Usāma ibn Zayd
أُسَامَة ابْن زَيْد
|Died||c. 680 |
|Parent(s)||Zayd ibn Harithah (father)|
Umm Ayman (mother)
|Known for||companion of Muhammad|
|Rank||Military commander to Muhammad (632)|
Muhammad appointed Usama ibn Zayd as the commander of an expeditionary force which was to invade the region of Balqa in the Byzantine Empire to avenge the Muslim defeat at the Battle of Mu'tah, in which Usama's father and Muhammad's adopted son, Zayd ibn Harithah, had been killed. This campaign was known as the Expedition of Usama bin Zayd. Usama's campaign was successful and his army was the first Muslim force to successfully invade and raid Byzantine territory, thus paving the way for the subsequent Muslim conquest of the Levant and Muslim conquest of Egypt.
Background and early life
Usama's mother, Umm Ayman served as a slave in the household of Muhammad's parents, Abdullah ibn Abdul-Muttalib and Aminah bint Wahb. She became Muhammad's slave after the death of Aminah. Following Aminah's death in Al-Abwa, Barakah looked after Muhammad, and moved with him to the household of his grandfather Abdul-Muttalib ibn Hashim in Mecca, where she served him during his childhood and afterwards, in his adulthood. When Muhammad married Khadija, he arranged for Barakah's freedom and marriage to a Khazrajite companion named Ubayd ibn Zayd, who was her first husband. Through this marriage, Usama's half brother, Ayman ibn Ubayd was born, and thus she was known as "Umm Ayman" ("Mother of Ayman").
Usama's father, Zayd ibn Haritha, was a companion and adopted son of Muhammad. He is commonly regarded as the third person to have accepted Islam, after Muhammad's wife Khadija bint Khuwaylid, and Muhammad's cousin Ali ibn Abi Talib. He was an Arab of the Udhra branch of the Kalb tribe of Najd, central Arabia Zayd's mother, Suda bint Thaalaba, was from the Maan branch of the Tayy tribe.
As such, Usama was born into a family with strong connections to Muhammad and both his parents were prominent in the early Muslim community. His family migrated to Medina with Muhammad to escape the religious persecution of the Quraysh in Mecca.
Usama had a close relationship with Muhammad and he fought with Muhammad in the Battle of Hunayn. Ibn Kathir writes that according to Ibn Ishaq, Jabir ibn Abd Allah, who witnessed the battle, reported that the Muslim army were panicked by a surprise attack from the enemy and many men fled the battlefield. However, a group of Muhajirun stood firmly and defended Muhammad the battlefield. These men were Abu Bakr, Umar, Ali, Abbas ibn Abd al-Muttalib, Abu Sufyan ibn al-Harith, Fadl ibn Abbas, Rabi'ah ibn al-Harith, Usama ibn Zayd and Ayman ibn Ubayd. Usama's half-brother Ayman ibn Ubayd was killed that day whilst defending Muhammad.
Expedition of Usama ibn Zayd
After the Farewell Pilgrimage, Muhammad appointed Usama ibn Zayd as the commander of an expeditionary force which was to invade the region of Balqa in the Byzantine Empire. Muhammad commanded all the sahaba, except for his family, to go with Usama to Syria to avenge the Muslims’ defeat at the Battle of Mu'tah, in which Usama's father and Muhammad's adopted son, Zayd ibn Harithah, had been killed. Usama's leadership was initially rejected by some because of his young age at the time, however Muhammad dismissed these concerns.
In reference to this event, the Sahih al-Bukhari states that:
The Prophet appointed Usama as the commander of the troops (to be sent to Syria). The Muslims spoke about Usama (unfavorably). The Prophet said, "I have been informed that you spoke about Usama. (Let it be known that) he is the most beloved of all people to me" Sahih al-Bukhari, 5:59:744
However, soon after the expedition was dispatched, news was received of Muhammad's death, forcing the army to return to Medina. The campaign was not reengaged until leadership of the community passed to Abu Bakr, who chose to honour Muhammad's wishes and reaffirmed Usama's command. Usama's campaign was successful and his army was the first Muslim force to invade and raid Byzantine territory successfully, thus paving the way for the subsequent Muslim conquest of the Levant and Muslim conquest of Egypt, both of which took place during Usama's lifetime.
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