Ibn al-Mubarak

Ibn al-Mubarak

‘Abdullah ibn al-Mubarak

(118/736 – 181/797), a renowned Khorasani scholar

from Qadi ‘Iyad’sTartib al-Madarik

translated by Aisha Bewley

He was the client of the Banu Tamim, then the Banu Hanifa. His kunya was Abu ‘Abdu’r-Rahman.

He listened to Ibn Abi Layla, Hisham ibn ‘Urwa, al-A’mash, Sulayman at-Tamimi, Humayd at-Tawil, Yahya ibn Sa’id, Ibn ‘Awn, Musa ibn ‘Uqba, the two Sufyans, al-Awza’i, Ibn Abi Dhib, Malik, Ma’mar, Shu’ba, and Haywa ibn Shurayh, and he studied with Abu ‘Amr ibn al-‘Ala’, al-Layth and others.

Ibn Mahdi, ‘Abdu’r-Razzaq, Yahya ibn al-Qattan, Ibn Wahb and others related from him.

Ibn Wahb said, “Ibn al-Mubarak listened to all our shaykhs except ‘Amr ibn al-Harith.”

Ash-Shirazi said, “He learned fiqh with Malik and ath-Thawri, and he was the first of Abu Hanifa’s companions. Then he left him and abandoned his madhhab.”

Ibn Waddah said, “In the end, he avoided mentioning Abu Hanifa in his books, and he did not read his work to people.”


Concerning his position in knowledge and praise of him

Abu Ishaq al-Fazzari said, “Ibn al-Mubarak was the Imam of the Muslims.” Al-Fazzari used to sit in front of him and ask him questions.”

Ibn Mahdi said, “I met four fuqaha’: Malik, Shu’ba, Sufyan and Ibn al-Mubarak. (One of them had ‘Hammad’ in place of Shu’ba.) I did not see anyone with better counsel for the community than Ibn al-Mubarak. If Ibn al-Mubarak did not acknowledge a hadith, we would not acknowlege it.”

Ibn Mahdi was asked about him and and ath-Thawri and which of them was better. He said, “Ibn al-Mubarak.”

He was asked, “And if the people disagree with you?” He replied, “The people have not made any tests. I have not see the like of Ibn al-Mubarak.”

He said, “Ibn al-Mubarak related to us, and he was unique.”

When Sufyan ibn ‘Uyayna was told that Ibn al-Mubarak had died, he said, “May Allah have mercy on him. He was a man of fiqh, knowledge, worship, asceticism, and generosity. He was courageous and a poet.”

He also said, “No one has come to us like Ibn al-Mubarak and Ibn Abi Ziyada.”

Muhammad ibn al-Mu’tamir said, “When ath-Thawri died, I asked my father, ‘Who is the faqih of the Arabs?” He replied, “Ibn al-Mubarak.”

Al-Awza’i said to Abu ‘Uthman al-Kalbi about him, “If I had seen him, I would have been delighted.”

An-Nasa’i said, “There was not known in the time of Ibn al-Mubarak anyone more glorious or excellent than him nor anyone who had more virtues than he possessed.”

Salam ibn Muti’ said, “No one like him came in the east afterwards. I prefer Ibn al-Mubarak to ath-Thawri.”

Ibn Waddah said, “I listened to a group of the people of knowledge relate, ‘Knowledge, taqwa, hadith, recognition of the men, poetry, generosity, worship and scrupulousness were comibined in Ibn al-Mubarak.


The Beginning of his quest, the reason for his asceticism and the sum of his virtues and knowledge

Qadi Abu’l-Fadl said that as-Sadafi mentioned, “When Ibn al-Mubarak came of age, his father sent him 50,000 to use for commerce. He sought after knowledge until he had spent the money. When it was gone, his father met him and said, ‘What have you bought?’ He brought out his books for him and said, ‘This is my trade.’ His father went into the house and gave him 30,000 dirhams more and said, ‘Take this and follow your trade with them,’ and he spent them.”

Ibn al-Mubarak said, “I studied adab for thirty years and I studied knowledge for twenty years.”

Ibn Hanbal said, “In the time of Ibn al-Mubarak, there was no one who sought after knowledge more than him. He went to the Yemen, Egypt, Syria, the Hijaz, Basra and Kufa, and whoever related knowledge and was worthy of it. He wrote from young men and old men. He omitted what was rare. He gave hadiths from books.”

Ibn Waddah said, “Ibn al-Mubarak related about 25,000 hadiths. He was asked, ‘Up until when did you study knowledge?’ He said, ‘I hope that you will find me doing that until I die.”

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