Abu Dhar al-Ghifari

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Abu Dhar al-Ghifari
Remains of al-Rabadha.jpg
The remains of Mosque of Abi Dhar in al-Rabadha which is said that his grave is there
Personal Information
Full Name Jundub b. Junada b. Sufyan al-Ghifari
Kunya Abu Dhar
Lineage Banu Ghifar
Birth 33 years before Hijra/590-1
Muhajir/Ansar Muhajir
Place(s) of Residence Medina, Syria, al-Rabadha
Death/Martyrdom 32/652-3, al-Rabadha
Burial Place al-Rabadha
Religious Information
Migration to Medina
Known for One of the group named "four pillars of Islam"
Notable Roles Companion of Imam 'Ali (a)
Other Activities Protesting against caliphs specially in the Event of Saqifa, prohibition of narrating/writing hadiths and ...

Jundub b. Junāda b. Sufyān al-Ghifārī (Arabic: جُندُب بن جُناده بن سفیان الغِفاري) (b. 33 BH/590-1 - d. 32/652-3) known as Abū Dhar al-Ghifārī (أبوذر الغفاري) was one of the greatest companions of Prophet Muhammad (s) and a companion of Imam 'Ali (a); he was also one of those who were known as the four pillars. He was a true companion of Prophet Muhammad (s) and Ahl al-Bayt (a). Numerous virtues and excellences have been narrated for him by both Sunni and Shi'a. Scholars of rijal have considered him as one the four pillars [among the companions]. Abu Dhar complained criticized actions of 'Uthman, the thirds Caliph, and as a result, he was exiled to Syria and then to al-Rabadha where he passed away.

Birth, Lineage, and Characteristics

Abu Dhar was born twenty years before the emergence of Islam, in Banu Ghifar, a famous and noble tribe among Arab.[1] His father, Junada, was the son of Ghifar and his mother, Ramla bt. al-Waqi'a, was from Banu Ghifar b. Malil.[2] Historians have debates on his father's name; they mentioned Yazid, Jundub, Ishraqa, 'Abd Allah and Sakan.[3]

As Ibn Hajar al-'Asqalani has stated: Abu Dhar was a tall, thin man with tanned skin[4]. Ibn Sa'd described him as a tall man with white hair and beard[5]. Al-Dhahabi also described him as a bulky man with full beard.[6]

Names and Titles

His name was Abu Dhar because of his child's name, Dhar. However his real name is not certain and it is mentioned differently in history books: Badr b. Jundub, Barir b. 'Abd Allah, Barir b. Junada, Barir b. Ishraqa, Jundub b. 'Abd Allah, Jundub b. Sakan and Yazid b. Junada[7]. It seems Jundub b. Yazid is his real and famous name[8].

Wife and Child

According to sources, he had a child named Dhar. Al-Kulayni has mentioned a narration about Dhar's death.[9]. His wife was called Umm Dhar[10].

Conversion to Islam

Abu Dhar was among the first people who converted to Islam[11]. According to some narrations he was a monotheist before the emergence of Islam, he worshiped God three years before Bi'tha[12]. Ibn Habib al-Baghdadi maintains that Abu Dhar considered drinking alcohol and azlam (gambling) unlawful in Jahiliyya era[13]. After the emergence of Islam, he was among the first people who came to Prophet Muhammad (s) and converted to Islam. According to a narration, Abu Dhar said: "I was the forth one who went to Muhammad (s) and converted to Islam, which made him delighted[14]."

As Ibn al-'Abbas said: "When Abu Dhar became aware of Prophet Muhammad's Prophethood in Mecca, he told his brother, Anis: Inform me about the knowledge of the man who thinks, he receives massages from the sky; listen to him and bring me the news." After visiting Prophet Muhammad (s) Anis returned to his brother. Then Abu Dhar himself went to Mecca to find Muhammad (s). Abu Dhar alongside 'Ali b. Abi Talib (a) visited Muhammad (s) in his house. Abu Dhar was the first one who said to Prophet: "Salam upon you, O Messenger of Allah". Then Abu Dhar converted to Islam after articulating Shahadatayn (Islamic creed declaring belief in the oneness of God and acceptance of Muhammad (s) as God's messenger)[15].

Shi'a sources reported a different story on Abu Dhar's conversion to Islam. Al-Kulayni reported a narration from Imam al-Sadiq (a), in which the story of Abu Dhar's conversion to Islam is mentioned alongside an extraordinary event[16].

Virtues

The Prophet (s) has said:

"Allah ordered me to love four men, He also informed me that He loves them: 'Ali (a), Miqdad, Abu Dhar, and Salman"

Al-Ghadir, vol.9, p.117

Prophet Muhammad (s) said to Abu Dhar: "Well done Abu Dhar, you are a member of Ahl al-Bayt (a)"[17]. Elsewhere he said to the effect that Abu Dhar is the most honest person among all people[18]. In another occasion, Prophet (s) compared piety and humbleness of Abu Dhar to that of 'Isa b. Maryam (a)[19].

Also Imam 'Ali (a) said, ordinary people are unable to achieve the knowledge of Abu Dhar[20]. Imam Ali (a) also considers him among those people that paradise awaits them.[21].

Imam al-Baqir (a) said: After Prophet Muhammad (s) had passed away, everybody became apostate and left 'Ali b. Abi Talib (a) except three people: Salman al-Farsi, Abu Dar and Miqdad. 'Ammar b. Yasir was doubtful at first; however he returned to Imam 'Ali (a)[22].

Imam al-Sadiq (a) said about Abu Dhar's worship: the main part of his worship was thinking. He cried in the fear of Allah so much that he hurt his eyes[23]. Abu Dhar also said: I like three things that people hate: death, poverty and affliction. Imam al-Sadiq (a) explained, Abu Dhar meant death by the order of Allah is better than living a sinful life; affliction in obeying Allah is better than health in disobeying Allah; and poverty in obeying Allah is better than committing sins in a prosperous life[24].

In Shi'a sources Abu Dhar is considered as one of the four pillars of Islam, alongside Salman al-Farsi, Miqdad and 'Ammar b. Yasir[25]. Al-Shaykh al-Mufid has narrated a hadith from Imam al-Kazim (a): On the Day of Judgment, a caller will call: Where are the disciples of Prophet Muhammad (s) those who did not break their promise; and then Salman, Abu Dhar and Miqdad would stand up[26].

Aqa Buzurg Tihrani, mentioned two books about characteristics and life of Abu Dhar: Akhbar Abi Dhar by Abu Mansur Zafar b. Hamdun Badra'i[27] and Akhbar Abi Dhar al-Ghifari wa fada'iluh by Al-Shaykh al-Saduq[28].

Sayyid 'Ali Khan Madani wrote on Abu Dhar: "He was a notable scholar and a grand ascetic, who would give away 400 dinars [an old currency in Arab countries] every year and never saved any for himself[29]."

Sayyid Bahr al-'Ulum considered Abu Dhar as one of the disciples of the Prophet Muhammad (s); He always tried to inform people about the virtues of Ahl al-Bayt (a) and criticized their enemies[30].

Abu Na'im al-Isfahani also said: Abu Dhar served Prophet Muhammad (s) and learned the principles of Islam. He was against riba (usury) even before the emergence of Islam. Walking on the right path, he was never influenced by those who blamed him and the power of rulers never overwhelmed him[31].

Friendship with 'Ali b. Abi Talib (a)

Imam 'Ali (a) addressed Abu Dharr when he was exiled towards al-Rabadhah:

"O Abu Dharr! You showed anger in the name of Allah therefore have hope in Him for Whom you became angry. The people were afraid of you in the matter of their (pleasure of this) world while you feared them for your faith. Then leave to them that for which they are afraid of you and get away from them taking away what you fear them about. How needy are they for what you dissuade them from and how heedless are you towards what they are denying you. You will shortly know who is the gainer tomorrow (on the Day of Judgement) and who is more enviable. Even if these skies and earth were closed to some individual and he feared Allah, then Allah would open them for him. Only rightfulness should attract you while wrongfulness should detract you. If you had accepted their worldly attractions they would have loved you and if you had shared in it they would have given you asylum."

Nahj al-balagha, Sermon no.130

As al-Irbili narrated, Abu Dhar chooses 'Ali b. Abi Talib as his executor of his will and said: By Allah, 'Ali b. Abi Talib is my executor. By Allah, although his right was usurped in caliphate, you will find peace and blessing with him[32]. Ibn Abi l-Hadid said: Abu Dhar told Ibn Rafi' in al-Rabadha, fear only Allah, soon a conspiracy will happen, you should support Imam 'Ali (a)[33]. Abu Dhar also attended the funeral of Lady Fatima (a) which took place at midnight[34].

Caliphate Time

At the beginning of Abu Bakr's Caliphate, Abu Dhar refused to pay Bay'a (oath of allegiance) to him, in order to support 'Ali b. Abi Talib (a)[35].

In the time of the second caliph, 'Umar, he refused to accept a total ban on narrating/writing hadith. In response Abu Dhar said: By Allah, if they threaten me by sword to stop narrating hadiths from Prophet Muhammad (s), I would rather die than stop narrating Prophet's hadith[36]. That is why Abu Dhar and other narrators of hadith were imprisoned[37].

Exile to Syria

As Ibn Abi l-Hadid said, Abu Dhar was exiled to Syria because he complained to 'Uthman, the third caliph, about giving the treasury money to Marwan b. Hakam, Zayd b. Thabit and others as a gift. He said: "Abu Dhar was shouting in streets and complained to 'Uthman. As a result, 'Uthman exiled him to Syria[38]."

However Abu Dhar made some social groups and informed people about the characteristics and virtues of Prophet Muhammad (s) and Ahl al-Bayt (a). On the other hand, Mu'awiya prohibited people from meeting Abu Dhar and reported his activities to 'Uthman. Therefore, he was returned to Medina[39].

Exile to al-Rabadha

Abu Dar met 'Uthman in Medina, where he refused his gift and criticized his actions again. Then 'Uthman lost his patience with him and exiled him to al-Rabadha in the worst possible condition, which is mentioned in many historical books[40].

Demise

The Prophet (s) has said:

"O Abu Dhar! You will live alone, and die alone, and be resurrected alone, and enter the paradise alone."

Tafsir al-Qummi, vol.1, p. 295

Abu Dhar passed away in Dhu l-Hijja 32/653, in al-Rabadha, in the time of 'Uthman's caliphate[41]. As Ibn Kathir said, no one was with him unless his wife and his child when he passed away[42] Al-Zirikli said, when he passed away his family did not have anything for enshrouding his body[43]. Mihran b. Maymun said: "All the property of Abu Dhar valued only about two dirhams [an old currency in Arab countries less valuable than dinar]"[44].

It is said, when Umm Dhar was crying she said to Abu Dhar: You die in desert and I have nothing to enshroud your body. He replied: Do not cry and be happy, for Prophet Muhammad (s) said one of you will die in desert and he will be buried by a group of Muslims. The others have passed away in cities and I am the only one left, and I die in desert; Prophet Muhammad (s) was talking about me[45].

When he died 'Abd Allah b. Mas'ud and a number of Ansar, Hujr b. 'Adi, Malik al-Ashtar and several young Muslims, were passing the desert and coincidentally they noticed Abu Dhar. Therefore, they enshrouded his body and buried him and 'Abd Allah b. Mas'ud performed Funeral prayer on his body[46].

According to all sources, Abu Dhar is buried in al-Rabadha[47]. Al-Harbi, in al-Manasik, said there was a masjid in al-Rabadha under the name of Abu Dhar; and it is said that the grave of Abu Dhar was in that masjid.[48]

Notes

  1. Amin,A'yan al-Shi'a,vol. 4, p. 225.
  2. Ibn 'Abd al-Birr, al-Isti'ab,vol. 1, p. 252.
  3. Ibn Habban, Mashahir 'ulama' al-amsar,p. 30; • Ibn Habban, Al-Thiqat, vol. 3, p. 55; 'Asqalani, Taqrib al-tahdhib,vol. 2, p. 395.
  4. 'Asqalani, al-Isaba,vol. 7, p. 1-7.
  5. Dhahabi,Siyar a'lam nubala' ,vol. 2, p. 47.
  6. Dhahabi, Siyar a'lam al-nubala' , vol. 2, p. 23.
  7. Ibn Athir, Usd al-ghaba' , vol. 5, p. 186; Mizzi, Tahdhib al-kamal, vol. 33, p. 294; Dhahabi, Siyar a'lam al-nubala' , vol. 2, p. 49; Amin, A'yan al-Shi'a , vol. 4, p. 225.
  8. Ibn 'Abd al-Birr, al-Isti'ab, vol. 4, p. 1652.
  9. Kulayni, al-Kafi, vol. 3, p. 25.
  10. Ibn Abi al-Hadid, Sharh Nahj al-bala'gha' , vol. 15, p. 99.
  11. Dhahabi, Tarikh al-islam, vol. 3, p. 4-6; Ibn 'Abd al-birr, al-Isti'ab, vol. 1, p. 252.
  12. Shushtari, Qamus al-rijal, vol. 11, p. 322.
  13. Muhammad b. Habib al-Baghdadi, al-Muhbar, p.237.
  14. Sahih Ibn Hayyan,vol.16,p83.
  15. Ibn 'Abd al-Birr, al-Isti'ab, vol. 4, p. 1654.
  16. Kulayni, al-Kafi, vol. 8, p. 297-298.
  17. Tusi, al-'Amali, p. 525; Tabrisi, Makarim al-akhlaq, p. 256.
  18. Majlisi, Bihar al-anwar, vol. 22, p. 404.
  19. Majlisi, Bihar al-anwar, vol. 22, p. 420.
  20. Ibn 'Abd al-Birr, al-Isti'ab, vol. 1, p. 255.
  21. Saduq, al-Khisal, p. 303.
  22. Mufid, al-Ikhtisas, p. 10.
  23. Al-Khisal,p40 and 42.
  24. Kulayni, al-Kafi, vol. 8, p. 22.
  25. Tusi, al-Rijal, p. 598; Mufid, al-Ikhtisas, p. 6-7.
  26. Mufid, al-Ikhtisas, p. 61.
  27. Agha Buzurg, Al-Dhari'a, vol. 1, p. 316.
  28. Agha Buzurg, al-Dhari'a , vol. 1, p. 317.
  29. Madani, al-Darajat al-rafi'a, p. 226.
  30. Bahr ul-'Ulum, al-Fawa'id al-rijaliyya, vol. 2, p. 49.
  31. Hilyat ul-awliya',vol.1,p156-157.
  32. Irbili, Kashf ul-ghumma, vol. 1, p. 353.
  33. Ibn Abi al-Hadid, Sharh Nahj al-balagha, vol. 228.
  34. Ya'qubi, Tarikh al-Ya'qubi, vol.2, p. 115.
  35. Ya'qubi, Tarikh al-Ya'qubi, Translated by Ayati, vol. 1, p. 524.
  36. Ibn Sa'd, Tabaqat al-kubra, vol. 2, p. 354.
  37. Ibn Habban, al-Majruhin, vol. 1, p. 35.
  38. Ibn Abi al-Hadid, Sharh Nahj al-balagha, vol.8, p.256.
  39. Amin, A'yan al-Shi'a, vol.4, p. 237.
  40. Ya'qubi, Tarikh al-Ya'qubi, vol. 1, p. 171-172; Ibn Sa'd, Tabaqat al-kubra, vol.4, p. 226; Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, vol. 3, p. 336.
  41. Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, vol. 3, p. 354.
  42. Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya wa al-nihaya, vol. 7, p. 185.
  43. Zirikli, al-A'lam , vol. 2, p. 140.
  44. Amin, A'yan al-Shi'a, vol.4, p. 229.
  45. Amin, A'yan al-Shi'a, vol. 4, p. 241.
  46. Ibn 'Abd al-Birr, Al-Isti'ab, vol. 1, p. 253; Khalifa b. Khayyat, Tabaqat, p. 71; Ibn Habban, Al-Thiqat, vol. 3, p. 55.
  47. Hamawi, Mu'jam al-buldan, vol. 3, p. 24; Turayhi, Majma' al-bahrayn, vol. 2, p. 131.
  48. Harbi, al-Manasik, p. 327

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Further Reading