|| Topic: The Lost Part Three of: The Life and Works of Imaam Ahmad
Abul-'Abbaas Moosaa ibn John Richardson
(Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
Joined: Sep 2002
Part 1: http://www.bakkah.net/articles/imam-ahmad.htm |
Part 2: http://www.bakkah.net/articles/imaam-ahmad.htm
And here's the lost and found part 3:
Benefits From the Life and Works of Imam Ahmad
Shaykh Saalih ibn 'Abdil-'Azeez Aalish-Shaykh
Source: A recorded lecture entitled Min Ma'eenil-Imam Ahmad,
Translated exclusively for www.bakkah.net (Part 3 of 3)
[In the Name of Allaah, the All-Merciful...]
Memorizing the Quran
From the noteworthy sayings of Imam Ahmad (may Allaah have Mercy on him) is his statement, "'Azeezun 'alayya that the dunyaa melts the hearts of men whose chests comprehend the Quran!" He said (repeating), "It is hard for me to accept that the dunyaa could melt the hearts of men whose chests comprehend the Quran."
If a man is able to carry the Quran with him in his chest, then verily Allaah has given his a great bounty indeed. On the Day of Judgement it will be said to the recitor of the Quran, "Read, ascend, and recite with rhythm as you used to recite rhythmically in the dunyaa! For verily your place will be determined by the last verse you recite." 
The one who memorizes the Quran is the most deserving of the people to be obedient. The one who memorizes the Quran is the most deserving of the people to possess humility. He is the most deserving of the people to be one who strives hard for Paradise and flees from the Hellfire. The one who memorizes the Quran is the most deserving of the people to not be swept under by the dunyaa.
This is why the Imam (may Allaah have Mercy on him) said, "'Azeezun 'alayya that the dunyaa melts the hearts of men whose chests comprehend the Quran!" For the person of understanding, which is better - the dunyaa or the Quran? Is there anything comparable to it? Is there anything similar?
Allaah, the Mighty and Exalted, has said in Soorah Yoonus :
( Say: Let them rejoice over Allaah's Bounty and His Mercy, As it is better than everything they gather! )
Aboo Haatim reported a story in explanation of this verse, saying:
"When the camels that people paid their zakaah with arrived, one of 'Umar's servants (may Allaah be pleased with him) said, 'O Commander of the Believers! Could we take a look at the camels of zakaah?' So they went to see the camels that were kept caged in the outskirts of Al-Madeenah.
When they saw the camels, the servant became fascinated by their great number and said, "O Commander of the Believers! This is Allaah's Bounty and His Mercy!" 'Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) looked at him and said, "You have lied! Allaah's Bounty and His Mercy is the Quran! (Say: Let them rejoice over Allaah's Bounty and His Mercy, As it is better than everything they gather! ) Rather these camels are what the people gather!" 
Rarely could the dunyaa melt the one who memorizes the Quran, learns its explanation, has a special relationship with it, prays with it, or leads the people in prayer with it. Rarely could he be someone who follows his desires! Rarely could he slip into doubts or fall victim to his lusts! Rarely could the one who memorizes the Quran, the one known by the Quran, be a person of disobedience and neglect while Allaah has honored him by causing his heart to contain the Speech of Allaah, the Mighty and Exalted.
What a great statement! He was grieving, "'Azeenun 'alayya," meaning it is a great burden on him, "That the dunyaa melts the hearts of men whose chests comprehend the Quran."
What is the dunyaa anyway with its lofty status? What is the dunyaa with all its wealth and women? What is the dunyaa and everything in it compared to the Speech of Allaah, the Mighty and Exalted?!
The Prophet (sallallaahu 'alayhe wa sallam) described the two rak'ahs before the Fajr Prayer:
"The two rak'ahs of Fajr are better than the dunyaa and everything in it." 
This is for the one who understands the reality of the Religion and the reality of the return to Allaah.
Seeking Knowledge Until Death
Imam Ahmad had two sons, 'Abdullaah and Saalih. They were half-brothers, meaning that each of them had a different mother. Saalih, the son of Imam Ahmad, said, "A man saw my father carrying a mih-barah." A mih-barah was a wooden inkwell that students used to carry along with their pens.
He said, "A man saw my father was carrying a mih-barah, and said, 'O Abaa 'Abdillaah!' Look at how the all the people were fascinated by him, even the elders of the people! He said, "O Abaa 'Abdillaah! You have reached this position, you are the imam of the Muslims!" He had a problem seeing Imam Ahmad carry his mih-barah as the young students would carry it, or that he would still read books or shoulder the same responsibilities that the youth did.
Imam Ahmad replied with a statement that nullified this man's whole understanding. He said, "With the mih-barah all the way to the maq-barah (the graveyard)." What did he mean? He meant, "I will be busy with knowledge until I die."
Another narration mentions that he said it at another occasion to another group of people. "As for me," he said, "I will seek knowledge until I am placed in the grave."
When the time of his death came near, he said to those around him, "Get me the hadeeth of Hushaym." So they told him the hadeeth. This Hushaym was Hushaym ibn Basheer, Imam Ahmad's first teacher. He met him in the year 179, when he began seeking knowledge at the age of 16.
He was between 15 and 16, as he was born in the year 164 and began seeking knowledge in 179.
So they read the hadeeth. It mentioned that Ibn Seereen used to dislike a person groaning from pain. At that time, Imam Ahmad had became very ill and he used to groan due to the pain.
When they informed him that Ibn Seereen used to dislike groaning, he did not groan again until he died.
This is the reality of his statement, "I will seek knowledge until I am placed in the grave." Meaning, "I must continue benefiting from knowledge." So if you have left your youth behind and become a teacher or an educator, or a lecturer or professor in the university, or an author, and you say, "I have finished seeking knowledge." This is the situation of someone who does not know the reality of the affair.
Al-'Ilm is knowledge of what? It is knowledge of the Speech of Allaah and the speech of His Messenger (sallallaahu 'alayhe wa sallam). Has anyone reached a level of awareness of the meanings of the Speech of Allaah and His Messenger (sallallaahu 'alayhe wa sallam), and also the statements of the scholars explaining the Book and the Sunnah, a level of awareness that is sufficient?
No one has reached that level. No one who has the right intention and a proper heart has reached that level. Regarding this, Imam Ahmad said, "With the mih-barah all the way to the maq-barah." He was addressing everyone, advising us to continue seeking knowledge and not to give it up for any petty reason.
In the study circles of our masjids we have seen a great number of students who are eager to learn for two months, and then they abandon it. Three months or so only. What is this?! Some of them seek knowledge for 3, 4, 5, or 7 years and then they abandon it.
Why is that? Is it because the dunyaa has come to you, so you are finished and now you head off into the dunyaa? Is it because a position was offered to you and you took it? Is it because you have reached a certain status, you have become a school director or professor in the university? For this you stop seeking knowledge? No! You must continue seeking knowledge until you die. This is what will correct the society's problems, if their scholars take this advice. As for the students of knowledge, then they must hold fast to this advice, "With the mih-barah all the way to the maq-barah." He must stay with his book until he dies, reading, learning, memorizing, reviewing, teaching, until his end.
What are the people saying these days? The rulings related to prayer, we know them, no problem. If you asked them about many of the rulings, you will find that they do not know them. Why is that? It is because they have become satisfied with the knowledge they have, even delighted that they have the knowledge they have. We ask Allaah that He excuses us and that He is pleased with us.
If you asked them about affairs even greater than the prayer, issues of 'aqeedah, issues of tawheed, you will find that they have not fully grasped the issues, and they used to be students of knowledge! Why is that? Because they were negligent, and thus abandoned it. Knowledge is honor, if you abandon it, it will abandon you. If you take the task seriously, you will be given some of it, from what Allaah has decreed for you.
Seeking Safety and Good Health When Supplicating
Al-Khallaal was a student of Imam Ahmad. I tried to bring a statement from each one of Imam Ahmad's students who narrated something noteworthy, so if I did not fully accomplish this, then know that his history was rich, his sayings were many, and his school deserves that you study it and reflect over it. You will find that he was truly the imam of Ahlus-Sunnah in his speech and actions.
Al-Khallaal said, "I heard Ahmad ibn Hambal saying, 'I had memorized the Quran. Then when I began seeking the narrations, I became busy.'" When he began seeking and memorizing the narrations, he became too busy to keep track of the Quran, and forgot some of it due to his occupation with the narrations.
"I had memorized the Quran," said Imam Ahmad, "But when I began seeking the narrations, I became too busy for it, and it got away from me. So I asked Allaah, the Mighty and Exalted, to grant me its memorization, but I did not add, 'in safety and good health.'"
He said, "O Allaah! Grant me the memorization of the Quran," without adding, "in safety and good health." He was saying that what is more befitting is to ask, "O Allaah! Grant me the memorization of the Quran in safety and good health."
He said, "So then I did not memorize the Quran until I was shackled in prison. If you ask Allaah for something, ask for it in safety and good health."
Firstly, the imprisonment of Imam Ahmad was something that assisted and benefited the Sunnah. It was something that made the truth prevail, it made the 'aqeedah of the Salaf prevail during a time when the people were being tried by those who claimed that the Quran was a created thing.
So he was jailed in the way of the Sunnah, and he benefited the people greatly, as he guided the people to the Sunnah of the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alayhe wa sallam) and the correct belief regarding the Quran not being created.
Even though he was imprisoned for this great reason, prison is still not a place of safety or good health. Imam Ahmad said, "I did not say, 'in safety and good health.' I asked Allaah to allow me to memorize the Quran, and I did not add, 'in safety and good health.' So I did not memorize it until I was in prison and in chains."
Without a doubt this is a great statement, showing that a man must think throughout his supplications and always ask Allaah to pardon him and cause him to be in safety and good health.
So if you seek something from your Lord, the Mighty and Exalted, then ask Him to grant you safety and good health, since you do not know what is going to happen.
Perhaps you may not receive what you ask for except at a time when a sickness has made you bedridden. Perhaps you will not receive what you ask for except after you have lost your children and family and you are sitting alone in your house. Perhaps you will not receive what you ask for except after being exiled from your homeland, something that you are not happy about and you did not choose it. So therefore, always ask Allaah to give you what you ask for in a state of safety and good health.
Similarly, we should seek refuge in Allaah from trials, trials that cause people to go astray. So a person should include in his supplications that Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, keeps these trials away from him.
The scholars have said that what is best is to seek refuge in Allaah from the trials that lead people astray. The supplicant should say, "O Allaah! I seek refuge in you from the trials that lead people astray!" or "O Allaah! I seek refuge in you from being tried in my Religion!" or the likes.
This is because even good things are trials, the family is a trial, money is a trial. These are things that a person must deal with, he has to get married, he is going to have children, he has to have money, etc. These trials are good things in their origins, but they may cause some people to go astray. So a person must seek refuge in Allaah, the Mighty and Exalted, from all trials that may lead one astray.
The Effect of Knowledge in One's Writings
'Abdullaah, the son of Imam Ahmad, said, "A baby was born to my father. 'Abdul-A'laa gave me a letter of congratulations to give to my father." 'Abdul-A'laa was one of the scholars of hadeeth at that time. "He read it," continued 'Abdullaah, "And then tossed it aside."
"This is not the writing of a scholar, nor a muhaddith," said Imam Ahmad, "This is the merely the writing of an average writer."
Imam Ahmad was teaching his son a lesson, detesting what this scholar wrote, as no knowledge could be felt in his writing.
In reality, this is also something we complain of in this day and time. The language of the people of knowledge in letters of correspondence, letters of congratulations, etc. has been lost, or the very least we can say is that there is not enough concern to use it.
What is binding on the scholar, the student of knowledge, and the teacher is that his knowledge should make a presence in what he writes, even in simple letters of congratulation. He must not write like newspaper columnists, nor like common people, nor people engulfed in this worldly life, rather he must convey himself in a befitting way in his speech as well as his writings.
So when 'Abdul-A'laa failed to write in this way, Imam Ahmad tossed his letter aside, saying, "This is not the writing of a scholar, nor a muhaddith. This is the merely the writing of an average writer." By its style, the letter was not something to be expected from a person of knowledge. The style of the people of knowledge contains supplications and narrations from the Sunnah while presenting the focus of the letter, as well as some additional benefits that would be appropriate.
Humbling Oneself and Rejecting Popularity
The last point of guidance that we will take from the fountains of Imam Ahmad that do not dry up, is the statement of Muhammad ibn Hasan ibn Haaroon, "I saw that when Aboo 'Abdillaah walked the streets, he hated that someone would walk behind him."
Furthermore, 'Abdullaah, the son of Imam Ahmad, said, "When he went out to Jumu'ah prayer, my father would not allow anyone to follow behind him, and he used to stop until the people following him would pass him up."
Why was that? Because this is a trial for the one being followed, and a form of humiliation to the follower. Imam Ahmad knew that, if someone followed him, he would benefit, either from his supplications, or perhaps he would ask a question, but, from his keenness to remedy his soul, he disliked to be tested by having a group of people following behind him.
A simple affair from something everyone does - he would not be pleased with anyone following him, rather he loved to walk by himself. He was so keen on keeping himself pure, by going out to the prayer and returning to his house alone.
These manners will help everyone who has been tested by Allaah with a following of people, whether the people look up to him because of knowledge, status, or even worldly things. He must humble himself and not assist the Shaytaan in destroying his own self.
He must shun all avenues leading to this. If he sees within himself any amazement or pride with himself pride, or that he sees himself as being great, then he must lower himself and be humble so that he can set himself straight. This is because pride is a huge thing, one of the major sins.
The Prophet (sallallaahu 'alayhe wa sallam) said:
"The one who has even the smallest particle of pride in his heart will not enter Paradise." 
This is what is binding on all those that the people follow, that they know this is a test from Allaah and they dedicate themselves to lowering themselves and having humility. And those who follow them should be careful as well, they should not go against someone trying to work by this advice.
So if a person finds a scholar trying to be humble like this, then let him be easy on him. Let him benefit from him in any environment he finds him in, at study circles, in classrooms, etc., however, he must not follow him to every place as he may detest that. Every sincere scholar dedicated to the education of the people hates to have the people follow him, and he hates that they say great things about him, since praise is something that he fears will affect his heart.
Ibn Mas'ood said, advising his students, prohibiting them from following him, "This is a belittlement of the followers and a trial for the one being followed."
I ask Allaah, the Mighty and Exalted, to make me and all of you from those who hold firm to taqwaa, those who push themselves against what their desires crave. I ask Allaah, the Glorified One, to reward the Imam of Ahlus-Sunnah, Ahmad ibn Hambal, the best reward for how much we have gained from him. For verily he was to the people of his time as Aboo Bakr (may Allaah be pleased with him) was to the people of his time. As the people faced the apostates in the time of Aboo Bakr, they faced the evil fitnah of those who tried to introduce the idea of the Quran being a created thing, as well as other trials that led many astray, in the time of Imam Ahmad. As the first group had Aboo Bakr, the latter had Imam Ahmad to make them firm, by Allaah's Bounty and His Blessing.
O Allaah! Reward the imams of Islaam and the scholars of the Religion with the best reward for the great amount of knowledge and beneficial guidance we have inherited from them! O Allaah! Make us from those guided by your Prophet, those who are made firm by his Sunnah, those who tread the path of the Companions of your Prophet (sallallaahu 'alayhe wa sallam)!
O Allaah! Grant us firmness upon the Sunnah and good closing deeds! O Allaah! Make us firm upon what you are pleased with until we meet you while you are pleased with us!
O Allaah! Give us good closing actions! O Allaah! Give us shelter from the lowliness of this life, and from the punishment of the Hereafter! O Allaah! I seek refuge in you from slipping into disobedience or from being made to slip into disobedience, from going astray or being led astray by others, from oppressing or being oppressed, from being ignorantly or having others behave ignorantly to us!
O Allaah! Correct those who are in charge of our affairs, and grant them success doing what you love and are pleased with, and make us and them from those who cooperate upon righteousness and piety.
And may Allaah raise the rank of our Prophet Muhammad and grant him peace.
This article was taken from BAKKAHnet (www.bakkah.net)
 an authentic hadeeth found in Aboo Daawood and At-Tirmithee, on the authority of 'Abdullaah ibn 'Amr (may Allaah be pleased with him). Al-Albaanee declared it to be authentic in Saheeh Sunan At-Tirmithee (#2914).
 the meaning of Soorah Yoonus (10):58
 Tafseer Al-Quran Al-'Atheem (#10435, 6/1960) of Imam Ibn Abee Haatim
 an authentic hadeeth collected by Imam Muslim (#725), on the authority of 'Aa'ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her)
 an authentic hadeeth collected by Imam Muslim (#263), on the authority of 'Abdullaah ibn Mas'ood (may Allaah be pleased with him)
TEST YOUR UNDERSTANDING
Why should one add "...in safety and good health" to his supplications?
What did Imam Ahmad mean when he said, "With the mih-barah all the way to the maq-barah"?
Why did Imam Ahmad not want anyone following behind him? What should you do if you find a person of knowledge behaving in this manner?
How old was Imam Ahmad when he began seeking knowledge?
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Abu Maryam Shehzad ibn Ghazanfar Ali
Joined: Aug 2008
Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem |
Assalaamu Alaykum Wa Rahmatullaahi Wa Barakaatuh
JazakaAllaahu Khairan wa barakaallaahu feeka for this akhee Moosa.
Akh I have a question regarding a specific section of the article and its application in everyday life.
In the article it is mentioned: "I had memorized the Quran," said Imam Ahmad, "But when I began seeking the narrations, I became too busy for it, and it got away from me. So I asked Allaah, the Mighty and Exalted, to grant me its memorization, but I did not add, 'in safety and good health'."
Question: is the addition of this duıa restricted? What I mean by this is can this addition 'in safety and good health' be added to any duıa (e.g. from the qurıaan or sunnah)? More specifically can I apply the phrase 'in safety and good health' to a duıa such as: "Rabbi ziddni 'ilmaa" (bearing in mind this is from the qurıaan)?
Similarly can we add the phrase to the duıa found in the hadith of the messenger (Salla Allaahu alaihi wa sallam) the translated meaning of which is as follows:
"Oh Allaah, benefit me by that which you have taught me, teach me that which will benefit me, and provide me with knowledge that will benefit me"
(the hadith is Collected by an-Nasaa'ee in al-Kubraa: 7868 and al-Haakim: 1:510, this reference was taken from: "Oh Allaah, Benefit Me By That Which You Have Taught Me, Author: Al 'Allaamah Ash Shaikh Saalih Al Fawzaan (hafithaullah). Source: Explanation of Buloogh al-Maraam [Vol.6 Kitaab al-Jaami'; Chapter: adh Dhikr wad du'a. Pg: 347-348] Translator: Abu Fouzaan Qaasim - www.SalafyInk.com)
Walhamdulillah wa ssalaatu wassalaamu ıalaa rasoolillaah
Wassalaamu alaykum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh