Conquests of the Sahabah - Mawlana Sulayman al-Kindi



By Mufti Muhammad Ali Bhopali Damat Barakaatuhu

(Senior lecturer of Hadith, tafsir etc at Darul Ulum Zakariyya, South Africa)

Praise be to Allah, the one who enlightened the mind with knowledge and the hearts with his remembrance, and may Allah bestow upon his prophet peace and blessings.

The respected name of al-Imam al-Waqidi rahmatullaahi alayhi appears in the register of the historians of Islam, in particular those who recorded the early conquests. In fact, he earned eternal fame for his detailed recording of the Islamic conquests.

The author: the name of al-Imam al-Waqidi is Muhammad bin Umar bin Waqid al-Aslami al-Madani. His patronym is Abu Abdillah. He became famous as,”al-Waqidi,” with reference to his grandfather. He was born in 130 Hijri in al-Madinah al-Munawwarah.

In al-Madinah al-Munawwarah he learnt under the junior tabi’in. Those Muhaddithin whom he narrate from include amongst others Usamah bin Zayd bin Aslam, Thawr bin Zayd, Sufyan ath-thawri, Ibn Jurayj, Ma’mar bin Rashid, al-Imam al-Awza’I, al-Imam malik rahmatullahi alayhim.

Those in turn narrate his ahadith include Ahmad bin Raja al-Faryabi, Sulayman bin Dawud ash- Shazkuni, Abu Ubayd, Abu Bakr bin Abi Shaybah, al-Imam ash-Shafi’I and Muhammad bin Sa’d – the author of at- Tabagat. Ibn Sa’d is the most famous of them in terms of his narrations. His Tabaqat Ibn Sa’d has been translated into several languages

Al-Imam al-Waqidi initially engaged in trading wheat. A calamity destroyed his entire stock and he became indebted. Muhammad bin Sa’d says that that is the reason he abandoned trading and left for Baghdad in 180 Hijri. He left to visit Syria and then retuned to Baghdad. There he met Yahya bin Khalid al-Burmaki. Through his assistance his worldly condition improved and he was able to return to al-Madinah and pay off his debts. He again returned to Baghdad, where the khalifah mamum ar-Rashidi appointed him as a judge over the east part of Baghdad. Al khatib al-Baghdadi narrates that al-Allamah al-Waqidi’s reputation spread east and west. He was the absolute expert in Akhbar, Maghazi, siyar, Hawadith, Waqi’at and Tabaqat (various categories of history and biography). Ibn Sa’d says that al-Imam al-Waqidi was an expert in Maghazi, Siyar and Futuh.

Allah Ta’ala had also blessed him in regards Fiqh. Sulayman ash-Shazkhuni says,” I have not seen anyone who knows the schools ofal-Imam malik and sufyan the way al-Waqidi does.”

Muhammad bin Salam al-Jumahi says, he was the allamah of his times.”

Al-Allahmah az-Zarkali wrote his famous book, al-A’ lam, that al-Imam al-Waqidi is amongst the famous Historian sand Mutaqaddimun (early generation Jurists.

He was also a Hafizh of Hadith but specialized in History.

In his commentary on at-Tirmizi ash- Sharif called Ma’arifus Sunan, Mawlana Yusuf Binnori wrote concerning al-Imam al-Waqidi on p226 of the first volume,” Although the aimmah of the Sihah sittah did not make his takrij in their books except for Ibn Majah, Mus’ab az-Zubayri has made tawhiq of him. Al-Harbi said that al-allamah al-Waqidi was most knowledgeable in matters of Islam. Mus’ab said that he never saw his peer. Ad-Darawardi called him,”Amirul Muminin fil Hadith.” Ibnul “Imad wrote in ash Shazarat that he was a vessel of knowledge. Al-Bahr ar-Raiq records that al-Qadi Abu Bakr bin Arabi and Ibnul Jawzi had praised al-Waqidi. Badrud Din al-Ayni also said that al-Waqidi is thiqah (authentic). The ulama who have made his tawhiq include al-Imam Ahmad. In his Book, ‘uyunul Athar fish Shamail was Siyar, Ibn Sayyidin Nas al-Ya’muri has given preference to the tawthiq of al-Imam al-Waqidi.”

Al-Imam al-waqidi possessed many specialities, one of which al-Khatib al-Baghdadi records in Tarikh Baghdad that whenever an incident was narrated before al-Imam al-Waqidi, he would immediately contextualise it and elaborate on it. After further research he would record it. Al- Imam al-waqidi narrates,” Once the Khalifah harun ar-Rashid visited the al-madinah al-Munawwarah during his Hajj trip. He instructed his minister, Yahya bin Khalid al-Barmaki to find one who knew the places to be visited, the graves of the martyrs etc. yahya made enquiries and everyone directed him to me. He summoned me and ordered me to go to the king. I arrived as promised after Isha. The king had arranged lighting. I took them to all the places of visiting.
Both of them stopped at each place to offer Salah and du’a until true dawn arose. Amirul Muminin gave me 10,000 Dirham and said that I could meet him whenever I wished to.’

Another quality was his generosity. Hasan bin shazan narrates that al-Waqidi said;” Although I have received hundreds of thousands of Dirham from the king, Zakah has never become compulsory upon me.”

Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi writes that due to his great generosity, al-Waqidi would often suffer poverty and hunger. Al-Waqidi says,” Once, Eid was approaching and there was nothing in the House. Matters were extremely tight. My wife exclaimed,’ I can be patient in all conditions, but the state of the children is breaking my heart into pieces. Arrange something.’ I sought a loan from a businessman friend of mine. He gave me a sealed purse containing 1,000 Dinar and 200 Dirhams. I was about to reach home when a hashimi friend approached me and explained that due to the late harvest of his land, he was in need of a loan. I entered the house and explained the situation to my wife and told her that I intended to give the Hashimi friend half the money. She replied,” what a disgrace! A businessman gives you 1,000 Dinar and 200 Dirham and when a relative of Rasulullah comes to you, you can only give half? I gave the entire purse to the Hashimi. He in turn just reached home, when the same businessman appeared and sought a loan from him. I had given the Hashimi the purse, exactly as I had received it. The businessman thus recognized it. When he approached me I explained what had happened. We thereupon decided to divide the amount between the three of us. At the same time a messenger arrived summoning me to yahya bin Khalid al-Barmarki. I told him the incident of the purse. He called out,’O boy! Bring the purse of Dinar! He brought a purse of 10,000 Dinar. Yahya bin Khalid said to me,’2,000 Dinar is for you. Give 2,000 to your trader friend and 2,000 to the Hashimi friend. 4,000 is for your wife because she is the most generous of you.”

This incident has been variously narrated with different amounts.

Writings: al-Imam al-Waqidi was a man of many writings as well. Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi writes that his books encompassed so various sciences and subjects. His books especially those about Maghazi, Siyar, Tabaqat and Waqi’at, are famous in many places.

Futuhush Sham – was first printed in 1854 in two volumes. Mawlana Muhammad Husayn Siddiqi was a teacher of Hadith at Jami’ah Binnoriyah Site Karachi. He wrote in Hindustanki Bis Bari Khawatin (20 great Ladies of India) that Mawlana as-sayyid abul Hasan Ali an-Nadwi’s Father (Mawlana Abdul hayy) paternal aunt’s husband Munshi as-sayyid ‘adurrazzaq gave Abul Hasan’s sister, Amatullah Tasnim an Urdu version of Futuhush Sham which she would read out at gatherings of women. Islamic awareness and zeal was created through this means.

Mawlana Abul Hasan himself drew inspiration from Futuhush Sham.

Futuh Misr wal iskandariyah – printed in 1825 in two parts.

Futul Jazirah - printed in 1827

Futuhul ajam- was printed in 1297 Hijri in India with Futuhush Sham.

Futuhul Ifriqiyah- printed in Tunis in 1315 Hijri in two parts.

Demise: al-Allamah al-Waqidi still held the post of judge when he died near Baghdad at the age of 78 on Tuesday night 12th Zil hijjah 207 Hijri. Abbas ad-duwari narrates,” When he died there was no kafan (coffin cloth) for him. Mamum ar-Rashid donated the kafan. Muhammad bin Muslim performed his Janazah.Mamun ar-Rashid paid off his remaining debts as per his request. He was buried on the day of Tuesday in the graveyard of Khayzaran.

You have before you the translations of Futuhush sham. It was rendered into its English form with great zeal and Sacrifice from the original Arabic by Mawlana sulayman al-kindi, a dear son of Darul-Ulum Zakariya, South Africa. May Allah Ta’ala accept this effort of his and grant that large numbers of people benefit from it. Amin ya Rabbal alamin
Muhammad Ali
Ghufira Anhu
20 Rabi uth Thani 1429 (27 April 2008


Translator’s Foreword

Futuhusham is an Arabic book by al-Imam al-Waqidi describing the Sahabah’s conquest of ash-Sham (which today includes Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan and parts of Arabia, Iraq and Turkey). Having been requested to translate this book into English. I accepted primarily to earn Allah’s pleasure from whatever good might arise from it and also to attain two secondary goals.

Firstly, Rasulullah said with regard to loving the Sahabah,” whoever loves them, loves them because he loves me.” So if this Book can be used to inculcate the love of the Sahabah in the reader’s hearts, love for Rasulullah is also increased. This subject needs no elaboration since ‘Ulama have extensively dealt with it.

However the second goal of making Muslims realise the importance of History needs more elaboration. Muslims are generally ignorant of their history, thus dev eloping an inferiority complex towards the west. This is, in fact a deliberate strategy by the west. In the past, great Ulama of all mathahib have rendered service to the science of history. Ibn Khaldun al-Maliki is globally recognized to be the father of the principles of studying history. Ibn Jawzi al-Hambali noted,” A faqih has to have knowledge of other sciences like History…” the Mufassir, Ibn Kathir ash-Shafi’I put great effort in compiling his celebrated history book, ‘Al-Bidayah wan-Nihayah’. Similarly al-Imam al-Bukhari also saw the need for studying and compiling work on history. Today we feel qualified to dissect the works of these Ulama and pick and choose what we want. Thus we will quote the tasfir of Ibn Kathir and the Hadith of al-Bukhari but never spare a glance at the Histories. What authority do we have to decide that such and such a subject must be preserved while other sciences of our ancestors should be thrown away. Maulana Abu al-Hassan ‘Ali an-Nadwi was one of the greatest Hanafi’Ulama of our time and both Arabs and Indians acknowledge his status, but would he have attained this status if he had not mastered History? Amongst his most popular compilations are Tarikhul-Islam (on the life of the Prophet) an important benefit of studying History is that it is necessary for the preservation of Hadith. Thus the Muhaddith Ibn Hajr al-Asqalani says in Nukhbatul-Fikr,”Breaks in chains of narrators are discovered by knowing that the narrators did not meet. There is therefore a need to know History.”

Mawlana an-nadwi narrates an example of the use of History to the ‘alim- the Jews produced a scroll of crumbling paper with writing in the old script. It claimed that Rasulullah had exempted the Khaybar Jews from the payment of jizyah and was signed by Sa’d bin Mu’ath.’Ulama unversed in History gave fatwa that they should be exempted. Ibn Tasmiyah however declared it a fake-based on his knowledge of History. Sa’d died before the battle of khaybar so he could not have signed the treaty!

Allah himself makes use of History to remind us of his favours. For example, Allah lists in the Quran various favours he bestowed upon Banu Israel during their history.

If we consider the number of historical events mentioned in the quran, one will realise that for a clear understanding of Tafsir some knowledge of History is essential. The same also applies to the study of Hadith.

It can also be inferred from the Quran that an important function of History is for us to take lessons and rectify ourselves. Thus Allah often refers to past events by way of warning, for example:

Has the news of those before you not reached you- the nation of Nuh, Ad and Thamud? (9:69)

The prophets also adopted this approach and reminded their people of the past. Thus Shu’ayb said to his people,

O my people! Let not opposition cause you to suffer a fate similar to that of the people of Hud, Nuh or salih and the people of Lut are not far off from you. [11:89]

The believer at Fir’awn’s court also warned his people of past punishments,

And the believer said,”O my people! Verily I fear for you a fate like that which befell the groups. Like the fate of the people of Nuh, Ad, Thamud and those who came after them….” [40:30]

These verses amply demonstrate the admonitory nature history is supposed to have on us, but unfortunately we rarely take heed of History.

One of the saddest events in the History of Islam is the loss of al-Andalus (now Spain and Portugal). This was an Islamic land with a majority Muslim population. The Muslims were defeated and Islam banished until not a single Muslim remained in the land. Five hundred Masaajid were converted into churches. All the causes for al-Andalus’s collapse can be found amongst us today- laziness for Jihad; lack of inviting to Allah; the Muslim governments not implementing Sharia’h; drinking of wine; Muslim helping Christian armies against other Muslims etc. it is sad that we do not pay heed whereas our enemies study these events. Vt Rajashekar, the editor of Dalit Voice noted, “Islam’s ejection from Spain was a subject for keen study by the Hindu extremists in the 30’s and the Muslim’s in India are totally ignorant of the History of Islamic decline in Spain and the events surrounding it.’ Will we wake up before disaster hits us too?

It is commonly acknowledged that by pondering over the Creation, recognition of the creator is gained. Allah says

Verily in the creation of the Heavens and Earth and in the alternating of night and day are signs for the ones of intelligence… [3:190]

However few realise that Allah is free from time and space restrictions, which are also creations. So time and its passage (i.e. History), if pondered over, is also a means of gaining His recognition if we ponder over Allah’s planning. Allah says,

He regulates every affair from the Heavens to the Earth then it goes up to Him in one day the length whereof is 1000 years of your reckoning. [32:5]

One of the tafsir of this verse is that one thousand years before an event comes to pass Allah creates such things which eventually leads to its materialisation one thousand years later. Thus an examination of such events will make one realise that there is a power higher than man which controls events- that there is one All-powerful creator, Allah.

Let us take half of one thousand years and examine how Allah used the tribe of Khuza’ah for five centuries (525 years) to implement Rasulullah’s conquest of Makkah.

In 120 A.D, the impending bursting of the great marib Dam led to the dispersal of the Saba nation of which three tribes (Aws, Khazraj and Banu Uthman) headed foryathrib (now Madinah). On the way, Banu Uthman broke off from the other tribes and settled down in Marr azh-zhahran were hence named Khuza’ah (the seceders). Marr azh-Zhahran was close to Makkah so Khuza’ah were in a position to conquer the Holy City and rule there for two hundred years. Qusayy, the chief of Quraysh, married Hubbabint Hulayl, daughter of the chief of khuza’ah again entered Makkah’s history and entered into alliance with banu Hashim in support of Abdul Mutallib whom they regarded as the grandson of their son, Abd manaf.

According to the Treaty Of Hudaybiyah which Rasulullah signed with the Quraysh, each tribe could join the Muslims in alliance or they coul join the Quraysh. Lineage played a great role in Arab politics and since Khuza’ah had close relations with Rasulullah, the grandson of Abdul Mutallib and were already allies of the tribe, Banu Hashim, Khuza’ah joined the Muslims while their enemies, Banu Bakr, joined the quraysh. In 8 Hijri, Banu Bakr and quraysh jointly attacked khuza’ah thus breaking the treaty and so in a process that led back 525 years, Khuza’ah joined Rasulullah to conquer Makkah in Ramadan 8 Hijri. “And Allah is the best of planners!”

Sulayman al-Kindi (Translator)

21 Jumada al-Ukhra 1423 A.H