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]


Al-Hasan al-Basri’s letter to Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz describing the just ruler

When Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz assumed the caliphate, he wrote to al-Hasan
ibn Abi al-Hasan al-Basri asking him to write to him and describe the just ruler.
Al-Hasan (rahimahullah) wrote:


“Be it known to you, O Commander of the Faithful, that Allah instituted the just ruler to be the redress of every wrong-doer, the discipline of every unfair person, the correction of every corrupt man, the strength of every weak one, the justice of every wronged being, and the refuge of every frightened individual.

The just ruler, O Commander of the Faithful, is like a shepherd who is tender toward his camels and kind to them; he takes them to the best pastures, prevents them from going to dangerous places, defends them against wild beasts, and protects them from the harms of the heat and the cold.


The just ruler, O Commander of the Faithful, is like a father who feels compassion for his children, works hard for them when young and teaches them as they grow older, earns for them during his lifetime, and saves for them after his death.


The just ruler, O Commander of the Faithful, is like a tender mother who is dutiful and kind to her baby, who bears him and gives him birth unwillingly, who brings him up as a child, staying up at night when he does, and being quiet when he is at rest; she suckles him for a time and then weans him, she rejoices when he is healthy and is saddened when he is in pain.


The just ruler, O Commander of the Faithful, is the guardian of orphans and treasurer of the poor, educating the young among them and providing for the older ones.


The just ruler, O Commander of the Faithful, is like the heart among the other body organs: they are healthy if the heart is healthy, and sick when the heart is sick.


The just ruler, O Commander of the Faithful, is the one who stands between Allah and his servants; he listens to what Allah says and conveys it to them, he looks to Allah and makes them look too; he is led by Allah and he leads them. Therefore, O Commander of the Faithful, in relation to the realm given to you by Allah, may He be exalted and magnified, do not be like a servant whose master entrusted him with his wealth and dependents, but who wasted the wealth and drove away the dependents like tramps, thus impoverishing his master’s family and frittering away his wealth.


Be it known to you, O Commander of the Faithful, that Allah has prescribed punishments to act as deterrents to wicked deeds and vile acts. So if these deeds and acts are committed by those responsible for implementing the punishments, what will happen? Allah has prescribed punishment as a means to better living for His servants. So if the one who should be doing justice to them kills them, what will happen? And remember death and what follows it, O Commander of the Faithful, when you will have no adherents and no supporters to help you against it; so provide for it and for the great terror that follows it.


Be it known to you, O Commander of the Faithful, that you have a home other than the one you are in now. In it you will abide for a long time. Your loved ones will abandon you and leave you in it all alone. Provide for it that which will remain with you. “On the day when a man flees from his brother, and from his mother and his father, and from his wife and his sons.” [Quran. 80:34–36]


Remember, O Commander of the Faithful, “… when what is in the tombs is resurrected, and what is in the breasts is gathered” [Quran. 100:9–10], secrets will become manifest, and the Book “… leaves out nothing small or great but has recorded it” [Quran. 18:49].


Now, O Commander of the Faithful, while you still have time and before the arrival of the appointed hour of death and loss of hope: do not rule Allah’s servants as the ignorant do, and do not behave with them as oppressors do, the way the domineering arrogant ones conduct themselves with those they deem to be weak, for they observe no covenant or compact of protection. Otherwise, you will end up bearing your burdens and other burdens too, and you will carry your loads and other loads too. Do not be deceived by those who enjoy what causes you misery and those who eat good things in this world of theirs, for you will then lose your good things in the Hereafter. Do not look at your power today but look rather at your power tomorrow, when you are captive in the snares of death, standing before Allah, may He be exalted, and in the presence of the angels, the prophets, and the apostles, when “All faces shall be humbled before the Living, Self-Subsisting One” [Quran. 20:111].


O Commander of the Faithful, although I have not achieved in my sermon what earlier men of intellect have, I have not withheld advice and sympathy from you. Consider this letter of mine to you as would a healer who gives his beloved to drink bitter medicine because he hopes for the cure and good health it will bring about. Peace be upon you, O Commander of the Faithful, Allah’s mercy, and His blessings.


[Al-Iqd Al-Farid, vol. 1, page 49-51]

Download E-book: The wise sayings of Hasan al-Basri


Abu Qilaba and the judgeship

Ayyub Al-Sakhtiyani said,

“Abu Qilaba was asked to become judge of AL-Basra, so he escaped to Syria and lived there for some time, then returned.

Ayyub said, “I said to him, ‘If you had assumed the judgeship and had been just, you would have received two rewards.’

He replied, ‘O Ayyub, if a swimmer falls into the sea, for how long might he possibly swim?’ ”

[Al-Iqd Al-Farid, vol. 1, page 39]

Abu Sufyan’s and his wife’s advice to their son Muawiya when Umar appointed him governor

When Muawiya came back from Syria, of which Umar had appointed him
governor, he went to see his mother Hind.

She said to him,

“My son, rarely has a free woman given birth to one like you, and this man has appointed you governor; so, do what pleases him, whether you like it or not.”


Then he went to see his father Abu Sufyan. He said to him,

My son, this group of Emigrants have preceded us in adopting Islam and we came to it later; so, their precedence has raised them and our lateness has reduced our rank. We have become followers and they have become leaders.


And now they have appointed you for a great task; so, do not disagree with them, for you are running toward an end that you have not reached; and even if you have reached it, you will breathe easily in it.”


Muawiya said, “I was amazed at their agreement on the idea, although their words were different.”


[Al-Iqd al-Farid, page 34]

Story of sincerity: Books authored by Al-Maawardi


Al-Maawardi (rahimahullah) has a strange story regarding sincerity in authoring books. He authored books in the fields of Tafseer (Qur’aan exegesis), Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) and other fields. However, not a single book was published during his lifetime. He authored these books and hid them in a place which no one knew about, and at the time of his death he said to a person he trusted:

“The books that are in such and such place were all authored by me, and the reason I did not make them public during my lifetime is because I was not able to make my intention sincere for the sake of Allah.


When you see that I am dying, put your hand in mine; if I squeeze your hand, then know that nothing was accepted from my deeds, so take these books and throw them into the River Tigris. However, if my hand relaxes, then know that I was accepted and got what I was hoping to get.”


That man said:

“When his death approached, I put my hand in his hand and his hand was relaxed and he did not squeeze my hand, so I knew that it was a sign of acceptance and I made his books known publicly.”

[Siyar A’laam An-Nubalaa’ (66/18) and Taareekh Al-Islaam (169/7)]


He (rahimahullah) did not do what many authors do nowadays, which is to go around seeking to get someone famous to introduce their books, say words of praise about them and are very keen on protecting copyrights. Contrary to this, Al-Maawardi (rahimahullah) was keen on monitoring his intention and did not publicize his books because he feared he did not have a sincere intention and thus he refrained from making them known.

[From the book: Sincerity by Sh. Salih al Munajjid, page 47-48]

The Bedouin and war booty

Shaddaad ibn Al-Haad (radiAllahu anhu) narrated:

“A Bedouin came to the Prophet (ﷺ) accepted, Islam and said: ‘I wish to migrate (to Madeenah)’. So the Prophet (ﷺ) asked some of his Companions to take care of him.


Then after a battle, the Muslims had gained some booty so the Prophet (ﷺ) divided it and gave the Bedouin’s share to some of his Companions to look after, as the Bedouin was still at the rearguard. When the Bedouin returned, they gave him his share, so he asked them: ‘What is this?’ They replied: ‘It is your share from the booty which the Prophet (ﷺ) gave us to hold on to for you.’


So the Bedouin took the booty and went to the Prophet (ﷺ), and asked: ‘What is this?’ The Prophet (ﷺ) replied: “Your share of the booty.” The Bedouin said: ‘This is not why I believe in you and follow you; rather, I follow you so that I can get shot by an arrow right here, (and then he pointed to his throat) then die and enter Paradise.’ The Prophet (ﷺ) said: “If you are sincere then Allah will grant you your wish.”


After a short while, fighting resumed and the Bedouin’s body was brought to the Prophet (ﷺ) with an arrow in his throat at exactly the spot where he had pointed to the Prophet (ﷺ) with an arrow in his throat at exactly the spot where he had pointed to the Prophet (ﷺ). Thereupon The Prophet (ﷺ) said: “He was sincere so Allah granted him his wish.”


Then using his own garment, the Prophet (ﷺ) washed the Bedouin, prayed the funeral prayer over him and was heard by his Companions to say during the prayer: “O Allah! This is Your slave who migrated for Your sake and was killed as a martyr – and I testify to this”.

[Reported by An-Nasaa’i (1953) and Al-Haakim ruled it as authentic, and Ath- Thahabi said that it is authentic according to the rules of Muslim.]


The man of the tunnel

Jihad is one of the fields during which showing off can take place, because not everyone who carries a weapon and fights with the Muslims is sincere. We have already mentioned the Prophetic narration of those who would be thrown in Hell first, and one of whom was a person who fought Jihad but was not sincere.

Our Salaf used to hide themselves in Jihad because they recognized the importance of sincerity in it; one of them would hide himself and no one would recognize him. The
following is one such story exemplifying this:


The Muslim army surrounded one of the fortresses of the enemy, and the enemy army started showering the Muslims with arrows and things became difficult for the Muslim army. Suddenly, one of the Muslims got up and dug a tunnel and was able to enter through it to the enemy fortress. He killed the man guarding the gate of the fortress and opened the gate for the Muslims to enter. The Muslims entered the fortress and won the battle, but they did not know who the man was (who dug the tunnel).


Maslamah (rahimahullah) who was the leader of the Muslim army, wanted to know who the man was so that he could reward him. He was unable to discover his identity, so he made an announcement, adjuring this man in the Name of Allah to come to him.

The man went to him at night and placed a condition on the leader that he would not look for him after that. Maslamah (rahimahullah) agreed to the condition, and so the man uncovered his face and allowed him to recognize him.

Maslamah (rahimahullah) always used to say after that:

“O Allah, join me with the man of the tunnel in the Hereafter.”

[Bustaan Al-Khateeb (24)]