Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani 

Ibn Abī Zayd al-Qayrawānī (310/922 – 386/996) 

The Author of Ar-Risālah

Taken From Tartīb al-Madārik by Qādi ʿIyād

Abū Muhammad ʿAbdullah ibn Abī Zayd was one of the people North Africa. Abū Zayd’s name was ʿAbdu-r-Rahmān according to Ibn Makula and Qadi Ibn al-Hadhdha’. He was from the tribe of Nifza and lived in Qayrawān.

His Position in Knowledge

He was the Imam of the Mālikis in his time and their model. He had a comprehensive grasp of the school of Mālik and explained its statements. He had extensive knowledge and a prodigious memory and transmission. His books are ample testimony of that. His writing was fluent, clarifying and defining what he said. He defended the school of Mālik and established evidence in its support. He knew how to refute the people of sects. In addition to his writing, he was very righteous, scrupulousness and chaste. He obtained leadership in the deen and this world. and people from all regions traveled to visit him. His companions were noble and many people took knowledge from him. He composed a summary of the school and undertook to spread it and defend it. His books filled the lands and were well-known to most of its people.

Ash-Shirāzī said, “He was known as ‘little Mālik’. Abū-l-Hasan al-Qabisī mentioned him and said that he was a reliable imam in his perception and transmission. Abu-l-Hasan ʿAli ibn ʿAbdullah al-Qattān said, ‘I did not imitate Abū Muhammad ibn Abī Zayd until I saw as-Sabaʿi imitated him.'”

Abū Bakr ibn at-Tayyib mentioned him in his book and esteemed his value and merit. The same was true among other scholars in the east. Ibn Mujāhid al-Baghdādī and other Baghadādī companions of him asked him for an ijaza.

Abū ʿAbdullah al-Mayrūqī said “He possessed knowledge, scrupulousness, excellence, and intellect. He is too famous to need to be mentioned.”

Ad-Da’ūdī said, “He was quick to follow the truth. He studied fiqh with the fuqahā’ of his land and listened to its shaykhs. He relied on Abu Bakr ibn al-Lubbad and Abū-l-Fadl al-Mumsī, and also studied with Muhammad ibn Masrūr al-ʿAssal, ʿAbdullah ibn Masrūr ibn al-Hajjam, al-Qattān, al-Ibyyānī, Ziyād ibn Mūsā, Saʿdun al-Khawlānī, Abu-l-ʿArab. Abū Ahmad ibn Abī Sa’īd, Habīb, the client of Ibn Abī Sulaymān, and others. He traveled and went on hajj and listened to Ibn al-ʿArabī, Ibrahīm ibn Muhammad ibn al-Mundhir, Abū ʿAlī ibn Abī Hilāl, and Ahmad ibn Ibrāhīm ibn Hammād the Qādī. He also listened to al-Hasan ibn Badr, Muhammad ibn al-Fath, al-Hasan ibn Nasr as-Susī, Darras ibn Isma’il, ʿUthman ibn Sa’īd al-Gharabulī, Habīb ibn Abī Habīb al-Jazarī, and others. Ibn Sha’bān, al-Aburriī and al-Marwazī asked him for an ijaza. Many people listened to him and a lot of people learned fiqh with him. His adherents in Qayrawān included Abū Bakr ibn ʿAbdu-r-Rahmān, Abu-l-Qāsim al-Baradha’i, al-Lubaydi, the sons of al-Ajdabī, Abū ʿAbdullah al-Khawwas, and Abu Muhammad al-Makkī al-Muqrī’.

The people of Andalusia who followed him include Abū Bakr ibn Mawhab al-Maqburī, Abū ʿAbdullah ibn al-Hadhdha’ and Abū Marwān al-Qanazi’ī. The people of Ceuta include Abū ʿAbdu-r-Rahmān ibn al-ʿAjuz, Abū Muhammad ibn Ghalib, and Khalaf ibn Nasr. The people of the Maghrib include Abū ʿAli ibn Amdakatu as-Sijilmāsī.

His Books

He has the Kitāb an-Nawādir wa-z-Ziyadat ‘ala-l-Mudawwana which is famous and has more than a hundred sections, and the famous Mukhtasar (Summary) of the Mudawwana. Instruction in fiqh in the Maghrib is founded on these two books.

He also wrote a revision of the ʿUtibīyya, The Imitation of the People of Madina, The Defence of the School of Madina, the famous Risāla, the Kitāb an-Tanbīh on the position of the children of apostates, Waqfs for the Children of Notables, Explanation of the Times of the Prayer, Trust and Reliance on Allah, The Book of Gnosis and Certainty, Insurance of Provision, Kitāb al-Manāsik, a treatise on those who are moved by the recitation of the Qur’an and dhikr, a book on Turning Away the Beggar, the Protection of the Reputation of the Believer, Kitāb al-Bayān on the inimitability of the Qur’an, Kitāb al-Wasawis, a treatise on giving relatives some of the zakat, a treatise prohibiting argumentation, a treatise refuting the Qadarīyya and rebuttal to the treatise of al-Baghdādī al-Mu’tazilī, the Kitāb al-Istizhār on the refutation of the conceptualists [fikriya], Removal of Uncertainty on the same topic, Book of Admonition and Counsel, Treatise on the Seeker of Knowledge, The Excellence of Praying at Night in Ramadan, Excellent Warning for the People of Truthfulness, a letter to the people of Sijilmasa on recitation of the Qur’an, and a treatise on the fundamentals of tawhīd. All of his books are beneficial and extraordinary and full of knowledge.

It is mentioned that one day he went to visit Abu Sa’id, the nephew of Hisham, and found his gathering in session. Abū Sa’īd said to him, “I have heard that you have written books.” “Yes,” he replied, “may Allah make you prosper!” He said, “Listen to a problem.” Abū Muhammad told him, “Mention it, may Allah make you prosper. If I am correct, you will tell me. If I am wrong, you will teach us.” Abū Sa’īd was silent and did not do that again.

The Rest of his Biography

Abū Muhammad was one of the people of righteousness, scrupulousness, and excellence. It is reported that he got up one night to do wudu’ and poured water from the jug into the vessel and spilled it. Then he poured it again and spilled it. Then that happened a third time and he had some doubts and remarked, “You are recalcitrant towards us.” He heard someone he could not see say, “The child wet the bed over the jug and we disliked for you to do wudu’ from it.”

When he wrote his books about the conceptualists and criticised the book of ‘Abdu-r-Rahmān as-SiqillĪ in al-Kashf and al-Istizhār and refuted a lot of what they had transmitted regarding miracles (kharq al-‘adat) according to what was affirmed in his book, the false Sufis and a lot of the people of hadith objected to that and spread it about that he denied miracles (karamāt), which he did not do. Indeed, at the beginning of his book, he articulates his aim, which is to refute a certain group of people found in Andalusia and the east. Many well-known books have been written on that, including the books of Abū-l-Hasan ibn Jahdam al-Hamdānī, Abū Bakr al-Baqillānī, Abu ‘Abdu-r-Rahmān ibn Shaqq al-Layl, Abū ʿUmar at-Talamankī, and others. The most correctly guided of them in that and had the best knowledge of his aim and its worth was the Imam of his time, Qadi Abu Bakr ibn at-Tayyib al-Baqillani. He made his aim clear.

Al-Ajdabi said, “I was sitting with Abu Muhammad when Abu-l-Qāsim ‘Abdu’r-Rahman ibn ‘Abdū-l-Mu’min the mutakallim was with him. A man asked them about al-Khidr and whether it could be said that he was still in this world in spite of all this time and would die until the Final Hour comes and whether this is refuted by the words of the Almighty, ‘We did not give any human being before you immortality.’ (21:34) They both replied to him that that was possible and permitted and al-Khidr could live until the Final Trumpet was blown. Immortality is connected to remaining as long as the Next World remains, and remaining until the Trumpet is blown is not immortality. Do you not see that Iblis – may Allah curse him – is not immortal, but he is one of those deferred until the Day of a Known Time.

It is mentioned that Abū Muhammad wrote to Abū Bakr al-Aburrī:

Hearts refuse the hearts of a people 

when they have no portion with them.

But selves choose selves

while they have no portion with them.

That is only because of secrets

known by the All-Watchful Witness.

Abū-l-Qāsim al-Lubaydi said, ʿĪsa ibn Thābit al-ʿAbid met Shaykh Abū Muhammad and they wept a lot together and admonished one another. When he wanted to leave, ‘Isa said to him, ‘I want you to write my name on the carpet under you. When you see it, you can make supplication for me. Abū Muhammad wept and said to him, ‘Allah Almighty says, “All good words rise to Him and He raises up all righteous deeds.” (35:10) Let me make supplication for you, but where are the righteous deeds to elevate it?'”

His Death

Abū Muhammad ibn Abī Zayd died in 386 and was elegized by a lot of the writers of Qayrawān who composed a number of moving elegies about him.

It is mentioned that Abū Muhammad was seen in his assembly reflecting in sorrow and he was asked what the reason for that. He replied, “I dreamt that the door of my house had fallen down. Al-Kirmānī says that it indicates the death of the owner of the house.” He was asked, “Is al-Kirmānī considered to be like Malik in his science?” “Yes,” he replied, “In his science, he is like Mālik is in his knowledge.” It was not long after that that he died, may Allah have mercy on him.

Click the following link to download an English translation of:

Risālah ībn Abī Zayd al Qayrawānī

Click the following links to download:

An-Nawādir wa-z-Ziyādāt ʿala-l-Mudawwana by Ibn Abī Zayd al-Qayrawānī. This is Ibn Abī Zayd’s book in which he discusses and gives clarification about issues found in the Mudawwana. 13 volumes (Arabic only):

Volume 1 introduction

Volume 1-1

Volume 2

Volume 3

Volume 4

Volume 5

Volume 6

Volume 7

Volume 8

Volume 9

Volume 10

Volume 11

Volume 12

Volume 13

Published in: Uncategorized on July 21, 2019 at 04:07  Leave a Comment  
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