Story 107: Debutant Slogan

The rumours reached from Makkah and articulated now and then among the tribe of Banu Ghaffar and had drawn the curious and investigating nature of Abu Dharr who was desirous to be aware of the nature of the events which took place in Makkah. But he could not comprehend anything from the diverse and disordered rumours which he had heard from the intermediate individuals.

What he was sure about was the fact that the new words had come into existence in Makkah, and the inhabitants of Makkah were seriously active to suppress the same. But what were those words? And why were Makkans opposing that? Nobody knew anything about it.

His brother was about to set out for Makkah. He said to him: "According to the latest news and the public sayings, a man has appeared in Makkah, and has brought new words which he claims that these words have been revealed to him by Allah. Since you are leaving for Makkah, investigate closely the affairs and bring me the correct news."

The days passed while he was waiting for his brother's arrival. When he returned, Abu Dharr asked him: "Well what is the latest news and what is the matter all about?"

He said in reply: "According to the investigation made by me, he is a man calling the people to the good ethics and has brought the words which do not resemble the poems."

Abu Dharr said: "I hope you would have done a thorough investigation. What you have done is not sufficient. However, I must personally go and investigate the matter."

Abu Dharr put some provisions in a knapsack, carried it on his shoulder and proceeded directly towards Makkah. He decided to meet the man who has brought the new words at any cost and hear his words from his own mouth. But he did not know him nor dared to ask anybody about him.

The environment of Makkah was full of fear and terror. Abu Dharr, without addressing anybody, pricked up his ears to the gossips and whispers of the people and was eager to find a sign of this person. The center of information and events was the Sacred Mosque "'al-Masjidul Haram".

Abu Dharr came with his knapsack to the Sacred Mosque. He passed the whole day without obtaining any indication. At a late hour of the night, since he was tired, he lay down over there to take rest. It did not take long that he saw a young man pass nearby him. The young man scrutinized him from head to foot, while passing by him and taking his own way.

The young man's look seemed to be full of sense to Abu Dharr. It occured to him that this young man was perhaps worthy of being informed of his secret. He started to follow him but did not dare to express anything and returned to his place.

The next day, he passed the whole day in investigation at the Sacred Mosque, but he could not find any indication of his desired personality. The night fell, and he lay down at the same place.

Exactly at the same hour of the night, the same young man appeared, came forward and respectfully told Abu Dharr: "Has not the time come for you to come to your own house and spend the night there?"

Saying these words, he took Abu Dharr with him to his house. Abu Dharr was his guest that night, but he refrained from exposing his secret to him. The young man did not ask him anything.

Early morning, Abu Dharr bade farewell to the young man and came back to the Sacred Mosque, looking for the one he was after. The day passed, and he could not realize anything from the diverse words spoken by the people. The night fell, and at the same hour of the night, the young man came again and took Abu Dharr along with him to his house. But this time the young man broke the silence and asked: "Is it possible for you to tell me why you have come to this city?"

"If you promise to help me out I will tell you."

"I promise to help you out in your matter and will never refrain from it."

"In fact, it is sometime that I heard the people of my tribe talk about a man in Makkah. They say that this man has brought some words and has claimed that these words have heen revealed to him by Allah. This is the reason that I have personally come to meet him and make an inquiry about his affairs. Firstly, what is your opinion about him? Secondly, could you tell me where to find him?"

"Be sure that he is on the right path, and whatever he says is revealed by Allah. Early morning I will take you to him. But as you know if the inhabitants of this city come to know that I lead you to him, our lives will be at stake. Tomorrow morning, I will move a little ahead of you, and as for you; follow me, keep a little distance from me and see carefully where I go; I am aware of the environments and if I see any danger, I will stop and bend down like someone who empties a container. Be aware of this sign of the danger and move far away from me. But if it does not happen anything and there is no danger, follow me wherever I go."

The next morning, the young man who was nobody else but 'Ali Ibn Abi Talib ('a), left the house and made the way while Abu Dharr was following him. Fortunately, they did not face any danger. 'Ali ('a) brought Abu Dharr to the Holy Prophet’s (S) house.

Abu Dharr was busy meditating on the Prophet’s (S) behaviour and sayings and listening in to the Qur'anic verses. No sooner was the second meeting held than Abu Dharr embraced Islam heartfeltly and willingly. He gave a pledge to the Holy Prophet (S) not to fear any blame for the sake of Allah and to say the truth even in the portent of bitter circumstances.

The Holy Prophet (S) said to him: "Presently go back to your tribe and invite your people to Islam until you receive further instruction from me."

Abu Dharr said: "All right! But I swear by Allah, before leaving this city, I will go among these people and give evidence with loud voice in favour of Islam, I don't care about the consequences whatever may come out."

Abu Dharr went out, reached the center of the city of Makkah, the Sacred Mosque, and started shouting among the Qurayshite assembly:

أشهدُ أنْ لا إلهَ إلاَّ اللهُ وأشهدُ أنَّ محمّداً رسولُ الله

It means: "I testify that there is no god but Allah; I testify that Muhammad is His servant and Apostle."

The inhabitants of Makkah, on hearing this slogan, and without giving him an opportunity to explain, fell upon this man whom they did not know at all. If Abbas Ibn Abd ul Mutalib had not interrupted, nothing would have been remained from Abu Dharr.

Abbas said to the Makkans: "This man belongs to the tribe of Banu Ghaffar. The commercial road of Qurayshites, from Makkah to Syria and vice versa passed through the territory of his tribe. Don't you think if you kill a man of this tribe you will no longer be able to traverse through their region safe and sound?"

Abu Dharr was saved from the Qurayshites, but his heart was not fully satisfied. He thought of repeating this slogan for the second time and to let the Qurayshites hear what they disliked. He wanted to make them accustomed with this slogan.

The next day, he came again and repeated the same slogan as per the previous day. The Qurayshites attacked him once again and by the intervention of Abbas Ibn Abdul Mutalib, he was saved.

After this incident, as per the order of the Holy Prophet (S), Abu Dharr went back among his own tribe and started teaching, propagating and guiding them. When the Holy Prophet (S) emigrated from Makkah to Madinah, Abu Dharr also came to Madinah where he stayed until death overcame him.

He always preserved his frankness which cost him his exile first to Syria and then to an area outside of Madinah, named "Rabazah ". It happened in the era of Uthman, the 3rd Caliph. During his exile in "Rabazah" he died all alone.

The Holy Prophet (S) had said about him: "May Allah bless Abu Dharr, he who lives alone, dies alone and will be resurrected alone."1

  • 1. Usd al-Ghabah fi Ma’rifat al-Sahabah, v. 1. p. 301 and v. 5. p. 186. Al-Ghadir p. 314