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Mon Dec 26, 2011 11:28 am

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One of the most outstanding accomplishments of the Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, is that out of a once crude, wild, generally unpitying and ignorant people he raised an exemplary community which would guide all those to come until the Last Day in learning, spirituality, morality and good manners. The Prophet said of them:

'My Companions are like stars in the heavens. Whomever of them you follow, you can find your way.'

Among the Companions were some who dedicated themselves wholly to serving Islam. They spent all their time in learning Islam with all its subtleties, listening to the Prophet and communicating to others what they learnt and heard. They lived in the long, narrow chamber affixed to the Mosque and were therefore called Ashab al-Suffa, the Companions of the Suffa. Since they spent their time in serving Islam by learning and teaching, they were poor and were provided by the Prophet and the rich among the Companions. They managed on very meager provisions indeed. The Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings, was very careful about their livelihood. Once his daughter Fatima, may God be pleased with her, asked him for a servant. The Messenger answered: 'How can you say that? I haven't been able to assure the livelihood of the people of the Suffa yet.'

Mus'ab ibn 'Umayr was one of those blessed people. He was an adolescent when he accepted Islam. He was very handsome and belonged to a very rich family. Before accepting Islam, he used to dress elegantly and expensively. When he went out in Makka, girls would look on him through their windows. However, after he became a Muslim, as he bore the tortures of his family, he spent whatever he had in the way of God.

Mus'ab was among the pioneers of Islam. Following the oaths of allegiance which the first Madinan Muslims made to the Prophet before the Emigration, the Messenger, who loved Mus'ab very much, sent him to the Madinans to teach them Islam and the Qur'an. When the Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings, emigrated to Madina one year later, there were almost no houses in Madina where there was not a Muslim.

Mus'ab was martyred in the Battle of Uhud in the third year of Hijra. He was carrying the standard of the Muslim army and was fighting before the Prophet. When he was martyred, he left nothing behind except the robe on him. When they put the robe over him so as to cover his head, his legs were left uncovered. If they pulled the robe down to cover his legs, his head was left uncovered. Finally, they decided to cover his head with his robe and his legs with a kind of sweet-smelling grass-plant.

Abu Hurayra was one of the most famous among the People of the Suffa. He believed three years before the death of the Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings, and spent all his days during those three years among the People of the Suffa. Although he did not live with the Prophet as long as many of the Companions, since he was very intelligent and had a keen memory, he memorized many sayings of the Prophet. This is why many of the Prophetic Traditions were narrated from him. He explained his narrating more Traditions than others in this way:

'While my Muhajir brothers (Emigrants from Makka) were usually occupied with trading in the market and my Ansari brothers (Helpers from Madina) with farming, I used to stay with God's Messenger and heard from him what the others did not.'

Most of the scholarly Companions grew up among the People of the Suffa. They brought up many other scholars and thereby rendered great service in spreading the light of Islam over a vast area in a very short time.

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