Men of Excellence

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Friday Sermon

11 January 2019

Delivered from Baitul Futuh Mosque

Men of Excellence

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After reciting the TashahudTa‘awuz, and Surah al-Fatihah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa stated:

Hazrat Khallad bin Amr bin Jamuhra Ansari was amongst the Companionsra of the Holy Prophetsa who participated in the Battle of Badr. He joined the Battle of Badr along with his father Hazrat Amr bin Jamuhra and his brothers Hazrat Mu‘azra, Hazrat Abu Aimanra and Hazrat Mu‘awwazra. It is also said regarding Hazrat Abu Aimanra that he was not his brother but the freed slave of his father, Hazrat Amrra bin Jamu. (Usdul Ghaba, Vol. 1, p. 184, Khallad Bin Amrra, Dar-ul-Kutub Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2003)

When the Holy Prophetsa set out for the Battle of Badr, he, along with his army, camped at Suqya, which is situated on the outskirts of Medina. 

Hazrat Abdullahra bin Qatadah narrates from his father that the Messengersa of Allah offered the prayer at Suqya, a place on the outskirts of Medina, where there was also a well and he prayed for the people of Medina.

Hazrat Addira bin Abi Al-Zaghba and Hazrat Basbasra bin Amr came to the Holy Prophetsa at that same location where they had camped, and according to other narrations, Hazrat Abdullahra bin Amr bin Haram also came to see the Holy Prophetsa. They submitted:

“O Messengersa of Allah! You camping here and assessing the strength of the army is indeed an excellent thing and we consider this as a good omen. The reason for this is because when the battle between us, i.e. Banu Salama, and Ahl-e-Husaiqa took place, we camped at this exact same location.” He is referring to an earlier incident prior to the advent of Islam. “On the outskirts of Medina there is a mountain called Zubab, and Husaiqa was situated not too far from there, where a lot of Jews resided.”

He further states: 

“It was at this location that we also carried out an assessment of our army and only permitted those who possessed the strength for fighting. Those who did not carry the strength to hold a weapon were sent back. Thereafter we advanced towards the Jews of Husaiqa. At the time, the Jews of Husaiqa wielded the most influence over the rest of the Jews. We then killed them in whichever manner we could.”

A huge battle took place between them. It was for this reason that he said to the Holy Prophetsa:

“O Messengersa of Allah! I am hopeful that when we are up against the Quraish, God Almighty will grant your eyes comfort in relation to them, i.e. you will be granted victory just as we were granted victory before.” 

Hazrat Khallad bin Amrra relates: “At sunrise, I went to my family in Khurba.” Khurba is the name of the area where there were houses of Banu Salama. He further states: “My father, Hazrat Amr bin Jamuhra, said, ‘I thought, you had left already.’” 

In the earlier narration, it mentioned that the father, Amr bin Jamuh, also participated in the Battle of Badr. However, from this narration and later narrations, we find that he in fact did not participate. 

“I told him [i.e. his father] that the Holy Prophetsa is inspecting and assessing the numbers in the fields of Suqya. Upon this, Hazrat Amrra said, ‘What a great omen it is! By Allah, I am hoping that you would attain the spoils of war and a victory over the Idolaters of the Quraish. The day we marched towards Husaiqah, we also camped at that same place.’” 

He is also confirming the earlier narration, which has been mentioned previously regarding the battle that took place between them and the Jews. 

Hazrat Khalladra narrates:

“The Holy Prophetsa changed the name of Husaiqa to Suqya. I had the desire in my heart to purchase the plot of land in Suqya. However, Hazrat Sa‘d bin Abi Waqqasra had already purchased it before me in exchange of two camels.” According to other sources, he had purchased it for seven Auqia of silver i.e. two hundred and eighty dirhams. “When this matter was mentioned to the Holy Prophetsa, he said:

رَبِحَ الْبَيْعُ

Meaning, this bargain was very profitable.” (Kitab-ul-Maghazi, Vol. 1, pp. 37-38, Dar-ul-Kutub Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2013) (Mujam-ul-Baldan, Vol. 3, p. 258, Suqya, Dar-ul-Kutub Ilmiyyah, Beirut) (Wafa-ul-Wafa, Vol. 3, p. 1200, Khurba, Dar-ul-Kutub Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 1984) (Lughat-ul-Hadith, Vol. 1, p. 82, Auqia, Ali Asif Printer, Lahore, 2005)

Hazrat Khallad’sra father, Hazrat Amr bin Jamuhra did not participate in the Battle of Badr. Hazrat Khalladra, his father, Hazrat Amr bin Jamuhra and Hazrat Abu Aimanra participated in the Battle of Uhud and all three attained martyrdom during this battle. (Mustadrak Ala Al-Sahihain, Vol. 3, p. 226, Kitab Marifatu Al-Sahaba, Dar-ul-Kutub Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2002)

In other words, he himself, his brother and his father; all three participated in the Battle of Uhud. However, his father did not participate in the Battle of Badr. Although he desired to participate, however, due to his leg – he had a limp and was physically impaired in one leg – his sons stopped him from participating in the Battle of Badr. 

In relation to Hazrat Khallad’sra father, Hazrat Amr bin Jamuhra, it is mentioned that on the occasion of Badr, when the Holy Prophetsa urged [the Muslims] to participate in Jihad, Amr’s sons stopped him from taking part in the battle due to an injury to his foot. God Almighty has also exempted those that are handicapped from participating in battle. For this reason, his sons also told him not to participate and said that since four of his sons were going to fight, what need was there for him to go; especially since God Almighty had already excused him. Hence, despite his heartfelt desire, he did not participate in the Battle of Badr upon the advice of his sons. However, when the Battle of Uhud took place, Amrra said to his sons, “Since you did not allow me to participate in the Battle of Badr, now that the Battle of Uhud is about to take place, you will not be able to stop me this time. I will most certainly go and participate in Uhud.” 

In any case, he said to them that they would not be able to prevent him and that he would certainly participate. Upon this, his children tried to stop him due to his disability. However, he went to the Holy Prophetsa himself in order to seek permission from him. Hence, he presented himself before the Holy Prophetsa and submitted: “My sons are trying to stop me from participating in Jihad once again. At first, they stopped me from taking part in the Battle of Badr and now they are again not allowing me to go to Uhud. I wish to participate in this Jihad alongside you.” He further said: “By God! I am hopeful that God Almighty will accept my heartfelt desire and grant me martyrdom and that I will enter paradise with this handicapped foot of mine.” 

The Holy Prophetsa replied, “O Amr! There is no doubt that God Almighty has excused you owing to your disability and Jihad has not been made obligatory upon you.” The Holy Prophetsa then said to his sons, “You should not prevent him from performing virtuous deeds. If this is his heartfelt desire, then allow him to fulfil it. Perhaps God Almighty will grant him martyrdom.” 

Hence, Hazrat Amrra took hold of his weapons and set off towards the field of Uhud whilst reciting the following prayer:

اَللّٰهُمَّ ارْزُقْنِي شَهَادَةَ وَلَا تَرُدَّنِيْ اِلٰي اَهْلِيْ خَائِبًا

That is, “O Allah! Grant me martyrdom and do not allow me to return to my family in a state of failure.” God Almighty accepted his supplication and he attained martyrdom there. (Usdul Ghaba, Vol. 4, pp. 195-196, Khallad bin Amrra, Dar-ul-Kutub Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2003)

The mother of Hazrat Khalladra was Hazrat Hind bint Amrra (Amr was her father’s name as well as the name of her husband) and she was the paternal aunt of Hazrat Jabir bin Abdullahra. On the occasion of the battle of Uhud, she carried her husband, her son and her brother on a camel after they were martyred. However, when the instruction was issued with regard to them, they were brought back to Uhud and buried there. (Asaba, Vol. 2, p. 287, Dar-ul-Kutub Al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 1995)

When she found out that they had been martyred, she brought them to Medina, but later brought them back [to Uhud]. The details of this incident have been given further on. 

It was the Will of God Almighty that the martyrs of Uhud should be buried in Uhud. The details of this incident are as follows: 

Hazrat Aishara left her home with some women of Medina in order to acquire information about the battle of Uhud. At that time, the commandments regarding the veil had not yet been revealed. When Hazrat Aishara reached Harra, she met Hind bint Amrra, who was the sister of Hazrat Abdullah bin Amrra. Hazrat Hind at the time was ushering her camel forwards. The bodies of her husband, Hazrat Amr bin Jamuhra, her son, Hazrat Khallad bin Amrra and her brother, Hazrat Abdullah bin Amrra were placed on this camel. Hazrat Aishara enquired about the situation on the battlefield and asked her, ‘Do you have any information of the circumstances of those whom you have left behind?’ Hazrat Hindra replied, ‘The Holy Prophetsa is fine and after him, all difficulties are easy to bear’, meaning that if the Holy Prophetsa was alive, then nothing else mattered. Following this, Hazrat Hindra recited the following verse: 

وَرَدَّ اللّٰهُ الَّذِيْنَ كَفَرُوْا بِغَيْظِهِمْ لَمْ يَنَالُوْا خَيْرًا وَكَفَى اللّٰهُ الْمُؤْمِنِيْنَ الْقِتَالَ وَكَانَ اللّٰهُ قَوِيًّا عَزِيزًا

“That is, ‘And Allah turned back the disbelievers in their rage; they gained no good. And Allah sufficed the believers in their fight. And Allah is Powerful, Mighty.’ (Surah al-Ahzab: V.26)

Hazrat Aishara enquired who was on the camel. Upon this, Hazrat Hindra replied that it was her brother, her son, Khalladra, and her husband, Amr bin Jamuhra. Hazrat Aishara then asked, ‘where are you taking them?’ She replied, ‘I am taking them to Medina in order to bury them.’

“Again, she ushered her camel to move forward, however the camel sat down on the same place. Hazrat Aishara said that it was carrying too much weight. Upon this, Hazrat Hindra replied, ‘It has the strength to carry the load of two camels, but at this moment in time it is acting in complete contrast to this.’ She then rebuked the camel upon which it stood up. When she turned it towards the direction of Medina, it sat down again. However, when she turned it towards the direction of Uhud, it started to move quickly. Following this, Hazrat Hindra went to the Holy Prophetsa and related this incident to him. The Holy Prophetsa said that the camel had been assigned [to fulfil this task]. That is, God Almighty had appointed it for the very task of not returning to Medina and turning back to Uhud. The Holy Prophetas then asked, ‘Did your husband say anything before he left for battle?’ She replied, ‘When Amrra was about to set off in the direction of Uhud, he turned towards the Qibla [direction of Ka‘bah in Mecca] and said, “O Allah! Do not bring me back to my family in a state of disgrace and grant me martyrdom.”’ Upon this, the Holy Prophetsa said, ‘This was the very reason the camel was not moving.’ The Holy Prophetsa then said, ‘O Ansar [Muslim natives of Medina]! There are such pious individuals among you that if they take an oath in the name of God, He will most certainly fulfil that prayer and Amr bin Jamuhra was also one of those.’

“The Holy Prophetsa then said to Hindra, wife of Amr bin Jamuhra, ‘O Hind! From the moment your brother was martyred, the angels have covered him in their shade waiting to know where his burial will take place.’ The Holy Prophetsa remained [in Uhud] until all the martyrs were buried. Then he stated, ‘O Hindra! Amr bin Jamuhra, your son, Khalladra, and your brother, Abdullahra are all together in paradise.’ Upon this, Hindra requested, ‘O Messengersa of Allah! Please pray for me that God Almighty may also grant me their companionship.’” (Kitab-ul-Maghazi, Vol. 1, pp. 232-233, Ghazwa-e-Uhud, Darul Kutub Al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2013)

The second companion who will be mentioned today is Hazrat Uqbah bin Aamirra. The name of his mother is Fuqaihah bint Sakanra and his father was Aamir bin Naabi. His mother had accepted the Holy Prophetsa as well and had the honour of pledging allegiance to him. Hazrat Uqbah bin Aamirra was amongst the first six Ansar who accepted Islam in Mecca and later took the pledge of allegiance during the first Bai‘at that took place at Aqabah. (Al-Tabaqaat-ul-Kubra, Vol. 3, p. 428, Uqbah bin Aamirra, Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 1990) (Al-Tabaqaat-ul-Kubra, Vol. 8, p. 301, Fuqaihah bint Sakanra, Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 1990) 

The details of this incident have been written by Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahibra in Sirat Khatamun-Nabiyyin [The Life and Character of the Seal of Prophetssa] in which he explains how the message of Islam reached Medina through the efforts of the Holy Prophetsa

“During the Ashhur-e-Hurum [sacred months in Islam], as per his custom, while the Holy Prophetsa was visiting tribes, he found that a renowned man from Yathrab, Suwaid bin Samit was staying in Mecca. Suwaid was a famous man from Medina, who on account of his courage, generosity and other qualities was called Kamil’; he was also a poet. Ascertaining his whereabouts, the Holy Prophetsa reached his encampment and invited him to Islam. He said, ‘I also possess a special book named Mujallah Luqman.’  The Holy Prophetsa responded, ‘Let me hear a portion of it as well,’ upon which he recited a portion of this scripture. The Holy Prophetsa praised it saying, ‘There are good things in it, but the book which I possess is extraordinarily exalted and sublime.’ As such, the Holy Prophetsa recited a portion of the Holy Quran to him. When the Holy Prophetsa finished, he said, ‘Indeed, this is a very good book.’ Although he did not become a Muslim, he completely agreed with the Holy Prophetsa and did not reject him. Alas, after his return to Medina, he did not receive much respite, and was killed in a conflict. This is prior to the Battle of Buaath. 

“After that, during the same era, that is, prior to the Battle of Buaath, the Holy Prophetsa was visiting tribes during the occasion of Hajj, when he suddenly spotted a few men. These people were from the Aus tribe, and had come to seek help from the Quraish against their idolatrous rivals, the Khazraj. This occurrence is also prior to the Battle of Buaath, thus, their seeking assistance was a part of their preparations of war. The Holy Prophetsa went to them and invited them to Islam. Upon hearing his address, a young man named Iyas could not restrain himself and said, ‘By God, to which this man (Muhammadsa) calls us, is greater than that for which we have come here.’ (I.e. it is better to turn towards to God rather than our plea to assist us with the war.) But the chieftain of that group took a handful of pebbles and threw them at his face, saying, ‘Be quiet! We have not come here for this purpose!’ and in this manner the matter was disposed of. However, it is written that when Iyas returned to his homeland and was about to die, the words of the Kalimah [Muslim declaration of faith] were upon his tongue.

“Sometime afterwards, when the Battle of Buaath had taken place, in Rajab 11 Nabawi, the Holy Prophetsa happened to meet the people of Yathrab once again. (This happened in the 11th year of his prophethood.) When the Holy Prophetsa enquired as to their genealogy, he found that they belonged to the Khazraj, and had come from Yathrab. In an extremely loving tone, the Holy Prophetsa said to them, ‘Can you people listen to a few things I have to say?’ They said, ‘Yes, what do you say?’ The Holy Prophetsa took a seat and invited them to Islam, recited a few verses of the Holy Quran and informed them of his mission. These people looked at each other and said, ‘This is our opportunity, lest the Jews excel us,’ and saying this, they all became Muslim. These were six people, whose names are as follows:

1. Abu Umamah As‘ad bin Zurarahra who was from the Banu Najjar, and was the very first in his affirmation

2. Auf bin Harithra who was also from the Banu Najjar, which was the tribe of the maternal kindred of Abdul-Muttalib, the grandfather of the Holy Prophetsa

3. Rafi bin Malikra who was from the Banu Zuraiq. On this occasion, the Holy Prophetsa bestowed the entirety of the Holy Quran to him, which had been revealed thus far

4. Qutbah bin Aamirra who was from the Bani Salamah

5. Uqbah bin Aamirra who was from the Bani Haram (the incident is in relation to him); Uqbah bin Aamirra was a Badri Companion

6. Jabir bin Abdullah bin Riaabra who was from the Bani Ubaid

“After this, these people took leave of the Holy Prophetsa and upon their departure, said:

‘We have been greatly weakened by civil war, and there are many disagreements between us. We shall go to Yathrab and preach Islam to our brothers. How remarkable would it be that Allah the Exalted may gather us again through you! Then we shall be fit to assist you in every way.’ 

“Therefore, these people left, and due to them, Islam began to find popularity in Yathrab.

“This year was spent in Mecca by the Holy Prophetsa in concern and anticipation for the people of Yathrab with regard to their physical means. The Holy Prophetsa would often think, ‘Let us see the outcome of these six converts, and if there are any signs of success in Yathrab or not?’ For the Muslims as well, with respect to physical means, this era was one of concern and anticipation. At times, there would be a flicker of hope, and at times no hope at all. They saw that the leaders of Mecca and the chieftains of Taif had sternly rejected the mission of the Holy Prophetsa, and one by one, the various tribes of Arabia had also put a stamp on their condemnation. A ray of hope began to shine in Medina, but who could figure that this ray of light could stand before storms of affliction and torture, against the cyclones of hardship? 

“On the other hand, the cruelties of the Meccans were growing day by day, for they understood well that now was the time to erase Islam. But even in this delicate era (such a vulnerable era had not befallen Islam), the Holy Prophetsa and his Companions stood in their place like a firm mountain. At times, the determination and steadfastness of the Holy Prophetsa would even put his enemies to astonishment: after all, what kind of inner-strength does this man possess? For nothing seems to move him from his place. Rather, in that era, the words of the Holy Prophetsa especially possessed a kind of power and awe. (When the Holy Prophetsa would speak, he would do so with power and awe) and in these fierce storms, the Holy Prophetsa would become even more courageous. On one side, if this sight astonished the Quraish, on the other, it also made their hearts tremble. With regards to these days, Sir William Muir writes:

‘Mohammad thus holding his people at bay; waiting in the still expectation of victory; to outward appearance defenceless, and with his little band (i.e. the followers of the Holy Prophetsa) as it were in the lion’s mouth; yet trusting in His Almighty power whose Messenger he believed himself to be, resolute and unmoved’

“Sir William Muir further says: 

‘Mohammad stood unmoved with such determination that nothing could displace him. This presents a spectacle of sublimity paralleled only by such scenes in the Sacred Records as that of the prophet of Israel when he complained to his master, ‘I, even I only, am left.’ 

“He further writes: 

‘Nay, seeing Mohammad in this manner is in one point of view even more amazing than the prophets of Israel. The following words of Mohammad were said on this occasion: “O my people! Work ye in your place. Wait in expectation; WE too in expectancy are waiting.”’

“Therefore, this was a vulnerable era for Islam, in that there was no expectancy from the Meccans. But a ray of hope was developing in Medina, and the Holy Prophetsa keenly had his eyes set in that direction. Would Medina also reject the Holy Prophetsa like Mecca and Taif, or did it hold a different destiny? Therefore, when the occasion of Hajj came, the Holy Prophetsa very avidly left his home and reached Aqabah, near Mina, and looked here and there. Suddenly, the Holy Prophetsa noticed a small group of the people of Yathrab, who immediately recognised the Holy Prophetsa. They came forward and met the Holy Prophetsa with extreme love and sincerity. This time there were twelve people, among whom five were converts of the previous year and seven were new. They belonged to both the Aus and the Khazraj. Their names are as follows: 

1. Abu Umamah As‘ad bin Zurarahra

2. Auf bin Harithra 

3. Rafi‘ bin Malikra

4. Qutbah bin Amirra

5. Uqbah bin Amirra (Uqbah bin Aamir came this year aswell. The incidents are being narrated about his life, he returned for the Hajj this year as well) 

6. Mu‘adh bin Harithra, who was from the Bani Najjar

7. Zakwan bin Abdi Qaisra from the Banu Zariq tribe

8. Abu Abdur-Rahman Yazid bin Tha‘labahra from the Bani Bali tribe 

9. Ubadah bin Samit who was from the Bani Auf branch of the Khazraj tribe 

10. Abbas bin Ubadah bin Nadlah from the Bani Salim tribe 

11. Abul-Haitham bin Tayyihan from the Bani Abdil-Ashhal and 

12. Uwaim bin Sa‘idah who was from the Bani ‘Amr bin Auf clan of the Aus tribe.

“The Holy Prophetsa met these people separately in a valley. They informed him as to the state of affairs in Yathrab and this time they all took Bai‘at at his hand. This Bai‘at served as a foundation stone for Islam in Medina. Since Jihad of the sword had not yet been ordained, the Holy Prophetsa took Bai‘at only in the words in which he would take Bai‘at from the women after Jihad (by the sword) was obligated. In other words, ‘We shall believe in one God, shall not associate partners with God, shall not steal, shall not commit adultery or fornication, shall abstain from murder, shall not defame anyone, and shall obey you [the Holy Prophetsa] in everything good.’ After the Bai‘at, the Holy Prophetsa said: 

‘If you remain true to this pledge in honesty and steadfastness then you shall receive paradise. But if you show weakness then your matter is with Allah the Exalted, for He shall do what He wills.’

“In history, this Bai‘at is renowned as ‘The First Bai‘at at Aqabah’, because the place where this Bai‘at was taken was called Aqabah, which is situated between Mecca and Mina. The literal meaning of Aqabah is an elevated mountainous pass.

“Whilst departing from Mecca, these twelve new Muslim converts requested, ‘Please send an Islamic tutor with us, who can teach us Islam and can preach Islam to our idolatrous brothers as well.’ The Holy Prophetsa sent Mus‘ab bin Umairra, a very devout young man from the Abdud-Dar tribe along with them. An Islamic preacher was referred to as a Qari or Muqri in those days, because the majority of their work was to recite the Holy Quran, as this was the best method of preaching. As such, Mus‘abra was also renowned by the name Muqri in Yathrab. The second Bai‘at at Aqabah took place in 13 Nabawi and 70 Ansar participated in it.” (Sirat Khatamun-Nabiyyin, Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra, pp. 221-225 & 227)

Hazrat Uqba bin Amirra participated in all the battles alongside the Holy Prophetsa including the battles of Badr, Uhud and Khandaq. He was noticeable in his armour on the day of Uhud because of his green clothes. He was martyred in 12 Hijri during the battle of Yamama which took place during the Caliphate of Hazrat Abu Bakrra. (Al-Tabaqaat-ul-Kubra, Vol. 3, p. 428, Uqba bin Amirra, Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 1995)

Hazrat Uqba bin Amirra states: “I came before the Holy Prophetsa with my son who was very young at the time. I said to the Prophetsa of Allah ‘May my parents be sacrificed for your sake, please teach my son those prayers which he can recite before God and acquire His blessings.’ The Holy Prophetsa stated: ‘O child! Recite:

اَللّٰهُمَّ اِنِّي اَسْئَلُكَ صِحَّةً فِي اِيْمَانٍ وَ اِيْمَانًا  فِيْ حُسْنِ خُلُقٍ وَ صَلَاحًا يَتْبَعُهٗ نَجَاحٌ

Which means, “O Allah! I seek wellbeing in my state of faith and good disposition whilst in my state of faith, and pray for success after attaining virtue.” (Usdul Ghaba, Vol. 4, p. 25, Uqba bin Amirra, Dar-ul-Kutub Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2003) 

May Allah Almighty continuously elevate the ranks of the Companionsra

After this, I will now mention a pioneering noble Ahmadi woman from America and will also lead her funeral prayers after the Friday prayers. Her name was Sister Aaliyah Shaheed Sahiba, wife of the late Ahmad Shaheed Sahib. She passed away on 26 December. God Almighty had bestowed her with a long life and enabled her to serve [the Jamaat] and also protected her from any form of handicap. She was 105 years old. May Allah Almighty exalt her rank. 

اِنَّا لِلّٰہِ وَاِنَّا اِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُوْنَ

‘To Allah we belong and to Him shall we return.’

Amir Sahib USA has written about her that she pledged allegiance in 1936, and from 1963-66, served at sadr Lajna [national president of the ladies auxiliary organisation]. Similarly, her services spanned 50 years in which she had the opportunity to serve in various capacities, including general secretary to secretary finance and secretary talim, secretary of khidmat-e-khalq and sadr Lajna Muqami. She always maintained a strong connection with the Jamaat and Khilafat, and always remained ready for every type of sacrifice. She was an extremely kind and loving woman. She had committed to memory the early accounts of Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya USA, which she often used to narrate. 

She also had the opportunity to invite Sir Chaudhry Zafrulla Khan Sahibra to her home for dinner. Her husband, respected Ahmad Shaheed Sahib, also served in the national amila of USA and as the president of the Pittsburgh Jamaat. Among those she left behind is her only son Umar Shaheed Sahib, who, for the last 18 years, has been serving as the sadr of Pittsburgh Jamaat. She was an African American. 

The National President of Lajna USA writes about sister Aaliyah: 

“Her lifestyle, her words, and her every action demonstrated that she acted in complete accordance with her pledge of allegiance which she had made 76 years ago. Her services were not just limited to USA. In fact, she was known for her services all over the world.”

The national branches of the Lajna Auxiliary for every country used to be centralised under the sadr Lajna of Pakistan, at which time Hazrat Maryam Siddiqa Sahiba, who was the wife of Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra, served as sadr Lajna of the entire world. Even she praised the late Aaliyah Sahiba’s contributions. Sadr Sahiba Lajna USA continues by saying: 

“Her name before converting was Ella Louise, and her fiancé’s name was William Frank Browning, who was an active member of the African Methodist Church. They were busy in their wedding preparations and their wedding was soon to take place when her fiancé received the message of Ahmadiyyat, and along with his parents, he converted to Ahmadiyyat. After this he changed his name to Ahmad Shaheed. Although she got married, however she did not perform the Bai’at. Soon after, Ahmad Shaheed Sahib was elected as the president of Pittsburgh Jamaat. Not only was he very popular in his local Jamaat but his tabligh efforts earned him repute all over the country. Around the same time they had a son whom he named Umar. 

“Aaliyah Sahiba lived with her Ahmadi in-laws, and without telling them or her husband, she secretly began reading the Jamaat’s literature. During this time, she came across Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud’sra book entitled Ahmadiyyat or the True Islam and this had a deep effect on her. 

“After this she started partaking in the tarbiyat classes that were organised in her home. Then, one day, she heard a lecture of Bengali Sahib – Abdur Rahman Bengali – who was serving as a missionary there at the time, which was on the Promised Messiah’s teaching that Jesusas was saved from the cross and subsequently migrated to Kashmir.” 

Sadr Lajna USA writes: “The late sister Aaliyah used to tell us that after this, she stopped attending the church and began coming to the mosque instead. Finally, in 1936, she accepted Ahmadiyyat. Explaining how she chose the name Aaliyah for herself, she said that she saw the name in a book once and liked it so she adopted it after becoming an Ahmadi. She was always in search of knowledge. She spent her time in the upkeep of the mosque, cooking, offering daily prayers. It was not the case that she only tried to gain knowledge, but she humbly used to perform Waqar-e-Amal, and serve the Jamaat with her own hands. She would perform the duty of cleaning the mosque and cooking.” 

Sadr Sahiba further writes: “We always saw her offering prayers, and she was a woman of extremely high morals; she was often seen visiting and looking after the sick. We also witnessed her offering financial contributions. Among the Lajna, she was always enjoining others towards good in one way or another. She strived to her utmost in promoting unity and sisterhood of the members of Lajna, for which she wrote numerous individual letters to members of Lajna in her final days.” Sadr Lajna further writes: “There was one verse of the Holy Quran that she used to often repeat, which I have heard from her as well, 

اِنَّ اللہَ يُحِبُّ الَّذِيْنَ يُقَاتِلُوْنَ فِيْ سَبِيْلِهٖ صَفًّا كَاَنَّهُمْ بُنْيَانٌ مَّرْصُوْصٌ

“She reports that she would always repeat this. That is, ‘Verily, Allah loves those who fight in His cause arrayed in solid ranks, as though they were a strong structure cemented with molten lead.’

Sadr Lajna has further written: 

“She was the first one to establish the Mosque Fund in the United States of America. Similarly, she started the Muslims Student Scholarship Award. The first annual Ijtema was held under her tenure as sadr Lajna. Similarly, she started the National Tabligh Day in which Lajna members would send thousands of copies of the Holy Quran, introductory leaflets and pamphlets of the Jamaat to libraries across the country. She also started a magazine and Hazrat (Choti Apa) Mariyam Siddiqah – the then International Sadr Lajna – chose Aishah as its title. She also published constitutional guidelines for the Lajna titled Our Duties and The Path of Faith. As a result of her initiative, members of Lajna in the United States presented great sacrifices for the Denmark mosque project. Likewise, they presented funds for the refurbishment of the mission houses in Baltimore as well as Pittsburgh.” 

Sadr Lajna further states: 

“Sister Aaliyah would tell us that during her time, since 98% of Lajna members had recently done the Bai‘at and joined the Jamaat, therefore in the beginning, they would only enjoin them to offer the five daily prayers and keep fasts in the month of Ramadan. Thus, instead of making them wear the Hijab from the outset, for the first few years, she said she would start by bringing their attention to wearing appropriate clothing, telling them to first wear modest clothing. Then the next step would be to wear the Hijab.” This is unlike a trend that has started here nowadays that those even wearing the Hijab have started taking it off. She, on the other hand, would morally train them by gradually taking them from one step to the next.  

“Then, Sister Aaliyah put great effort in teaching the recitation of the Quran by preparing daily teaching programmes. Likewise, those Lajna members who would finish learning the recitation of the Holy Quran, she would advise them to read a portion of the exegesis on a daily basis. It was through Aaliyah Sahiba’s efforts that the educational syllabus for the Nasirat was made. As a result, a desire to further learn religious knowledge was borne in the Nasirat. The deceased played a huge role in instilling in the members of Lajna and Nasirat with the spirit of sacrifice. She would similarly keep all accounts of the financial contributions in a very professional manner. 

“When once, she was asked regarding the difficulties she faced after joining the  Jamaat; she replied that ‘upon joining the Jamaat, I faced great difficulties. But instead of demonstrating weakness, I have always strived to show perseverance and remain content with the will of God Almighty. This is in fact the very lesson I have been teaching Lajna members for over fifty years.’” 

She further writes, “Her character was like a minaret of resolve in which we all found guidance.” 

She then writes:

“Her belief in the final victory of Islam was of absolute certainty. She would say that when the victory of Islam shall occur, the famous motto and slogan of the Jamaat, ‘Love for All, Hatred for None’ would reign supreme in the world. Likewise, she had complete faith in the institution of Khilafat and considered it as the key to the victory of Islam. She would always say that the institution of Khilafat shall remain firmly established and with it shall come the victory of Islam, God-willing.” 

She then writes: 

“It was this message that she – through hundreds of letters and phone calls –  would give and explain to Lajna and Nasirat members with great effort.  

“On 23 March 2008 she spoke to the members of Lajna saying, ‘All the followers of the Promised Messiahas around the world gathered in the mosques and mission houses on 1 January to offer the Tahajjud prayers as an act of gratitude. Indeed, this was to be the case, because this year, it marks one hundred years since the Khilafat of our beloved Promised Messiahas was established.’ She further said, ‘O my Allah! Remove all hurdles in the progress of Ahmadiyyat and grant us that victory which You have promised us. Our Promised Messiahas has laid the foundations for this Jamaat and united us all as one body. It is due to him that we Ahmadis feel the pain of one another, help each other in times of difficulty, pray for one another, partake of the happiness of another and are aggrieved by the suffering of another. By the grace and mercy of God Almighty we are one.’ 

“She then wrote in her message to the new converts in Lajna Imaillah and addressed all the Lajna members present at the time, ‘It is God Almighty’s special favour and I am extremely fortunate to have witnessed the progress of the Jamaat with my own eyes. God Almighty has graced us by choosing our Jamaat for the propagation and service of Islam. Every week we have the opportunity to listen to the Khalifa of the time and by acting upon his guidance, we can attain progress in our spiritual and secular lives.’ In the end, she said, ‘I pray, O my Master! Remove all hurdles in the victory of Islam. Enable us to truly reflect our faith and grant us countless helpers.’”

Thus, in view of the circumstances there in America, she played a special role in keeping the African-American new converts together. 

Her son, Umar Shaheed Sahib, President of the Pittsburgh Jamaat, writes:

“Due to Ahmadiyyat and Khilafat my parents became soldiers in the defence of Islam. My mother would regularly write to you”, he wrote this to me, “and would also encourage me to write to the Khalifa.” He further writes, “Pray that my children and I are able to follow in her footsteps.” Umar Sahib then writes, “I had no idea how much love and admiration the members of the Jamaat had for until I received countless letters expressing their sentiments about her.”

Another local American Ahmadi, sister Aaliyah Aziz Lord, writes, “Having accepted Ahmadiyyat, she (i.e. the late Aaliyah Shaheed Sahiba) lived an exemplary life as an Ahmadi. When she was serving as the talim (education) secretary, because of her, no one wanted to fail the exams that she had prepared, and thus we would all get together and prepare for the test.” She then writes, “She was much older than me, but that would not stop her in treating me as a friend. There is one thing I noticed; whenever an academic question was posed to her, rather than giving her own opinion and mentioning additional things, she would always present the Islamic teaching. She had a strong bond with God Almighty which was something that continued to draw others towards her.”

Sister Jameela Hamid, wife of Hamid Munir Sahib, who is also a local American Ahmadi, writes, “She would show me great affection and would often express her love for me. When my mother passed away, she wrote me a letter full of words of love, which helped me understand the philosophy of death. She was like an angel. Whenever one needed help and advice she would be just a single phone call away. She would always tell me that the purpose of life should be to serve the Jamaat and to love the Khalifa of the time as he is the Hablullah [the rope of Allah] of this era. I would always envy her love for God Almighty. Once, I asked her if she was afraid of death. She replied, ‘We all have to return to our Beloved God, so what is there to be afraid of?’ She had a deep understanding of the message of the Promised Messiahas which she would impart to others throughout her life.”

Another Ahmadi, Dr Rashida Ahmad, who is also from America, states:

“She herself would strictly adhere to the teachings of Islam but would advise others in a very loving manner. The love of God Almighty was reflected from her every action and deed.”

She further states:

“I had the opportunity to stay at her house on several occasions and we would offer the prayers together and also recite the Holy Quran. After that, with great love and desire, she would show me the letters she had received from the Khulafa [Khalifas] of the Jamaat. One can evidently gauge her great love for Khilafat from her poetry and speeches.” (She would write poems as well)

She further states:

“She demonstrated great patience. I would call her every month and enquire about her health and she never once voiced her complain about her deteriorating health, in fact she would always recall the blessings of God Almighty and express her gratitude.”

Another Ahmadi who is also from America, Sister Aziza, who is the wife of Al-Haj Rashid, states:

“Sister Aaliyah Shaheed Sahiba was an embodiment of the motto, ‘Love for All, Hatred for None.’ Even though she lived in another city, however she was a close friend of my mother. After the demise of my mother, she did not end this relationship and I would always feel as if Aaliyah Sahiba knew whenever I would become lax, she would immediately send me a letter full of inspiration.”

Another Lajna member, Khulat Sahiba, writes:

“I became acquainted with Aaliyah Sahiba when I first came to the USA in 1949. I was eight years old at the time when I first met her. She was extremely loving and friendly and had a personality that would leave a positive impression on others. She had an extremely long-held and strong bond with Khilafat. She would mention her correspondence in letters with Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra. Her services for Lajna Imaillah USA will always be remembered. She had an astounding spiritual persona and despite being a hundred years old, she would attend the Jalsas [annual conventions] which serves as a model for us.”

May God Almighty elevate her status. And may God Almighty instil the spirit and passion that she had to serve the Jamaat – which her son also mentioned – in her progeny as well. 

(Translated by The Review of Religions)

(Original Urdu sermon published in Al Fazl International, 1-7 February 2019, pp. 5-9)

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