Salim Mawla Abi Hudhayfah

Salim Mawla Abi HudhayfahSalim Mawla Abi HudhayfahFrom AlimĀ® Online

In giving advice to his companions, the noble Prophet, peace be on him, once said: “Learn the Quran from four persons: Abdullah ibn Masud, Salim Mawla Abi Hudhayfah, Ubayy ibn Kab and Muadh ibn Jabal.”

We have read about three of these companions before. But who was this fourth companion in whom the Prophet had so much confidence that he considered him a hujjah or competent authority to teach the Quran and be a source of reference for it?

Salim was a slave and when he accepted Islam he was adopted as a son by a Muslim who was formerly a leading nobleman of the Quraysh. When the practice of adoption (in which the adopted person was called the son of his adopted father) was banned, Salim sim ply became a brother, a companion and a mawla (protected person) of the one who had adopted him, Abu Hudhayfah ibn Utbah. Through the blessings of Islam, Salim rose to a position of high esteem among the Muslims by virtue of his noble conduct and his piet y.

Both Salim and Abu Hudhayfah accepted Islam early. Abu Hudhayfah himself did so in the face of bitter opposition from his father, the notorious Utbah ibn Rabi’ah who was particularly virulent in his attacks against the Prophet, peace be upon him, and his companions.

When the verse of the Quran was revealed abolishing adoption, people like Zayd and Salim had to change their names. Zayd who was known as Zayd ibn Muhammad had to be called after his own natural father. Henceforth he was known as Zayd ibn Harithah. Sali m however did not know the name of his father. Indeed he did not know who his father was. However he remained under the protection of Abu Hudhayfah and so came to be known as Salim Mawla Abi Hudhayfah.

In abolishing the practice of adoption, Islam wanted to emphasize the bonds and responsibilities of natural kinship. However, no relationship was greater or stronger than the bond of Islam and the ties of faith which was the basis of brotherhood. The ea rly Muslims understood this very well. There was nobody dearer to anyone of them after Allah and His Messenger than their brethren in faith.

We have seen how the Ansar of Madinah welcomed and accepted the Muhajirin from Makkah and shared with them their homes and their wealth and their hearts. This same spirit of brotherhood we see in the relationship between the Quraysh aristocrat, Abu Hudhay fah, and the despised and lowly slave, Salim. They remained to the very end of their lives something more than brothers; they died together, one body beside the other one soul with the other. Such was the unique greatness of Islam. Ethnic background and s ocial standing had no worth in the sight of God. Only faith and taqwa mattered as the verses of the Quran and the sayings of the Prophet emphasized over and over again:

“The most honorable of you in the sight of God, is the most God-fearing of you,” says the Quran.

“No Arab has an advantage over a non-Arab except in taqwa (piety),” taught the noble Prophet who also said: “The son of a white woman has no advantage over the son of a black woman except in taqwa.”

In the new and just society rounded by Islam, Abu Hudhayfah found honor for himself in protecting the one who was a slave.

In this new and rightly-guided society rounded by Islam, which destroyed unjust class divisions and false social distinctions Salim found himself, through his honesty, his faith and his willingness to sacrifice, in the front line of the believers. He was the “imam” of the Muhajirin from Makkah to Madinah, leading them in Salat in the masjid at Quba which was built by the blessed hands of the Prophet himself. He became a competent authority in the Book of God so much so that the Prophet recommended that t he Muslims learn the Quran from him. Salim was even further blessed and enjoyed a high estimation in the eyes of the Prophet, peace be on him, who said of him.

“Praise be to God Who has made among my Ummah such as you.”

Even his fellow Muslim brothers used to call him “Salim min as-Salihin – Salim one of the righteous”. The story of Salim is like the story of Bilal and that of tens of other slaves and poor persons whom Islam raised from slavery and degradation and ‘made them, in the society of guidance and justice – imams, leaders and military commanders.

Salim’s personality was shaped by Islamic virtues. One of these was his outspokenness when he felt it was his duty to speak out especially when a wrong was committed.

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