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Hudhayfah Ibn al-Yaman

He was well-known for his God-fearing nature and piety.

Source : RadianceWeekly / 30 Aug 2014

Hudhayfah Ibn al-Yaman was one of the early converts to Islam and shared a very close relationship with the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be to him). His father al-Yaman was from Makkah, but had to flee to Medina as he had killed someone in Makkah. Though the ban for him to enter Makkah was lifted after some time, he chose to make Medina his place of residence and hence Hudhayfah, despite being a Makkan, had his upbringing in Medina.

The close relationship that he shared with the Messenger of Allah enabled him to narrate significant number of ahadith, particularly related to the end of times, the eschatology. Being a Makkan brought up in Medina created a little identity crisis for Hudhayfah and hence when he met the Messenger of Allah he asked him if he was a muhajir or ansar. The Messenger replied, “If you wish you may consider yourself among the muhajirin, or if you wish you may consider yourself one of the Ansar. Choose whichever is dearer to you.” Hudhayfah eventually chose to remain ansar.

The companionship of Hudhayfah with the Messenger of Allah grew mainly in Medina and the former valiantly participated in all the battles and military expeditions except the Battle of Badr. His love for Islam and his unfaltering faith in Allah can be imagined from the misfortune that happened at the Battle of Uhud. His father, al-Yaman, was fighting the Mushriks when one of the Muslims took him as a Mushrik and attacked him, which eventually led to his death.

Hudhayfah showed courage and strength and said to his father’s killers, “May God forgive you for He is the most Merciful of those who show mercy.” His love for Islam transcended the love for his father and the revenge for his killers and he even declined the compensation money (diyah) and said, “He (his father) was simply seeking shahadah and he attained it. Oh Lord! Bear witness that I donate the compensation for him to the Muslims.”

Because of the presence of Jews and some hypocrite Muslims, Medina was the hub of conspiracies. The conspiracies were hatched out against Islam and against the Messenger of Allah so much so that they even used to plan to assassinate the Messenger. The hypocrites tried to execute one such plan one day and tried to kill the Messenger of Allah, however Allah saved him and the attackers ran away. No one could see who they were as they hid their faces behind the veil. However the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be to him knew who all they were and told Hudhaifah the names of the hypocrites and cautioned him not to spill the beans. Hudhiafah, as a man of his word and character, never disclosed this secret which the Messenger told him and since then got the title of “The Keeper of the Secret of the Messenger of Allah.”

He was well-known for his God-fearing nature and piety. He would always advise the companions regarding the importance of “enjoining good and forbidding evil” and would warn them of its consequences, if they fail to do so. Abu Ar-Riqad said, “I heard Hudhaifah saying, A person used to utter one word during the time of the Messenger of Allah and become a hypocrite on account of it. I now hear such words from one of you four times in the same sitting. Surely, you will enjoin good, forbid evil and encourage each other to do good or Allah will surround you all with torment, or make the wicked among you become your leaders. The righteous among you will then supplicate, but their supplication will not be accepted.”

His talk sounded more like a philosopher than an ordinary knowledgeable man. He used to talk in ways that would tickle the intelligence of the listener and would attract the listener to him. He used to say beware of Khushoo (humility and devotion in prayer) in hypocrisy. When he was asked what this Khushoo in hypocrisy is, he said, “When the body shows Khushoo, but there is no Khushoo in the heart.”

He even classified heart into four categories. He once said, “There are four kinds of hearts. The heart that is encased or atrophied. That is the heart of the kafir or ungrateful disbeliever. The heart that is shaped into thin layers. That is the heart of the munafiq or hypocrite. The heart that is open and bare and on which shines a radiant light. That is the heart of the mumin or the believer. Finally there is the heart in which there is both hypocrisy and faith. Faith is like a tree which thrives with good water and hypocrisy is like an abscess which thrives on pus and blood. Whichever flourishes more, be it the tree of faith or the abscess of hypocrisy, wins control of the heart.”

As Hudhaifah enjoyed the company and trust of the Messenger of Allah, he was the one whom the Messenger entrusted to infiltrate the camp of the Mushrikeen during the Battle of Trench. The Battle of Trench could have been a very serious battle as Muslims were more or less got sandwiched between the Mushriks at the front and Jews from Banu Quaraiza at the back. It was at this tense situation that the Messenger of Allah sent Hudhaifah to get information of the enemy block. Before sending him, the Messenger prayed and said, “O Lord, protect him from in front and from behind, from his right and from his left, from above and from below.” The moment the Messenger finished the prayer, Hudhaifah felt very relaxed and fearless and infiltrated the camp and came back with the information safe and sound.

During the caliphate of Umar (may Allah be pleased with him), Hudhaifah was made the governor of Kufah and Ctesiphon. However his pure simplicity, humble and down-to-earth nature caught the people of Ctesiphon in utter shock. As the people were used to the pomp and grandeur of the earlier Persian rulers, they could not comprehend a governor, riding a donkey and eating a loaf of bread. When he arrived, he addressed the people and said, “Beware of places of fitnah.” People asked, “What are places of fitnah.” Hudhaifah replied, “The doors of rulers where some people go and try to make the ruler or governor believe lies and praises him for qualities he does not possess.”


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