Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Story of Abu Dzar r.a.

—I'm gonna mention to you the Imam Ahmad version—

Abu Dzar r.a. stated that, "Me, my brother and my mother left our land of Ghifar because our people used to be disrespectful of the Asyhurul Hurum".

Al-Asyhurul Hurum are four months in which the Arabs used to considered sacred. And this would give them a break from warfare. So they would not allowed killing and war during those four months. And it was a firm tradition among them that you do not break the sanctity of these four months.

The people of Ghifar were different. These were professional raiders of caravans; they didn't care about Asyhurul Hurum and all these stuff. They were Bedouins who would raid caravans, steal, kill, corrupt, and they didn't follow any rules or customs. These were the people of Ghifar. And they had a bad reputation in Arabia, I mean people in Arabia knew Ghifar; That these people don't abide by the rules and violent.

Abu Dzar r.a., before Islam, he disagreed with this style of life. So he, his brother and mother decided to leave Ghifar.

Just, go out.

So they went and they visited an uncle of theirs who used to be a member of different tribe. And they stayed with him. And Abu Dzar says, "He was very generous and hospitable to us. Very kind".

"But his relatives were becoming jealous of how he's treating us so well".

So what they did: they went up to the uncle of Abu Dzar and they told him, "When you are absent, Unais (Abu Dzar's brother) goes and visits your wife. And he's interested in her".

The uncle quite naively, went to Abu Dzar and Unais and mentioned to them what he heared. He said, "People are saying that Unais is interested in my wife".

Abu Dzar was angry and upset, for this was false. He was very angry and he said, "All of the good that you have done to us, you have cancelled it. All of your hospitality, your kindness, is gone after this accusation of yours".

And they immediately packed up and left.

Abu Dzar said, "My uncle was quite sorry and regretful for what he's done and he wrapped himself in a cloth and was crying. But we were so angry and we just left".

And now they settled in a place close to Makkah. Abu Dzar says, "My brother Unais went to do some business in Makkah. And he met a man who claims to be a prophet". —He met Muhammad s.a.w.

So Unais came back and said, "I found a man who is preaching a new religion: Worshiping Allah alone".

Abu Dzar said, "And at that time, I have already worshiped Allah for three years; and revoked all of the worshiping of idols, and renounced it". —Subhaanallah. You see these people; their fitrah guides them and tells them that [this is wrong], [this is false].

Abu Dzar says, "I've been praying to Allah for three years".

So Abu Dzar was asked, "How were you praying to Allah?".

He said, "I would pray to whichever direction Allah would point me to, and I would pray in whatever way Allah would guide me to. And I would pray at night until I fall asleep. And only the sun would wake me up in the morning".

So he would pray. He doesn't know how to pray, but he would pray to Allah s.w.t.

For three years.

—[Back to our main story] Abu Dzar asked his brother Unais, "What does he (Muhammad s.a.w.) teach?".

So Unais mentioned some of the teachings of Islam that he learned from Rasulullah s.a.w. and then Abu Dzar asked, "What are the people saying about him (Muhammad s.a.w.)?"

Unais said, "They're claiming that he's a sorcerer, a magician, a liar...(and he went down the list)".

Abu Dzar said, "You haven't satisfied my hunger. I want to go and investigate the matter myself".

—What the people say might not necessarily be right.

The media of Makkah, the 'CNN' of the day, or the 'ABC', or whatever you call it, had all of these labels that they would brand Rasulullah s.a.w. with. But Abu Dzar did not have trust in what the people are saying. He would have to go and meet Rasulullah s.a.w. and hear it from the messenger himself.

And that is what a Muslim is required to do.


Allah s.w.t. says, "When you receive some information, verify it".

And that's where our scholars learned the science of Hadith. They would verify it. It's not just enough to hear a Hadith narrated from someone. The scholars use to say, "Whenever they would hear a Hadith, they would say [Mention the name of your man; Where did you hear this from; Tell us the name; We want to know who you got this information from]".

We just don't follow any hearsay.

Abu Dzar said, "I went in to Makkah and I asked the first man I saw in front of me; I told him [Can you please guide me towards Muhammad s.a.w.?]."

"That man immediately started calling the men of Quraisy and they started pelting me with stones, rocks, and whatever they could get their hands on, until I fell unconscious".

"By the time I woke up, I was like Nusub Ahmar".

—A Nusub: The people of the Quraisy used to have this stones/idols, which where they would slaughter and sacrifice their animals over. So they would be soaked with blood. That is the description Abu Dzar gave of himself: Soaked with blood from head to toe.

"So I went to the well of Zamzam, I drank water and I washed the blood off my body. And then I went next to Al-Ka'bah."

—In the narration of Imam Ahmad, it says that he stayed there for three days. Not knowing where to meet Rasulullah s.a.w.

Abu Dzar said, "I did not have any food for the entire period except for drinking the water of Zamzam".

—Now I think physicians can tell us that a person can survive by drinking water for quite a while. So maybe that's not such a surprise. But the surprising thing is what comes next.

Abu Dzar said, "And I started picking up weight until I was getting folds on my stomach".

—You know, for the Bedouins, they would have flat tummies. Hhhh.. They're very fit.

—Abu Dzar said, "I was gaining weight. And now the flesh on my stomach was folding".

—You know, when you sit down, and the flesh on the stomach folds?

—Abu Dzar states that he then saw two women making tawaf, and they would touch Isaaf and Naila on every turn.

[Side Story 1] — What's the story of Isaaf and Naila?

Isaaf and Naila are man and woman; who were in love. And they couldn't get married. And they had an appointment/a date to meet next to Al-Ka'bah. And they intended to fornicate next to the house of Allah.

Allah s.w.t. turned them into stones on the spot.

After the passage of some time, the Musyrikin of Quraisy started worshiping them; Started worshiping these two stones: Isaaf and Naila. —To show you, how when you open the flood gate for Syaitan, you can't close it. He just throws you in dungeons of darkness. Can never get out of it. This is spiral. If you get in, you never come out. Darkness over darkness. One vail after another.

[Side Story 2] — Now, the story of idol worshiping actually started as erecting statues after righteous men die. —Syaitan came to the people of Nuh a.s., then told them, "After the righteous men have passed away, why don't you erect statues of these righteous men so that they would remind you about Allah"; Syaitan came to teach them good; for Syaitan said, "They would remind you about Allah s.w.t.".

So the people of Nuh did that.

And then after a few generations, Syaitan start telling them, "Worship them (idols)".

—That's how the idol worshiping grew.

[Back to the Main Story] — So here you have Isaaf and Naila being worshiped. And these two women would make tawaf and they would touch Isaaf and Naila on every turn.

Now Abu Dzar despised idol worshiping, so he threw out a comment.

He said, "Why don't you make one of them (Isaaf and Naila) have intercourse with the other?".

Either the women did not understand what he said, or they didn't believe what they heard, they continued the tawaf.

When Abu Dzar saw that his words did not deter them, he threw out an even cruder comment. Hhh. And I'm not gonna metion it.

Now the women were sure of what they heard. They immediately just started running and screaming. Wailing down the streets of Makkah. —And who they did run into?: Muhammad s.a.w. and Abu Bakr.

Muhammad s.a.w. and Abu Bakr are seeing these two women running in the streets screaming.

"What's wrong with you?"

They said, "That heretic over there".

Rasulullah s.a.w. said, "What's the matter with him?".

They said, "He spoke a word that filth the mouth". —In another word: something that is unspeakable/very bad words.

Rasulullah s.a.w. and Abu Bakr went to meet this man (Abu Dzar r.a.) and they started the conversation.

Rasulullah s.a.w. asked Abu Dzar, "Where are you from?".

Abu Dzar said, "I am from Ghifar".

Rasulullah s.a.w. placed his hand on his forehead.

Abu Dzar said Rasulullah s.a.w. was surprised and amazed to see somebody from Ghifar coming to Makkah in search of the truth. —From Ghifar? These people who raid caravans? The ones who do not follow any rules or any customs? —And he is searching for the truth in Makkah.

—"And the people of Makkah, the ones who are considered to be the religious authority of Arabia are rejecting my messege".

Abu Dzar said, "I felt that he might have disliked that I mentioned that I'm from Ghifar. So I extended my hand to pull Rasulullah s.a.w.'s hand from his forehead".

"Abu Bakr slammed my hand and told me, [put your hand down]".

And then the conversation continued and Abu Dzar ended up embracing Islam.

Rasulullah s.a.w. told Abu Dzar, "Keep your Imaan secret".

Abu Dzar went out the next day; Rather than keeping his Imaan secret, he went in front of the people of Quraisy, and said "أشهـد أن لا إله الا الله وأشهـد ان محمد رسـول الله". Hhh.

He doesn't care about the consequences.

He said, "The people of Quraisy gathered around me and they beat me up; so bad. I was gonna die".

Until 'Abbas bin Abdul Muthalib came in and said, "Do you know where this man is from?" —Just one question.

"He is from Ghifar".

"Immediately they just run away".

All what you would see is them fleeing; Running away from him.

But Abu Dzar did the same thing next day. And he did the same thing third day. And everyday, the same thing would happen; they would come and beat him up until Al Abbas comes and tells this new group of people who are hitting him that, "The man is from Ghifar".

Al Abbas said, "And you know if this man gets killed by you, none of your trade will make it safely to Syria. They're gonna take revenge of you".

—Rasulullah s.a.w. then told Abu Dzar, "Go back to your people and convey the message to them. And when you hear that I prevailed, come to me".

—How long did Abu Dzar stayed with Rasulullah s.a.w.? —Quite a short time.

—How much did Abu Dzar learned from Rasulullah s.a.w.? —Probably not a lot. A few verses, a few Ahadith here and there; And that was it.

—Abu Dzar went back to his people; Ghifar. And he started giving them da'wah. Slowly and slowly, people were accepting Islam among the people of Ghifar.

Abu Dzar said, "By the time Rasulullah s.a.w. made Hijra, almost half of my tribe were Muslim; The whole tribe of Ghifar. And then we decided to go and visit Rasulullah s.a.w. and the rest of the tribe have said, [When Rasulullah s.a.w. arrives; when we go and meet him, we will become Muslim]".

So now the whole tribe is Muslim. All of them are Muslim.

The other half just said, "We're gonna wait. It's the matter of time but then we'll become Muslim". And they did.

So one day when Rasulullah s.a.w. was in Madinah, they see in the horizon this 'dust cloud'. Sign of an army approaching; —Large group of people.

So some of the Sahabah rushed to their weapons, thinking that, "Maybe an army is approaching us". But Rasulullah s.a.w. said, "Be Abu Dzar". And the prophecy of Rasulullah s.a.w. was true.

It was Abu Dzar and all of his tribe of Ghifar coming to pledge their allegiance to Rasulullah s.a.w.

The entire tribe.

—Now; there was rivalry between two tribes: Ghifar and Aslam.

When Aslam heared that Ghifar became Muslim and they went and pledged allegiance to Rasulullah s.a.w., the Aslam immediately went to Rasulullah s.a.w. and said, "We also want to become Muslim".

Two tribes.

Rasulullah s.a.w. said, "Ghifar, may Allah forgive them. And Aslam, may Allah give them peace".

All of it started by the work of one man.

And how much did 'this man' know? Was he a scholar at the time? —No. He just knew a few ayat. It is later on that Abu Dzar came to learn a lot. But at that stage, he just spent a few days with the Rasulullah s.a.w.; And that was it. —All of Ghifar became Muslim. —The last people in the desert that you would expect to accept Islam; they did become Muslim.

What can we learn from the Story of Abu Dzar?

Number One

The ones who search for guidance, Allah will give it to them.

Abu Dzar investigated the matter and Allah showed him the light; showed him the truth.

Number Two

Rasulullah s.a.w. says, "Convey even one verse from me".

Whatever you have, convey it. —Share it; Teach it; Don't keep it to yourself.

Number Three


Abu Dzar is an example of person who have courage. He wasn't intimidated by the fact that he's a foreigner in Makkah. He stood and said, "I am a Muslim". And he was proud. And he paid for it dearly.

And then he went to his people and preached the message to them.

So this shows you the courage of the personality of Abu Dzar. Which is shown again and again and again by the Sahabah of Rasulullah s.a.w.; And this reveals to us the inherit qualities that they had.

And this is also one of the reasons why Allah s.w.t. chose them to be the bearer of the message; Because they had simplicity, and they had courage, and they had honesty, and they had commitment to a course; When they believe in something, they commits their life to it.

Number Four

Verifying the truth.

Just because the people say, "He's a sorcerer, a liar, a magician"; that doesn't mean anything. You have to go to the source and verify the information yourself.

Allah has given you a mind. Allah has given you intelligence. Use it. Don't just follow what the people are saying.

Rasulullah s.a.w. says that, "Don't be an 'Imma'ah".

And when he was asked what is the meaning of 'Imma'ah, he said, "Whenever the people say yes, you say yes. And whenever they say no, you say no". —Don't just follow.

Number Five

لا تحقرن من المعروف شيئاً ولو أن تلقى أخاك بوجه حسن \ طلق

Rasulullah s.a.w. says in this Hadith, "Do not belittle any good deed. Even if it is as small as smiling in the face of your brother". —Don't belittle anything.

Whatever good there is, don't consider it to be insignificant. Because everything good is significant, and maybe that small thing will make a difference on the Day of Judgement for you. And it will be the criteria between Hellfire and Paradise.

Maybe one small deed that you would do; which you don't pay any attention to, would take the scale to your side for your favor.

And how do we deduct this lesson from the Story of Abu Dzar?

—Abu Dzar r.a.; He learned very little and all what he went to did was propagate the message. And maybe he never expected that this small effort of his would end up causing the whole tribe of Ghifar and the whole tribe of Aslam to become Muslim.

Maybe he only felt that he could convince a few group of people; maybe a few of his relatives.

But for this work to end up bearing the fruits of two major tribes becoming Muslim; maybe Abu Dzar never thought about that.

—But you throw the seed. And Allah s.w.t. will make it grow.

And I mentioned to you one contemporary example about how sometimes you would do something very small and you would never pay attention to it, but it will make a big difference.

And there is a Hadith by the way, that says, "A person might speak a word that will please Allah; and they don't pay attention to it; but Allah s.w.t. will raise them up -levels- because of that. And a person might speak a word that will anger Allah; and because of that they will be thrown in Hellfire (Na'uudzubillah)".

It's the matter of a word. Here or there.

Source: Imam Anwar Al-Awlaki's lecture: [The Life of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.), Makkan Period: Part 11: The Early Immigrants Part 1]. 【MP3

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