An excerpt taken from Safahāt min sabril ʿulamā’ – Sh. Abdul Fattah Abu Ghuddah.
Baqī bin Makhlad al-Andalusī born (d.276 A.H.), travelled to Baghdad from Spain on feet when he was around 20 years old. His purpose was to meet Imām Ahmad bin Hanbal and take Hadīth from him. He relates: “When I got close to Baghdad, it reached me that Imām Ahmad was on House Arrest, and it’s been prohibited to gather around him and listen to his discourses. After speaking with a few individuals in the masjid, I asked regarding the whereabouts of Imām Ahmad, so I went to his home and knocked the door. He opened the door and I introduced myself and the purpose that had brought me from Spain to his doorsteps. He told me to quickly get in without anyone seeing. He explained to me what his current condition was. I understood but was not ready to return without Hadith therefore I asked him for permission saying: ‘if you give me permission to knock on your door everyday dressed as a beggar then I would come and say what they [beggars] normally say and in this time if you relate to me one hadīth, it would be enough. He agreed. Everyday I would put dust on my head and take the form of a beggar. I would place my paper and silk threads (that are inserted in ink pots) under my sleeve, come to his door and yell: !الأجر رحمكم الله – Imām Ahmad would come out and would narrate to me 1-3 and sometimes more Ahadīth until I had compiled 300 Ahadīth”.
After the khalifah of that time passed away and Imām Ahmad was released and would teach at the masjid, he would always keep Baqī bin Makhlad near him and relate his story to his students and say: هذا يقع عليه اسم طالب العلم
“If there’s anyone who should be labelled as a ‘seeker of knowledge’ then it’s him”..
Translated by TheHadithDisciple