April 23, 2001

Abu Dujana: Wearing the Band of Bravery


Amongst the companions of the Prophet of Allah
(peace be upon him) were some of the most courageous men. They fought along his
(pbuh) side in times of battle and devoted their lives to the obedience of
Allah?s Messenger (pbuh) and the spread of Islam. One of the most formidable
of those companions was Abu Dujana Sammak ibn Kharsha, a member of the Ansar
(helpers, Muslims of Madinah) who accepted Islam early on in the Prophet?s
(pbuh) mission. He was known for his piety and strength and bravery in jihad
(physical struggle in the cause of Allah Most High). He wore a red band around
his head which was known as ?the turban of death.? Whenever he put it on,
winding it around his helmet, everybody knew that great harm would be inflicted
upon the enemy and that he was determined to fight to the death.


During the battle of Uhud, the most significant battle after
the victory of Badr, the Prophet (pbuh) urged his companions to fight with
determination. He began engendering the spirit of boldness and bravery within
them. To maintain their zeal in the fight, he (pbuh) took out his sword and
asked the sahabah (companions of the Prophet, pbuh), ?Who will take this
sword, together with its right?? At this, many sahabah set out to take it,
including Az-Zubair ibn Al-Awwam, ?Umar ibn Al-Khattab, ?Ali ibn Abi Talib
and Abu Dujana Sammak ibn Kharsha. Abu Dujana inquired, ?O Messenger of Allah,
what is its price?? The Prophet (pbuh) said, ?It is to strike the enemy?s
faces with it until it is bent.? Abu Dujana then said, ?O Messenger of
Allah, I will take it for that price,? and he was given the sword. As soon as
Abu Dujana took the Prophet?s (pbuh) sword, he banded his head with his red
band and started strutting around proudly among the fighters. Upon seeing this,
the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, ?This is a sort of gait that Allah detests
except in such a situation [jihad].?

In the battle of Uhud, several sahabah displayed acts of
courage and bravery. Among them was Abu Dujana, recognized by the red band worn
around his head. He proved his bravery and his word, killing all the idolaters
that stood in his way. He was determined to pay the sword?s price at all
costs. Az-Zubair ibn Al-?Awwam, who had been observing him, said, ?I felt
angry and discouraged when the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) refused to give me the
sword and instead gave it to Abu Dujana. I said to myself, ?I am his paternal
cousin. I am the cousin of his aunt Safiya. Also, I am from his tribe [Quraish].
I was the first who demanded it and yet he (pbuh) favored him to me. By Allah, I
will watch how he will use it.? So, I followed Abu Dujana and saw him take out
his red band and wear it around his head. Seeing him like that, the Ansar said,
?Abu Dujana has worn the red band of death.? Then Abu Dujana started saying
loudly ?I am the one whom my intimate friend [the Prophet (pbuh)] made a
covenant with when we were under the palm-trees on the mountainside. The
covenant was that I would not fight at the rear, but fight at the front
heroically with the sword of Allah and His Messenger (pbuh).??

During this battle, Az-Zubair ibn Al- Awwam and the other
mujahideen witnessed that no one stood in the way of Abu Dujana and remained
alive. There was a man among the idolaters whose only objective was to finish
off the wounded Muslims. During the fight, Abu Dujana drew near him. Observing
them, Zubair ibn Al Awwam beseeched Allah that they might engage in combat. They
exchanged two sword-strokes; the idolater swung at Abu Dujana, but he dodged the
sword and it pierced into his [Abu Dujana?s] leather shield and got stuck.
Then, Abu Dujana lunged at the kafir (non-Muslim) with his sword and killed him.
Abu Dujana next rushed to kill a person who was inciting the enemies to fight
the Muslims and urging them to mutilate their dead bodies and cut off their ears
and noses. When Abu Dujana drew near, however, he realized that the offender was
actually a woman. Abu Dujana spared her, saying, ?I respect the Prophet?s
(pbuh) sword too much to use it on a woman.? The woman was Hind bint ?Utbah,
the wife of Abu Sufyan who was leading the Quraish army against the Muslims and
who later accepted Islam.

Describing the same incident, Az-Zubair ibn Al-?Awwam said,
?I saw Abu Dujana raising a sword over the parting of Hind bint ?Utbah?s
hair, but then he moved it away. I said to myself, ?Allah and His Messenger
(pbuh) know best.?? [i.e. why he acted that way and didn?t kill her]. This
alone shows that even though Abu Dujana felt enough hatred to kill one of the
most evil women of that battle, he overcame his anger for the sake of Allah and
His messenger (pbuh).

Before the battle of Uhud began, the Prophet (pbuh) had
ordered a group of archers to remain on one side of a mountain to offer
protection to the rear of the Muslim army. When the Muslims started to defeat
their enemies, however, forty of the archers assumed the battle was already won
and raced down the mountain in order to receive their share of the war booty.
The Quraish used this opportunity to circle back and attack the rear of the
Muslim army. They even got close enough to attack the Holy Prophet (pbuh)
himself, injuring him severely; two rings from the metal straps of the helmet
worn by the Prophet (pbuh) had been embedded in his cheek. To protect the
Prophet (pbuh) at this dangerous moment, some of the sahabah carried him to a
safe place and gathered around him (pbuh), forming a shield to protect him from
the kafirs. Abu Dujana stood before the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), his back
serving as a shield for the Prophet (pbuh). In doing so, Abu Dujana?s back was
pierced with arrows, but he never once flinched. This showed the ardent
affection that Abu Dujana and the other companions felt for the Prophet (pbuh).

During the confusion caused by the archers? mistake of
abandoning their posts, many sahabah were martyred. Quraish began mutilating
their bodies to appease their wounded pride over their defeat at Badr. Ka?b
ibn Masa?id said, ?I was one of those Muslims who fought in Uhud and
witnessed the kafirs? acts of barbarity in mutilating the dead bodies, but I
left this sight because I couldn?t stand it. Then I saw an armed, stout
polytheist pass through the Muslims and say, ?Gather them up like sheep are
gathered and slaughtered!? Similarly, I saw an armed Muslim waiting for him. I
walked towards them till I stood behind him [the Muslim]. Comparing them both, I
considered that the kafir was superior to the Muslim in arms and size. I
continued watching them while they engaged in man-to-man combat. The Muslim
raised his sword up and swung it down hard on the kafir, so forcefully that the
blade went down his hip and split him in half. When the Muslim unveiled his
face, he looked at me and said, ?What do you think of that, Ka?b?? It was
Abu Dujana.

After the battle concluded, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh)
arrived in Madinah. As soon as he reached his house, he handed his sword to his
daughter Fatima and said, ?O daughter, wash the blood off this sword. By
Allah, it has been helpful to me today.? ?Ali ibn Abi Talib also handed her
his sword and said, ?And wash the blood off this sword too. By Allah, it has
been helpful to me today.? So the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, ?Sahl ibn
Haneef and Abu Dujana have been as courageous as you are in the jihad.?

After the death of the Holy Prophet (pbuh), during the
khilafah (ruler of the Islamic State) of Abu Bakr, Abu Dujana fought until he
met his martyrdom against the army of Musaylima al-Kadhab, the liar who claimed
prophethood in the lifetime of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and made war against his
sahabah when Abu Bakr was the khalifah.

To us, his life is a legacy of sacrifice and bravery in the
face of kufr (disbelief). He is the epitome of a true mujahid. Regarding those
courageous sahabah, like Abu Dujana, the following verse was revealed: ?Among
the Believers are men who have been true to their Covenant with Allah: of them,
some have completed their vow to (the extreme) and some (still) wait, but they
have never changed (their determination) in the least; that Allah may reward the
men of truth for their truth and punish the hypocrites if that be His will, or
turn to them in mercy, for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.? (The Holy
Qur?an, 33: 23-24)

May the mercy of Allah the Exalted be upon Abu Dujana, and may
He guide our Ummah (global Muslim community) towards the example he left behind.


(courtesy of http://www.al-talib.com)

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