Itab Ibn Usaid

The Young Man Who Was Appointed As The Governor Of Mecca By The Messenger Of Allah

The magnificent army of Islam entered Mecca in the eighth year of Hijrah to find that there was no opposition from the Meccans. They all surrendered themselves to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.). The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) issued directions that the inhabitants of Mecca must not be harmed and none should cause any hurt to any Meccan. Seeing the good behavior of Muhammad, the people of Mecca accepted Islam and the surroundings echoed with the sound of “Allah-o-Akbar” (Allah is the Greatest). The Holy Quran has termed this a “manifest victory”. Till the eighth year of Hijrah, Islam had spread to every nook and corner of the Arab world. Only the polytheists of Taif and Hawazan had remained firm on their false beliefs. Now it was necessary to exterminate them and clean up all future risks from the path of Islam so that Hijaz can be purified of idols and idolaters forever.

Not a long time had elapsed after the conquest of Mecca , when the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) ordered the valiant and fearless fighters of the Muslim army to march towards Hunain in order to put an end to the menace of the

infidelity of Taif and Hawazin. Mecca had been conquered recently, and the army of Islam was leaving Mecca to march towards Hunain. Therefore it was necessary to appoint an able and a determined person to govern the affairs of Mecca so that none could create mischief in the near future. Also that same governor would assure that Islamic values and Islamic law is upheld in Mecca at all times to come because there was a great risk that mischievous people find disorganization and confusion and create such disruption that the newly converted Muslims may very soon renegade towards apostasy and the period of ignorance would be back in Mecca.

The Chief of Islam, Muhammad al-Mustafa selected a twenty-one-year-old youth, named Ibn Usaid and appointed him as the governor, entrusting him with the affairs of Mecca .

It is noteworthy that a youth of twenty-one years was bestowed the governorship of Mecca . The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) also advised Itab that he must pray with the people. Thus Itab became the first person to establish congregational prayers in Mecca .[1]

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) called Itab ibn Usaid and said, “Do you know what post has been entrusted to you? And over which community have you been made a ruler? You are appointed as the ruler and governor over the people of the sanctuary of Allah and the holy town of Mecca . If I had found anyone more worthy than you among the Muslims, I would have definitely given the rulership and administration of Mecca to him.”

[1] Sirah Halabiyyah Vol. 3, Pg. 120

At the time the great leader of Islam, Muhammad al-Mustafa gave the command of Mecca to Itab ibn Usaid when he was only twenty-one.[1]

When this young man was given such a great and important post, a wave of shock and discontent passed through the nobles of Mecca . They began to remark how Muhammad could appoint a person who has just stepped into youth, as a ruler over the people of Mecca while there were many qualified, able and senior leaders present? They alleged that Muhammad actually wanted the historical town of Mecca to remain backward and underdeveloped and that is why he has entrusted the administration of Mecca to an inexperienced and immature youth. When these talks reached the ears of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) he wrote a long letter to the nobles of Mecca . Therein he explained in detail the capability, qualifications and suitability of Itab ibn Usaid. He also reiterated that it was the duty of the Meccans to obey Itab ibn Usaid and do exactly as he says. In the end the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) replied to their objections in brief:

“None of you has the right to object against the young age of Itab ibn Usaid because greatness and excellence do not depend on seniority of age. Rather the criterion of human greatness and excellence is spirituality.”[2]

The firmness of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) on his decision of appointing Itab ibn Usaid as the governor of Mecca and his justifications to those aged nobles of Mecca who objected against this appointment proves that Islam has

[1] Usud al-Ghaba Vol. 3 Pg. 358 [2] Nasikhut Tawarikh, Pg. 387

always favored and trusted fresh blood to lead the affairs of the community. Islam has always encouraged and trusted the new generation.

This revolutionary method of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and his unflinching support for Itab ibn Usaid is noteworthy for all Muslims that they must always fight with their words and actions, ignorance, mindless bigotry and groupism and governance and rulership should be given to the qualified and worthy youths of the community so that it can benefit from the young generation.[1]

[1] Jawan Az-Nazar Aql-o-Ahsasat, GuftarFalsafi; Vol. 1, Pg. 18