Stories of Less-Known Sahaba

1) Abbad bin Bishr ( رضي الله عنه ) 

Abbad bin bishr (RA – may Allah be pleased with him) was a companion who was known for his worship and knowledge. One day he stood up for prayer. While absorbed in recitation, a stranger stalked the outskirts of the valley in search of Muhammad ﷺ and his followers. From a distance, the man saw the figure of Abbad so he silently drew his bow, and fired an arrow which embedded itself in Abbad’s flesh. Calmly, Abbad removed the arrow and went on with his recitation, still absorbed in his salah (prayer). The attacker shot two more arrows, which also found their mark. Abbad pulled them out and finished his recitation. Abbad continued the prayer to its end and then said to Ammar (another famous companion of Muhammad ﷺ – may Allah be pleased with him): “Get up and stand guard in my place. I have been wounded.” Ammar stood up, and seeing them both, the attacker fled into the darkness. Ammar turned to Abbad saying: “Why didn’t you wake me when you were hit by the first arrow?” Abbad replied: “I was reciting verses of the Qur’an which filled my soul with awe and I did not want to cut short the recitation.”

Lessons learned from his story:

He later recovered from his wounds but the story of having that deep connection with the salah and the will to complete his salah no matter what made me wonder how my excuses are nothing in comparison. In special cases, we can shorten or join the prayers and even pray while lying down, but we can’t miss the prayer. War, babies, illness, kids – whatever hardship we’re faced with – we can’t leave the prayer behind because it’s the basic pillar of Islam and our moment of peace amidst the chaos! May Allah help us guard our prayers till the last breath leave our lips. What did you learn from this short story? Comment below.

2) Abdullah bin Amr ( رضي الله عنه ) 

Abdullah Bin Amr (RA – may Allah be pleased with him) was son of the famous companion Amr bin ‘Aas (RA). He was committed earnestly into serving the deen of Allah. So much so that he had to be forced by his father to get married. On his wedding night, Abdullah bin Amr asked his new bride the permission to offer 2 rak’aat of salah. She granted him permission so he went off to pray. In his khushoo of conversing with Allah, he forgot all about his bride and continued praying until the Adhaan of Fajr was heard. Next day he promised himself to tend to his bride. The 2nd night he requested his wife once more to allow him to offer 2 rak’aat of prayer. Again he forgot all about his marriage and prayed until Fajr. This happened thrice in a row. Until Amr bin Aas came on the 3rd day to check up on his daughter in law and asked her about his son Abdullah so she told him the whole story. Amr bin Aas grabbed his son by the neck and took him to the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ to remind him about the rights of others and of our body on us. Abdullah bin Amr hence reported that Prophet ﷺ asked:…”Have I not been informed that you offer prayer all the night and fast the whole day?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “Do not do so; Offer prayer at night and also sleep; Fast for a few days and give up fasting for a few days because your body has a right on you, and your eye has a right on you, and your guest has a right on you, and your wife has a right on you. I hope that you will have a long life, and it is sufficient for you to fast for 3 days a month as the reward of a good deed, is multiplied 10 times, that means, as if you fasted the whole year.” I insisted (on fasting more) so I was given a hard instruction. I said, “I can do more than that (fasting)” The Prophet said, “Fast 3 days every week.”…I said, “I can fast more than that.” The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Fast as Allah’s prophet David…1/2 of a year (i.e. he used to fast on alternate days)” . . He wasn’t given further permission!

Lessons learned from his story:

I learned that each one of us has a different capacity and passion to do things. Sometimes we’re so engrossed in dunya that we forget the aakhirah, while sometimes we’re so engrossed in the ibaadah that we forget the rights of people Allah has blessed us in this dunya. Neither extreme is good. We can’t say that we are only going to give the rights of human beings and that’s enough because Allah will forgive us. And We can’t dedicate worship for old age and keep dunya for our youth either. And we can’t say that we’ve given our all to Allah and hence we won’t be questioned about our responsibilities in terms of our relationship with people around us. Balance, though hard to find, is something that our religion teaches. And if you see the life of Muhammad ﷺ, you’ll see that this balance is achievable! This hadith is a clear indication that you CAN achieve balance if you know where your focus should be! May Allah help us all achieve such a balance. What did you learn from this short story? Comment below.

3) Abu Dahdaa ( رضي الله عنه ) 

Abu Dahdaa (RA – may Allah be pleased with him) was sitting in the company of Rasoolullah ﷺ and an orphan came complaining about his neighbour, Abu Lubabah, who wouldn’t give nor sell a palm tree that is a cause of problem for him in building a wall around his garden. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ called the man and asked him to give or sell that one single palm tree to this boy and he refused and got upset. Later Prophet Muhammad ﷺ offered him a tree in jannah in return of that tree and as he was so upset, he refused and left. Abu Dahdah asked the messenger of Allah ﷺ if that bargain is still valid if he buys that tree? And the Prophet ﷺ said yes! Hearing that, Abu Dahdah got up and rushed after Abu Lubabah. He offered his meadow to him in return of that tree. The man asked, are you kidding? It was an offer no one could refuse because who in Madinah didn’t know of that heaven like garden with approx. 500 palm trees and a well surrounding a house. Hence Abu Lubabah gave that one palm tree to him, which Abu Dahdah gifted the boy and went towards his house in those meadows. He called his wife Umm Dahdah from the outside asking her to come out of the house as he has sold it to Allah and His messenger ﷺ – upon which she replied, without any question or resistance: “Allahu Akbar, what a successful bargain!” She then gathered her kids, checked their pockets for any dates from the garden, took them out and threw them in that garden, stating that they are for Allah now. They are not their property anymore. And hence the whole family left a house with a well amidst a garden of 500 palm trees behind so they could own a tree in jannah.

Lessons learned from his story:

Whenever I try to de-clutter my life, burdens and belongings, this is the story that I love to read over and over again. This story of a palm tree makes me wonder – When we clutter our homes with so much that we don’t need – the things we can easily live without, why do we keep holding onto them even though they’re not serving us, but can benefit others in many ways. What are the things I can trade for jannah? What did you learn from this short story? Comment below.

4) Julaybib ( رضي الله عنه ) 

Julaybib (RA – may Allah be pleased with him), a companion of the Prophet (saw), was a man of no societal value. In the Arabic language Julaybib means “small grown” indicating that Julaybib was perhaps a dwarf. He was also described as being damim, meaning – “deformed or repulsive”. Nobody knew his parents or his tribe and he was very poor financially – hence no value came in the form of lineage or wealth. One day he asked the Prophet ﷺ: “ya RasoolAllah! Do you think the only woman I will get is the hoor-ul-ayn (a woman in jannah), in sha Allah?” Muhammad ﷺ replied – “No! From this dunya and also from the akhirah.” So with Julaybeeb in mind, Muhammad ﷺ went to an Ansari and said: “I want to have your daughter married.” Who replied in joy: “How wonderful and blessed…what a delight to the eye (this would be)”. Muhammad ﷺ explained that he’s asking for Julaybib and not himself. The Ansari, who had rejected far better proposals for his daughter before, went to consult with his wife. His wife protested: “To Julaybib! No, never to Julaybib! No, by God, we shall not marry (her) to him.” (It is said that the daughter was so beautiful that there was none among the women of that clan who could compete with her looks). Her mother told her about Julaybib while crying. The daughter said, “O Mother, How blessed is the status of Julaybib, that God and his Messenger are asking for your daughter’s hand on his behalf.” She agreed and was hence married to Julaybib. Soon after his marriage, he went on an expedition and was martyred. Companions found his diminutive body lying next to seven men that he had slain…Prophet ﷺ held his body and said. “O Allah he is from me and I am from Him” (repeating this thrice).

Lessons learned from his story:

You may have heard the stories of princess and a frog or beauty and the beast or hunchback of Notre Dame. This is a beautiful real story of halal happily-ever-after that can replace those stories. You will see companions constantly weighing their relationships on the scale of Quran and sunnah. This is the story of a woman marrying a man that no one agreed to marry and in shaa Allah when we discuss the stories of female companions, we will highlight the story of Umm Ayman – an old abyssinian slave who was married to a young man and the adopted son of Muhammad ﷺ because Zaid (RA) wanted to marry a woman of jannah when Muhammad ﷺ asked who will marry her?! May we always set our relationship goals for the sake of Allah too. What did you learn from this short story? Comment below.

5) Abu Aqil Ansari ( رضي الله عنه ) 

Abu Aqil Ansari (RA – may Allah be pleased with him) was one of those companions of the Prophet ﷺ who had the smallest of pockets but the biggest of hearts. When Muhammad ﷺ asked Muslims to bring forth their sadaqah (charity) for the expedition of Tabuk, he had nothing to give. So he went looking for work and found a job with a Jew who needed some water hauling. Abu Aqil was hence among the last to come forth with charity – a Sa` of dates (few dates). He said: `O Allah’s Messenger! This is a Sa` of dates. I spent the night bringing water and earned two Sa` of dates for my work. I kept one Sa` (for my family) and brought you the other Sa`. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ ordered him to spread it over all the charity (that others brought). His sadaqah was little but carried the weight of Uhud mountain. Some men mocked Abu Aqil, saying, `Allah and His Messenger are not in need of this charity. What benefit would this Sa` of yours bring’. They laughed at him, saying,`Allah does not need the Sa` of Abu `Aqil.” – Upon which Allah revealed the verses of the Quran [9:79]

Lessons learned from his story:

I learned that growth mindset is a gift. He didn’t limit himself to what he didn’t have. He didn’t let a fixed mindset take hold of him. He went out looking for work so he could contribute something, even if it’s little. I also learned that nothing is too small in front of Allah as long as our hearts are big and our intentions are pure. May Allah accept our sadaqah – little and big – and turn them into valuable treasures with Him too. What did you learn from this short story? Comment below.

Stories of Famous Sahaba

1) Abdullah bin Abbas ( رضي الله عنه ) 

Abdullah bin Abbas (RA – may Allah be pleased with him) was the cousin of Muhammad ﷺ whose tehneek was done by him ﷺ as a baby. He grew up in the company of the Prophet ﷺ as he would bring him water for ablution and stand up with him for prayer even as a child. He was only 13 years old when Prophet Muhammad ﷺ passed away. Ibn Abbas narrated – Once the Prophet ﷺ entered a lavatory and I placed water for his ablution. He asked, “Who placed it?” He was informed accordingly and so he said, “O Allah! Make him (Ibn `Abbas) a learned scholar in religion (Islam).” – eventually he became one of the most knowledgeable people in tafsir. Many senior companions used to call him in for his opinions although he was a young man. Ibn ‘Abbas said: “The Messenger of Allah embraced me and said: ‘O Allah, teach him wisdom and the (correct) interpretation of the Book.'”

A narration attributed to ibn `Abbas reports: “…I went to him (another companion) during the time of the afternoon siesta and spread my cloak in front of his door. The wind blew dust on me (as I sat waiting for him). If I wished I could have sought his permission to enter and he would certainly have given me permission. But I preferred to wait on him so that he could be completely refreshed. Coming out of his house and seeing me in that condition he said, ‘O cousin of the Prophet! What’s the matter with you? If you had sent for me I would have come to you.’ I said: ‘I am the one who should come to you, for knowledge is sought, it does not just come,’. Then I asked him about the hadith and learnt from him.” Ibn Abbas turned to teaching and his house became the equivalent of a university with specialized teaching and with him as the only teacher. He held classes on one single subject each day, classes on issues such as tafsir, fiqh, halal haram, poetry, Arab history, inheritance laws, Arabic language and etymology.

Lessons learned from his story:

I learned that even though he was known as the most knowledgeable, he didn’t shy away from acquiring knowledge while sitting and waiting in front of someone’s house – sacrificing his time and energy for it. The wind blew dust on him and yet he waited. Because as he said “Knowledge is sought, it does not just come to us”. May Allah grant us the zeal of gaining knowledge like Abdullah Ibn Abbas (RA). What did you learn from this short story? Comment below.

2) Salman Farsi ( رضي الله عنه ) 

Salman Farsi (RA – may Allah be pleased with him) belonged to a wealthy home in Persia. His father was the chief leader of fire and sun worshipers. Young Salman was responsible for always keeping the fire burning and due to this heavy responsibility, he was never allowed to leave the house. For an urgent work one day, while he was going to the market, he heard people signing in a church. Deeply fascinated, he went into the Church and asked about the origin of this Faith. They responded: JERUSALEM. This encounter was sufficient to convince him that this religion was better than fire worshiping so he told his father who started fearing that his son might abandon their religion and he tied him with a leg iron and imprisoned him in the house. Eventually he escaped and reached Jerusalem to learn all about Christianity. Salman asked the archbishop there to guide him to a place from where he could learn the unchanged scripture because he wanted to follow a true religion. And just like that, he went from one scholar to another to another – traveling from one place to another, until he was told that there are no honest people left who teach the original scripture anymore, but that a new and the last Messenger is expected to come in the land of Arabia who’ll only accept gifts and not charity and he’ll have a seal of prophethood. So he set out towards his journey to the land of Arabia and on his way, he was unjustly sold as a captive. He was tossed around from one master to another. He once heard about a Prophet from his master’s cousin so he went out secretly to meet Muhammad ﷺ there. To check whether he was the real Prophet as described in the scriptures, he offered him dates as gifts and everyone ate them. But when he offered them as charity, everyone ate but Prophet ﷺ. When he ﷺ saw Salman trying to look for the seal of prophethood on his back, he ﷺ shifted his cloth in a way that the mark was visible. When Salman saw it, he began to weep. He kissed it and recited his shahada.

Lessons learned from his story:

The ending just gives me goosebumps. He was a true seeker of truth. I think it’s one of the best revert stories from the past. He embraced almost every religion and gave his all to it, but always felt the need for more until he came to Islam – which he embraced wholeheartedly till his death. I learned that sometimes seeking truth can be a long hard journey, but if you keep going and keep listening to the voice of your heart that sticks to a fitrah (natural disposition), you will find your purpose. What did you learn from this short story? Comment below.

3) Abdullah bin Umar ( رضي الله عنه ) 

Abdullah bin Umar (RA – may Allah be pleased with him) was the son of Umar bin Khattab (another famous companion of Muhammad ﷺ and one of the 4 caliphs of Islam – may Allah be pleased with him). He was also the brother-in-law of Muhammad ﷺ – . He was the second most prolific narrator of ahadith, with a total of 2,630 narrations. He was known for being very particular about following the sunnah – so much so that he would slaughter his sacrifice at the slaughtering place right where the Prophet ﷺ did. He would make his camel sit at Al-Batha’ in Dhul-Hulaifa and offer the prayer because Muhammad ﷺ used to do the same. The Prophet ﷺ used to go to the Mosque of Quba every Saturday (sometimes) walking and (sometimes) riding and Abdullah Ibn Umar used to do the same. Ibn ‘Umar reported that when a person saw anything in sleep, he narrated it to Allah’s Messenger ﷺ, and I also had a longing that I should also see in a dream something which I should narrate to Allah’s Apostle ﷺ and I was at that time an unmarried young man. I was sleeping in the mosque during the lifetime of Allah’s Messenger ﷺ that I saw in a dream as if two angels have taken hold of me and they have carried me to the fire, and, lo, it was built like the easing of a well and had 2 pillars like those of a well; and, lo, there were people in it whom I knew and I cried out: I seek refuge with Allah from Hell-fire; I seek refuge with Allah from Hell-fire. Then another Angel joined the 2 others, and said unto me: “You need not fear.” I narrated this dream to Hafsa (his sister) and she narrated it to Allah’s Messenger ﷺ, whereupon Allah’s Apostle ﷺ said: Worthy is this man Abdullah, If only he would pray at night. Abdullah slept only but for a small part of the night afterwards (meaning, he never left tahajjud after that).

Lessons learned from his story:

I learned that if we claim to love the Prophet ﷺ, then we need to follow his sunnah. Our words and love should naturally manifest in our actions. It wouldn’t feel forced if our hearts carry his love, but for that we need to know him better first. What did you learn from this short story? Comment below.

4) Zaid bin Thabit ( رضي الله عنه ) 

Zaid bin Thabit (RA – may Allah be pleased with him) was known as kaatibun wahi (the one who writes down the revelations of the Quran sent to Muhammad ﷺ). He was also one of the top reciters and huffaadh (those who memorize the Quran). He accepted Islam at the age of 10 or 11, when the Prophet ﷺ migrated to Madinah.
He was too young to fight in the battle of Badr so Muhmmad ﷺ forbade him from fighting. Zaid started crying and his mother was deeply saddened as well. The Battle of Uhud came along and he was forbidden to participate again so his mother encouraged him to start memorizing the Quran instead (he was later accepted in the ranks of the Muslim army at the age of 19). After the Prophet ﷺ returned from the battle, Zaid had already memorized 17 chapters of the Quran. His mother told the Prophet ﷺ, “O Messenger of Allah, this son of mine writes very well and is among the best of those who read. He reads the Quran just as you would read O Messenger of Allah.” Messenger of Allah ﷺ decided to test the young boy and found him better than the description his mother gave. Muhammad ﷺ said: “O zaid, I want you to learn the Hebrew language. For we interact with the Jews and we want somebody trustworthy to communicate with them”. Just 2 weeks later, Zaid returned and declared: “O Messenger of Allah, I have learnt Hebrew and I have mastered it completely.” Prophet ﷺ then asked him to learn the language Syriainia, (Syriac) – a dialect of Aramic. 17 days later, he mastered that language completely as well after which Prophet ﷺ used to call Zaid to write down the revelations as descended from Jibreel (AS).

During the era of Abu Bakr (another companion and best friend of Muhammad ﷺ – may Allah be pleased with him), he was assigned the role of authenticating and collecting the oral and textual Quranic revelation into a single bounded volume. When he passed away, the people said; ‘Wallahi today we have buried so much of the knowledge Muhammad (saws) gave us.’

Lessons learned from his story:

I loved how he and his mother took the double rejection as an opportunity to focus on something that he was good at and that it took him several tests to reach a special position as a Quran writer. Nothing comes easy in the path of success. What did you learn from this short story? Comment below.

5) Abdullah bin Masood ( رضي الله عنه ) 

Abdullah bin Masood (RA – may Allah be pleased with him) was a very short and thin man with dark skin and poor family background. Prophet ﷺ once commanded him to climb a tree. When other companions looked at his legs, they laughed at his lean stature. Prophet ﷺ said, ‘Why are you laughing? ‘Abdullah’s foot is heavier in the balance than the mountain of Uhud.’ When companions were concerned that people of Quraish have not heard the Quran being recited to them loudly, Abdullah bin Mas’ood declared that he will do that job! Companions warned him that Quraish will beat him up because he was so thin and short with a poor heritage and no one to protect him. Abdullah bin Mas’ood said: Allah will protect me! He then recited a portion from Surah Rahman loudly in front of Quraish. So just like sahaba warned, Quraish beat him up. Abdullah responded – the sweetness of faith that I experienced, I would not mind returning tomorrow and doing it again! And hence he became the 1st person to recite the Quran publicly in Makkah after Muhammad ﷺ – who liked to listen to him recite the Quran. Abdullah said: “The Prophet ﷺ said to me: ‘Recite for me.’ I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah! Shall I recite for you while it is to you whom it was revealed?’ He ﷺ said: ‘I love to hear it from other than me.'” So I recited Surat An-Nisa until I reached: “…and We bring you (Muhammad) as a witness against these people (4:41)” and I saw the eyes of Prophet ﷺ overflowing with tears.”

Lessons learned from his story:

I learned that if you have a dream which you set your mind to, there’s nothing stopping you. I loved that instead of getting embarrassed about his apparent failure and agreeing that Quran recitation in front of the leaders of Quraish wasn’t for him, he said that he’ll do it again because it was the process that he truly enjoyed. He didn’t care about the results because they were in Allah’s hands. He simply put his best with tawakkal Allah. And instead of getting angry that Allah didn’t protect him, he saw the glass half full and got up again after falling down. What did you learn from this short story? Comment below.

List of Resources

1) STORIES IN AHADITH: You will find many stories of the companions in ahadith. My favorite site for ahadith is sunnah.com – so user friendly and it has all the categorization of hassan, Sahih and da’if ahadith etc.

2) STORIES IN TAFSIR: You will find many stories in Tafsir ibn Kathir too (one of the most famous explanations of the Quran). Check qtafsir.com for that.

3) STORIES IN BOOKS: From books, check “Men around the Messenger” by Khaalid Muhammad Khaalid. Or “Companions of the Prophet” by Abdul Wahid Hamid. Although the book “Children Around the Prophet” by Hesham Al-Awadi is about how Muhammad ﷺ raised the young companions, but it will give you an insight on the childhood of some of the sahaba. There are some FREE E-BOOKS on the topic at allahsworld website too.

4) AUDIO STORIES (podcast): You will find many sahaba stories in Yasir Qadhi Lives of the Sahaba podcast. Also check Muslim Heroes podcast in alhudapk.com (they are in Urdu language though).

5) VIDEO STORIES (lectures): Mufti menk has a series of lectures on companions of the Prophet called “Getting to Know the Companions” on YouTube. Or you may simply explore the sahaba tag on halaltube.

6) STORIES FOR KIDS: Although there are many resources where sahaba stories have been animated, but I personally don’t feel comfortable showing those stories to my kids – especially when a companion is illustrated (even if the illustration is just a blob of light). But I absolutely LOVE Miraj Stories/Audio (especially the story of Salman Farsi in it). I wrote a detailed post HERE. Also check Companion set by Learning roots.

If you know more credible resources, feel free to comment below.

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1 COMMENT

  1. Jazak Allah for this informative and thoughtful article about “Less-Known Sahaba (رضی اللہ عنہم)…
    The life of Sahaba (رضی اللہ عنہم) is the way to success and enter Jannah…
    Allah Bless You and your team.
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