Sunday, July 24, 2005

Amina Ramlyah

Aminah Ramlyah is regarded a member of the learned elite of the time and one of great mystics of the 2nd and 3rd century Hijrah. She was born about 163H in Ramla, a suburb of Baghdad. She was very intelligent and had a longing to acquire knowledge since early childhood, but her parents were poor so they could not do enough for her education. In her young age she accompanied her mother to Hajj. In those days an old man with scholarly figure delivered Dars (lessons) in Masjidul Haram.

She joined his Dars and learned from him the knowledge of Qur’ãn and Hadith. After his death, she went to Madinah where Imãm Mãlik (R) had laid his rug for seekers of knowledge. Aminah joined his class and continued learning Hadith from him for long. She memorised a number of Ahãdith. Hãfiz ibn Abdul Barr held the number of Ahãdith, reported by her to around 100.

She, afterwards returned to Makkah and studied Fiqh from Imãm Shãfi’i (R). At the age of thirty six she left for Kufa and took benefit of the presence of many eminent scholars and gained knowledge from them with great interest. She got excellence in all fields of studies. When she returned to her nativity from Kufa, fame of her erudition already had spread all around. She instituted delivering the Dars to enlighten the heart and soul of people who would throng to achieve the knowledge of Hadith.

A number of notable scholars came to listen to her Dars on Hadith. She happened to visit Baghdad in 209H where a dervish, by the benefit of his consideration caused her life to change entirely. She gave away all her belongings as charity and took the life of a dervish. Her days and nights were started to be spent in praying and wailing in fear of Allah.

People called her ’chosen by Allah’ for her piety. Her dignity and grace could be judged by the fact that an illustrious Wali Allah of her time Bishar Hãfi (R) would visit her occasionally. So was the fourth Imãm of Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah, Imãm Ahmad bin Hanbal (R) appreciative of her glory and grace.

Once Bishar Hãfi fell ill and Aminah went to see him. Imãm Ahmad ibn Hanbal (R), too, incidentally came to inquire about his health. He asked Bishar Hãfi who was the lady. He told him that she was Aminah Ramalyah, who had come to visit him on his illness. Imãn Ahmad (R) expressed great pleasure on her presence and said, it was his longstanding desire to visit her. He asked Bishar Hãfi to ask her to pray for him. Bishar Hãfi conveyed his will to Aminah who raised her hands and prayed with immense humility; “O, Allah! Ahmad bin Hanbal and Bishr, both seek your protection from the fire, You are the Most Merciful, save them from it.”

Bishar Hãfi narrates that Aminah woke up by midnight and prayed prayers with great concentration and humility till dawn.

She had made it a principle not to accept food from anyone unless it was sure that the host was pious and his sources of income were pure.

The historians are silent about her matrimonial life, and neither has it been detailed how she managed long stays at distant towns to attain knowledge and who was her patron there.

She died sometime in the third century Hijrah.

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