SALIM MAWLA ABI HUDHAYFAH RA
Salim Mawla Abu Hudhaifa RA participated in the battle against Musailamah as a standard bearer of the Muhajirin and displayed unexpected valor. Salim Mawla Abu Hudhaifa RA people feared that he would show weakness or be too terrified to fight. To them he said, “If you manage to overtake me, what a miserable bearer of the Qur’an I shall be.” Salim Mawla Abu Hudhaifa RA then valiantly plunged into the enemy ranks and eventually died in battle.Salim Mawla Abu Hudhaifa RA (Arabic: سالم مولى أبيحذيفة) was one of the sahabah of Rasulullah SAW. Salim Mawla Abu Hudhaifa RA was named so since he was the freed slave of Abu Hudhaifa ibn ‘Utba
Rasulullah SAW is quoted as saying:
“Learn the Qur’an from four persons: Abd-Allah ibn Ma’sud RA, Salim Mawla Abu Hudhaifa RA, Ubayy ibn Kab RA and Muadh ibn Jabal RA.”
Salim Mawla Abu Hudhaifa RA was a slave and when he accepted Islam he was adopted as a son by a Muslim who was formerly a leading nobleman of the Quraish. When the practice of adoption (in which the adopted person was called the son of his adopted father) was banned, Salim Mawla Abu Hudhaifa RA simply became a brother, a companion and a mawla (protected person) of the one who had adopted him, Abu Hudhaifa ibn Utbah. Through the blessings of Islam, Salim Mawla Abu Hudhaifa RA rose to a position of high esteem among the Muslims by virtue of his noble conduct and his piety.
Both Salim Mawla Abu Hudhaifa RA and Abu Hudhaifa RA accepted Islam early. Abu Hudhaifa himself did so in the face of bitter opposition from his father, the notorious Utbah ibn Rabi’ah who was particularly virulent in his attacks against Rasulullah SAW, and his companions.
When the verse of the Quran was revealed abolishing adoption, people like Zaid RA and Salim Mawla Abu Hudhaifa RA had to change their names. Zaid who was known as Zaid ibn Muhammad RA had to be called after his own natural father. Henceforth he was known as Zaid ibn Harithah. Salim Mawla Abu Hudhaifa RA however did not know the name of his father. Indeed he did not know who his father was. However he remained under the protection of Abu Hudhaifa RA and so came to be known as Salim Mawla Abu Hudhaifa RA.
In abolishing the practice of adoption, Islam wanted to emphasize the bonds and responsibilities of natural kinship. However, no relationship was greater or stronger than the bond of Islam and the ties of faith which was the basis of brotherhood. The early Muslims understood this very well. There was nobody dearer to anyone of them after Allah and His Messenger than their brethren in faith.
We have seen how the Ansar of Madinah welcomed and accepted the Muhajirin from Makkah and shared with them their homes and their wealth and their hearts. This same spirit of brotherhood we see in the relationship between the Quraish aristocrat, Abu Hudhaifa RA, and the despised and lowly slave, Salim Mawla Abu Hudhaifa RA. They remained to the very end of their lives something more than brothers; they died together, one body beside the other one soul with the other. Such was the unique greatness of Islam. Ethnic background and social standing had no worth in the sight of Allah SWT. Only faith and taqwa mattered as the verses of the Quran and the sayings of the Prophet emphasized over and over again:
“The most honorable of you in the sight of Allah, is the most God-fearing of you,” says the Quran.
“No Arab has an advantage over a non-Arab except in taqwa (piety),” taught the noble Rasulullah SAW who also said: “The son of a white woman has no advantage over the son of a black woman except in taqwa.”
In the new and just society rounded by Islam, Abu Hudhaifa RA found honor for himself in protecting the one who was a slave.
In this new and rightly-guided society rounded by Islam, which destroyed unjust class divisions and false social distinctions Salim Mawla Abu Hudhaifa RA found himself, through his honesty, his faith and his willingness to sacrifice, in the front line of the believers. Salim Mawla Abu Hudhaifa RA was the “imam” of the Muhajirin from Makkah to Madinah, leading them in Salat in the masjid at Quba which was built by the blessed hands of Rasulullah SAW himself. Salim Mawla Abu Hudhaifa RA became a competent authority in the Book of God so much so that the Prophet recommended that the Muslims learn the Quran from him. Salim Mawla Abu Hudhaifa RA was even further blessed and enjoyed a high estimation in the eyes of the Prophet, peace be on him, who said of him.
“Praise be to God Who has made among my Ummah such as you.”
Even his fellow Muslim brothers used to call him “Salim min as-Salihin – Salim one of the righteous”. The story of Salim Mawla Abu Hudhaifa RA is like the story of Bilal and that of tens of other slaves and poor persons whom Islam raised from slavery and degradation and ‘made them, in the society of guidance and justice – imams, leaders and military commanders.
Salim Mawla Abu Hudhaifa RA’s personality was shaped by Islamic virtues. One of these was his outspokenness when he felt it was his duty to speak out especially when a wrong was committed.
A well-known incident to illustrate this occurred after the liberation of Makkah. Rasulullah SAW sent some of his companions to the villages and tribes around the city. He specified that they were being sent as du’at to invite people to Islam and not as fighters. Khalid ibn al-Walid RA was one of those sent out. During the mission however, to settle an old score from the days of Jahiliyyah, he fought with and killed a man even though the man testified that he was now a Muslim.
Accompanying Khalid on this mission was Salim Mawla Abu Hudhaifa RA and others. As soon as Salim Mawla Abu Hudhaifa RA saw what Khalid had done he went up to him and reprimanded him listing the mistakes he had committed. Khalid, the great leader and military commander both during the days of Jahiliyyah and now in Islam, was silent for once.
Khalid then tried to defend himself with increasing fervor. But Salim Mawla Abu Hudhaifa RA stood his ground and stuck to his view that Khalid had committed a grave error. Salim Mawla Abu Hudhaifa RA did not look upon Khalid Ibn Al Walid RA then as an abject slave would look upon a powerful Makkan nobleman. Not a t all. Islam had placed them on an equal footing. It was justice and truth that had to be defended. Salim Mawla Abu Hudhaifa RA did not look upon him as a leader whose mistakes were to be covered up or justified but rather as an equal partner in carrying out a responsibility and an obligation. Neither did Salim Mawla Abu Hudhaifa RA come out in opposition to Khalid out of prejudice or passion but out of sincere advice and mutual self-criticism which Islam has hallowed. Such mutual sincerity was repeatedly emphasized by the Prophet himself when he said: “Ad-dinu an-Nasihah. Ad-din u an-Nasihah. Ad-din u an-Nasihah.” “Religion is sincere advice. Religion is sincere advice. Religion is sincere advice.”
When Rasulullah SAW heard what Khalid had done, he was deeply grieved and made long and fervent supplication to his Lord. “O Lord,” he said, “I am innocent before you of what Khalid has done.” And he asked: “Did anyone reprimand him?”
Rasulullah SAW’s anger subsided somewhat when he was told:
“Yes, Salim Mawla Abu Hudhaifa RA reprimanded him and opposed him.” Salim Mawla Abu Hudhaifa RA lived close to the Prophet and the believers. Salim Mawla Abu Hudhaifa RA was never slow or reluctant in his worship nor did he miss any campaign. In particular, the strong brotherly relationship which existed between him and Abu Hudhaifa RA grew with the passing days.
Rasulullah SAW passed away to his Lord. Abu Bakr RA assumed responsibility for the affairs of Muslims and immediately had to face the conspiracies of the apostates which resulted in the terrible battle of Yamamah. Among the Muslim forces which made their way to the central heartlands of Arabia were Salim Mawla Abu Hudhaifa RA Salim and his “brother”, Abu Hudhaifa RA
At the beginning of the battle, the Muslim forces suffered major reverses. The Muslims fought as individuals and so the strength that comes from solidarity was initially absent. But Khalid ibn al-Walid RA regrouped the Muslim forces anew and managed to achieve an amazing coordination.
Abu Hudhaifa RA and Salim Mawla Abu Hudhaifa RA embraced each other and made a vow to seek martyrdom in the path of the religion of Truth and thus attain felicity in the hereafter. Yamamah was their tryst with destiny. To spur on the Muslims Abu Hudhaifa RA shouted: “Yaa ahl al-Quran – O people of the Quran! Adorn the Quran with your deeds,” as his sword flashed through the army of Musailamah the imposter like a whirlwind. Salim Mawla Abu Hudhaifa RA in his turn shouted:
“What a wretched bearer of the Quran am I, if the Muslims are attacked from my direction. Far be it from you, O Salim! Instead, be you a worthy bearer of the
With renewed courage Salim Mawla Abu Hudhaifa RA he plunged into the battle. When the standard-bearer of the Muhajirin- Zaid ibn al-Khattab RA, fell. Salim Mawla Abu Hudhaifa RA bore aloft the flag and continued fighting. His right hand was then severed and he held the standard aloft with his left hand while reciting aloud the verse of the glorious Quran:
“How many a Prophet fought in Allah’s way and with him (fought) large bands of godly men! But they never lost heart if they met with disaster in Allah’s way, nor did they weaken (in will) nor give in. And Allah SWT loves those who are firm and steadfast.” What an inspiring verse for such an occasion! And what a fitting epitaph for someone who had dedicated his life for the sake of Islam!
A wave of apostates then overwhelmed Salim Mawla Abu Hudhaifa RA and he fell. Some life remained with him until the battle came to an end with the death of Musaylamah. When the Muslims went about searching for their victims and their martyrs, they found Salim Mawla Abu Hudhaifa RA in the last thro es of death. As his life-blood ebbed away he asked them: “What has happened to Abu Hudhaifa?” “He has been martyred,” came the reply. “Then put me to lie next to him,” said Salim Mawla Abu Hudhaifa RA.
“He is close to you, Salim Mawla Abu Hudhaifa RA. He was martyred in this same place.” Salim Mawla Abu Hudhaifa RA smiled a last faint smile and spoke no more. Both men had realized what they had hoped for. Together they entered Islam. Together they lived. And together they were martyred.
Salim Mawla Abu Hudhaifa RA, that great believer passed away to his Lord. Of him, the great Umar ibn al-Khattab spoke as he lay dying: “If Salim were alive, I would have appointed him my successor;
“When Umar was dying, he was questioned about his successor, and he said: ‘If Abu Ubaidah bin al-Jarrah were alive, I would have made him the Khalifah. If Khalid bin al-Walid were alive, I would have appointed him the Amir of the Muslims. And if Salim, the client of Abu Hudhaifa, were living today, then I would have designated him as your ruler.’ This Salim was a slave who came from Istakhr in Persia. He was emancipated and became a ‘mawali’ (client) of Abu Hudhaifa. He was well-known for his piety. Many Muslims deferred to him in matters of Faith even in the times of the prophet Muhammad. Sometimes he led the Muslims in prayer also. He was killed in the Ridda wars during the khalifah of Abu Bakr. He was a devout and God-fearing man.”
Selected Hadiths Attributed by Salim Mawla
Found In: Sahih Bukhari Chapter No: 11, Call to Prayers (Adhan)
Hadith no: 661
Narrated: Ibn Umar
When the earliest emigrants came to Al-‘Usba a place in Quba’, before the arrival of Rasulullah SAW- Salim Mawla Abu Hudhaifa RA, the slave of Abu Hudhaifa, who knew the Qur’an more than the others used to lead them in prayer.
Found In: Imam Malik’s Muwatta Chapter No: 30, Suckling
Hadith no: 12
Yahya related to me from Malik from Ibn Shihab that he was asked about the suckling of an older person. He said, ”Urwa ibn Az-Zubair RA informed me that Abu Hudhaifa ibn Utba ibn Rabiah, one of the companions of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, who was present at Badr, adopted Salim (who is called Salim, the Mawla of Abu Hudhaifa as the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, adopted Zaid ibn Harithah RA. He thought of him as his son, and Abu Hudhaifa married him to his brother’s sister, Fatima bint al-Walid ibn Utba ibn Rabiah, who was at that time among the first emigrants. She was one of the best-unmarried women of the Quraish. When Allah the Exalted sent down in His Book what He sent down about Zaid ibn Harithah, ‘Call them after their true fathers. That is more equitable in the sight of Allah. If you do not know who their fathers were then they are your brothers in the Deen and your mawali,’ (Surah 33 ayats 5) people in this position were traced back to their fathers. When the father was not known, they were traced to their Mawla. “Sahla bint Suhayl who was the wife of Abu Hudhaifa RA, and one of the tribe of Amr ibn Luayy, came to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and said, ‘Messenger of Allah! We think of Salim as a son and he comes in to see me while I am uncovered. We only have one room, so what do you think about the situation?’ The Messenger of Allah, May Allah blesses him and grants him peace, said, ‘Give him five drinks of your milk and he will be mahram by it.’ She then saw him as a foster son. Aisyah umm al-Muminin took that as a precedent for whatever men she wanted to be able to come to see her. She ordered her sister, Umm Kulthum bint Abi Bakr as-Siddiq and the daughters of her brother to give milk to whichever men she wanted to be able to come in to see her. The rest of the wives of the Prophet, May Allah bless him and grant him peace, refused to let anyone come in to them by such nursing. They said, ‘No! By Allah! We think that what the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, ordered Sahla bint Suhayl to do was only an indulgence concerning the nursing of Salim alone. No! By Allah! No one will come in upon us by such nursing!’ “This is what the wives of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, thought about the suckling of an older person.”
Found In: Imam Malik’s Muwatta Chapter No: 31, Business Transactions
Hadith no: 4
Yahya related to me from Malik from Yahya ibn Said from Salim ibn Abdullah that Abdullah ibn Umar sold one of his slaves for eight hundred dirhams with the stipulation that he was not responsible for defects. The person who bought the slave complained to Abdullah ibn Umar that the slave had a disease which he had not told him about. They argued and went to Uthman ibn Affan for a decision. The man said, “He sold me a slave with a disease which he did not tell me about.” Abdullah said, “I sold to him with the stipulation that I was not responsible.” Uthman ibn Affan decided that Abdullah ibn Umar should take an oath that he had sold the slave without knowing that he had any disease. Abdullah ibn Umar refused to take the oath, so the slave was returned to him and recovered his health in his possession. Abdullah sold him afterward for 1500 dirhams. Malik said, “The generally agreed upon way of doing things among us about a man who buys a female slave and she becomes pregnant, or who buys a slave and then frees him, or if there is any other such matter which has already happened so that he cannot return his purchase, and a clear proof is established that there was a fault in that purchase when it was in the hands of the seller or the fault is admitted by the seller or someone else, is that the slave or slave-girl is assessed for its value with the fault it is found to have had on the day of purchase and the buyer is refunded, from what he paid, the difference between the price of a slave who is sound and a slave with such a defect. Malik said, “The generally agreed upon way of doing things among us regarding a man who buys a slave and then finds out that the slave has a defect for which he can be returned and meanwhile another defect has happened to the slave whilst in his possession, is that if the defect which occurred to the slave in his possession has harmed him, like loss of a limb, loss of an eye, or something similar, then he has a choice. If he wants, he can have the price of the slave reduced commensurate with the defect (he bought him with ) according to the prices on the day he bought him, or if he likes, he can pay compensation for the defect which the slave has suffered in his possession and return him. The choice is up to him. If the slave dies in his possession, the slave is valued with the defect which he had on the day of his purchase. It is seen what his price would really have been. If the price of the slave on the day of purchase without fault was 100 dinars, and his price on the day of purchase with fault would have been 80 dinars, the price is reduced by the difference. These prices are assessed according to the market value on the day the slave was purchased. ” Malik said, “The generally agreed upon way of doing things among us is that if a man returns a slave girl in whom he has found a defect and he has already had intercourse with her, he must pay what he has reduced of her price if she was a virgin. If she was not a virgin, there is nothing against his having had intercourse with her because he had charge of her.” Malik said, “The generally agreed upon way of doing things among us regarding a person, whether he is an inheritor or not, who sells a slave, slave-girl, or animal without a liability agreement is that he is not responsible for any defect in what he sold unless he knew about the fault and concealed it. If he knew that there was a fault and concealed it, his declaration that he was free of responsibility does not absolve him, and what he sold is returned to him.” Malik spoke about a situation where a slave-girl was bartered for two other slave-girls and then one of the slave-girls was found to have a defect for which she could be returned. He said, “The slave-girl worth two other slave-girls is valued for her price. Then the other two slave-girls are valued, ignoring the defect which the one of them has. Then the price of the slave-girl sold for two slave-girls is divided between them according to their prices so that the proportion of each of them in her price is arrived at – to the higher priced one according to her higher price, and to the other according to her value. Then one looks at the one with the defect, and the buyer is refunded according to the amount her share is affected by the defect, be it little or great. The price of the two slave-girls is based on their market value on the day that they were bought.” Malik spoke about a man who bought a slave and hired him out on a long-term or short-term basis and then found out that the slave had a defect which necessitated his return. He said that if the man returned the slave because of the defect, he kept the hire and revenue. “This is the way in which things are done in our city. That is because, had the man bought a slave who then built a house for him, and the value of the house was many times the price of the slave, and he then found that the slave had a defect for which he could be returned, and he was returned, he would not have to make payment for the work the slave had done for him. Similarly, he would keep any revenue from hiring him out, because he had charge of him. This is the way of doing things among us.” Malik said, “The way of doing things among us when someone buys several slaves in one lot and then finds that one of them has been stolen, or has a defect, is that he looks at the one he finds has been stolen or the one in which he finds a defect. If he is the pick of those slaves, or the most expensive, or it was for his sake that he bought them, or he is the one in whom people see the most excellence, then the whole sale is returned. If the one who is found to be stolen or to have a defect is not the pick of the slaves, and he did not buy them for his sake, and there is no special virtue which people see in him, the one who is found to have a defect or to have been stolen is returned as he is, and the buyer is refunded his portion of the total price.”
Found In: Sunan Ibn Majah Chapter No: 11, the Chapters on Marriage
Hadith no: 1947
Narrated: Zainab bint Abi Salamah
That the wives of Rasulullah SAW all differed with Aisyah RA and refused to allow anyone with ties of breastfeeding like Salim, the freed salve of Abu Hudhaifa RA, to enter upon them. They said: “How do we know? That may be a concession granted only to Salim.”