Wednesday, 20 December 2006

Abu Dhar Ghifari RA

(this is my first blog article of which I cried and wept in its preparation. I have immense love for Abu Dhar Ghifari RA)

The ninth year of Hijrah, Rasulullah SAW was leading the expedition to Tabuk. One evening as the army was encamping, people saw someone trudging on, with baggage on his back.

"Who could this fellow be, coming on foot, all by himself?" remarked some of the men.

"It must be Abu Dhar," said Rasulullah SAW.

People looked carefully and shouted out,

"O Messenger of Allah (SAW)! surely this is Abu Dhar!"

"May Allah have mercy on Abu Dhar!" said Rasulullah SAW.

"He is a loner. He is travelling alone, will die in loneliness and will be raised alone on the Day of Judgement," said Rasulullah SAW.

In the meantime Abu Dhar came up. He explained how his camel had refused to move, when the expedition left, so he had to come on foot.

"You are one of those whom I miss very much," said Rasulullah SAW.

"However, for every step you have walked, Allah has forgiven a sin of yours."


Abu Dhar RA was one of the earliest persons who embraced Islam. He belonged to the tribe of Ghifar. This tribe inhabited the country around the trade-route to Syria. Abu Dhar possessed a very sensitive, inquisitive mind. When he came to know that the Last Prophet (SAW) had appeared in Makkah, he sent his brother to the city, saying, "Ride to that valley and find out the truth about the man who claims to be the Prophet. Talk to him and report back to me."

The brother obeyed. He talked to different people in Makkah to find out the message of Islam. Then he went back and said to Abu Dhar, "I have heard the Prophet tell people to be good and kind. The Book he recites far above poetry."

The report was too brief to satisfy Abu Dhar. He himself set out to Makkah. There he went inside the Ka'abah and waited for some one who could take him to the Prophet SAW. Presently Saiyidina Ali RA entered the Ka'abah. He looked at the stranger but Abu Dhar did not think it safe to speak out his mind to him. On the second day, the same thing happened again. On the third day Ali RA saw the stranger still sitting in the Ka'abah.

So Ali RA said, "Won't you tell me the purpose of your visit ?"

"First promise to guide me, then I will speak out my mind," said Abu Dhar. Ali readily promised and Abu Dhar explained why he had come.

"Surely he is the true Prophet of Allah," said Ali.

"Follow me and I will take you to him."

Soon Abu Dhar stood before Rasulullah SAW, completely won over to Islam. "Go back to your people," said the Master SAW, "and convey to them my message."

"By Allah," declared Abu Dhar, "first I will shout out my faith here."

Saying this Abu Dhar went straight to the Ka'abah and shouted out:

"I declare that there is no god except Allah and Muhammad is His servant and His Messenger."

This daring act made the Quraish mad with rage. They fell upon Abu Dhar and gave him a severe beating. Abbas, Rasulullah SAW's uncle, happened to come up. "Woe to you!" he said to the people, "Don't you see - that the man belongs to the tribe of Ghifar. His kinsmen will make your trade route un-safe." On the following day the same thing happened again. Once again Abbas came to Abu Dhar's help.

Abu Dhar's love for truth was unbounded. Nothing could stop him from declaring openly what he believed to be the truth. With this courage of conviction he combined a strong dislike for the comforts of this world.

Persecution by the Quraish forced the Muslims to flee to Madinah. However, Abu Dhar clung to Makkah. No danger could drive fear into his heart and no persecution could turn him from the path of truth. The Makkans started an all-out war against the Muslims. They fought the battles of Badr and Uhud, losing the first and winning the second. Feelings at Makkah ran high against Islam and its followers. Despite this all, Abu Dhar stayed on in the stronghold of the enemy.

At last he left Makkah of his own free will and joined the Master at Madinah. His dauntless faith won him the deepest love of Rasulullah SAW. "Allah has commanded me," the Rasulullah SAW once declared, "to love four men, because He Himself loves them. These men are: Ali, Miqdad, Abu Dhar and Salman, the Persian." (are we loved my Allah my brothers / sisters like how Abu Dhar is loved by Allah? Ponder)

On another occasion Nabi SAW declared:

"The earth has not carried on its back and the sky has not looked down upon a more truthful person than Abu Dhar." (are we truthful brothers / sisters?"


Such was the trust put by the Master - Rasulullah SAW in Abu Dhar that twice during his (SAW) absence, he appointed him his deputy at Madinah. Despite all this honour and rank, Abu Dhar RA led an extremely simple life.

He belonged to the group of the penniless Companions living in the portico. They are commonly known as "Ashabus Suffah" or "People of the Portico." (and we live in our luxury and want for luxury, where is our Imaan?)

They, the Ashabus Suffah made their living by collecting wood from the desert and owned nothing in the world. Almost all their time was spent in studying the details of the faith. These qualities made Abu Dhar a unique figure among the Companions RA.

Rasulullah SAW aptly described him as "the Jesus-like ascetic among my followers."

Closeness to Rasulullah SAW earned Abu DharRA the greatest respect of the people. Both Abu Bakr RA and Umar RA had the highest regard for him. Umar fixed Abu Dhar's stipend (maintenance) at the same rate as allowed to the heroes of Badr, although Abu Dhar never took part in that battle.

Abu Dhar RA led a very quiet life under the first two Caliphs. Shortly after Uthman became Caliph, the ascetic Companion felt disturbed by the course of events. The simple way of life was giving way. Abu Dhar could not remain a silent witness. He lashed out at Uthman's relatives quoting these verses of the Qur'an:

"Those who amass gold and silver and don't spend it in the way of Allah, warn them of a painful chastisement. The day which these will be heated in hell fire and their foreheads and their flanks and their backs will be branded with them. Lo! This is what you amassed for yourselves ! Now taste of what you amassed!""


Abu Dhar Ghifari RA lived the end of his life in Rabdha. In the lonely village, Abu Dhar had only the company of his wife and a maidservant.

When the end was in sight, Abu Dhar RA called his wife and the maid and said:

"When I am dead, you two wash me up, wrap me in a shroud and place my dead body by the road-side. When the first body of riders passes this way, tell them:

'This is the dead body of Abu Dhar, the Companion of the Messenger of Allah. Help us bury him.' "

This last wish of Abu Dhar RA was carried out. His dead body lay by the roadside. It so happened that Abdullah bin Mas'ud RA, another well-known Companion - one of the experts of the Qur'an among the Sahabah RA, came up with a party of men. They were riding on camels and were on their way to Madinah, from Iraq.

As the party came up, a voice shouted out:

"This is Abu Dhar, the Companion of the Messenger of Allah (SAW), help us bury him."

The announcement brought tears in the eyes of Abdullah bin Mas'ud RA.

"The Messenger of Allah (SAW) was right," he said, "when he (SAW) remarked: you are walking alone, you will die in loneliness and you will be raised alone on the Day of Judgement."

The party dismounted and laid to rest the most out-spoken Companion of the Master SAW.

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