Abdullah Ibn Masud

A Valiant Youth Who Recited The Holy Quran In The Midst Of Polytheists

Abdullah Ibn Masud was the sixth person to accept the purified beliefs and laws of Islam with a submissive and a sincere heart. He is included among the intellectuals and steadfast members of the Muslim community. When Abdullah Ibn Masud received the invitation for accepting Islam from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and he learnt about the revelation of Quran, he came to the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) and said, “O Allah’s Messenger! Teach me also the words that you recite.” It was a time when Masud was a fresh convert to faith. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) patted with affection the head of this righteous youth and said, “You are the son of a learned man.”

After some days, Abdullah Ibn Masud says, “I have learnt seventy Quranic chapters (Surahs) from Allah’s Messenger and when I recite them, none can dare find any defect in my recitation.” This is that unique personality among the companions who had the courage to recite the Quran in a loud voice in the midst of the Meccan polytheists.

One day some recently converted Muslims assembled and discussed among themselves, “None from the polytheists has heard the Quran being recited in a loud voice. Is there anyone among us who can accomplish this task?” Abdullah Ibn Masud replied with utmost courage and determination, “I am prepared to render this service.” All the Muslims said, “O Ibn Masud, only a person who has some status and position should go to the polytheists. (That is, he must have a strong family background, so that he could defend himself). While you do not possess such advantage.”

Abdullah Ibn Masud replied, “Leave that to me. My God would help me.” The next day, the Meccan chiefs assembled near the Ka’ba after sunrise. Abdullah Ibn Masud also arrived and stood at the Place of Ibrahim and facing the Quraishite leaders began to recite the Holy Quran:

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. The Beneficent God, Taught the Quran. He created man, Taught him the mode of expression. The sun and the moon follow a reckoning. And the herbs and the trees do adore (Him). And the heaven, He raised it high, and He made the balance, That you may not be inordinate in respect of the measure. And keep up the balance with equity and do not make the measure deficient. And the earth, He has set it for living creatures; Therein is fruit and palms having sheathed clusters, And the grain with (its) husk and fragrance. Which then of the bounties of your Lord will you deny? He created man from dry clay like earthen vessels, And He created the jinn of a flame of fire. Which then of the bounties of your Lord will you deny?

Lord of the East and Lord of the West. Which then of the bounties of your Lord will you deny?…[1]

Ibn Masud recited the Quran with such intrepidity that all the Meccan polytheists could hear it clearly; and that too in a beautifully melodious tone. When just a few verses of Surah Rahman remained to be recited some polytheists approached Abdullah Ibn Masud and said, “O son of Umme Mabad! What is this that you recite?” Some of their own people said, “He is reciting the same thing that Muhammad has brought and that which he recites.”

When the polytheists saw that Abdullah Ibn Masud, an ordinary person of Mecca had the audacity to recite the Quran in their midst and that too in a loud voice, they surrounded him from all sides like a gemstone is fixed in a finger ring. Ibn Masud was neither afraid of being surrounded nor did he hesitate. He continued to recite the verses with utmost tranquility and demeanor. The polytheists began to fist him on the head and slap his face. Though they continued to thrash him, Ibn Masud did not interrupt his recitation till he completed the whole chapter of Surah Rahman. After concluding the same, since he was greatly outnumbered by the Meccans, he fled the crowd and returned to the Muslims.

When the Muslims noticed the condition of Ibn Masud, they were much aggrieved and they said, “Do not go there alone. See what the polytheists have done to you.” Ibn Masud replied, “This is not a problem in the path of Islam. I will go there again and recite the verses of Quran.”

[1] Surah Rahman

The other Muslims told Ibn Masud, “It is enough, that you have made them hear the Quran once and what you have done is nothing insignificant.”

During the migration from Mecca , Abdullah Ibn Masud was also with the migrants. Then he returned to Mecca and again went to Medina . After that he participated in almost all the battles.

In the Battle of Badr, Abdullah Ibn Masud saw that Abu Jahl had fallen. He at once came to him, beheaded him and brought his severed head to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and threw it at his feet. At that time, the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) gave him the good news of Paradise .[1]

Abdullah Ibn Masud was a proficient reciter of the Holy Quran and a great commentator of our heavenly book. His equal is not found in the early period of Islam. He was the first person to refuse allegiance to Abu Bakr after the passing away of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.). However, later he relented for the sake of his life. During the Caliphate of Uthman he raised some objections against the third caliph who ordered Abdullah Ibn Zama to beat him. Ibn Zama dragged Abdullah Ibn Masud outside the Mosque and threw him on the ground. The bones of Abdullah Ibn Masud were fractured as a result. He never recovered from his injuries and at last passed away after some days. During his last moments, he summoned his friend, Ammar Ibn Yasir and made a bequest to him that caliph Uthman must not be allowed to recite his funeral prayer.[2]

[1] Usdul Ghabah fi Marefat-e-Sahaba, Vol. 3,Pg. 359 [2] Qamus Rijal Vol. 6, Pg. 136, quoted fromWaqidi