'Arab and Abu Muhammad ibn Khayran listened to him.

Ibn Abi Dulaym said that he had excellent talent.

Ibn Harith said, "He frequented Sahnun when he was a child. When he died, he devoted himself to Ibn 'Abdus and learned from him. He was considered the one among his companions with the most fiqh and the scholar with the most fiqh among the people of Qayrawan. He was a man of knowledge, a master well-versed in the roots of the knowledge of Malik and his companions. He spoke well on them. Ibn 'Abdus related his meanings until the speaker said, "The name in that time belonged to Yahya ibn 'Umar while fiqh belonged to Himas.'"

One of them used to say, "When Himas entered the circle of Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Hakam and Ibn 'Abd al-Hakam did not recognise him and Himas spoke, Ibn 'Abd al-Hakam turned his face to him. Then he added some words and Ibn 'Abd al-Hakam asked him about a question from al-Jarrah and he answered him. Then he asked him another and he answered it well. Ibn 'Abd al-Hakam said, 'Is it possible that you are Himas ibn Marwan?'

"'Yes,' he said.

"He rebuked him since he did not come to him. Then he brought him and near and showed him honour."

Luqman ibn Yusuf said, "When Yahya ibn 'Umar came to us from the east, one of our companions went to him. He told him, 'We have a circle in which our companions meet on Friday. If you would be so kind as to attend them, you could see how they are.'

"He (and I was with him) brought Yahya to the people. They showed him honour and he sat with them. Hammad ibn Marwan, Ibn Abi Fayruz, Sarur and Ibn Ukht Jami' were among them.

Muhammad ibn Bistam began to ask about the explanations of Muhammad ibn 'Abdus which he had written on pre-emption, division and its likes. Himas ibn Marwan would answer. Each of the rest of the people would say what he was prepared for while Yahya ibn 'Umar remained silent.

"When their assembly ended, Yahya ibn 'Umar got up. Then man who had brought him asked him, 'What do you think of our companions? May Allah make you thrive!'

"He said, 'I have not left in Baghdad any who spoke the like of these words in fiqh.'"


His virtues and his asceticism


Ahmad ibn Nasr said, "I saw Himas ibn Marwan coming and going on the night of Jumu'a. I said, 'May Allah make you thrive! What is this about?'

He replied, 'We have some barley which had taken on the smell of the rain. The mule drivers would not take it from us. We ground some coarse flour from it which supplied us with bread. The next day I saw the barley taken from the oven and I thought about the wives of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and that there was none of that in their houses although they desired it. When I ate it, a scent came to me from it.'"

When his death was near, he commanded that his books be sold to pay for his shroud.

Part of his humility and asceticism was that he opened the canal himself and broke the wood at the door of his house while the people around him were arguing before him and asking him.

A man saw Himas' shirt in which there was a tear by which his scandalous need showed. He said, 'May Allah make you thrive! Thus is thread from such-and-such a root and a needle from such-and-such a root. I would like for you to give me permission to sew it."

He said, "My brother, I have had this tear for seventeen years. Nothing of it has harmed us and the business is swifter than that."

It was said that he left his house one night while his son Salim was performing tahajjud prayers, the old woman was in her room reciting, bowing in prayer, and weeping, and the servant was praying. He stood in the courtyard and said, "O family of Himas! Be like that!"

It was mentioned that they sold the servant and some people bought her. She saw that they did not pray at night, Due to her custom, she thought that the one who did not pray at night was not a Muslim. She fled from them to Himas's house and said to them, "Is this lawful for you? You have sold me to Jews who do not pray at night!"

He used to wear wool. Sometimes he wore a shirt, a gown and a scarf and the wrapper was on his waist.

It was mentioned that a water beast collided with him and he fell down and was uncovered. It was clear that he did not have trousers on. When he sat in the assembly of qadiship, he commanded someone to call out. "The master of the beast should only walk while holding its halter in his hand."

It was said to Marwan az-Zahid, "Did you see al-Khidr, peace be upon him?"

He said, "Yes, I went to the mosque on Friday and I sat under the minaret until a man came out in a Baghdadi garment from the Bab an-Nasr, passing by the people until he sat beside me. When the Imam gave the salam, he turned to me and said to me, 'You are going to to miss a righteous man.' I asked, 'Who is he?' 'Himas,' he replied. We went and came to Himas, He greeted him. I saw Himas looking at me. Then we gave the greeting and went out.

"Then I visited Himas after that. He said to me, 'You, Marwan, are a righteous man. Do you know the man who brought you yesterday? That was Abu al-'Abbas al-Khidr, peace be upon him.' He said, 'You are a righteous man.'"


Concerning his appointment as qadi and something of his life

Ziyadat Allah ibn al-Aghlab appointed Himas as Qadi of North Afrca when he dismissed as-Sadini from the qadiship. As-Sadini was a foul Mu'tazilite. Ziyadat Allah wanted to be praised by the common people for appointing Himas. He wrote to them, "I have dismissed the coarse unfortunate innovator over you and have appointed Himas ibn Marwan due to his compassion, mercy, purity, and knowledge of the Book and the Sunna." That was in Ramadan in 270. The elite and common people were pleased and rejoiced in that.

Abu al-'Arab said, "Through him, Allah joined together averse hearts and mended disagreement. The people of the Sunna rejoiced in him. There was intense joy in Qayrawan when he was appointed."

Ibn Harith said, "He was one of the best and justest Qadis. He possessed cleverness and insight into the science of judgement by the excellence of his understanding in the fatwa from the people of the deen and virtue. He put Abu al-Qasim at-Tarazi in charge of the markets. His days were ones of clear truth, widespread sunna and upright justice. He had four of the fuqaha' sit with him: Musa ibn al-Qattan, Nasr ibn as-Sadusi, Abu 'Abdullah ad-Darrab and 'Abdullah al-Wazana. He asked them to look into what happened in his assembly. He did not judge between two litigants until he had debated with them about their case."

Abu Bakr al-Maliki said, "Himas used to wear coarse wool. He did not ride during his appointment. When he left for his house in the desert, he went on a donkey with a saddle and no cloth. He had little food and did not earn either dinar or dirham. He ate what came to him from his house. He did not take any wages for the qadiship. He used to buy what he needed of vegetables and oil from his barley and he would use them as condiments when he broke his fast."

One of them said, "He found half a dirham in his assembly. We told him about it. He said, 'Look to see to whom it belongs. By Allah, the family of Himas does not own any brass or silver other than the food for our strength."

It was related from him that he passed by two jokers, one of whom was saying to the other, "This is the seal of the Qadi." The other retorted, "His seal in such-and-such and such-and-such is from it."

They did not recognise him, He was coming from the countryside on a donkey with a donkey saddle, wearing a wool jubbah and wool scarf on his head. He said to them, "Separate so each of you will be fair to the other and the Qadi will not hear you."

Abu al-'Arab said, "He asked his sons Salim and Hammud to be scribes as well as Abu Ja'far Ahmad ibn Nasr. Ibn al-Khashshab wrote for him at first. They were righteous people."

Sulayman ibn Muhammad said, "When Ziyadat Allah sent for him to appoint him as qadi, he responded to him, 'I will not be capable.' Ibn as-Sa'igh said to him, 'He takes you because of your school [i.e. Maliki].'

"He said, 'I agree on the precondition that I can choose those who will be my scribes.' 'Yes,' the governor said.

"He chose Ibn al-Khashahb and Ibn Nasr. They said, 'We are not capable of that.' Himas said to them, 'So let one of you be appointed qadi and I will be his scribe.'

"He told his sons, 'Stay in the village. Do not come to me except on the day of the 'id. Do not attend the assembly of my judgement.'

"When Ibn al-Khashshab was appointed qadi of Raqqada, he asked his sons to be scribes reliable in their place.'

"When it reached him that the people often considered him ignorant and lacking in knowledge since he had the fuqaha' attend, he discharged them from standing in his assembly."

He did not fear anyone when there was a right involved nor flatter anyone. That brought about great enmity between him and Ibn as-Sa'igh, the master of the post and a great man in the government of Ziyadat Allah who was important in, especially by his opposition to the School. He did not submit to his authority and he began with his name when he addressed him [i.e. he did not accord him a title of respect] and he strove to seek against him to lower him. So Ziyadat Allah appointed Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Jimal, from the people of Iraq [a Hanafi], to be qadi along with him. He spoke very well of him and his caller announced, "When the litigants go to him and to Himas, they will go to him rather than to Himas."

When Himas saw that, he removed his office and went to Raqqada. He remained in its mosque for six months seeking to be dismissed. He was told, "You only have Ibn as-Sa'igh who strove against you."

He went to him. When he came to him, Ibn as-Sa'igh got up for him and asked him about what he needed. He mentioned that he wanted to be dismissed. He said to him, "You will return as you are or more powerful still." "I only want to be dismissed," he insisted.

He strove for him with Ziyadat Allah in that. He said to him, "He gives you a choice. If you want, you can return as qadi as you were, and if you wish, we will dismiss you."

He said, "I prefer to be dismissed."

He dismissed him and he wrote a scroll for him for his preservation and dismissal.

It was said that his dismissal was not because of this. He was dismissed in Jumada al-'Ula in 294.

Ibn Harith said, "When he was dismissed, he kept to his house until he met Allah."

Ahmad ibn Musa said, "The sun was eclipsed at noon. Himas came out of his house during the time he was qadi. He was humble and barefooted. Hiss students were around him, and he went to the mosque. He prayed with the people a long time. He was sitting in the tashahhud when 'Ishun gave the adhan for Zuhr. When he finished, he asked him, 'What moved you to give the adhan while we were in the sunna prayer?'

"He replied, "The time had come. The fard is more proper than the sunna.'

"Himas said to him, 'If you had not come out of it, I would have censured you.'"

Musa ibn 'Abd ar-Rahman said, "Himas said to me, 'You must sit with me one day to observe what passes between people and myself.'"

One of them said, "I took some litigation with Himas regarding a will. He testified for me that it was invalid. Himas told me about what he had testified to against me. I asked about my question and I was told, 'It is an invalid testimony which will not bind you. In another assembly, he said to me, 'What do you say about the testimony against you?'

"I said, 'May Allah put you right. It is an invalid testimony and does not harm me.' Ahmad ibn Nasr, his scribe, said to me, 'Is the Qadi then suspected of the state?' I said to him, 'Consider my case. I was told that it is an invalid testimony.' He went out and said, 'I have more knowledge of your vase if you do not bring a yield (of use). Otherwise, I will judge against you. Go out.'

"The next day, it seemed right to him and he summoned me and said to me, 'My son, it is better to return to the truth than to persist in the false. I considered your case and the business is as you were told (i.e. the invalid testimony),' and he judged my right for me."

Abu Muhammad ibn Khayran said, "I used to frequent Himas to learn from him. I found him lying down and a man was recounting to him some ugly things about Ibn Jimal the Qadi and what he had done. When he left, Himas said to me, 'Can anything be learned from the one who is appointed over the affairs of people at all? I did not see anyone doing anything except speaking about us when we were appointed.'

"I said to him, 'They only said about you what is in you, may Allah make you thrive!' He sat up and his face grew pale. He asked, 'What was that?'

"I wanted to patch up what I had said, but I could not. Therefore I said, 'Two things. One of them is that you appointed your son Hammud and Ahmad ibn Nasr, and you did not put any gap between you and them as others did. Neither of them put his pen to write, but that your eye was on what he wrote. People said, "If they are reliable, he should not suspect them. If they are not reliable, he should not have made them scribes."'

"He said to me, 'As for Ahmad ibn Nasr, I do not know today in North Africa of anyone with more knowledge or greater memory than him. As for my son, by Allah, I only saw from him what pleases Allah. But by that I meant to save them from the words of people about the Next World.'

"I said, 'You were not content to investigate the witness by one or two or four.'

"He said to me, 'Have you seen these shops which the ruler appropriates from their owners? Do you know of anyone who leaves their houses after he had seized them?'

"'No,' I said.

"He asked, 'Do you know of anyone who pays rent to its owners?'

"'No,' I said.

"He said, "The one afflicted investigated that. He did not find anyone who paid rent to its owner except for two men. When he does the like of this in this clear matter when its inhabitants are people of good honour, what do you think about others? By Allah, I will investigate, and investigate, and investigate again!'"

It is related that Ibn Masrur al-Khall, the governor of Qayrawan, killed a man without any right to do so. Himas sent to him to admonish him for shedding blood. He was disdainful and said, "What does Himas have to do with this? I am the ruler who looks into blood and its like!"

Himas went to Tunis to Ziyadat Allah and al-Khall sent the news to Ibn as-Sa'igh, the chamberlain. He made the companions of the ruler not allow anyone to bring any news or letter from Himas to Ziyadat Allah.

Hamas remained at the door of Ziyadat Allah for about three months until Ziyadat Allah's daughter died. He asked about who should pray over her. He was told, "Your companion." He asked, "Where is he in relation to us?" He was told, "He has been at your door since such-and-such a time."

He commanded him to pray over her and brought him to himself and listened to him. He wrote and dismissed al-Khall, the governor of Qayrawan, and sent against him. Himas left with honour.

Al-Maliki said, "When Abu Harun al-Andalusi came to Qayrawan, he stayed with Himas. When Himas was appointed qadi of North Africa, Abu Harun came as was his custom to stay with him. When he approached his house, he heard that he had been appointed qadi, so he went behind the minaret of the mosque and stayed there. Himas was told about that and he went to him and greeted him. He invited him and he replied, 'We have heard that you have been appointed qadi.'

"'Yes,' he answered, 'and I have not taken any gift or robe for it.'

"He said, 'If that is the case, then I will stay with you.'"

It is related that when he entered the Masjid al-Haram, he prayed two rak'ats and said, "I am perplexed due to respect for the House."

Himas clung to the school of Ibn 'Abdus regarding faith [i.e. saying 'Allah willing' after ŅI believe|]. Abu Maysara and other companions of Muhammad ibn Sahnun parted from him and would not greet him.

He died in 303 and was born in 222.



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