The Importance of Reading The Biography of The Salaf And Its Effects On Our Behaviour – By Imaam Ibnul Jawzi

In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.

Imaam Ibnul Jawzi [rahimahullaah] said:

I saw that solely being preoccupied with studying Fiqh and listening to [transmission] of hadeeth is not enough to rectify the heart, except [when] combined with [the authentic narrations that softens] the hearts and looking into the biographies of the pious predecessors. As for having knowledge of Halaal and Haraam only, it does not have a great strength in softening the heart; rather the softening of the heart is [attained] by  mentioning the Ahaadeeth on the subject matter and the stories of the pious predecessors. This is because they [i.e. the pious predecessors] grasped the intent behind narrating [ahaadeeth], demonstrated the tangible obligated actions by way of them, practical encounter with their meanings and the goals behind them. And there is nothing that will make you experience this, except after cultivation and experience. I find [i.e. in his era] that the ambition of the majority of the scholars and students of hadeeth is [focused on acquiring hadeeth that has the closest chain of transmission from the Prophet (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) and gathering numerous authentic Ahaadeeth on a particular subject matter in the religion etc], and the majority of the jurists [focus on] the science of debate and that which gives one the upper hand, so how can the heart be softened solely through these affairs? Indeed, a group of the pious predecessors aspired to see that a righteous slave should look to his character and upright guidance and not [solely] the knowledge he has acquired, because his character and upright guidance are the fruits of his knowledge. So understand this! The student of Hadeeth and Fiqh should combine [seeking after hadeeth and fiqh] with studying the lives of the pious predecessors and the Zuhhaad, so that it can be a means to softening the heart. Indeed, books have been compiled regarding the affairs and manners of each one of those well-known outstanding men – the affairs of Al-Hasan [Al-Basri], Sufyaan Ath-Thawri, Ibraaheem Bin Ad-ham, Bishr Al-Haafiy, Ahmad Bin Hanbal, Ma’roof and other than them amongst the scholars and the Zuhhaad. [Ref 1] [End of quote]

He [rahimahullaah] also said:

“I have met Mashaayikh, their circumstances varied, they were of various levels in knowledge and the most beneficial of them to me in companionship was the one who acted upon his knowledge, even though others were more knowledgeable than him”. [Ref 2] [End of quote]

It is necessary [or imperative] that the seekers of Hadeeth should possess the most perfect [behaviour, manners, etiquettes etc] amongst the people; be the most humble amongst the people, the greatest in their impartiality and adherence to the religion, the least in [deviating from good conduct] and [being overcome with] anger, because they constantly listen to the narrations that  gather the excellent manners and etiquettes of Allaah’s Messenger [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam], the lives of the virtuous pious predecessors, the path of the scholars of Hadeeth and the virtues of the [pious ones and scholars] who have passed away; so they adhere to the purest and excellent [aspects of those traits, etiquettes, manners etc] and turn away from the most despised and lowly [traits, behaviour, manners, etiquettes etc]. [Ref 3] [End of quote]

O Allaah! Overlook my numerous faults and bad behaviour – that which I know and that which I do not know, have mercy upon my parents and forgive all the believers Aameen.

[Ref 1: An Excerpt from ‘Saydul khaatir’ Page 171. Daar Ibn Rajab. 1st edition 2003. Slightly paraphrased]

Ref 2: An Excerpt from Saydul Khaatir. page 138. Daar Ibn Rajab. 1st edition 2003. slightly para[hrased]

[Ref 3: An Excerpt from ‘Jaami Bayaan Al-Ilm 1/78. By Al-Khateeb Al-Baghdaadi (rahimahullaah). Slightly paraphrased]

advice, Salaf, softening the hearts, worship