Al-Fudhayl bin 'Iyyadh

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Al-Fuḍayl ibn `lyāḍ ibn Bišr ibn Masūd Abū `Ali at-Tamīmi al-Yarbu`i al-Ḫurāsāni
الفضيل بن عياض بن مسعود بن بشر أبو على التميمي اليربوعي الخراساني
Died 803
Mecca
Honored in Islam
Major shrine Bagdhad
Influenced Ibrahim ibn Adham

Al-Fozail ibn Iyaz (d. 803 / AH 187, الفضيل بن عياض also transliterated Al-Fudayl ibn Iyad and variants; full name Al-Fuḍayl ibn `lyāḍ ibn Bišr ibn Masūd Abū `Ali at-Tamīmi al-Yarbu`i al-Ḫurāsāni; he was also known as Abu Ali and as al-Talaqani) was a thief who renounced his crimes and became a Muslim ascetic. He is now revered as a saint in Sufi tradition, and the Ayazi sect claims descent to his ideals.

Some of the written accounts of Fozail's life are found in the Kashf Al Mahjub, written by the Sufi scholar Ali Hujwiri in the 11th century, as well as in the Tazkirat al-Awliyā, written by Attar of Nishapur in the early 13th century.[1] He was also listed in the traditional lineage of the Chishti Order as the successor to Abdul Waahid Bin Zaid and the master of the legendary ascetic Ibrahim ibn Adham.

It is not uncommon to find his story confused with that of Fozail ibn Yahya, a contemporary who was the vizier to Harun al-Rashid.[2][full citation needed]

Early life and banditry[edit]

A number of birthplaces have been attributed to Fozail, including Samarkand, Merv, Mosul and Balkh; meaning he could be identified as an Uyghur, Turkomen, Iraqi or Azeri.[3][full citation needed][4][page needed]

Prior to his conversion, Fozail led a group of bandits, or highwayman, in Syria and Khorasan, raiding caravans and robbing travelers.[4][page needed] Even during this time, he was a Muslim, keeping his five daily salat prayers, fasting as required and forbidding his men to uncover any women found among the victims.[5] During this time, he was deeply in love with a woman, and would often send her tokens from his stolen treasures.[5]

One story of his banditry has a rich merchant, fearful of running into bandits, mistake Fuzail for an honest man and ask him to hide the majority of his wealth lest bandits find him. As the merchant continued on his way, he was robbed of his remaining wealth by Fuzail's men. When the merchant returned to Fuzail to recover the majority of his wealth, he was dismayed to find the bandits who had robbed him there surrounding the man he had trusted; however Fuzail indicated that he was a godfearing man, and would not betray his trust, therefore motioning the merchant to reclaim the wealth he had left in trust with him.[5]

Fozail was climbing a wall simply watching a passing caravan;[5] when Fozail heard someone reciting the Quranic chapter of Al-Hadid, and when he heard 57:16, which reads "Has not the Time arrived for the Believers that their hearts in all humility should engage in the remembrance of Allah and of the Truth which has been revealed (to them), and that they should not become like those to whom was given Revelation aforetime, but long ages passed over them and their hearts grew hard? For many among them are rebellious transgressors", he realised that he was a hypocrite to claim both submission to God, and banditry.[5][6]

With his newfound piety, Fozail left his criminal ways and wandered through the desert where he found a caravan camping - and overheard two men warning each other to be wary lest the bandit Fozail ibn Iyaz find them. Fozail stepped out and introduced himself, acknowledging that he had repented and was no longer a danger.[6][7]

After this, Fozail tried to visit each of his known victims to repay them what he had stolen from them, and when he ran out of available goods, he visited them to beg their forgiveness. However one Jew refused to forgive him until he had been repaid, and ordered Fozail to move a pile of dirt in front of his house to work off his debt. After several days of work, a hurricane blew away the pile of dirt, and Fozail explained to the Jew that God had aided him. The Jew then placed a bag of dirt on his bed and asked Fozail to bring it to him, and remarked upon discovering that the dirt had turned to gold that he now believed in the religion of Fozail, and asked to become a Muslim.[4][8][page needed]

Later life[edit]

"The world is like an asylum and its inmates like insane people. Insane people are always kept imprisoned."

—Fozail ibn Iyaz[5]

After his conversion, Fozail moved to Kufa, in modern-day Iraq, and studied under Ja'far al-Sadiq.[9][page needed] and taught Bishr the Barefoot and Sari Sakti.[9][page needed] When Fozail determined to make the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, he approached his wife and told her that he had to leave on the long and dangerous journey, but that he was willing to grant her a divorce if she wished to remarry in his absence. She refused, and said she would prefer to accompany him on the trip.[5] He remained in Mecca for a long time, and studied under Abu Hanifa.[5] He had at least one son, named Ali, and two daughters.[5]

Fozail was noted for his anti-social nature, and many examples exist of this. When crowds began to gather around his Meccan home, eager for the chance to see him, he would often dissuade them, one time standing on his roof to thank them all and tell them that he prayed God would give them meaningful employment for their time. He was rather noted for his preference for solitude, at one point saying he wished he would become ill so that he did not have meet people and could avoid going out to public prayers.[5] Another quote that survives from him is that "I am grateful to a man who does not greet me when he sees me and does not visit me when I am sick".[5]

Fozail's son suffered from a urinary tract infection, which was cured when Fozail relied on prayer and faith alone.[10]

When Fozail understood that his death may be near, he told his wife to take his daughters to Mount Abu Qais, in Mecca, and tell God that Fozail had cared for them all his life and now they were in God's hands.[5]

He died during his salat prayers, early in the year 187AH, with some scholars suggesting it was the third day of Rabi' al-awwal[11][page needed] and others suggesting the month of Muharram.[9][page needed]

Following his wishes, his widow took their two daughters to Mount Abu Qais, where they were greeted by the King of Yemen who was travelling with his two sons, and two marriages were thus arranged.[5]

A shrine was built in his honour in Bagdhad.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ewing, Katherine Pratt (1997). Arguing Sainthood: Modernity, Psychoanalysis, and Islam. Duke University Press. p. 157. ISBN 978-0-8223-2024-1. 
  2. ^ Hagiography in Tazkirat al-Awliyā, Attar of Nishapur
  3. ^ Politics and society during the early medieval period: collected works of Professor Mohammad Habib, Volume 1
  4. ^ a b c Siddiqi, Iqtidar Husain (2010). Indo-Persian historiography up to the thirteenth century. Primus Books. ISBN 978-81-908918-0-6. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m :: Hazrat Abdul Fuzail Bin Ayaz (rahmatullah alayh) ::[dubious ]
  6. ^ a b Muwaqif Mushriqah fi Hayatis Salaf
  7. ^ How to Win Your Wife's Heart. Ibrahim Ibn Saaleh al-Mahmud
  8. ^ Jawami'ut Hika'at, Volume I, Part I
  9. ^ a b c Beale, Thomas William (1881). The Oriental Biographical Dictionary. Calcutta: Asiatic Society. 
  10. ^ Dols, Michael Walters (1992). Immisch, Diana E., ed. Majnūn: the madman in medieval Islamic society. Clarendon Press. p. 228. ISBN 978-0-19-820221-9. 
  11. ^ Khan, K. D. (2004). Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti: social and educational relevance. Sarup & Sons. ISBN 978-81-7625-515-8. 
  • Fa al-Din Attar, trans. Arthur John Arberry, Muslim saints and mystics: episodes from the Tadhkirat al-Auliya' , Routledge, 1983 (reprint 2007), p. 52.