Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Abdullah Ibn Jahsh

The first be called "Amir al-Mu’minin"

Abdullah Ibn Jahsh was a cousin of the Prophet Muhammad SAW and his sister, Zainab Binti Jahsh, was a wife of the Prophet SAW. He was the first to head a group of Muslims on an expedition and so was the first to be called "Amir al-Mu’minin" Commander of the Believers when Prophet migrated to Madinah.

Abdullah Ibn Jahsh became a Muslim before the Prophet SAW entered the House of al-Arqam which became a meeting place, a school and a place of refuge for the early Muslims. He was thus one of the first to accept Islam.

When the Prophet SAW gave permission for his Companions to emigrate to Madinah to avoid further persecution from the Quraish, Abdullah ibn Jahsh was the second to leave, preceded only by Abu Salamah. Emigrating was not a new experience for Abdullah. He and some members of his immediate family had migrated before to Abyssinia. His brother Ubaidullah Ibn Jash and his wife Umm Habibah Ramlah Binti Abu Suffian also joined them converted to christianity, she divorced him and later married the Prophet SAW.

The second migration [Madinah] however was on a far bigger scale which consists of his family and relatives men, women and children, migrated with him. In fact, his whole clan had become Muslims and accompanied him.

There was an air of desolation as they left Makkah. They left their homes appeared sad and depressed. The homes fell vacant no one lived. No sound of conversation emanated from behind those silent walls.

Abdullah's clan were not long gone when the alerted Quraish leaders came out and made the rounds of the districts in Makkah to find out which Muslims had left and who had remained. Among these leaders were Abu Jahal and Utbah Ibn Rabi'ah. Utbah looked at the houses of the Banu Jahsh through which the dusty winds were blowing. He banged on the doors and shouted:

"The houses of the Banu Jahsh have become empty and are weeping for its occupants." 'Who were these people anyway," said Abu Jahal derisively, "that houses should weep for them." He then took over the house of Abdullah Ibn Jahsh. It was the most beautiful and expensive of the houses. He began to dispose freely of its contents as a king would share out his possessions.

Later, when Abdullah Ibn Jahsh heard what Abu Jahal had done to his house, he mentioned it to the Prophet, peace be upon him, who said:

"Aren't you satisfied, O Abdullah, with what God has given you instead a house in Paradise?" "Yes, messenger of God," Abdullah replied, and became at peace with himself and completely satisfied.

Abdullah Ibn Jahsh had scarcely settled down in Madinah when he had to undergo one of the most testing experiences. He had just begun to taste something of the good and restful life under the sponsorship of the Ansar after going through persecution at the hands of the Quraish when he had to be exposed to the severest test he had ever known in his life and carry out the most difficult assignment since he became a Muslim.

The Prophet, peace and blessings of God be on him, commissioned eight of his Companions to carry out the first military assignment in Islam. Among them were Abdullah Ibn Jahsh and Sa’ad Ibn Abi Waqqas.

"I appoint as your Commander the one who can best bear hunger and thirst," said the Prophet SAW and hand over the Standard of Bearer to Abdullah Ibn Jahsh. He was thus the first to be made Amir over a contingent of believers.

The Prophet SAW gave him precise instructions on the route he should take on the expedition and gave him a letter. He commanded Abdullah to read the letter only after two days' travel.

After the expedition had been on its way for two days, Abdullah looked at the contents of the letter. It said, "When you have read this letter, press on until you come to a place called Nakhlah between Ta'if and Makkah. From there observe the Quraish and gather whatever information you can on them for us."

"At your command, O Prophet of God," exclaimed Abdullah as he finished reading the letter.

Then Abdullah conferred to his colleagues:

"The Prophet has commanded me [us] to proceed to Nakhlah to observe the Quraish and gather information on them for him. He has also commanded me [us] not to go further with anyone of you who is against the purpose of this expedition. So whoever desires martyrdom and is in total agreement with this expedition can accompany me. Whoever is not in agreement may turn back without blame."

They all responded: "At your command, O messenger of Allah," "We shall go with you, Abdullah, wherever the Prophet of God has commanded."
The group continued until they reached Nakhlah and began to move along the mountain passes seeking information on Quraish movements. While they were thus engaged, they saw in the distance a Quraish caravan. There were four men in the caravan Amr Ibn Al-Hadrami, Hukm Ibn Kaysan, Uthman Ibn Abdullah and his brother Mughirah. They were carrying merchandise for the Quraish such as leather skins, raisins and other usual stock in trade.

The Sahabah conferred together and it was the last day of the sacred months. "If they were to kill them they would have done it the inviolable months. To do so would be to violate the sacredness of this month and expose ourselves to the wrath of all Arabs. If we leave them alone for a day so that the month will be completed, they would have entered the inviolable precincts of Makkah and thus are secure from us."

They continued consulting until finally they agreed to pounce on the caravan and take whatever merchandise they could as booty. Before long, two of the men were captured and one was killed; the fourth escaped.

Abdullah Ibn Jahsh and his men took the two prisoners and the caravan on to Madinah. They went to the Prophet, peace be upon him, and informed him about what they had done.

The Prophet was greatly upset and strongly condemned their action. "By God, I did not command you to fight. I only commanded you to gather information on the Quraish and observe their movements." He granted a reprieve to the two prisoners and he left the caravan and did not take a single item from it.

Abdullah Ibn Jahsh and his men then knew that they had fallen into disgrace and felt certain that they were ruined because of their disobeying the command of the Prophet SAW. They began to feel the pressure as their Muslim brothers censured them and avoided them whenever they passed one another. And they would say, "They went against the command of the Prophet."

Their discomfiture grew when they learnt that the Quraish had taken the incident as a means to discredit the Prophet SAW and denounce him among the tribes. The Quraish were saying:

"Muhammad has defiled the sacred month. He has shed blood in it, plundered wealth and captured men." Imagine the extent of the sadness felt by Abdullah Ibn Jahsh and his men at what had happened, more so because of the acute embarrassment they had caused the Prophet SAW.

They were sorely tormented and the agony weighed heavily on them. Then came the good news that Allah the Glorified was pleased with what they had done and had sent down revelation to His Prophet about the matter. They were happy and released. People came and embraced them, congratulating them on the good news and reciting to them what had been revealed in the glorious Qur'an about their action.

"They ask you about fighting in the sacred month. Say: Fighting therein is an enormity as well as preventing (people) from the path of God and disbelief in Him. Expelling people from the Masjid al Haram is a greater sin in the eyes of God. Moreover, persecution is greater than killing." (Surah Al-Baqarah 2: 212).

When these blessed verses were revealed, the Prophet's mind was eased. He took the caravan and ransomed the prisoners. He became pleased with Abdullah ibn Jahsh and his men. Their expedition was certainly a major event in the early life of the Muslim community . . .

At the Battle of Badar, Abdullah Ibn Jahsh fought in it and was put to a great test, but a test to which his faith was equal. Then he fought at the Battle of Uhud.

There is an unforgettable story involving Abdullah ibn Jahsh and his friend Sa'ad ibn Abi Waqqas concerning an incident that took place during the Battle of Uhud.

Sa'ad said that during the battle, Abdullah came to me and said, "Aren't you making a do’a to God?" "Yes," I said. So step aside and I prayed, "O Lord, when I meet the enemy, let me meet a man of enormous strength and fury. Then grant me victory over him that I might kill him and acquire spoils from him."

Abdullah said Amen and then he prayed: "Let me meet a man of great standing and enormous fury. I shall fight him for Your sake, O Lord, and he shall fight me. He shall take me and cut off my nose and ears and when I meet You on the morrow You will say, "For what were your nose and ear cut off?" And I would reply, "For Your sake and for the sake of Your Prophet." And then You would say, "You have spoken the truth . . ." Sa'ad continues the story:

The prayer of Abdullah Ibn Jahsh was better than mine. I saw him at the end of the day. He was killed and mutilated and in fact his nose and his ear were hung on a tree with a thread.

God responded to the prayer of Abdullah Ibn Jahsh and blessed him with martyrdom as He blessed his uncle, the Leader of Martyrs, Hamzah Ibn Abdul Muttalib. The noble Prophet SAW buried them together in a single grave. His pure tears watered the earth and the earth anointed with the fragrance of martyrdom. Her husband, ‘Abdullah bin Jash, who was the cousin of the Prophet SAW. Abdullah was killed in Battle of Uhud. The body was mutilated; his nose and his ear were hung on a tree with a thread.

The Prophet SAW , out of compassionate married his widow, Zainab binti Khuzaimah in Ramadhan, in the 4th year of Hijrah but died shortly. She was from Bani Hilal nicknamed Ummul-Masakin because of her caring and kindness


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