Jannat is the epitome of satisfaction of desires. We are all desirous of securing our admittance therein. How about an individual who Jannat desires. “Jannat desires three, ‘Ali, ‘Ammar and Salman,” said Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. What are the qualities needed for Jannat to desire one? The biography of this prominent Companion will have the answer.
Sayyidina ‘Ammar ibn Yasir radiya Llahu ‘anhu accepted Islam in his early thirties and is listed among the very first to enter its fold. Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala had selected him for an honour, the affluent of the time were deprived of, due to their arrogance and obstinacy. He accepted Islam with Sayyidina Suhayb ibn Sinan radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Actually, both of them had met at the door of Dar al Arqam coincidentally and enquired from each other the reason for their visit. They both had intended to listen to Rasulullah’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam speech. Accordingly, they both entered, listened to Rasulullah’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam presentation of Islam, and embraced Islam at his hands.
Sayyidina ‘Ammar ibn Yasir radiya Llahu ‘anhu, like majority of the early Muslims, had an underprivileged background; he was the son of a slave woman. Hence, he had no status in society. But it was this very class of people whose hearts Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala chose for iman. When Rasulullah’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam mission began, the poor were the very first to answer his call. Being poor, or a slave, was not the criteria for admittance into Islam’s fold. Nay, rather it was the keenness of the bondsman to be connected to his Master coupled with his humbleness and sincerity.
Imam al Bukhari has recorded Hiraql’s statement in his magnum opus Sahih al Bukhari, in the very first chapter of his book. He states, “I then asked you whether the rich people followed him (Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) or the poor. You replied that it was the poor who followed him. And in fact all the Messengers have been followed by this very class of people.”
His father, Sayyidina Yasir radiya Llahu ‘anhu, was an Arab, a Qahtani and a Mudh-haji from ‘Ans, a tribe in Yemen. The son Sayyidina ‘Ammar radiya Llahu ‘anhu, however, was a freed slave of the Banu Makhzum. This is because Sayyidina Yasir radiya Llahu ‘anhu married a slave girl belonging to the Banu Makhzum who bore ‘Ammar for him. His agnomen is Abu al Yaqzan.
He was brown in complexion, tall, of a restive disposition, bluish-black eyed, and had broad shoulders. He would not dye his grey hairs. It is said that the front portion of his head was bald with few strands of hair. That is his physical description. What about his spiritual description? None other than Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala knows what the deep recesses of the heart contain. However, Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala apprises His Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam sometimes of aspects of the unseen, like in this case. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam described his spiritual rank as, “‘Ammar’s heart overflows with Faith.”
As was the norm of the time, the weak were persecuted and tortured to quit their religion. Sayyidina ‘Ammar radiya Llahu ‘anhu was among the weak, as he had no strong family support. Knowing full well that he would undergo torture, Sayyidina ‘Ammar radiya Llahu ‘anhu chose to openly proclaim his faith. The polytheists caught hold of him and began their cruelty. He would be starved and made to swelter on the burning hot sands of Makkah. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam would advise him to persevere and would announce, “Rejoice O family of ‘Ammar and O family of Yasir, for certainly your abode is Jannat.” His entire family were promised Jannat. A household of Islam and a household of dwellers of Jannat.
The mushrikin brutally beat him and ruthlessly tortured him. He submitted somewhat to their demands, with aversion and disgust, just to be relieved of the pain. His heart, however, was still brimming with faith. Yet, he was perturbed as to whether his action was sanctioned or not. So he resorted to the presence of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam seeking consolation. He explained to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam what he had done, and clarified that his heart was secure in faith. The Sublime’s words were revealed to absolve him of blame: 
إِلَّا مَنْ أُكْرِهَ وَقَلْبُهُ مُطْمَئِنٌّ بِالْإِيْمَانِ
Except for one who is forced [to renounce his religion] while his heart is secure in faith.
Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam has stated in the hadith, “Allah has forgiven my nation for mistakes and forgetfulness, and what they are forced to do.”
That is the beauty of the galaxy of Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum. They had diverse temperaments and assorted methodologies, making it easy upon the ummah to emulate them. When Muslims are persecuted or oppressed, there will be those who are relentless. They are reviving the Sunnah of Sayyidina Bilal radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Others, on the other hand, will give in somewhat. They are practicing on the lenient approach of Sayyidina ‘Ammar radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
He had yet another amazing quality which Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam highlighted, “‘Ammar is not given a choice between two matters, except that he chooses the one with more guidance in it.” This is very similar to the quality Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam possessed. Never did Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam make a choice between two things but he adopted the easier one as compared to the difficult one. His choice for the easier one was only in cases where it did not involve any sin. If it involved sin he was the one who was the farthest from it amongst the people.
Sayyidina ‘Ammar radiya Llahu ‘anhu then made hijrah to Madinah, and participated in all the major battles, including Badr, Uhud, Hamra’ al Asad, Khandaq, Hudaybiyyah, Khaybar, the Conquest of Makkah, and Tabuk.
You might have realised by now that this individual was blessed and is one of the renowned and distinguished Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum. There’s more. He was the first to build a Masjid in Islam. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam stopped in Quba’, a town on the outskirts of Madinah, during his hijrah journey. It was here where Sayyidina ‘Ammar radiya Llahu ‘anhu built a Masjid for Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, making him the first Muslim to build a Masjid. He is also the first to designate a section of his house as a masjid for worship.
Sayyidina ‘Ammar radiya Llahu ‘anhu will receive his share of reward for all the Masajid that will be built till the Day of Qiyamah, since whoever introduces a good action that is followed after him will receive the reward of all those who carry out the action, without their reward being diminished in the least.
After Rasulullah’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam demise, he joined the armies who fought in the wars of apostasy. He fought in the epic battle of Yamamah against the notorious, Musaylamah al Kadhab. His ear was cut off during the course of battle, but this did not dampen his spirit and he continued fighting like a lion. After climbing a rock, he shouted to the Muslims, “Are you running away from Jannat? Come to me, come to me. I am ‘Ammar ibn Yasir.” Saying this, he rushed into the thick of battle and continued fighting ferociously despite his injury. Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala described the ones who opposed apostasy in the Qur’an:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِيْنَ أٰمَنُوْا مَنْ يَرْتَدَّ مِنْكُمْ عَنْ دِيْنِهِ فَسَوْفَ يَأْتِي اللّٰهُ بِقَوْمٍ يُحِبُّهُمْ وَيُحِبُّوْنَهُ أَذِلَّةٍ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِيْنَ أَعِزَّةٍ عَلَى الْكَافِرِيْنَ يُجَاهِدُوْنَ فِيْ سَبِيْلِ اللّٰهِ وَلَا يَخَافُوْنَ لَوْمَةَ لَآئِمٍ ذٰلِكَ فَضْلُ اللّٰهِ يُؤْتِيْهِ مَنْ يَشَآءُ وَاللّٰهُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيْمٌ
O you who have believed, whoever of you should revert from his religion – Allah will bring forth [in place of them] a people He will love and who will love Him [who are] humble toward the believers, powerful against the disbelievers; they strive in the cause of Allah and do not fear the blame of a critic. That is the favour of Allah; He bestows it upon whom He wills. And Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing.
He was beloved to Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala. So beloved, that whoever hates him will be hated by Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala. Once, someone had a skirmish with Sayyidina ‘Ammar radiya Llahu ‘anhu and came complaining to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. The person used nasty words towards Sayyidina ‘Ammar radiya Llahu ‘anhu, which made him weep. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam cautioned the man, “Whoever is an enemy to ‘Ammar is an enemy to Allah. And whoever harbours hatred for ‘Ammar, is hated by Allah.” Thereafter, nothing was more beloved to the man than ‘Ammar’s happiness.
The list of his virtues and excellences never seem to end. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam informed us, “Act on the guidance of ‘Ammar.” Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam labelled him as pure and purified. Once he sought permission to enter upon Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam who said, “Permit him. Greetings to the pure one, the purified.” He would speak very little and remain silent most of the time.
Sayyidina ‘Umar ibn al Khattab radiya Llahu ‘anhu had high regard for this renowned Sahabi. After appointing him governor of Kufah, he wrote to the residents, “After praising Allah, certainly I have sent to you ‘Ammar as leader and ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud as vizier. They are from the highbred Companions of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, so listen to them and emulate them.”
‘Alqamah says that when he went to Sham, he enquired as to which Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum were present there. He asked, “Is the person whom Allah has protected against Shaitan (as Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said) amongst you?” The person who was given Allah’s refuge on the tongue of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was Sayyidina ‘Ammar radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
When the caliphate of Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu began, he supported him to the fullest and participated in the battles alongside him. He was martyred on the side of Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu in the Battle of Siffin at the age of 93 in the year 37 A.H. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam informed him that the last thing he would drink of this world would be milk. And the prophecy was spot on.
Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam also said to Sayyidina ‘Ammar radiya Llahu ‘anhu as he was digging the trench (on the occasion of the Battle of the Trench), “O son of Sumayyah, you will be involved in trouble and the transgressing party would kill you.” Another version has the wording, “Rejoice, ‘Ammar, the transgressing party shall kill you.” May Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala be pleased with him and make him happy.
 Sunan al Tirmidhi, Hadith: 3797; Musnad Abi Ya’la, vol. 5 pg. 164; al Mujam al Kabir, vol. 6 pg. 215; al Mustadrak, vol. 3 pg. 148; al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, vol. 8 pg. 98.
 Usd al Ghabah, pg. 890, Biography: 3805.
 Sahih al Bukhari, Hadith: 6.
 Usd al Ghabah, pg. 890, Biography: 3805.
 Sunan al Nasa’i, Vol. 6, Book 47, Hadith 5010; Sunan Ibn Majah, Vol. 1, Book 1, Hadith 147.
 Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah, vol. 7 pg. 537.
 Al Mujam al Awsat, Hadith: 1566; Ma’rifat al Sahabah, Hadith: 6664; al Mustadrak, Hadith: 5666; al Dala’il, vol. 2 pg. 282; al Tabaqat, vol. 3 pg. 249.
 Al Tabaqat, vol. 3 pg. 249; Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah, vol. 7 pg. 524; Tafsir al Tabari, vol. 11 pg. 534.
 Surah al Nahl: 106.
 Sunan Ibn Majah, Vol. 3, Book 10, Hadith 2045. Grade: sahih.
 Jami’ al Tirmidhi, Vol. 1, Book 46, Hadith 3799.
 Sahih al Bukhari, Vol. 8, Book 81, Hadith 777; Sahih Muslim, Book 30, Hadith 5754.
 Usd al Ghabah, pg. 892, Biography: 3805.
 Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, vol. 8 pg. 98.
 Jami’ al Tirmidhi, Hadith: 2675; Sunan Ibn Majah, Hadith: 212. Grade: Sahih.
 Usd al Ghabah, pg. 892, Biography: 3805.
 Surah al Ma’idah: 54.
 Musnad Ahmed, Hadith: 16373; Mirqat al Mafatih, Hadith: 6256.
 Jami’ al Tirmidhi, Vol. 1, Book 46, Hadith 3805.
 Jami’ al Tirmidhi, Vol. 1, Book 46, Hadith 3798; al Adab al Mufrad, Book 42, Hadith 1031; Sunan Ibn Majah, Vol. 1, Book 1, Hadith 146.
 Siyar A’lam al Nubala’, vol. 3 pg. 256.
 Al Tabaqat al Kubra, vol. 6 pg. 7; al Mujam al Kabir, vol. 9 pg. 86; Majma’ al Zawa’id, vol. 9 pg. 253.
 Sahih al Bukhari, vol. 4, Book 54, Hadith 507.
 Tahdhib al Asma’, vol. 1 pg. 545; Usd al Ghabah, vol. 1 pg. 808; Tarikh al Islam, vol. 3 pg. 572; al Isabah, vol. 4 pg. 575.
 Musnad Ahmed, Hadith: 18500; Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah, Hadith: 37185.
 Sahih Muslim, Book 41, Hadith 6966.
 Jami’ al Tirmidhi, Vol. 1, Book 46, Hadith 3800.Back to top