Bin Ojayl:  The Man History Left Behind [Archives:2000/13/Culture]

March 27 2000

Saleh Abdulbaqi,
Yemen Times

Ahmed Bin Mousa Bin Ojayl lived in the 7th century A.H. in the epoch of Bani Rasool state. His family was well-known for great scientists; his father, grandfather, uncles and other relatives were pioneer scientists and jurists. Many of the writers who wrote about Ahmed Bin Mousa did not trace back his ancestry because, first, there were no reliable references and, second, he was very illustrious and that made them more concerned with his knowledge and books than his ancestry. However, the historian Abdul-Rahman Al-Hadrami has alluded to his ancestry and mentioned it reaching the 7th grandfather. He has seen some manuscripts of the ancestry of Ali Bin Mousa written by the jurist Ali Ahmed Bin Alawi himself narrating from the jurist Abdul-Kadir Al-Halabi.
Therefore, Sheik Ahmed Bin Mousa Bin Ojayl was brought up in an educated environment where worship and ascism had a great effect on his life. He had also been taught by many local and Arab scientists. Despite the fact that there were many local Sheiks who taught him in Tihama and Najd, he had also traveled to Mecca and other places to gain more knowledge. Among the Sheiks who taught him were Mohammed Al-Mohalabi and Mohammed Bin Khalil Al-Saydalani. Al-Sharjabi has mentioned in one of his books that Sheik Ahmed Bin Mousa has a book in which he included all his Sheiks and educators. In this book, he narrated their sayings and what he learned from them. Unfortunately, this book is still missing but Al-Hawlak was able to find a commonly used relation in Bait Al-Fakieh which is called “Sanad Bin Ojayl Fi Shahih Al-Bokhari”.

His Education, Religious and political doctrine
Sheik Ahmed Bin Mousa enjoyed a religious education and great knowledge in jurisprudence and Hadith sciences as well as many other scientific and religious subjects and that was reflected on his scientific and intellectual writings. Ahmed Bin Mousa lived in the era of Bani Rasool which was known as the Science Era. Therefore, it is not uncommon that there were so many Islamic schools with all different sorts of specializations and the Yemeni people, as we know, are very interested in religious sciences.
If we were to thumb through the pages of the Yemeni history, which is rich with educational, humanitarian, Islamic and scientific knowledge, we would find that many others do not know a lot about it. I happened to read a book by Mr. Omar Al-Khayal, Secretary of the Educational Forum in Al-Fakeeh city, which was published lately in 1999 under the title The Jurist which History did not Treat Fairly”. This book included many chapters and sections on the personal and scientific life of Sheik Ahmed Bin Ojayl. From this book I could come out with the following important summary:
One might ask who is Bin Ojayl and where did his title come from? He is one of the most renowned jurists of Bani Ojayl. Those latter are one of the elite families of Tihama who lived in Mecca. They are very well known as a family of knowledge, asceticism and righteousness and many of their scientists and jurists were illustrious. Many historians like Al-Sharjabi and Al-Khazragi have mentioned Sheik Ahmed Bin Mousa in their books who was well known during the ruling of Bani Rasool. He was also the one who established the famous city which is known until now by his name “Bait Al-Fakeeh” capital city of Al-Zaraneek. As for their title “Bani Ojayl”, it goes back to Sheik Omar Bin Ahmed Bin Hammed known as Omar Ojayl. This latter is the grandfather of the brothers who were known for this title. Ojayl is a branch of Ma’azab, a well-known tribe in Tihama that can be traced back to Ek Bin Adnan. From Ek Bin Adnan branches Doa’al Bin Shinwah Bin Thoban. Then, three brothers branch from this tribe one of which is Zayed Bin Doa’al Bin Shinwah Bin Thoban and from this latter comes Ma’azab the Chief of the tribe who was known as Ma’azab Bin Obayd Bin Mohammed Al-Faris Bin Zayed Bin Doa’al. From here comes the grandfather of “Bani Ojayl” Omar Bin Hammed Bin Zarnak who comes from Ma’azab and was known by Omar Ojayl. They are “Zaraneek” from Bani Zarnak. The title Ojayl has a famous story which scientists and people in Bait Al-Fakeeh know by heart. Al-Sharjabi says that their grandfather Omar had cattle in his tribe “Ma’azab”. One day he wanted to make his cattle drink but he could not since the bucket did not belong to him. Therefore, he slaughtered a calf “Ejl” and made a bucket from its skin to make his cattle drink. Ever since, his people started calling him Sahib Al-Ojayl and as time passed the title became Omar Ojayl which passed to his successors.
The Jurist Ahmed Bin Mousa Bin Ojayl
He was known by the name of Abu Al-Abbass Ahmed Bin Mousa Bin Ali Bin Omar Bin Ojayl. Just like we mentioned before he was one of the most prominent jurists in the Era of Bani Rasool. He adopted the Shafe’eyah doctrines but he was not a bigot. He always remained detached from all the doctrine disputes between Al-Shafe’eyah, Al-Hanbaliyah, Al-Ashae’erah and Al-Zaydiah. He was very prudent and open-minded and he led an ascetic and worshiping life although he was not Soufee. Sheik Ahmed Bin Mousa worked in farming and lived among ordinary people giving them advice and knowledge. He had never been biased to a prince or one of the many parties known at his time. He became a judge like his friend Ismail Al-Hadrami but he resigned later. He was very well-known that even princes and kings were looking forward to know him and he was always of great help to poor people in asking pardon for them because the princes of Bani Rasool were greatly respectful of him.