Abu Talha (r.a.)

The real name of Abu Talha, who is one of the notables of Ansar is Zayd Ibn Sahl al-Busari. He became a Muslim when he was an active young man at the age of 20. He took part in Aqaba Pledge. He became one of the most beloved Companions of the Prophet soon. The Messenger of Allah established brotherhood between him and Abu Ubayda bin Jarrah, who was one of the 10 Companions that were given the glad tiding of Paradise and a Muhajir, after the Migration. 

Hz. Abu Talha, who was a heroic warrior of the cause of Islam, took part in all battles and wars with the Prophet (pbuh) and fought heroically.  

Abu Talha was distinguished for his loyalty to the Messenger of Allah. There was no self-sacrifice he could make for the sake of the Prophet. He regarded to die for his sake as the greatest boon. He proved it in the battles that he joined.

During the Battle of Uhud, the ferocious polytheists were attacking the place where the Messenger of Allah was with might and main. Their purpose was to martyr the Prophet, for whom the realms had been created. However, the Companions who used their bodies as shields to protect the Messenger of Allah did not allow them to approach him. One of those Companions was Hz. Abu Talha. On the one hand, he shouted, “O Messenger of Allah! My body is to be sacrificed for your body.” On the other hand, he shot arrows at the polytheists. Abu Talha was a very good archer. The Prophet knew this. Therefore, whenever he saw a person carrying a quiver full of arrows, he would say to him, “Give your quiver to Abu Talha.” The polytheists could not approach the Prophet due to Abu Talha’s shooting and the efforts of the other Companions. The Prophet would raise his head over Abu Talha’s shoulders to see whether the arrows he shot would hit the target. When Abu Talha saw it, he said, "O Messenger of Allah! May my father and mother be sacrificed for you! Do not raise your head lest an arrow of the enemy should hit you. Let my life be sacrificed for you. Let my chest be a shield for your chest. They cannot do anything to you unless they martyr me."

It was impossible for the polytheists to harm the Prophet because God Almighty was protecting him. However, Abu Talha’s words and the self-sacrifices of the Companions pleased the Messenger of Allah very much.

Yes, the Companions did not hesitate to sacrifice their bodies for the Messenger of Allah. They were ready to die lest even a thorn should prick his foot.

Thanks to their self-sacrifice, the polytheists had to retreat without harming the Prophet very much in the Battle of Uhud. 

Hz. Abu Talha wanted to keep something that belonged to the Messenger of Allah for tabarruk. Once, the Prophet had a haircut. Abu Talha collected the hair, took it to his wife and asked her to keep that blessed hair carefully.

Abu Talha and his wife Umm Sulaym had a different place in the eye of the Prophet. He sometimes visited this family and pleased them. They would treat him whatever they had in their house. On the other hand, when a nice meal was cooked in their house, they would keep some of it for the Messenger of Allah. [1]

One of the most obvious characteristics of Abu Talha was to fulfill the orders of Allah and His Messenger immediately. He would fulfill every order at once without looking for any reason. He was among the rich ones of the Companions. Very few Companions had as much wealth as he did. He knew why the boon of richness was given very well. Therefore, he always gave away his wealth. His wealth did not prevent him from serving the way of Allah. 

Abu Talha had many date orchards in Madinah. He liked the date orchard called “Bayraha” the most. It was near Masjid an-Nabawi. The Prophet often visited it, watched its nice scenery and drank its famous water. When the verse “By no means shall ye attain righteousness unless ye give (freely) of that which ye love” [2] was sent down, Abu Talha went to the Messenger of Allah at once and said,

“O Messenger of Allah! God Almighty says, ‘By no means shall ye attain righteousness unless ye give (freely) of that which ye love.’ The most beloved of my property is Bayraha date orchard. I give it away now as in the way of Allah. I hope it will be accepted by Allah. O Messenger of Allah! Give it to the places and people that Allah orders.”

The Prophet (pbuh) was very pleased by this kind act and said,

“I have heard what you said, and I think that you should divide it among your relatives.”

Abu Talha said, “O Messenger of Allah! I will do so.” He divided it among his relatives as sadaqah. [3]

Abu Talha, who was always around the Prophet and who used his body as a shield for him against dangers, could not put up with the death of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh). He left Madinah like the other Companions who could not bear the pain caused by the Prophet’s death and settled in Damascus. He wanted to visit the tomb of the Prophet for a long time but he could not go to Madinah until just before the martyrdom of Hz. Umar.

Hz. Umar liked Abu Talha very much and relied on him. When he was wounded, he appointed the six Companions who had given the glad tiding of Paradise to choose the caliph after him. He gave an important duty to Abu Talha about it. Hz. Umar called Abu Talha and said to him:

“O Abu Talha! God Almighty has given honor to Islam through you; serve Islam now. The members of the consultation committee to choose the caliph will gather in a house. Take 50 people from Ansar and keep guard. Do not allow anybody in.”

Abu Talha fulfilled this duty successfully. He waited at the door and prevented those who wanted to enter. When the election delayed, he warned the members of the committee since he feared that mischief would occur:

“In my opinion, it is more dangerous for you to act timidly than to compete one another to be chosen as the caliph. By Allah, all Muslims were affected by the death of Umar.” He wanted them to choose the new caliph as soon as possible. Finally, the committee chose Hz. Uthman as the third caliph.

After the death of the Prophet, Abu Talha spent his days worshipping. Once, he was reading the Quran. When he read the verse, “Go ye forth, (whether equipped) lightly or heavily, and strive and struggle, with your goods and your persons, in the cause of Allah” [4], the love of martyrdom in him was aroused. He said, “This verse orders us to make jihad whether we are young or old. My children! Prepare my war equipment! I will make jihad.” He was 70 years old then. His children did not want to accept his request and said, 

“May Allah be pleased with you! You fought together with the Messenger of Allah until he died. Then, you fought together with Hz. Abu Bakr and Hz. Umar. We will fight instead of you now.”

However, Abu Talha insisted to make jihad. He joined an army. However, he died during the sea expedition. They could not find any land to bury him for a week. They saw that his body had not undergone any change; it had not rotted either. [5]

This great Companion, who spent his life protecting and spreading Islam, narrated 92 hadiths. Some religious issues, wars and the deeds that have many thawabs are included in the hadiths he narrated. One of those hadiths is as follows:

“Once, the Messenger of Allah was very cheerful and happy. He said, ‘I received the following news from my Lord. If anyone from my ummah utters salawat for me, God Almighty will give him 10 thawabs, forgive 10 sins of him, elevate his rank 10 levels and show mercy to him as many times as the salawat he utters.’” [6]

May Allah be pleased with him!

[1]Tabaqat, 3: 504; Usdul-Ghaba, 2: 232.
[2]Aal-i Imran, 92.
[3]Hayatus-Sahaba, 2: 92; Isaba, 1: 567.
[4]at-Tawba, 41.
[5]Tabaqat, 3: 507; Isaba, 1: 567.
[6]Musnad, 4: 29.

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