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The pages of our Islamic history and heritage are filled with the lives of men and women whose influence on our history can only be retold by history itself. They served as beacons of light, illuminating the path set by this Ummah’s Messenger (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam), and yet they were the heroes who protected this very path. Their interests didn’t lie in worldly gain nor were their efforts for selfish reasons but they worked hard in sincerity and under burden to deliver this message of Islam to you and I. They strove day and night purifying their societies and correcting what had become corrupt in this Ummah. They were true ‘ubbaad (slaves) of Allah who had put the Hereafter before their eyes and hence worked only towards this one goal.
Their nights were not the same as ours, nor are our days comparable to theirs – and it wouldn’t be far-fetched to say that a lifetime of ours could not equal a number of their days in virtue and achievement. For they were a people who valued time, knew how to live fully and work hard in ease and under pressure, in poverty and in health. They knew no bounds when it came to aiding the religion of Allah and they refused to acknowledge any limits to their efforts and struggles. They were the Companions, the Tabi’in (successors), the Atba’ al- Tabi’in (successors of the Tabi’in), they were the righteous of this Ummah in the past and they are to be the righteous of those to come.
From amongst such figures are those who excelled in certain fields be they in leadership, scholarship, political thought, arts of war, business and literature to name but a few. You could say that one was a leading figure in such-and-such field; another would be an Imam on a different platform. However, rarely has history in the post Prophethood era witnessed personalities who had gathered all these characteristics and succeeded across numerous fields and avenues. Rarely has it witnessed lives that were so enriched and yet enriching, so influential and inspiring, so powerful and empowering, so humble and yet so humbling.
One of these rarities lies in the very being of that scholar from Khurasan, the Mujahid between the army ranks, the faqeeh (jurist) and muhaddith (narrator) of his time, the righteous ‘aabid (worshipper) of his Lord, the successful merchant across cities, the well-known zahid (ascetic), the poet and writer, the grammarian and linguist, the respected and the leader of the Pious – ‘Abdullah ibn al-Mubarak.
But who was ‘Abdullah ibn al-Mubarak? Who is he about whom Isma’il ibn ‘Ayyash, the scholar of al-Sham said, “There is none like ‘Abdullah ibn al-Mubarak on the face of this earth, nor do I know of a single good characteristic created by Allah except that He has put it in ‘Abdullah ibn al-Mubarak.”
Let us delve into learning more about the life of this man whose input into Islamic Scholarship and history still benefits not just the masses today, but even the heirs to Prophethood; the scholars themselves. Continue reading