Sa’id ibn Jubayr

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Sa’id ibn Jubayr : biography

665 – 714

Sa’id bin Jubayr (665-714) (), also known as Abū Muhammad, was originally from Kufa, in modern-day Iraq. He was regarded as one of the leading members of the Tabi‘in and was counted by Sheikh al-Tusi as one of the companions of the fourth Imam, Ali ibn Husayn (d. ca. 712). Sa’īd is held in the highest esteem by scholars of the Shi’a and Sunni Islamic traditions and was considered one of the leading jurists of the time. Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani and al-Dhahabi praise him greatly in their respective treatises. He also narrated several hadith from Ibn Abbas.


At the battle of Jamājim in 82 AH (699-701), Ibn Ash’ath and his followers, including 100,000 from amongst the mawāli, took on the army of al-Hajjāj (d. 714), the governor of the Iraqi provinces during the reign of the Umayyad caliph al-Walid I. Within their forces was a group known as the ‘Battalion of Qur’an Reciters’ headed by Kumayl bin Ziyad an-Nakhai and including Sa’īd bin Jubayr. The revolt was brutally put down and Sa’īd was forced to flee to the outskirts of Makkah. He persisted in travelling to Makkah itself twice a year to perform the hajj and umrah and would enter Kufa secretly to help resolve peoples’ religious issues.



Sunni view

writes:Tahdhib al-Tahdhib Volume 4 No. 14 

From him are recorded by Imams Bukhari, Muslim, al-Tirmidhi, al-Nasa’i, Abu Dawood, Ibn Maja, Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal, and Imam Malik ibn Anas. Sa’id narrates 147 traditions in Sahih Bukhari and 78 in Sahih Muslim.

Dialogue between Ibn Jubayr and al-Hajjaj

Sa’īd was finally apprehended and brought before al-Hajjāj. Excerpts from a transcript of their dialogue follows:Sa’īd bin Jubayr entered upon al-Hajjāj, who asked his name (and he knew his name well):

Sa’īd: Sa’īd bin Jubayr.
Al-Hajjaj: Nay, you are Shaqiy bin Kusayr. (al-Hajjāj is playing with words here: Sa’id means happy and Shaqiy means unhappy; Jubayr means one who splints broken bones and Kusayr means one who breaks them.)
Sa’īd: My mother knew better when she named me.
Al-Hajjāj: You are wretched (shaqayta) and your mother is wretched" (shaqiyat). Then he told him: "By Allah, I will replace your dunya with a blazing Fire.
Sa’īd: If I knew you could do it, I would take you as a God.
Al-Hajjāj: I have gold and wealth.

Bags of gold and silver were brought and spread before Sa’īd bin Jubayr in order to try him.

Sa’īd: O Hajjāj, if you gathered it to be seen and heard in showing off, and to use it to avert others from the way of Allah, then by Allah, it will not avail you against Him in any way. Saying this, he aligned himself towards Qiblah.
Al-Hajjāj: Take him and turn him to other than the Qiblah. By Allah, O Sa’īd bin Jubayr, I will kill you with a killing with which I have not killed any of the people.
Sa’īd: O Hajjāj choose for yourself whatever killing you want, by Allah you will not kill me with a killing except that Allah will kill you with a like of it, so choose for yourself whatever killing you like.
Al-Hajjāj: Turn him to other than the Qiblah.
Sa’īd: Wherever you [might] turn, there is the Face of Allah.Qur’an, 2:115
Al-Hajjāj: Put him under the earth.
Sa’īd: From it (the earth) We created you, and into it We will return you, and from it We will extract you another time.Qur’an, 20:55

Al-Hajjāj was outdone and ordered the beheading of Sa’īd bin Jubayr. Sa’īd was martyred in the month of Sha’bān, 95 AH (ca. May 714) at the age of 49. Al-Hajjāj is reported to have soon lost his senses and died within a month.


A play based on this story, called "The Scholar and the Tyrant" can be viewed online