Friday Sermon – Men of Excellence: Hazrat Umar r.a. ibn al-Khattab (20 August 2021)

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Friday Sermon

20 August 2021

Men of Excellence: Hazrat Umarra ibn al-Khattab

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

Accounts from the life of Hazrat Umarra were previously being mentioned, including the various battles that were fought. One of those battles is the Battle of Junday Sabur. 

After Hazrat Abu Sabrah bin Ruhum had conquered the Sasanian cities, he advanced with his army and set up camp in Junday Sabur, which is a city in Khuzestan. Skirmishes took place with the enemy day and night but the enemy firmly stood their ground. This continued until one of the Muslims made a proposal of granting them protection. The enemy was in their fortress and whenever the opportunity presented itself, they would come out and attack.

When one of the Muslims, who was not one of the chiefs, but an ordinary individual, made this proposal, they immediately opened the doors of their fortress. Their animals came out, the markets were opened and people could be seen everywhere. The Muslims asked them what had happened to them. They replied, “You granted us protection and we have accepted it. We will pay the jizya [tax for non-Muslim citizens] and you will protect us.” 

The Muslims said that they had not done anything of the sort. They replied that they were not lying. Following this, the Muslims asked each other and enquired about the matter, upon which it came to light that this was done by a slave called Miqnaf. When Hazrat Umarra was asked about him, he said, “Allah the Almighty has given great importance to honouring one’s pledge. You cannot be truly sincere until you fulfil this pact that has been made”, even though it was made by a slave. “Give them respite for as long as you remain in doubt and treat them with sincerity.” Hence, the Muslims acknowledged this pact and returned. (Ali Muhammad al-Salabi, Sirat Amir al-Momineen Umar bin al-Khattabra [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Ma‘rifah, 2007] p. 425) (Syed Umar Khattabra, Shakhsiyyat kar namay, p. 689, Maktabah al-Furqan, Khangarh, Pakistan) (Mu‘jam al-Buldan, Vol. 2, p. 19)

This battle marked the end of the conquest of Khuzestan. (Tarikh Islam ba Ahd Hazrat UmarraSyed Mir Mahmood Ahmad Nasir Sahib, p. 135)

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra has also mentioned a similar incident, stating:

“During the time of Hazrat Umarra, an Abyssinian slave formed a treaty with a nation that such and such provisions will be given to them. When the Muslim army approached them, the people of that nation said that such and such pact had been made with them. The commanding officer of the army was hesitant to accept this treaty. The matter reached Hazrat Umarra and he said that the words of a Muslim should be free of falsehood, irrespective if one was a slave.” (Baz Zururi Umur, Anwar al-Ulum, Vol. 12, 405)

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra states:

“During the time of Hazrat Umarra, an opposing army was besieged and they believed that they could no longer be saved.” Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra is elaborating on the aforementioned incident in his own words. “The people thought that the commander of the Muslims was intent on conquering their fortress and if he succeeded in doing so, they would be treated as other conquered nations were treated. Every Muslim understood the difference between being conquered and entering into a treaty. In the case of a conquest, the general Islamic law would be implemented and in the case of a treaty, they could make conditions or seek as many additional rights as they pleased”, i.e. the other party could do so. “They thought that they should adopt an approach through which reconciliation would be achieved with lenient conditions. 

“Hence, one day, an Abyssinian Muslim was collecting water. They went to him and said, ‘In your opinion, is it not better to reconcile rather than fighting?’ He replied: ‘Yes, it is better.’” This Abyssinian man was of a simple disposition. “They said, ‘Why not reconcile on the condition that we are left to live freely in our country, without anyone troubling us. Our wealth will remain with us and your wealth will remain with you.’

“Upon this, he said that this was perfectly fine. Following this, they opened the doors of their fortress. Subsequently, the Muslim army approached and the enemy said that they had already made a treaty with them. The Muslims asked, ‘Where was the pact made and which officer made it.’ They said: ‘We are unaware of who it was, as we do not know who your officers are. A man was collecting water here. We spoke to him and he said this to us.’ The Muslims said that a slave had set out from here, ask him what happened. They mentioned this to the Abyssinian slave and he replied, ‘Yes, I said this.’ 

“Upon this, the Muslims said that he was merely a slave. Nobody had given him the authority to make this decision. Hearing this, the enemy said, ‘How are we to know whether he is your officer or not? We are people of a foreign land and we believed him to be your general.’” The people acted shrewdly. “The officer said, ‘I cannot accept this. However, I will write the incident to Hazrat Umarra.’ When Hazrat Umarra received this letter, he said, ‘Make an announcement for future, that no pact can be made other than with the commander-in-chief. However, it is not possible that a Muslim gives his word and I go against it. You must now accept whatever pact this Abyssinian man has made. However, make this announcement for future reference that no one besides the commander-in-chief can form any kind of treaty.’” (Sair-e-Ruhani (7), Anwar-ul-Ulum, Vol. 24, pp. 293-294)

Regarding the factors that compelled Hazrat Umarra to conquer Iran, it has been mentioned that it was Hazrat Umar’sra heartfelt desire that it would be better if the Battles of Iraq and Ahwaz would bring an end to this deadly fighting as there was no benefit to be acquired from fighting. Since the enemy was attacking them, if they were able to stop them and weaken their power, then the fighting could stop once and for all. 

Hazrat Umarra repeatedly expressed his desire of having a barrier between them and the Iranians so that they could not come to them and nor could they go there. However, the continuous military operations of the Iranians did not allow this desire of his to be fulfilled. 

In 17 AH, a delegation consisting of the commanders of the Muslim army came from the battlefield and appeared before Hazrat Umarra. Hazrat Umarra asked the delegation why there was repeated violation of treaties and rebellion in conquered lands. Hazrat Umarra expressed the notion that perhaps the Muslims were causing hardship for the people in those areas, which is why they kept violating their treaties. The delegation denied this notion and stated that according to their knowledge, the Muslims were working with true sincerity and excellent administration. 

Upon this, Hazrat Umarra enquired as to what then was the reason for the disorder. The other members of the delegation could not provide a satisfactory answer; however, Ahnaf bin Qais submitted:

“O Leader of the Faithful! Allow me to inform you of the true state of affairs. The fact is that you have forbidden us from carrying out any further military action and engaging in any further warfare. And you have instructed us to remain in the lands which have already been conquered. However, the King of Iran is still alive and so long as he lives, the Iranians will continue to fight against us. And it is not possible for two governments to coexist in one country. One will ultimately expel the other. Thus, either the Iranians will remain, or we will.” 

He further stated, “You are aware of the fact that we have not seized any land but only acquired it as a result of the enemy instigating an attack.” 

They had not initiated the fighting, and this was the instruction of Hazrat Umarra. The enemy would launch an attack against them, and they would be left with no other choice but to fight them. Consequently, those lands were conquered. 

In any case, this has made it evidently clear for those amongst the Muslims who unnecessarily seek to justify their own wars. It also answers those critics who raise allegations against Islam: Muslims never fought battles in order to acquire lands or to conquer countries. In fact, they would be attacked first, and they would only engage in battle in order to establish peace and subsequently they would achieve victories as well. 

Nonetheless, they said that these armies came from their king and their conduct would continue until Hazrat Umarra permitted them to take steps to attack and expel the king from Iran. In this way, the Persians’ hopes of another victory could be crushed. And this truly was the case. (Tarikh Islam ba Ahd Hazrat UmarraSyed Mir Mahmood Ahmad Nasir Sahib, p. 136-138 [2009], p. 162) (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2012] pp. 502-503)

Considering this to be sound advice, Hazrat Umarra realised that there was no other option than to advance further in Iran. It was otherwise not possible to establish peace, or else Muslims would continue to be killed and battles would be waged. However, Hazrat Umarra officially decreed this after about two years, in 21 AH, after the Battle of Nahawand, when the Iranians marched forward with powerful forces and a ferocious battle ensued in Nahawand. (Tarikh Islam ba Ahd Hazrat UmarraSyed Mir Mahmood Ahmad Nasir Sahib, p. 136-138) 2009], pp. 138-139) 

The Battle of Nahawand is also called the “Victory of Victories”. In Iran and Iraq, three battles are considered decisive among the Muslim battles, namely the Battle of Qadisiyya, the Battle of Jalula and the Battle of Nahawand. In terms of its results, the Battle of Nahawand was so significant that it came to be known amongst the Muslims as “Fath-ul-Futuh” i.e., the Victory of Victories. After their previous two losses, the Battle of Nahawand was a last-ditch effort by the Iranians. 

The details of this battle are as follows; the King of Iran, Yazdegerd, who was now situated in Merv, or, according to Abu Hanifa Dinawari, resided in Qom, started to actively gather troops to fight the Muslims. Through his letters, he had stirred a movement in the country from Khorasan to Sindh, and Iranian troops from all places assembled at Nahawand. (Futuh al-Buldan, p. 184, Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2000) (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 2012], p. 521) (Akhbar al-Tiwal, Waq‘ah Nahawand,p. 192, Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2001) (Tarikh Islam ba Ahd Hazrat UmarraSyed Mir Mahmood Ahmad Nasir Sahib, pp. 136-138) 2009], p. 139) 

Nahawand is a city in Iran which is located east of Kermanshah and is approximately 70 kilometres south of Hamadan, the capital city of the Hamadan Province. (Atlas Futuhat Islamiyyah, Vol. 2, p. 118, Maktabah Dar al-Islam, Riyad, 1428 AH)

Nahawand was surrounded by mountains. (Ali Muhammad al-Salabi, Sirat Amir al-Momineen Umar bin al-Khattabra [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Ma‘rifah, 2007] p. 426)

Hazrat Saadra wrote to Hazrat Umarra in Medina informing him about this army. (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2012], p. 522) 

A few days later, when Hazrat Umarra relieved Hazrat Saadra from his duty, and Hazrat Saadra was able to go to Medina, Hazrat Saadra verbally conveyed this intelligence to Hazrat Umarra. (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2012], p. 523) 

After the deposition of Hazrat Saadra, this key post was assigned to Hazrat Ammar bin Yasirra by Hazrat Umarra. Hazrat Ammarra continued to send the intelligence reports he received on the Iranian military operations to Medina. (Akhbar al-Tiwal, Waq‘ah al-Qadisiyyah,p. 192, Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2001) (Futuh al-Buldan, p. 170, Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2000) (Tarikh Islam ba Ahd Hazrat UmarraSyed Mir Mahmood Ahmad Nasir Sahib, p. 136-138 [2009], p. 140) 

Hazrat Umarra convened a majlis-e-mushawarat [consultative assembly] in which he stood at the pulpit and delivered a speech, saying:

“O Arabs! Allah the Almighty assisted you through Islam, and united you after dissension, and enriched you after starvation, and granted you victory in whichever field you had to face the enemy. Hence, you were never left behind, nor overcome. Now, Satan has gathered some forces in an attempt to extinguish the light of Allah. This here is a letter from Ammar bin Yasir stating that the inhabitants of Qumis, Tabaristan, Nambawand, Jurjan, Isfahan, Qom, Hamadan, Mahan and Sabzan are gathering around their king to march forth against your brothers in Kufa and Basra and, after expelling them from their homeland, to attack your country. O people! Give me your counsel, for this is an important matter.” (Akhbar al-Tiwal, Waq‘ah Nihawand,p. 192, Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2001) 

“I do not want you to talk much and disagree amongst yourselves; rather, I want you to advise me concisely whether it would be wise for me to personally depart for Iran and, halting at an appropriate place between Basra and Kufa, to assist my army from there; and if, by God’s grace, victory is achieved in this battle, whether to advance my army further into enemy territory.” (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2012], p. 523) 

After Hazrat Umar’sra speech, Hazrat Talhara bin Ubaidullah stood up and after glorifying Allah, he submitted: 

“O Leader of the Faithful! Managing the affairs of the kingdom has made you wise, and experience has made you intelligent. Do as you please, and act upon your own judgment. We are with you. Command us and we will obey you. Call us and we will respond to you. Send us ahead and we will set out. If you wish to bring us along, then we will be with you. Decide on this matter yourself, as you are well-informed and experienced.” 

Talhara said this and sat down. However, Hazrat Umarra desired counsel. He said, “People, say something because this day will have long-lasting consequences.” At this, Hazrat Uthmanra stood up and said, “O Leader of the Faithful! It is my opinion that you should send orders to Syria and Yemen that the Muslim soldiers stationed there should depart for Iran.” (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2012], pp. 523-524) 

“Likewise, send orders to the soldiers of Basra that they too should set out, while you yourself should head towards Kufa with the soldiers of Hijaz.” (Akhbar al-Tiwal, Waq‘ah Nihawand,p. 193, Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah [2001]) 

“In this way, the threat of large enemy forces which you are sensing will be removed. This occasion truly is one that will result in long-lasting consequences; hence, it is important for you to give your own opinion and to be present among your companions.” (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2012], p. 524) 

In other words, he should go to the frontline himself.

The majority of those present in the gathering liked this suggestion of Hazrat Uthmanra and Muslims from all directions expressed their approval. (Akhbar al-Tiwal, Waq‘ah Nihawand,p. 193, Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah [2001]) 

Hazrat Umarra did not accept this suggestion and sought further consultation. Hazrat Alira stood up and delivered a lengthy address wherein he stated:

“O Leader of the Faithful! If you instruct the army in Syria to leave, the Byzantines will take control of the area and if the Islamic army is removed from Yemen, the Abyssinians will take control there. If you depart from here, upon hearing news of this, the Muslims from every part of the land will come forth to join you and the fact that this land will be empty [of its men] will pose a greater danger than the danger you are heading to challenge.” 

Instead, Hazrat Alira presented the suggestion that Hazrat Umarra should write an instruction to Basra that the entire army should be divided into three sections. 

He stated:

“One section of the army should be assigned to protect the homes and territory in the lands which are inhabited by the Muslims. One section should be sent to those lands which have been conquered and a peace treaty has been formed with its people, this is so that they do not cause any rebellion after violating their treaty. The other section should be sent to Kufa to help the Muslims there.” (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 2012], p. 523) 

“Similarly, a message should be written for the people of Kufa that they should keep one section of the army to remain there and the other two sections should be sent to fight against the opponents. And the people of Syria should be instructed for two-thirds of the army to remain in Syria and one-third should be sent to Iran. Similar instruction should be sent to Oman and other neighbouring lands.” (Akhbar al-Tiwal, Waq‘ah Nihawand,p. 193, Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah [2001]) 

“It is not appropriate for you to personally go to the battlefield for you hold the position of a thread through which pearls run through. If the thread is cut loose then the pearls shall scatter and will not be gathered again. Moreover, if the Iranians learn that the leader of Arabia has come to the battlefield, they will exert all their efforts and use all their might in order to engage in battle. As for your mention of the enemy’s movements and plans, Allah the Almighty is most displeased with their actions. And Allah the Almighty possesses the power to change whatever He is displeased with. 

“You also mentioned the strength of the enemy’s number, however in the past we have never fought on the basis of our strength in numbers, rather we fought with our absolute trust in the help of God and our victory or defeat is not dependent on the number of soldiers. This is the religion of God and He has caused it to triumph. This is the army of God to whom He has granted His succour and has supported them through angels as a result of which it has achieved the honour it has today. God Almighty has promised us and He will surely fulfil His promise and grant His army support.” (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 2012], p. 523) 

Upon this, Hazrat Umarra stated:

“Yes, this is correct. If I go there then all of the Muslims from every direction will come forth and the Iranians will come with force to support their fellow men. They will say, ‘The leader of the Arab land has entered the battlefield; thus, if we were to win this battle then we have defeated the whole of Arabia.’ Therefore, I deem it appropriate not to travel.” 

In other words, if the enemy won, then they would take control of the whole of Arabia. Therefore, it was not appropriate for him to travel. 

[Hazrat Umarra further stated:] “You should all present your suggestions as to who should be appointed as the commander of the army. However, present the names from among those who have previously had the experience of fighting in the battles in Iraq.”

The people stated to Hazrat Umarra, “Your Holiness has the most knowledge about the people of Iraq and its army for their delegations have come to visit you and you have had the opportunity to assess them and speak to them.” (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 2012], p. 524) 

Owing to his foresight and perception, Hazrat Umarra appointed Hazrat Nu‘man bin Muqarrinra for this task, who was from among the noble companions of the Holy Prophetsa. (Akhbar al-Tiwal, Waq‘ah Nihawand,p. 193, Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah [2001]) 

According to one narration, Hazrat Nu‘manra was offering his Salat in the mosque when Hazrat Umarra entered. Upon seeing him, Hazrat Umarra went and sat near him. When Nu‘manra concluded his prayer, Hazrat Umarra stated to him, “I wish to appoint you for a certain role.” Hazrat Nu‘manra replied, “If it is a military role, then I am ready for it, but if it is for the collection of tax, then I do not like such a role.” Hazrat Umarra stated, “No, it is a military role.” (Futuh al-Buldan, p. 183, Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2000) 

However, the narration from Al-Tabari seems more close to the facts. In relation to Hazrat Nu‘manra being appointed [as commander] in the battle in Nahawand, there is a narration of Al-Tabari, as I just mentioned. The narration is as follows: 

Ibn Ishaq states that with reference to the incidents in Nahawand it is mentioned that Nu‘manra bin Muqarrin was appointed as the tax collector in Kaskar. He wrote to Hazrat Umarra and stated that Saadra bin Abi Waqas had appointed him to collect the tax revenue but his wish and desire was to take part in the Jihad. Subsequently, Hazrat Umarra wrote to Saad bin Abi Waqasra and stated, “Nu‘man has written to me and informed me that you have appointed him to collect the tax revenue, however he does not like this role and instead desires to take part in Jihad. Therefore, send him to Nahawand, which is one of the most important battlefronts.” Thus, this important duty was assigned to Hazrat Nu‘manra bin Muqarrin and he departed from there in order to fight against the enemy. 

While he was perhaps in Kufa, Hazrat Umarra wrote a letter to him – and this letter also supports the fact that he was not in Medina but in Kufa. At the time, he was in Kufa and the letter read as follows: 

“In the name of Allah the Gracious, the Merciful. To Nu‘man bin Muqarrin, peace be upon you.” 

It then stated: 

“I praise Allah the Almighty, Who has no partner. I have come to learn that a powerful army of the Iranians has gathered at Nahawand to fight against you. When you receive my letter, then with the command of Allah the Almighty and with His help and succour, depart with your fellow Muslims. Do not take them onto a terrain which is dry, consequently making it difficult for them to walk. Do not fail to fulfil their rights lest they become ungrateful and nor take them onto marshland for the life of a single Muslim is dearer to me than even a 100,000 dinars. Peace be upon you.” 

In fulfilment of this instruction, Hazrat Nu‘manra departed in order to fight against the enemy. Alongside him there were certain distinguished and brave Muslims, for example, Huzayfara bin Yaman, Ibn Umarra, Jareer bin Abdillah Bajali, Mughirah bin Shu’bahra, Amr bin Ma’di Karib, Tulayhah bin Khuwailid Asadi and Qais bin Makshooh Murad. (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 2012], p. 518) 

Hazrat Umarra had instructed that if Nu‘manra bin Muqrin was martyred then Huzayfa bin Yaman would become the leader and after him, Jareer bin Abdillah Bajali. After him, it would be Hazrat Mughirah bin Shu‘bahra and if he was martyred as well then Ash‘ath bin Qais. Regarding Amr bin Ma‘di Karib and Tulayhah bin Khuwailid, Hazrat Umarra stated, “Amr bin Ma‘di Karib and Tulayhah bin Khuwailid are both with you and they both are outstanding horseman from among the Arabs, thus seek consultation from them in military affairs; however, do not appoint them as officers for any task.” (Akhbar al-Tiwal, Waq‘ah Nihawand,p. 194, Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2001) 

In any case, the Muslim army departed and through his men, who were assigned to gather intelligence, Hazrat Nu‘manra realised that the route to Nahawand – where the enemy had gathered – was fine. (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2012], p. 525) 

Hazrat Nu‘manra was informed from beforehand that the enemy was gathering in large numbers. Historians have reported this army to be 60,000 strong and also 100,000. (Futuh al-Buldan, p. 183, Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2000) 

However, according to the narration in Bukhari, it is stated that it was 40,000. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Jizyah wa al-Mawadi‘ah, Bab al-Jizyah wa al-Mawadi‘ah ma‘a Ahl al-Dhimmah wa al-harb, Hadith 3159) 

In other words, the figures of 60,000 and 100,000 are exaggerated figures. According to the narration in Bukhari, the enemy was 40,000. The enemy wanted the Muslims to send someone to engage in talks with them. And so, Hazrat Mughirah bin Shu‘bahra went. 

The Iranians had organised a very extravagant gathering and the Iranian commander-in-chief was wearing his crown and sitting on a throne made of gold. The royal courtiers had displayed their weapons in such a manner that one would be left astonished. A translator was also present. The Iranian commander repeated the same story in which he mentioned that the Arabs were a very lowly people in every aspect of life. He also stated, “The only reason I am not commanding my officers to finish you off is that I do not want their arrows to become impure from your filthy bodies” (God forbid). He further stated, “If you turn back even now, we will leave you, otherwise your dead bodies will be seen lying on the battlefield.” However, what could such mockery and threats do to them? 

Hazrat Mughirahra stated, “Those days have long gone which existed before the advent of the Holy Prophetsa. A great transformation has taken place since the advent of the Holy Prophetsa.” (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2012], p. 520) 

In any case, the talks failed and both armies prepared for battle. The Muslim army was under the command of Nuaim bin Muqarrin and the two flanks of the army were under the command of Huzayfara bin Yaman and Suwaid bin Muqarrin. Qa‘qa bin Amr was commanding the Mujarradah – Mujarradah is the cavalry at the front line. And the rear side of the army was under the command of Mujashi. (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 2012], p. 525) 

Skirmishes broke out; however, the condition of the battlefield was extremely unfavourable for the Muslims because the enemy remained protected in their trenches, fortresses and houses, whilst the Muslims were in the open plain. Whenever the enemy felt the time was right, they would come out and launch a sudden attack and then return to their secured posts. (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2012], p. 526) 

The situation of the weapons that the enemy possessed was such that one of the narrators states that he saw them crossing from one side to the other and it seemed as if they were a mountain made of iron. (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 2012], p. 520) 

In view of the circumstances, the Commander-in-Chief of the Muslim army, Nu‘man bin Muqarrin called an assembly of all the experienced and wise men from among the army to seek consultation. He addressed them and stated, “You all can see how the enemy has protected itself through its fortresses, trenches and buildings. Whenever they will, they come out and the Muslims can only fight them when they themselves decide to come out and fight. (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 2012], p. 526) 

“Moreover, the enemy is continuously receiving reinforcements. (Akhbar al-Tiwal, Waq‘ah Nihawand,p. 194, Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2001) 

“As you can see that the Muslims are facing great difficulty in this situation. Therefore, what shall we do in order to force the enemy out and engage in battle in the open field?” 

Upon hearing these words of their Commander-in-Chief, the most senior in age among them in this gathering, Amr bin Subai stated:

“They have protected themselves in their fortresses, but in this way the siege we have laid is continuing to prolong. To endure this for an extended period of time is far more difficult and challenging for them than us. Therefore, let them be and continue to prolong it. Of course, those who come out to fight, you should fight against them.” 

However, the gathering did not approve this suggestion of Amr bin Subai. After this, Amr bin Ma‘di Karib stated, “There is no need to become worried or fearful. We should advance forth with full strength and attack the enemy.” This suggestion was also rejected. 

Commenting on this suggestion, the more experienced men stated that they in such an instance would not be fighting against their men but instead will come up against their walls and the walls serve as a support for the enemy. In other words, the enemy was protected inside the fortresses. Upon this, Tulayhah stood up and stated, “In my view, both suggestions are not correct. In my opinion, a small unit should be sent forth against the enemy and when they reach near them they should shoot their arrows and entice them into coming out and engaging in battle. The enemy will come out to attack this contingent. Upon this, our contingent will start retreating and making it seem as though they are running away from defeat. Hopefully, the enemy will come outside in their aim for victory; then when they come out into the open plain, we will see to them.” (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2012], p. 526) 

Hazrat Nu‘manra accepted this proposal and assigned Hazrat Qa‘qara to begin its implementation. He implemented Tulayhah’s advice and the events transpired just as he had stated. Hazrat Qa‘qara began retreating slowly as if they had been defeated and becoming intoxicated with their impending victory, the enemy continued advancing, to the extent that all of them came out of their fort. Only those guarding the door remained in their positions inside the fort. The enemies came out from their secure position and continued edging closer towards the Muslim army to the extent that some of their arrows injured some Muslims. 

However, Hazrat Nu‘manra had not given the order for the battle to commence. Hazrat Nu‘manra loved the Holy Prophetsa, and it was the practice of the Holy Prophetsa that if the battle had not started in the morning, then he would begin the fight after the sun had passed its zenith, when the intense heat subsided and a cool breeze would blow. Some Muslims were eager to engage in battle. Then seeing some of the Muslims injured from the arrows only added to their passion and zeal to fight. These Muslims would go to the commander-in-chief and request permission [to fight], but he would tell them to wait a little longer. Hazrat Mughirah bin Shu‘bahra became agitated and said, “If it was me [as commander-in-chief], I would have given permission.” Hazrat Nu‘manra replied, “Wait a little and show patience. Indeed, when you were commander, you organised matters in an excellent way, but even today, Allah will not disgrace you or me. What you wish to attain in haste, I am hopeful that we will attain it by showing patience.” 

When the heat of the afternoon subsided, Hazrat Nu‘manra mounted his horse and went around the army. Under each flag, he would deliver a passionate speech (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2012], pp. 526-527) and would pray to be martyred in such a heartfelt manner that those who would hear it would weep. 

After this, he stated:

“I will raise the slogan, ‘Allah is the greatest’ three times and will wave the flag at the same time. When I raise the slogan for the first time, prepare yourself; on the second cry, prepare your weapons and be ready to launch an all-out attack; on the third cry and when I wave the flag I will cut the enemy ranks; each one of you should attack the ranks directly opposite you.” 

After this, he prayed:

“O Allah! Grant honour to Your faith and help Your people. Allow Nu‘man to be the first martyr.” This is what the commander-in-chief prayed for. When Hazrat Nu‘manra raised the slogan for the third time, the Muslims launched a forceful attack on the enemy ranks. 

The narrator states:

“The passion among the Muslims was such that each and every one of them did not want to return without being martyred or gaining victory.” Nu‘manra took the flag and attacked the enemy so swiftly that it seemed that it was not a flag, but an eagle was launching an attack. Thus, the Muslims attacked with their swords in unison; however, the enemy ranks stood resolute in face of this attack. The clangs of iron against iron resounded thunderously and owing to the earth being drenched in blood, the Muslim cavalry began to slip. Hazrat Nu‘manra was injured during this battle and his horse also slipped as a result of which he fell to the ground. He was prominent due to his white tunic and cap. His brother – Nuaim bin Muqarrin saw him fall down; owing to his quick-wittedness, he managed to grab hold of the flag before it fell down and covered Hazrat Nu‘manra with its cloth. He took the flag and went to Huzayfa bin Yamanra, who was the deputy commander. Hazrat Huzayfara took Nuaim bin Muqarrin to where Nu‘man was [martyred] and raised the flag aloft. In accordance with the suggestion of Hazrat Mughirahra, news of Hazrat Nu‘man’sra demise was concealed until the battle concluded. (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2012], p. 521, 527) 

In Al-Akhbar Al-Tiwal, it is written that when Hazrat Nu‘manra was injured and fell to the ground, his brother took him to his tent. He wore Hazrat Nu‘man’sra clothes, took his sword and mounted his horse. Most people were under the impression that he was Hazrat Nu‘manra. (Akhbar al-Tiwal, Waq‘ah Nihawand,p. 195, Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2001) 

The historian, Tabari has written that this was an excellent example of showing obedience to a commander despite the precarious circumstances. Hazrat Nu‘manra had announced, “Even if Nu‘man is killed, do not leave the battle and turn your attention to me. Continue the fight with the enemy.”

Ma‘qil says, “When Hazrat Nu‘manra fell down, I went towards him, but then I remembered his orders. Subsequently I turned back and continued fighting.” (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 2012], p. 533) 

Nonetheless, a fierce battle ensued the entire day. As soon as night fell, the enemies retreated and the battlefield was occupied by the Muslims. Many prominent Iranian commanders were killed. (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2012], pp. 527-528) 

Ma‘qil says, “After we gained victory, I went to Hazrat Nu‘manra, who was breathing his last. I washed his face with water. He asked for my name and asked about the outcome for the Muslims. I gave him the good news of the victory granted by Allah and through His support. Hazrat Nu‘manra said, ‘All praise belongs to Allah. Inform Umarra.’” (Futuh al-Buldan, p. 183, Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2000)

Hazrat Umarra was eagerly awaiting the outcome of the battle. The evening that the battle was expected to take place, Hazrat Umarra was restless the entire night and barely slept. (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2012], p. 528) 

The narrator states that he spent the night praying in so much pain, that it seemed as though a woman was experiencing labour pains. The emissary came to Medina with news of the victory. Hazrat Umarra proclaimed, “All praise belongs to Allah” and then enquired about Nu‘manra. The emissary informed Hazrat Umarra about his demise. Hazrat Umarra was overcome with grief (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2012], p. 521) and placed his hands on his head and began to weep. (Futuh al-Buldan, p. 184, Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2000)

The emissary mentioned the names of the other martyrs and then said, “O Leader of the Faithful! A lot of other Muslims were martyred, many of whom you do not know.” Hazrat Umarra spoke through the tears and said, “If Umar does not know them, then this does not harm them in any way because God knows them (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2012], p. 521). Although they may not be well-known amongst the Muslims, God has bestowed them the honour of martyrdom. Allah knows who they are, so what if Umar does not know of them!” 

After this battle, the Muslims chased the enemies up until Hamadan. The Iranian commander Khusro Shanum had formed an agreement on the condition that the Iranians would not attack the Muslims from Hamadan and Dastavi. The Muslim army captured Nahawand. (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2012], p. 524) 

And owing to the later outcome, this proved to be pivotal as after this, the Iranians were not able to unite in order to attack. The Muslims began calling this victory “Fath al-Futuh” [Victory of all Victories]. (Futuh al-Buldan, p. 184, Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2000)

With regard to the suggestion about launching an attack against Iran, it is written that although the Muslims were morally and legally within their right to break the imperious power [of the Iranians] and be at ease – as the enemy would constantly launch attacks – however, Hazrat Umar’sra compassionate heart was averse to further bloodshed. It was the heartfelt desire of Hazrat Umarra – who was a true servant of the “Mercy for all the Worlds ” [i.e. the Holy Prophetsa] – that after the defeat, the Iranians would remain in the frontier areas and stop all forms of warfare and fighting. Hazrat Umarra not only expressed this desire from time to time, but also he forbade the armies in Iraq and Iran from launching an offensive themselves. However, this desire of Hazrat Umarra could not be fulfilled owing to the constant attacks by the enemies and owing to the rebellions instigated by them in the conquered areas. After speaking to a group of experienced fighters, Hazrat Umarra came to the conclusion that there was no option but to launch an attack. This took place in 17 AH, yet despite this Hazrat Umarra did not permit the army to advance for a long time. However, as has been mentioned earlier, the situation was such that it would not allow the Muslims to do nothing. Hazrat Umarra realised that every year, Yazdegerd would send his armies and fuel the fire of war. Many people advised Hazrat Umarra that as long as he remains on the throne, he will not change his ways, and the Battle of Nahawand further strengthened this opinion. Compelled by these circumstances, after the Battle of Nahawand in 21 AH, Hazrat Umarra was left with no choice but to give permission to the army to advance. He formed a plan for the conquest of Iran and sent it to Kufa, which at the time was a garrison town used for these expeditions. Hazrat Umarra assigned various commanders for various areas and he organised flags for each one of them that were prepared in Madinah. The flag for Khurasan was given to Ahnaf bin Qais; the flag for Istakhr was given to Uthman bin Abi Aas, the flag for Ardashir and Sabur was given to Mujashi bin Masud, the flag for Fasah and Darabjird was given to Saria bin Zunaim, the flag for Sijistan [Sistan] was given to Asim bin Amr, the flag for Makran was given to Hakam bin Amr and the flag for Kerman was given to Suhail bin Adi.

Flags were sent for the conquest of Azerbaijan to Utbah bin Farqad and Bukair bin Abdillah. They were commanded to invade Azerbaijan from the right side from the direction of Hulwan and from the left side from the direction of Mosul. The flag for the expedition of Isfahan was given to Abdullah bin Abdillah. (Tarikh Islam ba Ahd Hazrat UmarraSyed Mir Mahmood Ahmad Nasir Sahib, p. 136-138 [2009], pp. 164-166) 

With regard to the conquest of Isfahan, it is written that it was assigned to Abdullah bin Abdillah. He was in Nahawand when he received a letter from Hazrat Umarra which stated that he should advance towards Isfahan and appoint Abdullah bin Waraqah Rihaee as head of the vanguard and to appoint Abdullah bin Waraqah Asadi and Asmah bin Abdillah to command the flanks. On the outskirts of Isfahan, they came up against a contingent under the command of the Persian commander Astandar. The commander of the enemy vanguard was Shahr Baraz Jazwiah, an experienced and elderly man. He attacked the Muslims with his contingent and a fierce battle ensued. Jazwiah called out for a duel as a result of which Abdullah bin Waraqah stepped up and killed him. After an intense battle, the enemy suffered defeat and fled. The commander-in-chief, Astandar entered into an agreement with Abdullah bin Abdillah. 

Next, the Islamic army advanced towards Isfahan, which was known as Jae, and laid siege of the city. One day, the governor of the city, Fazusfan came outside and said to Abdullah bin Abdillah, commander of the Muslim army, “Instead of both armies fighting, let us fight a duel; whosoever overcomes their rival will be the winner.” 

Abdullah accepted this proposal and enquired whether he would strike first or should he. Fazusfan attacked first but Abdullah stood resolute. Owing to the strike of the enemy, Abdullah’s saddle of his horse was cut. Abdullah sat firmly on the bare back of his horse and before he launched his attack, he said to Fazusfan, “Remain there.” Fazusfan said, “You are an extremely intelligent and brave man. I am ready to enter into an agreement and hand the city over to you.” Thus, they entered a treaty and the Muslims gained control of the city. According to Tabari, this conquest took place in 21 AH. (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2012], pp. 531-532) 

The historian Baladhuri has stated that rather than Abdullah bin Abdillah being appointed as the commander of the Muslim army in this battle, it was Abdullah bin Budail bin Waraqah Khuza‘i. (Futuh al-Buldan, p. 188, Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2000)

The historian, Tabari writes that some people have confused Abdullah bin Waraqah Asadi – who participated in the battle and was the commander of one of the flanks – with Abdullah bin Budail bin Waraqah, whereas in the time of Hazrat Umarra he was very young, and during the Battle of Siffin, he was killed at the age of 24. (Tarikh Islam ba Ahd Hazrat UmarraSyed Mir Mahmood Ahmad Nasir Sahib, p. 136-138) 2009], pp. 166-168) 

Then there was the rebellion and recapturing of Hamadan. After the battle of Nahawand, the Muslims also conquered Hamadan. The people of Hamadan then violated the peace treaty by assembling an army with military support from Azerbaijan. Hazrat Umarra instructed Nuaim bin Muqarrin to go there with an army of 12,000. After a fierce battle, the Muslims conquered the city. (Ali Muhammad al-Salabi, Sirat Amir al-Momineen Umar bin al-Khattabra [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Ma‘rifah, 2007] p. 431) 

Hazrat Umarra was especially worried about the result of this battle. The messenger brought glad tidings of the victory. Hazrat Umarra then sent him back with the instructions to Nuaim bin Muqarrin to appoint someone as his deputy in Hamadan, and to then advance to Rayy. There he had to defeat the army and remain there, as it was central to all the areas around it. (Tarikh Islam ba Ahd Hazrat UmarraSyed Mir Mahmood Ahmad Nasir Sahib, p. 136-138 [2009], p. 169) 

Nonetheless, details of this and of other battles and conquests that took place in the time of Hazrat Umarra shall continue, insha-Allah.

Now I shall mention some deceased members and lead their funeral prayers [in absentia] after the Friday prayer. The first is of Muhammad Diantono Sahib of Indonesia, who passed away on 15July at the age of 46. 

اِنَّاللّٰهِ‭ ‬وَاِنَّا‭ ‬اِلَيْهِ‭ ‬رَاجِعُوْنَ

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

His wife writes:

“He was born into a non-Ahmadi family, but he was always keen to go to the mosque since his childhood, and was different to the other children. He enjoyed remaining in the mosque for long hours, learning about the Islamic teachings and remembering God Almighty. He would say that this was all a blessing for him in order to attain the nearness of God. He had a friend in his village who was an Ahmadi. When they were studying in high school, he learnt about the Community through his friend. He took the oath of allegiance in the Chilidu and Chirigun Jamaat. When his father found out about his conversion, he was extremely upset and threw him out of his home, as he had deemed his son to have gone astray. They would not even open the door to him and he had to sleep outside. This was the case for some time before they began to allow him to come home once more. 

“In 1997, the office-bearers in the local Jamaat suggested that he should go to study in Jamia as they saw qualities within him to become a missionary. Since his childhood he had a passion for preaching. Therefore, he joined Jamia and graduated in 2002. His first posting was in Jeneponto, and due to his passion for preaching, he would go with the Da‘iyan [callers to faith] and preach from village to village. By the grace of Allah, he had the opportunity to bring hundreds of people into the fold of Ahmadiyyat in the villages. When the construction of the mission house began, he would participate in the construction himself. There was no mission house in the area prior to this.”

His wife says:

“I remember living in a very modest home on rent. It was very simple and there was nothing even in the home. All in all, there was just a duvet, a pillow and a mat to sleep on. Furthermore, the pot we had for cooking would be used for everything, be it to cook food or to keep water in it etc.” 

She then says:

“One day, the head of preaching, Suyuti Azeez Sahib and the provincial missionary Saiful Uyun Sahib came to our house. Having seen the state of our home, they were astonished. The Jeneponto Jamaat requested the centre to build a mission house, and thus it was constructed. Thereafter, a mosque was also built there. 

“Before this, a mosque was shared by the Muslims to offer prayers, but due to opposition they banned them from praying there any longer. Then they would offer their prayers in someone’s home, and there were many hindrances in their desire and efforts to construct the mosque. The workers refused to work and the village chief issued threats saying he would not permit it to happen. 

“In any case, they did not lose hope or give up despite all these hurdles, and they continued to construct it with great determination. If the workers refused to work, the khuddam and atfal would help in the labour work, and even non-Ahmadi youths who they had good relationships with would participate. And in this way, the mosque was built.”

She says:

“When he was posted to Jakarta there was a lot of fierce opposition there. But when there were heavy floods, those same opponents took refuge in our mosque. The floods continued over a period of two years and these people continued to take refuge in our mosque. On the one side, they continued to oppose us, but on the other, they would keep coming back to seek refuge. That is when the situation improved.”

One of his outstanding achievements is that he made arrangements for presenting the message of the Community and the live translations of the Khalifa’s sermons to be spread via Indonesian radio and Internet. This was at a time when the live broadcast of the sermon via YouTube had not yet commenced. As it were, he made wonderful efforts his entire life and he was an exemplary missionary. 

“He is survived by his wife and five children. May Allah the Almighty bestow His forgiveness and mercy and elevate him in rank. May his children be enabled to continue his good deeds.” 

The next funeral is of Sahibzada Farhan Lateef Sahib of Chicago, USA, who passed away some time ago. 

اِنَّاللّٰهِ‭ ‬وَاِنَّا‭ ‬اِلَيْهِ‭ ‬رَاجِعُوْنَ

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

He was the great-grandson of Hazrat Sahibzada Abdul Lateef Sahib Shaheedra. Farhan Sahib was an active member of the Chicago Jamaat. He was always ready to render his services and assist. He always had a smile on his face and a distinction of his was that he was always first to greet others. He would always present himself for any work in the mosque, be it big or small, and he was always in the frontline to serve. 

He served as the auditor in Chicago in a wonderful manner. He was a Musi. He is survived by three young children and his elderly parents. 

He passed away at the age of 45. May Allah the Almighty bestow His forgiveness and mercy, and enable his children to always remain firmly attached to the Community. 

The next funeral is of Malik Mubasher Ahmad Sahib of Lahore who passed away on 21 November [2020]. It has been quite some time since his demise, but his funeral prayer was not offered. His son wrote a request for his funeral prayer to be offered. 

He was the son of Hazrat Malik Ghulam Fareed Sahibra, a companion of the Promised Messiahas and commentator of the Holy Quran. Aside from serving as the sadr of Daud Khel in the Mianwali district, he also had the blessing of serving in various capacities in Hyderabad. He also had the opportunity to work towards the completion of the dictionary of the Holy Quran. It was after the demise of his father, Malik Ghulam Fareed Sahibra that Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh assigned to him and his younger brother to arrange it. May Allah the Almighty bestow His forgiveness and mercy. 

As I mentioned, after the Friday prayer, I shall lead all their funeral prayers [in absentia]. 

(Original Urdu transcript published in Al Fazl International, 10 September 2021, pp. 5-10. Translated by The Review of Religions.)

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