This is the story of one of the Companions of the Prophet(peace and blessings be upon him) called 'Abdullah bin Hudhafah Al-Sahmi who was tempted with the major things that almost everybody desire to have a fulfilling and enjoyable life. But despite that, he decided to hold to that which is better than all of that: Islam.
Let us read his story as narrated by Al-Hafiz ibn 'Asakir.
A Tempted Prisoner
'Abdullah was taken prisoner by the Romans, who brought him to the king. The king said, "Become a Christian, and I will give you a share of my kingdom and my daughter in marriage"
'Abdullah said: "If you were to give me all that you possess and all that the Arabs possess to make me give up the religion of Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) even for a while, I would not do it". The king said, "Then I will kill you." Abdullah said, "It is up to you."
Then, the king gave orders that he should be crucified, and commanded his archers to shoot near his hands and feet while ordering him to become a Christian. All of that was done, but he still refused.
The king gave orders that he should be brought down, and that a big vessel made of copper be brought and heated up. Then while 'Abdullah was watching, one of the Muslim prisoners was brought down and thrown into it, until all that was left of him was scorched bones. The king ordered him to become a Christian. But he still refused. '
Then he ordered, 'Abdullah be thrown into the vessel, and he was brought back to the pulley to be thrown in. 'Abdullah wept, and the king hoped that he would respond to him, but 'Abdullah said, "I only weep because I have only one soul with which to be thrown into the vessel at the moment for the sake of Allaah; I wish that I had as many souls as there are hair on my body with which I could undergo this torture for the sake of Allaah."
The king imprisoned him and deprived him of food and drink for several days, and then he sent him wine and pork, but he refused to eat it. Then the king called and asked him, "What stopped you from eating?'Abdullah said, "It is permissible for me(under these circumstances), but I did not want to give you the opportunity to have a sense of satisfaction. The king said, "Kiss my head and I will let you go" Abdullah said, "And will you release all the Muslim prisoners with me? The king said, "Yes."
So 'Abdullah kissed his head and released him and all the other Muslim he was holding. When he came back, 'Umar bin Al-Khattab said, "Every Muslim should kiss the head of 'Abdullah bin Hudhaffah, and I Will be the first to do so. And he stood up to and kissed his head. May Allaah be pleased with both of them.
We can see from the story of 'Abdullah bin Hudhafah that even though it was permissible for him to say that he has become a non-Muslim just to save his life, Abdullah refused to say this because that is better. At the end he not only saved his only life, he also saved the lives of other Muslims who were held prisoner like him.
May Allaah give us the faith to stand by what we believe in and make us die as Muslims (Aamin).
Tafseer ibn Katheer.
This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited