Abū Qutādah Ansārī, the Brave Youth
Abū Qutādah Ansārī’s complete name is Hārith ibn Rib‘ī Ansārī. In Islamic history, he is popularly known by the pseudonym of Abū Qutādah. According to the scholars of history, Abū Qutādah is one of the most renowned and prominent companions [sahābah] of the Prophet (S). He always risked his life courageously for the sake of Allah and the advancement of Islam.
Abū Qutādah Ansārī was a very brave horseman; he participated in the war of Uhud, and was always seen fighting next to the Noble Prophet (S) in the other wars that came to pass during the time of Allah’s Prophet (S), to such an extent that he was famously known as the commander of the Prophet’s (S) artillery. He was such a famous warrior that whenever a duty was entrusted to him, he used to perform it to perfection and return to Medina victorious.
One of the wars in which Abū Qutādah participated was the Battle of Dhī Qard, at a place adjacent to the residential village of Banī Qatfān near Medina. This confrontation occurred in the month of Jumādī al-Awwal in 6 AH. Abū Qutādah Ansārī came to Allah’s Prophet (S) and volunteered to enlist for this battle. Abū Qutādah Ansārī was twenty four years of age at that time, being born eighteen years before the migration.
Abū Qutādah, a brave warrior, though young, killed Ibn ‘Uyaynah, the leader of the opponents. Abū Qutādah Ansārī then covered the infidel’s dead body with his own clothes. When the Muslim soldiers who were returning saw this scene, they mistakenly thought that Abū Qutādah had been killed, but the Noble Prophet (S) told them what Abū Qutādah had done.
In this war, and after the martyrdom of two people, the Muslims managed to defeat the infidel tribe of Qatfān and returned to Medina with victory.
In addition to the other worthy services which Abū Qutādah rendered to Islam, he was present during the conquest of Khaybar. Like every other true Muslim, he possessed special love and affection for the Noble Prophet (S) of Islam. It is for this reason that he used to make the most of every possible opportunity to show his appreciation of the Holy Prophet (S), and behave respectfully towards him.
The Noble Prophet (S), too, loved Abū Qutādah very much. It is for this reason that the Noble Prophet (S) made this supplication for him, “May Allah protect you in the same way that you protected his Prophet (S) from danger”1
After the sad demise of the Noble Prophet (S), Abū Qutādah followed ‘Alī ibn Abī Tālib (‘a), as the rightful successor of Allah’s Prophet (S). He did not deviate from the right path because he knew and could perceive the original axis or pivot of the government and Islamic leadership. He could easily distinguish which people had the right and capability of leading the Islamic community after the sad demise of Allah’s Prophet (S). It was for this reason that after the Noble Prophet’s (S) death, he was always by ‘Alī’s side.
During the apparent leadership of ‘Alī (‘a), neither the negative and misleading propagation against Imam ‘Alī (‘a) by Mu‘āwiyah, nor the wars of Siffīn, Nahrawān and Jamal managed to shake his faith. On the contrary, he courageously stood by ‘Alī ibn Abī Tālib (‘a) like a strong and firm mountain in all the wars that the enemies of Islam imposed on the Imām (‘a) during his reign.
Abū Qutādah Ansārī was not only a warrior but a loyal and trustworthy Muslim, who possessed managerial and organizational skills as well. It was for this very reason that during the caliphate of Imām ‘Alī (‘a), he was appointed as the governor of Medina by the Imām.
He not only protected ‘Alī ibn Abī Tālib (‘a) on the battlefield, but also defended ‘Alī (‘a) through wise discourses and always sided with him at public discussions. He used to dispute with ‘Alī’s (‘a) opponents logically and forcefully till they were convinced of the truth of his words. Some of these conversations took place between him and ‘Ā’ishah, the Khawārij, Khālid ibn Walīd and Abū Bakr. All these discourses are a proclamation of the high and revered personality of this great struggler [mujāhid].
Abū Qutādah Ansārī died in 54 AH after long years of struggle and devotion to Islam and the Muslims.
Some historians have stated that Abū Qutādah Ansārī died during the caliphate of Imām ‘Alī (‘a), and that it was actually Imām ‘Alī (‘a) who performed his last rites and laid him to rest.2
- 1. Zarkulī, Al-A‘lām, vol. 2, p. 54; Al-‘Ibar, vol. 1, p. 41; Tārīkh-e Baghdād, vol. 1, p. 59; Usd al-Ghābah, vol. 5, p. 274; Al-Isābah, vol. 4, p. 458; Al-Istī‘āb, vol. 4, p. 461; Ibn Hishām, Al-Sīrah al-Nabawiyyah, vol. 3, p. 293; Hayāt al-Sahābah, vol. 1, p. 57; Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Al-Musnad,, vol. 5, p. 298.
- 2. Al-Isābah, vol. 4, p. 162; Al-Asābah, vol. 4, p. 158; Usd al-Ghābah, vol. 5, p. 275; Qāmūs al-Rijāl, vol. 10, p. 165; Al-Darajāt al-Rafī‘ah, p. 351; Al-Fusūl al-Muhimmah, p. 146; Tārīkh-e Tabarī, vol. 3, p. 243.