Al-Bara ibn Azib (may Allah have mercy upon him) was amongst the Companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) who may not be known to many but held a special heart and position to the Prophet (peace be upon him). His name is in Diwani calligraphy style.
He was consistent in wanting to learn from the Prophet (peace be upon him). He was amongst the Ansar of the Madinah who greeted the Prophet (peace be upon him) passionately when they arrived at the Madinah where he was born and embraced Islam at a young age. Al-Bara was taught by Musab bin Umayr and Ibn Umm Maktoom (may Allah have mercy upon them) whom the Prophet (peace be upon him) sent to Madinah to teach the people of Madinah about Islam.
Al-Bara never left his side and loved listening to the Prophet. His actions were based on the Prophet’s sayings (hadith) and he took the prayer with great importance. This led him to narrate 305 hadiths from the Prophet (peace be upon him) where some are regarding ablution and prayer such as the following:
Narrated Al-Bara bin Azib(may Allah have mercy upon him) that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) was asked about performing ablution after eating the flesh of the camel. He replied: Perform ablution, after eating it. He was asked about performing ablution after eating meat. He replied: Do not perform ablution after eating it. He was asked about saying the prayer in places where the camels lie down. He replied: Do not offer prayer in places where the camels lie down. These are the places of Satan. He was asked about saying the prayer in the sheepfolds. He replied: You may offer prayer in such places; these are the places of blessing.
[Sunan Abu Dawood, Hadith No: 184]
As narrated by Al-Bara bin Azib, (may Allah have mercy upon him) when we would pray behind the Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him), we liked to be on his right side. He (the Prophet) would sit turning his face towards us (and back towards the Kabah) (peace be upon him).
[Hadith No: 615]
As narrated by Al-Bara bin Azib, (may Allah have mercy upon him) The Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) used to pass through the row from one side to the other; he used to set out chests and shoulders in order and say: Do not be irregular. And he would say: Allah and His angels bless those who are near the first rows.
[Hadith No: 664]
As narrated by Al-Bara bin Azib, (may Allah have mercy upon him) when the Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) began the prayer, he raised his hands to his ears, then he did not repeat.
[Hadith No: 749]
As narrated by Al-Bara bin Azib, (may Allah have mercy upon him) I saw that the Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) raised his hands when he began the prayer, but he did not raise them until he finished (prayer).
[Hadith No: 751]
Narrated by Al-Bara bin Azib (may Allah have mercy upon him) states:
“I have never seen someone with long hair and red clothing more handsome than Prophet (peace be upon him). His hair reached his shoulders.”
[Shamaa-il Tirmidhi, Islamic Book Service Publications, New Delhi, 2000, p. 11]
Al-Bara also encouraged his children to pray and perform good actions following the sunnah. His son Yazid narrated a memory about his father, Al-Bara:
"One day, my father gathered us. He said, ‘Come here. I will teach you how the Messenger of Allah made wudu. For, I do not know how much I will be with you after this.’"
[Musnad, 4: 288]
Furthermore, Al-Bara narrated hadiths about the migration, the change of the qiblah (direction of prayer) from Masjid Al Aqsa in Jerusalem, Palestine to the Kaaba in Makkah, Saudi Arabia and some of the battles. He participated heroically in Uhud and Hunayn but was turned back from participating in the first Battle of Badr due to his age, he narrated the following hadith:
"There was a well in Hudaybiyya. When we arrived there, we extracted all of the water from the well. There was no water left. When the Messenger of Allah was informed about it, he came beside the well and sat. Then he wanted a container with some water in it. He made wudu and gargled with the water that was brought. Then, he prayed and poured the water into the well. We left the well as it was for a while upon the order of the Messenger of Allah. Then, as much water as we wanted to accumulate in the well. We and our animals used that water."
[Musnad, 4: 283, 284, 290, 304; Tabaqat, 4: 366-367]
Al-Bara consistency in good actions granted him a place in the heart of the Prophet (peace be upon him) who often advised him.
"Make wudu when you go to bed; Lie on your right side and pray as follows: 'O Allah! I surrendered to you. I referred my work to you. I rely on you because I love you and I fear you. I take refuge only in you. My salvation depends on you. I believed in the Book and the Prophet that you sent.' If you do so and die that night, you will die as a Muslim. Let them be your last words."
[Muslim, Dhikr: 56; Musnad, 4: 285]
Al-Bara was consistent in his humbleness where due to his closeness to the Prophet (peace be upon him), he could answer questions on hadiths, tafsir and fiqh. Matters where he could not answer, he apologised and said I do not know and would refer to someone more knowledgeable.
Once, someone asked him a question and; he referred the question to Zayd bin Arqam. He said:
"Ask Zayd because he is better than me and he knows this issue better than me."
This is the true essence of consistency in humility and learning.
Season 2 of The Parables of the Eminent Companions of the Prophet pbuh is back combining the love of history and Islamic calligraphy.