Khabbab Ibn Al-Aratt’s Life In Makkah: Conversion And Persecution

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This is a continuation of a series of articles in regards to the lives of the early Muslims in Makkah. In this article we look at Khabbab Ibn al-Aratt’s early life in Makkah and how he was treated by the Quraysh idolaters as a result of his conversion to Islam. Khabbab relates a number of incidents in Makkah where he was tortured as a result of him abandoning his polytheistic belief for Islam.

The following are some of the earliest sources which recount the persecution and torture he and other Muslims faced in the hands of the idolaters of Quraysh.

Riyad as-Salihin –  Al-Nawawi (1233 – 1277):

“Khabbab bin Al-Aratt reported: We complained to the Messenger of Allah regarding the persecution inflicted upon us by the disbelievers while he was lying in the shade of the Ka’bah, having made a pillow of his cloak. We submitted: “Why do you not supplicate for our prevalence (over the opponents)?”. He replied, “Among those people before you, a man would be seized and held in a pit dug for him in the ground and he would be sawed into two halves from his head, and his flesh torn away from his bones with an iron comb; but, in spite of this, he would not wean away from his Faith. By Allah, Allah will bring this matter to its consummation until a rider will travel from San’a’ to Hadramout fearing none except Allah, and except the wolf for his sheep, but you are in too much of a hurry”.
Another narration is: He had placed his cloak under his head and we had been tortured by the polytheists.” (Riyad as-Salihin Book 1, Hadith 41, )

Mussanaf – Ibn Abi Shaybah (775 – 849 AD)

“( 3 ) حدثنا وكيع قال ثنا سفيان عن أبي إسحاق عن ابن أبي ليلى الكندي قال : جاء [ ص: 523 ] خباب إلى عمر فقال : ادنه فما أحد أحق بهذا المجلس منك إلا عمار فجعل خباب يريه آثارا بظهره مما عذبه المشركون .
“Khabbab came to Umar (Ibn al-Khattab) and said: ‘Come near, for no one deserves this meeting more than you, except Ammar (Ibn Yasir). Then Khabbab (Ibn al-Aratt) started to show him the marks on his back where the polytheists had tortured him.” (Mussanaf Of Ibn Abi Shaybah, online source, )

Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir – Ibn Sa’d (784 – 845 AD):

“Imam Sha’bi narrates that when Khabbab Ibn Arat once came to the gathering of Umar Ibn Khattab, Umar made him sit on his own cushion. Umar then said, ‘Besides one man, there is none on the surface of this earth who deserves to occupy this place more than you.’ Who is this man, ‘O Amirul Mu’mineen?’ asked Khabbab. Umar replied, ‘He is Bilal.’ Khabbab said, ‘He is really not more deserving than me because there were people amongst the polytheists (Mushrikeen) whom Allah used to protect him while there was none to protect me. I had seen myself on a day when they captured me, lit a fire and then put me to roast in it. A man then placed his foot on my chest and there was only my back to extinguish the fire.” (Kanzul Ummaal, volume 7, page 31. See also, Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, by Ibn Sa’d, volume 3, page 117)

Hilya – Abu Nu’aym (947 – 1038 AD):

“Imam Sha’bi narrates that when Umar asked Khabbab about the tortures he suffered at the hands of the polytheists (Mushrikeen), he said, ‘O Amirul Mu’mineen! Take a look at my back.’ Umar says, ‘I have never before seen anything like it.’ Khabbab then related, ‘They made a fire for me and (after throwing me in) there was nothing but the fat on my back to extinguish it.” (Hilya, by Abu Nu’aym, volume 1, page 144)

Kanzul Ummaal – Ali ibn Abd-al-Malik al-Hindi (1472 – 1567)

“Abu Layla Kindi narrates that when Khabbab came to Umar. Umar told the people to allow him to come to the front and said, ‘Besides Ammaar Ibn Yasir, there is none on the surface of this earth who deserves to occupy this place more than you.’ It was on that occasion that Khabbab showed Umar the scars on his back that were made by the torture that polytheists (Mushrikeen) put him through.’” (Kanzul Ummaal volume 7, page 71. See also (maybe) Hilya by Abu Nu’aym, volume 1, page 144)

Mustadrak – al-Hakim al-Nishapuri (933 – 1012 AD):

“Khabbab narrates that he once approached the Prophet as he lay in the shade of the Kabah using a shawl as a pillow. It was a time when the Muslims were suffering terrible torture at the hands of the polytheists (Mushrikeen). Khabbab asked the Prophet, ‘Will you not pray to Allah (to stop the hardships)?’ The Prophet sat up straight and his face was red as he said, ‘Before you, there were people whose flesh and tissues were scraped to the bone with iron combs. However, even this did not make them turn away from their religion. Allah shall definitely bring this Deen (Religion) to a completion until a time comes when a lone rider will travel from Sa’aa to Hadramaut fear nothing but Allah and wolves attacking his goats. However, you people want to rush it.’” (Mustadrak al-Haakim volume 3, page 383)

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3 Responses »

  1. Asalamu alaikum bro,you could have placed or added this Hadith i.e narration from sahih al bukhari in your paper aswell!!!The Hadith as follows:Narrated Khabbaba:

    I came to the Prophet while he was leaning against his sheet cloak in the shade of the Ka’ba. We were suffering greatly from the pagans in those days. i said (to him). “Will you invoke Allah (to help us)?” He sat down with a red face and said, “(A believer among) those who were before you used to be combed with iron combs so that nothing of his flesh or nerves would remain on his bones;
    yet that would never make him desert his religion. A saw might be put over the parting of his head which would be split into two parts, yet all that would never make him abandon his religion. Allah will surely complete this religion (i.e. Islam) so that a traveler from Sana to Hadra-maut will not be afraid of anybody except Allah.” (The sub-narrator, Baiyan added, “Or the wolf, lest it should harm his sheep.”)

    reference: Sahih al-Bukhari Vol. 5, Book 58, Hadith 191
    Sahih al-Bukhari Vol. 5, Book of Merits of Al-Ansaar, Hadith 191

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