HAZRAT ABU BAKR SIDDIQUE (Raddi Allah Unho)
The First Caliph of Islam
Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu's) real name was Abdullah, and he
was given the title of "As Siddique" or"Testifier to the Truth." His
father, 'Uthman, was known as Abu Quhafah and his mother, Salma, was
known as Ummul Khair. He was two and a half years younger than Sayyiduna
Rasulullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam).
He was the first among
the Sahaba to accept Islam. He accompanied Sayyiduna Rasulullah (sallal
laahu alaihi wasallam) during the Hijrah to Madinatul Munawwarah.
Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) was a merchant. He freed many
slaves, including Sayyiduna Bilal (radi Allahu anhu) and Sayyiduna
Umayyah bin Qahaf (radi Allahu anhu). He participated in all the battles
in which Sayyiduna Rasulullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) had to
fight the Kuffar.
Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi
Allahu anhu) loved his faith more than anything else. At the Battle of
Badr, his son, Sayyiduna Abdur Rahman (radi Allahu anhu), was fighting
on the side of the Kuffar. After accepting Islam, Sayyiduna Abdur Rahman
(radi Allahu anhu) said to his father, "O Father, at Badr, you were
twice under my sword, but my love for you held my hand back." To this,
Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) replied, "Son, if I had you only
once under my sword, you would have been no more." He was so
uncompromising in his faith.
At the time of the
Battle of Tabuk, he donated all his wealth to the war effort, and when
Sayyiduna Rasulullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) asked him, "What
have you left for your family,?" he replied, "Allah and His Rasool (sallal
laahu alaihi wasallam)."
AS A CALIPH
After his election as the Caliph, Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu)
addressed the Muslims with these words:
"O People! I have been
chosen by you as your leader, although I am no better than any of you.
If I do any wrong, set me right. Listen, truth is honesty and untruth is
dishonesty. The weak among you are the powerful in my eyes, as long as I
do not give them their dues. The powerful among you are weak in my eyes,
as long as I do not take away from them what is due to others.
"Listen carefully, if
people give up striving for the Cause of Almighty Allah, He will send
down disgrace upon them. If people become evil-doers, Almighty Allah
will send down calamities upon them.
"Obey me as long as I
obey Allah and His Rasul (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam). If I disobey
Allah and His Rasul (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam), you are free to
Such was the first
Caliph of Islam. Indeed, the world would be a better place to live in,
if we had leaders like Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu).
Sayyiduna Abu Bakr
(radi Allahu anhu) now sent Sayyiduna Usamah (radi Allahu anhu) on the
expedition to Syria to fight the Romans, even though he had to attend to
all the internal problems of the Islamic State.
The news that Sayyiduna
Rasulullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) had passed away, made some new
Muslims think that the Islamic State would crumble and they refused to
pay the Zakaah. These new Muslims could not yet get used to their faith
and its requirements until then. Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu)
declared, "By Allah! Even if a single thread is due from a man, he must
give it. If he refuses, I will declare war against him."
RENEGADES AND IMPOSTERS
Some others became imposters and renegades. Tulaiha, Musailimah, Maalik
bin Nuwairah, Aswad Ansi and a woman named Sajah claimed that they were
prophets and caused a great deal of confusion. Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi
Allahu anhu) was quick to take action against these imposters.
Sayyiduna Khalid bin
Walid (radi Allahu anhu) was sent to deal with Tulaiha who fled to Syria
and later became a Muslim. Maalik bin Nuwarah was killed. Sayyiduna
Ikramah (radi Allahu anhu) and Sayyiduna Surahbil (radi Allahu anhu)
were sent to take action against Musailimah, but they were defeated.
Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) sent Sayyiduna Khalid bin Walid
(radi Allahu anhu) to tackle the notorious Musailamah who married Sajah.
In the fight that followed, Sayyiduna Wahshi (radi Allahu anhu) killed
Musailamah. Musailamah and Aswad Ansi also claimed to be prophets while
Sayyiduna Rasulullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) was alive. Aswad was
killed by the Muslims of Yemen.
Sayyiduna Abu Bakr
(radi Allahu anhu's) swift and bold steps saved the Islamic State from
the serious danger of chaos and confusion. He could now attend to other
ERA OF CONQUESTS
During his Khilaafat, Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) had to take
action against the Iranian Empire. The Emperor of Iran, Khusrou Parvez,
was killed by his son, Shirooya, and the whole empire fell into chaos
and disorder. Hurmuz, the Persian governor of Iraq, was very hostile to
the Arabs and he was also cruel to the Muslims living in that area.
Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi
Allahu anhu) sent Sayyiduna Muthamia (radi Allahu anhu) to take action
against the Iranians in Iraq. His forces were not enough and Sayyiduna
Khalid bin Walid (radi Allahu anhu) was then sent with reinforcements.
The Muslim army captured vast areas of the Iranian Empire in several
Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi
Allahu anhu) then turned his attention to the Romans who were causing
trouble in the North-West frontier. Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu)
sent 4 separate armies under Sayyiduna Ubaidah bin Jarrah, Sayyiduna Amr
Ibnul As, Sayyiduna Yazid bin Abu Sufyaan and Sayyiduna Surahbil bin
Hasnal (radi Allahu anhumul ajma'in) to deal with the Roman power.
The four armies joined
into one unit to face the Romans more effectively. The Romans had
amassed 150 000 soldiers, but the total Muslim army was only 24 000.
Reinforcements were requested. Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu)
asked Sayyiduna Khalid bin Walid (radi Allahu anhu) to take charge of
the Iraqi front and Sayyiduna Muthanna (radi Allahu anhu) to rush to the
Syrian front to help fight the huge Roman army. The armies met in Yarmuk
after Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) passed away. In this battle,
the Romans were totally defeated.
Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) fell ill at this time and passed
away on the 21st of Jamadi-ul-Aakhir 13 A.H. (22 August 634). His rule
lasted 2 years and 3 months. He was 63 years old.
One of the many
contributions of Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) was the
collection and compilation of the Holy Koran.
He lived a very simple, pious and upright life. He was a true servant of
Almighty Allah and a meticulous follower of Sayyiduna Rasulullah (sallal
laahu alaihi wasallam).
He wore ordinary
clothes and his meals were very simple. He attended to house-hold work
and would go out at night and seek the poor and destitute. Humility and
modesty were the keynotes of his character. He felt embarrassed when
people showered praises on him or showed him immense respect. He often
fasted during the day and spent the whole night in Salaah and
meditation. He was a great orator and a master of genealogy (one who can
trace a person's family line). In personal life, he was a Saint. He used
all his powers to promote the interest of Islam and the good of people.
HAZRAT UMAR FAROOQ (Raddi Allah Unho)
The Second Caliph of Islam
Before he passed away, Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) consulted
the senior Sahaba and elected Sayyiduna Umar (radi Allahu anhu) as the
second Caliph of the Muslims.
He was the son of Khattab and is famous in Islamic history as "Al Farooq"
or "One who Distinguishes between Right and Wrong." His acceptance of
Islam is also very famous.
AS A CALIPH
Sayyiduna Umar (radi Allahu anhu) was a very brave and straight-forward
person. He was tough and uncompromising in Islamic principles. He was a
great and talented ruler. During his Khilaafat, vast areas of the Roman
and Persian empires and the whole of Egypt were brought under Islamic
rule. He was also a gifted orator. He was very concerned for the welfare
of the Muslims. He left a honourable legacy for Muslims after him. The
Holy Koran was given to him by Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) for
APPOINTS NEW COMMANDER
Sayyiduna Umar (radi Allahu anu) was a strong disciplinarian. He noticed
the tremendous popularity of Sayyiduna Khalid bin Walid (radi Allahu
anhu). He felt that people will lose trust in Almighty Allah and put all
their trust in Sayyiduna Khalid bin Walid (radi Allahu anhu). He feared
that the people may think too highly of him, thereby possibly increasing
the self-esteem of Sayyiduna Khalid bin Walid (radi Allahu anhu) which
would also breed arrogance, so he removed Sayyiduna Khalid (radi Allahu
anhu) and appointed Sayyiduna Abu Ubaidah bin Jarrah (radi Allahu anhu)
as the Commander in Chief of the Muslim army.
Sayyiduna Khalid bin
Walid (radi Allahu anhu) happily accepted the orders of Sayyiduna Umar (radi
Allahu anhu) and then served as an ordinary soldier. This is an example
of the Islamic teachings of obedience to leadership!
DEFEAT OF THE PERSIANS
Sayyiduna Khalid bin Walid (radi Allahu anhu) had left Sayyiduna
Muthanna (radi Allahu anhu) in command of the Muslim forces on the Iraqi
front when he rushed to Yarmuk. Sayyiduna Muthanna (radi Allahu anhu)
was finding it difficult to counter the enemy and went personally to
Madinatul Munawwarah to ask Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) for
re-inforcements. Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) had by that time
Sayyiduna Muthanna (radi
Allahu anhu's) absence from the Iraqi front made things worse there. The
Iranians regrouped under the command of Rustam and recaptured the lands
taken by the Muslims. Rustam sent 2 columns of his army, one to Hirah
and the other to Kaskar.
Sayyiduna Umar (radi
Allahu anhu) sent Sayyiduna Abu Ubaidah (radi Allahu anhu), as
Commander, to deal with the situation. Both the Persian columns were
defeated. Rustam sent an even larger army and defeated the Muslims.
Sayyiduna Umar (radi
Allahu anhu) raised another army and defeated the Persians. But the
Persian court sent yet another larger army, and forced Sayyiduna
Muthanna (radi Allahu anhu) to withdraw. The report of the new situation
was sent to Sayyiduna Umar (radi Allahu anhu) and reinforcements under
the command of Sayyiduna Saad bin Abi Waqqas (radi Allahu anhu) were
The Persian and Muslim
army met at Qadisiyah. After a long battle on several fronts, the
outnumbered Muslim army defeated the 120 000 Persian soldiers and
recaptured Hirah and their areas in the year 14 A.H. (636 C.E).
DEFEAT OF THE ROMANS
Muslims laid siege to Damascus during Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu
anhu's) rule as Caliph. It continued, after he passed away, and lasted
70 days during the rule of Sayyiduna Umar (radi Allahu anhu). After the
long siege, Sayyiduna Khalid bin Walid (radi Allahu anhu) took the
Romans by surprise and entered the city. The Governor surrendered and a
peace treaty was signed.
CONQUEST OF JERUSALEM
Meanwhile, Sayyiduna Amr ibn As (radi Allahu anhu) was laying siege to
Jerusalem. Sayyiduna Khalid, Sayyiduna Abu Ubaidah and other Sahaba
(radi Allahu anhumul ajma'in) also joined him. The Christians had little
hope and decided to give in. They also suggested that the keys of
Jerusalem be given to Sayyiduna Umar (radi Allahu anhu) himself
personally. Sayyiduna Umar (radi Allahu anhu) went to Jerusalem. An
agreement was signed that guaranteed the safety of the city and the
safety of the Christians.
A Persian non-Muslim, named Firoz and nicknamed "Abu Lulu," complained
to Sayyiduna Umar (radi Allahu anhu) about his master, Sayyiduna
Mughirah bin Shuba (radi Allahu anhu), who imposed tax on him. Sayyiduna
Umar (radi Allahu anhu) told Firoz that the tax was reasonable. This
made Firoz angry.
The next day, during
the Fajr Salaah, he stabbed Sayyiduna Umar (radi Allahu anhu) 6 times in
the back, severely wounding the Caliph. Sayyiduna Umar (radi Allahu
anhu) passed away 3 days later in 23 A.H. He was 63 years old. He ruled
the Islamic State for 10 years, 6 months and 4 days.
In a short space of 10 years, Sayyiduna Umar (radi Allahu anhu) had been
well-known for his outstanding achievements and reforms in Islam. Some
of these reforms were:-
1. He established the "Baitul
Maal" (People's treasury for the state and public).
2. Judicial courts of
Justice were set in the country. Judges and Magistrates handled all
3. Establishment of an
army headquarters for the defence of the country.
4. Construction of
roads and canals.
5. Schools were
established. Salaries for Imams, Mu'azzins and Ustaads were organized.
6. Masjids were
improved and built in Makkatul Mukarramah and Madinatul Munawwarah. This
included facilities for the Haajis.
7. Police Stations and
prisons were built.
8. Establishment of the
first Islamic Lunar calendar beginning from the Hijrah.
9. Proper weights and
10. Population census
11. Built orphanages
and welfare homes.
12. Established proper
punishment system and banned slavery.
Simplicity and devotion were the main characters of Sayyiduna Umar (radi
Allahu anhu). He used to wear clothes that had many patches and yet
received Governors, convoys and diplomats. He took just enough allowance
from the State to have a simple meal and wear simple clothes. At times
he was very poor. He used to visit the old people and sick and even do
their house work. He used to visit the houses of the soldiers and
inquire about their families. He stayed awake at night in Salaah and
often kept Fast. He always supported and upheld the cause of Islam, with
his wisdom, energy, dynamism, bravery and little wealth.
HAZRAT UTHMAN GHANI (Raddi Allah Unho)
The Third Caliph of Islam
Before he passed away, Sayyiduna Umar (radi Allahu anhu) appointed a
six-man Committee to elect his successor from among themselves. After
long discussions and consultation, they elected Sayyiduna 'Uthman bin
Affan (radi Allahu anhu) as the third Caliph of Islam.
Sayyiduna 'Uthman (radi Allahu anhu) belonged to the Ummayah tribe of
the Quraish. He was a very rich cloth merchant. He was known as "Al
Ghani" or "The Generous." His father's name was Affan and his mother was
He accepted Islam at
the invitation of Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) and migrated to
Abyssinia with his wife, Sayyadah Ruqayyah (radi Allahu anha), who was
also the daughter of Sayyiduna Rasulullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam).
After she passed away,
he married Sayyadah Umme Kulthum (radi Allahu anha), another daughter of
Sayyiduna Rasulullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam). Because of this, he
earned the title "Zun Noorain" or "Possessor of Two Lights." He took
part in all the battles with Sayyiduna Rasulullah (sallal laahu alaihi
wasallam) except the Battle of Badr.
During the Khilaafat of Sayyiduna 'Uthman (radi Allahu anhu), the
rebellion in Azerbhaijaan and Armenia was silenced.
Sayyiduna Mu'awiyah (radi
Allahu anhu), with the help of Sayyiduna Abi Sarah (radi Allahu anhu),
captured Cyprus by naval attack and brought it under Islamic rule. Vast
areas of North Africa including Tripoli, Tunisia and Morocco were also
brought under the Islamic rule.
The Romans, although
defeated several times by the Muslims in the past, made another attempt,
during the Khilaafat of Sayyiduna 'Uthman (radi Allahu anhu), to
recapture the lands they had already lost. Constantine, the Emperor of
Rome, made great preparations and attacked Alexandria with a naval fleet
five to six thousand strong. But, the Romans were defeated by the Muslim
naval forces under the command of Sayyiduna Abi Sarah and Sayyiduna
Mu'awiyah (radi Allahu anhuma).
The Governors of the provinces, appointed by Sayyiduna Umar (radi Allahu
anhu), were removed and replaced by members of the new Caliph's clan.
The majority of the new governors were inspired by worldly means rather
than by piety and interests of their subjects. People started to demand
the removal of these Governors, but the Caliph did not respond to their
appeals. Delegates mainly from Iraq and Egypt, submitted their demands
to the Caliph. The situation, however got out of control.
In the turmoil, Sayyiduna 'Uthman (radi Allahu anhu) himself was made
Shaheed by rebels while he was reading the Holy Koran inside his house.
This happened on Friday, the 17th of Zil Hajj in 35 A.H.. He was 84
Sayyiduna 'Uthman (radi Allah anhu) was a very simple and very kind
person. His simplicity and kindness did not alow him to take strong
action against the trouble makers and rioters. Above all, because of his
simple-mindedness, his administration was not as disciplined as it had
been during the Khilaafat of Sayyiduna Umar (radi Allahu anhu).
Sayyiduna 'Uthman (radi
Allahu anhu) was a generous man. He used to spend a lot of money for
Islam and to free the slaves. He was a great and pious man who feared
and loved Almighty Allah and Sayyiduna Rasulullah (sallal laahu alaihi
wasallam) above everything else. Although he was very rich, his living
was very simple. He did not indulge in luxury. He was ever mindful of
death. Major parts of the night were spent in Salaah. He also fasted
every second or third day.
THE HOLY Koran
A major achievement of Sayyiduna 'Uthman (radi Allahu anhu) was the
duplication of the Holy Koran from the records kept by Sayyiduna Abu
Bakr (radi Allahu anhu), who handed it to Sayyiduna Umar (radi Allahu
anhu), who then handed it to his daughter, Sayyadah Hafsa (radi Allahu
anha), the wife of Sayyiduna Rasulullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam).
Sayyiduna 'Uthman (radi
Allahu anhu) made copies of the Holy Koran from the original and sent it
to capitals such as Kufa, Damascus, Makkatul Mukarramah and Basrah, each
accompanied by a Sahabi for the guidance of the readers.
HAZRAT ALI MURTADHA (Raddi Allah Unho)
The Fourth Caliph of Islam
Hadrat Ali, r. a
Hadrat Ali was the son
of Abu Talib, a prominent Quraish chief and custodian of the Holy Ka'bah.
Abu Talib was so-called because he was the father of "Talib," the eldest
brother of Hadrat Ali. The real name of Abu Talib was 'Abd Manaf.'
However, he was more popularly known by his surname than by his real
name. Abu Talib was the son of Abdul Muttalib. Abdul Muttalib was also a
surname, his real name being Shaybah. Abdul Muttalib was the son of
Hashim. Hashim was a great man of his line, and his descendants came to
be known as Hashimites.
The mother of Hadrat
Ali was Fatima. She was the daughter of Asad who was a son of Hashim.
Fatima was a cousin of Abu Talib. Thus, both the father and mother of
Hadrat Ali were Hashimites, and that was a great honour.
Ancestry of Hadrat Ali and the holy
The holy Prophet was
the son of Abdullah who was the son of Abdul Muttalib. Abdullah and Abu
Talib were real brothers. Abu Talib was thus the real paternal uncle of
the holy Prophet of Islam. Hadrat Ali was the first cousin of the holy
Prophet. The holy Prophet and Hadrat Ali had a common grandfather who
was Abdul Muttalib.
Abdul Muttalib was the
son of Hashim, who was the son of Abd Manaf, who was the son of Qusay,
who was the son of Murrah, who was the son a Kaab, who was the son of
Luayy, who was the son of Ghalib, who was the son of Fihr, who was the
son of Malik, who was the son of Nadr, who was the son of Kannah. Beyond
Kannah, the ancestry extended to Hadrat Ismail, and Hadrat Ibrahim, who
flourished some 2,500 years earlier.
Date of birth
The exact date of
birth of Hadrat Ali is not known with any degree of certainty. According
to Traditions, Hadrat Ali was born on the 13th of Rajab
in the 28th year of the Elephant era. The Elephant era,
according to the annals of Arabia commenced when Abraha, the Christian
Viceroy of Yemen, invaded Mecca with the intention of destroying the
Ka'bah, and shifting the centre of pilgrimage to Yemen. The invasion
failed, the Christian army had to beat a retreat without achieving its
object. That marked the retreat of Christianity from the heartland of
Arabia and paved the way for the rise of Islam.
The holy Prophet of
Islam was born in the 'Year of the Elephant'. According to scholars,
'The Year of the Elephant' corresponds to the year 571 of the Christian
Era [CE]. On this basis, the year of the birth of Hadrat Ali would have
to be placed around 599 or 600 CE. In any case, Hadrat Ali was at the
junction of two centuries, the sixth and the seventh.
Birth of Hadrat Ali
Hadrat Ali was born in
unusual circumstances. On the 13th day of the holy month of
Rajab, Fatima, the mother of Hadrat Ali, visited the Ka'bah to
perform the pilgrimage. During the course of the pilgrimage and while
circumambulating the Ka'bah, Fatima felt the pangs of childbirth. She
retired to a secluded place in the precincts of the holy Ka'bah, and
there Hadrat Ali was born. Hadrat Ali has thus had the unique honour to
be born in the House of God. This unparalleled honour had endowed Hadrat
Ali with a halo of sanctity that has become the subject of many legends.
A hundred years later, Zain-ul-Abidin, a grandson of Ali (son of Hadrat
Hussein), met an Arab woman at Najaf who told him that her grandmother
had helped Fatima on the occasion of Hadrat Ali's birth. She narrated
that according to the account of her grandmother, the child was
beautiful; a smile played on his lips; he did not cry like other
children; and his birth did not cause any pain to his mother.
Fatima wanted to name
her child "Asad" after her father and Abu Talib wanted to name him Zaid.
When both mother and the child returned home, the holy Prophet, and
Hadrat Khadijah came to see her newborn child. Since his birth, he had
not opened his eyes, and that worried both Fatima and Abu Talib.
However, when the holy Prophet took the child in his lap, then he opened
his eyes. So the first person that Hadrat Ali saw after his birth was
the holy Prophet. When the holy Prophet was asked whether he approved of
the child being named either Asad or Zaid, he said that since the child
was born in the House of God, he should be named Ali (the word Ali being
a derivative of Allah). Hadrat Ali had thus had the distinction of being
named after Allah. No one before him had ever been so named.
Furthermore, the name acquired more sanctity because it was suggested by
the holy Prophet.
The biographer and his hero
A biographer can be
considered the alter-ego of the hero, whose biography is written. There
is a common bond between the biographer and the hero which transcends
the considerations of time and space. In writing this biography of
Hadrat Ali, I have had some communion with the soul of Hadrat Ali, and
in some mysterious way, I had the necessary guidance in appreciating
such events in the life of Hadrat Ali which were otherwise obscure. Just
as a lover locks the image of his beloved in his heart, thus the
biographer locks the image of his hero in his heart, and he can enter
into a dialogue with such image.
Biography and history
There are differences
in the approach between a biographer and a historian. A biography is
usually an exercise in hero worship and the biographer is prone to paint
the picture of his hero in bright colours. On the other hand, the
approach of a historian is for the most part objective and
constructively critical. Every hero of a biographer may not necessarily
be a great men from the viewpoint history. Where the hero is a great man
in history, his biography has to be projected in the context of history.
Hadrat Ali is indeed a great man in the history of mankind in general
and the history of Islam in particular. In undertaking this study in the
life of Hadrat Ali, I have had to act not only as a biographer, but as a
historian as well. This means that besides narrating the main events in
the Hadrat Ali's life, I must examine the impact of such events on
history. As such, I must critically examine the main events in Hadrat
Ali's life in order to ascertain their causes and effects. Of course
such criticism has to be constructive.
Greatness of Hadrat Ali
Greatness is a
phenomenon in which specially gifted persons who are endowed with
extraordinary qualities appear on the world stage from time to time.
History is the science which studies this phenomenon of greatness.
Usually every person who scales the heights of greatness and acquires a
place in history is a success from the worldly point of view. Here there
is a peculiarity in the greatness of Hadrat Ali. He was great, indeed
very great, but he was not a success from the worldly point of view in
the conventional sense that the word 'success' is understood. We have
thus to undertake a study to probe into the causes that militated
against the success of Hadrat Ali from the worldly point of view in
spite of his greatness. We will also have to consider how he is great
when he did not succeed in the worldly sense.
Periods in the life of Hadrat Ali
The life of Hadrat Ali
can be divided into three distinct periods. The first period comprises
the first 32 years of his life and extends from 600 to 632 CE. I call
this period the period of the education and action. It was during this
period that he received his education under the loving care of the holy
Prophet; imbibed with values of Islam; and acquired all the attributes
that contribute to greatness. In the post-Hijri years, he emerged as the
greatest warrior of the age. He distinguished himself as a great warrior
in the battles of Badr, Uhud and the Ditch. His crowning success was his
conquest of the Khyber. In battle he killed more men [through
hand-to-hand combat] than any other single man in history. All those who
fought in the duels against him were invariably killed. He came to be
known as the "Lion of God."
Hadrat Ali, The Man
Hadrat Ali was of
medium-high height. He had a superb head with a face as noble as the man
himself. His nose was straight, and his mouth was beautifully formed.
His eyes were most commanding, being full of light and luster. There was
an note of music in his voice. There was an aura of spirituality and a
strong personal magnetism about him. In his youth he was handsome and
full of fiery vigour. When he was older he became corpulent and bulky.
His gray hair gave way to baldness. His beard, however, remained thick
and luxuriant, and he often dyed it red. He was stout, genial,
charitable, meditative, reserved, and he was a man who towered high
above the people around him because of his intellectual and spiritual
Wives and children of Hadrat Ali
The principal wife of
Hadrat Ali was Hadrat Fatima, the favourite daughter of the holy
Prophet. During the lifetime of Hadrat Fatima, Hadrat Ali at one stage
proposed to marry a daughter of Abu Jahl. When the holy Prophet came to
know of this proposal, he became annoyed and declared that if Hadrat Ali
wanted to marry another wife, he should divorce Hadrat Fatima first.
Thereupon Hadrat Ali abandoned the idea of marrying another wife. Hadrat
Fatima was the mother of three sons and two daughters. The sons were
Hasan, Hussain, and Mohsin. Mohsin died during childhood. The daughters
were Zainab and Umm Kulthum.
After the death of
Hadrat Fatima, Hadrat Ali married a number of wives. They were:
(1) Umm-ul-Bunian who
was the daughter of Hazam b. Khalid. Hadrat Ali had five sons from her,
namely: Abdullah, Jafar, Abbas, Othman, and Umar. All of them except
Abbas were martyred in the battle of Karbala along with Hadrat Hussain.
(2) Khaula was the
daughter of Jafar Hanfiyah. She was the mother of the son known as
Muhammad b. Hanfiyah.
(3) Umm Habib who was
the daughter of Rabiah. She gave birth to a son Umar, in the daughter
(4) Asma who was the
daughter of Umais. She was in the first instance married to Hadrat
Jafar, an elder brother of Hadrat Ali. On the death of Hadrat Jafar,
Hadrat Abu Bakr married her. After the death of Hadrat Abu Bakr she
married Hadrat Ali. She had to sons from Hadrat Ali, namely: Yahya and
(5) Laila who was the
daughter of Masud. She was the mother of two sons, namely Ubaidullah and
(6) Umama who was a
daughter of Abi Al Aa's and Hadrat Zainab and elder sister of Hadrat
Fatima. Her son from Hadrat Ali bore the name of Muhammad Awsat.
(7) Umm Saeed who was
a daughter of Urwa. She bore Hadrat Ali two daughters, namely:
Umm-ul-Hasan and Rumia.
(8) Muhyat was a
daughter of the famous Arab poet Imra-ul-Qais. She gave birth to a
daughter who expired in infancy.
Hadrat Ali married
nine wives in all including Hadrat Fatima. The number of wives at a time
however did not exceed four. He had a few slave girls of whom Humia and
Umm Shuaib bore him 12 daughters, Nafisa, Zainab, Ruqiya, Umm-ul-Karaam,
Humaira, Umm Salma, Sughra, Khadija, Umm Hani, Umm Kulthum Jamana and
Maimuna. Hadrat Ali was, in all, the father of 15 sons and 18 daughters.
[total = 33 children]
Man of many distinctions
Hadrat Ali was a man
of many distinctions. He owed his distinctions to his relationship with
the holy Prophet, his valour, his knowledge and his spiritual
He had the
distinction of being a Hashimite both on the side of his father as
well as his mother.
He had the
distinction of having a name which was derivative of the name of
Allah. No other person before him bore the name of Ali.
His relationship with the holy Prophet
On opening his
eyes after his birth, the first person who he saw was the holy
The holy Prophet
gave him his name.
As an infant he
had the honour of sucking the tongue of the holy Prophet.
He was the first
cousin of the holy Prophet. He became a ward of the holy Prophet,
and was brought up as a family member of the household of the holy
He received his
training under the loving care and guidance of the holy Prophet.
When the holy
Prophet declared his mission, he was the first teenager to be
converted to Islam.
and Hadrat Ali were the first two persons to pray behind the holy
When the holy
Prophet invited the Hashimites to a dinner, and aked them to aid him
in his mission, Hadrat Ali was the only person to respond to the
call of the holy Prophet.
He risked his life
for the sake of the holy Prophet and slept on his bed when the holy
Prophet left for Medina and the Quraish youth besieged the house
with a view to killing the holy Prophet.
When the holy
Prophet left for Medina, he entrusted to Hadrat Ali the task of
returning the belongings of the people. They had placed their
belongings in the custody of the holy Prophet for safekeeping.
When the holy
Prophet joined the Muhajirs and the Ansars in fraternity in Medina,
he allied himself in fraternity with Hadrat Ali.
The holy Prophet
married his beloved daughter Fatima Zahra to Hadrat Ali.
commissioned by the holy Prophet to write the agreement which came
to be known as the Hudaybia Pact.
After the conquest
of Mecca, he had the unique distinction of standing on the shoulders
of the holy Prophet and destroying the idols in the Ka'bah.
He was entrusted
by the holy Prophet with the special mission of announcing the
Quraish Sura "Al Bara'at" (Immunity) to the people on the
occasion of the pilgrimage.
He was the only
person to whom the holy Prophet referred to as the "Maula"
[Master] of the Ummah
When the holy
Prophet proposed "Mubahala" [a special kind of debate] with
the Christians and the Najran, he chose Hadrat Ali as his "second
The progeny of the
holy Prophet descends through Hadrat Ali.
He was the only
person to whom the holy Prophet imparted "inward knowledge."
The holy Prophet
conferred many appellations on Hadrat Ali such as Hidar-iKarrar,
Abu Turab, Asad-ullah, Syedul Arab, etc.
The holy Prophet
declared his relationship to Hadrat Ali as that of Moses and Aaron.
When the holy
Prophet died, Hadrat Ali washed him and prepared his dead body for
He participated in
all the wars of early Islam which were fought under the command of
the holy Prophet.
In all the
battles, Hadrat Ali was the flag-bearer for the forces of the
He was the
greatest man among the Muslims. For his unusual bravery, he won such
titles as "Asad Allah," (the Lion of God) or "Haidar-e-Karrar"
(the warrior who nobody could match.)
lifetime, he killed over 1000 enemies. In the Battle of Badr alone
killed two dozen people.
He fought over a
hundred duels and in all the duels, his adversaries, however strong,
He was the
conqueror of the Khyber.
He was the most
learned man of his age. He was a living encyclopaedia of knowledge
After the holy
Prophet, he was the most eloquent person of the age.
Because of his
knowledge and wisdom he is known as the "Second Solomon."
His wise sayings
and aphorisms have attained the status of classical proverbs.
He was the first
person to write a grammar of the Arabic language.
Among the early
Muslims, he was the only person whose collections of writings have
come down to us and this collection [is] preserved under the title
He was a
He enjoys fame as
the "father of rhetoric."
He was an
authority on Mathematics.
He was a master of
the science of Physics.
He had a deep
After the holy
Prophet, he is regarded as the greatest philosopher of Islam.
He was a
calligrapher and wrote in a beautiful hand.
His spiritual attainments
He was the first
person to learn the Qur'an by heart.
According to the
commentators, there are at least 300 verses in the holy Qur'an which
have an implied reference to Hadrat Ali
After the holy
Prophet, he was the Chief Judge among the early Muslims. He is
regarded as the "father of fiqh." [jurisprudence]
He is the first
revivalist among the Muslims. He interpreted the doctrines of Islam
and systematized them.
He is regarded as
the "father of Sufism." All schools of Tasawwuf [authentic
Sufism] trace their origin to him.
Because of his
multidimensional greatness and outstanding qualities, Hadrat Ali is
known by many appellations, and each appellation illuminates one
particular aspect of his excellence.
Some of these
appellations are as follows:
- he with whom God is pleased
(2) Maula - the master
(3) Haidar-i-Karrar- the brave warrior against whom no one could
(4) Asad Allah - the lion of God
(5) Al-Ghalib - the victorious
(6) Sher-i-Yazdan - the bravest man of the age
(7) Mushkil Kusha - wine whom resolves the difficulties of the
(8) Shah-i-Awlia - the king of saints
(9) Shah-i-Mominin - the king of the pious
(10) Abu Turab - father of the earth
(11) Amir-ul-Momineen - leader of the faithful
(12) Amin-ul-Momineen - the trustee of the faithful
(13) Imam-ul-Muttaqeen - the leader of the God-fearing
(14) Sayyid-ul-Arab - the chief of the Arabs
(15) Al Wasi - the beneficiary under the Prophet's 'testamentary
(16) Al Hadi - the guide
(17) Al Zahid - the chaste
(18) Al Abi - the pious
(19) Al Salah - the reformer
Sayings of Hadrat Ali
Hadrat Ali was the
embodiment of knowledge and wisdom. Some of the Sayings of Hadrat Ali,
which breathe wisdom and have attained the dimension of aphorisms are on
record. Some of these are:
Fear God and you
will have no cause to fear anyone.
Resignation to the
Will of God is the cure for the disease of the heart.
The Word of God is
the medicine of the heart.
Lead such a life
that when you die people will mourn you, and while you are alive
they long for your company.
The days of your
life pass away like clouds, so do good while you are alive.
Of all follies,
the greatest is to love the world.
swift of flight, but slow to return.
The most happy is
he to whom God has given a good wife.
He who knows
himself knows God.
Do not sell your
conscience for anything but heaven.
The disease of the
heart is worse than the disease of the body.
To fight against
one's desires is the greatest of all fights.
among you is he who subdues himself.
Wealth and greed
are the roots of all evil.
faith are the greatest poverty.
A man's worth
depends upon the nobility of his aspirations.
The learned lives
although he dies.
The sum total of
excellence is knowledge.
To respect the
learned is to respect God.
The wealth of a
miser is as useless as a pebble.
Desire is one's
most inveterate enemy.
Those who walk on
the surface of the earth shall one day be interred in it.
Every breath of
man brings him nearer to death.
People are asleep
as long as they live. They are awakened when they die.
Patience is the
fruit of faith.
Virtue never dies.
A man's glory from
his virtue is greater than the glory of his pedigree.
No shelter is
safer than piety.
A man's behaviour
is the index of his mind.
nothing but buys everything.
virtue as fire devours fuel.
He that lends a
listening ear to reproach is one of those [who] deserves reproach.
Forgiveness is the
crown of greatness.
are nets spread by the devil.
Every arrow does
not hit [its] mark, nor is every prayer granted.
Fear none but your
He who praises you
A man who praises
himself displays his deficiency of intellect.
parents and your sons will honour you.
A man is hidden
under his tongue.
The tongue of a
wise man lies behind his heart.
The tongue pierces
deeper than [a] spear.
He who purifies
his heart from doubt is a believer.
The opinion of a
wise man is [like] an oracle.
To seek council is
to go to the fountain of guidance.
Association with a
fool is tyranny to the soul.
God hastens the
fall of tyrants.
Tyranny leads to
A tyrant's success
is his moral defeat.
It is better to
die than to beg.
When a man begs,
he loses his faith.
Hajj is the
jihad of every believer in faith.
A wise enemy is
better than a foolish friend.
Silence is the
best reply to a fool.
The best speech is
one that is short and reasonable.
Speech is like a
medicine, a small dose will cure but an excess will kill.
He that has no
courage has no religion.
His grief is long
whose hope is short.
The right of
freedom of speech consists in speaking the truth.
Folly is an
To assist the
wrong is to oppress the right.
Sinning is a
disease, repentance is its medicine, and abstinence from it is a
Sorrow makes a man
old before his time.
progress and mars greatness.
To forgive is the
crown of greatness.
He who understands
humanity seeks solitude.
Right is the best
As a man's wisdom
increases so his desire to speak decreases.
He who seeks to do
justice with men, let him desire for them what he desires for
The greatest sin
is the sin which the sinner considers to be ordinary.
Contentment is an
asset which is never exhausted.
Governments are a
trial for man.
He who fights
against the truth, the truth will defeat him.
Finding fault with
others is one's greatest fault.
Haste is a [kind]
Greed is perpetual
He who does not
know his own worth, is doomed to destruction.
investment is one with which duties are performed.
Anger is a fire
kindled, he who restrains anger extinguishes the fire; he who gives
vent to it is the first to be consumed by it.
the highway of prosperity.
None is more
solitary than a miser.
Knowledge is the
ornament of the rich and the riches of the poor.
Knowledge is the
sum total of excellence; he who teaches you a letter binds you with
a fetter of gratitude.
As long as we do
not hope we do not fret.
He who indulges in
jokes and loose talk loses a part of his wisdom.
Truth [may be]
bitter, but it's a result is sweet; falsehood appears to be sweet
but it is poisonous in its effect.
Miserliness is the
root of many evils.
practice are twins, and both go together for there is no knowledge
without practice, and no practice without knowledge.
He who dissembles,
plays with his honour.
When God wants to
humiliate a person, He deprives him of knowledge.
When your power
increases, decrease your desires accordingly.
He who listens to
a backbiter loses a friend.
It is not justice
to decide a case on mere conjecture.
He who does not
know his own worth is shameful.
He who practices
thrift will never be in want.
He who does not
know should not be ashamed to learn.
Patience is to
faith what the head is to the body. When patience goes, faith goes
[and] when the head goes, the body goes.
The grace of God
is the best guide.
A good disposition
is the best companion.
Wisdom is the best
Good breeding is
the best inheritance.
There is nothing
more hateful than pride.
Be among men like
a bee among birds.
Mix with the
people with your tongue, but be separate from them in your deeds.
Be generous, but
do not be a spendthrift.
Do not run after
the world, let the world to run after you.
A wise man is he
who does not despair of the bounty and mercy of God.
He who is aware of
his own faults is oblivious to the faults of others.
What the eye sees
the heart preserves.
The vision of the
eye is limited; the vision of the heart transcends all barriers of
time and space.
Do not be misled
by appearances for these are apt to be deceptive.
Do not have too
many irons in the fire; concentrate on one thing at a time.
What you do not
like for yourself, do not like it for others either.
Contentment is the
treasure which is never exhausted.
The advice of old
men is dearer than the bravery of young men.
That knowledge is
superficial which is merely on the tongue; that knowledge is real
which demonstrates itself in your practice.
To waste time is
one's greatest loss.
He who knows to
keep his secret, knows the way to success.
Foresight is the
way to safety.
No relationship is
stronger than the relationship that exists between man and God.
heart with prayers.
heart with faith.
Suppress all lust
Do not sell the
Hereafter for the world.
Do not speak in a
state of ignorance.
Do not tread the
path from which you can apprehend the danger of running astray.
In the affairs of
God, do not be afraid of the accusations of evil mongers.
In all that you
do, seek the protection of God.
Do not covet what
If you seek the
truth, neither stray from the right path nor be assailed by doubts.
Do not become a
slave to your desire.
That wealth is no
wealth which brings dishonour.
accrues of silence can be remedied. But whatever harm is done
because of speech cannot be remedied.
It is better to
restrain your desires than to stretch your hand before others.
A little that is
burned because of honest labour is better than a larger amount
gained through dishonest means.
Guard well your
He who seeks more
than what is necessary indulges in error.
To oppress the
weak is the worst tyranny.
Do not bank on
false hope, for that is the capital of the dead.
A wise man takes a
lesson even from a minor lapse.
and suspicion by patience and faith.
He who does not
take the middle course strays.
A stranger is he
who has no friends.
When hopes are
frustrated despair becomes the way of life.
He who trusts the
world the world betrays him
After Sayyiduna 'Uthman (radi Allahu anhu) passed away, Sayyiduna Ali (radi
Allahu anhu) was elected as the fourth Caliph by the Muslims. During the
period of the first three Caliphs, Madinatul Munawwarah continued to be
the capital of the Muslim world, but Sayyiduna Ali (radi Allahu anhu)
transferred the Islamic capital to Kufah in Iraq.
Sayyiduna Ali (radi Allahu anhu) was the son of Abu Taalib, an uncle of
Sayyiduna Rasulullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam). Sayyiduna Ali (radi
Allahu anhu) was married to Sayyadah Bibi Fathima (radi Allahu anha),
the daughter of Sayyiduna Rasulullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam).
They had 3 sons, Sayyiduna Hassan, Sayyiduna Hussain and Sayyiduna
Mohsin (radi Allahu anhumul ajma'in).
Sayyiduna Ali (radi
Allahu anhu) took part in the battle of Badr, Khandaq and Khaibar. At
Khaibar, it was Sayyiduna Ali (radi Allahu anhu) who subdued the Jews
with his furious assault. He also held many important positions during
the time of Sayyiduna Rasulullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) and the
first 3 Caliphs before him.
He had a love for
learning and was a great and learned person himself. He had been given
the title of "Baabul I'lm"or "Gate of Learning" by Sayyiduna Rasulullah
(sallal laahu alaihi wasallam). He was also called "Asaadullah" or "Lion
The situation in Madinatul Munawwarah after the murder (Shahaadah) of
Sayyiduna 'Uthman (radi Allahu anhu) was serious. Sayyiduna Ali (radi
Allahu anhu's) first task was to rid Madinatul Munawwarah of the rebels
and to return the situation to normal.
Sayyiduna Ali (radi
Allahu anhu) was able to force the rebels to withdraw from Madinatul
Munawwarah and to establish peace and order in the city. The powerful
governor of Syria, Sayyiduna Mu'awiyah (radi Allahu anhu), challenged
Sayyiduna Ali (radi Allahu anhu) and refused to pay homage to him.
Sayyiduna Mu'awiyah (radi Allahu anhu) insisted that Sayyiduna Ali (radi
Allahu anhu) arrest the murderers of Sayyiduna 'Uthman (radi Allahu anhu)
and hand them over to him.
Sayyiduna Ali (radi
Allahu anhu) was a man with a deep sense of justice and did not want to
accuse the wrong people. He needed a peaceful period to trace the
culprits. But, Sayyiduna Mu'awiyah (radi Allahu anhu) began accusing him
of protecting the murderers, and in this way the old enmity between the
two families were revived.
SAYYIDUNA MU'AWIYAH (RADI ALLAHU ANHU)
Unlike most of Sayyiduna 'Uthman (radi Allahu anhu's) governors,
Sayyiduna Muaawiyah (radi Allahu anhu) displayed great administrative
ability and was very popular. He was a God-fearing man and especially
known for his mercy. Sayyiduna Ali (radi Allahu anhu) was very strict in
piety and straight forward. Sayyiduna Muaawiyah (radi Allahu anhu)
declared his disobedience to him, because he felt that he was better
qualified to lead the Muslim world.
BATTLE OF THE CAMEL
Another serious development took place. Sayyadah Aishah (radi Allahu
anha) and two leading Sahaba, Sayyiduna Talha and Sayyiduna Zubair (radi
Allahu anhuma) declared their opposition to the Khilaafat of Sayyiduna
Ali (radi Allahu anhu). They left Madinatul Munawwarah for Makkatul
Mukarramah and from there travelled to Basrah where they rallied men and
Sayyiduna Ali (radi
Allahu anhu) had to crush all opposition. A bloody battle took place
near Basrah on the 9th of December 656 A.C. This battle was sparked off
by a third force who were the real troublemakers. Just before the
battle, both parties had already reached an agreement to settle the
dispute. But this third force, the real assassinators of Sayyiduna 'Uthman
(radi Allahu anhu), launched an overnight attack on both camps
simultaneously. Each side were under the impression that the other had
attacked. The battle began. Several thousand men were lost including the
two Sahaba. Sayyadah Aishah (radi Allahu anha) was safe. She was riding
a camel during the battle-hence the name "Battle of the Camel."
Sayyiduna Ali (radi Allahu anhu) treated her in a most noble and
dignified manner and respectfully sent her back to Madinatul Munawwarah.
She praised him and deeply regretted opposing Sayyiduna Ali (radi Allahu
anhu). Kufa was now made the capital of the Islamic world.
BATTLE OF SIFFIN
Sayyiduna Muaawiyah (radi Allahu anhu) rallied an army to face Sayyiduna
Ali (radi Allahu anhu). A battle took place at Siffin on the Syrian
border in the July of 567 A.C. Sayyiduna Muaawiyah (radi Allahu anhu)
was no match for Sayyiduna Ali (radi Allahu anhu) and began to retreat.
By the clever proposal of Sayyiduna Amr bin Al As (radi Allahu anhu),
the retreating army raised pieces of the Holy Koran on their spears
demanding judgement between the two parties. Many pious Muslims on the
side of Sayyiduna Ali (radi Allahu anhu) refused to fight seeing the
Holy Koran displayed in the air.
Two men, one from each side, were appointed to settle the dispute.
Sayyiduna Abu Musa (radi Allahu anhu), a pious Sahaba from Sayyiduna Ali
(radi Allahu anhu's) side, and the skilled Sayyiduna Amr (radi Allahu
anhu) from Sayyiduna Muaawiyah (radi Allahu anhu's) side. Sayyiduna Musa
(radi Allahu anhu) declared in front of the Muslims that it was decided
to recommend the removal of both Sayyiduna Ali and Sayyiduna Muaawiyah
(radi Allahu anhuma) and that the Muslims should select another man for
the Khilaafat. Sayyiduna Amr (radi Allahu anhu) replied that: "He has
declared the removal of his leader, while I would conform Muaawiyah as
the Caliph." Chaos followed.
Sayyiduna Ali (radi Allahu anhu) prepared to meet Sayyiduna Muaawiyah
(radi Allahu anhu) again in battle, but he was moved from his task by a
serious conflict that occurred among his men. Some narrow-minded people
accused Sayyiduna Ali (radi Allahu anhu) of accepting a man-made
judgement. Their slogan was: "There is no judgment but with Allah." They
declared that Sayyiduna Ali, Sayyiduna Muaawiyah and Sayyiduna 'Uthman
(radi Allahu anhumul ajma'in) were unbelievers and that Jihad should be
declared against them. Ever since this event, they have been known as
the "Khaarijees", which means, "those who left the fold." They
maintained that the Khilaafat should be given to the most eligible
Muslim, regardless of his origin. The Kharijees are not regarded as
On the 17th of July 659 A.C., Sayyiduna Ali (radi Allahu anhu) overcame
the Khaarijees in a battle near Nahrawan, in which, it is said, that 40
000 lives were lost.
In the early morning of
the 24th of January 661 A.C., Abdul Rahman bin Muljim, a Khaariji
fanatic lay in ambush in the Masjid of Kufah and stabbed Sayyiduna Ali
(radi Allahu anhu) when he entered the masjid. He passed away from the
wound. He was 63 years old.
Sayyiduna Ali (radi allahu anhu) lived a simple life. He refused any
luxury food and wore simple clothes thinking of the poor. He should
sleep on the ground and even sit on the floor. He repaired his own
clothes and shoes and even did manual labour. He spent nights in Salaah
and should fast for three days in a row. Honesty, piety, justice and
love of truth were the main marks of his character.
Hazrat Bilal Ra
Sayyidina Hazrat Bilal was an Abyssinian slave belonging to a
Jew called Umayya Bin Khalf, who was a bitter enemy of Islam.
He embraced Islam in its early days, during times when the
non-believers would continuously harass the Muslims and never
allow them a moment of peace.
Bilal’s love for Allah and the Holy Prophet, peace and
blessings of Allah be upon him, will always remain a perfect
example of devotion and total submission.
Ahad, Ahad – there is only one Allah
In the sweltering heat under the Arabian skies, Hazrat Bilal’s
love for Allah shone brighter than the sun itself. So strong was
it that he could not conceal it despite the punishment and
torture afflicted on him by his cruel master.
There were times when a large boulder would be placed upon his
chest as he lay on the scorching sand, his ribs being crushed
under the weight. Yet the words ‘Ahad! Ahad! (There is only one
Allah!)’ were constantly repeated by Hazrat Bilal, so strong was
his faith and love.
His Jewish master would insult him and threaten him to denounce
Islam, beat him, whip him and humiliate him on the streets of
Makkah, but nothing was able to shake Hazrat Bilal’s heart.
He put his life and soul into the Hands of Allah, and there it
would forever remain.
One day, it so happened that Hazrat Abu Bakr was passing that
way and saw Sayyidina Hazrat Bilal crying out, "Ahad! Ahad!",
despite the immense torture he was being subjected to. As he
watched, Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddique’s heart became agitated upon
seeing Hazrat Bilal under such persecution, and tears filled his
He then called Hazrat Bilal towards himself and advised him to
utter Allah's name in solitude and not to utter it in the
presence of his persecutor, or he would be subjected to further
persecution and torture. Hazrat Bilal replied, "O Honoured One!
You are the Siddique of Rasulallah, peace and blessings of
Allah be upon him,, and therefore I accept your advice and
will act accordingly."
day, Hazrat Abu Bakr happened to pass that way, and again he
witnessed the same sight.
Hazrat Bilal was once more uttering the cry of "Ahad! Ahad!"
while the Jew was torturing him to such an extent that again his
body became soaked in blood. Seeing this, Hazrat Abu Bakr
Siddique’s heart was filled with pain and he advised Hazrat
Bilal, "Brother, why do you utter 'Ahad' in the presence of this
persecutor? Utter it silently and secretly within yourself".
Hazrat Bilal replied, "I make tawba (repentance) and in future
will not act contrary to your advice."
Hazrat Mawlana Rumi (, may Allah be pleased with him.) says:
"When Abu Bakr advised him towards silence and secrecy,
Bilal repented again,
But when love overwhelmed, he swallowed the repentance.
It is the message of the troubled heart.
Without You there can be neither peace nor comfort."
Bakr Siddique, on numerous occasions, gave Hazrat Bilal the same
advice but on every occasion when he passed that way, he saw the
same scene - the Jew persecuting Bilal who was all the time
crying, "Ahad! Ahad!”
Hazrat Abu Bakr finally went to Rasulallah, peace and
blessings of Allah be upon him, and related the story to
him. When Rasulallah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon
him, heard the story, he was filled with sorrow and tears
flowed from his blessed eyes. He asked, "O Siddique! What is the
solution to this problem? How can we save Bilal from this
Bakr replied: "Ya Rasulallah, peace and blessings of Allah be
upon him,, I shall buy Bilal. Rasulallah, peace and
blessings of Allah be upon him, agreed and said, "Let my
share also be therein".
Subhanallah! How great the fortune of Sayidina Hazrat Bilal,
that Rasulallah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him,
himself took part in purchasing him.
Hazrat Abu Bakr then approached the Jew while he was again
torturing Hazrat Bilal. Hazrat Abu Bakr said to him, "Why are
you beating this friend of Allah?" The Jew replied, "If you have
so much sympathy for him, then bring the money and take him away
Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddique then paid the ransom and freed Hazrat
Rasulallah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him,,
out of love and joy, embraced Hazrat Bilal and held him to his
Hazrat Mawlana Rumi (, may Allah be pleased with him.) says:
"Mustafa embraced Bilal and held him against his chest. The
ecstasy Bilal felt! Who can ever imagine that?"
Conquest of Makkah
Muslims finally conquered the city of Makkah, its people fled to
their houses in fear and bolted the doors and windows. They
feared that the Muslims would avenge themselves for the wrong
done to them years ago.
The Muslims advanced towards the Holy Kabah and then Hazrat
Bilal assured the people that they were safe. He announced out
loud, "All those who lay down arms are safe. All those in the
house of Abu Sufyan are safe. All those behind closed doors are
Heartbreak and immense grief
passing away of Rasulallah, peace and blessings of Allah be
upon him,, Hazrat Bilal was overcome with immense grief.
This death had completely shattered his heart and in this state,
he decided that he could no longer stay in Madinah Sharif. He
then gathered his belongings and left for Syria.
He had just left the border of Madinah Sharif, when sleep
overcame him. He found a tree to sleep under and took some rest
there. In his sleep, Rasulallah, peace and blessings of Allah
be upon him, appeared in his dream and said, “Bilal, why did
you leave me?” Hazrat Bilal immediately woke up and, without
hesitation, made the journey back to Madinah Sharif.
When the people of Madinah saw Hazrat Bilal returning through
the city gates, they were overwhelmed with joy. Word spread
through the streets that Bilal, the Holy Prophet’s Muazzin had
As Hazrat Bilal made his way to the Holy Prophet’s Masjid,
requests for him to do the Azan were ringing in his ears. People
followed him through the streets, pleading for him to deliver
the call to prayer once more. The blessed city had been deprived
of his beautiful Azan for too long, and the people craved to
hear it one last time.
However, since the death of Rasulallah, peace and blessings
of Allah be upon him,, Hazrat Bilal’s grief had been so
immense that he resolved that he would never do the Azan again,
and so he refused the pleas of the people.
As he advanced towards the blessed Masjid, he saw the two
beloved grandsons of Rasulallah, peace and blessings of Allah
be upon him,, Hazrat Hassan and Hussain. They too requested
for him to do the Azan, and when he looked upon their blessed
young faces, his love for them overwhelmed his heart. He knew he
could never refuse them anything, and they were, after all, the
grandsons of the one whose love had penetrated his heart through
Hazrat Bilal then stood up on the Mimbar, assumed his position
as the Muazzin and started to read the Azan. His voice,
beautiful as it was, rang through the streets of Madinah Sharif,
his pain and heartbreak evident in the painful tune. He read to
his heart’s content, and in such a manner that there was not a
person in the blessed city whose eyes were not wet with tears.
When Hazrat Bilal reached “Ash-hadu anna Muhammadur Rasulallah”,
he broke down and could not continue. His pain and the pain of
Madinah’s people was unbearable.
Memories of the beautiful days when Rasulallah, peace and
blessings of Allah be upon him, sat amongst them penetrated
their hearts with hurt and agony.
The emptiness of their lives and their souls without Rasulallah,
peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, had devastated
them and left them broken inside. Even the strongest amongst
them who were usually able to suppress the pain could not hold
back any longer.
of the Prophet’s Muazzin
The great devotee and Muazzin of Rasulallah, peace and
blessings of Allah be upon him,, the courageous and beloved
Abyssinian by the name of Hazrat Bilal Habshi passed away in the
middle of reading Azan in Damascus, Syria between the years 638
and 642 (AD).
This was the second time after the death of Rasulallah, peace
and blessings of Allah be upon him, that Hazrat Bilal
recited the Azan.
This is the story of the pious, mystic, Faqhi, intellectual and
ascetic, Salman the Persian.
He grew up in the town of Isfahan in Persia, in the village of
Jayyan. His father was the Dihqan (chief) of the village. He was the
richest person there and had the biggest house.His father loved him,
more than he loved any other. As time went by, his love for Salman
became so strong and overpowering that he feared to lose him or have
anything happen to him. So he kept him at home, a virtual prisoner,
in the same way that young girls were kept.
became devoted to the Magian religion, so much so that he attained
the position of custodian of the fire, which they worshipped. His
duty was to see that the flames of the fire remained burning and
that it did not go out for a single hour, day or night.
father had a vast estate, which yielded an abundant supply of crops.
He himself looked after the estate and gathered harvest. One day as
he went about his duties as Dihqan of the village, he said to Salman,
‘My son, as you see, I am too busy to go out to the estate now. Go
and look after matters there for me today.
On the way to the estate, Salman
passed a Christian church and heard voices raised in prayer, which
attracted his attention. He did not know anything about Christianity
or, for that matter, about the followers of any other religion. His
father had kept him in the house away from people. When he heard the
voices of the Christians, he entered the church to see what they
were doing. He was impressed by their manner of praying and felt
drawn to their religion. He said, ‘This religion is better than
ours. I shall not leave them until the sunsets.’
inclination to Christianity
asked and was told that the Christian religion originated in Syria.
He did not go to his father’s estate that day and at night, he
returned home. His father met him and asked where he had been.
told him about his meeting with the Christians and how he was
impressed by their religion. His father was dismayed and said: ‘My
son, their is nothing good in that religion. Your religion and the
religion of your forefathers is better.”
‘No, their religion is better than ours,’ he
insisted. His father became upset and afraid that Salman
would leave their religion. So he kept Salman
locked up in the house and shackled his feet. Salman
managed to send a message to the Christians, asking them to inform
him of any caravans going to Syria. Before long they contacted him
with the information he wanted. He broke the fetters and escaped his
father’s estate to join the caravan to Syria. When he reached Syria,
he asked regarding the leading person in the Christian religion and
was directed to the bishop of the church. He went up to him and
said: ‘I want to become a Christian and would like to attach myself
to your service, learn from you and pray with you.’
The bishop agreed and Salman
entered the church in his service. Salman
soon found out, however, that the bishop was corrupt. He would order
his followers to give money in charity while holding out the promise
of blessings to them. When they gave the bishop anything to spend in
the way of Allah, he would hoard it for himself and not give
anything to the poor or needy. In this way, he amassed a vast
quantity of gold. When the bishop died and the Christians gathered
to bury him, Salman
told them of his corrupt practices and, at their request, showed
them where the bishop had kept their donations. When they saw the
large jars filled with gold and silver they said, ‘By Allah, we
shall not bury him.’ They nailed him on a cross and threw stones at
him. Not long after, the local people appointed another man in
place of the first. Salman
stayed on, in the service of this person who replaced him. The new
bishop was an ascetic who longed for the Hereafter and engaged in
worship day and night. Salman
was devoted to him and spent much of the time in his company.
Before he passed away, Salman
said to him, “O so and so Priest! The time has come for you to
witness Allah Ta'ala's decision (meaning death). I swear by Allah, I
have never adored anyone as much as I have adored you! So what would
you instruct me to do? And who can you recommend for me to see?”
He replied, “O son! I do not
know of anyone except for a certain man living in the city of Mosul.
Go to him, for you will find that he is similar to me.”
A short while after he passed
arrived at Mosul and found the priest he had been sent to, and
indeed, he was very much like the one before him in terms of
simplicity and striving. After he passed away, Salman
was referred to another priest who in turn sent him to a priest in
Ammuriyah (Ameria, near Rome) , before his demise. Salman
stayed by this Roman priest, and decided to make a living.
Eventually hemanaged to acquire some sheep and cows.
When his death was near, Salman
told him of my story and asked him for his advice just as he had
asked those before him. He said: “There is nobody following our ways
of life I can send you to. Nevertheless, your life seems to coincide
with the era of the predestined Prophet who will arise from the
Haram. His migration will be to a city full of date trees. Moreover,
he will certainly have some distinct features: Between his shoulder
blades, there will be the Seal of the Prophethood. He will eat food,
provided it is a gift and not a donation. If you can reach that
city, then do so, because you are very close to his era.”
to the Arabs and Islam
A group of Arab leaders from the Kalb tribe
passed through Ammuriyah. Salman
asked them to take him with them to the land of the Arabs, in return
for whatever money he had. They agreed to take him along. When they
reached Wadi al-Qura (a place between Syria and Madinah), the Arabs
broke their agreement and made him a slave, then sold Salman
to a Jew. Salman worked
as a servant for him but he eventually sold him to a nephew of his,
belonging to the tribe of Banu Qurayzah. This nephew took Salman
with him to Yathrib, the city of palm groves, which is how the
Christian at Ammuriyah had described it.
At that time the Prophet
was inviting his people in Makkah to Islam but Salman
did not know of this because of the harsh duties slavery imposed
upon him. When the Prophet
reached Yathrib after his hijrah from Makkah, Salman
was on top of a palm tree doing some work. Salman’s
master was sitting under the tree. A nephew of Salman’s
master came up and said, ‘May Allah declare war on the Aws and the
Khazraj (the two main Arab tribes of Yathrib). By Allah, they are
now gathering at Quba to meet a man, who has just today, arrived
from Makkah and who claims to be Prophet.’
felt light-headed upon hearing these words and began to shiver so
violently that he had to climb down, in fear that he may fall. He
quickly swung down from the tree and spoke to his master’s nephew.
‘What did you say? Repeat the news for me.’
master grew angry at this breach of protocol and struck him a
terrible blow. ‘What does this matter to you’? Go back to what you
were doing,’ he shouted.
I left the house for a
while, making inquiries. I asked a woman I met from the city whose
entire family had become Muslim. She showed me the way to the
When it was evening, I took
some food with me and went to the Prophet
The Prophet was in Quba at the time. I said, “Word has reached me
that you are a very pious man, and that you have some travellers in
your company. I had some charity and thought that you would be most
deserving of it. This is it; you may have some to eat.” The Prophet
withdrew his own hand, not eating from it, but told his Companions
to eat. At the time, I thought, “This is one of the characteristics
my Mentor told me of.”
On my way back, I saw that
was heading to Madinah . Thus, I took the food to him, saying, “I
saw that you were not eating from this charity. As a matter of fact,
I presented it as a gift and not charity.” This time, the Prophet
also ate with his Companions. “That makes two signs,” I thought.
Later on, I approached the
as he was walking behind the corpse in a funeral. I remember that at
the time, he was covered in two sheets, and that his Companions were
I was trying to steal a look
at the Seal on his back, when the Prophet
saw me glancing. Realising that I wanted to verify what someone had
told me, he let his cloak drop a little, and I managed to see that
the Seal between his shoulder blades was exactly the way my Mentor
had described it. I threw myself down before the Prophet (sallallahu-alayhi
wasallam) kissing (his blessed hands/feet) and started to cry. The
said, “O Salman! Reveal your story.”
So I sat in front of him,
relating my story to him and hoping that his Companions could also
hear it. When I had finished, the Prophet said, “O Salman! Make a
deal with your owner to free you.”
Consequently, my master did
agree to free me, but in exchange for the following: ‘Three hundred
date trees, as well as one thousand, six hundred silver coins.'
Hence, the Sahaba (Radhiallahu anahum) helped by providing around
twenty to thirty date plants each, and a tenth of every man's land
in accordance to how much he owned. The Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi
wasallam) said to me, “Dig a hole for each date-plant. When you are
finished, let me know so that I can personally fix all the
date-plants into place with my own hands.” Thus, with the help of my
friends, I dug holes wherever the date-plants were to be put.
Later on, the Prophet
came. We stood by his side holding the plants as he fixed them into
the ground. I swear by The Being Who sent the Prophet
with the Truth, not a single plant died out.
Nevertheless, I still had
the silver to pay. A man came to the Prophet
bringing from the mines some gold which was roughly the size of a
pigeon's egg. The Prophet said, “O Salman! Take this and pay off
whatever you have to.”
I replied, “O Messenger of
Allah! How will this be enough for my debt?”
He said, “Allah will surely
make it sufficient for your debt.”
As a result to this
statement, I swear By Allah, it outweighed the one thousand, six
hundred coins. I not only paid off my dues, but what I had left with
me was equivalent to what I had given them.
The strict honesty of the Prophet
was one of the characteristics that led Salman
to believe in him and accept Islam. Salman
was released from slavery by the Prophet ,
who paid his Jewish master a stipulated price, and who himself
planted an agreed number of date palms to secure Salman’s
manumission. After accepting Islam, Salman would
say when asked whose son he was, ‘I am Salman, the son of Islam from
the children of Adam.’
was to play an important role in the struggles of the growing Muslim
State. At the battle of Khandaq, he proved to be an innovator in
military strategy. It was he who suggested digging a ditch or
khandaq around Madinah to keep the Quraysh army at bay. When Abu
Sufyan, the leader of the Makkans, saw the ditch, he said, ‘This
stratagem has not been employed by the Arabs before.’ Salman
participated in all of the other campaigns of the Prophet
thereafter. He was also with Saad in the conquest of Iraq. After the
grand victory, the Caliph Umar
chose him because of his knowledge of the terrain, to select the
land upon which Kufa was to be built.
became known as ‘Salman the Good’. Salman
was a scholar who lived a rough and ascetic life. He had one cloak,
which he wore and slept on. He would not seek the shelter of a roof
but stayed under a tree or against a wall. A man once said to him:
‘Shall I not build you a house in which you may live?’ ‘I have no
need of a house,’ he replied. The man persisted and said; ‘I know
the type of house that would suit you.’ ‘Describe it to me,’ said
Salman. ‘I shall build you a house which if you stood up in, the
roof would hurt your head and if you were to stretch your legs, the
wall would hurt them.’
Later, as a governor of Al-Madain (Ctesiphon)
near Baghdad, Salman
received a stipend of five thousand dhirhams. This he would
distribute as sadaqah. He lived from the work of his own hands. When
some people came to Madina and saw him working the palm groves, they
said, ‘You are the leader here and your sustenance is guaranteed and
yet you do this work?’
‘I like to eat from the work of my own hands,’ he replied. Salman
however was not extreme in his ascetism.
It is related that he visited Abu Dardaa
with which the Prophet
had joined him in brotherhood. He found Abu Dardaa’s wife in a
miserable state and he asked, ‘What is the matter with you.’‘Your
brother has no need of anything in this world,’ she replied.
When Abu Dardaa
came, he welcomed Salman and
gave him food. Salman
told him to eat but Abu Dardaa
said, ‘I am fasting.’‘I swear to you that I shall not eat until you
spent the night there as well. During the night, Abu ad-Dardaa
got up but Salman
got hold of him and said, ‘O Abu ad-Dardaa, your Lord has a right
over you. Your family has a right over you and your body has a right
over you. Give to each there due.’
Then in the morning, they prayed together and
then went out to meet the Prophet .
in what he had said. (Bukhari)
As a scholar, Salman was
noted for his vast knowledge and wisdom. Ali
said of him that he was like Luqman the Wise. And Kab al-Ahbar said:
‘Salman is bursting with knowledge and wisdom. He is an ocean that
does not dry up.’ Salman
had knowledge of both the Christian scripture and the Quraan in
addition to his earlier knowledge of the Zoroastrian religion.
in fact translated parts of the Quraan into Persian during the
lifetime of the Prophet .
He was thus the first person to translate the Quraan into a foreign
According to the most reliable account, he
died in either 31 or 34 A.H, at the age of 250 years, during the
caliphate of Uthman, at Ctesiphon.
narrates, that the Prophet
prayed the following verse: ‘If ye turn back, He will substitute in
your stead another people, then they would not be like you.’
(Q47:38) The Sahabah asked the Prophet ,
‘O Prophet ,
who are these people that Allah has mentioned, that he would chose
them instead of us? That they will not do as we did?’ The Prophet
placed his hand on Salman’s thigh and said, ‘It will be his people.
And even if faith is near the Surya (the Pleiads), someone from the
Persians would attain it.’
Who were the people of Kufa and Iraq? Who was
Imaam Abu Hanifah? They were all Persians. The divinely chosen
denizens of Kufa were Persians. Their spiritual teachers were
Persians and so were the three about whom the Prophet
said, ‘Paradise longs for three people. Ali, Amar and Salman.’ (Tirmidhi)
narrates in another Hadith, that the Prophet
once prayed the following verse: ‘As well as others of them, who
have not already joined them.’ (Q62:3) The Sahabah asked, ‘O Prophet
of Allah ,
who are these people,’ The Prophet
placed his hand on Salman
and said, ‘If faith was near the Pleiads, then someone from them
would attain it.’ (Bukhari and Muslim)
Time bore witness to the realisation of the
words. The progeny of the Persians spread their knowledge and
populated the world.
Once Abu Sufyan came to Madinah and passed by
and Sohayb .
The three companions said, ‘Have not the swords of Allah beheaded
this accursed man yet?’ Abu Bakr
upon hearing this said, ‘Do not say such things of the leader of
Quraish.’ After that, Abu Bakr
went to the Prophet
and told him of this conversation. The Prophet
said, ‘Have you annoyed these three? If you have, then you have
annoyed Allah.’ Abu Bakr
made haste to the three companions and asked them whether they took
offence on his words. They told him that they had not and further
said, ‘O brother, may Allah forgive you.’ The annoyance of Salman is
the annoyance of Allah. Even the likes of Abu Bakr fear
to offend him.
It has come in another Hadith that the
said, ‘Allah has commanded me to love four men, for He too loves
them. They are Ali, Abu Dhar, Miqdad and Salman.’It has also come in
a Hadith that, ‘Each Prophet had seven helpers and protectors, I was
given fourteen. Ali, Hasan and Hussain, Hamzah, Abu Bakr, Umar,
Masaab Ibn Ameer, Bilal, Salman, Amar, Abdullah Ibn Masood, Abu Dhar
This was Salman Farsi
, the Persian who’s quest for the true faith lasted almost all of
his 250 years of life. As Muslims and as students, it should be our
point of aspiration to achieve at least some of the dedication of
to faith and the gaining of knowledge.
Abdullah Ibn Masood
was of the tribe of Banu Huzail and was also the sworn ally of Banu
Zahra. When he was still a youth, not yet past the age of puberty,
he used to roam the mountain trails of Makkah far away from people,
tending the flocks of a Quraish chieftain, Uqbah Ibn Muayt. People
called him ‘Ibn Umm Abd’, the son of the mother of a slave. His real
name was Abdullah and his fathers name was Masood.
The youth had heard the news of the Prophet
whom had appeared among his people but he did not attach any
importance to it both because of his age and because he was usually
far away from Makkan society. It was his habit to leave with the
flock of Uqbah early in the morning and not return until nightfall.
One day while tending the flocks, Abdullah
saw two men, middle-aged and of dignified bearing, coming towards
him from a distance. They were obviously very thirsty and tired.
They came up to him, greeted him and said, ‘Young man, milk one of
these sheep for us that we may quench our thirst and recover our
‘I cannot,’ replied the young man. ‘The sheep are not mine. I am
only responsible for looking after them.’
The two men did not argue with him. In fact, despite their thirst,
they were extremely pleased at his honest reply. The two men were
the blessed Prophet
himself and his companion, Abu Bakr Siddiq.
They had gone out on that day to the mountains of Makkah to escape
the violent persecution of the Quraish.
The young man in turn was impressed with the Prophet
and his companion and soon became quite attached to them.
Acceptance Of Islam
It was not long before Abdullah Ibn Masood
became a Muslim and offered to be in the service of the Prophet .
agreed and from that day, the fortunate Abdullah Ibn Masood
gave up tending sheep in exchange for looking after the needs of the
blessed Prophet .
He was the sixth man to accept Islam. Abdullah Ibn Masood
remained closely attached to the Prophet .
He would attend to his needs both inside and outside the house. He
would accompany him on journeys and expeditions. He would wake him
when he slept. He would shield him when he washed. He would carry
his staff and his Siwak (toothbrush) and attend to his other
personal needs. It was for these reasons that the Sahabah
took to calling him Saheb-e-Siwak (bearer of the siwak),
Saheb-e-Nalaen (bearer of the slippers), Saheb-e-Mutahara (bearer of
the water) and also Saheb-e-Wisadah (bearer of the bedroll).
Abdullah Ibn Masood
received a unique training in the household of the Prophet .
He was under the guidance of the Prophet ,
he adopted his manner and followed his every trait until it was said
of him, ‘He was the closest to the Prophet
in character.’ Abdullah was often mistaken as one of the Blessed
Household. Abu Musa Ashari
says, ‘When we came from Yemen, we thought for some time that
was a member of the Blessed Household, because Abdullah
and his mother were constantly coming and going in the Prophet
presence. Furthermore, the Prophet
once said to Abdullah,
you do not need permission to enter my house. You are always
was the best at reciting the Qur’aan among the companions and he
understood it better than them all. He was therefore the most
knowledgeable on the Shari’ah. Nothing can illustrate this better
than the story of the man who came to Umar Ibn al-Khattab as he was
standing on the plain of Arafat and said: ‘I have come, O Amir al-Mumineen,
from Kufa where I left a man filling copies of the Qur’aan from
became very angry and paced up and down beside his camel, fuming.
‘Who is he?’ he asked. ‘Abdullah Ibn Masood,’
replied the man. Umar's
anger subsided and he regained his composure. ‘Woe to you,’ he said
to the man. ‘By Allah, I don't know of any person left who is more
qualified in this matter than he is. Let me tell you about this.’
continued: ‘One night the Messenger of Allah
was having a conversation with Abu Bakr
about the situation of Muslims. I was with them. When the Prophet
left, we left with him also and as we passed through the mosque,
there was a man standing in Prayer whom we did not recognise. The
stood and listened to him, then turned to us and said, “Whoever
wants to read the Qur’aan as fresh as when it was revealed, then let
him read according to the recitation of Ibn Umm Abd.”
After the Prayer, as Abdullah
sat making supplications, the Prophet
said, “Ask and it will be given to you. Ask and it will be given to
you.” I said to myself, I should go to Abdullah Ibn Masood
straight away and tell him the good news of the Prophet’s
ensuring acceptance of his supplications. I went and did so but
found that Abu Bakr
had gone before me and conveyed the good news to him. By Allah, I
have never yet beaten Abu Bakrin
the doing of any good.’ In another Hadith, the Prophet
said, ‘Learn the Qur’aan from four people, Abdullah Ibn Masood,
Salim Maula Abi Huzaifah, Ubayy Ibn Kaab and Muaz Ibn Jabal.’
has also said, ‘Read the Qur’aan in the same manner as Abdullah Ibn
Note: The most popular and widely read Qiraat
is that of Imaam Hafs. He relates from Imaam Aasim Kufi and he in
turn relates from Abu Abdur Rahman Abdullah Ibn Habib As-Sulmiyi,
who relates from Uthman Ibn Affan, Ali Ibn Talib, Abdullah Ibn
Masood, Ubayy Ibn Kaab and Zaid Ibn Thaabit.
They all, in turn, relate directly from the Prophet
Abdullah Ibn Masood
attained such a knowledge of the Qur’aan that he would say, ‘By Him
besides Whom there is no Allah, no verse of the book of Allah has
been revealed without my knowing where it was revealed and the
circumstances of its revelation. By Allah, if I know there was
anyone who knew more of the Book of Allah, I will do whatever is in
my power to be with him.’
was not exaggerating in what he said about himself. Once Umar Ibn
met a caravan on one of his journeys as caliph. It was pitch dark
and the caravan could not be seen properly. Umar
ordered someone to hail the caravan. It happened that Abdullah Ibn
was in it.
‘From where do you come?’ asked Umar.
‘From a deep valley,’ came the reply, using the Qur’aanic expression
- fajj amiq.‘And where are you going?’ asked Umar.‘
To the ancient house,’ came the reply, using the Qur’aanic
expression - al-bayt al-atiq. ‘There is a learned person (alim)
among them,’ said Umar
and he commanded someone to ask the person, ‘Which part of the
Qur’aan is the greatest?’ ‘Allah. There is no Deity except Him, the
Living, the Self-subsisting. Neither slumber overtakes Him nor
sleep,’ replied the person answering, quoting the Ayat al-Kursi (the
verse of the Throne). ‘Which part of the Qur’aan is the most clear
on justice?’ ‘Allah commands what it just and fair, the feeding of
relatives,’ ‘What it the most comprehensive statement of the Qur’aan?’
‘Whoever does an atoms weight of good shall see it, and whoever does
an atom's weight of evil shall see it.’ ‘Which part of the Qur’aan
gives risk to the greatest hope?’
‘Say, O my servants who have wasted their resources, do not despair
of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. He is the
Forgiving, the Compassionate.’ Thereupon Umar
asked, ‘Is Abdullah Ibn Masood
among you? ‘Yes, by Allah,’ the men in the caravan replied.
had always desired to make Ibn Masood
a leader of men, as it is clear from the following words of the
, ‘If I was to make anyone a leader over someone without consulting
anyone, I would make Ibn Masood
Abdullah Ibn Masood
would refrain from narrating Hadith in fear of mistakes. However
when he did narrate a Hadith, he was very particular and precocious
in what he attributed to the Prophet
. He would turn pale and quake in fear whenever he accidentally
attributed something to the Prophet
, even though the Prophet
has said, ‘Whatever Ibn Masood
narrates to you, believe him.’ Whenever he gave a verdict, he would
attribute it to himself, saying that it was his own opinion and that
it was from Allah if it was correct and that it was from himself and
Satan, if it was incorrect. For this reason, many Fatwahs have been
attributed to Abdullah
instead of the Prophet
Imaam Nisai writes in his Sunan: ‘A man
married a woman, then he passed away before he could consummate his
wedding or set a dowry for his wife. When the issue was placed
before the Sahabah,
they advised them to go to Abdullah.
When they came to Abdullah,
he tried to avoid them and told them to ask someone else. Finally he
relented and said, “The woman will receive Mehr-e-Mithl. If the
verdict is correct, it is of Allah. If it is incorrect, then it is
of Satan and I. Neither Allah and the Prophet
are responsible for it.” A Sahabi by the name of Maakal Ibn Al-Ashjai
was also present and he said, “I swear by Allah, you have given the
same verdict that the Prophet
gave in the favour of Broan Bint Washile Al-Ashjai. Your verdict is
in accordance with the Prophet.”
On hearing this, Abdullah
rejoiced as he had never rejoiced before. The majority of Fatwahs of
Iraq and the Hanafi Fiqh are based upon the Fatwahs of Abdullah Ibn
His authority in Fiqh was such that the other Sahabahwould
refuse to give a Fatwah during while he was still alive. They would
always refer any seeker to him. Students who wanted to enter his
service and gain knowledge from him were always constantly
Khatima Ibn Abu Subrah once went to Madinah
and prayed for a pious companion. Hurraira was Allah's reply. Abu
asked Khatima where he had come from. He replied that he had
travelled for two days from Kufa. Abu Hurraira
said to him, ‘Is not Saad Ibn Malik,
who is Mustajab-ul-Dawat amongst you? Is not Ibn Masood,
who was the bearer of the Prophet
slippers and ablution water amongst you? Is not Huzaifah,
who was privy to the Prophet
thoughts amongst you? Is not Amar
amongst you, who Allah granted refuge from Shaytaan through the
tongue amongst you? Is not he who knows the two Divine Books (the
Qur'aan and the New Testament), Salman Farsi
amongst you?’ Coincidentally, all the Sahabah .
who Hazrat Abu Hurraira mentioned were in Kufa at that time.
narrates, ‘Once there were six of us in the service of the Prophet
. Besides me were Abdullah Ibn Masood and Bilal Habshee.
Some pagans of Makkah came before the Prophet
and began to say, “Remove these people first, then we shall talk.”
was still considering whether sending us out would win over their
hearts and make them more receptive to Islam, when the following
verse was revealed: ‘Send not away those who call on their Lord,
morning and evening, seeking His Face.’ (Q6:52)
proudly states, ‘This verse was revealed for us.’ Who can match the
status of those who are praised by Allah? The whole point of the
worship of Allah is the pleasure of Allah. These six attained the
glad tidings of Allah in their lifetime that Allah
was pleased with them.
As anyone who has taken an in depth, study on
the knowledge of the Sahabah
will tell you, the knowledge of the Sahabah climaxed
in two people, Ali and Abdullah.
On one hand, we have Allah, the Prophet
and his Sahabah
who sing the praises of Abdullah Ibn Masood’s excellence in
knowledge and character. On the other hand, we have a sect of
narrow-minded and totally unqualified people who, ironically, call
themselves Ahl-e-Hadith (the people of the Hadith), better known as
the Ghair-Muqalids (the leaderless), saying that Abdullah Ibn Masood
was uninformed regarding the Prophet
Salaah. Wasn't Abdullah Ibn Masood
the one who the Sahabah would mistake as one of the Blessed
Household? Wasn’t he the constant companion of the Prophet
for thirty years? But then, according to the Ghair-Muqalids, Ali and
Saad were also uninformed of the Prophet
Salaah, and that all three of these great Sahabah
were in reality, non-entities.
Abdullah Ibn Masood
was the first man to recite aloud the words of the Qur’aan before a
gathering of the Quraish. The companions of the Prophet
were together one day in Makkah. They were still few in number, weak
and oppressed. They said, ‘The Quraish have not yet heard the
Qur’aan being recited openly and loudly. Who is the man who could
recite it for them?’ ‘I shall recite it for them,’ volunteered
Abdullah Ibn Masood.
‘We are afraid for you,’ they said. ‘We only want someone who has a
clan who would protect him from their evil.’ ‘Let me,’ Abdullah Ibn
insisted, ‘Allah shall protect me and keep me away from their evil.’
He then went out to the mosque until he reached Maqam Ibrahim (a
landmark situated a few meters from the Kabah). It was dawn and the
Quraish were sitting around the Kabah. Abdullah began to recite
Surah Rahman. The Quraish looked at him intently and some of them
asked, ‘What is Ibn Umm Abd saying? Damn him! He is reciting some of
They began to slap his face but he continued
reciting. When he concluded his recital, his face was covered with
welts and blood. ‘By Allah,’ said Abdullah,
‘the enemies of Allah are more uncomfortable than I am at this
moment. If you wish, I shall return tomorrow and do the same.’ ‘You
have done enough,’ they said. ‘You have made them hear what they
Abdullah Ibn Masood
did Hijrat three times, twice to Ethiopia and once to Madinah. He
participated in every Gazwah. It was he who beheaded Abu Jahl in
Badr. It was to him that the Prophet
presented Abu Jahl’s sword as a share in the booty. The Caliph Umar
sent Abdullah Ibn Masood
to Kufa to educate the people and to take charge of the Bait-ul-Maal.
fixed salaries for the Sahabah,
he offered Abdullah
a salary too. Abdullah
refused and said, ‘Why do you try to turn me to the world.’
Abdullah Ibn Masood
lived to the time of Caliph Uthman.
It was during this era that he retired from his post and returned to
Madinah. When he was sick and on his death-bed, Uthman
came to visit him and said, ‘What is your ailment?’ ‘My sins.’ ‘And
what do you desire?’ ‘The mercy of my Lord.’ ‘Shall I not give you
your stipend which you have refused to take for years now?’ ‘I have
no need of it.’ ‘Let it be for your daughters after you.’ ‘Do you
fear poverty for my children? I have commanded them to read Surah
al-Waqiah every night for I have heard the Prophet
saying, “Whoever reads Al-Waqiah every night shall not be afflicted
by poverty ever.”
That night, in either 33 or 34 A.H, Abdullah
passed away to the company of his Lord, his tongue moist with the
remembrance of Allah and with the recitation of the verses of His
Hazrat Abu Huraira
He was from Yemeni tribe of Daws. He
became a Muslim in the early days of 7 Hijri at the hands of
Tufayl ibn Amr, the chief of his tribe. When he emigrated to
Madina, the Holy Prophet was busy with the Khaybar campaign. He
joined him in Khaybar. The Holy Prophet changed his name from
Abdul Shams, to Abdul Rahman, saying: "A man is not the slave of
either the sun or moon."
Hazrat Abu Huraira was very poor and
modest. One day the Holy Prophet saw him cradling a cat and
nicknamed him "Abu Hirr" (the father or owner of a cat). People
soon began to call him Abu Huraira. However, he liked to be
called Abu Hirr, since this title was given to him by the Holy
He lived with his non-Muslim mother.
Always praying her conversion, one day he asked the Holy Prophet
to pray for this. He did so, and before he lowered his arms,
Hazrat Abu Huraira ran to his house, so sure was he that the
Holy Prophet's prayer would be accepted. When he arrived, his
mother stopped him at the door so that she could finish ghusl
(total ritual ablution). She then opened the door and declared
her conversion. After this, Hazrat Abu Huraira requested the
Holy Prophet to pray that believers should love him and his
mother. The Holy Prophet did so. Therefore, love of Hazrat Abu
Huraira is a mark of belief.
This Companion had an extra-ordinarily
keen memory. He slept the first third of night, prayed and did
his daily supererogatory recitations in the second third, and
went over the Traditions (Hadith) he had memorized in order
never to forget them in the last third. He memorized more than
5,000 Hadith. He never missed a discourse of the Holy Prophet,
sought to learn his Hadith, and was a lover of knowledge.
One day he prayed: "O God, grant me
knowledge I will never forget." The Holy Prophet heard him and
said: "O God, amen." On another day, he told the Holy Prophet:
"O Messenger of God, I don't want to forget something that I
hear from you." The Holy Prophet asked him to take off his cloak
and spread it on the ground, which Hazrat Abu Huraira did. The
Holy Prophet then prayed and emptied his hands onto the cloak as
if he had filled them with something from the Unseen. He ordered
Hazrat Abu Huraira to fold up the cloak and hold it to his
chest, which he did. After narrating this incident, Hazrat Abu
Huraira used to say: "I folded it up and held it to my chest. I
swear by God that [since then] I have not forgotten anything I
heard from the Holy Prophet."
Hazrat Abu Huraira paid no heed to the
world. He usually fasted 3 or 4 days successively because of
poverty. Once he was very hungry, Hazrat Umar passed by him and
he asked him about an "aya't" but he didn't understant what Abu
Huraira meant. Then the Holy Prophet passed by and realized that
he was hungry and said: "Abu Hurairah!", he replied "At your
command" and followed him until they entered The Holy Prophet's
house. The Prophet found a bowl of milk and asked his family:
"From where did you get this?" "Someone sent it to you" they
replied. The Prophet Drank some milk from that bowl & then said
to Hazrat Abu Huraira: "O Abu Hurairah, go to the Ahl-as-Suffah
and invite them." Abu Hurairah did as he was told and they all
drank from the milk, but the bowl was still not empty from the
Hazrat Abu Huraira patiently endured such
hardship for the sake of Hadith. To those who sometimes warned
him that he was narrating too many Hadith, he replied sincerely:
"While my Emigrant brothers were busy in the bazaar and my
Helper brothers with farming, I tried to keep my soul and body
together to keep company with the Holy Prophet." Sometimes he
said: "Were it not for the verse: Those who conceal the clear
signs and the guidance that We have sent down, after We have
shown them clearly in the Book, they shall be cursed by God and
the curses, I would narrate nothing."
Some claim that other Companions were
opposed to Hazrat Abu Huraira's narrating. This claim is
groundless. Many Companions, among them Hazrat Abu Ayyub Ansari,
Hazrat Abdullah ibn Umar, Hazrat Abdullah ibn Abbas, Hazrat
Jabir ibn Abdullah Ansari, Hazrat Anas ibn Malik, and Hazrat
Wasila ibn Aslam, narrated Hadith from him. Some asked Hazrat
Abu Ayyub Ansari why he narrated from Hazrat Abu Huraira despite
his earlier conversion, to which he would reply: "He heard from
the Holy Prophet many things we did not hear."
Many leading Tabi'en also received
numerous hadith from him, including Hazrat Hasan Basri, Hazrat
Zayd ibn Aslam, Hazrat Sa'id ibn al-Musayyib (who married Hazrat
Abu Huraira's daughter so that he could benefit from him more),
Hazrat Sa'id ibn Yasar, Hazrat Sa'id al-Makburi, Hazrat Sulayman
ibn Yasar, Hazrat Sha'bi, Hazrat Muhammad ibn Abi Bakkar, and
Hazrat Qasim ibn Muhammad (who is accepted as a link in the
chain of Naqshbandi spiritual guides).
Hazrat Abu Huraira, despite claims to the
contrary by such Orientalists as Goldziher and their Muslim
followers like Ahmad Amin, Abu Rayya, and Ali Abd al-Razzaq, was
never anti-Ali and pro-Umayyad. He should have supported Hazrat
Ali in the internal conflicts so that sedition would be crushed,
but chose to remain neutral, for: "Seditions will appear, during
which the one who sits [silent] is better than the one who
stands (to participate); the one who stands is better than him
who walks [to participate], and the one who walks is better than
him who runs (in them)." This Hadith might not have been related
to the internal conflicts during Hazrat Ali's caliphate, but
Hazrat Abu Huraira thought that it was and so remained neutral.
During the battle of Siffin between Hazrat Ali & Amir Mawiya, he
used to sit on a hill & quietly watched them battling against
each other. But he always performed his prayers in the
leadership of Hazrat Ali.
On one occasion Hazrat Abu Huraira told
the other Sahaba (The Companions of the Holy Prophet) that from
the Messenger of God, I've learned two kinds of knowledge, the
first kind of knowledge I've exposed to you people (i.e. Hadith).
Sahaba (The Companions of the Holy Prophet) asked: And what is
the 2nd kind of knowledge that you've learned from the Holy
Prophet? Hazrat Abu Huraira replied: "If I would expose that,
you people will cut my neck". It showes that besides the
Ilm-e-Hadith, Hazrat Abu Huraira also learned the Ilm-e-Batin
(The hidden knowledge or spiritual knowledge) from the Holy
Prophet Mohammad (Sallallaho Alaihi Wa Sallam).