This diagram shows the location to the front of the current Masjid-e-Nabwi platform, on which Ashab-us-Suffah (The People of the Bench) was located. The platform was originally located on the northern wall of the mosque and was pushed back when the mosque was expanded in 7 AH.
Ashab-us-Suffah were companions of the Messenger of Allah (saw), who, besides fulfilling religious duties, were mostly traders or farmers. Some, however, devoted their lives exclusively to prayer and spiritual discipline in the close company of the Prophet Muhammad (saw).
They had no wives, no children, and if someone got married, he left the group. Many of them went to the jungle in the day to collect firewood, which were then sold for money to feed themselves and other members of the “Suffah.”
Currently, there is a sublime platform behind the platform on which the Messenger of Allah (saw) performed Tahajud (night prayer), it is to the right of those who enter from Bab-e-Jibrael. This platform is usually mistakenly referred to as the Ashab-us-Suff platform, in fact it was built by the Turks for maintenance and detention of the mosque. This section is outside the mosque at the time of the Prophet (saw), so there could not be a suffah.
The exact number of Ashabi us-Suffah is unknown, but it is estimated that the suffah can accommodate up to three hundred people at a time, and that about seventy people make up its permanent residents. The original inhabitants of the Suffahs were members who migrated from Mecca and had no shelter.
Some of the companions who were once members of Ashab-us-Suff were:
- Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him)
- Huzaif bin Yaman (may Allah be pleased with him)
- Bilal bin Ribah (may Allah be pleased with him)
- Abu Dhar al-Gifari (may Allah be pleased with him)
- Salman al-Farsi (may Allah be pleased with him)
- Abdullah bin Masood (may Allah be pleased with him)
- Hanzala bin Abi Amr (may Allah be pleased with him)
- Suhayb bin Sanan Rumey (may Allah be pleased with him)
- Kaab ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him)
Ashab us-suffah spent his life in service to the Prophet (saw). In the morning they listened to his words of wisdom, and at night, having slept for a while, spent the rest of the time in prayer. Because of their devotion and prayer, many of Ashab-us-Suffah were very poor and could not afford clothes. Abu Hurayra (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “I saw seventy Ashhab-us-Suffah in such a state that none of them were fully dressed for himself. Each of them had one sheet, which he tied up with his neck. For some of them, the sheets reached the ankles, while for others – just below the knees. Each of them used to hold the partition of his leaf with his hand so as not to bare his body. ”
Most of the Companions walked two days in a row without food, so much that when the Prophet Muhammad (saw) came to the mosque to lead the prayers, they fell because of weakness. The food given in charity to the Prophet Muhammad (saw) was given to them, and when the Prophet (saw) was offered food as a gift, he invited them to share it.
Often the Prophet (saw) asked one of his companions to take part of Ashab us-Suffah for dinner and entertain them as best as possible. Saad ibn Ubada (may Allah be pleased with him) sometimes entertained up to eighty people at a time.
Uqbah ibn-e-Amir (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “Prophet Muhammad (saw) came to us when we sat on Suffah and asked if any of us wanted to go to the market” Buthan ‘or ‘Aqiq’ and bring from there two camels of the most beautiful breed, without committing any sin and without breaking family ties. We replied that each of us would like to do this. Prophet Muhammad (saw) then said that visiting a mosque (masjid) and reading or teaching two ayahs from the only Quran is more valuable than two camels, three ayahs of the only Quran are more valuable than three camels, and that in the same way repeating or learning four ayahs camels “. [Muslim]
Sources: Siratun Nabi – History of Madinah Munawwarah – Dr. Muhammad Ilyas Abdul Ghani, Allama Shibli Nomani, Fazail-e-Aamal – Sheikh Muhammad Zakariyya Kandhalvi