Biography of Muslim Scholars – Al Auza’i (88–157 H)
His name is Abdurrahman Ibn Amr Ibn Yahya Al-Auza’i. He was known as Al Auza’i, the name attributed to the area of Al Auza’, one of the region in Damascus. He was born on year 88 H and he passed his childhood as an orphan. But since his early age, he always tried to be a better person. As other scholars, he journeyed to Yamama and Basra to seek for knowledge.
Teachers and Students of Al Auza’i
He learned hadith from Atha’ Ibn Abi Rabah, Qasim Ibn Makhimarah, Syaddad Ibn Abu Ammar, Rabi’ah Ibn Yazid, Az-Zuhri, Muhammad Ibn Ibrahim At-Taimi, Yahya Ibn Abi Katsir, and several other grand scholars from the tabeen generation. It is said that he also got a chance to learn hadith from Muhammad Ibn Sirin when Muhammad was sick.
Whereas among the list of scholars that were his students ; Syu’bah, Ibn Mubarak, Walid Ibn Muslim, Al-Haql Ibn Ziyad, Yahya bin Hamzah, Yahya Al-Qaththan, Muhammad Ibn Yusuf, Al-Faryabi, Abu Al-Mughirah, and several other scholars.
Praises for Al Auza’i
During his lifetime, Imam Al Auza’i was more busied by activities of enjoining people to goodness and teaching knowledges. Abu Zur’ah said, “His works were writing and creating monograph. His monographs are very touching.”
Walid Ibn Mazid said, “I’ve never seen him laugh out loud. When he delivered a lesson about the Hereafter, it was hard to encounter a heart that didn’t cry.” He also said, “I’ve never seen a man who is more diligent in worship than Al Auza’i.”
Al Haql said, “Al Auza’i had answered and explained about 70.000 problems.” Whereas Al Kharibi said, “Al Auza’i was the best man of his time. He deserved to be a caliph.” Bisyr Ibn Mundzir said, “I saw Al Auza’i as if he was a blind man, due to his devotion (in worship, -ed).” It is said that he enlivened his night by performing prayer and reciting the Qur’an, crying.
Advices of Al Auza’i
There are some advices that Al Auza’i ever delivered, including:
- He ever said to Walid Ibn Mazid, “If Allah wants evil for some people, Allah will open the door of ‘argumentation (fond of debate)’ (for them, -ed) and Allah will make it hard for them to perform righteous deed.”
- He also explained about the creed of ahl sunnah, as storied by Muhammad Ibn Katsir Al Mashishi, that he heard Al Auza’i said, “We and the tabeen, all of us, believe that Allah is on His Great Throne, and we believe every information about Allah that is revealed in sunnah.”
- He advised people to always hold fast to the saying of the Prophet -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him-. As narrated by Amir Ibn Yasaf, that he heard Al Auza’i said, “If you heard a hadith from the Prophet -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him-, don’t take anyone else’s opinion, because he was the messenger of Allah.”
- He also advised, “No one does an innovation but his cautiousness (wara’) will be deprived from him.”
- From Abu Ishaq Al Fazari, he said that Al Auza’i ever advised people, “There are five things that the companions and the tabeen were holding onto: hold fast to the congregation (the government), follow the sunnah, prosper the mosque (praying diligently in congregation), read the Qur’an, and join the holy war (jihad).”
- Ibn Syabur said that Al Auza’i once advised people, “Whoever tries to find strange opinions that deviated from the scholars’ way, surely he will come out of Islam.”
- Walid Ibn Mazid told that A Auza’i said, “Woe to those who study the science to issues other than worship and those who try to justify forbidden things by using doubtful (opinions, -ed).”
- He also advised people with a beautiful and quite famous saying, as narrated by Walid Ibn Mazid; he heard that Al Auza’i said,
عَلَيكَ بِآثَارِ مَن سَلَفَ وَإِن رَفَضَكَ النّاسُ وَإِيّاكَ ورَأيَ الرِّجَال
وَإِن زَخْرَفُوهُ بِالقَولِ فَإِنَّ الأَمرَ يَنجَلِي وَأَنتَ عَلَى طَرِيقٍ مُستَقِيم
“Hold fast to the atsar (narration) of the scholars of predecessors, although people might reject you.
Do not follow the thought of men, although they adorned their words.
Indeed, all matters will be seen while you are on the straight path.”
The death of Al Auza’i
He was highly respected by the caliph Al Manshur. The caliph paid close attention to Al Auza’i’s advices, to the extent that he offered him to be a judge, but he refused the offer. At the end of his life, he departed to Beirut and performed the duty of ribath (guarding the frontier) and he died there. The only inheritance he left were six dinars, and it was what left from the money he spent on charity. May Allah have mercy on Imam Al Auza’i. (References: ” Tadzkirah Al-Huffazh”, Adz Dzahabi, Al-Maktabah Asy-Syamilah, serial number 177)