The Companions were in an enthusiastic effort to shape their lives according to their love and excitement of iman. At the bottom of this excitement of iman were the intense “spirituality and reflection” they had received from the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace-.
Indeed, the inner worlds of a society of Ignorance, which until then were devoid of the truth and moral values, became flooded with the spiritual downpours of mercy and abundance through the Blessed Prophet’s -upon him blessings and peace- company. The inspiration, spirituality and reflected from the heart of the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- onto theirs, brought about a collection of shining figures to light the way for humankind until the final hour. The unruly, hardhearted man of Ignorance, ruthless enough to bury his own daughter alive turned into a teary-eyed believer, a man of wisdom.
They Ran to Join the Circle of Islam
Young and old, the Asr-u Saadah society passionately ran to enter the ranks of the faithful. Abdullah ibn Zubayr -Allah be well-pleased with him- was the first child born after the Hegira. They immediately brought him next to the Prophet of Allah -upon him blessings and peace-. After chewing a small date in his mouth, the Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- placed it in the baby’s mouth and stroking his head, prayed for him and named him Abdullah.
Once Abdullah -Allah be well-pleased with him- reached the age of eight, he was sent by his father to the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- to pledge allegiance. Seeing the little Abdullah, the Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- smiled and accepted his pledge. (Muslim, Adab, 25)
Abdullah ibn Hisham -Allah be well-pleased with him- was still six during the conquest of Mecca when his mother Zaynab bint Humayd took him to the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- and requested:
“Accept my son’s pledge, Messenger of Allah, that he is a Muslim!”
“He is still young”, replied the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace-, after which he stroked the young boy’s head and prayed for him.
In his later years, Abdullah ibn Hisham -Allah be well-pleased with him- would go to the market and buy food items to trade. Upon seeing him, Ibn Omar and Ibn Zubayr -Allah be well-pleased with him- would straight away go next to him and ask him to “…make us partners in these items for the Messenger of Allah made a prayer of abundance for you!” Abdullah would comply with their requests. There were times when he would send them home with a camel load of profits. (Bukhari, Shirkah, 13)
Abu Kursafah -Allah be well-pleased with him-, too, had run to believe at a very tender age. He recounts his experiences below:
“As my mother, my aunt and I were returning home after having pledged our allegiances to the Messenger of Allah, I heard both of them say, ‘We have never seen a man like him in our entire lives. We have never met another person with a more beautiful face, cleaner clothes and softer speech. It is as if it is light that spills from his mouth!” (Haythami, VIII, 279-280)
They Never Hesitated in Sacrificing Their Lives for Faith
Famous are the courageous feats of Sumayya and her husband Yasir -Allah be well-pleased with them-, who both sacrificed their lives just to protect their faith. Equally legendary is the courage of Ammar ibn Yasir, Bilal Habashi, Habbab ibn Arat, Suhayb ibn Sinan, Zinnira, Amir ibn Fuhayra, Abu Fukayha, Miqdad ibn Amr, Umm Ubays, Lubayna, Nahdiya and her daughter, all of whom were put through the most gruesome forms of torture, in spite of which they held fast to their iman. Even under unbearable persecution, the Companions were able to keep a strong hold on their beliefs, exerting an enormous effort just to make sure that this Divine blessings was passed on to future generations, safe and sound, even if it meant they had to give up all they had in the way.
During his days as Caliph, Omar -Allah be well-pleased with him- one day asked Habbab ibn Arat -Allah be well-pleased with him- to recount the torture he had been made to endure.
“Take a look at my back”, Habbab -Allah be well-pleased with him- then said to him. After briefly inspecting his back, the chilled Omar -Allah be well-pleased with him- exclaimed, “I have never seen such a mutilated back in my life!”
“The idolaters used to light a fire”, Habbab -Allah be well-pleased with him- then continued, “and make me lie on it without any clothes on my back. The fire would only be put out by the fat melting away from my back.”
The idolaters would fasten onto Habbab’s -Allah be well-pleased with him- back stones charred in by fire and the intensity of the pain would have the meat fall from his back, piece by piece. Still, he would not utter even a word of what the idolaters would demand him to say. (Ibn Asir, Usd’ul-Ghabah, II, 114-115)
Zayd ibn Dasina and Hubayb -Allah be well-pleased with them- who both fell captive to the idolaters were about to be tortured to death. Right before they breathed their last, they were both asked:
“Do you wish the Prophet was in your place right now in return for your life?” Both of them looked at the idolater posing the unfortunate question with pity and said:
“Let alone wishing the Prophet to be in my place right now and I with my family, I would not even want a thorn spiking his foot where he is!”
Petrified before the sight of an exceptional display of loyalty, Abu Sufyan, who was standing by, could not help but remark:
“How strange it is that I have never in my life seen another group of people than the Companions of Muhammad who love their leader more!” (Waqidi, I, 360-362; Ibn Saad, II, 56)
In the aftermath of the Battle of Uhud, Saffiya -Allah be well-pleased with her– wanted to see the mutilated corpse of his brother Hamza -Allah be well-pleased with him-. With that intention in mind, she walked towards the corpses of the martyrs. Seemingly, the terrifying sight would have been too much for her to bear. His son Zubayr intercepted her and said:
“The Messenger of Allah advises you to return, dear mother!”
“Why?” she responded. “So I do not see my brother? I know he has been atrociously butchered. He has been subjected to this disaster in the way of Allah…and nothing short of that could have consoled us. Allah willing, I will keep patient and expect its rewards from Him!”
Zubayr -Allah be well-pleased with him- then turned back and recounted her mother’s words to the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace-.
“In that case, allow her to see him”, was his response.
Safiyya -Allah be well-pleased with her- said a heartfelt prayer by the side of his brother, who had attained to the honorable rank of the king of martyrs. (See, Ibn Hisham, III, 48; Ibn Hajar, al-Isabah, IV, 349)
Women, who in the Age of Ignorance would mourn for days on end, shredding their clothes and pulling their own hairs, over the smallest piece of bad news they received, had suddenly turned into pillars of composure, thanks to their unshakable belief in Allah, glory unto Him.
One of the most beautiful examples of this was provided by Kabsha bint Ubayd -Allah be well-pleased with her-, Saad ibn Muadh’s -Allah be well-pleased with him- mother:
Having received heavy wounds at the Battle of Uhud, the Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- was returning to Medina on horseback, with Saad ibn Muadh -Allah be well-pleased with him- holding its reins, when Kabsha bint Ubayd -Allah be well-pleased with her- began approaching them.
“This is my mother, Messenger of Allah”, said Saad -Allah be well-pleased with him-.
“Peace to her”, replied the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace-.
Drawing closer to the Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- and gazing at his face, she then said, “May my parents be ransomed for you, Messenger of Allah. All troubles mean nothing to me, now that I have seen you safe and sound!”
After giving his condolences to her over her son Amr ibn Muadh -Allah be well-pleased with him-, martyred on the battlefield of Uhud, the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- added, “I give you and your entire household glad tidings. Every single martyred member of your tribe (twelve all up) has now come together in Paradise. They have also been given permission to intercede on behalf of their families!”
“We are satisfied, Messenger of Allah. Who would shed tears over them after now?” she responded before pleading, “Please pray for those of us who are left behind, too!”
So the Noble Messenger -upon him blessings and peace- prayed:
“Allah…Rid their hearts of sorrow and give them their rewards over their troubles! And protect those who have been left behind in the best way!”
The Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- then continued on his way. The Companions were following in his wake. Their love for the Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- prevented them from going home; they much preferred to remain by his side. Sensing the situation, the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace-, addressing Saad -Allah be well-pleased with him-, said:
“There are plenty of people from your tribe who have been heavily wounded. On the Day of Judgment, they shall all emerge with blood flowing from their wounds. Its color will be that of blood but will smell of musk. Tell them to return home and treat their wounds. Let nobody follow us from hereon. Tell them that this is an imperative order!”
“It is the Messenger of Allah’s -upon him blessings and peace- imperative command that no wounded person from the Banu Ashal tribe shall follow us from hereon!” Saad -Allah be well-pleased with him- called out. The wounded warriors, thirty all up, had no other choice than to return unwillingly. They spent the entire night dressing their wounds around fires which remained lit until morning. (Waqidi, I, 315-316; Diyarbakri, I, 444)
Another female Companion who put on a display of fortitude almost beyond human capacity was Sumayra -Allah be well-pleased with her-.
On the Day of Uhud, Medina trembled with the news that the Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- had been martyred. Panic broke loose as screams reached the Heavens. Such that despite being told that her husband, two sons, father and brother had been martyred on the battlefield, Sumayra -Allah be well-pleased with her-, an Ansari woman, remained indifferent, concerned only to be comforted with the news of the Blessed Prophet’s -upon him blessings and peace- wellbeing, as she continuously kept on asking:
“Is he all right?”
She eventually got the reply she was hoping for, from the incoming Companions:
“Yes. Alhamdulillah he is alive and well!”
But Sumayra -Allah be well-pleased with her- was little contented.
“Show him to me so my heart rests at ease”, she implored. When they did, she rushed to the Prophet of Allah -upon him blessings and peace-, and holding him by the edge of his shirt, exclaimed:
“May my parents be sacrificed for you, Messenger of Allah… I have nothing to worry about so long as you’re alive!” (Waqidi, I, 292; Haythami, VI, 115)
They Struggled and Migrated Just to Protect their Faith
To protect their iman from the oppression of the Meccan idolaters, the Companions migrated to distant lands, leaving behind their hometowns, families and wealth. As a testimony of their strength of faith, Allah, glory unto Him, states in the Holy Quran:
“Those who believed and left their homes and strove for the cause of Allah, and those who took them in and helped them – these are the believers in truth. For them is pardon, and bountiful provision.” (al-Anfal, 74)
The speech of Jafar Tayyar -Allah be well-pleased with him-, designated by the Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- as the head of the first envoy of immigrants to Abyssinia, in the presence of the Negus, provides a wonderful idea of how an ignorant people were transformed into exemplary figures and the excitement that remained with them thereafter:
“Your majesty! We were an ignorant bunch. We used to worship idols made of wood thinking they are gods. We used to eat carrion and bury our daughters alive. We were gamblers, indulgers in usury. We fornicated and saw no harm in seeing a woman engage in relations with numerous men. Neither did we know anything of the rights of our relatives, nor did we recognize the rights of neighbors. The strong used to oppress the weak, while the rich lived off the poor. We knew nothing of justice!
Then Allah the Almighty showed mercy on us and willed our recovery, and sent a Prophet from among us, from a noble line and a virtuous tribe. We had already known him as the Trusted. He called us to the oneness of Allah. He taught us how to worship Him. He saved us from the idols of our ancestors. He warded off all evil from us. He banned the shedding of blood, usury, lying and the misuse of orphans’ properties. He constantly taught us what is good. He advised us righteousness, to keep our word, to treat neighbors and relatives with kindness and to protect the honor of women and the lives of our daughters. He saved us from savagery and taught us how to be humane. So we believed him and now we walk on his path.
For that very reason we have earned the hostility of the Quraysh. We were tortured. When the suffering became unbearable, and since we did not want to leave our religion either, we asked permission of our Prophet -upon him blessings and peace-, and favoring you over other kings we came to your land. We assumed we would not be oppressed here and so we took shelter in your protection.” (Ahmed, I, 202-203, V, 290-291; Haythami, VI, 25-27; Ibn Hisham, I, 358-359)
The last convoy of immigrants to Abyssinia returned, by sea, to the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- during the conquest of Khaybar. Asma bint Umays -Allah be well-pleased with her- was also among them. One day, she visited Hafsa -Allah be well-pleased with her-, the wife of the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace-, and as she was there, Hafsa’s father Omar -Allah be well-pleased with him- stepped inside. Unable to recognize Asma, he asked who she was. When Hafsa -Allah be well-pleased with her- revealed her identity, Omar -Allah be well-pleased with him- asked, lightheartedly:
“Is that the Asma from Abyssinia…the one who took part in the sea voyage?”
“Yes”, replied Asma -Allah be well-pleased with her-.
“We have surpassed you in terms of Hegira”, then said Omar -Allah be well-pleased with him-. “We therefore have more right to be closer to the Messenger of Allah!”
Saddened by his words, Asma responded, “By Allah, you are wrong to think that, Omar! All this time, you were with the Messenger of Allah…he fed your hungry and taught your ignorant. But we were in a land distant, in Abyssinia, among foreign people, living in exile. And it was all in the name of Allah and His Messenger. I promise by Allah that I will not eat or drink anything until I tell the Messenger of Allah what you just told me. We had to endure a lot of suffering and intimidation there. But I will sure inform the Messenger of Allah of this and learn the insight into the matter. I will tell him just the way it is, without lying or adding anything of my own!”
The moment the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- arrived, Asma -Allah be well-pleased with her- notified him of Omar’s -Allah be well-pleased with him- words. After receiving Omar’s -Allah be well-pleased with him- confirmation, the Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- said:
“He has no greater right by me than you. He and his friends have only one Hegira while you, the sea voyagers, have two!”
Asma -Allah be well-pleased with her- says:
“Immediately afterwards, Abu Musa al-Ashari and the other Companions aboard the ship from Abyssinia came to me in groups and had me retell the words of the Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace-. It was as if there was nothing else on Earth that made them happier and gave them greater hope. Abu Musa al-Ashari -Allah be well-pleased with him- had me repeat the incident over and over again, receiving an insatiable delight each time I recounted him the glad tidings given to the immigrants of Abyssinia.” (Bukhari, Maghazi, 36; Muslim, Fadail’us-Sahaba, 169)