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Mu`adh ibn Jabal: The Young Scholar

Muadh ibn Jabal The Young Scholar
Mu`az (may Allah be pleased with him) was an expert in the lawful and the unlawful in Islamic Sharia and deeply understood their matters.

*  Author: Mohamed Sha`ban Ayyoub

*  Translator: Mohamed Gomaa

At Al-Aqaba, south of Makkah, seventy three men and two women arrived from Yathrib to meet the Prophet (peace be upon him) and give him the Pledge (known as the Second Pledge at Al-Aqabah). The event occurred on Hajj season thirteen years after the Prophethood of Muhammad (peace be upon him) – a period in which the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his Mission had been fiercely challenged by the people of Makkah.

There was an 18-years-old man among the group, full of youth yet with no beard or moustache growing in his face. He admired the new religion from the bottom of his heart.

The young man stood up to make a pledge before the Prophet (peace be upon him) that “he shall listen and obey in all sets of circumstances; spend in plenty as well as in scarcity; enjoin good and forbid evil; and be in the service of Allah fearing no censure of anyone.”

Died young, Mu`adh ibn Jabal Al-Ansari embraced Islam in the early years of his life.

One day, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said to him: “I love you for the sake of Allah, O Mu`adh!”

Since embracing Islam, Mu`adh (may Allah be pleased with him) was keen to attend all the battles with the Prophet (peace be upon him) without missing any.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) deeply loved such a sincere young man. Mu`adh (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said to him one day: “O Mu`adh, I love you for the sake of Allah!” I replied: “Me too, by Allah, O Messenger of Allah!” The Prophet (peace be upon him) then said: “I will teach you some words to say after every prayer. To say ‘O Allah, help me to remember You; give thanks to You; and worship You properly.’”

The Most Knowledgeable of the Lawful and the Unlawful

Mu`adh (may Allah be pleased with him) was an expert in the lawful and the unlawful in Islamic Sharia and deeply understood their matters. The Prophet (peace be upon him) approved his personal reasoning and made it a rule for all Muslims to follow. Abu Sa`id reported that Mu`adh once entered the Masjid and fell prostrated as he saw the Prophet (peace be upon him) prostrating. When the Prophet (peace be upon him) finished his prayer, Mu`adh made up what he had missed. Seeing this, a man asked Mu`adh why he prostrated immediately and did not start from the beginning. Mu`adh replied, “Never can I see the Prophet (peace be upon him) in a situation but I love to share it with him.” The Prophet (peace be upon him) was happy with his action and said: “This shall be a rule for all of you.”

Therefore, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Learn Quran from four persons: Ibn Mas`ud, Ubayy, Mu`adh ibn Jabal, and Salim the ex-slave of Abu Huzayfah.” In another situation, he (peace be upon him) said: “Mu`adh is the most knowledgeable of what is lawful and what is unlawful among my Ummah.”

The companions entitled to issue fatwa during the lifetime of the Prophet (peace be upon him) included three from Al-Muhajirin (immigrants): Umar, Uthman, and Ali; and three from Al-Ansar: Ubayy ibn Ka`b, Mu`adh, and Zayd.

When the Prophet (peace be upon him) conquered Makkah, he appointed Attab ibn Asid to lead the payers and Mu`adh to teach the Quran and Islamic jurisprudence.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) dispatched Mu`adh as a judge to Yemen in 11 A.H. Mu`adh said: “When the Prophet (peace be upon him) sent me to Yemen, he asked me how I would judge between people.” I said: “I will judge according to the Book of Allah; if there is no text on the issue, I will judge according to the judgment of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him); if there is no judgment from the Prophet regarding the issue in question, I will do my best to reach the truth according to my personal reasoning.” Upon this, the Prophet (peace be upon him) tapped on my chest and said: “All thanks be to Allah that He has guided the Prophet’s messenger to what pleases the Messenger of Allah.”

Allah the Almighty granted knowledge to this young man, and thus the companions showed him the utmost respect and reverence. It is reported that when the companions start discussing an issue in the presence of Mu`adh, they would consider him first out of reverence.

Mu`adh (may Allah be pleased with him) settled in the Levant since the 2nd year of Hijrah disseminating knowledge among people in the Mosques, particularly the Masjid of Homs city, north Syria. One of the Tabi`in reported: “I entered the Masjid of Homs where I found about thirty old companions, and there was a black-eyed silent young man with shining front teeth. If the people argued over an issue, they would refer to him. I asked who this man was, and when I was informed that he was Mu`adh ibn Jabal, I loved him.” Another man said: “I entered the Masjid of Homs and saw a young man with short curly hair surrounded by people. When he speaks, his mouth glows as if light and pearls come out of it. I asked who this man was, and they said: “It is Mu`adh ibn Jabal.”

A God-fearing and Ascetic man!

Mu`adh was a handsome easy man and the best of his tribe. He never declines the request of any person. Once he became heavily indebted and requested the Prophet (peace be upon him) to mediate between him and the creditors, but the creditors refused to waive any part of their debts. When the Prophet (peace be upon him) called Mu`adh to inform him of their refusal, he did not leave his place till he sold out all his property and distributed it among the creditors. Later, the Prophet (peace be upon him) dispatched him to Yemen so that he could recoup his losses. He was the first one to trade in this money. When he returned to Abu Bakr, Umar said: “O Mu`adh, I wish you obey me and hand this money over to Abu Bakr; if he gives it you, you can accept it.” Mu`adh said: “I will not hand it over to him, because the Prophet (peace be upon him) dispatched me so that I could recover my losses.” Umar proceeded to Abu Bakr and when asked him to take from Mu`adh some of the money and leave him some, he replied: “No. I will not do it. The Prophet (peace be upon him) dispatched him so that he could recover his losses.” In the morning, Mu`adh headed to Umar, saying: “I have to take your advice. Last night, I saw in my dream that I was being dragged to the fire and you were holding me back.” Mu`adh went to Abu Bakr carrying everything he brought with him, even his whip.”

One day, Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) was distributing the goods coming from other Muslim countries during and after the conquests. When Umar sent Mu`adh his share, which amounted to 200 dinars, Mu`adh called his female servant and asked her to give away seven dinars to someone, five dinars to another, and so on till nothing left. As Umar’s servant returned and informed him of what happened, Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) prepared a similar amount and sent it back to Mu`adh. Mu`adh appreciated Umar’s action and called for his female servant to distribute it the same way. Seeing this, Mu`adh’s wife said: “By Allah, we are a needy family, so keep some for us!” There was nothing left in the purse expect two dinars, which Mu`adh threw to his wife.

When Mu`adh prays at night, he would invoke Allah saying: “O Allah, the eyes have slept and stars went away, and You are Living and Everlasting! My deeds are too little to help me achieve Paradise and to save me from Hellfire! O Allah, keep for me guidance that I will find its effects on the Day of Resurrection. Indeed, You never break Your Promise!

Death of Mu`adh

In the 18th year of Hijrah, a famous plague (known as Plague of Emmaus) hit the Levant, and Mu`adh was one of the victims. When people urged Mu`adh to supplicate to Allah to alleviate such a punishment, he said: “It is not a punishment; it is the realization of your Prophet’s invocation and death cause for the righteous people before you. It is a way to martyrdom for those whomever Allah chooses!”

In this great affliction, Mu`adhreported that he heard the Prophet (peace be upon him) saying: “You shall move to the Levant and conquer it. A disease shall spread among you causing sores or tumors that appear in people’s skins. Allah will accept you as martyrs and purify your deeds. Mu`adh added: “O Allah, You know that Mu`adh had heard those words from the Prophet (peace be upon him), so grant him and his family the greatest share of it.” The plague struck all of them. Mu`adh was afflicted in the index finger and used to say: “I do not like to be compensated for this finger with the most precious camels.”

Al-Harith ibn Umayrah said: “I was sitting with Mu`adh when he was dying – going unconscious and reviving. He used to say: ‘O Allah, do whatever You want! Surely, I love You.’”

Mu`adh (may Allah be pleased with him) died young at the age of thirty-eight. The Prophet (peace be upon him) highlighted his virtue saying: “Mu`adh shall come one or two steps before the scholars on the Day of Resurrection.” May Allah help us follow his footsteps!

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*  Find the Arabic source on Shabab.alwaei.com

*  Mohamed Gomaa obtained his Bachelor degree in Islamic Studies in English, from Al Azhar University, and then pursued his Master degree in Islamic Studies with specialization of Contemporary Fiqh. Since his graduation in 2006, Mohamed works as an official Imam and teacher in Egypt. In line with his teaching experience, he is a translator, and one of his major projects was the production of more than one million words of Islamic translation for Islamweb.net.

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