By: Ahmed Sayed Ahmed ‘Ali (Mabarrat al Al wal Ashab)
Our discussion now revolves around an eminent Sahabi, a forerunner in good actions and obedience. Virtues drip from his personality and noble deeds emanate from his fragrant biography. He understood and loved virtue, and excellences recognised and were fond of him.
He is Sa’id ibn Zaid ibn ‘Amr ibn Nufayl ibn ‘Abdul ‘Uzza ibn Riyah ibn Qurt ibn Razah ibn ‘Adi ibn Ka’b ibn Lu’ayy ibn Ghalib, Abu al A’war al Qurashi al ‘Adawi.
His mother is Fatimah bint Ba’jah ibn Umayyah ibn Khuwaylid ibn Khalid ibn al Ma’mar ibn Hayyan ibn Ghanam ibn Malih ibn Khuza’ah.
It is apparent from the lineage of this august personality that he meets with Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam at his forefather, Ka’b ibn Lu’ayy. This, after iman, is a great merit. Who is there that does not wish that his lineage meets with the Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam?
Sayyidina Sa’id ibn Zaid radiya Llahu ‘anhu is one of the Ten Promised Jannat by Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. He is from the forerunners to the faith, the participants of Badr, and from those with whom Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala was pleased and they were pleased with Him.
Sayyidina Sa’id radiya Llahu ‘anhu was known by his agnomen which stuck with him and became his name by which he was recognised: Abu al A’war. Ibn al Athir mentions another agnomen of his, Abu Thawr, but agrees that the first is more common.
Sayyidina Sa’id radiya Llahu ‘anhu was a tall man, with brown skin and long hair.
Sayyidina Sa’id radiya Llahu ‘anhu married his cousin Fatimah, the sister of Sayyidina ‘Umar ibn al Khattab radiya Llahu ‘anhu while his sister ‘Atikah was ‘Umar’s wife.
Ibn al Athir states:
و كان صهر عمر زوج أخته فاطمة بنت الخطاب و كانت أخته عاتكة بنت زيد تحت عمر بن الخطاب تزوجها بعد أن قتل عنها عبد الله بن أبي بكر الصديق رضي الله عنه
‘Umar’s brother-in-law was the husband of his sister Fatimah bint al Khattab. His brother-in law’s-sister ‘Atikah bint Zaid was in his (‘Umar ibn al Khattab) wedlock. He married her after her husband, ‘Abdullah ibn Abi Bakr al Siddiq radiya Llahu ‘anhu, was killed.
Ibn ‘Abdul Barr says:
هو سعيد بن عم عمر بن الخطاب و صهره يكنى أبا الأعور كانت تحته فاطمة بنت الخطاب أخت عمر بن الخطاب و كانت أخته عاتكة بنت زيد بن عمرو بن نفيل تحت عمر بن الخطاب
He is Sa’id―the cousin and brother-in-law of ‘Umar ibn al Khattab. His agnomen was Abu al A’war. Fatimah bint al Khattab, ‘Umar ibn al Khattab’s sister, was in his wedlock whereas his sister, ‘Atikah bint Zaid ibn ‘Amr ibn Nufayl, was married to ‘Umar ibn al Khattab.
The wives and children of Sayyidina Sa’id ibn Zaid radiya Llahu ‘anhu:
Children from her:
i. ‘Abdur Rahman al Akbar: He had no issue.
Children from her:
i. Zaid: He had no issue.
ii. ‘Abdullah al Akbar: He had no children.
iii. ‘Umar al Asghar: He had no offspring.
iv. Umm Musa
v. Umm al Hassan
Children from her:
ii. Ibrahim al Asghar
iii. ‘Abdullah al Asghar
iv. Umm Habib al Kubra
v. Umm al Hassan al Sughra
vi. Umm Zaid al Kubra
vii. Umm Salamah
viii. Umm Habib al Sughra
ix. Umm Sa’id al Kubra: She passed away before her father
x. Umm Zaid
Children from her:
i. ‘Amr al Asghar
Children from her:
i. ‘Amr al Akbar
ii. Talhah: He passed away before his father leaving behind no children.
Children from her:
i. Ibrahim al Akbar
Children from her:
i. Umm Zaid al Sughra
Children from her:
ii. Umm Khalid: She passed away prior to her father.
iii. Umm al No’man
Children from her:
iii. Umm ‘Abdul Hawla’
iv. Umm Salih
*Umm Walad is a slave who bears children for her master, as a result she cannot be sold and will be automatically set free on the death of the master.
i. Umm Zaid al Sughra: Married to Mukhtar ibn Abi ‘Ubaid. Her mother was from the Tay. 
Sayyidina Sa’id ibn Zaid radiya Llahu ‘anhu was nurtured in the care of his father, Zaid ibn ‘Amr ibn Nufayl al Hanifi (one who turned his attention solely to Allah, away from all besides Him) al Tha’ir (the revolutionist), who discarded the idol worship of his nation and worshipped Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala on the religion of Sayyidina Ibrahim ‘alayh al Salam.
Ibn Sa’d says:
و كان أبوه زيد بن عمرو بن نفيل يطلب الدين و قدم الشام فسأل اليهود و النصارى عن العلم و الدين فلم يعجبه دينهم فقال له رجل من النصارى أنت تلتمس دين إبراهيم فقال زيد و ما دين إبراهيم قال كان حنيفا لا يعبد إلا الله وحده لا شريك له و كان يعادي من عبد من دون الله شيئا و لا يأكل ما ذبح على الأصنام فقال زيد بن عمرو و هذا الذي أعرف و أنا على هذا الدين فأما عبادة حجر أو خشبة أنحتها بيدي فهذا ليس بشيء فرجع زيد إلى مكة و هو على دين إبراهيم
His father Zaid ibn ‘Amr ibn Nufayl was searching for a religion. He arrived in Sham and asked the Jews and Christians about knowledge and religion, but their religion was not to his liking. A Christian man told him, “You are searching for the religion of Ibrahim.”
“What is the religion of Ibrahim,” he enquired.
The man explained, “He was a Hanif; he worshipped none but Allah, alone, without any partners; and would be at war with those who worshipped anything besides Allah. Moreover, he would not eat meat slaughtered for the idols.”
Zaid ibn ‘Amr said, “This is what I recognise and I adhere to this religion. As regarding the worship of a stone or wood which I carved out with my own hands, it is worthless.”
Zaid subsequently returned to Makkah while adhering to the religion of Ibrahim ‘alayh al Salam.
‘Amir ibn Rabi’ah explains:
كان زيد بن عمرو بن نفيل يطلب الدين و كره النصرانية و اليهودية و عبادة الأوثان و الحجارة و أظهر خلاف قومه و اعتزال آلهتهم و ما يعبد آباؤهم و لا يأكل ذبائحهم فقال لي يا عامر إني خالفت قومي و اتبعت ملة إبراهيم و ما كان يعبد و إسماعيل و ما بعده و كانوا يصلون إلى هذه القبلة فأنا أنتظر نبيا من ولد إسماعيل يبعث و لا أراني أدركه و أنا أومن به و أصدقه و أشهد أنه نبي فإن طالت بك مدة فرأيته فأقرئه مني السلام قال عامر فلما تنبأ رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم أسلمت و أخبرته بقول زيد بن عمرو و أقرأته منه السلام فرد عليه رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم و رحم عليه و قال قد رأيته في الجنة يسحب ذيولا
Zaid ibn ‘Amr ibn Nufayl was in search of a religion. He disliked Christianity, Judaism, and the worship of idols and rocks. He openly opposed his people and discarded their deities and what their forefathers worshipped. Furthermore, he would not eat animals slaughtered by them.
He told me, “O ‘Amir, I have opposed my nation and followed the religion of Ibrahim and what he would worship, as well as Ismail and those after him. They would pray facing this Qiblah. I am now awaiting a nabi from the progeny of Ismail to be sent. I do not think that I will live to his time but I believe in him and attest to him and testify that he is a nabi. If you live long and see him, then convey my salam to him.”
‘Amir says, “When Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam became a Nabi, I embraced Islam and informed him of Zaid ibn ‘Amr’s statement and conveyed his salam. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam replied to the greeting and begged for divine mercy for him. He also commented, ‘I saw him in Jannat, swimmingly peacefully.’”
Al Dhahabi reports on the strength of Sayyidah Asma’ bint Abi Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhuma:
لقد رأيت زيد بن عمرو بن نفيل قائما مسندا ظهره إلى الكعبة يقول يا معشر قريش والله ما فيكم أحد على دين إبراهيم غيري
I certainly saw Zaid ibn ‘Amr ibn Nufayl standing, supporting his back on the Ka’bah, declaring, “O gathering of Quraysh, by Allah, there is none among you on the religion of Ibrahim, besides myself.”
In the report of al Nasa’i, Sayyidah Asma’ bint Abi Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhuma says:
رأيت زيد بن عمرو بن نفيل و هو مسند ظهره إلى الكعبة و هو يقول ما منكم اليوم أحد على دين إبراهيم غيري و كان يقول إلهي إله إبراهيم و ديني دين إبراهيم و ذكره النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم فقال يبعث يوم القيامة أمة وحده بيني و بين عيسى
I saw Zaid ibn ‘Amr ibn Nufayl, supporting his back on the Ka’bah, announcing: “No one among you today is following the religion of Ibrahim besides myself.”
He would say, “My deity is the deity of Ibrahim and my religion is the religion of Ibrahim.”
The Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam spoke of him and said, “He will be resurrected on the Day of Qiyamah as a nation by himself, between me and ‘Isa.”
Ibn Sa’d mentions that he would shelter the girl about to be buried alive. He would say to the father who intended to kill his daughter,
مهلا لا تقتلها أنا أكفيك مؤونتها فيأخذها فإذا ترعرعت قال لأبيها إن شئت دفعتها إليك و إن شئت كفيتك مؤونتها
“Wait, do not kill her. I will look after her and take care of her expenses.”
He would then take her. After reaching the prime of her life, he would say to her father, “If you desire, I will hand her over to you and if you so wish, I will take care of her expenses for you.”
Al Dhahabi lists some couplets he attributes to Zaid ibn ‘Amr which attest to his faith in Allah, the Mighty and Majestic. He reports:
المزن تحمل عذبا زلالا
أسلمت وجهي لمن أسلمت له
سيقت إليها فسحت سجالا
إذا سقيت بلدة من بلاد
له الأرض تحمل صخرا ثقالا
و أسلمت نفسي لمن أسلمت
سواء و أرسى عليها الجبالا
دحاها فلما استوت شدها
I have surrendered myself to the One the clouds have surrendered to, carrying sweet cold water.
When they irrigate a city from the cities, they are driven to it and it pours down rain in torrents.
I have surrendered my soul to the One the earth has surrendered to, holding heavy boulders.
Allah levelled the earth. When it was a flat surface, He made it firm and fixed the mountains firmly.
In this household, Sayyidina Sa’id ibn Zaid radiya Llahu ‘anhu was nurtured. He was trained at the hands of his father, the monotheist. Owing to this, when Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was appointed a Nabi, Sa’id was one of the first to accept him. He embraced Islam before Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam entered Dar al Arqam. Sayyidina ‘Umar’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu Islam was in his home since he was the husband of ‘Umar’s sister, Fatimah.
Sayyidina Sa’id radiya Llahu ‘anhu made hijrah to Madinah and stayed by Sayyidina Rifa’ah ibn ‘Abdul Mundhir radiya Llahu ‘anhu, the brother of Abu Lubabah. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam contracted brotherhood between him and Sayyidina Rafi’ ibn Malik al Zuraqi radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
Ibn ‘Abdul Barr says:
و كان سعيد بن زيد من المهاجرين الأولين و كان إسلامه قديما قبل عمر و بسبب زوجته كان إسلام عمر بن الخطاب و خبرهما في ذلك خبر حسن و هاجر هو و امرأته فاطمة بنت الخطاب و لم يشهد بدرا لأنه كان غائبا بالشام قدم منها بعقب غزوة بدر فضرب له رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم بسهمه و أجره
Sa’id ibn Zaid was among the first Muhajirin. He accepted Islam in its early stages before ‘Umar. Due to his marriage, came the Islam of ‘Umar ibn al Khattab and their story in this regard is a beautiful one. He and his wife Fatimah bint al Khattab immigrated. He never participated in Badr however, since he was in Sham at the time. When he returned after the Battle of Badr, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam allotted for him a share and promised him its reward.
Hence, Sayyidina Sa’id radiya Llahu ‘anhu was present at all the expeditions alongside Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam besides Badr. He was not present in this battle after Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam sent him and Talhah radiya Llahu ‘anhu to Sham to gather information about the caravan. Nonetheless, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam did apportion for him a share of the booty.
Ibn Sa’d narrates:
إنه لما تحين رسول الله وصول عير قريش من الشام بعث طلحة بن عبيد الله و سعيد بن زيد بن عمرو بن نفيل قبل خروجه من المدينة بعشر ليال يحتسبان خبر العير و بلغ رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم الخبر قبل رجوع طلحة و سعيد إليه فندب أصحابه و خرج يريد العير فساحلت العير و أسرعت و ساروا الليل و النهار فرقا من الطلبة و خرج طلحة بن عبيد الله و سعيد بن زيد يريدان المدينة ليخبرا رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم خبر العير و لم يعلما بخروجه فقدما المدينة في اليوم الذي لاقى رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم في النفير من قريش ببدر فخرجا من المدينة يعترضان رسول الله فلقياه بتربان فيما بين ملل و السيالة على المحجة منصرفا من بدر فلم يشهد طلحة و سعيد الوقعة و ضرب لهما رسول الله بسهمانهما و أجورهما في بدر فكانا كمن شهدها
When Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam learnt of the Quraysh caravan’s arrival at Sham, he despatched Talhah ibn ‘Ubaidullah and Sa’id ibn Zaid ibn ‘Amr ibn Nufayl 10 nights prior to him setting out from Madinah, to gather information of the caravan. They travelled until they reached al Hawra’. They waited there until the caravan passed them. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam received intelligence before Talhah and Sa’id could return to him. So he urged his Sahabah on and he left, with the intention of intercepting the caravan. The caravan moved on the coastal route. It moved rapidly and travelled at night and during the day out of fear of the interceptors. Talhah ibn ‘Ubaidullah and Sa’id ibn Zaid left towards Madinah to give Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam information on the caravan. They were unaware of his exit. So they reached Madinah the day Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam met with the Quraysh at Badr. They left Madinah immediately in search of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and met him at Turban, between Milal and al Siyalah on the clear road on his return from Badr. Hence, Talhah and Sa’id did not actually witness the battle. Nonetheless, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam allotted for them a share and guaranteed them the reward for Badr. Hence, they are just like those who did in fact participate.
Sayyidina Sa’id ibn Zaid radiya Llahu ‘anhu then went onto participate in Uhud, Khandaq, and all the other major campaigns alongside Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. He proved his worth during these campaigns.
He was also present at Yarmuk. He was one of the leaders of the army in the battle. He accomplished his task par excellence. Sayyidina Sa’id radiya Llahu ‘anhu was really one of the astounding men of this glorious battle. Sayyidina Abu ‘Ubaidah radiya Llahu ‘anhu placed him in the heart of the army. This is a spot where only brave and courageous soldiers are stationed at. As soon as Sayyidina Sa’id radiya Llahu ‘anhu saw the Romans’ attack, he jumped to the ground and kneeled. As they got close to him, he pierced the first man of the enemy with his banner and then sprung at their faces like a lion. He began fighting bravery and the Muslims rallied to him.
Al Dhahabi says that Sayyidina Sa’id ibn Zaid radiya Llahu ‘anhu witnessed all the battles at the side of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. He later participated in the siege of Damascus and its subsequent conquest after which Sayyidina Abu ‘Ubaidah ibn al Jarrah radiya Llahu ‘anhu appointed him governor over it. He is thus the first to act as a representative of Damascus from this ummah.
Ibn ‘Asakir comments:
أحد العشرة الذين شهد لهم النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم بالجنة شهد اليرموك و حصار دمشق و ولاه أبو عبيدة بن الجراح دمشق و خرج مع عمر بن الخطاب في خرجته الثانية إلى الشام التي رجع فيها من سرغ و كان أميرا على ربع المهاجرين
He is one of the ten Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam promised Jannat. He participated in Yarmuk and the siege of Damascus, subsequent to which Abu ‘Ubaidah ibn al Jarrah appointed him governor over the city of Damascus. He left with ‘Umar ibn al Khattab on his second journey to Sham, in which he returned from Sargh. He was leader over a quarter of the Muhajirin on this journey.
Abu Nuaim wrote some beautiful and fine words regarding the virtue of Sayyidina Sa’id ibn Zaid radiya Llahu ‘anhu which I feel should be reproduced here. He says:
و أما سعيد بن زيد بن عمرو بن نفيل فكان بالحق قوالا و لماله بذالا و لهواه قامعا و قتالا و لم يكن ممن يخاف في الله لومة لائم و كان مجاب الدعوة سبق الإسلام قبل عمر بن الخطاب شهد بدرا بسهمه و أجره رغب عن الولاية و تشمر في الرعاية قمع نفسه و أخفى عن المنافسة في الدنيا شخصه اعتزل الفتنة و الشرور المؤدية إلى الضيعة و الغرور عازما على السبقة و العبور المفضي إلى الرفعة و الحبور كان للولايات قاليا و في مراتب الدنبا وانيا و في العبودية غانيا و عن مساعدة نفسه فانيا
As regards Sa’id ibn Zaid ibn ‘Amr ibn Nufayl, he openly voiced the truth, spent his wealth generously, and subdued his desires and fought. He was not among those who feared the criticism of the critics in the way of Allah. His supplications were answered. He embraced Islam prior to ‘Umar ibn al Khattab. He collected his share of booty and reward from Badr. He avoided leadership and dedicated himself to accountability. He severed his carnal desires and prevented himself from indulging in worldly luxuries. He steered clear from fitnah and vices which lead to destruction and arrogance, determined to set the precedent and pass through, leading to loftiness and happiness. He detested authority and was unconcerned about worldly ranks. He was devout in his worship and obliterated assisting his carnal passions.
What a profound and fine description of the condition of Sayyidina Sa’id ibn Zaid radiya Llahu ‘anhu, indicating to his outstanding virtues and excellences in eloquent concise words. Forthcoming is a brief presentation of the significant merits of Sayyidina Sa’id ibn Zaid radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
Sayyidina Sa’id radiya Llahu ‘anhu reached a lofty rank and held a high position in the sight of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. This is due to his precedence in Islam. When Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam saw his truthfulness, sincerity and courage, he kept him near and dear and took him as one of his closest Companions.
Ibn ‘Asakir narrates from Sa’id ibn Jubayr:
كان مقام أبي بكر و عمر و عثمان و علي و سعد و سعيد و طلحة و الزبير و عبد الرحمن بن عوف مع النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم واحدا كانوا أمامه في القتال و خلفه في الصلاة في الصف و ليس لأحد من المهاجرين و الأنصار يقوم مقام أحد منهم غاب أم شهد
The rank of Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Uthman, ‘Ali, Sa’d, Sa’id, Talhah, Zubair, and ‘Abdur Rahman ibn ‘Awf with Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was one and the same. They were in front of him in the battlefield and behind him during salah in the Masjid. None of the other Muhajirin and Ansar had the privilege to take their position, whether they were present or absent.
The Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam promised him Jannat. Al Tirmidhi reports in his Sunan from ‘Abdur Rahman ibn Humaid from his father that Sayyidina Sa’id ibn Zaid radiya Llahu ‘anhu reported to him among others that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam declared:
عشرة في الجنة أبو بكر في الجنة و عمر في الجنة و عثمان و علي و الزبير و طلحة و و عبد الرحمن و أبو عبيدة و سعد بن أبي وقاص قال فعد هؤلاء التسعة و سكت عن العاشر فقال القوم ننشدك الله يا أبا الأعور من العاشر قال نشدتموني بالله أبو الأعور في الجنة قال أبو عيسى أبو الأعور هو سعيد بن زيد بن عمرو بن نوفل
“Ten individuals are in Jannat. Abu Bakr is in Jannat. ‘Umar is in Jannat as well as ‘Uthman, ‘Ali, Zubair, Talhah, ‘Abdur Rahman, Abu ‘Ubaidah, and Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas.”
He enumerated these nine and did not list the tenth. The people thus asked, “We implore you by Allah, O Abu al A’war, who is the tenth?”
He submitted, “You have implored me by Allah. Abu al A’war is in Jannat.”
Abu ‘Isa says, “Abu al A’war is Sa’id ibn Zaid ibn ‘Amr ibn Nawfal.”
Ahmed and al Tirmidhi narrated that Sayyidina ‘Abdur Rahman ibn ‘Awf radiya Llahu ‘anhu reported that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam declared:
أبو بكر في الجنة و عمر في الجنة و علي في الجنة و عثمان في الجنة و طلحة في الجنة و الزبير في الجنة و عبد الرحمن بن عوف في الجنة و سعد بن أبي وقاص في الجنة و سعيد بن زيد بن عمرو بن نفيل في الجنة و أبو عبيدة بن الجراح في الجنة
Abu Bakr is in Jannat. ‘Umar is in Jannat. ‘Ali is in Jannat. ‘Uthman is in Jannat. Talhah is in Jannat. Zubair is in Jannat. ‘Abdur Rahman ibn ‘Awf is in Jannat. Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas is in Jannat. Sa’id ibn Zaid ibn ‘Amr ibn Nufayl is in Jannat. Abu ‘Ubaidah ibn al Jarrah is in Jannat.
Ahmed reports on the authority of Sayyidina Sa’id ibn Zaid radiya Llahu ‘anhu that the Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam pronounced:
اسكن حراء فليس عليك إلا نبي أو صديق أو شهيد قال و عليه النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم و أبو بكر و عمر و عثمان و علي و طلحة و الزبير و سعد وعبد الرحمن بن عوف و سعيد بن زيد رضي الله عنهم
“Remain firm, Hira’, for only a nabi, siddiq, or martyr is upon you.”
He continues, “The Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Uthman, ‘Ali, Talhah, Zubair, Sa’d, Ibn ‘Awf, and Sa’id ibn Zaid were upon it.”
All these narrations indicate the lofty rank he enjoyed in the sight of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. They bear testimony, without doubt, that Sayyidina Sa’id radiya Llahu ‘anhu was from among the purest of Sahabah and closest to him. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam would not have mentioned this except about a person whose intention is pure and heart is clean. Hence, he is among those Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala was pleased with, those Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam kept close and guaranteed Jannat.
One of his amazing merits is that Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala answered his prayer in a famous event that transpired between him and Arwa bint Uways. She resorted to Marwan ibn al Hakam beseeching his help against Sayyidina Sa’id ibn Zaid radiya Llahu ‘anhu claiming that he oppressively snatched away her land and usurped her right. He was her neighbour in ‘Aqiq. Her claim was false and she was the oppressor, so Sayyidina Sa’id radiya Llahu ‘anhu came to defend himself. She on the other hand, persisted on her claim, so he handed over to her whatever she claimed and then cursed her; and his curse was answered.
Abu Nuaim reports in Hilyat al Auliya’ from Abu Bakr ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Amr ibn Hazm:
أن أروى استعدت على سعيد بن زيد إلى مروان بن الحكم فقال سعيد اللهم إنها قد زعمت أني ظلمتها فإن كانت كاذبة فأعم بصرها و ألقها في بئرها و أظهر من حقي نورا يبين للمسلمين أني لم أظلمها قال فبينا هم على ذلك إذ سال العقيق بسيل لم يسل مثله قط فكشف عن الحد الذي كانا يختلفان فيه فإذا سعيد قد كان في ذلك صادقا و لم تلبث إلا شهرا حتى عميت فبينا هي تطوف في أرضها تلك إذ سقطت في بئرها قال فكنا و نحن غلمان نسمع الإنسان يقول للإنسان أعماك الله كما أعمى الأروى فلا نظن إلا أنه يريد الأروى التي من الوحش فإذا هو إنما كان ذلك لما أصاب أروى من دعوة سعيد بن زيد و ما يتحدث الناس به مما استجاب الله له سؤله
Arwa made a claim against Sa’id ibn Zaid in the court of Marwan ibn al Hakam. Sa’id supplicated, “O Allah, indeed she claims that I have oppressed her. If she is a liar, then make her blind, and throw her into her well, and manifest a light upon my right making it clear to the Muslims that I have not oppressed her.”
He continues: Around the same time, ‘Aqiq had an unprecedented flood which unearthed the border over which they disputed. And Sa’id was truthful in the matter. It was hardly a month later that she became blind and, while walking in that land of hers, she fell into her well [and died].
He continues: When we were young, we would hear a person saying to another, “May Allah blind you like how He blinded Arwa.” We thought that he refers to Arwa, the animal. Only later we realised that it was actually due to Arwa’s affliction as a result of the curse of Sa’id ibn Zaid. And what the people spoke about was the manner in which Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala accepted his prayer.
Ibn ‘Asakir reports:
أن أروى بنت أويس أتت مروان بن الحكم مستغيثة من سعيد بن زيد و قالت ظلمني أرضي و غلبني حقي و كان جارها بالعقيق فركب إليه عاصم بن عمر فقال أنا أظلم أروى حقها فوالله لقد أبقيت لها ستمائة ذراع من أرضي من أجل حديث سمعته من رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم سمعت رسول لله صلى الله عليه و سلم يقول من أخذ من حق امرئ من المسلمين شيئا بغير حق طوقه يوم القيامة حتى سبع أرضين قومي يا أروى فخذي الذي تزعمين أنه حقك فقامت فتسحبت في حقه فقال اللهم إن كانت ظالمة فأعم بصرها و اقتلها في بئرها فعميت و وقعت في بئرها فماتت
Arwa bint Uways approached Marwan ibn al Hakam and sought his help against Sa’id ibn Zaid claiming, “He oppressively stole my land and usurped my right.” He was her neighbour in ‘Aqiq.
‘Asim ibn ‘Umar mounted and went to him (to inform him of this). Sa’id [arrived and] remarked, “I usurped Arwa’s right? By Allah, I have left for her 600 cubits of my land due to a hadith I heard from Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. I heard Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam saying, ‘Whoever unjustly usurps anything from the right of any Muslim, he will be made to wear it as a collar on the day of Qiyamah, until seven earths.’ Stand O Arwa and take what you claim is your right.’”
She thus trampled upon his right. He prayed, “O Allah, if she is the oppressor, then make her blind and kill her in her well.” Due to this, she became blind, and fell and died in her well.
Sayyidina Sa’id ibn Zaid radiya Llahu ‘anhu purified his heart for his Master. He thus became one of Allah’s close friends, upon whom they will be no fear nor will they grieve, and Allah declares war against those who hurt them.
Al Bukhari reports via his sanad from Sayyidina Abu Hurairah radiya Llahu ‘anhu who said:
قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم إن الله قال من عادى لي وليا فقد آذنته بالحرب
Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam reports that Allah declares, “Whoever opposes My friend, I declare war upon him.”
One of the excellences of Sayyidina Sa’id ibn Zaid radiya Llahu ‘anhu is that Sayyidina ‘Umar ibn al Khattab radiya Llahu ‘anhu embraced Islam at his and his wife’s hands, in his house. Thus, the house of Sayyidina Sa’id ibn Zaid radiya Llahu ‘anhu witnessed the exiting of ‘Umar ibn al Khattab radiya Llahu ‘anhu from the darkness of kufr to the brilliance of Islam. He also played a major role in the Islam of ‘Umar. Sayyidina Sa’id radiya Llahu ‘anhu is his cousin and the husband of his sister. He and his wife had embraced Islam in the early stages. Upon hearing of their Islam, Sayyidina ‘Umar went into a rage and verbally and physically abused them. When he witnessed their steadfastness and determination, he calmed down and listened to some of the verses of the Qur’an, through which Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala softened his heart. Upon this, he pronounced his Islam by the blessing of Rasulullah’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam supplication in his favour, in this pure house.
Some find in difficult to fathom why Sayyidina Sa’id radiya Llahu ‘anhu was not among the six men of the committee whom Sayyidina ‘Umar ibn al Khattab radiya Llahu ‘anhu elected moments before his demise. Some think that this is a tarnish to his status and degrades him from the rank he rightfully enjoys. While it is true that Sayyidina Sa’id radiya Llahu ‘anhu was not among the committee; however, this was not due to any defect in him or that he was lower than the other members of the committee in precedence and superiority. The actual reason is that Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu left him out so that no portion of leadership may remain in his family, since Sayyidina Sa’id radiya Llahu ‘anhu is his brother-in-law and cousin. Had he included him in the committee, some might have thought that he favoured him due to his family link or probably Sa’id would have been given preference and made khalifah due to his link to ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu intended to shut this door, so he did not list him.
Ibn Kathir mentions in al Bidayah wa l-Nihayah:
كان عمر رضي الله عنه قد جعل الأمر بعده شورى بين ستة نفر و هو عثمان بن عفان و علي بن أبي طالب و طلحة بن عبيد الله و الزبير بن العوام و سعد بن أبي وقاص و عبد الرحمن بن عوف رضي الله عنهم و تحرج ان يجعلها لواحد من هؤلاء على التعيين و قال لا أتحمل أمرهم حيا و ميتا و إن يرد الله بكم خيرا يجمعكم على خير هؤلاء كما جمعكم على خيركم بعد نبيكم صلى الله عليه و سلم و من تمام ورعه لم يذكر في الشورى سعيد بن زيد بن عمرو بن نفيل لأنه ابن عمه خشي أن يراعى فيولى لكونه ابن عمه فلذلك تركه و هو أحد العشرة المشهود لهم بالجنة بل جاء في رواية المدائني عن شيوخه أنه استثناه من بينهم و قال لست مدخله فيهم و قال لأهل الشورى يحضركم عبد الله يعني ابنه و ليس إليه من الأمر شيء يعني بل يحضر الشورى و يشير بالنصح و لا يولي شيئا
‘Umar handed the affair (khilafah) after him to a consultation between six individuals, viz. ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan, ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, Talhah ibn ‘Ubaidullah, Zubair ibn al ‘Awwam, Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas, and ‘Abdur Rahman ibn ‘Awf radiya Llahu ‘anhum. He avoided handing it over to one of these specifically and said, “I cannot bear their affair, while living and while dead. If Allah intends good for you, he will gather you under the best of these just as He united you on the best of you after your Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.”
Owing to the perfectness of his cautiousness, he did not list in the committee Sa’id ibn Zaid ibn ‘Amr ibn Nufayl since they were cousins. He feared that consideration will be given to him and he will be appointed khilafah due to him being the cousin, hence he left him out. Whereas he is one of the Ten Promised Jannat. As a matter of fact, in the narration of al Mada’ini from his teachers it appears that he excluded him saying, “I will not include him among them.”
He then said to the people of the committee, “‘Abdullah―referring to his son―will be present with you but he has no part of the affair” i.e. he will preside at the consultation and will give his sincere counsel but will not assume any post.
Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu was absolutely eager to remove all doubts and kill every fitnah possibly arising from anyone of his family securing authority. Due to this, he did not list any of them among the committee. In fact, when one of those present suggested to him to appoint his son, ‘Abdullah, as khalifah, ‘Umar said to him angrily:
قاتلك الله والله ما أردت الله بهذا ويحك كيف أستخلف رجلا عجز عن طلاق امرأته لا إرب لنا في أموركم فما حمدتها فأرغب فيها لأحد من أهل بيتي إن كان خيرا فقد أصبنا منه و إن كان شرا فقد صرف عنا بحسب آل عمر أن يحاسب منهم رجل واحد و يسأل عن أمر أمة محمد أما لقد جهدت نفسي و حرمت أهلي و إن نجوت كفافا لا وزر و لا أجر إني لسعيد أنظر فإن استخلف فقد استخلف من هو خير مني و إن أترك فقد ترك من هو خير مني و لن يضيع الله دينه
May Allah destroy you! By Allah, I would not have intended Allah’s pleasure had I done so. Woe to you! How can I appoint a man who is incapable of divorcing his wife? We have no desire in your affairs. I did not praise leadership, that I will desire it for any of my household members. If it is good, we have had our fair share; and if it is evil, then it has been averted from us. It is sufficient for the family of ‘Umar that one man among them is reckoned and asked about the affair of the ummah of Muhammad. Harken! I exhausted myself and deprived my family; if I escape with a clean sheet, without any sin or reward, then I am indeed fortunate. I will see; if I appoint a khalifah then someone superior to me done so and if I do not, then someone greater than me done so. And Allah will never allow His religion to be destroyed.
Al Waqidi says:
توفي سعيد بن زيد سنة إحدى و خمسين و هو ابن بضع و سبعين سنة و قبر بالمدينة نزل في قبره سعد و ابن عمر
Sa’id ibn Zaid passed away in 51 A.H. at the age of 70 odd years. He was buried in Madinah. Sa’d and Ibn ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma descended in his grave.
Ibn al Athir says:
و توفي سعيد بن زيد سنة خمسين أو إحدى و خمسين و هو ابن بضع و سبعين سنة و قيل توفي سنة ثمان و خمسين بالعقيق من نواحي المدينة و قيل توفي بالمدينة و الأول أصح و خرج إليه عبد الله بن عمر فغسله و حنطه و صلى عليه قال نافع و قالت عائشة بنت سعد غسل سعيد بن زيد سعد بن أبي وقاص و حنطه ثم أتى البيت فاغتسل فلما خرج قال أما أني لم أغتسل من غسلي إياه و لكن أغتسل من الحر و نزل في قبره سعد بن أبي وقاص و ابن عمر و صلى عليه ابن عمر
Sa’id ibn Zaid passed away in 50 or 51 A.H. after the age of 70. It is said that he passed away in 58 A.H. in ‘Aqiq on the outskirts of Madinah. It is said that he passed away in Madinah. But the first is most accurate.
‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar went out to him and washed him, applied perfume on him, and performed his Salat al Janazah.
Nafi’ says that Aisha bint Sa’d said, “Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas washed and applied perfume on Sa’id ibn Zaid. He then came home and took a shower. After leaving he commented, ‘Listen up, I have not taken a shower from washing him. I only took a shower due to the heat.’ Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas and Ibn ‘Umar descended into his grave and Ibn ‘Umar led the Salat al Janazah.
This is the amount we could gather about the life of Sayyidina Sa’id ibn Zaid radiya Llahu ‘anhu, one of the Ten Promised Jannat, who are the cream of Quraysh and the most superior of the forerunners of the Muhajirin and the best of the participants of Badr, the elite of the Companions of the Tree, and the leaders of this ummah in the world and the Hereafter. May Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala be pleased with them and make them happy, and forgive those who praise them and announce their purity.
 Al Tabaqat al Kubra, vol. 3 pg. 379; Siyar A’lam al Nubala’, vol. 1 pg. 124.
 Al Tabaqat al Kubra, vol. 3 pg. 379; Mashahir ‘Ulama’ al Amsar, pg. 26; al Tarikh al Kabir, vol. 3 pg. 452; Siyar A’lam al Nubala’, vol. 1 pg. 124.
 Usd al Ghabah, vol. 2 pg. 306.
 Al Tabaqat al Kubra, vol. 3 pg. 384; al Isabah, vol. 3 pg. 88; Tahdhib al Tahdhib, vol. 4 pg. 31.
 Usd al Ghabah, vol. 2 pg. 306.
 Al Isti’ab, vol. 2 pg. 614.
 Al Tabaqat al Kubra, vol. 3 pg. 381, 382.
 Al Tabaqat al Kubra, vol. 3 pg. 379.
 Siyar A’lam al Nubala’, vol. 1 pg. 128
 Al Sunan al Kubra, book on excellences, chapter on Zaid ibn ‘Amr ibn Nufayl, Hadith: 8187.
 Al Tabaqat al Kubra, vol. 3 pg. 381; Siyar A’lam al Nubala’, vol. 1 pg. 128. Al Dhahabi comments, “This is a sahih gharib hadith. Al Layth is the only narrator. He narrates it from Hisham, through text. Al Bukhari has inserted it in the footnotes of his al Sahih.”
 Siyar A’lam al Nubala’, vol. 1 pg. 132.
 Al Isabah, vol. 3 pg. 87.
 Al Tabaqat al Kubra, vol. 3 pg. 382.
 Al Isti’ab, vol. 2 pg. 615.
 Siyar A’lam al Nubala’, vol. 1 pg. 135.
 Al Tabaqat al Kubra, vol. 3 pg. 382, 383; Tahdhib al Kamal, vol. 10 pg. 448.
 Al Tabaqat al Kubra, vol. 3 pg. 383; Usd al Ghabah, vol. 2 pg. 307.
 Tarikh Dimashq, vol. 2 pg. 155.
 Siyar A’lam al Nubala’, vol. 1 pg. 124, 125.
 Sargh: Marks the beginning of Hijaz and the end of Sham, between Mughithah and Tabuk, one of the pit stops for the Syrina Hujjaj. It was at this location ‘Umar ibn al Khattab radiya Llahu ‘anhu met the army leaders. It is 13 stations away from Madinah. Malik ibn Anas said, “It is a town in the valley of Tabuk and the end of the primary Hijaz. It was here where ‘Umar ibn al Khattab met with those who informed him of the plague in Sham, upon which he returned to Madinah.” Mujam al Buldan, vol. 3 pg. 211, 212.
 Tarikh Dimashq, vol. 21 pg. 62.
 Hilyat al Auliya’, vol. 1 pg. 95
 Tarikh Dimashq, vol. 21 pg. 83.
 Jami’ al Tirmidhi, book on virtues, the virtues of ‘Abdur Rahman ibn ‘Awf, Hadith: 3748, al Albani classified it sahih; al Mustadrak, book in virtues, the chapter on the merits of Sa’id ibn Zaid, Hadith: 5858.
 Musnad Ahmed, Hadith: 1675, Shu’ayb al Arna’ut comments, “Its isnad is strong on the standards of Muslim; Jami’ al Tirmidhi, book on virtues, chapter on the merits of ‘Abdur Rahman ibn ‘Awf, Hadith: 3747, al Albani labelled it sahih; al Sunan al Kubra, Hadith: 8194; Sahih ibn Hibban, book on his mention of the virtues of the Sahabah, Hadith: 7002.
 Musnad Ahmed, chapter on the Musnad of Sa’id ibn Zaid, Hadith: 1630, Shu’ayb al Arna’ut labelled the isnad qawi (strong).
 Hilyat al Auliya’, vol. 1 pg. 97; Usd al Ghabah, vol. 2 pg. 307; Tahdhib al Kamal, vol. 10 pg. 452. The hadith is reported briefly by Sahih al Bukhari, Hadith: 3026; Sahih Muslim, Hadith: 1610 without the addition at the end.
 Tarikh Dimashq, vol. 21 pg. 88.
 Sahih al Bukhari, book on heart-softening reports, chapter on humility, Hadith: 6021.
 The incident of ‘Umar’s Islam: Tarikh al Khulafa’, pg. 125, 126; Tarikh Dimashq, vol. 44 pg. 34, 35; al Tabaqat al Kubra, vol. 3 pg. 267, 268.
 Al Bidayah wa l-Nihayah, vol. 7 pg. 163.
 Al Kamil fi al Tarikh, vol. 3 pg. 65.
 Siyar A’lam al Nubala’, vol. 1 pg. 140.
 Usd al Ghabah, vol. 2 pg. 308.Back to top