ISLAM UPON THE WAY OF THE RIGHTEOUS PREDECESSORS – PURIFYING THE WAY
The Meaning of Ahl us-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah
Tranlsated and Prepared by Dr. Abu ‘Iyaad as-Salafi
Sunnah, in the language: “a path/way or a course” 
Its usage in the Sharee’ah: “the guidance which the Messenger and his companions were upon in terms of knowledge, belief, speech and action. This is the Sunnah, the following of which is obligatory, whose adherents have been praised, and whose abandoners have been rebuked. The term ‘sunnah ‘ is also used for the various acts of worship and beliefs, just as everything which is contrary to it is termed ‘bid’ah’ (innovation)” =20
Jamaa’ah, in the language: “is from Ijtimaa’ (a gathering, where people come together, i.e. a unification) and this is the opposite of separation, dispersal. The Jamaa’ah are a people who have united together on a certain matter/affair”. 
Its usage in the Sharee’ah: “They are the salaf of this Ummah, from among the Sahaabas (companions) and the Taabi’een (successors of the Companions) and whoever follows them in goodness till the Day of Judgement. They are those who unite themselves upon the Book and the Sunnah and upon their leaders (i.e. their scholars) and those who travel upon that which the Messenger , His Companions and those who followed them in goodness were upon”. 
Ahl us-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah: “They are those who hold on to the Sunnah of the Messenger , the ones who unite themselves upon that and they are the Companions of the Messenger , the Scholars of Guidance, who follow the Companions and whoever travels upon their path in terms of belief, speech and action until the Day of Judgement, while remaining steadfast upon this adherence. They avoid innovating and innovations in whatever place or age/era they may be. They are the ones who will remain uppermost, aided (by Allaah) until the Day of Judgement.”
So Ahl us-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah have been described with sticking to the Sunnah and [in all circumstances] avoiding/disregarding the invented matters and innovations in the Deen (religion).
By the word Jamaa’ah the totality of muslims is not meant, nor those who are largest in number or the great majority. This is because the Messenger mentioned that the Taa’ifat ul-Mansoorahis a single group from among the seventy three groups.=20
Other Terms for the Ahl us-Sunnah
The Ahl us-Sunnah have also been named with other terms and descriptions which have been reported from the Messenger or from the scholars who guide themselves by the Ahl us-Sunnah. So they have been called Ahl us-Sunnah without the annexation of Jamaa’ah. They have also been called Al-Jamaa’ah alone which has been reported from the Prophet by Mu’aawiyyah who said: The Messenger said: “Indeed this Ummah will split into seventy three sects and all of them are in the Fire except for one and that is the Jamaa’ah” 
As-Salaf as-Saalih and Ahl ul-Athar. The phrase ‘As-Salaf as-Saalih’ (The Righteous Predecessors) is synonymous with Ahl us-Sunnah. The Ahl us-Sunnah has also been named ‘Ahl ul-Athar’ (The People of Narration) meaning: Followers of the Sunnah transmitted from the Messenger and his companions.
They have also been named ‘Ahl ul-Hadeeth (the People of Hadeeth) as they take from the Sunnah of the Messenger that which has been reported, and what is contained therein of knowledge/cognizance, and are the followers of his guidance outwardly and inwardly. The Ahl us-Sunnah, therefore are the Ahl ul-Hadeeth with respect to this meaning.
The naming of the Ahl us-Sunnah, At-Taaifatul Mansoorah, and Al-Firqat un-Naajiyyah with Ahl ul-Hadeeth is a matter which is elaborate and extensive in the view of the Salaf of this Ummah because it is a requirement of the various texts, of the description of the actual state of affairs and of factual evidence. This has been established from Ibn Al-Mubaarak, Ibn Madeenee, Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Imaam Bukhaaree, Ahmad ibn Sinaan and others besides them (radiallaahu-anhum).
Many of the scholars have named them (the Ahl us-Sunnah) in a similar manner and have introduced their books, compositions and compilations with this name. For example the book: [Aqeedat us-Salaf Ashaab ul-Hadeeth] (The Aqeedah of the Salaf, the Companions of Hadeeth) of Imaam Isma’eel Saaboonee 449 H. Also see Majmoo ul-Fataawaa of Shaikh ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah 4/9, 95 where he has named the Ahl us-Sunnah with Ahl ul-Hadeeth.
And also: the ‘Firqat un-Naajiyah (The Saved Sect) ‘: this is the one which is rescued from the Fire due to its adherence to the Sunnah of the Messenger . This (term) has been taken from the hadeeth: “And this Ummah will split into seventy-three sects, seventy-two will be in the Fire and one in Paradise and that is the Jamaa’ah”
And this is why many amongst the Salaf and the Scholars of the Deen name the Ahl us-Sunnah with ‘Al-Firqat un-Naajiyyah’ and those who are clearly upon the Truth with ‘At-Taa’ifat ul-Mansoorah’ (the Aided Group) . These are the ones whom the Messenger himself has named due to his saying: “There will never cease to be a small group (Taai’fah) from my Ummah clearly upon the Truth until the Hour is established”=20
They are also called ‘The Jamaa’ah’ and sometimes ‘Ahl ul-Jamaa’ah’as has preceded. The (word) Jamaa’ah, which is the Jamaa’ah of the Ahl us-Sunnah, those who come together and unite themselves upon the Truth, is taken from the word Ijtimaa’ (an assembly, gathering) and that is the opposite of Furqa (separatedness, disunity). The word Jamaa’ah contains the meaning of ‘Ijmaa’ which is ‘Ittifaaq’ (unanimous agreement) the opposite of which is ‘Ikhtilaaf’ (disagreement). The Ahl us-Sunnah have been described as those who have united themselves upon the Usool ud-Deen, have agreed upon them and have united upon the scholars of the Deen.
They have also been described with ‘Ahl ul-Ittibaa” (The People of Adherence and Imitation) because it is from their way: to follow the Aathaar (tracks) of the Messenger outwardly and inwardly, to follow the path of the first and foremost of this Ummah from among the Muhaajireen and the Ansaar and to follow the advice of the Messenger when he said: “You must follow my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the Rightly Guided Caliphs after me. Hold onto it (my Sunnah) and bite onto it with your molars. Beware of the newly invented matters for every bid’ah is misguidance… “
- 1 See [Mukhtaar us-Suhhaah] p. 317 and Ibn Mandhoor’s [Lisaan ul-Arab] 13/220 -228
- 2 See [Al-Wasiyyat ul-Kubraa Fee Aqeedatu Ahl us-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah] p23, [Sharh Aqeedat ul-Waasitiyyah] by Muhammad Khaleel Kharraas p.16, and [Sharh Aqeedat ut-Tahaawiyyah] p.33
- 3 See [Al-Amr bil-Ma’roof wan-Nahee anil-Munkar] by Ibn Taymiyah p.77
- 4 See [Lisaan ul-Arab] 8/53-60
- 5 Salaf : Its meaning in the arabic language is ‘those who precede, have gone before’. Its usage: a word used by the earliest scholars for the first three generations of muslims and those who are upon their way in accordance with the hadeeth of the Messenger which is reported by Bukhaaree: “The best of generations is my generation, then those that follow them, then those that follow them”. Imaam Abu Haneefah (rahimahullaah) d. 769 (150 H.) said: “Adhere to the athar (narration) and the tareeqah (way) of the Salaf (Pious Predecessors) and beware of newly invented matters for all of it is innovation” [Reported by As-Suyootee in Sawn al Mantaq wal-Kalaam p.32] By clinging to their way, holding on to their beliefs and understanding them as they did, worshipping Allaah in His Oneness, upon the Authentic Sunnah of the Messenger in the manner of the Companions one is guaranteed success in this life and security from the Fire in the next life. When questioned by his companions about those who will be saved from the Fire, the Messenger replied: “They are those who are upon what I and my companions are upon” [Reported by Tirmidhee from Amr ibn al-Aas – Hadeeth Hasan] All the great scholars from the earliest to the later times have advised clinging to the way and methodology (manhaj) of the Salaf and adherence to it as it is the only means of deliverance. Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullaah) says: “There is no fault/criticism for the one who manifests/proclaims the way (madhdhab) of the Salaf, who attaches himself to it and refers to it. Rather, it is obligatory to accept that from him by unanimous agreement (Ittifaaq) because the way (madhdhab) of the Salaf is nothing but the Truth (Haqq)” [Majmoo al-Fataawaa 4:149
- 6 See [Al-I’tisaam] by Ash-Shaatibee 1/23 and [Sharh Aqeedat il-Waasitiyyah] by Haras p.16-17 and [Sharh Aqeedat it-Tahaawiyyah] p.33
- 7 See [[Sharh ul-Aqeedat il-Tahaawiyyah] by Abi Izz al-Hanafee p.330 and [Risaa’il fil-Aqeedah] p.53.
- 8 The term Bid’ah is meant for every belief, speech, action, which is not from the Messenger and His companions and has no precedence from them. This term is relevant in every age and era and will remain so until the Day of Judgement. Allaah has provided every generation with trustworthy ones who will preserve His Deen
- 9 Abu Umaamah reports that the Prophet “My Ummah will split up into eventy-three sects, seventy-two in the Fire and one in Paradise” We said. Describe them to us. He said: “As-Suwaad al-A’dham (the Great Majority)” Reported by al-Laalikaa’ee in [Sharh Usool il-I’tiqaad] and Ibn Abee Aasim in [as-Sunnah]. The Great Majority here does not refer to the great majority of people in every age and era. Rather this is specific for the era of the Companions and the Taabi’een. Abdullaah Ibn Mas’ood said: “The Jamaa’ah is whatever (agrees) with the Truth. Even if it is only one person” . Ishaaq ibn Raahawaayah (d.238) said: “If you were to ask the ignorant people about the Great Majority they would say: The majority of people. They do not know that al-Jamaa’ah is the Scholar who clings to the narrations from the Prophet and his way. So whoever is with him (the scholar) and follows him, then he is al-Jamaa’ah” Reported by Abu Nu’aym in [Hilyat ul-Awliyaah]. In the era of the Companions and their Followers the Taabi’een the Great Majority in that time were upon the Truth. This was due to the fact that people were in nearness to the time of the Messenger and the Messenger attested to the credibility of the best of generations. As for those who came after them then the fact that they are many is not to be considered due to the generality of the texts which give evidence that evil will increase and spread amongst the people, the Ummah will split into seventy-three sects and that Islaam will return as something strange.
- 10 The Aided Group: a synonymous term for Ahl us-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah
- 11 Reported by Ibn Abee Aasim in [Al-Kitaab was-Sunnah] (1/33). Al-Albaanee said: Hadeeth Saheeh.
- 12 The addition ‘As-Saalih’ means ‘righteous’. See footnote 5 which has preceded for an explanation of this point.
- 13 Ibn Al Mubaarak (rahimahullaah) said: “According to me, they are the Ashaab ul-hadeeth” Imaam Bukhaaree said: Ibn al-Madini said: “They are the Ashaab ul-Hadeeth (People of Hadeeth)” Ahmad ibn Hanbal said: “If the Aided Group is not the Ashaab ul-Hadeeth then I have no idea who it is!” Shaikh Abdul Qaadir al-Jilaani said: “As for the Saved Sect it is the Ahl us-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah and there is no name for the Ahl us-Sunnah except one and that is the Ashaab ul-Hadeeth”
- 14 Reported by Abu Daawood in his [Sunan] in the ‘Book of Sunnah’ no. 4597=20
- 15 Reported by Muslim, Tirmidhee, Ibn Maajah and Al-Haakim – Saheeh
- 16 Usool ud-Deen: The Fundamentals of the Religion. This refers to the matters of belief (Aqeedah), including the manner of belief in Allaah Azzawajall and all that is due to him from the meanings of Tawheed regarding His Essence, His Names and His Attributes
- 17 Muhaajireen: Those who emigrated from Makkah to Medinah with the Messenger . Ansaar. Those who received the emigrants in Medinah and aided them.
- 18 Reported by Ibn Aasim in his [Book of Sunnah] Al-Albaanee said: Its isnaad is Saheeh and its narrators, all of them, are trustworthy.
QUOTES FROM THE PIOUS PREDECESSORS (SALAF AS-SALIHEEN)
Quoted from Abu Bakr (radhiAllaahu ‘anhu): “He who enters the grave without provision (good deeds), has, as if, started swimming across the ocean without a vessel”.
Quoted from ‘Umar (radhiAllaahu ‘anhu): “Worldy honour is derived from riches and the honour of the Hereafter is derived from the performance of good deeds”.
Quoted from Uthmaan (radhiAllaahu ‘anhu): “Absorption in worldly affairs breeds darkness in the heart, and absorption in the affairs of the next world enkindles light in the heart”.
Quoted from ‘Ali (radhiAllaahu ‘anhu): “He who seeks knowledge of religion (Islaam), Paradise seeks him, and he who seeks deeds of vice, Hell seeks him”.
Quoted from Abu Bakr (radhiAllaahu ‘anhu): “There are three things that cannot be acquired by means of three other things: riches by means of desire, youth by means of khejab (dye of beard) and health by means of medicine”.
Quoted from ‘Umar (radhiAllaahu ‘anhu): “To maintain nice relation with the people is half of intelligence, nice questioning is half of knowledge, and nice domestic arrangements is half of the management of livelihood”.
Quoted from Uthmaan (radhiAllaahu ‘anhu): “Allaah the Exalted loves him who forgoes worldly life, the Angels love him who rejects the vices, and the Muslims love him who gives up greediness in respect of the Muslims”.
Quoted from ‘Ali (radhiAllaahu ‘anhu): “Be a good man to Allaah and a bad man to yourself (desires); and be one of the commoners among the people”.
Quoted from ‘Ali (radhiAllaahu ‘anhu): “Give alms to anybody you like and become his master, beg from anybody you wish and become his captive, and you may remain self-dependent if you like so that you may be an equal to others”.
Quoted from Ibn Mas’ood (radhiAllaahu ‘anhu): “A great many people proceed towards evils on account of receipt of blessings, many people are ruined by praise, and many a man is deceived by Allah’s protection (in concealing vices)”.
Quoted from Ibn Mas’ood (radhiAllaahu ‘anhu): “Perform well those (things) that have been made compulsory for you, you will then be amongst the distinguished devotees. Refrain from those (things) that have been prohibited, you will then be amongst the distinguished pious men. Be content with those things that are allotted to you by Allaah, you will then be amongst the richest”.
Quoted from Ibn ‘Abbaas (radhiAllaahu ‘anhu): He was asked, “Which of the days is the best?” He replied, “The day of congregation (Jumu’ah).” He was again asked, “Which of the months is the best?” He replied, “The month of Ramadaan.” He was again asked, “Which of the deeds is the best?” He replied, “To punctually establish the five daily prayers.”
Quoted from Al-Hasan Al-Basri : “He who has no manners has no knowledge; he who has no patience has no Deen, and he who has no piety has no nearness to Allaah for him”.
Quoted from Ibraheem An-Nakha’ee: “Those who were destroyed in the past, were surely destroyed because of three bad habits: Wasting time in useless talks, excessive eating, and excessive sleeping”.
Quoted from Maalik ibn Dinar: “Rectify three things by three other things till you become amongst the faithful (mu`min): Pride by modesty, greed by contentment in a little, and envy by listening to advice”.
Quoted from ‘Umar (radhiAllaahu ‘anhu): “There are four types of oceans. Passions are the ocean of sins, the self (nafs) is the ocean of lust, death is the ocean of life, and the grave is the ocean of distress”.
Quoted from ‘Umar (radhiAllaahu ‘anhu): “There are four things with which Allaah is pleased – the external side of them is blessing and the inner side of them is compulsion. It is a blessing to associate with the pious servants (salihoon) of Allaah, but it is a compulsion to follow them (in deeds). It is a blessing to recite the Qur`aan, but it is compulsory to act according to it. It is a blessing to visit a grave, but it is a compulsion to make provisions for it. It is a blessing to take care of the sick, but it is a compulsion to take a lesson from it”.
Quoted from ‘Umar (radhiAllaahu ‘anhu): “By Allaah, whenever I endure any adversity I gain four blessings of Allaah in exchange. The first of them is, when the adversity is not caused by my sin (virtue is earned). The second, when the adversity is not greater than my sin (virtue is earned). The third, when I am not deprived of contentment (virtue is earned). And the fourth, I hope for virtues thereby”.
Quoted from Uthman (radhiAllaahu ‘anhu): “I have got the taste of worship (‘ibadat) in four things – firstly in the discharge of the compulsory duties (faraid) prescribed by Allaah; secondly in abstaining from the things forbidden (haram) by Allaah; thirdly in enjoining performance of good deeds in the hope of earning virtues; and fourthly in prohibiting evil deeds in fear of the curse of Allaah”.
Quoted from ‘Ali (radhiAllaahu ‘anhu): “Whoever desires Paradise, proceeds towards goodness; whoever fears Hell, refrains from the impulses of passions; whoever believes firmly in death, detests wordly life; and whoever recognises the worldly life, the trials and tribulations (of life) become slight for him”.
Quoted from ‘Ali (radhiAllaahu ‘anhu): “Both religion and the world will exist so long as four things continue to exist – so long as the rich will not be miserly in spending in the path of Allaah; so long as the learned will perform deeds in accordance with the knowledge acquired; so long as the ignorant will not display obstinancy and pride in what they do not know; and so long as the poor will not sell their Hereafter in exchange for the worldly life”.
Quoted from ‘Ali (radhiAllaahu ‘anhu): “Four things are exceedingly difficult – to forgive while angry, to give alms during want, to abstain from sins in solitude, and to speak the truth before the person from whom may come fear or favour”.
Quoted from Ibn Mas’ood (radhiAllaahu ‘anhu): “Four things produce darkness in the heart – to take excess meals recklessly, to bear company with the oppressors, to forget past sins, and to keep lofty desire. And four things produce light in the heart – to keep the stomach hungry for fear of sins, to keep company with the righteous (salihoon), to remember the past sins, and to curtail desires”.
Quoted from ‘Abdullaah ibn al-Mubaarak (rahimahullaah) – “amongst the four essential advices derived from ahadeeth: DO NOT ACQUIRE KNOWLEDGE THAT DOES NOT BENEFIT YOU”.
Quoted from ‘Umar (radhiAllaahu ‘anhu): “I looked at all the friends and did not find a better friend than safeguarding the tongue. I thought about all the dresses but did not find a better dress than piety. I thought about all sorts of wealth but did not find a better wealth than contentment in a little. I thought of all sorts of good deeds but did not find a better deed than offering good advice. I looked at all types of sustenance but did not find a better sustenance than patience”.
Quoted from Uthman (radhiAllaahu ‘anhu): “Five are the marks of Allaah-fearing people. They do not associate with people other than those with whom they can maintain terms on a religious basis; they restrain their private parts and their tongues; when they make any large temporal gain, they take it as a curse, and when they gain even a little piety, they consider it precious; they do not eat to their full even of what is permitted for fear that anything forbidden might be mixed with it, they consider all people pious and pardoned, but consider themselves as sinners”.
Quoted from ‘Ali (radhiAllaahu ‘anhu): “Had there not been five bad qualities, all the people would have been righteous. Contentment with ignorance; love for worldly life; miserliness inspite of much wealth; ostentation in (good) deeds; and pride in their own intelligence”.
Quoted from ‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Amr ibn Al-Aas (radhiAllaahu ‘anhu): “Whoever does five things is fortunate in this world and in the Hereafter. Reciting Laa ilaaha illallaah Muhammadur-Rasoolullaah; Inna lillaahi wa inaa ihaihi raaji’oon when any mishap befalls them; saying laa hawla wa laa quwwata illa billaahil ‘azeem – alhumdulillaah i rabbil alameen when any gift is bestowed upon them; saying bismillaahir-rahmaanir-raheem when beginning any work; and saying astaghfirullaahil ‘azeem wa atoobu ilaihi when any sin is noticed”.
Quoted from Sufyaan ath-Thawree (rahimahullaah): “None in this age will amass wealth except those having five traits ofcharacter. High hopes; abnormal greediness; excessive miserliness, lack of fearing Allaah; and forgetfulness of the coming world”.
VIRTUES OF UTHMAN IBN AFFAN
The Prophet (sas) informed Uthman (and us) of two things regarding his future:
1. That he would enter Paradise
2. That he would be tested with a major calamity.
Sahih Al-Bukhari Volume 8, Book 73, Number 235: Narrated Abu Musa: That he was in the company of the Prophet in one of the gardens of Medina and in the hand of the Prophet there was a stick, and he was striking (slowly) the water and the mud with it. A man came (at the gate of the garden) and asked permission to enter. The Prophet said, “Open the gate for him and give him the glad tidings of entering Paradise. “I went, and behold! It was Abu Bakr. So I opened the gate for him and informed him of the glad tidings of entering Paradise. Then another man came and asked permission to enter. The Prophet said, “Open the gate for him and give him the glad tidings of entering Paradise.” Behold! It was ‘Umar. So I opened the gate for him and gave him the glad tidings of entering Paradise. Then another man came and asked permission to enter.
The Prophet was sitting in a leaning posture, so he sat up and said, “Open the gate for him and give him the glad tidings of entering Paradise with a calamity which will befall him or which will take place.” I went, and behold ! It was Uthman. So I opened the gate for him and gave him the glad tidings of entering Paradise and also informed him of what the Prophet had said (about a calamity). ‘Uthman said, “Allah Alone Whose Help I seek (against that calamity).
Uthman was a man of great modesty. The Prophet (sas) said that even the angels are shy in the presence of Uthman. From Sahih Muslim: Aisha reports: The Prophet (sas) was lying down in his house with his thighs or his calves exposes. Abu Bakr asked permission to enter and was permitted while the Prophet (saws) was in that position and he came in and spoke with him (saws). Then, Umar asked permission to enter. He was granted permission and came in and spoke with him (saws) while in that position. Then, Uthman asked permission and the Prophet (saws) sat up and straightened his clothing. He was then permitted and came in and spoke with the Prophet (saws). After he had gone, Aisha said: Abu Bakr entered and you did not get up for him or worry about him and Umar came in and you did not get up for him nor worry about him but when Uthman came in, you straightened out your clothing! The Prophet (saws) said: “Should I not be shy of a man around whom the angels are shy?”
Uthman was a man of honest and respectful ways even before he entered Islam.
Sahih Al-Bukhara Book 39, Number 4487. Narrated Uthman ibn Affan: Abu Umamah ibn Sahl said: We were with Uthman when he was besieged in the house. There was an entrance to the house. He who entered it heard the speech of those who were in the Bilat. Uthman then entered it. He came out to us, looking pale. He said: They are threatening to kill me now. We said: Allah will be sufficient for you against them, Commander of the Faithful! He asked: Why kill me? I heard the Apostle of Allah (saws) say: It is not lawful to kill a man who is a Muslim except for one of the three reasons: Kufr (disbelief) after accepting Islam, fornication after marriage, or wrongfully killing someone, for which he may be killed. I swear by Allah, I have not committed fornication before or after the coming of Islam, nor did I ever want another religion for me instead of my religion since Allah gave guidance to me, nor have I killed anyone. So for what reason do you want to kill me?
The Agreement to Give Him Bai’a after Umar
Umar did not appoint a successor though he was alive for some time after being stabbed knowing that he was dying. Rather, he appointed a committee of six individuals who he ordered to pick a Khalifa from among themselves – with the exception of his son Abdullah ibn Umar who was on the committee to participate in the process, but Umar did not allow that he could be the one chosen. Umar chose these six people based on his knowledge that the Prophet (saws) had left this world pleased with every single one of them. This was the best way for the successor to be chosen. For Umar to merely appoint a successor as was requested of him would have established a wrong tradition and could have let to dissent and controversy. To leave it to the common people (“democratic election”) would be tantamount to leaving it to chance. Rather, Umar put the issue into the most capable and knowledgeable Companions of the Prophet (saws) and left it for them to choose one among themselves. Since these six all knew from the Prophet’s (saws) teachings the requirement to consult the Muslims in their affairs, they did this, but ultimately, it was within this committee of six that the decision was made as you can see in the following sahih hadith:
Sahih Al-Bukhari Volume 5, Book 57, Number 50. Narrated ‘Amr bin Maimun: I saw ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab a few days before he was stabbed in Medina. He was standing with Hudhaifa bin Al-Yaman and ‘Uthman bin Hunaif to whom he said, “What have you done? Do you think that you have imposed more taxation on the land (of As-Swad i.e. ‘Iraq) than it can bear?” They replied, “We have imposed on it what it can bear because of its great yield.” ‘Umar again said, “Check whether you have imposed on the land what it can not bear.” They said, “No, (we haven’t).” ‘Umar added, “If Allah should keep me alive I will let the widows of Iraq need no men to support them after me.” But only four days had elapsed when he was stabbed (to death ). The day he was stabbed, I was standing and there was nobody between me and him (i.e. Umar) except Abdullah bin ‘Abbas. Whenever Umar passed between the two rows, he would say, “Stand in straight lines.”
When he saw no defect (in the rows), he would go forward and start the prayer with Takbir. He would recite Surat Yusuf or An-Nahl or the like in the first Rak’a so that the people may have the time to Join the prayer. As soon as he said Takbir, I heard him saying, “The dog has killed or eaten me,” at the time he (i.e. the murderer) stabbed him. A non-Arab infidel proceeded on carrying a double-edged knife and stabbing all the persons he passed by on the right and left (till) he stabbed thirteen persons out of whom seven died. When one of the Muslims saw that, he threw a cloak on him. Realizing that he had been captured, the non-Arab infidel killed himself, ‘Umar held the hand of ‘Abdur-Rahman bin Auf and let him lead the prayer.
Those who were standing by the side of ‘Umar saw what I saw, but the people who were in the other parts of the Mosque did not see anything, but they lost the voice of ‘Umar and they were saying, “Subhan Allah! Subhan Allah! (i.e. Glorified be Allah).” Abdur-Rahman bin Auf led the people a short prayer. When they finished the prayer, ‘Umar said, “O Ibn ‘Abbas! Find out who attacked me.” Ibn ‘Abbas kept on looking here and there for a short time and came to say. “The slave of Al Mughira.” On that ‘Umar said, “The craftsman?” Ibn ‘Abbas said, “Yes.” ‘Umar said, “May Allah curse him. I did not treat him unjustly. All the Praises are for Allah Who has not caused me to die at the hand of a man who claims himself to be a Muslim. No doubt, you and your father (Abbas) used to love to have more non-Arab infidels in Medina.” Al-Abbas had the greatest number of slaves. Ibn ‘Abbas said to ‘Umar. “If you wish, we will do.” He meant, “If you wish we will kill them.” ‘Umar said, “You are mistaken (for you can’t kill them) after they have spoken your language, prayed towards your Qibla, and performed Hajj like yours.”
Then Umar was carried to his house, and we went along with him, and the people were as if they had never suffered a calamity before. Some said, “Do not worry (he will be Alright soon).” Some said, “We are afraid (that he will die).” Then an infusion of dates was brought to him and he drank it but it came out (of the wound) of his belly. Then milk was brought to him and he drank it, and it also came out of his belly. The people realized that he would die. We went to him, and the people came, praising him. A young man came saying, “O chief of the believers! Receive the glad tidings from Allah to you due to your company with Allah’s Apostle and your superiority in Islam which you know. Then you became the ruler (i.e. Caliph) and you ruled with justice and finally you have been martyred.” ‘Umar said, “I wish that all these privileges will counterbalance (my shortcomings) so that I will neither lose nor gain anything.”
When the young man turned back to leave, his clothes seemed to be touching the ground. ‘Umar said, “Call the young man back to me.” (When he came back) ‘Umar said, “O son of my brother! Lift your clothes, for this will keep your clothes clean and save you from the Punishment of your Lord.” ‘Umar further said, “O ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar! See how much I am in debt to others.” When the debt was checked, it amounted to approximately eighty-six thousand. ‘Umar said, “If the property of ‘Umar’s family covers the debt, then pay the debt thereof; otherwise request it from Bani ‘Adi bin Ka’b, and if that too is not sufficient, ask for it from Quraish tribe, and do not ask for it from any one else, and pay this debt on my behalf.”
‘Umar then said (to ‘Abdullah), “Go to ‘Aisha (the mother of the believers) and say: “Umar is paying his salutation to you. But don’t say: ‘The chief of the believers,’ because today I am not the chief of the believers. And say: “Umar bin Al-Khattab asks the permission to be buried with his two companions (i.e. the Prophet, and Abu Bakr).” Abdullah greeted ‘Aisha and asked for the permission for entering, and then entered to her and found her sitting and weeping. He said to her, “‘Umar bin Al-Khattab is paying his salutations to you, and asks the permission to be buried with his two companions.” She said, “I had the idea of having this place for myself, but today I prefer Umar to myself.” When he returned it was said (to ‘Umar), “‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar has come.” ‘Umar said, “Make me sit up.” Somebody supported him against his body and ‘Umar asked (‘Abdullah), “What news do you have?” He said, “O chief of the believers! It is as you wish. She has given the permission.” ‘Umar said, “Praise be to Allah, there was nothing more important to me than this. So when I die, take me, and greet ‘Aisha and say: “Umar bin Al-Khattab asks the permission (to be buried with the Prophet ), and if she gives the permission, bury me there, and if she refuses, then take me to the grave-yard of the Muslims.”
Then Hafsa (the mother of the believers) came with many other women walking with her. When we saw her, we went away. She went in (to ‘Umar) and wept there for sometime. When the men asked for permission to enter, she went into another place, and we heard her weeping inside. The people said (to ‘Umar), “O chief of the believers! Appoint a successor.” Umar said, “I do not find anyone more suitable for the job than the following persons or group whom Allah’s Apostle had been pleased with before he died.” Then ‘Umar mentioned ‘Ali, ‘Uthman, AzZubair, Talha, Sad and ‘Abdur-Rahman (bin Auf) and said, “Abdullah bin ‘Umar will be a witness to you, but he will have no share in the rule. His being a witness will compensate him for not sharing the right of ruling. If Sad becomes the ruler, it will be alright: otherwise, whoever becomes the ruler should seek his help, as I have not dismissed him because of disability or dishonesty.” ‘Umar added, “I recommend that my successor takes care of the early emigrants; to know their rights and protect their honor and sacred things.
I also recommend that he be kind to the Ansar who had lived in Medina before the emigrants and Belief had entered their hearts before them. I recommend that the (ruler) should accept the good of the righteous among them and excuse their wrong-doers, and I recommend that he should do good to all the people of the towns (Al-Ansar), as they are the protectors of Islam and the source of wealth and the source of annoyance to the enemy. I also recommend that nothing be taken from them except from their surplus with their consent. I also recommend that he do good to the ‘Arab bedouin, as they are the origin of the ‘Arabs and the material of Islam. He should take from what is inferior, amongst their properties and distribute that to the poor amongst them. I also recommend him concerning Allah’s and His Apostle’s protectees (i.e. Dhimmis) to fulfill their contracts and to fight for them and not to overburden them with what is beyond their ability.” So when ‘Umar expired, we carried him out and set out walking. ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar greeted (‘Aisha) and said, “‘Umar bin Al-Khattab asks for the permission.” ‘Aisha said, “Bring him in.” He was brought in and buried beside his two companions.
When he was buried, the group (recommended by ‘Umar) held a meeting. Then ‘Abdur-Rahman said, ” Reduce the candidates for rulership to three of you.” Az-Zubair said, “I give up my right to Ali.” Talha said, “I give up my right to ‘Uthman,” Sad, ‘I give up my right to ‘Abdur-Rahman bin ‘Auf.” ‘Abdur-Rahman then said (to ‘Uthman and ‘Ali), “Now which of you is willing to give up his right of candidacy to that he may choose the better of the (remaining) two, bearing in mind that Allah and Islam will be his witnesses.” So both the sheiks (i.e. ‘Uthman and ‘Ali) kept silent. ‘Abdur-Rahman said, “Will you both leave this matter to me, and I take Allah as my Witness that I will not choose but the better of you?” They said, “Yes.” So ‘Abdur-Rahman took the hand of one of them (i.e. ‘Ali) and said, “You are related to Allah’s Apostle and one of the earliest Muslims as you know well. So I ask you by Allah to promise that if I select you as a ruler you will do justice, and if I select ‘Uthman as a ruler you will listen to him and obey him.” Then he took the other (i.e. ‘Uthman) aside and said the same to him. When ‘Abdur-Rahman secured (their agreement to) this covenant, he said, “O ‘Uthman! Raise your hand.” So he (i.e. ‘Abdur-Rahman) gave him (i.e. ‘Uthman) the solemn pledge, and then ‘Ali gave him the pledge of allegiance and then all the (Medina) people gave him the pledge of allegiance.
Refutation of Some of the Lies Perpetrated Against Him
Then, as now, the lesser people among the Muslims had a habit of spreading and digging into anything negative about the greater among the Muslims. In the following hadith, we see examples of some of the negative rumors circulating among the ignorant regarding Uthman and how they were cleared up by one of the greater Muslims – Abdullah ibn Umar.
Volume 5, Book 57, Number 48. Narrated ‘Uthman: (the son of Muhib) An Egyptian who came and performed the Hajj to the Kaba saw some people sitting. He enquire, “Who are these people?” Somebody said, “They are the tribe of Quraish.” He said, “Who is the Shaikh among them?” The people replied, “He is ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar.” He said, “O Ibn Umar! I want to ask you about something; please tell me about it. Do you know that ‘Uthman fled away on the day (of the battle) of Uhud?” Ibn ‘Umar said, “Yes.” The (Egyptian) man said, “Do you know that ‘Uthman was absent on the day (of the battle) of Badr and did not join it?” Ibn ‘Umar said, “Yes.” The man said, “Do you know that he failed to attend the Ar Ridwan pledge and did not witness it (i.e. Hudaibiya pledge of allegiance)?” Ibn ‘Umar said, “Yes.” The man said, “Allahu Akbar!” Ibn ‘Umar said, “Come, let me explain to you. As for his flight on the day of Uhud, I testify that Allah has excused him and forgiven him; and as for his absence from the battle of Badr, it was due to the fact that the daughter of Allah’s Apostle was his wife and she was sick then. Allah’s Apostle said to him, “You will receive the same reward and share (of the booty) as anyone of those who participated in the battle of Badr.’ As for his absence from the Ar-Ridwan pledge of allegiance, had there been any person in Mecca more respectable than ‘Uthman (to be sent as a representative). Allah’s Apostle would have sent him instead of him. No doubt, Allah’s Apostle had sent him, and the incident of the Ar-Ridwan pledge of Allegiance happened after ‘Uthman had gone to Mecca. Allah’s Apostle held out his right hand saying, ‘This is ‘Uthman’s hand.’ He struck his (other) hand with it saying, ‘This (pledge of allegiance) is on the behalf of ‘Uthman.’ Then Ibn ‘Umar said to the man, ‘Go now with this with you.’
AISHA BINT ABI BAKR
From Alim® Online
The life of Aishah is proof that a woman can be far more learned than men and that she can be the teacher of scholars and experts. Her life is also proof that a woman can exert influence over men and women and provide them with inspiration and leadership . Her life is also proof that the same woman can be totally feminine and be a source of pleasure, joy and comfort to her husband.
She did not graduate from any university there were no universities as such in her day. But still her utterances are studied in faculties of literature, her legal pronouncements are studied in colleges of law and her life and works are studied and resear ched by students and teachers of Muslim history as they have been for over a thousand years. The bulk of her vast treasure of knowledge was obtained while she was still quite young. In her early childhood she was brought up by her father who was greatly liked and respected for he was a man of wide knowledge, gentle manners and an agreeable presence. Moreover he was the closest friend of the noble Prophet who was a frequent visitor to their home since the very early days of his mission.
In her youth, already known for her striking beauty and her formidable memory, she came under the loving care and attention of the Prophet himself. As his wife and close companion she acquired from him knowledge and insight such as no woman has ever acquired.
Aishah became the Prophet’s wife in Makkah when she was most likely in the tenth year of her life but her wedding did not take place until the second year after the Hijrah when she was about fourteen or fifteen years old. Before and after her wedding she maintained a natural jollity and innocence and did not seem at all overawed by the thought of being wedded to him who was the Messenger of God whom all his companions, including her own mother and father, treated with such love and reverence as they gave to no one else.
About her wedding, she related that shortly before she was to leave her parent’s house, she slipped out into the courtyard to play with a passing friend: “I was playing on a see-saw and my long streaming hair was dishevelled,” she said. “They came and took me from my play and made me ready.”
They dressed her in a wedding-dress made from fine red-striped cloth from Bahrain and then her mother took her to the newly-built house where some women of the Ansar were waiting outside the door. They greeted her with the words “For good and for happines s may all be well!” Then, in the presence of the smiling Prophet, a bowl of milk was brought. The Prophet drank from it himself and offered it to Aishah. She shyly declined it but when he insisted she did so and then offered the bowl to her sister Asma who was sitting beside her. Others also drank of it and that was as much as there was of the simple and solemn occasion of their wedding. There was no wedding feast.
Marriage to the Prophet did not change her playful ways. Her young friends came regularly to visit her in her own apartment. “I would be playing with my dolls,” she said, “with the girls who were my friends, and the Prophet would come in and they would slip out of the house and he would go out after them and bring them back, for he was pleased for my sake to have them there.
“Sometimes he would say “Stay where you are” before they had time to leave, and would also join in their games. Aishah said: “One day, the Prophet came in when I was playing with the dolls and he said: ‘O Aishah, whatever game is this?’ ‘It is Solomon’s hor ses,’ I said and he laughed.” Sometimes as he came in he would screen himself with his cloak so as not to disturb Aishah and her friends.
Aishah’s early life in Madinah also had its more serious and anxious times. Once her malafather and two companions who were staying with him fell ill with a dangerous fever which was common in Madinah at certain seasons. One morning Aishah went to visit him and was dismayed to find the three men lying completely weak and exhausted. She asked her father how he was and he answered her in verse but she did not understand what he was saying. The two others also answered her with lines of poetry which seemed to her to be nothing but unintelligible babbling. She was deeply troubled and went home to the Prophet saying: “They are raving, out of their minds, through the heat of the fever.” The Prophet asked what they had said and was somewhat reassured when she repeated almost word for word the lines they had uttered and which made sense although she did not fully underst and them then. This was a demonstration of the great retentive power of her memory which as the years went by were to preserve so many of the priceless sayings of the Prophet. Of the Prophet’s wives in Madinah, it was clear that it was Aishah that he loved most. From time to time, one or the other of his companions would ask: “O Messenger of God, whom do you love most in the world?” He did not always give the same answer to this question for he felt great love for many for his daughters and their children, for Abu Bakr, for Ali, for Zayd and his son Usamah. But of his wives t he only one he named in this connection was Aishah. She too loved him greatly in return and often would seek reassurance from him that he loved her. Once she asked him: “How is your love for me?”
“Like the rope’s knot,” he replied meaning that it was strong and secure. And time after time thereafter, she would ask him: “How is the knot?” and he would reply: “Ala haaliha in the same condition.”
As she loved the Prophet so was her love a jealous love and she could not bear the thought that the Prophet’s attentions should be given to others more than seemed enough to her. She asked him: “O Messenger of God, tell me of yourself. If you were between the two slopes of a valley, one of which had not been grazed whereas the other had been grazed, on which would you pasture your flocks?”
“On that which had not been grazed,” replied the Prophet. “Even so,” she said, “and I am not as any other of your wives. “Everyone of them had a husband before you, except myself.” The Prophet smiled and said nothing. Of her jealousy, Aishah would say in later years: “I was not, jealous of any other wife of the Prophet as I was jealous of Khadijah, because of his constant mentioning of her and because God had commanded him to give her good tidings of a mansion in Paradise of precious stones. And whenever he sacrifice d a sheep he would send a fair portion of it to those who had been her intimate friends. Many a time I said to him: “It is as if there had never been any other woman in the world except Khadijah.”
Once, when Aishah complained and asked why he spoke so highly of “an old Quraysh woman”, the Prophet was hurt and said: “She was the wife who believed in me when others rejected me. When people gave me the lie, she affirmed my truthfulness. When I stood f orsaken, she spent her wealth to lighten the burden of my sorrow..”
Despite her feelings of jealousy which nonetheless were not of a destructive kind, Aishah was really a generous soul and a patient one. She bore with the rest of the Prophet’s household poverty and hunger which often lasted for long periods. For days on e nd no fire would be lit in the sparsely furnished house of the Prophet for cooking or baking bread and they would live merely on dates and water. Poverty did not cause her distress or humiliation; self-sufficiency when it did come did not corrupt her styl e of life.
Once the Prophet stayed away from his wives for a month because they had distressed him by asking of him that which he did not have. This was after the Khaybar expedition when an increase of riches whetted the appetite for presents. Returning from his sel f-imposed retreat, he went first to Aishah’s apartment. She was delighted to see him but he said he had received Revelation which required him to put two options before her. He then recited the verses: “O Prophet! Say to your wives: If you desire the life of this world and its adornments, then come and I will bestow its goods upon you, and I will release you with a fair release. But if you desire God and His Messenger and the abode of the Hereafter, th en verily God has laid in store for you an immense reward for such as you who do good.”
Aishah’s reply was: “Indeed I desire God and His Messenger and the abode of the Hereafter,” and her response was followed by all the others.
She stuck to her choice both during the lifetime of the Prophet and afterwards. Later when the Muslims were favored with enormous riches, she was given a gift of one hundred thousand dirhams. She was fasting when she received the money and she distributed the entire amount to the poor and the needy even though she had no provisions in her house. Shortly after, a maidservant said to her: “Could you buy meat for a dirham with which to break your fast?”
“If I had remembered, I would have done so,” she said. The Prophet’s affection for Aishah remained to the last. During his final illness, it was to Aishah’s apartment that he went at the suggestion of his wives. For much of the time he lay there on a cou ch with his head resting on her breast or on her lap. She it was who took a toothstick from her brother, chewed upon it to soften it and gave it to the Prophet. Despite his weakness, he rubbed his teeth with it vigorously. Not long afterwards, he lost con sciousness and Aishah thought it was the onset of death, but after an hour he opened his eyes.
Aishah it is who has preserved for us these dying moments of the most honoured of God’s creation, His beloved Messenger may He shower His choicest blessings on him.
When he opened his eyes again, Aishah remembered Iris having said to her: “No Prophet is taken by death until he has been shown his place in Paradise and then offered the choice, to live or die.”
“He will not now choose us,” she said to herself. Then she heard him murmur: “With the supreme communion in Paradise, with those upon whom God has showered His favor, the Prophets, the martyrs and the righteous…” Again she heard him murmur: “O Lord, wit h the supreme communion,” and these were the last words she heard him speak. Gradually his head grew heavier upon her breast, until others in the room began to lament, and Aishah laid his head on a pillow and joined them in lamentation.
In the floor of Aishah’s room near the couch where he was lying, a grave was dug in which was buried the Seal of the Prophets amid much bewilderment and great sorrow.
Aishah lived on almost fifty years after the passing away of the Prophet. She had been his wife for a decade. Much of this time was spent in learning and acquiring knowledge of the two most important sources of God’s guidance, the Quran and the Sunnah of His Prophet. Aishah was one of three wives (the other two being Hafsah and Umm Salamah) who memorized the Revelation. Like Hafsah, she had her own script of the Quran written after the Prophet had died.
So far as the Ahadith or sayings of the Prophet is concerned, Aishah is one of four persons (the others being Abu Hurayrah, Abdullah ibn Umar, and Anas ibn Malik) who transmitted more than two thousand sayings. Many of these pertain to some of the most in timate aspects of personal behavior which only someone in Aishah’s position could have learnt. What is most important is that her knowledge of hadith was passed on in written form by at least three persons including her nephew Urwah who became one of the greatest scholars among the generation after the Companions.
Many of the learned companions of the Prophet and their followers benefitted from Aishah’s knowledge. Abu Musa al-Ashari once said: “If we companions of the Messenger of God had any difficulty on a matter, we asked Aishah about it.”
Her nephew Urwah asserts that she was proficient not only in fiqh but also in medicine (tibb) and poetry. Many of the senior companions of the Prophet came to her to ask for advice concerning questions of inheritance which required a highly skilled mathem atical mind. Scholars regard her as one of the earliest fuqaha of Islam along with persons like Umar ibn al-Khattab, Ali and Abdullah ibn Abbas. The Prophet referring to her extensive knowledge of Islam is reported to have said: “Learn a portion of your r eligion (din) from this red colored lady.” “Humayra” meaning “Red-coloured” was an epithet given to Aishah by the Prophet.
Aishah not only possessed great knowledge but took an active part in education and social reform. As a teacher she had a clear and persuasive manner of speech and her power of oratory has been described in superlative terms by al-Ahnaf who said: “I have heard speeches of Abu Bakr and Umar, Uthman and Ali and the Khulafa up to this day, but I have not heard speech more persuasive and more beautiful from the mouth of any person than from the mouth of Aishah.”
Men and women came from far and wide to benefit from her knowledge. The number of women is said to have been greater than that of men. Besides answering enquiries, she took boys and girls, some of them orphans, into her custody and trained them under her care and guidance. This was in addition to her relatives who received instruction from her. Her house thus became a school and an academy.
Some of her students were outstanding. We have already mentioned her nephew Urwah as a distinguished reporter of hadith. Among her women pupils is the name of Umrah bint Abdur Rahman. She is regarded by scholars as one of the trustworthy narrators of ha dith and is said to have acted as Aishah’s secretary receiving and replying to letters addressed to her. The example of Aishah in promoting education and in particular the education of Muslim women in the laws and teachings of Islam is one which needs to be followed.
After Khadijah al-Kubra (the Great) and Fatimah az-Zahra (the Resplendent), Aishah as-Siddiqah (the one who affirms the Truth) is regarded as the best woman in Islam. Because of the strength of her personality, she was a leader in every field in knowledg e, in society, in politics and in war. She often regretted her involvement in war but lived long enough to regain position as the most respected woman of her time. She died in the year 58 AH in the month of Ramadan and as she instructed, was buried in the Jannat al-Baqi in the City of Light, beside other companions of the Prophet.
By Abdul Wahid Hamid
Taken from “Companions of The Prophet”
About twenty years before the start of the Prophet’s mission, that is about the middle of the sixth century CE, an Arab named Sinan ibn Malik governed the city of al-Uballah on behalf of the Persian emperor. The city, which is now part of Basrah, lay on the banks of the Euphrates River. Sinan lived in a luxurious palace on the banks of the river. He had several children and was particularly fond of one of them who was then barely five years old. His name was Suhayb. He was blond and fair-complexioned. He was active and alert and gave much pleasure to his father.
One day Suhayb’s mother took him and some members of her household to a village called ath-Thani for a picnic. What was to be a relaxing and enjoyable day turned out to be a terrifying experience that was to change the course of young Suhayb’s life forever. That day, the village of ath-Thani was attacked, by a raiding party of Byzantine soldiers. The guards accompanying the picnic party were overwhelmed and killed. All possessions were seized and a large number of persons were taken prisoner. Among these was Suhayb ibn Sinan.
Suhayb was taken to one of the slave markets of the Byzantine Empire, the capital of which was Constantinople, there to be sold. Thereafter he passed from the hands of one slave master to another. His fate was no different from thousands of other slaves who filled the houses, the palaces and castles of Byzantine rulers and aristocrats.
Suhayb spent his boyhood and his youth as a slave. For about twenty years he stayed in Byzantine lands. Thi s gave him the opportunity to get a rare knowledge and understanding of Byzantine/ire and society. In the palaces of the aristocracy, he saw with his own eyes the injustices and the corruption of Byzantine life. He detested that society and later would say to himself: “A society like this can only be purified by a deluge.” Suhayb of course grew up speaking Greek, the language of the Byzantine Empire. He practically forgot Arabic. But he never forgot that he was a son of the desert. He longed for the day when he would be free again to join his people’s folk. At the first opportunity Suhayb escaped from bondage and headed straight for Makkah which was a place of refuge or asylum. There people called him Suhayb “ar-Rumi” or “the Byzantine” because of his peculiarly heavy speech and his blond hair. He became the slave of one of the aristocrats of Makkah, Abdullah ib n Judan who later released him. He engaged in trade and prospered. In fact, he became quite rich.
One day he returned to Makkah from one of his trading journeys. He was told that Muhammad the son of Abdullah had begun calling people to believe in God alone, commanding them to be just and to do good works and prohibiting them from shameful and reprehensible deeds. He immediately enquired who Muhammad was and where he stayed. He was told, “(He stays) in the house or’ al-Arqam ibn Abi al-Arqam. Be careful however that no Quraysh sees you. If they see you they would do (the most terrible things to you). You are a stranger here and there is no bond of asabiyyahi to protect you, neither have you any clan to help you.”
Suhayb went cautiously to the house of al-Arqam. At the door he found Ammar ibn Yasir the young son of a Yemeni father who was known to him. He hesitated for a moment then went up to Ammar and said: “What do you want (here), Ammar?” “Rather, what do you want here’?” countered Ammar. “I want to go to this man and hear directly from him what he is saying.” “I also want to do that.” “Then let us enter together, ala barakatillah (with the blessings of God).”
Suhayb and Ammar entered and listened to what Muhammad was saying. They were both readily convinced of the truth of his message. The light of faith entered their hearts. At this meeting, they pledged fealty to the Prophet. declaring that there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. They spent the entire day in the company of the noble Prophet. At night, under cover of darkness, they left the house of al-Arqam, their hearts aglow with the light of faith and their faces beaming with happiness.
Then the familiar pattern of events followed. The idolatrous Quraysh learnt about Suhayb’s acceptance of Islam and began harassing and persecuting him. Suhayb bore his share of the persecution in the same way as Bilal, Ammar and his mother Sumayyah, Khabbab and many others who professed Islam. The punishment was inhuman and severe but Suhayb bore it all with a patient and courageous heart because he knew that the path to Jannah is paved with thorns and difficulties. The teachings of the noble Prophet had instilled in him and other companions a rare strength and courage.
When the Prophet gave permission for his followers to migrate to Madinah, Suhayb resolved to go in the company of the Prophet and Abu Bakr. The Quraysh however found out about his intentions and foiled his plans. They placed guards over him to prevent him from leaving and taking with him the wealth, the gold and the silver, which he had acquired through trade.
After the departure of the Prophet and Abu Bakr, Suhayb continued to bide his time, waiting for an opportunity to join them. He remained unsuccessful. The eyes of his guards were ever alert and watchful. The only way out was to resort to a stratagem.
One cold night, Suhayb pretended he had some stomach problems and went out repeatedly as if responding to calls of nature. His captors said one to another: “Don’t worry. Al -Laat and al-Uzza are keeping him busy with his stomach.”
They became relaxed and sleep got the better of them. Suhayb quietly slipped out as if he was going to the toilet. He armed himself, got ready a mount and headed in the direction of Madinah. When his captors awoke, they realized with a start that Suhayb was gone. They got horses ready and set out in hot pursuit and eventually caught up with him. Seeing them approach, Suhayb clambered up a hill. Holding his bow and arrow at the ready, he shouted: “Men of Quraysh! You know, by God, that I am one of the best archers and my aim is unerring. By God, if you come near me, with each arrow I have, I shall kill one of you. Then I shall strike with my sword.” A Quraysh spokesman responded: By God, we shall not let you escape from us with your life and money. You came to Makkah weak and poor and you have acquired what you have acquired..”
“What would you say if I leave you my wealth?” interrupted Suhayb. “Would you get out of my way?” “Yes,” they agreed. Suhayb described the place in his house in Makkah where he had left the money, and they allowed him to go.
He set off as quickly as he could for Madinah cherishing the prospect of being with the Prophet and of having the freedom to worship God in peace. On his way to Madinah, whenever he felt tired, the thought of meeting the Prophet sustained him and he proceeded with increased determination. When Suhayb reached Quba, just outside Madinah where the Prophet himself aligh ted after his Hijrah, the Prophet saw him approaching. He was over-joyed and greeted Suhayb with beaming smiles.
“Your transaction has been fruitful, O Abu Yahya. Your transaction has been fruitful.” He repeated this three times. Suhayb’s face beamed with happiness as he said: “By God, no one has come before me to you, Messenger of God, and only JibriI could have told you about this.” Yes indeed! Suhayb’s transaction was fruitful. Revelation from on high affirmed the truth of this: “And there is a type of man who gives his life to earn the pleasure of God. And God is full of kindness to His servants.” (The Quran, Surah al-Baqarah, 2:2O7).
What is money and what is go ld and what is the entire world so long as faith remains! The Prophet loved Suhayb a great deal. He was commended by the Prophet and described as preceding the Byzantines to Islam. In addition to his piety and sobriety, Suhayb was also light-hearted at times and had a good sense of humor. One day the Prophet saw him eating dates. He noticed that Suhayb had an infection in one eye. The Prophet said to him laughingly: “Do you eat ripe dates while you have an infection in one eye?” “What’s wrong?” replied Suhayb, “I am eating it with the other eye.”
Suhayb was also known for his generosity. He used to give all his stipend from the public treasury fi sabilillah, to help the poor and those in distress. He was a good example of the Quranic verse: “He gives food for the love of God to the needy, the orphan and the captive.” So generous was he that Umar once remarked: “I have seen you giving out so much food that you appear to be too extravagant.” Suhayb replied: “I have heard the Messenger of God say: ‘The best of you is the one who gives out food.'”
Suhayb’s piety and his standing among MusIims was so high that he was selected by Umar ibn al-Khattab to lead the Muslims in the period between his death and the choosing of his successor.
As he lay dying after he was stabbed by a Magian, Abu Lulu, while leading the Fajr Salat, Umar summoned six of the companions: Uthman, Ali, Talhah, Zubayr, Abdur Rahman ibn Auf, and Sad ibn Abi Waqqas. He did not appoint anyone of them as his successor, because if he had done so according to one report “there wo uld have been for a short time two Khalifahs looking at each other”. He instructed the six to consult among themselves and with the Muslims for three days and choose a successor, and then he said: “Wa-l yusalli bi-n nas Suhayb – Let Suhayb lead the people in Salat.”
In the period when there was no Khalifah, Suhayb was given the responsibility and the honor of leading the Salat and of being, in other words, the head of the Muslim community.
Suhayb’s appointment by Umar showed how well people from a wide variety of backgrounds were integrated and honoured in the community of Islam. Once during the time of the Prophet, a hypocrite named Qays ibn Mutatiyah tried to pour scorn and disgrace on section s of the community. Qays had come upon a study circle (halqah) in which were Salman al-Farsi, Suhayb ar-Rumi and Bilal al-Habashi, may God be pleased with them, and remarked: “The Aws and the Khazraj have stood up m defence of this man (Muhammad). And what are these people doing with him’?” Muadh was furious and informed the Prophet of what Qays had said. The Prophet was very angry. He entered the mosque and the Call to Prayer was given, for this was the method of summoning the Muslims for an important announcement. Then he stood up, praised and glorified God and said:
“Your Lord is One. Your ancestor is one. Your religion is one. Take heed. Arabism is not conferred on you through your mother or father. It is through the tongue (i.e. the language of Arabic), so whoeve r speaks Arabic, he is an Arab.”
Taken from “Companions of The Prophet”, Vol.1, By: Abdul Wahid Ha mid.
This is a story of a seeker of Truth, the story of Salman the Persian, gleaned, to begin with, from his own words:
I grew up in the town of Isfahan in Persia in the village of Jayyan. My father was the Dihqan or chief of the village. He was the richest person there and had the biggest house. Since I was a child my father loved me, more than he loved any other. As time went by his love for me became so strong and overpowering that he feared to lose me or have anything happen to me. So he kept me at home, a veritable prisoner, in the same way that young girls were kept.
I became devoted to the Magian religion so much so that I attained the posit ion of custodian of the fire which we worshipped. My duty was to see that the flames of the fire remained burning and that it did not go out for a single hour, day or night. My father had a vast estate which yielded an abundant supply of crops. He himself looked after the estate and the harvest. One day he was very busy with his duties as dihqan in the village and he said to me: “My son, as you see, I am too busy to go out to the estate now. Go and look after matters there for me today.” On my way to the estate, I passed a Christian church and the voices at prayer attracted my attention. I did not know anything about Christianity or about the followers of any other religion throughout the time my father kept me in the house away from people. When I heard the voices of the Christians I entered the church to see what they were doing. I was impressed by their manner of praying and felt drawn to their religion. “By God,” I said, “this is better than ours. I shall not leave them until the sun sets.”
I asked and was told that the Christian religion originated in Ash-Sham (Greater Syria). I did not go to my father’s estate that day and at night, I returned home. My father met me and asked what I had done. I told him about my meeting with the Christians and how I was impressed by their religion. He was dismayed and said: “My son, there is nothing good in that religion. Your religion and the religion of your forefathers is better.” “No, their religion is better than ours,” I insisted.
My father became upset and afraid that I would leave our religion. So he kept me locked up in the house and put a chain on my feet. I managed however to send a message to the Christians asking them to inform me of any caravan going to Syria. Before long they got in touch with me and told me that a caravan was headed for Syria. I managed to unfetter myself and in disguise accompanied the caravan to Syria. There, I asked who was the leading person in the Christian religion and was directed to the bishop of the church. I went up to him and said: “I want to become a Christian and would like to attach myself to your service, learn from you and pray with you.” The bishop agreed and I entered the church in his service. I soon found out, however, that the man was corrupt. He would order his followers to give money in charity while holding out the promise of blessings to them. When they gave anything to spend in the way of God, however, he would hoard it for himself and not give anything to the poor or needy. In this way he amassed a vast quantity of gold. When the bishop died and the Christians gathered to bury him, I told them of his corrupt practices and, at their request, s howed them where he kept their donations. When they saw the large jars filled with gold and silver they said. “By God, we shall not bury him.” They nailed him on a cross and threw stones at him. I continued in the service of the person who replaced him. The new bishop was an ascetic who longed for the Hereafter and engaged in worship day and night. I was greatly devoted to him and spent a long time in his company.
(After his death, Salman attached himself to various Christia n religious figures, in Mosul, Nisibis and elsewhere. The last one had told him about the appearance of a Prophet in the land of the Arabs who would have a reputation for strict honesty, one who would accept a gift but would never consume charity (sadaqah) for himself. Salman continues his story.) A group of Arab leaders from the Kalb tribe passed through Ammuriyah and I asked them to take me with them to the land of the Arabs in return for whatever money I had. They agreed and I paid them. When we reached Wadi al-Qura (a place between Madinah and Syria), they broke their agreement and sold me to a Jew. I worked as a servant for him but eventually he sold me to a nephew of his belonging to the tribe of Banu Qurayzah. This nephew took me with him to Yathrib, the city of palm groves, which is how the Christian at Ammuriyah had described it.
At that time the Prophet was inviting his people in Makkah to Islam but I did not hear anything about him then because of the harsh duties which slavery imposed upon me. When the Prophet reached Yathrib after his hijrah from Makkah, I was in fact at the top of a palm tree belonging to my master doing some work. My master was sitting under the tree. A nephew of his came up and said: “May God declare war on the Aws and the Khazraj (the two main Arab tribes of Yathrib). By God, they are now gathering at Quba to meet a man who has today come from Makkah and who claims he is a Prophet.”
I felt hot flushes as soon as I heard these words and I began to shiver so violently that I was afraid that I might fall on my master. I quickly got down from the tree and spoke to my master’s nephew. “What did you say? Repeat the news for me.” My master was very angry and gave me a terrible blow. “What does this matter to you’? Go back to what you were doing,” he shouted.
That evening, I took some dates that I had gathered and went to the place where the Prophet had alighted. I went up to him and said: “I have heard that you are a righteous m an and that you have companions with you who are strangers and are in need. Here is something from me as sadaqah. I see that you are more deserving of it than others.” The Prophet ordered his companions to eat but he himself did not eat of it. I gathered some more dates and when the Prophet left Quba for Madinah I went to him and said: “I noticed that you did not eat of the sadaqah I gave. This however is a gift for you.” Of this gift of dates, both he and his companions ate.
The strict honesty of the Prophet was one of the characteristics that led Salman to believe in him and accept Islam . Salman (Radhi Allahu Anhu) was released from slavery by the Prophet who paid his Jewish slave-owner a stipulated price and who himself planted an agreed number of date palms to secure his manumission. After accepting Islam, Salman (Radhi Allahu Anhu) would say when asked whose son he was: “I am Salman, the son of Islam from the children of Adam.”
Salman (Radhi Allahu Anhu) was to play an important role in the struggles of the growing Muslim state. At the battle of Khandaq, he proved to be an innovator in military strategy. He suggested digging a ditch or khandaq around Madinah to keep the Quraysh army at bay. When Abu Sufyan, the leader of the Makkans, saw the ditch, he said, “This stratagem has not been employed by the Arabs before.” Salman (Radhi Allahu Anhu) became known as “Salman the Good”. He was a scholar who lived a rough and ascetic life. He had one cloak which he wore and on which he slept. He would not seek the shelter of a roof but stayed under a tree or against a wall. A man once said to him: “Shall I not build you a house in which to live?” “I have no need of a house,” he replied. The man persisted and said, “I know the type of house that would suit you.” “Describe it to me,” said Salman (Radhi Allahu Anhu) “I shall build you a house which if you stand up in it, its roof will hurt your head and if you stretch your legs the wall will hurt them.”
Later, as a governor of al-Madain (Ctesiphon) near Baghdad, Salman received a stipend of five thousand dirhams. This he would distribute as sadaqah. He lived from the work of his own hands. When some people came to Madain and saw him working in the palm groves, they said, “You are the amir here and your sustenance is guaranteed and you do this work!” “I like to eat from the work of my own hands,” he replied. Salman (Radhi Allahu Anhu) however was not extreme in his asceticism. It is related that he once visited Abu ad-Dardaa (Radhi Allahu Anhu) with whom the Prophet had joined him in brotherhood.
He found Abu ad-Dardaa’s wife in a miserable state and he asked, “What is the matter with you.” “Your brother has no need of anything in this world,” she replied. When Abu ad-Dardaa (Radhi Allahu Anhu) came, he welcomed Salman (Radhi Allahu Anhu) and gave him food. Salman told him to eat but Abu ad-Dardaa said, “I am fasting.” “I swear to you that I shall not eat until you eat also.” Salman spent the night there as well. During the night, Abu ad-Dardaa got up but Salman got hold of him and said: “O Abu ad-Dardaa, your Lord has a right over you. Your family has a right over you and your body has a right over you. Give to each its due.” In the morning, they prayed together and then went out to meet the Prophet, (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam). The Prophet (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) supported Salman (Radhi Alla hu Anhu) in what he had said.
As a scholar, Salman was noted for his vast knowledge and wisdom. Ali said of him that he was like Luqman the Wise. And Kab al-Ahbar said: “Salman is stuffed with knowledge and wisdom–an ocean that does not dry up.” Salman had a knowledge of both the Christian scriptures and the Qur’an in addition to his earlier knowledge of the Zoroastrian religion. Salman in fact translated parts of the Qur’an into Persian during the life-time of the Prophet. He was thus the first person to translate the Qur’an into a foreign language.
Salman (Radhi Allahu Anhu), because of the influential household in which he grew up, might easily have been a major figure in the sprawling Persian Empire of his time. His search for truth however led him, even before the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) had appeared, to renounce a comfortable and affluent life and even to suffer the indignities of slavery. According to the most reliable account, he died in the year thirty five after the Hijrah, during the caliphate of Uthman (Radhi Allahu Anhu), at Ctesiphon.
ABDULLAH IBN ABBAS (Radhi Allahu Anhu)
By Yahya Ibrahim
Abdullah was the son of Abbas, an uncle of the noble Prophet. He was born just three years before the Hijrah. When the Prophet died, Abdullah was thus only thirteen years old.
When he was born, his mother took him to the blessed Prophet who put some of his saliva on the babe’s tongue even before he began to suckle. This was the beginning of the close and intimate tie between Abdullah and the Prophet that was to be part of a life-long love and devotion.
When Abdullah reached the age of discretion, he attached himself to the service of the Prophet. He would run to fetch water for him when he wanted to make Wudhu. During Salah, he would stand behind the Prophet in prayer and when the Prophet went on journeys or expeditions, he would follow next in line to him. Abdullah thus became like the shadow of the Prophet, constantly in his company.
In all these situations he was attentive and alert to whatever the Prophet did and said. His heart was enthusiastic and his young mind was pure and uncluttered, committing the Prophet’s words to memory with the capacity and accuracy of a recording instru ment. In this way and through his constant researches later, as we shall see, Abdullah became one of the most learned companions of the Prophet, preserving on behalf of later generations of Muslims, the priceless words of the Messenger of God. It is said that he committed to memory about one thousand, six hundred and sixty sayings of the Prophet which are recorded and authenticated in the collections of al-Bukhari and Muslim.
The Prophet would often draw Abdullah as a child close to him, pat him on the shoulder and pray: “O Lord, make him acquire a deep understanding of the religion of Islam and instruct him in the meaning and interpretation of things.”
There were many occasions thereafter when the blessed Prophet would repeat this Dua or prayer for his cousin and before long Abdullah ibn Ab bas realized that his life was to be devoted to the pursuit of learning and knowledge.
The Prophet moreover prayed that he be granted not just knowledge and understanding but wisdom. Abdullah related the following incident about himself: “Once the Prophet, peace be upon him, was on the point of performing Wudhu. I hurried to get water ready for him. He was pleased with what I was doing. As he was about to begin Salat, he indicated that I should stand at his side. However, I stood behind him. When the Salat was finished, he turned to me and said: ‘What prevented you from being at my side, O Abdullah?’ ‘You are too illustrious and too great in my eyes for me to stand side by side with you,’ I replied.
Raising his hands to the heavens, the Prophet then prayed: ‘O Lord, grant him wisdom.” T he Prophet’s prayer undoubtedly was granted for the young Abdullah was to prove time and again that he possessed a wisdom beyond his years. But it was a wisdom that came only with devotion and the dogged pursuit of knowledge both during the Prophet’s lifetime and after his death.
During the lifetime of the Prophet, Abdullah would not miss any of his assemblies and he would commit to memory whatever he said. After the Prophet passed away, he would take care to go to as many companions as possible especially those who knew the Prophet longer and learn from them what the Prophet had taught them. Whenever he heard that someone knew a Hadith of the Prophet which he did not know he would go quickly to him and record it. He would subject whatever he heard to close scrutiny and check it against other reports. He would go to as many as thirty companions to verify a single matter.
Abdullah described what he once did on hearing that a companion of the Prophet knew a Hadith unknown to him: “I went to him during the time of the afternoon siesta and spread my cloak in front of his door. The wind blew dust on me (as I sat waiting for him). If I wished I could have sought his permission to enter and he would certainly have given me permission. But I preferred to wait on him so that he could be completely refreshed. Coming out of his house and seeing me in that condition he said: ‘O cousin of the Prophet! What’s the matter with you? If you had sent for me I would have come to you.’ ‘I am the one who should come to you, for knowledge is sought, it does not just come,’ I said. I asked him about the Hadith and learnt from him.”
In this way, the dedicated Abdullah would ask, and as k, and go on asking. And he would sift and scrutinize the information he had collected with his keen and meticulous mind.
It was not only in the collection of Hadith that Abdullah specialized. He devoted himself to acquiring knowledge in a wide variety of fields. He had a special admiration for persons like Zayd ibn Thabit, the recorder of the revelation, the leading judge and jurist consult in Madinah, an expert in the laws of inheritance and in reading the Quran. When Zayd intended to go on a trip, the young Abdullah would stand humbly at his side and taking hold of the reins of his mount would adopt the attitude of a humble servant in the presence of his master. Zayd would say to him: “Don’t, O cousin of the Prophet.” “Thus we were commanded to treat the learned ones among us,” Abdullah would say. “And Zayd would say to him in turn: “Let me see your hand.” Abdullah would stretch out his hand. Zayd, taking it, would kiss it and say: “Thus we were commanded to treat the ahl al-bayt members of the household of the Prophet.”
As Abdullah’s knowledge grew, he grew in stature. Masruq ibn al Ajda said of him: “Whenever I saw Ibn Abbas, I would say: He is the most handsome of men. When he spoke, I would say: He is the most eloquent of men. And when he held a conversation, I would say: He is the most knowledgeable of men.”
The Khalifah Umar ibn al-Khattab often sought his advice on important matters of state and described him as “the young man of maturity”.
Sad ibn abi Waqqas describe d him with these words: “I have never seen someone who was quicker in understanding, who had more knowledge and greater wisdom than Ibn Abbas. I have seen Umar summon him to discuss difficult problems in the presence of veterans of Badr from among the Muhajirin and Ansar. Ibn Abbas would speak and Umar would not disregard what he had to say.”
It is these qualities which resulted in Abdullah ibn Abbas being known as “the learned man of this Ummah”.
Abdullah ibn Abbas was not content to accumulate knowledge. He felt he had a duty to the Ummah to educate those in search of knowledge and the general masses of the Muslim community. He turned to teaching and his house became a university – yes, a university in the full sense of the word, a university with specialized teaching but with the diffe rence that there was only one teacher Abdullah ibn Abbas.
There was an enthusiastic response to Abdullah’s classes. One of his companions described a typical scene in front of his house: “I saw people converging on the roads leading to his house until there was hardly any room in front of his house. I went in and told him about the crowds of people at his door and he said: ‘Get me water for Wudhu.’
He performed Wudhu and, seating himself, said: ‘Go out and say to them: Whoever wants to ask about the Qur’an and its letters (pronunciation) let him enter.’
This I did and people entered until the house was filled. Whatever he was asked, Abdullah was able to elucidate and even provide additional information to what was asked. Then (to his students) he said: ‘Make way for your brothers.’
Then to me he said: ‘Go out and say: Who wants to ask about the Qur’an and its interpretation, let him enter’.
Again the house was filled and Abdullah elucidated and provided more information than what was requested.”
And so it continued with groups of people coming in to discuss fiqh (jurisprudence), halal and haram (the lawful and the prohibited in Islam), inheritance laws, Arabic language, poetry and etymology.
To avoid congestion with many groups of people com ing to discuss various subjects on a single day, Abdullah decided to devote one day exclusively for a particular discipline. On one day, only the exegesis of the Qur’an would be taught while on another day only fiqh (jurisprudence). The maghazi or campaigns of the Prophet, poetry, Arab history before Islam were each allocated a special day.
Abdullah ibn Abbas brought to his teaching a powerful memory and a formidable intellect. His explanations were precise, clear and logical. His arguments were persuasive and supported by pertinent textual evidence and historical facts.
One occasion when his formidable powers of persuasion was used was during the caliphate of Ali. A large number of supporters of Ali in his stand against Muawiyah had just deserted him. Abdullah ibn Abbas went to Ali and re quested permission to speak to them. Ali hesitated fearing that Abdullah would be in danger at their hands but eventually gave way on Abdullah’s optimism that nothing untoward would happen.
Abdullah went over to the group. They were absorbed in worship. Some were not willing to let him speak but others were prepared to give him a hearing.
“Tell me” asked Abdullah, “what grievances have you against the cousin of the Prophet, the husband of his daughter and the first of those who believed in him?” “The men proceeded to relate three main complaints against Ali. First, that he appointed men to pass judgment in matters pertaining to the religion of God – meaning that Ali had agreed to accept the arb itration of Abu Musa al-Asbari and Amr ibn al-As in the dispute with Muawiyah. Secondly, that he fought and did not take booty nor prisoners of war. Thirdly, that he did not insist on the title of Amir al-Muminin during the arbitration process although the Muslims had pledged allegiance to him and he was their legitimate amir. To them this was obviously a sign of weakness and a sign that Ali was prepared to bring his legitimate position as Amir al-Muminin into disrepute. In reply, Abdullah asked them that should he cite verses from the Qur’an and sayings of the Prophet to which they had no objection and which related to their criticisms, would they be prepared to change their position. They replied that they would and Abdullah proceeded: “Regarding your statement that Ali has appointed men to pass judgment in matters pertaining to Allah’s religion, Allah Glorified and Exalted is He, says : ‘O you who believe! Kill not game while in the sacred precincts or in pilgrim garb. If any of you do so intentionally, the compensation is an offering, of a domestic animal equivalent to the one he killed and adjudged by two just men among.” “I adjure you, by God! Is the adjudication by men in matters pertaining to the preservation of their blood and their lives and making peace between them more deserving of attention than adjudication over a rabbit whose value is only a quarter of a dirham?” Their reply was of course that arbitration was more important in the case of preserving Muslim lives and making peace among them than over the killing of game in the sacred precincts for which Allah sanctioned arbitration by men. “Have we then finished with this point?” asked Abdullah and their reply was: “Allahumma, naam – O Lord, yes!” Abdullah went on: “As for your statement that Ali fought and did not take prisoners of war as the Prophet did, do you really desire to take your “mother” Aishah as a captive and treat her as fair game in the way that captives are treated? If your answer is “Yes”, then you have fallen into kufr (disbelief). And if you say that she is not your “mother”, you would also have fallen into a state of kufr for Allah, Glorified and Exalted is He, has said: ‘The Prophet is closer to the believers than their own selves and his wives are their mothers (entitled to respect and consideration).’ (The Quran, Surah al-Ahzab, 34:6). “Choose for yourself what you want,” said Abdullah and then he asked: “Have we then finished with this point?” and this time too their reply was: “Allahumma, naam – O Lord, yes!” Abdullah went on: “As for your statement that Ali has surrendered the title of Amir al-Muminin, (remember) that the Prophet himself, peace and blessings of God be on him, at the time of Hudaybiyyah, demanded that the mushrikin write in the truce which he concluded with them: ‘This is what the Messenger of God has agreed…’ and they retorted: ‘If we believed that you were the Messenger of God we would not have blocked your way to the Kabah nor would we have fought you. Write instead: ‘Muhammad the son of Abdullah.’ The Prophet conceded their demand while saying: ‘By God, I am the Messenger of God even if they reject me.” At this point Abdullah ibn Abbas asked the dissidents: “Have we then finished with this point? and their reply was once again: “Allahumma, naam – O Lord, yes!”
One of the fruits of this verbal challenge in which Abdullah displayed his intimate knowledge of the Qur’an and the sirah of the Prophet as well as his remarkable powers of argument and persuasion, was that the majority, about twenty thousand men, returned to the ranks of Ali. About four thousand however remained obdurate. These latter came to be known as Kharijites.
On this and other occasions, the courageous Abdullah showed that he preferred peace above war, and logic against force and violence. However, he was not only known for his courage, his perceptive thought and his vast knowledge. He was also known for his great generosity and hospitality. Some of his contemporaries said of his household: “We have not seen a house which has more food or drink or fruit or knowledge than the house of Ibn Abbas.”
He had a genuine and abiding concern fo r people. He was thoughtful and caring. He once said: “When I realize the importance of a verse of God’s Book, I would wish that all people should know what I know.
“When I hear of a Muslim ruler who deals equitably and rules justly, I am happy on his account and I pray for him…
“When I hear of rains which fail on the land of Muslims, that fills me with happiness…”
Abdullah ibn Abbas was constant in his devotions. He kept voluntary fasts regularly and often stayed up at night in Prayer. He would weep while praying and reading the Qur’an. And when reciting verses dealing with death, resurrection and the life hereafter his voice would be heavy from deep sobbing.
He passed away at the age of seventy one in the mountainous city of Taif.
AMR IBN AL-JAMUH (Radhi Allahu Anhu)
Amr ibn al-Jamuh was one of the leading men in Yathrib in the days of Jahiliyyah. He was the chief of the Banu Salamah and was known to be one of the most generous and valiant persons in the city.
One of the privileges of the city’s leaders was having an idol to himself in his house. It was hoped that this idol would bless the leader in whatever he did. He was expected to offer sacrifices to it on special occasions and seek its help at times of distress. The idol of Amr was called Manat. He had made it from the most priceless wood. He spent a great deal of time, money and attention looking after it and he anointed it with the most exquisite perfumes.
Amr was almost sixty years old when the first rays of the light of Islam began to penetrate the houses of Yathrib. House after house was introduced to the new faith at the hands of Musab ibn Umayr, the first missionary sent out to Yathrib before the hijrah. It was through him that Amr’s three sons–Muawwadh, Muadh and Khallad–became Muslims. One of their contemporaries was the famous Muadh ibn Jabal. Amr’s wife, Hind, also accepted Islam with her three sons but Amr himself knew nothing of all this .
Hind saw that the people of Yathrib were being won over to Islam and that not one of the leaders of the city remained in shirk except her husband and a few individuals. She loved her husband dearly and was proud of him but she was concerned that he should die in a state of kufr and end up in hell-fire.
During this time, Amr himself began to tell uneasy. He was afraid that his sons would give up the religion of their forefathers and follow the teaching of Musab ibn Umayr who, within a short space of time, had caused many to turn away from idolatry and enter the religion of Muhammad. To his wife, Amr therefore said:
“Be careful that your children do not come into contact with this man (meaning Musab ibn Umayr) before we pronounce an opinion on him.”
“To hear is to obey,” she replied. “But would you like to hear from your son Muadh what he relates from this man?” “Woe to you! Has Muadh turned away from his religion without my knowing?” The good woman felt pity from the old man and said: “Not at all. But he has attended some of the meetings of this missionary and memorized some of the things he teaches.” “Tell him to come here,” he said. When Muadh come, he ordered: “Let me hear an example of what this man preaches.” Muadh recited the lalihah (the Opening Chapter of the Quran):
“In the name of God, the most Gracious, the Dispenser of Grace. All praise is due to God alone, the Sustainer of all the worlds, The most Gracious, the Dispenser of Grace. Lord of the Day of Judgment!
You alone do we worship and to You alone do we turn for help. Guide us on the straight way, the way of those upon whom you have bestowed Your blessings, not of those who have been condemned by You, nor of those who go astray.”
“How perfect are these words, and how beautiful!” exclaimed the father. “Is everything he says like this?”
“Yes indeed, father. Do you wish to swear allegiance to him? All your people have already done so” urged Muadh.
The old man remained silent from a while and then said, “I shall not do so until I consult Manat and see what he says.” “What indeed would Manat say, Father? It is only a piece of wood. It can neither think nor speak.” The old man retorted sharply, “I told you, I shall not do anything without him.”
Later that day, Amr went before Manat. It was the custom of the idolators then to place an old woman behind the idol when they wished to speak to it. She would reply on behalf of the idol, articulating, so they thought, what the idol had inspired her to say. Amr stood before the idol in great awe and addressed profuse praises to it. Then he said:
“O Manat no doubt you know that this propagandist who was delegated to come to us from Makkah does not wish evil on anyone but you. He has come only to stop us worshipping you. I do not want to swear allegiance to him in spite of the beautiful words I have heard from him. I have thus come to get your advice. So please advise me.”
There was no reply from Manat. Amr continued:
“Perhaps your are angry. But up till now, I have done nothing to harm you… Never mind, I shall leave you for a few days to let your anger go away.”
Amr’s sons knew the extent of their father’s dependence on Manat and how with time he had become almost a part of it. They realized however that the idol’s place in his heart was being shaken and that they had to help him get rid of Manat. That must be his path to faith in God.
One night Amr’s sons went with their friend Muadh ibn Jabal to Manat, took the idol From its place and threw it in a cess pit belonging to the Banu Salamah. They returned to their homes with no one knowing anything about what they had done. When Amr woke up the following morning, he went in quiet reverence to pay his respects to his idol but did not find it.
“Woe to you all,” he shouted. “Who has attacked our god last night” There was no reply from anyone. He began to search for the idol, fuming with rage and threatening the perpetrators of the crime. Eventually he found the idol turned upside down on its head in the pit. He washed and perfumed it and returned it to its usual place saying.
“If I find out who did this to you, I will humiliate him.” The following night the boys did the same to the idol. The old man recovered it, washed and perfumed it as he had done before and returned it to its place. This happened several times until one night Amr put a sword around the idol’s neck and said to it: “O Manat, I don’t know who is doing this to you. If you have any power of good in you, defend yourself against this evil. Here is a sword for you.”
The youths waited until Amr was fast asleep. They took the sword from the idol’s neck and threw it into the pit. Amr found the idol Lying face down in the pit with the sword nowhere in sight. At last he was convinced that the idol had no power at all and did not deserve to be worshipped. It was not long before he entered the religion of Islam.
Amr soon tasted the sweetness of Iman or faith in the One True God. At the same time he felt great pain and anguish within himself at the thought of every moment he had spent in shirk. His acceptance of the new religion was total and he placed himself, his wealth and his children in the service of God and His Prophet.
The extent of his devotion was shown during the time of the battle of Uhud. Amr saw his three sons preparing for the battle. He looked at the three determined young men fired by the desire to gain martyrdom, success and the pleasure of God. The scene had a great effect on him and he resolved to go out with them to wage jihad under the banner of the messenger of God. The youths, however, were all against their father carrying out his resolve. He was already quite old and was extremely weak.
“Father,” they said, “surely God has excused you. So why do you take this burden on yourself?”
The old man became quite angry and went straight away to the Prophet to complain about his sons: “O Rasulullah! My sons here want to keep me away from this source of goodness arguing that I am old and decrepit. By God, I long to attain Paradise this way even though I am old and infirm.”
“Let him,” said the Prophet to his sons. “Perhaps God, the Mighty and the Great, will grant him martyrdom.”
Soon it was time to go out to battle. Amr bade farewell to his wife, turned to the qiblah and prayed: “O Lord, grant me martyrdom and don’t send me back to my family with my hopes dashed.” He set out in the company of his three sons and a large contingent from his tribe, the Banu Salamah.
As the battle raged, Amr could be seen moving in the front ranks, jumping on his good leg (his other leg was partially lame), and shouting, “I desire Paradise, I desire Paradise.”
His son Khallad remained closely behind him and they both fought courageously in defense of the Prophet while many other Muslims deserted in pursuit of booty. Father and son fell on the battlefield and died within moments of each other.
ABU DHARR AL-GHIFARI (Radhi Allahu Anhu)
In the Waddan valley which connects Makkah with the outside world, lived the tribe of Ghifar. The Ghifar existed on the meagre offerings of the trade caravans of the Quraysh which plied between Syria and Makkah. It is likely that they also lived by raiding these caravans when they were not given enough to satisfy their needs. Jundub ibn Junadah, nicknamed Abu Dharr, was a member of this tribe.
He was known for his courage, his calmness and his far sightedness and also for the repugnance he felt against the idols which his people worshipped. He rejected the silly religious beliefs and the religious corruption in which the Arabs were engaged.
While he was in the Waddan desert, news reached Abu Dharr that a new Prophet had appeared in Makkah. He really hoped that his appearance would help to change the hearts and minds of people and lead them away from the darkness of superstition.
Without wasting much time, he called his brother, Anis, and said to him: “Go to Makkah and get whatever news you can of this man who claims that he is a Prophet and that revelation comes to him from the heavens. Listen to some of his sayings and come back and recite them to me.”
Anis went to Makkah and met the Prophet, peace and blessings of God be on him. He listened to what he had to say and returned to the Waddan desert. Abu Dharr met him and anxiously asked for news of the Prophet. “I have seen a man,” reported Anis, ‘who calls people to noble qualities and there is no mere poetry in what he says.” “What do people say about him?” asked Abu Dharr. “They say he is a magician, a soothsayer and a poet.” “My curiosity is not satisfied. I am not finished with this matter. Will you look after my family while I go out and examine this prophet’s mission myself?” “Yes. But beware of the Makkans.”
On his arrival at Makkah, Abu Dharr immediately felt very apprehensive and he decided to exercise great caution. The Quraysh were noticeably angry over the denunciation of their gods. Abu Dharr heard of the terrible violence they were meting out to the followers of the Prophet but this was what he expected. He therefore refrained from asking anyone about Muhammad not knowing whether that person might be a follower or an enemy.
At nightfall, he lay down in the Sacred Mosque. Ali ibn Abi Talib passed by him and, realizing that he was a stranger, asked him to come to his house. Abu Dharr spent the night with him and in the morning took his water pouch and his bag containing provisions and returned to the Mosque. He had asked no questions and no questions were asked of him.
Abu Dharr spent the following day without getting to know the Prophet. At evening he went to the Mosque to sleep and Ali again passed by him and said: “Isn’t it time that a man knows his house?” Abu Dharr accompanied him and stayed at his house a second night. Again no one asked the other about anything.
On the third night, however, Ali asked him, “Aren’t you going to tell me why you came to Makkah?” “Only if you will give me an undertaking that you will guide me to what I seek.” Ali agreed and Abu Dharr said: “I came to Makkah from a distant place seeking a meeting with the new Prophet and to listen to some of what he has to say.” Ali’s face lit up with happiness as he said, “By God, he is really the Messenger of God,” and he went on telling Abu Dharr more about the Prophet and his teaching. Finally, he said: “When we get up in the morning, follow me wherever I go. If I see anything which I am afraid of for your sake, I would stop as if to pass water. If I continue, follow me until you enter where I enter.”
Abu Dharr did not sleep a wink the rest of that night because of his intense longing to see the Prophet and listen to the words of revelation. In the morning, he followed closely in Ali’s footsteps until they were in the presence of the Prophet. As-salaamu Alayka Yaa Rasulullah, (Peace be on you, O Messenger of God),” greeted Abu Dharr. Wa Alayka salaamullahi wa rahmatuhu wa barakaatuhu (And on you be the peace of God, His mercy and His blessings),” replied the Prophet.
Abu Dharr was thus the first person to greet the Prophet with the greeting of Islam. After that, the greeting spread and came into general use. The Prophet, peace be on him, welcomed Abu Dharr and invited him to Islam. He recited some of the Quran for him. Before long, Abu Dharr pronounced the Shahadah thus entering the new religion (without even leaving his place). He was among the first persons to accept Islam.
Let us leave Abu Dharr to continue his own story…
After that I stayed with the Prophet in Makkah and he taught me Islam and taught me to read the Quran. Then he said to me, ‘Don’t tell anyone in Makkah about your acceptance of Islam. I fear that they will kill you.” “By Him in whose hands is my soul, I shall not leave Makkah until I go to the Sacred Mosque and proclaim the call of Truth in the midst of the Quraysh,” vowed Abu Dharr.
The Prophet remained silent. I went to the Mosque. The Quraysh were sitting and talking. I went in their midst and called out at the top of my voice, “O people of Quraysh, I testify that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.”
My words had an immediate effect on them. They jumped up and said, ‘Get this one who has left his religion.” They pounced on me and began to beat me mercilessly. They clearly meant to kill me. But Abbas ibn Abdulmuttalib, the uncle of the Prophet, recognized me. He bent over and protected me from them. He told them: “Woe to you! Would you kill a man from the Ghifar tribe and your caravans must pass through their territory?” They then released me.
I went back to the Prophet, upon whom be peace, and when he saw my condition, he said, “Didn’t I tell you not to announce your acceptance of Islam?” “O Messenger of God,” I said, “It was a need I felt in my soul and I fulfilled it.” “Go to your people,” he commanded, “and tell them what you have seen and heard. Invite them to God.
Maybe God will bring them good through you and reward you through them. And when you hear that I have come out in the open, then come to me.” I left and went back to my people. My brother came up to me and asked, “What have you done?” I told him that I had become a Muslim and that I believed in the truth of Muhammad’s teachings. “I am not averse to your religion. In fact, I am also now a Muslim and a believer,” he said. We both went to our mother then and invited her to Islam . “I do not have any dislike from your religion. I accept Islam also,” she said.
From that day this family of believers went out tirelessly inviting the Ghifar to God and did not flinch from their purpose. Eventually a large number became Muslims and the congregational Prayer was instituted among them.
Abu Dharr remained in his desert abode until after the Prophet had gone to Madinah and the battles of Badr, Uhud and Khandaq had been fought. At Madinah at last, he asked the Prophet to be in his personal service. The Prophet agreed and was pleased with his companionship and service. He sometimes showed preference to Abu Dharr above others and whenever he met him he would pat him and smile and show his happiness.
After the death of the Prophet, Abu Dharr could not bear to stay in Madinah because of grief and the knowledge that there was to be no more of his guiding company. So he left for the Syrian desert and stayed there during the caliphate of Abu Bakr and Umar.
During the caliphate of Uthman, he stayed in Damascus and saw the Muslims concern for the world and their consuming desire for luxury. He was saddened and repelled by this. So Uthman asked him to come to Madinah. At Madinah he was also critical of the people’s pursuit of worldly goods and pleasures and they were critical in turn of his reviling them. Uthman therefore ordered that he should go to Rubdhah, a small village near Madinah. There he stayed far away from people, renouncing their preoccupation with worldly goods and holding on to the legacy of the Prophet and his companions in seeking the everlasting abode of the Hereafter in preference to this transitory world.
Once a man visited him and began looking at the contents of his house but found it quite bare. He asked Abu Dharr: “Where are your possessions?” “We have a house yonder (meaning the Hereafter),” said Abu Dharr, “to which we send the best of our possessions.” The man understood what he meant and said: “But you must have some possessions so long as you are in this abode.” “The owner of this abode will not leave us in it,” replied Abu Dharr.
Abu Dharr persisted in his simple and frugal life to the end. Once the amir of Syria sent three hundred diners to Abu Dharr to meet his needs. He returned the money saying, “Does not the amir of Syria find a servant more deserving of it than I?”
In the year 32 AH. the self-denying Abu Dharr passed away. The Prophet, peace be upon him, had said of him: “The earth does not carry nor the heavens cover a man more true and faithful than Abu Dharr.”
HABIB IBN ZAYD AL-ANSARI
He grew up in a home filled with the fragrance of iman, and in a family where everyone was imbued with the spirit of sacrifice. Habib’s father, Zayd ibn Asim, was one of the first persons in Yathrib to accept Islam and his mother, the celebrated Nusaybah bint Kab known as Umm Ammarah, was the first woman to bear arms in defence of Islam and in support of the blessed Prophet.
Habib, still at a tender age, was privileged to go with his mother, father, maternal aunt and brother to Makkah with the pioneering group of seventy five who pledged fealty to the Prophet at Aqabah and played a decisive role in shaping the early history of Islam.
At Aqabah, in the darkness of the night, the young Habib stretched out his small hand and pledged loyalty to the Prophet. From that day, the Prophet, peace and blessings of God on him, became dearer to Habib than his own mother or father and Islam became more important to him than any care for his personal safety.
Habib did not participate in the Battle of Badr because he was too young. Neither did he have the opportunity to take part in the battle of Uhud because he was still considered too young to bear arms. Thereafter, however, he took part in all the engagements which the Prophet fought and in all he distinguished himself by his bravery and willingness to sacrifice. Although each of these battles had its own importance and was demanding in its own way, they served to prepare Habib for what was to prove the most terrible encounter of his life, the violence of which is profoundly soul-shaking.
Let us follow this awesome story from the beginning. By the ninth year after the Hijrah, Islam had spread widely and had become the dominant force in the Arabian peninsula. Delegations of tribes from all over the land converged on Makkah to meet the Messenger of God, peace be upon him, and announce before him, their acceptance of Islam.
Among these delegations was one from the highlands of Najd, from the Banu Hanilab. At the outskirts of Makkah, the members of the delegation tethered their mounts and appointed Musaylamah ibn Habib as their spokesman and representative. Musaylamah went to the Prophet, peace be upon him, and announced his people’s acceptance of Islam. The Prophet welcomed them and treated them most generously. Each, including Musaylamah, was presented with a gift.
On his return to Najd the ambitious and self-seeking Musaylamah recanted and gave up his allegiance to the Prophet. He stood among the people and proclaimed that a prophet had been sent by God to the Banu Hanifah just as God had sent Muhammad ibn Abdullah to the Quraysh.
For various reasons and under a variety of pressures, the Banu Hanilab began to rally around him. Most followed him out of tribal loyalty or asabiyyah. Indeed one member of the tribe declared: “I testify that Muhammad is indeed truthful and that Musaylamah is indeed an imposter. But the imposter of Rabiah (the tribal confederation to which the Banu Hanilab belonged) is dearer to me that the genuine and truthful person from Mudar (the tribal confederation to which the Quraysh belonged).”
Before long, the number of Musaylamah’s followers increased and he felt powerful, powerful enough to write the following letter to the Prophet, peace be upon him: “From Musaylamah, the messenger of God to Muhammad, the messenger of God. Peace be on you. I am prepared to share this mission with you. I shall have (control over) half the land and you shall have the other half. But the Quraysh are an aggressive people.”
Musaylamah despatched two of his men with the letter to the Prophet. When the letter was read to the Prophet, he asked the two men: “And what do you yourselves say about this matter?” “We affirm what the letter says,” they replied. “By God,” said the Prophet, “were it not for the fact that emissaries are not killed I would have smitten both your necks.” He then wrote to Musaylamah: “In the name of God, the Beneficent, the Compassionate. From Muhammad the Messenger of God, to Musaylamah the imposter.
Peace be upon whoever follows the guidance. God will bequeath the earth to whosoever of His servants He wishes and the final triumph will be for those who are careful of their duty to God.” He sent the letter with the two men.
Musaylamah’s evil and corrupting influence continued to spread and the Prophet considered it necessary to send another letter to him inviting him to abandon his misguided ways. The Prophet chose Habib ibn Zayd to take this letter to Musaylamah. Habib was by this time in the prime of his youth and a firm believer in the truth of Islam with every fibre of his being.
Habib undertook his mission eagerly and proceeded as quickly as he could to the highlands of the Najd, the territory of the Banu Hanilab. He presented the letter to Musaylamah.
Musaylamah was convulsed with bitter rage. His face was terrible to behold. He ordered Habib to be put in chains and to be brought back before him the following day.
On the following day, Musaylamah presided over his assembly. On his right and on his left were his senior advisers, there to further his evil cause. The common people were allowed to enter. He then ordered Habib, shackled in his chains, to be brought before him.
Habib stood in the midst of this crowded, hate-filled gathering. He remained upright, dignified and proud like a sturdy spear firmly implanted in the ground, unyielding.
Musaylamah turned to him and asked: “Do you testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of God?” “Yes,” Habib replied. “I testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of God.”
Musaylamah was visibly angry. “And do you testify that I am the Messenger of God?” He was almost insisting, rather than questioning. “My ears have been blocked against hearing what you claim,” replied Habib.
Musaylamah’s face changed color, his lips trembled in anger and he shouted to his executioner, “Cut off a piece of his body.”
With sword in hand, the menacing executioner advanced towards Habib and severed one of his limbs.
Musaylamah then put the same question to him once more and Habib’s answers were the same. He affirmed his belief in Muhammad as the Messenger of God and at the expense of his own life he refused to acknowledge the messengership of any other. Musaylamah thereupon ordered his henchman to cut off another part of Habib’s body. This fell to the ground beside the other severed limb. The people looked on in amazement at Habib’s composure and steadfastness.
Faced with Musaylamah’s persistent questioning and the terrible blows of his henchman, Habib kept on repeating: “I testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of God.” Habib could not survive this torture and these inhuman atrocities much longer and he soon passed away. On his pure lips, as his life-blood ebbed away, was the name of the blessed Prophet to whom he had pledged loyalty on the night of Aqabah, the name of Muhammad, the Messenger of God.
News of Habib’s fate reached his mother and her reaction was simply to say: “It was for such a situation that I prepared him… He pledged allegiance to the Prophet on the night of Aqabah as a small child and today as an adult he has given his life for the Prophet. If God were to allow me to get near to Musaylamah, I would certainly make his daughters smite their cheeks and lament over him.”
The day that she wished for was not long in coming. After the death of the Prophet, peace be on him, Abu Bakr declared war on the imposter. With the Muslim army that went out to confront the forces of Musaylamah were Habib’s mother, Nusaybah, and another of her courageous sons, Abdullah ibn Zayd.
At the Battle of Yamamah which ensued, Nusaybah was seen cutting through the ranks of fighting men like a lioness and calling out: “Where is the enemy of God? Show me the enemy of God ?” When she eventually reached Musaylamah, he had already perished. She looked at the body of the vain imposter and cruel tyrant and felt serene. A grave threat to the Muslims had been removed and the death of her beloved son, Habib, had been avenged.
At Habib’s death, the noble Prophet had commended him and his entire family and had prayed: “May God bless this household. May God have mercy on this household.”
NU’AYM IBN MAS’UD (Radhi Allahu Anhu)
Nuaym ibn Masud was from Najd in the northern highlands of Arabia. He belonged to the powerful Ghatafan tribe. As a young man, he was clever and alert. He was full of enterprise and travelled widely. He was resourceful, every ready to take up a challenge and not prepared to allow any problem to get the better of him.
This son of the desert was endowed with extraordinary presence of mind and unusual subtlety. He was however someone who liked to enjoy himself and gave himself over to the pursuit of youthful passions. He loved music and took delight in the company of songstresses. Often when he felt the urge to listen to the strings of a musical instrument or to enjoy the company of a singer, he would leave the hearths of his people in the Najd and make his way to Yathrib and in particular to the Jewish community which was widely known for its song and music.
While in Yathrib, Nuaym was known to spend generously and he in turn would be lavishly entertained. In this way Nuaym came to develop strong links among the Jews of the city and in particular with the Banu Qurayzah.
At the time when Allah favored mankind by sending His Prophet with the religion of guidance and truth and the valleys of Makkah glowed with the light of Islam, Nuaym ibn Masud was still given over to the pursuit of sensual satisfaction. He stopped firmly opposed to the religion partly out of fear that he would be obliged to change and give up his pursuit of pleasure. And it was not long before he found himself being drawn into joining the fierce opposition to Islam and waging war against the Prophet and his companions.
The moment of truth for Nuaym came during the great siege of Madinah which took place in the fifth year of the Prophet’s stay in the city. We need to go back a little to pick up the threads of the story.
Two years before the siege, the Prophet was compelled to banish a group of Jews belonging to the tribe of Banu an-Nadir from Madinah because of their collaboration with the Quraysh enemy. The Banu Nadir migrated to the north and settled in Khaybar and other oases along the trade route to Syria. They at once began to incite the tribes both near and far against the Muslims. Caravans going to Madinah were harassed partly to put economic pressure on the city.
But this was not enough. Leaders of the Banu an-Nadir got together and decided to form a mighty alliance or confederacy of as many tribes as possible to wage war on the Prophet, and to put an end once and for all to his mission. The Nadirites went to the Quraysh in Makkah and urged them to continue the fight against the Muslims. They made a pact with the Quraysh to attack Madinah at a specified time.
After Makkah, the Nadirite leaders set out northwards on a journey of some one thousand kilometers to meet the Ghatafan. They promised the Ghatafan the entire annual date harvest of Khaybar for waging war against Islam and its Prophet. They informed the Ghatafan of the pact they had concluded with the Quraysh and persuaded them to make a similar agreement.
Other tribes were also persuaded to join the mighty alliance. From the north came the Banu Asad and the Fazar. From the south the Ahabish, allies of the Quraysh, the Banu Sulaym and others. At the appointed time, the Quraysh set out from Makkah in large numbers on cavalry and on foot under the Leadership of Abu Sufyan ibn Harb. The Ghatafan too set out from Najd in large numbers under the leadership of Ubaynah ibn Hisn. In the vanguard of the Ghatafan army was Nuaym ibn Masud.
News of the impending attack on Madinah reached the Prophet while he was half-way on a long expedition to Dumat al-Jandal on the Syrian border some fifteen days journey from Madinah. The tribe at Dumat al-Jandal was molesting caravans bound for Madinah and their action was probably prompted by the Banu an-Nadir to entice the Prophet away from Madinah. With the Prophet away, they reasoned, it would be easier for the combined tribal forces from the north and the south to attack Madinah and deal a mortal blow to the Muslim community with the help of disaffected persons from within the city itself.
The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, hurried back to Madinah and conferred with the Muslims. The forces of the Ahzab or the confederate enemy tribes amounted to over ten thousand men while the Muslims fighting were just three thousand men. It was unanimously decided to defend the city from within and to prepare for a siege rather than fight in the open. The Muslims were in dire straits.
“When they came upon you from above and from below you, and when eyes grew wild and hearts reached to the throats. and you were imagining vain thoughts concerning Allah. Then were the believers sorely tried and shaken with a mighty shock.” (The Quran, Surah al-Ahzab, 33:1O)
To protect the city, the Muslims decided to dig a ditch or khandaq. It is said that the ditch was about three and a half miles long and some ten yards wide and five yards deep. The three thousand Muslims were divided into groups of ten and each group was given a fixed number of cubits to dig. The digging of the ditch took several weeks to complete.
The ditch was just completed when the mighty enemy forces from the north and the south converged on Madinah. While they were within a short distance from the city the Nadirire conspirators approached their fellow Jews of the Banu Qurayzah who lived in Madinah and tried to persuade them to join the war against the Prophet by helping the two armies approaching from Makkah and the north. The response of the Qurayzah Jews to the Nadirite leaders was:
“You have indeed called us to participate in something which we like and desire to have accomplished. But you know there is a treaty between us and Muhammad binding us to keep the peace with him so long as we live secure and content in Madinah. You do realize that our pact with him is still valid. We are afraid that if Muhammad is victorious in this war he would then punish us severely and that he would expel us from Madinah as a result of our treachery towards him.”
The Nadirire leaders however continued to pressurize the Banu Qurayzah to renege on their treaty. Treachery to Muhammad, they affirmed, was a good and necessary act. They assured the Banu Qurayzah that there was no doubt this time that the Muslims would be completely routed and Muhammad would be finished once and for all.
The approach of the two mighty armies strengthened the resolve of the Banu Qurayzah to disavow their treaty with Muhammad. They tore up the pact and declared their support for the confederates. The news fell on the Muslims ears with the force of a thunderbolt.
The confederate armies were now pressing against Madinah. They effectively cut off the city and prevented food and provisions and any form of outside help or reinforcement from reaching the inhabitants of the city. After the terrible exhaustions of the past months the Prophet now felt as if they had fallen between the jaws of the enemy. The Quraysh and [he Ghatafan were besieging the city from without. The Banu Qurayzah were laying in wait behind the Muslims, ready to pounce from within the city. Added to this. the hypocrites of Madinah, those who had openly professed Islam but remained secretly opposed to the Prophet and his mission, began to come out openly and cast doubt and ridicule on the Prophet.
“Muhammad promised us.” they said, “that we would gain possession of the treasures of Chosroes and Caesar and here we are today with not a single one of us being able to guarantee that he could go to the toilet safely to relieve himself!”
Thereafter, group after group of the inhabitants of Madinah began to disassociate themselves from the Prophet expressing fear for their women and children and for their homes should the Banu Qurayzah attack once the fighting began. The enemy forces though vastly superior in numbers were confounded by the enormous ditch. They had never seen or heard of such a military stratagem among the Arabs. Nonetheless they tightened their siege of the city. At the same time they attempted to breach the ditch at some narrow points but were repulsed by the vigilant Muslims. So hard-pressed were the Muslims that the Prophet Muhammad and his companions once did not even have time for Salat and the Zuhr, Asr, Maghrib and Isha prayers had to be performed during the night.
As the siege wore on and the situation became more critical for the Muslims. Muhammad turned fervently to his Lord for succour and support.
“O Allah,” he prayed, “I beseech you to grant Your promise of victory. O Allah I beseech You to grant your promise of victory.”
On that night, as the Prophet prayed, Nuaym lay tossing in his bivouac. He could not sleep. He kept gazing at the stars in the vast firmament above. He thought hard and long and suddenly he found himself exclaiming and asking: “Woe to you, Nuaym! What is it really that has brought you from those far off places in Najd to fight this man and those with him? Certainly you are not fighting him for the triumph of right or for the protection of some honor violated. Really you have only come here to fight for some unknown reason. Is it reasonable that someone with a mind such as yours should fight and kill or be killed for no cause whatsoever? Woe to you, Nuaym. What is it that has caused you to draw your sword against this righteous man who exhorts his followers to justice, good deeds and helping relatives? And what is it that has driven you to sink your spear into the bodies of his followers who follow the message of guidance and truth that he brought?”
Nuaym thus struggled with his conscience and debated with himself. Then he came to a decision. Suddenly he stood upright, determined. The doubts were gone. Under the cover of darkness, he slipped away from the camp of his tribe and made his way to the Prophet of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be on him.
When the Prophet beheld him, standing erect in his presence, he exclaimed, “Nuaym ibn Masud?”
“Yes, O Messenger of Allah,” declared Nuaym. “What has brought you here at this hour?”
“I came”, said Nuaym, “to declare that there is no Allah but Allah and that you are the servant of Allah and His Messenger and that the message you have brought is
He went on: “I have declared my submission to Allah, O Messenger of Allah, but my people do not know of my submission. Command me therefore to do whatever you desire.”
“You are only one person among us,” observed the Prophet. “So go to your people and act as if you have nothing to do with us for indeed war is treachery.”
“Yes, O Messenger of Allah,” replied Nuaym. And if Allah wills, you shall witness what pleases you.”
Without losing any time, Nuaym went to the Banu Qurayzah. He was, as was mentioned earlier, a close friend of the tribe. “O Bani Qurayzah,” he said. “You have known my love for you and my sincerity in advising you.”
“Yes ,” they agreed, “but what are you suspicious of so far as we are concerned?” Nuaym continued: “The Quraysh and the Ghatafan have their own interests in this war which are different from your interests.” “How so?” they queried.
“This is your city,” Nuaym asserted. “You have your wealth, your children and your womenfolk here and it is not in your power to flee and take refuge in another city. On the other hand, the Quraysh and the Ghatafan have their land, their wealth, their children and their womenfolk away from this city. They came to fight Muhammad. They urged you to break the treaty you had with him and to help them against him. So you responded positively to them. If they were to be victorious in their encounter with him, they would reap the booty. But if they fail to subdue him, they would return to their country safe and sound and they would leave you to him and he would be in a position to exact the most bitter revenge on you. You know very well that you would have no power to confront him.”
“You are right,” they said. “But what suggestion do you have?” “My opinion,” Nuaym suggested, “is that you should not join forces with them until you take a group of their prominent men as hostages. In that way you could carry on the fight against Muhammad either till victory or till the last of your men or theirs perish. (They would not be able to leave you in the lurch).” “You have advised well,” they responded and agreed to take up his suggestion.
Nuaym then left and went to Abu Sufyan ibn Harb, the Quraysh leader and spoke to him and other Quraysh leaders. “O Quraysh,” said Nuaym, “You know my affection for you and my enmity towards Muhammad. I have heard some news and I thought it my duty to disclose it to you but you should keep it confidential and do not attribute it to me”
“You must inform us of this matter,” insisted the Quraysh.
Nuaym continued: “The Banu Qurayzah now regret that they have agreed to participate in the hostilities against Muhammad. They fear that you would turn back and abandon them to him. So they have sent a message to Muhammad saying: ‘We are sorry for what we have done and we are determined to return to the treaty and a state of peace with you. Would it please you then if we take several Quraysh and Ghatafan nobles and surrender them to you? We will then join you in fighting them – the Quraysh and the Ghatafan – until you finish them off.’ The Prophet has sent back a reply to them saying he agrees. If therefore the Jews send a delegation to you demanding hostages from among your men do not hand over a single person to them. And do not mention a word of what I said to you.”
“What a good ally you are. May you be rewarded well ,” said Abu Sufyan gratefully.
Nuaym then went to his own people the Ghatafan, and spoke to them in a similar vein. He gave them the same warning against expected treachery from the Banu Qurayzah.
Abu Sufyan wanted to test the Banu Qurayzah so he sent his son to them. “My father sends greetings of peace to you,” began Abu Sufyan’s son. “He says that our siege of Muhammad and his companions has been a protracted affair and we have become weary…We are now determined to fight Muhammad and finish him off. My father has sent me to you to ask you to join battle with Muhammad tomorrow.”
“But tomorrow is Saturday,” said the Jews of Banu Qurayzah, “and we do not work at all on Saturdays. Moreover, we would not fight with you until you hand over to us seventy of your nobles and nobles from the Ghatafan as hostages. We fear that if the fighting becomes too intense for you would hasten back home and leave us alone to Muhammad. You know that we have no power to resist him…”
When Abu Sufyan’s son returned to his people and told them what he had heard from the Banu Qurayzah, they shouted in unison!
“Damned be the sons of monkeys and swine! By Allah, if they were to demand from us a single sheep as a hostage, we would not give them”.
And so it was that Nuaym was successful in causing disharmony among the confederates and splitting their ranks.
While the mighty alliance was in this state of disarray, Allah sent down on the Quraysh and their allies a fierce and bitterly cold wind which swept their tents and their vessels away, extinguished their fires, buffeted their faces and cast sand in their eves. In this terrible state of confusion the allies fled under cover of darkness.
That very night the Prophet had sent one his companions, Hudayfah ibn al-Yaman, to get information on the enemy’s morale and intentions. He brought back the news that on the advice and initiative of Abu Sufyan, the enemy had turned on their heels and fled… The news quickly spread through the Muslims ranks and they shouted in joy and relief!
La ilaha ilia Allahu wahdah, Sadaqa wadah, Wa nasara abdah, Wa a azza jundah, Wa hazama-l ahzaba wahdah (There is no Allah but Allah alone, To His promise He has been true, His servant He has helped, His forces He has strengthened, And Alone the confederates He has destroyed.)
The Prophet, peace be upon him, praised and gave thanks to his Lord for His deliverance from the threat posed by the mighty alliance. Nuaym, as a result of his subtle but major role in the blasting of the alliance, gained the confidence of the Prophet who entrusted him thereafter with many a difficult task. He became the standard-bearer of the Prophet on several occasions.
Three years after the Battle of the Ditch, on the day the Muslims marched victoriously into Makkah, Abu Sufyan ibn Harb stood surveying the Muslim armies. He beheld a man carrying the Ghatafan flag and asked: “Who is this?” “Nuaym ibn Masud,” came the reply.
“He did a terrible thing to us at al-Khandaq,” Abu Sufyan confessed. “By Allah, he was certainly one of the fiercest enemies of Muhammad and here he is now carrying his people’s flag in the ranks of Muhammad and coming to wage war on us under his leadership.”
Through the grace of Allah and the magnanimity of the noble Prophet, Abu Sufyan himself was soon to join the same ranks.
AMMAR IBN YASIR (Radhi Allahu Anhu)
The best example for Muslims to follow is the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) then His Companion (Radhi Allah Anhuma). We should reflect on their sacrifices when the going gets tough for us.
Today I will share with you the story of Ammar, son of the first martyr of Islam: Sumaiyah, and his entire family is enough to bring tears to the eyes of any person. They were continually tortured and called upon to renounce their belief in Allah and the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Yet this never swayed the heart of Ammar.
His upright character earned him the title as the one who would never deviate from Path of truth until his death. “Let us learn of the life of this noble man, whose body was covered with scars of his torture, whose ear was cut off as he fought for Allah and about whom the Prophet (PBUH) also said paradise longs for Ammar.
But why do we say “if” and why do we make that condition when Yasir’s family were really of Paradise? Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) was not merely pacifying them when he said, “Patience, O Yasir’s family. Verily, your meeting place will be in Paradise.” He was declaring a fact which he knew and reiterating an actuality perceived by him.
‘Ammar’s father, Yasir Ibn Amir, left his native place in Yemen seeking a brother of his. In Makkah he found an appealing place, so he settled there and was in alliance with Abu Hudhaifah Ibn Al-Mughirah, who married him to one of his slave women, Sumaiyah Bint Khayat. Out of this blessed marriage Allah granted the parents a son, ‘Ammar. Their embracing of Islam was early, like that of the righteous ones guided by Allah. And like the early righteous Muslims as well, they had their good share of the Quraish’s persecution and terror.
The Quraish used to waylay the believers to attack them. If the believers were among the honorable and noble people in their community, the Quraish would pursue them with threats and menace. If the believers were among the weak, poor, or slaves of Makkah, then the Quraish would burn them with the fire of persecution.
Yasir’s family belonged to that class. The order for their persecution was handed to Bani Makhzum. They used to take them all – Yasir, Sumaiyah and ‘Ammar – to the burning desert of Makkah, where they would pour upon them different kinds of the hell. of torture.
Sumaiyah’s share of that torment was colossal and terrible. We shall not elaborate about her now, since we shall have – Allah willing – another encounter with her and her likes during those immortal days to talk about the grace of sacrifice and the glory of her firmness. Suffice it to mention now, without any exaggeration, that Sumaiyah, the martyred one, maintained a firm stance that day which gives the whole of humanity an everlasting honor and an ever glorious dignity. Her stance made of her a great mother to believers in all ages, and to the honorable people of all times.
The Messenger (PBUH) used to go where he knew Yasir’s family were tortured. He did not have at that time any means of resistance or keeping harm from them. This was Allah’s will, because the new religion was not a passing reform movement. It was a way of life for the whole humanity of believers who had to inherit along with the religion all its history of heroism, sacrifices, and risks. These abundant noble sacrifices are the cement and the foundation that grant an everlasting firmness and immortality to the faith and the creed. It is the fragrance that fills the hearts of believers with loyalty, joy, and happiness. It is the lighthouse that guides the coming generations to the reality of religion, to its truth and greatness.
Therefore, Islam had to make its sacrifices and have its victims, the meaning of which is illustrated and illuminated in more than one verse of the Qur’an for the Muslims. Allah says:
“Do the people think that they will be left to say: “We believe”, and they shall not be tried?” (29:2)
“Do you think that you will enter Paradise before Allah tests those of you who fought (in His Cause) and (also) tests those who remained patient?” (3: 142)
“And we indeed tested those who were before them. And Allah will certainly make (it) known (the truth of) those who are true, and will certainly make (it) known (the falsehood of) those who are liars, (although Allah knows all that before putting them to test.” (29: 3)
“Do you think you shall be left alone while Allah has not yet tested those among you who have striven hard…” (9:16)
“Allah will not leave the believers in the state in which you are now, until He distinguishes the wicked from the good” (3:179)
“And what you suffered (of the disaster) on the day (of the Battle of Uhud when) the two armies met, was by the leave of Allah, in order that He might test the believers” (3: 166)
This was the way the Qur’an taught its bearers and descendants that sacrifice is the essence of faith and that resistance of unjust, oppressive challenges is through firmness, patience, and persistence, which form the best and the most superb virtues of faith.
Sumaiyah, Yasir and ‘Ammar were of this great and blessed group, chosen by Islam’s destiny to make of their sacrifices, firmness, and persistence a document of Islam’s greatness and immortality.
We said that Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) used to go out every day to Yasir’s family, commending their fortitude and heroism. His big heart was melting out of mercy and kindness to see them so severely tortured. One day while he was looking for them, ‘Ammar called to him, “O Messenger of Allah, we are suffering from extreme torment.”
The Messenger called to him saying, “Patience, Abu Yaqdhan, patience O Yasir’s family. Verily, your meeting place will be in Paradise.”
‘Ammar’s companions described the torture that was inflicted upon him in many of their reports. ‘Amr Ibn Al-Hakam, for instance, said, “‘Ammar used to be tortured so much that he would not be aware of what he was saying.” ‘Amr Ibn Maimun said, “The polytheist scorched ‘Ammar Ibn Yasir with fire, and Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) used to pass by him, pass his hand over Yasir’s head and say, “O fire, be cool and peaceful on ‘Ammar, as you were cool and peaceful on Ibrahim.”
Despite that overwhelming terror, it did not vanquish ‘Ammar’s spirit, though it overburdened his back and strained his strength.
‘Ammar did not feel utterly ruined except on that day when his executioners employed all their devilry in crime and injustice. They burned his skin with fire, laid him on the heated sands of the desert under the burning stones, ducked him in water until he could hardly breathe and until his wounds and gashes were skinned. On that day, when he fell unconscious under the effect of that horror, they said to him. “Say something good about our gods.” They kept saying things which he repeated without being conscious of what he was saying.
When he became slightly conscious after he had fainted due to their torture, he remembered what he had said and was mad about it. This slip became so concrete to him that he saw it as an unforgivable sin which could not be atoned for. In a few moments his feeling of guilt made him suffer so much that the torture of the polytheists seemed to him a blessing and a balm.
If he had been left to such feelings for a few hours, they would have destroyed him. He was enduring the dreadful anguish of the body because his spirit was lofty, but now when he thought defeat had reached his spirit, he was overburdened with worries and fear of death and destruction. But Almighty Allah willed that the final, exciting scene would come to its dignified end. An angel stretched out its blessed right hand, shook the hand of ‘Ammar and called to him, “Get up, O hero! There is no blame or embarrassment for you.
When Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) met him, he found him crying. He Kept wiping his tears wiping his tears and telling ‘Ammar, “The polytheists took you, ducked your head in water, and you said such a thing?” ‘Ammar answered him, still crying, “Yes, O Messenger of Allah.” Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) said then while smiling, “If they repeat it, say the same thing”.
Then he recited the glorious Qur’anic verse: “ .. except him who is forced thereto and whose heart is at rest with Faith … “ (16: 106)
‘Ammar’s tranquility was restored, he no longer felt pain when they punished him, and he no longer cared about it. His spirit conquered and his faith conquered. The Qur’an had included this blessed transaction, so whatever happened, happened.
‘Ammar remained steadfast until his tormenters were exhausted and they retreated, yielding to his determination.
The Muslims settled in Al-Madinah after the Hijrah of their Messenger (PBUH). The Islamic community there began to take shape very fast and complete itself. Within that group of believers, ‘Ammar was allocated a dignified position. Allah’s Messenger loved him greatly and used to boast among his Companions about ‘Ammar’s faith and guidance. He said about him, “Verily, ’’Ammar is filled to the bones with faith.”
When a slight misunderstanding happened between Khalid Ibn Al-Walid and ‘Ammar, the Messenger (PBUH) said, “Whoever antagonizes ‘Ammar is antagonized by Allah, and whoever detests ‘Ammar is detested by Allah. Thereupon, Khalid Ibn Al-Walid, Islam’s hero, had to hasten to ‘Ammar, apologizing to him and hoping for his sincere forgiveness.
When the Messenger (Sallallahu Alayhi was Sallam) and his Companions were building the Masjid in Al-Madinah, after their arrival there, Imam ‘Aly (May Allah glorify his face) composed a song and kept on repeating it with other Muslims, saying: “He who frequents the Masjids, Remaining there standing and sitting, Is not equal to the one who keeps away from dust.”
‘Ammar was working at the side of the Masjid, so he kept repeating the song, raising his voice. One of his companions thought that ‘’Ammar was disparaging him. He therefore said some angry words, which angered the Messenger of Allah, and he said, “What is their business with ’’Ammar? He calls them to Heaven and they call him to Hell. To me, ‘Ammar is but a skin between my eyes and my nose”
When the Messenger of Allah loves a man that much, this man’s faith, his accomplishment, his loyalty, his grace, his conscience, and conscience and manner have reached the top and ended at the pinnacle of allowed perfection.
That was ‘Ammar. Allah had granted him abundant blessings and guidance. In the level of guidance and certitude, he reached a great height which made the Messenger (Sallallahu Alayhi was Sallam) commend his faith and raise him among the Companions as a model and an example, saying, “Take the examples of the two succeeding me, Abu Bakr and ‘Umar, and follow the guidance of “‘Ammar.
He witnessed with The Messenger (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) all the battles: Badr, Uhud, Al-Khandaq and Tabuk and others. When the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi was Sallam) passed away, the outstanding Companion continued his march. At the meeting of Muslims with Persians, with Romans, and, before that, at their meeting with the army of apostates, ‘Ammar was always there in the first line, an honest, brave soldier who did not miss an opportunity.
One of his contemporaries in Kufa, Ibn Abi Hudhail said about him, “I saw ‘Ammar Ibn Yasir when he was the governor of Kufa buying some vegetables. He tied them with a rope and carried them on his shoulders and went home.
One of the public said to him when he was the governor of Kufa, “O you whose ear is cut off. He was scorning him because of his ear which had been cut off by the swords of the apostates during the Yamamah War. The governor, in whose hands was the power of rule, merely said to his insulter, “You insulted the best part of my ear. It was injured in the cause of Allah.”
Hudhaifah Ibn Al-Yamman, the expert in the inner language, the language of the heart, was preparing to meet Allah and suffering from the agony of death when his companions surrounding him asked, “To whom should we go, if people differ?” Hudhaifah answered in his last words, “You should turn to Ibn Sumaiyah because he will not part from truth until death.”
Yes, ‘Ammar would turn with the truth wherever it went.
The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) prophesied that ‘Ammar will be killed by a tyrant group. He (Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam) said: “Alas for Ibn Sumaiyah, killed by the tyrant group.
The foretelling was repeated once again when a wall ‘Ammar was working beneath fell, and some brethren believed he was dead. They went to offer condolences to the Messenger (Sallallahu Alayhi was Sallam), and the Companions were shocked by the news, but the Messenger (Sallallahu Alayhi was Sallam) said reassuringly and confidently, “’Ammar is not dead. The tyrant party will kill ‘Ammar.”
Who was this party? And where? When?
‘’Ammar listened to the prophecy in a way that showed he knew the great Messenger’s truth of perception. Yet, he was not horrified. Since becoming a Muslim he had been expecting death and martyrdom every moment of the day and night.
Days and years passed. After the murder of Uthman Radhi Allahu Anhu sedition amongst the Muslims grew strong.
Some Muslims were Partial to Mu’aiwiyah, others were partial to ‘Ally the one who demanded the pledge of allegiance to him as the Muslims’ caliph. Where do you think ‘Ammar would stand? Where should he stand, the man about whom the Messenger of Allah said, “Follow the guidance of ‘Anunar,” and, “Whoever antagonizes ‘Ammar will be antagonized by Allah”?
The man who, if he approached the house of Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu Alayhi was Sallam), the latter would say, “Welcome the good-scented, kind man, allow him to come in”?
He stood by ‘Ally Ibn Abi Talib, not as a prejudiced, biased person, but as one complying with the truth and keeping his promise. ‘Ally was the Caliph of the Muslims and had the pledge of allegiance to be its leader (Imam). He took the caliphate and he was worthy of it. Above all, ‘Aly had the qualities that made his place to the Messenger of Allah as that of Harun (Aron) to Musa (Moses).
‘Ammar, who always turned towards the truth wherever it was to enlighten his insight and loyalty to the possessor of truth in that fight, turned to ‘Ally on that day and stood by him. ‘Ally (May Allah be pleased with him) was overjoyed with ‘Ammar’s pledge and trusted that he was right in his demand because great man of truth, ‘Ammar Ibn Yasir, approached and went with him.
The terrible Day of Siffin arrived. Imam ‘All came out to face the serious rebellion which he felt he had to curb. ‘Ammar came out with him, and he was 93 years old then. Imagine, a man of 93 going to fight! It is true, as long as he believed that fighting was his responsibility and duty. In fact, he fought more strongly and better than a man of 30. He was the man who was constantly silent, who spoke little. When he moved his lips, he moved them to supplicate, “I seek Allah’s protection from sedition. I seek Allah’s protection from sedition.”
‘Abu Abd Ar-Rahman As-Sulamiy reported: ” We witnessed with ‘Aly (May Allah be pleased with him) the Battle of Siffin, and I saw ‘Ammar (May Allah be pleased with him) not taking one turn nor one of its valleys but the Companions of Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi was Sallam) would follow him as if he were their standard!”
When ‘’Ammar was engaged in the battle he knew he was one of its martyrs. The Messenger’s prophecy was illuminated in big letters in front of his eyes, “The tyrant party will kill ‘Ammar.” For that reason his voice was ringing over the horizon of the battle with the following tune, “Today, I meet dear ones, Muhammad and his Companions.”
Mu’awiyah’s men attempted to avoid ‘Ammar as much as they could so as not to kill him with their swords and people would say they were the “tyrant party”. Yet, ‘Ammar was fighting as if he were a whole army and his bravery made them mad, so some of Mu’awiyah’s soldiers waited for a chance to hit him.
At noon the news of ‘’Ammar’s death spread, and the Muslims went on repeating to one another the prophecy of Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu Alayhi was Sallam) which had been heard by all the Companions on the day of the festival while building the Masjid: “Alas for Ibn Sumaiyah, killed by the tyrant party.
Now people knew who was the “tyrant party”. It was the one that had killed ‘’Ammar, no other but Mu’awiyah party. ‘Ally’s Companions became more and more convinced of this fact. As for Mu’awiyah’s party, their hearts became suspicious, and some prepared to mutiny and turn to ‘Aly.
No sooner did Mu’awiyah hear of what had happened than he came out announcing to the people that the prophecy was right, and the Messenger (Sallallahu Alayhi was Sallam) really prophesied that ‘Ammar was going to be killed by the tyrant party. But who killed ‘Ammar? Then he shouted to the people of his party, “He was surely killed by those who came with him out of his house and brought him to the battle.”
Some people who were inclined towards that interpretation were deceived, and the battle continued till the end.
As for ‘Ammar, Imam ‘Ally carried him on his chest to where he and the other Muslims prayed, and then he was buried in his own clothes. Yes, in his blood-smeared clothes which had a pure and good smell. No silk material in the whole world could have been more suitable for throud of a graceful martyr and a great saint like ‘’Ammar.
Some Companions approached each other, inquiring. One of them asked, “Do you remember the twilight of that day in Al-Madinah when we were sitting with Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu Alayhi was Sallam) and suddenly his face brightened and he said, ”Paradise is longing for ’’Ammar?” His friend answered, “Yes, on that day he mentioned others, among which were ‘Ally, Salman and Bilal.”
Paradise then was longing for ‘Ammar. The longing remained for a long time while he was urging it to wait in order to accomplish all his tasks and complete the last of his achievements. He did them all following his conscience and feeling: delight for his achievement. Was it not then time to comply with the call of longing coming from Paradise‘? Sure, it was: good is rewarded by good. That was how he threw aside his lance and went.
When the dust of his grave was being leveled on his body by his companions, his soul Was embracing destiny there in the eternity of Paradise that was longing for ‘Ammar!