Real Parents, Real Heroes

real parents, real heroesHuman relations are a complex and sensitive web of emotions. Family is the foundation of every society. Why does family matter? Well, around one-fourth of the Quran instructs humanity about family matters. Over 1200 verses pertaining to familial matters specify rulings, injunctions, and advice from Allah (swt) to us.

The strength that we gain from our family enables us to go forward and tackle the challenges of life. Hence, a family is sacred, and it is mandatory for Muslims to pay attention to their families and energize them. If the family system crumbles like a feeble mole hill, the society disintegrates also.

True parents are true leaders

The other day, I was brushing my teeth. My fourteen-year-old son Yusuf stood next to me. He was brushing his teeth and making all kinds of swishing sounds and gurgles much to my dislike. For the first time, I realized that he had grown taller than me. I asked him: “Yusuf, what kind of weird sounds are those? Didn’t I ever teach you how to brush your teeth?” He replied: “No dad, you didn’t.”

It just dawned on me that every fault in my child was my failure as a father because I hadn’t modified his attitude or act. True parents are true leaders of their families. In Islam, servants and leaders are one. If one cannot serve his team, he cannot lead. Our Prophet (sa) was always the first in a battle and the last in a caravan. A very important book by Simon Sinek titled Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t is worthy of mention here, as it can facilitate the concept of true leadership and parenting.

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Usamah Bin Zaid (rta)

Vol 4 - Issue 4 Usamah Bin ZaidThe birth of Usamah Bin Zaid (rta) was a great joy for the Prophet (sa), who had a very close connection with the child’s parents. Usamah’s mother Umm Aiman (rta) used to serve the Prophet’s (sa) mother. Usamah’s father Zaid Bin Harith (rta) had a very special place in the Prophet’s (sa) heart – he had declared Zaid Bin Harithah (rta) to be his adopted son.

Dark skinned and with typical African features, Usamah Bin Zaid (rta) was known for his virtuousness, intelligence, humility, fear of Allah (swt) and passion for Jihad. He loved the Prophet (sa) very dearly and was ready to sacrifice his life for the cause of Islam. It is due to these noble qualities that the Prophet (sa) proclaimed Usamah (rta) to be dearer to him than all other Companions.

When the call for the battle of Uhud was announced, Usamah (rta) set out to join the Muslim army. Unfortunately, he was not accepted into the rows of Mujahideen due to his very young age.

For the battle of Ahzab, Usamah (rta) once again set out for joining the Mujahideen. Remembering his bad luck at the time of the battle of Uhud, Usamah (rta) began walking on his toes in order to appear taller and older. The Prophet (sa) noticed this trick and, with a smile on his face, accepted Usamah (rta). Thus, the battle of Ahzab became the first Jihad for Usamah (rta), who was only fifteen years old at the time.

Usamah (rta) was not yet twenty years old, when the Prophet (sa) appointed him to be the commander of the Muslim army setting out for Syria to fight the Roman army. Many questioned this choice of the Prophet (sa) – the young and inexperienced Usamah (rta) was to lead such distinguished Companions as Abu Bakr (rta) and Umar Farooq (rta). It so happened that just before the army set out, the Prophet (sa) passed away. Although it was suggested to delay the army and even to change the commander, Abu Bakr (rta), the first Caliph, firmly insisted that the army would set out for Syria, as he did not want to go against the dying wish of the Prophet (sa).

Harqal, the emperor of Rome, was surprised to hear that even after the death of their Prophet (sa), the Muslims had not delayed the war. This determination and confidence scared Harqal’s soldiers. The Romans suffered great losses, while the Muslim army under Usamah’s (rta) leadership, returned home safe and sound.

Two years before the death of the Prophet (sa), Usamah (rta) was appointed the commander of a regiment for an expedition. After returning to Madinah with bright colours of victory, the Prophet (sa) asked Usamah (rta) to tell him about the battle. Usamah (rta) said that when the enemy began to flee, he followed one of them. As soon as Usamah (rta) had lifted his spear over the enemy, the soldier recited the Kalimah, declaring his faith in Allah (swt). Disregarding this, Usamah (rta) still killed the soldier. The Prophet (sa) was very grieved to hear this, as Usamah (rta) had no right to kill a man, who had professed faith in Allah (swt). After seeing the anger of the Prophet (sa), Usamah (rta) felt as if all the good deeds he had ever done in his life were wasted – he learned a lesson that he remembered for the rest of his life.

When disagreements arose among Muslims, and Ali (rta) opposed Amir Muawiya (rta), Usamah (rta) categorically refused to take part in fighting. He went into seclusion, saying that no Muslim would be the target of his sword. He remembered the lesson the Prophet (sa) had taught him – not to fight against anyone, who testified that none had the right to be worshipped but Allah (swt).

Caliph Umar (rta) used to distribute stipends from the treasury, considering the services and sacrifices each person had made for the cause of Islam. Once, the Caliph’s son Abdullah (rta) approached him to inquire, why Usamah (rta) was receiving five thousand Dinars, while he was getting only two thousand. Abdullah (rta) said that Usamah’s father (rta) was in a lower position than his, and also Usamah (rta) himself had taken part in fewer battles than Abdullah (rta). Hearing these words, Caliph Umar (rta) replied that Usamah’s father (rta) was dearer to the Prophet (sa) than his, and that Usamah (rta) himself was dearer to the Prophet (sa) than Abdullah. The Caliph (rta) said that it was his duty to keep in mind the preferences of the Prophet (sa).

Caliph Umar (rta) told Abdullah (rta) the story of Usamah’s father Zaid Bin Harithah (rta), who used to be a very special servant of the Prophet (sa). When after a long search Zaid’s father Harithah finally found his kidnapped and sold in slavery son with the Prophet (sa), he asked Zaid (rta) to return home. Even though the Prophet (sa) gave Zaid (rta) the freedom to decide what he wanted to do, Zaid (rta) refused to leave the Prophet (sa). Zaid (rta) said that he would rather be with the Prophet (sa) than to have a thousand freedoms. Deeply moved to hear these words, the Prophet (sa) took Zaid (rta) to the Kabah and, in front of the Quraish chiefs, declared Zaid (rta) to be his son. From that time on, Muslims began calling him Zaid Bin Muhammad. This tradition was stopped by a revelation from Allah (swt), according to which an adopted son should be called by the name of his real father.

In addition, Usamah’s mother Umm Aiman (rta) had a special place in the Prophet’s (sa) heart. She used to attend to the Prophet’s (sa) mother. As the Prophet (sa) was very young at the time when his mother passed away, Umm Aiman (rta) took up the responsibility of raising him. The Prophet (sa) used to say that Umm Aiman (rta) was like a mother to him. He considered her a member of his own family.

Usamah (rta) himself enjoyed a very exceptional love of the Prophet (sa). Often, the Prophet (sa) used to pass on to Usamah (rta) the gifts given to him. Once, the Chief of the Quraish gave to the Prophet (sa) a very expensive dress, which he had brought from Yemen – a royal robe specially made for the King of Yemen. The Prophet (sa) wore the robe only once and then passed it on to Usamah (rta).

Although the time he spent with the Prophet (sa) was not long, people still used to ask him about the Prophet’s (sa) opinions on certain matters. Due to Usamah’s (rta) special place in the Prophet’s (sa) heart and his own exceptional personal characteristics, he was very much respected within the Muslim Ummah.

Source: “Commanders of the Muslim Army (Among the Companions of the Prophet (sa)” by Mahmood Ahmad Ghandafar.

Ubayy Ibn Kab (rta)

Vol 4-Issue 3 Ubayy ibn Kab ra“O Abu Mundhir! Which verse of the Book of Allah is the greatest?” asked the Messenger of Allah (sa). “Allah and His Messenger know best,” came the reply. The Prophet (sa) repeated the question and Abu Mundhir in response recited Ayat Al-Kursi or the Verse of the Throne:

“Allah! La ilaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), Al-Hayyul-Qayyuum (the Ever Living, the One Who sustains and protects all that exists). Neither slumber no sleep overtakes Him. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. (…)” (Al-Baqarah 2:255)

The Prophet (sa) beamed and smote his chest with his right hand in approval, and said to Abu Mundhir: “May knowledge delight and benefit you, Abu Mundhir.”

This Abu Mundhir, whom the Prophet (sa) congratulated on the knowledge and understanding which Allah had bestowed on him, was Ubayy Ibn Kab (rta) – one of his distinguished companions and a person of high esteem in the early Muslim community.

Ubayy (rta) was one of the Ansar and belonged to the Khazraj tribe. He was one of the first persons of Yathrib to accept Islam. He pledged allegiance to the Prophet (sa) at Al-Aqabah before the Hijrah. He participated in the Battle of Badr and other engagements thereafter.

Ubayy (rta) was one of the select few, who committed the Quranic revelations to writing and had a Mus-haf (transcript) of his own. He was the Prophet’s (sa) scribe. At the Prophet’s (sa) demise, he was one of the twenty five or so, who knew the Quran by heart. His recitation was so beautiful and his understanding so profound that the Prophet (sa) encouraged his companions to learn the Quran from him. Later, when Umar (rta) was busy with financial matter of the state, he told Muslims: “O, people! Whoever wants to ask about the Quran, let him go to Ubayy Ibn Kab.”

Ubayy (rta) enjoyed a special honour with regard to the Quran. One day, the Prophet (sa) said: “O, Ubayy Ibn Kab! I have been commanded to show the Quran to you.”

Ubayy (rta) was elated. He knew, of course, that the Prophet (sa) received commands only from Allah (swt). Unable to control his excitement, he asked: “O Messenger of Allah (sa) (…) Have I been mentioned to you by name?” “Yes,” replied the Prophet (sa), “by your own name and by your genealogy (Nasab) in the highest heavens.”

Any Muslim, whose name had been conveyed to the heart of the Prophet (sa) in this manner, must certainly have been of great ability and tremendously high stature.

Throughout the years of his association with the Prophet (sa), Ubayy (rta) derived the maximum benefit from his sweet and noble personality and teachings. Ubayy (rta) related that the Prophet (sa) once asked him: “Shall I not teach you a Surah the like of which has not been revealed in the Tawrah, nor in the Injil, nor in the Zabur, nor in the Quran?” ”Certainly,” replied Ubayy (rta). “I hope you would not leave through that door, until you know what it is,” said the Prophet (sa), obviously prolonging the suspense for Ubayy (rta). Ubayy (rta) continues: “He stood up and I stood up with him. With my hand in his, he started to speak. I tried to delay him, fearing that he would leave before letting me know what the Surah was. When he reached the door, I asked: “O Messenger of Allah! The Surah which you promised to tell me…” He replied: “What do you recite when you stand for Salat?” So, I recited for him Fatihatu-l-Kitab (the Opening Chapter of the Quran) and he said: “(That’s) it! (That’s) it! They are the seven oft-repeated verses, of which Allah Almighty has said: ‘We have given you the seven oft-repeated verses and the Mighty Quran.’”

Ubayy’s (rta) devotion to the Quran was uncompromising. Once, he recited part of a verse which the Khalifah Umar (rta) apparently could not remember, and he said to Ubayy (rta): “You have lied.” To this Ubayy (rta) retorted: “Rather, you have lied.”

A person, who heard the exchange, was astounded and said to Ubayy (rta): “Do you call the Amir Al-Muminin a liar?” “I have greater honour and respect for the Amir Al-Muminin than you,” responded Ubayy (rta), “but he has erred in verifying the Book of Allah, and I shall not say that the Amir Al-Muminin is correct, when he has made an error concerning the Book of Allah.” “Ubayy is right,” concluded Umar (rta).

Ubayy (rta) gave an example regarding the importance of the Quran, when a man came to him and said: “Advise me.” He replied: “Take the Book of Allah as (your) leader (Imam). Be satisfied with it as (your) judge and ruler. It is what the Prophet (sa) has bequeathed to you. (It is your) intercessor with Allah (swt) and should be obeyed.”

After the demise of the Prophet (sa), Ubayy (rta) remained strong in his attachment to Islam and his commitment to the Quran and the Sunnah. He was constant in his Ibaddah and would often be found in the mosque at night after the Isha engaged in worship or in teaching. Once he was sitting in the mosque after Salah with a group of Muslims making supplication. Umar (rta) came in, sat with them and asked each to recite a Dua. They all did, until finally Ubayy’s (rta) turn came. He was sitting next to Umar (rta). He felt somewhat over-awed and became flustered. Umar (rta) prompted him and suggested that he say: “Allahumma ighfir lana. Allahumma irhamna. (O Lord, forgive us. O Lord, have mercy on us).”

Taqwah remained the guiding force in Ubayy’s (rta) life. He lived simply and did not allow the world to corrupt or deceive him. He had a good grasp of reality and knew that however a person lived and whatever comforts and luxuries he enjoyed, these would all fade away and his good deeds would be his only credit. He was always a sort of warner to Muslims, reminding them of the times of the Prophet (sa), of Muslims’ devotion to Islam, of their simplicity and spirit of sacrifice. Many people came to him seeking knowledge and advice. To one such person he said: “The believer has four characteristics. If he is afflicted by any misfortune, he remains patient and steadfast. If he is given anything, he is grateful. If he speaks, he speaks the truth. If he passes a judgment on any issue, he is just.”

Umar (rta) gave him the title of ‘Sayyid of the Muslims’. He was part of the consultative group (Mushawarah) to which Caliph Abu Bakr (rta) referred many problems. This group was composed of men of good sense and judgment (Ahl Ar-Rav) and men who knew the law (Ahl Al-Fiqh) from among the Muhajirin and Ansar. It included Umar (rta), Uthman (rta), Ali (rta), Abdur Rahman Ibn Awf (rta), MuAdh Ibn Jabal (rta), Ubayy Ibn Kab (rta) and Zayd Ibn Harithah (rta). Later, when Umar (rta) became Caliph, he consulted the same group. Specifically for Fatwahs (legal judgments) he would refer to Uthman (rta), Ubayy (rta) and Zayd Ibn Thabit (rta).

Suhayb Ar-Rumi (rta)

Vol 4- Issue 2 Suhayb Ar-Rumi raAbout twenty years before the start of the Prophet’s (sa) mission, around 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, now part of Al-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, who was then barely five years old. His name was Suhayb Ibn Sinan. He was blond and fair-complexioned. He was active and alert and gave much pleasure to his father.

One day Suhayb’s (rta) mother took him and some members of her household to a village called Ath-Thani for a picnic. There a raiding party of Byzantine soldiers attacked the village. The guards accompanying the picnic party were overwhelmed and killed. All possessions were seized and a large number of persons were taken as prisoners. Among these was Suhayb Ibn Sinan (rta).

Suhayb (rta) was taken to one of the slave markets of the Byzantine Empire, the capital of which was Constantinople, where he was 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 (rta) 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 the Byzantine Empire 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: “A society like this can only be purified by a deluge.”

Suhayb (rta) 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. At the first opportunity, Suhayb (rta) escaped from bondage and headed straight for Makkah, which was a place of refuge. There people called him Suhayb ‘ar-Rumi’ or ‘the Byzantine’ because of his peculiarly heavy speech and his blond hair. He became the assistant of one of the aristocrats of Makkah, Abdullah Ibn Judan. He engaged in trade and prospered.

One day returning to Makkah from one of his trading journeys, he was told that Muhammad (sa) the son of Abdullah had begun calling people to believe in Allah (swt) alone, commanding them to be just and prohibiting them from shameful and reprehensible deeds. He immediately enquired who Muhammad (sa) was and where he stayed.

Suhayb (rta) went cautiously to the house of Al-Arqam and listened to what Muhammad (sa) was saying. He was readily convinced of the truth of the message. The light of faith entered his heart. At this meeting, he pledged loyalty to the Prophet (sa), declaring that there is no God but Allah (swt) and Muhammad (sa) is the Messenger of Allah. He spent the entire day in the company of the noble Prophet (sa). At night, he happily left the house of Al-Arqam, with the light of faith in his heart.

Then, the familiar pattern of events followed. The idolatrous Quraish learnt about Suhayb’s (rta) acceptance of Islam and began harassing and persecuting him. The punishment was inhuman and severe but Suhayb (rta) 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 (sa) had instilled in him and other companions a rare strength and courage.

When the Prophet (sa) eventually gave permission for his followers to migrate to Madinah, Suhayb (rta) resolved to go in the company of the Prophet (sa) and Abu Bakr (rta). The Quraish, 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, which he had acquired through trade.

After the departure of the Prophet (sa) and Abu Bakr (rta), Suhayb (rta) 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.

One cold night, Suhayb (rta) pretended to have stomach problems and went out repeatedly, as if responding to calls of nature. His captors became relaxed and sleep got the better of them. Suhayb (rta) quietly slipped out, armed himself, and headed in the direction of Madinah.

When his captors awoke, they realized that Suhayb (rta) was gone. They set out in hot pursuit and eventually caught up with him. Seeing them approach, Suhayb (rta) clambered up a hill. Ready with his bow and arrow, he shouted: “Men of Quraish! You know, by Allah, that I am one of the best archers and my aim is unerring. By Allah, if you come near me, with each arrow I have, I shall kill one of you. Then, I shall strike with my sword.” A Quraish 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 (rta). “Would you get out of my way?” “Yes,” they agreed.

Suhayb (rta) 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 (sa) and of having the freedom to worship God in peace. Whenever he felt tired, the thought of meeting the Prophet (sa) sustained him, and he proceeded with increased determination. When Suhayb (rta) reached Quba, just outside Madinah where the Prophet (sa) himself alighted after his Hijrah, the Prophet (sa) saw him approaching. He was over-joyed and greeted Suhayb (rta) with beaming smiles. “Your transaction has been fruitful, O Abu Yahya. Your transaction has been fruitful.” He repeated this-three times.

Suhayb’s (rta) face was filled with happiness, as he said: “By Allah, no one has come before me to you, Messenger of Allah (sa), and only Jibril could have told you about this.”

Yes indeed! Suhayb’s (rta) transaction was fruitful. Revelation affirmed the truth of this: “And of mankind is he who would sell himself, seeking the Pleasure of Allah. And Allah is full of Kindness to (His) slaves.” (Al-Baqarah 2:207)

The Prophet (sa) loved Suhayb (rta) a great deal. He was commended by the Prophet and described as preceding the Byzantines to Islam. In addition to his piety and sobriety, Suhayb (rta) was also light-hearted at times and had a good sense of humour.

One day the Prophet (sa) saw him eating dates. He noticed that Suhayb (rta) had an infection in one eye. The Prophet (sa) said to him laughingly: Do you eat ripe dates while you have an infection in one eye?” “What’s wrong?” replied Suhayb (rta), “I am eating it with the other eye.”

Suhayb (rta) was also known for his generosity. In the period of the caliphate, he used to give his entire stipend from the public treasury to help the poor and distressed. He was so generous that Umar (rta) once remarked: “I have seen you giving out so much food that you appear to be too extravagant.” Suhayb (rta) replied: “I have heard the Messenger of Allah (sa) say: ‘The best of you is the one, who gives out food.’”

Suhayb’s (rta) piety and his standing among Muslims was so high that he was selected by Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (rta) to lead the Muslims in the period between his death and the choosing of his successor.

Suhayb (rta) was undoubtedly among the shining stars, who contributed immensely in the infancy of Islam and earned a respectable status for his love of Allah (swt) and the Messenger (sa).

Said ibn Zayd (rta)

Vol 4-Issue 1 Said Ibn Zayd raZayd (rta), the son of Amr, stood away from the Quraish crowd, as they celebrated one of their festivals. He watched as sacrificial animals, gaily caparisoned, were led out to slaughter before the Quraish idols. He shouted: “O people of Quraish! It is Allah, 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 (rta) uncle Al-Khattab, the father of Umar ibn Al-Khattab, seethed with anger: “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 (rta).

Before Muhammad’s (sa) call to the prophet hood, Zayd (rta) was one of the few men, known as Hanifs, who saw the idolatrous practices for what they were. He proclaimed that he worshipped the God of Ibrahim.

Zayd’s (rta) uncle Al-Khattab had him hounded and persecuted to the point, where he was forced to leave the valley of Makkah. He managed to enter Makkah only in secret. Finding it impossible to stay in Makkah, Zayd (rta) 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 is reported to have 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 a Prophet, who would revive the religion of Ibrahim.

Zayd (rta) 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 killed by a group of nomad Arabs, before he could set eyes on the Messenger (sa). 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.”

Allah (swt) heard the prayer of Zayd (rta). When Muhammad (sa) rose up inviting people to Islam, his son Said was in the forefront of those, who believed in the oneness of Allah (swt) and the prophet hood of Muhammad (sa).

Said was not yet twenty, when he embraced Islam. His 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 Quraish, especially from Fatimah’s family. She feared not only her father but also her brother Umar, who was brought up to venerate the Kabah and to cherish the unity of the Quraish and their religion.

Umar saw Islam as a threat to the Quraish 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…”

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 warn the Prophet (sa) 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 the followers of Muhammad…”

Umar turned and made straight for his sister’s house. Khabbab ibn Al-Aratt, who often came to recite the Quran to Said (rta) and Fatimah (rta), was with them then. When they heard Umar’s voice, Khabbab hid in a corner of the house, and Fatimah (rta) 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, 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 (rta) 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. When Fatimah (rta) went to defend her husband, Umar (rta) struck her a blow on her face, which drew blood.

“O Umar,” said Fatimah (rta), 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 Allah.”

When Umar (rta) saw Fatimah’s (rta) bleeding wound, 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.” Fatimah (rta) replied: “You are impure and only the pure may touch it. Go and wash yourself or make ablution.”

Thereupon Umar (rta) went and washed himself, and she gave him the page with the opening verses of Surah Ta-Ha. When he reached the verse: “Verily, I – I alone – am God, there is 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 (rta) then made his way to the house of Al-Arqam, where he declared his acceptance of Islam. The Prophet (sa) and all his companions rejoiced.

Said (rta) and his wife Fatimah (rta) were, thus, the immediate cause leading to the conversion of the strong and determined Umar (rta), which substantially added to the power and prestige of the emerging faith.

Said ibn Zayd (rta) was totally devoted to the Prophet (sa) and the service of Islam. He witnessed nearly all the major campaigns and encounters, in which the Prophet (sa) engaged.

After the death of the Prophet (sa), Said continued to play a major role in the Muslim community. He was one of those, whom Abu Bakr (rta) consulted on his succession. He was also known for his courage and heroism. Said was ranked by the Prophet (sa) as one of the outstanding members of his generation. He was among those ten companions, to whom the Prophet (sa) promised Paradise.

Abu Darda (rta)

Abu Ad-DardaEarly one morning, Abu Darda (rta) awoke and went straight to his idol, which he kept in the best part of his house. He greeted it, anointed it with the best perfume from his large shop, and decked it with beautiful silk.

When the sun was high in the sky, he left his house for his shop. On that day the streets and alleys of Madinah were crowded with the followers of Muhammad (sa) returning from Badr. With them were several prisoners of war. Abu Darda (rta) asked about the fate of his close friend, Abdullah ibn Rawahah (rta). Everyone in Madinah knew the bond of brotherhood, which existed between the two men from the days of Jahiliyah. When Islam came to the city, lbn Rawahah (rta) embraced it, but Abu Darda (rta) rejected it. This, however, did not rupture the relationship between them.

One day Abdullah ibn Rawahah (rta) went to Abu Darda (rta)’s house, while he was at his shop, and took out an axe, which he had brought with him, and began destroying the idol while saying: “Isn’t everything Batil (falsehood), which is worshipped besides Allah?” When the idol was completely smashed, he left the house.

Abu Darda (rta) returned home and saw his wife sitting at the door of the room, where he kept his idol. She was clearly distressed and narrated the incident to her husband. Abu Darda (rta) looked at the broken idol and was horrified. He was consumed with anger and determined to take revenge.

However, it was not too long before his anger subsided and thoughts of avenging his idol disappeared. Instead, he reflected on what had happened and said to himself: “If there was any good in this idol, he would have defended himself.” He then went straight to Abdullah, and together they went to the Prophet (sa). There he announced his acceptance of Islam.

From that time onwards, Abu Darda (rta) devoted himself completely to Islam. He deeply regretted every moment he had spent as a Mushrik and the opportunities he had lost to do good. He realized how much his friends had learnt about Islam in the preceding two or three years. He made up his mind to expend every effort, day and night, to make up for what he had missed.

Ibadah occupied his days and his nights. His search for knowledge was restless. He spent a lot of time memorizing the Quran and trying to understand the profundity of its message. When trade kept him away from the circles of knowledge, he reduced his involvement without regret. Someone asked him why, and he replied: “I was a merchant before my pledge to the Messenger of Allah (swt) (sa). When I became a Muslim, I wanted to combine trade (Tijarah) and worship (Ibadah), but I did not achieve what I desired. So I abandoned trade and inclined towards Ibadah. By Him in whose hand is the soul of Abu Darda (rta), I want to have a shop near the door of the Masjid, so that I would not miss any Salah with the congregation. Then I shall sell and buy, and make a modest profit every day. Allah, Great and Majestic, has not prohibited trade, but I want to be among those, whom neither trade nor does selling distract from the remembrance of Allah.”

During his caliphate, Umar (rta) appointed Abu Darda (rta) as a governor in Syria. In Damascus, Abu Darda (rta) found people immersed in luxury and soft living. This appalled him. He called the people to the Masjid and spoke to them: “O people of Damascus! You are my brethren in religion, neighbors, who live together, and helpers of one another against enemies. Is it right that I see your learned ones departing (from this world), while the ignorant among you are not learning? I see that you incline towards such things, which Allah has made you answerable for, and you abandon that, which He has commanded you to do.”

“Is it reasonable that I see you gathering and hoarding, what you do not eat, and erecting buildings, in which you do not live? Peoples before you have amassed wealth, made great plans and had high hopes. But it was not long before what they had amassed was destroyed. Their hopes dashed and their houses turned into graves. Such were the people of Ad. O people of Damascus. They filled the earth with possessions and children. Who is there, who will purchase from me today the entire legacy of Ad for two Dirhams?”

The people wept and their sobs could be heard from outside the Masjid. From that day, Abu Darda (rta) began to frequent the meeting places of the people of Damascus.

Once, he passed a group of people crowding around a man, whom they began to insult and beat. He came up to them and asked: “What’s the matter?” “This is a man, who has committed a grave sin,” they replied. “What do you think you would do, if he had fallen into a well?” asked Abu Darda (rta). “Wouldn’t you try to get him out?” “Certainly,” they said. “Don’t insult and beat him. Instead, make him aware of the consequences of what he has done. Then give praise to Allah, Who has preserved you from falling into such a sin.” “Don’t you hate him?” they asked Abu Darda. “I only detest, what he has done, and if he abandons such practice, he is my brother.” The man began to cry and publicly announced his repentance.

While Abu Darda (rta) was still in Syria, the Caliph Umar ibn Al-Khattab came on an inspection tour of the region. One night, he went to visit Abu Darda (rta) at home. There was no light in the house. Abu Darda (rta) welcomed the Caliph and sat him down. The two men conversed in the darkness. As they did so, Umar (rta) felt Abu Darda’s (rta) ‘pillow’ and realized it was an animal’s saddle. He touched the place, where Abu Darda (rta) lay, and knew it was just small pebbles. He also felt the sheet, with which he covered himself, and was astonished to find it so flimsy that it couldn’t possibly protect him from the cold of Damascus.

Umar (rta) asked him: “Shouldn’t I make things more comfortable for you?”

“Do you remember, Umar,” said Abu Darda (rta), “a Hadeeth, which the Prophet (sa) told us?” “What is it?” asked Umar (rta). “Did he not say: ‘Let what is sufficient for anyone of you in this world be like the provisions of a rider?'” “Yes,” said Umar (rta). “And what have we done after this, o Umar?” asked Abu Darda (rta). Both men were moved to tears, no doubt thinking about the vast riches that had come the way of Muslims with the expansion of Islam and their preoccupation with amassing wealth and worldly possessions. With deep sorrow and sadness, both men continued to reflect on this situation until the break of dawn.

This was Abu Darda (rta) – the wise man. When people praised his piety and asked him to implore Allah (swt) for them, he replied in humility: “I can’t swim well and I fear drowning.”

Abdur-Rahman ibn Awf (rta)

Vol 3- Issue 3   Abdur Rahman ibn 'AwfHis name in the days of Jahiliyah was Abdu Amr, but after accepting Islam, the Prophet (sa) called him Abdur-Rahman (rta) – the servant of the Beneficent. Abdur-Rahman (rta) became a Muslim two days after Abu Bakr as-Siddeeq (rta). He did not escape but steadfastly bore the punishment inflicted on the early Muslims by Quraish. As a result, when they were compelled to leave Makkah for Abyssinia, Abdur-Rahman (rta) went too. He returned to Makkah, when it was rumoured that conditions had improved for Muslims, but that was contrary to the truth, and so he went to Abyssinia again on a second Hijrah. He later returned to Makkah and made the Hijrah to Madinah.

Soon after arriving in Madinah, the Prophet (sa) began pairing the Muhajirin with the Ansar. This established a firm bond of brotherhood, and eased the destitution of the Muhajirin. Abdur-Rahman (rta) was linked by the Prophet (sa) with Saad ibn ar-Rabiah (rta). Saad (rta) in the spirit of generosity offered to Abdur-Rahman (rta): “My brother! Among the people of Madinah I have the most wealth. I have two orchards and I have two wives. See, which of the two orchards you like, and I shall vacate it for you, and which of my two wives is pleasing to you, and I will divorce her for you.”

Abdur-Rahman (rta) replied: “May Allah (swt) bless you in your family and your wealth. But just show me, where the Suk (market place) is.

Abdur-Rahman (rta) went to the marketplace and began trading whatever resources he had and made a profit. He continued and his profits grew rapidly. Soon, he was well off and was able to get married. He went to the Prophet (sa) smelling of perfume.

“Mahyam, O Abdur-Rahman!” exclaimed the Prophet (sa) – “Mahyam” being a word of Yemeni origin indication pleasant surprise. “I have got married,” replied Abdur-Rahman (rta). “And what did you give your wife as Mahr?” “The weight of a Nuwat in gold.” “You must have a feast, even if it is with a single sheep. And may Allah (swt) bless you in your wealth,” said the Prophet (sa).

Thereafter Abdur-Rahman (rta) was successful in business.  It was said that if he lifted a stone, he expected to find gold or silver underneath!

Abdur-Rahman (rta) distinguished himself in both battles – Badr and Uhud. At Uhud he remained firm despite suffering over twenty wounds, some severe. Even so, his physical Jihad matched that of his wealth.

When the Prophet (sa) decided to send an expedition to distant Tabuk – the last Ghazwah during his lifetime – he was in need of finance, material, and men to go against the huge and well-equipped forces of the Byzantine. That year in Madinah was one of drought and hardship. The journey to Tabuk was long and provisions were low.

The Prophet (sa) urged his companions to give generously for the path of Allah (swt) and assured them that they would be rewarded. The Muslims’ response to the Prophet’s (sa) call was immediate and generous. In the forefront was Abdur-Rahman (rta), who donated two hundred Awqiyah of gold.

The Muslim army eventually left for Tabuk. The time of Salah came, and the Prophet (sa) was not there, so the Muslims chose Abdur-Rahman (rta) as their Imam. Just before the completion of the first Rakat the Prophet (sa) joined the worshippers and performed the Salah behind Abdur-Rahman ibn Awf (rta). Could there be a greater honour conferred on anyone than to have been the Imam of the most honoured of Allah’s (swt) creation!

When the Prophet (sa) passed away, Abdur-Rahman (rta) took on the responsibility of looking after the needs of his family. He would go with them wherever they pleased, and even performed Hajj with them to ensure all their needs were met. This is a sign of the trust and confidence, which he enjoyed on the part of the Prophet’s (sa) family.

Once he sold a piece of land and distributed the entire amount among the Banu Zahrah (relatives of the Prophet’s (sa) mother Aminah (rta)), poor Muslims, and the Prophet’s (sa) wives.

The prayer of the Prophet (sa) that Allah (swt) should bestow Barakah on the wealth of Abdur-Rahman (rta) accompanied Abdur-Rahman (rta). He became the richest man among the Companions of the Prophet (sa). His trading caravans grew bringing to the people of Madinah wheat, flour, butter, cloth, utensils, perfume, and other commodities and exporting whatever surplus produce they had.

One day, a loud rumbling sound was heard beyond the boundaries of Madinah. In addition, clouds of dust were seen. The people of Madinah realized that a mighty caravan was entering their city. They were amazed as seven hundred camels laden with goods crowded the streets. There was much excitement as people called others to witness the sight and goods that they had brought.

Aisha (rta) heard the commotion and asked: “What is this that’s happening in Madinah?”

She was told: “It is the caravan of Abdur-Rahman ibn Awf, which has come from Syria bearing merchandise.” “A caravan making all this commotion?” she asked in disbelief. “Yes, O Ummul-Mumineen. There are seven hundred camels.”

Aisha (rta) shook her head and gazed in the distance, trying to recall an utterance of the past and said: “I have heard the Messenger of Allah (sa) say: ‘I have seen Abdur-Rahman ibn Awf entering Paradise creeping.'”

Some friends related this Hadeeth to Abdur-Rahman (rta), although he had heard it more than once from the Prophet (sa). He hurried to Aisha (rta) and said: “Ya Ammah! Have you heard that from the Messenger (sa)?” “Yes,” she replied.

“If I could I would certainly like to enter Paradise standing. I swear to you, ya Ammah, that this entire caravan with all its merchandise, I will give Fi-Sabilillah.”

And so he did. This is just one incident that shows the type of man Abdur-Rahman (rta) was. He earned much wealth, but he never remained attached to it for its own sake and did not allow it to corrupt him.

All this wealth did not corrupt Abdur-Rahman (rta). When he was among his workers and assistants, people could not distinguish him from them. One day, food was brought to him with which to end a fast. He looked at the food and said: “Musab ibn ‘Umayr (rta) has been killed. He was better than me. We did not find anything of his to shroud him, with except what covered his head but left his legs uncovered… Then Allah (swt) endowed us with the (bounties of) the world… I really fear that our reward has been bestowed on us early (in this world).” He began to cry and sob and could not eat.

May Abdur-Rahman ibn Awf (rta) be granted felicity among “Those who spend their wealth in the cause of Allah (swt) and do not follow up their gifts with reminders of their generosity or with injury, their reward is with their Lord. On them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.” (Al-Baqarah 2: 262)

Julaybib (rta) – The Diamond in the Rough

Vol 3-Issue 2 Julaybib RASome day a new child will come to school, who looks a bit strange; he may walk funny or talk with an odd voice. All your friends will ignore him; nobody wants to be seen with him. You don’t know, why you don’t like him. But before you decide to stay away from him, just think you may be overlooking something extraordinary about him.

Long time ago in Madinah, there lived Julaybib (rta). He was short and ugly, no one knew what his name really was, and he had no family. Since he was small like a Jilbab (small gown), people called him Julaybib. Most men made fun of him and teased him, so he stayed away from them and kept close to women, who were nicer to him.

When our beloved Prophet Muhammad (sa) migrated to Madinah, Julaybib (rta) became one of his friends. Our Prophet (sa) gave him the help, confidence, and encouragement he needed. He loved him and could see beyond Julaybib’s (rta) deformed physique the beauty within.

One day, the Prophet (sa) suggested Julaybib (rta) to get married. Knowing that he was considered an outcast by society, Julaybib (rta) wondered, who would give him his daughter. Our Prophet (sa) decided to choose Julaybib’s (rta) bride himself, and approached an Ansar for his daughter. The girl’s parents were shocked by the very thought, how could they marry their daughter to such a creature? No way!

On overhearing their discussion, their daughter was upset too but for another reason. “Do you refuse the request of the Messenger of Allah (sa)? Send me to him (Julaybib), for he shall certainly not bring ruin to me. I am satisfied and submit myself to whatever the Messenger of God (sa) deems good for me.” This young woman was a true Muslim. She remembered that Allah (swt) had said: “Now whenever God and His Messenger have decided a matter, it is not for a believing man or believing woman to claim freedom of choice in so far as they themselves are concerned. And he, who disobeys Allah (swt) and His Prophet, has already, most obviously, gone astray.” (Al-Ahzab 33:36)

Thus, she obeyed her Prophet (sa) and married Julaybib (rta); they lived together till he was killed.

Julaybib’s (rta) death, was that of honour. He was martyred during one of the battles against the Kuffar. Our Prophet (sa) himself noticed him missing among the martyrs and asked his companions to look for his body. They found him near the seven people he had killed, before being martyred. The Prophet (sa) gathered him in his arms and praising his heroism said: “He killed seven and then was killed? This (man) is of me and I am of him.” The Prophet (sa) repeated this two or three times.

Subhan’Allah! Such a tribute! Who wouldn’t like to be amongst those beloved to Rasul’Allah (sa), the one who is loved by Allah (swt) Himself? Then the Prophet (sa) dug Julaybib’s (rta) grave with his own hands and laid him in it himself.

So next time you meet someone, who seems odd, give him a chance – get to know him. It may be he has something special hidden within him, which just needs your help and encouragement to bloom.

Abul-Aas Ibnur-Rabi (rta)

Vol 3-Issue 1 Abul-Aas Ibnur- RabiHis name was Abul-Aas Ibnur-Rabi (rta) from the clan of Abd Shams, a wealthy family. From his tribe Abul-Aas (rta) acquired the love of trade. People would entrust him with their money for investment. His aunt Khadijah (rta), the wife of the Prophet (sa), treated him as if he were one of her own children. When Zainab (rta), the daughter of the Prophet (sa), matured, she was given in marriage to Abul-Aas (rta).

Allah (swt) sent Muhammad (sa) as His messenger with the religion of Islam. His wife and daughters believed him, however, his son-in-law found it difficult to embrace Islam. The Quraish began plotting against the Prophet (sa) and went to Abul-Aas (rta), asking him to divorce his wife, so that the Prophet (sa) becomes preoccupied with the responsibility, but he refused to do so.

Other daughters of the Prophet (sa) married to the pagans were divorced and returned. The Prophet (sa) was not displeased. After the Prophet (sa) migrated to Madinah, the Quraish set out to confront Muslims at Badr. Abul-Aas (rta) was compelled to join them, although he did not hate Muslims. The battle resulted in terrible defeat for the Quraish, as their leadership was broken. Abul-Aas (rta) was among those, who were captured. The Prophet (sa) required each of the captives to pay a ransom for his release. Zainab (rta) sent a necklace as ransom money to rescue her husband. This necklace was given to her by her late mother Khadijah (rta). When the Prophet (sa) received the necklace of his beloved wife, Khadijah (rta), it greatly saddened him. Consequently, the Prophet (sa) made his son-in-law’s release contingent upon his commitment to send Zainab (rta) to Madinah as soon as possible.

Abul-Aas (rta) prepared to fulfill his promise as soon as he reached Makkah. He remained in Makkah for some time after the departure of his wife. He then went to Syria on business and on his way back to Makkah, a battalion of Muslim army surprised him. Abul-Aas (rta) fled. When night fell, he slipped into Madinah and asked his wife Zainab (rta) for her protection, and she gave it to him.

The next morning, during Fajr prayers, Zainab (rta) called out: “Hear me, everyone! I am Zainab, daughter of Muhammad. I have granted my protection to Abul-Aas, and I ask you to do the same.” The Prophet (sa) left the Masjid, went home, and told his daughter: “Treat him as an honoured guest, but you must know you are not his wife.” This was mainly because Allah (swt) had revealed verses instructing believers that they could not marry or stay married to pagans, unless they convert to Islam.

Abul-Aas’s (rta) captured property was returned to him. When he went to claim it, people asked him to embrace Islam, but he would not agree. Abul-Aas (rta) took the caravan from Madinah with all of its contents back to Makkah. When he arrived, he gave what he could to all those, who had entrusted him with their property for commerce, asking: “Listen all of you. Do I owe any of you any money, which I have not yet repaid?  They replied: “No, may Allah (swt) reward you, for you have always been loyal and generous to us.” He said: “Then I have given everyone his due, and now I wish you to know that I bear witness that there is no God save Allah (swt), and that Muhammad (sa) is the messenger of Allah (swt).” Thus, he declared his conversion to Islam in Makkah.

He left Makkah with a contented heart and headed for Madinah. The Prophet (rta) welcomed him with all due honour and presented Zainab (rta) to him again, saying: “He spoke to me truthfully, and he kept the promise he made to me.”

Khubaib Ibn Adiy (rta)

Vol 2 -Issue 3 khubaib Ibn Adiy raHassan Ibn Thabit (rta), a poet of Islam, said about him: “He looked like a falcon among the Ansar. Allah (swt) endowed him with noble character and good morals.”

He is Khubaib Ibn Adiy (rta), one of the companions of the Prophet (sa) from the Aws tribe of Madinah. He loved the Prophet (sa) and obeyed him.

During the battle of Badr, he killed the Makkan Al-Harith Ibn Amir Ibn Nawfal. Since then, the sons of Al-Harith swore to take revenge.

Once, the Prophet (sa) sent a group of ten Muslims under Asim Ibn Thabit (rta) to learn about the plans of Makkah. When they reached Hada, a tribe called Bani Lihyan found out about them and sent a hundred men to attack them.
As the enemy approached, Asim (rta) and his companions climbed up a mountain. When they surrounded its base, Asim (rta) refused to surrender and was martyred along with the other six.
The remaining three, Khubaib (rta), Zaid Ibn Ad-Dithinnah (rta), and another companion, came down, when promised safety. But the enemy went back on their word and began tying up Khubaib and Ad-Dithinnah (rta). The third refused to be tied up and was killed.

Khubaib and Ad-Dithinnah (rta) were taken to Makkah. Ad-Dithinnah (rta) was imprisoned, tortured and later on killed.
When Khubaib (rta) sensed his captors were about to kill him, he borrowed a razor from a daughter of Al-Harith (rta) to shave his pubic hair, which is one of the Sunnah practices the Prophet (sa) had taught his compnions to do. Once, her son wandered towards Khubaib (rta) and she reported: “I saw him placing my son on his thigh and the razor was in his hand. I got scared so much that Khubaib (rta) noticed the agitation on my face and said: ‘Are you afraid that I will kill him? No, I will never do so.’ By Allah (swt), I never saw a prisoner better than Khubaib.” (Bukhari)

One day, she went to Al-Harith’s house, where Khubaib (rta) was held and said: “By Allah (swt), one day I saw him eating of a bunch of grapes in his hand, while he was chained in irons, and there was no fruit at that time in Makkah. It was a favour Allah (swt) bestowed upon Khubaib.” (Bukhari)

Finally, they took him to At-Tan’iim to be killed.
Here, he prayed two Rakahs and said to the Kuffar: “By Allah (swt), were it not for you thinking that I’m afraid of death, I would have continued praying.” Then, he lifted his hands towards the sky and said: “O Allah (swt)! Count them one by one and then perish them all!”

He then recited: “I am being martyred as a Muslim, do not mind, how I am killed in Allah (swt)’s cause, for my killing is for Allah (swt)’s sake, and if Allah (swt) wishes, He will bless the amputated parts of a torn body.” (Bukhari)
After tying him to a cross, the leader asked him: “Would you like Muhammad (sa) to be in your place, and you be healthy and secure among your kin?”
Khubaib (rta) shouted: “By Allah (swt), I would not like to be among my relatives and sons enjoying all the world’s health and well-being, while even a tiny thorn hurts the Prophet (sa).”

Then, Al-Harith’s son killed him. Khubaib (rta) thus laid the practice for Muslims to offer two Rakahs before being executed. He showed us that hard times could be changed into a golden opportunity, if we are steadfast in our faith and perfect in our actions.

Khalid Ibn Al-Waleed

Roomana Rais Khan familiarizes us with ‘the sword of Allah (swt)’ on earth.

Khalid Ibn Al-Waleed (rta) was born in a prominent family of the Quraysh tribe. He was a strong and courageous soldier, trained in horsemanship and the use of all types of weapons.

In the battle of Uhud, he showed superior military skill against the Muslims, and as a result was appointed Commander General by the Quraysh. His Muslim brother sent him a letter from Madina and mentioned the Prophet’s (sa) concern for Khalid (rta). This impressed Khalid (rta) so much that he travelled to Madina on the 1st of Safar, 8 A.H. and embraced Islam.

Khalid’s (rta) ultimate battle was that of Mutah in the 8 A.H., when 3000 Muslims fought against an army of 200,000 men. After three Muslim commanders were martyred consecutively, Khalid (rta) led the army, and as a result, the Mujahideen were able to retreat intact. Because of this, the Prophet (sa) gave him the title of ‘the sword of Allah (swt).’ During this battle Khalid (rta) also broke nine swords and there were only twelve casualties.

In the battle of Hunain 8 A.H., many Muslims fled and only 12 Companions, including Khalid (rta), remained to protect the Prophet (sa).

After the death of the Prophet (sa), Abu Bakr (rta) used Khalid’s (rta) services in the wars against apostasy, false prophets, and those, who stopped paying Zakat. He commanded a large division against Musailimah the liar in the battle of Yamamah in 11 A.H. Despite Musailimah’s strong and well-equipped army, Khalid (rta) was able to slay Musailimah himself. Thus, the threat of the imposter was buried forever.

When the Roman Emperor challenged the Muslims with an army of 240,000, Muslims made great self-sacrifice and displayed steadfastness. Under Khalid’s (rta) influence, one of the Roman commanders, by the name of Jerjah, embraced Islam.

During the war against the Romans, Khalid (rta) received news from Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (rta) about the death of Abu Bakr’s (rta), and new orders to hand over command to Abu Ubaidah Ibn Al-Jarrah (rta). It did not matter to Khalid (rta) as long as he was able to carry out his duties towards Allah (swt). He concealed the news, till they had gained victory. Upon seeing this gesture of Khalid’s, (rta) Abu Ubaidah (rta) kissed him on his forehead and praised his greatness.

There was only one thing that Khalid (rta) treasured obsessively-his helmet. In the battle of Al-Yarmuk, he lost it and exhausted himself and others searching for it. He kept it for luck, for it had some of the hairs of the Prophet’s (sa) forehead. He said: “It makes me feel optimistic that victory is within reach.”

When he died in 21 A.H., his mother took one last look at the hero, commended him to Allah’s (swt) protection and said: “There are far, far better than a thousand men, who flung themselves into the battlefield. Do you ask me about his valor? He was much more courageous than a huge lion that protects its cubs in the time of danger. Do you ask me about his generosity? He was far more generous than an overwhelming torrential rain that slides down from the mountains.” Umar’s (rta) eyes flowed with tears and he said: “You spoke the truth. By Allah (swt), he was everything you said he was.”

The First Ambassador of the Prophet (sa)

Rym Aoudia tells us of a companion who sold the pleasures of the world, and bought what Allah had to offer.

Born into a prosperous family, Musab Ibn Umayr (rta) was pampered since childhood. His family, handsome features, and elegant attire further won him a distinguished position among the Makkan community. But that was not all; he was also intelligent.    Musab’s interest in Prophet Muhammad (sa) reached its peak because of Quraysh’s constant conversations about the Prophet (sa). On finding out that the Prophet (sa) was holding secret meetings with the believers at the home of Al-Arqam, he decided to quench his curiosity and personally meet the Prophet (sa). The Prophet’s (sa) recitation of verses from the Quran pierced his heart and he ended up embracing Islam.

Although now a Muslim who frequented Al-Arqam’s home for knowledge, Musab (rta) kept it secret especially from his mother Khunnas bint Malik-a powerful woman feared by many. But one day Uthman Ibn Talha saw Musab (rta) pray in the same way as he had seen the Prophet (sa). He rushed to tell Musab’s mother, who ordered Musab (rta) to proclaim his new faith publicly before the community of Quraysh. Once he did, she ordered his imprisonment. But he escaped to join a group of Makkan Muslims migrating to Abyssinia.

On Musab’s (rta) return from Abyssinia, his mother once again ordered his confinement. But this time he threatened to kill anyone who carried out her orders. He was serious and his mother knew it, so she gave up the idea. Then Musab (rta) tried to guide her to Islam but to no avail. She ended up disowning him and severing all ties between them. It was a painful decision for both of them.

During Musab’s (rta) mission as the Prophet’s (sa) Ambassador in Madinah, he proved himself a man of dignity. His people skills were the finest. One of the incidents worth mentioning was when a man named Usayd Ibn Khudayr approached him while he was introducing and inviting people of Madinah to Islam. Angry and frustrated Usayd scolded Musab for turning his people away from the idols they and their ancestors had worshipped for centuries. Musab (rta) patiently listened to Usayd’s complaint, and then calmly asked him to sit down and listen to the recitation of the Qur’an. Once Musab (rta) had Usayd’s complete attention he explained the Prophet’s (sa) mission. Usayd ended up embracing Islam, as did the rest of Madinah. Musab (rta) became well known as Musab Al-Khayr (the Good).

His death was an achievement in and of itself. During the battle of Uhud, Musab (rta) tried to distract the enemies from approaching the Prophet (sa). But while holding the banner and professing: “Allah is the Greatest” his right hand was cut off. So he carried the banner with his left hand, but that was also cut off. Still determined to carry the banner of Islam, he held on to it with what was left of his arms. However, he did not survive the third blow and was rewarded martyrdom. Allah bless Musab (rta) who endured life’s hardships for the sweet taste of a life in full devotion to Allah. He never hesitated to leave his life of luxury among his prosperous family, or his reputable position among those of Quraysh for the sake of Allah and His Prophet (sa).

Nusaybah bint Kab (rta)

Naba Basar presents highlights from the heroic life of Nusaybah bint Kab (rta)

Not many women in the history of Islam can surpass the exemplary life of Nusaybah bint Kab (rta). She was one of two women, who traveled with seventy-three men to Makkah for pledging allegiance to the Prophet (sa). In complete obedience to the Prophet (sa), they pledged themselves also to Jihad. This historical meeting is known as the second pledge of al-Aqabah.

Nusaybah, known as Umm Imarah, was a pious and noble woman. She was also a daring and courageous fighter in the cause of Allah, and proved more than once to be truthful to her pledge.

Hearing that the army of Makkan pagans was moving towards Uhud, in order to take revenge for their heavy losses in the battle of Badr, the Prophet (sa) mobilized Muslim men of Madinah. Nusaybah (rta), with her husband and two sons, Abdullah and Habib, joined the fighters. She helped the wounded. As the battle raged and Muslims were close to being defeated, some Mujahideen began to flee, leaving the Prophet (sa) without protection. Seeing this, Nusaybah (rta) cut through the ranks of the enemy and fought fiercely.

During the battle, when the Prophet (sa) saw her without a shield and saw a man who was leaving the battlefield, carrying his shield. He (sa) asked him to surrender his shield to the one who was fighting. Nusaybah (rta) used that shield to protect the Messenger of Allah (sa).

Later, when one of her sons was wounded, during the battle of Uhud, and the blood would not stop. The Prophet (sa) asked him to bandage his wound. Nusaybah (rta) overheard this, while she was fighting. She came towards his son, carrying bandages. She then told him: ‘Get up, my son, and fight.’

A little while later, the man, who hit his son was coming their way, so the Prophet (sa) said: ‘Here is the man, who hit your son, O Umm Imarah.’ She went up to him, hit him in the leg, and left him kneeling on the ground. Prophet (sa) smiled so broadly that his molar teeth were showing and said: ‘You avenged yourself, Umm Imarah.’ The Prophet (sa) also said to her: ‘Praise is due to Allah, Who gave you victory over your enemy and satisfied you by showing you his death.'”

A few months later, when the call for another battle, Hamra-ul-Asad, was announced, Umm Imarah (rta) could not continue, because her earlier wound had got worse – she was bleeding profusely.

The battle of Uhud was not the only occasion, when Umm Imarah (rta) showed her bravery. She was among those, who gave the pledge to fight until martyrdom. She witnessed also the battle of Hunayn. When the Prophet (sa) passed away, Umm Imarah (rta) asked permission from Caliph Abu Bakr (rta) to join the army together with her two sons. He said: “We knew your bravery during the war – come on, in the name of Allah.”

She held her ground in the battlefield. Her son, Habib, fell prisoner to the enemy and was cut to pieces, organ by organ, until he died. Nusaybah (rta) returned from the war with twelve wounds, having lost her arm and her son.

Umm Imarah (rta) was a brave and true to her words woman, who holds a special place in the history of Islam.

Bilal bin Rabah (rta)

Hafsa Ahsan recounts the arduous life and the strong faith of the noble companion

Bilal (rta), was the first Muadh-dhin (the one who gives the Adhan) of Islam. In pre-Islamic Arabia, Bilal (rta), tall, thin and slightly hump-backed, was a slave of Umayyah bin Khalaf.

Bilal’s (rta) first encounters with Islam came when he began overhearing conversations between Umayyah and his guests, discussing the negative aspects of the new religion. But instead of being warded off, he felt drawn to Islam. After that, he would often hear Abu Bakr (rta) when he called people to Islam. Finally, he went to Prophet Muhammad (sa) along with Abu Bakr (rta) and embraced Islam.

Since he was a slave and did not have any strong tribe to defend him, Umayyah tortured him heavily. He made him lie face down on the scorching sand, wearing a suit of armour, when the sun was at its peak. Then he would have heavy rocks placed upon Bilal’s (rta) chest and would say: “You will stay here until you die or deny Muhammad (sa) and worship Al-Laat and Al-Uzzah.” Bilal (rta) only uttered: “One, One,” referring to Allah.

On one such day, Abu Bakr (rta) admonished Umayyah: “Have you no fear of Allah that you treat this poor man like this?”

“You are the one who corrupted him; so save him from his plight,” Umayyah hit back.

Abu Bakr (rta) replied: “Then sell him to me, you can state your price.”

Umayyah set a very high price, which Abu Bakr (rta) agreed to pay. In a derogatory way, Umayyah then said: “I would have sold him to you even if you had offered me but an ounce of gold.”

Abu Bakr (rta) who was not to be deterred, said: “I would have bought him even if you had asked for a hundred ounces.”

Once the deal was finalized, Abu Bakr (rta) took Bilal (rta) with him to Prophet Muhammad (sa) and set him free.

In the post-Hijrah period in Madinah, the issue arose of how to summon people to the mosque for prayers. One day, Abdullah bin Zaid (rta) recounted a dream to the Prophet Muhammad (sa) in which a man taught Zaid (rta) the words for the Adhan. “It is a true vision Insha’Allah,” said Prophet Muhammad (sa). “Go and teach it to Bilal for he has a more beautiful and far reaching voice.” Hence, Bilal (rta) earned the unique honor of being the first ever Muadh-dhin of Islam.

Bilal (rta) added to his list of honors when Prophet Muhammad (sa) ordered him to resound the Adhan from the rooftop of the Kabah after the victory at Makkah. He remained the Muadh-dhin during the lifetime of Prophet Muhammad (sa).

After the death of Prophet Muhammad (sa) Bilal (rta) was asked to make Adhan before his burial. He started, but when he came to the name of Prophet Muhammad (sa) he was crying so hard, he had to discontinue saying the Adhan. “By Allah I will not say the Adhan anymore,” he declared.

During the Caliphate of Abu Bakr (rta), he requested to be sent to Sham for Jihad, and spent the rest of his life fighting in the way of Allah. He made Adhan only twice: once when Umar (rta) visited Sham and second, when he visited the tomb of Prophet Muhammad (sa).

Bilal died in Aleppo at 64. His last words were, “Tomorrow you will meet your loved ones, Muhammad (sa) and his Companions.”

Bilal occupies a distinguished position in Islam. Umar (rta) would say: “Abu Bakr is our master and he freed our master (Bilal).”

To this Bilal would say: “I am only a man who used to be a slave.”