Translation: Ishaaq bn AbdirRaheem Aboo Aamir
Ibn Khalkân said about his lineage: He was Abu Abdillâh bn Abî Du'âd Faraj bn Jarîr bn Mâlik.
Al-Khatîb Al-Baghdâdî said: Ibn Abî Du'âd became the Chief Justice for Al-Mu'tasim then for Al-Waathiq. He was described with generosity, openhandedness, good character and much of etiquette. It was only that he openly supported the creed of the Jahmiyyah (that denies the Names and Attributes of Allâh); and he was the one that pushed the Sultân to test the people with the statement of saying the Qur'ân was created.
One of the poets praised him as thus:
'The Messenger of Allâh and the Caliphs are from us/and from us is Ahmad bn Abî Du'âd.'
Then a poet replied the earlier poet thus:
'Say to those boastful on less beneficial deeds/who are heads of the slaves on earth/The Messenger of Allâh and the Caliphs are from us/we denounce the bastards among Banu Iyâd/we will have no support if the/call of Ahmad bn Abî Du'âd is adhered to.'
He said: When that got to Ahmad bn Abî Du'âd he said: 'If not that I fear for the consequence, I would inflict on this poet a punishment whose like was not inflicted on anybody before.' Thus he forgave him.
Also Al-Khatîb brought several reports with several chains from a group of people indicating the generosity of Abu Du'âd so also his eloquence, mannerism, forbearance, readiness to meet people's needs and high status with the Caliphs.
Muhammad Al-Mahdî bn Al-Wâthiq mentioned that a scholar entered one day upon Al-Wâthiq, he then said the Tasleem to him but Al-Wâthiq did not respond rather he said: 'Allâh sends greetings to you.' Then the man said: 'O leader-of-the-believers, what a bad thing your trainer has done for you; Allâh said:
"When you are greeted with a greeting, greet in return with what is better than it, or (at least) return it equally." [An-Nisâ: 86].
(The man continued:) 'Why wouldn't you reply me in a better way or the like of what I said to you?'
Ibn Abî Du'âd came in and said: 'O leader-of-the-believers, the man seems a theologian.'
Al-Wâthiq said: 'Engage him in a debate.'
Ibn Abî Du'âd said: 'O scholar, what do you say about the Qur'ân; was it created or not?'
The scholar replied: 'You have not been just with me; the affair is mine.'
Abu Du'âd said: 'Go ahead.'
The Shaykh then said: 'This thing that you say; did the Messenger of Allâh – Sallallâhu alayhi wa sallam – know it? Did Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthmân and Alî know it, or didn't they?'
Ibn Abî Du'âd replied: 'They did not know it.'
The Shaykh continued: 'Therefore you know what they did not know?'
Ibn Abî Du'âd became ashamed and kept quiet.
Then he said: 'Okay I will say rather they knew it.'
The Shaykh said: 'Why didn't the people call people to it as you call people today; why are you not satisfied with what brought them satisfaction?'
Ibn Abî Du'âd became ashamed again and kept quiet. Then Al-Wâthiq commanded that price should be got for the Shaykh; it was about four hundred Dînâr. But the Shaykh did not accept it.
Al-Muhtadî said: 'My father then entered the house then he rested on his back and began to repeat the statement of the Shaykh to himself: 'Why are you not satisfied with what brought them satisfaction?' Then he released the Shaykh and gave him about four hundred Dînâr and asked him to go back to his land but the Shaykh did not accept it.
With that, Ibn Abî Du'âd fell before Al-Wâthiq and since then he did not test anybody with regard to the Qur'ân.'
Al-Khatîb mentioned the story in his Târîkh with a chain that contains some unknown people. He mentioned the story fully and there is some strangeness therein.
Tha'lab composed from Abu Hajjâj Al-A'rabî that he said with regard to Ibn Abî Du'âd:
''You reversed the Deen O Ibn Abî Du'âd/such that those who followed you are in doubt/you thought the Word of your Lord to be created,/don't you think you have to return to your Lord?/Speech of Allâh He revealed It with Knowledge to Jibrîl then to the best of slaves/whoever meets the evening by your door seeking hospitality/is like a person who finds himself with a farmer without a provision/you have indeed gone beyond the bounds, O Ibn Abî Du'âd, with this your statement; verily I am a man from (Banu) Iyâd.
His death occurred on Saturday seventh day to the end of the month of Muharram of the year under discussion. It was his son, Al-Abbâs, that prayed over him. He was buried in his house at Baghdad while he was about eighty years old that day. Allâh inflicted him with stroke four years before his death such that he later became a person lying on his bed and who could not move any part of his body.
Somebody entered upon him and said: 'By Allâh, I have not come to visit you as a sick person but to pass condolence of yourself to you and so that I will praise Allâh that imprisons you in your body.'
Ibn Khalkân went far in his biography of Ibn Du'âd such that he praised him and mentioned his feats, good deeds and was very exaggerative in doing so. He came with much of those which is improper. He did not mention any of his misdeeds rather he mentioned his debate with Imâm Ahmad in a very scanty manner; and that was the that trial served as the foundation for other trials that came after, and the tribulation that opened the door of other tribulations for the people.
Source: al-Bidaayah wa an-Nihaayah of al-Imaam Ibn Katheer – rahimahullaah.