• Anees Bhayat

The Incident of Thumāmah ibn Uthāl رضي الله عنه


Abū Hurayrah رضي الله عنه narrates that the Prophet ﷺ sent a cavalry towards Najd, and it brought back with it a man from the Banū Ḥanīfah tribe, known as Thumāmah ibn Uthāl, whom they tied to a pillar from the pillars of the Masjid.

The Prophet ﷺ came to him and asked, “What do you think I’m going to do with you O Thumāmah?”[1]

He replied, “O Muḥammad! I think of goodness: If you kill me, you will have killed a man whose blood is worthy of being shed[2]; if you confer your grace upon me, you will have done so upon a grateful man; and if you want wealth, then ask however much you want.”

The Prophet ﷺ left him until the next day, and asked him [again], “What do you think I’m going to do with you O Thumāmah?”

He replied, “As I said to you [yesterday]: ‘If you if you confer your grace upon me, you will have done so on a grateful man.’”

The Prophet ﷺ left him until the third day, and asked once more, “What do you think I’m going to do with you O Thumāmah?”

He replied, “I think the same as I have already told you.”

The Prophet ﷺ then said, “Free Thumāmah!” [and so he was freed].

Thumāmah then went to a garden close to the masjid, took a bath, and then returned to the masjid. He then proclaimed, “I testify that there is none worthy of worship besides Allāh, and I testify that Muḥammad is the Messenger of Allāh!

“O Muḥammad! By Allāh! There was not a face on earth I despised more than your face, yet now your face has become the most beloved of faces to me; By Allāh! There was not a religion I despised more than yours, yet now your religion has become the most beloved religion to me; By Allāh! There was no city I despised more than your city, yet now your city has become the most beloved city to me!

“Your cavalry captured me whilst I was intending to perform ‘Umrah, what do you think [I should do]?”

The Messenger of Allāh ﷺ gave him glad tidings and instructed him to perform ‘Umrah. When he reached Makkah, someone said to him, “You have left the religion of your forefathers!”

He replied, “No! Rather I have submitted with Muḥammad, the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ. By Allāh! Not even a grain of wheat will reach you from Yamāmah, until the Prophet ﷺ gives permission for it!” (Al-Bukhārī)[3]

Look at how the Prophet ﷺ dealt with this captive! Thumāmah was from the leaders of his tribe. He did not have him tortured, nor did he threaten him. He only interacted him three times, asking him the same question on all three occasions. In other narrations, mention is also made of how the Prophet ﷺ instructed that all food in his household be brought and given to the captive, which he ate. On the third day, the Prophet ﷺ instructed his Companions to free Thumāmah, without any recompense. The effect of such mercy shown by the Prophet ﷺ was that Thumāmah not only accepted Islām, but his hatred for the Prophet, Islām, and Al-Madīnah transformed almost instantaneously into love. This was the exemplary character of the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ, personifying the āyahs of the Qur’ān:

ٱدۡعُ إِلَىٰ سَبِيلِ رَبِّكَ بِٱلۡحِكۡمَةِ وَٱلۡمَوۡعِظَةِ ٱلۡحَسَنَةِ‌ۖ وَجَـٰدِلۡهُم بِٱلَّتِى هِىَ أَحۡسَنُ‌ۚ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ هُوَ أَعۡلَمُ بِمَن ضَلَّ عَن سَبِيلِهِۦ‌ۖ وَهُوَ أَعۡلَمُ بِٱلۡمُهۡتَدِينَ

‘Invite (people) to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good counsel. And argue with them in the best of manners. Surely, your Lord knows best the one who deviates from His way, and He knows best the ones who are on the right path.’ (16:125)

وَلَا تَسۡتَوِى ٱلۡحَسَنَةُ وَلَا ٱلسَّيِّئَةُ‌ۚ ٱدۡفَعۡ بِٱلَّتِى هِىَ أَحۡسَنُ فَإِذَا ٱلَّذِى بَيۡنَكَ وَبَيۡنَهُ ۥ عَدَٲوَةٌ۬ كَأَنَّهُ ۥ وَلِىٌّ حَمِيمٌ۬

‘Good and evil are not equal. Repel (evil) with what is best, and you will see that the one you had mutual enmity with, will turn as if he were a close friend.’ (41:34)

As for the latter part of the incident, where Thumāmah رضي الله عنه declared that he would cut off the supply of wheat to the people of Makkah, that was due to them wanting to kill him upon finding out of his conversion, and somewhat forcing him to renounce his faith, when he went to perform his ‘Umrah. A major supply of wheat came to Makkah from Yamāmah, where Thumāmah was a leader. Upon his return, he stuck to his word, and stopped any caravans from travelling to Makkah with supplies of grain. The Quraysh were forced into pleading to the Prophet ﷺ to intercede on their behalf, calling upon their blood relations with him ﷺ. It was only after the Prophet ﷺ interceded for them that Thumāmah allowed the supplies to continue.[4]

[1] قال الحافظ ابن حجر في الفتح: باب وفد بني حنيفة وحديث ثمامة بن آثال: قوله ماذا عندك أي أي شيء عندك ويحتمل أن تكون ما استفهامية وذا موصولة وعندك صلته أي ما الذي استقر في ظنك أن أفعله بك

[2] قوله إن تقتلني تقتل ذا دم كذا للأكثر بمهملة مخففة الميم وللكشميهني ذم بمعجمة مثقل الميم قال النووي معنى رواية الأكثر إن تقتل تقتل ذا دم أي صاحب دم لدمه موقع يشتفي قاتله بقتله ويدرك ثأره لرياسته وعظمته ويحتمل أن يكون المعنى أنه عليه دم وهو مطلوب بهه فلا لوم عليك في قتله

[3] روى الإمام البخاري في صحيحه: كتاب المغازي، باب وفد بني حنيفة وحديث ثمامة بن أثال: حدثنا عبد الله بن يوسف، حدثنا الليث، قال: حدثني سعيد بن أبي سعيد، أنه سمع أبا هريرة رضي الله عنه، قال: بعث النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم خيلا قبل نجد، فجاءت برجل منن بني حنيفة يقال له ثمامة بن أثال، فربطوه بسارية من سواري المسجد، فخرج إليه النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم، فقال: «ما عندك يا ثمامة؟» فقال: عندي خير يا محمد، إن تقتلني تقتل ذا دم، وإن تنعم تنعم على شاكر، وإن كنت تريد المال فسل منه ما شئت، فترك حتى كان الغد، ثم قال له: «ما عندك يا ثمامة؟» قال: ما قلت لك: إن تنعم تنعم على شاكر، فتركه حتى كان بعد الغد، فقال: «ما عندك يا ثمامة؟» فقال: عندي ما قلت لك، فقال: «أطلقوا ثمامة» فانطلق إلى نجل قريب من المسجد، فاغتسل ثم دخل المسجد، فقال: أشهد أن لا إله إلا الله، وأشهد أن محمدا رسول الله، يا محمد، والله ما كان على الأرض وجه أبغض إلي من وجهك، فقد أصبح وجهك أحب الوجوه إلي، والله ما كان من دين أبغض إلي من دينك، فأصبح دينك أحب الدين إلي، والله ما كان من بلد أبغض إلي من بلدك، فأصبح بلدك أحب البلاد إلي، وإن خيلك أخذتني وأنا أريد العمرة، فماذا ترى؟ فبشره رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وأمره أن يعتمر، فلما قدم مكة قال له قائل: صبوت، قال: لا، ولكن أسلمت مع محمد رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم، ولا والله، لا يأتيكم من اليمامة حبة حنطة، حتى يأذن فيها النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم

[4] قال الحافظ: زاد بن هشام ثم خرج إلى اليمامة فمنعهم أن يحملوا إلى مكة شيئا فكتبوا إلى النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم إنك تأمر بصلة الرحم فكتب إلى ثمامة أن يخلي بينهم وبين الحمل إليهم

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