Hamza bin Abdulmuttalib (r.a.)

Makkan polytheists who could not accept the advancement of Islam resorted to all kinds of things to overawe the believers. They noticed that the waterfall of belief was shaking the dam of unbelief. When they saw the people that they trusted the most, their fury increased. They thought they could weary the Prophet. They followed him closely and used various methods of oppression and torture. 

Once, the Prophet was near Safa Hill in the sixth year of his prophethood. The bigoted polytheists were waiting for an opportunity to harass the Prophet. Abu Jahl stood in front of the Prophet with his followers Adiyy bin Hamra and Ibnul-Asda. They started to insult the Prophet. They uttered very bad words. In addition, they threw soil at the head of the Prophet. They started to throw dirt on him. One of them even dared to step on the neck of the Prophet. The Messenger of Allah, who was a symbol of compassion and mercy, did not do anything and went home. 

After leaving that place with his men, Abu Jahl went to the Kaaba where other polytheists were sitting.

The freed female slave of Abdullah ibn Jud'an, whose house was there, saw what happened and heard what was said. Hamza, the paternal uncle of the Prophet, was returning from hunting carrying his sword around his waist and his bow around his neck. He spent most of his day hunting. After hunting, he would circumambulate the Kaaba, meet the Qurayshis, talk to them for a while and go home.

On the way to the Kaaba, Hamza met the female slave that saw the incident and she said, "O Abu Umara! If you had seen what Abu Jahl and his friends did to Muhammad, your brother’s son, you would not have tolerated it.”

Hamza was shocked. Before she narrated the incident, he asked, “What did they to him?” The slave showed him the place where they harassed him and said, “They found him here and tortured him. They insulted and cursed him; then, they left.” Hamza asked her to be sure, “Did you yourself see them do it?” The slave said, “Yes, I did.” Hamza walked with fast, steady steps toward the Kaaba at once.

Hamza was the most chivalrous and respectable man of Quraysh. He reacted in the face of injustice and opposed oppression by risking his life. 

Before going home, Hamza went to the place where Qurayshis met and where Abu Jahl and his friends were. He wanted to find Abu Jahl and chasten him. He could not tolerate it when people harmed his brother’s son. He was not a Muslim yet but the bond of kinship affected him. As soon as he saw Abu Jahl, he lifted his bow and hit him on the head without saying anything probably because belief started to be reflected on his spirit. The enemy of Allah toppled when he was hit. His head was bleeding. 

When Abu Jahl, who could not notice where the blow came from, raised his head, he saw the paternal uncle of the Messenger of Allah standing there like a lion. After soothing his fury, Hamza said, "Did you insult and curse my brother’s son? I also follow his religion. I say whatever he says. Come and do to me what you did to him if you can!”

Abu Jahl was stupefied in the face of this unexpected move. He could not control his hands and feet. He started to defend himself: “You know that he wronged us. He insulted our idols. He deviated from the way of our ancestors. He started a new way.”

Hz. Hamza interrupted Abu Jahl’s words. He could not put up with his speech. The excitement of his fresh belief was added to his strength. He shouted at the notables of Quraysh: “Who can be more stupid than you? You worship things other than Allah as deities. You bow down to lifeless idols.” Then, he declared his belief there: “I witness that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah’s Messenger.”

Abu Jahl’s men could not put up with these insults and stood up. They said, “O Hamza! We see that you abandoned the religion of your ancestors.” Hz. Hamza said, “What if I did? Muhammad’s religion is true and real. By Allah, I will not leave him from now on. If you are loyal to your word, come and prevent me.”

They could not say anything in the face of this resoluteness and perseverance. Abu Jahl said to his men, “Leave Abu Umara alone. I deserved what he did and said. I insulted his nephew.” Thus, he confessed his crime. [1]

Hz. Hamza left them like a commander who returned from the battlefield victoriously. He headed toward his house. Satan tried to deceive him by saying,

“You were the notable man of Quraysh. You follow the person who exited his religion. You did something bad by abandoning the religion that your ancestors followed, that they died based on it and left you as a good religion.”

Hamza went to the Kaaba to overcome the hesitation in his heart. He took refuge in his Lord and prayed as follows: “O Allah! If this way is the true way, make my heart approve it and eliminate my doubts; or show me a way out for me; show me a light.”

He went to bed. The next morning, he set off to see the Prophet. When he arrived, he entered into the presence of the Prophet. He told the Prophet what had happened. The Prophet prayed for him and gave him advice. Then, he taught him about Islam. He told him about penalty in Hell and boons of Paradise. After those blessed words, the heart of Hz. Hamza became luminous; he felt relieved. He uttered kaliam ash-shahada in excitement: “O son of my brother! I witness that you are right. Tell me about your religion clearly. ”[2] The Prophet told him about all of the principles of the true religion. He gave him courage. 

The Prophet became very happy when his uncle became a Muslim. Hz. Hamza’s becoming a Muslim provided some ease for the other Muslims. The polytheists could not torture them as much as they used to. One of the castles of the polytheists was demolished like that; a strong person joined the Muslims.

According to the narration of Ibn Abbas, verse 122 of the chapter of al-Anam was sent down about Hz. Hamza: “Can he who was dead, to whom We gave life, and a light whereby he can walk amongst men, be like him who is in the depths of darkness, from which he can never come out? Thus to those without faith their own deeds seem pleasing.” The person mentioned as dead and given life and a light in the verse was Hz. Hamza and the person in the depths of darkness was Abu Jahl.

The Muslims, who were few in number, obtained a great support when such a hero who was a notable of Quraysh and the paternal uncle of the Prophet became a Muslim.

The uncle of the Messenger of Allah was two years older than him. However, after becoming a Muslim, he became a warrior of Islam under the command of the Prophet without regarding being his uncle and older than him as a privilege.

During the hottest and most terrible moment of the Battle of Uhud when the Muslims started to scatter, Hz. Hamza, “the lion of Allah and His Messenger” was one of the few warriors that remained in the battlefield. Once, he was alone with the Prophet among the polytheists. The polytheists could not dare to approach and fight him. He beat the polytheists that confronted him even when the Muslims scattered. He expressed his distress due to the archers’ leaving Aynayn Pass by disobeying the Prophet by taking refuge in Allah:

“O Allah! I take refuge in you from this state of Muslims and ask forgiveness from you.”

This invincible and indomitable hero of Islam was a source of great fear and worry for the polytheists. They did not forget his heroism in the previous battles. He slayed the polytheists with his sword as if mowing grass in the Battle of Badr. The polytheists made plans to kill Hamza, who was going to be a barrier for them in Uhud.

They chose Wahshi, an Abyssinian slave, to kill Hz. Hamza. Wahshi was a marksman that always hit the target. His master promised to free him if he killed Hamza. On the other hand, Abu Sufyan’s wife, Hind, wanted Wahshi to kill Hamza in order to take the revenge of her father, who was killed in Badr; she promised great rewards to Wahshi to agitate him.

Hz. Hamza, who was the warrior of the Muslims and the nightmare of the polytheists, was beating the enemies at Uhud. He knocked down anybody he confronted and hit those who attacked him from behind with quick blows. Wahshi, the Abyssinian slave, had been watching Hz. Hamza since the battle started. Once, Hamza stumbled and fell down on his back. Making use of this opportunity, Wahshi came round of the rock behind which he was hiding and prepared his spear. He aimed at Hz. Hamza. The spear stuck into his side. He could not stand up after that. This blow martyred him.

Wahshi did not find it enough to kill him. He cut off the organs of this hero of Islam, torn his chest apart and removed his liver in order to be saved from slavery and receive gifts; he took the liver to Hind.

The clashes in Uhud stopped. The enemy started to retreat gradually. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) heard that Hz. Hamza was martyred but he could not see his blessed dead body. When he walked around after the battle, he saw the terrible state of his body among the martyrs. He could not bear it. He felt that his heart was torn apart. He could not help stating the following in tears: 

“O uncle of the Messenger of Allah! O lion of Allah and His Messenger! O benevolent Hamza! O Hamza, who protected the Messenger of Allah with might and main! May Allah show mercy on you! If it was necessary to mourn, I would never be happy and would mourn for you.” [3]

Meanwhile, Hz. Safiyya, who was the paternal aunt of the Prophet and sister of Hz. Hamza, came to the battlefield. She asked anybody she met about Hz. Hamza.

When the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) found out that the woman approaching was Safiyya, his aunt, he said to her son Zu­bayr, “Tell your mother to return. Do not let her see the dead body of her brother like that.” Zu­bayr welcomed his mother and said to her, “Mum! The Messenger of Allah ordered you to return.” However, Hz. Safiyya gave her son the following exemplary answer:

“If I am asked to return so as not to see what was done to my brother, I know that the dead body of my brother was torn apart. He was hit by this misfortune in the way of Allah. We will show patience in the face of even the worse ones. We will show patience by expecting reward from Allah.” [4]

When Hz. Zu­bayr told the Messenger of Allah what his mother said, the Prophet allowed her to go and see her brother.

It was a touching scene. Hz. Safiyya sat next her brother’s dead body. She started to weep with a deep moaning. It was very difficult for a human heart to put up with such pain.

When the Messenger of Allah saw her, he could not help shedding tears. The belief and surrendering of Safiyya was great. She recited the following verse, which expressed taking refuge in Allah in the face of misfortunes:

“Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un (To Allah We belong, and to Him is our return).”

Then, she asked mercy and forgiveness from God Almighty for her brother.

After a while, Jibril arrived and said to the Messenger of Allah that Hz. Hamza’s name was written as “Allah and His Messenger’s Lion” in heavens. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) informed Hz. Safiyya about it to console her.

The shroud placed on Hz. Hamza, who was martyred when he was 59, was short. When his feet were covered, his head was uncovered; when his head was covered, his feet were uncovered. The Messenger of Allah said, “Cover his face.” He put a cardigan on his feet. When he looked at his Companions, he saw that they were weeping. He asked them, “Why are you weeping?” They said, “O Messenger of Allah! We could not find a shroud long enough for your uncle. Therefore, we are weeping.”

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said for Hz. Hamza, whom he described “as the best one among the martyrs”, “I saw the angels; they were washing him.” [5]

The cause of Islam, for which many heroes were martyred, improved day by day. For, the individuals were ephemeral but the cause was permanent. The cause of Islam covered a great distance in a short time. The Muslims who was forced to migrate from the city they were born and grown up were proceeding to that city to conquer it in a victorious way. The Messenger of Allah ordered that six men and four women, who harmed the cause of Islam a lot, be killed wherever they were seen. Abu Sufyan’s wife, Hind bint Utba was among them. [6] However, Hind also became a Muslim after her husband. Nevertheless, she faced the risk of being killed since she had not declared it yet. She secretly joined the women who went to the Messenger of Allah to pay allegiance to him. She changed her clothes and veiled her face. When she entered into the presence of the Messenger of Allah, she uncovered her face and introduced herself. She stated that she regretted what she did in the past and that she became a Muslim. The Messenger of Allah accepted her allegiance along with the other women. 

Wahshi escaped after the Conquest of Makkah due to his fear and settled in Taif. However, when the people of Taif went to Madinah altogether to accept Islam, the earth seemed very narrow to him. He thought of going to Damascus or Yemen. However, somebody said to him, ‘Why are you so depressed? By Allah, he has not killed anyone who adopted his religion.’ Thereupon, he decided to go to the Messenger of Allah. He went to Madinah and became a Muslim by uttering kalima ash-shahadah. The Messenger of Allah said to him, “Wahshi! Sit and tell me how you killed Hamza.”

When Wahshi finished recounting the story, the Messenger of Allah said to him, “Do not appear before me.” For, whenever he would see him, he would remember his beloved uncle and be sorry. Wahshi obeyed the order of the Messenger of Allah and did not appear before him until he died. [7]

Yes, Islam is a religion of repentance. It accepted anyone who repented and adopted the true path. Islam emerged in order to close the doors of Hell and to open the doors of Paradise. It was enough for a person to repent, regret, find guidance and to turn toward Allah to be saved.

The title the Master of Martyrs was a title given only to Hz. Hamza because he sacrificed his life in the way of the truth and Islam and in front of the Prophet. Thus, he did not die, as it is stated in the verse below and was elevated to a much more comfortable life from this world: “And say not of those who are slain in the way of Allah: “They are dead.” [8]  

We ask God Almighty to enable Hz. Hamza, “Sayyid ash-Suhada (the Master of Martyrs)”, who will be remembered as long as the world exists and whose honor will increase as the leader of the caravan of martyrs up to the Day of Judgment, to help those who serve Islam. 

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[1]Usdul-Ghaba, 2: 46-47; Tabaqat, 3: 9.
[2]Sirah, 1: 312.
[3]Tabaqat, 3: 13-14; Sirah, 3: 101-102.
[4]Sirah, 3: 103.
[5]Tabaqat, 3: 16.
[6]ibid
[7]Usdul-Ghaba, 5: 84.
[8]al-Baqara, 154.

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