His skin's color was pale and his hair was knotted. But it was his skinny frame that made those who did not know him turn away from him in disapproval. Yet it was he who had defeated one hundred of the knights in duels, to say nothing of those whom he had slain in battle.
He was the courageous, ferocious champion at arms of whom the second Caliph 'Umar Ibnul-Khattaab had written to his deputies in the provinces: "Do not put Al-Baraa' in charge of any army. He is so courageous and fierce in the battle field, he may jeopardize the safety of his men without knowing." Such was Al-Baraa' Ibn Maalik Al-Ansaari brother of Anas Ibn Maalik the servant of Prophet Muhammad . If we were to tell every story of his heroic deeds, it would take much time. One event, which we shall describe, will give an idea of similar actions of his.
This story begins in the hours after the death of the Prophet . The Arab tribes of the desert, when they heard the news, abandoned their faith in droves, until none remained within the fold of Islam, save the people of Makkah, Madeenah, Taa'if, and scattered bands of those whose hearts Allaah had made steadfast.
Abu Bakr the first caliph, stood firm in the face of this destructive upheaval. With the Muhajiroon (emigrants) and Ansaar (Supporters of the prophet ) he prepared eleven armed forces, and had each of them march behind a leader carrying the banner of Islam. They were sent to the distant corners of
The fiercest of the apostates, and the greatest in number, were the tribe of Banu Haneefah. A false prophet named Musaylimah had arisen to lead them. He had gathered a force of forty thousand of his own tribe and their allies. Many of them were tough, seasoned warriors, most of them followed him not because they believed in him, but because of the old tradition of tribal affiliations followed by the pagan Arabs. Some of them said: "I bear witness that Musaylimah is a liar, and Muhammad is truthful. But a liar from Rabee’ah is more beloved to me than a truthful one form Mudhar (the Prophet's tribe)."
The first Muslim force which set out to deal with Musaylimah was led by Ikrimah . It was defeated and routed by the forces, of the renegades. Later, Abu Bakr sent another army, this time led by the hero, Khaalid Ibnul-Waleed . In the vanguard of this army were the most prominent companions of the Muhajiroon and the Ansaar, and among them were Al-Baraa' and other notable Muslim champions-at-arms.
The two armies clashed on the field of Al-Yamamah in
This battle was the bloodiest and most ferocious yet experienced by the Muslims. It dragged on and the forces of Musaylimah stood firm, unshaken by the amount of their losses. The heroic deeds of the Muslims in this battle were of the type about which epic poetry is written.
Thaabit Ibn Qays standard-bearer of the Ansaar, rubbed himself with embalming spices girded himself with a shroud, and dug a shallow trench. He stood there, defending the standard of his people until he fell as a martyr.
Zayd Ibnul-Khattaab, the brother of 'Umar charged forth, calling to the Muslims: "Grit your teeth, strike the enemy and move forward. I am taking a vow of silence and will not speak until Musaylimah is defeated or I meet my creator and tell Him that I died while doing my best." Then he charged forward, engaging in combat until he was slain.
These heroic acts were insignificant before the action of Al-Baraa'. As the battle reached the height of its furry, Khaalid Ibnul-Waleed turned to Al-Baraa' and said: "Lead the assault on them, knight of the Ansaar."
Al-Baraa' turned to his people and cried: "Onward, Ansaar! Let not any of you think that you may return to Al-Madeenah. You have no place to go home. There is only Allaah, and Paradise!”
In one body they charged the ranks of the renegades, with Al-Baraa' cutting through the enemy of Allaah that the tide of battle turned against Musaylimah and his forces. They took refuge in an orchard which became known to history as the Orchard of Death, because of the great number of fighters who were slain there on that day.
The orchard was vast, with high walls and Musaylimah and his thousands of forces locked the entrance. They were able to take shelter behind the walls as if they were in a fortress, and rained their arrows down upon the Muslims. Al-Baraa' came forth, and told his people: "Put me on a shield, raise it on your lances, and toss me over the wall near to the gate. I will open the gates to you, or die as a martyr."
Within moments he was sitting on a shield, with his slight body which weighed little, and dozens of lances lifted him, then tossed him into the Orchard of death. Like a thunderbolt from on high, he descended on the enemy, and killed ten of them before he was able to open the gate. The Muslims poured in through the gates and over the wall, felling with their sword the renegade forces by the thousands, until they reached Musaylimah and killed him.
As for Al-Baraa' he was carried off the field with more than eighty sword and arrow wounds. Khaalid Ibnul-Waleed stayed with him for a month, nursing him until Allaah restored his health, just as He had granted the Muslims victory because of him.
Al-Baraa' continued to long for death as a martyr, a fate, which had eluded him at the battle of Al-Yamamah. In his longing for his fate, and for reunion with his beloved Prophet he committed himself to one battle after another. At the battle of Tustar in
During this battle, Al-Baraa' prayed to Allaah to grant him death as a martyr. Allaah granted him his request, and he finally fell, overjoyed that he was to meet his Lord.
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