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Hanzalah Ibn Ubayy ‘Āmir

Hanzalah was a youth, with a determination of steel, who changed his bridal chamber into the lap of martyrdom. He was considered one of the Helpers [Ansār] of Medina, even though his father, Abū ‘Āmir, was one of Islam’s most hostile enemies and remained an infidel [kāfar] up to the end of his life.

Hanzalah married Jamīlah, the daughter ‘Abd Allāh ibn Ubayy, one of the leaders of the hypocrites of Medina. Hanzalah’s wedding night coincided with the day when the Muslims were busy preparing for the Battle of Uhud. For this reason, Hanzalah went to see the Noble Prophet (S) and seek his advice whether to go to the battle front or marry that night? The Noble Prophet (S) advised and permitted Hanzalah to stay in Medina and marry that night.

Therefore, Hanzalah stayed in Medina that night and married. The following day, because of the faith and love that he had for the holy jihād, his supreme and great leader, the Noble Prophet (S), Hanzalah left Medina and set out towards Uhud in the early hours of the morning.

When Hanzalah was setting out towards Uhud, his wife, Jamīlah bint Ubayy, came forward and tried to prevent him from leaving. When he refused, she held him by the hand and took him to four witnesses, and said to Hanzalah, “Testify in the presence of these people that you married me last night.” Hanzalah testified and left for Uhud.

When Hanzalah had left for the battlefield, the witnesses asked his wife, “Why did you do this?” She answered, “Last night in my dreams I saw the sky opening and Hanzalah entering the heavens. After he had entered, the gates of heaven closed. I understood and deduced from this dream that Hanzalah was going to get martyred at Uhud. Therefore, I wanted you to stand witness to the fact that he married me last night, so that I may not be the object of slander or exposed to false accusation.”

The fruit of this marriage was a son named ‘Abd Allāh ibn Hanzalah, who later led an uprising in Medina after the martyrdom of Imām al-Husayn (‘a) on 28th Dhū al-Hijjah in 63 AH. He mobilized the people of Medina against Yazīd and finally after three days of fighting and resilient resistance, he got martyred, together with his companions, in an event that is well known in the history of Islam as the Event of “Harrah”.

We have narrated this event in detail in a different book called “The Effects of the Revolution of ‘Āshūrā”. Those interested in reading more about this event can refer to this book.

When Hanzalah set out towards the battlefield, he was worried about how and where to find water in order to perform his ritual ablution [ghusl]. Hanzalah was also sad because of his father, who was one of the most obstinate enemies of Islam and one of the hostile foes of the Noble Prophet (S) of Allah.

Hanzalah ibn Āmir displayed a lot of courage and bravery on the battlefield. He drove deep into the enemy ground and managed to find Abū Sufyān. He tracked and followed Abū Sufyān’s horse. Hanzalah ibn Āmir was very close to killing him when Abū Sufyān called out to the polytheists to come to his help and save him from perdition. The polytheists responded to his call and hurried up to save their master.

One of the infidels by the name of Shaddād ibn Aws intercepted Hanzalah and confronted him. Abū Sufyān found the chance to throw a spear at Hanzalah from behind. The spear struck Hanzalah in the back. He turned with the intention of going forward to kill Abū Sufyān, but the spear had already taken its toll and done its job. Hanzalah fell on the ground and joined the other honorable martyrs of this war such as Hamzah, the Noble Prophet’s (S) uncle, ‘Abd Allāh ibn Hazām and the others.

When the war of Uhud came to an end, the Noble Prophet (S) stated in very beautiful sentences, ‘“I saw the angels washing Hanzalah and performing the ritual ablution [ghusl] on him in clean and pure water.”

It was after this statement that Hanzalah, the prolific youth of Islam, acquired the title, “Hanzalah Ghasīl al-Malā’ikah” (Hanzalah the one who was washed by the angels).1

This prolific youth from the household of Abū Āmir Rāhib, preferred fighting in the way of Allah to remaining next to his wife. He freed himself from the momentary pleasures of this world and even though he did not find water for the ritual ablution [ghusl], it is a cause of great pride for him that the angels performed the ritual ablution [ghusl] on him with the pure and eternal water of paradise.

  • 1. Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 20, p. 55; Al-Isābah, vol. 1, p. 360; Usd al-Ghābah, vol. 3, p. 147; Ibn Hishām, Al-Sīrah al-Nabawiyyah [Trans.], vol. 2, p. 101; Tārīkh-e Payāmbar-e Islām, p. 328.