Amazing Stories of Sahabah (Companions) of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ
Who is a Companion of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ?
- Fatima Sajid
- 1 Nov 2023
Scholars have various definitions as to who is a Sahabi. They have set different standards to rule whether a person living during the time of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is eligible to be called a Sahabi or Companion as we say in the English language.
Many scholars judge by
- the time interval a person spent in the presence of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.
- the number of times one met Prophet Muhammad ﷺor saw him.
- the number of battles a Sahabi fought alongside Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.
A Sahabi is one who has met Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, believed in what he preached and died as a Muslim.
The most famous distribution of the Sahaba has been done by Hakim An Nisabori (a great scholar of Hadith) in his book “Ma’arifatu ulum al Hadith”. He has ranked the Sahaba in a total of 12 levels according to his criterion.
Importance of the Sahaba
Allah the Merciful has praised the Sahaba and mentioned them as being the truthful in the Quran;
مُّحَمَّدٌ رَّسُوۡلُ اللّٰهِؕ وَالَّذِيۡنَ مَعَهٗۤ اَشِدَّآءُ عَلَى الۡكُفَّارِ رُحَمَآءُ بَيۡنَهُمۡ تَرٰٮهُمۡ رُكَّعًا سُجَّدًا يَّبۡتَغُوۡنَ فَضۡلاً مِّنَ اللّٰهِ وَرِضۡوَانًاسِيۡمَاهُمۡ فِىۡ وُجُوۡهِهِمۡ مِّنۡ اَثَرِ السُّجُوۡدِؕ ذٰلِكَ مَثَلُهُمۡ فِىۡ التَّوۡرٰٮةِ وَمَثَلُهُمۡ فِىۡ الۡاِنۡجِيۡلِ كَزَرۡعٍ اَخۡرَجَ شَطَاهٗ فَاٰزَرَهٗ فَاسۡتَغۡلَظَ فَاسۡتَوٰى عَلٰى سُوۡقِهٖ يُعۡجِبُ الزُّرَّاعَ لِيَـغِيۡظَ بِهِمُ الۡكُفَّارَ ؕ وَعَدَ اللّٰهُ الَّذِيۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا وَعَمِلُوۡا الصّٰلِحٰتِ مِنۡهُمۡ مَّغۡفِرَةً وَّاَجۡرًا عَظِيۡمًا
“Muhammad is the Messenger of God.
Those who follow him are harsh towards the disbelievers and compassionate towards each other.
You see them kneeling and prostrating, seeking God’s bounty and His good pleasure: on their faces they bear the marks of their prostrations.
This is how they are pictured in the Torah and the Gospel: like a seed that puts forth its shoot, becomes strong, grows thick, and rises on its stem to the delight of its sowers. So God infuriates the disbelievers through them; God promises forgiveness and a great reward to those who believe and do righteous deeds.”(48:29)
Stories of the Sahaba
The lives of Sahaba are full of stories and morals that reflect the teachings of Islam and how one can endorse those teachings in their lives. We have chosen a few of the Sahabah and mentioned some events from their blessed lives for the purpose of encouragement and cultivation of Islamic teachings in our everyday lives.
The most famous of the Sahaba who has cited an approximate of 5300 traditions from Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is Abu Hurairah. He was named Abdul Rehman by the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. His complete name is Abdul Rehman Bin Sakhar adDoosi. He came to be known as Abu Hurairah out of his love for kittens and had a pet cat who he used to feed and clean. It followed him everywhere he went as if it were his shadow. Thus he was called “Father of the kitten”. He was very sympathetic towards animals. [Sear A’laam AnNubala’]
He accepted Islam at the hands of Tufayl ibn Amr, the chief of Daws tribe. Later he had the privilege of meeting Prophet Muhammad ﷺ in Makkah.
In the beginning of the 7th year of Hijrah, he came to Madinah and took refuge in Masjid AnNabawi with Ahl Assuffah. Abu Hurairah spent all his time accompanying Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. He even joined him on his journeys and expeditions. Though he only accompanied the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ during the last four years of his life, he had the honor of performing the most prominent task of preserving the religion by his formidable memory in the form of ahadith.
Zayd ibn Thabit the notable Sahaba of the Prophet Mouhammad ﷺ reported: “While Abu Hurairah and I and another friend of mine were in the Masjid praying to God Almighty and performing dhikr to Him, the Messenger of God appeared. He came towards us and sat among us. We became silent and he said: “Carry on with what you were doing.” “So my friend and I made a supplication to God before Abu Hurairah did and the Prophet ﷺ began to say Ameen to our dua. Then Abu Hurairah made a supplication saying: “O Lord, I ask You for what my two companions have asked and I ask You for knowledge which will not be forgotten.” “The Prophet ﷺ said: ‘Ameen.’ “We then said: ‘And we ask Allah for knowledge which will not be forgotten, and the Prophet replied: ‘The Dawsi youth has asked for this before you.”
Another incident which justifies his excellent memory is once when Marwaan bin al Hakim wanted to test his ability to memorize and invited him over. He asked Abu Hurairah for some narration and secretly had a scribe write down whatever was being said. One year later Marwaan made Abu Hurairah reiterate the traditions and to his surprise not a single word was wrong!
Imam Ash Shafi’i (May Allah be pleased with him) said about him “No one in his period was more capable of narrating traditions with such a memory than Abu Hurairah”. [Sear A’lam AnNubala’]
Abu Hurairah pressed heavily on adhering to the rights of parents. After becoming a Muslim his main concern was to convince his mother to become a Muslim. He kept persuading her for a long time until he finally asked Prophet Muhammad ﷺ to pray for her. Afterwards she reverted back to Islam.
According to another narration, Abu Hurairah – used to say, “By Allah! Whenever any male or female Muslim hears my name, they take a liking to me.” “How do you know this?” the narrator asked. He then mentioned that after his mother embraced Islam he went on to deliver the news to Prophet Muhammad ﷺ when he asked the Messenger of Allah to pray to make his mother and himself beloved to every Mu’min male or female. ‘Therefore, whenever any male or female Muslim hears my name, they take a liking to me.’
However, life was not that easy for Ahl Assuffah. The companions of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ endured extreme hunger, cold and heat. Abu Hurairah May Allah be pleased with him often had stones tied to his stomach to lessen the hunger. Such was the character and patience of the Sahabas and the sacrifices they made to preserve this religion. Abu Hurairah May Allah be pleased with him later on became the governor of Bahrain during Umar’s caliphate and owned a halal source of income which made him wealthy, but he constantly reminisced about times when he had nothing.
Ibn Sirin narrates that they were with Abu Hurairah who was wearing two reddish coloured cloths made in Kattaan. Wiping his nose with one of them, he said, “Wow! Abu Hurayra is wiping his nose with a cloth from Kattaan whereas there was a time when I seen myself fall down unconscious in front of Prophet Muhammad’s ﷺ pulpit and the room of Aa’isha. Someone would then come and place his foot on my neck thinking that I was insane whereas I was suffering extreme hunger. [Bukhari and Tirmidhi]
Moreover, Abu Hurairah was a frequent worshipper; he used to take turns praying at nights. One third of the night was prayed by him, second third by his wife and last third by his daughter. Hence, all night long his house was busy in remembrance of Allah.
He died at the age of 78 and was buried amongst the inhabitants of Al-Baqii. After attending his funeral, many of his students kept narrating the countless traditions of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ that they learnt from him.
[Men and Women around the Messenger, Khaalid Muhammad Khaalid, Dar Al Manarah, 2003, pg.: 340-348]
HUDHAIFA IBN AL-YAMMAN
When this sahabi was appointed as the governor of Madaa’in, people came out in great numbers to greet him and were immensely astonished to find such a humble and graceful ruler. He told them something memorable, as they gathered around him “Beware of sedition”. Upon being asked what this means, he revealed that it was the gates of rulers. When someone is admitted in the presence of a ruler, he falsely agrees with whatever is said and commends the ruler for what he has not done; that is sedition.
Hudhaifa Ibn al Yamman was not only talented but trustworthy. He detested hypocrisy and deceit. He was one of the several companions of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ who learnt his manners under the Prophet’s ﷺ guidance. Hence he was straightforward and clear.
The thing that distinguished him from the rest of the Sahabas was his ability to read faces and recognize evil. Therefore, he devoted his time to groom his capabilities in that area. He once narrated that all the Sahabas used to ask the Messenger of Allah ﷺ about good while I used to ask him about evil for the fear that it would overtake me. [Bukhari: 3606]
Even Umar May Allah be pleased with him used to consult his intelligence and insight in selecting men during his caliphate.
Furthermore, he was a man of strong character and intense loyalty. An example of this is when Hudhaifa May Allah be pleased with him had the misfortune of seeing his father mistakenly killed in the battle of Uhud by fellow Sahabas. Although devastated, he only prayed for mercy and forgiveness for those who attacked his father unknowingly. The incident grieved the Sahabas a lot. When the news reached Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, he demanded that the blood money be paid but Hudhaifa (May Allah be pleased with him) humbly refused and distributed it as alms among Muslims.
The companions of the Prophet ﷺ were constantly tested with hardships one after the other. One such incident is reported by Hudhaifa (May Allah be pleased with him) during the battle of Khandaq (Trench). He mentioned that particular night was dark and terrifying, the wind blew so strongly that it could uproot mountains. The atmosphere was that of deep fear and anxiety. It had been a month of ongoing siege and the Sahabas had reached the highest level of hunger and cold. The Quraish and their Jewish allies were outside Madina and Prophet Muhammad ﷺ wanted one of his Companions to penetrate in the enemy camps and bring news of recent developments.
No one volunteered upon asking, so Prophet Muhammad ﷺ picked Hudhaifa (May Allah be pleased with him) who later on candidly admitted that he had no choice but to obey because of the severe circumstances. Here he displayed his genius, even under the pinch of hunger and exhaustion. As he penetrated the enemy ranks, he heard Abu Sufyan alerting his troops to be aware of Muslim scouts. The camp’s fire was out due to violent wind and the whole area was enveloped in darkness. Abu Sufyan told his troops to ask the name of the person sitting next to each soldier. Hudhaifa hurriedly asked the soldier next to him what his name was, thus securing his position without any fight. Hudhaifa brought back the good news to Prophet Muhammad ﷺ upon his safe return to Madinah.
Nevertheless, he showed great heroism on battlefields. Hudhaifa (May Allah be pleased with him) is considered one of the three or five Sahabas who invaded all cities of Iraq. The Battle of Nahawaand concluded in Persian’s overwhelming defeat due to his brilliant strategy. He once helped the Muslims of Madaa’in find a suitable place to settle in and his search brought him to Kufa, hence laying the foundation of a future inhabitant city.
He would perpetually tell his fellow Sahabas that “Your best are not those who neglect this world for the last, nor those who neglect the last for this world. The best are those who take from this and that.”
[Men and Women around the Messenger, Khaalid Muhammad Khaalid, Dar Al Manarah, 2003, pg.: 154-162]
ABU ‘UBAIDAH IBN JARRAH
“In every nation there exists a man worthy of all trust, and the trustworthy of this nation is Abu ‘Ubaida bin Jarrah” [Bukhari: 3744, Muslim: 2419]
This is how Prophet Muhammad ﷺ praised this Sahabi. Abu ‘Ubaida embraced Islam through the hands of Abu Bakr at the beginning of its dawn in Makkah. Moreover, he was one of the Sahabas who migrated to Abyssinia with the second delegation. He fought all the battles alongside Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. Trustworthiness became his strong trait and flourished under the guidance of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.
Not only was Abu Ubaida loyal but he had a strong sense of responsibility towards Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. During the battle of Uhud, he sensed the potential threat to the Prophet’s ﷺ life. Hence, throughout the battle he kept a close eye on him ﷺ. As the battle reached its fiercest, Abu Ubaida was the first one to reach the Prophet ﷺ when the arrow hit him and protected him from further harm. Two of the rings of the Prophet’s mail had penetrated his cheeks and he was bleeding. In one narration Abu Bakr reports the whole event, explaining how Abu Ubaida insisted to be the one who helps Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. Abu Ubaida used his teeth to pull out the mail and in doing so lost his upper teeth while pulling the first mail and lower front teeth while pulling out the second one. [AlMustadrak: 3/266]
But the tale of his bravery doesn’t stop here; wherever he was given an obligation he did it with honesty and diligence. Abu Ubaida was sent to the battle of Khabat as a commander by the orders of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. The expedition had no means of supplement except for a bag of dates. This did not waver the Sahabas in their mission. Rather, when the dates finished they would crush withered leaves and swallow them with water to satisfy their hunger. Their only goal was to accomplish what their Prophet had asked of them. Therefore, the expedition came to be known as Al Khabat (The Struggle).
Umar Ibn al Khattab said about him on his deathbed “If Abu Ubaida Ibn Jarrah was alive, I would have entrusted him with the caliphate, and if Allah asked me about him, I would say, I assigned the caliphate to the trustworthy of Allah and His Prophet ﷺ, Abu Ubaida Ibn Jarrah.”
Previous statement does not mean that this great Sahabi was not bestowed with ruler ship; on the contrary Abu Ubaida was privileged to be the commander-in-chief, leader of the greatest Muslim army ever and a beloved ruler of Syria. However, these titles and high positions meant nothing to Abu Ubaida. He continued to be a humble and simple person as he was before all the riches. Once Umar Ibn Al Khattab visited him when he was the governor of Syria, his house had no furniture not to mention that the room in which he slept only had a sword, saddle bag and a shield. Upon Umar’s questioning about why he had not kept any furniture in his house? He simply answered that he had room to sleep in and that was enough for him.
The news of his death saddened Umar (May Allah be Pleased with Him) who was Ameer ul Mu’mineen at the time. He is reported to have said “If I were to make a wish, I would have wished for a house full of men just like Abu Ubaida”.
[Men and Women around the Messenger, Khaalid Muhammad Khaalid, Dar Al Manarah, 2003, pg.: 190-195]
MU’AADH IBN JABAL
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said “The most learned man of my nation in halal and haram is Mu’aadh ibn Jabal.” [Imam Ahmad 3/184]
Mu’aadh ibn jabal is one of the A