Imam An-Nasa’i was fond of seeking knowledge especially the narration of hadiths, for which he has devoted his whole life.
He is Abu `Abdur-Rahman Ahmad ibn Shu`ayb ibn `Ali ibn Sinan ibn Bahr Al-Khurasani An-Nasa’i, attributed to his homeland Nasa. He was a great memorizer and critic of Hadith and one of the key figures in Muslim scholarship. He was renowned for his utmost extensive awareness of the defects of Hadith and the conditions of the narrators. He is the author of the famous book of Hadith “Sunan An-Nasa’i” or “As-Sunan As-Sughra” as he named it.
His Birth and Early Life
An-Nasa’i was born in Nasa, a town in Khurasan, in 214 AH. He started learning knowledge at a very early age. He began his scientific journeys when he was 15 years old when he travelled to the great scholar of Hadith Qutaybah ibn Sa`id in Baghlan. Qutaybah narrated hadiths from Imam Malik , Al-Layth ibn Sa`ad and other narrators of this class. Abu `Abdur-Rahman An-Nasa’i remained with Qutaybah for 14 months studying hadith at his hands. Imam An-Nasa’i was fond of seeking knowledge especially the narration of hadiths, for which he has devoted his whole life. Thus, he became a leading scholar and superior Hadith authority of his time.
Features of His Character
- `Abu `Abdur-Rahman was a dedicated worshipper. Abu Al-Husain Muhammad ibn Muzfir said, “I heard from our sheikhs in Egypt their acknowledgement of his (Abu Abdur-Rahman’s) advancement and leadership in knowledge. They stressed his diligence in worship at all times and his persistence in offering Hajj and partaking in Jihad.”
- He used to fast one day and break the other, a habitual worship of the Prophet Dawud (David, peace be upon him).
- He was a courageous fighter. He used to go for Jihad and showed excessive boldness and sacrifice for Muslims.
- He was good-faced and bright-colored. He had 4 wives and 2 maid slaves. It was narrated that he would share his time between his wives and maid slaves equally.
- He would prefer to wear the Nubian garments and eat cocks that were bought, fattened and castrated for him.
His Pursuit of Knowledge
Imam An-Nasa’i remained with his Sheikh Qutaybah for more than one year, then he travelled to many places including Khurasan, Al-Hijaz, Egypt, Iraq and the Ash-Sham (the Levant). After these long journeys, he settled in Egypt where students of Hadith came to him from everywhere narrating hadiths from him and learning at his hands. He was a trustworthy, well-established scrutinizer of Hadith and its narrators and was fully aware of the juristic rulings and explanation of the hadiths. Imam Al-Hakim said, “The sayings of Imam An-Nasa’i regarding the Fiqh (Jurisprudence) of hadiths are many, and one is astonished about the perfection of his words.”
Among his prominent Sheikh were Qutaybah ibn Sa`id, Is-haq ibn Ibrahim, Is-haq ibn Rahuwayih, Abu Bakr Bindar, Hisham ibn `Ammar, Muhammad ibn An-Nadr, Suwaid ibn Nasr, Ziyad ibn Ayyub, Sawwar ibn `Abdullah Al-`Anbari, `Utbah ibn `Abdullah Al-Marwazi, Muhammad ibn Muthanna, and many others.
And among notable students who took hadiths from him were Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Salamah Al-Azdi, the renowned Hanafi scholar of Fiqh; Ahmad ibn Muhammad Al-Hashimi, known as Ibn As-Sunni, the great trustworthy memorizer of hadith; Sulaiman ibn Matir Al-Lakhmi At-Tabarani, the greatest memorizer of Hadith; Abu Ja`far At-Tahawi; Abu `Uthman An-Naysaburi; Hamzah ibn Muhammad Al-Kinani; Abu Ja`far Ahmad ibn Isma`il An-Nahhas An-Nahawi and many others.
Imam An-Nasa’i has compiled many books of Hadith, the most renowned of which is his book As-Sunan Al-Sughra known as Sunan An-Nasa’i or Al-Mujtaba.
Imam An-Nasa’i has compiled many books of Hadith, the most renowned of which is his book As-Sunan Al-Sughra known as Sunan An-Nasa’i or Al-Mujtaba which is a briefing of his book of Hadith As-Sunan Al-Kubra. Also, he compiled other books including:
- Fada’il Al-Qur’an
- Fada’il As-Sahabah
- `Amal Al-Yawm wa Al-Laylah
- Rasa’il fi `Ulum Al-Hadith
- Ad-Du`afa’ wal-Matrukin
Imam An-Nasa’i received a great commendation from many of the prominent scholars of Hadith which testifies to his encyclopedic memorization, mastery and awareness of deficiencies and narrators of hadiths.
- Imam Adh-Dhahabi said, “There was no one on the onset of the 300 AH year more perfect in memorization than An-Nasa’i. He was well-versed in Hadith, its deficiencies and narrators, even more than Muslim, Abu Dawud and Abu `Isa (At-Tirmidhi). He was in the same rank of Al-Bukhari and Abu Zur`ah.”
- Al-Qadi Taj Ad-Din As-Subki said, “I asked our sheikh Adh-Dhahabi, ‘Who was more perfect in memorization Muslim ibn Al-Hajjaj or An-Nasa’i?”’ He replied, “An-Nasa’i,” and I mentioned this to my father who agreed to it.”
- Ad-Daraqutni said, “Abu `Abdur-Rahman (An-Nasa’i) was placed at the top of all the scholars of this (hadith) knowledge in his era.”
- Abu `Ali An-Naysaburi said, “The unchallenged leading scholar of Hadith is Abu `Abdur-Rahman An-Nasa’i, who narrated hadiths to us.”
- Abu `Abdullah ibn Mandah said, “Those who narrated the authentic hadiths and distinguished the established from the deficient and the truth from the falsehood are only four: Al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud and Abu `Abdur-Rahman An-Nasa’i.”
- Imam Ad-Daraqutni said, “Abu Bakr Al-Haddad Ash-Shafi`i narrated lots of hadiths but he did not narrate to others except the hadiths of An-Nasa’i. He said, ‘I accepted him (An-Nasa’i) as an excuse between me and Almighty Allah.”’
- Ibn Al-Athir said, “He (Abu `Abdur-Rahman An-Nasa’i) adopted the Shafi`i school of Fiqh, and he had some rituals according to the school of Imam Ash-Shafi`i. He was a devout and well-verified scholar.”
Abu `Abdullah Al-Hafiz said, “I heard `Ali ibn `Umar saying, ‘`Abu `Abdur-Rahman An-Nasa’i was the most knowledgeable among the Sheikhs of Egypt in terms of Fiqh, and authenticity and narrators of hadiths, during his time. Being the best among them, they felt envy towards him. Thus, he moved to Ar-Ramlah (a town in Palestine) where he was asked about Mu`awiyah ibn Abu Sufyan. He did not reply in a good thing, and thus people beat him badly. He asked to be moved to Makkah, in spite of his illness, where he passed away. Abu `Abdullah said, “In addition to his multiple merits, he was given martyrdom at the end of his life.” However, there are other opinions that he died in Palestine. He passed away on Monday 13 Safar 303 AH.
- Tahdhib Al-Kamal by Al-Hafiz Al-Mizzi
- Tahdhib At-Tahdhib by Ibn Hajar
- Wafiyyat Al-A`yan by Ibn Khallikan
- Tadhkirat Al-Huffaz by Adh-Dhahabi
- Al-Wafi bi Al-Wafiyyat by As-Safadi
- Tabakat Ash-Shafi`iyah by As-Subki
- Al-Bidayah wa An-Nihayah by Ibn Kathir
Al-Bukhari: The Imam of Hadith and Sunnah
Muslim: The Leading Scholar of Hadith
At-Tirmidhi: Imam of Hadith and Fiqh
Abu Dawud: The Faqih and Scholar of Hadith
Ibn Majah: The Great Memorizer of Hadith
By Sheikh Sajid Ahmed Umar
Few days ago, the world woke up to hear of the death of the well-known inspiration, role model and ‘astronaut’ of an athlete, Muhammad Ali, who passed away just days before the blessed month of Ramadan in which Muslims observe the worship of fasting.
A Muslim can be the sportsman who holds every record in their field of play and serves as an inspiration to every aspiring athlete.
The news sirens screamed this breaking news and the Internet erupted with chants of ‘Muhammad’ and ‘Ali’ as if his ‘Thrilla in manilla’ had just concluded. Alas, the champ who once ‘flew like a butterfly and stung like a bee’ returned to his Lord, and indeed we belong to Allah and to Him we shall surely return.
There are many lessons we can learn from his life, and I would like to discuss just one, especially since much has been written, read and already said. Before Muhammad Ali and after him there have been thousands of boxers, but none of them received the acclaim, nor touched as many lives as he did, because he was more than a boxer. His dreams exceeded a career or a profession. He dreamt big, stood fast by his ideals, and was willing to give up everything for his values and dreams. He was extraordinary because he did not limit himself to his profession, rather he dreamt to accomplish far greater things. Boxing never defined his life, rather life was defined by him. He was a man who exemplified these words:
“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing”.
What is the lesson we take from the death of Muhammad Ali?
It is that we have forgotten our ability to define our own potential, and the fact that we have the right to dream. Every one of us is extraordinary. Every one of us can change the world we live in, in our own way, because we are Muslims. Our article of faith presents us an unprecedented potential and our very own podium of excellence, because our paradigms are not blurred by this world and its temporary glittery distractions but, rather, vibrantly clear with the understanding and internalization of devotion and servitude to the King of Kings, Lord and Creator of everything to ever exist, Allah Almighty.
A Muslim can be the world’s greatest pilot who flies the world’s best carrier, taking people to places they could only dream of as children, exuding effortless charm and hospitality such that every person desires to meet him, train with him, and learn from him.
A Muslim can be the surgeon who walks the corridors of the best hospitals in the world, followed eagerly by dozens of wide-eyed interns paying attention to every word that passes his lips. He completes the most intricate of operations and has the rarest of knowledge and skills; he strives and perseveres in saving thousands of lives in the most internationally acknowledged of ways.
A Muslim can be the scientist who has reached the pinnacle of success and is the pillar of every science conference and symposium the world has ever hosted because he has a faculty of thinking and reasoning that inspires others to aspire. He ponders and reflects, fearlessly dreams and stretches the boundaries further than ever done before.
A Muslim can be the school principal fatigued from receiving endless job offers from all the best and most recognized institutes the world has ever known. One who is sought after by the world’s most elite governments, and who, with fierce determination and focus builds several schools aiming at redefining excellence whilst utilizing his utmost passions and skills into building the next century or even two.
A Muslim can be the sportsman who holds every record in their field of play and serves as an inspiration to every aspiring athlete; one who is followed by millions spanning all across the globe, not only for his talent but for his unmatched generosity and wisdom. He inspires the youth to dream big, be relentless in their pursuit of their dreams, and to aim high even when all the odds are piled up against them.
Muslims can be a thousand selfless, visionary billionaires running multinational business empires with scores of people that love them. Businessmen and women who have earned every penny’s worth of their fortune in a praiseworthy manner whilst keeping their money in their hands and not their hearts. They work tirelessly day in and day out to support the scholars and propagators, the poor and the needy, the old and the young, developing a world that can truly be called ‘a better place’.
I hope for ambitious leaders with the passion and drive to spark never-ending change in this world; that there will rise from amongst us heroes and heroines who aspire to reach nothing short of excellence and whose lofty ambitions will be a guiding light in this dark world. Muslims, before Muhammad Ali (may Allah confer His mercy upon him), enjoy a past of giants that walked the face of this earth. In fact Muhammad Ali himself adopted the name of the greatest man to walk the face of this earth, Muhammad (peace be upon him), and his mighty cousin ʿAli (may Allah be pleased with him), and attempted life with his ‘larger than life’ attitude accordingly. I hope that we take from our past to rekindle the light we have lost.
Islam is a powerful stimulant and catalyst for mighty progress on earth and I believe all of greatness only becomes possible with the shahada (testimony of faith); simple words that ignite us by making excellence the minimum requirement in our lives. These simple words that demand the three I’s of success become part and parcel of our very own DNA: Ikhlas (sincerity), Ihsan (excellence) and Istiqamah (steadfastness).
Muslims were placed on earth to teach, to be inspirational, to invent, to relate and formulate. Muslims were sent as givers and not takers. For Muslims; dreams were never that which you saw in your sleep, but rather that which keeps you awake and stops you from sleeping. For Muslims, “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” – Muhammad Ali
So dream big, work hard and together let us assume our podiums of excellence, make our dreams a reality and represent the world as the Ummah of Muhammad (peace be upon him).
Source: Taken with modifications from www.islam21c.com
About the author:
Sheikh Sajid Ahmed Umar attained a Bachelor degree in Shari`ah and thereafter a Master degree in Judiciary (Qadha), with a first class honors, from the Higher Institute for Judiciary Studies. He trained as a judge and successfully completed a thesis on the topic of Liquidity Management using the famous Repurchase Agreement (REPO) contract, as well as its rulings and permitted alternatives. He is now pursuing his PhD in the Higher Institute of Judiciary at Al-Imam University. Sheikh Sajid has played an integral part in Islamic academic development worldwide he has authored several articles and dissertations in both Arabic and English pertaining to the Islamic Sciences.
By Editorial Staff
Ibrahim brought his wife Hajar and her son Isma`il, while she was suckling him, to a place near the Ka`bah under a tree on the spot of Zamzam, at the highest place in the mosque.
As you hold the remote control of your TV with your hand going through the news channels, once you stop at a broadcaster or a guest who talks about the mid-eastern religion that has caused great annoyance to the whole world by its barbarity, bloodiness, backwardness, underdevelopment, fundamentalism, etc., you will be shocked. Yes, you will be shocked when you hear about the boundless transgression of Islam against the social rights of people, especially woman who has been subject to blatant injustice specifically in her rights to freedom, education, equality, political representation, judiciary, presidency, etc.
How unfair Islam is! How come that people allow these savage commandments and beliefs to circulate! Even, in spite of this, why does Islam spread and its followers increase all over the world to the extent that it is said that Islam is the largest spreading religion in comparison with other religions?
Now take your time to read the following story about a wife of a Prophet, Ibrahim (Abraham, peace be upon him) to know how Islam dealt with women.
Story of Hajar
Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them) reported: “Ibrahim (peace be upon him) brought his wife and her son Isma`il (peace be upon him), while she was suckling him, to a place near the Ka`bah under a tree on the spot of Zamzam, at the highest place in the mosque. In those days, there was no human being in Makkah, nor was there any water. So he made them sit over there and placed near them a leather bag containing some dates, and a small water-skin containing some water, and set out homeward.
Isma`il’s mother followed him saying: “O Ibrahim! Where are you going, leaving us in this valley where there is no person whose company we may enjoy, nor is there anything (to enjoy)?” She repeated that to him many times, but he did not look back at her. Then she asked him: “Has Allah commanded you to do so?” He said: “Yes.” She said: “Then He will not neglect us.”
She returned while Ibrahim proceeded onwards. Having reached the Thaniya, where they could not see him, he faced Ka`bah, raised his both hands and supplicated:
O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring to dwell in an uncultivable valley by Your Sacred House (the Ka`bah at Makkah) in order, O our Rubb, that they may perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat). So fill some hearts among men with love towards them, and (O Allah) provide them with fruits so that they may give thanks. (Ibrahim 14:37)
Isma`il’s mother went on suckling him and drinking from the water which she had. When the water in the water-skin had all been used up, she became thirsty and her child also became thirsty. She started looking at Isma`il, tossing in agony. She left him, for she could not endure looking at him, and found that the mountain of As-Safa was the nearest mountain to her on that land. She stood on it and started looking at the valley keenly so that she might see somebody, but she could not see anybody. Then she descended from As-Safa, and when she reached the valley, she tucked up her robe and ran in the valley like a person in distress and trouble till she crossed the valley and reached Al-Marwah mountain where she stood and started looking, expecting to see somebody, but she could not see anybody. She repeated that (running between As-Safa and Al-Marwah) seven times.”
Ibn ‘Abbas further related: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “This is the source of the tradition of the Sa`i – i.e., the going of people between the two mountains.”
When she reached Al-Marwah (for the last time), she heard a voice and she exclaimed: ‘Shshs!’ (Silencing herself) and listened attentively. She heard the voice again and said: ‘O (whoever you may be) You have made me hear your voice; have you any succor for me?’ And behold! She saw an angel at the place of Zamzam, digging the earth with his heel (or with his wing), till water flowed out from that place. She started to make something like of a basin around it, using her hands in this way and began to fill her water- skin with water with her hands, and the water was flowing out until she had scooped some of it.”
The Prophet (peace be upon him) further said, “May Allah bestow mercy on Isma`il’s mother! Had she let the Zamzam flow without trying to control it (or had she not scooped in that water) while filling her water-skin, Zamzam would have been a stream flowing on the surface of the earth.”
The Prophet (peace be upon him) further added, “Then she drank (water) and suckled her child. The angel said to her: ‘Do not be afraid of being neglected, for this is the site on which the House of Allah will be built by this boy and his father, and Allah will never let neglected His people.’ The House of Allah (the Ka`bah) at that time was on a high place resembling a hillock, and when torrents came, they flowed to its right and left.
She continued living in that way till some people from the tribe of Jurhum passed by her and her child. As they were coming from through the way of Kada’, in the lower part of Makkah where they saw a bird that had a habit of flying around water and not leaving it. They said: ‘This bird must be flying over water, though we know that there is no water in this valley.’ They sent one or two messengers who discovered the source of water, and returned to inform them of the water. So, they all came towards the water.”
The Prophet (peace be upon him) added, “Isma`il’s mother was sitting near the water. They asked her: ‘Do you allow us to stay with you?’ She replied: ‘Yes, but you will have no right to possess the water.’ They agreed to that.” The Prophet (peace be upon him) further said, “Isma`il’s mother was pleased with the whole situation as she used to love the company of the people. So, they settled there, and later on they sent for their families who came and settled with them. The child (i.e., Isma`il) grew up and learnt Arabic from them (his virtues) caused them to love and admire him as he grew up, and when he reached the age of puberty, they gave him one of their daughters in marriage…” (Al-Bukhari)
This was a part of the story of lady Hajar.
Dear reader, did you stop at the saying of the Prophet which I made bold in the story:
“This is the source of the tradition of the Sa`i – i.e., the going of people between the two mountains.”
Sa`i, in brief, is one of the rituals of Hajj (pilgrimage) which is one of the five fundamentals of Islam. The ritual of Sa`i involves nothing but going in meditation and remembrance of Allah between the mountains of As-Safa and Al-Marwah while hurrying up in the valley between them and supplicating Allah when reaching the tops of both mountains. Did you know, dear reader, that Hajar, the woman, did the same early before Muhammad came? Did you know that all Muslims, men and women, who visit the Ka`bah for Hajj and `Umrah (minor pilgrimage) have to do the same while they perform the ritual of Hajj or `Umrah or otherwise their whole worship will be in vain? Did you find, dear reader, any matching example of dignity, esteem, respect and glorification of the woman like this? Did you ever ponder on the Islamic message to know the status of woman in Islam? Do you know that a whole chapter of Qur’an is titled “An-Nisa’” i.e. Women?
This is clear evidence about the status of women, the status of the mother in Islam, which reflects clear impacts of women on the construction of Islamic message and its code of worship. Islam has been depicted as unfair to women because its enemies went to its texts and took it out of their contexts and pictured Islam as unjust, savage and uncultured religion. However, the truth is as evident as you read now.
By Abdul Wahid Hamid
Khalid ibn Zayd ibn Kulayb from the Banu Najjar was a great and close companion of the Prophet (peace be upon him). He was known as Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari (the father of Ayyub) and enjoyed a privilege which many of the Ansar in Madinah hoped they would have.
Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari’s house had two storeys. He emptied the upper floor of his and his family’s possessions so that the Prophet could stay there.
When the Prophet (peace be upon him) reached Madinah after his migration from Makkah, he was greeted with great enthusiasm by the Ansar of Madinah. Their hearts went out to him and their eyes followed him with devotion and love. They wanted to give him the most generous reception anyone could be given.
The Prophet first stopped at Quba’ on the outskirts of Madinah and stayed there for some days. The first thing he did was to build a mosque which is described in the Qur’an as the “mosque built on the foundation of piety (taqwa)”. (At-Tawbah 9:108)
The Prophet (peace be upon him) entered Madinah on his camel. The chieftains of the city stood along his path, each one wishing to have the honor of the Prophet alighting and staying at his house. One after the other stood in the camel’s way entreating, “Stay with us, O Rasulullah (Messenger of Allah).” “Leave the camel,” the Prophet (peace be upon him) would say. “It is under command.” The camel continued walking, closely followed by the eyes and hearts of the people of Yathrib (the ex-name of Madinah). When it went past a house, its owner would feel sad and dejected and hope would rise in the hearts of others still on the route.
The camel continued in this fashion with the people following it until it hesitated at an open space in front of the house of Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari. But the Prophet (peace be upon him) did not get down. After only a short while, the camel set off again, the Prophet left its reins loose. Before long, however, it turned round, retraced its steps and stopped on the same spot as before. Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari’s heart was filled with happiness. He went out to the Prophet and greeted him with great enthusiasm. He took the Prophet’s baggage in his arms and felt as if he was carrying the most precious treasure in the world.
Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari’s house had two storeys. He emptied the upper floor of his and his family’s possessions so that the Prophet could stay there. But the Prophet (peace be upon him) preferred to stay on the lower floor. Night came and the Prophet retired. Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari went up to the upper floor. But when they had closed the door, Abu Ayyub turned to his wife and said: “Woe to us! What have we done? The Messenger of God is below and we are higher than he! Can we walk on top of the Messenger of God? Do we come between him and the Revelation (wahy)? If so, we are doomed.” The couple became very worried not knowing what to do. They only got some peace of mind when they moved to the side of the building which did not fall directly above the Prophet. They were careful also only to walk on the outer parts of the floor and avoid the middle.
In the morning, Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari said to the Prophet: “By God, we did not sleep a wink last night, neither myself nor Umm Ayyub.” “Why not, Abu Ayyub?” asked the Prophet. Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari explained how terrible they felt being above while the Prophet was below them and how they might have interrupted the Revelation. “Don’t worry, Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari,” said the Prophet. “We prefer the lower floor because of the many people coming to visit us.” “We submitted to the Prophet’s wishes,” Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari related, “until one cold night ajar of ours broke and the water spilled on the upper floor. Umm Ayyub and I stared at the water. We only had one piece of velvet which we used as a blanket. We used it to mop up the water out of fear that it would seep through to the Prophet. In the morning I went to him and said, ‘I do not like to be above you,’ and told him what had happened. He accepted my wish and we changed floors.”
The Prophet stayed in Abu Ayyub’s house for almost seven months until his mosque was completed on the open space where his camel had stopped. He moved to the rooms which were built around the mosque for himself and his family. He thus became a neighbor of Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari. What a noble neighbor to have had!
Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari continued to love the Prophet with all his heart and the Prophet also loved him dearly. There was no formality between them. The Prophet continued to regard Abu Ayyub’s house as his own. The following anecdote tells a great deal about the relationship between them.
Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) once left his house in the burning heat of the midday sun and went to the mosque. `Umar saw him and asked, “Abu Bakr, what has brought you out at this hour? Abu Bakr said that he had left his house because he was terribly hungry and Umar said that he had left his house for the same reason. The Prophet came up to them and asked, “What has brought the two of you out at this hour?” They told him and he said, “By Him in Whose hands is my soul, only hunger has caused me to come out also. But come with me.”
They went to the house of Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari. His wife opened the door and said, “Welcome to the Prophet and whoever is with him.” “Where is Abu Ayyub?” asked the Prophet. Abu Ayyub, who was working in a nearby palm grove, heard the Prophet’s voice and came hurriedly. “Welcome to the Prophet and whoever is with him,” he said and went on, “O Prophet of God, this is not the time that you usually come.” (Abu Ayyub used to keep some food for the Prophet every day. When the Prophet did not come for it by a certain time, Abu Ayyub would give it to his family.) “You are right,” the Prophet agreed. Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari went out and cut a cluster of dates in which there were ripe and half-ripe dates. “I did not want you to cut this,” said the Prophet. “Could you not have brought only the ripe dates?” “O Rasulullah, please eat from both the ripe dates (rutb) and the half ripe (busr). I shall slaughter an animal for you also.” “If you are going to, then do not kill one that gives milk,” cautioned the Prophet.
Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari slaughtered a young goat, cooked half and grilled the other half. He also asked his wife to bake, because she baked better, he said. When the food was ready, it was placed before the Prophet and his two companions. The Prophet took a piece of meat and placed it in a loaf and said, “Abu Ayyub, take this to Fatimah. She has not tasted the like of this for days.”
When they had eaten and were satisfied, the Prophet said reflectively: “Bread and meat and busr and rutb!” Tears began to flow from his eyes as he continued: “This is a bountiful blessing about which you will be asked on the Day of Judgment. If such comes your way, put your hands to it and say, ‘Bismillah’ (In the name of God) and when you have finished say, “Al-hamdu lillah alladhee huwa ashba`na wa an`ama `alayna” (Praise be to God Who has given us enough and Who has bestowed his bounty on us). This is best.”
These are glimpses of Abu Ayyub’s life during peace time. He also had a distinguished military career. Much of his time was spent as a warrior until it was said of him, “He did not stay away from any battle the Muslims fought from the time of the Prophet to the time of Mu`awiyah unless he;: was engaged at the same time in another.”
The last campaign he took part in was the one prepared by Mu`awiyah and led by his son Yazid against Constantinople. Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari at that time was a very old man, almost eighty years old. But that did not prevent him from joining the army and crossing the seas as a graze in the path of God. After only a short time engaged in the battle, Abu Ayyub fell ill and had to withdraw from fighting. Yazid came to him and asked: “Do you need anything, Abu Ayyub?” “Convey my salaams to the Muslim armies and say to them: ‘Abu Ayyub urges you to penetrate deeply into the territory of the enemy as far as you can go, that you should carry him with you and that you should bury him under your feet at the walls of Constantinople.’” Then he breathed his last.
The Muslim army fulfilled the desire of the companion of the Messenger of God. They pushed back the enemy’s forces in attack after attack until they reached the walls of Constantinople. There they buried him. (The Muslims beseiged the city for four years but eventually had to withdraw after suffering heavy losses.)
Taken with modifications from the author’s “Companions of the Prophet”, Vol. 1.
Ibn Majah was an eminent scholar and memorizer of hadith. He reminds us with his ancestor Salman Al-Farisi.
Almighty Allah has chosen some people to be the knowledge-torch bearers leading the Muslim community to the straight path and guiding its way in light of the instructions of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). They are the religious scholars who devoted their life for teaching people the religion of God. They are the inheritors of Prophets and the most beloved ones to God the Almighty.
One of the leading figures of knowledge is the outstanding scholar of hadith Ibn Majah Abu `Abdullah Muhammad ibn Yazid ibn Majah Al-Rab`i Al-Qazwini. In the following lines, we will try to shed some light on the life of this great personality.
Ibn Majah was an eminent scholar and memorizer of hadith. He reminds us of his ancestor Salman Al-Farisi who was born in the Persian lands and he crossed through different places searching for the true religion. He abandoned the Magus beliefs and traveled to the Levant where he met Christian monks and adopted Christianity. Then, he was informed by one of the monks about the oncoming of the last Prophet (peace be upon him) who will appear in Arabia. Salman did not slacken and continued his way until he reached Madinah and waited there until the migration of Prophet Muhammad to follow Islam. Our scholar was a diligent seeker as well, but a seeker of the knowledge of hadith.
Ibn Majah’s birth and early life
Abu `Abdullah ibn Majah was born in 209 AH in Qazwin (Qazvin, Iran) for a practicing family of knowledge. His home city was conquered during the Caliphate of `Uthman ibn `Affan (may Allah be pleased with him) in 24 AH and became a center of knowledge. It presented great religious scholars like Al-Hafizh `Ali ibn Muhammad At-Tanafisi, Al-Hafizh `Amr ibn Rafi` Al-Bajali and Isma`il ibn Tawbah.
Imam Ibn Majah was born during the Caliphate of Al-Ma’mun, whose rule witnessed a rising prosperity in all branches of knowledge. Ibn Majah rose up fond of knowledge, specially the religious sciences. He memorized the Qur’an and commenced seeking the religious sciences such as Fiqh, Hadith, Tafsir, etc. at an early age. He found in himself a special attachment to Hadith. He applied himself for narrating hadith and frequented the circles of hadith scholars in his home city, including the above mentioned scholars. His soul yearned for traveling for seeking knowledge, just as his ancestor Salman did, and as it was the custom of all seekers of hadith at that time. He made his first journey for seeking hadith at the age of 22.
Ibn Majah’s pursuit of knowledge
Ibn Majah travelled to plentiful places and learned at the hands of the scholars of hadith at his time. He journeyed to Khorasan, Basra, Kufa, Baghdad, Damascus, Makkah, Madinah, Egypt, and other places. In each territory he visited, Imam Ibn Majah would remain with its scholars until he acquire their full knowledge. Among his famous Sheikhs were Ibrahim ibn Al-Mundhir Al-Hizami, Muhammad ibn `Abdullah ibn Numayr, Harmalah ibn Yahya, Al-Hafizh Al-Hilwani Al-Khallal, Isma`il ibn Musa Al-Fazari, Jabarah ibn Al-Mughallas, `Abdullah ibn Mu`awiyah, Hisham ibn `Ammar, Muhammad ibn Rumh, Dawud ibn Rashid, Mus`ab ibn Az-Zubairi, Abu Bakr ibn Abu Shaybah, Abu Mus`ab Az-Zuhri, and many others.
After arduous journeys that took more than fifteen years, Ibn Majah returned back to his homeland where he was devoted for compilation and dissemination of knowledge. He stayed in his homeland teaching and narrating hadith to his students. He was frequented by masses of students who came from everywhere to learn at his hands and narrate hadith from him. Among his students were Muhammad As-Saffar, Is-Haq ibn Muhammad, Sulayman Al-Qazwini, Ibn Sibawayh, `Ali ibn Ibrahim Al-Qattan, `Ali ibn Sa`id Al-Ghaddani, Ibrahim ibn Dinar Al-Jarshi, `Ali ibn Ibrahim ibn Salamah, Ja`far ibn Idris and many others.
Ibn Majah’s writings
Imam Ibn Majah wrote numerous books topped by his well-known book of hadith As-Sunan. This book received high praise from the scholars of hadith for his special approach and the fact that it included authentic hadiths not found in the other books of Sunan or the Sahihs of Al-Bukhari and Muslim. He also compiled a great book in Tafsir, as mentioned, in Al-Bidayah wa An-Nihayah, but unfortunately it was lost. He also wrote a book of history that covered the era of the Prophet to his time. This book remained long after his demise, as stated by At-Tahir Al-Maqdisi and Ibn Khallikan but it was also lost.
Scholarly praise of Ibn Majah
- Abu Ya`la Al-Khalili said, “Scholars are in agreement that Ibn Majah is a great trustworthy scholar whose views are valid for argument. He has full awareness of Hadith and he was an excellent memorizer of hadiths. He compiled in different branches of knowledge including Sunan, Tafsir (exegesis of the Qur’an) and history. He was well versed in these areas.
- Al-Hafizh Al-Mizzi said, “Ibn Majah is a memorizer of Hadith and compiler of As-Sunan. He had many beneficial writings and numerous scientific journeys.
- Al Hafizh Adh-Dhahabi said, “Muhammad ibn Yazid is a great memorizer of hadith and eminent exegete of the Qur’an. He wrote in hadith, history and tafsir. He was the peerless memorizer of hadith in Qazwin.
- He also said, “Ibn Majah was a great memorizer and honest critic of hadith, and his knowledge was so extensive.”
- Al-Hafizh ibn Hajar said, “Ibn Majah was one of the leading scholars, and a memorizer of hadith. He wrote in hadith, tafsir and history.
Ibn Majah’s death
After a lifetime full of learning, teaching and compiling books in hadith and other religious sciences, Imam Ibn Majah passed away in the 22th of Ramadan, 273 AH. May Allah confer His mercy upon Ibn Majah and reward him all the best for his scientific journey, circles of knowledge and useful compilations!
- `Abdul-Karim Ar-Rafi`i Al-Qazwini, At-Tadwin fi Akhbar Qazwin
- Al-Hafizh Abu Al-Hajjaj Al-Mizzi, Tahdhib Al-Kamal
- Abu `Abdullah Adh-Dhahabi, Tadhkirat Al-Huffazh
- Ibn Kathir, Al-Bidayah wan Annihayah
- Abu `Abdullah Adh-Dhahabi, Siyar A`alam An-Nubalaa’
- Abu `Abdullah Adh-Dhahabi, Al-`Ibar fi Khabar man Ghabar
- Ibn Khalkan, Wafiyyat Al-A`yan
Al Bukhari: The Imam of Hadith and Sunnah
Muslim: The Leading Scholar of Hadith
Abu Dawud: The Faqih and Scholar of Hadith
At-Tirmidhi: Imam of Hadith and Fiqh
Imam An-Nasa’i: The Great Authority of Hadith
By Dr `Ali Al-Salabi
The reaction of Lady Khadijah upon hearing the Prophet’s account of his first encounter with Jibril points to her profound wisdom, understanding, and strength of heart.
“His heart trembling, the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) returned with some revealed verses in his heart. He entered upon Khadijah bint Khuwailid (may Allah be pleased with her) and said, “Cover me! Cover me!’ And so they covered him and, when the terror (of what had happened) left him, he informed Khadijah about what had happened, (after which he said), ‘I fear for myself (i.e., I fear that I have gone mad). Khadijah said, “Never! By Allah, Allah will never forsake you, for you maintain the ties of kinship, you bear the burdens of the weak, you give to people what no one else is able to give (in terms of benefits and good manners), you hospitably entertain your guests, and you help people who are afflicted with calamities.”
Khadijah’s attitude and reaction upon hearing the Prophet’s account of his first encounter with Jibril points to her profound wisdom, understanding, and strength of heart. She was not frightened or startled; rather, she was the opposite: relaxed and calm. In her mind, she compared what she was hearing with the reality of the Prophet’s character and manners. Then she arrived at the only possible correct conclusion: if one, by his very nature, is possessed of all good qualities, characteristics, and manners, then Allah (Glory be to Him) will never forsake him. She reminded him about how good he was to his relatives, which was an apt remark, for if a person is successful in keeping good relations with his relatives – who are the closest of people to him – then it is only natural that he will be successful in doing the same with other people. This was particularly appropriate since the Prophet was being prepared to convey the divine message of Islam to all of mankind. After reminding the Prophet (peace be upon him) about his many good qualities, Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her) wisely took him to the one person she knew who could advise him – her cousin, Waraqah, who had become a Christian and who had told her that he was waiting for the coming of a Prophet in Arabia.
Khadijah believed, and in fact knew, from the depths of her heart that the Prophet (peace be upon him) possessed a noble character and the highest of manners and qualities. She inferred from this knowledge that the Prophet would never in his life be subjected to shame and humiliation. This inference was most probably drawn from a general knowledge of historical principles: Whenever Allah blesses one of his slaves with noble and good characteristics, He will not make that slave taste humiliation and shame in his life. And Muhammad, Khadijah knew, had reached the pinnacle of nobility and goodness of character.
Khadijah took the Prophet to her cousin Waraqah ibn Naufal (may Allah have mercy on him). Waraqah, Khadijah knew, was waiting for the emergence of the final Prophet to be sent to mankind, an event that he learned about from Christian (and perhaps also Jewish) scholars, who pointed out to him that that awaited Prophet was soon due to appear. The words that Waraqah spoke to the Prophet had a very soothing and strengthening effect on the Prophet’s heart. He informed the Prophet that the being that had spoken to him was Jibril, who was a messenger between Allah and His Prophets.
In the course of their conversation, Waraqah did not hesitate but instead immediately believed that Muhammad k was the awaited Prophet, the final Messenger sent to mankind. The Prophet later issued a statement, making it clear that Waraqah was one of the dwellers of Paradise. Al-Hakim related from `Aishah that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Do not curse Waraqah, for I indeed saw that he had a garden or two gardens (in Paradise).” (Al-Mustadrak)
In another narration, `Aishah related that Khadijah once asked the Messenger of Allah about Waraqah, and he answered, “I did indeed see him, and when I did, I saw upon him white garments. I would judge that had he been from the dwellers of Hell, he wouldn’t have had upon him white garments And Al-Haithami said, “Abu Ya`la related with a Hasan (acceptable) chain from Jabir ibn `Abdullah that, when the Messenger of Allah was asked about Waraqah ibn Naufal, he said, “I saw him in the middle of Paradise, and upon him was a silk brocade.”
Khadijah played an indispensable role in the life of the Prophet. To be sure, Allah guided the Prophet to marry an ideal wife, one that, like her husband, was by her very nature all that is good, and as such, she became the best role model for all women who came after her. She is particularly a role model for women whose husbands are Du`ah (those who invite others to the teachings of Islam), for Du`ah are not like other men: they carry the burden of a message and their efforts are constantly directed at solving the problems of not only their families, but of the entire Muslim nation. Great sacrifices – in terms of time, energy, and resources – are required of such men; they even have to give up some of the time that they would otherwise spend in the company of their families. They therefore need wives who appreciate the burdens that their husbands carry, who recognize the importance of conveying Islam to both Muslims and non-Muslims, and who stand alongside, and not in the way of, their husbands.
A righteous wife has the potential of having a tremendously positive impact on the success of the Da`wah; we have no better example that attests to this fact than the life of Khadijah and the way she stood side by side with the Prophet (peace be upon him) from the very outset of his Prophethood. So, whenever a Da`i (caller to Islam) is blessed with a righteous wife, he is one step closer to achieving success in his dealings with others. The Messenger of Allah put it best when he said, “The world is mata` (mata` is anything from which pleasure can be derived), and the best Mata’ of the world is a righteous wife.” (Muslim)
Source: Taken with modifications from the author’s “The Noble Life of the Prophet Muhammad.”