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Quotes & Stories: The Day Imam Malik Laughed…


Quotes & Stories– a new category to capture quotes and short stories of incidents that are just so worth capturing. If you have any, post them in the comments. As for the following, it filled my heart with love for Imam Malik and led to a bit of a chuckle as well:

Qadi Iyad said about Imam Malik on the authority of al-Tinnisi:

“We were with Malik while he was surrounded by his companions, when a man belonging to the people of Nasibin said, ‘There is a group of people among us called Sufis. They eat excessively, then they begin to sing, and then they get up and dance.’ Malik asked him, ‘Are they children?’ The man replied, ‘No.’ Malik asked, ‘Are they insane?’ The man replied, ‘No. They are a group of mashayikh [religious scholars] and other intelligent people.’ Malik replied, ‘I have never heard of anyone from the people of Islam doing such a thing.’

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The man said, ‘But these people eat, and then get up and dance tirelessly, some of them striking their heads, and some striking their faces.’ Hearing this, Malik laughed, then rose and went inside his house. The companions of Malik said to the man, ‘Verily you have brought bad omen to our companion. We have been in his company for more than thirty years, and we never saw him laugh until this day.’”[Qadi `Iyad, Tartib al-Madarik, 2:54]

Courtesy Translators Blog

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Abu Reem is one of the founders of MuslimMatters, Inc. His identity is shaped by his religion (Islam), place of birth (Pakistan), and nationality (American). By education, he is a ChemE, topped off with an MBA from Wharton. He has been involved with Texas Dawah, Clear Lake Islamic Center and MSA. His interests include politics, cricket, and media interactions. Career-wise, Abu Reem is in management in the oil & gas industry (but one who still appreciates the "green revolution").



  1. Hassan

    April 30, 2007 at 11:32 AM

    La ilaha illalAllah. Subhan-Allah just amazing.

    Kindly if someone can quote the proper wordings of the story that I am going to paraphrase.

    When Imam Ahmad Bin Hanbal(RA) was being whipped (for standing up to defend our Aqeedah that Quran is Allah’s speech), a person in the court of the king, asked to talk to Imam, and he approached him, and said something in the ear of imam. Imam Ahmad Bin Hanbal looked at the heavens and then continued getting whipped till he fell unconscious. His students later asked what did that person say to you. Imam Ahmad Bin Hanbal(RA) said, he told me that he was thief, and do not worry, stay firm, because after few more slashes, you would not feel it. And I was about to be shaken before, but Allah protected me through this thief.

  2. Amad

    April 30, 2007 at 12:01 PM

    Are you referring to this:

    Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal was imprisoned during strife in Jordan, he used to say that he does not fear being imprisoned or being killed since he will be martyred. But he feared being whipped. When he was taken to be whipped, an imprisoned thief saw him and said: “Imam, be steady on the truth; if you live you will be praised, and if you die you will be martyred. Imam, I have been whipped in this prison eighteen thousand lashes for the sake of Satan, so you be steady for the sake of The Merciful God (Ar-rahman).”

    Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal says the words of the thief made him a new person and his internal power was released. They began whipping the Imam but he was steady to the extent that his hangman said: “I have whipped him severely; if he was an elephant he would have collapsed by now, I kept saying to myself the next lash will penetrate his back and come out of his mouth”. When the Imam fell down, someone offered him water, the Imam replied: “I am fasting”.

  3. ibn alHyderabadee

    April 30, 2007 at 12:38 PM

    a really good book on this subject is Gems and Jewels by Dar us Salam publications….has some awesoem stories masha’alah


    April 30, 2007 at 12:54 PM

    JazakAllah for sharing the above and adding this new section. If you wish, you can add the great amount of quotes we have collected to your blog, so others find benefit.

    Plus our main site has some nice stories from islamic heritage, moral stories, classical and modern day too.

    Great website, keep up the good work.

    Request of your duas.

  5. Hassan

    April 30, 2007 at 1:09 PM

    Hmm, Amad bhai. may be your story is authentic, but what I have heard is slightly different, as it was during his whipping, and he looked to the heavens and if I remember correctly, tears came from his eyes. I have to see where I read this or heard from.

  6. Yursil

    April 30, 2007 at 4:01 PM


    As Shaykh Gibril replied here (related comment below):

    Content-wise, neither of the above reports shows unambiguous condemnation of group dhikr but only that some people who passed for Sufis in the Imam’s time reportedly committed certain childish excesses or irrational breaches of decorum. The reports only show that Imam Malik found the story amusing. The delator seems obsessed by the ‘eating and dancing’ which he mentions twice as if afraid Malik didn’t hear it the first time. There is also on the part of Malik’s circle a clear disapproval of the delator who is apparently perceived as an interloper. And Allah knows best.

  7. AnonyMouse

    April 30, 2007 at 4:18 PM

    Here’s something that I posted on my old blog a while back… it’s a poem by the great muhaddith Sufyaan ibn ‘Uyaynah (may Allah have mercy on him), describing himself as a young boy:

    O Nadr, if you had only seen me when I was ten years old, and I was only five feet tall;
    my face was like a dinar, I was like a spark of fire!
    My clothes were small, my sleeves were short, my sandals were like the ears of a mouse
    I would go to the scholars of the various lands – az-Zuhri and ‘Amr ibn Dinar
    I would sit amongst them like a peg,
    My inkpot was like a walnut,
    My pen case like a banana,
    My pen like an almond.
    When I came they would say, “Make room for the little shaykh!”

    I thought it was a little funny and quite cute… :)

    May Allah make us all such devoted students of (beneficial) knowledge, ameen! :)

  8. restingtraveller

    April 30, 2007 at 7:24 PM

    aw mashaAllah Mouse, that was nice.

    Another story of Imam Ahmad rahimuhullah, while he was on his death bed, he kept saying “not yet, not yet” and his son, Abdullah was scared thinking that his dad was seeing the angel of death. So when his father woke up, he asked him why he was saying “not yet, not yet” and he replied, rahimuhullah, that shaytan had come to him in and he was biting his fingers saying, “Ya Ahmad, you have fallen out of my hands” And he replied, “not yet, not yet (until I die)”

    Another great book is “Hereos of Islam”, it’s a pretty basic bio of the many great faces of islam from the companions, radiAllahu anhum, to the tabi’een, to Islamic Reformers like Salahuddin, and muslims involved in science and medicine. It’s a good book for teenagers.

  9. Big Daddy Kane

    April 30, 2007 at 7:44 PM

    Asalamu alaykum,

    Yursil, I pray you are well. Could you give us a background on who and where Br. Gibirl studied? What are his credentials?

  10. Abdu

    April 30, 2007 at 7:45 PM

    Extreme sufi practices some times make me laugh too.

    • Aziz Nhlapo

      May 31, 2011 at 10:54 AM

      Imam______________said, ” The pious predecessors would teach their children the love of Abu Bakr and Umar as they would teach them a surah of the Quran”

      Is it…

      a) Malik

      b) Al-Shafee

      c) Ahmed ?

      • assad damree

        July 4, 2011 at 2:24 PM


        • assad damree

          July 4, 2011 at 2:31 PM

          al shafee

  11. M.A. Lahoz

    May 1, 2007 at 4:46 AM

    Br. Kane,

    Salaam ‘alaikum,

    Shaykh Gibril’s teachers-
    in Damascus with Dr. Nur al-Din `Itr, Shaykh Adib Kallas, Shaykh Wahbi al-Ghawji, Shaykh Muhammad al-Ya`qubi, Dr. Samer al-Nass, Dr. Wahba al-Zuhayli, Shaykh `Abd al-Hadi Kharsa, Shaykh Muhammad Muti` al-Hafiz, Shaykh Bassam al-Hamzawi, Shaykh Munir al-Hayek,
    in Makka Dr. Muhammad `Alawi al-Maliki,
    in Morocco Sidi Mustafa Bassir and
    in Beirut the late Shaykh Husayn `Usayran, the last of the close students of Qadi Shaykh Yusuf al-Nabhani

    From what I understand he is also completing a second doctorate in Damascus.

  12. khawla hurayrah

    May 1, 2007 at 8:36 AM

    Here’s something from

    Ash`ab was about to relate a story to a ruler, and he began: “There was a man…” But at that point he noticed a tray of food being brought to them. He paused as he was staring at the tasty food. The ruler said, “Yes…and then?” Ash`ab said, “And he died!”

  13. sister

    May 3, 2007 at 5:52 AM

    Assalaam-u-Alaikum Wa-Rahmatullahi Wa-Rabakatuhu can you please explain this please!

  14. Amad

    May 3, 2007 at 7:16 AM

    Sister, explain the post or one of the comments?

  15. shahana

    September 23, 2008 at 11:33 PM

    I think all Sufis are not eat too much and dance some great Sufis also were there they worshipped Allah truly .

  16. ibraheem

    November 9, 2008 at 7:47 PM

    salaam. i found your works and wfforts so interesting and something worth doing.and i pray may you do not for peoles sake but for gods

  17. Sammani

    May 26, 2011 at 9:36 AM

    Assalamu alaikum,
    We should please always remind ourselves of the tradition of the Noble Prophet one of such “Says what is good, khair or keep quit”.
    Must of people are ignorant of SUFIS and that is why we are trying to mock them, lets know something before inberking on criticising.

  18. ali

    June 25, 2011 at 5:03 PM

    Assalamu alaikum Warahmatullaah, dear brothers and sisters in Islam, Suffism is not an act that one should claim, it is better that you hide your suffism, it should be something b/w you and Allaah, but to claim that you are suffi, that makes ( RI,AA) show off or pride.

  19. ali

    June 25, 2011 at 5:07 PM

    Assalamu alaikum. dear brothers and sisters in Islam. if you want to reamin save and protected from astray, stick to the Sunnah of the Noble prophet Salallaahu Alayhi wasalam

  20. ahmed

    June 26, 2011 at 9:59 AM

    Great work, may Allah helps us in sticking to the straight path.

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