An-Numan Ibn Muqarrin RA
THE ELEVEN BLOOD BROTHERS EMBRACING ISLAM.
The tribe of Muzainah had their sanctuary some distance from Madinah Al Munawarrah along the caravan route which linked Madinah Al Munawarrah and Makkah. News of Rasulullah SAW arrival in Madinah spread rapidly and soon reached the Muzainah through members of the tribe who had left and returned. One evening the chieftain of the tribe, An-Numan ibn Maqarrin, sat among the elders and other members of the tribe and addressed them: “O my people, by God, we have learnt only good about Muhammad, and of His mission we have heard nothing but mercy, kindness and justice. What’s wrong with us? Why do we tarry while people are hastening to him?” “As for myself,” he continued, “I have ma de up my mind to leave early in the morning to join him. Whoever of you wishes to go with me, let him get ready.” An-Numan must have been a persuasive chieftain. His words had a wondrous effect on the ears of his people. The following morning An-Numan with ten brothers and four hundred horsemen of the Muzainah were all ready and prepared to go with him to Madinah Al Munawarrah to meet the Rasulullah SAW, and to embrace the religion of Islam.
|Only for Illustration: An Numan RA, briefing the army.|
An-Numan however felt embarrassed to go to meet Rasulullah SAW with such a numerous following without carrying any presents for him and the Muslims. There wasn’t much he could carry anyway. That year was a year of drought and famine for the Muzainah and much of their livestock and crops had perished. Still, An-Numan went around the dwellings of his fellow tribesmen and gathered up whatever sheep and goats were left. These he drove before him and made his way to Madinah Al Munawarrah. There in the presence of Rasulullah SAW, he and his fellow tribesmen announced their acceptance of Islam. The whole of Madinah was agog with excitement with the coming of An-Numan and his companions. Never before had there been a single family with all eleven brothers accepting Islam at the same time together with four hundred horsemen. The noble Rasulullah SAW was exceedingly glad and rejoiced greatly. Indeed the sincerity of their effort was accepted and commended by Allah Almighty when He revealed the following words of the Quran to Rasulullah SAW:
“And among the nomad Arabs are such as believe in Allah and the Last Day, and regard all that they spend in Allah’s cause as a means of drawing them nearer to Allah and of (their being remembered in) the Rasul’s prayers. Oh, verily, it shall (indeed) be a means of (Allah’s) nearness to them, (for) Allah will admit them into His grace. Verily Allah is much-Forgiving, most Merciful.” (The Quran, Surah at-Tawbah, 9:99).
An-Numan RA lived under the guidance of Rasulullah SAW and participated in all the campaigns he waged with valor and dedication. In the time of Saidina Abu Bakr RA, he and the people of Muzainah played a major and commendable role in putting an end to the fitnah of apostasy. During the caliphate of Saidina Umar al-Faruq RA, An-Numan RA distinguished himself, in particular, in the encounters with the Sasananian Empire. Shortly before the Battle of Qadisiyyah, the commander of the Muslim forces Sad ibn Abi Waqqas RA sent a delegation to the Sasanian Emperor, Yazdagird. The delegation was headed by an-An-Numan ibn Muqarrin RA and its main purpose was to invite the emperor of Islam . When An-Numan RA and his delegation reached Ctesiphon, the Sasanian capital, the people of the city looked upon them with curiosity and some disdain. They remarked on their simple appearance, their rough clothes and shoes and their weak-looking horses. The Muslims were in no way overwhelmed and sought an audience with Yazdagird. He granted them permission, summoned an interpreter and said to him: “Say to them (the Muslims): why have you come to our dominions and why do you want to invade us? Perhaps, you have designs on us… and seek to venture against us because we are preoccupied with you. But we do not wish to inflict punishment on you.” An-Numan RA turned to his men and said: “If you wish, I shall reply to him on your behalf. But if any one of you wants to speak let him do so first.” The Muslims told An-Numan RA to speak and turning to the Emperor, said: “This man speaks with our tongue so do listen to what he says.” An-Numan RA began by praising and glorifying Allah and invoking peace and blessings on His Rasul. Then he said: “Indeed Allah has been Kind and Merciful to us and has sent to us a Messenger to show us the good and command us to follow it; to make us realize what is evil and forbade us from it.
|Only for Illustration: An Numan Ra brother in aid.|
“Rasulullah promised us if we were to respond to what he summoned us, Allah would bestow on us the good of this world and the good of the hereafter. “Not much time has elapsed but Allah has given us abundance in place of hardship, honor in place of humiliation and mercy and brotherhood in place of our former enmity. “Rasulullah has commanded us to summon mankind to what is best for them and to begin with those who are our neighbors.”We therefore invite you to enter into our religion. It is a religion which beautifies and promotes all good and which detests and discourages all that is ugly and reprehensible. It is a religion which leads its adherents from the darkness of tyranny and unbelief to the light and justice of faith.” “Should you respond positively to us and come to Islam, it would be our duty to introduce the Book of Allah in your midst and help you to live according to it and rule according to its laws. We would then return and leave you to conduct your own affairs.
“Should you refuse, however, to enter the religion of Allah, we would take the jizyah from you and give you protection in return. If you refuse to give the jizyah, we shall declare war on you.” Yazdagird was angry and furious at what he had heard and said in ridicule: “Certainly I do not know of a nation on earth who is more wretched than you and whose numbers are so few, who are more divided and whose condition is more evil.” “We have been used to delegate your affairs to our provincial governors and they exacted obedience form you on our behalf.” Then softening his tone somewhat, he continued, but with greater sarcasm: “If there is any need which has pushed you to come to us, we would enlist forces to help you make your lands fertile. We would clothe your leaders and the notables of your people and place a king from among ourselves over you who would be gentle to you.” One of An-Numan’s delegation responded sharply to this and Yazdagird flew into a rage once more and shouted: “Were it for the fact that ambassadors are not killed, I would kill you all.”Get up. You shall have nothing from me. And tell your commander that I am sending Rustum against him to bury him and you together in the ditch of Al Qadisiyyah.”
|Maqam of An Numan RA|
Yazdagird then called for a basketful of earth and ordered that it should be borne outside the city gates by the one whom the Muslims considered to be the most noble among them as a sign of humiliation. Asim the son of Umar accepted the load as a happy augury and took it to the commander-in-chief, Sad ibn Abi Waqqas, and said to him: “Accept our congratulations for the victory. The enemy has voluntarily surrendered his territory to us.” The Battle of Qadisiyyah ensued and after four days of bitter fighting, the Muslim forces emerged victorious. The victory paved the way for the Muslim advance into the plains of the Euphrates and the Tigris. The Persian capital, Ctesiphon, fell and this was followed by a number of engagements as the Persians withdrew northwards. Despite other defeats and setbacks, Yazdagird refused to yield and constantly organized new levies to attack the Muslims and foment insurrection in the provinces which had come under Muslim control. Saidina Umar Al Khattab RA had counselled moderation on his generals and ordered them not to press too far eastwards. However he received news of a massive Persian mobilization of about 15O,OOO warriors against the Muslims. He thought of leaving Madinah and facing the massive threat himself. He was advised against this by prominent Muslims in Madinah who suggested instead that he should appoint a military commander to confront the grave situation.
“Show me a man whom I can appoint for this task.” said. “You know your army best, O Amir al-Muminin,” they replied and after some thought Saidina Umar RA exclaimed: “By Allah, I shall appoint as commander-in-chief of the Muslim army a man who, when the two armies meet, will be the most active. He is An-Numan ibn Muqarrin al-Muzani RA.” To him, Saidina Umar RA dispatched a letter:
“From the servant of Allah, Umar ibn al-Khattab, to An- Numan ibn Muqarrin:
“I have received news that large numbers of Persians have gathered to fight you in the city of Nihawand. When this my letter reaches you go forward (to confront them) with the help of God, with whoever of the Muslims are with you. Don’t take the Muslims over too difficult terrain lest they may be hurt, for one Muslim person is dearer to me than a hundred thousand dinars. And Peace be unto you.” An-Numan RA responded to the orders of the Amir al-Muminin and mobilized the Muslim forces. He dispatched an advanced detachment of cavalry to reconnoiter the approaches of the city. Just outside Nihawand, the horses stopped and despite prodding would go no further. The riders dismounted and discovered iron nails in the horses’ hooves. They looked around and found that all approaches to the city were strewn with these iron spikes to halt the advance of the Muslim army. On being informed of this, An-Numan ordered the horsemen to remain where they were and at nightfall to light fires for the enemy to see them. They were also to feign fear and defeat in order to entice the enemy to come out to them and in the process clear the approaches of the iron spikes. The ruse worked. When the Persians saw the van guard of the Muslim army appearing dejected and defeated before them, they sent workers to clear the area of the spikes. These workers were captured by the Muslim cavalry who gained control of the approaches to the city.
An-Numan RA pitched camp on the outskirts of the city and decided to make a determined assault on the city. He addressed his soldiers: “I shall say Allahu Akbar three times. At the first time, get yourselves ready (by performing your toilet and making wu du). At the second time, let every man of you get ready his weapons and gird them on. And the third time, I shall move against the enemies of God and you must join in the attack with me.” He went on: “And if An-Numan is killed, let no one tarry over him. For I shall (now) make a supplication to Allah Almighty and I want everyone of you to say ‘Ameen’.
” He then prayed:
“May God grant martyrdom to An-Numan this day and may He grant victory to the Muslims.” Three times An-Numan shouted Allahu Akbar. On the third time, he plunged into the ranks of the enemies and the Muslims rushed on behind him. They were outnumbered six to one but inflicted terrible losses on the Persians. An-Numan received a mortal blow during the battle. His brother took the standard from his hand, and covered him with a burdah and concealed his death from the others.
The Muslim forces emerged victorious. The Persians never recovered themselves after this battle which Muslim historians have called “the Victory of Victories”. The battle over, the victorious soldiers asked for their valiant commander. His brother lifted the burdah and said: “This is your Amir. God has shown him victory and blessed him with martyrdom.” When the news was brought to Saidina Umar Al Khattab RA in Madinah, a companion who was with him said: “I saw Saidina Umar RA: When he heard of the death of An-Numan ibn Muqarrin RA, he placed his head in his hands and began to cry.”
Before The Battle of Qadissiyah:
Prior to the Battle of Qadisiyyah, Sad ibn Abi Waqqas RA sent a delegation to Yazdagird, Emperor of Persia, headed by An-Nu’man ibn Muqarrin RA with the purpose of inviting the Emperor to Islam. Yazdagird greeted the delegation in the following way:
“Why have you come to our dominions and why do you want to invade us? Perhaps, you have designs on us…and seek to venture against us because we are preoccupied with you, but we do not wish to inflict punishment on you”.
“Indeed Allah has been Kind and Merciful to us and has sent to us a Messenger to show us the good and command us to follow it, to make us realise what is evil and forbade us from it. Rasulullah promised us if we were to respond to what he commands, Allah would bestow on us the good of this world and the good of the hereafter. Not much time has elapsed but Allah has given us abundance in place of hardship, honour in place of humiliation and mercy and brotherhood in place of our former enmity. Rasulullah has commanded us to summon mankind to what is best for them and to begin with those who are our neighbours. We therefore invite you to enter into our Din. It is a Din, which beautifies and promotes all good and which detests and discourages all that is ugly and reprehensible. It is a Din, which leads its adherents from the darkness and tyranny of unbelief to the light and justice of Iman. Should you respond, positively to us and come to Islam, it would be our duty to introduce the Book of Allah in your midst and help you to live according to it and rule according to its laws. We would then return and leave you to conduct your own affairs. Should you refuse however, to enter the Din of Allah we would take the Jizya (tribute) from you and give you protection in return. If you refuse to give the Jizya, we shall declare war on you” (Ibn Sad in his Tarikh).
|Only for Illustration: Battle of Qadisiyah.|
This is the reality of the call to Islam and the manner in which it spread. It is a call to deliver people from the servitude of man to the service of Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala), not a desire for exploitation and domination.
Consider these noble words of Saidina Umar ibn al-Khattab RA to Sad ibn Abi Waqqas RA as he bade farewell to the Muslim army that was to confront the Persians at Qadisiyyah.
“O Sad! Let not any statement that you are the uncle of the Rasul of Allah or that I or you are the companion of the Rasul of Allah distract you from Allah. Allah Almighty does not obliterate evil with evil but he wipes out evil with good.”
“O Sad! There is no connection between Allah and anyone except obedience to Him. In the sight of Allah SWT all people whether nobleman or commoner are the same. Allah SWT is their Lord and they are His servants seeking elevation through taqwa and seeking to obtain what is with Allah SWT through obedience. Consider how the Rasul of Allah used to act with the Muslims and act accordingly…”
Are these the words of a leader to an army that is embarking on conquest for the sake of domination and exploitation? Clearly, not the purpose or objective in embarking war with the non-believers to conquer and exploit them but to call mankind towards the Din of Allah SWT.