Utba bin Ghazwan (r.a.)

Utba bin Ghazwan, who was one of the people of Suffa School educated by the Prophet with great care and sensitivity, was one of the great mujahids of Islam. 

Hz. Utba was among the Muslims who migrated to Abyssinia for the second time in order to practice their religion and get rid of the oppression of the polytheists. After staying in Abyssinia for a while, Utba returned to Makkah. He stayed with the Messenger of Allah. When the Muslims started to migrate to Madinah, he migrated with Hz. Miqdad.

Hz. Utba, who was one of the first Muhajirs, took part in the Battle of Badr. Utba bin Ghazwan (r.a.), who was known as one of the best archers among Muslims, fought heroically during the Battle of Badr. His son Habbab was also with him. They fought with might and main in order to elevate the religion and word of Allah. Hz. Utba fought together with the Messenger of Allah in the battles and wars after that.[1]

Hz. Utba was one of those who were sent to Nahla by the Prophet under the command of Abdullah bin Jahsh. They were about 10 muhajirs. A camel was allocated for every two mujahids. Hz. Utba and Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas shared one camel. Their camel got lost near Madin. While they were looking for the camel, they remained behind. Then, they followed the traces of the other mujahids but could not find them. Meanwhile, the mujahids attacked a caravan belonging to the polytheists, captivated two of them and grabbed some booty. They were worried about the two mujahids that were lost. They arrived in Madinah and told the Messenger of Allah about the situation. Meanwhile, the polytheists sent some ransom money to save their friends. However, the Messenger of Allah said he would not give them back until it became certain what happened to Utba bin Ghazwan and Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas. For, he was worried about these heroic Companions. When they returned to Madinah safe and sound, they released the captives in return for ransom. The other Companions became very happy when their friends returned. The trouble they had during this period is clear by their statement: "When we saw trees with thorns, we ate them and drank water after that."[2]

Utba bin Ghazwan, who served the Messenger of Allah for a while and who was a student at Suffa School, spent his most exciting days while making jihad around Iran and when he was the governor of Basra. 

When Hz. Utba was given the duty of conquering Basra and the regions around, Hz. Umar attracted his attention to some principles: "Go with the people with you to the last boundaries of Arabs and the closest boundary of Iran. May Allah's bounties and aid be with you! Fear Allah. Know it very well that you are going to the most terrible place of war. May Allah help you! I am sending a letter to Ala bin Hadrami (who is near Bahrayn). He is a great mujahid that knows about war strategies. Consult him. Call the people to the religion of Allah. If they accept your call, accept them. Get jizyah (tax) from those who do not accept. If they do not accept to pay jizyah, fight them. Fear Allah and act very carefully. Encourage people to make jihad."[3]

When Hz. Umar gave Utba the duty of conquering Basra, he asked Ala bin Hadrami to help Utba and wrote him the following letter: 

"O Ala! Know it very well that you will talk to one of the first Muhajirs. Allah promised him Paradise.[4] He is chaste, strong and persistent. I did not unseat him. However, in the region where you live, Muslims do not need much power. Then, act accordingly. I appointed someone to help him before you but he died before he arrived there. It is Allah who creates and does things."[5]

As is seen, Hz. Umar regards him as one of the first Muhajirs. Hz. Utba, who conquered Basra and the regions around, was appointed as the governor. When he worked as the governor, he led the prayers and preached the people. One of his sermons reported in sound hadith resources is very famous.

Some of this sermon is as follows:

"Verily, the world has been given the news of its end and that too quite early. Nothing would be left out of it but only water left in the utensil which its owner leaves, and you are going to shift to an abode which knows no end, and you should shift with the good before you. You must be knowing that I was the seventh amongst seven who had been with Allah's Messenger (pbuh) and we had nothing to eat but the leaves of the tree until the corners of the mouth were injured. We found a sheet which we tore in two and divided between myself and Sa'd b. Malik. I made the lower garment with halt of it and so did Sa'd make the lower garment with half of it and today there is none amongst us who has not become the governor of a city from amongst the cities and I seek refuge with Allah that I should consider myself great whereas I am insignificant in the eye of Allah."[6]

After setting the things right in Basra, Hz. Utba bin Ghazwan wanted to go to Hejaz. He appointed Mughira bin Shu'ba as his deputy in Basra and Mujashi bin Mas'ud in the region of Euphrates. When he arrived in Madinah, he talked to Hz. Umar. He told Hz. Umar that he wanted to resign from the duty of governorship. He was worried about the responsibilities of being an administrator. However, Hz. Umar did not accept his resignation. Hz. Utba insisted but Hz. Umar refused. He set off in order to go to Basra to resume his governorship. On the way to Basra, he fell of his horse and died. It was the 17th year of the Migration.[7]

May Allah be pleased with him!


[1]Usdu'l-Ghaba, 3: 364.

[2]A. Köksal, İslam Tarihi, 2: 30.

[3]Usdu’l-Ghaba, 3: 364.

[4]at-Tawba, 100.

[5]Tabaqat, 4: 362.

[6]Muslim, Zuhd: 14.

[7]al-Isaba, 2: 455.

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