Unshakeable Imaan

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Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah bin Huzaafah Sahmi (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) is a Sahaabi of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) who had brought imaan in the early stages of Islam. Hence, he was among the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) who participated in the second migration to Abyssinia. (Usdul Ghaabah vol. 2, pg. 577)

During the khilaafah of Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah bin Huzaafah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) was part of an expedition sent to fight against the Romans. However, during the expedition, Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) was taken captive by the Romans.

The Romans brought him before their king and said, “This man is one of the companions of Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam),” Realizing that the man before him was a Sahaabi, the king wished to make him a Christian. Hence, the king said to him, “Do you wish to become a Christian? If you do so, I will give you my daughter’s hand in marriage, and I will also share my kingdom and my rule with you.”

Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) rejected the king’s offer and retorted, “Even if you give me your entire kingdom, as well as the entire kingdom of the Arabs, in exchange of me forsaking the Deen of Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) for just one moment, I will not be prepared to do so.”

Hearing this, the king threatened him saying, “If you do not accept my offer, I will have you executed!” However, Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) was resolute as a rock and replied, “Do as you please.”

The king thus issued orders for Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) to be tied to a cross. He then said to the firing squad, “Fire your arrows close to his hands and legs (merely to frighten him).” Thereafter, as they fired their arrows towards him, the king invited him to Christianity, but Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) still remained resolute and firm on his imaan.

When threatening him with arrows did not work, the king ordered his men to release Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) from the cross. Thereafter, the king instructed that a cauldron be brought and filled with boiling water (or oil). The king then sent for two Muslim prisoners and had one cast into the boiling water (or oil), all the while inviting Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) to Christianity. However, even when confronted with this gruesome form of torture and death, he remained steadfast.

Finally, when the king gave the command for Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) to be cast into the cauldron, he began to tear. When the king was informed that he was tearing, he thought that perhaps Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) had now relented and had weakened in his resolve. He thus ordered for him to be brought back and again invited him to Christianity.

When Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) still refused, the king asked him, “(If your determination and resolve is the same,) then why were you crying?” Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) replied, “The reason for me weeping is that I thought to myself that I only have one life which is about to be cast into the cauldron and will be lost. However, it is my heart’s desire that I be given one life for every strand of hair on my body so that all these lives could be thrown (into this cauldron) for the sake of Allah Ta‘ala!”

Hearing this, the king was impressed and said, “If you kiss my head, then I will set you free.” Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) immediately replied, “Together with all the Muslim captives?” The king said, “I will set all the other Muslim captives free as well.”

Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) thought to himself, “He is an enemy from the enemies of Allah Ta‘ala. If I kiss his head, he will release me and also set free the Muslim captives.”

Hence, Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) went forward and kissed the king’s head, after which the king released him and made the Muslim captives over to him. Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) then took the Muslim captives and returned to Madeenah Munawwarah.

When Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) was informed of the incident, he (was extremely pleased and) said, “It is only appropriate that every Muslim should kiss the head of Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), and I will be the first to do so.” Saying that, Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) stood and kissed the head of Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu).

(Shu‘abul Imaan #1522 and Taareekh Ibni ‘Asaakir vol. 27, pg. 359)

Lessons:

1. Today, people value life, pleasure, enjoyment and entertainment over all else. Thus, people often say, “You only have one life – live it (i.e. acquire maximum enjoyment and pleasure before you die).” In stark contrast to that is the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum). They had such firm, unshakeable imaan in the Hereafter that their ‘slogan’ was, “You only have one life – sacrifice it for Allah.” In fact, such was their desire to sacrifice for the pleasure of Allah Ta‘ala that they sincerely wished that they had more than one life to sacrifice for Allah Ta‘ala – as expressed by Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu).

2. In the world today, we are taught the concept of ‘survival of the fittest’, where each person should worry about himself. However, Islam teaches us that we should wish for others what we wish for ourselves. Thus, Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) wished that all the Muslim captives should be released – not him alone.

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