Ikrima bin Abi Jahl (r.a.)

He was not inferior to his father, Abu Jahl, in terms of enmity to Islam and the Prophet. He was famous for horse riding among the polytheists; he established a group of warriors from the polytheists and made the most severe attacks in wars.  

This person was Ikrima bin Abi Jahl, who was martyred in the Battle of Yarmuk years later.

When the Messenger of Allah entered Makkah with his magnificent victory, he declared that he forgave everybody except four men and two women. They were the people who went beyond limits in terms of hostility to Islam and oppression. They were going to be killed when they were caught. One of those four people was Ikrima. For, on the day when Makkah was conquered, everybody gave up struggling against the Islamic army but he and his friends continued struggling.

Ikrima managed to escape from Makkah somehow and boarded a ship to go to Yemen. A strong storm broke out in the sea and started to rock the ship. The captain gathered the people and said, “Pray sincerely and ask Allah to save us.”

Ikrima said to the captain, “What should I do to be sincere? If I become sincere here, I have to continue being sincere on land too.”

The captain said to him, “If you really want to be sincere, say that there is no god but Allah.”

Ikrima said, “I ran away and came here so as not to utter that statement.” However, the words of the captain affected him and prayed as follows: 

“O Allah! If you save me from this storm, I will go and put my hand in the hand of Muhammad and I will take refuge in his generosity and ask for forgiveness.”

Meanwhile, Umm Hakim, who was the daughter of Haris bin Hisham and the wife of Ikrima became a Muslim. She went to the Messenger of Allah and asked him to forgive Ikrima and give guarantee for him. The compassionate and merciful Prophet gave guarantee for him.  

Umm Hakim set out with her slave in search of Ikrima. She found him on the coasts of Tihama after a journey that lasted for months. His wife told Ikrima that the Messenger of Allah gave guarantee for him but he did not believe. Ikrima remembered his previous hostility and did not think that he would be forgiven. However, the compassion and mercy of the Prophet was endless. He forgave Ikrima. Finally, she persuaded him to return.

After a journey that lasted for days, Ikrima and Umm Hakim arrived in Madinah. They were waiting for the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) in a corner of the mosque. Ikrima was wondering how the Messenger of Allah would treat him and was shivering out of excitement. After a while, the Messenger of Allah arrived and saw them. The Prophet hugged Ikrima by saying, “Hello! O cavalryman and muhajir!”, without reminding him of the previous hostility.  

Ikrima said, “O Messenger of Allah! What do you invite me to do?” The Messenger of Allah said, “I invite you to testify that there is no god but Allah and that I am the Messenger of Allah, to establish prayer and pay zakah.” Thus, he informed Ikrima about the principles of Islam.

 “I swear that You call to what is true and what is good. I swear that you were the most trustworthy of us in speech and the most righteous of us. I testify that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah’s slave and messenger.”

Ikrima remembered the old days and was ashamed of them. Feeling his mood, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) gave him the great glad tiding:

“I will give you today what I have not given to anybody.”

Ikrima understood what this glad tiding could be. He said, 

“I ask you to ask for forgiveness for me for all the hostility I directed against you, every step I took against you and for whatever insults I expressed in your presence or absence.”

The Messenger of Allah raised his hands and prayed for Ikrima as follows:

“O Allah! Forgive him for all the hostility he directed against me and every step he took in order to put out Your light. Forgive him for whatever he said in my presence or absence.”

He was moved by this prayer of the Messenger of Allah. He promised as follows that he would work for Allah from then on:

“O Messenger of Allah! I swear by Allah that whatever I spent obstructing the way of Allah, I shall spend twice as much in His path, and whatever battles I have fought against Allah's way, I shall fight twice as much in His way”

After Ikrima became a Muslim, some people wanted to tease him by saying, “The sun of the Pharaoh of this ummah!” However, Ikrima felt disturbed by this way of addressing since it reminded him of the old days of Jahiliyya. Once, he could not put up with it anymore and complained to the Messenger of Allah about it. Thereupon, the Messenger of Allah addressed his Companions as follows:   

“Do not call him by his father’s name. Do not address him like that.”

After this incident, the Messenger of Allah changed his name “Ikrima bin Abi Jahl” to “Ikrima Abu Uthman”.

According to a narration from Umm Salama, the respectable wife of the Prophet, the Messenger of Allah said,

“When Ikrima became a Muslim, nobody was left to continue Abu Jahl’s lineage.”

In fact, Abu Jahl’s daughters had no children and his lineage stopped.

He fought so self-sacrificingly in Yarmuk that he continued to fight on his horse despite the blood gushing forth from the wound in his chest. The people with him said, “O Ikrima! Show mercy on yourself. That is too much.” He answered them as follows:

“I struggled for Lat and Uzza for years. What does it matter if I have received so many wounds today and I have suffered?”

Ikrima was martyred at the end of the battle. [1]

May Allah be pleased with him!

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[1]Usdul-Ghaba, 4-5; Isaba, 2: 496-497.

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