Amongst the Lions of Allah was a companion by the name of Abu Dujana Sammak bin Kharsha (r.a.a). He was from the Ansar and accepted Islam early in the Prophet’s (s.a.w) mission. He was recognized for his piety and strength and bravery in Jihad. Wherever we discover his name in the books of Sunnah, he can be identified fighting for the Deen of Allah.
In the course of the battle of Uhud, the second most substantial battle (following the victory of Badr), the Prophet (s.a.w) urged his Companions to fight and spurred them to show stamina and steadfastness in the Jihad. He started out to implant the spirit of boldness and bravery in them. To wage and inflame them and maintain their zeal in the fight, he (s.a.w) drew his sword, held it in his hand and called out to his Sahaba and stated, “Who is prepared to take this sword and fulfill it is right?” Quite a few notable Sahaba set out to take it. Amongst them had been ‘Ali bin Abi Talib, Az-Zubair bin Al-’Awwam and ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab. But it was granted to none of them. Abu Dujana stood and inquired, “O Messenger of Allah, what is its price?” The Prophet (s.a.w) said, “It is to strike the enemy’s faces with it till it breaks!” So Abu Dujana said, “O Messenger of Allah, I will take it for that price.” and he was given the sword.
Abu Dujana was a man of courage who utilized to stand proud and brave in war. He had a red headband that he wore round his head. Whenever he was head-banded everybody knew that he was determined to fight to death. As a result as soon as Abu Dujana took the Prophet’s (s.a.w) sword, he banded his head and began strutting proudly amongst the Mujahideen. Upon seeing this, the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) stated, “This is a sort of walking that Allah detests except in such a circumstance (Jihad).” Then the fighting began. In this battle, numerous acts of courage can be noted from several of the Sahaba. Abu Dujana, recognized by the red band worn round his head, came forth, fighting with the sword of the Prophet (s.a.w).
He was determined to pay its value at all costs. He slaughtered all the idolaters that stood on his way splitting and dispersing their ranks. Az-Zubair bin Al-’Awwam stated, “I felt angry and discouraged when the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) refused to give me the sword but instead gave it to Abu Dujana. I said to myself, ‘I am his paternal cousin. I am the cousin of his aunt Safiya. Also, I am from his tribe (Quraish). Besides, I was the first who demanded it and yet he favoured him to me. By Allah, I will watch how he will use it.’ So I followed him and saw him take out his red band and wear it round his head. Seeing him like that, the Ansar said, ‘Abu Dujana has worn the red band of death.’ Then he (Abu Dujana) set out saying loudly (in the form of poetry), ‘I am the 1 whom my intimate friend [the Prophet (s.a.w)] produced covenant with, when we had been below the palm-trees on the mountain side. The covenant was that I would not fight at the rear, but fight at the front heroically with the sword of Allah and His Messenger.’
In the course of this battle no one stood the way of Abu Dujana and remained alive. There was a man among the idolaters whose only objective was to finish off the wounded Muslims. Throughout the fight, Abu Dujana approached that man so I (Az-Zubair bin Al-’Awwam) implored Allah that
they could possibly engage in combat. They did start fighting and exchanged two sword-strokes. The idolater swung at Abu Dujana, but he escaped it and the sword pierced into his (Abu Dujana’s) leather shield. The idolater’s sword now stuck to his shield, Abu Dujana lunged at that Kafir with his sword and killed him. Then into the thick of the battle, he rushed to kill a person who was inciting the enemy to fight the Muslims. Upon this the particular person shrieked and lo! it was a lady. Abu Dujana spared her saying, ‘I respect the Prophet’s (s.a.w) sword too much to use it on a lady.’ The lady was Hind bint ‘Utbah (the wife of Abu Sufyan who was leading the Quraish army against the Muslims, who later became Muslim).” [Ibn Hisham Vol. 2 pg.68-69] Describing the exact same incident, Az-Zubair bin Al-’Awwam stated, “I saw Abu Dujana raising a sword more than the parting of Hind bint ‘Utba’s hair but then he moved it away. I mentioned to myself, ‘Allah and His Messenger know best.’ (i.e. why he didn’t kill her).” [Ibn Hisham Vol. 2 pg. 69]
Just before the battle of Uhud started, the Prophet (s.a.w) had ordered a group of archers to stay on 1 side of a mountain to deliver protection to the rear of the Muslim army. However, when the Muslims started to defeat their enemies, forty of the archers raced down the mountain in order to obtain their share of the war booty. The Quraish employed this chance to circle back and attack the rear of the Muslim army. They even got close adequate to attack to Holy Prophet (s.a.w) himself, injuring him severely. Throughout those awkward moments of the Messenger of Allah’s (s.a.w) life, a group of Muslim heroes gathered about the Prophet (s.a.w) forming a shield to guard him from the Kuffar. Among them was Abu Dujana. He stood just before the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w), shielding him from the arrows with his back. While these assaults on the Prophet’s (s.a.w) life continued, Uthman ibn Abdullah ibn Al-Mugheerah (one of the enemy) approached him and tried to kill him.
But Al-Harith bin As-Simma came to his defense and sliced into Uthman’s leg producing him fall to the ground. Then Al-Harith killed him. But an additional Makkan horseman, referred to as ‘Abdullah bin Jabir, attacked Al-Harith bin As-Simma, and cut deeply into his shoulder with his sword and he (al-Harith) was carried to the camp of the Muslims suffering from really serious wounds. Soon afterwards, Abu Dujana, with his red headband and the Prophet’s (s.a.w) sword, came upon ‘Abdullah bin Jabir and cut his head off with a single stroke. Throughout the confusion induced by the archers’ mistake of abandoning their post, a lot of Sahaba had been martyred. So Quraish began to mutilate their bodies to appease their pride more than their defeat at Badr. Ka’b bin Masaid, “I was one of those Muslims who fought in Uhud and witnessed the
Kuffar’s act of barbarity in mutilating the dead bodies, but I left this sight for the reason that I couldn’t stand it. Then I saw an armed stout mushrik pass by means of the Muslims and say, ‘Gather them up like sheep are gathered and slaughtered!’ Similarly I saw an armed Muslim waiting for him. I walked towards them till I stood behind him (the Muslim). Comparing each of them, I thought to be that the Kafir was superior to the other in arms and size. I kept on watching them when they engaged in man-to-man combat. The Muslim raised his sword up and swung it down challenging on the Kafir, so forcefully that the blade went down his hip and split him in half. When the Muslim unveiled his face, he looked at me and said, “What do you assume of that, Ka’b? I am Abu Dujana.”
After the battle concluded, in the evening of that day (i.e. Saturday, the seventh of Shawwal, 3rd year A.H.), the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) arrived in Madinah. As soon as he reached his home, he handed his sword to his daughter Fatimah and stated, “O daughter, wash the blood off this sword. By Allah, it has been useful to me right now.” ‘Ali bin Abi Talib also handed her his sword and stated, “And wash the blood of this sword too. By Allah, it has been useful to me nowadays.” So the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) said, “Sahl bin Haneef and Abu Dujana have been as courageous as you are in the Jihad.”
After the death of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w), in the course of the Khalifah of Abu Bakr (r.a.a), Abu Dujana fought till he was Shaheed (martyred) against the army of Musailima al-Kathab [the Liar who claimed Prophethood in the lifetime of the Prophet (s.a.w) and produced war against his Sahaba when Abu Bakr was Khalifah.] To us, his life is a legacy of sacrifice and lessons of bravery and fierceness against Kufr. And to the soldiers of Allah who wear the “red band of death” in our time, he is the epitome of a accurate Mujahid. May perhaps the mercy of Allah be upon Abu Dujana and could He guide our Muslim youth towards the instance he left behind. Ameen