Ammar ibn Yasir
|Ammar ibn Yasir
Arabic: عمار بن یاسر
|Birthplace||Mecca, Hejaz (570 C.E.)|
|Known For||Being a loyal companion of Prophet Muhammad|
|Influences||Allah, Prophet Muhammad, Imam Ali, and the Ahl al-Bayt|
|Burial Place||al-Raqqah, Syria|
|Cause of Death||Martyred in the Battle of Siffin|
Father: YasirMother: Sumayyah
|Denomination||Shia Muslim|
ʻAmmār ibn Yāsir ibn ʿĀmir ibn Mālik Abū al-Yaqẓān (Arabic: عمار بن یاسر) was one of the most loyal companions of the Prophet Muhammad & Imam Ali, and he occupies a position of the highest prominence in Islam after his conversion to it ever since. Seen as one of the Muhajirun, Ammar followed the teachings of Allah and Prophet Muhammad as best as he can. Ammar is historically known for his humble & poise nature, and was an extremely brave & devoted man to Prophet Muhammad and Ali ibn Abi-Talib; thus, he was one of the closest and most beloved companions ever to them. Historically, of most noteworthy mention, Ammar ibn Yasir is the first Muslim to build a mosque in Islam. He is also referred to by Shia Muslims as one of the Four Companions.
Ammār was born in the Year of the Elephant, which was the same year as Muhammad. ʻAmmār was a friend of Muhammad even before conversion and was one of the intermediaries in Muhammad's marriage to Khadijah bint Khuwaylid. His mother was Sumayyah bint Khayyat and his father was Yasir ibn Amir. Yasir and Sumayyah were pagan converts to Islam who were tortured and crucified in the last year before the Hijra . ʻAmmār and his family were repeatedly tortured by Meccan polytheists. Once when ʻAmmār was being tortured, it is reported that he spoke idolatrously and contradicted his faith. This incident is often used as an example of taqiyya (“the concealment of one’s true beliefs in times of adversity”) because ʻAmmār only denounced his beliefs because he was being tortured so horribly. After the persecution of Muslims was over, Hamza and the Muhammad's other companions went to the location where the torture and persecution took place; they found every persecuted Muslim dead except ʻAmmār, who had survived the torture. ʻAmmār’s parents were both among the group of persecuted Muslims who did not survive. Abu Jahl killed his mother Sumayyah, who is considered the first Muslim martyr. The opening verses of Surat Al-Ankabut were revealed in response to this tragic event.
Role during the Prophet's Life and the Caliphates of Abū Bakr and ʿUmar b. al-Khaṭṭāb
During the Prophet's Life, this following incident proved to be of most importance historically to Muslims: ʻAmmār participated in building the mosque in Medina, and according to several varying reports, "'Ammar b. Yasir came in when they had overloaded him with bricks saying, 'They are killing me. They load me with burdens they can't carry themselves.' Umm Salama the prophet's wife said: I saw the apostle run his hand through is hair--for he was a curly-haired man--and say 'Alas Ibn Sumayya! It is not they who will kill you but a wicked band of men.'...Now he had a stick in his hand and the apostle was angry and said, 'What is wrong between them and ʻAmmār? He invites them to Paradise while they invite him to hell."
Similarly, Abu Huraira narrated that the Messenger of Allah said : "Rejoice ʻAmmār, the transgressing party shall kill you". the Prophet noticed his hard work and told him that he would be killed by “a wicked band of men.” These reports, viewed as valid by both Sunnis and Shi'is, would later be important during the issue of succession and particularly in interpreting ʻAmmār's death at the Battle of Siffin.
After the death of prophet Muhammad, Ammar was disappointedly one of the companions who refused to give Bay'ah to Abu Bakr initially; he, nonetheless, approved of and came to admire Abu Bakr's leadership later (even defying the third Caliph, Uthman ibn Affan, by "recounting all his deviations from the moral norms set by Abu Bakr and 'Umar" themselves) and had participated in all of the battles during the caliphates of Abū Bakr and ʿUmar b. al-Khaṭṭāb. Under Umar, he became governor of Kufa; however, the Kufans did not accept him as a leader because he was not of the Quraysh tribe and he was a black man.
The murder of ʿUthmān (The third Caliph)
After Muhammad’s death, ʻAmmār continuously supported ʿAlī as the Prophet’s successor. When Uthman ibn Affan was appointed caliph, ʻAmmār was openly upset. He criticized ʿUthmān for not following the Islamic order that 'Umar had previously followed. Other Medinese critics of ʿUthmān who were of the same mindset as ʻAmmār could be characterized the following way: “The complaints of these and similar individuals were symptoms of a situation in which the principles of Islamic leadership and Islamic priority fostered by ‘Umar were becoming less and less important; these sahaba were therefore protesting principally against a devaluation of their own importance.” Because ʻAmmār openly criticized ʿUthmān, ʿUthmān ordered him to be beaten. Part of his critique of ʿUthmān that led to this punishment included delivering a letter to the caliph from groups of opponents about how the caliph failed to follow Abū Bakr and ‘Umar’s examples. ʻAmmār also resisted ʿUthmān’s caliphate by encouraging Egyptians to rise up against him, which eventually led to these rebels besieging the caliph’s house and murdering him there.
The Battle of the Camel
Prior to the Battle of the Camel being fought, there was a shura set up in an attempt to decide a successor since ʿUthmān had been murdered. At this meeting, attendees were not in agreement regarding whether or not retaliation for ʿUthmān’s murder was necessary, or even desirable. A report of ‘Alqama b. Waqqas al-Laythi of Kinana indicates that ʻAmmār said that they should not seek revenge. Madelung interprets ʻAmmār’s behavior at this meeting indicating his desire to keep Talha from gaining power because Talha was in favor of seeking retaliation. ʻAmmār would not have wanted this since “he had been the most active in inciting the rebels to action”. As the battle was developing, ʻAmmār continued to show his support for ʿAlī in multiple ways. ʿAlī first sent him along with al-Hasan to Kufa in order to try to rally the Kufans to help during the upcoming battle. According to one report recorded by al-Tabari, ʻAmmār was questioned upon arrival for participating in ʿUthmān’s murder; however, he continued to try to convince the governor, Abu Musa, to take a stance instead of remaining impartial in the conflict. Tabari earlier reports how Abu Musa had encouraged the Kufans to remain neutral because he did not want to participate in inter-Muslim fighting, and he also believed that the Muslim community still owed their allegiance to ʿUthmān because no new successor had been named. An additional transmission of the same event does not mention ʻAmmār’s actions against ʿUthmān and instead focuses on his intentions to sway Abu Musa into action. During the actual battle, ʻAmmār fought on ʿAlī’s side. Al-Tabari includes in his history an account in which al-Zubayr is told that ʻAmmār is fighting alongside ʿAlī, and this knowledge causes al-Zubayr to be fearful because he had been with Muhammad and ʻAmmār when Muhammad had told ʻAmmār that he would be killed by “a wicked band of men”. Tabari again includes multiple reports of the same event, which in this case is a moment during the battle in which ʻAmmār and al-Zubayr confront each other. In both accounts ʻAmmār approaches al-Zubayr to attack him, when al-Zubayr speaks. In the report from ‘Umar b. Shabbah, al-Zubayr asks ʻAmmār, “‘Do you want to kill me?’” whereas in that from ‘Amir b. Hafs, al-Zubayr asks, “‘Are you going to kill me, Abu al Yaqzan?’”. In both reports, ʻAmmār’s response is negative. At the end of the battle, which is successful for ʿAlī’s side, ʿAlī orders ʻAmmār and Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr remove Aisha from her camel and bring her to ‘Abdallah ibn. Khalaf al-Khuza I’s home in Basrah. Tabari again offers multiple reports from different transmitters, and because of this the nature of the relationship between ʻAmmār and ‘A’ishah is unclear. One account displays ‘A’ishah as hostile towards ʻAmmār, whereas another later report describes the two as being on much more amicable terms.
The Battle of Siffeen
While strategizing about how to defeat Muawiyah I’s forces, ʿAlī gathered together a group of the Islamic elite, including ʻAmmār. ʻAmmār’s input was to act quickly against Muʿāwiya “before the fire of the offenders should be in full flame”. The other people present[who?]also encouraged ʿAlī to wage jihad against who they considered to be in the wrong early and preemptively. Later in the battle, ʻAmmār’s name was brought up during an attempt to negotiate a truce between ʿAlī, represented by Shabath ibn. Rib’i, and Muʿāwiya. Shabath is reported to have asked Muʿāwiya, “‘Would it make you happy, oh Muʿāwiya, if you were given power over ʻAmmār, to kill him?’” Muʿāwiya’s response was, “‘Why should I not? But, by God, if I were given power over Ibn Sumayya, I would not kill him in revenge for ʿUthmān but [only] for Natil the mawla of ʿUthmān.’” Shabath’s response was defensive and protective of ʻAmmār. In the Battle at Siffin, ʿAlī placed ʻAmmār in charge of the Kufan infantry, and on the third day of fighting he tries to inspire his forces to victory by reminding them of the impiety of Muʿāwiya and his troops. Eventually, ʻAmmār was killed in the Battle of Siffin by the forces of Muʿāwiya b. Abī Sufyān in 657. After ʻAmmār’s death, Muʿāwiya referred to ʻAmmār as one of ʿAlī’s right hands—the other being al-Ashtar. Madelung quotes Al-Tabari by reporting what Muʿāwiya said to his followers after killing Imam Ali's other loyal companion, Malik al-Ashtar: “Ali b. Abi Talib had two right hands. One of them was cut at Siffin’, meaning ‘ʻAmmār b. Yasir, ‘and the other today’, meaning al-Ashtar”; despite Muʿāwiya's provocations, Ali recognized and highly valued the support of the two aforementioned most loyal companions of his nonetheless. While reports vary as to Ammar's exact age, most place him at ninety years or older. Madelung puts him at over 90 years old. Hasson states he was somewhere between 90 and 94. According to one report Tabari provides, ‘Abdallah b. Amr questions his father, ‘Amr b.al-As, about killing ʻAmmār. ‘Abdallah references the hadith in which Muhammad tells ʻAmmār that the “usurping party” will kill him. ‘Amr brings this concern to Muʿāwiya whose response is “‘Was it we who killed ʻAmmār? It was only those who brought him here.’”Ali ibn abi Talib is said to have responded that if he killed Ammar then Muhammad is the one who killed Hamza ibn Abdul-Muttalib
On March 11, 2013 Al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front was blamed for the bombing and damage to the shrine of Ammar ibn Yasir located in al-Raqqah, Syria. The terrorist group al-Nursa, an al-Qaeda linked group, and other Salafi/Wahabi rebels are blamed for the sacrilegious act. On March 13, 2013 the Free Syrian Army claimed responsibility for the destruction of Ammar's shrine. This attack along with the destruction of Hujr ibn Adi's shrine, Syeda Zaynab bint Ali's shrine, and Syeda Ruqayya bint Husain ibn Ali's shrine have been correlated to the Wahabbi movement.
- Prophet Muhammad (warningly to Khalid ibn al-Walid): “Whoever makes an enemy of Ammar, Allah makes an enemy of him; whoever hates 'Ammar, Allah hates him; whoever curses 'Ammar, Allah curses him; whoever belittles Ammar, Allah belittles him; and whoever disparages Ammar, Allah disaparages him”, Abdul Aziz As-Shanawi, The Ministers around the Prophet - Page 122, Dar-us-Salam (2004), Retrieved on 2 Mar 2014
- Peshawar Nights - Seventh Session, Part 2, Al-islam.org, retrieved on 24 Feb 2014
- Prophet Muhammad: "Ammar is with the truth and the truth is with Ammar. He turns wherever the truth turns"; "Ammar is as near to me as an eye is near to the nose. Alas! a rebellious group will kill him." Nahj ul Balagha: Sermons from Imam Ali - On the method of his ruling, and grief over the martyrdom of his companions, Google Books, Retrieved on 23 Feb 2014
- Imam Ali (deeply saddened by and openly weeping in commiseration of Ammar Bin Yassir's martyrdom in the Battle of Siffin): "Any Muslim, who doesn't consider the event of ‘Ammar's being killed to be great, and doesn't treat it to be a painful tragedy, won't be recognized to be adult and mature. May Allah bless ‘Ammar on the day on which he embraced Islam, the day on which he was killed and the day on which he will rise from earth once again! I saw ‘Ammar at such a position that if the companions of the Holy Prophet (S) were reckoned to be four he was the fourth and if they were five he was the fifth and none of the companions of the Holy Prophet (S) doubted this. Paradise has become essential for ‘Ammar and his entitlement to Paradise did not depend on one or two instances [only]." Ammar Ibn Yasir (ra) A Companion of the Prophet (S) - Chapter 15: One Murdered By the Rebellious Group, Al-islam.org, Retrieved on 23 Feb 2014
- Syed A. A. Razwy, A Restatement of the History of Islam & Muslims C.e. 570 to 661, pages 91 & 552, Google Books, Retrieved on 27 Feb 2014
- Photos: Blast at the Holy Shrine of Prophet Muhammad's Companions 'Ammar Yasir' Denied, AhlulBayt News Agency (ABNA), Retrieved on 23 Feb 2014
- Hasson, Isaac. "ʻAmmār b. Yasir". Encyclopaedia of Islam, THREE. Brill. Retrieved 7 April 2012.
- Guillaume, A. (1980). The Life of Muhammad: a Translation of Ishaq's Sirat Rasul Allah. Karachi: Oxford University Press. pp. 145 and 229.
- Kohlberg, Etan (July–September 1975). "Some Imami-shi’i Views on Taqiyya.". Journal of the American Oriental Society 95 (3): 395–402. Retrieved 15 April 2012.
- Sahih Bukhari 1; Sahih Bukhari 2; Sahih Bukhari 3; Sahih Bukhari 4; Volume 1, Book 8, Number 438 & Volume 4, Book 52, Number 67 (all different versions of this incident included), Retrieved on 25 Feb 2014
- "'Ammar was deputed by a group of Immigrants and Supporters to carry an open letter to 'Uthman recounting all his deviations from the norms set by Abu Bakr and 'Umar, and urging him to mend his ways." Mahmoud Ayoub, Crisis of Muslim History: Religion and Politics in Early Islam, page 58, Oxford: OneWorld Publications
- Ayoub, Mahmoud M. (2003). The Crisis of Muslim History: Religion and Politics in Early Islam. Oxford: OneWorld Publications. pp. 34 and 58.
- Madelung, Wilferd (1997). The Succession to Muhammad a Study of the Early Caliphate. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 95–96, 142, 166–167, 215, 226, 229–230, and 234.
- Hinds, Martin (October 1972). "The murder of the Caliph 'Uthman". International Journal of Middle East Studies 3 (4): 464–465. Retrieved 7 Apr 2012.
- al-Tabari (1997). Ehsan Yar-Shater, ed. The History of al-Tabari vol. 16. Trans. Adrian Brockett. Albany: State University of New York. pp. 23, 31, 32, 64–70, 68, 69, 88, 89, 94, 95, 128, 129, 130, 131, 156–158, 171, and 172.
- Tayob, Abdelkader I. (1999). "Tabari on the Companions of the Prophet: Moral and Political Contours in Islamic Historical Writing". Journal of the American Oriental Society 119 (2): 206. Tayob suggests that al-Tabari’s history was very carefully compiled in order to bring into question several of the companions motives for their actions.
- Reckendorf, H. "ʿAmmār b. Yāsir". Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition. Brill. Retrieved 7 April 2012.
- Reckendorf, H. "ʿAmmār b. Yāsir". Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition. Brill. Retrieved 7 April 2012. Reckendorf writes he was killed “at an extremely advanced age”
- Syed A. A. Razwy, A Restatement of the History of Islam & Muslims C.e. 570 to 661, page 504, World Federation; 1st edition (1997), Retrieved on 10 Mar 2014
- "Militants Blow up Muslim Shrine in Syria's Raqqa", Press TV. N.p., 12 Mar. 2013. Web. 02 Aug. 2013
- "Syria militants exhume grave of Prophet’s companion". Press TV. 2 May 2013. Retrieved 5 May 2013.
- The Great Sahabai Ammar ibn Yasir (Archived 2009-10-25)
- Arabic كتاب سلسلة الأركان الاربعة ـ عمار بن یاسر