The Arabian Peninsula has, in its long history continuously witnessed many events. With the coming of Islam and the formation of religious issues through the heavenly personality of the great Prophet of Islam (S) the page of pre-Islam Arab history saw a significant change. It turned into the Islamic history. Improper individual and collective conduct, wrong ways and styles of life, and similarly the beliefs and superstitions of the ignorant Arabs were the signs of the culture and civilization of the Arab society of those days.
People had wrongly interpreted the meaning of morality. For example, they received respect by burying their alive daughters. Those who displayed more cruelty were regarded more respectable. Loot, arson, killing, and bloodshed were considered as bravery. When they heard about the Paradise, they asked whether the Paradise had its wars or no. When the reply was negative they said what it worth was!
The story of Zaid bin Haritha is an example of the condition of the ignorant Arabs. Zaid bin Haritha, during his childhood, went with his mother, to visit their relatives in another tribe, when bandits assaulted them. He could not run away and became a captive and was brought to the market of Ukaz for sale. Agents of Hadhrat Khadijah purchased him. She gifted him to the holy Prophet. The Prophet released him and when he was not prepared to return to his tribe along with his father and uncle, the holy Prophet announced near Ka’ba and in front of people that Zaid was his adopted son (in law).
Many of those people changed after the appearance of Islam. Mecca and Medina became centers of the light. The change reached to such an extent that an Ansari youth came to the holy Prophet (S) on the day of the battle of Badr and asked: "O Messenger of Allah! What is the reward of one who fights against this community and gets killed?"
"Paradise." came the divine response.
The young said: "Very nice, very nice! Then the distance between me and Paradise [the only barrier in front of me] is this date which I eat!" Saying so he threw away the dates, engaged in fighting until he was martyred. Yes, their fighting was for obtaining God’s pleasure, and for prospering in the other world.1
But, the opportunists and the wish-worshipper who saw a danger to their worldly [material] profits with the ever-increasing advance of Islam, tried, by every means, to remove this heavenly Shariat [Code] from their community. In the beginning, they tired to prevent progress. Thereafter, they resorted to threatening and intimidation. They used temptation and force to prevent the message from the masses. But the Messenger of Allah (S) stood fast and firm against all those troubles and continued to fight against the devil and his servants.
But the world-seekers who saw their interests in danger, looked for an opportunity for revenge and for staging a revolt. Yet the holy Prophet took proper remedial steps. By God’s help and his sharp planning, he defeated all those mischief and uprisings.
The holy Prophet (S), during his last illness, thought a plan for defeating the coup de etat of the rioter companions, so that all of them could be sent out of Medina along with the army of Usamah. He selected Usamah, a 34-year-old, son of martyr Zaid bin Haritha for the command of that army and ordered that all young and old men must leave Medina with him.
In that battalion, people like Abu Bakr, Umar, Abu Ubaidah Jarrah, Abdur Rahman bin Auf, Sa’ad bin Abi Waqqas, Sa’ad bin Ubaldah, and many other famous companions were put under the command of Usamah. In the beginning they began to criticize, and said: "He made us subordinate to a boy of 34 years!" They refrained from proceeding. The holy Prophet (S) delivered a sermon for them and said; "God’s Curse be on the one who opposes the Usamah’s army. God’s curse be on the one who does not join the army of Usamah."
The army of Usamah moved and camped at Joraf, a few kilometers from Medina. At the same time the illness of the holy Prophet (S) increased and its news reached the camps. The elders of the community returned to Medina. The next morning Bilal came home and cried: Prayer! Prayer! O Messenger of God! Since the holy Prophet had slept with his head on the thigh of Ali (as), Aysha thought it a good occasion and told Bilal: "The Holy Prophet asked you to call Abu Bakr to lead the Prayer in his place."
Abu Bakr stood for prayer in place of the holy Prophet (S). When the condition of the holy Prophet (S) improved and he heard the voice of Abu Bakr, He said: Raise me up. Then he made ablution. According to the narration of Sahih Bukhari, he went to the mosque, supported by two men, as his legs had became too weak to walk, his feet dragging on the ground. Then he disrupted the prayer of Abu Bakr and led it in a sitting state. After concluding the Prayer, he gave a little talk to the people and died on the same day.
Such kind of mischief and misbehavior continued till the demise of the holy Prophet (S). It increased thereafter to such an extent that they took to the slogan Hasbunā Kitabullah (The Book of God is enough for us). It became a cause of alteration and carelessness towards the Prophet’s traditions!
With the passage of time, a new style was adopted, whereby false traditions were spread in condemnation of the Progeny of the Prophet, especially Amirul Mu’mineen Ali (as), and in praise of the Caliphs in such a way that it became impossible to differentiate the true from the false!
Those events have created the need for a thorough research in history, so that false statements could be separated from the true ones. The said story is an example of such events, which the great scholar Syed Murtaza Askari has dealt with.
- 1. The Role of the Imams in the Revival of Religion, Allamah Askari