Zubayr bin Awwam (r.a.)

Hz. Zubayr, whom the Prophet (pbuh) praised by saying, "Every prophet has a disciple; my disciple is Zubayr" [1], is one of the first lucky people that became Muslims. He is the closest friend of the Prophet in his cause. He is also the son of Hz. Sa­fiyya, the Prophet's paternal aunt. His father, Awwam, is the brother of Hz. Khadija, the wife of the Prophet. His lineage goes back to Qusayy, one of the ancestors of the Prophet.

Hz. Zubayr was brought up by his mother since his father died when he was very young.  Hz. Safiy­ya acted very carefully to educate her son. She sometimes beat him to prepare him for life. When some people saw her beating him, they said, "You break the heart of your son. You will destroy him." She answered them as follows:

"I beat Zubayr not because I dislike him but because I want him to become wiser, to be a man and to become a hero that will defeat armies and return with booty in the future." [2]

Indeed, the basic education that Hz. Zubayr received from his mother was seen in his life. He was known for his courage and heroism. After he became a Muslim, he fought very bravely and was ready to sacrifice his life. His paternal uncle forced him to abandon his religion by torturing him but he persevered and said, "O uncle! I will never return to unbelief." [3]

During the period when the polytheists gave no respite to Muslims in Makkah, he heard that the Prophet had been killed. Hz. Zubayr was very young then, only fifteen. He drew his sword and set off to attack the polytheists without searching the news. The Prophet (pbuh) saw him on the way and asked,

"What happened Zubayr? Where are you going?"

Hz. Zubayr was astonished when he saw that the Prophet was alive. He said, "O Messenger of Allah! May my father and mother be sacrificed for you! I heard that you had been killed; I was going to attack the polytheists." The Prophet soothed him and prayed for him. [4]

Thus, Hz. Zubayr became the first person to draw his sword against unbelievers. 

Hz. Zubayr, who was attached to the holy cause with all his being, underwent various kinds of torture and oppression; however, these assaults stimulated and encouraged him; they increased his determination to struggle. 

Hz. Zubayr joined the caravan that migrated to Abyssinia. Then, he migrated to Madinah. 

After he rejoined the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) in Madinah, he never left him and was always at his service; he was with the Prophet in sunshine and in storm. He was with the Prophet in all battles; he faced up to dangers and sacrificed himself. Hz. Zubayr states the following regarding the issue:

"There is no place in my body that was not wounded in the battles that I joined with the Messenger of Allah."

It is stated that even his private parts were wounded. [5]

During the Battle of Badr, he knocked down all of his opponents one by one and he destroyed the polytheists at the fiercest moments of the battle. However, he was seriously wounded. When Urwa, his son, was talking about the depth of the wound his father received, he said, "My finger could enter in it."

Hz. Zubayr had wrapped a yellow turban around his head. When the Messenger of Allah saw him attacking the enemy, he praised his courage and heroism as follows: 

"I see angels coming down with yellow turbans in the appearance of Zubayr." [6]

One of the two cavalries that gave no respite to the enemy was Hz. Zubayr. In fact, there were only two cavalries in the Battle of Badr. 

One of the few warriors that fought next to the Messenger of Allah at the Battle of Uhud was Hz. Zubayr. Before the battle, he paid allegiance to the Prophet vowing to die. After the first defeat, he was one of the brave Companions that acted like shields for the Prophet and preferred the life of the Messenger of Allah to their own lives.

Hz. Zubayr was next to Hz. Ali, who repulsed the attacks of the polytheists and fought very hard during the Battle of Khandaq. 

After the Qurayza Jews violated the treaty they signed with the Prophet, the Prophet was looking for a commander to lead the expedition. Whenever he asked who was going to go, Zubayr always said he was. The Prophet became very pleased that Hz. Zubayr volunteered to go and complimented him by saying, "May my mother and father be sacrificed for you, O Zubayr!"

The Prophet (pbuh) mentioned the name of Zubayr when he listed the Companions who would go to Paradise. [7]

Hz. Zubayr, who was always in the first ranks in the battles and who always fought bravely, was fighting Yasir, one of the best warriors of the Jews, in Khaybar. A severe fighting started. His mother, Safiyya, was behind the battlefront. She felt impatient due to the compassion she felt toward her son. She could not help approaching the Prophet and asked him,  

"O Messenger of Allah! Was my son martyred?" The Prophet answered,

"No, your son will kill him inshaallah!"

A little while after this answer, Hz. Zubayr killed his opponent.[8]

During the conquest of Makkah, Hz. Zubayr was the standard-bearer of the Prophet. Some of the people of Makkah had come together and were applauding the mujahids of Islam. Meanwhile, Hz. Zubayr and Miqdad bin Aswad arrived on horseback. The Prophet wiped the dust on their faces with his garment, turned to them and said, 

"I give two shares for the horse and one share for the cavalry from the booty. May Allah diminish a person who diminishes this amount!" [9]

During the Battle of Hunayn, among the warriors who remained around the Prophet and did not leave him alone was Hz. Zubayr. Hz. Zubayr, who was a tall, strong and well rounded person, beat off the polytheists one by one. He did his best to keep the enemy away from the Prophet.

Hz. Zubayr, who joined the Taif Siege and Tabuk Expedition, was near the Prophet during the Farewell Hajj, too. 

Hz. Zubayr joined the army of conquest during the caliphate of Hz. Umar again.  Hz. Zubayr, who fought at the front during the battle of Yarmuk, had a big share in the victory.

Hz. Amr bin As, who was appointed to conquer Egypt, asked help from Hz. Umar during the Siege of Fustat. Hz. Umar sent him 4000 soldiers. Hz. Zubayr and three more Companions led the army. Hz. Amr appointed Hz. Zubayr for the siege.

Hz. Zubayr besieged the castle using his military experience and genius. After deploying the cavalrymen and infantry in appropriate places, he set up catapults. When the siege took a long time, he placed rope ladders on the walls of the castle. The warrior climbed up the ladders and opened the gate of the castle. Thus, the castle was conquered. [10]

Distinguished Companions like Hz. Zubayr had a big role in making Syria and Egypt parts of the Islamic land. These countries, which were conquered as a result of jihad, became parts of the Islamic land.

Along with his stoutness, daringness, bravery and heroism in the battle, Hz. Zubayr was a man of taqwa; he was a very merciful, righteous, delicate, decent and distinguished person. 

He was so altruistic as to sacrifice all of his property and his life for the sake of his belief; he was very determined and always thought about the truth when he made a decision. He was a merchant and one of the richest Companions. However, he was very generous and munificent. He took care of many poor Muslims. He met all of their needs. He always helped those who asked for a loan; he prepared the mujahids for war and provided equipment for them.

He was very rich but he lived modestly and wore plain clothes. He had a modest life. He accepted the Prophet as his model in his deeds and life. 

He was famous for his trustworthiness among Muslims. The Companions entrusted their most valuable possessions to him. Due to this property of his, Hz. Umar praised him by calling him "a pillar of the religion". 

Hz. Zubayr, lived calmly during the caliphate of Hz. Uthman and did not take part in administration; after Hz. Ali became the caliph, he applied to him with Hz. Talha and asked the murderers of Hz. Uthman to be punished. Then, they supported Hz. Aisha when the Incident of Camel took place. 

Both groups had approached each other without intending to fight. However, due to the provocation of some intriguers and mischief-makers, they drew their swords and Muslim blood was shed.

The next day, Hz. Ali came across Hz. Zubayr.  Hz. Ali asked him why he opposed and reminded him a hadith of the Prophet:

"Do you remember? Once I was walking with the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) and came across you. The Messenger of Allah said to you, ‘One day, you will fight Ali unjustly.'"

When Hz. Zubayr heard this warning, he acted righteously and said, 

"Yes, I remember it now. If I had remembered it before, I would not have stood up and moved. I swear that I will not fight you." Then, he went to Hz. Aisha and told her that he gave up fighting. [11]

While Hz. Zubayr was leaving, a man called "Amr bin Jurmuz" started to follow him. He approached Hz. Zubayr and wanted to ask him some questions. He had a sword. Hz. Zubayr started to perform a prayer. While he was in prostration, Amr bin Jurmuz drew his sword and martyred this great Companion.

He took Hz. Zubayr's horse, sword and ring and took them to Hz. Ali. When Hz. Ali found out what happened, he said,

"The person who killed Safiyya's son will go to Hell."

Hz. Zubayr, who was martyred in the 36th year of the Migration, was 64 years old.

Zubayr bin Awwam learned about his reward in the hereafter when he was alive. The Prophet gave him the glad tidings by saying, "Talha and Zubayr are my neighbors in Paradise." [12]

[1] Muslim, Fadail as-Sahaba: 48.
[2] Tabaqat, 3: 101.
[3] Hilyatu'l-Awliya, 1: 89.
[4] Usdul-Ghaba, 2: 197.
[5] Tirmidhi, Manaqib: 25.
[6] Tabaqat, 3: 103.
[7] Muslim, Fadail as-Sahaba: 49.
[8] Sirah, 3: 348.
[9] Tabaqat, 3: 104.
[10] Asr-ı Saadet (Ashâb-ı Kirâm), 1: 344.
[11] Usdul-Ghaba, 2: 199.
[12] Tirmidhi, Manaqib: 22.

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