Sayyiduna Dahak b. Qays رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ
Maulana Adnan Ahmad Attari Madani
Sayyiduna Abu Unays Dahak b. Qays رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ was born around seven years before the passing away of the Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم, (Al-Istee’ab, vol. 2, p. 297; Zurqaani Alal Muwatta, vol. 1, p. 352, under Hadith 243). He رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ was from the younger companions and a jurist, (Siyar A’laam-un-Nubala, vol. 4, p. 374; Tareekh Ibn-e-‘Asakir, vol. 24, p. 288).
He رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ narrates the following account regarding himself: While travelling once, I became so tired that I ended up getting lost. Moreover, I lost the camel that was carrying my water supply. After sending my attendant to search for water, I remained standing on the path. Just then, I saw a man. I asked him for water, but seeing my state and my helplessness, he replied, ‘I will not give you water unless you pay me.’ ‘What is the price?’ I asked. (Taking advantage of my plight) he asked for 100 Dinars. I reminded him, ‘Is it not your duty to quench, feed, and honour your guest?’ He responded, ‘We do this sometimes and sometimes we do not.’ So, I said, ‘To me, it seems as though you have never done this.’ I then gave him a guarantee of 100 Dinars, handing over my bow as security. He then turned in the direction of the water and rushed to fetch it. Seeing the path to the water, I told myself that I no longer needed him.
Heading in his direction, I came across a group of people sitting by the water. I requested a drink and an old man told his daughter to give me some water. She brought over water and milk which I drank till I was quenched. In the meantime, the first man I had encountered returned and said, ‘I have quenched your thirst and you are taking my right from me; I will not let you go until you pay me the full 100 Dinars.’ All of the people surrounded me. I rebuked the man, ‘He is a lowly and wretched man. He has treated me badly while this old man has treated me kindly.’ Hearing this, they began cursing the man. Meanwhile, my attendant returned, behaving with me as befits my rank. Seeing this, the man attempted to flee, but I said, ‘By Allah! I will not let you go until I give you 100.’ Then, I ordered my companions to administer 100 lashes to him and to give that elderly man and his daughter 100 Dinars and clothes,’ (Ansab-ul-Ashraf, vol. 11, p. 52, summarised).
When Sayyiduna Ibn-e-Umar رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُما was asked about his relationship with Sayyiduna Dahak, he answered: ‘Whenever we meet, we ask him about what he likes. Whenever he is alone, we ask if he needs anything,’ (Mu’jam Kabeer, vol. 12, p. 308).
He رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ was very generous. Seeing him in a luxurious shawl worth 300 dinars, a man wished to purchase it from him. But the altruistic companion refused, gifting it to him instead and adding: ‘It is from a man’s greed if he sells his shawl,’ (Siyar A’laam-un-Nubala, vol. 4, p. 375).
A muezzin said to him, ‘I love you for the sake of Allah,’ to which, he رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ replied, ‘But I dislike you for the sake of Allah.’ The perplexed muezzin asked the reason. He رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ explained that ‘You exceed the limits when giving the azan,’ (Ansaab-ul-Ashraf, vol. 11, p. 46, summarised).
Sayyiduna Dahak b. Qays رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ was a powerful orator who moved people to transform their lives with his words. During his governorship of Kufa, he delivered a sermon. After praising Allah Almighty, he رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ addressed to the attendees: ‘There are some people from you who curse our pious and righteous predecessors. By the One who has no partner or equal! If you do not desist, I will unsheath my sword and then neither will you find me weak in intensity nor will you find my blade to be blunt,’ (Ansaab-ul-Ashraf, vol. 11, p. 51).
Dhikr of Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ
He رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ advised: ‘Remember Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ in times of happiness, He will be with you in times of hardship,’ (Ansaab-ul-Ashraf, vol. 11, p. 47).
From the several guidelines he shared about parenting, this is especially pertinent: ‘Teach the Quran to your children and family members,’ (Ansaab-ul-Ashraf, vol. 11, p. 47).
The right of Salah
He رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ said: ‘Whenever one of you offers salah, he should fulfil its right. Whosoever stands for salah and does not focus on it, he is like a horse which has a feeding basket around its neck but it contains no food; the one who looks at it will assume that the horse will eat from it, but it is empty,’ (Ansaab-ul-Ashraf, vol. 11, p. 48).
Like the Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم, he رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ was opposed to hoarding and consumerism. He would remind people that ‘The Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم cursed those who hoard,’ and added ‘Have trust in Allah Almighty; do not rely on your excuses, because in many cases, excuses lead people to destruction,’ (Ansaab-ul-Ashraf, vol. 11, p. 55).
He رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ stated, ‘Perform actions solely for the sake of Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ, for Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ only accepts the deed which is sincere. Whenever one of you gives a gift to someone or pardons the mistake of another or maintains ties of kinship, he should never say: ‘This is for the sake of Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ,’ because Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ is aware of the state of the heart, (Tareekh Ibn-e-Asakir, vol. 24, p. 282).
A drought once struck Damascus while he رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ was the governor. So, he رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ instructed the Taabi’i Sayyiduna Yazid b. Aswad رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه: ‘Be our intercessor in the court of Allah.’ Sayyiduna Yazid b. Aswad رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه then supplicated: ‘O Allah! Your slaves wish to gain Your proximity through me, so grant them water.’ Only moments later, the clouds burst open with heavy rain - as though a flood was imminent, (Al-Ahaad wa Al-Masani, vol. 2, p. 136; Tareekh Ibn-e-Asakir, vol. 65, p. 113).
As a warrior
He رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ is from the brave leaders of Islam and valiant warriors, (Al-A’laam-lil-Zurqaali, vol. 3, p. 214), who participated in the conquest of Damascus, (Siyar A’lam-un-Nubala, vol. 4, p. 374). During the civil war, he supported Sayyiduna Ameer Mu’awiyah رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ in the Battle of Siffin, (Al-A’laam-lil-Zurqaali, vol. 3, p. 214). He رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ became the governor of Kufa in 53 AH. In 57 AH, he رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ was appointed as the governor of Damascus, (Al-Istee’ab, vol. 2, p. 297).
He رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ led the funeral prayer of Sayyiduna Ameer Mu’awiyah رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ, (Siyar A’laam-un-Nubala, vol. 4, p. 375). In 64 AH, he رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ took the pledge of allegiance from the people of the Levant on behalf of Sayyiduna Abdullah b. al-Zubayr who had declared his caliphate in that year, (Al-Istee’ab, vol. 2, p. 297; Fath-ul-Baari, vol. 14, p. 60).
However, Marwan b. Hakam did not agree with this at all and started a war with him. But, realising Sayyiduna Dahak’s رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ military prowess and powerful cavalry and seeing that he could not win, he feigned a ceasefire with Sayyiduna Dahak رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ whose army immediately laid down their weapons. The cunning Marwan took advantage of this and suddenly attacked, (Al-Istee’ab, vol. 2, p. 298, summarised). It was during this battle, on the 15th Dhul Hijjah, 64 AH, in a place known as ‘Marj Rahit’ that he رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ embraced martyrdom, (Tabqat Ibn-e-Sa’d, vol. 7, p. 288).