عن عروة أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال يوم الخندق : من رجل يذهب فيأتيني بخبر بني قريظة ، فركب الزبير فجاءه بخبرهم ثم عاد فقال ثلاث مرات : من يأتيني بخبرهم ، فقال الزبير : نعم ، قال : وجمع للزبير أبويه فقال : فداك أبي وأمي ، وقال للزبير : لكل نبي حواري وحواري الزبير وابن عمتي
Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said at the Battle of the Trench, “Who will go and bring me news of the Banu Qurayzah?”
Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhu mounted his conveyance and returned with their news. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam repeated the same question on three occasions. At each time Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhu responded to his call.
Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam then said to Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhu, “May my parents be sacrificed for you.”
He then said, “Every Prophet has a near disciple, my disciple is Zubair, my cousin.”
This Hadith has been recorded with a reliable chain of narration thus in Musannaf ibn Abi Shaybah. This narration is considered as Mawsul by the scholars of Hadith even though it is the form of a Mursal narration here. Imam Bukhari, Muslim, and others have recorded a similar narration from ‘Urwah —from his brother, ‘Abdullah ibn Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhu. He had witnessed the battle as a child.
Commentary and Lessons Learnt from this Narration:
1. There lay great virtue for Zubair ibn al ‘Awwam radiya Llahu ‘anhu in this narration; his selection as a close disciple of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Imam Abu Hafs ibn Shahin says, “This virtue is specific to him, no one besides him has received this honour.”
2. Another great virtue for him is the statement of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam directed to him, “May my parents be sacrificed for you.”
3. His strength of faith, heart, and trust in Almighty Allah shines through in this narration.
4. His quick response to the request of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam during days of hunger, fear, and battle is the reason for receiving these two great accolades. And Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala knows best.
5. Question: Why is the title of Disciple/Helper specific to him whereas the other Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum too were such?
Answer: The battle of Khandaq was unparalleled in the ferocious attack mounted from the many Arabs and Jewish tribes. The hearts of the Muslims had reached their throats and their eyes shifted in fear. At this fragile and fearful time Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam gave the call for a man to embark on a stealth mission in ascertaining the position of the Banu Qurayzah. The first to respond to this call was Zubair ibn al ‘Awwam radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
This act of his mirrored the act of the disciple of ‘Isa ‘alayh al Salam. Imam Nasa’i has recorded the following authentic narration in al Kubra on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu:
لما أراد الله أن يرفع عيسى إلى السماء ، خرج على أصحابه ، وهم في بيت اثنا عشر رجلا ورأسه يقطر ماء فقال : أيكم يلقى عليه شبهي فيقتل مكاني ، فيكون معي في درجتي ؟ فقام شاب من أحدثهم سنا ، فقال : أنا فقال : اجلس . ثم أعاد عليهم الثلاثة، فقال الشاب: أنا . فقال عيسى :نعم أنت. فألقي عليه شبه عيسى ، ورفع عيسى من روزنة كانت في البيت إلى السماء . وجاء الطلب من اليهود فأخذوا الشاب للشبه فقتلوه ثم صلبوه
When Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala intended raising ‘Isa ‘alayh al Salam to the heavens, ‘Isa ‘alayh al Salam approached twelve of his companions with water dripping from his head whilst they were in a house. He then said to them, “Which one of you is prepared to take on my appearance, be killed in my place, and share my status?” The youngest from amongst them stood to assume this task. He then told him to sit. After asking for a second time the same young man stood, again ‘Isa ‘alayh al Salam told him to sit. On the third time when the young man stood, ‘Isa ‘alayh al Salam said, “Then so it will be you.” The appearance of ‘Isa ‘alayh al Salam was then shadowed on to him and ‘Isa ‘alayh al Salam was raised by way of a skylight in the house. The Jews hunting him came and took the young man with his appearance, killed him thereafter crucifying him.
6. The disciples of ‘Isa ‘alayh al Salam were known as his Hawariyyin due to the white clothes they wore as narrated by Ibn Jarir and Ibn Abi Hatim with an authentic chain of narration from Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhuma.
Ibn Jarir further says:
فعرفوا بصحبة عيسى، واختياره إياهم لنفسه أصحابًا وأنصارًا، فجرى ذلك الاسم لهم، واستُعمل حتى صار كل خاصّة للرجل من أصحابه وأنصاره:”حواريُّه”، ولذلك قال النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم إنّ لكلّ نبيَ حواريًّا، وَحوَاريَّ الزبير
They were recognised as the companions of ‘Isa ‘alayh al Salam as he had taken them in as his companions and helpers. The term (hawariyyin) therefore stuck. It then came into use to refer to the helpers and companions of a man. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam therefore referred to Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhu as his hawari.
7. The reference Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam made to Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhu “my cousin” was in effect an understanding of honour and relation being passed on to the ummah. Therefore, those that opposed him and were killed will have their abodes in hell as supported by the narration of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu in al Musnad. As for those that reviled him, they will have their share of the narration:
لعن المؤمن كقتله
Cursing a believer is like murdering him.
8. The narration shows the permissibility of sending an unaccompanied man on a mission as well as of travelling alone.
9. In the event of a few individuals gaining booty, it will be distributed evenly. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam sent Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhu on a mission and called him a ‘helper’.
10. The wisdom of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam as a leader becomes evident from this incident. He did not specify anyone for the mission, especially since they were gripped with fear. Rather, he asked for a volunteer, thereby calming the nerves of the rest.
11. The narration shows the importance of domestic intelligence, seeking out those that threaten internal security and taking the necessary steps to deal with them. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam sought out a spy on three occasions to investigate the affair of the Jewish tribe, the Banu Qurayzah. The Jewish tribe has broken its accord with the Muslims and had joined forces with the confederates. Thus, steps were taken to deal with them accordingly.
12. The most effective method of acquiring intelligence of domestic state enemies and hypocrites is by deploying a trustworthy and intelligent spy.
13. A leader must appoint brave and trustworthy men to worthy positions. Their presence is a great boon against the enemies of the ummah.
 Musannaf ibn Abi-Shaybah, Hadith: 32167.
 See also, Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, vol. 2 pg. 92.
 Tafsir al Tabari, Surah Al ‘Imran: 52.
 Sahih al Bukhari, Hadith: 6105.Back to top