26 August 2022
Men of Excellence: Hazrat Abu Bakrra
After reciting the tashahud, ta‘awuz and Surah al-Fatihah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa said:
The accounts relating to the armies sent by Hazrat Abu Bakrra to Syria in order to halt their aggression were being related. The mention of three armies has already been made in the previous sermon. The fourth army was led by Hazrat Amrra bin Al-Aas. In relation to this, it is recorded that Hazrat Abu Bakrra dispatched an army towards Syria under the leadership of Hazrat Amrra bin Al-Aas. Prior to this, Hazrat Amrra bin Al-Aas was appointed to collect alms from half of the region of Quza’a. Hazrat Waleedra bin Uqba was appointed to collect alms from the remaining half of Quza’a. When Hazrat Abu Bakrra decided to send various armies toward Syria, he desired to send Hazrat Amrra bin Al-Aas as well. However, due to the role Hazrat Amrra bin Al-Aas had in putting an end to the wave of apostasy, Hazrat Abu Bakrra gave him the choice to either stay in Quza’a, or go to Syria and strengthen the Muslims. (Ibn Kathir, Al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah, Vol. 2, pt. 7, [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 2001] p. 3.), (Muhammad Husain Haikal, Hazrat Sayyiduna Abu Bakr Siddiqra [Jhelum: Book Corner Showroom], p. 340)
As such, Hazrat Abu Bakrra sent a letter to Hazrat Amrra bin Al-Aas saying, “O Abu Abdullah! I would like to occupy you with a task which is excellent for your life in this world and in the hereafter, unless you prefer to continue the task you are currently occupied with.” In reply to this, Hazrat Amrra bin Al-Aas wrote to Hazrat Abu Bakrra saying, “I am one of the arrows of Islam and after Allah, you are the only person who can shoot or collect these arrows. You may decide to shoot the strongest, most fearsome and most excellent arrow into the direction from which you anticipate danger.” (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1987], p. 332)
That is to say, he was absolutely prepared to face all kinds of dangers.
When Hazrat Amrra bin Al-Aas came to Medina, Hazrat Abu Bakrra instructed him to set up his camp outside of Medina so that people could gather around him and many noble men of the Quraish joined him. When the decision was made to head towards Syria, Hazrat Amrra bin Al-Aas was called to Medina. He came and in order to prepare an army with him, Hazrat Abu Bakrra instructed him to set up his camp outside of Medina so that people would come to him. When he decided to depart, Hazrat Abu Bakrra came to send them off and said, “O Amr! You are wise and experienced and well aware of matters pertaining to combat. You are setting off with noble men of your tribe and righteous Muslims and you will meet your brothers. As such, do not leave any shortcomings in their welfare and do not prevent them from making good suggestions, as your view in matters relating to combat is praiseworthy and may prove to be blessed in the end.” That is, do not prevent them from making good proposals and if you are given a good suggestion, then you may act accordingly. Hazrat Amrra bin Al-Aas replied, “How wonderful would it be for me to prove your perception of me to be true and that your opinion about me is not proved wrong.” [Following this,] Hazrat Amrra bin Al-Aas set off with his army, which consisted of 6000 to 7000 men and their destination was Palestine. Hazrat Amrra prepared a battalion of 1,000 men and sent it under the leadership of Hazrat Abdullahra bin Umar towards the advancing Byzantines. Subsequently, this battalion encountered the Byzantines and shattered the strength of the enemy, gained victory over them and returned with some prisoners. Hazrat Amrra bin Al-Aas interrogated these prisoners and it came to light that the Byzantine army, under the leadership of Ruwais, was in preparation to launch a sudden attack on the Muslims. Hazrat Amrra bin Al-Aas arranged his army in light of this information. When the Byzantines launched their attack, the Muslims were successful in stopping them and the Byzantines were forced to retreat. Following this, the Muslims launched a counterattack, shattered their strength and forced them to retreat and leave the battlefield. The Muslim army followed them and thousands of Byzantine soldiers were killed and this is how the battle came to an end. (Muhammad al-Salabi, Sayyiduna Abu Bakr Siddiqra Shakhsiyyat aur Karname [Khan Garh, Pakistan: Al-Furqan Trust], pp. 448-449.)
Having dispatched these armies, Hazrat Abu Bakrra felt relief as he was hopeful that Allah would make these Muslim armies victorious over the Byzantines. The reason for this was that more than 1,000 Muhajir and Ansar companions were among these armies, who had proven their utmost loyalty on every occasion and who had fought alongside the Holy Prophetsa right from the inception of Islam. Among these were the people of Badr as well, regarding whom the Holy Prophetsa supplicated to his Lord: “O Allah! If You destroy this small community today, then You will not be worshipped on this earth again.” (Muhammad Husain Haikal, Siddiq Akbar – Translated by Sheikh Muhammad Ahmad Panipati [Lahore: Ilm-o-Irfan Publishers], p. 322.)
It is written that in those days, the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius was in Palestine. When he received news of the preparations of the Muslims, he gathered the chieftains of the area and made passionate speeches in front of them, inciting them to fight against the Muslims. He said in relation to the Muslims, “They are starving, naked, uncultured people of the Arab desert who wish to attack you. Give them such an emphatic response that they never have the courage to even look your way again. You shall be fully supported with military apparatus and personnel. Willingly obey those who have been appointed commanders among you and you shall be victorious.” This is the speech that Heraclius delivered to the people there in order to incite them against the Muslims.
Having prepared the people of Palestine to confront the Muslims, Heraclius travelled to Damascus. From there, he went to Homs and Antakya, and just as he did in Palestine, he delivered the same passionate speeches, preparing them for war against the Muslims. He made Antakya the headquarters for the preparations against the Muslims. (Muhammad Husain Haikal, Siddiq Akbar – Translated by Sheikh Muhammad Ahmad Panipati [Lahore: Ilm-o-Irfan Publishers], p. 347)
The Byzantines had two armies in Syria – one in Palestine and the other in Antakya. These two armies had established their headquarters in the following places:
1) Antakya – This was the headquarters of Syria at the time of the Roman Empire.
2) Qinnasrin – This is at the north-western border of Syria, adjacent to Persia.
3) Homs – This is on the northeastern border of Syria, adjacent to Persia.
4) Oman – The headquarters of Balqa’ was situated here in a fortified and well-protected fortress.
5) Ajnadayn – This was the military headquarters of the Byzantines in the south of Palestine, which reached both the eastern and western boundaries of the Arab lands, stretching to the border of Egypt.
6) Caesarea – this is situated in northern Palestine, 13 km from Haifa, the remains of which are still present today. The Byzantine command centre was either Antakya or Homs. (Muhammad al-Salabi, Sayyiduna Abu Bakr Siddiqra Shakhsiyyat aur Karname [Khan Garh, Pakistan: Al-Furqan Trust], p. 450.)
It is also mentioned in one narration that when Heraclius heard of the impending arrival of the Muslim armies, he advised his own people to refrain from participating in the war, saying, “I believe that you should make a treaty with the Muslims. By God, if you agree upon them having half of the produce of Syria and the other half remaining with you and also having control of Rome, then this is better than them capturing the entire land of Syria and half of Rome.” However, the Byzantines got up and left, disregarding what he said. For this reason, he brought them to Homs and began preparing the soldiers and armies. Heraclius then went from Homs to Antakya. Seeing as he had a large army, he decided to send separate battalions to combat each of the Muslim armies, in order to weaken them by facing each division of their army separately. Therefore, he sent his brother Tazariq with an army of 90,000 to combat Hazrat Amrra, and he sent Jarjah bin Tuzar to face Hazrat Yazidra bin Abi Sufyan. Similarly, he sent Qaiqar bin Nastus with an army of 60,000 to combat Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra and sent Duraqis to face Hazrat Shurahbilra bin Hasanah. (Ibn Athir, Al-Kamil fi al-Tarikh, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2006], p. 255.), (Haikal, Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq, p. 347)
When Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra bin Al-Jarrah was close to Jabiah a person came with the news, “Heraclius is in Antakya and has brought such a large army to face you, an army the likes of which none of their ancestors had assembled to combat anyone.” Upon this, Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra wrote to Hazrat Abu Bakrra stating, “I have been informed that the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius has come and stationed in a city in Syria called Antakya and has sent people from his empire to gather. Therefore, people have flocked to Heraclius from every easy and difficult path. I have therefore deemed it appropriate to inform you of this so that you may decide on the matter.” Hazrat Abu Bakrra wrote in response to Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra, “I have received your letter and I have understood what you wrote in regards to the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius.” He then wrote, “His remaining in Antakya will be the means of his defeat and that of his cohorts, and the victory from Allah for you and the Muslims. Therefore, there is no need to worry. As for what you wrote in relation to Heraclius’s gathering the people from his empire and the large number of people assembling, we both knew prior to this that they would do so, for no people can abandon their emperor nor leave the empire without a fight.” Hazrat Abu Bakrra then wrote, “All praise belongs to Allah, I am aware of the fact that many Muslims fighting them love death just as much as the enemies love life, they are hopeful for a great reward from Allah in this fighting and have a greater love for striving in the way of Allah than their love for virgin women and valuable possessions. One of them during battle is better than a thousand polytheists. Combat them with your army and worry not about the Muslims who are not with you. Surely Allah, Whose remembrance is lofty, is with you, and at the same time, I am sending more people to assist you, that is to say, further armies which shall suffice you, after which you shall, God willing, not require any more. Peace be upon you.” (Tarikh al-Khamis, Vol. 3, [Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2009] pp. 212-213)
Similarly, Hazrat Abu Bakrra received a letter from Hazrat Amrra bin Al-Aas. In reply to the letter, Hazrat Abu Bakrra stated:
“I have received your letter in which you have mentioned the Byzantine army gathering. Remember, Allah the Almighty did not grant His Prophetsa victory and help because he had a large army. Our condition was such that we would perform Jihad alongside the Holy Prophetsa and we would only have two horses in our possession and we would take turns riding on the camel. On the day of Uhad, we were with the Holy Prophetsa and we only had one horse upon which the Holy Prophetsa was mounted. But despite these conditions, Allah the Almighty would grant us victory over the enemy and bestow His help.”
Hazrat Abu Bakrra stated, “Amr! Remember that the one who is most obedient to Allah the Almighty is the one who has the most dislike for sin. Obey Allah and also instruct those with you to show obedience to Allah.” (Muhammad al-Salabi, Sayyiduna Abu Bakr Siddiqra Shakhsiyyat aur Karname [Khan Garh, Pakistan: Al-Furqan Trust], pp. 452-453.)
Hazrat Yazidra bin Abi Sufyan also wrote a letter in which he mentioned the circumstances in his area and sought help. In reply, Hazrat Abu Bakrra wrote, “When you come up against your opponents in battle, take your men and launch an attack upon them and fight against them. Allah the Almighty shall not destroy you. Allah the Almighty has revealed to us that even a smaller army can overcome a much larger army with the command of Allah. But despite this, I shall send more mujahideen for your help and they will be sufficient for you and you will not require any more, insha-Allah. Peace be upon you.”
Hazrat Abu Bakrra also signed it.
Hazrat Abu Bakrra sent this letter in the hands of Hazrat Abdullahra bin Qurt to Hazrat Yazidra, and he departed. He reached Hazrat Yazidra and read the letter out in front of the Muslims, upon which the Muslims became very impassioned. (Tarikh al-Khamis, Vol. 3, [Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2009] p. 213)
Hazrat Abu Bakrra called Hashim bin Utbah and said, “O Hashim, you are very fortunate and privileged that you are from among those people whom the Muslims are attaining support from against their disbelieving enemy; those who are known and trusted for their well-wishing, good advice, chastity and command in military prowess.” Hazrat Abu Bakrra said to Hashim, “The Muslims have written to me requesting support against their disbelieving enemy. So go with your companions. I am preparing people to go with you. Set off from here until you meet Abu Ubaidah.” Hazrat Abu Bakrra stood up among the people and praised Allah. He then stated, “Indeed, some of your Muslim brothers are doing well, others will be wounded and are being defended and tended to. Allah Almighty has placed fear of them in the hearts of the enemy, for they sought refuge in their fortresses and closed the gates. The messenger on behalf of the Muslims has brought news that the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius fled past him and sought shelter in a town on the border of Syria. He has brought us news that Heraclius has sent forth a large army from there to combat the Muslims. I desire to send your army forth to aid your Muslim brothers. Allah the Almighty will strengthen and reinforce them through this, i.e. the Muslims will be strengthened through this army, the enemies will be disgraced and He will place fear in their hearts. May Allah have mercy on you. Prepare alongside Hashim bin Utbah and hope for rewards and blessings from Allah. If you prove successful, you shall attain the spoils of war, but if you are defeated, you shall attain martyrdom and honour.” Hazrat Abu Bakrra then returned home and the people began gathering by Hazrat Hashim bin Utbah, to the point where the numbers were greatly exceeded.
When they reached a thousand in number, Hazrat Abu Bakrra instructed them to depart. Hashim conveyed the greeting of peace to Hazrat Abu Bakrra and took leave. Hazrat Abu Bakrra said to him, “O Hashim, we used to benefit from the suggestions and good planning of the elderly and would depend upon the forbearance, strength and bravery of the youth. Allah the Almighty has combined all of these qualities within you. You are still young and heading towards prosperity. When you clash with the opponent, remain firm in combating them and exhibit forbearance. Remember, any step you take, whatever you spend, the thirst, fatigue, and hunger you will endure in the way of Allah, will be recorded for you by Allah the Almighty as good deeds. Allah the Almighty does not let the reward of those who do good go to waste.” Hashim said, “If Allah desires good for me, then this is exactly what I will do. Strength and might can only be granted by Allah. I intend that so long as I am not killed. I will continue to fight again and again and again.” Then he said, “I trust that so long as I am not killed, I will fight continuously.” Or he said, “I desire to be martyred, and to be martyred over and over again.” These are two narrations. Then, his paternal uncle, Sa’dra bin Abi Waqas said to him, “O my nephew, whatever arrows you fire and whatever strikes you blow should all be for the sake of attaining Allah’s pleasure. Know that you will soon depart from this world and return to Allah. From this world to the hereafter, you will be accompanied by every step you took with truthfulness or your good deeds which you did.” Hashim said, “Dear uncle, you have no need to worry about me in this regard. If my resting and my travelling, my manoeuvring by day and night, striving and fighting, injuring with my arrows and striking with my sword are merely to show others, then I will be among those who have incurred a loss.” In other words, his every action would be for the sake of Allah, not for other people. Then, he departed from Hazrat Abu Bakrra and set off towards Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra until he reached him. The Muslims rejoiced upon his arrival and informed one another about the good news of his arrival.
Hazrat Sa’eedra bin Aamir bin Hizyam came to learn that Hazrat Abu Bakrra wished to send him to Syria to carry out Jihad, as part of another army which Hazrat Abu Bakrra was preparing. Hazrat Sa’eedra thought that this army would be sent under his leadership. In any case, this news reached him, however, Hazrat Abu Bakrra delayed this for some time and did not mention anything to him for a few days. Hence, Hazrat Sa’eedra went to Hazrat Abu Bakrra and said, “O Abu Bakr, by Allah, I have received news that you intend to send me towards the Byzantines, however, I observed that you have remained silent. I do not know what impression of me has entered your heart. If you wish to send someone other than me as the leader, then send me along with him; nothing would make me happier. If you do not intend to send anyone, then owing to my passion for Jihad, grant me permission to join the Muslims. May Allah have mercy on you. It has been mentioned to me that the Byzantines have gathered a large army.” Upon this, Hazrat Abu Bakrra said, “O Sa’eed bin Aamir, may the Most Merciful of all have mercy on you. As far as I know you, your rank is among those who are humble, kind to their relatives, offer tahajjud in the morning, and remember Allah much.” Hazrat Sa’eedra said, “May Allah have mercy on you. Allah has bestowed even greater favours upon me. All is due to his grace and favour. By God, as far as I know you, you manifestly declare the truth, you stand firmly with justice, you are merciful to the believers and severe in combating disbelievers, you make just decisions and do not give preference when distributing wealth.” Upon this, Hazrat Abu Bakrra said to him, “That is enough, O Sa’eed, that is enough. May Allah have mercy on you. Go and prepare for war. I am about to send an army to the Muslims already in Syria and I appoint you as their leader.” Then he instructed Hazrat Bilalra to make an announcement to the people. He announced, “O Muslims! Prepare for an expedition to Syria alongside Hazrat Sa’eed bin Aamir bin Hizyam.”
Within a few days, seven hundred people gathered with him to form an army and when Hazrat Sa’eedra intended to depart, Hazrat Bilalra went to Hazrat Abu Bakrra and said, “O Caliph of the Holy Prophetsa, if you freed me for the sake of Allah the Almighty, so that I am free to do what I wish and contribute to something beneficial, then grant me permission to perform Jihad for the sake of my Lord. I would much rather go for Jihad than just remain idle.” Hazrat Abu Bakrra said, “Allah is witness to the fact that this is the very reason for which I freed you, and I seek no reward or thanks in return. This land is vast, so tread upon the path which you choose.” Hazrat Bilalra said, “O Siddiq, perhaps you have minded what I said and you are displeased with me.” Hazrat Abu Bakrra said, “No, by God, this has not displeased me. I do not wish for you to abandon your desires for mine, because your desire calls you towards obeying Allah.” Hazrat Bilalra said, “If you wish, then I will stay back with you.” Hazrat Abu Bakrra said, “If you desire to go for Jihad, then I will never instruct you to remain behind. I only desire to have you for the Adhan [call to prayer]. O Bilal, I dread the thought of being separated from you, however, such separation is necessary after which we will not meet until the Day of Judgement. O Bilal, always continue to do good deeds. May good deeds be the provisions for your journey and so long as you are alive, Allah will keep your memory alive for this very reason and when you pass away, he will grant you an excellent reward.” Hazrat Bilalra said to him, “May Allah grant you the best reward on behalf of this friend and brother. By God, the instructions you have given us regarding obedience to Allah, patience, truthfulness and doing good deeds are nothing new, and I do not wish to call the Adhan for anyone after the Holy Prophetsa.” Hence, Hazrat Bilalra also set off alongside Hazrat Sa’eedra bin Aamir. (Al-Iktifa’ bima Tadmanuh min Maghazi Rasul Allah wa al-Thalathah al-Khulafa, Vol. 2, pt. 1, [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 1997], pp. 130-132)
He also requested that if he was only being held back from calling the Adhan, then his desire was to not call the Adhan, because his heart was not content to call the Adhan for anyone else after the Holy Prophetsa. Afterwards, more people came and gathered by Hazrat Abu Bakrra. He appointed Hazrat Mu’awiyahra as their leader and instructed him to join his brother, Hazrat Yazidra. Hazrat Mu’awiyahra departed and joined Hazrat Yazidra. When Hazrat Mu’awiyahra passed by Hazrat Khalidra bin Sa’eed, then the remaining part of the army joined him as well. (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2012], p. 333.)
Then, Hamzah bin Malik Hamdani also presented himself before Hazrat Abu Bakrra with an army numbering close to one thousand, or even more. When Hazrat Abu Bakrra observed their numbers and preparation, he became very happy and said, “All praise belongs to Allah for this favour of His upon the Muslims. Allah always helps the Muslims through these people and procures the means for their happiness. He uses them to strengthen the Muslims and uses them to crush the opponents.” Then, Hamzah said to Hazrat Abu Bakrra, “Will there be any leader over me, aside from you?” Hazrat Abu Bakrra said, “Yes, we have appointed three leaders, you may join whichever one of them you choose.” Then, when Hamzah joined the Muslims and inquired which of their leaders was the highest in rank and had benefitted most from the company of the Holy Prophetsa, he was told that it was Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra bin Jarrah; hence he joined him. This was also a manner in which people expressed their love for the Holy Prophetsa, that they would remain with the person who had spent the most time with the Holy Prophetsa. Groups prepared for Jihad continued to arrive in Medina and Hazrat Abu Bakrra would send them on expeditions. Meanwhile, Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra continuously wrote to Hazrat Abu Bakrra; “The Byzantines and their associate tribes are gathering in large numbers in order to fight the Muslims. Hence, please instruct as to what should be done.” (Al-Iktifa’ bima Tadmanuh min Maghazi Rasul Allah wa al-Thalathah al-Khulafa, Vol. 2, pt. 1, [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 1997], pp. 132-133)
As a result of the constant letters from Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra, Hazrat Abu Bakrra decided to send Hazrat Khalidra bin Walid to Syria. Hazrat Abu Bakrra said, “By Allah, through Khalid bin Walid, I will cause the Byzantines to forget their satanic ploys.” Hazrat Khalidra was in Iraq at the time when Hazrat Abu Bakrra instructed him to go to Syria in order to lead and tend to the Muslim armies. He wrote to Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra, “I have entrusted leadership to Khalid in the war against the opponents in Syria. Do not oppose him. Obey him and do as he commands. I have not appointed him over you because I do not think that you are greater than him, however, in my view, you do not possess the same prowess in warfare as he does. May Allah the Almighty intend good for us and for you. Peace be upon you.” (Al-Iktifa’ bima Tadmanuh min Maghazi Rasul Allah wa al-Thalathah al-Khulafa, Vol. 2, pt. 1, [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 1997], p. 148), (Tarikh Al-Khamis, Vol. 3, p. 220)
It is recorded with regards to Hazrat Khalid’sra journey from Iraq to Syria that when Hazrat Khalidra received the letter from Hazrat Abu Bakrra, he set out towards Syria with what is recorded in various narrations as being an army of eight hundred, or six hundred, or five hundred, or even as high as nine thousand, or six thousand or somewhere in the thousands. He took this army and left for Syria. Some narrations record them as having been in the hundreds, others in the thousands. In any case, they set out towards Syria, When Hazrat Khalidra bin Walid reached a place called Quraqir, he launched an attack on its people. Then he crossed the desert and after an arduous journey, he raised his black flag as he entered a place near Damascus called Thaniya al-‘Uqab. With regards to the flag, it is recorded that this was the flag of the Holy Prophetsa which was called ‘Uqab and it was due to the flag that this valley became known as Thaniyah al-‘Uqab. (Ibn Athir, Al-Kamil fi al-Tarikh, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2006], pp. 156-157.), (Muhammad Husain Haikal, Siddiq Akbar – Translated by Sheikh Muhammad Ahmad Panipati [Lahore: Ilm-o-Irfan Publishers, 2004], p. 350.)
Thereafter, Hazrat Khalidra set up camp a mile away from the eastern border of Damascus. According to some narrations, Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra met with him there and they laid siege to the enemy on that very same day. It is also recorded in some narrations that Hazrat Khalidra did not stay outside of Damascus for too long and instead reached Qanat-e-Busra. When Hazrat Khalidra bin Walid, along with the Muslims reached Busra, all the armies gathered there and made him their leader in battle. He laid siege to the city. Some say that the leader in this battle was Hazrat Yazidra bin Abu Sufyan, because this was in the jurisdiction of Damascus, for which he was the governor and leader. Upon this, the residents agreed to pay Jizyah to the Muslims in exchange for the Muslims protecting their lives, wealth and their progenies. (Imam Abu al-Hasan Ahmad bin Yahya al-Buladhari, Futuh al-Buldan (translated by Abu Al-Khair Maududi) [Lahore: Nafees Academy, 1986], p. 174.), (Muhammad Husain Haikal, Siddiq Akbar – Translated by Sheikh Muhammad Ahmad Panipati [Lahore: Ilm-o-Irfan Publishers, 2004], p. 351.)
In relation to the Battle of Ajnadayn or Ajnadin – it is written in both forms – this is the name of a well-known settlement in the suburb of Palestine. (Yaqut Ibn ‘Abd Allah al-Hamawi, Mu’jam al-Buldan, Vol. 4 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar Ihya al-Turath al-Arabi], p. 129.)
After the conquest of Busra, Hazrat Khalidra took Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra, Hazrat Shurahbeelra and Hazrat Yazidra bin Abi Sufyan and left Medina for Palestine in order to help Hazrat Amrra bin Al-Aas. Hazrat Amrra at the time was in the mountainous region of Palestine. He wanted to come and meet the Islamic army but the Byzantine army was in pursuit of them and was making an effort to compel them into battle. When the Byzantine army heard about the arrival of the Muslims, they moved towards Ajnadayn. When Hazrat Amrra bin Al-Aas heard about the Islamic army, he left from there until he met the army and they all gathered at Ajnadayn and formed their rows for battle against the Byzantine army. (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 1987], pp. 346-347.), (al-Salabi, Al-Khalifatul Al-Awwal Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq Shakhsiyyatuhu Wa Asarahu, Dar-ul-Ma’rifah, p. 312)
According to another narration, prior to going to Ajnadayn, Hazrat Khalidra had laid siege to Damascus as opposed to Busra and Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra was also alongside him. During this siege, Heraclius had sent an army for the people of Damascus, whom the Muslims had a battle with, however details of this will be narrated with regard to the conquest of Damascus. (Muhammad Husain Haikal, Hazrat Sayyiduna Abu Bakr Siddiqra [Jhelum: Book Corner Showroom], pp. 379-380)
During the siege of Damascus, Hazrat Khalidra and Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra learnt that the governor of Homs had gathered an army in order to intervene in the path of Hazrat Shurahbeelra bin Hasanah, who at the time was in Busra and they also found out that a large army of the Byzantines had arrived in Ajnadayn. This news caused concern to Hazrat Khalidra and Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra as they were engaged in fighting against the people of Damascus. Hazrat Khalidra and Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra consulted one another and Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra was of the opinion that they should leave and go towards Hazrat Shurahbeelra before the enemy could reach him. Upon this, Hazrat Khalidra stated that if they went to Hazrat Shurahbeelra, then the Byzantine army stationed in Ajnadayn would pursue after them and so he suggested that they ought to travel towards Ajnadayn and fight against that very large army there. He also suggested that they send a message to Hazrat Shurahbeelra and inform him of the enemies’ movements against him and tell him to meet them in Ajnadayn. He also suggested that a message should be sent to Hazrat Yazidra bin Abi Sufyan and Hazrat Amrra to meet in Ajnadayn and then they would fight against the enemy. Upon this suggestion of Hazrat Khalidra, Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra stated, “this is an excellent suggestion; Allah shall bless this. We should act accordingly.”
According to another narration, Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra suggested to Hazrat Khalidra that all of their various armies were positioned in various locations in Syria and so a letter should be sent to all of them to meet in Ajnadayn. And so, when Hazrat Khalidra decided to leave Damascus for Ajnadayn he wrote to all the governors and instructed them to meet in Ajnadayn. Hazrat Khalidra and Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra left the siege of Damascus and took their men and quickly headed towards Ajnadayn. Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra was in the rear part of the army. The people of Damascus went in pursuit of them and surrounded Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra, who at the time was with 200 of his men. This contingent, in fact, comprised of women, children and also their wealth and possessions. According to one narration, there were 1000 horse-riders with them in order to protect and guard them. In any case, the people of Damascus were in large numbers and Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra engaged with them in an intense battle. When news of this incident reached Hazrat Khalidra, who was in the front part of the army along with the horse-riders, he returned along with his men. These horse-riders attacked the Byzantines and pushed them three miles back till they reached Damascus again. Meanwhile, the Byzantine army in Ajnadayn wrote a letter to its other army and also instructed them to come to Ajnadayn. This army of the Byzantines was heading towards Busra in order to attack Hazrat Shurahbeelra. Similarly, on the instruction of Hazrat Khalidra, all the Islamic armies gathered in Ajnadayn as well. (Tarikh al-Khamis, Vol. 3, Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2009, pp. 228-230), (Mardan-e-Arab, pp. 214, 216)
The commanders-in-chief of the Byzantine army initially tried to send the Muslims away by giving them some wealth. Just like the Persians, they also thought that these Arabs were lowly people, with no food or clothes and had simply left their impoverished land to loot money and wealth from others. For centuries, the Arabs were uncivilised, lowly, impoverished people who dwelled in the desert and no one could expect them to have any lofty objectives. And so, they proposed to Hazrat Khalidra that if his army returned, they would give each soldier a turban, one set of clothes and one gold dinar and the ranking officers would get 10 sets of clothes and 100 gold dinar and the Khalifa would get 100 sets of clothes and 1,000 gold dinars. They thought that these people were thieves and bandits and by offering them this amount they would be able to get rid of them. When Hazrat Khalidra heard this, he rejected it as a completely worthless offer and said in a very strict manner, “Byzantines! We reject your offer of wealth and consider it to be completely worthless for very soon we shall take control over your wealth, possessions, clans and tribes.” (Bashir Sajid, Ashrah Mubashrah, [Lahore: Al-Badr Publications] pp. 156-157)
When both armies drew near to each other, one of the Byzantine leaders told one of his men, who was an Arab, to infiltrate the Muslims. He was not a Muslim and he told him to spend one day and one night with them and to then come back and provide him with the information about them. And so, this man entered amongst Muslims. Since he was an Arab, nobody thought him to be a stranger and so he remained amongst the Muslims for one day and night. When he returned, the Byzantine commander asked him to provide him with information and he said, “If you are asking for information about them, then the information is that they spend the night praying and during the day they are cavaliers. In order to uphold justice amongst them, if even their leader’s son would commit theft, they would cut off his hand and stone him if he were to commit adultery.” Upon this, the Byzantine commander stated, “If what you say is true then it would be better to be buried beneath the ground than fight against them on the land. All I desire from Allah is that He leave us as we are and not to help me against them and nor grant them help against us.” (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 1987], p. 347.)
This has been recorded in Tarikh al-Tabari. In the morning, the armies drew close to one another and Hazrat Khalidra formed the army rows for battle. Hazrat Khalidra would walk through the soldiers and exhort them to Jihad. He would not stand in one place. He commanded the Muslim women to remain resolute and stand behind the army. He told them to continue supplicating to Allah and whenever someone from among the Muslims walked past them, they should raise their children towards them and should say, “Continue to fight in order to save your children and women!” Hazrat Khalidra would stand next to the various contingents and say, “O servants of Allah! Fear Allah and fight in the way of Allah against those who rejected Allah. Do not turn back on your heels and nor become overawed by your enemy. In fact, advance ahead like lions until their influence is no more. You are a free and honourable people. You have been granted the bounties of this world and Allah has ordained to grant you a reward in the hereafter as well. Do not allow the size of the enemy to cause you to fear. Verily, Allah is going to send down His wrath and chastisement upon them.”
Hazrat Khalidra said to the people that when he launches an attack, they should also do the same. (Tarikh al-Khamis, Vol. 3, Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2009, pp. 230-231).
Thereafter, a fierce battle took place between the two armies. Hazrat Saeedra bin Zaid advised the people in the following manner:
“O people! stand before Allah and remember your deaths and do not flee from the battlefield and thereby make hellfire incumbent upon you. O Ye who protect the faith and recite the Qur’an, show patience.”
When a fierce battle ensued, the Byzantines fled in order to save their lives. When they reached their location, Wardan addressed his people and said, “If the situation remains like this then this land and wealth will be taken away from you. It is better that even now we should try and cleanse our hearts of their corrosion. Our hearts never even entertained the thought that these Arab slaves, who were shepherds and did not possess any food or clothes would fight against us. Drought and famine has driven them towards us and now, having come here, they are enjoying exquisite provisions, such as fruits, raisins and bread made of wheat instead of barley, and instead of vinegar they are eating honey, figs, grapes, etc.”
He then sought suggestions from some of his commanders and one of the commanders suggested that if they wanted to defeat the Muslims then they should somehow bring their leader to them through deceit or a ploy and then kill him. Subsequently, the rest of them will run away. He further stated that they should send ahead ten soldiers from among them so that they could sit in ambush and then they should invite the leader of the Muslims to come on his own in order to talk to him and as soon as he comes for this, the soldiers in hiding should attack him suddenly and kill him. And so, the leader of the Byzantines sent a very eloquent and well-spoken person to Hazrat Khalidra. When this emissary came to the Muslims, he said in a loud voice, “O Arabs! Will you not cease this bloodshed and fighting? We have thought of a way to establish peace, thus your leader should come forward to discuss this matter.” Hazrat Khalidra came forward and said, “Tell us the message you have brought us, but be mindful to speak the truth!” He replied, “The reason why I have come here is that our leader does not like bloodshed and he is struck with sorrow over those who have been killed so far. Therefore, he is of the view that he should enter into a treaty with you and give you something in exchange, so that the battle can come to an end.”
During the course of this conversation, Allah the Almighty filled the emissary’s heart with such awe that he revealed the entire plan of his leader in exchange for protection for his family. In other words, he revealed the entire plan of how they had hidden and were planning to kill Hazrat Khalidra. Hazrat Khalidra stated that, “If you do not deceive us, then we shall protect your family.” The emissary then left and told his leader that Hazrat Khalidra was willing to speak to him. Their leader rejoiced at this and instructed ten of his soldiers to hide behind a mound at the location which had been specified for their meeting. Hazrat Khalidra was aware of their conspiracy and so he sent Hazrat Zirarra with ten other Muslim soldiers to the same location where the enemy was hiding. The Muslims arrived there and killed the Byzantine soldiers and sat in their place. Meanwhile, Hazrat Khalidra left to speak to this leader of the Byzantines. Both armies were stood facing one another and ready for battle. The Byzantine leader also arrived. Whilst speaking to him, Hazrat Khalidra stated, “If you accept Islam, then you shall become our brothers; otherwise pay the Jizyah or prepare for battle.”
The Byzantine leader was in the hope that his men were hiding and so he suddenly drew his sword in order to attack Hazrat Khalidra and grabbed both his arms. Hazrat Khalidra also fought back. The Byzantine leader then called for his men to quickly come, for he had taken hold of the leader of the Muslims. Hearing this from behind the mound, the noble companions drew their swords and came towards him. Initially, Wardan thought that these were his men but when he saw Hazrat Zirarra, he was left stunned and thereafter, Hazrat Zirarra and the others killed him. When the Byzantines heard the news of their leader’s death, they became dejected. (Maulana Fazl Muhammad Yusuf Zai, Fatuhat-e-Sham [Maktabah-e-Iman-o-Yaqeen, 2011] pp. 97-104)
After this, the battle commenced. Another leader of the Byzantines saw how the Muslims were fighting and he ordered for a cloth to be tied around his head. People asked him the reason for this and he said, “Today is such a terrible day that I do not wish to witness it. I have never seen such a day of hardship in the world as I am seeing today.” The narrator states that when the Muslims severed his head, it was covered in a cloth. (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1987], p. 347.)
In this battle, the Byzantines numbered around 100,000. (Imam Abu al-Hasan Ahmad bin Yahya al-Buladhari, Futuh al-Buldan [Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2000], p. 74)
And the Muslims were 30,000. (Al-Salabi, Al-Khalifatul Al-Awwal Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq Shakhsiyyatuhu Wa Asarahu, [Dar-ul-Ma’rifah, Beirut, 2006] p. 312)
And according to another narration, the Muslims numbered 35,000. (Bashir Sajid, Ashrah Mubashrah, [Lahore: Al-Badr Publications, 2000] p. 805)
During this battle, 3,000 Byzantine soldiers were killed and their defeated army was compelled to seek refuge in various different areas. (Tarikh al-Khamis, Vol. 3, Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2009, p. 231)
After the victory at Ajnadayn, Hazrat Khalidra informed Hazrat Abu Bakrra of this good news through a letter as follows.
“Peace be upon you. I would like to inform you that a battle took place between us and the idolaters and they had gathered huge armies in Ajnadayn in order to fight us. They were holding high their crosses and also their books and they swore by Allah that they would not flee until they were completely destroyed or expelled from their areas. We, too, departed with absolute belief in Allah and after placing our complete trust in Him. We first fought against them with arrows and then drew out our swords and attacked them. And we continued striking them for the same amount of time it takes one to slaughter an entire camel and prepare it. Allah then bestowed His help and fulfilled His promise. The disbelievers were defeated and were slain in every open path, valley and area of low terrain. All praise is due to Allah for granting triumph to His religion and humiliating the enemy and affording excellent treatment to His friends.”
When this letter was read before Hazrat Abu Bakrra, he was in the last stages of his life. News of this victory brought happiness to him and he stated, “All praise is due to Allah, Who helped the Muslims and has granted coolness to my eyes through this.” (Tarikh al-Khamis, Vol. 3, Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2009, pp. 231-232)
There are some varying opinions with regard to when the Battle of Ajnadayn took place. According to some, it took place during the era of Hazrat Umar’sra Khilafat. I will clarify with regard to the question of when the battle of Ajnadayn took place. According to some narrations, this battle took place in 13 AH and it is reported to have taken place either 24, 20 or 34 days prior to Hazrat Abu Bakr’sra demise. (Tarikh al-Khamis, Vol. 3, Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2009, p. 232), (Imam Abu al-Hasan Ahmad bin Yahya al-Buladhari, Futuh al-Buldan [Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2000], p. 74.)
According to another opinion of historians, this battle took place in 15 AH during the era of Hazrat Umarra. (Ibn Athir, Al-Kamil fi al-Tarikh, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 2006], p. 266.)
In any case, according to the research of our researchers – and their view on this seems to be correct – that most likely a battle was fought twice in Ajnadayn. It was first fought during the era of Hazrat Abu Bakr’sra Khilafat and the second time during the Khilafat of Hazrat Umarra. This is because in some books of history, there is a separate mention of the Islamic forces for both occasions. The commander-in-chief in the battle which took place in 13 AH was Hazrat Khalidra bin Walid and the commander-in-chief in the battle which took place in 15 AH was Hazrat Amrra bin Al-Aas. In any case, Allah knows best.
The details with regard to the conquest of Damascus shall be mentioned in the future, insha-Allah.
(Official Urdu transcript published in Al Fazl International, pp. 5-10, 16 September 2022. Translated by The Review of Religions.)