Malik ibn Nuwayrah (Arabic: مالك بن نويرة), also spelled as Malik ibn Nuwera, sahabi (a companion of Hazrat Muhammad(صلى-الله-عليه-و-آله-وسلم), was a chief of the Bani Yarbu’, a clan of the Banu Hanzala, a large section of the powerful tribe of Bani Tamim which inhabited the north-eastern region of Arabia, between Bahrain and Najd. The tribe was pagan until Islam came to Arabia. The centre of Malik’s clan was Butah.
Famous for his generosity and hospitality, Malik is said to have kept a light burning outside his house all night so that any traveller passing that way would know where to find shelter and food. He would get up during the night to check the light. A strikingly handsome man, he had a thick head of hair and his face, a contemporary has said, was “as fine as the moon.” He was skilful in the use of weapons and noted for his courage and chivalry, and he was an accomplished poet. Malik possessed all the qualities which the Arabs looked for in the perfect male. He was married to Layla bint al-Minhal who was considered to be one of the most beautiful women in Arabia.
In view of his distinguished position in the tribe and his unquestionable talents, Hazrat Muhammad(صلى-الله-عليه-و-آله-وسلم) appointed him as an officer over the clan of Bani Handhalah. His main responsibility was the collection of taxes and their despatch to Madinah. Later, when the news of Prophet(صلى-الله-عليه-و-آله-وسلم) passed away reached Butah, Malik had just collected a good deal of tax but not yet despatched it to Madinah. Because he did not consider the caliphate of Hazrat Abu bakar is legitimate as Prophet Muhammad(صلى-الله-عليه-و-آله-وسلم) appointed Hazrat Ali AlahisSalam as his successor in his life time at ghadeer.So he refused to pay taxes to Hazrat Abu bakar and willing to pay it to the righteous caliph Hazrat Ali AlahisSalam. He at once opened the coffers and returned the money to the taxpayers. “O Bani Handhalah!” he announced, “your wealth is now our own.” (al-Balazuri: book no: 1, page no:10)
When Malik heard about Khalid bin Walid’s victories against powerful Arab tribes, he ordered his tribesmen not to engage the approaching Khalid in battle, to stay at home, and hope for peace.(Tabari: Vol. 2, Page no: 501-502)
Malik himself apparently moved away across the desert with his family. Also, so as to prove himself loyal to the state of Madinah (the future Islamic empire), he collected the tax and sent it to Madinah. His riders were stopped by Khalid’s army at the town of Battah. Khalid asked them about the signing of a pact with Sajjah but they said it was only to exact revenge on their terrible enemies and that so war does not reach their lands. (Tabari: Vol. p. 501-2)
When Khalid reached Najd, he found no opposing army, so he sent his cavalry to nearby villages and ordered them to call the Azaan (call for prayers) to each party they meet. Zirrar bin Azwar, a group leader, arrested the family of Malik when they answered the call to prayer.
Hazrat Abu Bakr had given orders that the test to be applied to suspected rebels was that they be asked to repeat the Muslim formula and that they answer the call to prayer. One such party seized Malik ibn Nuweira and his family and brought them in to Khalid, although they claimed to be Muslims. The prisoners were placed under guard but, during the night, Malik ibn Nuweira and his supporters were killed in cold blood. Within 24 hours Khalid had married the widow of his victim.
Hazrat Abu Qatada, an erstwhile friend and companion of Prophet(صلى-الله-عليه-و-آله-وسلم) and Hazrat ‘Abd Allah b. ‘Umar , hastened to Medina to complain to Hazrat Abu Bakr, who summoned Khalid to answer the accusation. Hazrat Umar b. Khattab pressed the caliph to deprive Khalid of his command. condemned this act of Khalid and ‘Hazrat Umar called for his stoning, but Hazrat Abu Bakr did not punish Khalid and said that he had made a mistake and paid the blood money for Malik from the bayt al-mal (public treasury).Khalid, returning to Medina, claimed that he had not ordered the execution of Malik, but that his instructions to the guards had been misunderstood. Caliph Hazrat Abu Bakr said ‘I will not sheathe a sword which God has drawn for His service,’. Khalid’s excuses were accepted.(John Bagot Glubb (1963). The Great Arab Conquests. p. 112.)
Not Considering Malik an Apostate(Murtad)
1-Ibn Athir (a Sunni scholar of 6th/12th and 7th/13th century) wrote, “According to al-Tabari and other early scholars, Malik was not apostate. That ‘Umar told Khalid, ‘you killed a Muslim man’, that Abu Qutada made a testimony that they [people of Malik’s tribe] called adhan and made prayer and that Abu Bakr returned their captives to them and paid Malik’s blood money from public treasury, all show that Malik was Muslim
2-Apparently, Khalid was in a war with the Apostasy. So, when he got evidence that Malik distributed collected Zakah on hearing the news of prophets death, and of his pact with Sajah, he confidently declared Malik an Apostate and ordered his execution. After the execution, in the same night he married Layla, the wife of Malik ibn Nuwayra, who was said to be one of the most beautiful women in Arabia at that time.-[al-Tabari: Vol. 2, p- 5]
3-al-Minhal al-Tamimi: Amongst Malik’s bin Nuwayrah’s relatives. He [Lahu Idraak] converted (during Prophet’s time), al-Zubair bin Bakr mentioned him in al-Muwafaqyat (book)…He said: ‘al-Minhal passed by Malik bin Nuwayrah’s body when Khalid killed him, then he brought a cloth from his bag and shrouded his dead body and then buried him.’-[al Isaba, Vol. 6, p. 249]
4-Abu Qutada and Abdullah ibn Omar testified that (Malik is Muslim) but Khalid ordered Dharar bin al-Auzwar to behead him. Then Khalid took his wife. -[Mullah Muttaqi Hindi (d. 975 H), Kanz ul Ummal. Vol- 5, p- 619, No. 1409:I]
5-And it is written in Sunan al-Bayhaqi that this Dharar bin al-Auzwar was a rapist, He raped a captured woman when he served under Khalid- Narrated by Abu al-Hussain bin al-Fadhl al-Qatan that is said to be came through a chain from Harun bin al-Asam: Omar bin al-Khattab sent Khalid bin al-Walid in an army, hence Khalid sent Dharar bin al-Auzwar in a squadron and they invaded a district belonging to the tribe of Banu Asad.
They then captured a pretty bride, Dharar liked her hence he asked his companions to grant her to him and they did so. He then had sexual intercourse with her, when he completed his mission he felt guilty, and went to Khalid and told him about what he did. Khalid said: ‘I permit you and made it lawful to you.’
He said: ‘No, not until you write a message to Omar’.
Then they sent a message to Omar, and Omar answered that he (Dharar) should be stoned. By the time Omar’s message was delivered, Dharar was dead. Khalid said: ‘Allah didn’t want to disgrace Dharar’–[Sunan al-Bayhaqi, Vol. 2, p. 365, No. 18685]
6-Abu Qutada swore by Allah never to march with Khalid for any war, and he said: ‘The desert Arabs encouraged him (Khalid) on killing them for the sake of booties and that was Malik bin Nuwayra’s case.’ –[al-Musanaf, Vol. 10, p. 174, No. 18721]
7-Al-Bara bin Azeb said: When we were sitting with Rasulullah, a delegation from Bani Tammim came to Him. Malik bin Nuwayra said: “Oh Allah’s Messenger, teach me faith”.
The Prophet said: ‘To testify that there is no god but Allah, and I’m His messenger, pray salah, fast during Ramzan, pay Zakah, perform pilgrimage, and follow my Wasi after me,” and he pointed to Ali. “And don’t shed blood, don’t steal, don’t betray, don’t eat orphan’s money, don’t drink alcohol and follow my laws, permit what is lawful and forbid what is unlawful, give the rights from your own self to the poor and strong, to the old and young.” Till (the prophet) mentioned to him the Islamic laws.
He said: ‘Oh Rasulullah, I’m a man who quickly forgets, please repeat those again’. Then the Prophet repeated.
He said: ‘By the God of the house, I learnt faith.’ He then left pulling his cloth. When he was not went far away, the Prophet said: ‘Who ever wants to see a man of heaven, he should look at this man.’
Hazrat Abu Bakr and Hazrat Omar said: ‘Oh Allah’s messenger, who are you referring to?’
He looked downwards and they (Abu Bakr and Omar) followed him (Malik) and said to him: ‘Good news from Allah and His messenger to you to have been promised Paradise.’
When Allah’s Messenger(صلى-الله-عليه-و-آله-وسلم) passed away and Bani Tamim tribe came to Medina with Malik bin Nuwayra And he went to see as to who became the successor after the Prophet(صلى-الله-عليه-و-آله-وسلم), he entered the mosque on Friday and Hazrat Abu Bakr was giving an address on the pulpit. Malik looked at him and said: ‘O brother of Tamim’.
Abu Bakr said: ‘Yes’.
Malik said: ‘Where is the Wasi of Allah’s messenger(صلى-الله-عليه-و-آله-وسلم), who ordered I was ordered to follow?’
They (people) said: ‘Oh you desert Arab, things have changed.’
Then he got closer to Hazrat Abu Bakr and said: ‘Who allowed you to climb onto the pulpit while the Wasi of Allah’s Messenger is here?’
He (Khalid) replied: ‘Stay (back); this is not your business.’
Then Malik rode on his camel and said: ‘We obeyed Prophet(صلى-الله-عليه-و-آله-وسلم) as long he was amongst us, Oh people, what I have to do with Abu Bakr….’ –[Ibn Shazan, al-Fadael, p. 75].
8–This is the cause of Malik’s refusal to submit Zakah to Caliph Abu Bakr. Is not he said when he gave back all the collected Zakah to the respective payer of his tribesmen, “I will only pay taxes to the man chosen at Ghadeer” (Ali ibn Abi Talib). And this is recorded in al-Estighatha as-
Maliks tribe do not want to submit Zakah to Caliph Abu Bakr because they believed that they were supposed to submit it to Ali bin Abi Talib.[Abu al-Qasim al-Kufi (d. 352 H), al-Estighatha,Vol 1, p. 7].
9-The condemnation of Hazrat Omar against Khalid recorded in Tarikh ibn Asakir. Narrated by Abu Ghalib al-Bana and Abu Abdullah al-Bana that is said to be came through a chain from Mus’ab bin Abdullah as-
“….Hazrat Omar said: ‘I admonished Khalid for breaking the orders and for what he did with the money.’ Khalid would distribute the booty amongst the soldiers without informing Hazrat Abu Bakr. He made decisions that contravened those of Hazrat Abu Bakr, he killed Malik bin Nuwayra and married his wife. He made peace with the people of Yamama and married the daughter of Maj’a bin Marara. These were met with disapproval by Hazrat Abu Bakr and he issued Diyat (blood money) to Mutammim bin Nuwayra and ordered Khalid to divorce Malik’s wife….’ -[Tarikh ibn Asakir, Vol. 16, p. 274]
10-(Hazrat Omar) said to Abu Bakr: ‘He (Khalid) has performed adultery, you have to stone him’.
Hazrat Abu Bakr said: ‘I can’t stone him; he interpreted hence made a mistake’.
(Hazrat Omar) said: ‘Then dismiss him’.
He (Hazrat Abu Bakr) said: ‘I cannot put the sword back in the sheath which Allah has pulled out on my opponents.’-[Ibn Sa’ad].
Hazrat Abu Bakr said: ‘Can it be more than Khalid interpreted and made a mistake?”
Then Hazrat Abu Bakr sent Khalid back and paid Blood Money for Malik bin Nuwayra and returned the booty. –[Tarikh Ibn Asakir, Vol. 16, p. 254].
11-Narrated by Abu Bakr al-Ansari that is said to be came through a chain from Hanzala bin Ali al-Aslami as-
“…When Khalid arrived at Medina, he entered the Mashjid un Nabi wearing rusty armor and with his sword. There were some arrows in his turban, he passed by Omar but didn’t talk to him, then he came to Abu Bakr, and he heard from him what pleased him, he then left happy.
Omar therefore knew that Abu Bakr had pleased him, therefore he didn’t talk to him (Khalid). Omar was angry at him (Khalid) because of what he had done, by killing Malik bin Nuwayra and marrying his wife and also for what was in his heart against him (Khalid) about Bani Jadhima case’ –[Tarikh Ibn Asakir, Vol. 16, p. 258]
12-According to ibn Kathir, Khalid ordered that the head (of Malik) be placed with two stones and inserted into a cooking pot, he then ate from it that night in order to scare the Arabs and others from being apostates –[al-Bidayah wa al-Nihaya, Vol. 6, p. 354]
13-These words of Mutammim clearly allude to the fact that prior the murder, Khalid and Malik exchanged oaths and that too, in the name of Allah.
Malik’s father in law al-Minhal al-Tamimi was present when Khalid murdered Malik as recorded by Imam Ibn Hajar Asqalani in his al-Isaba-
We replied: ‘We are slaves of Allah.’
They said: ‘We are slaves of Allah too.’
Then Khalid arrested them.
14-Tabarani records this oath in Mu’jam al-Kabir, as- Abu Khalifa al-Fadhl bin Habab narrated from Muhammad bin Salam al-Jumahi from Abu Ubaida, who said: Dharar bin al-Auzwar the one who killed Malik bin Nuwayra, therefore Mutammim bin Nuwayra said a (poem) in that case condemning Khalid ibn al-Walid :… ‘you gave him an oath in the name of Allah and then you killed him? Surely if he (Malik) gave you an oath, he would never betray…’ -[al Tabarani, Mu’jam al-Kabir, Vol. 8 p. 294, Imam Abi Bakr al-Haythami also recorded this tradition]