Abu Lubaba (r.a.)

Hz. Abu Lubaba is of Ansar. He became a Muslim before the Migration. He was one of the 75 Companions that took part in the Second Pledge of Aqaba. He made great efforts to spread Islam in Madinah.

Abu Lubaba was a member of the army of mujahids that was prepared to resist the Makkan polytheists who took action to eliminate the light of Islam at Badr. There were not enough camels; therefore, three Companions had to ride one camel in turns.   Abu Lubaba had the honor of riding the same camel as the Prophet. The third person was Hz. Ali. The Messenger of Allah rode the camel first. While Hz. Ali and Lubaba were walking, they did not want the Prophet to get off the camel. It would not be appropriate for them to ride the camel when the Messenger of Allah walked. As a matter of fact, when it was the Prophet’s turn to walk, they said, to him,

“O Messenger of Allah! Do not get off! We can walk.”

When they made this offer, the Prophet gave the following exemplary answer:

“You are not stronger than me in walking. Besides, I need thawabs as much as you do.”[1]

The Prophet never regarded himself privileged. He wanted equal treatment in all issues.

Abu Lubaba wanted to make jihad very much. He wanted to confront the enemies of Allah as soon as possible. They had not confronted the enemy yet. The Prophet sent Abu Lubaba back to Madinah to act as his proxy. Abu Lubaba’s duty was to protect the women and children in Madinah against the possible attacks of Jews and hypocrites.

The Muslims won the Battle of Badr. The polytheists were defeated; some booty was taken from them. When the Prophet distributed the booty among the mujahids, he spared a share for Abu Lubaba as if he had taken part in the battle. Afterwards, Abu Lubaba took part in the battles of Uhud and Khandaq. He acted heroically in those battles.  

When the Prophet migrated to Madinah, he made a treaty with Banu Qurayza Jews as he did with other Jewish tribes. Banu Qurayza promised that they would protect Madinah with the Muslims if Madinah was raided from outside. However, they broke their promise during the Battle of Khandaq, which was a critical battle. Instead of helping the Muslims, they supported the polytheists. They wanted to stab the mujahids in the back. They even asked helped from the polytheists to attack the women and children in Madinah. The Muslims had to cope with the Jews while fighting against the polytheists. The Prophet sent an army unit of 500 people to   Madinah.

Banu Qurayza Jews provided arms to the Jews. They set up a market near them to meet their food needs. In addition, they fought against the Muslims for 10 days together with the polytheists

When the Battle of Khandaq ended, the Prophet returned to Madinah and put down his weapons. Meanwhile, Jibril arrived. He shook off his dust on him and said to the Prophet (pbuh), “O Messenger of Allah! Have you put down your weapons? We have not put down our weapons yet. The angels have not put down their weapons since they came to you. They did not return unless they followed the polytheists. May Allah forgive you! Get up, put on your arms and walk against them.” The Prophet asked, “Where? Against whom?” Hz. Jibril pointed toward the direction of Banu Qurayza Jews and said, “There! I am going to their castle with the angels that are with me.” [2]

The Prophet and the Muslims proceeded toward Banu Qurayza Jews without resting in order to punish their treason. They besieged the Jews. This siege lasted more than 20 days. Finally, the Jews wanted to make a treaty when they fell very weak. They asked the Messenger of Allah to send them Abu Lubaba to make a treaty. For, Abu Lubaba’s wealth and children were with them. Therefore, they hoped he would help them and decree in favor of them.

The Prophet called Hz. Abu Lubaba and said, “Go to your allies. They are calling you.” Thereupon, Abu Lubaba went to the Jews. Before he left, the Prophet informed him about what to say and how to act.

The women and the children were crying. They expected help from Abu Lubaba. The men welcomed him and said to him,

“O Abu Lubaba! We are your allies. We do not have any power left to fight anymore. What is your view? What do you order us to do? Do you find it appropriate for us to surrender by obeying the order of Muhammad?”

Abu Lubaba said, “Yes, I find it appropriate for you to surrender. He pointed to his throat as he said it. With this gesture he meant, “This means to be slaughtered. If you surrender based on the decree of the Messenger of Allah, he will slaughter you.” [3]

With this act, Abu Lubaba revealed a secret of the Prophet. For, when the Prophet sent him as an envoy, he had told him what he would do to them. They deserved death because they had broken their promise and betrayed the Muslims. As a matter of fact, that Prophet killed all of the men of Banu Qurayza Jews afterwards upon the permission of Allah. Besides, such a decree existed in the Torah, the book of Jews. They knew about what would happen to them.    

After revealing the secret of the Prophet to Banu Qurayza, Abu Lubaba realized that he had made a mistake and regretted.  Hz. Abu Lubaba expresses his regret and repentance as follows: 

“No sooner had I left their land, I realized that I had made a mistake against Allah and His Messenger. I regretted dearly and said, ‘We all belong to Allah and to Him we will return.’ The Jews said to me, ‘O Abu Lubaba! What happened to you?’ I said, ‘I betrayed Allah and His Messenger.’ My tears wetted my beard. I came down from the fortress. Then, I went to the mosque through another road. I had myself tied to a pillar. I said to myself, ‘Allah knows my heart. I will not leave this place unless He accepts my repentance. I will not approach Banu Qurayza again; I do not want to see the land where I betrayed Allah and His Messenger either.’” [4]

Everybody could make a mistake. What matters is to show the virtue of correcting that mistake and to repent. That Abu Lubaba did not want to be seen by anybody and that he had himself tied to a pillar are enough to show how much re regretted.

Abu Lubaba’s mistake is stated as follows in the Quran:

“O ye that believe! Betray not the trust of Allah and the Messenger, nor misappropriate knowingly things entrusted to you?” [5]

As Hz. Abu Lubaba did not return for a long time, the Prophet said to his Companions, “What happened to Abu Lubaba? Has his talk to them not finished yet?” The Companions told him about what had happened. When the Messenger of Allah heard about it, he said, “If he had come to me, I would have asked forgiveness for him from Allah. I will not do anything about him until God Almighty decrees about him.” [6]

Abu Lubaba remained tied to the pillar of the mosque. The weather was very hot. He did not eat or drink anything for a week. He lost his hearing. When it was time for prayer, his wife would come and untie him; after the prayer, she would tie him again.

Finally, when the Prophet was in the home of Umm Salama, one of his wives, he received a revelation. The Messenger of Allah started to smile. Umm Salama asked: “O Messenger of Allah! Why are you smiling?” He said, “The repentance of Abu Lubaba has been accepted.” Upon the permission of the Messenger of Allah, Umm Salama stood out of her room and addressed Abu Lubaba as follows: “O Abu Lubaba! Rejoice! Allah has accepted your repentance.”

The Companions ran in order to untie him from the pillar. Abu Lubaba said, “No. I will not leave this pillar unless the Messenger of Allah unties me with his own hands.” The Prophet untied him the next morning on the way to the mosque for the morning prayer. [7]  

Hz. Abu Lubaba had promised that he would leave his homeland and serve the Messenger of Allah if his repentance were accepted. Since God Almighty accepted his repentance, he had to keep his promise and strengthen his repentance with it. He entered into the presence of the Prophet and addressed him as follows:

“O Messenger of Allah! When I repented, I promised that I would leave my homeland, spend the rest of my life serving you and give away all of my wealth in the way of Allah and His Messenger.”

The Prophet approved his idea of serving Allah and His Messenger. However, he did not find it appropriate for him to give away all of his wealth and said, “It is enough for you to give away one third of it.” [8]

For, it was an important duty of man to provide means of sustenance for his family. If he had given away all of his wealth in the way of Allah as sadaqah, he would have neglected this duty and would have been in a difficult position. This was not an appropriate act. Therefore, the Messenger of Allah did not allow Abu Lubaba to give away all of his wealth.

Abu Lubaba was a lenient, moderate man with high ethics and a good heart; he was adherent to the Messenger of Allah heartily. He regarded serving him as the most enjoyable deed in the world. He regarded the moments he spent with the Prophet a part of eternal life.  

The Prophet sometimes pleased him and made jokes. It was Friday. It had not rained for a long time. There was drought in Madinah. At those times, the Prophet would pray and ask for rain from Allah. Allah would accept his beloved Messenger’s request.

After the prayer, the Prophet raised his blessed hands and prayed as follows three times: “O Al­lah! Send us Your mercy!” At that time, Abu Lubaba was also there. He knew that it would rain when the Prophet prayed. If it rained a lot, the storerooms could have been flooded and the dates could have been spoiled. He approached the Messenger of Allah with this concern and said to him naively, “O Messenger of Allah! There are dates in the storeroom. If it rained a lot, we could be harmed.”

The Prophet wanted rain for the benefit of the people in general but Abu Lubaba was thinking about his own dates. The Prophet knew about his naive intention and added the following statement to his prayer as a joke in front of the mosque where the Companions were present:

“O Lord! Give so much rain as to make Abu Lubaba plug up the holes in his storeroom with his garment!”

No sooner had Abu Lubaba said, “O Messenger of Allah! There is no cloud in the sky”, the weather got dark, lightning flashed and it started to bucket down. Everywhere was full of water. Abu Lubaba panicked. The Companions gathered around him and said,

“O Abu Lubaba! Rain will not stop until you do what the Messenger of Allah did.”

It rained so much that Abu Lubaba could not find anything else to plug the holes in his storeroom. Finally, he took off his garment and started to plug up the holes through which water was coming with his garment. Then, the rain stopped. Abu Lubaba was harmed a bit but drought ended. Abu Lubaba, who was teased by the Prophet, attained “mercy (rain)” fully. [9]

Abu Lubaba, who often listened to the luminous and blessed talks of the Prophet, were among the Companions who served the science of hadith. The hadiths that   Abu Lubaba narrated shed light on the believers today. This distinguished Companion continued serving Islam and belief after the death of the Prophet during the caliphate of the first three caliphs. He did his best to spread the Sunnah. Finally, he died during the caliphate of Hz. Ali. May Allah be pleased with him!

The following narration from Abu Lubaba is included in Ibn Majah and Musnad:

The Messenger of Allah said, “Friday is the chief of days, the greatest day before Allah. It is greater before Allah than the Day of Adha and the Day of Fitr. It has five characteristics: Allah created Adam on it; Allah took Adam’s soul on it; there is a time during which a person does not ask Allah for anything but He will give it to him on it so long as he does not ask for anything that is forbidden; Doomsday will strike on it.” [10]

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[1]Tabaqat, 1: 21.
[2]Sirah, 3: 244.
[3]ibid., 3: 247.
[4]Sirah, 3: 247; Usdul-Ghaba, 2: 183.
[5]al-Anfal, 27.
[6]Hayatus-Sahaba, 2: 537-538.
[7]Sirah, 3: 248; Usdul-Ghaba, 2: 183.
[8]Musnad, 3: 453.
[9]Usdul-Ghaba, 5: 285.
[10]Ibn Majah, Iqamah: 79; Musnad, 3: 430.

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