Rahmatullah Khan Shakir (1901-2000), Former Assistant Editor and Manager of Al Fazl
The difficulties Hazrat Saadra Al-Aswad faced in finding a match for his marriage have already been discussed. Finally, as the Holy Prophetsa had suggested, the daughter of Hazrat Umarra bin Wahab agreed to marry him.
Everyone can easily gauge how pleased he would have been to succeed after facing a struggle in finding a chaste girl endowed with good qualities and how eager he would have been for marriage.
Before the rukhstana [departure of the bride to the house of the groom] he set out to buy some gifts from the market for his bride. While he was busy in procuring the means of the fulfillment of his cherished dream, he heard an announcement, “O soldiers of God! Mount [your horses] and become the recipients of glad tidings of Heaven.”
The moment he heard this call, all his enthusiasm and passion for marriage disappeared and the keenness for Jihad roused. The thought of consummation with a would-be-bride flew in thin air. Instead of buying gifts for his bride with the money he set off with, he purchased a sword, spear and horse, put on his turban and immediately joined the Muslim ranks of the Muhajireen.
From there, he reached the battlefield and fought bravely. At one point, his horse showed resistance, but he dismounted and started fighting and laid down his life fighting on foot. He preferred to lay beside his sword than with his would-be-wife.
When the Holy Prophetsa learnt of this, he came to his body, placed his head in his lap and prayed for him. The Prophetsa then sent all his belongings to his would-be-wife. This incident needs no further comment. Those who make excuses when called for service in the way of Allah should reflect on this. (Usdul-Ghabah, Vol. 2, p. 184)
The pages of history are adorned with the courageous demonstrations of Hazrat Ikrimahra bin Abi Jahl. He was part of the Muslim army who advanced to Syria for the Battle of Fahl. Fighting valiantly, he would penetrate the ranks of the enemy. His head, chest and entire body got badly wounded.
Sympathising with him, people suggested not to put himself into destruction. He replied, “For Lat and Uzza, I was prepared to put my life in jeapordy and today, when the time for fighting in the cause of Allah and His Prophetsa has come, should I seek to save my life? By God, this is impossible!” (Usdul-Ghabah, Vol. 3, pp. 568-569, Zikr Ikrimahra bin Abu Jahl)
In the Battle of Yarmuk, Hazrat Khalidra bin Walid appointed Hazrat Ikrimahra in-charge of a detachment. The enemy was in large numbers, so they attacked so vehemently that the Muslim army staggered and lost their footing.
Once Hazrat Ikrimahra saw this state, he called out in a loud voice, “Is there anybody who is ready to pledge allegiance at death?” At this, instantly, 400 warriors came forward. Having vowed to lay their lives in the way of Allah, they set upon the enemy fiercely. And so honestly did they all keep their pledges that most of them attained martyrdom and the remainders were severely wounded. (Usdul-Ghabah, Vol. 3, pp. 568-569, Zikr Ikrimahra bin Abu Jahl)
Hazrat Wathilahra bin Asqa was a young companion. He accepted Islam in 9 AH and a few days later, preparation for the Battle of Tabuk started. Jeopardising their lives, the Muslim warriors started leaving for the battlefield, but this newly-converted Muslim had no mount to ride on. He tried to get one, but failed. Out of keenness for jihad in the way of Allah, he began announcing in the streets of Medina, “Will anybody, in lieu of my share of spoils of war, take me to Tabuk?”
By chance, an elderly Ansari had not yet departed. He undertook to take Wathilahra along and allowed him to share his meal and mount. Thus, he reached the battlefield and joined the Muslim troops. (Sunan Abi Dawud, Kitab-ul Jihad, Bab fir-Rajuli Yakri Dabbatun alal Asfi au As-Sahm)
Abu Muhjan Thaqfi accepted Islam in later years, which is why his name is found in the annals of history only in the time of Hazrat Umarra. Abu Muhjan had been detained for some reason when the Muslim army advanced on Iran. But the keenness for jihad made him so restless that he escaped from detention and joined the Muslim force. When Hazrat Umarra learnt of this, he wrote to the commander-in-chief of the Muslims, Hazrat Saadra bin Abi Waqas, to apprehend and detain him.
Thus, he was captured there and then and put in detention again. He was behind bars at the time of the Battle of Qadsiyyah. His emotions roused to hear the accounts of the battlefield. He requested Hazrat Salmahra, the wife of Hazrat Saadra, to release him, so that he could go and fight in the battlefield. He promised to come back and put on chains himself in case he survived. But she did not concede.
Thereafter, he started singing some heart-rending couplets at which she pitied him and conceded to release him. Thus, he reached the battlefield and fought valiantly and whichever side he went, he routed the enemy ranks. The Companionsra greatly appreciated his valiance. (Al-Isti‘ab, Vol. 4, p. 1746)
Hazrat Anasra was only 12 years old at the time of the Battle of Badr, but he accompanied the Holy Prophetsa in the battlefield and kept serving him. At the time of the Battle of Uhud, he was only 13, but participated in this battle as well. (Usdul-Ghabah, Vol. 1, p. 151)
Hazrat Abu Saeed Khudrira was only 13 at the time of the Battle of Uhud, but in order to join the Muslim troops, he presented himself to the service of the Holy Prophetsa. The Prophetsa glanced at Abu Saeed from head to toe and remarked that he was too young to fight in a battle. Holding his son’s hand, his father showed it to the Holy Prophetsa and said that his hand was that of a fully grown man. But the Holy Prophetsa did not allow him.
It is evident from this incident that the Companionsra considered the service to faith so essential and a thing to be proud of that they were very eager to have their children participate and would encourage them to somehow partake of this blessing.
In our age, those who keep not only themselves behind, rather want to keep their children hidden in their houses should reflect that the Companions’ love for their children was by no means less than that of ours.
They, too, were humans like us. They, too, had throbbing hearts which had greater fatherly love than that of ours. But their passion for faith and service to Islam was greater than anything else in the mortal world. (Mustadrak lil-Hakim, Vol. 3, p. 650. Zikr Abu Saeed Al-Khudri)
Hazrat Abu Saeed Khudrira was only 15 at the time of the Battle of the Ditch, but he joined the Muslim troops and fought valiantly. Similarly, despite his young age, he joined the Muslim troops in the battle of Bani Mustaliq. (Mustadrak lil-Hakim, Vol. 3, p. 650. Zikr Abu Saeed Al-Khudri)
Hazrat Barara bin Azib was very young at the time of the Battle of Badr, but his passion for faith surged. He presented himself to the service of the Holy Prophetsa, but was not allowed to join the Muslim troops. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab-ul-Maghazi, Bab Iddatu Ashabi Badr)
Hazrat Rafi‘ra bin Khadij was only 14 at the time of the Battle of Badr. Due to his passion for jihad, he presented himself to the service of the Holy Prophetsa and sought permission to join the Muslim force. As he had not come of age, the Holy Prophetsa did not allow him, but the following year, he was permitted. Another young boy, Samrahra bin Jundab, was not allowed to fight in the battle for being too young. He complained to the Holy Prophetsa, “O Prophetsa of God! You have given permission to Rafi‘, whereas I overpower him in wrestling.”
The Holy Prophetsa enjoyed this a lot and said, “Alright. Let us see your wrestling with Samrah.”
Thus both had a wrestling bout and Samrahra overpowered Rafi‘ra. At this the Holy Prophetsa allowed him to join the battle as well. (Usdul-Ghabah, see under Rafi‘ bin Khadij) (Tabqat Ibn Saad, Vol. 4, pp. 364-365)
Many young boys, out of keenness for jihad, joined the Muslim force when the Holy Prophetsa set off for the Battle of Badr. The younger brother of Hazrat Saadra bin Abi Waqas was also one of them. At some distance outside of Medina, the Holy Prophetsa inspected the Muslim force and commanded the young boys to return.
When Hazrat Umairra heard this, he hid himself behind other warriors. But the Holy Prophetsa was apprised of it and he commanded him to return. At this, Hazrat Umairra started crying. Seeing his keenness and eagerness, the Holy Prophetsa allowed him.
Just reflect, how dear a man sees his life! But the Companionsra of the Holy Prophetsa would try to go out into battlefields on occasions where they were more likely to lose their lives than to survive.
But in this age of ours, though chances of losing one’s life are little and those who go out for preaching, their chances of returning home are much greater, yet some people shirk from it and try to avoid it and then wail about the helplessness of Islam. They fail to understand how one can hope for success without treading the path which gave honour to the Companionsra, who lifted and exalted the standard of Islam. (Al-Isabah, Vol. 4, p. 603)
Hazrat Abdur-Rahmanra bin Auf reports an incident in the ahadith which makes one’s hairs stand on end. Even gallant soldiers themselves would appreciate the valiance of young Muslim warriors. He reports:
“Once both the armies had arrayed themselves in the Battle of Badr and general fighting was about to begin, I looked at my right, then left and found two young boys of the Ansar on my flanks. I was disheartened to see boys. I thought that one could not fight well in a battle unless both his sides were strong and both of my sides appeared to be weak because of the presence of two young boys there. Thus, I thought that there were very little chances for me to fight a fight worthy of being remembered.
“I was still occupied with such a thought when one of the boys whispered to me asking secretly, as though he wanted to keep it secret from the other boy, saying, ‘Uncle! Who is Abu Jahl, who severely persecuted the Holy Prophetsa in Mecca? I have made a covenant with God Almighty to kill him, or else I will lay my own life in an attempt to kill him.’
“I was yet to answer him when the other boy asked me the same question in a similar fashion. I was astonished to see such high resolution of the children. I thought to myself, ‘How can these children fulfill their vows while Abu Jahl is protected by very renowned and seasoned warriors of the Quraish?’
“Nevertheless, I pointed towards Abu Jahl for them. The moment I made this indication, both boys leapt like eagles and in the blink of an eye, breaking the enemy ranks, both set upon Abu Jahl. They attacked him so briskly that in a moment, the head of the arrogant and rebellious man was rolling down in dust.
“All this happened so quickly that the comrades of Abu Jahl were left gazing in surprise. Ikrimah, too, accompanied his father. Though he failed to protect him, he attacked one of the boys, Hazrat Muaz. Ikrimah struck him powerfully and with only one blow of his sword, Hazrat Muaz’s arm was cut and dangled in the air.
“Despite this severe blow, Muazra did not retreat; rather, he chased Ikrimah, but the latter escaped. Hazrat Muazra continued fighting. Since the suspended arm hindered him from fighting, he pulled it apart and continued fighting. (Musnad Imam Tahawi, Vol. 6, Tabi‘ Abdullah bin Mas‘ud, Umarra bin Khattab, p. 114) (Al-Isabah, Vol. 2, p. 429)
The following incident will suffice to help evaluate how keen the Companionsra had been to fight in the way of Allah. Hazrat Saadra bin Khashbah was young at the time of the Battle of Badr, but he made preparations to join the Muslim army.
Since his father too was ready to go for the battle, he suggested that one of them must stay at home and so, he asked the son to stay. The son replied, “Had it been some other occasion where the attainment of Paradise was not in question, I would have obeyed you and given precedence to you over myself. But I am not willing to do it in this case.”
Thus both of them decided to cast a lot, which fell in favour of the son. He participated and was martyred in the battle. (Usdul-Ghabah, Vol. 2, p. 194)
(Translated by Shahid Mahmood Ahmad, Missionary in Ghana, from the original Urdu, Muslim Nau-jawanon kay Sunehri Karnamey)