‘Abd Allāh ibn ‘Abd Allāh Ubayy, the Prolific Youth

The War of “Banī Mustalaq” took place in the month of Sha‘bān in 6 AH. The Noble Prophet (S) went to the battlefield with his companions to defend Islam. ‘Abd Allāh ibn Ubayy, who was one of the leading hypocrites of Medina, had come together with his adherents as volunteers in the Muslim army because they were covetous of the booty and spoils of war.

As a result of the differences between two people, “Jahjāh”, a Muhājir, and “Nisān ibn Wabar”, an Ansār, an internal conflict was about to erupt in Medina. These two people had quarreled over drawing water from a nearby well. ‘Abd Allāh ibn Ubayy got very angry and addressed the Ansār, “Do these people (the migrants from Mecca) really have the courage to fight us? They have driven us from our homes and behave with pomposity in our land. I swear by Allah, that when I return to Medina, those who are loved and respected (he meant the Jews and the hypocrites of Medina) will drive out those who are abject and contemptible (he meant the Noble Prophet (S) and the Muslims).”

Zayd ibn Arqam rose up and went to inform the Noble Prophet (S) about the plan of the hypocrites. Some of the Noble Prophet’s (S) companions [sahābah] suggested killing ‘Abd Allāh, but Allah’s Prophet (S) rejected this suggestion. Instead, he commanded that an army should march to the area of confrontation to handle the situation.

When ‘Abd Allāh heard the news that an army was marching towards them in order to handle the volatile situation, he forgot his tall claims and hurriedly rushed to meet the Noble Prophet (S) in order to ask for forgiveness. It was after this incident that the sūrat (Chapter) called Munāfiqīn (the Hypocrites) was revealed. This sūrat was meant for ‘Abd Allāh.

On the other hand, ‘Abd Allāh ibn Ubayy had a son by the name of ‘Abd Allāh, whose previous name had been Habbāb. When he heard about his father’s words and plans, he went to see the Noble Prophet (S) and said, “I have heard that you intend to kill my father because of his hypocrisy. If that is true, entrust the duty of killing him to me. I myself will make sure that I have brought his head for you.

I swear by Allah that everyone in the tribe of Banī Khazraj knows that no one loves their father more than I do, but I fear that you may entrust the duty of killing him to someone else. If you do so, I may not be able to bear seeing my father’s killer alive! The feeling of vengeance may compel me to take vengeance on my father’s killer and, as a result, I may be condemned to the hell fire because of killing a Muslim.”

The Noble Prophet (S) stated, “No. We do not intend to kill your father. We will always behave with friendliness and amicability towards your father.”

As a result of this, ‘Abd Allāh ibn Ubayy was reproached and castigated by his own tribe. ‘Abd Allāh ibn Ubayy died in 9 AH.1

  • 1. Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 20, p. 288; Tafsīr-e Qummī, p. 680; Ibn Hishām, Al-Sīrah al-Nabawiyyah, vol. 2, p. 293; Tārīkh-e Payāmbar-e Islām, p. 437; Al-Tanbīh wa al-Ashrāf, p. 215; Ibn Sa‘d, Tabaqāt, vol. 2, p. 63; Zarkulī, Al-A‘lām, vol. 4, p. 65; Tārīkh al-Khamīs, vol. 2, p. 140; Amtā‘ al-Asmā‘, vol. 1, p. 99; Al-Muhabbar, p. 233; Jamharah al-Ansāb al-‘Arab, p. 235.