The Muslims Envoy to Madinah – How Sa’ad ibn Mu’adh entered Islam.
After the Pledge (in the form of an oath had been taken) the Prophet [pbuh] sent to Yathrib (Madinah) Mus‘ab bin ‘Umair Al-‘Abdari [R], the first Muslim ‘ambassador’ to teach the people there the doctrines of Islam, give them practical guidance and make attempts at propagating the Islam among those who still professed polytheism. As‘ad bin Zurarah hosted him in Madinah. So prepared was the ground, and so zealous the propagation that the Islam spread rapidly from house to house and from tribe to tribe. There were various cheerful and promising aspects of success that characterized Mus‘ab’s task. One day Mus‘ab and As‘ad were on their way to the habitations of Bani ‘Abd Al-Ashhal and Bani Zafar, when they went into the premises of the latter clan. There they sat near a well conversing with some new converts. Sa‘d bin Mu‘adh and Usaid bin Hudair, chiefs of the two clans heard of this meeting, so Usaid approached the Muslims armed with his lance while the other Sa‘d excused himself on grounds that As‘ad was his maternal cousin. Usaid came closer cursing and swearing and accused the two men of befooling people weak of heart, and ordered that they stop it altogether. Mus‘ab calmly invited him to sit saying, “If you are pleased with our talk, you can accept it; should you hold it in abhorrence, you could freely immunize yourself against what you hate.” “That’s fair,” said Usaid, pierced his lance in the sand, listened to Mus‘ab and then heard some verses of the Noble Qur’an. His face bespoke satisfaction and pleasure before uttering any words of approval. He asked the two men about the procedures pertinent to embracing Islam. They asked him to observe washing, purge his garment, bear witness to the Truth and then perform two Rak‘a. He responded and did exactly what he was asked to do, and then said there was a man (Sa‘d bin Mu‘adh) whose people would never hang back if he followed the Islam. He then left to see Sa‘d and his people. Sa‘d could immediately understand that Usaid had changed. To a question posed by Sa‘d, Usaid said that two men were ready to comply with whatever orders they received. He then managed a certain situation that provided the two men with a chance to talk with Sa‘d privately. The previous scene with Usaid recurred and Sa‘d embraced Islam, and directly turned to his people swearing that he would never talk with them until they had believed in Allah, and in His Messenger. Hardly did the evening of that day arrive when all the men and women of that group of Arabians embraced Islam with the exception of one, Al-Usairim, who hung back until the Day of Uhud. On that day he embraced Islam and fought the polytheists but was eventually killed before observing any prostration in the way of prayer. The Prophet [pbuh] commented saying: “He has done a little but his reward is great.”
Prophet Muhamamd sallallahu alaihi wasalam was impressed with what Sa’ad ibn Mu’adh said when prepearing for battle of Badr
On account of the new grave developments, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) held an advisory military emergency meeting to review the ongoing situation and exchange viewpoints with the army leaders. Admittedly, some Muslims feared the horrible encounter and their courage began to waver; in this regard, Allâh says:
“As your Lord caused you (O Muhammad [Peace be upon him) ] to go out from your home with the Truth, and verily, a party among the believers disliked it, disputing with you concerning the Truth after it was made manifest, as if they were being driven to death while they were looking (at it).” [8:5, 6]
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) apprised his men of the gravity of the situation and asked for their advice. Abu Bakr was the first who spoke on the occasion and assured the Prophet (Peace be upon him) of the unreserved obedience to his command. ‘Umar was the next to stand up and supported the views expressed by his noble friend. Then Al-Miqdad bin ‘Amr got up and said: “O Messenger of Allâh! Proceed where Allâh directs you to, for we are with you. We will not say as the Children of Israel said to Moses (Peace be upon him):
“Go you and your Lord and fight and we will stay here;”
Rather we shall say:
“Go you and yourLord and fight and we will fight along with you.”
By Allâh! If you were to take us to Bark Al-Ghimad, we will still fight resolutely with you against its defenders until you gained it.”
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) thanked him and blessed him.
The three leaders who spoke were from the Emigrants, who only constituted a minor section of the army. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) wanted, and for the more reason, to hear the Helpers’ view because they were the majority of the soldiers and were expected to shoulder the brunt of the war activities. Moreover, the clauses of Al-‘Aqabah Pledge did not commit them to fighting beyond their territories.
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) then said: “Advise me my men!”
by which he meant the Helpers, in particular. Upon this Sa‘d bin Mu‘adh stood up and said: “By Allâh, I feel you want us (the Helpers) to speak.” The Prophet (Peace be upon him) directly said: “Oh, yes!” Sa‘d said: “O Prophet of Allâh! We believe in you and we bear witness to what you have vouchsafed to us and we declare in unequivocal terms that what you have brought is the Truth. We give you our firm pledge of obedience and sacrifice. We will obey you most willingly in whatever you command us, and by Allâh, Who has sent you with the Truth, if you were to ask us to plunge into the sea, we will do that most readily and not a man of us will stay behind. We do not grudge the idea of encounter with the enemy. We are experienced in war and we are trustworthy in combat. We hope that Allâh will show you through our hands those deeds of valour which will please your eyes. Kindly lead us to the battlefield in the Name of Allâh.”
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) was impressed with the fidelity and the spirit of sacrifice which his companions showed at this critical juncture. Then he said to them: “Forward and be of cheer, for Allâh has promised me one of the two (the lucrative course through capturing the booty or strife in the cause of Allâh against the polytheists), and by Allâh it is as if I now saw the enemy lying prostrate.”
He commited himself to Islam at the age of 31. He is known to be a handsome, gallant, tall man with a radiant face.
The role of Sa’ad ibn Mu’adh during the Battle of Khandaq
Excerpt from the Sealed Nectar
During the process of fighting (Battle of Khandaq), Sa‘d bin Mu‘adh was shot by an arrow that pierced his artery. Perceiving his end approaching, he invoked Allâh saying: “Oh, Allâh, you know nothing is closer to my heart than striving in Your way against those people (disbelievers) who belied Your Messenger and banished him from his town. Oh, Allâh, I deeply believe that You have decreed that we should fight them, so if there is still more fighting to go with them, let me stay alive in order to strive more against them. If it has settled down, I beseech you to ignite it again so that I breathe my last in its context.”He concluded his supplication beseeching Allâh not to let him die until he had had full revenge on Banu Quraiza. In the midst of these difficult circumstances, plottery and intrigues were in fervent action against the Muslims. The chief criminal of Bani Nadir, Huyai, headed for the habitations of Banu Quraiza to incite their chief Ka‘b bin Asad Al-Qurazi, who had drawn a pact with the Messenger of Allâh (Peace be upon him) to run to his aid in times of war. Ka‘b, in the beginning resisted all Huyai’s temptation, but Huyai was clever enough to manipulate him, speaking of Quraish and their notables in Al-Asyal, as well as Ghatfan and their chieftains entrenched in Uhud, all in one mind, determined to exterminate Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and his followers. He, moreover, promised to stay in Ka‘b’s fort exposing himself to any potential danger in case Quraish and Ghatfan recanted. The wicked man went on in this manner until he later managed to win Ka‘b to his side and persuade him to break his covenant with the Muslims. Banu Quraiza then started to launch war operations against the Muslims especially the secluded garrisons that housed the women and children of the Muslims. On the authority of Ibn Ishaq, Safiyah (May Allah be pleased with her) daughter of ‘Abdul Muttalib happened to be in a garrison with Hassan bin Thabit as well as some women and children. Safiyah said: “A Jew was spotted lurking around our site, which was vulnerable to any enemy attacks because there were no men to defend it. I informed Hassan that I was suspicious of that man’s presence near us. He might take us by surprise now that the Messenger of Allâh (Peace be upon him) and the Muslims are too busy to come to our aid, why don’t you get down and kill him? Hassan answered that he would not do it, so I took a bar of wood, went down and struck the Jew to death. I returned and asked Hassan to loot him but again Hassan refused to do that. This event had a far reaching effect and discouraged the Jews from conducting further attacks thinking that those sites were fortified and protected by Muslim fighters. They, however, went on providing the idolaters with supplies in token of their support against the Muslims.
On hearing this bad news, the Messenger (Peace be upon him) despatched four Muslim prominent leaders Sa‘d bin Mu‘adh, Sa‘d bin ‘Ubada, ‘Abdullah bin Rawaha and Khawat bin Jubair for investigation but warning against any sort of spreading panic amongst the Muslims and advising that they should declare in public that the rumours are groundless if they happen to be so. Unfortunately the four men discovered that the news was true and that the Jews announced openly that no pact of alliance existed any longer with Muhammad (Peace be upon him). The Messenger of Allâh (Peace be upon him) was briefed on this situation, and the Muslims understood their critical position with the horrible danger implied therein. Their back was vulnerable to the attacks of Banu Quraiza, and a huge army with no way to connive at in front, while their women and children unprotected standing in between. In this regard, Allâh says:
“And when the eyes grew wild and the hearts reached to the throats, and you were harbouring doubts about Allâh. There, the believers were tried and shaken with a mighty shaking.”
Now that the Muslims were shut in within the Trench on the defensive, the hypocrites taunted them with having indulged in delusive hopes of defeating Kisra, emperor of Persia, and Caesar, emperor of the Romans. They began to sow the seeds of defeatism, and pretended to withdraw for the defence of their homes, though these were in no way exposed to danger. Here, Allâh says:
“And when the hypocrites and those in whose hearts is a disease (of doubts) said, ‘Allâh and His Messenger (Peace be upon him) promised us nothing but delusions!’ And when a party of them said: ‘O people of Yathrib (Al-Madinah), there is no stand (possible) for you (against the enemy attack!) therefore go back!’ And a band of them asked for permission of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) saying: ‘Truly, our homes lie open (to the enemy).’ And they lay not open. They but wished to flee.” [33:12, 13]
The Messenger of Allâh, (Peace be upon him) wrapped himself in his robe and began to meditate on the perfidy of Banu Quraiza. The spirit of hopefulness prevailed over him and he rose to his feet saying:
“Allâh is Great. Hearken you Muslims, to Allâh’s good tidings of victory and support.”
He then started to lay decisive plans aiming at protecting the women and children, and sent some fighters back to Madinah to guard them against any surprise assault by the enemy. The second step was to take action that could lead to undermining the ranks of the disbelieving confederates. There, he had in mind to conclude a sort of reconciliation with the chiefs of Ghatfan on the basis of donating them a third of Madinah’s fruit crops. He sought the advice of his chief Companions, namely, Sa‘d bin Mu‘adh and Sa‘d bin ‘Ubadah, whose reply went as follows:
“O Messenger of Allâh! If it is Allâh’s injunction, then we have to obey, but if it is a new course you want to follow just to provide security for us then we don’t need it. We experienced those people in polytheism and idolatry and we can safely say that they don’t need the fruit of our orchards, they rather need to exterminate us completely. Now that Allâh has honoured us with Islam, I believe the best recourse in this situation is to put them to the sword.” Thereupon the Prophet (Peace be upon him) corrected their Belief saying: “My new policy is being forged to provide your security after all the Arabs have united to annihilate you (Muslims).”
Sa’ad ibn Mu’adh ruling the Banu Quraizah
In the light of this reluctance, they had nothing except to comply with the Messenger’s judgement. The Messenger of Allâh (Peace be upon him) ordered that the men should handcuffed, and this was done under the supervision of Muhammad bin Salamah Al-Ansari while the women and children were isolated in confinement. Thereupon Al-Aws tribe interceded begging the Prophet (Peace be upon him) to be lenient towards them. He suggested that Sa‘d bin Mu‘adh, a former ally, be deputed to give verdict about them, and they agreed.
Sa‘d meanwhile stayed behind in Madinah due to a serious wound he sustained in the Confederates Battle. He was summoned and brought on a donkey. On his way to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) , the Jews used to exhort him to be lenient in his judgement on account of former friendship. Sa‘d remained silent but when they persisted he uttered: “It is time for Sa‘d not to be afraid of the blame of the blamers.” On hearing this decisive attitude, some of them returned to Madinah waiting fa desperate doom.
On arrival, he alighted with the help of some men. He was informed that the Jews had agreed to accept his verdict about them. He immediately wondered if his judgement would pass on all the people present, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) included, turning his face away in honour of him. The reply was positive.
He decided that all the able-bodied male persons belonging to the tribe should be killed, women and children taken prisoners and their wealth divided among the Muslim fighters. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) accepted his judgement saying that Sa‘d had adjudged by the Command of Allâh. In fact, the Jews deserved that severe punitive action for the ugly treachery they had harboured against Islam, and the large arsenal they have amassed and which consisted of one thousand and five hundred swords, two thousand spears, three hundred armours and five hundred shields, all of which went into the hands of the Muslims. Trenches were dug in the bazaar of Madinah and a number of Jews between six and seven hundred were beheaded therein. Hot beds of intrigue and treachery were thus exterminated once and for all.
Huyai, a chief criminal of war, a devil of Bani Nadir and Safiyah’s father, had joined the ranks of Banu Quraiza when Quraish and Ghatfan defected, was admitted into the audience of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) with his hands tied to his neck with a rope. In audacious defiance, he declared obstinate enmity to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) but admitted that Allâh’s Will was to be fulfilled and added that he was resigned to his fate. He was ordered to sit down, and was beheaded on the spot.
Only one woman of the Jews was killed because she had killed a Muslim warrior by flinging a grinding stone upon him. A few elements of the enemy embraced Islam and their lives, wealth and children were spared. As for the spoils of the war, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) divided them, after putting a fifth aside, in accordance with Allâh’s injunctions. Three shares went to the horseman and one to the infantry fighter. Women captives were sent to Najd to be bartered with horses and weaponry. For himself, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) selected Rehana bint ‘Amr bin Khanaqah, manumitted and married her in the year 6 Hijri. She died shortly after the farewell pilgrimage and was buried in Al-Baqi‘.
After the war with Banu Quraiza had been settled and they had been defeated, Sa‘d bin Mu‘adh’s wish was gratified and he gave his last breath. In response to his supplication ‘Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) narrated, Sa‘d’s wounds began to bleed from the front part of his neck while he was in his tent which the Prophet (Peace be upon him) had pitched for him in the mosque so that he would be in close proximity in order to inquire about and watch his well-being closely. The people were not scared except when the blood flowed towards them, and in the Mosque along with Sa‘d’s tent, there was the tent of Banu Ghifar. They said: O people of the tent, what is it that is coming to us from you? Lo! it was Sa‘d’s wound that was bleeding and he died thereon.
The Throne of Allah Shook upon the Death of Sa’ad ibn Mu’adh
Jabir narrated that the Messenger of Allâh (Peace be upon him) had said: “The Throne of the Compassionate shook for the death of Sa‘d bin Mu‘adh. ” When his bier was carried, At-Tirmidhi said: The hypocrites alleged it was too light. The Messenger of Allâh (Peace be upon him) retorted:
“The angels are carrying him.”
Narrated Jabir: I heard the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) saying, “The Throne (of Allah) shook at the death of Saad ibn Muadh.” Through another group of narrators, Jabir added, “I heard the Prophet : saying, ‘The Throne of the Beneficent (Ar-Rahman) shook because of the death of Saad ibn Muadh.” [Saheeh Al-Bukhari, Volume No. 5, Hadeeth No. 147]
[According to the Darussalam commentary, “The Throne shook” means that it shook in the delight of his welcome.]
Ibn Umar narrated that the Messenger of Allah (salallahu alaihi wasalam) said: “This (i.e. Saad ibn Muadh) is the one at whose death the Throne shook, the gates of heaven were opened for him and seventy thousand angels attended his funeral. It squeezed* him once then released him.” [Sunan An-Nasai, Hadeeth No. 2057. Graded ‘saheeh’ by Shaikh Al-Albani in Saheeh Sunan An-Nasai, Hadeeth No. 2055]
[*This refers to the squeezing of the grave.]
And that’s not all….
Al-Baraa reported that a garment of silk was presented to Allah’s Messenger (salallahu alaihi wasallam). His Companions touched it and admired its softness; thereupon he said: “Do you admire the softness of this (cloth)? The handkerchiefs of Saad ibn Muadh in Paradise are better than this.” [Saheeh Muslim, Hadeeth No. 6036]