Abu Ayub Ansari (RA) | dr Abdul Qadeer Khan in The News | 8th August 2016
We have all read about the recent failed coup in Turkey. I have been to Istanbul many times – a lovely city with many things to see. The tomb of our Holy Prophet’s close companion, Hazrat Abu Ayub Ansari – born in Madina and known as Khalid bin Zayd bin Kulayb there – is a most popular site. It consists of a beautiful mosque and tomb.
This is the story of a very special letter delivered through Hazrat Abu Ayub Ansari (RA). It is narrated in Al Mustazarf, Hajjatullah ‘alal-Alamin’ and in Tarikh Ibne Asakir and translated from an article by Abu Nur Mohammad Bashir.
“Once the King of Yemen, Taba Awwal Hamiri …. went on tour of his country and those surrounding it…. In his entourage he had 12,000 ‘ulema, physicians and learned men in addition to his army of 114,000 soldiers. Wherever they went …. people lined the roadside to watch …. and welcome them. When the entourage reached the outskirts of Makkah, no one came to see them …. He asked his chief minister, ‘Wherever we have gone, people have … welcomed us. But not here. What is the reason?’
“The chief minister replied, ‘Your Highness! There is a house in this town. It is called Baitullah. The people of this town and its Khadim have a great respect for it…. People in large numbers from places near and far come for pilgrimage to this house…. They respect the holy house more than kings.’ Hearing this, the king was furious … and declared, ‘I will raze this house to the ground and have the people of this town killed.’ No sooner had the King uttered these words, then blood began spurting from his mouth, nose and eyes.
“The blood was so foul smelling that his companions moved away from him … and no one could help or treat him in any way… Amongst his entourage there was a physician who was a God-fearing scholar as well. He came to the king …. and said, ‘O King! Your illness is spiritual… Did you intend to do anything bad or evil? If you did, He will pardon you and relieve you of your misery and illness if He wishes, should you repent.’ … the king immediately changed his evil plans to destroy the Ka’ba and to kill the people of Makkah.
“No sooner had he repented , then the foul smelling blood stopped spurting …. He ordered a silk ghilaf for the Ka’ba to be made and a gift of seven gold sovereigns and seven pieces of silk clothing for each of the residents of Makkah. Having recovered, the king of Yemen then continued with his tour. His entourage next arrived in Medina al-munawwara. The ‘ulema in his group had studied the books that had been revealed to the prophets who had come before them…. The signs of the place where the last Prophet (pbuh) of Allah would make his Hijra to, as indicated in these books, were all present here.
“The ‘ulema were overjoyed and made a commitment to stay put in this town…. and stated that if they were fortunate, one day they would meet the Prophet (pbuh). But if they didn’t, the dust from the Holy Prophet’s (pbuh) sandals would land on their graves…. The king …. agreed to build four hundred homes for them, as well as a big house for our Prophet (pbuh)…. The king then dictated a letter to his chief scholar and requested him to present it to the Prophet (pbuh) when he came to Medina. He further requested of him that, should he die before meeting the Prophet (pbuh), the letter be treasured and passed on to his children and their descendants and presented to the Prophet whenever he came to the town…
“The letter was passed down from the chief alim to his descendants. After more than 1,000 years, …. the letter came to be in the hands of Hazrat Abu Aiyub Ansari (RA), who had given it to his chief slave, Abu Laila, for safe-keeping. When the people of Medina heard that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was coming to Medina …. they started making preparations to welcome him…. Each of them wanted the Prophet (pbuh) to be welcomed into and grace his house.
“The Prophet (pbuh) …. came up with a proposal that he would let loose the reins of his camel. He would stay at the house outside which the camel would come to a halt and sit down. The camel was let loose. It went down the streets and stopped outside the house which the king of Yemen had built for the Holy Prophet (pbuh). The Prophet (pbuh) and the people came to this house. Abu Laila was then asked to bring the letter….
“Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), seeing Abu Laila, asked him, ‘Are you Abu Laila?’ Abu Laila was stunned, having his name mentioned by the Holy Prophet (pbuh). He was surprised that the Holy Prophet (pbuh) had just arrived from Makkah but knew his name. The Holy Prophet (pbuh) then said, ‘I am Muhammad Rasul Allah. I will have the king of Yemen’s letter that you have for me.’ The Holy Prophet (pbuh) then looked at the letter and said, ‘Congratulations to my pious servant Tab’a Awwal Hamiri.’”
The letter from King Hamiri stated: “O Prophet (pbuh) of Allah, I pledge my faith in you and in the Book that will be revealed to you and I follow the path of your religion. If I am fortunate to see you, it will be with great pleasure. However, if this is not possible, I would request that you intercede for me and not to forget me on the Day of Judgment. I believe in your Prophethood. I seek ba’yat (allegiance) to you in advance of your arrival. I swear that there is only one Allah and Muhammad (pbuh) is his true Prophet (Mizanul Adyan).