Seerah > Sahaabah > DEVOTION TO SALAAH
Blessings of Nafl (non-obligatory) Salaah

Nabi reported that Allah  told him: "My anger descends upon a person who bears ill-will towards My friends, and only those are blessed with My love who punctually carry out Fardh (obligatory) injunctions. A person keeps on advancing in my esteem through nafl, till I choose him as 'My beloved'. I then become his ear by which he listens, his eye by which he looks, his hands by which he holds, and his feet by which he walks (i.e. his listening, looking, holding and walking are according to My wishes and commands, and he would never even dream of using any part of his body in any action against My commands). If such a person asks for anything, I grant it to him and if he seeks My protection, I do protect him."

Those people are really blessed who, after performing their Fardh, are in the habit of observing Nafl abundantly. May Allah  give me and all my friends the strength to earn this blessing.

Nabi spends the whole night in Salaah

A certain person asked A'ishah : "Tell me something noteworthy concerning Nabi."

She answered: "There was nothing which was not unusual about him. Everything he did was noteworthy. One night he came and lay down beside me. After sometime, he got up saying, 'Now let me pray to my Lord, the Sustainer'."

With this, he stood up in Salaah, humbling himself before his Creator with such sincerity that tears rolled down his cheeks to his beard and on to his chest. He then bowed for Ruku' and Sajdah, and his tears flowed down as fast as before and after raising his head from his Sajdah, he continued weeping in this manner till Hadhrat Bilal announced the approach of Fajr Salaah.

I pleaded with him: "O, Nabi of Allah! you are sinless, as Allah has in His kindness, forgiven your each and every sin (even if committed) in the past and which may happen in the life to come (XLVIII: 2) and still you grieve so much."

Nabi replied: "Why should I then not be a grateful slave of Allah ?" He then added, "Why should I not be praying like this when Allah  has today revealed to me these verses?"

Verily in the creation of the Heavens and the Earth, and in the alternating of night and day, are signs (of His Sovereignty) for men of understanding. They who remember Allah, standing, sitting and reclining . . . (S3:V190-191)

It has been reported in many Ahaadith that Nabi's feet would get swollen because of his very long ra-kaats in Salaah. People tried to reason with him: "O, Nabi of Allah! You are sinless and you still labour so hard!"

He would reply: "Should I not be a grateful slave of my Allah , then ?"

Nabi's recitation of the Qur’aan in Salaah

Hadhrat 'Auf narrates: "I was once with Nabi. He brushed his teeth with a Miswaak, performed his Wudhu and stood up for Salaah. I also availed of the opportunity to join him. He recited surah 'Baqarah' in his first rakaat; he would pray for mercy when he recited any verse praising the Grace of Allah , and would make dua for Divine forgiveness when reciting any verse referring to His anger. He took as much time in Ruku and Sajdah each as he had taken in Qiyaam. In Ruku' he recited:

'Glory to Allah! The Lord of majesty, sovereignty and magnificence.'

He recited the next three Soorahs in the remaining three rakaats and each rakaat was of about the same length as the first one."

Hadhrat Huzaifah has also narrated a similar story about his Salaah with Nabi.

The Qiraat (recitation) of the Qur’aan by Nabi in the above mentioned four rakaats amounts to more than one-fifth of the entire Qur’aan and Nabi recited the Qur’aan with proper Tajweed. He would also pray and seek forgiveness after the relevant verses and keeping in mind that his Ruku' and Sajdah would also last as long as his Qiyaam.

We can thus have a fair idea of how much time he must have taken to say his Salaah. This can only be possible when Salaah is a source of great inner satisfaction and spiritual enjoyment. That is why Nabi has often been quoted as saying: "The comfort of my eyes lies in Salaah."

Salaah of a Few Eminent Sahaabah

Hadhrat Mujahid , describing the Salaah of Hadhrat Abu Bakr and that of Hadhrat Abdullah bin Zubair , says: "They stood in Salaah motionless like pieces of timber stuck in the ground."

'Ulama agree that Hadhrat Abdullah bin Zubair learnt to say his Salaah from Hadhrat Abu Bakr , who in turn learnt it direct from Nabi.

It is said, about Hadhrat Abdullah bin Zubair , that he remained in Sajdah for so long and kept so motionless therein, that birds would come and perch on his back. He would sometimes remain in Sajdah or Ruku' all night long. During an attack against him, a missile came and hit the wall of the musjid where he was saying his Salaah. A piece of stone flew from the wall and passed inbetween his beard and throat. He neither cut his Salaah short, nor was he the least disturbed.

Once he was saying his Salaah while his son Hashim was sleeping near him. A snake fell from the ceiling and coiled around the child. The child woke up and shrieked and the whole household gathered round him. They killed the snake after a great hue and cry. In the meanwhile Ibne Zubair , calm and quiet, remained engaged in his Salaah. When he had completed his Salaah, he asked his wife: “What was the noise that I heard during my Salaah?"

His wife exclaimed: "May Allah  have mercy on you! The child's life was in danger and you took least notice of it."

His answer was: "Had I turned my attention to anything else, what would have remained of my Salaah?"

Hadhrat 'Umar was stabbed at the close of his career and the same wound caused his death. He bled profusely and remained unconscious for long periods. But when he was informed of the time of Salaah, he would perform it in that very condition, and say: "There is no portion in Islam for the person who discards Salaah."

Hadhrat Uthman would remain in Salaah all night long, finishing the whole Qur’aan in one rakaat.

It is reported that Hadhrat Ali would turn pale and tremble at the time of Salaah. Somebody asked him the reason, and he said: "It is the time to discharge the trust which Allah  offered to the Heavens and the Earth and the hills, but they shrank from bearing it and I have assumed it."

Somebody asked Khalaf-bin-Ayub: "Don’t the flies annoy you in your Salaah?"

His answer was: "Even the sinful people patiently bear the lashes given by the government and afterwards boast of their endurance. Why should I be made to jump about by mere flies when standing in the presence of my Lord?"

When Muslim bin Yasaar stood up for Salaah, he said to his family members: "You may keep on talking, I shall not be knowing what you talk."

Once he was saying his Salaah in the Jaami' musjid of Basrah. A portion of the musjid wall fell down with a crash and everybody ran for safety, but he never even heard the noise.

Somebody asked Haatim Asam as to how he performed his Salaah. He replied: "When the time for Salaah comes, I perform my Wudhu and go to the place where I have to say my Salaah. I sit down for some time till all the parts of my body are relaxed. I then stand up for Salaah, visualising the Ka'bah in front of me, imagining my feet upon the Bridge of Siraat, with Jannat to my right and Jahannum to my left and Izraa-eel (angel of death) close behind me and thinking that it may be my last Salaah. I then say my Salaah with full sincerity and devotion. I thereafter finish my Salaah between fear and hope about its acceptance.

Salaah of a Muhaajir and an Ansaari keeping watch

While returning from a battle, Nabi happened to halt for the night at some place. He inquired: "Who would keep watch over the camp tonight?"

Hadhrat Ammar bin Yasir of the Mu-hajirin and Hadhrat Abbaad bin Bishr of the Ansaar offered their services. Both of them were posted to watch from a hill-top against any possible night attack by the enemy.

Abbaad said to Ammar : "Let us keep watch and sleep turn by turn. In the first half of the night I shall keep awake, while you go to sleep. In the next half, you may keep watch while I go to sleep."

Hadhrat Ammar agreed and went to sleep and Hadhrat Abbaad started his Salaah. An enemy scout made him out in the dark from a distance and shot an arrow at him. Seeing that he made no movement, he shot another and still another arrow at him. Hadhrat Abbaad drew out and threw away each arrow as it struck him and at last awakened his companion. The enemy fled when he saw them both together, fearing that there may be many more of them. Hadhrat Ammar noticed Hadhrat Abbaad bleeding from three places.

He said: "Subhanallah! Why did you not awake me up earlier?"

Hadhrat Abbaad replied: "I had started reciting Surah 'Kahf in my Salaah. I did not like to cut it short, but when I was struck by the third arrow, I was greatly concerned that my death might cause danger to Nabi. I therefore finished the Salaah and awakened you. Was it not for this fear, I would not have gone to Ruku' before finishing the Surah, even if I had been killed."

Look at the devotion of the Sahaabah to Salaah. One arrow after another is piercing Hadhrat Abbaad's body and he is bleeding profusely, but is not prepared to sacrifice the pleasure of reciting the Qur’aan in his Salaah. On the other hand, the bite of a wasp, nay of a mosquito, is sufficient to distract us from our Salaah.

According to the Hanafiyyah School of thought, Wudhu breaks with bleeding, while according to the Sha-fi'iyyah it does not. It is just possible that Hadhrat Abbaad might be having the latter view or that this point was not an issue until then.

Hadhrat Abu Talha and his Salaah

Hadhrat Abu Talha was once saying his Salaah in his garden. His attention was drawn towards a bird that fluttered about, but could not find a way out of the thick branches and leaves. For a short moment, he followed the bird with his eyes and forgot the number of rakaats. Upon this mistake, his sorrow knew no bounds. Immediately he presented himself to Nabi and said: "O Nabi of Allah , this garden of mine has been the cause of a diversion in my Salaah. I give it away in the cause of Allah . Kindly spend it as may appear proper to you."

A similar occasion arose, in the time of Hadhrat Uthmaan , concerning one of the Ansaar. While he was saying his Salaah in his garden, the branches of the trees which were weighed down in abundance with luxurious ripe juicy dates caught his eyes and he felt pleased with it. This made him forget the number of rakaats in his Salaah. He was so much stricken with grief that he decided to give away the garden that had distracted him from his Salaah.

He approached Hadhrat Uthmaan and gave the garden to him for using in the path of Allah . Hadhrat Uthmaan had the garden sold for fifty thousand dirhams and spent the money as desired. This shows the value the Sahaabah set on their Imaan. Hadhrat Abu Talha was prepared to give away his orchard worth fifty thousand dirhams because it had interfered with his Salaah. According to Shah Waliullah, the Sufis give preference to obedience to Allah  over anything that distracts from it.

Hadhrat Ibn Abbas and his Salaah

Hadhrat Abdullah bin Abbas suffered from cataract of the eye.

A doctor told him: "Treatment is possible, provided you are willing to take precautions. It will be essential for you to avoid prostrating yourself on the ground for five days. However, you can use a wooden desk for performing Sajdah."

He said: "This cannot be so. I would not say a single rakaat like that. I have heard Nabi saying, ‘A person who intentionally leaves out a single Salaah, shall have to face Divine wrath on the Day of Qiyaamah.’"

As it involves no direct breaking of the Law of Allah , it is quite permissible to perform Salaah in the way advised by the doctors. Yet due to his utter devotion to Salaah and complete regard for Nabi's j warning, Hadhrat Abdullah bin Abbas was ready to lose his eyesight rather than allow the slightest modification in the Salaah as performed by Nabi himself. In fact, the Sahaabah would sacrifice the whole world for their Salaah. We may call it 'fanaticism', or make any other remark about that devoted group, but the decision in the Hereafter would prove, beyond doubt, that they were those persons who really feared and loved their Creator above everything else in this world.

Sahaabah's stopping business at the time of Salaah

Hadhrat Abdullah bin 'Umar once visited the marketplace. He noticed that at the time of Salaah, everybody closed his shop and went to the musjid.

He remarked: "These are people about whom Allah  has remarked:

Men, whom neither business nor sale distracts from remembrance of Allah, and establishing Salaah and paying of Zakaat. They fear a day when hearts and eyeballs will be overturned. (ie. The Day ofQiyaamah) (SXXIV: V37)"

Hadhrat Ibn Abbas says: "These people were completely absorbed in their business, but when they heard Azaan, they left everything and rushed towards the musjid."

He once remarked: "By Allah, they were such businessmen whose trade did not stop them from the remembrance of Allah ."

Hadhrat Abdullah bin Mas’ood once happend to be in the marketplace when the Azaan was called out. He noticed everybody leaving their shops and proceeding to the musjid. He remarked: "These are surely the persons of whom Allah  says:

"Men, whom neither business nor sale distracts from remembrance of Allah, and establishing Salaah and paying of Zakaat. (SXXIV: V37)"

Another Hadith says: “When all the people shall be gathered on the Day of Qiyaamah, it will be asked, 'Who are those who glorified Allah  in good and bad times?' A group will arise and enter Jannat without any questions. Again it will be asked, 'Who are those who kept away from their beds and passed their nights in worshipping Allah.' Another group will arise and enter Jannat without any questions. The Malaaikah will ask yet again, 'Where are those whom business did not stop from remembering Allah ', and yet another group will arise and enter Jannat without any questions. After these three groups have departed, quuestioning would start for the rest of the people."

Shahaadat of Hadhrat Khubaib , Hadhrat Zaid and Hadhrat 'Asim

The Quraish were very angry at the loss of some of their greatest men in the battle of Uhud. Sulaifah, whose two sons had been killed, had taken a vow that she would drink wine in the skull of Hadhrat 'Asim , if she could get possession of his head. Hadhrat 'Asim had killed both her sons.

She had announced a prize of one hundred camels for the person who brought Hadhrat 'Asim's head to her. One hundred camels was huge reward at that time. Sufyan bin Khalid worked out a plan to get this prize. He sent a few men to Madinah, who pretended to embrace Islam. They requested Nabi to select some persons to accompany them to their locality to preach Islam to the people.

They made a special request for Hadhrat 'Asim saying: “Our people will very much appreciate his method of teaching.”

Nabi sent ten (or six according to another report) of his companions to go with them and Hadrath ‘Asim was of course included in these. They started very nicely from Madinah Munawarah but problems awaited them on the way. They were attacked by more than two hundred of the enemy including one hundred crack selected archers (masters of the bow and arrow). The Sahaabah climbed up a hill called Fadfad.

The enemy called out to them: “We do not want to kill you. We shall only take you to Makkah and sell you to the Quraish.”

The Sahaabah refused this offer and chose to fight to the finish. When they ran short of arrows, they attacked the enemy with their spears.

Hadhrat 'Asim called out to his companions: “No doubt you have been let down by these terrible people, but you should not lose heart because martyrdom is itself what your are hoping for. Allah , the most beloved, is with you and your hoorein (women of Jannah) are waiting for you. With these words, he rushed into the very thick of the enemy and when his spear broke, he fought on with his sword until he fell fighting to the last.

His last Dua was: “O Allah ! Inform Nabi about our fate.”Allah  in his compassion answered his dua by revealing the news to Nabi.

As Hadhrat 'Asim had come to know about Sulaifahs vow to drink wine in his skull, he also asked Allah : “O, Allah! I have laid down my life for you, O Allah, do save my head from the hands of these kuffaar.”

This dua was also granted. After his death, a swarm of bees (or wasps according to another report) settled upon his body and foiled all attempts by the enemy to cut off his head. They left the body alone intending to do their dirty job during the night when the bees would have gone, but during the night, there was a cloud burst, which washed away the body.

Returning to the fight, when seven out of the ten Sahaabah had attained shahaadat and the remaining three, Hadhrat Khubaib , Hadhrat Zaid bin Wathnah and Hadhrat Abdullah bin Tariq were still sticking to their position on the hill-top, the enemy again called out to them: "You three should come down from the hill, of course we would not cause any harm to you."

The three trusted them and came down the hill, but the enemy immediately pounced upon them and held them down with the gut strings of their bows. Upon this, Hadhrat Abdullah bin Tariq protested: "So this is the very first breaking of your promise. I would rather join my martyred brothers than go alive with you."

He then refused to follow them as a prisoner. They tried their best to make him walk, but would not and realising that he would on no account budge an inch from the spot, killed him then and there. The two remaining captives were taken by them to Makkah and sold to the Quraish.

Safwan bin Umayyah paid fifty camels for Hadhrat Zaid bin Wathna to kill him in revenge for the death of his father Umayyah in the battle of 'Uhud and Hujair bin Abi Ahaab bought Hadhrat Khubaib for one hundred camels to avenge the death of his father in the same battle.

Safwan made over Hadhrat Zaid to his slave to be killed outside the boundary of the Haram. A crowd followed them to watch Hadhrat Zaid meet his end and Abu Sufyan also happened to be one of the spectators. When Zaid stood prepared to meet his death, Abu Sufyan asked him: "Don't you wish Muhammad j to be in your place today and you be freed to enjoy life with your family?"

Hadhrat Zaid's reply amazed them all: "By Allah!" he said, "The very thought of enjoying life with my family is unbearable to me, even if Nabi was to suffer a thorn-prick in his foot."

The Quraish simply could not understand this reply, and Abu Sufyan remarked: "There is absolutely no comparison, anywhere in the world, to the love that the companions of Muhammad j have for him." Hadhrat Zaid was then martyred.

Hadhrat Khubaib remained in the captivity of Hujair for a long time. A woman slave of Hujair (who later on embraced Islam) says: "When Hadhrat Khubaib was in captivity with us, I noticed one day that he was eating grapes from a bunch as big as a human head, although it was not the season of grapes in Makkah at that time. When the day for his killing drew near, he asked for a razor, which was handed over to him. Meanwhile a child of the house, while playing, went close to Hadhrat Khubaib .

All the people of the house got worried. They thought that there was nothing to prevent Hadhrat Khubaib from killing the child with the razor as he had been sentenced to death. On observing their alarm, Hadhrat Khubaib removed their fears by saying: 'Do you think that I would stoop to the killing of an innocent child? This dreadful crime is simply not possible for me.'"

When he was brought to the gallows and asked to make his last wish, if any, he requested: "Allow me to say two rakaat of Salaah, for it is time for me to leave the world and meet my Allah."

They let him say his Salaah. On finishing the two rakaat most calmly, he said: "But for your thinking that I was afraid of death, I would have said another two rakaats."

He was then tied to the gallows. At that time he said: "O, Allah! There is nobody to convey my last Salaam to Nabi." Allah sent his Salaam to Nabi through an angel. Nabi answered: "Wa alaikumus salaam! O Khubaib," and informed the Sahaabah : “Khubaib has been martyred by the Quraish." At the gallows, forty of the Querysh speared him at the same time. One of those teased him: "Say by Allah, if you now wish Muhammad j to be in your place and you be freed."

He replied: "By Allah! the Most Magnificent, I will not tolerate a thorn pricking Nabi in ransom for my life."

Every word of this story is a lesson for us all. The devotion and love of the Sahaabah mentioned here is really something to admire and desire. They would lay down their lives but they would not tolerate even a thorn pricking Nabi. Again, look at Hadhrat Khubaib's last wish. He neither remembers his family members nor wishes to see any of them. What he wishes is to send his last Salaam to Nabi and to say two last rakaats of Salaah.

Nabi’s company in Jannat

Rabee’ah narrates: “I used to remain in the khidmat (service) of Nabi at night. I would keep water, miswaak, Musalla (praying mat), etc., ready for his Tahajjud Salaah. Once he, being very pleased with my services, asked me, ‘what would you wish most?’ I replied, ‘O, Nabi of Allah, I wish your company in Jannat.’ He asked me if there was anything else I wished for, but I replied, ‘This is the only thing I wished for.’ Upon this, he remarked, ‘All right, you should help me by frequently prostrating in Salaah.’”

Here is a lesson for us. We should not depend on verbal duas alone, but should also make some practical effort to gain our object. The best of all efforts is Salaah. It would also be wrong to depend entirely on the duas of the Auliyaa and the pious people alone. This is a world of cause and effect and no doubt, Allah  sometimes in his wisdom and might does bring into effect things for which there is no visible and physical cause, but this happens on very rare occasions. Regarding our worldly matters, we make all possible efforts and never depend on duas alone. So as far as the gains of Hereafter are concerned, we should also try our best to adhere to the practical aspects of our deen. Neither should verbal dua be regarded as the only factor which counts, nor, like a fatalist, leave everything to taqdeer. No doubt, the duas of pious people and lovers of Allah  have their due effect, but they only go to boost our own sincere efforts and even Nabi asked Rabee’ah to “help” him by prostrating frequently (i.e., saying Salaah in his leisure hours too).