Sufyaan ath-Thawree – Siyar A`laamin Nubalaa of Imaam adh-Dhahabee | Dawud Burbank



(Abridged from ‘Siyar A`laamin Nubalaa·’ of Imaam adh-Dhahabee)
Translated by Abu Talha Dawud Burbank rahimahullaah

“Sufyaan ibn Sa`eed ibn Masrooq, the Imaam, Shaikhul-Islaam, The chief of the memorizers, Aboo `Abdillaah, ath-Thawree: from Thawr of the tribe of Mudar, not Thawr of Hamadaan; al-Koofee, the Jurist (Faqeeh).

He narrated from his father, and from: Zubayd ibn al-Haarith, Habeeb ibn Abee Thaabit, al-Aswad ibn Qays, Ziyaad ibn `Ilaaqah, Muhaarib ibn Dithaar, and their level.

Those who narrated from him included: Ibn al-Mubaarak, Yahyaa alQattaan, Ibn Wahb, Wakee`, al-Firyaabee, Qabeesah, Aboo Nu`aym, Muhammad ibn Katheer, Ahmad ibn Yoonus al-Yarboo`ee, and very many others.

Shu`bah, Yahyaa ibn Ma`een, and a group said: Sufyaan is the Chief of the Believers in Hadeeth.”

Ibn al-Mubaarak said: “I wrote (narrations) from one thousand one hundred Shaikhs, and there was not amongst them anyone more excellent than Sufyaan.”

Shu`bah used to say: “Sufyaan is a better memorizer than me.

Warqaa· said: “ath-Thawree did not see the like of himself.”

Ahmad said: “No one takes precedence over him in my heart.”

al-Qattaan said: “I have never seen a better memorizer then him: if you asked him about a question or about a hadeeth which he did not possess, it would trouble him greatly.”

`Abdur-Razzaaq said: Sufyaan said: “I never stored anything in my heart and then found it letting me down.”

al-Awzaa`ee said: “No one whom the Ummah is united upon in their being pleased with him and holding him to be correct remains except for Sufyaan.”

Ibn al-Mubaarak said: “I do not know anyone upon the face of the earth who is more knowledgeable than Sufyaan.”

Wakee` said: “Sufyaan was an ocean.”

al-Qattaan said: “Sufyaan is above Maalik in everything.”

Aboo Usaamah said: “Whoever informs you that he has seen the like of Sufyaan, then do not believe him.”

Ibn Abee Dhi·b said: “I have not seen in Iraaq anyone who resembles your Thawree.”

ath-Thawree said: “I would love that I am saved regarding knowledge: so that it is neither for nor against me; and there is no action which I fear more for myself than it – meaning Hadeeth.”

Yahyaa ibn Yamaan said: I heard Sufyaan say: “The scholar is the doctor of the Religion and dirhams are the disease for the Religion. So if the doctor catches the disease, then when will he be able to treat others?!”

al-Khuraybee said: “I heard ath-Thawree say: “Seeking Hadeeth (itself) is not a preparation for death, rather it is an ailment which a man prescribes himself with.”

I (i.e. adh-Dhahabee) say: ‘He has spoken the truth, by Allaah. Seeking Hadeeth is something other than Hadeeth itself. So seeking Hadeeth is a term commonly used to cover a number of affairs which are additional to actually acquiring Hadeeth itself, and many of them are just steps towards knowledge; and most of these are affairs which the narrator of hadeeth becomes engrossed with, such as: acquiring fine manuscripts; seeking shorter chains; increasing the number of one’s Shaikhs; being overjoyed at titles and praise; and hoping for a long life so that he can narrate more; and loving to be alone in narrating something; and many affairs which are closely allied to personal goals, and not to actions for the Lord. So if your seeking the Prophetic Hadeeth is surrounded by these calamities, then when will you escape from them towards acting purely and sincerely for Allaah. Then if the knowledge of narrations can be tainted, then what do you think about the knowledge of logic, controversial debating, philosophy of the earlier peoples; which strip away Eemaan and produce doubts and throw a person into confusion. These were not, by Allaah, from the knowledge of the Companions, nor the Taabi`een, nor from the knowledge of alAwzaa`ee, ath-Thawree, Maalik, Aboo Haneefah, Ibn Abee Dhi·b, or Shu`bah; nor, by Allaah, were they known by Ibn al-Mubaarak; nor by Aboo Yoosuf who said: “Whoever seeks the Religion through rhetorical theology (al-kalaam) will become an evil heretic”; nor by Wakee`, Ibn Mahdee, Ibn Wahb, ash-Shaafi`ee, `Affaan, Aboo `Ubayd, Ibn al-Madeenee, Ahmad Aboo Thawr, al-Muzanee, al-Bukhaaree, al-Athram, Muslim, anNasaa·ee, Ibn Khuzaymah, Ibn Suraij, Ibn al-Mundhir, and their like. Rather their knowledge was the Qur·aan, the Hadeeth, Fiqh, Grammar, and the like. Yes Sufyaan also said, in what al-Firyaabee heard from him: “There is no action more excellent than seeking the Hadeeth, as long as the intention is correct regarding it.”

He said: And I heard him say: “If we wanted to narrate Hadeeth to you exactly as we heard it, then we would not narrate a single hadeeth to you.”

al-Firyaabee said: I heard Sufyaan say: “I entered upon al-Mahdee and I said: “It reached me that Ibn `Umar spent twelve deenars upon his Hajj, and you are involved in what you are involved in.” So he became angry and said: ‘Do you want me to be as you are?!’ So I said: ‘If you are not as I am, then at least reduce from what you are doing. “Damurah said: I heard Maalik say: “Iraaq used to wage war upon us with dirhams and garments, and then it waged war upon us with Sufyaan ath-Thawree.”

I say: The virtues of this Imaam occur in a volume complied by Ibn alJawzee; and I have abridged it and brought a good quantity of that in my ‘Taareekh’.

Saalih Jazarah said: “Sufyaan was a greater memorizer and had more hadeeth than Maalik. However Maalik carefully selected the narrators; and Sufyaan was a greater memorizer then Shu`bah. His ahaadeeth amounted to thirty thousand, whereas the ahaadeeth of Shu`bah were about ten thousand.

“Sufyaan was born in the year 97 H. He began seeking Hadeeth whilst he was a youth, since his father was one of the scholars of Koofah. He (Sufyaan) died in Basrah, in hiding from al-Mahdee, since he was one who spoke out with the truth and strongly criticized. He died in Sha`baan in the year 161 H -radiyallaahu `anhu.

It is authentic from Ma`daan: from ath-Thawree, regarding His Saying -He the Most High:

[Sooratul-Hadeed (57): 4]
[[Meaning: And He is with you]], so he said: “His knowledge,” and this is what is reported from a group of the people of Tafseer.

al-Laalikaa·ee in ‘as-Sunnah’: al-Mukhallis related to us: Abul-Fadl Shu`ayb ibn Muhammad related to us: `Alee ibn Harb ibn Bassaam related to us: I heard Shu`ayb ibn Harb say: I said to Sufyaan ath-Thawree:

‘Tell me a saying about the Sunnah, through which Allaah will benefit me, and when I stand in front of Him and He asks me about it I can say: ‘O my Lord! Sufyaan told this to me.’ So that I will be saved and you will be taken.’

He said: “Write: In the name of Allaah, the Extremely Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy. The Qur·aan is the Speech of Allaah. It is not created. It came from Him, and it will return to Him. Whoever says other than this then he is an Disbeliever; and Eemaan is statement and action and intention, it increases and decreases; and to give precedence to the two Shaikhs [i.e. Aboo Bakr and `Umar]…” until he said: “O Shu`ayb, what you have written will not benefit you until you hold wiping over the leather socks, and until you hold reciting ‘Bismillaahir-Rahmaanir-Raheem’ quietly (in the Prayer) to be better than reciting it loudly; and until you have Eemaan in Pre-Decree (al-Qadr); and until you hold praying behind every righteous or sinful (imaam); and that the Jihaad continues until the Day of Resurrection; and having patience under the flag of the ruler, whether he is tyrannical or just.”

So I said: ‘O Aboo `Abdillaah, is that every Prayer?’ He said: “No, rather the Jumu`ah Prayer, and the two `Eid Prayers: pray them behind whoever you reach. As for the rest of that, then you have a choice, so do not pray except behind one whom you trust in, and you know that he is from the people of the Sunnah.

If you stand before Allaah and He asks you about this, then say: “O my Lord, Sufyaan ibn Sa`eed related it to me; and then leave me to my Lord – the Mighty and Majestic.”

This is established from Sufyaan, and the Shaikh of al-Mukhallis is reliable -may Allaah have mercy upon them.

[‘Tadhkiratul-Huffaaz’ (1/203-207)]

[[For the full narration, and a longer biography of Sufyaan refer to the book ‘Mountains of Knowledge.’]]

Posted from  the Appendix of :
Tafseer Soorat-in-Naba’- from the works of numerous mufassireen.
Compiled and translated by Abu Talhah Dawud Burbank rahimahullaah

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Sage Advice by Imaam Sufyaan Ath-Thauree (rahimahullaah)

Imaam Sufyaan (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:

Be truthful at all times and in all places. Stay away from lying and from deception, and do not sit alongside liars and deceivers, for all such deeds are sins.

My brother, be careful not to show off, either in speech or in deed, for showing off is Shirk itself (Shirk being to associate partners with Allaah in worship).

Do not be conceited, for even a good deed is not raised (to the heavens) if any conceitedness is involved in it.

Take your religion only from one who is sincerely and compassionately concerned about his own religious guidance. The example of a scholar who is not concerned about his own religious well-being is that of a sick doctor: If he cannot treat his own disease…then how can he treat the diseases of others…? Likewise, if one is not concerned about his own religious well-being, then how can he be concerned about the religious well-being of others?

My brother, your religion is nothing more than your flesh and blood (i.e., You should be concerned about your religious well-being, because if you aren’t, it is your flesh and blood that will pay the penalty through the punishment of Allaah). Cry out of concern for your soul and have mercy on it; if you do not have mercy on it, then mercy will not be shown to it.

Sit only in the company of one who advises you to desire little from this world and who encourages you to put your hopes in the Hereafter. Take care not to sit with worldly people who speak constantly about worldly affairs; such people will ruin your religious well-being and will corrupt your heart.

Remember death frequently, and just as frequently ask Allaah to forgive you for your past sins.

Ask Allaah to keep you safe (safe from evil, from dangerous diseases, from trials and tribulations, etc) for the remainder of your life.

My brother, develop a good character and noble manners.

Do not act contrary to the Jamaa’ah (the general body of Sunni Muslims), for goodness and safety are the consequences of being in harmony with the Jamaa’ah.

Someone who strives constantly for this world is like a person who builds one home and destroys another (because he builds prosperity for himself in this world, while he destroys all chances of becoming prosperous in the Hereafter).

Give sincere advice to every believer who asks you a question regarding his religion. And never hide good advice to someone who asks you about a matter that leads to the Good Pleasure of Allaah (subhaanahu wa ta’aala).

If you love your (Muslim) brother for the sake of Allaah, then give him generously from your self and your wealth.

Stay far away from arguments, quarrels, and disputes; otherwise, you will become a wrongdoer, a transgressor, and a deceiver.

Be patient at all times and in all places, for patience leads to righteousness, and righteousness leads to Paradise. Do not become angry and furious, for those two emotions lead to wickedness, and wickedness leads to the Hellfire.

Do not argue with a scholar, for that will lead to him loathing you. Being able to visit scholars (and learn from them) is a mercy, and cutting oneself off from them means that one is bringing down upon himself the wrath of Allaah (subhaanahu wa ta’aala). Verily, the scholars are the treasurers of the Prophets (‘alayhumus salaam) and are also their inheritors.

Turn away from worldly pleasures and things (to a certain degree), and, as a result, Allaah will enable you to see the faults and defects of this world. Be a man of Wara’ (one who forsakes all dubious and some lawful things because he fears that those things will lead to what is prohibited in Islaam), and (on the Day of Resurrection) Allaah will make your session of accountability easier for you.

Leave many of the things regarding which you are doubtful, and replace them with things regarding which you are not doubtful, and you will, as a result, remain safe: So by warding off doubt with certainty, you will remain safe in your religion.

Enjoin good and forbid evil — thus will you become loved by Allaah. Despise wicked-doers, and drive away devils (regardless of whether they are humans or jinn).

If you want to become strong (in faith)…then be exultant only a little and laugh only a little when you get something you want from this world. Concentrate on working for the Hereafter; if you do that, Allaah will be sufficient for you regarding your worldly concerns….

Ask Allaah for safety (in both your religious and worldly affairs). If you intend to something for your Hereafter – such as giving charity – then apply yourself to doing it quickly before the Shaytaan (the Devil) weakens your resolve and thus prevents you from doing it.

Do not be a heavy eater, whereby you work less than you eat, for that is disliked (in Islaam). Do not eat without an intention, and do not eat when you are not hungry. And do not fill your stomach constantly until you become a corpse, not having remembered Allaah while you were alive (but instead having been concerned with eating to your full and fulfilling your desires).

Decrease the frequency with which you fall into error, accept apologizes (from those who wronged you), and forgive the person who wronged you.

Be the type of person from whom people generally expect good things and from whose evil people feel safe.

Do not hate anyone who obeys Allaah, and be merciful both towards people in general and towards those with whom you are well-acquainted (or both to the general masses of Muslim and to people of high standing in society).

Do not sever the ties of the womb (i.e., do not cut off relations with family members and relatives), and join ties with those who have severed them from you. Pardon those who wronged you, and you will, as a result, become a companion of the Prophets and martyrs.

Do not be a frequent visitor of the marketplace, for the people there (mostly sellers, but some buyers also) are wolves in men’s clothing. Marketplaces are often frequented by devils – devils both of the human kind and of the jinn kind. When you enter the marketplace, it becomes obligatory upon you to enjoin good and forbid evil – but know that you will only see evil there. Stand to one side of the marketplace and call out: ‘I bear witness that none has the right to be worshipped but Allaah alone; He has no partner; the dominion of all that exists belongs to Him. He is deserving of all praise. It is He Who gives life, and it is He Who causes death. All goodness is in His hands, and He is upon all things capable. There is neither might nor power except with Allaah, the All-High, the All-Mighty. [ Check – 1 Million Virtues + 1 Million Sins Forgiven + 1 Million Grades Raised]

Do not enter into disputes with worldly people over their worldly things, and, as a result, Allaah will love you, and the people of earth will love you.

And be humble….When you are healthy, do good deeds, and you will be granted safety and health (physically and spiritually) from above.

Be a forgiving person, and you will get the things you want. Be a merciful person, and all things will be merciful towards you.

My brother, do not allow your days, nights, and hours to be wasted on falsehood. Spend from your self for yourself – for the Day of Thirst (the Day of Resurrection). My brother, your thirst will not be quenched on the Day of Resurrection unless the Most Merciful is pleased with you, and you will not achieve His Good pleasure unless you are obedient to Him. Perform many voluntary good deeds, for they have the effect of bringing you closer to Allaah.

Be generous, and your faults will be covered, and Allaah will make easier for you your session of accountability (on the Day of Resurrection) as well as the horrors (that will take place on that day).

Perform many good deeds, and Allaah will make you feel happy and at ease in your grave.  Stay away from all prohibited deeds, and thus will you taste the sweetness of faith (Eemaan). Sit in the company of righteous and pious people, and Allaah will make well for you the affairs of your religion. And in the affairs of your religion, consult those who fear Allaah. Hasten to perform good deeds, and Allaah will protect you from disobeying Him.

Remember Allaah frequently, and, as a result, Allaah will make you less desirous of this world (and its pleasures and possessions). Remember death, and, as a result, Allaah will make your worldly affairs easier for you. Yearn for Paradise, and, as a result, Allaah will help you obey Him. Be frightened by the Hellfire, and,  as a result, Allaah will make it easier for you to endure the hardships of this life.”

Transcribed from: The Biography of Sufyaan Ath-Thauree, p176-181
Compiled by:  Salaahud-Deen ibn ‘Alee ibn ‘Abdul-Maujood

Over Socializing – Having too many acquaintances – Sufyaan ath-Thawri

Keep Only a Few Friends

Sufyaan ath-Thawri (may Allah have mercy on him) said that one foolishly compromised one’s religion when one kept too many friends. Having too many acquaintances diverts one from one’s duty towards one’s Lord, for a person who has many friends is always busy socializing with them and fulfilling their rights over him; so he becomes preoccupied with people when he really should be preoccupied with his religious duties. The ill-effects of being too gregarious can last well beyond a social gathering. Sufyaan said, “I might meet a brother and as a result, remain heedless (of what I should be doing) for an entire month.”

A friend, Sufyaan insisted, should be someone who helps one to improve as a Muslim; otherwise he is not worth keeping as a friend. Sufyaan expressed this sentiment when he sad, “If someone is not with you, then he is against you.”

And Yousuf ibn Asbaat reported that he heard Sufyaan ath-Thawri say, “Whenever I spoke contrary to the desires of any man, he, regardless of who he was, would inevitably become furious with me. The people of knowledge and piety have departed.”

Sufyaan once advised someone to test the character of the person he wanted to befriend. Sufyaan said, “Choose whoever you want as your companion. But when you have made your choice, make him angry, and then order someone to go and ask him what he thinks about you-without him knowing that you sent that person.”

Bakr ibn Muhammad Al-‘Aabid related that Sufyaan ath-Thawri once said to him, “Direct me to a man with whom I can keep company.” Sufyaan said, “You are searching for something that cannot be found.”

Khalf ibn Ismaa’eel Al-Barzaanee reported that he heard Sufyaan ath-Thawri said, “Acquaint yourself with fewer people, and as a result, you will backbite less (frequently).”

Source: ‘Biography of Imam Sufyaan ath-Thawri ‘. this book is sold by dar-us-salaam and the author is “Salaahud-Deen ibn Ali ibn Abdul-Maujood”. Sufyaan Ath-Thawri: A True Mountain of Knowledge & the Leader of Believers in Hadeeth

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