14 Nov Ala bin Hadrami (r.a.)
The Islamic state established in Madinah was growing day by day. The people who flocked to Madinah in tribes and clans listened to the talk of the Prophet and the lofty truths of Islam; then, they became Muslims. On the one hand, the Prophet was busy with the delegations arriving in Madinah; on the other hand, he sent envoys to the neighboring states and rulers and invited them to Islam. Ala bin Hadrami was one of these Companions who were appointed as envoys. The Prophet sent him to Bahrain, a seaside country in the western part of the Gulf of Basra in 8 H. He also wrote a letter to a Mundhir bin Sawa, the ruler of Bahrain who was a fire-worshipper. The Prophet advised Ala to take Hz. Abu Hurayra with him and to treat his comrade well. [ Tabaqat, 4: 360. ]
Hz. Ala bin Hadrami was one of the first Muslim. He listened to the talks of the Prophet for a long time, and learned many things from him. He was a good speaker. His ability to persuade was very good and he spoke softly. He spoke taking the state of his addressee into consideration and did his best not to hurt him. That was the reason why he was appointed to do such an important service.
Ala bin Hadrami set off without wasting time. On the one hand, he proceeded on his way, and on the other hand, he was thinking. For, hundreds of people would accept or reject Islam based on his way of conveying the message. Besides, the person he would visit was a king. Therefore, he had to be careful. In fact, the community he would visit worshipped fire. Instead of Allah, they worshipped fire, which Allah created. However, no matter who the addressee was, he had to invite them using soft language. For, Allah Almighty stated the following in a verse regarding the issue:
“Invite (all) to the way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious…”[ an-Nahl, 125. ]
Finally, he reached Bahrain. The ruler of Bahrain heard that a prophet had emerged in Makkah. However, he did not have any information about Islam. He accepted the envoy of the Prophet into his presence at once. Thus, he wanted to show that he gave importance to the Messenger of Allah.
Hz. Ala, who was educated in the school of prophethood, entered into the presence of the king in a mature way. He was wearing plain but clean clothes. He gave the letter of the Prophet to the king. The king received the letter in a respectful manner, gave it to his interpreter and wanted him to read it. While the letter was being read, Ala bin Hadrami was thinking about what to speak. He looked around. Almost all of the notables of the king were there. Then, he decided that he should not use expressions that would disdain the king and the religion they followed in front of them. On the contrary, he had to consider the position of the ruler in his nation and invite him to Islam accordingly. After the letter was read, he made the following speech:
“O Mundhir! You definitely have a great mind regarding worldly affairs. Think well! Does it fit you not to approve a person who never tells lies, not to rely on a person who never breaks his promise and not to believe in him? This illiterate prophet is such a person that no sane person wants what he orders to be forbidden, and wants what he forbids to be ordered.”
Mundhir was a really clever person. He thought a little bit about the Prophet’s letter and Ala’s speech. Then, he asked Ala to give him some more information about Islam. As Ala spoke, the light of belief started to shine on the face of Mundhir. Finally, he did not find it convenient to wait longer to accept Islam. He expressed his thoughts as follows:
“I looked at the sultanate in my hand; I found it appropriate for the world only, not for the hereafter. I looked at your religion; I saw that it considered both the world and the hereafter. What can prevent me from accepting such a religion that has a comfortable life in the world and an eternal life in the Hereafter? Then, he became a Muslim by uttering kalima ash-shahada. After Mundhir became a Muslim, Sibuht, a fire-worshipping monk also became a Muslim, which caused many people of Bahrain to accept Islam. [ Insanul-Uyun, 3: 300-330. ]
Ala bin Hadrami wrote a letter to the Prophet, informing him about the good news. He wanted the instructions of the Prophet about how he should act after that.
The Prophet (pbuh) was very pleased to receive this letter. He congratulated and appreciated Ala bin Hadrami for this success. As a reward, he appointed Ala as the governor of Bahrain since that region became an Islamic country. He wrote Ala a letter ordering him to teach Islam to the people of Bahrain, to collect zakah from rich Muslims and jizyah from non-Muslims, to distribute them to the poor people and to send the extra money and goods to Madinah. [ Tabaqat, 1: 276; 4: 363. ]
Hz. Ala bin Hadrami was a model personality in rhetoric and communication as well as in administration. He made a great effort to make Islam a system of life. He made himself loved by the people of Bahrain in a short time. He ensured the settlement of Islam in Bahrain with the help of Mundhir and the monk. He distributed the zakah and jizyah that he had collected to the poor people in Bahrain; and he sent the rest to Madinah. At that time, the Muslims in Madinah were in financial difficulties. They became very happy when so much money arrived at an unexpected time; they thanked Allah Almighty for this blessing. [ ibid, 4: 15-16. ]
Ala bin Hadrami continued his duty after the death of the Prophet during the caliphate of Hz. Abu Bakr and Hz. Umar. For, the Prophet gave him this position because of his skill and competence.
Hz. Ala was also a Companion known for his courage and heroism. He was a good commander. Hz. Umar appointed him as the commander of the army in charge of the conquest of that region. In addition, he wrote him a letter, reminding him some issues:
“Allah Almighty informed us about the purpose of the creation of people. Work for the thing that you were created for and give up other things. For, the world is temporary, and the hereafter is permanent. Do not let the ephemeral pleasures of the world prevent you from seeing the eternal pleasures of the hereafter. Avoid doing the things that Allah forbade. It is Allah Almighty who gives superiority to whomever He wishes with knowledge and wisdom. May Allah make us and you obey Him and saved from His punishment. ”[ ibid, 4: 362. ]
This great companion fulfilled the duty of being a commander very well.
Some karamahs also were seen in Hz. Ala, who was known as a Companion whose prayer is accepted by Allah Almighty. Hz. Abu Hurayra, who was often with him, said his love for him increased because of the spiritual things he saw about Ala.
While the army under the command of Ala bin Hadrami was proceeding on the territory of Iran, the mujahids ran out of water. The enemy soldiers shut down all of the wells in that region in order to weaken the Muslims. It was not possible to find water. The weather was very hot. Hz. Ala prayed two rak’ahs with the mujahids. Then, he opened his hands and prayed to Allah Almighty. Soon, Allah helped them. The water started spring from under the sand. The mujahids drank from that water, made wudu and filled their water containers. Then, they left. One of the soldiers forgot some of his possessions in the place where they had stopped. When he returned to take them, he saw that the water spring had been lost.
Hz. Abu Hurayra narrates another memory about Hz. Ala as follows:
“I set off to go to Basra with Ala. When we arrived at Liyas, Hz. Ala passed away. We did not have enough water to wash him. Allah Almighty sent rain at that moment. We washed him with rainwater. We dug a grave with our swords and buried him. Then we left.”
May Allah be pleased with them!