Abu Ayyub al-Ansari

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Entrance to Abu Ayyub al-Ansari's tomb at Eyüp Sultan Mosque, Eyüp, Istanbul, Turkey.

Abu Ayyub al-Ansari[1] (died 674[2]) — born Khalid bin Zayd bin 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 hegira (migration) to Medina in 622. The patronym Abu Ayyub, means father (abu) of Ayyub. Abu Ayyub died of dysentery during the First Arab Siege of Constantinople.

When Muhammad arrived in Medina, all of the inhabitants of the city offered to accommodate him. He decided instead to allow his camel to walk where it chose and to stay at whomsoever's house it stopped. The camel of its own accord, stopped at the hose Abu Ayyub al-Ansari, a member of the Bani An-Najjar, who were regarded as the best of the tribes of Medina. [Sahih Bukari Book #73, Hadith #79.] Though Abu Ayub Al Ansari had prepared meals for only Muhammad and Abubakr, Muhammad directed that everyone in the neighborhood be invited to partake in the meal. To everyone's surprised delight, all of the approximately 180 people who came, were able to eat to their satisfaction. This was deemed to be a miracle.[citation needed]

Waqif of Al-Masjid an-Nabawi: The land of Al-Masjid an-Nabawi belonged to two young orphans, Sahal and Suhayl,and when they cane to know that Muhammad was keen to acquire their land for the purposes of erecting a masjid; they went to the Prophet and offered the land to him as gift, but the Prophet insisted on fixing and paying a price for the land precisely because they were orphaned children. The ultimately agreed purchase price was paid by Abu Ayyub al-Ansari who thus became the واقِف (waqif, or creator of an endowment or mortmain; donor) of Al-Masjid an-Nabawi on behalf of, or in favor of Muhammad.

Following the Muslim conquest of Egypt, Abu Ayyub moved to, and lived in a house in Fustat, adjacent to the mosque of Amr bin Al'aas that been 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, .[3]

He also led a distinguished military career, of whom it was said, "He did not stay away from any battle in which the Muslims engaged from the time of Muhammad to the time of Muawiyah, unless he was at the same time, engaged in another battle being fought elsewhere."[4]

Last military campaign[edit]

In a hadith in Qital-e Rome, a chapter of Sahih Muslim, Muhammad prophesied 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). Though Abu Ayyub was by then an old man, that did not deter him from enlisting. Shortly after engaging in battle,[5] it is recorded that 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; and that you should carry him with you, and that you should bury him under your feet at the walls of Constantinople." Whereupon, he passed away. The Muslim army fulfilled his request and pushed back the enemy's forces until they reached the walls of Constantinople where Abu Ayyub was finally interred.

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'...[6] refuting what we had said. So, destruction lay in staying with our wealth and repleting it and abandoning combat."

Final resting place[edit]

“built of white marble by Mohammed II, the Conqueror, in 1459, adjacent to the türbeh of Abu Eyúb Ensari, the legendary standard-bearer of the prophet, whose tomb here was revealed in a vision a few days after the conquest…”[1]

Baedeker's The Mediterranean, seaports and sea routes: Handbook for Travellers, 1911

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[7]

Some hadith narrated by Abu Ayyub[edit]

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 either that) when they meet, one should turn his face away from the other, and the other turns his face from the former; and the best of them is the one who first offers the salutation [of peace]."[8]
  • 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 trees of Paradise in abundance, as the soil of Paradise is fertile and its plain is spacious." It was asked, "Which are the trees of Paradise?" He replied, "La hawla wa la quwwata illa billah (Arabic "لا حول ولاقوة إلا بالله".)"[9]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b "A Part of the Eyoub (i.e., Uyüp) Cemetery, I, Constantinople, Turkey". World Digital Library. 1890–1900. Retrieved 2013-10-18. 
  2. ^ 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
  3. ^ Masud ul-Hasan, Hadrat 'Umar Farooq, Islamic Publications Ltd. Lahore 1982
  4. ^ Muhammad ibn Sa'd, Kitāb at-Tabāqat al-Kabīr (The Great Book of Generations).
  5. ^ 'the real hero of the campaign was the aged Abu Ayyub al-Ansari ... whose presence in the contingent was desired for the blessing that might bring'. In A History of the Arabs, pp.201-202
  6. ^ Quran, Surah Al-Baqara, 195, Muhammad Asad English translation
  7. ^ "Ayyub Sultan Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey". 
  8. ^ Both are recorded in Sahih Bukhari
  9. ^ from Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Majma al-Zawa'id

Bibliography[edit]

  • 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.