Sayyidunā Abān b. Saʿīd
Mawlana Adnān Ahmad ʿAttāri Madani
Hailing from the powerful Umayyad clan, Sayyidunā Abān b. Saʿīd b. ʿĀṣ al-Umawī al-Qurashī رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ was a Companion of the Prophet and a scribe of the Quran.
Sayyidunā Abān b. Saʿīd had eight brothers, five of whom embraced Islam. The remaining three died as disbelievers.
His brothers Sayyidunā Khālid and Sayyidunā ʿAmr رَضِیَ الـلّٰـهُ عَنْهُمَا accepted Islam first and migrated to Abyssinia during the First Migration.
In 3 AH, Sayyidunā Abān b. Saʿīd fought for the disbelievers in the Expedition of Badr. His non-Muslim brothers, ʿĀṣ and ʿUbayda, were killed by Sayyidunā ʿAlī and Sayyiduna Zubayr b. ʿAwwām رَضِیَ الـلّٰـهُ عَنْهُمَا. Sayyidunā Abān b. Saʿīd رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ was destined to become a believer and made it out alive. After this encounter, Sayyidunā Khālid and Sayyidunā ʿAmr رَضِیَ الـلّٰـهُ عَنْهُمَا wrote him a letter saying, “We remind you of Allah. You are headed to die on the same false religion as your father did, and upon which your two brothers were slain.”
As he was not yet Muslim, Sayyidunā Abān was enraged and declared, “I shall never abandon the religion of my ancestors.”
His path to Islam
Before becoming Muslim, he would say unfitting things about the Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم. Describing one of the events that led him to Islam, he says:
I travelled to Syria for business, staying there for a year. One night, the local churches began to emanate with fragrance. The Christians began preparing luxurious food and donning fine attire. I asked one of them why all of this was taking place, and he replied, “A hermit named Bakā lives here. He has not come down from this mountain for forty years nor has anyone seen his face in that time. He is soon to alight this mountain and spend forty days in our churches.”
The hermit came, and people rushed to surround him. I saw him to be an old man. Some days passed when I too approached him and said, “I am from the Qurayshi tribe. There is a man among us who says he was sent by Allah in the same way Mūsā and ʿĪsā were sent.” The hermit asked, “Where is your city?” to which I replied, “Makka, on the coastal plain of Tihāma.” “Perhaps you are an Arab businessman?” He inquired. When I said yes, he then asked, “What is the name of the person you speak of?”
“Muhammad,” I replied.
Hearing this, the hermit said, “Shall I first mention the qualities he possesses, after which you may tell me more about him?” I agreed, and he asked, “How long has it been ˹since he announced his Prophethood˺?” “Twenty years or less,” I replied. “Was he forty ˹when announcing his Prophethood˺?” “Yes, he was” I said in surprise.
The hermit then began to describe the qualities and physical appearance of the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم:
His hair is not curly, his face is resplendent, his height is medium, his palms are full, and there are fine lines of redness in his eyes. He did not wage war or contend in the city he once resided in. After migrating, he attained victory through battle. His number of followers continues to get ever larger, whilst his enemies are becoming ever fewer.
“By Allah!” I exclaimed, “You did not err in the slightest when explaining his life. Tell me, who exactly are you?” The hermit did not answer, but instead asked me my name. I replied it was Abān. “Do you accept this person (the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم) or not?” he asked. “I do not accept him” I said. The hermit then lightly struck my back with his hand. “Does this person write letters with his own hand?” he asked, to which I replied, “No.”
“By Allah!” the hermit exclaimed, “He is the Prophet of this Ummah. He will certainly become dominant over all of you, victorious over the entirety of Arabia, and his religion will attain supremacy over the entire Earth.” The hermit then went outside and headed to his monastery. His parting words were, “Convey my greetings to that righteous man.” This incident transformed my thinking. Returning to Makkah, I never spoke ill of the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم again.
Before the Treaty of Hudaybiyya, Sayyidunā ʿUthmān b. ʿAffān رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ conveyed a message on behalf of the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم to the Quraysh. They disregarded the content of the message and asked him to leave instead. Seeing this, Sayyidunā Abān b. Saʿīd exclaimed, “Welcome! Go wherever you please in Makka. You are entirely safe.” He then disembarked his horse, offered the saddle to Sayyidunā ʿUthmān, and sat behind him as they entered Makka.
Some days passed after the above-mentioned event. Sayyidunā Khālid and Sayyidunā ʿAmr had set out from Abyssinia and reached the coast of Yemen. Here, both brothers sent another letter to Sayyidunā Abān b. Saʿīd, exhorting him to accept Islam. After perusing this second letter, Sayyidunā Abān b. Saʿīd accepted Islam. He travelled to Madīna to meet with his brothers, and the three of them then proceeded to Khaybar to meet the noble Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم.
The Treaty of Hudaybiyya occurred in Dhu al-Qaʿda of 6 AH. Two months later, Khaybar was conquered in Muḥarram. His acceptance of Islam took place between these two events.
‘In what state did you leave the Makkans?’
When Sayyidunā Abān b. Saʿīd visited the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم, the latter asked, “In what state did you leave the Makkans?” “I left them with rain having fallen on their land, the idhkhir (a well-known, sweet-smelling plant) had grown profusely, and the thumām (a desert grass) had just began to sprout,” he replied. The description of his hometown moved the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم to tears, and he remarked, “I am the most eloquent of you, and second to me is Abān.”
Participating in expeditions and moving to Bahrain
He fought in the Expedition of Khaybar.
When returning from the expedition in Taif, the Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم placed Sayyidunā Wardān رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ in his care. He was tasked with paying for Sayyiduna Wardān’s expenses, acquiring any necessities he may require, and teaching him the Quran.
After the Hajj in 9 AH, he was appointed by the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم to Bahrain to collect zakat there. He resigned from this position and returned to Madīna when the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم left this world.
According to one opinion, Sayyidunā Abān b. Saʿīd was martyred in the Ajnādayn incident of Jamād al-Ula, 13 AH.
He was struck by an arrow, which he pulled out from his body. Wrapping his imāmah around the wound, he was picked up by his brothers and carried away. “Do not open the imāmah from my wound,” he said. “If you do so, I will pass away.” However, for the necessary treatment, the imāmah had to be untied, and Sayyidunā Abān b. Saʿīd رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ subsequently passed away to embark on the journey of the Hereafter.
 Usd al-Ghābah, vol. 1, p. 58
 Al-Istīʿāb, vol. 2, p. 159
 Ṭabaqāt al-Kabīr li ibn S’ad, vol. 9, p. 5
 Tārīkh ibnʿAsākir, vol. 6, p.128
 Maghāzī li al-Wāqidī, p. 601; Usd al-Ghābah, vol.1, p. 59
 Ṭabaqāt al-Kabīr li ibn S’ad, vol. 5, p. 10
 Usd al-Ghābah, vol.1, p. 58
 Gharīb al-Ḥadīth li al-Khaṭṭābi, vol. 1, p. 494; Muʿjam ibn al-Aʿrābi, p. 1116, ḥadīth 2408
 Usd al-Ghābah, vol.1, p. 59
 Al-Iṣābah, vol. 6, p. 474
 Ṭabaqāt al-Kabīr li ibn S’ad, vol. 5, p. 10/11
 Al-Istīʿāb, vol. 1, p. 160
 Tārīkh ibnʿAsākir, vol. 6, p.138; Al-Iktifāʾ li al-Kalāʿī, vol. 2, p. 204