Uqbah Ibn Aamir

The fateful decision however was taken. Alone, without possessions. or relatives, Uqbah came to Madinah from the hawadi. He stayed with others like him on the Suffah or elevated part of the Prophet’s mosque, near his house. The Suffah was like a reception point where people like Uqbah would go because they wanted to be close to the Prophet. They were known as the “Ashab as-Suffah” and the Prophet once described them as the “guests of Islam”.

Because they had no income, the Prophet always shared his food with them and encouraged others to be generous to these “guests”. They spent much of their time studying the Quran and learning about Islam. What a marvellous opportunity they had! They were i n close and regular contact with the Prophet. He had a special love and concern for them and took care to educate them and look after them in all respects. Uqbah gave an example of how the Prophet trained and taught them. He said:

“One day, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, came out to us while we were on the Suffah and asked:

‘Which of you would like to go out to the open country or a valley every day and fetch for himself two beautiful, black camels?’ (Such camels were considered prize possessions. )

‘Everyone of us would like that, O Messenger of God,’ we all replied.

‘Now,’ he said, ‘each one of you should go to the mosque and learn two ayats (verses) of the Book of God. This is better for him than two camels; three verses are better than three camels; four verses are better than four camels (and son).”

In this way, the Prophet tried to bring about a change in attitudes among those who had accepted Islam, a change from obsession with acquiring worldly possessions to an attitude of devotion to knowledge. His simple example provided them with motivation an d a powerful incentive to acquire knowledge.

On other occasions, the Ashab as-Suffah would ask questions of the Prophet in order to understand their religion better. Once, Uqbah said, he asked the Prophet, “What is salvation?” and he replied: “Control your tongue, make your house spacious for guests and spurn your mistakes.”

Even outside the mosque, Uqbah tried to stay close to the Prophet. On journeys, he often took the reins of the Prophet’s mule and went wherever the Prophet desired. Sometimes he followed directly behind the Prophet, peace be on him, and so came to be call ed the redif of the Prophet. On some occasions, the Prophet would descend from his mount and allow Uqbah to ride while he himself walked. Uqbah described one such occasion:

“I took hold of the reins of the Prophet’s mule while passing through some palm groves of Madinah.

‘Uqbah ,’ the Prophet said to me, ‘don’t you want to ride.’?’

I thought of saying ‘no’ but I felt there might be an element of disobedience to the Prophet in such a reply so I said: ‘Yes, O Prophet of God.’

The Prophet then got down from his mule and I mounted in obedience to his command. He began to walk. Shortly afterwards I dismounted. The Prophet mounted again and said to me:

‘Uqbah, shall I not teach you two surahs the like of which has not been heard before.’?’

‘Certainly, O Messenger of God,’ I replied. And so he recited to me “Qul a’udhu bi rabbi-l Falaq” and “Qul a’udhu bi rabbi-n nas” (the last two surahs of the Quran). I then said the Iqamah for Salat. The Prophet led the Salat and recited these two surahs. (Afterwards), he said: ‘Read both these surahs when you go to sleep and whenever you wake up.’”

The above instances show “continuous education” at its best, at home, in the mosque, riding, walking in the open school of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.

Two objectives occupied Uqbah’s attention throughout his life; the search for knowledge and jihad in the path of God. He applied his energies totally to these objectives.

In the field of learning, he drank deeply from the fountain of knowledge that was the Messenger of God, peace be on him. Uqbah became a distinguished muqri (reciter of the Quran), a muhaddith (recorder and narrator of the sayings of the Prophet); a faqih (jurist); a faradi (expert on the Islamic laws of inheritance); an adib (literateur); a fasih (orator) and a sha’ir (poet).

In reciting the Quran, he had a most pleasant and beautiful voice. In the stillness of the night, when the entire universe seems peaceful and tranquil, he would turn to the Book of God, and recite its overpowering verses. The hearts of the noble companion s would be drawn to his recitation. Their whole being would be shaken and they would be moved to tears from the fear of God which his recitation induced.

One day Umar ibn al-Khattab invited him and said:

Page 2 of 3 | Previous page | Next page