He was known for being serious and intelligent. Before embracing Islam he used to feel that he doesn�t fit in the lifestyle of his people, also he was never satisfied with their religious beliefs.
On day Abu Bakr, one of the famous companions of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) came up and spoke softly to Sa�d, and explained to him what Islam is about. Then took him to Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). It was late afternoon by this time and the Prophet had just prayed Salat al-Asr. Sa�d was excited and overwhelmed and responded very quickly to the invitation to truth and the religion of Allah. The fact that he was among the first people to embrace accept Islam was something that gave him great satisfaction.
The Prophet (PBUH) was also greatly pleased with the fact that Sa�d has become a Muslim. The Prophet (PBUH) saw in Sa�d signs of brilliance. The fact that he was still in his youth promised great things to come.
The Prophet (PBUH) was happy with his family relationship to Sa�d. Once as he was sitting with his companions, he saw S�ad coming and he said to them:
“This is my maternal uncle. Let a man see his maternal uncle!”
Indeed Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) was delighted with Sad’s acceptance of Islam, but Sa�d�s mother was not. Sa�d narrates:
“When my mother knew that I became a Muslim, she flew into a rage. She came up to me and said:
“O Sad! What is this religion that you have joined which has taken you away from the religion of your mother and father…? Either you abandon this new religion or I would not eat or drink until I die. Your heart would be broken with grief for me and remorse would consume you on account of the deed which you have done and people would censure you forever more.’
‘Don’t do this to me mother,’ I said, ‘for I would not give up my religion for anything in the world.’
Sa�d�s mother carried out her threat… For days she neither ate nor drank. And thus her health has majorly deteriorated. Once Sa�d went to visit his mother trying to convince her to eat, he narrates:
‘Mother! In spite of my strong love for you, my love for Allah and His Messenger is way stronger. By Allah, if you had a thousand souls and one soul after another were to depart, I would not abandon Islam for anything.’ When she saw that I was determined she relented unwillingly and ate and drank.”
It was concerning Sad’s relationship with his mother and her attempt to forsake Islam that the words of the Qur�an were revealed:
“And we enjoined on man (to be good) to his parents. In pain upon pain did his mother bear him and his weaning took two years. So show gratitude to Me and to your parents. To Me is the final destiny.
“But if they strive to make you join in worship with Me things of which you have no knowledge, obey them not. Yet bear them company in this life with justice and consideration and follow the way of those who turn to Me. In the end, the return of you all i s to Me and I shall tell you (the truth and meaning of) all that you used to do.” Qur�an (31: 14-15).
Sa�d ibn Abi Waqqas had distinguished role in many of the battles that took place both during the time of the Prophet (PBUH)and after. He fought at the battle of Badr together with his young brother Umayr who had cried to be allowed to join the Muslim army for he was only in his early teens. Sa�d returned to Madinah alone for Umayr was killed in the battle.
At the Battle of Uhud, Sa�d was chosen as one of the best warriors together with Zayd, Saib the son of Uthman ibn Mazun and others. Sa�d was one of those who fought strongly in defence of the Prophet (PBUH) after some Muslims had deserted their positions. To urge him on, the Prophet (PBUH), said:
” Shoot, Sa�d …may my mother and father be your ransom.”
Sad is also known as the first companion to have shot an arrow in defence of Islam. And the Prophet once prayed for him saying:
“O Lord, direct his shooting and respond to his prayer.”
Sa�d was one of the companions of the Prophet who enjoyed great wealth. Just as he was known for his bravery, so he was known for his generosity. During the Farewell Pilgrimage with Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), he fell ill. The Prophet came to visit him and said:
“O Messenger of Allah. I have wealth and I only have one daughter to inherit from me. Shall I give two thirds of my wealth in charity?”
“No,” replied the Prophet.
“Then, (shall I give) a half?” asked Sad and the Prophet again said ‘no’.
“Then, (shall I give) a third?’ asked Sa�d.
“Yes,” said the Prophet. “The third is much. Indeed to leave your heirs well-off’ is better than that you should leave them dependent on others and to beg from people. If you spend anything seeking to gain thereby the pleasure of Allah, you will be rewarded for it even if it is a morsel which you place in your wife’s mouth.”
Sa�d did not remain the father of just one child but was blessed thereafter with many children.
Sa�d is mainly renowned as the commander-in-chief of the strong Muslim army which Umar dispatched to fight the Persians at the Battle of Qadisiyyah.
It wasn�t an easy task to fight the very strong army of Persia. The most powerful force had to be mustered. Umar sent dispatches to Muslim governors throughout the state to gather all strong men who had weapons or mounts, or who had talents of oratory and other skills to join the Muslims in the battle.
When they had all gathered, Umar consulted the Muslims leaders about the appointment of a commander-in-chief over the mighty army. Umar himself thought of leading the army but Ali suggested that the Muslims were in great need of him. So Sa�d was then chosen as commander and Abdur-Rahman ibn Awl, one of the veterans among the Prophet�s companions said:
“You have chosen well! Who is there like Sa�d?” Umar stood before the army and bade farewell to them. To the commander-in-chief he said:
“O Sad! Let not any statement that you are the uncle of the Messenger of Allah or that you are the companion of the Messenger of Allah distract you from God. Allah Almighty does not obliterate evil with evil but he wipes out evil with good.
“O Sa�d! There is no connection between God and anyone except obeying Him. In the sight of Allah all people whether nobleman or commoner are the same. Allah is their Lord and they are His worshipers seeking elevation through taqwa (fear of God) and seeking to obtain what is with God through obedience. Consider how the Messenger of Allah used to act with the Muslims and act accordingly…”
Sa�d was fully aware of the gravity of the impending battle and kept in close contact with the military high command in Madinah. Although commander-in-chief, he understood the importance of shura (counseling).
Sa�d followed Umar�s instructions.
The Battle of Qadisiyyah is one of the most important battles of world history.
Two years after Qadisiyyah, Sa�d went on to take the Sasanian capital. The taking of Ctesiphon was accomplished after a brilliant crossing of the Tigris river (In Iraq) while it was in flood. Sa�d has thus gone down in the annals of history as the Hero of Qadisiyyah and the Conqueror of Ctesiphon.
Sa�d was blessed with much influence and wealth but as the time of death approached in the year 54 AH, he asked his son to open a box in which he had kept a course woolen jubbah and said:
“Shroud me in this, for in this (jubbah) I fought against the atheists on the day of Badr and in it I desire to meet Allah Almighty.”