Umme Salamah (RA)
Umm Salamah! What an eventful life she had! Her real name was Hind. She was the daughter of one of the notables in the Makhzum clan nicknamed "Zad ar-Rakib" because he was well known for his generosity particularly to travelers. Umm Salamah's husband was Abdullah ibn Abdulasad and they both were among the first persons to accept Islam. Only Abu Bakr and a few others, who could be counted on the fingers of one hand, became Muslims before them.
As soon as the news of their becoming Muslims spread, the Quraysh reacted with frenzied anger. They began hounding and persecuting Umm Salamah and her husband. But the couple did not waver or despair and remained steadfast in their new faith.
The persecution became more and more intense. Life in Makkah became unbearable for many of the new Muslims. The Prophet, peace be upon him, then gave permission for them to emigrate to Abyssinia. Umm Salamah and her husband were in the forefront of these muhajirun, seekers of refuge in a strange land. For Umm Salamah it meant abandoning her spacious home and giving up the traditional ties of lineage and honor for something new, hope in the pleasure and reward of Allah.
Despite the protection Umm Salamah and her companions received from the Abyssinian ruler, the desire to return to Makkah, to be near the Prophet and the source of revelation and guidance persisted.
News eventually reached the muhajirun that the number of Muslims in Makkah had increased. Among them were Hamzah ibn Abdulmuttalib and Umar ibn al-Khattab. Their faith had greatly strengthened the community and the Quraysh they heard, had eased the persecution somewhat. Thus a group of the muhajirun, urged on by a deep longing in their hearts, decided to return to Makkah.
The easing of the persecution was but brief as the returnees soon found out. The dramatic increase in the number of Muslims following the acceptance of Islam by Hamzah and Umar only infuriated the Quraysh even more. They intensified their persecution and torture to a pitch and intensity not known before. So the Prophet gave permission to his companions to emigrate to Madinah. Umm Salamah and her husband were among the first to leave.
The hijrah of Umm Salamah and her husband though was not as easy as they had imagined. In fact, it was a bitter and painful experience and a particularly harrowing one for her.
Let us leave the story now for Umm Salamah herself to tell...
When Abu Salamah (my husband) decided to leave for Madinah, he prepared a camel from me, hoisted me on it and placed our son Salamah on my lap. My husband then took the lead end went on without stopping or waiting for anything. Before we were out of Makkah however some men from my clan stopped us and said to my husband:
"Though you are free to do what you like with yourself, you have no power over your wife. She is our daughter. Do you expect us to allow you to take her away from us?"
They then pounced on him and snatched me away from him. My husbands clan, Banu Abdulasad, saw them taking both me and my child. They became hot with rage.
"No! By Allah," they shouted, "we shall not abandon the boy. He is our son and we have a first claim over him." They took him by the hand and pulled him away from me. Suddenly in the space of a few moments, I found myself alone and lonely. My husband headed for Madinah by himself and his clan had snatched my son away from me. My own clan, Banu Makhzum, overpowered me and forced me to stay with them.
From the day when my husband and my son were separated from me, I went out at noon every day to that valley and sat in the spot where this tragedy occurred. I would recall those terrible moments and weep until night fell on me.
I continued like this for a year or so until one day a man from the Banu Umayyah passed by and saw my condition. He went back to my clan and said: "Why don't you free this poor woman? You have caused her husband and her son to be taken away from her." He went on trying to soften their hearts and play on their emotions. At last they said to me. 'Go and join your husband if you wish."
But how could I join my husband in Madinah and leave my son, a piece of my own flesh and blood, in Makkah among the Banu Abdulasad? How could I be free from anguish and my eyes be free from tears were I to reach the place of hijrah not knowing anything of my little son left behind in Makkah?
Some realized what I was going through and their hearts went out to me. They petitioned the Banu Abdulasad on my behalf and moved them to return my son. I did not now even want to linger in Makkah till I found someone to travel with me and I was afraid that something might happen that would delay or prevent me from reaching my husband. So I promptly got my camel ready, placed my son on my lap and left in the direction of Madinah .
I had just about reached Tanim (about three miles from Makkah) when I met Uthman ibn Talhah. (He was a keeper of the Kabah in pre-lslamic times and was not yet a Muslim.)
"Where are you going, Bint Zad ar-Rakib?" he asked.
"I am going to my husband in Madinah."
"And there isn't anyone with you?"
"No, by Allah. Except Allah and my little boy here."
"By Allah. I shall never abandon you until you reach Madinah," he vowed.
He then took the reins of my camel and led us on. I have, by Allah, never met an Arab more generous and noble than he. When we reached a resting place, he would make my camel kneel down, wait until I dismounted, lead the camel to a tree and tether it. He would then go to the shade of another tree. When we had rested he would get the camel ready and lead us on.
This he did every day until we reached Madinah. When we got to the village near Quba (about two miles from Madinah) belonging to Banu Amr ibn Awf, he said, "Your husband is in this village. Enter it with the blessings of God. "
He turned back and headed for Makkah. Their roads finally met after the long separation. Umm Salamah was overjoyed to see her husband and he was delighted to see his wife and son.
Great and momentous events followed one after the other. There was the battle of Badr in which Abu Salamah fought. The Muslims returned victorious and strengthened. Then there was the battle of Uhud in which the Muslims were sorely tested. Abu Salamah came out of this wounded very badly. He appeared at first to respond well to treatment, but his wounds never healed completely and he remained bedridden.
Once while Umm Salamah was nursing him, he said to her: "I heard the Messenger of God saying. Whenever a calamity afflicts anyone he should say, "Surely from Allah we are and to Him we shall certainly return." And he would pray, 'O Lord, give me in return something good from it which only You Exalted and Mighty, can give."
Abu Salamah remained sick in bed for several days. One morning the Prophet came to see him. The visit was longer than usual. While the Prophet was still at his bedside Abu Salamah passed away. With his blessed hands, the Prophet closed the eyes of his dead companion. He then raised these hands to the heavens and prayed:
"O Lord, grant forgiveness to Abu Salamah. Elevate him among those who are near to You. Take charge of his family at all times. Forgive us and him, O Lord of the Worlds. Widen his grave and make it light for him."
Umm Salamah remembered the prayer her husband had quoted on his deathbed from the Prophet and began repeating it, "O Lord, with you I leave this my plight for consideration . . ." But she could not bring herself to continue . . . "O Lord give me something good from it", because she kept asking herself, "Who could be better than Abu Salamah?" But it did not take long before she completed the supplication.
The Muslims were greatly saddened by the plight of Umm Salamah. She became known as "Ayyin al-Arab"-- the one who had lost her husband. She had no one in Madinah of her own except her small children, like a hen without feathers.
Both the Muhajirun and Ansar felt they had a duty to Umm Salamah. When she had completed the Iddah (three months and ten days), Abu Bakr proposed marriage to her but she refused. Then Umar asked to marry her but she also declined the proposal. The Prophet then approached her and she replied:
"O Messenger of Allah, I have three characteristics. I am a woman who is extremely jealous and I am afraid that you will see in me something that will anger you and cause Allah to punish me. I am a woman who is already advanced in age and I am a woman who has a young family."
The Prophet replied: "Regarding the jealousy you mentioned, I pray to Allah the Almighty to let it go away from you. Regarding the question of age you have mentioned. I am afflicted with the same problem as you. Regarding the dependent family you have mentioned, your family is my family."
They were married and so it was that Allah answered the prayer of Umm Salamah and gave her better than Abu Salamah. From that day on Hind al Makhzumiyah was no longer the mother of Salamah alone but became the mother of all believers, Umm al-Mumineen.
Source: Taken (with Thanks) from MuslimAccess.com
Sarah (A.S.) : Ibraheem's (A.S.) first wife
Sarah (A.S.) was the only woman of Ibrahim's (A.S.) people to believe in Allah (S.W.T). She afterwards became his wife. She stood by her husband all the time when calling his people to Allah (S.W.T.). When Ibrahim (A.S.) realized that no other than his wife and his nephew, Lut (A.S.), was going to believe in his call, he decided to immigrate to a city called Ur and another called Haran and then departed for Palestine with them. After Palestine, Ibrahim (peace be upon him) arrived in Egypt.
Abu Hurairah narrated that Ibrahim did not tell a lie except on three occasions: twice for the sake of Allah (Exalted and Almighty) when he said: "I am sick," when his people were holding a festival in honor of their gods, Ibrahim excused himself by saying he was sick, (Ch 37:89 Quran) and when he said: "(I have not done this but) the big idol has done it." The third was while Ibrahim and Sarah were on a journey. They passed through the territory of a tyrant. Someone said to the tyrant: "This man Ibrahim is accompanied by a very charming lady." So, he sent for Ibrahim and asked him about Sarah saying "Who is this lady?" Ibrahim said: "She is my sister." Ibrahim went to Sarah and said "O Sarah! There are no believers on the surface of the earth except you and me. This man asked me about you and I have told him that you are my sister. Do not contradict my statement." The tyrant then called Sarah, and when she went to him, he tried to take a hold of her with his hand, with evil intentions, but his hand got stiff and he was confounded. He asked Sarah: "Pray to Allah for me and I shall not harm you." So Sarah asked Allah to cure him and he was cured. He tried to take hold of her for the second time, but his hand got as stiff as or stiffer than before and he was more comfounded. He again requested Sarah: "Pray to Allah for me, and I will not harm you." Sarah asked Allah to again, and he became all right. He then called one of his guards who had brought her and said: "You have not brought me a human being but have brought me a devil." The tyrant then gave Hajar as a maid servant to Sarah. Ibrahim, gesturing with his hand, asked: "What has happened?" Sarah replied: "Allah has spoiled the evil plot of the infidel or immoral person and gave me Hajar for service."
Sarah had not born any children. Ibrahim had aged and his hair was gray after many years spent in calling people to Allah. Sarah thought she and Ibrahim were lonely because she could not have a child. Therefore, she offered her husband her servant Hajar (A.S.) in marriage. Hajar gave birth to her first son Ishmael (Isma'il) (A.S.) when Ibrahim was an old man.
Time passed. One day Ibrahim was sitting outside his tent, three angels descended to the earth. They came in human shapes and saluted Ibrahim. Ibrahim arose and welcomed them. He took them inside his tent thinking they were strangers and guests. He invited his guests to eat and placed before them a sumptuous meal of roasted calf. They were angels and did not eat. The angels gave Sarah glad tidings of the birth of a son, Isaac (Ishaq) (A.S.). She could hardly believe the news. As a "barren old woman" the news seemed to her too good to be true. Allah Almighty says:
"There came Our messengers to Abraham with glad tidings. They said, "Peace!" He answered, "Peace!" and hastened to entertain them with a roasted calf. But when he saw their hands went not towards the (meal), he felt some mistrust of them, and conceived a fear of them. They said: "Fear not: We have been sent against the people of Lut." And his wife was standing (there), and she laughed (either, because the Messengers did not eat their food or for being glad for the destruction of the people of Lut). But we gave her glad tidings of Isaac, and after him, of Jacob. She said: "Alas for me! shall I bear a child, seeing I am an old woman, and my husband here is an old man? That would indeed be a wonderful thing!" They said: "Dost thou wonder at Allah's decree? The grace of Allah and His blessings on you, O ye people of the house! for He is indeed worthy of all praise, full of all glory!" (Hud 11: 69-73)
And thus were Sarah and Ibrahim blessed with the miraculous birth of a son in their old age.
Source: Taken (with Thanks) from MuslimAccess.com
Hazratjee Maulana Muhammad Yusuf Kandhlavi; Second Ameer of Tableeghi Jamaat (RA)
Sheikh Muhammad Yusuf Al-Kandhlawi was born on 25 Jumada I, 1335 H, corresponding to 20 March 1917 at Kandahla in India. His family was well-known for its Islamic scholarship and total devotion. His father, Sheikh Muhammad Ilyas Al-Kandhlawi (d. 1943), played an important role in the reform movement led by two scholars, Ahmad ibn Irfan and Muhammad Ismaeel, both of whom were to be martyrs. The reform movement aimed to remove all deviation from people’s beliefs and return them to the pure Islamic faith. Several scholars in his family studied under Sheikh Abd Al-Azeez ibn Ahmad ibn Abd Al-Raheem Al-Dahlawi, a highly reputable scholar of Hadith. Indeed the family produced a long line of famous scholars who were devoted to the study of Hadith and Fiqh, as well as other Islamic studies.
Maulana Muhammad Yusuf son of Maulana Muhammad Ilyas son of Maulana Muhammad Ismail son of Shaikh Ghulam Hussein son of Hakim Karim Baksh son of Hakeem Ghulam Mohi-uddin son of Maulana Muhammad Sajid son of Maulana Muhammad Faiz son of Maulana Hakeem Muhammad Sharif son of Maulana Hakim Muhammad Ashraf son of Shaikh Jamal Muhammad Shah son of Shaikh Noor Muhammad son of Shaikh Baha-uddin Shah son of Maulana Shaikh Muhammad son of Shaikh Muhammad Fazil son of Shaikh Qutb Shah.
His mother daughter of Maulvi Rauful Hasan son of Maulana Zia-ul-Hasan son of Maulana Noorul Hasan son of Maulana Abul Hasan son of Mufti Ilahi Baksh son of Maulana Shaikhul Islam son of Hakim Qutbuddin son of Hakim Abdul Qadir son of Maulana Hakeem Muhammad Sharif son of Maulana Hakim Muhammad Ashraf son of Shaikh Jamal Muhammad Shah son of Shaikh Noor Muhammad son of Shaikh Baha-uddin Shah son of Maulana Shaikh Muhammad son of Shaikh Muhammad Fazil son of Shaikh Qutb Shah
The paternal and maternal families of Maulana Yusuf Saheb come together in Hakeem Muhammad Sharif. Then the family traces their lineage back to Ameerul Mumineen Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq (Radhi Allahu Anhu). These two families were residing in the villages of Kandhala and Jinhjana. They were famous for their religiousness, knowledge and piety.
Childhood & Early Education:
Maulana Muhammad Yusuf Saheb was born in such an environment in which the attainment of piety was the purpose of one and all. The whole family was ingrained with spirituality and nearness to Allah. It was a family of Scholars, Huffaz, and Soofia. Memorizing the Quran had been the common practice of all men and women of this noble family. The women of the house used to keep themselves busy in the recitation of the Quran, optional prayer, studying of religious books and rememberance of Allah. Inside the family, there were numerous renowned scholars.
Scholars such as Maulana Muhammad Saheb, Maulana Muhammad Yahya, Maulana Muhammad Ilyas, Maulana Muhammad Ihtishamul Hasan, Maulana Muhammad Zakariyyah were all members of this outstanding family in which Maulana Yusuf Saheb was nurtured in.
As a young boy, Muhammad Yusuf Al-Kandhlawi showed very early promise. Indeed, he completed the memorization of the Qur’an when he was only 10 years of age. He then completed his primary education and studied Hadith, starting with the six main authentic collections, under his father. He then undertook a more specialized study of Hadith under the distinguished scholars of Mazahir Al-Uloom, a specialized school which placed particular emphasis on the study of Hadith, and trained its students in the art of Islamic advocacy. During his attendance at this school he particularly benefited from studying under his cousin, Sheikh Muhammad Zakariya Al-Kandhlawi, one of the top scholars of Hadith in the Muslim world in the twentieth century. He graduated from this school at the age of 20, in 1355 H.
“The lap of the mother is the child’s first madrassa (school).” This saying is very true, training of the children at home forms the foundation of their beliefs, character and personality. The training and education Maulana Yusuf Saheb had at home was similar to that of the training the Muslim women in the time of Hazrat Muhammad (SAW) used to give to their children. Each women of that household was ready to give her son for the work of Rasulullah (SAW). The stories of the companions of Rasulullah (SAW) had replaced the fairy tales in those homes. The lesson of the heroic freedom movement of Maulana Syed Ahmed Shaheed and Shah Ismail Shaheed had become so common in those homes, that when Maulana Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi wrote the detailed biography of Hazrat Syed Ahmed Shaheed, Maulana Ilyas Saheb did not find anything new in that biography.
Maulana Yusuf Saheb memorized the Quran at the age of ten from Hafiz Imam Khan Mewati. It was a blessing and a bounty of Allah on Maulana Yusuf Saheb that right from the very beginning the elders of that time had great concern and interest in him. Maulana Syed Ahmed Saheb Faizabadi, the elder brother of Hazrat Maulana Syed Hussein Ahmed Madni, sent an honorary degree to Maulana Yusuf Saheb commemorating his memorization of the Quran.
Hazrat Maulana Khaleel Ahmed Saheb Saharanpuri, who is the Khalifah of Hazrat Maulana Rashid Ahmed Gangohi and the Sheikh of Hazrat Maulana Ilyas Saheb and Maulana Zakariyya Saheb had great affection for the young Maulana Yusuf Saheb. Although, Maulana Yusuf Saheb was about ten years at the time of Hazrat Saharanpuri’s death, they had still shared tremendous love. Maulana Yusuf Saheb would call Hazrat Saharanpuri as “abba” (father in Urdu). Once, Maulana Yusuf Saheb rejected eating the bread cooked by the servant of Hazrat Saharanpuri and insisted on eating bread baked by Hazrat Saharanpuri himself. Hazrat Saharanpuri then went in the kitchen and cooked the bread with his own hands and fed Maulana Yusuf with his own hands as well.
Dedication to Tableegh & Arabs:
It was his father, Sheikh Muhammad Ilyas Al-Kandhlawi, who established an organization dedicated to Islamic advocacy. Its members devote a good portion of their time to travel and educating Muslim people in their faith, trying also to explain Islam to others. This organization is well known as Tableegh, or Jama’at Al-Tableegh, with members in many countries of the world. An important aspect of this organization is that it does not concern itself with politics in any way. It is dedicated to Islamic propagation and advocacy.
Sheikh Muhammad Yusuf Al-Kandhlawi began his scholarly career in teaching and writing. However, after consulting several scholars and figures of the Tableegh, his father entrusted to him the leadership of Tableegh as he sensed his approaching death. Al-Kandhlawi dedicated himself to this task which practically filled every day of his life. He traveled all over the Indian Subcontinent giving lectures and speeches and holding circles advocating a return to the pure faith of Islam, which should be implemented in people’s life.
Al-Kandhlawi believed that the Arabs must always take the leading role in Islamic advocacy, because they were the people chosen by God for this task as He revealed His final message in their language. Hence he was keen to spread his efforts and the Tableegh work to Arab countries.
He also realized that the best centers to spread this work were Makkah and Madinah, regularly visited by pilgrims from all over the Muslim world.
Therefore, he gave particular attention to educating Indian and Pakistani pilgrims, speaking to them at the ports of Bombay and Karachi, before embarking on their journey.
He would teach them the proper way of performing their pilgrimage rituals, and educate them in the need for Islamic advocacy. Thus, he was able to form groups of advocates from the pilgrims. These groups undertook the task of speaking to other pilgrims in the Grand Mosques in Makkah and Madinah. This generated interest among pilgrims of other countries who approached al-Kandhlawi to send groups to their areas. He responded to their requests and the Tableegh work began to take roots in several Arab countries.
Al-Kandhlawi traveled a great deal to promote the Tableegh work of Islamic advocacy. He made numerous trips to Pakistan where he held heavily attended functions, which contributed to the Tableegh organization taking strong roots in that country. His first pilgrimage was in the company of his father, before he took over the Tableegh. In his second pilgrimage, undertaken in 1374 H, 1954, in the company of Sheikh Hussain Ahmad Madani, a famous Hadith scholar, he met many Saudi scholars and discussed with them the issues and problems of Islamic advocacy and propagation. He made his final pilgrimage one year before his death, in 1383, where he held an endless series of meetings with scholars from all over the Muslim world, and was keen to meet as many Saudi scholars as possible.
Despite his total dedication to the Tableegh work, which took much of his time, Al-Kandhlawi was able to write and his writings reflect his broad knowledge, particularly in Hadith and in the history of the Prophet and his companions. Two books feature more prominently among his writings. The first is Amani Al-Ahbar Fi Sharh Ma’ani Al-Athar, which is an annotation of a major work by Imam Ahmad Al-Tahawi, a famous Egyptian scholar who lived much earlier. The book is in four large volumes.
However, his book Hayat Al-Sahabah, which may be translated as The Prophet’s Companions’ Way of Life, has earned wide acclaim and become essential reading for anyone who wishes to understand the Islamic way of life or to explain Islam to Muslims and non-Muslims. In this book, Al-Kandhlawi collects reports mentioned in books of Hadith, history and biographies about the Prophet himself and his companions.
It highlights the aspects related to Islamic propagation and advocacy. It thus reflects life at the time of the Prophet’s companions, and shows their manners, feelings and thoughts in different situations. The book was published in Arabic in three volumes many times by different publishers. It has more recently been published, with annotation, in four large volumes, with two introductions by two highly reputable scholars, Syed Abu Al-Hasan Ali Nadwi, and Sheikh Abd Al-Fattah Abu Ghuddah.
In 1965, Al-Kandhlawi made a long trip to Pakistan, where he traveled throughout the country, giving a long series of lectures and speeches, and holding a continuous series of meetings, with people from all strata of Pakistani society. Although he was not feeling well at the start of his trip, he continued with his heavy schedule, paying little attention to his deteriorating condition. On the final day of his trip, he was scheduled to give a major speech in Lahore, and although he was too ill to give such a speech, he felt that he could not let people down.
But the speech took its toll of his health. On finishing it, he was immediately taken to hospital, but he died on his way there, at the age of 48. His body was airlifted at night to Delhi, where his funeral was attended by tens of thousands of mourners. May God shower His mercy on him.
Note: Central-Mosque is unaware of the original source of this article and would give due credit and reference when established.
Imam Muhammad ibnu Hasan Ash Shaybaani (R.A.)
Amongst the galaxy of stars that Islam has produced over its fourteen hundred odd years, there are many about whom we know very little or nothing. From the ranks of these illustrious soldiers and protectors of Deen comes Imaam Muhammad bin Hassan Shaybaani (RA). The entire Muslim Ummah is indebted to Imam Muhammad (RA) for his compilation of some of the most complete laws of jurisprudence (Masaail) in history.
Born in the city of Wasith in 132 AH, his family settled in Kufa, Iraq where he attained his spiritual training and acquired his learning. At the age of 14, he started his higher education under the illustrious Imaam Abu Hanifa and spent 4 years in his distinguished company. Later on, he had the honour of learning under such scholastic giants as Imaam Yusuf (RA), Imaam Maalik and Imaam Abdullah bin Mubaarak (Rahmatullaahi Álayhim), to mention a few. It has been reported that Imaam Muhammad would never sleep at night, spending his time solving difficult legal problems. He started lecturing in Hadith at the tender age of 20 and thousands of students would flock to Kufa, especially to hear his discourses on the Muattaa Imaam Maalik.
Probably one of the closest of contemporary scholars to Imaam Muhammad (RA) and to whom his friendship was indeed very strong was the distinguished Imaam Shaafée (RA). If there was anyone who would adequately sum up the character and scholastic ability of Imaam Muhammad, it would be Imaam Shaafée. Imaam Shaafée narrates that once he spent the night at Imaam Muhammad’s residence. He passed the entire night in Salaat whilst Imaam Muhammad lay comfortably in his bed. At the time of Fajr, he arose and proceeded for Salaat without performing Wudhu. This perplexed him and he enquired from his friend as to the state of this affair. Imaam Muhammad replied, ‘Last night whilst you made your Ibaadat for your own gain, I lay awake on my bed, extracting more than 1000 Masaail for the benefit of the Ummah.’
Muhammad bin Salama narrates that Imaam Muhammad used to divide his nights into 3 parts: one part for sleeping, one part for Salaat and one for lecturing. He used to spend a great deal of his time in the recitation of Qurãn.
His scholastic achievements are so vast that his compilations are reported to be nearly one thousand in number. He was regarded as a ‘writing machine’ and would sit for lengthy periods in his library producing masterpieces for which the Ummah are grateful. If one were to just look at the volume of his works, one would assume it to be the work of an institution, not just an individual. His efforts constitute the basis of the Hanafi Maddhab. The total number of Masaail that Imaam Muhammad (RA) is reported to have extracted from the Qurãn and Ahaadith are 10, 701, 000. Among his most famous literary works are Jaamius Sagheer and Ziyadaat.
Imaam Muhammad left the precincts of this world in the year 189 AH, at the age of 57
Article taken (with Thanks) from Darul-uloom Bury
Abdur-Rahman ibn Awf (RA)
He was one of the first eight persons to accept Islam. He was one of the ten persons (al-asharatu-l mubashshirin) who were assured of entering Paradise. He was one of the six persons chosen by Umar (R.A.) to form the council of shura to choose the Khalifah after his death.
His name in Jahiliyyah days was Abu Amr. But when he accepted Islam the noble Prophet (Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) called him Abdur-Rahman - the servant of the Beneficent God.
Abdur-Rahman (R.A.) became a Muslim before the Prophet (S.A.W.) entered the house of al-Arqam. In fact it is said that he accepted Islam only two days after Abu Bakr As-Siddiq (R.A.) did so.
Abdur-Rahman did not escape the punishment which the early Muslims suffered at the hands of the Quraysh. He bore this punishment with steadfastness as they did. He remained firm as they did. And when they were compelled to leave Makkah for Abyssinia because of the continuous and unbearable persecution, Abdur-Rahman also went. He returned to Makkah when it was rumored that conditions for the Muslims had improved but, when these rumors proved to be false, he left again for Abyssinia on a second hijrah. From Makkah once again he made the hijrah to Madinah.
Soon after arriving in Madinah, the Prophet (S.A.W.) in his unique manner began pairing off the Muhajirin and the Ansar. This established a firm bond of brotherhood and was meant to strengthen social cohesion and ease the destitution of the Muhajirin. Abdur-Rahman was linked by the Prophet with Sad ibn ar-Rabi'ah. Sad in the spirit of generosity and magnanimity with which the Ansar greeted the Muhajirin, said to Abdur-Rahman:
"My brother! Among the people of Madinah I have the most wealth. I have two orchards and I have two wives. See which of the two orchards you like and I shall vacate it for you and which of my two wives is pleasing to you and I will divorce her for you."
Abdur-Rahman must have been embarrassed and said in reply: "May God bless you in your family and your wealth. But just show me where the suq is.."
Abdur-Rahman went to the market-place and began trading with whatever little resources he had. He bought and sold and his profits grew rapidly. Soon he was sufficiently well off and was able to get married. He went to the noble Prophet with the scent of perfume lingering over him.
"Mahyarn, O Abdur-Rahman!" exclaimed the Prophet - "mahyam" being a word of Yemeni origin which indicates pleasant surprise.
"I have got married," replied Abdur-Rahman. "And what did you give your wife as mahr?" "The weight of a nuwat in gold."
"You must have a walimah (wedding feast) even if it is with a single sheep. And may Allah bless you in your wealth," said the Prophet with obvious pleasure and encouragement.
Thereafter Abdur-Rahman grew so accustomed to business success that he said if he lifted a stone he expected to find gold or silver under it!
Abdur-Rahman distinguished himself in both the battles of Badr and Uhud. At Uhud he remained firm throughout and suffered more than twenty wounds some of them deep and severe. Even so, his physical jihad was matched by his jihad with his wealth.
Once the Prophet, may God bless him and grant him peace, was preparing to despatch an expeditionary force. He summoned his companions and said:
"Contribute sadaqah for I want to despatch an expedition." Abdur-Rahman went to his house and quickly returned. "O Messenger of God," he said, "I have four thousand (dinars). I give two thousand as a qard to my Lord and two thousand I leave for my family."
When the Prophet decided to send an expedition to distant Tabuk - this was the last ghazwah of his life that he mounted - his need for finance and material was not greater than his need for men for the Byzantine forces were a numerous and well-equipped foe. That year in Madinah was one of drought and hardship. The journey to Tabuk was long, more that a thousand kilometers. Provisions were in short supply. Transport was at a premium so much so that a group of Muslims came to the Prophet pleading to go with him but he had to turn them away because he could find no transport for them.
These men were sad and dejected and came to be known as the Bakka'in or the Weepers and the army itself was called the Army of Hardship ('Usrah). Thereupon the Prophet called upon his companions to give generously for the war effort in the path of God and assured them they would be rewarded. The Muslims' response to the Prophet's call was immediate and generous. In the fore front of those who responded was Abdur-Rahman ibn Awf. He donated two hundred awqiyyah of gold whereupon Umar ibn al-Khattab said to the Prophet:
"I have (now) seen Abdur-Rahman committing a wrong. He has not left anything for his family."
"Have you left anything for your family, Abdur-Rahman?" asked the Prophet.
"Yes," replied Abdur-Rahman. "I have left for them more than what I give and better." "How much?" enquired the Prophet.
"What God and His Messenger have promised of sustenance, goodness and reward," replied Abdur-Rahman.
The Muslim army eventually left for Tabuk. There Abdur-Rahman was blessed with an honor which was not conferred on anyone till then. The time of Salat came and the Prophet, peace be on him, was not there at the time. The Muslims chose Abdur-Rahman as their imam. The first rakat of the Salat was almost completed when the Prophet, may God bless him and grant him peace, joined the worshippers and performed the Salat behind Abdur-Rahman ibn Awf. Could there be a greater honor conferred on anyone than to have been the imam of the most honored of God's creation, the imam of the Prophets, the imam of Muhammad, the Messenger of God!
When the Prophet, peace be on him, passed away, Abdur-Rahman took on the responsibility of looking after the needs of his family, the Ummahaat al-Muminin. He would go with them wherever they wanted to and he even performed Hajj with them to ensure that all their needs were met. This is a sign of the trust and confidence which he enjoyed on the part of the Prophet's family.
Abdur-Rahman's support for the Muslims and the Prophet's wives in particular was well-known. Once he sold a piece of land for forty thousand dinars and he distributed the entire amount among the Banu Zahrah (the relatives of the Prophet's mother Aminah), the poor among the Muslims and the Prophet's wives. When Aishah, may God be pleased with her, received some of this money she asked:
"Who has sent this money?" and was told it was Abdur-Rahman, whereupon she said:
"The Messenger of God, may God bless him and grant him peace, said: No one will feel compassion towards you after I die except the sabirin (those who are patient and resolute)."
The prayer of the noble Prophet that Allah should bestow barakah on the wealth of Abdur-Rahman appeared to be with Abdur-Rahman throughout his life. He became the richest man among the companions of the Prophet. His business transactions invariably met with success and his wealth continued to grow. His trading caravans to and from Madinah grew larger and larger bringing to the people of Madinah wheat, flour, butter, cloths, utensils, perfume and whatever else was needed and exporting whatever surplus produce they had.
One day, a loud rumbling sound was heard coming from beyond the boundaries of Madinah normally a calm and peaceful city. The rumbling sound gradually increased in volume. In addition, clouds of dust and sand were stirred up and blown in the wind. The people of Madinah soon realized that a mighty caravan was entering the city. They stood in amazement as seven hundred camels laden with goods moved into the city and crowded the streets. There was much shouting and excitement as people called to one another to come out and witness the sight and see what goods and sustenance the camel caravan had brought.
Aishah (R.A.), may God be pleased with her, heard the commotion and asked: "What is this that's happening in Madinah?" and she was told: "It is the caravan of Abdur-Rahman ibn Awf which has come from Syria bearing his merchandise." "A caravan making all this commotion?" she asked in disbelief." "Yes, O Umm al-Muminin. There are seven hundred camels."
Aishah shook her head and gazed in the distance as if she was trying to recall some scene or utterance of the past and then she said:
"I have heard the Messenger of God, may God bless him and grant him peace, say: I have seen Abdur-Rahman ibn Awf entering Paradise creeping."
Why creeping? Why should he not enter Paradise leaping and at a quick pace with the early companions of the Prophet?
Some friends of his related to Abdur-Rahman the hadith which Aishah had mentioned. He remembered that he had heard the hadith more than once from the Prophet and he hurried to the house of Aishah and said to her: "Yaa Ammah! Have you heard that from the Messenger of God, may God bless him and grant him peace?" "Yes," she replied.
"You have reminded me of a hadith which I have never forgotten," he is also reported to have said. He was so over-joyed and added:
"If I could I would certainly like to enter Paradise standing. I swear to you, yaa Ammah, that this entire caravan with all its merchandise, I will give fee sabilillah."
And so he did. In a great festival of charity and righteousness, he distributed all that the massive caravan had brought to the people of Madinah and surrounding areas.
This is just one incident which showed what type of man Abdur-Rahman was. He earned much wealth but he never remained attached to it for its own sake and he did not allow it to corrupt him.
Abdur-Rahman's generosity did not stop there. He continued giving with both his hands, secretly and openly. Some of the figures mentioned are truly astounding: forty thousand dirhams of silver, forty thousand dinars of gold, two hundred awqiyyah of gold, five hundred horses to mujahidin setting out in the path of God and one thousand five hundred camels to another group of mujahidin, four hundred dinars of gold to the survivors of Badr and a large legacy to the Ummahaat al Muminin and the catalogue goes on. On account of this fabulous generosity, Aishah said:
"May God give him to drink from the water of Salsabil (a spring in Paradise)." All this wealth did not corrupt Abdur-Rahman and did not change him. When he was among his workers and assistants, people could not distinguish him from them. One day food was brought to him with which to end a fast. He looked at the food and said:
"Musab ibn Umayr (R.A.) has been killed. He was better than me. We did not find anything of his to shroud him with except what covered his head but left his legs uncovered. . Then God endowed us with the (bounties of) the world... I really fear that our reward has been bestowed on us early (in this world)." He began to cry and sob and could not eat.
May Abdur-Rahman ibn Awf (R.A.) be granted felicity among "those who spend their substance in the cause of God and follow up not their gifts with reminders of their generosity or with injury. For them their reward is with their Lord, on them shall be no fear nor shall they grieve". (The Quran, Surah al-Baqarah, 2: 262).
Source: Taken (with Thanks) from MuslimAccess.com
"An Abi Hurayra, radiyallahu anhu, qaal.' qaala Rasulullahi, sallallahu alayhi wa Sallam..."
Through this phrase millions of Muslims from the early history of Islam to the present have come to be familiar with the name Abu Hurayrah(r.a.). In speeches and lectures, in Friday khutbahs and seminars, in the books of Hadith and Sirah, Fiqh and Ibadah, the name Abu Hurayrah(r.a.) is mentioned in this fashion: "On the authority of Abu hurayrah(r.a.), (May God be pleased with) him who said: The Messenger of God, (May God bless him and grant him peace) said... ".
Through his prodigious efforts, hundreds of Ahadith or sayings of the Prophet(sallallahu alaiyhi wasallam) were transmitted to later generations. His is the foremost name in the roll of Hadith transmitters. Next to him comes the names of such companions as Abdullah the son of Umar, Anas the son of Malik, Umm ul-Mu'mininin A'ishah, Jabir ibn Abdullah and Abu Sa'id al-Khudri May Allah Ta'ala be pleased with them) all of whom transmitted over a thousand sayings of the Prophet(sallallahu alaiyhi wasallam).
Abu Hurayrah(r.a.) became a Muslim at the hands of Tufayl ibn Amr the chieftain of the Daws tribe to which he belonged. The Daws lived in the region of Tihamah which stretches along the coast of the Red Sea in southern Arabia. When Tufayl returned to his village after meeting the Prophet(sallallahu alaiyhi wasallam) and becoming a Muslim in the early years of his mission, Abu Hurayrah(r.a.) was one of the first to respond to his call. He was unlike the majority of the Daws who remained stubborn in their old beliefs for a long time.
When Tufayl visited Makkah again, Abu Hurayrah(r.a.) accompanied him. There he had the honour and privilege of meeting the noble Prophet(sallallahu alaiyhi wasallam) who asked him:
"What is your name?"
"Abdu Shams - Servant of a Sun," he replied.
"Instead, let it be Abdur-Rahman - the Servant of the Beneficent Lord," said the Prophet(sallallahu alaiyhi wasallam).
"Yes, Abdur-Rahman (it shall be) O Messenger of God," he replied. However, he continued to be known as Abu Hurayrah(r.a.), "the kitten man", literally "the father of a kitten" because like the Prophet(sallallahu alaiyhi wasallam) he was fond of cats and since his childhood often had a cat to play with.
Abu Hurayrah(r.a.) stayed in Tihamah for several years and it was only at the beginning of the seventh year of the Hijrah that he arrived in Madinah with others of his tribe. The Prophet(sallallahu alaiyhi wasallam) had gone on a campaign to Khaybar. Being destitute, Abu Hurayrah(r.a.) took up his place in the Masjid with other of the Ahlus-Suffah. He was single, without wife or child. With him however was his mother who was still a mushrik. He longed, and prayed, for her to become a Muslim but she adamantly refused. One day, he invited her to have faith in God alone and follow His Prophet(sallallahu alaiyhi wasallam) but she uttered some words about the Prophet(sallallahu alaiyhi wasallam) which saddened him greatly. With tears in his eyes, he went to the noble Prophet(sallallahu alaiyhi wasallam) who said to him:
"What makes you cry, O Abu Hurayrah(r.a.)?"
"I have not let up in inviting my mother to Islam but she has always rebuffed me. Today, I invited her again and I heard words from her which I do not like. Do make supplication to God Almighty to make the heart of Abu Hurayrah's mother incline to Islam."
The Prophet(sallallahu alaiyhi wasallam) responded to Abu Hurayrah's request and prayed for his mother. Abu Hurayrah(r.a.) said: "I went home and found the door closed. I heard the splashing of water and when I tried to enter my mother said:
"Stay where you are, O Abu Hurayrah(r.a.)." And after putting on her clothes, she said, "Enter!" I entered and she said: "I testify that there is no god but Allah and I testify that Muhammad is His Servant and His Messenger."
"I returned to the Prophet, peace be on him, weeping with joy just as an hour before I had gone weeping from sadness and said:
"I have good news, O Messenger of Allah. God has responded to your prayer and guided the mother of Abu Hurayrah(r.a.) to Islam."
Abu Hurayrah(r.a.) loved the Prophet(sallallahu alaiyhi wasallam) a great deal and found favour with him. He was never tired of looking at the Prophet(sallallahu alaiyhi wasallam) whose face appeared to him as having all the radiance of the sun and he was never tired of listening to him. Often he would praise God for his good fortune and say:
"Praise be to God Who has guided Abu Hurayrah(r.a.) to Islam."
"Praise be to God Who has taught Abu Hurayrah(r.a.) the Qur'an."
"Praise be to God Who has bestowed on Abu Hurayrah(r.a.) the companionship of Muhammad, may God bless him and grant him peace."
On reaching Madinah, Abu Hurayrah(r.a.) set his heart on attaining knowledge. Zayd ibn Thabit (r.a) the notable companion of the Prophet(sallallahu alaiyhi wasallam) reported: "While Abu Hurayrah(r.a.) and I and another friend of mine were in the Masjid praying to God Almighty and performing dhikr to Him, the Messenger of God appeared. He came towards us and sat among us. We became silent and he said:
"Carry on with what you were doing."
"So my friend and I made a supplication to God before Abu Hurayrah(r.a.) did and the Prophet(sallallahu alaiyhi wasallam) began to say Ameen to our du'a.
"Then Abu Hurayrah(r.a.) made a supplication saying:
"O Lord, I ask You for what my two companions have asked and I ask You for knowledge which will not be forgotten."
"The Prophet, peace be on him, said: 'Ameen.'
"We then said:
''And we ask Allah for knowledge which will not be forgotten", and the Prophet(sallallahu alaiyhi wasallam) replied:
''The Dawsi youth has asked for this before you."
"With his formidable memory, Abu Hurayrah(r.a.) set out to memorise in the four years that he spent with the Prophet(sallallahu alaiyhi wasallam), the gems of wisdom that emanated from his lips. He realised that he had a great gift and he set about to use it to the full in the service of Islam.
He had free time at his disposal. Unlike many of the Muhajirin he did not busy himself in the market-places, with buying and selling. Unlike many of the Ansar, he had no land to cultivate nor crops to tend. He stayed with the Prophet(sallallahu alaiyhi wasallam) in Madinah and went with him on journeys and expeditions.
Many companions were amazed at the number of Hadith he had memorised and often questioned him on when he had heard a certain hadith and under what circumstances.
Once Marwan ibn al-Hakam wanted to test Abu Hurayrah's power of memory. He sat with him in one room and behind a curtain he placed a scribe, unknown to Abu hurayrah(r.a.), and ordered him to write down whatever Abu Hurayrah(r.a.) said. A year later, Marwan called Abu Hurayrah(r.a.) again and asked him to recall the same Ahadith which the scribe had recorded. It was found that he had forgotten not a single word.
Abu Hurayrah(r.a.) was concerned to teach and transmit the Ahadith he had memorised and knowledge of Islam in general. It is reported that one day he passed through the suq of Madinah and naturally saw people engrossed in the business of buying and selling.
"How feeble are you, O people of Madinah!" he said.
"What do you see that is feeble in us, Abu Hurayrah(r.a.)?" they asked.
"The inheritance of the Messenger of God, peace be on him, is being distributed and you remain here! Won't you go and take your portion?"
"Where is this, O Abu Hurayrah(r.a.)?" they asked.
"In the Masjid," he replied.
Quickly they left. Abu Hurayrah(r.a.) waited until they returned. When they saw him, they said:
"O Abu Hurayrah(r.a.), we went to the Masjid and entered and we did not see anything being distributed."
"Didn't you see anyone in the Masjid?" he asked.
"O yes, we saw some people performing Salaat, some people reading the Qur'an and some people discussing about what is Halal and what is Haram."
"Woe unto you," replied Abu Hurayrah(r.a.)," that is the inheritance of Muhammad, may God bless him and grant him peace."
Abu Hurayrah(r.a.) underwent much hardship and difficulties as a result of his dedicated search for knowledge. He was often hungry and destitute. He said about himself:
"When I was afflicted with severe hunger, I would go to a companion of the Prophet(sallallahu alaiyhi wasallam) and asked him about an ayah of the Qur'an and (stay with him) learning it so that he would take me with him to his house and give food.
"One day, my hunger became so severe that I placed a stone on my stomach. I then sat down in the path of the companions. Abu Bakr(r.a.) passed by and I asked him about an ayah of the Book of God. I only asked him so that he would invite me but he didn't.
"Then Umar ibn al-Khattab passed by me and I asked him about an ayah but he also did not invite me. Then the Messenger of God, peace be on him, passed by and realised that I was hungry and said:
"At your command" I replied and followed him until we entered his house. He found a bowl of milk and asked his family:
"From where did you get this?"
"Someone sent it to you" they replied.
He then said to me:
"O Abu Hurayrah(r.a.), go to the Ahl as-Suffah and invite them."
Abu Hurayrah(r.a.) did as he was told and they all drank from the milk.
The time came of course when the Muslims were blessed with great wealth and material goodness of every description. Abu Hurayrah(r.a.) eventually got his share of wealth. He had a comfortable home, a wife and child. But this turn of fortune did not change his personality. Neither did he forget his days of destitution. He would say:
"I grew up as an orphan and I emigrated as a poor and indigent person. I used to take food for my stomach from Busrah bint Ghazwan. I served people when they returned from journeys and led their camels when they set out. Then God caused me to marry her (Busrah). So praise be to God who has strengthened his religion and made Abu Hurayrah(r.a.) an Imam." (This last statement is a reference to the time when he became governor of Madinah.)
Much of Abu Hurayrah's time would be spent in spiritual exercises and devotion to God. Qiyamul-Layl - staying up for the night in prayer and devotion was a regular practice of his family including his wife and his daughter. He would stay up for a third of the night, his wife for another third and his daughter for a third. In this way, in the house of Abu Hurayrah(r.a.) no hour of the night would pass without Ibadah, Dhikr and Salaat.
During the caliphate of Umar, Umar appointed him as governor of Bahrain. Umar was very scrupulous about the type of persons whom he appointed as governors. He was always concerned that his governors should live simply and frugally and not acquire much wealth even though this was through lawful means.
In Bahrain, Abu Hurayrah(r.a.) became quite rich. Umar heard of this and recalled him to Madinah. Umar thought he had acquired his wealth through unlawful means and questioned him about where and how he had acquired such a fortune. Abu hurayrah(r.a.) replied:
"From breeding horses and gifts which I received."
"Hand it over to the treasury of the Muslims," ordered Umar.
Abu Hurayrah(r.a.) did as he was told and raised his hands to the heavens and prayed:
"O Lord, forgive the Amir al-Mu'minin."
Subsequently, Umar asked him to become governor once again but he declined. Umar asked him why he refused and he said:
"So that my honour would not be besmirched, my wealth taken and my back beaten." And he added: "And I fear to judge without knowledge and speak without wisdom."
Throughout his life Abu Hurayrah(r.a.) remained kind and courteous to his mother. Whenever he wanted to leave home, he would stand at the door of her room and say:
"As-salaamu alaykum, yaa ummataah, wa rahrnatullahi wa barakatuhu, peace be on you, mother, and the mercy and blessings of God."
She would reply:
"Wa alayka-s salaam, yaa bunayya, wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu - And on you be peace, my son, and the mercy and blessings of God."
Often, he would also say:
"May God have mercy on you as you cared for me when I was small," and she would reply:
"May God have mercy on you as you delivered me from error when I was old."
Abu Hurayrah(r.a.) always encouraged other people to be kind and good to their parents. One day he saw two men walking together, one older than the other. He asked the younger one:
"What is this man to you?"
"My father," the person replied.
"Don't call him by his name. Don't walk in front of him and don't sit before him," advised Abu hurayrah(r.a.).
Muslims owe a debt of gratitude to Abu Hurayrah(r.a.) for helping to preserve and transmit the valuable legacy of the Prophet, may God bless him and grant him peace. He died in the year 59 A.H. when he was seventy-eight years old.