Sahaba Zayd ibn Harithah (AS)

 Mutah,Karbala Governorate, Jordan


Zayd ibn Harithah was a companion of Muhammad who was at one stage regarded as his (adoptive) son. He is the only Muslim apart from Muhammad who is mentioned by name in the Qur'an.

Zayd is said to have been ten years younger than Muhammad, suggesting a birth-year of c. 581 A.D.. He is also said to have been 55 (lunar) years old at his death in 629, indicating a birthdate of 576.

He was born into the Udhra branch of the Kalb tribe in the Najd (highlands) of central Arabia; he claimed a pedigree twelfth in descent from Udhra ibn Zayd al-Lat, who was in turn alleged to have been a great-great-grandson of Kalb ibn Wabara. Zayd's mother, Suda bint Thaalaba, was from the Maan branch of the Tayy tribe.

When Zayd was "a young boy of an age at which he could be a servant" he accompanied his mother on a visit to her family. While they were staying with the Maan tribe, horsemen from the Qayn tribe raided their tents and kidnapped Zayd. They took him to the market at Ukkaz and sold him as a slave for 400 dinars .

Zayd's family searched for him, but without success. A lament is attributed to his father, Harithah ibn Sharahil. Zayd was purchased by a merchant of Mecca, Hakim ibn Hizam, who gave the boy as a present to his aunt, Khadijah bint Khuwaylid. He remained in her possession until the day she married Muhammad, when she gave the slave as a wedding present to her bridegroom.

Some years later, some members of Zayd's tribe happened to arrive in Mecca on pilgrimage. They encountered Zayd and recognised each other, and he asked them to take a message home. On receiving this message, Zayd’s father and uncle immediately set out for Mecca. They found Muhammad at the Kaaba and promised him any ransom if he would return Zayd to them. Muhammad replied that Zayd should be allowed to choose his fate, but that if he wished to return to his family, Muhammad would release him without accepting any ransom in exchange. They called for Zayd, who easily recognised his father and uncle, but told them that he did not want to leave Muhammad, “for I have seen something in this man, and I am not the kind of person who would ever choose anyone in preference to him.” At this, Muhammad took Zayd to the steps of the Kaaba, where legal contracts were agreed and witnessed, and announced to the crowds: “Witness that Zayd becomes my son, with mutual rights of inheritance.” On seeing this, Zayd’s father and uncle “were satisfied,” and they returned home without him.

In accordance with the Arabic custom of adoption at the time, Zayd was thereafter known as "Zayd ibn Muhammad" and was a freedman, regarded socially and legally as Muhammad’s son. Subsequently after the Qu'ran ordinance that an adopted son is not the same as begotten son he was known as Zayd ibn Harithah and subsequently Muhammed married the divorced wife of Zayd.

At an unknown date before 610, Zayd accompanied Muhammad to Ta'if, where it was a tradition to sacrifice meat to the idols. Near Baldah on their way back to Mecca, they met Zayd ibn Amr and offered him some of the cooked meat that Zayd was carrying in their bag. Zayd ibn Amr, an outspoken monotheist, replied, "I do not eat anything which you slaughter in the name of your stone idols. I eat none but those things on which Allah's Name has been mentioned at the time of slaughtering." After this encounter, said Muhammad, "I never stroked an idol of theirs, nor did I sacrifice to them, until God honoured me with his apostleship."

When Muhammad reported in 610 that he had received a revelation from the angel Gabriel, Zayd was one of the first converts to Islam. While Khadijah was the first Muslim of all, she was closely followed by her neighbour Lubaba bint al-Harith, her four daughters, and the first male converts, Ali, Zayd and Abu Bakr.

In 622, Zayd joined the other Muslims in the Hijra to Medina. Once settled in the new city, Muhammad urged each Muslim to “take a brother in Religion” so that each would have an ally in the community. Zayd was paired with Muhammad's uncle Hamza. Hamza accordingly trusted his last testament to Zayd just before his death in 625.

A few months later, Muhammad and Abu Bakr sent Zayd back to Mecca to escort their families to Medina. The return party consisted of Muhammad's wife Sawda, his daughters Umm Kulthum and Fatimah, his servant Abu Rafi, Zayd's wife Baraka and their son Usama, Abu Bakr's wife Umm Rumman, his children Asma, Abdullah and Aisha, and a guide named Abdullah ibn Urayqit; and Abu Bakr's kinsman Talhah also decided to accompany them.

Around 625 Muhammad proposed that his cousin, Zaynab bint Jahsh, should marry Zayd. At first she refused on the grounds that she was of the Quraysh. It has been suggested that differences between Zaynab's social status and Zayd's were precisely the reason why Muhammad wanted to arrange the marriage. Zaynab acquiesced and married Zayd. The marriage lasted less than two years.

Then came the day when the beloved left his lover; it was the day of M’utah. Al-Harith ibn `Umair Al-Azdi, the messenger of the Prophet (peace be upon him) to the king of Bisra was killed, and when the news came to the Prophet (peace be upon him), he was overwhelmed with sorrow as his messenger was killed wrongfully.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) asked his Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) to prepare themselves for war, saying, “The Commander is Zayd ibn Harithah, and if he is martyred, Ja`afar Ibn Abi Talib will be the Commander. If Ja`afar is martyred, the Commander will be `Abdullah ibn Rawaha. If `Abdullah is martyred, Muslims should select a Commander from among them.”

Muslims reached the battlefield, and were surprised with a great army and felt powerless to encounter it.

Zayd raised the flag of Islam and fought valiantly, and why not? He was appointed as the Commander and given the flag of Islam by the Prophet (peace be upon him).

The hero was thrown with arrows from everywhere and saw the Paradise which Allah promised His servants. He fought bravely, longing to Paradise. Just a few hours from the outbreak of battle, the leader was martyred, and Ja`afr took the flag, and kept fighting until he got martyred. `Abdullah Ibn Rawaha also fought and faced the same fate of his companions. Muslims then appointed Khalid Ibn Al-Walid as their commander who saved them from inevitable defeat.

During such difficult minutes, the Prophet (peace be upon him) ascended his minbar in Madinah, with people surrounding him. The land was raised to him so he was able to see the battlefield. He declared the death of Commanders, and his eyes were overflowed with tears.

The Commanders were buried in the battlefield and the army came back to Madinah and the Prophet (peace be upon him) went to receive them. He wept bitterly for the death of Zayd and Ja`far, his beloved and cousin, saying “my brothers, companions and narrators!”

The daughter of Zayd wept before the Messenger, and the Messenger wept until he sobbed. Sa`ad ibn `Ubada said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, what is this? Are you crying?’ He answered, “This is the yearning of the lover for the beloved.”

Additional Info

Zayd was "one of the famous archers among the Prophet's Companions." He fought at Badr, Uhud, Trench and Khaybar, and was present at the expedition to Hudaybiyyah. When Muhammad raided Al-Muraysi, he left Zayd behind as governor in Medina.

  How to Reach: From Queen Alia International Airport the shrine is 126 kM and from Mutah 3.1 KM,

Nearest City : Mutah
Nearest Bus Stop : Mutah
Nearest Airport : Queen Alia International Airport
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