AZ -ZUBAIR IBN AL `AWAAM
The Prophet's Disciple!
It is almost impossible to mention Talhah without mentioning Az-Zubair, too, and almost impossible to mention Az-Zubair without mentioning Talhah as well.
When the Prophet (PBUH) was fraternizing with his Companions in Makkah before the Hijrah to Al-Madiinah, he fraternized with Talhah and Az-Zubair.
The Prophet (PBUH) often talked about them together, for example in his statement "Talhah and Ar-Zubair are my neighbors in Paradise."
Both of them were linked to the Prophet (PBUH) through relationship and descent. As for Talhah he is linked to the Prophet (PBUH) through Murah lbn Ka'b. Zubair's lineage is linked to the Prophet through Qusaii Ibn Kulaab. In addition to that, his mother Safiah is the Prophet's paternal aunt.
Talhah and Az-Zubair resembled each other tremendously in their fates. The similarity between them was enormous in terms of their upbringing, their wealth, their generosity, their religious solidarity, and their magnificent bravery. Both of them were early converts to Islam. Both of them were among the ten to whom Paradise was promised by the Prophet (PBUH) and among the six whom `Umar entrusted with the duty of choosing the next caliph following him. Even their destiny was one of complete similarity. In fact was one destiny.
As mentioned, Az-Zubair's embracement of Islam was an early one. Indeed he was one of the first seven who quickened their steps towards Islam and played a role with the blessed early converts at Daar Al-Arqam. At that time he was 15 years old; that is how he was endowed with guidance, light, and all the good while still a youth.
He was a horseman and a bold warrior from childhood, to the extent that historians mention that the first sword lifted in Islam was Az-Zubair's sword.
In the very early days of Islam, while the Muslims were still few in number, hiding in Daar Al-Arqam, a rumor spread that the Prophet (PBUH) had been killed. Az-Zubair had hardly heard that when he unsheathed his sword and hurried through the streets of Makkah although still so young.
First he went to learn the truth of what had been said, determined that if it were true, he would cut the whole of the Quraish into pieces until they killed him.
On the high hills of Makkah, the Prophet (PBUH) met him and asked, "What's the matter?" Az-Zubair told him the news. The Prophet (PBUH) prayed for him and asked Allah to bestow mercy and all good upon him, and victory upon his sword.
Despite Az-Zubair's nobility among his clan, he had to carry the burden of the Quraish's persecution and torment. It was his uncle who was in charge of his torture. He wrapped him in a mat, set it on fire to let him suffocate, and called to him while he was under the pressure of severe torture, "Disbelieve in Muhammad's Lord and I will ward off this torture."
Az-Zubair, who was at that time no more than a growing youth, replied in a horrible challenging way, "No! By Allah, I won't return to polytheism ever again."
Az-Zubair emigrated to Abyssinia twice, in the first and second migrations. Then he returned to take part in the battles with the Prophet (PBUH). No raid or battle ever missed him.
Plentiful were the stabs which his body had to receive and preserve even after his wounds had been healed. They were like medals telling of Az-Zubair's heroism and glory.
Let us listen to one of his companions, who once saw and described these medals, which crowded each other over his body: While accompanying Az- Zubair in one of his journeys, I saw his body spotted with sword scars. His chest was like hollow eyes due to the variety of stabs and wounds. I said to him, "I've seen on your body what I've never seen before." He replied, "By Allah, I haven't received one of them except while I was with the Prophet (PBUH) and in the cause of Allah."
During the Battle of Uhud, after the army of the Quraish had retreated towards Makkah, the Prophet (PBUH) assigned him together with Abu Bakr to follow the Quraish's army and to chase them so they would realize how strong the Muslim party was and would not think of reattacking Al-Madiinah and continuing the fight. Abu Bakr and Az-Zubair led 70 Muslims. Although they were chasing a victorious army, the military skill used by As-Siddiiq and Az-Zubair, made the Quraish think that they had overestimated the Tosses of the Muslim party. They thought that the powerful front row, whose strength Az-Zubair and As-Siddiiq successfully demonstrated, was nothing other than the advance guard of the Prophet's army, which seemed to approach in order to launch a horrible pursuit. The Quraish hastened away and quickened their pace towards Makkah.
On the Day of Al-Yarmuuk, Az-Zubair was an army in himself. When he saw most of the warriors under his command moving backwards when they saw the huge advancing Roman "mountains", he cried, "Allahu akbar! Allah is the greatest!" With a sharp striking sword he burst alone into those advancing "mountains", then he retreated, then penetrated the same horrible rows with his sword in his right hand, never tripping nor slipping.
May Allah be pleased with him who was so much in love with martyrdom, full of enthusiasm for dying in the cause of Allah. He said, "Talhah gives his sons names of the Prophets and he knows there is no prophet after Muhammad (PBUH). But I give my sons the names of martyrs, and may they die as martyrs!"
In this way he named one son `Abd Allah as a good omen, after the martyr Companion Abd Allah lbn Jahsh; another he named Al-Mundhir after the martyr Companion Al-Mundhir lim `Amr; another he named Urwah after the martyr Companion `Urwah Ibn `Amr; another he called Hamzah after the martyr Companion Hamzah Ibn Abi Taalib; another he called Ja'far after the martyr Companion Ja'far Ibn Abi Taalib; another he called Mus`ab after the martyr Companion Mus'ab Ibn Umair and another he called Khaalid after the martyr Companion Khaalid lbn Sa`iid.
In this way he chose for his sons the names of martyrs, hoping that they would all die martyrs.
It is mentioned in his biography that he never held a governorship, nor the task of collecting taxes or tribute, but only the task of fighting in the cause of Allah.
His merit as a warrior can be seen in his total self-reliance and his complete self-confidence.
Even if 100,000 warriors were to join him in combat, you would still see him fighting as if standing alone on the battlefield, and as if the responsibility of fighting and for victory rested on him alone.
His merit as a warrior is represented in his firmness and the strength of his nerves.
He saw his uncle Hamzah on the Day of Uhud: the polytheists had cut his corpse into pieces in a dreadful way. He stood in front of him like a high firm rooted mountain, gritting his teeth while holding his sword tightly, having nothing in mind except a horrible revenge. Soon, however, a divine revelation prohibited the Prophet (PBUH) and the Muslims from even the slightest thought of such a thing.
When the Bani Quraidhah siege lasted a long period without their surrender, the Prophet (PBUH) sent him with `Aliy Ibn Abi Taalib. There in front of the insurmountable fortress he stood and repeated several times, "By Allah We will taste what Hamzah tasted or we will open their fortress." Then they two alone threw themselves into the fortress.
With admirable strong nerves, they were able to terrify the besieged inside it and to open its gates.
On the Day of Hunain he could see Maalik lbn `Awf, leader the of Hawaazin and of the polytheist army, after his defeat in Hunain standing in the midst of some of his companions and the remnants of his defeated army. He burst alone into their midst and single handedly scattered them and pushed them away from the place of ambush from which they kept an eye on the Muslim leaders who were returning from the battlefield.
* * *
His share of the Prophet's love and appreciation was great.
The Prophet (PBUH) was so proud of him that he said, "Every prophet has a disciple, and my disciple is Az-Zubair Ibn Al `Awaam." He was not only his cousin and the husband of Asmaa Bint Abu Bakr ("The Lady of the Two Belts") but, moreover, he was the powerful, loyal, brave, bold, generous, and bountiful, who gave away and devoted his life and money for Allah, Lord of all the worlds.
His characteristics were noble, his good qualities great. His bravery and generosity were always parallel to each other. He managed a successful trade, and his fortune was enormous; however, he spent all of that in the cause of Islam until he died in debt. His trust in Allah was the reason behind his generosity, bravery, and redemption.
Even when he generously gave up his soul, he asked his son to pay his debt. "If you're unable to pay it, then seek my Master's help." `Abd Allah asked him, "Which master do you mean?" He answered, "Allah. He is the best Guardian, the best Helper." `Abd Allah said afterwards, "By Allah I never fell into trouble because of his debt. I only said, `O Master of Zubair, pay his debt,' so He did."
On the Day of Al-Jamal, and in the same way previously mentioned about Talhah, was Az-Zubair's end and fate. After he saw it right to refrain from fighting, a group of those who had been keen to see the flames of civil strife continuously raging and never extinguished followed him. A treacherous murderer stabbed him while he was praying and standing between the hands of Allah.
The murderer went to Imam `Aliy, thinking that he would be announcing to him good news when telling him about his attack upon Az-Zubair and when putting into his hands the sword which he had stolen from him after committing his crime. When `Aliy knew that Az-Zubair's murderer was standing at his door asking permission to enter, he shouted ordering that he be expelled and said, "Announce Hell to the murderer of Safiah's son!" When they showed him Az Zubair's sword, Imam `Aliy kissed it and then cried painfully saying, "A sword whose owner had so long wiped the Prophet's grief."
* * *
Is there a better, more wonderful and eloquent salute to be directed to Az-Zubair at the end of our talk than the words of lmam `Aliy?
May peace be upon Az-Zubair in death after his life. Peaceful greeting after peaceful greeting upon the Prophet's disciple.