Shaykh Fudhayl bin `Iyadh
His nicknames are Abu Ali and Abul Fadhl. Some have also mentioned Abul Faydh. His original homeland was Kufa. He was born in Samarqand or Bukhaara.
Besides being the Khalifah of Shaykh Abdul Wahid, he also acquired khilafate from Abu Iydh bin Mansur bin Ma’mar Salami who was the khalifah of Muhammad bin Habib who was the khalifah of Sayyiduna Abu Bakr Siddiq (radhiyallahu anhu). In this way this Silsilah reached Rasulullah (صلى الله عايه وسالم) through the medium of Sayyiduna Abu Bakr Siddiq (radhiyallahu anhu).
He fasted continuously, not eating for five days at a time (besides merely breaking the fast at the time of iftaar). He would perform 500 raka’ts Salaat every day. The author of Anwarul Arifin narrates that once Shaykh Fudhayl washed a limb twice by error in wudhu instead of thrice. At night he saw Rasulullah (صلى الله عايه وسالم) telling him in a dream:
“Fudhayl, it is not expected of you to omit my Sunnat in wudhu.”
His eyes opened with shock and fear. To compensate for the omission and as a penance he imposed 500 raka’ts Salat on himself daily for a full year.
In the beginning (before he entered Suluk), Fudhayl bin Iyadh was the leader of a band of highway robbers. All members of his band always were in his company. Inspite of his profession of brigandry, he was strict in performing Salat with Jama'ah, Nafl Prayers and Sawm (fasting).
Once on a mission of robbery, he heard someone reciting this aayat:
“What! Has the time not dawned on the Believers for their hearts to melt for the dhikr of Allah?”
The effect of this aayat on his heart reduced him to tears and sobbing. He repeatedly said:
“Yes, the time has arrived and I have turned to Allah.”
* When Allah Ta’ala wishes something to happen, He creates the appropriate conditions for it. From the very inception of his profession, he would keep a proper account of the details of whomever he and his band robbed. The amount, name, etc. were recorded. This record proved highly beneficial when he repented and abandoned his evil profession. He made amends and compensated everyone whom he had robbed.
However, one Jew refused to forgive him, claiming that the bag which was taken from him was filled with gold. No matter how many oaths Shaykh Fudhayl took, the Jew was adamant in his refusal. Finally the Jew said:
“I have already taken an oath not to forgive you as long as you do not give me the bag full of gold. Therefore, enter my house and you will see a box in which there is a bag of gold. Bring it to me so that my oath can be discharged. I shall then forgive you.”
Shaykh Fudhayl brought the bag to the Jew. When the Jew opened the bag, it was full of gold. He then said:
“I was convinced of your sincere repentance. This bag had contained pebbles. I have read in the Taurah that even sand will turn into gold in the hands of a person who repents sincerely.”
The Jew then accepted Islam.
* One day Shaykh Fudhayl passed by a caravan. The people of the caravan were speaking among themselves and were saying that in this area there is a notorious robber named Fudhayl. The people were full of fear as the caravan had to journey through the territory where Fudhayl’s band of robbers formerly operated. Hadhrat Fudhayl hearing this conversation said:
“Good news for you. Fudhayl has repented. He now fears you and flees from you just as you fear him.”
* Khwajah Fudhayl migrated to Kufa after his repentance and stayed for some time in the company of Imam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullahi alayh). With the intention of becoming bay’ah to Imam Hasan Basri (rahmatullahi alayh), he went to Basrah. When he reached Basrah, to his dismay he discovered that Imam Hasan (rahmatullah alayh) had passed away. He, therefore, became the murid of Shaykh Abdul Wahid bin Zayd (rahmatullahi alayh).
* He earned a livelihood for himself and his family by working as a water-carrier, filling water for people in their homes.
* Khwajah Abu Ali said:
“I stayed thirty years in Shaykh Fudhayl’s company, but saw him laugh only once.”
* Imam Ahmad Bin Hanbal (rahmatullahi alayh) said that he heard Shaykh Fudhayl (rahmatullahi alayh) say:
“He who pursues leadership will be disgraced.”
When Imam Ahmad requested for nasihah (sincere advice), Shaykh Fudhayl said:
“Remain insignificant. Do not live as a great man.”
* Hadhrat Fudhayl said:
“He who acquires the Ma’rifah (gnosis) of Allah Ta’ala without love will be destroyed by pride. He who acquires Khawf (fear) without love, will find himself off from Allah by terror and despondency.”
Cultivation of divine fear tempered with love for Allah results in qurb (nearness to Allah). Allah Ta’ala will honour a man of such fear and love.
“Iman (faith) becomes perfect only when one fulfils all commands, abstains from all prohibitions, is contented with the decrees of taqdeer and fears the possibility of divine rejection.”
“To abstain from doing an act to show others is riya (showing off) and doing an act to show others is shirk (polytheism).”
“If you live in a place where you see no people nor does anyone see you, then you are most fortunate.”
“I am grateful to a man who does not greet me nor visits me when I am sick.”
“Of greater surprise than seeing someone crying in Jannah (paradise) is to see someone laughing on earth.”
“Never hope to find three persons: An Alim who practises according to the degree of his knowledge; a person who has ikhlas (sincierity) according to the degree of the his virtuous deeds; a brother who is without fault. You will never find these three.”
In other words, if you search for perfection in human beings, you will be deprived of the acquisition of goodness and benefit.
“Two acts corrupt the heart: Sleeping much and eating much.”
Once people asked for his opinion regarding the people of Arafat (Hajj). He responded:
“If Fudhayl is not among them, they will be forgiven.”
People asked: “When will friendship with Allah Ta’ala be perfect?” Fudhayl replied:
“When Allah’s bestowing and withholding (of bounties) are equal in one’s estimate.”
“Allah Ta’ala afflicts worldly worry on the slave He loves and He grants worldly comfort to the one He dislikes.”
“La’nah (curse) descends on a man who professes friendship for a brother while his heart hates him. Such a person may become blind and deaf.”
Once while he was sitting in the Masjid, a man came and sat close to him. When Shaykh Fudhayl asked his reason for sitting by him, the man replied: “To derive spiritual love from your heart.” Fudhayl said:
“This is terror, not love. Either you leave or I shall leave.”
The man reluctantly departed.
Once in Arafat, crying and sobbing, Hadhrat Fudhayl looked towards the sky as the sun was about to set. Holding his beard, he exclaimed:
“Even if you (i.e. himself) are forgiven, you will be a great embarrassment for me.”
“People! Always be grateful for the bounties of Allah. Seldom has Allah Ta’ala re-instated the favours which he had snatched from people.”
“Even if the entire world is bestowed to me with the assurance that no reckoning will be taken, then too, I shall abhor it just as you abhor a dead animal carcass.”
“Entry into the world is simple. Emergence from it is difficult.”
“A man who desires that people listen attentively to his discourses is not a Zahid (one who has renounced the world).”
“When someone slanders you, know that he is more beneficial to you than a friend because he transfers his virtuous deeds to you (by slandering you).”
“Once when Sufyan Bin Uyaynah (rahmatullahi alayh) visited Shaykh Fudhayl, he (Fudhal) said:
“At one time you, the Ulama, were the lanterns (of guidance) for the cities. But now, you are darkness for the cities. You (at one time) were for people stars of guidance like the stars in the heaven by means of which people acquire their direction. Now, you have become for the world a source of confusion. You (the Ulama) have no shame for Allah. You visit the wealthy and accept their gifts without investigating whether halaal or haraam. Then you stand in the mihrab narrating Ahadith.”
While Shaykh Fudhayl was admonishing, Sufyan with lowered head was reciting Istighfar (seeking forgiveness from Allah Ta’ala).
“Sayyiduna Luqman (alayhis salaam) who was an Abyssinian slave, was the Judge of Bani Isra'il. He acquired this rank by abstaining from futile speech and acts, and by the truth of his tongue.”
“If the Ulama adopt Zuhd, the necks of great oppressors will bend in submission infront of them. But, Alas! They spend their knowledge on the affluent people of the world in exchange for worldly gain. They (Ulama) have, therefore fallen in the estimate of people.”
“One who indulges in association with people will most certainly be trapped in riya (show).”
“I lament the Alim with whom the world plays. If the hearts of the people of the Qur’aan and Hadith (i.e. the Ulama) become disenchanted with the world, people will not be able to manipulate them.”
“My heart is agitated greatly when I hear that an Alim or an Abid went for Hajj with the money of a trader.”
“If the intention for the acquisition of Ilm is correct, then there is no superior act (than the acquisition of knowledge). But, generally, the intention for pursuing of knowledge is not amal (righteous deeds).”
Shaikh Fudhayl Bin Iyadh (rahmatullahi alayh) died in the Haram Sharif of Makkah on the 3rd of Rabiul Awwal in 187 Hijri and is buried in Jannatul Mu’alla (the graveyard in Makkah Mukarramah). His grave is near to the grave of Our Mother Khadijah (radhiyallahu anha). Some people claim that he had died in the month of Muharram.
When he heard a Qari reciting القارعة (Al-Qariah), he let out a heart-piercing scream and died. Hadhrat Abdullah Bin Mubarak says that when Hadhrat Fudhail passed away, the heavens cried and an ominous silence settled over the world.