Seerah episode 39: Abu Dharr Ghifari & Dhimad Accept Islam

— Abu Dharr al-Ghifari (ra)

  • He was from tribe of Ghifar. He was a successful businessman & respected in his community
  • When he heard of the Prophet’s (saw) messages & preaching in Makkah, & the various people converting to Islam, Abu Dharr sent his brother to Makkah. “Go to that valley (Makkah) & find out everything you can about this man who claims that he is a Prophet. Go listen to him & come back to me.”

— Abu Dharr’s brother goes to Makkah & listens to the Prophet’s messages. He didn’t stay very long, & returned to Abu Dharr

  • The brother said, “I saw the Prophet, & he was instructing people to have good character. He was emphasizing to people to have good conduct, good character. What he was saying was not poetry, but it was definitely something powerful.”
    • Consider these words in the context of time, when the new Muslims (who numbered about 40 or so) were constantly being attacked. Yet, the Prophet asked the Muslims to still have good akhlakh, not to fight back just yet. Having good manners & character had heavy emphasis on the Prophet’s dawah throughout his lifetime
  • Abu Dharr responded, “You haven’t satisfied what I was looking for.”
    • He appreciated his brother’s effort, but he wanted to know more

— Abu Dharr packed up & set out toward Makkah. When he reaches Makkah, he searches for Prophet. He doesn’t know what Prophet looked like, but he doesn’t ask anyone about him because he’s aware of the ongoing persecutions of Muslims

  • He couldn’t walk around Makkah & ask people, “Hey, where’s Muhammad?” Then people will say, “Why? Are you one of them too?” He would get in trouble then
  • Night time came. Abu Dharr sat around the Haram all day looking for some indication of the Prophet. He was in such a hurry when he was leaving for Makkah that he forgot to take any provisions & merchandise. When nightfall came, he laid down in the corner of the Haram & slept

— Ali bin Abi Talib, who was around 13-14 years old, sees Abu Dharr sleeping

  • Ali is very observant, & he knows Makkah inside & out. He knows that the sleeping & well-dressed man is an out-of-towner. Ali went up to Abu Dharr & asked, “Do you need a place to stay?” Abu Dharr replied, “Yes.”
  • Ali took Abu Dharr to a guest quarters of the tribe. He brought some food for Abu Dharr & then went on his way

— In the morning, Abu Dharr is at the Haram again, watching the scenery around him like a hawk. He stays there the whole day, keeping an eye on everything. The whole day passes without anything happening

  • When nighttime came, Abu Dharr lied down at the corner of the Haram to sleep. Again, Ali passed by Abu Dharr & offered him the guest quarters

— In the morning, Abu Dharr goes back to the Haram again & the whole day goes by without any sign of the Prophet. At night, Ali offers Abu Dharr the guest quarters again

  • This time, on the way to the guest quarters, Ali asked Abu Dharr, “May I ask why you’re here in Makkah? You seem stuck in a loop.”
  • Abu Dharr said, “If you can promise me that you’ll help me, then I’ll tell you.”
  • Ali replied, “I swear you have nothing to worry about.”
  • Abu Dharr said, “I heard about a man who claims that he’s a Prophet who receives divine revelations from the sky. I sent my brother to find out more, & he told me, but I wanted to know more, so now I’m here, looking for this Prophet.”
  • Ali said, “That is the truth. He is the Rasulillah. Go ahead & stay in the guest quarters. When it’s very early in the morning, I’m going to come by & get you. When you see me passing by, I want you to start following me. If I see anything that worries me, because you’re an out-of-towner, I don’t want you to get harmed/killed, I’m going to pretend like I’m stopping, looking for something like water. You just keep walking by. Don’t worry, I’ll find you & meet with you later. That’s the game plan. Otherwise, you keep on following me until I enter a compound, & then you enter after me.”

— The next day, Ali led Abu Dharr to the Prophet. Abu Dharr sat down & listened to Prophet. He accepted Islam right there

  • Abu Dharr stayed with the Prophet for a few days, until Prophet told him, “Go back to your people & tell them of my message. Stay there until I send word for you. I won’t forget about you.”

— Shaykh Abdul: “Abu Dharr was one of these people who the young’uns would say had swag.”

  • He was confident, not arrogant. He is the type of person who takes a course of action very confidently, like when he just left for Makkah without adequately packing because he wanted to know more about Islam
  • Abu Dharr told the Prophet, “I swear by the One who sent you the Truth that I will not go back until I proclaim my faith in the middle of all these people.”
    • He then went to the middle of the Haram & yelled the Shahadah in front of all the Makkans
    • People go up to Abu Dharr & start to beat him to the ground

— Abbas, one of Prophet’s uncles, didn’t agree with Islam initially (he accepted Islam later on). He was a soft-hearted man

  • When he saw the scene before him, Abbas ran to Abu Dharr and covered Abu Dharr like a tent
  • Abbas was a very, very tall man (“freakishly tall”). There are narrations that state that when Abbas would sit on a mule, his feet would reach the ground. In the battlefield, he would poke out of the crowd like a flag.
    • Abbas also had a voice like a boombox. Whenever the Prophet would make an announcement to a large crowd, Abbas would repeat it so everyone in the crowd can hear him
  • Abbas tore through the crowd that was beating Abu Dharr & laid on top of him, covering him from the kicks & punches
  • Because it’s Abbas, the son of Abdul Mutallib, everyone immediately backed away
    • Abbas was a smart man, so he said to his people, “What’s wrong with you all? Don’t you know he’s from tribe of Ghifar? Your business route to Bilad as-Sham goes through the tribe of Ghifar. If you kill him, you kill your business, because his tribe will come for us.”
  • People then disperse. Business is business

— The next day, Abu Dharr goes back to the Haram again & loudly proclaims Shahadah. Bold guy, this guy

  • The Makkans go, “Look at this guy. He didn’t get enough yesterday.” Everyone starts beating up Abu Dharr
    • Abbas again covers Abu Dharr & he reprimands the people. He reminds them the implications of their actions, & again the people disperse
  • Abbas takes Abu Dharr to Prophet to talk some sense to him. “I’m not going to be there every day to save him.”
    • The Prophet talked with Abu Dharr & calmed his enthusiasm down a little bit

— Abu Dharr was wealthy & educated well before accepting Islam. After accepting Islam, he was very proud of his new faith. He had a lot of strong convictions about what he believed in. He was very knowledgeable about the deen. Other Sahaba would take counsel from Abu Dharr

  • Abu Dharr narrated from the Prophet that the dunya & money will never quench the desires of Banu Adam. The son of Adam always says, “My this, my that, everything is mine, mine.” The only things that legitimately belong to someone is the food that he eats, the few clothes that he wears to the point they get tattered, & the money that he gives to sadaqah. These are all the things that he used up completely. Everything else that the person owns is left behind.
  • That particular hadith impacted Abu Dharr so much that he became very strict with this philosophy & implemented it in his whole life. Outside of the food that he consumes that day, the clothes that he wears to the point it tears, & the basic humble roof & transportation that he owns, everything else is considered excess to him. Abu Dharr considered everything out of those bare basic minimum to be a spiritual liability, things that he’ll be questioned for on the Day of Judgment

— A Tabi’i went to Abu Dharr & told him, “You’re one of the longest standing, tenured, & veteran Sahaba of the Prophet. You’re old school. I want to learn from you.”

  • Abu Dharr replied, “Listen young’un. I really don’t think you’re cut out for this.”
  • The Tabi’i insisted, “No, I want to learn from you. I want to live with you & gain knowledge from you. I’ll earn my keep.”
  • Abu Dharr agreed

— Abu Dharr told his student that sometimes people would come to him for financial assistance. “If I have something to offer them, you must give them the best of what I own. That is your responsibility.”

  • Some families went to Abu Dharr’s house to receive a donation. Abu Dharr had 2 camels – one big stronger camel & one small weaker camel. The families were starving & wanted some food
  • Abu Dharr’s student saw that since all the families wanted was to slaughter a camel to use for food, he thought it would be better to give them the smaller weaker animal
    • The bigger stronger camel would continue to be used for transportation by Abu Dharr & his family
  • Tabi’i gave the families the smaller camel. Toward the end of the day, Abu Dharr was taking an assessment of the day’s activities, & Tabi’i told him about giving the small camel to a group of hungry families
    • When Abu Dharr hears this, he asks his student, “What did I tell you?”
    • Tabi’i responds, “To give the best of what you own as donation.”
    • Abu Dharr points to his big strong camel & says, “That was this one right here.”
    • Tabi’i said, “But I was thinking that you would prefer to keep the big camel for your transportation needs.”
    • Abu Dharr said, “No, no, I asked you to do something. I don’t care about your logic. Will you stand on the Day of Judgment on my behalf about why I gave the smaller, weaker, & older camel to a group of hungry families to eat instead of the young, stronger, bigger camel? Can you defend me before Allah? No, you can’t. So you don’t get to make the call.”

— In his old age, Abu Dharr lived to see the khilafah of Uthman (ra) & Islam spreading. In the time of Uthman, there were more lesser first-generation Sahaba & more students who learned at the hands of the early Sahaba

  • Islam was spreading, so there were more resources & wealth pouring into Medina from different parts of the world. The residents of Medina was now more well-to-do, had more to eat, & fancier clothes & possessions
  • Abu Dharr couldn’t take it. The new luxuries that people lived with were against Abu Dharr’s philosophy of living simply & humbly with the bare minimum
    • He would reprimand people. If he saw someone wearing baller clothes, Abu Dharr would tell that person, “What’s wrong with you? What are you wearing over there? Your shoes match your shirt? How’s that going to help you?”
    • If he saw someone riding a horse with another horse tied to it, he’d say, “Are you kidding me? Are you riding both horses at the same time? No? So why do you have 2 horses?!”
    • If Abu Dharr saw someone hungry or poor, he’d lose it. “How is it that there is a poor person in Medina, when we got all these well-to-do people in Medina?!”

— Uthman (ra) was a first-generation Sahabi like Abu Dharr, so he went to sit with Abu Dharr to talk with him. Uthman asked, “What’s going on with you, man?”

  • Abu Dharr said, “Nothing, what’s going on with you? I miss the days of the Prophet (saw).”
  • Uthman said, “I know you do. We all do, but I know that you certainly do. Everyone knows that you do. Listen, it is what it is. Look, what these people are doing is not haraam. It’s my job as the leader of the community to manage the whole community – different people, different backgrounds, different levels of taqwah, & different levels of practicing. Nobody is doing anything haraam. I understand that you’re frustrated, & I respect your right to be frustrated, but you’re causing a little bit of disruption in the community, so I’m going to need you to tone it down.”
    • Uthman continued, “But the problem is that I’ve known you for 20 years, so I know that you can’t tone it down. You’re Abu Dharr, that’s how you roll. So here’s the best scenario. Why don’t you take up a residence outside of Medina, like a retirement? You live out there & you can come visit me & I’ll come visit you regularly. But live there so that you can have a bit of peace of mind. It’ll make running the community a bit easier for me. Everyone respects you, & they don’t want to be difficult for you. But you have to understand that you’re putting me in a tight spot here, & it’s also not healthy for you to be upset all the time.”
  • Abu Dharr then moved & lived out the rest of his life outside Medina

— Dhimad Azdi was from the Azd Shanwah tribe of Yemen. He was a well-known jinn-buster (exorcist)

  • He traveled to Makkah for some business. When he was walking around night, he overheard some kids talking about the Prophet, calling him “Muhammad majnoon” (Crazy Muhammad)
  • Dhimad asks the kids where he can find the Prophet, because Dhimad assumed that Muhammad was afflicted by some evil & that maybe he can help him
  • Dhimad meets with the Prophet & offers his help with his “jinn problem”. “Tell me what’s going on with you. Let me diagnose you.”
    • The Prophet said, “The ultimate praise is always for Allah alone. We praise him & seek his assistance. Whosoever Allah guides, there’s no force that cannot misguide him. Whoever Allah leads astray, cannot be guided. I bear witness & I testify that Allah alone is worthy of worship. He is absolutely unique in this regard, & He has no partners.”
    • Dhimad was so impressed by the Prophet’s speech that he asked the Prophet to repeat it 3 times
  • Dhimad finally felt like he got something. His mind was blown. “I have heard the words of soothsayers. I have heard the words of magicians. I have heard the words of poets. I have never heard words like yours. Give me your hand, so I can give you the pledge of Islam.”
    • The Prophet extended his hand & had Dhimad say the Shahadah, then asked Dhimad, “Will you take this message to your people, & make sure that your people accept Islam the same way you did?”
    • Dhimad said, “Yes, I promise you. I’ll take this to my people & I’m confident that they will listen to me. I will not rest until they have all accepted Islam.”

— Many years later, in the Medinan period, the Prophet sent out a group of Sahaba to preach & spread the message of Islam. They were sent out in the direction in which Dhimad’s tribe lived in

  • Along their journey, they passed by Dhimad’s tribe & the Sahaba camped among them. Before the Sahaba left & started on their journey again, the leader of that group of Sahaba asked the rest of the Sahaba, “Did any of you take anything from these people (the Yemini tribe)?”
  • One man said, “Yes, I took something. I took a mithara/lota (a small container that can be filled with water to clean oneself in the restroom, or even used for wudu). We went into town & I saw a little water container in the public area. I took it because we needed it.”
  • The leader of the Sahaba said, “Go & return it back to them. Return it back to them especially because they are the people of Dhimad. That man came to the Prophet & accepted Islam at the hand of the Prophet, & swore allegiance to the Prophet, & swore that he will preach Islam to all of his people until they all accepted it & pledged their loyalty to the Prophet. Go back & return this water container back to the people of Dhimad.”


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