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The Sahabah RA and their family relationships – Part 11

Apr 18, 2022

Under this theme, our focus on the Iftaar program during weekdays, will be to take a look at incidents from the lives of the illustrious Sahabah رضي الله عنهم and see how they overcame the trials they faced whether it was because of family or the absence of it.

Today we take a look at this great Sahabi:

Abdullah ibn Masud
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 Masud.

The youth had heard the news of the Prophet ﷺ 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 ﷺ himself and his companion, Abu Bakr RA. 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 ﷺ and his companion RA and soon became quite attached to them.
It was not long before Abdullah ibn Masud RA became a Muslim and offered to be in the service of the Prophet ﷺ. The Prophet ﷺ agreed and from that day the fortunate Abdullah ibn Masud RA gave up tending sheep in exchange for looking after the needs of the blessed Prophet ﷺ.

Abdullah ibn Masud RA remained closely attached to the Prophet ﷺ. 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 Masud RA received a unique training in the household of the Prophet ﷺ. He was under the guidance of the Prophet ﷺ, he adopted his manner and followed his every trait until it was said of him, “He was the closest to the Prophet ﷺ in character.”

Abdullah RA was taught in the ‘school” of the Prophet ﷺ. He was the best reciter of the Quran among the companions and he understood it better than them all. He was therefore the most knowledgeable on the Shariah.

Abdullah ibn Masud RA attained such a knowledge of the Quran that he would say, “By Him besides Whom there is no god, no verse of the book of Allah has been revealed without my knowing where it was revealed and the circumstances of its revelation. By Allah, if I know there was anyone who knew more of the Book of Allah, I will do whatever is in my power to be with him.”

Abdullah RA was not exaggerating in what he said about himself.
Abdullah ibn Masud RA was not only a reciter of the Quran, 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 ﷺ were together one day in Makkah. They were still few in number, weak and oppressed. They said, “The Quraysh have not yet heard the Quran being recited openly and loudly. Who is the man who could recite it for them?’

“I shall recite it from them,” volunteered Abdullah ibn Masud RA. “We are afraid for you,” they said. “We only want someone who has a clan who would protect him from their evil.”

“Let me,” Abdullah ibn Masud RA insisted, “Allah shall protect me and keep me away from their evil.” He then went out to the Haram until he reached Maqam Ibrahim (a few meters from the Kabah). It was dawn and the Quraysh were sitting around the Kabah. Abdullah RA stopped at the Maqam and began to recite:

“Bismillah irRahma nirRahim. Ar-Rahman. Allama-l Quran. Khalaqal insan. Allamahul bayan… (In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. The Merciful Allah. He has taught the Quran. 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 Allah,” replied Abdullah RA, “the enemies of Allah 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 Masud RA lived to the time of Khalifah Uthman RA, may Allah be pleased with him. When he was sick and on his death-bed, Uthman RA came to visit him and said:

“What is your ailment?”
“My sins.”
“And what do you desire?”
“The mercy of my Lord.”
“Shall I not give you your stipend which you have refused to take for years now?”
“I have no need of it.”
“Let it be for your daughters after you.”

“Do you fear poverty for my children? I have commanded them to read Surah Waqiah every night for I have heard the Prophet ﷺ saying, “Whoever reads Waqiah every night shall not be afflicted by poverty ever.”

That night, Abdullah RA passed away to the company of his Lord, his tongue moist with the remembrance of Allah and with the recitation of the verses of His Book.

Lesson to Learn:
The servitude that Hadhrat Abdullah ibn Masud RA showed to Nabi ﷺ is exemplary. This is what promotes family ties, when the younger ones and especially the children serve and are dutiful to the elders and their parents, then this is the perfect recipe for a happy family.

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