Abu Dharr al-Ghifari
|Abu Dharr al-Ghifari|
The remains of Mosque of Abi Dhar in al-Rabatha which is said that his grave is there
|Full Name||Jundab b. Junada b. Sufyan al-Ghifari|
|Place(s) of Residence||Medina, Syria, al-Rabatha|
|Known for||One of the prominent companions of Imam Ali (a)|
|Other Activities||Protesting against caliphs especially in the Event of Saqifa, protesting against prohibition of writing hadiths, criticizing Uthman for giving the treasury money to others as a gift|
Jundab b. Junāda b. Sufyān al-Ghifārī (Arabic: جُندَب بن جُنادة بن سفيان الغِفاري) (b. 33 BH/590 - d. 32/653) known as Abū Dharr al-Ghifārī (أبوذر الغفاري) was one of the greatest companions of Prophet Muhammad (s) and Imam Ali (a); as well as one of the four pillars of the Shiite. He was a sincere companion of Prophet Muhammad (s) and Ahl al-Bayt (a). Numerous narrations by both the Sunni and Shi'a have sung his praises. Scholars of rijal have considered him as one of the four pillars [of the Shiite]. Abu Dharr criticized the actions of Uthman, the third Caliph. As a result, he was exiled to Syria and then to al-Rabatha, where he passed away.
Birth, Lineage, and Characteristics
Abu Dharr was born twenty years before the emergence of Islam, in Banu Ghifar, a famous and noble tribe amongst the Arabs. His father, Junada, was the son of Ghifar and his mother, Ramla bt. al-Waqi'a, was from Banu Ghifar b. Malil. Historians disagree about his father’s name; they mentioned Yazid, Jundab, Ishraqa, 'Abd Allah and Sakan.
As Ibn Hajar al-'Asqalani has stated: Abu Dharr was a tall, thin man with tanned skin. Ibn Sa'd described him as a tall man with white hair and beard. Al-Dhahabi also described him as a bulky man with a full beard.
Names and Titles
His title was Abu Dharr because of his child's name, Dhar. However there is a disagreement about his given name. Various books have mentioned different names. Some of the names mentioned are: Badr b. Jundab, Burayr b. 'Abd Allah, Burayr b. Junada, Burayr b. Ishraqa, Jundab b. 'Abd Allah, Jundab b. Sakan and Yazid b. Junada. It seems Jundub b. Yazid is his real and famous name.
Wife and Child
Conversion to Islam
Abu Dharr was among the first people to convert to Islam. According to some narrations, he was a monotheist before the emergence of Islam, he worshiped God three years before Bi'tha. Ibn Habib al-Baghdadi maintains that Abu Dharr considered drinking alcohol and gambling (azlam) unlawful in Age of Ignorance. 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 Dharr said: "I was the fourth one who went to the Prophet (s) and told him: peace be upon you O Messenger of Allah! I bear witness that there is no God but Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad (s) is His messenger; it delighted him."
As narrated by Ibn al-'Abbas: "When Abu Dharr 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 messages from the sky; listen to him and bring me the news." After visiting Prophet Muhammad (s), Anis returned to his brother. Then Abu Dharr himself went to Mecca to find Muhammad (s). Abu Dharr alongside Ali b. Abi Talib (a) visited Muhammad (s) in his house. Abu Dharr was the first one who said to Prophet: "Salam upon you, O Messenger of Allah". Then Abu Dharr converted to Islam after articulating Shahadatayn (Islamic creed declaring belief in the oneness of God and acceptance of Muhammad (s) as God's messenger).
Shi'a sources have 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.
Prophet Muhammad (s) said to Abu Dhar: "Oh Abu Dhar! You are from the Ahl al-Bayt (a)". Elsewhere he said to the effect that Abu Dharr is the most honest from among the people. On another occasion, Prophet (s) compared the piety and humbleness of Abu Dharr to that of Prophet Jesus (a).
Imam al-Baqir (a) said: After Prophet Muhammad (s) passed away, everyone apostated 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).
Imam al-Sadiq (a) said about Abu Dhar's worship, the main part of his worship was contemplation. He cried in fear of Allah so much that he hurt his eyes. Abu Dharr also said: I like three things that people hate: death, poverty and affliction. Imam al-Sadiq (a) explained, Abu Dharr meant death by 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.
In Shi'a sources, Abu Dharr is considered one of Islam's four pillars, alongside Salman al-Farsi, Miqdad and Ammar b. Yasir. 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) who did not break their promise; and then Salman, Abu Dharr and Miqdad would stand up.
Aqa Buzurg Tihrani mentioned two books about the characteristics and biography of Abu Dhar: Akhbar Abi Dhar by Abu Mansur Zafar b. Hamdun Badra'i and Akhbar Abi Dhar al-Ghifari wa fada'iluh by Al-Shaykh al-Saduq.
Sayyid Ali Khan al-Madani wrote about Abu Dhar: "He was a notable scholar and a grand ascetic, who would donate 400 dinars [an old currency in Arab countries] every year and never kept anything for himself."
Abu Nu'aym al-Isfahani also said: Abu Dharr 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.
Friendship with Ali b. Abi Talib (a)
As al-Irbili narrated, Abu Dharr chose Ali b. Abi Talib as the executor of his will and said: By Allah, Ali b. Abi Talib (a) is my executor. By Allah, although his right was usurped in caliphate, you will find peace and blessing with him. Ibn Abi l-Hadid said: Abu Dharr told Ibn Rafi' in al-Rabatha, fear only Allah, soon a conspiracy will happen, you should support Imam Ali (a). Abu Dharr also attended the funeral of Lady Fatima (a) which took place at midnight.
In the time of the second caliph, 'Umar, he refused to accept a total ban on narrating/writing hadith. In response, Abu Dharr said: By Allah, if they threaten me by a sword to stop me from narrating hadiths from Prophet Muhammad (s), I would rather die than stop narrating Prophet's hadith. That is why Abu Dharr and other narrators of hadith were imprisoned.
Exile to Syria
As Ibn Abi l-Hadid said, Abu Dharr was exiled to Syria because he criticized Uthman, the third caliph, for giving the treasury money to Marwan b. Hakam, Zayd b. Thabit and others as a gift. He said: "Abu Dharr was shouting in streets and criticized Uthman. As a result, Uthman exiled him to Syria."
However, Abu Dharr 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 Dharr and reported his activities to Uthman. Therefore, he was returned to Medina.
Exile to al-Rabatha
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-Rabatha in the worst possible condition, which is mentioned in many historical books.
Abu Dharr passed away in Dhu l-Hijja 32/653, in al-Rabatha, in the time of Uthman's caliphate. As Ibn Kathir has said, "No one was with him except his wife and his child when he passed away." Al-Zirikli said, "When he passed away his family did not have anything to enshroud his body".. Mihran b. Maymun said: "All the property of Abu Dharr was valued at only two dirhams [an old currency in Arab countries less valuable than dinar]".
It is said when his wife "Umm Dhar" was crying she said to Abu Dhar: "You die in the 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 would die in the desert, and a group of Muslims will bury him. The others have passed away in cities, and I am the only one left, and I will die in the desert; Prophet Muhammad (s) was talking about me.
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 the funeral prayer on his body.
According to all sources, Abu Dharr is buried in al-Rabatha. Al-Harbi, in al-Manasik, mentions that there is a mosque in al-Rabatha by the name of Abu Dhar; and it is said that the grave of Abu Dharr is in that mosque.
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