صلة بن أشيم العدوي Silla ibn Ashyam al Adawi
Today we will take a look at an interesting individual from the tabi'een, may Allah
be pleased with them. The name of this man is Silla ibn Ashyam al Adawi whose nickname (kunya) was Abu as-Sahbaa'. He was a pious 'aalim (scholar), aabid (worshipper), zaahid (ascetic), and mujaahid (fighter in the path of Allah). Silla was a very pious man who combined two great deeds in his lifetime. He was a scholar who learnt the Deen and taught it to others in the best of ways, and he was also a mujaahid (fighter in the path of Allah) who was in the armies sent to defend the borders of the Muslim Ummah.
Thus, Silla was a knight in the daytime, fighting in the heat of the battle and striking the necks of the enemies. And by night time, he was a sincere worshipper who left the comforts of his bed and spent the night standing in prayer to His lord,
Silla would spend the last portion of the night reciting the book of Allah
with deep concentration and taqwa (fear and consciousness of His lord).
Silla was from al Basra in Iraq. Silla narrated did not narrate much except from the companion, Abdullaah ibn Al Abbass
who he studied under. Other sahabah he studied from include, Abdullah ibn Mas'ood and Hudhayfah ibn al Yamaan
Those who narrated from him include; his wife, Muaadha, Hameed ibn Hilaal, Thaabit al Binaani, Al Hassan al Basri and others.
There are many beautiful incidents from the life of this great man
Among them:Silla and the Lion
Ja'far ibn Zayd narrates a strange and amazing story. He says the Muslims among them Silla
went out for battle to what is present day Kabul (Afghanistan) hoping that Allah would open up this land for the Muslims. So the army travelled for a good amount of time until night time entered upon them. So the army stopped to rest and gain some strength. They ate, prayed and headed to their tents for some sleep. Ja'far says, "So, I saw Silla ibn Ashyam also heading to his area to get some rest just like the others and he laid down on his side to sleep. So I said to myself: "Where is what they narrate from this man of his prayer and ibaadah and saying of his qiyaam (qiyaamu layl) that he prays so much until his feet become sore!? By Allah! I will watch him closely this night until I see what is of him."
It was not until the men had fallen asleep that Silla got up and walked far away from the camp.Covered up in darkness, he entered a forest like place filled with trees and began his qiyaam prayer. Ja'far stood in the darkness near the trees watching his companion. It wasn't until after a short time that a lion came from behind the trees!
Ja'far was instantly terrified by this sight and quickly climbed up the nearest tree. He feared for Silla but there was nothing he could do so he watched to see what would take place. Silla continued his prayer, completely engaged in it, perhaps not even noticing the presence of the wild beast. He made rukoo' and then got up from it and went down in sujood. All this while the lion walked about him and was now in front of him.
Ja'far said to himself, "Now the lion will attack him for sure." The lion instead stood still, staring at Silla. Silla finished his prayer and with such peace and calmness, he looked into the eyes of the beast and said some words in such a low voice that Ja'far could barely hear nor understand. After this, the lion moved his head as if nodding and disappeared into the darkness of the trees from where it came. Silla then continued in his worship until it was Fajr!
After praying the Fajr prayer, he walked back to the camp and Ja'far secretly followed him. No one noticed that Silla was gone nor could they tell from his face any signs of tiredness or being awake. As for Ja'far, he says of himself that only Allah knows what was in him of tiredness, cold, and the fear of the lion. Silla ibn Ashyam as a wise da'ee (caller to the truth)
Once Silla ibn Ashyam
was walking with his companions when they passed by a man who was dragging his izaar (lower garment). So Silla's companions got upset and wished to say some words to him and even beat him for his action! However, Silla told them he would take care of it. So, he went up to the young man and said, "O son of my brother, I have a need from you."
The young man replied, "And what is that O uncle?" Silla replied, "That you lift your garment."
The young man replied, "Yes indeed." Silla then told his companions afterwards that if they would have spoken to him harshly, the young man would have probably not taken their advice at all.
Silla also once passed by a man who was speaking to a non-mahram woman. So he said to them, "Truly, Allah sees you both. May Allah cover us up (our sins) and you (as well)."
In another incident, Silla
passed by a group of young men who would always joke around, laughing and playing. So he said to them once, "Tell me (o young men) of a group of people who wanted to travel but instead they deviated from their path during the day and slept in the night, when will they complete their travel?"
The young men said nothing and would continue as they were day by day and Silla would remind them with these same words each time he passed by. So one day, he passed by them and said these words again. This time one of the young men paid attention and realized that Silla meant these words for them! This young man said to his companions, "O people! He refers to no one else but us with these words for we play in the day time and sleep in the night." The young man then left his companions for good and followed Silla, sticking to him and learning under him until he left this world
Once,a young man approached Silla
and said, "Teach me O Abu Sahbaa' from that which Allah
has taught you. Silla became very happy and smiled at these words. He said to the young man, "Dear son of my brother, you have reminded me of a past which I will not forget. When I was a young man like yourself and approached those who were still alive from the companions of the prophet and I said to them, "Teach me from that which Allah has taught you (all)."
So they said to me, " Make the Quran a protection for yourself and the pleasure of your heart. And be sincere to it and sincerely advice the Muslims with it. And increase in duaa to Allah in what you are capable of."
After hearing this, the young man said to Silla
, "Supplicate to Allah for me, may Allah reward you!" So he said, "May Allah allow you to love and seek that which remains (the aakhirah) and may He give you zuhd (ascetic) from that which is temporary (the dunya).
Despite his great worship and life of jihaad, Silla was not one to not follow in the footsteps of the prophet
and that is the sunnah of Marriage. Silla sought the hand of his paternal cousin, Muaadha al Adawiyyah.His Marriage
Silla ibn Ashyam married his paternal cousin, Muaadha al Adawiyyah
who was also a great woman among the tabi'een. She studied under the mother of the believers, Aishah bint Abi Bakr
Muaadha had completely renounced this world and looked forward to meeting her Lord. When the night would enter she would say, "verily, today is my last night (in this world)"
and so she would pray so much and sleep very little. When the morning came, she would say, "verily, today is my last day(in this world)."
Muaadha fasted and prayed a lot throughout her life.
Silla married Muaadha and when she was presented to him on their wedding night, Silla got up to pray and Muaadha who also a zaahida(ascetic) and aabida (constant female worshipper of Allah swt) got up for prayer behind her groom as well. The beautiful scent of the room and how it was decorated reminded him of Paradise, so instead of being with his bride, Silla got up to pray to His lord on such a memorable night. From this great family, Allah brought forth a son who was to be the coolness of their eyes for them.
Silla ibn Ashyam
was not only a great worshipper and scholar but a fierce fighter as well. In fact, he was so good that the Muslim commanders would compete as to whose camp and army Silla should be in.
Ja'far ibn Zayd narrates: We went out for battle and with us were, Silla ibn Ashyam and Hishaam ibn Aamir. So when the battle had started, Silla and his companion disappeared into the ranks of the enemy casting upon them waves of spears and clanking of swords. They had caused so much damage on the enemy that the commanders of the enemy said, " Two men from the soldiers of the Muslims have caused all this on us so how about if they fought us all together (not just these 2 men)?!!" They then said to one another after losing complete hope " Surrender to the rule of the Muslims and give in."
In the year, 76 Hijri, Silla ibn Ashyam
went out with the Muslim armies for a great battle in the lands beyond the river (Central Asia) and this time, Silla's son accompanied him for this great battle. When the two armies had met and the heat of the battle began to intensify, Silla said to his son, "My son! Go forth and fight the enemies until I see you martyred." So the young man went forth and he fought fiercely until he fell down as a shaheed (martyr). It is said the battle took place at the area known as Sijistaan and that Silla was a little over 100 years of age.
It wasn't after a while that Silla decided to go after his son, fighting on until he was killed and buried as a martyr by his side. So when the news had reached al Basra, many of the women went to visit Umm as-Sahbaa' Muaadha to give their condolences but she said to them,"If you have come to congratulate me, then welcome to you (o women). But if you have come for other than that then go back and may you be rewarded!"
Some of his sayings:
He once said the following words over the grave of a brother of his:
If you are saved from it (the tests of the grave) then you have been saved from a great matter, and if not then (know) that I can not save you from it.
He also use to say, " I do not know in which day I am happiest. A day in which I spent the early part of it remembering Allah, or a day in which I departed my house to seek out my needs and then I was exposed to the remembrance of Allah (as I fulfilled my needs)."
Imam al Ghazali narrates in Ihyaa 'Uloom al Deen
that Silla would spend all of his night in prayer and when it was near morning he would say, "My Lord, it is not for the likes of me to ask you for paradise but save me from Hellfire through your mercy."
May Allah have mercy on Silla ibn Ashyam al Adawi, the prime example of a true scholar, worshipper, and mujaahid in the path of Allah.
Source: Suwar min Hayaati Tabi'een
by Dr. AbdurRahmaan Ra'fat al Baashaa pg. 318-327