Saturday, August 09, 2008

Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas - An introducer of Islam to China 650 AD

Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

a`ad ibn Abī Waqqās (Arabic: سعد بن أبي وقاص) was an early convert to Islam and one of the important companions of Muhammad.


He was from the Banū Zuhrah clan of the Quraysh tribe [1], and was a maternal uncle of Muhammad. He had a son named `Umar ibn Sa`d, the leader of the forces that killed Husayn ibn `Alī at the Battle of Karbalā'. Abd-al-Rahman ibn Awf was his first cousin [2].


Early Life — ?-610

Assuming he lived until he was almost eighty years old and died in 664, he was born in or shortly after 584.[1]

Muhammad's era — 610-632

Adopting Islam

He was one of the first to accept Islam [1].

Sa'ad relates:

When my mother heard the news of my Islam, she flew into a rage. She came up to me and said: "O Sa'ad! What is this religion that you have embraced which has taken you away from the religion of your mother and father...? By God, either you forsake your new religion or I would not eat or drink until I die. Your heart would be broken with grief for me and remorse would consume you on account of the deed, you have done and people would censure you forever more.' 'Don't do (such a thing), my mother,' I said, 'for I would not give up my religion for anything.' However, she went on with her threat... For days she neither ate nor drank. She became emaciated and weak."

"Hour after hour, I went to her asking whether I should bring her some food or something to drink but she persistently refused, insisting that she would neither eat nor drink until she died or I abandoned my religion. I said to her, 'Yaa Ummaah! In spite of my strong love for you, my love for Allah and His Messenger is indeed stronger. By Allah, if you had a thousand souls and each one depart one after another, I would not abandon this religion for anything.' When she saw that I was determined she relented unwillingly and ate and drank.

This was referenced in the Qur'anic verse 31:14-15[1].'


Main article: Sahaba's first blood

In 614 the Muslims were on their way to the hills of Mecca to hold a clandestine meeting with Muhammad, when a group of polytheists observed their suspicious movements and began to abuse and fight them. Sa`ad beat a polytheist and shed his blood, reportedly the first instance of bloodshed in the history of Islam.[1]

Main article: Battle of Badr

He fought at the battle of Badr with his young brother Umayr, who cried to accompany the Muslim army, as he was only in his early teens. Sa`d returned to al-Madīnah alone; Umayr was one of the fourteen Muslims who died in the battle.

Main article: Battle of Uhud

At the battle of Uhud, Sa`d was chosen as an archer together with Zayd, Sa`īb (the son of Uthmān ibn Mazūn) and others. Sa`d was among those who fought in defense of Muhammad after some Muslims had deserted their positions.

Farewell Pilgrimage

He fell ill during the The Farewell Pilgrimage, and he had only a daughter during this period. Sa'ad said:

O Messenger of Allah. I have wealth and I only have one daughter to inherit from me. Shall I give two thirds of my wealth as Sadaqah?" "No," replied the Prophet. "Then, (shall I give) a half?." asked Sa'ad and the Prophet again said 'no.' "Then, (shall I give) a third?' asked Sa'ad. "Yes," said the Prophet. "The third is much. Indeed to leave your heirs well-off is better than that you should leave them dependent on and to beg from people. If you spend anything seeking to gain thereby the pleasure of Allah, you will be rewarded for it even if it is a morsel which you place in your wife's mouth.[1]

Abu Bakr's era — 632–634

Muhammad al-Tijani, a 20th century Shi'a Twelver Islamic scholar writes:

In his book Al-Imama wal-Siyasa, Ibn Qutaybah transmits saying that following the demise of the Prophet, Banu Zuhra gathered to meet with Sa`d ibn Abu Waqqas and Abd al-Rahman ibn Awf at the sacred mosque (Masjid al-Nabi). When Abu Bakr and Abu Ubaydah came to them, Umar said to them, "Why do I see you thus forming circles? Stand up and swear the oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr, for I and the Ansar have already done so." Sa`d and Abd al-Rahman ibn Awf, as well as all those who were then present with them from Banu Zuhra, stood and swore.[3]

Umar's era — 634-644

Sa`d also fought under `Umar's command against the Sāsānian army in the Battle of al-Qādisiyyah. He was later appointed governor of al-Kūfah and Najd during the caliphate of `Umar.

Some narrations state that although Umar deposed him from his post as governor, he recommended that the caliph who succeeded him reinstall Sa'd, since Umar had not deposed Sa'd due to any treachery [3].

He was among the members of the council who elected the third caliph, `Uthmān.

Uthman's era — 644–656

Uthman carried out Umar's recommendation and appointed Sa'd as governor of Kufa [3].

S'ad is often credited for introducing Islam to China in 650, during the reign of Emperor Gaozong of Tang China.[4]

Ali's era — 656–661

Muhammad al-Tijani, a 20th century Shi'a Twelver Islamic scholar writes:

But what is strange in as far as Sa`d ibn Abu Waqqas is concerned is that he did not swear the oath of allegiance to the Commander of the Faithful Ali, nor did he support him while he knew the Imam fully well and realized his merits. He himself narrated several of Ali's merits which both Imam al-Nasa'i and Imam Muslim record in their respective Sahih books. [3]

Muawiyah's era — 661–664

Sa'd was mentioned in a hadith relevant to the Umayyad tradition of cursing Ali [5].

He lived until he was almost eighty years old. He died, a wealthy man, in the year 664.[1]


Sunni view

Sunnī Muslims regard him as one of the ten to whom paradise was promised.

One Sunni source states:

To urge him on [during Uhud], the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said:

"Shoot, Sa'ad ...may my mother and father be your ransom." Of this occasion, Ali ibn Abi Talib said that he had not yet heard the Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) promising such a ransom to anyone except Sa'ad. Sa'ad is also known as the first companion to have shot an arrow in defense of Islam.

And the Prophet once prayed for him: "O Lord, direct his shooting and respond to his prayer." Sa'ad was one of the companions of the Prophet who were blessed with great wealth. Just as he was known for his bravery, so he was known for his generosity [1].

Shi'a view

Ali Asgher Razwy, a 20th century Shi'a Twelver Islamic scholar states:

Umar, on his deathbed, had appointed six Muhajireen as members of a panel which was to choose one out of themselves as the future khalifa of the Muslims. They were Ali ibn Abi Talib, Uthman, Talha, Zubayr, Abdur Rahman bin Auf and Saad bin Abi Waqqas. Except Ali, all other members of the panel were capitalists, or rather, neo-capitalists. When they came from Makkah, they were penniless and homeless but within twelve years, i.e., from the death of Muhammad Mustafa in 632 to the death of Umar in 644, each of them, except Ali, had become rich like Croesus. Between these two dates, they had accumulated immense wealth, and had become the richest men of their times.

Ali did not qualify as a member of this exclusive "club" but Umar admitted him anyway. Apart from the fact that Ali made his living as a gardener whereas his other five co-members lived on the revenues of their lands and estates, there was another gulf, even more unbridgeable, that separated him from them. In character, personality, temperament, attitudes, philosophy and outlook on life, Ali and the rest of them were the antithesis of each other.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Sa'ad Ibn Abi Waqqas (radhi allahu anhu)
  2. ^ a b A Restatement of the History of Islam and Muslims on [1]
  3. ^ a b c d The Shi'a: The Real Followers of the Sunnah on [2]
  4. ^ Wang, Lianmao (2000). Return to the City of Light: Quanzhou, an eastern city shining with the splendour of medieval culture. Fujian People's Publishing House. Page 99.
  5. ^ Sahih Muslim 31:5915

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