Imam Bayhaqi

Imam Bayhaqi Imam Bayhaqi (384 – 458 H) 

Dr. Jibril Haddad Damascus

Ahmad ibn al-Husayn ibn `Ali ibn `Abd Allah ibn Musa, Abu Bakr al-Bayhaqi al-Naysaburi al-Khusrawjirdi al-Shafi`i al-Ash`ari (384-458), “the jurisprudent imam,  hadith master, authority in the foundations of doctrine (usuli), scrupulous and devoted ascetic, defender of the School both in its foundations and its branches, one of the mountains of Islamic knowledge.” He is known in the books of the scholars of Naysabur and his direct students as “al-faqih Ahmad.” He took fiqh from the imam Abu al-Fath Nasir ibn al-Husayn ibn Muhammad al-Qurashi al-`Umari al-Marwazi al-Shafi`i al-Naysaburi  (d. 444) among others.

Al-Bayhaqi belongs to the the third generation of Imam Abu al-Hasan al-Ash`ari’s students and took kalam from the two Ash`ari imams Ibn Furak and Abu Mansur al-Baghdadi. His oldest shaykh was the imam and hadith scholar of Khurasan al-Sayyid Abu al-Hasan Muhammad ibn al-Husayn ibn Dawud al-`Alawi al-Hasani al-Naysaburi al-Hasib (d. 401), who was also the shaykh of the hadith master al-Hakim al-Naysaburi. Al-Bayhaqi’s other shaykhs in hadith include the latter, whose foremost pupil he was; the hadith master Abu `Ali al-Husayn ibn Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-Rudhabari al-Tusi (d. 403); the Ash`ari imam in the foundations of doctrine Abu Bakr ibn Furak (d. 406); the imam, jurist, philologist, and hadith master of khurasan Abu Tahir Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Mahmish al-Ziyadi al-Shafi`i al-Naysaburi (d. 410); the Sufi master, Ash`ari imam, hadith master, and author of Tabat al-Sufiyya Muhammad ibn al-Husayn ibn Muhammad, Abu `Abd al-Rahman al-Azdi al-Sulami (d. 411); Muhammad bin Hibat Allah al-Lalika’i’s teacher, Muhammad ibn al-Husayn ibn Muhammad ibn al-Fadl al-Qattan al-Baghdadi (d. 415); and the Ash`ari imam, jurist, and hereseiologist Abu Mansur `Abd al-Qahir al-Baghdadi al-Shafi`i (d. 429).

It is noteworthy that neither al-Tirmidhi’s Sunan, nor al-Nasa’i’s, nor Ibn Majah’s were transmitted to al-Bayhaqi, as stated by al-Dhahabi and others. Al-Dhahabi said, “His sphere in hadith is not large, but Allah blessed him in his  narrations for the excellence of his method in them and his sagacity and expertise in the subject-matters and narrators.”

His Ascetiscm

Al-Bayhaqi lived frugally in the manner of the pious scholars. He began fasting perpetually thirty years before his death. Perpetual fast (sawm al-dahr) is the practice of several of the Companions and Salaf such as Ibn `Umar, `Uthman, Abu Hanifa, al-Shafi`i, al-Tustari, al-Qurashi al-Zuhri, and others such as al-Nawawi. Ibn Hibban devoted a chapter of his Sahih to the subject in which he said, commenting the hadith of the Prophet (s): “Whoever fasts all his life has neither fasted nor broken his fast”:

He means: whoever fasts all his life including the days in which one was forbidden to fast, such as the days of tashriq and the two `Ids. By the words: ‘he has neither fasted nor broken his fast’ he means that he did not in fact fast all his life in order to reap reward for it. For he did not omit [the fasting of] the days in which he was forbidden to fast. That is why the Prophet (s) said, ‘Whoever fasts all his life, the Fire shall straiten him for this much,’ and he counted ninety on his fingers, meaning the days of his life which he was forbidden to fast. It does not apply to the person who fasts all his life – being strong enough to do so – without the prohibited days.

Imam al-Nawawi said on the topic:

Ibn `Umar fasted permanently, i.e. except the days of `Id and tashriq. This perpetual fast is his way and the way of his father, `Umar ibn al-Khattab, `A’isha, Abu Talha and others of the Salaf as well as al-Shafi`i and other scholars. Their position is that perpetual fasting is not disliked (makruh).

His work

Page 1 of 3 | Next page