Ten years before the Hijra, in Medina, Anas bin Malik (ra) was born. One of Medina’s two most important tribes, the Hazraj, belonged to the Najjar clan, which included his family. He was known by the title Abu Hamza and became well-known as “the Servant of the Prophet” due to his close personal association with the Prophet (saw) for about ten years. The sources claim that when his wife Umm Sulaym Sahla bint Mihan (r. anha) and many of his family converted to Islam, Anas’ father Malik b. Nadr refused to convert and remained a non-Muslim and left Medina in anger. He ultimately passed away in Damascus. Additionally, it is reported that he passed away before the Hijra.
However, in contrast to his mother, many other members of Anas’ family, including his brother Bara b. Malik (ra), aunt Umm Haram (r.anha), uncle Anas b. Nadr (ra), and stepfather Abu Talha, converted to Islam (ra).
The fact that Anas (ra) was raised under the guidance of the Prophet (saw) and had a long history of service to the Prophet (saw) set him apart from the other Companions. The Prophet (saw) taught Anas (ra) a great deal about numerous Islamic topics, and he afterward dedicated his life to trying to pass this knowledge on to others. Many accounts of the Prophet’s (saw) behavior toward people, particularly youngsters, his approach to teaching and educating, as well as many other moral behaviors, have been passed down to us through Anas (ra).
Anas ibn Malik (ra) was a young boy of 10 years old when the Prophet (saw) migrated from Mecca to Medina. The youngsters of Medina were shouting, “Muhammad is coming! Muhammad is coming,” as he describes the excitement and delight of the Medinans upon the coming of the Prophet (saw):
“Along with them, I started to run while crying. Finally, Abu Bakr (ra) and the Prophet of Allah (saw) appeared. A man sent us back to the city when we spotted them coming and asked us to inform everyone that the Messenger of God had arrived. We immediately returned and told everyone. To welcome them, some 500 Medinan Hosts emerged. ”
The Hosts began to contend with one another to serve the Prophet (saw) once he arrived in Medina. The mother of Anas ibn Malik had nothing to contribute to this contest, which put her at a significant disadvantage. She then approached the Prophet (s.a.w.) while holding Anas by the hand and said, “O Messenger of God, I am a poor woman. I have nothing to offer that could be of help to you. This is my son; I am leaving him to you so that he can help and serve you. Please accept him.” and the Messenger of Allah (saw) did not turn her down.
Anas ibn Malik (ra) served as the Prophet’s (saw) personal servant from that point on for 10 years until his passing. He cherished the Prophet (saw) dearly and took great pleasure and delight in providing for his necessities. He would go to the mosque of the Prophet (saw) first thing in the morning to attend to his needs and wants. Anas would prepare the Prophet’s (saw) early-morning breakfast if he planned to observe a fast that day and perform with him the Fajr prayer. Every day after Anas started working for the Prophet (saw), he offered his early prayers alongside him.
Anas was too young to take part in the wars of Badr, Uhud, or Handaq. He was there on the battlefield, though, during the Battle of Badr, listening to the Prophet (saw) and helping the soldiers where he could. During significant occasions such as the Treaty of Hudaybiya, the Expedition of Haybar, the Umrah al-Qadha, the Conquest of Mecca, the Battle of Hunayn, the Siege of Taif, and the Farewell Pilgrimage, he also took his place in the Prophet’s (saw) closest personal group. After the Prophet (saw) passed away, Abu Bakr (ra), the newly-elected caliph, despatched Anas ibn Malik (ra) to Bahrain to fill the position of alms collector.
Anas (ra) was focused on educating the Muslims in Basra during the reign of the caliph Umar (ra). He also participated in a group of prominent Companions that the Caliph Umar (ra) gathered to advise and guide him. Anas (ra) spent a brief period of time in Damascus before returning to Basra to complete his work. He took part in the military operations that Caliph Umar (ra) oversaw, notably the conquest of Tustar. He was given the task of returning the loot from the battle to Medina after the conquest. During the reign of the Caliph Uthman (ra), political unrest and polarisation began and slowly kept growing. Anas b. Malik (ra) was able to avoid them.
The only formal position Anas (ra) held during this time was that of governor of Basra, which he held for just forty days under the reign of Caliph Abdullah ibn Zubayr. Anas returned to his life of study and teaching after this brief official commitment.
Anas bin Malik (ra) was one of the Companions who was most impacted by this pressure when the Umayyads were in power. The rulers put a lot of pressure on the intellectuals during this time. He was never afraid to speak the truth and was always fearless and tenacious in his fight against injustice and oppression. When the head of Hussain (ra), the grandson of the Prophet (saw), was brought to the Iraqi ruler Ubaydullah bin Ziyad, the latter began disparaging Hussain (ra).
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This incident was witnessed by Anas (ra), who interrupted the governor and scolded him by saying, “This head looks like the head of the Prophet (saw).”
Together with other Companions like Jabir bin Abdullah (ra) and Sahl bin Sa’d (ra), Anas (ra) was condemned and persecuted for his opposition to the Umayyad regime’s policies. Hajjaj, the governor of Iraq, was one of their tormentors. He branded their hands and necks to disgrace them in front of the public and even went as far as to steal all of Anas’ possessions on the grounds that he had supported the rebels against the government.
When Anas (ra) complained in writing to the Umayyad caliph Abdulmalik bin Marwan about the unfairness he had experienced, the caliph despatched orders to Hajjaj from the capital directing him to return Anas’ property and express regret to him.
The substantial amount of hadith that Anas (ra) narrated is another characteristic that sets him apart. He is one of the seven Companions who are referred to as “the Increasers” (Mukthirun) because they delivered a remarkably large number of Prophetic reports (saw). Anas (ra) is the third Mukthirun with roughly 2286 hadiths recounted (including repetitions). The canonical hadith collections of Bukhari and Muslim contain 168 of his narrations, with about 80 of them being quoted by Bukhari and 90 by Muslim.
Anas bin Malik (ra) passed away at the age of 103 in the 93rd year of the Hijra (711–12 AD), having lived in Basra for the vast bulk of his life. According to the sources, Anas bin Malik was the final Companion to die at Basra (ra). The fact that Anas (ra) was raised under the guidance of the Prophet (saw) and had a long history of service to the Prophet (saw) set him apart from the other Companions. The Prophet (saw) taught Anas (ra) a great deal about numerous Islamic topics, and he afterward dedicated his life to trying to pass this knowledge on to others.
Many accounts of the Prophet’s (saw) behavior toward people, particularly youngsters, his approach to teaching and educating, as well as many other moral behaviors, have been passed down to us through Anas (ra). He recounts, for instance, that despite the fact that he couldn’t always act in the manner that the Prophet (saw) desired of him, he spent a very long time with him and never once heard him reprimand him. He continues by narrating how the Prophet (saw) warned his wife not to correct him for a mistake he had made when they were ready to do so. He has carried out only what God has commanded. These reports offer invaluable prophetic direction and knowledge on young people’s schooling.
Anas bin Malik (ra) was a Companion who made a concerted effort to model every part of his life after that of the Prophet (saw). He was largely successful in this quest. The Prophet (saw) and Anas (ra) prayed in remarkably similar fashion, according to the famous hadith narrator Abu Hurayra (ra). The substantial amount of hadith that Anas (ra) narrated is another characteristic that sets him apart. He is one of the seven Companions who are referred to as “the Increasers” (Mukthirun) because they delivered a remarkably large number of Prophetic reports (saw).
Anas (ra) is the third Mukthirun with roughly 2286 hadiths recounted (including repetitions). The canonical hadith collections of Bukhari and Muslim contain 168 of his narrations, with about 80 of them being quoted by Bukhari and 90 by Muslim. In addition to the hadith he heard directly from the Prophet (saw), Anas bin Malik (ra) also received hadith from the following Companions: Abu Bakr (ra), Fatima (ra), Uthman (ra), Umar (ra), Mu’adh b. Jabal (ra), Usayd b. Hudayr (ra), Abu Dhar al-Ghifari (ra), his mother Umm Sulaym (ra) his maternal aunt Umm Haram bint Milhan (r.anha), his aunt’s husband Ubada b. Samit (ra), and his stepfather Abu Talha (ra).
Additionally, Hasan al-Basri, Ibn Sirin, Sha’bi, Abu Kilaba al-Jarmi, Makhul b. Abi Muslim, Umar b. Abdilaziz, Zuhri, Qat’ada b. Diama, and Abu Amr b. Ala were taught hadith by Anas. The following hadiths were reported by Anas (ra):
“You will be with those whom you love.”
“If a young person shows respect to the elderly, God creates people who will in turn show respect to him in his old age.”
“When God wishes well for His servant, He punishes him in this world by subjecting him to misfortunes and troubles. (He thus purifies him of his sins.) When He wishes harm on him, He avoids giving him his punishment in this life and postpones it, so that he has to endure a more severe punishment in the afterlife.”
“Help the oppressor by preventing him from oppressing others.”
“He who does not show mercy to the young and respect the rights of the elderly is not one of us.”
“Whoever has the afterlife as his priority, God grants him a richness of heart and makes his affairs easy. He is also given material goods even though he does not want them. Whoever forgets the afterlife and thinks only of this world, God plants the fear of poverty in his soul and puts his affairs in disarray. He is granted nothing more than his due in this life.”