What are muhajirun and ansar? What do muhajirun and ansar mean? What kind of relationship was there between Muhajir and Ansar? The Virtues of the Muhajirin and Al-Ansar…
A muhajir, denoting a person who migrates from one place to another, is the name given specifically to Meccan Muslims, who were forced by the unbearable increase of torment and oppression to leave to Medina.
The Muhajirun had left Medina, relinquishing all what they had behind except for the meager amount they could carry. The idolaters had immediately pounced on and seized their possessions in Mecca. The financial loss of the Muslims was indeed huge. But neither did they have their sights set on wealth, nor were they after any worldly gain; they had tasted the sweet zest of faith too much for that. Thus they were more than ready to sacrifice all of what they had in the way of Allah, glory unto Him.
They considered an imperative command even the slightest wish of the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace-, constantly ready to be at his disposal, wholeheartedly putting their hands up with the words “may our parents be ransomed for you, Messenger of Allah”, which only echoed their feelings of devotion deep inside. One of the most striking examples of this state of mind is provided by Suhayb ibn Sinan, better known as Suhayb ar-Rumi -Allah be well-pleased with him-, who revealed where he kept his wealth hidden in Mecca, just to get away from the idolaters trying to prevent him from embarking on the Hegira. Having already been on the receiving end of the worst kinds of torment inflicted by the idolaters, Suhayb -Allah be well-pleased with him- set out to migrate to Medina right after Ali -Allah be well-pleased with him-, only to be thwarted by a group of Meccans who caught up with him on the way.
“You arrived in Mecca as a weak and poor man”, they exclaimed. “Yet now have you ended up with loads of wealth. And now you want to take all of what you have and leave? It’s not that easy!”
Suhayb immediately dismounted his horse, and taking out some arrows from his case, mounted a challenge:
“You very well know that I am one of the most talented bowmen among you. By Allah, if shooting all the arrows I have with me and then using my sword once I run out is what it takes, I will not shrink back…and so long as I have any of these in my hand, you will not be able to get within an inch of me. Only if you are able to seize hold of me once I am completely dispossessed of them, will you be able to do what you want with me. Now, if I tell you where my wealth is and leave you to do with it as you wish, will you clear my path and let me go?”
The idolaters accepted the offer. Thereupon Suhayb -Allah be well-pleased with him- made known to them where his wealth was kept and continued undisturbed on his journey. Around mid Rabiulawwal, he made it to Quba where he was reunited with the Noble Prophet -upon him blessings and peace-, accompanied at the time by Abu Bakr and Omar -Allah be well-pleased with them-. In front of them was a bunch of newly picked Umm Jirzan dates brought by Kulthum ibn Khidm. Afflicted with sore eyes and extreme hunger from the journey, Suhayb -Allah be well-pleased with him- began helping himself to the dates, seeing which Omar -Allah be well-pleased with him- jokingly remarked:
“Look at Suhayb, Messenger of Allah. Having sore eyes does not prevent him from picking out fresh dates!” The Light of Being -upon him blessings and peace- joined in.
“So you are eating fresh dates even though you have sore eyes?”
“I saw the dates”, Suhayb replied, “with the part of my eyes that is not sore!”
The Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- responded with a warm smile, and implying how Suhayb ransomed his wealth to the idolaters in return for his life, said:
“Suhayb is triumphant…Suhayb is triumphant. Rest assured Suhayb, your trade has turned out profitable!” (Ibn Sad, III, 226-230; Hakim, III, 450, 452)
While the Muslims of Mecca were exerting a great sacrifice under the hardest of conditions in trying to relocate to Medina, the Muslims of Medina were embracing them with the love of iman, as appropriate to the intensity of the struggle they were both in. Some Muhajirun, wishing not to be a burden on the Ansar who had not the least qualm in willing to share all they had with their immigrant brothers, appearing more than contended, were not accepting things that were being offered free of charge, while others were only accepting deals where they could work in the date fields of the Ansar thus earn their living with their own hands. Other immigrants had preferred to engage in what they knew best: trade. One of them was Abdurrahman ibn Awf -Allah be well-pleased with him-. Although Saad ibn Rabi -Allah be well-pleased with him-, his made brother, had offered him half his wealth, he refused:
“May Allah prosper your wealth and grant your family wellbeing. Suffice for you to show me where the market of Medina is”, he said. Beginning his business venture in this manner, he became wealthy in a very short time. (Bukhari, Manaqib’ul-Ansar, 3)
The Muhajirun, the first recipients of Revelation, who winked at all the risks that came with believing in the Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- and as a consequence underwent the most unthinkable forms of torture to the point of ultimately being forced to leave their homes, are honored with the praise of the Allah, glory unto Him. Even though they did not have any worldly gain waiting for them, still, they had abandoned their all, simply for the opportunity to live in line with their religion. Thus not only were the Muhajirun showing an exemplary instance of selflessness, they were at the same time carrying out a religious obligation, for the Quran was condemning those remaining behind from embarking on the Hegira despite having the means.
Allah, glory unto Him, pledges to forgive the sins of the Muhajirun and award them with Paradise:
“Those who have left their homes, or have been driven out therefrom, or have suffered harm in My Cause, or have fought or have been slain,- verily, I will blot out from them their iniquities, and admit them into Gardens with rivers flowing beneath! A reward from the presence of Allah and from His presence is the best of rewards.” (Al-i Imran, 195)
“But verily to those who leave their homes after trials and persecutions, and who thereafter strive and fight for the faith and patiently persevere… Your Lord, after all this is oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.” (an-Nahl, 110)
In connection, the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- states:
“The Muhajirun will enter Paradise seventy years before others and avail of themselves of its blessings…whereas people will be made to wait just to be called into account.” (Haythami, X, 15)
Destined for great rewards in the Hereafter, the Muhajirun at the same time have been graced with many Divine blessings in this life, consequent upon the sacrifices they have shown:
“To those who leave their homes in the cause of Allah, after suffering oppression…We will assuredly give a goodly home in this world; but truly the reward of the Hereafter will be greater. If only they realized (this)!” (an-Nahl, 41)
Again, in consequence of the troubles they suffered, the Almighty reserved for them a greater portion of the spoils compared to others. The Quran, in relation, declares:
“Some part is due to the poor Muhajirun, those who were expelled from their homes and their property, while seeking Grace from Allah and His Good Pleasure, and aiding Allah and His Messenger. Such are indeed the sincere ones!” (al-Hashr, 8)
Over and above the homesickness that took hold of them upon their arrival, the Muhajirun for a long time were also unable to get used to Medina’s weather, struck down by fever and illnesses alike. Witnessing the deteriorating health of both her father Abu Bakr and Bilal Habashi – -Allah be well-pleased with thema-, aggravated all the more by their longing of Mecca, Aisha – -Allah be well-pleased with her– made the Light of Being -upon him blessings and peace- aware of the predicament, upon which he then prayed:
“Allah…Endear Medina to us just how You endeared Mecca; even more! Grant prosperity to her harvest! Allah…Improve Medina’s weather and send her fever and malaria to Juhfah!” (Bukhari, Fadail’ul-Medina, 12; Muslim, Hajj, 480)
The gallant Muslims of Medina who welcomed the troubled Muhajirun arriving from Mecca, generously sharing with all their resources, and who moreover gave their affectionate support to the cause of the Noble Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- are called Ansar, meaning the Helpers.
Ghaylan ibn Jarir -Allah be well-pleased with him- explains:
“I once asked Anas -Allah be well-pleased with him-, ‘Was the title Ansar used to describe you before, or was it given to you by Allah?’ and he answered, ‘The name was given to us by Allah.’” (Bukhari, Manaqib’ul-Ansar, 1)
The Ansar consisted of two rival Medinan tribes of the same kin, Aws and Khazraj. In the 11th year of Prophethood, a delegate of six persons from Khazraj came to Medina to ensure the aid of Quraysh against Aws with whom they had locked horns. There, they met the Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- and his invitation to Islam, as a result of which they became Muslim. On their return to Medina, in hope that it might put an end to the chronic hostilities between them and unite them like the brothers they once were, Khazraj also successfully invited Aws to Islam. Thus the weariness left on their hearts at the end of ensuing warfare waged over long years suddenly turned to unity and strength, thanks to the silm, that is to say the peace and tranquility of Islam. Joining forces once again, the two kindred tribes sent their representatives to Mecca in the 12th and 13th years of Prophethood, occasioning the First and Second Pledges of Aqabah.
In the second of these pledges, they made a vow to protect and aid the Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- and the Muslims of Mecca provided they migrated to Medina, playing thereby a major part in Hegira and hence the beginning of a new era in Islam.
When designated by the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- as a brother for each Muhajir, every Ansar made his brother partner to his home, work and property, and whatever he had, revealing an exemplary and incomparable instance of solidarity beyond anything one could dream to expect from his own birth brother. The sincerity of the Ansar is acclaimed by the Quran below:
“But those who before them, had homes in Medina and had adopted the Faith, who show their affection to such as came to them for refuge, and entertain no desire in their hearts for things given to the latter, but give them preference over themselves, even though poverty was their own lot. And those saved from the covetousness of their own souls…” (al-Hashr, 9)
The following incident, reported to have occasioned the above Revelation, truly captures the depth of Ansari sacrifice:
A man reduced with extreme hunger had come to the Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- asking for help.
“Who wants to take his brother as guest?” asked the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace-.
“I will, Messenger of Allah”, said Abu Talha, -Allah be well-pleased with him-, from the Ansar, and took the poor man to his house. Upon arrival, he quickly went inside by himself, and said to his wife, “Let’s prepare something for the guest of the Prophet of Allah”, before asking, “Have we anything to eat?”
“No”, replied his wife, “apart from a few morsels enough too feed the kids.”
“Then distract the kids. If they come afterwards asking for food, put them to sleep. And once our guest comes inside, put out the light without making it obvious. We will then make it look like as if we’re joining him for the meal.”
So they sat for the meal. The guest ate, while they ended up sleeping on an empty stomach. Come morning, Abu Talha went next to the Noble Prophet -upon him blessings and peace-, who upon seeing him, said:
“Allah was pleased with what you did for your guest last night.” (Bukhari, Tafsir, 59/6; Muslim, Ashribah, 172-173)
When the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- arrived in Medina, the Muhajirun told him:
“Never, Messenger of Allah, have we seen a people more generous and charitable than this tribe to whom we have immigrated. Their rich give in loads and their poor provide help, running to our needs. They have entirely taken care of our financial worries and have made us partners to their properties. We fear they might sweep clean all of Allah’s rewards”.
“Do not worry”, assured the Prophet of Allah -upon him blessings and peace-. “So long as you pray to Allah on behalf of them and thank them in return for what they do, you too will obtain rewards.” (Tirmidhi, Qiyamah, 44/2487)
Recalling the below incident is Jabir -Allah be well-pleased with him-:
“Upon collecting the dates, the Ansar would divide them into two heaps, piling more on one side than the other. Then placing some date leaves over the smaller pile to make it look more sizable than the other, they would tell the Muhajirun to take whichever pile they preferred. And they, wishing for their Ansari brothers to take the greater pile, would choose the supposedly smaller pile, through which they would end up with most of the dates. The Ansar would have their wishes fulfilled by sparing for their own the smaller pile. This generous deed of the Ansar continued until the capture of Khaybar.” (Haythami, X, 40)
Another example of altruism shown by the Ansar towards their immigrant brothers runs as thus:
The Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- had first summoned the Ansar to distribute among them, in lots, the land of Bahrain. But the Ansar renounced their rights:
“Please, Messenger of Allah”, they said “do not give us anything until you give twice as much to our brothers of the Muhajirun!”
“Since, Ansar, you prefer others over yourselves”, replied the Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- “then be patient until you unite with me by the Pool of Kawthar…for after me there will come a time when others will be preferred over you!” (Bukhari, Manaqib’ul-Ansar,)
The spirit of Ansar has received the personal praise of the Noble Messenger -upon him blessings and peace-:
“As far as I can see, you grow in number when called to battle or to help the needy, and come in crowds. Yet, when you are called to be given things worldly, you reduce in number and desist.” (Ali al-Muttaqi, XIV, 66)
In return for the selflessness with which they embraced the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- and the Muhajirun who had immigrated to their town, the Ansar are rewarded with Paradise, but more importantly, with the grace of Allah, glory unto Him.
Thus states the ayah:
“The vanguards of Islam- the first of those who forsook their homes and of those who gave them aid, and also those who follow them in all good deeds,- well-pleased is Allah with them, as are they with Him: for them He has prepared gardens under which rivers flow, to dwell therein forever: that is the supreme felicity.” (at-Tawba, 100)
The Ansar did not hold back from putting their lives on the line in defending Islam and protecting the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace-. They were gallant in the Battle of Badr. In the Battle of Uhud, during the dire moments in which the Believers were assailed from behind and the tide of victory had turned against them, most of the Companions who formed a human shield around the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- were Ansari. They were attached to the Prophet of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- with legendary love and loyalty, the intensity of which the emotional episode below recounted by Anas -Allah be well-pleased with him- vividly bears out:
“I was on a journey with Jarir ibn Abdullah. Despite being older than me, he was serving me; and when I told him to stop doing that, he said, ‘I saw the great service lent by the Ansar to the Messenger of Allah, and I promised myself that if I ever became close friends with an Ansari I would serve him.” (Bukhari. Jihad, 71; Muslim, Fadail’us-Sahaba, 181)
“Had there never been a Hegira”, once said the Noble Messenger -upon him blessings and peace- “I too would have been an Ansari”, expressing their immense value in his sight. (Bukhari, Manaqib’ul-Ansar, 2)
Some of the other words articulated by the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- in acclaim of the virtue of the Ansar include:
“Whoever believes in Allah and the Hereafter ought not to be spiteful towards the Ansar.” (Tirmidhi, Manaqib, 25/3906)
“Only Believers love them and only hypocrites hate them. Allah loves those who love the Ansar and is spiteful towards those who hate them.” (Tirmidhi, Manaqib, 25/3900)
“Humans increase yet the Ansar decrease; and so they will, like salt in a meal.” (Bukhari, Manaqib’ul-Ansar, 11)
“I advise you to treat the Ansar nicely. They are my people, confidants and my faithful. They have appropriately fulfilled their obligation. The rewards for their services have not yet been fully given (impending, more than sufficiently, in the Hereafter). Therefore, be nice towards their good, forgive their wrongdoers.” (Bukhari, Manaqib’ul-Ansar, 11)
The profound love the Noble Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- nurtured for the Muhajirun and the Ansar extended to his entire Companions; such that each Companion sincerely believed that there was nobody dearer to the Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- than himself.
Ka’b ibn Ujra -Allah be well-pleased with him- narrates the evocative incident below:
“We were sitting at the Mosque in Medina in the presence of the Messenger of Allah. Seated was a small group each from the Ansar the Muhajirun and the clan of Hashim. Amongst each other, we wondered which one of us the Messenger of Allah loved the most. We, the Ansar, remarked:
‘We believed in the Messenger of Allah, obeyed him and fought by his side against his enemies. So for those reasons, he loves us more!’
Our brothers of the Muhajirun responded:
‘We immigrated for the sake of Allah and His Messenger and turned our backs on our families and wealth in their way. Besides, we took part in all the battles you did. The Messenger of Allah therefore loves us more!’
Members of the Hashim clan then said:
‘We are the Prophet’s kin, who have taken part in all the battles you have. So the Messenger of Allah would certainly have a greater love for us!’
The Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- thereupon came next to us and inquired:
‘What was it that you were talking about amongst each other before?’
Each of us repeated what we said before, to which the Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- commented:
‘You have all spoken the truth…who could claim otherwise?’ Then after a brief pause, he asked, ‘Would you like for me to settle the matter?’
‘Of course, we would’, replied we. The Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- then stated, ‘You, the Ansar…I am your brother!’
‘Allah-u Akbar!’ exclaimed the Ansar jubilantly. ‘By the Lord of the Kaabah, we have won him over!’
‘People of the Muhajirun’, then said the Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace-. ‘I am from you!’
The Muhajirun, too, happily exclaimed, ‘Allah-u Akbar! ‘By the Lord of the Kaabah, we have won him over!’
‘As for you, the sons of Hashim’, then continued the Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace-, ‘You are from me and have come to me!’ They likewise exclaimed:
‘Allah-u Akbar! By the Lord of the Kaabah, we have won him over!’ We all left satisfied. Each group was delighted with the compliments of the Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace-.” (Haythami, X, 14)
The borders of the small Muslim city-state founded in Medina, comprised approximately of four-hundred families, reached Iraq and Palestine, only in a matter of ten years. The Companions were at war with Byzantine and Persia at the time of the passing away of the Noble Messenger -upon him blessings and peace-, though their standards of living had little changed as compared to ten years before. They continued persisting in their lives of abstinence. Excess consumption, greed, luxury and pomp were things unknown to the Companions, who were filled with a constant awareness, that ‘awaiting the flesh, tomorrow, is but the grave.’ They therefore always fled the tendency of reserving the pleasures of the world to themselves and an indulgence in them. With the excitement and zest of iman, they instead used them as means for guiding humankind to its salvation. They molded their lives in the cast of seeking the pleasure of Allah, glory unto Him. Without a doubt, one of the most prominent reasons for the clear and rapid spread of Islam among the oppressed and the exploited, like a glaring flash of morning light, was the fact that the Companions showed a perfect Muslim character wherever they stepped foot. The elite students of the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- , the Companions were Believers par excellence, honest and just, carrying treasures of benevolence in their hearts enlightened by the Prophetic light, who looked upon fellow servants of the Almighty only with eyes of compassion.
 See, an-Nisa, 97. Juhfah, then, was an area inhabited by Jews and idolaters, persistent in helping the enemies of Islam in their transgressions against Muslims and sowing the seeds of hostility. By praying in such manner, the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- wished for them to be too preoccupied with the plague to even think about aiding the idolaters of Mecca and causing mischief. (Aynî, X, 251)
 Jarir ibn Abdillah -radıyallâhu anh- was the leader of the Bajila tribe of Yemen. Accompanied by 150 men, he came to Medina and became Muslim in the month of Ramadan, in the 10th year of Hegira, three months before the passing away of the Noble Messenger -upon him blessings and peace-. He loved the Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace-very much. The affection was mutual, as the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- would smile at Jarir every time he saw him.