Abu Fuhayra RA
Amir ibn Fuhayra RA or also known as Abu Fuhayra RA(عامر بن فهيرة) (586-625) was a companion of Rasulullah ﷺ. He was also known by the kunya Abu ‘Amr.
Abu Fuhayra RA are of African ancestry, he was born a slave in the possession of the Azd tribe. Later Abu Fuhayra RA was owned by Al-Tufayl ibn Al-Harith, the stepson of Saidina Abu Bakr RA, who was also a member of this tribe but probably younger than Amir.
Abu Fuhayra RA became a Muslim in Makkah before 614.From the year 614 he was tortured in Makkah in an attempt to force him to recant his faith.His persecutor is not directly named; but the persecution stopped when Saidina Abu Bakr RA bought him from Al-Tufayl and manumitted him. As was usual for freed slaves, Abu Fuhayra RA remained in Abu Bakr’s service and had the special care of grazing his milking ewe.
Abu Fuhayra RA hijra to Madinah.
When Saidina Abu Bakr RA and Rasulullah ﷺ escaped from Makkah in 622, Abu Fuhayra RA grazed Saidina Abu Bakr’s flocks by day, then brought them at evening to the cave where Saidina Abu Bakr RA and Rasulullah ﷺ were hiding, presumably so that the sheep would cover their tracks. When they left the cave to travel to Madinah, Abu Fuhayra RA accompanied them.
At first Abu Fuhayra RA stayed with Saad ibn Khaythama in Madinah but he later returned to Saidina Abu Bakr’s house. Rasulullah ﷺ made a pact of brotherhood between Abu Fuhayra RA and Al-Harith ibn Aws ibn Muadh. Soon after their arrival, Abu Fuhayra RA, Saidina Abu Bakr and Bilal Ibn Rabah RA were all struck by Madinah fever. When the young Sayidah Aisyah RA came to inquire after their health, Abu Fuhayra RA replied, apparently rambling:
I have experienced death before actually tasting it:
“The coward’s death comes upon him as he sits. Every man resists it with all his might like the ox who protects his body with his horns”.
Abu Fuhayra RA fought at the battles of Badr and Uhud.
Abu Fuhayra RA participated in the Battle of Bir Mauna in July or August 625. When he was stabbed by Jabbar in Sulma from the Kalb tribe, he exclaimed, “I have been successful, by Allah!” Abu Fuhayra RA was among the first to die in the battle. Urwa RA reported that his body was never found, for “the angels had buried him” and he was raised directly to Heaven. Later Jabbar asked what Abu Fuhayra RA had meant by saying, “I have won.” When he was told that Abu Fuhayra RA had gained Paradise, Jabbar also became a Muslim.
Rasulullah ﷺ also told the Sahaba about one specific Sahabi, Amir ibn Fuhayra or Abu Fuhayra RA.
Abu Fuhayra RA was a former slave who was freed by Saidina Abu Bakr RA. Abu Fuhayra RA had assisted Rasulullah ﷺ and Saidina Abu Bakr RA on their Hijra, and he was considered a high-ranking Sahabi from his community
Some narrations mention that someone specifically asked about Abu Fuhayra RA other narration say that Rasulullah ﷺ told them, “During the massacre, Abu Fuhayra RA was stabbed in the back. Abu Fuhayra RA reached his hand toward the wound on his back and when he drew his hand, it was soaked with blood. Abu Fuhayra RA marked his head with his blood, and said, ‘I swear by Allah, I am successful. I have been killed for the sake of the deen of Allah. I have lost my life preaching and calling people towards the Oneness of Allah and the Book of Allah. By Allah, I am successful.”
On the Day of Judgment, all the syuhadah will be raised with their wounds fresh as an honor to them. Abu Fuhayra RA stained himself with his blood so that it will be visible on the Day of Judgment.
Afterwards, Jabbar asked someone, “When we were massacring the people of Rasulullahﷺ, I stabbed one of the Muslims. When I stabbed him, he swore by God, and he said, ‘I have succeeded.’ What does that mean? I don’t understand.”
The person answered, “He was saying that he attained Paradise.”
Jabbar was very affected by this. He said, “You know, there’s something to what this man is saying.”
After some time, Jabbar accepted Islam because of this
After Amir ibn Fuhayra or Abu Fuhayra RA was killed, Amir ibn At-Tufayl wanted to desecrate mutilate the Sahabi’s body
Amir ibn At-Tufayl was going around the field asking, “Where is the freed slave of Abu Bakr?”
In the time of the Sahaba, whenever a Sahabi freed a slave, the freed person would basically become a part of the Sahabi’s family. They would be helped on their feet and become a close member of the person’s family
That’s why Saidina Abu Bakr RA trusted Abu Fuhayra RA in aiding him and Rasulullah ﷺduring their migration to Madinah
Amir ibn At-Tufayl wanted to further insult Rasulullah ﷺ by insulting Saidina Abu Bakr RA, because Amir knew that Abu Bakr meant a lot to Rasulullah ﷺ After the massacre, Amir went around asking, “I know that the freed slave of Abu Bakr is here. Where is he?”
Some narrations mention that Amir ibn At-Tufayl couldn’t find Abu Fuhayra’s body anywhere
Other narrations mention that when he looked up, Amir ibn At-Tufayl saw that Abu Fuhayra’s body was lifted up into the sky by angels, who were protecting the Sahabi’s body from the grasp of the evil man
After all of this happened, the one injured man from the massacre (Ka’b ibn al-Zayd) made his way back to Madinah.
About Abu Fuhayra RA
Roles and Function during the migration of Rasulullah ﷺ
The first 3 Days in the Cave.
Our beloved Rasulullah ﷺ, who entered the cave of Thur on Thursday night with Saidina Abu Bakr RA, stayed in the cave on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. They stayed in the cave for three days and nights as a precaution. During this period, the polytheists would think that they had left Makkah and would loosen the search. And it happened like that.
During the period when they hid in the cave, upon the instruction of Rasulullah ﷺ, Abdullah, the son of Saidina Abu Bakr RA, walked among the Quraishis during the day and found out what they were talking and thinking about; at night, he went to the cave and told the Rasulullah ﷺ what he had heard. He stayed in the cave and returned to Makkah at dawn.
Meanwhile, Amir b. Fuhayra RA , the slave of Saidina Abu Bakr RA, were herding sheep nearby and erasing the tracks of Abdullah; he also took some milk to them.
Thus, three days and nights passed. The search of the Quraishis for Rasulullah ﷺand Saidina Abu Bakr RA had loosened. That was the news brought by Abdullah Ibn Saidina Abu Bakr RA.
Meanwhile, as they had agreed beforehand, Abdullah b. Urayqit arrived at the foot of the Thaur Mount with the two camels delivered to him beforehand and his own camel on Monday morning at dawn.
Incident of Bi‘r-e-Ma‘unah
The acts of mischief and seditious behavior perpetrated by the tribes of Sulaim, and Ghaṭafan, etc. have already been mentioned above. These tribes inhabited the central region of Arabia in the Satḥ e-Murtafa‘ Najd and had allied with the Quraish of Makkah against the Muslims. Slowly but surely, the evil of these mischievous tribes was continuing to grow and the Satḥ-e-Murtafa‘ Najd was continuing to be poisoned with the venom of enmity against Islam. As such, in the days we are describing now, an individual named Abu Barra’ ‘Amiri, who was a chieftain of the tribe situated in central Arabia known as the Banu ‘Amir, presented himself before the Holy Prophet in order to meet him. Rasulullah ﷺ very gently and kindly conveyed the message of Islam to him and at the outset he also listened to the address of Rasulullah ﷺ with interest and attention, but did not accept Islam. Albeit, he submitted Rasulullah ﷺ, “Send a few Companions along with me to Najd, who can travel there and preach the message of Islam to the people of Najd. I am confident that the people of Najd will not reject your message.” Rasulullah ﷺ said, “I do not trust the people of Najd.” Abu Barra’ responded, “Do not worry, I guarantee their security.”
Since Abu Barra’ was the chief of a tribe and was an influential man, Rasulullah ﷺ took his word and dispatched a party of Companions towards Najd. This is the narration as it is related by history. It is narrated in Bukhari that a few people from the tribes of Ri‘l and Dhakwan, etc. (which were branches of the renowned tribe known as the Banu Sulaim) presented themselves beforeRasulullah ﷺ and claimed to accept Islam. Then they requested that a few men should be dispatched along with them to assist them against those people of their nation who were enemies of Islam (there is no elaboration as to the nature of the assistance they requested – missionary or military). Upon this, Rasulullah ﷺ sent off this company. Ibni Sa‘d has also recorded a narration in support of this, but has not given it preference over the other one.
However, unfortunately with respect to the details of Bi‘r-e-Ma‘unah, even the details as narrated in Bukhari have become mixed to a degree, due to which all the relevant facts cannot be identified in full.
In any case, however, what is ascertained for certain is that on this occasion, the people belonging to the tribes of Ri‘l and Dhakwan, etc. presented themselves before Rasulullah ﷺ as well, and they requested for a few Companions to be sent along with them. One prospect for the reconciliation of both these narrations is that perhaps Abu Barra’ ‘Amiri, chieftain of the ‘Amir tribe, also came along with the people of Ri‘l and Dhakwan, and he spoke to Rasulullah ﷺ on their behalf. As such, according to the historical account, Rasulullah ﷺ said, “I do not trust the people of Najd,” to which he responded, “Do not worry, I give you the assurance that your Companions shall not be harmed.” This indicates that the people of Ri‘l and Dhakwan had also come with Abu Barra’ and Rasulullah ﷺ was concerned on their account. In any case, Rasulullah ﷺ dispatched a party of Companions under the leadership of Mundhir bin ‘Amr Anṣari in Ṣafar 4 A.H.
These people were mostly from the Anṣar and totalled seventy in number, and almost all of them were Qaris, i.e., they were well-versed in the Holy Qur’an. They would collect wood from the jungle by day to make ends meet and would spend a better part of the night in worship. When these people reached a place known as Bi‘r-e-Ma‘unah, which was named as such due to a water well, an individual named Ḥaram bin Milḥan, who was the maternal uncle of Anas bin Malik, went forward with the message of Islam to ‘Amir bin Ṭufail, who was chief of the ‘Amir tribe and paternal nephew of Abu Barra’ ‘Amiri. The rest of the Companions remained behind. When Ḥaram bin Milḥan arrived to meet ‘Amir bin Ṭufail and his followers as an emissary of Rasulullah ﷺ, at first, they warmly welcomed him in their hypocrisy; but after he had been fully seated and made to feel at ease, and began to preach the message of Islam, a few evil ones from among them made a signal to someone, who struck this innocent emissary with a spear from behind and put him to death there and then. At the time, the following words were on the tongue of Ḥaram bin Milḥan i.e., “Allah is the Greatest. By the Lord of the Ka‘bah, I have attained my objective.” ‘Amir bin Ṭufail did not suffice upon the murder of this emissary of Rasulullah ﷺ alone.
As a matter of fact, after this he incited the people of his tribe, the Banu ‘Amir, to attack the remaining party of Muslims as well, but they refused and said that they would not attack the Muslims due to the guarantee of Abu Barra’. Upon this, ‘Amir collected the Banu Ri‘l, Dhakwan and ‘Uṣayyah, etc. from the tribe of Sulaim (i.e., the same tribes who had come to Rasulullah ﷺ as a delegation according to the narration of Bukhari) and attacked this small and helpless community of Muslims. When the Muslims saw these bloodthirsty beasts racing towards them, they said, “We have no quarrel with you. We have only come with an assignment from Rasulullah ﷺ; we have not come to fight,” but they did not listen to a word and murdered them all. Among the Companions who were present at the time, only one individual was spared, who had a limp, and had managed to climb to the top of a mountain. The name of this Companion was Ka‘b bin Zaid. From various narrations it is ascertained that the disbelievers attacked him as well, due to which he was wounded.
The disbelievers left him for dead, but in actuality there was still life in him and he survived. Two individuals from among this community of Companions had separated from the group at the time in order to graze their camels, etc., and their names were ‘Amr bin Umayyah Ḍamri and Mundhir bin Muḥammad. When they looked towards their camp, lo and behold, they sighted flocks of birds flying about overhead. They understood these desert signs well and immediately deduced that a battle had taken place. When they returned, this atrocity of carnage and massacre perpetrated by the ruthless disbelievers lay before their eyes. Upon sighting this scene from afar, they consulted one another as to what should be done. One suggested that they should escape immediately and reach Madinah in order to inform Rasulullah ﷺ. The other one, however, did not accept this proposal and said, “I shall not flee from where our Amir, Mundhir bin ‘Amr has been martyred.” Hence, he proceeded forward and was martyred in battle. The other, whose name was ‘Amr bin Umayyah Ḍamri was taken captive by the disbelievers.
They would have perhaps murdered him as well, but when they found out that he was from the Muḍar tribe, according to the custom of Arabia, ‘Amir bin Ṭufail cut off his forelocks and set him free, saying, “My mother has vowed to release a slave from the Muḍar tribe, and therefore, I set you free.” In other words, from among these seventy Companions, only two survived. One was this very ‘Amr bin Umayyah Ḍamri and the second was Ka‘b bin Zaid, who the disbelievers had left in the belief that he was already dead. ‘Amir bin Fuhayrah, the freed slave of Saidina Abu Bakr RA, and a pioneer devotee of Islam, was also among the Companions who were martyred in the incident of Bi‘r-e-Ma‘unah. He was slain by a person named Jabbar bin Salamah. Afterwards, Jabbar became a Muslim and states that the reason for his having accepted Islam was because when he martyred ‘Amir bin Fuhayrah, he uncontrollably called out, i.e., “By God, I have attained my objective.” Jabbar states:
“Upon hearing these words, I was astonished that I have just murdered this person and he says that he has attained his objective. What a peculiar thing indeed. As such, when I later inquired as to the reason for this, I was informed that the Muslim people considered the sacrifice of their lives in the way of God as being the greatest success a person can attain. This left such a lasting impression upon my disposition that ultimately, this very influence pulled me towards Islam.”
Rasulullah ﷺ and his Companions received news of the incidents of Raji‘ and Bi‘r-e-Ma‘unah at more or less the same time Rasulullah ﷺ was deeply grieved by these incidents, to the extent that narrations relate that Rasulullah ﷺ was never so deeply grieved by anything before or after these events.
Undoubtedly, for approximately eighty Companions to be suddenly murdered by deception, especially such Companions who were Ḥuffaẓ of the Holy Qur’an, and were from a poor and selfless class of people, was no small event, even by standards of the barbaric customs and practices of Arabia. For Rasulullah ﷺ personally, this news was no different than the loss of eighty sons, rather, even more so. The reason being that for a spiritual man, spiritual bonds are far dearer to him than the worldly relations of a worldly man. Hence, Rasulullah ﷺ was deeply grieved by these tragic events, but in any case, Islam teaches patience. After this, Rasulullah ﷺ said the following words:
“This is a result of the action of Abi Barra’, for I had disliked sending off these people and was apprehensive of the people of Najd.” The incidents of Bi‘r-e-Ma‘unah and Raji‘ demonstrate the intense level of hatred and animosity which the tribes of Arabia harboured in their hearts against Islam and the followers of Islam, to the extent that they would not even refrain from the most despicable lies, treachery and deceit. Despite the remarkable intelligence and vigilance of the Muslims, due to their thinking well of others, which is the hallmark of a believer, at times they would be lured into their trap. These were Ḥuffaẓ of the Qur’an and devoted worshippers, who would supplicate during the nights, sit in a corner of the mosque and remember Allah; then they were poor and hunger-stricken people, who were lured out of their homeland by these cruel disbelievers with the excuse of ‘teaching them religion’; and when they had reached their land as guests, they were murdered in cold blood. Any level of grief suffered by Rasulullah ﷺ would not have been enough.
But at the time, Rasulullah ﷺ did not employ any military action against these cold blooded murderers. Albeit, for thirty days continuously, after having received this news, Rasulullah ﷺsupplicated while standing in his morning Ṣalat, weeping and crying before God, individually naming the tribes of Ri‘l, Dhakwan, ‘Usayyah and the Banu Laḥyan in the following words:
“O Our Master! Have mercy upon us and hold back the hands of the enemies of Islam who are ruthlessly and stone-heartedly spilling the blood of innocent Muslims with the intention that Your religion may be expunged.”