Rahmatullah Khan Shakir (1901-2000), Former Assistant Editor and Manager of Al Fazl
The history of the world fails to furnish an example similar to the love and devotion the Companionsra had for the Holy Prophetsa. Only a few instances will suffice to prove their devotion to the Holy Prophetsa.
They were ever ready to sacrifice their lives for him, like a moth is ready to sacrifice itself for a lamp. Not just the Muslim men, but the Muslim women too displayed a tremendous amount of devotion to the Holy Prophetsa and they held him the dearest of all their kith and kin.
Preference to the Prophetsa over father, brother and husband
After the Battle of Uhud, accompanied by his Companionsra, the Holy Prophetsa reached Medina in the afternoon. Rumour had it that the Holy Prophetsa had been martyred in the battle.
The womenfolk of Medina, on account of their anxiety for the Prophetsa, stood on the way where soldiers were to return and anxiously waited for anyone coming to ask them about the Holy Prophetsa.
An Ansari woman asked a man, who looked to be returning from Uhud, about the Holy Prophetsa. Since the companion’s heart was at rest and knew that the Holy Prophetsa was safe and sound, he evaded the question of the woman, but gave her news of the martyrdom of her father. As the companion, having no anxiety about the safety of the Holy Prophetsa, had disregarded the woman’s question about the Prophetsa, similarly the woman, being anxious for the Holy Prophetsa, disregarded the news of the martyrdom of her father and repeated her question about the Holy Prophetsa.
The companion again, not appreciating her anxiety, disregarded her question and gave her the news that her brother had also been martyred. But this news too was not important for her. In her view, at that time, her father and siblings were all of little value. She had only one thing in her mind and that was the safety of her beloved Mastersa. Therefore, she heard this news too with disinterest and repeated the same question with utmost restiveness.
Still the companion could not read the feelings of the woman and instead of giving her news of the security of the Holy Prophetsa, gave her the terrible news of the martyrdom of her husband. But this terrible news too, enough to ruin her whole life, impacted her not in the slightest and failed to distract her. Again, nervously, she questioned about the safety of the Holy Prophetsa and said, “I do not need such news. I care little about who else has died and who survived. Tell me about the safety of the Holy Prophetsa!”
Finally, when the companion had no other news to share with her, he told her that the Holy Prophetsa, with the grace of God, was safe and sound and was on his way back to Medina. Hearing this reply, she felt comforted and was no longer worried. Despite the fact that a moment before, she had heard the news of the destruction of her whole family, the news about the safety of the Holy Prophetsa removed all her dismay and a wave of calmness ran all through her veins and fibres and involuntarily, she exclaimed:
کُلُّ مُصِیْبَةٍ بَعْدَکَ جَلَلٌ
“As long as you are alive, all problems after you are of little worth.” (Sirat Ibn Hisham, Zikr Ghazwah Uhud Sha‘n al-Mar‘ah al-Dinariyah)
Blood of the Prophetsa
Here follows another example to show the intense love of the Companionsra for the Holy Prophetsa. The Holy Prophet’ssa face was wounded in the Battle of Uhud. Hazrat Malikra bin Sanan advanced and sucked the running blood. Out of respect for the Holy Prophetsa, he did not endure to spit it out on the ground and instead swallowed it.
At this, the Holy Prophetsa said, “Anybody who wants to see a man whose blood is mixed with that of mine should see Malik bin Sanan.”
Thereafter, Hazrat Malikra fought gallantly in the battle and laid his life in the cause of Allah. (Usdul-Ghabah, Vol. 4, p. 251)
Revenge through expression of love
In the Battle of Badr, the Holy Prophetsa arrayed the Muslim ranks with an arrow. A companion, Sawadra, was standing a little ahead of his rank. With the help of the arrow, the Holy Prophetsa signaled him to stand back, but inadvertently, the shaft of the arrow hit him lightly on the chest. Summoning some courage, Sawadra submitted to the Holy Prophetsa, “O Prophetsa of God! Allah has raised you with truth and justice. But you have hit me with the arrow and I must avenge it.”
To hear such insolence, the Companionsra, in their heart of hearts, convulsed with rage and wanted to cut away the tongue of such a blasphemer. Out of respect for the Prophetsa though, they kept their silence. These feelings of theirs as well were out of love for their guide, the Holy Prophetsa. But because of their own love, they failed to fathom the fountain of love that surged in the heart of Hazrat Sawadra and which compelled him to pronounce ostensibly such blasphemous words. How could the Holy Prophetsa, who was justice and equality incarnate, endure that somebody should cherish the thinking of his being unjust to anyone?
Without any delay, he replied to Sawadra, “Alright. You may take revenge on me.” Sawadra submitted that his chest was bare when his arrow hit him. At this, the Holy Prophetsa removed his shirt from his chest. Thereafter whatever happened will be remembered forever in the realm of love and devotion. Hazrat Sawadsa stepped forward and very respectfully kissed the blessed chest of his beloved Master and thus procured satisfaction for his restless soul.
With a smile on his face, the Holy Prophetsa asked him, “Sawadra, why did this idea strike you?”
In a chocking voice, Hazrat Sawadra replied:
“O Prophetsa of God! We are pitched against a formidable enemy in a battlefield. At any time, the bloody battle is going to begin. God knows who will survive and who will attain martyrdom. I wonder if I will get a chance to see you again or not. These tumultuous passions were raging in my heart, whether I would ever get a chance to touch this holy body again or not, therefore I desired to touch your blessed body at least once before I died. That is why such an idea crossed my mind.” (Sirat Ibn Hisham, Zikr Ghazwa Badr Ibn Ghaziyyah wa Zarbir-Rasul lahu fi Batnihi bil-Qadhah)
Love for the Prophetsa even in final moments
Hazrat Saadra bin Rabi got fatally wounded in the Battle of Uhud. After the battle was over, the Holy Prophetsa sent Ubayra bin Kaab to look for Saadra. After some struggle, he managed to reach Saadra who was taking his last breaths. Hazrat Ubayra asked him for any last message.
Readers can think for themselves that if they were in this position, what message would they give? They would surely think about their spouse and children, kith and kin, property and wealth and business matters and dealings, one after the other.
Taking it as an opportunity, as time would allow going in detail, one would deem it necessary to express one’s concern about the future of their family, one’s feelings of love and sympathy, instructions to observe patience and regarding management of one’s property and belongings etc.
But this noble youth, who was facing death right at that time and knew that sooner rather than later, his eyes would shut permanently, his strength of speaking would be seized and would be unable to leave any message for his family and kith and kin, was neither immediately concerned for widowing his wife, nor orphaning his children and thus said nothing with regard to them.
The message he gave was, “Convey my salam to my brothers in faith and say to my people that if, in their lives, any misfortune befalls the Holy Prophetsa, they should remember that none of their replies would be heard before God.”
With these last words, he laid down his life.
اِنَّا لِلّٰہِ وَ اِنَّا اِلَیْہِ رَاجِعُوْنَ
“We all belong to Allah and we all will return to Him.” (Muwatta Imam Malikrh, Kitab-ul-Jihad, Bab Targhib fil-Jihad)
Attesting to the Prophet’ssa truthfulness and piety
Once, the Holy Prophetsa bought a horse from a Bedouin. The transaction was settled, but people were unaware of this deal. When the Holy Prophetsa set off to return, somebody else offered the seller greater money than the Holy Prophetsa had offered. Getting the greater price, the seller wished to annul his deal with the Holy Prophetsa on some excuse. Thus, he called out the Holy Prophetsa and said, “If you want to buy it, then pay now, or else I am going to sell it to someone else.” The Holy Prophetsa replied, “You have sold your horse to me and the sale has been settled.” But he denied it and said, “I have not at all settled the sale with you. Present a witness if you are on the right.”
At that time, a companion, Hazrat Khuzaimahra bin Thabit, happened to be there and heard the conversation. Upon the demand of a witness from the Bedouin to the Holy Prophetsa, Hazrat Khuzaimahra stepped forward and said that he was witness to the settlement of the transaction. The Holy Prophetsa asked him as to how could he testify and whether he was present at the time of the bargain. He replied, “O Prophetsa of God! Once we believed in you, we believed on the firm faith that you were truthful and pious. We have attested to your truthfulness in important matters. How can we have reservations in testifying your truthfulness in trivial matters?” (Musnad Ahmad bin Hanbal, Vol. 5, p. 215)
Preferring pain for themselves than for the Prophetsa
After the Battle of Uhud, some people presented themselves to the service of the Holy Prophetsa and requested that some qurra [plural of qari] be sent along with them for the education of their people. When the party reached Bi‘r-e-Maunah they killed the qurra.
This incident will be mentioned at some other place in this series. Of those seventy qurra, only two were spared and the rest were arrested by the infidels. One of the two was Hazrat Zaidra, who was sold to Safwan bin Umayyah. Safwan bought him to avenge his father’s death at the hand of Zaidra. Thus, he arranged for his martyrdom and he was taken to his place of execution. While he was standing ready to be executed, somebody asked him, “What do you say if, in your stead, it was Muhammad here in our custody and you were safe and sound with your family in your house. Do you like the idea or not?” With the utmost disinclination, Zaidra replied, “What on earth do you mean? God forbid, the Holy Prophet’ssa execution at the hands of the infidels … By God! I would not endure even a thorn to pierce him while I be comfortably at home.”
Abu Sufyan greatly appreciated the reply and remarked, “The devotion and love the Companions of Muhammad show for him is unprecedented.” (Usdul-Ghabah, Vol. 2, p. 135)
Protecting the Prophet’ssa sleep
The Companionsra would take special care of the security of the Holy Prophetsa both during his sojourn and travel. In a journey when they halted at a place, the Holy Prophetsa advised them to arrange for water or else they would have to face some difficulty in the morning. The Companions went around in search of water.
The Holy Prophetsa was resting on his camel, when he was overcome by sleep. Hazrat Abu Qatadahra kept sitting close by to perform the duty of security. On whichever side the Holy Prophetsa would lean, Abu Qatadahra propped him on that side so that the Prophetsa would not be uncomfortable. At one such instance, the Holy Prophetsa woke up and asked, “Abu Qatadah, how long have you been here with me?” He replied, “Since the evening.” At this the Holy Prophetsa prayed for him in the following manner, “May Allah protect you as you have protected His Prophet.” (Musnad Ahmad bin Hanbal, Vol. 5, p. 298)
The Prophet’ssa ablution
Hazrat Anasra started serving the Holy Prophetsa when he was only eight or ten. Despite his young age, he loved the Holy Prophetsa devotedly and very lovingly and earnestly performed his duties, so much so that before the Fajr prayer, he would wake up and go in the mosque to arrange for water for the ablution of the Holy Prophetsa before his arrival. (Usdul-Ghabah, Vol. 1, p. 151)
The hand of Talhah
Hazrat Abu Talhahra accepted Islam at the age of 20. Because of the fault of some Muslims when the infidels assaulted the Muslims again in the Battle of Uhud, only a few Companionsra were left around the Holy Prophetsa.
At that time, Hazrat Abu Talhahra, with a spirit of sacrifice, jeopardised his very existence and continued protecting the Holy Prophetsa. Abu Talhahra took on his hand every arrow that came from the enemy. When an arrow would strike his hand, let alone slightly shake his hand, he would not even utter uff [a faint cry of pain] lest his hand is removed from in front of the face of the Holy Prophetsa and he be afflicted some injury. Hazrat Abu Talhahra received so many arrows on that hand that it was rendered crippled. (Usdul-Ghabah, Vol. 5, p. 181)
Preparedness to plunge into the ocean for the Prophetsa
On the occasion of the Battle of Badr, the Holy Prophetsa, under divine command, did not let the Companionsra know that they were going into battle. Once they had come out of Medina, he apprised the Companionsra of all the circumstances and sought their counsel as to what to do. Most of the Companionsra made very exciting speeches and said that their wealth and lives were all ready to be sacrificed in the cause of Allah and that they were ever ready to serve in every field. But the Holy Prophetsa again sought counsel from them as to what to do. Again the Companionsra assured their fidelity and sacrifice.
A companion, Hazrat Miqdadra bin Aswad, stood up and in a passionate speech, said, “O Prophetsa of God! We will not say like the companions of Mosesas, ‘Go thou and thy Lord and fight [and] here we sit’; rather, we will go wherever you wish to take us and fight on your right and on your left and in front of you and behind you, and the enemy will reach you only over our dead bodies.”
But despite all these speeches, the Holy Prophetsa again sought their counsel. At this, an Ansari Hazrat Saadra bin Muaz said, “You are probably referring to us, the Ansar”, which was true. The agreement with the Ansar was that they would be allies of the Holy Prophetsa only in case of a battle inside Medina. Now the fight was outside Medina. The Holy Prophetsa was concerned about this agreement especially and he did not want to force the Ansar for something greater than they had committed to shoulder. That is why he wanted to know their opinion.
Hazrat Saadra submitted:
“O Prophetsa of God! By God, there is no question of any agreement once we have believed in you. The agreement was up to the time until we had not fully known you. Now we have known you well. Therefore, wherever you say, we will accompany you there. We swear in the name of Allah, Who sent you with truth, that if you command us to plunge into a sea, not a single one of us will lag behind.” (Sirat Ibn Hisham, Zikr Ghazwah Badr)
Young companions’ passion for protecting the Prophetsa
Hazrat Zubairra bin Awwam was only 16 when he joined the fold of Islam, but possessed an unshakeable resolve for faith and was very devoted. With the Holy Prophetsa, he had a relationship of close devotion. Once, it was rumoured that the Holy Prophetsa (God forbid) had been taken into custody by the idolators. Hazrat Zubairra became restless to learn this. Despite the fact that the Muslims at that time had a very weak position in Mecca, with a sword in hand, he reached the Holy Prophetsa. Upon seeing him, the Holy Prophetsa asked him what the matter was. He related the whole incident. The Holy Prophetsa was pleased to learn of it. (Usdul-Ghabah, Vol. 2, p. 98)
A prostration of gratitude and a fearful companion
It has already been related that the Companionsra took great care of the security of the Holy Prophetsa. On a very crucial time of the Battle of Uhud, Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf was also one of the Companionsra who, putting their own lives at great risk, had the distinction of protecting the Holy Prophetsa.
Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra received 20 injuries on this occasion including a severe blow to his foot but did not step back. Although the foot healed later, it left an impact and became limp for good. Whenever the Holy Prophetsa happened to go out on some errand, Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra would mostly accompany him.
Once, having reached an oasis, the Holy Prophetsa fell into prostration. For long, he remained in this position. Abdur Rahmanra thought that perhaps the Holy Prophetsa had passed away. With this fear in mind, he became restless and perturbed and came closer. Hearing the footfall, the Holy Prophetsa raised his head [from prostration] and asked him what the matter was. Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra explained the reason of his anxiety. The Holy Prophetsa said that it was a prostration of thanksgiving because the Almighty Allah told him that Allah Himself would send blessings on the person who invoked blessings on him. (Musnad Ahmad bin Hanbal, Vol. 1, p. 191)
Preferring the best in everything for the Prophetsa
Hazrat Bilalra would mostly wait on the Holy Prophetsa when the Prophetsa was out on an errand. With a staff in hand, he would walk before the Holy Prophetsa. His poverty and indigence are no secret. In order to express his love for the Holy Prophetsa, he was always keen to host the Holy Prophetsa. He would keep saving up some money from his earnings.
Once, he presented some very delicious and good quality dates to the Holy Prophetsa. He asked Bilalra as to where he had got them. Bilalra submitted, “O Prophetsa of God! I had some low quality dates, which were unworthy of being presented to you. Therefore, I exchanged two sa‘ [a weight that equals about three kilograms] of them with one sa‘ of these to present to you. The Holy Prophetsa forbade such a bargain henceforth. But this incident proves Bilal’sra uncompromising love for the Holy Prophetsa. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab-ul-Wakalah)
Zaid’s affection for the Prophetsa
Hazrat Zaidra bin Harithah belonged to a well-off family, but a group of dacoits deprived him of his freedom in childhood and brought him to sell in the market of Akaz, from where Hakim bin Hazam purchased him and presented him to his paternal aunt, Hazrat Khadijahra. Thus he reached the Holy Prophetsa.
Once, some people from his tribe came to Mecca for the pilgrimage and recognised him. On their return, they reported it to his father. Naturally, the father was very pleased to learn this. In the company of his brother, he reached Mecca and pleaded earnestly to the Holy Prophetsa to free his son in lieu of whatever amount he wanted. The Holy Prophetsa replied that there was no need for any amount and to ask Zaidra as the Prophetsa had no objection if he was willing to go. Hazrat Zaidra was called for and the Holy Prophetsa asked him if he knew the men. Hazrat Zaidra replied, “Yes” and said that one was his father and the other, his uncle. The Holy Prophetsa told him that he was allowed to go if he wanted to go with them.
Everyone can assess the feelings of one who gets a chance to reunite with their parted parents and relatives. The father and uncle stood before him with the full conviction that their child would now go along with them. Heartrending moments of separation were going to be over with all prospects of living with them for good. They had not an iota of supposition that once Zaidra was allowed by the Holy Prophetsa to go, he would have any reservation in going. But Hazrat Zaidra replied, “I will not give precedence to anyone over the Holy Prophetsa. Now, he is my father and my mother both. I would not like to go anywhere leaving his house.” Zaid’sra father and uncle were flabbergasted to hear this reply and said, “Do you prefer slavery over us.” Hazrat Zaidra replied, “I find such traits in the Holy Prophet’ssa personality that I cannot prefer anyone over him.” (Usdul-Ghabah, Vol. 2, p. 130)
Calling out a beloved’s name
A misconception current amongst the Arabs was that a person’s numb foot would recover if they recalled their beloved. Once Hazrat Abdullahra bin Umar’s foot became numb. Somebody suggested to him to recall his beloved. Instantly, he called the name of Muhammadsa. This is something I have included due to my opinion on it and is not an issue based on the Shariah. Nonetheless, it reveals the state of great love and devotion the Companionsra had for the Holy Prophetsa. (Adabul-Mafar, Bab Ma Yaqular-Rajulu iza Khadarat Rijlahu)
Standing in the way of the Quraish
On many occasions, Hazrat Abu Bakrra, putting his own life at risk, rescued the Holy Prophetsa from the persecution of the infidels. Once, the Holy Prophetsa was propagating Islam at the Ka‘bah which infuriated the Quraish and they set out for him. At that time, getting in their way when the fury of the Quraish was raging very high was tantamount to putting oneself into destruction.
Nevertheless, Hazrat Abu Bakr’sra passion of sacrifice was roused and he rebuked the infidels saying, “May God Himself deal with you! Do you want to kill the Holy Prophetsa only because he believes in one God?” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab-ul-Manaqib, Bab zikru ma laqiyan Nabiyyu wa Ashabihi minal-mushrikina bi-Makkah)
Stopping an enemy from strangling the Prophetsa
Once an infidel, Uqbah bin Mu‘it, strangled the Holy Prophetsa with his shawl when the Prophetsa was busy offering his prayers. At that point, Hazrat Abu Bakrra reached there and holding the wretched infidel from the neck, pulled him apart from the Holy Prophetsa and said, “Will you slay the man who has brought to you clear signs from God and says, ‘Allah is his Lord’?” (Ibid)
Protecting the Prophetsa from a venomous snake
During his migration from Mecca to Medina, the Holy Prophetsa halted for a few days in the Cave of Thaur. Though all the holes in the cave had been covered and filled very cautiously, still one hole remained uncovered. The Holy Prophetsa was taking rest with his head on the thighs of Abu Bakrra, when a poisonous snake protruded its head from the uncovered hole. Not able to bear the least bit of disturbance for his beloved Mastersa and putting his own life at risk, Hazrat Abu Bakrra covered the hole with his own foot. The snake bit his foot and the poison began taking its toll. But he was so concerned about the comfort of the Holy Prophetsa that he did not utter a cry of pain, nor did he make the slightest movement lest the Holy Prophetsa was disturbed. But the pain was intense and a few tears rolled down, of which one fell on the cheek of the Holy Prophetsa. At this, he woke up and asked Abu Bakrra about the matter. Hazrat Abu Bakrra told him that a snake had bitten him. The Holy Prophetsa applied some of his saliva on the injury and with the grace of Allah, the effect of the poison was relieved. (Sharha Zurqani alal Mawahibul-Ludunniyah, Vol. 2, p. 121)
A valiant female soldier
Hazrat Umm-e-Amarahra was a female Companion. In the Battle of Uhud, after a sudden attack on the Muslims, when for a short while the very seasoned warriors of Islam were faltered, Umm-e-Amarahra hurried to the Holy Prophetsa to protect him. The disbelievers made attack after attack on the Holy Prophetsa to injure him whereas he was left surrounded by a few Companionsra who fought gallantly to safeguard him.
At this dangerous and dreadful time, Hazrat Umm-e-Amarahra took a firm stand in front of the Holy Prophetsa to shield him. She would defend him with her arrows and sword when the disbelievers attacked him. The Holy Prophetsa himself said, “In the battle of Uhud, I saw Umm-e-Amarah continuously fighting on my right and left.”
On one occasion, Ibn-e-Qimah reached dangerously close to the Holy Prophetsa. At that time, this brave lady was the one who hindered the enemy’s way. The wicked disbeliever blew his sword so powerfully that it injured her shoulder badly, gashing a deep hole in it, but she drew not back; rather, she advanced and smote him her sword forcefully. Had he not worn a double armour, he would have been killed there and then. (Sirat Ibn Hisham, Zikr Uhud, Hadith Umm-e-Saad an-nasibuha fil-Jihad yauma Uhud)
….The incidents of devotion and love of the Companionsra for the Holy Prophetsa manifest that the Companionsra would never be unmindful of even the physical measures for his security and would never be content with the thought that God Himself would solely protect the most beloved of His.
I wonder why some people of this age, having heard such accounts of the security of the Holy Prophetsa, consider security arrangements against the trust on God. They do not reflect as to why such security measurements, which had been necessary for the Holy Prophetsa himself, were and are necessary for his Khulafa. True, we are not faced with battles in this age, but the question is, are security measures necessary only during the battles and not in normal circumstances?
Despite a constitutional government in this age of ours, do not the incidents of attacks and killings occur, especially when sectarian violence is at its peak and when maulvis, with their ulterior motives, excite the masses in the name of religion, so much so that they have given fatwas for murder for their adversaries?
Why then, in the presence of such circumstances, are the most minimum security measurements, which at the most can only be called precautionary measures, taken as not trusting God? Why would any honest and God-fearing man object to it?
Thus, it is a misconception that any such measurements stand in the way of righteousness and trust in God. The truth is that any such measurements are not only lawful; rather, they are necessary, and being unmindful of it and of the security of standard-bearers of the Holy Prophetsa is a national crime.
(Translated by Shahid Mahmood Ahmad, Missionary in Ghana, from the original Urdu, Muslim Nau-jawanon kay Sunehri Karnamey)