14 Nov Shaddad bin Aws (r.a.)
When Madinah became “the city of the Prophet”, it began to be called “Madinah al-Munawwarah” (the Illuminated City). For, Allah’s mercy fell upon it like rain. There were almost no families that lived in the city of Madinah and did not embrace Islam. One of the happy families that embraced Islam was the family of Hz. Aws. The Prophet established brotherhood between Hz. Aws and Hz. Uthman after the Migration. Besides, Hz. Aws was the brother of Hz. Hassan, the poet of the Prophet. When Hz. Aws and his family became Muslims, his young son, Shaddad, was brought up in an Islamic environment. He did not take part in any battles with the Prophet since he was very young. He was about 15-16 years old during the Battle of Badr. However, he took lessons of knowledge and wisdom from the Prophet.
Once, the Prophet saw that Shaddad was distressed. He asked, “O Shaddad! What is the matter?” Shaddad said,
“O Messenger of Allah! The world seems to be gloomy to me.”
Thereupon, the Prophet consoled him by giving him the following glad tiding:
“Do not feel distressed! Damascus will be conquered; Jerusalem will be conquered. You and a group of your descendants will be there.”[ Isaba, 2: 140. ]
The best moments of Hz. Shaddad, who was known as “Abu Ya’la”, were when he was with the Prophet. He listened to the Prophet’s talks whenever he had the opportunity. He learned and memorized the Prophet’s hadiths. He tried to practice each hadith he learned.
He describes one of the talks of the Prophet as follows:
“Once, we were in the presence of the Messenger of Allah. He looked at us and asked, ‘Is there a stranger (i.e., People of the Book) among you?’ We said, ‘no.’ So, he told us to close the door and said, ‘Raise your hands and say La ilaha illallallah’. We raised our hands and said La ilaha illallallah like that for an hour. Then, he lowered his hands and said, ‘O Allah! Praise be to You! You have sent me with this word and ordered me with it and promised me Paradise with it. You do not break your promise.’ Then, the Messenger of Allah said: ‘I give you glad tidings that God Almighty has forgiven all of you.’”[ Musnad, 4: 124. ]
With this, the Prophet gave the believers who kept uttering kalima at-tawhid, believed in Allah truly and practiced their religion the glad tiding that Allah will show mercy to them and forgive them.
Hz. Shaddad lived in Jerusalem, Damascus and Homs after the death of the Prophet. He educated many students in hadith and fiqh. He guided Muslims. Hz. Abu’d-Darda (r.a.) states the following for him: “Every ummah has a fiqh expert; the fiqh expert of this ummah is Shaddad bin Aws.”[ Usdu’l-Ghaba, 2: 388. ]
Hz. Shaddad had a good command of hadith. He had superior ability in understanding hadiths. There are about 50 hadiths narrated by Hz. Shaddad in hadith books.
Along with his knowledge, Hz. Shaddad was also known for his lenience and good manners. He spoke softly, clearly and wisely. He did not get angry with anyone. Hz. Abu Hurayra (r.a.) stated the following while mentioning his character: “Shaddad spoke clearly; when he encountered something that would infuriate him, he would control himself at once.”[ Isaba, 2: 139. ]
Those who know Hz. Shaddad never heard any bad and unpleasant words from him. However, once, they heard an unexpected word from him. When the people who were around him said they never expected such a thing from him, Hz. Shaddad said,
“I always spoke very carefully after I became a Muslim. However, it escaped from my lips. Please forget it and memorize the following words that I heard from the Messenger of Allah:
Once, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said to me, ‘O Shaddad! If you see people amassing gold and silver, say these statements a lot: O Allah. Verily I ask of You for strength of perseverance and patience in my affairs and thanking You for the boons You give me and worshipping you truly. And I ask of You for a heart which is purified in belief and a truthful tongue.’”[ Musnad, 1: 264. ]
An important aspect of Shaddad bin Aws that is appreciated is the fact that he was superior in asceticism and piety and that he feared Allah very much. According to what Asad bin Wada narrates, when Hz. Shaddad entered the bed to sleep, he would be like a grain on the frying pan. He never kept his legs straight. He would meditate for a long time; then, he would wake up by saying, “O Allah! Hellfire stood between me and my sleep.” After that, he would start worshipping and usually performed prayers until the morning.[ Hilyah, 1: 264. ]
He would read the following hadith by despising the ugly face of the world and its aspects addressing man’s desires:
“A clever person is the one who regards his soul as mean, questions it and does good deeds for the life after death. A weak person is the one who obeys his soul and fulfills its bad desires and then asks forgiveness from Allah.”[ Ibn Majah, Zuhd: 131. ]
Hz. Shaddad, who spent his life in the service of Islam, died in Homs in the 58th year of the Migration, when he was 75 years old.
May Allah be pleased with him!