Abu Bakr Al-Nabulusy (RA) was a great scholar who renounced this worldly life, he was pious, always eager to avoid sins and a great worshipper. That’s how Ibn Katheer (RA) describes him in his Al-Bidâyah wa-Nihâyah.
The story is during the Fatimide “caliphate”. The Fatimids usurped the caliphate title while setting up their corrupt creed. Identifying themselves as the progeny of Fatimah (RA), they propagated idolatry, made sins widespread as well as abusing the companions (RA). They did not hesitate to ally with the crusaders against muslims but were eventually defeated by Salah ud deen al-ayyoubi (RA).
The story takes place in Egypt, in the 4th century after hijrah, under the reign of fourth ruler, Al-Mu’izz, responsible of the transfer of the caliphate to Cairo.
Ibn Katheer (RA) describes him as a tyrant and a taghut. He recounts this event as a an evidence to show his deviance and tyranny.
Thus Abu Bakr Al-Nabulusy (RA) was once brought before him. The tyrant said to him “I was informed that you stated if you had 10 arrows you would shoot 9 at the Christians and one at the Egyptians (ie against the Fatimids)”.
The shaykh replied “No I didn’t say that”.
The tyrant then thought the shaykh had retracted because of fear, so he asked : “Then what did you say ?”
The shaykh replied “I said if I had 10 arrows, I would shoot only one at the Christians, and the remaining on you”.
The tyrant asked why and the shaykh bravely replied “Because you changed the religion of the muslim community, and (because) you assassinated pious people, you quench the light of the only deity, Allah, and you claimed unjustly what was not yours”.
And with these words he signed his own death warrant.
The consequences lasted three days :
On the first day it was announced officially Abu Bakr Nabulusy would be sentenced to death.
The second day he was flogged harshly and violently.
The third day the tyrant ordered him to be skinned alive, and so he brought a Jewish executioner.
He started to flay the shaykh who was reciting Qur’anic verses.
The Jewish related “I was suddenly caught by feelings for him. While I was flaying him and passing near his heart, I decided to hit with the knife to end it quickly, and he died.”
Ibn Katheer relates that still in his time (400 years later) his descendants were called “Children of the martyr” and that there was still loads of good in them.
May Allah have mercy on him!
Some serious lessons to be learnt from this account!