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Abdullah ibn al-Mubarak’s Parents

The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “A woman may be chosen in marriage for her wealth, or for her beauty, or for her nobility, or for her good religious conduct. Pick the one who is morally motivated and hold fast to her.” [Sunan Ibn Majah]

Abdullah ibn al-Mubarak was a great scholar of the generation of the Tabi-Tabieen, those who saw the people who saw the Companions of the Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam). He was born in Marw, one of the prime cities in Khurasan, in the year 118 AH. His father, Mubarak, was originally a Turk belonging to a merchant from Banu Handhala as a slave but he was known to be righteous and frequently in seclusion, worshipping Allah. 

Historical sources mention an interesting account that took place whilst Mubarak was working for his master. After having tended to the fruits and crops for many years, he was one day approached by his master who requested a sweet pomegranate. Mubarak went and brought back a pomegranate but as the master bit into it, he found it to be sour. He said, “I request a sweet one and you bring me a sour one? Bring a sweet one!” 

So he went and brought another pomegranate which also turned out to be sour. His master rebuked him harshly and ordered a sweet one again. This happened for a third time whereupon the master said, “Don’t you know the difference between sweet and sour?” Mubarak said, “No.” He said, “How is that possible?” He said, “Because I have never eaten from it such that I should know the difference.” His master said, “And why have you not eaten of it?” He said, “Because you have never given me permission to eat it.” 

His master, upon seeing the righteousness and piety of Mubarak requested him to marry his daughter but he replied, “The people in the time of ignorance used to marry for lineage, the Jews married for wealth and the Christians for beauty, but this Ummah marries for Deen (religion).” His master became even more amazed at the attitude of Mubarak whereupon he informed his wife who said, “I do not see anyone more suitable to marry her than Mubarak.” 

So Mubarak (rahimahullah) married his master’s daughter and they later had a son whom they named Abdullah. Abdullah ibn al-Mubarak was thus brought up in a household known for its righteousness and nurtured by parents who were known for their piety, justice and humility.

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