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Salama bin Akwa (r.a.)

Salama bin Akwa (r.a.)

It was the time period when the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah was signed. There was a worried and restless waiting in Hudaybiyyah. The Companions gathered under the tree of Ridwan and paid allegiance to the Messenger of Allah on their “lives”.  Salama bin Akwa, who was a strong and brave Companion, was among them. The Messenger of Allah said, “Where is Salama? Tell him to come and pay allegiance.” He rushed and paid allegiance. After a while, the Messenger of Allah said again, “Where is Salama? Tell him to come and pay allegiance” Salama paid allegiance again. This was repeated three times. Hz. Salama felt that his loyalty and love toward the Messenger of Allah increase after each allegiance. He promised three times that he would sacrifice his life for the Messenger of Allah.

The Companions moved away after the allegiance. Salama went to a distant tree and lay down under it. Meanwhile, a team of four people of the enemy came near him, and  began to defame and speak ill of the Messenger of Allah. The brave Companion, who had promised to be loyal to the Messenger of Allah, could hardly control his rage. For, the Messenger of Allah prohibited Muslims from doing anything against the polytheists. He just went to the shade of another tree. The polytheists put their weapons on a tree and lay down.

Meanwhile, they heard a voice down the valley:

“O Muhajirs! Help! Ibn Zunayn was killed.”

Upon hearing this, Salama ibn Al-Akwa could not put up with it anymore. He took his sword and went quietly to the polytheists. He collected their swords from the tree. Then, he shouted, “If you move, I will cut off your head.”

The polytheists were astounded and they started to shiver out of fear. Salama shouted at them, “Stand up and walk in front of me without turning round!”

He took them to the presence of the Messenger of Allah. He was going to act according to the order of the Messenger of Allah. The Messenger of Allah did not want to violate the treaty about not fighting. He said, “Let all bad deeds belong to them. Release them.

Due to the terms of the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah, the Muslims started to return to Madinah. In the evening they stopped somewhere near the tribe of Banu Lahyan, who were polytheists at that time, to spend the night. There was a hill, which was a bit high, between them. The Messenger of Allah asked a volunteer to watch the enemy at night and said he would ask forgiveness from Allah for him. Salama came to the fore and said, “O Messenger of Allah! I am ready for your orders.”

He kept watch all night on his own despite the danger of the attack of the enemy. He proved his courage and self-sacrifice again.

After returning to Madinah, Rabah, the servant of the Prophet, undertook the duty of taking the camels to the meadow to graze with a shepherd. However, Salama accompanied them thinking that the camels could be attacked by the enemy because there were a lot of tribes that were their enemies around. When they arrived at the meadow, they waited until morning without sleeping on the first night. When it was about morning they lay down in order to rest a bit. Meanwhile, some bandits from the tribe of Fazari launched an attack and killed the shepherd; they took the camels away.

When Salama saw what had happened in the morning, he sent Rabah to Madinah to inform people about the situation. He started to chase them without waiting for the help to come from Madinah. He was on foot but he ran very fast. He caught up with them and yelled,

“O bandits! Listen to me! I am son of Akwa. Today will be the day of your death.”

The camel thieves wanted to leave that place as soon as possible without heeding him. However, Salama did not want to let them go. He took his bow and started to shoot arrows at them. One of the arrows hit a bandit and he fell down. His friends continued running away, leaving their friend there. However, when they saw that Salama was still following them, and that they could not escape from him, one of them turned and rode his horse toward Salama in order to kill him. Salama did not panic. He squatted under a tree, took out an arrow, took aim and shot it. The arrow hit the polytheists and he fell off the horse.

The other bandits started to run away again and Salama chased them. While they were passing through a narrow valley, Salama climbed a hill quickly. He started to roll stones and rocks on them. When the polytheists realized that they would not be able to cope with him, they left the camels and ran away. However, Salama kept following them. When the bandits stopped to drink water near a well, he caught up with them. The polytheists who were really frightened by him left their spears and robes and ran away. Salama did not seem to be tired and followed them again.

Eventually, the cavaliers of the Messenger of Allah arrived. Hz. Akhram was at the front. Salama stopped him and said to him that the polytheists had weapons and that he should wait for the other Companions. However, Akhram wanted to make jihad very much.

“O Salama! Do not stop a person who believes in Allah and the hereafter. Do not prevent me from martyrdom.” He rode his horse toward the bandits recklessly. However, he was martyred by the arrows shot by the polytheists.

When the chase ended and they returned, they saw the Messenger of Allah and the Companions waiting near the well where Salama had found the polytheists. The things and camels were there too. The Messenger of Allah complimented on Salama saying,

“The best foot soldier today is Salama and the best cavalier is Abu Qatada.”

Then, he allocated two shares (one share of a foot soldier and one share of a cavalier) from the booty to Salama. Salama says, “I felt that I was hungry and tired only when I rejoined the Companions. When I drank a leather bottle of milk that was there and made wudu with water, I overcame my hunger and tiredness.”

Eventually, they set off to return to Madinah. The Messenger of Allah put Salama on his camel called “Adba” riding pillion. When the compliments of the Messenger of Allah were added to his joy of victory, Salama was over the moon. While the convoy was heading toward Madinah, somebody from Ansar started to shout,

“Is there anyone to race with me to Madinah?”

When Salama heard this, he could not put up with it despite his tiredness.

He said to the Messenger of Allah,

“O Messenger of Allah! Permit me to race him.’

When the Messenger of Allah permitted, he said to the Companion who wanted to race,

“Start running. I am coming.”

Then, he jumped off the camel and started to run. Salama won this breathtaking race that lasted up to Madinah.

Salama displayed a lot of heroism in his life after that too. He took part in 14 battles, seven of which were with the Messenger of Allah. He showed great valor and heroism in all of them. This blessed Companion, who received many prayers and compliments from the Messenger of Allah, died in Madinah in the 74th year of the Migration, when he was 80 years old.

Finally, we will quote a hadith that he reported: Somebody was eating with his left hand in the presence of the Messenger of Allah. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, “Eat with your right hand.” The man said, “I cannot eat with my right hand.” The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, “May you not eat with it!” For, he did not want to eat with his right hand due to his pride and conceitedness; indeed, he was able to eat with his right hand. Therefore, the Messenger of Allah damned him. After that, the man could not use his right hand.

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