Allah had granted `Ammar abundant blessings and guidance. In the level of guidance and certitude, he reached a great height which made the Messenger (peace be upon him) commend his faith and raise him among the Companions as a model and an example, saying, “Take the examples of the two succeeding me, Abu Bakr and `Umar, and follow the guidance of `Ammar”.
The narrators described him, saying, “He was tall, with bluish-black eyes, broad- shouldered, among the most silent of the people and the least talkative.”
How did the life of that giant proceed, the silent, bluish-black-eyed, broad-shouldered man whose body bore the scars of the horrible torture and, at the same time, the document of his amazing steadfastness and his extraordinary greatness?
How did the life of that loyal disciple, the true believer, the overawing sacrificer proceed?
He witnessed with his tutor and messenger all the battles: Badr, Uhud, Al-Khandaq, Tabuk and others.
`Ammar as a Governor
When the Messenger of Allah passed away, the outstanding Companion continued his march. At the meeting of Muslims with Persians, with Romans, and, before that, at their meeting with the army of apostates, `Ammar was always there in the first line, an honest, brave soldier who did not miss an opportunity.
He was a pious believer. No desire would take him away from Allah.
When the Commander of the Faithful, `Umar lbn Al-Khattab, chose governors for the Muslims meticulously and with reservation, his eyes usually fell on `Ammar ibn Yasir in complete trust.
That was how he hastened to him and made him the governor of Kufa, and made Ibn Mas`ud in charge with him of its treasury (Bait Al-Mal). He then wrote to the people of Kufa heralding the new governor and said, “I send you `Ammar ibn Yaasir as a governor, and lbn Mas`ud as a teacher and a minister. They are of the distinguished people of Muhammad’s Companions, and of the people of Badr.”
During his rule, `Ammar followed a way which was hard for worldly people to endure so that they turned against him, or were about to. His rule made him more modest, more pious, and more ascetic.
One of his contemporaries in Kufa, Ibn Abi Hudhail said about him, “I saw `Ammar ibn Yasir when he was the governor of Kufa buying some vegetables. He tied them with a rope and carried them on his shoulders and went home.”
Building the Ka`bah
Before approaching a momentous scene in `Ammar’s great life, let us watch another scene preceding, foreshadowing, and preparing for it.
Following the Muslims’ settlement in Al-Madinah, the honest Messenger (peace be upon him) rose, surrounded by his righteous Companions, with unkempt hair and full of dust. They were establishing Allah’s house and building His mosque. Their faithful hearts were filled with joy, glowed with delight, and murmured their thanks to Allah.
All were working in happiness and hope, carrying stone, mixing mortar, and erecting the building.
There was a team here, another team over there. The happy horizon echoed the singing with which they raised with overjoyed voices: “If we stayed while the Prophet worked, it would be misguided work of ours.” They sang in that manner, then their voices were raised in another song: “O Allah, living is but in the next world, then have mercy on the Ansar and the Muhajirun!” Then a third song was raised:
He who frequents the mosques,
Remaining there standing and sitting,
Is not equal to the one who keeps away from dust.
They were cells working, Allah’s soldiers, carrying His banner and erecting His building. The honest and kind Messenger was with them, carrying the heaviest of the stones and performing the hardest work.
Their singing voices reflected the delight of their satisfied souls. Heaven above them filled the earth that bore them with delight, and bright life was witnessing its best celebrations.
`Ammaar ibn Yasir was there amidst the celebration, carrying the heavy stones from their quarries to their positions. When the guided mercy, Muhammad, saw him, he sympathized greatly with him. He approached him and removed the dust from his head with his kind hand.
With looks filled with the light of Allah, he contemplated his innocent, faithful face and said in front of all the Companions. “Alas for Ibn Sumaiyah, killed by the tyrant group.”
Days and years passed. The Messenger (peace be upon him) went to the Supreme Companion, followed by Abu Bakr and then ‘Umar (May Allah be pleased with them). `Uthmaan Ibn `Affaan, “The Man of Two Lights”, became caliph. Conspiracies against Islam were doing their best, trying to gain by treachery and sedition what they lost in war.
`Umar’s death was the first success achieved by these conspiracies blowing on Al-
Madinah as a breeze of poison from those countries whose sovereignty and thrones Islam had destroyed.
They were tempted by `Umar’s martyrdom to continue their efforts, so they followed and awakened seditions in most Islamic countries.
In addition,`Uthman might not have given the matter the attention, care, and response it
deserved, so the incident happened and `Uthman was martyred and the doors of seditions were opened on the Muslims. Mu`awiyah started fighting the new caliph, `Aly (May Allah be pleased with him) for his right in the matter and for the caliphate.
The Companions had different stances. Some of them washed their hands of the whole matter and went home, making Ibn `Umar’s words their motto:
To the one who says, “Come to prayer,” I will respond.
To the one who says, “Come to success,” I will respond.
But to the one who says, “Come to kill your Muslim brother and to take his money,” I will say, “No.”
Some Muslims were partial to Mu`awiyah, others were partial to `Aly, the one who demanded the pledge of allegiance to him as the Muslims’ caliph. Where do you think `Ammar would stand? Where should he stand, the man about whom the Messenger of Allah said, “Follow the guidance of `Ammar,” and, “Whoever antagonizes `Ammar, will be antagonized by Allah?”
The man who, if he approached the house of Allah’s Messenger, the latter would say,
“Welcome the good-scented, kind man, allow him to come in”?
He stood by `Ali ibn Abi Talib, not as a prejudiced, biased person, but as one complying with the truth and keeping his promise. `Alه was the Caliph of the Muslims and had the pledge of allegiance to be its leader (imam). He took the caliphate and he was worthy of it. Above all, `Aly had the qualities that made his place to the Messenger of Allah as that of Harun (Aaron) to Musa (Moses).
`Ammar, who always turned towards the truth wherever it was to enlighten his insight and loyalty to the possessor of truth in that fight, turned to `Aly on that day and stood by him. `Aly was overjoyed with `Ammar’s pledge and trusted that he was right in his demand because the great man of truth, `Ammar ibn Yasir, approached and went with him.
This man of 93 was involved in the last battle of his noble and brave life. He was giving the last lesson about perseverance in truth, and bequeathing to life the last of his great, honest, and edifying attitudes. the news of `Ammar’s death spread.
Imam `Ali carried him on his chest to where he and the other Muslims prayed, and then he was buried in his own clothes. Yes, in his blood-smeared clothes which had a pure and good smell.
Muslims stood at his grave wondering. A few hours before, `Ammar had been singing over the battlefield, filled with the delight of the tired stranger who was returning happily home. He had been shouting, “Today I meet the dear ones, Muhammad and his Companions.” Did he have a meeting time with them, an exact time to wait for him?
Some Companions approached each other, inquiring. One of them asked, “Do you remember the twilight of that day in Al Madinah when we were sitting with Allah’s Messenger and suddenly his face brightened and he said, “Paradise is longing for `Ammar’?” His friend answered, “Yes, on that day he mentioned others, among which were’ `Aly, Salman and Bilal.”
When the dust of his grave was being leveled on his body by his companions, his soul was embracing its happy destiny there in the eternity of Paradise that was longing for `Ammar!
The article is excerpted from the book Men Around the Messenger, which is a translation based on Khalid Muhammad Khalid’s celebrated work in Arabic “Rijal Hawla Ar-Rasul” which represents the real inspirational stories of sixty-four Companions of the Prophet.