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Archive for the ‘Imaam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal’ Category

[ Part One of a series of inspiring articles from a recorded lecture entitled, “Min Ma’een al-Imaam Ahmad” (“Benefits from the Life and Works of Imam Ahmad”) by Shaykh Saalih Aal ash-Shaykh (may Allaah preserve him) ]

Dedicating One’s Youth to Worship

Since his childhood, Imam Ahmad (may Allaah have Mercy on him) could be seen with signs of nusuk on him. [The term nusuk will be explained shortly.]  Ma’roof Al-Karkhee (may Allaah have Mercy on him) said, “I saw Ahmad ibn Hanbal when he was a young boy, and he had signs of nusuk on him. I used to hear him making statements that were full of benefit.”

This statement describes how he was upon guidance even as a young boy. He used to be seen with signs of nusuk on him. What is meant by nusuk is worship and acts of obedience. The effects of worship and obedience are not only physical ones seen in the appearance and dress, but their effects are also found in one’s speech, manners, in the acts of worship and obedience themselves, and in one’s preference for the next life over this one.

Imam Ahmad said about his own self, “I did not marry until after I reached 40 years of age.” His companions said that this was because he used to be busy traveling to seek knowledge before that. He went to Makkah, and from there to San’aa’. There is a story about this trip:

He set out with his companion, Yahyaa ibn Ma’een, for Hajj. He said to Yahyaa, “When I finish Hajj, verily I am going to Yemen to meet the scholar of Yemen, the scholar of Hadeeth, ‘Abdur-Razzaaq ibn Hammaam As-San’aanee.” As-San’aanee died in the year 210 after Hijrah.

When they reached Makkah, they found that ‘Abdur-Razzaaq was making Hajj that year as well. So Yahyaa knew who he was and met him. He saw him going around the Ka’bah, and since he knew him, he went and greeted him. Yahyaa said to ‘Abdur-Razzaaq, and they knew each other, “This is Ahmad ibn Hanbal” So ‘Abdur-Razzaaq became happy about this and said, “It has reached us that he is a person who has a lot of goodness.”

When they prayed their two rak’ahs after making tawaaf, Yahyaa said to Imam Ahmad,“Ahmad, our provisions for the journey to San’aa’ have been used. And here is ‘Abdur-Razzaaq, so let us stay with him so we can take some narrations from him.”

Ahmad said to Yahyaa ibn Ma’een, “My intention is still present, and I will not oppose it. So I will continue on to San’aa’.” This shows the effects of his commitment to the hardships of seeking knowledge. A trip to San’aa’ in that time was not made in cars or airplanes or the likes, rather it was only made with great hardships, the realities of which can not be described.

Ma’roof said, “I saw Ahmad ibn Hanbal when he was a young boy and he had signs of nusuk on him.” In reality, this is what we should see in our children, that they work hard to correct themselves in their youth, in their early years. Because at this, if they do not build upon this foundation with what is correct, with acts of worship and obedience, then it will be very difficulty after that, except for those whom Allaah, the Mighty and Exalted, excludes.

Whoever holds to His Religion in his youth, firmness will return to him. Someone being devout or obedient is not just a claim or a verbal ascription to something, nor is it something seen only from the outside. Rather devoutness in the Religion entails one taking on serious rituals, he must worship, and he must be obedient.

This leads us to the story when Imam Ahmad once hosted one of his students in Hadeeth, ‘Abdus-Samad ibn Sulaymaan. When he was hosting him in his house, and it came time to sleep, he brought him some water to make wudhoo’ from or for general use. Then he went to sleep. When the morning came, Imam Ahmad saw that all of the water was still there, so he asked about it. ‘Abdus-Samad replied, “I did not use the water.” Imam Ahmad said, “A student of the narrations who does not do anything at night?!”

He meant, “All the way to the morning, you did not pray in the night?! You did not worship!? You did not even pray two rak’ahs?!” ‘Abdus-Samad replied, “Verily I am a traveler.” He said, “Even as a traveler!” Meaning, “Where is the witr? Where is the prayer?”

So without a doubt, if this was important in that day and time for cultivating one’s soul and getting set in the proper direction, then we are in more need of it today. This is the case especially with the youth who seek knowledge, or those holding tight to their guidance, or those who display the effects of prayer, or those who are keen in doing good deeds.

One must keep his soul tied to some acts of worship. No doubt, one must keep his soul tied to some acts of obedience. If you force the soul to be obedient, it will become obedient. If you abandon it, then it will be a soul that gravitates toward wrongdoing.

It has been related that the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) said:

“Whoever shows enduring patience, Allaah will make him firm upon patience. Whoever seeks knowledge, Allaah will teach him. Whoever hunts for good, he will be given it. Whoever expects evil, he will be made to fall into it.” [1]

Therefore, this description of Imam Ahmad proves that he had an upbringing based on obedience to Allaah and acts of worship, so much so that he used to force his soul to shun many worldly things and to take on great hardships. The result of this was that he established his soul firmly upon obedience to Allaah, the Mighty and Exalted.

FOOTNOTES

[1] The first part of this hadeeth, “Whoever shows enduring patience, Allaah will make him firm upon patience,” it is found in Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree, on the authority of Aboo Sa’eed Al-Khudree (may Allaah be pleased with him).

Source: Bakkah.net

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Al-Imaam Ibn al-Jawzee, may Allah have mercy upon him, said:1

“Due to al-Imaam Abu Abdillah Ahmad bin Hanbal’s strong adherence to the Sunnah and (due to) him warning against acts of innovations he use to speak against a group of the virtuous (scholars) when it would occur from them that which is in opposition to the Sunnah and that speech of his is to be hold as naseehah for the Deen”.1

Reference: Manaaqib al-Imaam Ahmad (253)1

Benefited from the book “Misbaah ath-Thalaam” by Yusuf al-Jazaa’iree, page 149.

Shaykul Islaam Bin Taymiyyah, may Allah have mercy upon stated

vالمؤمن للمؤمن كاليدين تغسل إحداهما الأخرى, وقد لا ينقلع الوسخ إلا بنوع من الخشونة, لكن ذلك يوجب من النظافة والنعومة ما نحمد معه ذلك التخشين

“The believer for the believer is the likeness of two hands
washing each other.(So) perhaps the dirt can not be removed except
through sometime of roughness/ severity but however that
necessitates cleanliness and smoothness that which will leads us to
praise that roughness/severity.”
1

1

مجموع الفتاوى 28/5354

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Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) in which he explains the motives and causes of love, and how these very among people.

He (may Allaah have mercy on him) says:

“Compatibility between souls is one of the strongest causes of love. Every person is attracted towards that which is compatible with him, and this compatibility is of two types: original compatibility which is ingrained in the essence and that which comes later because of living together or having something in common.

If your aims match his aims, there will be harmony between your soul and his, but if the aims are different, then harmony will no longer exist.

As for original compatibility, it is a kind of similarity in attitude and similarity of souls. Each soul longs for other souls that are similar to it, because what is similar to something is naturally attracted to it, so the two souls may be similar in original creation, thus there will be a natural attraction to one another.

This is what made some people say that love is not only caused by physical beauty, and the lack of physical beauty does not mean that there can be no love; rather it is similarity between souls and similarity in their characteristics which are created in them that matter.

The reality of love is that it is like a mirror in which the lover sees his characteristics and kindness in the image of the one he loves, so in reality he loves nothing but himself and his characteristics and the one who has similar characteristics.

Hence noble, pure and sublime souls love the characteristics of perfection in particular, so the dearest things to them are knowledge, bravery, dignity, generosity, kindness, patience and steadfastness, because these characteristics are compatible with the essence of these souls, unlike base and mean souls, which are far away from loving these characteristics. Many people are motivated to be generous and kind because of their extreme love for these characteristics and the pleasure they find in doing these things, to such an extent that al-Ma’moon said: Forgiveness was made so dear to me that I am afraid that I will not be rewarded for it. And it was said to Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (may Allaah have mercy on him): Did you acquire this knowledge for the sake of Allaah? He said: To do something for the sake of Allaah is very rare, but it was something made dear to me, so I did it. Someone else said: I rejoice in giving and enjoy it far more than the one who takes from me rejoices in what he takes.

With regard to the lovers of knowledge, their love for knowledge is greater than the love of anyone else or anything else. Many of them will not be distracted from it by the most beautiful of human images.

Our Shaykh – meaning Ibn Taymiyah – told me: “I felt sick and the doctor said to me: Your reading and discussing issues of knowledge is making your sickness worse. I said to him: I cannot stay away from that, and I shall discuss the issue on the basis of your (medical) knowledge. Is it not the case that when the soul feels joy, this gives strength to the body and wards off disease? He said yes. I said: Then my soul feels happy with knowledge and thus my body becomes stronger and this helps me to recover. He said: This is not part of our treatment, or words to that effect.”

If the love relationship is based on similarity and harmony, then it will be reinforced and become stronger, and nothing could remove it except something stronger than the cause of it, and if it is not based on similarity and harmony, then it is no more than love for a reason, which will disappear when the reason disappears.

Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (may Allaah have mercy on him) narrated in his Musnad the hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her): A woman used to go to Quraysh and make them laugh. She came to Madeenah and stayed with a woman who also made people laugh. The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allaah be upon him) said: With whom is So and so staying? She said: With So and so, who makes people laugh. He said: “Souls are like conscripted soldiers; those whom they recognize, they get along with, and those whom they do not recognize, they will not get along with.” The original version of this hadeeth is in al-Saheeh.

If you look at creation, you will hardly find any two people who love one another except that there is some similarity between them or they have something in common with regard to deeds, characteristics or goals. If the goals, characteristics, deeds or ways differ, there can only be aversion and distance between their hearts. It is sufficient to note the saheeh hadeeth from the Messenger of Allaah (blessings and peace of Allaah be upon him): “The believers, in their mutual mercy, love and compassion, are like a (single) body; if one part of it feels pain, the rest of the body will join it in staying awake and suffering fever.”

Rawdat al-Muhibbeen, 66-74

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During the Abbasid period, a Caliph (Al-Ma’mun) forced Ahmad Ibn Hanbal to admit wrongfully that the Qur’an was created by man. Ahmad Ibn Hanbal was one of the few scholars to refuse to back down to that Caliph & stood firm with the belief that the Qur’an WAS the speech of Allah!

Then one night Ahmad Ibn Hanbal had a dream in which he narrated, “I saw as if the Day of Judgment had been established, and everyone was brought to account. While I was standing, I was called for, so I proceeded until I stood in front of Allah as he asked to me, ‘O Ahmad, for what were you beaten?’ I replied, ‘On account of the Qur’an.‘ He asked, ‘And what is the Qur’an?‘ I replied, ‘Your words, O Allah, belonging to You.‘ He asked, ‘How do you know?‘ I said, ‘Abdul-Razzaq narrated to me.

So Abdul-Razzaq was brought to stand in front of Allah, and was asked, ‘What do you say about the Qur’an?‘ He replied, ‘Your words, O Allah, belonging to You,‘ so Allah asked, ‘How do you know?‘ He said, ‘Ma’mar narrated to me.

So Ma’mar was brought to stand in front of Allah, and was asked,What do you say about the Qur’an?‘ He replied, ‘Your words, O Allah, belonging to You,‘ so Allah asked, ‘How do you know?‘ He said, ‘Az-Zuhree narrated to me.

So Az-Zuhree was brought to stand in front of Allah, and was asked, What do you say about the Qur’an?‘ He replied, ‘Your words, O Allah, belonging to You,’ So Allah asked, ‘How do you know?’ He said, ‘Urwah narrated to me.

So Urwah was brought to stand in front of Allah, and was asked,What do you say about the Qur’an?’ He replied, ‘Your Words, O Allah, belonging to You,’ so Allah asked, ‘How do you know?’ He said, ‘A’isha Bint Abu Bakr narrated to me.

So A’isha was brought to stand in front of Allah, and was asked,What do you say about the Qur’an?’ She replied, ‘Your words, O Allah, belonging to You,’ so Allah asked, ‘How do you know?’ She said, ‘Your Prophet Muhammad narrated to me.

So Muhammad (pbuh) was brought to stand in front of Allah, and was asked,What do you say about the Qur’an?’ He replied, ‘Your words, O Allah, belonging to You,’ so Allah asked, ‘How do you know?’ The Prophet said, ‘Jibra’il narrated to me.

So Jibra’il was brought to stand in front of Allah, and was asked,What do you say about the Qur’an?’ He replied, ‘Your words, O Allah belonging to You,’ so Allah asked, ‘How do you know?’ He said, ‘Israfil narrated to me.

So Israfil was brought to stand in front of Allah, and was asked,What do you say about the Qur’an?’ He replied, ‘Your words, O Allah, belonging to You,’ so Allah asked, ‘How do you know?’ He said, ‘I saw that in the Lawh-ul-Mahfooz (the Preserved Tablet).

So the Preserved Tablet was brought in front of Allah, and was asked, ‘O Lawh, what do you say about the Qur’an?’ And it said, ‘Your words, O Allah, belonging to You.’ Then Allah asked, ‘From where has this come to you?’ And the Lawh said, ‘Such did the Qalam (the Pen) inscribe upon me.

So the Pen was brought to stand in front of Allah, and was asked, ‘O Qalam, what do you say about the Qur’an?’ The Qalam said, ‘Your words, O Allah, belonging to You.’ So Allah asked, ‘From where has this come to you?’ The Qalam said, ‘You dictated and I wrote!

Then Allah said, ‘The Qalam has spoken the truth. The Lawh has spoken the truth. Israfil has spoken the truth. Jibra’il has spoken the truth. Muhammad has spoken the truth. A’isha has spoken the truth. Urwah has spoken the truth. Az-Zuhri has spoken the truth. Ma’mar has spoken the truth. Abdur-Razzaq has spoken the truth. Ahmad Ibn Hanbal has spoken the truth. The Qur’an is MY Speech, it is not created!

Source: Usool as-Sunnah

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