The Thirty Fourth Narration
Anas ibn Malik radiya Llahu ‘anhu said:
قدم رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم المدينة فنزل في علو المدينة في حي يقال لهم بنو عمرو بن عوف فأقام فيهم أربع عشرة ليلة ثم أرسل إلى بني النجار فجاءوا متقلدين سيوفهم فقال أنس فكأني أنظر إلى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم على راحلته وأبو بكر ردفه وملأ بني النجار حوله حتى ألقى بفناء أبي أيوب وكان رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يصلي حيث أدركته الصلاة ويصلي في مرابض الغنم وإنه أمر ببناء المسجد فأرسل إلى بني النجار فقال يا بني النجار ثامنوني بحائطكم هذا فقالوا والله لا نطلب ثمنه إلا إلى الله عز وجل قال أنس وكان فيه ما أقول لكم كانت فيه قبور المشركين وكانت فيه خرب وكان فيه نخل فأمر رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم بقبور المشركين فنبشت وبالخرب فسويت وبالنخل فقطع فصفوا النخل قبلة المسجد وجعلوا عضادتيه حجارة وجعلوا ينقلون الصخر وهم يرتجزون والنبي صلى الله عليه وسلم معهم وهو يقول
اللهم لا خير إلا خير الآخره فانصر الأنصار والمهاجره
The Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam came over to Madinah and encamped at the upper side of Madinah among the tribe known as Banu ‘Amr ibn ‘Awf. He stayed among them for fourteen days.
He then sent someone to call Banu al Najjar. They came to him hanging their swords from the necks.
Anas then said: It is as though I am looking at the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam sitting on his mount and Abu Bakr seated behind him, and Banu al Najjar standing around him. He descended in the courtyard of Abu Ayub.
The Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam would say his prayer whenever the time of prayer would come, at times in the fields of the sheep and goats. He commanded us to build a mosque.
He then sent for Banu al Najjar and said to them:” Banu al Najjar, sell this land of yours to me for a price.”
They replied: “By Allah, we do not want any price (from you) except rewards from Allah.”
Anas says: This land contained the graves of the disbelievers, dung-hills, and some trees of date-palm. The Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam commanded that the graves of the disbelievers be dug open, and the trees of the date-palm were cut off. The wood of the date-palms were erected in front of the mosque; the door-steps were built of stone. They were reciting couplets carrying the stones. The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam also joined them saying:
O Allah, there is no good except the good of the Hereafter. So grant your aid to the Ansar and the Muhajirah.
This narration has a sound chain. Imam Abu Dawood, Imam al Bukhari, and Imam Muslim have recorded it. The former two from Musaddad and the latter from ‘Abdul Warith.
Commentary and Lessons Learnt from this Narration:
1. There is great virtue and honour in favour of the Banu al Najjar in this narration:
a. The most noble son of Adam ‘alayh al Salam, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, encamped at their place until his home was built in proximity of the masjid.
b. Their generosity in giving the land to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam for the masjid resulted in untold rewards. They were generous with their land which Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala recompensed by his generosity. They will receive the reward of every person who will ever pray in the Masjid of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. A virtue and honour unprecedented.
c. Building Masjid al Nabawi with their bare hands together with the Muhajirin.
d. Their lives revolved around protecting and assisting Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.
e. The supplication of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam on their behalf; in some narrations for assistance, in others mercy and forgiveness.
2. Similarly, there is great virtue in favour of the Banu ‘Amr ibn ‘Awf; the first hosts of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.
3. The narration states, “By Allah, we do not want any price (from you) except rewards from Allah.”
Hafiz Ibn Rajab writes:
يدل على أنهم لم يأخذوا له ثمنا، وقد ذكر الزهري وغيره خلاف ذلك وحديث أنس أصح من رواية يرويها الواقدي عن معمر وغيره، عن الزهري مرسلة، فإن مراسيل الزهري لو صحت عنه فهي من أضعف المراسيل، فكيف إذا تفرد بها الواقدي وقد روي عن الحسن ، أنهما وهباه للنبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فقبله
This indicates that it was taken without any payment. Zuhri and others have contradicted this. However, the narration of Anas is more authentic. In another narration there is mention that it was given to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam as a gift, which he accepted.
However, another narration of Sahih al Bukhari states that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam refused to accept it and gave them some money in lieu of it. This narration though is Mursal, from Zuhri — from ‘Urwah. Ibn Hajar has stated that there is no contradiction between the narrations. Abu Ayub radiya Llahu ‘anhu is reported to have then convinced them to accept payment.
If the narration of taking payment be regarded as sound, then too there wouldn’t be a contradiction in reality. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam accepted it from them initially so their oath be fulfilled, thereafter paying them for the land. A similar incident is that of Abu Talhah radiya Llahu ‘anhu which we have already mentioned. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam accepted it and then returned it to him. And Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala knows best.
4. A lengthier version of this narration has been narrated by Imam al Bukhari and Imam Muslim wherein there is explicit mention of Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu being with Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam on the journey of migration and the second of the two in the cave. This refutes the notion the Batiniyyah Shia hold that Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu was not with Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in the cave nor during the migration.
5. Hafiz Ibn Rajab writes:
دليل على طهارة الأرض بالاستحالة; فإن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم لم يأمر عند نبش الأرض بإزالة تراب القبور ولا تطهيرها، ولو فعل ذلك لما أهمل نقله ; للحاجة إليه
This narration indicates to the purity of the earth. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam did not command the soil be moved nor cleaned when the graves were dug up.
6. The permissibility of reading salah in a sheep pen. Majority of the scholars are of this opinion except for Imam al Shafi’i.
7. The permissibility to cut down fruit trees if there is a need. There will be no reproach on this.
8. The permissibility of reciting poetry, especially when involved in laborious tasks; a means of reviving one’s spirit.
9. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam expropriated land for a religious and social need; the building of a masjid.
10. The Imam should join the common folk in menial tasks, thereby becoming a role model in infusing everyday tasks with spirituality.
11. Encouragement to build, and maintain mosques. Therein lies great rewards.
 Fath al Bari, Ibn Rajab, pg. 408
 Fath al Bari, Ibn Rajab, pg. 413.