Page images

the reward of paradise?' Accordingly Zobeyr B. Ala'wâm and Moqâd B. Aswad took this matter upon themselves, started on the journey, concealing themselves in the day, and travelling during the night, till they arrived one night in Tana'ym. There they beheld forty persons sleeping near the gibbet. They slowly took down Habyb, whose body they found to be still fresh after forty days, and on probing his wounds with their hands blood was yet flowing from them. Zobeyr then placed the corpse on his horse, whereon both friends started on their return journey. When it was day the Qoraish saw what had happened, and seventy of them sallied forth on horseback, in pursuit of the two fugitives, whom they overtook. Zobeyr, however, removed the body from the saddle and covered it with earth, wherefore those two blessed individuals were afterwards surnamed 'swallowed by the earth.' When the infidels were near, Zobeyr took off his turban, shouting out his name and genealogy, to show his readiness to fight. But as the idolaters perceived no utility in this contest they returned, and those two friends, traversing the distance, were exalted by being allowed to wait upon the prince of the righteous-u. w. b. It is said that when they arrived Jebrail was present, and said to the prophet: 'O Muhammad, the angels are vying with these two companions of thine!'


Sofyan B. Khaled Hodhayly had killed some companions, was trying to injure others, as has been related above, and was now engaged in gathering an army to attack the apostle of God. When a ray of this information had shone upon the forehead of the most enlightened mind, he appointed A'bdullah B. Anys to ward off the evil machinations of the wicked; but A'bdullah not being acquainted with Sofyân, he requested his lordship to describe him. The apostle explained with his wonderfully eloquent tongue his person and qualities, adding: 'Take

care, lest thou be afraid when thou seest him, and that Satan also be present at your meeting.' When A'bdullah departed he asked leave to speak whatever he liked. Being dismissed, he took up his sword, and after traversing the distance arrived in the Battin of Ghorânah, where he perceived a man walking with several others. A'bdullah became afraid of that man, recognised him by that token, and said to himself, 'The apostle of God has spoken the truth!' When Sofyân caught sight of A'bdullah he questioned him, and he replied: "I am of the Khozaa'y, and I heard that thou art enlisting an army to fight Muhammad. It is my intention to serve thee!' Sofyan replied: Yes, such is the case!' Then A'bdullah accompanied Sofyân, recited poetry, and flattered him, so that the wretch felt amused, and when they arrived he entered his tent. When the night set in the friends of Sofyan dispersed, every one of them courting sleep in his corner. Then A'bdullah entered the tent, and severing, with his sharp blade, the head of that tyrant from his body, he departed [with it] to Madinah. On the way he concealed himself in a cave, and God ordered a spider to weave its net over the entrance thereof. When the people of Sofyan learnt what had taken place, they hastened after A'bdullah, but were unable to find him, and returned disappointed. A'bdullah then left the cave, concealed himself during the day and travelled during the night, until he reached Madinah. There he found the prophet in the mosque, and deposited Abu Sofyân's unhallowed head at his blessed feet. His lordship the apostle-u. w. b.and his companions rejoiced at the murder of the enemy of God; but some biographers consider the just-narrated event to have taken place in the third [year after the Flight].


This misfortune took place as follows: Abu A'amer B. Malek, who was also surnamed Mollábu-l-alsanah,200 arrived

290 Sport of the tongues.'

from the tribe of Najd in Madinah. When he entered the august assembly of his lordship the prophet, that prince invited him to make his profession of Islâm; but although he would not become a Musalmân, he did not altogether refuse to acquiesce therein, and said: 'O Muhammad, I know that thy religion is noble, and thy sect is the orthodox one. If thou wilt send a number of thy companions with me to invite the Bani A'amer to accept Islam, perhaps the nation will enter the circle of obedience to thee.' His lordship rejoined: 'I do not trust the people of Najd!' Abu A'amer continued: Do not give way to misapprehensions, for I shall take them under my protection and not allow them to be hurt.' Then his lordship despatched seventy men, who were during the day engaged in drawing water and carrying wood, and during the night in prayer to [convert] the inhabitants of Najd. It is said that A'amer B. Khayrah and A'mru B. Ommyah Dhomayry were of the above number, over which his lordship appointed Mundhar B. A'mru Saa'dy as leader, and by whom he sent a letter to the Bani A'amer and grandees of Najd. When the Musalmans arrived at Bara Moa'wiah they alighted, and gave their camels to A'mru Bin Ommyah to pasture them; the letter, however, they handed to Hazâm B. Marjân, to give to A'amer B. Ttofayl, who was the brother of Mollâbu-l-alsanah's mother. Hazám took charge of the letter, gave it to him, but by a preconcerted signal from A'amer, attained the honour of martyrdom whilst engaged in conversation. A'amer had [before] applied for aid to the Bani A'amer in his war against Mundhar B. A'mru, but as they [now] knew that Abu A'amer had taken the Musalmâns under his protection, they did not comply with his request; notwithstanding this vile fellow gathered a number of the tribe of Salym and of O'ssyah, and of Dhakwán, and proceeded to Bara Moa'wiah. When the infidels arrived in that place they surrounded the professors of Islam, and when the monotheists saw themselves swallowed up in the vortex of calamity, they said: We see no one who might bear our

salutation to Thy favourite.'. In short, both parties fought in that soul-melting battle-field, and contended with each other till the companions of the apostle attained martyrdom. When A'mru B. Ommyah and Hâreth B. Qohayny were returning from the pasture, they perceived birds soaring over the camp and dust rising over it. Accordingly they both mounted to an elevation to see what had become of their friends, but when they ascertained what had taken place A'mru said: 'It will be best for us to return to Madinah, and to inform the apostle of this misfortune.' But Hareth refused, went towards the infidels, fought, and sent two men of them to hell who had been aided by the idolaters. After these [idolaters] had spared his life, Hâreth again commenced to fight, and slew two more men, till he at last also himself attained martyrdom. A'amer B. Ttofayl loosed the bonds of A'mru B. Ommyah, and allowed him to depart to Madinah. When A'bu Bâra became aware of his nephew's treachery, he was so grieved that he fell sick and departed to the next world. There is a tradition that when his lordship received the news of the slaughter of his companions he pronounced during the space of forty days maledictions in his morning prayers upon the men of those tribes which had aided A'amer B. Ttofayl, and also upon the latter, saying: God requite A'amer!' Accordingly that wretch was in the house of the woman Sahilyah overtaken by a disease like the camel-plague, so that he exclaimed in his affliction I feel an odour like the odour of death in the house of Sahilyah!' Thereon he called for his horse, mounted it, and departed to hell in that state of his unhallowed soul-the curse of Allah be upon him! It is related that when A'mru B. Ommyah Dhomayry was delivered of his bonds and proceeded to Madinah, he met on his way two idolaters of the Bani A'amer, who were under the protection of his lordship; but A'mru knew nothing thereof, and slew the two unlucky men while they were asleep. After traversing the distance he arrived in Madinah, entered the assembly of his holy and prophetic

[ocr errors]

lordship-u. w. b.--explained the manner in which the companions had been killed, and also how he had despatched those infidels; with the murder of these, however, his lordship was not pleased, and, blaming A'mru, compelled him to pay the blood-ransom to their heirs.


When A'mru B. Ommyah had unwittingly killed those two individuals of the Bani A'amer, his lordship the apostle said: 'I must pay the ransom for them.' As the Bani An-natzyr were allies of the Bani A'amer, and had likewise made a treaty and covenant with his lordship, he assembled some of his companions, such as Abu Bakr, O'mar, Ali and Ttolhah. Then he proceeded to the habitations of the Bani An-natzyr to make arrangements concerning the ransom to be paid for the two slain men. When the apostle of Allah had arrived at the spot and explained the case, they replied: O father of Qasim, we shall do as thou likest. Stop awhile that we may fulfil the duties of hospitality.' Therefore the apostle of God took up a position leaning with his back against the wall of a house, and his companions reposing opposite to that prince. On this occasion Ebn Akhttâb exclaimed: O ye Jews, such amity between you and Muhammad can never be established. The best is that a man throw a stone from this roof upon his head, that we may be freed of his importunity.' A'mru Hajash replied: 'I shall take that matter upon myself.' Sollâm B. Mashkam had, however, warned them not to do any such thing, because Muhammad, he said, would receive information from heaven, and the affair would cause the alliance between the nation and Muhammad to be cancelled; but the people would not listen, and at that very moment Jebrâil arrived and made his lordship aware of their treachery. Therefore the apostle rose and departed from the place, as if going to answer a call of nature, without informing his companions, and proceeded to Madinah; for he knew that as long as his sacred person was left untouched his friends

« PreviousContinue »