Thabit Ibn Qays RA – The people of paradise
Thabit ibn Qays was a Sahabah, a first generation Muslim, someone who was converted by Rasulullah SAW himself. He played a prominent role in the meeting at the Saqifah.
«اذْهَبْ إِلَيْهِ فَقُلْ لَهُ: إِنَّكَ لَسْتَ مِنْ أَهْلِ النَّارِ، وَلَكِنَّكَ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْجَنَّة»Al-Bukhari recorded that Anas bin Malik said, “Rasulullah SAW missed Thabit Ibn Qays RA and a man said, `O Allah’s Messenger! I will find out about his news.’ That man went to Thabit Ibn Qays RA and found him sitting at home with his head lowered and asked him, `what is the matter’ Thabit Ibn Qays RA said, `An evil matter!’ And he said that he used to raise his voice above the voice of Rasulullah SAW. Thabit Ibn Qays RA feared that his good deeds would be useless and he would be among the people of the Fire. The man went back to Rasulullah SAW and conveyed Thabit’s statement and returned to Thabit Ibn Qays RA with wonderfully good news. Rasulullah SAW said,
(Go back to him and tell him this news; you are not among the people of the Fire. Rather, you are among the dwellers of Paradise.)” Al-Bukhari collected this Hadith with this wording.
Anas bin Malik RA commented, “We used to see Thabit walk among us knowing that he was (to be) among the dwellers of Paradise. During the battle of Yamamah, our forces suffered retreat. Suddenly, Thabit bin Qays bin Shammas RA came, having put on his Hanut and shrouds, and said, `The worst habit is the one you acquire from your enemy and do not set a bad example for your companions.’ And he went on fighting until Thabit Ibn Qays RA was martyred, may Allah be pleased with him.”
Thabit bin Qays bin Shammas RA.
The companion who shared the name Thabit bin Qays was Thabit bin Qays bin Shammas bin Zahîr al-Ansari. He is also referred to as Abu Muhammad or Abu Abdul Rahman, meaning the father of Muhammad or the father of Abdul Rahman. Both his sons were killed in the battle of Harra while defending Madina. Thabit Ibn Qays RA was known as the Speaker of the Ansar (Khatîb al- Ansar) as he would eloquently address the Ansar on behalf of the Messenger, upon him be peace. Thabit Ibn Qays RA was also known as Khatib al-Rasul, the one who gave the sermon for Rasulullah SAW.
Another verse was revealed with regard Thabit Ibn Qays RA generosity. When his fruit was ripe he decided he would give anyone that came to him that day some dates as a gift. By the end of the day he had no dates left for himself or his family and Allah revealed the verse;There were several verses of Quran revealed about him. One of the verses related to divorce was revealed after his wife complained to Rasulullah SAW that ‘although she did not complain about his character or religion’; she did not want to remain married to him. Rasulullah SAW, upon him be peace, then asked her if she were willing to return the garden that Thabit Ibn Qays RA had given her in dowry. She agreed and Rasulullah SAW, instructed him to ‘accept the garden and pronounce the divorce’.
“It is He Who produces gardens, with trellises and without, and dates, and tithe with produce of all kinds, and olives and pomegranates, similar (in kind) and different (in variety): eat of their fruit in their season, but render the dues that are proper on the day that the harvest is gathered. But waste not by excess: for Allah loves not the wasters”(6:141).
There were two verses that were revealed about other people that he feared were about him. The first was where some companions were told;
“O you who believe! Raise not your voices above the voice of the Prophet, nor speak aloud to him in talk, as you may speak aloud to one another, lest your deeds become vain and you perceive not” (49:2).
He had a loud voice and was fearful that the verse was a direct rebuke to him. He hid away for some days until Rasulullah SAW by himself went to see what was wrong with him. Thabit Ibn Qays RA explained that he has a loud voice and was afraid that he would be one who’s ‘deeds become vain’. The Messenger, upon him be peace, comforted him saying:
“You live well and you will die well’.
He also went into hiding after Allah revealed that;
“He ‘loves not any arrogant boaster” (39:18).
He was a man of great character and worship. On one occasion, Rasulullah SAW a light emanating from a house and said ‘perhaps someone is reading Surat al-Baqarah (the second chapter of the Quran)’. The next morning some of the companions went to the house and asked Thabit Ibn Qays RA what he was doing that night and he confirmed that he was indeed reading Surat al-Baqarah.On this occasion, Rasulullah SAW: ‘you are not one of them, you live a praised life and you will die a martyr and enter the Garden.’ Thabit Ibn Qays RA was martyred in the battle of Yamamah during the period of Saidina Abu Bakr al-Siddiq RA.
Thabit Ibn Qays RA was a chieftain of the Khazraj and therefore a man of considerable influence in Madinah. Thabit Ibn Qays RA was known for the sharpness of his mind and the power of his oratory. It was because of this that he became the khatib or the spokesman and orator of the Prophet and Islam. Thabit Ibn Qays RA became a Muslim at the hands of Musab ibn Umayr who’s cool and persuasive logic and the sweetness and beauty of his Quran recital proved irresistible. When the Prophet arrived in Madinah after the historic Hijrah, Thabit Ibn Qays RA and a great gathering of horsemen gave him a warm and enthusiastic welcome. Thabit Ibn Qays RA acted as their spokesman and delivered a speech in the presence of Rasulullah SAW and his companion, Saidina Abu Bakr as-Siddiq RA. Thabit Ibn Qays RA began by giving praise to God Almighty and invoking peace and blessings on His Rasul and ended up by saying: “We give our pledge to you, O Messenger of God, that we would protect you from all that we protect ourselves, our children and our wives. What would then be our reward for this?”
The speech was reminiscent of words spoken at the second Pledge of Aqabah and Rasulullah SAW’s reply as then was the same: “Al-Jannah – Paradise!” When the people of Madinah heard the word “al-Jannah” their faces beamed with happiness and excitement and their response was: “We are pleased, O Rasulullah! We are pleased, O Rasulullah!.” From that day on Rasulullah SAW, made Thabit Ibn Qays RA his Khatib, just as Hassan ibn Thabit was his poet. When delegations of Arabs came to him to show off their brilliance in verse and the strength of their oratory skills which the Arabs took great pride in, Rasulullah SAW would call upon Thabit Ibn Qays RA to challenge their orators and Hassan ibn Thabit RA to vaunt his verses before their poets. In the Year of the Delegations, the ninth after the Hijrah, tribes from all over the Arabian Peninsula came to Madinah to pay homage to Rasulullah SAW, either to announce their acceptance of Islam or to pay Jiziyah in return for the protection of the Muslim state. One of these was a delegation from the tribe of Tamim who said to Rasulullah SAW:
“We have come to show our prowess to you. Do give permission to our Shaif and our Khatib to speak.” Rasulullah SAW, smiled and said: “I permit your Khatib. Let him speak.” Their orator, Utarid ibn Hajib, got up and held forth on the greatness and achievements of their tribe and when he was finished Rasulullah SAW summoned Thabit Ibn Qays RA and said: “Stand and reply to him.” Thabit Ibn Qays RA arose and said: “Praise be to Allah SWT, Whose creation is the entire heavens and the earth wherein His will has been made manifest. His Throne is the extent of His knowledge and there is nothing which does not exist through His grace. “Through His power He has made us leaders and from the best of His creation He has chosen a Rasul who is the most honorable of men in lineage, the most reliable and true in speech and the most excellent in deeds. He has revealed to him a book and chosen him as a leader of His creation. Among all creation, he is a blessing of Allah SWT. He summoned people to have faith in Him. The Emigrants from among his people and his relations who are the most honorable people in esteem and the best in deeds believed in him. Then, we the Ansar (Helpers) were the first people to respond (to his call for support). So we are the Helpers of Allah and the ministers of His Rasul.”
Thabit Ibn Qays RA was a believer with a profound faith in Allah SWT. His consciousness and fear of Allah SWT was true and strong. He was especially sensitive and cautious of saying or doing anything that would incur the wrath of Allah Almighty. One day Rasulullah SAW him looking not just sad but dejected and afraid. His shoulders were hunched and he was actually cringing from fear. “What’s wrong with you, O Abu Muhammad?” asked Rasulullah SAW. “I fear that I might be destroyed, O Rasulullah!,” he said. “And why?” asked Rasulullah SAW. “God Almighty,” he said, “has prohibited us from desiring to be praised for what we did not do but I find myself liking praise. He has prohibited us from being proud and I find myself tending towards vanity.” This was the time when the verse of the Quran was revealed:
“Indeed, Allah does not love any arrogant boaster.”
Rasulullah SAW, then tried to calm his anxieties and allay his fears and eventually said to him: “O Thabit, aren’t you pleased to live as someone who is praised, and to die as a martyr and to enter Paradise?” Thabit’s face beamed with happiness and joy as he said: “Certainly, O Messenger of Allah.” “Indeed, that shall be yours,” replied the noble Rasulullah SAW.
On hearing these words, Thabit Ibn Qays RA kept away from the meetings and gatherings of Rasulullah SAW in spite of his great love for him and his hitherto constant presence in his company. He stayed in his house a/most without ever leaving it except for the performance of the obligatory Salat. Rasulullah SAW missed his presence and evidently asked for information about him. A man from the Ansar volunteered and went to Thabit’s house. He found Thabit sitting in his house, sad and dejected, with his head bowed low. “What’s the matter with you?” asked the man. “It’s bad,” replied Thabit. “You know that I am a man with a loud voice and that my voice is far louder than that of Rasulullah SAW.. And you know what has been revealed in the Quran. The only result for me is that my deeds will come to naught and I will be among the people who go to the fire of hell.”
The incidents showed how alive and sensitive he was to Rasulullah SAW and the commands of Islam and his readiness to observe the letter and the spirit of its laws. Thabit Ibn Qays RA subjected himself to the most stringent self-criticism. His was an Allah-fearing and penitent heart which trembled and shook through the fear of Allah.
Alternatively, Chinese Muslims hold that Thabit Ibn Qays RA was involved in the introduction of Islam to China during the Tang dynasty period when he reached China over land and died of in the western Chinese province of Xinjiang.
With the opening of the Silk Road, traders from the Middle East traveled with caravan to China. Along with commodities they brought to China, they also introduced their religion to China. Buddhism was the first which arrived in China, then followed by Nestorianism and Islam. Hui (Chinese Muslims) Legends say that the Companions of Rasulullah SAW overcame many hardships to bring the Arabic revelation to China. Sa’ad ibn Waqqas RA was believed to travel to China’s capital of Chang’an and Guangzhou. After he passed away in Guangzhou a tomb was built in his honor and it is now named the Tomb of Muslim Sage. Thabit ibn Qays was also believed by Chinese Muslims that he traveled to China and died on the way back home and his tomb is now in Hami of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. After meeting Sa’ad ibn Waqqas RA and Thabit ibn Qays RA in Chang’an (present-day Xi’an), Tang Dynasty emperor Gaozong officially agreed the practiced of Islam in China in 651. Mosques began to be constructed in cities where Arabian traders lived, such as Chang’an, Guangzhou, Guangzhou and Yangzhou. Stone tablets unearthed in Xian’s Great Mosque suggest that the Great Mosque was constructed as early as the Tang Dynasty in 742 though most people doubt that Xian Great Mosque was built in the Ming Dynasty 600 years ago.
General speaking, Guangzhou’s Huaisheng Mosque (also named Guangta Mosque) which was built in the Tang Dynasty (618-907) is believed to be the earliest mosque built in China. The meaning of Huaisheng in Chinese can be understood as “devoted to the Prophet”, or else “devoted to the sage (Sa’ad ibn Waqqas)” who is supposedly buried there. However, the name may have originally been a direct translation of the Arabic word for “Companions of Rasulullah” (huai “to cherish” for the Arabic “sahabah”). The stele unearthed in the Huaisheng Mosque attributes the style of the Light Tower of Huaisheng Mosque to central Asia. It is likely that the tower was originally built in memory of a shaykh from central Asia who came to Guangzhou in the Yuan dynasty. The second oldest mosque is believed to be the Ashab Mosque in Guangzhou. The name of “Ashab Mosque”, which can be translated as Mosque of the Companions (of the Prophet), is found in a large Arabic inscription on the inside of the main entrance of Guangzhou Ashab Mosque. The full inscription translates as follows: This was the first mosque of the people of this land. This auspicious mosque is named the Mosque of The Ancient and The Old, is called the Mosque of the Congregation and the Street, and is titled the Mosque of the Companions. It was built in the year 400 AH (Song dynasty; 1009CE). Three centuries later, Ahmad bin Muhammad Quds, the renowned Hajji, the “Foundation”, of Shiraz, built this soaring dome, widened the entrance, redecorated the doors and renovated the windows, completing the works in the Hijrah year 710 AH (Yuan dynasty; 1310CE). May the Almighty Allah be pleased by this act, and grant him mercy, and have mercy upon (The Rasul) Muhammad and his family.
Another episode in the lived and martyrdom of Thabit Ibn Qays RA:
“When Thabit Ibn Qays was killed he was wearing a very expensive chain mail armor suit. So when one of the Muslims – who had just recently accepted Islam – passed by him, he took it for himself and did not return it to the family of Thabit. He thought that just because no one saw him he didn’t have anything to worry about.
However, this man had forgotten that this armor belonged to a man who was martyred. A man who had fought to elevate the word of Allah SWT until he fell down in the battlefield. Furthermore, the martyrs are not dead, but instead they are alive with their Lord being provided for.
“I shall give you a piece of advice, so do not say that this is only a dream consequently leaving off what I say. When I was killed yesterday, a man from the Muslims passed by me and took my chain mail coat, and he is staying in one of the furthest houses. In front of his tent there is a horse that he is preparing to be trained. On top of the armor is a twine on which is a saddle. So go to Khalid and tell him to send someone to retrieve it.So when the next day of fighting came, one of the Muslims saw Thabit in a dream, saying to him:
Also, when you get back to Madinah tell the Khalifah of Rasulullah SAW, Saidina Abu Bakr as-Siddiq RA and inform him that I owe so and so such and such, and to emancipate my slave, ‘so and so’….”
He also said:So the man went to Khalid who sent someone to retrieve the chain mail armor suit, and he also told Saidina Abu Bakr as-Siddiq RA about his dream, which put it in his will.
“We don’t know of anyone whose will was altered and executed after his death besides Thabit Ibn Qays RA.
[An excerpt from: “Men Amongst Whom the Qur’an Was Revealed” – volume three. The author cited the following references for the quotes:
Al-Isti’ab fi Ma’rifatil-Ashab (1/23).
Al-Bidayah wan-Nihayah (5/334).]
Selected Hadiths Narrated and Attributed from Thabit Ibn Qays RA
Found In: Imam Malik’s Muwatta Chapter No: 29, Divorce
Hadith no: 31
Yahya related to me from Malik from Yahya ibn Said that Amra bint Abd ar-rahman told him from Habiba bint Sahl al-Ansari that she had been married to thabit ibn qays ibn Shammas. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, went out for the dawn prayer, and found Habiba bint Sahl at his door in the darkness. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, asked her, “Who is this?” She said, “I am Habiba bint Sahl, Messenger of Allah.” He asked, “What do you want?” She replied, “That thabit ibn qays and I separate.” When her husband, thabit ibn qays, came, the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said to him, “This is Habiba bint Sahl. She has mentioned what Allah willed that she mention.” Habiba said, “Messenger of Allah, I have all that he has given me!” The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said to thabit ibn qays, “Take it from her.” He took it from her and she stayed in the house of her family.”
Found In: Sahih Muslim Chapter No: 1, Faith (Kitab Al Iman)
Hadith no: 214
Narrated: Anas bin Malik
that when this verse:” O ye who believe! raise not your voices above the voice of the Prophet, nor shout loud unto him in discourse, as ye shout loud unto one another, lest your deeds should become null and void, while you perceive not” (49:2-5), was revealed. thabit bin Qais confined himself in his house and said: I am one of the denizens of Fire, and he deliberately avoided coming to the Apostle (may peace be upon him). The Apostle (may peace be upon him) asked Sad bin Muadh about him and said, Abu Amr, how is thabit? Has he fallen sick? Sad said: He is my neighbour, but I do not know of his illness. Sad came to him (thabit), and conveyed to him the message of the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him). Upon this thabit said: This verse was revealed, and you are well aware of the fact that, amongst all of you, mine is the voice louder than that of the Messenger of Allah, and so I am one amongst the denizens of Fire, Sad Informed the Holy Prophet about it. Upon this the Messenger of Allah observed: (Nay, not so) but he (thabit) is one of the dwellers of Paradise.
Found In: Sahih Bukhari Chapter No: 54, Jihaad (Fighting for the cause of Allah)
Hadith no: 106
Narrated: Ibn Aun
Once Musa bin Anas while describing the battle of Yamama, said, “Anas bin Malik went to thabit bin Qais, who had lifted his clothes from his thighs and was applying Hanut to his body. Anas asked, ‘O Uncle! What is holding you back (from the battle)?’ He replied, ‘O my nephew! I am coming just now,’ and went on perfuming himself with Hanut, then he came and sat (in the row). Anas then mentioned that the people fled from the battlefield. On that thabit said, ‘Clear the way for me to fight the enemy. We would never do so (i.e. flee) in the company of Allah’s Apostle (SAW). How bad the habits you have acquired from your enemies!’ “
Found In: Sahih Muslim Chapter No: 1, Faith (Kitab Al Iman)
Hadith no: 377
Narrated: Mabad bin Hilal al Anazi
We went to Anas b. Malik through thabit and reached there (his house) while he was offering the forenoon prayer. thabit sought permission for us and we entered, and he seated thabit with him on his bedstead. He (thabit) said to him (Anas b. Malik): O Abu Hamza (kunya of Anas b. Malik), your brothers from among the inhabitants of Basra ask you to narrate to them the hadith of intercession. He said: Muhammad (may peace be upon him) narrated to us: When it would be the Day of Resurrection, some of the people would rush to one another in bewilderment. They would come to Adam and say: Intercede (with your Lord) for your progeny. He would say: I am not fit to do this, but go to Ibrabim (peace be upon him) for he is the Friend of Allah. They would come to Ibrahim, but he would say: I am not fit to do this, but go to Moses, for he is Allah’s Interlocutor. They would come to Moses, but he would say: I am not fit to do this, but you should go to Jesus, for he is the Spirit of Allah and His word. They would come to Jesus, and he would say, I am not fit to do this; you better go to Muhammad (may peace be upon him). They would come to me, and I would say: I am in a position to do that, I would go and ask the permission of my Lord and it would be granted to me. I would then stand before Him and would extol Him with praises which I am not able to do now, but with which Allah would inspire me, then I would fall in prostration and it would be said to me: O Muhammad, raise thy head, and say and it would be listened to; ask and it would be granted, intercede and it would be accepted. I shall say: My Lord, my people, my people It would be said: Go, and bring forth from it (Hell) him who has in his heart faith equal to the weight of a wheat grain or a barley seed. I would go and do that; then I would return to my Lord and extol Him with those praises (taught to me by Allah), then I would fall in prostration. It would be said to me: O Muhammad, raise your head, and say and it would be heard; ask and it would be granted; intercede and intercession would be accepted. So I would say: My people. my people. It would be said to me: Go and take out from it (Hell) him who has in his heart faith equal to the weight of a mustard seed. I would go and do that. I would again return to my Lord and extol Him with those praises. I would then fall in prostration. It would be said to me: O Muhammad, raisevour head: say, and you would be listened to; ask and it would be granted; intercede and intercession would be accepted. I would say: My Lord, my people, my people. It would be said to me: Go, and bring out of the Fire him who has in his heart as much faith as the smallest, smallest, smallest grain of mustard seed. I would go and do that.
Found In: Sunan Ibn Majah Chapter No: 12, The Chapters on Divorce
Hadith no: 2056
Narrated: Ibn Abbas
Jamilah bint Salul came to Rasulullah SAW and said: “By Allah, I do not find any fault with Thabit regarding his religion nor his behavior, but I hate disbelief after becoming Muslim and I cannot stand him. “Rasulullah SAW said to her: ‘WiIl you give him back his garden?” She said: “Yes.” So the Messenger of Allah (saw) told him to take back his garden from her and no more than that.
Found In: Sunan An-Nasai Chapter No: 1, The Book of Purification
Hadith no: 78
“Some of the Companions of the Prophet (saw) were looking for (water for) Wudu. The Messenger of Allah (saw) said: ‘Do any of you have water?’ He put his hand in the water and said: ‘Perform Wudu in the Name of Allah.’ I saw the water coming out from between his fngers until they had all performed Wudu.” thabit said: “I said to Anas: ‘How many did you see?’ He said: ‘About seventy.’” (Sahih)
Found In: Sunan at-Tirmidhi (Jami-al-Tirmidhi) Chapter No: 2, Salah (Prayers)
Hadith no: 422
Narrated: Muhammad ibn Ibrahim
From his grandfather, Saidina Qays that as Allah’s Rasul (SAW) came out, the Iqamah of the (Fajr) salah was called. So, he offered the prayer with him. Then, the Prophet (SAW) turned back and saw him offer salah. He said O Qays! Wait! Will you pray two salah together? He said, “O Messenger of Allah! I had not offered the two rakaats (sunnah) of Fajr.” The Prophet (SAW) said, “Then there is no harm.” [Ahmed 23821]
Found In: Sahih Muslim Chapter No: 1, Faith (Kitab Al Iman)
Hadith no: 215
Narrated: Anas bin Malik
By another chain of transmitters in which these words are found: Thabit b. Qays was the orator of the Ansar, when this verse was revealed: the rest of the hadith is the same with the exception that there is no mention of Sa’d b. Mu’adh in it. This hadith is also transmitted by Ahmad b. Sa’id, Habban, Sulaiman b. Mughira on the authority of Anas who said: When the verse was revealed:” Do not raise your voice louder than the voice of the Apostle,” no mention was made of Sa’d b, Mu’adh in it.