Abu Bakr ash-Shibli

Abu Sahl as-Sa’luki said, “I listened to ash-Shibli say, ‘Creation loves You for Your blessings, and I love You for Your trial’”

Ash-Shibli said, “I never say ‘Allah’, but that I ask forgiveness of Allah for my word ‘Allah’.”

He used to use salt as kohl so that he would not go to sleep.

Abu ‘Imran al-Ashyab had a circle and ash-Shibli went to it . When Abu ‘Imran saw him, he rose for him and sat him at his side. One of the companions of Abu ‘Imran wanted to show people that ash-Shibli was ignorant. He askedhim, “Abu Bakr, when a woman’s menstrual blood resembles the blood of false menstruation, what does she do?” He gave him eighteen answers. Abu ‘Imran went to him and kissed his hand. He said, “Abu Bakr, I know twelve, and six I have never heard before!”

Ash-Shibli stood one day at the Bab at-Taq with Abu’t-Tayyib al-Jalla. He was one of the people of knowledge. He spoke a long time with him. The people gathered to Abu’-t-Tayyib to ask him to ask ash-Shibli to make supplication for them and to show them a sign. Abu’t-Tayyib pressed him in that. He raised his hands and made a supplication which was not understood. Then he gazed at the sky and did not cover his eyes from mid-morning until noon. People said, “Allah is greater,” made supplication, and there was tumult.

When he was at Jalawi with a sauce-pan boiling in front of him, he bought some of it for a friend of his. He scooped up a handful from the pan while it was boiling and put it in a flat loaf of bread and took it to Ibn Mujahid. He got up for him. His companions said, “You rise for ash-Shibli and you do not rise for Ibn ‘Isa, the wazir?” He said, “Shall I not rise for the one the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, respects? I saw the Messenger of Allah in a dream and he said to me, ‘Abu Bakr, tomorrow a man of the people of the Garden will come to you, so honour him.’” He said, “Two nights after this, Ibn Mujahid dreamt of the Prophet who told him, “Abu Bakr, Allah has honoured you for honouring a man of the people of the Garden.” “He said, ‘I asked, “Messenger of Allah, by what did he merit this from you?’ He replied, “Every Thursday he prayed five prayers in which he remembered me after every prayer and recited, “A Messenger has come to you from among yourselves. Grievous to you is what you suffer.” (9:128)’”

Ahmad ibn ‘Ata’ said, “I heard ash-Shibli say, ‘I wrote hadith for twenty years and I sat with the fuqaha’ for twenty years.” He used to learn fiqh according to Malik.”

Another said, “I heard ash-Shibli say, ‘I know the one who did not enter into this business until he had spent all of what he owned and had sunk in the Tigris 70 sachels of books in his handwriting, and memorised the Muwatta’ and recited such-and-such a recitation,’ i.e. himself.”

He said, “My father left 60,000 dinars, not to mention the estates and real estate, and I spent all of it. Then I sat with the poor and I did not go back to a refuge nor appeal for help from anyone.”

One of them said, “I came to ash-Shibli and he exclaimed, ‘Ahmad, we are lost!’ ‘How?’ I asked. He replied, ‘It came to mind that I was a miser. I said when I had raised my head, “By Your might, I am not a miser!” My thought answered me that I was a miser. I said, “By Allah’s might, nothing of this world will be given to me today but that I will give it to the first one I meet!” When I finished the agreement, the chamberlain of Mu’nas al-Khadim brought me fifty dinars. He said, “Spend it on your needs.” I left the room. There was a pauper in front of a barber. When he finished shaving his head, I gave him the bag. He said, “Give it to the barber. He shaved my head. ‘I said, “It is dinars!” He said, “Didn’t we say that you are a miser?” ‘I gave it to the barber. He said, “We decided that when the poor man sat in front of us, we would not take anything from him.” So I threw it into the Tigris.’”

It is related that he said, “Once I decided that I would only eat from the lawful. I used to go around in the deserts. I saw two trees. I stretched my hand to them to eat. One of them called out, ‘Guard your agreement! Do not eat from me! I am an unbeliver!’”

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