patience

Five Essential Qualities of a Mufti

Ibn Battah records that Imām Ahmad – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

No man should appoint himself to issue verdicts (fatwa) until and unless he fulfills five characteristics:

  • First, he should have a [firm and good] intention; for if he does not, he will have no light upon him, and nor will his words.
  • Second, he should be forbearing, tranquil and serene.
  • Third, he should be strong upon what he is involved in, strong in its knowledge.
  • Fourth, he should have sufficient means (wealth), otherwise the people will chew him up.
  • Fifth, he should know people and their ways.

Ibn Battah, Ibtāl Al-Hiyal p24.

After quoting this statement, and before his commentary on it, Ibn Al-Qayyim states:

This is one of the proofs of the eminence of Imām Ahmad and his lofty status in knowledge and insight; for these five are the pillars of fatwā, and to the extent that there is deficiency in any of them, to that extent faults will appear in the mufti.

I’lām Al-Muwaqi’īn, 6:106

Truth and Falsehood, Praise and Blame

It is reported that Khālid b. Ma’dan – Allāh have mercy on him – said:
Whoever seeks praise by going against the truth, Allāh will throw it back upon him as blame, and whoever faces blame in order to conform to the truth, Allāh will return it as praise for him.

Al-Dhahabī, Siyar A’lām Al-Nubalā` 4:540.

The trials of a Believer and the Trials of a Sinner

Salmān Al-Fārsī – Allāh be pleased with him – once visited a sick friend. When he entered upon him he said:

Have glad tidings, for verily Allāh makes the illness of a believer an expiation [for his sins] and a cause of being pleased, whereas the illness of a sinner is like a camel that has been tied by its owners, then released by them: it knows not why it was tied up nor why it was released.

Al-Bukhārī, Al-Adab Al-Mufrad in the Chapter on the Expiation [of sins through] illness. Graded ṣaḥīḥ by Shaykh Al-Albānī in Ṣaḥīḥ Al-Adab Al-Mufrad.

Imam Ahmad on Rebelling against Rulers

Abul-Ḥārith Aḥmad b. Muḥammad Al-Ṣā`igh, the close and respected friend of Imām Aḥmad, reports:

I asked Abū ‘Abdillāh (Imām Aḥmad) about something that had occurred in Baghdād, and [because of which] some people were considering revolting [against the ruler]. I said, “O Abū ‘Abdillāh, what do you say about taking part in the revolt with these people?” He decried it and started saying, “Subḥānallāh! The blood [of the people], the blood [of the people]! I do not believe in this and I do not tell others to do it. For us to suffer our situation in patience is better than the fitnah (tribulation) in which blood is spilt, property is taken, and the prohibited are violated (e.g. the honor of women). Do you not know what happened to the people (in the days of the previous fitnah)?” I said, “And the people today, Abū ‘Abdillāh, are they not in fitnah [because of the ruler]?” He replied, “If so, it is a limited fitnah, but if the sword is raised, the fitnah will engulf everything and there will be no way to escape. To suffer patiently this [current difficulty], where Allāh keeps your religion safe for you is better for you.” I saw him decry revolting against the leaders, and say, “[Do not spill the people’s] blood. I do not believe in this and I do not command it.”

Abū Bakr Al-Khallāl, Al-Sunnah article 89.

Umar on obeying the Muslim Ruler

Suwayd b. Ghaflah reports that ‘Umar b. Al-Khattāb – Allāh be pleased with him – once took him by the hand and said:

O Abū Umayah, by Allāh, I know not if we will meet again after today. Fear and obey Allāh your Lord until the Day of Resurrection, as if you see Him, and obey the ruler (imām) even if he is a cut-nosed Abyssinian slave: if he beats you, be patient; if he robs you, be patient and if he belittles you, be patient. And if he tells you [to do something] to the detriment of your religion (to sin), say: “I hear and obey, [but] my blood goes before my religion.” Never leave the Main Muslim Body (Al-Jamā’ah).

Ibn Zanjawayh, Kitāb Al-Amwāl article 30; Ibn Abī Zamanīn, Uṣūl Al-Sunnah article 205 with a slight variation in wording. Also recorded in other collections.