Did ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Abbas praise Yazeed?


Some people quote a narration of Ibn ‘Abbas in which he praised Yazeed b. Muawiyah. The narration is narrated by al-Baladhuri in “Ansab al-Ashraf” (5/289) through historian Abul Hasan al-Madaa’ini as follows:

الْمَدَائِنِيّ عَنْ عبد الرحمن بْن مُعَاوِيَة قَالَ، قَالَ عامر بْن مسعود الجمحي

Al-Madaini narrates from Abdur-Rahman b. Muawiya who said:  ‘Amir b. Masud al-Jumhi said whilie narrating the incident of Ibn ‘Abbas when the news of the death of Mu’awiya reached him, that Ibn ‘Abbas said, “…Indeed Yazeed is from the righteous of his family members.”

Sh Zubair Ali Zai and Kifaytullah Sanabili claimed that Abdur Rahman b. Muawiyah in this chain was Abul Huwairith. This claim is wrong and illogical as al-Madaaini died in the year 224 or 225 AH while Abul Huwairith Abdur-Rahman b. Muawiya died in the year 130 or 132 AH. So there was at least 94 years between the deaths of both. And it is said that al-Madaa’ini died when he was 93 years of age. So it is pathetic to claim that Abdur Rahman b. Mu’awiyah in the sanad was Abul Huwairith.

For age of al-Madaaini see al-Muntazam (11/95) of Ibn al-Jawzi.

Shaykh Kifayatullah Sanabili claims that there is no authentic chain to prove anything about the death of Al-Madaa’ini except that he was 93 years old when he died. And since Ibn Nadeem quotes, in al-Fihrist, from Husain ibn Fahm that al-Madaaini died in the year 215 AH, therefore he must have been born in the year 122 AH. And since Abul Huwairith died in the year 132 AH, 130 AH or 128 AH therefore he found 10, 8 or 6 years of the life of Abul Huwairith Abdur-Rahman b Muawiyah. This proves, according to Shaykh Kifayatullah, that al-Madaa’ini was a contemporary of Abul Huwairith.

Let us deal with it one by one.

  1. First he claimed that there is no authentic narration mentioning the year when al-madaa’ini died. This is a false claim. Let me quote the same page of Tarikh Baghdad from which this he quoted the Tawthiq of al-Madaa’ini. Al-Khateeb (12/55) said:

أَخْبَرَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ جَعْفَرِ بْنِ عَلانَ الْوَرَّاقُ- إجازة- أخبرنا مخلد بن جعفر، حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّد بْن جرير الطبري قَالَ: عليّ بْن مُحَمَّد بْن عَبْد اللَّه بْن أَبِي سيف مولى عَبْد الرَّحْمَن بْن سمرة، أَخْبَرَنِي الحارث أنه هو الذي أخبره بنسبه وولائه. وذكر الحارث أنه سرد الصوم قبل موته بثلاث سنين، وأنه كان قد قارب مائة سنة، فقيل له فِي مرضه: ما تشتهي؟ فقال: أشتهي أن أعيش. وكان مولده ومنشؤه بالبصرة، ثم سار إلى المدائن بعد حين، ثم سار إِلَى بَغْدَاد، فلم يزل بها حتى توفي بها فِي ذي القعدة سنة أربع وعشرين ومائتين وكان عالما بأيام الناس، وأخبار العرب وأنسابهم، عالما بالفتوح والمغازي ورواية الشعر، صدوقا فِي ذلك

Muhammad b. Jafar b. ‘Allaan al-Warraq – Makhlad b. Ja’far – Ibn Jareer al-Tabari who said Harith b. Abi Usama said: “…(al-Madaa’ini) reached near a hundred years. It was said to him in his illness near his death, “What do you wish?” He said, “I would like to live (more).” His birth and his early upbringing was in Basrah. Then he left for Madaa’in after some year. After that he moved to Baghdad and remained there until his death in the month of Dhul Qa’ada in the year 224 AH…”

This is an authentic chain and relied upon by many scholars who quoted the year of death of Al-Madaa’ini relying on the statement of Harith. Note that Harith b. Abi Usama was born in the year 186 died in the year 282 as per Imam Dhahabi in Siyar (13/388), and he also lived in Baghdad where al-Madaa’ini died. This makes him more reliable as compared to anyone who came later or lived somewhere else. Also note that al-Madaa’ini died in the month of Dhul Qa’dah which is the second last month of Islamic calendar. That is why some historians mentioned that al-Madaa’ini died in 225 AH.

  • Shaykh Sanabili preferred the statement of Husain b. Fahm out of six views he mentioned. He preferred it because according to him there is nothing established about the year of death of al-Madaa’ini. Therefore he chose the view attributed to Husain b. Fahm because he was his student, even though Sanabili accepts that this report is not established.  Let me quote the book of Ibn Nadeem to show the gross error of Shaykh Sanabili. Ibn Nadeem says in the entry of al-Madaa’ini:


“His birth as per what narration of Muhammad b. Yahya from Husain b. Fahm that Al-Madaa’ini said, “I was born in the year 135 AH” And he died in the year 215AH.” [al-Fihrist pg.130]

If one has to say that Husain b. Fahm was the student of al-Madaa’ini so we should prefer his views then why not prefer the view of al-Madaa’ini who himself in this same reports say that he was born in 135 AH. Sanabili has accepted the half of the quote and contradicted the other without informing the readers about this.

Note that it is possible that Ibn Nadeem could have done mistake in copying the year. In any case the report of Muhaddith Harith b. Abi Usama is decisive in this regard.

  • It is interesting how possibly al-Madaa’ini would have narrated from Abul Huwairith when he was born after his death as it has been proven in previous points. And if we accept that he was 10 years old when Abul Huwairith died then how do the scholars of hadith accept that an old man [Abul Huwairith] living in Madinah would narrate to a child supposedly of 10 years in the city of Basra or Madaa’in.
  • Unfortunately this shaykh Sanabili, not just trying to prove Simaa’ of a child from an aged man living miles away from him, he is even claiming that they were contemporary (Mu’aasir).

In conclusion, Abdur-Rahman b. Mu’awiya in the above narration is a Majhool person and “research” of Shaykh Kifayatullah Sanabili on it is unreliable. Allah knows best

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