We were quite clear about the objectives, strategies and the type of courses we wanted to deliver, but uncertain how best to establish and deliver this effectively in the confused and busy society we were due to be parachuted into. The identity of our foreward legacy was key. From all the great luminaries and role models throughout our rich history, whose name should we adopt to honour the academy? Interestingly, the answer was in plain sight as we began our revision of Imam Bukhari’s awesome Saheeh collection.
Once this name was discussed, the founding team decided to honour our academy with Imam Ibn Shihab Az-Zuhri’s Name hence we call our Academy; Zuhri Academy or Imam Zuhri Academy.
We hope from Allah that he accepts all the good that has come out of this academy over the last decade and forgive us for our shortcomings and inherent weakness.
He memorised the Quran in 80 nights!
He studied with the Sahabah and senior students of the sahabah. He stayed with Saeed ibnul Musay’yab for 8 years seeking knowldege.
His teachers from the Sahabah; Anas bin Malik, Abdullah ibn Umar and Sahl bin Sa’d,
From the Senior tabi’oon; Saeed ibnul Musay’yab Aqeel, Yunus, Az-Zubaidi, Salih bin Kaisan, Ma’mar, Shuaib ibn Abi Hamzah, Al-awza’i, Al-layth, Malik, Ibn Abi Dhi’b, Amr bin Al-Haarith, Ibrahim bin Sa’ad, Sufyan bin Uyainah and many more.
What the great imams said about him?
Imam Abu Dawood said ‘his narrations number 2200; half of them are musnad’ and Imam Ma’mar said ‘he narrated from Abdullah ibn Umar 2 hadeeths’.
Imam Zuhri said ‘he sought knowledge with Saeed ibnul Musayyab(RA) for 8 years and Saeed(RA) was one of the most learned from the post Sahabah generation and was a master of Islamic sciences.
Imam Abu Zanad said ‘we used to visit scholars with Az-Zuhri whilst he would have papers and scrolls noting whenever he would listen’ (to hadeeth).
Imam Al-Layth said ‘I have never seen an Alim (scholar) more versatile in kowledge than Az-Zuhri, when he narrated regarding targheeb (encouraging to do good) I said ‘no one can excel (in this topic) except him’, and when he would narrate regarding Quran and sunnah I would say the same’.
Imam Al-Layth also said that Imam Zuhri said ‘No one endured more patience over knowledge (in seeking and travelling etc. for it) than me’ and ‘no one spread it like me’. Imam Zuhri was tasked with educating the caliphs family he therefore had to endure and be very patience in teaching the political elites.
Umar Ibn Abdil Azeez (Caliph) said ‘no one remains more knowledgable in sunnah than Az-Zuhri’.
When Umar ibn Abdil Azeez became caliph in the year 99 Hijri he was worried by the passing of the sahabah and the senior tabi’ioon therefore he tasked great hadeeth masters from different regions of the Caliphate to gather hadeeth in writing and amongst the senior ones was Imam Zuhri. He liked him very much for his hadeeth knowledge and his service to the ummah. Imam Zuhri moved from Madinah to Syria in order to teach hadeeth.
Imam Malik said ‘While Imam ibn Shihab Az-Zuhri remains alive there is no example of him in the world’ (in knowledge of hadeeth).
Imam Amr ibn Dinar said ‘i have not seen the dinars and dirhams treated more lesser in value to anyone than Az-Zuhri, it was like camel’s dung to him’.
His habits and lifestyle
It is recorded that he was a great solder.
He would apply hinaa (mehndi). He would consume a lot of honey but abstain from apples.
He said ‘whoever is pleased to learn hadeeth then he should eat raisins. (Speaking from his personal experience).
Imam Zuhri left behind such a Sadaqah Jaariyah legacy that a big portion of Islam is passed down through his teaching so much so that most later Imams have mentioned his narrations. His contemporaries regarded him to be a great scholar and the later historians and scholars refer to him as one of the greater hadeeth scholars of Islam.
We hope all the readers especially our teachers, scholars, students and all supporters are inspired by Imam Zuhri and make firm intention to leave our own Sadaqah Jaariyah in the form of educating our children and the community to help us in the hereafter.
(Taken from Tadhkiratul Huffaz of Imam Dhahabi)