Ammar (RA) belonged to a tribe in Yemen. Yasir, Ammar’s father, and his two brothers Harith and Malik looked for their missing brother everywhere. But they did not find him. Therefore, they decided to go to Makkah to look for him. They did not find him there, too.
Harith and Malik wanted to return to Yemen, but Yasir decided to stay in Makkah to live near the Baitullah. Yasir joined the tribe of Bani Makhzoom and he became one of its members. He married a female slave named Summayya, Ammar’s mother.
Ammar was born four years before the year of the elephant, that is four years before the birth of RasulAllah (SAW). Since the days of his youth Ammar (RA) had friendly relations with Nabi Saheb (SA) and later he became one of his closest companions. He had a lot of compasion and love for RasulAllah (SAW) long before the days of Islam and had always admired the noble characters of RasulAllah (SAW).
It is related that when Ammar (RA) was twenty-nine years old, RasulAllah (SAW) was twenty-five. One day, while he was walking with RasulAllah (SAW) between al-Safa and al-Marwah, Hala, Khadijah’s sister came and took Ammar aside. She asked him to tell Muhammad (SAW) to marry her sister, Khadijah. RasulAllah (SAW) accepted the proposal and the blessed marriage took place. When Allah’s message was revealed to RasulAllah (SAW), Ammar, his father Yasir and his mother Summayya accepted Islam and were among the earliest muslimeen.
Abu Jahal heard that Ammar had become a Muslim. In his hatred for the muslim Abu Jahal led a group of polytheists and went to Yasir’s house. Torches were in their hands. They burnt the house and took Yasir, Ammar and Summayya to a desert outside Makkah. They chained them and began torturing them. First, they whipped them till blood began flow. Then they brought torches and began to inflict burns on their bodies. But that small family were firm on their belief. Nothing could change their minds. Further Abu Jahal brought rocks and tied them to their chests. They were breathing hard. It was noon, the heat was intense. Abu Jahal and the Mushrikeen came back to Makkah leaving the Yasir family in the intense heat of the sun. In the meantime, RasulAllah (SAW) happened to pass by them. When he saw them he wept and said: “Yasir’s family, be patient! Your reward will be Paradise!” Summayya replied with belief: “I confess that you’re Allah’s Apostle. And your promise is true.”
The criminals came back. Abu Jahal was in advance. There was a long spear in his hand. He began torturing them savagely. Ammar, Yasir and Summayya were unconscious. The Mushrikeen showered them with water. Abu Jahal began to shout at Summayya: Praise our gods; dispraise Muhammad (SAW)! Summayya spat in his face and said: How bad you and your gods are! Abu Jahal (LA) boiled in anger, raised his spear high and began stabbing her body with his spear until she died. Summayya became the first martyr in the history of Islam. And then Abu Jahal began kicking Yasir on the belly savagely until he died.
Ammar saw what happened to his parents and he wept. Then Abu Jahal shouted angrily: If you don’t praise our gods, I’ll kill you!
Ammar could not endure that cruel torture. So he reluctantly said: Hubal (an idol) is great! Ammar praised their idols to save himself from torture. So they unchained and left him.
Ammar went weeping to RasulAllah (SAW). He did not weep for his parents or for himself or for the torture he had suffered – he wept because he praised the idols. RasulAllah (SAW) consoled Ammar on his parents martyrdom. Ammar went on weeping. Then he said: O RasulAllah, the Mushrikeen did not release me until they forced me to praise their gods!
RasulAllah (SAW) said kindly: Ammar, what about your heart? Ammar answered: My heart is certain of faith. Then Allah Subhanahu revealed an Aayat to RasulAllah (SAW) concerning Ammar: “Not, he who is compelled while his heart is at rest because of his faith.”
The condition of the Muslims in Makkah became critical and therefore RasulAllah (SAW) ordered his companions to immigrate to Yathrib. Ammar was one of those early immigrants.
When Rasulallah (SAW) immigrated too, happiness covered al-Madina al-Munawwara. And the immigrants lived peacefully with their brothers in Yathrib.
First, RasulAllah (SAW) thought of building a Masjid as it was to be a center of learning and ibadaat for Islam till the Qeyamat. In the meantime it would be a symbol for the Muslims strength and a castle for the Muslim nation. With enthusiasm, the Muslims began building the Prophet’s Masjid (al-Masjid al-Qubah). Some Muslims were carrying dust. Some were making bricks and some were carrying the dried bricks to make the walls.
RasulAllah (SAW) was working with his companions. Ammar, though covered with dust, was working actively. Each Muslim was carrying a brick. But Ammar was carrying two bricks. To encourage his Muslim brothers, Ammar repeated the following enthusiastic words: Those who build the masjid do not equal those who avoid dust (and are roaming around squating).
Uthman was displeased with Ammar’s words. He came to Ammar and said threateningly: “I’ll hit you on the nose with this stick!” Ammar looked at Uthman but did not say a word. RasulAllah (SAW) heard about Uthman’s threat. He felt pain. Then he came to Ammar and said: “Nay Uthman! The place of Ammar is of my forehead, when the forehead bleeds the face is ruptured. You have your animal, and may leave if you wish, but say not a word to him.”
Days and months passed. The Battle of Badr took place. Ammar was one of the fighters who went to hinder the Quraishi caravan coming from Shaam. The Muslims heard that the Mushrikeen had formed an army. Abu Jahal (LA) headed the army. He was heading for al-Madina al-Munawwara. RasulAllah (SAW) sent Ammar bin Yasir and Abdullah bin Masoud to get him information about the polytheists’ army. Ammar was brave. He approached the caravans of the Mushrikeen and went round their camp to collect information. Ammar and his friend came back and informed:
“The army is afraid. The horse wants to neigh. But its owner hits it on the face. And its raining heavily. Therefore, they can’t move easily. Generally speaking, the polytheists are in low spirits.”
In the morning, when the polytheists woke, they found strange footprints. Munbih bin al-Hajjaj had a good knowledge of footprints. He said: “By al-Lat and al-Uzza, these are Ammar’s and Abdullah’s footprints.” On the morning of 17th Ramadan, 2 A.H., the great Battle of Badr, the first battle in the history of Islam, took place. At that battle, Allah granted the believers victory over the Mushrikeen.
Ammar was fighting with enthusiasm. When the Mushrikeen escaped, Ammar (RA) saw Abu Jahal (LA) and remembered those days when Abu Jahal tortured the Muslims and tortured his parents. Now, the swords of the persecuted got revenge on the unjust. Ammar (RA) looked at the sky and thanked Allah, the Glorified, for his victory.
Ammar (RA) was sixty years old. However, he was more eager than the young men to strive for Allah. Ammar deeply believed in Allah. He loved the Apostle of humanity, RasulAllah (SAW). The Prophet also loved his old friend, Ammar (RA). He praised him on several occasions:
“Ammar is with truth (Haq) and truth is with Ammar. Truth is always with him. Ammar is full of faith. Blessed is Ammar, the unjust group of rebels will kill you. Your last food in this world will be a cup of yoghurt.”
Days, months and years passed. Ammar was always with RasulAllah (SAW) he was always striving for Allah against the enemies of Islam and humanity. After the Prophet (SAW) Ammar stayed loyal to his Islam. He was always striving for the religion and saying the word of truth. He was not afraid of anyone but Allah.
Ammar loved Maulana Ali (SA) because he heard RasulAllah (SAW) always saying: “Ali, no one loves you but a believer and no one hates you but a hypocrite. Ali, you are in the same position with respect to me as Harun was to Musa except there is no Prophet after me.” On the farewell pilgrimage at Ghadeer-e-Khum, Ammar saw RasulAllah (SAW) taking both arms of Ali and raising them high, he said:
“Whoever, I am the master of, this man, Ali is his master. Allah, befriend whoever befriends him, be hostile to whoever opposes him. Support whoever supports him and desert whoever deserts him.”
Ammar was one of the most loyal companians and Shia of Ameer-ul-Mumineen (SA). He never missed a chance to narrate what he has heard from the Prophet (SAW) about him. He was also amongst those who stood up against Abu Bakr in al-Masjid al-Nabawi to oppose his caliphate.
Ammar devoted most of his time to the life of Jihad. He took part in the Muslims conquest battles. He also fought bravely against the apostasy in Yemen. When Umar bin al-Khattab became the Caliph after Abu Bakr, he appointed Ammar (RA) as Governor of Kufa. There Ammar treated people according to Allah’s law. And the people were pleased with his just, merciful and humble treatment. In 23 A.H., Umar bin al-Khattab was assassinated.
Umar announced that the Caliphate had to be shura (consultation) after him. He elected six persons Maulana Ali (SA), Uthman bin Affan, Talha, Zubair, Abdul Rahman bin Auf and Sa’ad bin Abi Waqas. Umar ordered the persons to hold a meeting in one of their houses to appoint one of them caliph within three days. Among these Maylana Ali (SA) was the most fitted for his long jihad, his blood relation to RasulAllah (SAW), his knowledge, his outstanding merits, his priority in Islam and upon all the declaration of Ghadeer-e-Khum.
One day passed. Then two days passed. But there was no result. Some companions such as al-Miqdad, Ammar bin Yasir, al-Abbas, and others stood by the house. They hoped that Ali would be elected. Banu Ummayyah stood by the house, too. They hoped that Uthman would be elected. To make Abdul Rahman bin Auf hear, Ammar loudly said: “If you want to see the Muslims in agreement then appoint Ali (SA).” To support Ammar, al-Miqdad said: “Ammar has told the truth. If you appoint Ali (SA), we’ll hear and obey him.”
Abdul Rahman’s ambition was to be a caliph. He desired worldly affairs and so he refused to appoint Ali (SA) because Ali (SA) would not hand him his desire. Abdul Rahman appointed Uthman to hand him the Caliphate after his death, he knew of the wealth he could accumalate with the help of Uthman. Thus Uthman became the third Caliph. Such was the shura that Ummar had set up. Ammar was very unhappy for the Ahlul Bait because they were worthier of Caliphate than other people and because Allah kept away uncleanness from them and purified them thoroughly (Ayat al-Tat’heer).
Six years passed after Uthman’s Caliphate. Gradually, Uthman deviated from Islam and from RasulAllah (SAW)’s Sunnat. Uthman appointed his blood relatives Governors over the cities. They were bad, unjust persons. For example, Uthman appointed al-Waleed bin Utbah, his half brother, ruler over Kufa. Al-Waleed drank alcohol and went drunk to the Masjid. Uthman made Marwan bin Hakam the real ruler of the Muslim government. He appointed the rulers and dismissed them. Uthman spent the Muslims’ money on his blood relatives from Bani Ummayyah and left the poor to live in pain. There were jewels in the Muslim public treasury. Uthman divided the jewels among his daughters and wives. The Muslims became angry. They began talking against Uthman’s bad behaviour. Uthman went on with his corrupt policy. One day, he went up the pulpit and addressed the people: “We’ll take whatever we need from the Public Treasury in spite of all people.”
Maulana Ali bin Abi Talib (SA) became sad when he heard Uthman’s words. Ammar bin Yasir aged 90 stood up and said the word of truth: “By Allah, I’m the first man to prevent you from that.”
The Caliph became annoyed and said: “Bin Yasir, how dare you say these words before me!”
Uthman ordered his guards to arrest Ammar (RA). The guards respected neither Ammar’s old age nor companionship to RasulAllah (SAW). They drew him into Uthman’s room. They chained his hands and legs.
Then Uthman came and began hitting Ammar on the belly till he became unconscious. Some Muslims came and carried him to Umme Salamah’s house. Ammar remembered the days of torture in Makkah. He could endure as many times as what Uthman did because he was a young man. But today he was unable to endure Uthman’s torture because he became an old man. Umm Salamah felt pain when she saw Ammar in that bad condition. Yet Ammar said: “This is not the first day when we suffer from torture for Allah.” Uthman banished Abu Zar (RA) to al-Rabatha Desert which is uninhabited because of its bad climate.
Besides, Uthman prevented the Muslims from seeing off Abu Zar (RA). Any how, some Companions of the Prophet went out to see off the great companion Abu Zar (RA). Maulana Ali (SA), Imaam Hasan (SA) and Husain (SA), and Ammar (RA) went out to see off Abu Zar. Then Maulana Ali (SA) said: “May not Allah amuse those who annoy you. And He may not make safe those who have dismayed you. By Allah, if you want their world, they’ll make you safe. And if you are pleased with their actions, they’ll love you.”
Abu Zar, his wife, and his daughter went to al-Rabatha Desert. He remembered the tradition of RasulAllah (SAW):”Abu Zar, you’ll live alone, die alone and resurrected alone!
The Muslims’ anger increased because of Uthman’s and his rulers’ behavior. The Prophet’s Companion’s in Madina wrote to people every where: “If you want Jihad, then come to it. Because your Caliph has corrupted Muhammad’s religion”. For this reason, the delegates from Kufa, Egypt, Basra, and the like came to Madina and went to the Caliph to ask him to change his based policy. But he dismissed them. So, they went to Maulana Ali (SA), RasulAllah (SAW)’s cousin and his successor. Maulana Ali (SA) hoped that Uthman would come back to the laws of Islam. Thus he went to advise him: Don’t be a tool in Marwan’s hand. Don’t let him direct you to whatever he likes. Don’t forget your position with respect to Allah’s Apostle (SAW). Uthman agreed to announce his repentance before people. So, he went out and apologized to people for his bad behavior. Besides he promised them to follow a new policy Allah and his Apostle (SAW) accepted. But Marwan, who was cunning, said to him: “Don’t be weak before people. Threaten them!” Nayylah, Uthman’s wife, knew that Marwan was a bad man and that he disliked Muslims. For this reason, she said to her husband: “Listen to Ali (SA) because people love and obey him: don’t listen to Marwan because people hate him.” Uthman did not listen to those who advised him. So, people revolted and killed him in his palace. It so happened that a delegation had come from Egypt to complain about the Governor, whom Uthman removed upon their request. A letter of his dismissal was handed to them. While on the other hand Uthman sent a messenger to the Governor ordering him to behead the people in the delegation. This messenger was caught by the caravan on the way who, upon becoming aware of their fate, returned to Madina and played their part.
After the murder of Uthman the Muslim masses headed for Ameer-ul-Mumineen (SA)’s house. They asked him to be the Caliph. He refused that and said: “Look for another man.” But people realized that the he was the only man who deserved the Caliphate. Therefore, they insisted on their attitude. Finally, the Ameer-ul-Mumineen (SA) agreed to shoulder this responsibility to deprive the ambitious of it. The Muslims revolted for justice. They were angry at persecution. Ameer-ul-Mumineen (SA) was the symbol of justice. He did not sadden the Muslims. On the first day, he dismissed all the bad rulers Uthman had appointed. Then he appointed good Governors. Ameer-ul-Mumineen also dismissed Mu’awiyah from Sham. But Mu’awiyah was always planning to control Sham first. Then he planned to control the Muslim lands in general. So, he rebelled and announced that he would get revenge on Uthman’s killers. For this reason, the Battle of Siffeen took place on the borders between Syria and Iraq. Ameer-ul-Mumineen’s army included many companions of Rasulallah (SAW). Ammar bin Yasir, Malik al-Ashter, Abdullah bin Abbas, and others were among them. Mu’awiyah’s army included the enemies of Islam such as Marwan bin Al-Hakam, Amr bin al-Aas and those who escaped from Ali’s Justice to Mu’awiyah’s world. The Muslims in both armies were always repeating our RasulAllah (SAW)’s tradition: Ammar, the unjust group (Rebels) will kill you.
Ammar was in Ameer-ul-Mumineen (SA)’s Army. He was over ninety years old. Nevertheless, he fought as bravely as the believing young man did. He looked at the sky and said: Allah, if I know that you are pleased with throwing myself into the Euphrates, I’ll do! Allah, I know that you are pleased to see me striving those corrupt people! Ammar was with truth (HAQ). So, he said: “By Allah, if they (Mu’awiyah’s Army) defeat and chase us to the Hajar date-palms, I’ll say that we’re right and they’re wrong.” When the battle broke out, Ammar (RA) addressed the fighters: “Who wants Allah’s satisfaction?” Some believers accepted his words. So, Ammar (RA) led them towards the enemy. When the companions saw him passing through the enemy army, they followed him.
Although Ammar was fasting, he was fighting with great enthusiasm. In the middle of the battle, Ammar (RA) saw Amr bin al-Aas and said to him: “Ammar, Woe on you! You’ve sold your religion for Egypt! Namely, Mu’awiyah promised to give Egypt to Amr bin Al-Aas if the latter stood by him.” Amru bin al-Ass said with trick: “No, I’m requesting Uthman’s blood!” Ammar said: “I firmly believe that your action is not for Allah.” Then Ammar advised him: “If you won’t be killed today, you’ll die tomorrow. And actions are according to intentions. So, correct your intentions because Allah will reward people according to their intentions.” The Muslims were in a fix. They did not distinguish right from wrong. Their guide was Ammar (RA) because Rasulallah (SAW) had said: “The unjust group will kill Ammar. Amru bin al-Aas deceived the people of Sham when he said to them: “Be patient! Ammar will come to your front!”
The days of the war passed, but Ammar (RA) was fighting at the front of right. He was always standing by Maulana Ali (SA). One day, Ammar and a group launched an attack. Ammar (RA) was fighting bravely. He remembered the days when he fought beside RasulAllah (SAW). He remembered the Battles of Badr, Uhud and the other Muslims battles. Though Ammar was fasting, he went on fighting. When the sun set, Ammar (RA) asked some water because he was thirsty. A fighter brought him a cup full of yogurt. Ammar smiled. Then he cheerfully said: Tonight, I may die a martyr. Some fighters asked him about the secret. He said: “My dear RasulAllah (SAW) has told me: “The unjust group of rebels will kill you. And your final food in this world will be a cup of yogurt.” Ammar (RA) drank the cup of yoghurt. Then he continued fighting till he fell over the ground and became a martyr.
Mu’awiyah was about to fly because of happiness. Maulana Ali Ameer-ul-Mumineen (SA) was full of sadness and sorrow. During those moments all Muslims knew the unjust group.
Some soldiers in Mu’awiyah’s Army were waiting for Ammar’s coming to their front. But they saw him fighting bravely beside Ameer-ul-Mumineen (SA) till he became a martyr. So, they sneered at Amr bin al-Aas’ claim. In the meantime, they took advantage of the dark and began coming to join the Ameer-ul-Mumineen (SA)’s Army. They knew that it was the front of right. Ammar’s martyrdom sounded at both fronts. Maulana Ali (SAW)’s Army was in high spirits, but Mu’awiyah’s Army was in low spirits.
At that night, Ameer-ul-Mumineen (SA)’s Army launched a wide attack against Mu’awiyah’s Army. Ameer-ul-Mumineen (SA)’s Army was about to win victory. But Amr bin al-Aas created a new trick. He ordered the army of Sham to raise the Qur’an. They were demanding Ameer-ul-Mumineen (SA)’s Army to turn to Allah’s Book. The fights stopped. Both armies withdrew from the Valley of Siffeen. The martyrs’ bodies stayed on the battlefield. The body of Ammar, aged ninety six, stayed there too. Later Ameer-ul-Mumineen (SA) prayed on the Janazah of the great companion and laid him to peace.
–by Shk. Juzarbhai Noorani (Sharjah)