Ikrama Bin Abu Jahl full name is Ikrima ibn Amr ibn Hisham al-Makhzumi. He was a leading opponent-turned companion of the prophet Muhammad SAW and a Muslim commander.
Ikrima’s father was Amr ibn Hisham, a leader of the polytheistic Quraysh tribe’s Banu Makhzum clan.
He who was called “Abu Jahl” (father of ignorance) by the Muslims for his stringent opposition to the the messenger of Allah.
Ikrama Bin Abu Jahl Life Before Islam
On the day the Prophet publicly proclaimed his call to guidance and truth, Ikrimah was nearing the end of his third decade of life.
Being affluent and from from a noble family, he was highly respected by the Quraysh.
Other sons of aristocratic families in Makkah had converted to Islam, including Saud ibn Abi Waqqas, Musab ibn Umayr, and others.
If not for his father, he could have also followed their lead.
One of Makkah’s greatest tyrants and the leading advocate of shirk was his father, Abu Jahl. He severely strained the early believers’ faith by torture, but they persisted.
He used every trick in the book to get them to doubt the truth, but they persisted.
Ikrimah found himself opposing the Prophet while protecting the power and leadership of his father.
His father admired him for his hatred of the Prophet, his persecution of his followers, and his attempts to obstruct the advancement of Islam and Muslims.
Abu Jahl led the Makkan polytheists in their conflict with the Muslims at Badr.
By al-Laat and al-Uzza, he promised he would not go back to Makkah until he had killed Muhammad SAW.
He offered these goddesses three camels as sacrifices at Badr. He drank wine and used singing girls’ music to motivate the Quraysh to battle.
One of the first casualties in the conflict was Abu Jahl. His son Ikrimah heard his last scream of agony as well as seen him being wounded by spears.
Ikrimah left the body of his father, a Quraysh chieftain, behind and went back to Makkah. Because of the humiliating loss they had, he was unable to bury him in Makkah.
Since that day, Ikrimah has been consumed by hatred with an even greater ferocity.
A number of other people turned against Muhammad SAW and his supporters after their dads were slaughtered at Badr. The Battle of Uhud resulted from this ultimately.
Ikrimah was there at Uhud with his wife Umm Hakim.
She and other women banged drums as they stood behind the Quraysh’s lines of defense, encouraging them to fight and chastising any horsemen who attempted to leave.
Khalid ibn Walid was in charge of the Quraysh’s right flank. Ikrimah ibn Abu Jahl was to the left.
Inflicting severe casualties on the Muslims, the Quraysh believed they had exacted revenge for their loss at Badr. But the condition of conflict did not cease with this.
The Quraysh mushrikun besieged Madinah at the Battle of the Ditch. Long was the siege. The mushrikun’s supplies and endurance were running low.
Ikrimah, who was feeling the pressure of the siege, noticed a spot where the Muslims had constructed a reasonably shallow ditch.
He made it across with great effort. He was followed by a few Quraysh. It was a foolish thing to try. Ikrimah was only able to save himself by turning on his heels when one of them was promptly dead.
The Prophet returned to Makkah with thousands of his companions nine years after his hijrah.
Knowing that the Prophet had instructed his commanders not to initiate hostilities, the Quraysh saw them coming and chose to leave the route clear for them.
Ikrimah and a few others, however, disobeyed the Quraysh’s decision and made an effort to obstruct the advancement of the Muslim forces.
In a brief battle when some of Ikrimah’s soldiers were slain and others who could fled, Khalid ibn al-Walid, now a Muslim, met and destroyed them. Ikrimah himself was among those who made it out alive.
Ikrimah’s reputation and any power it may have once possessed were now irreparably damaged.
All Quraysh who entered the holy mosque, stayed in their homes, or went to the home of Abu Sufyan, the most important Quraysh leader, were granted a general pardon and amnesty by the Prophet, peace be upon him, when he arrived in Makkah.
However, he refused to pardon several of the people he mentioned. Even if they were discovered hiding under the Kabah’s covering, he gave the order to murder them.
Ikrimah ibn Abu Jahl was at the top of this list. Ikrimah learned about this, so he disguised himself and left Makkah for Yemen.
How Ikrimah Ibn Abi Jahl Accepted Islam
When Makkah was conquered, two people together, they fought with the sahabah, then they realised that there is no hope.
Safwan ibn Umayya, remember one of the chieftains of the Quraysh Ikrimah, the son of Abu Jahl Both of them; their fathers were the chief opponents of the Messenger of Allah SAW.
They had lost everything. They had failed in every battle and now their city, their fortress was now conquered.
Safwan, the son of Umayya, despaired. Ikrimah, the son of Abu Jahl, despaired. And they both decided that we will flee, we will never stay in Makkah.
So Ikrimah and Safwan, together, they fled out of the city. When they fled, Safwan was so despondent that he actually made an intention to commit suicide.
And he said, “I will commit suicide by plunging myself into the sea.”
And Ikrimah decided not to commit suicide, but he decided to travel by sea to another land; across the Red Sea to Abyssinia.
Ikrimah went and he boarded a ship. The ship was caught in a storm.
When it was caught in the storm, his fellow travellers all began screaming and shouting and some of them suggested, one of them suggested that sincerely pray because if you are not sincere now in your prayer and in your supplication, then nothing will save you i.e. your gods will not save you.
So Ikrimah, he had a revelation then and he said, “If only sincerity…” and the meaning of sincerity here is making your prayer and supplication one and exclusive only for Allah, not to the idols.
Because remember they worshipped Allah too, but along with Allah they worshipped a pantheon of gods.
So what the person was saying is that; do not pray to the pantheon of gods, pray only to the Supreme God Because on this occasion if you do not pray exclusively to the one Supreme God, Allah, then the other pantheon of gods will not save you.
So Ikrimah said, “If… praying exclusively only to Allah will save me on sea, then it seems that the only thing that will save me on land is also praying exclusively to Allah.”
So he was saved and he made a Dua. He said whilst, imagine the storm is raging around him and this is Ikrimah, the son of Abu Jahl.
So he prayed to Allah saying,
“Oh Allah! I vow that if you save me from this storm and deliver me to the shore of safety, then I will go humbly before Muhammad SAW, present myself to him and embrace his religion.”
Allah did save him. Ikrimah travelled from the Red Sea back inland to Makkah and he came to visit the Prophet SAW.
When the Prophet SAW saw him, imagine this is a Ikrimah the son of Abu Jahl.
Abu Jahl who did all that he did. And this is Ikrimah who fought against the Prophet SAW even at the conquest of Makkah And fled, not being able to bear the sight of the Muslims in Makkah.
And yet how did the Prophet SAW receive him?
The Prophet SAW exclaimed, “Welcome oh noble rider.”
And he welcomed him. Ikrama Bin Abu Jahl presented himself humbly, embraced Islam Ikrimah was devoted to the Prophet SAW thereafter.
Many years after he actually died as a shaheed in the way of Allah.
Read the full story of companion Zayd Ibn Harithah, the only Sahabi mentioned in Quran.