Amr bin Abasa (r.a.)

Amr bin Abasa was a person whose nature was inclined to Islam. When everyone used to worship idols, he hated them. He thought that there could not be more than one creator. He believed that it was nonsensical to worship idols, which could neither benefit nor harm people. Amr was looking for a religion that would fill the gap in him. Once, he came across somebody from the People of the Book. He told him that it was stupid to worship stones and trees. He said, "I regard it as stupidity to worship something that is incapable of being beneficial and harmful as God. If you know something better, please help me." That man was a scholar. He knew that the last prophet would come soon. He gave Amr the following advice:

"A person will emerge in Makkah; he will turn away from the idols worshipped by his tribe; he will call them to believe in Allah, who is one. If you live long enough to see him, follow him. For, he will make his religion superior."

Hz. Amr started to wait for this new religion impatiently. He searched and asked people every day whether such a person emerged or not. Days passed like that. His desire and yearning grew day by day. He finally received the news he was waiting for. Somebody coming from Makkah said that a person who emerged there turned away from idols and called people to believe in Allah, who is one and has no partners. Hz. Amr's heart filled with excitement. He wanted to go to Makkah immediately, see this person and believe in what he had brought from Allah. He went to see his family. He told them that he had to go to Makkah at once. He finished his preparations, said good-bye to them and set off.

When Hz. Amr arrived in Makkah, he found out that the Messenger of Allah had not started to call people to the new religion openly. He looked for the Messenger of Allah until the evening but could not find him. He stopped searching for him because it was night. Then he sadly fell asleep at the bottom of the wall of Kaaba.

Allah Almighty gave him the reward of his search. While he was sleeping, the Prophet came near him. He was uttering kalima at-tawhid aloud. Hz. Amr heard it. He woke up. His heart was beating with excitement. He stood up and walked toward the place where the sound came from. When he approached, he asked, "Who are you?" The Prophet answered "I am the Messenger of Allah". Then, the following conversation took place between them:

"Did Allah send you?"

"Yes, Allah sent me."

"What do you invite people to do?"

"To worship Allah without attributing any partners to him, to break the idols, to visit relatives."

Hz. Amr could not put up with it anymore. He said, "You were sent for very good things. Reach your hand and I will pay allegiance to you." Then, he uttered kalima ash-shahada and obtained the honor of becoming one of the first Muslims. It is narrated that Amr was the fourth or fifth Muslim.

Hz. Amr was so excited. He wanted to stay with the Messenger of Allah and serve him. However, the Prophet did not accept it because he had not declared his call openly yet. He fulfilled the duty of calling to Islam secretly at that time. He said to Hz. Amr, “You see how violently people act against the thing that I invite people. You cannot stay here under these conditions. Go back to the family for the time being and stay there. Call people to the right path. When you hear that I have started to call people to Islam openly, come to me.” [1]

The gap in the heart of Amr was no longer empty. However, his heart was full of longing. Though he did not want to leave the Prophet, he thought he had to obey him. He left Makkah sadly and arrived in Salam, his hometown. He served Islam there. He encountered difficulties for Islam. However, he continued his struggle with patience.

On the one hand, Amr bin Abasa conveyed the message of Islam; on the other hand, he was waiting for the news about Islam from Makkah. He asked people who came from other places about Makkah. Finally, he heard one day that our Prophet had migrated to Madinah, fought against the polytheists and defeated them. He could not wait any longer. As soon as he completed his preparations, he migrated to Madinah. He found the Prophet. He asked, "O Messenger of Allah! Did you recognize me?" The Prophet said, "Yes, I did. Are you not the person from Salam who came to me in Makkah?" Hz. Amr said that he had migrated and that wanted to live in Madinah. The Messenger of Allah was pleased to hear it. He included Amr in Ashab as-Suffa.

Hz. Amr was very sad for the time that he had spent away from the Messenger of Allah; he tried to make up for it as much as could. He often went to the Prophet and said to him, "Teach me from your knowledge." The Prophet taught him something every time he came. Thus, Hz. Amr increased his religious knowledge. He narrated many hadiths. One of them is as follows:

"A person who throws an arrow in the way of Allah will gain a thawab as if he freed a slave from Sons of Ismail, whether the arrow hits the target or not." [2]

Hz. Amr did not like showing off, and people talking about him. Once, he went on a journey with some people. During the journey, he separated from his friends for a while. When he was late, one of his companions started to look for him. He found Amr sleeping somewhere. The weather was very hot. He saw a cloud shadowing Amr. When he awakened Amr, Amr said to him:

"Do not ever tell anyone what you saw. If you tell people, we will fall out! "[3]

Hz. Amr could not participate in battles like the Battle of Badr, Uhud, Khandaq and Khaybar because he was in his hometown then. However, he took part in the Conquest of Makkah and the Expedition of Taif. During the Siege of Taif, he heard the Prophet say, "Allah Almighty will give a person who throws an arrow in the way of Allah and hits the target a degree in Paradise." He took action immediately. He threw all of the arrows he had in his quiver at the enemy. [4]

Amr bin Abasa based all of his deeds on the Sunnah of the Prophet; whenever he saw something contrary to the Sunnah, he reminded people about the Sunnah. Once, he heard that the Byzantines were not going to renew the treaty and that they were going to attack he Muslims. The majority of the people made the following offer: "Let us act before them and attack them." However, Hz. Amr dissuaded them from doing saying that he heard from the Messenger of Allah it was not legitimate to violate an agreement. [5]

Hz. Amr died during the caliphate of Hz. Uthman.

May Allah be pleased with him!

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[1]Tabaqat, 4: 214-219; Usdul-Ghaba, 4: 121; Musnad, 4: 111-112.
[2]Musnad, 4: 113.
[3]Hilye, 2: 14.
[4]Musnad, 4: 384.
[5]ibid, 4: 113.

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