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Talha b. 'Ubayd Allah

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Talha b. 'Ubayd Allah
Personal Information
Teknonym Abu Muhammad
Epithet Talha al-Khayr, Talha al-Fayyad
Lineage Banu Taym
Birth 10 years before Bi'tha/600-1
Muhajir/Ansar Muhajir
Place(s) of Residence Mecca, Medina
Death/Martyrdom 36/656
Cause of Death/Martyrdom He was killed in Battle of Jamal
Burial Place Basra
Religious Information
Presence at Ghazwas most of ghazwas
Migration to Medina
Other Activities One of the Six-Member Council, Participating in killing Uthamn, one of the heads in the Battle of Jamal against Imam Ali (a), ...

Ṭalḥa b. ʿUbayd Allāh (Arabic: طلحة بن عبیدالله) was one of the companions of the Prophet (s) and the early Muslims. He was the cousin of Abu Bakr b. Abi Quhafa, the First Caliph. Talha was a gallant warrior in the battles of the early days of Islam in the army of Muslims. After the demise of the Prophet (s), he cooperated with the early caliphs and helped them in their conquests. He was appointed by the Second Caliph in the Six-Member Council as a candidate for occupying the position of caliphate after him. He was active in the story of killing 'Uthman b. 'Affan, the Third Caliph, and encouraged people to kill him. After 'Uthman's murder, Talha pledged his allegiance with Imam Ali (a), but he breached his pledge after a while, launching the Battle of Jamal against Imam Ali (a) with the help of al-Zubayr, Aisha, the Prophet (s)'s widow, and some Umayyads; they came to be known among Shiites as Nakithun. In this battle, Talha was killed by Marwan b. al-Hakam who was in the army of Nakithun.


Abu Muhammad Talha b. 'Ubayd Allah b. 'Uthman b. 'Amr b. Ka'b b. Sa'd b. Taym b. Murra b. Ka'b b. Lu'ayy b. Ghalib al-Qurashi al-Taymi was from the Banu Taym tribe and was born 10 years before the Prophet's (s) bi'that (600-1). His mother Su'ba bt. Hadrami was alive in the period of the Prophet (s), and according to some relatives of Talha, she died a Muslim.

His wives were:

  1. Humna bt. Jahsh (the Prophet (s)'s cousin who gave birth to Muhammad and 'Imran)
  2. Umm Kulthum bt. Abu Bakr (who gave birth to Ya'qub, Isma'il, Zakariyya, and Aisha)
  3. Su'da bt. 'Awf (who gave birth to 'Isa and Yahya)
  4. Khula bt. Qa'qa' b. Ma'bad b. Zurara b. Ads al-Tamimi (who gave birth to Musa)
  5. Umm Harith bt. Qusama from the Tayy tribe (who gave birth to Umm Ishaq)
  6. Umm Aban bt. 'Utba b. Rabi'a (who gave birth to Ishaq)
  7. and a woman from Taghlibiyya (who gave birth to Salih)
  8. Also two of his bind-women, Su'ba and Maryam, gave birth to children.

Conversion to Islam

Talha b. 'Ubayd Allah was persuaded by Abu Bakr to convert to Islam. According to a different account, Talha was on his way to Syria when a monk gave him the news of the imminent emergence of a prophet called Ahmad, son of 'Abd al-Muttalib. When Talha returned to Mecca, he and Abu Bakr converted to Islam.

Talha and Abu Bakr were usually tormented in the early days of Islam by Nawfal b. Khuwaylid b. 'Adawiyya or 'Uthman b. 'Ubayd Allah (Talha's brother). Nawfal (or 'Uthman) tied Abu Bakr and Talha to a tree in order to prevent them from saying their prayers.

Talha was among those Muhajirun who moved to Medina with their families before the migration of the Prophet (s). He resided in the house of Habib b. Asaf from Banu Harath b. Khazraj. On one account, Talha brought two white clothes for the Prophet (s) and Abu Bakr from Syria, which they wore before they entered Medina.

When they were in Mecca, the Prophet (s) made a Pact of brotherhood between Talha and al-Zubayr b. 'Awwam or Sa'id b. Zayd or Sa'd b. Abi Waqqas, and when they migrated to Medina, the Prophet (s) made another pact of brotherhood between Talha and Ka'b b. Malik or Abu Ayyub al-Ansari or Ubayy b. Ka'b.

Talha is one of the prominent narrators of hadiths from the Prophet (s); the following well-known hadith is narrated by Talha:

I asked the Prophet how we should salute him. He replied: "say 'O' God, salute Muhammad and his household, as you saluted Ibrahim (a); you are praised and exalted, and bless Muhammad and his household as you blessed the household of Ibrahim; you are praised and exalted'".

People, such as his sons, Yahya, Musa and 'Isa, as well as Qays b. Abu Hazim, Ahnaf b. Qays, Sa'ib b. Yazid, Abu 'Uthman al-Nahdi and Abu Salama b. 'Abd al-Rahman, narrated hadiths from him.

Attendance in the Battles of the Prophet (s)

Talha was not in Medina when the Battle of Badr occurred, since the Prophet (s) had sent him and Sa'id b. Zayd to Syria in order to get some information, and when he returned from Syria, the Muslims had already returned from Badr. When Talha returned from his travel to Syria, he went to the Prophet (s) and asked him for his share of booties from the battle, and the Prophet (s) gave him a share.

However, Talha did attend the Battle of Uhud, and on some accounts, he exhibited his brevity. He was injured in the battle that led to the paralysis of some of his fingers.

After the defeat of Muslims near the end of the battle and the spread of rumors about the Prophet (s) being killed, Talha and some people from Muhajirun and Ansar, including 'Umar b. al-Khattab, quit fighting. Anas b. Nadr went to them and said: "why are you sitting here?" They replied: "because the Prophet (s) is killed". Anas said: "so go on the path on which the Prophet (s) went and get killed with pride and honor".

However, there are other accounts on which Talha was among the few people who remained steadfast alongside the Prophet (s) after the attack of the Quraysh in the middle of the battle (when many Muslims ran away).

Before the Battle of Tabuk, Talha was appointed as the commander of a sariyya (military expedition) in order to disperse hypocrites (munafiqs) who had assembled in the house of Suwaylim, the Jewish.

Annoying the Prophet (s)

Talha said something offensive about the Prophet (s)'s wives that upset the Prophet (s), about which a Quranic verse was revealed. He said: if the Prophet (s) dies, I will marry his wife, Aisha. Thus the following verse was revealed:

Period of the Caliphs

Talha b. 'Ubayd Allah was one of the first people who joined the First Caliph, Abu Bakr, in the battle against the apostates. And when Abu Bakr died, Talha, 'Umar b. al-Khattab, 'Uthman b. 'Affan and 'Abd al-Rahman b. Abu Bakr entered Abu Bakr's grave before he was buried in it; they buried him beside the Prophet (s)'s grave.

In some cases, Talha reproached Abu Bakr for his giving too much role to 'Umar b. al-Khattb in his administration, and he was among those who objected to Abu Bakr when he announced 'Umar b. al-Khattab as his successor.

Talha attended some Islamic conquests, including the Conquest of Iran alongside 'Abd al-Rahman b. 'Awf and al-Zubayr b. 'Awwam during the caliphate of 'Umar b. al-Khattab. He also advised 'Umar in some of his conquests.

The Six-Member Council for the election of the Third Caliph

Main article: Six-Member Council

Along with Imam 'Ali (a), 'Uthman b. 'Affan, al-Zubayr b. 'Awwam, 'Abd al-Rahman b. 'Awf, and Sa'd b. Abi Waqqas, Talha was appointed in the Six-Member Council for the election of the Third Caliph. On some accounts, he was then outside of Medina, but when he returned, he voted for 'Uthman. It is said that he returned to Medina when 'Umar died and he pledged his allegiance with 'Uthman.

Complicity in 'Uthman's murder

Talha was one of the protestors who sieged 'Uthman's house in 35/655 and locked out water supplies to the house. When Imam 'Ali (a) learned that water supplies were blocked, he got upset; he talked to the protestors and then they allowed some waterskins to be taken to 'Uthman's house. During the siege, Talha undertook the leadership of congregational prayers in Medina.

According to a report by Ibn A'tham, Talha and a man from Banu Taym sieged 'Uthman's house. 'Uthman asked Imam 'Ali (a) for help. After Imam 'Ali (a)'s intervention, Talha and his friends withdrew the siege. However, he was accused of complicity in the murder of the Third Caliph.

Breaching the Pledge of Allegiance and the Battle of Jamal

Main article: Battle of Jamal

Talha was the first person who pledged allegiance to Imam 'Ali (a) after the murder of 'Uthman, and since his hand was paralyzed, a man from Banu Asad said that his allegiance is ominous. Soon Talha breached his allegiance, departing to Basra in order to form an army against Imam 'Ali (a) with the help of al-Zubayr b. 'Awwam and Aisha.

Thus Talha, al-Zubayr and Aisha launched the Battle of Jamal against Imam 'Ali (a) in 36/656.

It is said that when Talha and al-Zubayr entered Basra, 'Abd Allah b. Hakim al-Tamimi took to them the writings of Talha concerning the mobilization of forces against 'Uthman.

In this battle, Imam 'Ali (a) characterized Talha as a cheater, and characterized him, al-Zubayr, Aisha and Ya'la b. Munya, as the most recalcitrant of his enemies.

At the beginning of the battle, Marwan b. al-Hakam stated that he would no more avenge for 'Uthman's blood. At the beginning or in the middle of the battle when soldiers in the army of Jamal were running away, Marwan threw an arrow to Talha b. 'Ubayd Allah's knee that led to his death. Talha was buried near a river in Basra. He was reportedly 64 or 63 when he was killed.

Talha's Heritage

When Talha died, he left behind a remarkable wealth. His cereals were worth about 400,000 to 500,000 dirhams and his daily income from his cereals in Iraq was about 1000 dirhams. Moreover, his cereals in Surat were worth around 10,000 dinars. it is also reported that his property, livestock, and cash (that is, dirhams and dinars) were worth 30,000,000 dirhams, 2,200,000 dirhams of which were in cash and the rest were property and livestock. It is also reported that when Talha was killed, his treasurer had 2,200,000 dirhams in cash, and his palms groves and other property were evaluated to be about 30,000,000 dirhams. On another account, he also left a hundred oxhides each filled with 300 pounds of gold.

His Place for Sunni Muslims

Talha is highly venerated by Sunni Muslims. They consider him as one of "'Ashara Mubashshara" (ten people to whom the Prophet (s) gave the good news of going to the Heaven). They also characterize him as "Talha al-Khayr" (Talha, the good), "Talha Fayyad" (Talha, the beneficent) and one of the 20 Sahaba who could issue fatwas. He is also a prominent narrator of hadiths from the Prophet (s) from whom people such as his sons (Yahya and Musa), Qays b. Abu Hazim, Abu Salama b. 'Abd al-Rahman and Malik b. Abu 'Amir narrated hadiths. Sunni Muslims take Talha to be among the Twelve Disciples of the Prophet (s) along with Hamza b. 'Abd al-Muttalib, Ja'far b. Abi Talib, 'Ali b. Abi Talib (a), Abu Bakr, 'Umar b. al-Khattab, Abu 'Ubayda al-Jarrah, 'Uthman b. 'Affan, 'Uthman b. Maz'un, 'Abd al-Rahman b. 'Awf, Sa'd b. Abi Waqqas, and al-Zubayr b. 'Awwam.

See Also