Ibn Abi Layla on Arabs: Most of jurists were non-Arabs

Ibn Abi Layla reported: Eisa ibn Musa said to me, and he was a religious man who was severe in his tribalism on behalf of the Arabs, “Who is the jurist of Basra?” I said, “Al-Hasan ibn Abi Al-Hasan and Muhammad ibn Sireen.” He said, “What are these two?” I said, “They are both freed slaves.” He said, “And who is the jurist of Mecca?” I said, “’Ata’ ibn Rabah, Mujahid, Sa’eed ibn Jubair, and Sulaiman ibn Yassar.” He said, “What are they?” I said, “Freed slaves.” He said, “And who are the jurists of Medina?” I said, “Zaid ibn Aslam, Muhammad ibn Al-Munkadar, and Nafi’ ibn Abi Junaih.” He said, “What are they?” I said, “Freed slaves.” The color of his face began to change and he said, “And who is the jurist of Quba?” I said, “Rabia Ar-Ra’i and Ibn Abi Az-Zinad.” He said, “What are they?” I said, “Among the freed slaves.” Then his face darkened and he said, “And who is the jurist of Yemen?” I said, “Tawus, his sons, and Ibn Munabbih.” He said, “What are they?” I said, “Among the freed slaves.” His veins began to bulge, he stood up from his seat, and he said, “And who is the jurist of Khorasan?” I said, “‘Ata’ ibn Abdullah Al-Khurasani.” He said, “What is this ‘Ata’?” I said, “A freed slave.” His face became more inflamed and darker until he calmed down, and he said, “And who is the jurist of Syria?” I said, “Makhul.” He said, “What is Makhul?” I said, “A freed slave.” He sighed heavily and he said, “And who is the jurist of Kufa?” By Allah, I would have said Al-Hakim ibn ‘Utbah and ‘Ammar ibn Abi Salman, but I feared evil from him. I said, “He is Ibrahim ibn An-Nakha’i and Ash-Sha’bi.” He said, “What are they?” I said, “They are both Arabs.” He said, “Allah is the greatest!” Then he finally settled down.

Source: al-‘Iqd al-Farīd 3/363

قال بن أبي ليلى قال لي عيسى بن موسى وكان دياناً شديد العصبية أي شديد التعصب للعرب من كان فقيه البصرة قلتُ الحسن بن أبي الحسن ومحمد بن سيرين قال فما هُما قلت مَوْلَيان قال فمَن كان فقيه مكة قلت عطاء بن أبي رباح ومجاهد وسعيد بن جبير وسليمان بن يسار قال فمَا هؤلاء قلت موال قال فمَن فقهاء المدينة قلت زيد بن أسلم ومحمد بن المنكدر ونافع بن أبي جنيح قال فمَا هؤلاء قلت موال فتغيَّر لونه ثمَّ قال فمَن أفقه أهل قباء قلت ربيعة الرأي وابن أبي الزناد قال فمَا كانا قلت من الموالي فاربدَّ وجهه ثمَّ قال فمَن فقيه اليمن قلت طاووس وابنه وابن منبه قال فمَن هؤلاء قلت من الموالي فانتفخت أوداجه وانتصبَ قاعداً قال فمَن كان فقيه خراسان قلت عطاء بن عبد الله الخراساني قال فمَا كان عطاءٌ هذا قلت مولى فازداد وجهه تربُّداً واسودَّ اسوداداً حتى خفته ثمَّ قال فمَن كان فقيه الشام قلت مكحول قال فمَا كان مكحولٌ هذا قلت مولى قال فتنتفَّس الصُّعَداء ثم قال فمَن كان فقيه الكوفة قلت فوالله لولا خوفُه لقلتُ الحكم بن عتبة وعمار بن أبي سلمان ولكن رأيتُ فيه الشرّ فقلت إبراهيم النخعي والشعبي قال فمَا كانا قلت عربيَّان قال الله أكبر وسكن جأشه

العقد الفريد لابن عبد ربه 3/363