Profile of Shurayh ibn Al Harith ibn Qays Al Kindy [1]

The model example judge who embraced Islam in the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him). He was born in Yemen and learned from Mu`adh ibn Jabal when he was in Yemen. `Umar ibn Al Khattab appointed him as a judge when he was forty-years old, and remained as judge for sixty years. He led a long life, and he was one hundred and twenty when he left the judiciary system in the time of Al Hajjaj and lived one year later.

Ibn Al Madiny said: He assumed the judiciary of Kufa for fifty-three years and assumed the office of Basra for seven years.

Shurayh reported from the Prophet (peace be upon him), `Umar, Ali, Ibn Mas`ud, and others.

Ibn As-Sakan and others reported from the way of Ali ibn `Abdullah ibn Mu`awiyah ibn Maysarah ibn Shurayh, the judge. Our father told us from his father Mu`awiyah from his father Maysarah from his father Shurayh: I came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: O Messenger of Allah, I have a large number family in Yemen. He said: “Bring them.” He brought them after the Prophet (peace be upon him) passed away.

Abu Na`my reported with the previous chain of narration up to Shurayh, he said: I assumed judiciary in the time of `Umar ibn Al Khattab, `Uthman, Ali, and those who came after them until Al Hajjaj relieved me.

Adh-Dhahaby reported from Ash-Sha`by who said: `Umar wrote to Shurayh saying: When you find a command in the book of Allah, judge according to it. If it does not exist in the book of Allah but exists in the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him), judge according to it. If you do not find in them, judge according to the views of the scholars of guidance, but if you do not find, you have the choice either to observe Ijtihad or consult me which is safer for you.

His news and rulings are numerous in the books of biographies such as Ibn Sa`dIbn `Asakir, Waki` in the book of the news of judges, and others.
[1] At-Tabaqat Al Kubra by Ibn Sa`d (vol. 6/131-145), Mukhtasar Tarikh Ibn `Asakir by Ibn Manzhur (vol. 10/294, 303), Usd Al Ghabah fi Ma`rifat As-Sahabah by Ibn Al Athir (vol. 2/394), Al Isti`ab by Ibn `Abdul-Bar No. (1172), Al Isabah fi Tamiz As-Sahabah by Ibn Hajar  (vol. 5/65 – 67) No. (3875), Siyar A`lam An-Nubala’ by Adh-Dhahaby (vol. 4/100, 106), Tajrid Asma’ As-Sahabah by Adh-Dhahaby (vol. 1/64), and the news of Judges by Waki` (vol. 2/189).