Some Selections from Men of Madina Vol. II

(Volume of the Tabaqat Ibn Sa'd)

Sa'id ibn al-Musayyab

Sa'id ibn al-Musayyab said, "There is not anyone left with more knowledge of every decision which the Messenger of Allah made, every decision of Abu Bakr and every decision of 'Umar than me." My father said, "I think that he also said, "And every decision that 'Uthman made."

When someone asked az-Zuhri about the ones from whom Sa'id ibn al-Musayyab took his knowledge, he said, "Zayd ibn Thabit. He also sat with Sa'd ibn Abi Waqqas, Ibn 'Abbas and Ibn 'Umar, and visited the wives of the Prophet, 'A'isha and Umm Salama. He listened to 'Uthman ibn 'Affan, 'Ali, Suhayb and Muhammad ibn Maslama, and many of his transmitters go back to Abu Hurayra whose daughter he married. He listened to the companions of 'Umar and 'Uthman. He said, 'No one has better knowledge of the decisions of 'Umar and 'Uthman than me.'"

Muhammad ibn Yahya ibn Hayyan said, "Sa'id ibn al-Musayyab was the the most eminent of those in Madina in his time, superior to them in fatwa. He was called 'the faqih of the fuqaha'.

Malik ibn Anas said, "'Umar ibn 'Abdu'l-'Aziz did not give a decision until he had asked Sa'id ibn al-Musayyab. He sent a man to him to ask him something but instead he summoned him. He came and entered. 'Umar said, 'The messenger made a mistake. We sent him to ask you in your assembly.'"

Muslim al-Khayyat reported that Ibn al-Musayyab said, "The fetter in a dream represents firmness in the deen." A man said to him, 'O Abu Muhammad, I dreamt that I was sitting in the shadow and I went into the sunlight.' Ibn al-Musayyab said, 'By Allah, if your dream is true, you will leave Islam.' He said, 'Abu Muhammad, I dreamt that I was brought out until I was in the sunlight and then I was cast aside.' He said, 'You will be forced into disbelief.' He went out in the time of 'Abdu'l-Malik ibn Marwan and was captured and forced to disbelieve and then he came to Madina and reported that.

'Imran ibn 'Abdullah reported that Sa'id ibn al-Musayyab said, "I have not missed the group prayer for forty years nor seen the backs of their necks."

Muhammad, Sa'id's son, said, "In the days of al-Harra, Sa'id ibn al-Musayyab was in the mosque and did not give allegiance and did not leave. He used to pray jumu'a with them and go out to the 'ids. The people were fighting and looting while he was in the mosque and only came out at night.

Burd, the client of Ibn al-Musayyab said to Sa'id ibn al-Musayyab, "I have not seen anyone do better than what they did." Sa'id asked, "What did they do?" He replied, "One of them prayed Dhuhr and remained praying until 'Asr." Sa'id said, "Woe to you, Burd! By Allah, that is not worship. Do you know what worship is? Worship is to reflect on the command of Allah and to refrain from the things which Allah has forbidden."

Ibn Harmala said, "I went out to ad-Dabh and found a drunkard there. I looked after him and brought him into my house. I met Sa'id ibn al-Musayyab and I said, 'If a man is found drunk, should I take him to the ruler so that the hadd can be carried out on him?' He said to me, 'If you are able to shield him with your garment, do so.' I returned to my house and the man had come around. When he saw me, I recognised shame in him and I asked, 'Are you ashamed? If you had been taken yesterday, you would have received the hadd and you would have been like a corpse among people whose testimony is not allowed!' He said, 'By Allah, I will never do it again!'" Ibn Harmala said, "I saw that his state was good after that."

Al-Mughira ibn 'Abdu'r-Rahman said that he visited Sa'id ibn al-Musayyab with his father and he fainted and so he turned his face towards qibla. When he came around he asked, "Who did this to me? Am I not a Muslim who turns my face to Allah wherever I am?"

'Abdu'l-Hakam ibn 'Abdullah said, "Sa'id ibn al-Musayyab died in Madina in 94 AH at the age of 75 when al-Walid ibn 'Abdu'l-Malik was khalif. The year in which Sa'id died is called the Year of the Fuqaha' because of the great number of fuqaha' who died during it."

Al-Qasim ibn Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr

Al-Qasim said, "It is better for a man to remain silent after learning what Allah has obliged on him than for him to talk about what he does not know."

Sulayman ibn Qatta said, "'Umar ibn Ubaydullah sent me with 1,000 dinars for 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar and al-Qasim. I went to Ibn 'Umar who was washing in a bathing place and he put out his hand and I put the money in his hand. He said, 'He maintains ties of kinship. It has come to us when we have a need.' Then I went to al-Qasim ibn Muhammad but he refused to accept them. His wife said, 'Al-Qasim ibn Muhammad is the son of his uncle and I am the daughter of his uncle, so give them to me.'" He gave them to her.

'Abdu'r-Rahman ibn Abi'l-Mawwal said, "I saw al-Qasim ibn Muhammad come to the mosque at the beginning of the day and pray two rak'ats and then he sat among people who asked him questions."

Aflah ibn Humayd said, "When al-Qasim ibn Muhammad dictated his will, he said, 'Write.' So the scribe wrote, 'This is the will of al-Qasim ibn Muhammad, who testifies that there is no god but Allah.' Al-Qasim said, 'We would be in a terrible state if we had not testified to this before today.'"

Sulayman ibn 'Abdu'r-Rahman said, "Before al-Qasim ibn Muhammad died at Qudayd he said, 'Shroud me in my garments in which I used to pray: my shirt, my waist-wrapper and my cloak.' His son said, 'My father, do you not want two garments?' He said, 'My son, that is how Abu Bakr was shrouded, in three garments. The living are more entitled to the new than the dead.'"

'Umar ibn 'Abdu'l-'Aziz

Abu Isra'il mentioned 'Umar ibn 'Abdu'l-'Aziz and said that 'Ali ibn Badhima said, "When I saw him at Madina he was the best dressed of people and had the best scent and was one of the proudest of people in his gait. Then I later saw him walking like a monk. Whoever tells you that gait is innate is not believed after 'Umar."

Abu'z-Zinad said "When 'Umar II came to Madina as its governor, his attendant invited its people. So they came and greeted him. After he had prayed Dhuhr, he summoned ten of the fuqaha' of the city: 'Urwa ibn az-Zubayr, 'Ubaydullah ibn 'Abdullah, Abu Bakr ibn 'Abdu'r-Rahman, Abu Bakr ibn Sulayman, Sulayman ibn Yasar, al-Qasim ibn Muhammad, Salim ibn 'Abdullah, 'Abdullah ibn 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar, 'Abdullah ibn 'Amir and Kharija ibn Thabit. He praised Allah as befits Him and then he said, 'I have invited you for something for which you will be rewarded and in which you will help the Truth prevail. I do not want to decide any matter except after hearing your opinion or the opinion of those of you who are present. If you see anyone transgressing or hear that an agent of mine is being unjust, then by Allah I forbid anyone to inform anyone other than me of it.' Then they asked Allah to bless him and dispersed."

Ta'ma ibn Ghaylan and Ibn Muhammad ibn Khalid said, "'Umar used to be one of the most fragrant and best dressed people. When he became khalif, he was one of those who dressed in the coarsest clothes and ate the most frugal meals. He preferred leftovers."

Musa ibn 'Ubadya said, "I heard the letter of 'Umar II to Abu Bakr ibn Muhammad: 'Beware of staying in your house. Go out to the people. Involve them in your meetings and when your appear. Do not let any of the people be favoured by you more than others and do not say, 'Those are part of the people of the house of the Amir al-Mu'minin.' The people of the house of the Amir al-Mu'minin and others are equal with me today. I am responsible for taking the people of the house of the Amir al-Mu'minin into account, because they are in a position to overpower the one who contends with them. When anything is unclear to you, write to me about it.'"

'Umar II said, "If there is any innovation which Allah ends at my hands, or any sunna which Allah revives at my hands, even in return for a piece of my flesh, then that will be easier for me for the sake of Allah."

Muhajir ibn Yazid said, "'Umar II sent us out to distribute the zakat among those entitled to it. We collected it from those to whom we have given the previous year. I saw that when he was writing to his family, or for a need he had concerning himself, he would request a candle from his own property and then go inside and use a different candle. I saw that he washed his own clothes and did not come out to us or speak to us because he did not have any others to wear. I saw that a lintel of his house was ruined and he spoke about repairing it. Then he said, 'Muzaham, will you let us leave it alone and leave this world without having introduced anything new?' He forbade wine in every land."

Al-Mughira ibn Hakim said, "Fatima bint 'Abdu'l-Malik, 'Umar's wife, said to me, 'Mughira, I think that there is no one among the people who prays and fasts more than 'Umar. If there is a man with stronger fear of his Lord than 'Umar, I have not seen him. After he has prayed 'Isha', he puts himself in his mosque, and supplicates and weeps until he falls asleep. Then he awakens and makes supplication and weeps until he falls asleep. He is like that until morning.'"

Maymun ibn Mihran said, "I was conversing with 'Umar II one night and he was admonishing. He became aware of a man wiping away his tears and fell silent. I said, 'Amir al-Mu'minin, repeat what you said. Perhaps Allah will benefit through you the one who conveys it and the one who hears it.' He replied, 'Maymun, words are a test, and action is better for a man than speech.'"

Sufyan ibn Sa'id reported from a man of Makka that 'Umar said, "Anyone who acts without knowledge corrupts things more than he puts them right. Anyone who does not consider his words a part of his actions makes a lot of mistakes. One is rarely content. The believer relies on being steadfast."

Ibn Thawban reported that 'Umar collected the zakat correctly and distributed it correctly and he gave to the agents according to the amount of work they did in it, at the same rate as he paid those who did similar work. He said, "Praise be to Allah who did not make me die until I had established one of the obligations."

Al-Awza'i said, "'Umar wrote to the generals of his armies, 'Only ride an animal on your expeditions as far as the weakest animal in the army can go."

Maymun said, "A governor went to 'Umar and he said, 'How much zakat have you collected?' He told him how much. He asked, 'How much was collected before you?' and he named a larger amount. 'Umar asked, 'Where was that from?' He replied, 'Amir al-Mu'minin, a dinar used to be taken for horses, a dinar for servants, and five dirhams for oxen. You have discarded all of that.' He said 'No, by Allah, I did not cast that aside, but Allah did.'"

Ma'mar reported that 'Umar wrote, "Treat those who are in your prisons and in your land well so that they are not constricted and make sure that they are given proper food and condiments."

Ja'far ibn Burqan said, "'Umar II wrote, 'I think that if agents are placed on bridges and at fords to take zakat directly, then these agents will transgress badly, beyond what they are commanded. I think that I should appoint a man in every city to collect zakat from its people and let the people travel freely across their bridges and fords.'"

'Abdu'r-Rahman said that while he was khalif, 'Umar II wrote to his governor over Khorasan, al-Jarrah ibn 'Abdullah al-Hakami, commanding him to invite the people of the jizya to Islam. He said, "If they become Muslim, their Islam is to be accepted and they are to be relieved of paying jizya. They have what the Muslims have and owe what the Muslims owe." One of the nobles of the people of Khorasan said to him, "By Allah, they quick to accept Islam if it means being relieved of the jizya, so test them by insisting on circumcision." He replied, "Am I to turn them away from Islam by insisting on circumcision? If they become Muslim and are good Muslims, then they will quickly move to purity." About 4,000 became Muslims through him.

Khulayd ibn 'Ajlan said, "Fatima bint 'Abdu'l-Malik had a jewel. 'Umar asked her, 'Where did you get this from?' She replied, 'The Amir al-Mu'minin gave it to me.' He said, 'Either return it to the treasury or give me permission to divorce you. I do not want it and you and I to be in the same room.' She said, 'No, I would still choose you over many more jewels if I possessed them.' So she put it in the treasury. When Yazid II became khalif, he said to her, 'If you want, I will return it to you or its price.' She said, 'I do not want it. If I was happy without it while he was alive, why should I take it back now that he is dead? I have no need of it.' So Yazid II divided it among his family and children."

Yazid ibn Bishr said, "'Umar II was asked about 'Ali and 'Uthman and the Battles of the Camel and Siffin and what happened between them, he said, 'That was bloodshed from which Allah kept my hands and I have no desire for my tongue to plunge into it.'"

Arta' ibn al-Mundhir said, "Some people who were with 'Umar II told him to be cautious about his food, and they asked him to have a guard when he did his prayers, so that no one could assassinate him. They also asked him to stay away from the plague. They told him that the khalifs before him used to do that. So 'Umar said to them, 'Where are they now?' When they persisted in that, ' O Allah, if you know that I fear a day other than the Day of Rising, then do not make me safe from what I fear.'"

Sa'id ibn Suwayd said that 'Umar II prayed Jumu'a with them wearing a shirt with a patched pocket in front and behind. When he finished he sat and we sat with him. A man of the people said to him, "Amir al-Mu'minin, Allah has given to you. You should dress and act accordingly." He bowed his head for a while and we knew that he had annoyed him. Then he raised his head and said, "The best moderation is shown when one is angry and the best forgiveness is shown when one is powerful."

Wuhayb ibn al-Ward said, "We heard that when 'Umar II died, the fuqaha' came to his wife to console her and they said to her, 'We have come to give you our condulences regarding 'Umar. The loss to the Community is felt by everyone. May Allah have mercy on you, tell us how 'Umar was in his house. The wife knows her man best.'

"She said, 'By Allah, 'Umar was not the most prolific of you in prayer and fasting, but by Allah, I have never seen a slave with greater fear of Allah than 'Umar. By Allah, if he was where a man would normally be happy with his wife, with a blanket between him and me, some aspect of Allah's command would occur to his heart and he would tremble as a bird which has just fallen into the water shakes itself, and then he would sob and weep until I said, "By Allah, get rid of what is between your sides." So he would remove the blanket from me while I would be saying, "Would that there was the distance between the two easts between us and this command. By Allah we have not seen any happiness since we entered it!"'"

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