Hujr ibn Odai, the Holy Prophet’s Companion
Compiled By: Syed Ali Shahbaz
Condolences to you on the shock which the civilized world received recently when a group of Salafi savages, posing as Muslims, desecrated the shrine of Hujr Ibn Odai al-Kindi, the famous companion of Holy Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), by exhuming his grave and stealing his body that was remarkably preserved despite the passing of 1353 solar years since his martyrdom.
The tomb of Hujr ibn Odai, in Adra, a small town north of Damascus, was a site of pilgrimage by both Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims ever since his body was laid to rest at this spot in 660 AD. Hujr and his sons were killed by the Omayyad usurper of the caliphate, Mu’awiya ibn Abu Sufyan. Hujr was the victim of his loyalty to the Commander of the Faithful, the Prophet’s divinely-decreed successor, Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS). The Late prominent Sunni scholar Abu’l-Ala Mawdudi in his book Caliphs and Kings writes: “Hujr ibn Odai was a pious companion of the Holy Prophet (SAWA) and played a vital role in guiding the Islamic Ummah. During Mu’awiyyah’s rule when the custom of cursing Imam Ali from the pulpits of mosques began, hearts of the Muslims were being bled dry but people bit their tongues fearing death. In Kufa (in Iraq), Hujr ibn Odai could not remain silent and he began to praise Imam Ali (AS) and condemn Mu’awiyyah. Until Mughira remained the Governor of Kufa, he adopted a lenient attitude towards this, but when Ziyad ibn Abih’s governorship of Basra was extended to include Kufa, serious altercations arose. He would curse Imam Ali AS (AS) during the sermons and Hujr would refute him. On one occasion, Hujr censured Ziyad for being late for the Friday Prayer. Ziyad then arrested him along with twelve of his companions on false accusations of forming an opposition group to overthrow the Caliph. He also gathered false witnesses to testify against them because of their belief that the caliphate was the exclusive right of the lineage of Ali (AS) and accused them of creating disturbance by sending blessings upon him and hating his enemies.
As the late contemporary Sunni Islamic scholar, Abu’l Ala Mawdid writes in his book, Caliphs and King, in the Chapter on Elimination of Freedom of Speech, the accused were sent to Mu’awiyyah in Damascus, and he sentenced them to death. A condition was placed that if they cursed Imam Ali (AS) and showed their hatred to the Prophet’s cousin and son-in-law, im they would be pardoned. They refused and Hujr ibn Odai said: “I will not say that which would displease Allah.” Finally Hujr, his son Humaan and his seven companions were martyred. From amongst them Abdur-Rahman ibn Hassaan was sent back to return with a written instruction that he be murdered in the worst possible manner, and he was buried alive by Ziyad ibn Abih – which means son of his own father, since no one had any clue as to who the real father of Ziyad was, since he was born out of wedlock in the pre-Islamic days to the prostitute Sumayya. In other reports, it is said that Hujr’s final wish was that his son be killed before him, in fear that his son would be terrified of death and give in to the demands to curse Imam Ali (AS). Hujr patiently saw his son being killed before he too stepped forward for martyrdom, both giving their lives in loyalty to Imam Ali (AS) and for the sake of Allah.
Thus in view of these undeniable facts, the slogans of the Salafis, of love for the Companions of the Prophet, is nothing but a lie. Those who exhumed grave of Hujr Bin Odai today, are no different than the killer of this revered companion, by Mu’awiyyah Ibn Abu Sufyan, who as late as 8 AH, that is, two years before the passing away of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), was an archenemy of Islam and Muslims. No religion permits the desecration of graves, and may the curse of God be on those who exhumed the body of Hujr, while chanting the deceitful slogan of "freedom", "democracy", "human rights" and “Islamic rule” in Syria. Hujr ibn Odai was testified by Imam Ali (AS) as a Faqih or the one who possesses the highest form of faith, piety and jurisprudential knowledge. After the passing away of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), Hujr ardently supported Imam Ali (AS), and participated in the Battles of Jamal and Siffeen, where he lost an eye defending Islam. When the Prophet’s elder grandson, Imam Hasan Mojtaba (AS), succeeded Imam Ali (AS), he rallied support for the Prophet’s grandson from the tribe of Kindi. He strongly censured Mu’awiyya for the killing of innocent Muslims, and was eventually martyred. When news of his martyrdom reached Imam Hasan (AS), he protested to Mu’awiyyah by writing a letter and condemning the act.
The desecration of the grave of such a righteous person, whose body God has preserved intact despite the passing a millennium and three-and-a-half centuries, has exposed the Salafis in their true heathen colours. Both Sunnis and Shi’ite Muslims have denounced the sacrilege that is supported by the US, the Zionists, and Saudi Arabia. The Council of European Jamaats (CoEJ) condemns the behaviour of the terrorists who desecrated the shrine of Hujr bin Odai al-Kindi, a companion of the Prophet. It said that with such upsetting news, the Muslim community cannot continue to remain silent as we witness disrespect being extended toward the companion of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) and Imam Ali (AS) with no just cause. This act once again provides us with understanding as to why great personalities like the Prophet’s Immaculate Daughter, Hazrat Fatemah Zahra (SA) requested being buried in the middle of the night, so that their resting places cannot be desecrated in a similar way. It is our duty as conscious and aware Muslims to raise awareness of this through all sources available. This includes all social media networks including Facebook and Twitter, internet blogs, writing articles in newspapers, sending complaints to the UNESCO World Heritage Centre and through all other means. Let us follow in the footsteps of our beloved Ahl al-Bayt. Let us rally together and raise awareness for the worldwide injustices continually being endorsed by our heavy, meaningful silence. Let us stand up and take ownership of our faith.
The Council of European Jamaats (CoEJ) has already contacted the Muslim Council of Britain to raise awareness about this issue. This is not solely a matter of grave concern for the Shi’ite - it concerns Muslims worldwide. Hujr sacrificed himself to preserve the message of Islam and so it is a duty for all adherents of this faith to honour him. Raising our voices to counter injustice is something promoted vigorously in Islam, and this occurrence is as significant as all other injustices occurring globally. It is clear that the desecration of a shrine is entirely unacceptable on moral grounds, and that this cannot be tolerated, irrespective of the current political strife currently taking place in Syria. We are working toward actions that will ensure that our dissent is heard clearly and that this does not go unnoticed. We also wish to extend our heartfelt support, prayers and thoughts worldwide to everyone who is experiencing political insurgency, perpetuated poverty, modern-day slavery, unjust imprisonment, torture and all other injustices.