Assalamu alaykum waRahmtullah waBarakatuh dear brothers and sisters.
In this lecture we will talk about one of the most trusted companions of Prophet Muhammad (pbuhap) and Imam Ali (a.s), Ammar Ibn Yasir.
The people in Makkah lived in ignorance and darkness. The strong persecuted the weak and deprived them of their rights. No one supported the weak.
The Quraishi leaders were traders. Each year, they had two trade journeys. In summer, their caravans went to Shaam. In winter they went to Yemen.
The people in Makkah were of two classes: one class was rich, the other was poor. The rich persecuted the poor. Some poor people were slaves, and had nothing, not even their freedom.
Prophet Muhammad (pbuhap) lived in that time. He went to Mount Hira, and there he thought of his people. He felt pain for them because they worshipped idols.
When He (pbuhap) was forty years old, one day Jibreel came down from the sky and told Muhammad (pbuhap) about Islam. Prophet Muhammad (pbuhap) came down the mountain. He was carrying the Mission of Islam. He intended to spread it among people to live peacefully.
The poor and the persecuted listened to the Mission of Islam and believed in it. So their hearts were filled with love for Islam. The traders and the rich of Quraish heard about Islam, and had spite against our Prophet Muhammad(pbuhap), in the meantime, they plotted against Islam and the Muslims. Abu Jahal was the most spiteful polytheist. He mistreated our Prophet Muhammad(pbuhap) very much.
Al Arqam's House:
Prophet Muhammad (pbuhap) met the believers secretly in al-Arqam's house. He wanted to keep his religion a secret so that Abu Jahal, Abu Sufyan and other polytheists would not hurt the Muslims.
One day Ammar bin Yasir came and saw a man standing at the door. The man's name was Suhaib. Ammar said to him: "Suhaib, what are you doing here?" Suhaib answered: "I've come to hear Muhammad's words. And what are you doing?" "I've come to hear his words, too."
Then Ammar and Suhaib came into al-Arqam's house. They humbly began listening to Allah's words and to the Verses of the Holy Qur'an. Ammar's heart was full of belief as streams are full of rain water. When Ammar and Suhaib were about to leave al-Arqam's house, Prophet Muhammad (pbuhap) said to them: "stay here till evening." He (pbuhap) was afraid that Quraish would hurt them. Ammar waited until it got dark. Then he left al-Arqam's house and hurried towards his house. His mother and father were waiting for him anxiously. When Ammar entered, the little house was full of happiness. He began telling his parents about Islam.
Ammar belonged to Yemen's tribes, but how did he come to Makkah?
Yasir, Ammar's father, and his two brothers al-Harith and Malik looked for their missing brother everywhere, but they did not find him. So they decided to go to Makkah to look for him, but did not find him there either. Al-Harith and Malik wanted to go back to Yemen, but Yasir decided to stay in Makkah, to live near Allah's Holy House. Yasir joined the tribe of Bani Makhzoom, and became one of its members. He married a female slave, called Summayya. Summayya gave birth to a baby. His father named him Ammar.
Ammar was born four years before the year of the elephant. Prophet Muhammad (pbuhap) was born in that year. When Ammar became a young man, he made friendship with Prophet Muhammad (pbuhap), and then became his companion. Ammar loved Prophet Muhammad (pbuhap) because of his good behaviour. When Allah appointed Muhammad (pbuhap) as Prophet, Ammar, his father Yasir and his mother Summayya believed in him.
One day, while Ammar was walking with our Prophet Muhammad (pbuhap) between al-Safa Mount and al-Marwah Mount, Hala, Khadijah bint Khuwailid's sister came. Hala took Ammar aside and said to him: "Ask Muhammad to marry my sister, Khadijah." Our Prophet Muhammad(pbuhap) accepted her, and the blessed marriage took place.
Abu Jahal heard that Ammar became a Muslim. So, he became angry. Abu Jahal led a group of polytheists and went to Yasir's house. Torches were in their hands, and they burnt the house and took Yasir, Ammar and Summayya to a desert outside Makkah.
They chained and began torturing them. First, they whipped them till blood flowed out. Then they brought torches and began burning their bodies, but they kept firm on their belife. Abu Jahal brought rocks and put them on their chests, they were breathing hard. Still they were believers. It was noon and the heat was intense, Abu Jahal and the polytheists came back to Makkah. They left Yasir's family in the intense heat of the sun.
In the meantime, our Prophet Muhammad (pbuhap) passed by the family. When he saw them he wept and said: "Yasir's family, be patient! Your reward will be Paradise!"
Summayya said with belief: "I confess that you're Allah's Apostle. And your promise is true."
The criminals came back, Abu Jahal was in advance, with a long spear in his hand, he continued torturing them savagely. Ammar, Yasir and Summayya were unconscious. So the criminals showered them with water. When they woke up, Abu Jahal shouted at Summayya stormily: "Praise our Gods; dispraise Muhammad!" Summayya spat in his face and said: "How bad you and your Gods are!"
Abu Jahal boiled in anger, andraised his spear high and stuck it towards the belly of Summaya. Then he began stabbing her body with his spear until she died, for this reason, Summayya became the first martyr in the history of Islam.
Then Abu Jahal began kicking Yasir on the belly savagely until he died.
Ammar saw what happened to his parents and he wept. Then Abu Jahal shouted angrily: "If you don't praise our gods, I'll kill you!" Ammar could not endure that cruel torture. So he reluctantly said: "Hubal (an idol) is great!"
Ammar praised their idols to save himself from torture. So they unchained and left him.
The Belief in the Heart
Ammar went weeping to Prophet Muhammad(pbuhap). He did not weep for his parents or for himself or for the torture he had suffered - he wept because he praised the polytheists' idols. Allah's Apostle consoled Ammar on his parents martyrdom. Ammar went on weeping. Then he said: "Allah's Apostle, the polytheists did not release me until they forced me to praise their gods!" Prophet Muhammad(pbuhap) said kindly: "Ammar, what about your heart?" Ammar answered: "Allah's Apostle, my heart's certain of faith." The Prophet (pbuhap) said: "Don't worry! Allah sent down a verse concerning you: “Not, he who is compelled while his heart is at rest because of his faith.”(Holy Quran 16:106)"
The condition of the Muslims in Makkah became critical. So, Prophet Muhammad (pbuhap) ordered his companions to immigrate to Yathrib. Ammar was one of those who migrated for Allah.
When Prophet Muhammad (pbuhap) immigrated too, happiness covered al-Madina al-Munawwara. And the immigrants lived peacefully with their brothers in Yathrib.
First, Allah's Apostle (pbuhap) thought of building a mosque so that the Muslims would worship Allah alone. In the meantime it would be a symbol for the Muslims strength and a castle for the Muslim nation, with enthusiasm, the Muslims began building the Prophet's Mosque, some were carrying dust, some were making bricks and some were carrying the dried bricks to make the walls. Prophet Muhammad (pbuhap) was working with his companions. Ammar, though covered with dust, was working actively. Each Muslim was carrying a brick. But Ammar was carrying two bricks. For this reason, Prophet Muhammad(pbuhap) said to him: "They (the Muslims) will get a reward; you'll get two rewards."
To encourage his Muslim brothers, Ammar repeated the following enthusiastic words: "Those who build the mosque do not equal those who avoid dust." Some companions were avoiding dust. They became displeased with Ammar's words. Uthman came to Ammar and said threateningly: "I'll hit you on the nose with this stick!"
Ammar looked at Uthman but did not say a word. Prophet Muhammad (pbuhap) heard about Uthman's threat. He felt pain. Then he came to Ammar and said: "You're dear to me!" Prophet Muhammad (pbuhap) rubbed the dust from Ammar's face. The great companions heart was filled with love for the Holy Prophet.
Jihad (Holy War)
Days and months passed. Allah, the Glorified, wanted to punish those who persecuted the Muslims in Makkah and robbed them of their money. The Battle of Badr took place, Ammar was one of the fighters who went to hinder the Quraishi caravan coming from Shaam, the Muslims heard that the polytheists had formed an army, and that Abu Jahal headed the army. He was heading for al-Madina al-Munawwara.
The Prophet asked the advice of his companions. Finally, he took a decision to face the polytheists. Prophet Muhammad (pbuhap) sent Ammar bin Yasir and Abdullah bin Masoud to get him information about the polytheists' army.
Ammar was brave. He approached the polytheists caravans and went round their camp to collect information. Ammar and his friend came back to our Prophet Muhammad (pbuhap). Ammar said: "The army is afraid. The horse wants to neigh. But its owner hits it on the face. And its raining heavily. Therefore, they can't move easily, the polytheists are in low spirits."
In the morning, when the polytheists woke, they found strange footprints. Munbih bin al-Hajjaj had a good knowledge of footprints. He said: "By al-Lat and al-Uzza, these are Ammar's and Abdullah's footprints."
On the morning of 17th Ramadan, 2 A.H., the great Battle of Badr, the first battle in the history of Islam, took place. At that battle, Allah granted the believers victory over the polytheists. Ammar was fighting with enthusiasm. When the polytheists escaped, Ammar saw Abu Jahal, and he remembered those days when Abu Jahal tortured the Muslims and tortured his parents. Now, the swords of the persecuted got revenge on the unjust, Ammar looked at the sky and thanked Allah, the Glorified, for his victory.
Ammar is with Truth
Ammar was sixty years old. However, he was more eager than the young men to strive for Allah. Ammar deeply believed in Allah, and loved Prophet Muhammad (pbuhap) deeply. The Prophet (pbuhap) also loved his old friend, Ammar. He (sawas) said: "Ammar is with truth and truth is with Ammar. Truth is always with him." and "Ammar is full of faith. Blessed is Ammar, the unjust group will kill you. Your last food in this world will be a cup of yoghurt."
Days, months and years passed. Ammar was always with Prophet Muhammad (pbuhap) he was always striving for Allah against the enemies of Islam and humanity.
In 11 A.H., Prophet Muhammad (pbuhap) passed away. On that occasion, all Muslims became sad. Ammar wept over his old friend, and remembered the days of his youth in Makkah and the days of Jihad. Ammar stayed loyal to Islam, and was always striving for the religion and saying the word of truth, he was not afraid of anyone but Allah.
Ammar loved Ali bin Abu Talib because he heard Prophet Muhammad(pbuhap) always saying: "Ali, no one loves you but a believer and no one hates you but a hypocrite." and "Ali, you are in the same position with respect to me as Harun was to Musa except there is no Prophet after me."
On the farewell pilgrimage, Ammar saw our Prophet Muhammad (pbuhap) taking both arms of Ali and raising them high, he said: "Whoever, I am the master of, this man, Ali is his master. Allah, befriend whoever befriends him, be hostile to whoever opposes him. Support whoever supports him and desert whoever deserts him."
For this reason, Ammar thought that Ali bin Abu Talib would be the Caliph after Prophet Muhammad(pbuhap). Unfortunately, Abu Bakr became the Caliph after the Prophet. But Ammar and some companions opposed his Caliphate. He stood by Ali bin Abu Talib and Fatima al-Zahra (a.s), Prophet Muhammad's (pbuhap) daughter. After a short while, Fatima al-Zahra, died.
Ammar devoted most of his time to the life of Jihad, he took part in the Muslims conquest battles, and also fought bravely against the apostasy in Yemen.
When Umar bin al-Khattab became the Caliph after Abu Bakr, he appointed Ammar to rule over Kufa. There Ammar treated people according to Allah's law. And the people were pleased with his just, merciful and humble treatment.
In 23 A.H., Umar bin al-Khattab was assassinated, some Muslims had come to Umar, earlier, and asked him to appoint a Caliph after him.
The Caliph decided that the Caliphate had to be shura (consultation). So, he elected six persons. They were Ali bin Abu Talib (a.s), Uthman bin Affan, Talha, Zubair, Abdul Rahman bin Auf and Saad bin Abi Wakkas. Umar ordered the persons to hold a meeting in one of their houses to appoint one of them caliph within three days.
Ammar hoped that they would elect Ali because of his long jihad, his blood relation to our Prophet Muhammad(pbuhap), his knowledge, his outstanding merits and his priority in Islam.
One day passed. Then two days passed. But there was no result. There was serious competition between Ali bin Abu Talib (a.s) and Uthman bin Affan for the Caliphate. Some companions such as al-Miqdad, Ammar bin Yasir, al-Abbas, and others stood by the house.
They hoped that Ali would be elected. Banu Ummayyah stood by the house, too. They hoped that Uthman would be elected. To make Abdul Rahman bin Auf hear, Ammar said: "If you want to see the Muslims in agreement then appoint Ali." To support Ammar, al-Miqdad said: "Ammar has told the truth. If you appoint Ali, we'll hear and obey him."
AbdulRahman's ambition was to be a caliph. He refused to appoint Ali because Ali would not hand him the Caliphate later on. So, Abdul Rahman appointed Uthman to hand him the Caliphate after his death, therefore Uthman became the third Caliph.
Imam Ali went out after he had said to Abdul Rahman: "This is not the first day when you support each other against us! But patience is good and Allah is whose help is sought for against what you describe. By Allah, you have appointed Uthman caliph to hand you the Caliphate."
Ammar was very unhappy for the Ahlul Bayt because they were worthier of Caliphate than other people and Allah kept away uncleanness from the Ahlul-Bayr and purified them thoroughly.
"And abide in your houses and do not display yourselves as [was] the display of the former times of ignorance. And establish prayer and give zakah and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah intends only to remove from you the impurity [of sin], O people of the [Prophet's] household, and to purify you with [extensive] purification." (Holy Quran 33:33)
Six years passed after Uthman's Caliphate. Gradually, the Caliph deviated from Islam and from our Master Muhammad's behaviour. Uthman had appointed his blood relatives rulers over the cities, they were bad, unjust persons.
For example, Uthman appointed al-Waleed bin Utbah, his half brother, ruler over Kufa. Al-Waleed drank alcohol and went drunk to the mosque. Uthman made Marwan bin Hakam the real ruler of the Muslim government. He appointed the rulers and dismissed them. He dismissed the great companion Salman al-Farsi from Mada-inn and appointed one of his blood relatives over it. Uthman also dismissed Saad bin Abi Wakkas from Kufa and appointed al-Waleed bin Akabah over it. Uthman spent the Muslims' money on his blood relatives from Bani Ummayyah and left the poor to live in pain.
The Word of Truth:
There were jewels in the Muslim public treasury. Uthman divided the jewels among his daughters and wives. The Muslims became angry, and began talking against Uthman's bad behaviour. Uthman went on with his corrupt policy. One day, he went up the pulpit and addressed the people: "We'll take whatever we need from the Public Treasury in spite of all people."
Imam Ali bin Abu Talib became sad when he heard Uthman's words. Ammar bin Yasir aged 90 stood up and said the word of truth: "By Allah, I'm the first man to prevent you from that."
The Caliph became annoyed and said: "Bin Yasir, how dare you say these words before me!" Uthman ordered his guards to arrest Ammar. The guards respected neither Ammar's old age nor his friendship to Allah's Apostle (pbuhap). They drew him into Uthman's room, and chained his hands and legs. Then the Caliph came and began hitting Ammar on the stomach till he became unconscious. Some Muslims came and carried him to our Master Muhammad's wife, Umm Salama's house.
Ammar remembered the days of torture in Makkah. He could endure as many times as what Uthman did because he was a young man. But today he was unable to endure Uthman's torture because he became an old man. Umm Salama felt pain when she saw Ammar in that bad condition. Yet Ammar said: "This is not the first day when we suffer from torture for Allah."
Uthman Banishes Abu Dhar
Uthman banished Abu Dhar to al-Rabatha Desert which was uninhabited because of its bad climate. Uthman prevented the Muslims from seeing off Abu Dhar, but some companions of the Prophet went out to see off the great companion Abu-Dhar.
Ali Bin Abu-Talib, al-Hassan, al-Hussein, and Ammar went out to see Abu-Dhar off.
Then Imam Ali (a.s) said: "May not Allah amuse those who annoy you. And He may not make safe those who have dismayed you. By Allah, if you want their world, they'll make you safe. And if you are pleased with their actions, they'll love you.""
Abu Dhar, his wife, and his daughter went to al-Rabatha Desert. He remembered the tradition of Prophet Muhammad (pbuhap): "Abu-Dhar, you will live alone, and die alone."
The Muslims' anger increased because of Uthman's and his rulers' behaviour. The Prophet's Companion's in Madina wrote to people every where: "If you want Jihad, then come to it. Because your Caliph has corrupted Muhammad's religion."
For this reason, the delegates from Kufa, Egypt, Basra, and the like came to Madina and went to the Caliph to ask him to change his based policy. But he dismissed them. So, they went to Ali Bin Abu-Talib, our Master Muhammad's cousin and his successor. Imam Ali (a.s) hoped that Uthman would come back to the laws of Islam. Thus he went to advise him: "Don't be a tool in Marwan's hand. Don't let him direct you to whatever he likes. Don't forget your position with respect to Allah's Apostle (pbuhap)."
Uthman agreed to announce his repentance before people. So, he went out and apologized to people for his bad behaviour, and promised to follow a new policy Allah and his Apostle accepted. But Marwan, who was cunning, said to him: "Don't be weak before people. Threaten them!"
Nayylah, Uthman's wife, knew that Marwan was a bad man and that he disliked Muslims. For this reason, she said to her husband: "Listen to Ali because people love and obey him: don't listen to Marwan because people hate him." Uthman did not listen to those who advised him. So, people revolted and killed him in his palace.
The Muslim masses headed for Imam Ali's house, and asked him to be the Caliph. The Imam refused that and said: "Look for another man."
But people realized that the Imam was the only man who deserved the Caliphate. Therefore, they insisted on their attitude, finally, the Imam agreed to shoulder this responsibility to deprive the ambitious of it.
The Muslims revolted for justice, and Imam Ali (a.s) was the symbol of justice.
The Imam did not sadden the Muslims. On the first day, he dismissed all the bad rulers Uthman had appointed, and appointed good rulers. The Imam dismissed Mu'awiyah from Sham. But Mu'awiyah was always planning to control Sham first, and then control the Muslim lands in general, so he rebelled and announced that he would seek revenge on Uthman's killers. For this reason, the Battle of Siffeen took place on the borders between Syria and Iraq.
Imam Ali's army included many companions of Allah's Apostle (pbuhap). Ammar bin Yasir, Malik al-Ashter, Abdullah bin Abbas, and others were among them.
Mu'awiyah's army included the enemies of Islam such as Marwan bin Al-Hakam, Amru bin al-Ass, bin Abi-Maayad, and those who escaped from Ali's Justice to Mu'awiyah's world.
The Muslims in both armies were always repeating our Prophet Muhammad(pbuhap) tradition: "Ammar, the unjust group will kill you."
Ammar was in Imam Ali's army and was over ninety years old. Nevertheless, he fought as bravely as the believing young man did. He looked at the sky and said: "Allah, if I know that you are pleased with throwing myself into the Euphrates, I'll do! Allah, I know that you are pleased to see me striving those corrupt people!" Ammar was with truth, and truth was always with him. So, he said: "By Allah, if they (Mu'awiyah's Army) defeat and chase us to the Hajar date-palms, I'll say that we're right and they're wrong."
When the battle broke out, Ammar addressed the fighters: "Who wants Allah's satisfaction?"
Some believers accepted his words. So, Ammar led them towards the enemy, when the companions saw him passing through the enemy army, they followed him.
Although Ammar was fasting, he was fighting with great enthusiasm. In the middle of the battle, Ammar saw Amru bin al-Aas and said to him: "Amru, Woe on you! You've sold your religion for Egypt!" Namely, Mu'awiyah promised to give Egypt to Amru bin Al-Aas if the latter stood by him. Amru bin al-Aas said with trick: "No, I'm requesting Uthman's blood!" Ammar said: "I firmly believe that your action is not for Allah. Then Ammar advised him: "If you won't be killed today, you'll die tomorrow. And actions are according to intentions. So, correct your intentions because Allah will reward people according to their intentions."
The Muslims were in a fix. They did not distinguish right from wrong. Their guide was Ammar because Prophet Muhammad (pbuhap) said: "The unjust group will kill Ammar."
Amru bin al-Aas deceived the people of Sham when he said to them: "Be patient! Ammar will come to your front!"
The days of the war passed, but Ammar was fighting at the front of right, and was always standing by Ali. One day, Ammar and a believing group launched an attack. Ammar was fighting bravely, he remembered the days when he fought besides Prophet Muhammad (pbuhap), He remembered the Battles of Badr, Uhud and others.
Though Ammar was fasting, he went on fighting, and when the sun set, Ammar asked for some water because he was thirsty. A fighter brought him a cup full of yogurt, Ammar smiled. Then he cheerfully said: "Tonight, I may die a martyr."
Some fighters asked him about the secret. He said: "My dear Allah's Apostle (pbuhap) has told me: 'The unjust group will kill you. And your final food in this world will be a cup of yogurt.'"
Ammar drank the cup of yoghurt. Then he continued fighting till he fell over the ground and became a martyr.
Mu'awiyah was full happiness. Imam Ali (a.s) was full of sadness and sorrow. During those moments all Muslims knew the unjust group.
Some soldiers in Mu'awiyah's Army were waiting for Ammar's coming to their front. But they saw him fighting bravely beside Imam Ali (a.s) till he became a martyr. So, they sneered at Amru bin al-Aas' claim. In the meantime, they took advantage of the dark and began coming to join the Imam's Army, they knew that it was the front of right.
Ammar's martyrdom sounded at both fronts. Imam Ali's Army was in high spirits, but Mu'awiyah's Army was in low spirits. Nowadays, when the Muslims visit that area, they can see the big shrine of that great companion, who spent all his life in striving for Islam. When Ammar became a martyr, the Muslims knew the truth.