The Story of Suhaib Ar-Rumi, the Companion

Bismillah.

This long hadith is a fascinating encounter between Suhaib Ar-Rumi and Umar Al-Farooq.

عَنْ حَمْزَةَ بْنِ صُهَيْبٍ أَنَّ صُهَيْبًا رَضِيَ الله عَنْهُ كَانَ يُكَنَّى أَبَا يَحْيَى وَيَقُولُ إِنَّهُ مِنْ الْعَرَبِ وَيُطْعِمُ الطَّعَامَ الْكَثِيرَ فَقَالَ لَهُ عُمَرُ رَضِيَ الله عَنْهُ: يَا صُهَيْبُ مَا لَكَ تُكَنَّى أَبَا يَحْيَى وَلَيْسَ لَكَ وَلَدٌ وَتَقُولُ إِنَّكَ مِنْ الْعَرَبِ وَتُطْعِمُ الطَّعَامَ الْكَثِيرَ وَذَلِكَ سَرَفٌ فِي الْمَالِ فَقَالَ صُهَيْبٌ: إِنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ كَنَّانِي أَبَا يَحْيَى وَأَمَّا قَوْلُكَ فِي النَّسَبِ فَأَنَا رَجُلٌ مِنْ النَّمِرِ بْنِ قَاسِطٍ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْمَوْصِلِ وَلَكِنِّي سُبِيتُ غُلَامًا صَغِيرًا قَدْ غَفَلْتُ أَهْلِي وَقَوْمِي وَأَمَّا قَوْلُكَ فِي الطَّعَامِ فَإِنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ كَانَ يَقُولُ:
خِيَارُكُمْ مَنْ أَطْعَمَ الطَّعَامَ وَرَدَّ السَّلَامَ
فَذَلِكَ الَّذِي يَحْمِلُنِي عَلَى أَنْ أُطْعِمَ الطَّعَامَ.
أخرجه لوين في ” أحاديثه “، وابن عساكر، و الحافظ ابن حجر في ” الأحاديث العاليات ” وأخرجه أيضا: أحمد وصححه الألباني في “السلسلة الصحيحة”.

It is narrated from Hamza ibn Suhaib that Suhaib Al-Rumi [RA] used to have the kunya (nickname) “Abu Yahya”, used to say that he is an Arab and used to give out a lot of food to people. So Umar [RA] said to him, “O Suhaib! Why is that you are given the kunya (nickname) “Abu Yahya” (i.e. father of Yahya) while you don’t have a child, you say that you are an Arab, and you give out a lot of food to people while that is excess in wealth?”. So Suhaib [RA] replied, “Without a doubt, the Prophet of Allah صلى الله عليه و سلم gave me the kunya (nickname) “Abu Yahya”. As for your statement about my lineage, I am a man from Namir ibn Qasit from the people of Mawsul (one of the tribes of the Arabs) [i.e. my lineage is Arab] but I was captured as a slave when I was a young boy and as a result I surely neglected my family and people. As for your statement about the food (that I give out), without a doubt the Prophet of Allah صلى الله عليه و سلم used to say,

The best of you are those who give food to people and those who return the Salam (greeting of السلام عليكم)“,

So that is what causes me to give out food to people.”

[Reported by many sources, and declared as authentic by Sh. Al-Albani]

Vocabulary from the Hadith

خِيَارُكُمْ – The best of you.

أَطْعَمَ – To feed, nourish, give to eat.

الطَّعَامَ – Food.

رَدَّ – To return.

Lessons from the Hadith

- It is legitimate to give a kunya to someone who does not have a child.

- The virtues of giving food to people: this is not restricted only to the poor, but it is general and includes guests, friends, etc. We find in the Qur’an, “And they give food, inspite of their love for it (or for the love of Him), to Miskin (poor), the orphan, and the captive” (76:8).

- The virtues of returning the Salam: many times returning of the Salam is neglected, e.g. in gatherings when someone exits while giving the Salam, many people do not return the Salam. However Allah says, “When you are greeted with a greeting (i.e. the Salam), greet in return with what is better than it, or (at least) return it equally. Certainly, Allah is Ever a Careful Account Taker of all things.” (4:86), so we must be careful to return all Salams.

wAllahu a’lam.

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One thought on “The Story of Suhaib Ar-Rumi, the Companion

  1. salamunalaikum. Amazing people they were. mashallah keep up this good work.May Allah drown you and all such good peopl in his mercy and clean you with his forgiveness.Ameen

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