The story of Ibn Al Akwa’

Hadhrat Salamah bin al Akwa narrates: Then we moved returning to Medina, and halted at a place where there was a mountain between us and Banu Lihyan, who were polytheists. The Messenger of Allah ( صلىالله عليه وسلم) asked God’s forgiveness for one who ascended the mountain at night to act as a scout for the Messenger of Allah ( صلىالله عليه وسلم ) and his Companions. I ascended (that mountain) twice or thrice that night. (At last) we reached Medina. The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم ) sent his camels with his slave, Rabah, and I was with him. I (also) went to the pasture with the horse of Talhah along with the camels.

When the day dawned, Abd al-Rahman al-Fazari made a raid and drove away all the camels of the Messenger of Allah ( صلى الله عليه وسلم ), and killed the man who looked after them. I said: Rabah, ride this horse, take it to Hadhrat  Talhah b. ‘Ubaidillah and Inform the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم ) that the polytheists have made away with his camels. Then I stood upon a hillock and turning my face to Medina, shouted thrice: Come to our help. Then I set out in pursuit of the raiders, shooting at them with arrows and chanting poetry:
I am the son of al-Akwa’ And today is the day of defeat for the mean.

I would overtake a man from them, shoot at him an arrow that would reach his shoulder. And I would say: Take it, chanting at the same time the verse
And I am the son of al-Akwa’ And today is the day of defeat for the mean.

By God, I continued shooting at them and hamstringing their animals. Whenever a horseman turned upon me, I would come to a tree and (hid myself) sitting at its base. Then I would shoot at him and hamstring his horse. (At last) they entered a narrow mountain gorge. I ascended that mountain and held them at bay throwing stones at them. I continued to chase them in this way until I got all the camels of the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم ) released and no camel was left with them. They left me; then I followed them shooting at them (continually) until they dropped more than thirty mantles and thirty lances, lightening their burden. On everything they dropped, I put a mark with the help of (a piece of) stone so that the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم ) and his Companions might recognize them (that it was booty left by the enemy). (They went on) until they came to a narrow valley when so and so, son of Badr al-Fazari joined them. They (now) sat down to take their breakfast and I sat on the top of a tapering rock. Al-Fazari said: Who is that fellow I am seeing? They said: This fellow has harassed us. By God, he has not left us since dusk and has been (continually) shooting at us until he has snatched everything from our hands. He said: Four of you should make a dash at him (and kill him). (Accordingly), four of them ascended the mountain coming towards me. When it became possible for me to talk to them, I said: Do you recognize me? They said: No. Who are you? I said: I am Salama, son of al-Akwa’.

By the Being Who has honored the countenance of Muhammad ( صلى الله عليه وسلم ) I can kill any of you I like but none of you will be able to kill me. One of them said: I think (he is right). So they returned. I did not move from my place until I saw the horsemen of the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم ), who came riding through the trees. Lo! The foremost among them was Akhram al-Asadi.
Behind him was Abu Qatadah al-Ansari and behind him was al-Miqdad b. al-Aswad al-Kindi. I caught hold of the rein of Akhram’s horse (Seeing this). They (the raiders) fled. I said (to Akhram): Akhram, guard yourself against them until Allah’s Messenger ( صلىالله عليه وسلم ) and his Companions join you. He said: Salama, if you believe In Allah and the Day of Judgment and (if) you know that Paradise is a reality and Hell is a reality, you should not stand between me and martyrdom. So I let him go. Akhram and Abd al-Rahman (Fazari) met in combat. Akhram hamstrung Abd al-Rahman’s horse and the latter struck him with his lance and killed him. Abd al-Rahman turned about riding Akhram’s horse. Abu Qatadah, a horseman of the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم ), met ‘Abd al-Rahman (in combat), smote him with his lance and killed him.

By the Being Who honored the countenance of Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم ), I followed them running on my feet (so fast) that I couldn’t see behind me the Companions of Muhammad ( صلى الله عليه وسلم ), nor any dust raised by their horses. (I followed them) until before sunset they reached a valley which had a spring of water, which was called Dhu Qarad, so that they could have a drink, for they were thirsty. They saw me running towards them. I turned them out of the valley before they could drink a drop of its water. They left the valley and ran down a slope. I ran (behind them), overtook a man from them, shot him with an arrow through the shoulder blade and said: Take this. I am the son of al-Akwa’; and today is the day of annihilation for the people who are mean.The fellow (who was wounded) said: May his mother weep over him! Are you the Akwa’ who has been chasing us since morning? I said: Yes, O enemy of thyself, the same Akwa’. They left two horses dead tired on the hillock and I came dragging them along to the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم ). I met ‘Amir who had with him a container having milk diluted with water and a container having water. I performed ablution with the water and drank the milk. Then I came to the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم ) while he was at (the spring of) water from which I had driven them away.

The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم ) had captured those camels and everything else I had captured and all the lances and mantles I had snatched from the polytheists and Bilal had slaughtered a she-camel from the camels I had seized from the people, and was roasting its liver and hump for the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم ). I said: Messenger of Allah, let me select from our people one hundred men and I will follow the marauders and I will finish them all so that nobody is left to convey the news (of their destruction to their people). (At these words of mine), the Messenger of Allah ( صلى اللهعليه وسلم ) laughed so much that his molar teeth could be seen in the light of the fire, and he said: Salama, do you think you can do this? I said: Yes, by the Being Who has honored you. He said: Now they have reached the land of Ghatafan where they are being feted. (At this time) a man from the Ghatafan came along and said: So and so slaughtered a camel for them. When they were exposing its skin, they saw dust (being raised far off). They said: They (Akwa’ and his companions) have come. So they went away fleeing.

When it was morning, the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم ) said: Our best horseman today is Abu Qatadah and our best footman today is Salama. Then he gave me two shares of the booty-the share meant for the horseman and the share meant for the footman, and combined both of them for me.

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