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As'ad b. Zurara

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Sahaba
As'ad b. Zurara
Personal Information
Kunya 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 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 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 al-Baqara was revealed on the status of a number of sahaba especially As'ad b. Zurara.

Among the First Muslims

As'ad b. Zurara was among the first people of Yathrib who converted to Islam in Mecca, prior to the migration of the Prophet Muhammad (s) to Medina[1]. As'ad was a companion of the Prophet Muhammad (s) from Khazraj;[2] he was a monotheist in Jahiliyya (ignorance) era.[3]

Meeting the Prophet Muhammad (s)

According to Sira (Prophet's biography) sources, different stories are stated on 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 al-Qays came from Yathrib to Mecca, because they heard about Muhammad (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)[4] to take an oath of allegiance, which is known as the first pledge of al-Aqaba.

As'ad al-Khayr

As'ad b. Zurara was known as As'ad al-Khayr because he was among the first who brought Islam to Medina.[5]

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 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]

As'ad b. Zurara and the Prophet Muhammad (s)

As'ad's speech at the night before the allegiance at al-Aqaba[9] 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 leading by the Prophet (s).[10]

On the other hand, the Prophet (s) was fond of him, so that when he arrived in Medina, he asked about As'ad.[11] When As'ad became ill, the prophet (s) paid a visit to him and provided treatment for him.[12]

Preaching Islam in Medina

After As'ad b. Zurara returned to Medina, he started preaching Islam.[13] As it is said, he destroyed the idols in the city and performed prayers along with other Muslims.[14] It is also said he was the first one who performed the first Friday Prayer. However historiographers (Sira writers) have debates on the matter that As'ad b. Zurara preached Islam and performed prayers in Medina.[15] 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).[16]

While other narrations declared that Mus'ab b. 'Umayr went to Medina after the second pledge of al-Aqaba.[17] Therefore, it seems Mus'ab was responsible for teaching Quran and As'ad b. Zurara was responsible for performing prayers.[18] 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.[19] the Prophet Muhammad (s) attended his funeral ceremony and also provided financial support for it.[20] He also performed funeral prayer on his body, which was the first funeral prayer in Medina by the Prophet Muhammad (s).[21] He was buried in al-Baqi' cemetery; it is said that he was the first one who was buried there.[22]

After As'ad had passed away, Banu 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 Najjar immensely proud.[23]

Verses Revealed about As'ad

  1. 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 question for As'ad's family and a number of sahaba about the prayers of departed Muslims. Therefore, the 143rd verse of al-Baqara was revealed:[25]

2. It is narrated from Muqatil b. Sulayman, that the 102nd and 103rd verses of Al 'Imran 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 theses verses to Tha'laba and As'ad is not correct. Here is the story and its review:

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 al-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: Ubay 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 Al 'Imran were revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (s) which recommended piety and unity between both tribes. 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; also the story on Banu Qurayza and Sa'd b. Mu'adh took place in 5\11th century. possibly it is related to Sa'd, As'd's brother, who was a hypocrite according to one narration.[27]

See Also

Notes

  1. Ibn Sa'd, al-Tabaqat al-kubra, Dar Sadir, Vol.3, P.608.
  2. Ibn Hisham, al-Sira al-nabawiyya, Vol.2, P.429.
  3. Ibn Sa'd, al-Tabaqat al-kubra, Dar al-Kutub al-'Ilmiyya, Vol.1, P169; Ibn al-Jawzi, al-Muntazam, Vol.3, P.203.
  4. see: al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol.2, P.354-355.
  5. Al-Baladhuri, Ansab al-ashraf, Vol.1 ,P.243.
  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. Ahmad b. Hanbal, al-Musnad, Vol.4, P.268.
  10. Tabarsi, I'lam al-wara, P.76.
  11. Ahmad b. Hanbal, al-Musnad, Vol.5, P.26.
  12. 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.
  13. Ibn Sa'd, al-Tabaqat al-kubra, Dar Sadir, Vol.3, P. 609-610.
  14. Ibn Hisham, al-Sira al-nabawiyya, Vol.2, P.435; Tabarsi, Majma' al-bayan, Vol.10, P.431.
  15. Ibn Hisham, al-Sira al-nabawiyya, Vol.2, P.76.
  16. Ibn Hisham, al-Sira al-nabawiyya, Vol.2, P.76.
  17. Ibn 'Abd al-Barr, al-Isti'ab, Cairo, Vol.4, P.1473.
  18. 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.
  19. Ibn Sa'd, al-Tabaqat al-kubra, Dar Sadir, Vol.3, P.611; Tabari, Tarikh Tabari, Vol.2, P.397; Ibn Hisham, al-Sira al-nabawiyya, Vol.1, P.100,153.
  20. Ibn Sa'd, al-Tabaqat al-kubra, Dar al-Kutub al-'Ilmiyya, Vol.3, P.459.
  21. Ibn Shabh, Tarikh al-madina, Vol.96; Ibn Hajar al-'Asqalani, al-Isaba, Vol.1, P.209.
  22. Ibn Sa'd, al-Tabaqat al-kubra,Dar Sadir, Vol.3, P.611-612.
  23. Ibn Hisham, al-Sira al-nabawiyya, Vol.1, P.154; Ibn Sa'd, al-Tabaqat al-kubra, Dar al-Sadir, Vol.3, P.611.
  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.

References

  • The material for this article is mainly taken from اسعد_بن_زراره in Farsi WikiShia.
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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
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  • Baladhuri, Ahmad al-, Ansab al-ashraf. Cairo: 1959

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