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By aba_abdullah


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

accompanied him.

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

thread .

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

of martyrdom.


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

camel, fuming.

"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

it.' "

"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 realized.

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?"

"My sins."

"And what do you desire?"

"The mercy of my Lord."

"Shall I not give you your stipend which you have refused

to take for years now?"

"I have no need of it."

"Let it be for your 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.


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

slander me.'

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.

   Comments: 0     Raters: 2     January 29, 2004 at 2:45am         


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