A Qurayhsi client, the client of Yazid ibn Rayhana. It is also said that he was the client of the Banu Fihr. Abu't-Tahir said, "Muslim, his grandfather, was a Berber."
He related from Malik, al-Layth, Ibn Abi Dhib, Yunus ibn Yazid, ath-Thawri, Ibn 'Uyayna, Ibn Jurayj, Ibn An'am, 'Abdu'l-'Aziz ibn al-Majishun, Yahya ibn Ayyub, and about four hundred shaykhs among the Egyptians, Hijazis and Iraqis. He recited with Nafi', and al-Layth related from him and clearly stated his name.
Some of the people who related from him were Asbagh ibn al-Faraj, Sahnun, Ahmad ibn Salih, Ibn Bukayr, Yunus, Abu't-Tahir, Qutayba, Ibn 'Ufayr, al-Waqqar, al-Qaratisi, al-Harith ibn Miskin, the Banu 'Abdu'l-Hakam, Harmala, Abu Mus'ab az-Zuhri and others.
Harmala said, "I heard Ibn Wahb say, 'I met 360 scholars. If it had not been for Malik, I would have been misguided in knowledge.'
Abu't-Tahir said, "Ibn Wahb listened to Malik by some ten years before Ibn al-Qasim. He kept Malik's company from 148 until he died. Ibn Wahb was not present at his death as he had gone on hajj."
Ibn Waddah said, "Ibn Wahb went on hajj in 144. He first met Malik there and he only listened to one question from him. He listened to al-Muthanna ibn as-Sabbah in Makka. The question which he heard from Malik was about joining the two evening prayers during rain. The governor had sent to him about that. There was a light rain, and he ordered them to be joined together."
Ash-Shirazi said, "Ibn Wahb kept the company of Malik for twenty years."
Ibn Waddah said, "He sought knowledge young when he was sixteen."
Concerning his place in fiqh and hadith, and praise for him
Abu 'Umar said, "They say that Malik did not write for anyone as a faqih except to Ibn Wahb." Ibn Waddah said, "He used to write to him, 'to 'Abdullah ibn Wahb, the faqih of Egypt." Ash-Shirazi said, "Malik used to write to him, 'to Abu Muhammad the Mufti.'" He did not do this to anyone else."
Malik said, "Ibn Wahb is an Imam." He also said, "Ibn Wahb is a man of knowledge."
Ahmad ibn Hanbal said, "Ibn Wahb was a sound scholar, a faqih with abundant knowledge."
He also said, "Ibn Wahb was sound in his hadiths which he related. He distinguished the oral from what was read, and one hadith from another. How sound are his hadiths! How well he knew the names! However, those who took from him were not precise, with the exception of Harun ibn Ma'ruf."
Yusuf ibn 'Adi said, "Among people, I met the faqih who is not a man of hadith, and a man of hadith who is not a faqih, except for 'Abdullah ibn Wahb. I saw that he was a man of hadith, a faqih, and a man of zuhd."
Abu Mus'ab said, "When we were unsure about Malik's opinion regarding something after his death, Ibn Dinar, al-Mughira and the great companions would write to Ibn Wahb and his answer would come to us."
Harun az-Zuhri, the Qadi said, "The companions of Malik in Madina disagreed about Malik's words after his death. They waited for the arrival of Ibn Wahb and they accepted his opinion."
Ibn Waddah said, "The people of the Hijaz needed Ibn Wahb in the science of the Hijaz, and the people of Iraq needed him in the science of Iraq. He had much knowledge."
Ibn Rushdin said, "Ibn Wahb had much more knowledge than Ibn al-Qasim."
Ahmad ibn Salih said, "None of those Allah created was greater in Malik than Ibn Nafi' and Ibn Wahb. Ahmad preferred Ibn Nafi'. Ibn Wahb had precedence with his abundant knowledge and many questions. Malik did not speak about anything but that Ibn Wahb wrote it down. Ibn Wahb was tolerant to the shaykhs. If his selection of people had been that of Malik, it would have been better for him."
Abu Zur'a said, "I looked at about 80,000 of the hadiths of Ibn Wahb. I did not see any hadith of his that was without a root. He was reliable and he had more fiqh than Ibn al-Qasim."
Muhammad ibn 'Abdu'l-Hakam and Ibn Bukayr said, "Ibn Wahb had more fiqh than al-Qasim. However, his scrupulousness prevented him from giving fatwa."
Ibn Waddah said, "Ibn Wahb knews the rites of the hajj and Ibn al-Qasim knew sales-transactions."
Abu Hatim ar-Razi said, "I prefer Ibn Wahb to Ibn Nafi' and al-Walid ibn Muslim. His hadiths are much sounder than those of al-Walid. Ibn Wahb was sound and truthful in hadith."
Ibn Ma'in and an-Nasa'i said that Ibn Wahb is reliable. Ibn Ma'in said that he is reliable although he related from weak men. He was asked, "Why did you leave Ibn al-Qasim and relate from Ibn Wahb?Ó He said, ÒIbn al-Qasim was excellent, but Ibn Wahb is a master of traditions." Al-Bukhari and Muslim transmitted from him.
Asbagh said, "Of the companions of Malik, Ibn Wahb has the most knowledge about the sunan and traditions."
Abu Zayd ibn Abi'l-Ghamr said, "I heard Ibn Wahb say, 'I went on 24 hajjs. In them I met Malik.'" Abu Zayd said, "We called Ibn Wahb the Diwan of Knowledge."
They said, "There was no one that Malik did not rebuke except for Ibn Wahb. He used to love and respect him."
Concerning his school in transmission
Ibn Wahb said, "Everything in my books (written to Malik) I have heard from him." He had a special relation with him.
Ibn Wahb said, "I asked Malik to leave me something which he would read to me, so he did that. I was with him reading to him when 'Abdu's-Samad al-Hashimi, the Governor of Madina, asked permission to come to him. He asked him for the like of what I had asked him, and he refused him,. He said, 'The khalif wanted me do this, but I did not grant his request.' I said to myself, 'How can he not use me as a proof against him?'"
Ibn Wahb said, "I was writing in the presence of Malik when the iqama for the prayer was given (in one version - the mu'adhdhan gave the call to prayer), and there were books scattered in front of him. I went to quickly gather them up and he told me, 'Slow down! What you are called to is not better than what you are in if the intention is sound.'"
Ibn Wahb said, "Malik said to me, 'What kept you from me from some days?' 'I had inflamed eyes,' I replied.Malik said, 'I suppose you are someone who writes at night?' I said, 'Yes.' Malik shouted for a slavegirl, 'Bring some of that kohl for my Egyptian friend, Ibn Wahb!'"
Ibn Wahb was told, "Ibn al-Qasim disagrees with you on certain things." He replied, "Ibn al-Qasim came to Malik when he was weak. I came to Malik when he was a strong young man who took my book and read it. Sometimes he would find an error in it and take up a rag in his hand and dip it into the water and erase it and write for me what was correct."
Ibn Wahb said, "If it had not been that Allah rescued me with Malik and al-Layth, I would have been misguided." He was asked, "How is that?" He said, "I had a lot of hadiths and that confused me. I used to read that to Malik and al-Layth and they would tell me, 'Take this and leave that.""
Nu'aym ibn Hammad said, "Ibn Wahb appointed Tuesday for strangers. They would read to him. Someone would come while he still had some of the book which he read. He said, 'Let him come to me.' He would answer him. He did that to more than one person. Then he would go to him and ask him about hadith. He said, 'Now is the time this is heard.' He said, 'We will read it to you.''We said, 'We read to Abu Muhammad.' If it was read and we were present, we said, 'It was read to Abu Muhammad while he were present.' He was lenient with good character. He said, 'We did not take as you want."
Muhammad ibn 'Abdu'l-Hakam said, "The books of Ibn Wahb were sold after his death for three hundred dinars (one version has 360)." Another source says 500.
Other reports about him
Ibn Wahb said, "I was devoted to worship before seeking knowledge. Shaytan made me fond of the discussing 'Isa, peace be upon him, and how Allah had created him. I complained about that to a shaykh and he said, 'Seek knowledge.' That was the cause of my quest."
Husayn ibn 'Asim said, "I was with Ibn Wahb when a beggar stopped at his circle. He said, 'Abu Muhammad! The dirham which you gave me yesterday is counterfeit.' He said, 'Our hands are empty.' The beggar became angry and said, 'May Allah bless Muhammad! This is the time about which it is said that only the hypocrites bring sadaqa for this community!' A Iraqi man got up and dealt the wretch such a slap that he fell on his face. Then he began to shout. 'Abu Muhammad! Imam of the Muslims! He does this to me in your assembly?' Ibn Wahb asked, 'Who did this?' The Iraqi said, 'I did it, may Allah make you thrive! by the hadith in which the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Whoever defends the flesh of a believer from a hypocrite who slanders him, Allah will protect his flesh from the Fire. You are our lamp and our light whom he has slandered before our faces!"'
"He said, 'I will tell you a hadith in which the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "There will be wretches at the end of time called the immoderate who will not do wudu' for the prayer nor do a ghusl for janaba. People will go out to their mosques and their festivals and ask Allah for His favour and they will leave asking people (meaning for their rights from people). They do not think that Allah has any right over them."'"
Ar-Rabi', the companion of ash-Shafi'i, said, "We came to 'Abdullah ibn Wahb to listen and a group of people gathered at his door. He got up to open the door. When he opened it, we crowded trying to enter. He fell and injured his face. He said, 'This only levity and lack of gravity! With the like of this, by Allah, I will not let you listen to a single letter today!' Then he sat, and we sat as well. When he saw the stillness we had, he said, 'Where is the tranquillity of knowledge? I will do expiation for my oath and let you listen today.' So he did expiation and let us listen."
Sahnun said, "Ibn Wahb made a vow to never fast the day of 'Arafa. That was because once he fasted the heat and the thirst became intense for him in the Standing. He said, 'The people were waiting for mercy and I was waiting to break the fast.'"
Ibn Wahb said, "Malik said to me, 'Do not allow any of the people of the Book to teach the Muslims.'" Ibn Wahb said, "My teacher was a Christian."
Yahya said, "If anyone is safe from the fault of having too much, Ibn Wahb is safe from it."
They said, "He was the first in Egypt to distinguish between 'he related to us' and 'he informed us.'"
Concerning his worship, asceticism, fear and his death
Abu 'Umar said, "Ibn Wahb was a man of right action, fearful of Allah."
Sahnun said, "Ibn Wahb said that he divided his time into three portions: one third was for ribat, one third to teach the people in Egypt, and one third for the hajj. They mentioned that he went on hajj thirty times."
Ibn Wahb said, "I imposed on myself that whenever I slandered a man, I would fast a day. That was easy for me. So I imposed on myself that whenever I slandered a person, I would give a dirham in sadaqa. That was burdensome for me, so I abandoned slander."
Abu Ja'far al-Ayli said that Ibn Wahb said, "There was no night that passed but that I was terrified of it and I remembered the terror of the Next World in it."
When he was sought after be a qadi of Egypt, he hid with Harmala ibn Yahya for a year and some months. Hajjaj ibn Rishdin said, "One day I looked down at him from my room which was opposite him. He said to me, 'Abu'l-Hasan, when I hope to be gathered in the party of the men of knowledge can I be gathered in the party of the qadis?'"
His nephew said, "I saw 'Abdullah ibn Wahb have the Book of Terrors read to him in his house. Abu Usama saw him weeping, so they began to weep. Then Abu Usama got up with that page while Ibn Wahb was weeping and the reader was reading. Ibn Wahb was sobbing in a loud voice so that I supposed that it could be heard for fifty yards. He continued like that until he leaned over the wall against which he was reclining. Then he was carried to his house and he remained in this state without regaining consciousness until he died. We thought that he had had a heart attack."
Yunus said, "Ibn Wahb said, 'The people of hadith asked me to let them listen to the description of the Garden and the Fire, and I do not think that I can capable of that.' When he sat for them and they read the description of the Fire to him, he passed out. Water was sprinkled on his face and people said, 'Read the description of the Garden to him.' He still did not come around. He remained like that for 22 days. A doctor was summoned for him. He looked at him and said, 'This man has had a heart attack.'"
He died in Egypt in 197 according to Ahmad ibn Salih and Abu 'Umar al-Kindi. Ibn al-Jazzar said that it was Sunday, the 25th of Sha'ban. It was said 198. It was said 195 or 196. Al-Baji said it was 190. The first is more sound and famous.
Abu Ishaq said, "He was three years older than Ibn al-Qasim, and he lived for five years after him."
At-Tabba' said, "When they washed Ibn Wahb they found a fresh date in his mouth. 'Abbad, the Governor of Egypt, prayed over him."
He wrote many books of great merit and immense benefit. Among them are his oral reports from Malik in 30 books, the great Muwatta', The Book of the Commentary on the Muwatta', The Book of Sales, the Book of 'No Hama nor Safa ', The Book of Hajj Rites, the Book of Raids, and the Book of the Ridda.
He had a brother called 'Abdu'r-Rahman,the father of Ahmad and 'Abdu'l-'Aziz. He also had a brother whose name was 'Amr ibn Wahb. He had a son called Hamid.