Abu Musa Al-Ash’ari
(alsalafyoon article)

Abu Musa al-Ash’ari, radi Allahu anhu, was a revered companion of Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam. He has narrated many known hadiths and in his lifetime was often heard reciting the Qur’an in the middle of the night with the most admirable voice, absorbed in his prayers and reflecting on the meaning of the Qur’anic revelations word for word, verse for verse. Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal narrated that Abu Musa, radi Allahu anhu, said that Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam was once walking along with the mother of the believers, 'Aisha radi Allahu anha. And as they passed by his house, they heard him reciting the Qur’an. Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam and ‘Aisha, radi Allahu anha, stopped by the wall of his house and they listened for awhile before they continued on their way home. The next morning, Abu Musa came to see Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam who said to him: “O Abu Musa, I was walking last night with ‘Aisha and when we reached your house, we heard you reciting the Qur’an so we stopped and listened for awhile to your recital.” Abu Musa, radi Allahu anhu, replied: “O blessed prophet of Allah, I wish I knew you were there, for I would have enriched my voice and improved my rendition.”

Sulaiman bin Ahmad narrated that when Abu Musa, radi Allahu anhu, arrived in Yemen he said in his opening sermon: “The commander of the believers, Omar bin Al-Khattab sent me to teach you the Book of your Lord, blessed be His name, the Lord of majesty and glory. He also commissioned me to teach you the blessed traditions (Sunnah) of your prophet and to cleanse and purify your practice.” Abu Musa, radi Allahu anhu, was an equitable judge, knowledgeable in religious jurisprudence and wise man who was known for his fortitude in enjoining the memorization of the holy Qur’an. Muhammad bin Ja’far bin al-Haytham narrated that Abu Musa, radi Allahu anhu, once called the Qur’an readers to meeting and he asked that only those who have memorized the entire Qur'an by heart should come to see him. Some three hundred of them came to hear his counsel and he said to them: “You are responsible for relaying the divine revelation to the people of this city. Do no let your hearts harden as time passes by, as did the hearts of the People of the Book before you. We heard prophetic admonitions which is similar in length and authority to the warning revealed in Sura Bara'a (Chapter 9) where Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam also said ‘If the son of Adam had two valleys filled with gold, he will strive to own a third one to increase his possessions, although, nothing will eventually fill the hollowness of the son of Adam but dirt (when he lies in his grave).”

Likewise, in mention of the above account, Abu Kinana who also was present during the meeting, narrated that Abu Musa, radi Allahu anhu, after praising the divine revelation and celebrating the magnificence of the Holy Qur’an added that for merely knowing the truth of its revelation, “This Qur’an can either be your blessed reward, or it can become your unexpected burden on the day of reckoning. Follow the Qur'an and do not let the Qur’an follow you!(distorting the truth within the Qur’an) For whosoever follows the Qur’an, it will lead him to the blissful gardens of janna, and whosoever is followed by the Qur’an, it will chase him and force him until it shoves him into the abyss of jahannam (hell-fire).” Abu Musa, radi Allahu anhu, like all of Rasulullah’s, sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, companions exercised self-restraint. He often fasted during the blistering heat of the days and then spent his long nights in prayers. He geared his aspirations to respond consistently to his spiritual yearning. Abu Muhammad bin Hayyan narrated that Abu Musa, radi Allahu anhu, said “A true believer should expect this world to offer him nothing but sorrowful and tiresome labor, besides tempting and haunting trials.”

Abu Musa, radi Allahu anhu, was filled with gratitude and always focused upon the signs of staying on the straight path. Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal narrated that Anas Ibn Malik said “We once traveled with Abu Musa and during our journey, he heard people discussing the path with great intricacy and intellectual input, suiting the most eloquent expressions. Abu Musa looked towards me and said in disappointment, ‘What happened to me O Anas? Why do people’s talking in such a manner depress me? Let’s go somewhere else to remember our lord, for the sharp tongues of these intellectuals can even gnaw apart food that is hard to chew on.” As we moved on, Abu Musa added: “O Anas! Do you know what hinders people from seeking the hereafter and hinders their pursuit of its promise?” Anas replied “I guess spitefulness and shaytan will do that!” Abu Musa replied “Nay I swear by Allah it is not that, but it is their attachment to the fleeting pleasures of this world that attracts them to such a degree, making the permanent comfort of the Hereafter seem distant in their minds; and yet, even if they were to observe its physical form and examin e its trueness, they will still be determined in their pursuit of the pleasures of this world, and they will not waiver their attachment to it, nor will they turn back to the straight path.” Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal narrated that Abu Musa, radi Allahu anhu, once delivered a sermon at a mosque in Basra, Iraq where he said “O ye people! Cry as much as you can and if you could not find such deep emotions in your hearts, then pretend your crying in the hope of receiving the divine mercy, for the dwellers of hell fire will cry immeasurably until there will be no more tears in their eyes, and after that they will have nothing but tears of blood in sorrow, and which will run excessively like huge rivers where even ships can float because of what they have brought upon themselves.” On his last days, he addressed his children and gave them wise counsel. Amru Ibn Khalid narrated that when Abu Musa, radi Allahu anhu, laid on his deathbed, he called his children to his side and he said to them “Go and dig a grave and make it spacious and deep.” When the children completed what their father asked them to do, they came back and reported to their father “We dug a grave, and made it large and deep as you asked.”

Abu Musa, radi Allahu anhu, said “I swear by Allah that it will soon come to one of two conclusions 1) Either my grave will expand to form angles stretching up to forty yards wide, and then a doorway to paradise will open to reveal my house, family, stations, blessings and honors Allah has reserved for me, and I will then know my way to my dwellings therein better than I know the road to my house in this world; and I will smell the fragrance of paradise and perceive the happiness of that station up to the day of resurrection 2) should it be the opposite, then my grave will stiff en down to be smaller than the bushing of a spearhead, and then a doorway to hell-fire will open to reveal my chains, and shackles and like prisons reserved of men who dwell in jahannam, and I will immediately know the way to my seat of punishment therein better that I know the road to my house today; moreover I will smell the cursed stench of its poisons and experience the magnitude of its flames up to the day of resurrection.”

Abi Burda narrated that when Abu Musa, radi Allahu anhu, was dying he called his children to his bedside and he said to them “My dear children! Remember the story of ‘The Man with a Loaf of Bread.’ Listen carefully to his story: Once upon a time, there lived a man who for seventy years had dedicated his entire existence to worshiping Allah subhana wa ta’ala, and he only left his house one day a week to acquire his basic needs. One day, while in the market, the shaytan made an attractive woman seduce him, and the man was lured to stay with her for seven days and nights, On the seventh day, the veil of darkness that clouded his thinking was lifted, and the man left the woman’s house repenting to Allah. With every step the man took, he prayed and prostrated himself to Allah, ashamed of himself. Fearful of the consequences of his sin, he kept on asking for forgiveness. By nightfall, his steps led him to a shop, near which sat twelve destitute men. In that town, there lived a monk who sent these twelve poor men a loaf of bread each daily. That night his servant carried the twelve loaves of bread and brought them to distribute. In the dark the servant distributed a loaf of bread for each needy person, and when he reached the extra man who sat in their midst, not counting their number, the servant thought him to be one of the indigents, and handed him a loaf of bread. As he was leaving, the one man who did not receive his share for that night, shouted ‘Why have you not given me my usual loaf of bread? You have never done that before!’ The servant who had not realized what happened became upset, and he replied ‘Do you think I have kept anything away from you, or do you think that I kept it for myself? Ask around you, did I give any one sitting here two loaves of bread instead of one?’ They replied ‘No!’ The servant then said ‘You are probably accusing me of keeping it for myself! I swear by Allah that I will not give you anything for tonight.’ W ithout delay, the repenting man made what happen known, and he handed his loaf of bread over to the person who did not get his share for that night. By sunrise, the repenting man was found dead in the street near the shop. When the angels came and weighed his deeds, the seventy years of worship he offered did not measure up to the weight of his sins during the last seven nights of his life, but when the angels weighed the sin of the last seven nights and his last peace offering of a single loaf of bread he gave to the indigent, his charity weighed heavier. Thus he was saved from eternal damnation.’ Abu Musa, radi Allahu anhu, then added “My dear children always remember this story of ‘The Man with a Loaf of Bread.’

 
 

 

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