Abu Zar, the second most important companion of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.)
Hayat Al-Qulub Vol. 1,
By: Allamah Muhammad Baqir Al-Majlisi
We should know that according to traditions it seems that Abu Zar was the second most important companion of the Prophet. His name, according to the most reliable report was Jundab bin Junadah, and his agnomen was Abu Zar. He was a member of the Arab tribe of Bani Ghiffar.
Kulaini has narrated through authentic chains from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) that the Messenger of Allah (S) told one of his companions: Shall I not tell about the story of the conversion of Salman and Abu Zar to Islam? He said he was aware of the story of Salman, and would like to know how Abu Zar embraced Islam.
And he made a mistake of not asking about the account of both the companions. The Messenger of Allah (S) said: He used to graze his sheep at Abu Batan Markah, which is at a distance of one station from Mecca. Suddenly a wolf attacked his flock from the right and Abu Zar chased him away with his staff.
Then he attacked from the left and Abu Zar striked it with his staff and said: I have not seen a worse wolf that you. The wolf began to speak by the miracle of the Prophet: By Allah, the people of Mecca are worse than me. The Almighty Allah sent a messenger to them and they say that he is a liar. They call him names and consider him incapable. When Abu Zar heard this, he told his wife to pack some victuals, pot and staff.
Taking these items he set out for Mecca on foot to investigate the information he had received from the wolf. Thus after many hardships and a long distance he at last entered Mecca. He was feeling extremely thirsty. On reaching the Zamzam well, he pulled out a bucket of water and saw that the bucket was full of milk. He thought that it was a proof of what the wolf had said.
And it was also a miracle of the Prophet. Thus he drank the milk and came to a corner of the mosque. He found a group of Quraish and sat down with them. They were talking ill of the Prophet as the wolf had mentioned. They were occupied in this whole day. In the evening, Abu Talib arrived and when they saw him, they said: Keep quiet, Muhammad’s uncle is here!” So they fell silent. When Abu Talib arrived, they began to converse with him.
After dusk when Abu Talib took their leave, Abu Zar also followed him. He turned to me and asked: “What do you want?” “I am searching for the Prophet who has appeared among you,” I said. “What do you want from him?” he asked. I said: “I want to start believing in him, testify to his truthfulness and follow him.” Abu Talib asked, “Will you really do this?” “Doubtlessly,” said I.
So he said: “Come tomorrow at the same time and I will take you to him.” Abu Zar says that he spent the night in the holy mosque of Mecca and joined the gathering of the same infidels in the morning. Like the previous day, they again began to talk ill of the Messenger of Allah (S) and when Abu Talib arrived, they stopped their discussions and began to converse with him.
Thus when Abu Talib arose from there I also set out with him. Like the previous day he again asked the same question and I replied in the same way. Then he asked with emphasis if I would indeed act on what I was saying and I agreed. So he took me to a house in which Hamza was present. I greeted him and he asked the purpose of my visit. I gave the same explanation.
So he asked me if I testified to the Oneness of Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah? I said: I testify that there is no god except Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. Hamza took me to the house in which there was Ja’far Tayyar. I greeted him and he also asked the purpose of my visit. I again offered the same explanation. He told me to recite the two testimonies (Shahadatain) and I recited the same.
Ja’far took me to the house of Amirul Momineen (a.s.) and he also first asked about the purpose of my visit and then asked me to recite the dual formula of faith. Then he took me to the house in which the Messenger of Allah (S) was seated. I greeted him and took my seat. The Messenger of Allah (S) also asked me about the purpose of my visit and then taught me the dual Kalimah (Shahadatain).
I recited the same and the Prophet said: O Abu Zar, go back to your native place, and by the time you reach, there your cousin would have passed away from the world and except for you there will no heir. Take his property and live with your family, till the time I declare my prophethood. After that you can join me. So Abu Zar returned home to find that the son of his uncle had expired.
He took charge of all his property and continued to live there till the Holy Prophet (S) migrated to Medina and the religion of Islam gained popularity. After that he came to Medina and met the Prophet. Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) said: This was the account of Abu Zar’s acceptance of Islam. And the narrator felt sorry that he had declined to hear about the account of Salman’s acceptance of faith. Then he requested the Prophet to mention the story of Salman also, but the Prophet refused to oblige him.
Ibn Abde Barr, a great Sunni scholar, has mentioned in Istiab, from the Messenger of Allah (S) that Abu Zar was an example of the piety of Prophet Isa (a.s.) in this community. According to another tradition, he was a facsimile of Isa bin Maryam (a.s.) in piety. Moreover it is also narrated that Amirul Momineen (a.s.) said: Abu Zar has obtained some such sciences which people cannot bear and he has placed some knots over it, so that nothing comes out of it.