I just learned about the story of Ashaab Al-Ukhdud. Allah mentions the word أصحاب الأخدود in Soorah Al-Burooj. The story is about innocent people being massacred by a king just because they believed in Allah. And interestingly, those believers became the believers after watching a boy being killed. This boy is really a hero. Let’s learn about him and hopefully all of us can be as brave as and as smart as him. The long story is recorded in Sahih Muslim. I have copied it here for us. Enjoy reading!
عَنْ صُهَيْبٍ، أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ
Suhaib reported that Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) thus said:
“ كَانَ مَلِكٌ فِيمَنْ كَانَ قَبْلَكُمْ وَكَانَ لَهُ سَاحِرٌ
There lived a king before you and he had a (court) magician.
فَلَمَّا كَبِرَ قَالَ لِلْمَلِكِ
As he (the magician) grew old, he said to the king:
إِنِّي قَدْ كَبِرْتُ فَابْعَثْ إِلَىَّ غُلاَمًا أُعَلِّمْهُ السِّحْرَ .
I have grown old, send some young boy to me so that I should teach him magic.
فَبَعَثَ إِلَيْهِ غُلاَمًا يُعَلِّمُهُ
He (the king) sent to him a young man so that he should train him (in magic).
فَكَانَ فِي طَرِيقِهِ إِذَا سَلَكَ رَاهِبٌ فَقَعَدَ إِلَيْهِ
And on his way (to the magician) he (the young man) found a monk sitting there.
وَسَمِعَ كَلاَمَهُ فَأَعْجَبَهُ
He (the young man) listened to his (the monk’s) talk and was impressed by it.
فَكَانَ إِذَا أَتَى السَّاحِرَ مَرَّ بِالرَّاهِبِ وَقَعَدَ إِلَيْهِ
It became his habit that on his way to the magician he met the monk and set there and he came to the magician (late).
فَإِذَا أَتَى السَّاحِرَ ضَرَبَهُ
He (the magician) beat him because of delay.
فَشَكَا ذَلِكَ إِلَى الرَّاهِبِ فَقَالَ
He made a complaint of that to the monk and he said to him:
إِذَا خَشِيتَ السَّاحِرَ فَقُلْ حَبَسَنِي أَهْلِي .
When you feel afraid of the magician, say: Members of my family had detained me.
وَإِذَا خَشِيتَ أَهْلَكَ فَقُلْ حَبَسَنِي السَّاحِرُ .
And when you feel afraid of your family you should say: The magician had detained me.
فَبَيْنَمَا هُوَ كَذَلِكَ إِذْ أَتَى عَلَى دَابَّةٍ عَظِيمَةٍ قَدْ حَبَسَتِ النَّاسَ فَقَالَ
It so happened that there came a huge beast (of prey) and it blocked the way of the people, and he (the young boy) said:
الْيَوْمَ أَعْلَمُ آلسَّاحِرُ أَفْضَلُ أَمِ الرَّاهِبُ أَفْضَلُ
I will come to know today whether the magician is superior or the monk is superior.
فَأَخَذَ حَجَرًا فَقَالَ
He picked up a stone and said:
اللَّهُمَّ إِنْ كَانَ أَمْرُ الرَّاهِبِ أَحَبَّ إِلَيْكَ مِنْ أَمْرِ السَّاحِرِ فَاقْتُلْ هَذِهِ الدَّابَّةَ حَتَّى يَمْضِيَ النَّاسُ .
O Allah, if the affair of the monk is dearer to You than the affair of the magician, cause death to this animal so that the people should be able to move about freely.
فَرَمَاهَا فَقَتَلَهَا وَمَضَى النَّاسُ
He threw that stone towards it and killed it and the people began to move about (on the path freely).
فَأَتَى الرَّاهِبَ فَأَخْبَرَهُ فَقَالَ لَهُ الرَّاهِبُ
He (the young man) then came to that monk and informed him and the monk said:
أَىْ بُنَىَّ أَنْتَ الْيَوْمَ أَفْضَلُ مِنِّي .
Sonny, today you are superior to me.
قَدْ بَلَغَ مِنْ أَمْرِكَ مَا أَرَى وَإِنَّكَ سَتُبْتَلَى فَإِنِ ابْتُلِيتَ فَلاَ تَدُلَّ عَلَىَّ .
Your affair has come to a stage where I find that you would be soon put to a trial, and in case you are put to a trial don’t give my clue.
وَكَانَ الْغُلاَمُ يُبْرِئُ الأَكْمَهَ وَالأَبْرَصَ
That young man began to treat the blind and those suffering from leprosy
وَيُدَاوِي النَّاسَ مِنْ سَائِرِ الأَدْوَاءِ
and he in fact began to cure people from (all kinds) of illness.
فَسَمِعَ جَلِيسٌ لِلْمَلِكِ كَانَ قَدْ عَمِيَ
When a companion of the king who had gone blind heard about him,
فَأَتَاهُ بِهَدَايَا كَثِيرَةٍ فَقَالَ
he came to him with numerous gifts and said:
مَا هَا هُنَا لَكَ أَجْمَعُ إِنْ أَنْتَ شَفَيْتَنِي
If you cure me all these things collected together here would be yours.
فَقَالَ إِنِّي لاَ أَشْفِي أَحَدًا إِنَّمَا يَشْفِي اللَّهُ
He said: I myself do not cure anyone. It is Allah Who cures.
فَإِنْ أَنْتَ آمَنْتَ بِاللَّهِ دَعَوْتُ اللَّهَ فَشَفَاكَ .
فَآمَنَ بِاللَّهِ فَشَفَاهُ اللَّهُ
He affirmed his faith in Allah and Allah cured him
فَأَتَى الْمَلِكَ فَجَلَسَ إِلَيْهِ كَمَا كَانَ يَجْلِسُ
and he came to the king and sat by his side as he used to sit before.
فَقَالَ لَهُ الْمَلِكُ مَنْ رَدَّ عَلَيْكَ بَصَرَكَ
The king said to him: Who restored your eyesight?
قَالَ رَبِّي .
He said: My Lord.
قَالَ وَلَكَ رَبٌّ غَيْرِي
Thereupon he said: It means that your Lord is One besides me.
قَالَ رَبِّي وَرَبُّكَ اللَّهُ .
He said: My Lord and your Lord is Allah,
فَأَخَذَهُ فَلَمْ يَزَلْ يُعَذِّبُهُ حَتَّى دَلَّ عَلَى الْغُلاَمِ
so he (the king) took hold of him and tormented him till he gave a clue of that boy.
فَجِيءَ بِالْغُلاَمِ فَقَالَ لَهُ الْمَلِكُ
The young man was thus summoned and the king said to him:
أَىْ بُنَىَّ قَدْ بَلَغَ مِنْ سِحْرِكَ مَا تُبْرِئُ الأَكْمَهَ وَالأَبْرَصَ وَتَفْعَلُ وَتَفْعَلُ .
O boy, it has been conveyed to me that you have become so much proficient in your magic that you cure the blind and those suffering from leprosy and you do such and such things.
فَقَالَ إِنِّي لاَ أَشْفِي أَحَدًا إِنَّمَا يَشْفِي اللَّهُ .
Thereupon he said: I do not cure anyone; it is Allah Who cures,
فَأَخَذَهُ فَلَمْ يَزَلْ يُعَذِّبُهُ حَتَّى دَلَّ عَلَى الرَّاهِبِ
and he (the king) took hold of him and began to torment him. Until he gave a clue of the monk.
فَجِيءَ بِالرَّاهِبِ فَقِيلَ لَهُ
The monk was thus summoned and it was said to him:
ارْجِعْ عَنْ دِينِكَ .
You should turn back from your religion.
فَأَبَى فَدَعَا بِالْمِئْشَارِ فَوَضَعَ الْمِئْشَارَ فِي مَفْرِقِ رَأْسِهِ فَشَقَّهُ حَتَّى وَقَعَ شِقَّاهُ
He, however, refused to do so. He (ordered) for a saw to be brought (and when it was done) he (the king) placed it in the middle of his head and tore it into parts till a part fell down.
ثُمَّ جِيءَ بِجَلِيسِ الْمَلِكِ فَقِيلَ لَهُ
Then the courtier of the king was brought and it was said to him:
ارْجِعْ عَنْ دِينِكَ .
Turn back from your religion.
فَأَبَى فَوَضَعَ الْمِئْشَارَ فِي مَفْرِقِ رَأْسِهِ فَشَقَّهُ بِهِ حَتَّى وَقَعَ شِقَّاهُ
And he refused to do so, and the saw was placed in the midst of his head and it was torn till a part fell down.
ثُمَّ جِيءَ بِالْغُلاَمِ فَقِيلَ لَهُ
Then that young boy was brought and it was said to him:
ارْجِعْ عَنْ دِينِكَ .
Turn back from your religion.
فَأَبَى فَدَفَعَهُ إِلَى نَفَرٍ مِنْ أَصْحَابِهِ فَقَالَ
He refused to do so and he was handed over to a group of his courtiers. And he said to them:
اذْهَبُوا بِهِ إِلَى جَبَلِ كَذَا وَكَذَا فَاصْعَدُوا بِهِ الْجَبَلَ فَإِذَا بَلَغْتُمْ ذُرْوَتَهُ فَإِنْ رَجَعَ عَنْ دِينِهِ وَإِلاَّ فَاطْرَحُوهُ
Take him to such and such mountain; make him climb up that mountain and when you reach its top (ask him to renounce his faith) but if he refuses to do so, then throw him (down the mountain).
فَذَهَبُوا بِهِ فَصَعِدُوا بِهِ الْجَبَلَ فَقَالَ
So they took him and made him climb up the mountain and he said:
اللَّهُمَّ اكْفِنِيهِمْ بِمَا شِئْتَ .
O Allah, save me from them (in any way) Thou likes
فَرَجَفَ بِهِمُ الْجَبَلُ فَسَقَطُوا وَجَاءَ يَمْشِي إِلَى الْمَلِكِ
and the mountain began to quake and they all fell down and that young man came walking to the king.
فَقَالَ لَهُ الْمَلِكُ مَا فَعَلَ أَصْحَابُكَ
The king said to him: What has happened to your companions?
قَالَ كَفَانِيهِمُ اللَّهُ .
He said: Allah has saved me from them.
فَدَفَعَهُ إِلَى نَفَرٍ مِنْ أَصْحَابِهِ فَقَالَ
He again handed him to some of his courtiers and said:
اذْهَبُوا بِهِ فَاحْمِلُوهُ فِي قُرْقُورٍ فَتَوَسَّطُوا بِهِ الْبَحْرَ فَإِنْ رَجَعَ عَنْ دِينِهِ وَإِلاَّ فَاقْذِفُوهُ .
Take him and carry him in a small boat and when you reach the middle of the ocean (ask him to renounce) his religion, but if he does not renounce his religion throw him (into the water).
فَذَهَبُوا بِهِ فَقَالَ اللَّهُمَّ اكْفِنِيهِمْ بِمَا شِئْتَ .
So they took him and he said: O Allah, save me from them and what they want to do.
فَانْكَفَأَتْ بِهِمُ السَّفِينَةُ فَغَرِقُوا وَجَاءَ يَمْشِي إِلَى الْمَلِكِ فَقَالَ لَهُ الْمَلِكُ
It was quite soon that the boat turned over and they were drowned and he came walking to the king, and the king said to him:
مَا فَعَلَ أَصْحَابُكَ
What has happened to your companions?
قَالَ كَفَانِيهِمُ اللَّهُ .
He said: Allah has saved me from them,
فَقَالَ لِلْمَلِكِ إِنَّكَ لَسْتَ بِقَاتِلِي حَتَّى تَفْعَلَ مَا آمُرُكَ بِهِ .
and he said to the king: You cannot kill me until you do what I ask you to do.
قَالَ وَمَا هُوَ
And he said: What is that?
قَالَ تَجْمَعُ النَّاسَ فِي صَعِيدٍ وَاحِدٍ وَتَصْلُبُنِي عَلَى جِذْعٍ
He said: You should gather people in a plain and hang me by the trunk (of a tree).
ثُمَّ خُذْ سَهْمًا مِنْ كِنَانَتِي ثُمَّ ضَعِ السَّهْمَ فِي كَبِدِ الْقَوْسِ ثُمَّ قُلْ بِاسْمِ اللَّهِ رَبِّ الْغُلاَمِ .
Then take hold of an arrow from my quiver and say: In the name of Allah, the Lord of the young boy;
ثُمَّ ارْمِنِي فَإِنَّكَ إِذَا فَعَلْتَ ذَلِكَ قَتَلْتَنِي .
then shoot an arrow and if you do that then you would be able to kill me.
فَجَمَعَ النَّاسَ فِي صَعِيدٍ وَاحِدٍ وَصَلَبَهُ عَلَى جِذْعٍ ثُمَّ أَخَذَ سَهْمًا مِنْ كِنَانَتِهِ ثُمَّ وَضَعَ السَّهْمَ فِي كَبِدِ الْقَوْسِ ثُمَّ قَالَ
So he (the king) called the people in an open plain and tied him (the boy) to the trunk of a tree, then he took hold of an arrow from his quiver and then placed the arrow in the bow and then said:
بِاسْمِ اللَّهِ رَبِّ الْغُلاَمِ .
In the name of Allah, the Lord of the young boy;
ثُمَّ رَمَاهُ فَوَقَعَ السَّهْمُ فِي صُدْغِهِ
he then shot an arrow and it bit his temple.
فَوَضَعَ يَدَهُ فِي صُدْغِهِ فِي مَوْضِعِ السَّهْمِ فَمَاتَ فَقَالَ النَّاسُ
He (the boy) placed his hands upon the temple where the arrow had bit him and he died and the people said:
آمَنَّا بِرَبِّ الْغُلاَمِ آمَنَّا بِرَبِّ الْغُلاَمِ آمَنَّا بِرَبِّ الْغُلاَمِ .
We affirm our faith in the Lord of this young man, we affirm our faith in the Lord of this young man, we affirm our faith in the Lord of this young man.
فَأُتِيَ الْمَلِكُ فَقِيلَ لَهُ أَرَأَيْتَ مَا كُنْتَ تَحْذَرُ قَدْ وَاللَّهِ نَزَلَ بِكَ حَذَرُكَ قَدْ آمَنَ النَّاسُ .
The courtiers came to the king and it was said to him: Do you see that Allah has actually done what you aimed at averting. They (the people) have affirmed their faith in the Lord.
فَأَمَرَ بِالأُخْدُودِ فِي أَفْوَاهِ السِّكَكِ
He (the king) commanded ditches to be dug at important points in the path.
فَخُدَّتْ وَأَضْرَمَ النِّيرَانَ وَقَالَ
When these ditches were dug, and the fire was lit in them it was said (to the people):
مَنْ لَمْ يَرْجِعْ عَنْ دِينِهِ فَأَحْمُوهُ فِيهَا . أَوْ قِيلَ لَهُ اقْتَحِمْ .
He who would not turn back from his (boy’s) religion would be thrown in the fire or it would be said to them to jump in that.
فَفَعَلُوا حَتَّى جَاءَتِ امْرَأَةٌ وَمَعَهَا صَبِيٌّ لَهَا فَتَقَاعَسَتْ أَنْ تَقَعَ فِيهَا فَقَالَ لَهَا الْغُلاَمُ
يَا أُمَّهِ اصْبِرِي فَإِنَّكِ عَلَى الْحَقِّ ” .
 a man who is a member of a religious order and lives in a monastery
 deeply or markedly affected
 manner of conducting oneself
 a young boy —usually used in address
 a test of faith, patience, or stamina through subjection to suffering or temptation
 a chronic infectious disease caused by a mycobacterium (Mycobacterium leprae) affecting especially the skin and peripheral nerves and characterized by the formation of nodules or macules that enlarge and spread accompanied by loss of sensation with eventual paralysis, wasting of muscle, and production of deformities —called also Hansen’s disease
 a person with whom one spends a lot of time or with whom one travels
 state as a fact; assert strongly and publicly.
 complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
 to ask for earnestly and humbly
 to bring back to or put back into a former or original state
 to call upon for specified action
 well advanced in an art, occupation, or branch of knowledge
 a person who attends a royal court as a companion or adviser to the king or queen..
 formally declare one’s abandonment of (a claim, right, or possession)
 archaic or dialect form of you, as the singular subject of a verb.: “thou art fair, o my beloved”.
 (especially of the earth) shake or tremble.
 suffocate in water
 a large area of flat land with few trees.
 an archer’s portable case for holding arrows.
 the flat part of either side of the head between the forehead and the ear
 a narrow channel dug in the ground, typically used for drainage alongside a road or the edge of a field.
 unsure or undecided
 suffer (something painful or difficult) patiently.
 an ancient test of guilt or innocence by subjection of the accused to severe pain
 Sahih Muslim, no. 3005