23 July 2021
Men of Excellence: Hazrat Umarra ibn al-Khattab
After reciting the Tashahud, Ta‘awuz and Surah al-Fatihah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa stated:
These days, I am narrating accounts from the life of Hazrat Umarra and some of the battles that took place during his era were being mentioned. I will continue to narrate accounts with reference to these today as well.
The Battle of Buwaib took place in 13 AH, and according to some historians, it was 16 AH. On the occasion of the Battle of Jisr, which I have mentioned in the previous sermon as well, Hazrat Musannara informed Hazrat Umarra regarding the defeat of the Muslims during this battle. Hazrat Umarra said to the emissary, “Return to your companions and tell them that the Muslim army should remain where it is and that reinforcements would soon be on its way.” (Al-Akhbar Al-Tiwal, Abu Hanifa Dinawari, pp. 166-167, Dar-ul-Kutub Al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2001)
Hazrat Umarra was greatly affected by the defeat during the Battle of Jisr. He sent orators across all of Arabia, who delivered passionate speeches, thereby inspiring the Arab people. Subsequently, the various Arab tribes started arriving in droves in order to participate in this national battle, which included Christian tribes as well. This was not limited to Muslim tribes alone, as Christian tribes also joined and participated.
Hazrat Umarra sent a Muslim army towards Iraq and Hazrat Musannara also gathered an army at the border of Iraq. When Rustam learnt of this, he sent an army under the command of Mehran in order to fight against the Muslims. Hirah is a city at a distance of three miles from Kufa and Buwaib is located close by. Buwaib is a stream which comes out from the Euphrates River and is also near Kufa. Both armies formed their positions at this place. This battle was fought during the month of Ramadan. The city of Kufa was later populated near this area.
The Persian army’s general, Mehran, stated, “Should we cross the river or will you cross it and come here?” Hazrat Musannara replied, “You should cross it.” In the previous battle, the Muslims had crossed the river, therefore, this time, they were wise and told the Persian army to cross it.
Hazrat Musannara organised his army, formed its ranks and appointed experienced leaders to each of its divisions. He then mounted his famous horse, Shamus, and inspected the ranks of the Muslim army. He stopped at each flag and gave them instructions regarding the battle and passionately encouraged them in the following words, “I am hopeful that today, [the honour of] the Arabs will not be tarnished at your hands. By God! Today, I desire for myself whatever I consider desirous for an ordinary man from among you.” In other words, they were all equal.
The courageous [army of] Muslims passionately hearkened to the call of their beloved leader. And why would they not? He always treated them fairly, whether through his words or actions and always supported them, whether in times of ease or difficulty. It was impossible for anyone to criticise anything he did. (Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2, p. 372, Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2012) (Tarikhe-e-Islam Bi Ahde Hazrat Umarra, Thesis by Syed Mir Mahmood Ahmad Nasir Sahib, pp. 23-24) (Mu‘jam-ul-Buldan, Vol. 2, p. 376) (Mu‘jam-ul-Buldan, Vol. 1, p. 607)
Hazrat Musannara instructed the army that he would say “Allahu Akbar” [Allah is the greatest] three times and they should remain ready and prepared to attack the enemy as soon as they heard him repeat it a fourth time.
When Hazrat Musannara raised the first slogan of “Allahu Akbar”, the Persian army quickly launched an attack. As a result of this, the Muslims were also quick in launching their attack and some individuals from the tribe of Banu Ijal left their ranks and advanced for battle after only the first call of “Allahu Akbar”. This caused disorder in the ranks.
Hazrat Musannara sent a person to them with the message that “the leader of the army conveys his greetings, and says that today, do not humiliate the Muslims.” Thereafter, that tribe returned to its position.
Then, after an intense battle, the Persians began clamouring. It is stated that the number of Persians killed in this battle was 100,000. Mehran, who was a general of the Persian army, was also killed in this battle. This battle is also known as “Yaum al-Aashaar” because in this battle, there were a hundred such people who killed 10 people each.
Upon suffering defeat, the Persian army retreated to the bridge in order to cross the river and return to their safe area. However, Hazrat Musannara took his envoy and chased after them and surrounded them before they could cross the bridge. He broke the bridge, killing many Persian soldiers. Later, Hazrat Musannara would express regret saying, “Why did I chase after those who were already defeated? I should not have done so.” He would say, “I made a great mistake, it did not behove me to attack those who could not defend themselves. I will never do this again.”
Then he advised the Muslims, “O Muslims, you too should never commit such a deed. Do not follow me in this regard.” He stated that he had made the mistake of chasing after those who were fleeing; and this should not have happened. These are true Islamic morals.
During this battle, many great stalwarts of the Muslim army, such as Khalid bin Hilal and Mas‘ud bin Haritha were also martyred. Hazrat Musannara led the funeral prayers of the martyrs and said, “By God, my sadness and grief are lightened by the fact that these people took part in this battle and they conducted themselves with great bravery and courage and they remained steadfast. They were never frightened or worried in any way whatsoever. This fact also lightens [the burden of] my grief that martyrdom acts as an expiation for sins.”
While mentioning this battle, historians record an incident which shines light on the bravery and courage of Muslim women. At a distance from the battleground in Qawadis, there was a camp for women and children. Upon the conclusion of the battle, when a division of the Muslim army reached the camp on their speeding horses, the Muslim women mistook them to be from the enemy’s army which had come to attack them. They quickly surrounded the children and furiously began striking them with stones and sticks. When the soldiers drew nearer, they realised that these were Muslims.
The leader of this group of soldiers was Amr bin Abd al-Masih and upon this, he stated, “This action behoves the women of Allah’s army.” The Battle of Buwaib came to an end; however, it left behind a deep-rooted impact. Iran had never before faced such loss of life. One of the results of this battle was that most Muslims in the surrounding areas of Iraq gained firm footing. Their hold from southern Iraq to the Tigris River became firm and after a few smaller battles, the Muslims once again took hold of the surrounding areas which they previously had to leave. The Persian army saw strength in them, which is why they retreated to the far end of the Tigris River. After this victory, the Muslims spread to various parts of Iraq. (Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2, pp. 373-374, Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2012) (Sirat Al-Amir-ul-Momineen Umar bin Khattab, Salabi, pp. 361-363, Dar-ul-Marifah, Beirut, 2007) (Al-Farooq, Shibli Naumani, pp. 82-84, Idaarah Islamiyyat, 2004) (Al-Kamil Fi Al-Tarikh, Vol. 2, p. 288-291, Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2006) (Tarikh Al-Tabari, Vol. 2, pp. 237-238, 240-241, Nafees Academy, Karachi 2004) (Tarikh-e-Islam Bi Ahde Hazrat Umarra, Thesis by Syed Mir Mahmood Ahmad Nasir Sahib, pp. 28-29)
Then, there was the Battle of Qadisiyyah, which took place in 14 AH. Qadisiyyah is located in present-day Iraq, and is located 45 miles from Kufa. In 14 AH, during the era of Hazrat Umar’sra Khilafat, a decisive war was fought between the Muslims and the Persians at Qadisiyyah. As a result, the Persian rule fell into the hands of the Muslims. When the Persians learnt of the success of the Muslims, it was said to Rustam and Ferozan, two leaders of theirs, “You had been at odds with each other, and thus weakened the Persians and gave confidence to their enemy. Now, the situation is such that if we remain as we are, Iran shall be destroyed, because Baghdad, Sabaat”, which is a place near Madain, “Tikrit”, a well-known city between Baghdad and Mosul and which is 30 farsakh, or 90 miles from Baghdad. “Now, Madain [Ctesiphon] is the only city that remains intact. If the two of you do not find an agreement we will kill you ourselves and finally find tranquillity as we perish ourselves”, i.e. they will commence battle themselves. Rustam and Ferozan deposed Boran and placed Yazdegerd on the throne, who was 21 years of age at the time. All the fortresses and military bases were fortified.
When Hazrat Musannara informed Hazrat Umarra of all these activities of the Persians, Hazrat Umarra said, “By God, I shall make the kings of the non-Arabs compete with the commanders and kings of the Arabs.” Thus, all the chiefs, great thinkers, honourable men and speakers and poets were sent forth to contest them. Hazrat Musannara was directed to leave the non-Arab land and to come to the coastal area close to the border between them. The tribesmen of Rabi‘ah and Muzar were also commanded to take part. (Al-Kamil Fi Al-Tarikh, Vol. 2, p. 294-295, Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2006) (Furhang-e-Sirat, p. 229) (Mu‘jam-ul-Buldan, Vol. 3, p. 187) (Mu‘jam-ul-Buldan, Vol. 2, p. 45),
Hazrat Umarra sent leaders to all four corners of the Arab lands and instructed the chiefs and those in authority to gather in Mecca. As the time for the Hajj had approached, Hazrat Umarra had departed to perform the Hajj. During the Hajj, Arab tribes had come from every direction. When Hazrat Umarra returned from the Hajj to Medina, he found a large army had assembled. Hazrat Umarra personally took lead of this army and appointed Hazrat Alira as the governor in Medina and set forth and set up camp in Sirar. Sirar is also a spring situated three miles from Madinah. Hazrat Umarra had not yet made a clear decision regarding his physical participation in the battle. (Al-Farooq, Shibli Naumani, pp. 85-86, Idaarah Islamiyyat, 2004) (Furhang-e-Sirat, p. 172)
Though he had departed with the army, he had not yet decided if he would go to battle himself, or appoint someone else as the commander along the way.
In any case, it is mentioned in Tarikh al-Tabari that Hazrat Umarra took counsel from the people and they all advised him to go to Persia. They told him to take the whole army under his leadership. Before reaching Sirar, Hazrat Umarra had not discussed this matter with anyone, but Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra was among those who advised him not to go. When the others advised him to go with the army, Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra advised against it. Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra said, “To this day, I have not sacrificed my mother and father for anyone except the Holy Prophetsa, nor will I ever do so after him.” He then said to Hazrat Umarra, “However, today I shall say, ‘O ye for whom my mother and father be sacrificed, leave the final decision in this matter with me.’” He then told Hazrat Umarra, “You should stop at Sirar and send forth a large army from there.” He continued, “You have witnessed from the beginning up till now what Allah the Almighty has decreed in relation to your armies. The impact of losing you is far greater than if your army suffers a defeat. In other words, if you are martyred or are defeated in the beginning, I fear that the Muslims will no longer be able to glorify God, nor bear witness that there is no god but Allah.”
After a meeting of consultation with the selected and learned companions, Hazrat Umarra held a general assembly. When he had received the advice of Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra, he took counsel from the select companions, and then he held a general meeting, in which Hazrat Umarra delivered an address. He said, “Allah the Almighty has brought the people together in Islam, placed love between their hearts and made them all brothers. Muslims are like one body; when one part ails, the rest of it cannot but feel the pain. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the Muslims to decide their matters between them in consultation, and advice should be taken especially from those possessing wisdom and understanding. Furthermore, once the people have agreed upon a matter and are pleased with it, they must follow and obey it. The amirs must accept the suggestions of the people of sound opinion in relation to their judgement about the people, and their plans with regards to battles.”
Hazrat Umarra then said, “O people, I desired to be with you in person during the battle, but the wise ones among you have stopped me from doing so. Therefore, I have decided to not go ahead and to send someone else instead.” (Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2, p. 381, Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2012) (Tarikh-e-Islam Bi Ahde Hazrat Umarra, Thesis by Syed Mir Mahmood Ahmad Nasir Sahib, pp. 35-37)
Hazrat Umarra then began searching for someone, and at the same time, a letter from Hazrat Saadra was received. At the time, Hazrat Saadra was appointed to collect the donations from the people of Najd. Hazrat Umarra said, “Tell me of a person who I should appoint as the commander.” Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra replied, “You have just found the person.” Hazrat Umarra asked, “Who is this person?” Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra answered, “The brave lion Saad bin Malik, i.e. Saad bin Abi Waqas.” The rest of the people also agreed with this suggestion. (Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2, p. 382, Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 1987)
In Tarikh al-Tabari it is written that when Hazrat Umarra appointed Hazrat Saadra as the commander, he said, “O Saad! Do not think about the fact that you are the uncle of the Holy Prophetsa and also a companion. Allah the Almighty does not remove evil with evil, in fact He removes evil with virtue. There is no other relation between man and God aside from obedience.” This is the advice Hazrat Umarra imparted to Hazrat Saadra.
When Hazrat Saadra was about to depart, again Hazrat Umarra advised him saying, “Remember my advice! You have vowed to undertake an extremely difficult and arduous task. Thus ensure that you yourself and your companions with you instil the habit of piety and seek victory by means of this. Remember, in order to adopt a certain habit there are certain means to do it, and the means to adopt piety is patience.” If one shows patience they will instil the habit of piety. “Thus, exhibit patience for every trial and difficulty that may befall you, as a result of this the fear of Allah will develop within you.” (Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2, pp. 253-254, Nafees Academy, Karachi, 2004)
Hazrat Umarra then said, “Take your Muslim comrades and march from Sharaf to Iran.” Sharaf was the name of a spring in Najd. He ordered the army to gather there and to advance from there. “Place your trust in Allah and seek help from Him alone in all your affairs. Remember, you are heading towards a people who are vast in number; they have provisions and are a formidable military strength; the terrain towards which you are heading is extremely difficult and protected; despite being an excellent terrain owing to its lush greenery. Thus, be vigilant and do not be deceived because they [i.e. the enemy] are cunning and devious. When you reach Qadisiyyah, you will stop where the mountainous area finishes and the plains begin. Set up camp there and do not move from there.” Hazrat Umarra even designated the place for them to setup camp.
“When the enemy becomes aware of your arrival, they will be making preparations. Their infantry and cavalry will launch a full out attack. In such an instance if you remain steadfast and resolute against the enemy, and at the same time your intention to fight the enemy is pure and to attain Allah’s reward, then I am sure you will be victorious. After this point they will never be able to gather together to attack you, and even if they do join forces, their hearts will be divided.” They will be fearful if they fight. “And if another situation arises, then move away from the Persian lands” i.e. if they have to retreat or if they face defeat, “move closer to your own elevated area. In this case, you will have more strength fighting in your own area as you know the area well and the Persians will be fearful of fighting against you in your own territory; they will be unaware of the terrain, and Allah the Almighty will grant you victory over them again.”
Hazrat Umarra was convinced that they would be granted victory, even if temporarily the situation changed, but eventually victory would be theirs. Thus, all the movements and arrangements of this army was in accordance with the detailed instructions received from Hazrat Umarra whilst he was still in Medina.
In Tabari, it is written that Hazrat Umarra even set the date of the army’s departure from Sharaf and stated, “When reaching Qadisiyyah, ensure the army camps between Uzaib-ul-Hijanat and Uzaib-ul-Qawadis and the army ought to spread out to the east and west.” Uzaib is a waterhole between Qadisiyyah and Mughithah; it is situated four miles from Qadisiyyah and 32 miles from Mughithah. In historical accounts, we know from the letter of Hazrat Umarra to Hazrat Saadra bin Abi Waqas that there were two places called Uzaib. (Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2, p. 386-287, Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2012) (Tarikh-e-Islam Bi Ahde Hazrat Umarra, Thesis by Syed Mir Mahmood Ahmad Nasir Sahib, pp. 48-50) (Mu‘jam-ul-Buldan, Vol. 3, p. 131) (Mu‘jam-ul-Buldan, Vol. 3, p. 304),
Hazrat Umarra sent Hazrat Saadra bin Abi Waqas to Persia with 4,000 Mujahidin. Along the way, 2,000 Yemenis and 2,000 Najadis joined them. Also 3,000 men from the Banu Asad joined as well as Ash‘ath bin Qais Kindi along with 1,700 Yemeni soldiers. Including the existing army, the Muslim army increased to over 30,000 soldiers. The significance of this army can be determined from the fact that among this army were 99 companions who took part in the Battle of Badr alongside the Holy Prophetsa. Tabari has stated this number to be more than 70; there were 310 such companions who had the honour to remain in the company of the Holy Prophetsa from the early years of Islam up until Bai‘at-e-Rizwan; 300 companions who were present during the conquest of Mecca; 700 men who were not companions themselves but had the honour of being children of companions.
Hazrat Saadra bin Abi Waqas set up camp upon reaching Sharaf. Musannara was waiting at Dhu Qa‘r – a waterhole near Kufa – with reinforcements of 8,000 men and it was during this time that he passed away. He appointed Bashir bin Khasasiyyah in his place. (Al-Kamil Fi Al-Tarikh, Vol. 2, p. 299-302, Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2006) (Mu‘jam-ul-Buldan, Vol. 4, p. 333)
Musannara passed away there.
Upon reaching Sharaf, Hazrat Saadra sent a detailed report about the developments of the army. Hazrat Umarra then arranged the army himself and wrote a letter stating:
“Split the army into groups of 10 Mujahidin and appoint a leader over them, and then appoint a senior commander over each of these units. Then estimate the size of the army and send them to Qadisiyyah. Keep the unit consisting of Mughirah bin Shu‘bah under your command. Then inform me in detail about the subsequent events. Also update me about the developments each day.”
Hazrat Saadra arranged the army according to these instructions and sent a detailed report to Hazrat Umarra. Appointing a leader over a unit of 10 Mujahidin was in accordance with the system that existed from the time of the Holy Prophetsa. (Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2, pp. 115-116, Dar-ul-Fikr, 2002)
In another letter, Hazrat Umarra advised Hazrat Saadra saying:
“Counsel your heart, and also guide your army and advise them; be patient because Allah the Almighty rewards people on their intentions. Show the utmost caution with regards to the responsibility placed upon you and for the task you have been sent for. Be very careful; seek protection from God and constantly recite:
لَاحَوْلَ وَلَا قُوَّةَ اِلَّا بِاللّٰهِ
“[There is no might nor power save with Allah alone.] Inform me about where your army has reached and who the rival commander-in-chief is; there are certain instructions I wish to impart to you, and the only reason I refrain from doing so is because I am unaware of certain details about the enemy. Send me all the information and I will send further instructions.
“Thus, inform me in depth regarding the Muslim army as well as the conditions of the terrain between you and Madain, the capital of the Iranians. Outline it in such a way as if the entire situation is before me”, i.e. to send him every minute detail. “Explain to me your situation clearly. Fear God Almighty and place your hopes in Him. Place your trust in God with all your matters and fear Him, lest He removes you and chooses another nation to fulfil this task.” (Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2, p. 387, Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2012) (Tarikh-e-Islam Bi Ahde Hazrat Umarra, Thesis by Syed Mir Mahmood Ahmad Nasir Sahib, pp. 50-51)
That is, that they ought to always remain fearful of Allah regarding this. It was not the case that they had been appointed as sole custodians to fulfil this mission. If they did not act responsibly, then Allah would remove them and would assign some other people to complete this task because this was certainly going to be fulfilled.
Upon reaching Qadisiyyah, Hazrat Saadra sent a detailed report about the army and also the surrounding areas to Hazrat Umarra. Hazrat Umarra wrote back saying to stay in their place until the enemy themselves launch an attack. If they are defeated, then they should march towards Madain. (Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2, p. 117-118, Dar-ul-Fikr, 2002)
The following had previously been mentioned in reference to Hazrat Saad’s account, but it is necessary to mention this also in reference to Hazrat Umarra. In light of the guidance of the Khalifa, Hazrat Saad camped in Qadisiyyah for one month but no one from among the Persians confronted them. Upon this, the local residents wrote to Yazdegerd, the Persian king, stating, “The Arabs have been residing in Qadisiyyah for some time now and you have not done anything about it. They have destroyed the land up to the Euphrates River and looted cattle etc. If we do not receive any help we will have to hand everything over to them.”
Upon receiving this letter, Yazdegerd called over Rustam, who used different excuses to avoid taking part in the battle and instead suggested making Jalinus the commander-in-chief of the army. However, Rustam’s suggestion was rejected and he had to depart with the army. Hazrat Umarra wrote to Hazrat Saadra and instructed him to send an invitation to Rustam to accept Islam through someone who was noble, wise and courageous. That is, he was not to begin the war unnecessarily, instead the enemy ought to be invited towards Islam.
And through this Allah will bring about the enemy’s defeat and success to the Muslims. Also that he ought to send a letter to Hazrat Umarra every day. Upon this, Hazrat Saadra selected 14 esteemed individuals and sent them as emissaries to the royal court of the Persian king, Yazdegerd, in order to invite him towards Islam. The Muslims were on horseback, wearing cloaks and with whips in hand. The first to speak to the king was Hazrat Nu‘manra bin Muqarrin, after which Mughirah bin Dararah spoke to him.
Mughira said to the king:
“Either we will fight against you or you pay the jizya. You now have the choice to either accept to live under our rule and pay the jizya or then prepare for battle against us. However, there is a third option as well and that is if you accept Islam then you will safeguard yourselves from everything.”
Upon this, Yazdegerd stated:
“If the killing of the emissaries was not prohibited, I would have killed you all! I have nothing to offer to you; be gone from here.” He then asked for a basket of soil and said, “Take this from me!” He then instructed for these emissaries to be expelled from the gates of Madain. Asim bin Amr took hold of the basket of soil and handed it to Hazrat Saadra and stated, “Glad tidings be upon you for Allah the Almighty has granted us the keys to this land.”
After this incident, both armies remained as they were and no further action took place for many months. Rustam took his army and remained in Sabaat and refrained from engaging in any battle despite Yazdegerd pushing for it. The people repeatedly sought protection from Yazdegerd otherwise they would fall under the Muslim rule and thus Rustam was compelled to advance forth for battle and the Persian army left Sabaat and camped in the plains of Qadisiyyah.
When Rustam departed from Sabaat, his army consisted of 120,000 soldiers and they had 33 elephants. It took Rustam four months to reach Qadisiyyah. After setting camp in Qadisiyyah, the next morning Rustam took an assessment of the Muslim army and wished to make peace with the Muslims and for them to return back. Hence, Rustam asked the Muslims to make peace and for them to return.
The response from the Muslim army was that they had not come with the intention of any worldly objective, rather their sole purpose was the hereafter.
Rustam then asked the Muslim army to send their representatives to his royal court so they could negotiate on the matter. Subsequently, very precious and expensive carpets were laid out in the royal court of Rustam and various other arrangements of adornments and embellishments were done. A royal seat made of gold was placed for Rustam and a cloth laid upon it and it was adorned with cushions embroidered with thread made of gold.
From among the Muslims, Hazrat Rib‘ira bin Amir was the first to go there [as a representative of the Muslims]. He walked taking small steps with the support of his spear and the tip of the spear would cause the soft layer of the carpet to rip. He reached Rustam and planted his spear into the carpet.
Hazrat Rib‘ira proposed three options before him. Firstly, that if they accepted Islam, they would leave them alone and let them be in their land; they could govern the land as they willed. Or, if they paid the jizya, they would grant them protection. And if they did not wish to take either option, then they would enter into a battle against them on the fourth day. He further stated the Muslims would not initiate the battle in the three days prior to that but if they started the battle, then they would have no choice but to respond.
The next day, Hazrat Saadra sent Huzayfa bin Mihsan. He also presented the same three options as Hazrat Rib‘ira. On the third day, Hazrat Mughirara bin Shu‘ba went and at the end of his conversation, just like his two companions, he also mentioned the three options of either accepting Islam, paying the jizyah or then entering into battle. Upon this, Rustam stated, “Now you people will certainly be destroyed.”
Hazrat Mughirara replied, “Whoever among us is killed, will enter Heaven and whoever among you is killed will enter the Hellfire. And whoever remains alive among us will have victory over you.”
Upon hearing these words of Hazrat Mughirara, Rustam became furious and taking an oath stated, “I swear by the sun that tomorrow the sun will not have fully risen and we will have completely destroyed you.” Even after Hazrat Mughirara, Hazrat Saadra sent a few more wise Muslims to the royal court of Rustam and they all returned the same evening.
Hazrat Saadra instructed the Muslims to prepare for battle and sent a message to the Persians that they would have to cross the river [to get to them]. The Muslims had taken control over the bridge and so the entire night the Persians had to construct a bridge over the River Ateeq. Whilst crossing over the bridge, Rustam stated, “Tomorrow we shall completely annihilate the Muslims.” In response to this, a person from one of his men from ahead stated, “If Allah so wills.” Perhaps he had belief in Allah. However, Rustam replied, “Even if Allah does not will for it to happen, we shall still destroy them”, God-forbid.
The Muslims by now had prepared their ranks for battle; however, Hazrat Saadra developed a boil on his body and was suffering from sciatica and as a result, he could not even sit down and would lie on his chest. A cushion was placed under his chest, so that with its help he could look upon the army from the top of the fort or the platform that had been constructed above the tree.
Hazrat Saadra appointed Khalid bin Arfata as his deputy. Hazrat Saadra addressed the Muslims and encouraged them to perform the jihad and reminded them of Allah’s promise of victory.
The Persian army was at the edge of the River Ateeq. The River Ateeq flows out from the Euphrates River. The Muslim army was next to the wall of Kudais and a trench. Kudais is an area next to Qadisiyyah and situated at a distance of one mile from the River Ateeq. 30,000 from among the Persian army were joined in chains with one another so that no one was able to flee from the battlefield.
Hazrat Saadra instructed the Muslims to recite Surah Al-Anfal and upon its recitation, the Muslims felt at ease. After offering the Zuhr prayer, the battle between the Muslims and the Persian army began. The Persian army caused the Muslims to suffer a lot of losses. Hazrat Asimra called for the expert archers from the Banu Tamim and ordered them to attack those mounted on the elephants with their arrows and he also instructed some of the brave soldiers on foot to go from the back of the elephants and cut loose their saddles. Subsequently, there did not remain a single elephant which did have a saddle or a rider mounted upon it. The battle continued even after the sun had set.
On the first day, 500 Muslims from among the Banu Asad tribe were martyred. This day is known as Yaum-e-Armas. The next day in the morning, Hazrat Saadra buried all those who had been martyred and sent the injured to the women so they may tend to them. Also, the next day a reinforcement for the Muslim army was sent from Syria.
Hazrat Hashimra bin Utbah bin Abi Waqas was the commander of this contingent sent as reinforcement and the commander of the contingent of the army at the front was Qa‘qa bin Amrra. Qa‘qara swiftly completed the journey and reached the army in Iraq in the early morning at Aghwas. Qa‘qara very intelligently divided the vanguard of the army into groups of 10 and each group was at a short distance from one another. Each group consisting of 10 soldiers would gradually join the Muslim army one after the other.
Upon the arrival of each group, the Muslim army would raise the slogan of “Allah is the Greatest!” and thus it seemed as if the Muslim army was continuously receiving reinforcements. Hazrat Qa‘qara himself was in the front part of the army and as soon as he reached the Muslim army, he conveyed his greetings of peace and gave them the glad-tidings of the arrival of the Muslim army. He then said, “O people! Do as I am doing.” He then went forth and called out the enemy to engage in a battle duel.
Upon hearing his call, Bahman Jazaviyyah went forth to engage in the duel and they both began to fight and Hazrat Qa‘qara killed him. Owing to the death of Bahman Jazaviyyah and the arrival of the reinforcement, the Muslims were extremely happy. Regarding Hazrat Qa‘qara, Hazrat Abu Bakrra had stated that it was not possible to overcome an army which had people like him in it.
That day, the Persian army was not able to fight with their elephants because their saddles had been broken the previous day. Therefore, they had spent the entire morning trying to repair them.
On the other hand, the Muslims devised a plan whereby they put clothes on the camels, covering their entire body and necks and subsequently they began to appear as if they were elephants. Wherever these camels would go, the horses of the Persian army would begin to jump uncontrollably just like the previous day the horses belonging to the Muslims were reacting upon seeing the elephants.
From morning till the afternoon, the soldiers on horseback continued to fight. When more than half of the day had passed, the general battle began and this day is known as “Yaum-e-Aghwas” and this day belonged to the Muslims; in other words, they were victorious.
On the morning of the third day, both armies were in their respective trenches and a very fierce battle was fought on this day. There were 2,000 Muslims who were martyred and 10,000 soldiers of the Persian army were killed. The Muslims would bury their dead and would send their injured men to the women who would tend to their injuries; however, the dead soldiers from the Persian army were left on the battlefield. That night, the Persians repaired the saddles of their elephants and the soldiers on foot were guarding the elephants and thus the elephants were unable to wreak as much havoc as they did on the first day.
Hazrat Saadra sent a message to Hazrat Qa‘qara and Hazrat Asimra and stated that put an end to the white elephant of the Persian army. Following this, Hazrat Qa‘qara and Hazrat Asimra attacked the elephant and dug their spears in its eyes and as a result, it became uncontrollable and threw off its rider. The elephant’s trunk was then cut off and it was then put to the ground by attacking it with arrows. After this, the Muslims dug their spears into the eyes of another elephant. The elephant would at times rush towards the Muslim army and they would pierce it with their spears or it would then rush towards the Persian army and they would also pierce it with their spears. Eventually, the elephant which was known as Ajrab ran towards the River Ateeq and upon seeing this all the other elephants followed suit and fell into the river and died along with their riders. The fighting continued till the sun had set and this day is known as “Yaum-e-Ammaas”.
Another fierce battle broke out after Isha prayer. It is said that at the time, the noise of swords was like the noise of iron being cut at an ironsmith’s workshop. Hazrat Saadra also remained awake the entire night and was occupied in supplicating before Allah the Almighty. Such an incident was never before witnessed by an Arab or a non-Arab. When morning came, the zeal and passion of the Muslims remained resolute and they prevailed. After that night when morning came, everyone was fatigued as they had remained awake the entire night. That night is known as “Laylatul Hareer”. The reason which has been recorded for naming it this is that during the night, the Muslims did not speak to one another, rather they merely whispered. This is also the meaning given for “Hareer”; the slight sound that comes from a bow after an arrow has been shot from it, or the slight sound of a mill turning.
Tabari has also written that the reason for naming it “Laylatul Hareer” is that from the outset of the evening until the morning, the Muslims fought with great valour. They were not speaking out loud; rather, they whispered to one another, thus that night became known as “Laylatul Hareer”.
In any case, on the fourth day, the fighting continued until the afternoon and the Persian army continued to retreat. Afterwards, an attack was made on Rustam and he fled to the River Ateeq. When he jumped into the river, a Muslim by the name of Hilal captured him, dragged him to shore, and killed him. Afterwards, the Muslim man who killed Rustam announced, “I have killed Rustam. Come here!” Upon this, the Muslims surrounded him from all sides and loudly raised the slogan glorifying Allah. The news of Rustam’s death rendered the Persians defeated and thus, they retreated. The Muslims chased after them and killed them and also imprisoned a large number of their soldiers. That day is known as the “Yaum-e-Qadisiyyah”. Every morning, Hazrat Umarra would ask the riders coming from the battleground regarding the Battle of Qadisiyyah.
When a messenger brought good news about the battle and informed that Allah had caused the disbelievers to suffer defeat, Hazrat Umarra at the time was running ahead in order to gather information while the messenger was riding on his camel, and he did not even recognise Hazrat Umarra.
When the messenger arrived in Medina and people were calling Hazrat Umarra “Amir-ul-Momineen” [Leader of the Faithful] and greeting him, the messenger said to Hazrat Umarra, “Why didn’t you tell me that you are the Amir-ul-Momineen?” Hazrat Umarra replied, “My brother, do not worry about it.”
After being informed of this victory, Hazrat Umarra read the news out to a gathering after which he delivered a moving speech. He sent an instruction that the army should stay where they were and that the army ranks should be reassembled, and other matters which required to be sorted out should be tended to.
Hazrat Saadra had sought guidance from the Khalifa that in the Battle of Qadisiyyah, there were those from among the Persians who before this, had made treaties with Muslims, and there were some who had been called to battle against their will as the Persian government had forced them to join. They had not come willingly, but were compelled to do so, and many of these claims proved to be true. There were many who left their land and fled to enemy territories due to the battle and were returning. In order to make decisions regarding these matters, Hazrat Umarra held a consultative meeting in Medina and after consultation, he sent his guidance that “those who had agreements with Muslims and fulfilled these agreements did not flee their land and did not go towards the enemy, then those agreements should be honoured and upheld. And those who did not have any prior agreements with the Muslims but remained in their area and did not join the enemy in the battle against the Muslims, then they should be treated in the same manner as those who did have treaties with the Muslims. Those who claimed that the Persian government forced them to join the army and their claim seems to be true, then they too should not be treated any less by the Muslims and should be left alone. As for those who falsely claimed that they were forced, and instead they fought against the Muslims alongside the enemy of their own will, then their initial agreement should be voided because they supported the enemy. Either a new agreement should be made with them, or they should be taken to their place of security”, meaning that upon a new agreement, they should be taken out from there and they should be left free to go wherever they choose.
“Then, those who did not have agreements and they left their area to join the enemy and fought against you, then if you deem appropriate, they too should be invited and they should pay the jizya.” In other words, to show leniency as much as possible regarding their matter, “and they should live in your area. And if you do not deem it appropriate then do not call them. If they continue to remain at war with you, then fight back against them”. If they continue fighting, then the Muslims have the right to fight as well. “But if they desist, then despite having joined the enemy, let them go.”
These instructions proved beneficial and the surrounding people returned to their lands and inhabited them. This is an excellent example of showing their resolve. It was a great resolve shown by the Muslims when they invited the same people to re-inhabit their land, who, at such a delicate time, had disregarded their agreements and had joined the enemy. Though the consultation held in Medina had given the option of either calling these Persians back or not, and instead distribute their lands amongst the Muslims, yet historians write that in this dangerous time, those who had broken their pacts were called back and their lands were taxed more than the usual rate. This was the only condition, that since they had broken their agreements, they could return to their lands but the land tax that they paid would have to be more than that paid by others; but in any case, they could continue to own their land.
In the series of victories in Iraq, this battle was quite decisive. Muslim soldiers were steadfast and bold in facing extremely hostile conditions. Historians have written that when stipends were being appointed for people by the Khalifa, having taken part in the Battle of Qadisiyyah was considered to be a distinguishing factor. Hazrat Umarra determined a higher amount of stipend for those who had taken part in the Battle of Qadisiyyah. (Tarikh-e-Islam Bi Ahde Hazrat Umarra, Thesis by Syed Mir Mahmood Ahmad Nasir Sahib, pp. 91-95) (Al-Kamil Fi Al-Tarikh, Vol. 2, p. 301-333, Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2006) (Al-Farooq, Shibli Naumani, pp. 84-89, Idaarah Islamiyyat, 2004) (Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2, pp. 435-436, Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2012) (Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2, p. 263, Nafees Academy Karachi, 2004) (Mu‘jam-ul-Buldan, Vol. 4, p. 94, 356) (Mu‘jam-ul-Buldan, Vol. 1, p. 267)
I will present a portion of what Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra has stated regarding the Battle of Qadisiyyah:
“During the time of Hazrat Umarra, Yazdegerd, the grandson of Khosrow Parviz ascended to the throne and began to make extensive preparations to fight against the Muslims. In response to this, Hazrat Umarra sent an army under the command of Hazrat Saadra bin Abi Waqas. Hazrat Saadra chose Qadisiyyah as the location for battle and also sent a map of the area to Hazrat Umarra. Hazrat Umarra expressed his approval of the location but along with this, instructed that it was his duty to first send a delegation to the King of Iran and invite him to accept Islam. And so, upon receiving this instruction, he sent a delegation to meet Yazdegerd.
“When this delegation arrived at the royal court of the King of Iran, he asked his translator to enquire why they had come and why had they created so much disorder in their land. When he asked them this question, Hazrat Nu‘manra bin Muqarrin, who was the leader of the delegation, stood up and after mentioning the advent of the Holy Prophetsa, said, ‘The Holy Prophetsa has commanded us to spread the message of Islam and invite the entire world to the true faith. In accordance with this commandment, we are here before you and invite you to Islam.’
“Yazdegerd became infuriated at this reply of his and said, ‘You are a nation that are like wild beasts and who eat carrion. If it is owing to hunger and scarcity of provisions that has compelled you to fight then I am willing to grant all of you enough provisions of food and drink that you will be able to comfortably live for the rest of your lives. I shall also provide you with clothes and you can take all of these provisions and return to your country. Why would you want to endanger your lives by engaging in a battle with us?’
“When he finished saying what he had to say, Hazrat Mughirahra bin Zurrarah stood up on behalf of the Muslim delegation and said, ‘Whatever you have said about us is absolutely true. Indeed, we were a nation like wild beasts and would eat carrion. We would even eat snakes, scorpions, locusts and lizards. However, Allah the Almighty bestowed His blessings upon us and sent His Messengersa to guide us. We accepted him and acted in accordance with what he said and as a result, a revolutionary change has taken place within us. Thus, those ills which you have spoken of no longer remain in us and we are not going to be tempted by anything you offer. The battle between you and us has now commenced and the matter will be settled in the battlefield.’”
That is, if he failed to listen to what they had to say and did not wish to accept their invitation and wanted to fight against them, then it would be fine and they would fight against them.
“‘However, the temptation of offering worldly wealth and material cannot deter us from our objective.’
“When Yazdegerd heard this, he became extremely angry and told one of his servants to go and bring a sack of soil. When the sack of soil arrived, he called the leader of the Muslim delegation to step forward and said that since they had rejected his offer, therefore they would receive nothing except for a sack of soil. The companion earnestly stepped forward and lowered his head” as has been mentioned once before as well but this is more detailed “and had the sack of soil placed on his back. He then sharply stood up and they all swiftly made their way out from the royal court. Whilst departing from there, he loudly said to the fellow members of the delegation, ‘Today, the king of Iran has handed us the soil of his land with his own hands.’ They then mounted their horses and raced off.
“When the king heard this, he was shocked and ordered the servants of his royal court to go after them and bring back the sack of soil because giving them the soil of his land with his own hands was a bad omen. However, by then they had travelled far off into the distance.
“In the end, it turned out exactly as they had said and within a few years, Iran came under Muslim rule.”
Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra further writes:
“How did this extraordinary change come about within the Muslims? This is because the Quranic teachings brought about a revolutionary change in their morals and conduct. It brought an end to their lowly way of life and instead, elevated them to possess the most excellent morals and character.” (Tafsir-e-Kabir, Vol. 6, pp. 204-205)
This is why they were able to bring about a revolutionary change. Thus, true revolution can only come about by adhering to the teachings of the Holy Quran.
Insha-Allah these accounts will continue to be narrated in the future as well.
(Original Urdu transcript published in Al Fazl International, 13 August 2021, pp. 5-10. Translated by The Review of Religions.)