Download PDF: [S] Imam Asma’i’s Memory

It is mentioned that when the Chief Minister of Mamun Rashid arrived in Iraq, he called all the eminent ‘Ulama for a meeting in his court. The name of the Chief Minister was Hasan bin Suhail. Among the eminent ‘Ulama who arrived in his court were Imam Asma’i, Imam Abu Ubaidah, Imam Abu Bakr Nahwi May Allah have mercy upon them etc.


However, while these ‘Ulama were waiting, the Chief Minister had to dispatch nearly fifty instructions around the country. His chief clerk was also recording these instructions while the ‘Ulama were waiting. When the conversation finally commenced, the discussion turned to the amazing memory of eminent Imams like Imam Zuhri and Imam Abu Qatadah – may Allah be pleased with them.


It was mentioned that the eminent ‘Ulama of Islam had such amazing memories that if they read something once, they never had to refer to that book again. They had memorised thousands of Ahadith and thousands of Arabic poems. As they were hearing the comments of the Chief Minister, Imam Abu Ubaidah – may Allah be pleased with him –  replied, “O Chief Minister! These are indeed the attributes of those blessed people whose personalities itself have become part of the wealth of this universe. However, there are such eminent ‘Ulama sitting among us in this meeting who merely have to look at a book only once in their life and it is immediately memorized. Whatever they see only once, it never leaves their memory.”


As he spoke these words, Imam Asma’i – may Allah be pleased with him – replied, “Chief Minister! This person is actually speaking about me. I am not someone who speaks about this and was meaning to keep it a secret.  However, I can prove this in this manner. The fifty instructions which you have just recorded, I am able to read all of them by memory because I had seen what you had written on them. I can also reveal the names of each person to whom these instructions are intended for.”


The Chief Minister then called for these instructions and Imam Asma’i – may Allah be pleased with him – began to read from memory each message which was recorded. When he had arrived at message number forty, Imam Abu Nasr – may Allah be pleased with him – declared, “O Asma’i! What are you doing? Have mercy on yourself and also be careful that no evil eye catches you.”


When Imam Asma’i – may Allah be pleased with him – heard these words of caution, he immediately stopped. By that time, the Chief Minister was already in a state of shock. (‘Ulama-e-Salf)