Qays ibn Sa'd
|Qays ibn Sa'd
Arabic: قيس بن سعد
|Known For||Being a loyal companion of Prophet Muhammad, Imam Ali, and the Ahl al-Bayt|
|Influences||Allah, Prophet Muhammad, Imam Ali, and the Ahl al-Bayt|
|Died||59 AH (678-679 AD)|
|Burial Place||Medina, Hejaz|
|Father||Sa'd ibn Ubadah|
|Siblings||Brother: Sa’id ibn Sa’d|
|Opponents||Enemies of Allah, Islam, Prophet Muhammad, and the Ahl al-Bayt|
Qays ibn Sa'd Arabic: قيس بن سعد occupies a position of prominence in Islam. Seen as one of the great leaders of the Muslim army, Qays ibn Sa'd was known for his stead fast defense in battles. His desire to cleans his soul, achieved him the honor of being one of the great companions of Prophet Muhammad. Qays was also one of the most loyal companions of Imam Ali.
- 1 Birth and Early Life
- 2 Qay's Title
- 3 Qay's Characteristics
- 4 Governor of Egypt
- 5 Military Career
- 6 After Imam Ali's Martyrdom
- 7 Qays's Last Days
- 8 Legacy
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 Bibliography
Birth and Early Life
Before converting to Islam, Qay's ibn Sa'd was cunning to the extent that no one was able to get the better of him. He would use his cunningness to short-change the people of Medina and its surroundings.
Conversion to Islam
- "This is your servant from now on."
The Prophet was pleased with the qualities that Qays possessed. Qays then sat down next to him. The prophet then told Qays,
- "This place will always be yours for the rest of your life."
When Qays embraced Islam, he completely changed his life, attitude, vision, and disposition. Through Islam, Qays learned how to treat people with sincerity and not to resort to deceit. He abandoned all his cunningness in dealing with people and devoted himself to become a true and sincere Muslim. However, there were moments in his life (in difficult situations) where he was tempted to use his cunning abilities to deceive people. But, Qays's sincerity to the religion of Islam helped him overpower the temptations. Qays himself states,
- "If it were not for Islam I would have used my craftiness to outwit all the Arabs."
- "If I did not hear the Prophet say craftiness and deciet reside in hell, I would have been the craftiest man of the nation."
Qays was given the title al-Ansari. Al-Ansari simply means the helper.
Qay's family was known for there generosity. Even Prophet Muhammad praised them by stating,
- "Generosity is the dominant trait of this family."
A pre-Islamic Arabian custom was that wealthy people would engage a crier (announcer) to stand on an elevated place during the day to call quests and passers-by to come to their house to eat food and rest. And at night the criers would light a fire in order to guide strangers to places where food was being served. People during pre-Islamic Arabia, would say,
- "Whoever likes fat meat must go to Dulaym ibn Hartithan's house."
Dulaym was the great-grandfather of Qays. Being brought up in a family renowned for its gernerosity, Qays too would inherit the trait of generosity. Qays's generosity surpassed his cleverness. Qays was also known for his charity. It is documented that one day Abu Bakr and Umar stated,
- “If we let this lad give free rein to his generosity, he would exhaust his father’s wealth.” When his father, Sa'd ibn Ubadah heard their comments he replied “Abu Quhaafah and Ibn al-Khattab should not have tried to encourage my son to become a miser.”
To indicated Qays’s generosity, Qays had lent a person in debt (facing rough times) a large amount of money. When the time of repayment came the man went to pay back the money Qays had lent him. However, Qays refused to take the money back and stated,
- “I never take back anything that I have given.”
- "If only we could buy him a beard."
Governor of Egypt
Imam Ali had selected Qays ibn Sa'd to become the governor of Egypt. Wilferd Madelung in his book The Succession to Muḥammad: A Study of The Early Caliphate discusses the appointing Qays ibn Sa'd as the governor of Egypt by stating,
- "It was an act of reparation towards the Ansar and must have been seen by the Quraish opposition in Mecca as confirmation of their fear that Ali intended to abolish their privileged status as the ruling class in Islam."
- "He (Imam Ali) did not feel indebted to the Egyptain rebels, who had returned home, as he did to al-Ashtar and the Kufans, and wished to keep at a distance from them."
And also rejected Amr ibn As, a supporter of Mu'awiyah, as a candidate even though Aisha demanded his restoration on the grounds of his popularity among the army of Egypt. Amr was a man of self-interest rather thatn Islamic principle and had a main role in the killing of Uthman ibn Affan. Madelung also states,
- "Amr's leading role in the agitation against Uthman, based on motives of self-intrest rather than Islamic principles, could hardly have appealed to Ali. Amr was a type of unscrupulous opportunist with whom Ali did not want to bruden his reign."
- "Ali proposed to Qays ibn Sa'd that he choose a military guard in Median to accompany him, but Qays declined, stating that if he could enter Egypt only with a military escort he would rather never enter the country."
Qays then left with only seven companions and was able to reach al-Fustat without any worries/troubles. He also brought a letter from Imam Ali informing the Egyptian Muslims of his (Qays's) appointment and read it in the mosque. The letter was written in Safar 36 AH (July 656 AD), roughly two months after Imam Ali's accession by Ubaydullah ibn Abi Rafi. Imam Ali mentioned that the prophet had first been succeeded by two (Abu Bakr and Umar who forcefully took the rightful successorship away from Imam Ali). After whom, a ruler (Uthman) had taken charge and introduced (wrongful) innovations such that the community protested and reproached him. Madelung comments,
- "There was no mention of Uthman's violent death and of the part palyed by the Egyptain rebels. Ali evidently did not wish to touch the divisive matter."
After publicly addressing the letter, Qays then praised Imam Ali as the best man after Prophet Muhammad (indicating that Qays was a Shia of Imam Ali). He also received the bay'ahs (pledges of allegiance) for Imam Ali from the Egyptian people.
As the governor, one of Qays's did not take any major steps against Uthman's partisans, who had seceded to the village of Kharbita near Alexandria after the revolt of Muhammad ibn Abi Hudhayfa. Uthman's partisans held out against Qays ibn Sa’d under their leader Yazid ibn al-Harith al-Maudliji of Kinana. They informed Qays that they wanted to see how matters developed. Furthermore, they stated that they would not interfere with his tax collectors and would not take up arms (fight) against him. Qay agreed to their request and did not to force them to pledge allegiance (Uthman's partisans would later pledge allegiance to Mu'awiyah instead of Imam Ali). Maslama ibn Mukhallad al-Sa’idi, a kinsman of Qays, called for retaliation for the bold of Uthman. However, Qays assured Maslama that he did not wish to kill him under any circumstances. As a result, Maslama committed himself not to oppose Qays as long as Qays was the governor of Egypt. The agreement (with Uthman's partisans) allowed Qays to collect the tax throughout the land of Egypt.
Muhammad ibn Abi Hudhayfa and the Egyptian rebels were not mentioned in the accounts of Sahl ibn Sa’d.
According to al-Layth ibn Sa’d, an Egyptian, Muhammad ibn Hudhayfa left Egypt for Medina when Qays was appointed governor in order to join Imam Ali. When news reached Mu’awiyah that Muhammad departed from Egypt and was on transit to Medina, he demanded his subjects to capture Muhammad and bring him to Sham (Damascus). After Muhammad was brought to Damascus, Mu’awiyah imprisoned him. Muhammad managed to escape prison but was killed by Yemenis on Dhul Hijja 36 AH (May 657 AD).
Confrontation with Mu'awiyah
After the Battle of Jamal, Mu'awiyah, the corrupt governor of the land of Sham (modern day Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, and Jordan), became worried that Imam Ali would terminate his governorship. In particular, Mu'awiyah was worried because he was exposed to potential attacks from two fronts (Egypt and Iraq) by Imam Ali and Qays. The threat of a potential attack led Mu'awiyah to increase his propaganda. The false propaganda charged Imam Ali with Uthman's death. In addition, Mu'awiyah wrote letters which aimed to persuaded Qays to join Mu'awiyah's side against Imam Ali by threats and promises. In his letters, Mu'awiyah also falsely accused Qays of having a role in the murder of Uthman and demanded that Qays repent for his actions. Mu'awiyah also stated that if he (Qays) joined Mu'awiyah's side and foght/defeated Imam Ali, then Mu'wiyah would give Qays control over the two Iraqs (al-Iraqaym Kufa and Basra) and he would give Hejaz to one of Qays’s kinsmen of his (Qays) choice. However, Qays refused while denying his and Imam Ali's role in the killing of Uthman, since it was false. Qays also stated that his clan was the first one to stand up for the caliphate. Mu'awiyah told Qays to consider his offer and promised not to attack. Time passed and Mu'wiyah realized Qays was stalling. Mu'awiyah then wrote Qays a letter bluntly. After receiving the letter, Qays replied to Mu'awiyah equally as blunt. Madelung questions Mu'awiyah threats/bribery towards Qays,
- "Was Mu’awiyah deluded enough to think that he could buy him (Qays) so that he (Qays) would forsake the one most worthy to rule (referring to Imam Ali), the most truthful and soundest in guidance, and the closest to the Messenger of God, in order to obey the one furthest from legitimate rule, the most perfidious and errant (referring to Mu’awiyah), and the one most remote from God and his messenger?"
Qays's firm stance eventually lead to Mu'awiyah to give up hope in persuading Qays. Hence, Mu'awiyah devised a sneaky plan to cause pandaemonium between Qays and Imam Ali. Mu'awiyah forged a letter from Qays to himself declaring that Qays pleaded allegiance to Mu'awiyah and was willing to fight Imam Ali for his role in the killing of Uthman (even though Imam Ali never had a role in the killing of Uthman). After forging the letter, Mu'awiyah publicized the letter to his commanders. In the meantime, Imam Ali's spies informed him of this treachery. He became upset and did not believe that Qays paid allegiance to Mu'awiyah because Qays was one of his loyal supporters. Imam Ali then called his nephew, Abdullah ibn Ja'far, and asked for his thoughts on the situation. Qays sent a letter to Imam Ali detailing his arraignment with the Uthmani rebels who were in Kharbita. According to Madelung, Imam Ali commanded Qays to fight them but Qays wrote to Imam Ali pointing out that attacking the rebels would not be the best move. He explained that attacking the rebels would make common cause with the enemy. Madelung states that Abdullah ibn Ja'far suggested that Imam Ali remove Qays from being the governor and replace him with Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr, the adopted son of Imam Ali, because he would be able to handle the situation better. On the first of Ramadan 36 AH (February 21, 657 AD) Imam Ali removed Qays as the governor and placed Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr as the governor of Egypt. Qays was sadden, nonetheless he returned to Medina.
Qays ibn Sa'd was the commander of Shurta al-Khamis, a military unit that supported Imam Ali and the Ahl al-Bayt in Iraq. Shurta al-Khamis was composed of forty thousand men who personally were loyal to Imam Ali.
Battle of Siffeen
In the Battle of Siffeen, Qays's sided with Imam Ali against Mu'awiyah. Qays joined Sahl ibn Hunayf, one of the governors of Imam Ali, as he was setting off to join Imam Ali at the Battle of Siffeen. Qays was appointed as one of the commanders of Imam Ali's army; he commanded the foot soldiers of Basrah. Qays was given a bergade of over 10,000 men. It is documented that on the six day of the Battle of Siffeen, Qays ibn Sa'd al-Ansari came forward with the army to fight against ibn Dhi'l-Kala and his contingent. Severe fighting ensued, bodies of soldiers were seen falling and blood was flowing like streams at every step until the darkness of the night separated the two armies. During the war, Qays would sit and mentally concoct plots that would make Mu'awiyah and his army the worst losers. The more he thought about the plots, the more he realized that they were evil and dangerous. But Qays reminded himself of Allah's holy words:
- "But the evil plot encompasses only him who makes it." (Sura Fatir 35:43)
As a result, Qays discarded the plots and sought forgiveness from Allah's saying,
- "By Allah if Mu'awiyah is destined to have the upper hand over us, he will not have it because he has outwitted us, but because of his own deficiency in piety and fear of Allah."
After Imam Ali's Martyrdom
Sulaym ibn Qays states:
- "Mu'awiyah came (to perform) the hajj during his Caliphate. That was after the killing of the Commander of the faithful (Imam Ali), and (after) the Peace Treaty with Imam Hasan. The Medinans (people of Medina) received him. Among them was Qays ibn Sa'd, who was the chief of the Ansar (helpers) and the son of their chief. So a talk took place between them (Qays ibn Sa'd and Mu'awiyah). So Qays said: "By my life, no one of the Ansar, of Quraysh, of the Arabs, and of non-Arabs has the right to the succession to authority (Khilafa) except Ali and his sons after him (Ali). Mu'awiyah became angry. Thus he wrote one copy (letter) concerning that to all his governors: "Indeed I will not give security to him who narrates a tradition concerning the laudable deeds of Ali and his household." At every town and place, the orators cursed Ali ibn Abu Talib, renounced him, and backbit his household."
Qays's Last Days
Qays died in the year 59 AH (678-679 AD) in Medina.
Anas ibn Malik, one of the companion of Allah's Prophet (a controversial figure in Islam) states,
- "Qays ibn Sa'd ibn Ubadah was to the Prophet like a top officer to a commander."
- Prophet Muhammad
- Imam Ali
- Imam Hasan
- Sa'd ibn Ubadah
- List of Sahabah that did not give Bay'ah to Abu Bakr
- Sulaym ibn Qays
- Madelung, Wilferd. The Succession to Muḥammad: A Study of The Early Caliphate. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997. Print. ISBN 0521646960 Pg. 152, 153, 190, 191, and 192
- Khalid, Muhammad Khali, and Khalid Muhammad Khalid. Men Around The Messenger. Kuala Lumpur: Islamic Book Trust, 2005. Print. ISBN 9839154737 Pg. 276-280
- Daly, M. W., and Carl F. Petry, eds. The Cambridge History of Egypt. United Kingdom: Cambridge UP, 1998. Print. ISBN 0521471370 Pg. 68
- Ibn Abu Talib, Ali. Sermons from Imam Ali, Nahj al-Balagha. N.p.: Sohale Sizar, n.d. Print. Pg. 67, 123, 124, and 181
- Morony, Michael G. Iraq after the Muslim Conquest. Piscataway, New Jersey: Gorgias Press LLC, 2005. Print. ISBN 1593333153 Pg. 94
- Aal-Yasin, Radi. Sulh Al-Hasan: The Peace Treaty of Al-Hasan. Qum, Iran: Ansariyan, 2000. Print. Ch. 21
- Wilferd Madelung (1998). The Succession to Muḥammad: A Study of The Early Caliphate. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0521646963.
- Muhammad Khali Khalid and Khalid Muhammad Khalid (2005). Men Around The Messenger. Islamic Book Trust. ISBN 978-9839154733.
- Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib. Nahjul Balagha: Peak of Eloquence. ISBN 978-0940368422.
- Carl F. Petry, ed. (2008). The Cambridge History of Egypt 1. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0521068857.
- Michael G. Morony (2006). Iraq after the Muslim Conquest. Gorgias Press. ISBN 978-1593333157.
- Radi Aal-Yasin (2013). Sulh al-Hasan: The Peace Treaty of al-Hasan [a]. Ahlulbayt Organization. ISBN 978-1494438135.