UMAIR IBN WAHB
The Satan of Paganism and Disciple of Islam
On the Day of Badr, he was one of the leaders who took up their swordsto put an end to Islam. He was sharp-sighted and a perfect estimator, sohis people delegated him to determine the number of Muslims who set forthwith the Messenger and to see if the Muslims had ambushers or reinforcementsbehind them. `Umair Ibn Wahb Al-Jamhii galloped on his horse round the campof the Muslims, then returned to his people and told them that there wereabout 300 men, and his estimation was right.
They asked him if they had reinforcements behind them. He said, "I found nothing. But O you Quraish, I saw horses carrying veritable death. Theyhave neither fortitude nor refuge except their swords. By Allah! I see ifone of them is killed, one of you will be killed also. If they killed thesame number as you, what would be the benefit of life after that? Think wisely."
Some of the leaders of the Quraish were affected by his opinion and what he had said and were about to gather their men and return to Makkah without fighting, were it not for Abu Jahl who altered their opinion and ignited thefire of spite and war, in which he was its first victim.
The Quraish gave him the epithet "The Satan of Quraish". On the Day ofBadr, the Satan of Quraish fought fiercely and wildly, but the forces ofthe Quraish returned to Makkah completely beaten and `Umair Ibn Wahb lefta part of himself at Al-Madiinah, as the Muslims had taken his son as a prisonerof war.
One day, he joined his cousin Safwaan Ibn Umaiyah who was chewing his enemies in deadly bitterness because his father Umaiyah Ibn Khalaf had been killed at Badr and his bones buried at Al- Qaliib.
Safwaan and `Umair sat together ruminating on their enemies. Let `Urwah Ibn Az- Zubair tell us their long dialogue:
Safwaan, mentioning those who were killed at Badr said, "By Allah, there isn't any good in life after them." `Umair said, "That's true. By Allah,were it not for debts that I'm unable to repay and my children who I fearmight be vagabonds after me, I would ride to Muhammad and kill him. I havea plausable reason to give him. I'll say that I have come for the sake ofmy son, a prisoner of war." Safwaan seized the chance and said, "I'll repayyour debts and maintain your children with mine and comfort them as longas they live." `Umair agreed and said, "Keep it secret." Then he orderedhis sword to be sharpened and poisoned and set out.
When he arrived at Al-Madiinah, `Umar Ibn Al-Khattaab was sitting amongsome of the Muslims talking about the Day of Badr. `Umar looked and saw `Umair Ibn Wahb, girded with his sword, making his camel kneel at the door of the mosque. `Umar said, "That dog, the enemy of Allah, `Umair Ibn Wahb! By Allah, he has come for nothing but evil. It is he who provoked us on the Day ofBadr." `Umar entered and said to the Messenger (PBUH), "O Prophet of Allah, here is the enemy of Allah, `Umair Ibn Wahb come girded with his sword."
The Prophet (PBUH) said, "Let him in." `Umar came and took him by the scabbard of his sword round his neck and said to some of the men, "Enter and sit with the Prophet (PBUH) and be cautious of that fellow, he is dishonest." Then `Umar entered holding the scabbard of his sword round his neck and when the Prophet saw him, he told `Umar to let him alone and said to `Umair, "Draw nearer. Umair approached and said, "Good morning." That was the salutation in the period of Jahiliyah.
The Prophet (PBUH) said, "Allah has honored us with a better salutationthan yours. It is As- Salaam, the salutation of the believers in Paradise."
Umair said, " O, Muhammad, by Allah I have heard it recently."
The Prophet (PBUH) said, "What made you come, `Umair?" `Umair said, "Ihave come for the sake of this captive in your hands." The Prophet (PBUH)said, " Tell the truth, `Umair, what have you come for ?" `Umair, "I havecome for that purpose." The Prophet (PBUH) said, "But you sat with SafwaanIbn Umaiyah at Al-hijir and mentioned those of Al-Qalub from the Quraish,then you said, were it not for my debts and my children, I would ride andkill Muhmmad. Safwaan promised to repay your debts and maintain your childrenon condition that you kill me, but Allah prevented you from doing so."
At the moment, `Umair cried, "I witness that there is no god but Allahand that you are His Prophet.
That matter wasn't attended by anyone except Safwaan and me. By Allah,Allah told it to you. Praise be to Allah who guided me to Islam." The Prophet(PBUH) said to his companions, "Teach your brother the religion and how toreach the Qur'aan and set free the prisoner of war."
Thus, `Umair Ibn Wahb embraced Islam. Thus, the Satan of Quraish was so overwhelmed by the light of the Prophet (PBUH) and the light of Islam that, in a moment, he embraced Islam and turned into the Disciple of Islam.
`Umar Ibn Al-Khattaab, (may Allah be pleased with him) said, "By Allah,I hated him more than I hated a pig, when he appeared. But now, I love himmore than I love some of my sons."
`Umair sat thinking deeply about the tolerance of this religion and the greatness of its Prophet. He remembered his previous days in Makkah whenhe was arguing and fighting against Islam before the Hijrah of the Prophet(PBUH) and his Companions to Al-Madiinah. Then he remembered his fightingon the Day of Badr and his coming on this day to kill the Prophet. All thatwas abolished in a moment of saying, "There is no god but Allah and Muhammadis His Messenger."
What tolerance! What purity, what self confidence that this great religion carries. At such a moment Islam abolished all his previous sins, Muslimsforgave all his crimes and hate, opened their hearts and embraced him. Isnot he whose sword is still glimmering in front of their eyes, planning withdevilish intention to commit the most ignoble deed? All that was forgottenand nothing was mentioned. `Umair became in a single moment, one of the Muslimsand one of the Prophet's Companions with their rights and duties. Did nothe whom `Umar Ibn Al-Khattaab wanted to kill a short time ago become dearerto him than his sons?
If in one moment of truth when `Umair embraced Islam he deserved all the respect, honor, glory, and splendor of Islam, then Islam is indeed a great religion.
Within a short period of time, `Umair knew that his duty towards this religion was to serve it as much as he had fought it, to support it as much as he hadconspired against it and to show Allah and His Prophet what they liked oftruth, struggle, and obedience. Thus, one day he came to the Prophet and said"O Prophet of Allah, I had been doing my best to put out the light of Allahand was fond of hurting the Muslims. I would like you to give me permission to go to Makkah to call them to Allah, His Prophet and to Islam. Allah may guide them, otherwise, I'll hurt them in their religion as I used to hurt your companions in their religion."
From the time `Umair left Makkah for Al-Madiinah, Safwaan lbn Umaiyah,who had persuaded `Umair to go and kill the Messenger, walked proudly inthe streets of Makkah, and dropped into its meetings and clubs joyfully andmerrily. And whenever his people and his brothers asked him about the reasonfor his merriment and ecstasy when the bones of his father were still warmin the sands of Badr, he rubbed his hands proudly and said to the people,"Hurrah ! After a few days, happy news will come and make you forget theBattle of Badr." Every morning he went out of Makkah and asked the caravans,`Hasn't any matter occurred in Al-Madiinah?" Their answers were in the negative,as none of them had heard or seen any important matter in Al-Madiinah.
Safwaan continued without despair asking caravan after caravan until one day he met one and said to them, "Hasn't anything taken place in Al-Madiinah?" The traveler said, "Yes, a very important matter occurred." With a radiant face and at the peak of ecstasy Safwaan asked the traveler anxiously, "What happened? Tell me!" The man said ,"`Umair Ibn Wahb has embraced Islam, and he is there learning the religion and the Qur'aan!"
Safwaan felt giddy, and the good new which he had announced to his people and for which they were waiting to make them forget the Battle of Badr came to him that day dreadful enough to cause his ruin!
One day the traveler arrived, and `Umair returned to Makkah holding his sword, ready to fight, and Safwaan Ibn `Umaiyah was the first who met him. No sooner did Safwaan see `Umair than he got ready to attack him, but the combat-ready sword in the hand of Umair dissuaded him. He was satisfied with some insults vented on `Umair and went his way.
`Umair entered Makkah as a Muslim though he had left it a few days earlier as a polytheist. In his memory was the image of `Umar Ibn Al-Khattaab when he embraced Islam, and cried, "By Allah! I'll sit as a believer in everyplace where I sat as a polytheist." Taking these words as a motto and thatsituation as a model, `Umair made up his mind to sacrifice his life for thereligion that he had boldly fought against when he had the force to hurtany Muslim. And thus he began to compensate for what he had missed and torace with time by calling to Islam day and night, secretly and openly. Inhis heart faith floods upon him with safety, guidance, and light.
On his tongue are words of truth with which he calls to justice, charity, kindness and good. In this right hand is a sword with which he terrifiesthe severers who hinder the believers from the path of Allah and want itcrooked. Within a few weeks, those who embraced Islam by the guidance of`Umair Ibn Wahb were becoming innumerable. `Umair set forth with them toAl- Madiinah in a delightful, long caravan.
The desert that they crossed during their journey could not hold its astonishment and wonder at that man who had crossed it a short while ago holding his sword and hurrying towards Al-Madiinah to kill the Prophet (PBUH). Then he had crossedit returning from Al Madiinah with quite a different face from the firstone. He was reciting the Qur'aan on the back of his she-camel. Now, he wascrossing the desert for the third time ahead of a long procession of believersfilling the desert with the praise of Allah. Yes, it was a great announcement,that the Satan of the Quraish was turned by the guidance of Allah into abold Disciple of Islam who stood beside the Prophet (PBUH) in battles andsituations and whose loyalty to the religion of Allah continued to be firmeven after the departure of the Prophet from life.
On the day of the Conquest of Makkah, he did not forget his companion and relative, to call him to Islam, especially after there was no doubt in the truth of the Prophet (PBUH) and his mission.
Safwaan had traveled to Jeddah on his way to Yemen by sea. `Umair pitied him so much that he decided to deliver him from Satan by all means. He hurried to the Prophet (PBUH) and said, "O Prophet of Allah, Safwaan Ibn `Umaiyah is the chief of his people. He set off escaping from you to throw himself into the sea. Give him safety. Peace be upon you." The Prophet (PBUH) said, "He is safe." `Umair said "O Prophet of Allah, give me a token for his safety." The Prophet (PBUH) gave him his turban which he had worn when he enteredMakkah.
We let `Urwah Ibn Az-Zubair complete the story: `Umair set off till hereached Safwaan when he was about to sail. `Umair said, "O Safwaan, I sacrificemy mother and father for you. Avert perishing yourself. This is the safetyof the Prophet of Allah (PBUH) I came to you with." Safwaan said to him,"Woe to you! Go away, don't speak to me." `Umair said to him, "O Safwaan!I sacrifice my mother and father for you. The Prophet of Allah is the best,the most righteous, and the most clement of all people. His glory is yoursand his honor is yours." Safwaan said, "I'm afraid." `Umair said, "He's moreclement and more generous than that." He returned with him until they cameto the Prophet (PBUH). Safwaan said to the Prophet, "He claims that you havegiven me safety." The Prophet said, "He speaks the truth." Safwaan said tothe Prophet, "Give me the option for four months." The Prophet (PBUH) said,"You have the option for four months." After a while Safwaan embraced Islam,and `Umair was extremely happy about his acceptance of Islam. Ibn Wahb wenton his blessed journey to Allah following the great Prophet by whom Allahsaved people from straying and took them out of the depth of darkness intolight.