Vengeful mercenary to gallant Mujahid
Cii Radio | 18 Shawaal 1436/04 August 2015
Two of the Tabieen went to visit Wahshi ibn Harb (radiallahu anhu) who was old at the time and they wanted him to tell them about the time he had killed Hamza ibn Abdul Mutallib (radiallahu anhu). Wahshi (radiallahu anhu) told them that he would narrate the story to them as he had narrated it to Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). He said, “Shall I tell it to you just as I told it to the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) when he asked me about it?”
I was a slave of Jubair ibn Mut’im whose uncle was Thuaimah bin Adain who was struck down at Badr. When the Quraish went forth to Uhud Jubair told him that if killed Hamza (radiallahu anhu), Muhammad’s (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) uncle, in retaliation for his uncle’s death then he would be a free man.
Wahshi was an Ethipian and could throw the spear well like his countrymen. He was quite good with a spear and rarely missed with it. He went out with the warriors and when the forces met in battle he went forth looking for Hamza, to lie in wait for him. “I found him amidst the fray, like an enormous camel striking out viciously at our men with swords, nothing withholding him. I made use of bushes and rocks to get close to him but Siba bin Abd Uzza got to him before me. When Hamza saw him he said ‘come over here you son of a woman who does circumcisions’. He then struck him a blow so quickly that it appeared to have missed his head.” The blow was so quick that it had taken his head off.
Wahshi aimed his spear carefully and when sure of it hurled it at Hamza (radiallahu anhu). It struck him below his navel and emerged between his legs. Hamza tried to move towards Wahshi but was overcome. I left him with the spear until he died. “Then I went over to him,” SubhanAllah he was even terrified of Hamza when his spear had already struck him, “retrieved my spear and returned to camp where I stayed. I had no business with anyone other than him. I only killed him to gain my freedom. I didn’t join the battle.”
Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) heard the news of the death of his uncle. We cannot imagine how devastating it was to Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). This was his uncle whom he loved much. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) asked if anyone had seen the place where his uncle had been killed. One of the sahabah stood out and said that he did, they went there together.
When Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasalam) saw him, he cried. When he saw Hamza (radiallahu anhu) his stomach was open and his insides were pulled out. The sahabah who had taken Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) there said he was not in the state he had seen him in when he was killed. This mutilation did not happen when he was killed, it happened later on. This is when Hind bint Utbah, the wife of Abu Sufyan, wanted to eat the liver of Hamza (radiallahu anhu) and she ordered that his liver be pulled out. This is the state that Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) saw his uncle so you can imagine the Messenger of Allah’s (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) sadness.
“Later on,” Wahshi continues narrating the story, “I went back to Makkah.” Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) opened Makkah so he had to leave. He said, “When I reached Makkah, I remained there until the Messenger of Allah conquered Makkah. I then fled to Taif where I stayed. When the Taif delegation left to see Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) to accept Islam, I didn’t know what to do.” If Taif was going to accept Islam, where could he go.
“I told people I’d go to Syria or Yemen or some other country. “I was in a state of indecision and anxiety when someone told me, ‘come on now, I swear he’ll not kill anyone who has adopted his religion and testified to the truth’.” News of the forbearance (hilm) of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was all over, his forgiveness and his mercy was known.
“When he told me that I went to Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallm) in Madinah, surprising him by standing before him and speaking the testimony of truth. When he saw me he asked me, ‘are you Wahshi’. I replied ‘yes, O Messenger of Allah’. He then said to me to sit down and relay to him how I had killed Hamza. So I related it as I did to you both. When I finished he said, ‘Wahshi can you remove your face from me’.”
Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) did not want to see the face of Wahshi again as it would bring back memories of his uncle. Wahshi said he used to avoid Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) wherever he might be so that he would not see him. Wahshi, later on joined the army that went to fight with Musaylimah al-Khaddab (Musaylimah the liar), the man who claimed to be a prophet. He said, “I took the spear with which I killed Hamza and when the forces met I saw Musaylimah standing sword in hand.”
From the other side there was another Mu’min trying to attack Musaylimah, Wahshi with his spear and the other Muslim, with his sword. Wahshi studied his spear until he felt good about and then let it loose on him. It stuck him while the other Muslim attacked Musaylimah from the other side and killed him. Wahshi had struck him first and the other Muslim killed Musaylimah. The other Muslim was Abu Juzyaan (radiallahu anhu).
Wahshi (radiallahu anhu) would say, “If it was I who killed him then I killed the best of men and I also killed the worst of them.”