Qasim ibn Muhammad (May Allah have mercy on him) [650 – 725(?)]

Qasim ibn Muhammad was the grandson of Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (may Allah be pleased with him). He was born in the 30th year after the hijrah, which corresponds to the year 650 AD. He is the cousin of Zayn al-Abideen, the grandson of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him). Ja’far as-Sadiq is the grandson of Qasim ibn Muhammad.

When Abu Bakr’s son, Muhammad, was martyred in Egypt, his son Qasim was left an orphan at 6 years old. His paternal aunt, Aisha (may Allah be pleased with him), then raised him[1].

Qasim ibn Muhammad relates the following anecdote from his childhood, which shows his closeness to his aunt:

“On the Day of Arafah, my aunt Aisha would shave our heads and send us to the mosque. The next day she would then make the sacrifice in front of us”[2].

When he was older he would visit her often and learned from her many rulings regarding the Holy Qur’an, the Sunnah and the life of the prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). He narrates an anecdote from those days:

“Every morning after leaving my house, I would stop by my aunt Aisha’s house. One day when I went to her house she was praying a nafilah prayer and was reciting the following verse:

“(The people of taqwa will say): But Allah was gracious to us and safeguarded us from the punishment of the searing wind’ (Tur, 52:27).

She was praying whilst in qiyam, and weeping and repeating this verse. I waited until I was tired of waiting and then went to the market to purchase some needs. When I returned, Aisha (may Allah be pleased with him) was in the same position, praying and weeping[3].


His Virtues

 Qasim ibn Muhammad was a very trustworthy, scrupulous and pious man. He was a great faqih and imam in the religious sciences. He was the most important person of his time and someone whom everyone sought out[4].

Yahya ibn Said (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

“We never saw anyone in Madina more virtuous than Qasim ibn Muhammad”[5].

He was a man with strong faith and deep religious knowledge and wisdom. Just like his honourable grandfather, Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him), he was very benevolent, intelligent, careful and serious, resolute and determined in regards to the affairs of the community of Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).

This is why Umar ibn Abdulaziz said about him:

“If it were in my hands I would leave the caliphate to Qasim ibn Muhammad”[6].

Qasim ibn Muhammad was a model of nobility and awe. He was always in a state of contemplation and deep reverence. One could see the traces of prostration upon his blessed forehead.

He was filled with love for the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him). He liked visiting the blessed grave of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and being close to him in order to quench the longing and yearning he felt for him. One day he said to Aisha (may Allah be pleased with him):

“Dear mother, would you please open for me the room in which the blessed prophet’s grave is?”

Aisha (may Allah be pleased with him) then opened the door that contained those three graves and showed him the grave of the prophet[7].

Qasim ibn Muhammad would never censure anyone nor would he ever speak against them[8].

He was extremely indifferent to the pleasures of this world. In his eyes the world was less important than a mere atom.

This is why he was able to give away 100,000 dirhams, given to him as booty, to the poor, without even touching it. Even in times of financial distress and need he would give away wealth that was given to him. He never accepted anything from anybody[9].

With his superior personality and character, he earned the admiration of all. People would take him as their standard and order their lives according to his model. Qasim ibn Muhammad united both the outer and inner aspects of the religion and transmitted them to the next generations with his state, his words and his model lifestyle. He was a great friend of Allah.


The depth of his knowledge of the hadith sciences

Qasim ibn Muhammad became a select student of the Blessed Companions of Madina. He was one of the leading righteous men and scholars of the generation of the Tabii’een.

Abu al-Zinad, the Madinan faqih, said about him:

“I have never seen anyone who knows and applies the Sunnah of the prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) better than Qasim ibn Muhammad. Study at that time consisted of learning and living the Sunnah”[10].

Qasim ibn Muhammad benefitted greatly from Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) in particular and narrated many hadiths from her. He also benefitted and learned from many great Companions such as Salman Farisi, Abu Hurairah, Ibn Abbas and Ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with all of them).  He was an ocean in the sciences of hadith and tafsir. The masters of the Tabii’een narrated hadith from him.

Qasim ibn Muhammad was very meticulous about narrating hadith word for word and he was a very scrupulous narrator. He narrated only about one hundred hadith for fear of making an incorrect or deficient narration[11].

The scholars of hadith were in complete agreement about the trustworthiness of his narrations.


The depth of his knowledge of fiqh

Qasim ibn Muhammad was a faqih who was taught and trained by Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her), the mother of the believers[12].

Qasim ibn Muhammad would arrive at the mosque early in the morning, perform two rakats of prayer, and then he would sit for a long time answering various questions for the people who would gather around him and the people would arrive at the mosque early in order to listen to him talk. He would continue his talk after the ‘isha prayer in the evening[13].

The hadith that he related were more related to rulings (ahkam). According to Abdurrahman ibn Abi Amra’, his mother wished to free a slave but she delayed this until the morning. However she passed away before the morning. Abdurrahman then went to Qasim ibn Muhammad and asked him:

“If I free a slave in place of my mother, would this benefit her (would she receive a reward for it)?”

He gave the following reply:

“Sa’d ibn Ubadah once went to the Messenger of Allah and asked:

“My mother passed away. If I free a slave on her behalf will she benefit?”

Allah’s Messenger replied: “Yes” (Muwatta’, Itk, 13).


His fear of Allah

Qasim ibn Muhammad was a true Friend of Allah, whose heart trembled and whose eyes were always teary from fear of Allah. He was always sorrowful and his head would be bowed down out of his fear of Allah. When he was asked about a matter about which he had no knowledge, he would not hesitate to say: “I do not know” and feared incurring the wrath of Allah by making an incorrect ruling. Whenever he was asked too many questions he would say:

“By Allah we do not know the answer to all of what you ask. If we knew we would not hide it from you and it would not be lawful for us to do so anyway”[14].

He would not make commentary (tafsir) on the Qur’an from his own opinions. However he would give a ruling about a clear matter of which he had knowledge saying:

“This is my opinion about this, but I cannot say that it is definitely correct”[15].


His humility

Despite being the greatest scholar of his time, Qasim ibn Muhammad lived a very humble life on account of the depth of his knowledge of Allah (marifatullah). One time a man insistently asked him:

“Is Salim more knowledgeable or are you?” He evaded this question, neither praising himself nor saying something in opposition to the truth[16].

He always preferred his brothers over himself and was very selfless. He gave out much charity but never wished for this to be heard or spoken about. When he heard people talking about it he would immediately interrupt and change the subject[17].


His Death

During the last year of his life, the eyes of Qasim ibn Muhammad lost their sight and he set out to make the journey for either hajj or umrah. When he reached the site of Qudayd, he fell ill and realising that he was about to die he said to his son:

“Shroud me in what I am wearing now, that is my izar and rida that I pray in” His son asked:

“Can we not make two layers for your shroud?”

“My son, my grandfather Abu Bakr was also shrouded in three such items of clothing. They are our criteria. The living have more right to and are more worthy of clothing than the dead”.


He made a last request that people not praise him after his death[18].

He then prayed as follows:

أَنْتَ رَبّ۪ى وَحِبّ۪ى وَسَيِّد۪ى

“O Allah! You are my Lord, my Beloved and my Master”[19]. He passed away there a short time after[20].


Some of his wise words

  • “One of the greatest sins is to belittle one’s sins” [21].
  • “I lived with a people (the Blessed Companions) who did not like to speak about what they did not do”[22].
  • Qasim ibn Muhammad once heard a man say:

“How insolent is such and such towards Allah?” He said to him: “It is not fitting for the sons of Adam to be insolent towards Allah. We can only say about such a person:  “How little does he know Allah”[23].

  • Qasim ibn Muhammad once saw a man begging at Arafah on the Day of Arafah. He said to him: “Woe to you o begger! Do you ask from other than Allah on such a day?”[24].
  • “Almighty Allah bestowed a mercy on people through the different opinions of the Companions. Whichever of the Companions’ opinion you take, you will not be distressed”[25].
  • “The most fruitful woman is the one who is the least burden financially”[26].


Some of his narrations

  • Qasim ibn Muhammad narrates:

One time my aunt Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) fell ill.  Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) came to visit her and said:

“O Mother of the Believers! You are going to two great honourable guides and intercessors, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) and Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him). (How happy for you, do not worry, be at ease) (Bukhari, Ashabu an-Nabi, 30).

  • According to Qasim ibn Muhammad one of the Companions (probably Abdullah ibn Zayd) became blind. His friends came to visit him. However he was not worried about losing his sight. He responded to those who came to console him as follows:

“I wanted those eyes to be able to look at the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him). Since he is gone, I would not be happy even if I had the most beautiful eyes of a gazelle from Tubale (in Yemen)” (Bukhari, al-Adab al-Mufrad, no: 533; Ibn Sa‘d, II, 313).

  • Qasim ibn Muhammad narrates a hadith from Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) as follows: One day the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

“Do you know who the first people will be to run for shade on the Day of Judgement?”

His Companions replied:

“Allah and His Messenger know best”. The prophet said:

“They are those who when their rights were entrusted to them, they accepted, and when a right was asked from them, they generously abided, and when judging amongst the people, they acted as if they were judging for themselves” (Ahmad, VI, 67, 69).

  • According to a narration by Aisha (may Allah be pleased with him) Qasim ibn Muhammad reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

“If a Muslim immediately turns away from looking at a beautiful woman Allah, Most High, will create a state of worship in him in which he will taste spiritual pleasure and joy” (Ahmad, V, 264; Haysami, VIII, 63; Abu Nuaym, Hilya, II, 187).

  • Qasim ibn Muhammad transmitted the following statement from Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her):

“The most blessed marriage ceremony is the one that is not financially burdensome”. He was asked:

“Did Aisha narrate this from the Messenger of Allah?” Showing his extreme care in these matters he said:

“This is how it was narrated to me and this is how I memorised it” (Abu Nuaym, Hilya, II, 186).

  • Qasim ibn Muhammad said:

“Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) was asked: “There is a person who strives to perform good deeds, but sometimes commits sins. There is another person who does not put much effort into performing good deeds but who also does not sin.  Which of these is more superior?” He replied:

“Refraining from sin appears more pleasing to me” (Abu Dawud, Zuhd, p. 356).

We should heed this advice today and try to carefully protect ourselves from such hazards which arise from television, the internet, fashion and shopping centres”. Repulsion of harm is better than attracting benefit”. That is, it is more important and necessary to repulse what is harmful then to try to gain what is of benefit. It is first necessary to remove the puss from a wound and clean it thoroughly, before applying ointment.

This is why it is necessary to first of all protect oneself from what is forbidden and things that will lead to heedlessness of the heart, so that spirituality of one’s worship can increase and one can lead an acceptable life of servitude to Allah.

[1]. Ibn Asakir, Tarihi Dimashk, c. 49, p. 164. Cf. Muwatta’, Zakat, 10.

[2]. Ibn Sa‘d, V, 187.

[3]. Ibn Jawzii, Sifatu as Safwa, II, 31.

[4]. Ibn Sa‘d, V, 193; Dhahabi, Siyer, V, 53.

[5]. Abu Nuaym, Hilya, II, 184.

[6]. Ibn Jawzii, Sifatu al Safwa, I, 351.

[7]. Abu Dawud, Janaiz, 66-68/3220.

[8]. Dhahabi, Siyer, V, 59.

[9]. Ibn Sa‘d, V, 189; Dhahabi, Siyer, V, 59.

[10]. Abu Nuaym, Hilya, II, 184.

[11]. Ibn Sa‘d, V, 187; Dhahabi, Siyer, V, 58.

[12]. Dhahabi, Siyer, V, 53.

[13]. Ibn Sa‘d, V, 188, 189.

[14]. Abu Nuaym, Hilya, II, 184.

[15]. Ibn Sa‘d, V, 187.

[16]. Ibn Asakir, Tarihu Dimashq, c. 49, s. 172.

[17]. Ibn Sa‘d, V, 189.

[18]. Ibn Sa‘d, V, 193; Ibn Jawzii, Sifatu al Safwa, I, 352.

[19]. Abu Ishaq al Huttali, al-Muhabbetu lillah Subhanahu, Riyad 1424, p. 21.

[20]. See Abu Nuaym, Hilya, II, 184; Ibn Asakir, Tarihu Dimashq, c. 49, p. 163.

[21]. Ibn Asakir, Tarihu Dimashq, c. 49, s. 181.

[22]. Muwatta’, Kalam, 24.

[23]. Ibn Asakir, Tarihu Dimashq, c. 49, p. 180.

[24]. Ibn Asakir, Tarihu Dimashq, c. 49, p. 181.

[25]. Ibn Abdi al Barr, Jamiu Bayan al Ilmi wa Fadlih, II, 900; Ibn Sa‘d, V, 189.

[26]. Dhahabi, Siyer, V, 58.