Hamidah bint Sa’id (RA) was from the early generations of Muslims. She was a black woman who was born from a mother who was enslaved. Her ethnic background was Berber though there are conflicting narrations of whether she was born in North Africa or Muslim Spain.
Imam Ja’far As-Sadiq bin Muhammad Al-Baqir bin Ali As-Sajjad bin Al-Husayn As-Sibt bin Ali Al-Murtada bin Abi Talib (SA) proposed to Hamidah due to her intellect, manners and chastity. It is reported that Imam As-Sadiq said to her, “You are praiseworthy in the world, and should be worthy of praise in the next-life.”
Hamidah gave birth to 4 children, with Imam As-Sadiq; those children were Imam Musa Al-Kathim (SA), Ishaq (SA), Muhammad Ad-Dibaj (SA) and Fatimah (SA).
It is reported that Hamidah was visited in a dream by the Prophet (SAWS) in which he (SAWS) told her to marry her son Musa Al-Kathim to Najmah Khatun, an enslaved lady who was Nubian. Hamidah later emancipated Najmah from slavery, and her son Musa Al-Kathim then married Najmah. Najmah later gave birth to Imam Ali Ar-Rida (SA).
There were two delegations of Muslims who fled Makkah to Abyssinia due to the persecution of Quraysh. After Muslims were given protection in Abyssinia, there were eight Abyssinians who accepted Islam, then left Abyssinia to Al-Madinah with Ja’far bin Abi Talib (RA).
Those men were Abrahah, Idris, Ashraf, Ayman, Bahir, Tammam, Tamim and Nafi’.
Al-Isbah by ibn Hajr Al-Asqalani states that Tammam was a Jewish rabbi before accepting Islam.
Relating to Surah Al-Qasas, ayah 52 which states, “Those to whom We gave the scripture before, they believe in it [Al-Qur’an],” Al-Mawardi in his tafsir stated that one opinion is that this ayah is related to those eight Abyssinians who were from the People of the Book that accepted Islam.
May Allah (SWT) be pleased with them.
A man of faith, courage, austerity and knowledge in the way of the Prophet (SAWS) was Imam Ali bin Abi Talib (KW).
Imam Ali was born in Makkah in the Ka’bah during the Era of Ignorance. His father was Abu Talib, the protector of the Prophet (SAWS) in Makkah, and his mother was Fatimah bint Asad (RA), the woman who also raised the Prophet (SAWS) like a son. He was described by one of his descendants, Imam Muhammad Al-Baqir (SA), as being very dark (adam shahid al-udmah), which is the same description given about him in Tarikh Al-Khulafa by As-Suyuti. Other sources such as Al-Masabih Fi As-Sirah by Imam Abu Al-Abbas Ahmad bin Ibrahim (SA) described him as brown (samrah).
Ahmad bin Hanbal stated that there were no more virtues narrated about any from among the companions than Imam Ali. He is an imam of Sunni and Shi’i muslims alike, and his opinions and sayings are even quoted in madhhab Ibadi, a school of thought practiced in Oman, Tanzania and parts of North Africa that is mistakenly referred to as modern day Khawarij. Moreover, every spiritual order (At-Tijaniyyah, Al-Ba’Alawiyyah, An-Naqshabandi, etc) traces its knowledge through the chain of Imam Ali.
A few aspects from the life of Imam Ali are:
- He was raised in the household of the Prophet (SAWS), which includes before and after the revealing of the Qur’an.
- He was the first male to accept Islam and the first to pray with the Prophet (SAWS).
- He lied in the bed of the Prophet (SAWS) the night that the Prophet (SAWS) left Makkah to Al-Madinah. Quraysh then beat him up because he spoiled their plot to murder the Prophet (SAWS).
- When the Prophet (SAWS) paired off companions in Al-Madinah to be best friends, he left Imam Ali for himself and said, “You are my brother in the dunya and the next-life.”
- When the Prophet (SAWS) left Imam Ali in charge of the affairs of Al-Madinah before heading off to Ghazwah Tabuk, he told him, “You are to me in the position of Harun to Musa though there is no prophet after me.”
- Upon the passing of the Prophet (SAWS), Imam Ali performed the ghusl as well as the funeral prayer.
- During the governments of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar, Ali gave them the wisest of council. Umar famously said, “’Umar would have been ruined if it were not for Ali.”
- During the revolt against ‘Uthman while he was the khalifah, Imam Ali sent his sons to his home to protect him. During a siege, ‘Uthman was later killed.
- Imam Ali was the fourth khalifah and given allegiance by the majority of the Ummah including the People of the Hijaz, Yemen and Iraq.
- He is credited with being the first to systematize the grammar of the Arabic language and was the teacher of the top scholars of the second generation of Muslims including Abu Al-Aswad Ad-Duwali, Al-Hasan Al-Basri and Mujahid bin Jabr.
- He was martyred during Ramadan at the time of fajr prayer in Al-Kufah, Iraq by the khariji takfiri named Abdur Rahman bin Muljam.
One of the stellar early Muslims was Uways bin ‘Amir Al-Qarni (RA). He was born in Yemen and came from the Tribe of Murad. He was described as having brown (asmar) skin.
Uways embraced Islam during the time of the Prophet (SAWS) though never personally meeting him. The Prophet (SAWS) told his companions of a man in Yemen who was “The Best of the Followers,” being Uways. Ahmad bin Hanbal’s opinion was that he was the most austere and the most given to salah among the second generation of Muslims. Ash-Shatibi in Al-‘Itisam also referred to him as “The Best of the Worshippers after the Companions” during their era.
Uways achieved martyrdom participating in the army of Imam Ali bin Abi Talib (KW) at the Battle of Siffin. The masjid in which he was buried in Ar-Raqqah, Syria was destroyed in an attack by Daesh.