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Demise of Abu Dharr (RA): Uprising against Injustice

“O Abu Dharr! You became angry (on them) for the sake of Allah (SWT); so have hope in the One for whom you became angry. Those people feared you because of their world, and you feared them because of your religion. Therefore, leave them with what they fear to lose, and run away from them for what you fear to lose (1)”.

Abu Dharr was from the tribe of “Bani Ghifar”, a well known tribe in Arabia. He used to have animal husbandry near Mecca. When he heard about the appointment of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) and found signs of glory in him, he passionately moved to Mecca. Abu Dharr is a companion of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HP) who joined him after the battles of Badr, Uhud, and Ahzab, and he gave away whatever he had for the sake of Allah (SWT). Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) referred to him as “the truthful one of the nation” and similar to “Prophet Jesus (PBUH)” in asceticism.

Abu Dharr used to be with Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) and at his service in Medina at all times. After the demise of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HP), he had absolutely no doubt or hesitation in defending the usurped right of Imam Ali (PBUH), and he remained a steadfast follower of the true successor of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP).

When Uthman became the caliph and he made Marwan, his son in law and a deviated and worldly-minded man, the treasurer, Abu Dharr became vocal in opposition; he used to loudly recite the verse on the streets: “those who hoard up gold and silver and do not spend it in Allah’s way, announce to them a painful chastisement”, He intended to taunt towards Uthman and his companions who had plundered the treasures. Uthman sent a person to Abu Dharr to urge him not to do so. But Abu Dharr responded by saying,” Is Uthman forbidding me from reciting the Holy Quran? I swear to Allah (SWT) that I choose His satisfaction over the anger of Uthman”. Hence, due to his opposition, Uthman dismissed him from Medina and exiled him to Syria.

However, Abu Dharr did not give up in Syria either; when he noticed the luxurious palace of Mu’awyiah and the prodigality of his government while the deprived people were living in humble houses, he expressed his objection, and yelled at Mu’awyiah,saying, ” If you have built this palace from the treasures of the Muslims, this is a betrayal, and if it is from your own money, then it is extravagance. I swear to Allah (SWT) what I see in Syria is neither in the book of Allah (SWT) nor in the tradition of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP). I see truth to be vanishing, and falsehood to be reviving; the truthful ones are being denied and the government is becoming empty of piety”. Mu’awyiah could not tolerate these statements, so he wrote to Uthman:” If Abu Dharr stays in Syrua, he will corrupt it”. So Uthman ordered Abu Dharr to be brought to Medina in a humiliating manner.

Once again, Abu Dharr did not remain silent in Medina, and eventually Uthman became restless over Abu Dharr’s criticism of his wrongdoings. So he consulted his agents, and they advised him to send Abu Dharr out of Medina. Finally, he exiled Abu Dharr to a land with a bad climate near Medina called “Rabadhah (3)”. Abu Dharr died in that deserted land while he did not even have a shroud to be buried with.

Indeed, he was the person about whom Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) said, ”The sky has never shadowed any person and the earth has not carried anyone who is more truthful than Abu Dharr. He will live alone, die alone, be resurrected alone, and enter the Paradise alone (4)”.

The life of Abu Dharr is one of the most eventful ones among the companions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP), which can be a model for all the seekers of truth throughout the history. His life is based on that of his masters, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP), and Amir al-Mu’minin (PBUH); he faced a very severe situation; however, he never gave up on “enjoining good”, “forbidding evil”, and “fighting against corruption” of the oppressors.

(The above is a selection taken from “The Message of Imam”, by Ayatullah Makaarem Shirazi)

The Roshd Website commemorates the last days of Dhil Hijjah, the anniversary of the demise of the truthful companion of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP), Abu Dharr Ghifari (May Allah be pleased with him).

Footnotes:

1. The opening statements of the sermon of Amir al-Mu’minin (PBUH) when bedding farewell to Abu Dharr before his eventual journey to Rabadhah.

2. The Holy Quran, (9:34)

3. It is mentioned in “Mu’jam al-Buldan” (encyclopedia of cities) that “Rabadhah” is a village three days (about 150 km) far from Medina.

4. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 22, p. 389

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