In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful
“If you wish you may consider yourself among the Muhajirin or, if you wish, you may consider yourself one of the Ansar. Choose whichever is dearer to you.”
With these words, the Prophetﷺ addressed Hudhayfah ibn al-Yamaan when he met him for the first time in Makkah. How did Hudhayfah come to have this choice?
Name and Lineage:
His full name was حذيفة بن اليمان العبسي الغطفاني القيسي Hudhayfah bin Al-Yamaan Al-Absi Al-Aghutfaani Al-Qaysi. His father, حسيل بن جابر بن عمرو الیمان Husail Bin Jabir Bin Amr Al-Yamaan was a Makkan from the tribe of Abs. He had been forced to leave Makkah. He had settled down in Madina, becoming an ally (halif) of the Banu Al-Ash’hal and marrying into the tribe (حليف لبني عبد الأشهل من الأنصار). A son named Hudhayfah was born to him. The restrictions on his returning to Makkah were eventually lifted but stayed more in Madina and was more attached to it.
He born in Makkah and grew up in a Muslim household and was taught by both his mother and father who were among the first persons from Madina to enter the religion of Islam. He, therefore, became a Muslim before meeting the Prophet ﷺ .
Hudhayfah longed to meet the Prophetﷺ. From an early age, he was keen on following whatever news there was about him. The more he heard, the more his affection for the Prophetﷺ grew and the more he longed to meet him.
At Madinah, after the Hijrah, Hudhayfah became closely attached to the Prophet. He participated in all the military engagements except Badr. Explaining why he missed the Battle of Badr, he said
حُذَيْفَةُ بْنُ الْيَمَانِ قَالَ مَا مَنَعَنِى أَنْ أَشْهَدَ بَدْرًا إِلاَّ أَنِّى خَرَجْتُ أَنَا وَأَبِى(حُسَيْلٌ) قَالَ فَأَخَذَنَا كُفَّارُ قُرَيْشٍ قَالُوا إِنَّكُمْ تُرِيدُونَ مُحَمَّدًا فَقُلْنَا مَا نُرِيدُهُ مَا نُرِيدُ إِلاَّ الْمَدِينَةَ. فَأَخَذُوا مِنَّا عَهْدَ اللَّهِ وَمِيثَاقَهُ لَنَنْصَرِفَنَّ إِلَى الْمَدِينَةِ وَلاَ نُقَاتِلُ مَعَهُ فَأَتَيْنَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَأَخْبَرْنَاهُ الْخَبَرَ فَقَالَ انْصَرِفَا نَفِى لَهُمْ بِعَهْدِهِمْ وَنَسْتَعِينُ اللَّهَ عَلَيْهِم
[4740:صحیح مسلم ]
It has been reported on the authority of Hudbaifa bin Al-Yamaan who said: Nothing prevented me from being present at the Battle of Badr except I was out with my father [Husail], but we were caught by the disbelievers of Quraish. They said: (Do) you intend to go to Muhammad? We said: We do not intend to go to him, but we wish to go (back) to Madina. So they took from us a covenant in the name of Allah that we would turn back to Madina and would not fight on the side of Muhammad ﷺ. So, we came to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ and told the incident to him. He said: Both, of you, go back (to Medina); we will fulfill the covenant made with them and seek Allah’s help against them.
His father’s martyrdom in Uhud:
Hudhayfah participated in the Battle of Uhud with his father. The pressure on Hudhayfah during the battle was great but he acquitted himself well and emerged safe and sound. A rather different fate, however, awaited his father.
عَنْ عَائِشَةَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهَا قَالَتْ لَمَّا كَانَ يَوْمُ أُحُدٍ هُزِمَ الْمُشْرِكُونَ هَزِيمَةً بَيِّنَةً فَصَاحَ إِبْلِيسُ أَيْ عِبَادَ اللَّهِ أُخْرَاكُمْ فَرَجَعَتْ أُولَاهُمْ عَلَى أُخْرَاهُمْ فَاجْتَلَدَتْ أُخْرَاهُمْ فَنَظَرَ حُذَيْفَةُ فَإِذَا هُوَ بِأَبِيهِ فَنَادَى أَيْ عِبَادَ اللَّهِ أَبِي أَبِي فَقَالَتْ فَوَاللَّهِ مَا احْتَجَزُوا حَتَّى قَتَلُوهُ فَقَالَ حُذَيْفَةُ غَفَرَ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ قَالَ أَبِي فَوَاللَّهِ مَا زَالَتْ فِي حُذَيْفَةَ مِنْهَا بَقِيَّةُ خَيْرٍ حَتَّى لَقِيَا اللَّهَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ
Narrated `Aisha: On the day of the battle of Uhud when the pagans were defeated completely. Then Satan shouted loudly, “O Allah’s slaves! Beware the ones behind you!” So the front files turned back and started to kill them. Then Hudhaifa looked and saw his father, and said loudly, “O Allah’s slaves! My father! My father!” By Allah, they did not stop till they killed him (i.e. Hudaifa’s father). Hudhaifa (only) said, “May Allah forgive you!”
The sub-narrator ( Hisham’s father `Urwa) said, “By Allah, “Hudhaifa continued to say the good words Allah ( for the killers of his father) till he met Allah Azza wa Jalla.مجھ سے اسماعیل بن خلیل نے بیان کیا ، کہا ہم سے سلمہ بن رجاء نے ، انہیں ہشام بن عروہ نے ، انہیں ان کے والد نے اور ان سے عائشہ رضی اللہ عنہا نے بیان کیا کہ احدکی لڑائی میں جب مشرکین ہارچکے تو ابلیس نے چلا کر کہا اے اللہ کے بندو ! پیچھے والوں کو ( قتل کرو ) چنانچہ آگے کے مسلمان پیچھے والوں پر پل پڑے اور انہیں قتل کرنا شروع کر دیا ، حذیفہ رضی اللہ عنہ نے جو دیکھا تو ان کے والد ( یمان رضی اللہ عنہ بھی وہیں موجود تھے انہوں نے پکار کر کہا اے اللہ کے بندو یہ تو میرے والد ہیں میرے والد ! عائشہ رضی اللہ عنہا نے بیان کیا اللہ کی قسم ! اس وقت تک لوگ وہاں سے نہیں ہٹے جب تک انہیں قتل نہ کر لیا ، حذیفہ رضی اللہ عنہ نے صرف اتنا کہا اللہ تمہاری مغفرت کرے ، ( ہشام نے بیان کیا کہ ) اللہ کی قسم ! حذیفہ رضی اللہ عنہ برابر یہ کلمہ دعائیہ کہتے رہے ( کہ اللہ ان کے والد پر حملہ کرنے والوں کو بخشے جو کہ محض غلط فہمی کی وجہ سے یہ حرکت کربیٹھے ) یہ دعا مرتے دم تک کرتے رہے ۔
(Sahih al-Bukhari 3824)
There was so much chaos after the mushrikin returned to the battlefield. And like it is said once the wheel starts rolling it is difficult to stop it, the muslims attacked Hudhayfahs father by accident and even though Hudhayfah stopped them, they did not. The old man fell, killed in error by the swords of his own brothers in faith. They were filled with pain and remorse. Grieved as he was, Hudhayfah said to them: “May Allah forgive you for He is the most Merciful of those who show mercy.”It was a mistake, he forgave them and asked Allah to forgive them also! When we forgive others, we unburden ourselves actually.
Because of this attitude, Hudhayfah’s stature grew in the eyes of the Prophetﷺ.
His character and Noble qualities:
Hudhayfah had three qualities which particularly impressed the Prophet ﷺ; his unique intelligence which he employed in dealing with difficult situations; his quick-wittedness and spontaneous response to the call of action, and his ability to keep a secret even under persistent questioning.
Nothing was hidden in his life nor in his inner self. He was truthful and trustworthy. He liked the strong in righteousness and detested those who were not straightforward, i.e. the hypocrites and deceivers.
His role in Khandaq (Battle of Trench) and his Intelligence:
A noticeable way of the Prophet ﷺ was to bring out and use the special qualities and strengths of each individual companion of his. In deploying his companions, he was careful to choose the right man for the right task. This he did to excellent advantage in the case of Hudhayfah.
One of the most testing occasions, which required the use of Hudhayfah’s intelligence and his presence of mind, was during the Battle of the Trench. The Muslims on that occasion were surrounded by enemies. The siege they had been placed under had dragged on. The Muslims were undergoing severe hardship and difficulties. They had expended practically all their effort and were utterly exhausted. So intense was the strain that some even began to despair.
The Quraysh and their allies, meanwhile, were not much better off. Their strength and determination had been sapped. A violent wind overturned their tents, extinguished their fires and pelted their faces and eyes with gusts of sand and dust.
In such decisive moments in the history of warfare, the side that loses is the one that despairs first and the one that wins is the one that holds out longer. The role of army intelligence in such situations often proves to be a crucial factor in determining the outcome of the battle.
At this stage of the confrontation, the Prophet ﷺ felt he could use the special talents and experience of Hudhayfah ibn al-Yamaan. He decided to send Hudhayfah into the midst of the enemy’s positions under cover of darkness to bring him the latest information on their situation and morale before he decided on his next move.
Let us now leave Hudhayfah to relate what happened on this mission fraught with danger and even death.
۔۔۔۔ رَأَيْتُنَا مَعَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم بِالْخَنْدَقِ وَصَلَّى رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم مِنْ اللَّيْلِ هَوِيٍّا ثُمَّ الْتَفَتَ إِلَيْنَا فَقَالَ مَنْ رَجُلٌ يَقُومُ فَيَنْظُرَ لَنَا مَا فَعَلَ الْقَوْمُ يَشْتَرِطُ لَهُ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم أَنَّهُ يَرْجِعُ أَدْخَلَهُ اللَّهُ الْجَنَّةَ فَمَا قَامَ رَجُلٌ ثُمَّ صَلَّى رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلمهَوِيٍّا مِنْ اللَّيْلِ ثُمَّ الْتَفَتَ إِلَيْنَا فَقَالَ مَنْ رَجُلٌ يَقُومُ فَيَنْظُرَ لَنَا مَا فَعَلَ الْقَوْمُ ثُمَّ يَرْجِعُ يَشْرِطُ لَهُ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم الرَّجْعَةَ أَسْأَلُ اللَّهَ أَنْ يَكُونَ رَفِيقِي فِي الْجَنَّةِ فَمَا قَامَ رَجُلٌ مِنْ الْقَوْمِ مَعَ شِدَّةِ الْخَوْفِ وَشِدَّةِ الْجُوعِ وَشِدَّةِ الْبَرْدِ فَلَمَّا لَمْ يَقُمْ أَحَدٌ دَعَانِي رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلمفَلَمْ يَكُنْ لِي بُدٌّ مِنْ الْقِيَامِ حِينَ دَعَانِي فَقَالَ يَا حُذَيْفَةُ فَاذْهَبْ فَادْخُلْ فِيُ الْقَوْمِ فَانْظُرْ مَا يَفْعَلُونَ وَلَا تُحْدِثَنَّ شَيْئًا حَتَّى تَأْتِيَنَا قَالَ فَذَهَبْتُ
Hudhayfa b. Yamaan reported, we saw in Khandaq, that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ lead the people in Isha prayer late in the darkness of the night, he then turned to us and said, Who is it that will get up and go see what the people (enemy) are doing? Whoever it is will return and the Prophet ﷺ promised his safe return. (And said) Allah will make him enter paradise. But no one got up. After some part of the night had passed, the Prophet ﷺ again lead the people in prayer and turned towards us and asked, Who is it that will get up and go and see what the people are doing? He will return, and the Prophet ﷺ promised his safe return. (And said) I ask Allah that this person should be my close companion in Paradise.
But no one got up out of extreme fear, hunger, and severe cold. When nobody got up, the Prophet ﷺ called me. At that time I had no choice but to get up. He ﷺ said, O Hudhayfah! Go and see the situation of the enemy, and do nothing else until you return to me. So I went.
This does not mean that the Iman of other Sahabah was not there. They were human, sometimes things are very tough, and we think others may be able to do the work better.
What happened to Hudhaifah that night was amazing. He covered the distance between the two armies and penetrated the surrounding enemy camp of the Quraish. A violent wind had put out the camp’s fires, so the place was enveloped in darkness. Hudhaifah took his place amidst the lines of the fighters. The leader of the Quraish, Abu Sufyaan, was afraid that darkness might surprise them with scouts from the Muslim camp. He stood to warn his army, and Hudhaifah heard his loud voice saying,
“O people of the Quraish, each one of you should know who is sitting next to him and should know his name.” Hudhaifah reports, “I hastened to the hand of the man next to me, and said to him, Who are you?
He said, `Such and such a person!'”
He therefore secured his being with the army in peace! Abu Sufyaan resumed his talk to the army, saying,
“O people of the Quraish, by Allah, you are not in a place to settle. The horses and the camels are exhausted. The tribe of Bani Quraidah has reneged on us and we learned about them what we hate, and we suffer from the violent wind as you see. No food can be cooked, no fire can blaze for us, and no structure can hold. You have to leave, for I am leaving.” He then mounted his camel and started moving, followed by the fighters.
Hudhaifah then returned to the Messenger ﷺ and gave him the information and happy news.
Most Knowledgeable regarding the times of Trial:
Hudhayfah lived in constant dread of evil and corrupting influences. He felt that goodness and the sources of good in this life were easy to recognize for those who desired good. But it was evil that was deceptive and often difficult to perceive and combat.
عن أَبی إِدْرِيس الْخَوْلَانِيُّ أَنَّهُ سَمِعَ حُذَيْفَةَ بْنَ الْيَمَانِ يَقُولُ كَانَ النَّاسُ يَسْأَلُونَ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ عَنْ الْخَيْر وَكُنْتُ أَسْأَلُهُ عَنْ الشَّرِّ مَخَافَةَ أَنْ يُدْرِكَنِي
Abu Idrees Khawlani narrated that he heared Hudhaifa bin Al-Yamaan, he used to say: The people used to ask Allah’s Messenger ﷺ about good, but I used to ask him about evil for fear that it might overtake me.
[Sahih Al-Bukhari : 3606]
قال حذيفة :قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم لَيَأتِيَنَّ على أمتي زمانٌ يتمنون فيه الدجال. قلتُ : يا رسول الله بأبي و أمي! مِمَّ ذَاكَ ؟!
[قال مما يَلْقونَ من العناء أوالضنا [ السلسلة الصحيحة :3090
The Prophet ﷺ said, A time will come for my Ummah that they will wish for Dajjal. Hudhayfah asked, may my mother and father be sacrificed, why is that so? He said, because of difficulties and diseases.
Hudhayfah lbn Al-Yamaan lived open- eyed and insightful with regards to temptations and the paths of evil so that he might avoid them and warn people of them. This gave him insight of the world, experience with people, and knowledge of the times. He would contemplate matters in his mind as a philosopher would and with the sound judgment of a wise man.
The secret keeper of the Prophet ﷺ:
One of the gravest problems the Muslims of Madinah had to face was the existence in their midst of hypocrites (munafiqun) particularly from among the Jews and their allies. Although many of them had declared their acceptance of Islam, the change was only superficial and they continued to plot and intrigue against the Prophet and the Muslims.
Because of Hudhayfah’s ability to keep a secret, the Prophet ﷺ confided in him the names of the munafiqin. It was a weighty secret which the Prophet ﷺ did not disclose to any other of his companions. He gave Hudhayfah the task of watching the movements of the hypocrites, following their activities and shielding the Muslims from the sinister danger they represented. It was a tremendous responsibility. The hypocrites, because they acted in secrecy and because they knew all the developments and plans of the Muslims from within presented a greater threat to the community than the outright hostility of the kuffar.
From this time onwards. Hudhayfah was called “The Keeper of the Secret of the Messenger of Allah“. Throughout his life, he remained faithful to his pledge not to disclose the names of the hypocrites. After the death of the Prophet ﷺ, the Khalifah Umar RA often came- to him to seek his advice concerning their movements and activities but he remained tight-lipped and cautious.
وهو صاحب سر رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم في المنافقين ، لم يعلمهم أحد إلا حذيفة ؛ أعلمه بهم رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ، وسأله عمر : أفي عمالي أحد من المنافقين ؟ قال : نعم ، واحد . قال : من هو ؟ قال : لا أذكرہ۔۔۔۔۔
He was the secret keeper of the Prophet ﷺ regarding the hypocrites. None knew them except Hudhayfah, and the Prophet ﷺ had told him about them. Umar RA asked him, Are any of my workers of the hypocrites? Hudhayfah replied yes, one of them. Umar asked, who is he? Hudhayfah said I will not tell you.
وكان عمر إذا مات رجل يسأل عن حذيفة ، فإن حضر الصلاة عليه صلى عليه عمر ، وإن لم يحضر حذيفة الصلاة عليه لم يحضر عمر.
[اسلام سوال جواب]
Whenever someone would pass away, Umar would enquire about Hudhayfah RA, if he participated in the janazah, Umar RA would also participate, and if Hudhayfah RA did not participate, then Umar would not do so either.
There are few lessons for us to learn from Hudhyfah’s gentle character.
- Do not discuss the corruption of others. It is concealed, let it remain concealed. Talk about good things, not the faults of others. If you talk about other’s good qualities, what will be the impact? There will be Motivation to do good.
- Develop positive thinking. And if we choose to talk about other’s faults, what will be the impact? Horrible. Negative.
- Also, it will be considered as backbiting (Gheebah) that is like eating the flesh of the dead – there will be negativity, uneasiness. So no matter what gathering you are in – phone, WhatsApp, living room, etc. Always speak well.
The Prophet’s ﷺ prayer for his forgiveness and for his mother:
عن حذيفة بن اليمان قال أتيت النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فصليت معه المغرب ، فلما فرغ صلى فلم يزل يصلي حتى صلى العشاء ثم خرج ، فتبعته ، قال : من هذا ؟ قلت حذيفة قال اللهم اغفر لحذيفة و لأمه
Hudhayfah RA narrated: I came to the Prophet ﷺ and prayed Maghrib with him. After salah the Prophet ﷺ began praying until it was Isha time. When the Prophet ﷺ ended the prayer and left, Hudhayfah said I followed him. The Prophet ﷺ asked, Who is it? [It was dark] He said, Hudhayfah. The Prophet ﷺ said, O Allah forgive Hudhayfah and his mother.
He did not disturb Prophet ﷺ in his prayer, waited for him to finish his Ibadah. When we see people praying, doing dhikr then let them complete it, if we stand in front of them and let them know we are waiting, they won’t be able to do it properly. Also, we should adopt the Sunnah of the Prophet ﷺ by supplicating for others in their presence or in their absence. Every time one makes a supplication for good for his brother, the angel appointed for this particular task says: `Ameen!
Also, we should adopt the Sunnah of the Prophet ﷺ by supplicating for others in their presence or in their absence. Every time one makes a supplication for good for his brother, the angel appointed for this particular task says Ameen!
His status near Umar RA:
عن عمر رضي الله عنه أنه قال لأصحابه تمنوا فقال بعضهم أتمنى لو أن هذه الدار مملوءة ذهبا أنفقه في سبيل الله وأتصدق وقال رجل أتمنى لو أنها مملوءة زبرجدا وجوهرا فأنفقة في سبيل الله وأتصدق ثم قال عمر تمنوا فقالوا ما ندري يا أمير المؤمنين فقال عمر أتمنى لو أنها مملوءة رجالا مثل أبي عبيدة بن الجراح ومعاذ بن جبل وسالم مولى أبي حذيفة وحذيفة بن اليمان [مستدرک حاکم: 5005 ] ‘اسناده حسن
Once Umar RA was sitting with his companions and said, what do you wish for? One said I wish this house was full of gold so I could spend it in the way of Allah and give it in charity. Another said, I wish this house was filled with precious stones, so I could spend that in the way of Allah and give in charity. Umar asked, what else do you wish for? They said we do not know O Leader of the believers. Umar said, I wish this house was filled with men like Abu Ubaydah, Muadh bin Jabal and Salim Mawla of Abu Hudhayfah and Hudhayfah bin Yamaan, (so I would use them in Allah’s way).
Hudhayfah was made governor of important places like Kufa and Ctesiphon (al-Madain). When the news of his appointment as governor of Ctesiphon reached its inhabitants, crowds went out to meet and greet this famous companion of the Prophet of whose piety and righteousness they had heard so much. His great role in the conquests of Persia was already a legend.
As the welcoming party waited, a lean, somewhat scrawny man with dangling feet astride a donkey approached. In his hand, he held a loaf of bread and some salt and he ate as he went along. When the rider was already in their midst they realized that he was Hudhayfah, the governor for whom they were waiting. They could not contain their surprise. What manner of man was this! They could, however, be excused for not recognizing him for they were used to the style, the pomp and the grandeur of Persian rulers.
Hudhayfah carried on and people crowded around him. He saw they were expecting him to speak and he cast a searching look at their faces. Eventually, he said: “Beware of places of fitnah and intrigue.” “And what,” they asked, “are places of intrigue?” He replied: “The doors of the rulers where some people go and try to make the ruler or governor believe lies and praise him for (qualities) he does not possess.”
With these words, the people were prepared for what to expect from their new governor. They knew at once that there was nothing in the world that he disliked more than hypocrisy.
One day in the year A.H. 36 in Mada’in, he was called to meet his Lord. While he was getting ready for the last journey, some of his companions came to see him. He asked them, “Have you brought a shroud with you?” They said, “Yes.” He said, “Show it to me.” When he saw it, he found it was new and too long. One last sarcastic grin was drawn on his lips, and he said, “This is not a shroud for me. Two white wraps without a shirt are sufficient for me. I will not be left in the grave for a long time, but will be offered a better place or a worse one!“
He then murmured a few words which, when they listened to them, they discerned the following: “Welcome O death! A dear thing coming after longing. The one who repents now prospers not.”
One of the best human souls was raised to Allah, one the most pious, illuminating, and humble spirits
Note: For ease of reading, we have not inserted “May Allah be pleased with him (R.A)” each time with Hudhayfah Ibn Al-Yamaan R.A 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.
- Based on Notes and Lecture of Ustadhza Farhat Hashmi “Sahih Bukhari – Kitab ul Munaqib“
- Men around the Prophet ﷺ By Khalid Muhammad Khalid
- Hayat e Sahaba Kai Darkhshan Phelu by Mahmood Ahmed Ghazanfar