LESSON: The role of the hidden soldiers (the Mus3ab and As3ad formula)
The amount of action and the amazing stories that took place during the hijra grabbed the attention away from the roles played by others before the hijra and away from the hijra scene. I want to take you back 3 years before the hijra when the Prophet was going around the camps for the Hajj talking to different tribes about Islam asking them to believe in him, host him, support him and his message. He met every single tribe that was in hajj and he presented his offer to all the leaders of the gathering. While coming back from a long discussion with Bani Shaiban as mentioned earlier in this article, he met six people. Those six were from a tribe called al-Khazraj, one of two main tribes in Medina, a city north of Mecca known as Yathreb at the time. He presented Islam to them and they all accepted Islam. He did not ask them to support him or host him because they were only six ordinary people. These six went back to Medina and came back the next year to meet the prophet but at that time they were twelve. The Prophet met them in a place called al-3aqabah, in a meeting called, “the First Pledge of al-3aqabah.” They pledged to the prophet to worship Allah and never associate partners with him, and pledged not to steal, not to fornicate, not to kill their children, and not to disobey him had he orders them to do any good. But at that meeting, the prophet did not let them go to Medina alone. He sent with them a Muslim, someone to teach them Islam, to help them understand it, and to be his representative in Medina in presenting this message to its people.
Medina is so far, Islam is in its 12th year and much Qur’an has been revealed. The city is a fresh open place for conveying Islam. It is a potential host for this message. The prophet saw the opportunity and couldn’t let it without doing his best to make it succeed as he always does. He had to send someone with them. The choice was so hard and very critical to the success of this mission. The prophet chose the beloved Mus3ab Ibn Umair. I came across an analysis of why the prophet chose Mus3ab to take on this huge responsibility. I like to present this analysis to you in the article for two main reasons, 1)to love Mus3ab, for loving him is part of our Islam, and, 2) to learn from his experience and his effort, for that is essential to attain similar success.
Here are some of the reasons the prophet may have chosen Mus3ab for:
- He was not so old to become difficult for him to carry out huge load in Medina nor was he young to make unwise or reckless moves. He was in his mid thirties.
- He experienced two previous migrations to Abyssinia so he is used to leaving Mecca and staying away for long times. He also gained the experience to live and interact with people of different culture and even different language.
- He is from a very honorable family, the family of Bani Abd Ad-Dar the guardians of the key to Ka3ba. The people of Medina will find it easy to listen to him and interact with him
- . He also will send a strong message that Islam is not a revolution from the poor against the rich, something that will help the rich people of Medina to embrace Islam. He will also serve as a role model of those who might have to lose their wealth to become Muslims in the case they are opposed by their families and tribes.
- He is from the early Muslims, someone who accompanied the Prophet and learned Islam and the Qur’an from him. He has what Medina needs from the knowledge and the wisdom.
- Mus3ab was known of his kindness, wisdom, softness, and eloquence, something that is needed for a person to be effective in presenting Islam and conveying its message to people, sometimes more importantly than knowledge itself. These qualities showed themselves in his stories in Medina and he was able to positively influence many people.
- He was a very rich person, one of the richest in Mecca. The people of Medina will have no doubt about his intention and they will rest assured that he has no interest in their wealth, something that might come to their mind while he is calling them to Islam
- He will not abandon his message and fall as a victim to the worldly temptations that may have faced him in Medina. He withstood this test already when his mother, who was very opposing to him becoming a Muslim, failed to convince him to convert back to worshipping idols. She had to give him the choice of becoming a Muslim, a case in which she will deprive him from all the wealth he has or converting back to her religion. He assertively and firmly chose Islam leaving behind one of the great wealths in Mecca. A person like that will never fall into any temptations from the worldly benefits he may find in Medina
- There is a possibility that he will be followed by many of the Medina population. He could have been tempted by leadership. The reason the prophet was sure is that he also abandoned being a leader in Mecca by becoming a Muslim. Being from his tribe, he could have easily gained leadership if he wanted to.
For these reasons and probably many others, the Messenger chose Mus3ab to carry out this huge responsibility. May Allah be pleased with Mus3ab and may He have mercy on him! It was the real success. By the effort of Mu3ab, Islam went into every single house in Medina. People joined Islam individually and in tribes. Mu3ab prepared Medina to be the host city of the prophet and the center of guidance to the whole humanity. In one year, 75 of those people went back to Mecca to call the Messenger to join them in Medina, for there is not a single household in Medina except in which there is a Muslim.
An important question comes to mind. That is the question of “How would a stranger like Mus3ab, someone who never lived in Medina, who knows only a few people, can influence people that strongly? Why would people talk to him in the first place? What was he doing to even make them meet with him?” Here comes the role of another hidden soldier, As3ad ibn Zurarah, a man without which Mus3ab would not have succeeded.
As3ad was a young leader, the youngest of the 12 people who went to the prophet. Yet he was very involved. He was known, well known by almost every tribe in Medina. He was also social and effective in his relationship with people. He hosted Mus3ab in his house and he used to invite people to his house to meet Mus3ab and listen to him. He used to take Mus3ab around from a gathering to another and from a household to another. He was, in nowadays terms, the outreach committee of the small team in Medina. He used to take Mus3ab to the houses of al-Khazraj, the tribe of As3ad and to his life long enemy tribe, al-Awas. He forgot all the enmity for the sake of the noble message he now carries. I encourage the reader to read about the stories they had together in Medina conveying the message of Islam especially the beautiful story of Sa3d Ibn Muadth and Usaid Ibn Hudair and their tribe becoming Muslims on the hands of this blessed couple.
A few important thoughts that should come to our mind when we think of Mus3ab. Are we ready to take on such a responsibility? Are we qualified in terms of knowledge and skills to be able to succeed in such a mission? Are we available to leave our life, our wealth, our family and our hometown to leave for such a noble yet very difficult job? Are we going to be chosen by the Messenger in case something like this is needed? Can we be the hidden soldiers in making a remarkable event such as hijra a remarkable event?
Mus3ab died three years after the prophet migrated to Medina as a martyr in the battle of Uhud. He died as a poor man when the Muslims did not find enough clothes to cover him with before the burial. He died while the Muslims were still weak and opposed by armies of thousands. He died without seeing the success of his work and the fruits of his effort. He died before the event he contributed to became the beginning of the Muslim calendar. However, Mus3ab and people similar to him do not usually gain the fruits of their effort in this life. They do so in the hereafter.
A few other thoughts should hit us when we think of As3ad. We do not have to be scholars to contribute. The message of Islam needs all the skills and all the effort. We can’t claim that we had nothing to offer. We can offer a lot. Are we involved in the society the same way As3ad was? Did we establish social connection to our people similar to the one As3ad did? Are we ready to ignore our differences with people for the sake of a higher cause such as conveying the message of Islam as As3ad did with his life long enemies? What are we waiting for to contribute? As3ad was very young yet very passionate about what he was doing and very active in doing it? Young people have a huge role to play, even more role than the one they will play when they are old.