Sa'd b. 'Ubada

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Sa'd b. 'Ubada
Personal Information
Full NameSa'd b. 'Ubada b. Dulaym b. Haritha al-Khazraji
TeknonymAbu Thabit or Abu Qays
Well-Known RelativesQays b. Sa'd b. 'Ubada
Place(s) of ResidenceMedina, Hawran (Syria)
Death/Martyrdom15/636-7 Hawran (Syria)
Cause of Death/MartyrdomShi'a sources: killed by the order of 'Umar. Sunni sources: killed by jinns
Religious Information

Saʿd b. ʿUbāda b. Dulaym b. Ḥāritha al-Khazrajī (Arabic: سَعد بن عُبادة بن دُلَیم بن حارثة الخَزرَجي) (d. 15/636-7) was from the chiefs of Medina and the leader of the Khazraj tribe. Before the advent of Islam, he was known as Sa'd al-Kamil. Sa'd signed a treaty with the Prophet (s) in 'Aqaba and was one of the twelve heads there.

After the demise of the Prophet (s), few leaders from Ansar gathered in Saqifa intending to elect Sa'd b. 'Ubada as their caliph, but after the arrival of Abu Bakr, 'Umar and Abu 'Ubaydah al-Jarrah, the people were inclined towards Abu Bakr and paid allegiance to him. Sa'd never pledged allegiance to the first or second caliph. He was killed during the reign of 'Umar b. al-Khattab and some believed him to be killed by the jinns.


The family of Sa'd consisted of eminent personalities from the Khazraj tribe. His father 'Ubada was one of the chiefs of the Khazraj tribe in Yathrib and his mother 'Umara bt. Mas'ud b. Qays was one of the ladies who pledged allegiance to the Prophet (s), and passed away in the year 5/626-7.

Sa'd was one of the companions of the Prophet (s), an inhabitant of Medina and a leader of the Khazraj tribe during the Age of Ignorance as well as after the advent of Islam. Ibn Hazm states that he narrated twenty-one hadiths from the Prophet (s). Before the dawn of Islam, he was known as Sa'd al-Kamil (Sa'd the perfect) because of his knowledge of reading, writing, archery and swimming.

Sa'd and his forefathers were known for their generosity in the Age of Ignorance and even after it because of their honor, dignity, and open-handedness in giving feasts in Medina. It has been said that no Arab family boasted of generosity to last in four generations in such a manner. Qays, the son of Sa'd was the most charitable of them all.

Several reports recount Sa'd's generosity. It is narrated that Dulaym, his grandfather, owned a house where everyday a person would call out: "Anybody who wants a delicious food, come to Dulaym's house." After Dulaym's death, this benevolent act was continued by Sa'd, and later by his son, Qays.

Ibn Sirin narrates that the Prophet (s) used to split up the people of Suffa among his companions for every nightly meal. Some people invited one or two persons but Sa'd used to invite eighty people from them every night to his house for the meal.

One day, after breaking the fast at the house of Sa'd, the Prophet (s) supplicated saying, "The righteous ate from your food, and the angels sent blessings upon you and the fasting ones broke their fast near you."

Sa'd and his children were of great assistance in preparing for the wedding ceremony of Imam Ali (a) and Lady Fatima (a).

Embracing Islam

Sa'd b. 'Ubada, along with seventy people of the Ansar (inhabitants of Medina), pledged allegiance to the Prophet (s) at 'Aqaba. After embracing Islam, he broke the idols of Banu Sa'ida along with Mandhar b. 'Amr and Abu Dujana. He was among the twelve leaders that the Prophet, upon the indication of Jabra'il (Gabriel), selected.

Presence at Battles

Sa'd was present in most of the battles alongside the Prophet (s) although there is a difference of opinion about his presence at the Battle of Badr. He was one of the trusted companions of the Prophet (s) and his counsel was valued. The Prophet (s) abandoned the continued negotiation with the leaders of the polytheists in the Battle of Ahzab after consulting Sa'd b. 'Ubada and Sa'd b. Mu'adh. He watched their unrelenting protection of Islam and himself (s).

He was amongst the flag bearing soldiers of Islam in such a way that it is narrated that in all the battles, the flag of the Muhajirun was held by Imam Ali (a) and that of the Ansar was held by Sa'd.

At the Conquest of Mecca, too, the flag was held by Sa'd b. 'Ubada until he raised a cry for revenge and bloodshed. When this news reached the Prophet (s), he instructed Imam Ali (a) to reach to him and take the flag from him and to raise the slogan of forgiveness and kindness. Although another report states that Qays, the son of Sa'd, was employed for the task.

Caliphate of Abu Bakr

After the demise of the Prophet (s), Sa'd b. 'Ubada was nominated as one of the candidates to succeed the Prophet (s) in Saqifa of Bani Sa'ida. But after the entry of Abu Bakr, 'Umar and Abu 'Ubayda b. al-Jarrah, the Muslims were inclined towards Abu Bakr and taking into account Sa'd's prominent opposition there, they pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr for caliphate. However, some maintain that Sa'd himself never aspired for caliphate rather it was the people from the Khazraj tribe who wished for him to be caliph. Sa'd never paid allegiance to Abu Bakr and his tribe followed suit and didn't pay allegiance to him either. Contrastingly, some have recorded that Sa'd wished to be caliph but since he did not reach his ambition, he did not pledge allegiance to the caliph.

After Sa'd became estranged, the people came to him asking for his allegiance to Abu Bakr; but he refrained from doing so and said, "I did not want this lie for myself and wouldn't want it for anyone else; and I shall not go to hell because of others."

Caliphate of 'Umar

Sa'd did not pay allegiance to 'Umar during his caliphate, either. Even though the second caliph insisted on him pledging allegiance to him, it bore no fruit. It is reported that the strength and power of Sa'd's tribe prevented 'Umar's government from reaching him.

One day, Sa'd's son advised 'Umar, "Sa'd has sworn to never pledge allegiance to you and you too, cannot forcibly take allegiance from him unless you kill him! Know this that killing him will be equal to killing the tribe of Khazraj and killing the tribe of Khazraj will be like killing the tribe of Aws and killing the tribe of Aws will be like killing the core of Yemen, and this shall not be possible for you, so leave him alone."

Qays b. Sa'd

Qays was one of the first people who did not pay allegiance to Abu Bakr in Saqifa after the demise of the Prophet (s), and instead went to Imam Ali (a) and was one of his trusted helpers.


The tiff between Sa'd and the government continued. It is narrated that 'Umar, during his regime told him to either pledge allegiance or to leave Medina. Hence, Sa'd left Medina and went towards Hawran in Damascus. There is disagreement regarding the manner of Sa'd's death amongst the Shi'a and Sunni sources. The year of his death is stated to be 11/632-3, 14/635-6 or 15/636-7, out of which 15/636-7 seems more accurate.

Regarding his cause of death too, there is disagreement. One party believes that during the rule of 'Umar, Sa'd was invited to pledge allegiance to the caliph but he refused to do so and left intending to move to Hawran in Damascus and died on the way. Others believe that he was killed by the jinns.

Yet another group believes that 'Umar had instructed Khalid b. Walid and Muhammad b. Salama al-Ansari to collect his allegiance in Damascus and when they faced opposition from him, each of them casted an arrow at him and killed him.