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Al-Zubayr b. al-'Awwam

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Sahaba
Al-Zubayr b. al-'Awwam
قبر زبیر در عراق.jpg
The Tomb of al-Zubayr in Basra, Iraq
Personal Information
Full Name Al-Zubayr b. al-'Awwam b. Khuwaylid
Kunya Abu 'Abd Allah
Lineage Quraysh
Well-Known Relatives Lady Khadija (a), the Prophet (s)
Muhajir/Ansar Muhajir
Place(s) of Residence Mecca, Abyssinia, Medina
Death/Martyrdom 36/656
Cause of Death/Martyrdom He was killed in the Battle of Jamal
Burial Place Basra, Iraq
Religious Information
Presence at Ghazwas Badr, Uhud, Conquest of Mecca
Migration to Abyssinia, Medina
Known for Participating in the Battle of Jamal against Imam 'Ali (a)
Notable Roles Disagreement by Saqifa, member of Six-Member Council, participating in killing of 'Uthman, head of Jamal army

Al-Zubayr b. al-ʿAwwām b. Khuwaylid (Arabic: الزُبَیر بن العَوّام بن خُوَیلِد), (d. 36/656), was one of the companions of the Prophet (s) and Khadija's nephew. He embraced Islam when he was 8 and accompanied the Prophet (s) ever since. After the Prophet's demise, al-Zubayr did not accept the verdict issued by Saqifa council about the succession of the Prophet (s), instead he defended the caliphate of Ali (a) and had various discussions with 'Umar. He was one the six people appointed by the second caliph for choosing the next caliph and voted in favor of Ali (a). He played a very important role in the uprising against 'Uthman which led to his murder. However, at the beginning of Imam Ali's caliphate period; he, Talha, and Aisha -known as Nakithun- launched the Battle of Jamal, in which he was killed.

Lineage

Al-Zubayr b. al-'Awwam b. Khuwaylid b. Asad b. 'Abd al-'Uzza b. Qusay b. Kilab b. Murra b. Ka'b b. Lu'a al-Qurashi al-Asadi. His kunya was Abu 'Abd Allah. His father (Khadija's brother) was killed in the Battle of Fijar. His mother, Safiyya, was 'Abd al-Muttalib's daughter -i.e. aunt of the Prophet (s) and Imam Ali (a).

Considering the fact that affiliation to a tribe in Arab society is by father, some have said that his parental relation to the noble tribe of Quraysh is dubious. According to the narration that they cite, Khuwaylid b. Asad brought al-'Awwam from Egypt, and he was his adopted son. Al-Zubayr married Asma' -the daughter of Abu Bakr.

Conversion to Islam

It has been reported in historical sources that he embraced Islam after Abu Bakr.

It is said that he was 8 when he converted to Islam. Some said he was 15. However, according to a report that says Ali (a) and him were of the same age, he could have not become a Muslim when he was 8.

His grandson -Hisham b. 'Urwat b. al-Zubayr- reported that he was the 5th or 6th person who converted to Islam; though this report is not reliable due to the relation between its narrator and al-Zubayr.

In the Time of the Prophet (s)

Before Hijra

There are not many reports about him before Hijra except for that he was among those who emigrated to Abyssinia.

During his stay in Abyssinia, a rumor was spread that Quraysh had converted to Islam. Thus, some of the emigrants including al-Zubayr returned to Mecca.

Brotherhood Bond

Establishment of Pact of Brotherhood between Muslims was one of the Prophet's (s) actions in Medina. The Prophet (s) made the bond of Brotherhood between al-Zubayr and 'Abd Allah b. Mas'ud (or in another narration Salama b. Salama b. Waqsh)

Participation in Battles

It has been reported that he participated in the Battles of Badr and Uhud and, also in the Conquest of Mecca.

With the Caliphs

Objection to Abu Bakr's Caliphate

After the Prophet's demise, al-Zubayr was among those who opposed Saqifa and when Imam Ali's house was invaded, he drew his sword out and said: "O, sons of 'Abd al-Muttalib! do you see what is being done to Ali and you are alive?!"

then he attacked them. Khalid b. Walid threw a stone towards him, which hit him on the back and caused him to drop his sword. 'Umar picked up the sword and break it. Al-Zubayr was Abu Bakr's son in law - Asma', the daughter of Abu Bakr was his wife. However, he divorced her on his son's insistence.

'Umar's Dispraise

Al-Zubayr's relationship with 'Umar during his caliphate period was never good. One night, as 'Umar and Ibn 'Abbas were patrolling Medina and talking, al-Zubayr's name was brought up. 'Umar said, "He (al-Zubayr) is an impatient, temperamental person. When he is pleased he is like a believer, but when he is angry he is like a pagan. He is human one day and evil the other. If he becomes the caliph, he may spend a whole day bargaining for a Mudd (= 3/4 kg) of barley."

Role in the Murder of 'Uthman

As one of the members of the Six-Member Council, al-Zubayr did not vote for 'Uthman. 'Uthman, as the caliph, gave him 600000 dirhams as a gift to be reconciled with him. However, before long, he provoked people to kill 'Uthman.

Imam Ali's Caliphate

The relationship between al-Zubayr and Imam Ali (a) had many ups and downs. He was among the supporters of Imam Ali (a) in Saqifa. He was one of the witnesses of Lady Fatima al-Zahra's will and was present in her funeral. he vote for Ali (a) in the Six-Member Council.

After the murder of 'Uthman, a big crowd including al-Zubayr and Talha gathered in front of Imam Ali's house and said that we came to pledge allegiance to you as the caliph. After lots of insistence, Imam Ali (a) accepted. In this incident, al-Zubayr and Talha guaranteed the allegiance of Muhajirun (the emigrants).

Soon, they changed their mind and opposed Ali (a). When they heard that Aisha was discontented with Ali's caliphate, they left Kufa to Medina giving the excuse of making 'Umra.

On their departure Imam Ali (a) said, "They do not go for 'Umra, but for plotting, deception, and betrayal."

Al-Zubayr convinced Aisha to associate them. Having formed a large army, they headed to Basra to fight Imam Ali (a). By confiscation Yemenis' properties which Ya'la b. Munbih had sent them to Imam Ali (a), they openly and publicly manifested their opposition to Imam Ali's caliphate.

Role in the Battle of Jamal

Main article: Battle of Jamal

Al-Zubayr is one of the three most important people, who launched the Battle of Jamal. He and Talha convinced Aisha to associate them and brought her to Basra. After they entered Basra, they beat up 'Uthman b. Hunayf -the governor of Basra appointed by Imam Ali (a)- and then mutilated him. Imam Ali (a) moved his army toward outskirts of Basra where the battle took place. After days of fighting, Imam Ali (a) won the battle.

Meeting with Imam Ali (a)

After that two armies faced each other, Imam Ali (a) called al-Zubayr. They met each other between the two front line's of the armies. Imam Ali (a) reminded him the incident that they had with the Prophet (s): one day the Prophet (s) asked al-Zubayr -in the presence of Ali (a) -: "Do you like Ali?" al-Zubayr said: "Why do not I?" the Prophet (s) said: "How are you when you fight him and you are the oppressor?"

Having remembered this, al-Zubayr left the army camp.

Murder

After that al-Zubayr left the army camp, 'Amr b. Jurmuz and some of his companions chased him and killed him in a place called Wadi al-Siba'. 'Amr went back to Imam Ali (a) and said to his door keeper: "Go and ask permission for the murderer of al-Zubayr." Imam (a) said: "Let him enter and inform him of the fire of the Hell." (Earlier the Prophet (s) had said that the Fire is the position of the murderer of al-Zubayr.) Imam (a) expressed his disapproval of al-Zubayr's murder and when he saw al-Zubayr's sword, he mentioned his acts of bravery in early battles in Islam and said: "This sword dispelled the anguish of the Prophet's face many times."

Repentance

The hadiths from the Prophet (s) and Imam Ali (a) about the murderer of al-Zubayr may imply that al-Zubayr has repented. Yusufi Gharawi does not accept that al-Zubayr had repented and says, "His repentance would have been true if he had followed and served the Imam of his time. He surely did not do that after his meeting with Imam Ali (a). It can not be said that the hadiths from the Prophet (s) and Imam Ali (a) informing the murderer of al-Zubayr, of the Fire is a sign indicating that his repentance was accepted; because perhaps he was informed of the Fire on the account that he killed him without Imam's permission; especially, that the murderer, later, became one of the Khawarij who participated in the Battle of Nahrawan against Imam Ali (a)."

Tomb

The Tomb of al-Zubayr al-'Awwam in Basra, Iraq

Ibn Jawzi al-Hanbali has written in his history book: "After some events, in 386/996-7, the residents of Basra built a mosque with a dome on his tomb and endowed lots of properties for that mosque."

Children

'Abd Allah b. al-Zubayr

'Abd Allah is the most famous child of al-Zubayr. he was the first child of Muhajirun (the emigrants to Medina) who was born after Hijra. Muslims called takbir when he was born not because of his or his father's status but for that a rumor was spread that the Muslims had become infertile as a result of Jews' sorcery.

Other Children

Genealogists reported 11 sons and 9 daughters for him. His other children are:

  • Sons: 'Urwa, Mundhir, 'Asim, Muhajir, Khalid, 'Umar, Mus'ab, Hamza, and Ja'far.
  • Daughters: Khadija, Umm Hasan, Aisha, Habiba, Sura, Hind, Ramla, 'Ubayda, and Zaynab.

Properties

Al-Zubayr built up fortunes in the time of the first three caliphs (Abu Bakr, 'Umar, and 'Uthman). It is said that he left 11 houses in Medina, 2 in Basra, one in Kufa, and one in Egypt plus one thousand Dinnars, one thousand horses, and one thousand male and female slaves.

References