Islam is the true standard-bearer of universal rights: English translation of Huzoor’s concluding address at Jalsa Salana UK 2021

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Last Updated on 20th August 2021

AMA UK | Jalsa UK 2021

Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih Vaa recited tashahud, ta‘awuz, Surah al-Fatihah and then said:

As I mentioned during my address to the Lajna, today, I shall speak on the rights of the various sections of society, in continuation of my concluding address at Jalsa Salana 2019.

Islam has established the rights for various sections of society. I will present my discourse on these rights in light of the Holy Quran, the ahadith and the sayings of the Promised Messiahas. In fact, it is by acting upon these teachings alone that one can truly establish the rights of the various sections of society.

We have firm faith that the Holy Quran’s teaching is perfect and complete and that it offers solutions to the challenges of every era. Without acting upon it, neither can the problems of the world be solved, nor can the rights of the various sections of society be established.

Thus, there is absolutely no need to feel embarrassed, or show any reluctance or have an inferiority complex when presenting this teaching to the outside world. We do not need to adopt the principles devised by the worldly people, nor do we need to adopt a defensive stance in this regard.

On the contrary, in light of the teachings of the Holy Quran, we need to invite the secular people and the people who claim to be the standard-bearers of the rights of the various sections of society to follow us so that the rights of every section of society can be secured from every angle and so that an atmosphere of true peace and security may be created and established the world over.

Most certainly, the rights of the various sections of society cannot be established until we believe that we have a Creator and we fulfil the rights of that Creator. The Promised Messiahas said:

“What is the right of Allah? It is to worship Him, not to include anyone else in His worship, to remain engaged in His remembrance, to follow His commandments and to avoid what He has prohibited and made unlawful.” (Malfuzat [Urdu], Vol. 10, p. 319 [1984 edition])

If an individual has this concept of Allah the Almighty, then he or she would also be mindful to act upon His commandments, a vast majority of which relate to the fulfilment of the rights of His creation. Allah the Almighty possesses all power; He is the Provider of all things. It is incumbent upon mankind that we show gratitude to Him for how wonderfully He manifests His rububiyyat [the divine attribute of creating and nurturing], rahmaniyyat [graciousness] and rahimiyyat [mercy].

However, the Holy Prophetsa has also said that if a person treats you well but you are not grateful to them, then you are also ungrateful to God. (Jami‘ al-Tirmidhi, Kitab al-birri was-silati ‘an Rasulillahsa, Bab ma ja‘a fil-shukri li-man ahsana ilaika)

Thus, Allah the Exalted has commanded us to fulfil the rights owed to each other on every occasion and that it was only then that we would be counted among those who fulfil the rights of God. By giving this commandment regarding gratefulness, Allah the Exalted has made the fulfilment of the rights of people a condition for fulfilling His rights. This is the beautiful teaching of Islam and this is the God of Islam, who admonishes us to fulfil the rights owed to each other in this manner.

Now, I shall mention some of the rights. The rights that I have previously spoken on in addition to the rights of Allah include the rights of parents, the rights of children, the rights of sons and daughters, the rights of spouses, the rights of siblings, the rights of relatives, the rights of neighbours, the rights of widows, the rights of the elderly, the rights of enemies, the rights of slaves and the rights of non-Muslims. The detail of what these rights entail is such that the worldly people do not even come close to it. And that is not all.

As I said earlier, there are other rights as well, some of which I will speak on today for Islam admonishes its followers to establish these rights and declares that you can only be considered true believers and Muslims if you fulfil these rights.

When we look into the details of these rights, we find that Islam has even established the rights of animals. Moreover, it is not that Islam has only given a theory; rather, those who followed Islamic teachings have also shown practical examples.

Nevertheless, among the rights I have chosen to speak on today are the rights of friends or the rights related to friendship.

1. What are the rights of friends in Islam?

In this regard, Allah the Exalted has guided us in great detail and said that your true friends can only be those whose hearts are pure. What kind of friendship would that be, if the hearts were not pure? And once you befriend those whose hearts are pure, then you must also fulfil their rights. Allah the Exalted states:

یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا لَا تَتَّخِذُوۡا بِطَانَۃً مِّنۡ دُوۡنِکُمۡ لَا یَاۡلُوۡنَکُمۡ خَبَالًا ؕ وَدُّوۡا مَا عَنِتُّمۡ ۚ قَدۡ بَدَتِ الۡبَغۡضَآءُ مِنۡ اَفۡوَاہِہِمۡ ۚ وَ مَا تُخۡفِیۡ صُدُوۡرُہُمۡ اَکۡبَرُ ؕ قَدۡ بَیَّنَّا لَکُمُ الۡاٰیٰتِ اِنۡ کُنۡتُمۡ تَعۡقِلُوۡنَ

“O ye who believe! take not others than your own people as intimate friends; they will not fail to corrupt you. They love to see you in trouble. Hatred has already shown itself through the utterances of their mouths, and what their breasts conceal is greater still. We have made clear to you Our commandments, if you will understand.” (Surah Al-e-Imran, Ch.3: V.119)

Then, Allah the Exalted has, by including friends among our close relatives, created such an atmosphere of fraternity, which further intensifies the feeling of closeness.

Hence, what should the standards of friendship be?

Once such a friendship has been established, then it is incumbent to maintain it. In this regard, it is narrated by Hazrat Abu Umamahra that the Holy Prophetsa said:

“If anyone loves for Allah’s sake, hates for Allah’s sake, gives for Allah’s sake and withholds for Allah’s sake, they will certainly have perfected their faith.” (Sunan Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Sunnah, Bab al-dalili ala ziyadatil-imani wa nuqsanihi)

Thus, maintaining a friendship for the sake of God is the only thing that can sustain a true friendship; that is, a friendship that is not temporary or prone to any cracks. A friendship that is devoid of the love of Allah is but a temporary friendship.

Then, Hazrat Umarra bin al-Khattab narrates that the Holy Prophetsa said:

“Verily, there will be people from the servants of Allah who will neither be prophets, nor martyrs. However, even the prophets and martyrs will be praising their rank in front of Allah on the Day of Resurrection. The Companions asked, ‘O Messengersa of Allah! Please tell us, who are they?’ He replied, ‘They are people who love one another for the sake of Allah, without having any mutual kinship or trade relations. I swear by Allah, their faces shall glow with nur [divine light] and they shall be full of nur. They shall have no fear on the Day of Judgement when the people will have fear, and they shall not grieve.’” (Sunan Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Ijarah, Bab fil-rahn)

Thus, this is the result of mutual friendship and love. This is the favour of Allah the Exalted upon such friends.

Then, Hazrat Abu Dardara narrates that the Prophetsa of Allah said:

“Whenever a Muslim supplicates for his [Muslim] brother in his absence, an angel [supplicates in his favour] by saying, ‘May you receive the like.’” (Riyad al-Salihin, Kitab al-Da‘waat, Bab fadl al-du‘ai bi-zahr il-ghaib)

Here, not only are real brothers meant; generally, one prays for them anyway. This brotherhood also entails non-relatives and friends. Islam has laid the foundation of such a love that is unique. It is this brotherhood and friendship that encourages one to pray for each other and becomes the means of attaining the blessings of the angels’ supplications.

Then, Hazrat Anasra bin Malik narrates that the Holy Prophetsa said:

“Do not hate one another, do not be jealous of one another, do not backbite against one another […] and O, Allah’s servants! Become brothers to each other. Lo! It is not permissible for any Muslim to desert his brother for more than three days.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Adab, Bab maa yunha ‘an al-tahaasudi wa al-tadaabur)

This is the meaning of fulfilling the rights of brotherhood and friendship.

Hazrat Abu Usaid Malik ibn Rabi‘ah al-Sa‘idira narrates:

“While we were with the Prophetsa of Allah, a man from the tribe of Banu Salamah came to Him and said, ‘O Messengersa of Allah! Is there any kindness left that I can do for my parents after their death?’ He replied, ‘Yes, you can supplicate for them, seek forgiveness for them, honour and fulfil the promises and contracts they made, join ties of relationship which are dependent on them, and honour their friends.” (Sunan Abi Dawud, Kitab al-adab, Baab fi birr al-walidain)

Here, not only are those friends mentioned who are of the same religion, but rather, friends have been mentioned in general. Again, this is the meaning of fulfilling the rights of friendship, namely to expand its scope to include the friends of the parents.

Hazrat Ibn Umarra narrates that the Holy Prophetsa said:

“Among the most virtuous of deeds is that a man should serve and nurture relations with the friends of one’s father (after his demise).” (Jami‘ al-Tirmidhi, Kitab al-Birri wa al-Silati ‘an Rasulillahsa, Bab ma ja‘a fi ikraami sadiq al-waalid)

Thus, the Holy Prophetsa expanded the scope even further and extended the right of friendship even to the next generations.

The Promised Messiahas states:

“The fact of the matter is that my friends are a part of me, as are my limbs. We observe in our daily lives that even the smallest of parts, such as a finger for example, if subject to pain, agitates and distresses the entire body. Allah the Exalted is well aware that in exactly the same way, constantly at every moment, I forever remain anxious and concerned about whether my friends are in a state of ease and comfort.

“This sympathy and compassion which I feel is not the result of any artificial effort, nor does it occur unnaturally. In fact, just as a mother is incessantly absorbed in ensuring that each and every one of her children is in peace and comfort, no matter their number, I find my heart replete, in the way of Allah, with the same tenderness and compassion for my friends.

“This sympathy is so burning that when I receive a letter from any one of my friends alluding to grief or illness with which they are suffering, my disposition becomes restless and disturbed, and I am taken aback by grief.

“And as the number of our dear ones [who are in pain] increases, this grief increases in equal proportion. There is no hour in which I am free from some form of worry and grief because from among the vast number of my friends, one or the other is afflicted by some form of grief or pain. When they inform me of their worries, my heart becomes perturbed and restless. I cannot describe the amount of time that I suffer from worries. Since there is no being other than Allah the Almighty who can deliver one from such worries and concerns, I engage myself constantly in prayers.

“The foremost prayer that I offer is for my friends to be saved from grief and worry because the thought of them overwhelms me with anguish and agony. Then, I pray in the general sense that if there is anyone who suffers from some form of grief and hardship, may Allah Almighty grant them deliverance.

“My entire effort and every ounce of my passion moves me to supplicate before Allah the Exalted. Much hope can be gained from the acceptance of prayer.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 1, p. 101)

This is what the Promised Messiahas has stated about the members of the Jamaat in general as well. Likewise, he further states about his friends:

“I hold such a close relationship with friends that they all of my friends and their families are, as if, my own. When any of these dear ones depart this world, I feel as much grief as one who loses their most beloved child.” (Malfuzat [Urdu], Vol. 1, p. 435 [1988 edition])

He further states with regard to the standard of friendship, as to what it should be. Huzooras explains this by giving an example and states:

“Stealing is a bad trait, but it is not considered a bad thing to use something that belongs to one’s friends without their permission (provided they are such friends).” This is what we generally also observe among the worldly people that if the friendship is strong, then it is not considered a bad thing or a theft when one of the friends uses the other’s things without their permission.

Huzooras further narrates:

“Two men had an extremely strong friendship. Both were very charitable to each other. Once, one of them happened to be travelling. The other one came to his house and asked his maid, ‘Where is my friend?’ She said, ‘He is on a tour.’ Then he asked, ‘Do you have the key to his money box?’ The maid said, ‘I do.’ He then had her bring the box and the key and opened it himself and took some money out of it.

“When the owner of the house returned from the trip, the maid said, ‘Your friend was here.’ On hearing this, the owner of the house became as white as a sheet and asked, ‘What was he saying?’ The maid said, ‘He asked me for the box and the key. He opened your money box, took the money out of it and left.’ Upon hearing this, the owner of the house was so pleased with the maid that he was as though on top of the world. In return for the slave girl’s obedience to his friend and for not displeasing him (i.e. not returning him with disappointment), the master set her free and said, ‘As a reward for this good deed that you did, I set you free on this very day.’” (Malfuzat [Urdu], Vol. 3, Edition 1988, pp. 198-199]

Thus, this is how one ought to fulfil the rights of friendship. While mentioning the rights of friendship and how beautifully he fulfilled them, the Promised Messiahas said:

“It is my belief that any individual who makes a vow of friendship with me even once, I have such regard for this vow, that irrespective of their nature and no matter what they become, I cannot sever my ties with them. If the individual cuts off their ties with me themselves, in that case, I am helpless. Otherwise, my belief is that if one of my friends had collapsed in the market after consuming alcohol and there was a crowd of people around him, I would pick him up and take him away without fear of reproach by any critic.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 2, p. 184)

The Promised Messiahas also said:

“The bond of friendship is a most valuable gem. One must not waste it away easily. No matter how unpleasant a friend may be to you, one ought to forgive and forget.” (Ibid)

Now, here, the Promised Messiahas is obviously not talking about any of his Companionsra. He is talking about the covenant of friendship in general. This is the standard of friendship – to stay with a person till the end, after calling him a friend.

Furthermore, the Holy Prophetsa has said that children should even treat their parents’ friends well and should fulfil the rights owed to them.

2. What are the rights of the sick in Islam?

Islam has prescribed fasting on Muslims but at the same time, it has also established the right of the sick. A sick person is excused from fasting until their health is restored. Allah the Exalted states:

اَیَّامًا مَّعۡدُوۡدٰتٍ ؕ فَمَنۡ کَانَ مِنۡکُمۡ مَّرِیۡضًا اَوۡ عَلٰی سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّۃٌ مِّنۡ اَیَّامٍ اُخَرَ

“[The prescribed fasting is] for a fixed number of days, but whoso among you is sick or is on a journey [shall fast] the same number of other days.” (Surah al-Baqarah, Ch. 2: V. 184)

Thus, this is the right of a sick person, they be given some respite. Islam does not say that even a sick person must fast. Some people force themselves and impose it upon themselves. They act wrongfully. The Promised Messiahas said that Islam has exempted you, but if a sick person still keeps a fast while being sick or on a journey, they will still have to fast the same number of other days. (Badr, 17 October 1907, p. 7)

Moreover, Islam commands that in order to establish the rights of the sick in an Islamic society, their minor wishes also have to be respected. Hence, Hazrat Ibn Abbasra narrates:

“The Holy Prophetsa visited a man [who was sick] and said to him: ‘What do you desire?’ He said, ‘I want wheat bread.’ The Holy Prophetsa said, ‘Whoever has wheat bread, let him send it to his brother.’ Then the Holy Prophetsa said, ‘When a sick person among you desires something, give it to him.’” (Sunan Ibn Majah, Kitab al-Tibb, Bab al-mareedi yashtahi shai‘an)

This was the financial and material state of the Companionsra in the beginning; not even wheat bread was available to them. Having a piece of wheat bread was all that he longed for, but it was not readily available.

Hazrat Abu Hurairahra narrates that Allah’s Prophetsa said:

“Whoever visits the sick, a caller calls out from Heaven, saying, ‘You are most excellent and so is your conduct, and you have built an abode in Paradise for yourself.’” (Sunan Ibn Majah, Kitab al-Jana‘iz, Bab ma ja‘a fi thawabi man ‘ada mareedan)

This is how Allah the Exalted blesses one upon visiting the sick. Praying for a sick person is also one of the rights owed to them.

What was the own blessed example of the Holy Prophetsa in this regard? Hazrat Aisha bint Saadra narrates that her father, Hazrat Saadra said:

“I fell ill at Mecca. Allah’s Messengersa came to pay a visit to me. He put his hand on my forehead, wiped my chest and abdomen, and then said, ‘O our Allah! Grant recovery to Saad and complete his migration?.’” (Sunan Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Jana‘iz, Bab al-du‘a lil-maridi bil-shifa‘i indal-iyadah)

Thus, he prayed for a long life for him.

How great is the reward for visiting the sick and doing justice to it? In this regard, Hazrat Alira states that he heard the Holy Prophetsa say:

“If a man visits his Muslim brother when he is sick, [it is as if] he is walking in Paradise at the time of harvesting of its fruits until he sits down, and when he sits down, he is covered with mercy. If it is morning, seventy thousand angels send blessings upon him until the evening, and if it is evening, seventy thousand angels send blessings upon him until the morning.” (Musnad Ahmad, Musnadu Alira bin Abi Talib)

This is the reward for visiting the sick.

Then, while teaching the way to visit the sick, the Holy Prophetsa said, as narrated by Hazrat Abu Umamahra:

“A wholesome and complete visit of a sick person is that you place your hand on his forehead”, or he said, “on his hand, and ask him how he is. And shaking hands completes your greetings among each other.” (Jami‘ al-Tirmidhi, Kitab al-Isti‘zaani wal-Adaabi ‘an Rasulillahsa, Bab ma ja‘a fil-musahafah)

How did the Promised Messiahas fulfil the rights of the sick? In this regard, there are the following narrations:

“A certain Qureshi Sahib had been ill for several days and had come to Qadian to seek treatment from Hazrat Hakim Maulvi Nuruddinra. He repeatedly requested the Promised Messiahas for prayers, who replied, ‘We shall pray.’

“In the evening, he requested through Hazrat Hakim Maulvi Nuruddinra that he wanted to have the privilege of visiting the Promised Messiahas, but he could not attend due to swollen feet. Huzooras promised to pay him a visit the next day [at his house]. So, in order to fulfil his promise, Huzooras, along with the entourage of his Companions, reached the house where he was staying, he sat with him and, for some time, asked him some general questions about the ailment.” (Malfuzat [Urdu], Vol. 2, p. 241 [1988 edition])

Hazrat Sheikh Yaqub Ali Irfanira narrates that the Promised Messiahas also undertook some travels in order to visit the sick.

There was a certain Mir Abbas Ali Sufi Sahib from Ludhiana, who was initially very sincere and had a great love for the Promised Messiahas. The Promised Messiahas came to know about his illness through a letter and despite being ill and busy himself, he had so much regard for the rights of friendship and fraternity that he considered it incumbent to travel to Ludhiana himself. Thus, he went to Ludhiana on 14 October 1884, paid a visit to Mir Sahib and then came back. God Almighty also granted recovery to Mir Sahib. (Sirat Hazrat Masih-e-Maudas by Sheikh Yaqub Ali Irfanira, Vol. 2, pp. 183-184)

How did the Promised Messiahas fulfil the rights of the sick? In this regard, Hazrat Maulvi Abdul Karim Sialkotira narrates:

“Sometimes rural women would knock hard on the door to get medicine. They used to say in plain and unsophisticated language, ‘Mirza Ji, open the door!’ Huzooras would get up as if a great ruler was standing outside and would immediately open the door and speak with open-heartedness and provide them with the medicine. In our country, even the educated section of the society does not know the value of time, let alone the unsophisticated rural women; a woman starts talking about something meaningless and starts complaining about her household and about the tension between her and her mother-in-law. An hour is wasted in that. However the Promised Messiahas keeps listening with dignity and patience. Neither by his tongue nor by any gesture does he indicate to her, ‘Just go. You have asked for medicine. What’s the matter now? You are wasting my time.’ Not at all.” Sialkoti Sahib writes that the Promised Messiahas did not say these things to her. “She finally gets up on her own and clears the house of her presence.

“Once, many rural women came to have their children assessed. In the meantime, some women also came out from inside to get some syrup. At that time, Huzooras had to write a very important article for religious needs and he had to write it urgently. I happened to be there too.

“What I saw is this: Huzooras is standing there, alert and vigilant as a European stands at his worldly duty and he has five or six boxes opened in front of him and is giving some of them some medicine and others some syrup in small bottles. This ‘market’ went on for three hours and Huzooras continued running this ‘hospital’.

“After he finished, I said, ‘Huzoor, this is a very burdensome task and a lot of precious time is wasted in this way.’ Praise be to Allah! Huzooras replied with utmost calmness and dignity and said, ‘This too is a similar religious duty.’” Serving the people, giving them medicines, assessing the sick and treating them “‘is a similar religious duty. These are poor people and there is no hospital here. I have gathered all kinds of English and Yunani [traditional] medicines for these people and they turn out to be useful […] This is the work of great reward. A believer should not be slothful and careless about these matters.’” (Sirat Hazrat Masih-e-Maudas by Hazrat Maulvi Abdul Karim Sialkotira [Urdu], pp. 34-35)

Hazrat Sheikh Yaqub Ali Irfanira narrates:

“When Lala Malawa Mal Sahib was 22 years old, he fell ill with sciatica. It was the custom of the Promised Messiahas to get an update about his health in the morning and evening through a servant named Jamal. He also used to visit him daily.

“It is obvious that Lala Malawa Mal Sahib was not of the same nation or religion. However, since he used to have regular contact with the Promised Messiahas, he was thus one of his friends. The Promised Messiahas had so much human sympathy and cared for a friendship to such an extent that he would visit his house and treat his illness himself.

“Lala Malawa Mal Sahib narrates that once, he was given some medicine which resulted in Lala Malawa Mal Sahib having to tend to the call of nature 19 times during the night. Finally, he started bleeding and fell very weak.

“Early in the morning, as usual, when Huzoor’sas servant came to enquire, he told of his experience at night and asked Huzooras to come himself. The Promised Messiahas immediately went to his house and seeing the condition of Lala Malawa Mal Sahib, he was upset and said, ‘The quantity was slightly too high.’ However, he immediately had some psyllium mucilage brought and gave it to Lala Malawa Mal Sahib, which stopped the inflammation and bleeding and also relieved his pain.” (Sirat Hazrat Masih-e-Maudas by Hazrat Maulvi Abdul Karim Sialkotira [Urdu], pp. 170-171)

This incident is not only about a sick individual; he was also a friend and the Promised Messiahas honoured this friendship. Despite the person being of a different religion, he cared for him as a friend as well as a sick person. These are the rights of friendship and of the sick. Hazrat Sheikh Yaqub Ali Irfanira also narrates:

“Once Lala Sharampat Rai Sahib fell ill. An abscess appeared on his stomach and this furuncle took a very dangerous shape. The Promised Messiahas was informed. He himself visited Lala Sharampat Rai Sahib’s house which was very narrow and dark. He went and saw Lala Sharampat Rai Sahib, who was terrified and sure of his death. He was talking restlessly like a troubled man does. The Promised Messiahas reassured him and said, ‘Do not be afraid. I shall appoint Dr Abdullah Sahib who will treat you properly.’

“At that time, he was the only and the most competent doctor in Qadian. So, the next day, the Promised Messiahas came along with Dr Sahib and especially tasked him to treat Lala Sharampat Rai Sahib. No expenses were incurred by Lala Sharampat Rai Sahib for this treatment. The Promised Messiahas used to visit him daily without fail. When the wound began to heal and the critical condition improved, he began to visit at intervals. Nevertheless, the Promised Messiahas continued to visit him until he fully recovered.” (Sirat Hazrat Masih-e-Maudas by Hazrat Maulvi Abdul Karim Sialkotira [Urdu], pp. 161)

This was his great example of maintaining friendship and of visiting and showing sympathy to the sick.

Among the five things, which the Holy Prophetsa declared to be the rights of a Muslim owed by other Muslims, is visiting the sick.

Hazrat Abu Hurairahra narrates:

“Allah’s Messengersa said, ‘Every Muslim has five rights over another Muslim; to return the greetings, to reply to his call, to accompany funeral processions, to visit the sick and to respond to the one who sneezes [i.e. to say: yarhamukallah, when the sneezer praises Allah]” (Riyad al-Salihin, Kitab Iyadatil-maridi wa tash-yi‘il-maiyyiti wa al-salaati ‘alaihi wa hudoori dafanihi, Bab ayadatil-mareed)

3. What are the rights of orphans in Islam?

The next topic that I will take up is related to the rights of orphans. What are Allah’s commandments with regard to the rights of orphans? He says:

وَ لَا تَقۡرَبُوۡا مَالَ الۡیَتِیۡمِ اِلَّا بِالَّتِیۡ ہِیَ اَحۡسَنُ حَتّٰی یَبۡلُغَ اَشُدَّہٗ

“And approach not the property of the orphan, except in a way which is best, till he attains his maturity.” (Surah al-An‘am, Ch.6: V.153)

It means that if you are tasked with looking after orphans, do not usurp their wealth and property under the pretence of caring for them. If the guardian has an abundance of means, they can spend on them from their own wealth, which would be the ideal scenario. However, if that is not available, then they should spend carefully, according to what is only essential.

Moreover, Allah the Exalted states:

وَ لَا تَقۡرَبُوۡا مَالَ الۡیَتِیۡمِ اِلَّا بِالَّتِیۡ ہِیَ اَحۡسَنُ حَتّٰی یَبۡلُغَ اَشُدَّہٗ ۪ وَ اَوۡفُوۡا بِالۡعَہۡدِ ۚ اِنَّ الۡعَہۡدَ کَانَ مَسۡـُٔوۡلًا

And come not near the property of the orphan, except in the best way, until he attains his maturity, and fulfil the covenant; for the covenant shall be questioned about. (Surah Bani Israil, Ch. 17: V. 35)

Here, the matter has been explained further, that not only should you desist usurping the wealth of the orphan, you should also ensure its protection. Once the orphan has reached an age of wisdom and maturity, then return their wealth. Protection also means that you may invest an orphan’s wealth in some profitable business. That is the right way of looking after an orphan.

Then, Allah the Exalted further states:

وَ یُطۡعِمُوۡنَ الطَّعَامَ عَلٰی حُبِّہٖ مِسۡکِیۡنًا وَّ یَتِیۡمًا وَّ اَسِیۡرًا

“And they feed, for love of Him, the poor, the orphan, and the prisoner.” (Surah al-Dahr, Ch.76: V.9)

This is the beautiful nature of believers. Whenever required, they offer sacrifices and fulfil their responsibilities.

Then, Allah the Exalted further states:

کَلَّا بَلۡ لَّا تُکۡرِمُوۡنَ الۡیَتِیۡمَ

“Nay, but you honour not the orphan.” (Surah al-Fajr, Ch.89: V.18)

It means that if you do not fulfil the rights owed to orphans, you will be punished. Hence, you should be mindful.

Allah the Exalted further states:

فَاَمَّا الۡیَتِیۡمَ فَلَا تَقۡہَرۡ

“So the orphan, oppress not.” (Surah al-Duha, Ch.93: V.10)

How beautifully has Allah the Exalted drawn our attention towards fulfilling the rights of orphans, who are a vulnerable or perhaps the most vulnerable section of society! It is incumbent upon a believer to protect an orphan and all of their interests and rights until they reach maturity.

Moreover, it is briefly mentioned in various narrations as to how the Holy Prophetsa admonished with regard to orphans in light of the teachings of the Holy Quran. Hence, [it is narrated by Amr bin al-Harith]:

“Hazrat Zainabra, the wife of Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas‘udra, said, ‘I was in the Mosque and saw the Holy Prophetsa, who was saying, ‘O women! Give alms even from your ornaments.’ Hazrat Zainabra used to provide for Hazrat Abdullah and those orphans who were under her protection. So, she said to Hazrat Abdullah, ‘Will you ask Allah’s Messengersa whether it will be sufficient for me to spend part of the charity on you and the orphans who are under my protection?’ He replied, ‘Will you yourself ask Allah’s Messengersa?’ [Hazrat Zainabra added,] ‘So, I went to the Prophetsa and I saw there a woman of the Ansar who was standing at the door with a similar issue as mine. Hazrat Bilalra passed by us and we asked him, ‘Ask the Prophetsa whether it is permissible for me to spend on my husband and the orphans under my protection.’ And we requested Bilal not to inform the Prophetsa about us. So, Hazrat Bilalra went inside and asked the Prophetsa regarding our issue. The Holy Prophetsa asked, ‘Who are those two women, who are asking the question?’ Hazrat Bilalra replied that she was Zainab. The Prophetsa said, ‘Which Zainab?’ Hazrat Bilalra replied, ‘The wife of ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ud.’ The Holy Prophetsa said, ‘Yes, [it is sufficient for her] and she will receive two rewards [for that]; one for helping relatives, and the other for giving charity.’” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Zakat, Bab al-zakati ala al-zawji wa al-aitaami fil-hajr)

Hazrat Abu Hurairahra narrates that Allah’s Messengersa said:

“He who takes care of an orphan will be in Paradise with me like these two”. The narrator, Malik, raised his forefinger and middle finger for illustration. (Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Zuhdi wa al-Raqa‘iq, Bab al-igssani alal-armalati wal-miskini wal-yatimi)

This was not only a theory; rather, we find practical examples of this. Hence, Awn bin Abi Juhaifah narrated from his father:

“The charity collector of the Holy Prophetsa came to us. So, he took the charity from our rich to our poor. I was an orphaned boy, so he came to me and gave me a young she-camel from it.” (Jami‘ al-Tirmidhi, Kitab al-Zakat ‘an Rasulillahsa, Bab ma ja‘a anna al-sadaqata tukhazu min al-aghniyaai fa turaddu fil-fuqaraa)

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This was not an ordinary thing in that era, that a she-camel be given, and that too to an orphaned boy.

Hazrat Ibn Abbasra narrates that the Prophetsa said:

“Whoever takes in an orphan among the Muslims to raise, to feed him and give him drink, Allah admits him into Paradise without a doubt.” (Jami‘ al-Tirmidhi, Kitab al-Birri wa al-Silati an Rasulillahsa, Baab ma ja‘a fi rahmatil-yatimi wa kafalatihi)

Hazrat Abu Hurairahra narrates that the Allah’s Messengersa said:

“O Allah, bear witness that I have issued a warning concerning [failure to fulfil] the rights of the two vulnerable ones; orphans and women.” (Sunan Ibn Majah, Kitab al-Adab, Bab haqqil-yatimi)

It means that if one does not fulfil their rights, then one will be seized by Allah the Exalted.

Hazrat Abu Hurairahra narrates that the Allah’s Messengersa said:

“The best house among the Muslims is a house in which there is an orphan who is treated well. And the worst house among the Muslims is a house in which there is an orphan who is treated badly.” (Sunan Ibn Majah, Kitab al-Adab, Bab haqqil-yatimi)

This is how much resentment the Holy Prophetsa has expressed against those who mistreat orphans and he has greatly warned them. On the other hand, the Holy Prophetsa has given glad tidings to those who look after the orphans. Hence, Hazrat Abdullah bin Abbasra narrates that Allah’s Messengersa said:

“Whoever raises three orphans, is like the one who spends his nights in prayer and fasts during the day, and goes out morning and evening drawing his sword in the cause of Allah. In Paradise, he and I will be brothers like these two fingers.” He then held up his forefinger and middle finger together. (Sunan Ibn Majah, Kitab al-Adab, Bab haqqil-yatimi)

There is great reward.

The Promised Messiahas stated at an occasion:

“Allah the Exalted has stated:

یُطْعِمُوْنَ الطَّعَامَ عَلیٰ حُبِّہٖ مِسْکِیْنًا وَّ یَتِیْمًا وَّ اَسِیْرًا اِنَّمَا نُطْعِمُکُمْ لِوَجْہِ اللّٰہِ لَا نُرِیْدُ مِنْکُمْ جَزَآءً وَّ لَا شَکُوْرًا

“It means that ‘believers are those who, out of love for God, feed the poor and the orphans and the captives, and say that, ‘We do not want any reward or gratitude from you for this bread, nor do we have any other motive. The purpose of all our services is only the countenance and pleasure of God.”’ [Surah al-Dahr, Ch.76: V.9]

“It is worth pondering how clearly one can learn from all these verses that the Holy Quran has declared the desire for divine love and divine pleasure that stems from a sincere heart as the highest degree of worship and good deeds […]

“God Almighty has named this religion Islam for the purpose that man should worship God Almighty not for material purposes but with natural fervour because Islam is the name of being content with God’s Will after giving up all personal desires. There is no religion in the world other than Islam that has these goals. Of course, God Almighty has promised the believers all kinds of blessings in order to show His mercy, but He has taught the believers who aspire to a higher rank to worship God Almighty out of personal love [alone].” (Nur-ul-Quran No. 2 [Urdu], Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 9, pp. 440-441)

In order to attain that love of Allah, it is incumbent to fulfil the rights owed to orphans and the poor.

There is another incident from the era of the Holy Prophetsa when a child was left orphaned. The Companions started to argue, everyone, expressing the desire to take the child under his care and raise him up. The matter was brought before Allah’s Messengersa. He said, bring the child and let him choose who he wants to go to. Then, hand him over to that person.

This is how the Companions tried to excel each other in fulfilling the rights of orphans.

4. What are the rights of confederates and those under a treaty according to Islam?

Islam lays great emphasis on honouring covenants and teaches how to fulfil the rights with regard to the covenants Muslims have made. It admonishes to honour them under all circumstances. Sometimes, even if the opponents cunningly signed a contract, which benefitted them more, the then Khalifa of the Muslims ordered that the covenant still be honoured by Muslims. Hence, we find the following incident recorded in history:

During the Khilafat of Hazrat Umarra, an Abyssinian slave made a contract with some people that they would be granted certain concessions. When the Muslim army went there, the people said there was a covenant between them. When, the commander of the army showed some hesitation, and the matter was brought before Hazrat Umarra, he said that a Muslim must not dishonour his word, even if a slave had made the contract. Once a contract had been signed, it had to be honoured. (Sair-e-Ruhani 7 [Urdu], Anwar-ul-Ulum, Vol. 24, pp. 293-294)

The Holy Quran states about honouring contracts:

اِلَّا الَّذِیۡنَ عٰہَدۡتُّمۡ مِّنَ الۡمُشۡرِکِیۡنَ ثُمَّ لَمۡ یَنۡقُصُوۡکُمۡ شَیۡئًا وَّ لَمۡ یُظَاہِرُوۡا عَلَیۡکُمۡ اَحَدًا فَاَتِمُّوۡۤا اِلَیۡہِمۡ عَہۡدَہُمۡ اِلٰی مُدَّتِہِمۡ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ یُحِبُّ الۡمُتَّقِیۡنَ

“Excepting those of the idolaters with whom you have entered into a treaty and who have not [subsequently] failed you in anything nor aided anyone against you. So fulfil to these the treaty [you have made] with them till their term. Surely, Allah loves those who are righteous.” (Surah al-Taubah, Ch.9: V.4)

Thus, a condition for those who follow taqwa is also the honouring of contracts and fulfilling their rights.

Hazrat Abdullahra bin Amr narrates that the Prophetsa said:

“Whoever killed a person under a treaty with the Muslims, shall not smell the fragrance of Paradise though its fragrance is such that it can be perceived from a distance of forty years.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Jizyati wal-Mawada‘ah, Bab ithmi man qatala mu‘ahadan bighairi jurm) This is how far the fragrance of Paradise is spread. However, one who breaks a promise or treaty, will be deprived of it.

It is narrated by some of the sons of the Companions that they heard their forefathers, who were related to each other, say that Allah’s Messengersa said:

“On the Day of Resurrection, I shall be the adversary of the one who oppresses a dhimmi [a non-Muslim who lives under Muslim rule] or violates his right or puts a responsibility on him which is beyond his capacity or takes something from him against his will.” (Sunan Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Khiraji wal-Imarati wal-Fay, Bab fi ta‘shiri ahli z-zimmati iza-khatalafu bil-tijaraat)

This is so because there is a contract with the dhimmi and it is the responsibility of a Muslim to protect their rights.

To what extent did the Holy Prophetsa honour covenants? In this regard, Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Al-Bailamani narrates:

“Allah’s Messengersa gave a Muslim the capital punishment, who had killed a dhimmi who had made a covenant with the Muslims, and said, ‘I am closest to the ones who honour their covenants of protection.’” (Bulugh al-Maram Fi Adillat al-Ahkam, Dar Arqam [Beirut, 2016], p. 248)

As a Muslim had killed someone, so he was given the same punishment.

It is narrated by Hazrat al-Irbad ibn Sariyah al-Sulamira:

“We alighted with the Holy Prophetsa at Khaybar, and he had his Companions with him. The chief of Khaybar was a mischievous and evil man. He came to the Prophetsa and said, ‘O Muhammad! Is it lawful for you that you slaughter our donkeys, eat our fruit and beat our women?’ The Prophetsa became extremely upset upon hearing that and said to Ibn Awf, ‘Mount your horse and call loudly, “Beware that Paradise is lawful only for a believer and that they [the people] should gather for prayer.”’

“They gathered and the Holy Prophetsa led them in prayer, stood up and said, ‘Does any of you while reclining on his couch, imagine that Allah has prohibited only that which is to be explicitly found in this Quran? Listen! By Allah, I have preached, commanded and prohibited various matters as numerous as that which is found in the Quran, or more numerous. Verily, Allah has not permitted you to enter the houses of the People of the Book without permission, or beat their women, or eat their fruits when they give you that jizyah which is imposed on them.’” (Sunan Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Khiraji wal-Imarati wal-Fay, Bab fi ta‘shiri ahli z-zimmati iza-khatalafu bil-tijaraat)

Hazrat Ibn Abbasra narrates that the Holy Prophetsa gave blood money for two of the men of Banu Amir equal to that of Muslims because both of them were under a treaty with the Holy Prophetsa. (The Life & Character of the Seal of Prophetssa – Vol. II, pp. 378)

Thus, it is also compulsory to honour the contracts made with non-Muslims. This is their right.

At the time of the treaty of Hudaibiyyah, an incident occurred, which is famous and has been recorded in history. Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra has also mentioned it as follows:

“The Holy Prophetsa commanded that it was not permissible to dishonour a treaty even with a disbeliever. In the peace treaty of Hudaibiyyah, there was a condition from the disbelievers that if a Muslim came and joined them, they would be allowed to keep him, but if one of their men went and joined the Muslims, they would have to return him to them.” It was a very severe condition and not based on just terms at all.

“This condition had been written in the contract which had not yet been signed. Meanwhile, a man named Abu Jandal, who was kept in iron chains and who had already suffered a lot, came to the Holy Prophetsa. He came and described his plight and said, ‘O Messengersa of Allah! Please take me with you. These people inflict a lot of pain on me because I am a Muslim.’ The Companions also said, ‘O Messengersa of Allah! He should be taken along. He has suffered enough at the hands of the disbelievers.’ However, his father came and said, ‘If you take him with you, it would be tantamount to treachery.’

“The Companions pointed out that the treaty had not been signed yet, but he said, ‘The treaty has been written down. What does it matter, if it has not been signed yet?’ The Holy Prophetsa said, ‘Return him. We cannot keep him with us according to the covenant.’

“The Companions trembled at this but he returned him and they took him away. However, when the Holy Prophetsa came to Medina, he somehow released himself and came to him again. Two men followed him to take him back. They came and said to the Holy Prophetsa, ‘You have made a promise that you will return our man.’ He said, ‘Yes, there is a promise. Take him away.’ He said, ‘O Messengersa of Allah! These people inflict pain on me and harass me. Don’t send me with them.’ He replied, ‘God has commanded me not to commit treachery, so go with them.’

“He went away with the two men but on the way, he killed one of them and came back again and said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! You have fulfilled your promise to them. However, I am under no obligation to them that I would go with them, so I came again.’

“The other man also arrived again to pick him up. The Messengersa of Allah said, ‘We cannot keep you with us.’ He sent him back again. However, the man did not manage to take him along on his own. So, he remained.” According to another narration, he went to another place instead of Medina. “The Messengersa kept repeating, that, ‘I will not break my promise.’ So, he fulfilled his promise to the disbelievers even though a Muslim was in great distress.” (Khutbat-e-Mahmud [Urdu], Vol. 5, No. 31, 29 September 1916, pp. 275-276)

At Hudaibiyyah, it was agreed between Muslims and disbelievers that Arab tribes would be free to join either the disbelievers or the Holy Prophetsa. It was also agreed that both parties would ensure they wouldn’t fight either, nor those who joined them.

The Meccans [disbelievers] breached the contract by attacking a tribe that was allied with Muslims. That tribe complained to the Holy Prophetsa, who decided to attack Mecca in support of his allied tribe.

This was the tribe’s right according to the contract that they are helped. And it was now the responsibility of the Muslims to honour this contract and establish their right and punish the Meccans for breaching the contract.

Anyway, when the Meccans came to know about this. They sent Abu Sufyan, who came, arrived at the mosque of the Prophetsa and announced that the treaty would now be renewed since he was not part of the original treaty. The Muslims told him to stop behaving like a child and said to him that a contract was signed and then breached by them. Abu Sufyan was extremely embarrassed and went back. Eventually, Mecca was conquered by the Muslims. (Life of Muhammad, pp. 152-154)

5. What are the rights of enemy combatants in Islam?

Usually, wars including modern-day wars are fought to establish superiority and to expand one’s territory. Moreover, in the modern era, wars have been fought to take control over the resources of other countries by any means possible. Then, they talk about ‘rights’, while usurping the rights of other nations. However, the permission to fight that has been granted in Islam, is in order to establish peace and religious freedom and to fight against the oppressors. Alongside that, Islam also establishes the rights of the enemy combatants. Hence, when the first commandment to fight was revealed, Allah the Exalted also clarified the reason as to why the permission to fight was being granted. It states:

اُذِنَ لِلَّذِیۡنَ یُقٰتَلُوۡنَ بِاَنَّہُمۡ ظُلِمُوۡا ؕ وَاِنَّ اللّٰہَ عَلٰی نَصۡرِہِمۡ لَقَدِیۡرُ – الَّذِیۡنَ اُخۡرِجُوۡا مِنۡ دِیَارِہِمۡ بِغَیۡرِ حَقٍّ اِلَّاۤ اَنۡ یَّقُوۡلُوۡا رَبُّنَا اللّٰہُ ؕ وَلَوۡلَا دَفۡعُ اللّٰہِ النَّاسَ بَعۡضَہُمۡ بِبَعۡضٍ لَّہُدِّمَتۡ صَوَامِعُ وَبِیَعٌ وَّصَلَوٰتٌ وَّمَسٰجِدُ یُذۡکَرُ فِیۡہَا اسۡمُ اللّٰہِ کَثِیۡرًا ؕ وَلَیَنۡصُرَنَّ اللّٰہُ مَنۡ یَّنۡصُرُہٗ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ لَقَوِیٌّ عَزِیۡزٌ

“Permission [to fight] is given to those against whom war is made because they have been wronged – and Allah indeed has power to help them – Those who have been driven out from their homes unjustly only because they said, ‘Our Lord is Allah’ – And if Allah did not repel some men by means of others, there would surely have been pulled down cloisters and churches and synagogues and mosques, wherein the name of Allah is oft commemorated. And Allah will surely help one who helps Him. Allah is indeed Powerful, Mighty. (Surah al-Hajj, Ch.22: V.40-41)

Its means that if such people were left completely unchecked, then no place of worship would be left. These people would attack them and destroy all of them.

Then, the following permission was granted, keeping in view the objective to establish justice:

یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا کُوۡنُوۡا قَوّٰمِیۡنَ لِلّٰہِ شُہَدَآءَ بِالۡقِسۡطِ ۫ وَ لَا یَجۡرِمَنَّکُمۡ شَنَاٰنُ قَوۡمٍ عَلٰۤی اَلَّا تَعۡدِلُوۡا ؕ اِعۡدِلُوۡا ۟ ہُوَ اَقۡرَبُ لِلتَّقۡوٰی ۫ وَ اتَّقُوا اللّٰہَ ؕ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ خَبِیۡرٌۢ بِمَا تَعۡمَلُوۡنَ

“O ye who believe! be steadfast in the cause of Allah, bearing witness in equity; and let not a people’s enmity incite you to act otherwise than with justice. Be [always] just, that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah. Surely, Allah is aware of what you do. (Surah al-Maidah, Ch.5: V.9)

How did the Holy Prophetsa establish the rights with regard to those fighting a war? In this regard, Hazrat Sulaimanra bin Buraidah narrates from his father:

“When the Messengersa of Allah appointed a commander over an army or a detachment, he would especially instruct him to fear Allah and consider the welfare of the Muslims who were with him. He would then say, ‘Fight in the Name of Allah and in the cause of Allah, those who disbelieve in Allah, and do not steal from the spoils of war or be treacherous, nor mutilate, and do not kill any child. When you meet your enemy from among the idolaters, then call them to one of the three options or choices, whichever of them they respond to, then accept it from them, and refrain from them: Call them to Islam, and if they agree, accept it from them and refrain from them. Demand from them to relocate from their land to the land of Emigrants. Inform them that if they do that, then they will have similar to what those who emigrated have, and from them will be required similar to what is required from those who have emigrated. And if they refuse to relocate, then inform them that they will be treated like the bedouins among the Muslims, and the Judgement of Allah will be applied to them as it is applied to the believers. They will not receive anything from the spoils or fay‘, unless they fight along with the Muslims. If they refuse, then demand jizyah from them, and if they agree, accept it from them and refrain from them. However, if they refuse then seek help from Allah against them and fight them. And if you lay siege to a fortress and they want you to grant them a covenant from Allah and a covenant of His Prophet, then do not grant them the covenant of Allah nor the covenant of His Prophet; rather, grant them your own covenant and the covenant of your companions, it will be better than breaking Allah’s covenant and the covenant of His Messenger.” Otherwise, if you fail honour your commitment, then you would be committing a greater sin. “And if you lay siege to the people of a fortress and they want you to lift the siege for negotiating upon the judgement of Allah, then do not stop, but rather make them surrender to your judgement, for you do not know if you will come upon the judgement of Allah regarding them or not.’” (Jami‘ al-Tirmidhi, Kitab al-Siyar an Rasulillahsa, Bab ma ja‘a fi wasiyyatihi fil-qitaal) (Sunan Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Jihad, Bab fi du‘a al-mushrikin)

Thus, as much leniency as possible was granted to them.

Then, it is narrated by Hazrat Abdullah [bin Yazid al-Ansari]:

“The Holy Prophetsa forbade robbery, and also forbade mutilation of bodies.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Mazalim, Bab al-nuhba bighairi izni sahibihi)

Hazrat Abdur Rahmanra bin Aiz narrates:

“Whenever the Messengersa of Allah sent an expedition, he would say to them, ‘Familiarise yourself with the people and do not attack them, until you have preached to them for it is dearer to me with regard to all mankind, whether they live in houses or tents, that they return as Muslims than that you capture their women and children as prisoners and kill their men.’” (Kanz al-Ummal, Vol. 4, Muassasah ar-Risalah: Beirut, p. 469, Hadith 11396)

Hazrat Anas bin Malik narrates that Allah’s Messengersa said:

“Depart in Allah’s name and adhering to the religion of Allah and His Messengersa. Do not kill a decrepit old man, or a young infant, or a child, or a woman. Do not be dishonest and keep the spoils of war together. Rectify your actions and do good, for surely, Allah loves those who do good.” (Sunan Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Jihad, Bab fi du‘a al-mushrikeen)

Hazrat al-Aswadra bin Sari‘ narrates:

“The Messengersa of Allah sent an expedition on the day of the Battle of Hunain. They fought the polytheists to the extent that the scope of the killing reached their children. When they returned, Allah’s Messengersa asked them, ‘What forced you to kill the children?’” You had no right to do that. “‘They replied, ‘O Allah’s Messengersa! They were merely the children of the polytheists.’ He said, ‘Are the best among you not the children of polytheists? By the One in Whose Hand is the soul of Muhammad, no soul is born except on the pure primordial nature until its tongue gains the ability to express itself properly.’” (Musnad Ahmad, Musnad al-muqillin, al-Aswad bin Sari‘)

Hazrat Rabahra ibn Rabi‘ narrates:

“When we were with the Messengersa of Allah on an expedition, he saw some people gathered together over something and sent a man and said, ‘See, what are these people gathered around?’ He then came back and said, ‘They are around a woman who has been killed.’ He said, ‘Why was she killed? She was not a combatant.’” People said that, “‘Khalid ibn Walid is in charge of the van.’ So, he sent a man and said, ‘Tell Khalid not to kill a woman or a hired servant.’” (Sunan Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Jihad, Bab fi qatlin-nisaa)

At the occasion of the conquest of Mecca, the Holy Prophetsa had ordered Khalid bin Walidra to enter Mecca from the lower part of it and to finally meet up with him at Safa. He ordered Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra bin al-Jarrah to enter from Batn Al-Wadi, advance to a certain point and then wait for him. The Holy Prophetsa emphatically instructed all of them not to take up arms against anyone unless someone initiated an attack. He conveyed this instruction to everyone in general and to Hazrat Khalidra bin Walid in particular.

According to these instructions, the Muslim army began to advance into Mecca from every side. The part of the town which Hazrat Khalidra bin Walid entered had not heard the conditions of peace. Hence, some from among the Quraish started to fight against him. Since Ikrimah bin Abi Jahl, Safwan bin Umayyah and Sahl bin Amr had all attacked him along with their associates, he was forced to take up arms in defence.

Although the skirmish at Khandamah was brief, still 12 of the enemies were killed. Upon seeing their end, the rest of them fled away and nobody else dared to launch another attack. Before Hazrat Khalidra bin Walid could come back, the Holy Prophetsa was informed of the incident and he was requested to stop Hazrat Khalidra from fighting. If Hazrat Khalidra did not stop, they said, all of Mecca would be massacred.

The Holy Prophetsa sent for Khalidra at once and said, “Did I not stop you from fighting?” He replied, “Yes, you did, O Prophetsa of God, but these people attacked us first and began to shoot arrows at us. We showed patience at this too, I did nothing and told them we did not want to fight. But they did not listen and continued shooting arrows at us. So, we were forced to fight as a result of which God Almighty dispersed them.”

The Holy Prophetsa accepted his explanation.

This was the only untoward incident that took place on this occasion. All the appointed commanders came from different directions and met up with the Holy Prophetsa at the appointed places. Mecca was fully conquered before the break of dawn. (Life of Muhammad, p. 161)

These days, critics raise allegations against Islam but at the same time they themselves launch indiscriminate attacks and air raids on hospitals and schools, completely destroy [civilian] buildings and kill women, children and the sick sheltering in homes. No one is ready to accept their rights and yet they decide to attack the right that Islam has granted.

Who is it, apart from the Holy Prophetsa and his Khulafa-e-Rashideen, that upheld these rights to such a degree?

How has Islam upheld the rights of enemies even in a state of war? I will present a summary of this. Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra states:

“1. Muslims are forbidden altogether to mutilate the dead. (Sahih Muslim)

2. Muslims are forbidden to resort to cheating. (Sahih Muslim)

3. Children are not to be killed, nor women. (Sahih Muslim)

4. Priests and religious functionaries and religious leaders are not to be interfered with. (Tahavi)

5. The old and decrepit and women and children are not to be killed. The possibility of peace should always be kept in view. (Abu Dawud)

6. When Muslims enter enemy territory, they should not strike terror into the general population. They should permit no ill-treatment of common folk. (Sahih Muslim)

(They should not scare the population for no reason, like these people carry out air-raids.)

7. A Muslim army should not camp in a place where it causes inconvenience to the general public. When it marches it should take care not to block the road, nor cause discomfort to other wayfarers.

8. No disfigurement of the face is to be permitted. (Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim)

9. The least possible losses should be inflicted upon the enemy. (Abu Dawud)

10. When prisoners of war are put under guard, those closely related should be placed together. (Abu Dawud)

11. Prisoners should live in comfort. Muslims should care more for the comfort of their prisoners than for their own. (Tirmidhi)

12. Emissaries and delegates from other countries should be held in great respect. Any mistakes or discourtesies they commit should be ignored. (Abu Dawud, Kitab al-jihad)

13. If a Muslim commits the sin of ill-treating a prisoner of war, atonement is to be made by releasing the prisoner without ransom.

14. When a Muslim takes charge of a prisoner of war, the latter is to be fed and clothed in the same way as the Muslim himself. (Sahih al-Bukhari)

Hazrat Abu Bakrra, the First Khalifa of Islam, supplemented these commands of the Prophetsa with some of his own. One of these commands appended here also constitutes part of the Muslim teaching:

15. Public buildings and fruit-bearing trees (and food crops) are not to be damaged. (Al-Muwatta)” (Life of Muhammad, pp. 117-118)

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra described one hallmark of the true servants of the Gracious God [ibad-ur-Rahman] as those who do not kill anyone unjustly. He states:

“Similarly, another hallmark of ibad-ur-Rahman is that they do not kill anyone unjustly. This hallmark also appears in all its glory in the holy personages of the Companionsra. They obeyed this order so strictly that despite their fighting against a nation that wanted to change their religion by force of the sword, their sword was only ever raised against those who were practically involved in the war as combatants. Their sword did not rise against a woman, a child, an old man, a monk, a pandit or a priest because they knew that Islam only allowed fighting against combatants. Killing other people, even if they are from an enemy nation, is declared unlawful.

“Today, the world’s great governments, which claim to be the guardians of justice and whose existence is considered a guarantee for world peace, are such that they keep threatening to destroy enemy nations with nuclear weapons. In fact, in the last World War, millions of innocent Japanese men, women and children were killed as a result of their dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and it was hailed as a great achievement for world peace.”

Even now, when attacks are carried out against different towns during the various wars that are going on, what happens there? What happened in Iraq? What happened in Palestine? What happened in Syria? What is happening in Yemen? The same cruelties are being repeated. Then, these actions are hailed as great achievements towards world peace.

“On the contrary, nowhere during the time of the Holy Prophetsa and his Rightly Guided Caliphsra do we see any such cruelty where they killed any innocent men, women and children in a war. However, those who paint their hands with the innocent blood of millions of people are hailed as the epitomes of justice and those Muslims who never even trampled an ant under their feet are called dacoits and looters.” (Tafsir-e-Kabir [Urdu], Vol. 6, pp. 575-576)

The Promised Messiahas states:

“One should also bear this condition in mind that Islam has permitted the raising of the sword only against those who take up the sword first and has commanded to kill only those who kill you first.” (Anjam-e-Atham [Urdu], Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 11, p. 37)

These were a few more rights that I have expounded upon. These are the rights, by establishing which, we can spread a spirit of peace and security in the society and the world. Otherwise, there is no guarantee of peace in the world. In particular, the rights of combatants that I have mentioned, if governments do not understand their responsibilities in this regard and do not fulfil the rights owed to others, then they should be ready for a World War, the destruction of which is beyond any imagination.

May Allah the Exalted grant wisdom to these worldly governments and instead of feeding their egos, they may work towards saving humanity.

In this regard, it is the duty of every Ahmadi to pray that the world may be saved from destruction and catastrophe. That they may accept the One Lord Who has no partner. May they understand the teachings of the Holy Prophetsa and tread upon this path. This is the guarantee of their sustenance and the sustenance of their future generations.

May Allah grant them wisdom. May Allah give every Ahmadi every kind of security. Pray for Ahmadis as well; may every Ahmadi and every oppressed individual be safe from every evil.

(Translated by Al Hakam)

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