Hazrat Suraqah bin Malik r.a

Suraqah bin Malik ( Arabic:سراقة بن مالك الكناني Suraqah ibn Malek alkenani) is a member of the Kenanah tribe which just like quraish belongs to the Adnani branch of Arabs (there are two branches of true Arabs or Arabs by blood, not just tongue who were Arabaized later after the arab Muslim expansion. Arabs by blood or true Arabs, also known as Arabs of the Arabian peninsula, or the native inhabitants of Arabian peninsula, are either adnani or qahtani. Suraqah’s tribe is adnani) Suraqah pursued Rasool Allah s.a.w when he was on his way to Medina for the Hijrah (migration). Rasool Allah s.a.w had taken asylum inside the cave of Thawr outside Mecca. Abu Jahal and three of his accomplices who were tracking Rasool Allah s.a.w and his companion Hazrat Abu Bakr reached the mouth of the cave. Hazrat Abu Bakr trembled with fear at the sound of the advancing steps of the pursuers but Rasool Allah s.a.w assured him they were safe for Allah was with them.

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The Quraish announced a reward of 100 camels for anyone who tracked Rasool Allah s.a.w and Hazrat Abu Bakr. Suraqa was enticed. Suraqa bin Malik was a clever and patient tracker who trailed people by their footprints on the sand, the excreta of the camels and horses. He asked his slave woman to saddle securely his agile mare and lead her well away from Mecca while he slipped out the back door of his house so that no one would know what he was about to do.

He easily tracked down the two-man caravan of Rasool Allah s.a.w  on its flight to Madinah, but as soon as he caught sight of the duo, his mare got stuck in the sand, and nothing could extricate her. The Prophet and Abu Bakr were visible within range of his arrow, but as he lifted his bow to shoot them, his hands became paralyzed. He cried out, ‘O Rasool Allah s.a.w , pray for me in order that my mare could get out of this mess. I promise, I will retrace my steps and give up the pursuit.’

Rasool Allah s.a.w prayed, and Suraqa’s mare freed herself from the sand. Such was the size of the reward, however, that Suraqa went back on his word and resumed pursuit of the duo. As he approached Rasool Allah s.a.w , the mare got stuck into the sand again. Suraqa again prayed: ‘O Prophet, if I was released again, I would surrender my arms and return to Mecca never to pursue you. I would dissuade even others from pursuing you.’

Rasool Allah s.a.w prayed again, and the mare again freed herself. Suraqa then declared that Rasool Allah s.a.w religion would prevail one day and requested Rasool Allah s.a.w to hand him a written promise that he would be honoured whenever Rasool Allah s.a.w became the head of the Islamic state. Abu Bakr wrote the promise at the behest of Rasool Allah s.a.w on a bone and handed it over to Suraqa. Even as he began to return, Rasool Allah s.a.w told him that he would one day wear the bangles of Khusrow of Persia. He asked in wonderment if Rasool Allah s.a.w meant the bangles of Khusrow bin Hormuz, the Persian king. Rasool Allah s.a.w  nodded in acknowledgement.

Suraqa encountered several contingents of Quraish who were looking for Rasool Allah s.a.w and persuaded them to get back to Mecca as he had found no trace of the pair on the route to Madinah. The only person whom he told of his encounter was Abu Jahl, who reproached him for his cowardice.

Within eight years of his migration to Madinah, Rasool Allah s.a.w entered Mecca at the head of a vast army and declared general amnesty. Suraqa entered the court of Rasool Allah s.a.w  and declared shahadah. Suraqa always rued the day he pursued Rasool Allah s.a.w for the mere earthly reward of 100 red camels. He was struck with profound grief the day Rasool Allah s.a.w wisal but remembered the promise of Rasool Allah s.a.w that he would one day receive the bangles of Khusrow of Persia.

Years passed. At one time Suraqa became ill and was dying. His house prepared for his death (643 CE/22 AH). All of a sudden Suraqa open his eyes and inquired what his family was doing. They told him that they are preparing for his burial because they dont think he will survive. He ordered them not to worry about him because he will not die. Family member were surprised and asked how he is so sure. He said that Prophet Rasool Allah s.a.w assured him of Khusrow’s bangles and had not get yet. Persia was conquered during the caliphate of Umar ibn al-Khattab. Umar received a missive from Saad bin Abi Waqqas, commander of the Islamic forces about the conquest of Persia. A fifth of the booty was sent to Umar in Madinah. It contained the famed crown of Khusrow studded with rubies, a gold belt studded with pearls and the gold bangles. Umar was looking at each of the items sent by the Commander of the forces. Suddenly Umar called Suraqa to him and put the crown on his head, helped him don the gold embroidered dress and gold bangles.

Suraqa felt uncomfortable in the royal outfit. He raised his hands towards the sky and prayed: ‘O my Lord, how could I put on something which your Prophet deserved far more than I? I smell the air of punishment in it.”

He then turned towards Hazrat Umar and asked him to distribute all those royal appendages among the Muslims.

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The Blessed Prophets (SAW) prediction that Sayyidina Suraqa would one day wear the bangles of Chosroes. This came true during Sayyidina Umar’s reign. This prediction also proves the Messenger of Allah’s knowledge that Sayyidina Suraqa would soon embrace Islam, as he was not a Muslim at that time.

At the time of the Hijra (the migration from Mecca to Medina), the Prophet (saws) and Abu Bakr were being chased across the desert. The Quraysh were pursuing them and had a bounty of 100 camels placed on the Prophet’s head. In one gathering around Mecca, a man came in and said he had seen two men walking through the desert and it was possible that they were Muhammad and Abu Bakr. Suraqa ibn Malik, one of the Bedouins in the gathering, deceptively denied that this could be the case, but secretly left the gathering and prepared his horse to pursue the two men. He wanted to gain the reward of 100 camels.

Abu Bakr would constantly be looking back and he was very worried about being caught, whereas the Prophet (saws) was completely calm and reciting Quran. When Suraqa ibn Malik came close to them, the front legs of his horse sank into the sand and he fell. He thought this odd because his horse never did this before. So he got back onto his horse and continued pursuing them. The same thing happened again! The third time it happened, he saw a wall of dust in front of him. So after this, when he approached the Prophet he came to beg for peace. Initially he had come to kill the Prophet but now he was asking the Prophet for a pledge of protection!

So the Prophet (saws) gave him the promise of protection from any future violence in writing, and he said to Suraqa ibn Malik: “What about a day when you will be wearing the Bracelets of Kisra.” There was only one Kisra and everyone knew who this was, but this statement was so shocking that Suraqa ibn Malik had to clarify again: “Kisra!?” The Prophet (saws) said “Yes, Kisra the son of Hermuz.”

Now these Bracelets were very famous, the equivalent to the Crown Jewels in our days. These large bracelets were worn by the Persian Kings, who would simply rest their hands in them as a show of power. For a man who was fleeing persecution and on the brink of assassination, this promise seemed hardly appropriate!

Years later, when the Muslims came to the land where Suraqa ibn Malik lived, they were going to kill him. But he pulled out this piece of paper which had the Prophet’s promise on it, and this paper saved his life. He then became Muslim, and during the time of Umar he joined the army that one day conquered Persia. The treasures of Persia were brought back to Umar, and amongst the booty were these famous bracelets. Umar called Suraqa ibn Malik and told him to wear the bracelets and tell the story to the people. So on that day, a Bedouin man from the Arabs was wearing the Bracelets of Kisra, the most famous at the time – a promise given to him by the Messenger of Allah (saws) decades before.
(Narrated by Anwar al-Awlaki) Also Reported in Sahih al Bukhari Volume 4, Book 56 [virtues and merits of the prophet and his companions],   and Sahih al Bukhari VolumeNumber 812 and 005, book 058, hadith number 250)

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Sahih al Bukhari Volume 4, Book 56 Narrated Al-Bara: When the Prophet migrated to Medina. Suraqa bin Malik bin Ju’sham pursued him. The Prophet invoked evil on him therefore the forelegs of his horse sank into the ground. Suraqa said (to the Prophet ). “Invoke Allah to rescue me and I will not harm you. “The Prophet invoked Allah for him. Then Allah’s Apostle felt thirsty and he passed by a shepherd. Abu Bakr said. “I took a bowl and milked a little milk in it and brought it to the Prophet and he drank till I was pleased.” Volume 5. Book 58. Number 247