(Qaadhi Bakkaar bin Qutaibah [rahimahullah] – Part One)
Qaadhi Bakkaar bin Qutaibah (rahimahullah) was a descendent of the Sahaabi, Sayyiduna Abu Bakrah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu). He was born in Basrah in 182 A.H. and passed away in Egypt in 270 A.H. He was a great saint, ‘Aalim, and Muhaddith, and was also the head Qaadhi (judge) in Egypt. Such was his rank in the field of hadeeth that great Imaams, the likes of Imaam Tahaawi, Imaam Ibnu Khuzaimah, Imaam Abu ‘Awaanah (rahimahumullah), etc. were among his students. (Siyaru Aa’laamin Nubalaa vol. 12, pg. 599 & 604)
Regarding his piety and fear of Allah Ta‘ala, Ahmad bin Sahl (rahimahullah) mentions the following incident:
I was the neighbour of Qaadhi Bakkaar (rahimahullah). On one occasion, when I left home after the ‘Esha Salaah, Qaadhi Bakkaar (rahimahullah) was reciting the following verse of the Quraan Majeed:
يٰدَاوُدُ إِنَّا جَعَلْنٰكَ خَلِيْفَةً فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ فَٱحْكُم بَيْنَ ٱلنَّاسِ بِٱلْحَقِّ وَلَا تَتَّبِعِ ٱلْهَوَىٰ فَيُضِلَّكَ عَن سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ
O Dawood, We have made you a vicegerent on earth, so judge between people with truth, and do not follow the selfish desire, lest it should lead you astray from Allah’s path… (Surah Saad v26)
When I returned home at the time of sehri, he was still reciting this verse and was weeping (out of the fear of Allah Ta‘ala and concern whether he had passed correct judgment in the cases he presided over). I then realized that he had spent the entire night repeating this verse to himself. (Siyaru Aa’laamin Nubalaa vol. 12, pg. 600)
Similarly, Qaadhi Bakkaar (rahimahullah) would often address himself saying, “O Bakkaar! So-and-so two people brought their case to you, and so-and-so two parties brought their dispute to you, and you passed such-and-such judgment in their cases! How will you answer for that tomorrow (i.e. if the judgment was incorrect)?” (Wafayaatul Aa’yaan vol. 1, pg. 280)
Likewise, it is reported that Qaadhi Bakkaar (rahimahullah) would often repeat the following couplets to himself:
لِنَفْسِيْ أَبْكِيْ لَسْتُ أَبْكِيْ لِغَيْرِهَا لِعَيْبِيْ فِيْ نَفْسِيْ عَنِ النَّاسِ شَاغِلٌ
It is for myself that I weep, not for anyone else
(Concern and worry for) the weaknesses and faults within me have kept me occupied from (worrying about the faults of) others.
(Taareekh Ibni ‘Asaakir vol. 10, pg. 371 and Mir-aatuz Zamaan vol 16, pg. 86)
1. Despite his lofty rank and high position among people, Qaadhi Bakkaar (rahimahullah) was an embodiment of humility. He never regarded himself to be pious, but continued to take stock of his actions and worry about his weaknesses. Similarly, we should regularly take stock of ourselves to see whether we are progressing, or we are retrogressing and falling into more sins and evils.
2. In his poetry, Qaadhi Bakkaar (rahimahullah) explains that his concern over his own faults does not leave him any opportunity to look for faults in others. We too are filled with weaknesses. If we are seriously worried and concerned about our weaknesses and ponder over them, we will realize that no one is going to fix and correct them for us. Thus, before we pass away, we should attend to reforming our condition, rather than sitting and looking for faults in others.
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