Sa‘id Ibn Al-Musayyib (642-715 CE) of Medina was among the foremost authorities in jurisprudence (fiqh) among the Taba’een (generation succeeding the Sahaba).
Sa‘id was born in 642, during the caliphate of Umar ibn al-Khattab and had the opportunity to meet most of the sahaba including ‘Umar’s successors Uthman and Ali ibn Abi Talib. Said ibn al-Musayyib was well known for his piety, righteousness and profound devotion to Allah; as for his stature in the Sunna, he is renowned as one of The Seven Fuqaha of Medina, and the most eminent of these. He began, as did Hasan al-Basri in Basra, to give opinions and deliver verdicts on legal matters when he was around twenty years of age. The Companions admired him greatly. On one occasion, Abdullah ibn Umar remarked, “If [Muhammad] had seen that young man, he would have been very pleased with him.”
Sa‘id ibn al-Musayyib married the daughter of Abu Hurayrah in order to be closer to him and to learn better the Traditions that he narrated. The two had a daughter. Sa‘id had her play not with dolls, but with drums; later she learnt to cook.
In “the days of al-Harra”, the Syrian occupation of Madina under Yazid 63 / 683, Sa‘id was the one Madinan who prayed in the Prophet’s mosque. Sa‘id refused the oath to Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr.
After Abd al-Malik had taken the caliphate and command over Madina, he requested Sa‘id ibn al-Musayyib that he marry his daughter (born of his marriage to Abu Hurayra’s daughter) to the prince Hisham. Sa‘id refused and, in the face of increasing pressures and threats, he offered her to Ibn Abi Wada’, who stayed in the madrasa.
In 84/705, Abd al-Malik commanded his governors to enforce the oath of allegiance to his son Al-Walid I after him. Sa‘id refused. Hisham ibn Ismail al-Makhzumi, the governor of Medina, gaoled him and had him beaten daily until the stick was broken, but he did not yield. When his friends, such as Masruq ibn al-Ajda’ and Tawus, advised him to consent to al-Walid’s caliphate in order to be saved from being beaten, he answered: “People follow us in acting. If we consent, how will we be able to explain this to them?”
The next governor Umar bin Abd al-Aziz (a maternal grandson of Umar), over 706-712 CE, would not make a decision without consulting Sa‘id.