He was Abu Ubaidah Amir ibn Abdullah al-Jarraah. He embraced Islam at an early period of the Islam ic mission. He was popularly known as Abu Ubaidah. He was a tall and thin man with a wonderful face. He was very sensitive, modest and full of life and vigour. He was not boastful but was fiercely courageous. He was bright and sharp like the blade of a sword.
He embraced Islam after Abu Bakr as-Siddeeq, Abu Bakr himself brought Abu Ubaidah to the told of Islam. In fact, he was among the first followers of the Prophet (pbuh) beside his own household.
Abu Ubaidah went through the cruel and painful experiences of embracing Islam in the early days of the Prophet’s mission in Makkah. He suffered injustice, pain and rejection at the hands of the pagan Makkans, yet he remained firm and loyal to Allah and His Prophet (pbuh).
Abu Ubaidah was a man of youthful vigour and utmost sincerity. He had qualities of leadership. He was the eighth person to embrace Islam. He spent most of his time in the company of the Prophet (pbuh) and learnt a great deal about Islam from Him.
Abu Ubaidah migrated to Ethiopia when life in Makkah became very hard for the Muslims. He returned to Madinah along with other believers when they heard of the Prophet’s emigration. Abu Ubaidah was very happy to be with the Prophet (pbuh) again.
Abu Ubaidah’s Hardest Test
In the beginning of Ramadan 2 A.H., the Prophet (pbuh) set out from Madinah at the head of 313 companions, assisted for the first time by warriors from the Ansaar. His intention was to attack the Makkan trade caravan led by Abu Sufyan, which was on its way home from Syria. When informed of the Muslims’ approach, Abu Sufyan turned off his caravan toward the seacoast. He then sent a courier to Makkah with an urgent request for reinforcements. His own forces were between thirty to seventy men. An armed force of the Quraysh set out from Makkah, under the leadership of Abu Jahl, to the help of their caravan.
The Prophet’s real objective was, from the very beginning, this strong Makkan army. The attack on the caravan was merely bait for the Makkans to offer open battle to the Muslims. It was in fact a plan designed to bring out the snake from its burrow.
In any case, the Muslim army had not expected to be faced with so strong an army. On the 17th of Ramadan 2 A.H., the two armies met up near the Wells of Badr. Badr was a few days’ journey south of Madinah, and about one days distance from the coast. The Muslims were greatly inferior in number and in equipment – there were for example only two horses in their army, and only a limited number of camels. But these drawbacks were more than set off by their boundless courage and readiness for self-sacrifice. The Makkan forces were completely routed and several of their most prominent chiefs were killed. You will learn about the Battle of Badr later, Inshaa Allah!
Abu Ubaidah took part in this battle. He was so fierce and fearless that the Quraysh horsemen were too afraid to confront him. Only one man continued chasing Abu Ubaidah, and every time Abu Ubaidah tried to avoid him. This man was Abdullah Al-Jarraah, his own father who was in the enemy camp, over and over again, Abdullah blocked his son’s path and wanted to kill him. Finally, when Abu Ubaidah lost patience, he struck a fierce blow on his head with his sword and killed him. Abu Ubaidah did not kill his father but rather killed an enemy of the Prophet (pbuh) and Islam.
Abu Ubaidah had a great faith in Allah. He was deeply devoted to Islam. He had a sense of responsibility towards the Muslim community.
When the Muslims were defeated in the Battle of Uhud, Abu Ubaidah was one of the ten companions who surrounded Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) and bore all the arrows, spears and blows aimed at the Prophet (pbuh).
Because of Abu Ubaidah’s sense of modesty and loyalty, the Prophet (pbuh) said about him, “Every nation has an Ameen (trustworthy man), and the Ameen of this nation is Abu Ubaidah ibn Al-Jarraah.” (Al-Bukhaaree)
Umar ibn al-Khattab appointed him as Commander-in-chief of the Syrian campaign. Later he became governor of syria. He died there from plague in 18 A.H. at the age of fifty-eight. He was one of the ten to whom Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) had announced in their lifetime that they would enter Paradise.