14 Nov Uqba bin Amir (r.a.)
Uqba was a shepherd. He used to herd sheep on the meadows of Madinah. When he was on the mountain, he heard that the Prophet (pbuh) had migrated to Madinah. It was impossible for him to remain there any longer. He wanted to see the Prophet. He left the sheep there and went straight to Madinah. He asked where the Messenger of Allah was. As soon as he found about the house he was living in, he went into the presence of the Messenger of Allah.
When he saw the Messenger of Allah, he felt very relieved and his heart became full of light. He felt as if he was he was about to fly. He had never felt such excitement before and he had never been happier before. He himself could not believe in the changes in his spirit.
The Messenger of Allah told him some pearls of truth and taught him the principles of Islam. Uqba did not have any hesitation to become a believer. He became a Companion. He was a distinguished Companion among the People of Suffa.[ Usdu’l-Ghaba, 3: 417; Tabaqat, 4: 344. ]
After that, Uqba started to learn religious sciences. He never missed the talks of the Prophet, which were full of life. He collected knowledge and information from the Prophet. The Prophet gave special care of to Uqba because he knew that Uqba had great enthusiasm for religious sciences.
Once, he addressed Hz. Uqba as follows:
“There are some chapters in the Quran. Allah Almighty did not reveal any chapters like that in the Torah, the Gospel and the Psalms. They are the chapters of al-Ikhlas, al-Falaq and an-Nas.”
Uqba, who always remembered those words, said,
“After that day, I never went to bed before reading those chapters.”[ Musnad, 4: 158. ]
Hz. Uqba never hesitated to ask the Prophet what he did not know and what he wanted to know. Thus, he was able to learn many things. Once, he approached the Prophet, held his blessed hands and said,
“O Messenger of Allah! Will you tell me about the best deed and worshipping?”
The Prophet gave him the following advice:
“Ask about the health of a person who does not ask about your health. Try to give something to a person who does not give you anything. Forgive the one who wrongs you.”[ ibid, 4: 148 ]
Once, Hz. Uqba asked the Prophet, “O Messenger of Allah! What is the way of salvation?” The Prophet (pbuh) said, “Control your tongue. Do not disclose the secrets of your house. Cry for your sins.”[ Tirmidhi, Zuhd: 60. ]
They were difficult deeds. They were things that were very hard for the soul but Paradise was not easy to reach. For, it was necessary to deserve Paradise in the world. Therefore, it was necessary to do the deeds that were difficult for the soul in order to attain the consent of Allah.
Once, Uqba (r.a.) set off with 12 of his friends in order to learn something from the Prophet. They had their camels with them. They did not want to leave the camels unattended. They said, “If one of us takes care of the camels, the others can go to the Messenger of Allah and talk to him. Then, we will tell him what the Messenger of Allah said when we return.” Hz. Uqba wanted to listen to the Prophet a lot but he believed that somebody had to look after the camels. He acted altruistically. He said, “You can go. I will take care of the camels.” Then, he narrated the rest of the incident as follows:
“A long time passed after my friends left. I said to myself, ‘I think I made a mistake. My friends are hearing from the Messenger of Allah what I did not hear and learning what I did not learn.’ I went to the city. I met a group of Companions on the way. One of them said, “the Prophet said, ‘A person who makes wudu properly becomes free of his sins as if he has just been born.’” I was amazed by this hadith. When Umar bin Khattab noticed that I was amazed, he said, ‘That is nothing. You should have heard the hadith before that.’ I said,
‘Please report it to me!’ He said,
“The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, ‘A person who dies without associating any partners with Allah, Allah opens the gates of Paradise for him. He enters Paradise through any gate he wishes. Paradise has eight gates.’”
Meanwhile, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) arrived. I sat in front of him and started to listen to him. However, he turned his face away from me. I said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! May my mother and father be sacrificed for you! Why are you turning your face away from me?’
The Messenger of Allah said, ‘Which one do you think is more important? One person or 12 people?’
I understood my mistake, stood up and left.“[ Hilyatu’l-Awliya, 9: 307. ]
Hz. Uqba’s efforts to learn enabled him to be one of the scholars among the Companions. Hz. Uqba reached the level of ijtihad when the Prophet was alive. Once, the Prophet left the decision to be made between two people who sued each other to him. Uqba (r.a.) said, “O Messenger of Allah! May my mother and father be sacrificed for you! You deserve it more to decide.” However, the Messenger of Allah said, “You decide!” Uqba asked, “According to what shall I decide?” The Prophet (pbuh) said, “Decide based on your own ijtihad. If you are right, you will be given 10 rewards; if you are not right, you will be given 1 reward.”[ Mu’jamu’s-Sagghir, 1: 51. ]
Hz. Uqba was very respectful to the Prophet (pbuh). He regarded it disrespect to ride a camel in the presence of the Messenger of Allah. Once, he was going somewhere with the Prophet (pbuh). The Prophet was riding a camel. He was going on foot. The Messenger of Allah wanted him to get on the camel. He said, “O Uqba! Do you not want to get on the camel? Hz. Uqba said, “O Messenger of Allah! I fear that it will be a sin for me.” When the Prophet insisted, he had to get on the camel.[ Musnad, 4: 144. ]
Uqba (r.a.) never revealed the mistakes of his believing brothers. He did not search the mistakes of others and he felt disturbed when somebody mentioned the mistakes of others in his presence. Once, his servant told him about a mistake of his neighbor. Hz. Uqba did not get angry with his servant. He gave him some advice and told him that it was something bad. Then, he told him the following hadith:
“If a person covers the mistake of a believer in the world, Allah will cover his mistake in the Day of Judgment.”[ ibid, 4: 159. ]
Hz. Uqba had an exceptional position related to hadiths, division of inheritance and rhetoric. He was one of the Companions that recited the Quran nicely. Once, Hz. Umar said to him, “Read me the Quran.” When Uqba started to read the Quran, Hz. Umar wept.
Another property of Hz. Uqba was that he was interested in military art. He often reminded people the following hadiths of the Prophet: “None of you should stop practicing archery.” “A person who learns how to shoot arrows and then abandons it though he knows that it is sunnah is not one of us.” “Allah puts three people in Paradise due to one arrow: The artisan who makes it with the intention of using it in a good way, the one who shoots it and the one who helps the person who shoots it.” Thus, he wanted the spirit of jihad to be active and wanted the Muslims to give importance to training against the enemy.[ Nasai, Hayl: 8; Musnad, 4: 144. ]
Uqba (r.a.) kept the glad tiding given by the Prophet about the conquest of Istanbul in his heart like a secret. He joined the army established by Hz. Muawiya in the 52nd year of the Migration for the conquest of Istanbul. He was the leader of the troops prepared in Egypt since he was the governor of Egypt then.[ Tirmidhi, Tafsiru’l-Qur’an: 3. ]
Hz. Uqba, who died in the 58th year of the Migration, reported many hadiths. These hadiths are included in Bukhari, Muslim, Musnad and other hadith books.
A sermon of the Prophet reported by Uqba is as follows:
“O people! The truest word is the book of Allah. The best sunnah is my sunnah. The most valuable word is mentioning Allah (dhikr). The most valuable stories are in the Quran. The best deeds are fard deeds. The worst of everything is the one that appears later (bid’ahs). The best call is the call of the prophets. The most honorable death is the death of the martyrs. The worst blindness is to go astray after finding guidance. The hand that gives is better than the hand that takes. Little and adequate property is better than abundant property that leads man to bad ways. The worst repentance is the one on the Day of Judgment.
Some people perform prayers late. Some people remember Allah from time to time. The biggest mistake is to tell lies. The best wealth is the richness of the heart. The best food is taqwa. The essence of wisdom is fear of Allah. The best thing in the heart is real belief. Doubt and indecisiveness come from unbelief. To cry and to beat one’s breast after dead people are customs of Jahiliyya. To steal from the state means to steal embers from Hell. To stock gold and silver and to pay zakah for them is equal to cauterizing one’s body with hellfire. Alcohol is the root of all evil. Women are the trap of Satan. Youth is a kind of madness. The worst profit is interest. The worst food is the money of an orphan. A lucky person is the one who can take lessons from others.
All of you will rest in graves of a few meters. Every deed is evaluated by its results. What is valid regarding deeds is their outcomes. The worst informant is the one who spreads lies. What is bound to come is close even if it is far. It is a sin to curse a believer. To backbite a believer is to oppose Allah. It is haram to violate (harm) a believer’s blood as well as his property. If a person swears by Allah in order to commit a bad deed, Allah will contradict him. Allah will forgive those who forgive. Allah will give rewards to those overcome their anger. If a person shows patience, Allah will replace what he has lost. If a person believes in rumors, Allah will disgrace him. If a person shows patience, Allah will give him a lot of rewards. If a person opposes Allah, he is punished.
O Allah! Forgive me and my ummah! O Allah! Forgive me and my ummah! I ask Allah to forgive me and you.”[ Faydu’l-Qadir, 2: 175. ]