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Habib Ibn Zayd Al-Ansari sahaba stories biography, sahabah, sahaabah, companion of prophet muhammad saw, sahabi, sahabi's
|Habib Ibn Zayd Al-Ansari R.A Sahaba
He grew up in a home filled with the fragrance of iman, and in a family where everyone was imbued
with the spirit of sacrifice. Habib's father, Zayd ibn Asim, was one of the first persons in Yathrib to
accept Islam and his mother, the celebrated Nusaybah bint Kab known as Umm Ammarah, was the first
woman to bear arms in defence of Islam and in support of the blessed Prophet.
Habib, still at a tender age, was privileged to go with his mother, father, maternal aunt and brother to
Makkah with the pioneering group of seventy five who pledged fealty to the Prophet at Aqabah and
played a decisive role in shaping the early history o f Islam.
At Aqabah, in the darkness of the night, the young Habib stretched out his small hand and pledged
loyalty to the Prophet. From that day, the Prophet, peace and blessings of God on him, became dearer to
Habib than his own mother or father and Islam became more important to him than any care for his
Habib did not participate in the Battle of Badr because he was too young. Neither did he have the
opportunity to take part in the battle of Uhud because he was still considered too young to bear arms.
Thereafter, however, he took part in all the engagemen ts which the Prophet fought and in all he
distinguished himself by his bravery and willingness to sacrifice. Although each of these battles had its
own importance and was demanding in its own way, they served to prepare Habib for what was to prove
the mos t terrible encounter of his life, the violence of which is profoundly soul-shaking.
Let us follow this awesome story from the beginning. By the ninth year after the Hijrah, Islam had
spread widely and had become the dominant force in the Arabian peninsula. Delegations of tribes from
all over the land converged on Makkah to meet the Messe nger of God, peace be upon him, and
announce before him, their acceptance of Islam.
Among these delegations was one from the highlands of Najd, from the Banu Hanilab. At the outskirts
of Makkah, the members of the delegation tethered their mounts and appointed Musaylamah ibn Habib
as their spokesman and representative. Musaylamah went to the Prophet, peace be upon him. and
announced his people's acceptance of Islam. The Prophet welcomed them and treated them most
generously. Each, including Musaylamah, was presented with a gift.
On his return to Najd the ambitious and self-seeking Musaylamah recanted and gave up his allegiance to
the Prophet. He stood among the people and proclaimed that a prophet had been sent by God to the
Banu Hanifah just as God had sent Muhammad ibn Abdullah to the Quraysh.
For various reasons and under a variety of pressures, the Banu Hanilab began to rally around him. Most
followed him out of tribal loyalty or asabiyyah. Indeed one member of the tribe declared: "I testify that
Muhammad is indeed truthful and that Musaylama h is indeed an imposter. But the imposter of Rabiah
(the tribal confederation to which the Banu Hanilab belonged) is dearer to me that the genuine and
truthful person from Mudar (the tribal confederation to which the Quraysh belonged)."
Before long, the number of Musaylamah's followers increased and he felt powerful, powerful enough to
write the following letter to the Prophet, peace be upon him: "From Musaylamah, the messenger of God
to Muhammad, the messenger of God. Peace be on you. I am prepared to share this mission with you. I
shall have (control over) half the land and you shall have the other half. But the Quraysh are an
Musaylamah despatched two of his men with the letter to the Prophet. When the letter was read to the
Prophet, he asked the two men: "And what do you yourselves say about this matter?" "We affirm what
the letter says," they replied. "By God," said the Prop het, "were it not for the fact that emissaries are not
killed I would have smitten both your necks." He then wrote to Musaylamah: "In the name of God, the
Beneficent, the Compassionate. From Muhammad the Messenger of God, to Musaylamah the imposter.
Peace be upon whoever follows the guidance. God will bequeath the earth to whosoever of His servants
He wishes and the final triumph will be for those who are careful of their duty to God." He sent the letter
with the two men.
Musaylamah's evil and corrupting influence continued to spread and the Prophet considered it necessary
to send another letter to him inviting him to abandon his misguided ways. The Prophet chose Habib ibn
Zayd to take this letter to Musaylamah. Habib was by this time in the prime of his youth and a firm
believer in the truth of Islam with every fibre of his being.
Habib undertook his mission eagerly and proceeded as quickly as he could to the highlands of the Najd,
the territory of the Banu Hanilab. He presented the letter to Musaylamah.
Musaylamah was convulsed with bitter rage. His face was terrible to behold. He ordered Habib to be put
in chains and to be brought back before him the following day.
On the following day, Musaylamah presided over his assembly. On his right and on his left were his
senior advisers, there to further his evil cause. The common people were allowed to enter. He then
ordered Habib, shackled in his chains, to be brought befo re him.
Habib stood in the midst of this crowded, hate-filled gathering. He remained upright, dignified and
proud like a sturdy spear firmly implanted in the ground, unyielding.
Musaylamah turned to him and asked: "Do you testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of God?"
"Yes," Habib replied. "I testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of God."
Musaylamah was visibly angry. "And do you testify that I am the Messenger of God?" He was almost
insisting, rather than questioning. "My ears have been blocked against hearing what you claim," replied
Musaylamah's face changed color, his lips trembled in anger and he shouted to his executioner, "Cut off
a piece of his body."
With sword in hand, the menacing executioner advanced towards Habib and severed one of his limbs.
Musaylamah then put the same question to him once more and Habib's answers were the same. He
affirmed his belief in Muhammad as the Messenger of God and at the expense of his own life he refused
to acknowledge the messengership of any other. Musaylamah th ereupon ordered his henchman to cut
off another part of Habib's body. This fell to the ground beside the other severed limb. The people
looked on in amazement at Habib's composure and steadfastness.
Faced with Musaylamah's persistent questioning and the terrible blows of his henchman, Habib kept on
"I testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of God." Habib could not survive this torture and these
inhuman atrocities much longer and he soon passed away. On his pure lips, as his life-blood ebbed
away, was the name of the blessed Prophet to whom he had pl edged loyalty on the night of Aqabah, the
name of Muhammad, the Messenger of God.
News of Habib's fate reached his mother and her reaction was simply to say: "It was for such a situation
that I prepared him... He pledged allegiance to the Prophet on the night of Aqabah as a small child and
today as an adult he has given his life for th e Prophet. If God were to allow me to get near to
Musaylamah, I would certainly make his daughters smite their cheeks and lament over him."
The day that she wished for was not long in coming. After the death of the Prophet, peace be on him,
Abu Bakr declared war on the imposter. With the Muslim army that went out to confront the forces of
Musaylamah were Habib's mother, Nusaybah, and another of her courageous sons, Abdullah ibn Zayd.
At the Battle of Yamamah which ensued, Nusaybah was seen cutting through the ranks of fighting men
like a lioness and calling out: "Where is the enemy of God? Show me the enemy of God ?" When she
eventually reached Musaylamah, he had already perished. She looked at the body of the vain imposter
and cruel tyrant and felt serene. A grave threat to the Muslims had been removed and the death of her
beloved son, Habib, had been avenged.
At Habib's death, the noble Prophet had commended him and his entire family and had prayed: "May
God bless this household. May God have mercy on this household."
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