Zaid bin Amr bin Nufael - An Extinct Religion
Arabian Knights - Volume 2

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Kaan Ya Makaan, Fee Qadeem Al-Zamaan…
There was a Place, in Times of Old…

Called Mecca where a small group of friends gathered and discussed how dissatisfied they were with the Idolatry prevalent in their hometown. They agreed that although the religion of their forefather Ibrahim had been lost by time, they would try to reclaim it. That night, they made a pact to travel to distant lands in search of someone, anyone, who could teach them the long forgotten religion of Ibrahim .

For years, the friends travelled far and wide and met with the most learned clerics of every religion and creed. Some of the travelers converted to Christianity, others to Judaism. Sadly, some of them died without ever finding anything like the ancient religion they sought.

One of the men, Zaid bin Amr bin Nufael, rejected all the religions he came across. He found both Christianity and Judaism to be very similar to the religion of Ibrahim so he eagerly studied them. However, after learning as much as he could about both religions and speaking to an endless number of priests and rabbis, Zaid decided that neither religion was that of Ibrahim .

In answer to Zaid's insistent questions about Ibrahim's religion, many of the priests and rabbis he met with told him that it was an extinct religion. Nowhere in the world, they said, is there anyone who still practiced the religion of Ibrahim . Almost as an afterthought, they added that the time of a new prophet was almost at hand and that Zaid's homeland would be the land in which the new prophet was set to appear.

With hope and wonder kindling in his heart, Zaid bin Amr hurriedly retraced his steps back to Mecca. He decided that it didn't matter if no one who practiced the religion of Ibrahim remained. Until the new prophet arrived, he, Zaid bin Amr, would practice the religion of Ibrahim as best as he knew how. And so Zaid bin Amr became the only person in the world to practice the religion of Ibrahim in many centuries.

As he tried his best to follow the teachings of Ibrahim , Zaid found himself an object of derision and torment by many of his relatives. His half-brother, Al-Khattab, took special exception to what he considered the foolish and embarrassing behavior of Zaid. Al-Khattab would even send his children, and those who tried to curry favor with him, to torment Zaid by following him through the winding streets of Mecca and hurling insults and refuse at him. Eventually, Zaid resorted to living just outside Mecca and would only enter the town secretly, most often at night.

Despite all the trouble it caused him, Zaid was wonderfully content with his ancient religion. When he was invited to feasts, he refused to eat anything that had been slaughtered as a sacrifice to the idols the Qurashis worshipped. He would declare to anyone who would listen, "This makes no sense. God created the sheep, and caused rain to fall from the sky to water the sheep and make the grass that it eats grow. Then, once the sheep grew large and healthy by the grace of God, it was sacrificed to some powerless idol! No, it makes no sense. It is wrong."

In addition to his unabashed moralizing, Zaid also concerned himself in matters that many declared were none of his business. For instance, when he heard that one of his fellow Qurashis had been blessed with a daughter, or cursed as many a father thought then, he would arrive on the family's doorstep and admonish the dismayed man not to murderously rid himself of the unwanted infant girl.

"I will pay you whatever it costs to feed and keep her," the gentle, elderly man would say in soft and persuasive tones, "Or if you will not raise her, then give her to me and I will raise her. When she is of age, you may come and fetch her back home. Or, if you prefer, I will find her a suitable husband. She will be neither a burden, nor a bother to you."

Every day, whenever the opportunity arrived for Zaid to do something good or right, he did it. He tried with all of his might to be worthy of the ancient religion he had adopted and he waited as patiently as he could for the new prophet to arrive.

Unfortunately, Zaid didn't live long enough to witness the time of the new prophet. The new prophet though knew of Zaid and his many good deeds, and would always speak of him with respect and admiration.

Rumor has it, that on the Day of Judgement, Zaid bin Amr will be considered a nation unto himself: The only follower of Ibrahim's religion in that era, and a very dedicated and worthy one at that.

*Written by © 2012. Care to read or leave Comments?

Notes:
  1. Names, Translations and Aliases:
    • Al-Khattab bin Nufael: الخطّاب بن نفيل بن عبد العزى بن رياح بن عبدالله بن قرط بن رزاح بن عدي بن كعب بن لؤي القرشي العدوي.
    • Ibrahim PBUH (aka Abraham): إبراهيم عليه السلام
    • Zaid bin Amr bin Nufael: زيد بن عمرو بن نفيل بن عبدالعزى بن رياح بن عبدالله بن قرط بن رزاح بن عدى بن كعب بن لؤى القرشى العدوى.
  2. Millat Ibrahim PBUH: the religion of Ibrahim PBUH (aka Abraham). Millat means something that is diverted/does not follow the main line/leans away. So called because Ibrahim PBUH "diverted" from the idol-worshipping religion of his forebears.

Sources:
  1. Al-Bukhari, M. (2004 AD, 1424 H). صحيح البخاري [Sahih Al-Bukhari]. Beirut: Al-Maktaba Al-Assrya. Page 667-668.
  2. Al-Dimishqi, A. (2009 AD, 1430 H). البداية و النهاية [The Beginning and the End]. Beirut: Al-Maktaba Al-Assrya Publishing and Distributing. Volume I. Book 2. Page 135-141.

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