Allah and Paradise!
He was one of two brothers who lived for the cause of Allah and who pledged allegiance to the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) and kept their pledge in the course of time.
The first brother was Anas Ibn Maalik, the servant of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH). His mother, Umm Sulaim, took him to the Messenger at the age of ten and said, "O Messenger of Allah, this is Anas, your lad! He will serve you; invoke Allah for him." The Messenger kissed him between his eyes and invoked a blessing upon him that led his long life towards good and blessing. He said, "O Allah, let him have plenty of money and sons. Bless him and let him enter Paradise." So, he lived for 99 years, and Allah bestowed upon him plenty of sons and grandsons and provided him with a spacious garden that gave fruits twice a year!
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The second of these brothers was Al-Baraa' Ibn Maalik, who led a great brave life. His motto was "Allah and Paradise!" Whoever would see him fighting in the cause of Allah would be totally amazed, for when Al-Baraa' was fighting polytheists with his sword, he was not one of those who was looking for victory - although victory then was the greatest end -- but he was looking for martyrdom. His utmost hope was to be a martyr and to die on the field of a glorious battle for the sake of the truth and Islam. For this reason, he missed neither a battle nor an expedition.
One day his brothers went to visit him. He read their faces and said, "I guess you're afraid I will die in bed. No, by Allah, He will not deprive me of martyrdom." Allah made his thoughts come true, as Al-Baraa' did not die in bed, but was martyred in one of the most glorious battles of Islam.
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Al-Baraa's bravery on the Day of Al-Yamaamah revealed the personality of this hero whom "Umar Ibn Al-Khattaab forbade to ever be a leader because his boldness, courage, and search for death made it a great risk for him to lead other fighters.
On the Day of Al-Yamaamah, the Islamic armies were preparing to fight under the leadership of khaalid. Al-Baraa' stood licking his lips while the seconds were passing away as if they were years until the leader gave his order to advance. His sharp eyes were moving quickly all over the battlefield as if searching for the most suitable place for the hero to be martyred. Yes, nothing preoccupied him in the world but this aim. With the edge of his striking sword, a great harvest of the polytheists who called for darkness and falsehood were cut down. Then at the end of the battle, the hand of a polytheist gave him a stroke that made his body fall on the ground while his soul found its way to the angels among the group of martyrs and the blessed.
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Khaalid shouted, "Allahu Akbar (Allah is the Greatest)!" So the close ranks burst forth to their fate, and so did the lover of death, Al-Baraa' lbn Maalik. He started bringing down the followers of Musailamah the Liar with his sword, and they were falling like autumn leaves because of his extreme courage.
Musailamah's army was not weak or small, but was the most dangerous army of the apostasy. With its numbers, equipment, and the death-defiance of its fighters, the army posed an extremely serious challenge. They answered the Muslims' attack with such an excessively aggressive defense that they were about to gain the initiative and transform their defense into an attack. Just then, some sort of anxiety pervaded the Muslim ranks. Their leaders and orators started giving words of encouragement from their horses, and they were reminded of Allah's promise.
Al-Baraa' had a nice loud voice. His leader Khaalid called him saying, "Speak, Baraa'!" So, Baraa' shouted with very strong and meaningful words, "O people of Al-Madiinah! Today you have no Madiinah, but it's Allah and Paradise!" These words demonstrate the spirit of their speaker and reveal his characters. Yes, it is Allah and Paradise. In this situation, thoughts had to do with nothing but this. They should not even have thought of Al-Madiinah, the capital of Islam, where they had left their houses, women, and children, because if they were defeated on that day, there would not be any Madiinah to return to.
Al-Baraa's words spread like ... like what? Any simile would be unfair in comparison with its true effect. Let us say only that Al Baraa's words spread, and that is it.
It was a short time before the battle returned to its former advantage. The Muslims were proceeding towards a certain victory and the polytheists were falling in a shocking defeat, while Al-Baraa was walking along with his brothers carrying the standard of Muhammad (PBUH) to its great appointment. The polytheists withdrew and fled, seeking refuge within a big garden which they entered. The Muslims' enthusiasm abated; it seemed that it was now possible to change the battle's outcome by this trick that Musailamah's followers and army had resorted to. Just then Al Baraa' ascended a high hill and cried, "O Muslims, carry me and throw me over to them in the garden."
Did I not tell you? He was not looking for victory but martyrdom, and this plan, he thought, would be the best end of his life and the best way to die. If he was thrown into the garden, he would open its gate to the Muslims, and at the same time his body would be torn into pieces by the polytheists' swords. At the same time, also, the doors of Paradise would be preparing to receive a new glorious groom.
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However, Al-Baraa' did not wait for his people to carry and throw him. He climbed the wall by himself, threw himself inside the garden, opened the gate, and the armies of Islam rushed in. But Al Baraa's dream did not come true: neither did the polytheists swords kill him, nor did he die as he wished.
Abu Bakr (May Allah be pleased with him) spoke the truth when he said, "Strive for death and you will live!" On that day the hero received from the polytheists' swords over eighty strikes, over eighty wounds that caused Khaalid Ibn Al-Waliid to continue supervising his nursing and care for an entire month.
All of this, however, was not what he wished. But it did not make Al-Baraa' hopeless. He waited for another battle ! The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) had prophesied that his supplication to Allah would be answered. He only had to keep invoking Allah to grant him martyrdom, and he did not have to be in a hurry, for every matter there is a decree.
After Al-Baraa' was healed of the wounds of Al-Yamaamah he rushed with the armies of Islam that went to escort the powers of darkness to their final resting place. Two evanescent empires existed: The Romans (Byzantines) and the Persians occupied with their unjust armies the countries of Allah and enslaved His servants. Al-Baraa started fighting with his sword, and in the place of each strike was built a great wall in the building of the new world that rapidly grew under the standard of Islam like the rising sun.
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In one of the Iraqi wars, the Persians in their fight resorted to every means of barbarity. They used hooks fixed on the ends of chains heated in fire and threw them from their castles so that they would hit any of the Muslims who could not avoid them. Al-Baraa and his great brother Anas Ibn Maalik were assigned together with some of the Muslims to deal with one of these castles. But one of these hooks suddenly fell and caught Anas, and he could not touch the chain to save himself as it was flaming hot.
When Al-Baraa' saw the scene, he hurried towards his brother while the burning chain was taking him up the castle wall. Al-Baraa grasped the chain with his hands and started bravely dealing with it till he broke it. Anas was saved, but when Al-Baraa' and those who were with him took a look at his hands, they did not find them in their place. All the flesh on them was gone; only their burned bones remained. And the hero spent another period of time in a slow treatment till he was healed.
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Is it not time for the lover of death to reach his end? Yes, it is. Here comes the Battle of Tustur where the Muslims met the Persian armies. This was such a feast for Al-Baraa'.
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The people of Al-Ahwaaz and of Persia gathered in a large army to fight the Muslims. The Commander of the Faithful `Umar Ibn Al Khattaab wrote to Sa'd Ibn Abi Waqaas in Kufa and to Abu Muusaa Al-Ash'ariy in Basra to each send an army to meet Al Ahwaaz. He told Abu Muusaa in his message, "Make Suhail Ibn `Adiy their leader and send Al-Baraa' Ibn Maalik with him."
Thus, those coming from Kufa met those coming from Basra to face Al-Ahwaaz and the Persian armies in a fierce battle. The two great brothers Anas Ibn Maalik and Al-Baraa' Ibn Maalik were among the believing soldiers.
The war started with dueling, and AL-Baraa' alone killed a hundred swordsmen of the Persians. Then the armies joined in battle, and the killed fell from both sides in large numbers. During the fight some of the Companions came near Al-Baraa' and said, "Remember the Messenger's words about you, Baraa': Perhaps there is a person with uncombed, dusty hair that people will not look at, but if he swears by Allah, He will fulfill his prayer. Among them is Al-Baraa Ibn Maalik.'O Baraa'; swear by Allah, entreat Him to defeat them and render us victorious."
Hence, Al-Baraa' raised his arms towards the sky and supplicated, "O Allah, render them defeated and us victorious, and let me catch Your Prophet today." He took a long look at his brother Anas, who was fighting near him, as if saying goodbye. Then the fighting intensified and the Muslims fought as nobody in the world had done, and they were clearly victorious.
Among the martyrs of the battle was Al-Baraa', with a happy smile on his face and his right hand grasping a handful of dust soaked with his pure blood. His sword was lying beside him. It was strong, without notches, undamaged.
Finally, the traveler arrived at his home. Together with his brother martyrs, he ended the journey of a great noble age. And it will be cried out to them, "This is the Paradise which you have inherited for what you did."