Abdullah B Rawaha (d-43H) عبدالله بن رواحة

Abdullah B Rawaha (d-43H) عبدالله بن رواحة

Of kunniyyah (nickname) Abu Muhammad, born in Yathrib, he was of the few who knew how to read and write. A member of the 70-strong Bay` al-`Uqbah-II party, he was one of the twelve appointed heads that night. At Madinah, he was made a brother to Miqdad ibn `Amr, a Makkan. `Abdullah also acted as the Prophet's scribe, hence his several narratives from him. Authorities like Ibn `Abbas, Nu`man ibn Bashir, Anas ibn Malik (his nephew) and even Abu Hurayrah took Hadith from him. `Ikrimah and Yasar were among his students too.

A poet since childhood, famed for his panegyric against Qays ibn al-Khateem of the Aws, it was natural that after Islam he should defend Islam and Muslims. The Prophet once remarked that the poems of Hassan ibn Thabit, Kab ibn Malik and `Abdullah ibn Rawaha were not poetry, but wisdom.

Once Abdullah ibn Rawaha was walking toward the Mosque when he heard the Prophet urge those inside to sit down. He sat down where he was to evoke the Prophet's prayer-words, “May Allah increase your submission.”

Abu Darda’ was an intimate friend of Ibn Rawaha, but late in embracing Islam. He had an idol dear to him. One day, while Abu Darda was away, Ibn Rawaha entered his house and broke it down. Upon arrival Abu Darda’ found his wife weeping in fear that the deity was sure to strike disaster. Abu Darda’ was also upset but on second thought decided that if the deity could not defend itself, better be gone. Once Ibn Rawaha was walking toward the Mosque when he heard the Prophet urge those inside to sit down. He sat down where he was to evoke the Prophet's prayer-words, “May Allah increase your submission.”

Ibn Rawaha participated in the battles of Badr, Uhud and Khandaq. When the Prophet entered Makkah triumphant, Ibn Rawaha was holding his camel’s rein and singing out the strength and valor of the Muslim army. `Umar b al-Khattab objected: “Poetry in the house of Allah, and before the Prophet?!” But the Prophet interjected: “Let him, `Umar b al-Khattab. His words are more powerful than arrow wounds.”

Then he instructed him to say,

لا إلهَ إلاَّ الله وَحْدَهُ لا شَريك له صدق وعْدَهُ وَ نَصَرَ عَبدَهُ وَ هَزَمَ الأحْزَابَ وَحْدَهُ
“There is no deity save Allah the One, He has no partners, He kept His promise, helped His slave and defeated the confederates – all by Himself.”

Ibn Rawaha proclaimed the words and the army repeated after him.

When in the eighth year after Hijrah, Shurahbeel ibn `Amr al-Ghassani killed the Prophet's envoy `Umar al-Azadi, the Prophet sent 3000 of his men to Mu’ta. He named Zayd ibn Haritha as the leader with the instruction that if he was killed, Ja`far ibn abi Talib (the Prophet's cousin), and if he too was killed, Ibn Rawaha was to assume command. After him they could choose anyone. He also instructed: “Do not kill women, children or old women. Do not destroy orchards, uproot plants or demolish houses. You will find some people living in solitude, devoted to Allah. Let them alone.” The Romans brought forth an army of 100,000. Upon noticing hesitation, Ibn Rawaha reminded: “By Allah, we never fought by numbers, nor weapons, nor horses; it is either victory or martyrdom.” As predicted, the other two fell. `Abdullah received the command, received a stab, rubbed his blood against his face, but kept fighting until he fell.