Abbad bin Bish’r combined multiple attributes within his personality. He was a warrior, a renowned reciter of the Holy Quran and a devout worshipper who would not spare a night without devoting a part of it in standing and remembering Allah. Hazrath Ayesha, the beloved wife of Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh), had once described him one among the three sahabis from Ansars who were distinguished by the scholarship and nobility. The other two were Saad bin Muaz and Usaid bin Hazeer.
Abbad bin Bish’r was a debonair youth of Madinah before he joined the growing tribe of Muslims at the urging of Masa’b bin Umair who had been deputed by the Holy Prophet prior to his migration from Madinah. Masa’b bin Umair’s recitation of the Holy Quran cast a spell on the young Abbad. He instantly decided to join the swelling ranks of the new faith. He shared several of his personal traits with Masa’b bin Umair. This became the natural glue between them. He himself learnt the Quran with extreme devotion and his sonorous voice lent it a rare magnetic charm. Once the Prophet recognised his voice at the dead of the night and prayed for his special forgiveness.
Abbad participated in all the battles during the Prophet’s lifetime. Once the Prophet was returning from the battle of Zatur Riqaa. It was night time and he ordered the army to camp at the base of a hill. The Muslim army had taken several prisoners. Among them was a woman whose husband was not a participant in the war from the enemy’s side. When he heard about his wife being taken a prisoner, he vowed to take revenge and to slay a couple of men from the Muslim army.
The Prophet appointed Abbad and Ammar bin Yasir on the night guard of the camp. They, between themselves, agreed to take turns and Abbad began to make rounds. As Ammar slipped into deep slumber, Abbad stood in prayers and began to loudly recite the verses of the Quran. He was through surah Kahaf.
The man who had vowed to avenge for his wife’s imprisonment, was out on the prowl. Abbad was deeply immersed in intonation. Finding Abbad alone, he launched the first arrow. It got pierced into Abbad’s body. Abbad quietly pulled it out and threw it away. The second and third followed. The third pierced deeper into the flesh. A fountain of blood oozed out. Abbad could take it no more and inched close to Ammar and woke him up. But by then the enemy got alarmed with the presence of yet another person on the night watch. He took to his heels.
But the tenacity of Abbad astounded Ammar. He queried as to why he kept silent despite being hit by two arrows. Abbad’s reply was : My only concern was to finish surah Kahaf. By God! I wouldn’t mind sacrificing life, but for the grand responsibility of maintaining vigil entrusted to me by the Holy Prophet.
Abbad participated in the battle against apostates led by Museelamah during the reign of Abu Bakr. The battle went on for several days with fortunes of the Muslim army waxing and waning each day. A stage came when the Ansar and Muhajireen began to shift the responsibility for the stalemate in the war on each other. Meanwhile, Abbad saw in his dream that he had fallen a martyr.
Next day, as the sun rose on the eastern horizon, Abbad went over a hillock and called the Ansar to gather around him. Nearly 400 of them flocked around him. They included veteran companions of the Prophet such as Baraa bin Malik, Abu Dujana and Sabith bin Khais. He then led a powerful assault on the enemy. Penetrating deep into the ranks, he inflicted huge casualties against the enemy. Finally he was cornered near the wall of an orchard and martyred by the enemy. His body bore countless wounds inasmuch as it was unrecognisable. But finally someone recognised him and he was laid to rest there itself. May Allah be pleased with Abbad.