Sahnun ibn Sa`id ibn Habib at-Tanukhi

‘Amr ibn Yazid said, “The first of what I learned in the questions of the prayer was from Sahnun. If I had said that Sahnun had more fiqh than all the companions of Malik, I would be telling the truth.”


Yasid ibn Bashir used to esteem Sahnun and respect him. He said, “I was in Tunis and his station in Islam and his blessing reached me. One of his adherents would come to me and I would recognise adab [good behaviour] in him. Sometimes one of Harmala’s men would come to me and I would discern lack of adab in him. I said to him, ‘Why are you not like the one to whom Sahnun teaches adab?'”

Abu Zayd ibn Abi’l-Ghamr said, “None with more fiqh than Sahnun came to us except one with a perter tongue than him came to us,” i.e. Ibn Habib.

Yunus ibn `Abdu’l-A’la said, “He is the master of the people of the Maghrib.” Hamdis said, “Or was he not the master of the east and west?”


Sulaym ibn `Imran said, “When I asked Asad about a question, he answered me from a deep sea and the meaning of his answer was, ‘Do not ask for more.’ When I asked Sahnun, he answered me from a deep sea and the meaning of his answer was ‘Ask more.’ Knowledge was in the breast of Sahnun like a sura of the Qur’an for the one who memorised it. Sahnun was a man of right action.”

Sahnun said, “I memorised these books until they became like the Umm al-Qur’an in my breast.”

Abu Bakr ibn Hammad said, “I heard Sahnun say, ‘I have the oral transmission of two years from Sufyan ibn `Uyayna in my house.”

Another said, “We were with Ibn al-Qasim and he said, ‘If anyone is fortunate with these books, it is Sahnun.’ Then he returned to Ibn `Abdu’l-Hakam and said, ‘If Abu Muhammad accepts, it is by knowledge. If Asbagh accepts, it is by a riwaya.'”

Sa`id ibn al-Harith said, “Sahnun was a man of intellect with firmness and scrupulousness with firmness. He knew the schools of the people of Madina with great firmness. I have sat with the people of this land since I reached it and I did not see anyone more generous by nature than Sahnun.”

Muhammad ibn Sahnun said, “My father said to me, ‘When you want to go on hajj, you will come to Tripoli and there are men of Madina there, and to Egypt, and there are transmitters there, and to Madina, and there is the tribe of Malik there, and to Makka. Strive as much as you can. If you bring me a single phrase from Malik which does not have a root of Malik which does not have a root with your shaykh, know that your shaykh is remiss.”

Sulayman ibn Salam said in his assemblies, “I went to Egypt and I saw that there were many scholars there: ‘Abdu’l-Hakam, al-Harith ibn Miskin, Abu’t-Tahir, Abu Ishaq al-Barqi and others. I went to Madina and there was Abu’l-Mus`ab and al-Farawi. I went to Makka and there were thirteen men of hadith there. I went to other towns and I met their scholars and men of hadith. I did not see with my eye the like of Sahnun and his son after him.”

`Isa ibn Miskin said, “Sahnun was the godfearing person of this community. Between Malik and Sahnun, there was none with more fiqh than Sahnun.”

One of them said, “I came to the kings and spoke to them. I did not see anyone who put more awe in my hear than Sahnun.”

Ash-Shirazi said, “Leadership came to him in knowledge in the Maghrib. His statement was relied on and he wrote the Mudawwana. The people of the Qayrawan relied on it and he had companions which none of the companions of Malik had. The knowledge of Malik spread from him in the Maghrib.”

`Abdu’r-Rahman az-Zahid said, “When Asad went out to Iraq, I asked his advice on whom I should go to listen to.” He said, “You must have this shaykh (i.e. Sahnun). I do not know of anyone like him.”

Concerning the rest of his qualities

Abu’l-`Arab said, “Sahnun was of medium height and his complexion was between white and brown. He had a good beard, much hair, wide-set eyes, wide and shoulders. He was silent a lot and and spoke little. He spoke a lot with wisdom and was very dignified, He cut off his moustache according to the amount of the comb and he dressed well. He had a hernia in his abdomen and he wrapped it with wool. He had a nag on which he rode. He was rarely seen doing supererogatory prayers in the mosque.”

Ibn Bistam said, “Sahnun had a tall hat. Sometimes he wore it and dark round garment. Sometimes he carried it in his hand with onions and other things to his house while he was wearing it in humility.”


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