Said Ibn Zayd

God, may He be glorified, heard the prayer of Zayd. When Muhammad the Messenger of God rose up inviting people to Islam, his son Said was in the forefront of those who believed in the oneness of God and who affirmed their faith in the prophethood of Muham mad. This is not strange for Said grew up in a household which repudiated the idolatrous ways of the Quraysh and he was instructed by a father who spent his life searching for Truth and who died in its pursuit.

Said was not yet twenty when he embraced Islam. His young and steadfast wife Fatimah, daughter of al-Khattab and sister of Umar, also accepted Islam early. Evidently both Said and Fatimah managed to conceal their acceptance of Islam from the Quraysh and e specially from Fatimah’s family for some time. She had cause to fear not only her father but her brother Umar who was brought up to venerate the Kabah and to cherish the unity of the Quraysh and their religion.

Umar was a headstrong young man of great determination. He saw Islam as a threat to the Quraysh and became most violent and unrestrained in his attacks on Muslims. He finally decided that the only way to put an end to the trouble was to eliminate the man who was its cause. Goaded on by blind fury he took up his sword and headed for the Prophet’s house. On his way he came face to face with a secret believer in the Prophet who seeing Umar’s grim expression asked him where he was going. “I am going to kill M uhammad…”

There was no mistaking his bitterness and murderous resolve. The believer sought to dissuade him from his intent but Umar was deaf to any arguments. He then thought of diverting Umar in order to at least warn the Prophet of his intentions.

“O Umar,” he said, “Why not first go back to the people of your own house and set them to rights?”

“What people of my house?” asked Umar.

“Your sister Fatimah and your brother-in-law Said. They have both forsaken your religion and are followers of Muhammad in his religion…”

Umar turned and made straight for his sister’s house. There he called out to her angrily as he approached. Khabbab ibn al-Aratt who often came to recite the Quran to Said and Fatimah was with them then. When they heard Umar’s voice, Khabbab hid in a corne r of the house and Fatimah concealed the manuscript. But ‘Umar had heard the sound of their reading and when he came in, he said to them: “What is this haynamah (gibbering) I heard?”

They tried to assure him that it was only normal conversation that he had heard but he insisted: “Hear it I did,” he said, “and it is possible that you have both become renegades.”

“Have you not considered whether the Truth is not to be found in your religion?” said Said to Umar trying to reason with him. Instead, Umar set upon his brother-in-law hitting and kicking him as hard as he could and when Fatimah went to the defence of her husband, Umar struck her a blow on her face which drew blood.

“O Umar,” said Fatimah, and she was angry. “What if the Truth is not in your religion! I bear witness that there is no god but Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of God.”

Fatimah’s wound was bleeding, and when Umar saw the blood he was sorry for what he had done. A change came over him and he said to his sister:

“Give me that script which you have that I may read it.” Like them Umar could read, but when he asked for the script, Fatimah said to him:

“You are impure and only the pure may touch it. Go and wash yourself or make ablutions.”

Thereupon Umar went and washed himself, and she gave him the page on which was written the opening verses of Surah Ta-Ha. He began to read it and when he reached the verse, ‘Verily, I alone am God, there no deity but me. So, worship Me alone, and be const ant in Prayer so as to remember Me, ‘he said: “Show me where Muhammad is.”

Umar then made his way to the house of al-Arqam and declared his acceptance of Islam and the Prophet and all his companions rejoiced.

Said and his wife Fatimah were thus the immediate cause which led to the conversion of the strong and determined Umar and this added substantially to the power and prestige of the emerging faith.

Said ibn Zayd was totally devoted to the Prophet and the service of Islam. He witnessed all the major campaigns and encounters in which the Prophet engaged with the exception of Badr. Before Badr, he and Talhah were sent by the Prophet as scouts to Hawra on the Red Sea coast due west of Madinah to bring him news of a Quraysh caravan returning from Syria. When Talhah and Said returned to Madinah the Prophet had already set out for Badr with the first Muslim army of just over three hundred men.

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