Abdullah ibn Hudhafah (RA)
Commitment to Islam was more dear to Abdullah ibn Hudhafah (RA) than his own life.
Abdullah ibn Hudhafah (RA) of the Sahm clan of the Quraysh was a companion of the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) endowed with sharp intelligence and a resourceful personality. So the Prophet assigned to him some of the more difficult tasks, and he always showed quick presence of mind as well as total devotion to the cause of Islam. When the tide had turned in favour of Islam, and the idolaters in Makkah signed a peace treaty with the new Muslim state in Madinah, the Prophet turned his attention to international horizons. He sent a number of his companions with messages to the emperors, kings and rulers of neighbouring empires and states. One of the hardest of these missions was the one to invite Khusru II, the Persian emperor, to accept Islam. Therefore, he chose Abdullah ibn Hudhafah for this mission. Khusru II was one of the most powerful emperors of Persia.
The Prophet’s message carried by Abdullah ibn Hudhafah to Khusru ran as follows: “In the name of God, The Merciful, the Beneficent. From Muhammad, God’s messenger, to Khusru, the leader of Persia. I wish to convey to you God’s call, for I am God’s Messenger to all mankind, sent with the task of warning all those who are alive that doom will befall the unbelievers. If you submit to God you will be safe. If you refuse, you shall bear the responsibility for the Magians.”
When Khusru read the Prophet’s letter, he tore it to pieces, saying: “How dare he write this sort of letter to me when he is my slave?” Khusru then wrote to Badhan (or Badham), who was governor of Yemen, a Persian province. He ordered him to send two able-bodied soldiers to arrest the Prophet and take him to Persia. Badhan immediately carried out Khusru’s instructions, sending two of his officers to arrest the Prophet. Needless to say, their mission, as far as arresting the Prophet was concerned, ended in complete failure. In fact the Prophet informed them of the assassination of Khusru when it took place while they were still in Madinah.
Abdullah ibn Hudhafah continued to serve Islam in every way he could. He fought in the battles that the Muslims fought against the Byzantine and Persian empires, the two super powers of the day. He was once taken captive by the Byzantines. He was taken to their ruler who offered him a share in his kingdom. What is more, the ruler said that he would give him his own daughter as a wife if he would embrace Christianity. Abdullah said: “If you were to give me all your kingdom and all the wealth and property of all Arabs in return for disowning the faith of Muhammad, (peace be upon him), I would not accept for even a blink of an eye.
The Byzantine ruler said: “If you refuse, then I will kill you.” Abdullah said: “Do what you like.” The ruler then ordered that he should be crucified. Soldiers then shot at him with arrows piercing his legs and arms, but he refused to convert to Christianity despite all. The ruler then ordered that he should be brought down from the cross. A large pan made of copper was put over a great fire until it was boiling fiercely. Another Muslim captive was then thrown into the pan and soon his bones were visible. Abdullah was then told to convert to Christianity, threatened that he would suffer the same fate if he did not. He refused, and the ruler ordered that he should be thrown into the pan. As he was being lifted, the ruler noticed that his eyes were tearful. He ordered that he should be brought down. He then spoke to him only to be astonished by Abdullah’s explanation of his crying. Abdullah said: “I only cried because I have one soul, and I am subjected to this torture for my faith. I wish I had as many souls as the number of hairs on my body and each one of them was subjected to the same fate.”