Biography of Sahaabah-Musab Ibn Umayr(ra)

Musab Ibn Umayr(ra)

Musab ibn Umayr was born and grew up in the lap of affluence and luxury. His rich parents lavished a great deal of care and attention on him. He wore the most expensive clothes and the most stylish shoes of his time. Yemeni shoes were then considered to be very elegant and it was his privilege to have the very best of these. As a youth he was admired by the Quraysh not only for his good looks and style but for his intelligence. His elegant bearing and keen mind endeared him to the Makkan nobility among whom he moved with ease. Although still young, he had the privilege of attending Quraysh meetings and gatherings. He was thus in a position to know the issues which concerned the Makkans and what their attitudes and strategies were.

Among Makkans there was a sudden outburst of excitement and concern as Muhammad, known as al-Amin (the Trustworthy), emerged saying that God had sent him as a bearer of good tidings and as a warner. He warned the Quraysh of terrible chastisement if they did not turn to the worship and obedience of God and he spoke of Divine rewards for the righteous. The whole of Makkah buzzed with talk of these claims. The vulnerable Quraysh leaders thought of ways of silencing Muhammad. When ridicule and persuasion did not work, they embarked on a campaign of harassment and persecution. Musab learnt that Muhammad and those who believed in his message were gathering in a house near the hill of as-Safa to evade Quraysh harassment. This was the house of al-Arqam. To satisfy his curiosity, Musab proceeded to the house undererred by the know ledge of Quraysh hostility. There he met the Prophet teaching his small band of companions, reciting the verses of the Quran to them and performing Salat with them in submission to God, the Great, the Most High. The Prophet welcomed him, and with his noble hand tenderly touched Musab's heart as it throbbed with excitement. A deep feeling of tranquility came over him. Musab was totally overwhelmed by what he had seen and heard. The words of the Quran had made a deep and immediate impression on him.In this first meeting with the Prophet, the young and decisive Musab declared his acceptance of Islam. It was a historic moment. The keen mind of Musab, his tenacious will and determination, his eloquence and his beautiful character were now in the service of Islam and would help change the course of men's destinies and of history. On accepting Islam Musab had one major concern his mother. Her name was Khunnas bint Malik. She was a woman of extraordinary power. She had a dominant personality and could easily arouse fear and terror. When Musab became a Muslim, the only power on earth he might have feared was his mother.
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All the powerful nobles of Makkah and their attachment to pagan customs and traditions were of little consequence to him. Having his mother as an opponent, however, could not be taken lightly. Musab thought quickly. He decided that he should conceal his acceptance of Islam until such time as a solution should come from God. He continued to frequent the House of al-Arqam and sit in the company of the Prophet. He felt serene in his new faith and by keeping all indications of his acceptance of Islam away from her, he managed to stave off his mother's wrath, but not for long. It was difficult during those days to k eep anything secret in Makkah for long. The eyes and ears of the Quraysh were on every road. Behind every footstep imprinted in the soft and burning sand was a Quraysh informer. Before long, Musab was seen as he quietly entered the House of al-Arqam, by someone called Uthman ibn Talhah. At another time, Uthman saw Musab praying in the same manner as Muhammad prayed. The conclusion was obvious. As winds in a storm, the devastating news of Musab's acceptance of Islam spread among the Quraysh and eventually reached his mother. Musab stood before his mother, his clan and the Quraysh nobility who had all gathered to find out what he had done and what he had to say for himself. With a certain humility and calm confidence, Musab acknowledged that he had become a Muslim and no doubt he explained his reasons for so doing. He then recited some verses of the Quran - verses which had cleansed the hearts of the believers and brought them back to the natural religion of God. Though only few in number, their hearts were now filled with wisdom, honor, justice and courage. As Musab's mother listened to her son on whom she had lavished so much care and affection, she became increasingly incensed. She felt like silencing him with one terrible blow. But the hand which shot out like an arrow staggered and faltered before the light which radiated from Musab's serene face. Perhaps, it was her mother's love which restrained her from actually beating him, but still she felt she had to do something to avenge the gods which her son had forsaken. The solution she decided upon was far worse for Musab than a few blows could ever have been. She had Musab taken to a far corner of the house. There he was firmly bound and tethered. He had become a prisoner in his own home. For a long time, Musab remained tied and confined under the watchful eyes of guards whom his mother had placed over him to prevent him from any further contact with Muhammad and his faith. Despite his ordeal, Musab did not waver. He must have had news of how other Muslims were being harassed and tortured by the idolators. For him, as for many other Muslims, life in Makkah was becoming more and more intolerable. Eventually he heard that a group of Muslims were preparing secretly to migrate to Abyssinia to seek refuge and relief. His immediate thoughts were how to escape from his prison and join them. At the first opportunity, when his mother and his warders were off-guard, he managed to slip away quietly. Then with utmost haste he joined the other refugee s and before long they sailed together across the Red Sea to Africa.

Although the Muslims enjoyed peace and security in the land of the Negus, they longed to be in Makkah in the company of the noble Prophet. So when a report reached Abyssinia that the conditions of the Muslims in Makkah had improved, Musab was among the fi rst to return to Makkah. The report was in fact false and Musab once again left for Abyssinia. Whether he was in Makkah or Abyssinia, Musab remained strong in his new faith and his main concern was to make his life worthy of his Creator. When Musab returned to Makkah again, his mother made a last attempt to gain control of him and threatened to have him tied up again and confined. Musab swore that if she were to do that, he would kill everyone who helped her. She knew very well that he would carry out this threat for she saw the iron determination he now had. Separation was inevitable. When the moment came, it was sad for both mother and son but it revealed a strong Persistence in kufr on the part of the mother and an even greater persistence in iman on the part of the son. As she threw him out of her house and cut him off from all the material comforts she used to lavish on him, she said: "Go to your own business. I am not prepared to be a mother to you." Musab went up close to her and said: "Mother, I advise you sincerely. I am concerned about you. Do testify that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is His servant and His Messenger." "I swear by the shooting stars, I shall not enter your religion even if my opinion is ridiculed and my mind becomes impotent," she insisted. Musab thus left her home and the luxury and comforts he used to enjoy. The elegant, well dressed youth would henceforth be seen only in the coursest of attire. He now had more important concerns. He was determined to use his talents and energies in acquiring knowledge and in serving God and His Prophet. 

One day, several years later, Musab came upon a gathering of Muslims sitting around the Prophet, may God bless him and grant him peace. They bowed their heads and lowered their gaze when they saw Musab, and some were even moved to tears. This was because his jalbab was old and in tatters and they were immediately taken back to the days before his acceptance of Islam when he was a model of sartorial elegance. The Prophet looked at Musab, smiled gracefully and said: "I have seen this Musab with his parents in Makkah. They lavished care and attention on him and gave him all comforts. There was no Quraysh youth like him. Then he left all that seeking the pleasure of God and devoting himself to the service of His Prophet." The Prophet then went on to say: "There will come a time when God will grant you victory over Persia and Byzantium. You would have one dress in the morning and another in the evening and you would eat out of one dish in the morning and another in the evening." In other words, the Prophet predicted that the Muslims would become rich and powerful and that they would have material goods in plenty.

The companions sitting around asked the Prophet: "O Messenger of Allah, are we in a better situation in these times or would we be better off then?" He replied: "You are rather better off now than you would be then. If you knew of the world what I know you would certainly not be so much concerned with it." On another occasion, the Prophet talked in a similar vein to his companions and asked them how they would be if they could have one suit of clothes in the morning and another in the evening and even have enough material to put curtains in their houses just as the Kabah was fully covered. The companions replied that they would then be in a better situation because they would then have sufficient sustenance and would be free for ibadah (worship). The Prophet however told them that they were indeed better off as they were.

After about ten years of inviting people to Islam, most of Makkah still remained hostile. The noble Prophet then went to Taif seeking new adherents to the faith. He was repulsed and chased out of the city. The future of Islam looked bleak. It was just after this that the Prophet chose Musab to be his "ambassador" to Yathrib to teach a small group of believers who had come to pledge allegiance to Islam and prepare Madinah for the day of the great Hijrah. Musab was chosen above companions who were older than he or were more closely related to the Prophet or who appeared to possess greater prestige. No doubt Musab was chosen for this task because of his noble character, his fine manners and his sharp intellect. His knowledge of the Quran and his ability to recite it beautifully and movingly was also an important consideration.