Ibn al-Mubarak

He related that ‘Abdullah ibn al-Mubarak entered Kufa when he was intending to go on the hajj. There was a woman sitting on a rubbish-heap plucking a duck. It occurred to him that it was carrion. He stopped on his mule and said to her, ‘Women! Is this duck carrion or sacrificed?’ She said, ‘Carrion.’ He said, ‘Then why are you plucking it?’ She said, ‘So that my family and I can eat it.’ He said, ‘Woman! Allah Almighty has forbidden you carrion while you are in a land like this!’ She said, ‘Man, go away.’ They continued to exchange words until he said to her,’Where in Kufa do you live?’ She said, ‘In the quarter of the Banu so-and-so.’ He said, ‘By what is your house known?’ She said, ‘The Banu so-and-so.’ He left her and went to the inn. Then he asked about the tribe and they directed him to it. He said to a man, ‘You have a dirham if you come with me to the place.’       “He went until he came to the tribe which the woman had mentioned. He said to the man, ‘Go.’ Then he went to the door and knocked on the door with a stick that he had. The old woman said, ‘Who is it?’ He said to her, ‘Open the door.’ She opened it part way. He said, ‘Open it all the way.’ Then he got off his mule and hit it with the stick and the mule went into the house. Then he said to the woman, ‘This mule and the provision, money and clothes on it is yours, and you will have what is halal from it in this world and the Next.’      “Then Ibn al-Mubarak remained hidden until the people returned from the hajj. Some of the people of his land came to him to greet him and congratualate him on the hajj. He turned to say to them, ‘I had an illness and did not go on hajj this year.’       “One of them said, ‘Glory be to Allah! Did I not leave you my goods with you while we were at Mina and we were going to ‘Arafat?’ Another said, ‘Did you not buy for me in the same way?’ He turned to say, ‘I do not know what you are saying. As for myself, I did not go on hajj this year.’

“He dreamt of someone saying in the night to him, ”Abdullah, rejoice! Allah accepted your sadaqa and He sent an angel in your form who performed the hajj for you.'”

 

Some of His Wisdoms, Poetry and Wit

He said:

            Fight your tongue. The tongue is quick to kill a man.               The tongue is the posting of the heart. It shows man his intellect.

He said,

            I see that some people are content with the least of the deen,                but I do not see them pleased with meagerness in this life.

            Be rich with Allah, independent of the world of the kings                as the kings are free of the deen with their worldly things.

He said:

            People’s enjoyment of worship and taqwa is the sweetest bliss,                  not the pleasure of the wine.

            Their sources enjoy it for all their lives, and they, by Allah,                 have provision until they reach the graves.

            In a moment they obtain might and taqwa.                Does not the enjoyment of life lie in piety and steadfastness?

He said:

            I see every life as unhappy and miserable                except for planting the spear in the shade of the horse

            And standing in the dark nights, vigilant,                guarding the people in the furthest outpost.

A man came to Ibn al-Mubarak and said to him, “May Allah be pleased with you! Describe for me those who are wild and distracted by love of Allah. He replied, “They are as I will tell you:

            Alert, on mounts as if they were a caravan desiring to pass,                 that is how they are moved.

            Their limbs are restrained from every foul action.                Truthfulness is their school, as well as zuhd and fear.

Another person asked him to describe the fearful. He said:

            When the night is darkest, they endure it,                 and it travels from them while they are still bowing.

            Fear dispelled their sleep, so they stood alert while the people of security                 in this world were sleeping peacefully.

            While they are prostrating under the cloak the darkness,                their groan pierces their ribs.

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