Abu Qatada (r.a.)

The number of Muslims was increasing day by day in Madinah. In the meantime, the saving hand of the true religion reached Abu Qatada too. Abu Qatada became a Muslim without hesitation.

Hz. Abu Qatada, who was known as "the cavalryman of the Messenger of Allah" joined the battles of Uhud and Khandaq. He fought heroically in the Expedition of Ghaba Dhu Qarad in the 6th year of the Migration; he received the prayer and praise of the Prophet in this battle. The battle took place as follows:

The Prophet had 20 female camels that were milked. While they were being grazed in Ghaba, 40 cavalrymen from the tribe of Ghatafan and Fazari raided one night and martyred the son of Abu Dharr Gifari, who was grazing them. They also stole the camels. 

When Salama bin Akwa, who proceeded toward Ghaba to take the milk of the camels to the Messenger of Allah heard that the camels were stolen, he ascended the hill called Thaniyyatul-Wada. He saw some of the polytheists. He headed toward Madinah and shouted as follows three times: "We have been raided! Come on! There is a raid! There is a war! "[1] After he was convinced that his voice was heard from Madinah, he started to follow the raiders. He caught up with them though he was on foot. He started to throw arrows at them. While he was throwing arrows, he shouted: "I am the son of Akwa! Today is the day of annihilation for the people who are mean!" He killed a few of them. Some of them had to run away by leaving the camels. [2]

The Islamic cavalrymen who heard the news gathered around the Prophet. In the meantime, Abu Qatada, the cavalryman of the Messenger of Allah, was busy with washing his head. His horse began to neigh and hit the earth with its feet. Abu Qatada quit washing his head and thought, "By Allah, this horse has smelled some cavalrymen. This is a sign of a prepared war." He went to his horse and immediately went to the Prophet. When the Messenger of Allah saw him, he said, "O Abu Qatada! Move right now. May Allah help you!" Hz. Abu Qatada started to follow the polytheists who raided the camels with the other cavalrymen.

The first one who caught up with them was Muhriz bin Nadra. Hz. Salama bin Akwa, who followed the polytheists first and who harmed them, caught up with Muhriz and told him to wait for the other cavalrymen. However, Muhriz, who was full of the desire to be a martyr, rejected his wish and said,

"O Salama! If you believe in Allah and the Day of Judgment, and if you know that Paradise and Hell are true, move away from between martyrdom and me!" Then, he started to attack the polytheists. He wounded Abdurrahman bin Uyayna with his spear. However, he martyred Muhriz. Abu Qatada arrived and killed Abdurrahman, the murderer of Muhriz. [3]

After that, Abu Qatada continued to follow the polytheists and attacked them. He killed Masada, their leader. He took off his robe and covered the dead body of Masada with it to show that he killed this man. Abu Qatada narrates: "Then, I proceeded. I walked over to Masada’s nephew. He was apparent in the cavalry squad of 17 people. I speared him. I hit him on the back of his spine. The cavalrymen near him ran away. "

The Companions who arrived there with the Prophet thought Abu Qatada had been killed when they recognized the robe he had put on Masada’s dead body. They said, "Abu Qatada was killed. Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajiun." The Prophet said,

"No, Abu Qatada was not killed. He is a polytheist killed by Abu Qatada. Abu Qatada covered him with his robe so that it would be known that he killed him. [4] May Allah save Abu Qatada with His mercy! I swear by Allah, who honored me with prophethood that Abu Qatada followed the polytheists by reciting poems."

Hz. Abu Bakr and Hz. Umar ran and removed the robe over the dead body. When they saw the face of Masada, they said, "Allahu akbar! Allah and His Messenger told the truth."

Consequently, the Islamic mujahids defeated the polytheists. They saved 10 of the camels. When Abu Qatada came to the Prophet, the Messenger of Allah looked at him and prayed for him as follows:

"O Allah! Give blessings to his hair and his skin! Make him live fit and make him attain what he wishes."

Then, he asked Qatada, "Did you kill Masada? Abu Qatada said, "Yes." The Prophet saw the scar on his face and said, "Come near me." Abu Qatada approached the Messenger of Allah. The Prophet spread some of his blessed mouth water on his wound. After that, Abu Qatada did not feel any pain. [5]

When the mujahids returned to Madinah, the Prophet appreciated and complimented Abu Qatada and Salama bin Akwa as follows:

"Today, the best of the cavalrymen was Abu Qatada and the best of the infantrymen was Salama." [6]

The Companions worked very hard and were ready to sacrifice their lives like that for the sake of the Messenger of Allah. The Messenger of Allah encouraged them by praying for them and praising them.

In the 8th year of the Migration, the War of Muta took place between the Muslims and the Greeks; The enemy army consisted of 200 thousand people, 100 thousand of which were Arab polytheists. Among them were many tribes from Qudaas. One of those tribes was Sons of Ghatafans. Ghatafans lived in Hadira, which was in the east of Madinah. The Prophet prepared a military unit in order to punish this tribe. He appointed Abu Qatada, whose courage he knew very well and who would definitely act cautiously, as the commander of this unit. He gave Abu Qatada the following advice when he saw the soldiers off:

"Walk at night and hide during the day. Surround Ghatafans from four sides and attack them suddenly! Do not kill women and children."

Abu Qatada acted in accordance with the advice of the Prophet exactly. He acted very cautiously. When they arrived in Hadria, he divided the mujahids in groups of two people. He advised them to fulfill Allah's commands and to avoid doing what He prohibited. Then, he spoke as follows:

"No one will leave his friend unless he dies. When he returns, he will inform me about his friend. When he is asked about his friend, he will not say, 'I have no knowledge of him.' When I utter takbir, you utter too. Do not move away from the military unit in order to follow the enemy soldiers who escape."

After these words, Abu Qatada uttered takbir and attacked a crowded community of Ghatafans in a place where they had settled. They returned to Madinah with a great victory. [7]

Abu Qatada, who participated in the War of Hunayn and who fought heroically, also participated in the Battle of Tabuk. He walked right beside the Prophet.

The Messenger of Allah asked his Companions to be cautious by saying, "You will not find water tomorrow; you will be thirsty." Thereupon, the Companions went away to search water. Abu Qatada did not leave the Prophet. He thought he could tolerate thirst, but he could not tolerate if the Messenger of Allah was harmed. He preferred to stay with the Prophet.

It was at night. The Prophet fell asleep on his camel; he was about to fall off the camel. Abu Qatada came over to the Messenger of Allah and straightened him. Then he kept guard and had his eyes on the Prophet all the time. The Prophet leaned again. Hz. Abu Qatada straightened him again. This time the Messenger of Allah woke up. He asked, "Who are you?" When he learned that he was Abu Qatada, he prayed as follows:

"May Allah protect you as you protected the Messenger of Allah!" [8]

Hz. Abu Qatada was a high-spirited person who experienced Islamic brotherhood fully. The following incident is a good example of it:

One day they brought a dead body to the Prophet and asked him to lead his janazah prayer. The Messenger of Allah asked, "Does this person have any debts?" They said, "Yes, he owes two dinars." The Prophet asked, "Did he leave anything to pay his debt?" they said, "No," The Prophet said, "Then, take him and you perform his janazah prayer." Abu Qatada was there. He said, "O Messenger of Allah! I promise to pay his debt." Thereupon, the Prophet led his janazah prayer. [9]

Hz. Abu Qatada took great care to enjoin what is good and to forbid what is evil. He always acted in accordance with the Sunnah. His love of the Messenger of Allah was too high to describe. He loved people for the sake of Allah and His Messenger. He would not compliment even his closest relatives but for the sake of Allah and His Messenger.

His uncle's son, Ka'b bin Malik, did not attend the Battle of Tabuk without any excuse. When the Prophet returned, he summoned Ka'b. When Ka’b said he had no excuse for not joining the battle, the Messenger of Allah said, "Wait until Allah’s decree is revealed about you." And the Prophet prohibited his Companions from speaking with him. Thereupon, no one spoke to Ka'b bin Malik. Hz. Ka'b narrates:

“When a long time passed after the Muslims cut off their relationship with me, I climbed over the wall and jumped into the garden of Abu Qatada, my cousin, whom I loved very much; I greeted him. I swear by Allah, he did not answer my greeting. Thereupon, I said, 'Abu Qatada! I ask for Allah: Do you know how much I love Allah and His Messenger?" He kept silent. I repeated my question he kept silent again. I repeated again. He said, 'Allah and His Prophet know better.' Thereupon, my eyes were filled with tears. I turned back and exited his garden.” [10]

As it is known, Hz. Ka'b attained divine forgiveness later and rejoined his friends and relatives.

Abu Qatada, who devoted his holy life to the spreading of the Quran and the hadiths, narrated 170 hadiths from the Prophet. These hadiths are included in Muslim, Musnad and other hadith books. One of them is as follows:  

"If a person does not disturb his debtor or if he gives him respite, God Almighty will give him shade in the shade of the Throne (Arsh) on the Day of Resurrection." [11]

Another hadith narrated by him is as follows:  

When a bier passed before the Messenger of Allah, he said “He is al-Mustarih (the one to find relief) and al-Mustarah (the one with the departure of whom others will find relief).” The Companions asked, “Who is al-Mustarih and al-Mustarah? Upon this, the Prophet said,

“The believing servant finds relief from the troubles of the world, and in the death of a wicked person, the people, towns, trees and animals find relief.” [12]

Abu Qatada, who left as inheritance his knowledge and wisdom to this ummah, died in Madinah in 54 H during the caliphate of Hz. Ali. When he died, he looked as young and fit as a person who was 15 years old thanks to the blessing of the following prayer of the Prophet after the Expedition of Ghaba Dhu Qarad: "O Allah! Give blessings to his hair and his skin! Make him live fit."

May Allah be pleased with him!
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[1]Sirah, 3: 293-294.
[2]Tabaqat, 2: 81.
[3]Muslim, Jihad: 132.
[4]Sirah, 3: 297.
[5]Usdul-Ghaba, 5: 275.
[6]Muslim, Jihad: 132.
[7]Musnad, ?: 11; Tabaqat, 2: 132.
[8]Musnad, 5: 298-302.
[9]Musnad, 5: 297.
[10]Sirah, 4: 178.
[11]Musnad, 5: 300.
[12]Muslim, Janaiz: 61.

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