10 July 2020
Men of Excellence
After reciting the Tashahud, Ta‘awuz, and Surah al-Fatihah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa said:
As I mentioned in the previous Friday sermon, the Holy Prophetsa was given the divine commandment to punish the Banu Quraizah for their treachery after the Battle of Ahzab. Hence, a battle commenced against them. The Banu Quraizah then sought the verdict of Hazrat Saadra to settle the matter, which he did accordingly.
While speaking about this battle, on one occasion Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra stated:
“After some 20 days, the Muslims were able to breathe again in peace” after the Battle of Ahzab, “but they still had the Banu Quraizah to settle with. The Banu Quraizah had dishonoured their pact with the Muslims and this could not be passed over. The Holy Prophetsa collected his exhausted force and told them that there was no rest for them yet. Before the sun went down, they must fall upon the Banu Quraizah in their fortifications. Then he sent Hazrat Alira to the Banu Quraizah to ask them why they had gone back on their solemn word.
“The Banu Quraizah showed no regret and no inclination to ask for forgiveness. Instead, they insulted Hazrat Alira and the other Muslim delegates and started hurling vile abuse at the Holy Prophetsa and the women of his family. They said they did not care for Muhammad[sa] and had never had any kind of pact with him. When Hazrat Alira returned to report the reply of the Jews, he found the Holy Prophetsa and the companions advancing towards the Jewish fortifications. The Jews had been abusing the Holy Prophetsa, his wives and daughters. Fearing lest this should pain the Holy Prophetsa, Hazrat Alira suggested there was no need for the Holy Prophetsa to take part as the Muslims themselves could deal with the Jews and that he ought to return. The Holy Prophetsa understood Hazrat Alira and said, ‘Do you want me not to hear their abuse, Ali?’
“Hazrat Alira said that was indeed the reason.
“The Holy Prophetsa then said, ‘But why? What difference does it make if they revile me? Mosesas was of their kith and kin. Yet they inflicted more suffering on him than they have on me.’ The Holy Prophetsa continued to advance. The Jews put up their defences and started fighting. Their women also joined them. Some Muslims were sitting at the foot of a wall. A Jewish woman, seeing this, dropped a stone on them, killing one of the Muslims.
“The siege went on for some days. At the end of this period, the Jews felt they would not be able to hold out for long. Then their chiefs sent word to the Holy Prophetsa requesting him to send Abu Lubabara, an Ansari chief of the Aus, a tribe friendly to the Jews. They wanted to consult him about a possible settlement. The Holy Prophetsa sent Abu Lubabara to the Jews, who asked him if they should lay down their arms and accept the verdict of the Holy Prophetsa. Abu Lubabara said they should. But at the same time, he passed a finger over his neck, making the sign of death. The Holy Prophetsa had said nothing on this subject to anybody. But Abu Lubabara, fearing that the crime of the Jews merited nothing but death, without carefully pondering over the matter, made this sign, which proved fateful for the Jews” i.e. for the Banu Quraizah tribe. “The latter declined Abu Lubaba’sra advice and refused to accept the Holy Prophet’ssa verdict. Had they accepted it, the utmost punishment they would have had was expulsion from Medina. But as ill-luck would have it, they refused to accept the Holy Prophet’ssa decision. Instead of the Holy Prophet’ssa, they said, they would accept the verdict of Saadra bin Muaz, chief of their allies, the Aus. They would agree to any punishment proposed by him. A dispute also arose among the Jews. Some of them began to say that their people had really gone back on their agreement with the Muslims. The behaviour of the Muslims, on the other hand, showed that they were true and honest and that their religion also was true. Those who thought in this way joined Islam. Amr bin Su‘da one of the Jewish chiefs, reproved his people and said, ‘You have committed a breach of faith and gone back on your plighted word. The only course now open to you is either to join Islam or give jizya.’
“They said, ‘We will neither join Islam nor give jizya, for dying is better than giving jizya.’ Amr replied that in that case he stood absolved, and saying this left the fort. He was sighted by Muhammadra bin Maslama, commander of a Muslim column, who asked him who he was. On learning of his identity he told him to depart in peace and himself prayed loudly:
اَللّٰهُمَّ لَا تَحْرِمْنِيْ اِقَالَةَ عَثَرَاتِ الْكِرَامِ
“‘O Allah! Do not deprive me from the virtue of concealing the mistakes of the honourable.’
“What he meant was that this Jew had shown remorse and regret over the conduct of his people. It was the moral duty of Muslims, therefore, to forgive men like him. In letting him go, he had done a good thing, and he prayed that God should give him the chance to do such good deeds again and again.” He had no intention to commit any injustice.
“When the Holy Prophetsa learnt of what Muhammadra bin Maslama had done, he did not reprove him for letting this Jewish leader go; rather, he approved of what had been done and praised him for his action.”
This was an isolated incident as there were a few individuals who disagreed with the decisions of their own tribe. They advised that they ought to enter into a treaty with the Muslims. However, the Banu Quraizah as a whole remained stubborn on their stance of not accepting the Holy Prophetsa as the arbiter.
“As a people, they remained adamant and refused to accept the verdict of the Holy Prophetsa and asked, instead, for the verdict of Saadra bin Muaz.” They did not wish for the Holy Prophetsa to give a verdict, instead they were insistent that they would only obey the verdict of Saadra bin Muaz. “The Holy Prophetsa accepted their demand and sent word to Saadra, who was lying wounded, to come and give his verdict on the Jewish breach of faith. As soon as the Holy Prophet’ssa decision was announced, the Aus, who had been allies of the Banu Quraiza for a long time, ran to Saadra and began to press him to give his award in favour of the Banu Quraizah. The Khazraj, they said, had always tried to save Jews allied to them. It was up to Saadra to save the Jews allied to his tribe. In his injured state, Saadra went mounted to the Banu Quraizah. Men of his tribe ran with him on both sides, pressing him not to punish the Banu Quraizah. All that Saadra said in reply was that the person who had to make a decision held a trust. He had to discharge the trust with integrity. ‘I will therefore give my verdict based on complete honesty,’ he said. When Saadra reached the Jewish fortress, he saw the Banu Quraizah lined up against the wall of the fort, waiting for him. On the other side were Muslims. When Saadra approached them he asked, ‘Will you accept my verdict?’ They replied, ‘Yes.’
“Turning to the Banu Quraizah he asked the same question and they also agreed. Then shyly, with his gaze down, he pointed to the side where the Holy Prophetsa was sitting and asked if the people on that side also agreed to abide by his verdict”, i.e. out of respect and reverence he did not look towards where the Holy Prophetsa was sitting. However, as he had been appointed as the arbitrator, it was incumbent upon him to present this question. Therefore, with his eyes lowered, he enquired from the Holy Prophetsa. “On hearing this, the Holy Prophetsa replied, ‘Yes’.
“When all parties agreed to accept Saad’sra verdict, he then announced his verdict in accordance with the following commandment of the Bible:
“‘When thou comest nigh unto a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace unto it. And it shall be, if it make thee answer of peace, and open unto thee, then it shall be, that all the people that is found therein shall be tributaries unto thee, and they shall serve thee. And if it will make no peace with thee, but will make war against thee, then thou shalt besiege it: And when the Lord thy God hath delivered it into thine hands, thou shalt smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword: But the women, and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is in the city, even all the spoil thereof, shalt thou take unto thyself; and thou shalt eat the spoil of thine enemies, which the Lord thy God hath given thee. Thus shalt thou do unto all the cities which the Lord thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth: But thou shalt utterly destroy them; namely, the Hittites, and the Amoiites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee: That they teach you not to do after all their abominations, which they have done unto their gods; so should ye sin against the Lord your God.’” (Deuteronomy, 20: 10-18)
(These were the words of the Bible and Hazrat Saadra gave his verdict accordingly.) “According to the teaching of the Bible, if the Jews had won and the Holy Prophetsa had lost, all Muslims – men, women and children – would have been put to death. We know from history that this was the very intention of the Jews”, i.e. to kill all the men, women and children. “The least the Jews would have done was to put to death the men, to enslave the women and children and make away with the belongings of the Muslims, this being the treatment laid down in Deuteronomy for enemy nations living in distant parts of the world. Saadra was friendly to the Banu Quraizah and his tribe was in alliance with theirs. When he saw that the Jews had refused to accept the verdict of the Holy Prophetsa in line with the Islamic Shariah, which no doubt protected their lives, he gave the verdict of punishment according to the Jewish Law, which Prophet Mosesas had stated in Deuteronomy. The responsibility for this verdict does not rest with the Holy Prophetsa or the Muslims, but lies with Mosesas and his teaching and with the Jews who had treated other nations in the same manner for centuries. They refused to accept the decision of the Holy Prophetsa which would have based on mercy and compassion. But, instead of accepting this, they insisted on a verdict by Saadra. Saadra decided to punish the Jews in accordance with the Law of Mosesas.”
Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra continues:
“Yet Christians to this day continue to defame the Holy Prophetsa of Islam and say that he was guilty of committing injustices. Do the Christian scholars not ponder as to why the Holy Prophetsa never showed cruelty on any other instance?
“There were many occasions on which the Holy Prophet’ssa enemies threw themselves at his mercy and never did they ask in vain for his forgiveness. Only on this instance, the enemy refused to accept the decision of the Holy Prophetsa, but instead, wished to accept the decision of someone else. This individual had already taken the agreement from the Holy Prophetsa that he would abide by his verdict.” As is evident from history, the Holy Prophetsa also gave his word to abide by the verdict.
“After this, Hazrat Saadra proceeded to announce his verdict, in fact, he reiterated the verdict of Mosesas, whom the Jews claimed to follow. If any cruelty was perpetrated, it was by the Jews on themselves by refusing to accept the Holy Prophet’ssa decision. If any cruelty was perpetrated it was by Mosesas, who laid down this penalty for a beleaguered enemy and laid this down in his book under the command of God.
“If this was an injustice, then the Christian writers ought to condemn Mosesas who prescribed this cruel penalty, or rather, they ought to condemn the God of Mosesas, Who issued such a command in the Torah.
“After the Battle of Ahzab was over, the Holy Prophetsa declared that from that day onwards, the idolaters would not attack Muslims; instead, Islam would now respond to those perpetrators who had committed cruelties against the Muslims. The tide was going to turn.
“In the Battle of Ahzab, the Arab confederates had not suffered any considerable losses. They had lost only a few men. In less than a year’s time, they could have come and attacked Medina again and with even better preparations. Instead of any army of twenty thousand they could have raised for a new attack an army of forty, or even fifty thousand. An army numbering a hundred or a hundred and fifty thousand was not beyond their capacity. But now for 21 years, the enemies of Islam had done their utmost to eradicate Islam and Muslims. Continued failure of their plans had shaken their confidence. Deep within their hearts they now realised that God Almighty was with the Holy Prophetsa and that their idols and gods were false, that the Creator was the One God. Although, physically they were fine, their inner self had been shattered, i.e. even though they prostrated before their idols, their hearts, resounded the Islamic declaration of:
لَا اِلٰهَ اِلَّا اللّٰهُ
‘There is no God but Allah.’” (Introduction to the Study of the Holy Quran, Anwar-ul-Ulum, Vol. 20, pp. 162-165)
It is related by Hazrat Abu Said Khudrira that a few individuals came out of the Jewish fortresses on the condition that they were ready to accept the verdict of Hazrat Saadra bin Muaz. The Holy Prophetsa called for Hazat Saadra bin Muaz, who arrived mounted on a donkey. As he approached the mosque, the Holy Prophetsa said, “Stand for the one who is best among you” or he stated, “Stand to welcome your leader.” The Holy Prophetsa then stated, “O Saad! These people are insistent upon your verdict.” Hazrat Saadra replied, “My verdict against those who have taken up arms is that they ought to be put to death and their women and families should be imprisoned.” The Holy Prophetsa stated, “You have issued your verdict in accordance with divine will” or stated, “You have given your verdict in the manner of a king”. This is a narration of Sahih Bukhari. (Sahih Bukhari, Kitab al-Manaqib Ansar, Hadith 3804)
Further details of this incident have been mentioned by Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahibra, some of which I will mention here. Regarding the Banu Quraizah, he writes:
“After a siege of more or less 30 days (according to some sources its twenty days), these ill-fated Jews agreed to descend from their fortresses to be judged by the verdict of such a man, who despite being their confederate, found no mercy in his heart due to their evil schemes; and despite being an epitome of justice and equity, he did not possess the same compassion and tenderness at heart as was present in the man who was a ‘mercy for all mankind.’ The details are that the Aus tribe were old allies of the Banu Quraizah, and at the time, Saadra bin Muaz was the chieftain of this tribe. He had been wounded in the Battle of the Ditch and was now under medical treatment in the veranda of the Mosque in Medinah. Taking their ancient alliance into consideration, the Banu Quraizah said, ‘We take Saad bin Mu‘az to be our judge. We shall accept whatever verdict he passes concerning us.’
“However, there were some from among the Jews”, as was mentioned earlier, “who did not consider this national decision to be correct and considered their people as being criminals. In their hearts, they had been won over by the truth of Islam. A few people from among them – three according to historical accounts – happily accepted Islam and became servants of the Holy Prophetsa. There was a fourth who did not become Muslim, but he was so ashamed at the treachery of his nation that when the Banu Quraizah decided to engage in war against the Holy Prophetsa, he left the city of Medina saying, ‘My people have betrayed Muhammad[sa] immensely. I cannot partake in this treachery.’ However, the rest of the nation remained firm upon their obstinacy and insisted upon making Saadra their arbitrator. The Holy Prophetsa accepted”, as was mentioned earlier, “after which he dispatched a few companions from among the Ansar to bring Saadra . Saadra arrived and on the way, a few people from the Aus tribe persistently pleaded, ‘We are allies of the Quraizah. Just as the Khazraj dealt with their ally tribe, the Banu Qainuqa with mercy, you also deal with the Quraizah leniently. Do not give them a harsh punishment.’ At first, Saadra listened to their plea silently, but when they began to overly persist, he responded, ‘This is the time when Saad shall not care for the reproach of anyone who raises an objection owing the dictates of justice…’ Upon hearing this response, the people took to silence.
“When Saadra drew near, the Holy Prophetsa instructed his Companions:
“‘Stand for your chieftain and assist him in dismounting.’ When Saadra dismounted and moved towards the Holy Prophetsa, he said, ‘Saadra! The Banu Quraizah have accepted you as their arbitrator, and they have agreed to abide by whatever verdict you may deem fit.’ Upon this, Saadra lifted his sights towards the people of his own tribe, the Aus, and said:
“‘Do you take God as your witness and make a firm promise that you shall be bound to act upon the verdict I issue with regard to the Banu Quraizah?’ ‘Yes, we promise,’ said the people.” This has previously been mentioned in reference to Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II’sra narration of the incident. “Then, he made a gesture in the direction where the Holy Prophetsa was seated and said:
“‘Does the honourable man who is seated here also promise that he shall be bound to act upon my verdict?’” This is how it has been written in this narration i.e. the honourable man. “The Holy Prophetsa responded, ‘Yes, I promise.’
“After this covenant and agreement had been affirmed, Saadra announced his verdict: the combatant men of the Banu Quraizah would be executed, their women and children would be taken captive and their wealth would be distributed amongst the Muslims. When the Holy Prophetsa heard this verdict, he spontaneously said:
“‘Your verdict is a divine decree which cannot be averted.’
“The meaning of these words was that the verdict relevant to the Banu Quraizah took place in such circumstances, that divine power could be seen clearly working at the centre of affairs and for this reason, feelings of mercy held by the Holy Prophetsa could not prevent this outcome. This was true indeed, because the Banu Quraizah requested that Abu Lubabahra be sent to them and then such words slipped his tongue that were completely without foundation. Consequently, the Banu Quraizah refused to accept the Holy Prophetsa as their judge and under the assumption that the Aus tribe would deal leniently with them as they were allies, appointed Saadra bin Muaz, the chief of the Aus tribe as their arbitrator. Furthermore, Saadra became so resolute in the matter of justice and equity that feelings of relation and alliance were wiped out of his heart completely. Moreover, before announcing his verdict, Saadra took a firm promise from the Holy Prophetsa to affirm that this decision would be administered in full. All of these things could not have been a coincidence. Verily, at the base of these events was a divine decree and this verdict was that of God, not Saadra.”
Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahibra further writes:
“It seems that due to the treachery, treason, rebellion, sedition, disorder, murder and bloodshed of the Banu Quraizah, the verdict had already been issued by the heavenly court of justice that their combatant members should be expunged from the face of the earth. The divine instruction initially given to the Holy Prophetsa regarding this ghazwah also establishes that this was a divine decree. However, God did not wish for this verdict to be issued by His Messengersa and for this reason, kept the Holy Prophetsa completely separate through immensely intricate manifestations of His power and had this verdict announced by Saadra bin Muaz. Moreover, this announcement was made in such a manner that the Holy Prophetsa could no longer influence this decision because he had already promised that he would abide by the verdict in full. In addition to this, since the influence of this decision was not limited to the person of the Holy Prophetsa alone, rather, it affected all of the Muslims collectively, the Holy Prophetsa did not consider it his right to change this verdict by his own opinion irrespective of how heavily it may have leaned towards mercy and forgiveness. It was this very divine power which moved the Holy Prophetsa to spontaneously utter the words:
قَدْ حَكَمْتَ بِحُكْمِ اللّٰهِ
“‘O Saad! Your verdict seems to be a divine decree, which no one has the power to alter.’
“Upon saying these words, the Holy Prophetsa quietly stood up and returned to the city. At the time, his heart was aggrieved with the thought that a nation, which he greatly hoped would embrace Islam, was being deprived of faith and being sentenced to divine wrath and chastisement due to their evil deeds.
“It was perhaps on this occasion that the Holy Prophetsa uttered the following words with intense regret:
“‘If only 10 men”, i.e. 10 influential men, “had believed in me, I would have hoped to God that this entire nation would accept me and would have been saved from Divine punishment.’
“When the Holy Prophetsa was leaving, he instructed that the men be separated from the women and children of the Banu Quraizah. Hence, both these groups were brought into Madinah separately and were gathered at two separate locations. In line with the instruction of the Holy Prophetsa, the Companions”, many of whom perhaps remained hungry themselves, “arranged for a large quantity of fruit to be brought to the Banu Quraizah for their consumption. It is written that the Jewish people spent the entire night eating fruit.
“The following day, in the morning, the verdict of Saadra was to be put into effect. The Holy Prophetsa appointed a few able men to perform this task and stood close by, so that if guidance was required while the verdict was being administered, the Holy Prophetsa could provide immediate guidance.
“Another reason was so that he could instantly provide a decision if anyone appealed for mercy. Although the verdict of Saadra could not be appealed against in general, but in his capacity as a king or chief executive of a democracy, the Holy Prophetsa definitely had the right to hear an appeal with respect to a specific person on individual grounds. As an act of compassion, the Holy Prophetsa also ordered that criminals should be executed separately from one another, i.e. when one was being executed, the other should not be present nearby. Thus, every criminal was brought separately and executed according to the verdict of Saad.
“With relation to the account of the Banu Quraizah, various non-Muslim historians have levelled allegations against the Holy Prophetsa in a very unpleasant manner. Due to the death penalty which was administered to more or less 400 Jews, they have presented the Holy Prophetsa, God-forbid, as being a cruel and bloodthirsty ruler.”
One of our researchers has estimated that according to his research, the actual number [of those killed] numbered 16 or 17. In any case, there is potential for further research in this regard. There are various estimations as to the exact number; some have estimated 100, 400, 1000 or 900. In any case, there is no exact number and more research can be done in this regard.
“Even if we accept the number to be 400, this allegation is based purely on religious prejudice. In the least, as far as an allegation upon Islam and the Founder of Islam is concerned, even those historians who have been trained in light of Western thought have not been able to absolve themselves.”
Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahibra continues:
“In response to this allegation, firstly, it should be remembered that the verdict regarding the Banu Quraizah, which is deemed to be a cruel verdict, was that of Saadra bin Muaz, not the Holy Prophetsa. When it is proven that the verdict was not issued by the Holy Prophetsa in the first place, no objection can be raised against him on this account. Secondly, this verdict was not faulty and barbaric at all … Thirdly, due to the covenant which Saadra took prior to announcing his verdict, the Holy Prophetsa was in any case bound to act upon it. Fourthly, when this verdict was accepted by the criminals themselves and they did not object, considering this to be a divine decree, in such a case, it was not the task of the Holy Prophetsa to unnecessarily interfere.
“After the verdict of Saadra had been announced, the only relation of the Holy Prophetsa in this respect was to put into effect this verdict in the best possible manner under the supervision of his administration. Thus, it has already been mentioned that the manner in which the Holy Prophetsa instituted this decision may be deemed the highest possible example of mercy and compassion. To be specific, whilst these people remained in captivity before the verdict was put into effect, the Holy Prophetsa arranged for their lodging and food in the best possible manner. When the verdict of Saadra was to be implemented upon them, the Holy Prophetsa instituted the verdict in such a manner as would prove to be least painful for the criminals. Firstly, taking their emotions into consideration, the Holy Prophetsa ordered that when one criminal was to be executed, the next should not be made to witness it. As a matter of fact, history tells that when individuals would be brought to the place of execution, they would have no idea as to where they were being taken until they reached the actual spot. In addition to this, the Holy Prophetsa immediately accepted each and every appeal for mercy, which was lodged before him with respect to an individual. Not only did the Holy Prophetsa spare the lives of such people, rather, he even ordered the release of their wives and children and for their wealth etc. to be returned. What greater example of mercy and compassion towards a criminal can there be? Hence, not only is it true that absolutely no allegation can be levelled against the Holy Prophetsa due to the account of Banu Quraizah, rather, the fact of the matter is that this incident is an immensely clear proof of the high morals, remarkable administration and innate mercy and tenderness of the Holy Prophetsa.”
“Although the verdict of Saadra was a strict one in itself and one may be shocked to learn of it but the question remains was there any other option available?” Although the decision of Hazrat Saadra about the Banu Quraizah was strict, it was the natural outcome of the circumstances that had arisen, and there were no other options available.
It is for this reason that even a historian like Margoliouth, who is not at all from among the friends of Islam, is compelled to admit on this occasion that the decision of Saadra was based on compelling circumstances, without which there was no other option. Hence, Mr Margoliouth writes:
‘The great invasion, which Mohammed declared to have been miraculously frustrated, was due or believed to be due, to the propaganda of members of the Banu Nadir, whom the Prophet had been satisfied with banishing. Should he banish the Kuraizah, he would thereby be setting free a fresh set of propagandists. On the other hand, those who had taken part openly with the invaders of Medinah could not very well be permitted to remain there. To banish them was unsafe; to permit them to remain was yet more dangerous. Hence they must die.’”
The aforementioned was a quote of Margoliouth, [Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahibra then further writes:]
“Thus, the decision of Saadra was in complete accordance with the dictates of justice. Owing to his agreement to follow Saad’s decision, the Holy Prophetsa was unable to show mercy in this regard, with the exception of a few individuals. Whoever appealed for mercy, the Holy Prophetsa did his utmost to grant them mercy. However, he could not issue a general amnesty for all. It seems that since the Jews had refused to accept him as a judge they were hesitant in seeking his mercy, with the exception of a few individuals. Indeed, unless they appealed for mercy, the Holy Prophetsa was unable to show any mercy. The reason is that unless a criminal does not express remorse over their crimes, to leave them free would have harmful consequences for society.
“Another point to remember is that by virtue of the treaty, which had been settled between the Holy Prophetsa and the Jews, one condition stated that if any matter regarding the Jews required a verdict, a decision would be made according to their own Shariah”, i.e. the Jewish Law. “Therefore, history proves that in accordance with this treaty, the Holy Prophetsa would always issue a verdict to the Jews in accordance with the Mosaic law. Now, when we cast a glance upon the Torah, the exact same punishment for a crime as the Jews were guilty of committing has been prescribed therein, as Saadra bin Muaz issued to the Banu Quraizah.” (Sirat Khatam-un-Nabiyeen, Vol. 2, pp. 479-505)
In any case, the mention here of Hazrat Saadra bin Muaz, with regard to the matter of Banu Quraizah, is sufficient. There are further accounts regarding Hazrat Saadra bin Muaz that I shall mention in the future, insha-Allah.
Now I shall speak about some deceased members [of the Jamaat], who passed away recently and after the Friday prayers, I will, insha-Allah, lead their funeral prayer in absentia.
The first funeral is of Respected Hajia Ruqayyah Khalid Sahiba, who was serving as Sadr Lajna Imaillah, Ghana. She passed away by divine decree on 30 June, at the age of 65.
إِنَّا لِلّٰهِ وَإِنَّا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُوْنَ
[Verily, to Allah do we belong and to Him shall we return.] She developed uterine cancer, which she later recovered from and God Almighty granted her health. However, in May of this year, her condition began to worsen and she suffered another bout. After remaining in hospital for a brief period, she passed away on 30 June.
Hajia Ruqayyah Khalid Sahiba was born in April 1955, into an Ahmadi family in Wa, situated in north Ghana. Her late father, Al-Haj Khalid Sahib was an Imam in a village close to Wa, where the majority of people worshipped idols. He preached to them and established Ahmadiyyat there.
Hajia Ruqayyah Khalid Sahiba spent her childhood in Wa. She was well-mannered, sophisticated and a woman of principals. As a profession, she was a teacher and set an example within her professional circle as well as within the Jamaat. After her retirement, she served as the headmistress of the Ahmadiyya International School in Bustan-e-Ahmad. She had a keen passion for the education and upbringing of children; she would pay the school fees of many children and she would teach many children in her own home free of charge.
In 2017, she was appointed as Sadr Lajna Imaillah and for the few years she was sadr, she discharged her duties in an excellent manner, in spite of her illness. She continued to serve as Sadr Lajna Imaillah Ghana until her demise. She also organised a number of programmes. With the restrictions in place nowadays due to Covid-19, she still continued her tarbiyat programmes and duties for Lajna via the internet.
She was regular in offering her prayers and very passionate about carrying out good deeds. She was regular in offering the Tahajud prayers and gave alms regularly. She was also a musia [part of the institution of Al-Wasiyyat]. She had a strong bond with Khilafat. She leaves behind two sons, one daughter and four grandchildren. May Allah the Almighty grant her forgiveness and mercy and elevate her in status. May He enable her progeny to continue her good works.
The second funeral is that of Respected Safiyya Begum Sahiba, wife of the late Respected Shiekh Mubarak Ahmad Sahib, who was a missionary and served in Africa, the UK and the USA. She passed away by divine decree on 27 June at the age of 93.
إِنَّا لِلّٰهِ وَإِنَّا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُوْنَ
[Verily, to Allah do we belong and to Him shall we return.]
She was born to Hazrat Qazi Abdus Salam Sahib and Mubaraka Begum Sahiba in October 1926. She was the paternal granddaughter of Hazrat Qazi Abdur-Rahim Sahibra, who was a companion of the Promised Messiahas and she was the great paternal granddaughter of Hazrat Qazi Ziauddin Sahibra. She possessed many wonderful qualities and was very devout. She had incredible love for Khilafat, the depth of which is seldom seen. This was something she inculcated in not only her children, but also in her grandchildren. Thus, in this manner she was able to preserve this bond.
The deceased was a musi. Her marriage to Sheikh Mubarak Ahmad Sahib was her second marriage, from which she had one daughter; she also had children from her first marriage. Her first husband was Naseer Ahmad Bhatti Sahib. Nonetheless, during the time, Sheikh Sahib served in various countries and she spent her time with great devotion. She is survived by her two daughters and three sons and also a daughter from Sheikh Sahib’s first wife. One of her sons, Faheem Ahmad Bhatti Sahib is here serving as a volunteer in the private secretary’s office. One of her grandsons, Saboor Bhatti is a missionary working in Wakalat-e-Tabshir, UK. Another grandson, Fawad Bhatti is a life-devotee serving as a teacher in the Ahmadiyya College in Kano. Another grandson, Khaleeq Bhatti completed his education and devoted his life and is now serving The Review of Religions. One of her grandsons is Nabeel Bhatti, who, two years ago, fell critically ill. She prayed for him a great deal and Allah the Almighty even informed her of him being cured and subsequently, he was cured by Allah the Almighty. However, even now, Nabeel Bhatti Sahib still experiences some complications due to that illness. May Allah the Almighty completely cure him and accept Safiyya Begum Sahiba’s prayers for him. He is also a life-devotee. May Allah the Almighty also make him a beneficial member of the Jamaat and make him and his progeny servants of the faith.
Safiyya Sahiba’s daughter, Farida Sheikh Sahiba, relates:
“Our mother had great love for the Promised Messiahas. She would always point to his picture and say that whatever we have is because of him and these blessings are due to him. She also had a special connection with African-American sisters and would take great care of them. Many would come and go almost on a daily basis. They would visit her frequently, sit together in the kitchen and converse freely, as if they were members of the same family.”
Similarly, her elder daughter, Naeema Shabir Sahiba, says:
“She was very caring and loving. She was extremely patient, and one who would bring hardships upon herself in order to help others. She instilled the love of Khilafat in our hearts. She would tell us to regularly write letters [to the Khalifa]. She often recited the Promised Messiah’sas prayers for her children. She took great care of the poor and the orphans. She was regular in paying chanda and giving alms. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIIrh graciously conducted her nikah with Sheikh Mubarak Ahmad Sahib. He was a missionary and his first wife had passed away and her husband had passed away also. At the time of settling this union, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIIrh said to Sheikh Sahib out of delight for some work he had carried out for the Jamaat that he was giving him a reward. Sheikh Sahib was always mindful of this reward and this reward was his marriage to Safiyya Begum Sahiba. Sheikh Sahib was very mindful of this and took great care of her children from her first husband, who had died while the children were still young.
Her eldest son, Shamim Bhatti Sahib also studied with me in school and college. I have seen that Sheikh Sahib took great care of these children and fulfilled his duty. Similarly, Safiyya Begum Sahiba also supported Sheikh Sahib during his service and fulfilled her responsibility of being the wife of a life-devotee. There are very few wives of missionaries who fulfil their duties in the manner she did. She selflessly served her guests and never complained about anything. She also used to pray profusely for members of the Jamaat. She would treat the families of missionaries under Sheikh Sahib very well. I became acquainted with her after Khilafat. I came to know her and saw that she had immense love for Khilafat; her passion and devotion were such that is rarely seen. May Allah the Almighty elevate her status and keep her progeny devoted to the Jamaat and Khilafat.
The next mention is of respected Ali Ahmad Sahib, who prior to his retirement, served as a muallim of Waqf-e-Jadid. He passed away on 18 June at the age of 86:
إِنَّا لِلّٰهِ وَإِنَّا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُوْنَ
[Verily, to Allah do we belong and to Him shall we return.]
His father, Hazrat Mia Allah Ditta Sahibra was a companion of the Promised Messiahas. In 1903, when the Promised Messiahas travelled to Jehlum, Hazrat Mia Allah Ditta Sahibra travelled 10-12 miles by foot from his village in order to take the Bai‘at at the hands of the Promised Messiahas.
The deceased did his waqf [pledge to devote his life for the service of faith] in 1965 and from 1967 to 2008, for approximately 41 years; he served in various Jamaats of Sindh and Punjab. He taught the Holy Quran to hundreds of people, including men, women and children. Owing to his preaching efforts, many people were blessed with the good fortune of entering into the fold of Ahmadiyyat. The deceased was a musi and leaves behind his wife, two daughters and three sons.
One of his sons, Abdul Hadi Tariq Sahib is a missionary of the community and for the last seven years has been serving as a teacher in the International Jamia Ahmadiyya in Ghana. Owing to the current situation, he was unable to travel and attend the funeral and burial of his father. Two nephews of the deceased are also missionaries of the community and three grandsons are Hafiz-e-Quran.
Maghfoor Ahmad Muneeb Sahib, who is a life-devotee and currently serving as a missionary in the markaz [headquarters] writes:
“Without a doubt, respected Maulvi Sahib was a model for all life-devotees, murabbiyan and muallimeen. He would speak very little, always kept his gaze lowered from other women and did not interfere in the affairs of other people. He was also very devoted to prayers, humble, met others with great love and wholly devoted to the institution of Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyyat. Even when he got angry, the pain to make one understand their error would always be evident. He would always remain content with whatever he had. The children who were once students of Maulvi Sahib have now grown up, but their memories of Maulvi Sahib’s kindness and love remains in their hearts.”
May Allah the Almighty elevate the station of the deceased and enable his progeny to continue his good deeds.
The next funeral is of respected Rafiqa Bibi Sahiba, wife of Bashir Ahmad Dogar Sahib of Edhi Pur, district Naruwal, [Pakistan]. She passed away by divine decree on 22 May:
إِنَّا لِلّٰهِ وَإِنَّا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُوْنَ
[Verily, to Allah do we belong and to Him shall we return.]
Ahmadiyyat entered her family through her grandfather, Hazrat Malik Sardar Khan Dogar Sahib Numbardar, who was a companion of the Promised Messiahas.
Her son, Riaz Ahmad Doggar Sahib says, “Since as early as I can remember, I witnessed that she was very devoted and pious. She observed her obligatory prayers and would be regular in her fasts. She had memorised many chapters of the Holy Quran and in the mornings, when she would process milk [to extract butter] she would often recite Surah al-Taghabun. She would offer the five daily prayers with punctuality. Before offering each prayer, she would ensure one of her maternal or paternal grandchildren would stand with her for prayer so that in this way, the children would develop a passion for offering prayers. After the prayers, she would sit for a long time on the prayer mat and offer her tasbih [praising God Almighty]. Similarly, she would recite the Holy Quran aloud in a manner whereby her recitation could be heard throughout the house. She had memorised many chapters by heart.
She had a deep bond of love and devotion for Khilafat and had full conviction in the acceptance of prayers of the Khalifa. She would say with great pride that her son was a missionary, one paternal grandson was studying in Jamia to become a missionary and one maternal grandson was also a missionary. Despite the fact that she would often remember her children, she would say that it was a great blessing of God Almighty upon her that her progeny was spread all over the world.
Among those she left behind are six sons, one daughter and many maternal and paternal grandchildren. One of her sons, Riyaz Ahmad Dogar Sahib, is currently serving in Tanzania. Due to the current situation and also owing to his duties serving in the field, he was unable to attend the funeral and take part in the burial. May Allah the Almighty grant him patience and steadfastness. One of her maternal grandsons, Adeel Ahmad Dogar, is serving as a missionary in Pakistan. One paternal grandson, Ayyaz Ahmad Dogar, is studying in the 6th year student of Jamia Ahmadiyya International Ghana.
May Allah the Almighty shower His forgiveness and mercy upon the deceased and elevate her status. May her progeny be enabled to continue her virtuous endeavours. Similarly, I shall also lead the funeral prayers [in absentia] of those members who I mentioned in the previous sermons, but owing to the current situation, it was not possible to offer their funeral prayers; namely Nasir Saeed Sahib, Ghulam Mustafa Sahib, Dr Naqiyyuddin Sahib of Islamabad and Zulfikar Sahib, the missionary from Indonesia. May Allah the Almighty grant them all His mercy and forgiveness.
(Original Urdu transcript published in Al Fazl International; 31 July 2020, pp. 5-9. Translated by The Review of Religions.)