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
ʻAmmār ibn Yāsir ibn ʿĀmir ibn Mālik Abū al-Yaqẓān (Arabic: عمار بن یاسر) was one of the most loyal companion of the Prophet Muhammad and Imam Ali. He occupies a position of prominence in Islam. During the time of Prophet Muhammad, Ammar converted to Islam. As a convert to Islam, Ammar sought to purify his soul and increase his awareness of Allah. He scarified and contributed a lot for the religion. Seen as one of the Muhajirun, Ammar followed the teaching of Prophet Muhammad.  He is also referred to as by Shia Muslims as one of the Four Companions. However, Ammar is known for his humble and poise nature. A brave man of his time, Ammar served Prophet Muhammad and Ali ibn Abi-Talib to the best of his abilities.
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.
Role during the Prophet's Life and the Caliphates of Abū Bakr and ʿUmar b. al-Khaṭṭāb
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."
Ibn 'Abbas said to me and to his son 'Ali "Go to Abu Sa'id and listen to what he narrates." So we went and found him in a garden looking after it. He picked up his Rida', wore it and sat down and started narrating till the topic of the construction of the mosque reached. He said, "We were carrying one adobe at a time while ʻAmmār was carrying two. The Prophet saw him and started removing the dust from his body and said, "May Allah be Merciful to ʻAmmār. He will be inviting them (i.e. his murderers) to Paradise and they will invite him to Hell-fire." ʻAmmār said, "I seek refuge with Allah from affliction."
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.
ʻAmmār participated in 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
After Muhammad’s death, ʻAmmār continuously supported ʿAlī as the Prophet’s successor, After ʻAmmār’s death, Muʿāwiya would refer to ʻAmmār as one of ʿAlī’s right hands—the other being al-Ashtar. Madelung quotes Tabari reporting what Muʿāwiya said to his followers after killing 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.” and Ali recognized this support. 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. Ayoub characterizes ʻAmmār, along with Abu Dharr, another huge critic of ʿUthmān, as “uncompromising in their demands for egalitarian justice and moral probity”. 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 also encouraged ʿAlī to wage jihad against who they considered to be in the wrong. 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. ʻAmmār was killed in the Battle of Siffin by the forces of Muʿāwiya b. Abī Sufyān in 657, and while reports vary as to his 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 abd al mutalib.
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.
- Seventh Session, Part 2
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- Sahih Bukhari : Volume 1, Book 8, Number 438:
- Sunan Thirmidhi : Hadith Number 3800:
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- 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 writes he was killed “at an extremely advanced age”
- "Militants Blow up Muslim Shrine in Syria's Raqqa." PressTV. N.p., 12 Mar. 2013. Web. 02 Aug. 2013. <http://www.presstv.com/detail/2013/03/12/293239/militants-destroy-muslim-shrine-in-syria/>
- "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