Miqdad bin Aswad (r.a.)

The number of Muslims was increasing day by day. However, the Muslims had to hide their belief because the polytheists regarded believing in God Almighty by abandoning idols, which were neither useful nor harmful for the polytheists, as a big crime. One of the fortunate people that became Muslims in that critical period was Miqdad bin Aswad.

Hz. Miqdad’s tribe was attacked by the enemy, their land was invaded and their possessions were plundered. Thereupon Miqdad bin Aswad went to Makkah and took refuge in the tribe of Abd Yaghus. They loved him very much and adopted him as their son. Miqdad should have acted more cautiously since there was no tribe to support him but he could not hide his belief any longer. He was ready to suffer all kinds of inflictions for the sake of his belief. He was not afraid of any polytheists. Whom should he fear since he had a belief that could challenge the universe? He declared his belief in the presence of the polytheists with this determination. 

Miqdad was the seventh person who declared that he was a Muslim. Before him, the Prophet, Hz. Abu Bakr, Hz. Ammar, Umm Sumayya, Suhayb and Bilal had declared their belief. Among those seven people, God Almighty protected the Prophet through his uncle and Hz. Abu Bakr through his tribe for a while. The polytheists could not do anything to them. However, the other Companions had nobody to protect them from the polytheists. Therefore, they caught Miqdad and the others, took off their clothes and made them wear iron armor; they forced them to stand under the sun like that. [1] However, those tortures strengthened their belief. On the other hand, the polytheists could not prevent the number of the Companions who became Muslims and who did not hesitate to declare it from increasing despite their unbelievable tortures. For, it was impossible to prevent belief through pressure and oppression.

When tortures became unbearable, the Prophet advised the Muslims to migrate to Abyssinia to relieve their agonies. Thereupon, the Muslims migrated. Miqdad was also among those who migrated. After remaining in Abyssinia for a while, Miqdad heard that the Prophet had migrated to Madinah. He could not put up with being away from the Prophet any longer and migrated to Madinah from Abyssinia soon. When he arrived in Madinah, the Prophet sent him to Makkah for an important duty. His duty was to find out about the thoughts of the polytheists related to Muslims. It was a very dangerous duty because the polytheists knew him and they could have killed him when they caught him. Miqdad knew about it. However, he wanted to sacrifice his life in the way of Allah. He set off for Makkah at once. He collected the information that the Prophet wanted in a short time and brought it to the Prophet. [2]

Miqdad loved the Messenger of Allah very much and did not want to leave him. God Almighty gave him a reward for his sincere intention. The Prophet established brotherhood between Muhajirs and Ansar by dividing them into groups of ten people. Miqdad was among the group in which the Prophet was. [3]

Miqdad had a special place in the eye of the Prophet. The Prophet loved him very much. As a sign of this love, he married Dibaa, the daughter of his uncle Zubayr, off to Miqdad. The Prophet expresses his love about him as follows in a hadith:

“Allah has ordained me to love four persons because He Himself loves them. They are Ali, Miqdad, Salman and Abu Dharr.” [4]

One of the most distinguished characteristics of Miqdad was to help anybody who was wronged when he saw it. He could not put up with injustice at all. During a battle, the commander of a unit ordered his soldiers not to take their animals to the meadow. One of the soldiers did not hear this order. He took the animals to the meadow. When the commander found out about it, he got furious and started to beat the soldier. When Miqdad heard about it, he went to the commander and said to him, “Why did you hit the man? He is to beat you as many times as you beat him.” The commander respected this Companion a lot. Therefore, he accepted his decree. However, the soldier forgave his commander. Thereupon, Miqdad said,

“I expect from Allah that He will make Islam mighty. I will die but I do not want to see Islam abased.” [5]

When the Muslims migrated to Madinah, they got rid of the tortures of the polytheists. However, the danger of the polytheists still existed. They could have attacked Madinah any time in order to prevent Islam from spreading. As a matter of fact, the polytheists prepared an army that was superior to mujahids in terms of soldiers and weapons in the 2nd year of the Migration.

When the Prophet was informed about it, he consulted the Companions. Besides, it was the custom of the Prophet to consult his Companions related to the issues about which there was no revelation. He would apply the decision given as a result of the consultation even if it was not in compliance with his view. In this consultation, Hz. Abu Bakr and Hz. Umar made a nice speech each. Miqdad was also there. He took the floor and made a speech that exhilarated the mujahids:

“O Messenger of Allah! Do whatever Allah ordered you to do. We are with you and support you. We are not like the followers of Musa, that we may say, ‘You and your Lord should go and fight against the enemy and we should sit here.’ We say, ’You and your Lord should go and fight against the enemy and we should fight next to you and together with you.’ I swear by Allah, who has sent you with the true religion and the Book, that even if you make us walk from the Kaaba to Barq al-Ghimad, which is near Yemen and which is five days away from here, we shall walk there and fight standing on your right and left, front and back.”

This speech of Miqdad’s pleased the Prophet very much. He prayed for Miqdad. [6] Afterwards, he appointed this brave Companion as the commander of the left wing. Hz. Miqdad fought heroically in this first battle against the polytheists. The Islamic army gain a decisive victory at the end of the battle.   

Miqdad, who took part in the battles with the Prophet, was a poor Companion. He went hungry on some days. However, he never complained about his state; he thanked Allah all the time. He never gave up hope of Allah. He sometimes received the reward of it in advance.

One day, when there was drought in Makkah and people had to tie stones around their stomachs due to hunger, Miqdad left home. He was hungry for days. He went to an area called “Hajaba” in the cemetery of Baqi al-Gharqad. He entered an uninhabited place and sat down. He saw one dinar in a hole. Then, he extracted 17 dinars from the hole. 17 dinars was a great amount at a time of drought. However, was it appropriate for him to take this money and spend it? Miqdad, who never abandoned the Sunnah and who always applied to the Messenger of Allah when he had a problem, went to the Prophet and narrated the whole incident to him. The Prophet told him that it was permissible for him to spend that money. [7] For, that money was a reward of Allah for his sincere intention.

One of the characteristics of Miqdad was that he acted cautiously when he spoke about somebody. He did not decree before learning the color, idea and real nature of a person. He stated the following regarding the issue:

“I will not say something good or bad for a person before I see his end. For, the Messenger of Allah was asked about the issue and he said, ‘There is nothing that changes as much as the heart of man.’”[8]

Miqdad, who sacrificed everything he had for the sake of Allah and His Messenger and who spent every moment of his life for the elevation of Islam, served Islam greatly during the caliphate of Hz. Abu Bakr and Hz. Umar. Hz. Umar appreciated his courage and regarded him as equal to an army of one thousand people.

When the Islamic conquests spread, the mujahids reached the boundaries of Egypt. Amr bin As, who was the commander the Islamic armies, wanted help from Hz. Umar for the conquest of Egypt. Hz. Umar wrote him the following letter:

“I have sent you four thousand people. There is a commander that is worth one thousand people commanding each one thousand people. They are Zubayr bin Awwam, Miqdad bin Aswad, Ubada bin Samit and Mas­la­ma bin Muhallad.”[9]

Hz. Miqdad, who wanted to be a martyr very much and who joined the armies to make jihad up to the last days of his life to attain his goal, died in 33 H during the caliphate of Hz. Uthman. [10]

May Allah be pleased with him!

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[1]Hilya, 1: 172.
[2]Usdul-Ghaba, 4: 409.
[3]Musnad, 6: 4.
[4]Hilya, 1: 172; Usdul-Ghaba, 4: 410; Fathur-Rabbani, 22: 359.
[5]Hilya, 1: 176.
[6]Sirah, 2: 266; Tabaqat, 3: 162.
[7]Hayatus-Sahaba, 3: 478.
[8]Musnad, 6: 4; Hilya, 1: 175.
[9]Hayatus-Sahaba, 3: 505.
[10]Usdul-Ghaba, 4: 411; Tabaqat, 3: 163.

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