Hazrat Al-Ahnaf Ibn Qays r.a was a Muslim general who lived during the time of prophet s.a.w. He hailed from the Arab tribe of Banu Tamim and was born of two noble parents. His father named him ad-Dhahhak, but everybody called him al-Ahnaf (the clubfooted), because of a defect in his feet.
In the early years of Islam, Prophet s.a.w sent a missionary to the tribe of Banu Tamim. The tribe members informed the missionary that no decisions could be made until they knew Hazrat Al-Ahnaf’s opinion. Hazrat Al-Ahnaf listened and questioned the missionary until he and his entire tribe accepted Islam. Hazrat Al-Ahnaf never met Prophets.a.w because he remained with his people during Prophet s.a.w lifetime. Many tribes reneged and rebelled but Hazrat al-Ahnaf and his people remained Muslims. When he heard about Musaylimah’s claim of prophecy, Hazrat al-Ahnaf went with his uncle to meet him. After listening to Musaylimah, he returned to his people and discouraged them from hearing his falsehood.
He is consider among the companions of the Prophet (s), thou he did not actually meet the Prophet (s), they consider him among the Followers and reliable. Hazrat Ahnaf has narrated from famous companions such as Hazrat Imam Ali (a), Hazrat ‘Umar b. al-Khattab r.a , Hazrat ‘Uthman . r.a Hazrat ‘Affan r.a, ‘Hazrat Abbas r.a . ‘Hazrat Abd al-Malik r.a, Hazrat Abu Dhar al-Ghifari r.a and Hazrat Abd Allah r.a and people such as Hazrat al-Hasan al-Basri r.a, Hazrat Urwa r.a ,Hazrat Abu Idris al-Basri and Hazrat Malik b. Dinar r.a have narrated from him.
During the Caliphate of Umar
When Hazrat Umar ibn al-Khattab r.a became caliph in 634, the Muslim conquests outside the Arabian Peninsula increased, and Hazrat Al-Ahnaf r.a encouraged his people to participate. When the Persians surrounded a Muslim division led by al-‘Alaa ibn al-Hadrami, in Iraq,Hazrat Umar r.a ordered Utbah ibn Ghazwan to go to their rescue. Utbah sent a force of 12,000, most of them form the Banu Tamim, and among them was Hazrat al-Ahnaf r.a who played a major role in breaking the siege.
In 639 Hazrat al-Ahnaf r.a came back to Medina bringing news of the conquest of Tustar, and informing Hazrat Umar r.a of affairs in Persia. After listening to him, Hazrat Umar r.a said;Maybe the Persians breach the treaties so often because the Muslims mistreat them?
Hazrat Al-Ahnaf r.a replied:You have forbidden us to pursue any further conquest, and the Persian emperor is now in safety among his people. They will continue to be at war with us as long as he is commanding them to do so… unless you allow us to pursue further into the conquest.
Hazrat Al-Ahnaf r.a followed the Persian leader Yazdgerd III until he barricaded himself in the town of Marwir-Rawdh. Yazdgerd III wrote to the Turkic and Chinese rulers seeking help. Hazrat Al-Ahnaf sent for reinforcement from Kufa and finally captured Marwir-Rawdah, completing the conquest of Khurasan. Hazrat Umar gave him permission to pursue Yazdgerd III, and put Hazrat al-Ahnaf at the head of an army to complete the conquest of Khurasan in the last stages of its annexation.
Towns beyond Khurasan signed peace agreements with Hazrat al-Ahnaf. He then sent a letter to Hazrat Umar informing him of the conquest, but added that Yazdgerd III had escaped and fled to Balkh. Hazrat Umar r.a forbade him to continue deeper into Persia, but ordered him to consolidate Islam in the conquered lands. Hazrat Al-Ahnaf r.a obeyed the orders but kept an eye on Yazdgerd III‘s moves. When he later learned that the Turks joined the Persians and were both approaching, he rallied his army and camped outside the town. With an army that was only a fraction of the enemy’s, he managed to defeat the Persians in Battle of Oxus river, killing their leader, while the Turks retreated to their land. Yazdgerd III then fled eastward from one district to another, until at last he was killed by a local miller for his purse at Merv, Turkmenistan in 651.
Hazrat Al-Ahnaf r.a returned to Basra after the campaigns in Persia and remained serving Islam, until the time of the caliph Hazrat Ali ibn Abi Talib a.s (wisal 660) when the Muslims were split into two warring parties. Al-Ahnaf isolated himself from this trial and sent a message to Hazrat Ali saying: “I will restrain ten thousand swords.”
When Muawiyah became caliph in 661, Hazrat al-Ahnaf visited him and warned him strongly against fighting the Muslims or engaging in any Fitna (trial). When he left, the caliph’s sister said angrily: “Who was that man who warned and threatened you?” He replied:“He is the one, who if he gets angry, a hundred thousand men from Banu Tamim get angry for him without knowing the reason behind his anger.”
Al-Ahnaf spent the rest of his life in Kufa where he died at the age of seventy.
Narrated: Al-Ahnaf bin Qais From Sahih Bukhari
Narrated/Authority of Al-Ahnaf bin Qais
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Narrated/Authority of Al-Ahnaf bin Qais
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