The Biography of Imam Az-Zuhri [Died 124 A.H.]
This is the biography of an upright scholar, an erudite narrator of hadith, a brilliant, celebrated and generous scholar: Imam Az-Zuhri. When he died - may Allah have mercy upon him, there was no one on the surface of the earth more knowledgeable than him. Ibn Taymiyyah sufficiently described him in these succinct by remarkable words: "Az-Zohri has guarded Islam for about seventy years."
This towering personality, Muhammad ibn Muslim ibn Shihab AzZuhri was a model for the scholars and an exemplar for the pious. He was an embodiment of the generosity. When he was in a difficult situation, he did not deviate from the truth and when the bounties of the world were opened for him he did not stray. May Allah bestow His expansive mercy upon him and upon the scholars of this Ummah in particular and all the Muslims in general.
This is a series of biographies of some scholars and some Muhaddiththeen of this Ummah which Allah has endowed with glory and sublimity till the Day of Judgement. We will focus on private and public aspects of the lives of these scholars, such as their characteristics, manners, etiquettes, knowledge, religiosity and worship. How dire our need to these qualities in this age is! For there is no way by which this Ummah can reclaim its lost glory and strength except by adopting those qualities that were the characteristics of our predecessors, and to revive what has become extinct of these attributes.
Stories of the lives of these scholars have, for sometime now, become unknown to many Muslims, let alone non-Muslims. This led to the extinction of the light by which the confused find guidance. This light is waiting to be rekindled so that the path [to success in this world and the Hereafter] might continue to be illuminated. People are now fed up with mere talks. They now want to see the reality of this religion, as was the case during the time of those scholars and other Muslims who followed them.
Living the reality of this religion was an integral part of the lives of these outstanding scholars. Their breathings and movements were all for Allah. When they spoke they did so for the sake of Allah and when they kept silent, it was also for the sake of His pleasure.
They illuminated the world with their religiosity, knowledge, worships and deeds. If you look at their conducts and manners, you would say: 'These are conducts and manners of the Prophets.' If you read about their business transactions and their dealings with people, you would see a practical interpretation of the Qur'an, and the reality of the Sunnah of Allah's Messenger, blessings and peace of Allah be upon him.
Therefore, remembering these people softens the hearts and stirs up idle limbs into action for the sake of Allah. This will perhaps make you join the group of the righteous.
Whenever a quality of one of the righteous people was mentioned in the presence of Makhlad ibn al-Husayn he would say: "Do not make any mention of us while you speak about them; for a healthy person who walks is not like a crippled."
Whatever is written or said, qualities of these people can never be comprehensively described. But man will never be tired of mentioning them. He might even not be able to stop doing so.
I have tried to compile their biographies from different sources and to bring to light what is previously unknown of their stories, so that they can serve as a guide for this Ummah and its youth who, hopefully, will emulate them and follow their path.
While doing the above, I have tried to avoid unnecessary elaboration or inappropriate brevity. I mentioned the reference of all the quotations, but did so succinctly to avoid lengthening the footnotes or boring the reader. The stories I mentioned are those authorized by the scholars, though I did not commit myself to abiding by the rules regulating the narration of hadith. If a story is recorded by erudite and trustworthy scholars like Adh-Dhahabee, I deem that an enough verification, though I avoided reprehensible stories or any story rejected by the learned scholars. And Allah is the One Who is sought for help. '
I beseech Allah to make this work useful and to guide the youth of this Ummah to all that is good and successful.
Salaahud-Deen 'Ali Abdul Mawjood