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‘Abbād ibn Bishr, a Youth of Iron Faith

‘Abbād ibn Bishr Ashhalī Khazrajī was one of the Helpers [Ansār] of Medina, and the Noble Prophet’s (S) companions [sahābah]. He took part in all the wars that took place and was often seen fighting next to the Noble Prophet (S).

He was responsible for collecting zakāt and sadaqah from the tribes that had come under the fold of Islam. During the war of Tabūk, he was one of the guards for the Muslims. He attained martyrdom in 12 AH.1

Jābir ibn ‘Abd Allāh Ansārī says, “When we arrived at a place called Nakhl, we made it our camping station for the war against the infidels of “Dhāt al-Raqā‘”. There, a Muslim man captured an infidel woman. When that woman’s husband returned and found his wife missing, he started searching for her. On learning that she had been captured, he swore that he would not return to his house until he had killed one of the Muslims or the Prophet’s (S) close companions [sahābah]. With this decision in mind, he set out and lay in ambush for the Muslim army.

The Noble Prophet (S) came to one of the camping houses and said, ‘Who will be our guard tonight?’ ‘Ammār Yāsir (from the Immigrants) and ‘Abbād ibn Bishr from the Helpers [Ansār] volunteered to take up this responsibility.

Then, they went to the opening or mouth of the valley and took their guarding positions. ‘Abbād ibn Bishr decided to guard the place till midnight, after which ‘Ammār ibn Yāsir would take over till dawn. For this reason, ‘Ammār ibn Yāsir was the first to sleep and ‘Abbād ibn Bishr started offering his night prayers in order to spend the hours of the night in worship, not idle speculation.

It was at this very moment that the infidel arrived and looked closely at ‘Abbād ibn Bishr. When he was sure that the man who was praying (‘Abbād) was one of the Muslims, he shot a spear at him. This spear inflicted a deep wound on him but he removed it and continued to recite his prayers. That man shot another spear at ‘Abbād which inflicted another wound. He shot yet another while ‘Abbād was performing the rukū‘(the bowing down position in salāt).

He finally managed to finish his prayers woke ‘Ammār ibn Yāsir up and said, ‘Wake up! I do not have any more strength to stand on my feet.’ ‘Ammār woke up and the infidel, realizing that the guards were two not one, ran away and escaped. When ‘Ammār saw ‘Abbād bleeding profusely, he exclaimed, ‘Glory be to Allah! Why did you not wake me up when the first spear hit you?’ ‘Abbād answered, ‘I was reciting a chapter of the Glorious Qur’an [Sūrat al-Kahf] and found it unbefitting to cut it short.

My heart could not let me stop reciting the chapter. But when I realized that the spears were coming continuously one after another, I woke you up. I swear by Allah that if I did not fear that I would be neglecting my duties, I would not have woken you up, but continued to recite the blessed chapter to my very last breath’.”2

  • 1. Zarkulī, Al-A‘lām, vol. 3, p. 257; Ibn Sa‘d, Tabaqāt, vol. 3, p. 17; Al-Isābah, vol. 2, p. 263; Tahdhīb al-Tahdhīb, vol. 5, p. 90.
  • 2. Ibn Hishām, Al-Sīrah al-Nabawiyyah, vol. 2, p. 150; Tārīkh-e Payāmbar-e Islām, p. 373.