Sahnun ibn Sa`id ibn Habib at-Tanukhi

Sulayman ibn Salim said, “Sahnun adopted the school of the people of Madina in everything, even in livelihood. He used to say, ‘I do not like that the livelihood of man be other than according to what is in his hand. He is not obliged to more than what is in his hand. If he needs a woman, he seeks her according to the amount which he has in his hand in her provision and moderation until he still has enough for him in his hand. If he has halal money, he relies on it and devotes himself to worship. If he does not have it, then he must acquire it by his hand. That is better for him than asking people. If he does not need a wife, I prefer that he leave that. Consuming people’s property in poverty and sadaqa is better than consuming them with knowledge and the Qur’an.”

`Abdu’l-Jabbar ibn Khalid said, “We used to listen to Sahnun in his house at the coast. He came out to us one day and he had a plow on his shoulder and a tool in his hands. He told us, ‘The slave boy had a fever yesterday. When I finish, I will let you listen.’ I said to him, ‘I will go and plow, and you let out companion listen. When I finish, read to me what I have missed.’ He did it. When I came to close to his supper, it was barley-bread and old oil.”

‘Isa said, “Sahnun was silent for Allah and his words were for Allah. When he wanted to talk, he was silent. When he wanted to be silent, he spoke.”

Ibn Mu`attib said, “Sahnun used to buy a quarter ratl of meat every day with which to break his fast and then he abandoned that following the Salihun in their food. Sahnun did not do anything except for Allah. That is why his importance was great.”

Ibrahim ibn Shu`ayb said, “Sahnun used to come out to us while we were sitting for him in his assembly. By Allah, I do not know that he ever greeted us in his assembly. During that time, he walked in the markets and he did not pass by anyone but that he turned to him and greeted him. This was out of respect of knowledge and the awe that he had with his students.”

Concerning his appointment as qadi and his behaviour

Sahnun was appointed qadi of North Africa in 234 when he was 74. He remained qadi until his death.

Abu’l-`Arab said, “When Ibn Abi’l-Jawwad was dismissed, Sahnun said, ‘O Prophet, appoint to this community the best of it and the most just,’ and he was the one who was appointed after him.”

`Urayb the scribe mentioned that one day Sahnun passed by Ibn Abi’l-Jawwad and he saw some injustice on his part and said, “O Allah, do not make me die until I see him before a just qadi who will judge him by the truth.’”He was dismissed and Sahnun was appointed and he tried him. People said, “Your supplication has been answered.”

When Muhammad ibn al-Aghlab wanted to appoint Sahnun, he gathered the fuqaha’ together for consultation. Sahnun indicated Sulayman ibn `Imran, and Sulayman indicated Sahnun. Others indicated Sulayman. They came in one by one and they spoke as they did the first time and most of the fuqaha’ there had the opinion of the Kufans and Sulayman shared their opinion. Sulayman said, “I did not think that he asked for counsel about Sahnun. I went on hajj and I saw the people of Egypt were pleased that he was among them. No one else merits the qadiship while Sahnun is alive.” Ibn al-Aghlab sent Ibn Qadim to Sahnun and he said to him, “I want to put you in charge of the qadiship of my flock.” So he told him, “May Allah make the Amir thrive! I do not possess the power for it. Shall I direct you to one who is strong? Sulayman ibn ‘Imran.”

Muhammad ibn Sahnun said, “Sahnun was appointed qadi after it was offered to him for a year and being treated very harshly. Muhammad ibn al-Aghlab swore the strongest oaths to him and he was appointed on Monday, the third of Ramadan in 234. He took some days to look into the qadiship and searched for helpers and then sat for the people on the following Sunday in the General Mosque after he had prayed and made much supplication.”

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