Translated by Abdulilah Lahmami
He is Abdullah ibn Abdulrahman, Abu Muhammad ibn Abi Zaid (rahimahullaah). who lived in al-Qirwaan from the scholars of the Maghreb area (now considered Morocco and Tunisia) in the fourth century after the Hijrah of the Prophet (sallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam). This being the century after the best three generations in which the Messenger (sallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said:
“The best people are my generation then those who come after them then those who come after them.” Saheeh al- had the ability to clarify knowledge with what he conveyed. He had insight with Bukhaaree
He was an imam from the Maaliki school of thought in his time without following blindly the school of thought as many others did much later but rather he was a role model to his people in spreading the benefits of Imam Maalik (rahimahullaah) which stemmed from the Qur’an and the Sunnah in the understanding of the companions. He gathered the benefits of Imam Maalik (rahimahullaah) and explained them. He was very knowledgeable having memorized many narrations. His books are a proof of this. He was eloquent in his writing and refuting the people of desires. He was good at poetry. He was of good conduct and fearful of Allaah and earned respect gaining him authority in the religion and worldly affairs. Many people traveled long distances to learn from him and those who benefited from him became stronger than before.
The elders amongst the people of knowledge recognized his status. He was known as Maalik as- Sagheer (young Maalik) because of his adherence to the Sunnah.
Al-Qaabisi (rahimahullaah) said, “He is a trustworthy Imam in his religion and narrations.”
He gathered the qualities of knowledge, piety, honour and intellect. He is well known and quick to comply with the truth and return to it. He learnt from the scholars in his country and heard from their scholars such as Abu Bakr ibn Labaad (rahimahullaah) and Abu Fadl al-Qaysi (rahimahullaah). Many had benefited from him and later he died in the year 386h.
He has books numbering more than 100 volumes.
His biography can be found in Seyar ‘Alam an-Nubala (10/17), where Imam Dhahabi (rahimahullaah)said: “He is an Imam, a beacon (to be followed), an example, a learned man, a scholar from the people of the Maghreb…the author said in the last part of this concise work that he was upon the way of the pious predecessors in the foundation of the religion not following the way of rhetoric speech and didn’t delve into explaining away (Allaah’s names and attributes) without knowledge so we ask Allaah to enlighten us.”1
The author wrote this introduction to a book in Fiqh (the science of how to worship Allaah), this from the comprehensive understanding he gathered by bringing the benefits in both areas of the religion, the correct belief and how to worship Allaah.
Due to the importance of this belief many scholars past and present have explained it and concerned themselves in spreading it to the people. Some of the scholars placed it in poetry form such as Ahmed bin Musharaf al-Ahsaai al-Maaliki (rahimahullaah) who died in the year 1285h from the students of Imam Muhammad ibn Abdulwahhab (rahimahullaah).
The Islamic University of Madinah has spread this small treatise around the world showing the importance of the correct belief. It has been explained by a number of scholars past and present. Amongst the present scholars is the elder Sheikh AbdulMuhsin ibn Hammad al-‘Abbad and his students Sheikh Saalih ibn Sa’d Suhaimi, Sheikh Muhammad Abdulwahhab al-‘Aqeel. Likewise recently, Sheikh Ubayd ibn Abdillah al-Jaabiree, Sheikh Abdulrazaq ibn AbdulMuhsin ibn Hammad al-‘Abbad and Sheikh Ali Tuwaijri have all explained it.
1Taken from Sheikh Abdulmuhsin Abbad biography of Ibn Abi Zaid with slight additions.