Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud

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 Qur’anic one.)

“There is a learned person (`alim) among them,” said Umar and he commanded someone to ask the person:

“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 demanded it.

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 their

“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 recite:

‘Bismillahir Rahmani-r Rahim. ArRahman. `Allama al- Qur’an. Khalaqa-l insan. Allamahu-l bayan . . . (In the name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful. The Merciful 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?”

“My sins.”

“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 daughters 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 not be effected by poverty ever.'”

That night, Abdullah passed away to the company of his Lord, his tongue moist with the remembrance of God and with the recitation of the verses of His Book.

Scanned from: “Companions of The Prophet”, Vol.1, By: Abdul Wahid Hamid.

Peace and Blessings upon the Prophet, his Family, and his Companions

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