Companions of The Prophet A compilation of 51 stories from ‘Companions of The Prophet’ by Abdul Wahid Hamid and Alim Online 1 Table of Contents Abdullah Ibn Abbas Abdullah Ibn Hudhafah As-Sahmi Abdullah Ibn Jahsh Abdullah Ibn Mas'ud Abdullah Ibn Sailam Abdullah Ibn Umar Abdullah Ibn Umm Maktum Abdur-Rahman Ibn Awf Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari Abu Dharr Al-Ghifari Abu Dujana Abu Musa Al-Ashari Abu Hurayrah Abu Sufyan Ibn Al-Harith Abu Ubaydah ibn Al-Jarrah Abu-d Dardaa Abu-l Aas ibn ar-Rabiah Adiyy Ibn Hatim Al-Baraa Ibn Malil Al-Ansari Amr Ibn Al-Jamuh An-Nuayman Ibn Amr An-Numan Ibn Muqarrin At-Tufayl Ibn Amr Ad-Dawsi Habib Ibn Zayd Al-Ansari Hakim Ibn Hazm Hudhayfah Ibn Al-Yaman Ikrimah Ibn Abi Jahl Jafar Ibn Abi Talib Julaybib Khabbab Ibn Al-Aratt Muadh Ibn Jabal Muhammad Ibn Maslamah Musab Ibn Umayr Nuaym Ibn Masud Rabiah Ibn Kab Sad Ibn Abi Waqqas Said Ibn Aamir Al-Jumahi 2 4 8 11 14 17 19 22 25 28 31 34 37 40 44 47 50 54 57 60 63 64 69 72 74 77 80 85 88 92 95 98 100 105 110 115 118 123 Said Ibn Zayd Salim Mawla Abi Hudhayfah Salman Al-Farsi Suhayb Ar-Rumi Suhayl Ibn Amr Talhah ibn Ubaydullah Thabit Ibn Qays Thumamah Ibn Uthal Ubayy Ibn Kab Umayr Ibn Sad Al-Ansari Umayr Ibn Wahb Uqbah Ibn Amir Utbah Ibn Ghazwan Zayd Al-Khayr 26 130 133 136 140 145 149 151 154 157 162 165 169 172 3 Abdullah Ibn Abbas 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 Abbas 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 wudu. During Salat, 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 instrument. 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 Abbas 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 wudu. 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. " The 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. 4 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 ask, 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 described 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 difference 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 wudu. He performed wudu and, seating himself, said: 'Go out and say to them: Whoever wants to ask about the Quran 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 Quran 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), 5 alal and haram (the lawful and the prohibited in Islam), inheritance laws, Arabic language, poetry and etymology. To avoid congestion with many groups of people coming 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 Quran 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 were 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 requested 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 arbitration 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 Quran 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 you. " "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 6 imself, 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 Quran 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 for 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 Quran. 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. 7 Abdullah Ibn Hudhafah As-Sahmi Scanned from: "Companions of The Prophet", Vol. 1, By: Abdul Wahid Hamid. History would have by-passed this man as it had bypassed thousands of Arabs before him. He, like them, would have had no claim to attention or fame. The greatness of Islam, however, gave to Abdullah ibn Hudhafah the opportunity to meet two world potentates of his time: Khusraw Parvez the King of Persia and Heraclius, the Byzantine emperor. The story of his encounter with Khusraw Parvez began in the sixth year of the hijrah when the Prophet decided to send some of his Companions with letters to rulers outside the Arabian Peninsula inviting them to Islam. The Prophet attached great importance to this initiative. These messengers were going to distant lands with whom there was no agreement or treaty. They did not know the languages of these lands nor anything about the ways and disposition of their rulers. They were to invite these rulers to give up their religion and forsake their power and glory and enter the religion of a people who shortly before were almost their subjects. The mission was undoubtedly hazardous. To make known his plan, the Prophet called his companions together and addressed them. He started by praising God and thanking Him. He then recited the Shahadah and went on: "I want to send some of you to the rulers of foreign lands but don't dispute with me as the Israelites disputed with Jesus, the son of Mary. " O Prophet of God, we shall carry out whatever you wish," they responded. "Send us wherever you desire. " The Prophet commissioned six of his Sahabah to carry his letters to Arab and foreign rulers. One of these was Abdullah ibn Hudhafah. He was chosen to take the Prophet's letter to Khusraw Parvez, the Persian king. Abdullah got his camel ready and bade farewell to his wife and son. He set out, alone, and traversed mountains and valleys until he reached the land of the Persians. He sought permission to enter into the king's presence informing the guards of the letter he was carrying. Khusraw Parvez thereupon ordered his audience chamber to be made ready and summoned his prominent aides. When they had assembled he gave permission for Abdullah to enter. Abdullah entered and saw the Persian potentate dressed in delicate, flowing robes and wearing a great, neatly arranged turban. On Abdullah was the plain, coarse clothes of the bedouin. His head though was held high and his feet were firm. The honour of Islam burned fiercely in his breast and the power of faith pulsated in his heart. As soon as Khusraw Parvez saw him approaching he signalled to one of his men to take the letter from his hand. No," said Abdullah. "The Prophet commanded me to hand over this letter to you directly and I shall not go against a command of the Messenger of God. " "Let him come near to me," Khusraw said to his guards and Abdullah went forward and handed over the letter. Khusraw then called an Arab clerk who originally came from Hira and ordered him to open the letter in his presence and read its contents. He began reading: "In the name of Allah, the Beneficent the Merciful. From Muhammad, the Messenger of God, to Khusraw the ruler of Persia. Peace on whoever follows the guidance . . . " Khusraw only heard this much of the letter when the fire of anger burst within him. His face became red and he began to perspire around the neck. He snatched the letter from the clerk's hand and began tearing it to pieces without knowing what else it contained and shouted, "Does he dare to write to me like this, 8 he who is my slave"? He was angry that the Prophet had not given him precedence in his letter. He then commanded Abdullah to be expelled from his assembly. Abdullah was taken away, not knowing what would happen to him. Would he be killed or would he be set free? But he did not want to wait to find out. He said, "By God, I don't care what happens to me after the letter of the Prophet has been so badly treated. " He managed to get to his camel and rode off. When Khusraw's anger had subsided he commanded that Abdullah be brought before him. But Abdullah was nowhere to be found. They searched for him all the way to the Arabian peninsula but found that he had gone ahead. Back in Madinah, Abdullah told the Prophet how Khusraw had torn his letter to pieces and the Prophet's only reply was, "May God tear up his kingdom". Meanwhile, Khusraw wrote to Badhan, his deputy in the Yemen, to send two strong men to "that man who has appeared in the Hijaz" with orders to bring him to Persia. Badhan despatched two of his strongest men to the Prophet and gave them a letter to him in which he was ordered to go with the two men to meet Khusraw without delay. Badhan also asked the two men to get whatever information they could on the Prophet and to study his message closely. The men set out, moving very quickly. At Ta'if they met some Quraysh traders and asked them about Muhammad. "He is in Yathrib," they said and they went on to Makkah feeling extremely happy. This was good news for them and they went around telling other Quraysh, "You will be pleased. Khusraw is out to get Muhammad and you will be rid of his evil. " The two men meanwhile made straight for Madinah where they met the Prophet, handed him the letter of Badhan and said to him, "The king of kings, Khusraw, has written to our ruler Badhan to send his men to get you. We have come to take you with us. If you come willingly, Khusraw has said that it will be good for you and he will spare you any punishment. If you refuse, you will know the power of his punishment. He has power to destroy you and your people. " The Prophet smiled and said to them, "Go back to your mounts today and return tomorrow. " On the following day, they came to the Prophet and said to him, "Are you prepared to go with us to meet Khusraw? " "You shall not meet Khusraw after today," replied the Prophet. "God has killed him and his son Shirwaih has taken his place on such a night and on such a month. " The two men stared in the face of the Prophet. They were completely dumbfounded. "Do you know what you are saying? " they asked. "Shall we write about this to Badhan? "Yes," replied the Prophet, "and say to him that my religion has informed me about what has happened to the kingdom of Khusraw and that if he should become Muslim, I would appoint him ruler over what he now controls". The two men returned to the Yemen and told Badhan what had happened. Badhan said, "If what Muhammad has said is true, then he is a Prophet. If not then we shall see what happens to him. " Not long afterwards, a letter from Shirwaih came to Badhan in which he said, "I killed Khusraw because of his tyranny against our people. He regarded as lawful the killing of leaders, the capturing of their women and the expropriating of their wealth. When this my letter reaches you, take the allegiance of whoever is with you on my behalf. As soon as Badhan had read Shirwaih's letter, he threw it aside and announced his entry into Islam. The Persians with him in the Yemen also became Muslim. That's the story of Abdullah ibn Hudhafah's meeting with the Persian king. His meeting with the Byzantine emperior took place during the caliphate of Umar ibn alKhattab. It too is an astonishing story. 9 In the nineteenth year after the Hijrah, Umar despatched an army to fight against the Byzantines. In it was Abdullah ibn Hudhafah. News of the Muslim force reached the Byzantine emperior. He had heard of their sincerity of faith, and their willingness to sacrifice their lives in the way of God and His Prophet. He gave orders to his men to bring to him any Muslim captive they might take alive. God willed that Abdullah ibn Hudhafah should fall captive to the Byzantines and he was brought before the Emperor. The Emperor looked at Abdullah for a long time. Suddenly he said, "I shall make a proposal to you. " "What is it? " asked Abdullah. "I suggest that you become a Christian. If you do this, you will be set free and I shall grant you a safe refuge. " The prisoner's reaction was furious: "Death is preferable to me a thousand times to what you ask me to do. " "I see that you are a bold man. However, if you respond positively to what I propose to you, I will give you a share in my authority and swear you in as my aide. The prisoner, shackled in his chains, smiled and said, "By God, if you give me all that you possess and all that the Arabs have in exchange for giving up the religion of Muhammad, I shall not do so. " "Then I shall kill you. " "Do what you want," answered Abdullah. The emperor then had him put on a cross and ordered his soldiers to throw spears at him, first near his hands and then near his feet, all the while telling him to accept Christianity or at least give up his religion. This he refused over and over again. The emperor then had him taken down from the wooden cross. He called for a great pot to be brought. This was filled with oil which was then heated under a fierce fire. He then had two other Muslim prisoners brought and had one of them thrown into the boiling oil. The prisoner's flesh sizzled and soon his bones could be seen. The emperor turned to Abdullah and invited him to Christianity. This was the most terrible test that Abdullah had had to face up till now. But he remained firm and the emperor gave up trying. He then ordered that Abdullah too be thrown into the pot. As he was being taken away he began to shed tears. The emperor thought that he had at last been broken and had him brought back to him. He once more suggested that Abdullah become a Christian but to his astonishment, Abdullah refused. "Damn you! Why did you weep then? " shouted the emperor. "I cried," said Abdullah, "because I said to myself 'You will now be thrown into this pot and your soul will depart'. What I really desired then was to have as many souls as the number of hairs on my body and to have all of them thrown into this pot for the sake of God. " The tyrant then said, "Will you kiss my head? I will then set you free? " "And all the Muslim prisoners also? " asked Abdullah. This the emperor agreed to do and Abdullah said to himself, "One of the enemies of God! I shall kiss his head and he shall set me and all other Muslim prisoners free. There can be no blame on me for doing this. " He then went up to the emperor and kissed his forehead. All the Muslim prisoners were released and handed over to Abdullah. Abdullah ibn Hudhafah eventually came to Umar ibn alKhattab and told him what had happened. Umar was greatly pleased and when he looked at the prisoners he said, "Every Muslim has a duty to kiss the head of Abdullah ibn Khudhafah and I shall start. " Umar then got up and kissed the head of Abdullah ibn Hudhafah. 10 Abdullah Ibn Jahsh Scanned from: "Companions of The Prophet", Vol. 1, By: Abdul Wahid Hamid. Abdullah ibn Jahsh was a cousin of the Prophet and his sister, Zaynab bint Jahsh, was a wife of the Prophet. He was the first to head a group of Muslims on an expedition and so was the first to be called "Amir al-Mu'mineen" Commander of the Believers. Abdullah ibn Jahsh became a Muslim before the Prophet entered the House of al-Arqam which became a meeting place, a school and a place of refuge for the early Muslims. He was thus one of the first to accept Islam. When the Prophet gave permission for his Companions to emigrate to Madinah to avoid further persecution from the Quraysh, Abdullah ibn Jahsh was the second to leave, preceded only by Abu Salamah. Emigrating was not a new experience for Abdullah. He and some members of his immediate family had migrated before to Abyssinia. This time, however, his migration was on a far bigger scale. His family and relatives, men, women and children, migrated with him. In fact, his whole clan had become Muslims and accompanied him. There was an air of desolation as they left Makkah. Their homes appeared sad and depressed as if no one had lived there before. No sound of conversation emanated from behind those silent walls. Abdullah's clan were not long gone when the alerted Quraysh leaders came out and made the rounds of the districts in Makkah to find out which Muslims had left and who had remained. Among these leaders were Abu Jahl and Utbah ibn Rabi'ah. Utbah looked at the houses of the Banu Jahsh through which the dusty winds were blowing. He banged on the doors and shouted: "The houses of the Banu Jahsh have become empty and are weeping for its occupants. " 'Who were these people anyway," said Abu Jahl derisively, "that houses should weep for them. " He then laid claim to the house of Abdullah ibn Jahsh. It was the most beautiful and expensive of the houses. He began to dispose freely of its contents as a king would share out his possessions. Later, when Abdullah ibn Jahsh heard what Abu Jahl had done to his house, he mentioned it to the Prophet, peace be upon him, who said: "Aren't you satisfied, O Abdullah, with what God has given you instead a house in Paradise? " "Yes, messenger of God," he replied, and became at peace with himself and completely satisfied. Abdullah ibn Jahsh had scarcely settled down in Madinah when he had to undergo one of the most testing experiences. He had just begun to taste something of the good and restful life under the sponsorship of the Ansar after going through persecution at the hands of the Quraysh when he had to be exposed to the severest test he had ever known in his life and carry out the most difficult assignment since he became a Muslim. The Prophet, peace and blessings of God be on him, commissioned eight of his Companions to carry out the first military assignment in Islam. Among them were Abdullah ibn Jahsh and Sa'd ibn Abi Waqqas. "I appoint as your Commander the one who can best bear hunger and thirst," said the Prophet and gave the standard to Abdullah ibn Jahsh. He was thus the first to be made amir over a contingent of believers. The Prophet gave him precise instructions on the route he should take on the expedition and gave him a letter. He commanded Abdullah to read the letter only after two days' travel. After the expedition had been on its way for two days, Abdullah looked at the contents of the letter. It said, "When you have read this letter, press on until you come to a place called Nakhlah between Ta'if and Makkah. From there observe the Quraysh and gather whatever information you can on them for us. " "At your command, O 11 Prophet of God," exclaimed Abdullah as he finished reading the letter. Then he spoke to his colleagues: "The Prophet has commanded me to proceed to Nakhlah to observe the Quraysh and gather information on them for him. He has also commanded me not to go further with anyone of you who is against the purpose of this expedition. So whoever desires martyrdom and is in total agreement with this expedition can accompany me. Whoever is not in agreement, may turn back without blame. " "At your command, O messenger of Allah," they all responded. "We shall go with you, Abdullah, wherever the Prophet of God has commanded. " The group continued until they reached Nakhlah and began to move along the mountain passes seeking information on Quraysh movements. While they were thus engaged, they saw in the distance a Quraysh caravan. There were four men in the caravan: Amr ibn al Hadrami, Hukm ibn Kaysan, Uthman ibn Abdullah and his brother Mughirah. They were carrying merchandise for the Quraysh, skins, raisins and other usual Quraysh stock in trade. The Sahabah conferred together. It was the last day of the sacred months. If we were to kill them," they agreed, "we would have killed them in the inviolable months. To do so would be to violate the sacredness of this month and expose ourselves to the wrath of all Arabs. If we leave them alone for a day so that the month will be completed, they would have entered the inviolable precincts of Makkah and thus be secure from us. " They continued consulting until finally they agreed to pounce on the caravan and take whatever merchandise they could as booty. Before long, two of the men were captured and one was killed; the fourth escaped. Abdullah ibn Jahsh and his men took the two prisoners and the caravan on to Madinah. They went to the Prophet, peace be upon him, and informed him about what they had done. The Prophet was greatly upset and strongly condemned their action. "By God, I did not command you to fight. I only commanded you to gather information on the Quraysh and observe their movements. " He granted a reprieve to the two prisoners and he left the caravan and did not take a single item from it. Abdullah ibn Jahsh and his men then knew that they had fallen into disgrace and felt certain that they were ruined because of their disobeying the command of the Prophet. They began to feel the pressure as their Muslim brothers censured them and avoided them whenever they passed one another. And they would say, "These went against the command of the Prophet. Their discomfiture grew when they learnt that the Quraysh had taken the incident as a means to discredit the Prophet and denounce him among the tribes. The Quraysh were saying: "Muhammad has defiled the sacred month. He has shed blood in it, plundered wealth and captured men. " Imagine the extent of the sadness felt by Abdullah ibn Jahsh and his men at what had happened, moreso because of the acute embarrassment they had caused the Prophet. They were sorely tormented and the agony weighed heavily on them. Then came the good news that Allah Glorified be He was pleased with what they had done and had sent down revelation to His Prophet about this matter. Imagine their happiness! People came and embraced them, congratulating them on the good news and reciting to them what had been revealed in the glorious Qur'an about their action. "They ask you about fighting in the sacred month. Say: Fighting therein is an enormity as well as preventing (people) from the path of God and disbelief in Him. Expelling people from the Masjid al Haram is a greater sin in the eyes of God. Moreover, persecution is greater than killing. " (Surah al-Baqarah 2: 212). When these blessed verses were revealed, the Prophet's mind was eased. He took the caravan and ransomed the prisoners. He became pleased with Abdullah ibn Jahsh and his men. Their expedition was certainly a major event in the early life of the Muslim community. 12 The Battle of Badr followed. Abdullah ibn Jahsh fought in it and was put to a great test, but a test to which his faith was equal. Then came the Battle of Uhud. There is an unforgettable story involving Abdullah ibn Jahsh and his friend Sa'd ibn Abi Waqqas concerning an incident that took place during the Battle of Uhud. Let us leave Sa'd to tell the story: During the battle, Abdullah came to me and said, "Aren't you making a du’a to God? " "Yes," said I. So we moved aside and I prayed, "O Lord, when I meet the enemy, let me meet a man of enormous strength and fury. Then grant me victory over him that I might kill him and acquire spoils from him. To this my prayer, Abdullah said Ameen and then he prayed: "Let me meet a man of great standing and enormous fury. I shall fight him for Your sake, O Lord, and he shall fight me. He shall take me and cut off my nose and ears and when I meet You on the morrow You will say, "For what were your nose and ear cut off? " And I would reply, "For Your sake and for the sake of Your Prophet. " And then You would say, "You have spoken the truth . . . " Sa'd continues the story: The prayer of Abdullah ibn Jahsh was better than mine. I saw him at the end of the day. He was killed and mutilated and in fact his nose and his ear were hung on a tree with a thread . God responded to the prayer of Abdullah ibn Jahsh and blessed him with martyrdom as He blessed his uncle, the Leader of Martyrs, Hamzah ibn Abdulmuttalib. The noble Prophet buried them together in a single grave. His pure tears watered the earth; earth annointed with the fragrance of martyrdom. 13 Abdullah Ibn Mas'ud Scanned from: "Companions of The Prophet", Vol. 1, By: Abdul Wahid Hamid. When he was still a youth, not yet past the age of puberty, he used to roam the mountain trails of Makkah far away from people, tending the flocks of a Quraysh chieftain, Uqbah ibn Muayt. People called him "Ibn Umm Abd" the son of the mother of a slave. His real name was Abdullah and his father's name was Mas'ud. The youth had heard the news of the Prophet who had appeared among his people but he did not attach any importance to it both because of his age and because he was usually far away from Makkan society. It was his custom to leave with the flock of Uqbah early in the morning and not return until nightfall. One day while tending the flocks, Abdullah saw two men, middle-aged and of dignified bearing, coming towards him from a distance. They were obviously very tired. They were also so thirsty that their lips and throat were quite dry. They came up to him, greeted him and said, "Young man, milk one of these sheep for us that we may quench our thirst and recover our strength. " "I cannot," replied the young man. "The sheep are not mine. I am only responsible for looking after them. " The two men did not argue with him. In fact, although they were so thirsty, they were extremely pleased at the honest reply. The pleasure showed on their faces . . . The two men in fact were the blessed Prophet himself and his companion, Abu Bakr Siddiq. They had gone out on that day to the mountains of Makkah to escape the violent persecution of the Quraysh. The young man in turn was impressed with the Prophet and his companion and soon became quite attached to them. It was not long before Abdullah ibn Mas'ud became a Muslim and offered to be in the service of the Prophet. The Prophet agreed and from that day the fortunate Abdullah ibn Mas'ud gave up tending sheep in exchange for looking after the needs of the blessed Prophet. Abdullah ibn Mas'ud remained closely attached to the Prophet. He would attend to his needs both inside and outside the house. He would accompany him on journeys and expeditions. He would wake him when he slept. He would shield him when he washed. He would carry his staff and his siwak (toothbrush) and attend to his other personal needs. Abdullah ibn Mas'ud received a unique training in the household of the Prophet. He was under the guidance of the Prophet, he adopted his manner and followed his every trait until it was said of him, "He was the closest to the Prophet in character. Abdullah was taught in the "school" of the Prophet. He was the best reciter of the Qur'an among the companions and he understood it better than them all. He was therefore the most knowledgeable on the Shariah. Nothing can illustrate this better than the story of the man who came to Umar ibn al-Khattab as he was standing on the plain of Arafat and said: "I have come, O Amir al-Mu'mineen, from Kufah where I left a man filling copies of the Qur'an from memory. " Umar became very angry and paced up and down beside his camel, fuming. "Who is he? " he asked. "Abdullah ibn Masiud," replied the man. Umar's anger subsided and he regained his composure. Woe to you," he said to the man. "By God, I don't know of any person left who is more qualified in this matter than he is. Let me tell you about this. " Umar continued: "One night the Messenger of God, peace be upon him, was havmg a conversation with Abu Bakr about the situation of Muslims. I was with them. When the Prophet left, we left with him also and as we passed through the mosque, there was a man standing in 14 Prayer whom we did not recognise. The Prophet stood and listened to him, then turned to us and said, 'Whoever wants to read the Qur'an as fresh as when it was revealed, then let him read according to the recitation of Ibn Umm Abd. After the Prayer, as Abdullah sat making supplications, the Prophet, peace be on him, said, "Ask and it will be given to you. Ask and it will be given to you. " Umar continued: "I said to myself I shall go to Abdullah ibn Mas'ud straight away and tell him the good news of the Prophet's ensuring acceptance of his supplications. I went and did so but found that Abu Bakr had gone before me and conveyed the good news to him. By God, I have never yet beaten Abu Bakr in the doing of any good. " Abdullah ibn Mas'ud attained such a knowledge of the Qur'an that he would say, "By Him besides Whom there is no god, no verse of the book of God has been revealed without my knowing where it was revealed and the circumstances of its revelation. By God, if I know there was anyone who knew more of the Book of Allah, I will do whatever is in my power to be with him. " Abdullah was not exaggerating in what he said about himself. Once Umar ibn al-Khattab met a caravan on one of his Journeys as caliph. It was pitch dark and the caravan could not be seen properly. Umar ordered someone to hail the caravan. It happened that Abdullah ibn Mas'ud was in it. "From where do you come? " asked Umar. "From a deep valley," came the reply. (The expression used ‘fadj amiq’ deep valley is a Qur'anic one). "And where are you going? " asked Umar. "To the ancient house," came the reply. (The expression used ‘al-bayt al-atiq’ the ancient house is a Qur'anic one. "There is a learned person (alim) among them," said Umar and he commanded someone to ask the person: "Which part of the Qur'an is the greatest? " "There is no god except Him, the Living, the Selfsubsisting. Neither slumber overtakes Him nor sleep,' " replied the person answering, quoting the Ayat al-Kursi (the verse of the Throne). "Which part of the Qur'an is the most clear on justice? " " 'God commands what is just and fair, the feeding of relatives . . . ' " came the answer. "What is the most comprehensive statement of the Qur'an? " " 'Whoever does an atom's weight of good shall see it, and whoever does an atom's weight of evil shall see it. ' " "Which part of the Qur'an gives rise to the greatest hope? " 'Say, O my servants who have wasted their resources, do not despair of the mercy of God. Indeed, God forgives all sins. He is the Forgiving, the Compassionate. ' " Thereupon Umar asked: "Is Abdullah ibn Masiud among you? " "Yes, by God," the men in the caravan replied. Abdullah ibn Mas'ud was not only a reciter of the Qur'an, a learned man or a fervent worshipper. He was in addition a strong and courageous fighter, one who became deadly serious when the occasion demanded it. The companions of the Prophet were together one day in Makkah. They were still few in number, weak and oppressed. They said, "The Quraysh have not yet heard the Qur'an being recited openly and loudly. Who is the man who could recite it for them? " "I shall recite it for them," volunteered Abdullah ibn Mas'ud. "We are afraid for you," they said. "We only want someone who has a clan who would protect him from their "Let me," Abdullah ibn Mas'ud insisted, "Allah shall protect me and keep me away from their evil. " He then went out to the mosque until he reached Maqam Ibrahim (a few metres from the Ka'bah). It was dawn and the Quraysh were sitting around the Ka'bah. Abdullah stopped at the Maqam and began to recite: " 'Bismillahir Rahmani-r Rahim. ArRahman. Allama-l | Qur'an. Khalaqa-l insan. Allamahu-l bayan . . . (In the | name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful. The Merciful s God. He has taught the Qur'an. He has created man and taught him the clear truth . . . )' " He went on reciting. The Quraysh looked at him intently and some of them asked: "What is Ibn Umm Abd saying? " "Damn him! He is reciting some of what 15 Muhammad brought! " they realized. They went up to him and began beating his face as he continued reciting. When he went back to his companions, the blood was flowing from his face. "This is what we feared for you," they said. "By God," replied Abdullah, "the enemies of God are not more comfortable than I at this moment. If you wish. I shall go out tomorrow and do the same. " "You have done enough," they said. You have made them hear what they dislike. " Abdullah ibn Masud lived to the time of Khalifah Uthman, may God be pleased with him. When he was sick and on his death-bed, Uthman came to visit him and said: "What is your ailment? " "My sins. " "And what do you desire? " "The mercy of my Lord. " "Shall I not give you your stipend which you have refused to take for years now? " "I have no need of it. " "Let it be for your daughters after you. " "Do you fear poverty for my children? I have commanded them to read Surah Al-Waqi'ah every night for I have heard the Prophet saying, 'Whoever reads Al-Waqi'ah every night shall ot be effected by poverty ever. " That night, Abdullah passed away to the company of his Lord, his tongue moist with the rememberance of God and with the recitation of the verses of His Book. 16 Abdullah Ibn Sailam Al-Husayn ibn Sailam was a Jewish rabbi in Yathrib who was widely respected and honoured by the people of the city even by those who were not Jewish. He was known for his piety and goodness, his upright conduct and his truthfulness. Al-Husayn lived a peaceful and gentle life but he was serious, purposeful and organized in the way he spent his time. For a fixed period each day, he would worship, teach and preach in the temple. Then he would spend some time in his orchard, looking after date palms, pruning and pollinating. Thereafter, to increase his understanding and knowledge of his religion, he would devote himself to the study of the Torah. In this study, it is said. he was particularly struck by some verses of the Torah which dealt with the coming of a Prophet who would complete the message of previous Prophets. Al-Husayn therefore took an immediate and keen interest when he heard reports of the appearance of a Prophet in Makkah. He said: "When I heard of the appearance of the Messenger of God, peace be on him, I began to make enquiries about his name, his genealogy, his characteristics, his time and place and I began to compare this information with what is contained in our books. From these enquiries, I became convinced about the authenticity of his prophethood and I affirmed the truth of his mission. However, I concealed my conclusions from the Jews. I held my tongue... Then came the day when the Prophet, peace be on him, left Makkah and headed for Yathrib. When he reached Yathrib and stopped at Quba, a man came rushing into the city, calling out to people and announcing the arrival of the Prophet. At that moment, I was at the top of a palm tree doing some work. My aunt, Khalidah bint al-Harith, was sitting under the tree. On hearing the news, I shouted: 'Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar! (God is Great! God is Great! ' When my aunt heard my takbir, she remonstrated with me: 'May God frustrate you... By God, if you had heard that Moses was coming you would not have been more enthusiastic. ' 'Auntie, he is really, by God, the 'brother' of Moses and follows his religion. He was sent with the same mission as Moses. ' She was silent for a while and then said: 'Is he the Prophet about whom you spoke to us who would be sent to confirm the truth preached by previous (Prophets) and complete the message of his Lord? ' 'Yes,' I replied. Without any delay or hesitation, I went out to meet the Prophet. I saw crowds of people at his door. I moved about in the crowds until I reached close to him. The first words I heard him say were: 'O people! Spread peace... Share food... Pray during the night while people (normally) sleep... and you will enter Paradise in peace... ' I looked at him closely. I scrutinized him and was convinced that his face was not that of an imposter. I went closer to him and made the declaration of faith that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. The Prophet turned to me and asked: 'What is your name? ' 'Al-Husayn ibn Sailam,' I replied. 'Instead, it is (now) Abdullah ibn Sallam,' he said (giving me a new name). 'Yes,' I agreed. 'Abdullah ibn Sailam (it shall be). By Him who has sent you with the Truth, I do not wish to have another name after this day. I returned home and introduced Islam to my wife, my children and the rest of my household. They all accepted Islam including my aunt KhaIidah who was then an old lady. However, I advised them then to conceal our acceptance of Islam from the Jews until I gave them permission. They agreed. Subsequently, I went back to the Prophet, peace be on him, and said: 'O Messenger of God! The Jews are a people (inclined to) slander and falsehood. I want you to invite their most prominent men to meet you. (During the meeting however), you should keep me concealed from them in one of your rooms. Ask them then about my status among them before they find out of my acceptance 17 f Islam. Then invite them to Islam. If they were to know that I have become a Muslim, they would denounce me and accuse me of everything base and slander me. ' The Prophet kept me in one of his rooms and invited the prominent Jewish personalities to visit him. He introduced Islam to them and urged them to have faith in God... They began to dispute and argue with him about the Truth. When he realized that they were not inclined to accept Islam, he put the question to them: 'What is the status of Al-Husayn ibn Sailam among you? ' 'He is our sayyid (leader) and the son of our sayyid. He is our rabbi and our alim (scholar), the son of our rabbi and alim. 'If you come to know that he has accepted Islam, would you accept Islam also? ' asked the Prophet. 'God forbid! He would not accept Islam. May God protect him from accepting Islam,' they said (horrified). At this point I came out in full view of them and announced: 'O assembly of Jews! Be conscious of God and accept what Muhammad has brought. By God, you certainly know that he is the Messenger of God and you can find prophecies about him and mention of his name and characteristics in your Torah. I for my part declare that he is the Messenger of God. I have faith in him and believe that he is true. I know him. ' 'You are a liar,' they shouted. 'By God, you are evil and ignorant, the son of an evil and ignorant person. And they continued to heap every conceivable abuse on me... " Abdullah ibn Sailam approached Islam with a soul thirsty for knowledge. He was passionately devoted to the Quran and spent much time reciting and studying its beautiful and sublime verses. He was deeply attached to the noble Prophet and was constantly in his company. Much of his time he spent in the masjid, engaged in worship, in learning and in teaching. He was known for his sweet, moving and effective way of teaching study circles of Sahabah who assembled regularly in the Prophet's mosque. Abdullah ibn Sallam was known among the Sahabah as a man from ahl-al-Jannah "- the people of Paradise. This was because of his determination on the advice of the Prophet to hold steadfastly to the "most trustworthy handhold" that is belief in and total submission to God. 18 Abdullah Ibn Umar From Alim® Online At Shaykhan, halfway between Madinah and Uhud, the thousand strong Muslim army led by the Prophet stopped. The sun had begun to sink beneath the horizon. The Prophet dismounted from his horse Sakb. He was fully dressed for battle. A turban was wound about his helmet. He wore a breastplate beneath which was a coat of mail which was fastened with a leather sword belt. A shield was slung across his back and his sword hung from his side. As the sun set, Bilal called the adhan and they prayed. The Prophet then reviewed his troops once more and it was then that he noticed in their midst the presence of eight boys who despite their age were hoping to take part in the battle. Among them were Zayd's son Usamah and Umar's son Abdullah, both only thirteen years old. The Prophet ordered them all to return home immediately. Two of the boys however demonstrated that they were able fighters and were allowed to accompany the army to the Battle of Uhud while the others were sent back to their families. From an early age, Abdullah ibn Umar thus demonstrated his keenness to be associated with the Prophet in all his undertakings. He had accepted Islam before he was ten years old and had made the Hijrah with his father and his sister, Hafsah, who was later to become a wife of the Prophet. Before Uhud he was also turned away from the Battle of Badr and it was not until the Battle of the Ditch the he and Usamah, both now fifteen years old and others of their age were allowed to join the ranks of the men not only for the digging of the trench but for the battle when it came. From the time of his hijrah till the time of his death more than seventy years later, Abdullah ibn Umar distinguished himself in the service of Islam and was regarded among Muslims as "the Good One, son of the Good One", according to Abu Musa al-Ashari. He was known for his knowledge, his humility, his generosity, his piety, his truthfulness, his incorruptibility and his constancy in acts of ibadah. From his great and illustrious father, Umar, he learnt a great deal and both he and his father had the benefit of learning from the greatest teacher of all, Muhammad the Messenger of God. Abdullah would observe and scrutinize closely every saying and action of the Prophet in various situations and he would practise what he observed closely and with devotion. For example, if Abdullah saw the Prophet performing Salat in a particular place, he would later pray in the same place. If he saw the Prophet making a supplication while standing, he would also make a dua while standing. If he saw him making a dua while sitting, he would do the same. On a journey if he saw the Prophet descend from his camel at a particular place and pray two rakats, and he had occasion to pass on the same route, he would stop at the same place and pray two rakats. In a particular place in Makkah, he once observed the Prophet's camel making two complete turns before he dismounted and prayed two rakats. It might be that the camel did that involuntarily but Abdullah ibn Umar when he happened to be in the same place at another time, made his camel complete two turns before making it kneel and dismounting. He then prayed two rakats in precisely the same manner as he had seen the Prophet do. Aishah, may God be pleased with her, noticed this devotion of Abdullah to the Prophet and remarked: "There was no one who followed the footsteps of the Prophet, may God bless him and grant him peace, in the places where he alighted as did Ibn Umar. In spite of his close observance 19 of the Prophet's actions, Abdullah was extremely cautious, even afraid, of reporting the sayings of the Prophet. He would only relate a hadith if he was completely sure that he remembered every word of it. One of his contemporaries said: "Among the companions of the Prophet, no one was more cautious about adding to or subtracting from the hadith of the Prophet than Abdullah ibn Umar. " Similarly he was extremely cautious and reluctant to make legal judgments (fatwas). ' Once someone came to him asking for a judgment on a particular matter and Abdullah ibn Umar replied: "I have no knowledge of what you ask. The man went on his way and Abdullah clapped his hands in glee and said to himself: "The son of Umar was asked about what he does not know and he said: I do not know. " Because of this attitude he was reluctant to be a qadi even though he was well qualified to be one. The position of qadi was one of the most important and esteemed offices in the Muslim society and state bringing with it honor, glory and even riches but he declined this position when it was offered him by the Khalifah Uthman. His reason for so doing was not that he underestimated the importance of the position of qadi but because of his fear of committing errors of judgment in matters pertaining to Islam. Uthman made him agree not to disclose his decision lest it might influence the many other companions of the Prophet who actually performed the duties of judges and juris consults. Abdullah ibn Umar was once described as the "brother of the night. " He would stay up at night performing Salat, weeping and seeking God's forgiveness and reading Quran. To his sister, Hafsah, the Prophet once said: "What a blessed man is Abdullah. Should he perform Salat at night he would be blessed even more. " From that day, Abdullah did not abandon Qiyam alLayl whether at home or on journeys. In the stillness of the nights, he would remember God much, perform Salat and read the Quran and weep. Like his father, tears came readily to his eyes especially when he heard the warning verses of the Quran. Ubayd ibn Umayr has related that one day he read these verses to Abdullah ibn Umar: "How then (will the sinners fare on Judgment Day) when We shall bring forward witnesses from within every community and bring you (O Prophet) as witness against them? Those who were bent on denying the truth and paid no heed to the Apostle will on that Day wish that the earth would swallow them but they shall not (be able to) conceal from God anything that has happened. " (Surah anNisa, 4:41-42). Abdullah cried on listening to these verses until his beard was moist with tears. One day, he was sitting among some close friends and he read: "Woe unto those who give short measure, those who, when they are to receive their due from people, demand that it be given in full but when they have to measure or weigh whatever they owe to others, give less than what is due. Do they not know that they are bound to be raised from the dead (and called to account) on an awesome Day, the Day when all men shall stan d before the Sustainer of all the worlds? " (The Quran, Surah al Mutaffifin, 83: 1-6). At this point he kept on repeating "the Day when all men shall stand before the Sustainer of all the worlds" over and over again and weeping until he was faint. Piety, simplicity and generosity combined in Abdullah to make him a person who was highly esteemed by the companions and those who came after them. He gave generously and did not mind parting with wealth even if he himself would fall in want as a result. He was a successful and trustworthy trader throughout his life. In addition to this he had a generous stipend from the Bayt al-Mal which he would often spend on the poor and those in need. Ayyub ibn Wail ar-Rasi 20 recounted one incident of his generosity: One day Umar received four thousand dirhams and a velvet blanket. The following day Ayyub saw him in the suq buying fodder for his camel on credit. Ayyub then went to Abdullah's family and asked: "Didn't Abu Abdur-Rahman (meaning Abdullah ibn Umar) get four thousand dirhams and a blanket yesterday? " "Yes, indeed," they replied. "But I saw him today in the suq buying fodder for his camel and he had no money to pay for it. " "Before nightfall yesterday. he had parted with it all. Then he took the blanket and threw it over his shoulder and went out. When he returned it was not with him. We asked him about it and he said that he had given it to a poor person," they explained. Abdullah ibn Umar encouraged the feeding and the helping of the poor and the needy. Often when he ate, there were orphans and poor people eating with him. He rebuked his children for treating the rich and ignoring the poor. He once said to them: "You invite the rich and forsake the poor. " For Abdullah, wealth was a servant not a master. It was a means towards attaining the necessities of life, not for acquiring luxuries. He was helped in this attitude by his asceticism and simple lifestyle. One of his friends who came from Khurasan once brought him a fine elegant piece of clothing: "I have brought this thawb for you from Khurasan," he said. It would certainly bring coolness to your eyes. I suggest that you take off these coarse clothes you have and put on this beautiful thawb. " "Show it to me then," said Abdullah and on touching it he asked: "Is it silk? " "No, it is cotton," replied his friend. For a little while, Abdullah was pleased. Then with his right hand he pushed away the thawb and said: "No! I am afraid for myself. I fear that it shall make arrogant and boastful. And God does not love the arrogant boaster. " Maymun ibn Mahran relates the following: "I entered the house of Ibn Umar. I estimated everything in his house including his bed, his blanket, his carpet and everything else in it. What I found was not a hundred dirhams' worth. " That was not because Abdullah ibn Umar was poor. Indeed he was rich. Neither was it because he was a miser for indeed he was generous and liberal. 21 Abdullah Ibn Umm Maktum Scanned from: "Companions of The Prophet", Vol. 1, By: Abdul Wahid Hamid. Abdullah ibn Umm Maktum was a cousin of Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, Mother of the Believers, may God be pleased with her. His father was Qays ibn Za'id and his mother was Aatikah bint Abdullah. She was called Umm Maktum (Mother of the Concealed One) because she gave birth to a blind child. Abdullah witnessed the rise of Islam in Makkah. He was amongst the first to accept Islam. He lived through the persecution of the Muslims and suffered what the other companions of the Prophet experienced. His attitude, like theirs, was one of firmness, staunch resistance and sacrifice. Neither his dedication nor his faith weakened against the violence of the Quraysh onslaught. In fact, all this only increased his determination to hold on to the religion of God and his devotion to His messenger. Abdullah was devoted to the noble Prophet and he was so eager to memorize the Qur'an that he would not miss any opportunity to achieve his heart's desire. Indeed, his sense of urgency and his insistence could sometimes have been irritating as he, unintentionally, sought to monopolize the attention of the Prophet. In this period, the Prophet, peace be upon him, was concentrating on the Quraysh notables and was eager that they should become Muslims. On one particular day, he met Utbah ibn Rabiah and his brother Shaybah, Amr ibn Hisham better known as Abu Jahl, Umayyah ibn Khalaf and Walid ibn Mughirah, the father of Khalid ibn Walid who was later to be known as Sayf Allah or 'the sword of God'. He had begun talking and negotiating with them and telling them about Islam. He so much wished that they would respond positively to him and accept Islam or at least call off their persecution of his companions. While he was thus engaged, Abdullah ibn Umm Maktum came up and asked him to read a verse from the Qur'an. "O messenger of God," he said, "teach me from what God has taught you. The Prophet frowned and turned away from him. He turned his attention instead to the prestigious group of Quraysh, hoping that they would become Muslims and that by their acceptance of Islam they would bring greatness to the religion of God and strengthen his mission. As soon as he had finished speaking to them and had left their company, he suddenly felt partially blinded and his head began to throb violently. At this point the following revelation came to him: "He frowned and turned away when the blind man approached him! Yet for all you knew, (O Muhammad), he might perhaps have grown in purity or have been reminded of the Truth, and helped by this reminder. Now as for him who believes himself to be self-sufficient: to him you gave your whole attention, although you are not accountable for his failure to attain to purity. But as for him who came unto you full of eagerness and in awe of God, him did you disregard. Nay, verily, this is but a reminder and so, whoever is willing may remember Him in the light of His revelations blest with dignity, lofty and pure, borne by the hands of messengers, noble and most virtuous. " (Surah Abasa 80: 116). These are the sixteen verses which were revealed to the noble Prophet about Abdullah ibn Umm Maktum??? sixteen verses that have continued to be recited from that time till today and shall continue to be recited. From that day the Prophet did not cease to be 22 generous to Abdullah ibn Umm Maktum, to ask him about his affairs, to fulfil his needs and take him into his council whenever he approached. This is not strange. Was he not censured by God in a most severe manner on Abdullah's account? In fact, in later years, he often greeted Ibn Umm Maktum with these words of humility: "Welcome unto him on whose account my Sustainer has rebuked me. " When the Quraysh intensified their persecution of the Prophet and those who believed with him, God gave them permission to emigrate. Abdullah's response was prompt. He and Mus'ab ibn Umayr were the first of the Companions to reach Madinah. As soon as they reached Yathrib, he and Mus'ab began discussing with the people, reading the Qur'an to them and teaching them the religion of God. When the Prophet, upon whom be peace; arrived in Madinah, he appointed Abdullah and Bilal ibn Rabah to be muadhdhins for the Muslims, proclaiming the Oneness of God five times a day, calling man to the best of actions and summoning them to success. Bilal would call the adhan and Abdullah would pronounce the iqamah for the Prayer. Sometimes they would reverse the process. During Ramadan, they adopted a special routine. One of them would call the adhan to wake people up to eat before the fast began. The other would call the adhan to announce the begi
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