Friday Sermon – Men of Excellence: Hazrat Abu Bakr r.a. and prayers for the New Year of 2022 (31 December 2021)

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Friday Sermon

31 December 2021

Men of Excellence: Hazrat Abu Bakrra and prayers for the New Year of 2022

After reciting the tashahud, ta‘awuz and Surah al-Fatihah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa recited verse 40 of Surah al-Taubah, before commencing with the Friday Sermon:

اِلَّا تَنۡصُرُوۡهُ فَقَدۡ نَصَرَهُ اللّٰهُ اِذۡ اَخۡرَجَهُ الَّذِيۡنَ كَفَرُوۡا ثَانِيَ اثۡنَيۡنِ اِذۡ هُمَا فِي الۡغَارِ اِذۡ يَقُوۡلُ لِصَاحِبِهٖ لَا تَحۡزَنۡ اِنَّ اللّٰهَ مَعَنَاۚ  فَاَنۡزَلَ اللّٰهُ سَكِيۡنَتَهٗ عَلَيۡهِ وَ اَيَّدَهٗ بِجُنُوۡدٍ لَّمۡ تَرَوۡهَا وَ جَعَلَ كَلِمَةَ الَّذِيۡنَ كَفَرُوا السُّفۡلٰي ؕ وَ كَلِمَةُ اللّٰهِ هِيَ الۡعُلۡيَا ؕ وَ اللّٰهُ عَزِيۡزٌ حَكِيۡمٌ

In the previous sermon, the incident of Hazrat Abu Bakrra with regard to Cave Thaur was being mentioned. In the aforementioned verse of the Holy Quran, which relates to this incident whereby the enemies had reached Cave Thaur, Allah the Almighty says, the translation of which is: 

“If you help him not, then [know that] Allah helped him [even] when the disbelievers drove him forth while he was one of the two when they were both in the cave, when he said to his companion, ‘Grieve not, for Allah is with us.’ Then Allah sent down His peace on him, and strengthened him with hosts which you did not see, and humbled the word of those who disbelieved, and it is the word of Allah alone which is supreme. And Allah is Mighty, Wise.” (Ch.9: V.40) 

This has been mentioned in the Holy Quran in relation to the incident that took place in Cave Thaur. The disbelievers of Mecca were speaking to one another at the entrance of the cave. Hazrat Abu Bakrra heard them and became anxious as to what would happen if they were to capture the Holy Prophetsa at this place because the entire religion of Islam was due to the blessed life of the Holy Prophetsa. When the Holy Prophetsa noticed that Hazrat Abu Bakrra was becoming anxious, he said:

لَا‭ ‬تَحۡزَنۡ‭ ‬اِنَّ‭ ‬اللّٰهَ‭ ‬مَعَنَا

“Grieve not, for Allah is with us (O Abu Bakr).” (Sharh al-Zurqani ala al-Mawahib al-Laduniyyah, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 1996], pp. 122-123)

The enemy followed the Holy Prophetsa and when they reached the mountain where the Cave Thaur was located, the person who was searching their tracks said, “I cannot tell where these two individuals went from here.” When they reached near the cave, he said, “By God! The person you are pursuing did not go beyond this point.” (Tarikh al-Khamis, Vol. 2, p. 15, fi Waqai‘ al-Sanah al-Ula min al-Hijrah, Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2009)

When the person searching the tracks uttered these words at the entrance of the cave, and at this point someone even wanted to take a look inside the cave, Umayya bin Khalaf said in a rather harsh and careless manner, “I have seen this web and tree here even before Muhammad[sa] was born. You must have lost your mind. How could he be here? Let us leave this place and look for him elsewhere.” 

Having said this, the people returned. (Allama Qastallani, Al-Mawahib al-Laduniyyah, Vol. 1, pp. 292-293, Al-Maktabah al-Islami, Beirut, 2004)

In Sirat Khatamun-Nabiyyin [The Life and Character of the Seal of Prophetssa], Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahibra has mentioned the announcement of the Quraish of Mecca and their pursuit of the Holy Prophetsa in the following manner,

“An open announcement was made that whoever brought Muhammadsa back, dead or alive, would be given a bounty of 100 camels. Therefore, longing for this reward, many people set out in all directions of Mecca. Even the chieftains of the Quraish set out behind the Holy Prophetsa, and following clues, they precisely reached the mouth of the Cave of Thaur. Arriving here, their detectives said, ‘That is it. The footsteps go no further. Therefore, either Muhammad[sa] is hiding nearby, or he has ascended to the heavens.’ 

“Someone said, ‘Go and check the inside of this cave as well,’ but someone else said, ‘Alas! What logic is there in such an idea? Is it possible for an individual to hide in such a cave? This is an extremely dark and dangerous place, and we have always looked upon it as such.’

“It is also narrated that after the Holy Prophetsa entered the cave, a spider spun a web on the tree which was located just at the entrance of the cave, and a pigeon made a nest and laid its eggs on the branch which was exactly in front of the cave.”

According to Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahibra, “This narration is weak, but if something of this sort happened, it is not bewildering in the least.” Although it is a weak narration, it is not a matter of great astonishment. “In some cases, a spider weaves a web over a vast area in just minutes, and it does not take long for a pigeon to make a nest and lay its eggs. Therefore, if, by His divine power, God Almighty made this happen for the protection of His messenger, it is not unbelievable; rather, considering the situation at hand, it is completely plausible. In any case, no man from the Quraish went in, and all the people returned from here.” 

Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahibra further writes:

“It is narrated that the Quraish reached so near that their feet could be seen from inside the cave, and their voices could be heard. At this instance, Hazrat Abu Bakrra apprehensively, but quietly, said to the Holy Prophetsa, ‘O Messengersa of Allah! The Quraish are so close that their feet can be seen. If they come forward even a little more, and snare in, they will be able to see us.’

“The Holy Prophetsa said:

لَا‭ ‬تَحۡزَنۡ‭ ‬اِنَّ‭ ‬اللّٰهَ‭ ‬مَعَنَا

“Meaning, ‘Worry not, Allah is with us.’ Then, the Holy Prophetsa said:

وَمَا‭ ‬ظَنُّكَ‭ ‬يَا‭ ‬أَبا‭ ‬بَكْرٍ‭ ‬بِإِثْنَيْنِ‭ ‬اللّٰهُ‭ ‬ثَالِثُهُمَا

“Meaning, ‘O Abu Bakr! What do you infer of those two individuals, the third of Whom is God?’

“In another narration, it is related that when the Quraish reached the mouth of the Cave, Hazrat Abu Bakrra became very worried. When the Holy Prophetsa noticed his anxiety, he comforted him that there is nothing to worry about. At this, Hazrat Abu Bakrra said in a weeping tone:

إِنْ‭ ‬قُتِلْتُ‭ ‬فَأَنَا‭ ‬رَجُلٌ‭ ‬وَاحِدٌ‭ ‬وَإِنْ‭ ‬قُتِلْتَ‭ ‬أَنْتَ‭ ‬فَهَلَكَتِ‭ ‬الْأُمَّةُ

“Meaning, ‘O Messengersa of Allah! If I am killed, I am merely one man. But if (God-forbid) you are harmed, then it is as if the entire community has been erased.’

“Upon this, after receiving revelation from God, the Holy Prophetsa responded in the following words:

لَا‭ ‬تَحۡزَنۡ‭ ‬اِنَّ‭ ‬اللّٰهَ‭ ‬مَعَنَا

“Meaning, ‘O Abu Bakr, do not worry at all, because Allah is with us, and we are both under His Divine protection.’

“In other words, ‘You are worried for me, and in the passion of your sincerity, you feel no grief for your own life. However, at this time, not only is God the Almighty my Protector, but yours as well, and He shall protect us from the evil of our enemy.’” (Sirat Khatamun-Nabiyyin, Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra, p. 237-239)

This was a reference from Sirat Khatamun-Nabiyyin. Whilst mentioning these details, in one instance Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra states:

“When the Holy Prophetsa was commanded by Allah the Almighty to migrate, he departed with Hazrat Abu Bakrra to Cave Thaur, situated 6-7 miles from Mecca. At the peak of this mountain was a cave in which they sat and hid. When the disbelievers saw in the morning that he was not present in his home, and that he had successfully escaped in spite of all the security measures in place, they immediately set off in search of him. They hired the best trackers of Mecca who had expertise in recognising footprints, who led them to the Cave Thaur. They said that Muhammadsa had to be here. There are no further footprints beyond here. At the time, the enemies were right at the mouth of the cave and the entrance was not narrow. It was not difficult to glance inside, in fact it was such an open and spacious entrance to the cave that it was easy to look inside and see if there was anyone sitting there or not. Yet despite this being the case, the Holy Prophetsa was never overcome with fear; in fact, due to the spiritual strength he possessed, the heart of Hazrat Abu Bakrra also remained firm, and he did not say, like the companions of Mosesas, that they were going to be captured; rather, if he ever uttered something, it was this: ‘O Messengersa of Allah, the enemies are so close that if they even lower their heads a little they would see us.’ However, the Holy Prophetsa stated:

أُسْكُتْ‭ ‬يَا‭ ‬أَبا‭ ‬بَكْرٍ‭ ‬إِثْنَانِ‭ ‬اللّٰهُ‭ ‬ثَالِثُهُمَا

“‘Remain quiet Abu Bakr, we are not just two in this moment, the third with us is Allah, so how will they be able to spot us?’ 

“Hence, this is what came to pass. Despite the enemy reaching the entrance of the cave, they were not able to move forward and look inside, and from there they wandered back. 

“One aspect from this incident is that whereas the companions of Mosesas panicked saying, ‘O Moses we have been captured,’ with the thought that even Mosesas would be seized and they would all be captured by Pharaoh, the trust of Muhammadsa was such that the impact it had on his companion was such that his tongue would not even utter the words, ‘We have been caught.’ All he said was that the enemy was so close now that if they wished to they could spot us. Yet Muhammadsa, Messenger of Allah, would not even tolerate this fear, and said, ‘Do not think that we are only two at this moment in time, for another Being is with us, Who is our God.’” (Tafsir-e-Kabir, Vol. 7, pp. 146,147)

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra states in another instance:

“When the people of Mecca had intensified their injustices against the Holy Prophetsa to the extent that it was hindering their efforts to propagate their faith, Allah the Almighty commanded that they leave Mecca. Hazrat Abu Bakrra was prepared to depart from Mecca alongside him. He was told prior to this on a number of occasions to make his way, but he was not prepared to leave without the Holy Prophetsa. When the Holy Prophetsa was about to depart, he had Hazrat Abu Bakrra accompany him.” 

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra states:

“When they left in the night, there is a place in the mountains in which they remained – which I also saw during Hajj – where there is a small cave, the mouth of which is two to three yards wide. When the Meccans realised that the Holy Prophetsa had left [Mecca] they went in pursuit of him. There used to be very skilled trackers among the Arabs, and with their help, they managed to reach the exact spot where the Holy Prophetsa and Hazrat Abu Bakrra were sat. By divine decree, some bushes had grown in front of the mouth of the cave, the branches of which had intertwined. If the people had moved these branches aside, they would have easily seen the Holy Prophetsa and Hazrat Abu Bakrra sitting there. When the trackers reached this spot, they said that either they had ascended to heaven, or they are sat in there. They have not gone any further than here. Imagine at the time how delicate the situation was. Hazrat Abu Bakrra became concerned, but not for himself; rather, for the sake of the Holy Prophetsa. The Holy Prophetsa then said: 

لَا‭ ‬تَحۡزَنۡ‭ ‬اِنَّ‭ ‬اللّٰهَ‭ ‬مَعَنَا

“‘Do not grieve, for Allah is with us.’ 

“Had the Holy Prophetsa not witnessed God Almighty with him, it would have been impossible to not worry in such a delicate situation. Even the most courageous of people would have panicked if the enemy had reached even close to their exact spot. Yet, when the enemies of the Holy Prophetsa – who had been after his life for the last 13 years – had reached the exact spot, and to whom the trackers were saying that he had either ascended to heaven or is sat in there, and has not gone any further, at that moment, the Holy Prophetsa uttered:

لَا‭ ‬تَحۡزَنۡ‭ ‬اِنَّ‭ ‬اللّٰهَ‭ ‬مَعَنَا

“‘Allah is with us so you have no reason to worry.’ It was due to his deep knowledge of God that the Holy Prophetsa stated this. The Holy Prophetsa felt the presence of Allah within himself and understood that with his own perishing, would perish the very cognisance of the Divine, which is why no one could cause him to perish.” (Irfan-e-Ilahi aur Mahabbat Billah ka Aali Martabah, Anwar-ul-Ulum, Vol. 11, pp. 223-224)

The Promised Messiahas states: 

“Jesusas, chose just one person – Thomas – to accompany him, just as our Holy Prophetsa chose only Hazrat Abu Bakrra at the time of the migration to Medina. The Roman Empire had declared Jesusas to be a rebel, and even Pilate had been assassinated on the order of Caesar due to the same accusation, because he was a secret supporter of Jesusas and his wife was also the follower of Jesusas. Hence, it was necessary that Jesusas should depart the country secretly and not take a group with him. Therefore, he took only Thomas the apostle with him on this journey, just as our Holy Prophetsa, took only Hazrat Abu Bakrra with him in his journey to Medina. And just as the rest of the Companions of our Holy Prophetsa joined him in Medina having taken different routes, so did the disciples of Jesusas join him through different routes at different times.” (Zamimah Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya – Part V, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 21, p. 402)

Then, in another instance, the Promised Messiahas says:

“In short, the truth and sincerity of Abu Bakr Siddiqra manifested at a time when the Holy Prophetsa was surrounded by his assailants. Although some of them were of the opinion that he should merely be banished from Mecca, most of them actually sought to put an end to his life. It was at that hour that Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiqra demonstrated his sincerity and loyalty, which will shine as an example until the end of time. In this trying hour, the very selection of the Holy Prophetsa is an outstanding argument in favour of the truthfulness and supreme loyalty of Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiqra […] This is also the case with the selection of the Holy Prophetsa. At that time, the Holy Prophetsa had 70 or 80 companions, and even Hazrat Alira was with him, but from all of these companions, the Holy Prophetsa chose none other than Hazrat Abu Bakrra. What is the secret in this? 

“The fact is that a prophet sees through the eye of God Almighty, and his insight comes from God Almighty. Therefore, Allah the Almighty had informed the Holy Prophetsa, by means of vision and revelation that the best and most appropriate person for this task was Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiqra. Hazrat Abu Bakrra accompanied the Holy Prophetsa in this difficult hour. This was a time of perilous trial. When a similar time dawned upon the Messiahas, his disciples abandoned him and fled, and one of them even stood before him and cursed him. But each and every one of the noble companions of the Holy Prophetsa demonstrated complete loyalty. Therefore, Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiqra stood by the Holy Prophetsa and gave him full support, and when they reached a cave known as the Cave of Thaur, they both took refuge in the cave. The evil disbelievers who had conspired to harm the Holy Prophetsa were led to this cave in their search. Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiqra submitted to the Holy Prophetsa, ‘Now, these people are upon us, and if any one of them looks down even slightly, they will be able to see us, and we shall be apprehended.’ At that time, the Holy Prophetsa said:

لَا‭ ‬تَحۡزَنۡ‭ ‬اِنَّ‭ ‬اللّٰهَ‭ ‬مَعَنَا

“Meaning, ‘Do not fear in the least, for Allah the Almighty is with us.’ Reflect on these words. The Holy Prophetsa, joins Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiqra with himself and states:

اِنَّ‭ ‬اللّٰهَ‭ ‬مَعَنَا

“[‘Verily, Allah is with us.’] The Arabic words ma‘ana [with us] refer to both of them, i.e. ‘with you and I.’ Allah the Almighty placed the Holy Prophetsa on one side and Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiqra on the other. At that time, both of them were in a state of trial. For it was at this point in time when the foundation of Islam was either going to be secured or brought to an end. The enemy stood at the mouth of the cave and various opinions were being voiced. Some said that the cave ought to be searched because the footprints ended at the cave, while others pointed out that it was impossible for a person to pass through here and enter the cave as a spider had woven a web at the mouth of the cave and a pigeon had laid its eggs. These discussions could be heard from within the cave and the Holy Prophetsa could also hear them clearly. In this state of affairs, the enemy had come to kill them both and had set out with immense vigour to complete their task, but just observe the remarkable courage of the Holy Prophetsa, who says to his true friend:

لَا‭ ‬تَحۡزَنۡ‭ ‬اِنَّ‭ ‬اللّٰهَ‭ ‬مَعَنَا

“[‘Grieve not, for Allah is with us.’] These words evidently demonstrate that the Holy Prophetsa said the aforementioned phrase with his tongue because such words could only be expressed with a voice and not through sign language. The enemy stood outside consulting amongst themselves, and inside the cave, both servant and master are also engaged in discourse. The Holy Prophetsa had no concern that the enemy would hear his voice and this is proof of his remarkable faith and his insight into Allah the Almighty. It demonstrates that he had full trust in the promises of God Almighty. This one example alone is enough to show the bravery of the Holy Prophetsa.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 1, pp. 376-278)

Then, in another instance, the Promised Messiahas stated:

“An extraordinary manifestation that God, the Glorious, exhibited for safeguarding His immaculate Prophetsa was that though his enemies arrived outside the cave in which the Holy Prophetsa was hidden with his companion, they could not see him, for God Almighty had sent a pair of pigeons which built a nest the same night at the entrance of the cave and also laid their eggs there, and by divine command, a spider also wove its web at the place, whereby the enemies of the Prophetsa became baffled and returned frustrated.” (Surma Chashma-e-Arya, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 2, p. 66, footnote)

In the narrations, it is stated that according to the agreed arrangements, Hazrat Abu Bakr’sra astute son, Hazrat Abdullah bin Abi Bakrra would come to Cave Thaur in the evenings and inform them about the daily activities of Mecca. He would receive instructions and then at dawn he would return to Mecca discreetly, as if he spent the entire night in Mecca. Furthermore, the wisdom of Aamir bin Fuhairah was such that after he gave them goats’ milk, he would bring back the flock of goats in a way that it would conceal the footprints of Hazrat Abdullah bin Abi Bakrra. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab Manaqib al-Ansar, Bab Hijrat al-Nabisa, Hadith 3905) (Ibn Hisham, Al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah, Vol. 1-2, p. 289, Dhikr Hijrat al-Rasul, Dar al-Kitab al-Arabi, Beirut, 2008)

Some biographers have written that Hazrat Asmara would bring food each night. (Ali bin Burhan al-Din al-Halabi, Al-Sirah al-Halabiyyah, Vol. 2, Bab Ard al-Rasulsa Nafsih [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2002], p. 54)

However, this seems highly unlikely. Given the dangerous circumstances at the time, some biographers state that for a woman to visit there [Cave Thaur] each night would be akin to exposing the entire plan, and this indeed is a correct viewpoint. Furthermore, since Hazrat Abdullah bin Abi Bakrra was visiting each day, there was no need for Hazrat Asmara to bring food. Nonetheless, Allah knows best.

Three days passed by in this manner. When the people of Mecca searched all the surrounding places and returned unsuccessful, they consulted with one another and announced a large reward; they sent town criers to each nearby settlement to make the announcement that whosoever brought back Muhammadsa, dead or alive, would receive a reward of 100 camels. The greed of such a large reward reinvigorated many people to set out in search of the Holy Prophetsa. (Ali bin Burhan al-Din al-Halabi, Al-Sirah al-Halabiyyah, Vol. 2, Bab Ard al-Rasulsa Nafsih [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2002], p. 54)

At the same time, since three days had passed, Abdullah bin Urayqit brought the camels according to the agreed plan.

A narration of Sahih al-Bukhari mentions that it was settled with Abdullah bin Urayqit that after three days had passed, he would bring the camels with him the next morning. (Ibn Hisham, Al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah, p. 344, Hijrat al-Rasul, Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah Beirut, 2008) (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab Manaqib al-Ansar, Bab Hijrat al-Nabisa, Hadith 3905) (Fath al-Bari Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari, Ibn Hajr AsqalaniVol. 7, p. 238, Dar al-Ma‘rifah, Beirut)

From this narration, it seems that the journey from Cave Thaur to Medina began in the morning; however, from another narration of Bukhari, it is clarified that the journey, in fact, started in the evening. Whilst mentioning Abdullah bin Urayqit, Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahibra writes:

“The Holy Prophetsa and Hazrat Abu Bakrra had entrusted their camels to him, and explained that after three nights, on the morning of the third day, to reach the Cave of Thaur with their camels. Therefore, as per the agreement, he reached there. This is a famous narration of Bukhari, but historians write that the Holy Prophetsa left during the night time, and this itself is supported by another narration of Bukhari. Moreover, the idea that the Holy Prophetsa departed at night seems to be the most believable notion as well.” (Sirat Khatamun-Nabiyyin, Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra, p. 239-240)

The Holy Prophetsa left the cave on the night of Monday, 1 Rabi‘ al-Awal and continued the journey. According to Ibn Saad, the Holy Prophetsa left the cave on the night of Monday 4 Rabi‘ al-Awal. (Tarikh al-Khamis, Vol. 2, p. 15, Dhikr Khurujihsa ma‘a Abi Bakrra min Makkah, Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2009)

The first date was narrated by Khamis and the commentator of Sahih al-Bukhari, Allamah Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani writes that Imam Hakim states that there are numerous narrations which state that the Holy Prophetsa left Mecca on Monday and arrived in Medina on Monday as well, except for Muhammad bin Musa Khwarizmi. He stated that the Holy Prophetsa left Mecca on Thursday. 

In order to reconcile these different narrations, Allama Ibn Hajar writes that the Holy Prophetsa left Mecca on Thursday and after spending three nights in the cave, i.e. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, he left for Medina on the night of Monday. (Fath al-Bari Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari, Ibn Hajr Asqalani,Vol. 7, p. 299, Qadimi Kutub Khana Maqabil, Arambagh, Karachi)

The camel which the Holy Prophetsa mounted himself upon is said to be Al-Qaswa. Hazrat Abu Bakrra mounted a camel along with Aamir bin Fuhairah, while Urayqit mounted on a camel of his own. The total wealth that Hazrat Abu Bakrra had at the time in his home was five to six thousand dirhams and he brought this with him. According to some narrations, Aamir bin Fuhairah and Hazrat Asmara came with the food which consisted of roasted goat meat. Upon reaching there they realised that they had no cloth to tie the food and water vessel with. Hazrat Asmara loosened her girdle and ripped it into two pieces. With one of the pieces, she tied the food and with the other piece, she tied the water vessel. Upon this, the Holy Prophetsa gave Hazrat Asmara the glad tidings of two girdles in Paradise. He then told everyone to leave and started his journey with the following prayer:

اللّٰهُمَّ‭ ‬اصْحَبْنِيْ‭ ‬فِيْ‭ ‬سَفَرِيْ‭ ‬وَاخْلُفْنِيْ‭ ‬فِيْ‭ ‬أَهْلِيْ

 “O Allah! Become my Companion in this journey of mine and become the Guardian of my family.” (Abdul Hameed Jaudah al-Sahhar, Muhammadsa Rasulullah walladhina ma‘ahu, Vol. 3 [Egypt: Maktabah Misr], p. 61)(Ibn Hisham, Al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah, p. 345, Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2001)

This incident of tying the food was previously mentioned that it took place when they were departing from the house of Hazrat Abu Bakrra. However, in this narration, it is reported to have taken place at this particular occasion. Thus, there are two different occasions reported in history as to when this particular incident took place. Some are of the opinion that this incident took place when the Holy Prophetsa was migrating from Mecca and was leaving from the house of Hazrat Abu Bakrra and was going towards the cave of Thaur. However, another opinion is that this incident took place when the Holy Prophetsa was leaving the cave of Thaur and migrating towards Medina. In any case, there are two narrations; however, based on the details of the migration which have been mentioned by Hazrat Aishara and recorded in Bukhari, it seems that this incident took place when they were leaving from the house of Hazrat Abu Bakrra. Thus, it is deemed more appropriate to give preference to the narration of Bukhari. This is because firstly, due to the confidentiality of their stay in the Cave of Thaur, it seems unlikely that Hazrat Asmara would go there to take food. Hazrat Abdullah bin Abi Bakrra and Hazrat Aamir bin Fuhairahra were already going there secretly every day, therefore for a woman to go there [in such circumstances] would go against the measures adopted for security and precaution. Nevertheless, the incident of tying the food with her girdle in the home also demonstrates Hazrat Asma’sra devotion and extreme love [for the Holy Prophetsa] as she did not want to waste any time by looking for something else to tie the food with. Of course, it can be said that this took place in the cave because there was nothing available there to tie the food with, but this incident could have taken place in the home as well whereby she did not find something immediately and so to save time she took her girdle and tied the food with it and thus helped to see Hazrat Abu Bakrra and the Holy Prophetsa off on their journey. Hence, according to the narration of Bukhari, it seems more accurate that the incident of tying the food took place when they were about to leave from the house of Hazrat Abu Bakrra as opposed to leaving from the cave of Thaur for Medina. In any case, Allah knows best. 

Hazrat Asmara relates, “When the Holy Prophetsa and Hazrat Abu Bakrra left for the migration, Hazrat Abu Bakrra took all his wealth with him which amounted to five or six thousand dirhams.” 

She further relates, “Our grandfather, Abu Quhafah came to us and by that time, he had lost his eyesight. He said, ‘By Allah, he’”, i.e. Hazrat Abu Bakrra, “‘has left you in a trial not only on account of himself but also through his wealth.’ Upon this, I stated, ‘O my grandfather! Certainly not, for he has left us with an abundance of wealth.’ I then took some stones and placed them in the ledge of the window where my father would put his money and then placed a cloth over them. I then took hold of my grandfather’s hand and said, ‘Here, place your hand on the wealth.’ He placed his hand on it and then said, ‘if he has left so much wealth behind then he has done well and there is no harm done.’” 

Hazrat Asmara further relates, “I swear by Allah, Hazrat Abu Bakrra did not leave anything behind, but I just wanted to reassure this elderly man through this.” (Ibn Hisham, Al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah, p. 345, Hijrat al-Rasulsa, Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2001)

Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahibra writes:

“After he left the cave, the Holy Prophetsa mounted himself upon a camel which in light of various narrations, was named Al-Qaswa, while Hazrat Abu Bakrra and his servant, Aamir bin Fuhairah mounted upon the other. Upon his departure, the Holy Prophetsa cast a final glance towards Mecca and said in intense grief, ‘O city of Mecca! You are more beloved to me than all the places of the world, but your people have not allowed me to live here.’ At that time, Hazrat Abu Bakrra said, ‘These people have exiled their prophet. Indeed, they shall be destroyed.’” (Sirat Khatamun-Nabiyyin, Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra, p. 240)

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra states:

“After waiting two days in the cave, according to the agreed plan, the mounts were brought near the cave in the night and the Holy Prophetsa and his companions set out on fleet camels. The Holy Prophetsa and the guide were mounted on one of the camels.” 

It is also mentioned in the narrations that both were mounted on one camel and according to other narrations there were three camels. In any case, “Hazrat Abu Bakrra and his servant, Aamir bin Fuhairah were mounted on the other camel. Just before departing for Medina, the Holy Prophetsa turned towards the direction of Mecca – the holy city which was his birthplace, where his advent took place and the place where his ancestors from the time of Hazrat Ishmaelas had been living. The Holy Prophetsa cast a final glance and addressed the city with great anguish, ‘O city of Mecca, you are more beloved to me than all the places of the world, but your people have not allowed me to live here.’ At that time, Hazrat Abu Bakrra said with great regret, ‘These people have exiled their prophet. Indeed they shall be destroyed.’” (Dibachah Tafsir-ul-Quran, Anwar-ul-Ulum, Vol. 20, pp. 223-224) (Ibn Hisham, Al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah, p. 344, Hijrat al-Rasulsa, Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2001)

According to one narration, when they reached Juhfa, which is situated approximately 82 miles from Mecca, the following verse was revealed: 

اِنَّ‭ ‬الَّذِيۡ‭ ‬فَرَضَ‭ ‬عَلَيۡكَ‭ ‬الۡقُرۡاٰنَ‭ ‬لَرَآدُّكَ‭ ‬اِلٰي‭ ‬مَعَادٍ

“Most surely, He Who has made [the teaching of] the Quran binding on thee will bring thee back to [thy] place of return.” (Surah al-Qasas, Ch.28: V.86) (Abdul Hameed Jaudah al-Sahhar, Muhammadsa Rasulullah walladhina ma‘ahu, Vol. 3 [Egypt: Maktabah Misr], p. 64)(Sharh al-Zurqani ala al-Mawahib al-Laduniyyah, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1996], p. 172)

They continued the journey through the entire night and as midday approached, they took some rest in the shade of a large rock. Hazrat Abu Bakrra prepared a place for the Holy Prophetsa to lay down and then requested him to take some rest and the Holy Prophetsa then laid down. Hazrat Abu Bakrra then left to see whether anyone was coming in pursuit of them. During this time, a shepherd came towards them in search of some shade. Hazrat Abu Bakrra relates, “I asked him, ‘Young boy, whose servant are you?’ He replied that he was the servant of one the members of the Quraish. He said a name which I recognised. I then asked him if his goats had any milk, to which he replied in the affirmative. I then asked him if he could draw some milk for us, to which he agreed. And so, I asked him to draw out some milk for us. The young boy took hold of one of his goats’ leg and placed it between his calf and thigh. I told him to first properly clean the udders and then under my supervision I had the milk drawn out into the bowl. He then added some water to cool the milk and I then presented it to the Holy Prophetsa.” 

According to some narrations, when Hazrat Abu Bakrra came to present the milk to the Holy Prophetsa, he was still asleep. Hazrat Abu Bakrra did not deem it appropriate to disturb the Holy Prophetsa whilst he was resting and so waited until the Holy Prophetsa woke up. When the Holy Prophetsa woke up, he presented the milk and submitted, “O Messengersa of Allah! Please drink this.” The Holy Prophetsa drank so much that Hazrat Abu Bakrra states that his disposition was filled with happiness. Hazrat Abu Bakrra then submitted, “O Messengersa of Allah! The time for our departure has come.” The Holy Prophetsa stated, “Yes”. In another narration, it states that the Holy Prophetsa stated, “We should continue on with our journey.” Upon this, Hazrat Abu Bakrra submitted, “Yes, my master!” and following this they continued on with their journey. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab Fadail Ashab al-Nabisa, Bab Manaqib al-Muhajirin wa Fadlihim, Hadith 3652) (Mustafa Abd al-Wahid, Subul al-Huda wa al-Rashad fi Sirat Khair al-Ibad, Vol. 3, Jama abwab al-Hijrah ila al-Madinah [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 1993], pp. 243-244) 

The incident in relation to the pursuit of Suraqah bin Malik is as follows: 

Urayqit, who was an exceptionally skilful guide, started the journey towards Medina from the coastal towns, which was a different route from the traditional route to Medina. The news of 100 camels as a reward had spread in Mecca and its neighbouring areas and everyone was desirous of attaining this huge reward. Suraqah bin Malik, who later became a Muslim, related this incident after having embraced Islam:  

“The disbelievers amongst the Quraish sent a messenger who announced a bounty for whosoever brought back the Holy Prophetsa or Hazrat Abu Bakrra, dead or alive.” 

Suraqah further relates:

“I was sitting in a gathering of my people, the Banu Mudlij, when someone came to us. He was standing there whilst we were all sat and he said, ‘O Suraqah! I have just seen some shadows from the coast of the sea’, or he said, ‘I have seen a caravan consisting of three people and I believe that it is Muhammad[sa].’” 

Suraqah says:

“I immediately figured that this must be them, but I wanted to acquire all the reward for myself and so I quickly took control of the delicate situation and signalled with my eye to the person who brought this news to remain quiet and I said, ‘No, it cannot be the caravan of Muhammad[sa], in fact the people you are referring to have just passed in front of us and belong to such and such tribe who are searching for their lost camels.’” 

Suraqah says:

“Having remained sat there for a short while so as not to raise any suspicion, I left the gathering and came to my lady servant and said, ‘Saddle my fast-paced horse and take it to the rear of the home and wait there for me.’” 

Suraqah later arrived there and states:

“I then took an omen, which turned out to be against my journey; however, I showed no concern and kicked the horse with my foot and raced off in pursuit of the caravan which I believed to be the caravan of Muhammad[sa].” 

Suraqah says:

“Quickly covering the distances, I reached close to the caravan. I was still a little distance away when something unusual happened and my horse struck something and I fell off it. I stood up and again took an omen, which yet again turned out against my wish, but I wanted to take back Muhammad[sa] with me and receive the award of 100 camels. I stood up and mounted my horse again and now I was so close that not only was I able to recognise that this was Muhammad[sa] and Abu Bakr, but I could also hear Muhammad[sa] recite something. Once again, my horse badly struck something and its feet were driven into the ground and I fell off it. I regained myself and scolded the horse; however, the horse was unable to hoist them out of the ground. Finally, when it was able to stand upright, the dust from its two feet spread into the air like a cloud of smoke.” In other words, the feet of the horse had been so firmly driven into the ground that when it took them out, there was a cloud of dust.

Suraqah states:

“I again took an omen by a throw of arrows and again the outcome was that which I did not desire. And so, whilst stood in that very place, I gave a call to settle the matter and said, ‘you will not receive any harm from me.’” 

Upon this, the Holy Prophetsa turned towards Hazrat Abu Bakrra and said, “Ask him what is it that he wants”, to which Suraqah replied, “I am Suraqah and I wish to speak to you all.” And so, they stopped and Suraqah then told them that the people of Mecca had announced a reward of 100 camels for whoever captured them dead or alive. He stated, “In order to attain this reward, I came in pursuit of you; however, after seeing what has happened to me, I am convinced that this plan of mine is not right.” 

After this, he also offered some provisions to the Holy Prophetsa, but the Holy Prophetsa did not accept them and only stated that their whereabouts should be kept secret. Suraqah gave his promise and along with this he also stated, “I am sure that someday you will become a king. Please give me a written declaration of peace so that when I come in your presence, I am treated respectfully.” 

According to a narration, Suraqah requested for a written declaration of peace, and upon the instruction of the Holy Prophetsa, Hazrat Abu Bakrra wrote this for him and according to another narration, it was Aamir bin Fuhairah who wrote it. Following this, Suraqah took the written declaration and returned. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Manaqib, Bab Hijrat al-Nabisa wa Ashabih ila al-Madinah, Hadith 3906) (Mustafa Abd al-Wahid, Subul al-Huda wa al-Rashad fi Sirat Khair al-Ibad, Vol. 3, Qissat Suraqah [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1993], p. 248) (Abdul Hameed Jaudah al-Sahhar, Muhammadsa Rasulullah walladhina ma‘ahu, Vol. 3 [Egypt: Maktabah Misr], pp. 64-65)

These accounts will, insha-Allah, continue. 

Insha-Allah, from tomorrow, the New Year will begin. May Allah the Almighty make the coming year a blessed one for the members of the Jamaat and also collectively for the entire Jamaat in every respect. May Allah the Almighty protect the Jamaat from every kind of evil and completely destroy the ploys of the enemies. May we abundantly witness in our lifetime the fulfilment of the promises that Allah the Almighty vouchsafed to the Promised Messiahas. May Allah the Almighty enable us to witness these. 

Thus, continue to pray a lot and enter the New Year with prayers. Make a particular effort to observe the Tahajjud prayer. Various mosques will also be organising [congregational Tahajjud] and those that have not done so should also make arrangements for this. If it cannot be done in congregation, then one should offer the Tahajjud prayer individually or arrangements should be made in the homes [for congregation]. Nonetheless, ensure to offer the Tahajjud prayer and offer supplications. Although one should be in the habit of offering the Tahajjud prayer, after offering it tomorrow, try to then make this a permanent habit in your lives. 

May Allah the Almighty grant everyone the ability to do this. 

In addition to durood and istighfar, also recite the following prayers as much as possible:

رَبَّنَا لَا تُزِغۡ قُلُوۡبَنَا بَعۡدَ اِذۡ هَدَيۡتَنَا وَ هَبۡ لَنَا مِنۡ لَّدُنۡكَ رَحۡمَةً ۚ اِنَّكَ اَنۡتَ الۡوَهَّابُ

 “Our Lord, let not our hearts become perverse after Thou hast guided us; and bestow on us mercy from Thyself; surely, Thou alone art the Bestower.” (Surah Al-e-Imran, Ch.3: V.9)

Also recite the following prayer:

رَبَّنَا‭ ‬اغۡفِرۡ‭ ‬لَنَا‭ ‬ذُنُوۡبَنَا‭ ‬وَ‭ ‬اِسۡرَافَنَا‭ ‬فِيۡۤ‭ ‬اَمۡرِنَا‭ ‬وَ‭ ‬ثَبِّتۡ‭ ‬اَقۡدَامَنَا‭ ‬وَ‭ ‬انۡصُرۡنَا‭ ‬عَلَي‭ ‬الۡقَوۡمِ‭ ‬الۡكٰفِرِيۡنَ

 “Our Lord, forgive us our errors and our excesses in our conduct, and make firm our steps and help us against the disbelieving people.” (Surah Al-e-Imran, Ch.3: V.148)

May Allah the Almighty grant every Ahmadi the ability to do so. 

After the Friday prayers, I will also lead the funeral prayers in absentia of a few members. I will mention some details about them. 

The first mention is of Malik Farooq Ahmad Khokhar Sahib, who had served as Amir Jamaat for the district of Multan. He passed away on 18th December at the age of 80.

إِنَّا‭ ‬لِلّٰهِ‮ ‬وَإِنَّآ‭ ‬إِلَيۡهِ‮ ‬رَاجِعُوْنَ

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

His father was Malik Umar Ali Khokhar Sahib, who was known as the raees of Multan, and his mother was Syeda Nusrat Jehan Begum Sahiba. She was known by the name of Syeda Begum Sahiba. She was the daughter of Hazrat Mir Muhammad Ishaq Sahibra. Malik Umar Ali accepted Ahmadiyyat and had the opportunity to take the bai‘at in his youth by going to Qadian during the time of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra. Malik Umar Ali Sahib passed away quite young, and at that time, Malik Farooq Ahmad Sahib was only about 20 to 22 years of age; he was in his youth. Aside from his land in Karachi, Malik Umar Ali Sahib owned a few businesses there. Malik Farooq Ahmad Sahib was able to handle all of this in an excellent manner and provided care for his mother and stepmother and siblings. 

For a long period of time, Malik Farooq Ahmad Khokhar Sahib served as qaid Majlis Khuddam-ul-Ahmadiyya for the district of Multan, and following that, as a local qaid of Multan. From 1980 to 1985, he had the opportunity to serve as the amir of the district of Multan and during this appointment, he also served as amir for the city of Multan. He was married in 1968 to Durdanah Sahiba, daughter of Hazrat Mirza Aziz Ahmad Sahibra. Their nikah was announced by Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIIrh. Allah the Almighty blessed them with one son and five daughters. 

His wife states:

“He was a very loving and caring person. He would pay attention to the small things, pray Tahajjud regularly and would also wake me up for Tahajjud every day. Even on the day he passed away, he offered voluntary prayers and then went to bed. He would always try to remain in a state of wuzu [ablution].”

She continues:

“He was not yet appointed as the amir, but whenever any sort of issue emerged regarding an Ahmadi – or even upon a phone call from an Ahmadi – he would be ready to offer his services. When he became the amir, he told me that I should always have some food and tea prepared because guests could be expected at any moment.”

She says:

“I do not remember a time when we did not have guests over. Someone would always be staying at our home. He would also offer our home to missionaries to stay. Our home had become the office. He was very generous and loving. All our non-Ahmadi relatives – the whole Khokhar family, in fact – deeply respected and loved him. He always honoured his relations with them all. By the grace of Allah the Almighty, he recited the Holy Quran in an excellent manner.”

She continues, “When I used to recite the Holy Quran, he would correct me without having to look at the Holy Quran.” 

His son, Talha says:

“He took great care of both his mothers and never differentiated between them. He also discharged the responsibility of having all his brothers and sisters married. His home was always open to everyone, just as his heart was, especially for life-devotees. He had prepared a house in Khaira Gali Murree, and he used to say that he built it especially for the Jamaat. He never denied anyone to stay there. Whoever wanted to would go and stay there.” 

He continues:

“During the hardships that followed the legislative ordinance in 1984, by the grace of God, he continued to encourage to his colleagues in Multan and the city with his courageous personality. He never allowed them to weaken and falter. By the grace of Allah, he was a part of the envoy during the migration of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh. At one occasion, he also had the opportunity to lead that envoy and guided them to the right route.” 

His son further says:

“During my father’s appointment as the amir, our home was more of an office than a home and it was always a lively atmosphere. He had delegated his work of tending to his land to his younger brother and dedicated all of his own time for the service of faith. Everyone would come to see him without any sort of formality. He had a very easy-going disposition. He would also help his non-Ahmadi relatives financially.” 

He continues: 

“Some of our relatives who attended the funeral were crying, saying that they had been left on their own for he would take care of them. He inculcated the habit of praying within us, especially the Fajr (morning) prayer.” 

His younger daughter, Faiza says:

“Our father’s unwavering trust in Allah was exemplary for us. He endured hard times and all sorts of circumstances; he was orphaned in his youth. He saw times of hardship and of ease, but I have observed since childhood that my father very openly declared his trust in Allah and would often say that all of his work was completed by Allah the Almighty Himself.” 

She says:

“My father had boundless love for Khilafat. Whenever he would speak about Khilafat, he would begin to cry. He even underwent a trying time and endured it with great patience and prayers.” 

His younger brother, Malik Tariq Ali Khokhar, who is from his second mother, says:

“My father passed away when I was nine years old, and my older brother Malik Farooq was 22 years old. However, he took care of us just like a father and throughout my life, he never let me feel the absence of my father.” 

He then writes: 

“He had a particular influence over his non-Ahmadi relatives and he would take care of them as well. He was also supporting many Ahmadi families, and after sponsoring the education of many children, he helped them get jobs as well.” 

He says:

“My brother would give anyone in need a loan, and would never ask for it to be returned. He always would give it with the intention that this was a loan not to be returned.” 

He says:

“Many new converts have said that after entering the fold of Ahmadiyyat, Malik Farooq Khokhar Sahib treated them like their own, and would help to fulfil their needs. He had turned 80 years of age, but for the last two years, he was concerned about fulfilling the payment of property which he had pledged [as financial sacrifice].” 

He was able to pay the majority of his Hissa Jaidad [chanda paid by musis on their property], and some amount remains. 

May Allah the Almighty enable his children to fulfil the remaining amount. 

His sister Tahira, who is also from his second mother, says:

“My brother always treated me like a caring father. His greatest quality was that he never made any distinction between his actual siblings and step-siblings; rather, he treated all of his siblings equally and treated both his mothers equally as well. He never made us feel like we have separate mothers.” 

She then says:

“He truly was like my father; his relationship with me was just like any father who silently supports his daughter in hardship and in happiness.” 

His daughter, Namud-e-Sehar says:

“There are some prominent aspects of my father’s life which I constantly recall. Foremost among them are his hospitality and his relationship of love with others.” 

She continues:

“His standard of hospitality was such that if some food had been prepared at home, and some guest came to eat while the members of our household were sitting at the table about to eat, he would send that same food to the guests, and the members of the household would simply fry some eggs and eat those.” 

She then says:

“A person makes many mistakes through the course of their life. There are ups and downs, and as such, he had to endure some trials during his lifetime, but even then, he never said anything against Khilafat which would make us feel as if the Khalifa’s decision was wrong. He took special care to ensure that our household listened to the Friday sermon and remained attached with the Jamaat.” 

May Allah the Almighty grant him His forgiveness and mercy. May He grant his children patience and forbearance, and enable them to excel in virtue.

The next mention is of Rahmatullah Sahib from Indonesia, who passed away at the age of 66.

إِنَّا‭ ‬لِلّٰهِ‮ ‬وَإِنَّآ‭ ‬إِلَيۡهِ‮ ‬رَاجِعُوْنَ

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

He was born in East Java. He did bai‘at and entered the fold of Ahmadiyyat in 1980 through the efforts of respected Suyuti Aziz Ahmad Sahib, former head of tabligh for Indonesia. He also became part of the Wasiyyat scheme in 1993. He continued to serve the Jamaat in Karang Tengah until his demise. He is survived by his wife, three children and six grandchildren. 

His wife writes:

“He once saw a dream in which he was among a large group of people standing in lines. In the dream, he asked someone which line he should join. Someone pointed him in the direction of a line in which a holy person was standing, whom he did not recognise. Some time later, he learned that the holy person whom he saw in the dream was the Promised Messiahas, and it was for this reason that he accepted the truth of Ahmadiyyat and did bai‘at.” 

His daughter writes:

“After doing bai‘at, not only did he serve in the central Jamaat, but he also served at a local level in Majlis Ansarullah. The Jamaat would receive threats of attacks from its opponents. The deceased would bravely defend the Jamaat. He was very generous – whenever someone came to him for help or needed a loan, he would always help them.” 

His third daughter writes, “He loved Khilafat a great deal, and was very obedient.”

Amir of Indonesia, Abdul Basit Sahib writes: 

“He greatly loved Khilafat and the Jamaat.” He says, “There is a jamaat in one of the cities of East Java, where the opponents of the Jamaat attacked our mosque a few times and pressured the local authorities to restrict the Jamaat’s activities. Upon this, Rahmatullah Sahib bravely stood up to the opponents and the authorities, and responded to the allegations which they were raising. Due to his efforts, the Jamaat is still established there to this day and no restrictions were imposed. May Allah the Almighty grant him His forgiveness and mercy and enable his children to carry on his virtues.

The next mention is of Al-Haaj Abdul Hameed Taak Sahib of Yaripora, Kashmir. He passed away on 24 December at the age of 94.

إِنَّا‭ ‬لِلّٰهِ‮ ‬وَإِنَّآ‭ ‬إِلَيۡهِ‮ ‬رَاجِعُوْنَ

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

He was a musi, by the grace of Allah the Almighty. He was the son of Muhammad Ikram Taak Sahib of Yaripora, who was one of the early Ahmadis in this area. He was very virtuous, kind, sociable, loved by all, dignified and quiet in nature. He was able to serve the Jamaat for a long time. He was the provincial amir of Jammu and Kashmir, and was also the district amir and nazim Ansarullah. He also served the local jamaat in various positions. 

Every year, he was an honorary member of the Anjuman Tahrik-e-Jadid India. During his time as provincial amir, in 1987, five Jamaat schools were established. He strove a great deal for the establishment of various mosques and mission houses. He would also strive to enhance the intellectual capabilities of youngsters and was always at the forefront in this task. He was well respected in Yaripora due to his services to society. 

May Allah the Almighty grant him His forgiveness and mercy. May his progeny be pious and righteous and be bestowed with the ability to serve [the Jamaat]. 

(Original Urdu transcript published in Al Fazl International, 21 January 2022, pp. 5-10. Translated by The Review of Religions.)

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