In Part 2, we have narrated the brief account of the first Hanif, Uthman bin Huwarith. To those who have missed that part, a Hanif is one who follows the way of tawheed, the way of Abraham. For more, please go to the introduction of this subject in Part 1.
Also in Part 2, we have introduced the second Hanif, Zayd bin Amr. Who was Zayd bin Amr?
He was the cousin of Umar bin Al Khattab, because Al Khattab, the father of Umar, was his uncle. His father Amr, and Al Khattab, were brothers. They were sons of Nufayl. They belonged to Adiy clan, of which Al Khattab was one of their leaders.
Zayd was not only critical but rejected the Quraysh’s way completely. He was searching for the way of Abraham, but no one was to guide him. His critical attitude to the way of the Quraysh had angered them. Since Al Khattab was the elder within his clan, the responsibility to reign Zayd fell under his shoulder.
Now, Al Khattab was pretty much like his son, Umar: stern, strict, unbending and can be physical. He controlled Zayd the way he knew best, by giving the latter a good deal of beatings. If Zayd did not participate in the important ritual of the Quraysh, then Al Khattab was there to kick his butt.
Later in his life, Zayd felt that such was not the way to live. Not only that he did not know how to live as a Hanif, but he also got beaten frequently by his uncle for refusing to follow their way. One day, leaving his family behind, he escaped and travelled far and wide, looking for the true religion.
There were Christians and Jews already, but he thought that they were not the true Hunafa, so he kept searching. Knowing that Abraham used to live in Palestine, he went there, looking for answer. By chance he was told by one of the monks that the prophet who would bring the true religion was about to appear, and he would appear from his country, Arabia.
Travelling far and wide, only to be told that the answer would be forthcoming from his own hometown, he came back, hoping to meet the foretold prophet. Alas, he was murdered on his way back.
The Prophet used to say that Zayd bin Amr is the dweller of Paradise, a special paradise for people like him. He had a son, Saeed bin Zayd, who embraced Islam as soon as Muhammad became a prophet. Saeed and his wife were among the early converts.
In case you are wondering who is this Saeed, the son of Zayd the Hanif, he was the brother in law of Umar Al Khattab. Well, he married Umar’s sister, Fatima. He was the one who got kicked by Umar when the latter went searching for Muhammad in rage, to kill the Prophet. Umar was not yet a Muslim at that time.
This story is well known, but let’s narrate it briefly here.
True to his character, Umar felt that enough was enough. Being intelligent, he knew the source of the problem was Muhammad. The way to solve the problem, of course, was to eliminate its source. Muhammad had to die, he decided. He knew if he killed Muhammad, the Bani Hashim would kill him. But he didn’t care, for all he wanted was to solve the problem with these pests called Muslims.
Alas, he was shocked to learn that his sister and his brother in law had been Muslims all along, but they kept it secret from him. Wanting to put his house in order first, Umar went to his sister’s house, gave Saeed a good beating, but ended up embracing Islam.
While this story is well known, not many perhaps know that the brother in law whom Umar beat was none other than Saeed, the son of Zayd the Hanif. Saeed was not only his brother in law, but his son’s cousin as well. His cousin, Zayd bin Amr, was a Hanif who died a Hanif.
Unlike his colleague, Uthman bin Huwarith, who died a Christian, Zayd died a true Hanif. He would have died a Muslim had he lived long enough to meet Muhammad as a prophet. Alas, both of them died before Muhammad was anointed as a prophet.
But while Zayd died a blissful death although he was murdered, since the Prophet mentioned that he was a dweller of Paradise, the same could not be said about his colleague, Uthman.
The other two Hunafa, i.e., Waraqah bin Nawfal and Ubaydillah bin Jahsh, managed to meet Muhammad when the latter assumed his prophethood.
We shall cover both of them in the final part. Stay tune.
End of Part 3