The Beginning of his quest, the reason for his asceticism and the sum of his virtues and knowledge
Abu'l-Fadl said that as-Sadafi mentioned, "When Ibn al-Mubarak came of age, his father sent him 50,000 to use for commerce. He sought after knowledge until he had spent the money. When it was gone, his father met him and said, 'What have you bought?' He brought out his books for him and said, 'This is my trade.' His father went into the house and gave him 30,000 dirhams
more and said, 'Take this and follow your trade with them,' and he spent them."
Ibn al-Mubarak said, "I studied adab
for thirty years and I studied knowledge for twenty years."
Ibn Hanbal said, "In the time of Ibn al-Mubarak, there was no one who sought after knowledge more than him. He went to the Yemen, Egypt, Syria, the Hijaz
, Basra and Kufa, and whoever related knowledge and was worthy of it. He wrote from young men and old men. He omitted what was rare. He gave hadiths from books."
Ibn Waddah said, "Ibn al-Mubarak related about 25,000 hadiths
. He was asked, 'Up until when did you study knowledge?' He said, 'I hope that you will find me doing that until I die."
Yahya ibn Yahya al-Laythi said, "A man with good deportment came one day to Malik. I used to see Malik say to him, 'Come here.' Then he made room for him in his assembly, and I did not see Malik make room for anyone else. He sat Ibn al-Mubarak near him. Sometimes Malik was asked about a question and he answered it. Then he would lean over to the man and say to him, 'What do your companions say about it?' The man would reply softly so we could not hear or understand. I saw him do that for some days, and I admired the adab
of the man. I did not see him ask about anything until he departed. He was content with what he heard and Malik told us, 'This is Ibn al-Mubarak, the faqih
One day Ibn al-Mubarak prayed at the side of Abu Hanifa. Ibn al-Mubarak began to lift his hands in each takbir
. Abu Hanifa said to him, 'Do you want to fly?' He replied, 'If I had wanted to, I would have flown in the first one.'"
He said, "The ascetic is the one who is not happy when he gets this world and is not sad if he lacks it."
Ibn Shahin said, "Ibn al-Mubarak was with Hammad ibn Zayd and greeted him. The people of hadith
went to Hammad to ask Ibn al-Mubarak to give them hadith
. Ibn al-Mubarak said, 'Glory be to Allah! Shall I give hadith
while you are present?' He said, 'I beg you to do it,' or words to that effect. He said, 'Abu Isma'il Hammad ibn Zayd related to us,' and did not give any hadith
except from him."
Ibn al-Mubarak used to say, "The beginning of knowledge is the intention, then listening, then understanding, then action, then preservation, and then spreading it."
It was said, "He went on hajj
one year and raiding the next year. Whenever he came to Madina, he said to its shaykhs
among the people of knowledge and decrease. Whoever wants to go on hajj
, come out with me. Their provision is enough for them. He did the same when he went on raids."
Al-Fasawi the worshipper said, "I was with Ibn al-Mubarak raiding on a cold, rainy night. He wept and I said, 'Are you weeping for the like of this?' He said, 'I am weeping for the previous nights which did not have the like of this hardship so that we could be rewarded for them.'"
Ibn al-Musayyab said, "Ibn al-Mubarak sent 70,000 dirhams
to Abu Bakr ibn 'Ayyash and said, 'Use it to stop the lack of censure of you.'"
Nu'aym ibn Hammad said, "Ibn al-Mubarak used to stay in his house a lot. He was asked, 'Are you isolating yourself?' He said, 'How can I isolate myself when I am with the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and his Companions?'"
He related that Iblis
came to Ibn al-Mubarak when he was doing wudu'
and said, "You did not wipe.'" He said, "I did wipe." He said, "You did not wipe." He said, 'You are a claimant, so present your proof.'"
Ibn al-Mubarak said to one of his companions, "Do not neglect a day which Allah has mentioned in 63 places in His Book."
A man said to Ibn al-Mubarak, "Yesterday I read the entire Qur'an
in a single rak'at
." Ibn al-Mubarak said, "But I know a man who did not cease to recite 'Rivalry' (102) yesterday until the Subh
prayer. He could not get past it," i.e. himself.
He and another man mentioned that Ibn al-Mubarak was asked about the beginning of his quest for knowledge. He said, "I was a young man who drank nabidh
-wine, loved wealth and rejoiced in those foul things. I invited some brothers of mine to a garden when the apples and other fruits were ripe, and we ate and drank until we were overcome by drunkenness and sleep. I woke up at the end of the period before dawn. I took up the lute which I played and composed:
Is it not time that you had mercy on us
and defied the critics and censors?
"Then I could not make it rhyme as I wished. When I repeated it to it, the lute spoke to me as a man speaks, 'Is it not time that the hearts of those who believe should be humbled to the remembrance of Allah?
' (57:15) I said, 'Yes, Lord.' I broke the lute and spilled out the nabidh
, and repentance came by Allah's favour with its realities, and I turned to knowledge and worship."
He related that 'Abdullah ibn al-Mubarak entered Kufa when he was intending to go on the hajj
. There was a woman sitting on a rubbish-heap plucking a duck. It occurred to him that it was carrion. He stopped on his mule and said to her, 'Women! Is this duck carrion or sacrificed?' She said, 'Carrion.' He said, 'Then why are you plucking it?' She said, 'So that my family and I can eat it.' He said, 'Woman! Allah Almighty has forbidden you carrion while you are in a land like this!' She said, 'Man, go away.' They continued to exchange words until he said to her,'Where in Kufa do you live?' She said, 'In the quarter of the Banu
so-and-so.' He said, 'By what is your house known?' She said, 'The Banu
so-and-so.' He left her and went to the inn. Then he asked about the tribe and they directed him to it. He said to a man, 'You have a dirham
if you come with me to the place.'
"He went until he came to the tribe which the woman had mentioned. He said to the man, 'Go.' Then he went to the door and knocked on the door with a stick that he had. The old woman said, 'Who is it?' He said to her, 'Open the door.' She opened it part way. He said, 'Open it all the way.' Then he got off his mule and hit it with the stick and the mule went into the house. Then he said to the woman, 'This mule and the provision, money and clothes on it is yours, and you will have what is halal from it in this world and the Next.'
"Then Ibn al-Mubarak remained hidden until the people returned from the hajj
. Some of the people of his land came to him to greet him and congratualate him on the hajj
. He turned to say to them, 'I had an illness and did not go on hajj
"One of them said, 'Glory be to Allah! Did I not leave you my goods with you while we were at Mina
and we were going to 'Arafat
?' Another said, 'Did you not buy for me in the same way?' He turned to say, 'I do not know what you are saying. As for myself, I did not go on hajj
"He dreamt of someone saying in the night to him, ''Abdullah, rejoice! Allah accepted your sadaqa
and He sent an angel in your form who performed the hajj