A Brief Biography of the Eminent Sahabi ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu Continued

Imam al Baqir’s unwavering adherence to Tawhid
August 27, 2021
Section Two – Doubts cast against the eminent Sahabi Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu
September 9, 2021

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Astuteness and political genius

Perhaps the astuteness and political genius of Sayyidina ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu was amongst his most notable qualities, for which he was renowned, prior to and after his acceptance of Islam; a product of his intelligence and brilliance. ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu tapped into this well and dug deep in serving the faith. Hereunder is an illustration of his astuteness:

―When ‘Umar ibn al Khattab radiya Llahu ‘anhu wrote to ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu to march on Aelia (Jerusalem), he was faced with a Byzantine army at al Ramlah, where the Battle of Ajnadayn took place. The following events preceded the battle.

‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu had marched with his army, the right wing under the command of his son ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr, the left wing under Junadah ibn Tamim al Maliki [of the tribe of Malik ibn Kinanah] and with him at the vanguard was Shurahbil ibn Hassanah. He had appointed Abu al A’war al Sulami to govern Jordan in his stead.

When he reached al Ramlah, he was faced with a Byzantine army under the command of al Artabun (a Tribune)[1] the most cunning of the Byzantines, the most farsighted, and the most harmful. He had encamped at al Ramlah with a huge army and had placed another huge army at Aelia. ‘Amr wrote to ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma informing him the news. When the letter of ‘Amr reached him, he said:

 

قد رمينا أرطبون الروم بأرطبون العرب ، فانظروا عما تنفرج

We have sent the Artabun of the Arabs to confront the Artabun of the Byzantines. Let us see what the outcome will be!

 

‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu appointed ‘Alqamah ibn Hakim al Furasi and Masruq ibn Bilal al ‘Akki to fight the army at Aelia and Abu Ayub al Maliki to al Ramlah, which was ruled by Theodore [the brother of the Byzantine emperor Heraclius] to tie down their forces in order to preoccupy and prevent them from fighting ‘Amr and his army. When reinforcements would come from ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu, ‘Amr radiya Llahu ‘anhu would send battalions to both groups.

‘Amr radiya Llahu ‘anhu stayed in Ajnadayn, without being able to cause al Artabun to make a mistake. Nor did the envoys bring him satisfaction (either), so he took the matter upon himself and went to al Artabun as if he were an envoy. He told al Artabun what he wanted and listened to what he said until he knew what he wanted to know.

Al Artabun said to himself, “By God, it is ‘Amr or a man whose advice ‘Amr follows. Nothing I could do would harm the Muslims more grievously than killing this man.”

Then he called in a member of his guard and secretly spoke to him about killing ‘Amr radiya Llahu ‘anhu.

He said, “Go out and stand in such-and-such a place, and when he passes near you, kill him.”

‘Amr radiya Llahu ‘anhu became aware of this and said, “You have heard from me and I have heard from you, and I have been impressed by what you have said. I am one of ten men whom ‘Umar ibn al Khattab sent with this governor in order that we might assist him and he might make us aware of his affairs. I shall return and bring them to you forthwith as I would like them to hear what you have to say and take into cognisance your views.”

Al Artabun said, “Yes, go and bring them to me.”

He then called a man, spoke to him quietly and said, “Go to so-and-so and send him back to me.”

‘Amr radiya Llahu ‘anhu left and went to his army. Al Artabun then understood that it had actually been ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu and said, “The man has deceived me; he is the most astute of the Arabs.”

‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu came to know about it and said, “How excellent is ‘Amr!”

‘Amr radiya Llahu ‘anhu then moved against him and they clashed at Ajnadayn. The two armies fought a heavy battle, like the battle of Yarmuk, in which many were killed. Then the rest of the Muslim forces joined ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu after the people of Aelia fled to take refuge within their walled city.

Al Artabun wrote to ‘Amr radiya Llahu ‘anhu saying, “You are my friend and counterpart; the position you hold among your people is comparable to my position among mine. By God, you will not conquer any part of Palestine after Ajnadayn. Go back and do not be deceived, lest you be defeated like those before you.”

‘Amr summoned a man who spoke Greek, sent him to al Artabun and instructed him saying, “Listen to what he says and come back and inform me”.

He also wrote to al Artabun, saying, “I have received your letter. You are my counterpart among your people. If you were not in possession of excellent qualities, you would not be aware of my virtues; but you do know that I am the man destined to conquer this land. Read this letter of mine in the presence of your companions and advisors.”

When the letter reached him, he gathers his advisors and read the letter to them. They said to al Artabun, “How do you know that he is not the man destined to conquer this land?”

Al Artabun replied, “The name of the man who destined for it has three letters.”

The envoy returned to ‘Amr radiya Llahu ‘anhu and conveyed to him what al Artabun had said. ‘Amr radiya Llahu ‘anhu wrote to ‘Umar, asking his assistance and said, “I am conducting a difficult and fierce war and struggling for a land that has been held and preserved for you. I desire your opinion.”

When the letter reached ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu, he understood that ‘Amr radiya Llahu ‘anhu was speaking out of knowledge and so ‘Umar decided to go to the Levant and conquer Bayt al Maqdis.[2]

 

Hereunder is another incident that displays his astute mind and political acumen:

―When some Copts[3] had come to the tent of ‘Amr he was informed that they had been saying, “How worn out these Arabs look, how little care they take of themselves; we are of the opinion that people like us should not be obedient to people like them.”

So ‘Amr radiya Llahu ‘anhu feared that this appearance of the Arab warriors would prompt the Copts to rebellion. Therefore, he ordered that several camels be slaughtered and cooked in water and salt. Then he ordered the army commanders to assemble, after they had notified their troops to do likewise. ‘Amr radiya Llahu ‘anhu sat down and beckoned to the people of Misr (Egypt) to join him. Then the meat and the broth were served to the Muslims who began to eat in typically Arab fashion, tearing at the meat with their teeth and slurping the broth, dressed in their woolen cloaks and unarmed. After a while, the people of Misr dispersed with their ambitions and courage boosted.

The next day, ‘Amr radiya Llahu ‘anhu sent word to the army commanders to come (i.e. to his tent again) with their troops. He ordered them to come dressed in Egyptian clothes and footwear, bidding them that they order their troops to do likewise. They complied. Then ‘Amr radiya Llahu ‘anhu invited the people of Misr again who saw something completely different from what they had seen the previous day: erect figures dressed in Egyptian colors standing by, the Arabs eating Egyptian food, behaving in an Egyptian manner. The Copts dispersed, perturbed this time, muttering, “We have been made fools of!”

‘Amr radiya Llahu ‘anhu sent word to his army that they had to arm themselves for the roll call to be held the next day. Then he went to the parade and permitted the Copts to be present. He showed his troops to them and said:

 

إني قد علمت أنكم رأيتم في أنفسكم أنكم في شيء حين رأيتم اقتصاد العرب وهون تزجيتهم فخشيت أن تهلكوا ؛ فأحببت أن أريكم حالهم وكيف كانت في أرضهم، ثم حالهم في أرضكم، ثم حالهم في الحرب فظفروا بكم وذلك عيشهم، وقد كلبوا على بلادكم قبل أن ينالوا منها ما رأيتم في اليوم الثاني ، فأحببت أن تعلموا أن من رأيتم في اليوم الثالث غير تارك عيش اليوم الثاني وراجع إلى عيش اليوم الأول فتفرقوا وهم يقولون: لقد رمتكم العرب برجلهم،

I am aware that you considered yourselves to have panache when you saw the frugality of the Arabs and their simple life style. But I fear lest you perish. Therefore, I wanted to show you what sort of people they really are, under what circumstances they lived in their own country, then what they have come to in yours, and how ready they are for war. They have defeated you, warfare is their life. They were anxious to take possession of your country even before they appropriated its customs as you saw on the second day. And I also wanted you to realize that those you saw on the third day will not abandon the life you saw depicted on the second day, nor will they resume the lifestyle you saw depicted on the first day.

 

Thereupon the people of Misr dispersed saying to one another, “The Arabs have smitten you with this one hero of theirs.”

News of these events reached ‘Umar, who said to his companions:

 

والله إن حربه للينة ما لها سطوة ولا سورة کسورات الحروب من غيره، إن عمرة لعض

By Allah, ‘Amr’s military campaign has become truly easy, no more attacks or assaults like the ones in battles against others. ‘Amr is indeed a cunning fellow!

 

Then he installed ‘Amr as governor of Misr, where he stayed.[4]

 

Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu once asked to ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu:

 

ما بلغ من دهائك يا عمرو ؟ قال عمرو: لم أدخل في أمر قط فكرهته إلا خرجت منه

“How cunning are you really?”

‘Amr replied, “I have always managed to remove myself from any situation I wanted out of.”[5]

 

He was the political genius of the Quraysh, whose intellect, cunning ability, and resolve was proverbial.[6] Al Sha’bi says:

 

دهاة العرب أربعة: معاوية ، وعمرو، والمغيرة ، وزياد . فأما معاوية فللأناة والحلم، وأما عمرو فللمعضلات ، والمغيرة للمبادهة ، وأما زیاد فللصغير والكبير

The ‘political genius’ amongst the Arabs are four: Muawiyah, ‘Amr, Mughirah, and Ziyad. Muawiyah for his patience and forbearance, ‘Amr for his ability to extract himself from difficult situations, Mughirah for his improvisational ability, and Ziyad for any matter; minor or major.[7]

 

When Sayyidina ‘Umar ibn al Khattab radiya Llahu ‘anhu wanted to point out the feeble mindedness of a person he would say:

أشهد أن خالقك وخالق عمرو واحد

I testify that your creator and the creator of ‘Amr is one.

Intending the creator creates opposites.[8]

 

Qabisah ibn Jabir says:

 

صحبت عمرو بن العاص فما رأيت رجلا أبين ، أو قال : أنصع طرفا منه ولا أكرم جليسة ولا أشبه سريرة بعلانية منه

I accompanied ‘Amr ibn al ‘As and I have not seen anyone more articulate, nor someone with nobler character, nor one whose inner state conformed so greatly to his outer state; than him.[9]

 

Nobility, piety, and honesty.

From amongst the traits of this great experienced leader is his nobility, piety, and honesty. Anyone perusing the biography of ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu will find these traits evident throughout. Hereunder are some examples:

―When ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu was on his deathbed, he called for his guard and asked him:

 

أي صاحب كنت لكم؟ قالوا: كنت لنا صاحب صدق تكرمنا وتعطينا وتفعل وتفعل

“How was my character in relation to you?”

He replied, “You were, for us, a man of truth. You honored us, were generous to us, and went above and beyond.”[10]

 

―Some words were exchanged between ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Mughirah ibn Shu’bah radiya Llahu ‘anhu regarding al Waht[11]. Mughirah cussed at him at which ‘Amr called out, “O Family of Hasis! Will Ibn Shu’bah cuss at me?!”

His son ‘Abdullah said, “To Allah do we belong and to him is our return. You have called unto tribalism whereas Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam prohibited calling unto tribalism.”

He thus freed thirty slaves.[12]

 

―Abu ‘Imran al Falastini says:

 

بينا امرأة عمرو بن العاص تفلي رأسه إذ نادت جارية لها فأبطأت عنها ، فقالت: یا زانية ، فقال عمرو: رأيتيها تزني؟ قالت: لا. قال: والله لتضربن لها يوم القيامة ثمانين سوطة، فقالت: لجاريتها وسألتها تعفو فعفت عنها ، فقالت: هل يجزي عني ؟ فقال لها وما لها ألا تعفو وهي تحت يدك! فأعتقيها . فقالت: هل يجزئ عني ذلك ؟ قال : فلعل

Whilst the wife of ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu was removing lice from his hair, she called for her slave who delayed in responding. She then said, “O adulteress!”

‘Amr said, “Have you seen her commit adultery?”

She replied, “No.”

He said, “By Allah you will be lashed eighty times on the Day of Qiyamah for this [slander].”

She addressed her slave girl seeking her pardon. The slave girl pardoned her. She then asked, “Will this suffice for me [in being saved]?”

He replied, “Of course she will pardon you since she is under your ownership. Free her.”

She asked, “Will that suffice for me?”

He said, “Perhaps.”[13]

 

―When ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu was at war with the Byzantine Empire at Alexandria and on a day when the fighting had intensified, a Roman called out a challenge to duel. Maslamah ibn Mukhallad radiya Llahu ‘anhu responded to his challenge but was defeated by the Roman and was thrown of his horse. The Roman pounced to kill him but he was protected by one of his companions and so Maslamah was unable to defeat him. The Romans took delight at this occurrence and the Muslims were miffed. ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu was angered by this—and Maslamah was a large heavy man—and said, “Why does the man with a large behind, which resembles that of a woman, involve himself in the matters of men and attempt to be like them.”

Maslamah radiya Llahu ‘anhu was angered at this quip but did not respond… After some time ‘Amr radiya Llahu ‘anhu sought his pardon and said, “Do seek forgiveness on my behalf for that which I said to you.” He thus sought forgiveness on his behalf.

‘Amr radiya Llahu ‘anhu said:

 

والله ما أفحشت قط إلا ثلاث مرات مرتين في الجاهلية وهذه الثالثة ، وما منهن مرة إلا وقد ندمت ، وما استحييت من واحدة منهن أشد مما استحييت مما قلت لك والله إني لأرجو أن لا أعود إلى الرابعة ما بقيت

By Allah, I have not been vulgar expect on three occasions. Twice during the time of ignorance and this is the third. I have regretted each time and have not been ashamed more than on this occasion in relation to what I said to you. By Allah, I hope I will not add to it a fourth as long as I live.[14]

 

Forbearance

We have discussed the traits of a great experienced leader is nobility, piety, and honesty; which are all found in Sayyidina ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu. We can now add to this, his forbearance.

―During the ‘Amwas pandemic when the disease became widespread Sayyidina Abu ‘Ubaidah radiya Llahu ‘anhu stood up among his men and delivered the following speech:

 

أيها الناس إن هذا الوجع رحمة بكم، ودعوة نبيكم محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم ، وموت الصالحين قبلكم، وإن أبا عبيدة يسأل الله أن يقسم له منه حظه

Men, this sickness is a mercy from your Lord, a request from your Prophet Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and it has caused the death of the pious before you; I, Abu ‘Ubaidah, ask Allah that He assign to me my share thereof.

 

He was the affected by this disease, as a result of which he died.

Sayyidina Muaz ibn Jabal radiya Llahu ‘anhu was appointed as his successor over the people. Muaz radiya Llahu ‘anhu delivered a speech in which he said:

 

أيها الناس إن هذا الوجع رحمة ربكم ودعوة نبيكم وموت الصالحين قبلكم، وإن معاذا يسأل الله أن يقسم لآل معاذ منه حظهم

Truly, men, this sickness constitutes a mercy from your Lord, a request from your Prophet and it has caused the death of the pious before you; I, Muaz, ask Allah that He assign thereof a share to my family.

 

Then his son, ‘Abdur Rahman ibn Muaz radiya Llahu ‘anhu, suffered of the plague as a result of which he died. Then Muaz radiya Llahu ‘anhu stood up and prayed for a share of the disease for himself, after which it smote him in the palm of his hand. Indeed, I saw him looking at his palm, then he kissed the back of his hand and said:

 

ما أحب أن لي بما فيك شيئا من الدنيا

I prefer not to have anything of this world in place of this

 

When he had died, ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu was made his successor over the people. ‘Amr radiya Llahu ‘anhu stood up to address the people and said:

 

أيها الناس إن هذا الوجع إذا وقع فإنما يشتعل اشتعال النار فتجبلوا منه في الجبال

Men, when this sickness strikes, it spreads like wildfire, so scatter to the mountains.

 

Then Abu Wathilah al Hudhali radiya Llahu ‘anhu said to Amr radiya Llahu ‘anhu, “I am a person who accompanied Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and I testify by Allah that you’re wrong! In fact, I say you are more misguided than my donkey!”

‘Amr replied, “By Allah, I will not respond to what you say. I swear by Allah; we should not stay here.”

Then he departed and the people went with him and scattered in all directions. Eventually Allah took the plague away from them. When ‘Umar ibn Khattab radiya Llahu ‘anhu was informed, he did not find this policy to be incorrect.[15]

 

~ These are some of the praiseworthy traits of Sayyidina ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Characteristics of nobility acquired from prophetic teaching ~

 

His Virtues

It is sufficient to list his companionship of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam as his virtue. It is no doubt a standalone virtue that cannot be equalled by any other; companionship holds a status that no other virtue or merit can rival. Some of the verses and narrations regarding the virtue of companionship have already been mentioned in the foreword to this book. However, there are some virtues which are specific to Sayyidina ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Amongst them are the following:

  1. ‘Uqbah ibn ‘Amir radiya Llahu ‘anhu narrates that Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:

 

أسلم الناس وآمن عمرو بن العاص

The people submitted whilst ‘Amr ibn al ‘As has believed.[16]

 

  1. Abu Hurairah radiya Llahu ‘anhu narrated that the Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:

 

ابنا العاص مؤمنان هشام وعمرو

The two sons of al ‘As: Hisham and ‘Amr are believers.[17]

 

  1. Talhah radiya Llahu ‘anhu said:

 

ألا أحدثكم عن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم بشيء؟ اني سمعته يقول عمرو بن العاص من صالحي قريش

Shall I not tell you that which I heard from Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam? Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “‘Amr ibn al ‘As is from among the pious men of Quraysh.”[18]

 

  1. ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu said:

 

كان فزع بالمدينة، فجعل الناس يذهبون هكذا وهكذا، فدخلت المسجد فإذا سالم مولى أبي حديقة مختب بحمائل سيفه عند المبر منبر النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم ، قال : فقعدت مع سالم، وجاء النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فصعد المنبر فقال: يا أيها الناس ، ألا كان مفزعكم إلى الله ورسوله، ألا فعلتم ما فعل هذان الرجلان المؤمنان؟

On one occasion the people of Madinah were overcome with panic and fear causing people to disperse. I went to the masjid and I saw that Salim, the freed slave of Abu Hudhayfah, was sitting by the pulpit of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam armed with his sword. I sat with Salim. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam came out and thereafter addressed the people saying, “Why did you not come to Allah and His Rasul at the time of panic? Why did you not do as these two believers have done?”[19]

 

  1. ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu narrates:

 

قال لي رسول الله، صَلَّى الله عليه وسلم: يا عمرو اشدد عليك سلاحك وثيابَك وائتني ففعلت، فجئتهُ وهو يتوضأ، فَصَعَّدَ فِيَّ البَصَرَ، وصوَّبَهُ.وقال: يا عمرو، إِني أُرِيدُ أَنْ أَبْعَثَكَ وجهًا فَيُسَلِّمُكَ الله ويُغْنمك، وأزْعَبُ لك من المال زَعْبَةً صالحةً ، قال قلتُ: يا رسول الله! إِنِّي لم أُسْلِم رغبةً في المال، إنما أسلمت رغبةً في الجهاد والكَيْنُونَةِ معك. قال: يا عَمْرو، نِعِمَّا بالمال الصالح للرجل الصّالح

Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said to me, “O ‘Amr collect your weapons and clothing and come to me. I came to him when he was performing ablution. He looked at me and approved.”

He then said, “I sent for you, ‘Amr, to dispatch you on a matter in which Allah will keep you safe and grant you booty, and I shall make you an allotment from the spoil.”

I replied, “O Rasulullah! I did not accept Islam with the hopes of attainting wealth. I entered the fold of Islam with the intent of fighting in the path of Allah and to be in your company.”

He said, “How excellent is pure wealth for a pious man.”[20]

 

His Works and Services

Sayyidina ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu spearheaded many projects and took on numerous positions at the directive of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and the Khalifas after him.  Hereunder are some examples:

―Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam appointed him to lead an expedition to Sham.[21] The maternal family of his father resided in that area. His mission was to invite them to Islam and after embracing Islam, to call them to wage jihad in the path of Allah. He, thus, dispatched ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu for this mission. He returned to Madinah in Safar 8 A.H and Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam dispatched him in Jumada al Akhirah of the same year as the General in the Battle of al Salasil to the city of Quda’ah with three hundred soldiers.

‘Amr’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu maternal grandmother hailed from Bali and so Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam dispatched him to the lands of Bali and ‘Udhrah in order to create a harmonious relationship with them and invite them to Islam. He set forth until he reached Judham at a place called al Salasil; the reason for this campaign being named the Battle of al Salasil. He was apprehensive of the enemy numbers and wrote to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam requesting reinforcements. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam sent two hundred riders in which there were many senior Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum, amongst them; Abu Bakr and ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma. He appointed Abu ‘Ubaidah radiya Llahu ‘anhu over them.

When they came to ‘Amr radiya Llahu ‘anhu, he said, “I am your leader and you are my reinforcements.”

Abu ‘Ubaidah radiya Llahu ‘anhu replied, “Rather, you are the leader of your troops and I am the leader of my troops.”

‘Amr refused to concede to this.

Abu ‘Ubaidah radiya Llahu ‘anhu said, “O ‘Amr! Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam instructed me with the following, ‘When you reach ‘Amr, be united and do not differ.’ Thus, if you oppose me I will obey you.”

‘Amr said, “I am opposing you.”

Abu ‘Ubaidah radiya Llahu ‘anhu thus submitted to his leadership and the entire army prayed behind him. The army numbered five hundred.[22] They encountered severe cold; however, ‘Amr instructed them not to light any fires. Thereafter they fought the enemy [and scored victory causing havoc among enemy camps].

When they returned to Madinah [victorious], some complained to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. ‘Amr explained his strategy to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam saying, “We were a few in number and I feared the enemy would see our low numbers and I prohibited them from following the enemy fearing they would be ambushed.” This explanation of strategy pleased Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.[23]

 

―When Makkah was conquered, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam sent him to destroy the idol name Suwa’ at the tribe of Hudhayl. Sayyidina ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu narrates:

 

When I arrived, there was an attendant present at the idol.

He said, “With what intention have you come?”

I replied, “Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam commanded me to destroy it.”

The attendant answered, “You will not have the ability to do it.”

I asked him why and he responded, “This idol will defend itself.”

I said, “You still have baseless thoughts; can this idol hear or can it see anything?”

I then advanced and destroyed it. I then commanded my companions to destroy the treasure room as well, but they did not find anything inside. I then said to the attendant, “What do you think now?”

He said: “I submit to Allah.”[24]

 

―In the same year Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam sent ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu to Jayfar and ‘Amr, the sons of Julanda, in Oman—Jayfar was the King and they were both of the al Azd. The two believed in Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and affirmed what he had brought. He exacted the zakat from their rich and distributed it amongst their poor and collected tax (jizyah) from the Zoroastrians that resided there. ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu remained in Oman until the passing away of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.[25] He then returned to Madinah and Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu sent him as one of the generals to the Levant where he conquered many cities and fought at Yarmuk.[26]

Sayyidina ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu was also one of the generals in the armies that marched on the Levant during the reign of ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu. He was the one who conquered Qinnasrin and he enacted a peace treaty with the people of Aleppo, Manbij, and Antioch.[27] After the death of Yazid ibn Abi Sufyan radiya Llahu ‘anhu, ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu appointed Sayyidina ‘Amr radiya Llahu ‘anhu as governor of Palestine and Jordan, Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu as governor of Ba’labak and al Balqa’, and Sa’id ibn ‘Amir ibn Hidhyam radiya Llahu ‘anhu as governor of Hims. Thereafter he appointed Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu as the governor of the entire Levant.

He wrote to ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu upon which he marched on Egypt and conquered it. He remained as governor there until ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu passed away. ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu kept him as the governor of Egypt for a further four years or so and then relieved him. He appointed ‘Abdullah ibn Sa’d al ‘Amiri in his stead.[28]

‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu returned to Madinah and settled there. When people began meddling in the affairs of ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu he left for the Levant and settled on an estate of his in al Sab’, Palestine until ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu was murdered. He then went to Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu and stayed there seeking to avenge the blood of ‘Uthman radiya Llahu ‘anhu. He took part in Siffin with him after which Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu appointed him as governor of Egypt. He built a home there and remained there as governor until he passed away.[29]

Sayyidina ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu being appointed to these positions of leadership and rendering the above-mentioned services upon the directives of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and the Khalifas after him, pays homage to his virtue, political acumen, ability, and genius. ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu recognized these salient traits of ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu.

Once ‘Umar ibn al Khattab radiya Llahu ‘anhu looked at ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu walking and commented:

 

ما ينبغى لأبى عبدالله أن يمشى على الأرض إلا أميرًا

It is not appropriate for Abu ‘Abdullah to walk on earth except as a leader.[30]

 

His Jihad

‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu was passionate about jihad, with which he was ever-occupied, in his ambition of bringing triumph to Islam and to realize his wish of being afforded martyrdom by Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala. This comes as no surprise as he was a brave, valiant, and heroic horseman of the Quraysh prior to and after accepting Islam.

His astute military acumen was the reason for his appointment as General in the Muslim armies. When he accepted Islam in the 8th year, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam appointed him as General over the army to Dhat al Salasil. An appointment which he fulfilled with distinction. In this expedition there was a striking exposition of his military acumen through the orders he issued, though many of the Sahabah were initially disgruntled, unable to comprehend his expediency. When the army returned and made their complaints clear to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, he explained his decisions in preventing them from lighting fires in the bitterly cold weather and stopping them from following the retreating enemy by saying:

 

يا نبي الله، كان في أصحابي قلة فخشيت أن يرى العدو قلتهم، ونهيتم أن يتبعوا العدو مخافة أن يكون لهم كمين

We were a few in number and I feared the enemy would see our low numbers and I prohibited them from following the enemy fearing they would be ambushed.

 

This explanation of strategy pleased Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.[31]

 

―At the Conquest of Makkah Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam sent him to deal with the idol of Hudhayl—Suwa’—which he demolished.

 

―He was with Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam at Hunayn and at the siege of al Ta’if. When Sa’d ibn ‘Ubaid ibn Asid ibn ‘Amr ibn ‘Ilaj al Thaqafi called out:

 

ألا إن الحي مقيم. قال: يقول عيينة بن حصن: أجل والله مجدة کرام، فقال عمرو بن العاص : قاتلك الله تمدح قوما مشر کین بالامتناع من رسول الله والله وقد جئت تنصره ؟ فقال إني والله ما جئت معكم أقاتل ثقيفة، ولكن أردت أن يفتح محمد الطائف فأصيب جارية من ثقيف فأطأها لعلها تلد لي رجلا، فإن ثقيفة قوم مبارکون. فأخبر عمر النبي و بمقالته فتبسم لله ثم قال : هذا الحمق المطاع

“Is it not the tribe established.”

‘Uyaynah ibn Hisn said, “Indeed, by Allah, a noble glory!”

‘Amr ibn al ‘As said, “May Allah destroy you, you praise a polytheistic community calling them undefeatable to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam whilst you have come to assist him?”

He replied to ‘Amr, “By Allah, I did not come with you to fight the Thaqif, but that Muhammad captures al Ta’if so that I may take a slave girl from the Thaqif and impregnate her, and perhaps she will give birth to my son. Indeed, the Thaqif are a fortunate community.”

‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu informed Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam of his words. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam smiled and said, “Such obedient folly!”[32]

 

―He took part in fighting the apostates and in the conquest of the Levant during the reign of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma. He was one of the Generals in their armies and he fulfilled his duties most notably.

 

―He also participated at the Battle of Yarmuk wherein he kept the band of Muslims together when the enemies stormed them.

On one occasion when fighting the Romans, he was deserted and exposed. He stood firm, fighting, yielding his weapon with might and vigour until his companions returned

When the Muslims were exposed to an attack, ‘Amr ibn al ‘As and Khalid ibn Walid radiya Llahu ‘anhuma both vied for the flag. ‘Amr captured it and fought with it until the Romans were defeated and Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala caused the Muslims to be victorious.[33]

 

―He was the one to influence ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu to conquer Egypt, entering the region with four thousand soldiers.

His character, political acumen, bravery, and military prowess has already been mentioned. Hence, there is no need to repeat it.

Dr. Ibrahim Hassan has eloquently described ‘Amr’s love for jihad. He says:

 

أما حبه للجهاد فقد كان يفوق الوصف – ذالك الحب الذي استولى على قلبه وسائر جوانحه استيلاءً عظيماً ، حتى كان يتسابق اليه غير مبال بمجموع أعدائه مهما كثرت وقوة جنده مهما قلت ، وان محاولته فتح مصر بأربعة آلاف مقاتل أو اقل لأقوى دليل وأسطع برهان على صحة ما نقول

His intense love for jihad is beyond description. Love that went deep into his soul and showed itself—intense—on his limbs. He would jump at the opportunity giving no attention to the great numbers of the enemy nor the strength of his army. Conquering Egypt with a mere four thousand soldiers or less is a testament to this.[34]

 

His Integrity and Credibility

Throughout his tenure as leader of the regions under his rule, ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu was known for his leniency and concern for his subjects. Tyranny was not a trait associated with him. He was further held in confidence by Amir al Mu’minin ‘Umar ibn al Khattab radiya Llahu ‘anhu, due to which the latter appointed him as governor of Egypt as long as he lived. If he had seen any sign of ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu being unfit for the position of leadership, he would have dismissed him as he had other governors.

His impartiality can be assessed by his delay in claiming the kharaj tax from the Egyptians under his rule. ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu wrote to him regarding this delay to which he replied with the following:

 

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم لعمر بن الخطاب من عمرو بن العاص سلام عليكم فإني أحمد إليك الله الذي لا إله إلا هو أما بعد فقد أتاني كتاب أمير المؤمنين يستبطئني في الخراج ويزعم أني أعند عن الحق وأنكب عن الطريق وإني والله ما أرغب عن صالح ما تعلم ولكن أهل الأرض استنظروني إلى أن تدرك غلتهم فنظرت للمسلمين فكان الرفق بهم خيرا من أن يخرق بهم فيصيروا إلى بيع ما لا غنى بهم عنه والسلام

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

To ‘Umar ibn Khattab, from ‘Amr ibn al ‘As.

Peace be upon you. I praise Allah, besides whom there is no God. The letter of the Amir al Mu’minin has come to me with regards to my delay in sending forth the kharaj tax, perhaps thinking I am being obstinate or that I have deviated. By Allah, I have not deviated in the slightest from what you know of me; however, the people of the land have sought respite from me until they may harvest their lands. I gave the Muslims respite; considering leniency with them to be far better than forcefully extracting tax which would lead them to selling off their essential items.

Peace be with you.

 

―Hereunder is another case in point.

After he married his son ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr radiya Llahu ‘anhuma off, he heard that his son was not fulfilling the rights of his wife. He scolded him and complained to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam about his son’s shortcoming in doing so. His son relates the incident himself. He says:

 

زوجني أبي امرأة من قريش فلما دخلت علي جعلت لا أنحاش لها مما بي من القوة على العبادة من الصوم والصلاة فجاء عمرو بن العاص إلى كنته حتى دخل عليها فقال لها كيف وجدت بعلك قالت خير الرجال أو كخير البعولة من رجل لم يفتش لنا كنفا ولم يعرف لنا فراشا فأقبل علي فعذمني وعضني بلسانه فقال أنكحتك امرأة من قريش ذات حسب فعضلتها وفعلت وفعلت ثم انطلق إلى النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فشكاني فأرسل إلي النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فأتيته فقال لي أتصوم النهار قلت نعم قال وتقوم الليل قلت نعم قال لكني أصوم وأفطر وأصلي وأنام وأمس النساء فمن رغب عن سنتي فليس مني

My father married me to a woman of the Quraysh. When she came to my home, I paid her little attention exerting myself in worship, fasting, and praying. One day ‘Amr ibn al ‘As came to visit his daughter-in-law and asked her, “How do you find your husband?”

She replied, “The best of men—or she said—the best of husbands, except he has not held my hands nor does he know of our matrimonial bed.”

He (my father) came to me, berating, and scolding me saying, “I gave you to a noble woman of the Quraysh yet you show no interest in her and do such and such!”

He then complained of me to Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam sent for me and I came to him.

He asked, “Do you fast in the day?”

I said, “Yes.”

He asked, “And you stand in prayer at night?”

I replied, “Yes.”

He then said, “But I fast at times and do not fast at other times, I stand in prayer, I sleep, and I lay with my wives. He who deviates from my sunnah, is not from me.”[35]

 

―He believed those most deserving of his integrity were the men and women who served under him. Consider the following incident, a matter of the home, which brings to the fore his justice and integrity.

Muawiyah ibn Salih narrated from — Abu ‘Imran al Falastini who said:

 

بينا امرأة عمرو بن العاص تفلي رأسه إذ نادت جارية لها فأبطأت عنها ، فقالت: یا زانية ، فقال عمرو: رأيتيها تزني؟ قالت: لا. قال: والله لتضربن لها يوم القيامة ثمانين سوطة، فقالت: لجاريتها وسألتها تعفو فعفت عنها ، فقالت: هل يجزي عني ؟ فقال لها وما لها ألا تعفو وهي تحت يدك! فأعتقيها . فقالت: هل يجزئ عني ذلك ؟ قال : فلعل

Whilst the wife of ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu was removing lice from his hair, she called for her slave who delayed in responding. She then said, “O adulteress!”

‘Amr said, “Have you seen her commit adultery?”

She replied, “No.”

He said, “By Allah you will be lashed eighty times on the Day of Qiyamah for this [slander].”

She addressed her slave girl seeking her pardon. The slave girl pardoned her. She then asked, “Will this suffice for me [in being saved]?”

He replied, “Of course she will pardon you since she is under your ownership. Free her.”

She asked, “Will that suffice for me?”

He said, “Perhaps.”[36]

 

~ The true bastions of justice are those in positions of power and influence[37] ~

 

His Humility

Al Hassan al Basri narrates:

 

قال رجل لعمرو بن العاص: «أرأيت رجلا مات رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وهو يحبه، أليس رجلا صالحا؟» قال: «بلی». «قد مات رسول صلى الله عليه وسلم  وهو يحبك ، وقد استعملك» . فقال: «قد استعملني ، فوالله ما أدري أحبا كان لي منه ، أو استعانة بي ، ولكني سأحدثك برجلين مات رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وهو يحبهما عبد الله بن مسعود، وعمار بن یاسر».

A man said to ‘Amr ibn al ‘As, “Do you think a man to be pious whom Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam left this world loving him?”

He replied, “Yes, why not.”

The man said, “Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam left this world whilst he loved you and appointed you as a governor.”

He answered, “He appointed me as a governor yes. By Allah I do not know if this was a result of his love for me or as a way of putting my abilities to use; however, I will tell you of two men whom Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam left this world loving them; ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud and ‘Ammar ibn Yasir.”[38]

 

Muhammad ibn al Aswad ibn Khalaf ibn Bayadah al Khuza’i says:

 

انا لجلوس في الحجر وناس من قريش، إذ قيل: قدم الليلة عمرو بن العاص من مصر، فما أكبر بأن دخل، فابتدرناه بأبصارنا، فلما طاف دخل الحجر ، وصلى ركعتين ، ثم قال: «كأنكم قد قرضتموني بهنت» ، فقال القوم: «لم نذكر إلا خيرا، ذكرناك وهشاما ، فقال بعضنا: هذا أفضل. وقال بعضنا: هذا أفضل». فقال عمرو: «سأخبركم عن ذلك، إنا أسلمنا فأحببنا رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ، وناصحناه» ، فذكر يوم اليرموك، فقال: «أخذ بعمود الفسطاط حتى اغتسل وتحنط وتكفن ثم أخذ بعمود الفسطاط حتى اغتسلت وتحنطت وتكفنت ثم اعترضنا على الله تبارك وتعالى فقبله فهو خير مني ثلاث مرات قبله فهو خير مني قبله فهو خير مني».

We were sitting amongst some people of the Quraysh in the hatim area when it was said, “‘Amr ibn al ‘As has come from Egypt this evening.” Soon after he came and we peeked at him. He performed tawaf, entered the hatim and prayed two rak’at of salah. He then addressed us saying, “It seems as though you lot were speaking ill of me.”

The people replied, “We spoke only good. We recalled you and Hisham, some said he is better while others said you are.”

‘Amr said, “Let me better inform you. We both accepted Islam and loved Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, becoming well-wishers for him.”

He then spoke of the Battle of Yarmuk and said, “He took to the tent, bathed, applied hanut[39] to his body, and donned his shroud. I then took to the tent, bathed, applied hanut to my body, and donned my shroud. We then presented our lives to Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala. Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala accepted him and, thus, he is better than me. Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala accepted him and, thus, he is better than me. Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala accepted him and, thus, he is better than me.”[40]

 

His Worship

The sincerity and devotion of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum in acts of worship, according to the extent of their exertion, are proverbial. Just as ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu was a stalwart of leadership and a warrior par excellence, he was well known for his devotions in other acts of worship as well. Consider the following as narrated by Abu Qaifs, the freed slave of ‘Amr ibn al ‘As:

 

أن عمرو بن العاص كان يسرد الصوم، وقلما كان يصيب من العشاء أول الليل أكثر ما كان يصيب من السحر ، قال وسمعته يقول سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول: «إن فصلا بين صايرينا وصيام أهل الكتاب ، أكلة السحر».

‘Amr ibn al ‘As would continuously fast. He would hardly eat in the early portion of the night preferring to eat at the time of suhur. He would say, “I heard Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam saying, ‘The difference between our fasts and the fasts of the Jews is the eating of suhur.’”[41]

 

His Narrations

We have already outlined the passion ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu had for jihad and being placed in positions of leadership by Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam right from the inception of his Islam; a testament to his political acumen and military genius. Thus, neither was his sojourn with Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam a lengthy one, nor was his stay in Madinah permanent. In fact, when Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam left this worldly abode, ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu was at Oman fulfilling a mission assigned to him by Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. ‘Amr ibn al ‘As al Sahmi truly was an arrow in the quiver of Islam. He himself attested to this at the time when Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu charged him with the leading the armies to the Levant; he said:

 

إني سهم من سهام الإسلام، وأنت بعد الله الرامي بها والجامع لها، فانظر أشدها وأخشاها وأفضلها فارم به

I am naught but an arrow of the arrows of Islam and you, after Allah, are the marksman and collector. So, observe which is the strongest, the most fearsome, and the most superior target and shoot [me] towards it.[42]

 

It is quite evident that one who is preoccupied with such undertakings would not excessively narrate ahadith. Some scholars have enumerated his narrations which amount to thirty-nine, with repetitions. Three have been narrated by both al Bukhari and Muslim whilst al Bukhari has singled out another one and Muslim two more.[43]

From amongst his narrations, there are those which display his fiqh (deep understanding) and sharp intellect, even though he was relatively new to the faith. For instance, he made Tayammum for major ritual impurity at the expedition of Dhat al Salasil fearing destruction due to severe cold. Abu Dawood and others have narrated from ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu who said:

 

احتلمت في ليلة باردة في غزوة ذات السلاسل فأشفقت أن اغتسل فأهلك، فتيممت، ثم صليت بأصحابي الصبح، فذكروا ذلك للنبي – صلى الله عليه وسلم – فقال: “يا عمرو، صليت بأصحابك وأنت جنب؟ ” فأخبرته بالذي منعني من الاغتسال، وقلت: إني سمعت الله يقول: {ولا تقتلوا أنفسكم إن اللة كان بكم رحيما} [النساء: 29]، فضحك رسول الله – صلى الله عليه وسلم -ولم يقل شيئا

I had a nocturnal emission on a cold night in the battle of Dhat al Salasil. I was afraid, if I bathed I would die. I, therefore, performed Tayammum and led my companions in the morning prayer. They mentioned this to the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

He said, “‘Amr, you led your companions is prayer while you were in the state of major ritual impurity?”

I informed him of the cause which impeded me from washing. And I said, “I heard Allah say, “And do not kill yourselves [or one another]. Indeed, Allah is to you ever Merciful.”

Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam laughed and did not say anything.[44]

 

His Rhetoric, Poetry, Wisdom, and Sayings

Sayyidina ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu was blessed with rhetoric that was effective, speech that was eloquent, and poetry that was poised. This was quite evident in the speeches he gave and the letters he wrote. He was an articulate orator and an eloquent speaker. Consider the following narrated by Buhayr ibn Dhakhir al Mu’afiri who said:

I went with my father for the Friday prayer, the muaddhin sounded the call to prayer after which ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu took his place, standing on the pulpit. He praised Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala and sent salutations upon Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. He counselled the people, advising them to do good and discouraging them from evil. I heard him exhorting people to give alms, join family ties, and adopt moderation. He discouraged them from extravagance and too great an increase of their household. He said:

 

يا معشر الناس إياي وخلالآ أربعة فإنها تدعو إلى النصب بعد الراحة وإلى الضيق بعد السعة وإلى المذلة بعد العزة، إياي وكثرة العيال ، وإخفاض الحال ، وتضييع المال ، والقيل بعد القال في غير درك ولا نوال ، ثم إنه لا بد من فراغ يؤول إليه المرء في توديع جسمه والتدبير الشأنه وتخليته بين نفسه وبين شهواتها، ومن صار إلى ذلك فليأخذ بالقصد والنصيب الأقل ولا يضيع المرء في فراغه نصيب العلم من نفسه ؛ فيحور من الخير عاطلا وعن حلال الله وحرامه غافلا .

يا معشر الناس إنه قد تدلت الجوزاء، وذكت الشعري ، وأقلعت السماء ، وارتفع الوباء، وقل الندى، وطاب المرعى، ووضعت الحوامل، ودرجت السخائل ، وعلى الراعي بحسن رعيته حسن النظر، فحي لكم على بركة الله إلى ريفكم فنالوا من خيره، ولبنه ، وخرافه ، وصیده ، وأربعوا خيلكم وأسمنوها وصونوها وأكرموها فإنها جنتكم من عدوكم ، وبها مغانمكم وأثقالكم

واستوصوا بمن جاورتموه من القبط خيرة، وإياي والمشمومات والمعسولات فإنهن يفسدن الدين ، ويقصرن الهمم، حدثني عمر أمير المؤمنين أنه سمع رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول: إن الله سيفتح عليكم بعدي مصر فاستوصوا بقبطها خيرا فإن لكم منهم صهرة وذمة ، فعفوا أيديكم و فروجكم، وغضوا أبصاركم، ولا أعلمن ما أتى رجل قد أسمن جسمه وأهزل فرسه ، واعلموا أني معترض الخيل كاعتراض الرجال فمن أهزل فرسه من غير علة حططته من فريضته قدر ذلك، واعلموا أنكم في رباط إلى يوم القيامة لكثرة الأعداء حولكم، وتشوق قلوبهم إليكم وإلى داركم معدن الزرع والمال والخير الواسع والبركة النامية.

وحدثني عمر أمير المؤمنين أنه سمع رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول: إذا فتح الله عليكم مصر فاتخذوا فيها جندة كثيفة ؛ فذلك الجند خير أجناد الأرض، فقال له أبو بكر: ولم یا رسول الله قال ؛ لأنهم وأزواجهم في رباط إلى يوم القيامة . فاحمدوا الله معشر الناس على ما أولاكم فتمتعوا في ريفكم ما طاب لكم، فإذا يبس العود وسخن العمود وكثر الذباب وحمض اللبن وصوح البقل وانقطع الورد من الشجر فحي على فسطاطكم على بركة الله، ولا يقدمن أحد منكم ذو عيال على عياله إلا ومعه تحفة لعياله على ما أطاق من سعته أو عسرته ، أقول قولي هذا وأستحفظ الله عليكم

O assembly of the people, beware of four faults; for they bring to trouble after ease, and poverty after plenty, and degradation after prosperity! Beware of increasing your households, and of luxury, and of wasting your wealth, and of many words in an affair you cannot compass. It is true, a man does need some leisure, to give rest to his body and see to its interests, and to allow his soul free scope for its desires. Whoever takes to this path, let him use moderation and content himself with a little and let not a man in his leisure time let go his portion of knowledge; so should he pass his life in neglect of good, and in ignorance of what Allah has permitted and what he has prohibited.

O assembly of the people! Verily the constellation of Gemini has arisen, and Sirius has set, and the heavens have become clear, and the epidemic has passed, the dew has decreased, the pasture has come to maturity, the pregnant ewes have brought forth, and the lambs have taken their first uncertain steps. The shepherd must keep a fair watch over his fair flocks. Go forth, then, with the blessing of Allah, to your fields: enjoy all the blessings they afford, the milk, the sheep, and the hunt.

Put your horses to grass and let them grow fat, and guard them well, and treat them with all honour: for they are your defence from your foes, and on them depends your booty and your spoil.

Treat with kindness the Copts who are your neighbours: and beware of the sugary speech and sweet smell of the strange women: for verily they corrupt the faith and destroy the energies. I was told by the Commander of the Faithful, ‘Umar, that he heard the Rasul salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam say, “Verily after my time, Allah shall lay open Egypt before you. Treat you, therefore, its Copts with kindness: for they are your kin and your subjects.” Therefore, I say, keep off your hands, and restrain your passions, and veil your glances.

And let me not know of a man who returns having fattened his own body and let his horse grow lean. Know that I shall pass the horses in review, even as the men: and he who lets his horse grow lean, without a sufficient excuse, his pay shall I reduce in proportion. And know that you are encamped on the enemy’s borders, until the Day of Judgment; so many are the foes that surround you, and so fixed are their hearts upon you and your lands; a source of increase, wealth, plenteous possessions, and blessings.

I have been told by ‘Umar, Commander of the Faithful, that he heard the Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam say, “When Allah shall open before you the land of Egypt, host there a large force for that force is the best of the forces of the earth.”

Abu Bakr asked, “Why so, O Prophet of Allah?”

He replied, “Because they and their wives are in camp on the enemy’s borders until the Day of Judgment.”

Therefore, O Assembly of the people, praise Allah for what he hath given you, and enjoy in your fields that which your souls desire: and when the branch is dry, and the water is warm, and the flies increase, and the milk is sour, and the herb is parched, and the rose falls from its stem; then arise, return to your city, with the blessing of Allah. And let no one of you who hath a family return without bringing some present to his family, in proportion as his wealth or poverty permits him. I have said my say and I commit you to the protection of Allah.[45]

 

I memorized his sermon and when I recited it to my father upon our return home, he said, “O my son, people will flock to securing the border as they would flock to fertile lands.”

His eloquence, rhetoric, strength of visualisation, and power of imagination shines through in his letter to the Amir al Mu’minin in his portrayal of Egypt.

Some historians state that when ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu settled in as the governor of Egypt, ‘Umar ibn al Khattab radiya Llahu ‘anhu wrote to him seeking a depiction of the lands of Egypt. He replied with the following:

 

ورد کتاب أمير المؤمنين أطال الله بقاءه يسألني عن مصر:اعلم يا أمير المؤمنين أن مصر قرية غبراء، وشجرة خضراء؛ طولها شهر ، وعرضها عشر ، يكنفها جبل أغبر ، ورمل أعفر، يخط وسطها نيل مبارك الغدوات ، میمون الروحات ، تجري فيه الزيادة والنقصان کجري الشمس والقمر، له أوان پدر لابه، ويكثر فيه ذبابه ، تمده عيون الأرض وينابيعها حتى إذا ما اصلخم عجاجه ، وتعظمت أمواجه، فاض على جانبيه فلم يمكن التخلص من القرى بعضها إلى بعض إلا في صغار المراكب ، وخفاف القوارب، وزوارق كأنهن في المخايل ورق الأصائل ، فإذا تكامل في زيادته ، نكص على عقبيه كأول ما بدأ في جريته ، وطما في درته ، فعند ذلك تخرج أهل ملة محقورة، وذمة مخفورة ، يحرثون بطون الأرض ويبذرون بها الحب ، يرجون بذلك النماء من الرب ؛ لغيرهم ما سعوا من کدهم، فناله منهم بغير جدهم ؛ فإذا أحدق الزرع وأشرق، سقاه الندى وغذاه من تحته الثرى ؛ فبينما مصر يا أمير المؤمنين لؤلؤة بيضاء، إذا هي عنبرة سوداء، فإذا هي زمردة خضراء ، فإذا هي ديباجة رقشاء، فتبارك الله الخالق لما يشاء. والذي يصلح هذه البلاد وينميها ويقر قاطنيها فيها ، ألا يقبل قول خسيسها في رئيسها، وألا يستأدی خراج ثمرة إلا في أوانها، وأن يصرف ثلث ارتفاعها ، في عمل جسورها وترعها ؛ فإذا تقرر الحال مع العمال في هذه الأحوال ، تضاعف ارتفاع المال ، والله تعالى يوفق في المبدأ والمال

I have received the letter of the Amir al Mu’minin—May Allah lengthen his life—asking of Egypt. Egypt is a sandy land, with lush green trees. Its length is a month’s journey and breadth is travelled in ten days.

It is flanked by dusty mountains. The Nile runs in the middle of the land which is blessed in its nourishment and auspicious in its replenishment. It rises and falls with the cycles of the sun and moon, at times its flow increases and so does its aquatic insects. The springs and streams of the earth furthers its reach. And when its starts to gush forth with a fervour and its waves crash with might along its sides, small boats and light vessels are the only way to reach the villages that dot its edge. These skiffs resemble floating leaves rocking from side to side under a red-hazy sunset.

After reaching its peak it begins to decrease to its earlier flow, streaming along its path. At this point the masters of land excavation instruct the ploughing of the land and sowing of the seeds with hope from the Lord for a productive harvest. The farmers’ toil is credited to the masters who make no toil. When the harvest comes into view and begins shining, dew saturates the crop and fertile soil gives it the nutrients needed.

Egypt, O Amir al Mu’minin, at times resembles a white pearl, at times dark amber, at times a vivid emerald, and at times it appears as a murky silken cloth. So blessed is Allah, who creates as he wishes.

The interest of the land, its growth, and its dwellers lies in the following mandates: The opinions of dastardly should not be considered in view of the noble, tax should only be collected at its assigned time, and a third of the revenue should be re-invested in infrastructure; in building bridges and canals. If these mandates take hold and become policy, the economy will flourish.

And Allah Ta’ala is the lender of assistance in the beginning and at the end.

 

When this letter was read by ‘Umar ibn al Khattab radiya Llahu ‘anhu he exclaimed, “Oh ibn al ‘As, how excellent! Your description has brought it to my eyes.”[46]

Similar was a letter of his to ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu when the latter asked him about dispatching a naval fleet; a result of Muawiyah’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu insistence to launch a naval attack on Cyprus from Hims citing its close proximity saying, “Cyprus is so close to us that we can hear its dogs barking and its roosters crowing.” This drew the excitement of ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu and he was captivated by it.

He wrote to ‘Amr ibn al ‘As and asked him to describe it, the sea. ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu responded

 

إني رأيت خلقة كبيرة يركبه خلق صغير ، ليس إلا السماء والماء، إن رکد خرق القلوب، وإن تحرك أزاغ العقول ، يزداد فيه اليقين قلة والشك كثرة ، هم فيه کدود على عود إن مال غرق وإن نجا برق

I have seen numerous people, going upon the sea, overpowered by a few. There is nothing there but sky and water. When it is calm the hearts are uneasy, and when it is rough the senses are lost. It weakens confidence and strengthens doubt. People at sea are like a worm in a log of wood. If their boat inclines, they sink, and if they survive, they are dazed.

When ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu read this, he wrote to Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu saying, “By the One who sent Muhammad with the truth! I will never send a single Muslim to sea.”[47]

 

This eloquence and rhetoric of ‘Amr radiya Llahu ‘anhu is not unexpected, considering he is a famed poet and a celebrated orator. His poetry and speech held a particular harmony. Many incidents of note survive by way of his poetry being memorized.

 

Poetry

ولم ينه قلبا غاويا حيث يمما

إذا المرء لم يترك طعاما يحبه

إذا ذكرت  أمثالها تملأ الفما

قضى وطرا منه وغادر سُبة

Addressing ‘Umarah ibn al Walid ibn al Mughirah in the court of al Najashi, ‘Amr said the following couplets:

A man not giving up the food [read: wine] he loves;

Nor preventing his wayward heart from its intent,

Attains his desire but becomes a disgrace;

Brings forth a mouthful, the memory of such folk [48]

 

From his poetry on the Day of Uhud when he was not yet a Muslim is the following:

مع الصبح من رضوى الحبيك المنطق

خـرجـنـا مـن الفـيـفا عليهم كأننا

والأمــــــانـي تـصــــــــــــــدقُ

لــــــــدى جنــــــب سلــــــع

كــراديــس خـيل فـي الأزقـة تـمـرقُ

فــمــا راعــهم بـالشـر إلا فـجـاءة

ودون القــبـاب اليـوم ضـرب مـحـرقُ

أرادوا لكـيـمـا يـسـتـبيحوا قبابنــا

إذ رامـهـا قـوم أبـيـحـــوا وأحـنـقــوا

وكـانـت قـبـابـاً أومـنت قبل ما ترى

وأيــمــانــهــم بــالمــشـرفـيـة بَـرْوَقُ

كـأن رءوس الخـــزرجـيـين غــدوة

We came upon them from al Fayfa’[49] as though;

One with dawn, a belt, along the sandy path of Mount Radwa[50].

Alongside Mount Sal[51];

Hopes seemingly coming true.

They observed a sudden outbreak;

Of cavalry squadrons piercing through the narrow pass.

They pressed hoping to upturn our camps;

A fiery attack launched today, though not on the camps.

The camps, were as you’d see, safe;

When those, attacked and enraged, let loose their arrows.

As though the heads of the Khazraj tribe;

And their allegiance turning to asphodel[52], a result of the swinging swords.[53]

 

This is also from his poetry on the Day of Uhud

ـزو شـرهـا بـالرضـف نـزوا

لمـــا رأيـــت الحــرب يـنــ

والــــناس بالضــراء لحــوا

وتـنـاولت شــهـبـاء تـلحُــ

والحــيــاة تــــكون لغـــوا

أيــقـنـت أن المـوت حــقــ

عــتــد يــبـذ الخـيـل رهـوا

حـملت أثـــوابـــي علـــى

ــبيـداء يـعـلو الطرف علوا

سـلس إذا نـكـبـن فــي الــ

مــن عــطـفـه يـزداد زهـوا

وإذا تـــــنـــــزل مـــــاؤه

ــمــة راعه الرامون دحـوا

زبــد كــيــعـفــور الصريــ

للخـيــل إرخــاء وعــدوا

شـــنـــج نـــســـاه سبــط

ة الروع إذ يـمـشون قطــوا

فــفــدى لهــم أمــي غــدا

ــبـة إذ جلتـه الشمس جلوا

سـيـراً إلى كــبــش الكـتـيــ

When I saw the battle raging;

Attacks hot, as fire heated stone.

And the heavily armed forces crushing,

Wrecking; people injured.

I was convinced of certain death;

And life had become meaningless.

I hauled myself onto a blistering steed;

Flying past one horse after another.

Fluid in the wilderness under distress;

In stature, athletic and burly.

When its sweat drips down;

Its flank, it struts with purpose.

Quick like a lone antelope;

Startled; throwing out its forelegs.

Lean, its legs muscular;

Galloping hard, without having to spur it on.

May my mother be sacrificed for them;

Tomorrow when their strides are short and brisk.

As they trot amongst the throngs;

Of armies, shining under the brilliant sun.[54]

 

When he returned from Oman after the demise of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, a group of seventy horseman of the nobles from Oman had come out to see him off. Amongst them were Abu Sufrah Zalim ibn Sarraq, Jufayr ibn Jafar, and ‘Ibadah ibn al Jalandi. ‘Uqbah ibn No’man al ‘Atki recited some poetry, of which the opening lines are:

طريد نفته مذحج والسكاسك

وفينا لعمرو يوم عمرو كأنه

علينا ومن لايعرف الحق هالك

رسول رسول الله أعظم بحقه

We remained faithful to ‘Amr at the day when ‘Amr was like;

A tracked (enemy), pursued by the Banu Mudhhij[55] and Sakasik[56].

The messenger of the Messenger of Allah, O what right he has;

Upon us, and he who does not recognise this right is destroyed.

 

‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu commended them with the following:

جزى الله عني الأزد خير جزاء

أقول وحولي آل فهر بن مالك

وليست بأرض لي ولابسماء

أتيت عمانا والحوادث جمة

واهل حباء صادق ووفاء

فحي هلا بالأزد أرباب نعمة

وظالم الداعي لكل علاء

تضمنني منهم عباد وجيفر

أجرجر فيها مئزري وردائي

أتيت إلى أهل المدينة سالما

وأوباش هذا الحي حي ضباء

على حين أن جاشت معد بردة

بهسم وأشطان الجزور ظماء

فما بيننا إلا سيوف وتارة

على كل حال ليس ذا بخفاء

مقربة الآجال منا ومنهم

بدور فناء أو بدور بقاء

تدور رحا الآجال فينا وفيهم

I speak, with the clan of Fihr ibn Malik around me;

May Allah reward the Azd abundantly in my behalf.

I came to Oman at a tumultuous time;

I had no one in this land or sky.

I must begin my mention with Azd, leaders of hospitality;

A tribe of honesty and integrity, always gifting.

From them ‘Ibad and Jufayr rallied around me;

And Zalim, the caller greatness too.

I came to the people of al Madinah safe;

Dragging along my cloak and loin cloth.

At a time when Ma’d[57] began simmering with apostasy;

And the riffraff of this community, the community of Diba’.

Thus, there only remains between us the sword;

At times braking, at others, slaughtering.

Death. Ours and theirs have come close;

Whatever the situation may be, no doubt.

The grinding stone of death passes over us and them;

Some ground to death, others live another day.[58] 

 

Sayings and adages

His saying and adages are filled with practical and applicable advices.

1. Abandonment

 

لا أمل ثوبي ما وسعني ، ولا أمل زوجتي ما أحسنت عشرتي، ولا أمل دابتي ما حملتني، إن الملال من سيء الأخلاق

I don’t replace my clothes as long as they fit me. I don’t give up on my wife as long as our relationship remains amicable, and I don’t abandon my conveyance as long as it carries me. Giving up [on people and things] form part of ill character.

 

2. He said to his son ‘Abdullah radiya Llahu ‘anhu

 

وقال لعبد الله ابنه رضي الله عنه: يا بني سلطان عادل خير من مطر وابل، وأسد حطوم خير من سلطان ظلوم ، وسلطان غشوم ظلوم خير من فتنة تدوم ، يا بني زلة الرجل عظم يجبر ، وزلة اللسان لا تبقي ولا تذر. يا بني استراح من لا عقل له فأرسلها مثلا

O my son, a just ruler is better than torrential rain, a ferocious wild lion is favoured over an oppressive ruler, and a tyrannical dictatorship fares better than endless turmoil and tribulations. Son! The slip of a foot is nothing more than a broken bone which can be mended but a slip of the tongue lets nothing remain and spares none. O my son, a person without intelligence is at ease indeed (a saying which was then taken as a proverb after this).

 

3. ‘Amr ibn al ‘As said to Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhuma

 

قال عمرو بن العاص لمعاوية  رضي الله عنهما: يا أمير المؤمنين لا تكونن لشيء من أمر رعيتك أشد تعمدة منك لخصاصة الكريم حتى تعمل في سدها، ولطغيان اللئيم حتى تعمل في قمعه، واستوحش من الكريم الجائع، ومن اللئيم الشبعان ، فإن الكريم يصول إذا جاع، واللئيم يصول إذا شبع.

Amir al Mu’minin! Let no matter be more important to you with regard to your constituents than being vigilant in curbing the hunger of the noble and crushing the dissent of the wicked. Be wary of the noble going hungry and the wicked being fulfilled. The noble attack when hungry and the wicked when fulfilled.

 

4. Muawiyah asked ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhuma

 

من أبلغ الناس؟ قال: من اقتصر على الإيجاز وسلب الفضول . قال فمن أصبر الناس؟ قال: أردهم لجهله بحلمه

“What defines eloquence and rhetoric?”

He replied, “Concision of expression without wasting words.”

He asked, “What then defines patience”?

‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu replied, “Countering ignorance with forbearance.”

 

5. ‘Amr said to Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhuma

 

قال عمرو لمعاوية رضي الله عنهما: ما بطن قوم قط إلا فقدوا عقولهم، وما قضيت عزيمة رجل مات بطينة

Obesity in a nation leads to a lowering of their intellect and an obese person dies without having achieved his goals.

 

6. Intelligence

ليس العاقل الذي يعرف الخير من الشر، ولكن العاقل الذي يعرف خير الشرین

An intelligent person is not one who can differentiate between good and evil. Rather, an intelligent person is one who can perceive the lesser of the two evils.

 

7. Forbearance

 

ليس الحليم من يحلم عن من يحلم عنه ويجاهل من جاهله ، ولكن الحليم من يحلم عن من يحلم عنه ويحلم عن من جاهله

A forbearing person is not one who is forbearing with those forbearing with him. Rather a forbearing person is one who is forbearing with those forbearing with him and with those intolerant to him.

 

8. Three types of people

 

الرجال ثلاثة: فرجل تام، ونصف رجل، ولا شيء. فأما الرجل التام: فالذي يكمل الله له دينه وعقله ، فإذا أراد أمراً لم يمضه حتى يستشير أهل الرأي والألباب ، فإذا وافقوه حمد الله وأمضى رأيه فلا يزال ذلك مضياً موفقاً. والنصف رجل: الذي يكمل الله له دينه وعقله فإذا أراد أمراً لم يستشر فيه أحداً، وقال: أي الناس كنت أطيعه أو أترك رأيي لرأيه فيصيب ويخطئ. والذي لا شيء: الذي لا دين ولا عقل ولا يستشير فلا يزال ذلك مخطئاً مدبراً. قال عمرو: والله إني لأستشير في الأمر الذي أردته حتى أستشير خدمي وما علي بعرض عقولهم وأسمع

Mankind fall into three categories:

    • Complete
    • Half
    • Those that amount to nothing

As for the complete, Allah has blessed them with complete faith and intellect. When they intend something, they seek counsel from people of understanding and wisdom. If their advice coincides with their own, they praise Allah and fulfil the task they set out to do under the guidance of Allah.

The second category are those whom Allah has blessed with complete faith and intellect. However, when they intend doing something, they take no one’s counsel citing their own inability of taking the opinions of others over their own. Such people win some and lose some.

As for the third category, they are those who have no faith or intellect. Neither do they seek counsel. Such people are always regressing in life.

‘Amr said, “By Allah! I seek counsel in matters I intend to the extent of seeking the counsel of my servants.”

 

9. Distress and comfort

 

قال عمرو بن العاص رضي الله عنه لجلسائه وتذاكروا شيئاً من أمر الدنيا: أي شيء رأيتم أحسن ؟ فذكروا النساء المرأة الحسنة والدابة ، فقال عمرو: وما شيء أحسن من غمرات ثم تنجلي

Whilst discussing the bounties of this word ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu asked what they thought the best bounty was. They mentioned, women, a beautiful maiden, and conveyances. ‘Amr said, “There is nothing better than the comfort that follows distress.”

 

10. Muawiyah ibn Abi Sufyan asked ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhuma:

 

ما ألذ الأشياء؟ قال: يا أمير المؤمنين مر أحداث قريش فليقوموا، فلما قاموا قال : إسقاط المروءة ، يريد أن الرجل إذا لم يهمه مروءته تلذذ و عمل ما يشتهي ولم يلتفت إلى لوم لائم

“What is the most pleasurable of things? “

He said, “Amir al Mu’minin! Ask the Qurayshi youngsters to take their leave.”

When they had left he said, “Losing one’s sense of honour.”

By this he meant, when one has no care for his honour, he will seek pleasures and do as he wishes without a care for censure.

 

11. ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu said:

نكح العجز التواني فولد منه الندامة

Inability married negligence and gave birth to regret.

 

12. ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu said:

لا وجع إلا العين ولا حزن إلا الدين

There’s no pain like eye pain and no worry like the worry of debt.

 

13. ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu said:

 

ما وضعت سري عند أحد فأفشاه فلمته عليه ، أنا كنت أضيق به حين استودعته

I do not blame one who betrays my secret that I shared with them. Handing it into their care meant I was unable to keep the secret myself.

 

14. ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu said:

 

انتهى عجبي إلى ثلاث: المرء يفر من القدر وهو لاقيه ، ويبصر في عين أخيه القذي فيعيبه ، ويكون في عينه الجذع فلا يعيبه ، ويكون في دابته الصعر فيقومها بجهده ويكون فيه الصعر فلا يقوم نفسه

My astonishment knows no bounds when it comes to three types of people:

    • A man fleeing from his destiny, yet heading to it.
    • A man criticizing his brother for a speck in his eye whilst living with tree stump in his own without bother.
    • A man who forces his conveyance to stand despite it being ill, though when ill himself, is unable to stand.[59]

 

His Business and Estate

We have already mentioned that the father of ‘Amr ibn al ‘As, al ‘As was wealthy man who used to don clothes of fine silk brocade. His son, ‘Amr ibn al ‘As, though was a self-made man. He was an entrepreneur who began his business ventures with the Qurayshi caravans.

 

In Jerusalem they took turns to pasture their camels on the hills around the city. One day, when it was ‘Amr’s turn, he came across a deacon, wandering the hills. It was extremely hot and the deacon was half dead from thirst. ‘Amr gave him to drink from his waterskin bag and the deacon then lay down and went to sleep. As he lay there, a huge snake emerged from a hole next to where he lay. ‘Amr saw the snake and shot it with and arrow, killing it. When the deacon awoke, he asked what had happened. When ‘Amr explained, the deacon was overwhelmed and kissed the head of the man who had saved his life, not once but twice, both from dying of thirst and from the snake. He asked why ‘Amr had come to this land and ‘Amr explained that he was trading, hoping to make enough money to acquire a third camel to add to his two existing ones. The deacon asked how much blood money would be offered amongst his people for saving another man’s life, and was told it would be one hundred camels. The deacon stated they had no camels in his country, but what would that be in gold coins? One thousand was the answer.

The deacon explained that he was a stranger to the country. That he had come to pray at the church of the Holy Sepulchre and to spend a month in the wilderness in accordance with an oath he had taken. He was now going home and he invited ‘Amr to come with him, promising that he would be given double blood money when he got there since Allah had saved his life through him two times.

‘Amr asked him, “Where do you hail from?”

He replied, “A city in Egypt called Alexandria.”

‘Amr said, “I do not know this land and neither have I been there.”

The deacon mused, “If you come, you would enter a land such that you’ve never seen before.”

‘Amr asked him, “Are you willing to take an oath that you will fulfil the promise you made to me?”

The deacon promised, “You have my word and I will also return you to your companions.”

‘Amr asked, “How long will my stay be?”

He replied, “A month. Our journey there will be ten days, your stay with us will be for ten days, and your return will be in ten days. Your protection on our journey will be my responsibility and I will ensure a safe passage back for you with a guide.”

‘Amr said to him, “Give me some time to consult my companions about it.”

‘Amr went to his companions, and told them what the deacon had promised and said to them, “If you await my return, I will give you half of what I receive provided that a man of you accompany me.”

They agreed and sent one of them with him and, thus, ‘Amr and his companion set out with the deacon until they reached Alexandria.

‘Amr was taken aback by its architecture, the large number of its people, its wealth, and goodness. He commented, “I’ve never experienced a city with such opulence quite like this.”

The money, architecture, the quality of its construction, and the abundance of its people, amazed him further. His arrival had coincided with their day of celebration in which their royals and nobles gathered. They had a resplendent gold ball that the royals tossed to each other catching it in their sleeves. The one who caught and steadied the ball in his sleeve would be foreshadowed as their next leader—a proven custom of old.

When ‘Amr reached Alexandria, the deacon honoured him well, clothing him in a fine brocade dress. ‘Amr and the deacon sat with the people in the council where the gold ball was being flung. A man threw the ball and it soared through the air falling into the sleeve of ‘Amr. They were stunned by this and said, “This ball has never lied to us except for this time. Can you fathom this Bedouin ruling over us? An impossibility.”

The deacon walked through Alexandria informing its folk that ‘Amr had saved his life twice over and that he had promised him two thousand gold coins. He asked them to raise the funds for him which they did and paid it to ‘Amr.

‘Amr and his companion then set out, with the deacon sending along with them a guide and a messenger who provided for their needs and honoured them until he and his friend returned to their companions.

Thus, ‘Amr came to know of Egypt and saw what he knew to be the finest and wealthiest country. When ‘Amr returned to his companions, he gave them a thousand gold coins to be shared among them and kept a thousand for himself.

‘Amr said, “This was the first wealth I came to own.”[60]

 

‘Amr also owned a vast garden at Ta’if, before his Islam, which was said to be the envy of Kings.

After the Battle of the Trench, ‘Amr reflected:

 

والله ليظهرن محمدا على قريش! فلحقت بمالي بالوهط وأقللت من الناس

By Allah, Muhammad is going to defeat the Quraysh. I, thus, went to my garden at al Waht and remained aloof from the people.[61]

 

‘Amr ibn Dinar narrates from—the freed slave of ‘Amr ibn al ‘As—that ‘Amr ibn al ‘As entwined a million vine branches at al Waht, each vine costing one dirham.[62]

Ibn al A’rabi says:

 

عرش عمرو بن العاص بالوهط ألف ألف عود کرم على ألف ألف خشبة ابتاع كل خشبة بدرهم فحج سلیمان بن عبد الملك فمر بالوهط فقال: أحب أن أنظر إليه فلما رآه قال: هذا أكرم مال وأحسنه ما رأيت لأحد مثله لولا أن هذه الحرة في وسطه فقيل له ليست بحرة ولكنها مسطاح الزبيب ، و كان زبيبه جمع في وسطه فلما رآه من البعد ظنه حرة سوداء وقال ابن موسی الوهط قرية بالطائف على ثلاثة أميال من وج كانت لعمرو بن العاص

‘Amr ibn al ‘As bound a million vine branches to poles, purchasing each vine for one dirham. During the Hajj travels of Sulaiman ibn ‘Abdul Malik, he passed by al Waht and desired to see it. Upon seeing it he commented, “I haven’t seen anyone possess a garden as beautiful and as precious as this. If only there wasn’t a black stony tract at its centre.”

It was said to him, “Those aren’t back stones. It is the grape vines”.

Looking from afar at the grape vines in its centre, he had thought it to be a black stony tract.

Ibn Musa says, “Al Waht was a suburb of ‘Amr ibn al ‘As at Ta’if three miles from Wajj[63].”[64]

 

As the Islamic Empire grew and prospered so too did his wealth. Al Dhahabi comments in al Siyar, “He left behind much wealth, slaves, and land.”[65]

However, I have been unable to locate any authentic narration that speaks of him leaving behind great wealth, or any narration that enumerates his wealth. The best that I found on this issue are the following two narrations:

The first is narrated by Abu ‘Umar al Kindi al Misri in Kitab al Wulat wa Kitab al Qudat:

 

حدثنا ابن قديد قال حدثنا يحيى بن عثمان بن صالح قال حدثني نعيم بن حماد عن ابن لمبارك عن حرملة بن عمران عن أبي فراس قال مات عمرو بن العاص ولم يترك الا سبعة دنانير وكانت وفاة عمرو ليلة الفطر سنة ثلاث وأربعين واستخلف أبنه عبد الله على صلاتها وخراجها

Ibn Qudayd narrated from — Yahya ibn ‘Uthman ibn Salih from — Nuaim ibn Hammad from —   Ibn al Mubarak from — Harmalah ibn ‘Imran from — Abu Firas who said:

‘Amr ibn al ‘As passed away leaving behind only seven dinar. ‘Amr left this world on the night of ‘Id the year 43 A.H. His son, ‘Abdullah prayed his funeral and led the procession.[66]

 

Nuaim ibn Hammad al Khuza’i Abu ‘Abdullah

Al Bukhari has narrated from him … as well as Abu Dawood, al Tirmidhi, and Ibn Majah. They have differed regarding him. Some have deemed him reliable whilst others have considered him weak.[67]

Ibn Hajar said:

صدوق يخطئ كثيرة فقيه عارف بالفرائض وقد تتبع ابن عدي ما أخطأ فيه وقال باقي حديثه مستقیم

Truthful, makes many mistakes. A jurist, knowledgeable in the science of al Fara’id. Ibn ‘Adi has highlighted those narrations in which he has made mistakes and said, “The rest of his narrations are fine”.[68]

Al Dhahabi said:

أحد الأئمة الأعلام على لين في حديثه

One of the erudite scholars, though slightly weak in his narrations.[69]

 

The second is narrated by Ibn ‘Asakir in Tarikh Dimashq:

 

أنبأنا أبو القاسم علي بن إبراهيم نا عبد العزيز بن أحمد أنا أبو محمد بن أبي نصر نا أبو علي الحسن بن حبیب نا يزيد بن عبد الصمد نا أبو سهل نا هقل بن زیاد حدثني الأوزاعي حدثني رجل من قريش قال لما حضرت عمرو بن العاص الوفاة قال له ابنه عبد الله: يا أبتاه أوص في مالي ومالك ما بدا لك ، قال : فدعا کاتبا، فقال: اكتب ، فجعل يكتب ، قال: فلما أسرع في المال ، قال: يا أبة لا أحسبك إلا قد أتيت على مالي ومال إخوتي، فلو بعثت إلى إخوتي فتحلل ذلك منهم، قال عمرو للكاتب: اقرأه، فقرأه فقال عبد الله بن عمرو: بخ بخ، قال: فقال له عمرو: يا عبد الله أتشكر هذا فوالله لامرأة من المهاجرات أقبلت تتغير في صرحو تقوده إلى رسول الله و يحمله عليه في سبيل الله خير من هذا كله جاء ذاك من حيث جاء وجاء هذا من حيث جاءنا عبد الله ، والله لقد هلكنا إلا أنا معتصمين بلا إله إلا الله

Abu al Qasim ‘Ali ibn Ibrahim informed us from — ‘Abdul ‘Aziz ibn Ahmed from — Abu Muhammad Abu Nasr from — Abu ‘Ali al Hassan ibn Habib from — Yazid ibn ‘Abdul Samad from — Abu Sahl from — Haql ibn Ziyad narrated from — al Awza’i from — a man of the Quraysh who said:

When ‘Amr ibn al ‘As was close to leaving this world, his son ‘Abdullah said to him, “Father! Make your bequest for my wealth and your wealth as you see fit.”

‘Amr called for a scribe and instructed him to write. He began writing his bequests. When he began making bequests regarding his wealth, ‘Abdullah said, “O father, you are spending the wealth, my wealth and the wealth of my brothers. Why do you not send for them and attain their approval.”

‘Amr said to the scribe, “Read it.”

When he read it ‘Abdullah praised and approved of it.

‘Amr commented, “O ‘Abdullah, do you deem this praiseworthy? By Allah! An emigrating woman, changed by travel bringing such to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam who spends it in the path of Allah is better than all of this. ‘Abdullah! That came from where it came and this came from where we came. By Allah! We were to be destroyed had it we not been saved by our faith.”[70]

 

The chain of narration is weak due to the unknown, man of the Quraysh.

If the narrations are to be considered authentic, it would mean he gave most his cash wealth in charity until only seven dinar remained. His heirs inherited his slaves and land.

His most prized possession was his vineyard at the al Waht estate which he acquired before Allah guided him to Islam. He gave it as an endowment at his death, charity in the path of Allah; rewards that continue to multiply and accrue for him after his death.

‘Amr ibn Dinar said:

 

کتب عمرو بن العاص رضي الله عنه في وصيته في الوهط وجعلها صدقة لا تباع ولا توهب ولا تورث، وهي إلى الأكبر من ولدي ، المتبع فيها عهدي وأمري ، فإن لم يقم بعهدي ولا أمري فليس لي بولي حتى يرثه الله قائما على أصوله

‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu addressed the al Waht estate in his bequest. He made it an endowment of charity that could not be sold, gifted, or inherited. It is now in the charge of my eldest son which he regulates according to my instruction. If he does not do so, I will have no association with him and Allah will appoint a garden over its interests.[71]

 

Though ‘Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu was blessed with affluence and wealth, it did not distract him from the hereafter nor did he pay much attention to it. He looked at his wealth with an eye of indifference which is why he gave most of it away in sadaqah.

This was the character of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum. They were not taken aback by wealth. Those who were wealthy amongst the Sahabah, kept the wealth in their hand and did not let it enter his heart.

 

His Death

His time to leave this temporary abode came whilst he was the governor of Egypt. Ibn Shamasah al Mahri relates the following as recorded in Sahih Muslim:

 

عن ابن شماسة المهري، قال: حضرنا عمرو بن العاص، وهو في سياقة الموت، يبكي طويلا، وحول وجهه إلى الجدار، فجعل ابنه يقول: يا أبتاه، أما بشرك رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم بكذا؟ أما بشرك رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم بكذا؟ قال: فأقبل بوجهه، فقال: إن أفضل ما نعد شهادة أن لا إله إلا الله، وأن محمدا رسول الله، إني قد كنت على أطباق ثلاث، لقد رأيتني وما أحد أشد بغضا لرسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم مني، ولا أحب إلي أن أكون قد استمكنت منه، فقتلته، فلو مت على تلك الحال لكنت من أهل النار، فلما جعل الله الإسلام في قلبي أتيت النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم، فقلت: ابسط يمينك فلأبايعك، فبسط يمينه، قال: فقبضت يدي، قال: «ما لك يا عمرو؟» قال: قلت: أردت أن أشترط، قال: «تشترط بماذا؟» قلت: أن يغفر لي، قال: «أما علمت أن الإسلام يهدم ما كان قبله؟ وأن الهجرة تهدم ما كان قبلها؟ وأن الحج يهدم ما كان قبله؟» وما كان أحد أحب إلي من رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم، ولا أجل في عيني منه، وما كنت أطيق أن أملأ عيني منه إجلالا له، ولو سئلت أن أصفه ما أطقت؛ لأني لم أكن أملأ عيني منه، ولو مت على تلك الحال لرجوت أن أكون من أهل الجنة، ثم ولينا أشياء ما أدري ما حالي فيها، فإذا أنا مت فلا تصحبني نائحة، ولا نار، فإذا دفنتموني فشنوا علي التراب شنا، ثم أقيموا حول قبري قدر ما تنحر جزور ويقسم لحمها، حتى أستأنس بكم، وأنظر ماذا أراجع به رسل ربي

We went to ‘Amr ibn al ‘As when he was about to die. He wept for a long time and turned his face towards the wall. His son said, “Did Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam not give you tidings of such? Did Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam not give you tidings of such?”

He turned his face (towards the audience) and said, “The best thing which we can count upon is the testimony that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. Verily I have passed through three phases. The first one in which I found myself averse to none else more than I was averse to the Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and there was no other desire stronger in me than the one that I should overpower him and kill him. Had I died in this state, I would have been definitely one of the denizens of Fire. When Allah instilled the love of Islam in my heart, I came to the Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and said, ‘Stretch out your right hand so that may pledge my allegiance to you.’ He stretched out his right hand, I withdrew my hand.

He said, ‘What has happened to you, O ‘Amr?’

I replied, ‘I intend to lay down some conditions.’

He asked, ‘What condition do you intend to put forward?’

I said, ‘I should be granted pardon.’

He observed, ‘Are you not aware of the fact that Islam wipes out all the previous misdeeds? Verily migration wipes out all the previous misdeeds, and verily the pilgrimage wipes out all the previous misdeeds?’

And then no one was as dear to me other than the Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and none was more sublime in my eyes than he. Never could I pluck courage to catch a full glimpse of his face due to its splendour. So, if I am asked to describe his features, I cannot do that for I have not eyed him fully. Had I died in this state had every reason to hope that I would have been among the dwellers of Paradise.

Then we were given leadership roles in the light of which I am unable to know what is in store for me. When I die, let neither female mourner nor fire accompany me. When you bury me, fill my grave well with earth, then stand around it for the time within which a camel is slaughtered and its meat is distributed so that I may take solace in your company and (in your company) ascertain what answer I can give to the angels of Allah.”[72]

 

Imam Ahmed narrated what followed:

 

وضع يده موضع الأغلال من ذقنه، وقال: اللهم أمرتنا فتركنا، ونهيتنا فركبنا، ولا يسعنا إلا مغفرتك. فكانت تلك هجيراه حتى مات

He placed his hand under his chin and he said, “O Allah, you instructed us but we did not comply, you prohibited us yet we faltered. It is only your forgiveness that can save us.”

He remained in this condition till he passed away.[73]

 

Another narration mentions the following prayer of his:

 

اللهم إنك أمرتنا فركبنا ونهيتنا فأضعنا فلا بريء فأعتذر ، ولا عزيز فأنتصر، ولكن لا إله إلا الله . ما زال يقولها حتى مات

O Allah, you instructed us but we did not comply, you prohibited us yet we faltered, I don’t have an excuse to present nor any might to defend myself. But (my hope is in) La ilaha illa Allah. He continued saying this until he passed away.[74]

 

Abu Zur’ah said:

 

ومات عمرو بن العاص بمصر في يوم عيد ، وصلی عليه ابنه عبد الله بن عمرو، كما حدثني عبد الله بن صالح قال: حدثني الليث قال: حدثني يزيد بن أبي حبيب قال: حدثني ربيعة بن لقيط: أن عبد الله لما تقدم ليصلي عليه قال : والله ما أحب أن لي بأبي أبا رجل من العرب، وما أحب أن الله يعلم أن عيني دمعت عليه فزعا، وأن لي حمر النعم، ثم كبر

‘Amr ibn al ‘As passed away in Egypt on the day of ‘Id and his son, ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr, performed his funeral prayer as narrated to me by ‘Abdullah ibn Salih from — al Layth from — Yazid ibn Abi Habib from — Rabi’ah ibn Laqit who said, “When ‘Abdullah stepped forward to perform his funeral prayer he said, ‘By Allah! I would not like any Arab man in lieu of my father and I am averse to Allah knowing that my tears have flowed in terror and I be given red camels.’ He then began the prayer with the takbir.”[75]

 

This was on the day of ‘Id al Fitr the year 43 A.H. Other opinions are the year 42, 48, and 51 A.H. The first is the most authentic opinion.

He lived for more than 80 years. Al Dhahabi says, “He used to say, ‘I remember the night ‘Umar was born.’ And he lived for 20 years after ‘Umar. Thus, I calculate his lifespan to have been more than 80 years, in fact closer to 90.”[76]

 

NEXT⇒ Section Two – Doubts cast against the eminent Sahabi Amr ibn al ‘As radiya Llahu ‘anhu


[1] Tribune was the title of various elected officials in ancient Rome. The two most important were the tribunes of the plebs and the military tribunes.

[2] Ibn al Kathir: Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, vol. 9 pg. 655.

[3] The indigenous people of Egypt. See, al Farahidi: Al ‘Ayn, vol. 5 pg. 109; Al Azhari: Tahdhib al Lughah, vol. 9 pg. 33; Al Zabidi: Taj al ‘Arus, vol. 5 pg. 20.

[4] Al Tabari: Tarikh al Rusul, vol. 4 pg. 110; Al Kala’i: Al Iktifa’, vol. 4 pg. 41.

[5] Ibn Qutaybah: ‘Uyun al Akhbar, vol. 1 pg. 394; Al Baladhuri: Ansab al Ashraf, vol. 5 pg. 40.

[6] Al Dhahabi: Siyar A’lam an-Nubala’, vol. 3 pg. 55.

[7] Al Dhahabi: Siyar A’lam an-Nubala’, vol. 3 pg. 58

[8] Ibn ‘Abdul Barr: Al Isti’ab, vol. 3 pg. 269; Ibn Hajar: Al Isabah, vol. 2 pg. 3.

[9] Al Fasawi: Al Ma’rifah wa al Tarikh, vol. 1 pgs. 458; Ibn ‘Asakir: Tarikh Dimashq, vol. 46 pg. 179.

[10] Ibn Sa’d: Al Tabaqat al Kubra, vol. 5 pg. 80; Ibn ‘Asakir: Tarikh Dimashq, vol. 46 pgs. 198-199.

[11] Al Waht: A garden of ‘Amr at Ta’if. Further discussion regarding it will follow.

[12] Al Bayhaqi: Shu’ab al Iman, vol. 4 pg. 292; Ibn ‘Asakir: Tarikh Dimashq, vol. 46 pg. 182.

[13] Ibn ‘Asakir: Tarikh Dimashq, vol. 46 pg. 181.

[14] Ibn ‘Abdul Hakam: Futuh Misr, pg. 60; Al Kala’i: Al Iktifa’, vol. 4 pgs. 25-26; Al Nuwayri: Nihayah al arab fi funun al adab, vol. 19 pg. 104: Al Maqrizi: Al Mawa’iz wa al I’tibar, vol. 1 pg. 463.

[15] Al Tabari: Tarikh al Rusul, vol. 4 pg. 62; Ibn ‘Asakir: Tarikh Dimashq, vol. 68 pg. 108; Ibn al Athir: Usd al Ghabah, vol. 6 pg. 319.

[16] Musnad Ahmed, Hadith: 17413; Al Tirmidhi: Al Sunan, Hadith: 3844. The wording is of the latter. He says, “This hadith is Gharib, we do not know of it expect from the hadith of Ibn Lahi’ah—from Musharrah. Its chain of transmission is not strong.” Al Albani has deemed it sound in Sahih al Jami’, Hadith: 971. He says in al Sahihah under Hadith: 155, “Musharrah ibn Ha’an has been deemed authentic by Ibn Ma’in and others. His hadith is sound according to me. And though Ibn Lahi’ah is weak due to weakness in his memory, the narrations of the ‘Abadilah—from him is authentic as is outlined in his biography. And this narration is from two of them viz. Abu ‘Abdur Rahman whose name is ‘Abdullah ibn Yazid al Muqri and the other is ‘Abdullah ibn Wahab.

[17] Refer back for the reference.

[18] Musnad Ahmed, Hadith: 1382; Al Tirmidhi: Al Sunan, vol. 2 pg. 316; Al Tabarani: Mu’jam al Kabir, vol. 1 pg. 13. Al Albani has deemed it authentic taking into consideration its supporting narrations. See, Al Sahihah, vol. 2 pg. 152.

[19] Al Tayalisi, vol. 2 pg. 315 and the wording is his; Musnad Ahmed, Hadith: 1781; Al Nasa’i: Sunan al Kubra, Hadith: 8301; Ibn Hibban: Hadith: 7092.  Al Haythami said in al Majma’, vol. 9 pg. 494, “The chain of narrators is authentic.” Shu’ayb al Arna’ut said, “The chain of transmission fulfills the conditions of Muslim.”

[20] Musnad Ahmed, Hadith: 17802 and the wording is his; Al Bukhari: Al Adab al Mufrad, vol. 1 pg. 112; Al Tayalisi, Hadith: 1061; Abu Ya’la, Hadith: 7116; Ibn Hibban, Hadith: 3211. Al Hakim has authenticated it, vol. 2 vol. 3 and said, “It is according to the conditions of Muslim.” Al Dhahabi has concurred with him. Al Albani has authenticated it in Ghayat al Maram, vol. 1 pg. 454.

[21] At this campaign, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam praised him by saying, “How excellent is pure wealth for a pious man”. The complete narration has passed.

[22] Ibn ‘Abdul Barr: Al Isti’ab, vol. 3 pg. 268.

[23] Ibn ‘Asakir: Tarikh Dimashq, vol. 46 pg. 144.

[24] Ibn Sa’d: Al Tabaqat al Kubra, vol. 9 pg. 499; Al Tabari: Tarikh al Rusul, vol. 3 pg. 66.

[25] Al Tabari: Tarikh al Rusul, vol. 3 pg. 95; Ibn Hajar: Al Isabah, vol. 1 pg. 640.

[26] Ibn Sa’d: Al Tabaqat al Kubra, vol. 9 pg. 499.

[27] Ibn Hajar: Al Isabah, vol. 5 pg. 2.

[28] Ibn ‘Abdul Barr: Al Isti’ab, vol. 3 pg. 268.

[29] Ibn Sa’d: Al Tabaqat al Kubra, vol. 9 pg. 499.

[30] Ibn ‘Asakir: Tarikh Dimashq, vol. 46 pg. 155.

[31] Ibn ‘Asakir: Tarikh Dimashq, vol. 46 pg. 144.

[32] Al Waqidi: Al Maghazi, vol. 1 pg. 937.

[33]Al Waqidi: Futuh al Sham, vol. 1 pg. 201.

[34] Dr. Ibrahim Hassan: Tarikh ‘Amr, pg. 247.

[35] Musnad Ahmed: Hadith: 6477. Al Arna’ut said, “The chain of narration is according to the conditions of Sheikhayn.” This narration is found in the Sahihayn albeit with brevity.

[36] Ibn ‘Asakir: Tarikh Dimashq, vol. 46 pg. 181.

[37] ‘Amr ibn al ‘As: Al Amir al Mujahid, pg. 436.

[38] Musnad Ahmed: Hadith: 17807 with a chain of reliable narrators up to al Hassan al Basri, though it is munqati as stated by al Arnawut in his research of the hadith.

[39] A substance that is applied to the body of the deceased.

[40] Ibn al Mubarak: Kitab al Jihad: 115 and 114 from another chain of narrators in brief; Al Bayhaqi: Al Madkhal ila al Sunan al Kubra: 631.

[41] Musnad Ahmed: Hadith: 17771. Shu’ayb al Arna’ut said, “The chain of narration is authentic according to the conditions of Imam Muslim. The narration is in Sahih Muslim, Book of Fasting: Chapter on the virtue of suhur: Hadith:1096 without mention of the continuous fast of ‘Amr ibn al ‘As.

[42] Al Kamil fi al Tarikh, vol. 2 pg. 249; al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, vol. 9 pg. 541.

[43] Al Jawzi: Kashf al Mushkil, vol. 4 pg. 109; Al Dhahabi: Siyar A’lam an-Nubala’, vol. 3 pg. 45.

[44] Sunan Abu Dawood: 334; Musannaf ‘Abdur Razzaq: 878; Musnad Ahmed: 17812; Al Mustadrak ‘ala al Sahihayn: 629 and others.

[45] Ibn ‘Abdul Hakam: Futuh Misr wa Akhbariha, pg. 99; al Darqutni: Al Mu’talif wa al Mukhtalif, vol. 1 pg. 1003.

[46] Ibn Taghribirdi: Al Nujum al Zahirah fi Muluk Misr wa al Qahirah, vol. 1 pg. 33.

[47] Al Tabari: Tarikh al Rusul, vol. 2 pg. 600; Al Kala’i: Al Iktifa, vol. 4 pg. 45; Al Nuwayri: Nihayah al Arab, vol. 19 pg. 261.

[48] Ibn ‘Abdul Barr: Al Isti’ab, vol. 1 pg. 368.

[49] Al Fayfa is a spacious land between the al Jamawat mountain range to the west of al Madinah. It used to have high peaks, valleys, and terraces of trees until recently. Its development and infrastructure has almost included it into al Madinah itself.  Today it is known as Al Du’aythah.

[50] Al Radwa Mount is located in one of the Yanbu’ villages, west of al Madinah.

[51] A mountain in al Madinah.

[52] Translators note: Asphodel (Asphodelus ramosus) is a relative of the lily and native to Europe. Some cultures associated it with the death and the underworld.

[53] Ibn Hisham: Al Sirah al Nabawiyyah, vol. 4 pg. 99.

[54] Ibn Hisham: Al Sirah al Nabawiyyah, vol. 4 pg. 101; al Suhayli: Al Rawd al Unuf, vol. 3 pg. 337. Ibn Hisham and some scholars of poetry think its attribution to ‘Amr ibn al ‘As as incorrect.

[55] Mudhhij: Ibn al ‘Arabi said, “He is from the sons of Udud ibn Zaid ibn Yashjub and his mother is Dhillah bint Dhi Minshajan al Himyari. Yaqut: Mujam al Buldan, vol. 5 pg. 89.

[56] Sakasik is the name of a tribe of Yemen, named in attribution to Sakasik ibn Ashras ibn Thawr. Yaqut: Mujam al Buldan, vol. 3 pg. 229.

[57] Azd: One of the biggest and most famous Arab tribes. They are attributed to Al Azd ibn al Gawth ibn Nabt ibn Malik ibn Kahlan. They split into four branches. Azd Shanu’ah, Azd Ghassan, who reside in the Arabian Peninsula and in The Levant, Azd al Sarat who live at a mountain with the same name. And Azd ‘Umman who live in ‘Umman. ‘Umar Rida Kahalah: Mujam Qaba’il al  ‘Arab al Qadimah wa al Hadithah, vol. 1 pg. 15.

[58] Al Waqidi: Al Riddah pgs. 57,58.

[59] All of the sayings that have passed were reported by Ibn ‘Asakir: Tarikh Dimashq, 46/183-189.

[60] Ibn ‘Abdul Hakam: Futuh Misr, pg. 47; also see, Al Mawa’iz wa al I’tibar, vol. 1 pgs. 444-447.

[61] Al Waqidi: Al Maghazi, vol. 2 pf. 741; Ibn Kathir in Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, vol. 6 pg. 400.

[62] Al Fakihi: Akhbar Makkah, vol. 3 pg. 205; Ibn ‘Asakir: Tarikh Dimashq, vol. 46 pg. 182.

[63] Wajj: A valley in the direction of al Ta’if. Ibn Qutaybah: Ta’wil Mukhtalaf al Hadith, pg. 309.

[64] Yaqut: Mujam al Buldan, vol. 5 pg. 444.

[65] Al Dhahabi: Siyar A’lam an-Nubala’, vol. 3 pg. 77.

[66] Abu ‘Umar al Kindi al Misri: Kitab al Wulat wa Kitab al Qudat, pg. 28.

[67] Al Mizzi: Tahdhib al Kamal, vol. 29 pg. 472.

[68] Ibn Hajar: Taqrib al Tahdhib: 7166. Ibn ‘Adi comments thus:

وعامة ما أنكر عليه هو هذا الذي ذكرته وأرجوا أن يكون باقي حديثه مستقیما

Most of what they penalize him for are these narrations I have mentioned. I have hope that the rest of his narrations are fine. [Ibn ‘Adi: Al Kamil fi Du’afa al Rijal, vol. 8 pg. 256.]

[69] Al Dhahabi: Mizan al I’tidal, vol. 4 pg. 267.

[70] Ibn ‘Asakir: Tarikh Dimashq, vol. 49 pg. 132.

[71] Al Fakihi: Akhbar Makkah, vol. 3 pg. 205. The chain of narration for this report is as follows:

Sa’id ibn ‘Abdur Rahman al Makhzumi from — Sufyan from — ‘Amr ibn Dinar.

The assertion of the al Waht estate being an endowment is upheld by it being a commonly known fact during the golden era of Islam. Al Humaidi, the teacher of al Bukhari said:

 

وتصدق أبو بكر الصديق  رضي الله عنه بداره بمكة على ولده ، فهي إلى اليوم ، وتصدق عمر بن الخطاب  رضي الله عنه بربعه عند المروة وبالثنية على ولده، فهي إلى اليوم، وتصدق علي بن أبي طالب  رضي الله عنه بأرضه بينبع، فهي إلى اليوم ،… وعثمان بن عفان  رضي الله عنه برومة ، فهي إلى اليوم، وعمرو بن العاص  رضي الله عنه بالوهط من الطائف وداره بمكة على ولده ، فذلك إلى اليوم

Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu endowed his house at Makkah to his children, and it stands the same today. ‘Umar ibn al Khattab radiya Llahu ‘anhu endowed his residence at Marwah and Thaniyyah to his children, and it stands the same today. ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu endowed his land at Yambu’, and it stands the same today…. And ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan radiya Llahu ‘anhu endowed Rumah, and it stands the same today. ‘Amr ibn al ‘As endowed his estate of al Waht at Ta’if and his house in Makkah to his children, and it stands the same today…

 

This narration has been recorded by al Bayhaqi through the chain of Sa’id Yahya ibn Muhammad ibn Yahya al Maharjani al Khatib from — Abu Bahr al Barbhari from — Bishr ibn Musa from — Abu Bakr ‘Abdullah ibn al Zubair al Humaidi. [Al Bayhaqi: Al Sunan al Kubra, vol. 6 pg. 266.]

[72] Sahih Muslim, vol. 1 pg. 112: Hadith: 121.

[73] Musnad Ahmed, vol. 4 pg. 199. The chain of narration for this report is as follows:

‘Affan from — al Aswad ibn Shayban from — Abu Nawfal ibn Abi ‘Aqrab.

Shu’ayb al Arna’ut said, “The chain of transmission is authentic in accordance with the requirements of Muslim.”

[74] Ibn Sa’d: Al Tabaqat al Kubra, vol. 4 pg. 260. The chain of narration for this report is as follows:

‘Ubaidullah ibn Abi Musa from — Isra’il from — ‘Abdullah ibn al Mukhtar from — Muawiyah ibn Qurrah al Muzani from — Abu Harb ibn Abi al Aswad from — ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr.

The chain is sound as ‘Abdullah ibn al Mukhtar is a narrator of Muslim. Ibn Ma’in and al Nasa’i have deemed him reliable. Abu Hatim said, “There is no issue with him.” See, Tahdhib al Kamal, vol. 16 pg. 112.

[75] Tarikh Abu Zur’ah al Dimashqi, pg. 594. This narration has been recorded with a sound chain of transmission. Abu Zur’ah ‘Abdullah ibn Salih: He is Abu Salih al Misri, the scribe of al Layth. Al Hafiz has recounted differences of the scholars regarding his reliability as a narrator in Fath al Bari. He then comments:

 

ظاهر کلام هؤلاء الأئمة أن حديثه في الأول كان مستقیما ثم طرأ عليه فيه تخليط فمقتضى ذلك أن ما يجيء من روايته عن أهل الحذق کیحیی بن معين والبخاري وأبي زرعة وأبي حاتم فهو من صحيح حديثه ، وما يجيء من رواية الشيوخ عنه فيتوقف فيه ، والأحاديث التي رواها البخاري عنه في الصحيح بصيغة حدثنا أو قال لي أو قال المجردة قليلة

The purport of the views held by the erudite scholars is that his earlier narrations are sound. Later on his narrations became muddled. Accordingly, those narrations of his that are narrated by those skilled and proficient in matters of narration such as Abu Zur’ah and Abu Hatim will be considered as his authentic narrations. As for those that come from others, judgement should be reserved. Further those narrations that are recorded by al Bukhari in his al Sahih with the form ‘haddathana’, ‘qal li’ or ‘qal’ are minimal. [Ibn Hajar: Fath al Bari, vol. 1 pg. 414.]

 

Rabi’ah: He is Ibn Laqit ibn Harithah ibn ‘Umairah al—Tajibi. He lived in Egypt and disseminated hadith there, narrating from Muawiyah, ‘Amr ibn al ‘As, ‘Abdullah ibn Hawalah, and Malik ibn Hadm. Muhammad ibn Ishaq, Yazid ibn Abi Habib, and others have narrated from him. Abu Sa’id ibn Yunus said, “He was at Siffin with Muawiyah.” Al ‘Ijli said, “A Tabi’i, reliable.” Ibn Hibban has recounted him amongst the reliable. See, Ta’jil al Manfa’ah, vol. 1 pg. 530. Al Hakim has authenticated his narration in al Mustadrak, vol. 3 pg. 108. Al Dhahabi has concurred with him. Al Haythami has deemed him reliable in al Majma’, vol. 7 pg. 334. Al Albani has, after relating the narration ‘Whoever is saved from three things are truly saved’, comments, “The chain of transmission is authentic with reliable narrators. The narrators are those of Sheikhayn except for Rabi’ah ibn Laqit al Tajibi, and he is reliable. Ibn Hibban and al ‘Ijli has deemed him reliable. A group narrated from him.” See, Al Sunnah of Ibn Abi ‘Asim with the annotations of al Albani: Hadith: 1177.

[76] Al Dhahabi: Siyar A’lam an-Nubala’, vol. 3 pg. 77.

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