Sunday, February 03, 2008

Abdullah bin Ubay bin Salul (King of Hypocrites) and Zayd ibn Arqam (Young Child)

Lesson 168 – Book of Funerals was delivered on 31st August 2007.

باب: الكَفَنُ لِلمَيّت

Ch. 10 - The shroud for a dead body.

These are detailed notes from part of the lesson taught by Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq where he commented on Hadeeth 645.

This is an incomplete chapter heading. The full chapter heading in the original Saheeh of Imam Bukhari is ‘Chapter of the shroud being of a shirt which is sown or unsown and chapter of one who is buried without a shirt’. The chapter heading given in al tajrid al Sarih doesn’t correspond in any way with the original.

645. عَنِ ابْنِ عُمَرَ رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُمَا:

أَنّ عَبْدَ اللهِ بْنَ أُبَيّ لَمّا تُوُفّيَ, جَاءَ ابْنُهُ إِلَى النّبِيّ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَقَالَ: يَا رَسُولَ اللهِ, أَعْطِنِي قَمِيصَكَ أُكَفّنْهُ فِيهِ, وَصَلّ عَلَيْهِ, وَاسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُ. فَأَعْطَاهُ النّبِيّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَمِيصَهُ, فَقَالَ: (اَذِنِي أُصَلّي عَلَيْهِ). فَاَذَنَهُ, فَلَمّا أَرَادَ أَنْ يُصَلّيَ عَلَيْهِ جَذَبَهُ عُمَرُ رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ, فَقَالَ: أَلَيْسَ اللهُ نَهَاكَ أَنْ تُصَلّيَ عَلَى المُنَافِقِينَ فَقَالَ: (أَنَا بَيْنَ خِيرَتَيْنَ, قَالَ: (اسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ أَوْ لاَ تَسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ إِنْ تَسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ سَبْعِينَ مَرّةً فَلَنْ يَغْفِرَ اللهُ لَهُمْ)). فَصَلّى عَلَيْهِ, فَنَزَلَتْ: (ولاَ تُصَلّ عَلَى أَحَدٍ مِنْهُمْ ماتَ أَبَدًا). رواه البخاري: 1269

645. Narrated Ibn 'Umar رضى الله عنهما : When 'Abdullâh bin Ubay (the chief of hypocrites) died, his son came to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and said, O Allâh's Messenger, please give me your shirt to shroud him in it, offer his funeral prayer and ask for Allâh's Forgiveness for him. So Allâh's Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم gave his shirt to him and said, Inform me (when the funeral is ready) so that I may offer the funeral prayer. So, he informed him and when the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم intended to offer the funeral prayer, 'Umar رضى الله عنه took hold of his hand and said, Has Allâh not forbidden you to offer the funeral prayer for the hypocrites? The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, I have been given the choice, for Allâh تعالى says: 'Whether you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم ) ask forgiveness for them (hypocrites), or ask not forgiveness for them ...., (and even) if you ask seventy times for their forgiveness .... Allâh will not forgive them.' (V.9:80) So the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم offered the funeral prayer and on that the revelation came: And never (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم ) pray (funeral prayer) for any of them (i.e. hypocrites) who dies. (V.9:84). (2:359O.B.)

Shaykh Abu Yusuf Riyadh ul Haq translated this hadeeth and then elaborated further upon the literal translated.

Who was Abdullah ibn Ubay Salul? He was one of the famous persons from the tribe of Khazraj and his full name was Abdullah bin Ubay bin Salul. Salul was the name of his grandmother which is unusual as normally male names are used by Arabs when described as ‘son of…’. He was the leader of Khazraj and was about to be crowned the king of Madinah before the arrival of the Muslims. However, many of the people of the tribe embraced Islam when Rasul (صلى الله عليه وسلم) arrived and he was no longer suitable to rule over the kingdom of Madinah. He was extremely eloquent and very articulate and forceful. He was a very imposing personality and considered to be very handsome. He was tall and broadly built. He was also charming, captivating and of a sweet tongue. He was a natural leader. When the Muslims arrived in Madinah he felt he was robbed of his position, throne and crown. He held great enmity against Rasul (صلى الله عليه وسلم) but because many of his tribe had embraced Islam he felt that the best option would be to embrace Islam and go with the flow. However, he continued to oppose Rasul (صلى الله عليه وسلم) and undermine his authority. He never missed any opportunity to try and harm Rasul (صلى الله عليه وسلم) and the Muslims. However, when anyone would confront him, he would switch on his charm and say ‘I’m a Muslim’. He would pray salah in the Masjid and sit in the gatherings of Rasul (صلى الله عليه وسلم). Thus, everyone treated him as a Muslim. He became a natural leader and spearhead of the new movement of hypocrisy. There were four different groups in Madinah; Muslims, a number of Arabs who were still non-believers (but they made their disbelief clear), a large Jewish community and fourthly the hypocrites. There is an extensive mention of the hypocrites in the Madani Surats of the Qur’an. The hypocrites were a lethal group and we can understand this by looking at the beginning of Surah Baqarah for example where Allah praises the believers in 2-3 verses, then mentions the disbelievers in a couple of verses and then there is a large section where Allah mentions the hypocrites. The simple reason for this is because the believers are honest in their belief and the disbelievers are honest in their disbelief. In contrast, the hypocrites are extremely dangerous and deluded. Allah says that they attempt to deceive Allah and the believers but they are not deceiving anyone but themselves. In their delusion, they think they are getting away with everything by fooling the people and even think that they are deceiving Allah.

The Muslims had innumerable problems with the hypocrites. For example, during the battle of Uhud, Rasul (صلى الله عليه وسلم) had instructed everyone to march towards the outskirts of Madinah on a plain under Mount Uhud. The Muslims were going to battle against an army of 3000.

A thousand people travelled from Madinah, from the centre of the city towards the outskirts, towards Uhud in the morning. Abdullah bin Ubay bin Salul was in charge of a large contingent; a very large group. At the very last minute he turned away, just before Uhud, and came back and returned to Madinah with 300 of men. So, the Muslims who had originally set off with a 1000 men to fight a well-prepared enemy of 3000 were now left with just 700 men. This was due to the betrayal of Abdullah ibn Ubay who convinced 300 of the army to turn back and return to Madinah. And after the battle of Uhud, the hypocrites made excuse after excuse. Despite this, the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) tolerated them and humoured them but they left no stone unturned.

In the campaign of Banu Al-Mustaliq Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) had travelled. Abdullah ibn Ubay Salul was sitting with his cronies in his tent where the Muslims had camped on route on their way back to Madinah. One of the Muhajir companions and was drawing water from a well and there was someone from Madinah at the same well also drawing water. He was a colleague and an ally of Abdullah ibn Ubay Salul. These two ended up arguing with each other; the one from Madinah and the one from Makkah, the Muhajir. The situation was diffused but Abdullah ibn Ubay Salul heard about this altercation between the Muhajir companion and his ally. He was sitting in his tent with his cronies and when he heard about the argument and he spoke out, as usual, against the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم). Allah says in Surah Baqarah speaking about the hypocrites, that when they meet the believers they say we have believed with you and when they are in solitude with their devils they say we are with you.

When the believers would hear that the hypocrites spoke out in this manner, they would say to them that you say that you are believers, you sit with the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم), you speak to him, you say La illah illallah, you say ashadu al la illah illAllah, you attest to the faith, you proclaim the testimony of faith. They would respond by saying we are only joking. Allah says in the Quran ‘Allah humours them’.

After this incident at the well Abdullah ibn Ubay Salul said to his cronies I’ve always said to you that these emigrants from Makkah, their example is like that of the Arab saying and then he quoted a famous Arabic phrase; an Arabic saying that feed your dog, one day it shall eat you. You know, you continue to feed your dog, make it grow large, huge, strong, and ferocious and one day your dog will pounce on you and devour you. So, continue to feed your dog and one day it will devour you. Fatten your dog and it will devour you. He said, our example and the example of these emigrants from Makkah is that of this phrase, that we feed them, we look after them, we sheltered them, we took them in, we accommodated them, we received them when they fled Makkah, and now they rule over us, by Allah, these emigrants from Makkah, the only way they can reside in Madinah the way they do is because of your generosity towards them, your expenditure on them, the moment you withhold your funds, the moment you stop your expenditure, the moment you stop accommodating them, and showing such hospitality to them they will flee from Madinah. In anger he was saying more and more and continued by saying you know what when we shall return to Madinah, you watch what I will do, he said the honoured one will expel the base one, the humiliated, disgraced one from Madinah. And what he meant was that he was the honoured leader of Madinah whereas Muhammad ibn Abdullah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) is the one who has usurped his authority and claimed his crown, thus in his eyes he was the disgraced, humiliated base one.

Along with his cronies, a young child called Zayd ibn Arqam was also seating in the tent. Zayd ibn Arqam heard these words but the others didn’t think much of him being there as his was so young. So all the hypocrites felt safe and carried on abusing the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) and the Sahabah. Zayd ibn Arqam went and told the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) about what the hypocrites and said. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) was extremely hurt. Rasul (صلى الله عليه وسلم) didn’t summon Abdullah ibn Ubay Salul but when word spread through the camp and Abdullah Ibn Ubay heard that this young child has gone and revealed our secret conversation, he came himself, as usual, and switching on his charm. The hypocrites lie effortlessly, to them lying is as easy as breathing, as natural as breathing, with every inhalation they lie, with every exhalation they lie, each time they inhale they lie, each time they exhale they lie, it’s natural and part of their character. This is why the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said in a number of ahadith that the sign of a hypocrite is that when he speaks, he lies. So Abdullah ibn Ubay Salul came and he began offering his excuses and saying to the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) that Zayd ibn Arqam is just a child, what does he know whereas ‘Ya Rasulullah, I am your humble servant, I follow you, I obey you’ etc etc. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) remained silent. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) never replied with anything and thus it seemed Rasul (صلى الله عليه وسلم) accepted what Abdullah ibn Ubay was saying at face value. Not only Abdullah ibn Ubay Salul but even some of the sincere Sahabah said Ya Rasulullah here we have the word of a child, Zayd ibn Arqam, and on the other hand we have the leader of Khazraj, Abdullah ibn Ubay Salul; a man of standing, intelligence, a leader, an eloquent individual, a man of dignity and honour and standing in the community. So, how can we take the word of Zayd ibn Arqam. It’s unbelievable that he would say something like this. Zayd ibn Arqam said that when my testimony was rejected I could not show my face thinking that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) thinks that I lied or I fear that he may think that I am lying, thus what does everyone else think of me? Zayd ibn Arqam retreated with tears.

No sooner had Abdullah ibn Ubay Salul had spoken to Rasulullah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) and departed, Jibril (عليه السلام) came with verses of the Qur’an. Allah says, when the hypocrites come to you they say we surely testify that indeed you are the messenger of Allah, Allah knows that you are His messenger and Allah testifies that they are liars.

These verses of the Qur’an exonerated Zayd ibn Arqam and exposed Abdullah ibn Ubay Salul.

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