16 July 2021
Men of Excellence: Hazrat Umarra ibn al-Khattab
After reciting the Tashahud, Ta‘awuz and Surah al-Fatihah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa stated:
Accounts from Hazrat Umar’sra era of Khilafat were previously being narrated. The following is written with regard to the wars that were fought and the conquests during that period. This part of history spans from the 13 AH up to 23 AH. Hazrat Umar’sra era of Khilafat spanned over approximately 10 and a half years. Mentioning the vast conquests that took place during that period, Allama Shibli Nomani writes in his book:
“The entire area of land conquered by Hazrat Umarra spanned over 2,251,030 square miles. This included the following areas; Syria, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Khuzestan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Persia, Kerman, Khorasan and Makran, which also includes a part of Baluchistan [present-day Pakistan].” (Al-Farooq, p. 159, Idaara Al-Islamiyaat, 2004)
Muslim conquests and victories began in the era of Hazrat Abu Bakrra. During the era of Hazrat Abu Bakrra, the Muslim army took part in jihad in Syria and Iraq and there was fighting on several fronts simultaneously. This continued in a similar manner during the Khilafat of Hazrat Umarra.
One notable aspect during the Khilafat of Hazrat Umarra was that despite all his engagements, it was as if he was part of the Muslim army in each and every victory. Even though he did not take part in any of the battles during his Khilafat, he would send comprehensive instructions from Medina to the Muslim commanders with regard to the army, or would remain in contact with them wherever he was. In fact, it is clear from certain battles that Hazrat Umarra would continue writing to the Muslim commanders on a daily basis. Whilst in Medina, Hazrat Umarra would send instructions with regard to the arrangement and formation of the Muslim army and grant them such information and guidance about these places, as though Hazrat Umarra had a map of the area, or as though these areas were right in front of him.
In relation to Hazrat Umarra, Imam Bukhari has written in Sahih Bukhari:
“Hazrat Umarra said:
وَقَالَ عُمَرُ رَضِيَ اللّٰهُ عَنْهُ إِنِّيْ لَأُجَهِّزُ جَيْشِيْ وَأَنَا فِي الصَّلَاةِ
“‘I arrange my army whilst I am engaged in formal prayer.’” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab-ul-Amal Fi Al-Salat, Baab Tafakkur Al-Rajalu Al-Shai Fi Al-Salat)
In other words, he was so concerned in this regard that he would be engaged in arranging and making plans for the Muslim armies even during the formal prayer. He would also pray during this time. This is the very reason that we are able to see on numerous occasions that owing to following his instructions and through the grace and blessings of Allah the Almighty, the Muslim armies passed through the most difficult of circumstances and yet were victorious.
Syed Mir Mahmood Ahmad Sahib has written a thesis regarding the Khilafat of Hazrat Umarra. Those who compile these notes, i.e. the Research Cell have benefitted from this and also taken some points from this. Nevertheless, these have been checked with the original sources and are correct.
Regarding the conquests of Iran and Iraq, he writes that during the time of Hazrat Abu Bakrra, a war began against the people of Persia. In the meantime, Hazrat Abu Bakrra fell ill and as a result of this, there were delays in receiving instructions by the Muslim armies. Therefore, Hazrat Muthannara appointed his deputy from the Muslim army and presented himself before Hazrat Abu Bakrra so that he could personally inform him of the circumstances of the battle and seek further reinforcements. Hazrat Muthannara arrived in Medina and subsequently informed Hazrat Abu Bakrra of the state of affairs. Hazrat Abu Bakrra called for Hazrat Umarra and gave the following instructions:
“O Umarra! Listen carefully to what I say and then act upon it accordingly. Today is Monday and I believe that I will pass away today.” Hazrat Abu Bakrra is saying this. “If I pass away, then before nightfall, encourage the people towards jihad and send them along with Muthannara. However, if I pass away in the night then before sunrise, gather the Muslims and send them with Muthannara. Regardless of the impact, my demise will have, it should not stop you from fulfilling the commandments of the faith and God Almighty. You will have observed what I did at the time of the Holy Prophet’ssa demise even though no one had experienced such a tragic event like that before. By God, if at the time I had shown even the slightest negligence in fulfilling the instruction of the Holy Prophetsa, God Almighty would have destroyed us and punished us and Medina would have been lit up in flames.”
Thus, after the demise of Hazrat Abu Bakrra, as soon as Hazrat Umarra became the Khalifa, he immediately fulfilled this instruction and the very next day, after the burial of Hazrat Abu Bakrra, he gathered all the people. Many people had come from various parts of the land to perform the bai‘at at the hands of the Khalifa and this influx remained for three days. Hazrat Umarra saw this as a perfect opportunity and began to direct their attention towards jihad because the Arabs had been overawed for quite some time by the might and power of the Iranian empire and also their exceptional military strength.
For a long time, the people believed that Iraq was the capital of the Iranian empire and thought that it could not be conquered without Hazrat Khalidra. Therefore, they remained quiet. Hazrat Umarra advised the people for a few days but this had no impact on the people. Subsequently, on the fourth day, Hazrat Umarra delivered such a passionate address that people were greatly moved and their religious zeal was impassioned. Hazrat Abu Ubaidra bin Masood Thaqfi came forward and loudly proclaimed:
That is, “I am ready for this!” and presented his name to partake in the Jihad. After him, Hazrat Saadra bin Ubaid and Salitra bin Qais came forward and as soon as they stepped forward, the religious zeal of the Muslims was kindled in their hearts and they all passionately came forward and presented their names to take part in the jihad that was taking place in Iraq.
Initially, Hazrat Khalidra bin Walid was the commander of the army in Iraq but in the final stages of his life, Hazrat Abu Bakrra sent him to Syria in view of the importance of the battles taking place in Syria. Hazrat Muthannara bin Haritha had now taken charge of the Muslim army in Iraq. During this time, when Hazrat Umarra was inviting the people to present their names to partake in the battles in Iraq, Hazrat Muthannara was also present in Medina. Hazrat Muthanna also delivered a very inspirational address and stated, “O people! Do not consider this battle to be extremely difficult and challenging. We fought the Persians and defeated them and insha-Allah, we will once again be victorious.”
Thus, after hearing these speeches, an army consisting of soldiers from Medina and its neighbouring areas was now ready to take part in the battles in Iraq.
According to Tabari and Baladhuri, this army consisted of 1,000 soldiers and according to Allama Abu Hanifa Denawri, the author of Kitab Al-Akhbar Al-Tiwal, the army consisted of 5,000 soldiers. It seems that initially, upon departing from Medina, it was 1,000, but by the time it reached the battlefields, it was 5,000. This is because Baladhuri and Abu Hanifa have mentioned that whenever they passed by any Arab tribe along the way, the commander of the army would invite them to join.
Now, as to the question of who would be the leader of this army, even though Hazrat Muthannara was the overall commander of the army, who was going to be the leader of this newly formed contingent? Owing to Hazrat Umar’sra perceptiveness, he appointed Abu Ubaid Thaqafi. Many people felt that the Companionsra who had accepted Islam right from the early days and had sacrificed their blood to irrigate the plant of Islam, as it were, had been overlooked and a person who had come much later had been appointed as their leader. Upon this, Hazrat Umarra stated, “If the Companions hold any distinction, it is purely owing to the fact that they always remained at the forefront of serving Islam and bravely stood up against the enemy for the defence of Islam. However, since they have remained behind on this occasion, therefore they have given away this right of theirs. Thus, on this occasion, the first person who came forward in order to defend Islam was the one who had the right to take the role of the commander.”
After Hazrat Abu Ubaidra, it was Saadra bin Ubaid and Salitra bin Qais who then responded to the call of Hazrat Umarra to partake in the battles in Iraq. Hazrat Umarra, addressing both of them, said, “If you had responded to my call first, then owing to the fact that you are among the early people who accepted Islam, I would have handed the command to you.”
However, apart from the aforementioned reason, another reason to hand the command to Abu Ubaidra instead of Salitra bin Qais was that Hazrat Umarra had stated that a person with a calm disposition was required for this role, who would carry out the planning of the battle in a composed and careful manner. However, Salitra bin Qais had proven to be very hasty in matters relating to the battlefield. But despite granting the command to Abu Ubaidra, owing to him being the first to respond to his call, Hazrat Umarra did not deem it appropriate to ignore the past services rendered by the noble Companionsra of the Holy Prophetsa and their past experiences. Hence, Hazrat Umarra instructed Hazrat Abu Ubaid Thaqafira to seek consultation from the Companions and to accept their suggestions in the organisational matters.
Various narrations regarding this are found in the various book of history; however, his entire incident has been taken from Tarikh al-Tabari. (Tarikh-ul-Islam bi-Ahad Hazrat Umarra, thesis by Syed Mir Mahmood Ahmad Nasir Sahib, pp. 7-9) (Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2, p. 194, Nafees Academy Karachi) (Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2, p. 332, 260-261, Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2012) (Akhbar Al-Tiwal, Abu Hafifa Dinawri, pp. 165-166, Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2001) (Futuh Al-Buldan, Allama Biladhri, p. 350, Muasisat-ul-Ma‘arif, Beirut 2007) (Sirat Al-Ameer-ul-Momineen Umar bin Khattab, Salabi, p. 353-354, Dar-ul-Marifah, Beirut, 2007) (Al-Farooq, pp. 78-79, Shibli Naumani, Idaara Al-Islamiyaat, 2004)
A battle took place in 13 AH, which is known as the Battle of Namariq and Kasker. Prior to Hazrat Abu Ubaidra departing with his army, Hazrat Muthannara had returned to Al-Hirah. Al-Hirah was the capital city of an ancient Arab government in Iraq and was situated to the west of the Euphrates where later Kufa was founded. Hazrat Muthannara returned to Al-Hirah and assumed control of his army. However, the situation changed very quickly and Hazrat Muthannara and his army had to move back. The details of this are as follows:
Disagreements and differences had arisen in the court of the Persian rulers. However, a new and powerful personality emerged, Rostam, who was the son of the governor of Khurasan, Farrukhzad. Rostam was appointed as the ruler of the people by the Persian court and all the various officials of the government who were previously in disagreement with one another and divided and were weakening the strength of their rule, were now in complete obedience to Rostam. Rostam was a very courageous and astute man. As soon as he assumed leadership, he sent his people to those areas that had been conquered by the Muslims and instigated a rebellion. He greatly impassioned the people dwelling in the neighbouring areas of the Euphrates against the Muslims and also sent an army to fight against Hazrat Muthannara. In light of these conditions, Hazrat Muthannara felt that the most appropriate course of action was to move back a little from their positions. Thus, he left Al-Hirah and set up camp in Khafan, which is situated close to Kufa.
Rostam, on the other hand, was readying for battle and had prepared a large army and sent them along two different routes to fight against the Muslims. One army was under the command of Jaban, which arrived in Namariq. Namariq is also situated in Iraq close to Kufa. The other army was sent under the command of Narsi towards Kasker. Kaskar is a city situated to the west of the Tigris River and lies between Baghdad and Basra where today the city of Wasit is.
It had only been a month since Hazrat Muthannara had arrived back from Medina when the army, under the command of Hazrat Abu Ubaidra, also arrived in Khafan and joined them. Khafan is also situated close to Kufa. This army consisting of a few thousand soldiers arrived at the battlefield at a time when the situation was not very favourable for the Muslims in Iraq and the Muslims were gradually losing hold of the areas which they had previously conquered.
After spending a few days in Khafan in order to gather and organise the army, Hazrat Abu Ubaidra thereafter headed towards Namariq. In Namariq, a powerful army under an elderly and experienced warrior, Jaban, was camped there. Hazrat Abu Ubaidra organised the army and handed the flag of the army to Hazrat Muthannara. He gave the command of right flank to Walik bin Judara and appointed Amr bin Haythim as the commander of the left flank. The two wings of the Persian forces were commanded by Joshandma and Mardan Shah.
In relation to the Islamic teachings which were demonstrated during this battle, Mir Mahmood Ahmad Sahib has commented on this:
“There was a fierce battle in Namariq whereby the Persians suffered defeat and during this battle an example of the lofty Islamic morals was demonstrated. The Persian army’s commander-in-chief, Jaban, was taken captive, but Mattar bin Fizah, who arrested him did not recognise Jaban. Taking advantage of this fact, Jaban offered Fidya and secured his freedom. A little while later, the Muslims once again captured Jaban and brought him to Hazrat Abu Ubaidra and told him of the rank Jaban held in the Persian army. However, Hazrat Abu Ubaidra did not approve that he be arrested once again after the Muslims had already taken fidya. The people insisted that Jaban held the rank of a king for his people; however, Hazrat Abu Ubaidra stated, ‘I will not act dishonourably.’” Subsequently, Jaban was released.
This incident reflects the high morals which were part of the Muslim army’s conduct and even if there was an advantage to be taken, they would never abandon their morals. (Tarikh-ul-Islam bi-Ahad Hazrat Umarra, thesis by Syed Mir Mahmood Ahmad Nasir Sahib, pp. 9-12) (Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2, pp. 362-363, Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2012) (Mu‘jamul Buldan, Vol. 5, p. 351, and Vol. 2, p. 434, Dar-ul-Kutub Al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut)
Then, there was the Battle of Saqatiah, which took place in 13 AH. Having suffered defeat in the Battle of Namariq, the Iranian army retreated to Kasker, where the Iranian commander, Narsi had already gathered a large army to counter the Muslim army. Abu Ubaidra headed towards Kasker to take on this army. Narsi, the commander of the Iranian army at Kasker, had a high standing amongst the courtiers of the King. The commanders of the two flanks of the Iranian army – Banduyah and Tairuyah were close relatives of the Sasanian kings. News of the defeat at Namariq reached the Iranian king. Rostam was still making arrangements to send reinforcements in order to assist Narsi when Abu Ubaidra advanced his army swiftly and arrived in the lower areas of Kaskar before the reinforcements could arrive, i.e. they attacked them, at a place which was known as Saqatiah.
After an intense battle and owing to the grace of Allah the Almighty, the Muslims were victorious in the Battle of Saqatiah. After the main battle had ceased, Hazrat Abu Ubaidra sent smaller contingents to confront the enemy armies that were present in the surrounding areas of Kasker. (Tarikh-ul-Islam bi-Ahad Hazrat Umarra, thesis by Syed Mir Mahmood Ahmad Nasir Sahib, pp. 12-13) (Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2, pp. 364, Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2012)
Then there is mention of the Battle of Barosma which also took place in 13 AH. Barosma was a place situated between Kasker and Saqatiah and was where they confronted the Iranian general Jalinus, who was sent to assist Jaban. Rostam had prepared an army to assist Narsi and sent it to Kasker. Abu Ubaidra had received information of this and with great wisdom and alertness, Abu Ubaidra attacked the army of Narsi before the arrival of Jalinus’s army and the resulting defeat broke the strength of the enemy army. At this time, Jalinus had arrived with his army at Baqosiasa in the Barosma area. He reached Baqosiasa. The settlements between Basra and Kufa were known as “Ardh-e-Sawad” and Barosma and Baqosiasa were two of these settlements. Abu Ubaidra arrived in Baqosiasa and after a brief battle, the Iranians were defeated. Jalinus fled from there and Abu Ubaidra gained complete control of the surrounding areas. This is the account by the historian Tabari. Baladhuri [historian] has written that an agreement was made with Jalinus; however, later historians such as Ibn Khaldun and Ibn Athir supported the view of Tabari.(Tarikh-ul-Islam bi-Ahad Hazrat Umarra, thesis by Syed Mir Mahmood Ahmad Nasir Sahib, p. 14) (Sirat Al-Ameer-ul-Momineen Umar bin Khattab, Salabi, p. 357, Dar-ul-Marifah, Beirut, 2007) (Mu‘jamul Buldan, Vol. 1, p. 261, Dar Ihyaa al-Turath al-Arabi, Beirut)
I mentioned the Battle of Jisr [Bridge] a short while ago, but it is necessary to mention it here also. The Battle of Jisr also took place in 13 AH at the banks of the Euphrates River between the Muslims and the Iranians. The commander-in-chief of the Muslim army was Hazrat Abu Ubaid al-Thaqafira and the Iranian commander-in-chief was Bahman Jaduya. The Muslim army numbered 10,000 and the Iranian army consisted of 30,000 soldiers and 300 elephants. Since the Euphrates River ran between them, the two armies abstained from fighting for a while, to the extent that owing to mutual agreement, a “jisr”, i.e. a bridge, was made and hence it was known as the Battle of Jisr.
When the bridge was constructed, Bahman Jaduya sent a message to Hazrat Abu Ubaidra asking whether the Muslims would cross the bridge or would they grant permission for them to cross over. Hazrat Abu Ubaidra was of the opinion that the Muslims should cross over and fight the enemy, whereas Hazrat Salitra, one of the commanders of the Muslim army, was of an opinion contrary to this. However, Hazrat Abu Ubaidra crossed the Euphrates River and launched an attack on the Iranians.
For a short while, the fight ensued; upon seeing his army scattering, Bahman Jaduya ordered the elephants to advance. Owing to the elephants charging, the ranks of the Muslim army broke and they began to scatter. Hazrat Abu Ubaidra said to the Muslims, “O servants of Allah! Attack the elephants and cut off their trunks.” After this, Hazrat Abu Ubaidra marched forward and attacked an elephant, cutting off its trunk. Seeing this, the rest of the Muslim army rushed forward and cut off the legs and trunks of the elephants and killed their riders. Inadvertently, Hazrat Abu Ubaidra came in front of an elephant; he succeeded in cutting off its trunk; however, the elephant trampled over him as a result of which he was martyred.
In Tarikh al-Tabari, there is a narration that before this battle, Dumah, the wife of Hazrat Abu Ubaidra, saw a dream in which a man brought a vessel containing a drink from Paradise and Hazrat Abu Ubaidra and Jabar bin Abi Ubaid drank from it. Similarly, a few members of his family also drank from it.
Dumah narrated this dream to her husband. Hazrat Abu Ubaidra stated that this dream indicated towards martyrdom. After this, Hazrat Abu Ubaidra urged the people that if he were to be martyred, then Jabar would be the commander-in-chief and if he was martyred, then so-and-so would lead the army.
Thus, whosoever drank from the vessel in the dream, Hazrat Abu Ubaidra appointed them in the same order to be the commander-in-chief. He then said, “If Abu al-Qasim is martyred, then Hazrat Muthannara will be your leader.”
The dream of Dumah was fulfilled to the letter; after Hazrat Abu Ubaidra, the six persons named would take the flag of leadership and were martyred one after another. Hazrat Muthannara was the eighth person to take up the Islamic flag and decided to launch a powerful attack, but the ranks of the Muslim army had become disrupted. Seeing seven consecutive leaders being martyred, the people began to scatter and some jumped in the sea.
Hazrat Muthannara and his comrades continued fighting valiantly. During the course of the battle, Hazrat Muthannara was injured and returned after crossing the Euphrates River.
In this battle, the Muslims suffered a significant loss; 4,000 Muslims were martyred whereas 6,000 Iranians were killed. This loss would have resulted in detrimental effects for the Muslims for longer, but fortunately, it so happened that the enemy could not chase the Muslims because there was a rift amongst the Iranian kings, as a result of which Bahman Jaduya had to return. Ibn Athir has written that in Madain [Ctesiphon], the capital of the Iranian Empire, one faction of the courtiers of the king revolted against Rostam. (Tarikh-ul-Islam bi-Ahad Hazrat Umarra, thesis by Syed Mir Mahmood Ahmad Nasir Sahib, pp. 18-21) (Tarikh Al-Tabari, Vol. 2, p. 229, Nafees Academy Karachi, 2004) (Al-Tarikh, Ibn Khuldun, Vol. 3, pp. 270-273, Dar-ul-Isha’at, Karachi, 2003) (Al-Kamil Fi Al-Tarikh, Ibn Athir, p. 311, Bait-ul-Afkaar Al-Dauloyah)
Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra has also written about the Battle of Jisr:
“One of the biggest and harrowing defeats faced by the Muslims was during the Battle of Jisr. A very strong army of Muslims had been sent to fight against the Persian forces. The Persian forces had set up their trenches on the opposite side of the river and were sat in wait.
“When the Muslim army approached, they attacked the Persian forces with great intensity and went right through them. However, this was the ploy of the commander of the Persian army. He then sent another contingent from the side, who took control of the bridge and then launched an attack against the Muslim army.
“The Muslims planned to move back, but noticed that the bridge had been seized by the enemy. They anxiously moved to another side, but came under a fierce attack from the enemy and many of the Muslims were left with no choice but to jump into the river and died. This was such a dangerous loss suffered by the Muslim army that its news left Medina in shock.
“Hazrat Umarra gathered the people of Medina and stated, ‘Now there is nothing that remains between Persia and Medina. Medina has become completely exposed and it is possible that the enemy may reach here in just a matter of days. Therefore, I wish to go myself as the commander of the army.’ Everyone agreed to this suggestion; however, Hazrat Alira stated, ‘If, God-forbid, you are to be martyred, the unity of the Muslims will end and they will be dispersed. Therefore, you should not go but send someone else instead.’
“Upon this, Hazrat Umarra wrote to Hazrat Saadra, who at the time was engaged in battle against the Byzantines in Syria, and stated that he should send however many people he could because Medina was left completely exposed. If the enemy was not stopped immediately, they would eventually take control of Medina.” (Majlis Khuddam-ul-Ahmadiyya Ke Salana Ijtema Mein Baaz Aiham Hidayat, Anwar-ul-Ulum, Vol. 22, pp. 56-57)
There are accounts remaining, which, insha-Allah, I will narrate in the future. These were the details regarding this battle. Further details regarding other battles will also be mentioned in the future.
At present, I wish to speak about some deceased members and insha-Allah, will lead their funeral prayers in absentia.
The first is of Fathi Abdul Salam Sahib; his full name is Fathi Abdul Salam Mubarak Sahib of Egypt; he passed away recently at the age of 75.
اِنَّا لِلّٰهِ وَاِنَّآ اِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُوْنَ
[Verily, to Allah we belong and to Him shall we return.]
Fathi Sahib’s father was a follower of the Naqshbandi order and had vowed to dedicate one of his sons in order to attain religious knowledge and chose Fathi Sahib for this. By the age of 10, Fathi Sahib had memorised the Holy Quran. Owing to his love for the Holy Quran, Fathi Sahib’s father also began memorising the Quran alongside him and memorised it in its entirety. Later on, God blessed his father with the opportunity of doing the bai‘at [pledging allegiance] at the age of 88.
After memorising the Holy Quran, Fathi Sahib completed his education from a high school affiliated with Al-Azhar [University] with notable success. He then obtained a degree in engineering from Cairo University. He had a passion for learning and during his time as a student, he would save up from his pocket money to purchase books and would study them. He then became an officer in the Egyptian Air Force. Whilst in the armed forces, he was accused of secretly being part of the Islamic revolutionary movements – even though he was against such movements and would try to reform them. Nevertheless, owing to this accusation he spent some time in jail, after which he was acquitted.
After this he went to Iraq and worked there for some time as an engineer. In the 1991 Iraq war, a dangerous situation arose: one night, ten bombs dropped on the area he resided in. He, along with his family, remained occupied in supplication and Allah the Almighty saved them in extraordinary circumstances. He then moved to Jordan and joined the Mu‘tazila sect. He then returned to Egypt and was inclined towards Ahl-e-Quran [sect] and that is when he was introduced to the Jamaat.
In Ahmadiyyat, he found the answers to all the issues he was concerned about and so he took the pledge of allegiance. Fathi Sahib himself narrates the way in which he pledged his allegiance, saying:
“In 1995, I had the opportunity to deliver lectures on many occasions and answer various questions at an educational centre in Egypt called Ibn Khaldun. In 1998, respected Mustafa Thabit Sahib heard one of my lectures at this centre. He praised me a lot and invited me to his home where he showed me a three-hour-long video cassette in which the late respected Hilmi Shafi Sahib expounded upon various matters with regard to the Dajjal [Antichrist] mentioned in the ahadith, which I really enjoyed.” Fathi Sahib then says, “Upon my questioning, Thabit Sahib said that this commentary was by the Promised Messiahas, the one sent to slay the Dajjal.”
He then says:
“In 1999, Mustafa Thabit Sahib handed me the book, The Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam, which brought about a wonderful transformation within me and I decided to begin researching thoroughly into the Imam Mahdias.
“From my own research, I came to the conclusion that the concept of abrogation [within the Quran] was completely wrong and against the sanctity of the Holy Quran. I was also an advocate for freedom of religion. So I began researching Ahmadiyyat and found that it preached exactly the same.
“Then, after posing questions about various verses of the Holy Quran, Mustafa Thabit Sahib handed me The Five-Volume Commentary, saying that all the answers were found therein. After reading it, I found all the questions answered in exact accordance with my line of thinking and expectations.”
Fathi Sahib continues:
“I pondered a great deal over the fact that falsely claiming to receive divine revelation was a grave injustice, yet the teachings presented by the Imam Mahdi”, the Promised Messiahas, “were all based upon the truth, guidance and spirituality. A person could present a few sound arguments, but to expound upon matters with true interpretations and in such vast numbers has not been granted by Allah Almighty to anyone else in this entire century. So, has Allah the Almighty bestowed this wonderful blessing upon such a person who commits a grave injustice by claiming to be a recipient of divine revelation?
“Eventually, after praying, reading and pondering, when Mustafa Thabit Sahib came to Egypt in 2001, I told him that I had accepted the Imam Mahdias. Due to his strong emotions, he could not believe what I had said for a short moment! Thereafter, I began reading the Arabic books of the Promised Messiahas and found in them a sea of knowledge and truths.”
Fathi Sahib’s scholarly services rendered to the Jamaat are such that in 2005, he translated Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud’sra book, Life of Muhammad, from English to Arabic. He regularly took part in the Al-Hiwar al-Mubashir programmes in which he would very passionately give sound and comprehensive answers, which the members of the Jamaat enjoyed thoroughly.
An Egyptian Christian priest had broadcast a series about allegations against the Holy Quran by the name of, “Is the Quran the Word of God?” In response to this, Fathi Sahib began airing a new series in 2006 by the name of, “Yes, it is indeed the Word of God.”
He was also part of a programme about the Arabic poetry of the Promised Messiahas by the name of Ruhul-Qudus, in which he very beautifully expounded upon the miracles in the wording and the meaning of the poems. Apart from that, he also participated in numerous programmes such as “Fulfilled Prophecies”, “Knowledge in Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya”, “Fi Samawat al-Quran”, “The History of Islam”, “The Seal of the Prophets” etc.
Aside from this, he rendered many services to the Jamaat. He served as the local tabligh secretary for a long period of time. He presented himself to dedicate his life, hence rendering services to the Jamaat as a life devotee for many years. He would also deliver lectures at Jamaat centres.
His son, Ibrahim Fathi Sahib, says:
“My late father lived his life in light of [the verities contained in] Surah al-Fatihah. His life was filled with the light of the blessing of Khilafat. He had incredible love and respect for the Khalifa of the time. He believed that the only answer to all problems and troubles, and the only way to recognise the path that led to God was through Khilafat.
“My father was well-known for being completely honest in both his words and actions. Before undertaking any task, he would pray fervently to God Almighty. If anyone ever asked for advice, he would tell them to pray, ask God to guide them to the right path and to write to the Khalifa for prayers.
“He had deep knowledge and a deep level of understanding. He was very well-read. He read books on every subject and would persist in trying to understand new concepts and studies. His time studying and acquiring knowledge was spent in understanding and teaching the intricacies of religion. His way of teaching was excellent and would occasionally indulge in humour too.
“He would always study the books of the Promised Messiahas and extract pearls of knowledge therein in order to act upon them as a guiding path in his everyday life. He would mention these points in his lectures on Fridays and also during various MTA programmes. He was very passionate to serve his faith and it is said that when he became ill and was admitted to hospital, he still preached to the nurses about Ahmadiyyat despite having difficulties breathing.
“The high morals he would exhort to others were reflected by his conduct at home. In times of hardship or ease, he would adhere to the truth and righteousness. He had a deep longing to meet with Allah the Almighty. He would often say that this world had no value and true salvation was, in fact, striving towards the afterlife in this very world. He would frequently speak of his desire of meeting God Almighty.”
During his final days, his son recounts that whenever his father would notice that he was worried, he would tell him to sit by him and recite Surah al-Fatihah and Durood Sharif [salutations upon the Holy Prophetsa] because illnesses cannot be cured without God’s command and only He has all knowledge of the remedy. He would say, “Medicines have no effect without God’s command. I do not concern myself with this world and only desire to meet God Almighty.”
The same son writes:
“My mother would say, ‘My husband would give precedence to serving the Jamaat over every other work. Most of his time was spent out preaching and the blessings yielded thereby are seen in the extraordinary protection Allah the Almighty has granted our children.’”
Dr Hatim Hilmi Shafi Sahib writes:
“Our brother and esteemed teacher Fathi Abdul Salam was, in truth, among those about whom Allah the Almighty has stated that among the believers there are those who have fulfilled their oaths made to God.”
Regarding his life, from the time he took bai‘at to his demise, Dr Hatim Sahib writes:
“I perceived him to be an extraordinary person. He was intoxicated with love for God Almighty and His attributes and His unity. He was a lover of the Holy Prophetsa and the Holy Quran and lost himself in his love for Surah al-Fatihah. In his valuable lectures, he was immersed in the lofty meanings of the commentary of Surah al-Fatihah written by the Promised Messiahas.”
Hussein Al-Misri writes from Jordan:
“Respected Fathi Sahib loved the Promised Messiahas and Qadian. He had firm faith in Khilafat and was a very scholarly person.”
He continues to relate an incident, stating:
“We attended Jalsa Salana Qadian together in 2018.” He continues, “When I arrived in Qadian, I was hosted at Sara-e-Waseem residence. Respected Fathi Sahib met me there with great affection. In the evenings, after the proceedings of Jalsa, he would speak to me about Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya. He was in love with Qadian.
“About Qadian, he would say, ‘It is the cherished abode of our beloved.’ We visited the blessed sites of Qadian together.”
“I was astonished that respected Fathi Sahib was familiar with every landmark and knew the detailed history about them. The day he was to depart from Qadian, we visited Bait-ul-Zikr and Bait-ul-Dua after Fajr prayers. There, I witnessed the extent of his humility and meekness and I could not hold in my emotions. When we finished from there and headed towards the way leading to Bahishti Maqbara, he suddenly became worried and anxious, looking to and fro. I asked about the matter and he began to cry and weep and then fell to the ground in prostration. He then stood up, raised his hands to the skies, and with a trembling voice, said, ‘O God! You know how dear it is for me to be this close to my beloved. O God, You know that I desire to spend this night right here, but in a few moments, it will be our time to depart.’”
This was because he was informed, on the day of this incident, that it was now time for his return.
“He continued, ‘You have power over all things; the outcome of all things is in Your hand; everything happens by Your command, including the establishment and amendment of laws. Delay my departure so that I may find comfort and ease for a few more hours.’ Nevertheless, it so happened that the car arrived and Fathi Sahib’s luggage was loaded into it, as he had been informed that his seat was booked for that day. Just moments later, Fathi Sahib’s voice echoed throughout Sara-e-Waseem, saying, ‘God is the Greatest! God is the Greatest!’”
Hussein Al-Misri Sahib further narrates:
“Fathi Sahib said, ‘My Merciful Lord heard my prayer and delayed my departure,’ and he remained engaged in praising God and thanking Him. I climbed down and Fathi Sahib came and hugged me, saying, ‘Did you see how, by virtue of the blessings of the Promised Messiahas, Allah the Almighty accepted our prayers, and how he does, in fact, accept prayers.’ Tears filled his eyes and upon observing him, I was also overcome with emotion. He explained, ‘The organisers were mistaken and thought that my flight was booked for today, but as a matter of fact, it was for the next day or another day completely.’”
He became aware of his coming demise and expressed that to Hussein Sahib. And for the programme he was preparing for MTA, he left guidance instructing how to prepare it from now on.
The Promised Messiahas received a revelation:
يَدْعُوْنَ لَكَ اَبْدَالُ الشَّامِ وَعِبَادُ اللّٰهِ مِنَ الْعَرَبِ
meaning, “The devotees of Syria and the servants of Allah from among the Arabs are supplicating on your behalf.”
The Promised Messiahas has written, “Allah alone knows what the import is and when or how it might come to pass. [وَاللّٰهُ اَعْلَمُ بِالصَّوَابِ – Allah knows best].” (Tadhkirah, Fourth Edition, p. 100)
In any case, we have seen that by the grace of Allah the Almighty, wherever jamaats in Arab countries are being established, and in this example which I have presented of Fathi Sahib, it is evident how Allah the Almighty is bringing forth such sincere people who pray for the Promised Messiahas and express their love, compassion and affection.
Hatim Sahib attests to this when he writes:
“It is not possible to express Fathi Sahib’s love for the Promised Messiahas, the Promised Messiah’sas books and poetry. His love for Khilafat, obedience and reverence were apparent through his every word and action and it was clear to all. He was absolutely certain that Khilafat is a magnificent bounty of God Almighty and would sing praises of thanks for having received it. He had firmly grasped this rope of Allah and was devoted in obedience to Khilafat.”
I have also witnessed this myself; his love and affection was of an extraordinary level, such that his eyes would fill with tears upon meeting me and it was evident from every action of his, along with great respect and reverence. If ever he brought any scholarly point or argument to me and I was not able to follow it, or refuted it or if I asked him to do further research, he would accept it wholeheartedly. In other words, he was an ardent devotee and true helper of Khilafat.
Usama Abdul Azeem Sahib writes:
“Fathi Abdus Salam Sahib was a great scholar. Despite being advanced in years, he was a very humble person. He would approach even the youngest among us with great respect and would accept their advice. He was extremely forbearing. If ever he acted unjustly with someone, he would apologise in front of everyone with great humility and would kiss that person on the head.
“He loved Islam a great deal and wished to help Ahmadi youth become such servants and soldiers who possessed both knowledge and spirituality. He would advise us late into the night and draw our attention towards fulfilling our obligations to the Jamaat.”
“He was very forbearing; even if someone spoke to him in an impolite manner, he would not respond harshly.”
I am also aware of this; there are some who caused him great hardship and acted very harshly towards him; yet even if, for some reason, Fathi Sahib responded with some harsh words in the spur moment, he would ask for forgiveness. In fact, sometimes, he would write to me, saying that he had said such and such thing to a person and that he had also sought forgiveness from them. Such forbearance is found in very few people.
Tamim Sahib writes:
“He often used to say that nothing in Islam could be done right without Khilafat. [He would say] What we required now was not to be drawn to anything else; rather, what we needed now was Khilafat, which settled disputes and directed us through divine guidance. He was always ready to abandon anything which was not accepted by the Khalifa. Whenever he went to meet Huzoor, he would be overcome with a special sort of happiness and with great love, he would ecstatically recount the meeting and whatever was discussed.”
Sama Sahiba, a woman from Palestine says:
“I saw a dream which seemed real, that myself and my sister, Sehr, were sitting and she informed me that someone had told her that there was an angel sitting in a gathering surrounded by Ahmadis. When Fathi Sahib arrived, the angel said to him, ‘You are the most beautiful Jasmine flower’. Upon this, I remarked to my sister how pious Fathi Sahib is.”
Tahir Nadeem Sahib from the Arabic Desk writes:
“One of his esteemed qualities was that despite being a great scholar, he was very humble. His love for the works of the Promised Messiahas was so profound that it is unknown how many times he read Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya, and would find new meanings and present them. He recorded various programmes on this subject as well.”
He also brought his liveliness to the Jalsa [Salana]. We all know of his loud and powerful voice and on the final day, he would enthusiastically raise slogans. There was a certain passion in his slogans and it seemed as if it was emanating directly from the heart.
May Allah the Almighty enable his children to follow in his footsteps and accept the prayers he offered for his children. May He elevate his station.
The next mention is of respected Razia Begum Sahiba, wife of Khalil Mubashar Sahib, the former missionary-in-charge of Canada and former amir and missionary-in-charge of Sierra Leone. She passed away in recent days.
اِنَّا لِلّٰهِ وَاِنَّآ اِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُوْنَ
[Verily, to Allah we belong and to Him shall we return.]
Khalil Sahib writes that his wife, Razia Begum, stood shoulder to shoulder with him as a life-devotee during his extended time in the field of tabligh [preaching] and was able to serve the Jamaat with great patience, passion and enthusiasm.
Especially in Africa, she had the opportunity to extend her hospitality [to others] and serve. She never made any unnecessary requests and was able to serve with patience and gratefulness alongside her life-devotee husband. She was regular in her worship and would partake in giving alms and financial sacrifices with great enthusiasm and passion.
Before her demise, she completed all of her monetary contributions. She was a musia [part of the scheme of Wasiyyat].
She is survived by a son, three daughters and their children.
May Allah the Almighty bestow His forgiveness and mercy and elevate her station.
The next mention is of respected Saira Sultan Sahiba, wife of Dr Sultan Mubashar Sahib. She also passed away recently due to a heart attack.
اِنَّا لِلّٰهِ وَاِنَّآ اِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُوْنَ
[Verily, to Allah we belong and to Him shall we return.]
By the grace of Allah, she had the opportunity of serving in various capacities within Lajna Imaillah in Pakistan, especially in the department of khidmat-e-khalq.
Her husband, Dr Sultan Mubashar Sahib, writes:
“She was loyal to the Jamaat and Khilafat. She was very happy with the fact that our home was close to Masjid Mubarak [Rabwah]. When she got married, her mother-in-law had already passed away, while her father-in-law, Maulana Dost Muhammad Sahib was still alive. She served him like a daughter and would tend to all of his needs. She would take exceptional care of the guests who would come to meet him at any time of the day and were from all around the world.
“She fulfilled the role of being the daughter-in-law of a life-devotee. She took great care of the poor and spent generously in this regard, to the extent that sometimes in this endeavour she would fall into debt. At times, she even sold her jewellery and made sure to tend to the poor no matter what. She was regular in her financial contributions; at times she would offer her financial contributions by selling her jewellery. She also presented her jewellery for the sake of various initiatives. Not only would she offer her own financial contributions, but would also offer them on behalf of her deceased parents.
“She was very meticulous, she was devoted, regular in her prayers and fasting and in offering Tahajud [pre-dawn voluntary prayer].”
May Allah the Almighty bestow her with forgiveness, and mercy and elevate her station. She has two sons; may He enable them to carry on her virtues. May he grant patience to the children as well as to Doctor Sahib.
The next mention is of respected Ghusoon al-Mazwani Sahiba of Syria who was residing these days in Turkey. She also passed away in recent days at the age of 39.
اِنَّا لِلّٰهِ وَاِنَّآ اِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُوْنَ
[Verily, to Allah we belong and to Him shall we return.]
She had been ill for an extended period of time. By the grace of Allah, she was a musia.
The president and missionary of the Jamaat in Turkey, Sadiq Butt Sahib, writes:
“She migrated from Syria in 2015. In 2016, she was appointed as the president of Lajna Imaillah Iskenderun and served in this capacity until her demise. She was ill for quite some time and was bedridden.
“Even during this illness, she spent every moment in service to the faith. She would propagate the message of Islam Ahmadiyyat on the Internet in different forums and also played a pivotal role in the education and moral training of Syrian women.
“She was loved by all; she was kind and wished well for everyone.”
Some women have written to me and have praised her as well.
May Allah the Almighty treat the deceased with forgiveness, bestow His mercy and elevate her station.
As I mentioned, after the Friday prayers, I will lead their funeral prayer in absentia.
(Original Urdu published in Al Fazl International, 27 July-12 August 2021 [Jalsa Salana Number], pp. 13-17. Translated by The Review of Religions.)