Appendix 3 – Importance of Genealogy and the Meticulousness of the Arabs in Preserving it

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Appendix 3

Importance of Genealogy and the Meticulousness of the Arabs in Preserving it

 

Ibn al Taqtaqi reports in al Asili Ibn ‘Inabah in ‘Umdat al Talib an incident which illustrates the meticulousness of the Arabs in preserving their genealogy and ancestry:

 

As for Jafar ibn Abi al Bishr: He was a proficient genealogist, and narrator of tales. He was from Yanbu’. The renowned author ‘Allamah Abu al Fadl ‘Abdul Razzaq ibn Ahmed al Shaybani[1] informed us — the genealogist Ahmed ibn Muhanna al ‘Ubaidali ifnomred me, from the manuscripts of my maternal uncle ‘Ali ibn Muhanna — from the great genealogist ‘Abdul Hamid ibn ‘Abdullah ibn Usamah — Abu ‘Abdullah ibn Usamah ibn Ahmed ibn ‘Ali ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Umar ibn Yahya al Hussaini:

I performed Hajj in the year 502 A.H and my companion was ‘Izz al Din Abu Nizar ‘Adnan ibn ‘Abdullah ibn al Muktar. We performed Tawaf around the Ka’bah and then went to rest on the sandy area of the Haram. Soon a man passed us with two slaves walking ahead of him both carrying swords.

Abu Nizar said to me, “I think this is Jafar ibn Abi al Bishr, the genealogist. Go to him and convey my greetings to him.”

So I went to meet him, and since I was tall I kissed his forehead and he kissed my chest.

He asked, “Who are you?”

I replied, “A person from the progeny of your paternal uncle.”

He asked, “Are you ‘Alawi?”

I replied, “Yes.”

He asked, “Are you Hassani, Hussaini, Muhammadi, ‘Umari, or ‘Abbasi[2]?”

I replied, “Hussaini.”

He asked, “Are you from the children of Baqir, Bahir, ‘Umar al Ashraf, Zaid, Hussain al Asghar or ‘Ali?”

I replied, “Zaidi.”

He asked, “Are you Hussaini, ‘Isawi, or Muhammadi?”

I replied, “Hussaini.”

He asked, “Noteworthy, from which of his sons are you?”

I replied, “From the children of Yahya.”

He asked, “Are you ‘Umari, Muhammadi, ‘Isawi, Hamzi, Qasimi, Hussaini, or Yahyawi?”

I replied, “‘Umari.”

He asked, “From the children of Ahmed or children of Muhammad?’

I replied, “From the children of Muhammad.”

He said, “You are from the children of Hussain al Kufi, the Muhaddith and genealogist. From which of his sons are you? From the children of Zaid, ‘Umar, or Yahya?”

I replied, “From the children of Yahya.”

He asked, “‘Umari or Hassani?”

I replied, “‘Umari.”

He said, “The line continued through Abu al Hassan  Muhammad, Abu Talib Muhammad, and Abu al Ghana’im Muhammad. From which are you?”

I replied, “from the children of AbuTalib.”

He said, “Then you are from the children of al Naqib ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib from Kufah, who had Yahya, so are you the son of Usamah?”

I replied, “Yes.”

We then parted.[3]

 

Another incident illustrating the meticulousness of the Arabs in preserving their genealogy and ancestry:

Ikrimah related — from Ibn ‘Abbas — from ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib that he said:

When the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam wished to present himself to the other tribes, he left one day taking Abu Bakr and I along with him. We then came to a gathering of some Arabs, and Abu Bakr went forward to greet them. Abu Bakr would always proceed first and he was well versed with genealogy.

Abu Bakr asked them, “From where are you?”

They replied, “From Rabi’ah.”

Abu Bakr asked, “Which branch of Rabi’ah are you from? Are you from its leaders?”

They replied, “From its supreme leaders!”

Abu Bakr asked, “Which supreme leaders are you from?”

They replied, “The greater Dhuhl.”

Abu Bakr asked, “Amongst you is ‘Auf ibn Muhallim, the one about whom it is said there is free man in the valley of ‘Auf?”

They replied, “No.”

Abu Bakr asked, “Amongst you are the maternal uncles of the leaders of Kindah?”

They replied, “No.”

Abu Bakr asked, “Amongst you are the sons-in-law of the leaders of Lakhm?”

They replied, “No.”

Abu Bakr said, “Then you are not the greater Dhuhl rather you are the lesser Dhuhl.”

A youngster, who was called Daghfal (baby elephant) then stood up and said to Abu Bakr, “You have asked us and we have informed you without concealing anything. So who is this man?”

Abu Bakr replied, “From the Quraysh.”

The youngster said, “Welcome, from the nobility and leaders. From which of the Quraysh are you?”

Abu Bakr replied, “From the children of Taym ibn Murrah.”

The youngster asked, “Is Qusayy ibn Kilab from amongst you, who routed those who had wrongly taken Makkah and gathered his people here so that the Arabs would call him The Gatherer?”

Abu Bakr replied, “No.”

The youngster asked, “Is Hashim from amongst you who would feed Tharid to his people during times of famine?”

Abu Bakr replied, “No.”

The youngster said, “Is Shaibah al Hamd ‘Abdul Muttalib who would feed the birds and whose face was like the moon on a dark night.”

Abu Bakr replied, “No.”

The youngster said, “Are you from those who lead people at ‘Arafah?”

Abu Bakr replied, “No.”

The youngster said, “Are you from those who give water (to the pilgrims)?”

Abu Bakr then turned his camel and returned to the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.[4]

 

Another incident illustrating the same:

It is mentioned that Yazid ibn Shayban ibn ‘Alqamah ibn Zurarah ibn ‘Adas said:

I left for Hajj, and when I was in the valley of Muhassab in Mina I saw a man on his mount with ten youngsters warding people off and clearing the path for him. When I saw him I went closer to him.

I asked, “Who is this man?’

I was told, “A man from Muhrah, of those who stay in the valley.”

So I disliked him and turned away from him.

He then called out to me, “What is the matter?”

I said, “You are not from my people, I do not know you and you do not know me.”

He said, “If you are from the nobility of the Arabs then I will definitely know you.”

I then turned my steed towards him and said, “I am from the nobility of the Arabs.”

He asked, “From who are you?”

I replied, “From Mudar.”

He asked, “Are you from al Farasan or al Arha’?”

I knew that by al Farasan he was referring to the Qais and by al Arha’ he was referring to Khindif, so I replied, “In fact from al Arha’.”

He asked, “You are a man from Khindif?”

I replied, “Yes.”

He asked, “From al Arnabah or al Jamjamah?”

I knew that by al Arnabah he was referring to the Mudrikah and by al Jamjamah he was referring to the progeny of Id ibn Tabikhah, so I replied, “In fact from al Jamjamah.”

He asked, “So you are from the progeny of Id?”

I replied, “Indeed.”

He asked, “From al Dawani or al Samim?”

I knew that by al Dawani he was referring to the Rubab and by al Samim he was referring to the Banu Taym, so I replied, “In fact from al Samim.”

He asked, “Then you are from Banu Taym?”

I replied, “Yes indeed.”

He asked, “From the al Aktharin or al Aqallin or Ikhwanuhum al Akhirin?”

I knew that by al Aktharin he was referring to the children of Zaid Manah, by al Aqallin he was referring to the children of Harith and by Ikhwanuhum al Akhirin he was referring to the children of ‘Amr ibn Taym, so I replied, “In fact from al Aktharin.”

He asked, “You are then from the children of Zaid?”

I replied, “Yes indeed.”

He asked, “From al Buhur, al Judud, or al Thimad?”

I knew that by al Buhur he was referring to the Banu Sa’d, by al Judud he was referring to the Banu Malik ibn Hanzalah, and by al Thimad he was referring to the children of Imra’ al Qais ibn Zaid, so I replied, “In fact from al Judud.”

He asked, “You are then from the children of Malik ibn Hanzalah?”

I replied, “Yes”

He asked, “From al Lihab, al Shi’ab, or al Lisab?”

I knew that by al Lihab he was referring to the Mujasha’, by al Shi’ab he was referring to the Nahshal, and by al Lisab he was referring to the children of ‘Abdullah ibn Darim, so I replied, “In fact from al Lisab.”

He asked, “You are then from the children of ‘Abdullah ibn Darim?”

I replied, “Yes”

He asked, “From al Buyut or al Zawafir?”

I knew that by al Buyut he was referring to the children of Zurarah and by al Zawafir he was referring to al Ahlaf, so I replied, “In fact from al Buyut.”

He then said, “So you are Yazid ibn Shayban ibn ‘Alqamah ibn Zurarah ibn ‘Adas!”[5]

 

NEXT⇒ Appendix 4 – Sons-in-law of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and the ‘Ashrah Mubasharah


[1] He is the famed author Kamal al Din Abu al Fadl ‘Abdul Razzaq ibn Ahmed ibn Muhammad, famous by the name Ibn al Futi al Baghdadi, who is the author of Majma’ al Adab (723 A.H).

[2] Hassani: From the progeny of Hassan ibn ‘Ali.

Hussaini: From the progeny of Hussain ibn ‘Ali.

Muhammadi: From the progeny of Muhammad ibn al Hanafiyyah.

‘Umari: From the progeny of ‘Umar al Atraf ibn ‘Ali.

‘Abbasi: From the progeny of ‘Abbas.

These are the five individuals from whom the progeny of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu continued. Two of them are the blood of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, Hassan and Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhuma, whose mother was Sayyidah Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha.

[3] Al Asili, pg. 103; ‘Umdat al Talib, pg. 127, Ansariyan.

[4] Ibn Tabataba: Abna’ al Imam Fi Misr wa al Sham, pg. 52.

[5] Introduction of Abna’ al Imam fi Misr wa al Sham, pg. 35; Ibn al Kalbi: Jamharat al Nasab, pg. 277, ‘Alam al Kitab, with more details. The researcher indicated that it can alos be found in Amali al Qali, 2/298.