Seerah: EP32 – Ali bin Abi Talib, Zayd bin Harithah & Abu Bakr (ra)

Jan 3, 2013 | Abdul Nasir Jangda, Podcast, Seerah


Episode 32: The Next 3 Converts: Ali bin Abi Talib, Zayd bin Harithah & Abu Bakr (ra)

Welcome to Seerah Pearls, which aims to highlight some tantalising learning points from each episode of the Seerah- Life of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).

Afif the Businessman


Afif was a businessman who attended during the Hajj to do trade with Abbas, the uncle of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), who was also a businessman. While they were sitting, they saw a man came out of a tent, face the Ka’ba and start praying. Then a woman came out and stood behind him and prayed. Then a boy came and stood to his right and started praying.

One narration states that Afif questioned Abbas about this religion, as it did not seem familiar. Abbas reported that this was Muhammad ibn Abdullah, who believes that Allah had sent him as a Messenger and that that the treasures of the emperors of Rome and Persia would be opened for him and his followers. This was his wife Khadijah, who believes in him and follows him, and this boy was his cousin Ali ibn Abu Talib, who also believes in him. Afif later said he wished he believed that day, as he would have been the second adult to believe.

The second narration describes the prayer. The man went into ru’ku and the boy and woman went into ru’ku with him. After that he stood up and the child and woman stood up with him. Then the man fell into sujood and both of them went into sujood. Afif commented that this was really remarkable. Abbas asked if Afif knew who these people were, commenting that this was Muhammad ibn Abdullah, his nephew; the boy was Ali ibn Abu Talib and the woman was Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, the wife of the man. ‘He says your Lord, the Lord of the sky, has commanded him to do what you see them doing’. Abbas commented that, ‘I swear by Allah, I do not know anyone other than these three who follows this religion today’.

It is interesting to see that at such an early stage, the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) emphasised the importance of praying together as a family and that the prayer was one of the first things he taught new followers.

Zayd ibn Harithah


The next person to accept Islam was Zayd ibn Harithah. As a young boy, he went off playing and a passing caravan snatched him, brought him Makkah and sold him as a slave. One of the cousins of Khadijah (radi Allahu anha) brought him and gifted Zayd to her at the time of her marriage to the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Khadijah (radi Allahu anha) gave him to the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).


Zayd’s father, a tribe leader, was desperately trying to find him. His poetry about this incident became so famous that it the news reached Makkah. People told the father his son was in Makkah. When Zayd’s father and uncle arrived, they discovered he was in the care of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). They approached him with great praises and requested he returned their son. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said he would let Zayd decide his future. Zayd recognised his family when he was called, but expressed his wishes to remain with the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Zayd reported he has seen something with the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) that he would not find anywhere else i.e. he was referring to revelation.


His father was distraught: the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was so concerned about the father’s emotional plight, that he embraced Zayd, declared his freedom from slavery and adopted him as his son. He was known as Zayd bin Muhammad from that day on, and his father left content. Later in Islam, to claim someone as your biological son would be disallowed: Zayd changed his name back to Zayd ibn Harithah. He was very sad that his name would not be affiliated with the Prophet. However, he became known as Zayd maula Muhammad, a term used if you had a close family-like relation with someone. Specifically, it would be used if someone freed a slave.

Abu Bakr As-Siddiq (radi Allahu anhu)


The first of the free men to accept Islam was Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu). His Islam was very beneficial to the religion, as he was a leader of his people who was much respected and he was a prominent person amongst Quraysh. He was wealthy and motivated to share the message of Islam, freely spending his money and resources in the obedience of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and Allah.

Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) met the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and asked if what the Quraysh were saying about him leaving the idols, rejecting the religion of their forefathers and making comments about how foolish they were for worshipping the idols, were true. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) confirmed this. Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) also asked the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) why he left the gatherings of their people. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said, ‘I am the Messenger of God and his Prophet. He has sent me to spread and deliver his message and I call you to Allah with the Truth, for I swear by Allah that is the Truth. I call you, O Abu Bakr, to Allah alone, that there are no partners for him, and do not worship any other than him, and relations will be established on the obedience to Allah’. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) then recited Quran. Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) did not hesitate or reject and he accepted Islam.

The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) says he never called anyone to Islam, except that person hesitated and thought, except for Abu Bakr: he did not back away nor did he doubt in it. Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) once had a dispute with Umar (radi Allahu anhu) and it was brought before the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). The Prophet said, ‘I was sent to you all and you all said, ‘You lie!’ Abu Bakr said, ‘He speaks the truth.’ He supported me with his life and money. So now will you treat him badly?’ No-one misbehaved again with Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu).

Hassan ibn Thabit says about Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu): If you want to remember sacrifice and recall belief and bravery, then remember my brother Abu Bakr; he was the best of people; the most trustworthy, just and fair after the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam); the first one to carry what the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) bought and line up behind him; the second of the two in the cave; the one praised by both the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and Allah; the one who stood beside the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) throughout the Prophethood; the first to attest to him being a Messenger; he lived a praiseworthy life; he followed he command of Allah and his companion the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) until he departed this world.