Friday Sermon: Men of Excellence: Hamza ibn Abdul-Muttalib (ra)

May 4th, 2018

After reciting the Tashahhud, Ta’awwuz, and Surah Al-Fatihah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V (aba) stated: The Promised Messiah (as), stated the following at one occasion: “What was the condition of the civility, morals and spirituality of the Arab nation at the time of the advent of Holy Prophet (sa)? War in every place, drinking, adultery and looting. In short, every vice was rife. ... However, upon the advent of the Holy Prophet (sa), once they entered Islam, they developed such divine love and a spirit of unity that every one of them became ready to die in the way of God, the Exalted.”

He further stated that, “What beautiful words has God, the Exalted, uttered in praise of the companions (in saying that) (ARABIC) ‘Among the believers are men who have been true to the covenant they made with God, the Exalted. There are some of them who have sacrificed their lives, and some who are still waiting, ever-ready to sacrifice their lives.’ (33:24).”

I have been narrating the incidents from the lives of the companions, which included badri companions (those who participated in the battle of Badr) and some others as well. However, I thought that, at first, I should only speak on those companions, who participated in the battle of Badr for they had a special rank.

Today, I will speak about Hazrat Hamza bin Abdul Muttalib. He was known by the epithet of Sayyid-ush-Shuhadaa (The Leader of The Martyrs). Asadullah (The Lion of Allah) and Asad-ur-Rasool (The Lion of the Prophet) were accolades given to him. Hazrat Hamza was the son of Hazrat Abdul Muttalib, the leader of the Quraish and the paternal uncle of the Messenger of Allah (sa). The name of the mother of Hazrat Hamza was Hallah, who was also the paternal cousin of the Holy Prophet(sa)’s mother, Hazrat Aminah. Hazrat Hamza was two years older than the Holy Prophet (sa) or four years according to another narration. Hazrat Hamza was also a foster brother of the Holy Prophet (sa). A bondwoman, named Thaubia, had nursed both of them.

The historical accounts of how Hazrat Hamza accepted Islam is faith inspiring. This incident is narrated as follows, that once, the Holy Prophet (sa) was sitting on a rock between the hills of Safa and Marwa. He was most certainly pondering over how to establish the unity of God the Exalted. In the meanwhile, Abu Jahl approached. As soon as he arrived, he said that Muhammad (sa), will you not refrain from what you say? Following this, he started to verbally abuse him in a most vile manner. The Holy Prophet (sa) quietly continued to listen to and tolerate his abuse. He did not utter a single word in reply. After Abu Jahl had finished uttering these words of abuse, this wretched person came forward and slapped the Holy Prophet (sa) on his face. However, even then, the Holy Prophet did not say a word to him. Hazrat Hamza’s house was right in front of the place where the Holy Prophet (sa) was sitting and he was out at the time. However, it so happened that when Abu Jahl was acting in this manner, one of the female servants of Hazrat Hamza was standing in the door, observing this scene. When she observed this entire scene with her eyes and heard it with her ears, it greatly impacted her. However, she was unable to do anything.  When Hazrat Hamza returned from his hunt in the evening, the female servant said to Hazrat Hamza very passionately that do you have no shame in walking around acting all brave? Hearing this, Hazrat Hamza became perplexed and he asked her what the matter was, she explained that Abu Jahal has insulted and attacked your nephew, Muhammad (sa), but, Muhammad (sa) did not respond to any of his actions.  Are you not ashamed that your nephew has been treated in this manner in your presence? Hazrat Hamza had not yet accepted Islam. Nevertheless, when he heard this incident from his female slave, his eyes became bloodshot and the honour for his family was stimulated. Hence, without taking a moment of rest, he marched toward the Ka’ba in that very state of anger. First, he performed the Tawaf (circle) around the Ka’ba and following that he marched towards the gathering, where Abu Jahl was boasting and mocking and narrating this incident with great pleasure. When Hazrat Hamza reached that gathering, he forcefully struck his bow against the head of Abu Jahl and said that you claim to be brave and are telling people that you disgraced Muhammad (sa). Now I will disgrace you. If you have the courage, speak before me. At that time, Abu Jahl was considered to be among the brave people of Makkah, as a king and a chief of (their) nation. Hazrat Hamza professed his belief in the very gathering in which he struck his bow against the head of Abu Jahl. He addressed Abu Jahl and said that you cursed at Muhammad (sa) merely because he says that I am the messenger of God and that angels descend upon me. Listen carefully that I also profess everything Muhammad (sa) professes. If you have the courage and dare, confront me. Having said this, Hazrat Hamza entered the fold of Islam. In the narrations we find that after Hazrat Hamza accepted Islam, the faith of the Muslims of Makkah grew stronger

Hazrat Hamza (ra) always followed the instruction of the Holy Prophet (sa) that one should preserve one’s dignity and self-respect. The Holy Prophet (as) had told him that he must recite the following prayer: “O Allah I beseech thee, with reference to your Great Name and the Great Gatekeeper of Paradise”, which he always benefited from. These things tell us that Hazrat Hamza (ra) had a deep faith in prayer, and why wouldn’t he? It was through these prayers that Allah the Exalted had given him all the household things and whatever else he needed.

In the history of battle of Badr in 2 Hijri, we find another incident. One of the infidels, Aswad Bin Abdul Asad Makhzoomi, who was a very nasty and horrible man had sworn that he would either drink from the pool of the Holy Prophet (sahim) and where Muslims drank water from, or demolish it or desecrate it, or else would die nearby. Hamza (ra) Bin Abdul Muttalib valiantly defended the water reserve for the Muslim forces and did not let him spoil the water.

Hazrat Ali (ra) says about the battle of Badr that the number of disbelievers was many times higher than that of Muslims. The Holy Prophet (SA) had been praying all night long with deep yearning and in great humility. The English historian Sir William Muir writes about the participation of Hazrat Hamza in the battle of Badr, that Hazrat Hamza was visibly prominent across the battlefield because he was wearing the feather of an ostrich. During the war, he valiantly killed many war leaders. During the battle of Uhud, Hazrat Hamza (ra) also proved his excellence in gallantry. This display of bravery was a thorn in the sight of Quraish of Mecca. Once Ubaidullah bin Adiyy (ra) said to Wahshi, can you relate to us the incidence of the murder of Hamza (ra). Wahshi explained that he was a slave and his master promised him that if you revenge the murder of my uncle by killing Hamza (ra), then you will be set free. Wahshi said that during the battle of Uhud, I was hiding behind a large stone in pursuit of Hazrat Hamza (ra). When he came past me, I attacked him with my spear and impaled him with that. And this was his last moment. When people were going back, I joined with them to return back to Mecca and stayed there. When Islam spread to Mecca, then I emigrated to Ta’if.

Hazrat Hamza (ra) was martyred, 32 months after the migration of the Prophet and his age was 59 years. Infidels dismembered the bodies of the martyred Muslims, defaced them and cut their noses and ears. They also took out the liver of Hazrat Hamza (ra) and give a part of this liver to Hind. Hind attempted to chew upon this liver but was unable to swallow it, so she spit it out. When this incidence came to the knowledge of the Holy Prophet (sa), he said that Allah the exalted has forbidden the fire to ever touch even any part of the body of Hamza (ra). The Holy Prophet (sa) stood by the body of Hazrat Hamza (ra) and and said, O Hamza (ra), no tribulation like yours will be faced by me. I have never seen a more painful scene till today. Then the Holy Prophet (sa) said that Angel Gabriel has given me the news that Hamza (ra) bin Abdul Muttalib has been noted as the lion of the prophet in seven heavens.

Hazrat Zubair (ra) relates that it was the day of the Battle of Uhud and towards the end a woman was seen running in the forefront. It was well-nigh that she would see the dead bodies of the martyrs. He tried to stop her but she  was a strong woman and said, move aside, I will not listen to anything you have to tell me. He replied that the Holy Prophet (sa) told me to stop you so that you do not see the corpses. When she heard this she immediately stopped and took out two white pieces of cloth. She told me that I brought these white cloths for your brother Hamza (ra) (ra) as I have been informed of his martyrdom. Hence, this was the obedience of the people in that era, i.e. that as soon as they heard an instruction of the Holy Prophet (sa), in spite of all her anguish, despite her eagerness she immediately controlled her emotions and stopped when the Holy Prophet (sa) was mentioned. This is complete obedience.

Hazrat Abu Hurairah (ra) relates that Hazrat Hamza (ra) (ra) was always at the forefront in good treatment of his relatives and carrying out good deeds. After his martyrdom the Holy Prophet (sa) addressed his corpse and said ‘May the mercy of Allah be upon you’. He was such that it seemed there was no other like him in reconciling and doing good deeds and that after today there would be no more grief for him. The Companions relate the helplessness at the time of the burial of Hazrat Hamza (ra) (ra), the uncle of the Holy Prophet (sa) with great sorrow.

In another narration by Hazrat Abdullah bin Umar (ra) we read that when the Holy Prophet (sa) returned from Uhud he heard that the wives of the Ansar were crying weeping in grief over their husbands. The Holy Prophet (sa) said that what is the matter that no one weeps over the martyrdom of Hamza (ra) (ra). When the Ansari women became aware of this they gathered together to weep over his martyrdom. Then the Holy Prophet (sa) fell asleep. When he woke up he saw the women were still weeping in the same manner. The Holy Prophet (sa) said that they will continue to weep the whole day in the name of Hamza (ra) (ra), so tell them to return to their homes. It was then that the Holy Prophet (sa) instructed them to go to their homes and after this day no one shall lament and wail over the death of a departed one.  In this manner the Holy Prophet (sa) declared it unlawful to lament and wail excessively over the deceased. Thus, he ended the custom of wailing excessively and beating one’s self for a departed one. The Holy Prophet (sa) used great wisdom in dealing with the sentiments of the women of the Ansar (local residents of Madinah). Instead of them lamenting the loss of their husbands and brothers, the Holy Prophet (sa) drew their attention towards Hazrat Hamza (ra) (ra), which was a great loss to the entire Muslim population. He advised them to show patience in a manner which left a lasting impression. As for the loss of Hazrat Hamza (ra) (ra), the Holy Prophet (sa) felt this loss until the very end of his life.

May Allah the Almighty continue to elevate the status of these Companions. May the Muslim world remember the sacrifices offered by these Companions until the Day of Resurrection and may we have the opportunity to act on the virtues and examples they demonstrated for us.