Zayd bin Haritha (r.a.)
Little Zayd had to leave his hometown when he was only eight years old. He was captivated along with his mother when they were visiting the graves of their grandparents; they were put on sale in the Fair of Ukaz. Hakim Ibn Khuzam bought him for 400 dirhams for hz. Khadijah. The divine power started Zayd's life with problems when he was a child. However, great happiness was due to come after those problems.
Hz. Khadijah, who married Hz. Muhammad (pbuh), gave him Zayd as a slave and servant.
Zayd, who was brought up under the compassion and protection of Hz. Muhammad (pbuh), served the Prophet and tried not to hurt him. It looked as if his little spirit felt his prophethood. He regarded serving Hz. Muhammad (pbuh) as an honor and worshipping. As a matter of fact, when his father and uncle came after years, Hz. Prophet left him free to go with his father and uncle but he refused to go by them saying, "I am glad to be with the best man in the world and in this holy land." He preferred to stay with the Prophet. The Messenger of Allah freed him and adopted him as his son.
When the divine call to Islam came, he accepted Islam after Hz. Khadijah and Hz. Ali and became the third Muslim. After that, he was more loyal to the Prophet and started to serve him with more enthusiasm and excitement. He ate and drank with the Prophet; he worshipped with him and spent his time with him. However, this honor and spiritual rank brought some hardships too. In the first years of Islam, he also received his share of the oppression and tortures inflicted upon the Messenger of Allah (pbuh). He went to the tribes and groups riding pillion with the Messenger of Allah . They were sometimes welcomed by those tribes and groups but they were usually stoned, rejected and driven away. When the cruel polytheists of Taif stoned the Prophet, he used his body as a shield to protect the Prophet from harms and injuries but he could not prevent the Prophet's feet from bleeding and his body from being injured. He himself was also injured but he was thinking of the Prophet.
When Hz. Hamza became a Muslim, the Prophet made him brothers with Zayd. When he reached the age of marriage, the Messenger of Allah married him off to Umm Ayman, who was the nanny of his children. She gave birth to Usama. Zayd was attached to Hz. Muhammad so much that his son Usama was called "Zayd bin Muhammad (Zayd, son of Muhammad)" up to the time when verse 5 of the chapter of al-Ahzab ordering Muslims that children should be attributed to their real fathers was sent down.
Zayd bin Haritha, who migrated to Madinah with the Prophet, returned to Makkah with Abu Rafi, a young Muslim, after the construction of Masjid an-Nabawi; they took the wives and daughters of the Messenger of Allah to Makkah.
Hz. Zayd took part in all battles from the Battle of Badr to the Battle of Muta, in which he was martyred. His bravery, sacrifice and heroism were famous among the Companions. When the Messenger of Allah set off for Muraysi Expedition, he appointed Zayd as his deputy in Madinah. Thus, the Prophet appreciated his prudence and management ability; he also drew attention to the fact that being an administrator was not based on one's lineage but on taqwa, sacrifice and prudence. It was very significant that the Prophet left his freed slave as his deputy in a period when he tried to eliminate slavery gradually.
Apart from wars and battles, Hz. Prophet used Hz. Zayd as a leader of important small teams and delegations. He became successful in all of them.
In the 8th year of the Migration, the Prophet sent Harith bin Umayr as an envoy to the governor of Busra in order to inform him about Islam. However, Shurahbil, the Byzantine governor of Damascus, saw Harith on the way and killed him though he knew that he was an envoy. The Prophet was very distressed by this news and he prepared an army of 3 thousand soldiers in order to teach Byzantines, who violated the rule "Do not kill the messenger" a lesson; he appointed Zayd bin Haritha as the commander of this army. If Hz. Zayd were to be martyred, Hz. Jafar would replace him; if he were to be martyred, Hz. Abdullah bin Rawaha would replace him. All of them especially Zayd fought heroically in Muta. As the Prophet pointed out, he was martyred there.
Before the Islamic army returned to Madinah, the Messenger of Allah saw Zayd bin Haritha's daughter. This innocent child, who was the daughter of a martyr, was looking at the Messenger of Allah sadly. When the Messenger of Allah saw her, she could not bear it and started to weep due to his compassion. Sa'd bin Ubada, a Companion who was there, asked, "O Messenger of Allah! What is the matter?" The Prophet said,
"This is the longing of the darling for the darling."
Hz. Zayd bin Haritha was an exceptional representative of the Prophet's high ethics. His son Usama, who was also brought up in the house of the Prophet, continued his father's altruism and sacrifice, becoming a good successor for his father.
May Allah be pleased with all of them!
Usdu'l-Ghaba, 2: 224-226.
Muslim, Fadailu's-Sahaba: 62-64.
Tabaqat, 3: 40-46.