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Ubayy ibn Ka'b

"O Abu Mundhir! Which verse of the Book of Allah (swt) is the greatest?" asked the Messenger of Allah (saw). "Allah and His Messenger know best," came the reply. The Prophet (saw) repeated the question and Abu Mundhir in response recited the Ayat al-Kursi or the Verse of the Throne: "Allah, there is no god but He, the Living, the Self-Subsisting. Neither slumber overtakes Him nor sleep. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on earth" (Surah al-Baqarah, 2:255) The Prophet (saw) smote his chest with his right hand in approval on hearing the reply and with his countenance beaming with happiness, said to Abu Mundhir (ra): "May knowledge delight and benefit you, Abu Mundhir." This Abu Mundhir whom the Prophet (saw) congratulated on the knowledge and understanding that Allah (swt) had bestowed on him, was Ubayy ibn Ka'b, one of his distinguished companions and a person of high esteem in the early Muslim community. Ubayy (ra) was one of the Ansar and belonged to the Khazraj tribe. He was one of the first persons of Yathrib to accept Islam. He pledged allegiance to the Prophet (saw) at al'Aqabah before the Hijrah. He participated in the Battle of Badr and other engagements thereafter. Ubayy (ra) was one of the select few who committed the Qur'anic revelations to writing and had a Mus-haf of his own. He acted as a scribe of the Prophet (saw), writing letters for him. At the demise of the Prophet (saw), he was one of the twenty-five or so people who knew the Qur'an completely by heart. His recitation was so beautiful and his understanding so profound that the Prophet (saw) encouraged his companions to learn the Qur'an from him and from three others. Later, 'Umar (ra) too once told the Muslims as he was dealing with some financial matters of state: "O people! Whoever wants to ask about the Qur'an, let him go to Ubayy ibn Ka'b (ra)" ('Umar went on to say that anyone wishing to ask about inheritance matters should go to Zayd ibn Thabit, about questions of fiqh to Mu'adh ibn Jabal and about questions of money and finance, to himself - ra) Ubayy (ra) enjoyed a special honor with regard to the Qur'an. One day, the Prophet (saw) said: "O Ubayy ibn Ka'b! I have been commanded to show or lay open the Qur'an to you." Ubayy (ra) was elated. He knew of course that the Prophet (saw) only received commands from on high. Unable to control his excitement, he asked: "O Messenger of Allah Have I been mentioned to you by name?"

"Yes," replied the Prophet (saw), "by your own name and by your genealogy (nasab) in the highest heavens." Any Muslim whose name had been conveyed to the heart of the Prophet (saw) in this manner must certainly have been of great ability and of a tremendously high stature. Throughout the years of his association with the Prophet (saw), Ubayy (ra) derived the maximum benefit from his sweet and noble personality and from his noble teachings. Ubayy (ra) related that the Prophet (saw) once asked him: "Shall I not teach you a Surah the like of which has not been revealed in the Tawrah, nor in the Injil, nor in the Zabur, nor in the Qur'an?" "Certainly," replied Ubayy (ra). "I hope you would not leave through that door until you know what it is," said the Prophet (saw), obviously prolonging the suspense for Ubayy (ra). Ubayy continues: "He stood up and I stood up with him. With my hand in his, he started to speak. I tried to delay him fearing that he would leave before letting me know what the Surah is. When he reached the door, I asked: 'O Messenger of Allah! The Surah which you promised to tell me' He replied: 'What do you recite when you stand for Salat?' So, I recited for him Surah Fatihah and he said: '(That's) it! (That's) it! They are the seven oft-repeated verses of which Allah Almighty has said: We have given you the seven oft-repeated verses and the Mighty Qur'an.'"

Ubayy's devotion to the Qur'an was uncompromising. Once he recited part of a verse that the Khalifah 'Umar (ra) apparently could not remember or did not know and he said to Ubayy (ra): "You have lied," to which Ubayy (ra) retorted: "Rather, you have lied." A person who heard the exchange was astounded and said to Ubayy (ra): "Do you call the Amir al-Mu'minin a liar?" "I have greater honor and respect for the Amir al-Mu'minin than you," responded Ubayy (ra), "but he has erred in verifying the Book of Allah and I shall not say the Amir alMu'minin is correct when he has made an error concerning the Book of Allah." "Ubayy is right," concluded 'Umar (ra). Ubayy (ra) gave an idea of the importance of the Qur'an when a man came to him and said, "Advise me," and he replied:

"Take the Book of Allah as (your) leader (imam). Be satisfied with it as (your) judge and ruler. It is what the Prophet has bequeathed to you. (It is your) intercessor with Allah (swt) and should be obeyed" After the demise of the Prophet (saw), Ubayy (ra) remained strong in his attachment to Islam and his commitment to the Qur'an and Sunnah of the Prophet (saw). He was constant in his 'ibadah and would often be found in the mosque at night, after the last obligatory prayer had been performed, engaged in worship or in teaching. Once he was sitting in the mosque after Salat with a group of Muslims, making supplication to Allah (swt). 'Umar (ra) came in and sat with them and asked each one to recite a du'a'. They all did until finally Ubayy's turn came. He was sitting next to 'Umar (ra) and felt somewhat over-awed and became flustered. 'Umar (ra) prompted him and suggested that he say: "Allahumma ighfir lana. Allahumma irhamna. O Lord, forgive us; O Lord, have mercy on us."

Taqwa remained the guiding force in Ubayy's life. He lived simply and did not allow the world to corrupt or deceive him. He had a good grasp of reality and knew that however a person lived and whatever comforts and luxuries he enjoyed, these would all fade away and he would have only his good deeds to his credit. He was always a sort of warner to Muslims, reminding them of the times of the Prophet (saw), of the Muslims' devotion to Islam then, of their simplicity and spirit of sacrifice. Many people came to him seeking knowledge and advice. To one such person he said: "The believer has four characteristics. If he is afflicted by any misfortune, he remains patient and steadfast. If he is given anything, he is grateful. If he speaks, he speaks the truth. If he passes a judgment on any issue, he is just."

Ubayy (ra) attained a position of great honor and esteem among the early Muslims. 'Umar (ra) called him the "sayyid of the Muslims" and he came to be widely known by this title. He was part of the consultative group (mushawarah) to which Abu Bakr, as Khalifah, referred many problems. This group was composed of men of good sense and judgment (ahl ar-ra'y) and men who knew the law (ahl al-fiqh) from among the Muhajirin and Ansar. It included 'Umar, 'Uthman 'Ali, 'Abdur-Rahman ibn 'Awf, Mu'adh ibn Jabal, Ubayy ibn Ka'b and Zayd ibn Harithah (ra). 'Umar (ra) later consulted the same group when he was Khalifah. Specifically for fatwas (legal judgments) he referred to 'Uthman, Ubayy and Zayd ibn Thabit (ra). Because of Ubayy's high standing, one might have expected him to be given positions of administrative responsibility, for example as a governor, in the rapidly expanding Muslim State. (During the time of the Prophet (saw), in fact, he had performed the function of a collector of sadaqah) Indeed, Ubayy (ra) once asked: "What's the matter with you? Why don't you appoint me as a governor?" "I do not want you religion to be corrupted," replied 'Umar (ra). Ubayy (ra) was probably prompted to put the question to 'Umar (ra) when he saw that Muslims were tending to drift from the purity of faith and self-sacrifice of the days of the Prophet (saw). He was known to be especially critical of the excessively polite and sycophantic attitude of many Muslims to their governors who he felt brought ruin both to

the governors and those under them. Ubayy (ra) for his part was always honest and frank in his dealings with persons in authority and feared no one but Allah (swt). He acted as a sort of conscience to the Muslims. One of Ubayy's major fears for the Muslim ummah was that a day would come when there would be severe strife among Muslims. He often became overwhelmed with emotion when he read or heard the verse of the Qur'an: "Say: He (Allah) has power to send calamities on you, from above and below, or to cover you with confusion in party strife, giving you a taste of mutual vengeance, each from the other." (Surah al-An'am, 6:65) He would then pray fervently to Allah (swt) for guidance and ask for His clemency and forgiveness. Ubayy (ra) died in the year 29 AH during the Khalifah of 'Uthman (ra).

Ubay ibn Kab (radhiyaAllaahu 'anhu) Lineage: Ubay ibn Kab ibn Ubayd ibn Zayd ibn Muawiyyah ibn Amr ibn Maalik ibn Najjar. Nicknamed : Abaa Mundhir , The chief of the Qurn recitors, and also Abu atTufayl - He had two sons at-Tufayl, and Muhammad. And a daughter Umm Amr. [1] Date of Birth: Born during the time of the Prophet SallahAllaahu alayhi wasallam. Description: - He is recognized as the greatest reciter (Qaari) of the Qurn (after the Prophet (sallahAllaahu alayhi wasallam) - He was a man of average height ; not tall and not short. He had white hair and beard. - Witnessed [and participated] in : the battle of Badr, Uhud, and the pledge of Aqabah, and all other expeditions with the Prophet (sallahAllaahu alayhi wasallam) - He memorized / collected the whole Qurn during the time of the Prophet (sallahAllaahu alayhi wasallam), and recited it to him (sallahAllaahu alayhi wasallam). Those He Took Knowledge From:

- The Prophet (sallahAllaahu alayhi wasallam). Those Who Took Knowledge From Him : - Abu Moosa (radhiyaAllaahu anhu) - Anas bin Maalik (radhiyaAllaahu anhu) - Ibn Abbaas (radhiyaAllaahu anhuma) - Ubaada ibn Saamit (radhiyaAllaahu anhu) - His sons Muhammad, at-Tufayl. - Ubayd bin Umayr - Saeed bin al-Musayyib - Abu Uthmaan al-Hindee - Zur bin Hubaysh - Abdurrahman bin Abee Laylah From Among the Sahaaba who recited to him, and learnt recitation from him : [2] - Aboo Hurayrah (radhiyaAllaahu anhu) - Ibn Abbaas (radhiyaAllaahu anhuma) - Abdullaah ibn Saaib (radhiyaAllaahu anhu) From Among the Taabieen who recited and learnt recitation from him : - Abu Abdurrahman as-Sulamee - Abdullaah ibn Iyaash - Abdullaah ibn Habeeb - Saeed bin al-Musayyib His Praise : - He is a man mentioned by Allaah: As from Anas (radhiyaAllaahu anhu) who said:

The Prophet (sallahAllaahu alayhi wasallam) said to Ubay bin Kab : Indeed Allaah has commanded me to recite to you The Qurn. So he said: Allaah mentioned me to you? He (sallahAllaahu alayhi wasallam) replied : Yes. He said : And I have been mentioned by the Lord of The Worlds ? He (sallahAllaahu alayhi wasallam) replied : Yes. [There] His (Ubays) eyes were filled with tears. [3] - He is one of the greatest Scholars of this Ummah : As in the hadeeth where The Prophet (sallahAllaahu alayhi wasallam) asked Ubay bin Kab : Which is The greatest verse in the Qurn? So Ubay replied :

) (
Allah! La ilaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), the Ever Living, the One Who sustains and protects all that exists. [Al-Baqarah:255] Then The Prophet (sallahAllaahu alayhi wasallam) hit his (Ubays) chest and said to him: knowledge will be made easy for you , O Abaa Mundhir. [4] Umar ibn al-khattab said [during his time as the Leader of the Muslim nation] : Whoever wishes to ask about The Qurn then let him approach Ubay bin Kab , and whoever wants to ask about laws of inheritance then let him approach Zayd, and whoever wishes to ask about Fiqh ; then let him approach Muadh , and whoever wants to ask about wealth ; then let him come to me , for Allaah has made me a safekeeper and a distributor. [5] - The Best reciter (Qaari) of the Quran among the whole Islamic Nation: Anas bin Maalik said : The Prophet (sallahAllaahu alayhi wasallam) said: The Best reciter from my Ummah is Ubay [6] And from Ibn Umar that The Prophet (sallahAllaahu alayhi wasallam) said: Take [learn] the Qiraat [knowledge of recitation] from four : Ibn Masoud, and from

Ubay, and from Muadh, and from Saalim the slave of Abu Hudhayfah. [7] Ibn Abbaas said that Umar said : The Best judge amongst us is Alee , and the best reciter amongst us is Ubay [8] And also Anas bin Maalik said : During the time of The Prophet (sallahAllaahu alayhi wasallam) , The Quran was collected by four , and all of them were from the Ansaar : Ubay ibn Kab, Muadh ibn Jabal, Zayd bin Yhabit, and Abu Zayd. [9] - Umar ibn al-Khattab used to refer to him as the chief of the Muslims. [10] From His Sayings : - Ubayd ibn Umayr narrated from Ubay ibn Kab (radhiyaAllaahu anhu ) who said : None will leave something for the sake of Allaah , except that Allaah will substitute from him that which is better than that in a way that he does not recognize. [11] - Indeed we recite it (The complete Quran) in (every) eight nights. - Verily Allaah has made the food of the children of Adam a parable of what this world is : even if he puts spices in it [to make it better and delicious] , it is well known what its end result is. [12] - Abu Al-'liyah reports that a man once asked 'Ubay b. Ka'b Allah be pleased with him
for advice. He said: Take the Book of Allah as your leader (imam) and be pleased with it as a judge and ruler. It is what your Messenger left amongst you. It will be an intercessor for you. It is to be obeyed. It is a witness never doubted. In it is a mention of you and those before you, and judgment for whatever happens amongst you. And in it is news about you and whatever will come after you. [13]

An Inspiration : - He used to write during the pre-Islamic days ; and in those days, those who knew to write among the Arabs were very few. [Consequently In Islam he was one of those who used to scribe the revelation.] - Al Waaqidee said : he was the first one to write for The Prophet (sallahAllaahu alayhi wasallam). [14] - From Masruq who said : I asked Ubay regarding some matter, so he said to me : O son of my brother , has this happened ?

So I said : No. Thus he said : Then lets leave it until if it happens , then we can do ijtihaad and apply our opinion. - In the six books of hadeeth ; he has around sixty hadeeths narrated from him. Death : From bin Dhumrah who said : I saw the people of Madinah flocking their streets in groups. So I asked : What is the matter with them [people] ? So some of them said : arent you one of the residents of the Land [Madinah] ? I said : No. So they said : Indeed today the chief of the Muslims Ubay ibn Kab - has passed away. There has been long discussion between the scholars regarding the exact date of his death. Imam ad-Dhahabee says regarding his death after bringing many different narrations- he says regarding the narration that he died in year 22 A.H: ..the soul is drawn to this narration. May Allaah have mercy on him , and to all the Pious Predecessors. And we ask Him The Most Mighty , The Most Praiseworthy to grant us beneficial knowledge and guide us to His straight path , imitating the best of the people in all affairs. Ameen.