From the Jewels of the Tabi’in: Sa’id bin al-Musayyab

The Tabi’in are considered the second generation of the carriers of Islam, as they were the students of the Companions who carried the knowledge and Din to the whole World. After them came the Tabi’in to carry this trust after them. So, they traveled the lands - East and West - in order to spread this light to the corners of the Universe.

Most of the Tabi’in were from the students of the Companions, but there were also those of them who lived during the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him) but never got a chance to see him, such as ‘Abdullah bin Rabi’ah, Yusuf bin ‘Abdillah, ‘Abdullah bin al-Abbas, and ‘Amr bin Salamah, among others.

And from the major Tabi’in are: Marwan bin al-Hakam, Muhammad bin Hudhayfah, ‘Amir bin Qays, ‘Uways al-Qarni, al-Aswad bin Yazid, ‘Alqamah bin Qays, Jubayr bin Nafir, Ibn al-Hanafiyyah Muhammad bin ‘Ali bin Abi Talib, ‘Umar bin ‘Ali bin Abi Talib, Mus’ab bin az-Zubayr, among others.

And our story in this thread will revolve around one of them: Sa’id bin al-Musayyab (may Allah have Mercy upon him).

The Birth of Ibn al-Musayyab:

Two years after the khilafah of al-Faruq ‘Umar (may Allah be Pleased with him), Sa’id bin al-Musayyib was born in al-Madinah, where the most famous of the Companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) lived. So, he saw ‘Umar bin al-Khattab, and heard ‘Uthman bin ‘Affan, ‘Ali, Zayd bin Thabit, Abu Musa al-Ash’ari, and Abu Hurayrah, among others. So, he was brought up a blessed upbringing, and followed in their footsteps, and took their actions as examples, and narrated from them the ahadith of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), and he married the daughter of the noble Companion Abu Hurayrah. So, he was the most knowledgeable of the people of his ahadith.

The Scholar of the Scholars:

Allah bestowed upon him vibrant wisdom in his early childhood as well as a strong memory, to the point that the most well-known of the Companions and Tabi’in bore witness to his high status in regards to knowledge. He was the head of the scholars of fiqh in al-Madinah of his time and the foremost among them in giving fatawa, to the point that he became known as ‘Faqih al-Fuqaha” (the scholar of the scholars). And if ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) - who was the one most consulted for religious rulings in Madinah at the time - was asked about a difficult issue of Fiqh, he would say: “Ask Sa’id, for he has sat with the righteous.”

And Qatadah said, regarding Ibn al-Musayyab: “I never saw anyone more knowledgeable of the halal and the haram than him.”

And it is enough honor for Ibn al-Musayyab that the just Khalifah, ‘Umar bin ‘Abd al-’Aziz, was one of his students, and when ‘Umar became the leader of al-Madinah, he would not execute any affair except that he first consulted Ibn al-Musayyab.

Self honor:

And he lived his entire life with his head raised, mighty in essence. The amir of Madinah during the time of the Khalifah ‘Abd al-Malik commanded him to give the oath of allegiance to al-Walid bin ‘Abd al-Malik, but he refused to do so. He was then threatened with beheading, but he still refused to go back on his decision despite what he knew awaited him of torture and punishment. Sa’id was then stripped of his clothing, whipped over fifty times, and paraded around the marketplaces of Madinah while they said to him: “This is indeed a position of lowliness!” Sa’id replied to them - with confidence and faith: “Rather, we have run away from lowliness towards what we seek (honor).”

And when ‘Abd al-Malik came to know of what the amir of Madinah had done to Sa’id, he scolded him and wrote to him: “Sa’id was, by Allah, more in need of his ties of kinship to kept than to be whipped, while we know what he holds of opposition (to our orders).” And after all of this torture that was dealt to Sa’id, a man came to him to push him to supplicate against Banu Umayyah, so all Sa’id ended up saying was: “O Allah! Give honor to Your Din, and give aide to Your allies, and humiliate your enemies in mercy to the Ummah of Muhammad (peace be upon him).”

Boldness in standing for the truth:

He prayed behind al-Hajjaj bin Yusuf ath-Thaqafi one time, and he was praying quickly (he would not perform the bowings and prostrations as they should have been performed). So, Sa’id took a handful of stones and hurled them at him. Hajjaj then prayed in a calmer and more careful manner, and this was before al-Hajjaj assumed his position of leadership.

The daughter of the Imam:

And Sa’id refused to allow for his daughter to become the first lady of the Islamic state, and this was when the Khalifah ‘Abd al-Malik wanted to engage her to the al-Walid. Sa’id starkly refused, and instead married his daughter off to a poor student of knowledge. Sa’id had a companion by the name of ‘Abdullah bin Wada’ah, and one day, he did not come by to see Sa’id. Sa’id asked about him and eventually found him, and the man apologized to Sa’id and informed him that the reason he was away was because his wife was ill and had passed away.

Sa’id then said to him: “Why did you not inform us of her illness so that we could have visited her, or of her death so that we could attend her funeral prayer?”

Then he said to him: “O ‘Abdullah, get married and do not meet Allah while you are without a family.”

So he said: “May Allah have Mercy on you, and who will marry me while I am so poor?”

Sa’id said: “I will marry my daughter to you.”

‘Abdullah became quiet out of shyness and Sa’id asked him: “Why have you become quiet? Is it out of displeasure and refusal of my offer?”

‘Abdullah said: “And where am I from her?”

Sa’id then said: “Get up and call a group of the Ansar.”

So, he called them to witness the marriage. When they prayed the ‘Isha’, Sa’id handed his daughter over to the poor man along with a servant and some money and food, with the groom still unable to believe what was happening to him!

Taqwa and Cautious Fear:

Sa’id was a man of taqwa and cautious fear, remembering Allah much. A man came to him while he was lying down and ill to ask him about a hadith. He sat up and spoke to him, so the man said to him: “I do not wish for you to exert yourself or tire yourself.” Sa’id replied: “I hate to speak to you about the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) while I am lying down.”

And from the manifestations of his great respect and veneration for the limits of Allah is his saying: “Do not say musayhif (meaning: small mushaf) or musayjid (meaning: small masjid), because whatever is related to Allah is great and good and beautiful.” So, he hated that the word ‘mushaf’ or ‘masjid’ be in any way belittled, or any other word indicating something of Allah - the Exalted - out of respect and veneration for its status.

His Illness and Death:

Sa’id became ill and his pain became severe. He was visited by Nafi’ bin Jubayr and went to sleep when he arrived. Nafi’ ordered those around him to turn Sa’id’s bed to the face Qiblah, and when Sa’id awoke, he said: “Who has ordered you to turn my bed to the Qiblah? Was it Nafi’?” Nafi’ said: “Yes.” Sa’id said to him: “If I am not upon the Qiblah and creed, then by Allah, your turning my bed towards the Qiblah will not benefit me in the least.”

And when Sa’id bin al-Musayyab finally died, he had left some wealth and said: “O Allah, You Know that I have not left it except to safeguard my religion.”

And Sa’id died in the 93rd or 94th year after the Hijrah. So, may Allah shower him with abundant Mercy.