FIQH: THE STORIES OF SALMAN AL-FARISI, ZAID IBN AMR IBN NUFAIL, ASHAAB AL-KAHF, AND THE BOY

Assalamu Alaikum.

[For those of who wondering what on earth these stories have to do with “fiqh”, the short answer is: absolutely nothing. I just happened to mention these stories during my fiqh class as an answer to someone who asked about those people who “thought” they were guided and didn’t know that they were on falsehood. I pointed out that if someone really wants guidance, Allah will give it to them and I mentioned the following four stories as proof.]

SALMAN AL-FARISI (RADIALLAHU ANHU)

You can read about his entire story in his own words here.

[The reference is Musnad Ahmad, Hadeeth No. 23737. Shaikh Shuaib Al-Arnaut said that its isnaad (chain) was hasan (good). Those who are interested in the Arabic text as well as its takhreej can download the relevant pages here. I extracted it from a scanned copy of Musnad Ahmad.]

This is one of those feel-good stories. I would encourage ALL parents to read this story to their kids. I came across this story when I was a child and I’ve loved it since then. (Oh and Salman (radiallahu anhu) has been one of my heroes since then.)

THE STORY OF THE BOY AND THE KING

This story is the one alluded to at the beginning of Surah Al-Burooj and it is one of the most wonderful stories that you’ll ever read.

Suhaib reported that Allah’s Messenger (salallahu alaihi wasallam) thus said: There lived a king before you and he had a (court) magician. As he (the magician) grew old, he said to the king: I have grown old, send some young boy to me so that I should teach him magic. He (the king) sent to him a young man so that he should train him (in magic). And on his way (to the magician) he (the young man) found a monk sitting there. He (the young man) listened to his (the monk’s) talk and was impressed by it. It became his habit that on his way to the magician he met the monk and set there and he came to the magician (late). He (the magician) beat him because of delay. He made a complaint of that to the monk and he said to him: When you feel afraid of the magician, say: Members of my family had detained me. And when you feel afraid of your family you should say: The magician had detained me. It so happened that there came a huge beast (of prey) and it blocked the way of the people, and he (the young boy) said: I will come to know today whether the magician is superior or the monk is superior. He picked up a stone and said: O Allah, if the affair of the monk is dearer to Thee than the affair of the magician, cause death to this animal so that the people should be able to move about freely. He threw that stone towards it and killed it and the people began to move about (on the path freely). He (the young man) then came to that monk and informed him and the monk said: Son, today you are superior to me. Your affair has come to a stage where I find that you would be soon put to a trial, and in case you are put to a trial don’t give my clue. That young man began to treat the blind and those suffering from leprosy and he in fact began to cure people from (all kinds) of illness. When a companion of the king who had gone blind heard about him, he came to him with numerous gifts and said: If you cure me all these things collected together here would be yours. He said: I myself do not cure anyone. It is Allah Who cures and if you affirm faith in Allah, I shall also supplicate Allah to cure you.

He affirmed his faith in Allah and Allah cured him and he came to the king and sat by his side as he used to sit before. The king said to him: Who restored your eyesight? He said: My Lord. Thereupon he said: It means that your Lord is One besides me. He said: My Lord and your Lord is Allah, so he (the king) took hold of him and tormented him till he gave a clue of that boy. The young man was thus summoned and the king said to him: O boy, it has been conveyed to me that you have become so much proficient in your magic that you cure the blind and those suffering from leprosy and you do such and such things. Thereupon he said: I do not cure anyone; it is Allah Who cures, and he (the king) took hold of him and began to torment him. So he gave a clue of the monk. The monk was thus summoned and it was said to him: You should turn back from your religion. He, however, refused to do so. He (ordered) for a saw to be brought (and when it was done) he (the king) placed it in the middle of his head and tore it into parts until a part fell down. Then the courtier of the king was brought and it was said to him: Turn back from your religion. And he refused to do so, and the saw was placed in the midst of his head and it was torn until a part fell down. Then that young boy was brought and it was said to him: Turn back from your religion. He refused to do so and he was handed over to a group of his courtiers. And he said to them: Take him to such and such mountain; make him climb up that mountain and when you reach its top (ask him to renounce his faith) but if he refuses to do so, then throw him (down the mountain). So they took him and made him climb up the mountain and he said: ‘O Allah, save me from them (in any way) Thou likest’ and the mountain began to quake and they all fell down and that person came walking to the king. The king said to him: ‘What has happened to your companions?’ He said: ‘Allah has saved me from them’. He again handed him to some of his courtiers and said: ‘Take him and carry him in a small boat and when you reach the middle of the ocean (ask him to renounce) his religion, but if he does not renounce his religion throw him (into the water).’

So they took him and he said: ‘O Allah, save me from them and what they want to do.’ It was quite soon that the boat turned over and they were drowned and he came walking to the king, and the king said to him: ‘What has happened to your companions?’ He said: ‘Allah has saved me from them’, and he said to the king: ‘You cannot kill me until you do what I ask you to do. ‘And he said: ‘What is that?’ He said: ‘You should gather people in a plain and hang me by the trunk (of a tree). Then take hold of an arrow from the quiver and say: In the name of Allah, the Lord of the worlds; then shoot an arrow and if you do that then you would be able to kill me.’ So he (the king) called the people in an open plain and tied him (the boy) to the trunk of a tree, then he took hold of an arrow from his quiver and then placed the arrow in the bow and then said: In the name of Allah, the Lord of the young boy; he then shot an arrow and it bit his temple. He (the boy) placed his hands upon the temple where the arrow had bit him and he died and the people said: We affirm our faith in the Lord of this young man, we affirm our faith in the Lord of this young man, we affirm our faith in the Lord of this young man. The courtiers came to the king and it was said to him: Do you see that Allah has actually done what you aimed at averting. They (the people) have affirmed their faith in the Lord. He (the king) commanded ditches to be dug at important points in the path. When these ditches were dug, and the fire was lit in them it was said (to the people): He who would not turn back from his (boy’s) religion would be thrown in the fire or it would be said to them to jump in that. (The people courted death but did not renounce religion) until a woman came with her child and she felt hesitant in jumping into the fire and the child said to her: 0 mother, endure (this ordeal) for it is the truth.” [Saheeh Muslim, Hadeeth No. 7148]

For a detailed explanation of this story, read this.

ZAID IBN AMR IBN NUFAIL

What is amazing about this man is that he UNDERSTOOD tawheed. He didn’t have a Prophet to teach him. He knew it from his fitrah (innate nature).

Narrated Abdullah ibn Umar:  The Prophet met Zaid bin Amr bin Nufail in the bottom of (the valley of) Baldah before any Divine Inspiration came to the Prophet. A meal was presented to the Prophet but he refused to eat from it. (Then it was presented to Zaid) who said, “I do not eat anything which you slaughter in the name of your stone idols. I eat none but those things on which Allah’s Name has been mentioned at the time of slaughtering.” Zaid bin Amr used to criticize the way Quraish used to slaughter their animals, and used to say, “Allah has created the sheep and He has sent the water for it from the sky, and He has grown the grass for it from the earth; yet you slaughter it in other than the Name of Allah.” He used to say so, for he rejected that practice and considered it as something abominable.

Narrated Ibn Umar: Zaid bin Amr bin Nufail went to Sham, inquiring about a true religion to follow. He met a Jewish religious scholar and asked him about their religion. He said, “I intend to embrace your religion, so tell me some thing about it.” The Jew said, “You will not embrace our religion unless you receive your share of Allah’s Anger.” Zaid said, “‘I do not run except from Allah’s Anger, and I will never bear a bit of it if I have the power to avoid it. Can you tell me of some other religion?” He said, “I do not know any other religion except the Hanif.” Zaid enquired, “What is Hanif?” He said, “Hanif is the religion of (the prophet) Ibrahim who was neither a Jew nor a Christian, and he used to worship none but Allah (Alone)” Then Zaid went out and met a Christian religious scholar and told him the same as before. The Christian said, “You will not embrace our religion unless you get a share of Allah’s Curse.” Zaid replied, “I do not run except from Allah’s Curse, and I will never bear any of Allah’s Curse and His Anger if I have the power to avoid them. Will you tell me of some other religion?” He replied, “I do not know any other religion except Hanif.” Zaid enquired, “What is Hanif?” He replied, Hanif is the religion of (the prophet) Ibrahim who was neither a Jew nor a Christian and he used to worship none but Allah (Alone)” When Zaid heard their statement about (the religion of) Ibrahim, he left that place, and when he came out, he raised both his hands and said, “O Allah! I make You my Witness that I am on the religion of Ibrahim.”

Narrated Asma bint Abi Bakr: I saw Zaid bin Amr bin Nufail standing with his back against the Ka’ba and saying, “O people of Quraish! By Allah, none amongst you is on the religion of Ibrahim except me.” He used to preserve the lives of little girls: If somebody wanted to kill his daughter he would say to him, “Do not kill her for I will feed her on your behalf.” So he would take her, and when she grew up nicely, he would say to her father, “Now if you want her, I will give her to you, and if you wish, I will feed her on your behalf.” [Saheeh Al-Bukhari, Volume No. 5, Hadeeth No. 169]

Narrated Abdullah: Allah’s Messenger said that he met Zaid bin Amr ibn Nufail at a place near Baldah and this had happened before Allah’s Apostle received the Divine Inspiration. Allah’s Messenger presented a dish of meat (that had been offered to him by the pagans) to Zaid bin ‘Amr, but Zaid refused to eat of it and then said (to the pagans), “I do not eat of what you slaughter on your stone altars (Ansabs) nor do I eat except that on which Allah’s Name has been mentioned on slaughtering.” [Saheeh Al-Bukhari, Volume No. 7, Hadeeth No. 407]

This poor man went in search of the prophet that was going to be coming and he died a couple of years before the Prophethood. Oh and he even MET that Prophet (as is obvious from the above ahadeeth) but he obviously had no clue that it was him.

Someone may ask: “What was his end? Did he die as a Muslim?”

Short answer: Yes, alhamdulillah.

The Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “I entered Paradise and I saw that Zaid ibn Amr ibn Nufail had two grades.” [Saheeh Al-Jami, Hadeeth No. 3367 and Silsilah Al-Ahaadeeth As-Saheehah, Hadeeth No. 1406. As I don’t have either of these books, I used Dorar. You can check the results here.]

[Note: There’s also another narration (which I mentioned in class) where it says that Zaid ibn Amr would be raised on the Day of Judgment as one ummah. This narrations exists in various wordings. A few scholars like Imams Ibn Taimiyyah, Ibn Kathir, Ahmad Shakir, Muqbil ibn Al-Haadi and Al-Haithami authenticated it but others like Imams Al-Albani, Adh-Dhahabi, Shuaib Al-Arnaut, Ibn Hajr, Ibn Rajab, etc weakened it. Perhaps some of the chains are authentic. Allahu Alam. Please check the results from Dorar here and here.]

By the way, Zaid’s son is Said ibn Zaid (radiallahu anhu), one of the ten Companions promised paradise. His cousin is also in the top ten. His name? Umar ibn Al-Khattab.

ASHAAB AL-KAHF (THE COMPANIONS OF THE CAVE)

“Do you think that the people of the Cave and the Inscription (the news or the names of the people of the Cave) were a wonder among Our Signs? (Remember) when the young men fled for refuge (from their disbelieving folk) to the Cave, they said: “Our Lord! Bestow on us mercy from Yourself, and facilitate for us our affair in the right way!” Therefore We covered up their (sense of) hearing (causing them, to go in deep sleep) in the Cave for a number of years. Then We raised them up (from their sleep), that We might test which of the two parties was best at calculating the time period that they had tarried.

We narrate unto you (O Muhammad) their story with truth: Truly! They were young men who believed in their Lord, and We increased them in guidance. And We made their hearts firm and strong (with the light of Faith in Allah and bestowed upon them patience to bear the separation of their kith and kin and dwellings, etc.) when they stood up and said: “Our Lord is the Lord of the heavens and the earth, never shall we call upon any ilaah (god) other than Him; if we did, we should indeed have uttered an enormity in disbelief. These our people have taken for worship aaliha (gods) other than Him (Allah). Why do they not bring for them a clear authority? And who does more wrong than he who invents a lie against Allah.” (The young men said to one another): “And when you withdraw from them, and that which they worship, except Allah, then seek refuge in the Cave, your Lord will open a way for you from His Mercy and will make easy for you your affair (i.e. will give you what you will need of provision, dwelling, etc.).”

And you might have seen the sun, when it rose, declining to the right from their Cave, and when it set, turning away from them to the left, while they lay in the midst of the Cave. That is (one) of the Ayaat (proofs, evidences, signs) of Allah. He whom Allah guides, is rightly guided; but he whom He sends astray, for him you will find no Walîi(guiding friend) to lead him (to the right Path). And you would have thought them awake, while they were asleep. And We turned them on their right and on their left sides, and their dog stretching forth his two forelegs at the entrance [of the Cave or in the space near to the entrance of the Cave (as a guard at the gate)]. Had you looked at them, you would certainly have turned back from them in flight, and would certainly have been filled with awe of them. Likewise, We awakened them (from their long deep sleep) that they might question one another. A speaker from among them said: “How long have you stayed (here)?” They said: “We have stayed (perhaps) a day or part of a day.” They said: “Your Lord (Alone) knows best how long you have stayed (here). So send one of you with this silver coin of yours to the town, and let him find out which is the good lawful food, and bring some of that to you. And let him be careful and let no man know of you. “For if they come to know of you, they will stone you (to death or abuse and harm you) or turn you back to their religion, and in that case you will never be successful.”

And thus We made their case known to the people, that they might know that the Promise of Allah is true, and that there can be no doubt about the Hour. (Remember) when they (the people of the city) disputed among themselves about their case, they said: “Construct a building over them, their Lord knows best about them,” (then) those who won their point said (most probably the disbelievers): “We verily shall build a place of worship over them.”

(Some) say they were three, the dog being the fourth among them; (others) say they were five, the dog being the sixth, guessing at the unseen; (yet others) say they were seven, the dog being the eighth. Say (O Muhammad): “My Lord knows best their number; none knows them but a few.” So debate not (about their number, etc.) except with the clear proof (which We have revealed to you). And consult not any of them (people of the Scripture, Jews and Christians) about (the affair of) the people of the Cave.

And never say of anything, “I shall do such and such thing tomorrow.” Except (with the saying), “If Allah wills!” And remember your Lord when you forget and say: “It may be that my Lord guides me unto a nearer way of truth than this.”

And they stayed in their Cave three hundred (solar) years, and add nine (for lunar years). Say: “Allah knows best how long they stayed. With Him is (the knowledge of) the unseen of the heavens and the earth. How clearly He sees, and hears (everything)! They have no Wali (Helper, Disposer of affairs, Protector, etc.) other than Him, and He makes none to share in His Decision and His Rule.” [Surah Al-Kahf (18) : 9-26]

Imam Ibn Kathir explains this story in his tafsir. Here’s the part relevant to this post (i.e. the story of how they were guided in the first place):

“Several of the earlier and later Tafsir scholars have mentioned that they were sons of the kings and leaders of Byzantium, and that they went out one day to one of the festivals of their people. They used to gather once a year outside the city, and they would worship idols and offer sacrifices to them. They had an arrogant, tyrannical king who was called Decianus, who commanded and encouraged the people to do that. When the people went out to attend this gathering, these young men went out with their fathers and their people, and when they saw their people’s actions with clear insight, they realized that the prostrations and sacrifices the people were offering to their idols should only be dedicated to Allah, Who created the heavens and the earth. Each of them started to withdraw from his people and keep aloof from them. The first one of them to move away on his own went and sat in the shade of a tree, then another came and sat with him, then another came and sat with them, then four more followed suit one by one. None of them knew the others, but they were brought together by the One Who instilled faith in their hearts.

As it says in the Hadith recorded by Al-Bukhari with an incomplete chain of narrators from `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her), the Messenger of Allah said:(Souls are like recruited soldiers. Those that recognize one another will come together, and those that do not recognize one another will turn away from each another). Muslim also recorded this in his Sahih from the Hadith of Suhayl from his father from Abu Hurayrah from the Messenger of Allah . People say that similar qualities or characteristics are what bring people together.

So each of the young men was trying to conceal what he really believed from the others, out of fear of them, not knowing that they were like him. Then one of them said, “O people, you know by Allah that only one thing is making you leave your people and isolate yourselves from them, so let each one of you say what it is in his case.” Another said, “As for me, by Allah I saw what my people are doing and I realized that it was false, and that the only One Who deserves to be worshipped Alone with out partner or associate is Allah Who created everything, the heavens, the earth and everything in between.” Another said, “By Allah, the same thing happened to me.” The others said the same, and they all agreed and became brothers in faith. They adopted a particular location as a place of worship and began worshipping Allah there, but their people found out about them and told their king about them. The king ordered them to appear before him, and asked them about their beliefs. They told him the truth and called him to Allah, as Allah says about them:

(And We made their hearts firm and strong when they stood up and said: “Our Lord is the Lord of the heavens and the earth, never shall we call upon any god other than Him…”)

“Never” (Lan) implies an absolute and eternal negation, meaning, `this will never happen, and if we were to do that it would be false.'”

You can read more here. Also, here is a nice set of posts explaining this Surah.

Summary of the post: When someone truly wants to be guided, Allah will guide them. It’s as simple as that.

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