Imam Asbagh ibn al-Faraj
He was a client of 'Abd al-'Aziz ibn Marwan.
Abu 'Umar al-Kindi said, "He was one of the clients of Egypt. That is what Asbagh stated, but many of the people of Egypt did not accord a sound wala' to him. His kunya was Abu 'Abdullah. He lived in Fustat."
He related from ad-Darawardi, Ibn Sam'an, Yahya ibn Salam, and 'Abd ar-Rahman ibn Zayd ibn Aslam.
He travelled to Madina to listen to Malik and he entered it on the day that Malik died. He kept the company of Ibn al-Qasim, Ashhab and Ibn Wahb. He listened to them and learned fiqh from them.
Abu Ahmad al-Jurjani said, "He was the scribe of Ibn Wahb."
Al-Lalaka'i said, "He was his copyist and the most elite of people in his estimation."
Adh-Dhihli, al-Bukhari, Ya'qub ibn Sufyan, Muhammad ibn Asad al-Khassani, Ibn Zanjawah, Ibn Waddah and Sa'id ibn Hassan related from him. Al-Bukhari transmitted from him.
Concerning his place in knowledge and praise for him
Ibn Abi Dulaym said, "He was a faqih in lineage, pert in tongue, with good analogy, one of the people with the most fiqh in his generation.
Abu Hatim ar-Razi said, "He was more elevated than Ibn Wahb, and truthful."
Ibn Ma'in said that he is reliable and Ibn Waddah stated the like of it.
Ibn Habib said, "Asbagh knew the most fiqh among the people of Egypt. Ibn al-Mawwaz, Ibn Habib, Abu Zayd al-Qurtubi, al-Barqi, Ibn Muzayn, 'Abd al-A'la al-Qurtubi and others learned fiqh from him.
Ibn Abi Hatim said, "Abu Hatim ar-Razi related from him."
Ibn Harith said, "He was skilled in fiqh, a faqih in lineage, pert of tongue and good in analogy. He was one of the people with the most fiqh in this generation and the people of clarification and elucidation. He spoke on the fundamental principles of fiqh."
Ibn Habib said, "He had the most fiqh of them (after he had mentioned Ibn al-Qasim and his generation). Then he mentioned Asbagh and 'Abdullah ibn 'Abd al-Hakam."
Ahmad ibn Salih al-Kufi said, "He was reliable, a master of the sunna."
The Qadi related that Ashhab was ill and his visitors came to him. Asbagh was one of them. When they left, they said to him, "Who will be for us after you?" He said, "The one who just left us."
He said, "Ibn Wahb used to say, 'If it had not been an innovation, we would have enclosed you, Asbagh, as kings enclose their knights."
Abu 'Umar al-Kindi said, "Asbagh was a man of fiqh and investigation."
Mutarrif asked one of the Egyptians about 'Abdullah ibn 'Abd al-Hakam. He said, "He has died." He asked, "What did Asbagh do?" He replied, "He remains."
Ibn al-Lubbad said, "The path of fiqh was only opened to me by the fundamental principles of Asbagh."
It is related that Ibn al-Qasim said, "Asbagh is accepted by riwaya."
'Ubayd ibn Sa'id said, "I came to Asbagh ibn al-Faraj. When I turned to Madina, he wrote with me to 'Abd al-Malik ibn al-Majishun to ask him to give me permission for his letters."
He said, "I brought his letter to 'Abd al-Malik. At that time, he had become blind and he told me, 'Tell me: Fix yourself on knowledge if you desire it. Knowledge is for the one who is fixed on it.'"
He said, "I mentioned the state of Asbagh to him. He said, "Egypt did not bring out anyone like Asbagh. I said to him, 'Not Ibn al-Qasim?' He answered, 'Not Ibn al-Qasim' out of his fondness for him."
Ibn Muzayn said, "When I came to Asbagh, I greeted him while he was sitting with his legs drawn up and his garment wrapped about him. He brought out his hand from under his cloth. I used to recognise the manliness of our companions in Andalusia. I said to myself, 'My journey to this man is wasted.' Then I sat down. When he went into knowledge, I said to myself, 'It will not harm you if bring it out from your collar.'"
Asbagh used to be asked for fatwa along with Ashhab and other shaykhs.
Ibn Ghalib said, "When I left Andalusia, Asbagh was the greatest of the people of his time in my opinion when we saw the respect of our shaykhs and for him."
Al-Kindi related that al-Muzani and ar-Rabi'said, "We used to go to Asbagh before ash-Shafi'i came. We said to him, 'Teach us from what Allah has taught you."
Ibn Ma'in said, "Asbagh was one of the most knowing of all Allah's creation about the opinion of Malik. He knew it question by question: when Malik had said it and who followed him in it."
Asbagh has excellent books like The Book of the Roots in ten parts, the Tafsir on the Rare Words of the Muwatta', The Book of the Adab of the Faster, The Book of his Listening to Ibn al-Qasim in 22 volumes, The Book of Sharecropping, The Book of the Adab of the Qadis, and The Book of the Refutation of the People of Sects.
Abu Bakr ibn Asbagh said, "My father said, 'Ibn al-Qasim took my hand one day and said to me. "Asbagh, today you and I are equal in this business. Do not ask me about these difficult questions in the presence of the people. But between you and me so that I can look and you can look."'"
He said, "A scroll came to him from Andalusia or from the Maghrib. There were questions in it. He told me, 'Answer them and bring me your answer.' He said the same thing to 'Isa ibn Dinar. We brought our answers and read them to him. He took my answer and sealed it and gave it to the person with the question. He said, 'Tell them that this is my answer!' and he did not change anything of it."
Some of his reports
Asbagh said, "I went to Makka in 197 to listen to Malik. I entered Madina and I found people either weeping or saying, 'We belong to Allah and to Him we return,' or striking one hand on the other or in mourning. I asked one of them 'What is wrong with the people?' No one spoke to me and whenever I met a group, I asked them until a man who was sitting veiled and weeping who had seen my state said to me, 'I see that you are a stranger.' I said, 'Yes, I have just arrived.' He told me, 'Today the man of knowledge of the east and the west has died.' I said, 'May Allah have mercy on him! Who is he?' He said to me, 'I see that you are ignorant! I tell you that the man of knowledge of the east and the west has died and say, "Who is he?"' "
He said, "So he made me be quiet. Then he looked at me when I was silent and said to me, 'Malik ibn Anas has died.'
"I cried out, 'Malik has died!' I went with the people to his house and he had died that day. I attended his funeral."
Abu 'Umar al-Kindi said in The Book of Clients, "There was dispute and mutual aversion between 'Abdullah ibn 'Abd al-Hakam and Asbagh."
He said in the Tabaqat of the Qadis in Egypt, "Abu Damra az-Zuhri indicated in the presence of Ibn Tahir that Asbagh should be qadi. He said, 'Asbagh is the faqih and the man of knowledge here." Ibn 'Ufayr did not agree with him about him and said, "Why is it that sons of dyers are mentioned here?"
Ibn 'Abd al-Hakam indicated 'Isa ibn al-Munkadir who was duly appointed. He did not have an opinion on Asbagh.
What Ibn 'Ufayr had said reached Asbagh and he said, "Who told him that there was a dyer among my ancestors?"
Abu al-'Arab said that Yahya ibn 'Umar said, "Asbagh ibn Faraj hid during the days of al-Asamm when he was putting people through the inquisition about the creation of Qur'an. Al-Asamm searched for him and he hid in his house. His brothers used to come to him one after the other until he died.
Abu 'Umar al-Kindi said, "Al-Mu'tasim wrote that Asbagh should be made to undergo the inquisition. He fled to Hilwan and concealed himself there." Al-Hamal al-Misri said about that when he praised al-Asamm:
Fear enwrapped Asbagh in his house and the walls veiled him. His men and assemblies are changed by fear to the state of secluded women.
Asbagh died in Egypt in 225. Ibn Sahnun said, "That was Sunday, the 25th of Shawwal." Al-Kindi said about the same.
Abu Nasr al-Kalabadhi said that he died in 224. Al-Kindi said that he was born after 150.