humbleness

Runaway Scholars

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

It has reached me that the scholars of old would practice what they learned when they learned it, and through practicing they would become occupied, and because of being occupied, they would be missed, and when they were missed they were sought after, and when they were sought after they would flee.

Al-Dhahabi, Siyar ʾAʿlām Al-Nubalāʾ 8:439,440

The Humble Elite

It is reported that Imām Al-Shāfʿee – Allāh have mercy on him – said, The loftiest in status are those who do not know their own status, and the most virtuous of them are those who do not know their own virtue.

Al-Dhahabī, Siyar ʾAʿlām Al-Nubalāʾ 10:99

Humble Moves

It is reported that Hammād b. Zayd said:

Ayyūb [Al-Sakhtiyānī] used to have a red shawl which he wore in ihrām, and which he had kept for his shroud. I used to walk with him sometimes; he would take different paths and I would be amazed at how he knew of them. He would do this fleeing from people in case they recognized him and said, “There’s Ayyūb.”

And it is reported that Shu’bah said:

I would sometimes go with Ayyūb for some need, but he would not let me walk with him; he would move here and there in case people noticed him.

Al-Dhahabī, Siyar A’lām Al-Nubalā` 6:22

Humble Beginnings

It is reported that Al-Ahnaf b. Qays – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

I find it amazing how anyone who passed through the urinary tract twice could ever be arrogant and haughty!

Al-Dhahabī, Siyar A’lām Al-Nubalā` 4:92.

The Humble Heretic

‘Alī b. Abī Khālid – Allāh have mercy on him – reports:

I once said to Aḥmad, “This shaykh – referring to an older man who was with us – is my neighbor. I told him not to keep the company of a certain person, and he would like to hear what you have to say about him: I am referring to Ḥārith Al-Qaṣīr (Al-Ḥārith Al-Muḥāsibī). Many years ago, you saw me with him and told me not to sit with him nor speak with him. I have not spoken to him since that time. This shaykh, however, does sit with him. So what do you say?”

I saw Aḥmad go red with anger, his eyes bulging; I had never before seen him like this. He started to say, “Him! May Allāh do such-and-such to him! Only those well-informed of him know what he really is, only those who really know him know what he is. Al-Mughāzilī, Ya’qūb and so-and-so sat with him, and he caused them to adopt the views of Jahm (Ibn Ṣafwān, leader of the Jahmites). They were destroyed because of him.”

The old man said, “But Abū ‘Abdillāh, he reports ḥadīth, and he is mild and humble; he has done such-and-such [good works].” Abū ‘Abdillāh (Imām Aḥmad) became angry and began repeating, “Let not his humility and softness deceive you”. He also said, “Do not be fooled by his bowed head, he is an evil man; only those well-informed of him through experience know him. Do not speak to him – with all disrespect to him. Are you going to sit with everyone who narrates from Allāh’s Messenger – may the praise and peace of Allāh be upon him – though he be a heretic (mubtadi’)? No, with all disrespect.”

Ṭabaqāt Al-Ḥanābilah, article 325.