Umayyah ibn Khalaf

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Umayyah ibn Khalaf ibn Safwan[1] was a Meccan Arab, a leading member of the Quraish and head of the of Bani Jumah. He was an opponent of the Muslims led by Muhammad and is best known as the master of Bilal ibn Ribah, a slave he tortured for converting to Islam. Called also as Abu Ali

Other transliterations of the name in include Umayya, Umaiiya and Umaiya.

Biography[edit]

Family[edit]

Kuniyat: Abu Safwan

Nisbah: ‘Umaiyah ibn Khalaf ibn Habib ibn Wahb ibn Hudhafah ibn Jumah

His son, Safwan ibn Umayah, became a Muslim after the conquest of Mecca, another one, named waleed, was killed at Badr.

Brothers: Wahb and Ubayy

Grandson: Abdullah ibn Safwan.

Opposition to Islam[edit]

Umayyah was involved in the pagan religious ceremonies of Mecca, where he distributed perfume in the square of the Kaaba.

After Muhammad began to preach against idolatry, Umayyah became a staunch opponent of the new teaching.

He also known for his action, that he subjected his slave Bilal ibn Ribah to torture for having adopted Islam. Bilal was made to lie down on hot burning desert sand and had a heavy stone put on his chest which made breathing difficult for him. Since he still refused to denounce Islam, a heavy person was to jump on the stone. Bilal used to repeat "Ahad! Ahad! (One God! One God!).[2]

Friendship with Abd al-Rahman[edit]

Ummayah had a close friend named Abdul Rahman ibn Awf, but their friendship was strained when Abdu Amr converted to Islam.[3] Abdu Amr changed his name to Abd al-Rahman and later emigrated to Medina.

Because of their friendship, the two formed a written agreement, according to which Abdul Rahman was to protect Umayah's property and/or family in Medina, while Umayyah would protect Abd-al-Rahman's in Mecca. When Abd al-Rahman's name was mentioned in the document, Umayyah protested, saying "I do not know Ar-Rahman" and requested that the pre-Islamic name "Abdu Amr" should be used, to which Abd al-Rahman yielded.[4]

Pilgrimage of Sa'd[edit]

Umayyah was also an intimate friend with Sa'd ibn Mua'dh,[5] the leader of the Banu Aus[citation needed]. When Umayyah was in Medina on his way to Syria,[6] he used to stay with Sa'd and when Sa'd was in Mecca, he used to stay with Umayah.[5]

Prior to the Battle of Badr, Sa'd visited Mecca once to perform his Umrah with Umayyah, when they came across Abu Jahl. They had an argument, and as it became heated, Sa'd threatened Abu Jahl with stopping the Meccan trade route to Syria and informed Umayyah that his life was threatened by Muhammad.[5]

Battle of Badr[edit]

Further information: Battle of Badr

In 624 CE, the Meccans decided to confront the Muslim forces that threatened a caravan from Syria led by Abu Sufyan ibn Harb. Abu Jahl was rallying the people for war, saying "Go and protect your caravan."

Umayyah however, anxious about Sa'd's warning, disliked to leave Mecca, but Abu Jahl told him "O Abu Safwan! If the people see you staying behind though you are the chief of the people of the Valley, then they will remain behind with you.".[5]

Abu Jahl urged until Umayyah said "As you have forced me to change my mind, I will buy the best camel in Mecca". Umayyah told his wife "O Um Safwan, prepare what I need (for the journey)." She said to him, "O Abu Safwan! Have you forgotten what your Yathribi brother told you?" He said, "No, but I do not want to go with them but for a short distance." So when Umaiya went out, he used to tie his camel wherever he camped.[5]

In the battle, Umayyah was captured by his old friend Abdul Rahman ibn Awf. He was killed by a group of Muslims led by his former slave Bilal (who was a victim of his earlier torture), in spite of Abdul Rahman's protestations and his attempt to shield Umayyah with his own body. One of Umayyah's sons was also killed at Badr, defending his father.[3][4]

A narration attributed to Abdur Rahman bin Awf reports:

Sunnis tend to view this as Sahih and have included it in Sahih Bukhari [4]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sahih Bukhari [1]
  2. ^ Slavery From Islamic and Christian Perspectives by Sa'id Akhtar Rizvi on Al-islam.org [2], referencing Ibn Sa'd , op. cit., vol. III:1, p. 166; Abu Na'im, op. cit., vol. 1, p. 148; Ibn Hajar, op. cit., vol. 1, p. 336.
  3. ^ a b John Glubb, The Life and times Muhammad, Lanham 1998, p. 186f.
  4. ^ a b c Sahih al-Bukhari, 3:38:498
  5. ^ a b c d e Sahih al-Bukhari, 5:59:286
  6. ^ Sahih al-Bukhari, 4:56:826