Ibn Hubayra, al-Hasan al-Basri and al-Sha’bi

It is al-Hasan’s story when Ibn Hubayra sent for him and for al-Sha’bi, and he said to the former, “Abu Saeed (Hasan), what do you think we should do with letters that come to us from Yazid ibn Abd al-Malik, with their controversial contents? If I implement them, they incur the wrath of Allah; but if I do not implement them, I fear for my life.” “Here,” al-Hasan said to him, “you have with you al-Sha’bi, the jurist of al-Hijaz.” So he asked him. Al-Sha’bi made light of the matter.

“Implement as much as possible and make adjustments,” he replied. “You are only a servant who takes orders.”

 

Then Ibn Hubayra turned to al-Hasan and asked, “What do you think, Abu Saeed?” “O Ibn Hubayra,” he replied,

fear Allah when obeying the commands of Yazid and do not fear Yazid when obeying the commands of Allah.

 

O Ibn Hubayra, Allah will protect you from Yazid, but Yazid cannot protect you from Allah.

 

O Ibn Hubayra, no creature should be obeyed who commands the disobedience of the Creator.

 

Look then at what Yazid wrote to you, and compare it with the Book of Allah, may He be exalted. What agrees with the Book of Allah, may He be exalted, you may implement; and what disagrees with the Book of Allah, you should not implement.

 

Allah should have for you a priority over Yazid, and the Book of Allah should have for you a priority over his letters.”

Ibn Hubayra patted al-Hasan on the shoulder. “This old man has told me the truth. By the Lord of al-Ka’ba,” he said.

 

He then ordered al-Hasan to be given four thousand [dirhams], and al-Sha’bi two thousand. Al-Sha’bi said, “We made light of the matter for him, now he has made light of the reward for us.”

 

Al-Hasan sent for the poor; when they came, he distributed the money to them. Al-Sha’bi accepted the money and gave thanks for it.

 

[Al-Iqd Al-Farid, vol. 1, page 68]

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