ʿUKÂSHAH IBN MOḤṢIN – a legend of Islamic history—holds a fabulous status not just in our eyes, but in those of his fellow Companions who held him in awe. He had achieved what many of them could only dream of achieving. But firstly, who is this man?
He was the son of Moḥṣin ibn Ḥarsân and was a scion of the Banû Asad tribe. Even before the migration of the Prophet ﷺ to Madinah he had sworn allegiance to him in person. He was amongst the third batch who emigrated to Madinah along with ʿUthmân ibn ʿAffân and his family.
His sister, Umm Qays bint Moḥṣin said about him:
My brother was very good-looking. He excelled thanks to the nobility of his character and his superior learning. He was also a superb leader. ʿUkâshah was twenty-four years old when the Prophet ﷺ passed away. He had witnessed the battles of Badr, Uḥud, and several other battles, with great fervor and enthusiasm. He displayed exceptional expertise in many wars.
Take a moment and just think about it. At the “tender” age of 24 ʿUkâshah had already participated in, not just one, but two of the greatest battles that the Prophet ﷺ personally took part in. And though ʿUkâshah’s age is disputed, we can still derive lessons from it. Here in our times we have full grown men of that age sitting at home being pampered by the mother, who says: “Oh, but he’s just a kid.” Kid is what I would have called Usâmah ibn Zaid who led an army at the age of 17 but I can’t. Why you ask? Who would allow a “kid” to lead an army if kids were supposed to be immature and not trusted with responsibilities? By the Prophet of Allah ﷺ himself! Give children a chance to grow up and prove their mettle, because if not, then once you die they just become a burden on their spouse. Technically speaking, instead of a spouse the wife gets a pampered baby in the body of a young adult. Show some faith and see wonders happen.
Many scholars emphasize the importance of mothers and upbringing. One of them had said that the reason the Ummah is falling down is because we have lost our mothers. The day we regain our mothers, the Ummah will rise to shake mountains. What he meant here was the tarbiya which mothers give to their children from a very young age.
Having gotten off topic here a bit, we now return to the story of ʿUkâshah.
During the battle of ʿBadr, ʿUkâshah was fighting bravely with his sword. He fought and he fought till it broke. He came to our beloved Prophet ﷺ for help. The Prophet ﷺ gave him a dry branch of a tree and told him to fight with it. Wait, WHAT?! He asked him to fight a battle with a branch of a tree?
The faithful Companion ʿUkâshah took the branch and gave it a little shake. Having complete faith in the Prophet ﷺ and his Rabb, he turned to fight. Here the branch turned into a very strong and long white sword! This was one of the miracles of our Beloved ﷺ. The faithful Companion fought the rest of the battle with this miraculous sword until Allah Almighty bestowed victory on the Muslim army over the disbelievers. This sword was called Ayun and it remained with ʿUkâshah. Some say he carried on using it, calling it “Al-Qawiy” (the Strong) until he was martyred during the Wars against the Apostates.
In the 6th year Hijri, fourteen hundred Companions set out for Makkah with the Prophet ﷺ to perform ʿUmrah. When they reached a place called Ḥudaibiya, they were blocked by Quraysh of Makkah. Even though the Prophet was on a peaceful mission, Quraysh arrogantly denied him and his Companions access to Makkah. Finally the standoff was solved by the conclusion of a treaty between the Prophet and Quraysh, which came to be known as the Treaty of Ḥudaibiya. ʿUkâshah ibn Moḥṣin was one of these pure-hearted Companions, who are described in the Noble Quran in these words of Sûrat Al-Fatḥ:
Verily, Allah was pleased with believers when they gave pledge to you under the tree [at Ḥudaybiya]: He knew what was in their hearts of faith and sincerity and He sent down serenity upon them, and He rewarded them with a near triumph. [Sûrat Al-Fatḥ, 48:18]
ʿUkâshah ibn Moḥṣin was one of the ‘Companions of the Tree.’ It is indeed a great honor and blessing to hear in one’s own lifetime the uplifting news that one has gained the reward of Paradise from Allah himself. They are indeed extremely favored people, who have been mentioned in the Noble Quran. This is the very zenith and fulfillment of human existence. Just imagine being with the Prophet and him telling you that the Lord, Rabb ʿÂlâmîn and Mâlik Al-Mulk, is happy with what you have done. By Allah! if a person can just comprehend that, he would burst out or even die of pure happiness. May Allah make us amongst those whom Allah loves and they who obey His Messenger’s commands!
Now comes the true pinnacle of the life of ʿUkâshah that made him the point of envy of, not only the generations to come, but the blessed gatherings of the Ṣaḥâba themselves. When I say envy, I don’t mean the envy we show towards our brethren nowadays where we curse and wish them ill. No by God, this was envy in terms of the reward that ʿUkâshah had gained and they had missed out on.
Ibn ʿAbbâs narrated that the Prophet ﷺ said:
Nations were displayed before me. One or two prophets would pass by along with a few followers. And a prophet would pass by accompanied by nobody. Then a big crowd of people passed in front of me and I asked: ‘Who are they?’ ‘Are they my followers?’ It was said: ‘No. It is Musa and his followers.’ Then it was said to me: ‘Look at the horizon.’ And behold! There was a multitude of people filling the horizon. It was said to me: ‘This is your nation out of whom seventy thousand shall enter Paradise without reckoning.’
Then the Prophet entered his house without telling his Companions who the 70,000 were. So the Companions started discussing the issue and said: ‘It is we who have believed in Allah and followed His Prophet; therefore those people are either ourselves or our children who are born Muslims, for we were born in the Pre-lslamic Period of Ignorance.’ When the Prophet ﷺ heard of that, he came out and said: ‘They are those who do not treat themselves with ruqya, nor do they believe in bad or good omen, nor do they get themselves branded (cauterized), but they put their trust (only) in their Lord.”
On hearing that, ʿUkâshah got up and said: ‘Messenger of Allah! Invoke Allah that He may make me one of them.’ The Prophet said: ‘O Allah, make him one of them.’ Another man from the Anṣâr got up and said: ‘O Allah’s Messenger! Invoke Allah to make me one of them.’ The Prophet ﷺ said (to him): ‘ʿUkâshah has beaten you to it.’ (Bukhâri)
Now just imagine this. Here is a man that is going to Paradise WITHOUT having to give any account. Calling it a VIP pass is also derogatory. ʿUkâshah had just achieved what the Ṣaḥâba could only have imagined in their wildest of dreams. A straight pass to Jannah without any reckoning and with the pleasure of Allah. What else does a man want? Whenever you see a good opportunity take it, don’t wait and be like the man from Anṣâr who got beaten to Jannah by a matter of seconds.
According to a weak report (scholars nonetheless narrate the report because of the lesson it embodies), the Prophet ﷺ gave a sermon during the time of his final illness which was received by his Companions in an emotional state. The Prophet then announced that if anyone had any reprisal to take from him then they should do so. Whereupon ʿUkâshah stood up and said that on such and such day as he was dismounting his camel which had come near the camel of the Prophet ﷺ, the Prophet’s stick, whether purposely or inadvertently had hit him. The Prophet ﷺ responded that the Prophet of Allah ﷺ could not purposely hit him, however, he asked for a stick to be brought and gave it to ʿUkâshah and told him to take his revenge.
Just picture the scenario right now, the Prophet ﷺ is ill, cannot stand properly and here is a man demanding retaliation. At this point Abû Bakr, ʿUmar and ʿAli stood up offering that the retaliation be taken from them instead. However, ʿUkâshah insisted that he wanted to take the revenge against the Prophet ﷺ and added that when the stick had hit him he did not have any attire on. Therefore the Prophet lifted the cloth from his body and asked ʿUkâshah to strike him. The rest of the Companions started to weep with anguish. ʿUkâshah stepped forward. Dead silence fell. Suddenly ʿUkâshah embraced the blessed body of the Prophet ﷺ and started kissing it and said: ‘Who could ever abide taking revenge against him who was sent as a mercy to mankind?’ It turned out that ʿUkâshah was merely looking for an opportunity to express his love for the Prophet and get close to him. By Allah, such was the love of the Ṣahâba for the Prophet ﷺ. Ah, how we claim to love the Prophet and tread on his footsteps! But, when it comes to walking the walk, we dismiss the Prophet’s commands saying: “Isn’t it just a Sunnah!”
ʿUkâshah was martyred in Najd during the wars against the Apostates and is buried in a place near present-day Turkey. By Allah! who else to envy but ʿUkâshah? He witnessed the battle of Badr. All his past and future sins were forgiven. He was among the People of the Tree—with whom Allah was pleased. He was involved in one of the miracles of the Prophet ﷺ. He was given the good tidings of Jannah. And, to add the cherry to the cake, he died a martyr. What else can a man ask for?
May Allah make us amongst those whom He forgives without any reckoning! May He make us worthy of that honor out of His mercy! May He put in our hearts the love to revive and follow the Sunnah of his beloved!
Originally posted 2015-11-25 03:00:20.