Hazrat Zaid Ibn Al-Khattab (RA)

“My brother Zayd became superior to me in two aspects. He became a Muslim before me and he was martyred before me.” Hz. Umar expressed the best witnessing for Zayd bin Khattab like that. Zayd bin Khattab was half brother of Hz. Umar.

Zayd bin Khattab was among the lucky people that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) loved very much. Zayd bin Khattab, who had the honor of being a student at Suffa school, was one of the first muhajirs. When the Messenger of Allah established brotherhood between Muhajirs and Ansar, he made Zayd bin Khattab brothers with Main bin Adiyy.

Hz. Zayd listened to the Prophet’s lesson of “sacrifice and putting one’s life at risk for a cause” very carefully. This lesson of heroism necessitated sacrificing one’s property and life for the cause of Islam if necessary. Hz. Zayd was conscious of it.

Zayd (r.a.) took part in all of the wars that the Prophet (pbuh) joined like Badr, Uhud, Khandaq and Hudaybiya. He showed great heroism in the Battle of Uhud. His brother Hz. Umar also took part in this battle. During the battle, Hz. Umar wanted to give his armor to Zayd but he rejected his brother’s offer by saying, “I want the rank of martyrdom as much as you do.” Thus, both brothers fought without armors. Both wanted to be martyred.[1]

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After the death of the (pbuh), in the 12th year of the Migration, his heroism he showed in the Battle of Yamama against the impostor Musaylima was an example set for mujahids. 

Hz. Zayd was the standard-bearer of the Islamic army in this battle. He attacked the ranks of the enemy army with the standard in one hand and his sword in the other. At one moment, he saw that the Muslims were weak. He took refuge in Allah to be like them and prayed Allah for victory. He said, “O Allah! I take refuge in you from the defeat of Muslims.”[2]

After that, Hz. Zayd attacked the ranks of the enemy again; he killed many enemy soldiers including the famous apostate, Nahar. Meanwhile, he was hit hard by Abu Maryam. He was martyred. While the standard he was holding was about to fall, Hz. Salim, another great Companion, ran and grabbed it.[3]

Hz. Umar envied his brother. However, his separation distressed him a lot. He said, “Whenever the morning wind blows, I feel the smell of Zayd.”

It is interesting that Abu Maryam, who martyred Hz. Zayd, became a Muslim during the caliphate of Hz. Umar. Then, he went into the presence of Hz. Umar. He was the fiercest enemy of Hz. Umar since he killed Zayd but he became his closest friend after becoming a Muslim.

Once, Hz. Umar asked him, “Did you kill Zayd?”Abu Maryam said, “Yes, I did.” Then, he added,

“Allah gave him the rank of martyrdom through me but He did not throw me into Hell through him.”

Hz. Umar asked, “How many of your soldiers died during the Battle of Yamama?” Abu Maryam said, “They are terrible dead people. Praise be to Allah, who left me alive and made me a Muslim.”

It is reported that Hz. Umar appointed him as the qadi (judge) of Basra.[4]

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[1]Tabaqat, 3: 378.

[2]Usdu’l-Ghaba, 2: 229.

[3]Usdu’l-Ghaba, 2: 229.

[4]Tabaqat, 3: 378.