Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Aban ibn 'Abd al-Hamid al-Lahiqi al-Raqashi -- Abbad ibn Bishr

Aban ibn 'Abd al-Hamid al-Lahiqi al-Raqashi (d. 815) was an Arabic poet in Baghdad.   He was a court poet of the Barmakids who wrote panegyrics in praise of the ‘Abbasid Caliph Harun al-Rashid and versified popular stories of Indian and Persian origin. 

Alternative names include:

Aban ibn 'Abd al-Hamid al-Lahiqi al-Raqashi
Raqashi, al-
Raqashi, Aban ibn 'Abd al-Hamid al-Lahiqi al-


Abbad ibn Bishr (c.606–632) was one of the Sahaba, one of the companions of the Prophet Muhammad. He was known for his devotion to worship, knowledge and courage in battle.

Abbad was enthralled by the Qur'an after first hearing it recited by Musab ibn Umayr before the hijra when Abbad was about fifteen years old. The Qur'an had a special place in his heart, and he became renowned for his recitation so much so that he was known among the companions as the friend of the Qur'an. Muhammad's wife Aishah bint Abi Bakr once said: "There are three persons among the Ansar whom no one could excel in virtue: Sad ibn Muadh, Usayd ibn Khudayr, and Abbad ibn Bishr."

In 625, Muhammad received news that the Najd tribes were planning to attack Medina. In preemption, he assembled a detachment of over four hundred men including Abbad ibn Bishr. Arriving at Najd, they found the men of the tribes had fled to the hills. When the time of salatul asr came, Muhammad feared an ambush so he arranged the Muslims in ranks and divided them into two groups and performed salatul-khawf (the Prayer of Fear). Seeing their disciplined ranks, the hostile tribesmen became uneasy. After Muhammad made his presence known, he felt a conflict was unnecessary and decided to depart. On the way back to Medina, the Muslims pitched camp in a valley for a night. The responsibility of guarding the camp was assumed by Abbad ibn Bishr and Ammar bin Yasir, whom Muhammad had paired as brothers following his arrival in Medina.
After reaching the mouth of the valley, Abbad noticed that his brother was tired and volunteered to keep watch for the first half of the night and allow him to rest. Since there appeared to be no imposing threats, Abbad stood up for prayer. While absorbed in recitation, a stranger stalked the outskirts of the valley in search of Muhammad and his followers. He was among those who had planned to attack Muhammad, but fled into the mountains.

From a distance, the man saw the figure of Abbad and knew the Muslim force must be inside the valley. Silently he drew his bow, and fired an arrow which embedded itself in Abbad's flesh. Calmly, Abbad removed the arrow and went on with his recitation, still absorbed in his Salat. The attacker shot two more arrows, which also found their mark. Abbad pulled them out and finished his recitation. Weak and in pain, he stretched out his hand while still in prostration and shook his sleeping companion. Abbad continued the prayer to its end and then said: "Get up and stand guard in my place. I have been wounded."

Ammar stood up, and seeing them both, the attacker fled into the darkness. Ammar turned to Abbad, blood flowing from his wounds, and asked "Why didn't you wake me when you were hit by the first arrow?"

Abbad replied "I was reciting verses of the Qur'an which filled my soul with awe and I did not want to cut short the recitation. Muhammad had commanded me to commit this surah to memory. Death would have been dearer to me than that the recitation of this surah should be interrupted."
Abbad was killed fighting the forces of Musailma at the battle of Yamamah in 632. Before the battle, Abbad observed the lack of mutual confidence between the Muhajirin and the Ansar, realized the campaign would fail unless they were separately regimented, and distinguished those who bore their responsibility and were steadfast in combat. When the battle commenced, Abbad ibn Bishr stood on a mound and shouted:

"O Ansar, distinguish yourselves among men. Destroy your scabbards. And do not forsake Islam."

Abbad gathered about four hundred men from the Ansar and launched an offensive into the enemy ranks, forcing their retreat to the garden of death, where Abbad ibn Bishr was mortally wounded. Although the battle was a victory for the Muslims, twelve hundred of their force were killed. So numerous were Abbad’s wounds, that he was hardly recognizable. Although he passed at a young age, Abbad contributed much to the strength of the early Muslim community, and his life and martyrdom continue to inspire followers of Islam the world over.

Alternative names include:

Abbad ibn Bishr
Ibn Bishr
Ibn Bishr, Abbad

Thursday, October 25, 2012


Appendix A: Arabic Names

            This Who's Who compilation is ultimately a compendium of Arabic names. Generally, Arabic names consist of five components:

(1) ism derived from Islamic or pre-Islamic tradition (e.g., Ibrahim, Dawud, 'Abd Allah [ "servant of God"], Asad [ "lion"]);

(2) kunya, a surname, denoting the father of the oldest son (e.g., Abu Ja'far ["father of Ja'far"]; or an attribute (e.g., Abu al-Atahiya ["father of folly"];

(3) nasab,the father's/mother's name (e.g., Ibn Rushd ["son of Rushd"];

(4) nisba, the place of origin, or residence (e.g., al-Qurashi ["from the tribe of Quraysh"]; and

(5) laqab, one or more surnames (e.g., al-Atrash ["the deaf one"], al-Jahiz [ "the goggle-eyed"].

             A typical Arab name would follow the formula: laqab -kunya - ism - nasab - nisba - laqab. For example, the name 'Izz al-Din Abu Ja'far Muhammad ibn Sayf al-Din Abi al-Mansur Muhammad ibn 'Izz al-Din Abi al-Qasim Thabit ibn Muhammad ibn Husayn ibn Hasan ibn Rizq Allah al-Qurashi al-Tahhan consists of the following components:

'Izz al-Din {laqab}

Abu Ja'far {kunya}

Muhammad {ism}

ibn Sayf al-Din {father's laqab}

Abi al-Mansur {father's kunya}

Muhammad {father's ism}

ibn 'Izz al-Din {father's laqab}

Abi al-Qasim {grandfather's kunya}

Thabit {grandfather's ism}

ibn Muhammad {great-grandfather}

ibn Husayn {great-great-grandfather}

ibn Hasan {great-great-great-grandfather}

ibn Rizq Allah {great-great-great-great-grandfather}

al-Qurashi {nisba}

al-Tahhan {laqab ["the miller"])

Appendix B:  Glossary

Moulay is also a form of the Arabic title Mulay, a Prince of the blood. 

Appendix C:  Names Compendium

A compendium of the names of the individuals whose profiles may be found in this work along with the alternative names by which those individuals may be known can be found in the Names Compendium for Muslim Works.

Notes on the use of Who's Who in Islam

Notes on the use of Who's Who in Islam

For this on-line work, entries are listed alphabetically ignoring spaces, commas, hyphens and apostrophes.Listings which contain identical names are listed in chronological order unless the name is the beginning of a series of individuals from the same country.In that case, the names are grouped in chronological order within the context of the individual country.
In order to facilitate ease of reference, names used are those by which the person is commonly known to the Muslim world. Arabic names that begin with prefixes such as the "al" in "al-Abbas"are listed under the root portion of the name. Thus, the listing for "al-Abbas"will be found under "Abbas."
Additionally, the following abbreviations are used in this text: b. = born; d. = died; c. = circa (or about); r. = period of reign; and ? = uncertain.
Finally, this compilation of Who's Who in Islam is intended to be a continual work in progress. Undoubtedly, there will be errors that will be made in the course of creating this work. That is where you, the reader, can render me a great service. If you discover any errors that require that be made, please let me know and I will endeavor to make the appropriate corrections.
Thank you.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


To God,
in gratitude
for providing me
with ancestors
who came from
the rainbow



2011 will long be noted as the beginning of the Arab Spring. The citizen uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt,Yemen, Libya, and Syria have heralded in an era of change. In recognition of the changes that have been made by brave souls throughout the Muslim world, and with hope for the positive changes that should come, I have been inspired to publish this Who's Who in Islam.

This work is acknowledgment of the admiration I have for my sisters and brothers throughout the Muslim world. In the years that are to come, years that undoubtedly will be filled with challenge and uncertainty, I am mindful of the positive mantra that has come to dominant my thinking and my life and pray that it will resonate with my sisters and brothers wherever they may be. The mantra is

Positive thoughts lead to positive words

Positive words lead to positive actions

Positive actions lead to positive habits

Positive habits lead to positive character and

Positive character leads to a positive destiny

I pray that my sisters and brothers will take this message to heart and thereby make possible a positive destiny for us all.

I am not a Muslim.  I am simply a man in search of truth -- the truth about myself, my people, my country, my world and God.  In my search for truth, I have discovered that there is much that I once believed to be true that is certainly not the total truth and, indeed, may not be true at all. 
I once believed that I am only an "African American".  However, in my search for truth, I discovered that such a label is not entirely true.  I discovered that, like me, most persons of African descent who live in the United States also have European and Indigenous American blood.  By labeling such individuals as being only "African American", society may be denying essential elements of their being.
As a so-called "African American", I once believed that American slavery defined my past and impacted my present.  But once I escaped the confines of the label, I learned that my triple heritage -- my African, European and Indigenous American heritage -- is far richer than I could ever have imagined.  With a triple heritage, African slavery is not an overriding historical theme.  With a triple heritage, the self-evident fact is that for people like me the overriding historical theme concerns the creation of a new people and the beginning of a new experiment with fascinating possibilities for the future history of man. 
Another consequence of discovering the nature of a triple heritage is the realization that one of the defining labels that is currently en vogue in American society simply does not fit.  On almost any day of the week, in schools, churches, and the halls of power throughout the land, one can hear pronouncements being made concerning the "Judeo-Christian" heritage of America.  However, as a person with a triple heritage, there are other religious traditions which have obviously had some bearing on the individual that I am today.  In addition to my "Judeo-Christian" heritage, there is also a lingering influence of the tribal religions of the African and Indigenous American peoples and, perhaps more significantly, there is the ongoing influence of Islam.
In discovering the truth about the African part of my heritage, I was frequently confronted by the role that Islam played in developing African society and in initiating the African diaspora.  After all, it was the Muslim Arab merchants who took African slaves and companions with them as they traversed the then known world.  China, Malaysia, India, and Spain all came to be the home of Africans because of the peripatetic Arabs.  It was the Muslims who spread their religion to both the West and East coasts of Africa and through persuasion and intermarriage converted the African people to the Islamic faith.  And it was African Muslims from the west coast of Africa who frequently were the slave cargo of the European ships that came to the Americas, speaking such Muslim languages as Hausa, Mandingo, and Fulfulde. It was these forefathers who played such an integral part in the bold experiment which eventually made me what I am.
Yes, Islam has, undoubtedly, had an historical role in defining what it means to be an African American.  But, for me, there is even more.
For me, there are moments and times in my life which are indelibly etched in my psyche.  There was the time while living in Glasgow, Montana, in the early 1960s that I became aware of the sport of boxing when a brash young boxer by the name of Cassius Clay defeated the "invincible" bear known as Sonny Liston.  Cassius Clay would soon become the legendary Muhammad Ali -- a Muslim who became the dominant sports figure of my generation.
There was the time in high school in 1969 when I first began to explore my African heritage by reading a story about a small time hoodlum who underwent two Islamic conversions -- first as the Nation of Islam leader known as Malcolm X and later as the more orthodox Muslim, El Hajj Malik Shabazz.
Then there was the crucial period of my life when during my first two years of college, in 1972 and 1973, I served as the "Minister of Information" of the Amherst Afro-American Society under the leadership of Umar Zaid Muhammad.
No, I am not a Muslim.  But my personal heritage, and my personal experiences, compel me to say that here too I have a triple heritage.  I have not just a Judeo-Christian heritage, but rather a heritage that is a combination of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.