Yazid ibn Abi Habib

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Yazid ibn Abi Habib

 

Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam stated, “Whoever treads a path in search of knowledge, Allah will allow him to travel on one of the roads to Jannat. The angels lower their wings in their great pleasure with one who seeks knowledge. The inhabitants of the heavens and the earth and the fish in the deep waters seek forgiveness for the learned man. The superiority of the scholar over the devout is like that of the moon, on the night when it is full, over the rest of the stars. The ‘Ulama’ are the heirs of the Prophets, and the Prophets leave neither gold nor silver coins. They only leave knowledge, and he who takes it, takes an abundant portion.”[1]

Not only did Yazid ibn Abi Habib rahimahu Llah tread a path in search of knowledge, he opened paths of knowledge for the entire country of Egypt. His fervour for knowledge was so strong, that it affected the hearts of those who associated with him. Following this, a thirst for religious knowledge was created in the people of Egypt who began to flock in large numbers around this great scholar of din. He imparted to them the sacred knowledge that he had acquired and through his being, true knowledge became manifest in Egypt. Before him coming into the arena, the people of Egypt were unaware of the volumes of knowledge contained in the ahadith of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.[2]

He was also proficient in fiqh and is reckoned as a great faqih. In fact, ‘Umar ibn ‘Abdul ‘Aziz seated Yazid with two others on the pedestal of ifta’ in Egypt. Due to him, the taste for fiqh was brought alive in Egypt.[3]

He was born a slave to the Banu ‘Amir ibn Lu’ayy in the year 53 A.H and is the son of a Nubian from Damqalah, Abu Habib. He began mastering the various sciences of knowledge from a tender age and grew up to become one of the most prominent and reliable huffaz of hadith in Egypt.[4] Remember the words of Ahmed ibn Hambal, “Allah bestows the treasure of knowledge to one whom He loves. If knowledge would have been kept only for a specific people then those with the noblest lineage would be most deserving of it. However, ‘Ata’ was an Abyssinian slave and Yazid ibn Abi Habib was a Nubian.”[5]

Knowledge commands dignity and awe. Yazid ibn Abi Habib rahimahu Llah upheld this par excellence. He would not approve of going to the affluent. Rather, the affluent were invited to come to him had they any questions to be answered. He would explain that the affluent visiting the scholars is an adornment to the former while the opposite is a tarnish to his honour.[6]

He boldly spoke out against oppression. Once, the governor of Egypt came to visit him and enquired from him his opinion regarding performing salah with the blood of a flea on one’s clothes. Hearing this, Yazid shouted, “Daily you spill the blood of Allah’s creation and you now come asking about flea blood.”[7]

Towards the latter portion of his life, he adopted solitude when he saw the numbers of students increasing. He did this as a precautionary measure as he was extremely cautious in narrating ahadith and issuing verdicts.[8] He passed on in 118 A.H.[9]

 

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[1]Sunan Abi Dawood, Book 25, Hadith: 3634.

[2]Tahdhib al Tahdhib, vol. 11 pg. 319; Tadhkirat al Huffaz, vol. 1 pg. 129; Siyar al Sahabah, vol. 7 pg. 409.

[3]Tadhkirat al Huffaz, vol. 1 pg. 129; Siyar al Sahabah, vol. 7 pg. 409.

[4]Tadhkirat al Huffaz, vol. 1 pg. 129; Siyar al Sahabah, vol. 7 pg. 409.

[5]Siyar al Sahabah, vol. 7 pg. 225 referenced to Tahdhib al Asma’, vol. 1 pg. 333.

[6]Tadhkirat al Huffaz, vol. 1 pg. 130; Siyar al Sahabah, vol. 7 pg. 410.

[7]Tadhkirat al Huffaz, vol. 1 pg. 130; Siyar al Sahabah, vol. 7 pg. 410.

[8]Tadhkirat al Huffaz, vol. 1 pg. 130; Siyar al Sahabah, vol. 7 pg. 410.

[9]Tahdhib al Tahdhib, vol. 11 pg. 319; Tadhkirat al Huffaz, vol. 1 pg. 130; Siyar al Sahabah, vol. 7 pg. 410.

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