Muadh ibn Jabal was a young man living in Yathrib as the light of Islam began to spread over the Arabian Peninsula.
He was a good-looking man with a unique personality, he used to impress whoever he meets very quickly. He was well known for his outstanding intelligence.
Muadh embraced Islam at the hands of Mus’ab ibn Umayr, the missionary whom Prophet Mohamed (PBUH) had sent to Yathrib before the Hijrah. He was one of the seventy-two Yathribites who went to Makkah, a year before the Hijrah, and met Prophet Mohamed (PBUH) at his home. They meet again at Mina where the famous second Aqabah Pledge was made when the Yathrib’s who had lately embraced Islam, including some women, vowed to support and defend Prophet Mohamed (PBUH) no matter what it takes. Muadh was one of those who enthusiastically pledged allegiance to Prophet Mohamed (PBUH).
As soon as Muadh returned from Makkah, he and some other men of his age formed a group to remove all the idols from the houses of the nonbelievers in Yathrib. One of the leaders of the city, Amr ibn al Jumuh embraced Islam after this campaign was launched.
Muadh stayed in the company of Prophet Mohamed (PBUH), he learned the Qur’an and the laws of Islam until he became one of the most well versed of all the Prophet’s Companions.
Muadh was the best pupil of the best teacher. His knowledge bore the stamp of authenticity. The best certificate that he could have get came from Prophet Mohamed (PBUH) himself when he said:
“The most knowledgeable of my people in matters of virtue and vice is Muadh ibn Jabal.”
One of the greatest contributions of Muadh to the people of Mohamed (PBUH) was being one of the six who collected the Qur’an during the lifetime of Prophet Mohamed (PBUH). Whenever a group of companions gathered and Muadh was among them, they would look at him with fear and respect. The Prophet and his two Khalifahs after him used this unique gift and power in the service of Islam.
After Makkah was liberated, the Quraysh tribe embraced Islam. The Prophet (PBUH) at once saw the need of those new Muslims for teachers to instruct them and teach them the fundamentals of Islam. He (PBUH) appointed Attab ibn Usay as his deputy in Makkah and he asked Muadh ibn Jabal to accompany him and teach people the Qur’an and instruct them.
Not long after Prophet Mohamed (PBUH) returned to Madinah that the messengers of the kings of Yemen came to him announcing that they and their people have embraced Muslims. They asked for a teacher to instruct them and teach them everything about Islam. Prophet Mohamed (PBUH) appointed a group of competent missionaries and made Muadh ibn Jabal their leader. He then asked Muadh this question:
“What will you base your judgement on?”
“According to the Book of God,” replied Muadh.
“And if you find nothing therein?”
“According to the Sunnah of the Prophet of God.”
“And if you find nothing therein?”
“Then I will exert myself to form on own judgment.” The Prophet was pleased with this reply and said:
“Praise be to Allah who has guided the messenger of the Prophet to that which pleases the Prophet.”
Prophet Mohamed (PBUH) bade farewell to those missionaries of guidance and light and walked for some distance next to Muadh as he rode out of the city. Finally he said to him:
“O Muadh, perhaps you shall not meet me again after this year. Perhaps when you return you shall see only my mosque and my grave.”
Muadh and those with him wept. And feeling of sadness and desolation overtook him as he parted from his beloved Prophet (PBUH).
The Prophet’s inner feeling was correct. Muadh never saw the Prophet after that moment. The Prophet died before Muadh returned from Yemen. There is no doubt that Muadh wept when he returned to Madinah and found out that the blessed Prophet passed away.
During the caliphate of Omar, Muadh was sent to the Banu Kilab to apportion their stipends and to distribute the sadaqah of their rich people. When he finished his mission, he went back to his wife with his saddle blanket around his neck, empty handed, and she asked him:
“Where are the gifts which commissioners return with for their families?”
“I had an alert Supervisor who was checking over me,” he replied.
“You were a trusted person with the messenger of God and with Abu Bakr. Then Omar came and sent a supervisor to check on you!” she exclaimed. She told this to the women of Omar’s household and complained to them about it. The complaint very soon reached Omar, so he called for Muadh and said:
“Did I send a supervisor with you to check on you?”
“No, Amir al-Mu’mineen,” he said, “But that was the only reason I could find to give her.” Omar laughed and gave him a gift, saying:
“I hope this pleases you.”
Also during the caliphate of Omar, the governor of Syria, Yazid ibn Abi Sufyan sent a message saying:
“O Amir al-Mu’mineen! The people of Syria are many. They need people to teach them the Qur’an and instruct them with their religion.”
As soon as Omar received this message he gathered the five men who collected the Qur’an in the lifetime of the Prophet (PBUH). They were Muadh ibn Jabal, ‘Ubadah ibn as Samit, Abu Ayyub al-Ansari, Ubayy ibn Ka’b and Abu adDardaa. He said to them:
“Your brothers in Syria have asked me for help, they want me to send them who can teach them the Qur’an and instruct them in the religion. Please appoint three among you for this task and May God bless you. I can select three of you myself if you do not want to put the matter to the vote.”
“Why should we vote?” they asked. “Abu Ayyub is quite old and Ubayy is a sick man. That leaves three of us.”
“All three of you go to Hums first of all. If you are satisfied with the condition of the people there, one of you should stay there, another should go to Damascus and the other to Palestine.”
So ‘Ubadah ibn as-Samit was left at Hums, Abu ad-Dardaa went to Damascus and Muadh went to Palestine. During Muadh’s stay over there he fell ill with an infectious disease. As he was on his death bed, he turned in the direction of the Ka’bah and repeated this refrain:
“Welcome Death, Welcome. A visitor has come after a long absence . . .”
And looking up to heaven, he said:
“O Lord, You know that I did not desire the world and to prolong my stay in it . . . O Lord, accept my soul with goodness as you would accept a believing soul . . .”
He then died, far from his family and his clan, a missionary in the service of God and an immigrant in His path.
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