Annals of Muslim History

Steadfastness To The Last Breathe: Abū Bakr An-Nābulusī


Our History is full of great Men and Ulamā but few greater men have walked the Earth than the Hāfidh Imām and Steadfast Servant of Allāh Abū Bakr An-Nābulusī – rahimahullāh.

He was born Muhammad bn Ahmad bn Sahl bn Nasr, Abū Bakr Ar-Ramlī. He was an Ascetic, a Servant of Allāh who dedicated his life to the fervent worship of Allāh, learning the Dīn and teaching it.

He was known for his steadfastness and persistence in fasting and ‘Ibādah. He excelled in the Sciences of Fiqh and Hadīth in which regard he was an Imām and an authority. Many travelled to him from far and wide to study from him and take of his Ilm, emulate his dedication to Ibādah and take after his Manners.

Imām Adh-Dhahabī – rahimahullāh – mentioned in the Siyar that of his many students who transmitted Hadīth from him was the Muhaddith Imām, _Hāfidhu Ad-Dunyā_ Imām Ad-Dāraqutnī – rahimahullāh.

An-Nābulusī lived in the era of the Fātimiyyah Dawlah which had been established by ‘Ubaydullah Al-Mahdī, the extreme Shī’ite heretic. Of the excesses of the sons of Ubaydullah and his dynasty was their claim to having knowledge of the Unseen, commanding people to make Sujūd to them, the cursing of the Sahābah, and many others.

The Mālikī Imām Qādī ‘Iyyādh – rahimahullāh – said in _Tartību Al-Madārik_:

_”Abū Yūsuf Ar-Ru’aynī said: all of the Ulamā in Qayrawān were in agreement that the ruling of the sons of ‘Ubayd was Apostasy and Heresis”_

The Fātimī Capital city was the city of Mahdiyyah, so named after Ubaydullah, and existed 16 miles South East of Qayrawān in the Tunisian Sahel.

After the passing of ‘Ubaydullah, his sons after him took to expanding the borders of their State. In the era of Abū Tamīm Al-Mu’izzu Lidīnillāh Ma’ad Ibn Ismā’īl, the Fātimis captured the city of Misr on the Day of Jumu’ah, the 8th day of Ramadān, 362 years after the Hijrah.

When the Fātimis took control of Misr and Shām, the Pious of the City and it’s Ulamā fled from their Fitnah for they tortured and killed thousands to force them to insult and curse the Sahābah alongside them, and to make Sujūd to them.

In the surge of the Fātimīs and when they entered the city of Ramlah, Imām An-Nābulusī left it to the city of Dimashq until the Fātimīs took control of it too. Mu’izuddīn forced people to curse the Sahābah, abolished the observance of the _Tarāwīh_ and _Duhā_ and commanded that _Qunūt_ be observed in _Salātu Adh-Dhuhur_.

But in the face of that, Imām An-Nābulusī was an Imām, he stood his grounds and once declared: _”If I were to possess 10 Spears, I would shoot one unto the Romans and reserve 9 for this Tyrant”_. After his statement spread and his name became known for his position on the ‘Ubaydiyyah and his steadfastness, The then Ruler of Dimashq Abū Mahmūd Al-Kitāmī, in order to please the Ubaydiyyah captured Imām An-Nābulusī in the month of Ramadān, imprisoned him in a wooden cage and handed him over to the Ubaydiyyah who transferred him to Misr.

It was mentioned that when he was brought into Misr, one of the Scholars who had taken the weak stance and submitted to the Fātimiyyah said:

_”I thank Allāh that you’re safe”_

Upon hearing this An-Nābulusī said:

_”I thank Allāh for the safety of my Dīn and the safety of your Dunya!!!”_

Upon his handing over in Misr, the Fatimi Emperor asked him saying:

_”I learnt that you said: whosoever has ten Spears should shoot nine unto us and one upon the Romans?”

An-Nābulusī said:
_”That is not what I said.”_

The Emperor was delighted, thinking that he had changed his position.

An-Nābulusī then said, with all steadfastness and honour:
_”I said whosoever has ten Spears *must* shoot nine on you, and also shoot the tenth on you.”_

The Emperor asked:
_”And why is that?”_

He responded:
_”Because you changed the Dīn of Allāh, killed the Sālihīn, blemished the light of Allāh and claimed what you have no right to.”_

This enraged the emperor who commanded that he be placed in the open on the first day, and beaten very severely and harming in the second day.

And then on the third day, he commanded a Jewish Butcher to skin him. The butcher began skinning him from the middle of his head, through to his face and An-Nābulusī kept repeating the words of the Qur’ān and the Adhkār. It was mentioned that he repeated the verse severally:

كَانَ ذَلِك فِي الْكِتَابِ مَسْطُوراً

_”And that had been recorded in the Book”_

until the Butcher got to his arm, he felt pity for An-Nābulusī and decided to hasten his death by stabbing into his heart. He then passed away, rahimahullāh. He collected his skin pieces into a hay and then crucified him in the city center.

This happened in the year 363 after the Hijrah.

It was said that the voice of the Qur’ān was heard around his corpse after he was crucified for days.

Imām Adh-Dhahabī – rahimahullāh – had referred to him in the Siyar saying:

_”The Shahīd, Muhammad bn Ahmad bn Sahl Ar-Ramlī: he was the Imām, Role Model and Shahīd (Martyr)…”_

His biography has been recorded by Ibn ‘Imād Al-Hanbalī in _Shadharātu Adh-Dhahab Fi Akhbāri Man Dhahab_; Adh-Dhahabī in the _Siyar_, _Al-‘Ibar Fi Khabari Man Ghabar_; Ibn Kathīr in _Al-Bidāyah Wa An-Nihāyah_; and Ibn Al-Athīr in _Al-Kāmil Fi At-Ta’arīkh_.

That is our history. That is an example of a model who worked the Earth and held unto the banner of the Dīn, showing us the way and illumining for us the Path of Sacrifice, Dīn and steadfastness. He was an Imām, and truly so, rahimahullāh.

Are there Ulamā in this era of ours of same Calibre?

That was what Scholarship was all about in our history. It wasn’t about having books and the certificates. It was about your positions and your steadfastness in the face of tyranny and Kufr, and your ability to lead the Ummah through difficult times.

We ask Allāh to bring for the Ummah it’s past days of Glory, amīn.

Bārakallāhu fīkum
Jazākumullāhu Khayran


Islamnode is a platform for the dissemination of sound Knowledge of Islam and an orientation of Muslims of the Sciences of the Din in accordance with the Pristine Knowledge taught by the Rasul – Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam – to the Companions – Ridwanullah ‘Alayhim – and understood by them, their Students and those who followed them of the earliest generations. We follow the Sunnah of the Rasul – Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam – and promote the Works of the Ulama of Sunnah from the first generation to date. Our goal is to propagate the Sciences of Islam, to disseminate the sound understanding of the Salaf and to enable the sound education of Muslims in this era.

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