Abu Ayyub al-Ansari
Medina, Arabian Peninsula
Constantinople, Byzantine Empire
|Burial||Constantinople, Byzantine Empire|
Hazrat Abu Ayyub al-Ansari (576–circa 672 or 674) — born Khalid ibn Zayd ibn Kulayb in Yathrib — hailed from the tribe of Banu Najjar and was a close companion (Arabic: الصحابه, sahaba) of Muhammad. He was named after the biblical Job. Abu Ayyub was one among the Ansar (Arabic: الأنصار, meaning aiders, helpers or patrons) of early Muslim history or those who supported Muhammad after the hijra (migration) to Medina in 622. The patronym Abu Ayyub, means father (abu) of Ayyub. Abu Ayyub died during the First Arab Siege of Constantinople.
When Muhammad arrived in Medina, he was offered accommodation by all of its inhabitants. He wished to stay with the Banu Najjar, whom he was distantly related to. Upon making inquiries as to the member of Banu Najjar closest to him, Muhammad was introduced to Abu Ayyub al-Ansari, with whom Muhammad then stayed for seven months.
Following the Muslim conquest of Egypt, Abu Ayyub moved to a house in Fustat adjacent to the mosque of Amr bin Al'aas which was completed in 642. Several other notable Companions were his neighbors, including Zubayr ibn al-Awwam, Ubaida, Abu Dhar, Abdullah ibn Umar and Abdullah ibn Amr bin Al'aas.
He also led a distinguished military career. Of him it was said, "He did not stay away from any battle the Muslims fought from the time of Muhammad to the time of Muawiyah, unless he was engaged at the same time in another."
Last military campaign
In a hadith in Qital-e Rome chapter of Sahih Muslim, the prophet Muhammad states that the first army to conquer Constantinople will enter Paradise.
Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari records a number of raids against the Byzantine Empire under the period A.H. 49 (9/2/669 - 28/1/670). Abu Ayyub was an old man, but that did not prevent him from enlisting. Shortly after engaging in battle, he fell ill and had to withdraw. Someone asked, "Do you need anything, Abu Ayyub?" To which Abu Ayyub replied, "Convey my salaams (Islamic greeting and farewell) to the Muslim armies and tell them, "Abu Ayyub urges you to penetrate deep into enemy territory, as far as you can go. That you should carry him with you, and that you should bury him under your feet at the walls of Constantinople." Then he died. The Muslim army fulfilled his request and pushed back the enemy's forces until they reached the walls of Constantinople where Abu Ayyub was buried.
About this battle, Aslam-ibn `Imran narrates that when they were fighting the Byzantines, a Muslim soldier penetrated deep into enemy ranks. People exclaimed, "Subhan Allah! He has contributed to his own destruction." Abu Ayyub al-Ansari stood up and answered, "O people! You give this interpretation to this verse, whereas it was revealed concerning us the Ansar. When Allah had actually given honor to Islam and its supporters had become many, whereupon some of us secretly said to one another... 'Our wealth has been depleted, and Allah has given honor to Islam and its supporters have become many, let us stay amidst our wealth and make up what has been depleted of it.' Thereupon, Allah revealed to Muhammad, 'And spend in the Path of God (فِي سَبِيلِ اللّهِ), and do not contribute to your own destruction'... refuting what we had said. So, destruction lay in staying with our wealth and repleting it and abandoning combat."
Final resting place
After the Conquest of Constantinople by the Ottoman Turks, a tomb was constructed above Abu Ayyub's grave and a mosque built in his honor. From that point on, the area now known as the locality of Eyüp has become sacred and many Ottoman officials requested burial in proximity of Abu Ayyub.
Some hadith narrated by Abu Ayyub
Abu Ayyub al-Ansari is credited with narrating many sayings of Muhammad. Well-known examples of these include:
- Allah's Apostle said, "It is not lawful for a man to desert his brother Muslim for more than three nights. (It is unlawful for them that) when they meet, one of them turns his face away from the other, and the other turns his face from the former, and the better of the two will be the one who greets the other first."
- Abu Ayyub al-Ansari narrates that on the night of Mi'raj, Muhammad passed by Ibrahim (Abraham). Ibrahim asked, "O Jibreel, who is with you?" Jibreel answered, "Muhammad." Ibrahim said to him, "Command your Ummah to plant saplings of Paradise plentifully, as the soil of Paradise is fertile and its plain is spacious." It was asked, "What are the saplings of Paradise?" He replied, "La hawla wa la quwwata illa billah (Arabic "لا حول ولاقوة إلا بالله".)"
- "A Part of the Eyoub (i.e., Uyüp) Cemetery, I, Constantinople, Turkey". World Digital Library. 1890-1900. Retrieved 2013-10-18.
- Or 52 A.H, see Ibn Sa'd and Tabari, cited in Prof. Philip K Hitti, A History of the Arabs, London, 1951 revised edition, p.202
- Narrated Anas bin Malik, Sahih Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 58, Number 269
- Masud ul-Hasan, Hadrat 'Umar Farooq, Islamic Publications Ltd. Lahore 1982
- Muhammad ibn Sa'd, Kitāb at-Tabāqat al-Kabīr (The Great Book of Generations).
- 'the real hero of the campaign was the aged Abu Ayyub al-Ansari... whose presence in the contingent was desired for the blessing it might bring'. In A History of the Arabs, pp.201-202
- Quran, Surah Al-Baqara, 195, Muhammad Asad English translation
- Both are recorded in Sahih Bukhari
- from Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Majma al-Zawa'id
- Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari, History v. 18 "Between Civil Wars: The Caliphate of Mu'awiyah," transl. Michael G. Morony, SUNY Press, Albany, 1987.
- Muhammad Ibn Sa'd, Kitab at-Tabaqat al-Kabir, np, nd.
- Prof. Philip K. Hitti, A History of the Arabs, Macmillan, London, 1951 rev.ed.