Remembering the Sahabah (ra) of RasulAllah صلى الله عليه وسلم fills the hearts of the believers with joy. They are the heroes who not only followed the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم, but also supported him with their wealth and their blood. The Sahabah (ra) mainly consisted of two groups: the Muhajireen and the Ansar. The Muhajireen, such as Abu Bakr (ra), Umar (ra) and Ali (ra), were those who supported the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم in Makkah, amidst the relentless persecution by the Quraysh. It is from this group that the Khulafah Rashideen came. The other group was the Ansar. They were the people from Madinah who gave Nusrah (material support) and the bayah (pledge of allegiance) to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and by the permission of Allah سبحانه وتعالى made the hijrah possible.
The event of the Hijrah was a turning point in the history of Islam. Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, in his book Fath Al-Bari, records that the Khaleefah Umar (ra) is reported to have remarked:
“The Hijrah has separated truth from falsehood; therefore, let it become the Epoch of the Era.”
Reflecting on the examples of the Ansar reveals how vital their role was to the establishment of Islam as a political entity – a force that would become the launching point of the Islamic dawah – which spread from the borders of China to the borders of France in less than a hundred years.
Virtues and Merits of Those Who Provide the Nusrah
In the Glorious Quran, Allah سبحانه وتعالى has described the Ansar with qualities that every true believer aspires to attain. Allah سبحانه وتعالى was pleased with them and they were pleased with Him سبحانه وتعالى and He سبحانه وتعالى has prepared Jannah as their eternal dwelling.
Allah سبحانه وتعالى has revealed:
وَالسَّابِقُونَ الْأَوَّلُونَ مِنَ الْمُهَاجِرِينَ وَالْأَنْصَارِ وَالَّذِينَ اتَّبَعُوهُمْ بِإِحْسَانٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُوا عَنْهُ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي تَحْتَهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا أَبَدًا ۚ ذَٰلِكَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ
“And the foremost to embrace Islam of the Muhajirun (those who migrated from Makkah to Al-Madinah) and the Ansar (the people of Madinah who gave Nusrah to Islam) and also those who followed them exactly (in Faith). Allah is well-pleased with them as they are well-pleased with Him. He has prepared for them Gardens under which rivers flow (Paradise), to dwell therein forever. That is the supreme success.” [Tawba, 9:100]
In the saheeh hadith, it is narrated that we are obligated to love the Ansar:
“Love for the Ansar is a sign of faith and hatred for the Ansar is a sign of hypocrisy.” [Bukhari & Muslim]
“None but the believer loves them, none but the hypocrite hates them. He who loved them loved Allah and he who hated them hated Allah.” [Tirmidhi]
“No man who believes in Allah and the Day of Judgment hates the Ansar.” [Muslim]
Furthermore, it has been narrated that the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم identified the Ansar as a people whom he loved:
“The Prophet saw the women and children (of the Ansar) coming forward. (The sub-narrator said, “I think that Anas said, ‘They were returning from a wedding party.'”) The Prophet stood up and said three times, “By Allah! You are from the most beloved people to me.” [Bukhari]
“A woman from the Ansar came to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم along with her child and spoke to him, so the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “By the one who has my soul in His hand, you (the Ansar) are dearest to me of all people” he said this twice.” [Muslim]
Sa’ad ibn Mu’adh (ra)
Amongst the Ansar, Sa’ad ibn Mu’adh’s (ra) acceptance of Islam was pivotal in allowing Madinah to become the Islamic State. Before Musab ibn Umayr (ra) invited Sa’ad to Islam, Musab’s (ra) host from the Ansar, As’ad ibn Zurarah (ra) said about Sa’ad ibn Mu’adh (ra):
“O Musab, by Allah the leader who is followed by his people has come to you. If he follows you, no two of them will remain behind.”
After accepting Islam, Sa’ad (ra) returned to his tribe and asked them:
“O Banu ‘Abd al-Ashhal, how do you rate my authority amongst you?” They replied, “You are our chief, the most active in our interests, the best in judgment and the most fortunate in leadership.” He said, “I will not speak to a man or woman among you until you believe in Allah and his Messenger.”
As a result, every man and woman from Banu ‘Abd al-Ashhal embraced Islam!
Before the Battle of Badr, RasulAllah صلى الله عليه وسلم consulted the Sahabah (ra) about whether they should confront the Quraysh. After some of the Sahabah (ra) gave their opinion, he صلى الله عليه وسلم said, addressing the Ansar who had pledged him allegiance, “Give me advice, O men!” Sa’ad ibn Mu’adh (ra) replied, “It seems as if you mean us, O Messenger of Allah.” He صلى الله عليه وسلم said, “Yes.” Sa’ad (ra) said:
“We believe in you, we declare your truth, and we witness that what you have brought us is the truth, and we have given you our word and agreement to hear and obey; so go where you wish, we are with you; and by He who sent you, if you were to ask us to cross this sea and you plunged into it, we would plunge into it with you; not a man would stay behind. We do not dislike the idea of meeting our enemy tomorrow. We are experienced in war, capable of fighting. It may well be that Allah will let us show you something which will bring you joy, so take us along with Allah’s blessing.”
Sa’ad ibn Muadh (ra) played a vital role in supporting RasulAllah صلى الله عليه وسلم and in establishing Islam as a way of life. And indeed Allah سبحانه وتعالى elevated his status – Bukhari narrated on the authority of Jabir (ra) who said, “I heard the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم say, ‘the heavens trembled at the death of Sa’ad bin Muadh.'” When the Muslims were carrying the body of Sa’ad they said, “We have not carried a dead body lighter than this.” And the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم replied to them: “Nothing made his body lighter, but it was such and such number of angels who descended and carried him along with you. Those angels had never before descended.” This is narrated in Tabaqat ibn Sa’ad. When Sa’ad’s soul was carried to the Creator, Jibreel (as) came to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and said: “Who was this good soul who died? The gates of the heavens were opened for him and the throne moved.” [Ahmed]
Seeking Nusrah: Shara’i Method to Assume Authority
The Ansar attained their special status by giving Nusrah to RasulAllah صلى الله عليه وسلم. However, the support did not come out of nowhere. Rather, RasulAllah صلى الله عليه وسلم had worked tirelessly to call the people of power to give him صلى الله عليه وسلم Nusrah. RasulAllah صلى الله عليه وسلم approached over 15 tribes, but none of them accepted his صلى الله عليه وسلم call.
It is narrated on the authority of Ibn Abbas (ra) in Ibn Hajar’s Fath ul Bari, which quotes Ali ibn Abi Talib (ra) who says:
“When Allah سبحانه وتعالى ordered the Prophet to approach the Arab tribes, I and Abu Bakr accompanied the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم to Mina until the court of the Arab tribes.”
It is established that the command to approach the Arab tribes and seek their support, as well as the timing of this approach came from Allah سبحانه وتعالى. The timing of this command coincided with the loss of protection and support for the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. RasulAllah صلى الله عليه وسلم was no longer safe and protected: the Quraysh would not allow him to carry the call of Allah سبحانه وتعالى, the public opinion in Makkah was against Islam, and there was no hope that the society in Makkah would accept his authority. Thus, the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم was ordered to seek Nusrah at that point in time to strengthen the da’wah and bring Islam to a position of authority. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم began the task of seeking Nusrah from Ta’if, which was considered one of the most powerful Arab tribes at the time. They rivaled the Quraysh in strength, prestige and authority. This was stressed by Walid ibn Mughairah when he questioned why the Quran was not revealed to the elite from Makkah and Taif (instead of the Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم):
وَقَالُوا لَوْلَا نُزِّلَ هَٰذَا الْقُرْآنُ عَلَىٰ رَجُلٍ مِنَ الْقَرْيَتَيْنِ عَظِيمٍ
“And they say: “Why is not this Qur’an sent down to some great man of the two towns (Makkah and Ta’if)?” [Az-Zukhruf, 43:31]
May Allah سبحانه وتعالى help us to work as the Sahabah (ra) did and invite the people of power and influence to Islam. May Allah سبحانه وتعالى guide the influential people amongst the Muslims. May Allah سبحانه وتعالى change our state of fear and poverty to one of security and prosperity.
وَاذْكُرُوا إِذْ أَنْتُمْ قَلِيلٌ مُسْتَضْعَفُونَ فِي الْأَرْضِ تَخَافُونَ أَنْ يَتَخَطَّفَكُمُ النَّاسُ فَآوَاكُمْ وَأَيَّدَكُمْ بِنَصْرِهِ وَرَزَقَكُمْ مِنَ الطَّيِّبَاتِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ
“And remember when you were few and were reckoned weak in the land, and were afraid that men might kidnap you, but He provided a safe place for you, strengthened you with His Help, and provided you with good things so that you might be grateful.” [Al-Anfaal, 8:26]