19 August 2022
Men of Excellence: Hazrat Abu Bakrra
After reciting the tashahud, ta‘awuz and Surah al-Fatihah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa said:
Whilst narrating the accounts of the companions who took part in the Battle of Badr, the era of Hazrat Abu Bakrra and the various incidents that took place during his time were being mentioned. Today, I will mention the advance toward Syria during his Khilafat. Once Hazrat Abu Bakrra had subdued the rebellious apostates and law and order had been established in Arabia, he thought about fighting the Byzantines, who were among the enemies that were carrying out attacks from across the border. However, until then, Hazrat Abu Bakrra had not yet informed anyone of this. These people would carry out attacks and would often cause trouble to the Muslims. Syria, as we know it today, was part of the Byzantine Empire and its kings were given the title of Caesar.
Hazrat Abu Bakrra was still contemplating over this when Hazrat Shurahbil bin Hassanara came to him and whilst taking a seat beside him said, “O Khalifa of the Messengersa of Allah! Are you thinking of attacking Syria?” Hazrat Abu Bakrra replied, “Yes, I am considering it, but I have not yet informed anyone of this. Why is the reason you have asked this?” Hazrat Shurahbilra submitted, “Yes, O Khalifa of the Messengersa of Allah! I saw in a dream that you were crossing a difficult mountainous area along with your companions. You then climbed a high peak and turned to the people and some of your companions were with you as well. You then descended from this peak and entered an extremely fertile land, which consisted of crops, springs, townships and fortresses and addressed the Muslims saying, ‘Attack the idolaters. I guarantee you victory and the acquisition of the spoils of war.’ Upon this, the Muslims launched their attack and I was also part of this army with a flag. I approached a township and its residents sought my protection. I granted them protection and returned to you as you had approached an enormous fortress. You were granted victory and they sought to establish peace with you. Following this, a throne was placed for you and you took a seat upon it. Thereafter, someone said to you, ‘Allah the Almighty has granted you victory and has helped you. As such, you should express your gratitude to your Lord and continue to obey Him.’ This person then recited the following verses:
إِذَا جَآءَ نَصۡرُ اللّٰهِ وَ الۡفَتۡحُ
وَرَأَيۡتَ النَّاسَ يَدۡخُلُونَ فِي دِينِ اللّٰهِ أَفۡوَاجًا
فَسَبِّحۡ بِحَمۡدِ رَبِّكَ وَ اسۡتَغۡفِرۡهُ ۚ إِنَّهٗ كَانَ تَوَّابًا
‘When the help of Allah comes and the Victory, and thou seest men entering the religion of Allah in troops, Glorify thy Lord with His praise and seek His forgiveness. Surely He is Oft-returning with mercy.’”
He says: “Following this, I woke up.” It was a long dream.
Having heard this dream, Hazrat Abu Bakrra said, “May your eyes feel the comfort as you have seen a good dream and it will prove to be good, insha-Allah [God willing].” Following this, Hazrat Abu Bakrra said, “In this dream, you have given the glad tidings of victory as well as informed me of my demise.” As Hazrat Abu Bakrra uttered these words, his eyes filled with tears and he said, “With regards to crossing the mountainous area and climbing the peak and looking down towards the people means that we will face hardships in dealing with this army and their soldiers will also face difficulties. Following this, we will gain victory and control. As far as descending from the peak and heading towards the fertile land is concerned, which comprised of blossoming crops, springs, townships and fortresses, it refers to us enjoying more ease than before, filled with success and prosperity and we will be granted a more fertile land. As far as my commandment to the Muslims of attacking the enemy and guaranteeing victory and the spoils of war is concerned, it refers to me encouraging the Muslims to fight and advance towards the lands of the idolaters. With regards to the flag you were carrying with which you entered a township, whose inhabitants sought your protection and you granted it, it refers to you being one of the chiefs who will conquer this area and Allah the Almighty will grant victory through you. The fortress which Allah the Almighty enabled us to conquer refers to the area which Allah the Almighty will make me victorious over. The interpretation of the throne on which you saw me take a seat is that Allah the Almighty will grant me honour and exalt my ranks and disgrace the idolaters. And as far as the man is concerned, who instructed me to do good deeds, obey Allah the Almighty and recited Surah an-Nasr before me, he actually informed me of my demise in this manner. When this very chapter was revealed to the Holy Prophetsa, he understood that he was being informed of his demise in this chapter.” (Al-Iktifa’ bima Tadmanuh min Maghazi Rasul Allah wa al-Thalathah al-Khulafa, Vol. 2, Ch. 1 [Beirut, Lebanon: Alam al-Kutub, 1997], pp. 109-110.) (Ibn Asakir, Tarikh Dimashq al-Kabir, Vol. 1, Ch. 2, Dhikr Ihtimam Abi Bakrra…, p. 44.) (Allamah Abdul Sattar Hamdani, Mardan-e-Arab, Ch. 1, pp. 108-109, 2013.)
This is how Hazrat Abu Bakrra interpreted this dream.
When Hazrat Abu Bakrra decided to prepare an army for the conquest of Syria, he gathered Hazrat Umarra, Hazrat Usmanra, Hazrat Alira, Hazrat Abdur Rahman bin Aufra, Hazrat Talhara, Hazrat Zubairra, Hazrat Sa’d bin Abi Waqasra, Hazrat Abu Ubaidah bin Al-Jarrahra and various other prominent companions from among the Muhajirin and Ansar who partook in the Battle of Badr and also various other companions. When all of these companions came before him, Hazrat Abu Bakrra stated, “The bounties of Allah are innumerable. One’s actions alone cannot attain them, thus you ought to praise Allah the Almighty profusely for He has bestowed His favours upon you. He gathered you all on one Kalimah [Islamic creed], established peace between you, granted you guidance through Islam and removed Satan from you. Now, Satan no longer has any hope of you associating partners with God and worshipping anyone besides Allah. Today, the Arabs are united as one Ummah and belong to the same mother and father [in terms of ancestry]. I am of the opinion to send them to Syria in order to fight against the Byzantines and whoever dies among them will attain martyrdom. Allah the Almighty has prepared an excellent reward for those who perform virtuous deeds. Those among them who remain alive, would have remained alive in a state whereby they were defending Islam and he would be deserving of Allah the Almighty’s rewards which He grants to those who strive in His way. This is my opinion and every one of you should present his suggestions based on his opinion on the matter.”
Thus, Hazrat Abu Bakrra sought their suggestions. Upon this, Hazrat Umar bin Al-Khattabra stood up and stated, “All praise belongs to Allah, Who grants His blessings and grace to whomsoever He wills. By God, You have always excelled us in whichever aspect of goodness we tried to surpass you in. This is the special grace and blessings of Allah the Almighty and He grants it to whomsoever He pleases. By Allah, I wanted to meet you for this very purpose which you have just mentioned. However, Allah the Almighty so willed that I was unable to say this to you. However, you have now mentioned this yourself. Indeed, your opinion is correct. Allah has granted you insight about the right path.”
Following this, Hazrat Abdur Rahman bin Aufra, Hazrat Usman bin Affanra, Hazrat Talhara, Hazrat Zubairra, Hazrat Sa’dra, Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra, Hazrat Saeed bin Zaidra, Hazrat Alira and the rest of the Muhajirin and Ansar present in the gathering agreed with Hazrat Abu Bakr’sra opinion and submitted, “We will listen to you and obey you. We shall not disobey your orders and will respond to your call.”
Hazrat Abu Bakrra then stood once more to address the people. He praised Allah the Almighty which He is most worthy of and sent salutations upon the Holy Prophetsa. He then stated, “O people, Allah the Almighty has most certainly blessed you immensely in granting you Islam, granted you honour by way of your jihad, and granted you superiority over other religions by way of Islam. Therefore, O servants of Allah, prepare to fight the Byzantines in Syria. I am now going to appoint your leaders who will take command of the army. Obey Allah, do not disobey your leaders, and keep your intentions purely for the sake of attaining the pleasure of Allah. Continue to excel in your character and conduct, and eat and drink in a proper manner. Allah Almighty supports those who are pious and do good.”
Hazrat Abu Bakrra gave instructions to Hazrat Bilalra who then announced, “O people, go forth towards the Byzantine enemy in Syria and the commander of the Muslims shall be Hazrat Khalid bin Sa’eedra.” (Al-Iktifa’ bima Tadmanuh min Maghazi Rasul Allah wa al-Thalathah al-Khulafa’, Vol. 2, Ch. 1 [Beirut, Lebanon: ‘Alam al-Kutub, 1997], pp. 110-114.) In relation to the conquests in Syria, Hazrat Abu Bakrra, first of all, sent Hazrat Khalid bin Sa’eedra. According to one narration, when Hazrat Abu Bakrra returned to Medina after performing the Hajj, he sent Hazrat Khalid bin Sa’eedra with an army towards Syria in 13 AH. Others say that Hazrat Abu Bakrra sent Hazrat Khalid bin Sa’eedra towards Syria at the same time that he sent Hazrat Khalid bin Walidra towards Iraq. Therefore, the very first flag to be raised for the victory in Syria was that of Hazrat Khalid bin Sa’eedra. Aside from that one can learn from another narration that when Hazrat Abu Bakrra prepared and sent forth 11 armies to face the apostates, at the same time he instructed Hazrat Khalid bin Sa’eedra to go to Taimah to defend the borders of Syria, ordering him, “Do not to move from your place. Invite those around you to Islam, recruit only those who have not become apostates and only fight those who fight you, [do not move] until you receive further instructions from me.” Taimah is a well-known town between Syria and Medina. (Ibn Athir, Al-Kamil fi al-Tarikh, Dhikr Musailimah wa Ahl al-Yamamah, Vol. 2, Thumma Dakhalat Sanah Thalath Asharah, Dhikr Futuh al-Sham, [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 2006], 252.) (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 2012], 332.) (Sayyid Fadl al-Rahman, Farhang-e-Sirat [Karachi, Pakistan: Zawwar Academy Publications, 2003], p. 78.)
Hazrat Abu Bakrra began preparing Muslims from other areas aside from Medina to combat the Byzantines and encouraged them to participate in the Jihad. He wrote a letter to the people of Yemen, in which it was written:
“From the Khalifa of the Messengersa of Allah to all the Muslims of Yemen, peace be upon all those to whom this is read. I praise Allah before you, besides Whom there is no god. Allah the Almighty has enjoined the Muslims to perform the jihad, instructing them to go forth for this with either light or full preparations. Allah the Almighty has stated:
جٰهِدُواْ بِأَمۡوٰلِكُمۡ وَأَنفُسِكُمۡ فِي سَبِيلِ اللّٰهِ
‘Go forth, light and heavy, and strive with your property and your persons in the cause of Allah.’
“Hence, jihad is a compulsory duty which carries a great reward from Allah, and we have instructed the Muslims to prepare to fight against the Byzantines in Syria. Their intentions are good and have a lofty station. So, O servants of Allah, make haste in the duty to your Lord and in the practice of His Prophetsa, and in attaining one of the two virtues – either martyrdom or victory and spoils of war. Allah the Almighty is not pleased with the words of His servants which they do not implement upon themselves, nor with the forsaking of the jihad against His enemies unless they accept the truth and follow the commandments of the Holy Quran. May Allah protect your religion, guide your hearts, purify your actions and grant you reward of the patient ones who perform the jihad.”
Hazrat Abu Bakrra sent this letter with Hazrat Anas bin Malikra. Hazrat Anasra says, “I reached Yemen and started notifying each and every neighbourhood and tribe. I would read out the letter of Hazrat Abu Bakrra to them and when I would finish doing so, I would say, ‘All praise belongs to Allah and I bear witness that there is no god besides Allah and that Muhammadsa is His messenger. I am the emissary of the Khalifa of the Holy Prophetsa and the Muslims. Listen carefully, for I have departed when the Muslims had formed an army and it is only your arrival (to Medina) which is holding them up from setting forth to face the enemy. So hurry to your brothers. O Muslims, may Allah have mercy on you.’” (Al-Iktifa’ bima Tadmanuh min Maghazi Rasul Allah wa al-Thalathah al-Khulafa, Vol. 2, Ch. 1 [Beirut, Lebanon: ‘Alam al-Kutub, 1997], pp. 115-116.)
Hazrat Anasra then returned to Medina and gave Hazrat Abu Bakrra the good news of the arrival of the people, saying, “The brave, fearless horse riders of Yemen, whose hair are unkempt and full of dirt are on their way to you. They have set forth with their wealth, provisions, wives and children.” (Muhammad al-Salabi, Sayyiduna Abu Bakr Siddiqra Shakhsiyyat aur Karname – translated [Khan Garh, Pakistan: Al-Furqan Trust], p. 439)
Meanwhile, Hazrat Khalid bin Sa’eedra had reached Taimah and remained there as many people in the surrounding areas had joined him. News of this great Muslim army had reached the Byzantines and so they requested armies to Syria from among the Arabs who were under their influence. Hazrat Khalid bin Sa’eedra wrote to Hazrat Abu Bakrra about these preparations of the Byzantines. In response, Hazrat Abu Bakrra replied, “Advance, worry not, and seek Allah’s help.” Thereafter, Hazrat Khalid bin Sa’eedra advanced on the Byzantines, but they dispersed and left their post when he reached nearby. Hazrat Khalid bin Sa’eedra gained control over that area and the majority of the people who had gathered there became Muslims. Hazrat Khalid bin Sa’eedra informed Hazrat Abu Bakrra of this, so he wrote back instructing him to advance further, but not so much that the enemy has the opportunity to attack from behind. Hazrat Khalid bin Sa’eedra went forth with the people until they set up camp in an area. A Byzantine priest by the name Bahan came there to combat them. Hazrat Khalid bin Sa’eedra defeated him and killed many from his army, causing Bahan to flee to Damascus to seek refuge. Hazrat Khalid bin Sa’eedra informed Hazrat Abu Bakrra of this and requested reinforcements. At the time, the people of Yemen who set forth to initially fight in Syria had reached Hazrat Abu Bakrra. Likewise, people from the areas between Yemen and Mecca had also arrived.
Among them was also Hazrat Dhu al-Kalara. After successfully completing his battle against the apostates, Hazrat Ikrimahra also returned to Hazrat Abu Bakrra and with him were people from various regions as well. With regards to all these people, Hazrat Abu Bakrra wrote to those who had been appointed as governors and stated that those people who would like to be replaced should be replaced. It so happened that everyone wished to be replaced and so a new army was formed in their place. For this reason, this army came to be known as Jaish al-Bidal. These armies arrived at where Hazrat Khalid bin Sa’eedra was staying. Even after that, Hazrat Abu Bakrra continued to encourage people to go to battle in Syria. Hazrat Abu Bakrra commanded Hazrat Walid bin Uqbahra to set out for Syria where Hazrat Khalid bin Sa’eedra was stationed. When he reached Hazrat Khalid bin Sa’eedra, he informed him that the people of Medina are longing to come to the aid of their brothers and that Hazrat Abu Bakrra is preparing forces. Upon hearing this, Hazrat Khalid bin Sa’eedra could not contain his happiness, for he thought that their victory against the Byzantines would be led by him. Thus, he set forth along with Hazrat Walid bin Uqbahra with the intention to launch an attack on the great Byzantine army, an army under the commandership of Bahan. (Ibn Athir, Al-Kamil fi al-Tarikh, Dhikr Musailimah wa Ahl al-Yamamah, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 2006], pp. 252-253.) (Ibn Kathir, Al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah, Vol. 4, Ch. 7 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 2001], p. 4.) (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 2012], p. 332.) (Muhammad Husain Haikal, Hazrat Sayyiduna Abu Bakr Siddiqra – Translated [Jhelum: Book Corner Showroom], pp. 340-341.)
Whilst in his pursuit to attack the Byzantines, Hazrat Khalid bin Sa’eedra neglected the instruction of Hazrat Abu Bakrra to not advance so far forward that the enemy finds an opportunity to attack from the rear. And so, he became distracted from protecting his rear and before other commanders could arrive, he commenced the war with the Byzantines. Bahan and his men went towards Damascus. Bahan’s retreat was in fact a plot to surround the Muslims and attack them from behind. Hazrat Abu Bakrra had warned them of this danger, however, Hazrat Khalid bin Sa’eed’sra passion for victory led him to neglect this warning from the Khalifa of the time and advance forward. Hazrat Khalid bin Sa’eedra continued to penetrate deeper into the enemy forces. At the time, he was accompanied by Hazrat Walid bin Uqbahra, Hazrat Dhu al-Kalara and Hazrat Ikrimahra. The army forces and guards of Bahan surrounded Hazrat Khalid bin Sa’eedra and blocked their way out. Hazrat Khalidra was completely oblivious to this. Subsequently, Bahan advanced towards them and found Sa’eedra, Hazrat Khalid’sra son, searching for water, and so he killed him and all those with him. When Hazrat Khalid bin Sa’eedra received news that his son and his companions had been martyred, he took a battalion of horse riders and fled. Instead of contending in battle, he chose to leave. Following this, many others also mounted their horses and camels and left the army. After being defeated, Khalidra came to Dhu al-Marwah, all the while Hazrat Ikrimahra did not move from his post and continued to help the Muslims. Dhu al-Marwah is a place between Mecca and Medina, located approximately 96 miles from Medina. Hazrat Ikrimahra prevented Bahan and his forces from pursuing Hazrat Khalidra. When news of this reached Hazrat Abu Bakrra, he became very displeased with Hazrat Khalidra and did not permit him to enter Medina. Albeit, after being allowed to enter Medina, he sought forgiveness for what he did from Hazrat Abu Bakrra. (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 2012], pp. 333-334.) (Muhammad Husain Haikal, Hazrat Sayyiduna Abu Bakr Siddiqra – Translated [Jhelum: Book Corner Showroom], p. 341.) (Sayyid Fadl al-Rahman, Farhang-e-Sirat [Karachi, Pakistan: Zawwar Academy Publications, 2003], 56, 269.)
Despite Hazrat Khalid bin Sa’eed’sra failure, Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq’sra determination and strength was absolutely unfaltering. When they received news that Hazrat Ikrimahra and Hazrat Dhu al-Kalara had saved the Muslim forces from the Byzantine’s trap and had brought them back to the borders of Syria where they were awaiting reinforcements, Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiqra arranged for reinforcements to be sent without delay. With respect to this, Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiqra prepared four large armies which were sent to different regions of Syria, the details of which are as follows:
The first army was under the leadership of Yazid bin Abi Sufyanra. He was the brother of Hazrat Mu’awiyahra and was one of the most excellent men amongst the family of Abu Sufyan. This was the first amongst the four armies sent forth to Syria as reinforcements. Hazrat Abu Bakrra appointed Hazrat Yazid bin Abi Sufyanra as the commander of this army. He was tasked with conquering Damascus upon his arrival there, and also with helping the three other armies when needed. In the beginning, this army was 3,000 men strong, after which Hazrat Abu Bakrra sent more reinforcements, increasing their number to 7,000. Suhail bin ‘Amr and others from Mecca of similar high stature were part of this army under the command of Hazrat Yazid bin Abi Sufyanra. In the era of ignorance, Suhail bin ‘Amr was among the most superior people and learned chieftains of the Quraish, and on the occasion of the Treaty of Hudaibiyah, he came as a representative on behalf of the Quraish to make a treaty with the Holy Prophetsa. He accepted Islam at the Conquest of Mecca. (Muhammad al-Salabi, Sayyiduna Abu Bakr Siddiqra Shakhsiyyat aur Karname – translated [Khan Garh, Pakistan: Al-Furqan Trust], p. 441.) (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 2012], p. 333.) (‘Ali Ibn al-Athir, Usd al-Ghabah fi Ma’rifat al-Sahabah, Vol. 3 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah], pp. 585-586.)
When Hazrat Abu Bakrra was tying a flag for Hazrat Yazid bin Abi Sufyanra, he also called for Rabiah bin Amir and tied a flag for him, saying, “Go forth with Yazid bin Abi Sufyan. Do not be disobedient to him, nor oppose him.”
Following this, Hazrat Abu Bakrra addressed Hazrat Yazid bin Abi Sufyanra and said, “If you find it suitable to give Rabiah bin Amir the charge of your lead battalion, then surely do so. He is counted amongst the best horsemen of Arabia and the most pious of your people, and I, too, believe him to be a pious servant of Allah.” Upon this, Hazrat Yazidra said, “Your positive opinion and belief about him has increased my love for him.” Hazrat Abu Bakrra then followed to walk beside them on foot, upon which Hazrat Yazidra said, “O Khalifa of the Holy Prophetsa, I request that either you take a mount as well or allow me to walk beside you, for I cannot allow myself to ride a mount while you walk.” Upon this, Hazrat Abu Bakrra said, “I will not take a mount, and nor will you dismount. I take these steps only for the sake of Allah.”
Then, whilst advising Hazrat Yazidra, Hazrat Abu Bakrra said, “O Yazid! I admonish you to be righteous, to obey Allah, to offer sacrifices for His sake and to remain fearful of Him. When you come face to face with the enemy and Allah grants you victory over them, do not be deceitful and nor mutilate them (i.e. do not disfigure their corpses), do not break your covenant, do not show cowardice, do not kill any small child, elderly person or woman, do not burn or ravage date palms, and do not cut down any fruit trees. Furthermore, do not kill any animal except that it is for consumption (i.e. do not kill any animal needlessly). You will come across a people who have dedicated themselves to Allah in their churches. Leave them be and that which they have dedicated their lives to (in other words, the monks and priests in the churches should not be harmed). You will also come across a people whose heads are shaven by Satan from the centre. The middle of their heads would appear as though a partridge has dug a ditch in the ground to lay eggs.”
In another narration, it is also recorded, “You will find a people who shave their heads from the middle, and they would have left strips of hair on all four sides. Thus, strike their heads where they have shaven their hair with your swords.” There are a few narrations regarding these people who [the Muslims] were commanded to kill. It is said that this was a Christian faction comprising not of priests, but of religious leaders who would incite others to wage war against Muslims. They would also take part in war themselves. For this reason, Hazrat Abu Bakrra stated that the priests who are in their churches should not be harmed at all. However, the Muslims should fight against such people who incite conflict and wage war and also their followers for the reason that they are enemies in battle and instigate war. Hazrat Abu Bakrra emphasised to this extent that he said, “Fight against those people until they either accept Islam or have no other choice but to pay Jizyah. Whoso helps Allah and His Messengersa will be helped by Allah the Almighty through means that are unseen. I bid you peace and give you over to Allah.” (Al-Iktifa’ bima Tadmanuh min Maghazi Rasul Allah wa al-Thalathah al-Khulafa, Vol. 2, pt. 1, pp. 117-118 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1997]) (Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1987], p. 246.)
In another narration, further instructions are mentioned. It is written that Hazrat Abu Bakrra stated to Hazrat Yazid bin Abi Sufyanra, “I have appointed you as the governor, so that I may test you and train you by sending you to another place. If you discharge your responsibilities in an excellent manner then I shall appoint you once again for this task and enable you to excel further. However, if you show negligence, then I shall remove you from your office. Adhere to Taqwa [righteousness]. Allah is aware of your inner conditions just as He is aware of your outer state. Amongst the people, those who are closest to Allah are those who do the greatest justice to their bond of friendship with Allah and the person who is closest to Allah amongst the people is one who attains His nearness through his conduct. I have appointed you in place of Khalid bin Saeed. Refrain from harbouring malice for Allah is most displeased by this and the one who acts in this manner. When you reach your army, treat them well and in a kind manner. Promise them of prosperity and when you advise them do so in a brief manner for lengthy talks cause one to forget many things. Keep yourself reformed and people themselves will reform for you. (If a leader remains reformed, then people will also act in the correct manner.) Offer your prayers at their prescribed time whilst performing all the Ruku and Sujood [bowing and prostrations] and perform them with fervency and humility. When the enemies’ representatives come to you, treat them with dignity. (When an emissary comes, he should be treated in a respectful manner). Let them only stay for a brief period of time, so that they do not spend too much time with your army and thus they will not be able to acquire information about them. (This was also part of the strategy to not allow the emissaries to stay for long and to quickly see them off). Do not allow them to gather information about you for they will learn of any deficiencies you may have and gather information about you. Keep them in the midst of your soldiers and do not let them speak to the people. When you speak to them, do not reveal your secrets, otherwise, this will ruin all of your plans. Whenever you wish to seek advice, speak the truth and you will receive the correct advice. Do not conceal your information from your advisors, otherwise you will incur loss owing to your own fault. (This is also a principle that when one seeks advice from somebody then they should mention all the finer details of the matter, so that they can give the correct advice and reduce the potential of incurring any loss). Speak to your friends at night and you will be able to gather a lot of information. If you gather information in the night, you will be able to acquire insight into a lot of hidden matters. Ensure that you have a lot of men assigned in the battalion that has been appointed for the purpose of defence and spread them out amongst the army. You should often inspect their military posts without informing them before. If you find any post unattended, you should admonish that person but do not take any extreme measures whilst handing out punishment. Assign a rota for them to cover the nights and keep the shift which is in the earlier part of the night longer than the one in the latter part of the night because the earlier shift is easier to do owing to it being closer to the day. (The duty which starts in the early part of the night should be longer, because it’s easier to stay awake in that part of the night and the duty in the latter part of the night should be shorter). Do not be scared to hand out punishment to one who is deserving of it and nor show leniency. Do not be haste in giving out punishment but neither become negligent of it. Do not become neglectful of your army for they will start to weaken and also do not humiliate them by spying upon them. Do not mention their confidential information to people. Be content with the way they are and do not sit with useless people, rather sit with those who are truthful and loyal. Stand firm and resolute when you engage in combat with the enemy. Do not show cowardice otherwise, people will also follow suit. Do not be dishonest in matters relating to the spoils of war for such an act takes one closer to becoming dependent upon others and prevents one from victory and success. You will also find some people who have devoted themselves in the service of the church, let them be and allow them to continue their practice which they have dedicated themselves for.” (Ibn Athir, Al-Kamil fi al-Tarikh, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 2006], pp. 253-254.)
This is a complete plan of action which is important for every leader and office-bearer to implement upon. After this, Hazrat Abu Bakrra took the hand of Hazrat Yazidra and whilst bidding him farewell, stated, “You are the first person who I have appointed as Amir over the preeminent Muslims. These people are not of lowly status and nor are they weak, ignoble or extremist in religious matters. Thus, you ought to treat them well and show kindness and compassion to them and take advice from them in all important matters. Treat them kindly. May Allah enable them to treat you with kindness as well and may He grant me help in fulfilling my responsibilities as the Khalifa.”
Thereafter, Hazrat Yazidra took his army and left for Syria. Every day after Fajr and Asr prayer, Hazrat Abu Bakrra would pray, “O Allah! You created us while we were non-existent. Then, out of Your mercy and grace, You sent us a Messengersa and granted us guidance while we had gone astray. You instilled the love for faith in our hearts while we were disbelievers. We were few in number and You increased us. We were disunited and You brought us together. We were weak and You granted us strength. You then made Jihad incumbent upon us and instructed us to fight against the idolaters until they declared that ‘there is none worthy of worship except Allah’ and pay the Jizya. They were left with no other choice. (Either they accepted Islam or then they had to pay the Jizya). O Allah! We seek Your pleasure through this Jihad against the enemy, who associated partners with You and worshipped idols instead of worshipping You. O Allah, there is none worthy of worship except You. Your status is far loftier than what these unjust people assert. O Allah grant help to your Muslim servants against the idolatrous enemy. O Allah! Grant them an easy victory and help them immensely. Grant courage to those among them who have less courage and enable them to remain resolute. Cause their enemy to stumble and their hearts to be overawed and destroy them. Uproot them and destroy their lands and enable us to take possession of their land, homes, wealth and belongings. Become our friend and bestower of grace. Rectify our affairs. Enable us to become among those who are grateful in order to partake of Your blessings. Forgive us and also the believing men and believing women and the Muslim men and the Muslim women, whether they are alive or have passed away. May Allah enable us and them to remain resolute on the truth in this world and in the hereafter. Indeed, He is Most Benevolent and Merciful to His believers.” (Al-Iktifa’ bima Tadmanuh min Maghazi Rasul Allah wa al-Thalathah al-Khulafa’, Vol. 2, pt. 1, pp. 118-119 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1997])
The second army was under the command of Shurahbilra bin Hassana. Hazrat Shurahbilra bin Hassana’s father’s name was Abdullah bin Muta’ and his mother’s name was Hassana. His title was Abu Abdillah. Hazrat Shurahbil’sra father passed away in his childhood and so he was known by his mother’s name as Shurahbil bin Hassana. Hazrat Shurahbilra was among the early converts to Islam. He was a famous army commander during the era of Khilafat-e-Rashidah. He passed away in 18AH at the age of 67. (‘Ali Ibn al-Athir, Usd al-Ghabah fi Ma’rifat al-Sahabah, Vol. 2, [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 2003], pp. 619-620.)
Hazrat Abu Bakrra appointed the departure date for Hazrat Shurahbilra bin Hassana three days after the departure of Hazrat Yazid bin Abu Sufyanra. When the third day passed, Hazrat Abu Bakrra bid Hazrat Shurahbilra farewell and stated, “O Shurahbil! Have you not heard the advice I imparted to Yazid bin Abi Sufyan?” Hazrat Shurahbilra replied, “I certainly have.” (The aforementioned advice I read out). Hazrat Abu Bakrra stated, “Implement the advice I have already given and I shall also advise you about those things which I forgot to mention to Yazid. I advise you to offer your prayers on time and remain resolute during battle till you are granted victory or attain martyrdom. I also advise you to visit the sick, attend the funerals and remain occupied in the remembrance of Allah in every situation.” Abu Sufyan submitted, “Yazid already adheres to these qualities and even before leaving Syria he had been implementing upon these and now he would adopt them even more than before, insha-Allah.”
Hazrat Shurahbilra replied, “I seek help from Allah and whatever Allah wills shall happen.” He then took leave from Hazrat Abu Bakrra and then left for Syria with his army. Hazrat Shurahbilra had an army comprising of around three to four thousand. He was instructed to go to Tabuk and Balqa and then head towards Busra and that would be their final destination. Busra is an ancient and well-known city in Syria. Hazrat Shurahbilra departed towards Balqa and there was no notable battle fought as such. Balqa is also situated in Syria. They reached Balqa while his army marched to the left of Hazrat Abu Ubaidah’sra army and to the right of Amr bin Al-Aas’sra army. They entered Balqa and then headed towards Busra and surrounded the city. However, they could not attain victory as this was one of the most secure and fortified centres of the Byzantines. (Muhammad al-Salabi, Sayyiduna Abu Bakr Siddiqra Shakhsiyyat aur Karname [Khan Garh, Pakistan: Al-Furqan Trust], pp. 446-447.), (Al-Iktifa’ bima Tadmanuh min Maghazi Rasul Allah wa al-Thalathah al-Khulafa’, Vol. 2, pt.1, p. 120 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1997]), (Sayyid Fadl al-Rahman, Farhang-e-Sirat [Karachi, Pakistan: Zawwar Academy Publications, 2003], p. 58, 61.)
The third army was under the command of Abu Ubaidah bin Al-Jarrahra. Hazrat Abu Ubaidah bin Al-Jarrah’s name was Amir bin Abdillah and his father’s name was Abdullah bin Jarrah. Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra was more commonly known by his title and his lineage was attributed to his grandfather’s name, Jarrah. Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra was among those ten companions who were given the glad tidings of paradise by the Holy Prophetsa in his lifetime and are known as the “Ashra Mubashra”. He passed away in 18 AH at the age of 58. (Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani, Al-Isabah fi Tamyiz al-Sahabah, Vol. 4, pt. 3 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 2005], p. 475.), (‘Ali Ibn al-Athir, Usd al-Ghabah fi Ma’rifat al-Sahabah, Vol. 3, [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 2008], p. 126.), (Al-Isti‘ab, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Jil, 1992], p. 1472.)
The third army which Hazrat Abu Bakrra deployed to Syria, as I mentioned, was led by Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra, who was sent to Homs. Homs is an old Syrian city located near Damascus and was a large city. Hazrat Abu Ubaidah’sra army numbered seven thousand, whereas according to another narration, his army numbered between three to four thousand. Along the way, Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra passed by a town in Balqa called Ma’ab. This was not a conventional city but a tent city. A battle occurred between him and the people there, but later, the people there requested peace upon which he formed a treaty with them. This was the very first treaty formed in Syria. (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 2012], pp. 331,341.), (al-Salabi, Syedna Abu Bakr Siddiq, p. 447)
Hazrat Abu Bakrra also sent Qais bin Hubairah along with Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra. It was regarding him that Hazrat Abu Bakrra advised Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra and said, “You are accompanied by one of the most honoured and esteemed riders of Arabia. When it comes to Jihad, I do not think there is anyone more well-intentioned than him. The Muslims cannot disregard his opinion, counsel or might in battle. Keep him close to you and treat him with kindness and benevolence. Make sure that he does not feel disregarded by you; this will afford you his well-wishes and he will be on your side in striving to combat the enemy.”
When Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra left, Hazrat Abu Bakrra called Qais bin Hubairah and said, “I am sending you with Abu Ubaidah, trustee of the nation. If he is wronged, he never wrongs anyone in return. If he is mistreated, he forgives. If a bond is broken with him, he strives to re-establish it. He is merciful towards the believers and staunch in opposition to the disbelievers. Do not disobey him and he will only command that which is best. I have instructed him to listen to what you say. Therefore, give him advice whilst fearing Allah. We heard that during the era of idolatry and ignorance, you were the foremost in your experience in battle, at a time of ignorance where there was sin and disbelief. Now, having accepted Islam use your strength and bravery to combat the disbelievers who associate partners with Allah. For doing so, Allah the Almighty has established a great reward for you and honour and victory for the Muslims.” Upon hearing this guidance, Qais bin Hubairah said, “If you are alive and I am also alive, you will receive such news of me protecting the Muslims and undertaking Jihad against the disbelievers which you will like and will make you happy.” Hazrat Abu Bakrra said, “Only someone like you could do this.” When Hazrat Abu Bakrra was informed about the way he fought against two commanders (from the Byzantines) in Jabiyah and about his killing them, he said, “Qais kept true to his promise.” (Ibn ‘Asakir, Tarikh Dimashq al-Kabir, pt. 52, [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar Ihya’ al-Turah al-‘Arabi, 2001], pp. 336-337.)
These accounts will continue to be mentioned in the future. At this time, I wish to mention a martyr; Naseer Ahmad Sahib, son of Abdul Ghani Sahib. He lived in Rabwah, Darul Rahmat Sharqi. On 12 August, an opponent of the Jamaat stabbed and martyred him.
اِنَّا لِلّٰهِ وَاِنَّا اِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُوْنَ
[‘Surely, to Allah we belong and to Him shall we return.’]
According to reports, Naseer Ahmad Sahib was at the bus stop with one of his friends who was selling newspapers, when a religious fanatic named Hafiz Shahzad Hassan arrived and asked whether he was an Ahmadi. Naseer Ahmad Sahib replied saying, “I am from the Ahmadiyya Jamaat”, upon which this person demanded that he openly declare his renouncement of the Jamaat. When he refused, the man took a knife out of a bag and while raising slogans, he attacked Naseer Ahmad Sahib. He stabbed him numerous times, so much so that within a few seconds, these wounds proved to be fatal. He was unable to recover from the multiple stab wounds and was thus martyred. He was 62 years old at the time of his martyrdom. After the incident, in his statement, the murderer said that he had no remorse for what he did and that given the opportunity, he would do the same thing again. This entire incident took place in a minute or two, in fact within just a minute. It is reported that he was taken to the hospital within two to three minutes after the incident, however, this is what Allah had decreed and the wounds proved to be fatal and he attained martyrdom.
Ahmadiyyat was established in the deceased martyr’s family through his paternal grandfather, respected Feroz Din Sahib of Raipur, district Sialkot, who did the Bai’at and entered the fold of Ahmadiyyat in 1921 during the era of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra. The deceased martyr did not study beyond his primary education and instead began working in his family business of farming for ten years. He also left the country for some time and went to Malaysia where he worked, after which he returned to Pakistan. Ten years ago he moved from Raipur, district Sialkot to Rabwah. He had not been working these days as he was also a heart patient. He would spend most of his time in service to the Jamaat in his local area. He had currently been serving under Majlis Ansarullah as Muntazim Isar and as a collector for the finance department. He possessed many great qualities; he would help everyone in his local area and be especially always ready to help orphans and the poor. He also took special care to clean the mosque. He was a very trustworthy, hardworking, sociable and brave person. He had some difficulty walking due to an injury to his leg, but despite this, whenever he would be called at night by the Jamaat for security duty, he would always go. He would regularly listen to the Friday Sermon and was also regular in offering prayers. He would also keep a record of this with regard to the members of his local area. He had a profound love for Khilafat. It was part of his daily routine that after the Fajr prayer, he would listen to the recitation of the Holy Quran on his mobile phone for an hour. He would also go to the cemetery Bahishti Maqbarah almost every day to pray. The President of the local area says that whenever he was called upon for Jamaat work, the deceased martyr would always be present and there was never an instance in which he refused.
The deceased’s daughter, Mubaraka Sahiba says that a few days before his martyrdom, he saw a dream that there was a large group of people that had gathered and the atmosphere was one of grief. Upon seeing this he gave alms. For some time, he had been expressing that he felt his time was drawing near.
He is survived by his wife Mateen Akhtar Sahiba and three daughters. May Allah the Almighty grant them all patience and steadfastness. His brother, Tanveer Akhtar Sahib says, “Although he did not have much secular education or knowledge about the Jamaat, he had a great sense of pride for the Jamaat and love for Khilafat since his childhood. He was a simple-hearted and selfless person and would be happy in seeing other people be happy. On occasions of Eid, when he would come home from Lahore, he would bring home many things to eat and drink and would have nice, new clothes made which he would only wear on Eid, and because I am a life-devotee, he would give the clothes to me and would take my old clothes.” His nephew says, “He would always keep his phone with him because he thought that anyone from the Jamaat could need his help and if he did not have his phone then they wouldn’t be able to contact him. Even if his phone rang at night, he would immediately get up and get ready to serve the Jamaat. Even if he had to go to the ends of Rabwah, he would do so. He would always be ready to donate blood and in this way, he saved many lives. He never cared for his own heart ailment. He felt it was his moral obligation to help those in need, and he would always give precedence to them over his own illness.”
May Allah the Almighty elevate his station and grant him a lofty rank in Paradise. May He be the Protector and Helper of his family and enable them to carry on his virtues.
I will lead his funeral prayer in absentia after the [Friday] prayer, insha-Allah.
(Official Urdu transcript published in Al Fazl International, 9 September 2022, pp. 5-10. Translated by The Review of Religions.)