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Hamza ibn Abd al-Muttalib: The Lion of Allah and the Lion of His Messenger

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The 15th of Shawal marks the martyrdom of Hamza ibn Abd al-Muttalib

Men who were graced with the light of existence, beyond count, since Allah the Almighty created Adam until the Day of Resurrection. Their transition from the first existence to the afterlife was like their transition from the world of wombs to the world of the living. No one ever mentioned them. They were like raw materials upon which the millstone of time ground them because they saw nothing but themselves and never went beyond the limits of their selfishness, thus becoming targets of time and victims of misfortune.

However, those who stepped forward into the battlefield to uphold the truth and confront falsehood, some of them had their names, struggles, and sacrifices etched onto the tablet of time and history. How much more so if their blood became the ink to write their own history?! Among those men was Hamza ibn Abd al-Muttalib, the uncle of the Prophet, peace be upon him and his family.

Personal Details:

Hamza ibn Abd al-Muttalib ibn Hashim ibn Abd Manaf. His mother was Hala bint Wahab ibn Abd Manaf, the cousin of Amina bint Wahab, the mother of the Prophet, peace be upon him and his family. He had nine brothers and six sisters, including Abdullah, the father of the Prophet, peace be upon him and his family, and Abu Talib, the father of the Commander of the Faithful, peace be upon him. This was enough to make him proud. He married Khawlah bint Qays ibn Fahd al-Ansari and was blessed with two sons. He was born two or four years before the Year of the Elephant. He embraced Islam in the second year of the Prophetic mission and was martyred in the Battle of Uhud at the age of fifty-nine.

Hamza’s Character:

Hamza ibn Abd al-Muttalib had a radiant face, reddish complexion, white teeth, aquiline nose, thick eyebrows, and dark eyes. He was tall, strong-bodied, neither corpulent nor thin, with well-set teeth. He was always smiling, fond of joking, frank in speech, gentle in conversation, humble in himself, and loving of goodness.[1] When heroes were counted, he was their first and foremost.

Hamza in the Pre-Islamic Era:

The pre-Islamic society had its own life, engulfed in darkness upon darkness, accustomed to killing, fighting, burying daughters alive, and indulging in the market of pleasures. However, those with sound reason and who followed the Hanif religion inherited from Abraham, peace be upon him, had a different way of life and a straight path.

Among these individuals was Hamza ibn Abd al-Muttalib, who spent his time horseback riding and hunting lions, far away from the lives of others. This lifestyle shaped him into a brave and bold man who never hesitated, eventually earning him the title given by the Prophet, peace be upon him and his family, “Lion of Allah and Lion of His Messenger.”

It is noteworthy and cannot be overlooked that he grew up in the house of Abd al-Muttalib, who established five norms that Allah later incorporated into Islam: prohibiting marrying one’s father’s wives, giving away one-fifth of treasure, digging the Zamzam well, setting the penalty of one hundred camels for murder, and specifying seven circuits for circumambulation.

Hamza’s life included not casting lots with divining arrows, never worshipping an idol, and never eating from what was sacrificed on altars. He used to say: “I am on the religion of my father, Abraham.”[2] Al-Jahiz accurately described Abd al-Muttalib by saying, “Abd al-Muttalib had no equal in Quraysh, just as Quraysh had no equal among the Arabs, and the Arabs had no equal among people.”[3]

Hamza Announcing His Islam:

After what has been mentioned, one might assume that Hamza was not a polytheist. Therefore, the narrative that he embraced Islam in the second year of Hijra is, in fact, a display of his commitment to Islam and its teachings, rather than a transition from polytheism to Islam. More on this will follow. As for the reason behind announcing and displaying his Islam, it has been reported that Abu Jahl confronted the Prophet, peace be upon him and his family, insulted him, and criticized his religion. The Prophet, peace be upon him and his family, did not respond to him, and a maidservant of Abdullah ibn Jad’an al-Taymi who was staying in a residence above Safa, overheard this. The Prophet then left Abu Jahl and went to join the people of Quraysh at the Kaaba.

Meanwhile, Hamza ibn Abd al-Muttalib returned from a hunting trip with his bow draped around him. When he returned from hunting, he would not go home until he had circumambulated the Kaaba. As he did so, he would stop to greet and chat with each group of Quraysh people he encountered. He was the most respected and powerful among them.

 When the maidservant told him about what had happened between the Prophet and Abu Jahl, Hamza could not contain his anger. He quickly went to the mosque, saw Abu Jahl sitting among the people, and approached him. He then raised his bow and struck Abu Jahl a harsh blow. Men from the tribe of Makhzum, who were part of Quraysh, stood up to help Abu Jahl. They said, “O Hamza, you have become a follower of Muhammad.” Hamza replied, “What stops me when it has become clear to me? I bear witness that he is the Messenger of Allah and that what he says is the truth. By Allah, I will not retract, so stop me if you are truthful.”[4]

Hamza: Lion of Allah and His Messenger’s Lion:

This title was given to him by one who does not speak out of desire, as his speech is not influenced by pleasure or anger, nor by love or hatred. Kinship has no role in taking positions. How could it be when he is the Seal of the Prophets, peace be upon him and his family? He takes the appropriate stance for each person and their actions.

The one who said about Abu Jahl: “Every prophet has a Pharaoh, and my Pharaoh is Abu Jahl,” also gave Hamza ibn Abd al-Muttalib the title “Lion of Allah and His Messenger’s Lion.” The Prophet, peace be upon him and his family, said, “Gabriel came to me and informed me that Hamza ibn Abd al-Muttalib is written among the inhabitants of the seven heavens (Hamza ibn Abd al-Muttalib, Lion of Allah and His Messenger’s Lion).”[5] It is impossible that someone like this in the heavens would have ever worshiped an idol or consumed alcohol since childhood.

Hamza’s Jihad Under the Guidance of the Messenger:

-In the second stage of Islam’s life: The first banner held by the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his family, was Hamza’s when he sent him as the leader of thirty men to the coast of the sea, pursuing a caravan of Quraysh. The caravan was guarded by three hundred men. There was no fighting due to the intervention of Majdi ibn Amr al-Juhani.[6]

-The Prophet met the delegation of the Aws and the Khazraj tribes at the Aqaba at night, accompanied by Hamza, peace be upon him. When the people of Mecca realized the secret gathering, they took up arms to fight the group, but the Prophet ordered them to disperse. Hamza stood at Aqaba with his sword drawn. When the Quraysh saw him, they asked, “What is this gathering about?” He replied, “We have not gathered, and there is no one here. By Allah, no one will pass this Aqaba unless I strike them with my sword.”[7]

-As for his role in the Battle of Badr, the accounts are numerous. He had many great moments on the battlefield, which are difficult for historians and researchers to record. It is a great honor for him that he fought before the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his family, with two swords. When Umayya ibn Khalaf ibn Awf asked about him, and they pointed out Hamza, he said, “That is the one who has done this to us.”[8]

-In the Battle of Uhud, he fought with two swords until the moment of his martyrdom, saying, “I am the Lion of Allah.” The scholar al-Majlisi said: “Hamza ibn Abd al-Muttalib attacked the enemy, and when they saw him, they retreated, and no one could stand against him.”[9] Even his killer, Wahshi, said, “I saw him in the midst of people like a vigorous camel, leveling people with his sword, and nothing could stand against him.”[10]

The Martyrdom of Hamza:

Al-Zuhri narrated from Abdullah ibn Adi, who heard it from Wahshi, who said: “I went out with the people, and I had short spears. I passed by Hind bint Utbah, and she said, ‘O Abu Dusmah, take revenge and heal…’ Hamza ibn Abd al-Muttalib came towards me quickly, and a ditch came in his way. He fell into it, and I struck him with a spear, and he fell dead.”[11]

Mutilationof Hamza:

After his martyrdom, peace be upon him, Wahshi took his liver and brought it to Hind, who chewed it and then spat it out. She mutilated him.[12] Because of this incident, Muawiyah was called “son of the liver eater.”

Praying Over the Pure Body of Hamza:

The Prophet, peace be upon him and his family, honored Hamza with seventy Takbirs to show his lofty status and great position. This has been mentioned in several sources, including al-Bihar.[13] The Prophet accepted the Islam of everyone who converted, except for Wahshi. When the earth became too constrained for him, and he found no way to save his life except by professing the two testimonies, he suddenly entered the presence of the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his family, and uttered them. The Prophet looked at him and said, “Wahshi??” Then he asked him about how he killed Hamza. After that, he said to him, “Hide your face from me.”[14]

Conclusion:

The best speech from the best of mankind to the best of women about the best of martyrs, where the Prophet, peace be upon him and his family, said to Fatima, peace be upon her: “From us is the best of prophets, and that is your father; from us is the best of successors, and that is your husband; from us is the best of martyrs, and that is your father’s uncle, Hamza… and from us is the Mahdi, and he is from your offspring.”[15]


References

  1. Hamza ibn Abd al-Muttalib, Ali Muhammad Ali Dakhil, Ahl al-Bayt Foundation, Beirut.
  2. Al-Khisal, p. 313.
  3. Al-Hayawan, Vol. 2, p. 89.
  4. Asad al-Ghaba, Vol. 2, p. 47; Hamza ibn Abd al-Muttalib, p. 21, Ali Muhammad Ali Dakhil.
  5. The Prophetic Biography by Ibn Hisham, Vol. 3, p. 102.
  6. Hamza ibn Abd al-Muttalib, p. 40.
  7. Hamza, the Youth of Abd al-Muttalib, p. 42.
  8. The Prophetic Biography, Vol. 2, p. 284.
  9. Al-Bihar, Vol. 6, Chapter on his Clans.
  10. The Prophetic Biography, Vol. 3, p. 76.
  11. Explanation of Nahj al-Balagha, Vol. 15, p. 13.
  12. Ansab al-Ashraf, Vol. 1, p. 322.
  13. Al-Bihar, Vol. 6, Chapter on his Clans.
  14. The Most Noble Messenger: The School of Morals, p. 237.
  15. Munthakhab al-Athar, p. 191.
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