Abu Mihjan r.a was one of the companions of the Prophet s.a.w (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) (may Allaah be pleased with them).
Abu Mihjan r.a belonged to the Saqeef clan. He was a cousin of Abu Ubaid r.a who had commanded the Muslim forces in Iraq and was martyred at the battle of the Bridge.
The home town of Abu Mihjan r.a was Taif. When the Muslims under the Holy Prophet besieged Taif after the fall of Mecca, Abu Mihjan r.a fought against the Muslims. His arrow mortally wounded Abdullah r.a son of Hazrat Abu Bakr r.a.
Later when the Saqeef submitted to the Holy Prophet and accepted Islam, Abu Mihjan r.aalso became a Muslim. He was staunch in his faith in Islam, but he had weakness for liquor, and sometimes secretly drank wine.
At the battle of the Bridge, Abu Mihjan r.a was the commander of the cavalry. He drove back the elephant which had crushed Abu Ubaid r.a to death. After the disaster of the battle of the bridge, Abu Mihjan r.a stayed on with Muthanna at Ulleis for some time. Then he returned to Madina.
At Madina, Umar r.a caught him drinking and as a punishment he was exiled to Yemen. Later he was forgiven and was allowed to join the Muslim forces in Iraq under Saad. In camp, Abu Mihjan r.a drank again, and on discovering his offence Saad had him whipped and thrown into a cellar in fetters. His cell was in the palace at Qadisiyya where Saad r.a was lodged and from where he commanded the war operations.
This Sahaabi was suffering from an addiction to drinking wine. He was brought and flogged, then brought and flogged again, but he knew that this problem did not relieve him of his duty to strive for the cause of Islam. So he went out with the Muslims to al-Qaadisiyyah as a soldier, seeking martyrdom on the battlefield. In al-Qaadisiyyah he was brought to the commander of the army, Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqaas r.a, for having drunk wine. Sa’d detained him so that the Muslims ranks would be cleansed of such a person.
This detention was a harsh punishment which caused Abu Mihjan r.a a great deal of anguish. When he heard the sounds of swords and spears, and the neighing of the horses, and he knew that the jihad had begun, and the gates of Paradise were open, he was filled with longing for jihad. He called to the wife of Sa’d ibn Abi Waaqqas r.a saying, “Let me go and I promise Allaah that if I come back safe and sound, I will put my own feet in the chains, and if I am killed, then you will be rid of me.” She felt sorry for him, so she let him go, and he leapt onto a horse belonging to Sa’d which was called al-Balqa’. Then he picked up a spear and set off. He did not attack any group of enemy soldier but he scattered them. Sa’d was supervising the battle and he was surprised and said, “This is the running of al-Balqa’, and the style of attack is that of Abu Mihjan, but Abu Mihjan is in chains.”
When the battle was over, Abu Mihjan went back and put his feet in the chains. The wife of Sa’d told him this wonderful story, so Sa’d admired this man and his care for Islam and his longing for jihad, so he himself went to this wine-drinker, released the chains with his own hands and said, “Get up, for by Allaah I will never flog you for drinking wine again.” Abu Mihjan said, “By Allaah, I will never drink it again.”
See al-Isaabah fi Tamyeez al-Sahaabah, 4/173-174; al-Bidaayah wa’l-Nihaayah, 9/632-633