Sayyiduna Khabbab b. Aratt رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنهُ
Mawlana ‘Adnan Ahmad Attari Madani
There was a Companion of the Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم who worked as a blacksmith and made swords in Makkah. He once made some swords for a disbeliever called Aas b. Wa’il but when it came to paying for the swords, the disbeliever claimed, ‘I will not give you the money until you reject Muhammad صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم.’ The Companion sternly told him that, ‘Even if you die and are brought back to life again, I will still not leave Muhammad صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم.’ The disbeliever said, ‘So leave me; I will die, come back to life, and then I will have wealth and offspring, and I will pay you,’ (Bukhari, vol. 3, p. 272, Hadith 4733, 4734, Seerat Ibn Hishaam, p. 141).
This resolute Companion whose faith was unwavering was none other than Sayyiduna Khabbab b. Aratt رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ.
He was the sixth person to embrace Islam, (Usd-ul-Ghaabah, vol. 2, p. 141) or the twentieth, (Siyar A’alam Al-Nubala`, vol. 4, p. 5). In either case, he was from the early believers and one of the seven fortunate individuals to publicise their faith, (Tareekh Ibn ‘Asakir, vol. 43, p. 366), at a time when most believers could not.
As a man of great learning and virtue, (Istee’aab, vol. 2, p. 21), he رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ would teach the Quran to the Companions رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُم, (‘Umda-tul-Qaari, vol. 11, p. 583, under Hadith 3867). When Sayyiduna Umar al-Farooq رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ went to his sister’s house in a state of anger before accepting Islam, it was Sayyiduna Khabbab رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ who was teaching the Quran to her and her husband, (Tareekh Ibn ‘Asakir, vol. 44, p. 34, Summarised).
Sayyiduna Khabbab رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ also had the honour of participating in the expeditions of Badr, Uhud, Khandaq, and many others, (Mustadrak, vol. 4, p. 468, Hadith 5692). During the Expedition of Badr, he رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ had the privilege of riding with the Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم and guarding his tent until Fajr, (Nasa’ee, p. 285, Hadith 1635). He was also tasked with carrying the spears of the Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم, (Mu’jam Kabeer, vol. 4, p. 64). When his share from the spoils would be taken out, he would cry out of fear of being placed into difficulty, (Hilya-tul-Awliya`, vol. 1, p. 194).
Struggles in the way of Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ
During the Age of Ignorance, some people forced him into slavery and sent him to Makkah, (Usd-ul-Ghaabah, vol. 2, p. 141). After he became a Muslim, the polytheists targeted him with severe torture, in a bid to make him leave Islam. However, with the power of Islam surging in his heart, he stood like a firm mountain with patience and steadfastness, (Al-A’alam Lil-Zirkili, vol. 2, p. 301). The disbelievers of Makkah dragged him over thorns, (Durr Mansoor, part 14, Surah Al-Nahl, under verse 106, vol. 5, p. 170) and made him stand in the scorching midday sun while clad in metal armour. They would make him lie on hot stones, causing the skin on his back to become thin in certain places, (Usd-ul-Ghaabah, vol. 2, p. 141).
They would brand his skin (Hilya-tul-Awliya`, vol. 1, p. 194); on one occasion, the polytheists lit a fire and then forced him to lie on it. The fat that melted from his back extinguished the fire, (Al-Tabaqat-Al-Kubra Lil-Sha’rani, vol. 1, p. 35). He once mentioned the torment he faced to Sayyiduna Umar al-Farooq رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ in the following words: ‘The polytheists once took me, lit a fire, and made me lie on it. Then an individual placed his foot on my chest and stood there, and I only separated from the ground after my back had burned.’
Sayyiduna Khabbab رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ then removed the cloth from his back and patches like those from vitiligo could be seen, (Tabaqat Ibn Sa’d, vol. 3, p. 123). The Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم loved him deeply and frequently visited him. When his owner would learn of this, she would mark his head with a hot iron rod. When the Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم received news of this, he صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم prayed for Sayyiduna Khabbab: ‘Dear Allah! Aid Khabbab!’ After a few days, his owner was afflicted with a mental illness that caused her to bark like a dog. Someone advised her to cure herself by branding her head with a hot rod, and it was the will of Allah Almighty that Sayyiduna Khabbab رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ was appointed for this task. Thus, he would take the burning rod and brand the head of his cruel owner, (Usd-ul-Ghaabah, vol. 2, p. 141).
He himself states: ‘The Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم once sent me with an army, so I said, ‘Dear Messenger of Allah! You are sending me far away whilst I remain fearful for your [safety].’ He صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم asked, ‘How fearful do you remain?’ He replied, ‘When I awake in the morning, I think that you will not make it to the evening, and when I see the evening, I think that you will not make it to the morning,’ (Mu’jam Kabeer, vol. 4, p. 81).
A (saintly) miracle
The Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم once despatched an army. On the way, the water ran out, causing much distress to the thirsty soldiers. Seeing this, he made one of the camels of his travel-companions sit down, and like a water skin, its udder became full of milk at once, and they all drink to their fill,” (Mu’jam Kabeer, vol. 4, p. 78).
He once saw a man who was offering salah at midday. So he stopped him and said, ‘This is the time when the doors of Hell are opened, do not offer salah at this time,’ (Takhweef Min Al-Nar, p. 93).
Recitation of the Quran
It is related that once his neighbour was leaving the masjid, so he took his hand and said, ‘Attain proximity to Allah Almighty in accordance to your ability. Indeed, you cannot gain proximity to Him with anything greater than His Speech (the Quran),’ (Mustadrak, vol. 3, p. 231, Hadith 3704). Just as he would spread the call to righteousness, he was also very cautious too. Some people were sitting in the masjid when he entered and sat down in silence. They said, ‘The people have gathered around you so that you converse with them or command them with something.’ He replied, ‘What shall I command them to do; perhaps I will command them with something that I do not do myself,’ (Usd-ul-Ghaabah, vol. 2, p. 143).
In Kufa, the people would bury their deceased in the courtyards or near the doors of their homes. When Sayyiduna Khabbab رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ arrived, he disagreed with this practice. So he made the following will to his son, “Bury me in a field outside of Kufa.” Thus, his bequest was fulfilled, and like this, his grave was the first to be made in a field outside of Kufa. Witnessing this, other people also began to bury their loved ones in the field outside of Kufa, (Mu’jam Kabeer, vol. 4, p. 56; Mustadrak, vol. 4, p. 468, Hadith 5691). He was 73 years old at that time, (Siyar Al-Salaf-ul-Saliheen, p 178).
When Sayyiduna Ali رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ arrived at the gates of Kufa after the Battle of Siffin in 37 AH (Siyar Al-Salaf-ul-Saliheen, p 178; Tareekh Ibn ‘Asakir, vol. 43, p. 359), he saw seven graves there. When Sayyiduna Ali رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ came to know of his demise, he said, ‘May Allah have mercy upon Khabbab! He accepted Islam willingly, migrated happily, and lived his life as a warrior,’ (Mu’jam Kabeer, vol. 4, p. 56). 32 Hadith were narrated from him, of which three are agreed upon and included by both al-Bukhari and Muslim in their respective Sahih collections. Imam al-Bukhari relates an additional two hadith from him while Imam Muslim relates one more, (Sharh Abi Dawood Lil-‘Ayni, vol. 3, p. 460, under Hadith 778).