Al-Baraa Ibn Malik Al-Ansari
His hair looked dishevelled and his whole appearance was unkempt. He was thin and wiry with so little flesh on his bones that it was painful to look at him. Yet in single- handed combat he defeated and killed many opponents and in the thick of battle he was an outstanding fighter against the mushrikeen. He was so courageous and daring that Umar once wrote to his governors throughout the Islamic state that they should not appoint him to lead any army out of fear that he would have them all killed by his daring exploits. This man was al-Baraa ibn Malik al- Ansari, the brother of Anas ibn Malik, the personal aide of the Prophet. If the tales of Baraa’s heroism were to be told in detail, pages and pages could be written. But let one example suffice. This particular story begins only hours after the death of the noble Prophet when many Arabian tribes took to leaving the religion of God in large numbers, just as they had entered it in large numbers. Within a short space of time only the people of Makkah, Madinah and Taif and scattered communities here and there, whose commitment to Islam was unwavering, remained within the religion. Abu Bakr as-Siddiq, the successor to the Prophet, stood firm against this blind and destructive movement. From the Muhajireen and Ansar, he mobilized eleven armies each under a separate commander and despatched them to various parts of the Arabian peninsula. Their purpose was to make the apostates return to the path of guidance and truth and to confront the leaders of the rebellion. The strongest group of apostates and the greatest in number were the Banu Hanifah among whom Musaylamah the Imposter arose, claiming that he was a prophet. Musaylamah managed to mobilize forty thousand of the best fighters among his people. Most of these however followed him for the sake of asabEyyah or tribal loyalty and not because they believed in him. One of them in fact said, “I testify that Musaylamah is an imposter and that Muhammad is true but the imposter of Rabi’ah (Musaylamah) is dearer to us than the true man of Mudar (Muhammad). “
Musaylamah routed the first army sent against him under the leadership of Ikrimah ibn Abi Jahl. Abu Bakr despatched another army against Musaylamah led by Khalid ibn al-Walid. This army included the cream of the Sahabah from both the Ansar and the Muhajireen. In the front ranks of this army was Baraa ibn Malik and a group of the most valiant Muslims. The two armies met in the territory of the Banu Hanifah at Yamamah in Najd. Before long, the scale of battle tilted in favour of Musaylamah and his men. The Muslim armies began to retreat from their positions. Musaylamah’s forces even stormed the tent of Khalid ibn Walid and drove him from his position. They would have killed his wife if one of them had not granted her protection. At that point, the Muslims realised in what a perilous situation they were. They were also conscious of the fact that if they were annihilated by Musaylamah, Islam would not be able to stand as a religion and Allahرthe One God with whom there is no partnerرwould not be worshipped in the Arabian peninsula after that. Khalid mustered his forces once more and began reorgamsing them. He separated the Muhajireen and the Ansar and kept men from different tribes apart. Each was put under the leadership of one of its own members so that the losses of each group in the battle might be known.
The battle raged. There was much destruction and death. The Muslims had not experienced anything like this in all the wars they had fought before. Musaylamah’s men remained firm amidst the tumult, as firm as immovable mountains although many of them had fallen. The Muslims displayed tremendous feats of heroism. Thabit ibn Qays, the standard bearer of the Ansar, dug a pit and planted himself in it and fought until he was killed. The pit he dug turned out to be his grave. Zayd ibn alKhattab, brother of Umar ibn al-Khattab, may God be pleased with them both, called out to the Muslims: “Men, bite with your jaw teeth, strike the enemy and press on. By God, I shall not speak to you after this until either Musaylamah is defeated or I meet God.” He then charged against the enemy and continued fighting until he was killed. Salim, the mawla of Abu Hudhaifah, and standard bearer of the Muhajireen displayed unexpected valour. His people feared that he would show weakness or be too terrified to fight. To them he said, “If you manage to overtake me, what a miserable bearer of the Qur’an I shall be.” He then valiantly plunged into the enemy ranks and eventually fell as a martyr. The bravery of all these, however, wanes in front of the heroism of al-Baraa ibn Malik, may God be pleased with him and with them all. As the battle grew fiercer and fiercer, Khalid turned to al-Baraa and said, “Charge, young man of the Ansar.” AlBaraa turned to his men and said, “O Ansar, let not anyone of you think of returning to Madinah. There is no Madinah for you after this day. There is only Allah, then Paradise.”
He and the Ansar then launched their attack against the mushrikeen, breaking their ranks and dealing telling blows against them until eventually they began to withdraw. They sought refuge in a garden which later became known in history as The Garden of Death because of the many killed there on that day. The garden was surrounded by high walls. Musaylamah and thousands of his men entered and closed the gates behind them and fortified themselves. From their new positions they began to rain down arrows on the Muslims. The valiant Baraa went forward and addressed his company, “Put me on a shield. Raise the shield on spears and hurl me into the garden near the gate. Either I shall die a martyr or I shall open the gate for you.” The thin and wiry al-Baraa was soon sitting on a shield. A number of spears raised the shield and he was thrown into the Garden of Death amongst the multitude of Musaylamah’s men. He descended on them like a thunderbolt and continued to fight them in front of the gate. Many fell to his sword and he himself sustained numerous wounds before he could open the gate. The Muslims charged into the Garden of Death through the gates and over the walls. Fighting was bitter and at close quarters and hundreds were killed. Finally the Muslims came upon Musaylamah and he was killed. Al Baraa was taken in a litter to Madinah. Khalid ibn alWalid spent a month looking after him and tending his wounds. Eventually his condition improved. Through him the Muslims had gained victory over Musaylamah.
In spite of recovering from his wounds, al-Baraa continued to long for the martyrdom which had eluded him at the Garden of Death. He went on fighting in battle after battle hoping to attain his aim. This came at the battle for Tustar in Persia. At Tustar the Persians were besieged in one of their defiant fortresses. The siege was long and when its effects became quite unbearable, they adopted a new tactic. From the walls of the fortress, they began to throw down iron chains at the ends of which were fastened iron hooks which were red hot. Muslims were caught by these hooks and were pulled up either dead or in the agony of death. One of these hooks got hold of Anas ibn Malik, the brother of al-Baraa. As soon as al-Baraa saw this, he leapt up the wall of the fortress and grabbed the chain which bore his brother and began undoing the hook from his body. His hand began to burn but he did not let go before his brother was released. Baraa himself died during this battle. He had prayed to God to grant him martyrdom
Al Baraa bin Malik (R.A) – Fought against Persians and attained martyrdom>>
Al Baraa bin Malik (R.A) is the brother of Anas bin Malik (R.A) the servant of the Messenger of Allah (P.B.U.H). He was one of heroes of this Ummah. Anas bin Malik (R.A) heard his brother al Baraa (R.A) humming poetry so he told him: “O my brother you are humming poetry? What if this is the last thing you speak?” Al Baraa (R.A) said: “No! A man like me won’t die on his bed. I’ve killed ninety nine of the nonbelievers and hypocrites!” [Reported in Mussanaf ibn Abu Shaybah]
Umar (R.A) wrote to his military generals to never allow al Baraa (R.A) to hold any position of leadership in the Muslim armies. The reason: Umar (R.A) said he is too hazardous for the Muslims! [Reported in Al Hakim]
During the battle against the forces of Musaylamah the liar, he sat on a shield and asked the Muslims to carry the shield on their spears and throw him over the walls of the enemy in order to open the gates! He did open the gates but after he received over 80 injuries. [Reported in Al Isabah]
On the day of the battle of Tastur the Muslims asked al Baraa to make an oath to give them victory. Al Baraa (R.A) said: “O Allah! I make an oath that you hand us over their shoulders (give us victory) and to make me follow your prophet (to die)” He charged the enemy and the Muslims followed him.
The Persians lost, and al Baraa (R.A) was martyred. Allah fulfilled his oath. Anas (R.A) narrated: When Abu Musa (R.A) was appointed governor over al Basra he told al Baraa (R.A) to choose any position of leadership in his government and he will be appointed to it. Al Baraa (R.A) said: “I don’t want any.
Rather I want you to hand me over my bow, horse, spear, sword, and shield and then sent me to jihad. He sent him in an army. Al Baraa (R.A) was the first to die” [Reported in Ibn Abu Shaybah]
Al-Baraa ibn Malik: The Warrior of the Ansar
has purchased of the believers their lives and their properties; for the price
that theirs shall be the Paradise. They fight in Allah’s Cause, so they kill and
are killed. It is a promise in truth which is binding on Him” (9:111)
These are the words that filled the heart of the hero of this article, who lived
to die in the path of Allah. He understood and recognized the value of martyrdom
and he made it his number one priority. This hero is the second of the two brothers who lived for the service of their
Prophet and religion. His brother, Anas Ibn Malik, was offered by his mother Umm
Salim to be the Prophet’s servant at the age of twenty. As for the hero of this article, the second of the two brothers,
Malik al-Ansari, his only motto was ‘Allah and paradise’.
Al-Baraa’ was thin and wiry with so little flesh on his bones, yet in single
handed combats he defeated and killed many opponents, and in the midst of
battles he was an outstanding fighter against the non-believers. He was so
courageous and daring that ‘Umar who was the Khalifa at that time, once wrote
to his governors throughout the Islamic State that they should not appoint him
to lead any army, fearing that he might have them all killed by his daring
When al-Baraa’ used to fight he was not one of those who were looking for
victory, even though victory was the ultimate achievement, al-Baraa’s only wish
was for martyrdom, and to end his life in one of the battles against the enemies
of Islam. His love for martyrdom was the reason that he did not miss any of the
battles with the Prophet (saw). One day when al-Baraa’ was visited by his
friends he looked at them and said: “I see you might be worried that I
might die on my bed, no by Allah, Allah will not deprive me of shahada (martyrdom)”.
Perhaps if the tales
on al-Baraa’s heroism were to be told in detail, it would
take a lot of pages to cover them. In this article we will take just one of his
many heroic stories as an example of his bravery and courageousness.
The story we will take began after the death of Prophet Muhammad (saw), when
many tribes started rejecting the religion of Allah as a result of the sudden
death of His Prophet. This rejection by the Arabian tribes drew a determined
response from Abu Bakr al-Siddiq (ra) who stood firm against these
destructive movements, fearing that they could have a deadly effect on the
establishment and the spread of the religion of Islam on earth. Realizing the urgency of the matter, Abu Bakr called upon the Muhajirin and the
Ansar and he formed eleven armies from among them, each under a separate
commander and he dispatched them to the various parts of the Arabian peninsula
where these destructive movements were being formed. Their duty was to either
convince these apostates to go back to the Straight Path of truth or otherwise
to confront the leaders and followers of these movements and wipe them off
At that time the strongest group of apostates and the greatest in number were
the Banu Hanifah, among whom Musaylamah al-Kaththab, the imposter, arose
claiming that he was a prophet. With his magic tricks and his fluent speech,
Musaylamah managed to attract most of his tribe as well as the tribes around him
that he was a true prophet after Muhammad (saw). He also managed to prepare
an army made up of forty thousands of the best fighters among his people, who
followed him for the sake of tribal loyalty and not because they believed him.
Musaylamah’s army was so powerful that he managed to defeat the first army sent
to him under the leadership of Ikrimah Ibn Abi Jah l. The influence of
Musaylamah was so great that it forced Abu Bakr to dispatch another army led by
Khalid Ibn al-Waleed. This army included the best and most courageous of the
Sahabah from both the Muhajirin and the Ansar. In the front ranks of this army
was our hero al-Baraa’ Ibn Malik, who could not wait for the call of the jihad
by Khalid Ibn al-Waleed the leader of the army, as he was looking for the best
spot where he wished to perhaps be granted martyrdom by Allah (swt).
Finally, the call of
“Allahu Akbar” that al-Baraa’ was waiting for came from the
leader and the Muslim army raced along with the lover of martyrdom al-Baraa’ Ibn
The two armies met in the territory of Banu Hanifah at Yamamah in Najd. Al-Baraa’
was in the front rows, when he started hitting the followers of Musaylamah, they
began falling around him like the leaves from a tree. But Musaylamah’s army was
one of the most dangerous armies faced by Muslims, and they managed to hold
their ground against the army of Truth despite the courageous efforts of some of
the Muslims. The battle was fierce, there was much destruction and death. It was
something that the Muslims had never experienced anything like in all the wars
they had fought before. In fact, before long, the scale of the ba ttle tipped in
the favour of Musaylamah and his men, and fear started creeping into the
Muslim’s army forces, and some of them began retreating from their positions. At
that point the commanders of the Muslim armies realized that they better regain
initiative, because if they were to be defeated by Musaylamah’s army it could be
the end of the religion of Islam in the Arabian Peninsula.
Immediately, the commanders of the Muslim army started giving their fighters
words of encouragement and reminding them of the great reward awaiting them. At
that point, the Muslims displayed tremendous examples of heroism. Thabit Ibn
Qays, dug a pit and planted himself in it and fought until he was killed. Zayd
Ibn al-Khattab, brother of ‘Umar Ibn al-Khattab, called out to the Muslims:
“Men, bite with your jaw teeth, strike the enemy and press on. By Allah, I
shall not speak to you after this until either Musaylamah is defeated or I meet
However, the bravery of all these great men wanes in front of the heroism of our
champion al-Baraa’ Ibn Malik. As the battle grew fiercer and fiercer, Khaled Ibn
al-Waleed turned to al-Baraa’ and said: “O Baraa’ charge, young man of
the Ansar!”. Al-Baraa’ then called upon his men with words that was filled
with courage and strength saying: “O people of Madina (Ansar), let not
anyone of you think of returning to Madina. There is no Madina for you after
this day. There is only Allah, then Paradise”.
These were the words that
came straight from the heart of the young warrior in order to encourage and
strengthen the faith of his fellow brothers. After these words of encouragement,
al-Baraa’ along with the Ansar launched their fiercest attack against the
followers of Musaylamah the Imposter, breaking their ranks and striking telling
blows aga inst them, until eventually the army of the enemies started to
withdraw. They sought refuge in a garden which later became known in history as
the Garden of Death because of the many killed there on that day. The garden was
surrounded by high walls, Musaylamah and thousands of his men entered the
garden and closed the gates behind them, being shielded by the high walls, they
started raining down arrows on the Muslims.
Realizing the danger of this new trick of war that Musaylamah and his men had
employed, a nd the effect it have on the outcome of the battle, also realising
that this could be the chance he is waiting for to achieve martyrdom and meet
Allah (swt), the valiant and courageous al-Baraa’ went forward and addressed
his men saying: “Put me on a shield, raise the shield on spears and hurl
me into the garden near the gate. Either I shall die a martyr or I shall open
the gate for you”. This showed a great example of a man searching for martyrdom, as he thought that the time that he would open the gate for the
Muslim army to enter and finish off the fitnah (affliction) of Musaylamah and
his men, the swords of the enemies would rain down on him and he will finally be
granted the wish of martyrdom that he has long waited for.
The thin and wiry
al-Baraa’ was soon sitting on a shield. A number of spears
raised the shield and he was thrown into the Garden of Death amongst the
multitude of Musaylamah’ s men. He descended on them like a thunderbolt and
continued to fight them in front of the gate. Many fell to his sword and he
himself sustained over eighty wounds in his body before he could open the gate. The Muslim army then charged into the garden through the gates and over the
walls. The battle further intensified as hundreds were killed until the Muslim
army came upon Musaylamah and killed him.
Such was the bravery of our hero
al-Baraa’ Ibn Malik who was prepared to
sacrifice himself in the path of Allah and for the sake of spreading the
religion of Islam and wiping off its enemies, and through his bravery the
Muslims were able to gain victory over Musaylamah and his men after at one stage
they were in a desperate position.
In spite of his courageous effort in the battle against Musaylamah the Imposter,
and although he suffered numerous wounds to his body which were nursed by Khalid
Ibn al-Waleed himself who accompanied him for over a month until his recovery,
Al-Baraa’ was still searching for the martyrdom which had eluded him at the
Garden of Death. After recovering he went on fighting in battle after battle hoping to attain his
aim and be granted martyrdom by Allah.
Al-Baraa’ prayers were finally answered at the battle for Tustar in Persia. At
Tustar, the Persians were besieged in one of their defiant fortresses. When the
siege by the Muslims became unbearable, the Persians employed a new tactic. They
began to throw down iron chains at the ends of which were fastened red hot iron
hooks. Muslims were caught by these hooks and were pulled out either dead or in
agony of death. One of these hooks got hold of Anas Ibn Malik, the brother of
al-Baraa’. As soon as al-Baraa’ saw this, he leapt up the wall of the fortress
and grabbed the chain which bore his brother and began undoing the hook from his
body. Al-Baraa’s hands began to burn but he did not let go before his brother
was released. By the time Anas was released al-Baraa’ and his men looked at his
hand and they found that all the flesh was burned off his hand and they could
only see the bones of his skeleton.
Al-Baraa’ then directed his supplication to Allah saying: “O Allah, grant us
their backs (i.e. victory) and make me meet Your Prophet today”. Al-Baraa’
was finally granted martyrdom at this battle after a long stare at his brother,
as if he was saying farewell to him.
Such was a fitting end full of courage and faith in Allah when
finally granted the martyrdom that he lived and fought for. The martyrdom that
was his only aim in this world, the martyrdom that he understood its value more
than anyone else, w hich made him run after it. Al-Baraa’ has lived with the motto: “Allah and then paradise”,
lighting the way for Muslims and showing them the way to paradise.
We ask Allah
to grant al-Baraa’ his wish and to raise him among His Prophet, His Righteous
Servants and among the Martyrs, and we ask Allah to produce from among our
youth men who follow the steps of al-Baraa’ and experience the beauty of martyrdom!