'Abd Allah b. Mas'ud
|'Abd Allah b. Mas'ud|
|Full Name||Abu 'Abd al-Rahman 'Abd Allah b. Mas'ud b. Ghafil b. Habib al-Hudhali|
|Teknonym||Abu 'Abd al-Rahman|
|Place(s) of Residence||Mecca, Abyssinia, Medina, Kufa|
|Presence at Ghazwas||Many of the Prophet (s)'s ghazwas: Badr, Uhud|
|Migration to||Abyssinia, Medina|
|Known for||Reciter of Qur'an|
ʾAbū ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ʿAbd Allāh b. Masʿūd b. Ghāfil b. Ḥabīb al-Hudhalī (Arabic: ابوعبدالرحمان عبدالله بن مسعود بن غافل بن حبیب الهُذَلی), (d. 32/652-3), known as ʾIbn Masʿūd (Arabic: ابن مسعود), was one of the companions of the Prophet (s) (Sahaba) and a narrator of hadiths and an exegete of the Qur'an in the early days of Islam. He took himself as the sixth person who converted to Islam. He was among the first Muslims who immigrated to Abyssinia in the early days of Islam. He migrated from Mecca to Medina and participated in the Battle of Badr. After the Prophet Muhammad (s)'s demise, he took part in the Battles of Ridda as well as in the Conquest of Syria. In 21/641-642, 'Umar b. al-Khattab sent Ibn Mas'ud and 'Ammar b. Yasir to Kufa as supervisors of the treasury and its judicial system. In the period of 'Uthman b. 'Affan, Ibn Mas'ud had a quarrel with Sa'd b. Abi Waqqas and thus he was summoned by 'Uthman to Medina. Two years before 'Uthman's murder, he passed away in Medina.
He was one of the first memorizers of the Qur'an; he heard about 70 Suras (chapters) of the Qur'an immediately from the Prophet (s). 'Asim heard his reading of the Qur'an from Ibn Mas'ud. He had read the Qur'an for some people and they wrote it down. When 'Uthman ordered people to bring their pieces of the Qur'an in order to destroy its non-official versions, he first refused to submit his pieces, but eventually he had to turn them in.
Birth and Lineage
'Abd Allah was born in Mecca. His lineage goes back to the Banu Hudhayl tribe, but since his father was allegiant (halif) of Banu Zuhra, he also came to be known as the "allegiant of Banu Zuhra". And since his mother was one of the Sahaba, he was also called "Ibn Umm 'Abd". His kunya was Abu 'Abd al-Rahman.
In the Period of the Prophet (s)
When he was a child, 'Abd Allah worked as a shepherd. He was later humiliated by Abu Jahl because of his occupation. Before his conversion to Islam, he used to live in the house of Arqam. After the conversion, he was admitted as a servant in the Prophet's (s) house.
In the early days of the Prophet (s)'s call to Islam, he converted to Islam because of a miracle he saw from the Prophet (s). Thus he is known to be one of the first Muslims. He counted himself as the sixth person who converted to Islam.
He was also one of the first Muslims who immigrated to Abyssinia. According to sources, he immigrated there twice. Upon his return from Abyssinia, Ibn Mas'ud went to Medina to which the Prophet (s) had already migrated from Mecca. The Prophet (s) made a pact of brotherhood between him and Mu'adh b. Jabal or al-Zubayr b. al-'Awwam. He took part in the Battle of Badr and killed Abu Jahl. The Prophet (s) was so happy about the death of Abu Jahl that he donated his sword to Ibn Mas'ud.
According to Ibn al-'Abbas, he was one of the few companions of the Prophet (s) who did not abandon him in the Battle of Uhud. He took part in many of the Prophet (s)'s ghazwas (battles). He usually accompanied and served the Prophet (s).
After the Prophet (s)
In the Period of Abu Bakr
There is little information about the details of Ibn Mas'ud's life after the demise of the Prophet (s). A quotation from him shows that he took part in the Battles of Ridda in the period of Abu Bakr. According to al-Tabari, there is a report from Sayf b. 'Umar according to which he was in charge of protecting the booties in the Battle of Yarmuk.
In the Period of 'Umar
Ibn Mas'ud took part in the Conquest of Syria in the period of 'Umar b. al-Khattab. He lived in Syria for a while and was occupied with judgeship and teaching the Qur'an. There is also a report that he was in al-Mada'in teaching the Islamic jurisprudence and the Qur'an.
Supervising the Treasury in Kufa
In 21/641, when Ibn Mas'ud was in Hums, he was summoned by 'Umar and was commissioned to go to Kufa, together with 'Ammar, in order to supervise the treasury and its judicial system. After a while, 'Umar dismissed 'Ammar and appointed al-Mughira b. Shu'ba in his place. According to al-Baladhuri, the reason why 'Umar dismissed 'Ammar was his quarrel with Ibn Mas'ud.
In the period of 'Uthman
When 'Umar died, Ibn Mas'ud went to Medina and pledged his allegiance to 'Uthman b. 'Affan. He then went back to Kufa and called people to pledge their allegiance to 'Uthman. 'Uthman retained him in his position in Kufa and donated a land to him in Iraq.
According to al-Tabari's report from Sayf b. 'Umar, a quarrel took place between Ibn Mas'ud and Sa'd b. Abi Waqqas—the ruler of Kufa at the time—since he would not return his loan to the treasury. When 'Uthman heard the news, he dismissed Sa'd and was angry at Ibn Mas'ud. However, according to other reports, such a quarrel took place between Ibn Mas'ud and Walid b. 'Uqba—the ruler of Kufa. Walid expressed his complaints to 'Uthman. Thus 'Uthman asked Ibn Mas'ud to go back to Medina.
'Uthman cursed him in Medina, and according to some reports, he asked his agents to dismiss him from the mosque.
After this, Ibn Mas'ud stayed in Medina for 3 years—he was not allowed to leave the city—and he died in Medina two years before the murder of 'Uthman. While Ibn Mas'ud was in Medina, 'Uthman cut his wages from the treasury. However, when he died, al-Zubayr b. al-'Awwam could restart the wages for his family. One of the reasons why 'Uthman was upset at Ibn Mas'ud was that he attended the burial of Abu Dhar al-Ghifari and said prayers on his corpse in al-Rabadha.
Ibn Mas'ud and the Quran
Ibn Mas'ud was the first person, after the Prophet (s) himself, who read the Quran out loud for polytheists and was offended by them because of this. He was present at many occasions in which Quranic verses were revealed. He claimed that he had learned 70 chapters of the Quran immediately from the Prophet (s). He taught the Quran since when the Prophet (s) was still alive.
According to one account, Ibn Mas'ud was one of the four people from whom the Prophet (s) recommended others to learn the Quran. After the Prophet (s)'s demise, he taught the Quran in Medina and Kufa for a while. Even some prominent Sahaba, such as 'Abd Allah b. al-'Abbas, learned the Quran from him and followed his reading of the Quran.
Ibn Mas'ud's reading of the Quran
- Aswad b. Yazid,
- Zarr b. Hubaysh,
- 'Ubayd b. Qays,
- Abu 'Abd al-Rahman al-Silmi,
- Abu 'Amr al-Shaybani
- Zayd b. Wahb
His reading (and pronunciations) of the Quran were commonly followed in Kufa for a while. According to a report from al-A'mash (d. 148/765), in the early 2nd/8th century, the 'Uthmani Mushaf ('Uthman's version of the Quran) was not common along with the version of Ibn Mas'ud, but within half a century, 'Uthman's version succeeded Ibn Mas'ud's such that in the middle of the 2nd/8th Only few people had records of the latter reading. After that, some readings of the Quran appeared in Kufa with an 'Uthmani origin, though they drew upon Ibn Mas'ud's version. In fact, the official versions of the Quran in Kufa—that is, 'Asim, Hamza, al-Kisa'i, Khalaf, who were among the ten qaris (ten reciters) of the Quran—have their origins in Ibn Mas'ud's version.
Ibn Mas'ud's Version of the Qur'an
According to sources, Ibn Mas'ud dictated Quranic verses to his pupils and they wrote them down.
When 'Uthman ordered Zayd b. Thabit to collect the Qur'an in order to provide the official version of the Qur'an, he ordered Ibn Mas'ud to turn in his version of the Qur'an in order to be destroyed along with other non-official versions thereof. According to reports, Ibn Mas'ud did not comply with the order and was therefore beat at the command of 'Uthman.
However, according to some other sources, Ibn Mas'ud finally changed his mind and confirmed the 'Uthmani version of the Qur'an as the official version.
Exegesis of the Qur'an
Ibn Mas'ud was known in his own time as a scholar of the Qur'an who knew the occasions on which Quranic verses were revealed. His exegeses of the Qur'an were cited by later exegetes of the Qur'an from different branches of Islam. In his exegesis of the Qur'an, Suddi frequently cited the comments of Ibn Mas'ud and 'Abd Allah b. al-'Abbas on Quranic verses.
Ibn Mas'ud was very close to the Prophet (s) and thus he cited many hadiths from him. According to what al-Nawawi collected, there are 848 hadiths cited from Ibn Mas'ud, 64 of which are cited in both Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim, 21 of which are only cited in the former and 35 are only cited in the latter. In many cases, Ibn Mas'ud immediately cited the Prophet (s) and in some cases, he cited other Sahaba.
People Who Cited Ibn Mas'ud's Hadiths
There are many people among Sahaba who cited hadiths from Ibn Mas'ud, such as
Moreover, many of Tabi'un cited hadiths from him, such as
Moreover, the issue of al-Malahim wa l-fitan (future events, especially wars and seditions) frequently appears in his hadiths; in fact, he is one of the few Sahaba who cited many hadiths in this regard. One of his best known hadiths on this issue is the one prognosticating the appearance of Imam al-Mahdi (a).
According to various sources, Ibn Mas'ud was one of the Sahaba who issued fatwas and to whom people consulted in jurisprudential matters. He issued so many fatwas that were written down in one big volume by his pupils.
Method of Deducing the Rulings of Fiqh
According to some sources, Ibn Mas'ud first sought the rulings of fiqh in the Quran and the Prophet's (s) tradition, and if he could not find anything there, he issued a fatwa in accordance with his own opinion. He never considered his opinions to be true all the time; he always considered the possibility of errors.
However, there are many hadiths cited from him to the effect that jurisprudential rulings should only be based on the Quran and the Prophet's (s) tradition and one should never refer to his own opinions.
Influence on Schools of Fiqh
Different schools of fiqh in Kufa were influenced by Ibn Mas'ud and they were sometimes proud of being so influenced.
Al-Khwarazmi—a Hanafi scholar of fiqh—maintained that Abu Hanifa (the head of the Hanafi school of fiqh) was a mediate pupil of Ibn Mas'ud (with two generations in between). Muhammad b. Ahmad al-Maqdisi considered the reason why he leaned towards the Hanafi school to be that Abu Hanifa relied on the views of Imam 'Ali (a) and Ibn Mas'ud.
Among scholars of hadiths in Kufa, Ibn Adam cited views of Ibn Mas'ud in fiqh in his book, al-Kharaj.
There are new scholarships (such as Schacht) who investigated the role of Ibn Mas'ud and his companions in the formation of fiqh in Iraq and especially in Kufa.
Place in Different Schools
Ibn Mas'ud is known among Sunni Muslims as one of the prominent Sahaba. There is a section in some works of hadith under "The Virtues of 'Abd Allah b. Mas'ud" in which there are many hadiths and quotes regarding his virtues.
There is a not much recognized version of the hadith known as al-'Ashara al-Mubashshara (ten people who were given the good news of going to Heaven) in which Ibn Mas'ud appears among those ten people. However, this version was not taken seriously by the scholars of hadiths.
For the Scholars of Kalam
Some scholars of kalam (theology) from different schools of kalam criticized 'Uthman for beating Ibn Mas'ud. These include scholars such as Ibrahim al-Nazzam and Abu Ja'far al-Iskafi from the Mu'tazili school, Abu l-Qasim al-Kufi, al-Sayyid al-Murtada and the author of al-Idah from Imamiyya and Abu Ya'qub Yusuf al-Warjilani from Ibadiyya.
Some radical Mu'tazilis, such as Ibrahim al-Nazzam and Dirar b. 'Amr, doubted the reliability of Ibn Mas'ud's reports from the Prophet (s). Al-Nazzam rejected some of his hadiths and Dirar b. 'Amr cast doubts on Ibn Mas'ud's version of the Qur'an.
Ibn Mas'ud has always been one of the respectable Sahaba among Shiites. Among early Shiites, only Fadl b. Shadhan criticized him because of his friendly relations with the first three caliphs. However, Ibn Mas'ud's hadiths were deemed remarkable in many of the early works of Imamiyya, especially his hadiths concerning the virtues of Ahl al-Bayt (a) and imamate, such as the well-known hadith of Nuqaba' Ithna 'Ashar (twelve leaders) to which some Imamiyya scholars appealed in order to demonstrate the Imamate of the Twelve Imams (a). There are reports in some Imamiyya hadiths implying that Ibn Mas'ud was a Shiite.
Sects attributed to Ibn Mas'ud
In the middle of the 2nd/8th century, 'Isa b. 'Umayr founded the 'Umaryiyya sect (a sect of Ibadiyya) that attributed its doctrines to Ibn Mas'ud. They even considered Ibn Mas'ud's version of the Qur'an as their official version thereof.
- The material for this article is mainly taken from عبدالله بن مسعود in Farsi Wikishia.