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As'ad b. Zurara

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Sahaba
As'ad b. Zurara
Personal Information
Teknonym Abu Umama
Epithet As'ad al-Khayr
Lineage Khazraj
Well-Known Relatives Sa'd b. Mu'adh (cousin)
Muhajir/Ansar Ansar
Place(s) of Residence Medina
Death/Martyrdom 1/623
Cause of Death/Martyrdom Illness
Burial Place Baqi' cemetery
Religious Information
Notable Roles Preaching Islam in Medina, presence at the pledge of al-'Aqaba, naqib of Banu l-Najjar

Abū Umāma, Asʿad b. Zurāra (Arabic: ابوامامة اَسْعَد بن زُرارة) (d. 1/623) was a Sahaba, and among the first people of Yathrib who converted to Islam. He was titled as As'ad al-Khayr (Arabic: أسعد الخير). He preached Islam in Medina; it is said he destroyed the idols and performed prayers alongside other Muslims. He was appointed as the naqib (deputy) of Banu l-Najjar by Prophet Muhammad (s) after the second pledge at al-Aqaba. As'ad and the Prophet Muhammad (s) had a mutual friendship. When As'ad had died, the Prophet Muhammad (s) performed the funeral prayer on his body and buried him in al-Baqi' cemetery. It is said that the 143rd verse of Quran 2 was revealed on the status of a number of Sahaba especially As'ad b. Zurara.

Kunya and Epithet

As'ad b. Zurara was known as As'ad al-Khayr because he was among the first who brought Islam to Medina. His kunya was Abu Umama.[1]

Among the First Muslims

As'ad b. Zurara was among the first people of Yathrib (name of Medina before Islam) who converted to Islam in Mecca, prior to the migration of the Prophet Muhammad (s) to Medina[2]. As'ad was a companion of the Prophet Muhammad (s) from Khazraj;[3] he was a monotheist in Jahiliyya (ignorance) era.[4]

Meeting the Prophet Muhammad (s)

According to sources, different stories are stated about the first meeting between As'ad b. Zurara and the Prophet Muhammad (s). However, the origin of all these narrations goes back to the meeting between people of Yathrib and the Prophet(s) at al-Aqaba.

According to the Ibn Sa'd's narration, when the conflict between the tribes of Aws and Khazraj reached its peak, As'ad and Dhakwan b. 'Abd Qays came from Yathrib to Mecca, because they heard about the Prophet (s). After a meeting with him, they both converted to Islam. Then they returned to Yathrib and preached Islam. After some time along with a number of people of Yathrib, they came to the Prophet (s)[5] to take an oath of allegiance, which is known as the first pledge of al-Aqaba.


Naqib al-Nuqaba of the Prophet Muhammad (s)

People of Yathrib came to the Prophet Muhammad (s) in different groups to take an oath of allegiance, Banu l-Najjar, the relatives of As'ad, claimed As'ad was the first one who took the oath of allegiance to the Prophet (s).[6] After the second pledge at al-Aqaba the Prophet (s) chose a naqib (deputy) for each tribe, who were supposed to preach Islam and take the responsibility in matters related to their own tribe. As'ad b. Zurara was among the twelve deputies chosen by the Prophet (s).[7] According to one narration, As'ad was appointed as Naqib al-Nuqaba (the chief deputy).[8]

Preaching Islam in Medina

After As'ad b. Zurara returned to Yathrib, he started preaching Islam.[9] As it is said, he destroyed the idols in the city and performed prayers along with other Muslims.[10] It is also said he was the first one who performed the first Friday Prayer. However, historiographers have debates on the matter that As'ad b. Zurara preached Islam and performed prayers in Medina.[11] According to the narrations by Ibn Ishaq, after the first pledge of al-Aqaba, Prophet Muhammad (s) sent Mus'ab b. 'Umayr to Medina in order to teach the Holy Quran to people. And in the second pledge of al-'Aqaba Mus'ab along with Ansar came to Mecca to have a meeting with the Prophet Muhammad (s).[12]

While other narrations declared that Mus'ab b. 'Umayr went to Medina after the second pledge of al-Aqaba.[13] Therefore, it seems Mus'ab was responsible for teaching Quran and As'ad b. Zurara was responsible for performing prayers.[14] When Mus'ab came to Medina, he settled in As'ad's house to carry out his duties.

Demise

The information about As'ad b. Zurara after the migration of the Prophet (s) to Medina is highly limited. As'ad became ill a few months after the migration of the Prophet (s) to Medina. The treatment was not effective and he passed away in Shawwal before the building of al-Masjid al-Nabawi (Prophet's mosque) was finished.[15] the Prophet Muhammad (s) attended his funeral ceremony and also provided financial support for it.[16] He also performed funeral prayer on his body, which was the first funeral prayer in Medina by the Prophet Muhammad (s).[17] He was buried in al-Baqi' cemetery; it is said that he was the first one who was buried there.[18]

After As'ad had passed away, Banu l-Najjar came to the Prophet Muhammad (s) and asked for a new naqib (deputy) for their tribe. Prophet said: I would be the naqib of your tribe, which made Banu l-Najjar immensely proud.[19]

Relation with the Prophet Muhammad (s)

As'ad's speech at the night before the allegiance at al-Aqaba[20] and also the time that the Prophet (s) entered Quba and Medina represents his faith in the Prophet (s). Whenever the Prophet (s) came to Quba, As'ad went to meet him and performed congregational prayers led by the Prophet (s).[21]

On the other hand, the Prophet (s) was fond of him, so that when he arrived in Medina, he asked about As'ad.[22] When As'ad became ill, the Prophet (s) paid a visit to him and provided treatment for him.[23]

Verses Revealed about As'ad

A number of Sahaba had passed away before the change of qibla to Ka'ba, including As'ad b. Zurara. Meanwhile, several leaders of Jews cast doubts on the prayers of those Sahaba who already passed away.[24] Subsequently, it raised a question for As'ad's family and a number of Sahaba about the prayers of departed Muslims. Therefore, the 143rd verse of Quran 2 was revealed: [25][Note 1]

It is narrated from Muqatil b. Sulayman, that the 102nd and 103rd verses of Quran 3 were revealed about the conflict between Tha'laba b. Ghanam and As'ad b. Zurara. However, according to the reasons stated below, it seems attributing these verses to Tha'laba and As'ad is not correct. Tha'laba b. Ghanam from the tribe of Aws and As'ad b. Zurara from the tribe of Khazraj began a conflict on glorifying their own tribes. Tha'laba said Khuzayma Dhu l-Shahadatayn, Hanzala Ghasil al-Malaika, and 'Asim b. Thabit who supported Islam and Sa'd b. Mu'adh (whose decision on Banu Qurayza was accepted by Allah) are all from our tribe. As'ad said: Ubayy b. Ka'b, Mu'adh b. Jabal, Zayd b. Thabit and Abu Zayd (who carried and memorized Quran) and Sa'd b. 'Ubada, the chief of Ansar, all are from our tribe. Subsequently, it led to a dispute which caused an armed conflict between the tribes. After this incident, the 102nd and 103rd verses of Sura 3 were revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (s) which recommended piety and unity between both tribes.[Note 2] Afterwards, both tribes agreed to make peace.[26]

If we consider some of the statements mentioned above, they took place after the demise of As'ad b. Zurara (1\623), then it would be incorrect to attribute this story to him. For instance, Hanzala was martyred in the Battle of Uhud (3/625); also the story on Banu Qurayza and Sa'd b. Mu'adh took place in 5\11. possibly it is related to Sa'd, As'ad's brother, who was a hypocrite according to one narration.[27]

See Also

Notes

  1. Al-Baladhuri, Ansab al-ashraf, vol. 1 , P.243.
  2. Ibn Sa'd, al-Tabaqat al-kubra, Dar Sadir, vol. 3, p. 608.
  3. Ibn Hisham, al-Sira al-Nabawiyya, vol. 2, p. 429.
  4. Ibn Sa'd, al-Tabaqat al-kubra, Dar al-Kutub al-'Ilmiyya, vol. 1, P169; Ibn al-Jawzi, al-Muntazam, vol. 3, p. 203.
  5. see: al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, vol. 2, p. 354-355.
  6. Ibn Hisham, al-Sira al-Nabawiyya, vol. 2, p. 73, 81, vol. 1, p. 89; Al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol2., p. 364.
  7. Ibn Hisham, al-Sira al-Nabawiyya, vol. 2, p. 85.
  8. Al-Baladhuri, Ansab al-ashraf, vol. 1, p. 254.
  9. Ibn Sa'd, al-Tabaqat al-kubra, Dar Sadir, vol. 3, p. 609-610.
  10. Ibn Hisham, al-Sira al-Nabawiyya, vol. 2, p. 435; Tabrisi, Majma' al-bayan, vol. 10, p. 431.
  11. Ibn Hisham, al-Sira al-Nabawiyya, vol. 2, p. 76.
  12. Ibn Hisham, al-Sira al-Nabawiyya, vol. 2, p. 76.
  13. Ibn 'Abd al-Barr, al-Isti'ab, Cairo, vol. 4, p. 1473.
  14. Al-Baladhuri, Ansab al-ashraf, vol. 1, p. 239, 243, 266; Al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, vol. 2, p. 397; Ibn Hisham, al-Sira al-Nabawiyya, vol. 1, p. 100, 153; Khalifa b. Khayyat, Tarikh, vol. 1, p. 14.
  15. Ibn Sa'd, al-Tabaqat al-kubra, Dar Sadir, vol. 3, p. 611; Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, vol. 2, p. 397; Ibn Hisham, al-Sira al-Nabawiyya, vol. 1, p. 100, 153.
  16. Ibn Sa'd, al-Tabaqat al-kubra, Dar al-Kutub al-'Ilmiyya, vol. 3, p. 459.
  17. Ibn Shabh, Tarikh al-Madina, vol. 96; Ibn Hajar al-'Asqalani, al-Isaba, vol. 1, p. 209.
  18. Ibn Sa'd, al-Tabaqat al-kubra, Dar Sadir, vol. 3, p. 611-612.
  19. Ibn Hisham, al-Sira al-Nabawiyya, vol. 1, p. 154; Ibn Sa'd, al-Tabaqat al-kubra, Dar al-Sadir, vol. 3, p. 611.
  20. Ahmad b. Hanbal, al-Musnad, vol. 4, p. 268.
  21. Tabrisi, I'lam al-wara, p. 76.
  22. Ahmad b. Hanbal, al-Musnad, vol. 5, p. 26.
  23. Ibn Sa'd, al-Tabaqat al-kubra, Dar al-Kutub al-'Ilmiyya, vol. 3, p. 458; Ibn 'Abd al-Barr, al-Isti'ab, Beirut, vol. 1, p. 175.
  24. Al-Baghawi, Ma'alim al-tanzil, vol. 1, p. 123.
  25. Al-Tabrisi, Majma' al-bayan, vol. 1, p. 417.
  26. Al-Tabrisi, Majma' al-bayan, vol. 2, p. 804.
  27. Al-Waqidi, al-Maghazi, vol. 3, p. 1009.
  1. Never would Allah make your faith of no effect. For Allah is to all people most surely full of kindness Most Merciful. (Qur'an, 2:143)
  2. O you who have faith! Be wary of Allah with the wariness due to Him and do not die except as Muslims. (102) Hold fast, all together, to Allah’s cord, and do not be divided [into sects]. And remember Allah’s blessing upon you when you were enemies, then He brought your hearts together, so you became brothers with His blessing. And you were on the brink of a pit of Fire, whereat He saved you from it. Thus does Allah clarify His signs for you so that you may be guided. (Quran, 3:102, 103

References

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  • Ibn Hajar al-'Asqalani, Ahmad b. 'Ali, al-Isaba fi tamyiz al-Sahaba. Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-'Ilmiyya, 1415
  • Ibn Sa'd, Muhammad, al-Tabaqat al-kubra. Beirut: Dar Sadir
  • Ibn Sa'd, Muhammad, al-Tabaqat al-kubra. Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-'Ilmiyya, 2nd edition, 1418
  • Ibn 'Abd al-Barr, Yusuf b. 'Abd Allah, al-Isti'ab fi ma'rifat al-ashab. Cairo: 1960
  • Ibn 'Abd al-Barr, Yusuf b. 'Abd Allah, al-Isti'ab fi ma'rifat al-ashab. Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-'Ilmiyya, 1st edition, 1415
  • Ibn Hisham, 'Abd al-Malik, al-Sirat al-nabawiyya. Cairo: 1936
  • Ibn Shabih, Tarikh al-Madina al-munawwara. Qum, Dar al-Fikr, 1410
  • Ibn Kathir al-Dimashqi, Isma'il, al-Bidaya wa al-nihaya. Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-'Ilmiyya, 2nd edition, 1418
  • Ahmad b. Hanbal al-Shaybani, Abu 'Abd Allah, al-Musnad. Beirut: Dar Ihya al-Turath al-'Arabi, 3rd edition, 1415
  • Baghawi, Husayn b. Mas'ud al-, Ma'alim al-tanzil fi tafsir wa al-ta'wil. Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-'Ilmiyya, 1414
  • Baladhuri, Ahmad al-, Ansab al-ashraf. Cairo: 1959

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