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Al-`Izz Ibn `Abdus-Salam

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  • Al-`Izz Ibn `Abdus-Salam

    Al-`Izz Ibn `Abdus-Salam - Sultan of the `Ulama'


    The Ayyoubite ruler of Egypt Najmuddin Ayyoub was known for his austere and awesome personality, despite the fact he was at the same time very decent and bashful. It is reported that even his princes would not dare to talk to him (out of awe) unless he asked them to do so.

    On an "Eid" holiday the Sultan headed the grand celebrations, surrounded by his guards and many celebrities, while the princes passed to greet him with great reverence. On this awesome and glorious occasion our hero Al-'Izz ibn Abdus-Salam remembered that there were shops publicly selling wine in that Muslim State. He confidently went up to the Sultan and addressed him, "O Ayyoub! What will your answer be to Allah when He asks you on the Day of Judgment, 'Have I not given you the sovereignty over Egypt and you allowed intoxicant drinking?' " The Sultan, taken by surprise, asked, "Has this really happened?" Al-'Izz answered, "Yes, such and such shops sell wine and other sinful things, while you are busy in the luxuries of your kingdom." The Sultan answered, "Sir, this is not my doing. It has been there since my father's days."

    Our hero asked,

    "Are you of the people about whom the Qur'an reports to have said: "We have found our fathers on a path, and we are following them?" (A reference to the disbelievers' typical response to their prophets).

    The Sultan immediately issued a decree that the wine shops be closed.
    Later, a student of our hero, Al-Baji , asked him, "How are you, Sir?" "My son," came the answer, "I saw him (the Sultan) in that state of pomposity. So I wanted to humiliate him lest he might become vain, hence hurt himself (spiritually)." Al-Baji asked: "Were you, Sir, not afraid of him?" "By Allah, my son, I was filled with awe from Allah the Almighty so the Sultan became like a cat in my eyes."

    But who was Al-`Izz ibn 'Abdus-Salam who dared to address a fearful and powerful king of his time?

    Our hero was born in Damascus in the year 577 or 578 A.H. to a poor and obscure family. As a young man he used to live in a place provided for poor students next to the Damascus Mosque. Due to his diligence and intelligence, he reports, "I never needed to finish my study with a teacher. For as soon as I got to the middle my teacher would say to me, 'You have digested the subject. You have no need for me, and you can depend on yourself to finish it.' But I would not leave my teachers until I completed studying the specified course of study in that field." His thirst for learning made him unsatisfied by the education he got from the Damascus scholars. He went to Baghdad in 597 (at the age of twenty) to learn from i ts scholars. We are told that even at the age of sixty, when our hero had already become a very well-known scholar in his own right, he would not hesitate in attending sessions conducted by some reputable Egyptian scholars in Cairo.

    Naturally, our hero did not keep his learning for himself, since he actively participated in the scholarly activities of his time. He taught at Damascus schools and in Cairo as well, where in the latter he spent the last twenty years of his life in teaching and writing. At Damascus, he was involved in the prestigious activity of giving religious consultation and views, sometimes in
    contradiction and defiance to officially supported ones. An example of this was our hero's view on the Qur'an (Words of Allah), which contradicted that of the Sultan in Damascus, Al-Ashraf Musa ibn Al-'Adil. This caused the Sultan to issue decrees that our hero stop giving religions rulings and verdicts and be confined to his house. The response of Al-'Izz to the minister who conveyed the decree to him were expressions of gratitude to the Sultan for relieving him of that difficult task and for giving him the opportunity to be free to himself in order to concentrate more on his studies and devotions.

    Both in Syria and in Egypt our hero also delivered sermons in the principal mosques. It was in the mosque of Damascus that he denounced the Sultan's alliance and confederation with the enemies of the faithful against his own brother.

    And in Damascus our hero defied the authorities by issuing a religious ruling that people should not sell arms to the crusaders, who were allies to Sultan Al-Saleh Ismail. The actions brought the wrath of the Sultan on the head of our hero who was then imprisoned.

    Upon his release in 639 A.H., Al-'Izz ibn 'Abdus-Salam went to Egypt where he was given a warm welcome by its King Najmuddin Ayyoub, and was appointed Judge, then Chief Judge and Khateeb (sermon giver) in the central mosque in Egypt.

    It was in his post as Chief Judge in Egypt that our hero defied the ruling authorities in the most daring acts of his life. The first act was the public sale of the ruling Memluke princes.

    History tells us that upon his appointment as Chief Judge, he noticed that the Memluke princes (who were originally purchased by Sultan Najmuddin Ayyoub with money from the public treasury) acted like free men in transactions not permitted by the law for men of their status as bondsmen.

    Al-'Izz would not validate those transactions. When they talked to him, he pointed out that they should be sold and that their price be returned to the Public Treasury, then they could be officially freed. It was only then that their transactions would be valid. Naturally, those princes and army commanders were enraged by the idea. When the Sultan heard of this encounter he remarked that that was none of the business of the chief
    Judge. Our hero resigned from the post and started to leave the country. But thousands of people from all spheres of the Egyptian society followed him in a huge march, which forced the Sultan to apologize to him and to ask him to return to his post. Al-Izz accepted to return to his job with the provison that the religious ruling regarding the princes be implemented.

    Thus, the Sultan agreed. However, the Memluke princes were infuriated and attempted to assassinate our hero, but through the grace of Allah their leader was awestruck when he raised the sword to strike Al-'Izz. He was mesmerized upon seeing the defenceless old man courageously facing him, and the sword dropped from his hand. The assistant leader wept and asked
    for forgiveness, and the auction took place (a unique auction in history where ruling Memluke princes were sold in public).

    For this daring act our hero, who died in 660 A.H., will always be remembered. But that was only one of the many instances of Al-'Izz ibn 'Abdus-Salam's memorable contributions to the history of Islamic heroism.



    "The `Aalim knows who is a Jaahil, because he used to be a Jaahil before. But the Jaahil does not know who is an `Aalim, because he was never an `Aalim before."


    Imaam Ibn Taymiyyah Rahimahullaah in Majmoo`ul Fataawaa.



  • #2
    Re: Al-`Izz Ibn `Abdus-Salam

    Jazakallahu khairan.

    One of our amazing scholars. I look forward to reading his works.
    Please Re-update your Signature

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    • #3
      Re: Al-`Izz Ibn `Abdus-Salam

      Al-`Izz Ibn `Abdus-Salaam

      Al-`Izz Ibn `Abdus-Salaam Rahimahullah was one of the most famous characters of the seventh Hijri century (13th century. AD). He was a learned scholar with deep knowledge of Islamic sciences such as Jurisprudence and Prophetic narrations. He was also a great writer who authored valuable books. These were not the only reasons which caused people to love him and respect him. People loved him because he lived for them, teaching them their religious affairs, eradicating innovations in religion and superstitions, advising the rulers, performing Jihaad in the battlefields in the cause of Allaah and confronting injustice and tyranny.

      A Genius in His Childhood

      `Abdul-'Azeez Ibn `Abdus-Salaam Rahimahullah known as Al-`Izz, was born in Damascus in 577 A.H., 1181 A.C. He spent his early years in Damascus where he acquired knowledge. At that time there were classes of knowledge everywhere in Damascus whether in mosques or schools. Al-`Izz Rahimahullah was a little bit behind his colleagues in acquiring knowledge but he succeeded in compensating for the knowledge he missed through being studious in class and studying his lessons with a strong will and ardent desire. His intelligence and deep understanding helped him master jurisprudence, interpretation of the Quran, Quran sciences, Prophetic narrations, Arabic language, literature, grammar, and rhetoric.

      After finishing his study, he started to teach in his house, Damascus mosques, and state-funded schools. The young teacher managed to have a large number of students who liked him because of his deep knowledge, mastery of his subjects, excellence in explaining the lessons, and his sense of humour as he used to mention some anecdotes that alleviated the toughness of the lessons and eliminated boredom. Following this methodology, many students joined his classes and liked him.

      The Preacher of the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus

      Al-`Izz Ibn `Abdus-Salaam Rahimahullah was an excellent preacher who influenced his listeners through his sincere emotion, deep knowledge, smooth style, and clear ideas.

      These qualifications made him the preacher of the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus. His Friday speeches were excellent lectures in which people learnt about the teachings of their religion, the issues that may be of concern to them and how to tackle the problems they faced in their daily lives which he (i.e. Al-'Izz) solved. Al-`Izz Ibn `Abdus-Salaam Rahimahullah was famous for his steadfastness and he never remained silent when he saw falsehood or injustice especially on issues that may affect the Islamic community or the territory in which he lived. If he knew about certain encroachments or violations, he would immediately pinpoint them out and display the Islamic perspective towards them. This attitude caused some problems for him, but he did not care as long as he fulfilled his Islamic duty.

      In one of his Friday speeches, he stated a legal opinion [Fatwa] that prohibited selling weapons to the Crusaders who were still occupying some territories in Greater Syria. He adopted this opinion especially after he came to know that the Crusaders used these weapons in fighting the Muslims.

      He also came to know that the Sultan of Damascus, As-Saalih Ismaa`eel, allowed some Crusaders to enter Damascus in order to buy weapons from the Muslim merchants.

      That Friday speech had a great effect on the people who talked about it and admired it, except for the Sultan and his retinues. The Sultan deposed him from the job of delivering Friday speeches or issuing Fatwa (legal Islamic opinions) and even imprisoned him. However, he released him sholtry afterwards because he was afraid of the people's anger and revolution. However, the Sultan issued a mandatory decree that Al-`Izz Rahimahullah should not leave his house.

      His Departure to Cairo

      Al-`Izz Ibn `Abdus-Salaam Rahimahullah was fed up because of the isolation imposed on him and because he was prohibited from giving religious speeches and delivering Fatwa. He felt that the value of a man is based on his ability to benefit others, and that his own value was to mix with people, teach them, deliver Fatwa and Friday speeches. Therefore, he decided to leave for Cairo. He refused to ask for the Sultan's forgiveness so that the latter would be pleased with him.

      The Shaykh arrived in Cairo in 639 A.H., 1241 A.C. The Sultan of Egypt, As-Saalih Ayyoob, received him whole-heartedly. The Sultan immediately asked him to give Friday speeches in `Amr Ibn Al-`Aas Mosque. He also appointed him as the Chief Judge and supervisor on re-populating desolate mosques in Egypt. His job is close to what is known nowadays as Minister of Awqaf (Endowments) and Islamic affairs.

      Al-`Izz Ibn `Abdus-Salaam (may Allaah have mercy on him) Sells the Princes: The Auction of Selling the Princes:

      When the news of the Shaykh's resignation spread and that he had decided to leave Cairo, people followed him and appealed to his return. At the same time, the Sultan realized that he had made a mistake and he also followed the Shaykh in order to grant him whatever he wished. The Sultan convinced him to return, and the Shaykh agreed but he stipulated that the princes must be sold.

      It was an extremely impressive scene when Al-`Izz Ibn `Abdus-Salaam Rahimahullah started to sell the princes one after another and ask for more money in return for them. The Sultan paid their prices out of his own money to the courageous Shaykh who deposited their price in the Muslims' Treasury House. This rare incident was the reason for calling Al-`Izz Ibn `Abdus-Salaam Rahimahullah "the Seller of Kings".

      Princes First in Paying Taxes

      The Shaykh stayed in Cairo until the Sultan Sayfud-Deen Qutuz assumed power in 657 A.H., 1258 A.C.

      During his reign, the Tartars sent some messengers to Cairo asking for an unconditional surrender. The Tartars were at the entrances of Egypt after they had controlled the whole eastern Muslim world. The Sultan of Egypt refused and insisted on defense and resistance. Al-`Izz Ibn `Abdus-Salaam Rahimahullah was the one behind the Sultan having such an opinion and he mobilized the people to go out for Jihaad.

      The Sultan needed money to spend on the preparations for the battle. He tried to impose new taxes on the people but Al-`Izz Ibn `Abdus-Salaam rahimahullah opposed this move, and said to him: "Before you impose more taxes on the people, you and the princes must first return all your money to the Muslims' Treasury House. If this money is not sufficient to prepare for the battle, then you could impose more taxes on the people."

      The Sultan accepted the opinion of Al-`Izz Ibn `Abdus-Salaam Rahimahullah and acted accordingly. The Muslims marched out to encounter the Tartars and they defeated them in the battle of `Ayn Jaaloot.

      Books by the Shaykh and his Scientific Achievements:

      Al-`Izz Ibn `Abdus-Salaam Rahimahullah was a multi-talented scholar in the fields of giving Fatwa, delivering Friday speeches, acting as a judge, and teaching. He wrote many books on the interpretation of the Quran, Prophetic narrations, jurisprudence, principles of jurisprudence and the Prophet's Biography. Among his most famous books are Principles of Rulings and "The Utmost Goal in Abridging the End". Both books cover the As-Shaafi'ee Juristic School. He also wrote "An Abridged Version of Saheeh Muslim", "The Beginning in Giving Preference to the Prophet" and "The Interpretation of the Quran".

      The Character of Al-`Izz Ibn `Abdus-Salaam (Rahimahullah)

      Al-`Izz Ibn `Abdus-Salaam Rahimahullah was a true scholar who knew that the role of a scholar is not restricted to giving classes, delivering Friday speeches, and teaching students. He was a reformer who used to guide people to what is right and would correct their mistakes even if they were committed by a prince or the Sultan himself. As he had a strong will and his soul was filled with love for Allaah, there was no room in his soul to fear the Sultan or those in authority. He never feared anyone, except Allaah. When a person fears Allaah, people respect him and hold him in high esteem.

      The Shaykh lived to reform the lives of people. He occupied a dear place in their hearts and he loved the people who, in turn, loved him.

      His Death

      The revered Shaykh lived for eighty three years full of serving Islam, correcting mistakes with his tongue and pen and fighting the Crusaders until he died on the 10th of Jumaadaa Al-Awwal 660 A.H., the 2nd of March 1261 A.C.



      "The `Aalim knows who is a Jaahil, because he used to be a Jaahil before. But the Jaahil does not know who is an `Aalim, because he was never an `Aalim before."


      Imaam Ibn Taymiyyah Rahimahullaah in Majmoo`ul Fataawaa.


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      • #4
        Re: Al-`Izz Ibn `Abdus-Salam

        He was a great Shiekh He was called sultan Al Ulama , but he was always at logger heads with his hanbali counterpart Ibn Taymiyyah .

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        • #5
          Re: Al-`Izz Ibn `Abdus-Salam

          That really doesn't matter now, does it?

          If two scholars wish to argue with one another, then let the argument preside between those two. We don't need to succeed the argument, by maintaining the wall between us and "them".

          We can say Ghazali is a Sufi, Taymiya was an anthropomorphist, Ibn Rushd had a crooked eye, and Biruni liked to eat his peas one at a time. So, denounce them all.

          But in the end, you'll feel like you're in a vast desert with no stars to help you find a direction. With a camel that's imagining you as part of a happy meal.

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          • #6
            Re: Al-`Izz Ibn `Abdus-Salam

            Al-`Izz Ibn `Abdus-Salaam was a sufi also.

            Upholding the words of Imam Malik radhiallahu taa'la anhu, no scholar can be the best unless he is an expert in both fiqh and tassawwuf.
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            • #7
              Re: Al-`Izz Ibn `Abdus-Salam

              That was the statement of Imam Shafiy (rh), included in a couplet he wrote.

              The statement is not to be taken too rigidly. There were plenty of scholars who were not of the ahlut-tasawwuf, yet were u'lema. Much more non-sufi u'lema than sufi u'lema. Of course, we can argue about what is defined by tasawwuf.

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              • #8
                The spiritual warrior is he who breaks an idol;
                and the idol of each person is his Ego.

                - Imam Abul Qasim al-Qushayri

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                • #9
                  Re: Al-`Izz Ibn `Abdus-Salam

                  Ameen

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                  • #10
                    Re: Al-`Izz Ibn `Abdus-Salam

                    Originally posted by Marwan View Post
                    That was the statement of Imam Shafiy (rh), included in a couplet he wrote.

                    The statement is not to be taken too rigidly. There were plenty of scholars who were not of the ahlut-tasawwuf, yet were u'lema. Much more non-sufi u'lema than sufi u'lema. Of course, we can argue about what is defined by tasawwuf.
                    Imam Malik explicitly enjoined tasawwuf as a duty of scholars in his statement:

                    'He who practices Tasawwuf without learning Sacred Law corrupts his faith, while he who learns Sacred Law without practicing Tasawwuf corrupts himself. Only he who combines the two proves true.'

                    It is related by the muhaddith Ahmad Zarruq (d. 899), the hafiz `Ali al-Qari al-Harawi (d. 1014), the muhaddiths `Ali ibn Ahmad al `Adawi (d. 1190) and Ibn `Ajiba (d. 1224), and others.(2)

                    Can you provide a list of non-Sufi reliable scholars?
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