There are many outstanding Companions of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) who come to mind throughout Islamic history. Some are huge in stature, and others are humble, yet highly respectable or brilliant in some way.
Julaybib (may Allah be pleased with him) was a beloved Companion of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). However, he is not a likely figure to make it in the ranks of celebrated heroes of Islam.
Julaybib’s life and deeds were not sung nor recounted with reverence as they should be. However, by considering the meager facts available about him, one can see hope for many humble souls.
So Many Challenges
Julaybib was not tall or handsome. Before the advent of Islam, he was not known to be a gallant warrior on the battlefield. His personal attributes appeared so contrary to the normal heroes of old. He was an orphan, deformed, and extremely short.
The society rejected him; people at that time cared more about physical appearance and status than integrity.
In addition to his physical appearance, another important factor in the mistreatment Julaybib received had to do with his lineage.
Lineage was an essential part in the Arab society he lived in, just as it is still important today in many cases. One’s lineage determined one’s status in the society. His physical appearance and unknown lineage made people shun and spurn him.
He was an outcast, which caused him much public humiliation and disgrace. Facing such disdainful treatment, Julaybib was apparently a lonely soul yearning for love and compassion.
As he was carrying the burden of prejudice on his shoulder from the time he was born, companionship, love, and compassion became alien to him.
There were often times a question as to whether this man would even taste any compassion or respect in his life. The question cleared with his acceptance of the noble message of Islam.
A New Life
He became a devoted servant of Almighty Allah and beloved Companion of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). He gained respect and affection from the noble Prophet for his sincerity, integrity, and strong belief.
Julaybib earned the honor he had long yearned for. Prophet Muhammad cared deeply for him and was sensitive of his needs.
In a narration reported by Imam Ahmad, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) went to a man of the Ansar and said, “Give me your daughter for marriage.”
The man answered excitedly, “Yes, O Messenger of Allah, it would be an honor and a blessing.”
Thereupon, the Prophet said, “I do not want her for myself.”
The Ansari man asked, “Then for whom, O Messenger of Allah?”
And the Prophet answered,“For Julaybib.”
Having heard this, the man was shocked and then said, “O Messenger of Allah, let me consult her mother.”
He went to the girl’s mother (his wife) and told her, “The Messenger of Allah is proposing marriage for your daughter.”
In response, she joyfully said, “Yes, it would be a pleasure.”
The Ansari explained to his wife that the Prophet was not proposing to marry their daughter for himself, but on behalf of Julaybib.
His wife was almost shaken and immediately responded, “What! Julaybib? No, by Allah, we will not marry her to him.”
When the Ansari was about to leave to meet the Messenger of Allah to inform him about his wife’s disapproval, his daughter, a pious Muslim, asked her father, “Who is asking for my hand?”
Her mother told her that the Prophet was asking her hand on behalf of Julaybib.
Their daughter instantly asked them, “Are you refusing to follow the command of the Messenger of Allah? Follow his command, for I will not come to any harm.”
The following day the marriage preparations were set in place. `Uthman ibn `Affan and `Ali ibn Abi Talib (may Allah be pleased with both of them) presented Julaybib a gift of money to help arrange the wedding reception, and to purchase necessary accommodation.
So the Prophet married the beautiful daughter of the Ansari to Julaybib who was once rejected by the whole society. The attitude of the daughter of the Ansari was that of a true believer. The daughter’s attitude shows the confidence of a Muslim woman who could not be influenced by the whims of her society.
Moreover, the fact that her parents did not interfere in her decision explains how Islam does not pressure a woman nor does it disregard her right to choose her husband. Islam gave the happiness Julaybib deserved. He lived happily together with his beautiful wife until he was martyred.
The following hadith is another proof that Julaybib was indeed dearly loved and valued by Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him): After one of the battles, the Prophet asked his Companions, “Is anyone missing amongst you?”
They said, “So and so and so.”
He asked them again, “Is there anyone missing amongst you?”
And again they answered, “So and so and so.”
The Prophet posed the question for the third time and their reply was “No.”
Thereupon he said, “But I see that Julaybib is missing.”
The Companions searched for him amongst those who had been killed and found him by the side of seven enemies whom he had killed before he martyred. The Prophet came there, stood by his body, and said, “He killed seven people. Then [his opponents] killed him. He belongs to me and I belong to him.” (Muslim).
The man whose life was filled with challenges and struggles won the hearts and admiration of many through his pure intentions, traits, and love for Islam and the Prophet.
It is really amazing to note how this man of small stature managed to hold a sword and kill his opponent. He was able to accomplish much chivalry through the Prophet’s encouragement.
His story is significant and many lessons can be learnt from it. It shows us a lot about how a human being can be devalued based on superficial things.
Julaybib’s life is an example and hope for souls filled with despondency because they do not measure up to the norms set by society. His story touches the hearts of many, even today.
His story is a reflection of Islam — that pure religion which ended his desolate world of disparagement.