#TheKnowers: Abū Ayyūb al-Anṣarī, the blessed host.
Madīnah had never anticipated anyone like it anticipated the arrival of the Prophet (ﷺ), for days and weeks the city is excited at the impending appearance of the Prophet (ﷺ). They day comes, tambourines are beaten in excitement, children are screaming and singing with delight, the women are crying tears of joy - the Prophet (ﷺ) is finally here. Men of the various tribes extend their hand forward to the Prophet (ﷺ) beseeching him to stay with them, some even grabbing the camel Qaṣwāʾs halter. The Prophet (ﷺ) blessed them and said, “Let her go her way, for she is under the command of God.” Qaṣwāʾ alights at the place where Masjid Nabwī is now. Everyone wanted the Prophet (ﷺ) for himself or herself, but it was Abū Ayyūb al-Anṣarī who took the bags of the Prophet (ﷺ) before the others, leaving the Prophet (ﷺ) to reply “A man is with his luggage.” This is the highest level of Prophetic conduct, he (ﷺ) does not say no to anyone, but with his (ﷺ) subtle degree of diplomacy he solved the matter without breaking anyone’s heart.
They enter the house, and Abū Ayyūb decides to give the Prophet (ﷺ) the bottom floor, it made sense too - the Prophet (ﷺ) would be free to roam outside if he wanted, and he would not have to climb any stairs. Abū Ayyūb and his wife take the top half, but this did not last. He could not bear the fact that the Prophet (ﷺ) was below him, he became so constricted; he feared he would tread in an area where maybe the Prophet (ﷺ) put his head. Such was his love and awareness of the Prophet (ﷺ) that he requested that he (ﷺ) move upstairs, the Prophet (ﷺ) agreed. Abū Ayyūb and his wife now took the bottom part of the house and the Prophet (ﷺ) took the top floor. But this is only part of the love and adab he had for the Prophet (ﷺ) - he would take food upstairs to the Prophet (ﷺ) and when it came down he would ask his wife to show where the Prophet’s (ﷺ) fingers ate from, and he would eat from that place. One time he took food up that had garlic, as always Abū Ayyūb asked his wife where the Prophet (ﷺ) ate from, she replied that he (ﷺ) had not taken anything from it. Instantly Abū Ayyūb went into a state of shock, so he ran upstairs and asked the Prophet (ﷺ) whether there was anything ḥarām in it. Such was his state, he feared he did the Prophet (ﷺ) wrong, the Prophet (ﷺ) assured him it was nothing untoward, it’s just that he does not like or eat garlic because he talks to angels, and angels don’t like bad scents, they like high scents.
Abū Ayyūb was the blessed host but along with that he was a skilled fighter, a ḥāfidh of the Qurʾān, a scribe, a leader but most importantly he loved the Prophet (ﷺ) dearly, right from the first moments he (ﷺ) entered Madīnah, Abū Ayyūb started serving him, he devotes his life serving him (ﷺ). Abū Ayyūb knew. :)
(Picture: courtyard of Eyüp Sultan Camii, site of the grave of Abū Ayyūb al-Anṣarī)