THE PEOPLE OF THE SUFFA
One of the most outstanding
accomplishments of the Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace
and blessings, is that out of a once crude, wild, generally
unpitying and ignorant people he raised an exemplary community
which would guide all those to come until the Last Day in
learning, spirituality, morality and good manners. The Prophet
said of them:
Companions are like stars in the heavens. Whomever of them
you follow, you can find your way.'
the Companions were some who dedicated themselves wholly to
serving Islam. They spent all their time in learning Islam
with all its subtleties, listening to the Prophet and communicating
to others what they learnt and heard. They lived in the long,
narrow chamber affixed to the Mosque and were therefore called
Ashab al-Suffa, the Companions of the Suffa. Since they spent
their time in serving Islam by learning and teaching, they
were poor and were provided by the Prophet and the rich among
the Companions. They managed on very meager provisions indeed.
The Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings, was very careful
about their livelihood. Once his daughter Fatima, may God
be pleased with her, asked him for a servant. The Messenger
answered: 'How can you say that? I haven't been able to assure
the livelihood of the people of the Suffa yet.'
Mus'ab ibn 'Umayr was one of those blessed people. He was
an adolescent when he accepted Islam. He was very handsome
and belonged to a very rich family. Before accepting Islam,
he used to dress elegantly and expensively. When he went out
in Makka, girls would look on him through their windows. However,
after he became a Muslim, as he bore the tortures of his family,
he spent whatever he had in the way of God.
Mus'ab was among the pioneers of Islam. Following the oaths
of allegiance which the first Madinan Muslims made to the
Prophet before the Emigration, the Messenger, who loved Mus'ab
very much, sent him to the Madinans to teach them Islam and
the Qur'an. When the Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings,
emigrated to Madina one year later, there were almost no houses
in Madina where there was not a Muslim.
Mus'ab was martyred in the Battle of Uhud in the third year
of Hijra. He was carrying the standard of the Muslim army
and was fighting before the Prophet. When he was martyred,
he left nothing behind except the robe on him. When they put
the robe over him so as to cover his head, his legs were left
uncovered. If they pulled the robe down to cover his legs,
his head was left uncovered. Finally, they decided to cover
his head with his robe and his legs with a kind of sweet-smelling
Abu Hurayra was one of the most famous among the People of
the Suffa. He believed three years before the death of the
Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings, and spent all his
days during those three years among the People of the Suffa.
Although he did not live with the Prophet as long as many
of the Companions, since he was very intelligent and had a
keen memory, he memorized many sayings of the Prophet. This
is why many of the Prophetic Traditions were narrated from
him. He explained his narrating more Traditions than others
in this way:
my Muhajir brothers (Emigrants from Makka) were usually
occupied with trading in the market and my Ansari brothers
(Helpers from Madina) with farming, I used to stay with
God's Messenger and heard from him what the others did not.'
of the scholarly Companions grew up among the People of the
Suffa. They brought up many other scholars and thereby rendered
great service in spreading the light of Islam over a vast
area in a very short time.