Salamah bin Akwah RA and the bandits

Ghabah was a small village about four or five miles from Madinah Munawwarah. Nabi's SAW camels were sent to that place for grazing. Abdur Rahman Fazari, with the help of a few disbelievers, killed the person looking after the camels and took them away. The bandits were riding their horses and all of them were armed. Salamah bin Akwah RA was going on foot in the morning with his bow and arrows when he saw the bandits. Although he was only a boy, he ran very fast. It is said that he could beat the fastest horse in a race. He was also a very good archer (expert shooter with the bow and arrow).

As soon as he saw the bandits he climbed up a hill and shouted towards Madinah Munawwarah to call for help. He then chased the bandits and on approaching them, started sending arrows one after the other. He did this so quickly and continuously that the bandits thought they were being chased by a large number of people. If any of the bandits happened to turn his horse towards him, he hid behind a tree and shot the animal with his arrows. The bandits at once ran off at full speed to escape from being captured.

Salamah says: "I kept on chasing the bandits until all the camels taken away by them were behind me. While escaping they left behind 30 spears and 30 sheets of cloth of their own. Meanwhile, Uyainah bin Hisn (another bandit) and his party arrived to help the bandits. They had meanwhile come to know that I was all alone. They now chased me in large numbers and I was forced to climb up a hill. As they were about to approach me, I shouted, 'Stop. First listen to me. Do you know who am I? I am Ibnul Akwah. By Him who has given glory to Muhammad SAW, if anyone of you chases me, he cannot catch me. On the other hand, if I run after any of you he cannot escape me.' I kept on talking to them in this manner to fool them till, I thought, help would reach me from Madinah Munawwarah. I looked anxiously through the trees, as I talked to them when at last; I noticed a group of riders headed by Akhram Asadi coming towards me.

As Akhram approached the bandits, he attacked Abdur Rahman and cut one leg of his horse. As Abdur Rahman fell down from his horse, he attacked Akhram and killed him. Abu Qatadah had meanwhile arrived. In the fighting that took place Abdur Rahman lost his life and Abu Qatadah lost his horse.”It is written in some books of history that, when Akhram was going to attack Abdur Rahman, Salamah RA advised him to wait till the rest of his people had joined him but he did not wait, saying: "I wish to die in the path of Allah ." He was the only person killed from among the Muslims. The bandits lost a good number of their men. More help reached the Muslims and the bandits ran away. Salamah asked for Nabi's SAW permission to chase them saying: "O, Nabi of Allah! Let me have one hundred men, I shall teach them a lesson." Nabi SAW said: "No. They would have reached their homes by now." ( do continue reading )

Other Stories of  Salamah Ibn Al-Akwa'-"The Best Infantry man"

His son Iyaas summarized all his virtues in just one sentence:
"My father never lied." To be described by this singular virtue makes a person elligible for a highly elevated position among the pious and virtuous. Salamah Ibn Al-Akwa RA achieved such a position, one which he deserved. Salamah RA was one of the rare Arab spearmen, but he was also famous for his courage, generosity, and charitable deeds.

He sincerely submitted himself to Islam; then it was Islam that molded his personality according to its system. Salamah RA was one of those who attended the Pledge of Ridwan. In A.H. 6, the Rasulullah SAW and his Companions aimed at visiting the Sacred House in Makkah, but the Quraish hindered them from doing so.

Rasulullah SAW sent 'Uthman Ibn 'Affaan RA to tell them that he came as a visitor, not as a fighter. While they awaited ‘Uthman's return, a rumor spread that the Quraish had killed him. Rasulullah SAW sat under a shady tree to take the Companion's oath of allegiance, one by one. They gave him their word to be ready to die.

Salamah RA reported: I swore the oath of allegiance in front of the Rasulullah SAW to be ready to die. Then I stepped aside. When the crowd of people nearly ended, Rasulullah SAW said," O Salamah, aren't you going to swear your oath of allegiance?" I said, "I've already done that." He said," Again." I swore the oath again.

Salamah RA had redeemed his oath long before that day. He redeemed it since the day he admitted that there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is His Messenger. He said, "I joined Rasulullah SAW in seven battles and joined Zaid Ibn Haarithah in nine battles."

He was one of the most skillful warriors as an infantryman and one of the best to shoot arrows and throw spears. His tactics were similar to present day guerilla warfare: if an enemy approached, he retreated waiting for him to move backwards or to take a rest, in order to attack him by suprise. In this way he was able to chase alone the force led by Uyainah Ibn Hifi. Al-Fizaarii which raided the environs of Al-Madiinah in the Dhii Qarad Raid. Totally alone, he followed their traces, then continued fighting and pushing them away from Al- Madinah until Rasulullah SAW reached him with a great number of Companions. On that day Rasulullah SAW said to the Companions, "Our best infantryman is Salamah Ibn Al-Akwa.

Salamah RA never knew deep sorrow and anxiety except when his brother 'Amir Ibn Al-Akwa' RA died during the Battle of Al- Khaibar.
‘Amir RA was the one singing in front of the Muslim army:
Had it not been for You
We would not have been guided,
Nor prayed nor given charity.
Bless us with tranquility,
And let us be strong and firm-hearted
when meeting our enemies.

In that battle 'Amir RA wanted to strike a polytheist with his sword. However, his sword bent and its edge injured him fatally. Some Muslims said, "Poor ‘Amir, he has been deprived of martyrdom."

Salamah's RA anxiety was severe because he thought, like others, that his brother, who had killed himself accidentally, was deprived of the recompense of jihad and the reward of martyrdom. But soon Rasulullah SAW put things in their right order when Salamah RA went to him saying. "O Messenger of Allah, is it true that by dying in this way ‘Amir has been deprived of the reward of all his previous deeds?"

 Rasulullah SAW answered, "He has been killed as a mujahid. He is to be granted two rewards. He is right now swimming in the rivers of Paradise."

Salamah RA was very generous. However, he was more so when asked to give something for the sake of Allah SWT. If someone had asked him to give away his life for the sake of Allah SWT, he would not have hesitated to do so. People knew this attitude of his, so when anyone needed something, he just asked him for the sake of Allah SWT. He always said, "If someone would not give for the sake of Allah SWT, for whose sake then would he give?"

On the day of Saidina Uthman's RA murder the great mujahid realized that the gates of sedition had been opened. How could it be possible for him who had fought among his brethren all his life to turn into a warrior against his brethren? It was not his right to use his fighting skill, which had been praised by Rasulullah SAW, against believers and Muslims.

It was therefore more proper that he carry his belongings and leave Al-Madinah for a place called Ar-Rabzah, the same place to which Abu Dhar chose to emigrate and settle.

Salamah RA spent the rest of his life at Ar-Rabzah. In A.H. 74 his burning desire took him to Al-Madinah, where he spent one or two days as a visitor, and on the third day he died. It was as if the dear, moist earth of Al-Madinah appealed to him to offer his body a cool, safe shelter, as it had previously offered all the blessed Companions and pious and virtuous martyrs.

Most of the historians say that Salamah was about 12 or 13 years old at that time. Look, how a boy of such a small age was able to chase so many bandits single-handed. He recovered all the stolen goods and also took a great amount of booty from them. This was the result of Iman and Ikhlas, which Allah had filled in the hearts of those blessed people.