Abu Thar al Ghifaary

Hazrat Abu Zar's real name was Jandab ibn Junadah ibn Sakan, better known as Abu Dhar al-Ghaffari, or Abu Thar al-Ghaffari. Hazrat Abu Zar's Kunniya was Abu Zar, which is because his eldest son was named Zar (this word in Arabic means 'fragrance'). By one estimate, Abu Zar was born in 568 AD, which means Abu Zar was two years older than the Prophet Muhammad (saw). Hazrat Abu Zar Ghaffari (Radhiallahu Anhu / May God be pleased with him) had belonged to an Arab tribe by the name of Ghaffar, hence his last name.

Abu Zar was most unhappy about the custom of Idol-worship that was rampant in Arabia of the 7th century. He had already believed in a Supreme God and he would spend most of his time reflecting on that. As news of the Prophet's mission spread in Arabia, it also arrived in the tribe of Ghafaar. Abu Zar heard of it. It was something that he himself had been thinking about. He sent his brother to go to Hijaz, find out about the new message and report back. His brother did that. Abu Zar found the news and the report from his brother encouraging. Hazrat Abu Zar Ghaffari (Radhiallahu Anhu) then decided to meet with the Prophet Muhammad (saw) personally. This was the time when Islam had only collected a handful of converts. He was first met with Imam Ali bin Abi Talib who introduced him to his own father Abu Talib. Abu Talib took him to Hazrat Hamza. After a thorough security check, Abu Zar was finally introduced to the Prophet Muhammad (saw). Shahada: I bear witness that there is no god but Allah and Mohammad is His Servant and MessengerIt is said that Abu Zar said Salam to the Prophet Muhammad (saw).

That was long before the Islamic Salam was introduced into the early Muslim culture of Arabia. Abu Zar was taken by the charm, the majesty and the kindness of the Prophet Muhammad (saw). He said his Shahada (I bear witness that there is no god but Allah and Mohammad is His Servant and Messenger) and accepted Islam, so did his brother. Hazrat Abu Zar Ghaffari (Radhiallahu Anhu) hung around in Makkah for few days. During those few days he made a couple of speeches in the temple grounds. He was immediately subdued by the infidels and actually was beaten up badly. Al-Abbas ibn Abdul Mutalib, the uncle of the Prophet Muhammad (saw) came to his rescue both times and the incidents were reported to the Prophet Muhammad (saw). Prophet Muhammad (saw) called him and advised him to go back to his tribe of Ghaffar and stay there until he (Prophet Muhammad (saw)) goes to Yathrib (Madina) and Muslims had established themselves. Hence Abu Zar went back home and under the influence of both sons, their mother also accepted Islam. Hazrat Abu Zar Ghaffari (Radhiallahu Anhu) has had the reputation of being an outspoken orator and he always spoke his mind whatever the consequences. He and his brother began speaking about their new faith among his tribesmen. Immediately there was resentment against Abu Zar and his brother among the young men of the tribe. Finally the issue was reported to the chief of the tribe. Abu Zar had a lot of respect in the tribe. However, when the chief called him and his brother, they both had to appear before him. He questioned Abu Zar and his brother about the trouble that both of them had started. Abu Zar pleaded his case with strength of reason but with due respect and compassion. The chief reflected on what Abu Zar had said and after some reflection he announced his own Islam. A great number of the young men also accepted Islam after that turn of events. Abu Zar continued to teach Islam to his people.

Hazrat Abu Zar Ghaffari (Radhiallahu Anhu) is reported to be the fourth Muslim in chronological order. He had the exclusive honour to call the Prophet Muhammad (saw) as Ya Habibi (my dear friend), while everybody else could only address him as Ya Rasool Allah. Abu Zar finally arrived in Madina after the Battle of Ahzab / Battle of the Trench (5th year of Hijra) and spent the rest of the days in the company of the Prophet Muhammad (saw).

During those few years in Madina, Abu Zar became very friendly with Imam Ali bin Abi Talib. The four people named Salman al-Farsi, Abu Zar Ghaffari, Miqdad bin Aswad and Ammar Yasir were always seen in the company of Imam Ali bin Abi Talib. They came to be known as the Shia.

Source: http://www.ezsoftech.com/stories/companion2.asp