The Sahabah Series: ‘Abdullah ibn Masûd
In the name of Allah Most Gracious, Most Merciful
He became Muslim as a young man after seeing a miracle of the Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace, while tending the sheep of Uqba ibn Abi Mu’iyt. It is said that he was the sixth person to embrace Islam and Allah knows best.
He describes the incident:
‘I was at the time a youth just grown into manhood when one day the Prophet and Abu Bakr passed by. The Prophet asked me if I had any milk to give them to drink. I replied that the flocks were not mine but entrusted to my care and I could not give them to drink. The Prophet said: ‘Hast thou a young ewe that no ram hath ever leaped? I said I had, and brought her to them. Having tethered her, the Prophet put his hand to her udder and prayed whereupon the udder swelled with milk, and Abu Bakr brought a boulder which was hollowed like a cup. The Prophet milked her into it and we all drank. Then he said to the udder: ‘Dry,’ and it dried.’
Abdullah made Hijra, migration, to Ethiopia and later to Madina.
He offered to be a servant to the Messenger, upon him be peace, looking after his personal affairs and was called ‘keeper of the secret of the Messenger’ and ‘keeper of the shoes’.
It was said of him that he was the closest to the Messenger in mannerism.
He was the first to read the Qurân in public and was badly beaten as a result.
‘Abdullah was responsible for killing Abu Jahl, one of his tormentors and a staunch enemy of the Muslims, in the battle of Badr.
He was affectionately referred to as Ibn Umm ‘Abd , son of the mother of a slave. The Messenger, upon him be peace, gave him glad tidings of entering the Garden.
The Messenger said about him:
‘I am content for my nation about whatever Ibn Umm ‘Abd is content for it.’
‘If I were to appoint anyone over my nation without consultation, I would have appointed Ibn Umm ‘Abd.’
(Ahmed, al-Tirmidhi and al-Hâkim)
One night, the Messenger heard ‘Abdullah ibn Masud reading Quran and with him was Abu Bakr and Umar. They stood for long and then he said ‘whoever wishes to read Quran as it was revealed should read with the recitation of Ibn Umm ‘Abd .’
(Ahmed, al-Nasâi, al-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah)
He was a judge in Kufa during the time of ‘Umar and part of ‘Uthmân’s rule before he returned to Madina where he died in 32H, aged approximately 60.
On his death bed, ‘Uthmân offered him some money to ensure his daughters were not left to poverty but he refused it saying that he had left them with surah al-wâqiah , the fifty fifth chapter of the Qurân, which would be sufficient.
There are many wise sayings and pieces of advice attributed to him.
After having money stolen from him in the market place, he said, ‘O Allah, if the one who took the money was in need, then give him blessed increase and if he is one who often commits this sin, then make it his last sin.’
He said, ‘knowledge is not from the narration of masses (of information) but it is through fear of God.’
He said, ‘the Jama’at (group) is not having lots of people, rather the one who is with the truth is the true Jama’at.’
He related 848 hadith.
(Sources: Ibn Hajr al-Asqalâni, al-Isâba fî Tamyîz al-Sahâba and Muhammad al-Jardâni al-Dimyâti, al-Jawâhir al-lu’luwiyya)
 Muhammad by Martin Lings, Islamic Text Society: London, 1983 p48.