The exemplary young Companions r.a.: Righteous indignation for faith

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Rahmatullah Khan Shakir (1901-2000), Former Assistant Editor and Manager of Al Fazl

Unbiased loyalty to Islam

The insurgency of apostasy emerged in the beginning of the Khilafat of Hazrat Abu Bakrra. After the insurrection was suppressed and the rebels were brought to be executed, one of the insurgents was found to be an uncle of a young companion, Hazrat Imru‘ al-Qaisra. He himself advanced to execute his uncle. 

The uncle asked his nephew, “Will you raise your hand against your uncle and will you smite your sword on the neck of your father’s brother? Will you really kill me?” In reply, he said, “Of course, you are my uncle, but Allah the Almighty, for Whom I am going to execute you, is my Lord. (Al-Isti‘ab, Vol. 1, p. 104)

Preparedness to kill one’s father for Islam

On his way back from the Battle of Bani Mustaliq, the Holy Prophetsa stopped at a place called Marisi. At this place, the hypocrites, who always sought to disintegrate the Muslims and render the nascent Islam like a withered plant, devised a dangerous plan against it. There was a likelihood of Muslims massacring each other. Having cleansed them of bigotry, the brotherhood generated by Islam could have come to an end and a civil war could have started. 

Its detail is as follows: Jahjah, a servant of Hazrat Umarra, went to fetch some water. Sanan, a man from among the Ansar, too, was there to fetch water. Both of them possessed below-average knowledge and wisdom. Meanwhile, both of them started arguing with each other on some issue. Jahjah slapped Sanan, at which the latter started crying for help and called the Ansar [Muslim native residents of Medina] whereas Jahjah called out Muhajireen (Muslim migrants in Medina). 

In a trice, there gathered a large crowd. There was a possibility of swords to be drawn and for Muslims to pollute their hands with the blood of their brothers. But some senior Companions intervened and settled the dispute and thus the trouble was curbed. 

But Abdullah bin Ubay bin Salul, the chief of the hypocrites, again tried to fan the flame of disharmony when he saw a chance of disorder going to waste. Addressing his accomplices, he said: 

لَىِٕنْ رَّجَعْنَاۤ اِلَی الْمَدِيْنَةِ لَيُخْرِجَنَّ الْاَعَزُّ مِنْهَا الْاَذَلَّ

“Once we return to Medina, the most honourable will surely drive out therefrom the most mean” (Surah al-Munafiqun, Ch.63: V.9). The devout Muslims’s passion was inflamed upon hearing this remark and they were becoming restless to execute Abdullah bin Ubai bin Salul. 

When Abdullah’s son, Hazrat Hababra, learnt of the incident, he approached the Holy Prophetsa and submitted:

“O Prophetsa of God! I have come to know of a mischief by my father and you have ordered to execute him. If this information is true, then allow me to execute my father and present his head to you, for if you entrust this task to someone else, in that case, I may, sometime in the future, harm the Muslim executioner considering him to be the killer of my father and thus make my abode in Hell.” But the Holy Prophetsa replied that he had no such intention. (Sirat Ibn Hisham, Vol. 2, p. 290)

At this mischief of his father, Hazrat Hababra was so enraged that once the Muslim forces departed therefrom, he stood in his father’s way and said, “By God! I will not allow you to go back unless you admit that the most honourable is the Holy Prophetsa and you are the most mean.” He insisted so much for this demand that Abdullah bin Ubay had to submit to it. (Al-Isti‘ab, Vol. 3, p. 940)

Preference for death over begging disbelievers for life

The account of 70 qaris sent to educate a clan in matters of faith has been given earlier. The disbelievers surrounded the Muslim party at Bir Maona where all of them got martyred except Hazrat Umarra bin Mundhar, leader of the Muslim party. The disbelievers offered him protection with the proviso that he demanded it. But his sense of honour for faith did not allow him to beg for his life from the disbelievers and he preferred death over the life of shamelessness. 

Everyone knows how dear life is. It is not hard to evaluate one’s indignation for faith when it becomes possible to save one’s own life by a few words, but one prefers not to utter those words. He fought gallantly and laid his life in the cause of faith. (Tabqat Ibn Saad, Vol. 2, pp. 48-49)

Khalidra bin Walid’s passion for faith on accepting Islam

Walid bin Walid, the brother of a renowned Muslim general, Hazrat Khalidra bin Walid, was a prisoner of war in the Battle of Badr. He was demanded 4,000 dirhams as ransom, which was paid by his brothers. 

After his release, he returned to Mecca and soon after, announced that he was accepting Islam. At this, his brothers got offended and complained; if he had to accept Islam, then why did the brothers pay the ransom! He replied that he did this so that nobody could criticise his acceptance of Islam to be a ruse to avoid ransom. 

What passion for faith! Heart and soul had accepted Islam and faith had captured his heart. Attending to the call of conscience, he could have saved his family from a hefty monetary penalty. But his jealousy for faith did not tolerate that somebody should taint his faith by terming it a ruse to avoid ransom. 

After his acceptance of Islam, the disbelievers of Mecca arrested him and tortured him severely. But the intoxication of the unity of God was not to be relieved and he remained steadfast and fled to Medina when he got a chance. (Usdul-Ghabah, Vol. 4, p. 678)

Verbally defending the honour of the Prophetsa

Hazrat Umairra bin Saad’s father died when the former was quite young. His mother married Jalas, a hypocrite by nature, who was the guardian of Hazrat Umairra. Hazrat Umairra had accepted Islam in childhood and despite poverty, participated in the Battle of Tabuk. 

On one occasion, Jalas commented that if Muhammadsa was a true prophet, then they were worse than the asses. Umairra could not control his temper when he heard this comment and instantly replied, “Of course the Holy Prophetsa is a true prophet and you people are indeed worse than asses.” 

This was an intolerable and blunt reply for Jalas from his stepson. Hazrat Umairra could not have been unaware of the outcome of this straightforward reply. He knew very well that the person he talked to supported him financially. And if he withdrew from his support, he would have to face severe hardships. But his jealousy for faith shunned all such thoughts and without any hesitation, said something in defence of his faith. 

So did it happen as was predicted and Jalas said that hitherto, he would not financially support him. But Umairra cared nothing for it and apprised the Holy Prophetsa of what had happened. Jalas flatly denied it when the Holy Prophetsa asked him about it. But divine revelation corroborated what Umairra had said. The Holy Prophetsa lovingly held Umairra from his ear and said “What your ears heard was true.” (Dur al-Manthur, Tafsir Surah al-Taubah, Tafsir “Yahlifuna Billahi ma Qalu”)

Criticising the Khalifa

Some people are given to talking about such matters as cause mischief and disorder in the Jamaat; especially those matters that can be very dangerous against amirs and the Khulafa. The jealousy of the Companionsra for faith would never allow such things to be tolerated if any of it happened in their company. 

Hazrat Ammar bin Yasirra accepted Islam in young age. A Muslim, Matraf by name, reports, “Once, I went to Kufa and stayed with a friend. Another man not known to me was seated there and was patching up his leather dress. I started a discussion about Hazrat Ali that was critical of him. At this, that man got infuriated and reproached me saying, ‘O hypocrite! You criticise the Leader of the Muslims!’ My friend apologised to him and asked him to forgive me as I was his guest. Then I learnt that he was Hazrat Ammar bin Yasirra’. (Tabqat Ibn Saad, Vol. 3, p. 193, Zikr Ammar bin Yasir)

Regretfully, in this age of ours, manifestation of such a jealousy for faith is deemed to be uncivilised. There are some people who, when they hear such mischievous things from their friends and relatives, deem it a demand of their relationship with them to cover them or exhibit agreement with their opinions. And if such people are accounted for their mischiefs, they try their best to protect them from penalty.

First bloodshed in the cause of faith Defending the dignity of Islam

Hazrat Saadra bin Abi Waqas accepted Islam when he was a mature young man. Since Mecca, at that time, was not a peaceful place for the Muslims, he too, like others, secretly offered prayers in uninhabited valleys. 

Once, when some disbelievers found him offering prayer, they started mocking Islam. Hazrat Saadra, despite being aware of the Muslims’ helplessness and power and tyranny of the disbelievers, could not endure the mockery and hit one of them on the head with a camel bone, which caused bleeding. It is reported that this was the first bloodshed in the cause of faith. (Tabqat Ibn Saad, Vol. 3, p. 102, Zikr Saadra bin Abi Waqas)

A Muslim’s refusal for protection from a disbeliever

Hazrat Uthmanra bin Maz‘un was among the early Muslims. This was a precarious time for the Muslims when the Quraish of Mecca made the few and weak bearers of tawhid [oneness of God] a target of various types of persecution. They thought that in such a way, they would succeed in wiping out Islam. 

Having his patience exhausted, Hazrat Uthmanra, accompanied by some other Companions, left for Abyssinia. But after a rumour spread that the Quraish had embraced Islam, he returned to Mecca. He learnt it to be a rumour only when he had reached near Mecca. At this stage, he was left with no choice but to proceed to Mecca and he entered Mecca at the security offer of an idol-worshipper, Walid bin Mughirah. 

Due to the influence of Walid, he himself was safe against the cruelties of the disbelievers, but other believers were constantly smitten with persecution. His jealousy for faith was roused to see this situation and he reckoned it shameful for himself to enjoy the protection of a disbeliever while his brothers underwent hardships. Such thoughts made him restless. 

The very next moment, he was with Walid bin Mughirah and told him to take his protection back, and that he was no more under his responsibility. The example of the Holy Prophetsa and his Companions was enough for him. He wanted to live with the support of God and His Prophetsa only. He asked Walid to immediately go along with him to the Ka‘bah and announce to renounce his protection as he had earlier announced to protect him. So it was done.

After renouncing the protection, Hazrat Uthmanra reached a poetic assembly of the Quraish, where a renowned poet of that time, Labid, was reciting to the disbelievers some verses. One of his couplets being recited meant that all bounties were bound to be terminated. At this, Hazrat Uthmanra spontaneously spoke out that the bounties of Paradise would never cease. Labid repeated the couplet and Uthmanra too interjected again. 

In reply, he turned to the Quraish saying that he was surprised to see such insolence in their assembly, at which a disbeliever thrashed Uthmanra on the face forcefully and discoloured his eye. The people commented that he was secure as long as he was under the protection of Walid and no one could have dared to harm him in such a way. Walid again offered him his protection, but his jealousy for faith did not bear it and he again denied his protection. (Usdul-Ghabah, Vol. 3, p. 494)

Bravely responding to blasphemy

The Companionsra had a passionate sense of indignation for their faith and this trait is exhibited in their lives even at times of great danger. 

It has already been related that Hazrat Abu Fukayhara was a slave, whose master, Safwan bin Umayyah, would persecute him in various ways. He was dragged on the blazing ground of streets with a rope tied to his feet. 

One day, he was being dragged in the same way, when he saw a dung beetle. Safwan tauntingly asked him if this was his God. It is clear that in such a state of helplessness an answer or a rebuttal by a slave to a master in authority was tantamount to adding fuel to the fire. He could have kept quiet at this mockery and could have sufficed to mind it in his heart. 

But his jealousy for faith did mind it. To hear this comment, he forgot all his troubles and the feeling of his helplessness was gone and he retorted, “My God and your God is the Almighty Allah.” 

At this, Safwan got infuriated and forcefully throttled him to semi-unconscious. A brother of Hazrat Abu Fukayhara accompanied Safwan at that time and instead of sympathising with him, he encouraged Safwan to augment the persecution. (Usdul-Ghabah, Vol. 5, p. 248, Abu Fukayha)

Preference for faith over family

Utbah was one of the foremost antagonists of Islam and the Holy Prophetsa. On the occasion of the Battle of Badr, he advanced with a sword in hand and was encountered with his own son, Abu Huzayfara, who had accepted Islam. To see this, his sister censured him in couplets, which meant, “You are very ungrateful to your father who brought you up and today you are fighting him.” But he disregarded all these provocations and fulfilled the demand of passionately defending his faith. (Usdul-Ghabah, Vol. 5, p. 71, Abu Huzayfa)

Refusal to dishonour the Prophetsa

On the occasion of the Treaty of Hudaibiyyah, when the agreement was being penned down, the emissary of the disbelievers insisted that the words, “The Prophet of God” should not be written along with the Holy Prophet’ssa name “Muhammad”. Accepting this demand, the Holy Prophetsa commanded Hazrat Alira to remove the objectionable words. 

Despite the fact that the Companionsra considered the compliance of commands of the Holy Prophetsa to be a means of their success in both the worlds, Hazrat Alira hesitated to remove them with his own hands on account of his passion for his faith, and so, the Holy Prophetsa himself removed it with his own hand. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Shurut, Bab Shurut fil-Jihad wal Masalihah ma‘a ahlil-Harb wal-Kitabat-ish-Shart)

Conviction before certain death

Before the disbelievers executed Hazrat Khubaibra, he offered two rak‘aat of voluntary prayer and thereafter said to them that he had desired to prolong the prayer; but had shortened it lest they thought he prolonged it for fear of death. He also recited a couplet which meant, “When I am dying as a Muslim, it makes no difference to me which way my body and which way my head falls. I die in the name of Allah and if He wills, He will bless my severed limbs.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Maghazi, Bab Fazlu man Shahida Badr)

Hazrat Abu Bakrra disregards support of friend due to passion for Islam

The persecution by the Quraish was not confined to the indigent and helpless Muslims; even the influential Muslims were not spared this treatment. Hazrat Abu Bakrra too fell victim to these cruelties. 

After some Muslims migrated to Abyssinia, Hazrat Abu Bakrra also set off to Abyssinia. At a small distance out of Mecca, he ran into a disbeliever, Ibn al-Dughna. He enquired from Hazrat Abu Bakrra as to where he had intended to go. Abu Bakrra replied that his people had exiled him. 

Ibn al-Dughna replied, “You look after the destitute and the kith and kin, you are hospitable and help the afflicted; a man like you cannot be exiled. Go back! You can live in my protection.” Thus, Hazrat Abu Bakrra returned along with him. Ibn al-Dughna announced that he had given protection to Hazrat Abu Bakrra and the Quraish acknowledged it and allowed Hazrat Abu Bakrra to offer prayers and recite the Holy Quran within the four-walls of his house. 

Hazrat Abu Bakrra would offer the prayer in the courtyard of his house and recite the Holy Quran aloud. 

The Quraish objected to his touching recitation, as he recited it with so much fervour and pain that it penetrated the hearts of the listeners. Therefore, the Quraish feared that the women and children of the surrounding families might be influenced by it. They complained about it to Ibn al-Dughna. 

Ibn al-Dughna suggested to Hazrat Abu Bakrra to abstain from it or else he would withdraw his support. Hazrat Abu Bakr’sra jealousy for faith did not allow him to recourse to hypocrisy. With all indifference, he denied Ibn al-Dughna’s protection and said that the protection of Allah and His Prophetsa were enough for him. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Manaqib-il-Ansar, Bab Hijrat-un-Nabiy wa Ashabihi ilal-Medina)

Hazrat Umarra accepted Islam at the young age of 33. This was a time when the Muslims led an extremely miserable life. After he embraced Islam, he gathered the disbelievers and announced his belief in Islam. The disbelievers were bound to be enraged at it. But his maternal uncle, Aas bin Wa‘il, announced to take him into his protection. Hazrat Umar’sra jealousy for faith, however, did not allow him to rely on this support and he flatly denied it and said, “In such circumstances, when other Muslims are becoming victim of the persecution at the hands of the disbelievers, I do not wish to live a comfortable life in somebody’s protection.” Very bravely, he faced persecution by them and accompanied by a group of Muslims, offered the prayer in the Ka‘bah. (Sirat Ibn Hisham, Vol. 1, p. 350, Zikr Islamu Umar bin Khattab)

Muslim women’s indignation for faith

The jealousy for faith was a hallmark not of the Muslim men only; Muslim women also exhibited it and became ready to sacrifice their lives and beloved children. 

During the time of Hazrat Abu Bakrra, in the Battle of Yamamah against Musaylimah the Imposter, Hazrat Umm Amarahra got so impassioned that along with her young son, she joined the ranks of Hazrat Khalidra and fought against Musaylimah. Her son, Habib, attained martyrdom during the battle. (Siyar al-Sahabiyat, p.130)

The women of our age should reflect as to what their state would be at such a time if the slain body of their young son was laid before them. Certainly, by their wailing, they would make a lot of hue and cry. But observe the courage of this courageous lady who, seeing the body of her son, declares that either Musaylimah would be slain in the battle, or she would lay her life fighting. 

She drew her sword and plunged into the battle. She fought very gallantly, so much so that she received twelve injuries and lost a hand, but retreated not. God Almighty fulfilled the word of her mouth and Musaylimah was slain in that very battle.

An essential lesson for this age

There are many lessons for us in the above-mentioned few examples of the sense of indignation and jealousy for faith by the young Companionsra. These examples reveal that they would disregard the most sensitive relationships when the question of faith arose. In the case of faith, a father would disregard the son and the son, his father; the husband would forget the wife and the wife, her husband. Only the fulfilment of the objective of faith in the best manner was before them and they allowed no other relationship to hinder it. 

In case of a mischief against Islam by a father, the son himself would stand with a sword in hand in his father’s way to behead him. And the father, disregarding all paternal love, would become ready to sever the head of his son. 

As Islam was weak in its nascent early days, had the Companionsra not expressed their passion for faith so strongly and instead, shown favouritism towards their relatives and when confronting the enemy, deemed them to be their relatives, or protecting those who damaged Islam internally on account of them being their kith and kin, the progress of Islam would have stopped there and then. 

Religious warfare is forbidden in this age of ours and we are far removed from the battlefield. Therefore, let alone the question of fighting relatives, there is no occasion for fighting the enemy at all. 

But one mortal disease of the modern society that has spread in our country and is fatal to the national life is undue ostentation, unnatural sympathy, false sincerity and its related demands. 

If, on the one hand, hypocrisy is found in greater degree, on the other, it has found undue support. Some people, on account of being ignorant of the essence of faith, or becoming a tool in the hands of the opponents, are given to making such comments about the Jamaat which may cause differences and disintegration and thus, harms national unity. 

A big hurdle in the way of taking notice of such things or guarding others of its evil influence is that people cover such shortcomings of their kith and kin and try to keep it veiled lest they be held accountable. The most tragic aspect of this is that if such shortcomings are revealed inadvertently, even then, their jealousy for faith is not moved to help curb this malady by testifying against it and thus earn a reward in the Hereafter. 

The above accounts will have revealed to readers that the Companionsra were free of such ills, so much so that even children fully realised their responsibilities in this regard. If they happened to hear something that could cause mischief, even if it was said by their closest relative, jeopardising their future, they themselves would impart it to the Holy Prophetsa

They gave precedence to the national interest over their personal interest and comfort and disregarding its outcome, they would impart its facts to the Holy Prophetsa, so much so that they offered their services to close the door of such a mischief by their own sword. 

If our youth follow in the footsteps of such examples and to control such mischiefs, they make use of every possible and lawful means in this age of ours, the establishment of faith can be greatly helped and can be protected against harms by the enemies.

(Translated by Shahid Mahmood Ahmad, Missionary in Ghana, from the original Urdu, Muslim Nau-jawanon kay Sunehri Karnamey)

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