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The Islamic Bulletin

Issue 10

Page 13

The Islamic Bulletin

Issue 10

Abu Dharr spent the following day without getting to know the

Prophet. At evening he went to the Mosque to sleep and Ali again

passed by him and said: “Isn’t it time that a man knows his house?”

Abu Dharr accompanied him and stayed at his house a second

night. Again no one asked the other about anything.

On the third night, however, Ali asked him, “Aren’t you going to

tell me why you came to Makkah?” “Only if you will give me an

understanding that you will guide me to what I seek.” Ali agreed

and Abu Dharr said: “I came to Makkah from a distant place seek-

ing a meeting with the new Prophet and to listen to some of what

he has to say.”

Ali’s face lit up with happiness as he said, “By God, he is really the

Messenger of God,” and he went on telling Abu Dharr more about

the Prophet and his teaching. Finally, he said: “When we get up in

the morning, follow me wherever I go. If I see anything which I am

afraid of for your sake, I would stop as if to pass water. If I continue,

follow me until you enter where I enter.”

Abu Dharr did not sleep a wink the rest of that night because of

his intense longing to see the Prophet and listen to the words of

revelation. In the morning, he followed closely in Ali’s footsteps

until they were in the presence of the Prophet. “As-salaamu alayka

yaa Rasulullah, (Peace be on you, O messenger of God),” greeted

Abu Dharr. “Wa alayka salaamullahi wa rahmatuhu wa barakaatuhu

(And on you be the peace of God, His mercy and His blessings),”

replied the Prophet.

Abu Dharr was thus the first person to greet the Prophet with the

greeting of Islam. He recited some of the Qur’an for him. Before

long, Abu Dharr pronounced the Shahadah, thus entering the new

religion (without even leaving his place). He was among the first

persons to accept Islam. Now Abu Dharr continues with his story...

After that I stayed with the Prophet in Makkah and he taught me

Islam and taught me to recite the Qur’an. Then he said to me,

“Don’t tell anyone in Makkah about your acceptance of Islam. I fear

that they will kill you.” “By Him in whose hands is my soul, I shall

not leave Makkah until I go to the Sacred Mosque and proclaim

the call of Truth in the midst of the Quraysh,” vowed Abu Dharr.

The Prophet remained silent. I went to the Mosque. The Quraysh

were sitting and talking. I went in their midst and called out at the

top of my voice, “O people of Quraysh, I testify that there is no

God but Allah and that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.” My

words had an immediate effect on them. They jumped up and said,

“Get this one who has left his religion.”

They pounced on me and began to beat me mercilessly. They

clearly meant to kill me. But Abbas ibn Abdulmuttalib, the uncle of

the Prophet, recognized me. He bent over and protected me from

them. He told them: “Woe to you! Would you kill a man from the

Ghiffar tribe and your caravans must pass through their territory?”

They then released me.

I went back to the Prophet (pbuh) and when he saw my condition,

he said, “Didn’t I tell you not to announce your acceptance of

Islam?” “O Messenger of God,” I said, “It was a need I felt in my

soul and I fulfilled it.”

“Go to your people,” he commanded, “and tell them what you

have seen and heard. Invite them to God. Maybe God will bring

them good through you and reward you through them. And when

you hear that I have come out in the open, then come to me.”

I left and went back to my people. My brother came up to me and

asked, “What have you done?” I told him that I had become a

Muslim and that I believed in the truth of Muhammad’s teachings.

“I am not averse to your religion. In fact, I am also now a Muslim

and a believer,” he said.

We both went to our mother then and invited her to Islam. “I do

not have any dislike for your religion. I accept Islam also,” she said.

From that day this family of believers went out tirelessly inviting the

Ghifar to God and did not flinch from their purpose. Eventually a

large number became Muslims and the congregational Prayer was

instituted among them.

Abu Dharr remained in his desert abode until after the Prophet

had gone to Madinah and the battles of Badr, Uhud and Khandaq

had been fought. At Madinah at last, he asked the Prophet to be in

his personal service. The Prophet agreed and was pleased with his

companionship and service. He sometimes showed preference to

Abu Dharr above others and whenever he met him he would pat

him and smile and show his happiness.

After the death of the Prophet, Abu Dharr could not bear to stay in

Madinah because of grief and the knowledge that there was to be

no more of his guiding company. So he left for the Syrian desert and

stayed there during the caliphate of Abu Bakr and Umar.

During the caliphate of Uthman, he stayed in Damascus and saw

the Muslims’ concern for the world and their consuming desire for

luxury. He was saddened and repelled by this. So Uthman asked

him to come to Madinah.

At Madinah he was also critical of the people’s pursuit of worldly

goods and pleasures and they were critical in turn of his reviling

them. Uthman therefore ordered that he should go to Rubdhah, a

small village near Madinah. There he stayed far away from people,

renouncing their preoccupation with worldly goods and holding on

to the legacy of the Prophet and his companions in seeking the ever-

lasting abode of the Hereafter in preference to this transitory world.

Once a man visited him and began looking at the contents of his

house but found it quite bare. He asked Abu Dharr: “Where are your

possessions?” “We have a house yonder (meaning the hereafter),”

said Abu Dharr, “to which we send the best of our possessions.”

The man understood what he meant and said: “But you must have

some possessions so long as you are in this abode.” “The owner of

this abode will not leave us in it,” replied Abu Dharr.

Abu Dharr persisted in his simple and frugal life to the end. Once

the amir of Syria sent three hundred dinars to Abu Dharr to meet

his needs. He returned the money saying, “Does not the amir of

Syria find a servant more deserving of it than I?” In the year 32 AH,

the self-denying Abu Dharr passed away. The Prophet (pbuh) had

said o him: “The earth does not carry nor the heavens cover a man

more true and faithful than Abu Dharr.”

Q: 1. What is the name of the angel of death?

Q: 2. Who nursed the Prophet (PBUH) when he was an infant?

Q: 3. What is the name of the Holy Prophet’s (SAW) tribe?

Q: 4. Which Salat (Prayer) is offered just after sunset?

A: Izra’il, Malakul Mawt (Malakul Mawt)

A: Halima

A: Quraysh

A: Maghrib

His recent trip to Israel had left himmore bitterly disillusioned than

ever. He was shocked by the irreligiousness he found in Israel and

he told us that nearly all the young sabras or native-born Israelis

are militant atheists.

When he saw large herds of swine on one of the kibbutzim (col-

lective farms) he visited, he could only exclaim in horror: “Pigs in

a Jewish state! I never thought that was possible until I came here!

Then when I witnessed the brutal treatment meted out to innocent

Arabs in Israel, I know then that there is no difference between the

Israelis and the Nazis. Never, never in the name of God, could I

justify such terrible crimes!”

Then he turned to Dr. Shoreibah and told him that he wanted to

become a Muslim but before he took the irrevocable steps to for-

mal conversion, he needed to have more knowledge about Islam.

He said that he had purchased from Orientalia Bookshop, some

books on Arabic grammar and was trying to teach himself Arabic.

He apologized to us for his broken English: Yiddish was his native

tongue and Hebrew, his second language. Among themselves, his

family and friends spoke only Yiddish. Since his reading knowledge

of English was extremely poor, he had no access to good Islamic


However, with the aid of an English dictionary, he painfully read

“Introduction to Islam” by Muhammad Hamidullah of Paris and

praised this as the best book he had ever read. In the presence of

Dr. Shoreibah, I spent another hour with Mr. Kostelwitz, comparing

the Bible stories of the patriarchs and prophets with their counter-

parts in the Holy Quran.

I pointed out the inconsistencies and interpolations of the Bible,

illustrating my point with Noah’s alleged drunkenness, accusing

David of adultery and Solomon of idolatry (Allah Forbid) and how

the Holy Quran raises all these patriarchs to the status of genuine

prophets of God and absolves them from all these crimes.

I also pointed out why it was Ismail and not Isaac who God

commanded Abraham to offer as sacrifice. In the Bible, God tells

Abraham: “Take thine son, thine only son whom thou lovest and

offer him up to Me as burnt offering.” Now Ismail was born 13

years before Isaac but the Jewish biblical commentators explain that

away be belittling Ismail’s mother, Hagar, as only a concubine and

not Abraham’s real wife so they say Isaac was the only legitimate

son. Islamic traditions, however, raise Hagar to the status of a full-

fledged wife equal in every respect to Sarah.

Mr. Kostelwitz expressed his deepest gratitude to me for spending

so much time, explaining those truths to him. To express this grati-

tude, he insisted on inviting Dr. Shoreibah and me to lunch at the

Kosher Jewish delicatessen where he always goes to eat his lunch.

Mr. Kostelwitz told us that he wished more than anything else to

embrace Islam but he feared he could not withstand the persecution

he would have to face from his family and friends.

I told him to pray to God for help and strength and he promised

that he would. When he left us, I felt privileged to have spoken

with such a gentle and kind person.

Q: What Impact did Islam have on your life?

A: In Islam, my quest for absolute values was satisfied. In Islam I

found all that was true, good and beautiful and that which gives

meaning and direction to human life (and death); while in other

religions, the Truth is deformed, distorted, restricted and fragmen-

tary. If any one chooses to ask me how I came to know this, I can

only reply my personal life experience was sufficient to convince

me. My adherence to the Islamic faith is thus a calm, cool but very

intense conviction.

I have, I believe, always been a Muslim at heart by temperament,

even before I knew there was such a thing as Islam. My conversion

was mainly a formality, involving no radical change in my heart at

all but rather only making official what I had been thinking and

yearning for many years.








In the Waddan valley which connects Makkah with the outside

world, lived the tribe of Ghifar. The Ghifar existed on the meager

offerings of the trade caravans of the Quraysh which plied between

Syria and Makkah. It is likely that they also lived by raiding these

caravans when they were not given enough to satisfy their needs.

Jundub ibn Junadah, nicknamed Abu Dharr, was a member of this

tribe. He was known for his courage, his calmness and his far sight-

edness and also for the repugnance he felt against the idols which

his people worshiped. He rejected the silly religious beliefs and the

religious corruption in which the Arabs were engaged.

While he was in the Waddan desert, news reached Abu Dharr that

a new Prophet had appeared in Makkah. He really hoped that his

appearance would help to change the hearts and minds of people

and lead them away from the darkness of superstition.

Without wasting much time, he called his brother, Anis, and said to

him: “Go to Makkah and get whatever news you can of this man

who claims that he is a Prophet and that revelation comes to him

from the heavens. Listen to some of his sayings and come back and

recite them to me.”

Anis went to Makkah and met the Prophet (pbuh). He listened to

what he had to say and returned to the Waddan desert. Abu Dharr

met him anxiously and asked for news of the Prophet. “I have seen

a man,” reported Anis, “Who calls people to noble qualities and

there is no mere poetry in what he says.”

“What do people say about him?” asked Abu Dharr. “They say he

is a magician, a soothsayer and a poet.”

“My curiosity is not satisfied. I am not finished with this matter. Will

you look after my family while I go out and examine this prophet’s

mission myself?” “Yes. But beware of the Meccans.”

On his arrival at Mecca, Abu Dharr immediately felt very apprehen-

sive and he decided to exercise great caution. The Quraysh were

noticeably angry over the denunciation of their gods. Abu Dharr

heard of the terrible violence they were meeting out the followers

of the Prophet. He therefore refrained from asking anyone about

Muhammad not knowing whether that person might be a follower

or an enemy.

At nightfall, he lay down in the Sacred Mosque. Ali ibn abi Talib

passed by him and, realizing that he was a stranger, asked him to

come to his house. Abu Dharr spent the night with him and in the

morning took his water pouch and his bag containing provisions

and returned to the Mosque. He had asked no questions and no

questions were asked of him.