27 August 2021
Men of Excellence: Hazrat Umarra ibn al-Khattab
After reciting the tashahud, ta‘awuz and Surah al-Fatihah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa stated:
Accounts from the life of Hazrat Umarra were being narrated. A battle took place during the era of Hazrat Umarra, which is known as the Battle of Rayy. Rayy is a very well-known mountainous area. It is located at a distance of 480 miles from Nishapur and 51 miles from Qazvin. The inhabitants of Rayy are called by the name “Razi”.
The well-known commentator of the Holy Quran, Hazrat Imam Fakhr-ud-Din Razi was from Rayy.
Sia Baksh bin Mahran bin Bahram Shubin was the ruler of Rayy. He called [the people of] Dunbawand, Tabaristan, Qumis and Jurjan for help and told them that the Muslims have attacked Rayy. He ordered them to gather in order to confront them, otherwise they would not be able to fend them off individually. Subsequently, the supporting armies from these areas gathered in Rayy as well. The Muslims were still on route to Rayy, when a Persian chief, Abul-Farkhan Zainabi, approached the Muslims in order to make peace. The reason for this was most probably that he had fallen out with the ruler of Rayy.
When the army reached the city, there was a significant disparity between the size of the Muslim army and that of the opposing army. Having observed this, Zainabi said to Nu‘aim, “Send some of your cavalries with me. I will enter the city through a secret passage. You should then launch an attack from outside and the city will be conquered.”
Hence, during the night, Nu‘aim bin Muqarrin sent some of his cavalry along with Zainabi, under the command of his nephew, Munzir bin Amr. He himself took his army and launched an attack on the city. The battle commenced and the enemy firmly stood its ground and fended off the attack. However, when they heard the slogans of the Muslims, who had set off with Zainabi, from behind them, they lost all hope and the Muslims conquered the city. The inhabitants of the city were given a written oath of protection and the words of this agreement were as follows:
“In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful. This is the settlement, which Nu‘aim bin Muqarrin gives to Zainabi. He will protect the inhabitants of Rayy and the people in its surroundings on the condition that every adult pays the jizya [tax] according to their capacity and acts in goodness. They should show them the way [for their onward journey] and not be dishonest and deceitful. They should extend their hospitality to the Muslims for the duration of one day and they should honour them. Whoever abuses a Muslim verbally will be punished and whoever attacks a Muslim will be punished by death.” In any case, this was the settlement and was attested. (Mir Mahmud Ahmad Nasir, Muqala Tarikh-e-Islam bi-Ehd-e-Hazrat Umarra, pp. 170-172) (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2012], p. 537) (Yaqut Ibn Abd Allah al-Hamawi, Mu‘jam al-Buldan, Vol. 1 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar Ihya al-Turath al-’Arabi], p. 511) (Ibid., Vol. 3, p. 132)
Then, there is the Conquest of Qumis and Jurjan, which took place in the 22 AH. When the emissary informed Hazrat Umarra about the conquest of Rayy, Hazrat Umarra wrote to Nu‘aim bin Muqarrin that he should send his brother, Suwaid bin Muqarrin, in order to conquer Qumis.
This city is located between Rayy and Nishapur, near the end of the mountain range of Tabaristan. The people of Qumis did not oppose them and Suwaid wrote them an oath of protection and reconciliation. Jurjan was situated close by, it was a large city between Tabaristan and Khorasan. The people of Tabaristan also sent their people to Suwaid and they too accepted the treaty on the condition of paying the jizya. Subsequently, Suwaid wrote an oath of protection for the people of the entire area. (Ali Muhammad al-Sallabi, Sirat Ameerul Momineen Umar bin Khattab [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Ma‘rifah, 2007], p. 432)
There was no discussion about religion. Those who wanted a settlement were granted protection.
Then, there is the conquest of Azerbaijan, which also took place in the 22 AH. As has previously been mentioned, Hazrat Umarra gave the flag for the campaign towards Azerbaijan to Utbah bin Farqad and Bukair bin Abdillah and he instructed them to launch their individual attacks from different locations.
Bukair bin Abdillah advanced with his army and when he reached near Jurmizan, Rustam’s brother, Isfandyaz bin Farrukhzad, who had fled after being defeated in the battle of Waj Ruz, came forward in order to confront the army. This was Bukair’s first attack on Azerbaijan. A battle ensued, the enemy was defeated and Isfandyaz was captured.
Isfandyaz asked Bukair, the commander of the Muslims, whether he preferred a peace settlement or war? Bukair replied, “I prefer a peace settlement.” He then said, “You should keep me with you as your captive. They will not accept any peace settlement until I am made their representative. They will continue to fight until they are scattered in the surrounding mountains, or besieged in their fortresses.”
Hence, Bukair kept Isfandyaz with him and they gradually seized more and more of the area.
Utbah bin Farqad attacked from another side. Bahram, the brother of Isfandyaz, confronted him on the way, but fled after suffering defeat in battle. When Isfandyaz heard of this, he said, “The flame of battle has now been extinguished and the time for entering a peace treaty has approached.”
Hence, he entered into a settlement and the people of Azerbaijan supported him. An oath of reconciliation was written and the words of this oath were as follows:
“In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful. This is the settlement which Utbah bin Farqad, a servant of the Leader of the Faithful, Umar bin Khattabra, gives to the inhabitants of Azerbaijan. This settlement applies to all people living in the open plains, mountainous regions and neighbouring areas of Azerbaijan and to the adherents of all religions. All of them are granted protection of their lives, their wealth, their religion and their religious laws on the condition that they pay the jizya according to their means. However, the jizya will not be taken from a child, a woman, someone who is permanently ill and does not have any wealth nor a hermit who does not possess any wealth. This applies to the natives of this land as well as to those, who come from elsewhere and settle here (i.e. for future inhabitants). They [the inhabitants] are responsible for the hospitality of the Muslim army for the duration of one day and to show them the way [for their onward journey]. If anyone is asked to render military duties, he will be exempt from paying the jizya. These are the conditions for anyone living here and whoever wishes to leave will remain under protection until they reach their place of safety. This settlement has been penned by Jundub and Bukair bin Abdillah and Simak bin Kharsha are witnesses to it.” (Mir Mahmud Ahmad Nasir, Muqala Tarikh-e-Islam bi-Ehd-e-Hazrat Umarra, pp. 176-179) (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 2012], pp. 539-540)
Regarding the settlements with Armenia, it is stated that after the victory of Azerbaijan, Bukair bin Abdillah advanced toward Armenia. In order to assist them, Hazrat Umarra sent an army under the command of Suraqa bin Malik bin Amr, and in this expedition, Suraqa bin Malik was also to serve as overall commander-in-chief, while the vanguard was to be led by Abdur Rahman bin Rabi‘ah. Huzayfa bin Usaid Ghiffari was assigned as the commander of one flank of the army and was told that when this army meets up with the army heading to Armenia under the command of Bukair bin Abdillah, the second wing of the overall army should be given to Bukair bin Abdillah.
This army began its journey, and its vanguard commander, Abdur Rahman bin Rabi‘ah moved with such speed that they advanced ahead of Bukair bin Abdillah’s army and reached the outskirts of a place called Baab, where the ruler of Armenia, Shahrbaraz, resided. Shahrbaraz was an Iranian, he sought protection from Abdur Rahman in a letter and came to see him. He was Iranian and hated the Armenians. He negotiated with Abdur Rahman, proposing that the jizya not be levied upon him, but instead he would provide military assistance wherever needed – this is a different kind of settlement. He made a peace treaty, but requested that no jizya be taken from him. Instead, he would provide them with military support.
Suraqa accepted this offer, and Armenia was conquered without any fighting.
When this incident of reconciliation was reported to Hazrat Umarra, not only did he approve of it, but expressed great approval and joy. Suraqa presented them with the following settlement:
“In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Ever-Merciful.
“This is the settlement which Suraqa bin Amr, the Governor representing Umar bin Khattabra, Leader of the Faithful, has made over to Shahrbaraz, Armenia, and the inhabitants of Armenia. The Leader of the Faithful hereby grants them protection of their lives, wealth and religion, guaranteeing that none of these things shall be harmed. In the event of an attack, they will serve in the army, and whenever the commander deems fit, they will help in every important task. The jizya will not be levied upon them; rather, their military services will be accepted in its place. However, those who refuse to provide military support will be required to pay the jizya, just like the inhabitants of Azerbaijan. They [i.e. the Muslim army] should guide them along their journey. They have to provide an entire day’s hospitality. But if military help is rendered, then the jizya will not be taken from them. If military assistance is not taken, then the jizya will be levied upon them.”
The witnesses for this agreement were Abdur Rahman bin Rabi‘ah, Salman bin Rabi‘ah and Bukair bin Abdillah. It was written by Mardi bin Muqarrin, who was also a witness.
After this, Suraqa began to send armies to the mountains surrounding Armenia. Hence, Bukair bin Abdillah, Habeeb bin Maslamah, Hudhaifa bin Usaid, and Salman bin Rabi‘ah led these forces into the mountains. Bukair bin Abdillah was sent to Mauqan, Habeeb was sent to Tiflis, and Huzayfa bin Usaid was sent to meet with the inhabitants residing in the mountains of La‘n.
Of these forces sent by Suraqa, Bukair bin Abdillah, who was sent to Mauqan saw the greatest victory. He issued a written proclamation of peace to the inhabitants of Mauqan, which was as follows:
“In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Ever-Merciful.
“This is the settlement issued to the people of Mauqan in the mountains of Qabah, by Bukair bin Abdillah. They are hereby extended protection concerning their persons, wealth, their religion and religious laws, on the condition that every adult pays the jizya of one dinar or its equivalent value […]”.
Among all the peace settlements which were formed in these new places, the freedom to profess and practice religion was safeguarded. As for those who allege that Islam was forced upon the masses by the sword – no one from among these people was forcefully converted to Islam.
“[…] and that they will act with goodwill, help the Muslims, and incur the expenses of hosting the army for one night. They will enjoy this protection for as long as they are loyal to this agreement and support it, and our responsibility will be to remain loyal to them.
“‘And Allah Alone is the Helper.’ If there is any breach in this agreement, or the slightest deception from their side, then they will lose their protection. Rather, anyone witnessing this will hand over the perpetrators of any deception to the Islamic government; otherwise those people will also be considered as their accomplices.” This settlement was also signed and attested for by four or five individuals. (Mir Mahmud Ahmad Nasir, Muqala Tarikh-e-Islam bi-ehd-e-Hazrat Umarra, pp. 180-184)
Then, there is the conquest of Khorasan, which took place in 22 AH. The details of this are as follows:
After the Battle of Jalulah, the King of Iran, Yazdegerd, arrived at Rayy. The ruler of Rayy, Aabaan Jaziwiyyah, attacked Yazdegerd, took his signatory ring, prepared official documents as he pleased, and then returned the ring back to him. Then, Aabaan came to Hazrat Saadra and returned all the agreements that had been decided in writing, i.e. all those documents that had been prepared previously were returned [and thus nullified].
Yazdegerd then left Rayy for Isfahan. Aabaan did not approve of Yazdegerd going there either, and so Yazdegerd had to migrate again to Kerman. He had with him the sacred fire. Because they were fire-worshippers, they would carry the sacred fire with them everywhere they went, and he had this with him also.
Finally, he decided to go to Khorasan, and stayed in Merv. He lit the sacred fire there and arranged for a temple to be constructed for this purpose along with a garden, which was situated at a distance of two “Farsakh”, i.e. six miles from Merv. Here, he began living in some peace and stability while writing letters of correspondence to non-Arabs living in the regions that were not under Muslim rule. He began to have such influence over these people that they became loyal to him. Furthermore, he also incited the Persians living in [Muslim] occupied lands as well as Hormuzan.
Owing to this, they broke their treaties with the Muslims and revolted. The people of Jibaal and Ferozan also followed suit and cut asunder their contractual loyalties with the Muslims and also revolted. Jibaal is the name of a well-known region in Iraq which covers a collection of cities ranging from Asbahan to Zanjan, Qazvin, Hamadan and Rayy etc.
Ferozan is the name of a settlement in Asbahan. Anyhow, under these circumstances, Hazrat Umar Farooqra gave permission to the Muslims to advance and infiltrate into Iranian lands. Hence, the people of Kufa and Basra made their way, and upon reaching there, launched powerful attacks against them.
Ahnaf bin Qais marched toward Khorasan. On the way, they conquered Mahrjan Qazaq. This is a vast region between the Hulwan and Hamadan mountain range, covering several towns and settlements. After this, when they went a little further toward Asbahan, they found that the people of Kufa had surrounded Jayy.
Jayy was also the name of an ancient city in the surrounding regions of Asbahan, which today is almost completely barren. Among the non-Arabs, it is known as Shahristan. Hence, they entered Khorasan from Tabasan, and conquered Herat through powerful attacks. Tabasan is a surrounding state, situated between Nishapur and Asbahan. In Fars, it was referred to in short form as Tabas. Herat is a great and famous city among the renowned cities of Khorasan.
They appointed Suhaar bin Fulan Abdi as their deputy and marched forward again towards Merv Shahjahan. Among all the cities and provinces of Khorasan, Merv Shahjahan is the most famous. It is located 210 miles from Nishapur. No skirmishes broke out during the journey. This is why Mutarrif bin Abdillah bin Shikheer was sent toward Nishapur, and Harith bin Hassan was sent toward Sarakhs. Sarakhs is also an ancient and large city in the outskirts of Khorasan, located between Nishapur and Merv.
Nonetheless, when Ahnaf bin Qais approached Merv Shahjahan, Yazdergerd relocated to Merv Al-Rudh. Merv Al-Rudh is named because Merv refers to the white rock wherein a fire is lit – the stone is neither black, nor red. And “Rudh” is Persian for river. Thus, it means, “the stone of a river.” Merv Al-Rudh is located at a five-day journey from Merv Shahjahan, near a vast river.
Ahnaf bin Qais stopped in Merv Shahjahan. After arriving in Merv Al-Rudh, owing to his fear, Yazdegerd sent envoys to various rulers for support. He sought assistance from Khaqan. He wrote to the leader of Sogdia to send military support. Sogdia is that area which covers Samarkand, Bukhara etc. He also sent for help from the Chinese Emperor. Ahnaf bin Qais left Haritha bin Nu‘man Ba‘li as his deputy in Merv Shahjahan. In the meantime, the armies from Kufa arrived, headed by four commanders and reached Ahnaf bin Qais.
When all the armies gathered in Merv Shahjahan, Ahnaf bin Qais ordered the armies to march towards Merv Al-Rudh. When Yazdegerd learnt of this, he fled to Balkh. Balkh was a beautiful city in Khorasan, situated near the Oxus River [Amu Darya]. Subsequently, Ahnaf bin Qais stayed in Merv Al-Rudh. When the armies of Kufa set off for Balkh, Ahnaf bin Qais also departed behind them. Eventually, the armies of Kufa and Yazdegerd met at Balkh and a battle ensued.
The outcome of the battle was that through Allah the Almighty’s support, Yazdegerd was defeated, as a result of which he ran towards the [Oxus] river with the Iranians; and having crossed the river, he fled.
At this point, Ahnaf bin Qais joined the armies of Kufa. Allah the Almighty granted them victory in Balkh. Balkh is counted among the victories of the people of Kufa. After this, the residents of Khorasan who had fled or took refuge in forts, as well as those living between Nishapur and Tokharistan, all came and agreed upon a settlement.
Tokharistan was a region which spanned across many cities and bordered Khorasan. The biggest city was Taloqan. After this, Ahnaf bin Qais returned to Merv Al-Rudh and settled there. He appointed Rabi‘ bin Amir, a nobleman from among the Arabs as his deputy in Tokharistan. Ahnaf bin Qais sent news of the victory of Khorasan to Hazrat Umarra.
Upon hearing news of the victory in Khorasan, Hazrat Umarra said, “I did not wish to send an army against them. Instead I wished if there were a river of fire between us and them.”
It is usually alleged that Muslims wished to invade lands and conquer countries. Hazrat Umarra did not wish to send an army.
Upon hearing the words of Hazrat Umarra, Hazrat Alira stated, “O Leader of the Faithful! Why do you say these words?”
Upon this, Hazrat Umarra replied, “The reason is that the people of these areas will revolt three times by breaking the treaties. On the third time they will need to be subdued.”
It is mentioned in a different narration from Hazrat Alira bin Talib that when news of the victory in Khorasan reached Hazrat Umarra, he said, “I wished that there was a river of fire between us and them.” Upon hearing this, Hazrat Alira said to Hazrat Umarra, “O Leader of the Faithful! This is a joyous occasion, what is worrying you?” That is, they had been granted victory, but he wished that there had been a barrier between them. Hazrat Umarra responded, “Indeed, it is an occasion to rejoice, but I am worried that the people there will break the covenant three times.”
According to another narration, when Hazrat Umarra learnt that Ahnaf bin Qais had captured both cities of Merv and also Balkh, he stated, “Ahnaf bin Qais is the leader of the Orientals.” He then sent a letter to Ahnaf bin Qais stating, “Do not cross the river whilst you are residing in the area before the river. Always remain firm upon the principles and morals you brought with you to Khorasan. In this manner, you will gain victory and support at each step. However, do not cross the river, as you will suffer greatly.”(Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari Translation, Vol. 3, Pt. 1 [Karachi, Pakistan: Dar al-Isha‘at, 2003], pp. 183-185) (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2012], pp. 546-547) (Yaqut Ibn Abd Allah al-Hamawi, Mu‘jam al-Buldan, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar Ihya al-Turath al-Arabi], p. 26, 105) (Ibid., Vol. 3, p. 37, 191, 250, 252, 451) (Ibid., Vol. 4, p. 253, 347, 471)
Initially, when Yazdegerd called upon the neighbouring countries for help, he did not receive any substantial support. However, now Yazdegerd had fled from his own kingdom and went to them in order to gather enough support to recapture his kingdom. Khaqan, the Turk leader supported him and arrived in Balk with his army. Balkh was a beautiful city in Khorasan near the Oxus river, where the Muslims were present with a force of 20,000. Ahnaf killed three Turk horsemen and thinking this to be a bad omen, Khaqan turned back and left.
After listening to the conditions of the Muslims from Yazdegerd’s envoy, the Chinese Emperor wrote back to him saying:
“After listening to the qualities of the Muslims as mentioned by your emissary, I believe that if the Muslims came up against a mountain, they would reduce it to dust. If I send assistance to you, so long as they remain established upon the principles mentioned by your emissary” i.e. the qualities of the Muslims mentioned by the emissary, “they will take my throne away from me too and I will have no power to stop them. Therefore, you ought to form a treaty with them.”
Subsequently, Yazdegerd moved from city to city. He was killed in the Khilafat of Hazrat Uthmanra. (Ali Muhammad al-Sallabi, Sirat Ameerul Momineen Umar bin Khattab, [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Ma‘rifah, 2007], pp. 433-435) (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2012], p. 548)
Ahnaf bin Qais sent news about the victory and also the spoils of war to Hazrat Umarra. Hazrat Umarra gathered the Muslims and delivered an address. Upon the instructions of Hazrat Umarra, the letter containing the details about the victory was read out. Hazrat Umarra then said, “Verily Allah the Almighty reminds you about His Messengersa and also the guidance he was sent with. Allah the Almighty has promised to grant reward swiftly to those who follow the Holy Prophetsa and to be granted good in this life as well as in the hereafter.” Hazrat Umarra then recited the following verse of the Holy Quran:
هُوَ الَّذِيْٓ اَرْسَلَ رَسُوْلَهٗ بِالْهُدٰى وَ دِيْنِ الْحَقِّ لِيُظْهِرَهٗ عَلَى الدِّيْنِ كُلِّهٖ وَ لَوْ كَرِهَ الْمُشْرِكُوْنَ
“He it is Who sent His Messenger with guidance and the Religion of Truth, that He may make it prevail over every [other] religion, even though the idolaters may dislike [it].” (Surah al-Taubah, Ch.9: V.33]
Hazrat Umarra then stated:
“All praise belongs to Allah, Who has fulfilled His promise by assisting His army. Hearken! Allah the Almighty has destroyed the Magian Empire and broken their strength and unity. Now they do not own even an inch of land in their former occupied territory and will not be able to harm the Muslims anymore.
“Hearken! Allah had granted you their land, their homes, their wealth and made you heirs of their future generations, so that they can see how you conduct yourselves. Remember this well, many nations in the past also had military strength like you.” Hazrat Umarra is advising the Muslims.
“Remember this well, many nations in the past also had military strength like you and in the past, many civilised nations occupied far off lands. Allah the Almighty is soon to establish His law and will fulfil His promise and will cause one nation to rise up after another. In order to obey the commands of Allah, follow that individual who will fulfil these promises and will uphold the promises made by God. Do not change your conditions, lest Allah the Almighty replaces you with another nation.” That is, if you change your conditions, abandon the faith and not act upon the commandments, then Allah the Almighty will replace you with another nation.
Hazrat Umarra then said:
“The only thing I fear that can destroy the Muslim ummah is you yourselves. I am not worried whether the enemy can destroy the Muslim ummah; in fact, I only fear that the Muslims themselves will be responsible for annihilating the ummah.” (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2012], p. 549) (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari Translation, Vol. 3, Pt. 1 [Karachi, Pakistan: Dar al-Isha‘at, 2003], p. 190)
We can see that this statement was very true, for Muslims today are striking the necks of fellow Muslims and intent on killing each other. Muslim countries are attacking one another. It is claimed that this is Jihad, whereas Muslims are killing each other.
The conquest of Istakhr: Istakhr was the capital of Fars and was an ancient holy centre for the Sasanians. The ancient fire temple was situated here and was under the direct control of the Persian King. Hazrat Uthman bin Abi Al-Aasra decided to march towards Istakhr and a battle ensued between the people of Istakhr at a place called Jaur.
A fierce battle took place with the people of Jaur after which Allah the Almighty granted them victory and the Muslims were able to conquer Istakhr as well. Many people were killed and many people fled. Hazrat Uthman bin Abi al-Aasra invited the non-Muslims to pay the jizya and to live as a subject of the Muslim government [dhimmi]. He sent them letters and kept in correspondence with them. Eventually, their leader Hormuz accepted the offer and agreed to pay the jizya. Those people who fled during the conquest of Istakhr or migrated, all agreed to pay the jizya and returned home to a peaceful resolution.
After the enemy had been defeated, Hazrat Uthman bin Abi al-Aasra gathered the spoils of war and set aside one fifth and sent it to Hazrat Umarra. The remaining spoils were kept to distribute between the Muslims. He prevented the Muslim army from any kind of looting and there was an order to return anything that was snatched away [from the people]. The commander-in-chief ordered to return anything that had been taken away from the people. Then, Hazrat Uthman bin Abi Al-Aasra gathered everyone and said, “We will continue to scale new heights and be safeguarded from all trials as long as we do not carry out theft or be dishonest. If we are dishonest in the spoils of war, then these immoral acts will become prevalent among us. These evil deeds will bring everyone down.” That is, if they become dishonest and start stealing things, then this will be their downfall.
Nowadays, these habits have become prevalent amongst Muslims; they are stealing from each other, wherever the opportunity arises they steal, they are dishonest [in dealings] and it is these immoral traits that are leading to their ruin. They are vilified everywhere in the world.
On the day of the conquest, Hazrat Uthman bin Abi Al-Aasra said, “When Allah the Almighty wishes good for a people, He saves them from every form of evil and immorality. He instils within them the qualities of honesty and truthfulness. Therefore, safeguard the trusts handed over to you because the aspect of faith that is the first to vanish is honouring of a trust. And when you lose your integrity and honesty in this regard, with the passing of each day, you will lose another virtue.” Meaning, when one overlooks honesty, one will stop upholding other virtues as well.
In the latter years of Hazrat Umar Farooq’sra khilafat and in the first year of Hazrat Uthman’sra Khilafat, Shariq instigated a revolt and incited the Persians. As a result of this, they broke their treaty. Hazrat Uthman bin Abi Al-Aasra was sent again to crush the revolt. Similarly, reinforcements were sent with Hazrat Abdullah bin Ma‘mar and Shibl bin Ma‘bad Bajali. They encountered the enemy at Fars and a fierce encounter took place, in which Shariq and his son were killed. Many other people also died. Shariq was killed by Hakam bin Abi Al-Aas, the brother of Hazrat Uthman bin Abi Al-Aasra. (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari Translation, Vol. 3, Pt. 1 [Karachi, Pakistan: Dar al-Isha‘at, 2003], pp. 192-193)
According to one narration, Hazrat Ala bin Hadramira conquered Istakhr for the first time in 17 AH during the era of Hazrat Umar’sra Khilafat. After agreeing to a treaty, the residents broke off the agreement and a rebellion followed suit. In order to put down this rebellion, Hazrat Uthman bin Abi Al-Aasra sent his brother and son. They succeeded in crushing the rebellion. They killed Shariq, the governor of Istakhr.(Ali Muhammad as-Sallabi, Sirat Ameerul Momineen Umar bin Khattab, [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Ma‘rifah, 2007], p. 432) (Ali Ibn al-Athir, Al-Kamil fi al-Tarikh, Vol. 2, [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2006], pp. 382-383)
Fasa and Darabgerd: In 23 AH, Hazrat Umarra commissioned Hazrat Sariyahh bin Zunaimra toward Fasa and Darabgerd. Fasa was an ancient city in Fars, located at a distance of 216 miles from Shiraz. Darabgerd was a vast region in Fars, comprising of many cities including Fasa.
There is a narration documented in Dala‘il Al-Nabuwwah in which Hazrat Ibn Umarra narrates that Hazrat Umarra once sent out an army under the leadership of Hazrat Sariyahra. One day, whilst delivering a sermon, Hazrat Umarra suddenly said aloud:
يَا سَارِيَ الْجَبَلَ
That is, “O Sariyahh, go toward the mountain.” Tarikh Al-Tabari also mentions that Hazrat Umarra sent Hazrat Sariyahh bin Zunaimra to Fasa and Darabgerd. When he arrived there, he besieged the area. Upon this, they called their allies for reinforcements who gathered in the desert to combat the Muslim army. When their numbers increased, they advanced to surround the Muslims from every direction. It was a Friday and Hazrat Umarra was delivering the Friday Sermon when he said
يَا سَارِيَة بِنِ زُنَيْم ! اَلْجَبَل اَلْجَبَل
That is, “O Sariyah bin Zunaim, the mountain, the mountain!” There was a mountain situated close to the Muslim encampment. Taking refuge on that mountain would contain the enemy attack to a single front.
Thus, they took to the mountain and fought the enemy, ultimately defeating them and collecting large amounts of the spoils of war. Among the spoils of war was a small chest of precious gems, and the Muslim army, in unanimity, decided to present it as a gift to Hazrat Umarra.
Hazrat Sariyahra sent a messenger with news of the victory, along with the chest of gems to Hazrat Umarra. When the messenger reached Medina, Hazrat Umarra was serving food to the people and was holding a staff which he would use to direct the camels. When the messenger approached to speak to Hazrat Umarra, Hazrat Umarra sat him down for food, and so he sat down to eat. When he finished eating, Hazrat Umarra was departing. He got up to follow Hazrat Umarra and when Hazrat Umarra noticed that he was being followed, he thought that the man was still hungry and so upon reaching his home he invited the man in and instructed the bread maker to arrange for food which consisted of bread, olives and salt.
Hazrat Umarra told the man to eat, and after completing his meal he addressed Hazrat Umarra saying, “O Leader of the Faithful! I am a messenger from Sariyahh bin Zunaim.”
Hazrat Umarra replied, “Welcome!” He then moved closer to Hazrat Umarra, to the extent that his knees touched against the knees of Hazrat Umarra.
Hazrat Umarra asked about the Muslims and about Sariyahh. The messenger then informed him about the chest of jewels. Hazrat Umarra looked towards him and in a loud voice proclaimed, “No! There is no honour in this. Return to the army and distribute these among them.” In other words, the gems that had been sent for him should be distributed amongst the army.
The messenger submitted, “O leader of the faithful! My camel has become weak, and I also took a loan in hope of being rewarded, so please grant me enough that I may be compensated for what I have incurred.”
He insisted until Hazrat Umarra granted him a camel from the camels given in alms and included his camel in the alms instead. The messenger was rebuked and returned to Basra where he implemented the instructions of Hazrat Umarra.
It is also mentioned in a narration that when the messenger brought news of victory to Medina, many people enquired about the battle and about Sariyahh, and also asked if they heard a voice on the day of the battle. He replied, “Yes we heard:
يَا سَارِيَ الْجَبَلَ
That is, “O Sariyah! Retreat to the mountain”. He continued, “We were very close to being destroyed, but when we took the mountain as refuge, Allah Almighty granted us victory.” (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari Translation, Vol. 3, Pt. 1 [Karachi, Pakistan: Dar al-Isha‘at, 2003], pp. 194-196) (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2012], pp. 553-554) (Imam al-Bayhaqi, Dalail al-Nubuwwah, Vol. 6 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2002], p. 370) (Ali Muhammad as-Sallabi, Sirat Ameerul Momineen Umar bin Khattab [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Ma‘rifah, 2007], p. 436) (Yaqut Ibn Abd Allah al-Hamawi, Mu‘jam al-Buldan, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar Ihya al-Turath al-Arabi], p. 273) (Ibid., Vol. 3, p. 434)
Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra narrates this incident in the following manner:
“There is an incident of Hazrat Umarra recorded from during the time of his Khilafat. He was once standing at the pulpit and delivering a sermon when he spontaneously said:
يَا سَارِيَ الْجَبَلَ
يَا سَارِيَ الْجَبَلَ
“That is, ‘O Sariyah, climb the mountain! O Sariyah, climb the mountain!’ Because these words were unrelated to the subject matter, the people enquired as to what was said. Hazrat Umarra explained that he was shown the place where Sariyah was sent as the general of the Muslim army, and that the enemy was about to launch an attack from the rear which would most likely have destroyed the Muslim army. He also saw a mountain in the near vicinity which could save them from such an attack and so he called to them to climb the mountain. Only a few days had passed and Sariyah also reported the exact same occurrence, also writing that the voice that warned them of the danger and guided them to climb the mountain to evade the enemy attack was very similar to the voice of Hazrat Umarra.”
Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra continues: “From this incident, we learn that Hazrat Umar’sra tongue was not in his control at the time, but was rather in the control of the All-Powerful God, for Whom distances and separation is no matter.” (Taqdir-e-Ilahi, Anwar-ul-Ulum, Vol. 4, p. 575)
The Promised Messiahas writes in this regard:
“I would also like to add that it is completely baseless and wrong to allege that there is no proof that the revered Companions received such divine revelations. For, according to authentic ahadith, there is ample proof of the great number of revelations and miracles experienced by the revered Companions, Allah be pleased with them. Hazrat Umar’s, Allah be pleased with him, learning of the perilous state of Sariyah’s troops through divine communication has been recorded by al-Baihaqi on the authority of Ibn-e-Umar. What was it, if not divine revelation! Moreover, Hazrat Umar’s words: يا سارية الجبل الجبل
“[‘O Sariyah! The mountain, the mountain!’] were uttered in Medina, but were heard by Sariyah and his troops in a far off land through the grace of divine providence. What was it, if not a miraculous Sign!” (Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya Pt. 4, Ruhani Khaza‘in, Vol. 1, pp. 653-654, footnote of footnote 4)
Then comes mention of the conquest of Kerman, which took place in 23 AH. Kerman was conquered by Hazrat Sohailra bin Adi. It is also recorded that it was conquered by Abdullah bin Budail. (Ali Muhammad as-Sallabi, Sirat Ameerul Momineen Umar bin Khattab, [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Ma‘rifah, 2007], p. 436)
Nusair bin Amr Bajali was appointed commander of the vanguard of Hazrat Sohail’sra army. The people of Kerman gathered to battle against them and they began to wage war near their homeland. Ultimately, Allah the Almighty caused them to disperse and the Muslims took control of their routes.
Nusair killed many of their prominent leaders. Similarly, Hazrat Sohailra bin Adi lead a battalion of villagers and took control of the route until Jairuf. Hazrat Abdullahra took to Sher and, as expected, found many camels, goats and sheep. He began to set prices for animals, and because they were larger than typical Arabian breeds, they began to differ about the pricing. To solve this conflict, a letter was written to Hazrat Umarra.
Hazrat Umarra replied, “An Arabian camel is priced according to its meat and these camels are similar. If these camels are greater in your opinion, then the price may be increased.” The animals were being priced according to the wealth that was acquired.
In a narration, it is mentioned that during the Khilafat of Hazrat Umarra, Hazrat Abdullahra bin Budail bin Waraqa Khaza‘i conquered Kerman. Following that, he went on to conquer Tabasain. He went to Hazrat Umarra and asked if the two conquered lands could be rewarded to him as his property. When Hazrat Umarra decided to grant him the two conquered lands, someone advised that these two lands are very vast districts and are considered gateways to Khorasan. Upon hearing this, Hazrat Umarra changed his decision of giving this land as a reward. (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari Translation, Vol. 3, Pt. 1 [Karachi, Pakistan: Dar al-Isha‘at, 2003], pp.196-197)
The conquest of Sijistan [Sistan] also took place in 23 AH. Sijistan is vaster than Khorasan and its borders are spread far and wide. This region was situated between the Sindh province and the Balkh River. The terrain on its borders was very challenging and the area had a large population.
Sijistan is also called Sistan by the Iranians. The famous Iranian commander Rostam also lived here. It was situated north of Kerman, and its central headquarters were in Zaranj.
In ancient times, this was a very vast region and was very important during the time of Hazrat Muawaiyahra. The people of this region were always at war against Kundhar Turks and other nations. Asim bin Amr aimed to conquer Sijistan and Abdullah bin Umair also joined him with his army.
The battle against the people of Sistan took place in a nearby area and the Muslims attained victory while the enemy fled. The Muslims gave chase until they were able to surround the fleeing army in Zaranj. On their way, the Muslims conquered different areas where possible. Eventually, the people of Sistan became willing to reconcile and negotiate about Zaranj and other conquered territories and agreed to a treaty with the Muslims.
In their treaty, they stipulated the condition that their forests would be considered as protected pastures. For this reason, Muslims were always wary of the forests when passing by, lest they cause damage and break their covenant. This is the extent to which Muslims would be considerate. Thus, the people of Sistan agreed to pay taxes and the Muslims accepted the responsibility of their safety and security.(Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari Translation, Vol. 3, Pt. 1 [Karachi, Pakistan: Dar al-Isha‘at, 2003], p. 197)
The conquest of Mukran also took place in 23 AH at the hands of Hakam bin Amr. Today, it is called Makran whereas in history, it was referred to as Mukran. It was conquered by Shihaab bin Mukhaariq, Sohail bin Adi and Abdullah bin Abdillah who joined them with their armies. The Muslims united to fight against the king of Sindh and were victorious. Hakam bin Amr sent news of this victory and the spoils of war with Suhar Abdi, and sought guidance about the elephants that were seized in the spoils.
When glad tidings of the victory reached Hazrat Umarra, he enquired about the land of Mukran. He replied, “O Leader of the Faithful, its soft plains are as hard as the mountains, there is a severe shortage of water, the fruits are inedible, the enemy there is very courageous and the evil there greatly outweighs the good. Whatever abundance there is seems to be very little, and what is scarce goes to waste. Furthermore, what is beyond that is even worse.”
Having heard his manner of speaking, Hazrat Umarra asked, “Are you reciting couplets of a poem or really describing the situation there?” He answered, “I am conveying to you the true state of affairs there.”
Hazrat Umarra then said, “If you speak the truth, by God, my army shall not attack there.”
Therefore, he wrote to Hakam bin Amr and Hazrat Suhailra stating, “Neither army is to advance beyond Mukran and to remain in the area before the river.” He also instructed that the elephants be sold in the Muslim lands, and that wealth be distributed among the Muslim army. (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari Translation, Vol. 3, Pt. 1 [Karachi, Pakistan: Dar al-Isha’at, 2003], pp. 198-199) (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2012], p. 555)
The details of this battle that have been mentioned have been taken from Tabari. In relation to this battle, Allamah Shibli has written a note stating that the final victory in the time of Hazrat Umarra was in Mukran. However, this is the narration of Tabari.
The historian, Baladhuri narrates that the armies reached the lowland areas of Debal and Thana. If this is correct, then during the era of Hazrat Umarra, Islam had reached Sindh and India. He writes in the footnote that half of Mukran is now Baluchistan. Even though Baladhuri states that the victories in the time of Hazrat Umarra reached the city Debal in Sindh; however, Tabari has stated that Mukran was the final victory.(Shibli Nu‘mani, al-Farooq, [Karachi, Pakistan: Dar al-Isha‘at, 2004], p. 157)
In any case, these were details of the era of Hazrat Umarra, which shall continue in the future.
After the Friday prayers, I will launch a Turkish Internet Radio [channel], called “Islam Ahmediyet’in Sesi” meaning the “Voice of Islam Ahmadiyyat.”
By the grace of Allah, it is ready to be broadcast 24 hours a day. This radio [channel] can be accessed via a link on a tablet, smartphone and laptop etc. A four-hour broadcast will be repeated six times in the day; this package will include tilawat [of the Holy Quran] for one hour with Turkish translation, Hadith of the Holy Prophetsa, sayings of the Promised Messiahas, Turkish translations of my Friday Sermons. In addition to this, there will be a question and answer session as well.
More than 20 countries around the world will be able to benefit from this for the purpose of tabligh and tarbiyat. More than 20 countries will derive benefit in terms of propagating the faith and also for moral training; for example, it can be accessed in Azerbaijan, Georgia – where Turkish is spoken – there are many former Soviet states where Turkish is spoken.
Similarly, within Turkey, as well as those countries of Europe where Turkish people have settled, people can benefit from the broadcast. The preparations of this radio [channel] were made by the tabligh department of Germany.
May Allah the Almighty reward them and bless this initiative in every regard. I will launch this radio channel after the Friday prayers.
There are some funeral prayers in-absentia which I shall lead after the Friday prayer. I would also like to mention that the body of our dear and beloved Taalay has not yet arrived, and it may take a few days. When it arrives I shall lead the funeral prayer, insha-allah, and also speak about him.
The first of the funeral prayers in-absentia I shall lead today is of respected Muhammad al-Muhktar Qibta Sahib of Morocco. He passed away at the age of 73.
اِنَّا لِلّٰهِ وَاِنَّا اِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُوْنَ
[“Surely, to Allah we belong and to Him shall we return.”]
He pledged his allegiance in 2009. He was a very sincere Ahmadi. After taking the oath of allegiance, he spent all his time in service to the Community and in preaching Ahmadiyyat. He played a vital role in correcting the erroneous notions within society.
The sadr of West Morocco, where he resided, writes:
“He was a retired soldier. He was well-educated. Aside from Arabic, he was fluent in French and Spanish. Having read Hamamatul Bushra, he took the oath of allegiance right away. Then, he would read the books of the Promised Messiahas with great zeal and love at least twice. He then studied Tafsir-e-Kabir, made copies of it and would distribute them among the Ahmadis.
“When the Jamaat was established in our area, he dedicated his life for the service of the Jamaat and went on to visit many of the local jamaats. He was at the forefront of making financial sacrifices. He never said that he was too busy or unable to render any service. He possessed great determination which is seldom seen even among the youth. His obedience to Khilafat was complete and immediate. He had a great zeal for preaching and would preach in the car, train and in the markets to the young and old alike. He conveyed the message to all his family members.
He was regular in offering the Tahajud [pre-dawn voluntary] prayers; he would fast every Monday and Thursday, and he would always recite the Jubilee prayers I spoke of. Every day he would recite five to 10 ahzab of the Holy Quran. He would memorise and repeat portions of the Holy Quran as he walked. At times, he would be so engulfed in the recitation of the Holy Quran whilst walking that he would become unaware of his surroundings – he was filled with the love of the Holy Quran.
“Some have even said that even as he slept at night, they could hear him reading and reciting verses of the Holy Quran. He served for nine years as the naib sadr of West Morocco, and also served as the sadr of Ansarullah and finance secretary.”
He was a musi [part of the scheme of Wasiyyat] and his wife too is very sincere and is a musia.
The next funeral is of Mahmud Ahmad Sahib, former worker in Masjid Aqsa and Masjid Mubarak in Qadian, who passed away at the age of 74 in the last few days.
اِنَّا لِلّٰهِ وَاِنَّا اِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُوْنَ
[“Surely, to Allah we belong and to Him shall we return.”] He was the son of Makhdum Hussain Sahib of Belgaum, who migrated from the Karnataka province to Qadian. He continued serving as a worker in Masjid Aqsa and Masjid Mubarak for 28 years.
He was a musi. He was regular in fasting and in offering prayers as well as the Tahajud prayers, and he would always supplicate. He had a special affinity with the mosque. He is survived by his wife, two sons and a daughter.
The next funeral is of Sauda Sahiba, wife of Abdur Rahman Sahib of Kerala, India. She passed away on 22 July at the age of 76.
اِنَّا لِلّٰهِ وَاِنَّا اِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُوْنَ
[“Surely, to Allah we belong and to Him shall we return.”] She was the mother of Shamsuddin Sahib Malabari, Missionary In-Charge of Kababir.
Shamsuddin Sahib says:
“My mother was the daughter of the late VT Muhammad Sahib, who was the first Ahmadi in the Palakkad district and the surrounding areas, as he took the oath of allegiance in 1937. For a long period of time, he had to endure severe persecution from the opponents. During this boycott, my grandmother and her elder daughter passed away.” This is when his mother was one and a half years old.
“After her demise, the opponents would not allow my grandmother to be buried, and so they had to bury her in a cemetery in a city 40 kilometres away. My grandfather migrated with his young daughter, and so my mother went through all kinds of trials from her very childhood.”
She was regular in offering her prayers and was a musia. She was filled with compassion for mankind. She had a habit of always praying for those who had troubles, and helping them if they were in her presence.
She is survived by her husband, four sons and two daughters. Some of her grandchildren are life devotees and one son is a missionary. They were abroad and so were not able to be at the funeral. May Allah the Almighty elevate her in rank.
The next funeral is of Saeeda Majeed Sahiba, wife of Sheikh Abdul Majeed Sahib of Faisalabad. She passed away in the last few days at the age of 86.
اِنَّا لِلّٰهِ وَاِنَّا اِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُوْنَ
[“Surely, to Allah we belong and to Him shall we return.”]
Her son, Sheikh Waheed Sahib says that Ahmadiyyat was introduced to the family through his paternal grandfather, Hazrat Barkat Ali Qadiani Sahibra. He has the honour of having both his paternal grandparents as companions of the Promised Messiahas.
Saeeda Majeed Sahiba served the Jamaat for a long period of time. In the beginning, she served as the local sadr and finance secretary. Then, in 1982, when Lajna Imaillah Faisalabad was formed, she served as the finance secretary there for seven years. She worked with great effort as she regularly visited 82 local communities in order to oversee the work carried out by the office-bearers in each one.
She kept a close eye on the financial records, timely collection of chanda and its sending off.
Her former sadr, Bushra Samee Sahiba, says:
“Once, as we were returning from an official visit, some robbers stopped our vehicle. She immediately took the purse which contained chanda money and placed it at her feet to safeguard it, yet she showed no concern for jewellery to be stolen. The rest of the jewellery was taken away, but the alms money was saved and she expressed so much joy over this. A few months prior to her demise, she presented all of her jewellery towards Jamaat initiatives.”
She read the writings of the Promised Messiahas many times over. She possessed many wonderful qualities. She had great love for God Almighty; she was devoted to her prayers and had trust in God. She had wonderful love and affection for Khilafat. She always advised her children, daughters-in-law and grandchildren to remain attached to Khilafat, to pray for the Khalifa of the time and to listen to his sermons. She was a musia. She is survived by her husband, eight sons and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
May Allah the Almighty grant forgiveness and mercy to all the deceased and elevate them in their rank. As I mentioned, I shall lead their funeral prayers in-absentia after the Friday prayer.
(Original Urdu transcript published in Al Fazl International, 17 September 2021, pp. 5-10. Translated by The Review of Religions.)