Cii Radio | 21 Jumadal Ula 1436/13 March 2015
Abdullah ibn Zubair (radiallahu anhu) was the grandson of the first Caliph of Islam, Abu Bakr (radiallahu anhu). He was a companion and the son of a companion. His mother was Asma (radiallahu anha), the daughter of Abu Bakr. His aunt was Ummahatul Mu’minee, the mother of the believers, Aisha (radiallahu anha). His grandmother from his father’s side was Safia binti Abdul Mutallib, the aunt of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). From his father’s side, his grandfather was Al’Awwam bin Khuwaylid, the brother of Khadija (radiallahu anha).
Abdullah ibn Zubair (radiallahu anhu) was born in the year of Hijrah. He was the first male to be born to the Muslims after the Hijrah because when the Muslims made Hijrah to Madinah, the Jews of Madinah spread a rumour saying they have done magic (sihr) upon the Muslims so that they will never have a male child born to them.
For a while after the Muslims arrived in Madinah, every time a child was born it was a female and every time a male was born it would die. The people started to believe that the Jews had put a curse on the Muslims and that this was the end of the Muslims because they couldn’t multiply. Around that time, Asma (radiallahu anha) was in the last days of her pregnancy. She went into labour and gave birth to a healthy boy – Abdullah ibn Zubair (radiallahu anhu). The Muslims were very happy with him and took him to his grandfather Abu Bakr who carried him. The Muslims followed him and they raised him and recited Takbir around Madinah, saying Allah is the Greatest.
Abu Bakr (radiallahu anhu) goes and gives him to Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) who took a date and chewed it and put it in the mouth of this new born baby. Imagine being born into this world amongst the companions of the Mercy of the World. The first nourishment you receive as a baby coming from dates the Beloved of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wasalaam) has chewed. The one who names you is the Seal of Allah’s Prophets.
Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) names him Abdullah – the slave of Allah. The people used to say that he resembled Abu Bakr (radiallahu anhu). The first word Abdullah ibn Zubair (radiallahu anhu) uttered as a child was “As Sayf” – the sword. Raised in the house of a warrior, this was not a strange thing. The sword could always be found at his side. It never left him, not physically and not from his tongue. He would constantly be saying the word or playing with a sword.
For this reason Abdullah ibn Zubair (radiallahu anhu) became one of the most magnificent warriors. They used to say there were three things you could not challenge Abdullah ibn Zubair with. These were courage, Ibadah – worshipping Allah and his eloquence. If one looks in the books of Fiqh under the topic of concentration, one will always find the mention of Abdullah ibn Zubair because he used to never move in his salaah. They used to say that when Abdullah (radiallahu anhu) stood for salaah the bird would come and sit on him.
One narration reads that one time Abdullah ibn Zubair (radiallahu anhu) prostrated and while he was prostrating, the narrator read Surah Al Baqarah, Surah Al Imraan, Surah Al Nisaa and Surah Al Maeda, and he still didn’t raise his head.
At the beginning of the year 70 AH Makkah was surrounded by Hajjajs’ Army. They had laid siege to Makkah for approximately one and a half years. Bay’ah was being given to Abdullah ibn Zubair so he went to his mother Asma (radiallahu anha). At the time she was over 100 years old and blind. When he entered the room, he greeted her with salaam. She replied and asked him, “Where have the men of Al Hajjaj reached?” He said, “Oh my mother, in death I will find peace and tranquillity.”
He continued to say, “Oh my mother, all my companions have left me until my own family and my children have left my side and I only have a handful of people around me. The people are ready to give me whatever I want from the world.” This meant the people were allowing him to go wherever he wanted. He asks his mother her advice. She tells him, “Oh my son, you are more knowledgeable regarding your circumstances than I am. But I do say if you know that you are on the truth then die like your companions.”
This is her son and she’s telling him to die like his companions died, to be killed for the sake of Allah and for what he believes in. “How long will you stay on this earth? Being killed is better.” He says to her, “I fear that if the people of Al Sham kill me, they may disfigure me or mutilate my body.”
She tells him, “Oh son, the sheep is not hurt by the skinning after death.” After its death, the sheep does not feel when it is being skinned. “So go on your way and seek the help of Allah.” He stood up and kissed her upon the forehead and said, “Oh my mother, I swear by Allah that this is my stance and I have no desire to live in this world for my aspirations are the Hereafter. All my life I have stood up for the truth. All I wanted to know was your opinion so that your stance will strengthen my stance.”
She drew him closer and embraced him. When she embraced him she felt he had metal armour on and said, “What is this? For people who want Shahadah don’t wear this. This is not the action of someone who wants martyrdom, and that’s what you want.”
He tells her that he only put it on for her sake, so that she does not become afraid for him. She tells him to remove it and that he should tighten his clothes to be safe from becoming exposed. He leaves saying, “If I know the day I’m going to die, I will be patient upon that.”
“Be patient inshaAllah, your fathers are are Abu Bakr and Az Zubair and your mother is Safia, the daughter of Abdul Mutallib,” she tells him.
Abdullah goes out to fight. The narration mentions that Abdullah ibn Zubair (radiallahu anhu) that day fought like a thousand men. At the age of 73, he fought from noon until evening. The one defending ibn Zubair the most and fighting ferociously and fiercely, the last of his friends to die, was Abdullah bin Muti’ah. The fighting continued. The whole army of Al Hajjaj against one man. They began to throw stones at him and a huge stone struck him on his head and he fell. But he never stopped fighting. They cut off his legs and martyred him. The narration mentions that when they martyred him Makkah erupted with crying.
The day he was born Madinah erupted with happiness and the day he died Makkah erupted with crying. Hajjaj bin Yusuf al Thaqafi went to Asma (radiallahu anha) to break her resolve and he said how has Allah dealt with his enemy. Asma (radiallahu anha) said, “You may have corrupted this dunya but he has corrupted your aakhirah.” These were people who were not scared of death.
Hajjaj ordered the body of Abdullah be hung at the entrance of Makkah and the people would pass by. Ibn Umar (radiallahu anhu) passed by while the army was reciting Takbir. He said to them, “You make Takbir at his death. I swear by Allah I have seen the Muslims making Takbir at his birth. By Allah the ones who made Takbir at his birth are better than the ones who made Takbir at his death.”
The people told Hajjaj to bring his body down but he refused, not until Asma (radiallahu anha) pleaded with him to. The narration mentions that there was a beautiful fragrance coming from the mutilated body of Abdullah ibn Zubair (radiallahu anhu). The men of Hajjaj tied a dead cat around his waist but still the beautiful fragrance was so beautiful it overwhelmed it.
When Asma (radiallahu anha) went to the entrance of Makkah she made dua for her son and she said, “Isn’t it time that this knight of Allah was allowed to come off his horse?”
On hearing this, Hajjaj felt so little, he knew he had lost the battle and brought the body of Abdullah ibn Zubair (radiallahu anhu) down. This was a man who lived and died for the sake of Allah SWT.