Men of Excellence


Friday Sermon

28 September 2018

Men of Excellence


After reciting the Tashahud, Ta‘awuz, and Surah Al-Fatihah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa stated: 

Before my last tour, I was relating the accounts and incidents of the Companions of the Holy Prophetsa who took part during the Battle of Badr. Today, I shall continue with the same subject. One of the Companions whom I shall mention today is Hazrat Ummarahra bin Hazm. 

Hazrat Ummarahra is one of the seventyCompanions, who participated in the Second Pledge at al-Aqabah. Both of his brothers, Hazrat Amr bin Hazm and Hazrat Muamar bin Hazm, were also Companions. He joined the Holy Prophetsa in all the battles, including Badr and Uhud. He was holding the flag of the tribe of Malik bin Najjar in his hands at the occasion of the Victory of Mecca. After the migration, the Holy Prophetsa established a bond of brotherhood between Ummarah and Hazrat Muhriz bin Nazlah. Upon the demise of the Holy Prophetsa, when a fitna [disorder] arose from among the apostates and they initiated a war against Muslims, he joined Hazrat Khalid bin Waleedra in the battle [against them]. He attained martyrdom during the Battle of Yamamah. (Ashaab-e-Badr, Qazi Muhammad Sulaiman, p. 182, Maktabatul Islamiyyah, Lahore, 2015) 

His mother’s name was Khalidah bint Anas. Abu Bakr bin Muhammad narrates, “When a snake bit Hazrat Abdullah bin Sahl, the Holy Prophetsa instructed that he be taken to Hazrat Ummarah bin Hazm, so that he may perform dam [special prayer for health and protection] for him. He replied, ‘O Messengersa of Allah! He is about to die!’ The Holy Prophetsa said, ‘Take him to Ummarah! When he will perform dam, God Almighty will cure him.’” (Subul-ul-Huda Wa al-Rishaad, Vol. 10, p. 771, Cairo, 1995) 

Certainly, the Holy Prophetsa must have taught him that dam and that prayer. This does not mean that, God forbid, the Holy Prophetsa was in need of the dam prayerby Hazrat Ummarah or that he was unable to do it himself. Certain people are especially appointed for certain roles, however the actual source of the impact of the prayer was owing to the holy power and the blessings of the Holy Prophetsa.  

It is stated in Sirat ibn Hisham that the hypocrites used to come to the mosque of the Holy Prophetsa and after listening to the conversation of the Muslims and departing from them, they used to mock them. They used to ridicule their faith. Sometimes, they would even do so in front of them. Once, when some of the hypocrites gathered at the Mosque of the Prophet, the Holy Prophetsa saw them conversing among themselves secretly. The Holy Prophetsa instructed that they be evicted from the mosque. Thus, they were removed from the mosque. Hazrat Abu Ayyub advanced towards Umar bin Qais, who belonged to the clan of Ghanam bin Malik bin Najjar and who used to take care of their idols during the period of ignorance. He grabbed him by his leg and dragged him out of the mosque. He kept saying, “O Abu Ayyub! Are you going to expel me from the company of Banu Tha‘labah?” Then [Hazrat Abu Ayyub] turned to Rafi bin Badi‘ah, who also hailed from the clan of Najjar. He wrapped him in his sheet of cloth, pulled him firmly, and hit him and removed him from the mosque. Abu Ayyub then said to him, “You wicked hypocrite! May you be cursed. Get away from the Mosque of the Prophet!” Hazrat Ummarah bin Hazm went to Zaid bin Amr and dragged him out of the mosque while grabbing him by his beard. Then Hazrat Ummarah struck both of his hands on his chest with such force that he fell down. He said, “O Ummarah! You have injured me!” Upon this, Hazrat Ummarah replied, “O hypocrite! May God destroy you! The punishment that God Almighty has prepared for you is more severe than that. Thus, never come close to the Mosque of the Prophet ever again!” (Sirat ibn Hisham, p. 246, Dar-e-ibn-e-Hazm, 2009)

On the occasion of the battle of Tabuk, when the Holy Prophetsa was on route to Tabuk, the camel of the Holy Prophetsa, Qaswa, disappeared from sight. The Companions of the Holy Prophetsa set out in order to search for it. Hazrat Ummarah bin Hazm was also with the Holy Prophetsa. He had taken part in the pledge of initiation at al-Aqabah, he was a Companion who participated in the battle of Badr, as has already been mentioned, and he was the brother of Hazrat Amr bin Hazm. The person narrating this account states that Hazrat Zaid bin Salat was in the carriage of Hazrat Ummarah. In other words, he was given the responsibility of taking care of the rides and carriages and he was the person to place the carriages on the camels. Some people were assigned to place a form of carriage or saddle on the camel. He belonged to the tribe of Qaynuqa and was a Jew, and although he became a Muslim, he showed some hypocrisy. Zaid, i.e. the person who became a Muslim but had a sense of hypocrisy within him, asked in a very pretentiously innocent manner, “Does Muhammadsa not claim that he is a prophet and that he informs you of heavenly matters? Yet, he is unaware of where his camel went!” Hazrat Ummarah was near the Holy Prophetsa and somehow this comment reached the Holy Prophetsa, or God Almighty must have informed him about it. The Holy Prophetsa then said, “A person had commented that Muhammad tells you people that he is a prophet and that he informs you of heavenly matters, whereas, he is unaware of where his camel is.” After this, the Holy Prophetsa said, “By God! I do not know of anything, but what God Almighty has informed me of. I do not know the unseen. However, I speak as God Almighty informs me.” Following this, in order to silence this hypocrite, the Holy Prophetsa stated that God Almighty informed him [of the camel]. The Holy Prophetsa further said, “Indeed, God Almighty has informed me in relation to my camel that it is in such and such valley”. The Holy Prophetsa then pointed into the direction of the valley and said, “Its rein got caught in a tree. Go and bring it to me.” Hence, the companions went and brought it back. In order to silence the hypocrite, God Almighty then showed the Holy Prophetsa the exact location of the camel.

Al-Bayhaqi and Abu Na‘eem state that Hazrat Ummarah went to his carriage and said, “By God! A strange thing occurred today. Moments ago, the Holy Prophetsa mentioned to us the comments of a certain individual, which God Almighty had informed him of.” Thus, it has become clear that God Almighty had informed the Holy Prophetsa of the comments of this hypocrite, Zaid bin Salat. A person in the carriage of Hazrat Ummarah then said, “By God! Before you came, Zaid had uttered this exact comment you have just mentioned to us.” Upon this, Hazrat Ummarah grabbed Zaid by the neck and said to his comrades, “O servants of Allah! There was a snake in my carriage and I was unaware of removing it.” He then turned to Zaid and said that he would cut off all his ties with him. According to some people, Zaid repented later, while according to others, he remained engaged in such mischiefs until he died. (Tarikh-ul-Khamis, Vol. 3, p. 18, Ghazwa Tabuk, Dar-ul-Kutb Al-Ilmiyyah, 2009, Beirut)

Hazrat Ziyad bin Nuaim narrates from Hazrat Ummarah bin Hazm that the Holy Prophetsa said that there are four important principles. If a person acts in accordance with these, he becomes a Muslim. However, if he leaves out even one, the other three will be of no avail to him. Hazrat Ziyad says that he asked Hazrat Ummarah about these four principles and he said that these are, prayers, Zakat [almsgiving], fasting and Hajj [Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca]. (Usdul Ghaba, Vol. 4, p. 129, Dar-ul-Kutub Al-ilmiyyah, Beirut)

It is necessary to believe in and act in accordance with these four principles. Prayers are obligatory. Zakat [almsgiving] is obligatory upon all those who are eligible. It is obligatory to fast if one has good health. It is also obligatory to perform the Hajj for those who have the means to do it. Nevertheless, it is necessary to believe and adhere to these four principles. These principles have been written in [the book] Usdul Ghaba. These are the very books in which Muslims themselves have outlined the definition of a Muslim. However, now there are some scholars who issue edicts of disbelief and have now formed a new definition of being a Muslim. 

The second Companion to be mentioned today is Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas‘ud. His title is Abdur-Rahman and he belonged to the tribe of Banu Huzail. His mother’s name was Umm-e-Abd. He passed away in 32 AH. His father’s name was Mas‘ud bin Ghafil. Abdullah bin Mas‘ud is counted among the early converts to Islam. He accepted Islam at the same time as the sister of Hazrat Umarra, Hazrat Fatima bint Khattab and her husband, Hazrat Sa‘eed bin Zaid. (Usdul Ghaba, Vol. 4, p. 129, Dar-ul-Kutub Al-ilmiyyah, Beirut)

He accepted Islam before the Holy Prophetsa went to Dar-ul-Arqam (Al-Tabqaat-ul-Kubra, Vol. 3, p. 112, Dar-ul-Kutb Al-ilimiyya, Beirut, 1990). Dar-ul-Arqam is the place which was built in Mecca for Muslims to be able to gather. Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas‘ud relates, “I was the sixth person to accept Islam. At that time, there was no other Muslim on the face of the earth apart from the six of us.” Narrating his acceptance of Islam, Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas‘ud says, “When I reached the age of understanding (an age where a person is able to correctly recognise and distinguish between good and bad, the age of maturity), I was grazing the sheep of Uqba bin Mu‘ayt one day. The Holy Prophetsa approached me and Hazrat Abu Bakrra was also alongside him. The Holy Prophetsa said to me, ‘Young man! Do you have any milk?’ I replied that I did, but as I had been entrusted with that, I could not give him any.” He was extremely pious from his very childhood. “The Holy Prophetsa then said to bring him a sheep, which is not expecting, nor producing any milk.” He further states, “I brought a young sheep to the Holy Prophetsa. Following this, the Holy Prophetsa tied its feet together, rubbed his hands on its teats and started to pray until they were filled with milk. Hazrat Abu Bakrra then brought a bowl, which the Holy Prophetsa filled with its milk and then told Hazrat Abu Bakrra to drink from it. Hazrat Abu Bakrra drank the milk and then the Holy Prophetsa drank from it. The Holy Prophetsa then rubbed his hands over the teats and said, “Contract” and they began to contract and returned to their previous form. I asked the Holy Prophetsa to teach me the words he had recited. Upon this, the Holy Prophetsa placed his hand on my head and said, ‘You are an intelligent young man.’” He then states that he memorised seventy chapters of the Holy Quran directly from the Holy Prophetsa. (Usdul Ghaba, Vol. 3, p. 382, Dar-ul-Kutub Al-ilmiyyah, Beirut)

With regard to him, Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra also writes in Sirat Khatam-un-Nabiyyeen [The Life and Character of the Seal of Prophetsa] that Abdullah bin Mas‘ud was not from among the people of Quraish, but belonged to the tribe of Huzail. He was a very poor man and used to graze the sheep of Uqba bin Abi Mu‘ayt, chief of the Quraish. After accepting Islam, he stayed with the Holy Prophetsa and eventually became a great scholar as a result of the company of the Holy Prophetsa. The majority of Fiqh Hanafiyyah [Hanafi School of jurisprudence] is based on his accounts and interpretations. (Sirat Khatam-un-Nabiyyeen, Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra, p. 124) 

There is a narration regarding his proficiency in religious knowledge. Hazrat Ibn Mas‘ud states, “People know that I have a lot of knowledge of the Holy Quran. I know when and where each chapter and every verse of this Holy Book was revealed.” Abu Wa-il narrates, “No one raised any objection to this”, i.e when Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas‘ud made this statement. (Ashaab-e-Badr, Qazi Muhammad Sulaiman, p. 107, Maktabatul Islamiyyah, Lahore, 2015)

The four Companions regarding whom the Holy Prophetsa instructed [the believers] to learn the Holy Quran from, Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas‘ud is on the top of this list. (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Kitaab-ul-Munaaqib, Baab Munaaqib Abdullah bin Mas’udra, Hadith no. 3760)

Hazrat Musleh Maudra has explained this in detail in Dibacha Tafsirul Quran [Introduction to the Study of the Holy Quran] in the following manner, “As the eagerness of the people for memorising the Quran increased, the Holy Prophetsa appointed four principal teachers of the Quran who used to memorise it under the supervision of the Holy Prophetsa and then taught other people to commit it to memory. These four in turn trained a number of other people who became competent to teach the Quran. These four were: Abdullah bin Mas‘ud, Salim Maula Abi Hudhaifa, Mu‘az bin Jabal and Ubayy ibn Ka‘b. The first two of these were Muhajirin, early Muslims who had migrated from Mecca to Medina, and the last two were Ansar, early Muslims of Medina. Abdullah bin Mas‘ud used to occupy himself as a labourer, Salim was a freed slave, and Mu‘az and Ubayy were two of the leading men of Medina. Thus, the Holy Prophetsa appointed teachers of the Quran from among different sections of society. It has been mentioned in a Hadith: 

خُذُواالْقُرْاٰنَ مِنْ اَرْبَعَةٍ مِنْ عَبْدِاللّٰهِ ابْنِ مَسْعُوْدٍ وَسَالِمٍ وَ مَعَاذِ ابْنِ جَبَلٍ وَ أُبَيْ بِن كَعْبٍ

‘Those of you who wish to learn the Quran should learn it from Abdullah bin Mas‘ud, Salim Maula Abi Hudhaifa, Mu‘az bin Jabal or Ubayy ibn Ka‘b.’ These four had learnt the whole of the Quran under the supervision of the Holy Prophetsa. But many other Companions of the Holy Prophetsa had also learnt portions of it directly from him. It is related that on one occasion when Abdullah bin Mas‘ud was reciting the Quran, Hazrat Umar pointed out that a certain word should be pronounced in a particular way. Abdullah bin Mas‘ud protested that he had been taught by the Holy Prophetsa to pronounce it in the manner in which he had pronounced it. Hazrat Umarra took him to the Holy Prophetsa and complained that he did not recite the Quran correctly. The Holy Prophetsa asked him to recite the portion concerning which there was a difference of opinion between the two and when he recited it, the Holy Prophetsa said he was quite right. Thereupon Hazrat Umarra submitted that he had been taught by the Prophet to pronounce the word differently. The Holy Prophetsa then asked him to recite the verse and when he did so, told him that that was also correct.” Hazrat Musleh Maudra thus concluded from this that “This shows that in addition to the four Companions whom the Holy Prophetsa used to teach the whole of the Quran, there were others who used to learn portions of it from him. Umar’s submission that he had been taught to pronounce a certain word in a particular way shows that he, too, used to learn portions of the Quran from the Holy Prophetsa himself.” (Dibacha Tafsirul Quran, Anwar-ul-Uloom, Vol. 20, pp. 427-428)

It is mentioned that after the Holy Prophetsa, Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas‘ud was the one to recite the Holy Quran in public for the very first time. There is an incident mentioned regarding this: 

“One day, the Companions had gathered and it was mentioned that the Quraish had not yet heard the recitation of the Holy Quran aloud in public. They enquired if there was anyone who could recite it to them. Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas‘ud responded, ‘I will recite the Holy Quran to them.’ They replied, ‘We fear that the disbelievers may cause you harm as you are a poor man. It would be better to find someone of a prominent status instead and his tribe will protect him if the disbelievers resort to violence.’ Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas‘ud responded, ‘Do not worry about it as God shall protect me.’” These Companions had such extraordinary passion. “The next morning, he began reciting the Holy Quran publicly near the Ka‘bah. He recited:

بِسْمِ اللّٰهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْم۔ الرَّحْمٰنُ عَلَّمَ الْقُرْاٰنَ

That is, ‘In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful. It is God, the Gracious. Who has taught the Qur’an’. (Al-Rahman:1-3)

The people of Quraish were astonished when they heard this and some said, ‘He is reciting from the same scripture of Muhammadsa recites’ and when they heard this recitation they got up and began to strike Abdullah bin Mas‘ud on his face. However, he continued with the recitation and finished the entire portion he had intended to recite. When he returned, the Companions saw the marks on his face because of the beating he had endured and they said that this is exactly what they feared that he would be attacked. Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas‘ud replied, ‘In my sight, these enemies of God have never been as insignificant as they seemed when they were attacking me. If you’d like, I can do the same tomorrow.’ The Companions responded, ‘No! This is enough. You made them listen to something they did not want to hear.’” (Usdul Ghaba, Vol. 3, p. 383, Dar-ul-Kutub al-ilmiyyah, Beirut)

The Holy Prophetsa kept Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas‘ud with him after he had accepted Islam and he would serve the Holy Prophetsa. The Holy Prophetsa had instructed him that if he heard the voice of the Holy Prophetsa and the entrance of his home was uncovered (i.e. it was open) then he could enter therein without permission. Meaning that he should not enter without permission when the entrance was covered. If, however, the entrance was not covered, the door was open and he could hear the Holy Prophet’s voice, then he had his permission to enter therein because it meant that there were no ladies present inside at that time. He would do everything for the Holy Prophetsa. He would assist in putting his shoes on, he would travel with the Holy Prophetsa when needed, he would hold the purdah (cover) when the Holy Prophetsa took a bath. He was known amongst the companions as Sahib-ul-Swaaq. (Usdul Ghaba, Vol. 3, p. 383, Dar-ul-Kutub al-ilmiyyah, Beirut)

According to another narration he was known as Sahib-ul-Swaaq, Sahib-ul-Wasaad and Sahib-ul-Na‘layn as well. (Al-Tabqaat-ul-Kubra, Vol. 3, p. 113, Dar-ul-Kutb al-ilimiyya, Beirut, 1990).

Abdullah bin Mas‘ud was a confidant of the Holy Prophetsa; he would prepare the bedding of the Prophetsa and would carry the Holy Prophet’s Miswaaq (short dry twig used to clean teeth) and also carry his shoes. The meaning of these Arabic words just mentioned in fact refer to the services he rendered and translate as: preparing his bedding, providing the Miswaaq for his teeth, help in arranging the water for ablution and bathing. One who prepares the bedding is known as Sahib-ul-Suwaad and he would render this service for the Holy Prophetsa and he would also repair and carry the Holy Prophet’s shoes and therefore was known as Sahib-ul-Na‘layn. He would carry water for the Holy Prophetsa to perform ablution. He would also take care of these chores when the Holy Prophet would travel.   

Abu Maleeh narrates, “Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas‘ud would provide a purdah (covering) for the Holy Prophetsa when he would bathe, he would wake the Holy Prophetsa when he would sleep and he would also travel fully armed alongside the Holy Prophetsa.” (Al-Tabqaat-ul-Kubra, Vol. 3, p. 113, Dar-ul-Kutb al-ilimiyya, Beirut, 1990).  

Hazrat Abu Musa narrates, “When I initially arrived in Medina from Yemen, I thought that Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas‘ud was amongst the Ahl-e-Bait [the family of the Holy Prophetsa peace be upon him] as he and his mother would often visit the Holy Prophetsa.” (Usdul Ghaba, Vol. 3, p. 384, Dar-ul-Kutub al-ilmiyyah, Beirut)

Since they would often visit the Holy Prophetsa and do a lot of his work, therefore he states that those who newly came to Medina would think that they too were from among the family members of the Holy Prophetsa. Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas‘ud participated in both migrations – the migration to Abyssinia and also to Medina. He accompanied the Holy Prophetsa in the Battle of Badr, Uhud, Khandaq, Bai‘at-e-Rizwan and many other occasions. After the demise of the Holy Prophetsa, he participated in the Battle of Yarmuk. He was amongst those companions who were given the glad tiding of paradise by the Holy Prophetsa in their lifetimes. (Usdul Ghaba, Vol. 3, p. 383, Dar-ul-Kutub al-ilmiyyah, Beirut)

He also played a huge role in putting an end to Abu Jahl. It is narrated by Hazrat Anas that at the end of the Battle of Badr, the Holy Prophetsa said, “Is there anyone who can find out the accurate and correct news regarding Abu Jahl?” And so, Abdullah bin Mas‘ud went and saw that Abu Jahl was lying in the battlefield, wounded and in agony. The sons of Ifra had caused him to be in this state. Hazrat Ibn Mas‘ud grabbed him by his beard and said, “Are you Abu Jahl?” Even in that state he very arrogantly replied, “Have you ever killed a greater chieftain than me?” (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Kitab-ul-Maghazi, Baab Qatl Abi Jahl, Hadith no. 3962)

The first narration was from Bukhari however there is also a narration from Sahih Muslim. The narration from Sahih Muslim regarding this incident is that Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas‘ud grabbed him by the beard and asked him, “Are you Abu Jahl?” Abu Jahl replied, “Have you ever killed a great man like me before?” The narrator states that Abu Jahl said, “If only a person other than a farmer would have killed me.” (Sahih Muslim, Kitab-ul-Jihad Wa Al-Sair, Hadith no. 4662)

There were two boys of Medina who left him in this state. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra has also mentioned this in Tafsir-e-Kabir in great detail that how the opponents burnt in the fire of spite and malice all their lives and even at the time of their death they were in this state. He writes that Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas‘ud said, “After the battle, I saw that Abu Jahl was groaning in agony due to the wounds. I went to him and asked how he was. He replied, ‘I am not regretful of my death. It is soldiers who die after all. I am regretful that I was killed by the hands of two Ansari boys of Medina. I am going to die so confer one favour upon me and sever my head with a sword so that I am relieved of this misery. But remember to sever my head from the lower part of the neck so that my head stands tall as generals are killed in a similar manner from the lower part of the neck.’” Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas‘ud said, “I will not fulfil your last desire and will sever your head from your chin.” At last he placed his sword on his chin and beheaded him. 

Hazrat Musleh Maudra writes, “Look at the scale of this fire that was burning Abu Jahl. All his life he was spiteful over the fact that they were unable to inflict the pain that they desired upon the Holy Prophetsa. Even at the time of his death he was burning with rage since he was going to die as a result of an attack from the hands of two unskilled boys of Medina. The last desire that he had at the time of his death was also not fulfilled and he was beheaded close to the chin.” (Tafsir-e-Kabir, Vol. 6, p. 461). Ultimately burning in all sorts of enraging fires he departed from this world. 

When Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas‘ud migrated to Medina he stayed at the house of Hazrat Mu‘az bin Jabal. According to some, he stayed with Hazrat Sa‘d bin Khaisma. In Mecca, a bond of brotherhood was established between him and Hazrat Zubair bin Al-Awam, whilst in Medina the Holy Prophetsa appointed Mu‘az bin Jabal as his brother in faith. In the early days of Medina, his financial state was quite poor. When the Holy Prophetsa made some arrangements for the accommodation of the Muhajireen near the Prophet’s Mosque, certain people belonging to the Banu Zuhra tribe displayed some hesitation in keeping Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas‘ud with them, saying that he was a layman, a poor person, whilst they were of higher status. When the Holy Prophetsa came to know about this, standing up for his poor and weak servant, he said, “Has God sent me so that you can have these indifferences? Remember that God Almighty never blesses such a community in which a weak person is not given his due rights.” Then the Holy Prophetsa accommodated Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas‘ud near the mosque whilst Banu Zahra were placed far in a corner. (Al-Tabqaat-ul-Kubra, Vol. 3, pp. 112-113, Dar-ul-Kutb al-ilimiyya, Beirut, 1990).  

Hazrat ibn Mas‘ud himself narrates that the Holy Prophetsa instructed him to recite Surah al-Nisa to him. (He is relating his own incident and states,) “The Holy Prophetsa instructed me to recite Surah al-Nisa to him. I replied, ‘What can I recite to you since this was revealed to you?’ The Holy Prophetsa replied, ‘I like it when others recite the Holy Quran and I listen to it.’” He then states, “I began to recite it and when I reached the verse:

فَكَيْفَ اِذَا جِئْنَا مِنْ كُلِّ اُمَّةٍ بِشَهِيْدٍ وَّ جِئْنَا بِكَ عَلٰي هٰؤُلَآءِ شَهِيْدًا

‘And how will it fare with them when We shall bring a witness from every people, and shall bring thee as a witness against these!’ (Al-Nisa:42) the eyes of the Holy Prophetsa were filled with tears.” It is also mention in the narrations that the Holy Prophetsa instructed him to stop. (Usdul Ghaba, Vol. 3, p. 383, Dar-ul-Kutub al-ilmiyyah, Beirut), (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Kitab Fazail-ul-Quran, Hadith no. 5050)

Once, Hazrat Umar Farooqra was at Arafat when a man approached him and said, “O Leader of the Faithful (this is after he was elected as the Khalifa) I have come from Kufa and I have seen a man there dictating the Holy Quran without looking.” Hazrat Umarra said angrily, “Woe to you! (This is a style of speech of the Arabs) Who is this man?” The man replied fearfully, “Abdullah bin Mas‘ud.” When Hazrat Umarra heard this his temper subsided and returned to the state he was in before. He then said, “In terms of undertaking this task, I do not see anyone more worthy and befitting than Abdullah bin Mas‘ud.” (Masnad Ahmad bin Hanbal, Vol. 1, p. 128, Hadith no. 175, Alim-ul-Kutb, Beirut, 1998). He could write the entire Holy Quran without looking.

Hazrat Umarra states, “One night, Hazrat Abu Bakrra and I were in the company of the Holy Prophetsa when we passed by Abdullah bin Mas‘ud who was reciting the Holy Quran whilst offering voluntary prayers. He was standing in prayer reciting and the Holy Prophetsa stood listening to his recitation. Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas‘ud then bowed and went into prostration. The Holy Prophetsa said, ‘O Abdullah, whatever you now ask of God will be granted to you.’ The Holy Prophetsa then departed saying, ‘Whoever desires to read the Holy Quran with such freshness as though it was just revealed, then he should learn the Holy Quran from Abdullah bin Mas‘ud.’” This Hadith and narration is of Musnad Ahmad bin Hanbal. (Masnad Ahmad bin Hanbal, Vol. 1, pp. 156-157, Hadith no. 265, Alim-ul-Kutb, Beirut, 1998)

Hazrat Abdur Rahman bin Yazid relates that we went to Hazrat Huzaifah and said, “Tell us of such a man who was closest to the Holy Prophetsa in his practise, in following his example and in his deeds, so that we may learn from him and listen to his narrations”. He told them, “The person closest to the Holy Prophetsa in his practise is Abdullah bin Mas‘ud”. (Usdul Ghaba, Vol. 3, p. 385, Dar-ul-Kutub al-ilmiyyah, Beirut)

The level of passion he had in following the example of the Holy Prophetsa was such that after the demise of the Holy Prophetsa, when the Companions were asked which companion was the closest to the Holy Prophetsa in terms of conduct and habits, his behaviour and characteristics, Hazrat Huzaifah stated that to his knowledge, in terms of conduct, dialogue and behaviour, Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas‘ud was the closest to the Holy Prophetsa. Perhaps this is the reason why the Holy Prophetsa would say, “Whatever Abdullah bin Mas‘ud prefers, I desire the same for my people”. This is a Hadith of Bukhari. (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Kitaab-ul-Munaaqib, Baab Munaaqib Abdullah bin Mas‘udra, Hadith no. 3762)

Hazrat Alqamah relates that Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas‘ud’s behaviour, his good character and his moderation in his practises were similar to those of the Holy Prophetsa. Hazrat Abdullah bin Masu‘d’s son, Ubaidullah, relates that he [Abdullah bin Mas‘ud] had a habit of waking up for the Tahajjud prayer at night when everyone else was asleep. One night, he heard him murmuring like the humming of a bee. (Usdul Ghaba, Vol. 3, p. 386, Dar-ul-Kutub Al-ilmiyyah, Beirut) i.e. he was murmuring lightly as he supplicated or recited the Holy Quran.  

Hazrat Alira relates that the Holy Prophetsa said, “If I was to ever appoint someone as a governor without consultation it would be Abdullah bin Mas‘ud.” (Usdul Ghaba, Vol. 3, p. 385, Dar-ul-Kutub al-ilmiyyah, Beirut)

Then, the same narration of Hazrat Alira has been recorded in the following manner in Al-Tabqaat-ul-Kubra wherein Hazrat Alira relates, “The Holy Prophetsa told me that if he was to appoint an Amir without the consultation of the Muslims, he would appoint Abdullah bin Mas‘ud as an Amir.” Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas‘ud relates that after embracing Islam he never slept beyond the period of chasht [between sunrise and noon]. (Al-Tabqaat-ul-Kubra, Vol. 3, p. 114, Dar-ul-Kutb al-ilimiyya, Beirut, 1990).  

Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas‘ud loved his wife and children. When he entered the home, he would clear his throat and speak up so that the household members would know [he arrived]. His wife, Hazrat Zainab relates, “One day Hazrat Abdullah entered the house when an elderly woman was giving me an amulet to wear”. It is the habit of women to sometimes make use of charms or amulets perhaps in hope of gaining blessings. She knew Abdullah bin Mas‘ud did not like this. She says, “So in fear of him I hid it beneath the bedstead I was sitting on. He came and sat next to me and looking to my neck he said, ‘What is this thread which you have placed on your neck?’ I told him it was an amulet. He broke it and threw it away immediately saying that the family of Abdullah is free from shirk [associating partners with Allah]. Abdullah bin Mas‘ud then said, ‘I heard from the Holy Prophetsa that making use of charms and amulets is shirk.’ I then said, ‘What are you saying? My eyes would swell up and become painful and so I would go to a certain Jewish woman to use the amulet. and I would be relieved after doing so.’ Abdullah bin Mas‘ud then said to me, ‘These are all works of Satan. The following prayer of the Holy Prophetsa should suffice you:

اَذْهِبِ الْبَاْسَ رَبَّ النَّاسِ اِشْفِ وَاَنْتَ الشَّافِيْ لَا شِفَائ اِلَّا شِفَاءُكَ شِفَائً لَا يُغَادِرُ سَقَمًا

 ‘O Lord of mankind! Remove my illness and cure me. Only You can cure and there is no cure except through You. Such a cure which leaves behind no disease.’” (Sira Al-Sahaba, Vol. 2, p. 225, Dar-ul-Isha‘at, Karachi)

So those people who go to mystics and mendicants, who spend their entire day intoxicated, not offering a single prayer, they go to them to make use of charms and amulets and then they claim that they have been cured and have been bestowed a great favour, or they have now been granted offspring, or such and such has happened as result; this is the answer to all those things. 

Abdullah bin Mas‘ud once went to see his friend, Abu Umair. However, he was not at home. So he conveyed his greetings to his wife and requested some water to drink. There was no water available in the house so she sent a female servant to bring water from the neighbours, but she did not return till very late. Umar’s wife scolded their female servant saying she was extremely lazy and cursed her. Having heard her, Hazrat Abdullah returned home thirsty. The following day he met Abu Umair and he asked him why he returned home so quickly without drinking water. He answered, “When your wife cursed the servant, the saying of the Holy Prophetsa came to mind that whoever is cursed but is innocent, the curse is reverted to the one who cursed. So I thought that if the servant was innocent then the curse would revert to me without cause.” (Sira Al-Sahaba, Vol. 2, p. 223, Dar-ul-Isha‘at, Karachi)

Therefore, it is better to go without drinking. So this was the level of fear of God these people possessed that if there was even a remotest chance of God Almighty being upset with them for any reason, they would abstain and stay away from it. 

Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas‘ud was slim, short in height and had a wheatish complexion. He would wear fine white clothing and use perfume. Hazrat Talha relates that he would be recognised by his perfume. (Al-Tabqaat-ul-Kubra, Vol. 3, pp. 116-117, Dar-ul-Kutb al-Ilimiyya, Beirut, 1990).  

Hazrat Alira relates that once the Holy Prophetsa instructed Abdullah bin Mas‘ud for a certain task to climb a tree. Seeing as his calves were apparently thin and weak, the Companions began laughing. The Holy Prophetsa thereupon asked, “Why do you laugh? The virtues of Abdullah bin Mas‘ud will be heavier in the scales on the Day of Judgement than the Uhud Mountain.” (Usdul Ghaba, Vol. 3, p. 385, Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut)

Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas‘ud had hair which he would lift from his ears. According to one narration his hair reached his neck. When he prayed he would put his hair behind his ears. (Al-Tabqaat-ul-Kubra, Vol. 3, p. 117, Dar-ul-Kutb al-Ilimiyya, Beirut, 1990).   

Zaid bin Wahhab narrates: “One day, I was sitting with Hazrat Umarra when Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas‘ud arrived. Since he had a short stature it was difficult to see him in the crowd of people that were seated.” The other people seated in the congregation were tall or perhaps they were seated in a way that it was difficult to see him. He was almost concealed from view. “When Hazrat Umarra saw him, he smiled and then began to converse with him in a joyful manner. During this discourse Hazrat Abdullah remained standing lest he became obscured from view. When they finished the conversation and Hazrat Abdullah left, Hazrat Umar watched him until he was out of sight. He then said: “This individual is an extraordinary vessel of knowledge”. (Usdul Ghaba, Vol. 3, p. 386, Dar-ul-Kutub Al-ilmiyyah, Beirut)

One can gauge the level of Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas‘ud’s knowledge and stature from the following incident that took place towards the end of Hazrat Mu‘az bin Jabal’s life when people asked him to give them some advice. He replied by saying, “Knowledge and faith both hold separate ranks. Knowledge has a certain rank and so does faith. Whoever strives to attain them both will be successful. He then mentioned the names of four individuals who led by example and Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas‘ud was among those four people. (Masnad Ahmad bin Hanbal, Vol. 7, p. 375, Hadith no. 22455, Alim-ul-Kutb, Beirut, 1998)

After the demise of the Holy Prophetsa, Hazrat Umarra appointed Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas‘ud as a missionary for the education and moral training of the people of Kufa and at the same time appointed Hazrat Ammar bin Yassir as the governor. Hazrat Umarra then said to the people of Kufa, “Both of these individuals are among the close companions of the Holy Prophetsa and have a special standing. They were among the people who took part in the Battle of Badr. You all should follow their example and obey their directives and also listen to what they say. For you, I have given precedence to Abdullah bin Mas‘ud over me.” (Usdul Ghaba, Vol. 3, p. 385, Dar-ul-Kutub Al-ilmiyyah, Beirut)

During his last days of his illness, Hazrat Usmanra went to visit Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas‘ud and asked him, “Do you have any grievances”. He replied, “Now that you have asked, my only grievances are my sins, for there are many.” Hazrat Usmanra then asked if he required anything, to which he replied that he only required the Mercy of God Almighty. Hazrat Usmanra then asked him if he should arrange for a physician to attend to him. To this he replied that it was the physicians who had put him in this condition, i.e. that whatever was taking place was due to the Will of God and he was content with it. Hazrat Usmanra then asked if he should set an allowance for him to which he replied that he did not require anything. Hazrat Usmanra said that it would be useful for his daughters. He replied by saying, “From this, do you imply that my daughters will be left impoverished?” He then further said, “I have advised my daughters to recite Surah al-Waqi‘ah every night. I heard the Holy Prophetsa say that whoever recites Surah al-Waqi‘ah every night, they will never have to endure starvation.” (Usdul Ghaba, Vol. 3, pp. 386-387, Dar-ul-Kutub Al-ilmiyyah, Beirut)

This was the level of the trust in God and the contentment of these shinning stars. 

Salma bin Tawam says, “A person once met Abdullah bin Mas‘ud and related his dream and said, ‘I saw you in my dream last night. I also saw that the Holy Prophetsa was sat on a tall pulpit while you were sat below the pulpit. The Holy Prophetsa then said, “O Ibn Mas‘ud! Come close to me for you have become so detached since I have gone.”’ Abdullah bin Mas‘ud then said, ‘Swear by God that you really did see this dream.’ He replied that indeed he did. Upon this, he then said, ‘Have you come from Medina to offer my funeral prayer? As it seems that my time has come.’ A short while later he passed away.” (Usdul Ghaba, Vol. 3, p. 386, Dar-ul-Kutub al-ilmiyyah, Beirut)

However, prior to his demise, when Hazrat Usmanra learnt of his illness, he called him to leave Kufa and come to Medina. However, the people of Kufa urged him to remain in Kufa and also assured him that they will protect him. It is also possible that this incident of Hazrat Usmanra calling him to Medina was prior to his illness as it seemed as if he was in good health then when this incident took place wherein this man related his dream to him. However, it was after this that Hazrat Usmanra called him from Kufa. And, even though the people of Kufa desired for him to remain there and promised to protect him, he said that it was the instruction of the Khalifa of the time and it was incumbent upon him to obey. He also said that very soon, certain disorders would emerge and he did not wish to be the cause of them and after that he left to go the Khalifa of the time. He passed away in 32 AH in Medina. Hazrat Usmanra led his funeral prayer and buried him in Jannat-ul-Baqi. At the time of his demise, his age was just a little over than 60. (Usdul Ghaba, Vol. 3, p. 387, Dar-ul-Kutub al-ilmiyyah, Beirut)

According to another narration he was just over 70 when he passed away. (Al-Tabqaat-ul-Kubra, translated by Abdullah Al‘amadi, Pt. 3, p. 230, Vol. 3, p. 387, Nafees Academy, Karachi)

Upon the demise of Hazrat Abduallah bin Mas‘ud, Hazrat Abu Musa said to Hazrat Abu Mas‘ud, “Do you think that Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas‘ud has left behind after him a person who possesses the same kind of qualities?” Hazrat Abu Mas‘ud replied, “The fact is that during certain times when we were not allowed to go and visit the Holy Prophetsa, Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas‘ud was permitted to enter the Holy Prophetsa’s home. When we were not around the Holy Prophetsa, Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas‘ud however had the opportunity to serve the Holy Prophetsa and benefit from his company. Thus, how can it be that there is someone else who possesses the same kind of qualities?” (Al-Tabqaat-ul-Kubra, Vol. 3, p. 119, Dar-ul-Kutb Al-ilimiyya, Beirut, 1990).   

Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas‘ud would fully adhere to the noble practise of the Holy Prophetsa. Once, Hazrat Aishara was asked [in regards to the correct practise of breaking one’s fast] that there are two Companions; one of them breaks his fast quickly, that is, he breaks his fast as soon as the sun sets and also offers his prayers immediately, while the other Companion does both of these relatively later. Hazrat Aishara enquired as to which Companion does it immediately and she was informed that it was Abdullah bin Mas’ud. Hazrat Aishara said that this was also the practise of the Holy Prophetsa which the Abduallah bin Mas‘ud followed. (Masnad Ahmad bin Hanbal, Vol. 8, p. 51, Hadith no. 24716, Alim-ul-Kutub, Beirut, 1998)

There are many other traditions and accounts regarding Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas‘ud which I will Insha-Allah relate in the future. May God Almighty enable us to follow the example of these shinning stars. 

(Translated by The Review of Religions)

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