Aminah Ramlyah is regarded a member of the learned elite of the time and one of great mystics of second and third century Hijrah. She was born about 163 H in Ramla, a suburb of Baghdad. She was very intelligent and had longing to attain knowledge since early childhood. But her parents were very poor so they could not do enough for her education. Only, which she could have, was, what more or less available at home. When she grew young, she accompanied her mother to Hajj. In those days an old man with scholarly figure delivered Dars (lecture) in Masjid-Al-Haram (Holy mosque in the Ka’bah).
She joined his Dars and learned from him the knowledge of Al-Quran and Hadith. After his death, she went to Madinah where Imam Malik had laid his rug for seekers of knowledge. Aminah joined his class and continued learning the Hadith from him for long. She memorized a number of Ahadith. Hafiz ibn Abdul Birr held the number of Ahadith, reported by her around 100.
She, afterwards returned to Makkah and had study of Fiqh from Imam Shafe’i. She had attained the age of thirty-six when Imam Shafe’i went to Egypt and she to Kufa.
She took benefit of the presence of many eminent scholars there and gained knowledge from them with great interest. She got excellence in all fields of studies. When she returned to her nativity from Kufa, fame of her erudition already had spread all around. She instituted delivering the Dars to enlighten the heart and soul of people who would throng to achieve the knowledge of Hadith. A number of notable scholars came to listen her Dars on Hadith. She happened to visit Baghdad in 209H where a dervish, by the benefit of his consideration caused her life change entirely. She gave away all her belongings as charity and took the life of a dervish. Her days and nights were started to be spent in praying and wailing in fear of Allah. During those years she went on Hajj for seven consecutive years and journeyed on foot. People called her ‘chosen by Allah’ for her piety, continence and mysticality, and extended great respect. Her dignity and grace could be judged by the fact that an illustrious Wali Allah (friend of Allah – saint) of her time Bashar Hafi (RA) (obiit: 227H) would visit her occasionally. So was the fourth Imam of Ahlus Sunnah Wal-Jama’ah. Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (RA) (obiit: 241H), appreciative of her glory and grace.
Once Bashar hafi fell ill and Aminah went to see him. Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, too, incidentally came to inquire after his health. He asked Bashar Hafi who was that lady. He told that she was Aminah Ramalyah, came to hear of his illness. Imam ibn Hanbal expressed great pleasure on her presence and said, it was his longstanding desire to visit her. He begged Bashar Hafi to ask her to pray for him. Bashar hafi conveyed his will to Aminah. Aminah raised her hands and prayed with immense humility, “O, Allah! Ahmad ibn Hanbal and Bashar, both seek Thy protection from Fire. Thou are the Most Merciful, save them from it.”
(Some biographers narrated an occurence and held it in terms of Aminah’s miracle. They attributed to Imam ibn Hanbal the anecdote, that he reportedly said, “the same night a piece of paper dropped unto me from heaven. Written on the paper was: In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. We did it and we could do even more (or we have even more of the bounties).”
Once a very rich person offered her ten thousand gold coins but she refused to accept, though she agreed to keep later on his insistence but did not even touch them. She made announcement to the beat of drum in the town that whosoever was needy, might come and take money. So the indigents thronged therein and she gave them enough to their need. All the money was disbursed till the evening while she had nothing to eat that very day.
Bashar Hafi narrates that Aminah woke up by midnight and prayed prayers with great concentration and humility till dawn. Once I heard her praying, “… O, Creator of the earth and the heavens, Thou hath stock of bounties, beyond limits but the wrong doers are unmindful. Thou art the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate, but the people have forrgotten Thee.
… O, My Lord, my welfare is in Thy hand. Abase me not on the Day of Judgement before all, otherwise people would say. Allah abaseth His obedient slave who loved Him greatly.”
She had made a principle not to accept food from any one saved it was sure the host was pious and his sources of income were pure. The historians are silent about her matrimonial life, and neither has been detailed how she managed years long stay at distant towns to attain knowledge and who was her patron therein. Year of her death is not known to any one. It is presumed that she died sometime in third century Hijrah.
(Pairah Ma’araf lslamia, Mashahir Niswan, Bakamal Muslaman Khawteen)