« PreviousContinue »
under the word al-Asbahi, that Mâlik was born in 93 or 94: the truth is known to God alone! The hafiz Abu Abd Allah al-Humaidi has inserted in his Judva tal-Muktabis (10) the following relation, which had been first made by al-Kaanabi (vol. II. p. 19): “I went to Målik Ibn Anas in his last illness, and saluted “ him; I then sat down and, perceiving that he wept, I said : “0 Abû Abd Allah! " " what maketh thee weep?' And he answered : O Ibn Kaanab! why should “I not weep? and who has more reason to weep than I? By Allah ! I wish “I had been flogged and reflogged for every question of law on which I “pronounced an opinion founded on my own private judgment (11)! I had it “« in my power to abstain from doing so; O that I had never given opinions " " founded on my own private judgment!' or other words to that effect.” He died at Medina, and was interred in the cemetery called al-Baki. Malik was of a very fair complexion, inclining to red; tall in stature, having a large head, and the forehead bald; he wore clothes of those excellent stuffs which are brought from Aden, and he disapproved of shaving off the mustaches, considering it to be a sort of mutilation : he never changed the colour of his grey hair, by dying it. The following elegy was composed on his death by Abû Mubammad Jaafar Ibn Ahmad Ibn as-Sarraj (vol. I. p. 323):
May the grave which has united Malik to al-Baki be watered with benignant showers from the dark thunder-cloud, flashing its lightnings. He was the imâm whose Muwatta (12) has spread his doctrines throughout the earth. The prophet Muhammad, whose law he exalted, will protect him and preserve him from harm. His Traditions were of the highest authority; his gravity was impressive; and, when he delivered them, all his auditors were plunged in admiration. He had also (disciples, upright friends of truth, land-marks (to guide us); you might (vainly) ask which of them was the most learned. The son of Idris alone (as-Shafi) would suffice for bis glory, but that good fortune was only one of many favours.
Asbahi means descended from Zů Asbah; this person's name was al-Hårith, and his father, Auf Ibn Malik Ibn Zaid Ibn Shaddad Ibn Zara, was one of the posterity of Yårub Ibn Kahtân. The tribe of Zû Asbah is one of the largest in Yemen, and it is from it that the whips called asbahite (as-Siyât al-Asbahiya) derive their name. In the Jamhara tan-Nisab, Ibn al-Kalbi gives the genealogy of Zû Asbah in the following manner : “ Harith, called Zù Asbah, was the son of “ Màlik Ibn Zaid Ibn Ghauth Ibn Saad Ibn Aûf Ibn Adi Ibn Mâlik Ibn Zaid Ibn “ Sahl Ibn Amr Ibn Kais Ibn Moawia Ibn Djocham Ibn Abd Shams Ibn Wathil “Ibn al-Ghauth Ibn Katan Ibn Arib Ibn Zuhair Ibn Aiman Ibn Humaisa Ibn “ Himyar Ibn Sabà Ibn Yashjub Ibn Yårub Ibn Kahtân ; Kahtàn, whose real “ name was Yoktan (13), was the son of Akbir (Eber) Ibn Shålikh (Salah Ibn “ Arfakhshad (Arfaxad) Ibn Sâm (Sem) Ibn Nuh (Noah).” I must here observe that the genealogy of Zû Ashbah, as I have given it at the beginning of this article, is copied from al-Házimi's work, the Kitâb al-Ajala (14).
(1) The lives of these persons are given in this work.
(2) The kadi Abu Said Yahya Ibn Said al-Ansari was a native of Medina. His authority as a traditionist was cited by Mâlik, Abû Hanifa, Sofyån Ibn Oyaina, and Sofyan ath-Thauri. Having gone to kufa to see Abu Jaafar al-Mansûr, that khalif appointed him kadi of al-Hashimiya. He died A H. 143 (A.D. 760-1).-(AdDahabi's Tabakat al-Huffaz. Abû 'l-Mahâsin's Nujum.)
(3) The life of Ibn Abi Zib is given in this volume.
(6) Abů ’l-Faraj Ibn al-Jauzi's work, the Shuzur al-Okud fi Tarikh il-Ohud (necklace-beads, on the events of history), is not noticed by Ibn Khallikån when giving the life of that historian. He quotes it, however, very frequently.
(7) Abû Hanifa declares that the longest period of pregnancy is twenty-four lunar months; but as-Shafi lengthens that term to four years and Malik to six. See d'Ohsson's Tab. gen. de l'Empire Othoman, tom. V. p. 281.– It would appear that Målik was born three years after his reputed father's death.
(8) His life is given by our author.
(12) Al-Muwatta, or the beaten path, is the title of the collection of Traditions which forms part of the basis on which the Malikite system of jurisprudence is grounded. The greater part of its contents are legal maxims and opinions delivered by the Companions of Muhammad.
(13) This is the Joktan of the English translation of the Bible; Gen. X 28. (14) The life of al-Hazimi will be found in this work.
MALIK IBN DINAR.
Abù Yahya Malik Ibn Dinàr, a native of Basra and a maula to the family of the tribe of Koraish called the Banů Sama Ibn Luwai, was distinguished for his learning, self-mortification, profound piety, and devout resignation. He never tasted of any food but that which he had procured with the produce of his own labour, his profession being to write copies of the Koran, for which he received a pecuniary retribution. It is related of him that he said: “I read in the Old “ Testament that whosoever worketh with his hand shall have blessings in his “ life-time and at his death.” He was one day present at an assembly where a story-teller related a tale which drew tears from the eyes of the audience; almost immediately after, some sheep's heads were brought in, and they began to eat of them. Being invited to partake of their fare, he replied: “ Those who
wept may eat thereof, but I wept not.” His merits were most abundant, and the recollection of them still subsists. It is thus that Ibn Bashkuwal (vol. I. p. 491) relates, in his work entitled Kitab al-Mustaghithin, etc. (book of the implorers of God's assistance) : “ Mâlik Ibn Dinar had one day taken his seat (to
teach), when a man went up to him, and said: “0 Abû Yahya ! invoke God ““ to help a woman who is four years gone with child, and is in great tribu««• lation (1). At these words Mâlik got angry and, having shut the volume of “ the Koran (in which he was reading), he remained silent for some time, and "(then said : “These people will positively have us to be prophets !' and recom“menced reading. Having ended, he called upon God, saying : O Lord ! if that " which is in the womb of this woman be a girl, change it for her into a boy! "" for Thou canst undo and maintain what thou pleasest ; and the book of fate " is in thy possession !' He then raised up his hands, and the people did the
same, when a messenger came to tell the man that his wife was on the point “ of being delivered. Målik had scarcely time to lower his hands, when the man “ reappeared at the door of the mosque, bearing on his shoulder a four year old “ boy, with short curly hair and a complete set of teeth, although his navel“ string was yet uncut.” He was one of the great saints. His death took
place at Basra, A. H. 131 (A.D. 748-9), a short time before the plague (2). 617 —Writing of Mâlik Ibn Dinâr, I am reminded of some verses which were
recited to me by their author, my friend, Jamâl ad-din Mahmûd Ibn Abd. He had composed them on a certain prince, who waged war against another and vanquished him, taking his treasures, and making captives of his chiefs and his warriors. When he had got all his adversary's property into his own possession, he distributed the money to his troops, and put his prisoners in chains. It was then that Ibn Abd celebrated his praises in a kasida of the highest excellence. He describes in it that battle, and in one passage, which we give here, he has a very clever play on the name of Mâlik Ibn Dinar ;
You set at liberty the wealth which they had kept in confinement, and you reduced to bondage those who before were free. Then each of them who had been a malik (a person possessing property) was induced to wish that he were now a dinar (3).
This is remarkably fine, and I have been induced to mention it for that
(1) See vol. II. p. 549, note (7). (2) “ In this year (A.H. 131) occurred the great plague which carried off immense numbers. Ibn al-Jauzi says that seventy thousand persons died of it in a single day."-(Nujum.) (3) Because all the dinars, or gold pieces, so long treasured up and confired, had been just set at liberty.
MAJD AD-DIN IBN AL-ATHIR.
Abû 's-Saâdât al-Mubârak Ibn Abi 'l-Karam Muhammad Ibn Muhammad Ibn Abd al-Karim Ibn Abd el-Wahid as-Shaibâni, generally known by the appellation of Ibn al-Athir al-Jazari, was distinguished (from his brother) by the title of Majd ad-din (glory of religion). Ibn al-Mustaufi says of him in his History (of Arbela): “ He was the most renowned of the learned, the most respected of the “ men of talent; one of those distinguished characters at whom the finger of “ admiration is pointed, and whose skill in the conduct of affairs acquired them “the highest confidence.” He studied the science of grammar under Abů Muhammad Said Ibn ad-Dahhân (vol. I. p. 574), but did not hear Traditions delivered, neither did he teach them, till he was more advanced in life. He is the author of some elegantly written works, and he composed a number of epistles replete with talent. In one of his productions, the Jdmi al-Osul fi Ahadith ir-Rasûl (the combiner of the fundamental treatises on the Traditions of the Apostle), he inserted the contents of six authentic collections (1); it is drawn up on the plan of Razin's work (2), but contains a great quantity of additional matter. His other productions are: the Kitâb an-Nihâya (utmost efforts), which is a treatise on the obscure terms occurring in the Traditions, and fills five volumes; the Kitab al-Insâf, etc. (impartial comparison between the Kashf and the Kashshầf) (3); a commentary on the Koran selected from the similar works of ath-Thâlabi (vo!. I. p. 60) and az-Zamakhshari; the al-Mustafa wa 'l-Mukhtår fi 'l-Adeyat wa 'l-Azkår (the selected and chosen, treating of the forms of invocation to God, and of the prayers commemorative of his bounties); a small volume on the art of penmanship; the Kitab al-Badi (liber egregiæ materiæ), being a commentary on Ibn ad-Dahhân's Principles of Grammar; a collection of his own epistles; the Shafi, or healing, being a commentary on the imam as-Shâfi's Musnad, or collection of authenticated Traditions, etc. He was born at Jazira tibn Omar, in one of the months of Rabi, A. H. 544 (July-Aug., A. D. 1149). After passing his early youth in that place, he removed to Mosul, and entered into the service of Mujahid ad-din Kaimáz (vol. II. p. 510), the lieutenant-governor of that state, and was employed by him to write his correspondence. On the imprisonment of Kâimâz, he passed into the service of Izz ad-din Masûd Ibn Maudůd, the lord of Mosul, and was placed at the head of the board of correspondence, which post he continued to fill till that prince's death. He was then attached to the service of Nûr ad-din Arslàn-Shah (vol. I. p. 174), the son of Izz ad-din Maudûd, by whom he was treated with great favour, and under whose protection he enjoyed the utmost honour and respect. He served him for some time in the capacity of secretary of state, till a malady deprived him of the use of his arms and legs; this completely debarred him from fulfilling the duties of his office, and obliged him to confine himself to his house, where he had all the men of rank and learning for constant visitors. He erected a ribat (or convent) at a village near Mosul, called Kasr Harb, and (having consecrated) the house which he inhabited at Mosul ( to a similar pious purpose), he settled all his property on these two establishments. I have been informed that he composed all the works above-mentioned after his retirement from office, having then sufficient leisure for the task, and being