Usayd bin Khudayr (r.a.)

The people of Madinah needed a person that would teach them the truths of Islam because the Prophet had not migrated to Madinah yet. Therefore, they needed somebody to teach them Islam. The Muslims of Madinah applied to the Prophet and told him about this need. The Prophet sent Mus'ab bin Umayr, a young Companion, to Madinah. When Hz. Mus'ab went to Madinah, he stayed in the house of As'ad bin Zurara. After that, the house of Hz. As'ad became a center of guidance for Muslims. It was also like a school. The Muslims of Madinah gathered there and learned the Quran from Hz. Mus'ab.

Once, Hz. Mus'ab and As'ad bin Zurara were talking near a well belonging to the tribe of Bani Zafar. Some Muslims were around them and listening to their talk. Usayd bin Khudayr and Sa'd bin Muadh had not become Muslims yet. When they saw the crowd, they felt disturbed. Sa'd bin Muadh said to his friend Usayd, "Go to these two men, who came here to misguide our young people, and tell them to go away. Tell them not to come here again. You know that As'ad bin Zurara is my cousin. If he were not there, I would settle this issue myself." Usayd took his spear and proceeded toward them. 

When As'ad bin Zurara saw that Usayd was coming toward them, he said to Mus'ab bin Umayr, "He is one of the notables of his tribe. When he comes here, talk to him about belief."

As soon as Usayd arrived, he said, "What are you doing here? Do you want to misguide our young people? Go away if you do not want to die!"

Mus'ab bin Umayr was a gentle and kind man. He was also the representative of a lofty cause. He had to control his feelings and keep calm. He showed tolerance. He tried to overcome Usayd through his good manners and high ethics. He said, "Please sit down. We will tell you something. If you like it, you can accept it. Otherwise, you can do whatever you want."

When Usayd did not get a harsh answer, he calmed down. He did not want to act harshly and said, "By Allah, you speak fairly." He thrust his spear into the ground and sat down. Hz. Mus'ab told him about Islam and read some verses from the Quran. Usayd bin Khudayr listened to the Quran in awe. The light of Islam started to be manifest on his face. 

"How nice! What do you need to do to accept this religion?" Hz. Mus'ab told him to make ghusl. After ghusl, he told him kalima ash-shahada. Usayd bin Khudayr uttered kalima ash-shahada without any hesitation and became a Muslim. Then, he went to Sa'd bin Muadh, who was waiting for him impatiently. He told Sa'd about Islam and he became a Muslim, too. The conversion of these two people had a positive effect on their tribe. Soon many people became Muslims.

Usayd bin Khudayr used all of his power, money and influence for the sake of Islam. He took part in the Second Pledge at Aqaba with 75 people from the Muslims in Madinah. One of the 12 representatives the Prophet chose among those Muslims was Usayd bin Khudayr.

Hz. Usayd also took part in the battles with the army of jihad, which was a means of conveying the true religion to the people who needed it. He devoted his life and property to this way. During the Battle of Uhud, Hz. Usayd held the standard of the tribe of Aws. He showed great bravery in this battle. He was wounded badly in seven parts of his body. 

After the mujahids returned to Madinah, the Prophet wanted to take measures in case the polytheists returned and attacked Madinah. He told Hz. Bilal to announce: "The Messenger of Allah wants you to follow the enemy."[1]At that time, Usayd wanted his wounds to be treated. When he heard the call of the Messenger of Allah, he said, "I have heard the order of the Messenger of Allah. I will fulfill it." He took his equipment and went to the Prophet without heeding his wounds. He said he was ready. The call to jihad and the order of the Prophet made him forget about his troubles and wounds.

The polytheists prepared a big army in order to eliminate Islam and Muslims in the 5th year of the Migration and proceeded to Makkah. The Prophet found defense better. He had trenches of defense dug around Madinah. The polytheists were astounded when they saw the trenches. They besieged Madinah. This siege lasted for days. When the Prophet saw that the siege lasted for a long time and cold, shortage of food and famine increased, he thought of a precaution. He planned to demoralize the army of the polytheists, which consisted of various tribes. So, he sent the following message to Uyayna bin Hisn and Harith bin Awf, the commanders of the tribe of Ghatafans:

"If they lift the siege and return to their homeland, I will give them one-third of the yearly fruit harvest of Madinah."

However, they did not accept one-third and wanted half of the harvest. When the Prophet refused it, they finally accepted it. They came to the presence of the Prophet with a delegation of 10 people.

While they were negotiating with the Prophet, Usayd bin Khudayr came over. He saw that Uyayna bin Hisn was sitting disrespectfully, with his legs crossed. He could not tolerate this disrespectful act and addressed him harshly. "Sit properly! How can you sit cross-legged in the presence of the Messenger of Allah? I would hit you with this spear if you were not in the presence of the Messenger of Allah."

When he found out why the commander of Ghatafans had come, he addressed the Prophet respectfully, "O Messenger of Allah! If this is an order from Allah Almighty, fulfill it. If you have a lofty aim behind it, do as you wish. I cannot say anything about it. If you do it in order to protect us from harms, by Allah, we have nothing but our swords to give them. They have not been able to expect to get anything from us up to now; how can they expect to get anything from us now?"

With these words, Hz. Usayd indicated that he would readily accept anything that he did not want but that the Messenger of Allah wanted, showing his loyalty to the Prophet. On the other hand, these words expressed that he would face any risks in the way of Allah and His Messenger.

This speech of Usayd bin Khudayr pleased the Messenger of Allah and encouraged the Companions who were there. When the Companions from Ansar like Sa'd bin Muadh and Sa'd bin Ubada spoke like that, the Prophet gave up the idea of making a deal with Ghatafans.

Uyayna bin Hisn and Harith bin Awf left hopelessly and sadly. When they saw the sincerity, patience and determination of the Companions and that they would always act in accordance with the orders of the Prophet, they realized that they would never be able to conquer Madinah. They returned to their headquarters. They said the following to the people from their tribe who asked what had happened:

"We could not settle the issue. We saw very prudent and foresighted people who would sacrifice their lives for the Prophet willingly. We are ruined. Qurayshis are ruined. Qurayshis will return without being able to do anything to Muhammad. Muhammad will attack Bani Qurayza Jews. When we return, they will besiege Bani Qurayza Jews until they will stretch their hands and let their necks be tied."

After that, Harith stated the following about Jews. "Down with Jews! Hell with them! Muhammad is better than Jews for us." Thus, what the Prophet foresaw took place. The people of Ghatafan gave up the siege and returned home.

Usayd bin Khudayr took part in the conquest of Makkah. He was close to the Prophet with Hz. Abu Bakr. He was the standard-bearer of the tribe of Aws in the battles of Hunayn and Tabuk.

Hz. Usayd spent most of his time with the Messenger of Allah. Once, while he was listening to the talk of the Prophet, a Bedouin arrived. The Prophet became suspicious of him. He said, "This man has an evil intention. He wants to assassinate me."  After a while, the Bedouin approached and asked, "Who is Abdulmuttalib's son?" The Prophet said, "I am." While the Bedouin was approaching the Messenger of Allah with the intention of attacking him, Usayd bin Khudayr held the tail of his garment and pulled it. The dagger he had hidden under his garment appeared. Hz. Usayd grabbed the man.[2]Then, the Prophet questioned the Bedouin. He confessed that he had been hired by the polytheists.

The Prophet, who was sent as mercy to the realms, said to the Bedouin, who had come to kill him, "I will let you free. You can go wherever you want or do the thing that is better for you." He called the Bedouin to Islam. When the Bedouin saw this nobility of the Prophet, he said without hesitation, "There is no god but Allah and you are definitely His Messenger." Thus, he became a Muslim.

The voice of Usayd bin Khudayr, who received the praise, "What a nice person he is!" [3], from the Prophet, was very nice. He adorned his voice by reciting the Quran. When he started to recite the Quran, he would enter another world.  

One night, he was reciting the chapter of al-Baqara near his dates laid on the ground. Suddenly, his horse reared up. When Hz. Usayd stopped reciting, the horse calmed down. When he started reciting again, his horse reared up again. When he stopped reciting, the horse calmed down. When he started reciting again, his horse reared up again. He stopped reciting. When he went to his horse, he looked up. He was surprised because he saw a lot of gleams like candles over his head in mist. Then, they ascended to the sky with their light and disappeared.

In the morning, Hz. Usayd rushed to the Prophet and said to him,

"O Messenger of Allah! Last night at midnight, my horse suddenly reared up while I was reciting the Quran near my dates."

The Messenger of Allah said, "O son of Khudayr! Recite!" Usayd said, "I continued reciting. Then, the horse reared up. The Messenger of Allah said, "O son of Khudayr! Recite!" Usayd said, "I continued reciting. Then, the horse reared up. The Messenger of Allah said, "O son of Khudayr! Recite!" Usayd said, "I recited again but the horse reared up again. The Messenger of Allah said, "O son of Khudayr! Recite!" Then, Hz. Usayd continued:

"O Messenger of Allah! I had to stop reciting because my son Yahya was close to the horse. I feared that the horse would hit him. At that time, I looked up at the sky and saw a lot of gleams like candles over my head in mist. Then, they ascended to the sky with their light and disappeared. I could not see them any longer."

The Messenger of Allah said, "Do you know what they were?" Hz. Usayd said he did not. The Prophet said, 

"O Usayd! They were angels. They came down to listen to your recitation. They were listening to you. If you had continued reciting, they would have listened to you until the morning and people would have seen them. They would not have hidden themselves."[4]

Yes, reading and reciting the Quran is a nice form of worshipping that attracts angels. It causes the angels, which were created only to do good deeds, to come down from the sky.

Usayd bin Khudayr sometimes talked to the Prophet until late hours in order to learn something from him. He would not rest until he learned an issue that came to his mind. Once, he listened to the talk of the Prophet with one of his friends. When they left the Messenger of Allah, it was quite dark. The walking sticks they had started to shed light. When they separated from each other, the light was divided into two. They walked in the light shed by their walking sticks. [5]

Hz. Usayd felt very peaceful when he recited and listened to the Quran and when he listened to the Messenger of Allah; they were virtually part of him. Once, he expressed his state as follows:

"My desire is to spend my life in three states and never leave them: My state when I recite or listen to the Quran, when I listen to the Messenger of Allah and when I see a funeral."[6]

Hz. Usayd died in the 20th year of the Migration, during the caliphate of Hz. Umar. His janazah prayer was led by Hz. Umar.[7]

May Allah be pleased with him!


[1]Tabaqat, 2: 49.

[2]Tabaqat, 2: 94.

[3]Usdu'l-Ghaba, 1: 93; Tabaqat, 3: 65.

[4]Musnad, 3: 81.

[5]Tabaqat, 3: 606.

[6]Hayatu's-Sahaba, 3: 429-488.

[7]Tabaqat, 3: 306.

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