Sheikh Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghuddah, talking about wara’ (scrupulousness) and following the Prophetic sunnah in his notes to Imam al-Muhasibis work, p156:
“Meaning his knowledge is based upon acts of wara’ (scrupulousness), not dispensations and lenient rulings, this is the fruit of sound knowledge, especially for the one who who is example and model for others. Hafidh al-Khatib al-Baghdadi reports in Tarikh Baghdad 10:167, and Hafidh Ibn Hajar in Tahdhib al-Tahdhib 5:386 in the biography of Imam Abdullah bin al-Mubarak, the jurist of Khurasan, and Imam of the Muslims in his time, born in the year 118, and died in the year 181 may Allah have mercy upon him, from the the finest points of scrupulousness the likes of which are rare:
“Abu Hassan al-Basri Isa bin Abdullah said, I heard al-Hasan bin Arafah say: Ibn al-Mubarak said to me: I borrowed a pen in al-Shaam, I forgot to return it to its owner, when I came to Marw i found it with me, so I returned to al-Shaam to returned it to its owner.”
I say: perhaps you may find this as incredulous and far fetched? yes it is strange in our times in analogy to our lives and the lives of the likes of us and our societies. But the peoples lives before more than 1100 years differs with our lives today, a difference similar to the length of time separating us and them in terms virtue, exaltedness, uprightness, scrupulousness and action.
Imam Abu Dawud al-Sijistani the author of al-Sunan who died in the year 275 may Allah have mercy on him, acted to reply to someones sneezing that which we would regard as incredulous. Allamah al-Shanwani said at the end of his commentary of the ‘Mukhtasar Ibn Abi Jamrah’ p.290, commenting on the hadith of Anas regarding sneezing:
“It is reported that Abu Dawud the author of al-Sunan was on a ship, he heard someone on the shore, who had sneezed, praising Allah Taala (Hamid Allah Taala), he hired a boat for a dirham went to the man who had sneezed and replied to his sneezing, he was asked about this, he replied: perhaps he maybe one whose supplications (dua) is answered. When they went to sleep they heard a voice saying: O people of the ship, Indeed Abu Dawud has bought paradise from Allah for a dirham.”