Abu al-Hasan 'Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Khalaf al-Ma'afiri

(324-403), of North Africa

He was known as Ibn al-Qabisi. He listened to the men of North Africa: Abu al-'Abbas al-Abyani, Abu'l-Hasan ibn Masrur ad-Dabbagh, Abu 'Abdullah ibn Masrur al-Assal, Abu Muhammad ibn Masrur al-Hajjam, Darras ibn Isma'il al-Fasi and as-Sadri. He travelled, went on hajj, and listened in Egypt and Makka to Hamza ibn Muhammad al-Kinani, Abu al-Hasan at-Tilbani, Ibn Abi ash-Sharif, Abu Zayd al-Marwazi, Abu al-Hasan ibn Hayawayh an-Naysaburi, Abu al-Hasan ibn Abi Hilal, Abu al-Hasan ibn Sha'ban at-Tahhan, Abu al-Hasan ibn Hashim, Abu at-Tahir Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Ghani, Abu al-Hasan al-Asyuti, Abu Bakr Ahmad ibn 'Abdullah ibn 'Abd al-Mu'min, Abu Ahmad ibn al-Mufassir, Abu al-Fath ibn Burhuz, and Abu Ishaq 'Abd al-Hamid ibn Ahmad ibn 'Isa. Abu Bakr ibn Khallad wrote to him.

He had vast transmsision and knowledge of hadith and its faults and its men. He was a faqih, usuli, mutakallim and splendid writer. He was one of the righteous god-fearing ascetics and fearful men. He was blind and could not see at all. In spite of that, his books were among the soundest, most precise and well-defined. His books were verified in his presence by his reliable companions. The one who corrected for him when he listened to al-Bukhari from Abu Zayd in Makka was Abu Muhammad al-Asili in his own script. He used to visit Shaykh az-Zahid Abu Ishaq al-Jabnayani, and he made supplication for him.

Abu al-Hasan said, "I said to him when he returned the first time he visited him, 'I will mention my name to you. When you remember me, make supplication for me.' He said, 'Rather I make supplication for you in the general community of the Muslims.' I said, 'For me in particular.' He said, 'Do you think someone who has a trust and then lost it is not liable a transgressor?' 'Yes,' I replied. He said, 'When a man prays for something which he has lost he is responsible for it.' He said, 'It is not against you if I tell you my name. When you are making supplication, make it. Otherwise leave it.' When he saw me morose since he had not accepted my request, he asked me, 'What is your name?' I replied, ''Ali.' He said to me, ''Ali, may Allah elevate your worth in this world and the Next.' When the mount of Abu al-Hasan came close, al-Jabnayani took its stirrup. It was his custom for the one in whom there was a capacity for knowledge or good."

Ash-Shirazi said, "He sat in the place of Ibn Shablun after he died." Abu Sa'id was the brother of Hisham who respected Shaykh Abu al-Hasan. Abu al-Hasan said, "Do not reckon by measure or weight. If only the like of Abu al-Hasan will enter the Garden, then none of us will enter it!"

Ibn Sa'dun said that when Abu al-Hasan sat for people and people turned to him for fatwa, he refused and barred his door to people. Abu al-Qasim ibn Shablun said to him, "Break down his door because he must fulfil the duty of giving fatwa." He was the most knowledgeable of the remaining people of Qayrawan. When he saw that, he went to them reciting:

            By the life of your father, al-Mu'alli is not ascribed to honour
               nor is he noble in this world.
           But when the lands are shaken,
               their dry plants are seen as chaff.

His companion Hatim at-Tarabulisi said, "Abu al-Hasan was a faqih, scholar, muhaddith, scrupulous, and made do with little of this world. I did not see any of those in Qayrawan who indicated that he had knowledge who did not sit with him and take from him. All acknowledged his right and did not deny His excellence."

Muhammad ibn 'Ammar al-Mayurqi said in his Risala, "He was late in his time, but pre-eminent in his business: knowledge, action, transmission and understanding; one of those of ijtihad among the worshippers and ascetics. His supplication was answered. He had too many virtues to record. He knew the primary and secondary branches of knowledge, hadith and other fine points. Abu 'Abdullah ibn Abi Safra mentioned him and said that he was a leader in fiqh.

Abu al-Hasan said, "When I travelled to al-Abyani with Abu Muhammad al-Asili and 'Isa ibn Sa'ada al-Fasi, we used to listen to him. After 'Asr, he discussed the problematic with us. One day our discussion went on for a long time and he singled me out by saying, to me, 'Abu al-Hasan, camels will be driven to you from the furthest part of Maghrib [because of people seeking your knowledge].' I said to him, 'By your baraka, Allah willing. When we hope for it by benefit from you.' Then the same thing happened between me and him on another day. Then he was discussing with me on a third day and he liked my understanding of it. He said the like of that to me. I said to you, 'By your baraka, Allah willing.' He said to me, 'By Allah, camels will be driven to you from the furthest part of Maghrib.'"

Abu 'Imran al-al-Fasi, Abu al-Qasim al-Lubaydi and others learned fiqh with him. Abu Bakr 'Atiq as-Susi, Abu al-Qasim ibn an-Naysaburi, Ibn Samhan, Ibn Abi Talib al-'Abid, al-Hawi, Abu 'Umar ibn al-'Attab, Ibn Mihraz Ibn Sifyan, Abu al-Lawti, Abu Hafs al-'Attar, Abu 'Abdullah al-Khawwas, Abu 'Abdullah al-Maliki, Makki al-Farisi, and Ibn al-Ajdabi related from him. Among the Andalusians who related from him are: al-Muhallab ibn Abi Sufra, Hatim ibn Muhammad at-Tarabulisi, and Abu 'Amr al-Muqri.

His books

Abu al-Hasan had useful splendid books, like al-Mumahhid in Fiqh, and the Judgements of the Religion, his book, Salvation from the Doubtful things of Ta'wil, Calling the Attention of the Clever to the Ghouls of Seditions, the Detailed Treatise on the States of the Students, and Judgements of the Teachers and Students, the Book of the Creeds, the book of the Practices of the Hajj, the Book of Dhikr and Supplication, the Book of the Revelation of the Treatise on Repentance, a summary of the Muwatta', the Rank of Knowledge and States of its people, the Book of the defences of fortresses, the Helping Treatise to Thinking, Good Opinion of Allah, and a treastise on the vindication and faulting of witnesses, and the Book of Scrupulousness.

His virtues, fear and the rest of his reports

Abu al-Hasan was one of the fearful, scrupulousness individuals who famous for having his supplication answered. In a many of his affairs he followed the path of his shaykhs among the righteous fuqaha' of Qayrawan who were content with little of this world, weeping, known for having their supplication answered, and demonstrating evidence.

One of his companions said, "When Abu al-Hasan entered his mihrab, opened his eyes which had became red, sought refuge with Allah, and we saw that from him, we waited for the answer of his supplication. It could be up to three days."

There was a Christian in al-Mahdiya who the nephew of one of the personal friends of Badis ibn Habus, the ruler of Qayrawan. This Christian deflowered a girl who was a sharif. When the common people heard about that, they went and killed him. Badis heard about that and found it atrocious. He sent the general of an army to Mahdiya and said to them, "Kill those whose swords have cut above them." Abu a-Hasan heard about that and he went to the mihrab and began to make supplication to remove this. When the general reached the castle of Miswar near al-Mahdiyya, he spent the night there. He got up drunk in the night, walked on the roof and walked off the edge and fell on his head and dashed his brains out.

The post brought news of that to Badis and he was told about the supplication of Shaykh Abu al-Hasan. He was alarmed by that and said to Ibn Abi al-'Arab and his great men, "Go to the shaykh." When they knocked at his door and he learned of them, he told them, "Go to the mosque until the scholars come to you." He did not admit them to his house. He went to his companions, Abu Bakr ibn 'Abd ar-Rahman, Abu 'Imran al-Fasi, Abu al-Qasim ibn al-Katib, Abu Muhammad al-Lawabi, Abu 'Imran ibn al-'Attab, al-Khawwas, Ibn Sufyan, Abu 'Abdullah al-Maliki, Makki al-Qurashi, the sons of al-Ahdabi, ar-Rab'i, and Ibn Samhan and others. He dictated his letter to them which said: "In the name of Allah, the All-Merciful, Most Merciful. I seek Allah's help and I rely on Him for succour. Succour! Succour for what has befallen the Muslims of decisions against them." Then he announced the like of this. In part of it, "How can it be lawful for the one who believes in Islam to concern himself with the blood of unbeliever who ravished a girl who is one of the descendants of the Chosen Prophet, peace be upon him? If the heavens and earth has been rent asunder for this action, it would be little." It is a long letter. He told his companions, "When you reach the mosque, one of you with a strong voice should read it on the minbar." They did that, and the generals began to say to one another, "By Allah, the only power is this shaykh."

Al-Lubaydi mentioned that he saw him meet with 'Isa ibn Thabit al-'Abid one day, and they discussed and wrote until each of them fall on the back of the other. He mentioned that one of the companions of Abu al-Hasan was deluded by the light of the moon one night and went out early. The guards in the Qayrawan seized him and he asked for his help and informed them that he was the guest of Abu al-Hasan and one of his companions. They turned to him and took him to prison and put him in irons. A man of the room saw that. In the morning, he informed Abu al-Hasan of the situation of his friend. He told him, "Go and bring him out of prison. Trust in Allah." The man went and entered the prison and reached the man without any opposition. He found the man in heavy chains and the man could not leave in his chains. So the man went back to Abu al-Hasan and told him. He said to him, "Go with a blacksmith to release him." So the man took a blacksmith with them to release his chains in the prison, and three of them went out. The prison guards were looking at them but did not object to them at all in what they were doing. It was as if they did not see them or that they forgot them and none of the guards knew anything about the matter.

Abu 'Amr al-Muqri' said about him in the Tabaqat al-Qurra': "He learned from Ibn Badhan and recited the Qur'an in Qayrawan for a time. Then he stopped reciting when he heard that one of his companions had been asked by the governor to recite for him and had indeed recited to him. Abu al-Hasan studied fiqh and hadith until he was prominent in both of them. He was well-versed and became Imam of his time and the excellent one of his time.

He mentioned that Abual-Hasan asked his companions one day in Ramadan about their breaking their fast with him in the night and each of them told him what he was able to do. Abu al-Qasim al-Barada'i said, "I break it on stew made from mutton, chard and chick-peas. After that spinach." Abu al-Hasan said to him, 'By Allah, Khalaf, you will never be well. This sort of lawful food is not had together at all."

Abu al-Hasan was not a Qabisi. He had an uncle who tied on his turbans tightly as the Qabisids and so he was known by that. His origins were in Qayrawan.

Abu al-Hasan died in Qayrawan in 403 and was buried at the Tunis gate. He was about 80. He was born in 24 Rajab 324. He travelled to the east in 352.

Historical Notes

Badis ibn Habus: Zirid ruler of North Africa.

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