Al-Fuḍayl b. ʿAyyāḍ

The Sweetest Words [Ikhlas]

It is reported that the son of Al-Fuḍayl b. ‘Ayyāḍ – Allāh have mercy on him – said to his father:

Father! How sweet (beautiful) the speech of the Companions is! [Al-Fuḍayl] said, “Son, do you know why it was so sweet?” He replied, “No father, I do not.” He said, “Because they sought Allāh the Exalted when they spoke.”

Al-Bayhaqī, Shu’ab Al-īmān 2:299

The Movements of a Believer

It is reported that Al-Fuḍayl b. ‘Ayyāḍ – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

The believer speaks little and does alot, whereas the hypocrite (munāfiq) speaks a lot and does little. When the believer speaks, it is with wisdom, when he is silent, it is in deep thought, when he sees, he takes lessons, and when he acts, it is a cure. If this is the way you are, then you are in the constant worship [of your Lord.]

Abū Nu’aym, Ḥilyatu Al-Awliyā` 8:98.

The Hunger of the Salaf and its Merits

It is reported from Ibn Sīrīn – Allāh have mercy on him – that a man once said to Ibn ‘Umar – Allāh be pleased with him:

Can we offer you some Jawārish? He inquired, “And what is Jawārish?” The man replied, “It is something that will help you digest your food if you get too full up.” Ibn ‘Umar said, “I have not eaten my fill for four months – not because I cannot find food, but because I have lived with people who used to eat their fill at times and go hungry at others.

Abū Dāwūd, Al-Zuhd article 325.

It is reported that Al-Hasan Al-Basrī – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

By He in whose Hand is my soul, I have lived amongst people who never ordered food to be prepared for themselves If [food] was presented to one of them, he would eat, otherwise, he would be silent; and he would not care if it was hot or cold.

Abū Nu’aym, Hilyatu Al-Awliyā` 6:270.

It is also reported that he said:

By Allāh, I have lived amongst people who when taking lunch, if they were about to be full, would stop eating.

Ibid.

It is reported that Al-Fudayl b. ‘Ayyād – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

Two things harden the heart, too much talking and too much food.

Ibn Hibbān Al-Bustī, Rawdatu Al-‘Uqalā` p45, Matba’ah Al-Sunnah Al-Muhammadīyah 1949.

It is reported that Mālik b. Dīnār – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

It is unfitting for a believer that his belly becomes his greatest concern, or that his desires dominate him.

Ibn Abī Al-Dunyā, Al-Jū’ (The Book of Hunger) article 105.

It is also reported that he said:

Whoever controls his belly controls all good deeds.

Ibid. article 99.

It is reported that the Tābi’ī (Successor) ‘Uqbah b. Wassāj – Allāh have mercy on him – was once at a wedding reception where many kinds of dishes were offered and people started trying one dish after another. He started to cry, and said:

“I found the first part of this Ummah fearing all this upon themselves.” And he ate only from one dish.

Ibid. article 261.

It is reported that Muhammad b. Sīrīn – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

A man from the Companions of the Prophet – praise and peace of Allāh be upon him – would sometimes go three days without finding anything to eat, so he would grill some animal skin and eat that. If he couldn’t find anything at all, he would [tie] a rock to himself to straighten his back.

Ibid. article 61.

Reciting the Quran like a Song

It is reported that a person recited in a melodious [1] way in front of Al-A’mash. He said:

A man once recited in front of Anas [ibn Mālik – Allāh be pleased with him] in this manner and he detested it.

Abū Bakr Al-Khallāl, Al-Amr bil-Ma’rūf wa Al-Nahī ‘an Al-Munkar, p110.

It is reported that Sālim [b. ‘Abdillāh b. ‘Umar b. Al-Khattāb] – Allāh have mercy on him – was asked to listen to someone leading the prayer. When he heard the recitation he turned back exclaiming:

Singing! Singing!

Ibn Al-Jawzī, Al-Qussāṣ wa Al-Mudhakkirīn article 183.

It is reported that there was a man who used to lead the prayer in Al-Madīnah. One night, he became euphoric (got carried away by emotion). [2] Al-Qāsim b. Muḥammad recited:

Quran Surah Fussilat: 41,42

Verily it is a mighty and noble Book. Falsehood does not approach it, neither before it nor behind. It is a revelation from the Most Wise, Most Praiseworthy. [Al-Quran, Fussilat: 41, 42]

And he detested [the behavior of the reciter].

Ibid. article 184.

It is reported that Al-Fuḍayl b. ‘Ayyāḍ – Allāh have mercy on him – was asked about reciting the Qurān with melodies,
[1] to which he replied:

This is something they took from singing.

Ibid. article 182

Ibn Dāwūd [‘Abdullāh b. Dāwūd b. ‘Āmir Al-Khuraybī] – Allāh have mercy on him – was once asked by Bishr b. Al-Ḥārith:

If I pass by a man reciting, should I sit and listen? He asked, “Does he become euphoric [2] (because of emotional recitation)?” Bishr replied, “Yes.” Ibn Dāwūd said, “He has shown his bid’ah, do not sit with him.”

Ibid article 186.

Ḥanbal reports:

Abū ‘Abdillāh (Imām Aḥmad) used to detest this innovated recitation which is called Al-Alḥān (melodious, musical recitation).

Ibid. article 187.

And it is reported that Imām Aḥmad said:

“This innovated recitation which is called Al-Alḥān, I detest it.” He was very strict against it. He said, “I believe it resembles singing, and the Qurān is to be preserved from this.”

Ibid. article 188.

There are numerous narrations from Imām Aḥmad about this, amongst them:

When asked about it once he said:

It is something innovated. But [to recite in a beautiful voice is fine] if it is naturally his voice, as was Abū Mūsā [Al-Ash’arī – Allāh be pleased with him].

When asked about reciting with alḥān another time, he replied:

No. [It is allowed] if that is his natural voice, like the voice of Abū Mūsā. As for learning how to recite like this, then no.

He was asked about recitation with melodies and harmonies, to which he replied:

“It is a bid’ah.” It was said to him, ‘They gather to listen to it.” He said, “Allāhul-musta’ān (‘Allāh is the one whose aid is sought’; a statement of sorrow and disapproval.)”

Also, he said:

It is a bid’ah, not to be listened to.

‘Abdullāh b. Yazīd Al-‘Anbarī reports:

A man once asked Aḥmad b. Ḥanbal:

“What do you say about reciting with alḥān?” Abu ‘Abdillāh said, “What is your name?” The man replied, “Muḥammad.” Imām Aḥmad said, “So would you like to be called Mooḥammad?”

Al-Khallāl, op. cit., p99+.

Imām Mālik – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

I do not like reciting in melodies, neither in Ramadan nor at other times, because it resembles singing, and it causes the Qurān to be laughed at. It is said ‘this person is a better reciter than that person (the Quran becomes the subject of rivalry and entertainment).

It has reached me that the slave-girls are taught to recite like this as they are taught how to sing. Do you think this was the way Allāh’s Messenger – peace and blessings be upon him – used to recite?

Al-Qayrawānī, Kitāb Al-Jāmi’ p166.

[1] Arabic: Alḥān. This refers to reciting in a melodious, song-like tone. See notes.

[2] Arabic: Al-ṭarb. This refers to a state of emotional intensity which may bring about physical expression. See notes.

Notes

After relating some of these traditions, Ibn Al-Jawzī states:

Know that melodious musical recitation (Al-Alḥān) is detested for a number of reasons, amongst others: [its reciters] merge letters that are not supposed to be merged, they extend vowels (madd) where there should be no extension, and they omit the hamzah and the doubling of consonants (tashdīd) just in order to preserve the melody. Also, this kind of recitation causes people to get emotionally carried away (al-ṭarb) and it distracts people from pondering the Quran. [3]

Explaining the type of recitation that is praiseworthy and the type that is detestable, Ibn Kathīr states:

What is sought in the Sharī’ah (teachings of Islam) is the type of beautification of the voice that leads to pondering the Quran and seeking to understand it, to submission, humility and compliance with the obedience [of Allah].

As for using voices with novel melodies, composed on distracting and entertaining rhythms and musical rules, then the Quran is far removed from this and is too respected and esteemed to have this approach taken in its delivery.[4]

[3] Ibn Al-Jawzī, Al-Qussāṣ wa Al-Mudhakkirīn p335.

[4] Ibn Kathīr, Faḍā`il Al-Qurān p198.

Guilty by Association

It is reported that Imām Al-Awzā’ī – Allāh have mercy on him – used to say:

Whoever hides his heresy (bid’ah) from us, his companionship is not hidden from us.

Ibn Battah, Al-Ibānah Al-Kubrā article 420.

It is reported that when Sufyān Al-Thawrī – Allāh have mercy on him – came to Baṣrah he started to look into the matter of Al-Rabī’ – i.e. Ibn Ṣabīḥ
(1) – and his status amongst the people. [Sufyān] asked, “What does he believe?” [People] replied, “He believes in nothing but the Sunnah.” He asked, “Who are his companions?” They replied, “The People of Qadr (those who denied Allāh’s pre-decree).” He said, “Then he is a Qadarī (like them).”

Ibid. article 421.

(1) Al-Rabī’ b. Ṣabīḥ is described in biographies as being a truthful reporter, but with a bad memory; a devout worshipper and a mujāhid.

It is reported that Al-Fuḍayl b. ‘Ayyāḍ – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

The souls [of people] are in groups gathered together: those of them that identify with each other come together, and those that are different diverge. It is not possible for an adherent of the Sunnah to incline towards an adherent of Bid’ah except out of hypocrisy (nifāq).

Ibid. article 429.