Sources:

  • Ashaab ar-Rasool by Mahmood al-Masri
  • Companions of the Prophet by Abdul Wahid Hamid

 

Thumaamah ibn Uthaal (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu), the first Muslim to enter Makkah reciting the Talbiyah.

Man without faith is like a feather blown by the wind; it does not settle in one place nor does it become still. Similar is the person in whose heart, faith is without roots; he will be of no value. He will be worried, unhappy, perplexed (confused), as he does not know the reality of his self nor the reason behind his existence. He does not know who gave him life or why he was given life and why it is taken from him again. Without faith, the heart of a man does not understand; his ears do not hear, his eyes do not see.  As well, a society without faith is like a jungle even if the civilization therein shines; it is a distressed society because life is for the strongest, not for the best or the most pious.

Faith turns the darkness into bright light and the dead heart into a living conscience. It turns weak people into rulers and slaves into masters who rule nations.

Here is the biography of the noble Companion, Thumaamah ibn Uthaal (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) whose heart was touched with faith. The ignorance in his heart was plucked by its roots, thereby establishing in its place, a heart full of faith and Taqwa.

His Islam

In the sixth year after the Hijrah, the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) decided to expand the scope of his mission. He sent eight letters to the rulers in the Arabian Peninsula and surrounding areas inviting them to Islam. One of these rulers was Thumaamah ibn Uthaal.

Thumaamah was one of the most powerful Arab rulers in pre-Islamic times. This is not surprising since he was a chieftain of the Banu Hanifah and one of the rulers of Yamaamah whose word no one dared to challenge or disobey.

When Thumaamah received the Prophet’s (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) letter, he was consumed with anger and rejected it. He refused to listen to the invitation of Truth and goodness. More than that, he felt a strong desire to go and kill the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and bury his mission with him.

Thumaamah waited and waited for a convenient time to carry out his plot against the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) until eventually forgetfulness caused him to lose interest. One of his uncles, however, reminded him of his plan, expressing admiration for what he had intended to do.

In pursuit of his evil plot against the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), Thumaamah met and killed a group of the Prophet’s Companions. The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) thereupon declared him a wanted man who could lawfully be killed on sight.

Not long afterwards, Thumaamah decided to perform ‘Umrah. He wanted to perform Tawaaf around the Ka’bah and sacrifice to the idols there. So he left Yamaamah for Makkah.

In Saheeh al-Bukhaari, in the Book of al-Maghaazi, Abu Hurairah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) narrated that the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) sent a cavalry (some horsemen) toward Najd (to patrol the districts of Madinah and outlying areas on the lookout for any strangers or troublemakers) and they brought a man from the tribe of Banu Hanifa who was called Thumaamah ibn Uthaal. They fastened him to one of the pillars of the mosque.  The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) went to him and said: “What have you got, O Thumaamah?

He replied: “I have got a good thought, O Muhammad! If you should kill me, you would kill a person who has already killed someone, and if you should set me free, you would do a favor to one who is grateful, and if you want property, then ask me whatever wealth you want.”

He was left till the next day when the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said to him: “What have you got, O Thumaamah?” He said: “What I told you, i.e. if you set me free, you would do a favor to one who is grateful.” The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) left him till the day after, when he (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “What have you got, O Thumaamah?” He said: “What I told you.” On that, the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Release Thumaamah.”  So he (i.e. Thumaamah) went to a garden of date-palm trees near the mosque. He took a bath and then (returned and) entered the mosque and said: “I testify that Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah (none has the right to be worshipped but Allaah) and I testify that Muhammad is His Messenger! By Allaah, O Muhammad! There was no face on the surface of the earth most disliked by me than yours, but now yours has become the most beloved face to me. By Allaah, there was no religion most disliked by me than yours, but now it is the most beloved religion to me. By Allaah, there was no town on earth most disliked by me than your town, but now your town is the most beloved town to me. Your cavalry arrested me (at the time) when I was intending to perform ‘Umrah.” “Go ahead and perform your ‘Umrah,” replied the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam,) “but perform it according to the laws of Allaah and His Messenger.” The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) then taught him how to perform ‘Umrah according to Islamic rules. [Ibn Hibban in Mawaarid adh-Dham’aan]

Thumaamah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) left to fulfill his intention. When he reached the valley of Makkah, he began shouting in a loud, resonant voice:

Labbayk Allaahumma labbayk.

Labbayka laa shareeka laka labbayk.

Innal hamda wa-n ni’mata laka wal-mulk

Laa shareeka lak.

Here I am at Your command O Lord, Here I am. Here I am. No partner have You. Here I am. Praise, Bounty and Dominion belong to You. No partner have You.

He was thus the first Muslim on the face of the earth to enter Makkah reciting the Talbiyah.

The Quraish heard the sound of the Talbiyah and felt both anger and alarm. With drawn swords, they set out towards the voice to punish the one who had thus assaulted their preserve. As they came closer to him, Thumaamah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) raised his voice even higher while reciting the Talbiyah and looked upon them with pride and defiance. One of the Quraish young men was particularly incensed and was about to shoot Thumaamah with an arrow when the others grabbed his hand and shouted:

“Woe to you! Do you know who this is? He is Thumaamah ibn Uthaal, ruler of Yamaamah. By Allaah, if you should harm him, his people would cut our supplies, with dire consequences for us.”

Swords were replaced in their scabbards as the Quraish went up to Thumaamah and said:

“What’s wrong with you, Thumaamah? Have you given in and abandoned your religion and the religion of your forefathers?”

“I have not given in” he replied, “but I have decided to follow the best religion. I follow the religion of Muhammad (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). “

He then went on:

“I swear to you by the Lord of this House that after my return to Yamaamah, no grain of wheat or any of its produce shall reach you until you follow Muhammad (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam).” [Al-Bukhaari]

Under the watchful eyes of the Quraish, Thumaamah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) performed ‘Umrah as the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) had instructed him. He dedicated his sacrifice to Allaah Alone.

Thumaamah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) returned to Yamaamah and ordered his people to withhold supplies from the Quraish. The boycott gradually began to have an effect and became more and more stringent. Prices began to rise. Hunger began to bite and there was even fear of death among the Quraish.

Thereupon, the Quraish wrote to the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) saying:

“Our agreement with you (the treaty of Hudaybiyah) is that you should maintain the bonds of kinship, but you have gone against that. You have cut the bonds of kinship. You have killed and caused death through hunger. Thumaamah ibn Uthaal has cut our supplies and inflicted harm on us. Perhaps you would see fit to instruct him to resume sending us what we need.”

The Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) immediately sent a messenger instructing Thumaamah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) to lift the boycott and resume supplies to the Quraish. Thus, Thumaamah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) did so. [Zaad al-Ma’aad]

His Firmness upon the Religion

Thumaamah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) spent the rest of his life in the service of his religion, abiding by the undertaking he had given to the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). When the Prophet (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) died, many Arabs began leaving the religion of Allaah in great numbers. Musaylamah, the imposter, began calling to the Banu Hanifah to believe in him as a Prophet. Thumaamah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) confronted him and said to his people:

“O Banu Hanifah, beware of this grievous matter. There is no light or guidance in it. By Allaah, it will only bring distress and suffering to whoever joins this movement, and misfortune even to those who do not join.

O Banu Hanifah, two prophets do not come at the same time and there shall be no Prophet after Muhammad (Salla-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and no Prophet to share in his mission.”

He then read out to them the following verses of the Qur’an:

“Ha Meem. The revelation of the Book is from Allaah the Almighty, the All-Knowing, the Forgiver of sins and the Accepter of repentance. He is severe in punishment and the Bestower of favors.  There is no god except Him. To Him is the final return.” [Surah Ghaafir 40: 1-3]

“Can you compare these words of Allaah with the uttering of Musaylamah?” he asked.

He then gathered together all those who had remained in Islam and began to wage a Jihad against the apostates and to make the words of Allaah supreme. The loyal Muslims of Banu Hanifah needed additional help to stand against the armies of Musaylamah. Their strenuous task was completed by the forces dispatched by Abu Bakr (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu), but at the cost of many a Muslim life. [Suwar min Hayat as-Sahaabah]

Thumaamah (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) remained spending his wealth and self and all his life for Allaah’s Sake. He supported the religion of Allaah till he died and left this life with a heart full of love for Allaah and a yearning to meet Him (may Allaah be pleased with him).

 

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