Sayyiduna Abdullah Bin Khabbaab رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُما
Maulana Adnan Ahmad Attari Madani
Sayyiduna Abdullah Bin Khabbaab رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُما is among the people who were renowned for their esteemed character and qualities, (Tareekh-e-Baghdad, vol. 1, p. 219). His honourable father Sayyiduna Khabbaab Bin Arat رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ was from the first companions to accept Islam. According to one narration, Sayyiduna Abdullah Bin Khabbaab and Sayyiduna Abdullah Bin Zubayr رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُم were the first children to be born following the Migration to Madinah. The Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم named him Abdullah, saying to his father, ‘You are Abu Abdullah,’ (Al-Asabah, vol. 4, p. 64; Ma’rifah-tul-Sahabah, vol. 3, p. 132).
Governor of Nahrawan
When the people of Nahrawan revolted against Sayyiduna Ali Al-Murtada رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ, he رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ appointed Sayyiduna Abdullah Bin Khabbaab رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُما as the governor of Nahrawan. (Al-Haawi-ul-Kabeer-lil-Mawardi, vol. 16, p. 371; Tareekh-e-Baghdad, vol. 7, p. 244)
Fighting the Khawarij
The Nahrawani rebels who dissented from Sayyiduna Ali رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ are known as the Khawarij. When they grew in sedition and wreaked havoc in the community, Sayyiduna Abdullah Bin Khabbaab رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُما, along with his wife and children, retreated to a village near Basra before leaving to meet Sayyiduna Ali رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ in Kufa. Along the way, they were passing a party of the Khawarij when one of them cried out, ‘He is from the companions of Muhammad; let us ask him what he says about us.’
The Quran will not go beyond their throats
They approached him and asked, ‘Are you not going to tell us what you heard about us from the Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم?’ He رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ replied, ‘Nothing about you specifically but I heard the Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم say, ‘After me, a group will appear who recites the Quran but the Quran does not go beyond their throats; they will leave the religion never to return, just as an arrow never returns. Glad tidings are for the person who kills them and glad tidings are for the person who is killed by them,’ (Ma’rifah-tul-Sahabah, vol. 3, p. 132).
Martyrdom during tribulation
In another version, he answered, ‘My father related that regarding a tribulation, the Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم stated, ‘The one who sits at that time will be better than the one who stands; the one who stands will be better than the one who walks; and the one who walks will be better than the one who partakes. If you live to see that time, be martyred as a bondman of Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ.’ The Khawarij asked, ‘Did you hear this Hadith from your father?’ He رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ replied, ‘Yes,’ (Tabqat-e-Ibn-e-Sa’d, vol. 5, p. 190, summarised).
Believer at dusk, disbeliever at dawn
Another report suggests that he رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ related the following Hadith to them: ‘A tribulation will occur in which a person’s heart will die just as a body dies; he will be a believer in the evening and will be in the state of disbelief in the morning,’ (Ansab Al-Ashraf, vol. 3, p. 142; Nihaya-tul-Arab, vol. 20, p. 105).
Praise for the rightly-guided caliphs
The Khawarij said, ‘It is because of this Hadith that we questioned you.’ They continued to ask, ‘What do you say about Sayyiduna Abu Bakr and Sayyiduna Umar Al-Farooq رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُما?’ He رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ expressed some words of praise for those noble personalities. The Khawarij then asked, ‘What do you say about the beginning and end of Sayyiduna Usman’s reign?’ He رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ replied, ‘The respected and honourable Sayyiduna Usman-e-Ghani رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ was upon the truth in the beginning and the end of his reign.’
The Khawarij then asked, ‘What do you say about Ali?’ He رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ replied, ‘The honourable and noble Sayyiduna Ali رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ knows more about Allah Almighty than you, he protects his religion more than you, and he exceeds you in understanding and insight.’
Imprisoned by the Khawarij
After hearing all of this, they responded, ‘Indeed, you have followed your desires by loving those people after seeing their names, without observing their actions. We will kill you in a way that we have never killed anyone before.’ They seized him, tying his hands behind his back. (Nihaya-tul-Arab, vol. 20, p. 105, summarised)
Taking him and his family as prisoners, they passed a garden when one of the Khawarij picked up a fallen date and placed it into his mouth. Seeing this, one of his associates remarked, ‘You are eating this date before making it halal for yourself, because you have not paid for it.’ Hearing this, the Khariji took out the date from his mouth and threw it away before drawing his sword and waving it around in joy, as though he had performed a great feat. They then came across a pig belonging to a non-Muslim when one of the Khawarij drew his blade and killed the pig. Seeing this, another Khariji cried out, ‘This is spreading corruption in the land.’ So, the first one called the pig’s owner and compensated him. (Nihaya-tul-Arab, vol. 20, p. 105)
Seeing this, Sayyiduna Abdullah Bin Khabbaab رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُما addressed them, ‘Should I tell you about the person who is more honourable and noble than this pig?’ ‘Yes, tell us,’ they said. He رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُما replied, ‘It is me,’ (Musannaf Ibn-e-Abi Shaybah, vol. 21, p. 431, Raqm 39048). According to one report, he رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُما said, ‘If what I hear and observe in your behaviour is truthful, then I am surely safe from your evil,’ however, they were not sincere or truthful. They took him to the river-bank where they laid him on the carcass of the pig, and severed his neck. The noble blood of Sayyiduna Abdullah Bin Khabbaab رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُما streamed into the river like a shoelace. Not stopping there, they then slit open the belly of his pregnant wife before killing the other women who were there. (Tabqat Ibn-e-Sa’d, vol. 5, p. 190; Ansab-ul-Ashraf, vol. 3, p. 142) This painful martyrdom of Sayyiduna Abdullah Bin Khabbaab رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُما took place in Sha’ban, 38 AH, (Al-‘Ibar fi Khabri-Man Ghabar, vol. 1, p. 32).
That party of Khawarij wished to purchase a date-palm from a Christian who said, ‘I gift this tree to you.’ The Khawarij replied, ‘We will not take anything without paying for it.’ Astonished, the Christian remarked, ‘What could be stranger than this; you kill a person like Abdullah Bin Khabbaab رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُما but refuse to even accept some dates from me,’ (Al-‘Iqd-ul-Fareed, vol. 2, p. 232).
Ulti ‘Aqal kisi ko bhi aysi khuda na day
Day aadmi ko maut, par yeh bad ada na day