Suhayb the Roman

Suhayb the Roman or Suhayb al-Rumi (Arabic: صُهَيْب ٱلرُّومِيّ‎, Ṣuhayb ar-Rūmīy, born c. 587), also known as Suhayb ibn Sinan (Arabic: صُهَيْب ٱبْن سِنَان‎), also spelled Suhaib, was a former slave in the Byzantine Empire who went on to become a companion of Muhammad and member of the early Muslim community.

Suhayb the Roman
صُهَيْب ٱلرُّومِيّ
صهيب الرومي.png
Born35 BH
Died38 AH (age 73)
Burial PlaceJannat al-Baqi', Hijaz
(Modern Saudi Arabia)
KunyaAbu Yahya
(أَبُو يَحْيَىٰ)
Venerated inSunni Islam

Early lifeEdit

Around the year 591, about twenty years before the commencement of Muhammad's mission, a man named Sinan ibn Malik governed the city of al-Uballah on behalf of the Persian emperor (perhaps Khosrow II). The city, which is now part of Basra, lay on the banks of the Euphrates. He had several children and was particularly fond of one of them who was then barely five years old with blond hair and a fair-complexion named Suhayb. One day Suhayb's mother took him to a village called ath-Thani for a picnic. That day ath-Thani was attacked by Byzantine soldiers who took a large number of prisoners, including Suhayb.

Suhayb was taken to one of the slave markets of the Byzantine Empire, thereafter he passed from one master to another, remaining for about twenty years in Byzantine lands as a slave. He grew up speaking Greek, the language of the Byzantine Empire and practically forgot Arabic. At the first opportunity Suhayb escaped from bondage and headed for Mecca, which was considered a place of asylum. There, people called him ar-Rumi, meaning "the Roman", because of his background, including of his Roman accent and blond hair. He became the representative of an aristocrat in Mecca, Abdullah ibn Judan, engaging in trade and becoming quite wealthy.[citation needed]

Acceptance of Islam and escape to MedinaEdit

One day he was told that Muhammad was calling people to a new religion in the house of al-Arqam ibn Abi al-Arqam. After meeting with him, he was convinced of the truth of his message and pledged fealty to Muhammad. The ruling tribe of Quraish soon learned of Suhayb's acceptance of Islam and began harassing him. When Muhammad gave permission for his followers to migrate to Medina in 622, Suhayb resolved to accompany Muhammad and Abu Bakr, but the Quraish discovered his intentions and placed guards over him to prevent him from leaving Mecca and taking the wealth he had acquired through trade. After the departure of Muhammad and Abu Bakr, Suhayb continued to bide his time, unsuccessfully attempting to escape several times.

One night, Suhayb feigned stomach problems and went out repeatedly as if responding to calls of nature. His captors became relaxed and Suhayb quietly armed himself, readied a mount and headed for Medina. When his captors realized Suhayb was gone they left in pursuit and eventually caught up with him. Seeing them approach, Suhayb clambered up a hill and holding his bow and arrow, he shouted:

"Men of Quraish! You know, by God, that I am one of the best archers and my aim is unerring. By God, if you come near me, with each arrow I have, I shall kill one of you. Then I shall strike with my sword."

The men responded "By God, we shall not let you escape from us with your life and money. You came to Mecca weak and poor and you have acquired what you have acquired.."

"What would you say if I leave you my wealth?" interrupted Suhayb. "Would you get out of my way?" "Yes," they answered.

Suhayb described the place in his house in Mecca where he had left the money, and they allowed him to go. When Suhayb reached Quba, just outside Medina, Muhammad saw him approaching and said, "Your transaction has been fruitful, O Abu Yahya. Your transaction has been fruitful." He repeated this three times. Suhayb's face beamed with happiness as he said: "By God, no one has come before me to you, Messenger of God, and only Jibril could have told you about this."

Following the death of UmarEdit

Suhayb was nominated by the caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab to lead the Muslims in prayers for some time.

As Umar lay dying after being stabbed by Abu-Lu'lu'ah on November 1, 644, he summoned Uthman ibn Affan, Ali, Talhah, Zubayr ibn al-Awam, Abdur Rahman bin Awf, and Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas and instructed them to consult among themselves and with the Muslims for three days and choose a successor.

In this brief intermediate period before Uthman’s appointment, Suhayb was responsible for leading prayers.

The Prophet described love for him necessary for faith. He said: Whoever has faith in God and Last Day should love him like a mother loves her child. [1]

See alsoEdit



  1. ^ "الكتب - سير أعلام النبلاء - الصحابة رضوان الله عليهم - صهيب بن سنان- الجزء رقم1". (in Arabic). Retrieved 2020-04-04.