Abu Sufyan Bin Harith (r.a.)

Abu Sufyan Bin Harith (r.a.)

He is the son of our Prophet’s paternal uncle Harith. Halima also breastfed him along with the Prophet (pbuh); therefore, they became foster brothers. He spent his childhood and adolescence together with the Prophet (pbuh) since they were peers. He loved the Prophet (pbuh) a lot but when Hz. Muhammad (pbuh) declared his prophethood, he supported the polytheists and became an enemy of the Prophet (pbuh). He was a poet. He disturbed the Prophet and the Companions with the poems he wrote. Then, he underwent a lot of trouble so as to be forgiven by the Prophet (pbuh). He applied to some notables of the Companions like Hz. Abu Bakr, Umar and Ali but they did not accept to intercede for him. His name is mentioned in Risale-i Nur Collection and a hadith reported by him is included there.  His full name is Abu Sufyan bin Harith bin Abdulmuttalib al-Hashimi.

It is known that Abu Sufyan was born in Makkah but it is not certain when he was born. However, it is probable that he was born about 570s since he was a foster brother of the Prophet (pbuh) and he was breastfed by Halima.  Since it is stated in resources that he and the Prophet (pbuh) were peers, it is probable that he was born in 571 or just before or after it. Although he is mentioned as Mughira in some resources, it is stated that Mughira is his brother.

Abu Sufyan and the Prophet (pbuh) grew together since they were peers. They spent their childhood and adolescence together. He loved the Prophet (pbuh) a lot but this love and closeness lasted until the advent of Islam. When Hz. Muhammad (pbuh) declared his prophethood Abu Sufyan left him and became his enemy for about 20 years. He wrote satiric poems criticizing the Prophet and his Companions. His words disturbed the Muslims a lot. He continued his satirical poems and his enmity against the Muslims together with the polytheists; therefore, the Prophet (pbuh) decreed that he be killed wherever he was seen.

One of the Companions, Hassan bin Thabit, who was a poet, was asked to write satirical poems to answer Abu Sufyan. However, Hassan said he could not satirize a person who was a cousin of the Prophet (pbuh) without the permission of the Prophet. When he asked permission from the Prophet, he did not accept his cousin to be satirized. It is stated that Hassan said he would satirize only Abu Sufyan without criticizing his other relatives, but the Prophet did not give permission at that time.

Afterwards, it is reported that when the Prophet (pbuh) was disturbed by the satirical poems of Abu Sufyan, he said, “Satirize the Qurayshis because satire is more harmful than shooting arrows.” Upon this permission, Abdullah bin Rawaha satirized the polytheists. After that, Hassan bin Thabit was given the permission to satirize on condition that he would not hurry, he would be careful and he would take detailed information about Qurayshis from Hz. Abu Bakr. Then, Hassan started to write and recite poems that insulted Abu Sufyan.

A little while before the conquest of Makkah, Abu Sufyan started to be interested in Islam. He went to the Prophet with his son and wife with the intention of becoming a Muslim.  Abdullah bin Abu Umayya, who was the son of Atika, the paternal aunt of the Prophet, also set off with them to go to Madinah.  When they first met the Prophet, the Prophet turned his face away from him and did not want to talk to him. Abu Sufyan approached him from other sides but the Prophet did not look at him.  When the other Muslims saw that the Prophet turned his face away from him, they did the same thing.

Abu Sufyan went to Hz. Abu Bakr and then to Hz. Umar to ask their help but they were not interested in him because of his previous deeds of this enemy of Allah that harmed the Prophet and his Companions. Hz. Abbas and Hz. Ali did not help him, either. Then, Umm Salama, one of the wives of the Prophet, decided to help Abu Sufyan. She asked the Prophet to accept to see and talk to her brother Abdullah bin Abu Umayya and Abu Sufyan. She said one of them was his foster brother and cousin and the other was his paternal aunt’s son and asked the Prophet to forgive them.

Abu Sufyan, who did his best in order to be accepted by the Prophet and to become a Muslim, said that he regretted what he had done and expressed his feelings as a poet in a way that would attract the mercy of the Prophet. Thereupon, the Prophet forgave him. He became a Muslim there at once.

After becoming a Muslim, Abu Sufyan tried to serve the Prophet as much as he could and was loyal to him. He always regretted the words that he had uttered before and did not dare to look at the face of the Prophet. He took part in the conquest of Makkah. He also fought in the Battle of Hunayn. During this war, when there was a severe clash and when there were not many people around the Prophet, he did not leave the Prophet at all and tried to protect him. The Prophet prayed for him due to this act.

Abu Sufyan, tried not to leave the Prophet after he became a Muslim; when the Prophet died, he recited an elegy, expressing his feelings.  Abu Sufyan was one of the people that resembled the Prophet the most among his relatives; he was a companion that felt very peaceful and that took great pleasure when he performed prayers.

Abu Sufyan’s name is mentioned in Risale-i Nur Collection with a hadith that he reported. He was mentioned as Abu Sufyan ibn Harith ibn Abdulmuttalib, the cousin of the Prophet and the incident that he reported with a sound narration is given: “During the Battle of Badr, we saw people with white clothes and white horses between the sky and the earth.” (Mektubat, 1994, p. 157)

Abu Sufyan died in Madinah in 641. He tried not to commit any sins after he believed. He prepared his grave three days before his death. He asked people not to cry after him after his death. His janazah prayer was led by Hz. Umar.

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