Imam Ibn Qasim (one of the companions of Malik)

‘Abdu’r-Rahman ibn Qasim al-‘Utaqi

(d. 191/806), one of the companions of Malik


Hs kunya was Abu ‘Abdullah. Ibn Waddah said, “His roots were in Ramla in Palestine. He lived in Egypt.”

Ad-Daraqutni said, “There was a mosque in Egypt known as the mosque of al-‘Utaqa’.” Ibn al-Harith said, “It is ascribed to the slaves who arrived from Ta’if to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, who made them free men.”

His father was in the Diwan (chancellory) and Ibn al-Qasim inherited from him the money which he spent for his journey to Malik. He gave Sa’d 90 dinars of it. I heard that he spend all his inheritance for that purpose.

He related from al-Layth, ‘Abdu’l-‘Aziz ibn al-Majishun, Muslim ibn Khalid az-Zanji, Bakr ibn Mudar, Ibn ad-Darawardi, Ibn Zabid, Ibn Abi Hazim, Sa’d, ‘Abdu’r-Rahim, ‘Uthman ibn al-Hakam, and others.

Asbagh, Sahnun, ‘Isa ibn Dinar, al-Harith ibn Miskin, ‘Isa ibn Talid, Yahya ibn Yahya al-Andalusi, Abu Zayd ibn Abi’l-Ghamr, Muhammad ibn al-Mawwaz, Abu Thabit al-Madini, and Muhammad ibn ‘Abdu’l-Hakam related from him. Most of the transmissions of Muhammad ibn al-Mawwaz and Ibn ‘Abdu’l-Hakam were from a man who related from him. Al-Bukhari transmitted from him.


People’s praise of him

Al-Kindi said, Ibn al-Qasim was mentioned to Malik and he said, ‘May Allah preserve him! He resembles a sack filled with musk.’”

Ad-Daraqutni said, “Ibn al-Qasim, the companion of Malik, was one of the great men of Egypt and their fuqaha’.”

Abu ‘Umar ibn ‘Abdi’l-Barr said, “Opinion dominated him and he was a man of right action, poor and steadfast. His transmission from him in the Muwatta’ is sound with little error. He was very precise in what he related from Malik. Malik was asked about him and about Ibn Wahb. He said, ‘Ibn Wahb is a man of knowledge and Ibn al-Qasim is a faqih.’”

An-Nasa’i said, “Ibn al-Qasim was reliable, a man of right action. Glory be to Allah! How excellent are his hadith from Malik and how sound! He does not differ in a single letter, and no one related the Muwatta’ from Malik firmer than Ibn al-Qasim. In my opinion, none of the companions of Malik were like him.” He was asked, “And Ashhab?” He said, “Not Ashhab nor anyone else. He was a marvel in excellence, asceticism, sound transmission, good awareness and good hadith. His hadith testifies to him.”

Ibn Wahb told Ibn Thabit, “If you desire this affair, i.e. Malik’s fiqh, you must have Ibn al-Qasim. He devoted himself to it while were occupied with something else.”

Qadi Abu Muhammad ‘Abdu’l-Wahhab al-Baghdadi preferred the questions of Malik via Ibn al-Qasim and kept his company a long time, and he did not mix with anyone else with him except for something insignificant. Then Sahnun was also with Ibn al-Qasim in this way in addition to what they both had of excellence and knowledge.

Yahya ibn Yahya said, “Ibn al-Qasim was the youngest of the people of Malik in Egypt in age and the youngest of them in seeking and the one among them with the most knowledge of Malik and their most trustworthy in him.”

Ibn Harith said, “He was the person with the most fiqh of the school of Malik.” He said, “We heard the shaykhs preferring Ibn al-Qasim over all of his companions in the science of sales transactions. Malik told him, ‘Be fearful of Allah. You must disseminate this knowledge.”

Ahmad ibn Khalid said, “Ibn al-Qasim only had the Muwatta’ and what he heard from Malik. He memorised it well,”

Ashhab was asked about Ibn al-Qasim and Ibn Wahb. He said, “If the foot of Ibn al-Qasim had been cut off, it would have had more fiqh than Ibn Wahb.” The alienation between Ibn al-Qasim and Ashhab was very severe, but that did not prevent him from saying the truth about him.

Ibn Waddah said, “None ike Ashshab, Ibn al-Qasim and ibn Wahb went to Malik. Ashhab knew the wounds, Ibn al-Qasim knew sales, and Ibn Wahb knew the rules of the hajj.”

Abu Ishaq ash-Shirazi said, “He combined fiqh and scrupulousness, and he kept the company of Malik for twenty years, and he learned fiqh with him and his those like him.”


Concerning the beginning of his quest and his behaviour in that

Ibn Waddah said, “Ibn al-Qasim listened to the Egyptians and the Syrians. He sought knowledge when he was older, and he did not go to Malik until he had listened to the Egyptians. He spent 1000 mithqals in his journey to Malik.”

Sahnun said from him,”I did not go to Malik until I knew his words.”

He told his son Musa ibn ‘Abdu’r-Rahman, “Shall I tell you how I sought knowledge?” He said, ‘Yes.” He said, “I had a brother and he argued with a man and then went to the Sultan. I followed him until we reached the Sultan. He ordered my brother to be put in prison and I followed him. I entered the mosque and I was wearing Sindi sandals and clothes dyed red. When the people formed circles to study knowledge, I was startled by them and distracted from going to my brother. I returned to the house and I got some shoes and a different cloak than the first one, and I came to the mosque and I sat in it alone looking at the people. Then I left and fell asleep. Someone came to me in a dream and said, ‘If you love knowledge, then you must have the man of knowledge of the horizons.’ I said, ‘Who is the man of knowledge of the horizons?’I was told, ‘This shaykh.’
“There was a tall ruddy shaykh with a good beard. Then I woke up. The month of Shawwal had passed. I hired (someone to take me) to Makka and I went on the hajj with the people. When I came to Madina, I did a ghusl and entered the mosque. I looked and I was at the Suffa as I had been shown in the dream. Malik ibn Anas was there and the people around him were reading to him. I recognised that it was he who was called the man of knowledge of the horizons to me in the dream, so I clung to him.”


Asbagh said that Ibn al-Qasim said, “I took the hadiths of the Egyptians and it occurred to me to seek the science of fiqh, so I went to Abu Shurayh. He was a wise and righteous man. I sought his counsel and said, ‘I want to go to Malik.’ He told me, ‘How excellent is fiqh! Its people will strip you of pride! But seek, because the pillow of knowledge is better than the pillow of ignorance.’”

Then he said, “Then I went to sleep after that and I dreamt that there was an eagle which swooped on my head. (Another said that it was a falcon fluttering over his head or in his room.) I took it and opened its belly. Someone told me, ‘Do not squander its insides. What it contains is a jewel.’ The dream was interpreted by Abu Shurayh or Zayn ibn Shu’ayb. He said, ‘The falcon is the master of the birds and the jewel is knowledge. This is a scholar whose knowledge you are commanded to take if you go to him.’”

Asbagh said that he said, “The eagle is the master of the birds and the scholar is the master of the people. If your dream is true, you will come to the knowledge of a scholar, so be fearful of Allah, Abu ‘Abdu’r-Rahman.” He commanded him to go to Malik and to stay with him and he did so.


Ibn al-Qasim said, “I used to listen to three hadiths from Malik every night before daybreak until he left for the mosque, not to mention what he let people hear in the daytime.”

In one variant, “I would come to Malik in the darkness before day and ask him two, three, or four questions. I used to find the expansion of the breast at that time. I would come every day before dawn. Once I laid my head on his doorstep and my eyes were overpowered and I fell asleep. Malik went out to the mosque while I was not aware of him. A black slavegirl of his kicked me with her foot and said to me, ‘Your master has gone out. He is not heedless as you are heedless. Today he is 49, and he has always prayed the Subh prayer with the wudu’ of the ‘Isha’ prayer.’ The blackgirl thought that he was his master because he frequented him so much.”

In another report, “I took up residence at the door of Malik for 19 years. I did not sell nor buy anything in that time.” He said, “While I was with him, it was said, ‘meet a hajji of Egypt.” There was a young veiled man who came to us and greeted Malik. He asked, ‘Is Ibn al-Qasim among you?’ I was pointed out. He began to kiss my eyes and I felt a good fragrance from him. It was the fragrance of the child. It turned out to be my son.” He had left his mother while she was pregnant with him. The young man’s name was ‘Abdullah. Ibn al-Qasim had given the mother a choice when he set out since he would be away for a long time, and she chose to stay.”

Abu Zayd said, “I heard Ibn al-Qasim say, ‘None is stingy in his knowledge and successful. I was present at the assembly of Malik ad I listened to him. If my companions were not present, they would ask me what I had heard and I would tell them. If they were present and I was not and then I asked them, they would not tell me.”


Ibn al-Qasim said, “It was as if I and Ashhab were going to two different scholars by the difference of their transmissions.”

As-Samadahi remarked, “Because of this, I stopped listening to Ashhab.”

Ibn al-Qasim listened to 20 books and the Book of Questions on Sales on Credit from Malik.


Concerning his excellence and worship, his asceticism and his scrupulousness, and his miracles and something of his news

Someone said, “It was mentioned that he testified before one of the qadis of Egypt who did not recognise him. The qadi asked someone to state whether he was just because of his obscurity and withdrawal. He went out saying, ‘Allah declares just and pure whomever He wills’ until he recognised him. When he recognised him, he gave judgement by his testimony and the oath of the appellant. He was an Iraqi and did not have that opinion, but he did that by the excellence of Ibn al-Qasim.”

It was said, “He testified beforeone of the qadis and the qadi said, ‘The name is just but I do not know the person. Bring someone who knows him by sight.’ He did not use to come to the qadis.” He said, “He was busy with worship and self-restraint.”


Sahnun said, “Malik was the teacher of Ibn al-Qasim in knowledge. His teacher in worship was Sulayman ibn al-Qasim.” Ibn al-Qasim said of both of them, “Two men whom I followed in my deen: Sulayman in scrupulousness and Malik in knowledge.”


He mentioned that one of the wealthy men of Egypt wanted to marry him to his daughter. He said that he would pay for him and take every expense upon himself. Ibn al-Qasim said, “Let me seek counsel.” He sought the advice of his uncle, Sulayman ibn al-Qasim. Sulayman asked him, “Do you want him to have eunuchs serve you while you are wearing silk and riding horses, and bowls are presented to you morning and night?” “No,” he replied. He asked, “You did not occupy yourself with the money of so-and-so?” So he abandoned that.


Asad said, “Ibn al-Qasim used to do the entire Qur’an twice every day and night. He left off the recitation when I came to him out of the desire to give life to knowledge.”

Yahya said, “I heard Ibn al-Qasim say, “I have not lied since I tied on my wrapper,” i.e. forbearance.” Yahya said, “I was not created for that.”


Yahya said, “We were speaking one day with Ibn al-Qasim discussing something. All of us said, “Scrupulousness is the strongest of what there is in this deen.’ Ibn al-Qasim said, ‘I do not think that is the case.’ I asked him, ‘Abu ‘Abdullah, how is that?’ He said, ‘We are commanded and we are forbidden. Whoever does what he is commanded and leaves what he is forbidden, that is the most scrupulous of people.’”

It was said to him, “Abu ‘Abdullah, what is heavy for others is light for you. What thing do you find the heaviest of this business?” He replied, “I have not found anything heavier for me than enduring staying up in the night.”


Yahya ibn Yahya ibn ‘Umar related from one of them, “I was at the ‘id with ‘Abdu’r-Rahman ibn al-Qasim. When we left, Ibn al-Qasim entered the mosque and prayed. Then he prostrated for a long time until I feared that I would miss lunch with my family. I went near to him and heard him say, ‘My God, turn Your slave to what hinders him for this day! Turn ‘Abdu’r-Rahman to You hoping for Your forgiveness on this immense day. If you do, how excellent, and if you do not, O my woe and my grief!’ I put a mark on his clothes and then I went to my family and I sat with them and I had intercourse and slept. Then I went to the mosque and I found him exactly as I had left him.”


Ibn al-Qasim said, “I went to Alexandria and had a deposit with me. We anchored in a perilous place and I preferred to remain awake in order to guard the deposit. In the middle of the night, there appeared a white man on a grey mule. He came across the sea until he stopped at the ship and said to me, ‘Sleep, Ibn al-Qasim, we will guard you.’” Ibn al-Qasim told Ibn al-Harith, “Do not tell anyone during my lifetime.”

In another variant is that the deposit was 10,000 and that the horseman said to him, “My Lord has sent me to you to guard this trust for you, so sleep in safety.’ When I awoke, I saw him going around us. It was his habit for three nights until he reached Alexandria.”


Yahya ibn Yahya said, “Ibn al-Qasim went to one of the deserts of Egypt. He became thirsty. One of its rulers had gone out for a walk. It had just been a short time when his animals stopped and refused to budge. He hit them, but they would not get up. He said to someone who was with him, ‘What is this about? Investigate!’ They looked and said, ‘There is a person.’ He said, ‘Question him.’ They questioned him and he said, ‘I am thirsty.’ They let him drink and then the animals went.”


‘Isa ibn Dinar said, “I was at Alexandria with Ibn al-Qasim in the Ribat. He had a man with him who was close to him. While we were in the ship on the 27th of Ramadan, a man from the people of the ship said, ‘I will tell you something immense which I have dreamt just this hour,’ and he told him. He said to his companion, ‘If what he says is true, then it is the Night of Power.’ He mentioned that the sign of that would be the sweetness of the sea water. They leaned over the front of the ship and I saw them drinking. They then turned to the qibla and I got up and went to the place from where they had come and I drank and found it to be sweet.’”


Al-Harith said, “Ibn al-Qasim did not accept the rewards of the Sultan. He had a debt, but he earned enough from reading to settle it.” He said that he used to say, “There is no good in nearness or proximity to the governors.” At first he used to come to them but then he stopped doing that.


Sahnun said, “Often I heard him say, ‘Beware of the bondage of the free men.’ He was asked about that and said, ‘Many brethren.’ He did not go to anyone’s funeral and he did not leave the mosque. He mentioned the hadith of Sulayman ibn al-Qasim, ‘Do not burden yourself for another what you will not burden for yourself.’”

He said, “The cause of Ibn al-Qasim’s death was that he did ghusl with cold water and he did not want any of it heated for him because it was illegal seizure by one of the Umayyads.”

Sahnun said, “One day I stood in the Masjid al-Haram to drink water. Ibn al-Qasim said, ‘From where are you drinking?’ I said, ‘Can’t I have the booty of a drink of water?’ He said, ‘What booty is there in Makka? It is sadaqa.’”


He said, “Abu Muhammad ibn Abi Zayd related that Ibn al-Qasim used to give away half of his food as sadaqa. He would parcel it into small squares and when a beggar stopped him, he would give him a small parcel he had made. He sold half of this food for the year and bought with it dates to give to the beggars, date by date.”

Abu Muhammad said, “It was as if he thought that this was the least for the responsibility and the purest amount since he feared to turn away the beggar without anything. This is by the measure of the intention.”


Ibn Wahb said when Ibn al-Qasim died, “He was my brother and my companion in this mosque for forty years. I did not ever come in the evening or the morning to this mosque but that I found that he had preceded me.”


It is related that Ibn al-Qasim was having the Muwatta’ read to him when he stood up for a long time and then sat down. He was asked about that. He said, “My mother came to ask me for something, and she stood up and I stood up when she stood up. When she went up, I sat down.”


Furat reported that Sahnun said, “When I went on hajj, I accompanied ‘Abdullah ibn Wahb. Ashhab and Ibn al-Qasim were with him. When I alighted, I went to ‘Abdu’r-Rahman to ask about the time of the journey. Ibn Wahb and Ashhab told me, ‘Would you ask your companion to break the fast with us one night?’ I spoke to him and he said, ‘This is burdensome for me.’ I asked him, ‘By what token then will people know my position with you?’ He agreed and I went andtold them. When it was time for the to break the fast, he got up and I went with him to the people. I found that Ashhab had brought some food on a great tray. Ibn Wahb had prepared less than that. Ibn al-Qasim gave the greeting and then sat down. Then he looked around. There was a plate with some flour on it. He took it in his hand and moved the spices to one side and licked the salt three times. He knew that the source of the salt of Egypt was good. Then he stood up and said, ‘May Allah bless you.’”

Sahnun said, “I was too embarrassed to get up. Ashhab thought that the matter was terrible. Ibn Wahb said, ‘Leave him, leave him.’”


Ibn Waddah said, “The people of Andalusia carried gossip between Ibn al-Qasim and Ashhab until they destroyed the good relations between the two of them. Ashhab swore that he would walk to Makka if he ever spoke again to Ibn al-Qasim. Then he regretted that and wanted to walk to Makka. When Ibn al-Qasim heard that, he said, ‘He will break his oath and walk and I will walk with him.’ So they walked together and made the hajj with ‘Isa ibn Dinar was with them.”

Yahya said, “I heard Ibn al-Qasim curse two men from the people of Andalusia who had come between him and Ashhab. I heard him say, ‘O Allah, disquiet them by their efforts and do not benefit them with their carrying.’ When they died, that was known in them.”

It was said, “Ibn al-Qasim and Ashhab used to disagree about the words of Malik on a question, and each of them swore to reject the other’s statement. They asked Ibn Wahb and he told them that Malik had said both things. They then went on hajj to fulfil the oath which they had broken.”


Concerning his death

Ibn Sahnun and others said that Ibn al-Qasim died in Egypt on Friday night on the 9th of Safar, 191, three days after he had come from Makka. It is said that it was six days, and we have mentioned the reason for that. He was ill for six days and died when he was 63. It is said that he died in 192 when he was 60.

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