Imaam Ahmad Refuses Positions Of Authority And Boycots Members Of His Own Family

It is reported on the authority of Ash-Shaafi’ee that he said to Ar-rasheed:

“Yemen is in need of a judge.”

So Ar-Rasheed said:

“Choose a man and we will appoint him to it.”

So Ash-Shafi’ee said to Imaam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, who was visiting him among a number of seekers of knowledge:

“Will you not accept (the post of) judge in Yemen?”

But Imaam Ahmad refused vehemently to accept it, saying:

“I only visit you for the sake of (acquiring) the knowledge which causes me to abstain from the life of this world. Do you order me to accept the position of judge? Were it not for the knowledge, I would not speak to you after today.”

Upon hearing this, Ash-Shaafi’ee became embarrassed.

[Al-Bidayah Wan-Nihayah, 14/386]

Imaam Ahmad would refuse those positions offered to him, which would make men proud and arrogant, in spite of his poverty and his dire need for the salary that would have accompanied such a position.

It was narrated that he would not pray behind his uncle, Ishaq Ibn Hanbal, nor behind his sons, nor would he speak to them because they had taken a stipend from the Sultan.

[Ibid, and Hilyah Al-Awliya’ 9/176]


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