Posted - 08/09/2007 : 12:59:43
| Abu Dharr al-Ghifari
Jundub ibn Junadah ibn Sakan (Arabic جُندب بن جَنادة), better known as Abu Dharr, Abu Dharr al-Ghafari, or Abu Tharr Al-Ghefari (Arabic أبو ذر الغفاري) was an early convert to Islam. When he converted, Muhammad gave him a new name, Abdullah. He belonged to the Banu Ghifari, the Ghifar tribe. No date of birth is known. He died in 652 CE, at al-Rabadha, in the desert near Medina.
Abu Dharr is remembered for his strict piety and also his opposition to the caliph Uthman ibn Affan. He is venerated by Shi'a Muslims as one of the Four Companions, early Muslims who were followers of Ali ibn Abi Talib.
He was one of the Muhajirun 
• 1 Early life
• 2 After Muhammad's death
• 3 Sunni view of Abu Dharr
• 4 Shi'a view
• 5 See also
• 6 References
• 7 External links
o 7.1 Shi'a links
o 7.2 Sunni links
Little is known of his life before his conversion to Islam. Abu Dharr is said to have been a serious young man, an ascetic and a monotheist even before he converted. He was also of lowly birth, since his tribe, the Ghifar, was small and poor. The Ghifar were a branch of the Kinanah, found to the west of Mecca and Medina (Watt, Muhammad at Medina, 1956, p. 81). Abu Dharr was apparently typical of the early converts to Islam, described by az-Zuhri as "young men and weak people" (cited in Watt, Muhammad at Mecca, 1953, p. 87).
Popular accounts of Abu Dharr (, ) say that his tribe lived by pillaging caravans, but that he preferred to live a poor but honest life as a shepherd. Having heard the supposition that a new prophet had arisen in Mecca, Abu Dharr and his brother travelled to Mecca to find the claimed prophet. The young seeker converted instantly and rushed out to declare his new faith in front of the Kaaba, which at that time was a pagan temple. He was beaten for his presumption. After this he returned to his tribe, where he made other converts for Islam, and then joined Muhammad after the Hijra, or migration to Medina in 622 CE.
This seems to be a simplified account of stories reported in these hadiths from Muslim: , , .
According to the early Islamic historian Tabari, Abu Dharr claimed to have been the fourth or fifth convert to Islam. However, several other early Muslims made the same claim. While the exact order of conversion may never be established, no one doubts that he was an early convert.
After Muhammad's death
Abu Dharr was a strong supporter of Ali ibn Abi Talib in the political conflicts after Muhammad's death and prominent historians of both Shi`ah and Sunni have confirmed this.
According to the historian Wilferd Madelung, Abu Dharr fell into disfavor during the caliphate of Uthman ibn Affan. Uthman was appointing his relatives as governors and giving them money from the public treasury. Abu Dharr felt that this was a betrayal of the principles of Islam.
Abu Dharr had begun his agitation in Medina after Uthman had given 500,000 dirhams to Marwan b. al-Hakam, 300,000 to al-Harith b. al-Hakam, and 100,000 to the Medinan Zayd b. Thabit from the khums of the booty seized in Ifriquiya in 27/647. He then quoted relevant Qur'anic passages threatening the horders (sic) of riches with hell-fire. Marwan complained to Uthman, who sent his servant Natil to warn Abu Dharr, but to no avail. Uthman displayed patience for some time until, in the presence of the caliph, Abu Dharr launched an angry verbal attack on Ka'b al-Ahbar, who had backed Uthman's free use of public money. Uthman now chided Abu Dharr and sent him to Damascus ... (Madelung, Succession to Muhammad, 1997, p. 84).
However, Abu Dharr was just as forthright in Damascus, where he criticized the luxurious life and free spending of Muawiyah, Uthman's nephew and the governor of Syria. He was sent back to Medina, and finally, when he would not cease criticizing misuse of the public treasury, he was exiled to al-Rabadha, in the desert near Medina, where he died.
Madelung recounts that Ali ibn Abi Talib felt that Uthman was wrong to punish Abu Dharr, who had been one of the first converts and a favorite of the Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace). Ali showed his sympathy by accompanying Abu Dharr to the edge of town, thus sending him into his exile with good wishes and respect. Uthman had ordered that no one was to do this; Ali defied the caliph to show kindness to Abu Dharr.
Abu Dharr died of the lingering effects of beatings he had received at the hands of Uthman's soldiers, or died of starvation in the desert. There is a tradition that the Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) predicted this sad end, saying, "May Allah have mercy upon Abu Dharr! Lonely will he live, lonely will he die and lonely will he be resurrected."
Sunni view of Abu Dharr
Many hadith, oral traditions, are traced to Abu Dharr. He is respected as an early convert, an observant Muslim, and a man who was honest and direct to a fault. He was, according to the Sunni tradition, a rough, unlettered Beduin who held no high office, but who served the Muslim community, the Ummah, with everything he had to give.
For Shi'a, Abu Dharr's fame is synonymous with his loyalty to Ali. He is considered one of the Four Companions, early Muslims whose loyalty to Ali never wavered. Shi'a believe that he added the phrase "I witness that Ali is the appointed one by God" to the call to prayer (adhan), during Muhammad's lifetime and with his approval. Abu Dharr is said to have died as a result of his persecution, and thus is regarded as a martyr to the Shi'a cause. Because of his support for Ali, Shi'a accept hadith traced to Abu Dharr.
Lebanese Shia believe that Abu Dharr was the first to preach Shi'a Islam in Syria and Lebanon. There are two shrines dedicated to Abu Dharr in Lebanon: one in Sarafand near Sidon, and another in Meiss Al-Jabal in southern Lebanon.
Ali Asgher Razwy, a 20th century Shi'a Twelver Islamic scholar states:
“ If anyone wishes to see the real spirit of Islam, he will find it, not in the deeds of the nouveaux riches of Medina, but in the life, character and deeds of such companions of the Apostle of God as Ali ibn Abi Talib, Salman the Persian, Abu Dharr el-Ghiffari, Ammar ibn Yasir, Owais Qarni and Bilal. The orientalists will change their assessment of the spirit of Islam if they contemplate it in the austere, pure and sanctified lives of these latter companions.
• Family tree of Jundub ibn Junadah
• Jundub ibn Junadah
• Abu Zar Ghaffari
• Sulaym ibn Qays
• Madelung, Wilferd -- Succession to Muhammad, Cambridge University Press, 1997
• Watt, Montgomery -- Muhammad at Mecca, Oxford University Press, 1953
• Watt, Montgomery -- Muhammad at Medina, Oxford University Press, 1956
• Abu Dhar al-Ghifari
• And Once Again Abu-Dhar by Dr. Ali Shariati
• Short biographical sketch
• About his asceticism
• The power of belief
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