Sources:

  • Companions of the Prophet by ‘Abdul Waahid Hamid
  • As-haab ar-Rasool by Mahmoud al-Masri

Khaalid ibn Zaid (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu), from the Bani Najjar, was a great and close Companion of the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). He was known as Abu Ayyub (father of Ayyub) and enjoyed a privilege which many of the Ansaar in Madinah hoped they would have.

When the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) reached Madinah after his Hijrah from Makkah, he was greeted with great enthusiasm from the Ansaar of Madinah. Their hearts went out to him and their eyes followed him with devotion and love. They wanted to give him the most generous reception anyone could be given.

The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) first stopped at Quba’ on the outskirts of Madinah and stayed there for some days. The first thing he did was build a mosque which is described in the Qur’an as the “mosque built on the foundation of Taqwa” [Surat at-Tawbah (9:108)].

Next to this mosque, dwellings made of clay and bricks would be built with nothing inside them but that which is barely sufficient for sustenance and living; these dwellings would be inhabited by Prophet Muhammad (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam).

Indeed, the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was very careful to leave the choosing of the place of his abode to Allaah’s determined decree.

The Prophet (Sall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) entered Madinah on his camel. The chieftains of the city stood along his path, each one wishing to have the honor of the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) alighting and staying in his house. One after the other stood in the camels way, entreating, “Stay with us, O Rasulullaah.”

“Leave the camel,” the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) would say. “It is under Command.”

The camel continued walking closely followed by the eyes and hearts of the people of Yathrib (Madinah). When it went past a house, the owner would feel sad and dejected, and hope would rise in the hearts of others still on the route.

The camel continued in this fashion with the people following it until the camel hesitated in an open space among the dwellings of Bani an-Najjar (the Prophet’s maternal uncles). But the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) did not get down. After only a short while, the camel set off again, the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) leaving its reins loose. Before long, however, it turned around, retraced its steps and stopped on the same spot as before.  Then Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Which is the nearest of the houses of our kith and kin?” Abu Ayyub (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) replied: “Mine, O Messenger of Allaah! This is my house and this is my gate.” Abu Ayyub’s heart was filled with happiness. He went out to the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and greeted him with great enthusiasm.  He took the Prophet’s (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) baggage in his arms and felt as if he was carrying the most precious treasure in the world.

It was not the first meeting between the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and Abu Ayyub al-Ansaari (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) also known as Khaalid ibn Zaid, the grandson of Maalik ibn an-Najjar. They had met before when the delegation from Madinah journeyed to Makkah to take the oath of allegiance, i.e. the second pledge of al-‘Aqabah, to the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). Abu Ayyub al-Ansaari (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) was among the 70 believers who shook hands with the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and gave him his support and loyalty. It seems that Abu Ayyub’s (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) great fortune was that his house was chosen for the great Muhaajir, the generous Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), to live in when he entered Madinah and established it as the capital of Allaah’s new religion.

The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) in the accommodation of Abu Ayyub (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu)

Abu Ayyub’s (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) house had two floors. He emptied the upper floor of his and his family’s possessions so that the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) could stay there. But the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) preferred to stay on the lower floor.

Night came and the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) retired. Abu Ayyub (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) went up to the upper floor. But when he had closed the door, Abu Ayyub (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) turned to his wife and said:

“Woe to us! What have we done? The Messenger of Allaah (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) is below and we are higher than he! Can we walk on top of Allaah’s Messenger? Do we come between him and the Revelation (Wahy)? If so, we are doomed.”

The couple became very worried not knowing what to do. They only got some peace of mind when they moved to the side of the building which did not fall directly above the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). They were careful also, only to walk on the outer parts of the floor and avoid the middle.

In the morning, Abu Ayyub (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) said to the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam):  “By Allaah, we did not sleep a wink last night, neither myself nor Umm Ayyub.”

“Why not, Abu Ayyub?” asked the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam).

Abu Ayyub (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) explained how terrible they felt being above while the Prophet was below them and how they might have interrupted the Revelation.

“Don’t worry, Abu Ayyub,” said the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). “I prefer the lower floor because of the many people coming to visit us.”

“We submitted to the Prophet’s wishes,” Abu Ayyub (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) related, “until one cold night a jar of ours broke and water spilled on the upper floor. Umm Ayyub and I stared at the water. We only had one piece of velvet which we used as a blanket. We used it to mop up the water out of fear that it would seep through to the Prophet. In the morning I went to him (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and said: ‘I do not like to be above you,’ and told him what had happened. He (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) accepted my wish and we changed floors.”

Abu Ayyub al-Ansaari (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) used to prepare food for Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and when it was brought (back) to him he asked (to locate) the part where his fingers had touched (the food), and he followed his fingers on that part where the fingers of the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) had touched it. It was said to him that he had not eaten (the food). He (Abu Ayyub al-Ansaari) was distressed and went up to him [the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam)] and asked: Is it forbidden? Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: No, (it is not forbidden), but I do not like it. So, he (Abu Ayyub al-Ansaari) said: I also do not like what you do not like or which you did not like. He (Abu Ayyub al-Ansaari) said: (The Prophet did not eat garlic) as Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was visited (by angels) and brought the message of Allaah. [Muslim no. 5099]

The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) stayed in Abu Ayyub’s house for almost seven months until his mosque was completed on the open space where his camel had stopped. He moved into the rooms which were built around the mosque for himself and his family. He thus became a neighbor of Abu Ayyub (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu).

His (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) love and generosity for his beloved Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam)

Abu Ayyub (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) loved the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) with all his heart and the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) also loved him dearly. There was no formality between them. The Prophet continued to regard Abu Ayyub’s house as his own. The following anecdote tells a great deal about the relationship between them.

“Abu Bakr (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) once left his house in the burning heat of the midday sun and went to the mosque. ‘Umar (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) saw him and asked: “Abu Bakr, what has brought you out at this hour?” Abu Bakr (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) said he had left his house because he was terribly hungry and ‘Umar (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) said that he had left his house for the same reason. The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) came up to them and asked: “What has brought the two of you out at this hour?” They told him and he said: “By Him in Whose Hands is my life, only hunger has caused me to come out also. But come with me.”

They went to the house of Abu Ayyub al-Ansaari (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu). His wife opened the door and said: “Welcome to the Prophet and whoever is with him.”

“Where is Abu Ayyub?” asked the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). Abu Ayyub (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu), who was working in a nearby palm grove, heard the Prophet’s voice and came hurriedly.

“Welcome to the Prophet and whoever is with him” he said and went on: “O Messenger of Allaah, this is not the time that you usually come.” [Abu Ayyub (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) used to keep some food for the Prophet every day. When the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) did not come for it by a certain time, Abu Ayyub would give it to his family.)]

“You are right,” the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) agreed.

Abu Ayyub (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) went out and cut a cluster of dates in which there were both ripe and half-ripe dates. I did not want you to eat this,” said the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). “Could you not have brought only the ripe dates?”

“O Rasulullaah, please eat from both the ripe dates (rutab) and the half ripe (busr). I shall slaughter an animal for you also.”

“If you are going to, then do not kill one that gives milk,” cautioned the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam).

Abu Ayyub (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) killed a young goat, cooked half and grilled the other half. He also asked his wife to bake, because she baked better, he said.

When the food was ready, it was placed before the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and his two Companions. The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) took a piece of meat and placed it in a loaf and said: “Abu Ayyub, take this to Fatimah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anha). She has not tasted the like of this for days.”

When they had eaten and were satisfied, the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said reflectively: “Bread and meat and busr and rutab!” Tears began to flow from his eyes as he continued: “This is a bountiful blessing which you will be asked about on the Day of Judgment. If such comes your way, put your hands to it and say: ‘Bismillaah’ (In the Name of Allaah) and when you have finished say: ‘Alhamdulillaah Allaadhee huwa ashba’na wa an’ama alayna’ (Praise be to Allaah Who has given us enough and Who has bestowed His bounty on us). This is best.”

The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) used to compensate everyone who did good to him, and he (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said to Abu Ayyub (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu):  “Come to us tomorrow!”

But Abu Ayyub (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) did not hear the statement of the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). So ‘Umar (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) told him: “The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) is commanding you to come to him tomorrow O Abu Ayyub!”  Abu Ayyub (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) said: “I hear and obey the Messenger of Allaah.”

When Abu Ayyub (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) went to the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) the next day, he [the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam)] gave him a young slave girl to serve him, and said to him: “I advise you to be good to her – O Abu Ayyub – because we have not seen except good from her as long as she was with us.”

Abu Ayyub (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) took the slave girl to his house. “To whom does she belong, O Abu Ayyub?” Umm Abu Ayyub (Radia-Allaahu ‘anha) said when she saw the slave girl.

He [Abu Ayyub (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu)] said: “To us, Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) granted her to us.” She said: “How great the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) is and how generous his gift is.”

He (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) said: “He (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) advised us to be good to her.” She said: “What shall we do in order to execute the advice of the Messenger of Allaah?” He (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) said: “By Allaah! I cannot find a better way to carry out the advice of the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) to be good to her, other than freeing her (manumitting her).” She said: “You have been guided to the right, you are guided… then free her.” [Paraphrased from the book Suwar min Hayat as-Sahaabah]

His Noble Attitude

Abu Ayyub’s (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) behavior was outstanding regarding the slander against ‘Aishah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anha).

It was said that verse (24:12) was revealed about Abu Ayyub, Khaalid ibn Zayd al-Ansaari and his wife (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhuma). Imaam Ibn Ishaaq ibn Yasaar narrated: “The wife of Abu Ayyub, Khaalid ibn Zayd al-Ansaari, Umm Ayyub, said to him: ‘O Abu Ayyub, have you heard what the people are saying about ‘Aishah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anha)?’ He said: ‘Yes, and it is all lies. Would you do that, O Umm Ayyub?’ She said: ‘No, by Allaah, I would not do that.’ He said: ‘And, by Allaah, ‘Aishah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anha) is better than you.’” When the Qur’an was revealed, Allaah mentioned those who spoke about the evil deed among the people of the slander.

“Verily, those who brought forth the slander are a group among you.”

[Surat an-Nur 24:11]

This refers to Hassaan and his companions who said what they said:

“Why then, did not the believers, men, when you heard it, think…..

means, as Abu Ayyub and his wife did. [Tafseer Ibn Katheer]

The Companions honor Abu Ayyub (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu)

The Companions of the Prophet acknowledge the status of Abu Ayyub (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) and his high position.

In the biography of Ibn ‘Abbaas (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhuma), Abu Ayyub (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) was an Ameer over Basrah (at the time of the Caliphate of ‘Ali (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu).

When Abu Ayyub (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) came as a delegate to Ibn ‘Abbaas (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhuma), the latter accommodated him excessively, and honored him saying: “Surely, I would recompense you for accommodating the Prophet when he was with you.” So Ibn ‘Abbaas (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhuma) granted him all what he had in his house, such that it reached the amount of 40,000 (forty thousand) dinars.

In another report: Abu Ayyub (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) came as a guest to Ibn ‘Abbaas (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) in Basrah. Ibn ‘Abbaas (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhuma) emptied his house for him and said: “I would do it for you as you did for the Prophet…., how much is your debt?” He said twenty thousand, so Ibn ‘Abbaas gave him forty thousand, 20 slaves and a house full of furniture.” [At-Tabarani, al-Haakim and see Majma’ az-Zawaa’id]

His Blessed Journey to seek one Hadeeth

Ataa’ ibn Abi Rabaah said: “Abu Ayyub (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) travelled to Egypt to inquire of ‘‘Uqbah ibn ‘Aamir (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) regarding one Hadeeth that he heard from Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). When he came, he went to the house of Maslamah ibn Mukhallid al-Ansaari who was the Ameer of Egypt. When Maslamah ibn Mukhallid was told about the matter, he came out hurriedly and embraced him.

He asked: “What made you to come O Abu Ayyub?” He said: “A Hadeeth that I heard from the Messenger of Allaah; no others remain alive other than myself and ‘Uqbah who heard this Hadeeth. Send me someone who can guide me to his house.”

He said: “A messenger was sent to guide him to the house of ‘Uqbah. When ‘Uqbah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) came to know about him, he came out and received him. He embraced him and said: ‘What has brought you, O Abu Ayyub?’ He replied: ‘A Hadeeth that I have heard from the Messenger of Allaah. No one remains who heard it except me and you’ – which is about the concealment of the Muslim. He replied: “Yes I heard Allaah’s Messenger (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) saying: ‘Whoever conceals a believer in this worldly life, Allaah will conceal him on the Day of Resurrection.’ Abu Ayyub (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) said: “You have said the truth.” Then he went to his mount, rode it and returned to Madinah.  [Reported by Ahmad]

His Jihaad in the Cause of Allaah

Ever since the Quraish began to fight against Islam, to raid Madinah, the land of Hijrah, and to instigate tribes and organize armies to put out Allaah’s light, Abu Ayyub (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) became a professional in warfare and Jihaad. This hero was there in Badr, Uhud, al-Khandaq and the rest of the battles and wars. He sold himself, his money, and property to Allaah, the Lord of all the worlds.

Even after the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) died, Abu Ayyub (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu)  never lagged behind nor turned his back on a battle that the Muslims were destined to fight in, notwithstanding the hardships and the atrocities. The verse that he repeated day and night, secretly and openly, was Allaah’s verse:

“March forth whether you are light or heavy.”

(Surat at-Taubah 9:41).

He only missed one expedition; he refused to fight in an army whose commander was a young Muslim assigned by the caliph. Abu Ayyub al-Ansaari (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) was against this choice. This one and only mistake shook his innermost self and he was always full of regret as he repeated: “It is none of my concern who was appointed by ‘Ali.”

It was said of him: “He did not stay away from any battle the Muslims fought, from the time of the Prophet to the time of Mu’awiyah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) unless he was engaged at the same time in another.” It sufficed him to live as a soldier in the Muslim army, fight under its standard and defend its sanctity.

When conflict erupted between ‘Ali and Mu’awiyah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhuma), he sided with ‘Ali (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) without the slightest hesitation. He believed that ‘Ali (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) was the rightful caliph who had been chosen by the Muslims. When ‘Ali (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) died and Mu’awiyah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) took over the caliphate, the ascetic, steadfast and pious Abu Ayyub (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) held himself aloof. He craved nothing of this world but for a place on the battlefield among the Mujaahidoon, i.e. those who strive in the way of Allaah.

The last campaign that Abu Ayyub (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) took part in was the one prepared by Mu’awiyah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) and led by his son Yazid against Constantinople. At that time, Abu Ayyub (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) was a very old man, almost eighty years old. But that did not prevent him from joining the army and crossing the seas as a ghazi (warrior) in the Path of Allaah. However, after only a short time engaged in battle, Abu Ayyub (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) fell ill and had to withdraw from the fighting.

The commander of the army paid him a visit to check on him. He breathed heavily as if his longing to meet Allaah made him impatient with the few minutes he had left of his life. The commander, Yazid ibn Mu’awiyah asked him: “Do you need anything Abu Ayyub?”

“Convey my salaams to the Muslim armies and say to them: ‘Abu Ayyub urges you to penetrate deeply into the territory of the enemy as far as you can go, that you should carry him with you and that you should bury him under your feet at the walls of Constantinople.’ Then he breathed his last.”

Ibn Sa’d reported on the authority of Abu Dhubian, saying that Abu Ayyub (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) went on a battle and became sick. He said: “If I die, take my body, and when you stand in rows facing the enemy, throw me under your feet. I will relate to you a Hadeeth which I heard from the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam): ‘Whoever dies while he is not associating anyone in worship with Allaah will enter Paradise.’” [Reported by Ibn Sa’d, and al-Arna’oot said it has a strong chain.]

Indeed, this indicates a yearning for Jihaad without limit. May Allaah be pleased with this old Mujahid, who is buried under the walls of Constantinople.

He heard the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) relate a Hadeeth and he always cherished it. The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “First, if you perform a prayer, perform it perfectly, as if it was your last prayer. Pray as if you see Him, and if you don’t see Him, know that He sees you. Second, do not utter a word for which you will have to apologize later on. Third, rid yourself of the hope of having whatever is enjoyed by other people.” [Saheeh al-Jamie’ on the authority of Ibn ‘Umar (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhuma)]

Thus, he never spread slander or mischief, he never desired anything, and he spent his life absorbed in spiritual longing as a sincere worshipper and with the aloofness of someone on his deathbed. When it was time for him to die, he desired nothing of this world but this single wish that represented his heroism and greatness. “Carry my body far inside the Roman lands, then bury me there.” He believed in victory. He had enough insight to foresee that the distant parts of the world would soon be one of the oases of Islam and would be illuminated by light.

 

 


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