Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas (r.a.)

One of the ten Companions who were given the glad tidings of Paradise while they were alive is Hz. Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas. He became a Muslim through Hz. Abu Bakr. He was the eighth Muslim. He was a relative of the Prophet (pbuh) through his mother. The Prophet often complimented him saying, "This is my maternal uncle Sa'd. Is there anyone who as an uncle like him?"

Hz. Sa'd believed in Islam wholeheartedly. He was a soldier of belief and a warrior of Islam. However, his mother was disturbed because he became a Muslim, performed prayers, loved the Prophet and regarded his love as superior to everything. She talked to her son and wanted her to abandon Islam. When she could not dissuade him, she resorted to something else. She knew the weakest point of Hz. Sa'd. She asked,

"Do you not say that Allah orders you to take care of your relatives and to treat your parents well?" Hz. Sa'd said,

"Yes. Allah orders Muslims to do so."

His mother became hopeful when she heard this answer. She approached an idol that was at home and started to caress and love it. Then, she vowed by the name of idols:

"O Sa'd! I will not eat or drink anything unless you deny what Muhammad has brought." Then, she sat behind the idol. She did not eat or drink anything for a few days.

Hz. Sa'd loved his mother very much. He had great respect for her without fail. His mother knew it. That is why she did something like that. She thought she could make her son leave Islam. However, she was disappointed. She saw just the opposite. In a few days, she received the following determined answer from him:  

"O Mum. By Allah, if I had 100 lives and I lost them one by one, I would not abandon my religion. It is up to you to eat or not to eat."

She was frustrated when Hz. Sa'd showed this determined attitude and she had to stop her hunger strike.[1]

Thereupon, verse 8 of the chapter of al-Ankabut, which states that it is not permissible to obey a person even if that person is one's mother or father if this obedience necessitates disobedience to Allah: "We have enjoined on man kindness to parents: but if they (either of them) strive (to force) thee to join with Me (in worship) anything of which thou hast no knowledge, obey them not. Ye have (all) to return to Me, and I will tell you (the truth) of all that ye did."

Soon after this incident, Hz. Sa'd's brother, Amir, also became a Muslim. Thus, the problem of Sa'd's mother doubled. She used the same tactics for Amir. She vowed that she would not sit under the shade and not eat or drink anything until Amir abandoned his religion. However, it was useless.

Not only his mother but also all of the polytheists opposed Hz. Sa'd. During that period, Makkan polytheists used to torture and insult the Muslims, whose number was very few. They would not allow them to worship easily. Therefore, Hz. Sa'd, Said bin Zayd (r.a.), Khabbab bin Arat and Ammar bin Yasir went to Abu Lub Valley in order to worship. When they started to make wudu and perform prayers, a group of polytheists saw them and approached them. They started to make fun of them and say that their worship was useless. Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas could not put up with it any more. He tried to move them away with a bone of camel he found. He hit one of them on the head and made his head bleed. When the other Companions also took action, the polytheists started to run away. Thus, Hz. Sa'd obtained the honor of being" the first Companion to shed blood in the way of Allah". [2]

Hz. Sa'd, who also had the honor of "throwing the first arrow in the way of Allah", was a heroic mujahid of Islam. He was dying for fighting in the way of Allah. He caused great distress to the polytheists during the Battle of Badr. He was one of the Companions who formed a wall of flesh around the Prophet at the most dangerous moments of the battle during the Battle of Uhud. When the Prophet saw Hz. Sa'd's zealous struggle against the enemy, he gave the arrows he was holding to him and complimented him by saying,

"Throw O Sa'd! May my mother and father be sacrificed for you!" [3] The Prophet had not addressed anybody like that before.

On the same day, the Messenger of Allah prayed for him as follows:

"O Allah! Make his arrows hit the target and make his prayer acceptable!" [4]

Hz. Sa'd, who had took part in all battles together with the Prophet, went to Makkah for the Farewell Hajj. He became very ill there. The Messenger of Allah visited this distinguished Companion. Hz. Sa'd said,

"O Messenger of Allah! As you see, my illness got worse. I have a lot of wealth. I have no inheritors except my daughter. Shall I bequeath all of my wealth to the poor?"

The Prophet did not allow him to do so. However, he let Sa'd bequeath one-third of his wealth to the poor. Then, he said,

"One-third is all right. It is not a small amount. What you give away from your wealth is sadaqah. However, what you give to your family is also sadaqah. What your wife eats from your wealth is also sadaqah. Doubtlessly, it is better for you to bequeath your wealth to your family than making them beg money from others."

After this conversation, Hz. Sa'd said,

"O Messenger of Allah! You will return to Madinah. Am I going to stay here and die?"

The Prophet felt sorry about him. He told Sa'd not to feel sorry, that he will serve Islam a lot in the future and that many nations will accept Islam thanks to him. Then, he prayed of Sa'd as follows:

"O Lord! Cure Sa'd! O Lord! Cure Sa'd! O Lord! Complete my Companions' return from Makkah to Madinah!" [5]

Indeed, Hz. Sa'd got rid of that severe illness. He was appointed as the commander of the army during the caliphate of Hz. Umar. He conquered many places. He served as a means for many people to become Muslims. 

Hz. Sa'd was a lucky person who attained the consent of Allah and the position of becoming one of His special slaves. Once, when the Prophet was sitting in the mosque, he prayed as follows:

"O Allah! Let someone whom you love and who loves you enter the mosque now!"

Soon, Hz. Sa'd entered the mosque. [6] This glad tiding was superior to everything in the world for that great Companion.

Sa'd loved the Messenger of Allah wholeheartedly and did his best to prevent him from being harmed. During the first days after the Migration, the Jews of Madinah might have wanted to kill the Prophet. One day, Hz. Sa'd put on his sword and went to the presence of the Messenger of Allah. When the Prophet saw him like that, he asked,

"What is the matter? O Sa'd?"

"O Messenger of Allah! I feared that something bad might happen to you. Therefore, I came here to protect you. "

The Prophet was glad to hear it from him. Then, he prayed for Sa'd. [7]

Hz. Sa'd' brother, who was a polytheist, wounded the Prophet's face in the Battle of Uhud. Hz. Sa'd got furious.  He shouted,

"Utba! If I catch you, I will shed your blood like water."

Hz. Sa'd, who served the Prophet until he died and who never left him alone, became very sad when the Prophet died. 

He did his best in order to spread Islam like the other Companions.

Hz. Sa'd was a person who was very good at leading and controlling an army. Knowing this skill of Sa'd's, Hz. Umar appointed him as the commander of the army prepared for the conquest of Iran. Before the army set off, Hz. Umar addressed Hz. Sa'd as follows:

"O Sa'd! The fact that you are the maternal uncle of the Messenger of Allah should not make you feel conceited and should not prevent you from obeying the orders of Allah. Allah eliminates a bad deed through a good deed, not through a bad deed. All people are equal. Allah is their Lord; they are Allah's slaves. People attain Allah's bounties by obeying Him. Remember what you saw from the Messenger of Allah before he died and try to do them. For, the way to salvation is there. 

Your duty is hard. Nothing but honesty can save you. Make yourself and the people under your command accustomed to doing good deeds. Start everything with a good deed. Everything that becomes a custom has a beginning. Be careful. Patience is the beginning of all good deeds. Do not abandon patience when some troubles and misfortunes hit you. Patience teaches you to fear Allah. Fear of Allah is mainly in two things: Obeying Allah and avoiding sins. A person who obeys Allah by ignoring the ephemeral face of the world and by desiring the hereafter obeys Allah truly. Hearts are treasures of truths."

After listening to the valuable advice of Hz. Umar, Hz. Sa'd set off. After a tiring journey, they arrived in Iran. Hz. Sa’d did not want to fight the Iranians before calling them to peace and Islam. To this end, he formed a committee consisting of Arab tribe chiefs and some notables and sent them to the Shah of Iran. 

At that time, the capital city of Sasanids was Madayin. The people were waiting on the road to see them. The appearance of the members of the delegation was modest.  They did not have weapons and their horses did not have saddles. However, the nobility and majesty given by Islam were visible on their faces. They proceeded with a dignified attitude and a brave manner on the Iranian land. Their horses tromped the Sasanid land. 

Yazdegerd, the Shah of Iran, heard the footsteps of the horses and asked the people around him about the reason for this noise. They told him that a delegation of Muslims had arrived.

The Shah, who gave great importance to show-off and ostentation, ordered his men to decorate and embellish the palace. The palace was decorated soon. After the decoration was completed, the Islamic delegation was accepted. 

Without paying attention to the decorations and ostentation, the Islamic delegation entered the palace with their large gowns, turbans around their heads, whips in their hands and wearing boots. Yazdegerd was surprised when he saw the Islamic delegation in plain clothes; he was astonished when he saw their harsh attitudes and grim acts. 

Iranians used to interpret everything. They sought luck or ominousness behind everything. Yazdegerd, asked the delegation some questions:

"What is fabric called in Arabic?"

He received the answer "burd" from the delegation.  As soon as the Shah heard it, he said, "Chehan burd." He interpreted this word as Muslims would conquer the whole world. Then, he pointed to the whip in the hands of the Muslims and asked:

"What is that called in Arabic? 

He received the answer "Sawt". Yazdegerd interpreted a different meaning from it. He understood "sawt" as "suht". He said, "Pars suht". It meant, "They set Iran on fire."

The people around the Shah got tired of these bad interpretations and ominous meanings. However, they could not dare to object to the Shah. 

Then, Yazdegerd asked the delegation why they had come. Numan bin Muqarrin, the head of the delegation told him about the principles of Islam first. Then, he said, "We ask you to become Muslims. If you do not accept Islam, we offer you two things: You will either pay jizyah or agree to fight us."

Yazdegerd, who did not accept peace and Islam, started to talk conceitedly and boastfully:

"You forgot that you were the poorest and weakest nation. When there was mutiny among you, we used to send our governors near you and they would make you obey. How come you make us this offer?"

The delegation listened to the Shah's conceited words calmly. Then, Mughira bin Zarara came forward and made the following concise speech pointing to his friends:

"All of the members of this delegation are leaders of their tribes. They told you what was necessary but there are a few more things that need to be uttered. I will tell you about them. It is true that we used to be poor and in the wrong way. We used to fight one another. We used to bury our daughters alive. Eventually, Allah Almighty sent us a prophet. We objected to him first and refused him. In the end, he became victorious. He did everything in accordance with the order of Allah. He ordered us to inform people all over the world about this religion. He told us to treat those who became Muslims as if they were our brothers. He advised us to regard those who reject Islam but accept to pay jizyah as people of dhimmah. The sword will be decisive between us and those who do not accept any of these offers."

Those words infuriated Yazdegerd. He said:

"If it were permissible to kill messengers, I would definitely kill all of you." He ordered a basket full of soil to be brought. When the basket was brought, he asked who the most prestigious person in the delegation was. They showed Asim bin Amr. The people of the palace put the basket full of soil on the head of Asim as a sign of insult. When the delegation returned, Asim told this incident to Sa’d bin Abi Waqqas and interpreted this as follows:

"O Sa’d! I congratulate you on your victory. The enemy surrendered their land to us."

Hz. Sa’d did everything that was necessary to do before war; he invited the enemy to choose one of the three alternatives. The conceited Shah chose war. It became necessary to put the Shah in his place. He summoned all of the commanders at once and consulted them. Then, he ordered the hafizes to read the chapter of al-Anfal, which is about jihad

The hafizes recited the chapter with their beautiful voices. They both recited the chapter and taught it to the mujahids.  There was a spiritual atmosphere in the headquarters. The mujahids looked forward to fighting and defeating the conceited Iranian army. 

When the expected moment came, Hz. Sa’d addressed the mujahids as follows:

"If you work in the world with asceticism and taqwa and desire the happiness of the hereafter, Allah will give you happiness both in the world and hereafter.  Know it very well that war will not make your time of death come closer to you.  Act together. If you disperse and regard yourselves as few and weak, you will be defeated. If you do so, you will endanger your hereafter, too. After performing the noon prayer, I will utter takbir three times. Utter takbir with me. When I utter the fourth takbir, say, ‘La hawla wa la quwwata illa billah (There is no power other than Allah)’ and attack." [8]

After a while, the two armies confronted. The mujahids started to attack by shouting "Allah, Allah!" They fought heroically. Many of them attained the rank of martyrdom. The Muslims won the war.  This war was recorded as "the Victory of Qadisiya". After this victory, Muslims achieved great victories one after another. They captured the rich treasures of the Shah of Iran. 

Hz. Sa’d informed Hz. Umar about the victory at once. He sent the treasure he obtained to Hz.Umar. He told Hz.Umar that he would be waiting in Madayin for his orders about what to do next. However, the climate of Madayin affected the mujahids. Many of them became ill. Hz. Sa’d informed Hz.Umar about the situation at once. 

Hz. Umar became very pleased when he heard this victory of Muslims'. He appreciated it when Sa'd sent the rich treasures of the Shah of Iran to Madinah without losing any time. He wrote Sa'd a letter to tell him what to do next. He asked Sa'd to build a new city. When Sa'd received this order, he built the city of Kufa. In return for Sa'd's success, Hz.Umar appointed him the governor of Kufa. Hz. Sa’d was a good administrator. He made himself loved by the people of Kufa soon. 

Hz. Sa’d received the prayer of the Prophet in the Battle of Uhud; so, he was a person whose prayers were accepted. Therefore, people avoided his curse. However, somebody slandered him. He said Sa'd did not distribute goods equally and that he did not lead the army in the battles. Hz.Umar heard about it. He sent somebody to inspect the issue. It turned out to be a slander. However, this incident affected this Companion, who was given the glad tidings of Paradise. He opened his hands to pray Allah as follows:

"O Allah! If he is lying, lengthen his life, increase his poverty and give him misfortunes."

After a while, everybody started to make fun of this man who was damned by Hz. Sa’d. He became blind. He suffered a lot of misfortunes. Thus, everybody believed that Sa’d was innocent. 

Hz. Sa’d was a Companion who was worthy of being the Caliph. After Hz. Uthman was martyred, many people said they wanted to choose him as the caliph. However, Hz. Sa’d did not accept these offers. He remained impartial related to the incident between Hz. Ali and Hz. Muawiyah. When they asked him why he did not support one of them, he said he would keep remaining impartial unless they brought a sword that would discriminate between an unbeliever and a believer.

Hz. Sa’d believed that everything that Allah preordained was good even if they seem ugly. He surrendered to qadar. Somebody who visited him said to him:

"You are a person whose prayer is accepted. Would it not be better for you to pray Allah and ask him to make your eyes see?"

Hz. Sa’d answered him as follows:

"Allah Almighty’s ordainment for me is better for me than my eyesight."

Sa’d was a person who had all good characteristics. He would not consent to anybody being backbited in his presence; he would silence anybody who tried to do so. Once, he had argued with Hz. Khalid. Somebody who visited him started to talk against Hz. Khalid. This disturbed him a lot and said,

"Do not criticize him so much. The disagreement between me and him does not make me split with him and approve what you say about him."

Hz. Sa’d, who played an important role in the conveying hadiths to us, reported 270 hadiths. One of them is as follows:

 "Wondrous is the affair of the believer for there is good for him in every matter and this is not the case with anyone except the believer. If he is happy, he thanks Allah and there is good for him. If he is harmed, he shows patience and there is good for him. He gets rewards (thawabs) even when he gives his wife something to eat." [9]

Hz. Sa’d, who died in the 55th year of the Migration, was enshrouded by the shirt he wore during the battle of Badr. His death upset Muslims a lot. 

May Allah be pleased with him!

[1] Muslim, Fadail as-Sahaba: 43; al-Isaba, 2: 292.
[2] al-Isaba, 2: 290.
[3] Muslim, Fadail as-Sahaba: 41.
[4] Mustadrak, 3: 500.
[5] Tabaqat, 3: 144; Muslim, Wasaya: 8; Musnad, 1: 168.
[6] Mustadrak, 3: 499.
[7] Muslim, Fadail as-Sahaba: 39.
[8] Hayatu's-Sahaba, 1: 329.
[9] Musnad, 1: 173.

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