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Last Updated: 2013/04/18
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Who is Zaid bin Haretha?
Who is Zaid bin Haretha?
Concise answer

When still a child, Zaid bin Haretha, accompanied by her mother (Sa’ada bint Tha’laba bin ‘Abd Âmer), was going to Tha’laba bin Âmer tribe, to visit his relatives. On the way to his destination, Zaid bin Haretha was attacked and his property was confiscated by Bani Qayn tribe. He himself was taken captive by dacoits and then taken to ‘Akkaz Bazar in Mecca where he was sold as a bondman.
Hakim bin Hezam bought Zaid and put him at the disposal of Khadija, the Holy Prophet’s wife. Following Khadija’s marriage with the Prophet (pbuh), she gifted him to the Messenger of Allah and Zaid became a companion of the Prophet beginning to serve him.
It has been narrated that when the Prophet (pbuh) went on a propagatory mission to Taef, Zaid was accompanying him as an adolescent. He was taking care of the Prophet and protecting him against any possible assaults by his enemy.  On the way to Taef, the Prophet (pbuh) was attacked and he positioned himself as a shield to protect the Prophet (pbuh). The stones hit him while he was defending the Messenger of Allah.
A young Zaid was very much attracted to the Messenger of Allah. That was why when his father and uncle went to Mecca to take him back home, they went to Abu Talib to take back their child who was with God’s Apostle. The Prophet (pbuh) let him free to join his father and uncle, if he wished to. To everyone’s amazement, Zaid was never willing to separate from the Prophet (pbuh). Zaid’s father then said:  “I am sorry for you, you are preferring slavery over freedom and you are not ready to get back to your family.”
“You are right,” Zaid said “What I have seen with this person is preferred over everything and I am not ready, under any circumstances, to lose the company of the Prophet of Islam (pbuh).”
The relationship and love between Zaid and the Prophet (pbuh) became strong and cordial to the extent that they were calling Zaid as Muhammad’s son. There and then the Quranic verse was revealed: “Assert their relationship to their fathers; this is more equitable with Allah.”[1]
Zaid is the third Muslim of the early period of Islam. He rendered great services to the Prophet (pbuh) in his efforts to promote Islam. When Muslims migrated from Mecca to Medina due to lack of security, he also went to Medina. Each time Islam and Muslims’ land were invaded by the enemy and the Prophet was forced to stand up in defense, Zaid too would go to the war front to help the Prophet (pbuh). He took part in many battles including the Battle of Khandaq, the Battle of Muta, Jamum, Qerada, Wadi al-Qura etc. and on many occasions he was appointed as the commander of Islam’s army.[2]
He was known for his faithfulness, bravery and valor to the extent that he became one of the great friends of God’s Apostle. He was unique among all other great men of Islam and companions of the Prophet, peace be upon him and his family. Zaid is the only companion among all the companions of the Prophet (pbuh) whose name[3] has been mentioned in the Holy Quran.[4]
When the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) took part in the Battle of Bani al-Mustalaq, he appointed Zaid bin Haretha as his successor to govern Medina.
Finally, Zaid bin Haretha, the great Mujahid and companion of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) was martyred in the Battle of Muta which he led as a commander in chief. He was martyred in the month of Jamadi al-Awwal in the 8th Hegira year achieving the reward of many years of struggle and loyalty to Islam.[5]

[1] Ahzab, 5: «ادْعُوهُمْ لِآبائِهِمْ هُوَ أَقْسَطُ عِنْدَ اللَّه ...».
[2] Vide: Islampedia, The Battles of the Prophet of Islam (pbuh).
[3]  The Quran says:
وَ إِذْ تَقُولُ لِلَّذی أَنْعَمَ اللَّهُ عَلَیْهِ وَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَیْهِ أَمْسِکْ عَلَیْکَ زَوْجَکَ وَ اتَّقِ اللَّهَ وَ تُخْفی‏ فی‏ نَفْسِکَ مَا اللَّهُ مُبْدیهِ وَ تَخْشَى النَّاسَ وَ اللَّهُ أَحَقُّ أَنْ تَخْشاهُ فَلَمَّا قَضى‏ زَیْدٌ مِنْها وَطَراً زَوَّجْناکَها لِکَیْ لا یَکُونَ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنینَ حَرَجٌ فی‏ أَزْواجِ أَدْعِیائِهِمْ إِذا قَضَوْا مِنْهُنَّ وَطَراً وَ کانَ أَمْرُ اللَّهِ مَفْعُولاً.
And when you said to him to whom Allah had shown favor and to whom you had shown a favor: Keep your wife to yourself and be careful of (your duty to) Allah; and you concealed in your soul what Allah would bring to light, and you feared men, and Allah had a greater right that you should fear Him. But when Zaid had accomplished his want of her, We gave her to you as a wife, so that there should be no difficulty for the believers in respect of the wives of their adopted sons, when they have accomplished their want of them; and Allah's command shall be performed.
[4]  Although what the Quran says about him is somehow admonishing, the admonition is not is not so serious as to degrade him or reduce his position.
[5] Vide: Ibn al-Athir, Izzuddin Abu al-Hasan Ali bin Muhammad al-Jazri, Asad al-Ghabah fi Ma’refat al-Sahabah, vol.2, p. 129 – 132, Beirut, Dar al-Fikr, 1409 A.H. 1989 A.D; Abu ‘Amr Yusuf bin Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Abdul Bir,  Al-Isti’ab fi Ma’refat al-Ashab, researched by Ali Muhammad al-Bahawi, vol.2, pp. 5421 – 547, Dar al-Jayl, Beirut, 1412 A.H. (1992).
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