The exemplary young Companions: Sacrifice in the cause of faith

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Last Updated on 29th December 2020

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

After embracing Islam, Hazrat Ikrimahra bin Abi Jahl vowed to spend double the wealth in the cause of Islam as he had spent before Islam against it and to fight double the amount of battles he had fought in opposition to Islam, for the cause of Islam. 

The pages of Islam’s history are adorned with his achievements in the expeditions of Syria and against rebellious apostates after the demise of the Holy Prophetsa. Of course, he fulfilled the vow of battles. And as for monetary sacrifice, he never took even a grain from the treasury for preparation and other expenditures of all these battles. 

Hazrat Abu Bakrra once inspected the Muslim army when they were preparing for their expedition to Syria. He noticed horses around the camp and swords, spears and other weapons in large numbers. As he approached this camp, he learned that the camp belonged to Hazrat Ikrimahra and all the artillery also belonged to him. Hazrat Abu Bakrra offered to give him some amount to reimburse him for expenditures on the battle, but Ikrimahra refused to take it and answered by saying that he still had 2,000 dinars with him; therefore he needed not burden the public treasury. (Usdul-Ghabbah, Vol. 3, p. 569)

Aside from monetary sacrifice, sacrifice of one’s honour is also not very easy to make. Many people are deprived of accepting guidance merely because they are overly cautious about falling in the sight of people. But the state of the Companionsra was different altogether. They were ever ready to make any kind of sacrifice in the cause of faith.

Hazrat Saadra bin Muaz was the chief of his tribe. The people of his tribe came to learn about his embracing Islam. Thereafter, when he reached his people, he asked them, “What rank do I hold among you?” His people replied, “You are a chief and possess excellence.” He said, “I will not talk to you unless you embrace Islam.” On account of his standing amongst his people, the whole tribe joined the fold of Islam before the sun set. (Usdul-Ghabbah, Vol. 2, p. 221)

Hazrat Abdullah bin Zaidra owned a small property and even in straitened circumstances, he catered for his family. An occasion arose when money was needed for the cause of faith for which the Muslims were urged to donate. Despite Hazrat Abdullahra lacking funds, he was infused with the spirit of faith. He presented in the cause of faith whatever he had owned. His father complained of it to the Holy Prophetsa. The Holy Prophetsa called for Abdullahra and said, “Allah has accepted your charity; now I return it to you as an inheritance of your father. Do accept it.” (Usdul-Ghabbah, Vol. 2, p. 128)

When the Quranic verse:

مَنْ‭ ‬ذَا‭ ‬الَّذِیْ ‬يُقْرِضُ‭ ‬اللّٰهَ‭ ‬قَرْضًا‭ ‬حَسَنًا

was revealed, a young companion, Hazrat Thabitra bin Dahdah presented himself to the service of the Holy Prophetsa and submitted, “O Prophetsa of God! Does Allah ask for loan from us?” The Holy Prophetsa replied in the affirmative. 

The moment he heard this, all worldly needs and worries of his family and future became secondary and only God, His Prophetsa and His faith were at the forefront. Thus, he gave all his wealth in charity. (Usdul-Ghabbah, Vol. 5, p. 97, Zikr Abu Dahdah)

The Companionsra excelled each other in giving charity after the Quranic verse:

لَنْ‭ ‬تَنَالُوا‭ ‬الْبِرَّ‭ ‬حَتّٰی ‬تُنْفِقُوْا‭ ‬مِمَّا‭ ‬تُحِبُّوْنَ

was revealed. Hazrat Abu Talhahra dedicated one of his highly valuable properties. This property contained a well of very palatable drinking water. The Holy Prophetsa loved to drink the water from this well. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab-uz-Zakat, Bab Zakat alal-Aqarib)

Once, the Holy Prophetsa visited Hazrat Fatimahra after her marriage with Hazrat Alira. She requested the Holy Prophetsa to ask Harthahra bin Nu‘man to vacate one house for them as he owned many houses. The Holy Prophetsa replied, “He already has vacated so many houses for us that I have reservations to ask for more.” Thus, the Holy Prophetsa did not approve of talking to him about vacating another house. 

When Harthahra learnt of this from some other source, he immediately came to the Holy Prophetsa and submitted, “O Prophet of God! May all of my wealth and property be sacrificed for you! It gives me great pleasure when you accept any of my things. Your acceptance of a thing gives me greater pleasure than a thing that remains in my possession. Then he himself vacated a house and presented it to the service of the Holy Prophetsa, which was then given to Hazrat Alira and Hazrat Fatimahra. (Tabqat Ibn Saad, Vol. 3, p.372, Harthah bin Nu‘man)

In 8AH, the Muslims had to go for an expedition, Jaish al-Khabt. The Muslim army, who numbered 300, ran out of food. They faced great trouble, so much so that they had to live on tree leaves. Hazrat Qaisra bin Sad bin Ibadahwas a part of this expedition; thrice, he borrowed and sacrificed three camels and hosted the entire army. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab-ul-Maghazi, Bab Ghazwatu Saif al-Bahar)

Hazrat Suhaibra was one of the early Muslims. He was a very humble and helpless man. The Quraish would torture him in various ways. On one occasion, his patience exhausted and he decided to immigrate, to which the Quraish of Mecca said to him that when he came to them, he was indigent and broke. Now, because of them, he had become rich and that he wished to take away his wealth along with him. They said they would never allow him to do this. 

His passion for faith was not such as would allow the shackles of his wealth and property hinder him from immigrating in the way of Allah. He offered them to take all his wealth and allow him to leave, to which they agreed. Thus, he handed them all his wealth and property and immigrated empty-handed. At this, the Holy Prophetsa said:

ربِح‭ ‬صهيب

“Suhaibra made a good bargain.”

Those who are deprived of serving the cause of Allah for trivial impediments and let go of the occasion of earning reward should reflect on the example of this noble man, who, without hesitating for a moment, sacrificed all his savings to protect his faith. (Tabqat Ibn Saad, Vol. 3, pp. 227-228)

On the occasion of the Battle of Hunain, Hazrat Naufalra bin Harith presented 3,000 spears from his own pocket to the Muslim force. (Usdul-Ghabbah, Vol. 4, p. 593)

Once, the Holy Prophetsa went to enquire after Hazrat Saadra bin Malik. He was so excited on this good fortune of his that he submitted to the Holy Prophetsa, “O Prophetsa of God! I give all my wealth in charity in the cause of Allah.” 

The Holy Prophetsa asked, “Have you left anything for your heirs?” He replied, “They all are well off, with the grace of Allah.” But the Holy Prophetsa said, “Bequeath [in charity] only one tenth.” 

Hazrat Saadra bin Malik expressed his desire to give more than this. At this, the Holy Prophetsa allowed him to give in charity one third at the most. (Tirmidhi, Abwab-ul-Jana‘iz, Bab ma ja‘a fil-Wasiyyati bith-Thuluthi war-Ruba)

Hazrat Hazrat Saadra bin Abi Waqas was suffering from his final illness. The Holy Prophetsa visited him. He submitted to the Holy Prophetsa, “I have an abundance of wealth and only one heir – a daughter – and I desire to give in charity two thirds of my wealth.” 

The Holy Prophetsa forbade him from doing so. Then he asked to be allowed to give one half. But the Holy Prophetsa did not allow this as well and said, “One third is enough.” (Abu Dawud, Kitab-ul-Wasaya, Bab ma ja‘a fi ma la Yajuzu lil-Musi fi Malihi)

Hazrat Talhahra embraced Islam at the young age of 17 or 18 and defended the Holy Prophetsa gallantly in the Battle of Badr. This has been discussed in detail at some other place in this book. As for his monetary sacrifice, in this respect also, he was no less than anybody else. He had vowed to offer his wealth for the expenditures of expeditions and battles and fulfilled this vow with consistency and steadfastness.

On the occasion of the Battle of Tabuk, when the Muslims in general were faced with adverse circumstances and the procurement of weaponry and other war material was extremely difficult, Hazrat Talhahra gave a hefty amount. At this, the Holy Prophetsa honoured him with the title of “fayyaz” (generous). (Usdul-Ghabbah, Vol. 2, p. 468, Zikr Talhah bin Ubaidullah Al-Qarshi)

When the Quranic verse:

رِجَالٌ صَدَقُوْا مَاعَاهَدُوا اللہَ عَلَيْهِ ۖ فَمِنْهُمْ مَّنْ قَضٰی نَحْبَهٗ

was revealed, the Holy Prophetsa said, “Talhah! You too are one of them.” (Fathul-Bari, Vol. 8, p. 518, Kitab-ut-Tafsir, Bab Minhum man Qaza Nahbahu)

During the battle of Dhu-Qarad, when Hazrat Talhahra, along with the Holy Prophetsa and other Companions, passed by a spring, he bought it and dedicated it in the cause of Allah. (Al-Isabah, Vol. 3, p. 430, Zikr Talhah bin Ubaidullah)

Hazrat Abdur-Rahmanra bin Auf accepted Islam at young age. He was a successful businessman and was very wealthy, but money was not dear to him at all. In fact, he would feel pleasure in spending his welath in the way of Allah. 

Once, his trading caravan comprising of 700 camels, laden with wheat, flour and other food items, came into Medina. As it was an unusual occurrence, it became the talk of the town. Hazrat Aishara said that the Holy Prophetsa had said that Abdur-Rahmanra would enter heaven crawling. This statement reached the ears of Hazrat Abdur-Rahmanra as well. He came to Hazrat Aishahra and said, “Be thou a witness that I have devoted the whole caravan, with all its goods and luggage, in the cause of Allah.” (Usdul-Ghabbah, Vol. 3, p. 379)

The above-mentioned is not the only example of his monetary sacrifice. Throughout his life, Hazrat Abdur-Rahmanra had sacrificed plentifully in the cause of faith. Twice, he gave 40,000 dinars as lump sums. Once, for a battle, he presented 500 horses and the same amount of camels. (Usdul-Ghabbah, Vol. 3, p. 379)

On his death bed, Hazrat Abdur-Rahmanra bequeathed 50,000 dinars and 1,000 horses to be given in the cause of Allah. Aside from this, he also bequeathed 400 dinars for each of the Badri Companions (the Companions who had fought in the Battle of Badr) who were alive and who numbered around a hundred at the time. All of them happily accepted it; even Hazrat Uthmanra accepted his share. (Usdul-Ghabbah, Vol. 3, p. 380)

The Companionsra made sacrifices in the cause of Allah in multifarious ways. The sacrifice of an affluent person in the cause of faith is a different thing, but depriving oneself of all of one’s capital and savings by an underprivileged person is indeed an arduous trial. Satan tried to weaken their faith by this means as well, but, like all other trials, in this also they were proven unfaltering.

Hazrat Khababra was a young companion who was owed some money by an idol-worshipper, Aas bin Waail. Having embraced Islam, Hazrat Khababra demanded his debt from Aas. Aas replied “I will never return your money, until and unless you renounce your belief in Muhammadsa publicly.” 

Khababra replied, “Whether I get the money or not, know that until the Day of Judgment, it is impossible for me to renounce the prophethood of Muhammadsa for an insignificant material benefit.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab-ul-Ijarah, Bab Hal Yuwajirur-Rajulu Nafsahu min Mushrik)

In addition to sacrificing one’s life, money and honour, the sacrifice of one’s worldly relations is also very hard to make. Those who responded to the call of the Holy Prophetsa were to definitely face this difficulty too. The Companionsra had to make such sacrifices and in these sacrifices too, they set very high examples.

Hazrat Saadra bin Abi Waqas was very obedient and devoted to his mother. He was 19 when he joined the fold of Islam. His mother was very sad to learn this and vowed not to eat or drink or talk to him unless Saadra renounced his new faith. 

She kept her vow so firmly that she fell unconscious on the third day of her strike. Due to the weakness, she suffered from fits. She assumed that her continuous starvation and misery would force her devoted son to obey her and he would renounce Islam and sacrifice his faith for her sake. But the love for Islam did not permit this, although it was a terrible trial. 

On the one hand, his mother’s life was in peril, while on the other, his faith was at stake. In normal circumstances, very rarely do people become ready to sacrifice their mother for their faith. But for Hazrat Saadra, Islam was much dearer to him than his mother. Thus, the resistance from his mother did not impact him and he clearly said to her that even if she had a hundred lives and gave every one of them, even then he would not renounce Islam. (Usdul-Ghabbah, Vol. 2, p. 216, Zikr Saad bin Malik Al-Qarshi) 

Many other Companionsra were faced with such tribulations, but all of them remained steadfast. Hazrat Khalidra bin Saeed’s acceptance of Islam was a shock for his father, who thrashed him a great deal and abstained from eating and drinking. He vowed that he would not eat or drink until and unless his son renounced Islam. 

A boycott was ordered in the house and the whole family stopped talking to him. But this noble soul was not affected by any of these strategies. He could not bear to part from the Holy Prophetsa evem for a single moment and finally migrated to Abyssinia. 

The grief of his father increased all the more and he left for Ta‘if with all his belongings. (Tabqat Ibn Saad, Vol. 4, p. 74, Khalid bin Saeed bin Al-As)

Hazrat Abu Bakrra was two and a half years younger than the Holy Prophetsa. The Prophetsa proclaimed prophethood at the age of 40. Thus, Abu Bakrra can also be counted among the young Companionsra

Many slaves and slave-girls were owned by their idol-worshipping masters. The Muslim slaves were regularly persecuted by them because of their faith. Hazrat Abu Bakr’sra love for his persecuted brothers in faith neutralised his love for money. Paying from his own pocket, he liberated many slaves, such as Hazrat Bilalra, Hazrat Amirra bin Fuherah, Nazirah, Nahdiyyah, Jariyah bin Naufal and Bint-e-Tahdiyyah etc.

Without any worldly temptation or hope of any apparent gain, huge monetary sacrifices for such people who were neither relatives nor kindred, some of whom were not even fellow countrymen, is a trait of the Muslims only. (Fath-ul-Bari, Vol. 7, p. 24)

Hazrat Abu Bakrra was among the wealthy people of Arabia. He embraced Islam when he was young, which is the age of ambitions and longings. According to the social atmosphere of Arabs, this was the age of leading a happy and blissful social life. But Abu Bakrra had devoted his wealth and riches in the cause of faith. He had 40,000 dirhams with him when he accepted Islam, but he spent it all in the cause of faith.

His philanthropy was such that during his Khilafat, he was 6,000 dirhams in debt. At the time of his death, he was in debt and made a will to pay off the debt by selling his orchard, with the remaining money to be handed over to Hazrat Umarra

At the demise of this great man, who had vast amounts of wealth and riches and was eventually conferred upon the august role of sovereignty, he was found to possess only a slave, a slave-girl and two camels, which were all handed over to Hazrat Umarra. (Tabqat Ibn Saad, Vol. 3, p. 193)

Hazrat Uthmanra accepted Islam when he was 34. He was very rich. After the migration of Muslims to Medina, the Muslims faced scarcity of water. There was only one well, Bir-e-Rumah, with palatable water, but that belonged to a Jew, who would sell the water of that well. 

The Companionsra were not financially strong as to buy water for drinking. Hazrat Uthmanra bought that well for 20,000 dirhams and sacrificed it in the cause of faith. (Al-Isti‘ab, Vol. 3, p. 1039)

Muslims were in extremely straitened circumstances when the Holy Prophetsa commanded them to prepare for the expedition of Tabuk. The procurement of war material was very difficult. The Holy Prophetsa urged the Companionsra to help monetarily. 

In response, Hazrat Uthmanra paid for the preparation of 10,000 soldiers and even the minutest of things was bought from his money for them. Additionally, he donated 1,000 camels, 70 horses and 1,000 dinars in cash for food supplies. (Al-Isti‘ab, Vol. 3, p. 1040)

It is reported about Hazrat Imam Hasanra that on three different occasions, he gave away half of his belongings in the way of Allah. He was so strict in halving it that he also gave one of a pair of shoes. (Usdul-Ghabbah, Vol. 1, p. 490, Zikr Hasan bin Ali)

All the Companionsra – men and women – endeavoured to always be ready for making all kinds of sacrifices in the way of Allah. In addition to wealth and riches or their own selves, whenever the need arose, they sacrificed even their children in all sincerity. Read the following example and see how perfect the faith of our elders had been.

In the time of Hazrat Umarra, when battle commenced at Qadsiyah in Iraq, Hazrat Khansara, along with her four sons, came in the battlefield and addressed her sons by saying:

“My dear sons! You did not accept Islam under any coercion, therefore it is incumbent upon you to make sacrifices for its sake. I swear in the name of Allah that I have never been disloyal to your father, nor have I disgraced your maternal uncle. The world is temporal; every born soul must die one day. But fortunate is the one who gets a chance to lay his life in the cause of Allah. Therefore, go into the battlefield tomorrow morning and fight till the last breath. Either return victorious or achieve martyrdom.”

The obedient sons listened to the advice of their old mother with due attention. 

When the battle started, they lifted the reins of their horses at the same time and very enthusiastically, reciting military songs, fell upon the infidels. All four of them attained martyrdom. 

The courageous mother expressed her gratefulness to God Almighty once she learnt of the martyrdom of the four sons that they were blessed by making sacrifices. (Usdul-Ghabbah, Vol. 6, p. 90, Zikr Khansa bint Umar)

These were a few examples of the sacrifices of men and women among the Companionsra. These contain the secret for the triumph of religion. They had chances of all kinds of sacrifices, including monetary, of lives, of honour, of kith and kin and even of their children. On all these occasions, they offered them wholeheartedly and cheerfully. 

These sacrifices were not offered by a specific group of Companionsra. Some may argue that monetary sacrifices are not at all difficult for affluent people and that this is a trial for the poor who have nothing to eat. But in the examples above, you will find that both the rich and the poor equally made extraordinary sacrifices. 

Some others may argue that it is not burdensome for one who already lives in impoverished circumstances to give in charity and that it is only a challenge for those whose needs are extended and who, due to being used to comfort and luxury, cannot live in hardships. 

The reality is that making sacrifices is neither dependent on wealth, nor is it a result of poverty and deprivation. It is associated with the faith of a person. Neither poverty nor affluence can hinder such a one from offering sacrifices who is enlightened with the light of faith. 

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

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