Sufyān b. ʿUyainah

The Importance of Knowing Different Opinions Before Giving Fatwa

Saʿīd b. Abī ʿArūbah – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

Whoever has not heard the differences of opinion, then do not consider him a scholar.

Ibn ʿAbd Al-Barr, Jāmiʿ Bayān Al-ʿIlm wa Faḍlihī no. 1521.

It is reported that Sufyān b. ʿUyainah – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

The most audacious people in giving verdicts (fatwā) are those who know the least about the differences of opinion amongst the scholars.

Op. cit. 1527.

It is reported that Imām Mālik – Allāh have mercy on him – was asked:

“Which kind of person is allowed to give verdicts (fatwā)?” He replied, “It is not allowed to give verdicts except for the person who knows what people have differed over.” He was asked, “Do you mean the differences of the people of (mere) opinions?” He replied, “No, the different opinions of the Companions of Muḥammad ﷺ, and the one who also knows the abrogating from the abrogated [texts] in the Qurān and in the ḥadīth of the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ – such a person can give fatwā.”

Op. cit. 1529.

It is reported that Yaḥyā b. Sallām – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

It is not right for the one who does not know differences of opinion to give verdicts, and it is not allowed for the one who does not know about the various statements [of the scholars] to say: I prefer such-and-such opinion.

Op. cit. 1534.

Not Speaking in Front of Elders

Samurah b. Jundub – Allāh be pleased with him – said:

I was young during the time of Allāh’s Messenger ﷺ and I had memorised things he had said; nothing stopped me from speaking except for the fact that there were amongst us men who were older than me.

Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, Kitāb Al-Janāʾiz #964.

Al-Ḥasan b. ʿUtaybah reports:

Sufyān Al-Thawrī said to Sufyān b. ʿUyainah, “Why do you not speak (narrate)?” He replied, “While you are alive, no way.”

Al-Khaṭīb Al-Baġdādī, Al-Jāmiʿ li Akhlāq Al-Rāwī #698.

Ḥusayn b. Al-Walīd Al-Naysābūrī said: a reliable person informed me:

ʿAbdullāh b. ʿUmar (Al-ʿUmarī, great-great grandson of ʿUmar) was once asked about something to do with ḥadīth, so he replied, “As long as Abū ʿUthmān (his older brother) is alive, then no.”

Op. cit. #699.

It is reported that ʿĀṣim said:

Zirr (Ibn Ḥubaysh) was older than Abū Wāʾil (Shaqīq b. Salamah); so if they ever sat together [in a gathering] Abū Wāʾil would not speak with Zirr (out of respect).

Op. cit. #702.

It is also reported that:

When Ibrāhīm and Al-Shaʿbī were together, Ibrāhīm would not speak about anything, because of his age.

Op. cit. #703.

It is reported from Abū ʿAbdillāh Al-Muʿayṭī that he said:

I saw Abū Bakr b. ʿAyyāsh in Makkah. Sufyān b. ʿUyainah came to him and knelt in front of him. Abū Bakr asked him, “How are you Sufyān? Sufyān, how is your father’s family?” Then a man came and asked Sufyān about a ḥadīth, so Sufyān said, “Do not ask me as long as this Shaykh is sitting here.”

Op. cit. #705.

It is reported from Al-Ḥasan b. ʿAlī Al-Khallāl that he said:

We were once with Muʿtamir b. Sulaymān while he was speaking to us, when Ibn Al-Mubārak approached. Muʿtamir cut short his speech. It was said to him, “Speak (or narrate) to us.” He replied, “We do not speak in front of our seniors.”

Op. cit. #706.

And it is reported that ʿAbdullāh b. Al-Mubārak was once asked about an issue in the presence of Sufyān b. ʿUyainah, so he replied, “We have been forbidden from speaking in front of our seniors.”

Al-Dhahabī, Siyar Aʿlām Al-Nubalāʾ 8:420.

The Highest Standard

It is reported that Sufyān b. ‘Uyainah – Allāh have mercy on him – said:
Verily, the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ is the highest standard; things are measured by him: his character, lifestyle and behavior. Whatever agrees with [these] is true and correct, and whatever contradicts [them] is wrong.

Al-Khatīb Al-Baghdādī, Akhlāq Al-Rāwī wa Ādāb Al-Sāmi’ article 8.

The Blessings of Marriage according to the Sunnah

Yaḥyā b. Yaḥyā Al-NaysābūrĪ reports:

I was once with Sufyān b. ‘Uyainah – Allah have mercy on him, when a man came to him and said, “O Abū Muḥammad, I complain to you of so-and-so”, meaning his wife, “I am the lowest and most despicable thing to her.” [Sufyān] lowered his head for a few moments, then said, “Perhaps you wanted her in order to better your status.” The man said, “Indeed, o Abū Muḥammad.” Sufyān said, “Whoever goes for glory will be tried with ignominy, whoever goes for wealth will be tried with poverty, but whoever goes for religiousness, Allah will bring together for him glory and wealth with the religion.” He then started to narrate to him:

We were four brothers: Muḥammad, ‘Umrān, IbrāhĪm and I. Muḥammad was the eldest, ‘Umrān was the youngest, and I was in the middle. When Muḥammad wanted to marry, he desired status and married a woman of higher standing, so Allah tried him with ignominy. ‘Umrān desired wealth, so he married a richer woman and Allah tried him with poverty: [her family] took everything from him and gave him nothing.

I pondered their situation. Mu’ammar b. Rāshid once came to us so I consulted him on the situation and told him the story of my brothers. He reminded me of the ḥadĪth of Yaḥyā b. Ja’dah and the ḥadĪth of ‘Ā`ishah. The ḥadĪth of Yaḥyā b. Ja’dah states that the Prophet – Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – said, “A woman is married for four things: her religion, her status (lineage), her wealth or her beauty; so take the religious one and be successful.” The ḥadĪth of ‘Ā`ishah states that the Prophet – Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – said, “The most blessed woman is she who is easiest to maintain.”

Thus, I chose [to marry a woman of] religion and modest dowry, in accordance with the Sunnah of Allah’s Messenger – Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, and Allah gave me status and wealth along with the religion.

Abū Nu’aym, Hilyatu Al-Awliyā` 7:289, 290.

Note
The first ḥadĪth is recorded by Al-BukhārĪ and Muslim. The second is found in Al-Nasā`Ī and other collections but has been graded weak by scholars including Shaykh Al-AlbānĪ. However, scholars point out there is another narration that supports and adds to its meaning. This ḥadĪth states:
It is from the blessing in a woman that she has an easy dowry, an easy proposal [via her guardian] and an easy womb (i.e. she is fertile and bares children without difficulty). One of the reporters of this narration, ‘Urwah, said “And I say from myself, one of the first signs of evil from a woman is for her to have a high dowry.”
This ḥadĪth is recorded by Imām Aḥmad and others and is graded ḥasan by Shaykh Al-AlbānĪ.

Losing Ahl Al-Sunnah

It is reported that Imām Ayyūb [Al-Sakhtiyānī] – Allāh have mercy on him – said, “When I hear of the death of a man from Ahl Al-Sunnah, it is as if I have lost a part of my body.”

Al-Lālakā`ī, Sharh Usūl I’tiqād Ahl Al-Sunnah wa Al-Jamā’ah, Vol.1 p46.

It is reported that Hammād b. Zayd said, “When the news of the death of a young man from the followers of hadīth reached Ayyūb, [the sorrow] could be seen on him; and when the news of the death of a man who was mentioned as being a devout worshipper would reach him, [it’s effect] on him was not noticed.”

Al-Lālakā`ī, Sharh Usūl I’tiqād Ahl Al-Sunnah wa Al-Jamā’ah, Vol.1 p51.

It is also reported that Hammād b. Zayd said, “I was with Ayyūb Al-Sakhtiyānī while he was washing [the body] of Shu’ayb b. Al-Habhāb, saying, ‘Anyone who wishes for the death of a person from Ahl Al-Sunnah has wished for the light of Allāh to be extinguished; but Allāh will keep His light complete, even though the unbelievers may hate it.’ [Sūrah Al-Saff: 8]”

Al-Lālakā`ī, Sharh Usūl I’tiqād Ahl Al-Sunnah wa Al-Jamā’ah, Vol.1 p52.

It is reported that Asad b. Mūsā said, “We were with Sufyān b. ‘Uyainah when he was informed of the death of Al-Darāwardī, and he became visibly distressed. [Al-Darāwardī] hadn’t actually died, so we said, ‘We didn’t think you would reach such a state.’ He said, ‘[Al-Darāwardī] is from Ahl Al-Sunnah.’”

Al-Lālakā`ī, Sharh Usūl I’tiqād Ahl Al-Sunnah wa Al-Jamā’ah, Vol.1 p72.