He was the ideal hero whose motto was “Actions speak louder than words.”
Zaid Ibn Al-Khataab was the brother of ‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattaab (May Allah be pleased with both). He was older than ‘Umar Ibn Khattaab and he embraced Islam and gained the honor of martyrdom before him.
He was the ideal hero whose motto was “Actions speak louder than words.” His faith in Allah and His Messenger and His religion was strong and firm. He never stayed away from the Messenger in any setting, and in every battle he sought martyrdom more than he sought victory.
One the Day of Uhud, when the fight between the believers and the polytheists was very fierce, Zaid was fighting boldly. His brother ‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattaab (May Allah be pleased with him) saw him as his shield fell down and he was within reach of the enemies. ‘Umar cried, “O’ Zaid, take my shield and fight with it!” Zaid replied, “I want martyrdom as you want it.” He continued fighting without his shield with astonishing heroism.
Zaid (May Allah be pleased with him) was longing to meet Ar-Rajjaal, the man about whom Muhammad (SAW) said, “Among you there is a man whose molar in Hell is greater than Mount Uhud”, wishing to put an end to his devilish life.
Zaid prepared himself to conclude his faithful life by annihilating that impiety not only in Musailamah’s person but also in Ar-Rajjaal Ibn ‘Unfuwah, who was more dangerous and more cunning.
The Day of Al-Yamaamah began gloomy and dim. Khaalid Ibn Al-Waliid gathered the Army of Islam and directed it to its positions and left the leadership of the army to Zaid Ibn Al-Khattaab, who fought Bani Haniifah, the followers of Musailamah, boldly and fiercely. At the beginning, the battle was leaning towards the side of the polytheists, and many of the Muslims fell as martyrs, Zaid saw the feelings of horror in the hearts of some Muslims, so he climbed a hill and cried, “O, people! Grit your teeth, fight your enemy and go straight. By Allah, I’ll never speak till Allah beats them or I meet Him and then I give my evidence.” Then he descended, gritting his teeth, pressing his lips, never moving his tongue with even a whisper.
His only hope was to kill Ar-Rajjaal, so he began to penetrate the enemy army like an arrow searching for its target, until he saw him. Then he began to attack him from right and left. Whenever the deluge of the battle swallowed Ar-Rajjaal and hid him, Zaid dived towards him until the waves pushed him to the surface again. Zaid approached him and stretched out his sword towards him, but the furious human waves swallowed Ar-Rajjaal again. Then Zaid followed and dived after him so as not to allow him to escape.
At last, Zaid held him by his neck and with the sword, he cut off his head which was full of vanity, lies and villainy. By the death of the great liar, the ranks of its whole army began to fall. Musailamah and Al-Mahkam Ibn At-Tufail were filled with horror. The killing of Ar-Rajjaal spread in Musailamah’s army like a fire on a stormy day.
Musailamah used to promise them inevitable victory and that he, Ar-Rajjaal, and Al-Mahkam Ibn Attufail would promulgate their new religion and establish their state on the day following their victory! Now that Ar-Rajjaal was killed, the whole prophecy of Musailamah was seen as a lie, and tomorrow Al-Mahkam and Musailamah would meet the same fate. Thus the fatal blow of Zaid Ibn Al-Khattaab caused all that destruction in the lines of Musailamah.
No sooner did the Muslims hear the news than they wre filled with pride and dignity. The wounded men rose again holding their swords, taking no interest in their wounds. Even for those who were about to die, nothing connected them with life except that very faint light caused by hearing the good news, which was like a very beautiful and rosy dream. They wished, if they had any strength to fight with, they would be able to witness the triumph of the battle in its glorious conclusion. But how could that be? Since the doors of Paradise had opened to welcome them, they were now hearing names while they were being called to immortality!
Zaid raised his hands towards Heaven supplicating Allah and thanking Him for His blessings. Then he returned to his sword and his silence, as he had sworn by Allah not to utter a word until he had completed the victory or gained the honor of martyrdom.
The battle began to lean to the side of the Muslims and their inevitable victory began to approach rapidly. At that moment Zaid did not desire a better conclusion to his life than praying to Allah to grant him martyrdom on that Day of Yamaamah! The wind of Paradise blew to fill his soul with longing, his eyes with tears, and his determination with firmness. He began to fight as if he was searching for his glorious destiny, and the hero fell! So he died a martyr, magnanimously, gracefully and happily. The Army of Islam returned to Al-Madiinah victorious.
While ‘Umar and the Caliph Abu Bakr were welcoming those who were returning triumphantly, ‘Umar began to search for his home coming brother with longing eyes.
Zaid was so tall that he could be easily recognised. But before ‘Umar had strained his eyes, one of the returning Muslims approached and consoled him. ‘Umar said, “May Allah have mercy upon Zaid, he preceded me in two instances. He embraced Islam before me and gained martyrdom before me, too.”
In spite of the victories that Islam won and enjoyed, ‘Umar “Al-Farruuq” never forgot his brother Zaid, and he always said, “When ever the east wind blows, I smell the scent of Zaid.”
Yes! The east wind carries the perfume of Zaid (May Allah be pleased with him). But if the caliph gives me permission to add these words to his great expression so as to complete the meaning of his saying, these are the words. “Whenever the winds of triumph blow on Islam since the Day of Al-Yamaamah, Islam finds the scent, the struggles, the heroism, and the greatness of Zaid in these winds!”
Blessings be upon Al-Khattaab under the flag of the Messenger (SAW). Blessed be they the moment they embraced Islam. Blessed be they when they fought and were martyred. And blessings be upon them in the hereafter.