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Abu Zar, the Truthful

Hayat Al-Qulub Vol. 1,
By: Allamah Muhammad Baqir Al-Majlisi

Kulaini has narrated through authentic chains of narrators from Imam Musa Kazim (a.s.) that Abu Zar said: “I am sick of the world and I denounce it. Except for two loaves of barley bread, from which I eat one in the morning and one at night. Except two garments of woven hair, from which one I tie to the waist and cover myself with another.”
Moreover, it is narrated through good chains of narrators from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) that Abu Zar in his sermon used to observe: O seeker of knowledge, there is nothing in the world whose merit does not benefit and its demerit does not harm, except for the one that the Almighty Allah blesses. Therefore seek that about which you hope would benefit you.
O seeker of knowledge, your family, wealth and property should not make you so much involved, because on the day you will be separated from them you will be like a guest who stays the night with some people and separates from them the next morning. And except for a little sleep from which you will awake soon there is no difference between death and resurrection.
O seeker of knowledge, before that day send good deeds on the day you will stand to give account of your deeds. And on that day you will get the reward of your deeds and will be recompensed for all that you do
Moreover, it is narrated from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) through authentic chains of narrators that a man asked Abu Zar why people were inclined to death?
Abu Zar replied: Because you have attached yourself to the world and destroyed your hereafter. And that is why you don’t want to be transferred from the world to the hereafter. Then that man asked: How we would be presented before Allah?
He replied: It would be like a traveler who returns home and the sinners among you like the runaway slave who is brought back to his master. Then he asked: What will be our condition before the Lord? Abu Zar replied: “Present your deeds according to the Book of Allah as He says: “Most surely the righteous are in bliss, and most surely the wicked are in burning fire…”[1]
That man asked: “Where is the mercy of Allah?” He replied: “Near the righteous.” Moreover it is narrated from the same Imam that a person wrote to Abu Zar to bestow him with some new knowledge. Abu Zar replied: “There is no end to knowledge and there are countless sciences, but if possible you should not wrong one you befriend.” He said: “Have seen anyone wronging one that he likes?” “Yes,” said Abu Zar, “Your life is most beloved to you, when you disobey Allah, you cause harm to your self.”
It is narrated from the same Imam that there was a man in Medina, who used to attend the mosque of the Prophet. One day he entered the mosque and said: O Allah, remove my loneliness and grant me a good companion. When he finished supplicating, he saw a person seated in the corner of the mosque. He approached him and saluted and asked: O servant of Allah, who are you? Abu Zar said: I am Abu Zar. That person said: Allah is the greatest.
Allah is the greatest. Abu Zar asked him why he recited the Takbir. He replied: When I entered the mosque, I had prayed that the Almighty Allah should honor me with your meeting. Abu Zar said: I was more rightful of saying the Takbir as I am the deserving companion. Indeed I have heard from the Messenger of Allah (S) that he said: I and you will be standing on an elevated place on Judgment Day, till the people complete their accounts. O man, go away from me, because Uthman has banned my company, and I don’t want you to have any problem.”
Through trustworthy chains of narrators, it is narrated from the same Imam that one day Abu Zar came to the Prophet and said: “O Messenger of Allah (S), the climate of Medina does not suit me, do you allow me to take my nephew and move to the area of tribe of Mazniya?”
The Holy Prophet (S) said: “I fear that a group of Arab riders will attack you and kill your nephew; and that you will return in bad state and stand before me leaning on your staff. And say: The son of my brother has been killed by the oppressors and they have seized our animals.” Abu Zar said: “If Allah, wills the best will come about.”
At last the Messenger of Allah (S) allowed him and he left Medina with his wife and nephew. When he reached the Mazina tribe, after some days a group of riders from Farara tribe attacked them and Uyyana bin Haseen seized his sheep and slew his nephew. They also kidnapped his wife who was from the Bani Ghiffar tribe. At last Abu Zar rushed to the Messenger of Allah (S) and narrated the story to him.
He displayed the point of the spear with which he had been hit and it had almost reached his stomach. Thus Abu Zar leaned on his staff and said: “Allah and His Messenger had spoken the truth, it happened as you said. Now I stand before you leaning on my staff.” The Holy Prophet (S) called the Muslims for help and they rushed out of Medina, pursued the Farara tribe, and seized back from them all they had plundered from Abu Zar. They also killed a group of idolaters.[2]
It is narrated from continuous reports of Shia as well as Sunni scholars that the Messenger of Allah (S) said: The sky has not shaded and the dusty earth has not borne the weight of any speaker more truthful than Abu Zar.” And Ibn Babawayh has through authentic chains of narrators narrated from Imam Ali Reza (a.s.) that the Messenger of Allah (S) said: “Abu Zar is the Siddiq of this Ummah.”
Shaykh Tabarsi has narrated through authentic chains of narrators that the Messenger of Allah (S) said: “O Abu Zar, I only prefer for you that which I prefer for myself.
I find you weak bodied, so don’t become the leader of even two persons and never become the trustee of orphans’ properties.”
Ibn Babawayh has narrated through authentic chains of narrators that a person asked Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) if Abu Zar was better or Ahlul Bayt (a.s.)? Imam (a.s.) asked: “How many months are there in a year?” He replied: “Twelve.” Imam (a.s.) asked: “How many of them are sacred?” The narrator said: “Four.”
Imam (a.s.) asked: “Is the month of Ramadan included in them?” The narrator said: “No.” The Imam (a.s.) asked: “Sacred months are superior or the month of Ramadan?” “Month of Ramadhan,” replied the narrator. Imam (a.s.) said: “Same is the case of us, Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) that no once can be compared to us.” One day Abu Zar was sitting in the company of the companions of the Prophet. They were discussing the excellence of this Ummah.
Abu Zar said: “The best person of this Ummah is Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) and he is the distributor of Paradise and Hell and he is Siddiq and Farooq of this Ummah and the Divine Proof on this Ummah.” When the hypocrites heard this, they turned away from him and alleged that he was lying. So Abu Amala Bahili arose and went to the Prophet and reported the statement of Abu Zar and narrated the denial of those people. The Messenger of Allah (S) said: “The green sky has not shaded and the dusty earth has not borne the weight of any speaker more truthful than Abu Zar.”
Moreover it is narrated through authentic chains of narrators that a person asked Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) about this same tradition if the Holy Prophet (S) had really mentioned thus. Imam (a.s.) replied, “Yes.” So the reporter asked, “Then what is the position of the Messenger of Allah (S) himself, Amirul Momineen (a.s.) and Hasan and Husain?” Imam (a.s.) said: “Our example is like that of the month of Ramadhan whose one night is equal to a thousand nights.” All senior companions are like the sacred months and thus no one can be compared to us, Ahlul Bayt (a.s.).”
Notes:
[1] Surah Infitar 82:13-14
[2] The author says: Abu Zar’s opposition to the Holy Prophet (S) negates his usual character. Perhaps it was in the initial period of his life in Islam when his faith was yet to be perfected. And it is also possible that it was to show the miracle of the Prophet or to show the priority of divine rewards to the comfort of the world.

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