By: Khalid Muhammad Khalid
The flower of the Quraysh, the most handsome and youthful, historians and narrators describe him, among the Companions of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), as “The most charming of the Makkans”.
He was born and brought up in wealth, and he grew up with its luxuries. Perhaps there was no boy in Makkah who was pampered by his parents like Mus`ab ibn `Umayr. This mirthful youth, caressed and pampered, the talk of the ladies of Makkah, the jewel of its clubs and assemblies: is it possible for him to be one of the legends of faith?
But who was he? His story is a pride of all mankind.
The youth heard one day what the people of Makkah had begun to hear about Muhammad, the Truthful, that Allah had sent him as bearer of glad tidings and a warner to call them to the worship of Allah, the One God. When Makkah slept and awoke there was no other talk but the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his religion, and this spoiled boy was one of the most attentive listeners.
That was because, although he was young, the flower of clubs and assemblies, the outward appearance of wisdom and common sense were among the traits of Mus`ab.
He heard that the Prophet and those who believed in him were meeting far away from the dignitaries and great men of the Quraysh at As-Safaa in the house of Al-Arqam lbn Al-Arqam, Dar Al-Arqam.
He wasted no time. He went one night to the Dar Al Arqam, yearning and anxious. There, the Prophet was meeting his Companions, reciting the Qur’an to them and praying with them to Allah, the Most Exalted. Mus`ab had hardly taken his seat and contemplated the verses of Qur’an recited by the Prophet when his heart became the promised heart that night.
The pleasure almost flung him from his seat as he was filled with a wild ecstasy. But the Prophet patted his throbbing heart with his blessed right hand, and the silence of the ocean’s depth filled his heart.
In the twinkling of an eye, the youth who had just become Muslim appeared to have more wisdom than his age and a determination that would change the course of time!
Bravery & Wisdom
Mus`ab’s mother was Khunas bint Malik, and people feared her almost to the point of terror because she possessed a strong personality. When Mus`ab became a Muslim, he was neither careful before nor afraid of anyone on the face of the earth except his mother. Even if Makkah, with all its idols, nobles, and deserts were to challenge him, he would stand up to it.
As for a dispute with his mother, this was an impossible horror, so he thought quickly and decided to keep his Islam secret until Allah willed. He continued to frequent Dar Al-Arqam and take lessons from the Prophet. He was satisfied with his faith and avoided the anger of his mother, who had no knowledge of his embracing Islam.
However, Makkah at that time kept no secret, for the eyes and ears of the Quraysh were everywhere, very alert and checking every footprint in its hot sands. Once, `Uthman ibn Taihah saw him steadily entering alarm’s house, then he saw him a second time praying the prayer like Muhammad. No sooner had he seen him than he ran quickly with the news to Mus`ab’s mother, who was astonished by it.
Mus`ab stood before his mother, the people, and the nobles of Makkah who assembled around him, telling them the irrefutable truth and reciting the Qur’an with which the Prophet cleansed their hearts and filled them with honor, wisdom, justice, and piety.
His mother aimed a heavy blow at him, but the hand which was meant as an arrow soon succumbed to the powerful light which increased the radiance of his face with innocent glory because it demanded respect with its quiet confidence.
However, his mother, under the pressure of her motherliness, spared him the beating and the pain, although it was within her power to avenge her gods whom he had abandoned. Instead she took him to a rough corner of her house and shut him in it. She put shackles on him and imprisoned him there until he heard the news of the emigration (hijrah) of some of the believers to Abyssinia.
He thought to himself and was able to delude his mother and his guards, and so escaped to Abyssinia. There he stayed in Abyssinia with his fellow emigrants and then returned with them to Makkah.
He also emigrated to Abyssinia for the second time with the Companions whom the Prophet advised to emigrate and they obeyed. But
whether Mus`ab was in Abyssinia or Makkah, the experience of his faith proclaimed itself in all places and at all times.
The Power of Belief
Mus`ab became confident that his life had become good enough to be offered as a sacrifice to the Supreme Originator and Great Creator. He went out one day to some Muslims while they were sitting around the Prophet (peace be upon him), and no sooner did they see him than they lowered their heads and shed some tears because they saw him wearing worn out garments. They were accustomed to his former appearance before he had become a Muslim, when his clothes had been like garden flowers, elegant and fragrant.
The Prophet saw him with the eyes of wisdom, thankful and loving, and his lips smiled gracefully as he said, “I saw Mus`ab here, and there was no youth in Makkah more petted by his parents than he. Then he abandoned all that for the love of Allah and His Prophet!”
His mother had withheld from him all the luxury he had been overwhelmed by, when she could not return him to her religion. She refused to let anyone who had abandoned their gods eat of her food, even if he was her son.
Her last connection with him was when she tried to imprison him for a second time after his return from Abyssinia, and he swore that if she did that, he would kill all those who came to her aid to lock him up. She knew the truth of his determination when he was intent and decided to do something, and so she bade him good bye weeping.
The parting moment revealed a strange adherence to infidelity on the part of his mother, and the greater adherence to faith on the part of her son. When she said to him, while turning him out of her house, “Go away, I am no longer your mother,” he went close to her and said, “O mother, I am advising you and my heart is with you, please bear witness that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is His servant and messenger.”
She replied to him, angrily raging, “By the stars, I will never enter your religion, to degrade my status and weaken my senses!”
To be continued…
The article is excerpted from the book “Men Around the Messenger”, which is 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.