One of the beloved of the beloved companion of Rasulullah ﷺ is Zaid Ibn Harithah Ibn Shurahbil Ibn Ka’ab Ibn Abd Elozza. He was among the first who embraced Islam. Zaid ibn Harithah (Arabic: زيد بن حارثة) or Zaid mawla Muhammad (c. 581 – 629 CE) was a companion of Muhammad who was at one stage regarded as his (adoptive) son.
He is the only companion whose name appears in the Qur’an.
Narrators and historians described his appearance as short, dark swarthy, and snub-nosed. As for his reality, he was truly a great Muslim.
Zaid ibn Harithah belonged to the Kalb tribe. When Zaid Ibn Harithah was only eight years old and a small shepherd, he had gone with his mother to one of their relative’s homes where he was captured as a slave during the raid of another tribe. Zaid Ibn Harithah was purchased by Khadijah’s nephew, Hakim, for 400 dirhams at the slave market and was brought to Mecca. Khadija took him from her nephew and sheltered him in her home.
If we go back in time, we will see Harithah, Zaid’s father, just putting the luggage on the camel that was to carry his wife, Saudah, to her family. Harithah paid his farewell to his wife who carried Zaid – at that time a young child – in her arms. But every time he was about to leave his wife and child who were going with a caravan, to return to his house and work, he was driven by a mysterious and inexplicable urge to keep his wife and son in sight; yet it was time for them to set out on their way and Harithah had to pay his last farewell to his wife and head back home. His tears flowed as he said goodbye and stood as if pinned to the ground until he lost sight of them. At that moment he felt broken-hearted.
Saudah stayed with her family for a while. One day, suddenly her neighborhood was attacked by one of its opposing tribes. Taken by surprise, Bani Ma`n were defeated and Zaid Ibn Harithah was captured along with other war prisoners. His mother returned home alone. When Harithah heard the sad news, he was thunderstruck. He traveled everywhere and asked everyone about his beloved Zaid. He recited these lines of poetry on the spur of the moment to lament the loss of his son:
My heart was broken when I lost Zaid.
I don’t know if he is alive or dead or if I will ever see him again.
By Allah, I still do not know if he was killed on the plain or slain on the mountain.
His picture comes to the mind’s eye whenever the sun rises or sets.
Even when the wind blows, it brings along his memory.
Alas, I am shrouded by my sadness, grief, and fear for him.
At that time of jahiliyyah, slavery was a recognized and established social fact that turned into a necessity. This was the case in Athens, which had long enjoyed a flourishing civilization, in Rome, and in the entire ancient world, including the Arab Peninsula. When the opposing tribe attacked the Bani Ma’n, it headed to the market of `Ukaadh, held at that time, to sell its prisoners of war.
The child Zaid Ibn Harithah was sold to Hakīm Ibn Huzaam, who gave him to his aunt Khadijah bint Khuwailid as a gift. At that time, Khadijah bint Khuwailid was married to Muhammad Ibn `Abd Allah but the revelation had not yet descended on him. However, Zaid Ibn Harithah enjoyed all the promising great qualities of Muhammad Ibn `Abd Allah. Khadijah bint Khuwailid, on her part, gave her servant Zaid Ibn Harithah as a gift to her husband, Muhammad Ibn `Abd Allah. Muhammad Ibn `Abd Allah was very pleased with Zaid Ibn Harithah and manumitted him at once. His great and compassionate heart overflowed with care and love towards the boy.
Later on, during one of the Hajj seasons, a group of Harithah’s tribe ran into Zaid Ibn Harithah in Makkah and told him about his parents anguish and grief ever since they had lost him. Zaid Ibn Harithah asked them to convey love and longings to his parents. Zaid Ibn Harithah told them, “Tell my father that I live here with the most generous and loving father.” No sooner did his father know his son’s whereabouts than he hastened on his way to him, accompanied by his brother.
As soon as they reached Makkah, he asked about the trustworthy Muhammad. When he met him, he said, “O son of lbn Abd Al-Muttalib! O son of the master of his tribe! Your land is one of security and sanctuary and you are famous for helping the distressed and sheltering the captive. We have come here to ask you to give us back our son. So please confer a favor on us and set a reasonable ransom for him.”
Muhammad Ibn `Abd Allah knew the great love and attachment Zaid Ibn Harithah carried in his heart for him, yet at the same time, he respected Harithah’s parental right. Therefore, he told Harithah, “Ask Zaid to come here and make him choose between you and me. If he chooses you, he is free to go with you, but if he chooses me then, by Allah, I will not leave him for anything in the world.”
Harithah’s face brightened, for he did not expect such magnanimity; therefore, he said, “You are far more generous than us.” Then Muhammad Ibn `Abd Allah summoned Zaid. When he came he asked him, “Do you recognize these people?” Zaid Ibn Harithah said, “Yes, this is my father and this is my uncle.”
Muhammad Ibn `Abd Allah told him what he had told Harithah. Zaid Ibn Harithah replied, “I will not choose anyone but you, for you are a father and an uncle to me.” Muhammad Ibn `Abd Allah eyes were full of thankful and compassionate tears. Muhammad Ibn `Abd Allah held Zaid’s hand and walked to the Ka’abah, where the Quraish were holding a meeting, and cried out, “I bear witness that Zaid is my son, and in case I die first, he will inherit from me, and in case he dies first, I will inherit from him.”
Harithah was overjoyed, for not only had his son been manumitted but he had also become the son of the man who was known by the Quraish as “The Honest and Trustworthy”. Moreover, he was a descendant of Bani Hashim and was raised to a high station among his people.
Zaid’s father and uncle returned back home leaving their son safe and sound after he had become master of himself and after Muhammad Ibn `Abd Allah had set to rest their fears concerning his fate.
Muhammad Ibn `Abd Allah adopted Zaid Ibn Harithah and from that moment on he was known as Zaid Ibn Muhammad.
In the house of Prophethood
Suddenly, on a bright morning whose brightness has never been seen before or since, the revelation descended on Rasulullah ﷺ:
“Read! In the name of your Lord who created – created mankind from something which clings; read! And your Lord is the Most Noble; who taught by the pen; taught mankind what he did not know “(96:1-5).
Then the revelation continued: “O you encovered— Arise and warn! And magnify your Lord” (74:1-3).
“O Messenger! Proclaim the message which has been sent down to you from your Lord. And if you do not, then you have not conveyed His message. Allah will protect you from mankind. Verily, Allah guides not the people who disbelieve” (5: 61).
As soon as Rasulullah ﷺ had shouldered the responsibility of his message, Zaid Ibn Harithah RA submitted himself to Islam. Narrators said that he was the second man and more probably the first man to embrace Al-Islam.
As we have mentioned, he was that boy who had been kidnapped, sold, and manumitted by Rasulullah ﷺ. He was this short, swarthy, snub-nosed man. Above all, he had a compassionate heart and a free soul. Therefore, he was raised to the highest position by his Islam and the Prophet’s love for him, for neither Islam nor Rasulullah ﷺ took notice of descent or prestige.
Muslims like Bilal RA, Suhaib RA, Khabbab RA, `Ammar RA, Usamah RA and Zaid Ibn Harithah RA were all alike according to this great religion. Each one of them played an important and distinctive role in gaining impetus to the rapidly spreading religion. These saintly ones and commanders were the sparkling stars of Islam. Islam rectified life values when the glorious Qur’an said:
“Surely, the most honorable among you in the sight of Allah are the most pious of you” (49:13).
Moreover, it encouraged all promising talents and all pure, trustworthy, and productive potentialities.
|The exact location of the Battle of Mut’ah. The battlefield
is located just beside the campus University of Mut’ah
Rasulullah ﷺ married his cousin Zainab to Zaid Ibn Harithah RA. It seems that Zainab RA, accepted that marriage because shyness prevented her from turning down Rasulullah ﷺ’sintercession.
|Remnants of The battle of Mut’ah in Mut’ah Jordan|
Unfortunately, the gap between them widened every day, and finally their marriage collapsed. Rasulullah ﷺ married Umm Kulthum Bint `Uqbah to Zaid Ibn Harithah RA.
When the practice of child adoption was abolished in the Quran, Rasulullah ﷺ, was ordered by Allah to marry Zainab RA (Zaid’s ex-wife). The reason for this is clear in the following verse:
“And when you said to him to whom Allah had shown favor and to whom you had shown a favor: Keep your wife to yourself and be careful of (your duty to) Allah; and you concealed in your soul what Allah would bring to light, and you feared men, and Allah had a greater right that you should fear Him. But when Zaid had accomplished his want of her, We gave her to you as a wife, so that there should be no difficulty for the believers in respect of the wives of their adopted sons, when they have accomplished their want of them; and Allah’s command shall be performed.
(Surah A-Ahzab: 37)
Whenever Zaid Ibn Harithah RA complained to Rasulullah ﷺ and expressed his desire to divorce Zainab, Rasulullah ﷺ, would try to convince him not to, but at the end you cannot change the inevitable. The divorce happened and later we knew why this whole story happened. The story had two reasons a general rule in Islam (Abolish child adoption) and a special reason for Rasulullah ﷺ himself.
As for the general reason : Islam wanted to stop child adoption and giving children names other that their real family names, to do that Allah gave us the example of Rasulullah ﷺhimself and a boy he adopted. To ensure that Zaid is not the son of Rasulullah ﷺ, Allah ordered his Rasul to marry Zainab (Zaid’s ex-wife). Of course a man cannot marry his son’s ex-wife in Islam. So when Allah ordered his Rasul to marry Zainab RA, it was to ensure that he is not the son of Rasulullah ﷺ.
The Noble Rasulullah ﷺ, knew that his enemies would take that action against him, so he concealed this fear in his heart, but Allah brought what Rasulullah ﷺ tried to conceal to the light. Rasulullah ﷺ had to marry Zainab RA and declare to the world the fact that adopted sons are not to be considered as real sons.
The slanderers and the enemies of Rasulullah ﷺ spread doubt concerning the legality of Rasulullah ﷺ’s marriage to his son’s ex-wife. The Qur’an refuted their claims by striking a distinction between sons and adopted sons. It abrogated adoption altogether saying:
“Mohammed is not a father of any man among you, but he is the Messenger of Allah and the last of the Prophets” (33:90).
Hence, Zaid Ibn Harithah RA was called after his father’s name once again, namely, Zaid Ibn Harithah.
As for the special reason: Rasulullah ﷺ, did not have any living sons (his sons died at childhood). The reason for this is that Allah Almighty wanted to empathize that Rasulullahﷺ, was indeed the last messenger of Allah. If he had a son it may happen that Muslims would consider his son the inheritor of Prophethood, so Rasulullah ﷺ’s sons never reached the age of manhood.
Rasulullah ﷺ loved Zaid Ibn Harithah RA so dearly due to his singular loyalty, greatness of spirit, conscientiousness, honesty, and trust worthiness. All this and more, made Zaid Ibn Harithah or Zaid the Beloved One, as the Companions used to call him, hold a distinguished place in Rasulullah ﷺ heart.
Aisyah RA said,
” Rasulullah ﷺ never sent Zaid Ibn Harithah RA on an expedition but as a commander and if his life had not been so short, he would have made him his successor.
Usamah son of Zaid Ibn Harithah RA had not yet reached the age of 20 when Rasulullahﷺ, ordered him to be head of an army which had among its soldiers Abu Bakr and `Umar. A growl spread around among a group of Muslims who were distressed by this matter and who found it too much for a youth such as Usamah Ibn Zaid RA to command an army which included a large number of Muhajirun (emigrants from Makkah) and elderly Ansar (early Muslims from Madinah).
Their whispers reached Rasulullah ﷺ, so he ascended the pulpit, thanked and praised Allah and then said, “Some people criticized Usamah’s army command; they criticized his father’s command before him. His father deserved to be the commander as well as Usamah RA. He is the most beloved to me next to his father, and I hope he is among the virtuous ones. I request you to treat him well.”
In the battle of Mutta, Rasulullah ﷺ, appointed a first leader Zaid Ibn Harithah RA and he said that Jaafar Ibn Abi Talib RA is to be leader if Zaid was killed and if Jaafar was killed then Abd-Allah ibn Rawaahah would be leader. Many Muslims regarded this as a sign of the three leaders’ martyrdom.
The Epic War- The Battle of Mutah – Muslim army facing
the leading empire of that era-The Roman Byzantine in Jordan
When Zaid Ibn Harithah RA was leading Muslims in the battle of Muttah Rasulullah ﷺ, was narrating what was in the battle field to Muslims in Madinah he said that Zaid Ibn Harithah RA was martyred then Jaafar then Abd-AllahRasulullah ﷺ was crying as he was saying that. Then he said that Khalid Ibn El-Walid took the flag and was victorious.
Zaid Ibn Harithah RA fought many battles in Islam from them was Badr and he was the one ho conveyed to Madinah the news of the Muslims victory in Badr. In the Battle of Muttah, Rasulullah ﷺ stood to pay his farewell to the departing Muslim army on its way to fight the Romans and to announce the name of the three successive commanders of the army:
“Zaid Ibn Harithah is your first commander, but in case he is wounded, Jaafar Ibn Abi Talib will take over the command, and if the latter is wounded then `Abd Allah Ibn Rawaahah will replace him.”
But who was Zaid Ibn Harithah RA. Who was the beloved one of the Prophet ?
Now, do you see the Muslim troops that marched towards the Battle of Mutta? Their commander was Zaid Ibn Harithah RA. Do you see those Muslims troops that marched to At- Tarf, Al-‘Iis and Hismii and other battles? The commander of all those battles was Zaid Ibn Harithah RA. Truly, as Saidatuna Aisyah RA said, “Rasulullah ﷺ never sent Zaid Ibn Harithah on as expedition but as a commander”.
Illustration Only: The Battle Of Mut’ah.
At last, the Battle of Muttah took place. It seems that the Romans and their senescent empire were filled with apprehensions and forebodings about the rapid spread of Islam. They saw it as a genuine and fatal threat to their very existence, especially in Syria, which bordered the center of the new, sweeping religion. Therefore, they used Syria as a springboard to the Arab Peninsula and the Muslim nation.
Rasulullah ﷺ realized that the aim of the Roman skirmishes was to test the Muslim combat readiness. Therefore, he decided to take the initiative and exhibit in action Islam’s determination to resist and to gain ultimate victory. On 1 Jumaadii A.H. 8, the Muslim army marched towards Al-Balqaa’ in Syria until they reached its borders where Heraclius’s armies of the Romans and Arabicized tribes residing at the borders were. The Roman army pitched camp at a place called Mashaarif, whereas the Muslim army pitched camp near a town called Muttah. Hence, the battle was named Muttah.
Rasulullah ﷺ knew how important and crucial this battle was; therefore he chose for its command three of those who were worshippers by night and fighters by day. Those three fighters sold their lives and property to Allah and renounced their needs and desires for the sake of great martyrdom which would pave their way to win Allah’s pleasure and to see Allah, the Generous. These three commanders were in succession: Zaid Ibn Harithah RA, Jaafar Ibn Abi Talib RA and Abd Allah Ibn Rawaahah RA. (May Allah be pleased with them and they with Him, and May Allah be pleased with all the Companions.) Thus, Rasulullahﷺ stood to bid farewell to his army and gave them his order saying, “Zaid Ibn Harithah is your first commander, but in case he is wounded, Jaafar lbn Abi Talib will take over the command, and if he is also wounded, `Abd Allah Ibn Rawaahah will take it over.
The exact location of the Battle of Mut’ah. The battlefield
is located just beside the campus University of Mut’ah
Although Jaafar lbn Abi Talib RA was one of Rasulullah ﷺ’s closest friends who had valor, fearlessness, and good lineage, yet Rasulullah ﷺ chose him as the second commander after Zaid Ibn Harithah RA. Thus, the Prophet (PBUH) stressed the fact that the new religion of Islam came to abolish corrupt human relationships based on false and superficial discrimination. It established new, rational human relationships instead.
It was as if Rasulullah ﷺ foresaw the proceedings of the imminent battle, for he assigned the command of the army to Zaid, Jaafar, and then `Abd Allah and strangely enough, all of them were raised to Allah in the same order set by him. When the Muslims saw the vanguard of the Roman army, which they had estimated at 200,000 warriors, they were stunned by its enormity that surpassed all expectation. But since when did the battles of faith depend on number?
At that moment, the Muslims flung themselves into the battlefield regardless of the consequences or jeopardy. Their commander, Zaid Ibn Harithah RA carried Rasulullah ﷺstandard and fought his way through the enemy’s spears, arrows, and swords. Zaid Ibn Harithah RA was not so much searching for victory as for concluding his deal with Allah, Who has purchased the lives and properties of Muslims in exchange for Paradise.
Remnants of The battle of Mut’ah in Mut’ah Jordan.
Zaid Ibn Harithah RA saw neither the sand of Al-Balqaa’ nor the Roman forces. The only things that he saw were the hills of Paradise and its green cushions. These images flickered through his mind like the fluttering flags that had announced his wedding day. When he thrust and struck, Zaid Ibn Harithah RA he not only smote at the necks of his enemies, but also flung the doors open that stood in his way to the vast door through which he would reach the home of peace, the eternal Paradise and Allah’s company.
Zaid Ibn Harithah RA clung to his destiny. His spirit, on its way up to heaven, was overjoyed as it took its last glance at the body of its master that was not covered with soft silk but rather with pure bloodshed in the way of Allah. His serene smile widened when he saw the second commander, Jaafar RA, dart towards the standard and hold it high before it touched the ground.
Selected Hadith Narrated and Attributed to Zaid Ibn Harithah RA
Found In: Sunan Ibn Majah Chapter No: 2, The Chapters of Purification and its Sunnah
Hadith no: 462
Narrated: Usamah bin Zaid RA
That his father Zaid bin Harithah said: “Rasulullah ﷺ said: ‘Jibril taught me (how to perform) the ablution, and he ordered me to sprinkle water underneath my garment, lest a drop of urine leak out after the ablution.’” (Daif) Other chains with similar wording.
Book: Purification (Kitab Al-Taharah) – كتاب الطهارة
Global Id: 20137 (0)
حسن لكن مسح القدم شاذ (الألباني) ٠
Reference : Sunan Abi Dawud 137
In-book reference : Book 1, Hadith 137
English translation : Book 1, Hadith 137
Narrated by: Zayd Ibn Harithah RA
‘Ata’ b. Yasar quoting Ibn ‘Abbas said: Do you like that I should show you how Rasulullah ﷺ performed ablution? He then called for a vessel of water and took out a handful of water with his right hand. He then rinsed his mouth and snuffed up water. He then took out another handful of water and washed his face by both his hands together. He then took out another handful of water and washed his right hand and then washed his left hand by taking out another. He then took out some water and shook off his hand and wiped his head and ears with it. He then took out a handful of water and sprinkled it over his right foot in his shoe and wiped the upper part of the foot with his one hand and beneath the shoe with his other hand. He then did the same with his left foot.
Book: Tribute, Spoils, and Rulership (Kitab Al-Kharaj, Wal-Fai’ Wal-Imarah) – كتاب الخراجوالإمارة والفىء
Global Id: 23056 (2)
Grade: Sahih in chain صحيح الإسناد ٠
Reference : Sunan Abi Dawud 3055
In-book reference : Book 20, Hadith 128
English translation : Book 19, Hadith 3049
Narrated: Abdullah al-Hawzani:
al-Rabi’ bin Nafi’ Abu Tawba al-Halbi ——» Mua’wiya bin Salam ——» Zayd ibn Harithah * *
I met Bilal, the Mu’adhdhin of Rasulullah ﷺ at Aleppo, and said: Bilal, tell me, what was the financial position of Rasulullah ﷺ?
He said: He had nothing. It was I who managed it on his behalf since the day Allah made him Prophet of Allah (ﷺ) until he died. When a Muslim man came to him and he found him naked, he ordered me (to clothe him). I would go, borrow (some money), and purchase a cloak for him. I would then clothe him and feed him.
A man from the polytheists met me and said: I am well off, Bilal. Do not borrow money from anyone except me. So I did accordingly. One day when I performed ablution and stood up to make call to prayer, the same polytheist came along with a body of merchants.
When he saw me, he said: O Abyssinian. I said: I am at your service. He met me with unpleasant looks and said harsh words to me. He asked me: Do you know how many days remain in the completion of this month? I replied: The time is near. He said: Only four days remain in the completion of this month. I shall then take that which is due from you (i.e. loan), and then shall return you to tend the sheep as you did before. I began to think in my mind what people think in their minds (on such occasions). When I offered the night prayer, Rasulullah ﷺ returned to his family. I sought permission from him and he gave me permission.
I said: Messenger of Allah, May my parents be sacrificed for you, the polytheist from whom I used to borrow money said to me such-and-such. Neither you nor I have anything to pay him for me, and he will disgrace me. So give me permission to run away to some of those tribes who have recently embraced Islam until Allah gives Rasulullah something with which he can pay (the debt) for me. So I came out and reached my house. I placed my sword, water skin (or sheath), shoes and shield near my head. When dawn broke, I intended to be on my way.
All of a sudden I saw a man running towards me and calling: Bilal, return to the Rasulullah ﷺ. So I went till I reached him. I found four mounts kneeling on the ground with loads on them. I sought permission.
Rasulullah ﷺ said to me: Be glad, Allah has made arrangements for the payment (of your debt). He then asked: Have you not seen the four mounts kneeling on the ground?
I replied: Yes. He said: You may have these mounts and what they have on them. There are clothes and food on them, presented to me by the ruler of Fadak. Take them away and pay off your debt. I did so.
He then mentioned the rest of the tradition. I then went to the mosque and found that Rasulullah ﷺ was sitting there. I greeted him.
Rasulullah ﷺ asked: What benefit did you have from your property? I replied: Allah Most High paid everything which was due Rasulullah ﷺ. Nothing remains now.
Rasulullah ﷺ asked: Did anything remain (from that property)? I said: Yes. He said: Look, if you can give me some comfort from it, for I shall not visit any member of my family until you give me some comfort from it. When Rasulullah ﷺ offered the night prayer, he called me and said: What is the position of that which you had with you (i.e. property)?
I said: I still have it, no one came to me. Rasulullah ﷺ passed the night in the mosque.
He then narrated the rest of the tradition. Next day when he offered the night prayer, he called me and asked: What is the position of that which you had (i.e. the rest of the property)?
I replied: Allah has given you comfort from it, Messenger of Allah. He said: Allah is Most Great, and praised Allah, fearing lest he should die while it was with him. I then followed him until he came to his wives and greeted each one of them and finally he came to his place where he had to pass the night. This is all for which you asked me.
Book: Trials and Fierce Battles (Kitab Al-Fitan Wa Al-Malahim) – كتاب الفتن والملاحم
Global Id: 24244 (3)
Grade: Da’if ضعيف
Reference : Sunan Abi Dawud 4243
In-book reference : Book 37, Hadith 4
English translation : Book 36, Hadith 4231
Muhammad bin Yahya bin Hiban ——» Sa’id bin Abi Maryam * ——» Usamah ibn Zayd * ——» Zayd ibn Harithah
Narrated Hudhayfah ibn al-Yaman:
I swear by Allah, I do not know whether my companions have forgotten or have pretended to forgot. I swear by Allah that Rasulullah ﷺ did not omit a leader of a wrong belief (fitnah)–up to the end of the world–whose followers reach the number of three hundred and upwards but he mentioned to us his name, his father’s name and the name of his tribe.