“I saw people who are negligent in paying their debts and who bequeath, ‘When I die, bury me in the tomb of Ahmad.’ Did they not hear the Messenger ﷺ refrained from praying (the funeral) upon those who died without settling their debts and those who unlawfully took from war booty, saying, ‘My prayer will not benefit them.’ [Abu Dawud #2710, Nasa’i #1959]
I have seen scholars who were driven by the love of fame, requesting permission from the Ruler to be buried in the grave of Ahmad ibn Hanbal; not knowing that numerous people are buried there.
None of them is unaware that he is not worthy of that, so where is the self-humility?
Did they not hear that ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz was asked, ‘Would you like to be buried in the Room*?’ He replied, ‘For me to meet Allah with every sin there is, apart from disbelief, is dearer to me than to believe myself worthy of that.’
However, the habits and the love of power dominated these people, such that knowledge was spoken in a manner of habit, and not for application.
We then found some scholars who became associated with Rulers and committed oppression, yet were fighting to be buried in Ahmad’s grave and wrote that in their wills.
If only they asked to be buried in an empty grave, instead they asked to be buried upon the dead bodies of others. When they are resurrected, they will be gathered in the state of oppression in which they were used – even in their death – and they will forget they used to be assistants to tyrants.
Did they not know that the tyrant’s assistant is also a tyrant? It is said, ‘It suffices for treason to be a traitor’s trustee.’ [This is a statement of Malik bin Dinar (r), recorded by Bayhaqi in Shu‘ab al-Iman, 3/53]
The jailor said to Ahmad ibn Hanbal, ‘Am I one of the tyrant’s assistants?’ He said, ‘No. Rather you are one of the tyrants. The tyrant’s assistant is the one who assists you.’ ”
*Referring to the place where the Messenger ﷺ is buried
[Al-Hafiz Jamal al-Din ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn al-Jawzi, صيد الخاطر (Quarry of the Mind), pp. 901-902 of English translation]