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STORIES OF SAHABAH -ABDULLAH IBN JAHSH,ABDULLAH IBN MAS'UD AND ABDULLAH IBN SAILAMBy aba_abdullah
ABDULLAH IBN JAHSH
Abdullah ibn Jahsh was a cousin of the Prophet and his
sister, Zaynab bint Jahsh, was a wife of the Prophet. He
was the first to head a group of Muslims on an expedition
and so was the first to be called "Amir al-Mu'mineen"?
Commander of the Believers.
Abdullah ibn Jahsh became a Muslim before the Prophet
entered the House of al-Arqam which became a meeting place,
a school and a place of refuge for the early Muslims. He
was thus one of the first to accept Islam.
When the Prophet gave permission for his Companions to
emigrate to Madinah to avoid further persecution from the
Quraysh, Abdullah ibn Jahsh was the second to leave,
preceded only by Abu Salamah. Emigrating was not a new
experience for Abdullah. He and some members of his
immediate family had migrated before to Abyssinia. This
time, however, his migration was on a far bigger scale. His
family and relatives?men, women and children, migrated with
him. In fact, his whole clan had become Muslims and
There was an air of desolation as they left Makkah. Their
homes appeared sad and depressed as if no one had lived
there before. No sound of conversation emanated from behind
those silent walls.
Abdullah's clan were not long gone when.the alerted Quraysh
leaders came out and made the rounds of the districts in
Makkah to find out which Muslims had left and who had
remained. Among these leaders were Abu Jahl and Utbah ibn
Rabi'ah. Utbah looked at the houses of the Banu Jahsh
through which the dusty winds were blowing. He banged on
the doors and shouted:
"The houses of the Banu Jahsh have become empty and are
weeping for its occupants."
'Who were these people anyway," said Abu Jahl
derisively, "that houses should weep for them." He then
laid claim to the house of Abdullah ibn Jahsh. It was the
most beautiful and expensive of the houses. He began to
dispose freely of its contents as a king would share out
his possessions .
Later, when Abdullah ibn Jahsh heard what Abu Jahl had done
to his house, he mentioned it to the Prophet, peace be upon
him, who said:
"Aren't you satisfied, O Abdullah, with what God has given
you instead a house in Paradise?"
"Yes, messenger of God," he replied, and became at peace
with himself and completely satisfied.
Abdullah ibn Jahsh had scarcely settled down in Madinah
when he had to undergo one of the most testing experiences.
He had just begun to taste something of the good and
restful life under the sponsorship of the Ansar? after
going through persecution at the hands of the Quraysh?when
he had to be exposed to the severest test he had ever known
in his life and carry out the most difficult assignment
since he became a Muslim.
The Prophet, peace and blessings of God be on him,
commissioned eight of his Companions to carry out the first
military assignment in Islam. Among them were Abdullah ibn
Jahsh and Sa'd ibn Abi Waqqas.
"I appoint as your Commander the one who can best bear
hunger and thirst," said the Prophet and gave the standard
to Abdullah ibn Jahsh. He was thus the first to be made
amir over a contingent of believers.
The Prophet gave him precise instructions on the route he
should take on the expedition and gave him a letter. He
commanded Abdullah to read the letter only after two days'
After the expedition had been on its way for two days,
Abdullah looked at the contents of the letter. It
said, "When you have read this letter, press on until you
come to a place called Nakhlah between Ta'if and Makkah.
From there observe the Quraysh and gather whatever
information you can on them for us."
"At your command, O Prophet of God," exclaimed Abdullah as
he finished reading the letter. Then he spoke to his
"The Prophet has commanded me to proceed to Nakhlah to
observe the Quraysh and gather information on them for him.
He has also commanded me not to go further with anyone of
you who is against the purpose of this expedition. So
whoever desires martyrdom and is in total agreement with
this expedition can accompany me. Whoever is not in
agreement, may turn back without blame."
"At your command, O messenger of Allah," they all
responded. "We shall go with you, Abdullah, wherever the
Prophet of God has commanded."
The group continued until they reached Nakhlah and began to
move along the mountain passes seeking information on
Quraysh movements. While they were thus engaged, they saw
in the distance a Quraysh caravan. There were four men in
the caravan?Amr ibn alHadrami, Hukm ibn Kaysan, Uthman ibn
Abdullah and his brother Mughirah. They were carrying
merchandise for the Quraysh?skins, raisins and other usual
Quraysh stock in trade.
The Sahabah conferred together. It was the last day of the
sacred months. "If we were to kill them," they agreed, "we
would have killed them in the inviolable months. To do so
would be to violate the sacredness of this month and expose
ourselves to the wrath of all Arabs. If we leave them alone
for a day so that the month will be completed, they would
have entered the inviolable precincts of Makkah and thus be
secure from us."
They continued consulting until finally they agreed to
pounce on the caravan and take whatever merchandise they
could as booty. Before long, two of the men were captured
and one was killed; the fourth escaped.
Abdullah ibn Jahsh and his men took the two prisoners and
the caravan on to Madinah. They went to the Prophet, peace
be upon him, and informed him about what they had done. The
Prophet was greatly upset and strongly condemned their
"By God, I did not command you to fight. I only commanded
you to gather information on the Quraysh and observe their
movements." He granted a reprieve to the two prisoners and
he left the caravan and did not take a single item from it.
Abdullah ibn Jahsh and his men then knew that they had
fallen into disgrace and felt certain that they were ruined
because of their disobeying the command of the Prophet.
They began to feel the pressure as their Muslim brothers
censured them and avoided them whenever they passed one
another. And they would say, "These went against the
command of the Prophet."
Their discomfiture grew when they learnt that the Quraysh
had taken the incident as a means to discredit the Prophet
and denounce him among the tribes. The Quraysh were saying:
"Muhammad has defiled the sacred month. He has shed blood
in it, plundered wealth and captured men."
Imagine the extent of the sadness felt by Abdullah ibn
Jahsh and his men at what had happened, moreso because of
the acute embarrassment they had caused the Prophet.
They were sorely tormented and the agony weighed heavily on
them. Then came the good news that Allah? Glorified be
He?was pleased with what they had done and had sent down
revelation to His Prophet about this matter. Imagine their
happiness! People came and embraced them, congratulating
them on the good news and reciting to them what had been
revealed in the glorious Qur'an about their action.
"They ask you about fighting in the sacred month. Say:
Fighting therein is an enormity as well as preventing
(people) from the path of God and disbelief in Him.
Expelling people from the Masjid al Haram is a greater sin
in the eyes of God. Moreover, persecution is greater than
(Surah al-Baqarah 2: 212).
When these blessed verses were revealed, the Prophet's mind
was eased. He took the caravan and ransomed the prisoners.
He became pleased with Abdullah ibn Jahsh and his men.
Their expedition was certainly a major event in the early
life of the Muslim community . . .
The Battle of Badr followed. Abdullah ibn Jahsh fought in
it and was put to a great test, but a test to which his
faith was equal.
Then came the Battle of Uhud. There is an unforgettable
story involving Abdullah ibn Jahsh and his friend Sa'd ibn
Abi Waqqas concerning an incident that took place during
the Battle of Uhud. Let us leave Sa'd to tell the story:
During the battle, Abdullah came to me and said, "Aren't
you making a duia to God?"
"Yes," said I. So we moved aside and I prayed, "O Lord,
when I meet the enemy, let me meet a man of enormous
strength and fury. Then grant me victory over him that I
might kill him and acquire spoils from him." To this my
prayer, Abdullah said Ameen and then he prayed:
"Let me meet a man of great standing and enormous fury. I
shall fight him for Your sake, O Lord, and he shall fight
me. He shall take me and cut off my nose and ears and when
I meet You on the morrow You will say, "For what were your
nose and ear cut off?" And I would reply, "For Your sake
and for the sake of Your Prophet." And then You would
say, "You have spoken the truth . . ." Sa'd continues the
The prayer of Abdullah ibn Jahsh was better than mine. I
saw him at the end of the day. He was killed and mutilated
and in fact his nose and his ear were hung on a tree with a
God responded to the prayer of Abdullah ibn Jahsh and
blessed him with martyrdom as He blessed his uncle, the
Leader of Martyrs, Hamzah ibn Abdulmuttalib. The noble
Prophet buried them together in a single grave. His pure
tears watered the earth?earth annointed with the fragrance
ABDULLAH IBN MAS'UD
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 Quraysh 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
father's name was Mas'ud.
The youth had heard the news of the Prophet who 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 custom 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 tired. They were
also so thirsty that their lips and throat were quite dry.
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 strength."
"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, although they
were so thirsty, they were extremely pleased at the honest
reply. The pleasure showed on their faces . . .
The two men in fact 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 Quraysh.
The young man in turn was impressed with the Prophet and
his companion and soon became quite attached to them.
It was not long before Abdullah ibn Mas'ud became a Muslim
and offered to be in the service of the Prophet. The
Prophet agreed and from that day the fortunate Abdullah ibn
Mas'ud gave up tending sheep in exchange for looking after
the needs of the blesse d Prophet.
Abdullah ibn Mas'ud 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.
Abdullah ibn Mas'ud 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 taught in the "school" of the Prophet. He was
the best reciter of the Qur'an among the companions and he
understood it better than them all. He was therefore the
most knowledgeable on the Shariah. 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
"I have come, O Amir al-Mu'mineen, from Kufah where I left
a man filling copies of the Qur'an from memory."
Umar became very angry and paced up and down beside his
"Who is he?" he asked.
"Abdullah ibn Masiud," replied the man.
Umar's anger subsided and he regained his composure.
"Woe to you," he said to the man. "By God, I don't know of
any person left who is more qualified in this matter than
he is. Let me tell you about this." Umar continued:
"One night the Messenger of God, peace be upon him, was
havmg 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
Prophet stood and listened to him, then turned to us and
said, 'Whoever wants to read the Qur'an 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, peace be on him, said, "Ask and it will be given
to you. Ask and it will be given to you."
Umar continued: "I said to myself?I shall go to Abdullah
ibn Mas'ud 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 God, I have never yet
beaten Abu Bakr in the doing of any good."
Abdullah ibn Mas'ud attained such a knowledge of the Qur'an
that he would say, "By Him besides Whom there is no god, no
verse of the book of God has been revealed without my
knowing where it was revealed and the circumstances of its
revelation. By God, 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."
Abdullah was not exaggerating in what he said about
himself. Once Umar ibn al-Khattab 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 Mas'ud was in
"From where do you come?" asked Umar.
"From a deep valley," came the reply. (The expresion used
fadj amiq? deep valley?is a Qur'anic one).
"And where are you going?" asked Umar.
"To the ancient house," came the reply. (The expression
used al-bayt al-atiq?the ancient house?is a Qur'anic one.)
"There is a learned person (alim) among them," said Umar
and he commanded someone to ask the person:
"Which part of the Qur'an is the greatest?"
" 'God. There is no god except Him, the Living, the
Selfsubsisting. 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'an is the most clear on justice?"
" 'God commands what is just and fair, the feeding of
relatives . . .' " came the answer.
"What is the most comprehensive statement of the
Qur'an?" " 'Whoever does an atom's weight of good shall see
it, and whoever does an atom's weight of evil shall see
"Which part of the Qur'an gives rise to the greatest hope?"
" 'Say, O my servants who have wasted their resources, do
not despair of the mercy of God. Indeed, God forgives all
sins. He is the Forgiving, the Compassionate.' "
Thereupon Umar asked: "Is Abdullah ibn Masiud among you?"
"Yes, by God," the men in the caravan replied.
Abdullah ibn Mas'ud was not only a reciter of the Qur'an, a
learned man or a fervent worshipper. He was in addition a
strong and courageous fighter, one who became deadly
serious when the occasion demanded it.
The companions of the Prophet were together one day in
Makkah. They were still few in number, weak and oppressed.
They said, "The Quraysh have not yet heard the Qur'an being
recited openly and loudly. Who is the man who could recite
it for them?"
"I shall recite it for them," volunteered Abdullah ibn
"We are afraid for you," they said. "We only want someone
who has a clan who would protect him from their
"Let me," Abdullah ibn Mas'ud 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 few
metres from the Ka'bah). It was dawn and the Quraysh were
sitting around the Ka'bah. Abdullah stopped at the Maqam
and began to recite:
" 'Bismillahir Rahmani-r Rahim. ArRahman. Allama-l |
Qur'an. Khalaqa-l insan. Allamahu-l bayan . . . (In the |
name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful. The Merciful s
God. He has taught the Qur'an. He has created man and
taught him the clear truth . . .)' "
He went on reciting. The Quraysh looked at him intently and
some of them asked:
"What is Ibn Umm Abd saying?"
"Damn him! He is reciting some of what Muhammad brought!"
They went up to him and began beating his face as he
continued reciting. When he went back to his companions,
the blood was flowing from his face.
"This is what we feared for you," they said.
"By God," replied Abdullah, "the enemies of God are not
more comfortable than I at this moment. If you wish. I
shall go out tomorrow and do the same."
"You have done enough," they said. "You have made them hear
what they dislike."
Abdullah ibn Masiud lived to the time of Khalifah Uthman,
may God be pleased with him. When he was sick and on his
death-bed, Uthman came to visit him and said:
"What is your ailment?"
"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 doughters after you."
"Do you fear poverty for my children? I have commanded them
to read Surah Al-Waqi'ah every night for I have heard the
Prophet saying, 'Whoever reads Al-Waqi'ah every night shall
ot be effected by poverty ever.'"
That night, Abdullah passed away to the company of his
Lord, his toughte moist with the rememberance of God and
with the recitation of the verses of His Book.
ABDULLAH IBN SAILAM
Al-Husayn ibn Sailam was a Jewish rabbi in Yathrib who was
widely respected and honoured by the people of the city
even by those who were not Jewish. He was known for his
piety and goodness, his upright conduct and his
Al-Husayn lived a peaceful and gentle life but he was
serious, purposeful and organized in the way he spent his
time. For a fixed period each day, he would worship, teach
and preach in the temple. Then he would spend some time in
his orchard, looking after date palms, pruning and
pollinating. Thereafter, to increase his understanding and
knowledge of his religion, he would devote himself to the
study of the Torah.
In this study, it is said. he was particularly struck by
some verses of the Torah which dealt with the coming of a
Prophet who would complete the message of previous
Prophets. Al-Husayn therefore took an immediate and keen
interest when he heard reports of the appearance of a
Prophet in Makkah. He said:
"When I heard of the appearance of the Messenger of God,
peace be on him, I began to make enquiries about his name,
his genealogy, his characteristics, his time and place and
I began to compare this information with what is contained
m our books. From these enquiries, I became convinced about
the authenticity of his prophethood and I affirmed the
truth of his mission. However, I concealed my conclusions
from the Jews. I held my tongue...
Then came the day when the Prophet, peace be on him, left
Makkah and headed for Yathrib. When he reached Yathrib and
stopped at Quba, a man came rushing into the city, calling
out to people and announcing the arrival of the Prophet. At
that moment, I was at the top of a palm tree doing some
work. My aunt, Khalidah bint al-Harith, was sitting under
the tree. On hearing the news, I shouted:
'Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar! (God is Great! God is Great!'
When my aunt heard my takbir, she remonstrated with
me: 'May God frustrate you...By God, if you had heard that
Moses was coming you would not have been more enthusiastic.'
'Auntie, he is really, by God, the 'brother' of Moses and
follows his religion. He was sent with the same mission as
Moses.' She was silent for a while and then said: 'Is he
the Prophet about whom you spoke to us who would be sent to
confirm the truth preached by previous (Prophets) and
complete the message of his Lord?' 'Yes,' I replied.
Without any delay or hesitation, I went out to meet the
Prophet. I saw crowds of people at his door. I moved about
in the crowds until I reached close to him. The first words
I heard him say were:
'O people! Spread peace...Share food...Pray during the
night while people (normally) sleep... and you will enter
Paradise in peace...'
I looked at him closely. I scrutinized him and was
convinced that his face was not that of an imposter. I went
closer to him and made the declaration of faith that there
is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of
The Prophet turned to me and asked: 'What is your
name?' 'Al-Husayn ibn Sailam,' I replied.
'Instead, it is (now) Abdullah ibn Sallam,' he said (giving
me a new name). 'Yes,' I agreed. 'Abdullah ibn Sailam (it
shall be). By Him who has sent you with the Truth, I do not
wish to have another name after this day.'
I returned home and introduced Islam to my wife, my
children and the rest of my household. They all accepted
Islam including my aunt KhaIidah who was then an old lady.
However, I advised them then to conceal our acceptance of
Islam from the Jews until I gave them permission. They
Subsequently, I went back to the Prophet, peace be on him,
and said: 'O Messenger of God! The Jews are a people
(inclined to) slander and falsehood. I want you to invite
their most prominent men to meet you. (During the meeting
however), you should keep me concealed from them in one of
your rooms. Ask them then about my status among them before
they find out of my acceptance of Islam. Then invite them
to Islam. If they were to know that I have become a Muslim,
they would denounce me and accuse me of everything base and
The Prophet kept me in one of his rooms and invited the
prominent Jewish personalities to visit him. He introduced
Islam to them and urged them to have faith in God...They
began to dispute and argue with him about the Truth. When
he realized that they were not inclined to accept Islam, he
put the question to them:
'What is the status of Al-Husayn ibn Sailam among you?'
'He is our sayyid (leader) and the son of our sayyid. He is
our rabbi and our alim (scholar), the son of our rabbi and
'If you come to know that he has accepted Islam, would you
accept Islam also?' asked the Prophet.
'God forbid! He would not accept Islam. May God protect him
from accepting Islam,' they said (horrified).
At this point I came out in full view of them and
announced: 'O assembly of Jews! Be conscious of God and
accept what Muhammad has brought. By God, you certainly
know that he is the Messenger of God and you can find
prophecies about him and mention of his name and
characteristics in your Torah. I for my part declare that
he is the Messenger of God. I have faith in him and believe
that he is true. I know him.'
'You are a liar,' they shouted. 'By God, you are evil and
ignorant, the son of an evil and ignorant person.' And they
continued to heap every conceivable abuse on
Abdullah ibn Sailam approached Islam with a soul thirsty
for knowledge. He was passionately devoted to the Quran and
spent much time reciting and studying its beautiful and
sublime verses. He was deeply attached to the noble Prophet
and was constantly in his company.
Much of his time he spent in the masjid, engaged in
worship, in learning and in teaching. He was known for his
sweet, moving and effective way of teaching study circles
of Sahabah who assembled regularly in the Prophet's mosque.
Abdullah ibn Sallam was known among the Sahabah as a man
from ahl-al-Jannah "- the people of Paradise. This was
because of his determination on the advice of the Prophet
to hold steadfastly to the "most trustworthy handhold" that
is belief in and total submission to God.