Courage of the Believers

May 9, 2006

Accounts of courage in the Believers are plentiful in the history of Islam. The following are just a few that I found. As I increase in knowledge about Islamic History – I will probably add more to these stories. However, I feel that they are a good base to start from in teaching my children about Courage in Islam, insa’Allah.

Rumaysa bint Milhan (a.k.a. Umm Sulaym)

Umm Sulaym herself was noted for her great courage and bravery. During the Battle of Uhud, she carried a dagger in the folds of her dress. She gave water to and tended the wounded and she made attempts to defend the Prophet when the tide of battle was turning against him. At the Battle of Khandaq, the Prophet saw her carrying a dagger and he asked her what she was doing with it. She said: "It is to fight those who desert."

Zayd ibn Thabit

We are in the second year of the Hijrah. Madinah the city of the Prophet is buzzing with activity as the Muslims prepare for the long march southwards to Badr.

The noble Prophet made a final inspection of the first army to be mobilized under his leadership to wage Jihad against those who had tormented the Muslims for many years and who were still bent on putting an end to his mission.

A youth, not yet thirteen, walked up to the ranks. He was confident and alert. He held a sword which was as long or possibly slightly longer than his own height. He went up to the Prophet, may God bless him and grant him peace, and said: "I dedicate myself to you, Messenger of God. Permit me to be with you and to fight the enemies of God under your banner."

The noble Prophet looked at him with admiration and patted his shoulder with loving tenderness. He commended him for his courage but refused to enlist him because he was still too young.

Khabbab ibn al-Aratt

Without any hesitation he stretched out his hand to the Prophet in allegiance and testified that "There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is His servant and His messenger." He was among the first ten persons to accept Islam .

Khabbab did not hide his acceptance of Islam from anyone. When the news of his becoming a Muslim reached Umm Anmaar, she became incensed with anger. She went to her brother Sibaa ibn Abd al-Uzza who gathered a gang of youths from the Khuzaa tribe and together they made their way to Khabbab. They found him completely engrossed in his work. Sibaa went up to him and said:

"We have heard some news from you which we don't believe."
"What is it?" asked Khabbab.
"We have been told that you have given up your religion and that you now follow that man from the Banu Ha shim ."

"I have not given up my religion" replied Khabbab calmly. "I only believe in One God Who has no partner. I reject your idols and I believe that Muhammad is the servant of God and His messenger."

No sooner had Khabbab spoken these words than Sibaa and his gang set upon him. They beat him with their fists and with iron bars and they kicked him until he fell unconscious to the ground, with blood streaming from the wounds he received.

The news of what happened between Khabbab and his slave mistress spread throughout Makkah like wild-fire. People were astonished at Khabbab's daring. They had not yet heard of anyone who followed Muhammad and who had the audacity to announce the fact with such frankness and deviant confidence.

The Khabbab affair shook the leaders of the Quraysh. They did not expect that a blacksmith, such as belonged to Umm Anmaar and who had no clan in Makkah to protect him and no asabiyyah to prevent him from injury, would be bold enough to go outside her authority, denounce her gods and reject the religion of her forefathers. They realized that this was only the beginning . . .

The Quraysh were not wrong in their expectations. Khabbab's courage impressed many of his friends and encouraged them to announce their acceptance of Islam. One after another, they began to proclaim publicly the message of truth.

Abdullah ibn Umm Maktum

A blind, young cousin of Khadijah (raa), Abdullah ibn Umm Maktum was one of the earliest Muslims. He was left in charge of Madinah on more than ten occasions during Prophet Mohammed's absences. In the fourteenth year after the hijrah, Umar resolved to mount a major assault against the Persians to bring down their State and to open the way for the Muslim forces. He wrote to his governors:

"Send anyone with a weapon or a horse or who can offer any form of help to me. And make haste."

Among those who responded to his call was Abdullah ibn Umm Maktum. When the army reached Qadisiyyah, he wore a coat of armor and was fully prepared. He had vowed to carry and protect the standard of the Muslims or be killed in the process. The forces met and engaged in battle for three days. The fighting was among the most fierce and bitter in the history of Muslim conquests. On the third day, the Muslims achieved a mighty victory. Among the martyrs was Abdullah ibn Umm Maktum. He was found dead on the battlefield clutching the flag of the Muslims.

The Second Oath of Allegiance

During the last four years or so of the Prophet’s stay at Makkah, Islam was being accepted more readily in Yathrab (area where the city Madinah is located) than with any other clans of Arabia. In the twelfth year of Prophethood, on the occasion of Hajj, a delegation of 75 people met the Prophet (saw) in the darkness of night.

These people not only accepted Islam, but they offered to give the Prophet (saw) and his followers a home. The significance of this offer was quite clear to the people of Yathrab – they were not only be inviting a fugitive, but they were also inviting the Prophet (saw) to be their leader and ruler. The Prophet (saw) accepted their invitation and made it the first “City of Islam” in Arabia. The people of Yathrab were also fully aware of the implications of this offer. It was indeed a declaration of war against the whole of Arabia, and an invitation to their own social and economic boycott as well.

When the Ansar from Yathrab were making a formal declaration of allegiance to the Prophet, Asad bin Zurarah, the youngest of all the delegates from Yathrab stood up and spoke. He said, "O people of Yathrab! Just listen to me and consider the matter carefully in all its aspects. Though we have come to him, regarding him only as a Messenger of Allah, we should know that we shall be inviting the enmity of the whole of Arabia. For when we take him away to Yathrab, we shall be attacked and our children may be put to the sword. Therefore if you have the courage in your hearts to face it, then and then only, you should declare your allegiance to him and Allah will give you its reward. But if you love your lives more than him and his Message, then leave this matter and frankly excuse yourselves, for at this time Allah may accept your excuses."

Abbas bin Ubadah bin Naalah, another member of the delegation, reiterated the same thing, saying, Do you understand the implication of the declaration of your allegiance to this person?" (Voices, "Yes, we know it.") "You are challenging the whole world to war by your declaration of allegiance to him. There is every likelihood of a serious menace to your lives and properties. Therefore consider it well. If you have any idea lurking in your minds that you will then hand him over to his enemies, it is much better to leave him alone now, because that conduct shall bring shame and disgrace to you in this world and the next. On the other hand, if you have sincerely resolved that you will endure all kinds of consequences that will follow as a result of this invitation, then it would be the best thing to take the oath of allegiance to him because, by God, this will surely bring good to you in this world as well as in the next world." At this all the members of the delegation cried with one voice, "We are ready and prepared to risk all our wealth and our noble kith and kin for his sake." It was then that the famous oath of allegiance, which is known as the "Second Oath of Allegiance at Aqabah" was taken.

Family of Yasir

'Ammar bin Yasir and his parents were amongst the first converts to Islam. His father Yasir was from the tribe of Qahtan in Yemen. He, together with his two brothers, came to Mecca in search of a lost brother. His brothers returned to their homeland; but Yasir stayed in Mecca where he entered into a covenant with Abu Hudhayfah (from the tribe of Bani Makhzum), and married his slave-girl, Sumayyah bint Khayyat. Yasir and Sumayyah begot two sons, 'Abdullah and 'Ammar, who according to the custom of Arabia, were considered the slaves of Abu Hudhayfah.

After their conversion to Islam, Abu Jahl, with the help of other pagans, started torturing the whole family mercilessly. Ironnails were put upon their naked bodies and they were made to lie down on the burning sand of the desert. The heat of the sun and the desert sand made the iron mails hot like fire; their skins got burned. This torture used to continue till they became unconscious. Then the iron mails were removed and water was poured on them.

The Prophet felt very sorry for the suffering family; but was unable to protect them. Still he used to go near them and give them courage to forbear the tyrannies of their tormentors. He gave them good tidings of Heaven and said, "Be patient, O family of Yasir, because your promised place is Heaven".

Yasir and Sumayyah were brutally murdered by the pagans of the Quraysh, under the leadership of Abu Jahl. It is a great distinction of this distinguished family that all of them were martyred in the cause of Islam. Sumayyah was very pious and God-fearing lady; and she was the first woman martyr of Islam.

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