Malik ibn Dinar

“Father! A unbeliever has bought dates and is going to the mosque to eat them.”

“What business has a unbeliever in the mosque?” the man exclaimed. And he ran to see who the unbeliever might be. Beholding Malik, he fell at his feet.

“What were those words the boy uttered?” Malik demanded. “Excuse him, master,” the boy’s father pleaded. “He is only a child, and does not understand. In our quarter many unbelievers live. We are constantly fasting, and our children see the unbelievers eating by day. So they suppose that everyone who eats anything by day is a unbeliever. What he said he said in ignorance. Forgive him!”

When Malik heard this, a fire consumed his soul. He realized that the child was inspired to speak as he had.

“Lord God,” he cried, “I had not eaten any dates, and Thou didst call me a unbeliever by the tongue of an innocent child. If I eat the dates, Thou wilt proclaim me an unbeliever. By Thy glory, if I ever eat any dates!”5


Abu Nu`aym, op. cit., II, 357-89. Hojwiri, op. cit., pp. 89-90. al-Yafi’i, o p. cit., 1, 269-70 Ibn Hajar, o p. cit., X, 14-15.

Notes on Anecdotes

1“How Malik ibn Dinar Came To Be So Named”: T.A., 1, 41-42. The source was Hujwiri, P. 89; the curious derivation of the name appears to have been Attar’s invention. 2Thabit ibn Aslam al-Bunani, a well-known traditionist and ascetic, died c. 130 (748). 3″Malik and His Licentious Neighbour”: T.A., I, 43-44. 4″Malik and His Abstinence”: T.A., 1, 44-45. 5For Malik’s abstention from dates, see Abu Nu`aym, II, 366; al-Qushairi, Risala (Cairo, 1330 (A.H.)), P. 63.

Peace and Blessings upon the Prophet, his Family, and his Companions

© 2012 As-Sunnah Foundation of America

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