Martyrdom of Umro bin Humaq
By: H?j Shaikh Abb?s Qummi
Umro bin Humaq, (as has been related earlier that he was present with Hujr bin Adi in the Mosque) accompanied by Ruf?’ah bin Shadd?d fled from Kuf? and reached Mad?en and from there, went to Mosul. They took shelter in a huge mountain therein. When this news reached Ubaydull?h bin Balta’ah Hamad?ni, the governor of Mosul, he proceeded with the horsemen and a group of the people of the town towards them. Umro, who was suffering from dropsy, did not have the courage to confront them. But Ruf?’ah, who was a strong youth, mounted his horse and told Umro that he would defend him. Umro replied, “What is the use? Save yourself and go away.” Ruf?’ah attacked them and they gave way, while his horse fled away from their midst. The horsemen chased him but he wounded them with his arrows, hence they returned back.
They arrested Umro bin Humaq and asked him as to who he was? He replied, “I am the one whom if you release, it will be better for you, and if you kill me, you will be in great loss”, but he did not disclose his identity. They took him to the ruler of Mosul, who was Abdul Rahm?n bin Usm?n Saqafi, the nephew of Mu’?wiyah, and renowned as Ibne Ummul Hakam. He wrote to Mu’?wiyah regarding him. Mu’?wiyah replied that, “He is the one who has acknowledged having inflicted Usm?n with nine wounds of a spear, then haven’t you punished him? He should be inflicted with nine wounds of the spear.” They brought him out and inflicted nine wounds of spears and Umro succumbed to the first or the second stroke of the spear, later he was beheaded and his head was despatched to Mu’?wiyah. His being the first head in Isl?m, which was sent from one place to another.
The Author says that this is what has been narrated by the commoners (?mm?h, non-Shi’?h) books of Isl?mic history (simply to justify his murder by Mu’?wiyah and alleging him to be the murderor of Caliph Usm?n). As regards the distinguished (Kh?ss?h, Shi’?h) reports, it is related from Shaikh K?shshi, that once the Holy Prophet Mohammad (s.a.w.s.) sent a group of people with the orders that,
“At such and such time of the night you shall loose your way, then go towards the left and you shall meet a man, who will be having a herd of Sheep. You ask him the way, but he shall not show you the way until you eat with him. Then he will sacrifice a sheep and prepare food for you and eat alongwith you, then he will show you the way. You convey my greetings to him and inform him about my appearance in Madin?.”
They left, and as predicted lost their way. One of them said, “Did not the Prophet tell us to go to the left side”? They went towards the left and met the man, regarding whom the Prophet had prophesied, and asked him the way. The man being none other than Umro bin Humaq, who asked them, “Has the Prophet appeared in Madin?”? They replied in the affirmative and he accompanied them. He went to the presence of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and remained there until All?h willed, then the Prophet told him,
“Return to the place where you have come from, when the Commander of the faithful Ali becomes in charge of Kuf?, go to him.”
Umro returned back until the time Im?m Ali (a.s.) became the Caliph in Kuf?, and he came to him and resided there. Im?m Ali (a.s.) asked him,
“Do you have a house here”?,
to which he replied in the affirmative. Im?m continued,
“Then sell your house and buy one in the midst of (the people of the clan of) Azd. For tomorrow when I am gone from among your midst and some people will be in your pursuit, the people of the clan of Azd will defend you till you leave Kuf? and find yourself in the fort of Mosul. You will pass by a paralytic man, you will sit down besides him and ask for water. He will give you water and then inquire about you, you then relate your condition to him and invite him towards Isl?m. He will accept Isl?m, and then place your hands upon his thighs and All?h will cure him of his disease. Then arise and walk till you pass by a blind man seated on the way. You ask for water and he will give it to you. And then he will inquire about you, you then relate your condition to him and invite him towards Isl?m. He will accept Isl?m, and then you place your hands upon his eyes and All?h the Honourable, the Glorified, will grant him sight. He too will accompany you, and verily these men will be the ones to bury you. Then some riders will pursue you and when you reach such and such place near a fort, they shall come to you. Then you dismount from your horse and enter the cave. Verily the worst men from among the men and genie will unite to kill you.”
Whatever Im?m Ali (a.s.) had predicted occurred, and Umro did exactly what he was told to do. When they reached the fort, Umro told those two men to go on top and inform him what they saw. They went on top and said that they saw some riders coming towards them. Hearing this Umro dismounted from his horse and entered the cave, while his horse fled away. When he entered the cave a black serpent, who had taken shelter therein, bit him. When the riders reached near they saw his horse running and concluded that Umro should be somewhere near. They started searching for him and found him inside the cave. And wherever they touched his body, the flesh thereat came out (due to the lethal poison). Then they beheaded him and took his head to Mu’?wiyah, who ordered it to be placed on the lance, this being the first head in Isl?m, which was placed on the lance.
As will be related later that Z?hir, who was martyred with Im?m Husain (a.s.) in Karbal?, was the retainer of Umro bin Humaq, he was the same person who had buried him. It is related in Qamqaam, that Umro bin Humaq was from the progeny of Kahin bin Habeeb bin Umro bin Qayn bin Zarr?h bin Umro Rabi’ah Khuz?’i. He came to the presence of Prophet Mohammad (s.a.w.s.) after the Peace Treaty of Hudaybiyah. While some are of the opinion that he accepted Isl?m in the year of the farewell Pilgrimage (Hajjatul Wida), but the first report seems to be more reliable. He remained in the presence of the Prophet and memorized numerous traditions. The author of the book (Qamq?m) relates from Umro bin Humaq that he quenched the thirst of the Prophet who prayed for him thus: “O Lord! Grant him a youthful life.” Thus he remained alive for eighty years but none of the hair of his beard turned white. He was included among the Shi’?h of Im?m Ali (a.s.) and fought the battles of Jamal, Siffeen and Naharw?n alongwith him. Besides he was among those who stood up to support Hujr bin Adi and was among his companions.
He left Ir?q in fear of Ziy?d and took refuge in the cave in Mosul. The governor of Mosul sent his soldiers to arrest him. When they entered the cave they found him to be dead because a snake bit him. His grave is renowned in Mosul, and is a place for pilgrimage, and he holds a great position. A dome is erected upon his grave. Abu Abdull?h Sa’eed bin Hamad?n, the cousin of Saifud Dawl? and N?sirud Dawl?, started it’s renovation in the month of Sha’b?n 336 A.H. There ensued clashes between the Shi’?h and the Sunni because of the building of his shrine. Shaikh K?shshi relates that he was among the disciples of Im?m Ali (a.s.) and among the foremost who turned towards him.
In the book Ikhtis?s it has been enumerated, regarding the preceding and close companions of Im?m Ali (a.s.), that Ja’far bin Husain relates from Mohammad bin Ja’far Mu’addab that he said, “Im?m Ali (a.s.)’s four pillars from among the companions of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) are Salm?n, Miqd?d, Abu Zarr and Amm?r. And among the Tabe’een are Owais bin Anees Qarnee, who will intercede (in Qiy?mah) for the people equal to the tribes of Rabi’ah and Muzar, and Umro bin Humaq. Ja’far bin Husain says that Umro bin Humaq enjoyed the same status near Im?m Ali (a.s.) as Salm?n had near the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.). Then there are Rushayd al Hajari, Meesam at Tamm?r, Kumayl bin Ziy?d Nakha’i, Qambar the freed retainer of Im?m Ali (a.s.), Mohammad bin Abu Bakr, Muzre’ the freed retainer of Im?m Ali (a.s.), and Abdull?h bin Yahy? regarding whom on the day of Jamal, Im?m said,
“O son of Yahy?! I give glad tidings that you and your father are among the Shartatul Khamees. All?h has chosen you on the empyrean.”
Then there are Janad bin Zuhayr ?miri, while all the progeny of ?mir were the Shi’?h of Im?m Ali (a.s.), Habib bin MaZ?hir Asadi, Hars bin Abdull?h Aa’awar Hamad?ni, M?lik bin H?ris Ashtar, Alam Azdi, Abu Abdull?h Jadali, Juwayrah bin Musahhir Abadi.
In the same book it is related that Umro bin Humaq told Im?m Ali (a.s.) that, “I have not come to you in pursuit of wealth or prestige of this world, but have come to you for you are the cousin of the Prophet and best among all men and the husband of F?temah (a.s.), the mistress of women, and the father of the Prophet’s immortal Progeny, and your share is more than any other Emigrant (Muh?jir) or Helper (Ans?r). By All?h! If you command me to shift the mountains from their place and pull out the water from the deep seas, I shall obey you until death overtakes me. I will always strike your enemies with the sword in my hand and shall assist your friends and may All?h elevate your position and grant you victory. Even then I do not believe that I may have accomplished what is due towards you.” Im?m Ali (a.s.) prayed for him thus:
“O All?h! Illuminate his heart and guide him towards the Right Path. I wish there were a hundred similar to you among my Shia’h.”
In the same book it is related that at the beginning of Isl?m, Umro bin Humaq was a keeper of Camels of his tribe. His tribe was under the pledge with Prophet Mohammad (s.a.w.s.). Once some of the Prophet’s companions passed by him, whom the Prophet had sent to propagate. They had asked the Prophet that they did not have the provisions for their journey nor knew the way. The Prophet replied that,
“On the way you shall meet a handsome man who will feed you, quench your thirst and guide you to the path, and he shall be of the people of Paradise.”
They reached Umro, who fed them with Camel meat and milk, and his coming to the presence of the Prophet and accepting Isl?m until the caliphate reached Mu’?wiyah (has already been discussed).
Then he remained aloof from the people in Zoor in Mosul. Mu’?wiyah wrote to him: “Now then! All?h extinguished the fire of battle and cooled down the mischief, and All?h bestowed success to the pious. You are not distant nor more guilty than your friends, they have bowed down their heads in front of my command and have hastened to assist me in my task. But you still remain withdrawn, thus come to assist me in my task so that your past sins may be forgiven by it and your good deeds which have worned out may ripen. Perhaps I may not be as bad as my predecessors. If you are self-respecting, abstentiuos, obedient and well-behaved, then enter the security of All?h and the Prophet of All?h in my refuge. Cleanse your heart of envy and your soul from rancour. And All?h is a sufficient witness.”
Umro refused to go to Mu’?wiyah, hence he sent someone who killed him and brought his head to Mu’?wiyah. They sent his head to his wife, who kept it in her lap, and said, “For a long time you had kept him away from me, and now you have killed him and have brought him to me as a gift. How fair is this gift which is my pleasure and who also liked me. O messenger! Take my message to Mu’?wiyah and tell him that All?h will surely take revenge for his blood, and very soon His wrath and woe will hasten. You have committed a grievous crime and killed a devout and pious person. O Messenger! Convey to Mu’?wiyah, whatever I have said.” The messenger conveyed her message to Mu’?wiyah, hence Mu’?wiyah called the woman to him and inquired of her, “Did you utter these words”? She replied that, “Yes, I have said them, and I do not regret nor am sorry for it.” Mu’?wiyah told her to go away from his town, to which she replied that, “I will surely do so, for your town is not my native place and I consider it to be a prison, which has no place in my heart. Much time has passed when I have not slept herein, while my tears are (constantly) flowing. My debt has increased here, and I have not found anything here which would illuminate my eyes.”
Abdull?h bin Abi Sarh Kalbi told Mu’?wiyah, “O commander of the faithful! She is a hypocrite woman, let her follow her husband.” When the woman heard this, she looked towards him and said, “O you ulcer of a frog! Haven’t you killed the one who clothed you with blessings and bestowed a cloak upon you? Indeed you have abandoned the Religion and verily a hypocrite is the one who pursuits unjustly and claims to be one of the servants of All?h, and All?h has condemned his infidelity in the Qur’?n.” Hearing this Mu’?wiyah ordered his porter to throw her out. She said, “Astonishment at the son of Hind, who has signalled by his finger, and has (tried to) stop me from using a harsh tongue, by All?h! I shall split open his belly with my harsh speech sharp as iron, if not I be ?menah, the daughter of Rasheed.”
Abu Abdull?h Im?m Husain (a.s.) in his letter to Mu’?wiyah wrote:
“Are you not the murderer of Umro bin Humaq, the companion of the Prophet (s.a.w.s), and a devout man, whose body had become slender and whose colour had turned pale due to excessive worship? With what face did you give him (the promise of) security, and promised him in the name of All?h, if similarly it would have been given to a bird, it would have come down from the mountain in your lap. Then you confronted All?h and deemed the promise to be low”?