Lecture 4 delivered by Mowlana Syed Aftab Haider on 24 September 2017 in the Muharram 1439 series titled “UNVEILING THE LESSER KNOWN COMPANIONS OF PROPHET MUHAMMAD (SAWA)” at the Ahlul Bait (a.s) Islamic Centre, Ottery, Cape Town
In our discussion about the Companions of Prophet Muhammad (sawa) for the last 3 nights we gave the background of this discussion and then started last night to discuss a number of extraordinary personalities among the Companions and to introduce them and draw relevant lessons for all to learn.
But I must emphasize that you keep in mind the background of our approach towards the Companions. If you remember we said we will discuss those Companions who passed away in life of Prophet Muhammad (sawa) and then in a little more detail those who survived the Prophet (sawa) after his demise.
We naturally cannot discuss everyone in the limited time will try to discuss those lesser known ones.
When we will discuss these great personalities, all different variations to Sahaba will be experienced as they are referred to in Quran.
UTHMAAN IBN MAZUN – AMONG THE EARLY VANGUARDS
Tonight we want to introduce 2 personalities from the early Muslims who are described in Quran as “Saabiqun” (Early vanguards).
One such person is called Uthmaan ibn Mazun who stands out among other companions. He accepted Islam in the early days.
Why did I chose to speak about this Companion??
Among the Companions, there are people who came to Islam with “grey” backgrounds. But then there are those who accepted Islam but had a crystal clear background in the Pre-Islamic period and Uthmaan ibn Mazun was is one such person.
He is known in Pre-Islamic period to have been someone that never drank wine.
He was also a brother of the Prophet (sawa) through sharing the same milk mother.
Furthermore, he is also known as “sahibul hijratain” or someone who participated in 2 migrations, the first being to Ethiopia in Africa and some narrations indicate that he led the Muhajireen, and secondly he participated in the migration to Madina.
He was someone who was always looking for truth and the real message of God. Thus as soon as he came across Islam, he accepted it.
But of course he was tortured and endured severe trials. When the early Muslims were under severe pressure, they were allowed to migrate to Ethiopia to be released for a short while from their pressure and he was thus part of this group of migrants.
He went for a while to Ethiopia but received news that the situation was better in Makka and then decided to come back with some other Companions. However, when he reached Makka he realized that the situation actually became worse and thus the news he received was not valid.
PROTECTION FROM WALID IBN MUGHAIRAH
He was now in a predicament in that if they entered Makka they would be more subjected to being targeted due to having left Makka. There was however a custom in Arab society that if you take refuge under someone who is prominent then nobody will harm them.
Uthmaan ibn Mazun knew an influential person called Walid ibn Mughairah and messaged him that he is re-entering Makka and asked him for shelter. Walid agreed and thus Uthmaan entered Makka under his protection.
One day he said to himself that I could manage to get protection of a prominent person, but what about other poor Muslims who are tortured and who could not obtain protection. This thought of his shows the type of soul he had. He felt that he should be sharing in the pain of other poor Muslims.
PROTECTION FOR UTHMAAN RESCINDED
He thus came to Walid and thanked him for his protection up to that point in time but now requested that the protection should be taken away from him!! He thus said “I don’t want protection except protection from Allah!”
Then he insisted that Walid must announce at the Kaba that protection is removed and then Walid did it.
Among the Quraish was a poet who saw this and then said “Anything other than God is baatil”. Uthmaan then said you spoke truth. Then the poet said “every favour one day must come to an end”. Upon hearing this, Uthmaan exclaimed “you lied”! This was because the favours of Hereafter never end!
This poet asked who is this? People said he is stupid person and part of small group who have a new religion. Then the poet fought with Uthmaan and gave him a blue eye.
Walid ibn Mughaira then asked Uthmaan why he rescinded the protection he provided and now his eye is so badly injured? Uthmaan said “I wish this one eye that is healthy should be used for the sake of my faith”.
Uthmaan had a great love for Prophet Muhammad (sawa) and was present in the Battle of Badr. However in 3rd year AH he became severely sick and passed away. He is the first of the Muhaajireen to be buried in Jannatul Baqi in Madina.
When he was sick and died, Prophet Muhammad (sawa) came to visit his corpse and opened the covering on his face and placed his face on the face of Uthmaan and tears started flowing from the eyes of Prophet Muhammad (sawa) and he said beautiful praise of Uthmaan and made the funeral prayers and buried him.
IMAM ALI (A.S) NAMES HIS SON UTHMAAN AFTER UTHMAAN IBN MAZUN
Imam Ali (a.s) also loved this Uthmaan so much that he named one of his sons in remembrance of Uthmaan ibn Mazun. Do note that there were many people who had the name of Uthmaan and there is sometimes confusion regarding why Imam Ali (a.s) named his son Uthmaan, but the real reason was that it was in memory of THIS great Companion.
And this Uthmaan ibn Ali was killed together with his brother Abbas in Karbala!
After Uthmaan ibn Mazun he was buried in Jannatul Baqi, it became first cemetery for Muslims.
Prophet Muhammad (sawa) also buried his baby son right next to Uthmaan and when he did this he said to his deceased son “go join the salaful salih or “pious predecessors”. This is what pious predecessors refers to in the true sense of the word!
Then Prophet Muhammad (sawa) marked the grave to distinguish it from other graves which shows that Uthmaan ibn Mazun was very special. Sahmudi who writes about Madina in his book “Wafa’ul wafa” says that this stone that Prophet Muhammad (sawa) placed on the grave of Uthmaan ibn Mazun was there until another so-called Sahabi removed it!
MUS’AB IBN UMAYR – SOMEONE WHO WAS NEVER SATISFIED WITH MATERIAL WEALTH
The second personality we want to speak about is Mus’ab ibn Umayr. He was an exemplary Companion of Prophet Muhammad (sawa) and is also considered to be from the early Muslims – at least to be among the first 20 Muslims.
Who is he?
He comes from one of most richest elite families of Makka. Mus’ab was very smart and beautiful and used to wear expensive clothes. He used expensive perfumes and had every luxury you could think of. But this easy life was not something that his soul was seEking. This young man used to sometimes sit with his head down and contemplate for long periods of time.
This continued until someone told him they can show him what he was looking for. Secretly they went to the house of ibn Abil Arqam which was the location where the early Muslims used to have their meetings with Prophet Muhammad (sawa). As soon as Mus’ab entered and came in touch with Prophet Muhammad (sawa) and listened to a few verses of the Quran being recited, he surrendered and said this is what I am looking!
Young people should look at Mus’ab and learn about the true meaning of life and its real ideals. Is it about being infatuated with brands, smart clothing, expensive cars, etc. or something else?
Prophet Muhammad (sawa) commanded Mus’ab to keep his decision a secret (taqiyyah), but Mus’ab said he needs to at least tell is parents and especially wanted to save his mother.
MOTHER OF MUS’AB REJECTS HIM – TRIBULATIONS START
Mus’ab informed his mother by telling her that he found truth and explained his new found ideology and gave a speech in this regard. However his mother literally shut him up and said this is not possible or acceptable. His mother then threatened to fight with him.
She locked him in his room and did not allow him out or access to any basic needs. He tried so much but she would not accept Islam and in fact died kaafir (non believer) and all along punished and tortured him but he did not give up in trying to convince her.
Somehow there came a time when Mus’ab was freed from his mother and he went for the migration to Ethiopia and came back but the situation was the same.
This Mus’ab was a young man with everything going for him, but was looking for something more real and got it. Furthermore, history says he became a great orator and was someone who recited the Quran most beautifully.
As a result Prophet Muhammad (sawa) called him “Mus’ab ul khair”.
Prophet Muhammad (sawa) said about him “Verily I saw this scenario and in the city of Makka there was no young man who had access to luxury like Mus’ab had with his parents but nothing of this could keep him on disbelief. The good he had in his heart in love of Allah and His Messenger brought him out from this to hardship”.
The life of Musab ibn Umayr reflected:
– a clean soul seeking for truth
– willingness to sacrifice everything
– pure worship of Almighty Allah
– living an ascetic life
– exemplary character especially with his mother
– familiarity with Quran as he learned 70 Surahs directly from Prophet Muhammad (sawa) in the early days.
MUS’AB IBN UMAYR – FIRST AMBASSADOR OF ISLAM TO MADINA
He had a unique title. When the people of Madina originally accepted Islam, they requested from Prophet Muhammad (sawa) for a teacher to teach them. Mus’ab ibn Umayr was appointed as the first Ambassador of Islam to Madina.
He was a young man but how much confidence Prophet (sawa) had in this young man is amazing. Prophet Muhammad (sawa) knew that Madina was the future of Islam and knew it was a complicated society with many challenges and a community from diverse backgrounds which made it complex to manage. However, instead of sending a shrewd politician, he sent someone whose existence was drowned in Imaan (faith)!
Mus’ab thus thus migrated to Madina before Prophet Muhammad (sawa) did.
In Madina he lived at the house of Asad ibn Zurara and started teaching. His teaching techniques in propagating Islam are eternal standards for us to consider in doing dawah (propagation).
Usaid ibn Uzayr was a tribal leader in Madina who challenged him when trying to propagate Islam but how Mus’ab handle this uncouthed old man was impeccable. He convinced him to sit down calmly and converse instead of becoming emotional and after a mere few hours the same Usaid became Muslim.
Mus’ab prepared Madina for Prophet Muhammad (sawa) to take over.
MUSAB IBN UMAYR – FLAG BEARER IN UHUD
He participated in the Battle of Badr and was the flag bearer in the Battle of Uhud!
What happened in Uhud??
There’s an exemplary Sahabi like Mus’ab who was so committed, but in the same Uhud among the same Sahaba there are people who, though they were continuously warned to remain in their positions, left the hill exposed and allowed the enemy to attack them.
Mus’ab left the life of this world for the life of Islam. But in Uhud we saw people who saw booty and were scared that they might lose out and left the hill they were meant to guard and rushed towards the worldly possessions!
This turned the initial victory of Muslims into a humiliating defeat.
In this situation, Khalid ibn Walid, the leader of kuffar (non believers), attacked and as a result Mus’ab was attacked from all directions.
This was where heroes like Mus’ab and Hamza (a.s) were martyred. But there were people who due to weak Imaan (faith) left Prophet Muhammad (sawa) exposed.
There was also a rumour that Prophet Muhammad (sawa) had died during this counter attack. In response various well known leading Sahaba left the Battle field. Mus’ab could not understand this logic and recited for them verse 144 of Surah Aali Imraan :
وَمَا مُحَمَّدٌ إِلاَّ رَسُولٌ قَدْ خَلَتْ مِن قَبْلِهِ الرُّسُلُ أَفَإِن مَّاتَ أَوْ قُتِلَ انقَلَبْتُمْ عَلَى أَعْقَابِكُمْ وَمَن يَنقَلِبْ عَلَىَ عَقِبَيْهِ فَلَن يَضُرَّ اللّهَ شَيْئًا وَسَيَجْزِي اللّهُ الشَّاكِرِينَ
“And Muhammad is not but only a Messenger before whom Messengers have already passed away. Therefore, if he dies or be killed, will you turn back (in creed) upon your heels? And whoever turns back upon his heels will by no means do harm to Allah in the least; and Allah will reward the grateful”.
Eventually Mus’ab was attacked in a similar manner like Abil Fadl Abbas was attacked in Karbala. They attacked his right hand and severed it and then severed his left hand and he still survived until they killed him on plains of Uhud.
Prophet Muhammad (sawa) recited the verse in honour and praise of Mus’ab which is Surah Ahzab Verse 23:
مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ رِجَالٌ صَدَقُوا مَا عَاهَدُوا اللَّهَ عَلَيْهِ فَمِنْهُم مَّن قَضَي نَحْبَهُ وَمِنْهُم مَّن يَنتَظِرُ وَمَا بَدَّلُوا تَبْدِيلا
“Among the believers are men who were true to their covenant with Allah; some of them have fulfilled their vow (by martyrdom), and some are still awaiting and they have not changed in the least.”
SAHABA PRESENT IN KARBALA
In Karbala, there were various Sahaba of Prophet Muhammad (sawa) present and we never hear about them.
One of them is Anas ibn Harith al-Kaahili.
The other is Muslim ibn Awsaja al-Asadi.
There is also Habib ibn Mazaahir al-Asadi.
And there were more…..
ANAS IBN HARITH AL-KAAHILI – NARRATOR OF HADITH ABOUT IMAM HUSAYN (A.S)
Anas was around 85 years old at least. He was in Kufa, and he made his way to Karbala to reach there on 6th Muharram.
What’s special about him?
He is the narrator of Ahadith. In one narration he says:
“One day I was by Prophet (sawa) and saw Husayn (a.s) sitting on his lap and Prophet (sawa) was showing extra love by kissing him and said people should know that Husayn will be slaughtered in Karbala – whoever is there it’s obligatory to go to help him.” And it’s in relation to this knowledge that eventhough he was so old, he made his way to Karbala.
Imam Husayn (a.s) asked Anas, due to his status as a Sahabi of Prophet Muhammad (sawa) to try to speak to the opposition but even though he tried and spoke to Ibn Sa’d (who himself was the son of a Sahabi), he was unsuccessful.
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