Friday Sermon – Muhammad (sa): The Great Exemplar (22 September 2023)


Friday Sermon

22 September 2023

Muhammadsa: The Great Exemplar

Mubarak Mosque

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

Some time ago, I mentioned certain incidents of the Holy Prophetsa from the Battle of Badr, that related to the battle itself. Today, I will present some details and events pertaining to the Battle of Badr. They have been recorded in history, and it is important to know them as well. As mentioned in previous Friday sermons, the Holy Prophetsa stayed on the battlefield of Badr for three days. On the third day, he ordered [the people] to prepare the saddles of their riding animals. He dispatched Hazrat Abdullah bin Rawahahra and Hazrat Zaid bin Harithahra from the plains of Badr towards Medina with the glad tidings of victory at Badr. Following this, the Holy Prophetsa commenced his return to Medina as well.

Alongside this victorious caravan were 70 prisoners from the disbelievers of the Quraish. (Al Sirah al-Halabiyyah, Vol. 2, pp. 420, 425, 426, Ghazwah al-Badr al-Kubra, Dar al-Ma’rifah, Beirut; Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Maghazhi, Hadith 3986)

In the books of history, it is recorded that two of these prisoners were killed during the journey due to their severe war crimes, which was in line with the customs of the time. One of them was Nadr bin Harith, and the other was Uqbah bin Abi Mu’ait. However, not every historian agrees with this. Allamah Ibn Ishaqrh says that when the Holy Prophetsa reached Safra on his return from Badr, Nadr bin Harith was killed by Hazrat Alira. (Al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah li Ibn Hisham, p. 438, Dar al-Kutubal al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut 2001)

In al-Sirah al-Halabiyyah, it is mentioned that while imprisoned, Nadr said to his friend: “By God! Muhammad is about to kill me because he looked at me in a way that reflected death.” His friend said: “By God! This is merely due to his awe.” In other words, you have only experienced this due to being overawed by the Holy Prophetsa. Upon this, Nadr said to Mus’ab bin Umair: “O Mus‘ab! You are more closely related to this individual than I am. Hence, speak to your companion to make me one of the prisoners. By God! He is going to kill me.” Mus’ab replied: “You used to say such and such things about the Book of God; you used to say this and that about the Holy Prophetsa, and you used to cause the Companions of the Holy Prophetsa harm and distress.” (Al-Sirah al-Halabiyyah, Vol. 2, pp. 429-430, Ghazwary Badr al-Kubra, Dar al-Ma’rifah, Beirut)

Hence, these things of the past are attached to him, and if he were going to be killed, then it would be for these crimes.

In another narration, it is said that Nadr bin Harith’s sister, Qutailah bint Harith, said some couplets upon the death of her brother. According to some, these were said by his daughter, and later she accepted Islam. When the Holy Prophetsa came to know of these couplets, he wept profusely, so much so that his beard was soaked with tears. The Holy Prophetsa then said: “If these couplets had reached me prior to this (i.e., the killing of Nadr bin Harith), I would have been kind to him and forgiven him.” (Al-Sirah al-Halabiyyah, Vol. 2, p. 430, Ghazwatu Badr al-Kubra, Dar al-Ma’rifah, Beirut; Al- SIrah al-Nabawiyyah li Ibn Hisham, pp. 510-511, Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut)

However, some historians reject the narration regarding these couplets and the Holy Prophetsa weeping upon hearing them. Some historians reject the entire incident. Nevertheless, Allah the Almighty knows best what is correct. If this incident truly took place due to the kind-heartedness of the Holy Prophetsa, then this expression [of his sorrow] could very well have happened. He was very kind-hearted, and his heart was filled with mercy. Similarly, there is another narration with regard to Nadr bin Harith not being killed, as I have just mentioned. Rather, he remained alive and participated in the Battle of Hunain alongside the Holy Prophetsa, and the Holy Prophetsa granted him 100 camels out of compassion. (Sharh al-Zurqani ala al-Mawahib al-Ladunya, Vol. 1, p. 482, Dar al-Kutbub al-Ilmiyyah)

The second killing during the journey back from Badr that is recorded in history is of Uqbah bin Abu Mu’ait. He was killed on the way to Medina, at Irq al-Dhabyah. Hazrat Asim bin Thabit Ansarira killed Uqbah, and according to another narration, Hazrat Alira killed him. (Al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah li Ibn Hisham, pp. 438-439, Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut)

One author writes: “Nadr bin Harith and Uqbah bin Abu Mu’ait were those who ignited a war against Islam and were the ringleaders of inflicting heaps of difficulties and harm on the Muslims. For this reason, they received this punishment.” (Al-Lu’lu al-Maknun, Sirat Encyclopaedia, Vol. 5, pp. 490-491, Maktabah Dar al-Islam)

Nevertheless, the summary of both of these two being killed is that there is nothing conclusive about either prisoner actually being killed during the journey. The reason for this is that there are some narrations that clearly state that Uqbah bin Mu’ait was killed on the battlefield of Badr. (Al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah li Ibn Hisham, p. 477, Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2001)

However, when it comes to Nadr bin Harith, there are narrations of him being killed and those of him not being killed. In fact, he remained alive and accepted Islam during the Battle of Hunain. Albeit, these narrations are considered somewhat weak.

Regarding the killing of these two captives of Badr, Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra says:

“Among the chieftains of the Quraish who are recorded to have been taken captive, some historians have mentioned the name of Uqbah bin Abu Mu‘ait, and it is written that by the order of the Holy Prophetsa, he was later killed in captivity. However, this is not correct. Narrations of Ahadith and history very clearly mention that Uqbah bin Abu Mu‘ait was killed in the field of battle (this happened during the battle, and he was not held captive) and was among those chieftains of Mecca whose corpses were buried in a pit. Albeit, the execution of Nadr bin Harith is evident from many narrations. The reason for his execution was that he was among those people who were directly responsible for the deaths of those innocent Muslims who had been martyred at the hands of the Quraish in Mecca. Furthermore, it is most probable that Nadr bin Harith was among those who had brutally martyred Harith bin Abu Halah, the stepson of the Holy Prophetsa, in the early period of Islam. However, it is definite that except for Nadr, no other prisoner was executed, nor was it a practice to execute prisoners merely due to their being an enemy or fighting on behalf of the opposing side. Therefore, later on, a specific injunction was revealed in the Holy Quran with regard to this as well. Moreover, it should also be remembered that although many narrations have recorded the execution of Nadr bin Harith, there are also certain narrations that prove that he was not executed; rather, he remained alive after Badr for a period of time and finally became a Muslim, and joined the servants of the Holy Prophetsa on the occasion of the Ghazwah-e-Hunain. However, these latter narrations have generally been deemed weak in comparison to the ones mentioned first. وَاللّٰہُ اَعْلَمُ [And Allah knows best].

In any case, if there was any individual who was executed from among the prisoners, it was Nadr bin Harith, who was executed as an act of retribution. In this respect, it is also narrated that after his execution, when the Holy Prophetsa heard the painful couplets of his sister, he said, ‘Had these couplets reached me earlier, I would have forgiven Nadr.’ In any case, except for Nadr, no other prisoner was executed.” (The Life & Character of the Seal of Prophets, Vol. 2, pp. 159-160)

This is the conclusion Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra came to from the books of history.

During the Battle of Badr, 70 disbelievers were killed at the hands of the Muslims, including the most prominent chieftains of the polytheists, and 70 were taken into captivity by the Muslims. In relation to the number of captives, there are also records or narrations of there being 49 and 74. However, the most accepted and correct number of disbelievers held captive is 70. (Da’irah Ma’arif Sirat Muhammad Rasulullahsa, Vol. 6, p. 245, Dar al-Ma’arif, Lahore)

Various books of history mention there being 70.

There is a narration in Sahih al-Bukhari that mentions that on the day of Badr, the Holy Prophetsa and his Companions caused a loss of 140 disbelievers; in other words, 70 were held captive, and 70 were slain. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Maghazi, Hadith 3986)

Concerning the polytheist captives who later accepted Islam after the Battle of Badr, it is written that the Companions would treat them in a very good manner, in line with the instructions of the Holy Prophetsa. Among those captives were some fortunate ones who were impressed by the Islamic teachings and lofty morals of the Companions and became Muslims. They have also listed some of their names in detail, such as Abbas bin Abd al-Muttalib, Aqil bin Abu Talib, Naufal bin Harith, Abu al-Aas bin Rabi’, Abu Aziz – whose name was Zurarah bin Umair Abdari, Sa’ib bin Abi Huwaish, Khalid bin Hisham Makhzumi, Abdullah bin Abu Sa’ib, Muttalib bin Hantab, Abu Wada’ah Sahmi, Abdullah bin Ubayy bin Khalaf Jumahhi, Wahab bin Umair Jumahhi, Suhail bin Amr Amiri, Abdullah bin Zam’ah – who was the brother of the Mother of Believers, Hazrat Saudah bint Zam’ahra, Qais bin Sa’ib and Nistas – who was the slave of Umayyah bin Khalaf, and Sa’ib bin Ubaid. These all paid their ransom on the day of the Battle of Badr and accepted Islam. (Subul al-Huda wa al-Rashad fi Sirah Khair al-‘Ibad, Vol. 4, pp. 78-79, Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut 1993)

There is a link between the Battle of Badr and the victory of the Byzantine Empire. Regarding the Byzantine Empire, there is a prophecy of the Holy Prophetsa, and as I mentioned, this is connected to the Battle of Badr as well. It is therefore appropriate to now mention this. Surah al-Rum was revealed in the 5th year of prophethood, which contains the prophecy regarding the victory of the Byzantine Empire. (Dala’il al-Nubuwwah li al-Baihiqi, Vol. 7, p. 143, Bab Zikr al-Sur allati Nazalat bi Makkah…, Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut 1988; Allama Shibli Nu’mani, Sirat al-Nabiyy, Vol. 2, p. 315, Idarah Islamiyyat, September 2002)

I shall mention the details of this. When Allah the Almighty revealed the first verses of Surah ar-Rum, Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiqra announced as he was reciting these verses in the outskirts of Mecca:

الٓـمّٓ غُلِبَتِ الرُّوۡمُ فِيۡۤ اَدۡنَي الۡاَرۡضِ وَہُمۡ مِّنۡۢ بَعۡدِ غَلَبِہِمۡ سَيَغۡلِبُوۡنَ فِيۡۤ اَدۡنَي الۡاَرۡضِ وَہُمۡ مِّنۡۢ بَعۡدِ غَلَبِہِمۡ سَيَغۡلِبُوۡنَ فِيۡ بِضۡعِ سِنِيۡنَ

(Surah ar-Rum, Ch.30: V.2-5)

“The Romans have been defeated, in the land nearby, and they, after their defeat, will be victorious, between three to nine years.”

These verses were revealed in Mecca. The polytheists of Mecca wished for the Persians to overcome the Romans because they were idolaters like them. The Persians or Iranians were idolaters and fire-worshippers, and the people of Mecca were also idolaters. They desired for the Persians to be victorious, whereas the Muslims desired for the Romans to defeat the Persians, as they were the People of the Book. They mentioned this to Hazrat Abu Bakrra, and he, in turn, mentioned this to the Holy Prophetsa, who stated, “They shall surely be victorious”, meaning the Romans. Hazrat Abu Bakrra told this to the idolaters, to which they said, “Set a time between us (meaning, place a wager). If we are victorious, then this and that will happen. If you are victorious, then this and that will happen in your favour.” They set a period of five years. It was a six-year period, according to another narration.

It is written in Sharh Sunan at-Tirmidhi Tuhfah al-Ahwazi, that the Muslims rejoiced on the day that the Romans defeated the Persians, and they learnt of this on the day of the Battle of Badr, when, alongside this, they were given the glad tidings of support against the idolaters at Badr by Gabrielas. This is when Gabrielas revealed the support for them against the idolaters, alongside the news of that victory. (Tohfah al-Ahwazi, Sharh Sunan at-Tirmizi, Vol. 2, p. 2169, Maktabah Bait al-Afkar al-Dauliyyah; Sunan at-Tirmizi, Abwab Tafsir al-Quran, Bab wa min Surah al-Rum, Hadith 3194)

Hence, this is the link between this incident and the Battle of Badr. The same day that they were victorious in the Battle of Badr, they were given the glad tidings of the victory of the Romans.

There is a narration in Sahih al-Bukhari, and in its commentary, Allamah Badruddin Aini writes regarding the prophecy of the victory of the Romans, “When the Romans fought the Persians, the Muslims desired for the Romans to defeat the Persians. They supported them seeing as they were the People of the Book (the Muslims were sympathetic to the Romans as they were the People of the Book), whereas the disbelievers of the Quraish longed for the Persians to be victorious, for they were Magians or fire-worshippers, and the disbelievers of Mecca were also idol worshippers. Thus, when the wager was placed between Hazrat Abu Bakrra and Abul Jahl on this matter, the Holy Prophetsa stated, ‘The word بِضُع has been used, and it signifies up to nine or seven, so increase the period.” He therefore did so accordingly. In the end, the Romans were victorious and Allah the Almighty stated:

الٓـمّٓ غُلِبَتِ الرُّوۡمُ فِيۡۤ اَدۡنَي الۡاَرۡضِ وَہُمۡ مِّنۡۢ بَعۡدِ غَلَبِہِمۡ سَيَغۡلِبُوۡنَ فِيۡۤ اَدۡنَي الۡاَرۡضِ وَہُمۡ مِّنۡۢ بَعۡدِ غَلَبِہِمۡ سَيَغۡلِبُوۡنَ فِيۡ بِضۡعِ سِنِيۡنَ لِلّٰہِ الۡاَمۡرُ مِنۡ قَبۡلُ وَمِنۡۢ بَعۡدُ ؕ وَيَوۡمَئِذٍ يَّفۡرَحُ الۡمُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ بِنَصۡرِ اللّٰہِ

The translation is, “Alif Lam Mim (I am Allah the All-Knowing). The Romans have been defeated, in the land nearby, and they, after their defeat, will be victorious. Between three to nine years. Allah’s is the command before and after that – and on that day the believers will rejoice, with the help of Allah.” (Surah ar-Rum, Ch.30: V.2-6)

Sha’bi relates that at that time, placing wagers was permissible. (Umdah al-QariSharh Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 7, p. 29, Dar al-Fikr, Beirut)

Among the incidents foretold by the Holy Prophetsa, the prophecy about the fall of the Roman Empire was exceptionally clear and mighty. The Roman and Persian Empires both bordered Arabia, and in that era, the King of Tehran was Chosroes, while the Roman Emperor was Heraclius. Both of these empires were engaged in warfare for quite some time. In 614 AD, or the 5th year of prophethood, a war of tremendous bloodshed ensued between the two Empires. Although the two nations had not accepted Islam, the Romans were followers of Prophet Jesusas and consequently among the People of the Book, while the Persians held similar views to those of the Meccan polytheists. Thus, certainly, the Muslims were sympathetic towards the Roman Christians, while the Meccan polytheists sided with the Persians. Owing to this, both the Muslims and the disbelievers of the Quraish were eagerly awaiting the war’s outcome. Both nations’ borders met at the shores of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. On the Eastern front, the Roman Empire had spread throughout Asia Minor, Iraq, Syria, Palestine and Egypt.

The Persians attacked on two fronts; on one side, they advanced from the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and approached Syria, and from the direction of Asia Minor, they travelled from Azerbaijan to modern-day Anatolia via Armenia. From both these fronts, the Persians continued to push the Romans back until they were forced into the sea. From the Syrian front, the Persians snatched city after city from the Romans in that holy land.

In 614 AD, the Persians seized control of Palestine and the holy city of Jerusalem. Churches were demolished, religious monuments were desecrated, and the Roman Emperor’s palace was decorated with 30,000 severed heads of the dead (people were killed, and their severed heads were placed in the palace). The series of victories for the Persians continued until 616 AD, when they had conquered all of the Nile Valley, or, in other words, the kingdom of Egypt, and finally reached the shores of Alexandria. From the other front, the Persians wreaked havoc throughout Asia Minor until they reached the walls of Constantinople at the shores of the Bosphorus Strait. The victorious armies of Persia set up their encampment before the headquarters of the Roman Emperor.

Now, instead of the Romans, the Persians occupied the vast territories of Iraq, Syria, Palestine, Egypt and Asia Minor. Fire temples were constructed everywhere, and in place of Jesus, people were forced to worship fire and the sun. Upon witnessing the ruin of the Roman Empire, pockets of rebellion began to arise in the vast kingdom. There were insurrections even in Africa. Many European nations around Constantinople also became engulfed in killing and chaos. In short, the Roman Empire was falling apart. It was evident that, due to the unfavourable outcome of the war, the Muslims were surely distressed, as opposed to the disbelievers who rejoiced. They taunted the Muslims, saying, “Just as our brothers were victorious, we would also be victorious over you if you stood against us.” The disbelievers said that they would prevail over the Muslims, as the outcome [of the war] suggested. The Romans at the time were in a very pitiful state, as we have observed. They had lost every inch of their territories in the East. Their treasuries were empty, their armies were scattered, and their land was overcome by rebellion. Heraclius, the Roman Emperor, was completely carefree, remiss and delusional. Once a great ruler, he was reduced to incompetence. The victorious Persian commander came to the gates of Constantinople and presented the following conditions for the Romans to comply.

The Romans were required to surrender 1,000 talents of gold, 1,000 talents of silver (a talent is an ancient Greek unit of measurement equivalent to 23 kilogrammes today), 1,000 rolls of silk, 1,000 horses, and 1,000 virgin girls to the Persians. The Romans were in such a sorry state that they accepted these humiliating demands. Upon this, a Roman messenger went to the Persian Emperor’s court to reconcile the matter, and the arrogant Chosroes replied, saying, “I do not need these things. Surely, you have agreed to these conditions; however, I desire for Heraclius to be chained up and brought beneath my throne (he wanted the Roman Emperor to be brought beneath his throne). I will not reconcile between us until the Roman Emperor abandons his crucified god and bows before the sun in worship. He must turn away from Christianity.” Thus, the writer states that these were the circumstances on the battlefield. And far away from this conflict, a Prince of Peace appeared on a lonely mountain in a dry and desolate land. He made a prophecy completely opposite of the world’s events, which has been mentioned in the Holy Quran in the verses I will now recite. I have outlined these details to prove the true grandeur of this prophecy. As I recited earlier as well, this prophecy was:

الٓـمّٓ غُلِبَتِ الرُّوۡمُ فِيۡۤ اَدۡنَي الۡاَرۡضِ وَہُمۡ مِّنۡۢ بَعۡدِ غَلَبِہِمۡ سَيَغۡلِبُوۡنَ فِيۡۤ اَدۡنَي الۡاَرۡضِ وَہُمۡ مِّنۡۢ بَعۡدِ غَلَبِہِمۡ سَيَغۡلِبُوۡنَ فِيۡ بِضۡعِ سِنِيۡنَ لِلّٰہِ الۡاَمۡرُ مِنۡ قَبۡلُ وَمِنۡۢ بَعۡدُ ؕ وَيَوۡمَئِذٍ يَّفۡرَحُ الۡمُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ بِنَصۡرِ اللّٰہِ ؕ يَنۡصُرُ مَنۡ يَّشَآءُ ؕ وَہُوَ الۡعَزِيۡزُ الرَّحِيۡمُ وَعۡدَ اللّٰہِ ؕ لَا يُخۡلِفُ اللّٰہُ وَعۡدَہٗ

That is, “I am Allah, the All-knowing. The Romans have been defeated. In the Land nearby, and they, after their defeat, will be victorious. Within three to nine years – Allah’s is the command before and after that – and on that day the believers will rejoice, with the help of Allah. He helps whom He pleases; and He is the Mighty, the Merciful. Allah has made this promise. Allah breaks not His promise.” (Surah ar-Rum, Ch.30: V.2-7)

The writer states that according to events, this prophecy was farfetched and unbelievable. The disbelievers had pledged to forfeit many of their camels should this prophecy be fulfilled. Now, the Muslims and disbelievers eagerly awaited to see the turn of events. Ultimately, in a few years, the world witnessed an unexpected development. Whilst writing about Heraclius, Edward Gibbon – renowned author and historian of the fall of the Roman Empire, states:

“In the first and last years of a long reign, the emperor appears to be the slave of sloth, of pleasure, or of superstition, the careless and impotent spectator of the public calamities. But the languid mists of the morning and evening are separated by the brightness of the meridian sun; in 621 CE, the Arcadius of the palace arose the Caesar of the camp (i.e. this very emperor); and the honour of Rome and Heraclius was gloriously retrieved by the exploits and trophies of six adventurous campaigns.”

The example that he has given is of Arcadius, who was a powerful Byzantine Emperor, reigning from 408 BCE up until 378 BCE. Similarly, Caesar was also an earlier general of the army. Nonetheless, when Heraclius took his remaining army and set off from Constantinople, the masses knew that the world was beholding the last army of the mighty Byzantine Emperor. But the prophecy of the unlettered Arabian Prophet was fulfilled word for word. At exactly the time when the Muslims defeated the Quraish at Badr, the Byzantines gained victory over the Persians. From among the eastern occupied areas, they reclaimed a city and pushed the Iranians from the banks of the Bosphorus and the Nile, all the way to the banks of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers. The truthfulness of this extraordinary prophecy astounded the world. Upon seeing it fulfilled, many people of the Quraish became Muslims. And after 1,200 years, Edward Gibbon, who was not a Muslim, is perplexed by the truthfulness of this incredible prophecy and accepts its authenticity.

He says: “Sitting on the boundary of the two mighty eastern empires, Muhammad[sa] pondered deeply on how to destroy both of them and, at ease, worked on how to implement his plan. And just when the Iranians were acquiring some decisive victories, he boldly made this prophecy that in a few years, the victory and success of the Byzantines will rise along with their flag. At the time when this prediction is said to have been delivered, no prophecy could be more distant from its accomplishment, since the first twelve years of Heraclius announced the approaching dissolution of the empire.” The authors of Roman history have mentioned peculiar details in their explanation for this astonishing and revolutionary change in Heraclius’ temperament. However, little did they know, as Allama Shibli Nu’mani writes in his book Sirat al-Nabiyy, that far away from this brutal battle, a prophetic hand had been extended to assist the Byzantines and the greatest factor for this incredible transformation and change was this spiritual effect. It is written in Mustadrak and Jami’ al-Tirmidhi that when the Byzantine-Persian war began, the idolaters of Mecca supported the Persians, because they too were idol worshippers. The Muslims sided with the Byzantines because they were the People of the Book. At that time, the Persians were crushing the Byzantines, upon which the prophecy in Surah al-Rum was revealed. Hazrat Abu Bakrra exuberantly recounted this prophecy to all the idolaters, to which the idolaters said to set a timeframe. Hazrat Abu Bakrra stipulated five years. When the Holy Prophetsa learnt of this, he said: بِضْعِ سِنِيْنَ means a timeframe of three to nine years, therefore, a period of less than 10 years should appointed. In line with this understanding, this prophecy was fulfilled in the 9th year, when, on the occasion of the Battle of Badr, the Byzantines gained victory.

Some youths or adolescent children – some even write to me, I received some letters just last week – asking how they can know if Islam is the true religion and that the Holy Prophetsa is the true prophet to follow as opposed to the other [faiths]? The society and environment here is affecting them and is causing them to have doubts about the truthfulness of Islam. They should accept this history and the testimony of the non-Muslims. Furthermore, they should ponder over the prophecies of the Holy Quran about this era. Parents should read the Holy Quran and show their children how it is proof of the truthfulness of Islam. There are thousands of proofs of the truthfulness of Islam. The parents as well as the youth ought to increase their knowledge. It is not enough to simply ask a question. If one wishes to ask questions, they should also try to increase their own knowledge. Similarly, our [auxiliary] organisations should also try to educate them in this regard. I have been asked this question many times. Nonetheless, it was important to explain this and so I mentioned it here. I now turn back to the topic under discussion.

The battle of Badr took place in the first year after the migration to Medina and in the fourteenth year of the Prophet’s mission. Nine years prior to this was the fifth year of the prophetic mission. This puts the time of the prophecy as the fifth year of the prophetic mission, and it was fulfilled in the fourteenth year or the first year after the migration.

Some people claim that this prophecy was fulfilled in the year that the Treaty of Hudaibiyah took place, meaning in the sixth year after migration. However, this is incorrect. Perhaps they have erred from the fact that in Sahih al-Bukhari etc., it is written that the envoys of the Prophetsa went to deliver the message of Islam to the Byzantine Emperor, at the time he was in the Levant, as a form of gratitude for this victory. It seems that the envoys left after the Treaty of Hudaibiyah. It is conceivable that this is the reason why people have mistaken this to be the time of the Byzantine victory. However, this is not the case, and it is plainly evident that this was not the time of the victory; rather, it was the time of the celebration of this victory. The emperor had gone there to celebrate this victory. Nonetheless, when we compare the details, it is proven that in 609 CE, the Holy Prophetsa was commissioned as a prophet, then in 610 CE tensions between the Byzantines and the Persians commence. In 613 CE, war was declared. In 614 CE the Byzantines started to lose ground. In 616 CE, the Byzantines suffered defeat. In 622 CE, the Byzantines began retaliation. In 623 CE, the Byzantine victory began. In 625 CE, the Byzantines gained complete victory. Keeping this timeline in view, the beauty of this prophecy is that if one takes into account the beginning of the Byzantine defeat to the beginning of the Byzantine victory, this totals nine years, and if one counts from when the Byzantines were defeated up to the beginning of the Byzantine victory, this also equals nine years.

After gaining victory, Heraclius returned to his former ways of indolence and seeking pleasures. It seems as if it was only for the purpose of fulfilling this prophecy that, for a period of just a few years, the divine power influenced his heart and mind and gave him new strength. However, after the prophecy was fulfilled, his life of seeking pleasures and slothfulness caused him to remain heedless and negligent. (Allama Shibli Nu’mani, Sirat al-Nabiyysa, Vol. 2, pp. 313-316, Idarah Islamiyyat, September 2002; Encylopedia Britannica, Vol. 2, p. 341; Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. 4, p. 938)

These are the details written by Allamah Shibli Nu’mani in his works on the history [of early Islam].

With regards to the differing opinions on the dates for the victory of the Roman Empire, Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra has reconciled this by stating:

“In various narrations it has been related that the Byzantines acquired this victory in the era of the Treaty of Hudaibiyah. However, these narrations are not contradictory because, in actuality, the era of the Byzantine victory covered a period spanning from the battle of Badr to the Treaty of Hudaibiyah.” (The Life & Character of the Seal of Prophetssa, Vol 2, p. 174)

In relation to this, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra states:

“While the Holy Prophetsa was still in Mecca, news arrived that the Persians had vanquished the Romans in battle. This occasioned great rejoicing among the Meccans, for the Persians were idolaters just as they were. The Meccans took the victory of the Persians as a good omen indicating their own ultimate triumph over the Holy Prophetsa. On this occasion, the Holy Prophetsa received the revelation:

غُلِبَتِ الرُّوۡمُ فِيۡۤ اَدۡنَي الۡاَرۡضِ وَہُمۡ مِّنۡۢ بَعۡدِ غَلَبِہِمۡ سَيَغۡلِبُوۡنَ فِيۡۤ اَدۡنَي الۡاَرۡضِ وَہُمۡ مِّنۡۢ بَعۡدِ غَلَبِہِمۡ سَيَغۡلِبُوۡنَ فِيۡ بِضۡعِ سِنِيۡنَ

(Surah ar-Rum, Ch.30: V.3-5)

that ‘the Romans had been vanquished in a neighbouring land of Syria, but do not consider this to be the final outcome; within nine years of their defeat, the Romans would again be victorious’. When this revelation was announced among the Meccans, they laughed and jeered at the Muslims. Some of them made a wager of a hundred camels with Hazrat Abu Bakrra. They claimed that if, even after such a defeat, the Byzantines were to gain any success, they would give him 100 camels. However, if this did not happen, then he would have to give them 100 camels. Events indicated that there was very little chance of the Romans defeating the Persians, as their defeat in Syria was followed by further victories by the Persians, and the Roman army was pushed back by stages to the shores of the Sea of Marmara. Constantinople was cut off from its Eastern dominions, and the Roman Empire was reduced to the size of a small state. The word of God was, however, bound to be fulfilled and was fulfilled. In their state of utter despondency, the Roman emperor himself set out from Constantinople along with his troops and met on the shores of Asia for a decisive battle. The Romans, though smaller in number and not so well equipped as the Persians, won a complete victory – as prophesied by the words of the Holy Quran – and the Persians were put to flight. They were forced to retreat into Persia not finding any respite anywhere and the Romans re-occupied their Asiatic and African possessions.” (Dibacha Tafsir-ul-QuranAnwar-ul-Ulum, Vol. 20, p. 445)

The Promised Messiahas states:

“When Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiqra placed a wager with Abu Jahl about the prophecy of the Holy Quran:

الٓـمّٓ غُلِبَتِ الرُّوۡمُ فِيۡۤ اَدۡنَي الۡاَرۡضِ وَہُمۡ مِّنۡۢ بَعۡدِ غَلَبِہِمۡ سَيَغۡلِبُوۡنَ فِيۡۤ اَدۡنَي الۡاَرۡضِ وَہُمۡ مِّنۡۢ بَعۡدِ غَلَبِہِمۡ سَيَغۡلِبُوۡنَ فِيۡ بِضۡعِ سِنِيۡنَ

(Surah ar-Rum, Ch.30: V.2-5)

a period of three years was stipulated. When the Holy Prophetsa came to know of this, upon pondering over the prophecy and owing to his foresight, he asked Abu Bakr Siddiqra to make an amendment to the details of the wager, stating that the words بِضْعِ سِنِيْنَ had a broader meaning and often meant up to nine years.” (Izala-e-Auham, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 3, pp. 310-311)

The Promised Messiahas further states:

“During the era of the Holy Prophet’ssa life, the Persians were polytheists and the emperor of the Roman Empire was a Christian and believed in One God.”

This was also a reason for the Muslims siding with them. The Promised Messiahas further states:

“The emperor of the Roman Empire was a Christian and believed in One God and did not believe Jesusas to be the son of God. Hence, when the status of Jesusas was presented to him in light of the Holy Quran, he said, ‘In my view, the status of Jesus is not any superior, even by an iota, than that which has been mentioned in the Quran.’ This testimony of his is also recorded in a hadith of Bukhari in which he states, ‘I testify that these words are the same as those found in the Torah. His [Jesusas] status is no greater than that of a prophet.’ It was following this that the verse [of the Holy Quran] was revealed: 

الٓـمّٓ غُلِبَتِ الرُّوۡمُ فِيۡۤ اَدۡنَي الۡاَرۡضِ وَہُمۡ مِّنۡۢ بَعۡدِ غَلَبِہِمۡ سَيَغۡلِبُوۡنَ فِيۡۤ اَدۡنَي الۡاَرۡضِ وَہُمۡ مِّنۡۢ بَعۡدِ غَلَبِہِمۡ سَيَغۡلِبُوۡنَ فِيۡ بِضۡعِ سِنِيۡنَ

“(Surah ar-Rum,Ch.30: V.2-5)

“That is, ‘the Romans have been defeated; however, in a short time, (within nine years), it will once again be victorious.’ The Christians, out of mischief, allege that the Holy Prophetsa had assessed the strength of the two powers and then, based on his foresight, announced this prophecy. In response, we say that Jesusas would also assess among the ill as to those who had the potential of getting better and then cure them of their illness (the Promised Messiahas is responding to their allegations by making a comparison as an example). In such a case, Jesusas would not have demonstrated a single miracle.

يَوۡمَئِذٍ يَّفۡرَحُ الۡمُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ

“On that day, the believers will be granted two sources of joy. One of them is the victory in the Battle of Badr and the second is the fulfilment of the prophecy regarding the victory of the Byzantines.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 3, pp. 298-299, Edition 2022)

They allege that the Holy Prophetsa had assessed the situation of the battle beforehand; however, the circumstances surrounding the Battle of Badr were completely different, and yet the glad tidings of this victory were mentioned alongside this, and both glad tidings were fulfilled together. The Promised Messiahas further states:

“The Holy Quran is filled with countless prophecies, such as the extraordinary prophecy regarding the Roman Empire and Persian powers. This prophecy was made at a time when the polytheists [i.e., the Persian Empire] defeated the Roman Empire and, as a result, took control of some of their land. The polytheists of Mecca considered this victory of the Persians as a good omen for them. They believed that just like them, the Persians were also polytheists, and therefore, they too would defeat their prophet, whose sharia [religious law] resembled that of the People of the Book. It was then that God Almighty revealed this prophecy in the Holy Quran and declared that the Roman Empire shall ultimately become victorious. Since this prophecy was regarding the victory of the Roman Empire, this chapter was named Surah Ar-Rum [the Chapter of Rome]. Since the polytheists of Arabia took the victory of the Persian Empire as a sign of their own victory as well, God Almighty also stated in this prophecy that when the Roman Empire once again becomes victorious, the Muslims shall also gain victory over the polytheists. And so, this is precisely what manifested, and the verses of the Holy Quran in relation to this is as follows:

الٓـمّٓ غُلِبَتِ الرُّوۡمُ فِيۡۤ اَدۡنَي الۡاَرۡضِ وَہُمۡ مِّنۡۢ بَعۡدِ غَلَبِہِمۡ سَيَغۡلِبُوۡنَ فِيۡۤ اَدۡنَي الۡاَرۡضِ وَہُمۡ مِّنۡۢ بَعۡدِ غَلَبِہِمۡ سَيَغۡلِبُوۡنَ فِيۡ بِضۡعِ سِنِيۡنَ

“(Surah ar-Rum, Ch.30: V.2-5)

“‘I am Allah the All-Knowing. The Romans have been defeated, in the land nearby, and they, after their defeat, will be victorious after a period of three to nine years. And on that day the believers will rejoice.’

“This is exactly what happened and within the stipulated period of three to nine years, the Roman Empire once again gained victory over the Persians. On the same day, the Muslims also gained victory over the polytheists as this was the day of the Battle of Badr in which the followers of Islam were granted victory.” (Chashma-e-Ma’rifat, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 23, p. 320)

The Promised Messiahas further states:

“Ponder as to how astonishing and magnificent this prophecy was. This prophecy was announced at a time when the Muslims were in a state of great danger owing to their very weak and frail condition and had no wealth nor any power. In view of their condition, the enemy would claim that they would be destroyed very quickly. Moreover, a time period was also stipulated in this prophecy by stating:

يَوۡمَئِذٍ يَّفۡرَحُ الۡمُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ

“It is also mentioned that this prophecy had two aspects which is that the day the Roman Empire gains victory over the Persians, the Muslims shall also be granted success and become joyous. Just as was mentioned in the prophecy, it was indeed fulfilled on the day of Badr. And just as the Roman Empire gained victory, so too did the Muslims.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 2, p. 387, Edition 2022)

This series of incidents from the life of the Holy Prophetsa will continue. God-willing, I will mention the rest in the future. After the [Friday] prayer, I will also lead a funeral prayer in absentia, which is of Firas Ali Abdul Wahid Sahib from the UK. According to the decree of God, he recently passed away at the age of 47.

اِنَّا لِلّٰہِ وَاِنَّاۤ اِلَيۡہِ رٰجِعُوۡنَ

He was originally from Iraq and entered the fold of the Community in 2012 when he pledged allegiance. He is survived by his wife and daughter. He had committed the Holy Qur’an to memory when he was a child. As he grew older, he developed extremist ideologies in faith, thus becoming among the extremist Muslims. He even sold his television, saying that it was haram [forbidden] to watch it. He also ripped apart all the pictures in the home, saying that those were haram as well. He himself was a good artist, however, having obtained religious knowledge from some cleric, he became completely fanatical and abstained from any type of images. But then he developed doubts as to whether he was right or if Islam was even true. He was friends with a Christian class fellow and, after some time, became influenced by him. Since he had been unable to dispel his doubts or find answers to his questions about Islam, he became a Christian. However, with the passage of time, he became impassioned with love for the Holy Prophetsa once again, and he reverted to Islam. He was very hard-working and studious. He obtained a degree from the University of Basra in its College of Business Administration and Economics.

He had a passion for learning languages, as a result of which he became fluent in English and learned French, Spanish, German and also Russian to some degree. In 2009, he moved here to the UK with his wife, and it was here that Allah the Almighty bestowed him with a daughter. Upon arriving in the UK, Firas Sahib happened to come across MTA Al-Arabiyyah, from where he started receiving the answers to his questions. Ultimately the truthfulness of the Promised Messiahas took root in his heart to such an extent that he would often sing the Arabic poetry written by the Promised Messiahas in honour of the Holy Prophetsa. It was during this time that he saw Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh in a dream delivering a sermon in a large white mosque, and light was emanating from his blessed countenance. Then he saw a beautiful youth who, like a news reporter, was speaking into a microphone and was referring to the Promised Messiahas with the most excellent of names, and encouraging others to follow him. Upon this, in 2012, he pledged allegiance. He came in contact with Dr Bilal Tahir from Sheffield, through whom he sent his request to pledge allegiance. He then remained attached to him and studied the Community’s various books and [benefitted from] question-and-answer [sessions]. Very soon, he began propagating the Community’s views and beliefs, defending against allegations and presenting intellectual refutations in favour of the Community.

Yazan Rababah from Jordan writes, “Brother Firas Abdul Wahid was a very good Ahmadi. He would study the Community’s books. He would respond to the Community’s opponents and apostates. He was a true defender of Islam Ahmadiyyat. People on Facebook called him ‘Faris-e-Ahmadiyyat’, meaning a horse-riding warrior of Ahmadiyyat. My eyes well with tears as I remember him. May God Almighty grant him forgiveness.”

Tamim Abu Daqqah writes, “Firas Sahib was an extraordinary researcher, and was exceptionally skilled in Arabic and English translations and writing. He was an active member of the team which responded to questions on the Community’s website. His answers were always complete, and evidence-based, which he would support with references both from within the Community and elsewhere, from both Arabic and English sources. When certain Arab apostates and rebels raised disorder, Firas Sahib was on the front lines of responding to their allegations and standing up to them. On account of his complete faith, he would fiercely defend the Community and Khilafat.”

Dr Aiman Odeh says, “Through his articles and writings, our deceased brother Firas Abdul Wahid was known for his vast knowledge, and extraordinary intelligence. He had not been a member of this Community for long, yet even in this short amount of time, he attained deep knowledge of the Community’s views and beliefs, and with resounding answers, he would silence the opponents. A few years ago, the deceased was entrusted with the responsibility of answering questions on our website, which he diligently carried out until the end and worked with great passion and sincerity. On the Arabic website for questions and answers, Bisat-e-Ahmadi, he has about 800 articles and responses to allegations and questions, which continue to testify to how deeply scholarly he was and his passion for spreading the views and beliefs of the Community and responding to allegations.”

May Allah the Almighty grant forgiveness and mercy to the deceased and elevate his station. May He protect his wife and daughter, and grant them patience and forbearance. May He accept his virtuous desires for his family; may He accept his prayers. May Allah the Almighty grant the Community people like him in his place. As I said, after the [Friday] prayer, God-willing, I will offer the funeral prayer.

(Official Urdu transcript published in the Daily Al Fazl International, 13 October 2023, pp. 2-7. Translated by The Review of Religions.)

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