Abbad ibn Bishr
عباد بن بشر
Abbad ibn Bishr
عباد بن بشر
The Campanions of Prophet Muhammad
(peace be upon him)
Abbad ibn Bishr (Arabic: عباد بن بشر) (c.606–632) was a companion of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. He was known for his devotion to worship, knowledge and courage in battle.
He was enthralled by the Qur’an after first hearing it recited by Musab ibn Umayr before the hijra when Abbad was about fifteen years old. The Qur’an had a special place in his heart, and he became renowned for his recitation so much so that he was known among the companions as the friend of the Qur’an. Muhammad’s wife Aishah bint Abi Bakr once said: “There are three persons among the Ansar whom no one could excel in virtue: Sad ibn Muadh, Usayd ibn Khudayr, and Abbad ibn Bishr.”
In 625 (4 years after hijra), Muhammad received news that the Najd tribes were planning to attack Medina. In preemption, he assembled a detachment of over four hundred men including Abbad ibn Bishr. Arriving at Najd, they found the men of the tribes had fled to the hills. When the time of salatul asr came, Muhammad feared an ambush so he arranged the Muslims in ranks and divided them into two groups and performed salatul-khawf (the Prayer of Fear).
Seeing their disciplined ranks, the hostile tribesmen became uneasy. After Muhammad made his presence known, he felt a conflict was unnecessary and decided to depart. On the way back to Medina, the Muslims pitched camp in a valley for a night. The responsibility of guarding the camp was assumed by Abbad ibn Bishr and Ammar bin Yasir, whom Muhammad had paired as brothers following his arrival in Medina.
After reaching the mouth of the valley, Abbad noticed that his brother was tired and volunteered to keep watch for the first half of the night and allow him to rest. Since there appeared to be no imposing threats, Abbad stood up for prayer. While absorbed in recitation, a stranger stalked the outskirts of the valley in search of Muhammad and his followers. He was among those who had planned to attack Muhammad, but fled into the mountains.
From a distance, the man saw the figure of Abbad and knew the Muslim force must be inside the valley. Silently he drew his bow, and fired an arrow which embedded itself in Abbad’s flesh. Calmly, Abbad removed the arrow and went on with his recitation, still absorbed in his Salat.
The attacker shot two more arrows, which also found their mark. Abbad pulled them out and finished his recitation. Weak and in pain, he stretched out his hand while still in prostration and shook his sleeping companion. Abbad continued the prayer to its end and then said: “Get up and stand guard in my place. I have been wounded.”
Ammar stood up, and seeing them both, the attacker fled into the darkness. Ammar turned to Abbad, blood flowing from his wounds, and asked “Why didn’t you wake me when you were hit by the first arrow?”
Abbad replied “I was reciting verses of the Qur’an which filled my soul with awe and I did not want to cut short the recitation. Muhammad had commanded me to commit this surah to memory. Death would have been dearer to me than that the recitation of this surah should be interrupted.”
Abbad was killed fighting the forces of Musailma at the battle of Yamamah in 632. Before the battle, he observed the lack of mutual confidence between the Muhajirin and Ansar, realized the campaign would fail unless they were separately regimented, and distinguished those who bore their responsibility and were steadfast in combat. When the battle commenced, Abbad ibn Bishr stood on a mound and shouted:
“O Ansar, distinguish yourselves among men. Destroy your scabbards. And do not forsake Islam.”
Abbad gathered about four hundred men from the Ansar and launched an offensive into the enemy ranks, forcing their retreat to the garden of death, where Abbad ibn Bishr was mortally wounded. Although the battle was a victory for the Muslims, twelve hundred of their force were killed. So numerous were Abbad’s wounds, that he was hardly recognizable. Although he passed at a young age, Abbad contributed much to the strength of the early Muslim community, and his life and martyrdom continue to inspire followers of Islam the world over.
Abbad Ibn Bishr
It was the fourth year after the Hijrah. The city of the Prophet salla.gif was still under threat from within and without. From within. the influential tribe the Banu an-Nadhir. broke their agreement with the Prophet and made plans to kill him. For this, they were banished from the city. This was in the month of Safar.
Two months of uneasy quiet passed. Then the Prophet received news that tribes from distant Najd were planning an attack. To pre-empt them. the Prophet gathered a force of over four hundred men. and leaving one of his companions Uthman ibn Affan in charge of the city, set out eastwards. Among this force was the young Madinan, Abbad ibn Bishr.
Arriving at Najd, the Prophet found the habitations of the hostile tribes strangely deserted of men. Only women were about. The men had taken to the hills. Some of them regrouped and prepared to fight. The time of Salat al-Asr (the afternoon prayer) came.
The Prophet feared that the hostile tribesmen would attack them during prayer. He arranged the Muslims in ranks and divided them into two groups and performed the prayer as the Salat al-Khawf (the Prayer of Fear). With one group he performed one rakah while the other group stood on guard. For the second rakah the groups changed places. Each group completed its prayer with one rakah after the Prophet had finished…
On beholding the disciplined ranks of the Muslims the hostile tribesmen became uneasy and afraid. The Prophet had made his presence felt and something of his mission was now known at first hand in the central highlands of Arabia whence he departed peacefully.
On the way back, the Prophet pitched camp in a valley for a night. As soon as the Muslims had settled their camel mounts, the Prophet peace be on him, asked: “Who will be our guard tonight?” “We, O Messenger of God,” said Abbad ibn Bishr and Ammar ibn Yasir both of whom had been paired off as ‘brothers’ by the Prophet when he arrived in Madinah after the Hijrah.
Abbad and Ammar left for the mouth of the valley to take up duty. Abbad saw that his “brother” was tired and asked him: “What part of the night do you wish to sleep, the first or the second?” “I shall sleep during the first part,” said Ammar who was soon fast asleep quite close to Abbad.
The night was clear, calm and peaceful. The stars, the trees, and the rocks all appeared to celebrate in silence the praises of their Lord. Abbad felt serene. There was no movement, no threatening sign. Why not spend the time in ibadah (worship) and reciting the Quran? How delightful it would be to combine the performance of Salat with the measured recitation of the Quran which he so much enjoyed.
In fact Abbad was enthralled by the Quran from the moment he first heard it being recited by the mellow and beautiful voice of Musab ibn Umayr. That was before the Hijrah when Abbad was just about fifteen years old. The Quran had found a special place in his heart and day and night thereafter he would be heard repeating the glorious words of God so much so that he became known among the Prophet’s companions as the “friend of the Quran”.
Late at night, the Prophet once stood up to perform the Tahajjud Prayer in Aishah’s house which adjoined the masjid. He heard a voice reciting the Quran, pure and sweet and as fresh as when the angel Jibril revealed the words to him. He asked: “Aishah, is that the voice of Abbad ibn Bishr?” “Yes, O Messenger of God,” replied Aishah. “O Lord, forgive him,” prayed the Prophet out of love for him.
And so in the stillness of the night, at the mouth of the valley in Najd, Abbad stood up and faced the Qiblah. Raising his hand in surrender to God, he entered into the state of Prayer. Finishing the compulsory opening chapter of the Quran, he began reciting Surah al-Kahf in his sweet, captivating voice. Surah al-Kahf is a long Surah of one hundred and ten verses which deals in part with the virtues of faith, truth and patience and with the relativity of time.
While he was thus absorbed in reciting and reflecting upon the Divine Words, eternal words of illumination and wisdom, a stranger stalked the outskirts of the valley in search of the Prophet Muhammad (s) and his followers. He was one of those who had planned to attack the Prophet (s) but who had fled into the mountains on the approach of the MusIims.
His wife whom he had left in the village had been taken as a hostage by one of the Muslims. When he eventually found that his wife was gone, he swore by al-Lat and al-Uzzah that he would pursue Muhammad and his companions and that he would not return unless he had drawn blood.
From a distance, the man saw the figure of Abbad silhouetted at the mouth of the valley and he knew that the Prophet and his followers must be inside the valley. Silently he drew his bow and let fly an arrow. Unerringly it embedded itself in Abbad’s flesh .
Calmly, Abbad pulled out the arrow from his body and went on with his recitation, still absorbed in his Salat. The attacker shot a second and a third arrow both of which also found their mark. Abbad pulled out one and then the other. He finished his recitation, made ruku and then sujud. Weak and in pain, he stretched out his right hand while still in prostration and shook his sleeping companion. Ammar awoke. Silently, Abbad continued the Salat to its end and then said: “Get up and stand guard in my place. I have been wounded.”
Ammar jumped up and began to yell. Seeing them both the attacker fled into the darkness. Ammar turned to Abbad as he lay on the ground, blood flowing from his wounds.
“Ya Subhanallah (Glory be to God)! Why didn’t you wake me when you were hit by the first arrow?” “I was in the midst of reciting verses of the Quran which filled my soul with awe and I did not want to cut short the recitation. The Prophet had commanded me to commit this surah to memory. Death would have been dearer to me than that the recitation of this surah should be interrupted.”
Abbad’s devotion to the Quran was a sign of his intense devotion to and love for God, His Prophet and His religion. The qualities he was known for were his constant immersion in ibadah, his heroic courage and his generosity in the path of God. At times of sacrifice and death, he would always be in the front line.
When it was time for receiving his share of rewards, he would only be found after much effort and difficulty. He was always trustworthy in his dealings with the wealth of Muslims. Ali this was re cognized. Aishah, the wife of the Prophet, once said: “There are three persons among the Ansar whom no one could excel in virtue: Sad ibn Muadh, Usayd ibn Khudayr and Abbad ibn Bishr.”
Abbad died the death of a martyr at the battle of Yamamah. Just before the battle he had a strong presentiment of death and martyrdom. He noticed that there was a lack of mutual confidence among the Muhajirin and Ansar. He was grieved and upset. He realized that there would be no success for the Muslims in these terrible battles unless the Muhajirin and Ansar were grouped in separate regiments so that it could be clearly seen who really bore their responsibility and who were truly steadfast in combat.
At the break of day when the battle commenced, Abbad ibn Bishr stood on a mound and shouted:
“O Ansar, distinguish yourselves among men. Destroy your scabbards. And do not forsake Islam.”
Abbad harangued the Ansar until about four hundred men gathered around him at the head of whom were Thabit ibn Qays, al-Baraa ibn Malik and Abu Dujanah, the keeper of the Prophet’s sword. With this force, Abbad unleashed an offensive into the enemy’s ranks which blunted their thrust and drove them back to the “garden of death”.
At the walls of this garden, Abbad ibn Bishr fell. So numerous were his wounds, he was hardly recognizable. He had lived, fought and died as a believer.
‘Abbad Ibn Bishr
With Him Was the Light of Allah!
When Mua’ab Ibn “Umair went to Al-Madiinah, appointed by the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) to teach the Ansaar — who had given their oath of allegiance to the Messenger in Islam — and to lead them in prayer, ‘Abbad Ibn Bishr was one of the devoted whose hearts Allah opened to good. So Mus”ab approached the assembly, and “Abbad listened to him and stretched out his right hand to give his oath of allegiance to Islam. From that day on, he took his place among the Ansaar with whom Allah is pleased and they with Him.
The Prophet (PBUH) emigrated to Al-Madiinah after the believers of Makkah had preceded him there. Then began the military campaigns in which the forces of good and light clashed with the forces of darkness and evil. In each of these battles, ‘Abbad Ibn Bishr was in the front ranks fighting heroically in the cause of Allah, completely consumedand dedicated with heart and soul in a dazzling, overwhelming way. Perhaps the event which we now narrate will disclose something of the heroism of this great believer.
After the Messenger of Allah and the believers had finished the military campaign of Dhaat-Ar-Riqaa’, they stopped over at a place to spend the night and the Messenger chose guards from the Companions to take turns. Among them were ‘Ammaar Ibn Yaasir and ^Abbad Ibn Bishr on one watch.
‘Abbad saw that his companion ‘Ammaar was exhausted, so he demanded that he sleep the first part of the night and he would stand guard so his companion could take some rest. He could resume guard after he awoke.
‘Abbad saw that the place around him was safe, so he thought, why not fill up his time with prayer, so that he would be rewarded both for praying and standing guard. So he stood praying.
While he was standing reciting a surah from the Qur’aan after Al-Faatihah, an arrow passed through his shoulder, so he pulled it out and continued his prayer. Then the attacker shot a second arrow in the darkness of the night, so he pulled it out, also, and completed his recitation.
Then he bowed and prostrated.
Weakness and pain had dissipated his strength, so he extended his right hand, while prostrating, to his companion sleeping near him and continued to shake him until he woke up. Then he sat up from his prostration and recited the Tashahhud (i.e. the last part of his prayer) and completed his prayer.
‘Ammaar awoke at the weary, trembling voice of his words, “Stand guard in my place. I am wounded!” “Ammaar jumped up yelling noisily and quickly frightened away the attackers, so they ran away. Then he turned to ‘Abbad and said to him, “Glory be to Allah! Why didn’t you awaken me when you were first hit?”
‘Abbad replied, “In my prayer I was reciting verses from the Qur’aan that filled my soul with such awe that I didn’t want to interrupt it nor cut it short. By Allah, I swear, because I did not want to lose a single word which the Messenger of Allah ordered me to preserve, I would have preferred death more than interrupting those verses which I was reciting.”
‘Abbad was extremely devoted and strong in his love of Allah, His Messenger, and His religion, and this devotion lasted throughout his life.
Since he heard the Prophet (PBUH) saying to the Anaaar, “You are my people. You are the people who protect. There is no nation which has come like you before.”.. .
We say, since ‘Abbad heard these words from his Prophet (PBUH), teacher, and guide to Allah, he spent generously of his wealth and gave his spirit and life in the way of Allah and His Messenger. In the areas of sacrifice and even death, he constantly put them first, and even in a seizure of booty and spoils of war. In places of hardship and struggle, his companions searched for him until they found him.
He was always a worshiper — worship completely absorbed him; brave — bravery and heroism engrossed him; generous — generosity engaged him.
He was a strong believer. He pledged his life to the cause of faith. All of this was known of him by the Companions of the Messenger. The Mother of the Faithful “Aa’ishah (May Allah be pleased with her) said: “There are three from among the Ansaar who are not surpassed in virtue by anyone: S’ad Ibn Mu’aadh, Usaid Ibn Hudair and’Abbad Ibn Bishr.”
The first Muslims knew ‘Abbad as a man in whom was light from Allah. His radiant, clear vision guided to areas of goodness and certainty without searching or difficulty.
His brothers believed in his light to the extent that they attributed to him the picture of perception and discipline. They agreed that once ‘Abbad was walking in the darkness and there emanated from him a light that lit the way for him.
In the apostasy wars after the death of the Messenger (PBUH), “Abbad carried his responsibility with incomparable death-defying courage.
On the battlefield of Al-Yamaamah, where the Muslims faced the most cruel and skillful army under the leadership of Musailamah, the Liar, ‘Abbad perceived a danger threatening to Islam. His willingness to sacrifice and his vigor constituted sufficient importance, such that it gave him his faith and raised him to the level of his aspiration and ability to perceive danger, making him one willing to sacrifice and give up everything for his faith, not desiring anything other than death and martyrdom.
A day before the beginning of the Battle of Al-Yamaamah he saw in his sleep a vision that did not remain long enough to be clear: above the land of the great destructive battle which the Muslims went through…
So let an honorable companion, Abu Sa’iid Al-Khudriy, tell us the story of the vision which ‘Abbad saw, his explanation of it, and his amazing attitude in fighting which ended in martyrdom.
Abu Sa’iid reported:
“Abbad Ibn Bishr said to me, “O Abu Sa’iid, I saw last night as if the sky had opened up for me. Then it closed and covered over me. Indeed, I see it, if Allah wills, to mean martyrdom.” I said to him, Good. I swear by Allah, you did indeed see it.” On the Day of Al-Yamaamah, I looked at him and indeed saw him shouting to the Ansaar, “Use your swords forcefully and be distinguished among the people!”
So 400 men came quickly to him, all of them from among the Ansaar people, until they stopped at the gate of the garden. They fought violently, and ‘Abbad Ibn Bishr was martyred. I saw on his face much beating and I did not know him except by a mark that was on his body.
Thus was “Abbad raised to the level of his duties as a believer from among the Ansaar. He gave the oath of allegiance to his Messenger, dedicating his life to Allah and death in His cause.
When he saw the destructive battle turning in favor of the enemy, he remembered the words of the Messenger to his people, the Ansaar: “You are my people. I can not be defeated through you. There has not come and people like you before.” This sound filled his heart and soul and penetrated his consciousness, until it was as if the Messenger of Allah was now standing before him repeating these words of his.
‘Abbad felt that the whole responsibility of the battle was placed completely on the shoulders of the Ansaar, on the shoulders of those about whom the Messenger of Allah had said, “There has not come any people like you before.” And on the shoulders of no one else besides them.
Then and there, ‘Abaad went up on a hill and shouted, “O people of the Ansaar! Carry your sword in a valiant way, and be honored and distinguished among the people!”
When 400 of them answered his call, he led them and Abu Dajaanah and Al-Baraa’ Ibn Maalik to the garden of death, where the army of Musailamah had fortified itself for protection. The hero fought a worthy fight as a man, as a believer, and as an Ansaar.
On that glorious day, “Abbad attained martyrdom. The vision which he saw in his dream the day before came true. Did he not see the sky open until, when he entered it from that opening, it returned and folded on him and closed?
He interpreted it as meaning that his spirit would ascend in the coming battle to its Creator. The vision was true and the interpretation of it was true. And the doors of heaven were opened to welcome to happiness the spirit of ‘Abbad Ibn Bishr, the man who had with him a light from Allah.