Imam Shaybani’s first encounter with Imam Malik [rahimahullah]

 

When the young Iraqi jurist, Imam Shaybani [Muhammed Ibn al-Hasan al-Shaybani], visited Madina for the first time, he went incognito to the circle of Imam Malik and inquired:

“What is your opinion about a person who is in need of major ablution (ghusl) and who comes to a mosque and finds that the water for ablution is available only in the mosque where a congregational prayer is already in progress?”

Imam Malik replied: “A person who is in need of major ablution cannot enter mosque.”

 

The young stranger repeated the question several times only to receive the same answer from Imam Malik. Noticing that the young man was not satisfied with the answer, the teacher asked: “What, then, is your opinion?”

“He should make tayammum, enter the mosque, obtain water and make ablution to join the prayer”, came the prompt answer.

 

Astonished with the clarity and presence of mind of the young visitor, Imam Malik asked: “Where are you from?” “From here,” (pointing to the earth) was the answer.

 

When he left the company, Imam Malik asked his colleagues as to who the visitor was. When he was told that he was a young disciple of Abu Hanifah from Iraq, he wondered: “But he told me he was from here!” When it was explained to him that while saying so he had pointed to the earth, Imam Malik observed that his second answer was even more astonishing and intelligent.

[Al-Khateeb al-Baghdadi, Tareekh Baghdad (Cairo, 1931), vol. II, pp. 174-175]

 

Benefits:

  • Everything is not known to anyone except to Allah: No matter how knowledgeable one is, it is always possible that he might not know what other knows even those with lesser knowledge.

 

  • Manners: Imam Malik did not show his anger to this stranger even though he repeated his question several times.

 

  • Respect: Imam Malik did not become angry on being told different answer to his by al-Shaybani. He did not say: “How dare he to ask me?” “Who is he to question my knowledge?” since I am the Imam of Madina etc. etc. Rather he respected his knowledge and admired it.

 

 

  • Travelling to learn knowledge: Scholars of past used to travel to different parts of world to gain knowledge. Even Musa [alaihi salam] travelled to meet Khidr to gain knowledge from him bestowed on him by Allah.

 

[Benefits by Dr. Iftakhar Ahmed]

 

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