Said ibn Aamir al-Jumahi was one of thousands who left for the region
of Tanim on the outskirts of Makkah at the invitation of the Quraysh leaders
to witness the killing of Khubayb ibn Adiy, one of the companions of Muhammad
whom they had captured treacherously.
With his exuberant youthfulness and strength, Said jostled through the
crowd until he caught up with the Quraysh leaders, men like Abu Sufyan
ibn Harb and Safwan ibn Umayyah, who were leading the procession.
Now he could see the prisoner of the Quraysh shackled in his chains,
the women and children pushing him to the place set for his death. Khubayb's
death was to be in revenge for Quraysh losses in the battle of Badr.
When the assembled throng arrived with its prisoner at the appointed
place, Said ibn Aamir took up his position at a point directly overlooking
Khubayb as he approached the wooden cross. From there he heard Khubayb's
firm but quiet voice amid the shouting of women and children.
"If you would, leave me to pray two rakaats before my death." This the
Said looked at Khubayb as he faced the Kabah and prayed. How beautiful
and how composed those two rakaats seemed! Then he saw Khubayb facing
the Quraysh leaders.
"By God, if you thought that I asked to pray out of fear of death, I
would think the prayer not worth the trouble," he said.
Said then saw his people set about dismembering Khubayb's body while
he was yet alive and taunting him in the process.
"Would you like Muhammad to be in your place while you go free?"
With his blood flowing, he replied. "By God, I would not want to be safe
and secure among my family while even a thorn hurts Muhammad." People
shook their fists in the air and the shouting increased. "Kill him. Kill
Said watched Khubayb lifting his eyes to the heavens above the wooden
cross. "Count them all, O Lord," he said. "Destroy them and let not a
single one escape."
Thereafter Said could not count the number of swords and spears which
cut through Khubayb's body.
The Quraysh returned to Makkah and in the eventful days that followed
forgot Khubayb and his death. But Khubayb was never absent from the thoughts
of Said, now approaching manhood. Said would see him in his dreams while
asleep and he would picture Khubayb in front of him praying his two rakaats
calm and contented, before the wooden cross. And he would hear the reverberation
of Khubayb's voice as he prayed for the punishment of the Quraysh. He
would become afraid that a thunderbolt from the sky or some calamity would
Khubayb, by his death, had taught Said what he did not realize before--that
real life was faith and conviction and struggle in the path of faith,
even until death. He taught him also that faith which is deeply ingrained
in a person works wonders and performs miracles. He taught him something
else too, that the man who is loved by his companions with such a love
as Khubayb's could only be a prophet with Divine support.
Thus was Said's heart opened to Islam. He stood up in the assembly of
the Quraysh and announced that he was Rex from their sins and burdens.
He renounced their idols and their superstitions and proclaimed his entry
into the religion of God.
Said ibn Aamir migrated to Madinah and attached himself to the Prophet,
may the peace and blessings of God be upon him. He took part with the
Prophet in the battle of Khaybar and other engagements thereafter. After
the Prophet passed away to the protection of his Lord, Said continued
active service under his two successors, Abu Bakr and Umar. He lived the
unique and exemplary life of the believer who has purchased the Hereafter
with this world. He sought the pleasure and blessings of God above selfish
desires and bodily pleasures.
Both Abu Bakr an(l Umar knew Said well for his honesty and piety. They
would listen to whatever he had to say and follow his advice. Said once
came to Umar at the beginning of his caliphate and said.
"I advise you to fear God in dealing with people and do not fear people
in your relationship with God. Let not your actions deviate from your
words for the best of speech is that which it confirmed by action. Consider
those who have been appointed over the affairs of Muslims, far and near.
Like for them what you like for yourself and your family and dislike for
them what you would dislike for yourself and your family. Surmount any
obstacles to attain the truth and do not tear the criticisms of those
who criticize in matters prescribed by God.
"Who can measure up to this, Said?" asked Umar. "A man like yourself
from among those whom God has appointed over the affairs of the Ummah
of Muhammad and who feels responsible to God alone," replied Said.
"Said," he said, "I appoint you to be governor of Homs (in Syria)." "Umar,"
pleaded Said, "I entreat you by God, do not cause me to go astray by making
me concerned with worldly affairs."
Umar became angry and said, "You have placed the responsibility of the
caliphate on me and now you forsake me." "By God. I shall not forsake
you," Said quickly responded.
Umar appointed him as governor of Homs and offered him a gratuity. "What
shall I do with it, O Amir al Mumineen?" asked Said. "The stipend from
the have al-mal will be more than enough for my needs." With this, he
proceeded to Homs.
Not long afterwards, a delegation from Homs made up of people in whom
Umar had confidence came to visit him in Madinah. He requested them to
write the names of the poor among them so he could relieve their needs.
They prepared a list from him in which the name Said ibn Aamir appeared.
"Who is this Said ibn Aamir?" asked Umar
"Our amir" they replied.
"Your amir is poor?" said Umar, puzzled.
"Yes," they affirmed, "By God, several days go by without a fire being
lit in his house."
Umar was greatly moved and wept. He got a thousand diners, put it in
a purse and said, "Convey my greetings to him and tell him that the Amir
al Mumineen has sent this money to help him look after his needs."
The delegation came to Said with the purse. When he found that it contained
money, he began to push it away from him, saying, "From God we are and
to Him we shall certainly return."
He said it in such a way as if some misfortune had descended on him.
His alarmed wife hurried to him and asked, "What's the matter, Said? Has
the Khalifah died~"
"Something greater than that."
"Have the Muslims been defeated in a battle?"
"Something greater than that. The world has come upon me to corrupt my
hereafter and create disorder in my house. "
"Then get rid of it," said she, not knowing anything about the diners.
"Will you help me in this?" he asked.
She agreed. He took the diners, put them in bags and distributed them
to the Muslim poor.
Not long afterwards, Umar ibn al-Khattab went to Syria to examine conditions
there. When he arrived at Homs which was called little Kufah because,
like Kufah, its inhabitants complained a lot about their leaders, he asked
what they thought of their Amir. They complained about him mentioning
four of his actions each one more serious than the other.
"I shall bring you and him together," Umar promised. "And I pray to God
that my opinion about him would not be damaged. I used to have great confidence
When the meeting was convened, Umar asked what complaints they had against
"He only comes out to us when the sun is already high," they said.
"What do you have to say to that, Said?" asked Umar.
Said was silent for a moment, then said, "By God, I really didn't want
to say this but there seems to be no way out. My family does not have
a home help so I get up every morning and prepare dough for bread. I wait
a little until it rises and then bake for them. I then make wudu and go
out to the people."
"What's your other complaint?" asked Umar.
"He does not answer anyone at night," they said.
To this Said reluctantly said, "By God, I really wouldn't have liked
to disclose this also but I have left the day for them and the night for
God, Great and Sublime is He."
"And what's your other complaint about him?" asked Umar.
"He does not come out to us from one day in every month," they said.
To this Said replied, "I do not have a home help, O Amir al-Mumineen
and I do not have any clothes except what's on me. This I wash once a
month and I wait for it to dry. Then I go out in the later part of the
"Any other complaint about him?" asked Umar.
"From time to time, he blacks out in meetings," they said.
To this Said replied, "I witnessed the killing of Khubayb ibn Adiy when
I was a mushrik. I saw the Quraysh cutting him and saying, "Would you
like Muhammad to be in your place?" to which Khubayb replied, "I would
not wish to be safe and secure among my family while a thorn hurts Muhammad."
By God, whenever I remember that day and how I failed to come to his aid,
I only think that God would not forgive me and I black out."
Thereupon Umar said, "Praise be to God. My impression of him has not
been tainted." He later sent a thousand diners to Said to help him out.
When his wife saw the amount she said. "Praise be to God Who has enriched
us out of your service. Buy some provisions for us and get us a home help."
"Is there any way of spending it better?" asked Said. "Let us spend it
on whoever comes to us and we would get something better for it by thus
dedicating it to God." "That will be better," she agreed.
He put the diners into small bags and said to a member of his family,
"Take this to the widow of so and so, and the orphans of that person,
to the needy in that family and to the indigent of the family of that
Said ibn Aamir al-Jumahi was indeed one of those who deny themselves
even when they are afflicted with severe poverty.