MU’ADH Bin Jabal was a young man growing up in Yathrib as the light of guidance and truth began to spread over the Arabian Peninsula.
He was a handsome and imposing character with black eyes and curly hair and immediately impressed whoever he met. He was already distinguished for the sharpness of his intelligence among young men of his own age. The young Mu’adh became a Muslim at the hands of Musab Bin Umayr, the daiyah (missionary) whom the Prophet (peace be upon him) had sent to Yathrib before the Hijrah. Mu’adh was among the seventy-two Yathribites who journeyed to Makkah, one year before the Hijrah (immigration), and met the Prophet at in his house and later again in the valley of Mina, outside Makkah, at Aqabah. Here the famous second Aqabah Pledge was made at which the new Muslims of Yathrib, including some women, vowed to support and defend the Prophet at any cost. Mu’adh was among those who enthusiastically clasped the hands of the blessed Prophet then and pledged allegiance to him.
As soon as Mu’adh returned to Madina from Makkah, he and a few others of his age formed a group to remove and destroy idols from the houses of the Mushrikeen (polytheists) in Yathrib. One of the effects of this campaign was that a prominent man of the city, Amr Bin Al-Jumuh, became a Muslim.
When the noble Prophet reached Madinah, Mu’adh Bin Jabal stayed in his company as much as possible. He studied the Qur’an and the laws of Islam until he became one of the most well-versed of all the companions in the religion of Islam.
Wherever Mu’adh went, people would refer to him for legal judgments on matters over which they differed. This is not strange since he was brought up in the school of the Prophet himself and learnt as much as he could from him. He was one of the best pupils of the best teacher. His knowledge bore the stamp of authenticity. The best certificate that he could have received came from the Prophet himself when he said: “The most knowledgeable of my ummah (nation)in matters of Halal (lawful) and haram (unlawful) is Mu’adh Bin Jabal.”
One of the greatest of Mu’adh’s contributions to the Ummah of Muhammad was that he was one of the group of six who collected the Qur’an during the lifetime of the Prophet. Whenever a group of companions met and Mu’adh was among them, they would look at him with awe and respect on account of his knowledge. The Prophet and his two caliphs after him placed this unique gift and power in the service of Islam.
After the conquest of Makkah, the Quraysh embraced Islam en masse. The Prophet immediately saw the need of the new Muslims for teachers to instruct them in the fundamentals of Islam and to make them truly understand the spirit and letter of its laws. He appointed Attab Bin Usay as his deputy in Makkah and he asked Mu’adh Bin Jabal to stay with him and teach people the Qur’an and instruct them in the religion.
Sometime after the Prophet had returned to Madina, messengers of the kings of Yemen came to him announcing that they and the people of Yemen had embraced Islam. They requested that some teachers should be with them to teach Islam to the people. For this task the Prophet commissioned a group of competent Duaat (missionaries) and made Mu’adh Bin Jabal their leader. He then put the following question to Mu’adh:
“According to what will you judge?”
“According to the Book of God,” replied Mu’adh.
“And if you find nothing therein?”
“According to the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh) of God.”
“And if you find nothing therein?”
“Then I will exert myself (exercise ijtihad) to form my own judgment.”
The Prophet (pbuh) was pleased with this reply and said: “Praise be to God Who has guided the messenger of the Prophet (pbuh) to that which pleases the Prophet (pbuh).”
The Prophet personally bade farewell to this mission of guidance and light and walked for some distance alongside Mu’adh as he rode out of the city. Finally he said to him:
“O Mu’adh, perhaps you shall not meet me again after this year. Perhaps when you return you shall see only my mosque and my grave.” Mu’adh wept. Those with him wept too. A feeling of sadness and desolation overtook him as he parted from his beloved Prophet, peace and blessings of God be on him.
The Prophet(pbuh)’s premonition came true. The eyes of Mu’adh never beheld the Prophet(pbuh) after that moment. The Prophet(pbuh) died before Mu’adh returned from Yemen.
There is no doubt that Mu’adh wept when he returned to Madinah and found there was no longer the blessed company of the Prophet (pbuh).
Mu’adh went to Palestine. There Mu’adh fell ill with an infectious disease. As he was near death, he turned in the direction of the Kabah 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 passed away, far from his family and his clan in the service of God.