Men of Excellence

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Friday Sermon

20 December 2019

Men of Excellence

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

In continuation of the accounts of the Badri companions, I was narrating incidents from the life of Hazrat Utbahra bin Ghazwan in the last sermon, which were left unfinished. There are some further details about him that I shall narrate now. 

In 2 AH, the Holy Prophetsa sent a military expedition to Nakhlah under the leadership of Hazrat Abdullahra bin Jahsh, who was the son of the Holy Prophet’ssa paternal aunt. Hazrat Utbahra was also part of this expedition. I have previously mentioned certain details regarding this expedition in relation to another companion. Nonetheless, I will mention some brief details now as well. 

Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahibra writes the following in Sirat Khatamun-Nabiyyin:

“The Holy Prophetsa decided that the movements of the Quraish should be surveyed from a closer distance, so that all the necessary intelligence with respect to them may be available on time and Medina could be safeguarded from all kinds of sudden attacks. Hence, for this purpose, the Holy Prophetsa assembled a party of eight Muhajirin. As an act of wisdom, the Holy Prophetsa selected such men for this party who were from the various tribes of the Quraish, so that it was easier to obtain intelligence with regard to the hidden conspiracies of the Quraish.

The Holy Prophetsa appointed his paternal cousin, Abdullahra bin Jahsh as the commander of this party … “Upon ordering this Sariyyah [expedition], the Holy Prophetsa did not even inform the commander of this party as to where he was being sent and for what purpose. Rather, upon their departure, the Holy Prophetsa handed him a sealed letter and said, ‘This letter contains necessary instructions for you. When you cover a distance of two days travel from Medina, open the letter and act in accordance with the stipulated instructions.’ As such, Abdullahra and his companions set out by the command of their Mastersa. When they had journeyed a distance of two days from Medina, Abdullahra opened the instructions of the Holy Prophetsa, which were as follows:

“‘Go forth to the Valley of Nakhlah between Mecca and Ta‘if, and obtain information on the Quraish and return with news therefrom.’

“At the bottom of this letter, the Holy Prophetsa had written that after the objective of this mission became known, if anyone from among his companions was hesitant in accompanying this party and desired to return…” i.e. after reading the letter and learning of the mission and understanding what is required, if anyone from among the party had any reservations or objections, they could return if they wished to do so and there were to be no restrictions for him. The Holy Prophetsa instructed that they would be permitted to return.

“Abdullahra read out this guidance to his companions who unanimously affirmed that, ‘We happily present ourselves for this service.’ Then, this party proceeded to Nakhlah. Sa‘dra bin Abi Waqas and Utbahra bin Ghazwan lost their camels en-route, and were separated from their companions. Despite their best efforts, they were unable to relocate their companions. The party was now left with only six people.”

Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahibra states that an orientalist, Mr Margolius has written regarding this incident:

“Saadra bin Abi Waqqas and Utbahra intentionally let their camels loose and used this as an excuse to remain behind.”

Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahibra writes, “Each and every life event of these devotees of Islam, who were ready to sacrifice their lives, is a testimony to their valour and devotion. One of them was martyred at the hands of the disbelievers in the campaign of B‘ir-e-Maunah, while the other distinctly participated in many dangerous battles and ultimately became the victor of Iraq. Therefore, to doubt the sincerity of such people, especially when that doubt is founded on self-concocted notions, is the work of Mr Margolius alone. It is ironic that in his book Mr Margolius claims that he has written this book being completely free from prejudice.”

In any case, this is the practice of the orientalists, they never allow an opportunity to pass in which they can malign Islam or Muslims. I will now turn to the actual incident relating to this expedition.

“This small community reached Nakhlah and became engaged in their work…” i.e. to seek information and intelligence about the movements and intentions of the disbelievers of Mecca, in case they planned an attack against the Muslims. Hence, they became engaged in their work.

“With the thought of concealing their classified mission, some of them shaved their heads so that travellers etc. would not be alarmed in any way, and so that they would consider them as being such people who had come with the intention of Umrah. However, they had only just arrived there, when suddenly a small caravan of the Quraish also happened to arrive, which was travelling from Ta‘if to Mecca, and both parties encountered each other. The Muslims consulted one another as to what should be done.

The Holy Prophetsa had sent them for the purpose of secretly obtaining intelligence, (and not for an attack) but on the other hand, war had begun with the Quraish. Both opponents were before one another and naturally there was a risk that now, since the people from the caravan of the Quraish had spotted the Muslims, their covert intelligence mission would no longer remain secret.

Another predicament was that some Muslims thought that it was perhaps the last day of Rajab, i.e., a sacred month in which fighting was prohibited as per the ancient Arabian custom. Others thought that Rajab had passed and the month of Sha‘ban had started. In some narrations it has been related that this Sariyyah was dispatched in Jamadiyul-Akhir, and there was a doubt as to whether this day was of Jamadi or Rajab.

However, on the other hand, the Valley of Nakhlah was situated right on the outskirts of the Haram and it was obvious that if a decision was not made that day, the caravan would have entered the Haram on the following day, the sanctity of which was definite.

“Hence, taking all of these factors into consideration, it was finally decided that the caravan should be attacked, and the people of the caravan should either be taken captive or killed.

Therefore, they launched an attack, and as a result, one of the men from among the disbelievers was killed, and two were taken captive. However, the fourth individual unfortunately escaped, and the Muslims were unable to apprehend him, hence they were unsuccessful in their plan.

Thereafter, the Muslims seized the goods of the caravan. Since one man belonging to the Quraish had escaped and news of this conflict would inevitably reach Mecca quickly, Abdullahra bin Jahsh and his companions swiftly returned to Medina with the spoils.

“On this occasion, Mr Margolius writes that Muhammad[sa] deliberately dispatched this company in the Sacred Month, because in this month the Quraish naturally would have been unmindful, and the Muslims would find an easy and definite opportunity to raid their caravan. However, every sensible individual can understand that a small party of this nature could not have been dispatched to such a far-off region to plunder a caravan, especially when the enemy headquarters were so nearby.

Furthermore, history categorically establishes that this party had merely been dispatched for the purpose of obtaining intelligence. Moreover, when the Holy Prophetsa found out that the companionsra had attacked the caravan, he was extremely displeased. As such, it is narrated that when they presented themselves before the Holy Prophetsa and informed him of the entire account, the Holy Prophetsa was extremely displeased and said:

“‘I have not given you permission to fight in the Sacred Month,’ and the Holy Prophetsa refused to accept the spoils. Upon this, Abdullahra and his companions felt extreme remorse and shame. They thought that due to their incurring the displeasure of God and His Messengersa, they had been ruined. Even the other Companionsra reproached them over their actions.

“On the other hand, the Quraish also raised a huge hue and cry, that the Muslims had violated the sanctity of the Sacred Month. Since the person who had been killed, Amr bin Al-Hadrami, was a chieftain, and was also a confederate of Utbah bin Rabi‘ah, a chieftain of Mecca, this occurrence greatly enraged the Quraish’s fire of fury. They began to prepare for an attack upon Medina with even greater zeal and uproar.

Therefore, upon this occurrence, there was murmuring both among the Muslims and disbelievers, and finally the following Quranic verse was revealed, which provided a means of relief for the Muslims:

یَسۡـَٔلُوۡنَکَ عَنِ الشَّہۡرِ الۡحَرَامِ قِتَالٍ فِیۡہِ ؕ قُلۡ قِتَالٌ فِیۡہِ کَبِیۡرٌ ؕ وَ صَدٌّ عَنۡ سَبِیۡلِ اللّٰہِ وَ کُفۡرٌۢ بِہٖ وَ الۡمَسۡجِدِ الۡحَرَامِ ق وَ اِخۡرَاجُ اَہۡلِہٖ مِنۡہُ اَکۡبَرُ عِنۡدَ اللّٰہِ ۚ وَ الۡفِتۡنَۃُ اَکۡبَرُ مِنَ الۡقَتۡلِ ؕ وَ لَا یَزَالُوۡنَ یُقَاتِلُوۡنَکُمۡ حَتّٰی یَرُدُّوۡکُمۡ عَنۡ دِیۡنِکُمۡ اِنِ اسۡتَطَاعُوۡا

“‘People ask thee about fighting in the Sacred Month. Tell them: Undoubtedly, fighting in the Sacred Month is a great transgression, but to forcefully hinder men from the religion of God in the Sacred Month; rather, to disbelieve in relation to the Sacred Month and the Sacred Mosque, i.e., to violate their sanctity, and then to turn out by coercion, the inhabitants of the Haram, as you are guilty of doing, O ye idolaters, is a greater sin with Allah than fighting in the Sacred Month; and verily, to persecute in the land during the Sacred Month is worse than such fighting, which is for the purpose of preventing persecution. O Ye Muslims! The state of the disbelievers is such that they have become so blinded in their enmity towards you that they will not cease fighting you at any time and at any place, until they turn you back from your faith, if they find the power to do so.’ [Surah al-Baqarah, Ch.2: V.218]

“Therefore, history establishes that the chieftains of the Quraish would spread their bloody propaganda even in the Sacred Months. As a matter of fact, they became even more active in their evil designs during these months, taking benefit of the gatherings and journeys which would take place in the Sacred Months. Furthermore, with great shamelessness, in order to gratify themselves with a false satisfaction, they would re-arrange the order of the Sacred Months, which was known as nas‘i. Then, later on they crossed all bounds, when during the era of the Treaty of Hudaibiyyah, despite there being a firm covenant and agreement, the disbelievers of Mecca and their allies took up the sword against an ally tribe of the Muslims, in the area of the Haram.”

Then when the Muslims came to the aid of their ally tribe, the disbelievers raised the sword in the area within the Haram.

“Hence, it was only natural for the Muslims to find comfort in this response (i.e. in this Quranic verse revealed by God Almighty), but the Quraish were also brought to level. During this time, two of their men arrived in Medina in order to have their two captives released. However, until now, Saadra bin Abi Waqas and Utbahra bin Ghazwan had not returned. On their account, the Holy Prophetsa greatly feared that if the Quraish happened to seize them, they would not release them alive.

Hence, for this reason, the Holy Prophetsa refused to release the captives until they returned and said, ‘When my men safely reach Medina, I will release yours.’ Therefore, when they both reached Medina, the Holy Prophetsa released both captives for a ransom. However, from among these two captives, one individual was so deeply impressed by the high moral qualities of the Holy Prophetsa and the truth of the Islamic teaching during his stay at Medina, that even after his release, he refused to return, and joined the servants of the Holy Prophetsa by accepting Islam at his hand. He was finally martyred at Bi‘r-e-Maunah.” (Sirat Khatamun-Nabiyyin, Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra, pp. 330-334)

Hence, for him to accept Islam and then to go on and make sacrifices for the cause of Islam is sufficient as an answer to the allegation of Margolius. As it were, these people have a habit of overlooking such aspects. Hazrat Utbahra bin Ghazwan had the honour of participating alongside the Holy Prophetsa in the Battle of Badr and all the battles thereafter. (Usdul Ghabah, Vol. 3, p. 559, Utbah bin Ghazwanra, Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2003)

Khabbab and Saad, the freed slaves of Hazrat Utbahra bin Ghazwan also had the distinction of fighting alongside him in the Battle of Badr. (Al-Isti‘ab, Vol. 2, p. 439, Khabbab Maula Utbah bin Ghazwan, Dar-ul-Jeel, Beirut, 1992) (Al-Isti‘ab, Vol. 2, p. 612, Saad Maula Utbah bin Ghazwan, Dar-ul-Jeel, Beirut, 1992)

Hazrat Utbahra bin Ghazwan was among the elite archers of the Holy Prophetsa. (Al-Tabaqaat-ul-Kubra li ibn Saad, Vol. 3, p. 72, Min Hulafa Bani Naufal bin Abdi Manaf, Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 1990)

Hazrat Umarra sent Hazrat Utbahra bin Ghazwan to Basrah to fight the people of Ubullah, who were from Persia. Whilst dispatching them, Hazrat Umarra instructed them, “You and your companions shall continue along your path until you reach the borders of the Arab kingdom and the non-Arab lands. Go forth with the blessings and grace of God Almighty. Always fear God Almighty and remember that you are heading towards a fierce enemy.”

Hazrat Umarra then said, “I am confident that God Almighty will help you against them and I have written to Hazrat Alaara bin Hadrami for him to send Arfajah bin Harsamah along with you for assistance, for he is very experienced in fighting the enemy and well-versed in the art of war.”

Hazrat Umarra then stated, “Hence, you must take council from him and call the people unto God Almighty. Whoever accepts what you say, you are to accept their initiation into Islam, but whosoever rejects what you have to say, you shall impose the jizya (tax) upon them, which they ought to submit willingly. However, he who refuses to even pay that, then you are to use the sword.”

That is to say, if they are not willing to pay the jizya whilst following their own religion and living there, and furthermore, if they are prepared to fight, then Hazrat Umarra said that it is only then that they can take up the sword against them. Hazrat Umarra then stated, “You must call all the Arabs you pass by to participate in the jihad and deal with the enemies very vigilantly and fear your Lord – Allah the Almighty.”

Hazrat Umarra dispatched Hazrat Utbahra to Basrah with 800 men and reinforcements were also sent later on. Hazrat Utbahra conquered Ubullah, in which he then set the boundary of the city of Basrah. He is the first person to turn Basrah into a city and a settlement. When Hazrat Umarra bin Khattab appointed Hazrat Utbahra as the governor of Basrah, he was residing in a place named Khareebah; this was an ancient city of Persia, which in Persian was known as وَھْشَتَا بَاذْ اُرْدْ شِیْر.

The Arabs then named it Khareebah and the Battle of Jamal also took place nearby. Hazrat Utbahra wrote a letter to Hazrat Umarra explaining that such a land is necessary for the Muslims to remain in during the winter months and where they can rest whilst returning from battle.

Hazrat Umarra wrote back telling him that he should gather them in such a land which is close to water and grazing ground. In other words, if this is what they intended for, then it should be in a land where water is readily available and where there is grazing ground for the animals.

Thereafter, Hazrat Utbahra settled the Muslims in Basrah where they constructed their buildings of bamboo. Hazrat Utbahra built a mosque out of bamboo in 14 AH. He built the residence of the governor in an open space near the mosque. When the people would go forth to fight, they would dig up these houses of bamboo and tie them up as they departed, and when they would return, they would reconstruct the homes in the same manner. It was only later on that the people then built permanent houses.

Hazrat Utbahra gave the instructions to Mihjan bin Adrah who then laid the foundation stone of the Basrah mosque and had it built out of bamboo. Soon after Hazrat Utbahra went to perform the Hajj, and appointed Mujashi‘ bin Masood as his deputy and entrusted him to leave for the Euphrates and handed the responsibility of leading the prayers to Hazrat Mughirahra bin Shu‘bah. When Hazrat Utbahra met Hazrat Umarra, his desire was to resign as the governor of Basrah, citing that it was too difficult for him and therefore, someone else should be appointed as the governor. However, Hazrat Umarra declined his request to resign.

It is mentioned in a narration that Hazrat Utbahra prayed in the following manner, “O Allah, do not bring me back to this city”. Consequently, he fell from his mount on 17 AH and passed away. This took place when Hazrat Utbahra was en route from Mecca to Basrah and had reached a place which people call Ma‘din bani Sulaim.

According to another narration, he passed away in 17 AH at a place called Rabadhah. According to a third narration – there are different narrations with regard to his demise – in 17 AH, at the age of 57, Hazrat Utbahra passed away in Basrah due to an ailment of the abdomen. Others have stated that he passed away in 15 AH. After the demise of Hazrat Utbahra, his slave, Suwaid, brought the belongings and property of Hazrat Utbahra to Hazrat Umarra. Hazrat Utbahra passed away at the age of 57. He was a tall and handsome man. (Usdul Ghabah, Vol. 3, pp. 559-560, Utbah bin Ghazwanra, Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2003) (Kitab Jumal min Ansab al-Ashraaf, Vol. 13, Nasab Bani Mazin bin Mansoor, p. 298, Darul Fkir, Beirut, 1996) (Al-Tabaqaat-ul-Kubra li ibn Saad, Vol. 3, p. 73, Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 1990)

Khalid bin Umair Adavi narrates that Utbahra bin Ghazwan addressed them by praising God Almighty and then said, “The world has announced its end and turned away in haste (i.e. the world is heading towards destruction) and nothing is left of the world except for the remnants that are left inside a cup after one drinks from it. You are heading towards an everlasting abode which has no decline,” (i.e. this world is merely transient) “Thus, head towards that very abode which is greater than anything you own. We have been informed that a stone will be thrown from one corner of hell and will continue to fall down [a pit of abyss] for 70 years and will not reach its end. By God! This hell will be filled,” i.e. hell will be filled with sinners, therefore, you have the opportunity to derive benefit from this life and perform virtuous deeds.

He then further stated, “Why then do you doubt this? You have been informed that the distance between one door of heaven and the other is equal to 40 years [of travel]. Verily a day will dawn in which this entire space will be filled with people. There were times when I was among the seven people alongside the Holy Prophetsa and we had no food except for the leaves of the trees (i.e. previously they experienced great hardships) we ate nothing except leaves from the trees and owing to this, the edge of our mouths would suffer cuts.”

He then narrated a personal incident, “I once found a cloak, which I cut into two pieces and gave half to Saad bin Malik. This was our condition in that we did not even have cloaks with which to cover ourselves. With one half of the cloak I made a garment to cover myself and Saad did the same with his. However, today, the case is such that some people from among you wake up in the morning and they are governors of certain areas. I seek refuge with Allah against the thought of thinking myself to be a noble man, whereas in the sight of God I may be lowly.

Therefore, I consider myself to be inferior and insignificant. The times have changed; people have become affluent, hence you all ought to be greatly concerned for this.” He then further stated, “There has been no prophethood in the past, whose era after the demise of its prophet was eternal, rather it always declined in the form of a kingship. You will soon learn the truth of this matter and after our passing, you will experience the treatment meted out by your leaders.” (Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Zuhd wa al-Raqa‘iq, Bab al-Dunya Sijnun lil Mu‘min wa Jannatun lil Kafir, Hadith 2967)

He further said, “The state of the Muslims will be such that worldliness will become rampant among them. Keep my words in mind, as you will come to learn that all of this was the truth. However, you all ought to focus your attention towards God Almighty; turn towards religion and spirituality. Only through this can one earn the reward of paradise.”

The next companion who I will mention is Hazrat Saadra bin Ubadah. Hazrat Saadra bin Ubadah belonged to the tribe of Banu Saidah, which was a branch of the Khazraj tribe of the Ansar. His father’s name was Ubadah bin Dulaim and mother’s name was Umrahra, who was the third daughter of Masood bin Qais. His mother also had the honour of pledging allegiance to the Holy Prophetsa. Hazrat Saadra bin Ubadah was the maternal cousin of Hazrat Saadra bin Zaid Ashhali, who was from among the Badri companionsra.

Hazrat Saadra had two marriages. One of his wives was Ghazia bint Saad to whom Saeed, Muhammad and Abdur Rahman were born. The second wife was Fuqayha bint Ubaid to whom Qais, Umamah and Sadoos were born. (Al-Tabaqaat-ul-Kubra li ibn Saad, Vol. 3, pp. 460-461, Saad bin Ubadah, Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 1990)

Mandusra bint Ubadah was the sister of Hazrat Saad bin Ubadah, who pledged allegiance to the Holy Prophetsa and accepted Islam. Hazrat Saadra bin Ubadah had another sister whose name was Lailara bint Ubadah and she also had the honour of pledging allegiance to the Holy Prophetsa and entering the fold of Islam. (Al-Tabaqaat-ul-Kubra li ibn Saad, Vol. 8, pp. 277, Wa min Bani Sa‘idah ibn Kaab bin al-Khazraj, Mandus bint Ubadah, Layla bint Ubadah, Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 1990)

Hazrat Saadra bin Ubadah’s title was Abu Thabit and it has also been reported as Abu Qais, however the former seems more authentic and correct, i.e. Abu Thabit. Hazrat Saadra bin Ubadah was a guardian for the Khazraj tribe of the Ansar. Hazrat Saadra bin Ubadah was a leader of his people and extremely generous. He held the flag of the Ansar in all the battles he participated in. Hazrat Saadra bin Ubadah was held in great esteem and considered among the leaders of his people in Medina and he was regarded for his leadership by his people. (Usdul Ghabah, Vol. 3, p. 441, Saad bin Ubadah, Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2003)

During the era of ignorance [era prior to the advent of Islam], Hazrat Saadra bin Ubadah knew how to write in Arabic, even though very few people in that time could write. He was also very skilled in swimming and archery. Anyone who possessed these qualities would be known as kamil. During the period of ignorance, Hazrat Saadra bin Ubadah and also his ancestors would announce from their fortress that whosoever desires to eat meat and tallow, he should come to the fortress of Dulaim bin Haritha. Hisham bin Urwah relates from his father, “I first saw Saadra bin Ubadah whilst he was announcing from his fortress that whosoever desires to eat meat and tallow, he should go to him.”

That is, he would slaughter the animals and distribute its meat amongst the people. He further relates, “I observed his son doing the same and he would also invite others. At the time, I was a young man and was walking near Medina. Hazrat Abdullah bin Umarra was also walking past me. (Hisham bin Urwah has related this from his father and states that he was young at the time and Hazrat Abdullah bin Umarra walked past him.) We were walking past Aliya which is a valley situated approximately 4 to 8 miles from Medina towards the direction of Najjad and I was heading towards my land.

Addressing me, Abdullah bin Umar said, ‘Young man! Come here. Can you see any anyone calling out from the fortress of Saadra bin Ubadah?’ (The fortress was nearby). I replied in the negative. He then stated, ‘Indeed, you have spoken the truth, however it seems that the extent of generosity shown by Hazrat Saadra bin Ubadah has not passed on.’” (Al-Tabaqaatul-Kubra li ibn Sa‘d, Vol. 3, pp. 460-461, Sa’d bin Ubadah, Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 1990) (Umdatul Qari, Vol. 16, p. 279, Dar Ihyaa al-Turath al-Arabi, Beirut, 2003)

It was for this reason that Hazrat Abdullah bin Umarra enquired about this from him. Hazrat Nafira relates that Hazrat Abdullah bin Umarra walked by the fortress of Hazrat Saadra bin Ubadah and he said to him, “O Nafi! These are the houses of their ancestors. One day in the year, a caller would cry out: ‘Whosoever desires for meat and tallow, they should go to the house of Dulaim.’ When Dulaim passed away, Ubadah continued this practice. When Ubadah passed away, Hazrat Saadra continued this practice, then I saw Qais bin Saad doing the same and he was extremely generous.” (Al-Isti‘ab, Vol. 3, p. 595, Saad bin Ubadah, Dar-ul-Jeel, Beirut, 1992)

From the aforementioned narration it has been further clarified that this practice was continued by his progeny, but no longer continued after them. Hazrat Saadra bin Ubadah accepted Islam during the second pledge at Aqabah. (Siyar asSahabah, Vol. 3, p. 375, Darul Isha’at, Karachi, 2004)

This incident has been related in Sirat Khatamun-Nabiyin as follows:

“Dhul-Hijjah of 13 Nabawi, on the occasion of Hajj, many hundreds of people from the Aus and the Khazraj came to Mecca. Among them, there were 70 such people who had either become Muslim or now desired to become Muslim, and came to Mecca to meet the Holy Prophetsa. Musab bin Umairra was also among them. Musab’sra mother was alive, and although she was an idolatress, she loved him very much. When she was informed of his coming, she sent word that, ‘First come and meet me, then go elsewhere.’ Musabra responded, ‘I have not yet met the Holy Prophetsa, I shall come to you once I have met him’ (he said this to his mother).

Therefore, he presented himself before the Holy Prophetsa first, and briefed him on key issues, then visited his mother. She was very upset (that he did not visit her first). When she saw him, she began to weep and complain. Musabra said, ‘Mother! I tell you something wonderful which is very beneficial for you, and shall put an end to every disagreement.’ She inquired, ‘What is that?’ Musabra quietly responded, ‘This, that you forsake idol worship and become a Muslim, and believe in the Holy Prophetsa.’ She was a firm idolatress, and as soon as she heard this, she began to put up a commotion saying, ‘I swear by the stars that I shall never enter your religion,’ and signalled her relatives to capture Musabra, however he was wise and quickly escaped.”

With regard to the Second Pledge at Aqabah, it is written: “The Holy Prophetsa had been informed of the arrival of the Ansar by Musabra, and a few of them had also met the Holy Prophetsa personally. On this occasion, since a collective and private meeting was necessary, after the rites of Hajj, the middle dates of the month of Dhul-Hijjah were set for this purpose. On that day near the middle of the night, all these people were to come and meet the Holy Prophetsa in the same valley as last year, so that a private meeting could be held in peace and complete attention.

The Holy Prophetsa ordered the Ansar, ‘Do not come as a group, but arrive in pairs of one or two to the valley at the appointed time. Do not wake the sleeping and do not wait for the absent.’ Therefore, when the appointed date arrived, during the night, when about a third of the night had passed, the Holy Prophetsa left his home. He took his uncle Abbas along with him, who was still an idolater, but loved the Holy Prophetsa and was a chieftain of the Hashim dynasty. Both of them reached this valley, and it was not long before the Ansar began to arrive in pairs of one and two. These were 70 souls from the Aus and the Khazraj.

In the very beginning, Abbas – the uncle of the Holy Prophetsa – began the discourse saying: “‘O party of the Khazraj! Muhammadsa is revered and beloved within his dynasty. To this day, his dynasty has always remained responsible for his protection, and in times of danger has always come forward. But now, Muhammadsa intends to leave his homeland and reside with you. As such, if you wish to take him, you must protect him in every way, and will have to face every enemy. If you are prepared for this, then well and good, otherwise give a forthright answer, for true speech is good’ “Al-Bara bin Ma‘rurra, an aged and influential man from the tribe of the Ansar, said:

“‘Abbas, we have heard your address, but we would like to hear the Holy Prophetsa from his own blessed tongue, that he may expound the responsibility which he wishes to put upon us.’ “Upon this, the Holy Prophetsa recited a few verses from the Holy Quran and described the teachings of Islam in a brief address.

Whilst alluding to Huququllah [rights owed to God] and Huququl-Ibad [rights owed to mankind], the Holy Prophetsa said, ‘With regard to myself, all I desire is that, just as you protect your dear ones and your kindred, if need be, you deal with me in the same manner.’ When the Holy Prophetsa had completed his address, as per the custom of Arabia, Al-Bara bin Ma‘rurra took the hand of the Holy Prophetsa into his own, and said, ‘O Messengersa of Allah! We swear by the God Who has sent you with the truth that we shall protect you with our lives, for we have been raised under the shadows of swords…’ he had not yet completed his statement, when Abul-Haitham bin Tayyihan interjected and said:

“‘O Messenger of Allah! We have had long relations with the Jews. By supporting you, they shall be severed. May it not happen that when Allah grants you victory, you leave us and return to your homeland, and we are left with nothing.’ “The Holy Prophetsa laughed and said, ‘Nay, Nay! That shall not happen. For your blood shall be mine, your friends shall be my friends and your enemies shall be my enemies.’ Upon this, ‘Abbasra bin Ubadah Ansari looked to his companions and said, ‘O People! Do you understand the purpose of this treaty and pledge?

This means that you should prepare yourselves to confront everyone, no matter who they may be, and should be ready to off er any sacrifice.’ “The people said, ‘Yes, we understand, but O Messengersa of Allah! What shall we receive in exchange for this?’ The Holy Prophetsa said, ‘You will receive the paradise of Allah, which is the greatest of all His rewards.’ Everyone said, ‘We agree to this bargain. O Messengersa of Allah, extend your hand.’

“The Holy Prophetsa brought forth his blessed hand, and this group of seventy devotees were sold at the hand of the Holy Prophetsa in a defensive pact. The name of this Bai‘at is ‘The Second Bai‘at at Aqabah’.

“When the Bai‘at had taken place, the Holy Prophetsa said:

“‘Mosesas appointed twelve chiefs among his people who served as their supervisors and protectors. I also wish to appoint twelve chiefs from among you who shall be your supervisors and your protectors. They shall be like the disciples of Jesusas unto me, and they shall be answerable to me regarding the people. As such, propose the names of worthy men
before me.’

“Therefore, twelve men were proposed, who the Holy Prophetsa approved, and appointing each as a supervisor to one tribe, he explained to them their duties. For some tribes, the Holy Prophetsa appointed two chiefs.

“When the chiefs had been appointed, Abbas bin Abdul-Muttalib who was the paternal uncle of the Holy Prophetsa reminded the Ansar to tread wisely and cautiously, for spies of the Quraish have their eyes set in every direction; may news of this meeting not leak out and cause further problems. He was perhaps still reminding, when in the middle of the night from atop the valley, the sound of a miscreant (who was spying on them) was heard saying, ‘O Quraish! Are you aware that here Mudhammam (God-forbid) and the rest of his apostates are making vows and pledges against you?’

“This voice startled everyone but the Holy Prophetsa remained completely calm and said, ‘Now you people should return to your dwellings just as you arrived, in pairs of one and two.’

“Abbas bin Nadlah Ansarira said, ‘O Messengersa of Allah, we fear no one. If you were to order, we shall attack the Quraish at dawn and give them a taste of their cruelties.’ ‘Nay, Nay!’ said the Holy Prophetsa, ‘For I have not yet received permission to fight. Do this much, quietly return to your pavilions,’ upon which everyone silently dispersed from the valley in pairs of one and two. The Holy Prophetsa also returned to Mecca with his paternal uncle Abbas.

“Since the Quraish had already found out that a secret meeting was held at night, the next morning, they reached the encampment of the people of Yathrab and said:

“‘We have had an old relationship and we do not desire in the least that these relations be tainted. But we have heard that last night, you had a secret mutual agreement with Muhammadsa, what is this all about?’

“Since the idolatrous people of the Aus and the Khazraj were completely unaware of this, they were extremely bewildered and outright denied the occurrence of such a meeting. Abdullah bin Ubaiyy bin Sulul, who later became the leader of the hypocrites of Medina, was also among that group. He said, ‘This can never happen. How is it possible that the people of Medina agree to such a significant issue and I remain unaware of it?’

“Thus, the suspicion of the Quraish was dispelled and they returned. A short time thereafter, the Ansar left for Yathrib, but aft er their departure, the Quraish somehow received an affirmation that the people of Yathrib did in fact have a pledge and agreement with the Holy Prophetsa. Upon this, a few men chased the people of Yathrib. The caravan had left, but for some reason, Saadra bin Ubadah was left behind.

These people brought him back and assaulted him on the stony streets of Mecca. They dragged him here and there by the hair on his head. Finally, when Jubair bin Mut‘im and Harith bin Harb who knew Saad, received news of this, they saved him from the cruel Quraish.” (Sirat Khatamun-Nabiyyin, Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra, pp. 227-229, 232-233)

There are further incidents relating to Hazrat Saadra bin Ubadah which will be narrated in future sermons, God willing.

(Original Urdu published in Al Fazl International on 10 January 2020, pp. 5-8. Translated by The Review of Religions.)

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