IMAM MUHAMMAD IBN SEERIN

ABOUT
IMAM MUHAMMAD IBN SEERIN
(God bless his soul)

He is Muhammad Ibn Seerrn Al-Basri. Born in the city of Basra in Iraq the year
33 A.H. (653 A.D.) Imam Ibn Seerm was a renowned writer and a respected
religious scholar of his time. He lived during the first century of the Islamic
caliphate and studied the Islamic jurisprudence (Fiqh) and the science of prophetic
sayings (Hadith) at the hand of the early followers of the companions of
God’s Messenger, upon whom be peace. Among his contemporaries were Imam
Anas Bin Malik, Al-Hassan Bin Abi Al-Hassan AI-Ba~ri,Ibn ‘Aown, AI-Fudhayl
Bin ‘Iyadh, and others.
Mouriq Al-‘Ujali once said: “I have not seen a man who is more sagacious in
his piety or more pious in his knowledge than Muhammad Ibn Seerfn.”
In his biographical dictionary, Khairu-Deen AI-Zerekly describes Imam
Muhammad Ibn Seerm as a pious, God fearing, and a strong believer, who was
a generous host and a trustworthy friend.
HIS PIETY & ASCETICISM
Al-Hassan Bin Abi Al-Hassan Al-Bagri once said: “There was a time when, if
a man sought knowledge, you could see its effects in every aspect of his life,
including his piety, conduct, speech, sight, and hearing.” Imam Muhammad Ibn
Seerm used to say: ”When God Almighty wills to bless His servant, He will direct
him to a wise man to admonish him.” He also used to say: “If a man wishes to
benefit in this world and in the hereafter, he must seek the company of someone
who will command him to do what is good and to disuade him from doing evil.”
Imam Ibn Seerrn used to fast every other day of his life. The day when he did
not fast, he used to have lunch, omit his dinner, and take a bite during the Subiir
meal, before the dawn prayers. He used to stand up all night in prayers during
the entire month of Ramadan, and he used to say: “One must pray during the
night and at least for the time it takes to milk a goat.” Once Hisham Bin Hassan
stayed overnight at Imam Ibn Seerin’s house and commented to a friend, saying:
“I used to hear his weeping during the night, though he was a most cheerful host
during the day.”
Haf£a Bint Seerm, sister of Imam Ibn Seerm, once said: “When Muhammad
entered before our mother, he used to stand before her with modesty and refrain
ABOUT IMAM IBN SEERIN xi
from speaking to her with his whole tongue.” Once, someone visited Imam Ibn
Seerfn in the presence of his mother and remarked about his outstanding respect
for her. When the man left, he asked: “Is Muhammad not feeling well?” Someone
replied: “He is well, but he reveres his mother so much that he nearly melt away
in her presence.”
A man asked Imam Ibn Seerin about his opinion on dream interpretation. Ibn
Seerm replied: “Fear God when you are awake, and do not worry about what you
see in a dream.” Whenever he is asked to give a religious opinion about two
similar interpretations, he took the closest one to God’s book. He once said: “In
essence, this knowledge is taken from our religion. Thus, consider carefully from
whom you learn it!”
Once Miisa Bin AI-Mughirah said: “I saw Muhammad Ibn Seerm entering the
marketplace in the middle of the day. He was totally absorbed in his prayers,
glorifying and celebrating God’s praises. Someone asked him: “0 Abu Bakr (that
is his patronym), is this the time to engage in such invocations?” Ibn Seerin’s
replied: “In a marketplace, one may be distracted by its glitters and become
negligent of his devotion.”
One time, the call to prayers came during a gathering. When the people stood
to perform their prayers, Imam Ibn Seerm called: “Let only someone who is well
versed in Qur’anic recitation lead us, for there are amongst us people who have
memorized it.” After the congregational prayers, Ibn ‘Aown asked Imam Ibn
Seerm: ”Why did you refrain from leading the prayers?” He replied: “I did not
want the people to say: ‘Ibn Seerm led us in prayers tonight.'”
Imam Ibn Seerm used to abstain from even some lawful things in fear of
indulgence. He was once invited to a wedding, and before leaving his house, he
asked his family: “Give me some sweets to eat!” They replied: ”You are going to
a wedding, and you will have it there.” He answered: “I hate to satisfy my hunger
from people’s food.” He also used to say: “Do not burden your friend with a gift
greater than he can bear.” Hisham bin Hassan once said: ”Whenever Hind Bint
Al-MuhallabinvitedAl-HassanAl-BasriandlbnSeerintoameal,Al-Hassanobliged,
and Ibn Seerm refrained from going.”
Once ImamIbn Seerin refused a gift of forty thousand Dirham because ofsome
doubt about the lawfulness of their source. Commenting on that act, Sulaiman
Al-Taymi said: “He refused them because no two scholars will disagree about
their unlawfulness. When Ibn Seerrn was asked once about two brothers who
turned enemies of one another, he replied: “Evil came between them.”
Ibn Zuhair once said: ”Whenever death is mentioned before Imam Ibn Seerm,
his entire body dies away, limb by limb.”
When Imam Ibn Seerm laid down on his deathbed, he said to his son: “My son!
Pay my debts. Pay only what lowe to people.” His son replied: “Oh my father,
should I free a slave on your behalf?” Ibn Seerm replied: “God Almighty has the
power to reward me and you for whatever good you do on my behalf.”
Imam Ibn Seerm died in the city of Basra the year 110 A. H. (729 A. D.) at the
age of seventy-six.

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