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D r. A rafat K.

E l-A shi

Muslim World League


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Preface
By Luminaries of Islam I mean the great men and women who
followed the path of Islam and gave their lives to its cause. These people
made Islam something alive for all others to see. It is true, for instance,
that Islam is the religion of mercy and love to all humanity. This is clearly
stated in the Quran and the traditions of the Prophet peace be upon him.
But this is not sufficient to convince others about this truth. The real proof
of these virtues is only manifested by men and women who put them into
practice.

This series of Luminaries of Islam is written with that spirit, to show


others the light of Islam through the practical lives and examples of men.
May God reward those who did their best to live up to the principles of
this faith and may God forgive them for any of their human weaknesses.
May the Almighty also guide us in their footsteps to achieve happiness
here and in the Hereafter.

The Author

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In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful:
“Muhammad is the Apostle of Allah; and those who are with him are
strong against unbelievers, but compassionate among each other. You will
see them bow and prostrate themselves in prayer, seeking Grace from
Allah and His good pleasure. On their faces are their marks, being the
traces of their prostration. This is their similitude in the Torah; and their
similitude in the Gospel is like a seed which sends forth its blade, then
makes it strong; it then becomes thick, and it stands on its own stem filling
the sower with wonder and delight. As a result it fills the unbelievers with
rage at them. Allah has promised those among them who believe and do
righteous deeds forgiveness and a great reward. “

The Holy Quran (chap. 48/v.29)

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Table of Contents
1. NUH ( NOAH ) 29. AL MUGHEERAH IBN
2. IBRAHIM ( ABRAHAM ) (1,2) SHU’BA
3. MUSA ( MOSES ) (1,3) 30. AL HASAN IBN ALI IBN
4. ISA IBN MARYAM ABI TALEB
( JESUS CHRIST ) (1,2) 31. QAYS IBN SAAD
5. MUHAMMAD (1,2) 32. MUAWIYAH IBN ABI
6. KHADIJA BINT SUFIYAN
KHUWAYLED 33. UWAYS IBN AMER AL
7. FATIMAH BINT QARANI (1,2)
MUHAMMAD 34. SAEED IBN JUBAYR
8. AISHA SIDDIQA 35. URWA IBN AL ZUBAYR
9. NUSAIBAH BINT KAAB 36. AL ABBAS IBN ABDEL
10. KAAB IBN MALEK MUTTALEB (1,2)
AL ANSARI 37. UBAY IBN KAAB
11. SAWDAH BINT ZAMAA 38. AL AHNAF IBN QAYS
12. HAFSAH BINT UMER 39. SAAD IBN UBADAH
13. AL NAJASHI 40. SAEED IBN AL MUSAYYAB
( THE NEGUS ) (1,2) 41. TAMEEM AL DARI
14. KHAWLAH BINT 42. SALEM IBN ABDULLAH
THAALABAH IBN UMER
15. RUQAYYAH BINT 43. ABDULLAH IBN AL
MUHAMMAD MUBARAK
16. ABU MOOSA AL ASHARI 44. ABU QILABAH
17. AMMAR IBN YASER ABDULLAH IBN ZAYD
18. ABDULLAH IBN RUWAHAH 45. ABU SULAIMAN AL
19. ABU DUJANAH AL ANSARI DARANI
20. HASSAN IBN THABET 46. AL SHAABI
21. UBADAH IBN AL SAMET 47. MUHAMMAD IBN SEEREEN
22. SHADDAD IBN AWS 48. WAHB IBN MUNABBIH
23. AL ASHAATH IBN QAYS 49. AL HASAN AL BASRI
24. SALAMAH IBN DINAR 50. MUTTARRIF IBN
25. ALI IBN AL HUSAIN IBN ALI ABDULLAH
26. JAAFAR IBN MUHAMMAD 51. MUHAMMAD IBN AL
27. AL FUDDAYL IBN IYADD HANAFIYAH
28. ABDULLAH IBN AMR 52. CONCLUSION
IBN AL AASS 53. BIBLIOGRAPHY

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NOAH

T his series will not be limited to the traditional sons of Islam who followed
Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him and distinguished themselves in one
way or another. It will also include two other categories of great personalities:
One is the Prophets of Allah who preceded Muhammad, the last Prophet of
Islam, and whom Muhammad peace be upon him, followed, imitated, believed
in and loved so much so that he described his relationship with them to be that
of one family, one brotherhood. That is why also Islam is not simply the religion
of Muhammad and his followers but it is the one and only religion of all previous
prophets starting from Adam and ending with Jesus Christ peace and blessings
of Allah be upon them all.

The second category of Islamic luminaries that will be highlighted, Allah


willing, in this series is that of outstanding Muslim women. This is again because
greatness in the sight of Islam is not the monopoly of men alone, there has always
been an equal chance for women to distinguish themselves and rise to the highest
degrees of honor and prestige. This again will include great women who excelled
in certain virtues that raised them to the peak of honor and love. This does not
mean that we shall exclude the great luminaries whom Islam presented to
humanity and who got the torch from their greatest leader Prophet Muhammad
peace be upon him. So the present series will include the three said categories.

To start with let us now talk about the first category, namely that of the
Prophets who preceded Muhammad and in whom Muslims believe along with
this Last Prophet of Allah. The Holy Quran refers to the fact that not a single
nation but had a prophet whom Allah Almighty sent to them carrying His
revelation. Twenty five prophets, however, are mentioned in the Quran in name.
Out of them five are the greatest. These are: Noah, Abraham or Ibrahim as he is
called in the Quran, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad.

Noah or Nuh, as the Quran calls him, was a great son of Islam, the one
religion of Allah to all humanity. He was sent to his people to invite them to the
way of righteousness and belief in Allah. Describing this the Quran says: “We
sent Noah to his people with the command: Do warn your people before there
comes to them a grievous penalty. He said: O my people! I am to you a warner,
clear and open; that you should worship Allah, fear Him, and obey me. So He may
forgive you your sins and give you respite for a stated term. For when the term
given by Allah is accomplished, it cannot be delayed if you only knew.” (71-1-4)

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That was the message of Noah to his people; it is exactly the basic message
of his brother in prophethood Muhammad, as it is the same message of other
prophets from their Lord. But what sort of response did Noah receive from his
people? This is what he tells Allah in the following complaint: He said: O my
Lord! I have invited my people, night and day; but my call only increased their
flight (from the truth); and every time I have called them, so that You might
forgive them, they have only thrust their fingers into their ears, covered
themselves up with their garments, grown obstinate, and given themselves up to
arrogance. ( 71-5-7 )

Despite all this rejection of Noah’s call on the part of his people, he did not
give up, neither did he lose hope of their conversion to the truth, but he changed
his strategy. About this the Holy Quran says: “ So I have called to them aloud;
further I have spoken to them in public and secretly in private, saying: Ask
forgiveness from your Lord, for He is oft-forgiving; He will send rain to you in
abundance; give you increase in wealth and sons; and bestow on you gardens and
bestow on you rivers of flowing water.” ( 71-8-12 )

Prophet Noah, peace be upon him, was not desperate at all despite the
disbelief of the great majority of his people. He said: What is the matter with you,
that you place not your hope for kindness and long suffering in Allah, seeing that
it is He who created you in diverse stages? See you not how Allah has created the
seven heavens one above another, and made the moon a light in their midst and
made the sun a glorious lamp? And Allah has produced you from the earth,
growing gradually, and in the end He will return you into it, and raise you forth
again at the Resurrection? (71-13-18 )

“ And Allah has made the earth for you as a carpet spread out, says Noah, so
that you may go about therein in spacious roads! “( 71-19 ) Despite all these
injunctions and eye openers, the people of Noah insisted on their disbelief. Not
only this, but they started to mock him and make each other laugh at him and his
so-called absurdity! He was one of the most patient prophets history of mankind
has ever witnessed. His call continued for almost one thousand years and still
generation after generation he received nothing but rejection and disbelief.

So what did Noah do? At last he cursed his mockers and disbelievers and
started to complain again to Allah Almighty in the following words of the Holy
Quran: “ Noah said: O my Lord! They have disobeyed me. But they followed
men whose wealth and children gave them nothing but increasing loss. And they
have devised a tremendous plot. And they have said to each other! “ Abandon

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not your gods, abandon neither Wadd nor Suwa’, neither Yaguth nor Ya’ooq nor
Nasr. They have already misled many; and grant you no increase to the
wrongdoers but in straying from the straight path. ( 71-21-24 )

So what happened to the people of Noah who rejected Allah’s message to


them? In chapter 71 of the Quran their punishment is described very briefly in
the following words: Because of their sins they were drowned in the flood and
were made to enter the Fire and they found in lieu of Allah none to help them.
( 71-25 ) In chapter Hud we have more details about Noah and his people.
There we are told that it was only few poor people who followed him while the
great majority of the wealthy ones rejected and disowned him.

When there was no hope of their belief “ It was revealed to Noah that: None
of your people will believe except those who have already believed. So grieve no
longer over their evil deeds. And construct the Ark under Our eyes and Our
inspiration, and address Me not on behalf of those who are in sin; for they are
about to be overwhelmed in the flood. ( 11-36-37 )

As for those who believed in his message, Noah was commanded to say to
them: Embark you on the Ark in the name of Allah, whether it moves or be at
rest. So the Ark floated with them on the waves towering like mountains, and
Noah called out to his son, who had separated himself from the rest: O my son!
Embark with us and be not with the Unbelievers! The son replied: I will betake
myself to some mountain which will save me from the water. Noah said: This
day nothing can save from the command of Allah, any but those on whom He
has mercy. The waves separated them and the son was among those who
drowned. ( 11-41-43 )

When Noah pleaded to Allah saying: O my Lord! Surely my son is of my


family, Allah Almighty taught him a lesson saying that an unbelieving son is a
stranger to his faithful parents. Noah quickly complied and asked forgiveness.
Thus when Noah’s wife was also a supporter of the unbelievers against her own
husband, she was doomed and entered Fire as the Quran tells.

This then is the story of Noah, that great luminary of Islam whose story has
been narrated by the Quran to teach Muslims many lessons.

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IBRAHIM
PART 1

T he second luminary of Islam in the wider sense of the word is the


Patriarch of the Prophets, Ibrahim or Abraham as he is called in the sacred books
before the Holy Quran. This last book of Allah highlights the story of Ibrahim in
such a way that honors him beyond description. Despite the fact that Ibrahim
may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, lived thousands of years ago his
image in the Quran is so vivid and alive that Muslims today feel as if they are the
contemporaries of the father of all prophets as he is rightly called. Let us now see
what the Holy Quran has to say about Ibrahim.

The first image about Ibrahim in the Holy Quran is that of a restless soul
who does not accept the traditional idol-worship cult of his people. He finds
himself in an extremely awkward position. His father, Aazar, was an idol
sculptor and naturally an idol-worshipper like the rest of his people. So we read
the following verses from chapter six which say: Lo! Ibrahim said to his father
Aazar: Do you take idols for gods. I see that you and your people are in manifest
error. Thus also We show Ibrahim the power and the laws of the heavens and the
earth that he might, with understanding, have certitude. ( 6-74-75 )

The Quran then tells us how Ibrahim was guided to the truth and to worship
the One God (Allah). This is clear from the following verses: When night
covered him over, he saw a planet, he said: This is my Lord. But when it set, he
said: I love not those that set. When he saw the moon rising in splendor, he said:
This is my Lord. But when the moon (also) set, he said: Unless my Lord guides
me, I shall surely be among those who go astray. When he saw the sun rising in
splendor, he said: This is my Lord. This is the greatest of all. But when the sun
set, he said: O my people! I am indeed free from your guilt of giving partners to
Allah. For me, I have set my face, firmly and truly, towards Him who created the
heavens and the earth, and never shall I give any partners (to Allah). ( 6-76-79 )

This is how Ibrahim arrived at the truth through sound reasoning. He did
this in the open, challenging all his people who started to face him with their
counter challenge. “ His people disputed with him. He said: Come you to
dispute with me, about Allah, when He Himself has guided me? I fear not the
beings you associate with Allah unless my Lord wills something else. My Lord
comprehends in His knowledge all things. Will you not yourselves be
admonished. And how should I fear the beings you associate with Allah, when
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you fear not to give partners to Allah without any warrant having been given to
you? Which of us two parties has more right to security? Tell me if you know. It
is those who believe and confuse not their faith with wrong that are truly in
security, for they are on right guidance. ( 6-77-82 )

This is how Prophet Ibrahim emerged as a mighty messenger of Allah. In


the words of the Quran we read: That was the reasoning about Us which We gave
to Ibrahim to use against his people.( 6-83 )

From then on Ibrahim started his mission which was one of the heaviest
undertakings in human history. His first confrontation was with his own
father, Aazar, the idol maker and worshipper. Describing this the Holy Quran
says: Mention in the book the story of Ibrahim; he was a man of truth, a
prophet. Behold! He said to his father: O my father! Why worship that which
hears not, sees not and can profit you nothing. O my father! To me has come
knowledge which has not reached you; so follow me, I will guide you to a way
that is even and straight. O my father! Worship not the Devil; for the Devil is
a rebel against Allah the Most Gracious. O my father! I fear lest a penalty
should afflict you from Allah Most Gracious, so that you become to the Devil
a friend. ( 19-41-45 )

But what was the answer of the arrogant father? Unfortunately, he could not
overcome his petty worldly gains and be guided to the truth. He rather rejected
it in the following words: He replied: Do you hate my gods, O Ibrahim? If you
forbear not, I will indeed stone you. Now get away from me for a good long while.
( 19-46 )

Did Ibrahim forbear and stop his message? Never. He became stronger and
all that he said to his father was the following: Peace be on you. I will pray to my
Lord for your forgiveness, for He is to me Most Gracious. ( 19-47 ) Then comes
the following comment: And I will turn away from you and from those whom
you invoke besides Allah; I will call on my Lord. For sure, through my prayer to
my Lord I shall be not unblessed. ( 1-48 )

With this firm belief Ibrahim, peace be upon him, started his second
challenge. This time it was against the King of his country. The Holy Quran
conveys this scene in the following verse: Have you not turned your vision to one
who disputed with Ibrahim about his Lord, because Allah had granted him
power? Ibrahim said: My Lord is He who gives life and death. He said: I give life
and death. Said Ibrahim: But it is Allah who causes the sun to rise from the East,

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cause it to rise from the West. Thus was he confounded who in arrogance rejected
faith. Nor does Allah give guidance to a people unjust. ( 2-258 )

Thus Prophet Ibrahim continued his message to his people. He used


permissible tricks to do so. One day after he warned them against those idols of
theirs and his inviting them to worship the true God Allah, they said: Have you
brought us the Truth or are you one of those who jest? This they said mockingly.
“ He said no. Your Lord is the Lord of the heavens and the earth. He Who created
them from nothing, and I am a witness to this truth.” When they turned deaf ears
to his call Ibrahim said: And by Allah! I have a plan for your idols after you go
away and turn your backs.

Then he turned to their idols and said: Will you not eat of the offerings
before you? What is the matter with you that you speak not at all.” So he broke
them to pieces, all but the biggest of them, that they might turn and address
themselves to it. They said: Who has done this to our gods? He must indeed be
some man of impiety. They said: We heard a youth talk of them; he is called
Ibrahim. They said: Then bring him before the eyes of the people so that they
may bear witness.

When they got hold of Ibrahim the Prophet of Allah, they said: Are you the
one who did this with our gods, O Ibrahim? He said: Nay - this was done by
this, their biggest one. Ask them, if they can utter at all. So they turned to
themselves and said: Surely you are the ones in the wrong. Then they were
confounded with shame. They said: You know full well that these do not speak.
Ibrahim said: Do you then worship, besides Allah things that can neither be of
any good to you nor can do you any harm? Fie upon you and upon the things
that you worship besides Allah! Have you no sense. They said: burn him and
support your gods, if you would do anything at all. They made a huge fire and
threw Ibrahim in its midst. But Allah Almighty came to his assistance. And in
the words of the Quran again: We said: O Fire! Be you cool and a means of
safety for Ibrahim. Then they sought a stratagem against him, but We made
them the ones that lost most.

In these verses about Prophet Ibrahim a few points should be clarified.


When his people asked him if it was he who broke the idols to pieces, his reply
was this: Nay, this was done by this their biggest. Ibrahim, in fact, did not lie to
them here. As he signaled to the biggest idol, with his big finger, he meant that
it was done by his said finger as well as his right hand. The unbelievers
understood the opposite and it was an eye-opener to them for a few minutes. So

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Ibrahim did not lie.

Again when his people were confounded with shame and acknowledged that
they were in the wrong, they, however, refused to believe in the manifest truth
before them and insisted on disbelief. So they deserved the curse from ‘ Ibrahim
when he said: Fie upon you and upon the things that you worship besides Allah.
Have you no sense?

A third point in this context about this most outstanding luminary of Islam
is that when he was thrown in the fire, all the attending people imagined that
they would get rid of him and his call. But what happened; instead of finishing
him and eating him up, the great fire was made cool and a means of safety for
Ibrahim. What a strange miracle! But nothing is strange once it is done by Allah,
the Creator of the universe. In fact, compared to numerous other miracles of
Allah around us, this will only be a minor miracle. The very fire that they
thought will burn him up was transformed into a source of safety for Ibrahim the
great luminary of Islam. More will follow about him.

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IBRAHIM
PART 2

T his is a continuation of the story of Ibrahim the father of prophets who


indeed deserved a lot of attention in the Holy Quran. Here he is described in
some verses as “ummah” meaning a model, an example and a pattern for
imitation. Not only this but he is also an “ummah” which literally means a nation
to imply that he is equivalent to a whole nation in the sight of Allah simply
because he stood alone as a believer and a prophet of Allah against the whole
world of his time. In this context the Quran says: “ Ibrahim was indeed a model,
devoutly obedient to Allah, true in faith, and he joined not gods with Allah. He
showed his gratitude for the favors of Allah who chose him and guided him to a
straight way. We gave him good in this world, and he will be, in the Hereafter, in
the ranks of the righteous. “ ( 16-120-122 )

Not only this but Ibrahim is repeatedly described as the founder of Islam.
That is why Muslims are asked to follow the religion of Ibrahim. Thus the Holy
Quran describes him as an “imam” a leader: And remember that Ibrahim was
tried by his Lord with certain commands which he fulfilled. Allah said: I shall
make you an imam (a leader ) to people. He pleaded: And also from my offspring.
Allah answered But My promise is not within the reach of evil doers.

Ibrahim again is the prophet who rebuilt the Kaaba the first house and
mosque on earth. The Quran says: And remember when Ibrahim and Ismail
raised the foundations of the House with this prayer: Our Lord accept this from
us, for You are the All-Hearing the All-Knowing. Our Lord! Make us Muslims
bowing to You, and of our progeny a Muslim people, to you, and show us our
places for the celebration of due rites and turn unto us in mercy. For You are the
Oft-Returning, Most Merciful.

Prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h is reported to have said: I am the answer of My


father Ibrahim’s appeal. This appeal of Ibrahim is recorded in the Quran in the
following words: Our Lord! Send among them an apostle of their own, who shall
rehearse Your Signs to them and instruct them in Scripture and Wisdom, and
sanctify them; for You are the Exalted in Might, the Wise.

That is why the Holy Quran regards anyone a disbeliever if he does not
follow the religion of Ibrahim. It says: And whoever turns away from the religion

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of Ibrahim will only debase his soul with folly. We chose him and rendered him
pure in this world, and he will be in the Hereafter among the Righteous. Behold!
His Lord said to him: Be a Muslim. He said: I submit as a Muslim to the Lord
and Cherisher of the universe. ( 2-130-131 )

Not only this but Ibrahim asked his sons to follow the religion of Islam
represented in the belief in the One God and in the Hereafter. Here the Quran
says: And this was the legacy that Ibrahim left to his sons, and so did Jacob: O
my sons! Allah has chosen the faith for you, then die not except in the faith of
Islam. ( 2-132 )

That is why the Holy Quran rejects the claim that Ibrahim was a Jew or a
Christian. In a clear and decisive logic it says: Ibrahim was not a Jew nor yet a
Christian but he was true in faith, a Muslim who joined not gods with Allah.
Without doubt, among men, the nearest of kin to Ibrahim are those who
followed him, as are also this Apostle and those who believe; and Allah is the
Protector of those who have faith. ( 3-67-68 )

In his personal life Ibrahim was married to Sarah a pure and sincere believer,
but she was sterile and could not give birth to any children. When the two
immigrated to Egypt Sarah asked Ibrahim to get married to her maid Hagar who
got pregnant and gave birth to Ishmael, Ibrahim’s first born child. Despite her
purity Sarah became jealous but as a pure worshipper of Allah she addressed
herself to Him alone. So what happened? First of all, she was given the glad
tidings of a gift from Allah a son: despite her sterility and the senility of her
husband. In the words of the Quran we read: There came Our Messengers to
Ibrahim with glad tidings ... His wife was standing there, and she laughed. But
We gave her glad news of Isaac and after Isaac Jacob. She said alas for me! Shall
I bear a child, seeing that I am an old woman and my husband here is an old man?
That would indeed be a wonderful thing.

The celestial Messengers said: Do you wonder at Allah’s decree? The grace
of Allah and His blessings be on you O you people of the house! For He is indeed
worthy of all praise full of all glory. ( 11-69-71-72 )

Going back to Ibrahim’s first born Ishmael son of Hagar, Allah Almighty
commanded Ibrahim to take him and his mother to Makkah and leave them near
the House of Allah, the Kaabah which was in a dilapidated condition. Not only
this but part of the test was that he should leave them alone in the desert and join
his wife Sarah who was still in Egypt. Knowing this Hagar came to Ibrahim and

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said: Is it Allah who commanded you to do so? He said: Yes indeed. She said:
Then He will not surrender us!

Before leaving them Ibrahim said: Our Lord! I have made some of my
offspring to dwell in a valley without cultivation, by your Sacred House, in order,
Our Lord, that they may establish regular prayer, so incline the hearts of people
with love towards them, and feed them with fruits, so that they may give thanks.
O our Lord! Truly You know what we conceal and what we reveal, for nothing
whatever is hidden from Allah, whether on earth or in heaven. (14-37-38)

With tears in his eyes but faith filling his heart and that of Hagar, Ibrahim
left them behind and went away. What on earth happened to Hagar and her
baby? The new born became thirsty and his mother started to look for water. No
water was however in sight. So Allah came to their help. A spring of sweet water
gushed forth under the feet of Ishmael. What a great miracle! But it was only an
answer to a sincere prayer of the faithful. So Hagar and Ishmael survived.

But Ibrahim, that great luminary of Islam and the world had to face other
tests from Allah Almighty. After a number of years he returned to Makkah to
find Hagar and Ishmael in an excellent condition. Ishmael became a strong
youth. He was in fact the centre of the pleasure of his parents. One day Ibrahim
woke up and in the words of the Quran: He said: O my son! I see in a vision that
I offer you in sacrifice. Now see what is your view.

Facing this most difficult situation what did the son say: He said: O my
father! Do as you are commanded. You will find me, if Allah so wills, one
practising patience and constancy. So when they had both submitted their will to
Allah and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead for sacrifice, We called out
to him: O Ibrahim! You have already fulfilled the vision - thus indeed do We
reward those who do right. For this was obviously a trial. And We replaced him
with a momentous sacrifice ... Peace and salutation to Ibrahim... For he was one
of Our believing servants. (37-102-111)

For the second time, then, Ibrahim emerged victorious. He succeeded in the
trial and was rewarded by another son, Isaac, the father of all succeeding
Prophets of Israel. Ishmael, on the other hand, was the father of the seal and the
last of all the Prophets of Allah Muhammad peace be upon him and upon all the
Prophets of Allah until the Day of Judgement.

What now remains is to contemplate the bases of the strong belief of

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Ibrahim. In the previous part we showed how he could arrive at the true belief in
Allah after he looked around him. Again we are told in the Quran that: Ibrahim
said: My Lord! Show me how You give life to the dead. He said: Don’t you
believe? He said: Yea, but to satisfy my own faith and understanding. He said:
Take four birds, tame them to turn to you, cut them to pieces and put a portion
of them on every hill, and call to them. They will come to you flying with speed.
Then know that Allah is Exalted in power, Wise. When Ibrahim did this the four
birds came running in speed unto him. (2-260-261) Ibrahim was thus a great
believer in Allah and that is the basis of his great honor and prestige.

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MOSES
PART 1

P rophet Moses or Mousa as he is referred to in the Holy Quran is the third


personality in this series of luminaries of Islam. It may be asked here: But Moses
is the Messenger of Allah to Jews, himself a Jew, so how can he be a luminary of
Islam? As we said earlier, this is because we Muslims believe that all the Prophets
and Messengers of Allah were Muslims. In other words Islam has always been
the same religion of Allah conveyed through different Prophets and apostles to
various peoples. The one Allah has sent the same religion to all peoples. Thus
Moses fits in properly as a luminary of Islam.

Again Muslims can only deserve the name when they believe in all the
Messengers of Allah Almighty. One article of faith in Islam is, thus, the belief in
all Prophets of Allah. Accordingly does there remain any doubt that Moses is
also a Prophet of Islam? As a matter of fact, the following prophecy in chapter 18
verse 18 of Deuteronomy carries the promise of Allah to Moses that Allah
Almighty will send Prophet Muhammad among the Arabs who are the brothers
of the Israelites as the former are the descendants of Ishmael the elder son of
Ibrahim father of Isaac who again is the father of the Israelites. The prophecy
says: “I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee,
and will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I shall
command him”. Muslim scholars give sufficient proof here to show that the
promised Prophet is Muhammad peace be upon him.

To come now to Moses, who was this mighty Prophet of Allah? What was
his call? What does the Holy Quran tell us about him? There are numerous
details in this last Book of Allah about Prophet Moses, more than any other
Messenger of Allah. These details cover many stages in the life of Moses, his call
and his people. First of all the Quran establishes the fact that Moses is one
descendant of Ibrahim the father of Prophets. In chapter 3 verse 33 we read the
following: “Allah did choose Adam. Noah, the family of Ibrahim and the family
of Imran above all creation, offspring one of the other; and Allah hears and
knows all things”. So Moses here is implied as he is a member of the family of
Imran. These people have been chosen to be Prophets of Allah thanks to their
piety and not for anything else.

Now to come closer. The childhood of Moses is referred to at the beginning

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of chapter 28 verse 7 where the Quran says: So We sent this inspiration to the
mother of Moses: Suckle him, but when you have fears about him, cast him into
the river, but fear not nor grieve, for We shall restore him to you and We shall
make him one of the apostles.

It may be asked here: How can that be? In case Moses’s mother is afraid she
is commanded here to throw her baby in the river? The answer is that Allah is
implying here that He will save him and return him to her. Another point is that
suckling her child in fear and grief is more dangerous to him than even throwing
him in the river, because the milk in this state becomes poisonous and even
killing.

Now what happened when the baby was thrown in the river? “ The people
of Pharaoh picked him up (unknowing) that he would be to them an adversary
and a cause of sorrow. Pharaoh and Haman and all their hosts were indeed wrong
- doers. “ ( 28-8 )

Seeing the baby Pharaoh wanted to kill him as he used to kill all the new borns
of the Israelites but: “ the wife of Pharaoh said: Here is a joy of the eye, for me and
for you; slay him not. It may be that he will be of use to us, or we may adopt him
as a son.” And they perceived not what they were (really) doing. ( 28-9 )

Taking us back to Moses’ mother the Holy Quran says: On the morrow,
however, an aching void grew up in the heart of the mother of Moses, and she
would indeed have disclosed all about him had We not endowed her heart with
enough strength to keep alive her faith in Our promise. And so she said to his
sister: Trace him, and the girl watched him in the character of a stranger while
they were not aware of it. Now from the very beginning We caused him to refuse
the breast of (other) nurses; and (his sister) said shall I guide you to a family that
might rear him and look after him for you with good will? Thus did We restore
him to his mother so that her eye might be gladdened, and that she might grieve
no longer and that she might know for sure that Allah’s promise always comes
true even though most of them know it not. ( 28-10-13 )

From the cradle of childhood the Holy Quran does not tell us anything
about Moses’s affairs during boyhood. All that we have is the following
describing his puberty: “Now when he reached manhood and had become
mature of mind We bestowed on him wisdom and knowledge, for thus do We
reward those who do good”. ( 28-14 )

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We come now to the first problem in Moses’ life. “One day”, he entered the
city at a time when its people were (resting) unaware of what was going on (in the
streets). He found there two men fighting with each other - one of his own
people, while the other of his enemies. Now the man of his own people appealed
to him against his foe - so Moses struck him with his fist and made an end of him.
But then he said to himself: “ This is a work of the Devil, for indeed he is an
enemy that manifestly misleads. He prayed: “ O my Lord! I have indeed
wronged myself. Do please forgive me. “ So (Allah) forgave him, for He is the
Oft - forgiving, Most Merciful. Said he: O my Lord! For all that You have
bestowed on me (of your graces) never shall I be a help to those who are lost in
sin. ( 28-15-17 )

The Holy Quran continues to describe the minute details of Moses’ life in
this juncture so much so that one feels as if he is accompanying him. The
Quranic description runs as follows: Next morning he found himself in the city
looking fearfully about him, when, behold! The man who had, the day before,
sought his help called aloud for his support once again. Moses said to him: You
are indeed, most clearly, a quarrelsome fellow! Even then when he decided to fall
upon the man who was their common foe, he said: O Moses! Do you want to kill
me as you killed a person yesterday? Your sole aim is to become a tyrant in the
land and would not at all be of the reformers. ( 28-18-19 )

Here the situation became extremely critical. Moses found himself in an


awkward position. Everybody now knew of his crime the day before. He stood
amazed, not knowing what to do. In the words of the Quran “ Then a man came
running from the farthest end of the city. He said: O Moses! The chiefs are
deliberating upon your case with a view to killing you. Be gone then. Verily I am
of those who wish you well.

The Holy Quran then continues: So he went forth from there, looking
fearfully about him, and prayed: O my Lord! Save me from all evil - doing folk.
And as he turned his face towards Madyan he said to himself: I do hope that my
Lord will show me the smooth and straight path. And when he arrived at the
watering place in Madyan, he found there a group of men watering their flocks,
and besides them he came upon two women who were keeping back their flock.
He said: What is the matter with you? They said: We cannot water our flocks
until the shepherds drive theirs home ( For we are weak) and - our father is a very
old man. So he watered their flocks for them and then he withdrew into the shade
and prayed: O my Lord, Verily in dire need do I stand of any good which You
may bestow upon me. “ ( 28-21-24 )

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Here is the beginning of a story of pure and innocent love between Moses
the would-be- Prophet of Allah and one of the two damsels for whom he watered
the flocks. Once he saw them his heart was moved towards either of them and he
wished her to be his wife. So he addressed himself to Allah Almighty. What
happened? Allah’s answer was instant. This is described in the following
Quranic verses: Shortly afterwards one of the damsels came back to him, walking
bashfully. She said: My father invites you so that he may reward you for having
watered our flocks for us. So when he came to him and narrated the story, he said:
Fear you not. You are now safe from those evil-doing folks. Said one of the two
daughters: O my father! Hire him, for the best man you can hire is the one who
is as strong and worthy of trust as he is. ( 28-25-26 )

24
MOSES
PART 2

W e already witnessed the love story starting between Moses and one of the
two damsels for whom he watered the flocks. She expressed her admiration of
Moses to her father in the purest and most beautiful style. She said: O my father
hire him. For indeed the best man that you can hire is the one who is as strong
and as trustworthy as he is - referring to Moses. So the father got the message.
But in order not to hurt the bashfulness of his daughter who fell in love with
Moses he said: I am willing to let you wed one of these two daughters of mine, on
condition that you serve me for eight years; but if you complete ten years, it will
be grace from you. I intend not, however, to place you under any difficulty. You
will find me, indeed, Allah willing, one of the righteous.

And Moses peace be upon him got the message. The love in the damsel’s
heart was reciprocated. It occupied a spot in his heart from the very beginning
when he prayed to Allah after the departure of the two sisters asking Allah to
bestow on him part of this good He sent to him. The marriage took place and
Moses now wanted to go back to his country and people taking along with him
his pregnant wife. He did not know what was in store for him, neither did he
aspire for anything beyond his daily needs. But Allah Almighty chooses his
prophets from among the best people on earth. Moses was of those chosen ones
thanks to his excellent nature and good deeds. But how did his prophethood take
place?

The Holy Quran comes to our assistance. The Divine word runs as follows:
Now when Moses had fulfilled the term, and was travelling with his family, he
perceived a fire in the direction of Mount Toor. He said to his family: Wait here.
Behold. I perceive a fire; I hope to bring you from there some information or a
burning firebrand so that you may warm yourselves.

So Moses proceeded to catch a firebrand to warm his family. But instead he


got the fire and the light of prophethood. It is indeed the most beloved warmth
of faith in Allah Almighty, which has been granted to Moses, the chosen one of
Allah, whom Muslims love and respect and also regard as one of their greatest
luminaries although Jews consider him as their Jewish leader and prophet. But as
Islam is the religion of the whole world, it is only natural that it should take all
the prophets of Allah as one brotherhood that should be believed in by all the

25
faithful men on earth.

Here is the Quranic presentation of one example of prophethood: But when


he came to the Fire, a voice was heard from the right-side bank of the valley, out
of the tree (burning) on blessed ground: “ O Moses! Verily, I am Allah, the Lord
of the worlds. And throw down your staff! “ But as soon as he saw it move
rapidly, as if it were a snake, he drew back in terror, and retraced not his steps.”
O Moses! “ it was said: Draw near and fear not. For you are of those who are
secure. Move your hand into your bosom it will come forth white without stain,
or harm, and hold your arm close to yourself, to guard against fear. Those are the
two credentials from your Lord to Pharaoh and his chiefs; for truly they are a
people rebellious and wicked. ( 28-30-32 )

What was the human response on the part of Moses who was taken by
surprise to receive this Divine message? “ He said, O my Lord! I have slain a man
among them, and I fear lest they should slay me. And my brother Aaron - He is
more eloquent in speech than 1; so send him with me as a helper, to confirm and
strengthen me; for I fear that they may accuse me of falsehood. “Allah” said: We
will certainly strengthen you through your brother, and shall invest you both
with authority so they shall not be able to touch you; with Our signs shall you
triumph - you two as well as those who follow you. (28-33-35 )

Carrying this Message Moses joined his brother Aaron and conveyed to him
the mutual mission. Again Allah addressed both of them saying: Go, both of you
to Pharaoh, for he has indeed transgressed all bounds; but speak to him mildly,
perchance he may take warning or fear Allah. They said: Our Lord! We fear lest
he should hasten with insolence against us, or transgress all bounds. He (Allah)
said: Fear not, for I am with you: I hear and see everything. So go you both to him
and say: Verily we are apostles sent by your Lord; send forth, therefore, the
children of Israel with us, and afflict them not, with a sign, indeed, have we come
from your Lord! And peace be to all who follow guidance. Verily, it has been
revealed to us that the penalty awaits those who reject and turn away. ( 20-43-48)

We are not told that Moses and Aaron conveyed the aforementioned
message of Allah to Pharaoh; as if the style stealthily creeps and we find
ourselves face to face with that tyrant. “ Pharaoh said: Who, then, is the Lord of
you two, O Moses? He said: Our Lord is He who gave to each created thing its
form and nature, and further gave it guidance. (Pharaoh) said: What about
previous generations? (Moses) replied: The knowledge of that is with my Lord,
duly recorded, my Lord never errs nor forgets. He who has made for you the

26
earth like a carpet spread out; has enabled you to go about therein by roads and
channels; and has sent down water from the sky. With it have We produced
divers pairs of plants each separate from the others. Eat and pasture your cattle;
verily in this are Signs for men endued with understanding. From (the earth) did
We create you and into it shall We return you and out of it shall We bring you
once again. ( 20-49-55 )

Then Allah Almighty gives the following comment: And We showed


Pharaoh all Our Signs, but he did reject and refuse. He said: Have you come to
drive us out of our land with your magic, O Moses? But we can surely produce
magic to match yours! So make a tryst between us and you, which we shall not
fail to keep - neither we nor you - in a place where both shall have even chances.
Moses said: Your tryst is the Day of the Festival, and let the people be assembled
when the sun is well up. ( 20-56-59 )

In another chapter of the Quran we are given more details about the
encounter between Moses and Pharaoh. We are not told here how Moses
showed the two Divine Signs to Pharaoh. In chapter 26 we read: Pharaoh said:
Truly your apostle who has been sent to you is a veritable madman! Moses said:
Lord of the East and the West and all between! If you only had sense. Pharaoh
said: If you put forward any god other than me, I will certainly put you in
prison. Moses said: Even if I showed you something clear and convincing?
Pharaoh said: Show it then, if you tell the truth. So Moses threw his rod and
behold, it was a serpent, plain for all to see. And he drew out his hand, and
behold, it was white to all beholders! ( 26-27-33)

Instead of believing the clear signs and accepting the Divine message
conveyed by Moses (Pharaoh) said to the chiefs around him: This is indeed a
sorcerer well-versed; his plan is to drive you out of your land by his sorcery; then
what is it that you counsel? They said: Keep him and his brother in suspense and
despatch to the cities heralds to collect and bring up to you all our magicians
well-versed. So the sorcerers were got together for the appointment of a day well-
known. And the people were told: Are you now assembled that we may follow
the sorcerers in religion if they win? When the sorcerers arrived, they said to
Pharaoh: Shall we have a suitable reward if we win? He said: Yea and you will in
that case be raised to posts nearest to my person. ( 26-34-42 )

Before starting the challenge Moses conveyed the following warning to the
sorcerers. He said to them: Woe to you! Forge not a lie against Allah, lest He
destroy you at once utterly by chastisement. For forgerers will indeed suffer

27
frustration! They disputed one with another, over their affair, but they kept their
talk secret. They repeated what their master claimed namely that Moses was
nothing but a magician. So the challenge was inevitable. Then behold, their ropes
and rods, so it seems to him, to be in lively motion on account of their magic.
Then Moses threw his rod, when behold, it immediately swallowed up all the
falsehoods which they faked.

So the magicians were thrown down to prostration: They said: “ We believe


in the Lord of Aaron and Moses “. Pharaoh said: Believe you in him before I give
you permission? Surely this must be your leader, who has taught you magic! I
will cut off your hands and feet on opposite sides and will have you crucified on
trunks of palm-trees. Facing this threat the men were firm believers and did not
waiver an inch. They declared: Never shall we regard you as more than the clear
Signs that have come to us. By Him who created us! So fulfill what you want. You
only control this worldly life. We believe in Allah so that He might forgive us our
sins and the sorcery you forced us to perform; but Allah is better and more
enduring. There is indeed more to say about Moses and Pharaoh which will be
narrated in the next part.

28
MOSES
PART 3

I n the previous part we highlighted the great challenge between Moses


who conveyed the message of Allah, Islam and Pharaoh. The result of the said
challenge was that the magicians whom Pharaoh gathered from all over his
empire fell to their faces in prostration to Allah and declared their belief in the
One Allah of Aaron and Moses. Pharaoh’s threat to them did not change their
attitude and they said: We have believed in our Lord: May He forgive us our sins,
and the magic to which you did compel us. For Allah is best and Most Abiding.
They added: He who comes to his Lord as a sinner for him is Hell, therein shall
he neither die nor live, while those who come to Him as believers who have
worked righteous deeds, for them are ranks exalted, gardens of eternity beneath
which rivers flow; they will dwell there in for ever; such is the reward of those
who purify themselves from evil. ( 20-73-76 )

Moses is described as Kaleemullah, or the one who talks Allah, in the Holy
Quran. This is beautifully described in the following verses: When Moses came
to the place appointed by Us, and His Lord addressed him, he said: O my Lord!
Show thyself to me, that I may look upon Thee! Allah said: By no means can you
see Me! But look upon the mountain if it stays in its place, then shall you see Me.
When His Lord manifested His glory on the mountain He made it as crushed
dust, and Moses fell down in a swoon. When he awoke he said: Glory be to Thee!
To You I turn in repentance and I am the first to believe. Allah said: O Moses! I
have chosen you above other men by the mission I have given you and the words
I have spoken to you. Take then what I gave you and be of those who give thanks.
( 7-143-144 )

When the magicians believed in the One Allah, Moses and the Children of
Israel were let alone by Pharaoh; but after some time “the chiefs of Pharaoh’s
people said: Will you leave Moses and his people to spread mischief in the land,
and to abandon you and your gods? He said: We will slay their male children, and
only their female children will we save alive; and we have over them irresistible
power “. ( 7-127 )

In the spirit of a staunch believer and a great Prophet of Allah “Moses said
to his people: Pray for help from Allah, and wait in patience and constancy; for
the earth is Allah’s; He gives it as a heritage to such of his servants as He

29
pleases; and the end is best for the righteous.( 7-128 ) But what was the
response on the part of the Children of Israel? They were impatient and got
extremely embarrassed “. He said: It may be that your Lord will destroy your
enemy and make you inheritors in the earth, so that He may try you by your
deeds. ( 7-129 )

And the help of Allah Almighty started to come, represented in the


punishment He inflicted on Pharaoh and his people. “ We punished the people
of Pharaoh with years of drought and shortness of crops; that they might receive
admonition ... So We sent plagues on them: the flood, locusts, lice, frogs, and
blood. Signs openly self-explained; but they were steeped in arrogance, a people
given to sin. Everytime the penalty fell on them, they said: “ O Moses, on our
behalf call on your Lord in virtue of His promise to you, if you will remove the
penalty from us, we shall truly believe in you, and we shall send away with you
the Children of Israel. ( 7-130-133-134 )

But what happened? Did they really believe and send away the Children of
Israel with Moses? Not in the least. They, in fact, intensified their campaign
against Moses and his fellow-men. So Allah Almighty had the most horrible end
in store for the oppressors.

“ By inspiration We told Moses: Travel by night with my servants; for surely


you will be pursued. Then Pharaoh sent heralds to all the cities, saying: These
(Israelites) are but a small band, and they are raging furiously against us, but we
are a multitude amply fore-warned.” ( 26-53 57 )

“ So they pursued them at sunrise”, Allah says in the Holy Quran. “ And
when the two bodies saw each other, the people of Moses said: We are sure to be
overtaken.” (Moses) said: By no means! My Lord is with me! Soon will He guide
me!” What a staunch believer in Allah Almighty! The mighty Pharaoh and his
hosts were about to catch Moses and his group. Every one around him was
extremely afraid; not so Moses. He relied fully on the help of Allah which indeed
came at the decisive time. He never knew, however, how Allah’s help will come,
but he left everything to his Lord. “ Then We told Moses by inspiration: Strike
the sea with your rod”. So the rod again was the means through which Allah’s
great help was implemented. What on earth could a humble stick, used to tend
the sheep, do for a huge sea? Nay it could do one of the greatest miracles by the
will of Allah. So the sea divided and each separate part became like the huge, firm
mass of a mountain”. ( 26-63-64 )

30
It is narrated that twelve solid paths were made in the sea so that each of
the twelve tribes of the Children of Israel could pass to the other side safely.
Then the hosts of Pharaoh came closer. Moses was about to strike the rod again
so that the sea would return and become a safe barrier between the two sides.
But Allah willed something different. He ordered Moses to leave the sea
divided. “ And leave the sea as a furrow (divided); for they are a host destined
to be drowned. ( 44-24 )

So what happened to Pharaoh? Did he drown like his hosts? The Holy
Quran tells us about them saying: “ We took the Children of Israel across the sea:
Pharaoh and his hosts followed them in insolence and spite. At length, when he
was about to drown he said: I believe that there is no god except Him whom the
Children of Israel believe in. I am of those who submit to Allah in Islam. It was
said to him: Ah-now! But a little while before you were in rebellion and you did
mischief and violence. This day shall We save you in your body, so that you may
be a Sign to those who come after you. But verily, many among mankind are
heedless of Our Signs! ( 10-90-92 )

It may be asked here: Why did not Allah accept the repentance of Pharaoh
although He is the All-Forgiving, Most Merciful? The answer comes from the
Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him who said: A man is forgiven until the
moment of his death, once he is dying it becomes too late. So Pharaoh was not
accepted at that particular moment when belief will not avail any who declares it.
There is always a chance of repentance before the actual moment of death which
was missed by Pharaoh.

Now Moses and the Children of Israel were saved. What happened to them
next? The Holy Quran says: We divided them into twelve tribes or nations. We
revealed to Moses when his thirsty people asked him for water: Strike the rock
with your staff. “ Out of it gushed forth twelve springs: Each group knew its own
place for water. We gave them the shade of clouds, and sent down to them
“manna” and quails saying: Eat of the good things We have provided for you.”
But they rebelled; to Us they did no harm, but they harmed their own souls.
( 7-160 )

So the same staff by which Moses showed a great sign to Pharaoh, and which
divided the sea, Moses could get sweet water for drinking. Not only this his
people were granted the best food and shade. But instead of thanking their Lord
they rebelled and imitated some idol-worshippers and so they were led astray.

31
Again they rebelled against that lofty food and said: O Moses! We cannot endure
one kind of food always; so beseech your Lord for us to produce for us of what
the earth grows its pot-herbs, cucumbers, its garlic, lentils and onions. He said:
Will you change the better for the worse? Go down to any town where you shall
find what you want. ( 2-61 )

Describing how the Children of Israel asked Moses to make idols for them
the Holy Quran says: They came upon a people devoted entirely to some idols
they had. They said: O Moses! Fashion for us a god like the gods they have. He
said: Surely you are a people without knowledge. As to these folk, the cult they are
in is but a fragment of ruin and vain is the worship they practise. ( 7-138-139 )

Thus Moses warned them against idol-worship, but once he left them to
receive more revelation from his Lord they made an idol of gold and started to
worship it. Moses was told about this by his Lord. So he returned angry and
condemned their rebellion against the established belief in the One Allah.
Despite all these attempts the Children of Israel were always cowards and most
embarrassing to Moses. Their cowardice was reflected in their attitude when
Moses asked them to wage war against disbelievers in Palestine. They refused
and said: Go you and your Lord. Fight both of you we are sitting here waiting.
This attitude brought about the diaspora which continued for forty long years
during which time Moses died and was buried in Sinia. Thus ended the story of
Moses, that great luminary of Islam who conveyed the call to the One Allah but
he faced lots of hardships not only at the hands of his opponents but even at the
hands of his own people.

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JESUS CHRIST
PART 1

T he fourth luminary of Islam we are going to highlight in this series is


Prophet Jesus Christ peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. As a matter of
fact, no other personality in human history has been so much maligned and his
image is so much distorted as is the case with Jesus Christ. While the Jews drop
his name from their scriptures and claim that he was a fake prophet, the
product of adultery and a rebel against their faith so he deserved the
punishment he received and will go to Hell, the Christians or the supposed
followers of Jesus exaggerated and went to the other extreme. They claimed
that Jesus was God incarnate, or that he was the son of God ... So both extremes
were far from the truth.

It was only the Holy Quran, the last pure word of Allah, that established the
true image of Jesus. So what does the Quran say about Jesus Christ? There are in
fact two main places where the story of Jesus is given in some detail. One is that
of chapter three which starts as follows: Allah did choose Adam, and Noah, the
family of Ibrahim and the family of Imran above all the worlds,- offspring one of
the other, and Allah hears and knows all things. ( 3-33-34 )

After this introduction we have a little talk about the family of Jesus from
his mother’s side. “ Behold! The wife of Imran said: O my Lord, I do dedicate
to you what is in my womb for Your special service; so accept this of me, for You
are the All-Hearer All-Knower. When she delivered the baby she said: O my
Lord! I am delivered of a female child “ - and Allah knows best what she
brought forth - and in no wise is the male like the female. I have named her
Mary, and I commend her and her offspring to your protection from the Evil
One, the Rejected. ( 3-35-36 )

This is how virgin Mary was born. A testimony is then given in favour of the
purest virgin the world has ever known: “ Right graciously did her Lord accept
her; He made her grow in purity and beauty; to the care of Zakariya was she
assigned. Every time he entered the altar to see her, he found her supplied with
sustenance. He said: “ O Mary! “ Whence comes this to you? “ She said: From
Allah; for Allah indeed provides sustenance to whom He pleases without
measure. ( 3-37 )

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That was an important lesson to Prophet Zakariya who was a weak old man
and his wife was sterile. Seeing this miracle the Quran says: There did Zakariya
pray to his Lord: Saying: O my Lord! Grant me from You a progeny that is pure,
for You are He that hears prayer. While he was standing in prayer in the altar, the
angels called unto him: “ Allah does give you glad tidings of Yahya, witnessing
the truth of a word from Allah and be, besides, noble, chaste and a prophet of the
goodly company of the righteous.

It may be said here, why is this digression from the story of Mary and Jesus?
The clear answer is that this is not a digression at all, but rather a preparation
and an introduction to the actual biography of Jesus. It is even part of that
biography. We shall see that as Yahya was born through a miracle by the will of
Allah Almighty so also Jesus was born without a father. The presence of weak
old and sterile parents in the case of Yahya is- as miraculous as the presence of a
virgin mother only in the case of Jesus. It was not the parents that created the
offspring in those cases but Allah Almighty is the only creator, neither can any
parent claim to be the creator of his or her children simply because some couples
are sterile.

Now back to Zakariya. What was his response towards this glad tidings of
having a child in his weak old age? “ He said: O my Lord! How shall I have a son,
seeing I am very old, and my wife is barren? “Thus”, was the answer, does Allah
accomplish what He wills.” He said: O my Lord! Give me a sign! Thy sign, was
the answer, shall be that you shall speak to no man for three days but with
signals. Then celebrate the praises of your Lord again and again, and glorify Him
in the evening and in the morrow. ( 3-40-41 )

“ So Zakariya came out to his people from the altar, he told them by signs
to celebrate Allah’s praises in the morning and the evening. To his son came the
command: “ O Yahya! Take hold of the Book with might “ and We gave him
wisdom even as a youth, and pity for all creatures, as from Us, and purity. He
was devout and kind to his parents, and he was not over bearing or rebellious.
So peace on him, the day he was born, the day that he dies and the day that he
will be raised up to life again! ( 19-11-15 )

If we remember that Yahya was later on unjustly massacred at the hands


of an oppressing ruler to satisfy a prostitute as we read the story in the Bible,
we shall see how great was the crime o,f denying him as well as Jesus Christ
after him.

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Now to come closer. Behold! The angels said: O Mary! Allah has chosen you
and purified you and chosen you above the women of all nations. O Mary!
Worship your Lord devoutly, prostrate yourself and bow down with those who
bow down. ( 3-42-43 )

After this preparation of Virgin Mary we have the actual story of the birth of
Jesus: Relate in the Book the story of Mary, when she withdrew from her family,
to a place in the East. She screened herself from them; then We sent to her Our
spirit (angel Gabriel) and he appeared before her as a man in all respects. She
said: I seek refuge from you in Allah Most Gracious (come not near) if you do
fear Allah. He said: Nay, I am only a messenger from your Lord, to announce to
you the gift of a pure son. She said: How shall I have a son, when no man has ever
touched me, and I am not unchaste? He said: So it will be, your Lord says: “ That
is easy for Me; and We wish to appoint him as a sign unto men and a Mercy from
Us’: It was a matter so decreed. ( 19-16-21 )

In another chapter the angels said: O Mary! Allah gives you glad tidings of
a Word from Him, his name will be Christ Jesus, son of Mary, held in honour in
this world and the Hereafter and of those nearest to Allah. He shall speak to
people in childhood and in maturity, and he shall be of the righteous. ( 3-45-46 )

Mary, however, did not submit to this extra-ordinary event. She said: O my
Lord! How shall I have a son when no man has touched me? He said: Even so.
Allah creates what He wills; when He has decreed a plan, He but says to it, “Be”
and it is. ( 3-47 )

Then the Holy Quran tells us what kind of message Jesus has been entrusted
with. “ And Allah will teach him the Book and Wisdom, the law and the Gospel,
and appoint him an apostle to the Children of Israel (with this message): “ I have
come to you, with a Sign from your Lord, in that I make for you out of clay, as it
were, the figure of a bird, and breathe into it, and it becomes a bird with the leave
of Allah, and I heal those born blind and the lepers, and I quicken the dead by
Allah’s leave; and I declare to you what you eat, and what you store in your
houses. Surely therein is a Sign for you if you did believe. (3-48-49)

Confirming the previous message of Allah Jesus said: I have come to you to
attest the law which was before me, and to make lawful to you part of what was
before forbidden to you with a Sign from your Lord. So fear Allah and obey me.
Allah is indeed my Lord and your Lord! Then worship Him. This is a way that
is straight. ( 3-50-5 1 )

35
Further details are given in chapter 19 about the circumstances attending
and preceding Jesus’s birth. “ So she conceived him, and then she retired with
him to a remote place. The pains of childbirth drove her to the trunk of a palm-
tree. She cried (in her anguish) Ah! Would that I had died before this! Would that
I had been a thing forgotten and out of sight. But a voice cried to her from
beneath her: “ Grieve not! For your Lord has provided a revulet beneath you - So
shake towards yourself the trunk of the palm-tree, it will let fall fresh ripe dates
upon you. So eat and drink and cool your eye. And if you do see any man, say, “
I have vowed a fast to Allah, Most Gracious, and this day will I enter into no talk
with any human being. ( 19-22-26 )

What happened next after this miraculous birth of Jesus from Virgin Mary?
“ At length she brought the baby to her people, carrying him in her arms. They
said: O Mary! Truly an amazing thing have you brought! O sister of Aaron! Your
father was not a man of evil, nor your mother a woman unchaste! “ But she
pointed to him. they said: How can we talk to one who is a child in the cradle? He
said: I am indeed a servant of Allah: He has given me Revelation and made me a
prophet; and He has made me blessed wheresoever I be; and has enjoined on me
prayer and charity as long as I live. He has made me kind to my mother, and not
overbearing or miserable. So peace is on me, the day I was born, the day that I
die, and the day that I shall be raised up to life again. ( 19-27-33 )

36
JESUS CHRIST
PART 2

H ow wonderful and amazing indeed is the story of Jesus Christ in the Holy
Quran! It leaves us sure of a number of things, one is the chastity and the
absolute purity of Virgin Mary who is at the same time shown as a weak mortal;
that is why the details about her child-birth are given and her need for food and
drink like any other mortal. This is, in fact, an indirect but a conclusive answer
to those who claim her to be the mother of God.

The second thing in the Quranic story of Jesus is that the first thing he
declared was that he was nothing but the slave and servant of God. As a matter
of fact, even in the New Testament, never has Jesus claimed to be God or son of
God. All he said was that he was son of man who came as a prophet from God:
Nothing more nothing less.

As for his miraculous birth without a father, this does not make him son of
God, but simply the creation of God like any other creation. His seemingly
unique birth was only intended as an eye-opener to the Children of Israel who
led a purely materialistic life. Again he was not the first man to be born without
a father. Adam had no father or mother; Eve had no mother and Yahya or John
the Baptist, as he is referred to in the New Testament, was born of barren
parents. This is to show that it is Allah who creates and not the parents who are
only humble means in the process.

Mary, again, is referred to as the sister of Aaron. Some people, especially


opponents of the Quran, said: How can she be sister of Aaron and Moses when
hundreds of years and several generations separate the two? These people are
unaware of the fact that the name Aaron is a common name among Jews, so he is
not necessarily the same Aaron, the brother of Moses. Again there was a
tradition among the Jews to call themselves after their pious personalities. So it is
not at all strange to call Mary here sister of Aaron to remind her that she comes
from a righteous family, so how could she do this thing?

After that wonderful scene of Jesus Christ defending his mother while still in
the cradle we have this comment from Allah in the Holy Quran: “ Such was Jesus,
the son of Mary; it is a statement of truth, about which they vainly dispute. It is
not befitting to the majesty of Allah, that He should beget a son. Glory be to Him!

37
When He determines a matter, He only says to it, be and it is “. ( 19-34-35 )

Then Jesus is made to testify that “ verily Allah is my Lord and your Lord;
Him alone, therefore, you should worship. This is a way that is straight “. ( 19-36 )

Once this call of Jesus was launched which was only a confirmation of the
calls of previous prophets, his contemporaries differed and were divided into
several sects. Very few among them believed in the real message of Jesus. These
are called the Supporters by the Quran and we shall talk about them towards the
end. But the great majority of the Jews of the time rejected his message, not
because they could not understand it, but in defence of their vested interests. So
they started to spread rumours against Jesus and began to trace him and ask him
several questions in order to instigate both the masses and the rulers against him.
It is claimed in other scriptures that he was captured and dragged to the ruler
who ordered him to be crucified, and thus he and his call were finished.

But the Holy Quran has something different to confirm; and as it corrected
the story of Jesus’s birth as well as his call, so it also corrected the tale of his end
on earth. The Quran clearly states that Allah has saved him from the cross and
someone else was crucified in his place. Here are the words of the Quran: That
they said (in boast) “ We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Apostle of
Allah “. This they said in mockery, because if they believed him to be the
messenger of Allah, they would not have boasted to be his killers. But Allah
Almighty says: “ But they killed him not, nor crucified him. So it was made to
appear to them. And those who differ concerning him are full of doubts, with no
certain knowledge, but only conjecture to follow. For of surety they killed him
not, but Allah raised him up unto Himself; and Allah is Exalted in power, Wise.
( 4-157-158 )

Muslims also believe that Jesus Christ will come back to earth before the
Day of Judgement and will declare his belief in Islam and follow the teachings of
the Quran and Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him and upon all the
Prophets of Allah. This is clear from a number of Prophetic traditions that
confirm Christ’s return to earth.

Not only this, but the Holy Quran also states that all the People of the Book,
both Jews and Christians, will testify their belief in Jesus as a slave and a prophet
of Allah before their actual death, that is on their death bed and on the Day of
Judgement they will give testimony to this effect. The Quran says: “ And there
is none of the People of the Book but must believe in him before his death; and

38
on the Day of Resurrection will be a witness against them “. ( 4-159 ) But this
testimony will not avail those who declare it, because they did it when it was too
late.

But how does the Holy Quran correct the belief in Jesus? This is mentioned
in many chapters of the Holy Book. The Quran for example addresses both Jews
and Christians saying: O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your
religion: Nor say of Allah anything but the truth. Christ Jesus, son of Mary, was
no more than an apostle of Allah, and His word, which He delivered to Mary,
and a spirit from Him. So believe in Allah and His apostles; say not Trinity;
desist, it will be better for you; for Allah is One God, glory be to Him; far exalted
is He above having a son. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth.
And enough is Allah as a Disposer of affairs. ( 4-171 )

The Holy Quran then says: Christ disdains not to serve and worship Allah,
nor do the angels, those nearest to Allah. Those who disdain His worship and are
arrogant, He will gather them all together unto Himself to answer. ( 4-172 )

In chapter five verse seventy five we read the following: They do blaspheme
who say “ Allah is Christ, son of Mary “ But said Christ: O Children of Israel!
Worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord “. Whoever joins other gods with Allah,
Allah will forbid him Paradise, and the Fire will be his abode. There will be no
one to help for the wrong-doers. They do blaspheme who say: Allah is one of
three in a Trinity; for there is no god except One God. If they desist not from
their word of blasphemy, verily a grievous penalty will then befall the
disbelievers among them. ( 5-75-76 )

Calling them back to the right belief in Allah the Quran says: Why turn they
not to Allah, and seek His forgiveness? For Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most
Merciful. Christ, son of Mary was no more than an apostle; many were the
apostles that passed away before him. His mother was a woman of truth. They
had both to eat their daily food. See how We make the Signs clear to them, yet see
in what ways they are deluded away from the truth. ( 5-77-78 )

Again the Holy Quran compares Jesus Christ to Adam, the father of all
humanity who has been created without a father or a mother. In a
straightforward logic the Quran says: The similitude of Jesus before Allah is as
that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him “Be” and he was. The
truth comes from your Lord, so be not of those who doubt. ( 3-59-60 )

39
Two things remain to be mentioned before we conclude the story of this
great luminary of Islam - Jesus Christ in whom all Muslims believe and who is
honoured and respected by the Quran. The first thing is that miraculous table of
food which his supporters asked to be sent to them from Allah when Jesus
warned them to fear Allah if they had faith they said: We only wish to eat thereof
and satisfy our hearts, and to know that you have indeed told us the truth; and
that we ourselves may be witnesses to the miracle. ( 5-116 ) So the table came
down as they asked.

The second thing that has to be mentioned here is that the Holy Quran
tells us about what will happen on the Day of Judgement and how He will call
Jesus to court and ask him about the falsehoods ascribed to him. “ Allah will
say: O Jesus, son of Mary! Did you say to men worship me and my mother as
gods in derogation of Allah. He will say: Glory to You! Never could I say what
I had no right to say. Had I said such a thing, You would indeed have known
it ... Never said I to them except what You did command me to say, to wit:
Worship Allah my Lord and your Lord; and I was a witness over them while
I dwelt among them. When You took me up, You were the Watcher over them;
and You are a Witness to all things. If you do punish them, they are your
slaves, and if You forgive them You indeed You, are the Exalted in power, the
Wise. ( 5-1 119-20-121 )

40
MUHAMMAD
PART 1

H aving highlighted the four greatest Prophets who preceded Muhammad


peace and blessings of Allah be upon them all, we come now to the greatest of all
the offspring of Adam. This is not an exaggeration at all. For not only friends and
followers loved him most so much so that one of his staunch opponents, having
seen part of this love on behalf of his followers, gave the following comment: I
have never seen anybody loving another as I saw the love of the followers of
Muhammad to Muhammad. Not only this but even foes, past and present could
not but acknowledge this last Prophet’s astounding greatness.

Here are some of these acknowledgements which come from different scholars
and world personalities. About him Mahatma Ghandi said: “ Muhammad was a
great prophet ... and feared no man but Allah alone. He was never found to say one
thing and do another “.

Lamartine, the great French orientalist said: If greatness of purpose,


smallness of means, and astounding results are the three criteria of human
genius, who could dare to compare any great man in modern history with
Muhammad? The most famous men created arms, laws and empires only. They
founded, if anything at all, no more than material powers which often crumbled
away before their eyes. This man moved not only armies, legislations, empires
peoples and dynasties, but millions of men in one-third of the then-inhabited
world; and more than that, he moved the altars, the deities, the religions, the
ideas, the beliefs and souls.

Continuing his glowing tribute to Prophet Muhammad Lamartine says: His


forbearance in victory, his ambition, which was entirely devoted to one idea and
in no manner, striving for an empire, his endless prayers, his mystic
conversations with Allah, his death and his triumph after death, all these attest
not to an imposture but to a firm conviction which gave him the power to restore
a dogma. This dogma was twofold, the unity of Allah and the immateriality of
Allah, the former telling what Allah is, the one overthrowing false gods with the
sword, the other starting an idea with the words.

Acknowledging Muhammad’s all-embracing personality Lamartine says:


Philosopher, orator, apostle, legislator, warrior, conqueror of ideas, restorer of

41
rational dogmas, of a cult without images, the founder of twenty terrestrial
empires and of one spiritual empire, that is Muhammad. As regards all standards
by which human greatness may be measured, we may well ask, is there any man
greater than he?

Lamartine, Histoire de la Turquie


Paris 1834 Vol. 11 .pp. 276-277

In their book called History of the Saracen Empire, Edward Gibbon and
Simon Ocklay write: It is not the propagation but the permanency of his religion
that deserves our wonder; the same pure and perfect impression which he
engraved at Mecca and Madina is preserved, after the revolution of twelve
centuries by the Indian, the African and the Turkish proselytes of the Koran. The
Mahometans have uniformly withstood the temptation of reducing the object of
their faith and devotion to a level with the senses and imagination of man. “ I
believe in one Allah and Mahomet is the Apostle of Allah “ is the simple and
invariable profession of Islam.

The two Western authors then say: The intellectual image of the Deity has
never been degraded by any visible idol; the honours of the Prophet have never
transgressed the measure of human virtue; and his living precepts have
restrained the gratitude of his disciples within the bounds of reason and religion.

History of the Saracen Empire


London, 1878, P. 54

Again in his book Mohammad and Mohammadanism Bosworth Smith says:


He was Caesar and Pope in one, but he was Pope without Pope’s pretentions,
Caesar without the legions of Caesar; without a standing army, without a
bodyguard, without a palace, without a fixed revenue. If ever any man had the
right to say that he ruled by the right divine, it was Mohammad, for he had all
the power without its instruments and without its supports.

London, 1874, P. 92

These were mostly testimonies from the West. Here is one testimony from
the East. In “The Life and Teachings of Muhammad” by Annie Besant, Madras
1932 we read the following: It is impossible for anyone who studies the life and
character of the great prophet of Arabia, who knows how he taught and how he

42
lived, to feel anything but reverence for that mighty Prophet, one of the great
messengers of the Supreme. And although in what I put to you I shall say many
things which may be familiar to many, yet I myself feel whenever I re-read them
a new way of admiration, a new sense of reverence for that mighty Arabian
teacher.

Here is again another tribute from the famous English orientalist W.


Montgomery who in his book “Mohammad at Mecca” writes: His readiness to
undergo persecution for his beliefs, the high moral character of the men who
believed in him and looked up to him as a leader, and the greatness of his ultimate
achievement - all argue his fundamental integrity. To suppose Muhammad an
imposter raises more problems than it solves. Moreover, none of the great figures
of history is so poorly appreciated in the West as Muhammad.

Oxford,1953,P.52
In the American edition of the Reader’s Digest James A. Michener wrote an
article under the title “Islam the Misunderstood Religion” where he says:
Muhammad, the inspired man who founded Islam, was born about A.D. 570
into an Arabian tribe that worshipped idols. Orphaned at birth, he was always
particularly solicitous of the poor and needy, the widow and the orphan, the slave
and the down trodden. At twenty he was already a successful businessman, and
soon became director of camel caravans for a wealthy widow. When he became
twenty five his employer, recognizing his merit, proposed marriage. Even
though she was fifteen years older, he married her, and as long as she lived
remained a devoted husband.

Then the American writer James A. Michener says: Like almost every major
prophet before him, Muhammad fought shy of serving as the transmitter of
Allah’s word, sensing his own inadequacy, but the angel commanded “Read”. So
far as we know, Muhammad was unable to read or write, but he began to dictate
those inspired words which would soon revolutionize a large segment of the earth
“There is One Allah”.

In all things, Mr. Michener continues, Muhammad was profoundly


practical. When his beloved son Ibrahim died, an eclipse occurred, and rumours
of Allah’s personal condolence quickly arose. Whereupon Muhammad is said to
have announced: An eclipse is a phenomenon of nature. It is foolish to attribute
such things to the death or birth of a human being. “ At Muhammad’s own death
an attempt was made to deify him, but the man who was to become his

43
administrative successor killed the hysteria with one of the noblest speeches in
religious history: If there are any among you who worshipped Muhammad, he is
dead. But if it is Allah you worshipped he lives for ever “. ( May 1955 pp. 68-70 )

To justify his selection of Muhammad as the first in the 100 topmost


personalities in human history Michael H. Hart says: My choice of Muhammad
to lead the list of the world’s most influential persons may surprise some readers
and may be questioned by others, but he was the only man in history who was
supremely successful on both the religious and secular levels.

George Bernard Shaw, the famous Irish author and philosopher, also
contributed to these testimonies of Western non-Muslim scholars concerning
Prophet Muhammad. He said: If any religion has the chance of ruling over
England, nay, Europe, within the next hundred years, it can only be Islam. I have
always held the religion of Muhammad in high estimation because of its
wonderful vitality. It is the only religion which appears to me to possess the
assimilating capability to the changing face of existence which can make its
appeal to every age. I believe that if a man like Muhammad were to assume the
dictatorship of the Modern world, he would succeed in solving its problems in a
way that would bring it much needed peace and happiness.

A well-known Christian priest Rev. R. Mazwell King says: I have read in


Muslim writings such deep and tender expressions of respect and reverence for
Jesus that for the time I almost forgot I was not reading the words of a Christian
writer. How different, it is sad to say, has been the way in which Christians have
spoken and written of Muhammad. Let us put it down to its true cause,
ignorance.

To conclude these tributes of non-Muslim writers we may quote G. W.


Leitner who said: “ The Prophet Muhammad who disclosed in the 6th century
what the labours of hundreds of scholars have discovered in the 20th century,
must have been speaking with Divine authority. In fact, he appeared to revive
and complete true religion of nations on earth. Islam is the final restatement of
the religion of all prophets “.

44
MUHAMMAD
PART 2

I n the previous part we quoted a number of non-Muslim scholars to show


how this last prophet of Allah is seen by some objective scholars who are not his
own followers. Here are some more tributes given by the same category because,
as they say, virtue is best testified by foes rather than friends. In the words of Rev.
Bosworth Smith we read the following: “ Illiterate himself, scarcely able to read
or write, he was yet the author of a book which is a Poem, a code of Laws, a book
of Common Prayers and a Bible all in one; and is reverenced to this day by a sixth
of the whole human race as a miracle of purity of style, of wisdom, and of truth.
It is the miracle claimed by Muhammad, his standing miracle, he called it, and a
miracle indeed it is “.

Despite this glowing tribute on the part of Rev. Bosworth Smith, it is sad to
remark here that he claimed that Muhammad, peace be upon him, was the
author of the Holy Quran. In this he reflects the old prejudice against Islam
which made the great majority of Western scholars, one century ago, to insist
that Muahammadanism is the name of the religion and not Islam. What a clear
ignorance of the reality of prophethood! Muhammad was not the first or the only
prophet who spoke under the Divine inspiration, what they misunderstood and
distorted in the case of Jesus, they also rejected in the case of Muhammad; but
the time is not far when the whole world will acknowledge this Truth.

Thomas Carlyle, the well-known English man of letters was however an


exception to this phenomenon. He resorted to simple logic to prove the
truthfulness of Prophet Muhammad. He said: A false man found a religion! Why
a false man cannot build a brick house? If he does not know and follow truly the
properties of mortar, burnt clay and whatever else he works with, it is no house
that he builds, but a rubbish heap. It will not stand for twelve, (now fifteen)
centuries, to lodge a 180 million (now 1200 million); it will fall straightway.

What a beautiful similitude given by Thomas Carlyle about Muhammad,


the Prophet of Islam. It reminds me of a much older similitude given by the
Prophet Muhammad himself when he likened what he did in relation to other
previous prophets of Allah to a beautiful house with one brick missing in an
important angle. Prophet Muhammad said that when one man saw such a house,
he said: What a nice house with only one missing brick! Then Prophet

45
Muhammad commented: I am that brick and I am the last of all Prophets.

Washington Irving, the famous American writer refers to another aspect of


Muhammad’s towering character when he says: Muhammad in his private
dealings was just. He treated friends and strangers, the rich and the poor, the
powerful and the weak with equity and was beloved of the common people for
the affability with which he received them, and listened to their complaints.

What a true description of that part of the great character of the Prophet of
Islam. It is in tune with all the well-known incidents that tell us about this side
of his life which reflect not only his kindness to men but even to birds and
animals. Once he saw a bird flying overhead and looking for something. The
kind hearted Prophet at once asked: Who has taken away the young ones of this
bird? Give her back her little ones: Again even in slaughtering animals for food,
the Prophet always instructed his followers to do it properly without causing any
panic to the slaughtered animal or paining it more than what is inevitable. That
is why it is not strange at all that the Quran describes the behaviour of the
Prophet in the following verse: And you stand on an exalted standard of
character. ( 68-4 ) His wife Aisha was once asked about the behaviour of the
Prophet. Her answer was the following: His character was the Quran. What a
nice description of the Prophet’s character.

Describing his piety and righteousness Major A. Leonard says the following
about Prophet Muhammad. He says: “ If ever a man on this earth found Allah,
if ever a man devoted his life to Allah’s service with a good and a great motive, it
is certain that the Prophet of Arabia is that man “. How then can there still be
people who do not acknowledge the piety, the righteousness and the
prophethood of Muahmmad? This is not less than denying Truth itself.

In his book “ On Heroes & Heroe - worship and the Heroic “ Thomas
Carlyle says: These Arabs, the man Mahomet, and that one century; is it not as
if a spark had fallen, one spark on a world of what seemed black unnoticeable
sand, but lo, the sand proves explosive powder, blazes heaven high from Delhi to
Granada; I said: The Great Man was always as lightning out of heaven; the rest
of the men waited for him, like fuel, and then they too would flame.

Everyman’s Library, London, 1918, p. 311

In the same book also T. Carlyle quotes the German philosopher Geothe to
have exclaimed: “ If this be Islam, do we not all live in Islam “? P. 291 Again the

46
only man who could solve the sex problem was Muhammad. This is not only the
belief of Muslims but the opinion of Havelock Ellis, a well-known Western
scholar who said: “ The only Teacher who faced the problem of sex honestly and
squarely was the Prophet of Islam “.

This is also the view of another famous scholar. In her book “The Life and
Teachings of Muhammad” Annie Besant writes: I often think that woman is
more free in Islam than in Christianity. Woman is more protected by Islam than
by the faith which preaches monogamy. In al-Quran the law about woman is
more just and liberal. It is only in the last twenty years that Christian England
has recognized the right of woman to property, while Islam has allowed this
right from all times. It is slander to say that Islam preaches that women have no
soul. P. 3

Another Western tribute in favour of Prophet Muahmmad, peace be upon


him, comes from Napoleon Bonaparte who once thought seriously to embrace
Islam. In his book “Bonaparte et l’lslam”, Cherfils, a French writer quotes the
latter as saying: Moses has revealed the existence of Allah to his nation, Jesus
Christ to the Roman world and Mohammad to the old continent ... Arabia was
idolatrous when, six centuries after Jesus Muhammad introduced the worship of
the God of Abraham, of Ishmael, of Moses and of Jesus. The Arians and some
other sects had disturbed the tranquility of the East by agitating the question of
the nature of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. Mohammad declared that
there was none but One Allah who had no father, no son and that the trinity
imported the idea of idolatry ...

Napoleon Bonaparte then adds: I hope the time is not far off when I shall be
able to unite all the wise and educated men of all the countries and establish a
uniform regime based on the principles of the Quran which alone are true and
which alone can lead men to happiness.

Paris - France. PP. 105-125

Acknowledging the great achievement of the message of Islam at the hands


of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, Bertrand Russell the well-known
English philosopher says: Our use of the phrase “The Dark Ages” to cover the
period from 699 to 1,000 A.D. marks our undue concentration on Western
Europe ... From India to Spain, the brilliant civilization of Islam flourished.
What was lost to Christendom at this time was not lost to civilization but quite

47
the contrary ... To us it seems that West European civilization is civilization, but
this is a narrow view.

From History of Western Philosophy,


London, 1948, P. 419

Here are finally two prophecies from two Eastern old scriptures. One is the
prophecy in the Hindu scriptures originally in Sanskrit which can be translated as
follows: “ O people, listen to this emphatically! The man of praise will be raised
from among the people. We take the emigrant in our shelter from sixty thousand
and ninety enemies whose loftiness of position touches the heaven and lowers it “.

The second prophecy is to be found in the Pharsee scripture. Its original text
is in Pahlavic which means: “ When the Persians should sink so low in morality,
a man will be born in Arabia whose followers will upset their throne, religion and
everything. The mighty, stiff-necked ones of Persia will be over-powered. The
House which was built and in which many idols have been placed will be purged
of idols, and people will say their prayers facing towards it. His followers will
capture the towns of the Pharisees and Taus and Balkh and other big places
round about. People will embroil with one another. The wise men of Persia and
others will join/his followers.

48
KHADIJA BINT KHUWAYLED

T hus far, we have reviewed samples of the first category of the luminaries
of Islam composed of the five major prophets of Allah namely Noah, Ibrahim,
Moses, Jesus and Muhammad may peace and blessings of Allah be upon them
all. It is true, as we said, that four of them preceded the Prophet of Islam, but
Islam has always been the religion of Allah since the very first day man ever set
foot on earth. This is simply because Allah is One and His religion to all
humanity is also one.

We come now to the second category of the luminaries of Islam, namely that
of Muslim women who distinguished themselves as full-fledged human beings.
This is to prove that Islam treats both sexes on an equal level, and that it never
segregates against women. To start with we shall talk here about Khadija bint
Khuwayled, the first mother of the Faithful. It may be asked here: Who was this
lady? And why is she called the first mother of the Faithful? And who are the
mothers of the Faithful?

The mothers of the Faithful are in fact the wives of Prophet Muhammad
peace be upon him. This is only a spiritual motherhood which implies respect
and honour to the members of the family of the Prophet. Not only this, as they
knew the details of the Prophet’s life, they were in the position of teachers to all
the followers of the Prophet. Hence this degree. Another point is that the
Faithful were not allowed to remarry any of the Prophet’s wives after him. This
is clearly stated in the Quran which stipulates that no harm should be done to the
Prophet peace be upon him. ( chap. 33, v.S3 )

Once we call the Prophet’s wives the mothers of the Faithful, it


automatically means that he is their father, again spiritually speaking. This is
only natural, because humanly speaking the Prophet is the founder of the
religion. It was through him that revelation has been conveyed to others. His was
the perfect example to be imitated by all his followers. Not only this but this title
is, in fact, a sign of solidarity because the Prophet is reported to have said:
Whoever leaves behind any property, it is for his legal heirs, but whoever leaves
debts or dependants then this is my responsibility.

Again these two titles of father and mother refer to the great love the Faithful
should have for the Prophet and his wives. “ That is why the Holy Quran says:
The Prophet is closer to the Believers than their own selves, and his wives are

49
their mothers “. ( 33-6 ) So in the spiritual relationship the Prophet is entitled to
more respect and love and consideration than all blood-relations. The believers
should follow him rather than their fathers or mothers or brothers where there is
conflict of duties. He is even nearer and closer to our real interests than our own
selves.

Going back to Hazrat Khadija bint Khuwayled she is described as the first
mother of the Faithful because of two things: One is that she was the first wife
whom the Prophet married, and continued to be his only partner for about 28
long years. From her he got all his children except one called Ibrahim from Mary
the Copt. The second reason why we call her the first mother of the Faithful is
that she was the first woman on earth to declare her belief in Muhammad’s
prophethood. She supported him morally and materially all through her life so
much so that, even after her death, he used to mention her until the end of his life.

It is narrated that Aisha, his second wife once got jealous of Khadija and said
a few words against her. Hearing this the Prophet got extremely angry and said:
To me she was the best human being; she believed in me when all others rejected
my mission, she consoled me with her moral and material support and I had all
my children but one from her.

Khadija bint Khuwayled was thus the most important person in the life of
Prophet Muhammad. She was fifteen year his senior. When he got married to
her at the age of 25 she was 40 years old and was known as the most
honourable wealthy lady of Makkah. Many were the young men who asked
her hand in marriage, but she refused until her right partner was available. For
Prophet Muhammad, who lived as an orphan, Khadija was much more than
an ordinary wife.

Khadija, may Allah be pleased with her, comes from a respectable house of
Quraish. She was a distant relation to the Prophet. The story of her marriage to
Muhammad is worth mentioning. It is narrated in the authentic books of the
Prophet’s biography that Khadija used to engage Quraish merchants in her trade
to Syria. When she heard much about the honesty of Muhammad, she offered
him to work for her. He accepted this and went to Syria along with a servant of
hers called Maysarah. This servant saw much that he admired in the young
merchant’s character; so he communicated it to his master. He told her about his
excellent behaviour and his honesty. Not only this, but he also conveyed to her
some miracles he saw about Muhammad.

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Hearing this, Khadija whose hand was coveted by all the young men of
Makkah, preferred Muhammad to them all. This is despite his poverty. She sent
him her friend Nafisa to convey Khadija’s desire to have him as her husband.
Due to his early orphanhood Muhammad was in need of more than an ordinary
wife. So he accepted the offer of that beautiful, loving and wealthy partner of his.
He asked his uncle Abu Taleb to act on his behalf and so the marriage took place.

This marriage proved to be the happiest marriage in the Prophet’s life. This
is not only because Hazrat Khadija was a young beautiful well-to-do wife, who
gave birth to Muhammad’s six children, (two sons and four daughters); but
because of her great moral and material support. She treated him in such a loving
and sincere manner that he remembered her all through the rest of his life.

Let us mention one example of the innumerable circumstances wherein


Khadija’s support was invaluable. When the Prophet received his first
revelation, he returned home shivering and trembling due to that first
experience. At home Khadija was waiting for him. She overwhelmed him with all
the care, the love and the moral support he needed. As he entered his house in
that state he said: I was extremely afraid that something might happen to me.
Khadija said: Nay. By Allah, He will not let you down. You are kind to your kin,
your speech is always true, you rescue the weary, entertain the guest and help the
truth to prevail.

Not only this but Hazrat Khadija also said: Joy to my cousin! By him who
dominates Khadija’s soul, I pray and hope that you will be the Prophet of this
nation. She then took her prophet husband and rushed to a cousin of hers called
Waraqa Ibn Nawfal who was a Christian convert and translated parts of the Bible
into Arabic. Hearing what happened to Muhammad, Waraqa broke into these
words: Holy, Holy! By Him who dominates Waraqa’s soul, if your report is true
this must be the great spirit that spoke to Moses. Muhammad you must be the
Prophet of this nation. If I were young, I would have supported you.

Addressing Muhammad Waraqa Ibn Nawfal continued: You will be


denied and hurt; you will be abused and pursued. Waraqa then approached
Muhammad, kissed his forehead and went away. Muhammad realized the
faithfulness of Waraqa, and at the same time felt the great burden weighing on
his shoulders; but Khadija stood by him always encouraging him and believing
in all that he received. She consoled and pacified him as best as she could and
assured him of success. She was indeed the great woman behind that greatest
of men.

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What shows Khadija’s piety is that when once one of her two sons died she
was sad but patient. After a few hours the time of suckling the dead baby came
and her breast was full of milk so her tears flowed from her eyes. Seeing this the
Prophet was moved and said: If you so wish I shall ask Allah to make you hear
his voice in Paradise. Any ordinary mother would have been keen to hear her
dear one; but Khadija, may Allah be pleased with her said: “ No but I believe in
Allah and his apostle “. She was sure of the truthfulness of the Prophet and was
satisfied with what he told her. It is not strange that the Prophet should once say:
Four are the greatest women in the world: Khadija bint Khuwaylid, Asia wife of
Pharaoh, Mary the mother of Jesus and Fatima bint Muhammad “.

To conclude this report about Khadija, may Allah be pleased with her, we
may mention how one day angel Gabriel came down and told the Prophet to
convey peace and blessings of Allah to Khadija. Hearing this, the first mother of
the Faithful exclaimed: Did Allah Almighty mention my name O Prophet of
Allah? “ Yes indeed “ was the Prophet’s answer. Khadija then said: And unto
Allah be all the blessings and peace.

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FATIMAH BINT MUHAMMAD

H ere is the story of the second luminary of Islam among women, namely
Fatimah daughter of Prophet Muhammad peace and blessings of Allah be upon
him. Fatimah was the fourth daughter of the Prophet after Zaynab, Ruqaya and
Ummu-Kulthoom the three other daughters of the Prophet of Allah. Contrary to
the prevailing custom of the pre-Islamic Arabs who used to hate having
daughters and even buried them alive, the Prophet of Islam taught his followers
to love their daughters and to treat them lovingly and justly as they treated their
sons. To establish this he said: Whoever has four daughters and he brings them
up well and educates and helps them have successful marriage, they will be a
barrier for him from Hell-Fire. The Prophet himself had four most beloved
daughters one of whom was his youngest and most beloved Fatimah.

Fatimah was his daughter from his dearest wife Khadijah. She gathered the
wisdom and piety of her father as well as the sincerity and perseverence of her
mother Khadijah. Thus she deserved to be one of the four greatest women in
the world. This greatness of Fatimah was not, however, on account of her
exceeding beauty or wealth, although she enjoyed a good share of prettiness,
but her pride is best reflected in her piety and righteousness which is the
measure of greatness in Islam.

Once a woman from the tribe of Makhzoum stole something and was proved
to be a thief. So the Prophet decided to cut her hand according to Islamic law. But
as she was of the mighty Makhzoum tribe, her relatives used the good offices of
Osama ibn Zayd who was dear to the Prophet peace be upon him. Upon Osama’s
intercession the Prophet exclaimed: Do you intercede in stopping the law of
Allah. By Allah, had Fatimah, daughter of, Muhammad, stolen Muhammad
would have indeed cut her hand; and the hand of the Makhzoumi woman was
then cut.

Not only this, but lest Fatimah should pride herself of being the daughter of
the Prophet so be less active in doing good deeds, the Prophet warned her saying:
O Fatimah, daughter of Muhammad, take care of yourself, for I can avail you
nothing in connection with Allah. Can there be in all human history such an
objective attitude and such justice in applying the law of Allah? Not in the least.

Fatimah was only five years old when her father received Divine revelation.
Being the youngest child in the family of the Prophet, she in fact lived mostly a

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life of suffering and adversity sharing her father all that he faced in his mission
for the new religion. Her three other sisters got married and left the house of their
father. Two of them, however, had an unsuccessful marriage which ended in
divorce. Fatimah was sharing all this even the siege imposed on her family had
its deep effect on her until before too long her mother Khadija died leaving her as
a half orphan. Then one after another her dear sisters also started to depart. What
a pity that her young heart should face all these adversities!

As a matter of fact, Fatimah did not get married except after the rise of her
father as a Prophet of Allah. When in Yathreb, now Madina Munawwarah, she
became eighteen years old Abu Bakr al Siddiq proposed to marry her, but her
father gently turned him down. He was then followed by Umer Ibn al Khattab,
the second dearest companion of the Prophet but again he was refused. This has
been done because the Messenger of Allah had someone else in mind as a future
partner to his dearest and youngest daughter. Thus when his cousin Ali Ibn Abi
Taleb came forward to ask her hand, he was immediately accepted.

Ali was only four years older than Fatimah. He lived in the same house with
the Prophet since his early childhood. The Prophet regarded him as his brother
in Islam, for he was the first boy to embrace Islam and was the youngest fighter
for the new faith. Describing him to his daughter Fatimah the Prophet said: He
is a master in this world and in the Hereafter; he will be of the righteous, the most
knowledgeable of all the companions, and the most brilliant one. Ali, the
Prophet added, was the first of them to embrace Islam. Thus Ali believed in the
Prophet from the very beginning and accompanied him all through his life. He
participated in all the battles of the Prophet.

Thus Fatimah got married to her poor cousin Ali whom she treated as a
brother and a friend. She liked him very much and admired his bravery and
manhood. He was always nearest to her heart despite his poverty which was
caused by his engagement in the holy wars and could not spare anytime for trade.

Once accepted as Fatimah’s fiance Ali sold the only piece of armour he had
and gave the money as a dowry to Fatimah. Their marriage took place through a
simple party in which the Prophet presented a few dates to those invited. But
Hamza, Ali’s uncle, gave an auspicious party which those present enjoyed.
Directly after dinner the Prophet accompanied the couple to their new house. He
asked for some water and recited on it some chapters of the Quran and then asked
Ali and Fatimah to drink it. He then made ablution with the remaining water and
sprinkled some drops of water over the heads of the couple and said the following

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prayers: O Allah bless them both over and above, and bless their offspring.

In Ali’s house Fatimah had a lot of hard work to do. Her body was weak and
thin since the early days of her childhood especially when she rode a camel with
her sister Ummu Kulthoom to travel from Makkah to Madinah. But the
disbelievers did not leave them alone. They hit their camel and caused them to
fall from its back which caused a lot of harm to Fatimah in particular. This crime
pained the Prophet so much so that he never forgot it. When he conquered
Makkah he pardoned everybody except very few people one of whom was that
camel-strangler who was killed by Ali Ibn Abi Taleb.

As for Fatimah’s children, she gave birth to al Hasan and al Husain in the
third and the fourth years after Hijrah. This great event took place when the
Prophet was 57 years old. So he was the happiest for the birth of these two dear
grandsons who came after about 17 years of the death of their grandmother
Khadija during which time the Prophet had five marriages but none of them gave
him any offspring. Thus the Prophet treated these two dear ones as his own kids.
He used to call them by that title. Usama Ibn Zayd narrates that the Prophet
once said: These are my two kids, the sons of my daughter. O Allah love those
who love them. I love them so shower your love on them O Allah!

In the fifth year of Hijrah Fatimah again gave birth to a third child who this
time was a daughter called Zaynab after the name of her aunt. Two years later
Fatimah had her fourth and last child Ummu Kulthoom after the name of her
second aunt. And thus the only line that kept the posterity of the Prophet was
that of Fatimah may Allah be pleased with her.

One day the Prophet heard that Ali wanted to have another wife in addition
to Fatimah and that second wife was the daughter of the worst enemy of Islam at
that time. So the Prophet got extremely angry. He climbed his pulpit and said: “
Why do some people want to hurt me in my family “. He condemned the idea
and so Ali turned it down and returned to Fatimah.

The following incident shows the great piety of Ali and Fatimah: One day
the two were doing a voluntary fast. Minutes before breaking their fast a needy
person knocked at the door asking for food. The only food they two had was a loaf
of barley. Hearing the knock of the needy person they gave him their loaf and
continued their fast. At about the same time of the next day an orphan knocked
at their door and again they gave him their simple food. On the third day a
wayfarer who was a prisoner of war took their food for break fast. Allah Almighty

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was pleased with this and He revealed the following verses in their praise to the
Prophet:

“ And they feed for the love of Allah, the indigent, the orphan and the
captive, saying: We feed you for the sake of Allah alone; no reward do we desire
from you, or thanks. We only fear a Day of distressful wrath from the side of our
Lord. But Allah will deliver them from the evil of that Day, and will shed over
them a Light of Beauty and a Blissful joy “. ( 76-8-11 )

To conclude this segment about the blissful Fatimah we may mention that
she was the last member of the Prophet’s family to die after him. One day he told
her a secret for which she wept. Then he told her another for which she laughed.
Later on she was asked to explain; she said first he told me about his death and
then he told me that I shall be the first to overtake him.

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AISHA SIDDIQA
H azrat Aisha Siddiqa bint al Siddiq is the second most beloved wife of the
Prophet Muhmmad peace be upon him after his first wife Khadija may Allah be
pleased with her. As her nickname implies, she was the daughter of Abu Bakr al
Siddiq the closest friend of the Prophet and his first successor or caliph. She is
given the title “Siddiqa” because of an incident after which Allah Almighty
testified to her honesty, trustworthiness and purity. Books of Seerah tell us about
it the following:

When the Prophet returned victorious from the battle of Bani al Mustaliq,
Aisha was accompanying him. On its way back to Madinah, not very far away
from it the army stopped part of the night; then it was allowed to continue the
journey which the army did until it entered Madinah. The camel of Aisha was
led to her house with her small cabin on its back. To the astonishment of all
onlookers Aisha was not there. So the news spread like fire; and the Prophet and
his companions started to search everywhere; after a short while, however,
Aisha was seen riding another camel led by a companion called Safwan Ibn
Muattil al Salami.

Naturally the pure wife of the Prophet was asked about the reason of her
delay. She said: I went to answer the call of nature some time before departure. I
had on a valuable necklace which fell from my neck without being aware of it.
When I returned to my camel I discovered that it was missing. So I returned to
the same place where I went before. At that time people were starting to leave.
When I found my lost necklace and went back I found the caravan was no more
there. They took my camel thinking that I was inside the cabin on its back.

As I returned to the camp, Hazrat Aisha continues, no one was in sight so I


wrapped up myself and lay down in the same place feeling that this is the best I
can do. For sure, I thought, they will soon discover my absence and come back to
me. As I was in that condition Safwan Ibn Muattil passed by me. Seeing me he
recognized me and said sadly: How could it be that the Prophet’s wife is here!
What made you lag behind the caravan? I kept silent so he brought his camel
near me, thus I rode on its back and he led the camel to Madinah.

The Prophet heard this account which Aisha thought to be simple truth; but
people spread an evil rumour, especially the hypocrites who started to concoct
stories against Aisha the pure. Thus what is called Hadith al Ifk spread

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everywhere (a sinister talk against this dear wife of the Prophet). The Prophet
kept silent and when Aisha was told about what was going on against her she got
angry and tried to explain things to the Prophet who said nothing. So Aisha
joined her parents who tried to verify the rumours from her.

It was indeed an extremely hard time not only for Aisha and her father Abu
Bakr al Siddiq but for the Prophet as well who approached Aisha and said: If you
committed anything, then confess it and repent to Allah who will forgive you.
These statements only increased the sufferings of Aisha so much so that she fell
seriously ill. It was only the Divine revelation that acquitted her and declared her
innocence and purity. This took place after a whole month of adversity and
hardship. That is why Aisha deserved the title of Siddiqa, the truthful, because
Allah Almighty testified to her honesty.

Aisha was only eight years old before the emigration of the Prophet from
Makkah to Madinah. The Prophet had proposed to her two years earlier because
she was the daughter of his closest friend and companion. So the Prophet got
married to her when she was only nine years old. But Aisha was already a grown-
up woman despite her tender years. She was not just an ordinary wife but she
could fill the gap caused by the death of Khadija, the first mother of the Faithful.

Aisha was a beautiful wife, with a light body. She had a reddish face so the
Prophet used to praise her saying: Take one half of your religion from this
reddish young lady. This was because Aisha was the most knowledgeable
Muslim woman of her time. She used to teach many things related to women to
the senior companions of the Prophet. She also transmitted quite a large number
of the Prophet’s traditions.

If Hazrat Khadija played a great role in the formative part of the Prophet’s
life, Aisha took care of him the rest of his life, especially in his old age despite the
presence of other wives along with her. This does not mean that the Prophet did
not treat them with equal justice, but rather that Aisha Siddiqa was his most
beloved wife during this period. As a result of this she was an extremely jealous
wife in the sense that she wanted him all for herself. It is narrated that one day
the Prophet ate some honey in the house of Mary, the Copt. Aisha got jealous
and plotted with Hafsa, another wife of the Prophet to tell him as soon as he
would approach any one of the two, that he smelt of Maghafeer, a bad smelling
drink in Arabia.

The Prophet, peace be upon him, did approach these two wives each of

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whom told him the same thing, so he swore not to eat honey any more. But Allah
Almighty revealed the following lesson which was directed to the two plotting
wives as well as to the Prophet himself. For how could he make something
prohibited which has been made permissible by Allah. A separate chapter in the
Holy Quran deals with this important theme. It starts as follows:

O Prophet! Why hold you to be forbidden that which Allah has made lawful
for you? You seek to please your wives; but Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most
Merciful. Allah had ordained for you (O Muslims) the dissolution of your oaths
(in some cases); and Allah is your Protector, and He is full of Knowledge, and
Wisdom. When the Prophet disclosed a matter in confidence to one of his wives,
and she then divulged it to another, and Allah made it known to him, he
confirmed part of it and dropped a part. Then when he told her thereof she said:
Who told you this? He said: He told me who Knows and is well-acquainted with
all things.

Then the Quran addresses Aisha and Hafsa in the following words: If you
two turn in repentance to Allah, your hearts are indeed so inclined; but if you
back each other against him, truly Allah is his Protector, Gabriel and every
righteous one among the believers, and furthermore, the angels will back Him.
( 66-1-4 ) It was indeed a decisive lesson which was, in fact, nothing but a
prelude to another more important one. One day the wives of the Prophet
including Aisha, held a meeting and decided to ask the Prophet to entertain
them in the pleasures of this world, no more could they bear the life of
asceticism the Prophet used to lead in favour of seeking the After-life and
preferring others to himself. For indeed the Prophet led a poor life despite his
being the head of the first Islamic state.

This was a critical plot against the Prophet. All his wives agreed to demand
a more entertaining and a pleasurable life from the Prophet. He, however, could
not at all change his course being the best example for others to follow. When the
Prophet came to know this, he boycotted all his wives including Aisha. The
boycott continued for one whole month until the following verses were revealed:
O Prophet! Tell your wives: “ If it be that you desire the life of this world and its
glitter, then come! I will provide for you enjoyment and set you free in a
handsome manner. But if you seek Allah and His Apostle and the Home of the
Here-after, verily Allah has prepared for the well-doers among you a great
reward “. ( 33-28-29 ) So the Prophet asked Aisha to consult her parents to make
up her mind either to stay with him or leave him in a handsome way. This he did
with the rest of his wives as well most of whom preferred to keep matrimony with

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the Prophet. When he asked Aisha to get her parent’s opinion she said: How can
I consult them concerning you? Never. I do choose Allah and His Apostle.

We cannot cover the extensive biography of Aisha Siddiqa in these few pages;
but suffice it to say that she was the most devoted wife of the Prophet, the most
learned and brilliant one and the most pious. Once she was fasting. During the
same day she had a sheep. Her servant slaughtered it for her,but she asked her
servant to distribute the greater part of it. At sunset Aisha asked the servant: What
have you left behind of that sheep? The servant replied: Nothing is left but its arm.
All the rest has gone But Aisha’s comment here was this: “ All is kept but its arm
“. She meant to say that all that has been given to the poor and needy will be
rewarded by Allah, while the remaining arm will go. See how pious this young wife
of the Prophet was.

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NUSAIBAH BINT KAAB

T his is to continue our review of great women in Islam to prove that women
also had a good share of greatness in Islam side by side with men. Nusaibah bint
Kaab comes from Bani Awf, a well known tribe of Madinah. Thus she was one
of al Ansar or the Supporters of the Prophet, a name given to the original
inhabitants of Madinah who were the real helpers of the Prophet. Nusaibah
deserved that title indeed, for she took part in a number of decisive battles of
Islam. She was one of the early converts to Islam from Yathreb, now called, al
Madinah al Munawwarah after the Prophet of Islam. She thus attended Bayatul
Aqabah, the solemn oath taken by a number of those early Medinite reverts who
undertook to protect the Messenger of Allah as they would protect their own
children. So Nusaibah took part in that oath.

When she returned to Madinah after the said oath, she started to spread the
call of Islam among the women of that city. Many women embraced Islam at the
hands of this sincere follower of the new religion. Nusaibah’s activity was not,
however, restricted to words, she also took part in the battles of Islam and
participated in the holy war against disbelievers. Thus when the Quraishites
attacked Madinah, Nusaibah was one of the few women who came out with the
Prophet to defend Islam and the sacred city of the Messenger of Allah. Not only
did she provide drink and treatment to the wounded Muslim soldiers, but also
she participated in the actual fighting itself.

As a matter of fact, Ummu-Imarah, as Nusaibah was nicknamed,


distinguished herself particularly in the battle of Uhud, the second decisive
battle of Islam. For, after the disbelievers were vanquished in the battle of Badr,
they gathered huge forces and attacked Madinah to kill the Prophet and nip
Islam in the bud. But the Muslims rose to the challenge, and Nusaibah was
allowed to participate along with two sons of hers and her husband. So she
started her customary mission of supplying the water to the wounded and
treating them and guarding their provisions. Not only this but she also
encouraged the Muslim fighters to distinguish themselves in the battle.

All went well in the beginning of the battle of Uhud. The disbelieving army
of Quraish started to retreat in front of the staunch fighters of the Muslims
supported morally by outstanding women like Nusaibah. Seeing this, and
contrary to the orders of the Prophet, a number of Muslim fighters posted on a
hill to defend the back of the Islamic army left their positions and started to

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collect the spoils of war imagining that the battle has been settled in favour of
Islam and Muslims. No sooner than they left their places a segment of the army
of disbelievers attacked them from behind their backs. A fierce fighting ensued
and a number of Muslim warriors fell as martyrs and very few soldiers stayed
around the Prophet to defend him; they were ready to give their lives defending
their beloved Messenger of Allah. Among these few was Ummu Imarah,
Nusaibah, her husband and her two sons. They were indeed in the forefront of
those defenders of the Prophet peace be upon him.

In the middle of the battle the Quraishites were encouraged and decided to
kill the Prophet and put an end to Islam and Muslims. Seeing this Ummu
Imarah, the blessed Nusaibah speeded up, carrying her sword and arrow and
started to defend the Prophet. Other Companions were around her, but her
effect was greatest in the folds of the enemy. She was as strong and firm as a
mountain.

Then came Ibn Qamieah, one of the soldiers of the disbelievers, crying: guide
me to Muhammad, my life will be threatened if he is saved, he said. With that
spirit he attacked the warriors gathering around the Prophet, but the defenders of
the Messenger of Allah, including Nusaibah intercepted. They forbade him to
come closer. Musab Ibn Umayr was martyred in this clash and Nusaibah directed
several steady blows to the attacker but he had heavily fortified himself. So he was
not hurt. Nusaibah, however, continued to defend the Prophet striking the enemy
with her sword and arrow until the Prophet praised her saying: Wherever I turned
my face, to the right or to the left I found Nusaibah defending me.

Then the Prophet looked around him and saw Nusaibah’s son fighting with
his left arm bleeding as a result of a hard blow he received. The Prophet called
him saying: Bind your wound. Hearing this Nusaibah ran to her son to bind his
wound and said: My son rise and fight in defense of Islam and in the cause of
Allah. “ As she continued her struggle the Prophet called to her saying: Here is
the enemy who hit your son O Ummu Imarah! Thus she intercepted his way and
gave him a strong blow on his leg which caused his immediate death. Seeing this
the Prophet said: Praise be to Allah that you retaliated O Ummu Imarah “. As
the battle grew stronger and the fighting fiercer, Ummu Imarah became
stauncher and her belief was firmer. Thus the Prophet said: Who can bear what
you bear O Ummu Imarah?

Nusaibah used to fight without anything to protect herself. When the


Prophet saw a warrior running away without fighting, he cried: Leave your

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armour to those who fight which the man did. So Nusaibah took part of it and
started to keep the blows away from the Prophet. Then an enemy came and
directed a blow to Nusaibah, when he missed her she hit and threw him off his
horse. He fell to the ground on his back. So the Prophet cried to Nusaibah’s son
to come to the help of his mother which he did until the enemy was killed.

Once again Ibn Qameeah and his group of enemies made a fresh attack
trying to kill the Prophet. But Nusaibah intercepted offering to give away her
life in defense of the Messenger of Allah. She received thirteen wounds in the
attempt and thus she started bleeding; so the Prophet called to her son asking
him to bind her wounds. He asked Allah to bless this family. Hearing this
Nusaibah said: “ O Prophet of Allah! Ask Allah to make us your companions in
Paradise “. Then came the Prophet’s prayer: O Allah! Make them my comrades
in Paradise. “ Nusaibah’s comment on this was: After this prayer I don’t care
what happens to me in this world “.

At the end of the battle of Uhud the leaders of Quraish cried: “ We have the
Uzza and no Uzza is there for you “. The Uzza was an idol worshipped by
Quraish. The Prophet ordered his Companions to answer them saying: Allah is
our patron and you have no such patron. Thinking that the Prophet was killed
the Quraish said: This is a day in retaliation of Badr. Then they retreated. But the
Prophet ordered his army to chase them and resume fighting. Nusaibah wanted
to join them but her wounds prevented her from doing so. She bound them with
her clothes but could not stand on her feet to follow the Prophet due to her too
much bleeding. So she stayed with her family who started to treat her.

As soon as the Prophet, peace be upon him, returned back to Madinah, the
first thing he did was that he sent Abdullah Ibn Kaab al Mazini to ask about her
health. The Messenger was told of her safety which pleased him a lot. He went to
visit her in her illness and share with her a loaf of barley. As a matter of fact,
Nusaibah suffered from the blow she received from Ibn Qameeah for one whole
year. The Prophet used to describe her bravery saying: Her attitude is better than
that of many other warriors.

As we mentioned earlier, Nusaibah witnessed the oath of Ridwan where the


new converts of Madinah pledged full support to the Prophet. We have already
seen how she fulfilled her pledge. She also participated in the fighting against
Musaylama the liar of Yamamah, who claimed to be another prophet. Thus after
the death of Prophet Muhammad many half-hearted Muslims joined
Musaylama. So Abu Bakr al Siddiq launched the wars of apostacy. He sent an

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army led by Khaled Ibn al Waleed to fight Musaylama. Nusaibah went with that
army.

At Yamamah she fought with great courage. Her hand was cut and her son
was martyred. It is narrated that she swore to witness the killing of Musaylama
which took place in front of her. This indeed is an excellent example of the great
bravery and sincerity of Muslim women. May Allah bless Nusaibah and all those
who defended Islam.

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KAAB IBN MALEK AL ANSARI

F rom Nusaibah, the woman champion of Islam in the lifetime of Prophet


Muhammad, peace be upon him, we move now to one of the great poets of Islam
namely Kaab Ibn Malek al Ansari. As his title implies, he was one of the Ansar,
the Supporters or the Helpers of the Prophet who were his host in Madinah and
who pledged allegiance to Islam until the Prophet peace be upon him prayed for
them and praised them much.

The Prophet, in fact, used to have four poets who undertook what is called
in modern terminology the psychological war. Kaab thus defended Islam by
word of mouth, through poetry as well as by sword. but he failed to attend the
latest battle of the Prophet, namely Tabouk Battle. So why did Kaab Ibn Malek
absent himself from Tabouk? Was he one of the numerous hypocrites who
slipped away and claimed to have excuses which prevented them from fighting?
Was Kaab the only person who faced this severe test? And what was the end of
this interesting story of Kaab Ibn Malek al Ansari?

Tabouk Battle was the last battle fought by the Prophet of Islam. It was not
a real battle as no actual fighting took place between the Muslims and their
enemies the Romans. It was a test for the hypocrites in particular which took
place in the ninth year of Hijra. The Prophet’s habit in most of his battles was to
keep his intended direction as top secret. This time, however, he declared his
mission to all Muslims to get themselves ready for fighting the Romans. People
had little means at their disposal, the weather was extremely hot, and it was the
fruit season during which people normally prefer to stay at home rather than
travel or fight for that matter. To fight the Romans meant to face a huge army. So
it was a test in the real sense of the word.

It is reported that the Prophet on this occasion asked Jad Ibn Qays saying:
Will you participate, O Jad, this year in fighting the Romans? Jad, who was a
hypocrite said: O Messenger of Allah, excuse me and do not test me, because all
my people know that no one admires the Roman women more than I do. So I fear
to fall in sin once I see them. The Prophet turned away from him and said: I allow
you to stay. Then the following verse was revealed: “ Among them is many a man
who says: Grant me exemption and draw me not into trial. They have indeed
already fallen into trial. And Hell will surely surround the Unbelievers on all
sides “. ( 9-49 ) Another group of hypocrites said: Don’t go out for battle in such
a hot weather. This they did due to their doubt in Islam and in an attempt to

65
persuade the Muslims not to go on this battle. But the Quran again declared
them traitors. It said: “ Those who were left behind rejoiced in their inaction
behind the back of the Apostle of Allah; they hated to strive and fight, with their
goods and their persons, in the cause of Allah; they said: Go not forth in the heat
“ Say: The fire of Hell is fiercer in heat “. If only they could understand. ( 9-81 )

Against this background what was the attitude of Kaab Ibn Malek al Ansari?
Before we let him tell us about his story let us see what was the attitude of other
Muslims? Ibn Ishaq narrates that Ibn Umayr al Nadri met two other Muslims
who were crying. He asked: What makes you cry? They said: We approached the
Messenger of Allah to carry us with him to Tabouk Battle, but we could not find
anything to ride around him. We don’t have our own means of travel. So their
friend Ibn Umayr gave them his she-camel which they rode and came out with
the Prophet.

Another Companion called Abu Khaythama returned to his house a few


days after the departure of the Prophet. It was a hot day and he found his two
wives preparing a nice shade and cold water for him. Seeing this he exclaimed:
“ The Apostle of Allah suffers the heat of the day while I am with my family.
This is not justice at all “. So he quickly prepared himself and overtook the
Prophet for Tabouk.

Kaab Ibn Malek says: Never before did I stay behind the Prophet except this
time as well as in the Battle of Badr where the Prophet did not blame anybody as
his original intention was not fighting in that battle. All he sought was the
Quraish caravan. So he let the Muslims make their free choice. All other battles
have been witnessed by Kaab who adds: On that occasion I had no excuse
whatsoever. Never before was I stronger nor having such abundance of means as
I had on that battle. This time two camels were at my disposal.

On the battle of Tabouk Muslims were many - whoever wanted to absent


himself could do so easily. As for Kaab Ibn Malek he was reluctant to fight. So
he stayed idle doing nothing while the Prophet and his Companions prepared
everything for travel. Kaab remembers: I said to myself: I shall be ready one or
two days after him. But I never had the intention to go. Every time I wanted to
travel I just failed to make up my mind. Would that I did. So I stayed in Madinah
and whenever I toured the streets I could meet either hypocrites or excused weak
Muslims. The Prophet did not mention me until he reached Tabouk: As he was
sitting there among the Muslims he asked: What did Kaab Ibn Malek do? A man
from Bani Salama replied: He is left behind contemplating his gown and

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admiring his shape. But Muaz Ibn Jabal retorted: Nothing is worse than what
you said: “ By Allah, O Messenger of Allah, we know nothing about him but all
that is good “. The Prophet however kept silent.

Kaab Ibn Malek continues his report saying: I then learnt later that the
Prophet came back from Tabouk. So I started to remember a lie to present to him
to get rid of his anger. For this I sought the advice of all my family. Then the
Prophet arrived, so falsehood disappeared and I decided to tell him nothing but
the truth. On his arrival the Prophet first went to the mosque, so those left
behind started to come to him and swear that they were excused. These were
more than eighty men. The Prophet accepted from them and left their real
intentions to Allah. I then came up to him and saluted him. He smiled angrily
and said: come forward. I came closer until I was just in front of him. He said:
What kept you behind? Could you not buy your back (means of travel)? I said:
O Messenger of Allah: Were I to face anyone other than you I would have been
able to save myself and get rid of his anger by a certain excuse For I am endowed
with an eloquent logic. But I know for sure that if I do so Allah will disclose it to
you and make you angry with me. But if I tell you the truth I pray Allah to
forgive me.

Addressing the Prophet Kaab Ibn Malek continued: “ No. Messenger of


Allah. I had no real excuse. For never before was I more able nor stronger than I
was when I stayed behind. Hearing this the Prophet said: As for this man, he said
the truth. Rise, he said, until Allah decides in your case. So I went away followed
by some people from Bani Salama who said: “ By Allah! We know that you never
committed any sin before. You could have used the same apology like others. The
Prophet would have asked Allah’s forgiveness for you “. These people continued
to say this to me until I wanted to return to the Prophet and belie myself. But
then I asked them: Did anyone else meet the same fate like I did? They replied:
Yes. Two other men said as you did and were given the same reply. “ Who are
they? “ I asked. Murarah Ibn al Rabee and Hilal Ibn Umaya, “ was the reply.
These were two pious men whom I could imitate “ I said to myself and kept
silent.

The Prophet forbade anyone to talk to any of the three of us, Kaab
continues, unlike all the others who stayed behind him. So people boycotted us
and changed their treatment until my own self and even the earth itself was
changed. As if I was living in a totally foreign land. We stayed like that for fifty
long days. My two colleagues surrendered and stayed at home, while being the
youngest of the three I used to go out, attend congregational prayers with the

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Prophet and tour the streets. No one wanted to talk to me. I even used to
approach the Prophet and salute him after prayer. I would then ask myself: Did
he move his lips with the answer or not? He would not even look at me face to
face. Even my dearest friend Abu Qatada who was also my immediate
neighbour, he also boycotted me.

Kaab Ibn Malek mentions a further part of this hard test. He says: One day
as I was walking in the market an envoy of the King of Ghassan of Syria came up
to me and gave me a letter from his master in which he said: We came to know
that your friend has boycotted you, so join us and we shall entertain you. I said
to myself: This is also part of the trial and I threw the King’s letter in a nearby
oven.

Finally Kaab’s long expected salvation took place. Allah Almighty declared
his innocence as well as that of his two other comrades in the following words
revealed to Prophet Muhammad in the Holy Quran which Muslims read in
chapter nine verse 117-118 of the Holy Book:

“ Allah has forgiven the Prophet, the Refugees (who emigrated with him
from Makkah) and the Ansar (the Supporters), who followed him at the time of
crisis, after the hearts of some of them were about to swerve; but then He forgave
them; for He is to them Most Kind, Most Merciful.

“ (He also forgave) the three (men) who were left behind; (they felt guilty) to
such an extent that the very earth seemed constrained to them despite its
spaciousness; and their (very) souls seemed strained to them; and they perceived
that there is no refuge from Allah except to Himself. Then He turned to them so
that they might repent; for Allah is He who is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful “.

When Kaab was declared innocent, he resumed his role as a staunch


defender of Islam and the Prophet.

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SAWDAH BINT ZAMAA

T his is a continuation of our review of a number of women luminaries of


Islam. We have shown how greatness is not limited to men in Islam, but women
have their rightful share in it. A number of women folk in the Prophet
Muhammad’s house have been already reviewed and we come now to Sawdah
Bint Zamaa, another pious mother of the Faithful. So who was this lady? And
what were her characteristics and what qualities distinguished her from other
women?

As a matter of fact, Sawdah Bint Zamaa can be regarded as the second wife
of the Prophet after Hazrat Khadijah may Allah be pleased with both of them.
She can best be cited as an example to show that the Prophet did not have those
numerous wives just for the pleasure of it or because he was a licensious man, as
is claimed by some opponents of Islam. For when the Prophet peace be upon
him asked her hand in marriage, Sawdah had five children from her first
husband al Sakran Ibn Amr. She was then a middle aged woman. Not only this
but nothing was attractive in her except her nice manners and excellent piety.
She was no doubt a truthful and a generous lady who was one of the early people
who embraced Islam. Her husband al Sakran Ibn Amr was also one of those
early Muslims. These were the main reasons that made the Prophet ask her
hand in recognition of her piety. There was, however, a personal motive on the
part of the Prophet peace be upon him. For he was not an angel but a full fledged
human being.

It is reported that after the sad demise of the first mother of the Faithful
there was a certain emotional vacuum in the Prophet’s life. Khadijah, who filled
his life with love and was the best wife and mother of his children, now
disappeared from the scene. He still remembered her role in supporting him
morally and materially for she gave him everything. No one could replace
Khadijah neither a kith nor a kin. He needed, however, a partner that would
lessen his feeling of isolation and loneliness and would share with him his
enormous burden. The Companions felt great pity for the Prophet during this
juncture. They could appreciate the necessity of a partner for him, but how and
who. How could the Prophet forget the loving memories with Khadijah which
continued for more than a quarter of a century? And who could replace Khadijah
in the Prophet’s life? No, none could do any of these and the Prophet’s days
continued to be sad and gloomy, until one day a sincere Companion of the
Prophet, called Khawlah Bint Hakim, approached him gently and started to

69
remind him of his dear deceased one. She then suggested that he should get
married sooner or later.

Hearing this the Prophet kept silent for a long while during which time he
must have reviewed his previous memories. He remembered how he returned
with Khadijah’s trade from Syria, how Nafeesa Bint Munabbih approached him
to convey Khadijah’s proposal, how the latter opened up for him not only her
heart but her property and her house and everything she had, how she pacified
him when he first received Divine revelation in an isolated cave and returned
trembling home. So he raised his head and asked Khawlah the following
question: He said: And who will replace Khadijah? Khawlah had a ready answer.
She said: Aisha, the daughter of your best friend and Companion. Another
period of silence ensued. The Prophet’s heart seemed to open up for Aisha whom
he knew full well as long as he was with her father, his closest friend Abu Bakr
who also made great sacrifices for him and for the new religion. He was the first
man to believe in him and his new message same as Khadijah did.

The Prophet could not refuse the suggestion made by Khawlah Bint Hakim.
Aisha, however, was too young for marriage. She was only nine years old. But it
was from this fact that Khawlah embarked on the project of marriage with
Sawdah Bint Zamaa. So Khawlah suggested that the Prophet should ask the hand
of Aisha from her father and wait a few years until she would grow up which will
need a period of two or three years at least, but in the meantime Khawlah said
that the Prophet would marry the widowed Sawdah who would take care of his
house, and bring up his children who needed a step-mother.

It was a wise opinion indeed which the Prophet approved. So he gave his
permission to Khawlah to take the first step, namely to ask the hand of Sawdah
in marriage. When people, however, heard about this proposed marriage they
could not believe their ears. They said: How could the Messenger of Allah get
married to such an old woman who had no beauty to be proud of? Not only this,
but she had a number of orphans from her dead husband. But this is exactly why
the Prophet accepted such an idea. For in addition to his need of some one to take
care of his minors he had such a big heart full of love and mercy towards all other
Muslims especially those who sacrificed their lives for the new faith.

Thus the Prophet wanted also to condole Sawdah and to compensate her of
the loss of her husband who emigrated with her to Ethiopia for the sake of Islam.
He died and left her a widow with a number of orphans to take care of. Thus
Khawlah approached Sawdah and said: I have glad tidings for you O Sawdah for

70
which I congratulate you. Having no idea about what was going on, Sawdah
asked: What is it Khawlah? The latter quickly replied: I am sent by the
Messenger of Allah to ask for your hand. “ My hand “ Sawdah said taken by
surprise. She could not imagine that one like her could be asked for marriage to
anybody else having such a large number of dependants. She,did not think for a
second that the Messenger wanted her to be his wife. For it was the habit of the
Prophet to recommend numerous marriages among Muslims. So until this
moment Sawdah did not understand that she had an offer from the Prophet
himself. So she asked: To whom? Khawlah quickly answered: To the Prophet
himself O Sawdah!

Hearing this Sawdah was overcome by a feeling of surprise and


bewilderment. For how could she take the place of Khadijah, the First mother of
the Faithful? It was no doubt an unthinkable honour which she never dreamt of.
Awakening from her surprise and bewilderment she said to Khawlah: I would
that ... ! Go to my father and tell him about it. It was indeed a great honour for
any Muslim woman to be the wife of the Prophet. This was the general feeling in
that Islamic society which witnessed the call of the Messenger to the new faith.
Thus Sawdah found herself one of the wives of the Prophet As a matter of fact,
for some time she was his only wife after Khadijah. She knew, however, that she
could not compete with Khadijah and fill the Prophet’s heart with love as the
latter did. So from the very first moment Sawdah knew this and thus when the
Prophet got married to Aisha it was his habit to divide his days between the two
on a just basis; but Sawdah gave her night to Aisha. Even when the Prophet had
other wives Sawdah continued to give her portion to Aisha in particular. She felt
that she had the honour of the title only - the title of being the wife of the
Messenger of Allah and the mother of the Faithful.

Sawdah Bint Zamaa, may Allah be pleased with her, was of an extremely
good nature. She had an exceptional love for the daughters of the Prophet whom
she served and took care of. But when the Prophet found that she was only his
wife in name, he decided to divorce her to get rid of any feeling of injustice on his
part towards any of his wives or followers. But as soon as she knew this she was
very sad and pleaded that she should keep on having that title for as she said: I
pray that Allah would resurrect me on the Day of Judgement as one of your
wives. I don’t aspire to have any share in your life now, she said.

The Prophet was impressed by this deep faith and love on the part of
Sawdah. He agreed to keep her as one of his wives. So she continued to live in the
Prophet’s house even after his death until she died in Madina Munawwara in the

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month of Shawwal the 54th year of Hijrah. That was during the reign of
Muawiyah Ibn Abi Sufiyan.

Sawdah Bint Zamaa was an extremely respectable wife of the Prophet. She
played an important role in bringing up his children who regarded her as their
second loving mother. She transmitted five sayings of the Prophet. About her
also was revealed the verse that made the veil compulsory on Muslim women
especially the Prophet’s wives. Through her nice and wonderful manners Sawdah
could win the hearts of all. Even Aisha used to praise her much. May Allah be
pleased with her.

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HAFSAH BINT UMER

A s her name implies, Hafsah Bint Umer was in fact the daughter of Umer
Ibn al Khattab the second most beloved Companion of the Prophet Muhammad
peace be upon him. Whenever Hazrat Hafsah is mentioned Muslims remember
the great prestige she enjoyed namely that of her keeping the first complete copy
of the Holy Quran. She was the only one among the wives of the Prophet to have
been entrusted with this honour. This was in fact due to the fact that it was her
father Umer Ibn al Khattab who suggested the compilation of the Quran in book
form. This took place during the caliphate of Abu Bakr al Siddique the first
caliph after the Prophet peace be upon him. So Hafsah kept that complete copy
of the Quran until Othman Ibn Affan, the third caliph, came to power and he
ordered several copies to be made of that single original copy.

Hafsah was, in fact, the fourth wife of the Prophet peace be upon him; this
is as far as time is concerned. She was preceded by Khadijah, Sawdah and Aisha.
Biography books describe her as a charming woman of extremely refined
manners and coming from a family of great honour and prestige namely the
Arabic tribe of Makhzoum, a branch of Quraish. Her father al Farouq Umer was
no doubt one of the main founders of Islam during whose reign Islam spread far
and wide.

When Hafsah entered the Prophet’s house-hold, she already knew her status
and one salient quality of this great luminary of Islam was that she was of an
exceedingly independent character, brave and honourable. Thus she sometimes
expressed her objection to certain attitudes of the Prophet in his daily life of
course. For how could a follower object to the Divine commands? And as we said
earlier, the Prophet got married to Hafsah after Aisha, his most beloved one. So
the latter was extremely shocked by this marriage. The important question here
is this: Why should the Prophet get married to the fourth wife? Is not this a sign
of his attachment to women and sex?

To answer this question which is raised by the opponents of Islam we must


remember that the Prophet was not an angel nor a god, or a semi-god as some
people claim their prophets to be. He was a full fledged human being. So he had
to marry and get children, which he did. When he got married to Hafsah he did
not have three wives at the time. There was only Aisha and Sawdah who was his
wife in name only. So practically speaking when the Prophet married Hafsah he
had only one other wife.

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But he did not marry her for the pleasure of it. For before the Prophet,
Hafsah was the wife of Khunays Ibn Huthafa, an honourable Companion who
emigrated twice for the sake of his religion, once to Ethiopia and the second time
to al Madina al Munawwara. He participated in the first decisive battle of Islam,
the Battle of Badr and in the Battle of Uhud he received severe wounds which
caused his death. He thus left behind him a widow not more than eighteen years
old. So the Prophet asked Hafsah to join his house-hold out of gratitude to the
deceased warrior and as a sign of solidarity with the bereaved widow.

Added to the above was that when Hafsah lost her husband, her father
Umer Ibn al Khattab was extremely sad. So he decided to find a new husband for
her. This he did because it is not good in Islam that a young widow should stay
without a husband. Umer looked around and he thought of his close friend Abu
Bakr al Siddique. So he offered her to him in marriage after getting Hafsah’s
approval. But Abu Bakr declined and kept silent. This attitude raised Umer’s
anger. He did not expect it from his close friend and companion. So he went to
Othman Ibn Affan who had recently lost his wife and was no doubt in need of
another one instead. But again Umer faced the same attitude. Othman was also
silent because he looked for something else. His deceased wife was in fact the
daughter of the Prophet who had a second daughter. So may be Othman aspired
to get married to that second daughter of the Prophet; for this is exactly what
happened later on.

Facing these attitudes on the part of his two friends Umer Ibn al Khattab
proceeded to the Prophet to complain to him concerning what happened.
Hearing this the Prophet smiled and said: “ Hafsah will marry a better husband
than Othman and Othman will get married to a better wife than Hafsah “. So the
Prophet married Hafsah in these circumstances and gave his second daughter in
marriage to Othman Ibn Affan may Allah be pleased with him.

On his way back to his house Umer met Abu Bakr who told him that he
knew already of the Prophet’s intention and that is why he kept silent. This
satisfied Umer who felt that the Prophet was thinking of the well-being of his
followers exactly in the same degree they cared for themselves. So Hafsah was
married to the Prophet and soon she was engaged in the troubles taking place
among his different wives. In the beginning she stood against Aisha who she felt
was the closest to the Prophet’s heart. But as the Prophet took new wives Aisha
and Hafsah formed one camp together and started to plot against other wives of
the Prophet.

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One day, it is narrated that Hafsah and Aisha knew that the Prophet had
intercourse with his concubine Maria the Copt. This he did in the room of
Hafsah which enraged her anger beyond description. She said to him: “ I have
seen who was with you. This hurt me a great deal. It shows how little you respect
and appreciate me “. Then she started crying. To pacify her and to relieve the
hurt she felt, the Prophet told her something which he asked her to keep as a
secret and never tell anybody about it. He said he had sworn not to touch Maria
the Copt any longer. It is true that this pacified Hafsah and made her happy, but
how could she keep it a secret when the rest of the Prophet’s wives knew about
the original incident of Maria the Copt. Thus Hafsah told Aisha about it and
they both claimed to keep it secret, although they conveyed it to every one else.

The Holy Quran, however, was revealed and a separate chapter called
Prohibition refers to this incident and teaches the Prophet’s wives as well as all
Muslim women an important lesson. The said chapter says: “ O Prophet! Why
ban you that which Allah has made lawful for you, seeking to please your wives?
And Allah is forgiving, Merciful. Allah has made lawful for you (Mulims)
absolution from your oaths of such a kind and Allah is your Protector, He is the
Knower, the Wise. When the Prophet confided a fact to some of his wives, and
when she afterward divulged it and Allah apprised him of it, he made known to
her part thereof and passed over part. When he told it to her she said: Who has
told you this? He said: The Knower, the Aware has told me. If you twain turn
unto Allah repentant, for your hearts are inclined other wise; and if you aid one
another against him (Muhammad) then lo! Allah, even He, is his protecting
friend, and Gabriel and the Righteous among the believers; and furthermore the
angels are his helpers.

The Quran continues to talk about this incident in the Prophet’s life which
was started by Hafsah and Aisha who forgot that they were the wives of a
Prophet of Allah and not of an ordinary husband. In this context the Holy Quran
says: It may happen that his Lord, if he should divorce you, will give him in your
place wives better than you, submissive to Allah, believing, pious, penitent,
inclined to voluntary fasting, widows and virgins. ( 66-1-5 )

This may look to be an ordinary incident, but it was not so in relation to a


Prophet of Allah; for how could two of his wives conspire and plot against him
as the other version of the same incident shows where Hafsah and Aisha plotted
to make the Prophet boycott Mary the Copt his concubine. When they claimed
that he had a bad smell. When he told them that he ate honey with Mary the
Copt, they insisted that he smelt badly. Accordingly he swore not to eat honey at

75
all. Thus they were taught here that anything they did was of necessity conveyed
to the Prophet by Allah, the Knower of all things.

One word is here necessary about concubines. Why should the Prophet have
a concubine, in other words a mistress? The concubines were the young women
of the disbelievers who took part in battles against Muslims. They were prisoners
of war. No one was ready to marry them among the Muslims. And this is a like
treatment as other opponents of Islam did. So Islam legislated the permissibility
of their master’s sexual intercourse with these young girls. They were treated
nicely and once any of them had a son she would automatically become a free
woman and no more a prisoner of war. So Islam in fact helped liberate these
women and eliminate this institution of concubines.

To conclude this segment about Hafsah we may say that the Prophet
divorced her but he was ordered by Angel Gabriel to join her once again as she
was destined to be one of his wives in Paradise. Hafsah died in the reign of
Muawiyah, may Allah be pleased with her.

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THE NEGUS
PART 1

T he Negus or al Najashi as he is famous in Islamic history books, was the


King of Abyssinia present day Ethiopia during the time of the Prophet
Muhammad peace be upon him. This Christian King had an interesting story
both concerning his coming to the throne and his attitude towards the new
message until he was finally led to the fold of Islam. The Arabs, in fact, had a
very old relationship with East Africa particularly Ethiopia with whom they had
strong commercial relations for many centuries. This relationship was increased
and improved by the emigration of numerous followers of the final Prophet. But
why did the new Muslims make their first emigration to Ethiopia and not to
Yemen, Syria or any where else?

This is, in fact, explained by the Prophet himself who described the Negus
by the following words: “ Abyssinia is a country whose King does not do
injustice to any people around him “. It is interesting to mention how the Negus
came to power which shows how he was a just and a sincere emperor. Aisha,
wife of the Prophet said that his father was the King of his people. He had only
one son, the Negus, who had an uncle with twelve children. The Ethiopian
subjects plotted against the King and killed him. They appointed his brother as
his successor.

The Negus thus lived with his uncle, the new King. He distinguished
himself as an intelligent and a serious man. This gave him some influence in the
Kingdom. The Ethiopian plotters convened and said: This young man’s
influence has become more than his uncle's. “ It may be that if he becomes King
after his uncle, he would kill us all, because he knows for sure that we are the
killers of his father “. So they went to the King and said: Either you kill this youth
or you expel him from among us for we are afraid of him.

Hearing this the uncle said: Woe to you. I have already killed his father the
other day, and now you want me to kill him! No. I may allow you to drive him
out of the country. So they took him to the market and sold him as a slave to one
of the merchants. The price was not more than six hundred Dirhams. The buyer
put the youth in a ship and went away with him. But on the same day an autumn
cloud was available, so his uncle the King came out under it to refresh himself.
Instead a thunder storm struck him and he was killed on the spot.

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Aisha continues this interesting story in the following words: The
Abyssinians were extremely horrified at this devastating end of their King. They
said: Let us choose one of his sons and make him King on us. But to their great
surprise they found all his sons to be good for nothing. They were all mad without
any exception. So they convened again and said: You know for sure that your only
King is the one you have sold in that treacherous manner. So if you need a King
that will save your Kingdom, then get him now before it is too late. They thus
searched for him everywhere until they found him. They crowned him and made
him their new King.

The man who bought him came up to them and said: Either you give me back
my money or I will talk to him about it. They said angrily: We are not going to give
you anything. He said: Then I shall speak to him. The Ethiopians said: Do what
you like to do. The man came to the young king and told him the story. As a wise
and just ruler he got angry and said to the Ethiopians: Give him back his money
or his slave will be returned to him, meaning himself. So the Ethiopians had no
other choice but to return back the money they received. The King then made the
following comment: Allah did not take any bribe from me when He restored my
Kingdom, so how can I allow any bribe that would displease Him. He did not
surrender me to the plotters, so how can I disobey Him to satisfy them “.

This story of the Negus shows his great justice and piety. We come now to a
more important story that led to his conversion to Islam. History tells us that
when the good people in Makkah started to embrace the new faith the vicious
leaders of Quraish began to inflict severe punishment on many of them to force
them back to idol-worship. So the Prophet, peace be upon him, allowed his
followers to emigrate to Ethiopia because, as we mentioned, its King was known
for his justice and mercy. Thus a large number of Muslims joined him and they
received the best treatment from the Negus. This however, did not please
Quraish. Its leaders sent a delegation of two cunning men to negotiate with the
Negus concerning the return and the surrender of their compatriots They chose
Amr Ibn al Aass and Abdullah Ibn Abi Rabiah and supplied them with a huge
amount of valuable food stuffs available in Makkah but rare in Ethiopia. They
told them to distribute the gifts among the King and his priests before talking to
him about the emigrants. They asked them to take every possible step to prevent
any chance of meeting between the Ethiopian King and the Muslim migrants to
his land.

The said delegation thus travelled to Ethiopia. They found the Muslim
migrants enjoying the best alternative home there. They distributed the gifts

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among the different bishops and priests telling each one of them how a number
of fleeing Arabs resorted to their country. They described them as evil elements
who left the religion of their people and did not enter Christianity either, but
invented a perverted religion unknown before by either party. “ The Arab
leaders, the delegation continued, have sent us to your King to surrender them to
us. So when we talk to him advise him to hand them over to us without even
talking to them. This is simply because we know them better than you do “. They
said: All the bishops and priests complied with the delegation’s opinion and
expressed their readiness to support it in the presence of the Negus.

Thus paving the way for themselves in such an excellent manner the two
cunning men presented their gifts to the Negus; and when they were in his
presence along with his priests and bishops they said: O King! Some evil
elements from our country have fled to yours after defecting from their people’s
religion. They did not embrace yours either, but concocted a false religion which
neither you nor we know anything about. Their nobles have delegated us to
approach you, among whom are their fathers, uncles and other relations, so that
you may hand them over to us; for as you know, their kins know them better than
you do; and they are fully aware of their weaknesses and drawbacks. Thus they
rejected them and their false religion.

Aisha, wife of the Prophet, who transmitted this story says: Nothing was
more repugnant to the Negus than hearing this version of the story from
Abdullah Ibn Abi Rabiah and Amr Ibn al Aass. The bishops around him said:
They are indeed honest and are telling you the truth O King, because their
people know them better than we do. So we request you to hand them over to
them so that they may take them back to their country.

The Negus was, however, extremely angry. He said: No by Allah. I won’t


surrender them to you. For how can I do so to some people who resorted to me
and settled in my land and preferred me to all others? I will not do that until I call
them and ask them about the reality of what these two men claim about them. If
it proves to be true then I shall hand them over to them, and they can return them
to their people. But if it is otherwise I am going to defend them and continue to
treat them nicely as long as they are in my country.

Such an attitude, no doubt, befits a just King like the Negus. He invited
them to his palace to listen to the other side of the story. Led by Jaafer Ibn Abi
Taleb the Muslim emigrants came to the King who had his bishops around him
with their copies of the Bible open in front of them. The Arab delegation was also

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there. The Negus asked them the following question. He said: What is that
religion by which you left your people and did not enter my religion neither that
of any others? Jaafer Ibn Abi Taleb stood up and said: O King! We were people
of ignorance, who worshipped idols, ate dead carcasses, committed crimes, cut
our relations and behaved badly towards our neighbours. The powerful among
us used to devour the rights of the weak, until Allah Almighty sent us a
messenger from among ourselves whose lineage and honesty we are sure of as
well as his truth and chastity. He invited us to worship Allah Almighty alone and
leave idol worship.

O King! Jaafer continued, the new messenger instructed us to speak the truth,
fulfill our trusts, do good to our relatives and neighbours and avoid all prohibited
things and blood. He enjoined us to eschew evil and avoid falsehood, stop
devouring the orphan’s property and calumnising pure women. On the other
hand he commanded us to worship the One Allah, establish prayer, give Zakat
and observe fasting Ramadan. We believed in his message and followed him. Our
people who rejected his message started to punish us trying to force us back to idol
worship. We refused and emigrated to your land hoping not to be unjustly treated.

The Negus requested Jaafer to recite to him part of the new message. So he
recited a major part of the chapter called Mary; an interpreter was all the time
conveying the meanings. Thus the Negus and his bishops wept until the Bibles
in front of them were wet with tears. He at last said: “ By Allah, what you recited
and what Jesus conveyed come from the same source. By Allah I am not going to
surrender them to you “ he told the Arab delegation.

The Negus, in fact, embraced Islam and treated the Muslims nicely until
they willingly left his country. When he died the Prophet ordered a special
funeral prayer be performed for his sake. May his soul rest in peace.

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THE NEGUS
PART 2

W e have already seen how Jaafer Ibn Abi Taleb was called by the Negus
along with other Muslim migrants to speak for themselves and explain their
point of view; how the Negus refused to surrender those emigrants to Quraish
except after interviewing them and making sure of the validity of the claims of
Quraish. Jaafer explained how Prophet Muhammad, whose lineage every body
knew, called the Arabs to worship the One Allah and only; how he invited them
to stop worshipping idols and to do all that is good and avoid evil. Quraish’s
response, however, was absolute rejection of the new faith. Not only this but the
Arab leaders started to make a severe campaign against the followers of Islam,
the majority of whom were poor and weak individuals from among the laity. So
the Prophet permitted them to emigrate to Ethiopia.

Said Jaafer: Thus we have chosen you king and preferred you to all others
thanks to your justice and mercy. Now the Negus heard from both sides. One
claimed that a group of so-called perverted criminals have escaped from their
country and that their people have thus sent a delegation for their restoration; the
other side, however, told the Negus a completely different story; it was the story
of the rise of a new prophet whose description is to be found in the Bible and
whose time had come. But the Negus did not give his final judgement, neither did
he utter his decision. He wanted to know something more about the content of the
new message. So he asked Jaafer: Do you remember any part of the new
revelation?

Jaafer Ibn Abi Taleb, the leader of the Muslim emigrants to Ethiopia and,
for that matter, the first ambassador of Islam to the outside world chose the
following verse which he recited to the Negus. He read in front of him the first
part of the chapter called Mary. While everybody was looking forward to what
Jaafer had to say, and while the Muslim migrants were afraid lest the Negus
should surrender them to their enemies, Jaafer’s voice flowed with these verses:
Kaf, Ha, Ya, Ayn Sad. This is a mention of the mercy of your Lord unto His
servant Zakariah, when he cried unto his Lord a cry in secret saying: My Lord!
Lo! The bones of me wax feeble and my head is shining with grey hair, and I have
never been unblessed in prayer to You, my Lord. Lo! I fear my kinsfolk after me,
since my wife is barren, Oh, give me from Your bounty a successor who shall
inherit of me and inherit also of the house of Jacob. And make him my Lord,

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acceptable unto You.

Hearing this part, conveyed to him after Jaafer’s recitation by an attending


interpreter the Negus looked at his priests and bishops as if asking them silently
whether they have the same account of the story or not. They nodded in silence
implying an answer in the affirmative. Then the Quranic words flowed once
again on Jaafer’s lips throbbing with the beat of his heart and the hearts of the
Muslim migrants who stood in great humbleness and modesty.

O Zakariah! We bring you tidings of a son whose name is Yahya (John). We


have given the same name to none before him. He said: My Lord! How can I have
a son when my wife is barren and I have reached infirm old age? He said: So it be.
Your Lord says it is easy for Me, even as I created you before when you were
nothing. He said: My Lord! Appoint for me some token. He said your token is
that you, with no bodily defect, shall not speak unto mankind three nights
consecutively.

Again the Negus and the priests exchanged looks, but then the approving
nods also came. Then Jaafer’s voice continued with the words of the Quran: Then
he came forth unto his people from his sanctuary and signified to them: Glorify
your Lord at day break as well as at night fall. O Yahya! Hold fast the Scripture,
and We gave him wisdom while still a child, and compassion from Our presence,
purity and he was devout and dutiful towards his parents. He was not arrogant,
rebellious. Peace be on him the day he was born, the day he dies and the day he
shall be raised alive.

Then Jaafer’s voice trembled with the following part of Divine revelation
concerning the story of Virgin Mary and her miracle-son Jesus, which is the most
problematic issue between Christians themselves. He, however, recited it with
deep conviction regardless of any reaction on the part of the Negus, the priests
and other attendants. This, no doubt, should be the attitude of any one who has
the honour of conveying the truth, how about one who conveys Divine truth?
Thus Jaafer continued.

And make mention in the Divine Scripture of Mary when she had
withdrawn from her people to a chamber looking East. She had chosen seclusion
from them. Then We sent to her Our Spirit and it assumed for her the likeness of
a perfect man. She said: I seek refuge in the Beneficent One from you, if you are
Allah-fearing. He said: I am only the Messenger of your Lord that I may bestow
on you a sinless son. She said: How can I have a son when no mortal has touched

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me, neither have I been unchaste? He said: So it will be. Your Lord says: It is easy
for Me, And that We may make him a miracle for mankind and a mercy from Us,
and it is a thing ordained.

Here tears started to roll from the eyes of the Negus and his priests and
bishops. Their humble looks encouraged Jaafer to continue his recitation of this
part of chapter 19 wherein Allah says: She (Mary) conceived him and then
withdrew with him to a far place. Then the pangs of childbirth drove her to the
trunk of a palm tree. She said: Oh! Would that I had died ere this and had become
a thing of naught, forgotten. Then one cried unto her from below her, saying:
Grieve not! Your Lord has placed a revulet beneath you. So shake the trunk of the
palm-tree towards you and it will send down to you ripe dates. So eat and drink
and be consoled. And if you meet any mortal then say: I have vowed a fast unto
the Beneficent, and will not speak this day to any human.

As Jaafer continued his recitation more tears flowed from the eyes of the
Negus and his priests, until their books in front of them were wet. Their eyes
implied their appeal to him to continue which he did: She brought him to her
own folk, carrying him. They said: O Mary! You have committed an astounding
sin. O sister of Aaron! Your father was not a wicked man nor was your mother a
harlot. Then she pointed to him. They said: How can we talk to one who is in the
cradle; a little child? He said: Lo! I am the slave of Allah. He has given me the
Scripture and has appointed me a prophet. He has made me blessed wheresoever
I may be and has enjoined upon me prayer and charity so long as I remain alive,
and has made me dutiful towards my mother and has not made me arrogant or
unblessed. Peace be on me the day I was born, the day I die and the day I shall be
raised alive.

Then came the Quranic comment which greatly impressed the Negus and
his priests: Such was jesus, son of Mary, a statement of the truth concerning
which they doubt. It befits not the majesty of Allah that He should take unto
Himself a son. Glory be to Him! When He decrees a thing, He says unto it only
Be and it is. And Lo! Allah is my Lord and your Lord so worship Him! This is
indeed the right path.

Here the Negus exclaimed: By Allah, I testify that this and what Jesus said
come from the same Divine source. But the cunning delegation of Quraish posed
the following question: They said: Ask the Muslims what they say about Jesus
Christ? When the said question was addressed to Jaafer, he said: He is the spirit
of Allah and His word which He delivered to Mary the Virgin and the Chaste

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one. Then the Negus angrily said to the Quraish delegation: Go away and leave
my land. I am not going to surrender these people to you. Turning to his priests
he said: Give them back all their presents. And as for you emigrants feel free to
settle here without any intervention.

That was the great scene between the Negus who embraced Islam and Jaafer
Ibn Abi Taleb. It is also narrated that the Negus sent a delegation to the Prophet
whose members also listened to the Quran and converted to the last faith. From
time to time the Negus sent presents to the Prophet assuring him of his belief in
his message. The Muslim emigrants continued to live in Ethiopia under his care
until they were ordered to join the Prophet in Madina. Thus the Negus
represented the best example and response of a sincere Christian to Islam.

One day the Prophet declared the death of the Negus. He ordered his
companions to establish prayer for him. May his soul rest in peace. Amen.

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KHAWLAH BINT THAALABAH

T his is the story of another great woman of Islam Khawlah Bint Thaalabah,
daughter of Thaalabah, a lady from Quraish about whom Allah Almighty sent
some revelations. She was an ordinary poor but respectable woman married to an
old man called Aws Ibn al Samit. In her as well as in her husband was revealed
the first part of the chapter called Mujadalah which is chapter 58 of the Holy
Quran. But why should this take place and what did Khawlah and her husband
do so that Allah Almighty should send Divine revelation about them? These are
indeed important questions that require answers.

As for the occasion we are told through authentic reports that Aws Ibn al
Samit, Khawlah’s husband was one day angry with her. Under this hot temper he
said to her: To me you are now as prohibited as the back of my mother. He did
not, however, mean that he wanted to divorce her. But as this first generation of
Muslims was always committed to the dictates of the Holy Quran, thus no one
ever dared to do anything except after consulting the Prophet about it especially
if it was an important affair. So as soon as Khawlah heard this statement from her
husband, she immediately went to the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him.
She told him about that incident between her and her husband and repeated his
statement to the Messenger of Allah. But the Prophet did not issue his
judgement until he sent for her husband Aws Ibn al Samit. When the latter came
the Prophet asked him the following question: What do you have to say about the
statement conveyed to me by your wife?

Aws exchanged a deep love with his wife who however preferred her love for
Allah and his Messenger to everything else including her love for her dear
husband. He acknowledged the truth of what his wife said and added: So what is
your decision O Messenger of Allah? This question on the part of Aws Ibn al
Samit sprang from his full readiness to comply with the command of Allah and
his Prophet, same as his wife did. This was, in fact, the attitude of all members of
that first generation whenever they learnt a few verses of the Quran they never
moved to other verses until they learnt them by heart and put them into practice.
So Aws Ibn al Samit was serious when he asked the guidance and the instructions
of the Prophet which he was ready to be committed to regardless of whether he
liked them or not.

What was the answer of the Prophet peace be upon him? Was he a virtual
dictator as some of his opponents like to describe him? Had he been that type of

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ruler, he would have immediately given his instructions to Aws, and his wife. But
that was not the case. The Prophet did not act from himself. He also waited the
guidance of Allah. So the Prophet said to Aws: Don’t touch her nor approach or
enter upon her until I allow you to do so, implying that until he receives some
Divine revelation in the case.

One report puts it as follows: Khawlah entered the house of Aisha where she
met the Prophet and said: O Messenger of Allah, as you know Aws is the father
of my children and my cousin; he is the most beloved one to me. You must be
aware of his minor sins, his incapacity to do anything, his weakness and his faulty
tongue. Both of us are in dire need of each other. By Him Who Has revealed the
Book to you he did not mention divorce. All that he said was: You are to me like
the back of my mother. So the Prophet said: The only thing I can say is that you
have become prohibited for him. But Khawlah did not surrender; not because
she wanted to disobey the commands of the Prophet, but out of her love for her
husband and her great pity for him she tried her best to receive a better decision.
So she argued again and again with the Prophet.

She finally prayed to Allah in the following words: O Allah I complain to you
of my great sadness and the unbearable pain of leaving my husband. O Allah send
down on the tongue of your Prophet all that consoles and relieves us. Aisha says:
We actually cried to hear this from Khawlah out of mercy and pity for her. But as
she was in front of the Messenger talking to him we could see a change in the
appearance of the Prophet. For, as a matter of fact, his countenace used to redden
and his forehead would perspire whenever he used to receive Divine revelation. So
I said to Khawlah: The verses he is now receiving must be about you, said Aisha.
The latter had the following comment to say: O Allah! I pray You to send what is
good for we only wished all that is good to Your Prophet! Looking at Khawlah
Aisha says: She was about to die due to fear of separation from her husband.

But what happened. As a matter of fact, as soon as the Prophet was relieved
of the burden of revelation he smiled and said: O Khawlah! Rising quickly to him
the latter said: Here I am. She aspired for good news due to the Prophet’s smile.
And this is exactly what happened. The Prophet then said: Allah has revealed the
following about you and your husband:

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. Allah has heard the
saying of her that disputes with you concerning her husband, and complains to
Allah. And Allah hears your dialogue. Lo! Allah is Hearer, Knower. Such of you
who put away their wives (by saying that they are like their mothers) they are not

86
actually their mothers; none are their mothers except those who gave them birth.
They indeed utter an ill-word and a lie. But lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.
Those who put away their wives and afterwards would go back on that which
they have said, the expiation in that case is the freeing of a slave before they touch
one another. Unto this you are exhorted and Allah is Informed of what you do.
But he who finds not the wherewithal, let him fast for two successive months
before they touch one another; and for him who is unable to do so the penance is
the feeding of sixty needy ones. This is that you may put trust in Allah and His
Messenger. Such are the limits imposed by Allah; and for disbelievers there is a
painful doom. ( 58-1-4 )

After the Prophet had recited these verses he said: Ask him to free a slave.
But knowing the great poverty of her husband Khawlah again said: What slave?
By Allah he can’t find a slave to free. He has no other servant but me Then the
Prophet said: Ask him then to fast two successive months. But Khawlah
defended her frailed husband and said: By Allah O Messenger of Allah, he
cannot do it. He has to drink water several times everyday; his eyesight is lost and
his body is weakened. Smilingly as well as pitifully the Prophet then said: Let
him go to Ummul Munthir Bint Qays and take from her half a wasq (a big
amount) of dates and distribute it among sixty needy persons.

One version has this. That Khawlah again said to the Prophet: By Allah! No
one in Madinah is as poor as we are! So the Prophet laughed and allowed the
couple to take the dates home and resume their normal life. In another version,
however, Khawlah speeded back home where she found her husband waiting for
her sitting at the doorstep. Once he saw her, he said: What news do you have O
Khawlah? She said: Good news, but you are blameworthy. The Messenger of
Allah orders you to go to Ummil Munthir Bint Qays and take from her a good
amount of dates (half a wasq) to distribute it among the needy.

Despite his frailty and great weakness Aws ran quickly. Within a few minutes
he came back carrying the dates on his back and started to give every needy person
he passed by. His love for his wife and his great happiness for his re-union with
her made him as strong as young people. Whenever he used to recite those verses,
afterwards he would say: I would have perished had it not been for Khawlah!

This incident shows and clearly proves one fundamental fact concerning the
Quran and Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. For those who claim that
the Quran is the word of Muhammad here is a clear proof that it is not. The
Divine spoke here and interfered to correct one initial decision of the Prophet.

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This is what we mean when one says he is Divinely inspired Notice the great
mercy of the Prophet. He did not insist on what is hard for his followers but
allowed them to receive charity, nay, it was he who helped them get it and
distribute it according to one version or take it home according to the other. This
is Islam, and this is the practical lesson it teaches to its followers.

A final word about Khawlah is that she was a genius in rhetoric and feared
no one except Allah Almighty. It is reported that one day she met Caliph Umer
Ibn al Khattab as he was going out of the Mosque. al Jaroud al Abdi was with
him. Umer saluted Khawlah as he saw her. She returned his salutation and said
something very hard to Umer. She advised him to fear Allah in dealing with
people, and reminded him of death and accountability. When al Jaroud wanted
to stop her Umer said: Leave her alone. She is Khawlah whose talk Allah
Almighty has heard from above seven heavens why should not Umer listen to
her? He should.

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RUQAYYAH BINT AL RASOUL

T his is the story of Ruqayyah the second oldest daughter of Prophet


Muhammad peace be upon him. She was one of those few who had the honour of
making two migrations for the sake of Islam, one to Abyssinia along with her
husband Uthman Ibn Affan, may Allah be pleased with him, and the second to
Madinah the first capital of Islam.

If we go back to the early life of the family of Prophet Muhammad we find


the four daughters Zaynab, Ruqayyah, Ummu Kulthoom and Fatima. Zaynab
used to take care of her little sister Fatimah especially after the death of their
mother Khadijah. So she became a second mother for Fatimah; while Ruqayyah
and Ummu Kulthoom, who were nearly of the same age, were always attached to
each other like close friends.

As a matter of fact, Allah Almighty willed, it seems, that these two sisters
should have many things in common and that they should share almost the same
identical situations. Not only were they close friends before marriage but this
relationship between Ruqayyah and Ummu Kulthoom continued even after
wedlock where they were engaged and married to two brothers, namely Utbah
and Utaybah, sons of their father’s uncle Abdel Uzza famous as Abu Lahab.
They lived the same circumstances under one ceiling until they were both
divorced from their husbands under the instigation of their mother in law Ummu
Jamil who ordered her two sons to divorce them due to her hatred to the Prophet
and his call. Then Ruqayyah got married to Uthman Ibn Affan and Ummu
Kulthoom stayed with her father and so the two twin-like sisters were separated
for some time and in fact for the first time. We shall, however, see how they
shared the same husband in the end, one after another which makes their life
almost identical.

This phenomenon between Ruqayyah and Ummu Kulthoom deserves more


of our attention. For in addition to their sharing the same parents, they lived their
childhood together, were engaged in marriage together and married two brothers
in the same house, under the same family name. They suffered the same
circumstances, entered Islam on the same day and after long years they had the
same husband, namely Uthman Ibn Affan who was the only Companion to have
the honour of marrying two daughters of the Prophet one after the decease of the
other. Thus he was called Thu-Noorayn, meaning the man of two lights.

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On three occasions only the two sisters were temporarily separated as some
biographers beautifully put it. The first occasion was when Ruqayyah migrated
with her husband Uthman to Abyssinia; thus leaving behind her dearest sister
Ummu Kulthoom for the first time in Makkah where the latter faced with the
rest of the family the siege imposed on them in Abu Taleb’s lane. The second
occasion whereon the two sisters were separated took place when their mother
Khadijah died in the absence of Ruqayyah. The third occasion was the death of
Ruqayyah six years before Ummu Kulthoom who continued to feel the presence
of her sister, and never forgot her dear memories for the rest of her life.

Let us now go into further details concerning these two pure gems and lights
of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. As soon as Zaynab the oldest
daughter of the Prophet got married to her cousin Abul Aas Ibn al Rabee, the
family of Abdel Muttalib got together and approached Muhammad to ask the
hands of his other daughters for their children. Thus both Ruqayyah and Ummu
Kulthoom were given in marriage to Utbah and Utaybah sons of Abdel Uzzah
Ibn Abdel Muttaleb, nicknamed later on as Abu Lahab. The two marriages took
place, as we said, on the same night.

But despite the fact that marriage inside the same family was an accepted
custom in Makkah, Khadijah may Allah be pleased with her, was not at all
satisfied with it. This was due to what she knew of the bad character of Ummu
Jameel, wife of Abu Lahab. The said woman was indeed an extremely hard-
hearted, jealous and envious woman. Thus Khadijah was afraid that her two dear
ones should be subject to that harsh and merciless woman. It was not long when
Khadijah’s feeling and expectation was fulfilled. For, as a matter of fact, the
suffering the two sisters faced in the said household was beyond all expectations.

Despite the fact that Abdel Uzzah was a close uncle of the Prophet, he was
his staunchest enemy after prophethood. He was the only member of Bani
Hashem and Abdel Muttaleb who surrendered the Prophet and never gave him
any kind of help or support. Not only this but whenever the Prophet used to
approach pilgrims to invite them to Islam, Abu Lahab used to come forward and
ask the pilgrims not to listen to him or believe him and would accuse him of being
a liar, a mad man or a magician. And when the Prophet peace be upon him
emerged to live in the lane of Abu Taleb, Abu Lahab instigated all merchants of
Makkah against them and he, in fact, led what is called the war of hunger against
the Muslims.

Ummu Jamil, wife of Abu Lahab was no less fierce in her enmity to Islam

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and the Muslims, particularly the Prophet and his family. She used to place
thorns in the path of the Prophet and inflict every possible harm on him and his
family just because she rejected Islam. She thus deserved the curse of the Quran
in which Allah revealed a separate chapter about her and her husband In the said
chapter Allah Almighty says: The power of Abu Lahab will indeed perish and he
will also perish. His wealth and gains will not exempt him. He will be plunged in
flaming fire, and his wife, the wood carrier, will have upon her neck a halter of
palm tree. ( 111-1-5 )

Ummu Jamil, the embodiment of hatred and disbelief was full of rancour
against all the family of Hashem, the clan of the Prophet. She only sought the
marriage of her two sons to Ruqayyah and Ummu Kulthoom to humiliate Bani
Hashem and fight back against Khadijah of whom she was extremely jealous,
even before she married Muhammad peace be upon him. So when the said
chapter against her and her husband was revealed and made known to everybody
in Makkah Ummu Jamil carried a huge stone and looked for the Prophet to
struck him with. She, however, could not do so. Then she swore not to stay under
one ceiling with the Prophet’s two daughters who were immediately divorced
and returned to their parents.

Thus the two twin-like sisters joined their parents once again despite the
bitterness they both entertained after their tragic separation from their husbands
one of whom used to inflict punishment on the Prophet’s daughter. And
although Muhammad peace be upon him very rarely cursed anybody, he did
curse Utaybah and asked Allah to send him a fierce dog to kill him. So, as he was
returning from a journey, one day, a lion jumped on him and ate him up out of all
his companions. The private tragedy of the Prophet’s family was forgotten
against the public tragedy of their siege in Abu Taleb’s lane. Ruqayyah and
Ummu Kulthoom thus joined their parents and embraced Islam which granted
them solace and great consolation.

But no sooner Ruqayyah left her first husband than Uthman Ibn Affan the
close friend of the Prophet came forward asking for her hand. This he did in the
spirit of love and solidary with the Prophet. The two sisters were thus separated.
Not only this, but Uthman emigrated with Ruqayyah leaving behind their dear
ones in Makkah. Ruqayyah did not know that it was the last time she was
destined to see her mother, for after a while Khadijah died and many
developments took place in Makkah. Thus when Ruqayyah and Uthman
returned to Makkah, Ruqayyah was shocked to discover the loss of her mother
but she bore it in good faith.

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After a short while Ruqayyah and Uthman were advised by the Prophet to
leave Makkah and emigrate this time to Madinah joining other Muslims there.
Some time after their arrival in Madinah Ruqayyah lost another dear one. Her
son Abdullah died at the age of six. Despite her sincere faith and her belief in the
reward Allah promised patient Muslims in times of adversity, her sensitive heart
could not stand the shock. So she fell ill and got severe fever. It was then that the
battle of Badr was called for. But despite its great importance the Prophet peace
be upon him ordered Uthman to stay with Ruqayyah, and despite this hard
situation the Prophet emerged to confront the disbelievers but his heart was full
of pity and mercy for Ruqayyah.

And as it is the way with this world of ours, misfortunes go hand in hand
with happiness and victory. Thus no sooner the Muslims received the pleasing
news of victory in the Battle of Badr than they knew of the sad demise of
Ruqayyah. The two sentiments were present in the heart of the Prophet who led
the funeral prayer on Ruqayyah and bade farewell to another member of his
family after his wife Khadijah. May Allah shower His mercy on them all.

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ABU MOOSA AL ASHARI
L ess known as Abdullah Ibn Qays Ibn Saleem, Abu Moosa al Ashari
embraced Islam early in Makkah. He emigrated to Abyssinia (now Ethiopia) in
the company of other emigrants and came back with those who returned to
Arabia in two ships and found the Prophet beseigning the jews of Khayber. Some
reporters, however ignore his migration to that East African country. One of the
early missions Abu Moosa al Ashari was entrusted with, was that the Prophet
peace be upon him sent him and Muaz Ibn Jabal to Yemen to teach people the
Holy Quran. This is reported by Imam Ahmad in his Musnad.

One feature of Abu Moosa al Ashari is that the Prophet liked his voice while
reciting the Quran. In Sahih al Bukhari we read the following tradition. The
Messenger of Allah once said to Abu Moosa al Ashari: If only you had seen me
yesterday listening to your recitation. You have indeed a nice voice partly similar
to that of Prophet Dawood (David). Hearing this Abu Moosa said: Had I known
that you were listening to my reading, I would have beautified it for you.

In the two books of Sahih by Imam Bukhari and Muslim we read the
following story narrated by Abu Moosa himself who said: One day we travelled
with the Messenger of Allah for a battle. Six of us had one camel which we rode
one after another, thus our naked feet were full of wounds. This happened to my
feet as well; even my nails were torn and fell. So we started to wrap our legs with
old pieces of cloth. Thus the said battle was called Ghazwat That al Riqaa,
meaning the battle of the old pieces of cloth. After narrating this story Abu
Moosa told one attendant that he wished he had not mentioned anything about
it lest he should have committed hypocrisy.

Concerning the beautiful voice of Abu Moosa in reciting the Quran, not
only the Prophet acknowledged it but other Companions did so. Thus Hazrat
Umer Ibn al Khattab used to say to Abu Moosa: Remind us of our Lord, so he
would recite the Holy Quran. Another Companion called Abu Uthman al Nahdi
said: One day Abu Moosa al Ashari led us in the dawn prayer; I never heard any
musical instrument as nice as his voice. This of course shows that not only the
Prophet liked his voice, but also other people liked to hear it as well.

As a close disciple of the Prophet, Abu Moosa al Ashari used to give


sermons in which he would mention some traditions of the Prophet but in his
own words. Abu Kabsha al Sadousi said: Abu Moosa al Ashari delivered a

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speech to us one day in which he said: A good companion is better than
loneliness, but loneliness is better than a bad companion; the former is like one
who has perfumes. Either he gives you or you get a nice smelling from him, while
the evil comrade is similar to a blacksmith who will either burn your clothes with
his fire or you will find a bad smell from him.

The heart, Abu Moosa al Ashari adds, is called al Qalb in Arabic from
qalaba meaning it changes, because it does not remain in one condition. A man’s
heart is like a single feather carried by wind in a desert and turning it upside
down. You will face numerous tests as black as the pitch of a dark night during
which people are believers in the morning and disbelievers at night. The best
thing is to avoid company and stay at home, he said.

One day Abu Moosa al Ashari, may Allah be pleased with him, invited
those who used to recite the Quran. They were almost three hundred people.
Abu Moosa started to praise the Holy Quran in front of them and then he said:
This Quran is either a source of reward or a cause of punishment for you. So
follow the Quran and don’t put it behind your backs, for he who follows the
Quran, it will lead him to Paradise, while he who neglects it, it will drive him to
hell fire.

Imam Ahmad reports in his Musnad that Abu Moosa al Ashari used to
wash his body in a pitch dark house, and would immediately cover himself with
his clothes out of bashfulness and respect to his Lord. In another tradition Imam
Ahmad also reports on the authority of Qasama Ibn Zuhair who said: Once Abu
Moosa made a sermon to us in which he said: O people. Cry! If you don’t cry
then attempt crying, because the owners of Hell are going to shed tears until they
don’t have any more tears; then they will shed blood tears which overflow to such
an extent that ships would run in their streams.

In the context of mentioning ships Abu Burda reports from Abu Moosa al
Ashari who said: As we travelled on a journey by ship, and as the winds were in
our direction and as our sail was raised we heard a voice saying: O people of the
ship! Stop so that I may talk to you. The voice repeated this for seven times
continuously. Abu Moosa says: So I stood at the front of the ship and said: Who
and where are you from? Don’t you see where we are and that we cannot stop?
The voice replied: Shall I tell you something about a judgement taken by Allah
and a decision made by Him? When Abu Moosa encouraged him to do so, the
voice said: Allah has decided that whoever causes himself to be thirsty for the
sake of Allah on a hot day, Allah will quench his thirst on the Day of Judgement.

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From that day on Abu Moosa used to choose the hottest days and fast them,
despite the great suffering entailed. This he did to please Allah Almighty.

Again Abu Idris says: Abu Moosa continued to make voluntary fasts until
he became as thin as a tooth stick. When he was advised to stop it for the sake of
his body, he said: It is only the thin horses that win the race. He may go out of his
house and would say to his wife: Be ready for the travel for on the bridge of Hell
there are no facilities.

al Dahhak Ibn Abdul Rahman Ibn Urzub reports the following story: On
his death bed Abu Moosa called his servants and said: Go and dig, widen and
deepen the grave. When they came back after doing as he ordered them they said:
We have dug, widened and deepened. Hearing this Abu Moosa said: By Allah,
it will be either one of two degrees: my grave will either be 40 yards wide from
each angle, and a gate to Paradise will be open on it so that I can see my place,
wives and what Allah has kept in store for me, even its nice and fragrant smell
will reach me until resurrection; or my grave will be narrowed on me so that
Allah forbid, I may be pressed in a narrow channel, then a door to Hell will be
open wherefrom I can see my chains and locks and those of my peers. I shall then
feel its poisonous winds and hot water until the day I am brought back to life.

This is how Abu Moosa al Ashari was sure of the account on the Day of
Judgement and the reward or punishment in the graves which is one of the basic
principles of Islam. His fear of this and his looking forward for the pleasures did
not stop at lip service but he and his companions prepared themselves for it and
competed in doing good and avoiding evil.

Another story narrated about Abu Moosa al Ashari while he was on his death
bed is the following one reported by Abu Burda who said: When Abu Moosa was
about to die he said: O my sons remember the man of the loaf Before they asked
him about that man he said: A man used to worship Allah in his temple for
seventy years. He never stopped from doing this, not even for one day until he was
tested by Satan who induced him to like a woman with whom he stayed for seven
days or seven nights. Then he repented and travelled across the land.

As the man walked, the reporter quotes Abu Moosa as saying, he used to
pray and prostrate in humbleness to Allah until one night he entered a shop
where he found twelve needy people. As he was tired, he threw himself among
them and slept. It was the habit of a monk to send loaves to be distributed among
those needy men. The said loaves were distributed and our man got one of them

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while one of the needy people was deprived of his share. When he asked for it the
distributor refused to give him a loaf because he was out of stock. Then he asked
all the others whether he had given any one of them two loaves or not? They said
we received one loaf each. Despite the great hunger of the repentent, who got the
poor man’s loaf, he at once gave it to him. In the morning the repenting man was
found dead.

Do you know what happened my dear sons? Abu Moosa al Ashari said to his
children. The seventy years of worship were weighed against the seven nights of
sin, the latter outweighed the former; then the loaf was weighed against the seven
sinful nights and it outweighed them. O my sons! Said Abu Moosa. Remember
the man of the loaf!

This great lesson taught by Abu Moosa al Ashari to his sons is according to
the spirit of Islam which considers the best people in the sight of Allah to be the
ones who are most useful and charitable to other men. Abu Moosa al Ashari died
in Makkah according to one report or in Thawiyah near Kufa according to
another. This took place 44 years after Hijrah. May his soul rest in peace.

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AMMAR IBN YASER

A mmar Ibn Yaser son of Yaser Ibn Ammar Ibn Malek was one of the few
early Muslims of Makkah whose parents were also staunch Muslims. He and his
parents, in fact, composed a poor and a weak family whom the Quraish
disbelievers punished and persecuted due to their belief. One important
difference between Ammar and his parents was that while both of them - the
parents remained patient and perseverent in bearing the sufferings from the
Quraish Ammar could not do so. This was because he was burned with fire until
he said something against the Prophet and praised the idols of Quraish.

Ammar’s mother Sumayah was the first martyr in Islam. She was one of the
early believers in the new religion which angered her master to such an extent
that he killed her in the attempt to force her to leave Islam and return to idol
worship. Despite her weakness as a woman she refused to do so until the last
minute of her life. A special story of this series will be set for this first martyr of
Islam.

To go back to her son Ammar Ibn Yaser. He was, as we said, one of the group
of weak and poor people who were persecuted and punished by the Quraish for
their belief. He was molested and burnt with fire. Amr Ibn Maymoon says that
the polytheists of Makkah burnt Ammar with fire. The Messenger of Allah used
to pass by and see him. He would put his blessed hand on Ammar’s head and say:
O fire be cool and peaceful on Ammar as you were on Ibrahim peace be upon him.

In another tradition Uthman Ibn Affan may Allah be pleased with him said:
I was walking hand in hand with the Messenger of Allah in al Bat-ha valley of
Makkah until we came to Abu Ammar, Ammar and his mother while they were
persecuted and punished. Yaser, father of Ammar said: Time is like this. Hearing
this the Prophet said: Be patient O family of Yaser, I promise you Paradise. O
Allah forgive the family of Yaser. Pleased with the Prophet’s prayer despite the
severe punishment he was facing, Yaser said: I have done, meaning that he was
ready to be patient until the end of it.

But the lot of Ammar was a little bit different from that of his parents
Although he attended all the battles of the Prophet, particularly the first two
Badr and Uhud, he was forced earlier on to curse the Prophet and praise the idols
of Quraish. This he did under the great pressure of punishment. His heart,
however, was sound with belief so the Prophet called him the good and the

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praised one.

Abu Ubaidah Ibn Muhammad Ibn Ammar says: The polytheists took
Ammar Ibn Yaser and did not leave him until he cursed the Messenger of Allah
peace be upon him and praised their idols. When he met the Prophet, who asked
him about any news he had, Ammar said: I have bad and evil news. I was not left
alone until I said something against you and praised their idols. The Prophet
then asked: Ho do you find your heart? Ammar said: Secure in belief. The
Prophet then said: If they do it again then repeat what you were forced to say.
Then the following verses were revealed to the Prophet concerning Ammar and
any Muslim who would face similar conditions.

In this context the Holy Quran says: Anyone who disbelieves after accepting
faith in Allah, except under compulsion, his heart remaining firm in faith - but
such as open their breast to unbelief, on them is wrath from Allah, and theirs will
be a dreadful penalty. ( 16-106 )

This attitude of Ammar Ibn Yaser reminds me of several other situations in


which a sincere Muslim is forced to say or do something against his belief. He
does it to get rid of a horrible punishment while his heart remains firm in belief.
If this is the case, the Prophet allows such a Muslim to do so. This is, no doubt,
part of his mercy towards other believers.

I remember here how Abdullah Ibn Huthafa, a Muslim youth was taken
prisoner in the Caliphate of Umer Ibn al Khattab. The Romans took him along
with a good number of Muslim warriors. Punishment was set against him to
force him reveal some secrets about the Islamic army. He refused and remained
firm. Then the Roman King asked him to kiss his head in return for setting free
all Muslim warriors. Abdullah Ibn Huthafa, thought for a little while and then
he accepted the King’s offer. So he was released along with the other warriors
When they arrived in Madinah Umer Ibn al Khattab came out to receive them
He kissed the head of Abdullah Ibn Huthafa and said: It is the duty of every
Muslim to do so.

This does not mean, however, that he who chooses to be firm in his belief
even if he dies for it as a martyr, that he is not approved of by Islam. On the
contrary he is indeed the best of martyrs who does so. The position of Ammar
Ibn Yaser suits those who cannot bear the bodily torment and are in danger of
changing to disbelief if such torment continues. So they have their excuse and are
still regarded as good Muslims.

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Ibn Abbas reports the Prophet as saying: Ammar is full of faith from head
to foot. Thus he was always honoured and welcomed by the Prophet. Ali Ibn Abi
Taleb may Allah be pleased with him says: Ammar once asked permission to
enter the house of the Prophet to meet him. The Prophet said: Let him in:
Welcome on good and honoured terms. On the other hand Anas Ibn Malek said:
The Messenger of Allah peace be upon him said: Paradise looks forward to three
people. Ali Ibn Abi Taleb, Ammar Ibn Yaser and Salman al Farisi. Despite the
comment of some traditionalists that this is a strange hadith, it does not
contradict the great honour Ammar was granted by the Prophet.

Another quality of Ammar Ibn Yaser is that he used to keep silent for long
periods of time. This is what one reporter says about him. He was full of sadness
for days on end and most of his talk was prayer to Allah to keep him safe from
tests and mischief. Ammar, however, faced severe situations even towards the
end of his life. This was in fulfillment of what the Prophet once told him.
Looking at Ammar one day with love mixed with sadness the Prophet said: The
oppressive faction will kill you.

But what exactly happened? Who was that oppressive faction referred to
by the Prophet? As time passed, one day Ammar found himself in the army of
Ali Ibn Abi Taleb against the forces of Muawiyah. That was in the battle of
Siffin where Ammar was killed indeed. So the Muslims declared in one voice:
We bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. Here is a new
proof of it. Many a thing he foretold came to be true. Not a single promise was
wrong. They said.

Ammar did not like to participate in a war between two Muslim armies, but
it was the mischief referred to by the Prophet. Said Ibn Abdullah quotes his
father as saying: While Ammar was proceeding to Siffin along the Euphrates he
said: O Allah if I know that it is more pleasing to you that I should throw myself
from the top of this mountain, I would surely do it. He then looked at the huge
river, the Euphrates and said: If I know, O Allah, that it is more pleasing for You
that I should throw myself in the water and drown, I would not hesitate to do so.
O Allah! I fight only to please you hoping that You will not disappoint me seeing
that I seek your pleasure.

Abdullah Ibn Salamah reports the following: I saw Ammar Ibn Yaser on the
day of Siffin. He was an old dark - complexioned man with a spear in his hand.
He looked at Amr Ibn al Aas holding the standard in the army of Muawiyah and
said: I have fought against this flag with the Messenger of Allah three times and

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this is the fourth. By Allah if they beat us until they drive us to the boundaries of
Hajar, still I shall be sure that our leader (Ali) is on the right path and that they
are astray. This is a reference to that Battle of Siffin which took place between the
forces of Ali Ibn Abi Taleb the then Caliph of the Muslims and the army of
Muawiya, then ruler of Syria who refused to accept Ali as caliph and asked for an
investigation in the murder of Uthman, the previous caliph. Ammar Ibn Yaser
supported Ali and was killed in this battle. Those were days of mischief among
the Muslims and that is why Ammar made the afore mentioned prayer where he
showed his readiness to kill himself and avoid fighting against other Muslims. It
is true he was sure of Ali’s right to be caliph, but he did not like to fight other
Muslims. What a hard test for him as it was for many others.

Abu Sinan al Duali, the Companion of the Prophet says: I saw Ammar Ibn
Yaser (on the day of Siffin) when he asked for a glass of milk which he drank and
then said: Allah and His Apostle indeed said the truth. Today I shall meet my
beloved ones, Muhammad and his party. The Messenger of Allah said: The last
thing Ammar will take in this world is a glass of milk. He then repeated what he
had already said: By Allah if they beat us until they drive us to the borders of
Hajar, we will still believe that we are on the right path and that they are the
wrong-doers. Then Ammar was killed. He was then 93 years old.

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ABDULLAH IBN RUWAHAH

A bdullah Ibn Ruwahah Ibn Thaalaba Ibn Imru-ul-Qays was a grand son
of the famous Arab king and poet before Islam called Imru-ul-Qays. He was one
of the Supporters of the Prophet in Madinah as his tribe is called al Khazraj; he
witnessed Badr, the first battle of Islam and like his grand father, he was also a
famous poet. He reported traditions of the Prophet and transmitted from Bilal
Ibn Rabah. A good number of Companions and their disciples quoted him in
their chains of transmitters when they narrated some sayings of the Prophet.

As we said earlier, he participated in the first decisive battle of Islam which


is regarded as a great honour among Muslims. This is because the Prophet said
one day that it may be that Allah Almighty has addressed the Muslim fighters in
Badr and said: Do what you want, I have forgiven all your sins. This does not
mean, of course, that Allah Almighty favours some of his creatures at the
expense of others; it only shows the great importance of that battle on the one
hand and the reward Allah has kept for those participating in it. We should
mention here how the Prophet made the following prayer only seconds before the
battle. He said: O Allah! Should this group perish, you will not be worshipped
on earth anymore after this day. Abdullah Ibn Ruwahah was one of the said
group of early Muslims referred to by the Prophet.

But Abdullah Ibn Ruwahah had also the earlier honour of attending
Bay’atul Aqaba, or the Aqaba Oath of Loyalty where a number of new Muslims
from Madinah gave a solemn oath to the Prophet to defend him and the new
religion as they would defend their own selves and families. Hearing this oath al
Abbas, uncle of the Prophet stood up and said: If you know you can fulfill your
oath, then take my nephew and go ahead with what you want to do; but if you feel
that you can’t do so or that you are weaker than to undertake this responsibility,
then leave him now on the spot, for he has his own family members who can
defend him better than anybody else. But the Ansar rose to the challenge and
fulfilled their oath; and Abdullah Ibn Ruwahah was one of those who gave their
lives for that noblest of causes.

To come closer Abdullah Ibn Ruwahah was nicknamed Abu Muhammad


although he had no children. He took that name out of great love to Prophet
Muhammad peace be upon him. As a matter of fact, although the name
Muhammad was not common in Arabia before Islam, it is the commonest name
now in the world; no other name can compete with this name as millions of people

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today have that name these days. So Abdullah Ibn Ruwahah was one of the first
people who were nicknamed Abu Muhammad after the Prophet of Islam. He was
the uncle of al Nu’man Ibn Basheer, another great Companion of the Prophet.

Abdullah Ibn Ruwahah was one of the scribes of the Prophet from the
Ansar; he was one of the famous poets of Islam who defended it against the
calumnies of its foes and opponents. He distinguished himself also as a military
leader. Thus the Prophet nominated him more than once to undertake some
military missions. It is said by some reporters that Ibn Ruwahah and Abul
Darda, were half brothers on the mother’s side only.

On the authority of Anas Imam Ahmad in his great Musnad says:


Whenever Ibn Ruwahah used to meet another Muslim friend he would say to
him: Come, let us believe for an hour. One day when he said this to one man, he
got angry and complained to the Prophet saying: O Messenger of Allah! Are you
aware that Ibn Ruwahah leaves believing in you and prefers to believe for one
hour? The Prophet’s answer was the following: May Allah have mercy on Ibn
Ruwahah; he likes the meetings which the angels of Allah are proud of. This
tradition refers to the value of learning in Islam. In another tradition we read the
following: A session of learning is better than worshipping Allah for seventy
years. This is because Islam encourages knowledge in general, and religious
knowledge in particular. Abdullah Ibn Ruwahah was one of those keen on
Islamic learning.

Hammad Ibn Zayd says that one day Abdullah Ibn Ruwahah came to the
Prophet. He found him giving a sermon where he said: Sit down please. So Ibn
Ruwahah sat while he was outside the mosque until the Prophet finished his
sermon. When the Prophet was told about it he said to him: May Allah increase
your care to obey Allah and his apostle.

Another reporter says that one day Abdullah Ibn Ruwahah fainted. The
Prophet came to him and said: O Allah! If it is the hour of his death, then make
it easy for him, otherwise heal him. Ibn Ruwahah immediately improved and
when he restored consciousness he said: O Messenger of Allah! My mother said:
O my mountain, my back, referring to her son. I saw an angel raising a rod of iron
to beat me with it. He said: Are you her mountain, her back? Had I said yes, he
would have beaten me with it.

His half brother Abul Darda said: We used to be on a trip with the Prophet.
Whenever there was a hot day no one of us could fast it except the Messenger of

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Allah and Abdullah Ibn Ruwahah. This does not at all mean that Islam is a
religion of hardship and difficulty; on the contrary, the slogan of Islam is rather
ease and facility. But when some people choose to make a voluntary fast or prayer
that proves to be hard on them they will be rewarded accordingly. In that spirit
Abdullah Ibn Ruwahah imitated Allah’s messenger.

We shall see that Abdullah Ibn Ruwahah fell as a martyr defending Islam in
the battle of Mu’tah. After his death, says one reporter, his wife got married to
another Muslim who said to her one day: Do you know why I married you? She
said: No. He said: This is to ask you about the behaviour of Abdullah in his
house. Accordingly the bereaved woman told her second husband numerous
things which the reporter could not remember. Then she said: Whenever he
wanted to go out of his house, he used to make two voluntary prostrations and he
would do the same thing on his coming back. He never missed this, his wife said.

Urwah, another reporter says: Islam came and found Arabia full of
hypocrite poets. So the Quran said: And the poets; it is those straying in evil who
follow them; don’t you see that they wander distracted down every valley, and
that they say what they practise not? Except those who believe, work
righteousness, engage much in the remembrance of Allah, and defend
themselves only after they are unjustly attacked. And soon will the unjust
assailants know what vicissitudes their affairs will take! ( 26-224-227 )

When Abdullah Ibn Ruwahah heard the first part of this Quranic revelation
he said I am indeed one of them. Then Allah revealed the remaining part praising
those who are believing poets. So Abdullah Ibn Ruwahah was pleased and
continued to compose poetry in defense of Islam, for he was one of three poets
around the Prophet as Ibn Sirin said. The other two were Hassan Ibn Thabet and
Kaab Ibn Malek al Ansari. Thus when the poets of disbelievers criticised Islam
the Prophet would encourage his poets and say: Attack them. Allah is pleased
with what you say.

When the Prophet prepared the Islamic army for the Battle of Mu’tah he
said, the leader is Zayd Ibn Haritha; if he is hit then Jaafer Ibn Abi Taleb; but if
he falls then Abdullah Ibn Ruwahah. Thus the army marched to the said battle
under Zayd. It consisted of 3,000 warriors. To their surprise they discovered
their opponents, the Romans, to be not less than 200,000 strong. However the
Muslim army stood firm and they started the battle. Zayd fell a martyr, so Jaafer
took the lead and fought until he was killed after losing his two arms. The
Prophet said: Jaafer will have two wings in Paradise in compensation for the two

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arms he lost in fighting.

Then came the turn of Ibn Ruwahah who at first hesitated and hated to be
killed like his two comrades. But then he started to encourage himself by saying
two lines of poetry which mean: I swear O myself that you must embark on
fighting. Whether you like it or not, you have to fight. You always looked for
this chance, why then do I see that you hate Paradise. He then fought until he
too fell a martyr. It is reported that when the three leaders fell, the Prophet told
his Companions about it. He promised them Paradise, but he commented that
the position of Ibn Ruwahah was a little bit lower than those of his two
Companions. This was because he showed some reluctance in the beginning as
we have already seen.

Al Zuhri reports Sulaiman Ibn Yasar as saying that the Prophet peace be
upon him once sent Ibn Ruwahah to Khayber to conclude an agreement between
the Prophet and the Jews. As a matter of fact, the latter collected some golden
ornaments from their women and presented them to ibn Ruwahah saying: This
is for you provided that you make conditions. Getting angry Ibn Ruwahah said:
O Jews! By Allah! You are the most hateful people to me, and yet I am not going
to do you any injustice. Bribery is a pernicious evil in the sight of Islam and he
refused to take anything from them. Seeing this the Jews backed up and
commented: This is the basis of heaven and earth. In other words they
acknowledged that justice is the basis of the universe although a few minutes
earlier they tried to give a bribe to Abdullah Ibn Ruwahah. May Allah have
mercy on Ibn Ruwahah and all other children of Islam who lived and died for its
cause. Amen.

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ABU DUJANAH AL ANSARI

A bu Dujanah al Ansari, as his name implies was one of the Ansar, the
Helpers or the Supporters of the Prophet. These people were, in fact, the
inhabitants of Madinah who supported the call of Islam after embracing it and
propagating it among other people. They deserved the honour given to them by
the Messenger of Allah who once said: He is a believer who loves the Ansar, and
he is a disbeliever and a hypocrite who hates al Ansar. Abu Dujanah was a
staunch member of this group.

But what was the real name of Abu Dujanah? His real name was Simak Ibn
Kharshah Ibn Zayd al Sa’idi. In the battle of Uhud he had on his forehead a red
band. When the Prophet established Islamic brotherhood between every two
Muslims in Madinah, one from al Ansar and the other from al Muhajireen, Abu
Dujanah became the brother of Utbah Ibn Ghazwan. This strategy of
brotherhood was useful for the first Islamic state. It put into practice the
principles of Islam in this respect. As the Ansar were the original inhabitants of
Madinah, each one of them offered his brother of al Muhajireen, the emigrants, to
divorce which ever he chose of his own wives so that he might marry her, and to
share with him his wealth.

But the Supporters’ sacrifice was not limited to money and wives; it
extended to their readiness to shed their blood and give their lives for the sake of
Islam. Abu Dujanah is reported to have defended the Prophet with his own
body. This he did in the Battle of Uhud where he received several arrows directed
to the Prophet. He made an oath of allegiance to die for the sake of Islam. Thus
he continued to fight in the way of Allah even after the death of the Prophet.
When Musaylama al Kaththab (the Liar)claimed prophethood, Abu Dujanah
was one of the first fighters who took up arms and marched under the leadership
of Khaled Ibn al Waleed where they fought the decisive battle of Yamamah. Abu
Dujanah took part in killing Musaylamah but he also laid his life in the same
battle. Thus another great martyr fell for the sake of Islam.

In his encyclopedia called Tabaqat, Muhammad Ibn Saad says that Abu
Dujanah still has offspring in Madinah and Baghdad even to this day. This of
course is a reference to the days of Ibn Saad who wrote his reference book
centuries after the death of Abu Dujanah. On the other hand Zayd Ibn Aslam
gives the following report: Some people entered the room of Abu Dujanah when
he was ill. His face was twinkling with light. He was asked: Why does your face

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twinkle with all this light? He said: I am not sure of anything I did except of two
things: one is that I never talked about anything that did not concern me; two is
that my heart was always pure and sound towards other Muslims.

This reminds me of another Companion of the Prophet. The Muslim


biographers mention his story, sometimes without mentioning his name. One
day the Prophet peace be upon him looked at a man and said: Whoever likes to
look at a man who will enter Paradise, let him look at this man. Abdullah Ibn
Abbas, who was present and heard this comment, followed the man who was
favoured with this promise. He asked his permission to be his guest which the
man accepted. After observing him for three consecutive-nights, without
seeing anything extraordinary about him, Abdullah Ibn Abbas said: I don’t see
anything about you which qualifies you to enter Paradise more than the rest of
us. Can you remember one special thing you do of which I may not be aware.
After thinking for sometime the man said: Nothing is outstanding in my life
except one thing, may be, that I go to bed with a pure and a sound heart
towards my friends. Then Ibn Abbas exclaimed: This is exactly what qualifies
you to enter Paradise. Abu Dujanah, may Allah be pleased with him, was of
the same category.

Anas Ibn Malek says: On the day of Yamamah Abu Dujanah threw himself
into a garden where his leg was broken. He started to fight the apostates until he
fell a martyr. Again on the day of Uhud the Prophet offered a sword to his
Companions and said: Who can take this sword provided that he pays its due?
Seeing the silence of other Companions Abu Dujanah said: What is its cost, O
Messenger of Allah? The Prophet said: That you should fight in the way of Allah
until you conquer or be killed.

Thus Abu Dujanah took the sword from the Prophet according to that
condition. Before the first round of Uhud he emerged, sword in hand and walked
arrogantly, wearing a shirt and a red turban on his head. Seeing him the Prophet
said: Allah and his Apostle hate this gait except in this place. We are told by
another reporter that Abu Dujanah did well with that sword as the Prophet
wanted him to do.

There is yet another story that claims that Abu Dujanah was secure from
any harm. This was achieved, according to the said narration by a letter given to
him by the Prophet. Let us hear what the story says and make the necessary
comment on it. In the book called “Pearls” we read the following on the authority
of Moosa al Ansari: One day Abu Dujanah made the following complaint to the

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Prophet. He said: O Messenger of Allah! As I was asleep yesterday I opened my
eyes and found near my head a devil who started to rise higher and higher and to
grow longer and longer. I extended my hand to touch him and found his skin like
that of a hedgehog.

Hearing this the Prophet said: I wonder if one like you can be hurt Abu
Dujanah! Yours is an evil visitor! By the Lord of Kaabah. Call Ali Ibn Abi Taleb,
he said. When Ali may Allah be pleased with him came, the Prophet said: Write
a letter for Abu Dujanah, O Abul Hasan, so that nothing can hurt him
afterwards. Ali asked, but what should I write? The Prophet said: write in the
name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. This is a letter from Muhammad
the Arab unlettered Prophet, of Tihamah, Battha, Makkah, Madinah, the
Quraishite, the Hashemite, the owner of the throne and the stick, the rod and the
she-camel, the Quran and the Qiblah; the bringer of There is no other deity
except Allah. This letter is against all those evil visitors except the good visitors.

We and you, the Prophet is claimed to have said, have to abide by the truth
which is sufficient for us. So if the Devil is an attracted lover, a harmful intruder,
a vicious aggressor or a truthful or a false claimant, this is the Book of Allah to
decide between us and Allah’s Messenger write down what you plot. Leave the
men bearing the Quran and go to idol worshippers, to those who have ascribed
partners to Allah, there is no god but He, the Lord of the Glorious Throne. On
you will be sent O you evil ones a flame of fire and a smoke to choke; no defence
will you have. When the sky is rent asunder and it becomes red like ointment. On
that Day no question will be asked of man or Jinn as to his sin.

The report says that the Prophet folded this letter and said to Abu Dujanah:
put it near your head when you go to sleep. When he did so he heard the devils
crying: Fire, fire, you have burnt us with fire. By Allah we did not mean to hurt
you; neither sought to do so; it was only an evil visitor that came to us, so take and
remove the letter. Abu Dujanah said; By Him in whose hand is the soul of
Muhammad I am not going to remove it until I ask his permission. In the morning
Abu Dujanah told the Prophet the story who said to him: Remove the letter, but if
they return to hurt you then bring back punishment to them. By Him in whose
hands is my soul, never have these names entered a house or a place but the devil
and his forces and offspring ran away from it. The same applies to the evil mongers.

The well-known Muslim scholar al Zahabi makes the following comment


on this report. He says: This is a fabricated tradition, its chain of reports is
broken and most of its transmitters are unknown people. No one among the

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Prophet’s Companions is called Moosa. But I would like to make the following
comments on this decision. First of all the basic issue itself of a man being
influenced and hurt by the devils is not an unfounded thing according to Islam.
On the contrary, the Quran itself establishes this effect when it says in the
chapter called al Jinn. “ True, there were persons among mankind who took
shelter with persons among the Jinns, but they increased them in folly “.

In chapter two verse 102 we read the following: “ They learned from them
the means to sow discord between man and his wife. But they could not thus
harm anyone except by Allah’s permission “. So in principle the influence is
there and in practice we learn from the authentic traditions that the Prophet
himself was put under the vicious spell of magicians. He suffered for some time
until angel Gabriel peace be upon him was sent down to him to nullify the effect
of magic which he did and he was immediately relieved. It is not also against
Islam to recite some verses from the Quran to get rid of any ailment whether
physical or psychological. This is no doubt part of the blessings of the Holy
Quran which in addition to bringing guidance and light to the believers, it also
cures them with the will of Allah of any evil things.

It remains to say here as far as Abu Dujanah is concerned that he was a


sincere and an extremely brave believer in Islam. He fought many battles in
defence of the new faith until he fell a martyr in the Battle of Yamamah. He was
thus one of that great generation of the Prophet’s Companions who were great
fighters of evil during the day and humble worshippers of Allah all night long.
What a unique generation in the history of mankind. Suffice it to say that the
Prophet himself praised it saying: The best of all generations is my generation
then the one that comes after then the one that follows.

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HASSAN IBN THABET

H assan Ibn Thabet Ibn Hiram Ibn al Najjar was, in fact, the master and
senior of all believing poets; he was supported by the Holy Spirit. His nickname
was Abul Waleed. He comes from al Ansar, the Prophet’s supporters of
Madinah. Hassan was the best poet of the Prophet as well as his close
companion.

It may be said here: Why should the Prophet have a number of poets? What
role did they play and how can we coordinate between this and the fact that the
Quran itself condemns poets in the following verse which says: “ And poets, it is
those straying in evil who follow them. Don’t you see that they wander distracted
in every valley? And that they say what they practise not? “ ( 26-224-226 )

As a matter of fact, the Prophet kept a number of poets most prominent


among whom was Hassan Ibn Thabet, not to make them organs of falsehood and
lies as the afore mentioned verses describe poets. It is true before Islam poets
were hypocrites, liars and arrogant braggers who did more evil than good. But
Muhammad, being the Prophet of transformation and change, in fact,
revolutionised the content of poetry and raised it to a high degree.

Under the Prophet a poet became the spokesman of truth, the defender of
Islam. He played the role played by mass media today. Not only this but poets
were also important in raising the morale of the Muslim armies. Enemies of
Islam used opposing poets to discourage Muslims, curse them and their religion
and spread false rumours against the truth of Islam. The Prophet used poets as
upholders of truth and defenders of virtue. The Holy Quran itself made an
exception of this category of poets when it said directly after the above verses: “
Except those who believe, work righteousness, engage much in the remembrance
of Allah, and defend themselves only after they are unjustly attacked. And soon
will the unjust assailants know what vicissitudes their affairs will take. “

Thus the institution of poetry and its role in life has been completely
transformed and Hassan Ibn Thabet was the leading poet of this Prophetic
school of poets. An interesting thing about Hassan, may Allah be pleased with
him, is that he had a long life of 120 years divided equally between Islam and the
pre-lslamic period. In other words one report says: he lived sixty years in Islam
and sixty years before it. Thus he was one of the few Companions who had such
a long span of life.

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Once Hassan was in a circle of friends, one of them was Abu Hurairah, the
famous Companion of the Prophet who transmitted the largest number of
traditions. Hassan said: I ask you in the name of Allah O Abu Hurairah, have
you heard the Messenger of Allah say: Answer them on my behalf? May Allah
support you with the Holy Spirit? Abu Hurairah said: By Allah Almighty this
is indeed the truth. Again al Bara said: The Prophet once said to Hassan:
Defame the enemies and answer their defamation in poetry and angel Gabriel
will be with you.

Saeed Ibn al Musayyab, the well-known successor of the Companions said:


Umer Ibn al Khattab once passed across the mosque where he met Hassan. He
found him saying poetry in the mosque of the Prophet. When Umer stared at
Hassan as a sign of his dislike of what he was doing, Hassan said: I used to say
poetry in this mosque in the presence of the Prophet who is better than you. The
only reaction on the part of Umer was that he said: Indeed you tell the truth.

In another report transmitted by Aisha we know the following: The


Prophet used to make a pulpit in the mosque for Hassan so that the latter may
stand on it and defend the Messenger of Allah; and the Messenger used to
encourage him and say: The Holy Spirit will support Hassan as long as he
defends Allah’s Apostle.

It has been claimed by some sources that Hassan never attended any of the
Prophet’s battles. These sources attribute this to his so-called extreme cowardice.
The following report, however, is one proof against this claim. Jaber says: On the
day of Ahzab, one of the major battles of Islam the Prophet asked: Who will
defend Muslim women and children? Kaab Ibn Malek said: I will. Abdullah Ibn
Ruwahah also said I will and the same thing was said by Hassan. Turning to
Hassan the Prophet said: You defame them and the Holy Spirit will help you
against them.

Another point in favour of Hassan is that he was an old man of more than
sixty years when the Prophet emigrated to Madinah. So even if the accusations
of his cowardice are true, he is to be excused for his old age. He was, however,
respected by the Companions of the Prophet. Urwah says: Once I cursed Hassan
in front of Aisha. She said: I swear that you stop it. He used to defend the
Messenger of Allah peace be upon him.

Aisha, wife of the Prophet, continued to respect and honour Hassan even
after his participation in the calumny propagated against her. Atta Ibn Abi

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Rabah said: One day Hassan entered upon Aisha after he became blind. She
presented a pillow for him to sit on. When her brother Abder Rahman came in
he said: How can you make him sit on a pillow, after he had said what he said?
Aisha said: Suffice it that he used to reply in defense of the Messenger of Allah’
and to please him against his enemies; he became blind as you see, and I hope
that he will not be punished in the Hereafter.

In another tradition Aisha said: When the Messenger of Allah arrived in


Madinah Quraish defamed him along with al Ansar. He then said to Hassan:
Defame them, but I fear that you would also defame me when you attack my
relatives. This tradition shows that poetry was the main means of expressing the
public opinion. It represented in those days, the press, the T.V. and the radio
stations. This shows the great and decisive role played by poets like Hassan who
was as we said in the beginning, master of all believing poets.

In the previous tradition, when the Prophet warned Hassan to take care in
defaming Quraish lest he should attack the Prophet in the attempt, Hassan said:
I shall take care not to affect you, for I have an organ that is more effective than a
spear. (meaning his tongue)

Barakah, mother of Muhammad Ibn al Saib, said that she was walking with
Aisha who had some women with her. They cursed Hassan, but Aisha said:
Don’t curse him for Allah has punished him with what you see - blindness. But
by Allah I hope that he will enter Paradise thanks to the verses he said in
confronting Abu Sufyan Ibn al Harith who defamed the Messenger of Allah His
words spread like proverbs among the Arabs. That is why Abu Salamah quotes
the Prophet as saying to Hassan on the authority of Aisha. He said: Defame
Quraish, for it hurts them more than arrows do. When Hassan did as he was
ordered the Prophet was pleased with his poetry.

Abu Sufyan Ibn al Harith whom Hassan defamed was, in fact, the cousin of
the Prophet and his brother in breast-milk; he used to like the Prophet before
Islam, but once he received revelation Abu Sufyan expressed enmity towards the
Prophet. He composed poetry to defame him. Thus Hassan was asked to answer
back. Then Abu Sufyan embraced Islam in the year of the conquest of Makkah.
He attended the Battle of Hunayn in support of the Prophet.

Hamzah Ibn Abdellah Ibn Umer heard Aisha say: I heard the Messenger of
Allah say: Hassan is a barrier between believers and hypocrites. No hypocrite
will like him and no believer will hate him. Again Saeed Ibn Jubayr said:

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Someone said to Ibn Abbas: The accursed Hassan has arrived. Ibn Abbas,
however, said: He is not an accursed one, for he fought with the Messenger of
Allah using his body and his tongue. The testimony of Ibn Abbas proves that
Hassan participated in actual fighting with the Prophet.

Ibn al Kalbi reports that Hassan Ibn Thabet was an outstanding poet and a
courageous fighter, had it not been for an evil experience which made him
coward. al Zubayer Ibn al Awwam says: When the Messenger of Allah left
behind his wives on the day of Uhud he left them in a castle with Hassan.
Among them was Safiyah Bint Abdel Muttaleb, aunt of the Prophet. Hassan
was their guard. Then a disbeliever came and tried to enter the castle and rush
upon them. Then Safiyah said to Hassan confront the man and face him. He,
however, showed his cowardice and refused to do so. So Safiyah picked up a
sword and hit with it the disbeliever until she killed him. When the Prophet was
told about it he was pleased and gave her a share in the spoils of war. al Farawi
added that when Hassan refused to fight against the aggressor he said: If I can
do this I would be with the Messenger of Allah. Safiyah then said: I’ll cut the
head of the attacker and you Hassan: Rise and throw it on the Jews who are
under the castle. Still Hassan refused and said: By Allah I cannot do it. Then
Safiyah threw the head upon them. When the Jews saw it they said: We knew
that Muhammad would not leave his family alone without somebody to guard
them behind him. So the Jews were dispersed.

Another version adds that Safiyah said to Hassan: Rise and take his armour.
I am but a woman while he is a man. Hassan, however, said: I am not in need of
his armour O daughter of Abdel Muttaleb. Be that as it may Hassan was
honoured by the Prophet and many of his Companions. He defended Islam with
his excellent poetry and participated in many battles with the Prophet. It was
only when he was a weak old man that he showed this frailty of cowardice which
was overlooked by the Prophet and many of his companions. May Allah have
mercy on Hassan Ibn Thabet. Amen.

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UBADAH IBN AL SAMET

U badah Ibn al Samet Ibn Qays Ibn al Khazraj was an exemplary leader
among the Companions of the Prophet peace be upon him. Although a black
man he received the greatest honour and prestige in Islam thanks to his great
piety and virtuous work. He was one of the leaders of Ansar in Madinah, and was
nicknamed Abul Waleed. On the occasion of al Aqabah oath of Allegiance he
was a distinguished participant who swore to support the Prophet as he would
support his own family. Ubadah also participated in the first great battle of Badr
which has a special place among the Muslims. He lived in the holy city of
Jerusalem.

As a matter of fact, quite a good number of companions and their disciples


transmitted traditions from Ubadah Ibn al Samet, may Allah be pleased with
him. Ibn Ishaq, the great biographer, says: Ubadah attended al Aqabah as well
as all the Prophet’s major battles along side the Messenger of Allah which is no
doubt a great honour for him.

Whenever Ubadah Ibn al Samet is mentioned Muslim historians as well as


others cannot resist the temptation of remembering his wonderful interview with
the Coptic ruler of Egypt at the head of a Muslim delegation to negotiate peace
with him on behalf of Amr Ibn al Aass the Muslim chief of staff. As soon as
Ubadah met that ruler he started to give him a very strong sermon, inviting him
to Islam and to leave the perverted religion he was following. Looking at his dark
black face the Egyptian ruler said: Are all the Arabs as black as he is? On hearing
this Ubadah got angry and said: The Muslims do not differentiate, like you do,
between people on account of the colour of their face. It is only on the basis of
piety and righteous deeds that men differ in Islam.

The Egyptian ruler then said: Don’t you have, O Arabs, a white-faced
person with whom I can negotiate? When Amr Ibn al Aass heard this, he insisted
that either Ubadah is accepted as the chief negotiator or the whole delegation will
be withdrawn. So the other side accepted him and Ubadah was asked in the
course of discussions with the Egyptians: Are there many people like you among
the Muslims? Ubadah said: “ There are thousands of men better than me and I
am only the lowest among them “. There is no doubt that the Prophetic school
presented to the world quite a huge number of people both better and like
Ubadah Ibn al Samet. The measure of preference is as he said according to piety
and right conduct.

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Muhammad Ibn Kaab al Qurazi said: Among the Ansars of Madinah five
scholars gathered the Quran in the lifetime of the Prophet peace be upon him.
These are Muaz Ibn Jabal, Ubadah Ibn al Samet, Ubay Ibn Kaab, Abu Ayoob
and Abul Darda. In the caliphate of Umer Ibn al Khattab Yazeed Ibn Abi Sufyan
wrote to the caliph saying: The people of Syria are too many. They need some
scholars to teach them the Quran and the fundamentals of religion. So help me
with three Muslim scholars. Out of the afore-mentioned five Companions the
caliph was told that Abu Ayoob was old, and Ubay Ibn Kaab was weak. So he
sent the other three to Syria. They were distributed among the different cities of
Syria: One in Homs, the other in Damascus and the third in Palestine.

Duayb reports the following incident: While in Syria Ubadah Ibn al Samet
condemned something which Muawyah the ruler of Syria did. In his anger
Ubadah said: Never shall I live with you in one and the same country. So he
returned to Madinah the capital of the Islamic state. When Umer met him, he
said: What made you come back? Ubadah told him what Muawyah did. Then
Umer said to him: Go back to your place in Syria, vile indeed is the land that
lacks you and those like you. He does not have any authority on you. So Ubadah
went back to Syria and Muawyah could not interfere in his activities there all
through the reign of Umer.

Ubadah Ibn al Waleed transmits the following interesting story. He says:


One day Ubadah Ibn al Samet was with Muawyah. He called for prayer, then a
public speaker stood up and praised Muawyah and lauded him too much.
Ubadah took a handful of dust and filled with it the mouth of the speaker.
Muawyah got angry, but Ubadah said to him: You were not with us when we
swore allegiance to the Messenger of Allah at Aqabah to obey him in all
circumstances, and not to compete with the legal rulers but to support truth
wherever we may be, not fearing any one for the sake of Allah. The Messenger of
Allah peace be upon him said: If you see those who exaggerate in praise, fill their
mouths with dust.

This tradition may sound strange. But if we remember the great harm
committed by those who exaggerate in praising rulers, we can easily justify what
Ubadah Ibn al Samet, may Allah be pleased with him, did. When any ruler hears
only exaggerated praise, he will become a dictator and not accept any criticism.
Thus he becomes a despot to the great harm and detriment of other people. That
is why when a man said one day to Umer Ibn al Khattab: fear Allah, and a
companion of his said to the man: Who are you to say this to the ruler of the
faithful? Umer got angry with his comrade and said: Leave him. There will be no

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good in you if you don’t say it; and we become evil - and wrong-doers if we don’t
hear it.

On the other hand those who exaggerate in praising rulers are, in fact,
parasites who usually make a living out of this trade. They do not say the truth
thus they deceive the one who is praised and make him arrogant and lead him
astray. But should any sincere man praise a good deed or virtue in a ruler and he
is honest and truthful, he is not one of this category. Again those who meet the
other bad praisers, it is not required of them to do literally what Ubadah did by
filling the false praisers’ mouths with dust, but they should condemn what they
said and advise the praised one not to listen to nor believe such people. Not only
this he should drive them out of his court and should not give them anything. So
dust here may signify depriving them of any prize or reward so that such an evil
is eliminated.

Malek Ibn Shurahbeel said: Ubadah Ibn al Samet once said after he became
a very old man: Don’t you see that I cannot rise unless I am helped, and that I eat
only what suits old people, and that I no more need to approach women so that
it makes no difference for me to be alone with any woman. It makes no difference
to me even if I own all that is on earth lest I should be tested by Satan.

In this statement made by Ubadah Ibn al Samet we see what kind of man he
was. According to one tradition the Prophet said: When a man gets old two
qualities grow with him; namely miserliness and extensive hopes and ambitions.
Here Ubadah has exactly the opposite. As a pious believer all that he wished was
to achieve the pleasure of Allah with him, unlike other people.

Ubadah Ibn al Samet continued to live in Syria throughout most of the


caliphate of Umer Ibn al Khattab. When Uthman became caliph, Muawyah, still
the ruler of Syria wrote to the new caliph saying: Ubadah Ibn al Samet has done
a lot of harm for Syria and its people. So either you withdraw him and call him
back to Madinah or I am going to drive him out of Syria. When Uthman received
this message he asked Muawyah to send Ubadah back to his house in Madinah.
Ubadah thus returned to Madinah and instead of going to his own house he
surprised caliph Uthman and was with him in the latter’s rooms. Uthman said:
Why do you do all this to us O Ubadah? Then Ubadah kept silent. When he was
in the middle of the masses he stood up and said: I have heard the Messenger of
Allah saying: After me you will have rulers who will make the prohibited lawful
to you, and will prohibit all that is permitted among you. There should be no
obedience to those who disobey and do not stray from the path of your Lord.

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This incident, in fact, shows how the caliphate became weak after caliph
Umer, so that Muawyah could behave in that manner towards Uthman. It was
this particular weakness of Uthman and his support of his relatives in his old age
that brought about the great troubles that led to the massacre of Uthman. Had
he listened to the advice of people like Ubadah as his predecessors did, great evils
would have been avoided.

The following incident shows how Ubadah was a strong believer. While still
in Syria a caravan passed near Ubadah. He asked about the goods it carried.
When he knew that it brought wine, he took a knife from the market and emptied
all the wine containers which were leather bags. People complained to Abu
Hurairah who was also in Syria at that time. They said: Why don’t you stop your
friend Ubadah? In the mornings he goes to the market and destroys the goods of
the Christians and the Jews, and in the evenings all that he does is to curse people
and expose their secrets. When Abu Hurairah tried to stop him Ubadah
reminded him how they were ordered to enjoin good and forbid evil. So Abu
Hurairah kept silent.

It was, in fact, when people like Ubadah disappeared that the Muslim
affairs deteriorated. He died in Palestine in the year 34 after Hijrah. May his
soul rest in peace.

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SHADDAD IBN AWS

S haddad Ibn Aws was son of Thabet, from al Ansar of Madinah. He was
the nephew of the senior poet of the Prophet, Hassan Ibn Thabet. Shaddad was
also one of the honourable companions of the Prophet; he was one of their
scholars as well. He later lived in Jerusalem in Palestine.

A number of disciples transmitted authentic traditions from Shaddad which


he heard from the Messenger of Allah. Abdul Rahman Ibn Ghanam says: When
we entered the mosque of al Jabiyah, near Damascus, I and Abul Darda, Ubadah
Ibn al Samet met us. He held my right hand and with his other hand he held the
left hand of Abul Darda. Then he said: if any one of you should live long or both
of you live long you will see a Muslim from among the masses who will read the
Quran, from beginning to end and will repeat it over and over again without
understanding any of its meanings.

The reporter of this tradition says: as we were in that company Shaddad Ibn
Aws appeared along with Awf Ibn Malek. They sat with us. Then Shaddad said:
The worst thing I fear lest it should happen to you O people is what I heard from
the Messenger of Allah who referred to secret sex and polytheism. Ubadah and
Abul Darda then said: O Allah! We seek your forgiveness. Has not the
Messenger of Allah told us that the Devil is disappointed from being worshipped
in the Arabian peninsula? As for the secret sex, we know it. It represents all the
pleasures of this life, with women and other things, but what about that
polytheism you are warning us against O Shaddad?

To answer this question addressed to him from two Companions Shaddad


Ibn Aws said: Suppose that you see a man praying to another man or that he fasts
for him or gives alms and charity to please him, do you believe that he has
ascribed partners to Allah Almighty or not? The two companions said: Yes
indeed. Then Shaddad said: I have heard the Messenger of Allah say: Whoever
prays to show that he prays has taken partners with Allah. Whoever fasts for
mere show has also ascribed partners to Allah and the same thing applies to
anyone who gives charity for mere show in front of others.

Awf Ibn Malek then said: Does this mean that Allah will review all that I did
for His sake and will only accept what has been sincerely done for Him and will
leave the rest in which I ascribed other partners to Him? Shaddad said: I have
heard the Messenger of Allah say quoting Allah Almighty. Who said: I am free

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from all partners. Whoever does anything in which he ascribes partners to Me, I
leave him to his partners.

Shaddad Ibn Aws here concentrates on the importance of sincerity and


purity of intention. Allah Almighty is One Allah and Only. He does not accept
any partners with Him. This is not merely in the material sense, namely to
imagine that others might compete with Allah in overlordship. For this is easily
rejected and condemned by every Muslim once he testifies that there is no God,
no deity except Allah. But the more dangerous polytheism as reported by
Shaddad Ibn Aws, may Allah be pleased with him, is to establish all the rites of
Islam which to all appearances qualify a man to be a good Muslim, and yet he is
not sincere in his intention, but has others in his mind in addition to Allah. All
his deeds and worships are rejected. That is why the first tradition in Bukkari is
about intention; which decides the result of any deed or action.

Shaddad Ibn Aws was nick-named Abu Ya’la. He had five children, one of
them was a daughter called Khazraj who got married in the tribe of Azd. The
posterity of Shaddad lived until the year 130 of Hijrah. During that year an
earthquake took place in Syria, it was strongest in Jerusalem. A large number of
Ansar, living there died along with many others. The house of Shaddad fell and
his son Muhammad came out safe. He broke his leg under the falling walls.

The following interesting story is reported about Shaddad and his family.
One of the few things Shaddad Ibn Aws was proud of was a pair of slippers of the
Prophet peace be upon him. When Shaddad died he left it in the custody of his
son Muhammad. When his sister Khazraj saw what befell her brother, after he
lost one leg she came to him and said: You have no offspring while I have and this
pair of slippers is a sign of honour from the Prophet, so give me one of the two
pieces so that I may share this honour with you. Thus she took one and left the
other piece with her brother Muhammad. It stayed with her and her children
after her. The Abbasid caliph al Mahdi came to Jerusalem. People brought that
piece of the slippers of the Prophet to him. They told him about it and presented
it to him. He gave one thousand dinars to each one of the sons of Khazraj, as well
as his daughter; and granted each of them a garden. Then he sent to Muhammad
Ibn Shaddad, who was brought carrying along the other piece. When al Mahdi
asked him about it, he confirmed what has already been said about it. Then al
Mahdi claimed the other piece, but Muhammad, son of Shaddad started to cry
and this made al Mahdi pity him and leave him alone along with the said piece.

Abul Darda said: Shaddad Ibn Aws has been endowed with a lot of

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knowledge and wisdom. Again Saeed Ibn Abdel Aziz confirms the same thing.
He says; Shaddad Ibn Aws of al Ansar has two main qualities: a wonderful
rhetoric when he talks and wisdom with patience when he gets angry. In addition
to these great characteristics Shaddad was a sincere worshipper of Allah and an
outstanding scholar. In one report we are told that Shaddad’s father Aws Ibn
Thabet was one of the Companions who participated in Badr, the first major
battle of Islam. He was martyred in the battle of Uhud, the second battle of the
Prophet. This is mentioned in al Isabah, the most outstanding reference on the
Prophet’s biography and that of his Companions.

Khaled Ibn Maadan says: No one in Syria was more knowledgeable in Islam
and more pious than Ubadah Ibn al Samet and Shaddad Ibn Aws. Again al
Mufaddal al Ghalabi says: The hermits of al Ansar or the Supporters are three:
Abul Darda, Umayr Ibn Saad and Shaddad Ibn Aws.

Ali Ibn al Madeeni, the well-known transmitter and scholar of traditions


reports the following story: A man from Bani Mujashi said: We travelled one day
with the intention to visit the Holy shrine of Kaaba in Makkah. All of a sudden
we came across a number of tents with a big one in the middle. I said to my
companion: Let us approach the owner of this big tent, he must be the master of
these people. As we came to the entrance of the tent and greeted whoever was
inside, we heard the answer of our greeting then there came out from the tent an
old man. When we saw him we felt such awe which we never experienced before
even to our own parents or towards any ruler we had the chance to meet. The old
man said: What are you? We replied: Two young men who want to visit the Holy
Shrine in Makkah. He said: This is also what myself inclined me to do. I shall
accompany you, he said.

Then the old man called to others, so a number of young men came out to him
from the other tents. He gathered them and then gave them a short sermon. He
said: I remembered the House of my Lord; and I feel sure that I am going to visit
Him, meaning that he was going to die afterwards. The young men started to cry.

The narrator of this story says: I turned to one of the youth around me and
asked: Who is this old man? He said: Shaddad Ibn Aws. He was a prince and a
ruler, but when Uthman Ibn Affan was killed he kept himself in isolation and
deserted other people and avoided meeting with them. The old man ordered
some light food for us and started to feed us and serve us with drink. Then we
travelled with him, the narrator of this story continues: When we climbed up a
mountain Shaddad said to his servant: Make food for us that eliminates our

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hunger. When we laughed, says the narrator, Shaddad Ibn Aws said: I must leave
you. We said: As a matter of fact you kept silent all the time then when you talked
you made us laugh. Then Shaddad said: I shall provide you with a tradition
which the Messenger of Allah used to teach us both on our travels and at home.
He dictated the following tradition to us and we wrote it. It says:

O Allah! I ask you to grant me stability in all my affairs. I request You to


grant me seriousness in my wisdom, and that I should thank You for all Your
blessings on me, and that I should have the honour of worshipping You well. I ask
You to give me a deep and sincere faith, a sound heart and ask You the best of
what You know and seek refuge in You from all the evils You know. I seek Your
forgiveness for what You know. You are indeed Knower of all that is unseen.

It is also reported that whenever Shaddad went to sleep he would not be able
to sleep. He would say: O Allah. Hell fire has caused sleep to go away. He would
then rise until dawn. Once he gave the following sermon. He said: This world is
available for the good and the bad, while the Hereafter is delayed to be decided
by the All-Powerful Allah. All good is in Paradise and all evil is in Hell. Shaddad
died in the year 85 after Hijrah.

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AL ASHAATH IBN QAYS

A l Ashaath Ibn Qays of the tribe of Kindah was a strange Companion of


the Prophet. He was unique among them for two main things. al Ashaath, which
means the man whose hair is not combed, was not his real name. His name was
Maadi Karib. But he never combed his hair, so his appearance and the scene of
his hair replaced his name. This nick-name, however, reminds me of an
interesting saying of the Prophet wherein he says: It may be that a man with an
uncombed hair covered all over his body with dust, but he swears and prays to
Allah to grant him something and Allah responds to his prayer and answers his
request and fulfills it. This means that Islam does not concentrate on outward
appearance of a man. It rather relies on the inward intentions, feelings and deeds.

The second unique thing about al Ashaath is that he was one of the very few
Companions of the Prophet who returned to apostacy after he embraced Islam
which is no doubt a rare incident in the biography of the Prophet. The
Companions of the Prophet, as we have seen from numerous examples in the
previous stories, were the staunchest believers in the new faith. They were ready
to surrender their lives for the sake of Islam. Various examples can be cited here
which was the rule. People loved the new Prophet and preferred him to
everything in life so much so that when some Arab leaders, who were still non-
believers, observed this they said: We have seen many kings in their courts but
we never saw people love their own leader as we find the comrades of
Muhammad love Muhammad. al Ashaath was, however, an exception to this
rule. He was of that type of Arab leaders who were very sensitive and who would
go to extremes. His grandfather was called Kindah because he rejected to obey
his own father. So the same attitude was in the family long before al Ashaath. But
who among men, can have no faults or frailties? Very few no doubt. From the
Islamic point of view only Prophets are faultless, and to err is human as the
English proverb goes.

Al Ashaath Ibn Qays, may Allah be pleased with him, came to the Prophet
to embrace Islam at the head of seventy other members of Kindah. al Ashaath
says: When I came to the Messenger of Allah leading the delegation of Kindah
he asked me: Do you have any children? I said: Yes a small one who was born
when I came to meet you. al Ashaath then added: I would that, in his place, many
people should have their fill and get what they need. When the Prophet heard
this, he said: Don’t say this. The pleasure of our eyes is in our children and we
shall be rewarded abundantly if they die in our life, provided that we are patient

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believers. But if you say this, it can’t be the real expression of your feelings,
because children are, by nature, a cause of cowardice, sadness and miserliness for
their parents.

In this tradition we see the type of man al Ashaath Ibn Qays was. He was
telling the Prophet that he was ready to sacrifice his own son for the sake of his
people, which is against the nature of things. This is what the Prophet told him.
He said how can you say that when we, as parents, love our children more than
anything else in life. Not only this, but for their sake we usually become cowards,
sad if anything should happen to them and misers to save something for them.

Al Ashaath reported a number of traditions. One of them is reported by Abu


Wa’l who said: al Ashaath told us that the following was revealed about me. It
says: As for those who sell the faith they owe to Allah and their own plighted
word for a small price, they shall have no portion in the Hereafter; nor will Allah
deign to speak to them or look at them on the Day of Judgment; nor will He
cleanse them of sin; they shall have a grievous penalty. ( 3-77 )

Al Ashaath adds: I had a dispute with a man so we went to the Messenger of


Allah to judge between us. He asked me: Do you have a clear proof? I said: No.
He said: Should he swear? I replied: Let him swear. Then the Prophet said:
Whoever swears upon a false oath so that he may snatch money that is not his,
will meet Allah Who will be angry with him. A beautiful comment on this is the
following: All our duties to our fellow creatures are referred to the service and
faith we owe to Allah. But in the matter of truth an appeal is made to our own
self-respect as responsible beings: is it becoming that we should be false to our
own word, to ourselves? Falsifying Allah’s word or being untrue to ourselves is
but a miserable price. We get at best something very paltry as the price for selling
our souls.

Ibrahim al Nakhee says: al Ashaath returned to apostacy along with a group


of his tribe Kindah. He was beseiged by Muslim warriors and taken prisoner
along with seventy others. They were all given safety and security when they
surrendered except al Ashaath, he did not ask security for himself. Thus he was
taken to Abu Bakr al Siddiq who was then Caliph of the Muslims Abu Bakr said:
We are going to kill you. You have no security. al Ashaath pleaded: Will you grant
me freedom if I embrace Islam once again? Abu Bakr said yes. So al Ashaath
returned to the faith once again and Abu Bakr gave him his sister in marriage. It
was al Ashaath who asked for her hand as another version puts it. He said: Let
me marry your sister. So Abu Bakr gave him his sister Farwah Bint Abi Quhafah

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in marriage.

More interesting details about this story are the following: When al Ashaath
was brought to Abu Bakr as a prisoner of war he was tied in chains. So Abu Bakr
at once untied his chains and gave him his sister in marriage. al Ashaath carried
his sword, entered the market of camels and whenever he saw a camel male or
female, he struck it with his sword. The people cried: al Ashaath returned to
disbelief! Then he threw his sword and said: By Allah! I did not return to
disbelief, but this man has given me his sister in marriage, and had I been in my
country we would have a better party than this. O people of the city! Slaughter
the camels and eat! And you owners of the camels! Come and take their price.
Thus al Ashaath celebrated his marriage in his own unique way.

Al Ashaath Ibn Qays never forgot that he committed a grave sin when he
returned to apostacy. He was always sorry for it. Qays says: I attended a funeral
in which al Ashaath was present along with Jareer. To lead the prayer al Ashaath
introduced Jareer and said: He did not return to disbelief, but I did. Thus al
Ashaath tried to compensate for this sin all through his life.

In the battle of Siffeen al Ashaath was on the right hand of Ali. He supported
Ali against Muawiyah and his troops. It is reported that the latter came at the
head of ninety thousand warriors. He preceded Ali and camped near the
Euphrates. Then Ali Ibn Abi Taleb came with his troops, but Muwayiyah
forbade them to approach the water or touch it. Ali sent al Ashaath with two
thousand men. Muawiyah had on the water Abul Aawar with a force of five
thousand. The two sides fought very toughly until al Ashaath overcame his
enemies and seized the position on the water.

Hayyan Abu Saeed al Taymi says: al Ashaath was warned against mischief.
He was asked: How can you march to the war with Ali? He said: Where can you
get a leader like Ali Ibn Abi Taleb? And yet on account of his strange personality
it is reported that al Ashaath once entered upon Ali to ask him something. In the
course of the discussion he threatened to kill Ali, who was called by the Prophet
the lion of Allah and His Apostle thanks to his great bravery. Against al
Ashaath’s threatening Ali said: Do you threaten me with death? I do not fear it at
all. Then he asked for chains and signaled to his comrades to kill him. When al
Ashaath saw Ali’s firmness he repented and retreated.

Abul Salt al Hadrami says: We deprived the people of Iraq from water. Then
a riding warrior came to us. When he showed his face, he was al Ashaath Ibn

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Qays. He said: Fear Allah! Fear Allah! O Muawiyah in treating the nation of
Muhammad peace be upon him. Suppose that you killed the people of Iraq, who
will take care of the emissaries and the children? Or suppose that we could kill
you who will remain to defend the emissaries and the children. Allah Almighty
says: If two parties among the believers fall into a quarrel, make peace between
them. ( 49-9 ) When Muawiyah heard this he asked: What do you want? al
Ashaath said: Leave us to approach water. Then Muawiyah ordered his men to
let other Muslims take their need of water.

During the caliphate of Uthman al Ashaath Ibn Qays was made ruler of
Azerbayjan in central Asia. One day he swore on something and his oath was not
fulfilled. So he paid 15,000 dirhams to make amends for it. In another version he
despised all the money he had and said: By Allah I swore only on what is true.
Then he paid thirty thousand dirhams.

Abu Ishaq said: I prayed dawn once in the mosque of al Ashaath. When the
imam finished prayer I discovered in front of me a bag of money and a pair of
slippers. I looked around me and found the same thing in front of every man who
prayed with us. I asked: What is this? The people around me replied: al Ashaath
came tonight and said: Look! Any man who attends dawn prayer in our mosque
put in front of him a bag full of money and a pair of slippers. In another version
the gift is said to be a suit and two slippers.

Maymoon Ibn Mahran says: The first rider with whom numerous men
walked was al Ashaath Ibn Qays. When al Ashaath died al Hassan Ibn Ali said:
Make ablution for him with Kafoor. As a matter of fact, al Hassan was the son-
in-law of al Ashaath Ibn Qays. He died in al Kufah 40 nights after Ali and lived
for 63 years. His son Muhammad was one of the prominent leaders after him.
May his soul rest in peace, and may we benefit from this short biography of his.

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SALAMAH IBN DINAR

A bu Hazem Salamah Ibn Dinar al A’raj is our personality in this segment


in this series of luminaries of Islam. Abder Rahman Ibn Zayd Ibn Aslam said:
No one have I ever seen wisdom is closer to him than Salamah Ibn Dinar. Abu
Hazem, which is his nickname, was once asked: What is your property? He said:
My trust is in Allah Almighty and I have no ambition in what exists in people’s
hands. Describing this worldly life of ours in a few words Abu Hazem once said:
What has already passed of this life is nothing but a dream, and what remains is
no more than flimsy hopes and aspirations.

Another reporter says: Abu Hazem said: No slave improves his relation with
Allah but Allah will surely improve his relationship with him; but if he should
destroy all channels of contact with Allah, Allah will surely destroy his contacts
with him. It is easier to please one face (meaning Allah’s) than to satisfy all faces.
If you please this face all other faces will be inclined towards you; but if you
destroy what is between you and this face all other faces will frown on you.

Again Abu Hazem said: If you notice that Allah Almighty continues His
blessings on you while you disobey Him then beware of His punishment. Every
blessing of this world that does not bring you nearer to Allah then it is a test and
a misfortune in disguise. Abu Maashar says: I saw Abu Hazem crying in the
mosque and wiping his tears. He was avoiding story-telling which others used to
do. I said: Why do you do this O Abu Hazem? He said: I learnt that Hell fire will
not touch any place which is covered by the tears of fear from Allah. Again Abu
Hazem said: A believer should be more careful concerning his tongue than he is
concerning the movement of his feet.

Abu Hazem was thus a great wise believer whose words spread far and wide.
In a few words he could say what carried volumes of valuable meanings. He said
once: If we are immune from the evil of what we have, we don’t care about what
we have not. Again he once addressed a young man in the following words: If you
are satisfied with what keeps you alive then the lowest standard of living will
please you, but if you are not satisfied with what covers your needs then nothing
in the world will satisfy you.

Abu Hazem was not a man who just paid lip service to wise sayings; he was
rather a real hermit, a remnant of the disciples of the Companions of the Prophet.
Here is a story that reveals his real personality. The well-known Umayyad caliph

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Sulayman Ibn Abdel Malek once sent to Abu Hazem who was, in fact, living in
a simple tent outside Madinah. He refused to come to meet him and said: I don’t
need anything from the caliph. But when Sulayman insisted that Abu Hazem
should come, he was brought to his court. Then the following dialogue took place
between the two men.

Sulayman said: Tell me Abu Hazem: Why do we hate death? Abu Hazem
replied: Because you have destroyed your hereafter and constructed this life of
yours. So you hate to move from construction to destruction. When Sulayman
heard this he said: You said the truth. Then he asked Abu Hazem: How will be
the approach to Allah Almighty? Abu Hazem replied: As for the one who is
virtuous he will be like an absent man coming back to his family and dear ones;
but the wrong-doer will be like the runaway slave from his master.

Here Sulayman wept and said: O Abu Hazem. I wish I know what will be our
lot with Allah? Abu Hazem said: Present your self to the Book of Allah Almighty.
You will then know what your lot will be. Then Sulayman said: But where can I
find this? Abu Hazem said: In the verse that says: As for the Righteous, they will
be in bliss, while the wicked will be surely in the Fire. ( 82-13-14 ) Then Sulayman
asked: But where is the mercy of Allah? “ Near to the benefactors “ said Abu
Hazem. The caliph then said: How would you describe our present situation?
Abu Hazem declined to say anything, but the Umayyad caliph (Sulayman)
insisted on him and said: It is only an advice that you give.

Abu Hazem then said: Some people have usurped the authority by force
without any consultation or concensus of opinion on behalf of the Muslims. In
the attempt they shed too much blood aspiring only for this worldly life. Then
they departed. Woe to what they said and what has been said about them! Then
some courtiers said: How bad is what you say old man? But Abu Hazem said:
You lie. Allah Almighty has made a covenant with the scholars to convey the
truth to people and not to conceal anything. Then Sulayman said: Why don’t you
accompany us Abu Hazem; we shall then exchange benefits? Abu Hazem said: I
seek refuge in Allah from this, meaning that he refuses. But the caliph asked him:
Why? He said: Lest I should be inclined to what you do then Allah will make me
taste double the punishment of this life and death. Then Sulayman said: Advice
me please! He said: Fear Allah. Let Him not see you where He forbade you to be
and let Him not miss you where He enjoined-you to be. Then he asked Abu
Hazem to pray for him. Abu Hazem then said: O Allah if Sulayman is loyal to
You then make it easy for him to do all that is good, but if he is your enemy then
direct him to do good. Sulayman then ordered his servant to give one hundred

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dinars to Abu Hazem who apologized to take it and said: I don’t need it, lest it
should be in return of what I said to you.

When Sulayman the caliph showed all this respect and admiration to Abu
Hazem, al Zuhri, an attending scholar said: He is my neighbour whom I have not
talked to for the last thirty years. Abu Hazem said: This is because you forgot
Allah so you forgot me; but had you loved Allah you would have loved me. al
Zuhri said: Do you call me bad names? Sulayman interfered and said: It was you
who cursed yourself. Don’t you know the rights of neighbours? Then Abu
Hazem said: When the children of Israel were on the right path, the princes used
to resort to the scholars while the latter used to run away with their religion from
the princes. But when some lowly people saw this they acquired that knowledge
and approached the princes who took this distorted knowledge and left the real
scholars. Thus people gathered on sins and fell into vices and evil. Had our
scholars kept their knowledge, princes would have continued to feel awe and
respect towards them. al Zuhri said: As if you mean me and accuse me. Abu
Hazem said: The situation is as you hear it.

This was not, however, the only argument between Abu Hazem and al
Zuhri. In a famous letter which Abu Hazem sent to his colleague al Zuhri he
advised him not to support the unjust rulers, and not to humiliate religion and
make it a humble means for their vicious ends. He reminded him of the verse of
the Quran addressed to scholars clarifying their duties which are to reveal the
truth to people and not to conceal it. He also warned him against defending these
rulers despite their oppression of other Muslims. How can you be silent
concerning the bad things committed in your presence and with you connivance?
Abu Hazem wondered.

He also reminded him of the Hereafter and that he would inevitably leave
this life sooner or later; and warned that by this he did not mean to curse him
or call him bad names but it is the binding advice from one Muslim scholar to
another. And it is only the believers who benefit from the reminders, Abu
Hazem added. In the concluding part of his letter to al Zuhri Abu Hazem said:
There may be many pleasures in this life which may attract us and make us
forget the end, but a time will come soon when we have no pleasure and the
responsibility remains. So how miserable is the one who is happy about the
gains of others! You are dealing with Allah who knows everything and forgets
nothing. How can this world drown a man of so much knowledge and learning
like you, and in such an old age? What about ignorant young men? Abu
Hazem concluded.

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As a matter of fact, although Abu Hazem was not one of the Prophet’s
Companions, he conveyed their living message to his contemporaries. He was
thus a remnant of that first and best generation of Muslims. Describing the work
for the After life he says: Nowadays the goods of the Hereafter are not easily sold,
so buy much of them now, before time comes when they become too expensive
so that you will not be able to have them.

Although Abu Hazem was a hermit who isolated himself from others to
avoid committing many sins, he always felt the magnitude of his sins. This is the
attitude of all pious Muslims while ordinary people don’t care about their sins
even if they were as big as mountains. He was always afraid of the Day of
Judgment when all deeds are reviewed. But he had good hopes. He said: As long
as a man intends seriously to leave sins he will receive the spiritual blessings.
When he was one day asked about this life he said: If anything should please you
in this life, along with it you will have something that annoys and displeases you.

Warning against arrogance in the case of those who do good but lose
humility, Abu Hazem says: It may be that one may do good but the effect it
leaves in his heart is pride which eliminates it’s value. But may be a sinner may
commit a sin but he repents and asks forgiveness. So the effect in this case is
better than that of pride and arrogance. No one will enter Paradise by virtue of
his deeds, unless Allah overwhelms him with mercy as the Prophet peace be
upon him puts it.

As a hermit one day Abu Hazem passed by a butcher who said: O Abu
Hazem! Why don’t you take some of this fresh and fat meat? Abu Hazem said: I
have no money. The butcher said encouraging him: I am ready to wait until you
pay me later. Abu Hazem smiled and said: I prefer to wait until I have the money
to buy your meat.

Once Abu Hazem exclaimed: How surprising human beings are! They give
all their efforts to a life which everyday they come closer to its end, while they
neglect a life which they approach everyday!

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ALI IBN AL HUSAIN IBN ALI

A li Ibn al Husain Ibn Ali was the grandson of Imam Ali Ibn Abi Taleb,
cousin of the Prophet peace be upon him. As a matter of fact, Muslims honour,
love and respect members of the family of the Prophet not just because they are
his relatives and close kins. It is true that Ali Ibn Abi Taleb was the cousin of the
Prophet and his son in law, husband of his daughter Fatimah. But what qualifies
Ali and his family to love, greatness and honour is not just his relation to the
Prophet. There were other members of the Prophet’s relation who were
condemned and were declared opponents to Islam. The Holy Quran has
condemned the uncle of the Prophet called Abu Lahab. A separate chapter talks
about him and his wife and says that he will go to Hell.

Again the Prophet declared it on more than one occasion that it will be of no
avail for his relatives if they do no good and rely on their relation to him only.
Once the Prophet said to his daughter Fatimah: O Fatimah daughter of
Muhammad be careful of yourself. I can be of no use to you before Allah. This is
a basic principle of Islam. Even today those who claim to be the descendents of
the Prophet peace be upon him cannot guarantee any special position with Allah
just because of this. The most beloved ones in the sight of Allah are only the most
pious. It is only in this light that we present the members of the Prophet’s family
as great luminaries of Islam. Their greatness springs basically from their piety
and righteous deeds.

As for the present personality, Ali Ibn al Husain was the son of an ex-slave
woman called Ghazalah. She was granted freedom after her slavery when she
gave birth to a son. This was one method for eliminating slavery. Ali Ibn al
Husain was called Ali the junior. As for Ali the senior, he was killed with his
father al Husain may Allah be pleased with him; this took place in Karbala when
al Husain was killed along with many of his family members. Ali the junior was
with his father al Husain, and was 23 years old; but he was ill and could not leave
his bed. That is why he was not killed on that day. His nickname was Abul
Husain, or Abu Muhammad.

Abdul Rahman Ibn Hafs al Qurashi says: Whenever Ali Ibn al Husain used
to make ablution his face would become pale? His family members would ask
him about it, he would say: Do you know in front of whom I am going to stand?
In another version we are told that every time Ali Ibn al Husain stood for prayer
his body would shake and tremble. He would be asked: What is wrong with you?

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He would say: Don’t you know in whose presence I stand and to whom I appeal?

In another story narrated by Abu Nooh al Ansari we read the following: A


fire broke out in a house where Ali Ibn al Husain was prostrating himself in
prayer. People around him started to scream and say: O son of the Messenger of
Allah! the fire, the fire. Ali Ibn al Husain continued in his prostration and did
not raise his head until the fire was put out. He was asked: What is it that
preoccupied you so that you neglected the fire? He said: The Other Hell fire
preoccupied me!

Sufyan says: A man came to Ali Ibn al Husain may Allah be pleased with
him and said: Such a man hurt and cursed you. He said: Take me to him. So the
conveyor of the bad news took him to the attacker thinking that Ali Ibn al Husain
would fight back and revenge. But when he met the concerned man he said: If
what you say is true, may Allah forgive me; and if what you say is not true may
Allah Almighty forgive you. This does not mean that Ali Ibn al Husain could not
avenge himself from the man. It only means that he could but he preferred to
forgive him which is of course greatly rewarded by Allah Almighty.

In a similar story Abu Yacoob al Madani says: A dispute arose between


Hasan Ibn Hasan and Ali Ibn al Husain. The former came upon the latter when
he was with his friends in the mosque. He did not leave any curse or bad thing
but said it to him while Ali Ibn al Husain was silent all the time. Then Hasan
departed. After night fall he came to Ali in his house and knocked at his door. Ali
came out to him and said: My brother if what you said to me is true then may
Allah forgive me, and if you lie may Allah forgive you. Peace be upon you. He
then turned away. But Hasan followed and embraced him from behind him and
started to cry until Ali felt pity towards him. Then Hasan said: To be sure I shall
never do again what you hate. Then Ali said: You are absolved of what you said
against me.

Jaafar Ibn Muhammad transmitted the following from his father. He said:
Ali Ibn al Husain said: The loss of the dear ones gives a sense of estrangement.
He used to say: O Allah! I seek refuge in You not to make my outward appearance
look bright in others eyes while my real inner state is evil and bad. O Allah! As
you always do good to me and forgive me whenever I make a sin, so also
whenever I return to sin return on me with your forgiveness. Another wonderful
saying of Ali Ibn al Husain is the following one: Some people worship Allah out
of fear of Him. This is the worship of slaves. Others worship Him driven by a
desire and an ambition and this is the worship of traders; while a third category

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of people worship Allah to give thanks and express their gratitude to Him and
this is the worship of freedom.

Again Ali Ibn al Husain did not like that anyone should help him in his
ablution. He used to get water for it and cover it before he would go to sleep.
When he would wake up by night he would make ablution and start his prayer.
He would make up for any voluntary prayer he might have missed by day. He
would then say to his children: This is not obligatory on you but I like to continue
doing this habit of mine. He never neglected voluntary prayer at night neither on
travel nor at home. He used to say: I am surprised of the proud and arrogant one
who was only a sperm yesterday and will be a dead carcase tomorrow. I am
indeed astonished of one who ignores the second life while he sees with his own
eyes the first creation. I am indeed astounded of one who works for the house of
mortality and leaves and neglects the home of eternity.

Once a man came to ask something from Ali Ibn al Husain. He welcomed
him and said: Hail and the best greetings are to one who carries my needs to the
Hereafter. Another man spoke to him and said some falsehoods against him. As
was his habit he said to the man: If I am as you say then may Allah forgive me,
but if I am not as you say then may Allah forgive you. The man rose and kissed
his head. May I be a sacrifice in defence of you. Ali Ibn al Husain said: May
Allah forgive you. The man then commented: Allah knows best where to place
His message!

Shaybah Ibn Na’amah said: Ali Ibn al Husain used to lead a seemingly
miserly life. But when he died they discovered that he was supporting one
hundred poor families in Madinah. Muhammad Ibn Ishaq said: Some people of
Madinah used to live not knowing where from they got their livelihood. When
Ali Ibn al Husain died they lost what used to be sent to them by night. As a
matter of fact, Ali Ibn al Husain used to carry a bag of bread by night on his back
and distribute it as charity. He would say: “ The secret charity puts out the anger
of Allah “. When Ali Ibn al Husain died and people washed his body, they found
some black traces on his back. They said: What is this? Then the answer was that
he used to carry bags of flour on it by night and would give them to the poor
people of Madinah. That is why when he died people of Madinah said: We only
lost the secret charity when Ali Ibn al Husain died.

Saeed Ibn Murjanah said I heard Abu Hurairah say: The Messenger of
Allah said: Whoever liberates a believing slave, Allah will liberate him from Fire
each member for each member. When Ali Ibn al Husain heard this tradtion he

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asked the transmitter: Did you really hear it from Abu Hurairah? The man said:
Yes indeed. Then Ali Ibn al Husain called the best slave he had and said: You are
free for the sake of Allah Almighty. As a matter of fact, Abdullah Ibn Jaafar once
offered one thousand dinars for this slave whom Ali liberated later on.

One day a faction of the people of Iraq came to Ali Ibn al Husain and started
to criticise Abu Bakr, Umer and Uthman may Allah be pleased with them.
When they finished their attack on the three rightly guided caliphs Ali Ibn al
Husain asked: Tell me. Are you the first emigrants who were driven out of their
homes and properties seeking the bounty of Allah and His satisfaction and
supporting Allah and His messenger? Those indeed are the truthful? They said:
No. Are you those who lived in Madinah before them and had adopted the faith,
and showed their affection to such as came to them for refuge, and entertained no
desire in their hearts for things given to the latter, but gave them preference over
themselves even though poverty was their own lot? The Iraqi faction said: No.

When they said this Ali Ibn al Husain said: Then I testify that you are not
of those who came after them and say: Our Lord! Forgive us and our brothers
who came before us into the Faith, and leave not in our hearts rancour against
those who have believed. Our Lord! You are indeed full of kindness, Most
Merciful. He then said to the Iraqi group: Go out from here.

Ali Ibn al Husain used to go to Zayd Ibn Aslam, a liberated slave, and would
learn from him Islam. A man once came to him and said: You are a master and
the best of people. How come that you go to this slave and sit with him? He said:
Islamic knowledge should be followed wherever it may be.

A final word about Ali Ibn Husain is that his contemporaries testified
that they never saw any one more pious and more knowledgeable in religion
than he was.

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JAAFAR IBN MUHAMMAD

J aafar Ibn Muhammad was the grandson of Ali Ibn al Husain son of Ali
Ibn Abi Taleb may Allah be pleased with him. His mother was Umm Farwah
daughter of Muhammad son of Abu Bakr al Siddiq. He thus gathered together
the honour of being the great grandson of Ali Ibn Abi Taleb and also the great
grandson of Abu Bakr al Siddiq may Allah be pleased with them both. Jaafar
was more pre-occupied with worship than with leadership. As Amr Ibn Abil
Miqdam said: Whenever I looked at Jaafar Ibn Muhammad I knew that he was
one of the offspring of the Prophet peace be upon him.

Anas Ibn Malek said: Once Jaafar Ibn Muhammad said to Sufiyan al
Thawri: O Sufiyan. When Allah grants you a blessing and you like to keep it with
you then celebrate the praises of Allah very often and thank Allah Almighty
many times for it; because Allah says in the Holy Quran: “ If you are grateful, I
will add more favours unto you; but if you show ingratitude, truly my
punishment is terrible indeed “. ( 14-7 )

Jaafar Ibn Muhammad then said to Sufiyan al Thawri: If you require


sustenance from Allah then ask his forgiveness very often for Allah says in His
Book: Ask forgiveness from your Lord. For He is Oft-forgiving; He will send
rain to you in abundance; give you increase in wealth and sons; and bestow on
you gardens and bestow on you rivers of flowing water. ( 71-10-12 ) O Sufiyan,
he continued, if you face any problem from a ruler or any body else then repeat
very often: “ There is no power or authority except with the help and support of
Allah “. This indeed is the key to all good things and it is one valuable treasure
of Paradise.

This advice reminds me of a story about al Hasan Ibn Ali. Three people
approached him one after another. The first one complained of the scarcity of
rain, for he was a shepherd and his sheep could not have any pasture to eat, nor
water to drink; the second man was sterile and poor and had no children and the
third asked for a garden with a stream of water flowing in it. The grandson of
the Prophet told each of the three men to ask Allah’s forgiveness. When they
were surprised of this answer he said: Have you not recited Noah’s advice to his
people? The men said: May be we have but we don’t know which advice you are
talking about? He then recited the above mentioned verses which make
forgiveness the key to all worldly blessings.

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Ibn Abi Hazem says: I was one day with Jaafar Ibn Muhammad when his
servant told him that Sufiyan al Thawri wanted to see him. When the latter came
in Jaafar said: O Sufiyan! You are a man whom the rulers always call to their
courts, and I am a man who avoid rulers, so please go out and don’t think that I
am expelling you. Then Sufiyan said: Before I go tell me something. Jaafar then
said: The Messenger of Allah said: Whoever enjoys a blessing let him thank
Allah and whoever wants provision let him ask Allah’s forgiveness and whoever
faces a problem let him say: There is no power or might except with the help of
Allah. When Sufiyan wanted to leave Jaafar said: Take them Sufiyan. These are
the best three things.

Al Hajjaj Ibn Bastam says: Jaafar Ibn Muhammad may Allah be pleased
with him, used to feed the poor and the needy until nothing would remain for his
family. He used to tell Sufiyan al Thawri, who was a friend of his, the following
valuable saying: Right is not fulfilled except if we do three things: When one
makes haste with it, and when he covers it and does not mention it. Again some
people once asked him: Why has Allah forbidden usury? Jaafar Ibn Muhammad
said: So that people do not forbid what is good and right.

Jaafar al Sadeq says: I entered once the house of Jaafar when I found him
sitting with his son Moosa and giving him the following advice. He said: O son
if you learn my advice you will lead a happy life and die an honourable death.
Whoever is satisfied with what Allah has given him, will become rich and
wealthy, and whoever extends his eyes to what others have will die a poor person.
Whoever does not accept what Allah has decided for him, will, in fact, accuse
Allah of injustice in predestination. O my son! Whoever makes scandals to
others will fall in scandal and whoever raises the sword of oppression will be
killed by it. He who digs a hole for his brother will only fall in it; and he who joins
bad people will be despised while he who mingles with respected scholars will be
honoured. My son say the truth whether it is for or against you, and avoid talking
against people in their absence for this cultivates hatred among men.

Ahmad Ibn al Razi says: Flies fell on caliph al Mansoor, he drove them
away, but they came back to him until he was embarrassed. Then Jaafar Ibn
Muhammad entered. al Mansoor asked him the following question: Tell me
Abu Abdullah! Why has Allah created flies? Jaafar replied: So that He may
humiliate the oppressors. Again it was the habit of a layman to accompany
Jaafar and be with him. The man then disappeared so Jaafar asked about him.
Somebody said: He is but a Nabatti. Jaafar said: The origin of a man is his mind,
his dignity lies in his religion and his respect rests in his piety. Men are equal in

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their relation to Adam.

Abu Jaafar al Mansoor, the abbasid caliph performed Hajj one year. He
asked his officers to bring Jaafar for him to kill him. When Jaafar Ibn
Muhammad arrived al Mansoor cursed him and threatened to kill him; but
Jaafar was patient and said: O leader of the Faithful! When Sulaiman was granted
worldly blessings, he thanked Allah and when Job was tested with illness, he was
patient and when Joseph was dealt with unjustly he forgave his oppressors. and
you are of this type O caliph. When al Mansoor heard this he was pleased and
said: May Allah bless you and have mercy on you. He then shared with him his
seat and gave him some of the nicest perfumes. He also ordered his men to send
after Jaafar a becoming reward and clothes and prayed for him.

When Jaafar Ibn Muhammad wanted to leave a man followed him and
asked: O Abu Abdullah! What made you so firm in your meeting with al
Mansoor? Jaafar said: I said the following prayer: O Allah! Keep me under Your
eye, which never sleeps, and preserve me with Your care which no one can
approach with harm, and forgive me. O Allah! You are far greater than the one I
fear and I seek refuge in You against him. Never shall I perish as long as You are
my hope and supporter.

When Jaafar Ibn Muhammad said this he forgot fear and in its place his
heart was full of peace and security. This was because he believed in the
sovereignty and greatest power of Allah Almighty who is greater than any one
else. This is not, in fact, a rare incident in Islamic history. Many times a dictator
and an oppressive ruler would send word to a Muslim scholar threatening to kill
him, like al Mansoor did to Jaafar, as soon as he would see him; but the pious
one’s trust in Allah Almighty the All-Powerful, the Omni-potent would make
the oppressor oppressed and, transform the weak and the threatened into an
immune and safe person. Let us cite a few examples.

Ibn Taymiyah was a great scholar of the seventh century of Hijrah. He was
in Damascus when the Tartars launched their wholesale onslaught against the
Arab world. They destroyed Baghdad and killed millions of its inhabitants and
destroyed everything in that capital of Islam at that time. So they struck terror
and horror in the hearts of men wherever they marched. When they came to
Damascus Ibn Taymiyah came out at the head of a delegation of Muslim scholars
of Damascus. The said delegation met the fearful leader of the Tartars. Ibn
Taymiyah started to advise him to stop killing Muslims, and not to commit any
looting or arson. He said: You say you are a Muslim, but your father was better

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than you although he was a disbeliever. The leader looked at Ibn Taymiyah with
great respect. The accompanying delegation expected the massacre of Ibn
Taymiyah any minute. But Ibn Taymiyah never cared and continued to give a
strong sermon to the Tartar leader who said at the end of the sermon: This is the
only scholar you have. He then invited the whole delegation to an auspicious
party, but Ibn Taymiyah refused to eat.

When the Tartar leader asked him about the reason Ibn Taymiyah said: This
is not a permissible food. You have taken it illegally from Muslims. Again other
members of the delegation shivered with fear. But instead of killing Ibn
Taymiyah the Tartar chief honoured him and asked his troops to escorte him
back to his house. He was led on his horse safely to the doorstep of his home. As
for other members, who were afraid of the Tartar chief, they returned to their
homes on foot scarcely saved from death. the Tartar troops took their clothes on
the way and they entered their homes almost naked.

Another incident of a helpless Muslim scholar who could confront the most
powerful and terrifying emperor of his time is that of Sheikh Ahmad al Sirhindi
the well-known scholar of India under the Mongol emperor Akbar who claimed
to be the greatest so that when Muslims say Allah Akbar, which means Allah is
the greatest,he wanted them to mean him and not God Almighty.

Ahmad al Sirhindi launched a scholarly campaign against that emperor and


all his false claims. He asked people not to prostrate themselves to the king but
to Allah Almighty. When Akbar knew this he sent for Sirhindi and also
threatened to finish him. The latter, however, came feeling secure. He advised
Akbar without prostrating himself in front of him. This he did in the presence of
all his powerful troops heavy with armour. When Sirhindi was asked about it he
said: I remembered the greatness of Allah Almighty so this ruler seemed to me
like a helpless cat. Thus when Jaafar Ibn Muhammad met al Mansoor and could
change him from a threatening enemy into a sympathetic friend, he was only
following the same path of remembering Allah and depending upon him alone.

One final story about Jaafar is that when he performed Hajj in the year 113
of Hijrah he was seen sitting on top of Abu Qubays mountain in Makkah. He
prayed to Allah very humbly until all of a sudden a basket was seen in front of
him full of grapes and clothes. The narrator of the story shared with Jaafar the
grapes which was not available in Makkah then. He says that this must be one of
the miracles granted to Jaafar.

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Such an incident is not, however strange. In the Holy Quran we read that
virgin Mary used to eat food granted to her from Allah. As long as we believe
that Allah can do anything, this incident is not a strange thing.

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AL FUDDAYL IBN IYADD

A l Fuddayl Ibn Iyadd was originally from Khorasan in central Asia. He


comes from Yarboo tribe and was nicknamed Abu Ali. He travelled to Kufah
where he learnt the Prophet’s traditions. Afterwards he went to Makkah and
concentrated all his efforts on worship until he died in that holy city of Islam.
Ibrahim al Khuzaee said: Were all the world made my legal property I would still
feel its dirt. He thus used to say: The best condition for me is to be the poorest of
the poor; when I disobey Allah I find its effect in the behaviour of my donkey and
my servant.

Describing al Fuddayl’s worship Ishaq Ibn al Rabee says: His recital of the
Quran was sad, attractive and slow, as if he was addressing someone with its
verses. Whenever he came across a verse that mentioned Paradise, he would
repeat it over and over again. At night he would sleep for some time on a simple
mat. He would then rise and pray until he becomes drowsy. Then he would sleep
on the mat and rise and so on until day break. He used to say: If you cannot pray
most of the night and fast your days then you must know that you are deprived
and bound up with you sins.

Mansoor Ibn Ammar said: One day I gave a sermon in the Holy Mosque of
Makkah. I mentioned Hell fire and noticed that al Fuddayl Ibn Iyadd all of a
sudden cried and fainted. He fell to the ground. Again al Fuddayl shows how
much he feared the Day of Judgement when he says: If I had a choice between
either I live and die as a dog and not see the Day of Judgement or attend that
horrible day, I would choose the first condition.

Mahran al Asadi says: On the night of Arafa, during pilgrimage, I noticed


that al Fuddayl could not make his supplications to Allah on account of his tears.
All that he said was: How bad I am! What a scandal will it be even if You should
forgive me O Allah! In another incident Ahmad Ibn Sahl told us that he was at
the door of al Fuddayl Ibn Iyadd. When he asked permission to see him, he was
told that al Fuddayl would not come out unless he heard the Holy Quran. The
narrator says: I had with me a man whose voice was beautiful in reciting the
Quran. So he read a small chapter that referred to the grievous punishment in the
graves. As he recited al Fuddayl appeared with his beard covered with tears.

People like al Fuddayl Ibn Iyadd did not make a show of their piety. They
were so humble that they imagined themselves to be the worst people on earth.

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This is what al Fuddayl once told Sufiyan Ibn Uyaynah. He said: If you think
that there is any one on earth who is worse than us you are extremely mistaken.
The famous poet Jareer wanted to visit al Fuddayl one day. When al Fuddayl
knew this he put a lock for the door from outside. When Jareer came and found
the lock he returned home. When al Fuddayl was asked about it he said: What
will he do for me? He will show me the best of his talk and I shall be forced to do
the same. I thus preferred not to meet him.

A famous statement of al Fuddayl is the following: When one is told that he


likes to show off, he becomes angry, although this is exactly what he might be
doing. Take care not to be a liar while you don’t know. You show people the best
behaviour until they say: he is a pious man. So they begin to be kind to you and
satisfy your needs. They make room for you in their meetings and conventions.
They give you all this honour for the sake of Allah; had it not been for that you
would not be honoured by others.

Younus Ibn Muhammad al Makki said al Fuddayl once told a man the
following: I shall teach you a few words which are better for you than this world
and all that it contains: Once Allah knows that there is no place in your heart for
anyone else other than Him, He will surely grant you all what you ask for. Again
Ibrahim Ibn al Ashaath said: I heard al Fuddayl say: It may be that you have
done something for which Allah Almighty hates you. So He has closed the gates
of forgiveness in front of you and yet you laugh. But how will be your lot in the
Hereafter? Again Abdel Samad Ibn Yazeed says: I heard al Fuddayl say: I met
people who are so shy of Allah that they would not sleep one whole night. They
would sleep for a little while and then say to themselves: This is not for you. Rise
and take your share in the Hereafter.

Al Fuddayl Ibn Iyadd used to criticise the scholars who humiliated


themselves to the rulers and exploited their religious knowledge for worldly
gains. Once al Fuddayl met Sufiyan Ibn Uyaynah. al Fuddayl said: You scholars
used to be like lamps illuminating other people’s lives. Then you became unjust.
You were like stars to guide those astray then you are now leading people astray.
Are you not shy to take the money of those oppressive rulers, then each one of
you would sit and talk to people about the Prophet’s traditions. Sufiyan said: if
we are not righteous at least we love the righteous. Again al Fuddayl Ibn Iyadd
said: For me to seek this world through a drum and a flute is much better than to
seek it through worship.

Here is another story about al Fuddayl Ibn Iyadd which shows how he

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avoided rulers and when he was forced to meet anyone of them, he would give
them a strong advice. Thus it is reported that once caliph Haroun al Rashid
performed Hajj. He wanted to meet some pious scholars of the time. For three
times he met three famous scholars who expressed their readiness to come to
him. Each one of them asked him to settle his debts; but the caliph still looked
forward to meet a more pious scholar whose advice he wanted to seek . Until his
assistant took him to the house of al Fuddayl Ibn Iyadd whom they found
praying and reciting a verse of the Holy Quran which he was repeating.

The assistant knocked at the door of al Fuddayl who asked: Who is it? The
man said: Answer the call of the caliph. al Fuddayl said: I have nothing to do
with him. The assistant, however, said: How strange you are! Shouldn’t you obey
the caliph when he asks you to do something? al Fuddayl said: Is it not reported
that the Prophet said: A believer should not humiliate himself?

Al Fuddayl then came down, opened the door, quickly went up to an upper
room, put down the lamp and hid in one of its angles. The caliph and his assistant
entered the said room and extended their hands to search for him. The caliph’s
hand touched al Fuddayl’s body first. The latter held the caliph’s hand and said:
What a soft hand if only it would be saved from the punishment of Allah
Almighty tomorrow. The assistant then said to himself: He will give him a pure
sermon from a pious heart. al Fuddayl then said: When Umer Ibn Abdel Aziz
became caliph he called three pious scholars of his time and said: I am tired of
this affliction so advise me please. So Umer Ibn Abdel Aziz considered the
caliphate as an affliction while you and your friends regard it as a blessing. The
first pious scholar said to Umer Ibn Abdel Aziz: If you wish to be saved from the
punishment of Allah tomorrow then you should fast all your life and let death be
the break of you fasting. The second scholar then said: If you want to be saved
treat old men among the Muslims as your fathers, the middle aged ones as your
brothers and the young ones as your sons. So respect your father, do good to your
brother and be loving to your son.

Al Fuddayl Ibn Iyadd continued this advice to Haroun al Rasheed in the


following words: The third pious scholar said the following to Umer Ibn Abdel
Aziz: If you want to be saved from Allah’s punishment tomorrow you must love
for the Muslims what you love for yourself, and hate for them what you hate for
yourself. I fear, O caliph, that when you die you will have no one to tell you this.

When Haroun al Rasheed heard this he cried too much until he fainted. His
assistant then said to al Fuddayl: Have mercy on the caliph. But al Fuddayl

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replied: It is you and your friends who cause him to perish. When Haroun al
Rasheed awoke he said: Advise me more. May Allah have mercy on you. al
Fuddayl accordingly said: Once an agent of Umer Ibn Abdel Aziz complained to
him concerning some problems. Umer sent him a letter in which he said: My
dear brother! I would like to remind you of the long vigil the owners of Hell fire
will have along with permanent stay in Hell. I warn you not to be one of those
who lose hope after they are taken away from the presence of Allah.

When Umer’s agent read his letter he folded it and speeded to him. When
the two men met the agent said: You horrified me with your letter. I shall never
go back to this agency until I meet Allah Almighty. Again Haroun al Rasheed
wept too much and asked al Fuddayl to give him more advice. He said: Once al
Abbas, the uncle of the Prophet peace be upon him, came to the Prophet and
said: Make me a ruler. The Prophet, however, said: O my uncle! To be a ruler will
give you nothing but disappointment and lament on the Day of Judgement. So
avoid being a ruler if you can do so.

Haroun al Rasheed again wept too much, but still he asked for more advice
from al Fuddayl Ibn Iyadd who said: You have such a nice looking face. Allah will
ask you about this creation on the Day of Judgement. So if you can keep this face
from Hell fire then do it. Never have any cheating in your heart towards anyone
of your subjects; for the Prophet peace be upon him said: He will not even smell
the breeze of Paradise who cheats his own subjects.

Again Haroun al Rasheed wept for a long time then he asked al Fuddayl: Do
you have any debts? The latter said: Yes. A debt to my Lord who will ask me
about it. Woe to me if He should ask me; woe to me if He should discuss it with
me; and woe to me if I am not inspired with the right answer. Haroun al Rasheed,
however, said: I only mean people’s debts. al Fuddayl said: Allah did not order
me to do anything about this. He commanded me to worship Him alone and to
obey His orders.

Before Haroun al Rasheed, the then caliph of Muslims, left al Fuddayl’s


house he gave him 1,000 dinars to spend on his family, and to support himself in
worshipping Allah. al Fuddayl, however, said: I show you the way to safety while
you reward me with this! He kept silent. His wife then came to him, after the
departure of his guests and asked him to give her some money to spend on their
kids. He refused and spent it all on the poor. al Fuddayl Ibn Iyadd died in the
year 187 after Hijrah. May Allah be pleased with him.

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ABDULLAH IBN AMR IBN AL AASS

A bdullah Ibn Amr was the son of the famous Companion of the Prophet
Amr Ibn al Aass. He was also a Companion of the Prophet. He comes from the
family of Luay Ibn Ghaleb of the tribe of Quraish. As a matter of fact, Abdullah
Ibn Amr was a great spiritual leader and a leading scholar. He was nicknamed
Abu Muhammad. His mother was Raittah bint al Hajjaj, and his father was only
eleven years his senior. Abdullah Ibn Amr embraced Islam before his father. It
is said that his name before Islam was al Aass, which in Arabic means the
disobedient, so the Prophet changed it into Abdullah.

Abdullah Ibn Amr may Allah be pleased with him had numerous virtues.
He enjoyed a great deal of knowledge and thus it is reported that he transmitted
about 700 traditions. He was also famous for his righteous deeds. The Prophet
peace be upon him allowed him to write down traditions after he hated that his
Companions should write anything else from him except the Quran. The
Prophet, however, then allowed Abdullah Ibn Amr to write. Then the
Companions agreed on the value of recording traditions lest they should be lost
or forgotten. It seems that the Prophet forbade writing his traditions was only in
the beginning so that people would concentrate on the Holy Quran, and lest it
should mix with the Prophet’s sayings. Once the Quran was immune from any
mixture, the Prophet then allowed recording his traditions.

Abdullah Ibn Amr actually reported traditions from a number of senior


companions like Abu Bakr, Umer, Muath Ibn Jabal, Suraqa Ibn Malek, Abder
Rahman Ibn Awf and others. He also reported stories from the People of the
Book - Jews and Christians and spent lots of time studying their books and
quoting them to others. Tens of scholars transmitted traditions from Abdullah
Ibn Amr. The Scholars of traditions so much cared about the accuracy of the
personalities of the Prophet’s Companions and their various qualities that they
even described how they looked like. Hammad Ibn Salama says: Abdullah Ibn
Amr was a very tall, fat man with a huge belly and red skin.

Talha Ibn Ubaidullah said: Blessed be the family of Abdullah, Abu


Abdullah and Umm Abdullah. This is what the Messenger of Allah said. I
gathered the Quran and recited it all in one night. The Messenger of Allah said:
Recite it in one month. I said: O Messenger of Allah: Let me use my strength and
youth. He said: Read it in twenty days. I said: Let me enjoy. He said: Then read
it in seven nights. I repeated the same request, but he said: No. It is transmitted,

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however, that the Prophet allowed him to read the Quran in three nights and not
less than that. This was in what had until then been revealed of the Holy Quran.
Then the rest of it was inspired so it is not good to recite the Quran in less than
three nights. For in that case a person will not be able to understand or
contemplate what he reads. If he would recite the Quran regularly on a weekly
basis, that would be much better indeed. For Islam is the religion of facility, and
a Muslim has many worships to do, so that if he should read the Quran in a few
days he would not be able to establish those other duties; he would not
understand its meanings either.

When Abdullah Ibn Amr became an old man, he used to say: O I wish I had
accepted the permission given to me by the Messenger of Allah who also allowed
him the same easy permission in fasting despite his insistence to fast more until
the Prophet said: Fast a day and break your fast the next day like the fasting of
my brother David which is the best fasting in the sight of Allah. The Prophet
forbade perpetual fasting. He also ordered us to sleep part of the night and said:
I pray at night and sleep, fast and breadfast, marry women, and eat meat.
Whoever does not like my way of life is not of me. It has been proved in several
cases that a person will repent if he does not commit himself to the mode of the
Prophet’s worship.

In the Musnad of Ahmad we read the following tradition where Abdullah


Ibn Amr said: I saw in one dream that on one of my fingers I had ghee on and on
the other honey, and that I was licking them both. When I told the Prophet about
this the next morning he said: You read the two Holy Books: the Torah and the
Quran. So Abdullah Ibn Amr used to read both of them. But the scholar who
mentioned this tradition said that it is a weak one and that the story is false,
because it is not allowed for anyone to recite the Torah after the revelation of the
Quran or to memorise it simply because it is changed and abrogated, where truth
is mixed with falsehood. So avoid this, he says. As for studying the Torah to
contemplate and answer what the Jews claim, this is permitted for scholars
although to avoid it is better.

As for the claim that the Messenger of Allah allowed Abdullah Ibn Amr to
recite the Quran one night and the Torah the next night, this is absolutely false.
Again Abdullah Ibn Amr said: I learnt from the Messenger of Allah one
thousand parables. He also said: We used to write what the Messenger of Allah
would say. Once a Companion asked the Prophet: Can I write down what I hear
from you? The Prophet said: Yes. The Companion asked: In the state of
satisfaction and that of anger? The Prophet said: Yes indeed, for I say nothing

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but the truth.

Mujahid says: I entered upon Abdullah Ibn Amr and tried to take a sheet
of paper from under his head, he however, refused. When I said: Do you
refuse to show me a sheet of your books, he said: This true sheet contains what
I heard from the Messenger of Allah without the presence of anyone else. If I
have the Book of Allah, this sheet and my garden I don’t care if I lose
everything else in life.

For Abdullah Ibn Amr to love a garden of his does not mean, however, that
he cared much about the pleasures of this world. He is reported to have said: If I
were the tenth of the needy people on the Day of Judgement, it would be more
beloved for me than to be one of ten wealthy people, because those who have
plenty of means here will be the fewest of the few and the poorest on the Day of
Judgement in terms of reward from Allah Almighty except those who spend
much in His way.

Here is an interesting story about Abdullah Ibn Amr who said: My father
made me marry a woman from the tribe of Quraish; when she entered my room,
I did not approach her due to my engagement in worship and prayer. Then my
father came to his daughter in law and asked her: How is your husband? She said
the best man of the best people. He never approached her bed. She said. Then my
father came to me and hit me with his tongue and said: I made you marry a
woman from a respectable family, but you neglected her and did this and that.
He then went and complained to the Prophet against me. The Prophet asked me
to come and when I arrived he said: Do you fast during the day and pray all
night? I said: Yes. He said: But I fast and break my fast, I pray and sleep at night
and marry women. Whoever avoids my way and hates it is not of me.

Writers of Abdullah Ibn Amr’s biography mention that he inherited from


his father a large amount of Egyptian gold. Thus he became one of the richest
Companions of the Prophet, this despite the fact that he used to spend too much
in the way of Allah. This story reminds me how Abdullah Ibn Amr Ibn al Aass,
despite all this gold he had used to put out his lamp by night and cry until his
eyes became dry.

Abdullah Ibn Amr says: Once the Messenger of Allah entered my house
and said: Is it true that you pray all night and fast your days? I said: Indeed I do
this. He said: Suffice it that you fast three days every month, for they will be
tenfold in reward, thus as if you fast all your life. I said: But I can fast more and

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I like that you increase my share. He said: Then five days. I continued to ask him
more until he made it one half of my days. The Prophet then said: Your family
have a right upon you, your servant, and so do your guests. When Abdullah Ibn
Amr became old he used to say: Would that I have listened to the advice of the
Messenger of Allah.

As a matter of fact, Abdullah Ibn Amr embraced Islam in the seventh year
after Hijrah and he participated in some battles with the Prophet. In the battle of
Siffeen between Ali and Muawiyah he was leading part of Muawiyah’s army.
Hanzalah al Anbari says: As I was with Muawiyah one day, two men came to him
and disputed concerning the head of Ammar Ibn Yasser. One of them said: I
killed him. Abdullah Ibn Amr then said: Let one of you surrender this to the
other, for I heard the Messenger of Allah peace be upon him say: You will be
killed by the vicious faction and the mischievous one. Muawiyah then said: O
Amr! Why don’t you stop your mad son? Abdullah Ibn Amr says: Once my
father complained to the Prophet against me. The Prophet said: Obey your
father as long as you live. So I am with you, but I am not going to fight. This
shows the attitude of Abdullah Ibn Amr on the battle of Siffeen.

He is reported to have said on that unfortunate day of Siffeen: What do I do


with Siffeen? Why should I fight against Muslims? I would that I had died
twenty years before it. By Allah I did not use a sword nor threw any arrow on this
baneful battle. This despite the fact that he had the flag of the army in his hands.

Whenever Abdullah Ibn Amr used to perform Hajj he used to have 300
camels. Other people would ask in surprise: Why should a companion of the
Prophet keep all these camels? The answer was, however, that he put them under
the disposal of his friends and poor Muslims, for he was a rich companion.

Abdullah Ibn Amr died in Ta’if in the year 63 after Hijrah. May his soul rest
in peace.

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AL MUGHEERA IBN SHU’BA

Al Mugheera Ibn Shu’ba, also named the prince Abu Isa or Abu
Muhammad was one of the senior companions of the Prophet. He was famous
for his bravery and intelligent tricks. He attended the great oath of allegiance at
Aqabah. al Mugheera was a tall man, he lost his eye on the day of Yarmouk, or al
Qadisiyah battle as other reporters say. In still a third version Aisha, wife of the
Prophet, says: the moon was eclipsed during the life time of the Prophet peace be
upon him. al Mugheera went and looked at it for a long time until he lost one of
his eyes. al Mugheera was so cunning that he was called Mugheeratul Rai
(Mugheera of the cunning plots). He walked from Damascus to Kufa five times
says al Shaabi. Quite a large number of the Companions’ disciples transmitted
traditions from him including his own sons.

Younus Ibn Maysara says that he heard Abu Idris say: al Mugheera Ibn
Shu’ba came to Damascus and said: I have helped the Messenger of Allah to
make ablution for prayer in the battle of Tabouk. He rubbed his socks. al Zuhri
says: The most shrewd and cunning people in the famous mischief between Ali
and Muawiyah were five: Amr Ibn al Aass and Muawiyah from Quraish, Qays
Ibn Saad from al Ansar, al Mugheerah Ibn Shu’ba from Thaqeef and Abdullah
Ibn Buthayl al Khuzaee from the emigrants, Qays and Ibn Buthayl supported
Ali against Amr and Muawiyah while al Mugheera stood aloof and did not take
any part.

Al Mugheera says: the Prophet peace be upon him nicknamed me Abu Isa.
Again Umer Ibn al Khattab once asked his son: Who is Abu Isa? The son said:
O leader of the faithful! This is the nickname of Ibn Shu’ba in the lifetime of the
Messenger of Allah; Zayd Ibn Aslam has a different report. He says: Umer Ibn
al Khattab changed the nickname of al Mugheera from Abu Isa to Abu
Abdullah. He made the following question: Did Isa (Jesus) have any father? By
this he meant that Isa had no father. For this story to be true, we must not accept
the version that says that the Prophet named him Abu Isa, because it is just
unthinkable that Umer would change a nickname given by the Prophet to
anyone of his Companions.

In al Waqidee, the well-known Islamic biographer we have the following


story narrated by al Mugheera Ibn Shu’ba where he says: We were committed to
our religion and were servants of al Lat idol. I imagined then that even if my
people should embrace Islam, I would not follow them. A number of Bani Malek

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decided to travel to al Muqawqis, ruler of Egypt and take some presents for him.
I also decided to travel with them. When I asked the advice of my uncle Urwa Ibn
Masood he said: don’t go with them. You have no one with you of your own
relatives; but I refused and marched with them to Egypt. They had no other
stranger except me. We travelled until we entered Alexandria where we found al
Muqawqis in a council on the sea. I took a boat until I came parallel to his
meeting place. He, however, neglected me. Then he asked some one of his
followers to question me. Thus I told him about our affair and our arrival.

Al Muqawqis ordered that we should stay in a church and was, in fact,


hospitable to us. He then allowed us to meet him. The Egyptian ruler looked at
the chief of the tribe of Malek, and brought him closer and made him sit with
him. He then asked him: Are you all from the tribe of Malek? The chief said: Yes
except one man and he signalled to me. So I was the most humiliated person in
his eyes. He was pleased with their gifts and gave them rewards while he gave
me next to nothing.

We then went out. The people from Malek tribe started to buy presents for
their relatives. None of them even offered me any consolation. They wanted to
travel back to their country, and carried their wine with them. So we started to
drink. Then I decided to kill them. So I claimed to be sick and put a band on my
head. They put their wine. I said: My head aches but I am ready to serve wine to
you. They agreed and so I began to give them wine and fill the glass for them.
They continued to drink unknowingly until they slept because of getting drunk.
I jumped on them and killed them all. I took all that they had and came to the
Prophet peace be upon him. He was sitting in the mosque with his companions.
I had the clothes of travel on me. I greeted them and Abu Bakr recognised me.
The Prophet said: Praise be to Allah who guided you to Islam.

Abu Bakr said: Have you arrived from Egypt? Yes! I said. He asked: What
have the people of Malek done? I killed them and brought their booty and came
with it to the Messenger of Allah so that he may divide it. The Prophet said: As
for your conversion we accept it, but I am not going to take anything of their
property, because this is cheating and there is no good in cheating. I was
overwhelmed and then said: I killed them while I was still on the religion of my
people. Then I embraced Islam just now. The Prophet said: Islam cancels all that
was before it. It is reported that al Mugheera killed thirteen men on that night.
When their tribe knew about it they called each other for war. Then peace
prevailed provided that Urwa Ibn Masoud, al Mugheera’s uncle should pay the
blood money of the massacred men which he did.

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Al Mugheera says: I stayed with the Prophet until the truce of Hudaybia
which was the first trip I made with him. I used to stay with Abu Bakr al Siddiq
in the company of the Prophet peace be upon him. Quraish then sent in the year
of Hudaybia my uncle Urwa Ibn Masoud to negotiate peace with the Messenger
of Allah. When he came and started to talk to him, he touched his beard in the
attempt to bring about peace. I was standing then at the head of the Messenger
of Allah dressed in full armour, says al Mugheera who addressed his uncle Urwa
and said: Keep your hand away from the beard of the Prophet or it will not return
back to you. Urwa asked: Who is this O Muhammad! How tough and rough he
is! The Prophet said: Your nephew! Urwa said: O you faithless person. By Allah
I have not washed away your evil deed except yesterday.

Al Mugheera Ibn Shu’ba reports: I was the last one who left the Messenger
of Allah peace be upon him. When he was buried Ali Ibn Abi Taleb came out of
the grave, then I threw my ring and said: My ring Abul Hasan! He said: Go down
and take it. Then I rubbed the coffin with my hand and went out.

Zayd Ibn Aslam transmits the following tradition from his father who says:
Omer employed al Mugheera Ibn Shu'ba as his agent on Bahrain; but the people
there hated him so Omer deposed him. The Bahrainis, however, were afraid lest
Omer should return him to his post. Their leader said: He will not return him to
you if you do what I order you to do. They said: Go ahead and give us your orders.
He said: Collect 100,000 so that I take it to Omer and tell him that al Mugheera
stole this amount, and gave it to me. The Bahrainis did what their leader asked and
collected the said amount for him. He approached Omer and told him about it.

When Omer heard this he called al Mugheera and asked him. The latter
said: He lies! May Allah perfect your deeds. It was, in fact, 200,000. Omer asked:
What made you do this? al Mugheera replied: Poverty and my dependants. Then
Omer turned to the liar and asked: What do you say? The man, however, replied:
By Allah I shall tell you the truth. He paid me nothing. Then Omer asked al
Mugheera: What did you mean by what you said? al Mugheera replied: The
treacherous man lied against me so I wanted to humiliate him.

Abu Raja al Attaridi reports that al Abullah city was opened at the hands of
Utba Ibn Ghazwan. When Omer marched to him he asked al Mugheera to lead
prayer. Then when Utba died, Omer asked al Mugheera to be the ruler of al
Basra where he stayed for three years.

To err is human says the English proverb. al Mugheera was seen by three

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men of his friends committing adultery. This took place during the caliphate of
Umer. A fourth witness was needed to castigate al Mugheera. There was indeed
a fourth man who also attended but he declined to give his testimony against al
Mugheera so Omer punished the other three witnesses and regarded them liars
while he liberated al Mugheera. It is said that the product of this sin was Ziyad
lbn Abeeh.

Al Mugheera once said to Ali after the massacre of Uthman Ibn Affan, the
third caliph of Islam: stay home and don’t make any propaganda for yourself. For
were you in a secret hole in Makkah people will not give their allegiance except
to you. If you don’t obey me I shall leave you alone. Send to Muawiyah an order
of appointment then remove him. Ali, however, did not obey Al Mugheera. So
he went to Yemen when both of Ali and Muawiyah were engaged in fighting they
did not send anyone to lead the pilgrimage season. Thus al Mugheera led men in
prayer and prayed in favour of Muawiyah.

Al Mugheera was indeed wise when he avoided the great mischief between
Ali and Muawiyah. He used to call others to avoid it. Once he met Ammar in the
streets of Madinah who was wearing his sword. Ammar called to him. al
Mugheera asked him what he wanted. Ammar invited him to participate in the
war describing it as a holy war. Then al Mugheera said: I wish I knew that it is
indeed as you say; but I believe that Uthman was wrong. So why don’t you
Ammar enter your house and put down your sword until darkness ends. Ammar
did not listen to him and was killed.

Al Mugheera was so cunning that one of his friends says: I accompanied al


Mugheera Ibn Shu’ba, Had there been a city with eight doors, out of which no
one can go except by using a trick, al Mugheera would then be able to come out
of them all.

Al Mugheera died as a ruler of Kufa in Iraq in the year 50 after Hijra. He was
then 70 years old.

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AL HASAN IBN ALI IBN TALEB

A l Hasan Ibn Ali was the senior grandson of the Prophet Muhammad
from his daughter Fatima and her husband Ali Ibn Abi Taleb, the dearest cousin
of the Prophet. He was given the title the imam, the master, the nice smelling
flower of the Messenger of Allah and the master of the young men of Paradise.
He was nicknamed Abu Muhammad after his grandfather the Prophet and he
fell as the most honourable martyr of Islam.

Al Hasan was born in Shaaban in the third year after Hijrah; his grandfather
slaughtered a big male sheep for his sake called Aqeeqah according to Islamic
traditions which he heard from the Prophet, from his own father Ali and from his
mother Fatima.

Abul Hawra said: I asked al Hasan: what particularly do you remember from
the Messenger of Allah? He said: I remember to have taken once a date out of the
dates of charity. I put it in my mouth, but the Messenger of Allah peace be upon
him took it away and threw it back to its place. When he was asked: O Messenger
of Allah! Why not leave that date for this boy? He said: We, the family of
Muhammad should not eat from charity.

Ali Ibn Abi Taleb says: When al Hasan was born, the Messenger of Allah
came and said: Show me my son. What have you called him? Ali replied: I called
him Harb (meaning war). The Prophet, however, said: no. He is Hasan, and so
he was called al Hasan. Then when al Husain, the second son of Ali, was born,
Ali again wanted to call him Harb, but the Prophet called him al Husain. The
Prophet then said: I have called these two sons of mine after the names of the two
sons of Aaron, brother of Moses peace be upon him.

Uqbah Ibn al Harith says: One day Abu Bakr al Siddiq led the afternoon
prayer. Then he went out of the mosque of Madinah walking with Ali Ibn Abi
Taleb may Allah be pleased with him. When he saw al Hasan playing with
other boys Abu Bakr carried him on his shoulder and said: By Allah you look
more like the Prophet than like your father Ali. Ali was looking with love and
a smile on his face.

Again Abdullah Ibn al Zubair says: Once I saw the Prophet prostrating
himself in prayer. al Hasan was riding on his back. Then when the Prophet
bowed he would open his two legs and al Hasan would enter between them and

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go out from the other side. In another transmission al Zuhri says: al Hasan Ibn
Ali was the most identical man to the Prophet especially in the upper part of his
body, while al Husain looked like the Prophet in the lower part. Usama Ibn Zayd
says: The Prophet peace be upon him used to carry me and al Hasan and would
say: O Allah I love them, so shower Your love on them. Abu Huraira says:
Whenever I saw al Hasan after that my eyes would overflow with tears.

Abu Badra says: I saw the Messenger of Allah starting on the pulpit and al
Hasan was beside him. He said: This son of mine is a master; and may Allah
achieve peace at his hands between two great factions of the Muslims And this is
exactly what happened which is in fact one of the numerous miracles of the
Prophet. Many a time he told about things and promised that they would happen
in future, and they happened exactly as he said and promised. As for the
Prophet’s present saying that may Allah achieve peace at the hands of al Hasan
between two great regiments of the Muslims, as a matter of fact, as if the Prophet
was describing what actually came to pass.

When Ali Ibn Abi Taleb was killed al Hasan was chosen as his successor to
lead the army against Muawiyah and his troops. The two armies confronted each
other and were about to endulge in fierce fighting, but al Hasan may Allah be
pleased with him disembarked from his horse, stood between the two lines of the
armies and declared his abdication in favour of Muawiyah. Instead of fighting
each other the two sides started to embrace one another and the Muslims became
one united force as they were before. That year was called the year of gathering
and unity.

Jaber says: I entered the house of the Prophet peace be upon him and found
him walking on four. He had al Hasan and his brother al Husain on his back. The
Prophet said: You have indeed the best camel and you are the best burden. This
and other traditions show the way the Prophet treated his grandsons. It is no
doubt a lesson for other Muslims to follow. That is why when the Prophet once
kissed one of his grand children a man said: I have ten children, but I never kissed
anyone of them, the Prophet said: What can I do for you if Allah has taken away
mercy from your heart.

When al Hasan used to go to bed he would recite the Quranic Chapter called
“The Cave”. Again when al Hasan once heard a man asking Allah to grant him
15,000 dirhams, he went home and sent the said money to the man. It is also
reported that al Hasan once gathered a good sum of money and wanted to
distribute it among the people, but he gave the poorer sections only.

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Al Hasan was told once that Abu Thar Al Ghifari, may Allah be pleased
with him, says: Poverty is dearer to me than wealth, and illness is preferred by
me than health. When al Hasan heard this he said: May Allah have mercy on
Abu Thar. As for me I say: Whoever accepts what Allah has chosen for him, will
not wish anything. This is the position of being satisfied with pre-determination.

Amr Ibn Dinar says: Muawiyah knew that al Hasan hated mischief and
abhorred fighting between Muslims; so after his father’s death Muawiyah sent to
al Hasan and made a secret peace agreement with him. He gave him a solemn
oath that he will be his heir apparent and rule after him if anything happened to
Muawiyah while al Hasan was still alive.

Ali Ibn Judaan says: al Hasan performed Haj fifteen times on foot. He,
however, had the best horses in front of him on each one of them, but he refused
to ride. He surrendered all his property two times in his life and gave it to the
poor and the needy; and three times he spent half of his property in the cause of
Allah.

When al Hasan was on his death bed he said to his brother al Husain: O my
brother! Remember this. When the Messenger of Allah peace be upon him died
your father looked forward to be a ruler, but Allah did not make him one. When
Abu Bakr died, he again anticipated to have the Sceptre of government but it was
given to Umer. Then when Umer died, on his death bed he made a council so
that the new caliph would be chosen, and your father was a member of that
council and a would be caliph. He felt sure to be chosen, but Uthman became the
new caliph. When Uthman was killed your father was declared caliph. Then
others competed with him for this position so he took up arms and sought it. But
he could not have it peacefully. By Allah! I don’t think that Allah should give us,
the family of Muhammad, both prophethood and caliphate. So don’t be moved
to fight instigated by the evil elements of Kufa.

Al Hasan continued his will to his brother al Husain in the following words.
He said: I requested Aisha to allow me to be buried in her room, she agreed. May
be she only did this out of shyness. So when I die ask it again from her; but I
expect that the people will not allow you. If they prevent you to do so then bury
me in the general cemetry of Baqee.

When al Hasan died Aisha approved that he would be buried in her room
along the side of the Prophet, Abu Bakr and Umer. But Marwan the ruler of
Madinah, refused to allow this to pass. He said: He will not be buried there at all.

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Why should they refuse this honour to Uthman and give it to al Hasan? This will
not be at all as long as I live, Marwan said.

Seeing this al Husain put on his armour and wanted to fight and force the
will of his deceased brother to be implemented. But Abu Hurairah, may Allah be
pleased with him interfered and stopped war between the two sides. Thus al
Hasan was buried near his mother Fatimah in al Baqee public cemetry.

May Allah keep away mischief from the Muslims, and may He be pleased
with all the Companions of the Prophet. In fact, those were hard times for Islam
and Muslims. Most of what happened was not the fault of either side but as a
result of the plotting, the machination and the conspiracies of enemies of Islam
who put on the names of Muslims but who did their level best to destroy Islam
and Muslims.

The best lesson Muslims today can learn from this part of their history is to
forget about the past and leave it to Allah Almighty to decide between the
disputers. He is the best Judge. And as al Hasan Ibn Ali did, according to the
promise of the Prophet we should come together to spread the light of Islam
rather than help our enemies put it out Allah forbid.

Al Hasan was great not just because he was one product of the Prophet’s
family, but he had the qualities of greatness in his own person which made even
his enemies and opponents acknowledge them. His selflessness and wisdom
prevented the shedding of a lot of blood of Muslims.

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QAYS IBN SAAD

Q ays Ibn Saad was son of Saad Ibn Ubadah son of Kaab chief of al Khazraj
tribe of Madinah. He was called the fighting prince, leader and son of the leader
of this famous tribe of the city of the Prophet. His nickname was Abu Abdullah
of al Ansar or the supporters of the Prophet and of the family of Saidah. He and
his father Saad were close companions of the Prophet.

Qays reported a good number of the Prophet’s traditions. His chain of


transmitters consisted of reliable scholars like Abdullah Ibn Malek, Abdur
Rahman Ibn Abi Layla, Abu Ammar al Hamadani, al Waleed Ibn Abdah and
several others. Qays visited Muawiyah while he was caliph and was honoured
and given a grant by him. He reported traditions from Kufa in Iraq, Syria and
Egypt. al Waqidee says: He continued to support Ali Ibn Abi Taleb until his
death. When Ali died Qays returned to Madinah.

Ahmad Ibn al Barqi says: He held the Prophet’s flag in some of his battles
and was the agent of Ali as ruler of Egypt. Ibn Younus says: Qays participated in
conquering Egypt and had a house in it. He was appointed as Egypt’s ruler in the
sixth year of Hijrah then he was deposed in the seventh year.

Amr Ibn Dinar says: Qays Ibn Saad was a huge man with an extremely fat
body, a small head, without any beard; whenever he rode his donkey his legs
would touch the ground. This description of his is not given for its own sake, but
to prove that the people we are talking about in this series were real people? exactly
like others. What distinguished them, however, was their faith and behaviour.

As a matter of fact, Qays tells us that he accompanied the Prophet for ten
years. Anas Ibn Malek reports that Qays Ibn Saad was in the position similar to
that of the police officer with the ruler. This was the kind of relationship he had
with the Prophet peace be upon him. His father talked to the Prophet about him
lest he should commit any injustice against others through exploiting his post. So
the Prophet releaved him of that appointment.

Al Waqidee narrates the following story about Qays which shows his great
hospitality. The Messenger of Allah sent an expedition of Ansar and Muhajireen
(supporters and emigrants). They were three hundred men. Their destination
was a locality of Juhaina near the sea coast. They suffered severe hunger. Abu
Ubaidah, who was their leader, ordered that the remaining food should be

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brought before him. People shared even one date which they would divide into
two. Seeing this Qays Ibn Saad said: Who likes to buy dates from me against
camels? provided that he gives me the camels here and now and I supply the
dates in Madinah. Umer Ibn al Khattab said: What a strange boy. How can you
trade in the property of others.

Qays Ibn Saad, however, came across a man from Juhaina with whom he
started to negotiate a deal. The man said: But I don’t know you. Qays said: I am
Qays son of Saad Ibn Ubadah son of Dulaym. The man then said: I do indeed
know your lineage. I have a friendship with Saad, the chief of the people of
Yathreb (Madinah’s name before Islam). Thus Qays bought five camels from the
man of Juhaina, each camel against a large amount of dates. He brought
witnesses to confirm the transaction. Umer, however, said: I don’t testify. This
young chap makes a debt without having any funds, the property is his father’s.
But al juhani said: By Allah! It is just unthinkable that Saad would wash his
hands of his son simply for a quantity of dates. In addition to this I see a nice face
here, referring to Qays. The man from Juhaina thus delivered the camels to Saad
who slaughtered them for the men of the expedition in three places. On the
fourth day, as he wanted to slaughter more camels his leader said: Don’t do this.
Do you want to destroy your honesty while you have no money.

Rafi’ Ibn Khudaij gives more details about this story. He says: When Saad
Ibn Ubadah knew what happened to the expedition and how they suffered of
such severe hunger, he said: If Qays is as I know him to be, he will slaughter for
the men. When Qays came back and told his father what happened and how he
was forbidden to slaughter the rest of the camels, his father gave him four
gardens the smallest of which produced 50 huge containers of dates each year.
Then the Prophet came to know the story of Qays and his father. He said: It is
indeed a house of hospitality.

In another report transmitted by Abu Aassem we are told the following:


Qays used to undergo debts in order that he might give food to other people. Abu
Bakr and Umer said: If we leave this chap to do what he likes, he will exhaust his
father’s property. They walked among the people and told them about this. Saad
Ibn Ubadah, however, marched to the Prophet and said: Who will stop Ibn Abi
Quhafa and Ibn al Khattab, and make them apologize for what they did? They
want my son to be a miser. So if I punish them for this, no one should blame me.
Thus the father was as generous as his son Qays.

It is also reported that an old woman stood in front of Qays Ibn Saad and

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said: I complain to you the scarcity of big mice? Qays was pleased with this and
said: What a nice metaphor. Fill her house with bread, meat, ghee and dates.
Yahya Ibn Saeed says: Qays used to feed people on his trips with the Prophet
peace be upon him. When he would exhaust what he had, he would take from
others on debt. Everyday he would call: O men! Come to meat and soap. Ibn
Sireen says: Saad used to call: Let him come who likes fat and meat. His son also
used to do the same.

Hisham Ibn Urwa transmits the following story from his father. He says:
Qays sold goods to Muawiyah and got ninety thousand. He ordered a servant of
his to announce in Madinah the following: Whoever wants a loan, let him come.
He gave 40,000 in loans and distributed the rest. He recorded his loans. When
after a while, he became ill, very few people came to visit him. He said to his wife
Qurayba sister of al Siddiq: Why were my visitors few? She said: On account of
the loans. Thus he sent to each man his letter acknowledging the loan, in other
words he cancelled all his loans and said: O Allah! Grant me money and good
deeds, for the good actions are useless without money!

Another story that shows the great generosity of Qays is the following: His
father Saad divided his property among his children and then travelled to Syria
where he died. Then a son was born after his death. So Abu Bakr and Umer came
to his son Qays and said: We think that you better return something to your new
born brother. Qays said: I am not going to change anything in my father’s will
but I give all my share to him. Again Qays was always raising his finger praying
to Allah most of his time.

In the same way that Qays’s generosity was proverbial so was his shrewdness
also. Abu Rafi’ says: Qays Ibn Saad said: I would have been the most cunning
person of this nation had it not been that I heard the Messenger of Allah saying:
Tricks and deceit are in Hell fire. In another version Qays says: Had it not been
for Islam, I would have made so much tricks which Arabs would not bear.

Al Zuhri says Qays was regarded as one of the cunning men among the
Arabs. It was said: The most shrewd of all Arabs when mischief arose were the
following five men: Muawiyah, Amr, Qays, al Mugheera and Abdullah Ibn
Budayl. al Mugheera and Ibn Budayl were with Ali, Amr supported Muawiyah
and Qays stood aloof and isolated himself in Taif.

Awf Ibn Muhammad reports: Muhammad Ibn Abi Bakr and Muhammad
Ibn Abi Utba were the most violent critics of Uthman. Ali Ibn Abi Taleb

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appointed Qays ruler of Egypt, where he proved to be tough and serious. He
used to say: Deceit is vicious, or I would hatch tricks that would put all the
people of Syria in trouble. Muawiyah and Amr wrote him letters asking him to
be loyal to them. He, however, wrote them a violent letter. They responded in the
same way. He then answered in a diplomatic way. When they read his letter they
knew that they could not deceive him. So they announced in Syria that he had
followed them.

When Ali knew this plot of Muawiyah and Amr his companions said to
him: Save Egypt before it is too late, for Qays has paid homage and expressed
his loyalty to Muawiyah. Thus Ali sent Muhammad Ibn Abi Bakr and Ibn Abi
Huthayfah to Egypt and he appointed the former. When they came to Qays to
replace him he discovered that Ali had been deceived. So he said to
Muhammad: O my nephew beware and be on the alert. For these people will
surrender you, meaning the Egyptians and you will then be killed. And this is
exactly what happened.

Al Zuhri says: When Qays arrived in Madinah two agents of Muawiyah


plotted to kill him. He, however, discovered their plot. He said: How vicious
this is indeed! I shall never leave Ali even after he had deposed me. By Allah I
am going to join him. Thus he joined Ali and told him about what happened in
Egypt. So Ali came to know that Qays was only maneouvering by using
shrewdness and tricks. So Ali obeyed Qays in all his affairs and put him at the
lead of his army. Muawiyah criticised his agents of Madinah who plotted to kill
Qays and said: You have provided Ali with Qays. By Allah had you given him
100,000 warriors, I would not have been as angry as I am now by dismissing and
losing Qays.

Very few people could have the two virtues of bravery and generosity as
Qays had. Qays was at the head of 5,000 men with Ali, all of whom shaved their
heads after Ali’s death. When Al Hassan expressed his loyalty to Muawiyah
Qays refused to do so and asked security for his followers, but not for himself.
When he travelled to Madinah he slaughtered a camel everyday to feed his
friends. May Qays be rewarded for all his bravery, shrewdness and generosity.

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MUAWIYAH IBN ABI SUFIYAN

M uawiyah son of Abu Sufiyan Sakhr Ibn Harb of Bani Umayyah was one
of the most problematic figures of early Islam. His supporters exaggerated his
praise while his opponents damned him and considered him as a hypocrite and a
disbeliever. But what is the objective view about this ruler who governed
Muslims for about forty years? How should we look at him? Should we condemn
him or exaggerate his love and support?

As a matter of fact, the following tradition of the Prophet should be the


guiding torch that should lead us in our treatment of the biographies of the
Prophet’s Companions. The Messenger of Allah peace be upon him said: Don’t
curse my Companions. If anyone of you should spend what is equivalent to the
mount of Uhud in gold he would not at all compare with any of my companions.
Let us then study the personality of Muawiyah in the light of this tradition and
without the least bias.

Muawiyah comes from the powerful Arab tribe of Bani Umayyah; his father
Abu Sufiyan Sakhr Ibn Harb was one of the great leaders of Arabia before Islam.
His mother Hind daughter of Utbah was a distant relative of the Prophet
himself. The whole family were in the beginning staunch opponents to Islam,
then they became influential leaders of Muslims following their conversion to
this final faith. Reporters say that Muawiyah became a Muslim before his father,
but he kept it secret until the conquest of Makkah. He transmitted traditions
from the Prophet, was one of the scribes of revelation and reported traditions on
the authority of his sister Ummu Habibah wife of the Prophet. So he was also the
brother-in-law of the Messenger of Allah.

Aban Ibn Uthman says: While Muawiyah was still a boy, he fell down as he
was walking with his mother Hind. She said: Rise, may Allah not raise you! A
bedowin was watching this. He said: Why do you say this to him? By Allah I
guess that he will be the master of his people. Hind said: May he not rise if he
were to dominate his people only.

Referring to his conversion story Muawiyah says: In the year of Hudaybiah,


the Prophet was refused to visit the Sacred mosque of Makkah. Quraish made a
truce with him. Islam filled my heart there and then. When I mentioned it to my
mother she said: Don’t oppose your father. Thus I kept my belief secret. By
Allah! The Messenger of Allah left Hudaybiah while I was a believer; so when he

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entered Makkah later on I was a Muslim. My father said: Your brother is better
than you, for he is still following my religion. In the conquest of Makkah I
declared my conversion and the Prophet welcomed me. al waqidee says: He
attended the battle of Hunayn with the Prophet who gave him one hundred
camels and forty ounces as his share in the booty.

More than one reporter confirm that Muawiyah was one of the scribes of
revelation. As an unlettered Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him used to
have a number of scribes to dictate to them the Quranic revelations he received
piece meal. Muawiyah was one of them. He also helped the Prophet in writing
his famous letters and messages to the kings and emperors of his time.

In Musnad Ahmad we read the following tradition narrated by Ibn Abbas


who said: I was playing with other boys when the Prophet called me and said:
Call Muawiyah. Ibn Abbas comments: He used to write revelation. I called him
but was told three times that he was eating. Then the Prophet said: May his
stomach be never satisfied. In another saying, however, the Prophet says: O
Allah! Anyone I curse or call bad names of this nation, make it a mercy on him.
Thus this curse became a mercy on Muawiyah may Allah be pleased with him.

A number of traditions report that the Prophet once prayed for Muawiyah
saying: O Allah! Teach him the Book, make him prominent in the lands and save
him from punishment. Another version says: O Allah! Make him guided, let him
guide others to all that is good. These and other traditions were, in fact, reported
by reliable Companions like Umer Ibn al Khattab and Umayr Ibn Saad and
others. In one more tradition Abdel Aziz Ibn Sulaiman says: I heard my father
say: Umer appointed Muawiyah as his agent; people then said: Umer appointed
him although he was still young; Umer said: You blame me although I heard the
Prophet say: O Allah! Make him guided and guide through him. One
traditionalist says, however, that this is not a reliable tradition.

Be that as it may, there is no doubt that Muawiyah had numerous supporters


who loved him and preferred him to other contemporary leaders. This was
because he could win them over by his generosity, wisdom and gifts. Some of
them were born in Syria; their sons loved no other but him. Thus these fought
with him in Iraq. Others, however, preferred and loved Ali and fought and
supported him except a group called “al Khawarij”, the deserters who were the
main cause of the latter’s defeat. Both sides were biased and were moved by
sentiments during that great mischief of the Muslim world. Thank Allah we can
nowadays easily see mistakes of both parties and all that we say is to ask Allah to

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forgive them; we thus find excuse for them and love them all. Our slogan in this
context is the verse that says: Our Lord! Forgive us, and our brothers who
preceded us in the Faith, and leave not in our hearts any rancour against those
who have believed. Our Lord! You are indeed Full of Kindness, Most Merciful.
( 59-l0 )

To do justice to all parties involved in the mischief between Ali and


Muawiyah, may Allah be pleased with them both and may He forgive their
human weaknesses as mortals, we should also find excuse for those
Companions who stood aloof and did not support either side. As for those
elements who did their best to increase the fire and inflict too much killing
among the Muslims, their account will not be missed by Allah. It was this
category of so called Muslims who brought about the tragedy and aggravated
things to the extent we know.

Ibn Shihab says: Umer arrived in Jabiyah. He left on Syria two rulers,
namely Abu Ubaida and Yazeed Ibn Abi Sufiyan, the elder brother of
Muawiyah. Then Yazeed died and Umer conveyed this to his father who asked
him: Whom have you appointed in his place? Umer said: Muawiyah. The father
said: O leader of the faithful! May Allah reward you for it. But Umer afterwards
made the whole of Syria under Muawiyah and when Uthman became caliph he
confirmed his post.

As objective observers we have to accept the reliability of one whom Umer


appointed and Uthman confirmed on one of the most important regions of the
Islamic empire. He administered it with acumen and satisfied people by his
wisdom and generosity. If some of them were pained and suffered at his hands,
well this is only the nature of things in such situations: There were other
companions who were much better than Muawiyah and more pious and
righteous. He, however, ruled and prevailed thanks to his intelligent mind and
extreme wisdom in administration. He had, no doubt, his weaknesses which
Allah Almighty will judge and decide. But Muawiyah was loved by his subjects.
He was agent of the caliph on Syria for twenty years. Then he became caliph for
another twenty years. He ruled a huge empire comprised of the two holiest
shrines of Islam in Makkah and Madinah, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Khurasan, Persia,
the Arab peninsula, Yemen, North Africa and other lands.

It is reported that when Umer marched to Syria Muawiyah welcomed him


in an auspicious and great parade. When Umer came close to him he said: Are
you the one who organised this great parade? Muawiyah said: Yes. Umer said:

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This is despite the fact I heard about you that long lines of needy people wait at
your door! Muawiyah said: Yes. Umer then asked: Why do you do this?
Muawiyah said: We are here in a land where the enemies’ spies are numerous. So
we must show them the greatness of the Muslim governor. But if you order me
to stop it I will. Umer replied: If what you say is true, it is indeed a good opinion;
but if otherwise it is the trick of a polite man. Muawiyah then said: Your orders
then. Umer replied: I don’t order you nor forbid you. For your good
qualifications we gave you this responsibility.

Aslam, servant of Umer says: Muawiyah came and accompanied Umer to


perform pilgrimage. Umer used to look at him with wonder and surprise and say:
Good! Good! We are then the best people if we have the best in this life and in the
Hereafter. Muawiyah then said: O leader of the faithful! I shall tell you
something. We are in the land of baths and countryside. Umer then said: All that
you suffer from is that you supply yourself with the best food while the needy
stand behind your door. As the two approached a place closer to Makkah,
Muawiyah took out a suit and wore it. It was full of perfume. Again Umer
objected to this severely and said: You come with this to perform Haj. Then
Muawiyah said: I only wore that suit to meet my relatives. Then he took it off and
wore the two sheets of Ihram.

As a matter of fact, Umer Ibn al Khattab used to admire Muawiyah and say:
This is the Chosree of the Arabs, by which he compared him to the emperor of
Persia. In another version Umer is reported to have said: You wonder at the
shrewdness of Hercules and Chosree while you forget Muawiyah. To conclude
this talk about Muawiyah we quote what Abul Darda once said: No one’s prayer
is similar to that of the Messenger of Allah as is the prayer of Muawiyah. May
Allah forgive him.

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UWAYS IBN AMER AL QARANI
PART 1

U ways Ibn Amer al Qarani was a contemporary of the Prophet. He cannot


be considered as a Companion of the Prophet because he never met the
Messenger of Allah nor heard from him anything. As a matter of fact, Uways
represents that category of pious men who achieved piety mainly thanks to their
obedience to their parents, particularly to their mothers.

Usayr Ibn Jaber says: Whenever Umer Ibn al Khattab received new
delegations from Yemen, especially during the pilgrimage season he would ask
them: Is Uways Ibn Amer among you? They would say no. Until one year he
came upon Uways and asked him: Are you Uways Ibn Amer? The man said: Yes.
Umer asked: From Murad then from Qaran? Uways said: Yes. Exactly. Umer
then asked: Were you suffering from leprosy and then you were cured except for
the size of a coin? Uways said: Yes. Umer then asked: Do you have a mother?
Uways answered: Yes I have. Then Umer said at last: I have heard the Messenger
of Allah say: There will come to you Uways Ibn Amer with a delegation from
Yemen. He comes from Murad and then from Qaran. He had leprosy but was
healed from it except in what is equivalent to a coin. He had a mother to whom
he is obedient, if he should call upon Allah to achieve something for him, Allah
will fulfill his desire. If you can make him ask forgiveness for you, O Umer, let
him do it. Umer then came closer to Uways and pleaded: Will you please ask
forgiveness for me? Uways nodded and did as he was requested.

Umer Ibn al Khattab then asked: Where are you going O Uways? The latter
replied: To Kufah. Should I recommend you to its governor so that he may take
care of you? Said Umer. Uways replied: To be among the dusty people is much
more dearer to me. In the following year a notable man from Yemen attended the
Hajj season. He met Umer by coincidence, who asked him about Uways. He
said: I left him a humble dress with few worldly needs. When the Yemenese chief
travelled to Kufah he met Uways and requested him to seek Allah’s forgiveness
for him. Uways asked the man: Did you meet Umer? When the man answered in
the affirmative Uways slipped away and disappeared.

What made Uways have such a degree of piety that even Umer Ibn al
Khattab requested him to seek Allah’s forgiveness for him? Is it because he was
obedient to his mother? Is that all? There is no doubt that obedience to parents,
and especially to mothers, is extremely appreciated in the sight of Allah. But
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many people obey their parents without achieving the degree of Uways Ibn
Amer al Qarani. This will be clear from the following tradition that explains why
Uways was mentioned by the Prophet and why the second caliph of Islam sought
to meet him to request him seek Allah’s forgiveness on his behalf.

Abu Huraira says: The Messenger of Allah peace be upon him said: Allah
Almighty loves from among his creatures the purest, the unknown and the
innocent ones; those whose heads are not combed, whose faces are dusty, and
whose stomachs are empty; those who are not allowed to enter the courts of the
leaders and the kings; and are rejected if they should ask the hand of wealthy
girls. If they are absent no body would ask about them and once they appear no
one is pleased to see them; when these people become sick no one visits them and
once they die none attend their funerals.

The Prophet was then asked: How can we meet one of them O Messenger of
Allah? He said: One such person is Uways al Qarani. The Companions asked:
And who is Uways al Qarani? He said: A wide eyed white person, broad
shouldered, with a straight built body. He always has his beard close to his
bosom, with his eyes fixed on the place of his prostration, putting his right hand
on his left hand, reciting the Quran and weeping upon himself. He has dirty
clothes and no one cares for him. He is unknown on earth but well known in
heaven. If he swears upon Allah, Allah will surely fulfill his oath. Under his left
shoulder he has a white brilliant spot. On the Day of Judgement it will be said to
the slaves of Allah: Enter Paradise, and Uways will be told: Stop here to make
intercession. Then Allah will make him intercede in favour of a large number of
people, equivalent to the tribes of Rabiah and Muddar. O Umer and you Ali, if
you should meet him ask him to seek forgiveness of Allah for you; for Allah will
surely forgive you.

What a wonderful description of greatness in Islam. Great men in Islam are


not merely those who distinguish themselves in any particular field of this world.
These no doubt are great, but greater still are those slaves of Allah who are
sincere and worship Allah secretly but continuously until they become famous in
Heaven though neglected and despised on earth. It is not strange then that the
Prophet should say once the following prayer: O Allah make me lead the life of a
needy person, and live and die and be raised from the dead as one of the needy.

Now to go back to the great son of Islam Uways Ibn Amer al Qarani and see
what happened to him. Abu Huraira says when Umer and Ali heard this from
the Prophet they spent ten years looking for Uways, but could not meet him.

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Then in the last year of Umer’s life he stood on top of Abu Qubays, a huge
mountain in Makkah, and called loudly: O pilgrims from Yemen! Is Uways
among you? He repeated this several times in all directions until an old man with
a long beard came up to Umer and said: We don’t know what is Uways, but a
nephew of mine called Uways does not deserve to be brought here in your
presence, for he is no body and extremely poor. He is tending our camels and is
despised among us.

Umer did not show the old man any sign of interest still he asked: Where is
this nephew of yours? Is he inside our sacred land around Makkah? The old man
said: Yes indeed. Umer asked: Where can we find him? The old man replied:
Amidst the Arak trees in Arafat!

No sooner Umer and Ali heard this than they quickly rode their donkeys
and speeded to mount Arafat. They did find Uways praying facing a tree and
camels were grazing around him. They tied their donkeys and came to him. They
said: Peace be upon you. Uways finished his prayer quickly and answered back
their greeting. They asked: Who is the gentleman? He said: a camel sheperd and
a servant for some people. They said: We don’t ask you about your work but
rather about your name? He said: Abdullah. They said: All creatures in heaven
and earth are the slaves of Allah, Abdullah in Arabic means a slave of Allah.
What is the name given to you by your mother?

At this point Uways got angry and said: You men! What do you want of me?
Umer and Ali said gently: Muhammad peace be upon him described for us
Uways al Qarani. We can easily see that his description applies to you. He also
said that you have a brilliant white spot under your left shoulder so show it to us
please. If it is there then you are Uways. The man showed them his shoulder and
uncovered the white brilliant spot. Quickly Ali and Umer started to kiss him and
said: We testify that you are Uways al Qarani. So please seek forgiveness of Allah
for us, may Allah forgive you. He said I don’t mention any particular creature in
my prayer to Allah to forgive anyone, not even myself; but I make it a general one
on land and sea, for believing men and women.

O men! he said Allah has made known to you my affair and uncovered to
you my state, so who are you? Ali said: As for this man he is the leader of the
faithful and I am Ali Ibn Abi Taleb. When Uways heard the names he stood up
and said: Peace be on you O leader of the faithful and the mercy and the blessings
of Allah; and you too Ali Ibn Abi Taleb. May Allah reward you abundantly for
all the good you do for this nation. The two said: And you too may Allah reward

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you for your good self. Umer then said: Please stay here and wait for me until I
enter Makkah and bring you part of my salary and what is more than I need of
clothes. This place is where we shall meet again.

Uways, however, said: There will be no appointment between us and I shall


not see you again after this day. What should I do with the salary or the clothes?
Don’t you see the woolen clothes I have on. When do you think I shall wear them
out? Do you think me the foolest of the three of us. I have good slippers. When
shall I wear them out. I have four dirhams in my pocket when shall I eat their
value? O leader of the faithful! There exists in front of us a most difficult barrier
which only the light, slim one can overcome. So lighten your burden may Allah
have mercy on you.

When Umer heard this he said: Would that Umer’s mother had not given
birth to him. I wish she were sterile and was never pregnant with me. Who is
ready to take the caliphate with all that it inculcates. Uways said: O leader of the
faithful! You take this side and I take that side. Then Umer retreated to Makkah
while Uways led his camels, delivered them to their owners and deserted all work
except worship of Allah until he died.

Alqama Ibn Murthid said the most outstanding Muslim hermits were eight;
one of them was Uways al Qarani. His family thought him to be mad so they
built a room for him in front of their house and years passed without anyone
could see him.

We shall mention more about this humble son of Islam whose sincerity
and purity Allah knew and accepted and conveyed to His Messenger peace be
upon him.

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UWAYS IBN AMER AL QARANI
PART 2

T his is the second part of the thrilling story of Uways Ibn Amer al Qarani,
who was one of those slaves of Allah whom nobody cared for, but had great
prestige in the sight of Allah. He may have looked ugly, having apparently
nothing to draw one’s attention to, but he had such a sincere and a pure heart that
made great men like Umer Ibn al Khattab and Ali Ibn Abi Taleb ask him to seek
Allah’s forgiveness on their behalf.

We have already reviewed the interview and the dialogue that took place
between Umer and Uways. In another version we read that when Umer spoke in
the Hajj season he said: O men! Stand up. So all people stood up. He then said:
Sit down except those from Yemen. Everybody sat down except the delegation
from Yemen. Sit down except those from the tribe of Murad. More people sat
down. Umer again said to the standing ones: Sit down except those of you from
the family of Qaran. Thus everybody sat down except one man who happened to
be the uncle of Uways al Qarani. Umer said: Are you Qarani? The man said yes
I am. Then Umer asked: Do you know Uways? The uncle said: Why do you ask
about my nephew. No one is more mad, and poor than he is. This answer made
Umer cry. Then he said: I have heard the Messenger of Allah say: Through his
intercession numerous people will enter Paradise as large and as many as the
huge tribes of Muddar and Rabiah.

Harem Ibn Hayyan, a great hermit of Islam says: When I heard this about
Uways I travelled to Kufah and had nothing in my mind but to seek him until I
fell upon him sitting at the shore of the Euphrates. It was noon time and he was
making ablution for prayer. I could recognise him through the description I got
about him. He was, however, much thinner and awe inspiring. I said peace be
upon you, and he said the same to me but when I wanted to shake hands with
him, he refused. I said: May Allah have mercy on you Uways and may He
forgive you. How are you? Then tears overcame me due to my love for him and
pity for his state. We both wept.

Uways then said: And you are welcome O Harem Ibn Hayyan. How are you
my brother? Who told you and guided you to me? I said: Allah Almighty. He
said: There is no God except Allah. Glory be to my Lord. He does what He wills.
I asked: How did you know my name? and that of my father? although we never
saw each other before? He said: The Omni-Scient, the All-Knowledgeable told
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me. My soul recognised yours when I talked to you. Believers know each other
and exchange love for the sake of Allah, even if they don’t meet one another and
their lands and homes are far from each other.

Harem Ibn Hayyan, once again met Uways, then he said to him: Tell me
about the Messenger of Allah please? He said: I could not have the chance to
meet him, neither did I have any company with him; but I have seen men who
saw him and don’t want to be a reporter or a scholar or a judge. I am more
preoccupied with myself than with others. Harem then said: My brother! Recite
for me some verses from the Holy Quran, for I would like to hear them from you.
And grant me a piece of advice so that I can keep it.

Uways said: I seek refuge in Allah Almighty; Allah said and what he says is
the most authentic truth: We created not the heavens, the earth, and all between
them merely in idle sport. We created them not except for just ends; but most of
them do not understand. Verily the Day of Sorting Out is the time appointed for
all of them; the Day when no protector can avail his client in anything, and no
help can they receive, except such as receive Allah’s Mercy; for He is Exalted in
Might, Most Merciful. ( 44-38-41 )

After reciting these verses Uways looked like fainting; he however said to
Harem Ibn Hayyan: O Harem Ibn Hayyan! Your father Hayyan died and you are
about to die; either you will go to Paradise or to Hell. Your father Adam and your
mother Eve died; the same thing happened to Noah, the Messenger of Allah, to
Ibrahim the close friend of Allah, to Moses the one who spoke to Allah, to David
the worshipper of Allah, to Muhammad peace be upon him, to Abu Bakr and to
my brother and friend Umer Ibn al Khattab.

Harem Ibn Hayyan, however, said: Umer is still alive. He did not die;
Uways then said: I feel that he is now dead and I and you are also among the
dead. He then said peace be upon Prophet Muhammad, and made a short prayer
and commented: This is my advice to you. Be close to the Book of Allah, and
remember the death of the Apostles and don’t forget death. Never let it leave
your heart for a second, as long as you live, and advise your people if you return
to them. Don’t keep away from the congregation of Muslims, for by this you
leave your religion without being aware of it and so you enter Hell fire. Please
pray for me and for yourself.

Uways then said: O Allah! This man claims that he loves me for your sake
and that he visited me for your love. So make him known to me in Paradise and

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allow him to enter the house of Peace (Paradise). Protect him as long as he lives
and let him be satisfied with what is little in this world and make him thankful to
your blessings and reward him abundantly.

He then said to Harem Ibn Hayyan: Peace be on you. Let me see you no
more after this day, for I hate fame. Isolation is dearer to me than company. So
don’t ask about me neither seek me. Thus the two were separated and never met
afterwards. Usayr Ibn Jaber says: Whenever Uways used to talk to us; his
speech would leave a great impression on our hearts unlike other speakers. Once
I missed him and was guided to his room. When I saw him I asked: What kept
you away from us? Nakedness, he said. I gave him my dress, but when he
appeared some people started to mock at him. I defended him and spoke to them
very strongly. When some people from Kufah came to Umer Ibn al Khattab he
told them to ask Uways seek Allah’s forgiveness for them. Thus Uways left
Kufah for good.

Al Shaabi says: A man from Murad, the tribe of Uways passed by him and
asked: How are you this morning? Uways said: This morning I praise Allah and
thank Him. How is time with you? the man asked. Uways said: How is time with
a man who does not think he will live until the evening, and in the evening he
does not expect to live until the next morning. All of us are either promised
Paradise or warned against Hell. O relative from Murad! Death and its
remembrance does not leave any sense of happiness for any believer; his sense of
Allah’s rights has left him without any silver or gold. The believer’s fulfillment
of Allah’s rights has not left for him any friend.

Ammar Ibn Sayf said: A man followed Uways and heard him say the
following: O Allah! I apologise to You for every hungry stomach, for all that I
have of food is what is in my belly, and all that I have of clothes is what is on my
back. He had a torn piece of cloth only. A man then came to him and said: How
are you this morning or evening? Uways said: This morning I feel great love to
Allah. In the evening I feel thankful to Him. Why should you ask about a man
for whom enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong did not leave any
friend. Whenever I enjoin what is right people curse me and they find supporters
to do so. They have even accused me of great major sins. Allah forbid.

Mugheerah says: Uways used to give his own clothes in charity so that he
would sit completely naked. Bishr Ibn Amr says: I gave Uways al Qarani two
pieces of clothes so that he may cover his naked body. Again Asbagh Ibn Zayd
says: As a matter of fact, it was Uways’s obedience to his mother that prevented

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him from travelling to meet the Prophet peace be upon him. The same reporter
says: Whenever Uways was in the evening he would say: This is the night of
prostration and so he would prostrate himself in prayer until the morning.
Sometimes in the evening he would give all that is in his house as charity until no
food or clothes remain. He would then say: O Allah! Excuse me for any one who
dies of hunger or nakedness.

Harem Ibn Hayyan once said to Uways: Advise me please. Uways said: Let
death be like your pillow and always remember it. When you rise pray to Allah
to reform your heart and intention; for nothing is more difficult for you than
these two. Don’t look at the smallness of your sin but remember the greatness of
the One whom you disobeyed. Again Harem once visited Uways and said: O
Uways! Visit me. Uways said: I did for you what is more beneficial than visits
and meetings, namely to pray for you in your absence. For on visits and meetings
a lot of show and hypocrisy takes place.

As a matter of fact, Uways was more engaged in worship than in narrating


from the Prophet, and yet he reported some traditions. Hameed Ibn Saleh said: I
heard Uways say: The Messenger of Allah said: Keep respect of my
Companions, for among the signs of the Hour is that the late generations of
Muslims should curse the first ones. Then Allah’s condemnation falls on earth
and its inhabitants due to this.

As for Uways’s death it was as unique as his life. He was participating in


conquering Azerbeijan when he fell ill and died. His companions found a ready
grave for him with a coffin and perfume. When he was buried, his friends came
back to visit his grave in the place they buried him, they found no grave there.
May Allah bless Uways and all those unknown and sincere sons of Islam.

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SAEED IBN JUBAYR

S aeed Ibn Jubayr was not only a sincere pious scholar and one of the
outstanding scholars of his time; but added to all this is that he was one of the
category of scholars who fell martyrs because they stood up against tyrants and
advised them to do good. Instead of listening to them and applying their advice
the said tyrants killed those pure souls. Their only crime was that they did not
keep silent when they saw the perversion of those vicious rulers. The Prophet
calls this category masters of all martyrs. He said: The master of all martyrs is
Hamza and a man who confronts an oppressive ruler. He orders him to do good
and forbids him from doing evil. But the tyrant kills him. This is exactly what
happened to Saeed Ibn Jubayr may Allah be pleased with him.

Saeed Ibn Jubayr was nicknamed Abu Abdullah. He lived in the first
century of Hijrah and was killed by al Hajjaj, the small dictator and ruler of Iraq
on behalf of the Umayyads. He was one of the few agents who killed many people
and shed much blood in order to establish the Umayyad regime. One of the
purest souls he killed was Saeed Ibn Jubayr. Abdullah Ibn Muslim says: when
Saeed used to establish prayer he would stand like a peg. He used to cry at night
out of fear of Allah until his eyesight was weakened. al Qasem Ibn Abi Ayyoub
says: I heard Saeed repeat the following verse in his prayer more than twenty
times on one occasion: And fear the Day when you shall be brought back to
Allah. Then shall every soul be paid what it earned, and none shall be dealt with
unjustly. (2-281)

Yazeed Ibn Haroon quotes Saeed Ibn Jubayr as saying that he completes the
recitation of the Quran every two nights. He used to travel twice each year, once
to make the smaller pilgrimage and the other to perform Hajj. A scorpion once
bit him. His mother swore that he should go to a man to recite something on the
bitten place. To obey her, he went and did what she wanted.

Atta Ibn Dinar quotes Saeed Ibn Jubayr as saying: Piety is to fear Allah in
such a way that prevents you from disobeying Him. This is true piety; as for
remembrance of Allah it means His obedience; so whoever obeys Allah, he has
indeed remembered Him, while he who does not obey Allah, is not among those
who remember Him even if he should very often recite the Quran and glorify the
name of Allah. What a real interpretation of remembrance of Allah for it is not
merely an act of the tongue but that of the heart, the mind and all the organs.

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Khasseef says: I saw Saeed praying two Rakaas behind Ibrahim’s stand
around the Kaabah. This he did before dawn prayer. I approached him, prayed
near him and asked him about one verse in the Quran; but he did not answer my
question. When he finished dawn prayer he said: In the early morning hours
don’t talk except in the remembrance of Allah until you perform dawn prayer.
Saeed is reported to have repeated the following verse in his voluntary prayers
over and over until the morning. The verse says: And O you in sin! Get you apart
this Day.

What shows Saeed Ibn Jubayr’s preoccupation with the recitation of the
Quran are the following quotations. Muawiyah Ibn Ishaq says: I met Saeed near
the place of ablution and found his tongue heavy. He said: I read the Quran two
and a half times yesterday. Not only this but in another transmission by
Hammad we learn that Saeed Ibn Jubayr read the whole Quran in one rakaa
(Prostration) inside the Kaabah. In the second rakaa he recited chapter 112 called
Purity of faith. Saeed was asked once: Who is the best worshipper of Allah? He
said: He is the man who committed sins, and whenever he remembers them he
despises his good deeds.

We come now to the story of Saeed’s martyrdom. Reliable biographers tell


us that he was among the Muslim scholars who rebelled against al Hajjaj, one of
the worst tyrants, in support of Abder Rahman Ibn al Ashaath. When the latter
was defeated the governor of Makkah captured Saeed and sent him to al Hajjaj.
As a matter of fact, Saeed surrendered without trying to escape. When he was
asked about it he said: I became shy of Allah to escape from death. He added: I
asked martyrdom along with two friends of mine who got it and I am now
waiting for it.

Al Hasan says: when Saeed was brought to al Hajjaj, the latter said in
sarcasm: You are the miserable son of the broken one (opposite to the meaning of
his name which is the happy son of the sound one). But Saeed said: My mother
knew my name better than you do. Then al Hajjaj said: What do you think of
Muhammad? Saeed replied: Do you mean the Prophet peace be upon him? al
Hajjaj said: Yes. Then Saeed answered: The Master of all children of Adam, the
best of all creatures past, present and future. al Hajjaj then said: What about Abu
Bakr al Siddiq? Saeed said: the successor of the Messenger of Allah peace be upon
him; he led a praiseworthy life and lived happily. He followed the path of the
Prophet and neither changed nor altered anything.

Al Hajjaj then asked: What do you think of Umer? Saeed replied: Umer al

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Farook, the best of all people and the chosen one by the Messenger of Allah. He
neither changed nor altered. Then the vicious tyrant al Hajjaj asked Saeed about
Uthman Ibn Affan who said: He was the unjustly killed caliph, the benefactor
who gave provisions to the army of adversity, and who donated a famous well in
Madina to the Muslim masses to drink from. He thus bought his house in
Paradise; he was twice the son-in-law of the Messenger of Allah in his two
daughters. His marriage was decided by Divine revelation.

Al Hajjaj then asked Saeed Ibn Jubayr about Ali Ibn Abi Taleb? He said:
The cousin of the Prophet and the first youth to embrace Islam, the husband of
Fatimah and father of al Hasan and al Husain. Then al Hajjaj asked: What do
you think of me? Saeed said: You know yourself better, al Hajjaj, however,
insisted: Tell me exactly what you think of me? Saeed said: In that case I shall not
at all please you. Against al Hajjaj’s insistence Saeed said: I know that you have
deviated from the Book of Allah, and you claim things to be feared by others, but
this will lead to your destruction. Tomorrow you will leave this world and know
your destiny.

Al Hajjaj got angry and said: By Allah I shall kill you in such a way by which
I have killed no one else before or after you. Saeed then said: It is true you will by
this spoil this worldly life of mine, but I shall be the cause of spoiling your next
life. al Hajjaj then asked his assistant to bring his sword. Saeed then laughed
which increased the anger of al Hajjaj who asked: What makes you laugh? He
said: Because I am surprised of your audacity towards Allah; and I am astonished
of Allah’s patience towards you. al Hajjaj then said: Kill him boy! Thus Saeed
turned his face to the direction of the Kaabah (the Qiblah) and said: I have set my
face, firmly and truly towards Him Who created the heavens and the earth, and
never shall I ascribe partners to Allah.

When the boy turned Saeed’s face from that direction he said: Wherever
you turn there is the Face of Allah. Then al Hajjaj said: Beat him to the ground.
Saeed then said: From it did We create you and into it We shall return you, and
from it shall We bring you out once again. Finally al Hajjaj said: Kill him, how
clever he is in quoting the verses of the Quran! Thus Saeed was slaughtered by
that vicious tyrant.

Another version has more details. Ibn Thakwan says: When al Hajjaj chased
Saeed, his man got him in Makkah. He led him for three days and found Saeed
fasting by day and praying all night. The man then said: By Allah I know for sure
that I am taking you to one who will kill you. So go wherever you like. Saeed,

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however, said: al Hajjaj will then know that you have caught me; and so if you
release me I fear that he will kill you instead. So take me to him. Thus the man
took him to that sinister tyrant who asked him about his name. When Saeed told
him who he was, al Hajjaj said: You will be miserable, but Saeed said: It is Allah
alone who knows the Unseen. al Hajjaj then threatened: By Allah I shall turn
your life into fire that burns. Saeed said sarcastically: If I knew that this is in your
ability, I would not have taken as Allah other than you.

Again there are other details in the dialogue between the two men. al Hajjaj
asked: What do you think of Muawiyah? Saeed said: The scribe of the Messenger
of Allah. Then al Hajjaj said: What about the caliphs since the time of the
Prophet until now? Saeed said: They will be treated according to their deeds. I
am not their agent. Then al Hajjaj asked Saeed about Abdel Malek Ibn Marwan,
the then caliph: Saeed replied: His reward is with Allah if he does good, and
Allah will not fail to punish him if he is an evil doer.

When al Hajjaj insisted to know Saeed’s impression about him, the latter
said: You show injustice towards the laws of Allah and audacity in disobeying
Him and committing the grave sin of killing the virtuous ones who obey Allah.
Then al Hajjaj slaughtered Saeed in the back side of his neck. When another
pious man learnt this he said: O Allah finish al Hajjaj and destroy him.
Biographers assert that al Hajjaj lived for three days only after Saeed Ibn Jubayr.
Not only this but al Hajjaj had bad dreams afterwards in which he saw Saeed Ibn
Jubayr catching his leg. On Saeed’s death one Muslim scholar said: He died at a
time when every Muslim was in need of his learning. May Allah reward this slave
of his abundantly and may He have mercy on him for his sincerity and bravery.
Amen.

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URWA IBN AL ZUBAYR

U rwa Ibn al Zubayr comes from one of the most dignified families of
Arabia. His father al Zubayr Ibn al Awwam was the cousin of the Prophet. His
mother was Safiyah bint Abdel Muttalib, the Prophet’s aunt. al Zubayr
embraced Islam along with his mother and all members of his family. He was
called the disciple “Hawari” of the Prophet. Urwa’s mother was Asma bint Abi
Bakr al Siddiq, the elder sister of Aisha wife of the Prophet. It was Asma, Urwa’s
mother who played a decisive role in the great incident of emigration to
Madinah. She used to bring food to the Prophet and his companion Abu Bakr
while they hid for three days in a cave near Makkah before they emigrated to
Madinah. This then is the family of Urwa Ibn al Zubayr who distinguished
himself later on as the leading scholar of jurisprudence in Madinah. He was one
of the seven outstanding scholars of that city of lights.

Urwa Ibn al Zubayr was nicknamed Abu Abdullah. He transmitted a good


number of the Prophet’s traditions on the authority of his mother Asma, his aunt
Aisha, whom he accompanied for a long time and learnt much from her. He also
quoted Saeed Ibn Zayd, Ali Ibn Abi Taleb to mention only a few. A large number
of his sons and grandsons also transmitted traditions from him. There is
difference of opinion concerning the date of Urwa’s birth; some say that he was
born in the 23rd year of Hijra; others put it in the 29th year while still others say
that his birth was six years after the beginning of Uthman’s caliphate. The three
dates are, however, very close to each other especially the last two. Be that as it
may, Urwa was born after the death of the Prophet. So he is not a companion but
a successor of the companions and an outstanding one.

Urwa tries to recall some memories of his early life. He says: As a young boy
I stood looking at the criminals who beseiged Uthman. One of them walked on a
piece of wood to force enter his house. My brother Abdullah confronted him and
gave him a blow that caused his immediate death. I said to my boy friends: My
brother killed this man. The beseigers jumped on me and did not leave me until
they made sure that I was still a boy.

Qabeessa Ibn Thuayb says: Throughout the caliphate of Muawiyah we used


to gather in the mosque at night. We were three chaps: myself, Mussaab and
Urwa sons of al Zubayr, in addition to sons of other notables. By day we would
disperse. I would sit to Zayd Ibn Thabet, the chief judge of Madinah. We would
also learn from Abu Huraira; but Urwa surpassed us by entering on his aunt

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Aisha and acquiring a lot of knowledge from her. Thus Urwa says: I did not leave
my aunt Aisha and did not stop from learning from her until three years only
before her death.

The following transmission quoted by Hisham son of Urwa shows how keen
Urwa was to acquire all he could lay his hands on of the Prophet’s traditions.
Hisham recollects how his father Urwa used to say to him and his brothers who
were in their tender years: Why don’t you learn? If you are young now, soon you
will be old; and what is the use of an old man who is ignorant? Four years before
the death of Aisha I used to say: should she die today I would have memorised
every tradition I learnt from her. I used to hear a tradition reported by one
companion who was still alive, and I would go to him and wait at his door until I
would ask him about it.

Umer Ibn Abdel Aziz, the fifth rightly guided caliph, said: No one is more
learned than Urwa Ibn al Zubayr. I am not, however, ignorant of anything he
knows. Abu al Zinad said: Madinah’s outstanding scholars of Jurisprudence are
four: Saeed, Urwa, Qabeessa and Abdel Malek Ibn Marwan. al Zuhri also
acknowledged and admitted the deep knowledge of Urwa Ibn al Zubayr. That is
why his son Hisham said: By Allah! I could not learn one thousandth part of the
knowledge of my father.

Abder Rahman Ibn Humayd says: I entered the mosque with my father one
day and saw the people gathering around one man. My father said: Try to find
out who the man is. I looked and found that it was Urwa. I told my father and
expressed my astonishment to him. He, however, said: Don’t be surprised. I
have seen the companions of Allah’s Messenger ask him.

Urwa also used to quote much poetry. Abu al Zinad says: I never met any
one who quoted poetry as much as Urwa did. When Urwa was told about this he
said: I am nothing in this respect compared to my aunt Aisha. Whenever
anything befell her she would at once say poetry. Ibn Shawthab says: Urwa used
to read one fourth of the Quran everyday and would recite the same portion in
his voluntary prayer at night. He continued to do this all his life except when his
leg was cut. Everytime his dates were ripe, he would collect the fruit and allow
people into his garden to eat and carry with them.

Urwa once visited Abdel Malek Ibn Marwan, who was both caliph and a
fellow scholar; the caliph made him sit with him on the same bed. Some people
of Syria came in and started to condemn Abdullah Ibn al Zubayr, Urwa’s

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brother. The latter went out and said to the guard at the door of the caliph:
Abdullah is my brother, if you want to attack him don’t allow me enter your
councils. Abdel Malek was told about this. He said to Urwa: They conveyed to
me what you said. We did not kill your brother out of enmity, but he competed
with us in asking something so we killed him; and the people of Syria are
accustomed to curse any one whom they kill.

Hisham son of Urwa mentions how it was necessary to cut the leg of his
father due to some illness. They asked Urwa: Shall we call doctors for you? He
said: If you like. They said: We shall give you a drink that would cover your mind
and relieve you of pain. Urwa said: Cut my leg; he refused to have any such
drink. So they put the saw on his leg and started to cut it while he began to recite
his daily portion of the Quran. All that he said was this prayer: O Allah! If you
have taken something, You have left more for me; and if You have tested me, You
have given me sound health. So Urwa was an outstanding example in patience.
He looked at his separated leg and said: Allah knows that I never used you to
commit any sin and I know too. On the day in which Urwa died he was fasting;
when people around asked him to break his fast he refused.

Abul Zinad says: Mussaab, Abdullah and Urwa, sons of Zubayr met near
the Kaabah one day with Ibn Umer. They said: let us pray so that our wishes may
be fulfilled. Abdullah said: I wish to be caliph, Urwa said: I wish that Islamic
knowledge may be learnt from me, Mussaab said: as for me I wish to be ruler of
Iraq and to get married to Aisha bint Talha and Sukayna bint al Husain. Ibn
Umer said: I wish Allah’s forgiveness. The transmitter comments: They got
what they wished and Ibn Umer has hopefully been forgiven.

Urwa Ibn al Zubayr mentions how he got married to Sawda, daughter of Ibn
Umer. He says: While we were circumambulating the Kaabah I asked from Ibn
Umer the hand of his daughter Sawda, but he did not answer me. When I entered
Madinah after him, I went to see him. He said: Did you mention Sawda? I said:
Yes. He asked: You mentioned her to me while we were around the Kaabah and
Allah was engaging all our attention. Do you still desire to marry her? I said:
More than ever before. Ibn Umer called his nearest of kin and said: Urwa is
asking the hand of Sawda; I hold you witnesses that I have agreed to give her in
marriage to him. My conditions are those which Allah Almighty has granted to
Muslim women: he should either hold her in virtue or leave her with kindness.
Do you accept Urwa? Urwa agreed and Ibn Umer prayed for both to be blessed.

Hisham Ibn Urwa says: My brother Muhammad fell from the roof of a

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stable. He died on the spot; this took place when Urwa’s leg was separated from
the rest of his body. When people came to express their condolences to him he
prayed: O Allah! You have taken one organ of my body but have left several
others; You have taken one son, but left for me many others. When he arrived in
Madinah some friends came to him and asked: How was your trip. He said:
Truly we have suffered much fatigue at this stage of our journey.

When a friend of Urwa came to see him after the amputation of his leg,
Urwa said to his son: Show your uncle my leg; but the friend said: O Abu
Abdullah! We have not prepared you for wrestling or racing. Allah has kept for
us of you what we need: your opinion and knowledge. When Urwa heard this he
said in satisfaction: No one presented condolences better than you did. Another
version says: One of your organs as well as one of your sons have already
preceded you to Paradise, the rest will no doubt follow. Allah has kept for us of
you what we are in dire need of, your knowledge and opinion. May Allah reward
you abundantly.

As a matter of fact, Urwa died at the age of 67 in the year 93 after Hijrah.
May Allah bless him.

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AL ABBAS IBN ABDEL MUTTALEB
PART 1

T his luminary of Islam was another uncle of the Prophet after Abu Lahab
whose name was Abdul Uzza who lived and died as one of the bitterest enemies
of the Prophet, Islam and Muslims. When we say, you will sometimes find the
bitterest enmity from the closest relatives, Abu Lahab immediately comes to
mind as a clear example. But al Abbas, three years the Prophet’s senior, was a
dear friend of the Prophet even while he was a non-believer. He never caused any
personal harm to the Prophet. To all appearances it is true he was with the dis-
believers, but in his heart of hearts he was a moral supporter and lover of the
Prophet peace be upon him. It is said by some reliable biographers that al Abbas
embraced Islam before the Prophet’s migration to Madinah.

In the battle of Badr, al Abbas was taken prisoner by the Muslims. He


claimed to be a Muslim. Thus he cannot be regarded as one of those who were
converted to Islam after the conquest of Makkah. It is narrated by some
biographers that he came to the Prophet in Madinah before that day, and that is
why he pleaded to save Abu Sufiyan Ibn Harb and was given this privilege on
that occasion. al Abbas reported a number of traditions 35 of which are in one
authentic collection, and a few others in Bukhari and Muslim. A number of
reliable Companions and their students transmitted his narrated traditions.
Among these are his two sons Abdullah and Kuthayr, al Ahnaf Ibn Qays,
Abdullah Ibn al Harith, Jaber Ibn Abdel-lah and many others.

An interesting incident about al Abbas is the following one. He actually


accompanied Umer Ibn al Khattab when he went to Syria to receive the keys of
Jerusalem from its priests and patriarchs who refused to surrender that holy
shrine to anyone else except to Umer Ibn al Khattab himself. Aslam, the servant
of Umer says: When Umer, may Allah be pleased with him came close to Syria
he stood aside for a little while. His servant was with him. He rode the camel of
his servant which had a cover of fur turned upside down. He made his servant
ride on his camel. al Abbas was in front of him riding a beautiful original horse.
He was a nice looking man. So the patriarchs started to greet him and he began
to signal them to Umer saying: I am not he, he is the one there. al Kalbi says: al
Abbas was a noble, most respectable man. He was endowed with wisdom,
physical beauty - an extremely white face and body with two curls of hair
hanging from his head and a straight gait. He was born three years before the

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year of the Elephant in which the Prophet was born. He was one of the tall men
whose appearance inspires love and awe. He had a loud voice and a wise mind
and honour. Ibn Razeen says: al Abbas was once asked: Who is older, you or the
Prophet peace be upon him? He said: He is my senior but I was born before him.
What a humble modesty on his part!

Al Zubayr Ibn Bakkar said: al Abbas was, in fact, a source of clothing for the
naked ones of Bani Hashem; he provided food for their hungry ones and acted as
an instrument of punishment for the evil fellows of his people. He used to do
good to neighbours, and to protect them against all harm and aggression, to
spend money in charity and to pay generously on days of adversity. His close
friend before Islam was Abu Sufyan Ibn Harb.

In the Tabaqat of Ibn Saad we are told by Ibn Abbas that al Abbas embraced
Islam before the Messenger of Allah migrated to Madinah, but the transmission
of this saying is unreliable. Abul Yasar al Salami says: I looked at al Abbas on the
day of Badr. He was standing still like an idol, his eyes overflowing with tears. I
said: May Allah reward you with evil for doing bad things to your nephew. Do
you fight against him in support of his enemies? al Abbas asked: What happened
to him? Was he killed? Abul Yasar said: Allah kept and protected him much more
than you expect. al Abbas then asked: What do you want from me? Abul Yasar
replied: Captivity. The Messenger of Allah forbade us to kill you. al Abbas said
bitterly: This is not the first of his good deeds to his relatives.

Abul Yasar says: I took him as a captive and drove him to the Messenger of
Allah. al Bara reports: A man from al Ansar brought al Abbas to the Prophet. He
had taken him as a prisoner. al Abbas said: It is not this man who took me as a
captive. The Prophet commented addressing the captor: Allah has supported
you with an honourable angel. That is why Ibn Abbas says: Abul Yasar captured
al Abbas. The Prophet then asked him: how could you take him? Abul Yasar said:
A man whom I have never seen before nor after helped me. He looks like so and
so. Then the Prophet said: An honourable angel helped you against him.

The Prophet then turned to his uncle al Abbas and said: Get a ransom for
yourself, your nephew Aqeel, Nawfal Ibn al Harith and Utbah Ibn Jahdam your
friend. al Abbas refused and said: I was a Muslim before that, they only forced
me not to declare it. The Prophet said: Allah knows best your real affair. If what
you say is true Allah will reward you for it, but the outward side of your attitude
was against us. So ransom yourself.

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The Prophet came to know before that al Abbas had taken with him twenty
ounces of gold. It was all taken from him. So al Abbas said: O Messenger of Allah
count it part of my ransom. But consider the Prophet refused and said: That is
something Allah has given us from you. al Abbas pleaded: I have no funds. The
Messenger of Allah asked: Where is the money you left in Makkah with Ummul
Faddl (his wife) and no one else was with you two. You said to her: if I am hit in
my travel then give my son al Faddl so and so, to Qatham so and so and to
Abdullah so and so. Here al Abbas said in astonishment: By Him who sent you
with the truth no one else was with us. I know for sure that you are the Messenger
of Allah.

In his famous biography Ibn Ishaq reports the following on the authority of
Ibn Abbas who said: Quraish sent to the Messenger of Allah money to ransom
its captives. Each family paid ransom for their captive and al Abbas said: O
Messenger of Allah! I was already a Muslim. Then the following verse was
revealed: O Apostle! Say to those who are captives in your hands: if Allah finds
any good in your hearts, He will give you something better than what has been
taken from you, and He will forgive you; and Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most
Merciful. ( 8-70 )

Al Abbas said when he recited the above verse and remembered the twenty
ounces ransom of gold that has been taken from him: Allah has given me in their
place twenty slaves each one of whom had money in his hand in addition to the
forgiveness of Allah I am looking for. Ibn Ishaq says: al Abbas paid the highest
ransom in the battle of Badr. He paid one hundred ounces of gold.

Ibn Abbas then mentions the following story that shows the great mercy of
the Prophet in addition to his justice that made him not prefer his relatives over
others. The Messenger of Allah came to know in the evening of the Battle of Badr
that the captives were tied with chains. He could not sleep at the beginning of
that night. He was asked: Why cannot you sleep O Messenger of Allah? He said:
I heard the groaning of my chained uncle. The Muslims quickly set him free.
When he stopped groaning the Prophet could go to sleep. In another report we
are informed that al Ansar wanted to kill al Abbas when he was in captivity. The
Prophet said: I could not sleep tonight for the sake of al Abbas. al Ansar claimed
they wanted to kill him. Then Umer went to them after getting the permission of
the prophet and asked them to release al Abbas which they did and said: If the
Prophet so wished then take him.

Ibn Abbas reports the following: After the Prophet finished the Battle of

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Badr it was said to him: O Messenger of Allah! You can take the caravan,
nothing stands in your way to it. al Abbas who was still tied to his chains as a
captive said: This is not appropriate. The Prophet then inquired: why. He said:
because Allah Almighty has promised you one of two good things: victory or
the caravan and you have the former. This shows the deep understanding and
knowledge of al Abbas.

Whenever the oath of allegiance of al Aqabah is mentioned one cannot resist


to remember the role played by al Abbas before it. The participants of that great
oath on which the first state of Islam was established in Madinah narrate the
following: We came to the Prophet’s house but we were told that he was in the
house of his uncle al Abbas. So we met him there, greeted him, and said: when
shall we meet? al Abbas interfered and said: You have among you members of
your people who are against you. So hide your affair until the season of pilgrims
comes to an end and then we can meet each other; and we would clarify the
matter to you so that you enter it knowingly. Acknowledging what his uncle al
Abbas said the Prophet agreed with his followers from Madinah to meet them on
the last night of the season at the end of al Aqabah valley. He ordered them not
to awaken any sleeping person nor wait for any absent one.

The Muslim pilgrims from Madinah emerged after the absolute calmness of
that night. The Prophet preceded them to the place along with his uncle al
Abbas. The first speaker was al Abbas. He said: O people of Khazraj! You have
invited Muhammad to what you invited him to. He is the most honourable one
of his clan. All of us defend him, whether following him or not. All other people
rejected Muhammad except you. If you are powerful, patient and knowledgeable
of war and are ready to be enemies of all Arabs who will unite against you then
think about it and make up your mind. For as you know the best of talks is the
most truthful one.

The Madinites kept silent for a while then Abdullah Ibn Amr Ibn Hiram
said: We are people of war, who inherited this from father to son. We are experts
in throwing with the arrows, and we are good at spear hitting until they are
broken. We march with our swords until death.

More will follow about this argument which was the prelude to the spread of
Islam in the whole of Arabia. al Abbas, though still a non-believer, played an
important role in it as we shall see.

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AL ABBAS IBN ABDEL MUTTALEB
PART 2

W e are still with al Abbas Ibn Abdel Muttaleb the dear uncle of the
Prophet, who in his heart was a believer but he did not declare it until he was taken
a captive in the Battle of Badr. When the Muslims of Madinah came to the Prophet
to swear allegiance to him al Abbas was the first speaker. He told them that the
Prophet was already a most honourable person defended by all his clan. If the
Madinites were powerful enough to defend him against all Arabia then let them
take him. But if not then al Abbas told them to leave him there and then.

Al Bara Ibn Ma’roor, one of the leaders of the Madinite Muslims was the first
speaker on behalf of his people. He thanked Allah and said: Praise be to Allah who
honoured us with Muhammad and granted us the privilege of believing in him and
so with the blessing of Allah we were the first to accept his call and obeyed Allah
and his Apostle. He then encouraged his people to hurry up to the oath of
allegiance at all costs. He concluded his talk by undertaking to lay his life and that
of his people cheap in defending the Messenger of Allah. Convinced of their
truthfulness and sincerity the Prophet accepted their oath and al Abbas was
holding the Prophet’s hand to confirm the oath.

More details follow about this decisive oath given by seventy Madinite
Muslims to the Prophet. When al Abbas asked them to speak briefly lest they
should be discovered Asaad Ibn Zurarah, one prominent leader of al Ansar said: O
Messenger of Allah! Ask for your Lord what you wish and ask for yourself and
your companions then tell us what Allah and you will give us. In response to this
the greatest of orators (the Prophet) said: For my Lord I ask you to worship Him
and ascribe no partner to Him. For myself and my comrades I ask you to give us
shelter, defend us and support us as you do to your own selves and families. They
said: what will be our reward if we do this? The Prophet said: Paradise. They said:
That is for you.

Abu Rafi’ says: I was a young servant of al Abbas when Islam entered his
house. He became a Muslim, and as he feared his people, he kept it secret.
Thus he marched with them to the Battle of Badr with Islam in his heart. This
confirms what he told the Prophet when al Abbas was taken a captive in the
said battle.

After the Prophet opened the Jewish castle of Khayber al Abbas was pleased
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to know this. He was in Makkah. Then he travelled to Madinah after a short while,
When he joined the Prophet peace be upon him he granted him an annual share of
dates from Khayber. So al Abbas stayed with the Prophet until he accompanied
him to the Conquest of Makkah. This no doubt shows the great love exchanged
between the Prophet and his uncle al Abbas. Another incident confirms this. al
Muttalib Ibn Rabiah says the Prophet once condemned those who criticised al
Abbas and regarded any harm to al Abbas a personal hurt to himself. He said: A
man’s uncle is like his father and whoever hurts al Abbas has, in fact, hurt me.

What shows the position of al Abbas and his great prestige are the following
traditions. We are told by authentic traditions that on the Day of Hunayn, one of
the battles of the Prophet where Muslims were too many, but they fled from the
battlefield and were defeated in the beginning. But al Abbas was one of the few
who stood firm along side the Prophet. He was catching hold of the bridle of the
Prophet’s mule and did not move from his place until victory was achieved. Again
al Abbas himself says: We used to meet some people of Quraish talking. As we
drew near, they would stop their talk to each other. When we mentioned this to the
Messenger of Allah he said: By Allah, belief in Islam will never enter the heart of
any one unless he loves you for the sake of Allah and because you are my relative.

In a third tradition we read the following: Ibn Abbas says: One day a man
from al Ansar cursed al Abbas’s father who lived before Islam. Getting angry al
Abbas slapped him on his face; but the man’s people gathered together and said:
By Allah we will slap him. They wore their armour, when the Messenger of Allah
knew it, he climbed the pulpit and said: O men! Which of all people is the most
honourable in the sight of Allah? They said: You are. He said: I am of al Abbas
and he is part of me. Don’t curse our dead, for by this you hurt our living ones.
Then the people came and said: We seek refuge in Allah from your anger O
Messenger of Allah.

Again the Prophet one day granted al Abbas and his children some clothes.
He then said: O Allah forgive al Abbas and his children both outwardly and
inwardly; leaving no sin. In still another tradition Sahl says: We accompanied the
Messenger of Allah one day at noon time when it was hot. He responded to the call
of nature. al Abbas covered him. Then the Prophet said: O Allah keep al Abbas
and his offspring away from Hell fire.

Once Ibn al Hadrami sent to the Messenger of Allah 80,000 dirhams from
Bahrain. When the Prophet started to distribute them al Abbas came, like other
Muslims, and took a great amount of money which he could not carry. Smiling at

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him the Prophet said: Return some and take away what you can bear. al Abbas did
as he was ordered and said: This is one of the two good things Allah has promised
us; but we don’t know what He is going to do with us in the other.

Saeed Ibn al Musayyab reported the following tradition transmitted by Saad


who said: we were accompanying the Prophet at a place called Naqee’ al Khayl
then al Abbas came. The Prophet said: This is al Abbas, uncle of your Prophet,
the most hospitable and merciful of Quraish. Thus when Umer Ibn al Khattab,
during his caliphate wanted to establish the special prayer for getting rain he said:
O Allah, whenever we had no rain during the life time of your Prophet we asked
you through him; now we plead to You to get rain through al Abbas the uncle of
Your Prophet. Then rain started to fall at once.

Abdullah Ibn Amr said: The Messenger of Allah said: Allah has made me his
beloved one, as He did to Ibrahim. So we have two parallel places in Paradise and
al Abbas will be among us; a believer between two beloved ones.

The Prophet was always showing respect and love to every Muslim, but he
showed the greatest love and respect to al Abbas. He treated him as a son would
treat his father. Thus whenever al Abbas would pass by Umer, or Uthman on
their horses, they would come down until he passes. This they did as a sign of
respect to the Prophet’s uncle.

When Umer Ibn al Khattab was caliph, his armies conquered many
countries and too much money was sent to him. He started to distribute it among
the Muslims. He gave those who witnessed the Battle of Badr 5,000 each; but he
gave al Abbas 12,000.

As we have seen earlier, al Abbas always loved the Prophet and supported him
even before his conversion to Islam. He marched against his own will to the Battle of
Badr and was taken captive. But he stayed in Makkah and did not participate in any
other battle until he joined the Prophet a short while before the conquest of Makkah.
He was the last emigrant to Madinah as the Prophet told him.

One day Umer Ibn al Khattab wanted to buy a house from al Abbas, near the
Prophet’s mosque in Madinah to include it in the mosque. al Abbas refused to sell
it; they resorted to Ubay Ibn Kaab. Then al Abbas gave his house free. On another
occasion al Abbas’s house had a spout overlooking people’s passage. Umer
removed it from its place. Then al Abbas said: I bear witness that the Messenger of
Allah himself put it here. So Umer swore that al Abbas must rise on his back to

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restore it back to its place, which he did.

Despite his great dignity and status in Islam, Ali Ibn Abi Taleb yet used to
kiss the hand and feet of al Abbas and would say to him: O uncle, please be
satisfied with me. Saeed Ibn al Musayyab, on the other hand said: al Abbas is the
best man of this nation. He is the inheritor of the Prophet peace be upon him. By
this he means in wisdom and character.

One further quality of al Abbas is that he had an extremely loud voice.


Whenever he needed something from his servants who would be in the forest, he
would stand on Sil’ mountain, by the end of the night and would call them. They
would hear him although the forest is about nine miles away. Thus on the day of
Hunayn the Prophet asked him to call on those who made a solemn oath under the
tree, which he did. Again al Abbas had a sheperd working for him. Whenever he
needed something from his sheperd he would call to him and the sheperd would
hear what he wanted although he might be at a distance of not less than three miles.

When al Abbas was on his death bed he set free seventy slaves for the sake of
Allah. He lived for eighty eight years. He died in the thirty sixth year after Hijrah.
Utman Ibn Affan may Allah be pleased with him, performed the funeral prayer
on his body. He was buried in al Baqee.

When al Abbas was in Makkah he embraced Islam before Badr battle; his
wife Ummul Fadl joined him soon after. As long as he was in Makkah he used to
write to the Prophet about anything that would take place among the Makkans.
The believers of Makkah used to receive support from al Abbas and would often
get his help. In one report it is mentioned that he once asked the Prophet to allow
him to emigrate, but the Prophet wrote to him saying: Yours is that of a good
Mujahid. So he stayed in Makkah according to the instructions of the Prophet.

This report may look contradictory to the other one where we knew that al
Abbas was taken captive in the Battle of Badr and that he paid a big ransom to free
himself. To coordinate between the two we may say that the behaviour and
treatment of the Prophet to his own uncle in the Battle of Badr was only to teach
other Muslims that justice should be established regardless of any other
consideration. Some reporters, however, assert that al Abbas did not participate in
any battle against the Prophet and that he stayed in Makkah until he was the last
emigrant. May Allah be pleased with him.

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UBAY IBN KAAB

U bay Ibn Kaab’s full name was this short one of his. He was the grandson
of Qays, son of Ubayd from al Najjar, a famous family of Madinah, whose
members were the relatives of Prophet Muhammad on his mother’s side. Ubay
was called the master of Quranic recitors. He was nicknamed Abul Tufail and
had the great privilege of participating in Badr, the first decisive battle of Islam.
He also attended al Aqaba oath of allegiance given by the Supporters of Madinah
to the Prophet.

Ubay Ibn Kaab collected the Holy Quran during the life time of the
Prophet. He offered it to the Prophet for the sake of revision and acquired a great
deal of blessed learning from the last Messenger of Allah. Ubay Ibn Kaab may
Allah be pleased with him, was not only a leader in Islamic knowledge but in
Islamic practice too. Several students of the Prophet’s Companions transmitted
traditions on the authority of Ubay. Ibn Abbas Ibn Sahl describes the appearance
of Ubay Ibn Kaab in the following words: He had white hair and beard.

Anas Ibn Malek says: the Prophet once said to Ubay: Allah Almighty
ordered me to recite the Quran to you. Hearing this Ubay asked: Did Allah name
me to you? The Prophet said: Yes indeed. Then Ubay said: So I was mentioned
by the Lord of the Worlds? Yes, the Prophet assured Ubay whose eyes
overflowed with tears. When the Prophet one day asked Ubay Ibn Kaab: which
is the greatest verse of the Quran? Ubay answered: It is the verse that says: Allah!
There is no god but He; the Living, the Self-Subsisting, the Eternal. When Ubay
said this the Prophet congratulated him for this valuable knowledge.

Again Anas Ibn Malek once said: Four people gathered the Quran in the life
time of the Prophet, all of them were from the Supporters of the Messenger of
Allah in Madinah. They were: Ubay Ibn Kaab, Muaz Ibn Jabal, Zayd Ibn
Thabet and Abu Zayd. Ibn Abbas says: Ubay said to Umer Ibn Al Khattab: I
have received the Quran from the Apostle who received it through Gabriel peace
be upon him. It was still fresh. On another occasion Ibn Abbas said: Umer once
gave the following statement: Our greatest judge is Ali Ibn Abi Taleb and our
greatest Quranic reciter is Ubay Ibn Kaab. The same testimony is given by the
Prophet himself where he is reported to have said: Ubay is the greatest Quranic
reciter in my nation.

Like other Companions of the Prophet, Ubay Ibn Kaab preferred the

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second life to this worldly life. Thus Abu Sa’id said: Ubay one day asked the
Messenger of Allah. He said: What is the reward of fever? The Prophet said: It
causes great rewards from Allah to be given to the one smitten with it. Hearing
this Ubay said: O Allah I ask you a fever that does not prevent me from going out
in your way. The same evening Ubay had the requested fever.

Abu Nadrah al Abdi reported that a man called Jaber said: One day I asked
something from Umer Ibn al Khattab. On his right hand there sat a man with
white hair and dress. He said: This worldly life is only a path to the Hereafter.
Here we have to work so that we may be rewarded there. The said man asked:
Who is this O Commander of the Faithful (meaning Umer Ibn al Khattab). The
latter said: This is Ubay Ibn Kaab, master of all Muslims.

Mugheerah Ibn Muslim says that one day a man asked the advice of Ubay
who said: Make the Book of Allah your leader; accept it as your judge and arbiter.
It is the book left by your Messenger, an obeyed intercessor, a witness never
accused; in it you find the record of those before you as well as your own record;
it decides your issues; your own news and that of those before are to be found in
this Holy Book of Allah.

Anas Ibn Malek transmits the following tradition from the Prophet who said:
Abu Bakr is the most merciful member of my nation to my nation, Umer is the
most powerful in applying the commands of Allah, Uthman is the most bashful,
Ubay Ibn Kaab is the best Quranic reciter, Muaz Ibn Jabal is the most
knowledgeable in what is prohibited and permissible. For every nation there is a
trustworthy figure, and Abu Ubayda is the most trust worthy member of my
nation.

What shows the depth of Ubay’s understanding of the Quran is the


following incident reported by al Rubayyi Ibn Anas from Abul Aliyah who
quoted Ubay as saying: The verse that says: Say. He has power to send
calamities on you, from above you and below you, or to cover you with
confusion in party strife, giving you a taste of mutual vengeance - each from the
other. About this verse Ubay has the following comment: They are four things
all of which are punishments which are sure to take place. Two of them came
true 25 years after the Messenger of Allah, they have been covered with
confusion in party strife and have been given a taste of mutual vengeance. The
other two punishments remain and will surely come to pass namely the two
calamities from above and below.

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But Ubay Ibn Kaab’s understanding was not limited to the verses of the
Quran but to the sayings of the Prophet peace be upon him. Abdullah Ibn al
Harith Ibn Nawfal says: I was standing with Ubay Ibn Kaab near a shade;
there was a fruit market that day. Ubay said: Don’t you see people having their
necks intermingling in pursuance of this worldly life? I said: Yes indeed. He
said: I heard the Messenger of Allah saying: The Euphrates is about to be
uncovered and a mountain of gold will emerge from it. Once people hear
about it they will all march to it. Those around it will say: If we let people take
from it they will leave nothing for us. So people will fight so fiercely that 99%
of them will be killed.

Umer Ibn al Khattab once gave a sermon in Jabiyah in which he said:


Whoever wants to ask about the Quran let him go to Ubay Ibn Kaab, and
whoever wants to ask about rules of inheritance let him approach Zayd, as for
jurisprudence the main source is Muaz, but as for finance let people come to me.
This is because Allah has made me secretary of finance and a distributor.
Aassem Ibn Zir says: Ubay Ibn Kaab said: The Messenger of Allah said to me: I
have been commanded to recite the Quran to you. Ubay-asked: O Messenger of
Allah was I mentioned to you in name? He said: Yes. The reporter then asked
Ubay: Were you happy for this? He said: Why not when I see that Allah
Almighty says in the Quran: Say: in the bounty of Allah, and in His mercy, in
that let them rejoice. That is better than the wealth they gather. ( 10-58 )

Abdullah Ibn Amr said referring the following tradition to the Prophet who
said: Learn the Quran from four people: Ibn Masood, Ubay, Muaz and Salem
Mawla Abi Huzayfah. Thus it is not strange that even the Messenger of Allah
should one Eid day say: Call for me the master of Ansar meaning the Muslim
inhabitants of Madinah who supported the Prophet. He was referring to Ubay
Ibn Kaab may Allah be pleased with him. When he came he ordered him to
sweep the prayer hall called Baqee al Mussalla which he immediately did.

Al Hasan says: I was told by Ubay Ibn Damrah who said: I saw the people
of Madinah rushing across the lanes of that city. I asked: What is the matter with
them? Some of them replied; Are you not an inhabitant of the city? I said yes I
am not. They said: Today the master of Muslims died, Ubay Ibn Kaab. But he
was not master by virtue of his physical power. He rather got this honour thanks
to his knowledge of the Quran which he used to complete its recitation every
eight days as one report puts it.

Another incident shows the prestige of Ubay Ibn Kaab. Saeed Ibn Jubayr

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says on the authority of Ibn Abbas who quoted Umer as saying: Let us go to the
land of our people. I was with Ubay Ibn Kaab behind the other people. As we
walked a cloud covered us, so Ubay said: O Allah help us get rid of its harm. As
we overtook the others their backs were wet with rain water. A man asked them
saying: You did not have what we had, meaning rain. Umer said: Abul Munzir
said O Allah help us get rid of its harmful effect. Then a man commented: Why
haven’t you prayed for us as well?

The famous Abdullah Ibn Abbas well-known as the Tarjuman of the


Quran, or the interpreter of the Quran received his knowledge from three main
teachers. These were: Umer, Ali and Ubay Ibn Kaab. One day Masrooq, a
student of the Companions asked Ubay about one issue. Ubay asked: Has it
come to pass? Masrooq said: No not yet. Then Ubay said: Leave it until it takes
place. When it happens we shall persevere and give you our opinion. Thus Ubay
did not like people to ask questions about things before they actually happened.
In this he was, in fact, following the way of the Prophet.

But Ubay was not simply a reciter of the Quran and an isolated worshipper;
he was in addition to this a benevolent charitable Companion. Abul Aaliyah
says: Ubay was committed to worship Allah. When people needed his help he
left worship and attended to the needs of other people. This again is the spirit of
Islam as he received it from his beloved Prophet who said: Whoever attends to
the needs of other Muslims, it is better in the sight of Allah than worshipping
Allah for seventy years.

A final favour and honour attributed to Ubay Ibn Kaab is that he was a
member of the 12 man committee formed by Uthman Ibn Affan to collect the
Quran in book form. This is reported by some reliable sources, although other
reporters say that Ubay died before the caliphate of Uthman. Had he been alive
he would have been the most famous name before Zayd Ibn Thabet to whom
goes the tribute of collecting the Quran. May his soul est in peace.

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AL AHNAF IBN QAYS

A l Ahnaf Ibn Qays was proverbial in his wisdom and patience. He was
called the major prince, the noble scholar and his real name was Sakhr or Dahhak
son of Qays son of Muawiyah son of Hussayn but his nick name al Ahnaf was
more famous. He was given that nick name due to his curved legs. He was the
chief of the tribe of Tamim and he embraced Islam in the lifetime of the Prophet
peace be upon him, although he may have not seen him but he came to see Umer
Ibn al Khattab.

al Ahnaf, in fact, transmitted traditions from Umer, Ali, Abu Tharr, al Abbas,
Ibn Masood, Uthman Ibn Affan and several other Companions. He represented a
reliable reporter for the disciples of the Companions like Urwa Ibn al Zubayr, al
Hasan al Basri and others although his transmissions were comparatively few. On
the other hand al Ahnaf Ibn Qays was one of the leaders in the battle of Siffeen
supporting Ali Ibn Abi Taleb. Ibn Saad, the well-known biographer says: He was
trust-worthy, with few speeches, and was the close friend of Musab Ibn al Zubayr,
ruler of Iraq whom he visited in Kufah until he died there.

It is reported that when Muawiyah wanted to make his son Yazeed heir-
apparent and crown prince after him, he set up a red tent for him and asked
people to express their loyalty to him and to approve his appointment, al Ahnaf
came and was silent. Then he met Muawiyah. When the latter asked his opinion
he said: If I say yes I fear Allah Almighty, and if I say no I fear you. Muawiyah
accepted this from him. In the presence of Al Ahnaf, however, a man came and
said to Muawiyah: Why have you not nominated your son since a very long time?
We were waiting for this good initiative ...etc ..etc. Then it so happened that the
same man came out with al Ahnaf. He started to apologize to him for what he
stated and said: What to do. I hate them more than anything else, but I had to say
this. al Ahnaf said: Go away man! He who has two faces will never be honoured
in the sight of Allah.

Despite his curved legs and the fact that he had only one eye, as reporters
say, al Ahnaf was an outstanding military leader. It was he who conquered
Marwo al Rawd in Khorasan. al Hasan and Ibn Sireen, the two well known
students of the Prophet were in his army, although other reporters doubt this as
they were much younger than that.

Al Hasan quotes al Ahnaf as telling the following story. He said: As I was

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circumambulating the Kaabah during the caliphate of Uthman, a man from the
tribe of Layth met me, held my hand and said: Shall I give you glad tidings. I
said: Yes. The man said: Don’t you remember when the Messenger of Allah
peace be upon him sent me to your people Banu Saad to invite them to Islam, so
I started to tell them and offer them the new religion. You said: He calls to all that
is good, and I hear nothing but good things. When I mentioned this to the
Prophet he said: O Allah! Forgive al Ahnaf. After hearing this al Ahnaf used to
say: Nothing is more pleasant for me than this prayer.

Another story that shows the reliability of al Ahnaf Ibn Qays is the
following report transmitted by Urwa who quoted al Ahnaf as saying that he
came to Umer Ibn al Khattab on the occasion of conquering the city of Tustar.
He said: Allah has enabled you to conquer Tustar, a suburb of al Basrah city,
a man from the emigrants stood up and said: O leader of the Faithful! This
man, meaning al Ahnaf, saved us from the harm of the tribe of Murrah who
wanted to attack us when the Messenger of Allah sent us to them to collect
their Zakat funds.

Al Ahnaf says: When Umer heard this he kept me with him for a whole year
during which he would come to me every day and night, to ask about me. He,
however, heard nothing but what pleased him. He then called me and said: “ O
Ahnaf! Do you know why I kept you here? I said: No! O leader of the Faithful.
He said: The Messenger of Allah said: Beware of every knowledgeable hypocrite.
I feared lest you be one of them; but you should thank Allah O Ahnaf “. In
another version Umer said to Ahnaf: I have tested the apparent side of your
personality and I hope that your inner side is as good. We used to say: This nation
will be destroyed by every knowledgeable hypocrite. Umer, however,
commented: This is indeed a senior master, referring to al Ahnaf.

Qatada says: Once al Ahnaf came to Umer and made a speech which Umer
liked. He then said: I was afraid lest you be a learned hypocrite. But now go to
your country. I hope that you are a believer.

Al Shaabi says: Abu Moosa once sent a delegation from Basrah to Umer Ibn
al Khattab. Each member of the said delegation stood up and spoke about his
own affairs. al Ahnaf, who was a member of the said group was the last one to
speak. After thanking Allah and praising Him he said: O leader of the Faithful!
The people of Egypt seized the land of Pharaoh and his men, the Syrians caught
that of Caesar and his comrades, the Kufans held the places of Chosroe and his
constructions of rivers and gardens. They get their fruits easily while the people

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of Basrah have gone to a salty land whose soil is dry and dusty, its pasture does
not grow; one extreme of it is a salty sea, the other is a desert. We receive next to
nothing from outside. So relieve our sufferings and increase our allowances.
When Umer heard this,he said to the others: have you failed to be like this man.
He is indeed a master.

Muhammad says: I heard that Umer mentioned the tribe of Tamim and
condemned them. This he did in the presence of Al Ahnaf, one of their leaders.
Thus al Ahnaf stood up and said: Allow me to speak O leader of the Faithful.
Umer said: Speak. al Ahnaf then said: You have mentioned the tribe of Tamim
and generalized your condemnation against them. This is although they are like
other people among whom you will find the good and the bad. Umer said: You
said the truth. Then al Hutat, an opponent of al Ahnaf wanted to speak, but
Umer said: Sit down! Your master al Ahnaf said what is sufficient on your behalf.
That is why Umer wrote to Abu Moosa al Ashaari, governor of Basrah saying:
Let al Ahnaf enter your council, ask his advice and hear what he says.

Al Hasan said: I never saw a noble leader of any people like al Ahnaf Ibn al
Mubarak said: al Ahnaf was asked: How did your people make you their master?
He replied: If people should criticise water, I would not drink it. It was also said:
the tribe of Tamim lived under the patience and wisdom of al Ahnaf for forty
long years. Khaled Ibn Safwan used to say: If al Ahnaf flies away from honour
honour will follow him. al Ahnaf was told one day: You are old and fasting
weakens you. He said: I save it for a long journey. He used to pray at night very
often. He used to pray to Allah and say: O Allah if You forgive me, You are
qualified to do so, but if You punish me I deserve it. Again al Ahnaf once said: It
is astonishing how can one be proud when he passed twice through the passage
of urine. Another beautiful saying of al Ahanf is this He said: There are three
things which I would mention to him who wants to learn a lesson: I never
approached the door of a king unless he called me, neither did I ever interfere
between two persons until they ask me to do so, nor have I ever mentioned
anyone after he leaves me except with what is good.

Take the attitude of al Ahnaf towards disputes with others. He said:


Everytime I quarrel with anyone I behave with him according to the following: if
he is higher than me I acknowledge that for him; while if he is my inferior I raise
myself and avoid him, but if he is like me I do him a favour. That is why he once
said: I am not patient by nature but I try to be patient. Again a man quarrelled
with al Ahnaf one day and said: If you say one word, you will hear ten. al Ahnaf
said: But if you say ten words you will hear none. Another man asked al Ahnaf:

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How did you become prominent? He said: This was when I left what concerned
me not, unlike what you did by poking your nose in other people’s affairs.
Hisham Ibn Uqba said: I witnessed al Ahnaf when he approached some people
concerning blood-money. After he spoke for some time he said: Ask what you
want. They said: We want a doubled blood money. al Ahnaf then said: I am going
to give you what you asked, but hear this from me: Allah Almighty has judged
one blood money and not two, the same thing did the Prophet peace be upon
him; so do the Arabs, but now you ask for two. May be tomorrow you will
require to pay and not take, so people will accept only what you are going to start.
When the people heard this they said: Make it one then.

Here are some of his wise sayings which spread among people like proverbs.
al Ahnaf said: Three men do not settle their accounts with three: a noble man
from a lowly one, a good from a bad man and a wise from a stupid one. He also
said: Whoever speeds to people with what they hate, they will say about him
what they know not. Once he was asked about nobility. He said: To keep the
secret and to avoid evil. Thus he said: The perfect one is he whose mistakes are
counted, and there is no use in talk without action. And this is the prestige of al
Ahnaf he put in action what he said in words.

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SAAD IBN UBADAH

S aad Ibn Ubadah Ibn Dulaym Ibn Abi Khuzayma Ibn Thaalaba Ibn al
Khazraj was, in fact, the honourable leader of al Khazraj tribe of Madinah. He is
nicknamed Abu Qays al Sa’idi. He transmitted a small number of traditions. He
was one of those Madinites who attended al Aqaba oath of allegiance. Ibn Saad
says: Saad Ibn Ubadah was preparing himself to go out to the Battle of Badr, and
started to go around the houses of al Ansar to encourage them to overtake the
Prophet in that Battle, but he was suddenly bitten and so he was forced to stay
back in Madinah when the Prophet knew it he said: If Saad did not attend Badr,
he was careful to come. By this the Prophet meant that as if Saad participated in
Badr and will thus have his reward from Allah for it.

As for his conversion to Islam, he embraced it at the hands of Mussaab Ibn


Umayr, the first ambassador of Islam to Madinah. It is reported that a short
while after Mussaab arrived in Madinah, the inhabitants of that city started to
believe in Islam. This they did as a result of the activities of the Muslim
ambassador. When the two leaders of Aws and Khazraj, the two main tribes of
Yathreb, the previous name of Madinah, when the two Saads knew about Islam,
they approached Mussaab Ibn Umayr and heard from him, they both embraced
Islam. A little while after this, Islam as reliable reporters say, entered every house
in Madinah. Saad Ibn Ubadah and Saad Ibn Muaz, the two great leaders of that
city of light were instrumental in achieving this.

Saad Ibn Ubadah, for that matter, was in fact an extremely hospitable
leader. Not only this but he was obedient and loyal to his relatives. One day he
came to the Prophet and said: My mother died with an oath which was pending.
He asked the Prophet about it and said: Should I do it on her behalf, he said. The
Prophet answered: Yes indeed you should.

Abul Tufayl reported that Saad Ibn Ubadah was negotiating along with al
Munzir Ibn Amr after al Aqabah oath of loyalty. The people of Makkah tried to
catch them and take them prisoners. al Munzir escaped and Saad was taken. He
remembers the incident and says: They beat me so strongly that I became as red
as blood. One of them, however, talked to me in isolation; he said: Don’t you
have any one to support you in Makkah? Saad says: The man may have said this
out of mercy on me. I tried to recollect until I said: No. But al Aass Ibn Wail used
to come to us in Madinah where we used to be hospitable to him. Hearing this
one of the Makkans stood up and said: He has mentioned my cousin. By Allah

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no one of you is allowed to approach or hurt.him. So they left him alone.

Another sign of honour was that while Ali Ibn Abi Taleb carried the banner
of the Messenger of Allah whenever any Muslim army marched to battle, Saad
Ibn Ubadah carried the banner of al Ansar, the Supporters about whom the
Prophet said: This neighbourhood of Ansar keeps people safe from all harms, to
love them is a sign of faith and to hate them is a symptom of hypocrisy.

In the report that says that Saad witnessed the battle of Badr we are told by
Anas the following: when the Messenger of Allah knew about the retreat of Abu
Sufyan he said: Advise me O people. Then Abu Bakr stood up but the Prophet
ordered him to sit down because he wanted to hear the viewpoint of Ansar one of
whose leaders is Saad Ibn Ubadah. Thus the latter immediately stood up and
said: I feel that you mean us O Messenger of Allah. By Him who sent you if you
would command us to drive our horses into the sea we would all of us do it. Not
a single man would hesitate; and if you order us to travel to Bark al Ghimad, a
distant place in the heart of the Arabian desert, we will surely do it.

The Companions of the Prophet regarded with respect and honour anyone
of them, man or woman, on whose account verses of the Quran were revealed.
Saad Ibn Ubadah had a good share in this respect. Ibn Abbas reports that the
Prophet said in the battle of Badr: He who brings a prisoner of war, will have his
weapons and his personal belongings. One man called Abul Yasar brought two
prisoners. When Saad learnt about it he said: O Messenger of Allah! We were
your own guards, because we were afraid lest you should be hit. Then the
following verses were revealed organising the distribution of the booty of war:

They ask you concerning spoils of war; say: Such spoils are at the disposal of
Allah and the Apostle; so fear Allah and keep straight the relation between your
selves; obey Allah and His Apostle if you do believe. For, believers are those
who, when Allah is mentioned, feel a tremor in their hearts, and when they hear
His Signs rehearsed, find their faith strengthened, and put all their trust in their
Lord; who establish regular prayers, and spend freely out of the gifts We have
given them for sustenance; such in truth are the believers; they have grades of
dignity with their Lord, and forgiveness and generous sustenance. ( 8-1-3 )

But this was not the only occasion on which verses of the Quran were
revealed about Saad Ibn Ubadah or because of some events related to him. There
was a more important occasion where the following verses were revealed: And
those who launch a charge against chaste women and produce not four witnesses

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to support their allegations, flog them with eighty stripes; and reject their
evidence ever after; for such men are wicked transgressors. ( 24-4 )

When this verse was revealed Saad Ibn Ubadah, the leader of Ansar said:
Was it revealed like that O Messenger of Allah? Without answering him the
Prophet looked at al Ansar and said: O Ansar! Hear what your leader says. They
said: Excuse him O Apostle of Allah! He is jealous. By Allah he never married
except virgin women, and whenever he should divorce a woman, no man dared
to marry her after him. Then Saad said: O Messenger! By Allah I know that it is
the truth and that it is from Allah but I wondered how could I find an adulteress
in the company of a man, then I should be ordered not to interfere with him until
I bring four witnesses. For in my attempt to do so he would have finished what
he wanted and gone. By Him who has sent you with truth I shall immediately hit
him with my sword on the spot. Hearing this the Prophet said: O Ansar! Your
leader is jealous indeed; I am more jealous than him and Allah Almighty is more
jealous than me. Then the following verse was revealed:

And for those who launch a charge against their spouses, and have in
support no evidence but their own, their solitary evidence can be received if they
bear witness four times with an oath by Allah that they are solemnly telling the
truth; and the fifth oath should be that they solemnly invoke the curse of Allah
on themselves if they tell a lie. But it would avert the punishment from the wife,
if she bears witness four times with an oath by Allah, that her husband is telling
a lie; and the fifth should be that she solemnly invokes the wrath of Allah on
herself if her husband is telling the truth.

Jealousy which characterised Saad, and which Islam accepts and encourages
springs from the fact that Islam prohibits any sexual relationship outside
marriage. This because Islam considers marriage as the most sacred relationship.
There is no sex allowed in Islam before marriage or outside wedlock. Once they
make the marriage contract a husband and a wife should not have any kind of sex
with any one else. The great majority of Muslims abide by this even today. That
is why Saad’s jealousy is encouraged by the Messenger of Allah who told him
that he was more jealous and Allah Almighty is the most jealous in this respect.
This is simply because to allow sex outside marriage will destroy the family,
which is the corner stone of social life in Islam.

Going back to Saad Ibn Ubadah, the leader of Ansar we find him an
extremely generous and a most hospitable Muslim. Ibn Sireen says that every
night Saad used to bring to his house eighty poor Muslims of Ahl al Suffah to

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have dinner with him. Ahl al Suffah were the poor and needy Companions of the
Prophet who were giving their whole lives to Jehad and worship of Allah. They
had no families, no relatives, no money and so they attracted the mercy and love
of other Muslims. Saad Ibn Ubadah was foremost in this respect. For many years
he provided such a large number of people with dinner.

No one is, however, a faultless person. To err is human. This reflects the
slogan of Islam, but again Islam does not believe in original sin. It believes that
man is forgiven so long as he repents. Saad Ibn Ubadah had his faults and minor
sins like anybody else. As he was treated by his people Al Ansar as an honourable
king when the Prophet of Allah died Saad’s followers gathered around him to
swear allegiance to him. This took place while he ,was ill. Then Abu Bakr al
Siddiq came along with other Muslims and they stopped al Ansar from doing it.
The majority of Muslims had already chosen Abu Bakr as their caliph. Saad got
angry but after a while he accepted and obeyed.

Al Waqidi narrates the following story: Abu Bakr sent one day the following
message to Saad Ibn Ubadah. He asked him to come and swear allegiance. All
other Muslims did the same. He said. But Saad refused and said: by Allah I am
not going to do it until I fight you with all those who are with me. Then his son
came to Abu Bakr and said: O successor of the Messenger of Allah! My father
will not express his loyalty to you until he is killed. So leave him alone, he will
keep quiet. And this is what exactly Abu Bakr did. When Umer became caliph
and met Saad he asked him to express his loyalty but again Saad refused and after
a short while he moved to Syria where he died in Houran.

This is the point of weakness in great men. They refuse to accept the
leadership of others simply because they think themselves to be more deservers
of it. This was the case with Saad despite all his other traits of greatness.

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SAEED IBN AL MUSAYYAB

S aeed Ibn al Musayyab of the tribe of Makhzoom was an outstanding


disciple of the Companions of the Prophet. He was the greatest scholar of
Madinah of his time. He was born two years after the beginning of the caliphate
of Umer Ibn al Khattab. He heard hadith from a number of Companions like
Uthman, Ali, Zayd Ibn Thabet and some others. Ibn al Musayyab was, in fact,
the son in law of Abu Hurairah, the greatest authority in the Prophet’s traditions.
Innumerable people quoted Ibn al Musayyab. He was one of those who gathered
together both knowledge and good deeds.

Saeed Ibn al Musayyab transmitted from Abu Hurairah who said that the
Messenger of Allah said: When three qualities are present in any person, then he
is a hypocrite even if he should fast and pray and claim to be a Muslim: he who
lies in his talk, does not fulfill his promise and is a traitor to his trust. Saeed Ibn
al Musayyab also says that his grandfather Hazn came to the Prophet who asked
him about his name. When he said Hazn (which means difficult) the Prophet
said: You are rather Easy. My grandfather, however said: O Messenger of Allah.
That is a name given to me by my parents, by which I am known among people.
The Prophet kept silent and so the name remained.

Saeed was a pious scholar indeed. He is reported to have said: I never missed
prayer in congregation for the last forty years. Again he says: Since 30 years never
has a caller to prayer announced the time but found me in the mosque. He used
to fast continuously. Saeed was also a learned Islamic judge. He says: No one
knows the decisions of the Messenger of Allah like me, not even Abu Bakr and
Umer. That is why Qatada says: I never saw anyone who is more learned than
Saeed Ibn al Musayyab. The same thing is asserted by the great scholar Ali Ibn
al Madeeni. Saeed also said once that he performed Hajj forty times.

Saeed Ibn al Musayyab, made a lot of effort to be a great scholar. He says: I


used to travel for many days and nights to get one tradition of the Prophet. He
said once: I heard from Umer a statement which no one alive heard from him. I
heard him once say on the pulpit: I shall punish anyone who does not take a
shower after he has intercourse with his wife. But who were the main teachers of
Saeed? As a matter of fact, he learnt from Zayd Ibn Thabet, Saad, Ibn Abbas, Ibn
Umer among others and used to meet Aisha and Ummu Salama the two wives of
the Prophet. He also heard from several other Companions. He was so learned
that he used to give religious judgments in the life time of the Companions. That

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is why he was called Faqeeh al Fuqahaa which means the most learned of all
religious scholars.

Malek says: when Umer Ibn Abdel Aziz was governor of Madinah he used
to consult Saeed Ibn al Musayyab. One day he sent him a man to ask him a
question. Instead the man brought him to Umer who apologised to him politely
and said: The messenger made a mistake. We only sent him to ask you while you
are in your council. That is why Umer used to say: Every scholar of Madinah
used to come to me except Saeed Ibn al Musayyab whose knowledge only used
to come to me.

Ali Ibn Zayd says: I asked Saeed Ibn al Musayyab one day the following
question: Your people claim that what prevented you from Hajj is only that you
took an oath by Allah that whenever you see the Kaabah you will curse Ibn
Marwan. Saeed said: No. But I performed Hajj and Umrah more than twenty
times. I notice that some of your people accumulate debts, perform Hajj and
Umrah then they die before paying back their debts. In that case I believe a
Friday prayer is better for me than a voluntary pilgrimage with debts. al Hasan,
however, did not approve of what Saeed said and commented: Had it been so no
Companion of the Prophet would have performed Hajj or Umrah.

Saeed Ibn Musayyab was asked: Why doesn’t al Hajjaj send to you, neither
does he try to embarrass or harm you? He said: I don’t know but I remember that
one day he entered the mosque with his father. He prayed quickly without giving
his prayer the appropriate time. When I saw him do this I took a handful of small
stones and threw it at him. al Hajjaj used to say afterwards: from then on I
performed prayer in the best possible way.

Maymoon Ibn Mahran says once Abdel Malek Ibn Marwan came to
Madinah. When he could not sleep one afternoon he sent his servant to the
Mosque to get him a scholar to talk to him. The servant found Saeed Ibn al
Musayyab in his study circle. He signalled to him but Saeed did not move, then
the servant came closer and said: Answer the call of the caliph. Saeed said: Did
he send you to me? He said: No. But he asked me to find out some one to talk to
him. Saeed said: Go to him and say that I am not one of this category. The
servant went out and said this man must be mad; when he, however, told the
caliph about this the latter said: Leave him alone. On another occasion Abdel
Malek asked Saeed to come to him but he refused. This was done three times
and he refused to go to the caliph who finally said: May Allah have mercy on
Saeed. He insisted on his position.

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When al Waleed became caliph after his father Abdel Malek he travelled to
madinah and entered the mosque where he saw an old man surrounded by a
number of people. He asked: Who is this man? They said: Saeed Ibn al
Musayyab. When al Waleed sat down he sent to Saeed. Thus the servant came to
him and said: Answer the call of the caliph? Saeed said: May be you made a
mistake in my name, or may be he sent you to some one else. So Saeed rejected
the call and al Waleed got angry and was about to punish Saeed, but people
around him said: O leader of the Faithful! This is the great scholar of Madinah,
the old man of Quraish and the friend of your father. Never has any king before
you expected him to come to him. At last al Waleed left him alone.

Not only was Saeed dignified in refusing to approach the caliphs, but he
was also adamant in rejecting to give his loyalty to the new ones whom he did
not accept. Thus he was beaten on several occasions to force him to pay homage
to the caliph; he was also imprisoned but to no avail. Despite these
punishments he refused to curse the family of Umayah who did all this against
him. All that he said was this: O Allah! Honour your religion, and support
your worshippers and humiliate your enemies for the sake of the nation of
Muhammad peace be upon him.

Whenever Saeed Ibn al Musayyab is mentioned Muslim biographers at


once remember the story of his giving his daughter in marriage to a very poor
student of his whom he preferred to sons of the caliph of the time Katheer Ibn
Abi Wadaah was the name of the poor student who became the son in law of
Saeed. He tells us how this took place and says I used to sit with Saeed Ibn al
Musayyab, then I stopped to go to him for a few days. When I came back to him
he asked: Where have you been? I said: My wife died and I was busy with
burying her body. Saeed said: Why haven’t you told us so that we may attend her
funeral. Then he added: Have you got another wife? I said: May Allah have
mercy on you! Who will give me his daughter in marriage when I have no more
than two or three dirhams? Saeed said: I will. I said: Are you sure you will do it?
He said: Yes. Then he thanked Allah and celebrated the praises of Prophet
Muhammad and gave me his daughter in marriage against two dirhams. I stood
up amazed not knowing what to do: Then I walked to my house and started to
think of someone to get some loan from. I prayed sunset prayer in the mosque
and returned home for I was fasting that day.

The poor student Ibn Abi Wadaah continues this strange but interesting
story in the following words. He says: I put my food in front of me to eat, then
there was a knock on the door. Who is it? I said. The answer was Saeed. I thought

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of everyone called Saeed except Saeed Ibn al Musayyab, for he was never seen for
forty years except walking from his house to the mosque and back. When I went
out I found my teacher Saeed; I thought maybe he has changed his mind
concerning that marriage I said: O Abu Muhammad! You should have sent for
me instead of coming yourself. He said: No. You deserve more to be visited. You
were bachelor and got married. I hated that you should spend this night alone.
This is your wife.

The poor student says: I looked and saw her standing behind him. He asked
her to enter and closed the door. The woman fell on the ground due to shyness. I
closed the door well and climbed to the roof of my house and started to throw
stones on my neighbours who came to me. When I told them they quickly went
to her. My mother also came when she knew and swore that I should not
approach her for three days until she could prepare her for me. We got married
afterwards. I found her one of the prettiest women; she was also well versed in the
Holy Quran. I stayed one month away from the study circle of Saeed Ibn al
Musayyab. When I came back to him he asked about his daughter. I said: Her
state pleases the friends and annoys the enemy. He said: If you don’t like
anything, use the stick. Then he gave me 20,000 dirhams.

Al Waqidi says: Saeed Ibn al Musayyab was also expert in interpreting


dreams and visions. He learnt this from Asma Bint Abi Bakr al Siddiq who learnt
it from her father. Once a man told him that he dreamt as if he was urinating in
his hand. Saeed said: Fear Allah! Your wife is prohibited for you. The man then
discovered his wife to be his sister in suckling. Another man told Saeed that he
dreamt as if he was in the shadow then he went out to the sunshine. Saeed said:
If you say the truth you will go out of the fold of Islam, which exactly happened.

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TAMEEM AL DARI

T ameem al Dari, nicknamed Abu Ruqayah, Tameem Ibn Aws al Lakhmi


was one of the few Palestinian Companions of the Prophet Muhammad peace be
upon him. He is called al Dari in attribution to “Dar” one branch of the Arab
tribe Lakhm of Palestine. His birth place is the well known city of Bethlehem
near Jerusalem. He embraced Islam in the ninth year after Hijrah when he
travelled to Madinah and converted to the new faith at the hands of the Prophet.
Tameem al Dari reported a number of traditions from the Prophet, but he was
one of the few Companions on whose authority the Messenger of Allah once
narrated one of the most thrilling stories which he delivered from his pulpit. It
was the story of al Jassasah and the anti christ in Islam called al Dajjal.

Whenever the name of Tameem al Dari is mentioned Muslim scholars


automatically remember that famous story which became part of his biography.
Tameem al Dari told the Prophet that story once.

Tameem was, in fact, a very pious worshipper of Allah. He recited the


Quran more often than the great majority of the Companions. Abu Muhallab
says that Tameem al Dari used to complete the recitation of the whole Quran in
seven nights. In another tradition Tameem is reported to have recited the whole
Quran in one rakaa of his voluntary night prayers. This is very strange indeed,
but it shows how Tameem al Dari loved always to recite the Holy Quran
Masrooq again reports that Tameem spent one whole night praying and
repeating one and the same verse all the time. He would recite it and his eyes
would overflow with tears. The said verse is the following: What! Do those who
seek after evil ways think that We shall hold them equal with those who believe
and do righteous deeds; that equal will be their life and their death? Evil is the
judgement that they make. ( 45-20 )

In another tradition that shows Tameem’s great piety we are told by al


Munkader Ibn Muhammad on the authority of his father who said that Tameem
once slept the whole night without making any voluntary prayer. As an expiation
of this he did not sleep at night for a whole year establishing voluntary prayers
and seeking Allah’s forgiveness. Another honour in favour of Tameem al Dari is
that he is said to be one of the four people who gathered the Quran in the life time
of the Messenger of Allah. These Companions were: Ubay, Uthman, Zayd and
Tameem al Dari. It should be understood here that the first three were Ubay Ibn
Kaab, Zayd Ibn Thabet and Uthman lbn Affan the third caliph after the

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Prophet. So Uthman Ibn Affan who ordered Zayd Ibn Thabet to preside over a
special committee to gather a complete copy of the Quran was himself engaged
in the same mission in the lifetime of the Prophet. Not only this but Zayd Ibn
Thabet was three times entrusted with this noblest of missions; once during the
Prophet’s life, secondly in the caliphate of Abu Bakr and thirdly during the reign
of Uthman Ibn Affan. So the same scholars including Tameem al Dari were
entrusted with the same mission.

Tameem al Dari, may Allah be pleased with him, continued to live in


Madinah until Utman Ibn Affan was killed. Then Tameem moved to Syria. In
another report, however, transmitted by Ibn Jurayj Ikrimah says: when Tameem
embraced Islam he said: O Messenger of Allah! Allah Almighty will enable you
to overcome the whole of the earth. So grant me my village Bethlehem. The
Prophet said: It will be yours, and he wrote a letter for him to that effect. When
the Muslims conquered Palestine in the caliphate of Umer Ibn al Khattab
Tameem presented the Prophet’s message to Umer who exclaimed and said: I
bear witness that this is the truth, for I attended it. Then Umer granted it to
Tameem. al Layth says: Bethlehem is still in the hands of Tameem’s posterity
until this day, the day of Layth the reporter of the tradition, which means that
Bethlehem continued to be under Tameem’s family for many years. Al Waqidi,
the well known Islamic historian and biographer, says: The Prophet did not
grant anything to anyone as far as villages are concerned, except Habrah and Beit
Enon which he granted to Tameem and his brother Naeem al Dari.

Yaqoot al Hamawi says: Habrah or Hebron is the well known city in which
the grave of Patriarch Abraham exists. Among Muslims it is more known as al
Khaleel a reference to Khaleelur Rahman Ibrahim or Abraham as he is described
in the Bible. He is given that name because he was honoured by nearness or
friendliness to Allah Almighty; and Tameem and his brother still have offspring
to this day in Hebron who are called al Tameemi in attribution to him.

When the verse in chapter thirteen called the Thunderbolt was revealed
Qatadah said: it refers to Companions of the Prophet who were well versed in the
previous scriptures like Salman al Farisee, Abdullah Ibn Salaam and Tameem al
Dari. The verse in question says: The unbelievers say: You are not an apostle.
Say: Enough for a witness between me and you is Allah, and such as have
knowledge of the Book. ( 13-43 ) One commentator says: That is those who have
knowledge of revelation generally will recognise Allah’s revelation in the Holy
Quran. An Alternative reading, however, is “minindihi” which is, in fact,
written the same in Arabic, with only three vowel points different. If we adopt

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this reading the clause will mean “and from Him is all knowledge of the Book”
as all knowledge of the sacred Book comes from Allah, the Quran also bears
witness to the truth of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him.

The first version referring to Companions like Tameem, Salman and Ibn
Salam is, however, the famous one. These three Companions represented three
prevalent religions of the time of the Quran’s revelation. Tameem al Dari was a
Christian, originally from the birth place of Jesus Christ as we mentioned earlier;
Abdullah Ibn Salaam was a Jewish rabbi while Salman al Farisee was a Pharisee.
They all testified to the truth of the Quran and embraced Islam.

A man once came to Tameem and reported that the latter gave a good
sermon. Then the man asked him: O Tameem! What is your daily portion which
you recite of the Quran. Tameem said: You may be one of those people who read
the Quran tonight. By Him in whose hand is my soul for me to make three rakaas
(prostrations) of prayer is dearer than to recite the Quran in one night. Then in
the morning I would tell other people about it.

The same man who made this dialogue with Tameem al Dari got angry and
said: By Allah, those remaining Companions of the Prophet should keep silent,
stop leaching people and talking severely to those who ask them. When Tameem
saw that the man got angry he said in a humble loving manner: O son of my
brother. Let me tell you one thing. Suppose that I am a strong believer while you
are a weak one, if you adopt the strong methods of worship I do, your strength
will be broken. The same thing would happen if it is the other way around. So
treat religion gently and apply as much as you can of its teachings so that you can
establish the regular worship you are able to.

As a matter of fact, this advice given by Tameem al Dari reminds me of the


three Companions who came to the home of the Prophet to ask about his
worship. When they felt that it was less than it should be. At least this was what
they imagined they said each in his turn the following: as for me I fast and never
break fasting, the second one said: I keep awake praying all night and don’t go to
bed at all. The third one said: And I do not marry women.

When the Prophet came to know what each of them stated he said: By Allah!
I am the most pious one among you; but I fast and break the fast, I keep awake
praying part of the night and sleep part of it; I also get married to women.
Whoever hates my way and avoids it is not my follower. In the same way
Tameem al Dari’s answer was gentle to the questioner.

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Muawiyah Ibn Harmal, brother in law of Musaylama al Kathaab, the false
prophet who led the campaign of apostacy against caliph Abu Bakr al Siddique,
this man Muawiyah narrates the following story. He says: I arrived in Madinah
and stayed three nights in the mosque without tasting any food. Then I came to
Umer Ibn al Khattab and said: I am a repentant before you can catch me. He
said: who are you? I answered Muawiyah Ibn Harmal. Then Umer said: Go to
the best of all believers, and be his guest.

The same narrator, Muawiyah Ibn Harmal continues. It was the habit of
Tameem al Dari that after each prayer he would take two men to his house and
give them food, one from each side. So I prayed next to him and thus he took me
to his home and gave me food. As we were with him one night a fire broke out in
the valley adjoining Madinah so Umer came to Tameem and said: Go to this fire.
But Tameem said: But who am I O leader of the Faithful? And what am I? When
Umer insisted he went and I followed him. Tameem started to drive the fire with
his hand back into its source. He then entered after it, and it was put out. Seeing
this Umer commented: He who sees this is not like him who is told about it.
Umer repeated this three times.

Humayd Ibn Abdel Rahman says: For years Tameem tried to get the
permission of Umer Ibn al Khattab to allow him to tell stories to the public, but
Umer continued to refuse. When Tameem insisted Umer asked: What are you
going to say? Tameem replied: I shall recite the Quran, enjoin what is good and
forbid what is evil. Hearing this Umer said: That is the profit. He then added:
Give your sermon before I come out for Friday prayer. Tameem started to do this
all through the regime of Umer. When Uthman became caliph Tameem asked
for another day. He was thus allowed to hold his lessons of narration twice a
week. He was one of the best interpretors of the Holy Quran and of the foremost
narrators of the biography of the Prophet. Not only this, he was also well versed
in the stories of the previous scriptures especially those which are in agreement
with the Holy Quran. Tameem al Dari used to give further details to what is
briefly mentioned in the last Divine book.

A final attitude between Tameem al Dari and Umer Ibn al Khattab is the
following one reported by Wabrah who said: once Umer saw Tameem praying
after the late afternoon prayer which is a hated time in the view of scholars. So
Umer hit Tameem with his stick. The latter said: O Umer, do you beat me on
account of a prayer which I used to establish with the Messenger of Allah? Umer
said in an apologetic manner: O Tameem not all people know what you know.

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Tameem al Dari may Allah be pleased with him, died in the fortieth year
after Hijrah. He transmitted 18 traditions from the Prophet. One of them is in
Sahih Muslim.

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SALEM IBN ABDULLAH IBN UMER

S alem was the son of Abdullah Ibn Umer Ibn al Khattab; he was the
prominant Islamic scholar of Madinah and its main judge. He was nicknamed
Abu Abdullah or Abu Umer and was born during the caliphate of Uthman Ibn
Affan. Ibn al Musayyab says Ibn Umer once said to me: Do you know why I
called my son Salem? I said: No. He said: In the name of Salem servant of Abu
Huthayfah, one of the early believers in Islam, Ibn al Musayyab again says:
Abdullah Ibn Umer was the most similar son to his father Umer Ibn al Khattab,
and so was Salem to his father Ibn Umer.

Ibn Ishaq the famous Islamic biographer, says: I saw Salem wearing woollen
clothes and working with his own hands. As a matter of fact, wearing wool refers
to the simple and rough life he used to live, added to it is that he worked in order
to earn a living. Malek says: No one during the time of Salem was similar to
righteous people in piety and virtue as Salem was. He used to buy clothes at a
very cheap price, not more than two dirhams.

Sulaiman Ibn Abdel Malek noticed that Salem was nice looking; he asked
him: What do you eat? Salem said: Bread and olive oil, and if I find meat I eat it.
Umer Ibn Abdel Aziz, who was present, said: Do you look forward to it? Salem
said: If I don’t desire it I leave it until I do. Maymoon Ibn Mahran says: I entered
upon Ibn Umer and evaluated everything in his house, all was there was not
worth more than one hundred dirhams. I also entered upon Salem, son of Ibn
Umer, after him and found him in the same state as his father.

Nafi’ says: Ibn Umer used to kiss his son Salem when both were old men. He
would say: An old man kisses another old man. When Ibn Umer was once
blamed for his exaggerated love to Salem he said: how can they blame me for my
love to my son Salem when he is dearer to me than anything else? Ibn Abi al
Zinad says: The people of Madinah used to hate having wives from among the
slave women until three great scholars, sons of such wives appeared among them.
These were: Ali Ibn al Husain, al Qasem Ibn Muhammad and Salem Ibn
Abdullah Ibn Umer. The three men surpassed the people of Madinah in their
piety, learning and worship. Hence people started to take slave women as wives.

Ibn al Mubarak says: The great scholars of jurisprudence in Madinah were


seven to whom all people would resort in any issue. These were: Ibn al
Musayyab, Sulaiman Ibn Yasar, Salem Ibn Abdullah, al Qasem, Urwa,

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Ubaidullah, and Kharijah Ibn Zayd. Whenever they received a question they
would all discuss it and judges of Madinah would wait until they receive the
answer from those scholars.

Yazeed Ibn Rooman says: Salem Ibn Abdullah used to go to the market for
his needs. Once he bought a dress and took it with him to the mosque. There he
left it with a friend of his called Abdel Malek son of Umer Ibn Abdel Aziz, the
then caliph. When Salem came back to collect it his friend said: Why don’t you
send someone to carry it for you? Salem said: No. I prefer to carry it myself. As a
matter of fact, Ibn Umer used to go to buy his things from the market and so did
Salem although he was one of the greatest men of his time.

Salem Ibn Abdullah Ibn Umer was the uncle of the famous caliph Umer Ibn
Abdel Aziz. It is reported that Salem one day visited Sulaiman Ibn Abdel Malek,
he had on very rough and old clothes. Sulaiman, the then caliph before Umer Ibn
abdel Aziz, welcomed Salem so much that he made him sit with him on the same
bed. Umer Ibn Abdel Aziz was present. A man near him said: Couldn’t your
uncle wear excellent clothes better than these so that he may meet the caliph in a
handsome shape? The man who said this had nice clothes. Umer Ibn Abdel Aziz,
however, said: But I don’t see that the rough and old clothes of my uncle have put
him in your place, nor do I see that your clothes raised you to the respectable
position of my uncle.

As for Salem’s degree as a scholar, this is clear from the following. Ahmad al
Ijly says: Salem Ibn Abdullah was a reliable student of the Companions. Ahmad
Ibn Hanbal and Ishaq Ibn Rahawih, the two great traditionalists said: the truest
chain of transmitters of tradition is this: what al Zuhri reported on the authority
of Salem from his father Ibn Umer. Again Yahya Ibn Maeen, another great
traditionalist says: Salem and al Qasem are similar in reliability, Saeed Ibn al
Musayyab is also close to them. Abbas says: I asked Yahya: Who knew Ibn Umer
better than the other Salem or Nafi’ the close student of Ibn Umer. Yahya said:
Nafi’ did not transmit traditions until Salem died. al Bukhari said: Salem did not
hear from Aisha, but his father did. Scholars noticed that Salem and Nafi’
disagreed in three traditions, but they consider Salem the most reliable of the two
men, although Nafi’s traditions are more authentic.

Salem was a very modest and humble person. He used to ride an old ugly
donkey. His sons wanted to make him leave riding it so they cut its tail, still
Salem continued to ride it, the sons then cut the donkey’s ear, but Salem rode the
same donkey; then they cut the other ear, and again Salem kept the same donkey

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and did not change it out of modesty and to avoid show or luxury.

Ashaab is the most proverbial greedy personality among the Arabs so much
so that he features well in Arabic literature due to this particular quality. He says:
I visited Salem Ibn Abdullah who said to me: We have been granted a nice food,
and I am fasting, why don’t you sit down and eat? I sat down and ate too much
until Salem said: Don’t eat the rest and you will take it with you. Then I returned
home where my wife said: O ill-omened one! Abdullah Ibn amr Ibn Uthman
seeks you, and I told him that you are ill. Ashaab said: You did well! Then he
entered a bath, covered his body with oil and a yellow material, tied his head with
a band, took a stick to walk on and came to Ibn Amr who said in astonishment:
Ashaab. The latter said: Yes. May I be sacrificed for your sake. I did not rise from
my bed since two months. Ashaab says: Salem was with him but I did not feel his
presence. He said: O Ashaab! What is it that you say? He became angry and went
out. Abdullah Ibn Amr said: My uncle must have got angry from something.
Ashaab says: I confessed to him, so he laughed along with those around him. He
gave me something. As Ashaab was leaving he met Salem who said: O Ashaab,
have you not eaten that food at my house today? Ashaaf said: Yes I did. Salem
then commented: By Allah you made me doubtful and he let him go.

Another story about Ashaab and Salem is the following: Once Ashaab
passed through a road. Some boys started to embarrass him. To get rid of them
he said: Look Salem is distributing nuts and dates. When the boys heard this
they ran away quickly. Then Ashaab ran after them and said: May be he is indeed
distributing these things. Who knows.

Hisham Ibn Abdel Malek, the Umayyad caliph once performed pilgrimage.
Then Salem Ibn Abdullah came to meet him. Hisham liked his complexion and
said: What is it that you eat? Salem said: bread and oil. Suppose your appetite
does not encourage you to take it what would you do? Asked Hisham. Salem said:
I add yeast until I like it. Hisham looked at Salem with envy. After a little while
he fell ill and died. So Hisham attended his funeral while people hated to do so
and went away. When Hisham noticed this he said: People of Madinah are too
many. He forced some of them to come to him. They all died and no one of them
returned home. So the people of Madinah said: Hisham has looked with envy at
our scholar and at the inhabitants of our city.

Ashaab whose greed made him ask people to give him something to eat tells
us the following. He says: Salem said to me: Don’t ask anything from anyone
except Allah Almighty. Salem died in the year 107 of Hijrah. As a matter of fact,

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Al Waqidi says: Salem came to Syria to convey his father’s loyalty to Abdel
Malek Ibn Marwan, then he came to al Waleed and then to Umer Ibn Abdel Aziz
may Allah be pleased with him.

Yahya Ibn Saeed says: I asked Salem about one tradition: Did you hear it
from Ibn Umer? He said: Not only once but more than one hundred times.

Atta Ibn Al Saaib says: al Hajjaj once sent a man to Salem Ibn Abdullah to
kill him. When the man approached Salem, he asked him: Are you a Muslim?
The man said: Yes I am. Then Salem continued: Have you prayed dawn prayer
today? The man replied: Yes. He then returned to al Hajjaj and said: Salem said
he is a Muslim and that he prayed dawn prayer. The Messenger of Allah peace
be upon him said: Whoever prays dawn, then he is in Allah’s security. al Hajjaj
said: We don’t want to kill him for his prayer, but because he helped others to
murder Uthman. Then the man said: You have here other people who can
revenge Uthman better than I can, and the man refused to kill Salem. When Ibn
Umer was told about the story he said: He is clever! He is clever indeed.

Hisham Ibn Abdel Malek once entered the Kaabah, where he saw Salem Ibn
Abdullah. The caliph said: Ask anything from me. Salem said: I feel shy from
Allah to ask anything in his house from other than Him. When they went out
Hisham said: Now ask me. Salem said: from the affairs of this world or those of
the Hereafter? Hisham replied: From the needs of this world of course. Salem
said: By Allah! I did not ask them from Allah who owns them, how can I ask
them from one who owns them not?

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ABDULLAH IBN AL MUBARAK

A bdullah Ibn al Mubarak represents that category of Muslim scholars


who were not Arabs by origin, but whose piety and great knowledge raised them
from the condition of ex-slaves to the great status of guides and distinguished
personalities. To say that Islam is the religion of the Arabs or the Indians or that
of any other nationality is a great fallacy indeed. The Arabs received Islam in the
beginning there is no doubt about this; they were and still are the material of
Islam; for the Quran is Arabic, so was the Prophet, and so is the major part of the
great legacy of Islamic literature; but this does not at all mean that Islam excludes
other nationalities. Islam, for that matter, internationalised Arabs and the Arabic
language, so that any person who learnt this language became automatically an
Arab. The great majority of outstanding Muslim scholars were non-Arabs by
origin. One of them was Abdullah Ibn Al Mubarak, our present personality.

Abdullah Ibn al Mubarak comes from two Turkish parents; his father was a
turkish slave working for a trader from the tribe of Bani Hanthala; while his
mother was a turkish woman from Khawarism. He was born in the year 118 after
Hijrah. al Hasan says: There was a great resemblance between Abdullah Ibn al
Mubarak and his mother. Some reporters claim that he never entered the public
bath in his life; this is, however, very strange. It is not a sign of piety to avoid
washing one self. On the contrary washing or taking a shower is the first step
before worshipping Allah in Islam. For what distinguishes this religion in one
respect is that it is the religion of cleanliness. One has to take a shower at least
every Friday, which is strongly recommended, one has to wash himself on so
many occasions that washing has become the slogan of Islam. How then can we
say that such a great person as Ibn al Mubarak never took a shower or entered the
public bath, which was there for that purpose, in his life?

Ibn al Mubarak’s house in Maru was a very spacious one. It had a huge hall
where almost all Muslim scholars, worshippers and pious men used to meet
everyday holding study circles so that when he came out, they would join him.
When Ibn al Mubarak moved to Kufah, he lived in a small house from where he
used to go out for prayer and return back home without meeting anybody,
neither did many people come to him. He was asked about his feelings towards
this change. He said: I only escaped from Maru and now I love what you hate for
me. There people asked me about everything while here I am relieved of it all.

Ibn al Mubarak was a humble person who did not like fame. His biographers

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say that once he wanted to drink from a public source of water where many people
were crowded. He was pushed and driven before he could drink, but his comment
was this: The best life is this, where you are not known nor respected. Again,
while he was in Kufah someone was reading for him the book of rites of worship
until the reader came to the following comment: Abdullah said we choose this
view. Ibn al Mubarak asked: Who wrote this about me? The reader said: It must
be the author of the book. Ibn al Mubarak did not like it and he erased the
statement and said: And who am I so that my speech should be written?

Al Hasan says: We were once waiting at the door of Sufiyan Ibn Uyayna who
had with him some senior personalities with whom he was talking A man said in
embarrassment: It is a pity that I can’t find any man, nowadays, who treats
people equally when he conveys to them his learning. Another man said:
Abdullah Ibn al Mubarak does what you say. The first man, however, said: O.K.
but who else. Do you know anyone else who also does the same? The second man
was silent. When this conversation was conveyed to Ibn al Mubarak, he said: No
but there is al Fuddayl Ibn Iyadd, why don’t people remember him?

The following incident shows the great piety of Ibn al Mubarak. al Hasan
says: I saw in the house of Ibn al Mubarak some flying pigeons. He said: We used
to benefit from the small ones of these pigeons, but now we don’t. al Hasan
asked: Why so? Ibn al Mubarak said: They mixed with other pigeons and paired
with them, so we hate to eat any of their little ones for that reason. Again al Hasan
says: I accompanied Ibn al Mubarak from Khurasan to Baghdad, I never saw him
eating alone.

Atta Ibn Muslim says: O Ubaid! Have you seen Ibn al Mubarak? I said: yes.
He commented: I never saw like him, and no one will ever see like Ibn al
Mubarak. That is why when his death was mentioned to al Fuddayl he said: May
Allah have mercy on him. He did not leave anyone behind like him. Again Abder
Rahman al Mahdi says: My eyes never saw anyone who is as sincere in his advice
to his nation as Abdullah Ibn al Mubarak was. He used to sit for long periods
alone in his house. When he was asked about this and whether he felt isolated or
not, he said: How can I feel loneliness when I am in the company of the Prophet
peace be upon him. By this he may have meant that he was studying the
traditions of the Prophet or that he was reciting the Quran which was revealed to
the Prophet peace be upon him.

Shaqeeq Ibn Ibrahim says: Ibn al Mubarak was asked: When you pray with
us you don’t sit with us. Why? He said: I go to sit with the Companions and their

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disciples. He was asked: Where are the Companions and their disciples now? He
said: I read their legacy and work so I enjoy their company, while you backbite
others. That is why I believe that to be away from people is to be closer to Allah.
Ibn al Mubarak once advised a man saying: Don’t show your asceticism to
others, for they will praise you and you will not be accepted in the sight of Allah.

Shu’ba al Masseessi says: Caliph Haroon al Rashid once came to al Raqqah,


a small town north of Syria. He found all people running after Abdullah Ibn al
Mubarak until their slippers were torn to pieces and they raised a great deal of
dust. A wife of the caliph looked from her tower. When she saw people in that
condition she asked: what is this? People around her said: A scholar from
Khorasan came to al Raqqah called Abdullah Ibn al Mubarak The royal wife
said: By Allah! This indeed is the real king, and not Haroon who used the police
and the agents to gather people around him.

Suwayd Ibn Saeed says: I saw Abdullah Ibn al Mubarak in Makkah when he
came to the well of Zamzam and drew some water to drink. He directed his face
to Kaabah and said: O Allah! Jaber quotes the Prophet as saying: Zamzam water
is good for what it is drunk for. Here I drink it to get rid of thirst on the Day of
Judgement; and then he drank it with that intention. When the Prophet said this
he meant the affairs of this life and people often asked for things of this world like
increase in knowledge, better health and the like. But Abdullah Ibn al Mubarak
was more concerned and interested in the affairs of the second life.

Naeem Ibn Hammad says: Whenever Ibn al Mubarak read the chapter of
Hadith called Riqaq which makes one’s heart tender, he becomes like a
slaughtered cow due to his crying. No one of us dared to go close to him or ask
him about anything. That is why Sufiyan says: I wish in all my life to be like Ibn
al Mubarak for one year; I, however, can not be like him for three days.

Imran Ibn Moosa of Tarsoos says: A man came to Sufiyan al Thawri and
asked him about something. Sufiyan said: Where are you from? The man said:
from the East. Sufiyan then said: Don’t you have the most learned scholar in the
East? The man asked: Who is he? Sufiyan said: Abdullah Ibn al Mubarak who is
the most learned scholar of the East and the West. We must remember here that
knowledge in religion is, in fact, part of piety. The Quran says: And fear Allah
and Allah will teach you. It is no wonder then that Ibn al Mubarak should be the
most knowledgeable man of his time thanks to his great piety.

Sufiyan Ibn Uyayna says: I contemplated the affairs of the Companions and

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those of Ibn al Mubarak and found that they surpassed him in two things only:
one is their company with the Prophet and secondly their marching with him in
battles. Once Ibn al Mubarak was blamed for distributing money in different
countries, but not in his own land. He said: I know some people who are honest
and true. They travelled abroad to seek knowledge and became in need of money.
If we leave them alone, they will be lost but if we help them they will spread
knowledge among the nation of Muhammad peace be upon him. Nothing after
prophethood is better than disseminating knowledge.

A man one day heard Ibn al Mubarak say the following: People of this world
came out from it before they could taste the best thing in it. People around him
asked: What is the best thing in this world? He said: Knowledge of Allah
Almighty. As a matter of fact, Ibn al Mubarak used to observe continuous fast;he
never slept his whole nights. When one day he was asked: what is modesty? He
said: To be proud in front of the wealthy people.

Ali Ibn al Hasan says: Nothing is more rewarded by Allah than earning
money for the sake of one’s family, not even participation in the war for the cause
of Allah. Thus spoke Ibn al Mubarak.

Once Ibn al Mubarak was asked: Who are the best people? He said: the
scholars, then he was asked: who are the kings? He said: the hermits; and when
he was asked about the worst people he said: Those who use religion to live by it
in this world.

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ABU QILABAH ABDULLAH IBN ZAYD

A bu Qilabah is the nickname of the famous imam and sheikhul Islam


Abdullah Ibn Zayd Ibn Amer al Basri from the tribe of Quddaah. He travelled
to Syria and stayed in Darayya, a suburb of Damascus. His date of birth is
unknown to biographers. As a matter of fact, he is mentioned as a transmitter of
traditions in all the famous authentic books. Thus he quoted Anas and Malek
Ibn al Huwayreth; he also quoted Huthayfah in Sunan Abi Dawood, Samura Ibn
Jundab in Sunan al Nasaee, Abdullah Ibn Abbas in Sunan al Tirmithi, Anbasa
Ibn Saeed Ibn al Aass in Bokhari and Muslim, Abu Huraira and other reporters
in Sunan al Nasaee. Abu Qilabah was one of the leaders of guidance.

Again quite a large number of people reported from him like his servant
Salman, Yahya Ibn Abi Katheer, Thabet al Bunani, Qatada and several others.
Ibn Saad says: Abu Qilabah was reliable; he transmitted numerous traditions
and his council was in Syria where he settled. Ali Ibn Abi Hamala says: Muslim
Ibn Yasar came to us in Damascus. We said to him: O Abu Abdellah! If Allah
knows that there is in Iraq anyone who is better than you, He would send him to
us. He said: How if you see Abdullah Ibn Zayd, Abu Qilabah al Jarmi! After a
number of years he also came to us, says the reporter.

Al Qadi Abdel Jabbar al Khawlani says when he talks about the history of
Darayya: Abu Qilabah’s birth was in Al Basra city of Iraq. He then travelled to
Darayya in Syria where he lived with his cousin Bayhas Ibn Suhayb. Malek says:
When Ibn al Masayyab and al Qasem died they left no books, but when Abu
Qilabah died he left behind the weight of a camel of books. On the other hand
Muslim Ibn Yasar says: Had Abu Qilabah been among the non-Arabs, he would
have been appointed chief judge. Hammad Ibn Zayd quotes Abu Khushayna as
saying: Abu Qilabah was mentioned in front of Ibn Sireen who said: He is my
brother indeed.

Hammad says: I heard Ayoob mention Abu Qilabah. He said: Abu


Qilabah is in-sha-Allah, reliable and trustworthy, a righteous man, but it
depends whom Abu Qilabah mentioned. In other words in himself Abu
Qilabah was honest but in his quotations one has to be sure first about their
trustworthiness. Another testimony in favour of Abu Qilabah is this one given
by Hammad also who said: By Allah! He was one of the intelligent scholars of
jurisprudence. I have discovered, by the way, that the most knowledgeable
scholars in Islamic judgments are those who avoid being appointed as judges.

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They are extremely afraid of Allah to do so. This is because they remember the
fearful saying and warning of the Prophet peace be upon him in which he said:
One judge will go to Paradise and two judges will go to Hell. In other words the
rate of the judges who will go to Paradise is I to 2 compared to those going to
Hell. This of course shows the great importance of establishing justice at the
hands of Islamic judges. So despite the fact that Abu Qilabah was the greatest
judge he tried to avoid this post.

Ayoob says, who was the judge of al Basra during the time of Shurayh:
When Abder Rahman Ibn Uthayna died, Abu Qilabah was chosen to be judge
in his place, but he escaped until he arrived in al Yamamah, which is at a very
long distance from al Basra. Ayoob says: then I met him afterwards and
mentioned to him his appointment as a judge. He said: The similitude of the
knowledgeable judge is like a man who fell in the sea, how long will he swim until
he drowns. So Abu Qilabah was very sensitive. He felt the great responsibility of
narrating traditions. Khaled al Hatha says: When Abu Qilabah would narrate to
us three traditions he would say: I have transmitted too much.

Ali Ibn al Madeeni says: Abu Qilabah was an Arab from Jarm; he died in
Syria and lived during the caliphate of Umer Ibn Abdel Aziz. His death was in
the year 104 after Hijrah. Abu Raja quotes his master Abu Qilabah as saying the
following: We were sitting with Umer Ibn Abdel Aziz when those present
mentioned “al Qasamah” which is the case of a killed person whose murder is
doubtful and a number of people may be accused to have shared and plotted to
shed his blood. So Abu Qilabah told Umer Ibn Abdel Aziz about it and quoted
from Anas Ibn Malek the story of the people of Urayna at the time of the Prophet
who also participated in killing some companions. They were killed. When
Umer heard this explanation from Abu Qilabah he said: You will be in good
condition as long as this man and those like him are among you, referring to Abu
Qilabah.

A word of comment is necessary here about al Qasamah which shows the


great justice of Islam, and like which you will not find a similar legislation in any
other system or religion. To understand al Qasamah we must mention the
following verses from the Holy Quran: In chapter five verse 35 we read: If
anyone slew a person, unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the
land, it would be as if he slew the whole humanity; and if anyone saved a life, it
would be as if he saved the life of the whole humanity.

In the same chapter verse 36 we read: The punishment of those who wage

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war against Allah and His Apostle, and strive with might and main for mischief
through the land is execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet
from opposite sides, or exile from the land; that is their disgrace in this world,
and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter.

In these verses we see how Islam established public security and honoured
human life at a time when killing human beings was cheaper than anything else.
Islam, on the contrary, held human life as the most sacred and dearest treasure in
life. Thus any encroachment on one soul is equivalent in the sight of Islam, to
killing all men; and any attempt to save any soul is appreciated by Islam to be
equal to saving the whole of humanity. Thus when some people in the lifetime of
the Prophet, attacked some innocent men their punishment was according to
what the aforementioned verses clarified. They were executed, crucified and
their hands and legs were cut off from opposite sides; they deserved this hard
punishment because they committed the major crime against public security.
Abu Qilabah explained this to those who asked him about al Qasamah which is
the punishment shared by the accused even if they are a whole tribe or village.

Another comment concerning Abu Qilabah and his attempt to escape being
appointed as a judge of al Basra; is the following. As a matter of fact, Islam was
one of the earliest systems that established the independence of judges from the
influence of the authorities. This reminds me how several Muslim judges used to
bring rulers in their courts and treat them same as any other accused person. I
remember here how one of the Muslim judges of Iraq gave his decision in one of
the cases against the ruler of Iraq. When the said ruler refused to implement the
orders of the judge the latter resigned and wanted to leave the city. When the
people heard this most of them followed him and the city was almost deserted.
So the ruler had no other choice but to come to the judge and ask him forgiveness
and the decision was passed upon him like anybody else. This was the position of
judges in Islam. These were not isolated cases but a tradition was established
which continued so long as Islam ruled. In other words it was practised for many
centuries in various parts of the world that came under the just rule of Islam.

To go back to Abu Qilabah, Ayoob al Sikhtiyani said: Abu Qilabah saw me


buy some bad dates, he said: Don’t you know that Allah Almighty has taken
away the blessing from all bad things. That is why Abu Qilabah is reported to
have said: Goodness of anything is like its spirit, once it is absent the thing
becomes a bad smelling carcass.

Ayoob, another reporter, says Abu Qilabah said: Don’t sit with the people

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of whims and don’t talk to them, for I fear that they may drown you with their
perversion or they may throw suspicion and doubt on what you know. Another
famous saying of Abu Qilabah is the following. He said: If you tell any man
about the Prophet’s way of life (the Sunnah) and should he tell you: Forget about
this and leave it, and give us the Quran; then know that such a man is led astray.

In another version he said: If you see the innovating person say: Let us leave
the Book and the traditions transmitted by one reporter only and let us use
reason, then this man is the father of ignorance; if you meet a man who says:
Forget about transmission and reason and give me taste and sentiment, then
know that he is Satan personified in human form. If you fear him then fly away,
but if you can then crush him and recite the verse called the Throne verse and
choke him.

Finally, it is reported that Abu Qilabah was once thirsty while he was
fasting. When he prayed to Allah a cloud overshadowed him and showered his
body with water, so his thirst was gone. Abu Qilabah died in al Areesh the well
known city in Sinai Egypt. Towards the end of his life he lost his hands, legs and
eyes and yet he was always thankful to Allah until he passed away.

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ABU SULAIMAN AL DARANI

A bu Sulaiman al Darani is attributed to a village near Damascus called


Darayya. Ahmad Ibn al Hawari says: I heard Abu Sulaiman Abder Rahman al
Anasi say: The key to this world is to take your fill, while the key to the after life
is hunger. The origin of all good in this world and in the Hereafter is fear of
Allah. Allah grants this world to those whom He loves as well as those whom He
does not love; but He gives the Hereafter only to those whom He loves.

Again the same transmitter quotes Abu Sulaiman as saying: Had it not been
for the nights I would not have liked to remain in this world. I am not here just
to make rivers run and to cultivate trees. He means to say that he is here to
worship Allah Almighty. Everything else is just a humble means to this end.

Ahmad says: I heard Abu Sulaiman say: My work for Allah was better in
Iraq, while in Syria I became more learned. When I told this to his son Sulaiman
he said: My father’s knowledge of Allah in Syria is only the outcome of his
worship in Iraq. Had he increased his obedience to Allah in Syria, he would have
increased his knowledge of Allah.

Ahmad Ibn Abi al Hawari said that he heard Abu Sulaiman saying: I heard
Abu Jaafar al Mansoor, the Abbasid caliph, crying while he was giving the
Friday sermon. I became angry and intended to rise and advise him after he
finishes the sermon concerning what I know of his deeds. I thought how I shall
stand up and go to the caliph and advise him while other people are sitting
looking at me. I would then feel arrogant and the caliph would order me to be
killed without having corrected what I felt to be wrong. I then sat down and kept
silent.

As a matter of fact, this incident is very expressive of the spirit of the age in
which Abu Sulaiman al Darani lived. First of all the caliph, who was the head of
the Islamic state, used to be a scholar, and would give Friday sermons and lead
men in prayer as well. There was no separation of church and state, and this is the
real spirit of Islam. The ruler should be well versed in the teachings of Islam.
That is why he is called the leader of the Faithful.

Another point we derive from this incident is that despite their weaknesses
Muslim rulers had soft hearts. They used to repent and cry when they
remembered their sins. Many a time other scholars would counsel them and they

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would accept these counsels and return back to the right path. This, in fact,
became a tradition between scholars and rulers. That is why Abu Sulaiman al
Darani wanted to stand up and counsel caliph al Mansoor. This tradition was not
a late development in Islam. It was there from the very beginning. The Prophet
himself used to seek the counsel of his own Companions and would sometimes
follow their advice. When Abu Bakr became caliph the first thing he did was that
he said in his first sermon the following: O people! Obey me as long as I obey
Allah and his Apostle and if I disobey Allah I deserve no obedience from you.

Again Umer Ibn al Khattab followed the same policy. He also called on
people to correct him whenever he made any mistake. A bedouin stood up and
said to him: If we see any wrong in you we shall correct it with our swords. Not
only this but a woman once stood up and confronted Umer and made him
change the legislation he was about to promulgate concerning marriage dowry.
So when Abu Sulaiman al Darani wanted to stand up and advise al Mansoor he
was following this Islamic tradition. We should not also forget when Umer said:
O people hear and obey. A man, however, objected and said: We shall not hear
nor obey you until you tell us where you got the dress you are wearing. He called
his son Abdullah who explained everything. When the man was convinced he
said: Now speak. We hear and obey.

But why Abu Sulaiman al Darani did not stand and confront al Mansoor
with his advice as he intended? He says he was ready to give his life in the attempt
which means that Muslim rulers of the time were unfortunately dictators. He
who dared to advise them would risk his life; Abu Sulaiman was ready to pay this
price but he was afraid of show and hypocrisy. For if such feelings mix with any
deed it will not be accepted by Allah Almighty, so why lose one’s life then. Again
al Mansoor would not listen to his advice and so the required correction would
not be effected.

Abu Sulaiman was an extremely pious scholar. He used to say: All that
preoccupies you and turns you away from Allah Almighty is of ill omen to you,
even if it is your family, property or children. In other words he is here warning
other Muslims not to be preoccupied with the affairs of this world at the expense
of worshipping Allah, for in this case, all that is dear for us in this life becomes
an undiscovered enemy to us simply because it engages us from our basic mission
in life, namely, to worship Allah and ascribe no partners to Him.

Another wise saying of Abu Sulaiman al Darani is the following. He says:


Those who disobey Allah and commit sins have been able to do so because they

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are humiliated and are low in the sight of Allah, for had they been dignified they
would avoid sins. That is why a Muslim is taught to make the following prayer:
O Allah! Help us to avoid slipping away from the honour of obedience to the
humiliation of sin.

Once Abu Sulaiman asked a friend of his: From what angle has a believer
forgiven those who did bad things to him? When the said friend looked forward
for an appropriate answer, Abu Sulaiman said: Because he believes that it is
Allah who is testing him with this. So he becomes patient and tolerant in the
hope that he also will be forgiven.

One day Ahmad Al Hawari said: I heard Abu Sulaiman tell the following
experience. He said: One cold night I was in the altar. My feeling of cold made
me hide one of my two hands while the other was extended. Then sleep overcame
me and I felt someone talking to me and saying: O Abu Sulaiman we have put
something good in the extended one and were your other hand in the same
position we would have done the same thing. From then on I swore to extend my
two hands in prayer.

Here is another interesting story about Abu Sulaiman al Darani which he


asked Ahmad Ibn Abi al Hawari not to narrate until his death. He said: As I was
prostrating myself in prayer, sleep overcame me, then I saw her, that prettiest
maid who kicked me with her foot and said: Love! Do your eyes sleep while the
Royal King is awake observing those who worship Him by night? Misery to the
eye that prefers the pleasure of sleep to the great pleasure of appealing to the All
Powerful. Rise because leisure time is coming closer. Do you lie down while I am
being prepared for you since such and such a time. Abu Sulaiman says: I jumped
to my feet perspiring out of shyness due to her blame to me. Her beautiful voice
is still ringing in my ears and heart.

Another saying of Abu Sulaiman which may run as a proverb is the


following: There is no harm in what you strive for as long as you will have what
pleases you. Again he says: When one’s self becomes hungry and thirsty his heart
will become pure and tender; but when it is satisfied and its’ thirst is quenched
then the heart becomes blind. He is reported to have also said: I would not like to
have all that is on earth while I neglect the remembrance of Allah for a twinkling
of an eye. Another beautiful expression of his that shows his ultruism and
selflessness is the following: Had the whole world and its pleasures become one
morsel and a brother would approach me, I would love to put it in his mouth.

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Again Abu Sulaiman teaches us great lessons in a few words. He says: Once
the Hereafter is in your heart, this worldly life will try to compete with it in it,
while if this worldly life fills one’s heart the Hereafter will not compete with it,
because the Hereafter is honourable while this world is miserable and deceitful.
He also said: Whoever says I have great hopes in Allah without fearing Allah is
deceived indeed.

In his prayers to Allah Abu Sulaiman al Darani says: O Allah! If You would
punish me because of my evils I would appeal to You in the name of Your
generosity; if You take me due to my sins I come to You with my belief in Your
unity; and if You would put me in Your Hell among Your enemies, I would tell
them of my love to You.

Abu Sulaiman’s love of Allah is expressed in the following words: A wise


man would not accept that this world is for him since its creation is to enjoy its
pleasures while he is deprived from the blessing of feeling the presence of Allah
not even for one hour. How would then be the condition of the man who is
deprived of remembering Allah here and in the Hereafter.

Again Abu Sulaiman says: The people of obedience enjoy their piety more
than the people of this worldly pleasures taste their play. Had it not been for the
existence of the night 1, for one, would not like this world at all. He also said: If
a wise man should cry for the pleasure of obedience which he lost, he should then
cry the rest of his life.

Look also at Abu Sulaiman’s view of sins. He says: The most beneficial
thing Prophet Dawood did was, in fact, his sins for he was all the time afraid and
escaping from them until he joined his Lord. This was an example of pious
people who lived in this world while their hearts and minds were concentrated on
the rememberance of Allah and were set wholly on the Hereafter.

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AL SHAABI

A amer Ibn Shurahbeel al Shaabi was an outstanding scholar of his time. He


was born in Yemen. His mother was an ex-slave from Jaloola, a village in Persia.
This is then another example of a great scholar whose mother was a prisoner of
war. This did not deprive him from greatness because the basis of greatness in
Islam is piety and work, and not origin and lineage.

Al Shaabi was born six years after the beginning of the caliphate of Umer
Ibn al Khattab. Other reporters put it at the 21 st year. He met Ali Ibn Abi Taleb
and prayed behind him. He also heard traditions from a number of senior
Companions of the Prophet peace be upon him. al Shaabi transmitted traditions
from a large spectrum of people. A lot of other scholars also quoted him. al
Shaabi was born as one of a twin so he used to say: Even in the womb I had
someone to push me. He stayed in Madinah where he learnt a lot from Ibn Umer.
He used to learn everything by heart without writing anything at all.

Al Shaabi says I met almost five hundred companions of the Prophet peace
be upon him. Makhool says: I never saw any scholar more learned and
knowledgeable than al Shaabi. Al Shaabi describes his personality in addition to
his great standard of learning in the following words. He says: No relative of
mine ever died but I paid back his debts; I never beat any of my slaves, and I
never satisfied myself from anything which people look for.

Abu Mijlaz says: I never saw anyone more learned than al Shaabi, not even
Saeed Ibn al Masayyab, Tawoos, Atta, Al Hasan nor Ibn Seereen; for I have seen
them all. Once a man asked al Shaabi the following question: Is the child born
through adultery the worst of the three parties concerned? al Shaabi said: Not in
the least. For had he been as you say his mother would be stoned to death while
he is still in her womb. Of course this is not the case, but the woman is delayed
until she gives birth to the child and then she receives her deserved punishment.

As a matter of fact, a scholar like Abu Huraira misunderstood this issue; for
he used to generalize and say that the born child of adultery is the worst of the
three parties concerned. When Aisha heard this she said: May Allah have mercy
on Abu Huraira. He misheard and misunderstood. The tradition was about a
man from among the hypocrites who used to harm the Prophet. When he was
told that the man was the product of adultery he said: He is indeed the worst of
the three. The Prophet was not referring here to the natural process itself,

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because Islam does not hold anyone responsible for others’ sins, but each one is
accountable for his own sins; and the man proved to be the worst by his deeds
and not by birth.

Ibn Uyayna says: the greatest scholars were three: Ibn Abbas, al Shaabi and
al Thawri; each in his own time was the greatest scholar. Ibn Shubruma says: I
heard al Shaabi say: I never wrote black on white until this day of mine; and never
has a man narrated to me any tradition but I knew it by heart. I never needed him
to repeat it for me. This of course shows his great memory on the one hand and
that he was unlettered like the Prophet peace be upon him. Listen to him when
he says: For the last twenty years I never heard a man reporting any tradition but
I knew it better than he did. What I forgot of knowledge would no doubt qualify
any man if he knows it to be an excellent scholar.

Ibn Umer once passed by al Shaabi while he was narrating the stories of the
Battles of the Prophet peace be upon him. He said: As if this man witnessed with
us those battles. He is indeed more well versed in them and more learned than I
am. Compared to Ibrahim al Nakhee, another great scholar of the time, al Shaabi
was a supporter of conservativism while Ibrahim used reason. Whenever the two
met in any gathering al Shaabi would speak while Ibrahim would keep silent.

Al Shaabi used to say: Would that I never knew anything of this learning.
This of course is because knowledge is a judgment against the scholar in case he
knows something but does not put it into practice. He has first of all to apply
what he knows; then it is his duty to remind those who are unaware, enjoin them
and forbid them. He may also not be sincere in his knowledge or he may be
arrogant and argue with others for the sake of argument and to show his learning
so that he may get leadership in this world which is coming to an end.

Al Shaabi was nicknamed Abu Amr. One day he was asked about something
but he did not give any answer. A man with him who did not know al Shaabi said:
Abu Amr says so and so meaning al Shaabi himself. The latter was surprised and
said: This lie takes place in my life, so in my death you will be a greater liar.

Abdel Malek Ibn Marwan once sent al Shaabi as a messenger from his side
to the emperor of the Romans. When al Shaabi conveyed the message and
brought with him the answer of the Roman king, Abdel Malek read it and said:
O Shaabi! Do you know what he wrote to me? al Shaabi asked: what is it O leader
of the Faithful? Abdel Malek said: He wrote to me the following: I expressed my
astonishment of your co-religionists! How they did not make your messenger

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their leader. al Shaabi said very humbly: This is because he only saw me and not
you, which was a compliment to Abdel Malek who said very frankly: As a matter
of fact, he only meant to instigate me to kill you. When the Roman king came to
know this he said: He is indeed the son of his father! For this is exactly what I had
in mind.

Al Shaabi had a serious story with al Hajjaj the well known dictator on behalf
of the Umayyads. He recollects this and says: When al Hajjaj came and met me
he asked me about a number of scholarly things and found me well versed
therein. Then he appointed me chief of my tribe and chief ruler of Hamadhan
and decided a salary for me. I continued to be respected and honoured by him
until the movement of Abder Rahman Ibn al Ashaath took place. When the
latter made his rebellion the Quranic reciters of Kufah came to me and said: O
Abu Amr! You are our leader ... They pressed on me until I marched with them
in support of that rebellion.

Al Shaabi continues his story and says: When I stood between the two
armies I mentioned al Hajjaj badly and criticised him too much. As a matter of
fact, the Quranic reciters were pious and righteous people in Iraq. They rebelled
against al Hajjaj on account of his oppression, and because he used to delay
prayers and would establish two prayers together without being on travel. Thus
Abder Rahman Ibn al Ashaath rebelled against him. He was an obeyed noble
leader and his grandmother was the sister of Abu Bakr al Siddiq. Thus about
100,000 or more gathered around him. They defeated al Hajjaj several times and
he was about to surrender; but al Hajjaj stood firm until he conquered al Ashaath
and killed many people.

When al Hajjaj knew that al Shaabi joined al Ashaath and attacked him he
said: By Allah! If I catch him I shall make the world look very narrow in his eyes.
Then when al Ashaath was defeated al Shaabi went to his house and closed it upon
himself. He stayed there for nine months. al Hajjaj then announced that whoever
joins the army of Qutayba Ibn Muslim directed to conquer Khorasan, will be
secure. Thus al Shaabi joined the said army. He was respected by its leader.

One day Qutayba wanted to write a letter to al Hajjaj. al Shaabi dictated it


on him. al Hajjaj recognised the style of al Shaabi and asked Qutayba to send
him to him. When al Shaabi met the fearful al Hajjaj, the latter wanted to punish
him, but he was so clever in his talk to al Hajjaj that the latter forgave him and
let him go.

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Al Shaabi once said: learning Islam used to be sought by scholars who had
two qualities. They were wise and pious. But today, al Shaabi says, I am afraid
that those who learn Islam are neither pious nor wise. Describing the injustice
and envy of other people towards him al Shaabi says: By Allah! If I prove to be
right ninety nine times and make one mistake once, they will mention that
mistake only and ignore the rest.

Once al Shaabi said: The Muslim nation today is divided into four factions:
those who like Ali but hate Uthman, those who hate Ali and like Uthman, those
who like them both and those who hate them both. When an attendant asked al
Shaabi: of which one are you? al Shaabi said: I hate those who hate them.

Rabeeah Ibn Yazid said: I sat next to al Shaabi one day in Damascus during
the caliphate of Abdel Malek. A man from among his companions quoted the
Messenger of Allah as saying: Worship your Lord and don’t ascribe partners to
him, establish prayer, give charity and obey rulers. If it is good you will get it, but
if it is evil it is on them and you will be absolved of it. al Shaabi said: You lie. By
this al Shaabi meant that the man made a mistake.

To conclude this report on al Shaabi it is important to say that he qualified


for greatness not only because he was learned, but due to the fact that he was
clever, and pious. This was despite the fact that his mother was an ex-slave and
prisoner of war as we mentioned earlier.

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MUHAMMAD IBN SEEREEN

I mam Muhammad Ibn Seereen, Shaikhul Islam was nicknamed Abu Bakr
al Ansari from Basra, south of Iraq. He was the servant of Anas Ibn Malek the
well known Companion and beloved servant of the Messenger of Allah. His
father was a prisoner of war from Jargaraya, near Wasett and Baghdad. Anas thus
owned him as his slave then he liberated him after he imposed on him a lot of
money as a ransom. When Anas saw that his slave became very rich he wanted to
delay the implementation of the emancipation contract, in order to inherit him;
but Seereen complained to Umer Ibn al Khattab who ordered Anas to end
Seereen’s slavery.

Anas Ibn Seereen says: My brother Muhammad was born two years before
the end of Umer’s caliphate. Ibn Seereen heard from a number of senior
Companions like Abu Huraira, Ibn Abbas, Adiy Ibn Hatem, Ibn Umer and
several others. He was also quoted by many others like Qatada, Ayoub, Ibn Awn
and several others. Thus he represented an important cycle in the chain of
tradition transmitters.

There is difference of opinion concerning the birth of Ibn Seereen. Other


reporters put it in the caliphate of Uthman and not Umer Ibn al khattab which is
more acceptable. He died in the age of seventy eight.

Muhammad Ibn Seereen witnessed thirty Companions of the Prophet peace


be upon him. He used to transmit traditions literally while al Hasan used to
convey their meanings only. Amr Ibn Dinar once said: By Allah I never saw like
Tawoos. A man who was present said: If you had seen Ibn Seereen, you would
not say this. He was a special character by himself. Ibn Awn said: My eyes never
saw better than three men: Ibn Seereen in Iraq, al Qasem Ibn Muhammad in
Hejaz and Raja Ibn Haywa in Syria.

Muhammad Ibn Jareer al Tabari says: Ibn Seereen was a great scholar, a
pious and a literary man. He transmitted numerous traditions; he was truthful.
The great scholars testify that he was a man of learning and honour. Thus he was
a reliable source. Muhammad Ibn Saad says: I asked Muhammad al Ansari about
the debt which caused the imprisonment of Ibn Seereen. He said: He sold a slave
girl to a woman; after a little while the slave girl came back to him and complained
that her mistress punishes her. Muhalmmad Ibn Seereen kept her and could not
pay back the money because he had spent it. Thus he was imprisoned.

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Muhammad Ibn Seereen loved jokes too much. He used to laugh until his
tears would overflow, while al Hasan used to talk to people and cry. Ghaleb al
Qattan says: Take from the wisdom of Ibn Seereen and do not take from the
anger of al Hasan. Again Ibn Awn says: Umer Ibn Abdel Aziz sent some money
to al Hasan which the latter accepted, but when he sent a similar amount to Ibn
Seereen he apologised and refused to accept it. Raja also says: al Hasan used to
visit the rulers and criticise them while Ibn Seereen neither visited nor criticised
them. That is why Hisham says: I never saw anyone as stiff as Ibn Seereen was
with the rulers.

When Ibn Seereen was put in prison the man in charge said to him: At night
you may go home, and in the morning you can come back. But Ibn Seereen said:
By Allah! Never shall I be a supporter of you to deceive the ruler. One report says
that the reason behind his being jailed was that he bought food at the price of
forty thousand. When he was told about its origin he left it or gave it all in
charity. So he entered prison for the debts included.

Ibn al Maroozi says: I used to sit with Ibn Seereen. Then I left him and
started to meet the Ibaddis. In one vision at night I saw as if I am with some
people carrying the funeral of the Prophet peace be upon him. I came to Ibn
Seereen and mentioned my vision to him. He said: Why have you sat with people
who want to bury the teachings of the Prophet?

Another man came to Ibn Seereen and said: I saw in my dream as though I
carry a jug of glass in my hand full of water. The jug was broken but the water
remained. Ibn Seereen said: Fear Allah! You did not see anything. The man
insisted and claimed to have seen what he mentioned. If you lie, then it is not
against me. Your so called dream means that your wife will give birth and then die.
Her baby son will remain. When the man departed he said: By Allah I saw
nothing; but his wife soon gave birth to a child who remained alive and the wife
died.

A third man asked lbn Seereen the following. He said: I dreamt that I eat
with a black slave woman from the pot of a fish. Ibn Seereen said: Will you
prepare food and invite me? The man said: Yes. When the food was served a black
woman appeared. Ibn Seereen asked the man: Did you make intercourse with
her? The man said: No. Then Ibn Seeeen said: Enter the chamber with her. The
man did what he was asked. A few minutes later he cried from inside and said:
By Allah! It is a man. Then Ibn Seereen said: He shared with you your wife.
These and other instances show Ibn Seereen’s ability to explain dreams and

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visions. As if he had a glimpse of Divine light in this respect.

Hafsa Bit Seereen says: Muhammad’s mother was from Hejaz. She used to
like colouring clothes. So whenever Ibn Seereen bought a dress for his mother he
would bring the best. On the feast day he would colour it for her. I never saw him
raise his voice in front of her, but he used to talk to his mother as if he was
listening to her. In this behaviour Muhammad Ibn Seereen was applying the
instructions of the Holy Quran which teach us to be kind to our parents and to
avoid hurting their ears with any word that might displease them, not even a
single syllabus of rebellion should be uttered by children in the presence of their
parents. The Holy Quran very strongly concentrates on this issue, unlike other
religions where we read that even prophets, Allah forbid, used to be impolite to
their mothers. One of them namely Jesus Christ is claimed to call his mother
simply “woman” which is not to be found anywhere in the Quran. The Quranic
verses which Ibn Seereen was applying here are the following:

Your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him, and that you be
kind to parents; whether one or both of them attain old age in your life, say not
to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in terms of
honour. And, out of kindness and mercy, lower to them the wing of humility,
and say: My Lord! bestow on them Your Mercy as they cherished me in
childhood. ( 17-23-4-24 )

According to the above verses Muhammad Ibn Seereen, says Ibn Awn,
should anyone see him in the company of his mother, he would think him to be
ill on account of his low voice in front of her. The same reporter also says that
whenever other people would mention an evil deed of someone in his absence, he
would mention the best that he knows about the same person. Some people once
came to him and said: We criticised you in front of others so please forgive us. He
said: How can I make lawful to you what Allah has forbidden. In other words, he
wanted to teach them a lesson not to mention anybody with what he hates in his
absence, for this is forbidden in Islam.

Ibn Seereen was not of that type of scholars who traded in their knowledge
and expected gifts from rulers or well to do people. On the contrary he was of that
respectable category of learned men who spread Islamic knowledge for the sake
of Allah. To make a living he used to trade in cloth, particularly silk. Maymoon
Ibn Mahran says: I came once to Kufah to buy silk; so I came to Ibn Seereen
there. I negotiated with him the price; whenever he sold something to me he
would ask me: Are you pleased? I would say yes; but he would repeat this for

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three times to make sure about it. He would even call two witnesses. He never
used Al Hajjaj coins in his dealings. The reporter then adds: When I noticed his
piety I bought everything I could from him.

It was the habit in those days to falsify and make fake coins. Ibn Seereen
used to discover them and keep them with him so that he may not deceive any
other Muslim. When he died, says one reporter, Ibn Seereen had 500 false coins.

When Muhammad Ibn Seereen wrote his will, for it is recommended that a
Muslim should write his will, he first of all reminded his children to fear Allah
Almighty and to be on excellent terms with each other and never boycott one
another. He recommended that they should obey Allah and his Apostle as long
as they lived. He reminded them of the will of Ibrahim to his children not to die
except as Muslims. He concluded his will with these words: Purity and honesty
are far better and more honourable and permanent than adultery and falsehood.

Muhammad Ibn Seereen died one hundred days after al Hasan al Basri on
the ninth day of Shawwal 110 after the Hijrah. It is reported that two men made
an oath of brotherhood between them. When one of them died the other saw him
in a dream and asked him about al Hasan al Basri. The deceased man replied: He
is an angel in Paradise who never disobeys Allah. What about Ibn Seereen, the
dead brother said: He enjoys what he likes and desires, but there is a great
difference between the two men. The dreamer asked: By what has al Hasan
reached that degree? The answer was: by his greater fear of Allah and his sadness.
May Allah help us to follow the steps of those great men of Islam.

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WAHB IBN MUNABBIH

W ahb Ibn Munabbih was a famous imam and a great scholar, narrator and
a story teller. His nickname was Abu Abdullah. He comes from Sanaa in Yemen
and was the brother of Hammam Ibn Munabbih another famous scholar of the
time. He was born in the 34th year after Hijra during the caliphate of Uthman.
He received his Islamic learning at the hands of Abu Huraira, Ibn Abbas, Ibn
Umer, Jaber and other great companions. A large number of reporters quoted
Wahb Ibn Munabbih.

Wahb was famous in his knowledge of the Israelite narrations; he was well
versed in the scriptures of the People of the Book, in other words the Jews and the
Christians. He is thus a reliable disciple of the companions of the Prophet peace
be upon him. Maslama Ibn Hammam Ibn Munabbih tells us about his
forefathers. He says: Their origin is Khorasan, from Harat; Munabbih was a
citizen of that city which he left in the days of Chosroe. He then embraced Islam
in the lifetime of the Prophet. His place of living was, however, Yemen. That is
why Wahb used to travel to Harat and Yemen.

As for Wahb’s knowledge of the Israelites it comes from his love to read as
many books as possible on the previous religions and prophets. It is reported that
he spent several years during which he read thirty books of thirty prophets.

Muslim al Zunji says: Wahb Ibn Munabbih spent forty years during which
he never cursed any living creature; he also spent twenty years where he prayed
dawn prayer with the ablution of night prayer. Wahb once said: I have read thirty
scriptures revealed to thirty prophets. The same reporter says that for forty years
Wahb never slept on a normal bed at night.

Hammam says: I heard Wahb say in his prayer: O Allah! Praise be to You for
ever, an innumerable praise as You deserve and as it is our duty towards You. al
Jaad Ibn Dirham says: I never spoke to any scholar but found him sometimes
give vent to his anger except Wahb Ibn Munabbih. This shows how great his
patience was. The Prophet says: A strong man is not he who conquers other men
in wrestling, but a really strong man is he who controls his anger. Wahb Ibn
Munabbih was of this category.

This does not mean, however, that Wahb was always cool and careless at the
expense of everything else. Not in the least. He used to become extremely angry

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when other people should transgress the orders of Allah. It is reported that Wahb
was sitting with a Muslim governor called Urwa Ibn Muhammad. A group of
people came to him and complained against his agent among them. They
mentioned bad things about the agent who was also present and who kept silent.
So Ibn Munabbih took a stick and beat the agent on his head until his blood was
shed. Urwa laughed and said: O Wahb! You criticise us when we get angry and
now you are doing it. Wahb said: How can’t I be angry when Allah the creator of
our brains becomes angry from such people and punishes them as the verse says:
When at length they provoked Us, We exacted retribution from them, and We
drowned them all. ( 43-55 )

Wahb Ibn Munabbih was appointed as a judge to decide among people He


was forced to accept this post against his will. One day a man said to him: You
used to see a vision, and tell us about it, then it would come true. He said:
Unfortunately it is gone! Since I undertook to be judge. In the year one hundred
after Hijra a great majority of Muslim scholars performed pilgrimage including
Wahb Ibn Munabbih. When they prayed night prayer a group of them came to
him among whom were Atta and al Hasan who wanted to discuss with him the
issue of predetermination concerning which they differed with him. Wahb
engaged himself in talking about the praise of Allah until dawn time. So they
dispersed without asking him about predetermination. As a matter of fact, he
had his own opinion on that issue which he revised and cancelled later on. Isa Ibn
Sinan says: I heard Wahb say the following: I used to have a special view of
predestination until I read more than seventy books of the Prophets. All of them
say that whoever gives himself a share in the will of Allah is indeed a disbeliever.
So I abandoned my previous view.

Describing the status of scholars before and during his time Wahb Ibn
Munabbih told Atta the following: Muslim Scholars before us turned their full
attention to their learning and neglected the world of other people. Men of this
world used to spend their money and put everything in their lives at the feet of
scholars, while now scholars offer their learning in return for worldly pleasures.
So men of this world are no more interested in the scholars’ learning due to the
depravity of its position with the scholars.

Wahb Ibn Munabbih echoes here the traditions of the Prophet when he
says: Learn from me three things: Avoid a followed prejudice, an obeyed
miserliness and one’s admiration of himself. He also says: Leave empty disputes
and argumentation, for people are divided into two kinds: Those who are more
learned and knowledgeable than you are so how do you seek the enmity of such

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respectable people; and those who are less knowledgeable and why at all should
you argue with one whom you are his superior in knowledge and he is not ready
to obey you.

Abu Salaam, one of the comrades of Wahb Ibn Munabbih quotes him as
saying: Knowledge is the closest friend of a believer, patience is his assistant,
reason is his guide, action is his slogan, tenderness is his father and kindness is
his brother. He also says: A believer looks in order to learn, speaks in order to
understand, keeps silent so that he may be secure and sits alone sometimes so
that he may win. Belief is naked, Wahb continues, its dress is piety, its ornament
is bashfulness and its capital is comprehension.

Wahb Ibn Munabbih was famous for his wise sayings. They were not,
however, empty words which had no effect on his life; they were rather real
expressions of his personal experience. Here are a few more of these: He says: He
is a winner who has three things: generosity, patience on others’ hurt, and
virtuous talk. Again he says: Have as much friends as you can; if you don’t need
them, they will not harm you, while if you need them they will help you. On
another occasion he said: If you hear one praising you for something you don’t
have, then be sure he will accuse you of something you are innocent of.

A man once came to Wahb and said: I have decided not to mix with people.
Wahb, however, said: Don’t do that: for you have no other choice but to deal
with people and they have to deal with you, but while among them be both deaf
and hearing, blind and seeing and silent and speaking. In other words, Wahb,
here is advising the man to listen too much but talk a little, avoid vain talk and
choose only virtuous speech.

Wahb was also famous for his excellence in knowing previous books before
Islam and thus he narrated many stories, sayings and news of other Prophets. For
example he says that Noah was one of the most beautiful men of his time. He
used to wear a veil on his face. When once there was a famine on the Ark, Noah
uncovered his veil, so people forgot their hunger and enjoyed looking at him.
About Jesus Christ Wahb says: Jesus Christ said one day to his disciples: He is a
real lover of this life who becomes desperate in times of adversity. He is also
quoted to have said the following: Son of Adam! There is no use of learning what
you know not unless you translate what you learn into practical actions. If not
you will be like a man who cuts some wood and makes it a bundle, he then tries
to carry it but cannot then he cuts another bundle and so on.

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Wahb reported on the authority of Ibn Abbas who said: He becomes very
tough who lives in the desert, and he becomes forgetful who follows hunting and
he will be perverted from his religion who frequents the courts of rulers. Again
Wahb says: How fortunate is the one who is preoccupied with his sins and
forgets those of others, who humiliates himself to Allah, who gives in charity
from the money which he collected lawfully, who sits with the men of learning
and wisdom, who follows their example and who is satisfied with the way of the
Prophet and does not exceed it.

Describing the stupid person Wahb says: The stupid is the one whose talk
shows his stupidity, whose silence is a mark of his disability; if he works he
destroys things and when he leaves he loses valuable things; neither his
knowledge benefit him nor that of others. His mother wishes that she never gave
birth to him; his wife prays that she would get rid of him, his neighbour prefers
solitude and his comrade feels loneliness.

As a matter of fact, Wahb Ibn Munabbih was tested by being put in jail and
beaten. Saleh Ibn Tareef says: When Yousuf Ibn Umer came to Iraq I wept and
said: This is the man who beat Wahb Ibn Munabbih until he killed him. Here the
reporter mentions the governor of Yemen who was transferred by Hisham Ibn
Abdel Malek to rule Iraq. But he was deposed and was killed later on.

There is only one tradition reported by Wahb Ibn Munabbih in the two
books of Sahih (Sahih al Bukhari and Sahih Muslim). Wahb quotes his brother
who transmits from Abu Huraira. He says: I heard Abu Huraira say: No one
reports traditions from the Messenger of Allah as much as I do, except Abdullah
Ibn Amr who used to write while I did not.

Wahb died in the year 114th after Hijrah.

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AL HASAN AL BASRI

A l Hasan al Basri, the leader of the disciples of the Companions of the


Prophet was, in fact, the son of Yasar the slave of Zayd Ibn Thabet al Ansari. His
mother Ummul Hasan was a slave woman of Ummu Salamah, the wife of the
Prophet peace be upon him. So he was born in the house of the Prophet, and his
father’s master was one of the famous scribes who recorded Divine revelation for
the unlettered Prophet.

Yasar, father of al Hasan was a slave captured in Meesan between Basra and
Waset in Iraq. He lived in Madinah where he was liberated from slavery. Then he
got married two years before the end of Uthman’s caliphate. al Hasan was brought
up in Wadi al Qura. Another report says that Ummul Hasan was captured and
taken prisoner of war when she was pregnant. She gave birth to al Hasan in
Madinah. What is sure, however, is that al Hasan was the son of two ex-slaves.

Muhammad Ibn Sallam says that Ummu Salama used to send Ummul
Hasan to do anything for her. Al Hasan used to cry in his mother’s absence; so
Ummu Salama would breast feed him for some time. She would also bring him
out to the Companions of the Prophet while he was still young. They would pray
for him. Once Umer Ibn Al Khattab said: O Allah! Make him well versed in
religion and make people love him.

Al Hasan al Basri was as his name implies, the greatest scholar of Basra city.
He met Uthman, Talha and a number of other senior Companions of the Prophet
peace be upon him. Abu Hilal says: I heard al Hasan say: Moses the Prophet of
Allah, used to cover his private parts whenever he took a bath. Ibn Burayda
asked al Hasan: Whom have you heard this from? From Abu Huraira, he said.

Al Hasan says: I used to enter the rooms of the Messenger of Allah during
the caliphate of Uthman; I would touch their ceilings for I was a grown up boy
then. I was 14 years old when Uthman was killed, al Hasan says. A beautiful
tradition reported by al Hasan al Basri on the authority of Anas Ibn Malek is
the following. He said: The Messenger of Allah peace be upon him used to give
the Friday sermon while standing near a piece of wood against which he would
lean his back. When the number of people increased in the mosque he said:
Make a pulpit of two steps for me, which they did. When the Prophet stood up
to give the sermon on Friday the said piece of wood moaned as if it expressed
its sad feeling of missing the Messenger of Allah peace be upon him. Anas

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comments: I was in the mosque and heard the piece moan. It continued to
moan until the Prophet descended to it and embraced it. Then it was silent. As
a matter of fact, whenever al Hasan narrated this tradition he would cry and
say: O slaves of Allah! A piece of wood misses the Messenger of Allah! It is you
who should do so.

It may sound strange how can a piece of wood moan and feel sorry and miss
the absence of the Prophet. First of all there are other authentic traditions that
confirm this incident. As Muslims we believe that everything in this world
glorifies the praises of Allah. Trees and stones used to greet the Messenger of
Allah, which is one of his minor miracles.

Rabeeah Ibn Kulthoom quotes al Hasan al Basri as saying: We learnt from


Abu Huraira the following: The Prophet ordered me to do three things: To take a
shower every Friday, to finish my prayers nightly with one final prostration and
to fast three days of every month. Muhammad Ibn Saad says in his famous
encyclopedia called al Tabaqat that al Hasan al Basri was all embracing in his
knowledge, a real scholar of a high standard, one who excels in jurisprudence,
reliable as a source, trustworthy, a sincere worshipper, overflowing with learning,
outspoken, beautiful and handsome. He was also one of the bravest men. No one
looks like him except a prophet. That is why Ibn Burda says: No one is similar to
the Companions of the Prophet as he was. Thus Abu Qatada says: Keep close to
this old man, for I have seen no one whose opinion is like that of Umer as al Hasan
is. So Anas Ibn Malek says: Ask al Hasan for he still remembers while we forgot.

Muath Ibn Muath says: I said to al Ashaath: You have met Atta and you had
questions to ask why didn’t you ask him? He said: I have never met anyone after
al Hasan al Basri but was small in my eyes. Hammam says: It is said that the
earth will never be lacking in seven men; through them people will get rain, and
with their blessing they will be defended and I hope that al Hasan is one of them.
A man asked Atta about reciting the Quran on funerals. He said: We never learnt
or heard that they are recited upon. The man said: al Hasan says that we have to
recite. Atta then said: Follow this, because al Hasan is a great scholar.

Abu Jaafar al Razi says: I remained a student of al Hasan for ten years during
which I always heard something new. Once al Hasan described the effect of the
Quran on the believer. He said: Son of Adam! By Allah if you recite the Quran
then believe in it then your sadness will be long in this life, so will be your fear
and your weeping. That is why one contemporary of al Hasan says: I never saw
anyone who had such a long time of sadness as al Hasan al Basri. Everytime I met

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him I thought he had a new misfortune.

Imam al Qasseer says: Once I asked al Hasan about something. Then I said:
Scholars of jurisprudence say so and so. He said: Have you ever seen a real
scholar of this category. Such a scholar is he who is not interested in this life, who
knows his sins and who continuously worships his Lord. Khaled Ibn Safwan was
a close neighbour of al Hasan al Basri. Describing him once he said: I never saw
a man like him. His outward appearance is identical to his inner reality, his words
are identical to his deeds; if he enjoins what is right he is the first to do it, and
when he forbids what is wrong he is the farthest one from it. I found him never
in need of other people, but people were in need of him.

Al Hasan al Basri once swore by Allah that he will be humiliated by Allah


who honours money. That is why he said: Two bad comrades are the dinar and
the dirham. They are useful to you only when they leave you.

Hajjaj al Aswad says: A man once expressed the following wish. He said:
I wish I were a hermit like al Hasan, as pious as Ibn Seereen, as a good
worshipper as Ubadah Ibn Abd Qays and as understanding jurisprudence as
Saeed Ibn al Musayyab. Those who heard these wishes said: All these are
found in al Hasan al Basri.

Iyas Ibn Abi Tameema says: I saw al Hasan in the funeral of Abu Raja. He
was riding a mule and al Farazdaq, the famous poet, was along his side on a
camel. The latter said to al Hasan: You and I are higher than all those attending
the funeral. They will say: Look! The best and the worst are together alone. al
Hasan very humbly said: O Abu Firas. It may be that a bad looking person is
much better than me; and you are better than many old men who are polytheists.
What have you prepared for death? al Farazdaq said: The testimony that there is
no deity except Allah. al Hasan said: It has its own conditions. Don’t attack
chaste women in your poetry. al Farazdaq asked: Is there any chance for
repentence? al Hasan said: Of course there is.

Sahl Ibn Hussayn al Bahilee said: Once I sent to Abdullah son of al Hasan al
Basri and asked him to send me all the books of his father. He wrote to Sahl
saying: When my father became seriously ill he asked me to collect them which
I did. Then al Hasan ordered his servant to burn them all except one paper which
he sent to his son. When the latter came to his father al Hasan he asked him to
read the contents of the paper which he did and al Hasan approved it.

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Here are a few wise sayings of al Hasan. Saleh al Murri says. al Hasan said:
Son of Adam! You are nothing but a number of days, whenever each day passes
then part of you has gone. Mubarak Ibn Faddalah says: I heard al Hasan say the
following: Death has shown the reality of this worldly life. It did not leave any
happiness for those who are wise. Thabet quotes al Hasan as saying: The laughter
of a believer is a sign of the inadvertence of his heart. Talha Ibn Sabeeh says: Al
Hasan said: A believer believes in what Allah has said. He is the best of men in his
deeds, but he fears Allah most, so that if he spends the size of a mountain of
money, he would not be sure of his reward until he sees this with his own eyes. The
more righteous and charitable the believer is, the more afraid of Allah he becomes.
While the hypocrite says: Men are too many, I shall be forgiven. There is no harm
on me. Thus he acts badly, but wishes many things from Allah. This wise saying
of al Hasan al Basri reminds me of another saying which describes real faith
according to Islam. Faith is not mere wishes but what you have in your heart
which is confirmed by your deeds. This means that deeds are the real test of faith.

Younus says: When death approached al Hasan he began to say: We are for
Allah and to Him we will return. When he repeated this his son said: My father
you make us sad for your sake. Have you seen anything around you which you
don’t like? al Hasan said: It is only myself nothing is more heavy for me than it
is. Hassan Ibn Hisham says: We were with Muhammad Ibn Seereen on
Thursday evening when a man told him about the death of al Hasan al Basri. He
was so sad that he kept silent and the colour of his face was changed. He lived
after al hasan for one hundred days only. May Allah be pleased with them both.

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MUTTARRIF IBN ABDULLAH

M uttarrif son of Abdullah Ibn al Shikheer was the famous imam, and
authority on religion. His nickname was Abu Abdullah al Aamiri al Basri
brother of Yazid Ibn Abdullah. He transmitted traditions from his father, and
quoted a good number of senior Companions of the Prophet like Ali Ibn Abi
Taleb, Imran Ibn Hussayn, Ammar, Abu Tharr, Uthman, Aisha and several
others. On the other hand those after him quoted him like al Hasan al Basri, his
brother Yazid, Qattada, and many others.

Muttarrif Ibn Abdullah Ibn al Shikheer was thus the son of a Companion of
the Prophet peace be upon him. He quotes his father who said: I came to the
Prophet while he was praying. He heard the sound of the Prophet crying in
prayer and a sound similar to that of boiling water was heard from his breast due
to this. This tradition shows how weeping due to fear of Allah is allowed in
prayer. It was Muttarrif’s father who transmitted it.

Ibn Saad in his Tabaqat mentioned Muttarrif and said: He is reliable, pious,
wise and polite. In the mischief of Ibn al Ashaath it was only Muttarrif and Ibn
Seereen who were saved in the city of al Basra.

Al Ijlee says: He was reliable no one was saved from the tragedy of Ibn al
Ashaath in Basra except Muttarrif and Ibn Seereen. In Kufah two other scholars
only did not take part in that tragic incident namely, Khaythama Ibn Abder
Rahman and Ibrahim al Nakhee.

Ghaylan Ibn Jareer says: Once a dispute took place between Muttarrif and
another man who lied to him. Muttarrif said: O Allah! If he is a liar then let him
die. The man died on the spot to the great surprise of those attending it. When
the case was mentioned to Zyad, the ruler of Basra, he said: you have killed the
man. Muttarrif said: No. It was only a prayer that agreed and coincided with his
fate and nominated term.

Ghaylan again says: It is true that Muttarrif used to wear handsome


clothes, ride horses and go to rulers, but if you go to him you will achieve the
pleasure of your eye. Muttarrif used to say: Increase in knowledge is better than
an increased worship. The best of one’s religion is his sensitive piety. Yazeed Ibn
Abdullah Ibn al Shikheer said: Muttarrif is ten years my senior and I am ten
years older than al hasan al Basri. This means that Muttarrif’s birth was in the

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year of the battle of Badr or that of Uhud, and so he must have heard from Umer
and Ubay Ibn Kaab. Ibn Saad in his Tabaqat says: Muttarrif died at the
beginning of al Hajjaj’s take over which is incorrect because, as we said earlier
he attended the mischief caused by al Ashaath’s emergence. Tirmithi says his
death was in the 95th year after Hijrah.

Muttarrif Ibn Abdullah said: For me to sleep all night and wake up
repentent is better than to spend all night in prayer and awake arrogant; because
he is a loser who is arrogant or who praises and admires himself. That is why
Muttarrif says: For Allah to ask me why haven’t you done this is much better
than if he should ask me why have you done it. Again he is reported to have said:
A slave is between Allah and Satan; if Allah saves him he will be secure, but if
Allah leaves him to Satan, he will take him away and go.

Referring to the fact that it is Allah only who helps man to do good,
Muttarrif says: If my heart should be extracted and put in my left hand and good
deeds were put in my right hand, I would not be able to put any good things in
my heart except with the help and will of Allah. Again he says: Death has
destroyed all the pleasures of the well-to-do people. So seek happiness that has
no death.

Expressing the true Islamic concept of man’s free will Muttarrif says: No
one should ride a high mountain and throw himself from its top and then say:
this is the will of Allah for me; but a man should take care, persevere and ward
off. If anything, however, should befall him, he should know that nothing will
happen to him except what Allah has written for him.

Muttarrif was a rich man. He paid a huge dowry for his wife; and he used to
wear nice and handsome clothes; this was because he remembered the saying of
the Prophet wherein he said: Allah is beautiful and He likes everything that is
beautiful. In another tradition the Prophet said: Allah likes to see the reflection
of his Grace on his slaves. Thus in the Holy Quran we read: Say: Who has
forbidden the ornaments of Allah, which He has produced for His servants, and
the good provisions? Say: They are in the life of this world for those who believe,
and purely for them on the Day of Judgment. ( 7-32 ) This does not mean that
Muttarrif was keen only to have the pleasures of this world. He was a real seeker
and worker for the Hereafter. Thus his speech was always effective in the hearts
of those who heard him.

Qatada says: When there was a mischief Muttarrif would forbid it and warn

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from indulging into it and would escape while al Hasan al Basri used to forbid it
but would not move from his place. Again Qatada narrates the following
incident. He says: Muttarrif was once walking with a friend of his on a pitch dark
night. The end of the whip of one of them had a light in it. Another version says:
The whip was heard glorifying Allah and celebrating His praises. Mutarrif’s
comrade said: If we tell people about it they will not believe us. Muttarrif said:
The liar is the one who refuses to believe this.

Another strange but true story about Muttarrif is the following: Muttarrif
used to go to the desert. On each Friday night he would ride his horse and go
around. His whip would be lit like a torch for him. One night he entered a
cemetry and became drowsy while still riding his horse. He says; I saw as though
those buried in the graves each one sitting on his tomb. When they saw me they
said: This is Muttarrif who comes on Friday. Muttarrif says: I asked: Do you
know about Friday in the graves? They said: Yes we know what the birds say
about it. Muttarrif asked: What do birds say? They said: They say: Peace! Peace!
What a day of righteousness!

A word of comment is necessary here. Miracles can take place at the hands
of pious men. They, however, do not seek them nor are they arrogant when they
refer to them. They attribute them to Allah Almighty as a sign of His Grace. For
birds to say something that means a kind of glorification to Allah is confirmed by
the Holy Quran itself. Nothing in the universe but celebrates the praise and glory
of Allah. The following verse confirms this fact: Don’t you see that it is Allah
whose praises all beings in the heavens and on earth do celebrate, and the birds
with wings outspread? Each one knows its own mode of prayer and praise. And
Allah knows well all that they do. ( 24-41 )

Two men mention the following story: They entered upon Muttarrif and
found him fainting. Three lights shone from him brilliantly: one from his head,
another from his waist and the third from his legs. The two men were surprised
to see this. When he awoke from his unconsciousness, they said: How are you
Abu Abdullah? He said: Good. They told him what they saw upon which he
said: These are the product of reciting the chapter of prostration which is 29
verses; its beginning lit my head, its middle my waist and its end my feet. I feel
that it will intercede with Allah for me. Reciting it is a guard for me.

Muhammad Ibn Wasea says: Muttarrif used to say: O Allah! Be pleased


with us. If not then forgive us. For the master may forgive his slave although he
is dissatisfied with him. Muttarrif also used to say to his friends: O my friends!

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If anyone needs something, let him write it on something instead of talking about
it to me, for I hate to see in your face the humiliation of begging. As a matter of
fact, Yazid Ibn Abdullah, Muttarrif’s brother once said: Muttarrif asked us not
to tell anyone about his funeral. Yazid lived a few years after Muttarrif.

Qattada quotes Muttarrif as saying: I met Ali Ibn Abi Taleb may Allah be
pleased with him. He said: O Abu Abdullah! What is it that delayed you from
coming to me? Is it your love to Uthman? If you say yes, he deserves this, because
he was the best one of us in doing good to his kins and was the most pious one
among us. Mahdi Ibn Maymoon says Muttarrif said: My fear of Hell fire was
about to forbid me to ask Paradise from Allah.

Ibn Uyayna says: Muttarrif Ibn Abdullah said: I would not like to commit
one lie even if I have the whole world for it. This shows how keen he was to say
the truth and to avoid falsehood. Some perverted people during the times of
mischief came to Muttarrif and asked him to follow them. He said: Look here! If
I had two souls I would give you one and keep the other; if you are rightly guided
I would give you the second one; but if you are perverted I would save one of the
two. But I only have one soul and so I am not ready to risk it.

Muttarrif said: For me to be in a blessing and thank Allah for it is better than
to be tested and be patient. When Muttarrif used to enter his house even the
utensils would glorify Allah with him. Muttarrif died in the 86th year after
Hijrah.

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MUHAMMAD IBN AL HANAFIYAH

I bn al Hanafiyah as he is well known, was the third son of Imam Ali Ibn
Abi Taleb. His mother was called al Hanafiyah, hence his nickname. Ibn al
hanafiyah was born in the year in which Abu Bakr al Siddiq died. He thus
transmitted from a number of companions of the Prophet. As a matter of fact,
Ibn al Hanafiyah says: My name was approved by the Prophet. Once my
father(Ali) said: O Messenger of Allah! Should I have a son after you, can I give
him your name and your nick name? The Prophet said: yes.

Once Ali and Talha quarrelled with each other. Talha said: Your audacity
drove you to call your son after the Prophet’s name and nickname! Ali, however,
said: The audacious is the one who transgresses against Allah and his Apostle.
Then he called some people of Quraish and asked: What do you testify? They
said: We testify that the Prophet peace be upon him said: After me you will have
a son to whom I have given my name and nickname; and this is not allowed to
anyone else of my nation, meaning to have both. Ibn al hanafiyah was an
extremely pious and a great scholar of his time. No one else transmitted
traditions from Ali as much as he did.

Abu Aassem says: Muhammad Ibn al-Hanafiyah overcame Marwan ibn al


Hakam on the day of the camel, the battle between Ali and Muawiya. He sat on
his chest. After some time, when Ibn al Hanafiyah visited Abdel Malek ibn
Marwan the latter said: Do you remember when you sat on the chest of Marwan.
Excuse me O leader of the Faithful. Ibn al Hanafiyah replied. Abdel Malek,
however, said: I mention it to you while I intend to reward you, because I want
you to know that I have been told about it.

Al Waqidee says: When ibn al hanafiyah moved to live in Madinah, and


established a house for his family at al Baqee, he wrote to caliph Abdel Malek
to get his permission to march to him. When the latter allowed him to come he
arrived in Damascus in the year 78 after Hijrah. He stayed there for a whole
month and then spoke to Abdel Malek alone, mentioned his relation to him
and the debt he suffered from. Abdel Malek promised to settle his debt and
gave him all that he owed due to the bad treatment he received from Abdullah
Ibn al Zubair.

Some people called Ibn al Hanafiyah “al Mahdi” or the guided one and
claimed that he did not die at all. This is of course contrary to the basic

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teachings of Islam.

Ibn al Hanafiyah was born during the caliphate of Abu Bakr, says Ibn Saad
in his Tabaqat. Asma bint Abi Bakr says: I saw the mother of Muhammad Ibn al
Hanafiyah who was a black woman from Sind. She was a slave for Haneefa tribe.
Yahya Ibn Saeed says: I asked Ibn al Musayyab: How old were you during the
caliphate of Umer? Ibn al Musayyab said: I was born in the last two years of his
caliphate. When this was mentioned to Ibn Al Hanafiyah he said: That is my
birthday. This is of course contrary to what Ibn Saad mentioned.

Ibn al Hanafiyah says: As I was with my sister Ummu Kulthoom Umer Ibn
al Khattab entered. He embraced me and said: Treat him kindly and give him
sweets. This is mentioned by the reliable Ibn Asakir in his history. It clearly
shows the excellent relation between Umer and the family of Ali Ibn Abi Taleb.
Ibrahim Ibn al Junaid says: No one ever quoted Ali as often and as much as Ibn
al Hanafiyah. He was extremely pious and had much knowledge.

Munthir al Thawri says: I was with Muhammad Ibn al Hanafiyah when he


said: I don’t testify that anyone is safe from Hell fire, neither that anyone is from
the owners of Paradise after the Messenger of Allah peace be upon him, not
even my father Ali. This shows how pious and unbiased and humble Ibn al
Hanafiyah was.

Abdel Malek Ibn Marwan once wrote to Ibn al Hanafiya saying: From
Abdel Malek, leader of the Faithful to Muhammad Ibn Ali. When the latter read
the said letter he said: We shall all return to Allah. The freed slaves and those who
were cursed by the Messenger of Allah are now on the forums of leadership!
What a strange turn of affairs. When Ibn al Zubair was killed, and the kingdom
was established for Abdel Malek, Ibn al Hanafiyah expressed his loyalty to him.

Al Zuhri says: A man once asked Ibn al Hanafiya: Why your father used to
send you on risky missions which he never asked al Hasan and al Husain to do?
Ibn al Hanafiyah replied: Because my two brothers were his cheeks and I was his
hands; so he used to keep danger away from his cheeks by his hands. Again Ibn
al Hanafiyah said: He is not wise at all who does not treat gently those whom he
has to be kind to until Allah makes a way out for him. Another wise saying of Ibn
al Hanafiyah is this: This life has no value for him who honours himself. Allah
has made Paradise the price of your souls, so don’t sell them for other things.

In the year 65 after Hijrah ibn al Zubair asked Ibn al Hanafiyah to express

246
loyalty to him; but he refused and said: I won’t give you my support until you
conquer the whole land. Ibn al Zubair, however, beseiged him and threatened to
kill him. al Mukhtar, says: al Waqidee was the staunchest enemy of Ibn al
Zubair. He claimed that Ibn al Zubair used to ask power for Ibn al Hanafiyah
and that he dealt with him unjustly. He then started to praise Ibn al Hanafiyah
and ask people to make him caliph which many did secretly.

Some people, however, doubted in what al Mukhtar was doing. They said:
We gave this man our oaths simply because he claimed that he is the agent of Ibn
al Hanafiyah who is in Makkah, not very far from us. Some of them, accordingly,
went to Ibn al Hanfiyah and told him about the affair of al Mukhtar. When he
heard this he said: We are beseiged as you see. By Allah I don’t like to have
authority over the whole world and kill one single believer. I pray to Allah to
support us through the help of whom He pleases, but beware of liars.

Al Mukhtar was, however, very clever and cunning. He falsified a letter in


the name of Ibn al Hanafiyah to Ibrahim Ibn al Ashtar whom he visited to take
his leave. al Ashtar was told that al Mukhtar the agent of al Muhammad and their
messenger is waiting at your door. al Ashtar allowed him and gave him an
auspicious welcome. Then al Mukhtar spoke and could encourage al Ashtar to
come to his help. When the news came to Ibn al Zubair he felt bitterly against
Ibn al Hanafiyah. The affair of al Mukhtar grew stronger and stronger. He
chased the killers of al Husain and killed them. He also gave Ibn al Ashtar 20,000
warriors who marched against Ibn Ziyad, killed him and sent his head to Al
Mukhtar who in turn sent it to Ibn al Hanafiyah and to Ali Ibn al Husain.
Despite all this Ibn al Hanafiyah never liked al Mukhtar.

Al Aswad Ibn Qays says: I once met a man from Anza who said: I reached
Ibn al Hanafiyah and said: Peace be on you O Mahdi. He said: And on you be
peace. I said: I need something. When he wanted to depart I followed him. We
suffered so much due to our love to you that our heads have been cut off, we were
chased and harmed for your sake. I heard certain stories about you and so I came
to talk to you to make sure of their truth. Ibn al Hanafiyah said: Avoid these
stories. Stick to the Book of Allah. By it your predecessors have been guided and
by it the rest of you will be guided. If you have been harmed those who were
much better than you have also been hurt. The issue of the family of Muhammad
is clearer than the rising of the sun.

Muhammad Ibn Ali Ibn al Hanafiya says: I heard Abu Huraira may Allah
be pleased with him who said: There is no more critical situation than in

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shedding the blood of a Muslim. One of those present said to Ibn al Hanafiyah:
This man attacks your father. He said: No. Those in charge granted him their
loyalty. So when some people repealed their oath of allegiance he fought them.
Ibn al Zubair envies me for my position. He would that I should make a
contravention in the Holy Shrine of Makkah as he did.

Again Ibn al Hanafiyah said: May Allah have mercy on every Muslim who
is satisfied, who avoids evil either from his hand or from his tongue, and who sits
in his house. He will be rewarded according to his deeds and will be with those
whom he loved. Doubtless that the deeds of the Umayyads will be quicker in
them than the swords of Muslims. Those on the right path will have their state
which Allah will establish whenever He wills. Whoever lives until it is fulfilled
will have his honoured position; but those who die, what is with Allah is better
and more permanent.

Ibn Saad says: al Mukhtar was killed in the year 68 after Hijrah. In the
following year Ibn al Zubair sent his brother Urwa to Ibn al Hanafiyah with the
following message: I am not going to leave you until you are loyal to me, or I shall
return you to your jail. The liar whom you claimed his support to you is now
killed; and the people of Iraq are following me. So be loyal.

Ibn al Hanafiyah said: O Urwa! your brother is very swift in cutting off
relations with other relatives. He refused to give his loyalty to either Ibn al
Zubair or Abdel Malek who were competing for it until all people would
follow one of the two. Those around Ibn al Hanafiyah instigated him to kill
Urwa, he refused and said: A man has brought a message from his brother.
Why kill him then.

One day Abdel Malek asked Ibn al Hanafiyah to give him the sword of the
Messenger of Allah. He gave it to him and asked him to stop al Hajjaj from harming
him, which he did. May Allah have mercy on all those who follow His path.

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Conclusion
T his brings us to the end of “Luminaries of Islam”. Thus were
the followers of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him both men and
women who lived up to the principles of this last religion of God and thus
they were examples for humanity at its best. None of them was, however,
a monotonous repetition of any of the others but each had something great
that made him unique. It only remains that humanity today should walk
in their footsteps so that it may achieve success and happiness in this life
and in the Hereafter.

The Author

249
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