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`Ammar Ibn Yasir: A Man of Paradise (Part 1)

If there were people born in Paradise, reared and brought to maturity there, and then brought to earth to adorn and enlighten it, then `Ammar, his mother Sumayyah and his father Yasir would be of them!

But why do we say “if” and why do we make that condition when Yasir’s family were really of Paradise?

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Ammar’s tranquility was restored, he no longer felt pain when they punished him, and he no longer cared about it

Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) was not merely pacifying them when he said, “Patience, O Yasir’s family. Verily, your meeting place will be in Paradise.”  He was declaring a fact which he knew and reiterating an actuality perceived by him.

Under Quraish’s Torture

`Ammar’s father, Yasir lbn `Aamir, left his native place in Yemen seeking a brother of his. In Makkah he found an appealing place, so he settled there and was in alliance with Abu Hudhaifah ibn Al-Mughirah, who married him to one of his slave women, Sumayiyah Bint Khayyat.

Out of this blessed marriage Allah granted the parents a son, Ammar. Their embracing of Islam was early, like that of the righteous ones guided by Allah. And like the early righteous Muslims as well, they had their good share of the Quraish’s persecution and terror.

The Quraish used to waylay the believers to attack them. If the believers were among the honorable and noble people in their community, the Quraish would pursue them with threats and menace. Abu Jahl would meet one of the believers and tell him, “You abandoned your forefathers’ religion and they were better than you. We will spoil your character, degrade your honor, reduce your trade, and exhaust your money.”

They would then launch a heated war of nerves upon him.

If the believers were among the weak, poor, or slaves of Makkah, then the Quraish would burn them with the fire of persecution.

Yasir’s family belonged to that class. The order for their persecution was handed to Bani Makhzum. They used to take them all – Yasir, SumayyahSumayyah and `Ammar – to the burning desert of Makkah, where they would pour upon them different kinds of the hell of torture.

Sumayyah’s share of that torment was colossal and terrible. We shall not elaborate about her now, since we shall have – Allah willing – another encounter with her and her likes during those immortal days to talk about the grace of sacrifice and the glory of her firmness.

Suffice it to mention now, without any exaggeration, that Sumayyah, the martyred one, maintained a firm stance that day which gives the whole of humanity an everlasting honor and an ever glorious dignity. Her stance made of her a great mother to believers in all ages, and to the honorable people of all times.

Real Test of Belief

It was a way of life for the whole humanity of believers who had to inherit along with the religion all its history of heroism, sacrifices, and risks. These abundant noble sacrifices are the cement and the foundation that grant an everlasting firmness and immortality to the faith and the creed. It is the fragrance that fills the hearts of believers with loyalty, joy, and happiness. It is the lighthouse that guides the coming generations to the reality of religion, to its truth and greatness.

Therefore, Islam had to make its sacrifices and have its victims, the meaning of which is illustrated and illuminated in more than one verse of the Qur’an for the Muslims. Allah says:

Do the people think that they will be left to say: “We believe”, and they shall not be tried? (Al-`Ankabut 29:2)

Do you think that you will enter Paradise before Allah tests those of you who fought (in His Cause) and (also) tests those who remained patient? (Aal `Imran 3:142)

And we indeed tested those who were before them. And Allah will certainly make (it) known (the truth of) those who are true, and will certainly make (it) known (the falsehood of) those who are liars, (although Allah knows all that before putting them to test). (Al-`Ankabut 29:3)

Do you think you shall be left alone while Allah has not yet tested those among you who have striven hard… (At-Tawbah 9:16)

Allah will not leave the believers in the state in which you are now, until He distinguishes the wicked from the good. (Aal `Imran 3: 179)

And what you suffered (of the disaster) on the day (of the Battle of Uhud when) the two armies met, was by the leave of Allah, in order that He might test the believers. (Aal `Imran 3:166)

Models of Islam

That is true. This was the way the Qur’an taught its bearers and descendants that sacrifice is the essence of faith and that resistance of unjust, oppressive challenges is through firmness, patience, and persistence, which form the best and the most superb virtues of faith.

Therefore, this religion of Allah, when it was laying down its foundation, establishing its principles, and giving its models and examples, had to support and purify itself with sacrifice. In carrying out this great mission, a number of its disciples, supporters, and righteous people were chosen to be lofty models and elevated examples for the coming believers.

Sumayyah, Yasir and `Ammar were of this great and blessed group, chosen by Islam’s destiny to make of their sacrifices, firmness, and persistence a document of Islam’s greatness and immortality.

Unbearable Torture

Allah’s Messenger used to go out every day to Yasir’s family, commending their fortitude and heroism. His big heart was melting out of mercy and kindness to see them so severely tortured. One day while he was looking for them, `Ammar called to him, “O Messenger of Allah, we are suffering from extreme torment.” The Messenger called to him saying, “Patience, Abu Yaqdhan, patience O Yasir’s family. Verily, your meeting place will be in Paradise.”

`Ammar’s companions described the torture that was inflicted upon him in many of their reports. `Amr lbn Al-jiakam, for instance, said, “`Ammar used to be tortured so much that he would not be aware of what he was saying.” `Amr lbn Maimun said, “The polytheists scorched `Ammar lbn Yasir with fire, and Allah’s Messenger used to pass by him, pass his hand over Yaasir’s head and say,. “O fire, be cool and peaceful on `Ammar, as you were cool and peaceful on Ibrahim.”

Despite that overwhelming terror, it did not vanquish `Ammar’s spirit, though it overburdened his back and strained his strength.

`Ammar did not feel utterly ruined except on that day when his executioners employed all their devilry in crime and injustice. They burned his skin with fire, laid him on the heated sands of the desert under the burning stones, ducked him in water until he could hardly breathe and until his wounds and gashes were skinned.

`Ammar .. Pure Steadfastness

On that day, when he fell unconscious under the effect of that horror, they said to him, “Say something good about our gods.” They kept saying things which he repeated without being conscious of what he was saying.

When he became slightly conscious after he had fainted due to their torture, he remembered what he had said and was mad about it. This slip became so concrete to him that he saw it as an unforgivable sin which could not be atoned for. In a few moments his feeling of guilt made him suffer so much that the torture of the polytheists seemed to him a blessing and a balm.

If he had been left to such feelings for a few hours, they would have destroyed him. He was enduring the dreadful anguish of the body because his spirit was lofty, but now when he thought defeat had reached his spirit, he was overburdened with worries and fear of death and destruction. But Allah willed that the final, exciting scene would come to its dignified end. An angel stretched out its blessed right hand, shook the hand of `Ammar and called to him, “Get up, O hero! There is no blame or embarrassment for you.”

When Allah’s Messenger met him, he found him crying. He kept wiping his tears and telling Ammar, “The polytheists took you, ducked your head in water, and you said such and such a thing?”

`Ammar answered him, still crying, “Ye, O Messenger of Allah.” Allah’s Messenger said then while smiling, “If they repeat it, say the same thing.” Then he recited: “. . . except him who is forced thereto and whose heart is at rest with Faith.” (An-Nahl 16:106)

Ammar’s tranquility was restored, he no longer felt pain when they punished him, and he no longer cared about it. His spirit conquered and his faith conquered. The Qur’an had included this blessed transaction, so whatever happened, happened.

`Ammar remained steadfast until his tormenters were exhausted and they retreated, yielding to his determination.

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The article is excerpted from the book Men Around the Messenger, which is a translation based on Khalid Muhammad Khalid’s celebrated work in Arabic “Rijal Hawla Ar-Rasul” which represents the real inspirational stories of sixty-four Companions of the Prophet.

Khalid Muhammad Khalid (1920-1996) is a modern Egyptian Muslim thinker. He is most known for his book Rijal Hawla al-Rasul (Men Around the Messenger). He wrote many books about the life and the companions of the Prophet, peace be upon him.

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`Abdullah ibn `Umar: A Great Man with a Tender Heart (Part 2)

Ibn `Umar made himself a “friend of the night”, praying at night, crying, and asking forgiveness during its latter hours before daybreak. He had once, during his youth, seen a dream. The Prophet interpreted it in a way which made the night prayer `Abdullah’s utmost hope and a means of his delight and joy.

Ibn `Umar tenderness

His generosity was never a means of arrogance. He always dedicated himself to the poor and needy.

Let us listen to him, while he narrates the story of his dream:

“During the Prophetic era, I saw a dream in which I was riding a piece of brocade which let me fly to any place in Paradise I wished. Then I saw two approaching me, intending to take me to hell, but an angel met them saying, “Don’t be afraid,” so they left me.

My sister Hafsah narrated the dream to the Prophet (peace be upon him), who said, “What an excellent man `Abdullah is. If he is praying at night, then let him pray more.”

From that day until he met with Allah, he never stopped performing his night prayer, neither while staying in one place nor while traveling. He was frequently praying, reciting the Qur’an, and praising Allah. Like his father, his tears rolled down abundantly whenever he heard a warning verse in the Qur’an.

`Ubayd lbn `Umar said: I was once reading to `Abdullah ibn `Umar this verse: “How will it be for them when We bring from every nation a witness, and bring you to witness over them all? On that day

those who disbelieved and disobeyed the Messenger will wish the earth to be split open and swallow them, but they will never conceal GOD any of their saying” (An-Nisaa’ 4:41-42) Ibn `Umar began to cry till his beard was wet from his tears.

One day he was sitting among his brothers reading “Woe to those who give insufficient measure, who when others measure for them they make full measure, but when they measure out, or weigh out for others, they give less than due. Do such not think that they shall be raised up on a Mighty Day? The Day when all mankind shall stand before the Lord of the Worlds” (Al-Mutaffifin 83:1-6). Then he repeated again and again “The Day when all mankind shall stand before the Lord of the Worlds” while his tears were rolling down like heavy rain falls from the sky until he fell down because of his tremendous sorrow and crying.

His generosity, asceticism and piety all worked together in complete harmony to shape the most magnificent merits of that great man. He gave out abundantly because he was generous. He granted the fine halal things because he was pious, never caring if his generosity left him poor because he was ascetic.

lbn `Umar (May Allah be pleased with him) was one of those who had high incomes. He was a successful, honest merchant for a greater part of his life, and his income from the treasury (Bayt Al-Mal) was abundant. However, he never saved that money for himself, but always spent it copiously on the poor, the needy, and beggars.

Following the Prophetic Model

Ibn `Umar’s generosity, asceticism, and piety, these three qualities demonstrate how sincere his imitation of the Prophetic model was and how sincere his worship.

He imitated the Prophet (peace be upon him) to the extent that he stood with his camel, where the Prophet had once stood saying, “A camel foot may stand over a camel foot.”

His respect, good behavior, and admiration towards his father reached also to a far extent. `Umar’s personality forced his foes, his relatives, and, above all, his sons to pay him respect. I say, the one who belongs to that Prophet and that kind of father should never be a slave of money. Large amounts of money came to him but soon passed, just crossing his house at that moment.

His generosity was never a means of arrogance. He always dedicated himself to the poor and needy, rarely eating his meal alone: orphans and poor people were always present. He often blamed some of his sons when they invited the rich, and not the poor ones, to their banquets, thereupon saying, “You leave the hungry behind and invite the sated ones.”

The poor knew his tenderness, felt his kindness and sympathy, so they sat down across his path for him to take them to his house. When he saw them he was like a sweet scented flower surrounded by a drove of bees to suck its nectar.

Ibn `Umar & True Richness

Money in his hands was a slave, not a master, a means for necessities and not luxury. Money was not his alone. The poor had a right to it, a mutually corresponding right, with no privilege kept to himself. His self-denial helped him to reach such great generosity that he never stored, endeavored, or had a vivid interest toward the worldly life. On the contrary, he never wished to possess more than a gown to cover his body and just enough food to keep him alive.

He who has not satisfied his appetite for 40 years has not curbed his appetite due to need or poverty, but rather due to self- denial and piety, and a trial to imitate the Prophet and his father.

He was afraid to hear on the Day of Judgment: “You have wasted all your good deeds for the enjoyment in the life of this world” (Al-Ahqaf 46:20). He realized that he was in this life just as a visitor or a passerby.

He described himself saying, “I haven’t put a stone upon another (i.e. I haven’t built anything) nor planted a palm tree since the Prophet’s death.”

Persistently on the Path

Ibn `Umar lived long enough to witness the Umayyad period, when money became abundant, and land and estates spread, and a luxurious life was to be found in most dwellings, let alone most castles.

Despite all that, he stayed like a firm-rooted mountain, persistent and great, not slipping away from his paths and not abandoning his piety and asceticism.

If life with its pleasure and prosperity – which he always escaped from – was mentioned, he said, “I’ve agreed with my companions upon a matter. I’m afraid if I change my stance I won’t meet them again.”

Then he let the others know that he did not turn his back to the worldly life owing to inability, so he lifted his hands to the sky saying, “O Allah, You know that if it weren’t for fear of You, we would have emulated our clan in the Quraysh in this life.

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The article is excerpted from the book “Men Around the Messenger”, which is translation based on Khalid Muhammad Khalid’s celebrated work in Arabic “Rijal Hawla Ar-Rasul” which represents the real inspirational stories of sixty-four Companions of the Prophet.

 

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