Sayyiduna Dihya Al-Kalbi رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ
Maulana Adnan Ahmad Attari
In Muharram, 7 AH, the Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم wrote and dispatched six emissaries to several leaders and rulers across the world, inviting them to Islam, (Subul-ul-Huda war Rashad, vol. 11, p. 344). One noble emissary from among them took the blessed letter and went to Hiraqal, the Emperor of Rome who remarked ‘I know that your companion is a prophet and messenger who has been mentioned in our scriptures. However, I fear for my life from the people of Rome; if I did not have this fear, I would have surely followed the prophet of the end times. Go to the monk known as Daghatir and tell him about this, for he is even more respected than me in Rome; the people are more likely to accept his word over mine. See what he says.’
The honourable emissary delivered the message of the Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم to the monk, to which he said, ‘By Allah! Your companion is a prophet sent from Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ; we recognise him on account of his attributes and we have seen his name in our sacred book.’ He then removed his black garments, donned white clothing, and went into the place of worship where he addressed the people of Rome: ‘The letter of Ahmad (the Messenger of Allah) has reached us; he calls us to the religion of Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ. I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship besides Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ and I bear witness that Ahmad is the Messenger of Allah.’
The monk had only uttered these words when the people charged at him, fatally beating him. The emissary of the Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم related the incident to the Emperor. This only confirmed his fears and he remarked, ‘I told you that I fear for my life. The people held that monk in greater esteem than me,’ (Usd-ul-Ghaabah, vol. 3, p. 56, summarised).
The noble emissary in this account is the notable companion, Sayyiduna Dihya Al-Kalbi رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ. His full name is Dihya b. Khalifah and he belonged to the Banu Kalb tribe. His name means ‘commander,’ (Fayd-ul-Qadeer, vol. 1, p. 657, under the Hadith 1041).
Although he رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ embraced Islam prior to Expedition of Badr, forced circumstances prevented him from participating in it, (Siyar A’laam-ul-Nubala, vol. 4, p. 157).
Along with being hailed as a senior companion (Istee’aab, vol. 2, p. 45), he رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ was recognised as the most handsome companion from among the companions of Madinah. Sayyiduna Jibraeel عَـلَيْـهِ الـسَّـلَام would occasionally assume his form when visiting the Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم, (Siyar A’laam-ul-Nubala, vol. 4, p. 159; Tareekh Ibn-e-‘Asakir, vol. 17, p. 201).
By profession, he رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ was a trader and would bring trade caravans to Madinah, (Shu’ab-ul-Iman, vol. 5, p. 235).
Once, some pieces of fabric were gifted to the Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم. The Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم, in turn, gifted a piece to him, stating, ‘Cut this cloth in two; make a shirt for yourself from one, and give the other one to your wife so that she can use it as a head covering.’ When he رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ was about to leave, the Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم added, ‘Tell your wife to attach another cloth beneath it so that her body is not visible,’ (Abu Dawood, vol. 4, p. 88, Hadith 4116).
Sayyiduna Dihya Al-Kalbi رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ would offer gifts in the court of the Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم. On occasion, he رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ presented a gift of pistachios, almonds, and dry bread to the Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم which he had brought from his trip to the Levant, (Tareekh Ibn-e-Asakir, vol. 17, p. 207). Another time, he رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ gifted a woollen garment and leather socks to the Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم, (Mu’jam Kabeer, vol. 4, p. 226, Raqm 4200). He رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ also presented a gift of figs and currants from Shaam in the Prophetic court, (Ansab Al-Ashraf, vol. 4, p. 23).
As a warrior
The Expedition of Uhud and all subsequent campaigns saw the valour of Sayyiduna Dihya رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ in action, (Istee’aab, vol. 2, p. 45). On his return from Rome, a tribe attacked him, attempting to rob him, but the Muslims from that tribe learned of this and returned all of the goods back to him.
Upon returning to Madinah, he related the unfortunate incident to the Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم. As the head of state and to maintain law and order, the Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم dispatched a convey of 500 soldiers under the command of Sayyiduna Zayd b. Harithah رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ to penalise the criminals. Sayyiduna Dihya Al-Kalbi رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ also took part in this expedition, (Maghaazi-lil-Waaqidi, vol. 2, p. 555; Seerat-e-Halbiyyah, vol. 3, p. 251; Seerat-e-Ibn-e-Kaseer, vol. 4, p. 433, selected). In the Expedition of Yarmook, he was appointed commander of the cavalry, (Tareekh Ibn-e-Asakir, vol. 17, p. 201).
Residence and demise
He رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ resided in a town in the city of Damascus, in Shaam, (Ithaf-us-Sadaat Al-Muttaqeen, vol. 8, p. 540). He رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ once travelled from his area to another area during Ramadan. As travellers, he رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ and some of his companions decided to avail the traveller’s dispensation and not fast. However, others who were travelling with them and were fasting found this to be unacceptable. Arriving at his hometown, he رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ said about those who were fasting, ‘By Allah! I did not ever think I would witness what I witnessed today, that the people have become so distant from the life of the Messenger and the way of the companions of the Messenger.’ This drove him to supplicate ‘O Allah! Take my soul,’ (Musnad Imam Ahmad, vol. 10, p. 351, Hadith 27300, summarised). He رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ passed away during the reign of Sayyiduna Ameer Mu’awiyah رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ and was laid to rest in a mountain village called Mizzah, (Al-Misbah Al-Mud’ee, vol. 1, p. 213; Mu’jam Al-Buldan, vol. 5, p. 122).
As a Narrator of Hadith
He رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ narrates 6 hadith, (Al-Isabah fi Tamyeez-us-Sahabah, vol. 2, p. 322). A group of Followers (Tabi’een) learned Hadith from him, (Mirqat-ul-Mafatih, vol. 7, p. 467, under the Hadith 3926).