Thursday, March 31, 2011

Shaykh Abdul-Wahid ibn 'Ashir

Abdul-Wahid ibn 'Ashir
By Ustadh Abdullah ibn Hamid Ali

Abu Muhammad Sidi ‘Abdul-Wahid ibn Ahmad ibn ‘Ali ibn ‘Ashir was one of the great Maliki scholars of Morocco.
His lineage can be traced back to the ancient Medinite tribe known as the ‘Ansar’ who lent their support to the Prophet Muhammad and welcomed him to take up residence in their city after the people of Mecca had persecuted him and driven him out. His most immediate descendants can be traced back to Islamic Spain (Andalusia). But they would later take up residence in the ancient Moroccan city of Fez
where Sidi Ibn ‘Ashir grew up and spent most of his life.

He was known as one who excelled at the various Islamic disciplines. He was also an extremely righteous and ascetic person. He, like many scholars before him, provided for his self through his independent labor and exertion. He was well-known for always seeking out the most wholesome and purest of food (halal). And people knew him to be humble, modest, and of the most outstanding character.

He would even sometimes attend the circles of scholars who were lesser than he in knowledge in order to take benefit. And he was constantly involved in teaching. When he spoke to and about people, he was very fair in whatever he had to say to others.

Some of his greatest contributions are in the area of the variant Koranic readings (qira’at). He has super-commentaries on the works of major scholars of that discipline, like Imam Ja’buri. He also surpassed those of his time in the area of scriptwriting (rasm). And he has an amazing commentary on a work entitled ‘Maurid Al-Zham’an’ (Drinking-Pool of the Thirsty) that deals with the manner of writing the script of six of the seven major authors of the variant Koranic readings besides Imam Nafi’i [1] that consists of approximately 50 lines of poetry.

He has also contributed much to the sciences of Grammar (nahw), word declension (sarf), exegesis (tafsir), law (fiqh), behavioral refinement (tasawwuf), logic (mantiq), eloquence (bayan), the poetic meters (‘arud), medicine (tibb), natural time determination (tawqit), arithmetic (hisab), inheritance law (faraa’id), and others.

He performed the Hajj pilgrimage in the year 1008
when he was 18. And he participated in a number of military campaigns. It was a common practice for him to take retreat in the mosque (‘itikaf) and stand up for the night prayer (tahajjud) very often.

He memorized the Koran under Ustadh Abu Al-‘Abbas Ahmad ibn ‘Uthman Al-Lamti and others. And he learned the seven famous variant Koranic readings with Ustadh Abu Al-‘Abbas Al-Kafif, then from ‘Ali Abu ‘Abd Allah Muhammad Al-Sharif Al-Maryi Al-Talmasani and others.

His student, Shaykh Mayyara says of him in ‘Mu’in Al-Qari’ (The Aid of the Reciter) and in his Kabir on Al-Murshid Al-Mu’in:

“And there is no doubt that he eclipsed his own teachers (ashyakhahu) in versatility (tafannun) in the areas of presenting the various scholarly arguments and determining those that were correct (tawjīhāt and ta’dīlāt).”

He also learned fiqh (law) and other things from Abu Al-‘Abbas ibn Al-Qadi, his cousin Abu Al-Qasim, Ibn Abu Al-Na’im Al-Ghassani, Abu Al-Hasan ‘Ali ibn ‘Imran, Abu ‘Abd Allah Al-Hawari, Shaykh Al-Qassar and others. And in the east he learned from Salim Al-Sanhuri, ‘Abd Allah Al-Ghazzi, and others.

In a work entitled ‘Al-Matmah’ (The Goal), the author mentions:

“When he made Hajj and met with Shaykh ‘Abd Allah Al-Danushari and was asked by the Shaykh about his teachers (ashyaakihi) among which he mentioned ‘Al-Qassar’, Al-Danushari composed the following poem:

A number of Imams have weaved together the cloth of the sciences

And adorned with it virtue to those who were nude

Its selvages excite wonder and its embroidery is soft

But it is still in need of Al-Qassar”

And he (Ibn ‘Ashir) learned the spiritual path of Tasawwuf from his shaykh, Sidi Muhammad Al-Tajibi, better known as Ibn ‘Aziz, who is buried in Al-Darb Al-Tawil. He also reported marvels from him that he used to relate to others. And it was by his hand that the expansiveness of knowledge and good works were made easy for him (futiha ‘alaihi).

He – may Allah show him mercy – also composed a number of works characterized by the greatest of style and accuracy. One of them is the famous didactic poem that deals with the Five Pillars of Islam and the Fundamentals of Sufism entitled ‘Al-Murshid al-Mu’in ‘ala Al-Daruri min ‘Ulum Al-Din.’ He started to compose it after he adorned himself in the pilgrim garb for Hajj. Then he composed the acts of Hajj in their sequence as mentioned in his work starting with the words:

“And if you desire to execute your Hajj then listen to its explanation…”

So once he completed his Hajj, he finished (writing) what relates to the Five Pillars.

Another one of his works is his ‘Marginal Notes’ (Turar) that he recorded on Imam Al-Tatai’s small commentary on the Mukhtasar of Shaykh Khalil entitled ‘Jawahir al-Durar ‘ala Mukhtasar Khalil’ (The Jewels of the Pearls of the Mukhtasar of Khalil). Shaykh Mayyara says in his commentary on his didactic poem composed on ‘Takmil Al-Manhaj’ (Perfecting the Path):

“And they are excellent marginal notes. Some of them pertain to the comments of the aforementioned commentator and others pertain to the comments of Khalil. He solved in them a number of problematic issues and removed by them a number of obscure matters. So may Allah reward him from the Muslims good and magnify his reward for that…” And he said: “The Most Erudite Pious Saint Abu ‘Abd Allah Sidi Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr – may Allah have mercy on him, give benefit by him and eternalize the good and blessing among his progeny – gave an order to circulate those marginal notes. So I brought out more than 20 handwritten pamphlets (kurras) from the large closet (qalab). The people benefited from them. And they were published in the different towns.”

And in ‘Mu’in Al-Qari’ he mentioned that he brought out approximately 40 handwritten pamphlets.

And anytime a relative of his died, he didn’t prepare a banquet for those who would gather to recite Koran for the dead (hazzabun) as was the custom of people in his town. As a result, he was accused of being miserly. So when his brother died and he attended his funeral, he stood up once the people began to leave and said:

“O ye people! The only thing that kept me from preparing a banquet for the hazzabun is that they corrupt the recitation (of the Koran).”

But him saying that didn’t make the hazzabun stop this practice nor did the people stop preparing banquets for them.

He even used to say:

“The recitation of the hazzabun is an excuse for one not to attend funerals.”

That was conveyed about him in Badhl Al-Manāsaha (Offering Sincere Advice).

As for his death, he – may Allah show him mercy – was afflicted with an illness that the common folk called ‘Al-Nuqta’ (The Dot) on the early morn of Thursday, the third day of the Sacred month, Dhu al-Hijja, in the year 1040 AH. He died close to sunset on that day at the age of 50 – as is found in the handwriting of Sidi Al-Mahdi Al-Fasi. And he was buried the following day at the top of Matrah al-Janna near the prayer room (musalla). And a bow was built over it.

The author of Al-Nabiyya writes:

“And his bow located in the western portion of the Rawda of Sidi Yusuf Al-Fasi is well-known.”

His grave faces the direction of the Rawda of Sidi Yusuf. May Allah eternalize the benefit taken from him during life and after death.

His student Mayyara mentioned for him a short biography in the beginning of his commentary on ‘Al-Murshid Al-Mu’in’ and at the beginning of his super-commentary on Al-Bukhari as did the authors of ‘Al-Safwa’, ‘Al-Nashr’, and ‘Iltiqat Al-Durar’ as well as others.


[1] His name was Nafi’ ibn ‘Abd Al-Rahman ibn Abu Na’im, the client of Ja’una ibn Shu’ub Al-Laythi, who was the patron ally of the Prophet’s paternal uncle, Hamza ibn ‘Abd Al-Muttalib. He was originally from the town of Asfahan. And he died in Medina in the year 169 AH. He is considered the Imam of one of the 7 most famous Qur’anic modes of recitation, which would be recognized as the ‘Qur’anic Style/ or Reading of Medina.’ [Al-Jazari, Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Ali ibn Yusuf: Tahbir al-Taysir fi Qira’at al-Aimma al-‘Ashara. Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyya, Beirut, Lebanon 1404AH/1983CE, pp. 13-14]

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Shaykh Abdur-Rahman ould al Hajj

Shaykh Alama Mufti Abdur Rahman bin Muhammad bin Salek bin Fahfu. Is one of the greatest Ulema living today,
His Noble father is more known in the west as the Noble Shaykh Murabit Al Hajj. Shaykh Abdur Rahman is from the tribe of Massumi who trace their lineage back to the Himyar tribe of Yemen. The Shaykh himself comes from a long line of scholars and is known throughout Mauritania and the world for his knowledge and piety.

Shaykh Abdur Rahman is the senior son of Shaykh Murabit al Hajj, the Shaykh from a young age memorized the Quran and studied the sciences of reading the Quran. He then started studying Maliki Fiqh,

He memorized and mastered all the major texts in the Maliki Fiqh such as Akhdari, Ibn Ashir, the Risala of Ibn Abi Zaid, Ashalul Masalik, Nathmu Muqadimaati ibn Rushd, and the Mukhtasar of Sidi Khalil and many more.

He then started studying Arabic Grammar and Morphology, very soon the Shaykh memorized and mastered nearly all the major classical texts such as Ajromiyah, Lamia tul Afaal, Qatru Nada, Mulhat al 'Iraab and the Alfiyyah of Ibn Malik. In aqidah, he mastered the Ash'ari creed using the texts of Imam Ash Sharnubi, Imam al Bulaym, Jawahar at Tawhid, and Idaah as well as other texts.

The Shaykh is a master in Maliki Fiqh. Shaykh Abdur Rahman has mastered over 18 sciences, including Usul al Fiqh, Hadith, Inheritance, Muamalat, Quran recitation (he knows all 7 seven Qirats), Iraab al Quran, Tafseer al Quran, Mujizat al Quran, and many more.

The Shaykh has served as an Imam and Mufti in Abu Dhabi, and currently lives with his family and children in the old quarters of Granada, Spain.

This information, courtesy of the Abu Hanifah Institute,

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Uthman ibn `Affan (raa)

`Uthman ibn `Affan ibn Abi al-`As ibn Umayya ibn `Abd Shams, Abu `Amr, Abu `Abd Allah, Abu Layla al-Qurashi al-Umawi (d. 35), the Prophet’s Friend, Amîr al-Mu’minîn, the third of the four Rightly-Guided Successors of the Prophet and third of the Ten promised Paradise. He is named Dhu al-Nûrayn or "Possessing Two Lights," a reference to his marriage with two daughters of the Prophet, Ruqayya then Umm Kulthum. He is among those who emigrated twice: once to Abyssinia, and again to Madina. He gathered together the Qur’an which he had read in its entirety before the Prophet. During his tenure as Caliph, Armenia, Caucasia, Khurasan, Kirman, Sijistan, Cyprus, and much of North Africa were added to the dominions of Islam. He related 146 hadiths from the Prophet. Among the Companions who narrated from him in the Nine Books are Anas, Abu Hurayra, Jundub, `Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr, `Abd Allah ibn `Abbas, `Abd Allah ibn `Umar. A host of prominent Followers narrated from him, among them al-Zuhri, Ibn al-Musayyib, al-Dahhak, and `Alqama.

`Uthman was extremely wealthy and generous. When he heard the Prophet say: "Whoever equips the army of al-`Usra, Paradise is for him," he brought the Prophet a thousand gold dinars which he poured into his lap. The Prophet picked them up with his hand and said repeatedly: "Nothing shall harm `Uthman after what he did today." It is also narrated that equipped the army of al-`Usra with seven hundred ounces of gold, or seven hundred and fifty camels and fifty horses.

The Prophet said: "The most compassionate of my Community towards my Community is Abu Bakr; the staunchest in Allah’s Religion is `Umar; and the most truthful in his modesty is `Uthman." The pebbles were heard by Abu Dharr glorifying Allah in the hands of the Prophet, Abu Bakr, `Umar, and `Uthman. The Prophet particularly praised `Uthman for his modesty and said: "Shall I not feel bashful before a man when even the angels feel bashful before him?"

He was humble and was seen at the time of his caliphate sleeping alone in the mosque, wrapped in a blanket with no one around him, and riding on a mule with his son Na’il behind him.

It is related through several sound chains that `Uthman recited the Qur’an in a single rak`a. Ibrahim ibn Rustum al-Marwazi said: "Four are the Imams that recited the entire Qur’an in a single rak`a: `Uthman ibn `Affan, Tamim al-Dari, Sa`id ibn Jubayr, and Abu Hanifa." Ibn al-Mubarak also narrated that `Uthman used to fast all year round. `Ali ibn Abi Talib said: "`Uthman was one of those who were ‘mindful of their duty and [did] good works, and again [were] mindful of [their] duty, and [believed], and once again [were] mindful of their duty, and did right. Allah loves those who do good.’ (5:93)" Ibn `Umar said that `Uthman was meant by the verse "Is he who pays adoration in the watches of the night, prostrate and standing, bewaring of the Hereafter and hoping for the mercy of his Lord. . ." (39:9).

Anas narrated: When Hudhayfa campaigned with the people of Iraq and al-Sham in Armenia, the Muslims contended with regard to the Qur’an in a reprehensible manner. Hudhayfa came to `Uthman and told him: "O Commander of the Believers, rescue this Community before they differ in the Qur’an the way Christians and Jews differed in the Books." `Uthman was alarmed at this and sent word to Hafsa the Mother of the Believers: "Send me all the volumes in which the Qur’an has been written down." When she did, `Uthman ordered Zayd ibn Thabit, Sa`id ibn al-`As, `Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr, and `Abd Al-Rahman ibn al-Harith ibn Hisham to copy them into volumes. He said: "If you all differ with Zayd concerning the Arabic, then write it in the dialect of Quraysh, for truly the Qur’an was only revealed in their dialect." There is Consensus around the integral contents of `Uthman’s volume. This means that one who denies or questions it in whole or in part has left Islam.

`Uthman was neither tall nor short, extremely handsome, brunet, large-jointed, wide-shouldered, with a large beard which he dyed yellow and long hair which reached to his shoulders, and gold-braced teeth. `Abd Allah ibn Hazm said: "I saw `Uthman, and I never saw man nor woman handsomer of face than him."

The plot to kill `Uthman marked the onset of Dissension (fitna) in the Community. Together with deadly division, the great sign of this Dissension was the beginning of falsehood. The timing of the spread of falsehood was foretold by the Prophet in the hadith: "I entrust to you the well-being of my Companions, and that of those that come after them. Then falsehood will spread." To counter this, the sciences of hadith and hadith criticism were innovated within the half-century which followed `Uthman’s death in order to sift true Prophetic and Companion-reports from false ones. This was done by verifying the authenticity of transmission chains (isnâds) embodied in the honesty and competence of transmitters, and by examining the conditions and contents of transmission in their minutest historical, linguistic, and doctrinal details. Ibn Sirin (d. 110) said: "We used to accept as true what we heard, then lies spread and we began to say: Name your transmitters." Confirming this is al-Hasan al-Basri’s (d. 110) reaction to someone who requested his isnâd: "O man! I neither lie nor was ever called a liar!" Later scholars such as Ibn al-Mubarak (d. 181) declared: "Isnâd is an integral part of the Religion, otherwise anyone can say anything."

The principle of authentication was founded by the Prophet himself and used by the Companions. This is proved by the Prophet’s questioning of the man who said he had seen the new moon of Ramadan: "Do you bear witness that there is no God except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah?" When he replied in the affirmative, the Prophet accepted his news. Similarly, Ibn `Abbas said: "If a trustworthy source tells us of a fatwa by `Ali, we do not seek any further concerning it." This shows that they already distinguished between true and dubious sources. Furthermore, all the Companions are considered trustworthy sources according to Allah’s saying: "You are the best community that has been raised up for mankind" (3:110) and several other verses and hadiths to that effect. This evidence was listed by al-Khatib in al-Kifaya and Ibn Hajar in al-Isaba.

The Prophet spoke of `Uthman’s forthcoming martyrdom on numerous occasions:

"Give him [`Uthman] the tidings of Paradise after a trial that shall befall him."

"A dissension shall surge like so many bull’s horns. At that time, he [indicating a man wearing a veil] and whoever is with him are on the side of right." Ka`b ibn Murra al-Bahzi then ran to the man, lifted his veil, and turned him towards the Prophet saying: "Him, O Messenger of Allah?" The Prophet said yes. It was `Uthman ibn `Affan.

`Uthman said: "The Prophet took a covenant from me [not to fight at the time of my martyrdom] and I shall fulfill it."

"O `Uthman! It may be that Allah shall vest you with a shirt. If they demand that you remove it, do not remove it."

Ibn `Umar said: "As `Uthman was delivering a sermon, Jahjah al-Ghafari walked up to him, snatched his stick, and broke it on his knee. A shard of wood entered his thigh and it got gangrened and was amputated. Then he died within the year. Al-Qadi `Iyad relates in his book al-Shifa’, chapter entitled "Esteem for the things and places connected with the Prophet," that this staff had belonged to the Prophet.

`Abd Allah ibn Salam said to the Egyptians at the time they were besieging the Commander of the Believers `Uthman ibn `Affan: "Never did Allah’s sword not remain sheathed from harming you since the Prophet came to it until this very day." Yazid ibn Abi Habib said: "I have heard that most of those that rode to kill `Uthman were later seized by demonic possession." Al-Dhahabi mentioned that `Ali had pronounced a curse on `Uthman’s killers. One of the reasons for the climate of hatred stirred up against the Caliph was the grievance of some parties from Egypt and Iraq that `Uthman was favoring his relatives among the Banu Umayya with public offices and demanded that he remove them.

Ibn al-Musayyib related that a group of seven hundred Egyptians came to complain to `Uthman about their governor Ibn Abi Sarh’s tyranny, so `Uthman said: "Chose someone to govern you." They chose Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr, so `Uthman wrote credentials for him and they returned. On their way back, at three days’ distace from Madina, a black slave caught up with them with the news that he carried orders from `Uthman to the governor of Egypt. They searched him and found a message from `Uthman to Ibn Abi Sarh ordering the death of Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr and some of his friends. They returned to Madina and besieged `Uthman. The latter acknowledged that the camel, the slave, and the seal on the letter belonged to him, but he swore that he had never written nor ordered the letter to be written. It was discovered that the letter had been hand-written by Marwan ibn al-Hakam. `Uthman was besieged for twenty-two days during which he refused both to give up Marwan and to resign. He was killed on the last day of Dhu al-Hijja, on the day of Jum`a, by several men who had crept into his house.

Ibn `Umar related from `Uthman that the previous night the latter had seen the Prophet in his dream telling him: "Be strong! Verily you shall break your fast with us tomorrow night." When his assailants came in they found him reading the Qur’an. `Uthman was first stabbed in the head with an arrow-head, then a man placed the point of his sword against his belly, whereupon his wife Na’ila tried to prevent him with her hand, losing several fingers. Then `Uthman and Na’ila’s servant were killed as the latter fought back. She ran out of the house screaming for help and the killers dispersed. It is narrated that `Uthman was killed as he was reading the verse "And Allah will suffice you for defense against them. He is the Hearer, the Knower." (2:137) Several reports state that at the time of `Uthman’s siege and death Zayd ibn Thabit had marshalled three hundred Ansâr in his defense together with Abu Hurayra, Ibn `Umar, al-Hasan, al-Husayn, `Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr, but `Uthman forbade all of them to fight.

Among `Uthman’s sayings:

"If I were between Paradise and the Fire, unsure where I will be sent, I would choose to be turned into ash before finding out where I was bound."

"I swear by Allah that I never committed fornication in the Time of Ignorance nor in Islam. Islam only increased me in modesty."

His servant Hani’ narrated: "Whenever `Uthman stood before a grave he wept until his beard was wet. He was asked: ‘You have seen battle and death without a tear, and you cry for this?’ He said: ‘The grave is the first abode of the hereafter. Whoever is saved from it, what follows is easier; whoever is not saved from it, what follows is harder. The Prophet said: "I have not seen anything more frightful than the punishment in the grave."’" `Uthman also related from the Prophet that whenever the latter finished burying someone, he would stand by the grave and say: "All of you, ask Allah to forgive your brother and make him steadfast, for he is now being questioned."

The Prophet said: "More men will enter Paradise through the intercession of a certain man than there are people in the tribes of Rabi`a and Mudar." The elders considered that this was `Uthman ibn `Affan.

Main sources: Abu Nu`aym, Hilya al-Awliya’ 1:92-100 #3; al-Dhahabi, Siyar A`lam al-Nubala’ 1/2: 566-614 #4.

SeekersGuidance - Habib Umar’s Morning Lessons on Imam Ghazali’s Marvels of the Heart - Day 1 - Select Quotes - Blog

SeekersGuidance - Habib Umar’s Morning Lessons on Imam Ghazali’s Marvels of the Heart - Day 1 - Select Quotes - Blog

Monday, March 14, 2011

Abu Bakr(raa)

Abu Bakr al-Siddiq, `Atiq ibn Abi Quhafa, Shaykh al-Islam, `Abd Allah ibn `Uthman ibn `Amir al-Qurashi al-Taymi (d. 13), the Prophet’s intimate friend after Allah, exclusive companion at the Prophet’s Basin (hawd) and in the Cave, greatest supporter, closest confidant, first spiritual inheritor, first of the men who believed in him and the only one who did so unhesitatingly, first of his four Rightly-Guided successors, first of the ten promised Paradise, and first of the Prophet’s Community to enter Paradise.

Alone among the Companions, Abu Bakr repeatedly led the Community in prayer in the lifetime of the Prophet. The latter used to call him by his patronyms of Abu Bakr and Ibn Abi Quhafa, and he named him with the attributes "The Most Truthful" (al-Siddîq) and "Allah’s Freedman From the Fire" (`Atîq Allâh min al-nâr). When the Quraysh confronted the Prophet after the Night Journey, they turned to Abu Bakr and said: "Do you believe what he said, that he went last night to the Hallowed House and came back before morning?" He replied: "If he said it, then I believe him, yes, and I do believe him regarding what is farther than that. I believe the news of heaven he brings, whether in the space of a morning or in that of an evening journey." Because of this Abu Bakr was named al-Siddîq: the Very Truthful, the One Who Never Lies.

Among the Companions who narrated from him: Anas, `A’isha, Jabir, Abu Hurayra, the four `Abd Allahs (Ibn `Abbas, Ibn Mas`ud, Ibn `Umar, Ibn `Amr), `Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr, `Umar, `Uthman, and `Ali. The latter is one of the narrators of the Prophet’s hadith cited by Abu Bakr: "We [Prophets] do not leave anything as inheritance. What we leave behind is charity (sadaqa)."

`Umar said: "Abu Bakr’s faith outweighs the faith of the entire Umma." This is confirmed by the following hadith: The Prophet asked: "Did any of you see anything in his dream?" A man said to the Prophet: "O Messenger of Allah, I saw in my dream as if a balance came down from the heaven in which you were weighed against Abu Bakr and outweighed him, then Abu Bakr was weighed against `Umar and outweighed him, then `Umar was weighed against `Uthman and outweighed him, then the balance was raised up." This displeased the Prophet who said: "Successorship of prophethood (khilâfa nubuwwa)! Then Allah shall give kingship to whomever He will." `Umar also said: "The best of this Community after its Prophet is Abu Bakr." `Ali named him and `Umar the Shaykh al-Islam of the Community and said: "The best of this Community after its Prophet are Abu Bakr and `Umar," "The most courageous of people is Abu Bakr," and "The greatest in reward among people for the volumes of the Qur’an is Abu Bakr, for he was the first of those who gathered the Qur’an between two covers." He was also the first to name it mushaf.

Abu Bakr’s high rank is indicated, among other signs, by the fact that to deny his Companionship to the Prophet entails disbelief (kufr), unlike the denial of the Companionship of `Umar, `Uthman, and `Ali to the Prophet. This is due to the mention of this companionship in the verse: "The second of two when the two were in the cave, and he said unto his companion: Grieve not" (9:40) which refers, by Consensus, to the Prophet and Abu Bakr. Allah further praised him above the rest by saying: "Those who spent and fought before the victory are not upon a level (with the rest of you)." (57:10)

The Prophet confirmed his high rank in many of his sayings, among them:

"Allah gave one of His servants a choice between this world and what He has with Him, and that servant chose what Allah has with Him." Abu Bakr wept profusely and we wondered why he wept, since the Prophet had told of a servant that was given a choice. The Prophet himself was that servant, as Abu Bakr later told us. The Prophet continued: "Among those most dedicated to me in his companionship and property is Abu Bakr. If I were to take an intimate friend other than my Lord, I would take Abu Bakr. But what binds us is the brotherhood of Islam and its love. Let no door [of the Prophet’s mosque] remain open except Abu Bakr’s."

"I am excused, before each of my friends, of any intimate friendship with anyone. But if I were to take an intimate friend, I would take Ibn Abi Quhafa as my intimate friend. Verily, your Companion is the intimate friend of Allah!"

"You [Abu Bakr] are my companion at the Basin and my companion in the Cave."

"Call Abu Bakr and his son so that I will put something down in writing, for I fear lest someone ambitious forward a claim, and Allah and the believers refuse anyone other than Abu Bakr."

`Amr ibn al-`As asked: "O Messenger of Allah, who is the most beloved of all men to you?" He replied: "Abu Bakr."

"It is impermissible for a people among whom is Abu Bakr, to be led by other than him."

"Take for your leaders those who come after me: Abu Bakr and `Umar."

"O`Ali! Abu Bakr and `Umar are the leaders of the mature inhabitants of Paradise and its youth among the first and the last, except for Prophets and Messengers."

"The sun never rose nor set over anyone better than Abu Bakr."

"The Prophet used to hold nightly conversations with Abu Bakr in the latter’s house, discussing the affairs of Muslims, and I [`Umar] was present with them."

`Umar was angered by Abu Bakr one day and left him in anger. Abu Bakr followed after him, asking his forgiveness, but `Umar refused and shut his door in his face. Abu Bakr then went to the Prophet and took hold of his garment until his knee showed. The Prophet said: "Your companion has been arguing!" Abu Bakr greeted him and said: "There was a dispute between me and `Umar, then I felt remorse and asked him to forgive me but he would not, so I came to you." The Prophet said, repeating three times: "Allah forgives you, O Abu Bakr! Allah forgives you, O Abu Bakr! Allah forgives you, O Abu Bakr!" Then `Umar felt remorse and went asking for Abu Bakr at his house without finding him. He came to the Prophet and greeted him, but the Prophet’s face changed with displeasure. Seeing this, Abu Bakr sat up on his knees in fear before the Prophet, saying twice: "O Messenger of Allah! I am the one who trangressed. O Messenger of Allah! I am the one who transgressed." The Prophet said to the people: "Allah sent me to you and you all said: ‘You are lying!’ But Abu Bakr said: ‘He said the truth.’ Abu Bakr gave me solace with his person and property. Will you leave my companion alone once and for all? Will you leave my companion alone once and for all?!" After this Abu Bakr was never harmed again.

"Jibril came to me, took me by the hand, and showed me the gate through which my Community shall enter Paradise." Abu Bakr said: "Would that I were with you to see it!" The Prophet said: "Did you not know? You will be the first of all my Community to enter it."

Al-Suyuti relates through Ibn Sa`d’s report from `A’isha her description of Abu Bakr: "He was a man with fair skin, thin, emaciated, with a sparse beard, a slightly hunched frame, sunken eyes and protruding forehead, and the bases of his fingers were hairless." He was the foremost genealogist of the Quraysh and the best of them at interpreting dreams after the Prophet according to Ibn Sirin. `A’isha related that both he and `Uthman had relinquished drinking wine even in the Time of Ignorance. His caliphate lasted two years and three months in which he opened up the lands of Syria and Iraq for the Muslims, suppressed apostasy among the Arab tribes, fought the pseudo-Prophets al-Aswad al-`Ansi, Tulayha al-Asadi who recanted and declared his prophethood in Najd, and Musaylima the Liar who was killed in the devastating battle of al-Yamama.

Imam al-Nawawi pointed out that Abu Bakr’s genealogical tree alone regroups four successive generations of Companions of the Prophet: his father Abu Quhafa, himself, his daughter Asma’, and her son `Abd Allah, in addition to Abu Bakr’s son `Abd al-Rahman and his grandson Abu `Atiq. Nawawi states that only one hundred and forty-two hadiths of the Prophet are narrated from Abu Bakr. He comments: "The reason for this scarcity, despite the seniority of his companionship to the Prophet, is that his death pre-dated the dissemination of hadiths and the endeavor of the Followers to hear, gather, and preserve them." Among Abu Bakr’s sayings: "Whoever fights his ego for Allah’s sake, Allah will protect Him against what He hates."

Main sources: Al-Nawawi, Tahdhib al-Asma’ wa al-Lughat 2:181-182; Abu Nu`aym, Hilya al-Awliya’ 1:62-72 #1; al-Dhahabi, Siyar A`lam al-Nubala’ 1-2:467-508 #2.

A Glimpse pf Umar Ibn al-Khattab(raa)

Umar- Description & Appearance
Umar was blessed with a strong physique. He could undergo great rigours. He could travel on foot for miles. He was an athlete and a wrestler. He participated in the wrestling matches on the occasion of the annual fair at Ukaz, and he won in most of such matches. From the accounts that have come down to us it appears that Umar had attained perfection in the art of wrestling.

Some first hand descriptions of the physical appearance of Umar have come down to us. Ibn Saad and al-Hakim have recorded a description of Umar as Abu Miriam Zir, a native of Kufa described him. Zir said:

"I went forth with the people of Madina on a festival day, and I saw Umar walking barefoot. He was advanced in years, bald, of a tawny colour-a left handed man, tall, and towering above the people."

Ibn Umar described the physical appearance of Umar as follows:

"He was a man of fair complexion, a ruddy tint prevailing, tall, bald and grey."

Ubayd bin Umayr described Umar as follows:

" Umar used to overtop the people in height."

Salima bin al-Akwa'a said about him:

" Umar was ambidexter; he could use both his hands equally well."

Ibn Asakir records on tile authority of Abu Raja al-U'taridi that:

"Umar was a man tall, stout, very bald, very ruddy with scanty hair on the cheeks, his moustaches large, and the ends thereof reddish."

Umar was a skillful rider. He could successfully manage even the wildest of horses he would literally jump on the back of the horse, and sit with such ease and steadiness that he appeared to be a part and parcel of the horse he rode.

He was very intelligent and shrewd. He was a good public speaker. He was gifted with an uncommon degree ot tact and judgment, and on several occasions he successfully undertook ambassadorial missions on behalf of the Quraish.

By all accounts he was self-respecting, broad-minded and sincere. He was a man of strong convictions, a good friend, and a bad enemy. Like the rugged hills around him, he was harsh and stern, violent in temper, but very good of heart. He was always prepared to stand up against the oppressor and espouse the cause of the weak.