Imam 'Abd ar-Rahman ibn Mahdi ibn Hassan al-'Anbari

His kunya is Abu Sa'id. He was the client of Azd and a man of Basra. He listened to the two Sufyans, the two Hammads, Malik, Shu'ba, 'Abd al-'Aziz, Sharik, Hammam, Abu 'Awana, Ziyada, ad-Dastawani, and others.

Ibn Wahb, Ibn Hanbal, Yahya, Zuhayr, Ibn al-Madini, the sons of Ibn Shayba, Ishaq, Abu 'Ubayd, Abu Thawr, his son Musa, 'Abd ar-Rahman, Yahya ibn Sa'id and others related from him. Al-Bukhari and Muslim transmitted from him. He clung to Malik and learned much fiqh and hadith, and the science of men from him. There are stories about him with Malik.

Ibn al-Madini said, "Ibn Mahdi took the view of Malik and Malik took the view of Sulayman ibn Yasar. Sulayman ibn Yasar took the view of 'Umar ibn al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him.

Ahmad ibn 'Abdullah ibn Salih said, "The Risala of ash-Shafi'i was begun by Ibn Mahdi, and ash-Shafi'i finished it."

Abu Ishaq ash-Shirazi that ash-Shafi'i wrote the Risala to Ibn Mahdi and I think that it is the most likely. He used to sit with ash-Shafi'i and keep his company with Ahmad ibn Hanbal. Ash-Shafi'i used to say to them both, 'Tell me about whatever hadiths I have which are sound and I will follow them because you know more hadith than I do.'"

It is said that Malik only gave him mursal hadith from Ibn Mas'ud, so he took them from Ibn Mahdi.

Scholars' praise of him and his excellence

'Ali ibn al-Madini said more than once, "Had I been taken and put between the corner and the Maqam, I would have sworn by Allah that I did not see anyone at all with more knowledge of hadith than Ibn Mahdi."

He also said, "Ibn Mahdi had the most knowledge of people." Ibn Mahdi told me, "I frequented Hammad ibn Zayd for a time, and I did not have any need of him."

Ibn Hanbal said, "Ibn Mahdi is one of the mines of truthfulness."

He said, "He is firmer in certainty than Waki'."

Ahmad ibn Sinan said, "Ibn Mahdi always possessed great scrupulousness. When Hammad ibn Zayd looked at Ibn Mahdi in his assembly, his faced beamed."

Abu Hatim said, "Ibn Mahdi was excellent, reliable, one of the mines of truthfulness, a man of right of right action, sound. When Sufyan was near death, he said to Hamid's client, 'Go to Ibn Mahdi and bring him to close my eyes.' Sufyan said, 'My books at Kufa are with an old person. If you can get them, I want Ibn Mahdi to look them over.'"

'Ali ibn al-Madini said, "I went to Kufa and concerned myself with the hadith of al-A'mash and I collected them. When I went to Basra, I met Ibn Mahdi and I greeted him. He said, 'Bring me what you have.' I said, 'No one can tell me anything at all from al-A'mash.'"

He said, "He became angry and said, 'These are the words of the people of knowledge? And one who is precise in knowledge and understands it? The like of you says this? Do you have anything with you on which you can write?' I replied, 'Yes.'

He said, "He became angry and said, 'These are the words of the people of knowledge? And one who is precise in knowledge and understands it? The like of you says this? Do you have anything with you on which you can write?' I replied, 'Yes.'

"He said, 'Write!' I said, 'Tell it to me. Perhaps I already have it.' He said, 'I will only dictate to you what you do not have.'" He said, "He dictated thirty hadiths which I had not heard at all. Then he said, 'Do not repeat it.' I said, 'No.'"

Malik said, "Then after a year, Sulayman came and said, 'Take us to Ibn Mahdi so that we can outshine him today about hajj practices.' Sulayman was the companion of ours who possessed the most knowledge about the hajj."

He said, "We went and came to him and greeted him and sat down before him. He said, 'Bring what you have. I think that you, Sulayman, are the one with something to say.'

"He said, 'Yes, no one tell us anything about the hajj at all.'

"He confronted him with the like of what he confronted 'Ali. Then he said, 'Sulayman, what do you say about a man who finishes all the practices except the tawaf of the House and then sleeps with his wife?' Sulayman dashed in and related, 'They part where they meet and they meet where they part.' He said, 'Then when do they meet and when do they part?'

"He said, 'Sulayman was silent.' He said, 'Write.' He began to teach him questions and dictate to him until we wrote down thirty questions and he related a hadith and two hadiths in each question. He said, 'I asked Malik, and I asked Sufyan and 'Abdullah ibn al-Hasan.'"

He said, "When I got up, he said, 'Do not do that a second time.'"

He turned to Sulayman and said, "What came to us from the heart of this Mahdi?"

A man came to Ibn Mahdi and said, "Abu Sa'id, what about the hadith which al-Hasan related from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace: 'Whoever laughs in the prayer should renew his wudu' and redo the prayer'?"

'Abd ar-Rahman said, "This was only related by Hafsa bint Sirin from Abu al-'Aliyya from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace." The man asked him, "Why do you say this, Abu 'Abdullah?"

He said, "When you come to the money-changer with your dinars and he tells you, 'It is confused,' you can say, 'What do you say that? Explain it to me.' He said, 'This hadith is only related by Hafsa bint Sirin. Hisham ibn Hassan heard it from her. He was in the house with her and al-Hasan related it. Al-Hasan said, 'The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said it.'"

He was asked, "From where did az-Zuhri hear it?" He said, "Sulayman ibn Arqam used to frequent al-Hasan and az-Zuhri. He heard it from al-Hasan and he mentioned it to az-Zuhri. Az-Zuhri said, 'The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said...'"

Ahmad ibn Salih said that Ibn Mahdi only related from reliable men. He said, "All that Malik gave of mursal hadith from Ibn Mas'ud he took from Ibn Idris. What he had from other than Ibn Mas'ud, he took from Ibn Mahdi."

Yahya ibn Sa'id said, "I prefer to listen to the oral transmission of Ibn Mahdi asleep than to one who dictates to another," or words to that effect.

His nephew said, "My uncle wrote hadiths for me and then corrected them later, and I read them to him.

"I spoke to him about that. He said, 'I thought that doing that would lower the justness of its transmitters, so they would become my litigants before Allah. He would say, "Did you see me? Do you know me? Did you hear my words?"'"

Ibn Mahdi became ill and Hammad ibn Zayd visited him among his companions. He went out saying, "I would indicate you to the people of this land," twice.

Al-Qattan said, "Ibn Mahdi did not read to Malik anything firmer than what people heard from him."

Ibn Mahdi said, "He wrote hadiths from me in the circle of Malik."

Ibn Abi Safwan said, "If Malik had written from me, it would not have harmed him."

Ibn al-Mubarak said, "Whoever met Ibn Mahdi and did not take his portion from him has skimped."

He also mentioned him and said, "This is a man who increased in good every day since we met him."

Muhammad ibn 'Abdullah ibn as-Sakuni said that he is reliable.

Abu Dawud said, "The reliable man, 'Abd ar-Rahman ibn Mahdi, related to us."

The rest of his reports and his death

Ibn Hanbal said, "Ibn Mahdi came to us in Baghdad when he was 46 or 45, and he used henna."

Salih ibn Ahmad said, "Ibn Mahdi and Abi Dawud at-Tayalisi drank something for memory. As for Ibn Mahdi, he did not die until he suffered from white leprosy and Abu Dawud from the other type of leprosy."

Ibn al-Lubbad said, "'Abd ar-Rahman ibn Mahdi used to sell jewels. His father was Tahan."

Al-Bahlul ibn Rashid said, "I did not regret anything as I regretted the book which I saw Ibn Mahdi present to Sufyan ath-Thawri. Sufyan liked it." As-Samadahi said, "When I came to Ibn Mahdi, I mentioned it to him and he brought it out for me the Book of the Sunna and Trials from his books.Ó

Ibn Mahdi said, "I frequented Hammad ibn Zayd for three years. A year did not go by without there being benefit."

It was said to Ibn Mahdi, "So-and-so has made a book to refute the Jahmites.' 'Abd ar-Rahman said, 'Does he refute them with the Book of Allah Almighty and the Sunna of His Messenger Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace?' They said, 'No, rather with opinion and intellectual reasoning.' He said, 'He has erred. He refutes innovation with innovation.'"

Al-Qasim ibn Salam said, "I entered Basra to listen to Hammad ibn Ziyad but found that he had died. I complained about that to Ibn Mahdi and he said to me, 'Whatever you are outstripped in, do not be outstripped in your fear of Allah."

Al-Qawariri said, "I saw 'Abd ar-Rahman ibn Mahdi speaking on the minbar while his father Mahdi was on the other step and his grandfather Hassan was above the top of the highest step. He was speaking to the people."

Al-Fallas said, "I saw Ibn Mahdi on Friday. He came and sat outside of the circle and Yahya said to him, 'Come into the circle.'

"He said, 'You related to me from Ibn 'Ajlan from 'Amr ibn Shu'ayb from his father from his grandfather that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, forbade forming circles of people on Friday before the Imam has come out.'

"Yahya said, 'I saw Habib ibn ash-Shahid, Hisham, and Ibn Abi 'Aruba making circles then.' Ibn Mahdi said, 'It reached those people that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said it, so they did it.' Yahya was silent."

Ibn al-Madini said, "Ibn Mahdi was asked about the hadith which Ma'n related like that, and he said that it was an error. It must be incorrect from such-and-such an aspect. So it was investigated and found to be as he had said."

Ibn Mahdi said, "If someone flees from leadership, it follows him. Whoever seeks it does not obtain it."

Ibn Mahdi died in Basra in Jumada al-Akhira in 198 when he was 63.

It is said that he was born in 135. And it is said 134 as well as 136. He had a son who related from him called Ibrahim from whom Ahmad ad-Daruqi related.