Abdullah, son of Masud : biography
Abdullah ibn Masud () was one of the first converts to Islam after Muhammad started preaching in Mecca. He remained one of the closest companions of Muhammad during his lifetime.
According to Muslim sources, he was a young shepherd who worked for Uqbah ibn Abu Mu’ayt. It was not long before Abdullah became a Muslim and offered to be in the service of Muhammad. Muhammad agreed and Abdullah gave up tending sheep in exchange for dedicating himself to Islam. Abdullah held administrative and diplomatic duties under the caliphs Umar and Uthman. Some of his well-known disciples in Kufa included Alqama ibn Qays al-Nakha’i, Aswad ibn Yazid and Masruq ibn al-Ajda’. Abdullah is especially important for his commentaries and traditions on the interpretation of the Quran, having been present for many revelations.
Knowledge of Hadith and Religious Rulings
Ibn Masud would refrain from narrating Hadith in fear of mistakes. However when he did narrate a Hadith, he was very particular and precocious in what he attributed to the Prophet. He would turn pale and quake in fear whenever he accidentally attributed something to the Prophet, even though the Prophet has said, "Whatever Ibn Masood narrates to you, believe him." Whenever he gave a verdict, he would attribute it to himself, saying that it was his own opinion and that it was from Allah if it was correct and that it was from himself and Satan, if it was incorrect. For this reason, many Fatwahs have been attributed to Abdullah instead of the Prophet.
Imaam Nisai writes in his Sunan: "A man married a woman, then he passed away before he could consummate his wedding or set a dowry for his wife. When the issue was placed before the Sahabah, they advised them to go to Abdullah. When they came to Abdullah, he tried to avoid them and told them to ask someone else. Finally he relented and said, "The woman will receive Mehr-e-Mithl. If the verdict is correct, it is of Allah. If it is incorrect, then it is of Satan and me. Neither Allah nor the Prophet is responsible for it.” A Sahabi by the name of Maakal Ibn Al-Ashjai was also present and he said, "I swear by Allah, you have given the same verdict that the Prophet gave in the favour of Broan Bint Washile Al-Ashjai. Your verdict is in accordance with the Prophet." On hearing this, Abdullah rejoiced as he had never rejoiced before. The majority of Fatwahs of Iraq and the Hanafi Fiqh are based upon the Fatwahs of Abdullah Ibn Masud. His authority in Fiqh was such that the other Sahabah would refuse to give a Fatwah whilst he was still alive. They would always refer any seeker to him. Students who wanted to enter his service and gain knowledge from him were always constantly petitioning him.
Khatima Ibn Abu Subrah once went to Madinah and prayed for a pious companion. Abu Hurraira asked Khatima where he had come from. He replied that he had travelled for two days from Kufa. Abu Hurraira said to him, ‘Is not Saad Ibn Malik, who is Mustajab-ul-Dawat amongst you? Is not Ibn Masood, who was the bearer of the Prophet slippers and ablution water amongst you? Is not Huzaifah, who was privy to the Prophet thoughts amongst you? Is not Amar amongst you, whom Allah granted refuge from Shaytaan through the Prophets tongue amongst you? Is not he who knows the two Divine Books (the Qur’aan and the New Testament), Salman Farsi amongst you?’ Coincidentally, all the Sahabah (may Allah’s blessings be upon them all) who Hazrat Abu Hurraira mentioned were in Kufa at that time.
Hazrat Saad narrates, ‘Once there were six of us in the service of the Prophet. Besides me were Abdullah Ibn Masood and Bilal Habshee. Some pagans of Makkah came before the Prophet and began to say, "Remove these people first, then we shall talk." The Prophet was still considering whether sending us out would win over their hearts and make them more receptive to Islam, when the following verse was revealed:
Saad proudly states, ‘This verse was revealed for us.’ Who can match the status of those who are praised by Allah? The whole point of the worship of Allah is the pleasure of Allah. These six attained the glad tidings of Allah in their lifetime that Allah was pleased with them.