What is the martry of tabuk?
Only a single Companion was martyred at Tabuk: Abdullah al-Muzani -Allah be well-pleased with him-, who became honored with Islam despite being in a tribe of idolaters. His father had left no wealth behind when he died, so Abdullah was brought up next to his wealthy uncle, who reared him and made him a wealthy man like himself. In spite of having an avid desire to become Muslim as early as the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- made the Hegira to Medina, Abdullah could not follow through because of his uncle, a practicing idolater. Once the Prophet of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- returned to Medina following the fath of Mecca, Abdullah said to his uncle, “I have waited all this time for you to become Muslim. But I still do not see you nurture any desire towards Muhammad. But the least you can do is to allow me to become a Muslim!”
“If you begin to follow Muhammad in any way”, replied his uncle, “I will take away everything I have given you, all the way to the clothes on your back!”
“By Allah, I have begun to follow Muhammad. I have already stopped worshipping stones and wood! So you can go ahead and take whatever you wish from my hands”, he responded.
His uncle took everything away from him to the very clothes on his back, like he had threatened. Abdullah -Allah be well-pleased with him- returned to his mother, nearly bare. She divided a thick rug into two pieces. Abdullah -Allah be well-pleased with him- used half of it to cover his upper body, the other half for his lower body. He was resolute; he wanted to go to Medina as soon as possible and unite with the Prophet of Allah -upon him blessings and peace-. All the obstacles put in front of him now counted for nothing. He could not wait a single moment more. Getting away from his tribesmen who were keeping him under close watch, he secretly left in the dark of night. After a long and tiring journey, he finally arrived within a visible distance from Medina, albeit his hands and feet were bloodied, scarred from the strain of the long walk and he had all but lost his breath from thirst and hunger. His excitement was still overflowing; he just wanted to get there. Then all of a sudden he stopped and thought to himself that there was no way he could appear in the presence of the Prophet of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- with the coarse rugs he had haphazardly strung around himself for clothes. Yet without any other choice, he kept walking, and the young, soon-to-be Companion made it to the Masjid amid the fascinated gazes of those catching a glimpse of the stranger enshrouded in rug. He slept there until dawn. The Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- then lead the Companions in fajr salat. Afterward, just as he was surveying those present at the salat right before retreating into his chamber, he noticed Abdullah. The Prophet of Mercy -upon him blessings and peace-, the refuge of the lonely and the weak, then embraced Abdullah with all his compassion. Finding out his name was Abduluzza, the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- said:
“You are Abdullah Dhul-Bijadayn (the one with two rugs)! Remain somewhere close to me and visit me frequently!” Abdullah -Allah be well-pleased with him- then joined the people of Suffa, where he immediately begun learning to read the Quran. Soon, he was able to read and memorize many suwar.
The celebrated Companion, who bound himself to the Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- with love, was soon running with him from one battle to another, burning with the desire to be martyred to surrender his life in the way of Allah, glory unto Him. He adamantly insisted the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- to pray that be would be martyred prior to setting out on the Campaign of Tabuk. The Noble Messenger -upon him blessings and peace- prayed, “O my Lord! Make his blood inviolable to the nonbelievers!”
“That is not what I had wanted, Messenger of Allah”, said Abdullah -Allah be well-pleased with him-, to which the Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- replied, “If you go out to fight in the way of Allah, contract a fever and die, you are a martyr! If your mount throws you off, you fall and break your neck, you are a martyr! Not to worry! Whichever one of these it may be, it shall suffice for you to be a martyr!”
Miraculously, Abdullah -Allah be well-pleased with him- ended up becoming martyred in the exact manner foretold by the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace-. One night, as the army was preparing to head back, three people were carrying away the body of a deceased Companion under the dim light of a flame; they were Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- and two of his closest Companions, Abu Bakr and Omar -Allah be well-pleased with them-. The body belonged to Abdullah Dhul-Bijadayn -Allah be well-pleased with him-.
Abdullah ibn Masud -Allah be well-pleased with him- recounts, in awe, the scene he witnessed:
“In the dark of night, I saw a moving flame at the corner of the field where the warriors had set up their tents. I got up and followed it. Lo and behold; it turned out to be the Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace-, Abu Bakr and Omar -Allah be well-pleased with them- carrying the body of Abdullah Dhul-Bijadayn -Allah be well-pleased with him-. They came to a spot, where they stopped and dug a grave. The Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- then went down into the grave, as Abu Bakr and Omar -Allah be well-pleased with them- were preparing to pass the body to him.
‘Bring your brother closer to me’, said the Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace-. They did. Taking hold of his body, the Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- then placed him with his own hands in the grave, after which he stood and prayed, ‘O my Lord! I was pleased with him; I always was…Be pleased with him too!’
I was very much moved by what I saw. I was envious of Dhul-Bijadayn. I thought to myself there and then, ‘If only it was me placed in the grave right now amid the Prophet’s compliments!’” (Ibn Hisham, IV, 183; Waqidi, III, 1013-1014; Ibn Athir, Usd’ul-Ghabah, III, 227)