New Muslims APP

Zayd ibn Harithah: From Bondage to the Prophet’s Home

In the Battle of Mu’tah, the Prophet (peace be upon him) stood to pay his farewell to the departing Muslim army on its way to fight the Romans and to announce the name of the three successive commanders of the army:

“Zayd ibn Harithah is your first commander, but in case he is wounded, Ja`far ibn Abi Talib will take over the command, and if the latter is wounded then `AbduAllah ibn Rawahah will replace him.”

But who was Zayd ibn Harithah? Who was the beloved one of the Prophet?

Narrators and historians described his appearance as short, dark swarthy, and snub-nosed. As for his reality, he was truly a great Muslim.

In Bondage

If we go back in time, we will see Harithah, Zayd’s father, just putting the luggage on the camel that was t

Zayd’s father and uncle returned back home leaving their son safe and sound after he had become master of himself.

Zayd’s father and uncle returned back home leaving their son safe and sound after he had become master of himself.

o carry his wife, Su`dah, to her family. Harithah paid his farewell to his wife who carried Zayd – at that time a young child – in her arms.

But every time he was about to leave his wife and child who were going with a caravan, to return to his house and work, he was driven by a mysterious and inexplicable urge to keep his wife and son in sight; yet it was time for them to set out on their way and Harithah had to pay his last farewell to his wife and head back home. His tears flowed as he said goodbye and stood as if pinned to the ground until he lost sight of them. At that moment he felt broken-hearted.

Su`dah stayed with her family for a while. One day, suddenly her neighborhood was attacked by one of its opposing tribes. Taken by surprise, Bani Ma`n were defeated and Zayd ibn Harithah was captured along with other war prisoners. His mother returned home alone.

When Harithah heard the sad news, he was thunderstruck. He traveled everywhere and asked everyone about his beloved Zayd. He recited these lines of poetry on the spur of the moment to lament the loss of his son:

My heart was broken when I lost Zayd. I don’t know if he is alive or dead or if I will ever see him again. By Allah, I still do not know if he was killed on the plain or slain on the mountain. His picture comes to the mind’s eye whenever the sun rises or sets. Even when the wind blows, it brings along his memory.

Alas, I am shrouded by my sadness, grief, and fear for him.

At that time, slavery was a recognized and established social fact that turned into a necessity. This was the case in Athens, which had long enjoyed a flourishing civilization, in Rome, and in the entire ancient world, including the Arab Peninsula.

At the Prophet’s Home

When the opposing tribe attacked the Bani Ma`n, it headed to the market of `Ukazh, held at that time, to sell its prisoners of war. The child Zayd, was sold to Hakeem ibn Huzam, who gave him to his aunt Khadijah as a gift. At that time, Khadijah was married to Muhammad ibn `Abdullah but the revelation had not yet descended on him. However, he enjoyed all the promising great qualities of prophets.

Khadijah, on her part, gave her servant Zayd as a gift to her husband, Allah’s Prophet (peace be upon him). He was very pleased with Zayd and manumitted him at once. His great and compassionate heart overflowed with care and love towards the boy.

Later on, during one of the Hajj seasons, a group of Harithah’s tribe ran into Zayd in Makkah and told him about his parents anguish and grief ever since they had lost him. Zayd asked them to convey his love and longing to his parents. He told them, “Tell my father that I live here with the most generous and loving father.”

No sooner did his father know his son’s whereabouts than he hastened on his way to him, accompanied by his brother.

As soon as they reached Makkah, he asked about the trustworthy Muhammad. When he met him, he said, “O son of ibn `Abdul-Muttalib! O son of the master of his tribe! Your land is one of security and sanctuary and you are famous for helping the distressed and sheltering the captive. We have come here to ask you to give us back our son. So please confer a favor on us and set a reasonable ransom for him.”

Thicker Than Blood…

The Prophet knew the great love and attachment Zayd carried in his heart for him, yet at the same time, he respected Harithah’s parental right. Therefore, he told Harithah, “Ask Zayd to come here and make him choose between you and me. If he chooses you, he is free to go with you, but if he chooses me then, by Allah, I will not leave him for anything in the world.”

Harithah’s face brightened, for he did not expect such magnanimity; therefore, he said, “You are far more generous than us.” Then the Prophet summoned Zayd. When he came he asked him, “Do you recognize these people?” Zayd said, “Yes, this is my father and this is my uncle.”

The Prophet told him what he had told Harithah. Zayd replied, “I will not choose anyone but you, for you are a father and an uncle to me.” The Prophet’s eyes were full of thankful and compassionate tears. He held Zayd’s hand and walked to the Ka`bah, where the Quraish were holding a meeting, and cried out, “I bear witness that Zayd is my son, and in case I die first, he will inherit from me, and in case he dies first, I will inherit from him.”

Hiarithah was overjoyed, for not only had his son been manumitted but he had also become the son of the man who was known by the Quraish as “The Honest and Trustworthy”.

Moreover, he was a descendant of Bani Hashim and was raised to a high station among his people. Zayd’s father and uncle returned back home leaving their son safe and sound after he had become master of himself and after the Prophet had set to rest their fears concerning his fate.

Zayd ibn Muhammad

The Prophet (peace be upon him) adopted Zayd and from that moment on he was known as Zayd ibn Muhammad.

Suddenly, on a bright morning whose brightness has never been seen before or since, the revelation descended on Muhammad:

Read! In the name of your Lord who created – created mankind from something which clings; read! And your Lord is the Most Noble; Who taught by the pen; taught mankind what he did not know. (Al-`Alaq 96:1-5)

Then the revelation continued:

O you cloaked! Arise and warn! And magnify your Lord. (Al-Muddaththir 74:1-3)

O Messenger! Proclaim the message which has been sent down to you from your Lord. And if you do not, then you have not conveyed His message. Allah will protect you from mankind. Verily, Allah guides not the people who disbelieve. (Al-Ma’idah 5:61)

As soon as the Prophet had shouldered the responsibility of his message, Zayd submitted himself to Islam. Narrators said that he was the second man and more probably the first man to embrace Islam.

To be continued…

_________________________

The article is excerpted from the book “Men Around the Messenger”, which is a translation based on Khalid Muhammad Khalid’s celebrated work in Arabic “Rijal Hawla Ar-Rasul” which represents the real inspirational stories of sixty-four Companions of the Prophet.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Loading...

Leave a Reply


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.