Category Archives: Stories Of The Salaf

Thabit Ibn Qays

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Thabit Ibn Qays

Thabit ibn Qays was a chieftain of the Khazraj and therefore a man of considerable influence in Yathrib. He was known for the sharpness of his mind and the power of his oratory. It was because of this that he became the khatib or the spokesman and orator of the Prophet and Islam.

He became a Muslim at the hands of Musab ibn Umayr whose cool and persuasive logic and the sweetness and beauty of his Quran recital proved irresistible.

When the Prophet arrived in Madinah after the historic Hijrah, Thabit and a great gathering of horsemen gave him a warm and enthusiastic welcome. Thabit acted as their spokesman and delivered a speech in the presence of the Prophet(S.A.W) and his companion, Abu Bakr as-Siddiq. He began by giving praise to God Almighty and invoking peace and blessings on His Prophet and ended up by saying:

“We give our pledge to you, O Messenger of God, that we would protect you from all that we protect ourselves, our children and our wives. What would then be our reward for this?”

The speech was reminiscent of words spoken at the second Pledge of Aqabah and the Prophet’s reply as then was the same: “Al-Jannah – Paradise!”

When the Yathribites heard the word “al-Jannah” their faces beamed with happiness and excitement and their response was: “We are pleased, O Messenger of God! We are pleased, O Messenger of God .”

From that day on the Prophet, peace be on him, made Thabit ibn Qays his Khatib, just as Hassan ibn Thabit was his poet. When delegations of Arabs came to him to show off their brilliance in verse and the strength of their oratory skills which the Arabs took great pride in, the Prophet(S.A.W) would call upon Thabit ibn Qays to challenge their orators and Hassan ibn Thabit to vaunt his verses before their poets.

In the Year of the Delegations, the ninth after the Hijrah, tribes from all over the Arabian peninsula came to Madinah to pay homage to the Prophet(S.A.W), either to announce their acceptance of Islam or to pay jizyah in return for the protection of the Muslim state. One of these was a delegation from the tribe of Tamim who said to the Prophet:

“We have come to show our prowess to you. Do give permission to our Shaif and our Khatib to speak.” The Prophet, peace be on him, smiled and said: “I permit your Khatib. Let him speak.”

Their orator, Utarid ibn Hajib, got up and held forth on the greatness and achievements of their tribe and when he was finished the Prophet(S.A.W) summoned Thabit ibn Qays and said: “Stand and reply to him.” Thabit arose and said:

“Praise be to God Whose creation is the entire heavens and the earth wherein His will has been made manifest. His Throne is the extent of His knowledge and there is nothing which does not exist through His grace.

“Through His power He has made us leaders and from the best of His creation He has chosen a Messenger who is the most honorable of men in lineage, the most reliable and true in speech and the most excellent in deeds. He has revealed to him a book and chosen him as a leader of His creation. Among all creation, he is a blessing of God.

“He summoned people to have faith in Him. The Emigrants from among his people and his relations who are the most honorable people in esteem and the best in deeds believed in him. Then, we the Ansar (Helpers) were the first people to respond (to his call for support). So we are the Helpers of God and the ministers of His Messenger.”

Thabit was a believer with a profound faith in God. His consciousness and fear of God was true and strong. He was especially sensitive and cautious of saying or doing anything that would incur the wrath of God Almighty. One day the Prophet(S.A.W) saw him looking not just sad but dejected and afraid. His shoulders were haunched and he was actually cringing from fear.

“What’s wrong with you, O Abu Muhammad?” asked the Prophet(S.A.W). “I fear that I might be destroyed, O Messenger of God,” he said. “And why?” asked the Prophet(S.A.W)

“God Almighty,” he said, “has prohibited us from desiring to be praised for what we did not do but I find myself liking praise. He has prohibited us from being proud and I find myself tending towards vanity.” This was the time when the verse of the Quran was revealed: “Indeed, God does not love any arrogant boaster.”

The Prophet, peace be on him, then tried to calm his anxieties and allay his fears and eventually said to him: “O Thabit, aren’t you pleased to live as someone who is praised, and to die as a martyr and to enter Paradise?”

Thabit’s face beamed with happiness and joy as he said: “Certainly, O Messenger of God.” “Indeed, that shall be yours,” replied the noble Prophet (S.A.W). There was another occasion when Thabit became sad and crestfallen, when the words of the Quran were revealed:

“O you who believe! Raise not your voices above the voice of the Prophet(S.A.W) and neither speak loudly to him as you would speak loudly to one another, lest all your deeds come to naught without your perceiving it.”

On hearing these words, Qays kept away from the meetings and gatherings of the Prophet(S.A.W) in spite of his great love for him and his hitherto constant presence in his company. He stayed in his house almost without ever leaving it except for the performance of the obligatory Salat. The Prophet(S.A.W) missed his presence and evidently asked for information about him. A man from the Ansar volunteered and went to Thabit’s house. He found Thabit sitting in his house, sad and dejected, with his head bowed low.

“What’s the matter with you?” asked the man.

“It’s bad,” replied Thabit. “You know that I am a man with a loud voice and that my voice is far louder than that of the Messenger of God, may God bless him and grant him peace. And you know what has been revealed in the Quran. The only result for me is that my deeds will come to naught and I will be among the people who go to the fire of hell.”

The man returned to the Prophet(S.A.W) and told him what he had seen and heard and the Prophet(S.A.W) instructed him to return to Thabit and say: “You are not among the people who will go to the fire of hell but you will be among the people of Paradise.”

Such was the tremendously good news with which Thabit ibn Qays was blessed. The incidents showed how alive and sensitive he was to the Prophet(S.A.W) and the commands of Islam and his readiness to observe the letter and the spirit of its laws. He subjected himself to the most stringent self-criticism. His was a God-fearing and penitent heart which trembled and shook through the fear of God.

From Alim® Online

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Talhah ibn Ubaydullah

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Talhah ibn Ubaydullah

Returning to Makkah in haste after a trading trip to Syria, Talhah asked his family: “Did anything happen in Makkah since we left?” “Yes,” they replied. “Muhammad ibn Abdullah emerged alleging that he is a Prophet and Abu Quhafah (Abu Bakr) has followed him.”

“I used to know Abu Bakr,” said Talhah. “He is an easy-going, amiable, gentleman. He was an honest and upright trader. We were quite fond of him and loved sitting in his company because of his knowledge of Quraysh history and genealogy.”

Later, Talhah went to Abu Bakr and asked: “Is it true what they say, that Muhammad ibn Abdullah has appeared as a Prophet and that you follow him.” “Yes,” replied Abu Bakr and went on to tell Talhah about Muhammad and what a good thing it would be if he too followed him.

Talhah in turn told Abu Bakr the story of his strange recent encounter with an ascetic in the market-place of Busra in Syria. The ascetic is said to have told Talhah that someone called “Ahmad” would appear in Makkah about that time and that he would be the last of the Prophets. He also told Talhah, so the story goes, that the Prophet would leave the sacred precincts of Makkah and migrate to a land of black soil, water and palm trees…

Abu Bakr was astonished by the story and took Talhah to Muhammad. The Prophet, peace be on him, explained Islam to Talhah and recited some portions of the Quran to him. Talhah was enthusiastic. He related to the Prophet his conversation with the ascetic of Busra. There and then, Talhah pronounced the Shahadah – that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. He was the fourth person who had been introduced to Islam by Abu Bakr.

The Quraysh were astounded by the young Talhah’s acceptance of Islam. The one who was most dismayed and unhappy was his mother. She had hoped that he would one day be a leader in his community because of his noble character and his outstanding virtues. Some of the Quraysh, anxious and worried, went to Talhah as soon as they could to wean him away from his new religion but found him firm and unshakable as a rock. When they despaired of using gentle persuasion to achieve their aim, they resorted to persecution and violence.

The following story is related by Masud ibn Kharash:

“While I was making saiy between as-Safa and al-Marwa, there appeared a crowd of people pushing a young man whose hands were tied behind his back. As they rushed behind him, they rained down blows on his head. In the crowd was an old woman who lashed him repeatedly and shouted abuses at him. I asked: ‘What’s the matter with this young man?’ ‘This is Talhah ibn Ubaydullah. He gave up his religion and now follows the Banu Hashim man.’ ‘And who is the woman behind him?’ I asked. ‘She is as-Sabah bint al-Hadrami, the young man’s mother,’ they said.

The Quraysh did not stop there. Nawfal ibn Khuwaylid, nicknamed the ‘lion of the Quraysh” bound Talhah with a rope and with the same rope he tied up Abu Bakr and then handed them over to the mindless and violent mob of Makkah to be beaten and tortured. The shared experience no doubt drew Talhah and Abu Bakr closer together!

Years passed and events of great significance took place. Talhah grew in stature as he bore the pain and suffering of being tested in the path of God and His Prophet. He gained the unique reputation among Muslims of being called the “living martyr”. The Prophet, peace be on him, also called him “Talhah the Good” and “Talhah the Generous”.

The name of the “living martyr” was earned during the Battle of Uhud. Talhah had missed the Battle of Badr.

He and Said ibn Zayd had been sent outside Madinah on a mission by the Prophet and when they returned, the Prophet and his companions were already on the way back from Badr. They were both sad at having missed the opportunity of taking part in the first campaign with the Prophet but were tremendously pleased when he told them they would get the same reward as those who actually fought.

At the Battle of Uhud, when the Muslims fell into disarray at the beginning of hostilities the Prophet became dangerously exposed. There were about eleven men of the Ansar at his side and one Muhajir – Talhah ibn Ubaydullah. The Prophet clambered up the mountain hotly pursued by some mushrikin. The Prophet, peace be on him, shouted:

“The one who repulses these people from us will be my companion in Paradise.” “I, O Messenger of god,” shouted Talhah.

“No, stick to your position,” replied the Prophet. A man from the Ansar volunteered and the Prophet agreed. He fought until he was killed. The Prophet went further up the mountain with the mushrikin still in close pursuit. “Isn’t there someone to combat these?”

Talhah again volunteered but the Prophet ordered him to maintain his position. Another person immediately came forward, fought and was killed. This happened until all who stood by the Prophet were martyred except Talhah.

“Now, yes,” signalled the Prophet and Talhah went into battle. By this time, the Prophet’s teeth had been broken, his forehead had been slashed, his lips had been wounded and blood was streaming down his face. He was drained of energy. Talhah plunged into the enemy and pushed them away from the Prophet. He turned back to the Prophet and helped him a little further up the mountain and put him to lie on the ground. He then renewed his attack and successfully repulsed the enemy. About this occasion Abu Bakr said:

“At that moment, Abu Ubayd ibn al-Jarrah and I were far from the Prophet. When we came close to him to render assistance to him, the Prophet said: ‘Leave me and go to your companion (meaning Talhah).”

There was Talhah, bleeding profusely. He had numerous wounds, from sword, spear and arrow. His foot had been cut and he had fallen into a hollow where he lay unconscious.

Thereafter, the Prophet, peace be on him, said: “Whoever is pleased to see a man still walking on earth who had completed his span (of life), let him look at Talhah ibn Ubaydallah.”

And, whenever Uhud was recalled, As-Siddiq, may God be pleased with him, would say: “That day, that entire day, belonged to Talhah.”

That was the story of how Talhah became to be called the “living martyr”. There were innumerable incidents which led to him being called “Talhah the Good” and “Talhah the Generous”.

Talhah was an astute and successful merchant who travelled widely to the north and south of the Arabian peninsula. It is said that after one of his trips to Hadramawt, he had profits amounting to some seven hundred thousand dirhams. His nights would be anxious and worried on account of this vast wealth.

On one such night, his wife, Umm Kulthum the daughter of Abu Bakr, said to him:

“What’s wrong with you, O father of Muhammad? Perhaps I have done something to hurt you.’?” “No ,” replied Talhah. “You are a wonderful wife for a Muslim man. But I have been thinking since last night: How can a man think of his Lord and Sustainer when he goes to sleep with this wealth in his house?”

“Why should it bother you so much ,” remarked Umm Kulthum. “What about all the needy ones in your community and all your friends? When you get up in the morning share it out among them.”

“God bless you. You are really marvellous, the daughter of a marvellous man,” said Talhah to his wife. In the morning, Talhah gathered up the money in bags and distributed it among the poor Muhajirin and Ansar.

It is related that a man came up to Talhah requesting help and also mentioning some common family connection between them.

“This family connection someone has mentioned to me before,” said Talhah who was in fact known for his generosity to all members of his clan. Talhah told the man that he had just sold a piece of land to Uthman ibn Affan for several thousand dirhams. The man could have the money or the land which could be re-purchased from Uthman. The man opted for the money and Talhah gave it all to him.

Talhah was well-known for helping persons who had debt problems, heads of families who experienced hardship, and widows. One of his friends, as-Saib ibn Zayd, said of him: “I accompanied Talhah ibn Ubaydallah on journeys and I stayed with him at home and I have not found anyone who was more generous with money, with clothes and with food than Talhah.”

No wonder he was called “Talhah the Good” and “Talhah the Generous”.

The name Talhah is also connected with the first fitnah or civil war among Muslims after the death of the prophet, peace be on him.

The seeds of trouble were sown during the caliphate of Uthman ibn Affan. There were many complaints and accusations against him. Some mischief-makers were not content with accusations only but were determined to finish him off. In the year 35 AH (656 CE) a group of insurgents stormed Uthman’s house and murdered him while he was reading the Quran. It was one of the most shocking events in the early history of Islam.

Ali was persuaded to accept the responsibility of the Caliphate and all Muslims swore allegiance to him, including Talhah and Zubayr ibn al-Awwam. Talhah and Zubayr were deeply shocked by the murder of Uthman. They were horrified and felt strongly that the murderers should be punished and that justice should be done. But the punishment of the murderers was not an easy task in as much as the crime was not just the work of a few individuals but involved a large number of persons.

Talhah and Zubayr sought Ali’s permission to go to Makkah to perform Umrah. They met Aishah the wife of the Prophet. She was greatly shocked when she heard of the assassination of Uthman. From Makkah, Talhah, Zubayr and Aishah set off for Basrah where large numbers were gathering to seek revenge for the death of Uthman.

The forces gathered at Basrah seemed to present an open challenge to Ali. As the caliph of the Muslims and the head of the entire Muslim State, he could not tolerate any insurrection or armed revolt against the State. But what a difficult and awesome task he faced! To deal with the revolt, he had to confront his brothers, his companions and his friends-followers of the Prophet and his religion, those who often fought side by side with him against the forces of shirk, those whom he respected and loved.

The forces clamoring for vengeance for Uthman and those supporting Ali met at a place called Kuraybah, near Basrah. Ali desired to avoid war and settle matters by peaceful means. He used every means at his disposal to achieve peace. He clung to every hope of avoiding confrontation. But the dark forces at work against Islam and how numerous were these, were determined that matters should come to a terrible and bloody end.

Ali wept. He wept bitterly when he saw Aishah, the “Mother of the Believers” in her hawdaj or palanquin astride a camel at the head of the army which now emerged to fight him. And when he saw Talhah and Zubayr, two close companions of the Prophet, in the midst of the army, he shouted to them to come out to him. They did and Ali said to Talhah:

“O Talhah, have you come with the wife of the Messenger of Allah to fight along with her…?” And to Zubayr he said:

“O Zubayr, I implore you, by God, do you remember the day when the Prophet. peace be on him, passed by you and we were in such and such a place and he asked you: ‘Do you love Ali?’ and you said: ‘Why shouldn’t I love my cousin and one who follows my religion…?'”

Ali continued talking to them reminding them of the bonds of brotherhood and faith. In the end both Talhah and Zubayr withdrew from participation in this civil war. They withdrew immediately when they saw the situation in a different light. But they paid for that withdrawal with their lives.

As they withdrew, a man named Amr ibn Jarmouz followed Zubayr and cowardly murdered him while he performed Salat. Talhah was killed by an arrow allegedly shot by Marwan – a cousin of Uthman who was too blinded by rage and the desire to seek revenge for his kinsman to respond to the possibility of avoiding war and bloodshed among Muslims.

The murder of Uthman had become Talhah’s tryst with destiny. He did not participate in the fighting and killing that followed that came to be known in history as the “Battle of the Camel”. Indeed, if he had known that the fitnah would have degenerated into such insane hatred and bitterness and resulted in such a bloody outcome, he would have resisted it. He was not keen to fight Ali. He was simply appalled by the murder of Uthman and wanted to see justice done. Before the beginning of the battle he had said in a voice choked with emotion:

“O Lord, for the sake of Uthman, take from me this day until You are pleased.” Then when Ali faced him and Zubayr, they saw the correctness of his position and withdrew from the field of battle. Yet, in these difficult circumstances, martyrdom was reserved for them.

The Battle of Camel came to an end. Aishah, the mother of the believers, realized that she had precipitated matters and left Basrah for the Sacred Mosque and then to Madinah distancing herself from the conflict. Ali provided well for her journey giving her all the comfort and honor due to her.

When the numerous dead from the battle were brought together, Ali led the funeral prayer for them all, those who were with him and those who were against him. And when he had finished burying Talhah and Zubayr he bade farewell to them with a heavy heart, a heart filled with tenderness and love.

“I really hope,” he said in simple and sublime words, “that Talhah, az-Zubayr, Uthman and I will be among those of whom God has said: ‘And We shall remove from their hearts any lurking sense of injury and rancor; they will be brothers joyfully facing each other on thrones of dignity.’ “(The Quran, Surah al-Hijr, 15:47)

Then he looked tenderly and sorrowfully on the graves of his brothers in faith and said: “I have heard with these two ears of mine the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, saying: “Talhah and az-Zubayr are my companions in Paradise!”

From: Companions of the Prophet

Suhayl Ibn Amr

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Suhayl Ibn Amr

At the Battle of Badr, when Suhayl fell into the hands of the Muslims as a prisoner, Umar ibn al-Khattab came up to the Prophet and said: “Messenger of God! Let me pull out the two middle incisors of Suhayl ibn Amr so that he would not stand up and be able to speak out against you after this day.”

“Certainly not, Umar,” cautioned the Prophet. “I would not mutilate anyone lest God mutilate me even though I am a Prophet.” And calling Umar closer to him, the blessed Prophet said:

“Umar, perhaps Suhayl will do something in the future which will please you.”

Suhayl ibn Amr was a prominent person among the Quraysh. He was clever and articulate and his opinion carried weight among his people. He was known as the khatib or spokesman and orator of the Quraysh. He was to play a major role in concluding the famous truce of Hudaybiyyah.

Towards the end of the sixth year after the Hijrah, the Prophet and about fifteen hundred of his Sahabah left Madinah for Makkah to perform Umrah.

To make it known that they were coming in peace, the Muslims were not armed for battle and carried only their travellers swords. They also took with them animals for sacrifice to let it be known that they were really coming on pilgrimage.

The Quraysh learnt of their approach and immediately prepared to do battle with them. They vowed to themselves that they would never allow the Muslims to enter Makkah. Khalid ibn al-Walid was despatched at the head of a Quraysh cavalry force to cut off the approaching Muslims. Khalids army stood waiting for them at a place called Kara al-Ghamim.

The Prophet learnt in advance of Khalid’s position. Although committed to the struggle against them, he was keen not to have any encounter then with the Quraysh forces. He asked: “Is there any man who could take us (to Makkah) on a different route to avoid the Quraysh?”

A man from the Aslam tribe said he could and took the Muslims through the difficult terrain of Warah and then on fairly easy marches, finally approaching Makkah from the south. Khalid realized what the Muslims had done and returned frustrated to Makkah.

The Prophet(S.A.W) camped near Hudaybiyyah and indicated that if the Quraysh would give any hint of a truce out of veneration for the sacred time and place, he would respond. The Quraysh sent Badil ibn Warqa with a group of men from the Khuzaah tribe to find out why the Muslims had come. Badil met the Prophet(S.A.W) and when he returned to the Quraysh and informed them of the peaceful intentions of the Prophet and his companions, they did not believe him because they said he was from the Khuzaah who were allies of Muhammad.

“Does Muhammad intend,” they asked, “to come upon us with his soldiers (in the guise of) performing Umrah? The Arabs would hear that he moved against us and entered Makkah by force while a state of war existed between us. By God this will never happen with our approval.”

The Quraysh then sent Halis ibn Alqamah, the chieftain of the Ahabish who were allies of the Quraysh. When the Prophet, peace be on him, saw Halis he said, “This man is from a people who think greatly of animal sacrifice.

Drive the sacrificial animals in full view of him so that he can see them. This was done and Halis was greeted by the Muslims chanting the talbiyyah: “Labbayk Allahumma Labbayk.” On his return, Halis exclaimed: “Subhana Allah – Glory be to God. These people should not be prevented from entering Makkah. Can lepers and donkeys perform the Hajj while the son of alMuttaIib (Muhammad) be prevented from (visiting) the House of God? By the Lord of the Kabah, may the Quraysh be destroyed. These people have come to perform Umrah.”

When the Quraysh heard these words, they scoffed at him: “Sit down! You are only a nomad Arab. You have no knowledge of plots and intrigues.”

Urwah ibn Masud, the Thaqafi chieftain from Tail, was then sent out to assess the situation. He said to the Prophet: “O Muhammad! You have gathered all these people and have come back to your birthplace. The Quraysh have come out and pledged to God that you would not enter Makkah against them by force. By God, all these people might well desert you.” At that Abu Bakr went up to Urwah and said with disdain: “We desert him (Muhammad)? Woe to you.”

As Urwah was speaking, he touched the Prophet’s

beard and Mughirah ibn Shubah rapped his hand saying, “Take away your hand,” and Urwah retorted: “Woe to you! How crude and coarse you are.” The Prophet smiled. “Who is this man, O Muhammad?” asked Urwah. “This is your cousin, Al-Mughirah ibn Shubah.” “What perfidy!” Urwah hissed at Al- Mughirah and continued to insult him.

Urwah then surveyed the companions of the Prophet. He saw that whenever he gave them an order, they hastened to carry it out. When he made ablutions they vied with one another to help him. When they spoke in his presence, they lowered their voices, and they did not look him in the eye out of respect for him.

Back with the Quraysh, Urwah showed that he was obviously impressed: “By God, O people of the Quraysh, I have been to Chosroes in his kingdom and I have seen Caesar the Byzantine emperor in the plenitude of his power, but never have I seen a king among his people like Muhammad among his companions. I have seen a people who would not abandon him for anything. Reconsider your position. He is presenting you with right guidance. Accept what he has presented to you. I advise you sincerely… I fear that you will never gain victory over him.”

“Don’t speak like that,” said the Quraysh. “We will have him go back this year and he can return in the future.” Meanwhile, the Prophet(S.A.W) summoned Uthman ibn Affan and sent him to the Quraysh leaders to inform them of his purpose in coming to Makkah and to ask their permission for the MusIims to visit their relatives. Uthman was also to cheer up the Mustadafin among the Muslims who still lived in Makkah and inform them that liberation would not be long in coming…

Uthman delivered the Prophet’s message to the Quraysh and they repeated their determination not to allow the Prophet(S.A.W) to enter Makkah. They suggested that Uthman could make tawaf around the Kabah but he replied that he would not make tawaf while the Messenger of God was prevented from doing so. They then took Uthman into custody and a rumor spread that he was killed. When the Prophet(S.A.W) heard this, his attitude changed.

“We shall not depart,” he said, “until we fight.” He summoned the Muslims to take bayah, an oath of allegiance, to fight. The herald cried out: “O people, al-bayah, al-bayah.” They flocked to the Prophet(S.A.W) as he sat under a tree and swore allegiance to him that they would fight. Soon after however, the Prophet ascertained that the rumor was false.

It was at this point that the Quraysh sent Suhayl ibn Amr to the Messenger of God with the brief to negotiate and persuade the Prophet(S.A.W) to return to Madinah without entering Makkah. Suhayl was chosen no doubt because of his persuasiveness, his toughness and his alertness major qualities of a good negotiator. When the Prophet saw Suhayl approaching, he immediately guessed the change in the position of the Quraysh. “The people want reconciliation. That’s why they have sent this man.”

The talks between the Prophet and Suhayl continued for long until finally agreement was reached in principle. Umar and others were very upset with the terms of the agreement which they considered to be harmful to the cause of Islam and a defeat for the Muslims. The Prophet assured them that this was not the case and that he would never go against the command of God and that God would not neglect him. He then called Ali ibn Abi Talib to write down the terms of the treaty: “Write: Bismillahi-r Rahmani-r Rahim.” “I don’t know this (phrase)”, interjected Suhayl. “Write instead ‘Bismika Allahumma – In Your name, O Allah.”

The Prophet conceded and instructed Ali to write ‘Bismika Allahumma.’ He then said: “Write: ‘This is what has been agreed between Muhammad the Messenger of God and Suhayl ibn Amr…” Suhayl objected: “If I had testified that you were indeed the Messenger of God, I would not be fighting you. Write instead your name and the name of your father.” So the Prophet again conceded this and instructed Ali to write: ‘This is what has been agreed upon by Muhammad the son of Abdullah and Suhayl ibn Amr. They have agreed to suspend war for ten years in which people would enjoy security and would refrain from (harming) one another.

Also, that whoever from among the Quraysh should come to Muhammad without the permission of his wali (legal guardian), Muhammad would send him back to them and that if any who is with Muhammad should come to the Quraysh, they would not send him back to him.

Suhayl had managed to save the Makkans face. He had attempted to and got as much as possible for the Quraysh in the negotiations. Of course he was assisted in this by the noble tolerance of the Prophet.

Two years of the Hudaybiyyah treaty elapsed during which the Muslims enjoyed a respite from the Quraysh and were freed to concentrate on other matters. In the eighth year after the Hijrah however the Quraysh broke the terms of the treaty by supporting the Banu Bakr in a bloody aggression against the Khuzaah who had chosen to be allies of the Prophet.

The Prophet took the opportunity to march on Makkah but his object was not revenge. Ten thousand Muslims converged on Makkah reaching there in the month of Ramadan. The Quraysh realized that there was no hope of resisting let alone of defeating the Muslim forces. They were completely at the mercy of the Prophet. What was to be their fate, they who had harried and persecuted the Muslims, tortured and boycotted them, driven them out of their hearths and homes, stirred up others against them, made war on them?

The city surrendered to the Prophet. He received the leaders of the Quraysh in a spirit of tolerance and magnanimity. In a voice full of compassion and tenderness he asked: “O people of the Quraysh! What do you think I will do with you?” Thereupon, the adversary of Islam of yesterday, Suhayl ibn Amr, replied: “We think (you will treat us) well, noble brother, son of a noble brother. “. “A radiant smile flashed across the lips of the beloved of God as he said: “Idhhabu… wa antum at-tulaqaa. Go, for you are free.”

At this moment of unsurpassed compassion, nobility and greatness, all the emotions of Suhayl ibn Amr were shaken and he announced his Islam or submission to Allah, the Lord of all the worlds. His acceptance of Islam at that particular time was not the Islam of a defeated man passively giving himself up to his fate. It was instead, as his later life was to demonstrate, the Islam of a man whom the greatness of Muhammad and the greatness of the religion he proclaimed had captivated.

Those who became Muslims on the day Makkah was liberated were given the name “At-Tulaqaa” or the free ones. They realized how fortunate they were and many dedicated themselves in sincere worship and sacrifice to the service of the religion which they had resisted for years. Among the most prominent of these was Suhayl ibn Amr.

Islam moulded him anew. Ali his earlier talents were now burnished to a fine excellence. To these he added new talents and placed them all in the service of truth, goodness and faith. The qualities and practices for which he became known can be described in a few words: kindness, generosity, frequent Salat, fasting, recitation of the Quran, weeping for the fear of God. This was the greatness of Suhayl. In spite of his late acceptance of Islam, he was transformed into a selfless worshipper and a fighting fidai in the path of God.

When the Prophet, may God bless him and grant him peace, passed away, the news quickly reached Makkah, where Suhayl was still resident. The Muslims were plunged into a state of confusion and dismay just as in Madinah. In Madinah, Abu Bakr, may God be pleased with him, quelled the confusion with his decisive words: “Whoever worships Muhammad, Muhammad is dead. And whoever worships Allah, Allah is indeed Living and will never die.”

In Makkah Suhayl performed the same role in dispelling the vain ideas some Muslims may have had and directing them to the eternal truths of Islam. He called the Muslims together and in his brilliant and salutary style, he affirmed to them that Muhammad was indeed the Messenger of Allah and that he did not die until he had discharged his trust and propagated the message and that it was the duty of all believers after his death to apply themselves assiduously to following his example and way of life.

On this day more than others, the prophetic words of the Messenger shone forth. Did not the Prophet say to Umar when the latter sought permission to pull out Suhayls teeth at Badr: “Leave them, for one day perhaps they would bring you joy”?

When the news of Suhayl’s stand in Makkah reached the Muslims of Madinah and they heard of his persuasive speech strengthening the faith in the hearts of the believers, Umar ibn al-Khattab remembered the words of the Prophet. The day had come when Islam benefitted from the two middle incisors of Suhayl which Umar had wanted to pull out.

When Suhayl became a Muslim he made a vow to himself which could be summarized in these words: to exert himself and spend in the cause of Islam at least in the same measure as he had done for the mushrikin. With the mushrikin, he had spent long hours before their idols. Now he stood for long periods with the believers in the presence of the one and only God, praying and fasting.

Before he had stood by the mushrikin and participated in many acts of aggression and war against Islam. Now he took his place in the ranks of the Muslim army, fighting courageously, pitting himself against the fire of Persia and the injustice and oppression of the Byzantine empire.

In this spirit he left for Syria with the Muslim armies and participated in the Battle of Yarmuk against the Byzantines, a battle that was singularly ferocious in its intensity.

Suhayl was someone who loved his birthplace dearly. In spite of that, he refused to return to Makkah after the victory of the MusIims in Syria. He said: “I heard the Messenger of God, peace be on him, say: ‘The going forth of anyone of you in the path of God for an hour is better for him than his life’s works in his household.’ “He vowed: “I shall be a murabit in the path of God till I die and I shall not return to Makkah.”

For the rest of his life, Suhayl remained true to his pledge. He died in Palestine in the small village of ‘Amawas near Jerusalem.

Suhayb Ar-Rumi

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Suhayb Ar-Rumi

About twenty years before the start of the Prophet’s mission, that is about the middle of the sixth century CE, an Arab named Sinan ibn Malik governed the city of al-Uballah on behalf of the Persian emperor. The city, which is now part of Basrah, lay on the banks of the Euphrates River. Sinan lived in a luxurious palace on the banks of the river.

He had several children and was particularly fond of one of them who was then barely five years old. His name was Suhayb. He was blond and fair-complexioned. He was active and alert and gave much pleasure to his father.

One day Suhayb’s mother took him and some members of her household to a village called ath-Thani for a picnic. What was to be a relaxing and enjoyable day turned out to be a terrifying experience that was to change the course of young Suhayb’s life forever.

That day, the village of ath-Thani was attacked, by a raiding party of Byzantine soldiers. The guards accompanying the picnic party were overwhelmed and killed. Ali possessions were seized and a large number of persons were taken prisoner. Among these was Suhayb ibn Sinan.

Suhayb was taken to one of the slave markets of the Byzantine Empire, the capital of which was Constantinople, there to be sold. Thereafter he passed from the hands of one slave master to another. His fate was no different from thousands of other slaves who filled the houses, the palaces and castles of Byzantine rulers and aristocrats.

Suhayb spent his boyhood and his youth as a slave. For about twenty years he stayed in Byzantine lands. This gave him the opportunity to get a rare knowledge and understanding of Byzantine/ire and society. In the palaces of the aristocracy, he saw with his own eyes the injustices and the corruption of Byzantine life. He detested that society and later would say to himself:

“A society like this can only be purified by a deluge.” Suhayb of course grew up speaking Greek, the language of the Byzantine Empire. He practically forgot Arabic. But he never forgot that he was a son of the desert. He longed for the day when he would be free again to join his people’s folk. At the first opportunity Suhayb escaped from bondage and headed straight for Makkah which was a place of refuge or asylum.

There people called him Suhayb “ar-Rumi” or “the Byzantine” because of his peculiarly heavy speech and his blond hair. He became the halif of one of the aristocrats of Makkah, Abdullah ibn Judan. He engaged in trade and prospered. In fact, he became quite rich.

One day he returned to Makkah from one of his trading journeys. He was told that Muhammad the son of Abdullah had begun calling people to believe in God alone, commanding them to be just and to do good works and prohibiting them from shameful and reprehensible deeds. He immediately enquired who Muhammad was and where he stayed. He was told.

“(He stays) in the house of al-Arqam ibn Abi al-Arqam. Be careful however that no Quraysh sees you. If they see you they would do (the most terrible things to you). You are a stranger here and there is no bond of asabiyyahi to protect you, neither have you any clan to help you.”

Suhayb went cautiously to the house of al-Arqam. At the door he found Ammar ibn Yasir the young son of a Yemeni father who was known to him. He hesitated for a moment then went up to Ammar and said: “What do you want (here), Ammar?”

“Rather, what do you want here’?” countered Ammar.

“I want to go to this man and hear directly from him what he is saying.”

“I also want to do that.” “Then let us enter together, ala barakatillah (with the blessings of God).”

Suhayb and Ammar entered and listened to what Muhammad was saying. They were both readily convinced of the truth of his message. The light of faith entered their hearts. At this meeting, they pledged fealty to the Prophet. declaring that there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. They spent the entire day in the company of the noble Prophet. At night, under cover of darkness, they left the house of al-Arqam, their hearts aglow with the light of faith and their faces beaming with happiness.

Then the familiar pattern of events followed. The idolatrous Quraysh learnt about Suhayb’s acceptance of Islam and began harassing and persecuting him. Suhayb bore his share of the persecution in the same way as Bilal, Ammar and his mother Sumayyah, Khabbab and many others who professed Islam.

The punishment was inhuman and severe but Suhayb bore it all with a patient and courageous heart because he knew that the path to Jannah is paved with thorns and difficulties. The teachings of the noble Prophet had instilled in him and other companions a rare strength and courage.

When the Prophet gave permission for his followers to migrate to Madinah, Suhayb resolved to go in the company of the Prophet(S.A.W) and Abu Bakr. The Quraysh however found out about his intentions and foiled his plans. They placed guards over him to prevent him from leaving and taking with him the wealth, the gold and the silver, which he had acquired through trade.

After the departure of the Prophet(S.A.W) and Abu Bakr, Suhayb continued to bide his time, waiting for an opportunity to join them. He remained unsuccessful. The eyes of his guards were ever alert and watchful. The only way out was to resort to a stratagem.

One cold night, Suhayb pretended he had some stomach problems and went out repeatedly as if responding to calls of nature. His captors said one to another:

“Don’t worry. Al-Laat and al-Uzza are keeping him busy with his stomach.”

They became relaxed and sleep got the better of them. Suhayb quietly slipped out as if he was going to the toilet. He armed himself, got ready a mount and headed in the direction of Madinah.

When his captors awoke, they realized with a start that Suhayb was gone. They got horses ready and set out in hot pursuit and eventually caught up with him. Seeing them approach, Suhayb clambered up a hill. Holding his bow and arrow at the ready, he shouted:

“Men of Quraysh! You know, by God, that I am one of the best archers and my aim is unerring. By God, if you come near me, with each arrow I have, I shall kill one of you. Then I shall strike with my sword.”

A Quraysh spokesman responded: By God, we shall not let you escape from us with your life and money. You came to Makkah weak and poor and you have acquired what you have acquired..”

“What would you say if I leave you my wealth?” interrupted Suhayb. “Would you get out of my way?” “Yes,” they agreed.

Suhayb described the place in his house in Makkah where he had left the money, and they allowed him to go.

He set off as quickly as he could for Madinah cherishing the prospect of being with the Prophet(S.A.W) and of having the freedom to worship God in peace. On his way to Madinah, whenever he felt tired, the thought of meeting the Prophet(S.A.W) sustained him and he proceeded with increased determination. When Suhayb reached Quba, just outside Madinah where the Prophet himself alighted after his Hijrah, the Prophet saw him approaching. He was over-joyed and greeted Suhayb with beaming smiles.

“Your transaction has been fruitful, O Abu Yahya. Your transaction has been fruitful.” He repeated this three times. Suhayb’s face beamed with happiness as he said: “By God, no one has come before me to you, Messenger of God, and only JibriI could have told you about this.” Yes indeed! Suhayb’s transaction was fruitful. Revelation from on high affirmed the truth of this:

“And there is a type of man who gives his life to earn the pleasure of God. And God is full of kindness to His servants.”

(The Quran, Surah al-Baqarah, 2:2O7).

What is money and what is gold and what is the entire world so long as faith remains! The Prophet loved Suhayb a great deal. He was commended by the Prophet(S.A.W) and described as preceding the Byzantines to Islam. In addition to his piety and sobriety, Suhayb was also light-hearted at times and had a good sense of humor. One day the Prophet saw him eating dates. He noticed that Suhayb had an infection in one eye. The Prophet said to him laughingly: “Do you eat ripe dates while you have an infection in one eye ?”

“What’s wrong?” replied Suhayb, “I am eating it with the other eye.”

Suhayb was also known for his generosity. He used to give all his stipend from the public treasury fi sabilillah, to help the poor and those in distress. He was a good example of the Quranic verse: “He gives food for the love of God to the needy, the orphan and the captive.” So generous was he that Umar once remarked:

“I have seen you giving out so much food that you appear to be too extravagant.” Suhayb replied: “I have heard the Messenger of God say: ‘The best of you is the one who gives out food.'”

Suhayb’s piety and his standing among MusIims was so high that he was selected by Umar ibn al- Khattab to lead the Muslims in the period between his death and the choosing of his successor.

As he lay dying after he was stabbed by a Magian, Abu Lulu, while leading the Fajr Salat, Umar summoned six of the companions: Uthman, Ali, Talhah, Zubayr, Abdur Rahman ibn Awl, and Sad ibn Abi Waqqas. He did not appoint anyone of them as his successor , because if he had done so according to one report “there would have been for a short time two Khalifahs looking at each other”.

He instructed the six to consult among themselves and with the Muslims for three days and choose a successor, and then he said:

“Wa-l yusalli bi-n nas Suhayb – Let Suhayb lead the people in Salat.”

In the period when there was no Khalifah, Suhayb was given the responsibility and the honor of leading the Salat and of being, in other words, the head of the Muslim community.

Suhayb’s appointment by Umar showed how well people from a wide variety of backgrounds were integrated and honoured in the community of Islam. Once during the time of the Prophet, a hypocrite named Qays ibn Mutatiyah tried to pour scorn and disgrace on sections of the community. Qays had come upon a study circle (halqah) in which were Salman al-Farsi, Suhayb ar-Rumi and Bilal al-Habashi, may God be pleased with them, and remarked:

“The Aws and the Khazraj have stood up in defence of this man (Muhammad). And what are these people doing with him’?” Muadh was furious and informed the Prophet of what Qays had said. The Prophet was very angry. He entered the mosque and the Call to Prayer was given, for this was the method of summoning the Muslims for an important announcement. Then he stood up, praised and glorified God and said:

“Your Lord is One. Your ancestor is one. Your religion is one. Take heed. Arabism is not conferred on you through your mother or father. It is through the tongue (i.e. the language of Arabic), so whoever speaks Arabic, he is an Arab.”

From Alim® Online

Salman al-Farsi

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Salman al-Farsi

This is a story of a seeker of Truth, the story of Salman the Persian, gleaned, to begin with, from his own words:

I grew up in the town of Isfahan in Persia in the village of Jayyan. My father was the Dihqan or chief of the village. He was the richest person there and had the biggest house.

Since I was a child my father loved me, more than he loved any other. As time went by his love for me became so strong and overpowering that he feared to lose me or have anything happen to me. So he kept me at home, a veritable prisoner, in the same way that young girls were kept.

I became devoted to the Magian religion so much so that I attained the position of custodian of the fire which we worshipped. My duty was to see that the flames of the fire remained burning and that it did not go out for a single hour, day or night.

My father had a vast estate which yielded an abundant supply of crops. He himself looked after the estate and the harvest. One day he was very busy with his duties as dihqan in the village and he said to me:

“My son, as you see, I am too busy to go out to the estate now. Go and look after matters there for me today.”

On my way to the estate, I passed a Christian church and the voices at prayer attracted my attention. I did not know anything about Christianity or about the followers of any other religion throughout the time my father kept me in the house away from people. When I heard the voices of the Christians I entered the church to see what they were doing.

I was impressed by their manner of praying and felt drawn to their religion. “By God,” I said, “this is better than ours. I shall not leave them until the sun sets.”

I asked and was told that the Christian religion originated in AshSham (Greater Syria). I did not go to my father’s estate that day and at night, I returned home. My father met me and asked what I had done. I told him about my meeting with the Christians and how I was impressed by their religion. He was dismayed and said:

“My son, there is nothing good in that religion. Your religion and the religion of your forefathers is better.”

“No, their religion is better than ours,” I insisted.

My father became upset and afraid that I would leave our religion. So he kept me locked up in the house and put a chain on my feet. I managed however to send a message to the Christians asking them to inform me of any caravan going to Syria. Before long they got in touch with me and told me that a caravan was headed for Syria. I managed to unfetter myself and in disguise accompanied the caravan to Syria.

There, I asked who was the leading person in the Christian religion and was directed to the bishop of the church. I went up to him and said:

“I want to become a Christian and would like to attach myself to your service, learn from you and pray with you.”

The bishop agreed and I entered the church in his service. I soon found out, however, that the man was corrupt. He would order his followers to give money in chariy while holding out the promise of blessings to them. When they gave anything to spend in the way of God however, he would hoard it for himself and not give anything to the poor or needy. In this way he amassed a vast quantity of gold.

When the bishop died and the Christians gathered to bury him, I told them of his corrupt practices and, at their request, showed them where he kept their donations. When they saw the large jars filled with gold and silver they said.

“By God, we shall not bury him.” They nailed him on a cross and threw stones at him.

I continued in the service of the person who replaced him. The new bishop was an ascetic who longed for the Hereafter and engaged in worship day and night. I was greatly devoted to him and spent a long time in his company.

(After his death, Salman attached himself to various Christian religious figures, in Mosul, Nisibis and elsewhere. The last one had told him about the appearance of a Prophet in the land of the Arabs who would have a reputation for strict honesty, one who would accept a gift but would never consume charity (sadaqah) for himself. Salman continues his story.)

A group of Arab leaders from the Kalb tribe passed through Ammuriyah and I asked them to take me with them to the land of the Arabs in return for whatever money I had. They agreed and I paid them. When we reached Wadi al-Qura (a place between Madinah and Syria), they broke their agreement and sold me to a Jew. I worked as a servant for him but eventually he sold me to a nephew of his belonging to the tribe of Banu Qurayzah.

This nephew took me with him to Yathrib, the city of palm groves, which is how the Christian at Ammuriyah had described it.

At that time the Prophet was inviting his people in Makkah to Islam but I did not hear anything about him then because of the harsh duties which slavery imposed upon me.

When the Prophet reached Yathrib after his hijrah from Makkah, I was in fact at the top of a palm tree belonging to my master doing some work. My master was sitting under the tree. A nephew of his came up and said:

“May God declare war on the Aws and the Khazraj (the two main Arab tribes of Yathrib). By God, they are now gathering at Quba to meet a man who has today come from Makkah and who claims he is a Prophet.” I felt hot flushes as soon as I heard these words and I began to shiver so violently that I was afraid that I might fall on my master. I quickly got down from the tree and spoke to my master’s nephew. “What did you say? Repeat the news for me.”

My master was very angry and gave me a terrible blow. “What does this matter to you? Go back to what you were doing,” he shouted.

That evening, I took some dates that I had gathered and went to the place where the Prophet had alighted. I went up to him and said:

“I have heard that you are a righteous man and that you have companions with you who are strangers and are in need. Here is something from me as sadaqah. I see that you are more deserving of it than others.”

The Prophet ordered his companions to eat but he himself did not eat of it.

I gathered some more dates and when the Prophet left Quba for Madinah I went to him and said: “I noticed that you did not eat of the sadaqah I gave. This however is a gift for you.” Of this gift of dates, both he and his companions ate.

The strict honesty of the Prophet was one of the characteristics that led Salman to believe in him and accept Islam.

Salman was released from slavery by the Prophet (S.A.W) who paid his Jewish slave-owner a stipulated price and who himself planted an agreed number of date palms to secure his manumission. After accepting Islam, Salman would say when asked whose son he was:

“I am Salman, the son of Islam from the children of Adam.”

Salman was to play an important role in the struggles of the growing Muslim state. At the battle of Khandaq, he proved to be an innovator in military strategy. He suggested digging a ditch or khandaq around Madinah to keep the Quraysh army at bay. When Abu Sufyan, the leader of the Makkans, saw the ditch, he said, “This strategem has not been employed by the Arabs before.”

Salman became known as “Salman the Good”.

He was a scholar who lived a rough and ascetic life. He had one cloak which he wore and on which he slept. He would not seek the shelter of a roof but stayed under a tree or against a wall. A man once said to him: “Shall I not build you a house in which to live?” “I have no need of a house,” he replied.

The man persisted and said, “I know the type of house that would suit you.” “Describe it to me,” said Salman.

“I shall build you a house which if you stand up in it, its roof will hurt your head and if you stretch your legs the wall will hurt them.”

Later, as a governor of al-Mada’in (Ctesiphon) near Baghdad, Salman received a stipend of five thousand dirhams. This he would distribute as sadaqah. He lived from the work of his own hands. When some people came to Mada’in and saw him working in the palm groves, they said, “You are the amir here and your sustenance is guaranteed and you do this work!”

“I like to eat from the work of my own hands,” he replied. Salman however was not extreme in his asceticism. It is related that he once visited Abu ad-Dardaa with whom the Prophet(S.A.W) had joined him in brotherhood. He found Abu adDardaa’s wife in a miserable state and he asked, “What is the matter with you.”

“Your brother has no need of anything in this world*” she replied.

When Abu ad-Dardaa came, he welcomed Salman and gave him food. Salman told him to eat but Abu adDardaa said, “I am fasting.”

“I swear to you that I shall not eat until you eat also.”

Salman spent the night there as well. During the night, Abu ad-Dardaa got up but Salman got hold of him and said:

“O Abu ad-Dardaa, your Lord has a right over you. Your family have a right over you and your body has a right over you. Give to each its due.”

In the morning, they prayed together and then went out to meet the Prophet, peace be upon him. The Prophet(S.A.W) supported Salman in what he had said.

As a scholar, Salman was noted for his vast knowledge and wisdom. Ali said of him that he was like Luqman the Wise. And Ka’b al-Ahbar said: “Salman is stuffed with knowledge and wisdom an ocean that does not dry up.” Salman had a knowledge of both the Christian scriptures and the Qur’an in addition to his earlier knowledge of the Zoroastrian religion. Salman in fact translated parts of the Qur’an into Persian during the life-time of the Prophet. He was thus the first person to translate the Qur’an into a foreign language.

Salman, because of the influential household in which he grew up, might easily have been a major figure in the sprawling Persian Empire of his time. His search for truth however led him, even before the Prophet(S.A.W) had appeared, to renounce a comfortable and affluent life and even to suffer the indignities of slavery. According to the most reliable account, he died in the year thirty five after the hijrah, during the caliphate of Uthman, at Ctesiphon.

From: “Companions of The Prophet”, Vol.1, By: Abdul Wahid Hamid.

Salim Mawla Abi Hudhayfah

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Salim Mawla Abi Hudhayfah

In giving advice to his companions, the noble Prophet, peace be on him, once said: “Learn the Quran from four persons: Abdullah ibn Masud, Salim Mawla Abi Hudhayfah, Ubayy ibn Kab and Muadh ibn Jabal.”

We have read about two of these companions before and the third we will InshaAllah. But who was this fourth companion in whom the Prophet had so much confidence that he considered him a hujjah or competent authority to teach the Quran and be a source of reference for it?

Salim was a slave and when he accepted Islam he was adopted as a son by a Muslim who was formerly a leading nobleman of the Quraysh. When the practice of adoption (in which the adopted person was called the son of his adopted father) was banned, Salim simply became a brother, a companion and a mawla (protected person) of the one who had adopted him, Abu Hudhayfah ibn Utbah. Through the blessings of Islam, Salim rose to a position of high esteem among the Muslims by virtue of his noble conduct and his piety.

Both Salim and Abu Hudhayfah accepted Islam early. Abu Hudhayfah himself did so in the face of bitter opposition from his father, the notorious Utbah ibn Rabi’ah who was particularly virulent in his attacks against the Prophet, peace be upon him, and his companions.

When the verse of the Quran was revealed abolishing adoption, people like Zayd and Salim had to change their names. Zayd who was known as Zayd ibn Muhammad had to be called after his own natural father. Henceforth he was known as Zayd ibn Harithah. Salim however did not know the name of his father. Indeed he did not know who his father was. However he remained under the protection of Abu Hudhayfah and so came to be known as Salim Mawla Abi Hudhayfah.

In abolishing the practice of adoption, Islam wanted to emphasize the bonds and responsibilities of natural kinship. However, no relationship was greater or stronger than the bond of Islam and the ties of faith which was the basis of brotherhood. The early Muslims understood this very well. There was nobody dearer to anyone of them after Allah and His Messenger than their brethren in faith.

We have seen how the Ansar of Madinah welcomed and accepted the Muhajirin from Makkah and shared with them their homes and their wealth and their hearts. This same spirit of brotherhood we see in the relationship between the Quraysh aristocrat, Abu Hudhayfah, and the despised and lowly slave, Salim. They remained to the very end of their lives something more than brothers; they died together, one body beside the other one soul with the other.

Such was the unique greatness of Islam. Ethnic background and social standing had no worth in the sight of God. Only faith and taqwa mattered as the verses of the Quran and the sayings of the Prophet emphasized over and over again:

“The most honorable of you in the sight of God, is the most God-fearing of you,” says the Quran.

“No Arab has an advantage over a non-Arab except in taqwa (piety),” taught the noble Prophet who also

said: “The son of a white woman has no advantage over the son of a black woman except in taqwa.”

In the new and just society rounded by Islam, Abu Hudhayfah found honor for himself in protecting the one who was a slave.

In this new and rightly-guided society rounded by Islam, which destroyed unjust class divisions and false social distinctions Salim found himself, through his honesty, his faith and his willingness to sacrifice, in the front line of the believers. He was the “imam” of the Muhajirin from Makkah to Madinah, leading them in Salat in the masjid at Quba which was built by the blessed hands of the Prophet himself. He became a competent authority in the Book of God so much so that the Prophet recommended that the Muslims learn the Quran from him. Salim was even further blessed and enjoyed a high estimation in the eyes of the Prophet, peace be on him, who said of him.

“Praise be to God Who has made among my Ummah such as you.”

Even his fellow Muslim brothers used to call him “Salim min as-Salihin – Salim one of the righteous”. The story of Salim is like the story of Bilal and that of tens of other slaves and poor persons whom Islam raised from slavery and degradation and ‘made them, in the society of guidance and justice – imams, leaders and military commanders.

Salim’s personality was shaped by Islamic virtues. One of these was his outspokenness when he felt it was his duty to speak out especially when a wrong was committed.

A well-known incident to illustrate this occurred after the liberation of Makkah. The Prophet sent some of his companions to the villages and tribes around the city. He specified that they were being sent as du’at to invite people to Islam and not as fighters. Khalid ibn al-Walid was one of those sent out. During the mission however, to settle an old score from the days of Jahiliyyah, he fought with and killed a man even though the man testified that he was now a Muslim.

Accompanying Khalid on this mission was Salim and others. As soon as Salim saw what Khalid had done he went up to him and reprimanded him listing the mistakes he had committed. Khalid, the great leader and military commander both during the days of Jahiliyyah and now in Islam, was silent for once.

Khalid then tried to defend himself with increasing fervor. But Salim stood his ground and stuck to his view that Khalid had committed a grave error. Salim did not look upon Khalid then as an abject slave would look upon a powerful Makkan nobleman. Not at all. Islam had placed them on an equal footing. It was justice and truth that had to be defended. He did not look upon him as a leader whose mistakes were to be covered up or justified but rather as an equal partner in carrying out a responsibility and an obligation.

Neither did he come out in opposition to Khalid out of prejudice or passion but out of sincere advice and mutual self-criticism which Islam has hallowed. Such mutual sincerity was repeatedly emphasized by the Prophet himself when he said:”Ad-dinu an-Nasihah. Ad-din u an-Nasihah. Ad- din u an-Nasihah.” “Religion is sincere advice. Religion is sincere advice. Religion is sincere advice.”

When the Prophet heard what Khalid had done, he was deeply grieved and made long and fervent supplication to his Lord. “O Lord,” he said, “I am innocent before you of what Khalid has done.” And he asked: “Did anyone reprimand him?”

The Prophet’s anger subsided somewhat when he was told:

“Yes, Salim reprimanded him and opposed him.” Salim lived close to the Prophet and the believers. He was never slow or reluctant in his worship nor did he miss any campaign. In particular, the strong brotherly relationship which existed between him and Abu Hudhayfah grew with the passing days.

The Prophet, may God bless him and grant him peace, passed away to his Lord.

Abu Bakr assumed responsibility for the affairs of Muslims and immediately had to face the conspiracies of the apostates which resulted in the terrible battle of Yamamah. Among the Muslim forces which made their way to the central heartlands of Arabia was Salim and his “brother”, Abu Hudhayfah.

At the beginning of the battle, the Muslim forces suffered major reverses. The Muslims fought as individuals and so the strength that comes from solidarity was initially absent. But Khalid ibn al-Walid regrouped the Muslim forces anew and managed to achieve an amazing coordination.

Abu Hudhayfah and Salim embraced each other and made a vow to seek martyrdom in the path of the religion of Truth and thus attain felicity in the hereafter. Yamamah was their tryst with destiny. To spur on the Muslims Abu Hudhayfah shouted: “Yaa ahlal-Qu ran – O people of the Quran! Adorn the Quran with your deeds,” as his sword flashed through the army of Musaylamah the imposter like a whirlwind. Salim in his turn shouted:

“What a wretched bearer of the Quran am I, if the Muslims are attacked from my direction. Far be it from you, O Salim! Instead, be you a worthy bearer of the

With renewed courage he plunged into the battle. When the standard-bearer of the Muhajirin, Zayd ibn al-Khattab, fell. Salim bore aloft the flag and continued fighting. His right hand was then severed and he held the standard aloft with his left hand while reciting aloud the verse of the glorious Quran:

“How many a Prophet fought in God’s way and with him (fought) large bands of godly men! But they never lost heart if they met with disaster in God’s way, nor did they weaken (in will) nor give in. And God loves those who are firm and steadfast.”

What an inspiring verse for such an occasion! And what a fitting epitaph for someone who had dedicated his life for the sake of Islam!

A wave of apostates then overwhelmed Salim and he fell. Some life remained with him until the battle came to an end with the death of Musaylamah. When the Muslims went about searching for their victims and their martyrs, they found Salim in the last throes of death. As his life-blood ebbed away he asked them: “What has happened to Abu Hudhayfah?” “He has been martyred,” came the reply. “Then put me to lie next to him,” said Salim.

“He is close to you, Salim. He was martyred in this same place.” Salim smiled a last faint smile and spoke no more. Both men had realized what they had hoped for. Together they entered Islam. Together they lived. And together they were martyred.

Salim, that great believer passed away to his Lord. Of him, the great Umar ibn al-Khattab spoke as he lay dying: “If Salim were alive, I would have appointed him my successor.”

From Alim® Online

Said Ibn Zayd

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Said Ibn Zayd

Zayd the son of Amr stood away from the Quraysh crowd as they celebrated one of their festivals. Men were dressed in rich turbans of brocade and expensive Yemeni burdabs. Women and children were also exquisitely turned out in their fine clothes and glittering jewelry. Zayd watched as sacrificial animals, gaily caparisoned were led out to slaughter before the Quraysh idols. It was difficult for him to remain silent. Leaning against a wall of the Kabah, he shouted:

“O people of Quraysh! It is God Who has created the sheep. He it is Who has sent down rain from the skies of which they drink and He has caused fodder to grow from the earth with which they are fed. Then even so you slaughter them in names other than His. Indeed, I see that you are an ignorant folk.”

Zayd’s uncle al-Khattab, the father of Umar ibn al-Khattab, seethed with anger. He strode up to Zayd, slapped him on the face and shouted: “Damn you! We still hear from you such stupidity. We have borne it until our patience is exhausted.”

Al-Khattab then incited a number of violent people to harass and persecute Zayd and make life extremely uncomfortable for him.

These incidents which took place before Muhammad’s call to Prophethood gave a foretaste of the bitter conflict that was to take place between the upholders of truth and the stubborn adherents of idolatrous practices. Zayd was one of the few men, known as hanifs, who saw these idolatrous practices for what they were. Not only did he refuse to take part in them himself but he refused to eat anything that was sacrificed to idols. He proclaimed that he worshipped the God of Ibrahim and, as the above incident showed, was not afraid to challenge his people in public.

On the other hand, his uncle al-Khattab was a staunch follower of the old pagan ways of the Quraysh and he was shocked by Zayd’s public disregard for the gods and goddesses they worshipped. So he had him hounded and persecuted to the point where he was forced to leave the valley of Makkah and seek refuge in the surrounding mountains. He even appointed a band of young men whom he instructed not to allow Zayd to approach Makkah and enter the Sanctuary.

Zayd only managed to enter Makkah in secret. There unknown to the Quraysh he met with people like Waraqah ibn Nawfal, Abdullah ibn Jahsh, Uthman ibn al-Harith and Umaymah bint Abdul Muttalib, the paternal aunt of Muhammad ibn Abdullah. They discussed how deeply immersed the Arabs were in their misguided ways. To his friends, Zayd spoke thus: “Certainly, by God, you know that your people have no valid grounds for their beliefs and that they have distorted and transgressed from the religion of Ibrahim. Adopt a religion which you can follow and which can bring you salvation.”

Zayd and his companions then went to Jewish rabbis and Christian scholars and people of other communities in an attempt to learn more and go back to the pure religion of Ibrahim. Of the four persons mentioned, Waraqah ibn Nawfal became a Christian. Abdullah ibn Jahsh and Uthman ibn al-Harith did not arrive at any definite conclusion.

Zayd ibn Amr however had quite a different story. Finding it impossible to stay in Makkah, he left the Hijaz and went as far as Mosul in the north of Iraq and from there southwest into Syria.

Throughout his journeys, he always questioned monks and rabbis about the religion of Ibrahim. He found no satisfaction until he came upon a monk in Syria who told him that the religion he was seeking did not exist any longer but the time was now near when God would send forth, from his own people whom he had left, a Prophet who would revive the religion of Ibrahim. The monk advised him that should he see this Prophet he should have no hesitation in recognizing and following him.

Zayd retraced his steps and headed for Makkah intending to meet the expected Prophet. As he was passing through the territory of Lakhm on the southern border of Syria he was attacked by a group of nomad Arabs and killed before he could set eyes on the Messenger of God, may God bless him and grant him peace. However, before he breathed his last, he raised his eyes to the heavens and said:

“O Lord, if You have prevented me from attaining this good, do not prevent my son from doing so.”

When Waraqah heard of Zayd’s death, he is said to have written an elegy in praise of him. The Prophet also commended him and said that on the day of Resurrection “he will be raised as having, in himself alone, the worth of a whole people”.

God, may He be glorified, heard the prayer of Zayd.

When Muhammad the Messenger of God rose up inviting people to Islam, his son Said was in the forefront of those who believed in the oneness of God and who affirmed their faith in the prophethood of Muhammad. This is not strange for Said grew up in a household which repudiated the idolatrous ways of the Quraysh and he was instructed by a father who spent his life searching for Truth and who died in its pursuit.

Said was not yet twenty when he embraced Islam. His young and steadfast wife Fatimah, daughter of al- Khattab and sister of Umar, also accepted Islam early. Evidently both Said and Fatimah managed to conceal their acceptance of Islam from the Quraysh and especially from Fatimah’s family for some time. She had cause to fear not only her father but her brother Umar who was brought up to venerate the Kabah and to cherish the unity of the Quraysh and their religion.

Umar was a headstrong young man of great determination. He saw Islam as a threat to the Quraysh and became most violent and unrestrained in his attacks on Muslims. He finally decided that the only way to put an end to the trouble was to eliminate the man who was its cause. Goaded on by blind fury he took up his sword and headed for the Prophet’s house. On his way he came face to face with a secret believer in the Prophet who seeing Umar’s grim expression asked him where he was going. “I am going to kill Muhammad…”

There was no mistaking his bitterness and murderous resolve. The believer sought to dissuade him from his intent but Umar was deaf to any arguments. He then thought of diverting Umar in order to at least warn the Prophet of his intentions.

“O Umar,” he said, “Why not first go back to the people of your own house and set them to rights?” “What people of my house?” asked Umar.

“Your sister Fatimah and your brother-in-law Said. They have both forsaken your religion and are followers of Muhammad in his religion…”

Umar turned and made straight for his sister’s house. There he called out to her angrily as he approached. Khabbab ibn al-Aratt who often came to recite the Quran to Said and Fatimah was with them then. When they heard Umar’s voice, Khabbab hid in a corner of the house and Fatimah concealed the manuscript. But ‘Umar had heard the sound of their reading and when he came in, he said to them: “What is this haynamah (gibbering) I heard?”

They tried to assure him that it was only normal conversation that he had heard but he insisted: “Hear it I did,” he said, “and it is possible that you have both become renegades.”

“Have you not considered whether the Truth is not to be found in your religion?” said Said to Umar trying to reason with him. Instead, Umar set upon his brother-in-law hitting and kicking him as hard as he could and when Fatimah went to the defence of her husband, Umar struck her a blow on her face which drew blood.

“O Umar,” said Fatimah, and she was angry. “What if the Truth is not in your religion! I bear witness that there is no god but Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of God.”

Fatimah’s wound was bleeding, and when Umar saw the blood he was sorry for what he had done. A change came over him and he said to his sister:

“Give me that script which you have that I may read it.” Like them Umar could read, but when he asked for the script, Fatimah said to him:

“You are impure and only the pure may touch it. Go and wash yourself or make ablutions.”

Thereupon Umar went and washed himself, and she gave him the page on which was written the opening verses of Surah Ta-Ha. He began to read it and when he reached the verse, ‘Verily, I alone am God, there no deity but me. So, worship Me alone, and be constant in Prayer so as to remember Me, ‘he said: “Show me where Muhammad is.”

Umar then made his way to the house of al-Arqam and declared his acceptance of Islam and the Prophet(S.A.W) and all his companions rejoiced.

Said and his wife Fatimah were thus the immediate cause which led to the conversion of the strong and determined Umar and this added substantially to the power and prestige of the emerging faith.

Said ibn Zayd was totally devoted to the Prophet(S.A.W) and the service of Islam. He witnessed all the major campaigns and encounters in which the Prophet(S.A.W) engaged with the exception of Badr. Before Badr, he and Talhah were sent by the Prophet as scouts to Hawra on the Red Sea coast due west of Madinah to bring him news of a Quraysh caravan returning from Syria. When Talhah and Said returned to Madinah the Prophet(S.A.W) had already set out for Badr with the first Muslim army of just over three hundred men.

After the passing away of the Prophet, may God bless him and grant him peace, Said continued to play a major role in the Muslim community. He was one of those whom Abu Bakr consulted on his succession and his name is often linked with such companions as Uthman, Abu Ubaydah and Sad ibn Abi Waqqas in the campaigns that were waged. He was known for his courage and heroism, a glimpse of which we can get from his account of the Battle of Yarmuk. He said:

“For the Battle of Yarmuk, we were twenty four thousand or thereabout. Against us, the Byzantines mobilized one hundred and twenty thousand men. They advanced towards us with a heavy and thunderous movement as if mountains were being moved. Bishops and priests strode before them bearing crosses and chanting litanies which were repeated by the soldiers behind them.

When the Muslims saw them mobilized thus, they became worried by their vast numbers and something of anxiety and fear entered theft hearts. Thereupon, Abu Ubaydah stood before the Muslims and urged them to fight. “Worshippers of God” he said, “help God and God will help you and make your feet firm.”

“Worshippers of God, be patient and steadfast for indeed patience and steadfastness (sabr) is a salvation from unbelief, a means of attaining the pleasure of God and a defence against ignominy and disgrace.”

“Draw out your spears and protect yourselves with your shields. Don’t utter anything among yourselves but the remembrance of God Almighty until I give you the command, if God wills.”

“Thereupon a man emerged from the ranks of the Muslims and said: “I have resolved to die this very hour. Have you a message to send to the Messenger of God, may God bless him and grant him peace?”

“Yes” replied Abu Ubaydah, “convey salaam to him from me and from the Muslims and say to him: O Messenger of God, we have found true what our Lord has promised us.”

“As soon as I heard the man speak and saw him unsheathe his sword and go out to meet the enemy, I threw myself on the ground and crept on all fours and with my spear I fell the first enemy horseman racing towards us. Then I fell upon the enemy and God removed from my heart all traces of fear. The Muslims engaged the advancing Byzantines and continued fighting until they were blessed with victory.”

Said was ranked by the Prophet(S.A.W) as one of the outstanding members of his generation. He was among ten of the companions whom the Prophet visited one day and promised Paradise. These were Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, Ali, Abdur-Rahman ibn Awl, Abu Ubaydah , Talhah, az-Zubayr, Sad of Zuhrah, and Said the son of Zayd the Hanif. The books of the Prophet’s sayings have recorded his great praises of the Promised Ten (al-‘asharatu-l mubashshirun) and indeed of others whom on other occasions he also gave good tidings of Paradise.

From: Alim® Online