Preface: This is only a summary of the life of Al Miqdaad Ibn Amr RA and does not cover all the points of his life story. It is not intended to be a biography, but rather a glimpse of the main incidents of his life so that we can get an idea of his character. For ease of reading, we have not inserted “May Allah be pleased with him (RA)” each time his name or the name of each Companion is mentioned, but please take it that the salutations apply to all of them, may Allah be pleased with them all.
His companions said about him, ‘The first cavalryman to strive in the way of Allah was Al- Miqdaad Ibn Al-Aswad, our hero, and Al-Miqdaad lbn Amr was one and the same person.’
The story behind this was that Al-Miqdaad Ibn Amr was in alliance with Al-Aswad lbn Abd Yaghuth, who therefore adopted Al-Miqdaad. Thus, he was called Al-Miqdaad lbn Al-Aswad until the glorious verse which abrogated adoption descended, and he restored his father’s name, Amr Ibn Saad. Al-Miqdaad was one of the foremost Muslims and the seventh of the seven men who announced their Islam openly and in public. Therefore, he had his share of the Quraish’s abuse and atrocities. He tolerated them with the courageousness and satisfaction of a devoted disciple.
His attitude during the Battle of Badr will retain its immortal glory. It was an honourable attitude that impressed all those who witnessed it and made each and every one of them wish it were he who had adopted such an attitude. Abd Allah Ibn Mas’ud, the Companion of Allah’s Prophet SAW said, ‘I have seen Al Miqdaad maintain a firm attitude and I was overtaken by a vicarious feeling to be in his place. This feeling enveloped me to the extent that I wished more than anything in the world that it would come true.’
The Day of Badr was a crucial one as the Quraish marched with all their might, stubborn persistence, and haughtiness against the Muslims. On that day, the Muslims were not only few, but also untried and inexperienced in jihaad. Their hearts had not been tested in action. Besides, the Battle of Badr was the dawn of their conquests. The Prophet stood there to strengthen the faith of his Companions and test their combat readiness to break through the enemy infantry and cavalry.
Afterwards, the Prophet SAW began to consult them on war tactics. Surely, the Prophet’s Companions knew that when he asked their opinion, he demanded their individual free and courageous expression, even if it happened to contradict the majority. He who expressed his opinion would not be reproached or criticized.
Al-Miqdaad was afraid lest one of the Muslims should have reservations about the imminent battle. Therefore, he was careful to have precedence in speech. His concise and decisive words coined the slogan of the battle, yet before he had the chance to open his mouth, Abu Bakr As-Siddiq started talking and by the time he finished his words, Al-Miqdaad’s apprehensions had vanished, for Abu Bakr spoke with remarkable eloquence. ‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattab spoke next and followed suit. Finally Al-Miqdaad stepped forward and said, ‘O Prophet of Allah, go ahead with what Allah has inspired you to do. We will stand by you. By Allah, we will never say as the Children of Israel said, ‘So go you and your Lord and fight you two, we are sitting right here.’ Instead, we will say, ‘Go you and your Lord and we will fight with you.’ By Allah, Who has sent you with the truth, if you take us to the end of the world, we will tolerate all hardships until we reach it with you. We will fight on your left, your right, in front of you and behind you until Allah bestows victory on you.’ His decisive words were like bullets that made the righteous believers with them fired up with enthusiasm.
The Prophet’s face brightened as he uttered a pious supplication for Al-Miqdaad, whose words were so strong and decisive that they drew the pattern that would be followed by anyone who spoke afterwards. Indeed, Al-Miqdaad’s words left their impact on the hearts of the believers. Consequently, S’ad Ibn Mu’aadh, a leader of the Ansaar, rose and said, ‘O Prophet of Allah, we have believed in you and witnessed that what has descended on you is the truth. We gave you our allegiance, so go ahead with what you intend to do, and we will stand by you. By Allah Who has sent you with the truth, if you attempt to cross the sea, we will cross it hand in hand with you. None of us will lag behind or turn his back on you. We are not afraid to meet our enemy tomorrow, for we are given to terrible warfare and we are faithful in our desire to meet Allah. I pray Allah that we do what will make you proud of us. Go ahead with Allah’s blessings.’
The Prophet SAW was extremely sanguine on hearing this and said to his Companions, ‘March forward and be cheerful and confident!’ After a while the two armies met in fierce combat. The Muslim cavalry on that day were only three Al-Miqdaad lbn Amr, Marthid lbn Abi Marthid, and Az-Zubair Ibn Al Awaam. The rest of the Mujaahidun were infantry or riding on camels.
Al-Miqdaad’s previous words not only proved his valour but also his preponderant wisdom and profound thought.
Al-Miqdaad was a wise and intelligent man. His wisdom was not expressed in mere words but in empirical principles and a constant Unvarying conduct. His experience was the fuel of his wisdom and intelligence.
The Prophet SAW once assigned him to rule one of the governorships, and when he returned the Prophet SAW asked him, ‘How does it feel be a governor?’ He answered with admirable honesty, ‘It made me feel as if I were in a silver tower above the rest of the people. By Allah who has sent you with the truth, from now on, I will never expose myself to the temptations of governing.’
If that was not wisdom, then what else is? If that was not a wise man, then who else is?
This was an honest and straightforward man who was able to detect, unveil, and admit his innermost weakness. His position as a governor made him vulnerable to haughtiness and vainglory. He detected this weakness in himself at once and took a solemn oath to avoid any position or rank that might jeopardize his piety and righteousness. He kept his oath and renounced any influential or controversial situation for the rest of his life.
He cherished and treasured the hadith of the Prophet SAW: ‘He who avoids fitnah (trials, afflictions, and error) is indeed a happy man.’
He realized that because the governorship awakened latent pride and haughtiness in him and exposed him to Fitnah, it was better to avoid any position that might arouse this weakness. His wisdom was manifested in his deliberateness and perseverance in his judgment of men. This was also a trait that Allah’s Prophet SAW instilled in him, for he taught Muslims that the hearts of the children of Adam are incredibly capricious.
Al-Miqdaad was always for delaying his final judgment of a man to the moment of death so as to be absolutely positive that the man concerned would not alter, for death means finality. His wisdom was most conspicuous in the dialogue that was narrated by one of his companions: One day, we sat with Al- Miqdaad and a man passed by and addressed Al-Miqdaad saying, ‘All kinds of happiness are for these eyes which have seen Allah’s Prophet SAW. By Allah, we wish that we saw what you have seen and witnessed what you have witnessed.’ Al-Miqdaad approached him and said, ‘Why should anyone wish to witness a scene that Allah did not wish him to see? He does not know what it would have been like if he had witnessed it or which party he would have been among if he went back in time. By Allah, Allah’s Prophet SAW saw people who were thrown right into hell, so you should thank Allah that you were spared such a trial and were honoured by firm belief in Allah and His Prophet SAW.’
Undoubtedly, it is remarkable wisdom. You hardly ever meet a believer who loves Allah and the Prophet SAW and does not wish to see and live within the Prophet’s sight. Yet the insight of the wise and skilful Miqdaad unveiled the missing dimension of this wish. For is it not possible that if this man had lived during those times he might have ended up among the dwellers of Hell? Is it not possible that he might have sided with the disbelievers? Again, is it not far much better for him to thank Allah Who destined him to live at a time when Islam is deeply-rooted and fully-fledged, awaiting him to quench his thirst from its inexhaustible pure spring?
Al-Miqdaad’s viewpoint was subtly wise and intelligent. He always emerged as the wise and clever man in all his actions, deeds, and words.
Al-Miqdaad’s love for Islam was not only great but also reasonable and wise. A man who has such great and wise love inside him must be raised to a high station, for he does not find pleasure in this love per se but rather in its responsibilities and obligations. Al Miqdaad definitely was this type of man. His love for the Prophet filled his heart and deepened his feeling of responsibility towards the Prophet’s safety. No sooner was a call for an expedition announced than he darted towards the Prophet’s house on horseback armed with his sharp sword!
His love for Islam filled his heart with responsibility for its protections, not only from the plots of its enemies, but also from the errors of its allies.
One day, his army unit went on an expedition, but the enemy troops were able to besiege them. Therefore, their commander gave an order to his soldiers not to graze their camels. One of the Muslim soldiers did not hear his order and, in consequence, disobeyed it. The commander punished him severely, more than he actually deserved. In fact, he did not deserve to be punished at all. Al-Miqdaad passed by this man and found him in tears, so he asked him what was the matter, and the latter told him what had happened. Al-Miqdaad took the man to the commander, where he argued with him until he was convinced of his error of judgment. Then Al-Miqdaad said, ‘Now it is the time for retaliation. He must have his qisaas – the law of equality of punishment!’
The commander yielded to his judgment but the soldier remitted the retaliation. Al-Miqdaad was thrown into ectasy over the greatness of the religion that made it possible for them to reach this power of courageous judgment, admirable submission, and great forgiveness. He said as if he were singing a song, ‘I will see Islam triumphant even if I have to die for it.’ Indeed, it was his utmost wish to see Islam most powerful before he died. His extraordinary effort to make his wish come true made the Prophet SAW say to him, ‘O Al-Miqdaad, Allah ordered me to love you and told me that He loves you.’
Source: Khalid, Khalid Muhammad, Men Around the Messenger, Islamic Book Service, 2004