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Abu Ayyub al-Ansari

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Abu Ayyub al-Ansari
Grave of Abu Ayyub al-Ansari Istanbul.jpg
Grave of Abu Ayyub al-Ansari in Istanbul
Personal Information
Full Name Khalid b. Zayd b. Kulayb b. al-Najjar
Teknonym Abu Ayyub
Lineage Khazraj
Well-Known Relatives Sa'd b. Qays b. 'Amr b. Imru' al-Qays, Zayd b. Thabit
Muhajir/Ansar Ansar
Place(s) of Residence Medina
Death/Martyrdom 52/672
Cause of Death/Martyrdom illness
Burial Place Istanbul
Religious Information
Presence at Ghazwas Badr, Uhud and Khandaq, ...
Known for Host of the Prophet (s) in Medina, companion of Imam 'Ali (a)
Notable Roles Governor of Medina in Imam Ali (a)'s caliphate
Other Activities Disagreement with Saqifa and Khulafa, Defending the Succession of Ali (a), Participating in the battles of Nahrawan, Siffin, and Jamal
Works Among those who compiled Qur'an

Khālid b. Zayd b. Kulayb b. al-Najjār (Arabic:خالد بن زید بن کُلَیب بن النجّار) known as Abū Ayyūb al-Anṣārī (Arabic: أبو أيوب الأنصاري) (d. 52/672) was among the companions of the Prophet (s) and Imam Ali (a). He participated in the Second Pledge of al-'Aqaba and the Prophet (s) lived in his house after he (s) immigrated to Medina. Abu Ayyub participated in the battles of the time of the Prophet (s) and Imam Ali (a). After death of 'Uthman, Abu Ayyub was among the first people who gave allegiance to Imam Ali (a). Sunni scholars regard him as reliable, but Shi'a scholars have sufficed to praising him.


The lineage of Khalid b. Zayd b. Kulayb b. al-Najjar whose kunya was Abu Ayyub reaches Najjar who was from Khazraj tribe. His mother was the daughter of Sa'd b. Qays b. 'Amr b. Imru' al-Qays and his wife was the daughter of Zayd b. Thabit. According to Ibn Sa'd, Abu Ayyub had a son called 'Abd al-Rahman who had no children.

Important Events of His Life

Participation in the Second Pledge of al-'Aqaba

Abu Ayyub was among the 70 people who gave allegiance to the Prophet (s) that they would not abandon his support. Nasr b. Muzahim considered Abu Ayyub among the elders of Ansar (Helpers) and the Shia of Imam Ali (a).

The number of hadiths attributed to Abu Ayyub reaches 150, but al-Bukhari and Muslim have only approved of seven hadiths from him.

Host of the Prophet (s)

What made Abu Ayyub grand in the eyes of Muslims, was going of the Prophet (s) to his house upon his arrival to Medina, regardless of others' insistence. Thus, historians have mentioned his name as the host of the Prophet (s). According to al-Baladhuri, the Prophet (s) resided in his house for seven months, until al-Masjid al-Nabawi and the Prophet's (s) own house were built up. Al-Mas'udi has reported this period one month.

Defender of the Succession of Ali (a)

After the demise of the Holy Prophet (s), Abu Ayyub and 11 other companions, defended the succession of Ali b. Abi Talib (a). Therefore, Ibn Athir regarded him among the close companions of Imam Ali (a).

In the Group of the Compilers of the Qur'an

Al-Bukhari considered him among the five from Ansar who tried to compile the Qur'an at the time of the Holy Prophet (s).

Participating in Ghazawat (Battles of the Prophet (s))

Abu Ayyub participated in all the battles of the Prophet (s) and historians have considered him among the participants of Badr, Uhud and Khandaq battles. Only once because the commander of Muslims' army was a young man, he refrained to participate in the battle and was always remorseful about it.

Through historical texts, his obedience, loyalty and his great reverence for the Prophet (s) is manifested. According to Ibn Hisham, he was pioneer in expelling the hypocrites who mocked Muslims in al-Masjid al-Nabawi and some of them were his own relatives. According to some haidths, a verse of the Qur'an in the event of Ifk praises Abu Ayyub and his wife.

Participating in the Siege of the House of 'Uthman

Upon the siege of the house of 'Uthman by the dissidents, Muslims performed the prayer in the mosque of Medina led by Abu Ayyub and he was among the witnesses in front of whom 'Uthman promised that he would thereafter act according to the Book of God and the conduct of the Prophet (s).

Participating in the Battles at the Time of Imam Ali (a)

Abu Ayyub participated in all battles Imam Ali (a) engaged in, but Ibn Sa'd mentioned only Nahrawan, and al-Waqidi mentioned Siffin. Everyone has mentioned extraordinary braveries of Abu Ayyub. In the Battle of Nahrawan, Ali (a) assigned him as the commander of the horsemen and before beginning of the war, sent him to negotiate with and advise Khawarij.

The Governor of Medina Assigned by Imam Ali (a)

After Nahrawan, he was assigned by Imam Ali (a) as the governor of Medina, but after Mu'awiya sent Busr b. Abi Artat with 3000 soldiers to Hijaz in 40/660-61, Abu Ayyub left Medina and joined Ali (a) in Iraq. After invading Medina and taking the city, Busr burned Abu Ayyub's house.

Participating in the Battle against Romans

After the martyrdom of Ali (a), Abu Ayyub once again went to the borders for war. Al-Tabari has reported that in 49/669-70, Yazid b. Mu'awiya moved to war with Romans and took the old Abu Ayyub with himself.


Abu Ayyub passed away in 52/672 due to illness while Constantinople was besieged by Muslims. According to some reports, he passed away in 50 or 51 AH.

In deathbed, Abu Ayyub made a will to Yazid who had come to visit him, "when I die, take my body as forth as you have moved in the land of the enemy and bury me there." According to another report, he said, "I heard from the Prophet (s) that a righteous man will be buried at the feet of the wall of Constantinople, I hope it will be me.”

After the demise of Abu Ayyub, Yazid prayed upon his body and ordered that they bury him at the feet of the wall of Constantinople; then, according to some reports, he ordered the horsemen to trample the burial ground and make it disappear so that the enemy would not be able to find his grave.

Visiting his Grave by Muslims and Romans

Ibn Sa'd reported that his grave was so much respected by the Romans that some of them visited his grave especially at the time of drought and asked for rain. According to Ibn 'Abd Rabbih, later a mausoleum was built upon his grave which still existed at his time.

Since then until 857/1453 when Ottoman Turks took Constantinople, his grave was unknown. At that time, his grave was identified mysteriously by Aq Shams al-Din Shaykh al-Islam. In 863/1458-59, the Ottoman Sultan Muhammad II built the Ayyub Sultan Mosque and a shrine upon his grave. Afterwards, many Ottoman elders were buried beside him and as a formal tradition, Ottoman kings visited his grave upon sitting on the throne and in a special ceremony tied their forefather's sword on their waist which was known as the Ottoman Sword.

Also, the house of Abu Ayyub in Medina was always respected by Muslims, so that a school for the four schools was built there which was known as Shihabiyya and there, the place where the camel of the Prophet (s) sat was marked as Mabruka and was visitied by people to receive blessings.

Narrators from Abu Ayyub

Among those who have narrated from him, people including Ibn Ababs, Bura' b. 'Azib, Jabir b. Samura, Miqdam b. Mu'addi Karb, Abu Imama al-Bahili, Zayd b. Khalid al-Juhani and some other Companions have been mentioned.

Some of the Followers (Tabi'un) such as Sa'id b. Musayyib and 'Urwa b. al-Zubayr and 'Abd Allah b. Hunayn have heard hadiths from him and quoted them. Ibn Sa'd and al-Mizzi have also mentioned a list of those who have narrated from him.

Deeming him Reliable or Praising him

Abu Ayyub have been praised by all Sunni scholars of rijal and some have also regarded him reliable, but Shia scholars have only praised him and have avoided expressly regarding him reliable; even Ibn Dawud al-Hilli have mentioned him among Muhmalin [In rijali books, it is reffered to a group of hadith transmitters who are either praised or not have been blamed].

Shia scholars of rijal have different opinions regarding justification of his participation in the battle with polytheists under the command of Mu'awiya and Yazid regardless of his firm advocacy of the right of Imam Ali (a)'s caliphate. Fadl b. Shadhan considered this act of him negligence and mistake in judgment and added that even though he was not happy with his contemporary caliph, he participated in the wars having the intention of advancing and supporting Islam and the proof for this claim is that there were disputes between him and Mu'awiya; however, rejecting this opinion, Ayatollah al-Khoei deemed it possible that he acted so with respect to a permission from Imam al-Hasan (a).

Abu Ayyub was also considered a powerful poet. It is possible that calling him poet was because of the poems he composed in the Battle of Siffin and also later in replying to the letter of Mu'awiya.