Zayd b. Haritha

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Zayd b. Haritha
Tomb of Zayd b. Haritha in Jordan
Tomb of Zayd b. Haritha in Jordan
Personal Information
Full NameAbu Usama Zayd b. Haritha b. Sharahil al-Kalbi
TeknonymAbu Usama
EpithetZayd al-Hubb
LineageBanu Kalb al-Quda'a tribe
Well-Known RelativesUsama , Umm Ayman , Zaynab bt. Jahsh
Place(s) of ResidenceMecca, Medina
Cause of Death/MartyrdomMartyred in the Battle of Mu'ta
Burial PlaceJordan
Religious Information
Migration toMedina
Known forEmancipated by and stepson of the Prophet (s)

Abū Usāma Zayd b. Ḥāritha b. Sharāhīl (Shuraḥbīl) al-Kalbī (Arabic: ابواسامه زید بن حارثه بن شراحیل (شرحبیل) کلبی), known as Zayd b. Haritha (Arabic: زید بن حارثة), (d. 8/629), was the Prophet's (s) stepson; before that, he was the Prophet's (s) slave and was emancipated by him. He was one of the first people who converted to Islam and the only person from Sahaba (the Prophet's (s) immediate companions) whose name is mentioned in the Qur'an. He was the commander in the Battle of Mu'ta and was killed in this battle. His grave, as well as the graves of other martyrs of Mu'ta, are located in Jordan and are visited by Muslim pilgrims.

Parentage and childhood

Zayd's father, Haritha b. Sharahil, was from the Banu Kalb al-Quda'a tribe and his mother, Su'da bt. Tha'laba b. 'Amir was from Banu Ma'n of the Tayy tribe. He was called "Zayd al-Hubb" (Arabic: ّزید الحب), that is, the beloved Zayd, because he was loved by the Prophet (s). Zayd was a slave at first and was then emancipated by the Prophet (s), and this is why Zayd and his son, Usama, are called the Prophet's (s) mawali (slaves).

There is no accurate information about his date of birth. During the period of jahiliyya (or the pre-Islamic days of Arabs), Zayd visited the Banu Ma'n tribe with his mother. The tribe was then attacked by its enemy, and Zayd was captivated. He was 8 years old when Hakim b. Hazam purchased him for Lady Khadija (a) in a slave market near Mecca. After her marriage with the Prophet (s), Lady Khadija (a) bestowed Zayd to the Prophet (s). The Prophet (s) emancipated Zayd and then kept him in his house. The Prophet (s) is said to have been 10 years older than Zayd.

Years later, Zayd saw some people of his tribe in the Hajj rituals, and asked them to let his parents know about his health. His father had composed poems about his longing for Zayd. The father asked the Prophet (s) to give Zayd back to him in exchange with money. The Prophet (s) gave Zayd the option to stay with him or return to his tribe. Zayd chose to stay with the Prophet (s). Haritha, Zayd's father, told him: "Son! Do you prefer slavery to freedom and do you leave your father alone?" Zayd replied: "Since when I saw Muhammad (s), I never preferred anybody else to him". When the Prophet (s) heard this, he said: "Zayd is my son, he inherits from me and I inherit from him". Since then he was called "Zayd b. Muhammad" until Quranic verses (33: 4-5) prohibited people from calling stepchildren by the name of their stepfathers:

Islam, Hijra, and the fraternity pact

Sources of Islamic history have mentioned Zayd b. Haritha as one of the first people who converted to Islam. When the Prophet (s) was selected as a prophet and went back home, Lady Khadija (a), 'Ali b. Abi Talib (a), and Zayd b. Haritha were in his house. Zayd is the second Muslim man after Imam Ali (a).

When the Prophet (s) immigrated to Medina, Zayd and Abu Rafi' were assigned the task of taking the Prophet's (s) daughters, Fatima (s), Umm Kulthum, and Suda. Zayd's wife Umm Ayman and his son, Usama, accompanied them on this trip.

Hamza b. 'Abd al-Muttalib made a fraternity pact with Zayd b. Haritha in Mecca. In the Battle of Uhud, Hamza appointed Zayd as the executor of his will in case he dies. After hijra, the Prophet (s) made a fraternity pact between Zayd and Usayd b. Hudayr.

Zayd is the only companion of the Prophet (s) whose name is mentioned in the Quran.


Umm Ayman was the Prophet (s)'s bondwoman who was emancipated by the Prophet (s) and married Zayd b. Haritha after the death of her husband, 'Ubayd b. Zayd al-Khazraji. They had a son, Usama b. Zayd. This is why Zayd was nicknamed "Abu Usama" (Usama's father).

After Zaynab bt. Jahsh immigrated to Medina, the Prophet (s) proposed her for Zayd. Before the proposal, Zaynab thought that the Prophet (s) wanted to propose the marriage for himself. Once she learned that he proposed her for Zayd, she rejected the proposal, but after the Prophet's (s) insistence, she consented to the marriage. However, there were always conflicts between Zayd and Zaynab. Zayd complained to the Prophet (s) that Zaynab was bad-tempered. The Prophet (s) asked him to be patient, until they divorced by the divine command in 5/626.

After his divorce from Zaynab, Zayd married Umm Kulthum bt. 'Uqba. They had two children, Zayd b. Zayd and Ruqayya bt. Zayd. They were also divorced. After this, Zayd married Durra bt. Abu Lahab b. 'Abd al-Muttalib, and after getting divorced from her, he married Hind bt. al-'Awam, Zubayr's sister.

Participation in battles

Zayd was the commander of some sariyyas or military expeditions, such as Qarda, al-Jumum (6/627), al-'Is (6/627), Taraf (6/627), Hisma (6/627), Wadi l-Qura (6/627), and the Battle of Mu'ta.

In some trips, the Prophet (s) appointed Zayd as his surrogate. He attended the Battle of Badr and killed Hanzala b. Abu Sufyan in that battle. After the battle was over, the Prophet (s) sent Zayd b. Haritha and 'Abd Allah b. Rawaha from Athil to Medina to deliver the news about the victory of Muslims.

As the commander of the Battle of Mu'ta

In 8/629, the Prophet (s) appointed Zayd as the commander of the Islamic army (consisting of 3000 soldiers) in the Battle of Mu'ta. The Prophet (s) said: if Zayd is killed, Ja'far b. Abi Talib will be the commander, and if he is killed, then 'Abd Allah b. Rawaha will be the commander.

Death and the grave

Zayd was killed in 8/629, together with Ja'far b. Abi Talib and 'Abd Allah b. Rawaha, in the Battle of Mu'ta. When the Prophet (s) heard the news, he was saddened and asked God's forgiveness and mercy for him. The Prophet (s) mentioned him and Ja'far b. Abi Talib as great people. He is said to have been 50 or 55 years old when he was martyred.

The martyrs of Mu'ta are buried in the village of Mazar, 12 kilometers from the south of Karak in Jordan. According to some sources, Ja'far b. Abi Talib, 'Abd Allah b. Rawaha, and Zayd b. Haritha are buried in one grave. From 1930 to 1934, Malik 'Abd Allah b. Malik Husayn, the king of Jordan, ordered the building of a mosque with three domes and two minarets on Ja'far al-Tayyar's grave, and two smaller domes have also been built on Zayd's and 'Abd Allah b. Rawaha's graves. During the rituals of Ashura, Shiites in Jordan gather around the mausoleums of Zayd b. Haritha and Ja'far al-Tayyar, but in recent years, the government in Jordan has blocked such rituals in these mausoleums.


Usama b. Zayd has narrated some hadiths from his father, Zayd b. Haritha.