Who is Imam Ja`far (The Truthful)?

Who is Imam Ja`far (The Truthful)?

Ja`far was a wise man with a calm observant manner about him. He was always engulfed in deep thought and contemplation.

Ja`far was a wise man with a calm observant manner about him. He was always engulfed in deep thought and contemplation.

After the noble Caliphate of Abu Bakr, `Umar and `Uthman (may God be pleased with them) much turmoil and bloodshed befell the Muslim nation from within.

Sadly, after the assassination of `Ali (may God honor his face) and martyrdom of Hussein (master of the youth in heaven), it was the progeny of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his close Companions who called for a better leadership. Some called for it in a strictly political way and others called for military revolt. This brought upon them many onslaughts and assassinations from the Islamic Caliphate which had become like a kingdom where the rule is handed down through the family of Bani Ummayyah.

This turmoil amongst the Muslims caused Ja`far (the truthful) to dislike politics and made him unconcerned with the Caliphate. Instead, he focused on science and Islamic knowledge. This isn’t because of any weakness in him; it was simply because he held the opinion as the heavy majority of other scholars that taking up arms on the Muslim government leads to a blinding mayhem, oppression, spreading of lies and violating peoples honor and dignity.

Ja`far was a wise man with a calm observant manner about him. He was always engulfed in deep thought and contemplation. These qualities led him to become one of the well respected scholars and thinkers in history. His honor and fame among his time was more than that of the political powerhouses.

His Birth and Upbringing

He was born in 702 Common Era in Madinah, city of the Prophet, in the blessed month of Ramadan. Ja`far is the son of Muhammad son of `Ali son of Hussein son of Fatimah daughter of the Prophet Muhammad. He was raised in this blessed environment by a very pious mother and his father who was a great scholar.

He also learned from his grandfather from his mother’s side who is Qasim son of Muhammad son of Abu Bakr. He also learned from the other great scholars of Madinah. He later traveled to Iraq and was very diligent in seeking knowledge on Jurisprudence and the differences of opinion, Qur’anic Sciences, as well as Hadith and its sciences.

His Work in Chemistry

He also became a scholar in Chemistry. He spent time learning the laws of chemistry and other worldly like biology and geology. History doesn’t tell us where he learned this from, but we know that the famous scholar Jabir ibn Hayyan learned from him. We have this knowledge from various books of history and by different authors.

He distanced himself from politics. He lived a life far from the difficult strains of the political climate of his time. Because of this he steered clear of much of the oppression that came at the hands of the Umayyahs upon the progeny of the Prophet who claimed rightful leadership of the Islamic State oftentimes by insurgency.

Ja`far lived with honor and dignity despite the turmoil and chaos afflicting the Muslims in his time. He was invited, but never took part in any resistance to the Caliphate. This is established in the book Al-Milal wa An-Nihal by Ash-Shahrastani when he says: ‘He never interfered with the rulers’.

Even though he didn’t involve himself in this turmoil, the Caliph Al-Mansur became worried about him specifically. He began to fear him when he heard of how many people studied with him and how much they respected his great knowledge and eminence. So Al-Mansur sent spies to go and observe him as much as possible. The problem is that one of the reasons people loved him is his simplicity. His only two concerns were knowledge and worship.

His Zeal and Fervor for Knowledge

Imam Ja`far was a great scholar of fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence) known for his ability to extract rulings from the many texts without following the particular methodology of his father or any other scholar. He was a mujtahid (someone who forms legal rulings through his mastery of the Arabic language, Qur’an, Sunnah as well as the opinions of the Companions of the Prophet).

He was also one of the first to site fundamental principles based in the Arabic language in dealing with the texts. He was known for establishing the now universal rule that the basic rule of all things and actions is permissibility unless there is a prohibition in the Qur’an or Sunnah. He didn’t use analogy because he was shy of using his opinion in a given matter. In other words he relied on the texts.

He taught many of the great scholars Abu Hanifah and Imam Malik and his son Musa Al-Kazhim. He was praised by many of the scholars of Hadith as well and all of them preferred his narration over others. You will find in many books of Hadith and Qur’anic exegesis `An Ja`far ibn Muhammad. Ibn Hibban the great scholar of Hadith said about him ‘He was one of the great members of the family of the Prophet known for his knowledge and virtue.

His Opinion of Abu Bakr and `Umar

It was also his practice to exalt the Companions of the Prophet especially Abu Bakr and `Umar. It is narrated by Salim ibn Abi Hafsah: “I asked Muhammad and his son Ja`far their opinion about Abu Bakr and Umar. Abu Ja`far said: ‘be loyal to them and disavow their enemies because those two were the leaders of true guidance’. Then Ja’far said: ‘O Salim, would a man slander his grandfather?’ This is because Abu Bakr is the grandfather of Ja`far from his mother’s side. If I were to say such a thing then I would be prevented the intercession of the Prophet Muhammad on the Day of Judgment.

His Guidance and Direction

Imam Ja`far left us with some wise direction which is close to some of the wisdom found in the Sunnah of the Prophet. This is a blessing Almighty God gives the deeply faithful and virtuous. We find many of these sayings in the books of Shi`ah (Shiite), but we will mention a few from verified authentic sources. One of the best is his commands to his son at the end of his life:

’O my son, Whoever is content with that which they are given (of sustenance) has become rich, And whoever was concerned about what others have dies as a poor man, And whoever was not content with that which he was given has charged Almighty God’s will (with injustice), and whoever held in contempt the mistakes of others is presumptuous about his own mistakes, whoever reveals the faults or shortcomings of others has uncovered a major fault of his own, whoever unsheathed his sword in tyranny or aggression is killed by it (that sword), whoever digs a hole (plots against) for his brother (in humanity) to fall in (for his demise) then God will make him (the plotter) fall in it (the hole to his demise), O my son, live according to the Qur’an, spread peace, be a promoter righteousness, be a deterrent to evil, and to whoever severs their ties with you make amends and be good to them, and whoever stops talking to you then convey a nice greeting to them.

’There is no better sustenance than God-consciousness, there isn’t a better action than silence, there is no greater enemy than ignorance and no disease worse than lying.

‘Whoever doesn’t control their anger doesn’t control their intellect.’

His Death

Imam Ja`far (the truthful) was one of the greatest personalities in the history of Islam. He had a strong impact with his great knowledge, eminent character, and wisdom. This was the characteristic of many of the scholars of the early generations of the Prophet’s family and close companions.

He remained as a reference of knowledge in the city of the Prophet (Madinah) until he passed away in 765 C.E. at 63 years old and was buried in Al-Baqi` next to his father and grandfather along with the greatest of the Prophet’s companions.

May God be pleased with Ja`far and all the grandchildren of the Prophet (peace be upon him).



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Abu Bakr: The Man & Closest Companion (Part 1)

Abu Bakr: The Man & Closest Companion (Part 1)

By Harun Gultekin

As a trader, he was always fair, he never deceived people. He would visit the sick; he gave alms to the poor.

As a trader, he was always fair, he never deceived people. He would visit the sick; he gave alms to the poor.

Arabia…. a desert as huge as almost three thousand square kilometers. A desert, but one from which humanity souls have been revivified repeatedly over the course of history, from Adam to Abraham, and to Muhammad (peace be upon them all).

As recounted in the Qur’an, Abraham left his wife Hagar and son Ishmael in the valley of Mecca on God’s command.

And when Abraham said: My Lord! Make safe this territory, and preserve me and my sons from serving idols. (Ibrahim 14:35)

There was the Ka`bah there, but it had been destroyed in time. When Ishmael was young, Abraham re-constructed the Ka`bah together with him. Because of the sanctity of the Ka’bah, people began to settle around it, and this is how Makkah appeared as a town and a center of pilgrimage and trade connecting merchants on caravans from Syria and Jordan, all the way to Abyssinia (Ethiopia). Organized in tribes, Makkah suffered from racial fanaticism and feudal warfare for centuries, leaving women without a value as they could not take part in wars.

In a larger context, the Byzantium and Persian Empires were in constant conflict and intermittently fought for over sixty years, which exhausted their respective peoples. There was a desperate need for a message that prioritized peace over war, a message that celebrated freedoms and rights for everyone regardless of color, race, or gender. And came the Prophet (peace be upon him) from Makkah, who taught and promised all of these. He was not alone in his mission, and his closest Companion was Abu Bakr.

Also called As-Siddiq (the Upright, in Arabic), Abu Bakr was approximately two years younger than the Prophet. Before embracing Islam, he was known as `Abdu Al-Ka`bah (the servant of Ka`bah), then the Prophet changed his name to `Abdullah (the servant of God).

Ibn Al-Athir narrates that among the youth, frolics, dissipations and frivolities were very common behaviors, but Abu Bakr was completely different. He had a very disciplined life. Once he was asked if he had drunk wine in his days of ignorance. He said he had never touched the wine because he had wanted to keep his reputation and respectability. This shows that he enjoyed a good reputation and respectability even before Islam. (Ibn Al-Athir)

He did not receive a formal education as many other Arab men, but he was a keen observer; he was continually observing what was going on around him. He had a very good memory. He could recite verses if he heard them only once. He attended poetical events. (Ibn Al-Athir)

Abu Bakr traveled to different countries including Abyssinia, Yemen, and Syria. These business trips brought him wealth, experience and broadened his outlook on life. He became one of the richest businessmen of Makkah. Accordingly, his social importance increased among people. He was hardworking, generous, friendly, truthful, committed. He had a lot of influence among his friends and acquaintances.

As a trader, he was always fair, he never deceived people. He would visit the sick; he gave alms to the poor. (At-Tabari)

One day the Prophet asked his people: ”Is there anyone here who visited a sick one today?” Abu Bakr said: ‘I did’. ”Is there anyone who fasted today?” Abu Bakr said: ‘I did’. “Is there anyone who participated in a funeral?” Abu Bakr said: ‘I did’. “Is there anyone who assisted someone who was poor?” Abu Bakr said: ‘I did’. Then the Prophet said: “Whoever does these four deeds in one day is counted among the people of heaven”.

While Abu Bakr was still young, he volunteered for an office which decided the blood money for the killed or injured. It was like a judge or magistrate’s office. He always satisfied both sides with his fair decisions. (At-Tabari)

When God’s message was revealed to Muhammad, the first man to believe in him was Abu Bakr. On the day that he stated his belief, he gave his decision quickly and without hesitation showing he had complete trust in Muhammad. The Prophet admired his acceptance of Islam with the words: “Except Abu Bakr, everyone I have invited to Islam has experienced some period of hesitation. But Abu Bakr accepted my invitation without any hesitation”. (Al-Bukhari) In fact, Abu Bakr had always doubted the validity of idolatry and had no enthusiasm for worshiping idols.

When Islam began to spread in Makkah, Makkah polytheists inflicted torture and intimidation on the believers, forcing many of them to immigrate to Abyssinia. Yet, Abu Bakr did not leave. He preferred to stay with the Prophet to support him in his time of need. And he was going to be the company to the Prophet in the Hijrah (his historic journey from Makkah to Madinah) which would transform the course of history forever.

Later when the battles of Badr and Uhud took place between Muslims and the Arab pagans, Abu Bakr, along with a few other companions, was entrusted with the Prophet’s safety. When Makkah was at last subdued in 630 AD, all the tribes of Arabia were convinced that Muhammad was a messenger sent to them by God. They stopped resisting and sent delegates to Madinah proclaiming their allegiance to him.

While he was busy receiving delegates, he entrusted Abu Bakr to preside over the pilgrims. This incident proved of vital importance later when a caliph was chosen after the death of the Prophet. (Ibn Kathir)

To be continued…


Source: fountainmagazine.com

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Abu Bakr: The Man & Wise Leader (Part 2)

Abu Bakr: The Man & Wise Leader (Part 2)

By Harun Gultekin

His leadership

The Prophet (peace be upon him) made a pilgrimage two years after the conquest of Makkah. This would be called the ‘Farewell Pilgrimage’, as the Prophet became ill on his return to Madinah and died two weeks after the illness.

During the last days of his illness, he could not lead the prayers in the Mosque. He gave instructions to his wife `A’ishah to tell her father Abu Bakr to lead the prayers. This was taken by the Muslims as another sign to choose Abu Bakr to be their caliph after the Prophet’s departure. (Ibn Hisham)

When the Prophet died in 632 AD, many people, among whom was `Umar bin Al-Khattab, were shocked and refused to believe that he died. But Abu Bakr, steadfast as usual, addressed the bewildered masses and convinced them that Muhammad was no more than a prophet like other prophets who had died before him, and that there was no reason why they should not acknowledge his death.

After much debate, in which both sides, the Madinans and the Makkans, expressed their opinions elaborately and freely, Abu Bakr was unanimously accepted to be the first Caliph. Soon there was a public meeting in the Mosque, and people from near and far flocked there to swear their oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr. (Ibn Hisham).

The Prophet Muhammad categorically rejected racism and tribalism. He also put an end to tribal wars. Sir William Muir makes the following comment:

The first peculiarity, then, which attracts our attention, is the subdivision of the Arabs into innumerable bodies… each independent of the others: restless and often at war amongst themselves; and even when united by blood or by interest, ever ready on some significant cause to separate and give way to an implacable hostility.’

Thus at the era of Islam the retrospect of Arabian history exhibits, as in the kaleidoscope, an ever-varying state of combination and repulsion, such as had hitherto rendered abortive any attempt at a general union… The problem had yet to be solved, by what force these tribes could be subdued or drawn to one common center; and it was solved by Muhammad.

Instead of tribalism and tribal attachment, the Prophet Muhammad instituted virtue and God-consciousness. He also instituted allegiance or public consent. People were free to elect their administrator.

So after the Prophet’s death, his followers came together and discussed among themselves who would be their new leader. Since the one who would lead the newly-established Muslim community would succeed the Prophet in his leadership in all things except prophethood, he was named the successor. The Caliph means the one who succeeds. So the leaders of the Muslim community after the Prophet’s death were called Caliph.

1- The Wars of Apostasy

Abu Bakr had to struggle with apostates and false prophets. What elements caused the wars of apostasy? First, the death of the Prophet was a great shock to Muslims. For the first time in the lives of both the Makkans and the Madinans, they were united around a single religion. Their centuries-old customs and feudal or tribal values and understandings were abolished. Their absorption of the new system would not be easy.

They accepted this system in the footsteps of the Prophet Muhammad. So his death was a great shock. Adoption of the new system was difficult especially for the newly-converted desert tribes. Some of them left the new religion and followed false prophets who appeared among them and called them back to their old customs.

Secondly, Islam instituted zakah (alms-giving or charity). It was collected from the rich and spent for the well-being of the poor and for the wayfarers left without money to complete their travel. It was also used for those who cannot pay their debts, and for those who strive in ‘God’s cause’. Some desert tribes refused to pay it after the Prophet’s death. This signaled their revolt against the new administration in Madinah.

Thirdly, the influence of the Romans from the north and the Persians and the Abyssinians from the east and the south encouraged the distant tribes to return back to their own beliefs and customs.

Abu Bakr succeeded in putting down the rebellions and re-instituted unity in Arabia. His good reputation among people, his character, and his wise measures were influential in surpassing the rebellions and re-instituting the unity. He sent military units against the revolting tribes. In the end, those tribes gave up their disobedience.

2- Usamah’s Punitive Expedition

The changes brought about by the Muslims in Arabia drew the attention of the Roman (Byzantium) Empire. In order to prevent their growing strength, they sent armies. During the time of the Prophet, Roman and Muslim armies fought in the battle of Mu’tah, on the border of Jordan.

No side could overpower the other in this first encounter. One year before the Prophet’s death, Romans organized another powerful army. On hearing this, the Prophet left Madinah with his army and went as far as Tabuk, in the far north of Arabia. However, the Prophet’s illness caused this army to stay in Madinah without departing.

After his death, due to the news of rebellions in some desert tribes, some Muslims wanted to cancel this expedition. But Abu Bakr, as the newly-chosen Caliph, firmly opposed the idea, saying: ’I will never cancel anything initiated by the Prophet‘.

The curious thing about this army was that it was made up of mostly the early Companions of the Prophet, but its leader was Usamah ibn Zayd, who was only 18 years old. During the lifetime of the Prophet, his old Companions objected, but they were given a heated sermon in which both Usamah and his father were praised as competent leaders. (At-Tabari)

3- Compilation of the Qur’an

1200 Muslims were killed in the battle called Aqrabah, among them were many who were committing the Qur’an to memory. `Umar ibn Al-Khattab, whose brother Zayd was among the dead, thought deeply of what might happen if wars continued and more such people were killed. He reached the conclusion that if the Qur’an was to be preserved, it ought to be compiled into one volume.

At that time, it was scattered among the Companions of the Prophet, with each preserving certain portions of it. Methods of preservation differed. Some had it written on parchment; others on palm branches stripped of leaves; a third group was written on bones; and a fourth on stone tablets; a large number also memorized it by heart.

If many of those who had memorized it were killed, then a part of the Book might disappear. So `Umar went to the caliph, who was then sitting in the Prophet’s grand Mosque. He discussed his idea with him, but Abu Bakr rejected it because it was not something done by the Prophet. A lengthy debate followed, after which Abu Bakr was convinced that `Umar was right.

Abu Bakr’s compilation of the Qur’an is regarded by many as his most significant legacy. It was even more significant than the wars of apostasy and the conquest of Iraq and Syria. `Ali ibn Abi Talib used to say: ‘May God have mercy upon Abu Bakr! He is worthy of being superbly rewarded because he was unique in compiling the Qur’an’. (Ibn Hajar)


Source: fountainmagazine.com.

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Abu Dawud: The Faqih and Scholar of Hadith

Abu Dawud: The Faqih and Scholar of Hadith

Abu Dawud

Abu Dawud was an authority in memorizing, comprehending and ranking of hadiths.

He is Sulaiman ibn Al-Ash`ath ibn Is-haq ibn Bashir ibn Shaddad Abu Dawud Al-Azdi As-Sijistani from Sijistan, known today as Sistan, the compiler of the well-known collection of hadith entitled “Sunan Abu Dawud” which comes in degree and renown after Sahih Al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim. Abu Dawud was one of the most knowledgeable scholars of the Hadith of the Prophet (peace be upon him), its fiqh (jurisprudence), deficiencies, texts and chains of narrators throughout the Islamic history.

The scholars of his time recognized his high scientific status, as indicated by some narrations. It is reported that Sahl ibn `Abdullah At-Tastury came to Abu Dawud and said, “O Abu Dawud, I want something from you.” He said, “What is it?” Sahl said, “On a condition that you say that you will fulfill it if possible.” Abu Dawud replied in the affirmative. Sahl said, “Get out your tongue with which you narrated the hadiths of the Prophet (peace be upon him) so that I kiss it.” Abu Dawud accept that and Sahl kissed his tongue.

His Birth and Early Life:

Abu Dawud was born in Sijistan in 202 A.H. in the outset of the golden scientific century which witnessed the rise of Imams of Hadith, such Al-Bukhari, Muslim, Yahya ibn Ma“in, Ahmad ibn Hanbal, At-Tirmidhi and many others. He grew up fond of knowledge, especially Hadith of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), aided by his unique talent of memorization that helped him committing great deal of hadiths to memory. Thus, in a very early age Abu Dawud collected lots of hadiths in a short time.

His Pursuit of Knowledge:

Just as all Hadith students, Abu Dawud toured the Islamic regions and cities pursuing Hadith wherever it was. In 220 A.H. Abu Dawud traveled to Baghdad when he was only 18, and two years later he moved to the Levant. These early journeys helped him get high chains of transmitters, even higher than those of Imam Muslim at sometimes. He moved to many different places narrating and collecting the hadiths of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Al-Khatib Al-Baghdadi said, “He narrated from the people of Iraq, Khurasan, the Levant, Egypt and the Arabian Peninsula.”

His Sheikhs and Students:

Ibn Hajar said, “It is said that the Sheikhs of Abu Dawud in his book “As-Sunan” and other books were about 300 persons.” Among his renowned sheikhs were Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Yahya ibn Ma“in, `Uthman ibn Abu Shaybah, Is-haq ibn Rahawayh, Sulayman ibn Harb, Abu Al-Walid At-Tayalisi, Qutaybah ibn Sa`ad, Sa`id ibn Mansur, Abu Ja`far An-Nufaili, Zuhayr ibn Harb, Abu Isma`il Al-Bukhari and many others.

Notably, Abu Dawud accompanied Imam Ahmad for a long time and loved him so much. He was so fascinated with Imam Ahmad to the extent that he would mimic him in his appearance and speech. This companionship with Imam Ahmad helped him acquire the knowledge of Fiqh in addition to Hadith. Abu Dawud compiled a book on the questions and replies from Imam Ahmad entitled “Masa’il Ahmad”. He presented his book As-Sunan to Imam Ahmad and he praised it.

As for his students, the list is endless. Among them were Abu `Isa At-Tirmidhi, Abu “Abdur-Rahman An-Nasa’i, Abu Bakr Al-Khallal, Isma“il ibn Muhammad As-Saffar, Abu Bakr ibn Dawud Al-Asfahani, Abu `Uwanah Al-Asfarayini, Muhammad ibn Nasr Al-Mirwazi and Abu Bakr Yahya As-Suli.

Those who narrated his book As-Sunan from him are 9 narrators, including Abu At-Tayyib Al-Ashnani, Abu `Isa Ar-Ramly, Abu `Ali Al-Lu’lu’i, Abu Bakr ibn Dasah At-Tammar, Abu Sa`id ibn Ziyad Al-A`rabi, Abu Al-Hasan ibn Al-`Abd Al-Ansari, Abu Usamah Ar-Ru’ami and Abu Salim Al-Haludi. It is reported that Imam Ahmad narrated one hadith from him, something that Abu Dawud would boast of.

His Books:

In addition to his most renowned book As-Sunan, Imam Abu Dawud wrote a lot of books such as Al-Marasil, Masa’il Al-Imam Ahmad, An-Nasikh wal-Mansukh, Al-Qadr, Az-Zuhd and many others.

Scholarly Praise:

  • Abu Bakr Al-Khallal said, “Abu Dawud Sulayman Al-Ash`ath, the superior scholar of his time, he was a man that nobody excelled in recognizing the verification of sciences and in his awareness of their questions. He was an outstanding devout person.”
  • Ahmed ibn Muhammad ibn Yasin Al-Harawi said, “Sulayman ibn Al-Ash`ath Abu Dawud As-Sijzi was one of the memorizers of the actions of the Prophet and his hadith, its deficiencies and chain of narrations. He was at the peak of virtuousness, abstinence, rightness and devoutness.”
  • Ibrahim Al-Harbi said, “The hadith has been made pliable for Abu Dawud similarly as the iron was made pliable to Dawud (peace be upon him).”
  • Musa ibn Harun Al-Hafiz said, “Abu Dawud was created in this life for Hadith, and in the hereafter for Paradise. I have not seen someone better than him.”
  • Abu Hatim ibn Hayyan said, “He (Abu Dawud) was one of the leading persons of this world in matters of Fiqh, knowledge, memorization, asceticism, devoutness and proficiency. He compiled and defended the Sunan.”
  • Al-Hakim said, “There is no disagreement about that Abu Dawud is the leader of the scholars of hadith during his time.”
  • Adh-Dhahabi said, “He was a head in hadith and Fiqh. He was distinguished with dignity, esteem, uprightness and devoutness so that he resembled Ahmed ibn Hanbal.”

His Words:

  • The hidden craving is the love of leadership.
  • Whoever satisfies with simple cloth and food has spared his body.
  • I collected in my book As-Sunan 4800 hadiths but it is enough for the religion of a person only four hadiths from them: “Deeds are judged by intentions,” “A sign of man’s good observance of Islam (his piety) is to keep away from that which does not concern him,” “A believer will not attain true faith unless he accepts for his brother that which he accepts for himself,” and “The lawful is clear and the unlawful is clear, and between that are matters that are doubtful (not clear)..”

His Death:

Abu Dawud (may Allah confer His Mercy upon him) died on Friday 15 Shawwal in 275 A.H. in Basrah and was buried alongside of the grave of Sufyan Ath-Thawri.



–          Siyar A`lam An-Nubala’ by Adh-Dhahabi

–          Tadhkirat Al-Huffaz by Adh-Dhahabi

–          Tarikh Baghdad by Al-Khatib Al-Baghdadi

–          Wafiyyat Al-A`yan by Ibn Khalkan

–          Al-A`lam by Az-Zirikli

–          Tahdhib At-Tahdhib by Ibn Hajar

–          Tabaqat Al-Huffaz by Jalaluddin As-Suyuti

–          Al-Bidayah wal-Nihayah by Ibn Kathir


See also:

Al-Bukhari: The Imam of Hadith and Sunnah

Muslim: The Leading Scholar of Hadith

At-Tirmidhi: Imam of Hadith and Fiqh

Imam An-Nasa’i: The Great Authority of Hadith

Ibn Majah: The Great Memorizer of Hadith

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The Companions’ Series: `Abbad Ibn Bishr

The Companions’ Series: `Abbad Ibn Bishr

The Companions' Series: `Abbad Ibn Bishr

`Abbad’s devotion to the Qur’an was a sign of his intense devotion to and love for God, His Prophet and His religion.

It was the fourth year after the Hijrah. The city of the Prophet (peace be upon him) was still under threat from within and without. From within, the influential Jewish tribe Banu An-Nadir, broke their agreement with the Prophet and made plans to kill him. For this, they were banished from the city. This was in the month of Safar.

Two months of uneasy quiet passed. Then the Prophet (peace be upon him) received news that tribes from distant Najd were planning an attack. To pre-empt them, the Prophet gathered a force of over four hundred men, and leaving one of his companions, `Uthman ibn `Affan, in charge of the city, set out eastwards. Among this force was the young Madinan, `Abbad ibn Bishr.

Arriving at Najd, the Prophet (peace be upon him) found the habitations of the hostile tribes strangely deserted of men. Only women were about. The men had taken to the hills. Some of them regrouped and prepared to fight. The time of the `Al-Asr (Afternoon) prayer came. The Prophet feared that the hostile tribesmen would attack them during prayer. He arranged the Muslims in ranks and divided them into two groups and performed the prayer as the Salat Al-Khawf (the Prayer of Fear). With one group he performed one rak`ah (unit of the prayer) while the other group stood on guard. For the second rak`ah, the groups changed places. Each group completed its prayer with one rak`ah after the Prophet had finished…

On beholding the disciplined ranks of the Muslims, the hostile tribesmen became uneasy and afraid. The Prophet had made his presence felt and something of his mission was now known at first hand in the central highlands of Arabia whence he departed peacefully.

On the way back, the Prophet pitched camp in a valley for a night. As soon as the Muslims had settled their camel mounts, the Prophet (peace be upon him), asked: “Who will be our guard tonight?” “We, O Messenger of God,” said `Abbad ibn Bishr and `Ammar ibn Yasir both of whom had been paired off as ‘brothers’ by the Prophet when he arrived in Madinah after the Hijrah.

`Abbad and `Ammar (may Allah be pleased with them both) left for the mouth of the valley to take up duty. `Abbad saw that his “brother” was tired and asked him: “What part of the night do you wish to sleep, the first or the second?” “I shall sleep during the first part,” said `Ammar who was soon fast asleep quite close to `Abbad.

The night was clear, calm and peaceful. The stars, the trees, and the rocks all appeared to celebrate in silence the praises of their Lord. `Abbad felt serene. There was no movement, no threatening sign. Why not spend the time in worship and reciting the Qur’an? How delightful it would be to combine the performance of Salat with the measured recitation of the Qur’an which he so much enjoyed.

In fact, `Abbad was enthralled by the Qur’an from the moment he first heard it being recited by the mellow and beautiful voice of Mu`sab ibn `Umayr. That was before the Hijrah when `Abbad was just about fifteen years old. The Qur’an had found a special place in his heart and day and night thereafter he would be heard repeating the glorious words of God so much so that he became known among the Prophet’s companions as the “friend of the Qur’an”.

Late at night, the Prophet (peace be upon him) once stood up to perform the Tahajjud Prayer in `A’ishah’s house which adjoined the masjid. He heard a voice reciting the Qur’an, pure and sweet and as fresh as when the angel Jibril revealed the words to him. He asked: “`Aishah, is that the voice of `Abbad ibn Bishr?” “Yes, O Messenger of God,” replied `Aishah. “O Lord, forgive him,” prayed the Prophet out of love for him.

And so in the stillness of the night, at the mouth of the valley in Najd, `Abbad stood up and faced the Qiblah. Raising his hand in surrender to God, he entered into the state of Prayer. Finishing the compulsory opening chapter of the Qur’an, he began reciting Surah Al-Kahf in his sweet, captivating voice. Surah Al-Kahf is a long Surah of one hundred and ten verses which deals in part with the virtues of faith, truth and patience and with the relativity of time.

While he was thus absorbed in reciting and reflecting upon the divine words, eternal words of illumination and wisdom, a stranger stalked the outskirts of the valley in search of Muhammad and his followers. He was one of those who had planned to attack the Prophet but who had fled into the mountains on the approach of the Muslims. His wife whom he had left in the village had been taken as a hostage by one of the Muslims. When he eventually found that his wife was gone, he swore by Al-Lat and Al-`Uzzah that he would pursue Muhammad and his companions and that he would not return unless he had drawn blood.

From a distance, the man saw the figure of `Abbad silhouetted at the mouth of the valley and he knew that the Prophet and his followers must be inside the valley. Silently he drew his bow and let fly an arrow. Unerringly, it embedded itself in `Abbad’s flesh.

Calmly, `Abbad pulled out the arrow from his body and went on with his recitation, still absorbed in his Salat. The attacker shot a second and a third arrow both of which also found their mark. `Abbad pulled out one and then the other. He finished his recitation, made ruku` (bowing) and then sujud (prostration). Weak and in pain, he stretched out his right hand while still in prostration and shook his sleeping companion. `Ammar awoke.

Silently, `Abbad continued the Salat to its end and then said: “Get up and stand guard in my place. I have been wounded.”

`Ammar jumped up and began to yell. Seeing them both the attacker fled into the darkness. `Ammar turned to `Abbad as he lay on the ground, blood flowing from his wounds.

“Ya Subhanallah (Glory be to God)! Why didn’t you wake me when you were hit by the first arrow?” “I was in the midst of reciting verses of the Qur’an which filled my soul with awe and I did not want to cut short the recitation. The Prophet had commanded me to commit this surah to memory. Death would have been dearer to me than that the recitation of this surah should be interrupted.”

`Abbad’s devotion to the Qur’an was a sign of his intense devotion to and love for God, His Prophet and His religion. The qualities he was known for were his constant immersion in worship, his heroic courage and his generosity in the path of God.

At times of sacrifice and death, he would always be in the front line. When it was time for receiving his share of rewards, he would only be found after much effort and difficulty. He was always trustworthy in his dealings with the wealth of Muslims. All this was recognized. `A’ishah, the wife of the Prophet, once said: “There are three persons among the Ansar whom no one could excel in virtue: Sa`d ibn Mu`adh, Usayd ibn Khudayr and `Abbad ibn Bishr.”

`Abbad died the death of a martyr at the battle of Yamamah. Just before the battle he had a strong presentiment of death and martyrdom. He noticed that there was a lack of mutual confidence among the Muhajirin and Ansar. He was grieved and upset. He realized that there would be no success for the Muslims in these terrible battles unless the Muhajirin and Ansar were grouped in separate regiments so that it could be clearly seen who really bore their responsibility and who were truly steadfast in combat.

At the break of day when the battle commenced, `Abbad ibn Bishr stood on a mound and shouted: “O Ansar, distinguish yourselves among men. Destroy your scabbards. And do not forsake Islam.”

`Abbad harangued the Ansar until about four hundred men gathered around him at the head of whom were Thabit ibn Qays, Al-Baraa ibn Malik and Abu Dujanah, the keeper of the Prophet’s sword. With this force, `Abbad unleashed an offensive into the enemy’s ranks which blunted their thrust and drove them back to the “garden of death”.

At the walls of this garden, `Abbad ibn Bishr fell. So, numerous were his wounds, he was hardly recognizable. He had lived, fought and died as a believer.


Source: Taken from the book entitled “Biographies of the Companions (Sahaabah)”

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How the Qur’an Influenced the Morale of the Companions

How the Qur’an Influenced the Morale of the Companions

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The Companions were greatly comforted by the Qur’anic verses that were being revealed during the Makkah era.

By Dr. `Ali Muhammad As-sallabi

The Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) were greatly comforted by the Qur’anic verses that were being revealed during the Makkah era. This was especially the case in regard to those verses in which Allah the Almighty defended them, which He did in three main ways:

1) Allah exhorted the Prophet (peace be upon him) to take care of them and to treat them well; He even reproached the Prophet on certain occasions when he would not give attention to some Companions because he was busy inviting Quraish’s nobility to Islam.

The Prophet would sit in the mosque alongside his poor or weak Companions – among whom were the likes of Khabbab, `Ammar, Ibn Fakihah Yasar (whose owner was Safwan ibn Umayyah), and Suhaib ; meanwhile, the Quraish would mock them, saying to one another, “You know the situation of his Companions (i.e., that they are poor and weak). Is it then these that Allah has bestowed His favor upon from among us with guidance and the truth? Had what Muhammad came with been good, these people would not have beaten us to it, and Allah would not have chosen them instead of us.

Allah refuted the mockery of those disbelievers, making it clear to them that His being pleased with His slaves does not hinge upon their degree of wealth or status in this world. And for his part, the Prophet made the same point clear, both in his sayings and in his deeds. Allah said:

And turn not away those who invoke their Lord, morning and afternoon seeking His Face. You are accountable for them in nothing, and they are accountable for you in nothing, that you may turn them away, and thus become of the unjust. Thus We have tried some of them with others, that they might say: “Is it these (poor believers) that Allah has favored from amongst us?” Does not Allah know best those who are grateful? When those who believe in Our verses come to you, say: “Salamun ‘Alaikum” (peace be on you); your Lord has written Mercy for Himself, so that, if any of you does evil in ignorance, and therefore repents and does righteous good deeds (by obeying Allah), then surely, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Al-An`am 6:52-54)

Also, Allah reproached His Messenger concerning a blind Companion named Ibn Umm Maktum. On only one occasion did the Prophet turn away from Ibn Umm Maktum without answering his question, and even that was because of a sound reason: as He (peace be upon him) was busy inviting some of Quraish’s nobles to Islam. Even though this occurred only one time, it was sufficient cause for Allah’s reproach and the revelation of the following verses:

(The Prophet) frowned and turned away, because there came to him the blind man (`Abdullah ibn Umm Maktum). But what could tell you that per chance he might become pure (from sins)? Or that he might receive admonition, and that the admonition might profit him? As for him who thinks himself self-sufficient, to him you attend; what does it matter to you if he will not become pure (from disbelief, you are only a Messenger, your duty is to convey the Message of Allah). But as to him who came to you running. And is afraid (of Allah and His Punishment), Of him you are neglectful and divert your attention to another. (`Abas 80:1-10)

There is no room in Islam for the preferred treatment of the rich and of the noble classes. Islam came to instill into mankind one view of life and to make clear to them that human beings all come from the same origin, which by extension means that they should be treated equally. With this in mind, we can understand why Allah sternly reproached His Messenger. The Messenger of Allah gave greater attention to Ubay ibn Khalaf than to Ibn Umm Maktum , even though, in all actuality, Ibn Umm Maktum is better than even billions of the likes of Ubay ibn Khalaf, may Allah curse him!

2) Allah consoled the Companions by informing them about stories of previous Prophets and nations. When the Companions read verses about the ill treatment that the Prophets received at the hands of their people and about how the Prophets were then patient, they felt that they too should be patient. Being made to feel a sense of brotherhood with Muslims from previous nations, and learning about the hardships they endured, the Companions, felt comforted. And they thought less of the hardships they were experiencing, knowing fully well that others before them had experienced even more hardships.

Stories in the Qur’an about previous Prophets – such as Noah, Ibrahim, Moses, and Jesus- all had the effect of making the Companions firm and strong upon their faith.

3) Allah praised some of their actions and promised them eternal bliss in Paradise. For example, when Abu Bakr freed seven Muslim slaves, Allah revealed the following verses, in which He praised Abu Bakr and condemned Umayyah ibn Khalaf, the Makkan chieftain who would torture Bilal ibn Rabah:

Therefore I have warned you of a Fire blazing fiercely (Hell); none shall enter it save the most wretched, who denies and turns away. And the pious will be far removed from it (Hell). He who spends his wealth for increase in self-purification, and have in his mind no favor from anyone for which a reward is expected in return, except only the desire to seek the Countenance of his Lord, the Most High. He surely will be pleased.” (Al-Layl 92:14-21)

In another example, historians mention that, when the polytheists made fun of Christian delegates from Najran because they embraced Islam, Allah revealed the following verses:

Those to whom We gave the Scripture [i.e. the Torah and the Gospel] before it, – they believe in it (the Qur’an). And when it is recited to them, they say: “We believe in it. Verily, it is the truth from our Lord. Indeed even before it we have been from those who submit themselves to Allah in Islam as Muslims. These will be given their reward twice over, because they are patient, and repel evil with good, and spend (in charity) out of what We have provided them. And when they hear Al-Laghw (dirty and vain talk), they withdraw from it and say: “To us our deeds, and to you your deeds. Peace be to you. We seek not the ignorant.” (Al-Qasas 28:52-55)

In general, many verses revealed during the Makkah era promised the Companions that, as a reward for their patience and many sacrifices for the cause of Islam, Allah will bestow upon them eternal bliss in Paradise. At the same time, Allah informed them of the evil destination of their enemies. For example, Allah said:
Verily, We will indeed make victorious Our Messengers and those who believe in this world’s life and on the Day when the witnesses will stand forth, (i.e., Day of Resurrection), The Day when their excuses will be of no profit to the wrongdoers. Theirs will be the curse, and theirs will be the evil abode (i.e., painful torment in Hellfire).” (Ghafir 40:51-52)
Source: Taken with modifications from the author’s Noble Life of the Prophet, translated by Faisal Shafeeq

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