Whilst the two armies of the Muslims and the Persians were making preparations for the decisive battle, Muslims were surprised as they saw that the Persians brought with them a lion; a lion trained for war and fighting! However, the Persians did not know that among the Muslims there was a person who would be known as killer of the lion.
The lion started to run towards the Muslims’ army without warning; he was roaring and his frightening long fierce teeth were seen by all. It was a frightening and scary scene indeed.
Similarly and equally surprisingly, a man came out of the ranks of Muslims and started to run towards the lion in an indescribable scene. How come a man runs towards a lion like that?! Can anyone believe that?! Yet, this is what really happened and tens of thousands of people, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, witnessed that with their own naked eyes.
I do believe that something like that has never been witnessed before; a man running towards a fierce lion to combat and fight with him!
The two armies gazed at the scene and everyone was amazed and astonished at what is happening then. How can a man – no matter how much power and strength he may have – confront a lion?!
Our fearless hero set out towards the lion such as wind. He had in his bosom the dignity, faith and courage a Muslim who is fearless of other than Allah has and he even thought to himself that it is the lion who should be fearful of him, not the other way around!
Then, the man jumped on the lion, gave him several lethal stabs and eventually killed him.
The Persians were terrified and scared; how can they fight men who do not fear lions!
Eventually, the Persian army was defeated and massively humiliated.
Then, the Muslim army leader, Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas, went to our hero and kissed his head to honor him. However, our hero bowed himself with all humbleness and kissed Sa`d’s feet and said: One like you should not kiss my head!
Our hero’s name was Hashim ibn `Utbah ibn Abi Waqqas, the Killer of the Lion!
Hashim is one of the Prophet’s Followers (a Tabi`i) and/or Companions (a Sahabi) as he lived during the lifetime of Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him). He was pious, mystical and half-brother of Mus`ab ibn `Umair.
He was a huge man and once said to his people: O people! I am a huge man; you should not freak out when I fall down (die).
He embraced Islam on the day of Entering Makkah (Fat-h Makkah) and lost one of his two eyes during the battle of Al-Yarmouk. He died during the battle of Safain as he was one of the leaders under Commander of the Faithful, `Ali ibn Abi Talib.
He was buried side by side with `Ammar ibn Yassir by `Ali ibn Abi Talib on the day of Safain and `Ali shed tears on their graves which are located in Al-Raqqah District in Syria today.
Indeed, those are the men who our children should study and learn their illuminating biographies and magnificent deeds. They should not be forgotten; rather, they should be emulated and remembered always and all the time. Let’s teach our children the stories of such great personalities such as the killer of the lion.
Allah the Almighty says in the Qur’an regarding the like of those brave men what means,
“Among the Believers are men who have been true to their covenant with Allah: of them some have completed their vow (to the extreme), and some (still) wait: but they have never changed (their determination) in the least. (Al-Ahzab 33: 23)
Dr. Ali Al-Halawani is Assistant Professor of Linguistics and Translation, Kulliyyah of Languages and Management (KLM), International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He was Assistant Professor and worked for a number of international universities in Malaysia and Egypt such as Al-Madinah International University, Shah Alam, Malaysia (Mediu) and Misr University for Science & Technology (MUST), Egypt; Former Editor-in-Chief of the Electronic Da`wah Committee (EDC), Kuwait; Former Deputy Chief Editor and Managing Editor of the Living Shari`ah Department, www.islamOnline.net; Member of the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS); and member of the World Association of Arab Translators & Linguists (Wata). He is a published writer, translator and researcher. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.