Talha ibn Ubaydullah r.a was a cousin of Abu Bakr r.a. ‘Amr bin Ka’b was the grandfather of both of them., so all of them were from the Banu Taym clan.
Talha’s Mother As-Sa’bah bint Abdullah bin Abbad bin Malik, the sister of Al-‘Ala’ bin Al-Hadrami accepted Islam. Among his wives was Umm Kulthum bint Abi Bakr and Su’da bint ‘Awf Al-Murriyyah. He had sons two of which were named Imran and Musa and two sons named Zakariyyah and Yusuf who died in infancy. Umm Ishaq bint Talhah has also been mentioned as a daughter of Talha
He was also extremely rich and known to be full of munificence (generous). According to al-Masudi, he made 1,000 dinars a day from his business ventures in Iraq, and his income from the region of ash-Sharah was more than that. He also owned lots of real estate in Medina, and had many servants.
Early life | 597–610
Assuming he died at 64 years old, he was born in 597. Talha was greater than 64 years because he saw the rule of all four khulafa’ alrashdeen and died during Ali’s war with Ayesha and Zubair.
Rasulullah ﷺ era | 610–632
The prophet Rasulullah ﷺ, in a Hadith accepted by Sunni Muslims, specified ten of his companions who were promised paradise. Those companions named in this Hadith are referred to by Sunnis as The Ten Promised Paradise (Arabic: العشرة المبشرون بالجنة; al-`Ashara al-Mubasharîn bi-l-Janna). Talha was one of the Ten Promised Paradise.
He had a son named Muhammad ibn Talha from a marriage with Hammanah bint Jahsh, the sister of Zaynab bint Jahsh. He also died at the battle of the Camel.
From his marriage to Umm Kulthum bint Abu Bakr, he had three children:
- Zakariyya ibn Talhah
- Yusuf ibn Talhah
- A’isha bint Talhah
He also had a daughter named Umm Ishaq bint Talhah who married Hasan ibn Ali and had a son named Talha ibn Hasan. Known for her rare beauty, the mother of Umm Ishaq bint Talhah was the daughter of Qosama bin Roman from Tayy.
After Hasan died, Umm Ishaq married Husayn ibn Ali and had a daughter named Fatimah bint Husayn.
Talha also has been found to narrate Hadith from Rasulullah ﷺ one such narration is: Talha ibne-‘Ubaidulläh narrâtes that Rasulullah ﷺ said: “Indeed, I know a Kalimah which if recited by a dying man, will be a means of solace for his departing soul and will be a light for him on the Day of Resurrection” (this Kalimah is La ilaha illallah)
Muslims regard him as one of the ten who were promised paradise during their lifetimes by Rasulullah ﷺ. Rasulullah ﷺ, on the day of Battle of Uhad, said about Talha:
“The one who wants to see an alive martyr, must see Talha.”
The Falcon on the Day of Uhud !
“Of the believers are men who have been true to their pledge to GOD, from them some have fulfilled their pledges, and some are still in hope of doing so, and they never change at heart. “ [Quran: 33, 23]
The Prophet (pbuh) recited this glorious verse and then turned to his Companions, pointed to Talhah and said, “Anyone who wants to please himself by looking at a man walking on the earth who has fulfilled his pledge of martyrdom should look at Talhah.”
The Prophet’s Companions never wished nor did their hearts ever aspire and long for a better announcement than the one the Prophet (pbuh) directed to Talhah Ibn ‘Ubaid Allah. By such words he could feel secure towards his destiny and fate. He was going to live and die as one of those who have been true to their pledge so that neither civil strife could affect him, nor any kind of lassitude influence him.’
”The Prophet (pbuh) announced Paradise to him. How then was the life of such a one who deserved this fine announcement?”
He was trading in the land of Basraa, when he met one of the most virtuous monks there. He told him that a Prophet who was going to appear in the Sacred Land and whose appearance was prophesied by all virtuous prophets had risen and his era had already begun. Talhah was very much afraid to miss the procession of guidance, mercy, and salvation.
When Talhah returned to his homeland Makkah after having spent months in Basraa and traveling around, he found a lot of talk taking place here and there. Whenever he met someone or a group of Makkah inhabitants they would talk to him about Rasulullah ﷺ the Trustworthy, about the angel sent down to him, about the mission he was carrying to the Arabs in particular and all people in general.
The first thing he asked about was Abu Bakr. He learned that Abu Bakr had returned with a caravan and trade not long ago and that he was standing at the side of Rasulullah ﷺ, believing in and defending him.
Talhah said to himself, “Rasulullah ﷺ and Abu Bakr r.a? By Allah, both of them would never join each other and agree upon falsehood.* Rasulullah ﷺ has already reached the age of 40. In all these years we’ve never heard him speak one single lie. Is it possible that he would now lie about Allah and say, ‘He sent me as a prophet and He sent me an angel’? It’s something hard to believe.”
He quickened his steps, directing them towards Abu Bakr’s house. They did not talk for long because his long aspiration to meet the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) and to swear to him the oath of allegiance was much faster than his heartbeats.
Abu Bakr accompanied him to the Prophet (pbuh) and he soon embraced Islam, joining there and then the blessed ranks!
That is how Talhah became one of the very early converts.
Despite his honorable rank among his clan, his vast wealth, and his successful trade, he had to taste his own portion of the Quraish’s persecution. The task of torturing him and Abu Bakr was given to Nawfal Ibn Khuwailid, who was called The Lion of the Quraish. However, their persecution did not last long, as the Quraish soon felt ashamed and began to think about the consequences of their deeds.
Talhah emigrated to Al-Madiinah when the Prophet (pbuh) ordered the Muslims to emigrate. After that he experienced all the battles together with the Prophet (pbuh) except the Battle of Badr because the Prophet (pbuh) had sent him and Sa’iid Ibn Zaid on an assignment outside Al-Madiinah.
When they had fulfilled their task and were on their way back to Al Madiinah, the Prophet (pbuh) and his Companions were returning home after the battle. Talhah and his companion felt so sad and tormented for having missed the reward of joining the Prophet (pbuh) in his first jihaad battle.
However, the Prophet (pbuh) accorded them peace of mind when he informed them that their reward was exactly like the warrior’s reward; moreover, he gave them a share of the booty exactly like the share he gave to each one who had fought the battle.
Then came the Battle of Uhud, when the Quraish, with all their might and tyranny, came to take blood revenge for the Day of Badr and to restore their dignity by defeating the Muslims once and for all, a defeat which was thought by the Quraish to be a simple matter and a predetermined fate. The fierce battle took place, and soon the battlefield was filled with its awful harvest: calamity overtook the polytheists.
Then when the Muslims saw them retreating, they laid down their weapons and the archers descended from their posts and began to collect their share of booty. Immediately and suddenly the Quraish army turned back to hold the field and tip the balance of the battle in their favor.
The fighting’s ferocity, cruelty, and crushing resumed. The surprise attack had the effect of scattering the army.
Talhah saw that the side of the battlefield where the Prophet (pbuh) was standing had become the target of the polytheists’ concentration. He immediately hurried towards the Prophet (pbuh).
He (May Allah be pleased with him) traversed a path, a long one, although it was in fact a short distance.
It was a path in which a single inch could not be traversed except by confronting tens of ferocious swords and tens of mad lances.
He could see from a far distance how the Prophet’s (pbuh) cheek was bleeding and how he was silently suffering. It was then that lalhah got mad, leaped once or twice over the path of horror to reach the Prophet (pbuh), in front of whom he had to experience what he was afraid of: the swords of the polytheists drawn towards the Prophet (pbuh), surrounding him, wanting to get at him.
lalhah stood there like a raging army, striking with his sword to the left and right. He could see the Prophet (pbuh) bleeding and his pains becoming more and more unbearable. He helped him and carried him away from the hole where his foot had gotten stuck.
o He supported the Prophet (pbuh) with his left hand and chest, backing up to a safe, secure place, while his right hand (May Allah bless his right hand) fought the swords of the polytheists who surrounded the Prophet and who swarmed the battlefield like locusts.
Let Abu Bakr As-Siddiiq Describe
For us the Whole Scene of Battle
‘Aa’ishah once said:
Whenever Abu Bakr recalled the Day of Uhud he used to say, It was the lalhah’s day. I was the first who approached the Prophet (pbuh). He said to me and to Abu ‘Ubaidah Ibn Al-Jarraah, “Watch out, for your brother.” We looked at him, and we could see more than 70 stabs. His finger was cut off. We tried to remedy his condition.
In all the different events and battles, lalhah was always to be found in the forefront fighting in the cause of Allah, redeeming the Prophet’s standard.
Talhah lived among the Muslim community, worshipping Allah with the worshipers, fighting in the cause of Allah with those who fought for truth, following the basic principles of the new religion which was revealed in order to bring people – all people – out of darkness into light.
After he fulfilled his duties towards Allah, he went on seeking the bounty of Allah, expanding and promoting his successful trade and business. Talhah was one of the wealthiest Muslims. His whole fortune was put in the service of his religion, the standard of which he carried with the Prophet (pbuh). He spent it without measure, and so Allah increased it for him without measure.
Talhah the Excellent
The Prophet (pbuh) called him “Talhah the Excellent”, “Talhah the Splendid and “Talhah the Generous” to demonstrate his bountiful generosity.
How often did he give his whole fortune away. Then Allah the Ever-Generous returned it to him manifold! His wife Su’adaa Bint “Awf reported: Once I approached Talhah. I saw him worried and asked him, “What’s the matter?” He said, “The money which I possess is now so abundant that it worries me and makes me feel distressed.” I told him, “Never mind, I’ll distribute it.” He set out to call people and to divide it among them till there wasn’t a single dirham left.
On another occasion, he sold his land for a very high price, and when he looked at the pile of money, his tears rolled down and he said, ” A man in whose house all that money is to remain for a night and he doesn’t know for sure what will happen to him is certainly deceived by Allah.”
Then he called some of his companions to carry his money with them and walk through the streets of Al-Madiinah distributing it until in the last part of the night he was without a single dirham of that money. Jaabir Ibn ‘Abd Allah described his wealth saying, “I never saw anybody giving out so much money without being asked as did Talhah Ibn ‘Ubaid Allah.”
He was one of the kindest toward his relatives and kin. He supported them all, though they were numerous. It was once said about him, “He never left an orphan without supporting him and his dependents. He provided for the marriage of the unmarried ones, he provided service for the disabled ones, and paid the debts of the indebted ones.”
As-Saa’i’b Ibn Zaid once said, ” I accompanied Talhah during travels and during times of settlement. I never saw anybody more generous in terms of money, clothes, and food than Talhah.” The well known civil strife broke out during the caliphate of ‘Uthmaan. Talhah supported the argument of ‘Uthmaan’s opponents, standing on their side in most of their quests to witness change and reformation.
The Man of Two Lights
Did he therefore, in such a position, call for ‘Uthmaan’s murder, or even feel pleased by it? Never! If he had known that the civil strife would develop in such a way, bursting into mad spite, expressing itself in such cruel crime, the victim of which was “The Man of Two Lights” ‘Uthmaan (May Allah be pleased with him)…
We say, if he had known that the civil strife would in the long run lead to such an end and such a conflict, he would have resisted it, and it would have been resisted by the rest of the Companions who supported him at the beginning, recognizing it as a movement of opposition and warning, and no more.
However, Talhah’s stance turned out to be his “life conflict” after the brutal way in which ‘Uthmaan was surrounded and killed. Imam ‘Ali (radhi Allahu ‘anhu) had hardly accepted the oath of allegience from lalhah and Az-Zubair at Al-Madiinah, when they both asked permission to go to Makkah for ‘Umrah.
From Makkah they both turned to Al-Basrah, where a great multitude was gathering to avenge ‘Ufhmaan’s death. At last it was the Battle of Al-Jamal, where those calling for revenge met with the party supporting ”Ali (radhi Allahu ‘anhu). Whenever ”Ali (radhi Allahu ‘anhu) thought about this difficult situation which Islam and Muslims were confronting in this horrible dispute, he burst into sorrowful tears and his laments grew louder and louder. He was forced into this difficult situation.
Being the Caliph of the Muslims, he could not and it was not his right to be tolerant towards any revolt against the state or any armed opposition to the established authority. To crush a rebellion of that sort, then, he had to face his brethren, his companions, friends and the followers of his Prophet and his religion, those with whom he had so often encountered and combated the polytheist armies and with whom he had so often joined under the standard of monotheism in battles that refined their Islamic behavior and melted away all weakness and disgrace, thereby turning them into brethren – and indeed brethren – supporting each other.
What a conflicting situation! What a difficult harsh test! In order to find a way out of such a conflict and to save the blood of the Muslims, Imam ‘Ali (radhi Allahu ‘anhu) did his utmost. Nonetheless, the factors opposing Islam – and they were many -which had met their defeat at the hands of the Muslim state in the days of its great leader ‘Umar, had kindled the civil uprising and continued to stoke it and follow its events and magnitude.
The Mother of the Faithful
He cried a lot and wept abundantly when he saw The Mother of the Faithful ‘Aa’ishah on her camel howdah at the head of the army which rose to fight him. When he saw Talhah and Az-Zubair, the disciples of the Prophet (pbuh), he called to them to come out to meet him, so they did. They approached him till their horses touched each other. He said to Talhah, “0 Talhah! Did you come with the wife of the Messenger of Allah to use her in your fight while hiding your wife at home?”
Then he said to Az-Zubair, “0 Zubair! I ask you by Allah. Do you remember the day when the Prophet (pbuh) passed you when we were in such- and-such a place, then he said to you, ‘0 Zubair! Do you love ”Ali (radhi Allahu ‘anhu)?’ You replied, ‘Why shouldn’t I love my nephew and cousin and the follower of my religion?’ He said to you, “0 Zubair! By Allah, you will fight him, being unjust to him.’”
” ‘Az-Zubair (May Allah be pleased with him) said, “Yes, now I remember, I had forgotten that. By Allah, I won’t fight you.”
Az-Zubair and Talhah abstained from taking part in this civil war. They abstained as soon as things were clarified. When they saw ‘Ammaar Ibn Yaasir fighting on ‘Ali (radhi Allahu ‘anhu)’s side, they remembered the Prophet’s prophecy to ‘Ammaar: “You will be killed by the unjust party.” If “Ammaar were killed in that war in which Talhah was taking part, then Talhah was unjust.
Talhah and Az-Zubair retreated from the whole fight and had to pay for that retreat with their lives. But they met Allah pleased and delighted with what they had been endowed by Allah: insight and guidance. As for Az-Zubair, a man named ‘Amr Ibn Jarmuuz followed him and killed him while he was praying. As for Talhah he was pierced with a lance by Marwaan Ibn Al-Hakim, which killed him on the spot.
The Murder of “Uthmaan”
The murder of “Uthmaan represented in Talhah’s conscience his “life conflict”, as previously mentioned. Despite the fact that, he did not take part in the murder nor agree to it, he had just supported the opposition against him (‘Ali) at a time when it was not obvious that it would intensify and develop into a more serious conflict until it turned into a dreadful crime.
When he took his place on the day of Al-Jamal amidst the army fighting against the Ibn Abi Taalib which sought to take revenge for ‘Uthmaan’s murder, he wished that his position would be an atonement making him feel at ease towards the pressure of his conscience. Before the start of the battle he was supplicating with a voice choked with tears saying, “O my Lord, accept me this day in favor of ‘Uthmaan until You are pleased.”
When they met ”Ali (radhi Allahu ‘anhu) face to face, he and Az-Zubair both said they felt illuminated by ‘Ali (radhi Allahu ‘anhu)’s words and thereby saw it to be right to leave the battlefield. However, martyrdom had been reserved for them. Indeed, martyrdom was his fate, and he was to meet it and it was to meet him, wherever he was.
Did not the Prophet (pbuh) once say about him, “He’s one of those who passed away. Whoever wants to please himself by seeing a martyr walking on the earth, go let him look at Talhah.” Thereby did the martyr meet his inevitable fate, and the Battle of Al-Jamal was over. The Mother of the Believers realized that she had made a hasty decision; therefore she left Al-Basrah for the Sacred House and then Al-Madiinah, keeping aloof from the fighting and dispute. Imam Ali (radhi Allahu ‘anhu) provided her with all means of comfort and respect.
When ‘Ali (radhi Allahu ‘anhu) inspected all the martyrs of the battle, he set out to pray the funeral prayer upon them, those who fought on his side as well as those who fought against him. When he finished burying lalhah and Az-Zubair, he stood saluting them for the last time. He finished his words saying, “I wish to be with lalhah and Az-Zubair and “Uthmaan among those whom Allah described thus:
‘’We removed from their hearts any malice therein, as brothers they shall rest upon couches facing each other .“ [15: 47]
Then he gazed at their grave with kind, gentle, pure, and sad eyes saying, “I’ve heard with my two ears the Prophet (pbuh) saying, Talhah and Az-Zubair are my neighbors in Paradise.’”