The Life of ‘Abdullah Bin Mas’ood (Radhiyallahu Anhu)

THE CLASSIC RESEMBLANCE OF RASULULLAH (SALLALLAHU ‘ALAIHI WASALLAM) – A DETAILED DISCUSSION ON THE LIFE OF ‘ABDULLAH IBN MAS’OOD (RADHIYALLAHU ANHU)

[Courtesy: ibnumasood.co.za]

Huzaifah bin Yamaan (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) was asked:  “From among all the companions of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), which Sahaabi resembled Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) the most?”  Huzaifah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), who himself was a great Sahaabi and the confidant of Rasullullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), replied: “Among all the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) the one who resembled Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) the most in his manner of talking, in his manner of walking and in his general conduct was none other than ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu).” (Saheeh Bukhaari #6097)

Preface    

“My Sahaabah (radhiyallahu  ‘anhum) are like guiding stars, whoever you follow you will be  guided.”  (Musnad  ‘Abd  ibni Humaid  #783)  

This is the declaration of  Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). It is therefore  necessary to be well acquainted  with the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu  ‘anhum) and to then follow in  their footsteps.        

In this light, a series of talks  were conducted on the life of the great Sahaabi, Sayyiduna  ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu). The booklet  in your hand in an edited  transcription of the talks  delivered.  

While minor changes have been  made, the manner and flow of  the talk has been retained. This  will insha-Allah make it a lighter  read.
May Allah Ta‘ala accept this  effort and make it a means of great benefit for the Ummah, aameen.  

Introduction    

The great Sahaabi, ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), can be aptly introduced in the words of the great Muhaddith, ‘Allamah Shamsuddeen Zahabi (rahimahullah). 

He writes in his book Siyaru Aa’laamin Nubalaa (vol. 1, pg. 461): 

“He was an Imaam, Faqeehul Ummah – the jurist of this Ummah, he was from among those Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) who had accepted Islam in the beginning, and who possessed great knowledge of deen. He had the good fortune of participating in the battle of Badr and was privileged to have migrated twice, once to Abyssinia and then to Madeenah Munawwarah. He has great virtues and accolades to his name and he had disseminated  a  great  amount  of  knowledge  to  this Ummah.”

Early Days   

First Exposure to Islam

‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) describes his first exposure to Islam. He says: “I had come to Makkah Mukarramah accompanying my uncles with the intention of buying ‘itr (perfume). We were directed to the uncle of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), ‘Abbas (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), an ‘itr merchant. While seated with him at the well of Zam-Zam, something suddenly caught my attention 

A man entered from the door of Safa. He was fair in complexion with a tinge of redness.

His hair was long and wavy, he had a thick beard, outstanding eyes, and his blessed teeth were shining. In a nut shell: He looked liked a full moon.

Alongside him was a young boy and Following them  two  was  a  woman who  had  concealed  her  beauty.

The three of them came (into the  Haram), made tawaaf of the house of Allah Ta‘ala, and then  worshipped Allah Ta‘ala in a unique manner. This was the first  time we had witnessed such a manner of worship. So we asked  ‘Abbaas (radhiyallahu ‘anhu): ‘Is this some new religion?’ ‘Abbaas  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) replied, ‘This  is my nephew Muhammad  (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), the young boy is ‘Ali (radhiyallahu  ‘anhu), and the woman is Khadeejah (radhiyallahu ‘anha).  They are the only three people on  the surface of the earth who are  worshipping Allah Ta‘ala in this way.’” (Majma‘uz Zawaaid #15267) 

‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) had thus a very early  exposure to Islam, when only  three people were in the fold of Islam.

First Impressions are Lasting  Impressions   

The first impression that  ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) had of Islam in those early days was: 

“Following them two was a  woman who had concealed her  beauty.”

Islam is a religion that  emphasises upon a woman to  conceal her beauty. This is what  caught the attention of ‘Abdullah  bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu  ‘anhu).  

Unfortunately today, if we look  at the condition at the Haram,  how difficult it has become for  males to make tawaaf? How  difficult it is to control one’s eyes? The amount of loose ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) behaviour and immorality that is  prevalent! Women no longer cover their faces. The actual requirement is that a woman should be  observing hijaab and covering  her face at all times. However, if  they are not practising this, then  the bare minimum will be that  when visiting these blessed places of Makkah Mukarramah and  Madeenah Munawwarah they  should cover their faces and observe hijaab. Insha-Allah  through the blessing of them respecting these blessed lands,  Allah Ta‘ala will bless them with the taufeeq (ability) to continue  with this even when they return home. Many a woman’s life had  changed in this very manner and she thereafter observed hijaab for the rest of her life.

First Encounter with Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)

The first personal encounter that  ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) had with  Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) – which was the  turning point in his life – was  when two men came along while  he was grazing a flock of goats belonging to one of the leaders  of the Quraish, ‘Uqbah bin Abi Mu‘ait, on the outskirts of Makkah Mukarramah. One was Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi  wasallam) and the other was Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu ‘anhu). They asked him:

“O youngster! Do you have any milk to offer us?”

‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), who was in  his teens at that time, replied:  

“Yes! I do have, but it has been  entrusted to me.”

It doesn’t belong to me. I do not  have the right to offer it to you.  

Here we learn the great lesson of  honesty and trustworthiness.  Unfortunately this is something  that is vanishing from the  Ummah today. This is also from  among the prophecies of  Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi  wasallam) that trustworthiness  will be removed from the hearts  of the Ummah. Look how honest  this youngster was. There was  no one to see him. He was in the  wilderness, yet he did not dare to  breach his trust. It was this  quality of honesty and  trustworthiness that had allowed  him to reach great heights.  

Thereafter, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) asked him: “Do  you have a goat which hasn’t  mated?”

Obviously such a goat will not  give milk. Nevertheless such a goat was brought and Rasulullah  (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) passed his blessed hands over  the udders, read a few verses,  and milk began to flow. His  companion, Abu Bakr  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), brought a  hollowed rock to fill the milk in it. The two men then drank and  they offered the milk to ‘Abdullah  bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu anhu)  as well. This milk was absolutely permissible. It was from an  animal which was not producing milk, hence it did not belong to  the owner. It was a pure miracle of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi  wasallam). Thereafter, Rasulullah  (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)  ordered the udders: “Stop.” And it immediately dried up. 

This entire encounter had captured the heart of ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu). After a few days he came to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), accepted Islam at his hands and requested him:

“Teach me those words that you recited.”

Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) passed his blessed hands on him and said: 

“May Allah Ta‘ala have mercy on you. You will have a bright future and you will reach the pinnacle of knowledge.” (Musnad Ahmad #3598) 

This was the first close encounter ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) had with Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). 

He further says: “I was the sixth person to accept Islam. There were no other Muslims on the surface of the earth besides us.” (Mustadrak Haakim vol. 3, pg. 313)   

This was the turning point in his life.

Since that day, this fortunate  boy, ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) no more  grazed goats on the outskirts of  Makkah Mukarramah. Instead he  saw to the needs of the best of  all creation, Rasulullah (sallallahu  ‘alaihi wasallam).  

What a privilege! From a  shepherd at the outskirts of  Makkah Mukarramah to the  personal attendant of the Master  of both the worlds, Muhammadur Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)!

Faith in Allah Ta‘ala        

It was in the early days of Islam,  and the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) were discussing that the  Kuffaar have not yet heard the Quraan Majeed being recited  openly. So who will take up the courage and recite the Quraan in  front of them? ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) said:“I am ready.” They refused and  said:

“We want a person who has a high social standing in Makkah Mukarramah, and comes from an influential family so that the disbelievers will think twice if  they intend to harm and assault  him.”

‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) replied: “Allow me to go, Allah Ta‘ala will  protect me.”

I don’t need any family or high  social standing to protect me, Allah Ta‘ala is sufficient for me.  This was the level of imaan he had in Allah Ta‘ala. The next morning  he set out. The leaders of the  Kuffaar were seated in the  Haram. He went in front of them  and began reciting the verses of  Surah “Ar Rahmaan”. When the  Kuffaar realized what he was  reading, they pounced on him  and assaulted him. When he  returned to the Sahaabah  (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) they said  to him: “This is the exact fear  that we had”. ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) replied:  

“The enemies of Allah Ta‘ala were  never disdained in my eyes as  much as they are today. If you  wish, I will do the very same  thing tomorrow morning.”  (Usdul  Ghaabah vol. 3, pg. 74)   

This was the level of his imaan in  Allah Ta‘ala, and this was common among all the  Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum).  Every Sahaabi (radhiyallahu  ‘anhu)’s imaan was firm and  unshakable. Allah Ta‘ala declares  the imaan of the Sahaabah  (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) to be the criteria. 

Bring imaan like how the  Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum)  had brought imaan. (Baqarah  v13)   

Today we have people criticizing  the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum). How can anyone criticizethem, when Allah Ta‘ala Himself  has praised them and testified to  their imaan?

The purpose of discussing the  lives of the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) is to apply  the lessons gleaned from their lives and imbibe them within our  own lives. Now how does this relate to us personally?  

Many a time we are faced with a  similar situation. It is the time for  salaah, and we feel embarrassed  to offer it in the open. We suffer  from an inferiority complex  although we have all the freedom  to perform it. There is no  question of someone assaulting  us or even verbally abusing us.  

At times it may happen that  during the course of some business transaction, a woman  stretches out her hand to greet us and we comply thinking to  ourselves that what will she think  of me. Being a Muslim we have to  keep the command of Allah Ta‘ala  before us all the time and it has  to supersede everything. Everything else is secondary. We  should explain to them that these are the dictates of my  religion and they will understand, accept and respect our Islam.  One Muslim doctor has a notice put up in his waiting room: “To all  women, please don’t feel offended if I do not shake your  hands as this is the requirement of my religion”.  

We should feel honoured to be  Muslims and we should not suffer from an inferiority complex. 

‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) and Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi  wasallam)    

Bond with Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)

Perhaps the attachment, affinity  and bond that ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu)  enjoyed with Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) cannot be  explained in a better way than  these words:

He stuck to Rasulullah (sallallahu  ‘alaihi wasallam) just as a  person’s shadow is attached to  him.

A person can never separate or  escape from his shadow. Under all conditions the shadow  remains attached to him. Similarly ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) remained  attached to Rasulullah (sallallahu  ‘alaihi wasallam) under all circumstances.

Abu Musa Ash‘ari (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) says in a narration of Saheeh Bukhari, second volume (#4384):

“My brother and I came from Yemen. A long period had passed and we were under the impression that ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) and his mother belonged to the household of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) because they entered the house of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) so frequently.” 

In a narration of Ibnu ‘Asaakir (vol. 33, pg. 85), ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) explains: 

“My mother used to spend the night with the wives of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) seeing to their needs, and I would stick to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) during the day.”     

“I used to veil Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) using his shawl when he (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) used to take a bath, allowing him privacy.”   

“I would wake Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) from his sleep.”

He used to tend to the different needs of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). 

When Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi  wasallam) had to go out then  ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) used to make him wear his shoes. When he  reached his destination it was ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) who would  remove and keep the shoes of  Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi  wasallam), and when he would  return, he again would make him  wear the shoes. Upon reaching  the home of Rasulullah  (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam),  ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) would enter  the home of Rasulullah (sallallahu  ‘alaihi wasallam) before Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi  wasallam) himself could enter. (Tareekh Ibni ‘Asaakir vol. 33, pg.  89)

In another narration of Ibnu  ‘Asaakir (vol. 33, pg. 92), ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu)  says: “Once Rasulullah (sallallahu  ‘alaihi wasallam) had entered an  orchard. Seeing  this, I  understood that Rasulullah  (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was  going to relieve himself and that  he would require some water to  make wudhu. So I took some  water and entered the orchard.  Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi  wasallam) asked me: 

‘Who told you to bring this  water?’

I  replied: ‘No one asked me to  bring it.’”

This was the level of concern he  had for the well-being of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi  wasallam). Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) replied: “Excellent!

Then Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) gave him some glad tidings:

“Take the glad tidings of entering Jannah, not only you but the next three to enter the orchard as well.”
It happened that Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) and ‘Ali (radbhiyallahu ‘anhu) had thereafter entered. And all of them were given the glad tidings of Jannah.”

This is how he saw to the needs of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). In fact, among the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) he was known as:  

The one who would keep the shoes of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), the pillow of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), and the one who was in charge of the wudhu requirements of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). 

There is a narration which appears repeatedly in Saheeh Bukhari, wherein ‘Alqamah (rahimahullah), a very close student of ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), said that he had come to Syria. Having come to a foreign land he made du‘aa: 

“O Allah! Allow me to sit in the company of a pious person.”

From this we understand the importance of good company. Many a time we travel to a foreign land. Now there is no one to watch us. Back home we portray  ourselves as very pious since everyone knows us. At this time,  what is the level of our imaan? Do we leave everything aside and  get involved in every type of haraam, or here  also  we  fear  Allah  Ta‘ala.  So ‘Alqamah (rahimahullah) teaches us an easy way to protect ourselves – and this was the common practice  among the Taabi‘een – that is, we adopt good company. Not only  did he look for good company, rather he even made du‘aa for the same. 

“O Allah! Allow me to sit by a  pious person.”

Thereafter ‘Alqamah  (rahimahullah) entered the musjid and sat among a group of  people. Someone came and  sat next to him. On enquiring  who the person was, he was  informed that this is the great  Sahaabi of Rasulullah (sallallahu  ‘alaihi wasallam), Abu Dardaa  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu). What a  beautiful company Allah Ta‘ala  blessed him with! He made du‘aa  for it and he got  it.    

Abu Dardaa (radhiyallahu ‘anhu)  asked him from where he had  come. ‘Alqamah (rahimahullah)  replied from Kufah. Thereafter Abu Dardaa (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) asked him:

“Doesn’t that great Sahaabi live  among you, who was in charge of  the shoes, pillow, and wudhu  requirements of Rasulullah  (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)?”  (Saheeh Bukhari #3742)

This was how ‘Abdullah bin  Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) had served Rasulullah (sallallahu  ‘alaihi wasallam), and the affinity he had with Rasulullah (sallallahu  ‘alaihi wasallam).

Special Privilege   

In fact Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) had made a special provision for ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu). According to the narration of Saheeh Muslim (#5666), Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said to him: 

“If the curtain at the entrance of my home is open, you have complete permission to enter and to listen to my conversation unless I stop you.”

Closeness during Battle    

Not only did ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) serve Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and remain with him whilst in Madeenah Munawwarah, rather he also remained close to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) on his journeys and even during the different battles. ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) says:

“I was close to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) on the occasions of Badr, Uhud and Bay‘atur Ridhwaan.” (Taareekh Ibni ‘Asaakir vol. 33, pg. 79)

Battle of Badr   

Towards the end of the Battle of Badr, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) asked: 

“Who will see what has happened to Abu Jahl?”

‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) replied, “I will go.” 

He had to be nearby to say that he will go. Nevertheless, ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) went and saw that the two sons of ‘Afraa had already wounded Abu Jahl, and he was in the throes of death. 

‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) put his foot on the neck of Abu Jahl and said: 

“Allah has disgraced you, O enemy of Allah.”

Abu Jahl replied: “What disgrace are you talking about? You have never killed anyone as great as me. 

Remember, you were a shepherd on the outskirts of Makkah Mukarramah. Now you are acting high and mighty.”

Thereafter, he said:  “If only someone besides a farmer could kill me.”

Some noble person from the  Quraish should have killed me. At least after I am dead and gone  people  will  say  that  a  noble person had killed him. 

Pride is  such an evil thing. He is being  killed in such a disgraceful  manner. Yet the pride could not  leave his heart. Even at this  occasion he did not forget his  pride.  

‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) then removed the head of Abu Jahl, took it to  Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and said: 

“This is the head of the enemy of  Allah Ta‘ala, Abu Jahl.”

Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) asked: “By Allah, is this  really the head of Abu Jahl?”

‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) took an oath. Thereafter Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said: 

“All praise is due to Allah Ta‘ala.  He has fulfilled His promise,  assisted His servant. And He  alone defeated the enemy.”

Look at the humility of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) compared to the pride of Abu  Jahl. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) is attributing  everything to Allah Ta‘ala even  though he is victorious.  However, Abu Jahl was dying but  he never forgot his pride.

Thereafter Rasulullah (sallallahu  ‘alaihi wasallam) said to ‘Abdullah  bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu):  “Show me where he is lying?”  How happy Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) must  have been with ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu)! Then Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi  wasallam) went towards the body of Abu Jahl and said thrice: 

“All praise is due to Allah Ta‘ala,  Who has granted honour to Islamand the people of Islam.”

Again we see the humility of  Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), that he attributes  every perfection to Allah Ta‘ala. Then Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said:  

“This is the Fir‘oun of this  Ummah.” (These details appear in  Saheeh Bukhaari #4020, Musnad  Ahmad #4247 and Fathul Baari  vol. 7, pg. 374)    

Scholars write that Abu Jahl was  even worse than Fir‘oun. When Fir‘oun was dying and he saw the  punishment of Allah Ta‘ala coming, he said, “I believe in the  lord of  the Bani Israaeel.” But Abu Jahl even at the last  moment, pride never left him.  We can see how evil this quality  of pride is, that even till the last moment it doesn’t leave a  person. Therefore we need to make a concerted effort to rid  ourselves of this evil quality. If  we act proudly then we will be  following the way of Abu Jahl  and if we are humble then we will  be following the way of  Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi  wasallam).

Battle of Uhud    

On the occasion of Uhud, when  the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) suffered a temporary  defeat and they were scattered all over, only four Sahaabah  (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) remained  with Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi  wasallam). One of them was ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu). (Majma‘uz    Zawaaid #15569) 

Battle of Hunain    

At the crucial junctures, ‘Abdullah  bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu)  was always with Rasulullah  (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). 

On the occasion of Hunain again, when the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu  ‘anhum) had suffered a  temporary defeat, ‘Abdullah bin  Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) was  there with Rasulullah (sallallahu  ‘alaihi wasallam). From an army of  12,000, only 80 Sahaabah  (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) remained  with Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi  wasallam).

‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) said, “I saw Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi  wasallam) leaning, and I feared  that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi  wasallam) would fall off his conveyance. So I said, ‘O Nabi of  Allah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam),  sit up straight, what has  happened?’ Rasulullah (sallallahu  ‘alaihi wasallam) said to me, ‘Give  me a handful of sand.’” ‘Abdullah  bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) passed a handful of sand to  Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). Thereafter Rasulullah  (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) read a few words and threw it. Allah  Ta‘ala made it such that it went  into the  eyes of the enemy. Then  Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi  wasallam) asked ‘Abdullah bin  Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu): 

“Where are the Muhaajireen, where are the Ansaar?”

Call all of them. So ‘Abdullah bin  Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) called the Muhaajireen and the  Ansaar. They all had come and then Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi  wasallam) and the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) defeated  the enemy and won the battle. (Musnad Ahmad #4336)

Keeping Good Company      

From this attachment that  ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) had with  Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi  wasallam) we learn a great lesson  that, we should try to remain in  the company of the pious.  ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) and all the other Sahaabah (radhiyallahu  ‘anhum) remained in the company of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi  wasallam) as much as they could, and it was because of the  blessings of this company that  they reached great heights. If  it  wasn’t for this company, they wouldn’t have been Sahaabah.  

Allah Ta‘ala has blessed us with  many pious ‘Ulama and elders in  our country as well. We should  link up with them, remain in their  company, consult with them and  then see the amount of benefit we will achieve in our lives. 

High Position     

Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)’s Love  and Confidence 
It was obvious that when  ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) had shown  such dedication in serving  Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi  wasallam), then Rasulullah  (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) had  also built up a great amount of  love, affinity  and confidence  in  him.

Once some people were praising  ‘Amr bin ‘Aas (radhiyallahu ‘anhu). So he said to them, “You  are praising me. Let me tell you about two people for whom  Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) had intense love when  he left this world. One is ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) and the other is ‘Ammaar bin Yasir (radhiyallahu  ‘anhu). (Musnad  Ahmad #17807)  

Imagine, Rasulullah (sallallahu  ‘alaihi wasallam) having love for  ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu)!  

Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi  wasallam) mentioned many aspects regarding ‘Abdullah bin  Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu).  

On one expedition while the  Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) were out in the path of Allah  Ta‘ala, Rasulullah (sallallahu  ‘alaihi wasallam) required a miswaak. ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) climbed a tree, to break a miswaak for Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). This was his work, to be in the service of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). As he climbed up, the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) saw his shin and this caused them to smile, since ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) was a very short and thin person. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) asked them:

“Why are you smiling?”

So they replied: “We are smiling because his shins are so thin.”

Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said: “I take an oath on the being who is in control of my life, these shins of ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood will be weightier on the scales (on the Day of Judgement) than the (vast) mountain range of Uhud.” (Musnad Ahmad #3991)

Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) also mentioned, “Hold firm to the teachings of ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu).” (Sunan Tirmizi #3805) 

In another hadeeth Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said:

“If I had to take a unilateral  decision in appointing anyone as  a leader, then I would appoint  ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu)”. (Sunan  Tirmizi  #3809)

There is no need for me to ask or  consult anyone regarding this Sahaabi. I have such confidence  in him that I can take a unilateral  decision regarding appointing  him.    

What greater testimony can  there be regarding anyone than the fact that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) says, 

“I like for my Ummah what  ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) likes for  them, and I dislike for them what  he dislikes for them.” (Majma‘uz    Zawaaid #15568)

This was the confidence  Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi  wasallam) had in ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu).

Praise of the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum)

If this was the level of confidence  that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi  wasallam) had in ‘Abdullah bin  Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu)  then most certainly the  Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) had a great amount of  confidence in him as well.  

Once ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu)  was sitting with his companions  and from a distance ‘Abdullah bin  Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu)  approached. ‘Abdullah bin  Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) was  short and thin, and ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) had  companions seated in front of  him. So it was difficult for ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) to see him. Nevertheless the two met and  had a light-hearted conversation and then ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) turned away  and departed. Thereafter ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) addressed his companions saying to them: 

“‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) may be small  in size, but he is like a small  utensil that is brimming and  overflowing with the knowledge  and the understanding of deen.”  (Siyaru Aa’laamin Nubalaa vol. 1,  pg.  491 & Tareekh Ibni ‘Asaakir  vol. 33, pg. 145).

As we say, “Dynamites come in  small packaging.” He was really a dynamite.  

‘Ali (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) had  come to Kufah after ‘Abdullah  bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu)  had left. So he began asking the students of ‘Abdullah bin  Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) regarding him. They felt that ‘Ali  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) was trying to  test them or he had some other  motives. Nevertheless, when ‘Ali  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) heard what  they had to say, he said to them:  
“I have the equal amount of  respect and regard for him, nay  even more than what they have.”

Thereafter ‘Ali (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) said:  

“‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) had recited  the Quraan, practised on the  Quraan, regarded its lawful as  lawful and its unlawful as  unlawful, he was a true jurist of  deen and he had deep  understanding of the sunnah of  Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi  wasallam).”  (Taareekh Ibni  ‘Asaakir  vol. 33,  pg. 150)

Abu Moosa Ash‘ari (radhiyallahu  ‘anhu), another great Sahaabi of  Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi  wasallam) was once questioned regarding a ruling. So he gave his  opinion. Then he asked them to  go to ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) as well, since he felt that ‘Abdullah bin  Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) will approve of his ruling. When they  came to ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) and  mentioned to him the answer of  Abu Moosa Ash‘ari (radhiyallahu  ‘anhu), ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) said, “I  cannot agree to this ruling.” So  he passed another ruling,  according to what he felt was  correct. When these people came  back to Abu Moosa Ash‘ari (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), he told them:  

“As long as this giant of  knowledge is among you, do not  even ask me any ruling of deen.”  (Saheeh Bukhari #6736)

Here we understand the clarity of  the hearts of the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum). Their hearts were so pure. It did not become  an issue that he is a Sahaabi and  I am also a Sahaabi. Thus I have  the right to issue my own ruling.  Rather they acknowledged the  next Sahaabi to be more qualified  in a certain field of knowledge  and accordingly they referred  others to him for their queries.  

Here we find a common problem;  in fact there is no comparison.  Our condition today is such that  despite us having little or no  knowledge regarding a certain  matter of  deen, we are so quick  to object to the ‘Ulama, who are  qualified in that field. We wish to  give our own opinions despite  having no authority to do so.  Unfortunately, this is also done  on  public forums. On the other  hand we find Abu Moosa Ash‘ari  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) opting to  remain silent in the presence of  ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu). Such a  great Sahaabi, but he never  found the need to speak. Who  are we? No knowledge, but at  times we even go to the extent  of saying, “Imaam Abu Haneefah (rahimahullah) said such and  such a thing, but I don’t agree!  My opinion is that it should be  like this.” Who are we in front of these great giants of knowledge?  What right do we have to speak,  and oppose their teachings  which were based purely on the  Quraan and sunnah?

Knowledge    

Previously we had discussed the affinity and closeness that ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) enjoyed with Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). One of the great benefits of this association was that Allah Ta‘ala had blessed him with profound knowledge and great understanding in every department of deen. We had mentioned in the beginning that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) himself had prophesised, “You will have a bright future in knowledge.” Then ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) also mentioned:

“‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) is like a small utensil that is brimming and overflowing with the knowledge and the understanding of deen.” (Siyaru Aa’laamin Nubalaa vol.1, pg. 491 & Tareekh Ibni ‘Asaakir vol. 33, pg. 145).

Masrooq (rahimahullah), a great Taabi‘ee said:

“I had deeply studied the lives of the companions of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and I  found that six Sahaabah  (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) possessed the joint knowledge of all the  Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum). And the knowledge of these was  possessed by two Sahaabah. One was ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) and the other was ‘Ali (radhiyallahu  ‘anhu).”  (Taareekh Ibni Asaakir  vol. 33, pg. 153)

This explains to us what vast  knowledge ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) had  possessed. He was well versed in  every field of knowledge, be it  the Quraan, hadeeth or fiqh (jurisprudence). 

Knowledge of the Quraan

As far as the knowledge of the  Quraan Majeed is concerned, he was well versed in both the  recitation and the meaning.  

When it comes to the recitation,  then ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma)  mentioned – in a narration of  Saheeh Bukhaari, first volume  (#3758) -, that ever since I had  heard one hadeeth of Rasulullah  (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), I  began to have excessive love for  ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu). 

This once again highlights the  clarity and purity of the hearts of  the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu  ‘anhum) where they did not find it difficult to praise their  contemporaries. Forget praising  our contemporaries, if someone  has to praise our contemporary, then we will find some way to run  him down. For example: If someone speaks about a  particular doctor who is our contemporary, then we will say,  “Yah, he is a good doctor, but sometimes he rushes and doesn’t  check properly.” Or if he is in the  same business as us and he is  praised, then we will say, “Just watch out, sometimes he sells  expired goods.” So somehow we will look for a reason to run the  person down, but the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) were  completely opposite.      

Nevertheless, the hadeeth that  ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr (radhiyallahu  ‘anhuma) heard from Rasulullah  (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was:

“Learn the Quraan from four  people.”  

And the first name that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) mentioned was that of ‘Abdullah  bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu).  
Once while ‘Umar (radhiyallahu  ‘anhu) was in ‘Arafah, on the occasion of hajj, a person from  Kufah came to him and said, “O ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu)! I have  some very bad news. There is one  person in Kufah who is teaching  the Quraan from memory, and  people are writing it down.”  

We should keep in mind that at  times a person’s memory may  err, and if the Quraan is  incorrectly written down, it will then be related incorrectly from  generation to generation.  

Therefore ‘Umar (radhiyallahu  ‘anhu) became extremely angry,  but before he could react he  asked, “Tell me, who is that person?” He replied that it was  ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu). 

The anger of  ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) subsided, and he said: 

Woe be to you! 

Why did you not tell me earlier who the person was? Really, on this entire earth there is only one  person who has the capability and the authority to do this, and  that is ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu). Now let me  tell you why I am saying this. One  night, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihiwasallam), Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu  ‘anhu) and I came out of the  house of Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu  ‘anhu) and passed by the musjid.  We heard the sound of the  Quraan being recited. So we  stopped to hear the recitation?  Before we could even work out as  to who the reciter was, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said to us:  

‘Whoever wishes to recite the  Quraan as it was revealed, should  recite in the manner of ‘Abdullah  bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu).’ After ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) completed  his salaah, not knowing that  Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi  wasallam) is listening to him, he  began to make du‘aa. Rasulullah  (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, 

‘Ask! Whatever you ask shall be  given to you.’” (Majma‘uz    Zawaaid #15551)

Now, what was the du‘aa that  ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) was asking  at that blessed time? 

The  narration of Musnad Ahmad  (#4255) mentions this du‘aa:

“O Allah! Bless me with such imaan which always increases and progresses (there must be no turning point or decrease to this imaan of mine), and bless me with such comforts which will never terminate, and bless me with the companionship of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) in the highest stages of Jannah.”

The thing that ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) lived for and died for was, to serve Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), and at this opportune moment this was the du‘aa that he was making that, O Allah just as I was blessed in this world to serve Your Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), in Jannah also bless me to be in his service. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said aameen to this du‘aa

‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) said that this was such a great glad tiding where Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) expressed such confidence in ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) that I made up my mind to give this glad tiding to ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) the next morning. 

Again this was the purity of the hearts of the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum), where they expressed joy at the good fortune of their brother. ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) says by the time I reached ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) then as usual Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) had already beat me in conveying the glad tiding. 

The narration of Ibnu ‘Asaakir (vol. 33, pg. 96) explains that ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) mentioned to ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) that this is always his du‘aa after every salaah that he performs, be it a fardh salaah or a nafl salaah. Let us try and learn this du‘aa as well, if not the Arabic then at least the English. 

Together with having a mastery over the recitation of the Quraan, ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) also had profound understanding of the Quraan. In a narration of Saheeh Bukhaari, second volume (#5000), ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) himself says:

“I had learnt approximately seventy surahs of the Quraan directly from Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam).”

The narration of Usdul Ghaabah (vol. 3, pg.74) says:

“No one else was there when I learnt this from Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam).”

If he had directly learnt from Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), what must have been his understanding of the Quraan? He further says:   

“The Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) know fully well that from amongst them I have the greatest amount of knowledge regarding the Quraan, but at the same time I am not saying that I am the best of them.” 

Allah Ta‘ala has blessed me with this knowledge of the Quraan Majeed. It is His favour. I am only expressing this favour of His and I am not saying that I am superior to the rest of the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum).

In another narration of Saheeh Bukhaari (#5002), ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) said:  

“I take an oath on that being besides whom there is no one else worthy of worship, that there is no surah in the Quraan but that I have full knowledge regarding the place of its revelation, and there is no verse of the Quraan but that I am aware of the circumstances of its revelation.”

‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) goes on to say:  

“If I know of any person more knowledgeable regarding the Quraan than me, in any corner of the world where my conveyance can reach, then I am prepared to travel up to that person and learn from him.”

From this we understand the thirst that Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) had for knowledge. They never felt that they knew enough. Many a time today we feel ‘We know it all’. We can make our own research and come up with our own conclusions. No one must tell us anything. This was not the case with the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum). 

Knowledge of Hadeeth and Fiqh   

As far as the knowledge of hadeeth was concerned, ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) narrated 848 ahaadeeth from Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). 

Many aspects regarding his knowledge of fiqh (jurisprudence) have already been mentioned. To further understand his expertise in this field we need to look at the incident of ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu)’s coming to Kufah and his residing there. 

After the demise of Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), during the khilaafah of ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) there was a need for some Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) to go to Kufah as it was a newly conquered land. The narration of Haakim (vol. 3 pg. 388) mentions that ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) sent two Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) to Kufah. He also sent a letter addressing the people of Kufah:

“I have sent ‘Ammaar bin Yaasir (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) as your leader and ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) as your teacher and as an advisor. They are from amongst the elite Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) who had participated in the battle of Badr. Listen to them, learn from them and follow them.”

These are the words of ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) regarding whom Rasulullah (sallallahu  ‘alaihi wasallam) said: “If there  had to be a Nabi after me, it  would have been ‘Umar  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu).” This calibre  of a person is instructing the  people of Kufah to listen to the  two Sahaabah (radhiyallahu  ‘anhuma), to learn the knowledge  of deen from them and to follow  them.  

He did not tell them to follow  the Quraan and hadeeth directly,  rather he instructed them to  follow these two Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma), because  they had a far better understanding of the Quraan and  hadeeth than others could even  dream of. So by following them  they would actually be following  the Quraan and hadeeth.      

This is the very same answer  that we give to those who object  and say: “Why do we need to  follow the four Imaams? Why  must we follow Imaam Abu  Haneefah (rahimahullah)? Why can’t we follow the Quraan and  hadeeth directly?”  

The answer is the same that we  do not possess the knowledge and understanding of the Quraan  and hadeeth that these Imaams  possessed. Thus if we follow  them, in actual fact we are following the Quraan and hadeeth. There would have only been a  problem if these Imaams hadn’t  followed the Quraan and hadeeth. But this wasn’t the  case.  

How can we ever compare  ourselves with these great Imaams? Imaam Ahmad bin  Hambal (rahimahullah) knew one million ahaadeeth. We cannot even learn 100 ahaadeeth, yet we wish to compare and equate  ourselves with these great Imaams.  

This concept of directly  following the Quraan and hadeeth outwardly seems very interesting  and attractive, but in reality there  is no substance to it. The true  spirit of deen will only be acquired by following one of  these great luminaries. Therefore Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) instructed the people of Kufah to follow ‘Ammaar bin Yaasir (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) and ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu). Thereafter he stated in his letter:  

“(Really I require ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) to be at my side, to help me in the running of the entire Muslim state but) I have given preference to you over myself.” 

What a great virtue of ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu)! A giant like ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) even confirmed that he is in need of him.  Another lesson learnt from this incident is the lesson of giving preference to others over ourselves. 

Effect on the People of Kufah  

‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) had come to Kufah and the people took the advice of ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) to heart, to such an extent that Ibnu ‘Asaakir (rahimahullah) mentioned: 

“He was the jurist of the people of Kufah and their teacher. They had such regard for him that they held on to every teaching of his and they would not look at anyone else’s opinion (as they always gave preference to the ruling of ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu). (Taareekh Ibni ‘Asaakir vol. 33, pg. 54)

From this we learn that there is  nothing wrong in giving preference to the views of one of  the Imaams of fiqh and ‘blindly following’ him, since the people  of Kufah who were Taabi‘een had ‘blindly followed’ ‘Abdullah bin  Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu).  

‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) did such  sterling work among the people  of Kufah that when ‘Ali  (radhiyallahu‘anhu) entered Kufah he commented: 

“May Allah Ta‘ala have mercy on  ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), he has filled  this entire city with the  knowledge of deen.”

In one narration ‘Ali (radhiyallahu  ‘anhu) said:

“The students of ‘Abdullah bin  Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu)  are  the lamps of this city.”  

Up to 4000 students are reported  to have acquired knowledge from  ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) either directly or through his students. (Fiqhu  Ahlil ‘Iraq wa Hadeethuhum pg. 52) This is an indication of the  level of knowledge he had, in the field of fiqh.  

Kufah thereafter became the  headquarters and the capital of the Islamic empire. After  ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu)’s demise, his student ‘Alqamah (rahimahullah) took over his position. After  ‘Alqamah (rahimahullah)’s demise  his student Ibrahim Nakha‘ee  (rahimahullah), and then his  student Hammaad (rahimahullah) had taken over that position. Thereafter our great Imaam,  Imaam Abu Haneefah (rahimahullah), took over and  occupied that same position, which was occupied by ‘Abdullah  bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu)  and he became the jurist of  Kufah.  

Imaam Abu Haneefah (rahimahullah) never took out his opinions  ‘from his own pocket’. Rather he  simply conveyed to us the  teachings of Rasulullah  (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) which were conveyed to him via the  illustrious chain of scholars, i.e.  his teacher Hammaad  (rahimahullah) from Ebrahim  Nakha‘ee (rahimahullah) from  ‘Alqamah (rahimahullah) from the  great jurist of this Ummah,  ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) from Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). 

Caution in Knowledge    

Despite possessing such great  knowledge, ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) was very  cautious when it came to knowledge and more specifically  the ahaadeeth of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam).  

In a narration of Saheeh Bukhaari (#4774), Masrooq (rahimahullah)  mentioned, that there was a  person in the musjid who was  presenting his personal opinion  regarding a certain verse of the  Quraan.  

Unfortunately this has become a  common problem today where  everyone wishes to give their own interpretation when it comes to  the verses of the Quraan, and  they feel that they have the right  to give their personal opinion in  deen.

Nevertheless, this news reached ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) while he was lying down. At once he woke up all annoyed and said:  

“That person should speak who has deep knowledge of deen, and when a person does not have knowledge of deen, he should say ‘Allah Ta‘ala knows best,’ since part of knowledge is that when you are unaware of something you say ‘I don’t know’. 

He should not pretend to know, since Allah Ta‘ala has informed us regarding Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) that:   

“I am not from among those who pretend.” (Surah Saad v86)

It is simple, if we do not know we should refer to those who know.    
“Ask the people of understanding if you do not know.” (Surah An-Nahl v43)

We should not pretend to be the greatest scholar of the time. Just as we will not attempt to give our opinion in the medical field or any other field that we are not acquainted with, even more important is the aspect of deen. We cannot give our own opinions regarding deen.

Another aspect regarding the caution of ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) is that he never directly attributed anything to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). His student ‘Amr bin Maimoon (rahimahullah) reports that he stayed with him  (Abdullah bin Mas‘ood) for one  year, but during that entire duration ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) never directly  attributed anything to Rasulullah  (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). One  day by mistake it slipped from his  tongue: “Rasulullah (sallallahu  ‘alaihi wasallam) said”. This made  him extremely worried. He broke  out into perspiration and his  entire expression changed. Then he said:  

“Either Rasulullah (sallallahu  ‘alaihi wasallam) said these  words, or these were the  approximate words of Rasulullah  (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam).”  (Tabaqaat Ibni Sa’d vol.3, pg.116)

This was the degree of caution he  had exercised in attributing anything to Rasulullah (sallallahu  ‘alaihi wasallam).

Imaam Muslim (rahimahullah) has  mentioned the narration in the  introduction of his Saheeh  (#14), that ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) said:

“If you are explaining some  (aspect of deen or even a)  hadeeth of Rasulullah (sallallahu  ‘alaihi wasallam) and your  audience does not have the  ability to fully understand and  grasp it, then this will be a means  of fitnah (evil and mischief) for  them.”  

Instead of them drawing closer  to Allah Ta‘ala they will move further away from deen.  

From this we learn that we need  to have a certain level of knowledge and understanding in  order to understand the Quraan  and hadeeth. It is not for all and  sundry to directly access the  Quraan and hadeeth.

Final Days   

Towards the end of his life, ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) left Kufah and returned to Madeenah Munawwarah. 

Discussion with Uthmaan (radhiyallahu ‘anhu)     

Prior to him passing away, while he was sick, Uthmaan (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) who was the khaleefah at that time had come to visit him, and a very interesting discussion had taken place between them. 

Uthmaan (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) asked him: “What sickness are you suffering from?” 

He replied: “My greatest concern is my sins.” 

This was the feature in the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) that despite the heights they had reached, they always felt themselves to be insignificant and their concern was how will they stand in front of Allah Ta‘ala? 

Uthmaan (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) then asked him: “Do you have any wish or desire?” 

He replied: “The only desire I have is the mercy of my Rabb, Allah Ta‘ala.”

Thereafter Uthmaan (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) asked him: “Should I not call for a doctor?” 

He replied: “The true doctor and giver of cure who is Allah Ta‘ala has placed me in this sickness.” 

So why should I turn to any other doctor.  From this we should not get the incorrect message of not seeing a doctor, as this was based on his level of imaan, and ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) probably realised that this was now the end of his life and there was no need to see a doctor. 

Uthmaan (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) thereafter asked: “Should I not  stipulate for you a salary from  the public treasury?”  

He replied: “I don’t need a salary  (since I am leaving this world).”  

Uthmaan (radhiyallahu ‘anhu)  says that you have daughters, and this salary would take care of  their needs after you have departed from this world. 

This is the concern of every  individual, “What’s going to happen to my children, especially  to my daughters?” The same concern is being presented to  ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu). Today our  concern for our daughters’ futures has even driven us to  sending them to acquire degrees  at universities at the expense of  them losing all their shame. We feel that it is important for  them to have a profession, in the event their marriages do not  work out and they return home, who is going to support them?  We are preparing for a breakdown in their marriage, even before the  marriage can take place. We are  not educating them to make a  home, rather we are educating  them to break a home. Thus  many a time it ends up like that.  Allah Ta‘ala treats us as we  expect from Allah Ta‘ala.   Nevertheless, ‘Abdullah bin  Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) replied: “Do you fear poverty to  afflict my daughters?  

This is not a concern, as I have  heard from Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and I have  taught this to my daughters that  the person who recites Surah  Waaqi‘ah every night, Allah Ta‘ala  will never allow poverty to come  to such a person.”  (Usdul  Ghaabah vol. 3, pg. 77)  

This was the solution that  ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) found for the  concern of his daughters, and not the Western solutions that  we are adopting.  

We should take this as a lesson for us all. The financial instability and recession  of the world is everyone’s concern. Let us secure our lives  and the lives of our children by  reciting Surah Waaqi‘ah every  night. We work the entire day to  protect ourselves from poverty.  But this is a prescription of  Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi  wasallam). Let us take out a few  minutes to recite this surah as a  guaranteed means of protection  from poverty. 

Glad Tidings         

During the last few days of  ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood  (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), a man met  him and informed him: “I saw a  dream, in which Rasulullah  (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was  standing on a mimbar (pulpit)  and you were standing below him.Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi  wasallam) was saying to you, ‘O  Ibn Mas‘ood, hurry to me since  you have undergone many  difficulties in life after my  demise.’” After asking the man to take an oath that he had really  seen this dream, ‘Abdullah bin  Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu)  requested him not to leave  Madeenah Munawwarah until he  offers the janaazah salaah on him.

Demise   

Within a few days ‘Abdullah bin  Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) passed away, in the year 32 A.H.  when he was approximately 63 years of age, and was buried in  Jannatul Baqee’, the blessed graveyard of Madeenah  Munawwarah.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s