Anas radiya Llahu ‘anhu said:
افتخر الحيان الأوس والخزرج فقال الأوس منا أربعة من اهتز له العرش سعد بن معاذ ومن عدلت شهادته شهادة رجلين خزيمة بن ثابت ومن غسلته الملائكة حنظلة بن أبي عامر ومن حمته الدبر عاصم بن ثابت فقال الخزرج منا أربعة جمعوا القرآن لم يجمعه غيرهم: أبى بن كعب ، ومعاذ بن جبل، وزيد بن ثابت، وأبو زيد: قلت لأنس من أبو زيد قال أحد عمومتي
On one occasion the Aws and Khazraj tribes boasted to each other.
The Aws said, “We have four great men (due to which we are more virtuous): Sa’d ibn Muaz, due to whom the ‘Arsh of Allah shook (on his martyrdom); Khuzaimah ibn Thabit, whose testimony was equal to the testimony of two men; Hanzalah ibn Abi ‘Amir, who the angels washed; and ‘Asim ibn Thabit, who the wasps protected.”
The Khazraj said, “We too have four great men who gathered the Qur’an and none besides them gathered it; Ubay ibn Ka’b, Muaz ibn Jabal, Zaid ibn Thabit, and Abu Zaid.”
Qatadah says, “I asked Anas, who is Abu Zaid?”
He replied, “One of my uncles.”
The chain of narration of this is sound. Al Diya al Maqdisi has recorded it in al Ahadith al Mukhtarah by way of al Tabrani in al Jami’ al Kabir. Ibn Abi Shaybah is a Hafiz who has narrated much ahadith. Those that have criticised him are mistaken. Many others have narrated the same.
Scholars such as al Hakim, al Diya al Maqdisi, Ibn ‘Asakir, al Dhahabi, al Busayri, and others have pronounced this narration as authentic.
Commentary and Lessons Learnt from this Narration:
1. The great virtue of those mentioned of the Aws tribe.
2. The great virtue of those mentioned of the Khazraj tribe.
3. The honour and virtue of the Ansar. They contributed to Islam by wielding the sword and the pen; fighting to preserve the religion and giving their best to the compilation of the Qur’an.
4. This narration refutes the misguided attempts of the Batiniyyah, who proclaim the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum apostate; the Batiniyyah hold the belief that the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum turned renegade after the passing of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. We ask them:
What of that Companion for whom the ‘Arsh shook? What of that Companion whose testimony equaled to two? What of the one whom the angels washed? And of the one divinely protected from the conniving plans of the disbelievers? And of those that fought to preserve the faith and were subsequently martyred? And of those that protected the Qur’an after Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam? Did these Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum turn apostate?
Can any sane individual hold the view that these noblemen turned away from Islam after Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam? Why did they not leave in the lifetime of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam? Surely they were of the bravest and most courageous men to have lived! Their families were killed, their wealth plundered, and their homes snatched away! Through all this they stood by Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and their Islamic faith. Is it then plausible to believe that after going through all this and remaining steadfast they left the fold of Islam? Nay!
Such abstruse assumptions are drivel spewing forth from those whose hearts have been sealed from the truth and whose eyes could not see light with a thousand suns.
5. The narration states, “Who gathered the Qur’an and none besides them gathered it’’. I have discussed the purport of this statement in my book al Madkhal ‘ila ‘Ulum al Qur’an ‘inda Ahlus Sunnah wa Al Jama’ah. Furthermore, I have established that there were many Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum who memorized the Qur’an during the lifetime of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and after his passing. The best explanation is that they had meant no one besides them from the Ansar. Hafiz ibn Kathir has opted for this explanation, as recorded in the beginning of his Tafsir.
6. “Sa’d ibn Muaz, due to whom the ‘Arsh of Allah sh” This narration is found in both Sahih al Bukhari and Sahih Muslim. ‘Arsh is attributed to Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala here, it is of the greatest creations of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala. The shaking of the ‘Arsh was out of happiness on the arrival of Sa’d ibn Muaz as is established through other narrations.
7. The permissibility of taking pride and boasting by pious men as long as it does not lead to haughtiness and discord.
8. Question: Why did the Khazraj boast by four and the Aws by four?
Answer: Though others had many great qualities, these eight had received honours that were unsurpassed. Each had a virtue that was specific to them. As for the gathering of the Qur’an, one should note that this narration does not exclude others that that helped with the gathering of the Qur’an, rather it mentions the four who were the subject of discussion; boasting of the tribes the Aws and Khazraj.
9. The feats of the pious should be discussed in gatherings so they may not be forgotten, becoming mere footnotes of history.
10. This narration mentions such honour for the Ansar that no one to come after them could receive the same. They honoured Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and so Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala gave them an honour unsurpassed. The rule is quite clear,
الجزاء من جنس العمل
Actions are recompensed by the like thereof.
11. The Qur’an held a high status in the hearts of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum. Take for example Zaid ibn Thabit radiya Llahu ‘anhu, he memorised the Qur’an as a young lad which became a source of pride for his tribe.
 See, Dalail al Nubuwwah, pg.486; al Mu’jam al Kabir, vol. 4 pg. 10.Back to top