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Mus‘ab ibn ‘Umayr, the Passionate Defender of Islam

Mus‘ab ibn ‘Umayr ibn Hāshim ibn ‘Abd al-Manāf was one of those youths who were full of enthusiasm and religious zeal. When the Noble Prophet (S) publicly invited everyone to the divine religion,Islam, Mus‘ab ibn ‘Umayr responded positively to the call and converted to Islam.

From then on, he started defending Islam. Mus‘ab ibn ‘Umayr was the beloved offspring of an aristocratic family. They had provided him with all the comforts and luxuries that the world could offer, but Mus‘ab’s soul was in search of the eternal spring of life offered by Islam.

In spite of being very handsome, dressed in fine clothes and ornaments, he was extremely courteous to one and all. Everyone spoke well of him and remembered him with affection. Affluence and the deception of luxury were not enough for him. He was in search of something higher. Finally, in order to quench his thirst, he went to see the Noble Prophet (S) and devotedly learnt the teachings of Islam. He strove hard to keep his conversion a secret from his family.

One day, ‘Uthmān ibn Talhah saw Mus‘ab praying and went to inform his mother and other family members about it. They angrily confronted him and charged him with the crime of becoming a Muslim and following the instructions of the Noble Prophet (S) and, consequently, imprisoned him in the house. He stayed in prison for some time until he found an opportunity to escape. He then migrated to Ethiopia with the other oppressed Muslims. After staying in Ethiopia for some time, he returned to Mecca with the other emigrants.

When a group of people from Medina came for the Hajj in the month of Dhū al-Hijjah in the twelfth year of the prophetic mission, they met the Noble Prophet (S), one moonlit night, at ‘Aqabah and converted to Islam and requested him to send a preacher to them. The Noble Prophet (S) sent Mus‘ab to accompany them back to Medina, so that he may recite the verses of the Glorious Qur’an among them and teach them the principles and laws of Islam.

After entering Medina, Mus‘ab resided in the house of As‘ad ibn Zarārah, one of the elders of the tribe of Khazraj. One day he and As‘ad went together to the house of Sa‘d ibn Ma‘ādh, one of the elders of the tribe of Aws and As‘ad’s cousin, with the intention of inviting him to convert to the religion of Islam.

Muslims gathered at the house of Sa‘d desirous of listening to the verses of the Glorious Qur’an. Sa‘d turned to Asīd ibn Hudayr, one of the elders of the tribe of Aws, pointed at them and said, “These two people have come to misguide those whose faith is weak. Drive them out of my house immediately. If As‘ad had not been my cousin, I would have confronted him myself.”

Asīd ibn Hudayr got a weapon and went to confront them. When Asīd got close to them, As‘ad said to Mus‘ab, “This man (Asīd) is one of the elders of his tribe. Is it possible to make him become a Muslim?” Mus‘ab said, “If he will sit down for a while and listen to a few sentences of what I have to say, there is hope that he will convert to Islam.”

Asīd refused to sit down and started abusing Mus‘ab ibn ‘Umayr and As‘ad. He said, “Have you come here to misguide the ignorant people among us? Arise and leave the vicinity of our house if you wish to return alive.”

Mus‘ab ibn ‘Umayr, absolutely unruffled, answered him very calmly, “I request you to sit down and listen to what I have to say. If what I say is pleasing to you, then accept it. If it is not pleasing to you, you are at liberty to reject my words.”

Mus‘ab ibn ‘Umayr was both brave and eloquent. He could, in a few words, effectively explain the truth of Islam. After doing so, he recited a few verses of the Glorious Qur’an. These few verses of the Glorious Qur’an had such a deep effect on Asīd that, without further delay, he told Asīd, “What beautiful and good words you recite! What has one got to do in order to join this religion?”

The two Muslim propagators said, “First you have to purify yourself by performing the ritual ablution [ghusl] and washing your clothes. After that, you have to testify to the oneness of Allah, and then offer two rak‘ats of prayers.”

Asīd did exactly as he was told. He recounted what had taken place to Sa‘d ibn Ma‘ādh. Upon hearing that Asīd had converted to Islam, Sa‘d ibn Ma‘ādh got so angry that he drew his sword from its sheath and confronted the two Muslim propogaters with curses and abuses. Mus‘ab used the same method to prevail over Sa‘d ibn Ma‘ādh that he had used to influence and prevail over Asīd.

Sa‘d ibn Ma‘ādh, after being subdued, was greatly impressed by the words of Mus‘ab. The verses of the Glorious Qur’an had such a deep effect on him that he converted to Islam there and then. After that, Sa‘d left the two Muslim preachers and went to his tribe and addressed them, “O children of ‘Abd al-Ashhal, What do you think about me?” They answered, “You are an elder of our clan! Your opinions, management, cleanliness and purity are higher than those of any of us!”

Sa‘d said, “Then you must know that from today onwards, none of you has any right to talk to me until he or she has not become a Muslim, a believing man and a believing woman.” The day had not yet ended before the entire clan of Banī Ashhal converted to Islam. They were one of the biggest clans of the tribe of Banī Aws. The most renowned and prominent people of the tribe of Banī Khazraj also converted to Islam.

Mus‘ab ibn ‘Umayr took part in the wars of Badr and Uhud. He was the standard-bearer for the Muslims during the Battle of Uhud when he attained martyrdom. He was buried next to Hamzah, the Noble Prophet’s (S) uncle.1

  • 1. Zarkulī, Al-A‘lām, vol. 7, p. 248; Ibn Sa‘d, Tabaqāt, vol. 3, p. 82; Al-Isābah, vol. 3, p. 401; Sifat al-Safwah, vol. 1, p. 52; Usd al-Ghābah, vol. 4, p. 268; Hilyat al-Awliyā’, vol. 1, p. 106; Ibn Hishām, Al-Sīrah al-Nabawiyyah, vol. 2, p. 294; Nahāyat al-Arb, p. 232; Tārīkh-e Payāmbar-e Islām, p. 185; Amtā‘ al-Asmā‘, p. 35.