Narrators of Hadeeth
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- Silah ibn Ashyam a great narrator of hadeeth as well as from those who strived in worship.
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- 'Abdullah ibn Zubayr Al Humaydi (right click & "save target as") - Imaam Bukhari began his Saheeh with a hadeeth narrated throught this great Imaam. He was a great author and was the companion of Imaam ash-Shaafi'ee in seeking knowledge from Ibn 'Uyaynah. [PDF]
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- Abdullah ibn Yusuf At-Tanyisi (right click & "save target as") - He was the student of Imaam Maalik. Imaam Bukhari has narrated from him in his Saheeh. [PDF]
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His Name: Malik bin Anas bin Malik bin Abi Aamir
His Kunyah: (Patronymic filial name) Abu ‘Abdillah
His Lineage: Malik bin Anas bin Malik bin Abi Aamir bin ‘Amr bin al-Harith bin Ainmaan (Uthmaan) bin Khuthail (AL-ASBAHEE-a royal tribe branch of Himyar in Yemen)
Imaam Suyooti (RA) says that Imaam Malik’s lineage goes to Ya’rab bin Yashjab bin Qahtaan. As some report in the following way: Zhu Asbah, al-Harith bin Malik bin Zaid bin Ghouth bin Sa’ad bin ‘Auoof bin ‘Adi bin Malik bin Zaid bin Sahl bin ‘Amr bin Qais bin Mu’awiya bin Jasham ibn ‘Abd Shams bin Daa’il bin al-Ghouth bin Qutn bin ‘Areeb bin Zhaheer bin Aiyman bin Humsee’ bin Himyar bin Saba bin Yashjab bin Ya’rab bin Qahtaan.
Imaam Malik’s Mother Name: ‘Aaliyah bint Shareek bin ‘Abdur Rahman al-Azdiyah
Titles related to Him: Imaam Darul-Hijrah and al-Madni (due to his remaining in al-Madinah the majority of his life.
His Birth: According to Hafidhh Adh-Dhahabi, Sam’aani ibn Farhoon, and others Imaam Malik was born in the year 93 A.H. due to the report of Yahya bin Bukair one of the elder students of the Imaam. Others have said he was born in 90 A.H. some say in 95 A.H. and Yaf’ee reports in Tabaqaatul-Fuqaha, 94 A.H. Extraordinarily, he remained in the womb on his mother for more than the usual 9 months. Some say two years while others say he remained in her womb for three years. He was born in Madinah.
His Appearance: Mutarraf bin ‘Abdullah al-Yasaari says that the Imaam was tall, well-built, fair complexion, blond-haired, large-eyes and nose, broad forehead with hardly any hair on it referred as (Asla’) in Arabic ) the same is said about Umar and Ali (Radhi Allahu Anhuma). He had a very profuse and thick beard that reached down to his chest. He used to trim his moustache near the corners of his lips and said it was disapproved to fully shave them. He followed the Sunnah of Umar bin Khattab (Radhi Allahu Anhu) who used to pull his moustaches hair near the lips when he was in deep thought of something. From this it is established that Umar (Radhi Allahu Anhu) had hair on both sides of the lips. He used to wear very elegent and expensive clothing, usually wearing white, and frequently changing them. He would put on Musk and other fragrances on his clothing. He would wear his turban and have part of it come down underneath his chin and the tail of it between his two shoulders. He would also wear a shawl-like garment that would cover the head and shoulders.
His Education and Knowledge: The Imaam’s Family was in itself a place of knowledge where his childhood was in the beautiful gardens and land of Madinah. He learned and memorized the Qur’an in his youth. He recited to Imaamul-Qurra’, Nafi’ bin Abdur-Rahman (whose recitation is the foundation of the entire Muslim Ummah today and he passed away in the year 169 A.H.) and also received his (Sanad) certification and permission to teach others from him. In the beginning of his quest for knowledge the Imaam did not have many means to acquire it properly so he sold the ceiling beams of his home to purchase books and papers for enabling him to do so. After some time Allah SWT bestowed him with a lot of wealth and money. The Imaam’s memory was also extraordinary. He himself would that anything I would record in my memory would never be forgotten again. It is reported about the Imaam that he had the best memory in all of Hijaz, likewise in the knowledge of Hadith and Fiqh. Imaam Shaf’iee (RA) says about him, “If Malik and Ibn Uyainah where not here, the knowledge of Hijaaz would be gone.” Imaam Zhahabi say, “There remains no scholar in Madinah after the Tabi’een comparable to Imaam Malik’s knowledge, jurisprudence, eminence, and memorization.”
He practiced extreme care in regards to narrating Hadith for just anyone. Imaam Malik says, “I do not accept knowledge from four types of people: (1) a person well-known to be foolish, even though all the other people narrate from him, (2) a person involved in committing heresy and calling others towards the innovation in Deen, (3) a person who lies in regular conversation with people, even though I do not accuse him as liar in regards to Hadith, (4) and a person who is pious worshipper or scholar, but does not properly and correctly memorize what he narrates.” It was said to Imaam Malik, “Why don’t you take narrations from ‘Amr bin Dinaar? He replied, “I went to him (‘Amr bin Dinaar and I found him narrating Hadith to others while in a standing position. So I thought to myself that the Hadith of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) is too great and majestic to take them in a standing position.” The Imaam remained his entire life al-Hijaaz and never traveled outside of it.
In Hadith, the Imaam was the leader of all of Madinah, where his chain of narrators were the most authentic and called “SILSILATUL-ZHAHAB” or “THE GOLDEN CHAIN OF NARRATORS” (ie. Narrated from Malik from Nafi’ from Ibn Umar (Radhi Allahu Anhu). The Imaam would not just narrate Hadith from anyone, rather he would take great caution and narrate only from authentic and reliable sources. Even other great scholars and companions of his time bear witness to that like, Imaam of Makkah, Sufyaan bin Uyainah, who says, “May Allah have mercy upon Malik, he is extremely critical of the men (in regards to the chain of narrators of a Hadith). He would also say, “Imaam Malik only used to narrate to others authentic Hadith, he would not report except from reliable narrators, I don’t see Madinah but in decrease (ie. in regards to the knowledge) after the death of Malik.” One of his most greatest pupils, Imaam Shaf’iee (RA) says about him, “That when Imaam Malik was in doubt over a Hadith he would totally disregard it.”
In Fiqh, the Imaam was on a higher level than all the rest. Bahlool bin Raashid says about him, “I have never seen someone with the knowledge of deducing from the Qur’an as Malik, along with his great recognition of strong and weak narrations.” Abdullah bin Luhay’ah says, “I asked al-Nadhr bin Abdul-Jabbar (Abul-Aswad) who has a saying after Rabi’ah in Madinah? He relpied, al-Ghulam al-Asbahi (ie. Imaam Malik). Imaam Ahmed bin Hanbal says about the great Imaam, “I compared Imaam Malik to Awzaa’eey, Thawri, Laith, Hammaad, and al-Hakam in knowledge, and he is the leader in Hadith and Fiqh.”
His Teachers and Instructors: Imaam Malik would only take knowledge from those men who were famous for their cleanliness, piety, and truthfulness, who were distinct in memorization and jurisprudence. The teachers mentioned in Muwatta from whom he narrated Hadith from are 95 in totol all of who were from Madinah. Thus making all of the various holders of knowledge who were scattered all around now brought together in one holder (Imaam Malik), this is why he earned the name of “IMAAM DARUL-HIJRAH.” From all of the Imaam’s teachers six of them were not from Madinah. So 95 teachers are only those mentioned in Muwatta. Otherwise, Allamah Zurqaani and Dulaqi have written that his teachers were over 900. Imaam Nawawi has written in Tahzeebul-Asmaa that of Imaam Malik’s 900 teachers 300 were from the Tabi’een and 600 from the Tabi Tabi’een. The Imaam’s greatest of all teachers was Nafi’ the slave of Ibn Umar (Radhi Allahu Anhu). Imaam Malik learned with him for twelve years and attained the knowledge of Hadith and Diraayah (Fiqh). It is for this reason that many narrations are from Nafi’ (RA). This was called the golden chain of narrators because it was the best chain in Muwatta. Shah Waliullah Dehlawi has written that Harun al-Rashid asked Imaam Malik, “You have mentioned Ali and Ibn Abbas (Radhi Allahu Anhuma) only a few time in your book, why?” He replied, “They were not here in Madinah, nor did I find any of their students or companions.” Shah Saheb writes on, “That this proud honor was given to Imaam Abu Hanifah (RA).” Also he says that Abdullah bin Masood narrations are even less than these two, Ali and Ibn Abbas (Radhi Allahu Anhuma).
Here is a list of some of Imaam Malik’s Shuyookh (Teachers):
1. Nafi’ (the servant of Abdullah bin Umar (Radhi Allahu Anhu)
2. Abul-Zanaad, Adbullah bin Zakwaan
3. Hishaam bin Urwah bin Zubair
4. Yahya bin Sa’eed al-Ansaari
5. Abdullah bin Dinaar
6. Zaid bin Aslam (servant of Umar bin Khattab(Radhi Allahu Anhu)
7. Muhammad bin Muslim bin Shihaab al-Zhuhri
8. Abdullah bin Abu Bakr bin Hazm
9. Sa’eed bin Abu Sa’eed al-Maqbari
10. Sumayy servant of Abu Bakr (Radhi Allahu Anhu)
11. Ayyub Sakhtiyaani
12. Abdur-Rahman bin al-Qasim bin Muhammad bin Abu Bakr (Radhi Allahu Anhu)
13. Thawr bin Zaid Dabli
14. Ibrahim bin Abi Ablah al-Maqdisi
15. Rabi’ah bin Abu Abdur-Rahman
16. Humayd Taweel
17. Aishah bint Sa’ad bin Abi Waqqas
In Qira’ah (recitation of Qur’an): Nafi’ bin Abu Nuaym al-Qaari
His Pupils and Students: Imaam Malik’s students reach to the thousands. Some have mentioned so many that they can not be counted, like Hafiz bin Katheer and Zhahabi. Qazi Iyyadh has mentioned over 1300 have narrated Hadith for the great Imaam. Hafiz Dar-Qutni has mentioned 1000. Hafiz Abu Bakr Khateeb al-Baghdadi has mentioned 993. Even some of the Imaam’s Teachers were his students, like:
1. Zhuhri Abul-Aswad 2. Ayyub Sakhtiyaani 3. Rabi’ah al-Ra’iee 4. Yahya bin Sa’eed al-Ansaari 5. Muhammad bin Abi Zi’ab 6. Ibn Jareeh 7. A’amash 8. Abu Suhail, Nafi’ bin Malik
Some eminent pupils were:
1. Imaam Muhammad 2. Imaam Shaf’iee 3. Abdullah bin Mubarak 4. Laith bin Sa’ad 5. Shu’bah 6. Sufyaan Thawri 7. Ibn Juraij 8. Ibn Uyainah 9. Yahya al-Qattaan 10. Ibn Mahdi 11. Abu Aasim al-nabeel 12. Abdur-Rahman Auwzaa’ee
Eminent narrators of Imaam Malik’s Muwatta:
1. Abdullah bin Yusuf al-Tunisi 2. Abdullah bin Muslimah al-Qa’nabi 3. Abdullah bin Wahab al-Misri 4. Yahya bin Yahya al-Laithi 5. Abu Mus’ab al-Zhuhri
His respect of Teaching of Hadith: After Abdullah bin Umar (Radhi Allahu Anhu) and his servant and pupil, Nafi’ (RA) the great Imaam narrated Hadith and taught from the age of 17 to about 79. He gave service to the teachings of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam), giving lessons of Fiqh and issuing Fatawa for 62 years of his life. Before the Imaam would narrate any Hadith he would or dictate Hadith to others he would perform wudhu or take a bath, put on his best and most expensive clothing, groom himself, put on musk or another fragrance, then proceed to the gathering of Hadith with the utmost dignity and respect. In every gathering coal ambers of ‘Uood (a special and beautiful fragrance derived from a unique tree) would be burnt continuously until the lesson was over. In the Imaam’s gatherings there would always be plush and expensive mats or carpeting spread out on the floor and when he would arrive there would be pin-drop silence out of the respect for him the people would remain totally quiet. In the gatherings their would be the students all around the sitting place of the Imaam, just like how a king’s servants would gather around his throne. There would be Muftis, Ulama, and leaders present in the gathering. Such respect was present in these gatherings that anyone who pass by would think that a king must be delivering his message and one who sit down in it would be taken away with awe. Abdullah bin Mubarak reports that one time the Imaam was bitten by a scorpion under his garment over ten times while narrating Hadith. During the narration of the Hadith he did not stop in order to remove it, rather he continued to narrate until the end. I noticed the discoloration of his face when the Imaam was being bitten. Afterwards when all the people had left, I came to the Imaam and asked him what had happened. He replied, “A scorpion was biting me under my garment, I could not have kept my patience because of myself restraint, rather it was out of the respect of the Hadith of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) that I did not remove it. Subhanallah!!!
Some of His Aqeedah: Imaam Malik believed that the Qur’an, which is the last message of Allah, was Ghair Makhluq, not a creation. He also believed that Allah SWT is on His Throne just as he has described in the Qur’an. He believed that Allah SWT has the knowledge of everything and that the believers will see Him with their eyes on the Day of Judgment. He believed that Imaan (faith) is to declare it by mouth, and is manifested through actions that will increase by obedience and decrease by committing sins. He believed that anyone who uses abusive language against the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) should be given death and that repentance should not avail them. He believed that Hadhrat Abu Bakr and Umar (Radhi Allahu Anhuma) were the best in the Ummah after the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) and that those who follow the beliefs of the Qadriyyah Sect, prayer is not valid behind them and their women can not be married.
His love for Madinah: Even when the Imaam attained old age and became very weak he never rode on an animal in Madinah his entire life. He understood that it was against the respect of Madinah to ride on the very land that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) is buried in. Imaam Shaf’iee (RA) says, “I saw at the door of Imaam Malik’s home beautiful horses from Khurasaan and Egyptian Mules. So I said to him they were very nice. He said they are yours as a gift from me. I said that you should keep one for yourself. His reply was that I am embarrassed to do so! How can I ride on them when the body of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) is buried here in Madinah and the land is being rode on with the hooves of horses?
Some Saying about Him by Other Scholars
· Mus’ab Zubairi – Imaam Malik was reliable, safeguarded, trustworthy in Hadith, a great scholar, jurist, proof-bearer, and god-fearing man. · Yahya bin Mu’een – He is the Ameerul-Mumineen in Hadith.
· Yahya bin Sa’eed al-Qattan – He is the Ameerul-Mumineen in Hadith.
· Abdur-Rahman bin Mahdi – There is no more trustworthy in Hadith Nabawi on the face of this earth than Imaam Malik.
· Abdur-Rahman bin Mahdi – Sufyaan Thawri is the Imaam of Hadith not the Imaam of Sunnah whlie Auwzaa’ee is the Imaam of Sunnah not the Imaam of Hadith, but Imaam Malik in the Imaam of Hadith and the Imaam of Sunnah.
· Imaam Abu Hanifah – I have never seen anyone more fast understanding, correct answering, and test-taking than Imaam Malik.
· Imaam Shaf’iee – After the Tabi’een Imaam Malik is the Proof-Bearer on this entire earth for or against all of the people.
· Imaam Shaf’iee – Knowledge is encircled by three men: Malik bin Anas, Sufyaan bin Uyainah, and Laith bin Sa’ad.
· Imaam Ahmed bin Hanbal – I was asked whose Hadith should be memorized by heart if from anyone? I replied Malik bin Anas.
· Imaam Bukhaari – I was asked what is the most authentic chain of narrators. I replied from Malik from Nafi’ from Ibn Umar (Radhi Allahu Anhu).
· Imaam Nasai – After the Tabi’een the most understanding, reliable, trustworthy, man in Hadith is Imaam Malik. He has hardly never narrated from a weak narrator apart from Abu Umayyah Abdul-Kareem who is Matrook.
· Imaam Ahmed, Tirmizi, Nasai, and Haakim have all reported in a Hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah (Radhi Allahu Anhu) that he said, “The time has come near that people will travel by camels in search for religious knowledge and they will not find a greater scholar than who is in Madinah.” Sufyaan bin Uyainah says that the scholar of Madinah upon which the Hadith indicates is none other than Imaam Malik.
His Demise: The great Imaam reached the age of 84 or 86 or 87 or 90 years when he became ill on a Sunday and this illness continued to get worse for three weeks until on the 11th or 14th of Rabi-al-Awwal 179 A.H. he passed away. He was buried in the famous graveyard in Madinah called Jannatul-Baqee.
His Children: The great Imaam left behind three sons: Yayha, Muhammad, and Hammad. His remaining wealth that was inherited was 3300 dinaars. He also had a daughter by the name of Fatimah who narrated from him (read this interesting article about her).
Books Written by Imaam Malik: Imaam Malik wrote many books that can be referred to in the introduction of Oujasul-Masaalik (commentary of Muwatta Imaam Malik). Muwatta Imaam Malik is the first Hadith work after the Qur’an arranged into juristic Sections and organized accordingly. Imaam Bukhaari’s Saheeh is secondary to the work of Imaam Malik in this regards. Then after these two (Imaam Malik and Imaam Bukhaari) others followed, like Imaam Muslim and Imaam Tirmizi, who based there books upon theirs. (Allamah Abu Bakr ibn al-Arabi).
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History records few scholarly enterprises, at least before modern times, in which women have played an important and active role side by side with men. The science of hadith forms an outstanding exception in this respect.
Islam, as a religion which (unlike Christianity) refused to attribute gender to the Godhead, and never appointed a male priestly elite to serve as an intermediary between creature and Creator, started life with the assurance that while men and women are equipped by nature for complementary rather than identical roles, no spiritual superiority inheres in the masculine principle. As a result, the Muslim community was happy to entrust matters of equal worth in God's sight. Only this can explain why, uniquely among the classical Western religions, Islam produced a large number of outstanding female scholars, on whose testimony and sound judgment much of the edifice of Islam depends.
Since Islam's earliest days, women had been taking a prominent part in the preservation and cultivation of hadith, and this function continued down the centuries. At every period in Muslim history, there lived numerous eminent women-traditionists, treated by their brethren with reverence and respect. Biographical notices on very large numbers of them are to be found in the biographical dictionaries.
During the lifetime of the Prophet, many women had been not only the instance for the evolution of many traditions, but had also been their transmitters to their sisters and brethren in faith. After the Prophet's death, many women Companions, particularly his wives, were looked upon as vital custodians of knowledge, and were approached for instruction by the other Companions, to whom they readily dispensed the rich store which they had gathered in the Prophet's company. The names of Hafsa, Umm Habiba, Maymuna, Umm Salama, and A'isha, are familiar to every student of hadith as being among its earliest and most distinguished transmitters. In particular, A'isha is one of the most important figures in the whole history of hadith literature - not only as one of the earliest reporters of the largest number of hadith, but also as one of their most careful interpreters.
In the period of the Successors, too, women held important positions as traditionists. Hafsa, the daughter of Ibn Sirin, Umm al-Darda the Younger (d.81/700), and 'Amra bin 'Abd al-Rahman, are only a few of the key women traditionists of this period. Umm al-Darda' was held by Iyas ibn Mu'awiya, an important traditionist of the time and a judge of undisputed ability and merit, to be superior to all the other traditionists of the period, including the celebrated masters of hadith like al-Hasan al-Basri and Ibn Sirin. 'Amra was considered a great authority on traditions related by A'isha. Among her students, Abu Bakr ibn Hazm, the celebrated judge of Medina, was ordered by the caliph Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz to write down all the traditions known on her authority.
After them, 'Abida al-Madaniyya, 'Abda bin Bishr, Umm Umar al-Thaqafiyya, Zaynab the granddaughter of Ali ibn Abd Allah ibn Abbas, Nafisa bint al-Hasan ibn Ziyad, Khadija Umm Muhammad, 'Abda bint Abd al-Rahman, and many other members of the fair sex excelled in delivering public lectures on hadith. These devout women came from the most diverse backgrounds, indicating that neither class nor gender were obstacles to rising through the ranks of Islamic scholarship. For example, Abida, who started life as a slave owned by Muhammad ibn Yazid, learnt a large number of hadiths with the teachers in Median. She was given by her master to Habib Dahhun, the great traditionist of Spain, when he visited the holy city on this way to the Hajj. Dahhun was so impressed by her learning that he freed her, married her, and brought her to Andalusia. It is said that she related ten thousand traditions on the authority of her Medinan teachers.
Zaynab bint Sulayman (d. 142/759), by contrast, was princess by birth. Her father was a cousin of al-Saffah, the founder of the Abbasid dynasty, and had been a governor of Basra, Oman and Bahrayn during the caliphate of al-Mansur. Zaynab, who received a fine education, acquired a mastery of hadith, gained a reputation as one of the most distinguished women traditionists of the time, and counted many important men among her pupils.
This partnership of women with men in the cultivation of the Prophetic Tradition continued in the period when the great anthologies of hadith were compiled. A survey of the texts reveals that all the important compilers of traditions from the earliest period received many of them from women shuyukh: every major collection gives the names of many women as the immediate authorities of the author. And when these works had been compiled, the women traditionists themselves mastered them, and delivered lectures to large classes of pupils, to whom they would issue their own ijazas.
In the fourth century, we find Fatima bint Abd al-Rahman (d. 312/924), known as al-Sufiyya on account of her great piety; Fatima (granddaughter of Abu Daud of Sunan fame); Amat al-Wahid (d. 377/987), the daughter of distinguished jurist al-Muhamili; Umm al-Fath Amat as-Salam (d. 390/999), the daughter of the judge Abu Bakr Ahmad (d.350/961); Jumua bint Ahmad, and many other women, whose classes were always attended by reverential audiences.
The Islamic tradition of female hadith scholarship continued in the fifth and sixth centuries of hijra. Fatima bin al-Hasan ibn Ali ibn al-Daqqaq al-Qushayri, was celebrated not only for her piety and her mastery of calligraphy, but also for her knowledge of hadith and the quality of the isnads she knew. Even more distinguished was Karima al-Marwaziyya (d.463/1070), who was considered the best authority on the Sahih of al-Bukhari in her own time. Abu Dharr of Herat, one of the leading scholars of the period, attached such great importance to her authority that he advised his students to study the Sahih under no one else, because of the quality of her scholarship. She thus figures as a central point in the transmission of this seminal text of Islam. As a matter of fact, writes Godziher,
'Her name occurs with extraordinary frequency of the ijazas for narrating the text of this book.'
Among her students were al-Khatib al-Baghdadi and al-Humaydi (428/1036-488/1095).
Aside from Karima, a number of other women traditionists 'occupy an eminent place in the history of the transmission of the text of the Sahih.' Among these, one might mention in particular Fatima bint Muhammad (d.539/1144; Shuhda 'the Writer' (d.574/1178), and Sitt al-Wuzara bint Umar (d.716/1316). Fatima narrated the book on the authority of the great traditionist Said al-Ayyar; she received from the hadith specialists the proud tittle of Musnida Isfahan (the great hadith authority of Isfahan). Shuhda was a famous calligrapher and a traditionist of great repute; the biographers describe her as
'The calligrapher, the great authority on hadith, and the pride of womanhood.'
Her great-grandfather had been a dealer in needles, and thus acquired the sobriquet 'al-Ibri'. But her father, Abu Nasr (d. 506/1112) had acquired a passion for hadith, and managed to study it with several masters of the subject. In obedience to the sunnah, he gave his daughter a sound academic education, ensuring that she studied under many traditionists of accepted reputation.
She married Ali ibn Muhammad, an important figure with some literary interests, who later became a boon companion of the caliph al-Muqtadi, and founded a college and a Sufi lodge, which he endowed most generously. His wife, however, was better known: she gained her reputation in the field of hadith scholarship, and was noted for the quality of her isnads. Her lectures on Sahih al-Bukhari and other hadith collections were attended by large crowds of students; and on account of her great reputation, some people even falsely claimed to have been her disciples.
Also known as an authority on Bukhari was Sitt al-Wuzara, who, besides her acclaimed mastery of Islamic law, was known as 'the musnida of her time', and delivered lectures on the Sahih and other works in Damascus and Egypt. Classes on the Sahih were likewise given by Umm al-Khayr Amat al-Khaliq (811/1408-911/1505), who is regarded as the last great hadith scholar of the Hijaz. Still another authority on Bukhari was A'isha bint Abd al-Hadi.
Apart from these women, who seem to have specialized in the great Sahih of Imam al-Bukhari, there were others, whose expertise was centered on other texts. Umm al-Khayr Fatima bint Ali (d.532/1137), and Fatima al-Shahrazuriyya, delivered lectures on the Sahih of Muslim. Fatima al-Jawzdaniyya (d.524/1129) narrated to her students the three Mu'jams of al-Tabarani. Zaynab of Harran (d.68/1289), whose lectures attracted a large crowd of students, taught them the Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal, the largest known collection of hadiths. Juwayriya bint Umar (d.783/1381), and Zaynab bint Ahmad ibn Umar (d.722/1322), who had travelled widely in pursuit of hadith and delivered lectures in Egypt as well as Medina, narrated to her students the collections of al-Darimi and Abd ibn Humayd; and we are told that students travelled from far and wide to attend her discourses. Zaynab bint Ahmad (d.740/1339), usually known as Bint al-Kamal, acquired 'a camel load' of diplomas; she delivered lectures on the Musnad of Abu Hanifa, the Shamail of al-Tirmidhi, and the Sharh Ma'ani al-Athar of al-Tahawi, the last of which she read with another woman traditionist, Ajiba bin Abu Bakr (d.740/1339).
'On her authority is based,' says Goldziher, 'the authenticity of the Gotha codex ... in the same isnad a large number of learned women are cited who had occupied themselves with this work.'
With her, and various other women, the great traveller Ibn Battuta studied traditions during his stay at Damascus. The famous historian of Damascus, Ibn Asakir, who tells us that he had studied under more than 1,200 men and 80 women, obtained the ijaza of Zaynab bint Abd al-Rahman for the Muwatta of Imam Malik. Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti studied the Risala of Imam Shafii with Hajar bint Muhammad. Afif al-Din Junayd, a traditionist of the ninth century AH, read the Sunan of al-Darimi with Fatima bin Ahmad ibn Qasim.
Other important traditionists included Zaynab bint al-Sha'ri (d.524/615-1129/1218). She studied hadith under several important traditionists, and in turn lectured to many students - some of who gained great repute - including Ibn Khallikan, author of the well-known biographical dictionary Wafayat al-Ayan. Another was Karima the Syrian (d.641/1218), described by the biographers as the greatest authority on hadith in Syria of her day. She delivered lectures on many works of hadith on the authority of numerous teachers.
In his work al-Durar al-Karima, Ibn Hajar gives short biographical notices of about 170 prominent women of the eighth century, most of whom are traditionists, and under many of whom the author himself had studied. Some of these women were acknowledged as the best traditionists of the period. For instance, Juwayriya bint Ahmad, to whom we have already referred, studied a range of works on traditions, under scholars both male and female, who taught at the great colleges of the time, and then proceeded to give famous lectures on the Islamic disciplines.
'Some of my own teachers,' says Ibn Hajar, 'and many of my contemporaries, attended her discourses.'
A'isha bin Abd al-Hadi (723-816), also mentioned above, who for a considerable time was one of Ibn Hajar's teachers, was considered to be the finest traditionist of her time, and many students undertook long journeys in order to sit at her feet and study the truths of religion. Sitt al-Arab (d.760-1358) had been the teacher of the well-known traditionist al-Iraqi (d.742/1341), and of many others who derived a good proportion of their knowledge from her. Daqiqa bint Murshid (d.746/1345), another celebrated woman traditionist, received instruction from a whole range of other woman.
Information on women traditionists of the ninth century is given in a work by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Rahman al-Sakhawi (830-897/1427-1489), called al-Daw al-Lami, which is a biographical dictionary of eminent persons of the ninth century. A further source is the Mu'jam al-Shuyukh of Abd al-Aziz ibn Umar ibn Fahd (812-871/1409-1466), compiled in 861 AH and devoted to the biographical notices of more than 1,100 of the author's teachers, including over 130 women scholars under whom he had studied. Some of these women were acclaimed as among the most precise and scholarly traditionists of their time, and trained many of the great scholars of the following generation. Umm Hani Maryam (778-871/1376-1466), for instance, learnt the Qur'an by heart when still a child, acquired all the Islamic sciences then being taught, including theology, law, history, and grammar, and then travelled to pursue hadith with the best traditionists of her time in Cairo and Mecca. She was also celebrated for her mastery of calligraphy, her command of the Arabic language, and her natural aptitude in poetry, as also her strict observance of the duties of religion (she performed the hajj no fewer than thirteen times). Her son, who became a noted scholar of the tenth century, showed the greatest veneration for her, and constantly waited on her towards the end of her life. She pursued an intensive program of learning in the great college of Cairo, giving ijazas to many scholars, Ibn Fahd himself studied several technical works on hadith under her.
Her Syrian contemporary, Bai Khatun (d.864/1459), having studied traditions with Abu Bakr al-Mizzi and numerous other traditionalists, and having secured the ijazas of a large number of masters of hadith, both men and women, delivered lectures on the subject in Syria and Cairo. We are told that she took especial delight in teaching. A'isha bin Ibrahim (760/1358-842/1438), known in academic circles as Ibnat al-Sharaihi, also studied traditions in Damascus and Cairo (and elsewhere), and delivered lectures which eminent scholars of the day spared no efforts to attend. Umm al-Khayr Saida of Mecca (d.850/1446) received instruction in hadith from numerous traditionists in different cities, gaining an equally enviable reputation as a scholar.
So far as may be gathered from the sources, the involvement of women in hadith scholarships, and in the Islamic disciplines generally, seems to have declined considerably from the tenth century of the hijra. Books such as al-Nur al-Safir of al-Aydarus, the Khulasat al-Akhbar of al-Muhibbi, and the al-Suluh al-Wabila of Muhammad ibn Abd Allah (which are biographical dictionaries of eminent persons of the tenth, eleventh and twelfth centuries of the hijra respectively) contain the names of barely a dozen eminent women traditionists. But it would be wrong to conclude from this that after the tenth century, women lost interest in the subject. Some women traditionists, who gained good reputations in the ninth century, lived well into the tenth, and continued their services to the sunna. Asma bint Kamal al-Din (d.904/1498) wielded great influence with the sultans and their officials, to whom she often made recommendations - which, we are told, they always accepted. She lectured on hadith, and trained women in various Islamic sciences.48 A'isha bint Muhammad (d.906/1500), who married the famous judge Muslih al-Din, taught traditions to many students, and was appointed professor at the Salihiyya College in Damascus. Fatima bint Yusuf of Aleppo (870/1465-925/1519), was known as one of the excellent scholars of her time. Umm al-Khayr granted an ijaza to a pilgrim at Mecca in the year 938/1531.
The last woman traditionist of the first rank who is known to us was Fatima al-Fudayliya, also known as al-Shaykha al-Fudayliya. She was born before the end of the twelfth Islamic century, and soon excelled in the art of calligraphy and the various Islamic sciences. She had a special interest in hadith, read a good deal on the subject, received the diplomas of a good many scholars, and acquired a reputation as an important traditionist in her own right. Towards the end of her life, she settled at Mecca, where she founded a rich public library. In the Holy City she was attended by many eminent traditionists, who attended her lectures and received certificates from her. Among them, one could mention in particular Shaykh Umar al-Hanafi and Shaykh Muhammad Sali. She died in 1247/1831.
Throughout the history of feminine scholarship in Islam it is clear that the women involved did not confine their study to a personal interest in traditions, or to the private coaching of a few individuals, but took their seats as students as well as teachers in pubic educational institutions, side by side with their brothers in faith. The colophons of many manuscripts show them both as students attending large general classes, and also as teachers, delivering regular courses of lectures. For instance, the certificate on folios 238-40 of the al-Mashikhat ma al-Tarikh of Ibn al-Bukhari, shows that numerous women attended a regular course of eleven lectures which was delivered before a class consisting of more than five hundred students in the Umar Mosque at Damascus in the year 687/1288. Another certificate, on folio 40 of the same manuscript, shows that many female students, whose names are specified, attended another course of six lectures on the book, which was delivered by Ibn al-Sayrafi to a class of more than two hundred students at Aleppo in the year 736/1336. And on folio 250, we discover that a famous woman traditionist, Umm Abd Allah, delivered a course of five lectures on the book to a mixed class of more than fifty students, at Damascus in the year 837/1433.
Various notes on the manuscript of the Kitab al-Kifaya of al-Khatib al-Baghdadi, and of a collection of various treatises on hadith, show Ni'ma bin Ali, Umm Ahmad Zaynab bint al-Makki, and other women traditionists delivering lectures on these two books, sometimes independently, and sometimes jointly with male traditionists, in major colleges such as the Aziziyya Madrasa, and the Diyaiyya Madrasa, to regular classes of students. Some of these lectures were attended by Ahmad, son of the famous general Salah al-Din.
 Maura O'Neill, Women Speaking, Women Listening (Maryknoll, 1990CE), 31: "Muslims do not use a masculine God as either a conscious or unconscious tool in the construction of gender roles."
 For a general overview of the question of women's status in Islam, see M. Boisers, L'Humanisme de l'Islam (3rd. ed., Paris, 1985CE), 104-10.
 al-Khatib, Sunna, 53-4, 69-70.
 See above, 18, 21.
 Ibn Sa'd, VIII, 355.
 Suyuti, Tadrib, 215.
 Ibn Sa'd, VIII, 353.
 Maqqari, Nafh, II, 96.
 Wustenfeld, Genealogische Tabellen, 403.
 al-Khatib al-Baghdadi, Tarikh Baghdad, XIV, 434f.
 Ibid., XIV, 441-44.
 Ibn al-Imad, Shsadharat al-Dhahah fi Akhbar man Dhahah (Cairo, 1351), V, 48; Ibn Khallikan, no. 413.
 Maqqari, Nafh, I, 876; cited in Goldziher, Muslim Studies, II, 366.
 Goldziher, Muslim Studies, II, 366. "It is in fact very common in the ijaza of the transmission of the Bukhari text to find as middle member of the long chain the name of Karima al-Marwaziyya," (ibid.).
 Yaqut, Mu'jam al-Udaba', I, 247.
 COPL, V/i, 98f.
 Goldziher, Muslim Studies, II, 366.
 Ibn al-Imad, IV, 123. Sitt al-Wuzara' was also an eminent jurist. She was once invited to Cairo to give her fatwa on a subject that had perplexed the jurists there.
 Ibn al-Athir, al-Kamil (Cairo, 1301), X, 346.
 Ibn Khallikan, no. 295.
 Goldziher, Muslim Studies, II, 367.
 Ibn al-Imad, VI. 40.
 Ibid., VIII, 14.
 Ibn Salim, al-Imdad (Hyderabad, 1327), 36.
 Ibn al-Imad, IV, 100.
 Ibn Salim, 16.
 Ibid., 28f.
 Ibn al-Imad, VI 56.
 ibid., 126; Ibn Salim, 14, 18; al-Umari, Qitf al-Thamar (Hyderabad, 1328), 73.
 Goldziher, Muslim Studies, II, 407.
 Ibn Battuta, Rihla, 253.
 Yaqut, Mu'jam al-Buldan, V, 140f.
 Yaqut, Mu'jam al-Udaba, 17f.
 COPL, V/i, 175f.
 Ibn Khallikan, no.250.
 Ibn al-Imad, V, 212, 404.
 Various manuscripts of this work have been preserved in libraries, and it has been published in Hyderabad in 1348-50. Volume VI of Ibn al-Imad's Shadharat al-Dhahab, a large biographical dictionary of prominent Muslim scholars from the first to the tenth centuries of the hijra, is largely based on this work.
 Goldziher, accustomed to the exclusively male environment of nineteenth-century European universities, was taken aback by the scene depicted by Ibn Hajar. Cf. Goldziher, Muslim Studies, II, 367: "When reading the great biographical work of Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani on the scholars of the eighth century, we may marvel at the number of women to whom the author has to dedicate articles."
 Ibn Hajar, al-Durar al-Karima fi Ayan al-Mi'a al-Thamina (Hyderabad, 1348-50), I, no. 1472.
 Ibn al-Imad, VIII, 120f.
 Ibid., VI, 208. We are told that al-Iraqi (the best know authority on the hadiths of Ghazali's Ihya Ulum al-Din) ensured that his son also studied under her.
 A summary by Abd al-Salam and Umar ibn al-Shamma' exists (C. Brockelmann, Geschichte der arabischen Litteratur, second ed. (Leiden, 1943-49CE), II, 34), and a defective manuscript of the work of the latter is preserved in the O.P. Library at Patna (COPL, XII, no.727).
 Sakhawi, al-Saw al-Lami li-Ahl al-Qarn al-Tasi (Cairo, 1353-55), XII, no. 980.
 Ibid., no. 58.
 Ibid., no. 450.
 Ibid., no. 901.
 al-Aydarus, al-Nur al-Safir (Baghdad, 1353), 49.
 Ibn Abi Tahir, see COPL, XII, no. 665ff.
 Goldziher, Muslim Studies, II, 407.
 al-Suhuh al-Wabila, see COPL, XII, no. 785.
 COPL, V/ii, 54.
 Ibid., V/ii, 155-9, 180-208. For some particularly instructive annotated manuscripts preserved at the Zahiriya Library at Damascus, see the article of Abd al-Aziz al-Maymani in al-Mabahith al-Ilmiyya (Hyderabad: Da'irat al-Ma'arif, 1358), 1-14.
- Category: Narrators of Hadeeth
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Thaabit, the Firm Companion of Anas [ra]
Before we begin learning about the Great Companion of Anas [radhiallahu a’nhu]: Thaabit al-Bunaani, I would like to share with you two quotes which I recently came across:
Some of our righteous predecessors said: “The accounts [i.e. regarding the lives of the righteous] are an army from the armies of Allah, the Most High.
By it [the stories of the righteous] Allah makes firm the hearts of His awliyaa’ [friends].” [Muqaddamah ath-thaaniyyah, safahaat min sabr al-u’lama]
Also, the great faqeeh [scholar of Islamic Jurisprudence] and one of the imaams of the four famous madhaahib, Imaam Abu Hanifah [rahimahullah], said:
“The narratives regarding the scholars and their virtues are more beloved to me than a lot of fiqh [Islaamic jurisprudence], because it [contains] the a’adaab [manners/refinement] of a people.” [Muqaddamah ath-thaaniyyah, safahaat min sabr al-u’lama]
With this, let’s turn to the life of the worshipper, Thaabit al-Bunaani, the student and Companion of Anas [radhiallahu a’nhu].
Quotes taken from Imaam adh-Dhahabi’s A’alaam an-Nubalaa’, vol 5, pg 220.
Thaabit ibn Aslam [rahimahullah] was from Basrah; he was born in the time of Mua’wiyyah’s [ra] caliphate. Since he had met and narrated from the Sahaabah he is referred to as a ‘taabi’ee’. He was a leader in both knowledge and implementation.
Thaabit ibn Aslam [rahimahullah] said, “…I accompanied Anas ibnu Maalik for 40 years; I did not see anyone more constant in worshipping than him.”
Therefore he was a companion of the great Sahaabi Anas [ra], and not only did he learn knowledge from his teacher, but also ibaadah. Anas [ra] even did ruqyaa on him.
Narrated 'Abdul 'Aziz: Thaabit and I went to Anas bin Malik. Thaabit said, "O Abu Hamza! I am sick." On that Anas said, "Shall I treat you with the Ruqyaa of Allah's Apostle?" Thaabit said, "Yes." Anas recited, "O Allah! The Lord of the people, the Remover of trouble! (Please) Cure (heal) (this patient), for You are the Healer. None brings about healing but You; a healing that will leave behind no ailment." [Saheeh al- Bukhari, Book 7, Volume 71, Hadith 638]
Great scholars such as Ahmad ibn Hanbal [rahimahullah] praised him. He said, “Thaabit was strong in hadeeth and used to narrate [ahaadeeth].”
Ahmad al-A’jalee [rahimahullah] said: “A trustworthy and righteous man.”
Imaam an-Nasaai [rahimahullah] said about him: “Trustworthy.”
Abu Haatim ar-Raazee [rahimahullah] said: “The most trustworthy companions of Anas bin Maalik were: Az-Zuhri, then Thaabit, then Qataadah.”
Ibn A’dee said: “He was from amongst the taabi’een [people who had met at least one Sahaabi] of the people of Basrah and their ascetics and their narrators; the a’immah [leaders of hadeeth] wrote from him. From [amongst] the people the most who narrated from him was Hammaad bin Salamah…”
He narrated from the following great Companions:
- Anas ibn Maalik
- Abdullah ibn Umar, as reported in Saheeh Muslim
- Abdullah ibn Mughaffal reported in Sunan An-Nasaai
- Abdullah ibn Zubayr, as reported in al-Bukhari
- Abu Barzah al-Aslami
- Amr bin Abee Salamah al-Makhzoomee, rabeeb [the foster father/foster son] of the Prophet [sallallahu a’lyhi wa sallam], which is reported in at-Tirmidhi, an-Nasaai
and many others.
Great personalities, such as Ataa’ bin Abee Rabaah and Qataadah, narrated from him. May Allah be pleased with them all. Ameen
A True A’aabid [Worshipper]
Anas ibnu Maalik said about him, “Indeed khair [goodness] has its people and certainly this Thaabit is from the keys of the khair [goodness].”
Bakr al-Maznee [rahimahullah] said, “Whosoever wants to look at the most avid worshipper from the people of his time, then let him look towards Thaabit al-Bunaani, for we did not know anyone more devoted to worshipping than him…”
Thaabit [rahimahullah], himself, said: “I endured Salaah for twenty years and enjoyed it for [the next] twenty years.”
Shu’bah [rahimahullah] said: “Thaabit al-Bunaani would read the Qur’aan every day and night, and would fast during the day.” [This has also been mentioned in Saheeh al-Bukhari and Muslim under the chapter pertaining to fasting.]
Hammaad ibn Salamah [rahimahullah] also said: Thaabit recited: "Dost Thou deny Him who created Thee out of dust, then out of sperm-drop, then fashioned Thee into a man?” Then he would pray the night prayer crying and repeating it [this verse].
Hammaad ibn Zayd [rahimahullah] said: “I saw Thaabit crying until his ribs changed.”
Ja’far ibn Sulaymaan said [rahimahullah]: “Thaabit cried until his eyesight nearly went, then the eye-doctors prohibited him from crying. Then he said, ‘There is no good in them if they don’t cry…’”
Hammaad ibn Salamah [rahimahullah] said: “Thaabit used to say: ‘O Allah! If You have bestowed upon anyone salaah in his grave then give me Salaah in my grave.’ It is said that this supplication was answered for him, for certainly he was seen [in a dream] after his death praying in his grave.”
Some Famous Ahaadeeth narrated by Him
Narrated Ma'bad bin Hilal Al-'Anzi: We, i.e. some people from Basra, gathered and went to Anas bin Malik, and we went in company with Thaabit Al-Bunaani so that he might ask him about the Hadeeth of Intercession on our behalf. Behold, Anas was in his place, and our arrival coincided with his Duhaa prayer. We asked permission to enter and he admitted us while he was sitting on his bed. We said to Thaabit, "Do not ask him first about anything else but the Hadeeth of Intercession." He said, "O Abu Hamza! These are your brethren from Basra coming to ask you about the Hadith of Intercession." [And then Anas [radhiallahu a’nhu] mentioned the long Hadeeth on intercession] [Bukhari :: Book 9 :: Volume 93 :: Hadith 601]
Narrated Thaabit Al-Bunaani: Anas bin Malik was asked whether they disliked the cupping for a fasting person. He replied in the negative and said, "Only if it causes weakness." [Bukhari, Book 3, Volume 31, Hadith 161]
Sayyar reported: I was walking with Thaabit al-Bunaani when he happened to pass by children and he greeted them. And Thaabit reported that he walked with Anas and he happened to pass by children and he greeted them. And Anas reported that he walked with Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) and he happened to pass by children and he greeted them. [Muslim, Book 26, Hadith 5392]
Narrated Thaabit Al-Bunaani: Anas bin Malik said to a woman of his family, "Do you know such-and-such a woman?" She replied, "Yes." He said, "The Prophet passed by her while she was weeping over a grave, and he said to her, 'Be afraid of Allah and have patience.' The woman said, 'Go away from me, for you do not know my calamity.'" Anas added, "The Prophet left her and proceeded. A man passed by her and asked her, 'What has Allah's Apostle said to you?' She replied, 'I did not recognize him.' The man said, 'He was Allah's Apostle.'" Anas added, "So that woman came to the gate of the Prophet and she did not find a gate-keeper there, and she said, 'O Allah's Apostle! By Allah, I did not recognize you!' The Prophet said, 'No doubt, patience is at the first stroke of a calamity.' [Bukhari, Book 9, Volume 89, Hadith 268]
Anas bin Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: “Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) gave no better wedding feast than the one he did (on the occasion of his marriage) with Zainab.” Thaabit al-Bunaani (one of the narrators) said: “What did he serve in the wedding feast?” He (Anas) said: “He fed them bread and meat (so lavishly) that they (the guests) abandoned it (of their own accord after having taken it to their hearts' content).” [Muslim, Book 8, Hadith 3332]
Thaabit reported on the authority of Anas: “The Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) came to us and there was none in our house but I, my mother and my aunt Umm Haram. He (the Holy Prophet) said: ‘Stand up so that I may lead you in prayer’ (and there was no time for prescribed prayer). He led us in prayer.” A person said to Thaabit: Where did Anas stand with him (the Holy Prophet)? He replied: He was on the right side. “He then blessed us, the members of the household, with every good of this world and the Hereafter. My mother said: ‘Messenger of Allah (and then, pointing towards Anas, said), here is your little servant, invoke the blessing of Allah upon him too.’ He then blessed me with every good, and he concluded his blessings for me (with these words): ‘Allah! Increase his wealth, and his children and make (them the source of) blessing for him.’” [Muslim :: Book 4 :: Hadith 1389] And it was said that Anas ibn Maalik had around 100 descendants from his sons and grandsons before he died, because the Prophet [peace be upon him] made this du’aa for Anas [may Allah be pleased with him]. Anas said: “From the Ansaar I have the most wealth and children”, and it was said he had 80 children, 78 males and 2 females and the daughters were called Hafsah and his second daughter is referred to as Umm ‘Amr.
Narrated Thaabit: He heard Anas saying, "A woman came to the Prophet offering herself to him in marriage, saying, "Have you got any interest in me (i.e. would you like to marry me)?" Anas's daughter said, "How shameless that woman was!" On that Anas said, "She is better than you, for she presented herself to Allah's Apostle (for marriage)." [Bukhari, Book 7, Volume 62, Hadith 53]
Narrated Isaa bin Tahman: Anas bin Malik brought out for us two sandals having two straps. Thaabit al-Bunaani said, "These were the sandals of the Prophet." [Bukhari, Book 7, Volume 72, Hadith 749]
Narrated Thaabit: Anas said, "The Prophet asked for water, so a tumbler with a broad base and not so deep, containing a small quantity of water, was brought to him whereby he put his fingers in it." Anas further said, 'I noticed the water springing out from amongst his fingers." Anas added, 'I estimated that the people who performed ablution with it numbered between seventy and eighty." [Bukhari, Book 1, Volume 4, Hadith 199]
I end with the following hadeeth reported by the Great A’abid [worshipper] Thaabit al-Bunaani, with the hope that our hearts will be moved and we will find a change in our i’baadah [worship]:
Thaabit reported it on the authority of Anas: “While leading you in prayer I do not shorten anything in the prayer. I pray as I saw the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) leading us.” He (Thaabit) said: Anas used to do that which I do not see you doing; when he lifted his head from bowing he stood up (for so long) that one would say: ‘He has forgotten (to bow down in prostration).’ And when he lifted his head from prostration, he stayed in that position, till someone would say: ‘He has forgotten (to bow down in prostration for the second sajdah).’ [Muslim, Book 4, Hadith 956]
SubhaanAllah, the likes of Thaabit [rahimahullah] carried in their chests such vast knowledge, the fruits of which could be seen in their actions.
In Arabic, ‘thaabit’ means firm; truly he was the firm companion of Anas [radhiallahu a’nhu].