His appearance was striking. He was slim and tall. His face was bright and he had a sparse beard. It was pleasing to look at him and refreshing to meet him. He was extremely courteous, humble and quite shy. Yet in a tough situation, he would become strikingly serious and alert, resembling the flashing blade of a sword in his severity and sharpness. His name was Amir bin Abdullah al-Jarrah, and he was commonly known as...

 Abu Ubaidah bin Al-Jarrah (radi Allahu anhu). [The Nation's Trustworthy; Abdul Basit Ahmad]

Abu Bakr, who was the first man to accept Islam, was a close friend of Abu Ubaidah's (radi Allahu anhuma). As soon as Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) explained to him the values and faith that the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) was preaching, he asked Abu Bakr to arrange a meeting with the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam), to hear from him directly. Upon meeting the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) and hearing the Quran, Abu Ubaidah (radi Allahu anhu) realized that the propaganda against the Prophet by the Quraish was not true. Thus, he also became one of the first people to embrace Islam. He became a Muslim one day after Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu). [The Nation's Trustworthy]

Of him Amr bin Al-Aas (radi Allahu anhu) said: "Three persons in the tribe of Quraish were most prominent, had the best character, and were the most modest. If they spoke to you, they would not deceive you and if you spoke to them, they would not accuse you of lying: Abu Bakr as-Siddiq, Osman bin Affan and Abu Ubaidah bin al-Jarrah." [The Nation's Trustworthy]

Abu Ubaidah (radi Allahu anhu) migrated to Abyssinia in the second migration that took place to Abyssinia. He remained there till the Muslims migrated to Medina.

Upon receiving news of the migration to Medina, Abu Ubaidah (radi Allahu anhu) left Abyssinia to join his fellow Muslims in the new Islamic State. He, therefore, got the reward of two migrations for the sake of Islam. Abu Ubaidah (radi Allahu anhu) got to participate in building the first masjid in Medina.

Abu Ubaidah (radi Allahu anhu) had experienced with the early Muslims the insults, violence, pain and sorrow of life as a Muslim in Makkah. Although safe from all this in Medina, there were greater trials that he had yet to go through.

The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) had barely set up the Islamic State when the polytheists of Makkah brought an army that threatened its very existence. The two armies met at Badr. Abu Ubaidah (radi Allahu anhu) was one of the 313 men who defended the Muslims and the nascent Islamic State against the warriors of the Quraish who were three times greater in number and armed to the teeth.

Abu Ubaidah (radi Allahu anhu) fought bravely. The Quraish cavalry was extremely wary of him and avoided coming face to face. Abu Ubaidah's father, however, had taken an oath to kill his son if he saw him. He saw Abu Ubaidah (radi Allahu anhu) and pursued him. Abu Ubaidah (radi Allahu anhu) turned away from him but his father continued to go after him. His father succeeded in blocking his path and stood as a barrier between him and the Quraish. Abu Ubaidah (radi Allahu anhu) had no choice but to defend his life and his faith. He struck one blow to his father's head which killed him instantly.

This was one of the most harrowing experiences that Abu Ubaidah (radi Allahu anhu) had to go through. He, obviously, had not wanted to kill his father, but in the battle between faith in Allah and polytheism, the choice although profoundly disturbing, was clear. Abu Ubaidah (radi Allahu anhu) was nevertheless worried that he might have committed a huge sin by killing his parent.

It is concerning this event that Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) revealed the following ayaat of the Quran that gave Abu Ubaidah (radi Allahu anhu) peace: ''You will not find any people who believe in Allah and the Last Day, loving those who resist Allah and His Messenger, even though they were their fathers or their sons, or their brothers, or their kindred. For such, He has inscribed faith in their hearts, and strengthened them with a spirit from Himself. And He will admit them to gardens beneath which rivers flow, to dwell therein for ever. Allah will be well pleased with them, and they with Him. They are the Party of Allah. Truly it is the Party of Allah that will achieve felicity.'' [58:22] 

The response of Abu Ubaidah (radi Allahu anhu) at Badr was possible because he had attained the strength of conviction in Allah (subhana wa ta'ala), devotion to His religion, and a level of concern for the Ummah of Muhammad (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam), to which many only aspire.

There is an important lesson for us here. While Abu Ubaidah's father was a disbeliever, believers need to be just as wary of other Muslims who persist in disobeying Allah (subhana wa ta'ala). Otherwise, when Allah's wrath descends, it will envelope them all together.

The Christian rulers of Najran, Al-Aqib and Saiyid, came to the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) to consent to live as non-Muslim citizens of the Islamic State. Zakat is collected from Muslims, while Kharaj is collected from non-Muslims and their protection then becomes the duty of the State. So these men said to Rasul Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) regarding the Kharaj collector, "Send an honest man to us." The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said, "I will send to you an honest man who is really trustworthy."Every one of the Companions of Allah's Messenger wished to be that one. [Bukhari]

Umar ibn al-Khattab (radi Allahu anhu) said: "I went to the Zuhr (midday) prayer early, hoping to be the one who would fit the description of the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam). When the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) had finished the prayer, he began looking to his right and his left and I raised myself so that he could see me. But he continued looking among us until he spotted Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah. The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said, 'Get up, O Abu Ubaidah bin Al-Jarrah.' When he got up, Allah's Apostle said: 'Every Ummah has a most trustworthy (Ameen) man; Abu Ubaidah is the most trustworthy of this (Muslim) nation.'''

Abu Ubaidah (radi Allahu anhu) had learned from the best teacher that nothing in life can equal the reward on the Day of Judgement for those who are honest and trustworthy. Subhan Allah, these people sound too good to be true. For the people who pose as role models today, it's all about themselves; whereas the Companions of the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) were always thinking of how to attain the pleasure of Allah (subhana wa ta'ala).

During the battle of Uhud when the Muslims were being routed, there came a critical point when the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) was being assaulted, while all he had around him defending him, were seven of the Ansar and two Muhajireen. When the rest of the Muslims came to know of the grave situation that the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) was in, they rushed to protect him. (To be continued)