The Hero of the Day of As-Saqiifah
He inherited noble characteristics, handed down from father to son. His father, Hudair Al-Kataaib, was a leader of Al-Aws and one of the great nobles and strong fighters of the Arabs in the pre Islamic era.
Usaid inherited from his father his status, courage, and hospitality. Before becoming a Muslim, he was one of Al-Madiinah's leaders, a noble of the Arabs, and one of their excellent spearmen.
When Islam attracted him and he was guided to the Way of the Almighty, Worthy of All Praise, he was best honored when he took his place as one of Allah and His Messenger's Ansaar and one of the foremost believers in the great religion of Islam.
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He embraced Islam quickly, decisively, and honorably. The Messenger (PBUH) sent Mus'ab Ibn `Umair to Al-Madiinah to teach and instruct the Muslim Ansaar who had given their allegiance to the Prophet (PBUH) in the First Pledge of `Aqabah and to call others to Allah's religion.
On that day Usaid lbn Hudair and Sa'd Ibn Mu'aadh, who were leaders of their people, were discussing this stranger who had come from Makkah to denounce their religion and call to a new one unknown to them. Sa'd said to Usaid, `Go directly to this man and deter him."
So Usaid carried his spear and hurried to Mus`ab while he was a guest of As'ad Ibn Zuraarah, one of the leaders of Al Madiinah who was among the early believers in Islam. And there, where Mus`ab and As'ad Ibn Zuraarah were sitting, Usaid saw a crowd of people listening carefully to the rational words with which Mus`ab Ibn `Umair was calling them to Allah. Usaid surprised them with his anger and outburst. Mus`ab said to him, "Won't you sit down and listen? If our matter pleases you, accept it, and if you hate it, we'll stop calling you to what you hate."
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Usaid was an enlightened and intelligent man whom the people of Al-Madiinah called "Al Kaamil" (The Perfect), a nickname that his father used to bear before him. So, when he found Mus`ab appealing to logic and reason, he stuck his spear in the ground and said to him, "You're right, tell me what you have."
Mus`ab started reciting the Holy Qur'aan to him and explaining to him the call of the new religion, the true religion whose standard Muhammad (PBUH) was ordered to spread. Those who attended this assembly said, "By Allah, we saw Islam in Usaid's face before he spoke. We knew it because of his brilliance and easiness."
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No sooner did Mus`ab finish his words than Usaid was overwhelmed and he shouted, "How good these words are! What do you do if you want to embrace this religion?" Mus`ab said, "Purify your body and clothes, and bear true witness, then pray."
Usaid's character was straight, strong, and clear. He would not hesitate a second in face of strong opposition, if he knew his own way.
So Usaid got up quickly to welcome the new religion which was penetrating his heart and overwhelming his soul. He washed, purified himself, and prostrated to Allah the Lord of the Worlds in worship, announcing his embracement of Islam and abandonment of paganism.
Usaid had to go back to Sa'd Ibn Mu'aadh to give him the news of the task which had been assigned to him to deter and expel Mus`ab Ibn `Umair. He went back to Sa'd, but as he approached Sa'd said to those around him, "Usaid's face is changed. I swear it." Yes. He went with a challenging, angry face and came back with a face full of mercy and light.
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Usaid decided to use his intelligence. He knew that Sa'd Ibn Mu'aadh was well known for his pure nature and keen determination. He knew that Islam was not far from him. He only needed to hear what he himself had heard of Allah's word, which the Messenger's envoy to them, Mus'ab lbn Umair, was good at reciting and explaining. But if he said to Sa'd, I've embraced Islam; go and embrace it, the outcome would not have been ensured. He had to prompt Sa'd in a way that would push him to Mus`ab's gathering in order to see and listen. How could he do this?
As we said before, Mus'ab was a guest at As'ad Ibn Zuraarah's house. As'ad Ibn Zuraarah was Sa'd lbn Mu'aadh's cousin. So Usaid said to Sa'd, "I was told that the Haarithah tribe went out to kill As'ad Ibn Zuraarah and they know he is your cousin."
Angry and heated, Sa'd took his spear and ran fast to where Sa'd, Mus`ab, and the Muslims with them were sitting. When he came near the gathering, he found nothing but quiet overwhelming them while Mus`ab Ibn `Umair sat in the middle of them reciting Allah's verses humbly, and they carefully listened to him.
Just then he realized the trick that Usaid had played on him to make him go to this gathering and listen to what the envoy of Islam, Mus`ab Ibn `Umair was saying. So, Usaid's insight into his friend's character proved to be accurate.
Sa'd had hardly heard the Qur'aan when Allah opened his heart to Islam, and soon he took his place among the first believers.
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Usaid bore a strong, bright belief in his heart and mind, and his belief made him full of patience discernment, and sound appraisal that made him a trustworthy man.
During the expedition against Bani Al-Mustaliq, Abd Allah Ibn Ubaiy was so furious that he said to the people of Al-Madiinah around him, "You've let them enter your town and share your money. By Allah, if you cease giving them what you have, they'll turn to another place. By Allah, if we return to Al-Madiinah, indeed the more honorable will expel the meaner from there."
The venerable Companion, Zaid Ibn Arqam heard these poisoned hypocritical words, so he had to inform the Messenger of Allah (PBUH). The Messenger (PBUH) was much hurt. When he met Usaid he said, "Don't you know what your friend has said?" Usaid asked, "Which friend, O Messenger of Allah?" The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) answered, "`Abd Allah Ibn Ubaiy." Usaid said, "What did he say?" The Messenger said, "He claimed that if he returned to Al-Madiinah, the more honorable will expel the meaner from there." Then Usaid said, "By Allah, you, O Messenger of Allah, will expel him from there, by Allah's permission. By Allah, he is the meaner and you are the more honorable."
He added, "O Messenger of Allah, treat him gently. By Allah, Allah brought you to us while the people of Abd Allah were preparing to crown him king of Al-Madiinah. He sees that Islam has deprived him of kingship."
With this calm, profound thinking, Usaid used to solve problems using his presence of mind.
On the Day of As-Saqiifah, just after the death of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH), a group of the Ansaar headed by Sa'd Ibn `Ubaadah announced their right to succession and debated furiously. Usaid, who was a prominent Ansaar, as we know, took a positive attitude in settling the matter and his words were like the dispelling of shadows on the course of events. He stood to address the group of Ansaar: "You know that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) was one of the Muhaajiruun. His successor, then, should be one of the Muhaajiruun. We used to be the Ansaar of the Messenger of Allah. Today we have to be the Ansaar of his successor."
And his words brought peace and safety.
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Usaid Ibn Hudair (May Allah be pleased with him) spent his life as a humble worshipper, sacrificing his energy and money in the cause of goodness, and putting the advice of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) to the Ansaars in his mind: "!Be patient until you meet me in the realm of Paradise.!"
He was the object of honor and love by As-Siddiiq because of his religiosity and noble manners. He also had the same status in the heart of the Commander of the Faithful `Umar and in the hearts of all the Companions.
Listening to his voice while reciting Qur'aan was one of the greatest honors that the Companions aspired to. His voice was so humble and resonant that the Messenger (PBUH) said about it that the angels came near its possessor one night to hear it.
In the month of Shaaban A.H. 20, Usaid died. The Commander of the Faithful `Umar insisted on carrying his bier on his shoulders. Under the earth of Al-Baqii', the Companions buried the body of a great believer. They went back to Al-Madiinah remembering his virtues and repeating the noble Messenger's words about him: "What an excellent man Usaid Ibn Hudair is!"