Al-Tabari

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]It is better to live for just a single day as a ruler than to live for forty years as an abject slave.

Abū Jaʿfar Muḥammad ibn Jarīr ibn Yazid al-Ṭabarī (/ˈtɑːbəri/; Persian: محمد بن جریر طبری‎, Arabic: أبو جعفر محمد بن جرير بن يزيد الطبري‎) (224–310 AH; 839–923 AD) was an influential Persian scholar, historian and exegete of the Qur'an from Amol, Tabaristan (modern Mazandaran Province of Iran), who composed all his works in Arabic. Today, he is most famous for his expertise in Qur'anic exegesis and Islamic jurisprudence but he has been described as "an impressively prolific polymath. He wrote on such subjects as world history, poetry, lexicography, grammar, ethics, mathematics, and medicine." Al-Tabari's madhhab [school] flourished among Sunni ulama for two centuries after his death before it eventually became extinct. It was usually designated by the name Jariri.

Quotes[edit]

I have not been ordered to fight you. I have only been ordered not to leave you until I bring you to al-Kufah.
  • I have fabricated things against God and have imputed to Him words which He has not spoken.
    • The History of Al-Tabari, Volume VI, p. 111. ( al-Tabari's History of the Prophets and Kings)
  • Nobody seeks my help with a petition or offers an excuse that is more pressing than he, reminding me of a favor I did him so that it would be followed by its sister (i.e, one like it) and so good would be done to its asker because withholding of later things removes gratitude for earlier ones.
    • History of the Prophets and Kings, Vol. 29, p. 257/258
  • By God! If any of the Arabs other than you were to say that to me, while he was in the same situation as you, I would not leave him without mentioning his mother's being deprived of him. I would say it whoever he might be. But, by God, there is no way for me to mention your mother except by saying the best things possible.
  • I have not been ordered to fight you. I have only been ordered not to leave you until I bring you to al-Kufah. If you refuse to do that, then take any road that will neither brng you into al-Kufah nor take you back to Madina, and let that be a compromise between us; I shall write to Ibn Ziyad. You write to Yazīd ibn Mu‘āwiya if you wish to write to him, or to ʿUbayd Allāh ibn Ziyād if you wish. Perhaps God will cause something to happen that will relieve me from beingtroubled in any way by your affair. Therefore, take this road here and bear to the left of the road to al-ʿUdhayb and al-Qādīsiyyāh.
  • When Muhammad saw Hamzah he said, ‘If Allah gives me victory over the Quraysh at any time, I shall mutilate thirty of their men!’ When the Muslims saw the rage of the Prophet they said, ‘By Allah, if we are victorious over them, we shall mutilate them in a way which no Arab has ever mutilated anybody.
    • Al-Tabari, Vol. 7, p. 133, See Also Ishaq:387
  • Muhammad carried arms, helmets, and spears. He led a hundred horses, appointing Bahir to be in charge of the weapons and Maslamah to be in charge of the horses. When the Quraysh received word of this, it frightened them.
    • Al-Tabari, Vol. 8, p. 138
  • After the Messenger had finished with the Khaybar Jews, Allah cast terror into the hearts of the Jews in Fadak when they received news of what Allah had brought upon Khaybar. Fadak became the exclusive property of Allah’s Messenger.
    • Al-Tabari, Vol. 8, p. 129
  • A raiding party led by Zayd set out against Umm in Ramadan. During it, Umm suffered a cruel death. Zyad tied her legs with rope and then tied her between two camels until they split her in two. She was a very old woman. Then they brought Umm’s daughter and Abdallah to the Messenger. Umm’s daughter belonged to Salamah who had captured her. Muhammad asked Salamah for her, and Salamah gave her to him.
    • Al-Tabari, Vol. 8, p. 96
  • The Prophet gave orders concerning Kinanah to Zubayr, saying, ‘Torture him until you root out and extract what he has. So Zubayr kindled a fire on Kinanah’s chest, twirling it with his firestick until Kinanah was near death. Then the Messenger gave him to Maslamah, who beheaded him.
    • Al-Tabari, Vol. 8, p. 122, See Also Ishaq:515
  • We have been dealt a situation from which there is no escape. You have seen what Muhammad has done. Arabs have submitted to him and we do not have the strength to fight. You know that no herd is safe from him. And no one even dares go outside for fear of being terrorized.
    • Al-Tabari, Vol. 9, p. 42
  • Now then, O people, you have a right over your wives and they have a right over you. You have [the right] that they should not cause anyone of whom you dislike to tread on your beds; and that they should not commit any open indecency (fāḥishah). If they do, then God permits you to forsake them in bed and to beat them, but not severely. If they abstain from [evil], they have the right to their food and clothing in accordance with custom (bi’l-ma‘rūf). Treat women well, for they are [like] captives ('awan) with you and do not possess anything for themselves. You have taken them only as a trust from God, and you have made the enjoyment of their persons lawful by the word of God, so understand and listen to my words, O people. I have conveyed the Message, and have left you with something which, if you hold fast to it, you will never go astray: that is, the Book of God and the sunnah of His Prophet. Listen to my words, O people, for I have conveyed the Message and understand [it]. Know for certain that every Muslim is a brother of another Muslim, and that all Muslims are brethren. It is not lawful for a person [to take] from his brother except that which he has given him willingly, so do not wrong yourselves. O God, have I not conveyed the message?
    • Al-Tabari, Vol. 9, p. 113, No. 1754
  • The morning after the murder of Ashraf, the Prophet declared, "Kill any Jew who falls under your power."
    • Tabari 7:97
  • Killing Unbelievers is a small matter to us.
    • Tabari 9:69
  • "By God, our religion (din) from which we have departed is better and more correct than that which these people follow. Their religion does not stop them from shedding blood, terrifying the roads, and seizing properties." And they returned to their former religion.
    • Tabari 17:187
  • By the following Friday, Mansur had dealt with thirty thousand Muslims who had been paying the jizyah and eighty thousand polytheists who had been exempted from the jizyah. He imposed the jizyah on the polytheists and removed it from the Muslims.
    • Statement about Mansur b. Umar b. Abi al-Kharqa , as quoted in The History of Jihad: From Muhammad to ISIS (2018), Robert Spencer, ch 3.

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