Mu’az Ibn Jabal

A Knowledgeable Young Man Who Was Appointed As A Judge In Yemen

Mu’az ibn Jabal belonged to a renowned family of Bani Khazraj in Medina . His name is written with illuminated ink in the list of the youths of Islam. He had accepted Islam through the influence of the teachings of Musab ibn Umair. He was the one at the forefront of demolishing the idols deified by his tribe.

Mu’az ibn Jabal created a special place for himself in the rows of Muslim youths due to his ability, qualities, sincerity and truthfulness. After a year he accompanied Musab ibn Umair to Mecca and met the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) at the place of Uqbah. He was only twenty or twenty-one years old during the Battle of Badr. He also participated in other battles and fought under the command of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.). Mu’az ibn Jabal received instructions in the teachings of Islam from the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.), the leader of Islam, and he was considered among the important companions of the Prophet. He was a youth who was highly respected among the Arabs due to his presence of mind, eloquence, knowledge and sincerity.

His elegant appearance, good habits and charity increased the beauty of his personality. His teeth were like pearls, his eyes were magnetic, and he had luxurious black hair and a fair complexion. Mu’az, who had a very generous disposition, used to fulfill the needs of all those who sought his help. While his friend circle was widening and his fame was spreading swiftly there was a demand from the Muslims and army men that an able, knowledgeable, intelligent and qualified person be sent to Yemen to teach them about Islam and Islamic laws. Thus the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) sent Mu’az ibn Jabal to Yemen to discharge two responsibilities. One was the duty of propagation of religion and the other was to collect whatever funds could be gathered and send them to Medina to fulfill the requirements of the needy.

He was such a beneficial youth that it is mentioned in his biographical account that when he was in Medina, he used to arrive in the Mosque before the call for prayer and pray behind the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) and then he used to return to his relatives and establish prayer among them. He performed the duty of leading congregation prayer among his clansmen.

Thus Mu’az ibn Jabal departed for Yemen . He had to discharge the dual duty of governorship and jurist. Therefore he had the position of an intellectual and a ruler. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) told him that he must teach the army men the fundamentals of religion and the Quran. He also had to collect the Zakat funds and send them for spending on the Muslims. At the time when the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) was sending this twenty-nine year old young man to Yemen he asked, “O Mu’az ibn Jabal! If a

claimant comes to you for legal recourse what judgment would you give?” “I would deliver the judgment in the light of the Holy Quran,” replied Mu’az. Again the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) asked him, “What would you do if you don’t find the judgment in Quran?” Mu’az replied, “I would act on the way the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) has done, and deliver the judgment according to that.” Once more the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) asked, “What if the solution is not found even in my practice?” Mu’az said, “In such a situation I would myself do Ijtihad (Derive the law).” The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) stroked the chest of Mu’az and said, “I thank Allah that the replies of Mu’az have pleased me.”

When the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) passed away from this world, Mu’az ibn Jabal was in Yemen . Abu Bakr approved the governorship and juristic post of Mu’az in Yemen , but during the caliphate of Umar he was ordered to go to Sham where he expired in the 18th year of Hijrah.

A noteworthy point in the life history of Mu’az is that when this young man who was appointed by the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) on an important post and was asked about the method of judgment he presented such a reply that it served as a cornerstone for the jurisprudents who were to come in the future at all times. That they must derive the laws of Shariah either from the Quran or the Sunnah of the Prophet or they must employ reason and logic to reach the correct solution.”

It is enough to prove the merit of Mu’az ibn Jabal that he was having such a deep knowledge about the mechanics of Islamic jurisprudence.[1]

[1] Tabaqat Kubra, Vol. 1, Pg. 120, Al-Istiabof Ibn Abde Barr, under "Maaz"