Ubay ibn Ka’b

By Abu Waheeda on . Posted in Sahaabah: Male Companions of the Prophet

radhiAllahanhuHe was from the chief of the Qur’ân recitors.


Ubay ibn Ka’b ibn Ubayd ibn Zayd ibn Mua’wiyyah ibn Amr ibn Maalik ibn Najjar.


Abu Mundhir, aswell as Abu at-Tufayl.

He had two sons:

at-Tufayl, and Muhammad and a daughter: Umm Amr.[1]

Date of Birth:

He was born during the time of the Prophet (sallahAllaahu 'alayhi wasallam).


  • He is recognized as the greatest reciter (Qaari) of the Qur’ân after the Prophet (sallahAllaahu alayhi wasallam).
  • He was a man of average height; not tall nor short. He had white hair and beard.
  • He witnessed and participated in: the battle of Badr, Uhud, the pledge of Aqabah, and all other expeditions with the Prophet (sallahAllaahu alayhi wasallam).
  • He memorized / collected the whole Qur’ân during the time of the Prophet (sallahAllaahu alayhi wasallam), and recited it to him (sallahAllaahu alayhi wasallam).

Those He Took Knowledge From:

  • The Prophet (sallahAllaahu alayhi wasallam).

Those Who Took Knowledge From Him:

  • Abu Moosa (radhiyaAllaahu anhu)
  • Anas bin Maalik (radhiyaAllaahu anhu)
  • Ibn ‘Abbaas (radhiyaAllaahu anhuma)
  • Ubaada ibn Saamit (radhiyaAllaahu anhu)
  • His sons: Muhammad and at-Tufayl.
  • Ubayd bin Umayr
  • Sa’eed bin al-Musayyib
  • Abu Uthmaan al-Hindee
  • Zur bin Hubaysh
  • Abdurrahman bin Abee Laylah

From Among the Sahaaba who recited to him, and learnt recitation from him:[2]

  • Aboo Hurayrah (radhiyaAllaahu anhu)
  • Ibn ‘Abbaas (radhiyaAllaahu anhuma)
  • Abdullaah ibn Saaib (radhiyaAllaahu anhu)

From Among the Taabi’een who recited and learnt recitation from him:

  • Abu Abdurrahman as-Sulamee
  • Abdullaah ibn Iyaash
  • Abdullaah ibn Habeeb
  • Sa’eed bin al-Musayyib

His Praise :

  • holyQuranHe is a man mentioned by Allaah:

Anas (radhiyaAllaahu anhu) said, "The Prophet (sallahAllaahu alayhi wasallam) said to Ubay bin Ka’b, ‘Indeed Allaah has commanded me to recite the Qur'an to you.’

Ubay asked, ‘Allaah mentioned me to you?’ He (sallahAllaahu alayhi wasallam) replied, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘And I have been mentioned by the Lord of The Worlds?’ He (sallahAllaahu alayhi wasallam) replied, ‘Yes.’ (Then) his (Ubay’s) eyes were filled with tears.”[3]

  • He is one of the greatest Scholars of this Ummah:

The Prophet (sallahAllaahu alayhi wasallam) asked Ubay bin Ka’b, ‘Which is The greatest verse in the Qur’ân?’ So Ubay replied: “Allah! La ilaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), the Ever Living, the One Who sustains and protects all that exists.” [Al-Baqarah:255] Then The Prophet (sallahAllaahu alayhi wasallam) hit his (Ubay’s) chest and said to him, ‘knowledge will be made easy for you, O Abaa Mundhir.’ [4]

Umar ibn al-khattab said, during the time when he was the Leader of the Muslim nation:

“Whoever wishes to ask about the Qur’ân then let him approach Ubay bin Ka’b, and whoever wants to ask about laws of inheritance then let him approach Zayd, and whoever wishes to ask about Fiqh; then let him approach Mu'aadh, and whoever wants to ask about wealth; then let him come to me, for Allaah has made me a safe-keeper and a distributor.”[5]
  • The Best reciter (Qaari) of the Qur'an from among the whole Islamic Nation:

Anas bin Maalik said, “The Prophet (sallahAllaahu alayhi wasallam) said,  “The Best reciter from my Ummah is  Ubay…”[6]

Ibn Umar said that the Prophet (sallahAllaahu alayhi wasallam) said, “Take [learn] the Qiraat [knowledge of recitation] from four: Ibn Mas’oud, and from Ubay, and from Muadh, and from Saalim the slave of Abu Hudhayfah.”[7]

Ibn Abbaas said that Umar said,

“The Best judge amongst us is 'Alee, and the best reciter amongst us is Ubay…” [8]

Anas bin Maalik also said,

“During the time of The Prophet (sallahAllaahu alayhi wasallam), the Quran was collected by four, and all of them were from the Ansaar: Ubay ibn Ka’b, Muadh ibn Jabal, Zayd bin Yhabit, and Abu Zayd.” [9]

Umar ibn al-Khattab used to refer to him as,

'The Chief of the Muslims.’[10]

From His Sayings:

Ubayd ibn Umayr narrated from Ubay ibn K’ab (radhiyaAllaahu anhu) who said,

‘None will leave something for the sake of Allaah, except that Allaah will substitute from him that which is better than that in a way that he does not recognize….’ [11]

‘Indeed we recite it (the complete Quran every) eight nights.’

‘Verily Allaah has made the food of the children of Adam a parable of what this world is: even if he puts spices in it [to make it better and delicious], it is well known what its end result is.’ [12]

Abu Al-'Âliyah reports that a man once asked 'Ubay b. Ka'b (Allah be pleased with him) for advice. He said,

“Take the Book of Allah as your leader (Imaam) and be pleased with it as a judge and ruler. It is what your Messenger left among you. It will be an intercessor for you. It is to be obeyed; It is a witness never doubted. In it is a mention of you and those before you, and judgment for whatever happens amongst you. And in it is news about you and whatever will come after you.” [13]

He Wrote Revelation

He was a writer during the pre-Islamic days; in those days, those who knew how to write among the Arabs were very few.
Consequently In Islam he was one of those who used to scribe the revelation.

Al Waaqidee said,

‘He was the first one to write for The Prophet (sallahAllaahu alayhi wasallam).’[14]

Masruq said, ‘I asked Ubay regarding some matter, so he said to me,

‘O son of my brother, has this (i.e. your question) occurred?’

So I said: 'No.’ Thus he said,

‘Then lets leave it until if it happens, then we can do Ijtihaad and apply our reason/opinion.’

Narrations from the Prophet (peace be upon him):

In the six books of hadeeth, he has around sixty hadeeths narrated from him.


Dhumrah said, “I saw the people of Madinah flocking their streets in groups. So I asked, 'What is the matter with them [people]?' Some of them replied,

‘Aren’t you one of the residents of the Land [Madinah]?’

I said: 'No.’ So they said,

‘Indeed today the chief of the Muslims – Ubay ibn Ka’b -  has passed away.’’

There has been long discussion between the scholars regarding the exact date of his death. Imam ad-Dhahabee says regarding his death –after bringing many different narrations- says about the narration which mentions that he died in year 22 A.H,

‘..the soul is drawn to this narration.’
May Allaah have mercy on him, and all the Pious Predecessors.
We ask Him the Most Mighty, the Most Praiseworthy to grant us beneficial knowledge
and guide us to His straight path, while imitating the best of the people in all affairs. Aameen.



Main Sources: Siyar a’lamuu an-Nubalaa and Tabaqaat al-Kubra , Al-Iswaabah fi ma’rifati as-Sahaabah.

[1] Swafat Swafwaa of Ibn Jawzee : 1/84
[2] Taken from Ghaayati an-Nihaaya fi Tabaqaatil-Qurraa of Al-Imaam ibn Jazareey
[3] Saheeh al-Bukhaaree
[4] Narrated by Ahmad 5/142, Muslim:810.
[5] Siyar aa’laam an-Nubalaa : 1/389
[6] Jami’ Tirmidhee : 3793
[7] Narrated by Bukhaaree : 3758, 4999
[8] Saheeh al-Bukhaaree : 4481
[9] Saheeh al-Bukhaaree : 5003
[10] Al-Iswaabah : 1/5
[11] Az-Zuhd Kabeer of Imaam Bayhaqee: 2/427
[12] Az-Zuhd of Imaam Abee Daawood: 1/202
[13] Al-hilyah of Aboo Nua’ym : 1/253 , translation taken from sayings of the Salaf blog.
[14] Al-Iswaabah : 1/5


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