Friday Sermon – Men of Excellence: Hazrat Abu Bakr r.a. (11 March 2022)

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Friday Sermon

11 March 2022

Men of Excellence: Hazrat Abu Bakrra

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

Previously, the challenges faced by Hazrat Abu Bakrra after becoming the Khalifa were being mentioned. The first of those challenges that were mentioned was the grief and sorrow owing to the demise of the Holy Prophetsa. Although this was felt by every Muslim, Hazrat Abu Bakrra was impacted and saddened by this the most, as he was the Holy Prophet’ssa companion from his early childhood. Furthermore, no one possessed the same level of sincerity and no one had pondered over the deeper meanings of pledging allegiance and understood its essence more than Hazrat Abu Bakrra. However, at that time, he showed great courage and faith. 

It has been mentioned already that the first delicate and distressful trial was that of the demise of the Holy Prophetsa, which had saddened the companions to such an extent that it was hard for them to get a hold of themselves. No one could cope with this sudden shock. No one could even imagine being distanced from the Holy Prophetsa. The demise of the Holy Prophetsa was so severe and painful that many prominent companions were saddened, to the extent that it was difficult for them to overcome their grief. A brave and courageous man like Hazrat Umarra was impacted greatly by this grief owing to his immense love for the Holy Prophetsa. He stood up with his sword and said, “Whoever says that the Holy Prophetsa has passed away, I will sever his head from his body!” This response was such that the Muslims were left in doubt as to whether the Holy Prophetsa had passed away or not. Furthermore, it was nigh that these ardent devotees, due to their love for the Holy Prophetsa, would forget the principal aspect of the unity of God and proclaim that the Holy Prophetsa could never pass away and that he was alive. 

At that time, Hazrat Abu Bakrra entered al-Masjid al-Nabawi and addressing the people gathered there, said:

“O people! 

مَنْ كَانَ مِنْكُمْ يَعْبُدُ مُحَمَّدًا فَإِنَّ مُحَمَّدًا قَدْ مَاتَ، وَمَنْ كَانَ يَعْبُدُ اللَّهَ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ حَىٌّ لاَ يَمُوتُ

“‘Whoever of you worshipped Muhammadsa, know that Muhammadsa has passed away. And whoever of you worshipped Allah, rejoice that Allah is alive and will never pass away!’”

Despite his immense and unmatched love for the Holy Prophetsa, he reminded them about the unity of God. Following this, he said:

وَمَا مُحَمَّدٌ إِلَّا رَسُولٞ قَدۡ خَلَتۡ مِن قَبۡلِهِ الرُّسُلُ ۚ أَفَإِيْن مَّاتَ أَوۡ قُتِلَ انقَلَبۡتُمۡ عَلَىٰٓ أَعۡقَٰبِكُمۡ

“And Muhammad is but a Messenger. Verily, [all]Messengers have passed away before him (why then would the Holy Prophetsa not pass away). If then he dies or is slain, will you turn back on your heels (and leave Islam)?” 

In this manner, Hazrat Abu Bakrra uplifted the morale of the companions with utmost courage and wisdom. On the one hand, he became the means of soothing the hearts of these devotees, who were in great distress, and on the other hand, as it were, he strengthened the trembling edifice of the unity of God. 

The Promised Messiahas states:

“He recited a verse of the Holy Quran in an open gathering and by doing so, he removed every thought that had formed within the minds of the companions in relation to the Holy Prophetsa being alive. Along with this, he also uprooted the false concept in relation to Jesusas being alive, which had formed in the hearts of some individuals as a result of not fully contemplating over the sayings of the Holy Prophetsa.” (Tohfah Golarwiyyah, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 17, p. 184)

After being elected as the Khalifa, the second difficult task or grief that Hazrat Abu Bakrra had to endure; and the manner in which he handled the situation was in relation to how he regrouped the Muslim ummah and united them as one. Another potentially alarming matter after the demise of the Holy Prophetsa was the gathering of the Ansar in the courtyard of Banu Sa‘idah. Initially, it seemed as though neither the Ansar were prepared to accept anyone from among the Muhajirin as their leader or caliph, nor were the Muhajirin willing to elect anyone from among the Ansar as the caliph, and the situation was very close to escalating from mere talk of differing views, to the use of swords. In this delicate hour, Allah the Almighty created such an effect in the speech of Hazrat Abu Bakrra and caused the hearts of the people to incline towards him, that this entire disagreement transformed into love and unity at once. In relation to this the Promised Messiahas states, “Just as the Children of Israel listened to Joshua son of Nunas after the demise of Mosesas, and did not disagree, and they all showed their obedience to Joshuaas, the same was the case on this occasion with Hazrat Abu Bakrra where despite suffering greatly due to the departure of the Holy Prophetsa, they all wholeheartedly accepted the caliphate of Hazrat Abu Bakrra.” (Tohfah Golarwiyyah, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 17, p. 186)

The third important matter and grave trial which had to be contended with, and the manner in which Hazrat Abu Bakrra accomplished it was regarding the sending off of Hazrat Usama’sra army. The Holy Prophetsa had prepared this army to be sent to the borders of Syria to combat the Byzantines. After the battles of Mu‘tah and Tabuk, the Holy Prophetsa feared lest the Byzantines launched an attack against the Arabs due to the growing quarrels between the Muslims and Christians and owing to the mischief-making of the Jews. During the Battle of Mu‘tah, three commanders of the Muslims – Hazrat Zaidra, Hazrat Ja‘farra and Hazrat Abdullahra bin Rawahah were martyred one after the other. Mu‘tah is a fertile land situated in the east of Jordan. (Muhammad Husain Haikal, Siddiq Akbar  Translated by Sheikh Muhammad Ahmad Pani Piti [Lahore: Maktabah Jadid], 123.) (Urdu Da‘irah Ma‘arif Islamiyyah, Vol. 21, p. 731, Under ‘Mu‘tah’) 

Nonetheless, in relation to this, Hazrat Anasra relates:

“The Holy Prophetsa had foretold the people of the demise of Hazrat Zaidra, Hazrat Ja‘farra and Hazrat Abdullahra bin Rawahah before anyone even had any knowledge of it. The Holy Prophetsa stated, ‘Zaidra took hold of the flag and was martyred. Then Ja‘farra took hold of it and he too was martyred. Thereafter, Ibn Rawahahra held the flag and he was also martyred.’ The Holy Prophet’ssa tears were flowing at that moment. He then stated, ‘Eventually, one of the swords of Allah, (i.e. Khalidra bin Walid) took hold of the banner until Allah Almighty granted victory over the enemies.’” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab Manaqib al-Nabi, Bab Manaqib Khalid bin Walidra, Hadith 3757) 

The Holy Prophetsa then set off himself with the Muslims towards Tabuk. However, the opponents did not have the courage to meet the Muslims on the battlefield. They felt that they would be safeguarded from the attack of the Muslims by entering and remaining in the inner parts of Syria. As a result of these battles, the Byzantines devised a very dangerous plot against the Muslims and they began preparing to advance towards the borders of the Arab lands. For this reason, as a pre-emptive measure, the Holy Prophetsa instructed Usamara to march towards Syria. (Muhammad Husain Haikal, Siddiq Akbar  Translated by Sheikh Muhammad Ahmad Pani Piti [Lahore: Maktabah Jadid], 124) 

But it also served another purpose, which was to avenge the martyrs of the battle of Mu‘tah. The preparations of Hazrat Usama’sra army had begun prior to the Holy Prophet’ssa final illness and were complete on a Saturday, two days prior to the demise of the Holy Prophetsa. In fact, it was at the end of the month of Safar that the Holy Prophetsa gave the order to prepare to fight the Byzantines. He called Hazrat Usamara and said, “Go towards the place where your father was martyred and crush them beneath your horses. I appoint you as the commander-in-chief of this army.” (Ibn Hajr Asqalani, Fath al-Bari Sharh Imam al-Bukhari, Vol. 8 [Karachi: Qadimi Kutub Khana Maqabil Aram Bagh], 192)

In another narration, it is reported that the Holy Prophetsa said, “Trample over the land of Balqa and Darom with horses.” This meant that the people of this land were eager for war, so they should combat them with full force. Balqa is a region in Syria, located somewhere between Damascus and the Valley of Qura. Darom is located in Palestine on route to Egypt after passing from Gaza. (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2012], 224.) (Yaqut Ibn Abd Allah al-Hamawi, Mu‘jam al-Buldan, Vol. 1 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah], p. 579) (Sayyid Fadl al-Rahman, Farhang-e-Sirat [Karachi, Pakistan: Zawwar Academy Publications, 2003], p. 119)

Nonetheless, while giving the command to set out for Syria, the Holy Prophetsa said, “Attack the people of Ubna at first light (Ubna is also a region in Syria towards Balqa) and hasten toward them so that you reach them before they learn of your coming. Thus, if Allah the Almighty grants you victory, then stay there for only a brief period, keep your guides with you and send your informants and spies ahead.”

The Holy Prophetsa tied a flag for Hazrat Usamara with his own hands and then said, “With the name of Allah, go forth and undertake this jihad in His way, and fight against those who reject Allah.” 

Hazrat Usamara took the flag tied by the Holy Prophetsa and departed. He entrusted the flag to Hazrat Buraidahra bin Husaib and gathered the army at Jurf. Jurf is a place located three miles north of Medina. Nonetheless, there was not a single person among the most esteemed Muhajirin and Ansar that remained behind and was not called for this battle. Among them was Hazrat Abu Bakrra, Hazrat Umarra, Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra bin Al-Jarah, Hazrat Saadra bin Abi Waqas, Hazrat Saeed bin Zaidra, Hazrat Qatadahra bin Nu‘man, Hazrat Salmara bin Aslam. Some people began to talk and say that a boy [Hazrat Usamara] has been appointed as the commander over the distinguished Muhajirin. Upon hearing this, the Holy Prophetsa became very upset. He had wrapped a cloth around his head and placed a cloak over himself. He stood at the pulpit, praised and glorified Allah, and then said, “O people, I have heard the things some of you have said about me appointing Usama as the commander. [Let it be known that] if you have spoken against the fact that I am appointing Usama as a commander, then you have already done so once before when I appointed his father as the commander. I swear by God that he was deserving of leadership, and after him, his son is also worthy of leadership. He was among those who are most dear to me, and surely, both of them can be expected to demonstrate every sort of virtue and goodness. Thus, take this advice and think well of him (i.e. Usama) because he is among the best of you.” 

This took place on 10 Rabi‘ al-Awwal, a Saturday, which was two days prior to the demise of the Holy Prophetsa. Those Muslims who were setting out with Hazrat Usamara said their farewells to the Holy Prophetsa and joined the army that was gathering at Jurf. Even though the illness of the Holy Prophetsa increased, he emphasised that the army of Hazrat Usamara should be dispatched. On Sunday, the ailment of the Holy Prophetsa grew further. When Hazrat Usamara came from the army camp, the Holy Prophetsa was in a state of unconsciousness. That day, the people also gave medicine to him. Hazrat Usamara lowered his head and kissed the Holy Prophetsa. The Holy Prophetsa could not speak, but he raised both hands toward the sky and placed his hands on Hazrat Usama’sra head. Hazrat Usamara said, “I understood that he was praying for me.” Hazrat Usama thenra returned to his army. On Monday, once again, Hazrat Usamara came to the Holy Prophetsa. At that time, the Holy Prophetsa felt some relief. He told Hazrat Usamara, “With the blessings of Allah, depart now.” After seeking permission from the Holy Prophetsa, Hazrat Usamara returned to his army and commanded the people to march forward. He had just begun his journey when a message was brought to him by a man sent by his mother, Umm Aiman, saying that it seemed as though the final moments of the life of the Holy Prophetsa were approaching. Upon hearing this, Hazrat Usamara came to the Holy Prophetsa. There, he found Hazrat Umarra and Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra, and at that moment, the Holy Prophetsa was in his final moments. On Monday, 12 Rabi‘ al-Awwal, after the sun had set, the Holy Prophetsa passed away. Because of this, the Muslim army at Jurf returned to Medina and Hazrat Buraidahra bin Husaib brought Hazrat Usama’sra flag and posted it by the door of the Holy Prophetsa

According to one narration, when the army of Hazrat Usamara was at Dhi Khushub, the Holy Prophetsa passed away. Dhi Khushub is a valley located on the route from Medina towards Syria. Nonetheless, after the pledge of allegiance was taken at the hands of Hazrat Abu Bakrra, he commanded Hazrat Buraidahra bin Husaib to take the flag and go to Hazrat Usama’sra home so that he may depart and fulfil his duty. Hazrat Buraidahra took the flag to the original camp of the army. (Ibn Saad, Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 1990], pp. 146-147) (Ibn Kathir, Al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah, Vol. 3, Ch. 6 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah] p. 302) (Yaqut Ibn Abd Allah al-Hamawi, Mu‘jam al-Buldan, Vol. 1 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah], p. 101) (Sayyid Fadl al-Rahman, Farhang-e-Sirat [Karachi, Pakistan: Zawwar Academy Publications, 2003], p. 87, p. 114)

The army is reported to have been 3,000 strong. (Sharh al-Zurqani ‘ala al-Mawahib al-Laduniyyah, Vol. 4 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1996], p. 155)

While according to another narration, Hazrat Usama bin Zaidra was sent to Syria with an army of 700 soldiers. 

In one narration, it is reported that on the day after the demise of the Holy Prophetsa, Hazrat Abu Bakrra announced that the expedition of Hazrat Usamara would fulfil its objective and that no one from his army should remain in Medina. Instead, the whole army should gather at Jurf. After the demise of the Holy Prophetsa, dissension and apostasy had begun spreading all across Arabia, be it in prominent tribes or smaller ones, whether they were prominent chiefs or ordinary people and people began to show signs of hypocrisy. At that point in time, the Jews and Christians began to raise their heads, looking for an opportunity. Due to the demise of the Holy Prophetsa and the small population of the Muslims in comparison to the vast number of their enemies, their condition was likened to that of goats and lambs on a stormy night. In other words, they were helpless and without any support. Upon this, the people said to Hazrat Abu Bakrra, “These people consider the army of Hazrat Usamara to be the only army of the Muslims. And as you are aware, the Arabs have rebelled against you. Thus, it would not be suitable for you to separate this party of Muslims from yourself (i.e. not to send the army of Hazrat Usamara).” Upon hearing this, Hazrat Abu Bakrra said, “I swear by Him in Whose possession is my life, even if I was certain that beasts would consume me as prey, I would still see to it that the decision made by the Holy Prophetsa to send the army of Hazrat Usamara is implemented.”

In another narration, it is recorded that Hazrat Abu Bakrra said, “I swear by Him besides Whom there is none worthy of worship, even if the wives of the Holy Prophetsa are dragged by their feet by dogs, still I would not summon back the army sent by the Holy Prophetsa himself, nor would I undo the flag that was tied by him.” (Ibn Kathir, Al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah, Vol. 3, Ch. 6 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah] p. 302) (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2012], p. 244) (Al-Kamil fi al-Tarikh, Vol. 2, p. 199, Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2006)

Regarding this, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra writes:

“When the Holy Prophetsa passed away, all of Arabia became apostates. Upon seeing this dissension, even courageous individuals such as Hazrat Umarra and Hazrat Alira became worried. The Holy Prophetsa had prepared an army to attack a Byzantine occupied area and appointed Hazrat Usamara as the commander of that army. This army had not yet departed when the Holy Prophetsa passed away. After the demise of the Holy Prophetsa, when the Arab tribes became apostates, the companions thought that owing to the rebellion, if the army of Usamara was sent to Byzantine lands, then only the elderly, women and children would be left behind and there would be no means to safeguard Medina. They suggested that a delegation consisting of the prominent companions should be sent to Hazrat Abu Bakrra and request him to hold back from sending the army until the rebellion had been quashed. Thus, Hazrat Umarra along with the prominent companions went to Hazrat Abu Bakrra and presented this request. When Hazrat Abu Bakrra heard this request, he replied in an extremely angry tone saying, ‘Do you wish that after the demise of the Holy Prophetsa, the first command issued by the son of Abu Quhafah is to stop the army prepared by the Holy Prophetsa?’ Hazrat Abu Bakrra then said, ‘By God, even if the enemy armies enter Medina and jackals drag the corpses of Muslim women, I will not stop the army who the Holy Prophetsa had decided to send.’ This bravery and courage was instilled within Hazrat Abu Bakrra because God had stated in the Holy Qur’an [about believers]: 

مُّحَمَّدٞ‮ ‬رَّسُولُ‮ ‬اللَّهِ‭ ‬ۚ‭ ‬وَالَّذِينَ‭ ‬مَعَهُۥٓ‭ ‬أَشِدَّآءُ‭ ‬عَلَى‭ ‬الۡكُفَّارِ‮ ‬

“Just like when an ordinary wire comes into contact with electricity it gains extraordinary strength, in the same manner, the people who established a bond with the Holy Prophetsa became fulfilments of the clause: 

أَشِدَّآءُ‭ ‬عَلَى‭ ‬الۡكُفَّارِ

(Sair-e-Ruhani [6], Anwar-ul-Ulum, Vol. 22, pp. 593-594)

With regard to the departure of Usama’sra army, the Promised Messiahas writes in Sirr-ul-Khilafah:

“According to the historical accounts by Ibn Athir, when the Holy Prophetsa passed away and the news of his demise reached the governor of Mecca, Attab bin Asid, he went into hiding. There was an uprising inside Mecca and it was nigh that all its residents would become apostates. He also writes that [many] Arabs became apostates, among every tribe – whether from among the elite or the common folk – their hypocrisy and apostasy became apparent. The Jews and the Christians eagerly looked on. Owing to the demise of the Prophetsa, and the fact that the numbers of Muslims were fewer and the enemies were in the majority, the conditions were like that of how sheep and goats in a night of torrential downpour. Upon this, people said to Abu Bakrra, ‘These people consider the army of Usamara to be the Muslim army. And as you can see, the Arabs have begun a wave of rebellion against you. Therefore, it is not appropriate for you to send this army away.’ Upon this, Hazrat Abu Bakrra stated, ‘By Him, in whose hands is my life, if I know that beasts would take me away, even then I would certainly send the army of Usama as commanded by the Holy Prophetsa. I cannot annul a decision made by the Holy Prophetsa.’” (Sirr al-Khilafah [Urdu Translation], Ruhani Khazain, pp. 188-189, Nazarat Ishaat, Rabwah)

Thus, Hazrat Abu Bakrra implemented the decision made by the Holy Prophetsa to the letter, and the companions that were part of Hazrat Usama’sra army were ordered to return [to the camp]. Hazrat Abu Bakrra said, “Every person who was part of Usama’sra army before and was instructed to go by the Holy Prophetsa, they should not stay back, nor do I give them permission to stay back. Even if they have to travel on foot, they will go.” Thus, not a single person from among them remained behind. (Sharh al-Zurqani ‘ala al-Mawahib al-Laduniyyah, Vol. 4 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 1996], p. 155)

Nonetheless, the army regrouped once again. Owing to the delicate situation, some of the companions again suggested stopping the army from going.

According to one narration, Hazrat Usamara said to Hazrat Umarra to go and speak with Hazrat Abu Bakrra for him to revoke the command of sending the army, so that they could fight against those that had become apostates. Also so that the Khalifa of the Messengersa of Allah, and the wives of the Holy Prophetsa will remain safe from the attacks by the idolaters. Some of the Ansar that were present in the army of Hazrat Usamara even said to Hazrat Umarra, “If the Khalifa of the Messengersa of Allah, Hazrat Abu Bakrra is adamant on sending this army, then give him a message from us that we demand for him to appoint a commander for the army who is older than Usamara.” Hazrat Umarra went to see Hazrat Abu Bakrra at the behest of Hazrat Usamara and he informed Hazrat Abu Bakrra about what Hazrat Usamara had said. Upon this, Hazrat Abu Bakrra said, “Even if the jackals and wolves tear me apart, I would still implement this command just as the Holy Prophetsa had intended to. I shall not change this decision that the Holy Prophetsa had made. In these lands, aside from me, if everyone else perishes, even then I will implement this command.”  

Hazrat Umarra then said, “The Ansar wish for a commander to be appointed who is more senior than Usamara.” In reply to this, Hazrat Abu Bakrra who was sitting down, stood up, held him by the beard and said, “O son of Khattab! May your mother be bereaved of you! The Holy Prophetsa appointed him as the commander of the army, and you ask me to remove him from his position!” (Al-Kamil fi al-Tarikh, Vol. 2, pp. 199-200, Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2006)

Hazrat Umarra returned to the people and they asked him what was the outcome. Hazrat Umarra said for them to leave him and said, “May your mothers be bereaved of you!” He expressed his displeasure and said, “Today, because of you all, I did not receive any goodness from the Khalifa of the Messengersa of Allah”; i.e. Hazrat Abu Bakrra expressed displeasure upon what he said. (Abi Ja‘far Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 2012], p. 246) (Ali bin Burhan al-Din al-Halabi,  Al-Sirah al-Halabiyyah, Vol. 3 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 2002], p. 393)

In accordance with the instructions of Hazrat Abu Bakrra, when the army of Usamara gathered at Jurf, Hazrat Abu Bakrra himself came to Jurf. Upon arriving there, he assessed the army and organised it. The scene at the time of the army’s departure was astonishing. At the time, Hazrat Usamara was on his mount, whereas Hazrat Abu Bakrra was walking. Hazrat Usamara submitted, “O Khalifa of the Messengersa of Allah! Either you take a mount as well or I shall step down.” Upon this, Hazrat Abu Bakrra said, “By God! Neither will you get down, nor will I take a mount. Besides, should I not allow my feet to accumulate dust for a moment in Allah’s cause? For when someone takes one step during an expedition, 700 virtuous deeds are recorded for that person instead of it and that individual is elevated in rank 700 times and 700 of their evil deeds are wiped out.” (Al-Kamil fi al-Tarikh, Vol. 2, p. 200, Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2006)

Hazrat Abu Bakrra then said to Hazrat Usamara, “If you deem it appropriate, could you permit Hazrat Umarra to stay behind as he can provide assistance in my work.” Hazrat Usamara gave permission. (Abi Ja‘far Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2012], p. 246) 

After this incident, whenever Hazrat Umarra would meet Hazrat Usama, even after Hazrat Umarra was elected as the Khalifa, he would address him by saying:

السَّلَامُ‭ ‬عَلَيْكَ‭ ‬يَا‭ ‬أَيُّهَا‭ ‬الأَمِيْر

[“Peace be upon you O leader!”] Since Hazrat Umarra was part of the army, and so for that time, Hazrat Usamara was his commander. Hazrat Umarra would say, “May peace be upon you, O leader!” Hazrat Usamara would reply by saying: 

غَفَرَ‭ ‬اللهٌ‭ ‬لَكَ‭ ‬يَا‭ ‬الأَمِيْر‭ ‬الْمُؤْمِنِيْنَ

meaning, “May Allah bestow His forgiveness upon you, O Leader of the Faithful.” (Ali bin Burhan al-Din al-Halabi, Al-Sirah al-Halabiyyah, Vol. 3 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2002], p. 294)

Nonetheless, it is mentioned that at the end, Hazrat Abu Bakrra addressed the army and said:

“I advise you to be mindful of ten things; do not be dishonest, do not steal from the spoils of war, do not break any covenant, do not mutilate the dead”, i.e. do not cut the nose, ears, or gouge out the eyes, nor disfigure the face, “do not kill any children, the elderly, nor any women, do not cut down any date palm trees nor should you burn them, do not cut down any fruit trees, nor should you slaughter a goat, cow or camel except that which you consume; you shall pass by such people who have dedicated their lives for the church, therefore, leave them be”, i.e. all hermits and Christian priests etc. were to be left alone; “you will pass by people who will present you various foods in different containers, you ought to eat from them after professing the name of Allah”, it was not the case that if they present food they would not eat it declaring it to be unlawful “you can eat it after reciting Allah’s name. Then you will meet certain people who have shaved their hair from the middle of their heads, and they would have left their hair all around as if it were bandages, you ought to use your swords to deal with them.”

With regard to those people, there are various narrations. It is mentioned that they were a group of Christians who were not hermits, but were religious leaders and they would incite the people to wage war against the Muslims and would also take part in the war. For this reason, Hazrat Abu Bakrra clarified that the hermits that were in the churches were to be left alone and they were not to fight against them. However, they were to fight against the aforementioned people [who incited war] and against all those people who sided with them, because they initiated the war and incited others. Hazrat Abu Bakrra then said, “Depart now in the name of God, and may He safeguard you from all types of injuries, and protect you against all forms of ailments and the plague.” (Abi Ja‘far Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2012], p. 246) 

Thereafter, Hazrat Abu Bakrra stated to Usamara:

“Carry out all the commandments which the Messengersa of Allah gave you and do not let there be any shortcoming in fulfilling them.” (Abi Ja‘far Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2012], p. 246) 

After this, Hazrat Abu Bakrra took Hazrat Umarra and returned to Medina. (Sirat Sayyiduna Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiqra – Translated, Publication of Umar Abu al-Nasr, p. 561)

Hazrat Abu Bakrra sent the army of Usama bin Zaidra towards the end of Rabi‘ al-Awwal, 11 AH. (Ibn Kathir, Al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah, Vol. 3, Ch. 6 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah] p. 302)

And according to another narration, he sent it on Rabi‘ al-Thani, 11 AH. (Ibn Saad, Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1990], p. 147) 

Hazrat Usamara travelled for 20 nights and reached near the people of Ubna and launched a sudden attack. The slogan of the Muslims was: 

يَا‭ ‬مَنْصُوْرُ‭ ‬أَمِتْ

That is, “O Mansoor, Kill them.” In other words, they ought to kill all those who had come out to fight them. Following this, whoever came up against them was killed and whoever was captured was held as a prisoner. Hazrat Usamara then ordered his horsemen to ride in their land. Hazrat Usamara then remained occupied for the rest of the day in gathering and arranging whatever they had acquired in the spoils of war. Hazrat Usamara was mounted upon his father’s horse called Sabha and he attacked and killed the person who had killed his father. In the evening, Hazrat Usamara ordered the people to depart and following this he increased the pace [of his mount]. After travelling for nine nights, he reached the Valley of Qura. He then sent messengers to Medina to give the news of the army’s victory and well-being. After this, he departed from there and after a further six nights reached Medina. In this expedition, not a single Muslim was martyred. When this successful and victorious army arrived in Medina, Hazrat Abu Bakrra along with the Muhajirin and the people of Medina came out in happiness to welcome the army upon their success. Hazrat Usamara entered the city whilst mounted upon his father’s horse and Hazrat Buraidahra bin Husaib was holding the flag and riding ahead of him. Upon reaching Masjid Nabawi, Hazrat Usamara entered inside and offered two rak‘aat [units] of prayer and then returned home. (Ibn Saad, Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra, Vol. 2, Sariyah Usamara bin Zaid [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1990], pp. 146-147) 

According to various narrations, this army returned after having spent 40 to 70 nights outside of Medina. (Al-Kamil fi al-Tarikh, Vol. 2, p. 200, Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2006)

Perhaps it was owing to his love for the Holy Prophetsa that the knot which the Holy Prophetsa had personally tied on the flag of Usamara, regarding that Hazrat Abu Bakrra stated that it was not possible that ibn Abi Quhafah would untie the knot on the flag which the Holy Prophetsa had tied with his own hands. And so, upon the return of Usama’sra army, this knot was never untied and the flag remained in the house of Hazrat Usamara until his demise. (Munir Muhammad al-Ghadban, Al-Masirah al-Islamiyyah li Jil al-Khilafah al-Rashidah, Vol. 1 [Dar al-Salam, 2015], pp. 34-35)

In relation to the impact that Usama’sra army had it is written that this army had a very significant and lasting impact. Firstly, all those who strongly believed that the army of Usamara should not be sent owing to the circumstances realised how timely and beneficial the decision of the Khalifa was, and they realised that Hazrat Abu Bakrra possessed a deep observation, wisdom and foresight. Secondly, by sending the army it established the might of the Muslims amongst the tribes of Arabia and they thought that had the Muslims not possessed such strength they would never have sent their army. They were greatly overawed by this. Thirdly, the Muslims began to be held in awe by the non-Arab nations who were bordering the Arab lands and were closely monitoring the Muslims. The Byzantines would wonder that on the one hand their Prophetsa had passed away, and yet they were still seeking to attack their country. (Muhammad al-Salabi, Sayyiduna Abu Bakr Siddiqra, p. 258, 268) 

A well-renowned British scholar and orientalist, Sir Thomas Walker Arnold writes regarding the army of Usamara:

“After the death of Muhammad, the army he had intended for Syria was despatched thither by Abu Bakr, in spite of the protestations made by certain Muslims in view of the then disturbed state of Arabia. He silenced their expostulations with the words, ‘I will not revoke any order given by the Prophet. Medina may become the prey of wild beasts, but the army must carry out the wishes of Muhammad.’ This was the first of that wonderful series of campaigns in which the Arabs overran Syria, Persia and Northern Africa – overturning the ancient kingdom of Persia and despoiling the Roman Empire of some of its fairest provinces.]” (The Preaching of Islam by TW Arnold, Chapter III, p. 41, London Constable and Company Ltd. 1913)

Similarly, under the name of Hazrat Usamara, it is written in The Encyclopaedia of Islam:

“The newly-elected caliph Abu Bakr ordered the expedition to be resumed, in accordance with the Prophet’s wishes, though the tribes were already in revolt. Usama reached the region of al-Balka in Syria, where Zayd had fallen, and raided the village of Ubna … His victory brought joy to Medina, depressed by news of the ridda [apostasy wars], thus acquiring an importance out of proportion to its real significance, which caused it later to be regarded as the beginning of a campaign for the conquest of Syria.” (The Encyclopaedia of Islam, Vol. 10, Page 913, Under Usama, Printed by Leidin Brill, 2000)

Another challenge which Hazrat Abu Bakrra had to face was the disorder created by those who refused to pay the Zakat. When news of the Holy Prophet’ssa demise spread throughout Arabia, the flames of apostasy and rebellion began to kindle in all directions.  

Allamah Ibn Ishaq states:

“After the demise of the Holy Prophetsa, the entire Arab land became apostates, except for the people of the two mosques, i.e. Mecca and Medina.” (Ibn Kathir, Al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah, Vol. 3, Ch. 6, Fasl fi Tanfidh Jaish Usama bin Zaid [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2001] p. 309) 

Following the demise of the Holy Prophetsa, the people of Mecca remained protected from apostasy. The details of this are that Suhail bin Amr, who accepted Islam at the time of the conquest of Mecca, was taken as a prisoner by the Muslims during the Battle of Badr whilst he was still a disbeliever. He had a symbol marked on his lips. Hazrat Umarra submitted, ‘O Messengersa of Allah! Remove his two front teeth where he has marked a symbol and in this way he will never be able to stand to say something against the Holy Prophetsa.’ The Holy Prophetsa stated, ‘O Umar! Let him be, it is possible that one day he might be in such a position that you will praise him.’” 

Hazrat Umarra wanted to punish him; however, the Holy Prophetsa instructed that nothing should be done to him for there would be an occasion in the future whereby he would utter such words that he would praise him for it. In any case, he states:

“This occasion came about when the Holy Prophetsa passed away and the faith of the people of Mecca began to dwindle. When the Quraish saw the Arabs leave Islam and Hazrat Attab bin Asid Umawi, who was appointed as their leader by the Holy Prophetsa, went into hiding, it was in that instance that Hazrat Suhail bin Amr stood up and delivered a speech. He stated, ‘O people of Quraish! Do not be the last ones to accept Islam and the first ones to turn away from it. By God, this religion will spread just like the moon and the sun spread across the horizon from the moment they appear and until the time they set.’ Like this, Hazrat Suhail delivered a lengthy address, which impacted the people of Mecca greatly and they desisted. Hazrat Attabra, who went into hiding, was called for and the Quraish remained steadfast on the religion of Islam.” (Ali Ibn al-Athir, Usd al-Ghabah fi Ma‘rifat al-Sahabah, Vol. 2, Suhail bin Amrra [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah], p. 585)

Those who left Islam were of various types. One of the biographers of Hazrat Abu Bakr’sra life writes whilst mentioning these various types as follows:

“The apostasy took various forms; some abandoned Islam right away and began worshipping idols. There were others who made claims to prophethood, while there were those who continued adhering to Islam. Among them there were those who continued to offer prayers, but stopped giving Zakat. Some rejoiced upon the demise of the Holy Prophetsa and reverted to their habits and actions from the era of ignorance. Some people were left in shock and doubt and waited to see who would ultimately prevail. These different forms [of apostasy] have been explained by the various scholars of history and jurisprudence. Imam Khattabi says that there were two kinds of apostates; the first were those who abandoned the faith, left the nation and reverted to disbelief. There were two subsections of this faction; the first was of those who accepted Musailimah Kazzab, and Aswad Ansi. They accepted their claims to prophethood and rejected the prophethood of the Holy Prophetsa. The second subsection was of those who became apostates from the religion of Islam by rejecting matters of Islamic law such as prayers and Zakat and reverted to their faith from the time of ignorance. The second type of apostates were those who chose between either prayers or Zakat; they adhered to offering prayers but rejected the obligation of Zakat and giving it to the Caliph. Of those who rejected Zakat, there were those who did wish to offer Zakat but their chieftains stopped them from doing so. The division of apostates presented by Qazi Ayad is the closest to this; however, he has mentioned three groups; the first were those who adopted idol worship, the second were those who followed Musailimah Kazzab and Aswad Ansi – both claimants to prophethood, and third were those who remained within Islam but rejected Zakat and made their interpretation that it was only obligatory during the time of the Holy Prophetsa.

Then there is Dr Abdur Rahman who says that there were four types of apostates; first were those who adopted idol worship, second were those who followed the false claimants of prophethood, that is Aswad Ansi, Musailimah Kazzab and Sajah, third were those who rejected the obligation of Zakat and fourth were those who did not reject the obligation of Zakat but refused to give it to Abu Bakrra.” (Dr Ali Muhammad al-Salabi, Sayyiduna Abu Bakr Siddiqra aur Karname  [Muzaffar Garh, Pakistan: Maktabat al-Furqan], pp. 272-273) 

Among the tribes who refused to offer Zakat, the most prominent were the tribes Abs and Dhubyan which were near Medina, and then close to them were the tribes of Banu Kinanah, Ghatafan and Fazarah. (Muhammad Husain Haikal Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiqra – Translated, p. 101, Ilm-o-Irfan Publications, Lahore)

The Hawazin tribe had been cast into doubt and then they too refused to offer Zakat. (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2012], p. 254)

It is recorded that Hazrat Abu Bakrra consulted with the Companions regarding those who refused to pay the Zakat. Hazrat Abu Bakrra gathered the senior Companions and consulted them regarding waging war against those who refused to pay the Zakat. It was regarding those people who refused to pay the Zakat, but called themselves Muslims. The majority of the Muslims, including Hazrat Umarra, were of the opinion that war should not be waged against those who believe in Allah and His Messengersa; rather, they should be included in the efforts against the apostates. There were also some who opposed this view, but they were few in number. (Muhammad Husain Haikal, Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiqra – Translated, p. 135, Maktabah Jadid, Lahore)

According to one narration, the Companions advised Hazrat Abu Bakrra that those who were opposed to Zakat should be left alone and instead he should change their hearts so that faith becomes firmly rooted after which Zakat should be received from them. Hazrat Abu Bakrra did not agree and rejected this idea. (Ibn Kathir, Al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah, Vol. 3, Ch. 6 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah] p. 308)

Hazrat Abu Bakrra agreed with the opinion that war should be waged against those who opposed Zakat thereby compelling them to offer it. His conviction in this matter was so firm that after this discussion he powerfully stated, “By God, if those opposed to Zakat refuse to give me so much as a rope which they used to give during the time of the Holy Prophetsa, then I will wage war against them.” (Muhammad Husain Haikal, Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiqra – Translated, p. 135, 136, Maktabah Jadid, Lahore)

This has been further explained in a narration of Bukhari; Abu Hurairahra narrates that Hazrat Umarra said, “How can you fight against people when the Holy Prophetsa has said:

أُمِرْتُ‭ ‬أَنْ‭ ‬أُقَاتِلَ‭ ‬النَّاسَ‭ ‬حَتَّى‭ ‬يَقُولُوا‭ ‬لاَ‭ ‬إِلَهَ‭ ‬إِلاَّ‭ ‬اللَّهُ‭ ‬فَمَنْ‭ ‬قَالَ‭ ‬لاَ‭ ‬إِلَهَ‭ ‬إِلاَّ‭ ‬اللَّهُ‭ ‬عَصَمَ‭ ‬مِنِّي‭ ‬مَالَهُ‭ ‬وَنَفْسَهُ‭ ‬إِلاَّ‭ ‬بِحَقِّهِ‭ ‬وَحِسَابُهُ‭ ‬عَلَى‭ ‬اللَّهِ

“‘I have been commanded to fight against people only until they declare “there is no god but Allah”. Whoever declares this, their wealth and lives are saved from me except for a right that is due and its reckoning will be with Allah.’” Hazrat Abu Bakrra said, “By God I will fight against those who choose between prayers and Zakat, because Zakat is wealth that is due. By God, even if they do not give me so much as a lamb which they used to give during the time of the Holy Prophetsa then I will fight against them.” Hazrat Umarra said, “By God, it happened that Allah the Almighty opened Hazrat Abu Bakr’sra chest and I understood that this was indeed the truth.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Zakat, Bab Wujub al-Zakat, Hadith 1399, 1400) 

In other words, Hazrat Umarra later had to accept that what Hazrat Abu Bakrra was saying was true.

Hazrat Syed Zainul Abideen Waliullah Shah Sahibra writes in explanation of the narration: 

عَصَمَ‭ ‬مِنِّي‭ ‬مَالَهُ‭ ‬وَنَفْسَهُ‭ ‬إِلَّا‭ ‬بِحَقِّهِ

“The clause إِلَّا‭ ‬بِحَقِّ‭ ‬الْإِسْلَامِ  sheds more light onto the matter. If after declaring that there is no god but Allah, a Muslim does not uphold Islamic rights, then he can be held liable. One cannot be saved from punishment simply by professing belief. There can be two meanings of ‭ ‬بِحَقِّ‭ ‬الْإِسْلَامِ [the due right owed within Islam]:

“The first is regarding the rights owed in the Islamic teachings; ‘Haqq’ which is an infinitive form can also signify plural. The second meaning is that Islam deems it necessary for one to sacrifice their life and wealth because حَقَّ‭ ‬الْأَمْرَا‭ ‬أَثْبَتَهُ‭ ‬وَأَوْجَبَهُ can be used in the transitive form as well.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Iman, Hadith 65) 

The wellbeing of people in society depends upon rights being fulfilled. Just as not paying tax is considered rebellion and worthy of punishment so too is the refusal to offer Zakat. At first, Hazrat Umarra did not agree with Hazrat Abu Bakrra, but when he heard the argument based on the words إِلَّا‭ ‬بِحَقِّهِ he accepted his viewpoint. This incident shows that the mere declaration of “there is no god but Allah” does not automatically translate into doing good deeds. The heading of this chapter [where the aforementioned hadith is found] is the following verse:

فَإِن‭ ‬تَابُواْ‭ ‬وَأَقَامُواْ‭ ‬الصَّلَوٰةَ‭ ‬وَءَاتَوُاْ‭ ‬الزَّكَوٰةَ‮ ‬فَخَلُّواْ‮ ‬سَبِيلَهُمۡ

Whilst repeating the subject mentioned in the above verse, Allah the Almighty states in the same chapter, 

فَإِن‭ ‬تَابُواْ‭ ‬وَأَقَامُواْ‭ ‬الصَّلَوٰةَ‭ ‬وَءَاتَوُاْ‭ ‬الزَّكَوٰةَ‭ ‬فَإِخۡوَٰنُكُمۡ‭ ‬فِي‭ ‬الدِّينِ

meaning, “But if they repent and observe Prayer and pay the Zakat then they are your brethren in faith (and there should be no opposition against them).” 

These words prove that a person who abandons any one of these three matters cannot be a Muslim. The five pillars of Islam are mandatory. By stating: 

إِلَّا‭ ‬بِحَقِّهِ

[except that which is due as a right], the Holy Prophetsa himself has deemed spending in the way of Allah as a right due to the weaker parts of society. In other words, it is mandatory for those who possess the means to follow the commandments of Islam and to fulfil the monetary right that is due from them. This will also result in their rights being protected. The conclusion which Hazrat Abu Bakrra reached based on the words:

إِلَّا‭ ‬بِحَقِّهِ

[except that which is due as a right] shows his deep and vast insight … According to Hazrat Abu Bakrra, refusal to offer Zakat is rebellion and a person who does not offer Zakat cannot remain part of an Islamic society and it is necessary to wage war against them on account of their rebellion. Even if Islam has afforded freedom in religious matters by declaring:

لَآ‭ ‬إِكۡرَاهَ‭ ‬فِي‭ ‬الدِّينِ

“There is no compulsion in religion”, a person who apparently accepts Islam and is granted security by being part of an Islamic society, of which they enjoy the benefits and communal rights, but then does not fulfil the duties and obligations which Islam has established for those who are part of an Islamic society, then they will not have the right of benefitting from the communal protection and right to security. There is no law in the world which tolerates those who break the law and are rebellious. The Islamic system of Zakat and alms has to do with society, not an individual. Its results and impacts are also related to society, not an individual. (Sahih al-Bukhari – Translated, Vol. 3, Kitab al-Zakat, pp. 14, 15) 

According to one narration, on this occasion, Hazrat Umarra said, “O Successor of the Messengersa, win the people’s hearts and be kind to them.” Upon this, Hazrat Abu Bakrra said to Hazrat Umarra, “You were quite brave during the time of ignorance, yet now during the time of Islam you are showing cowardice.” (Mishkat al-Masabih, Vol. 2, Kitab al-Fada‘il wa Shama‘il, Hadith 6024, p. 492, Maktabah Dar al-Arqam)

In any case, the outcomes stemming from the conduct of those opposed to Zakat and the war waged against them which impacted them and others will be discussed in the future, insha-Allah

Today, I would again like to say something about the current situation of the world. Pray that may Allah the Almighty grant guidance and wisdom to the governments on both sides so that they do not cause bloodshed of humanity.  

Also, the Muslims ought to take a lesson from this current war in how they [the West] have united. On the other hand, despite reciting the same Kalimah, Muslims never unite. Instead of showing unity, they allowed their countries to be destroyed; Iraq was destroyed, Syria was destroyed and currently there is destruction taking place in Yemen. Instead of showing unity, they allow all of this to be done through others and are also directly taking part in it as well.

The Muslims should at least take a lesson of unity from these people. May Allah the Almighty bestow His mercy upon the Muslim nations, upon every Muslim and the Muslim ummah. However, this [unity] can only happen when they accept the Imam of this age, who was sent by Allah the Almighty in this era for this very purpose. May Allah the Almighty grant them wisdom and understanding.

And along with reforming their conditions, may they also pray for the world and use their means and resources to stop the world from war, as opposed to joining the war themselves. 

After the prayers, I will lead a funeral prayer in absentia, which is of Syeda Qaisara Zafar Hashmi Sahiba, wife of Zafar Iqbal Hashmi Sahib of Lahore. She recently passed away:

‮ ‬إِنَّا‭ ‬لِلَّهِ‭ ‬وَإِنَّآ‭ ‬إِلَيۡهِ‭ ‬رَٰجِعُونَ

[“Surely, to Allah we belong and to Him shall we return.”]

She was the granddaughter of Hazrat Syed Muhammad Ali Bukhari Sahibra, a companion of the Promised Messiahas and was born to Syed Nazir Ahmad Bukhari Sahib. After marriage, she lived in various places. She was married in 1961, and in 1981, she moved to Allamah Iqbal Town, Lahore where she was able to serve in Lajna as sadr as well a secretary. She was regular in fasting and offering prayers; she was very devoted, kind, hospitable, patient, grateful and was a pious and sincere woman. She had profound love and obedience for Khilafat. She would be at the forefront of participating in financial schemes and would offer her financial contributions at the beginning of the year. By the grace of Allah, she was a musia. She is survived by her husband, five sons and a daughter. 

One of her sons, Mahmood Iqbal Hashmi Sahib is currently a prisoner in the way of Allah at Camp Jail in Lahore. He did not get permission to leave the jail but the administration did allow some leniency whereby his mother’s body was brought to the jail and he was able to see his mother for the last time. 

Ahmadis are made to face such harsh punishments for adopting Islamic traditions that they are not allowed to leave jail even to offer funeral prayers, whereas even the worst of the murderers get permission to get out. In any case, may Allah the Almighty have mercy on this country’s government. A case was filed against Mahmood Iqbal Sahib and three of his friends in June 2019 after which they were granted bail; however, their bail was revoked in August 2021 and the courts sent them back into custody. 

May Allah the Almighty swiftly ensure for the means for their freedom. One of the deceased’s grandsons, Asim Iqbal Hashmi Sahib, is a missionary here in the UK. May Allah the Almighty enable him to act upon the virtues of his grandmother and enable the rest of her progeny to do the same. May He bestow His forgiveness on the deceased.

(Official Urdu transcript published in Al Fazl International, 10 April 2022, pp. 5-10.  Translated by The Review of Religions.)

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