Who was az-Zubayr bin al-Awwam?
His name is az-Zubayr bin al-Awwām bin Khuwaylid bin Asad bin Abd al-Uzzā bin Qusay bin Kilab al-Qurashī al-Asadī (may Allah be pleased with him). His agnomen was Abu Abd Allah. His father was al-Awwām and his mother was Safiyyah bint Abd al-Muttalib – the aunt of Prophet Muhammad (peace and salutations be upon him). Az-Zubayr bin al-Awwām (may Allah be pleased with him) was thus the cousin of Prophet Muhammad (peace and salutations be upon him). He was also the nephew of Khadījah bint Khuwaylid (may Allah be pleased with her) – the first wife of Prophet Muhammad (peace and salutations be upon him). He was also the husband of Asmā – the daughter of Abu Bakr as-Siddique (may Allah be pleased with him). His two famous sons were Abd Allah bin az-Zubayr (also a sahābi) and Urwah bin az-Zubayr (a tābi`ī)
- Az-Zubair bin al-Awwam was a great companion of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him);
- He was amongst the first either five or four men to embrace Islam;
- He was the first individual to use a sword to fight in the path of Allah;
- He was blessed to have performed hijrah (migration) twice – to Abyssinia and then al-Medina; and to have observed salāh in two directions – towards Masjid al-Aqsā and then al- Ka`bah;
- He is also one of the ten men promised entry into paradise;
- He was also amongst the six companions who Umar ibn al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) recommended to become Caliph after his demise.
- In the battle of Badr, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said on seeing a yellow turban tied around the head of az-Zubayr bin al-Awwām, “Verily, the angels [also] came down from heaven [to assist the believers] in the appearance of az-Zubayr”.
He embraced Islam at a young age of twelve, fifteen, sixteen or eighteen years. His uncle would wrap him in a burning straw mat until the smoke came out of it forcing him to renounce Islam and return to disbelief. He would assert, “I will never return to disbelief”.
The Messenger of Allah (peace and salutations be upon him) called his companions during the battle of trenches (or confederates) and asked, “Who will bring us the news of the people?” Allah`s Messenger (peace be upon him) reiterated this question thrice. The companions were in the midst of extremely difficult conditions and thus no companion volunteered; however, each time it was only az-Zubayr bin al-Awwām who would stand up and say, “I will”. Thereupon, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:
إن لكل نبي حواريا وإن حواري الزبير بن العوام
Translation: Every prophet has a disciple, and verily my disciple is az-Zubair bin al-Awwām. [Sahīh al-Bukhārī, 2692; 3514; Sunan at-Tirmiżī, 3744]
Ya`qūb ibn Sufyān narrates that Az-Zubair bi al-Awwam had one thousand slaves. They used to pay him taxes; however, he would never take any of it for himself, rather he would give it away as charity.
Seven companions of Prophet Muhammad, including Uthmān bin Affān, Abd Rahmān bin Awf and Abd Allah bin Mas`ūd, asked az-Zubayr bin Awwām to take care of their children. He would protect their parents` money for the children and provide for them from his own money.
Az-Zubayr bin al-Awwām (may Allah be pleased with him) was martyred by a man called Amr bin Jūrmūz in Jumāda al-ūlā thirty six year of migration at the age of sixty six, sixty seven or sixty nine years. May Allah have mercy on him. Ameen.
[Al-Isābah fi tam`yīz as-sahābah li al-Imam Ibn Hajar al-Asqalānī (773-852), 1: 622-5, Dar al-Ma`rifah, Beirut]
[Mu`jam as-Sahābah (ma`a tahqīq), 4:1643 (248), Maktabah Nizār Mustafā al-Bāz]
[Suwar min Hayāt as-Sahābah, 2 (9-14): 165-175, Dar al-Adab al-Islamī (ILH)]
[Usd al-al-Ghābah fi ma`rifah as-Sahābah li Ibn al-Athīr, 2: 209-12, Dar al-Ma`rifah Beirut]
 والزبير بن العوام في الجنة
[Sunan Abi Dawūd, 4649]