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Abdullah Ibn Masud sahaba stories biography, sahabah, sahaabah, sahabi, sahabi's, companion of prophet mohammed saw
|Abdullah Ibn Mas'ud R.A Sahaba
When he was still a youth, not yet past the age of puberty, he used to roam the mountain trails of
Makkah far away from people, tending the flocks of a Quraysh chieftain, Uqbah ibn Muayt. People
called him "Ibn Umm Abd" the son of the mother of a slave. His real name was Abdullah and his
father's name was Mas'ud.
The youth had heard the news of the Prophet who had appeared among his people but he did not attach
any importance to it both because of his age and because he was usually far away from Makkan society.
It was his custom to leave with the flock of Uqbah early in the morning and not return until nightfall.
One day while tending the flocks, Abdullah saw two men, middle-aged and of dignified bearing, coming
towards him from a distance. They were obviously very tired. They were also so thirsty that their lips
and throat were quite dry. They came up to him, greeted him and said, "Young man, milk one of these
sheep for us that we may quench our thirst and recover our strength."
"I cannot," replied the young man. "The sheep are not mine. I am only responsible for looking after
The two men did not argue with him. In fact, although they were so thirsty, they were extremely pleased
at the honest reply. The pleasure showed on their faces . . .
The two men in fact were the blessed Prophet himself and his companion, Abu Bakr Siddiq. They had
gone out on that day to the mountains of Makkah to escape the violent persecution of the Quraysh.
The young man in turn was impressed with the Prophet and his companion and soon became quite
attached to them.
It was not long before Abdullah ibn Mas'ud became a Muslim and offered to be in the service of the
Prophet. The Prophet agreed and from that day the fortunate Abdullah ibn Mas'ud gave up tending sheep
in exchange for looking after the needs of the blesse d Prophet.
Abdullah ibn Mas'ud remained closely attached to the Prophet. He would attend to his needs both inside
and outside the house. He would accompany him on journeys and expeditions. He would wake him
when he slept. He would shield him when he washed. He would carry his staff and his siwak
(toothbrush) and attend to his other personal needs.
Abdullah ibn Mas'ud received a unique training in the household of the Prophet. He was under the
guidance of the Prophet, he adopted his manner and followed his every trait until it was said of him, "He
was the closest to the Prophet in character."
Abdullah was taught in the "school" of the Prophet. He was the best reciter of the Qur'an among the
companions and he understood it better than them all. He was therefore the most knowledgeable on the
Shariah. Nothing can illustrate this better than the story of the man who came to Umar ibn al-Khattab as
he was standing on the plain of Arafat and said:
"I have come, O Amir al-Mu'mineen, from Kufah where I left a man filling copies of the Qur'an from
Umar became very angry and paced up and down beside his camel, fuming.
"Who is he?" he asked.
"Abdullah ibn Masiud," replied the man.
Umar's anger subsided and he regained his composure.
"Woe to you," he said to the man. "By God, I don't know of any person left who is more qualified in this
matter than he is. Let me tell you about this." Umar continued:
"One night the Messenger of God, peace be upon him, was havmg a conversation with Abu Bakr about
the situation of Muslims. I was with them. When the Prophet left, we left with him also and as we
passed through the mosque, there was a man standing in Prayer whom we did not recognise. The
Prophet stood and listened to him, then turned to us and said, 'Whoever wants to read the Qur'an as fresh
as when it was revealed, then let him read according to the recitation of Ibn Umm Abd.'
After the Prayer, as Abdullah sat making supplications, the Prophet, peace be on him, said, "Ask and it
will be given to you. Ask and it will be given to you."
Umar continued: "I said to myself I shall go to Abdullah ibn Mas'ud straight away and tell him the
good news of the Prophet's ensuring acceptance of his supplications. I went and did so but found that
Abu Bakr had gone before me and conveyed the good news to him. By God, I have never yet beaten
Abu Bakr in the doing of any good."
Abdullah ibn Mas'ud attained such a knowledge of the Qur'an that he would say, "By Him besides
Whom there is no god, no verse of the book of God has been revealed without my knowing where it was
revealed and the circumstances of its revelation. By God, if I know there was anyone who knew more of
the Book of Allah, I will do whatever is in my power to be with him."
Abdullah was not exaggerating in what he said about himself. Once Umar ibn al-Khattab met a caravan
on one of his Journeys as caliph. It was pitch dark and the caravan could not be seen properly. Umar
ordered someone to hail the caravan. It happened that Abdullah ibn Mas'ud was in it.
"From where do you come?" asked Umar.
"From a deep valley," came the reply. (The expresion used fadj amiq deep valley is a Qur'anic one).
"And where are you going?" asked Umar.
"To the ancient house," came the reply. (The expression used al-bayt al-atiq the ancient house is a
"There is a learned person (alim) among them," said Umar and he commanded someone to ask the
"Which part of the Qur'an is the greatest?"
" 'God. There is no god except Him, the Living, the Selfsubsisting. Neither slumber overtakes Him nor
sleep,' " replied the person answering, quoting the Ayat al-Kursi (the verse of the Throne).
"Which part of the Qur'an is the most clear on justice?"
" 'God commands what is just and fair, the feeding of relatives . . .' " came the answer.
"What is the most comprehensive statement of the Qur'an?" " 'Whoever does an atom's weight of good
shall see it, and whoever does an atom's weight of evil shall see it.' "
"Which part of the Qur'an gives rise to the greatest hope?"
" 'Say, O my servants who have wasted their resources, do not despair of the mercy of God. Indeed, God
forgives all sins. He is the Forgiving, the Compassionate.' "
Thereupon Umar asked: "Is Abdullah ibn Masiud among you?"
"Yes, by God," the men in the caravan replied.
Abdullah ibn Mas'ud was not only a reciter of the Qur'an, a learned man or a fervent worshipper. He was
in addition a strong and courageous fighter, one who became deadly serious when the occasion
The companions of the Prophet were together one day in Makkah. They were still few in number, weak
and oppressed. They said, "The Quraysh have not yet heard the Qur'an being recited openly and loudly.
Who is the man who could recite it for them?"
"I shall recite it for them," volunteered Abdullah ibn Mas'ud.
"We are afraid for you," they said. "We only want someone who has a clan who would protect him from
"Let me," Abdullah ibn Mas'ud insisted, "Allah shall protect me and keep me away from their evil." He
then went out to the mosque until he reached Maqam Ibrahim (a few metres from the Ka'bah). It was
dawn and the Quraysh were sitting around the Ka'bah. Abdullah stopped at the Maqam and began to
" 'Bismillahir Rahmani-r Rahim. ArRahman. Allama-l | Qur'an. Khalaqa-l insan. Allamahu-l bayan . . .
(In the | name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful. The Merciful s God. He has taught the Qur'an. He
has created man and taught him the clear truth . . .)' "
He went on reciting. The Quraysh looked at him intently and some of them asked:
"What is Ibn Umm Abd saying?"
"Damn him! He is reciting some of what Muhammad brought!" they realized.
They went up to him and began beating his face as he continued reciting. When he went back to his
companions, the blood was flowing from his face.
"This is what we feared for you," they said.
"By God," replied Abdullah, "the enemies of God are not more comfortable than I at this moment. If you
wish. I shall go out tomorrow and do the same."
"You have done enough," they said. "You have made them hear what they dislike."
Abdullah ibn Masiud lived to the time of Khalifah Uthman, may God be pleased with him. When he was
sick and on his death-bed, Uthman came to visit him and said:
"What is your ailment?"
"And what do you desire?"
"The mercy of my Lord."
"Shall I not give you your stipend which you have refused to take for years now?"
"I have no need of it."
"Let it be for your doughters after you."
"Do you fear poverty for my children? I have commanded them to read Surah Al-Waqi'ah every night
for I have heard the Prophet saying, 'Whoever reads Al-Waqi'ah every night shall ot be effected by
That night, Abdullah passed away to the company of his Lord, his toughte moist with the rememberance
of God and with the recitation of the verses of His Book.
Scanned from: "Companions of The Prophet", Vol.1, By: Abdul Wahid Hamid.
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