Abu Umama al-Bahili (r.a.)

There is not enough information about when Hz. Abu Umama, who received the compliment “You are from and I am from you” from the Prophet and who narrated about 250 hadiths, became a Muslim. It is certain that he took part in the Pledge of Ridwan in the 7th year of the Migration. It is also stated in the resources that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) sent him for some important duties. It is narrated that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) sent him to a nation that drank blood and ordered him to invite them to Islam. He narrates the incident as follows:

“When I arrived, they offered me blood too. I said, ‘I came here to prohibit you from drinking blood.’ They did not heed me. They did not give me anything else to eat. I went to bed hungry that night. At night, a stranger offered me a bowl of sherbet. I drank it. I was no longer hungry or thirsty. When I woke up, I heard that one of them said, 'It is not appropriate to treat a guest like that.' They brought me some milk. I said I do not need it, and I showed my tummy, which was full. They were shocked. In the face of this miracle, they all became Muslims.” [1]

He earned money just to give sadaqah. He would never reject anyone who wanted something from him; he would definitely give him something. One day, a beggar came. There was no food at home. Abu Umama had three dinars on him. He gave one of them to him. Then, another beggar came. He gave one of the dinars to him. He gave the last dinar to another beggar that came a little later. His servant said, "You will make us starve to death." Abu Umama kept silent. Then, he lay down. The servant narrates: 

"I woke him up when it was about noon time. He made wudu and went to the mosque. He was fasting that day. I felt pity for him and prepared him something to eat for iftar. When it became dark in the evening, I laid the bed. To my surprise, I saw three dinars under the bed! I said, 'By Allah, he is always doing this.' He came home a little later. When he saw the dinner table and the burning candle, he said, 'This is a grant of Allah to us.' We ate together. A little later, I said, 'May Allah be pleased with you! You do not tell me when you have money. The money you put under the bed is always dangerous." He said, 'I do not know about anything. What money is it?' I lifted the bed. When he saw the three dinars, he became pleased and thanked Allah.” [2]

Abu Umama liked giving people advice. He regarded it as a duty. Once, a few people came to him and asked him to give them advice. He made a long speech on condition that they would tell others what they heard from him. He addressed them as follows:  

“There are three groups of people whom God Almighty guaranteed that they would be martyred and go to Paradise or they would return home with great thawabs and booty. One of them is the one that leaves home to make jihad. If he becomes martyred, he will go to Paradise; if he survives, he will return home with great thawabs and booty. Another one is the one who makes wudu and goes to mosque. If he dies in the mosque, he is a person of Paradise. If he returns home, he returns with great thawabs and spiritual booty.”

“There is a bridge of seven stages on Hell. Trials are made in the middle of those stages. When a person arrives there, he is asked, ‘What kind of debts do you have?’ He lists them by saying, ‘I owe this and that.’ He is ordered, ‘Pay your debts!’ He says, ‘O Lord! I have nothing to give. How can I pay my debts?’ Thereupon, God Almighty orders His angels: ‘Take from his good deeds.’ The angels take away his good deeds one by one and his good deeds end. Then, the angels are ordered: ‘Take the bad deeds of those whom he wronged and load them on him.’ The angels will do what they are ordered. Some people go there with good deeds as big as mountains but when they are taken away one by one, no good deed is left. Besides, when the bad deeds of the people whom they wronged are loaded on them, they will have bad deeds as big as mountains.

“Keep away from lies because lies lead man to sins and sins lead them to Hell. Do not abandon honesty because honesty leads to good deeds and good deeds lead a person to Paradise.”

“I swear by Allah that you are more perverse than the people of the Era of Jahiliyya. For, though God Almighty promises that He will give you in return for every dinar you spend in the way of Allah, you act stingily.” [3]

Abu Umama stated the following in a preaching:  

“Show patience related to every issue whether you like it or not. For, patience is a nice trait. The world stupefied you. It made you drink its pains and troubles gradually. It attracted you with its pleasures and ornaments.”

Abu Umama died in Damascus in 86 H. Some of the hadiths he reported from the Prophet are as follows:

“Feeling shy and speaking a little are two parts of belief; uttering ugly and bad words are two parts of hypocrisy.” [4]

“A person who loves for Allah and hates for Allah, who gives for Allah and spares for Allah will have full belief.” [5]


[1]al-Isaba, 2: 182; Usdul-Ghaba, 5: 38.
[2]Hayatus-Sahaba, 3: 408.
[3]ibid, 3: 387.
[4]Tirmidhi, Birr: 80.
[5]Abu Dawud, Sunnah: 16.

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