Abu Ayyub al-Ansari (576?-674?) - born Khalid ibn Zayd ibn Kulayb in Yathrib - hailed from the tribe of Banu Najjar and was a close companion (Arabic: الصحابه, sahaba) of Muhammad. Abu Ayyub was one among the Ansar (Arabic: الأنصار, meaning aiders, helpers or patrons) of early Muslim history, or those who supported Muhammad after the hijra (migration) to Medina in 622 C.E. The patronym Abu Ayyub, means father (abu) of Ayyub.
When Muhammad arrived in Medina he was extended accommodations by all of its inhabitants, but he wished to stay with the Banu Najjar, whom he was distantly related to. Upon making inquiries as to the member of Banu Najjar closest to him, Muhammad was introduced to Abu Ayyub al-Ansari, who was granted the honor of temporarily lodging Muhammad for seven months.
Following the Muslim conquest of Egypt Abu Ayyub moved to a house in Fustat adjacent to the mosque of Amr bin Al'aas which was completed in 642 CE. Several other notable Companions were his neighbors, including Zubayr ibn al-Awwam, Ubaida, Abu Zar, Abdullah ibn Umar and Abdullah ibn Amr bin Al'aas.
He also led a distinguished military career. Of him it was said, He did not stay away from any battle the Muslims fought from the time of Muhammad to the time of Muawiyah unless he was engaged at the same time in another.
Last military campaign
Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari records under A.H. 49 (9/2/669-28/1/670) a number of raids against the Byzantines, including the one led by Muawiyah's son Yazid against Constantinople (cf. Siege of Constantinople (674)). Abu Ayyub is among the notables listed as accompanying Yazid. He was an old man, but that did not prevent him from enlisting. After a short time engaged in battle, he fell ill and had to withdraw. Yazid came to him and asked: "Do you need anything, Abu Ayyub?" To which Abu Ayyub replied, "Convey my salaams (Islamic farewell) to the Muslim armies and tell them: "Abu Ayyub urges you to penetrate deeply into the territory of the enemy as far as you can go, that you should carry him with you and that you should bury him under your feet at the walls of Constantinople." Then he breathed his last. The Muslim army fulfilled his request and pushed back the enemy's forces until they reached the walls of Constantinople where Abu Ayyub was buried.
About this battle, Aslam-ibn `Imran narrated that when they were fighting the Romans, a Muslim soldier penetrated the enemy ranks. People shouted, "Subhan allah! He has contributed to his own destruction." Some say that thereupon, Abu Ayyub al-Ansari stood up, and said, "O people! You give this interpretation to this verse, whereas it was revealed concerning us, the Ansar, when actually Allah had given honour to Islam and its supporters had become many, whereupon some of us secretly said to one another ... 'Our wealth has been depleted, and Allah has given honour to Islam and it's supporters have become many, so let us stay amidst our wealth and make up what has been depleted of it.' Thereupon, Muslims believe God said to Muhammad, 'And spend in the Path of God ( فِي سَبِيلِ اللّهِ ), and do not contribute to your own destruction' ... refuting what we had said. So, the destruction lay in staying with our wealth and repleting it and abandoning combat."
Final Resting Place
After the conquest of Constantinople a tomb or Turbe was constructed above Abu Ayyub's grave and a mosque constructed in his honour. From that point on the area, now known as the locality of Eyüp, has become a sacred locality and many Ottoman officials requested burial in proximity of Abu Ayyub.
Some Ahadith Narrated by Abu Ayyub
Abu Ayyub al-Ansari is credited with narrating many sayings of Muhammad. Two well known examples of these include:
1. Narrated Abu~Ayyub-Al-Ansari A man said, "O Allah's Apostle! Inform me of a deed which will make me enter Paradise." The people said, "What is the matter with him? What is the matter with him?" Allah's Apostle said, "He has something to ask (what he needs greatly)." [Muhammad] said [to him], (In order to enter Paradise) you should worship Allah and join none in worship with Him: You should offer prayers perfectly, give obligatory charity (Zakat), and keep good relations with your kith and kin." He then said, "Leave it!" (The sub-narrator said, "It seems that [Muhammad] was riding him.")
2. Narrated Abu-Ayyub-Al-Ansari
Allah's Apostle said, "It is not lawful for a man to desert his brother Muslim for more than three nights. (It is unlawful for them that) when they meet, one of them turns his face away from the other, and the other turns his face from the former, and the better of the two will be the one who greets the other first."
- Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari, History v. 18 "Between Civil Wars: The Caliphate of Mu'awiyah," transl. Michael G. Morony, SUNY, Albany, 1987