22 October 2021
Men of Excellence: Hazrat Umarra ibn al-Khattab
After reciting the tashahud, ta‘awuz and Surah al-Fatihah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa stated:
In the previous sermon, I mentioned the dispute between Hazrat Ubaidullah bin Umarra and Hazrat Uthmanra in relation to the martyrdom of Hazrat Umarra. Allah knows best as to how authentic that narration is, but nonetheless it is mentioned therein that they also fought with each other. I will now mention various details that have come to light after further research on this matter.
At one place, it has been mentioned that Hazrat Uthmanra had not yet been elected as the Khalifa when Hazrat Ubaidullah bin Umarra had a disagreement with him. It has previously been mentioned that Ubaidullahra intended to kill every slave in Medina. The early Muhajireen came together and confronted him and tried to stop him and also warned him. Upon this, Ubaidullahra said, “By God! I will most certainly kill them all”, i.e. all the prisoners and slaves. However, Amrra bin Al-Aas continuously reasoned with him, until he handed his sword over to him. Following this, Saadra bin Abi Waqas approached him in order to reason with him, but he fought him as well.
As has previously been mentioned, a fight broke out between Ubaidullah and Hazrat Uthmanra and people tried to settle the dispute. It is stated that when this incident took place, people had not yet pledged allegiance to Hazrat Uthmanra; that is, he had not yet been elected as the Khalifa, as mentioned earlier. (Muhammad Raza, Sirat Umar Faruqra [translated] [Lahore, Pakistan: Maktabah Islamiyyah, 2010] pp. 342-343)
There are also narrations that state that Hazrat Ubaidullahra was imprisoned after this. After the people pledged allegiance to Hazrat Uthmanra and he was elected as the Khalifa, Hazrat Ubaidullahra was brought before Hazrat Uthmanra. Hazrat Uthmanra addressed a gathering of Muhajireen and Ansar and asked them, “Give me your opinion with regard to this individual who has caused such disarray within Islam.”
Hazrat Alira bin Abi Talib said, “It goes against justice not to hold him accountable and in my opinion, he should be executed”, i.e. referring to Ubaidullah bin Umarra. However, some Muhajireen considered this view to be intolerable, harsh and extreme and they said, “Umarra was assassinated only yesterday, should his son then be executed today?”
This objection saddened the people that were present and Hazrat Alira also remained silent. Nevertheless, Hazrat Uthmanra desired for someone in the gathering to find a solution to this delicate matter and give a suggestion. Hazrat Amrra bin Al-Aas was among those present in this gathering, he said, “Allah has excused you from this matter. This occurred when you were not yet the leader of the Muslims and as this incident did not take place during your Khilafat, the responsibility of this does not fall upon you.”
However, Hazrat Uthmanra was not satisfied with this opinion and considered it best for some blood money to be paid. Accordingly, he said, “I am the guardian of those that were killed and as such, I will set an amount of blood money and then pay it from my personal wealth.” (Hazrat Umar Farooq A‘zam, Muhammad Husain Haikal, pp. 881-882, Islami Kutub Khana, Lahore)
This is one opinion regarding this entire incident.
According to Tarikh al-Tabari, Hazrat Uthmanra handed Hazrat Ubaidullahra over to the son of Hormuzan so that he may avenge his father by killing him; however, the son forgave him.
Whilst addressing the question of whether a Muslim can be punished in retribution for killing a disbeliever who is under the protection of the state, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra has also made reference to the aforementioned incident. Although I have previously narrated this in one of the sermons, I shall mention it once again to shed further light on the matter. Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra states:
“In Al-Tabari, Qumazban bin Hormuzan relates the incident of his father’s death as follows:
“‘Hormuzan was a Persian leader and was a Magian by faith. He was suspected to be involved in the killing of Hazrat Umarra. Subsequently, without carrying out any investigation and owing to his intense emotions, Ubaidullah bin Umar killed Hormuzan.’”
Qumazban, the son of Hormuzan, further narrates, “‘The people of Persia had developed acquaintances with each other because, as is the case, when one travels to another land, their ethnicity becomes even more distinct. One day, Feroz, who perpetrated the killing of Hazrat Umarra met my father and he had a dagger with him at the time which had been sharpened from both sides.’” The son of Hormuzan is narrating this. “‘My father took hold of the dagger and asked him, “What do you do with this dagger in this land? This is a land where there is peace, therefore there is no need for such a weapon.” Upon this, he stated that he used it for guiding and pulling the camels along. Whilst they were both talking to each other, someone happened to see them. Later, when Hazrat Umarra was martyred, the individual [who had seen them together] claimed that he had personally witnessed Hormuzan handing over the dagger to Feroz. Upon this, Ubaidullah, who was the youngest son of Hazrat Umarra, killed my father.
“‘When Hazrat Uthmanra became the Khalifa, he called me and handed over Ubaidullah to me. Hazrat Uthmanra stated, “O my son! He is the one who killed your father. Thus, you have a greater right over him than me, so take him and kill him.” And so, I took him and headed out of the city. On the way, whoever would see me would come along with me. None of them challenged my decision, instead all they would do was to request me to let him go. I addressed all the Muslims there and stated, “Do I have the right to kill him?” Everyone replied in the affirmative that to kill him was indeed my right and then they began to reproach Ubaidullah for the wrong he had committed. Then, I asked, “Do you have the right to free him from me?” They all responded saying, “No! Certainly not.” And again, they began to reproach Ubaidullah for he had killed my father without any evidence. Upon this, I left him for the sake of God and those people. Out of their happiness, the Muslims raised me up on their shoulders, and by God, I reached my home on top of people’s heads and shoulders as they did not even let my feet touch the ground.
“This narration shows that it was the practice of the Companionsra that they would also give the death penalty to a Muslim who had killed a non-Muslim. It is also proven that no matter the method used, such a person would be killed [in retribution]. Similarly, it is also proven that a murderer could only be detained and given the death penalty by the state. This is because it is evident from this narration that Ubaidullah bin Umar was apprehended by Hazrat Uthmanra and it was he who turned him over to Hormuzan’s son. It was not an heir of Hormuzan’s who launched a case against him or apprehended him.”
Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra further states:
“Here, it is necessary to clarify the issue whether a murderer should be handed over to the heirs of the one who has been murdered in order to be punished, as was done by Hazrat Uthmanra, or should the state see to the punishment itself? It should be remembered that this is a subsidiary matter and Islam has left it to be determined according to the needs of the time. The country can adopt whatever it deems most effective based on its society and conditions. There is no doubt that these two methods are only beneficial under specific circumstances.” (Tafsir-e-Kabir, Vol. 2, pp. 359-361)
After explaining this in further detail, I shall now narrate a few more accounts from the life of Hazrat Umarra. Hazrat Umar’sra humility and modesty at the time of his demise was such that his son narrates that he instructed him:
“Adopt moderation when shrouding my body for burial because if Allah has decreed prosperity for me, then He shall grant a better garment in its place and if that is not the case, then He shall seize this from me, and that too very swiftly.
“Moreover, adopt moderation with regard to my burial. If Allah wishes to grant me prosperity, then He shall expand it as far as the eye can see and if this is not the case, then He shall constrict it to the extent that it will crush my ribs.
“Also, do not allow any woman to accompany my funeral. Do not praise me for a quality which I did not possess for Allah has complete knowledge about me. When you carry me [for the burial] walk swiftly for if Allah has decreed prosperity for me then you will be carrying me towards that which is best for me and if that is not the case, then you will be able to quickly remove the evil which you are carrying.” (Ibn Saad, Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra, Vol. 3 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 1990], p. 273)
Aside from this, it is also mentioned that Hazrat Umarra instructed for them not to wash his body with musk. (Ibn Saad, Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra, Vol. 3 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 1990] p. 279)
Hazrat Uthmanra bin Affan relates that he went to Hazrat Umarra and at the time, he was resting his head on the thigh of his son, Hazrat Abdullah bin Umarra. Hazrat Umarra told Hazrat Abdullah bin Umarra to place his head onto the ground. Hazrat Abdullah bin Umarra stated, “My thigh and the ground are almost at the same level.” (In other words, there was hardly any distance between the two.)
Hazrat Umarra repeated this two or three times and then stated, “Please, place my head on the ground.” Hazrat Umarra then placed his legs together and the narrator says that he heard Hazrat Umarra say, “My mother and I will be ruined if Allah the Almighty does not grant us His forgiveness.” Thereafter, Hazrat Umarra passed away. (Ibn Saad, Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra, Vol. 3 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 1990], pp. 275-276)
Hazrat Simak Hanafi relates that he heard Ibn Abbas say that he once said to Hazrat Umarra, “Allah established new cities through you; many conquests took place through you and such and such achievements were attained through you.” Upon this, Hazrat Umarra stated, “I desire to attain salvation whereby I neither attain any reward for this, nor carry the burden [of any wrong].”
In other words, he took no pride in these great achievements nor the conquests that took place, instead the fear and awe of Allah the Almighty reigned supreme over him and he was only concerned about the hereafter.
Zaid bin Aslam relates from his father that when Hazrat Umar’sra demise was near, he stated, “You entertain doubts regarding my leadership. By God, I desire to seek salvation in a manner that:
لَا عَلَيَّ وَلَا لِيْ
That is, neither should I receive any punishment nor any reward. (Ibn Saad, Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra, Vol. 3, Dhikr Hijrat Umarra bin al-Khattab [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 1990], p. 267)
In relation to this, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra says:
“Hazrat Umarra was someone who spent his entire life worrying and caring for the religion of Islam. At every instance, he offered the most sublime sacrifices. With regard to his sacrifices, they were not of the same level as Hazrat Abu Bakrra; however, in regard to his intentions and motives, they were equal.
“At the time of Abu Bakr’sra demise, tears began to flow from the eyes of Hazrat Umarra and he said, ‘May God Almighty bestow His blessings upon Abu Bakrra for I tried on many occasions to excel him but I always failed. On one occasion, the Holy Prophetsa instructed people to present their wealth and I brought half of my wealth thinking that today I shall excel Abu Bakrra. However, Abu Bakrra was already there before me and since he was related to the Holy Prophetsa and the Holy Prophetsa knew that he would not have left anything at home, he enquired, “Abu Bakr, what did you leave at home?” Upon this, he replied, “I have left the name of Allah and His Messengersa.”’ After saying this, Hazrat Umarra cried and stated, ‘Even on that occasion, I could not excel him.’”
Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra further says:
“Such was the level of Hazrat Abu Bakr’sra sacrifices. He would offer sacrifices before this as well, but when a particular occasion arose, he presented his entire wealth. On the one hand, we have such people, and on the other hand, there are those who do not even get the opportunity to present 1/10 of their wealth as a sacrifice and claim that should they do so, they would be ruined.
“Hazrat Umarra was close to his demise; his eyes would well up and he would say, ‘O Allah! I am not worthy of any reward, but all I ask for is to be saved from the punishment.’” (Khutbat-e-Mahmud, Vol. 10, p. 24)
Then, there are details in relation to Hazrat Umar’sra funeral and burial. Hazrat Umar’sra son, Hazrat Abdullahra performed the ghusal [washing the body] of Hazrat Umarra. It is related from Ibn Umar that Hazrat Umar’sra funeral prayer was led in Masjid al-Nabawi and the prayer was led by Hazrat Suhaibra. The funeral prayer took place in the area between the pulpit and the grave of the Holy Prophetsa.
Hazrat Jabirra narrates that the people who lowered Hazrat Umarra into the grave were: Uthmanra bin Affan, Saeedra bin Zaid, Suhaibra bin Sinan and Abdullah bin Umarra. (Ibn Saad, Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra, Vol. 3, Fi Dhikr Isthiklaf Umarra bin al-Khattab [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 1990] pp. 261-279) (Ali Ibn al-Athir, Usd al-Ghabah fi Ma‘rifat al-Sahabah, Vol. 4 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2003], p. 166)
In addition to them, the names of Hazrat Alira, Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf, Hazrat Saad bin Abi Waqasra, Hazrat Talhara and Hazrat Zubairra bin Al-Awam are also mentioned. (Muhammad Husain Haikal, Hazrat Umar Farooq A‘zam [translated] [Lahore, Pakistan: Islami Kutub Khana], pp. 867-868) (Al-Faruq, Shibli Nomani, p. 169, Dar al-Isha‘ah, Karachi, 1991)
The Promised Messiahas states:
“To be buried amongst the company of the righteous is also a blessing. Regarding Hazrat Umarra, it is written that when his demise was imminent, he sent a message to Hazrat Aishara requesting permission to be buried in the space next to the Holy Prophetsa. Hazrat Aishara sacrificed this for his sake and granted him that space. Hazrat Umarra then stated:
مَا بَقِيَ لِي هَمٌّ بَعْدَ ذَلِكَ
meaning ‘I no longer have any other worry, for now I will be buried alongside the Holy Prophetsa.’” (Malfuzat, Vol. 8, p. 286)
In another place, the Promised Messiahas states:
“One who develops a bond with God Almighty with utmost devotion is never made to face ruin, even if the entire world were to oppose him. Those who seek to establish a bond with Allah never experience hardship or loss and Allah does not abandon His truthful servants. Allah is the Greatest! How great was the sincerity and devotion of these two men” i.e. Hazrat Abu Bakrra and Hazrat Umarra. “Both were buried in such a blessed grave that if Mosesas and Jesusas were alive today, they would express their earnest desire to be buried there. However, such a rank is never bestowed owing to one’s heartfelt longing or desire; rather, this is an eternal mercy bestowed from the Lord of Honour. And this mercy is only granted to those who are granted His Divine favours from the very beginning.” (Sirr al-Khilafah, Ruhani Khaza‘in, Vol. 8, p. 346, Urdu translation of Sirr al-Khilafah, p. 78)
On one occasion, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra states:
“When Hazrat Umarra was close to his demise, he expressed his heartfelt desire to be buried in the company of the Holy Prophetsa. And so, Hazrat Umarra sent a message to Hazrat Aishara asking whether she would permit him to be buried beside the Holy Prophetsa.
“It was Hazrat Umarra regarding whom Christian historians also write that his governance was such that it is unmatched in the world. They use foul language against the Holy Prophetsa”, i.e. Christian historians, “yet commend Hazrat Umarra. A person who remained in his company at all times”, i.e. in the company of the Holy Prophetsa, “longed during his final moments to be given a place near the feet of the Holy Prophetsa. If any action of the Holy Prophetsa showed that he strove for anything other than attaining the pleasure of God, then after having attained the rank he did, would Hazrat Umarra have desired to be given a place near the feet of the Holy Prophetsa?” (Dunya ka Muhsin, Anwar-ul-Ulum, Vol. 10, p. 262)
Such was the status of the Holy Prophetsa as a result of which Hazrat Umarra expressed his desire to be buried near the feet of the Holy Prophetsa.
There are various narrations with regard to Hazrat Umar’sra age at the time of his demise. Also there are differences of opinion regarding his date of birth. According to the various narrations found in Al-Tabari, Usd al-Ghabah, Al-Bidayah wa Al-Nihayah, Al-Riyad Al-Nadirah and Tarikh al-Khulafa, Hazrat Umar’sra age is mentioned as: 53, 55, 57, 59, 61, 63 and 65. (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari [translated], Vol. 1 [Karachi, Pakistan: Dar al-Isha‘ah, 2003], p. 211) (Ali Ibn al-Athir, Usd al-Ghabah fi Ma‘rifat al-Sahabah, Vol. 4 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2003], p. 166) (Ibn Kathir, Al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah, Vol. 10, [Dar Hijr, 1998] pp. 192-194) (Riyad al-Nadirah, pp. 418-419, Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut) (Jalaluddin Abd al-Rahman bin Abi Bakr al-Suyuti, Tarikh al-Khulafa [translated], p. 168, Mumtaz Academy, Lahore)
However, according to the narrations in Sahih Muslim and Tirmidhi, Hazrat Umarra was 63 years old [at the time of his demise].
Hazrat Anas bin Malikra narrates that at the time of his demise, the Holy Prophetsa was 63 years old; and at the time of Abu Bakr’sra demise, he was also 63 years old and when Hazrat Umarra passed away, he was also 63 years old. (Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Fada‘il, Bab kam Sanah al-Nabisa Yaum Qabd, Hadith 6091) (Sunan al-Tirmidhi, Kitab al-Manaqib, Abwab fi Sunan al-Nabisa kam kana hina mat, Hadith 3563)
There are narrations that detail the sentiments of the companions at the time of Hazrat Umar’sra demise. Hazrat Ibn Abbasra narrates, “When the body of Hazrat Umarra was placed down for the funeral prayers, people gathered around. Before the body was taken, the people prayed for him, after which the funeral prayers were offered. I was also present among the people. A person grabbed hold of my shoulder which startled me. I turned to see that it was Hazrat Ali bin Abi Talibra. He prayed for Allah to bestow mercy on Hazrat Umarra and then said, ‘O Umar! You have not left behind anyone whose deeds I would rather have and go before Allah the Almighty. By God! I am certain that Allah will place you beside your companions’”, i.e. that Hazrat Umarra would be with the Holy Prophetsa and Hazrat Abu Bakrra.
“‘On many occasions I heard the Holy Prophetsa say:
ذَهَبْتُ أَنَا وَأَبُو بَكْرٍ وَعُمَرُ وَدَخَلْتُ أَنَا وَأَبُو بَكْرٍ وَعُمَرُ فَخَرَجْتُ أَنَا وَأَبُو بَكْرٍ وَعُمَرُ
“Abu Bakr, Umar and I went; Abu Bakr, Umar and I entered; Abu Bakr, Umar and I went out.”’” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab Fada‘il Ashab al-Nabisa, Bab Manaqib Umarra bin al-Khattab, Hadith 3685)
In other words, the Holy Prophetsa would say this whilst narrating various incidents.
Jafar bin Muhammad narrates on the authority of his father that when the body of Hazrat Umarra was washed and wrapped in the burial clothes, he was placed on a bedstead. Hazrat Alira stood beside him and praised him. Hazrat Alira said, “By Allah! There is not a single person on this earth whose deeds I would rather have and stand before Allah, than the deeds of the one wrapped in this shroud.” (Ibn Saad, Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra, Vol. 3, Dhikr Hijrat Umarra bin al-Khattab [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 1990], p. 262)
Abu Makhlad narrates that Hazrat Ali bin Abi Talibra stated, “The Holy Prophetsa had not yet passed away when we realised that after the Holy Prophetsa, the best among us was Abu Bakrra; and Abu Bakrra had not yet passed away when we realised that Umarra was the best among us after Abu Bakrra.”(Sirat Umar bin al-Khattabra, Ibn Juzi, p. 212, Maktabah Misriyyah al-Azhar)
Zaid bin Wahab narrates:
“We came to see Hazrat Abdullahra bin Mas‘ud. Whilst mentioning Hazrat Umarra, he cried so much that the stones on the floor became wet due to his tears. Then regarding Hazrat Umarra, he said, ‘Umar was a strong fortress for Islam. People would enter into it and not leave’”, i.e. he was a solid citadel in which people would enter but not leave. “‘When he passed away, cracks appeared in this fortress and people began leaving Islam.’” (Ibn Saad, Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra, Vol. 3 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 1990], p. 283)
Abu Wail narrates that Hazrat Abdullahra bin Mas‘ud said, “If the knowledge of Umarra was placed on one side of a scale and the knowledge of everyone else was placed on the opposite side, the knowledge of Hazrat Umarra would be heavier.”
Abu Wail said, “I mentioned this to Ibrahim, to which he said, ‘By God! This is the truth. Abdullah bin Ma ‘ud has said something even greater than this.’ I asked what he had said, to which he stated, ‘When Hazrat Umarra passed away, he’”, that is, Abdullah bin Mas‘ud, “‘said that it was as if nine tenths of knowledge had passed away with him.’” (Ali Ibn al-Athir, Usd al-Ghabah fi Ma‘rifat al-Sahabah, Vol. 3, Umarra bin al-Khattab [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Fikr, 2003], p. 651)
Hazrat Anasra narrates that when Hazrat Umarra was martyred, Hazrat Abu Talhara said, “Among the Arabs or the Bedouins, there is not a single household that is free from the devastating effect of Umar’s martyrdom”. (Ibn Saad, Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra, Vol. 3, Dhikr Istikhlaf Umarra bin al-Khattab [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 1990], p. 285)
That is, Hazrat Umarra would help everyone and undoubtedly they would feel the effects of this loss.
After the funeral of Hazrat Umarra, Hazrat Abdullahra bin Salam stood by his bedstead and said, “O Umar! Indeed, you were a great brother in Islam! You stood firmly for the truth and were fierce against falsehood. When it was appropriate to give approval, you would do so and you would express anger when the time was right. Your vision was pure; you were noble; you would not praise excessively, nor would you backbite.” (Ibn Saad, Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra, Vol. 3, Dhikr Hijrat Umarra bin al-Khattab [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1990], p. 282)
In one narration, when Hazrat Umarra passed away, Hazrat Saeedra bin Zaid began to cry. A person asked, “O Abul A‘war! Why do you cry?” He replied, “I cry for Islam. Indeed, the passing of Hazrat Umarra has caused a crack within Islam, which will not be filled until the Day of Judgement.” (Ibn Saad, Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra, Vol. 3 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1990], p. 284)
Hazrat Ibn Umarra states, “During the lifetime of the Holy Prophetsa, we would say that after him, the best among them was Abu Bakrra, then Hazrat Umarra and then Hazrat Uthmanra.” (Sunan Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Sunnah, Bab fi al-Tafdil, Hadith 4628)
Hazrat Huzayfara would say, “During the time of Hazrat Umarra, the case of Islam was like a person who was heading towards the path of success and prosperity. When he was martyred, it was as if that success reversed and went into constant regression.” (Ibn Saad, Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra, Vol. 3, Dhikr Istikhlaf Umarra bin al-Khattab [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1990], p. 285)
With regard to Hazrat Umar’sra wives and children, it is mentioned that he had a total of 10 wives, from whom he had nine sons and four daughters; one of whom was Hazrat Hafsara, who had the honour of being a wife of the Holy Prophetsa. The first wife of Hazrat Umarra was Hazrat Zainabra bint Maz‘un – she was the sister of Hazrat Uthmanra bin Maz‘un – and with her, he had Abdullah, Abdur Rahman Akbar and Hazrat Hafsa.
[Another wife is] Hazrat Umm Kulthum bint Ali bin Talibra, from whom he had Zaid, Akbar and Ruqayyah.
Mulaika bint Jarwal, who was also known as Umm Kulthum, from whom he had Zaid, Asghar and Ubaidullah.
[Another wife was] Quraibah bint Abi Umayyah Makhzumi. Since Mulaikah and Quraibah did not accept Islam, Hazrat Umarra divorced both of them in 6 AH.
[Another wife was] Hazrat Jamilahra bint Thabit – her name was Asiyah, but the Holy Prophetsa gave her the name Jamilah. She was the sister of Hazrat Asimra bin Thabit, who took part in the Battle of Badr. With her, he had a son named Asim.
From Lauhiyah he had a son named Abdur Rahman Ausat. Regarding the former it is said that she was “Umm Walad”, which means when one marries a concubine and has a child from her, and thus she becomes free. There was another Umm Walad, through whom he had a son called Abdur Rahman Asghar. With Hazrat Umm Hakim bint Harith, he had Fatimah; with Fuqaihah, he had Zainab and with Hazrat Atiqah bint Zaid, he had a son named Iyad. (Al-Khulafa al-Rashidun, Muhammad Raza. P. 100, Dar al-Kutub al-Arabi, Beirut, 2004) (Al-Faruq, Shibli Nomani, p. 404, Dar al-Isha‘ah, Karachi, 1991) (Ali Ibn al-Athir, Usd al-Ghabah fi Ma‘rifat al-Sahabah, Vol. 7 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2003], p. 53)
Edward Gibbon, a famous orientalist, writes in praise of Hazrat Umarra:
“The abstinence and humility of Umar were not inferior to the virtues of Abu Bakr: his food consisted of barley bread or dates; his drink was water; he preached in a gown that was torn or tattered in 12 places, and a Persian satrap [Governor of a province in the Persian Empire], who paid his homage as to the conqueror, found him asleep among the beggars on the steps of the mosque of Muslims. Economy is the source of liberality, and the increases of the revenue enabled Umarra to establish a just and perpetual reward for the past and present services of the faithful. Careless of his own emolument, he assigned to Abbas, the uncle of the Prophet, the first and most ample allowance of 25 thousand dirhams of pieces of silver. Five thousand were allotted to each of the aged warriors, the relics of the field of Badr, and the last and the meanest of the companions of Mohammad was distinguished by the annual reward of three thousand pieces [of silver].” (The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon, Vol. 3, Chapter LI. Page 178, London)
Michael H Hart has written a book on the 100 most influential persons in history and ranked the Holy Prophetsa as number one and placed Hazrat Umarra at number 52. He writes:
“Umar ibn al-Khattab was the second, and probably the greatest, of the Moslem caliphs. He was a younger contemporary of Muhammad, and like the Prophet, was born in Mecca. The year of his birth is unknown, but was perhaps about 586. Umarra was originally one of the most bitter opponents of Muhammad and his new religion. Rather suddenly, however, Umarra became converted to Islam, and thereafter was one of its strongest supporters. The parallel with the conversion of St Paul to Christianity is striking. Umarra became one of the closest advisors of the prophet Muhammad, and remained so throughout Muhammad’s life.
“In 632 CE, Muhammad died without having named a successor. Umarra promptly supported the candidacy of Abu Bakr, a close associate and father-in-law of the Prophet. This avoided a power struggle”.
He is writing from his own perspective. He is not prepared to believe that the people gathered and elected a Khalifa. Nonetheless, from a worldly perspective, he writes:
“[…] he pledged allegiance to the father-in-law of the Prophet. This avoided a power struggle and enabled Abu Bakr to be generally recognised as the first caliph – i.e., as the ‘successor’ of Muhammad. Abu Bakr was a successful leader, but he died after serving as caliph for only two years. He had, however, specifically named Umarra – who was also a father-in-law of the Prophet to succeed him, so once again a power struggle was avoided.”
Again, he wishes to give his own worldly perspective on the matter. He is, however, praising Hazrat Umar. [He continues:]
“Umarra became caliph in 634, and retained power until 644”, i.e. remained the Khalifa, “when he was assassinated in Medina by a Persian slave. On his deathbed, Umarra named a committee of six persons to choose his successor, thereby again averting an armed struggle for power. The committee chose Othman, the third caliph, who ruled from 644 to 656.”
He further writes:
“It was during the ten years of Umar’s caliphate that the most important conquests of the Arabs occurred. Not long after Umar’s accession, Arab armies invaded Syria and Palestine, which at that time were part of the Byzantine Empire. At the Battle of the Yarmuk (636), the Arabs won a crushing victory over the Byzantine forces. Damascus fell the same year, and Jerusalem surrendered two years later. By 641, the Arabs had conquered all of Palestine and Syria, and were advancing into present-day Turkey. In 639, Arab armies invaded Egypt, which had also been under Byzantine rule. Within three years, the Arab conquest of Egypt was complete.
“Arab attacks upon Iraq, at that time part of the Sassanid Empire of the Persians, had commenced even before Umarra took office. The key Arab victory, at the battle of Qadisiya (637) occurred during Umar’s reign. By 641 CE all of Iraq was under Arab control. Nor was that all: Arab armies invaded Persia itself, and at the battle of Nehavend (642) they decisively defeated the forces of the last Sassanid emperor. By the time Umarra died, in 644, most of western Iran had been overrun. Nor had the Arab armies run out of momentum when Umarra died. In the East, they fairly soon completed the conquest of Persia, while in the West they continued their push across North Africa.”
He [Michael Hart] further writes:
“Just as important as the extent of Umar’s conquests is their permanence. Iran, though its population became converted to Islam, eventually regained its independence from Arab rule. But Syria, Iraq, and Egypt never did. Those countries became thoroughly Arabised and remain so to this day.”
He then writes:
“Umar, of course, had to devise policies for the rule of the great empire that his armies had conquered. He decided that the Arabs were to be a privileged military caste in the regions they had conquered, and that they should live in garrison cities, apart from the natives. The subject peoples were to pay tribute to their Moslem – largely Arab – conquerors, but were otherwise to be left in peace. In particular, they were not to be forcibly converted to Islam. From the above, it is clear that the Arab conquest was more a nationalist war of conquest than a holy war, although the religious aspect was certainly not lacking.
“Umar’s achievements are impressive indeed. After Muhammad himself, he was the principal figure in the spread of Islam. Without his rapid conquests, it is doubtful that Islam would be nearly as widespread today as it actually is. Furthermore, most of the territory conquered during his reign has remained Arab ever since. Obviously, of course, Muhammad, who was the prime mover, should receive the bulk of the credit for those developments. But it would be a grave mistake to ignore Umar’s contribution. The conquests he made were not an automatic consequence of the inspiration provided by Muhammad. Some expansion was probably bound to occur, but not to the enormous extent that it did under Umar’s brilliant leadership.”
He then adds:
“It may occasion some surprise that Umar – a figure virtually unknown in the West – has been ranked higher than such famous men as Charlemagne and Julius Caesar. However, the conquests made by the Arabs under Umar, taking into account both their size and their duration, are substantially more important than those of either Caesar or Charlemagne.” (The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History, Michael H Hart, pp. 271-275, Golden Book Centre Sdn. Bhd., 2008)
Then Professor Philip K. Hitti writes in his book, History of the Arabs:
“Simple and frugal in manner the energetic and talented successor to the Prophet, Umar (634-644) who was of towering height, strong physique and bald-headed, continued at least for some time after becoming the Caliph to support himself by trade and lived throughout his life in a style as unostentatious as that of a Bedouin Sheikh. In fact, Umar, whose name according to Muslim tradition is the greatest in early Islam after that of Mohammad, has been idolised by Muslim writers for his piety, justice and patriarchal simplicity and treated as the personification of all the virtues a Caliph ought to possess.”
He further writes:
“His irreproachable character became an exemplar for all conscientious successors to follow. He owned, we are told, one shirt and one mantle only, both conspicuous for their patchwork, slept on a bed of palm leaves, and had no concern other than the maintenance of the purity of the faith, the upholding of justice and the ascendancy and security of Islam and the Arabians.”
(History of the Arabs, K. Hitti, 10th Edition, p. 175, London, 1989)
These accounts are ongoing and, insha-Allah, shall continue in the future sermons.
Now, I will mention the funerals of some deceased members [of the Jamaat]. The first is of respected Sahibzadi Asifa Masood Begum Sahiba, wife of Dr Mirza Mubashar Ahmad Sahib, who was the son of Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahibra. She recently passed away at the age of 92.
اِنَّا لِلّٰهِ وَاِنَّا اِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُوْن
[“Surely, to Allah we belong and to Him shall we return.”]
She was the granddaughter of the Promised Messiahas and the youngest daughter of Hazrat Nawab Mubaraka Begum Sahibara and Hazrat Nawab Muhammad Ali Khan Sahibra. She was the daughter-in-law of Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahibra. By the grace of Allah the Almighty, she was a musia. She is survived by a son and four daughters.
Her son, Tariq Akbar, says:
“My mother always remained loyal to the Community, intuition of Khilafat, and the Khalifa of the time. She always strove to serve the Community and to fulfil her pledge of Wasiyyat. She paid the Hissah Jaidad in her lifetime. Every year, she would offer alms on behalf of the deceased. She was generous in helping the poor, and did so in secret.
“She often told me that the workers are like my brothers and sisters and that I should take care of them. She would always keep good relations with her relatives and tried to ensure that no harm ever befell them. She was regular in offering prayers and fulfilled the rights owed to Allah and the rights owed to His creation.”
Her daughter-in-law, Naeema Sahiba, says:
“When our house was built in the USA, she advised that before buying any furniture, we should offer voluntary prayers in every room and corner of the house.” She continues, “After my mother passed away, she said to me, ‘Never consider yourself to be without a mother, because I am like your mother.’ Indeed, her loving, devoted and beautiful personality was such that she showed more love to me than even her own daughters. She would always advise to never cut ties with Khilafat.”
She was related to me in various ways; she was my paternal grandmother’s half-sister and, as such, we referred to her as “dadi” [grandmother]. She was also my maternal and paternal aunt.
Her daughter-in-law further states:
“Despite these relationships, she would always say that she was obedient to Khilafat. This was not a mere claim; rather, she truly did justice to her bond with Khilafat. She gave a great deal in alms, and she would offer contributions for Tahrik-e-Jadid on behalf of elders, teachers and even the workers in Qadian. Whenever a worker would depart, she would send them off with a handsome amount and would ask for their forgiveness if any sort of mistake had been made on her part.”
Her daughter, Shahida, says:
“Our mother introduced us to Allah the Almighty from a young age and said that even if we needed something as small as a shoelace, we should ask God Almighty for it. She advised us to focus on prayers and stressed the importance of upholding the honour of Khilafat. Whenever the time came for the election of the Khalifa, she said that no matter who became the Khalifa, we must obey him wholeheartedly. She also told us to pray that we become a fruitful branch of the Promised Messiahas, rather than becoming a dry withered branch and becoming a means for others to falter.”
Then, her daughter, Nusrat Jahan, says:
“From our childhood, she always kept our training in mind. If she was reciting the Holy Quran, she would stop at a verse and explain its meaning to us or would give us some advice in light of it, and she always fondly remembered our elders. She remembered many of their unique incidents which were full of guidance and she often recounted them to us.”
Sadr Sahiba Lajna for the District of Lahore, Fauzia Shamim Sahiba, daughter of Nawab Amatul Hafeez Begum Sahiba, says:
“She was an extraordinary lady. Whenever an appeal was made to her for financial contributions, she would be content and give alms generously. She would make pledges for giving alms either verbally or by writing it down on a small piece of paper and would offer large amounts for financial contributions. While doing so, she would ask for it not to be mentioned to anyone. She lived a simple life and adopted simplicity in her personal matters. In fact, some people even thought she was miserly, but although she lived a simple life herself, she was extremely generous when it came to giving alms. Once, I made an appeal [for contributions] in our area for the building of a mosque. Upon this, she sent a large sum, which was approximately 10,000,000 rupees.”
Her granddaughter, Razia, says:
“From our childhood, she always told us about virtues and guided us. She advised us to pray from an early age in order to have a prosperous future, and also advised us to pray that we find a virtuous husband. When we would be a little shy to do so since we were young, she would say that there was nothing to be shy about before Allah the Almighty and that we should be open in beseeching from Him. She read religious literature regularly, and often during journeys, she would recite prayers or couplets containing prayers.”
May Allah the Almighty bestow His forgiveness and mercy upon her, and enable her children and the future generation to follow in her footsteps.
The next mention is of respected Klara Aapa Sahiba, wife of Rolan Seisenbayev Sahib, who was the former amir of the Jamaat in Kazakhstan. She passed away recently:
اِنَّا لِلّٰهِ وَاِنَّا اِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُوْن
[“Surely, to Allah we belong and to Him shall we return.”]
Ataur Rabb Cheema Sahib, the missionary in Kazakhstan writes:
“She accepted Ahmadiyyat in 1994/95. She came from a renowned family of Kazakhstan. Her husband, respected Rolan Seisenbayev Sahib was the first amir of the Jamaat in Kazakhstan. He also used to be an advisor to the country’s president and was also a famous Kazakh writer. Klara Sahiba herself was also a good translator and a writer. Both Klara Sahiba and her husband played a pivotal role in the establishment of the Jamaat in Kazakhstan. Respected Klara Sahiba translated the Holy Quran into Kazakh; although it could not be published, it showed how much she loved the Jamaat and wished to see it thrive in Kazakhstan, and she strove her utmost in order to achieve this. Even in their opposition to the Jamaat, local clerics would always mention that this family were Ahmadis, and that they were responsible for establishing Ahmadiyyat in Kazakhstan.”
Klara Sahiba’s daughter, Marhaba Seisenbayeva, writes:
“She was a very good translator. She was multi-talented and had a strong personality and good character. In 1995, she was one of the founders of the Kazakhstan cultural centre called House of Abai. While in London, she wrote a book titled Kazakhstan and it was at this time that she was introduced to the Community, and she was able to pledge allegiance in the time of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh.” She continues, “She was a mother not only to her children, but to all those who came to her for help or advice as well.”
Nurym Taibek Sahib writes:
“She was a motherly figure for the young Ahmadis, as well as for all Jamaat members in Kazakhstan.” He further says, “In the 10 years that I knew Klara Sahiba, in the initial three years, I observed that she was exceedingly passionate and zealous. At times, she would stand like a mountain in defence of the Jamaat and was very occupied in serving the Jamaat. Later on, however, she was ill for a while and at the same time she spent time in preparation of various books etc. But it was always her constant desire to serve the Jamaat as much as possible and to remain sincere to Khilafat and the Jamaat.
He further says:
“Rolan Sahib and Klara Sahiba were recognised as symbols of love for the Kazakh nation and the success and excellent progress of its nation. Klara Sahiba was a huge contributor to the successes of Rolan Sahib, and he is indebted to her. She was not only a very active Sadr Lajna, but was the mentor of the first amir of the jamaat of Kazakhstan.”
He further says, “I recall how from 1996 to 1999, or even after, she would superbly organise a weekly class for Lajna in the mission house and ensure their attendance, in which Lajna would ask the missionary questions and receive their answers.”
He then says, “There was no better translator of Jamaat literature than Klara Sahiba. Klara Sahiba was the best Ahmadi amongst the Ahmadi elders and was a source of spiritual empowerment for the Ahmadi youth. She embodied Jamaat values, or in other words, she embodied the true spirit of Islam. Even during times of hardship, she never lost her strength and led herself and everyone else to success.”
May Allah bestow His mercy and forgiveness on her. May He enable her efforts for the spread of Ahmadiyyat in Kazakhstan to bear fruit and may He accept her prayers.
Next, I will make mention of Wing Commander Abdur Rashid Sahib, who passed away last month.
اِنَّا لِلّٰهِ وَاِنَّا اِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُوْن
[“Surely, to Allah we belong and to Him shall we return.”]
By the grace of Allah, he was a musi. His son, Farooq, says:
“His father’s name was Babu Sheikh Abdul Aziz, who served as secretary majlis karpardaz, and his paternal uncle’s name is Farzand Ali Khan, who was appointed as the first amir of Lahore in the history of the Jamaat by Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra. His father performed bai‘at at the hand of Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra in his youth.”
He further says about his father, “Rashid Sahib was the only child to his parents. His father married initially, and then accepted Ahmadiyyat, due to which his wife left him and took their two daughters along with her. He then married a second time, from which Rashid sahib was born. He was very obedient to his parents and always served them diligently. Up until the partition, he studied in Qadian. When the partition took place, he arrived in Lahore with the convoys of other families, and then went to Rabwah with his parents and other early settlers.
“Around 1954, he gained commission in the air force and was posted at various airbases. Wherever he lived, he openly stated that he was an Ahmadi. He was sent to Libya by the Pakistani government for a deportation mission, despite the fact that his file clearly stated that he was a ‘Qadiani’ and was not permitted to go, nonetheless, his [senior] officer still sent him and said that there is no other officer of his calibre.”
“My father once told me that he had to meet the Pakistani ambassador in Libya. When he entered the ambassador’s office, he saw that there were some books and pamphlets printed in the Arabic language in opposition of the Jamaat. He very courageously asked the ambassador about that literature and why it was present there. The ambassador replied, saying that it was nothing to worry about and it was all meaningless literature. The government of Zia-ul-Haq had printed it and sent it to be distributed in these countries as well as other Arab embassies.”
He then says, “In 1982, after one of his reports, when Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh was in Spain, Huzoorrh wrote a letter with his own hand appointing him as the amir of Libya, and thus he became the very first amir there. Aside from offering prayers, as that is a duty of a believer, he was very regular in reciting the Holy Quran and giving alms. Even prior to his demise, he made sure to pay off his Hissah Amad. He would donate towards Waqf-e-Jadid and Tahrik-e-Jadid from himself and on behalf of elder members too.”
His son says that he would relate an incident of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra to him, stating that on one occasion, in the early days of Rabwah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra called him during the summer months. He says:
“When my father entered the room, His Holinessra was laying down on the straw mat and when he got up, the straw mat had left marks on his body.” He says that from these talks, we developed a strong bond of love and obedience towards Khilafat in our hearts, which had a deep impact on us.
He retired as a squadron leader from the Air Force in 1984 and went to live in Rabwah. He served in the departments of sadr umumi and the qaza office for some time. He took care of the poor and looked after everyone’s needs. His son says that the final advice he gave before departing was to take care of the poor. May Allah the Almighty bestow His forgiveness and mercy and enable his children to continue his good deeds.
The next funeral is of Zubaidah Begum Sahiba, wife of Karim Ahmad Naeem Sahib of America. She also passed away last month.
اِنَّا لِلّٰهِ وَاِنَّا اِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُوْن
[“Surely, to Allah we belong and to Him shall we return.”]
She was the younger daughter-in-law of Dr Hashmatullah Khan Sahib. She was an ardent devotee of Khilafat and a very pious and sincere woman. By the grace of Allah, she was a musia. She is survived by three sons and two daughters. One of her sons is Mun‘im Naeem Sahib, Chairman of Humanity First USA. She was also the mother-in-law of Dr Abdul Mannan Siddiqi Shahid Sahib.
Her daughter, Amatul Shafi, wife of Dr Abdul Mannan Siddiqi Sahib writes:
“She had a habit of showing love to everyone, she would pray for them, give them advice and would always take care of the poor. She had a special trait of being very loving to all relatives, whether they were closely related or distant relatives. She was regular in offering the Tahajud prayers ever since she was young. She spent her life whilst placing her trust in Allah the Almighty. From our childhood, we observed that she would spend Fridays praying fervently. She always had the concern of giving her alms on time.”
May Allah the Almighty bestow His forgiveness and mercy upon her and enable her children to continue her good deeds.
The next funeral is of Hafeez Ahmad Guman Sahib, who passed away recently.
اِنَّا لِلّٰهِ وَاِنَّا اِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُوْن
[“Surely, to Allah we belong and to Him shall we return.”]
He had a special interest in reading the translation and commentary of the Holy Quran and he read all the books of the Promised Messiahas. He had the honour of rendering his services to his faith in Rabwah. He was very punctual, hospitable, kind to children, extremely modest, and very hard-working. He was always occupied in the remembrance of Allah. A distinct quality of his was his service to Allah’s creation, and he would endure suffering in order to grant others comfort.
He was a musi by the grace of Allah the Almighty. He is survived by his wife, three sons and three daughters. One of his sons-in-law, Kashif Hameed Bajwa, is serving here as a missionary in the PS office.
Hafeez Sahib’s daughter, Amatul Quddus, says:
“Humility and modesty were his hallmarks. He wore modest clothing, his home was modest, his food was simple, and he would always shun arrogance. He was always concerned about assisting the poor. In spite of his limited means, he would spend less on himself and more on the poor.”
May Allah the Almighty bestow His forgiveness and mercy upon him and enable his children to continue his good deeds.
(Original Urdu transcript published in Al Fazl International. Translated by The Review of Religions.)