Zaid Bin Haritha
Zaid bin Haritha was originally a member of Banu Maan and was born to Haritha and his wife Suada bint Sualba. Once when Suada accompanied by her son Zaid bin Haritha were travelling to her ancestral home, the caravan was ambushed by robbers. They looted the travellers and took the children as prisoners. Zaid too was taken as a slave and was brought to the market of Okaz in Makkah and sold to a rich tribal chieftain Hakeem bin Hazam bin Khuwailid for 400 Dirhams. Hakeem’s aunt Khadijah bin Khuwailid came to see him and was offered a slave as a gift. Khadijah selected Zaid as he looked intelligent as well as gentle. Later when Khadijah married Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh), who was 25 years old and was not a Prophet till then, she presented Zaid to her new husband as a gift. But back at Zaid’s home, the grief-stricken Suada and his father were restless. They searched for him, but all efforts were in vain. A year later, a caravan of Hajj pilgrims who spotted Zaid bin Haritha in Makkah reported the matter to his parents. This came as a pleasant surprise for Haritha and Suada. Haritha and his brother Kaab immediately set out for Makkah and arrived at the house of the holy Prophet. But by then, Zaid had become so attached to the Prophet that he wouldn’t brook separation at any cost. Haritha and Kaab were ready to offer any prize for Zaid’s release. But Zaid would not agree. Later the Prophet told the guests to themselves ask Zaid to go with them. If he agreed to go, he would not mind telling him to go with his father. But if he wants to stay with him (Prophet), he would not force him to go. At this, the Prophet called for Zaid and asked him to identify his father and uncle.
Zaid: This is my father Haritha and my uncle Kaab.
Prophet: If you want to go with them, you are free to go. I will have no objection.
Zaid: I am here to stay on with you, none else.
Haritha: Zaid, you prefer slavery over freedom. How painful is your decision.
Zaid: Father, you don’t know Muhammad. I have found in him a man whose like cannot be found. His love, affection and character are simply matchless.
When Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) found Zaid to be expressing his love for him in these words, he took him to Haram and declared before the Quraish chieftains: “O, the people of Quraish, be witness, Zaid is now my son. He will succeed me.”
Haritha and Kaab were extremely pleased at the happy turn of events. From that day onwards, Zaid bin Haritha became Zaid bin Muhammad. But later the Quran revoked this Arab tradition and ordered the sons to be attributed to their biological fathers rather than adoptive ones. Zaid did not know whose company he had been blessed with. He realised this only after Muhammad became the Prophet. Zaid was the first to join the fold of Islam. He became the Prophet’s close confidant. The Prophet used to bless him ceaselessly. He would personally welcome him whenever he would return from a mission. In the 8th Hijri, the Prophet dispatched Zaid bin Haritha on a military mission to Mautha, following the assassination of Haris bin Umair who was taking a personal letter from the holy Prophet to the Shah of Basrah. Haris had been killed by the Ameer of Ghassana, Sharahbeel bin Amru on the east of Jordan. The military contingent had only 3000 soldiers, while the opponent forces had gathered one lakh well-equipped army. The Prophet had appointed Zaid bin Haritha as the commander of the Islamic forces. He told the contingent to appoint Jaffer bin Abi Talib if Zaid was martyred. And even if Jaffer became a martyr, Abdullah bin Rawaha was to be appointed in his place. And the contingent was asked to choose someone if Abdullah too fell to sword in the battleground.
The two forces gathered at a place called ‘Maan’. At this point, one lakh pagan Arabs also joined the enemy camp. When the encounter began, Muslims fought valiantly. The three persons were martyred one after another. Following this, Khalid bin Waleed was appointed the commander. He was a new convert at that time. He was a legendary warrior. He saved the Muslim forces from defeat. When the Prophet knew about the war of Mautha and heard about the three commanders, he was very much aggrieved. He personally went to Zaid bin Haritha’s house and condoled the death. Tears were rolling down his cheek. Saad bin Ubadah asked him “ O Prophet, even you are crying.” The Prophet replied: “ I am crying for one who was so affectionate for me.”