Abdullah bin Zubayr (r.a.)

Abdullah was the son of Hz. Abu Bakr's daughter Asma and Zubayr bin Awwam, who was one of the ten Companions that were given the glad tidings of Paradise. He was the first child born out of muhajirs after the Migration. He was born in the 1st year of the Migration. His birth made all Muslims very happy. The Muslims celebrated it as if it was a feast day. They uttered "Allahu akbar!" Their joy was due to revealing the lies of the Jews. For, they said to muhajirs, "We cast a spell over you; you will not have children anymore."

The Prophet gave him the name "Abdullah". Then, he wanted a date fruit. He chewed him and put it into Abdullah's mouth. Thus, the first food to enter the stomach of this beloved baby was the date from the blessed mouth of the Messenger of Allah. Then, the Prophet prayed for the blessing of Abdullah.

Both Hz. Zubayr and Asma did their best to raise him in the best way. When he was seven, they took him to the Prophet for allegiance. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) accepted his allegiance by smiling.

Hz. Abdullah ended the period of childhood and became a youth during the caliphate of Hz. Abu Bakr. He proved himself during the caliphate of Hz. Umar. He fought heroically during the caliphate of Hz. Umar and Hz. Uthman.

Abdullah did not expect any worldly interest or return for his service. He always based his deeds solely on the consent of Allah.

During the caliphate of Hz. Uthman, the Islamic armies were conquering cities and towns in various places. The conquests in North Africa were led by Abdullah bin Abi Sarh, the Governor of Egypt with 40 thousand mujahids. The Islamic armies reached Tripoli with magnificent triumphs; they confronted the resistance of the Byzantine army of 120,000 people. The Muslims continued their heroic struggle against the Romans in the battle that lasted for days. The battles continued violently. The battle that started every day at dawn lasted only until noon; then, the soldiers of both sides returned to their tents in a weak and exhausted way.

Gregorias, the commander of the Byzantine army, was very sad because he could not defeat the Muslims or make them retreat in spite of having more soldiers. Suddenly, a clever idea came to his mind. He would marry his daughter off to a person who would kill Abdullah bin Abi Sarh, the commander of the Muslims. In addition, he would give to that person a reward of 100 thousand gold coins. Meanwhile, his daughter was fighting with him.

This news of reward encouraged Greek youths. They attacked Abdullah bin Abi Sarh. They could not kill him but they inflicted many casualties. Meanwhile, Abdullah bin Zubayr, who came to help Abdullah bin Abi Sarh with a small unit, said to the commander,

"Promise the same thing to your soldiers. Promise 100 thousand gold coins, the daughter of Gregorias and the governorship of North Africa to the soldier who would kill Gregorias."

The commander of the Islamic army found this offer appropriate.  

The next day Abdullah bin Zubayr became the commander. Hz. Abdullah was a good commander. He practiced a nice strategy. He divided the soldiers into two groups. While one group continued fighting, the other group would rest in their tents.

The plan was put into practice. The first group continued until noon. When they retreated, the second group, who were fit and energetic, came to the battlefield. The Romans were very tired. They could not resist the mujahids and were defeated. Meanwhile, Abdullah bin Zubayr captured Gregorias and killed him. He enslaved his daughter.

After the war was over, it was time to share the booty. The daughter of Gregorias and 100 thousand gold coins were going to be given to Abdullah bin Zubayr, who deserved them. Abdullah did not accept them. He said, "No. I made jihad for my religion, not for worldly possessions. I expect my reward from Allah."

Abdullah bin Abi Sarh, the commander, sent Abdullah bin Zubayr to Hz. Uthman to give him the glad tidings of victory and to deliver the booty. After a tiring journey, Hz. Abdullah arrived in Madinah; he told to the Caliph of Islam and other Muslims about the victory of Islam with all its splendor, but he did not speak of himself even in one word. However, they later found out about the self-sacrificing and heroic deeds of Abdullah in this battle. The fact that he did not mention himself elevated his rank more in the eyes of the Muslims. [1]

Abdullah bin Zubayr did not want to change the service of holy jihad with temporary and ephemeral pleasures and worldly things and ranks; he did not sacrifice the eternal fruits of the hereafter for the pleasures of the world. He found it contrary to the principles of sincerity to expect  to be appreciated, liked and applauded by people let alone obtaining some worldly benefits and interests for the material and spiritual jihad, which needs to be done for the sake of Allah.

Hz. Abdullah was a scholar of the Companions. He was one of the famous "Four Abdullahs". He narrated a few hadiths from the Prophet. One of these hadiths is as follows:

“If man were to be given a valley full of gold, he would desire to have another. If he were given two, he would seek the third.  Nothing can fill his mouth except the earth (dust). Allah Almighty accepts the repentance of a person who turns to Him.”[2]

Hz. Abdullah offered advice to the public at every opportunity. In a season of Hajj, he made the following speech:

"O people! You come from various countries as guests of Allah. Allah entertains His guests in the best way. Whoever comes with the purpose of obtaining rewards should know that Allah will not turn away a person who is at His door. Confirm your words with your deeds. For, what is essential is what you have done. The intention is also the intention of the heart. Avoid opposing Allah in this blessed day because these days are the days when sins are forgiven. "[3]

Hz. Abdullah fulfilled the duty of conveying the message of Islam by both speaking and sending letters. He wrote the following letter to a friend:

"My brother! There are some signs of pious people. People know them from those signs. Those signs are patience in the face of misfortunes, consent to qadar (destiny), thanking for boons, and obeying the commands of the Quran and avoiding its prohibitions. "[4]

Everything he saw reminded him of Allah. When he heard the thunder, he would say, "I glorify Allah, whom clouds and angels glorify out of fear, and acquit Him of all incomplete qualities.” He said it was a great threat to the people of the earth.

In addition to these virtues, Hz. Abdullah was a good administrator. After Yazid's death, he was chosen the caliph in Makkah when most of the Muslims paid allegiance to him. The Muslims of Hejaz, Yemen, Iraq, Egypt and Khorasan regarded him worthy of this duty and paid allegiance to him. He ruled in Makkah with justice for a few years.

However, Abdulmalik bin Marwan, who captured the Umayyad government, sent Hajjaj, who became known with the name “the Oppressor” in history, against Abdullah with an army in 72 H. Hajjaj set up a catapult on Mount Abu Qubays and threw stones at the Kaaba. Hz. Abdullah defended the Kaaba heroically. However, many of his men were deceived by Hajjaj through various promises. Finally, they martyred Hz. Abdullah. Hajjaj, the oppressor, did not find it enough and hanged Abdullah. He stood against this martyr and insulted him. Then, he cut off his head and sent it to Damascus.  


[1]Mustadrak, 3: 547-548.
[2]Usdul-Ghaba, 1: 163.
[3]al-Hilya, 1: 337.
[4]Hayatus-Sahaba, 3: 354; al-Hilya, 1: 336. 5. ibid, 3: 385.

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