Zayd Al-Kayr

Zayd Al-Kayr Zayd Al-Khayr

Scanned from: “Companions of The Prophet”, Vol.1, By: Abdul Wahid Hamid.

People are made up of basic “metals” or qualities. The best of them in Jahiliyyah are the best of them in Islam, according to a hadith of the Prophet.

Here are two pictures of a noble companion – one during his life in Jahiliyyah and the other after he became a Muslim.

In Jahiliyyah, this Sahabi was known as Zayd al-Khayl. When he became a Muslim, the Prophet renamed him Zayd al-Khayr.

The tribe of Aamir were afflicted one year by a severe drought which destroyed crops and vegetation and caused livestock to perish. So bad was it that one man left the tribe with his family and went to Hira. There he left his family with the words, “Wait for me here till I return to you.” He swore to himself not to return to them until he earned some money for them or died in the process.

The man took some provisions with him and walked all day in search of something for his family. At nightfall, he found himself in front of a tent. Nearby a horse was tethered and he said to himself:

“This is the first booty.” He went to the horse, untied it and was about to mount it when a voice called out to him:

“Leave it and take your life as booty.” He hastily abandoned the horse.

For seven days he walked until he reached a place where there was a pasture for camels. Nearby was an enormous tent with a leather dome, signs of great riches and wealth.

The man said to himself:

“Doubtless this pasture has camels and doubtless this tent has occupants.” The sun was about to set. The man looked inside the tent and saw a very old man in the centre. He sat down behind the old man without the latter realizing his presence.

The sun soon set. A horseman, imposing and well built, approached. He rode his mount erect and tall. Two male servants accompanied him, one on his right and the other on his left. With him were almost a hundred she-camels and in front of them a huge male camel. Clearly he was a well-endowed man. To one of the servants he said, pointing to a fat camel:

“Milk this and give the old man a drink.” The shaykh drank one or two mouthfuls from the full vessel which was brought to him and left it. The wanderer went up to it stealthily and drank all the milk in it. The servant returned, took the vessel and said:

“Master, he has drunk it all.” The horseman was happy and ordered another camel to be milked. The old man drank only one mouthful and the wanderer drank hall of what was left so as not to arouse the suspicion of the horseman. The horseman then ordered his second servant to kill a sheep. Some of it was grilled and the horseman fed the shaykh until he was satisfied. He and the two servants then ate. After this, they all slept soundly; their snoring filled the tent.

The wanderer then went to the he-camel, untied and mounted it. He rode off and the she camels followed. He rode throughout the night. At daybreak he looked around in every direction but did not see anyone following him. He pushed on until the sun was high in the sky. He looked around and suddenly saw something like an eagle or a big bird in the distance coming towards him. It quickly gained on him and soon he saw that it was the horseman on his horse .

The wanderer dismounted and tied the he-camel. He took out an arrow and placed it in his bow and stood in front of the other camels. The horseman stopped at a distance and shouted:

“Untie the camel.” The man refused saying how he had left behind him a hungry family in Hira and how he had sworn not to return unless he had money or died in the process.

“You are dead if you do not untie the camel,” said the horseman. The wanderer again refused to do so. The horseman threatened him once more and said:

“Hold out the reins of the camel. There are three knots in it. Tell me in which of them you want me to place my arrow.” The man pointed to the middle knot and the horseman lodged an arrow right in the centre as if he had neatly placed it there with his hand. He did the same with the second and third knots. At that, the man quietly returned his own arrow to his quiver and gave himself up. The horseman took away his sword and his bow and said to him:

“Ride behind me.” The man expected the worst fate to befall him now. He was at the complete mercy of the horseman who said:

“Do you think I will cause you harm when you have shared with Muhalhil (the old man, his father) his drink and his food last night?”

When the man heard the name Muhalhil, he was astonished and asked:

“Are you Zayd al-Khayl?”

“Yes,” said the horseman.

“Be the best captor,” pleaded the man.

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