Harith bin Hisham (r.a.)

On the day when Makkah was conquered, Harith bin Hisham went to the house of Umm Hani, the maternal aunt of the Prophet, with his friend Zubayr bin Abu Umayya. They said, “We want to take refuge in your house.”

Meanwhile, Hz. Ali invited everybody he saw to Islam. He believed that the non-Muslims and those who opposed Islam should be punished. Besides, they were in a state of war. He went to Umm Hani’s house. He was surprised when he saw Harith and Zubayr there. Both of them were enemies of Islam. He wanted to kill them but Umm Hani did not allow the people who took refuge in her house to be killed. She said, “By Allah you cannot harm them unless you kill me.” Thus, he prevented Hz. Ali. Umm Hani guessed from their state that they would become Muslims voluntarily.

Hz. Umm Hani said, “Why does Ali act like that? He wants to kill these two people, who are the relatives of my husband, though they are under my protection.” She complained to the Messenger of Allah about Hz. Ali. In fact, Hz. Ali had a valid reason to do so. Harith bin Hisham fought against the Muslims cruelly during the Battle of Badr. Nevertheless, the Prophet asked Hz. Ali not to act like that. He said somebody who took refuge in them could not be killed. This tolerance of the Prophet affected Harith and Zubayr greatly and softened their hearts. After a while, they became Muslims.  

Harith became a Muslim as follows:

In the same year when Makkah was conquered, one day, the Messenger of Allah entered the Kaaba with Bilal. He asked Bilal to call adhan. Meanwhile, Abu Sufyan, Attab b. Asid and Harith Ibn Hisham were sitting in the yard of the Kaaba. Attab bin Asid, said, “My father Asid was lucky because he did not witness this day.” Harith bin Hisham said, “Why do you speak like that? I swear that I will believe in Muhammad and follow him if I know that he is telling the truth.” Abu Sufyan said in a fearing manner, “I will not say anything. The sands and stones under our feet will inform him about what we say.” [1]

While they were talking like that, the Prophet appeared. He said, “I know all about what you said.” He told them exactly what they were talking about. They were astonished. Thereupon, Harith and Attab said, “By Allah, nobody else knew what we were talking about. You cannot have heard them from a human. We witness that you are a prophet.” They uttered kalima ash-shahada and accepted Islam. [2]

Thus, one of the biggest wishes of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) was realized. For, he really wanted Harith bin Hisham, who was known as a good and honest person, to be a Muslim. He even prayed for him as follows: “O Allah! I want Harith to become a Muslim. Give him guidance!” This prayer of the Prophet (pbuh) was accepted and Harith bin Hisham became a Muslim of his own accord, not by force.

After Harith became a Muslim, the Prophet complimented him and said, “Praise be to Allah, who honored you with Islam and showed you the true path. It was not possible for a person like you not to know Islam and not to appreciate it.”

The heart of Harith was beating with the love of belief. The love of serving Islam caused great excitement in his spirit. His brother Abu Jahl did his best to demolish Islam but, in return for his destruction, Harith was thinking of spreading Islam not only in Makkah and Madinah but by going to distant places, making jihad with the Companions and serving Islam without a break.

Finally, he decided to set off for jihad. When his relatives and friends came to see him off, Harith bid farewell to them with this concise speech informing them that the only reason for leaving Makkah and Madinah was his love of jihad:

“My brothers and friends! I swear that I am not going because I take care of myself more than you or I prefer some other land. This journey is a journey in the way of Allah and for Allah’s sake.”

Harith spent most of his remaining life in battlefields of jihad. He wanted to be like the heroic Companions who went to the hereafter as martyrs. He always mentioned them using good words.  He said, “If I had as much gold as the mountains of Makkah and spend them for Allah, I would not be able to catch up with them.” The thought that he would be together with them in the hereafter though he could not be with them here satisfied his spirit.

Finally, he was wounded severely in the Battle of Yarmuk. He wanted water from his friends. They brought it. Just as he was going to drink it, he saw Ikrimah bin Abu Jahl, who was wounded like him, looking at the water. He sent the water to him. He said, “Take the water to Ikrimah.” Ikrimah held the water to drink. He saw Ayyash bin Abi Rabia looking at the water. Ayyash was wounded too. Ikrimah sent the water to him. When the man went to Ayyash, he saw that he had been martyred. He wanted to take it to Ikrimah but he also had been martyred. He ran to Harith but he had also been martyred. [3]

Hz. Harith had very nice memories with the Messenger of Allah. One of them is as follows:

“Once, I entered into the presence of the Messenger of Allah. I asked him to give me some advice. The Messenger of Allah said, ‘Try to control your tongue.’ That was the only advice he gave me. I thought it was something easy but afterwards I realized how difficult it was.”[4]

May Allah be pleased with him!

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[1]Usdul-Ghaba; 1: 352.
[2]Sirah, 4: 56.
[3]Usdul-Ghaba, 1: 352.
[4]Tabaqat, 1: 198.

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