Hadith

Ibn Abi ‘l-Dunya: On the Awliya’

al-H{āfiz} ibn Abī ’l-Dunyā (d.281 AH):

al-Awliyā’[1]

Allah Protects His Righteous Friends

(Allāh yudāfiu an awliyā’ihi al-s}ālih}īn)

ابن ابي الدنيا: الأولياء

By S. Z. Chowdhury

August 2003.

It was related to us that al-Imam Taqī al-Dīn Abū ’l-H{usayn Ah}mad b. H{amzah b. ‘Alī b. al-H{asan al-Sulamī al-Shāfi‘ī al-Dimashqī in the Mosque of Damascus – May Allah protect her – said: al-Shaykh Abū Sa‘d Ah}mad b. Muh}ummad b. Abī Sa‘d reported to us from his book in the year 511 AH and from him the two distinguished teachers Abū ’l-‘Abbās Ah}mad b. ‘Umar b. Muh}ummad b. Labīdah al-Ma‘arrī and Abū ’l-Baqā’ Hibah Allāh b. S{adaqah b. Hibah Allāh in recited form to both of them while I was present in the 9th of Rabī’ al-Awwal the year 540 AH that both had said: It was related to us that the distinguished ascetic teacher (al-shaykh al-zāhid) and h}adīth master (hāfiz}) Abū Sa‘d Ah}mad b. Muh}ummad b. Abī Sa‘d al-Baghdādī had said: It was related to us that the two distinguished teachers and leaders Abū ‘Amr ‘Abd al-Wahhāb b. Abī ‘Abd Allāh b. Mandah and Abū ’l-‘Abbās Ah}mad b. Muh}ummad b. Ah}mad al-T{ahrānī had said: It was reported to us that Abū Muh}ummad al-H{asan b. Muh}ummad b. H{amduyah al-Madīnī had said: It was reported to us that Abū ’l-H{asan Ah}mad b. Muh}ummad b. ‘Umar b. Abān al-Lubnānī had said: It was reported to us that Abū Bakr ‘Abd Allāh b. Muh}ummad b. ‘Ubayd Allāh b. Sufyān al-Qurashī known famously by ‘ibn Abī ’l-Dunya’ said:

1. al-Haytham b. Khārijah[2] as well as al-H{akam b. Mūsa[3] both reported to us and said: al-H{asan b. Yah}ya al-Khashanī[4] related to us from S{adaqah al-Dimashqī[5] from Hishām al-Kinānī from Anas b. Mālik [RA] from the Prophet (S{AW) from Jibrīl – upon whom be peace – from his Lord The Most High and Holy that He said:

“Whoever engenders enmity towards one of my friends, he has raised me to war [with him] (man ahāna lī waliyan fa-qad bārazanī bi ’l-muh}ārabah). I do not hesitate in doing anything more than when I take the soul of a believer because he despises death and I despise disappointing him (li-annahu yakrahu ’l-mawt wa anā akrahu musā’atahu) and it is necessary for him to have that. And if there is from amongst my believing servants one who desires a means for gaining knowledge (yurīdu bāban min al-ilm), I will suffice it for him (fa-akuffuhu anhu), no vanity will enter him as he will be depraved because of it. And if my servant desires to draw near to me by way of fulfilling [his] duty, I will not make it incumbent upon him; and if my servant continues to do for me more than what is required by duty (wa mā yazālu abdī yatanaffalu lī) until I love him, then if I love him, I am his ears (kuntu lahu saman), his sight (bas}ran), his hands (yadan) as well as his means (muayyidan); and if he calls me, then I respond to him, if he asks me I grant it to him and if he is sincere to me, I am sincere to him.

Moreover, there are from amongst my believing servants those who do not redress their belief [except the one who is rich so if I make him poor, then that will deprave him (la-afsadahu dhālika); and there are also from amongst my believing servants those who do not redress their belief][6] except the one who is poor so if I make him content and happy that will deprave him; and if there is from amongst my believing servants one whose belief does not redress him except the one who is healthy and if I make him ill (wa law asqamtuhu), then that will deprave him and there is from amongst my believing servants one who does not redress his belief except the one who is ill so if I make him better, then that will deprave him. Without doubt, I manage the affairs of my servant with my knowledge (udabbiru amr ibadī bi-ilmī) and indeed I am All-Knowing and All-Aware.”[7]

And Allah indeed knows best.


[1] The excerpt is taken from his book al-Awliyā’ (‘The Friends of Allah’), ed. by Majdī al-Sayyid Ibrāhīm, al-Maktabah al-Qur’ān, Cairo n.d. pp.27-28. For an account of ibn Abī ’l-Dunyā’s life, see Tārīkh al-Baghdād (10:89) by al-Khat}īb; Tadhkirah al-H{uffāz} (2:677) and Siyar al-Alam al-Nubala’ (13:397) of al-H{āfiz} al-Dhahabī; al-Ibar (2:65); al-Fihrist of ibn al-Nudaym (p.262); T{abaqāt al-H{anābilah (1:192); al-Bidāyah wa ’l-Nihāyah (11:71) of Imām ibn Kathīr; Fawāt al-Wafayāt (2:228) of Muh}ummad b. Shākir b. Ah}mad al-Kattābī; al-Nujūm al-Zāhirah (3:86); al-Kāmil fī ’l-Tārīkh by ibn al-Athīr (7:468); Tahdhīb al-Tahdhīb (6:12) of ibn H{ajar al-‘Asqalānī; Tahdhīb al-Kamāl of al-Mizzī (2:736) & al-Alām of al-Zarqalī (4:260) all referenced in the introduction, pp.17-18.

[2] He is al-Haytham b. Khārijah al-Marwazī, Abū Ah}mad or Abū Yah}ya, “truthful (s{adūq)” according to ibn H{ajar al-‘Asqalānī in the Taqrīb al-Tahdhīb (2:332) as well as Abū H{ātim al-Rāzī in al-Jarh} wa ’l-Tadīl (9:86); “trustworthy (thiqah)” according to H{āfiz} ibn Ma‘īn and “he has no faults (la ba’sa bihi)” as stated by al-Nasā’ī in al-Khat}īb’s Tārīkh al-Baghdād (14:58) and ibn H{ibbān mentions him in al-Thiqāt (9:236). See also al-JumBayn Rijāl al-Sah}īh}ayn (2:555).

[3] Abu S{ālih} al-Baghdādī al-Qant}arī “truthful (s{adūq)” as per ibn H{ajar in the Taqrīb al-Tahdhīb (1:191) as well as Abū H{ātim al-Rāzī in al-Jarh} wa ’l-Tadīl (3:128); al-‘Ijlī said he was “trustworthy (thiqah)” in Tārīkh al-Thiqāt (p.127) so too did ibn Sa‘d in the al-T{abaqāt (7:346) and ibn H{ibbān in al-Thiqāt (8:195). See also al-Khat}īb al-Baghdādī’s Tārīkh al-Baghdād (8:226) and al-JumBayn Rijāl al-Sah}īh}ayn (1:101).

[4] He was originally from Khorasan. Imam ibn H{ajar grades him as “truthful but committing excessive errors (s{adūq kathīr al-ghalat})” in Taqrīb al-Tahdhīb (1:174) and Abū H{ātim makes a similar comment where he said “truthful but has a poor memory (s{adūq sayyi’ al-h}ifz})” in al-Jarh} wa ’l-Tadīl (3:44); al-Dāraqut}nī mentions him in his D{uafā’ (p.190) saying he was “rejected in narrations (matrūk al-h}adīth)” as well as ibn ‘Adī in al-Kāmil fī ’lD{uafā’ (2:323). See also al-Dhahabī’s Mizān al-Itidāl (1:525) and al-Dārimī’s Tārīkh al-Dawrī (2:116).

[5] He is S{adaqah b. ‘Abd Allāh graded as “weak (d}aīf) by ibn H{ajar, Taqrīb al-Tahdhīb (1:349); Imām Ah}mad b. H{anbal said “he is nothing (laysa bi-shay’)” in his al-Ilal wa Marifah al-Rijāl (1:199); al-Nasā’ī listed him in his Kitāb al-D{uafā’ (p.307), so too does al-‘Uqaylī in his D{uafā’ (p.378) and ibn H{ibbān in his Kitāb al-Majrūh}īn (1:374).

[6] This bracketed line is omitted in the original but the full text is found in Abū Nu‘aym’s citation of it in his H{ilyat al-Awliyā’ (8:318).

[7] Its chain as it stands is weak (d}aīf). Abū Nu‘aym cites it in H{ilyat al-Awliyā’ (8:318) and said regarding it: “A rare narration from Anas. Nobody except al-Hishām has narrated from [Anas] in this context. S{adaqah also reported from him and al-H{asan singularly reported (tafarrada) from him.” Moreover, al-T{abarānī relates it in Mujam al-Kabīr with its meaning where al-H{āfiz} al-Haythamī commented: “In the chain is ‘Alī b. Yazīd and he is weak’ (Majma al-Zawā’id, 2:248).” ibn H{ajar al-‘Asqalānī too grades ‘Alī b. Yazīd as “weak (d}aīf)” in Taqrīb al-Tahdhīb (2:52); Bukhārī calls him “rejected in narration (munkar al-h}adīth)” in Kitāb al-D{uafā’ al-S{aghīr (p.86) & cf. his Tārikh al-Kabīr (6:301); Abū Zur‘ah comments “he is not strong (laysa bi ’l-qawiyy)”; Abū H{ātim al-Rāzī states “he is weak in narrations (d}aīf al-h}adīth)” in al-Jarh} wa ’l-Tadīl (6/208); al-Nasā’ī says “he is not trustworthy (laysa bi-thiqah)” and also says of him “discarded (matrūk al-h}adīth)” in his Kitāb al-D{uafā’ (p.217); al-Daraqut}nī too grades him as “discarded (matrūk)” in al-D{uafā’ wa ’lMatrūkīn (p.408)” & al-H{ākim says of him “he is one whose narrations are discarded (dhāhib al-h}adīth).” The basis of the narration, however, does have evidence (shawāhid) as al-Bukhārī relates one such evidence in the ‘Book of Riqāq’ under the section on ‘Modesty’ (8:131, h}adīth no. 6,501) from the marfū‘ narration of Abū Hurayrah which is as follows: 

“Whoever shows enmity to someone devoted to me (waliyan), I shall be at war with him. My servant draws not near to me with anything more loved by me than the religious duties I have enjoined upon him, and my servant continues to draw near to me with supererogatory works so that I shall love him. When I love him I am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes and his foot with which he walks. Were he to ask [something] of me, I would surely give it to him, and were he to ask me for refuge I would surely grant him it. I do not hesitate about anything as much as I hesitate about seizing the soul of my faithful servant: he hates death and I hate hurting him.” The translation has been taken from Forty Hadith Qudsi, (trans. by E. Ibrahim and D. Johnson-Davies), h}adīth no. 25, p.104.

Furthermore, both al-H{āfiz ibn H{ajar al-‘Asqalānī in the Fath} al-Bārī (3:2857-2859) as well as his student Imām al-Suyūt}ī in his epistle entitled al-Qawl al-Jaliyy contained in his small compendium al-H{āwi li ’l-Fatāwa, have collected the various evidences pertaining to this narration.

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