Rejoice, Abu Amr!
He committed himself to Islam at the age of 31 and won martyrdom at 37. This seven years lapse was a tough one in which Sa'd lbn Mu`aadh (May Allah be pleased with him) exerted all his energy in the service of Allah and His Messenger (PBUH).
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Look Do you see that handsome, gallant, tall man with a radiant face? He is the one. He ran quickly to As'ad Ibn Zuraarah to see this man who came from Makkah, Mus`ab Ibn `Umair, whom Muhammad (PBUH) had sent to Al-Madiinah to call people to commit themselves to Islam and monotheism. He was going there to drive this stranger out of Al-Madiinah along with his religion. But no sooner had he approached Mus`ab's assembly at the house of his nephew, As'ad Ibn Zuraarah, than his heart was revived by a sweet pacifying breeze. No sooner had he reached those men who gathered there, taken his place among them and listened intently to Mus`ab's words than Allah guided him to the right path that illuminated his heart and soul. In one of the incredible miracles of fate, the leader of the Ansaar put aside his spear and shook hands with Mus`ab as a sign of his allegiance to the Prophet (PBUH).
A new sun shone on Al-Madiinah as soon as Sa'd Ibn Mu'aadh committed himself to Islam. It would encompass many hearts that would revolve in the sphere of Islam later on. Sa'd committed himself to Islam and withstood the hardships that ensued with much heroism and greatness. When the Prophet (PBUH) emigrated toAl-Madiinah, the houses of Bani Al-Ashhal - Sa'd's tribe - welcomed the Muhaajiruun, and their money was utterly at their disposal without arrogance, abuse, or limitation.
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When the Battle of Badr was about to take place, the Prophet (PBUH) gathered his Companions, both Ansaar and Muhaajiruun, to consult them on the preparations for war. His amiable face turned towards the Ansaar and he addressed them saying, "I want to know your opinion about what should be done concerning the imminent battle."
Sa`d Ibn Mu'aadh stood up and said "O Prophet of Allah, we firmly believe in you, and we witness that what descends on you is the truth. We swore a solemn oath and gave you the allegiance, so go ahead with whatever you want, and we shall stand by your side. We swear by Allah Who has sent you with the truth that if you reach the sea and cross it, we will cross it hand in hand with you. No man will lag or stay behind. We are absolutely ready to go to war against our enemy tomorrow for we are given to terrible warfare and we are sincere in our desire to meet Allah. I hope that Allah will make us do what will make you proud of us. So go on with whatever is in your mind. Allah bless you."
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Sa'd's words made the Prophets' face brighten with satisfaction and happiness as he addressed the Muslims and said, "Rejoice, for Allah promised me one of the two parties of the enemy (either the army or the caravan). By Allah I can almost see with my own eyes where each one of the enemy will be killed."
In the Battle of Uhud, the Muslims lost control and dispersed as they were taken by surprise by the army of disbelievers. Everything was hectic, yet Sa'd lbn Mu'aadh stood there as if pinned to the ground next to the Prophet (PBUH). He defended him courageously as a noble warrior should do.
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The Battle of Al-Khandaq came as a suitable opportunity for Sa`d to show his admirable manliness and amazing valor. The Khandaq Battle came as a clear sign for the shrewd and deceitful schemes with which Muslims were being ruthlessly haunted by an enemy who had no consideration whatsoever for justice or covenant. For while the Prophet (PBUH) and his Companions were living in Al-Madiinah in peace, reminding one another to worship and obey Allah, hoping that the Quraish would refrain from their hostility, a group of Jewish leaders stealthily headed for Makkah to instigate the Quraish against the Prophet (PBUH). The Jews pledged to help the Quraish if they decided to raid Al- Madiinah. They made an agreement with the disbelievers and even laid down the battle plan. Moreover, on their way home they incited Bani Ghatfaan - one of the biggest Arab tribes - and made an agreement with its leaders to join forces with the Quraish army.
The war plan was ready and everyone knew his role. The Quraish and Ghatfaan were to attack Al-Madiinah with an enormous army, whereas the Jews were to sabotage Al-Madiinah simultaneously with the attack.
When the Prophet (PBUH) found out the treacherous scheme, he resorted to counter plot. First, he ordered his Companions to dig a trench around Al-Madiinah to hold back the attackers. Second, he sent Sa'd lbn Mu'aadh and Sa`d lbn `Ubaadah to Ka'b lbn Asad, the leader of Bani Quraidhah, to learn exactly where they stood concerning the imminent war. At that time, mutual agreements and treaties were already signed between the Prophet (PBUH) and the Jews of Bani Quraidhah. The two messengers of the Prophet met with the Jewish leader, yet to their surprise he denied the agreement by saying, "We did not sign any agreement or treaty with Muhammad."
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It was hard for the Prophet to expose the people of Al Madiinah to such a deadly invasion and exhausting siege; therefore, the only answer was to neutralize Ghatfaan so that the attacking army would lose half of its men and strength. He began to negotiate with the Ghatfaan leaders so that they would forsake the Quraish in exchange for one third of Al-Madiinah's crops. The leaders of Ghatfaan accepted this agreement, and both parties were to sign it shortly.
The Prophet (PBUH) could not go any further without consulting his Companions. He valued Sa'd Ibn Mu`aadh and Sa'd Ibn `Ubaadah's opinion, for they were the leaders of Al- Madiinah and had the right to have a say in any decision that affected it.
The Prophet (PBUH) told them about his negotiations and that he had resorted to this compensation lest Al-Madiinah and its inhabitants be exposed to this dangerous attack and horrible siege. Both Sa'ds asked the Prophet (PBUH), "Is it a matter of choice or is it an inspiration from Allah?" The Prophet (PBUH) answered, "It is actually a matter that I chose for you. By Allah, I only do this because I can clearly see that the Arabs joined forces to strike you as one man so I want to curb their strength." Sa'd lbn Mu'aadh had the intuition that their fate as men and as believers was being subtly tested so he said, "O Messenger of Allah, when we and those Jews were disbelievers and polytheists, they did not even dream of eating a date from our land unless we gave it to them out of generosity, hospitality, or for trade purposes. So how is it, after Allah has guided us to Islam and made us honored by it and by you, that we give them our money? By Allah, we can do without this agreement, and we will give them nothing but warfare until Allah settles our dispute." The Prophet (PBUH) at once changed his mind and notified Ghatfaan's leaders that his Companions rejected the proposed agreement and that he approved and supported their opinion.
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A few days later Al-Madiinah witnessed a horrible siege. It was, in fact, a siege which it brought upon itself rather than was forced upon it due to the trench that was dug as a protection and safely procedure. The Muslims were prepared for war. Sa'd Ibn Mu`aadh marched around with his sword and spear and recited lines of poetry that mean, `I waited anxiously for the battle to start. How beautiful death seems when the time is the right time.''
In one of the rounds of war, Sa`ds arm was showered with the mows of one of the disbelievers, and blood gushed severely from his wounds. He received first aid assistance to stop the bleeding, then the Prophet (PBUH) ordered him carried to the mosque where a tent was put up so that he would be near the Prophet while he was nursed. The Muslims carried their great hero into the Prophet's mosque and Sa`d looked up to the sky and said, `O Allah our Lord, if the war against the Quraish is to last any longer, please do let me live a little while longer to fight against them, for I like nothing better than fighting those people who hurt Your Prophet, disbelieved him, and even drove him to emigrate. But if the war has already ended, please make my wounds pave my way to martyrdom. I implore You, dear Allah, not to let me die until I avenge myself upon Bani Quraidhah!"
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Allah will stand by you, Sa'd lbn Mu'aadh! For who could say such a thing in such a situation but you ? Allah did fulfill his supplication. His injury caused his death a month later, but he did not die until he had taken his revenge on the Jews of Bani Quraidhah. After the Quraish became desperate in their attempt to vanquish Al Madiinah and their soldiers were gripped by panic, they took their arms and equipment and returned to Makkah ashamed and disappointed.
The Prophet (PBUH) believed that Al-Madiinah had been compromised by the deceit and treachery of the Jews for too long. They left the Muslims in the lurch whenever they chose, a thing that the Prophet could no longer accept. Therefore, he ordered his Companions to march towards Bani Quraidhah, and there the Muslims besieged them for 25 days. When the Jews were certain that there was no escape from the Muslims, they pleaded with the Prophet (PBUH) to let Sa'd lbn Mu'aadh, their ally in pagan times, decide what would become of them.
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The Prophet (PBUH) sent his Companions to bring Sa'd from his tent at the mosque. He came carried on a camel and he looked so pale and sick. The Prophet (PBUH) addressed him, "Sa`d, decide what should be done to Bani Quraidhah." Sa`d remembered their treachery and deceit in general and in the Battle of Al Khandaq in particular, when Al-Madiinah had come too close to its ruin, and said, "I say kill their warriors, capture their children, and distribute their money." Thus Sa`d did not die until he had taken his revenge.
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Sa`d's wounds became worse every day. One day, the Prophet (PBUH) visited Sa'd and found him on the verge of death, so he put his head on his blessed lap and called upon Allah, "O Allah, Our Lord, Sa'd has striven hard in the way of Allah. He believed in Your Prophet and did his very best. So please do accept his soul with goodly acceptance." The words of the Prophet (PBUH) fell like coolness and safety on the departing noble soul. He strove to open his eyes, hoping that the last face he saw would be the Prophet's and said, "Peace be upon you, Prophet. I do witness that you are indeed the Messenger of Allah."
The Prophet (PBUH) took a farewell look of Sa`d's face and said, "Rejoice, Abu `Amr." Abu Sa`iid Al-Khudriy (May Allah be pleased with him) said, "I was one of those who dug Sa'd's grave, and each time we dug out a layer of sand, we smelled musk. This went on until we reached his burial niche." Sa'd's death was a tragic loss for the Muslims. Their only consolation was when they heard the Prophet (PBUH) say, "The throne of the Most Beneficent shook when Sa'd lbn Mu'aadh died."