Men of Excellence


Friday Sermon

17 January 2020

Men of Excellence

Screenshot 2019 05 10 at 13.44.34

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

I have been narrating accounts from the life of Hazrat Saadra bin Ubadah for the last few sermons, and today I will narrate the remaining accounts relating to him. 

His name is especially mentioned as one of those whom the Ansar wanted to elect as their Khalifa after the demise of the Holy Prophetsa. Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahibra has also written in Sirat Khatam-un-Nabiyyin that the Ansar were strongly in favour of electing him as the Khalifa as he was also the leader of his tribe. When Hazrat Abu Bakrra was elected as the Khalifa, Hazrat Saadra bin Ubadah remained in doubt regarding the matter, or was hesitant even before this due to the insistence of the Ansar for him to be made the Khalifa. 

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra has shed ample light on this issue and has also highlighted the importance and significance of the institution of Khilafat with reference to this incident. Hence, I consider it vital to mention this incident and it is a need of the present era as well. However, before I present the writings of Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra, I will present one hadith and a historical reference in this regard.

It is narrated by Humaid bin Abdur Rahman:

“When the Messengersa of Allah passed away, Hazrat Abu Bakrra was in the outskirts of Medina. He removed the cloth from his blessed face and kissed it, and said, ‘May my father and mother be sacrificed for you; how pure was your countenance when you were alive and even now when you have passed away.’ He then said, ‘I swear by the Lord of the Ka‘bah that Muhammadsa has passed away.’ Then Hazrat Abu Bakrra and Hazrat Umarra quickly left for Saqifah Bani Sa‘idah. When both of them had arrived, Hazrat Abu Bakrra spoke first and began mentioning all the excellences of the Ansar that were revealed in the Holy Quran, not omitting any detail therefrom and also those that were mentioned by Holy Prophetsa. He further said, ‘You know full well that the Messengersa of Allah once said, “If all the people were to walk in one direction and the Ansar were to walk in another, I would walk in the direction of the Ansar.”’ Then addressing Hazrat Saadra, Hazrat Abu Bakrra said, ‘O Saadra! Do you remember in a gathering in which you were also seated, the Messengersa of Allah said that the Quraish have a rightful claim to Khilafat. Those that are righteous will follow the righteous individuals from the Quraish and the evil ones from among the people will follow the evils ones of the Quraish.’ Saadra replied, ‘Indeed, you speak the truth. We are viziers and you are the leaders.’” This hadith is from Musnad Ahmad bin Hanbal. (Musnad Ahmad bin Hanbal, Vol. 1, pp. 158 – 159, Musnad Abi Bakr Siddque, Hadith no. 18, Dar-ul-Haith, Cairo, 1994)

Regarding this incident, in Al-Tabaqat-ul-Kubra, it is stated:

“Upon the demise of the Holy Prophetsa, Hazrat Abu Bakrra sent a message to Hazrat Saadra bin Ubadah that he ought to come and perform the Bai‘at[pledge of allegiance] as everyone had performed the Bai‘at, including the people of his tribe. He replied, ‘By Allah! I will not perform the Bai‘at until I have shot all the arrows in my quiver and until I, along with the people of my tribe who are with me, have fought against you.’” (According to this reference, he refused to perform the Bai’at)

When this news reached Hazrat Abu Bakrra, Bashir bin Saadra said, “O Khalifa of the Prophetsa! He has rejected and is persistent upon it.” That is, he is persistent in his refusal. “He will not pledge allegiance to you even if he were to be killed. Moreover, he will only be killed once his children and tribesmen are killed along with him. Similarly, they cannot be killed unless the entire tribe of Khazraj is killed; and the tribe of Khazraj can certainly not be killed unless the tribe of Aus is killed. Therefore, you should not advance towards them as the matter has now become clear to people and he cannot cause you any harm.” In other words, the majority of his tribe had pledged allegiance. “Hence, it does not matter if he [i.e. Hazrat Saadra] has refused to do so, for he is alone and has been abandoned by his people.” Hazrat Abu Bakrra accepted the advice of Hazrat Bashirra and left Hazrat Saadra alone.

After this, when Hazrat Umarra was appointed as the Khalifa, one day, he came across Saadra and said, “What do you say, O Saadra?” He replied, “What do you say, O Umarra?” This is a conversation between the two. Hazrat Umarra asked, “Are you the same as you were before?” Saadra replied, “I am the same as before”, i.e. despite the fact that Hazrat Umarra had been elected to the station of Khilafat and many people had pledged their allegiance, however, Hazrat Saad had not done so. Following this, Hazrat Saadra said, “By God! Your companion”, i.e. Hazrat Abu Bakrra “was dearer to me than you.” Hazrat Saadra said to Hazrat Umarra that Hazrat Abu Bakrra was dearer to him in comparison to Hazrat Umarra. Following this, Hazrat Saadra said,“By God! I have woken up in a state that I do not appreciate you as my neighbour.” Hazrat Umarra replied, “Whoever dislikes the company of his neighbour should move away from him.” Hazrat Saadra replied, “I will not forget these words”, i.e. he will act accordingly “and shall move to a neighbourhood that is better than being with you.” (This was according to the estimation of Hazrat Saadra). A short while later, towards the early part of Hazrat Umar’sra Khilafat, Hazrat Saadra migrated to Syria. This is a reference from Al-Tabaqat-ul-Kubra. (Al-Tabaqat-ul-Kubra Li ibn Saad, Vol. 3, Saad bin Ubadah, p. 312, Dar Ihyaa Al-Turath Al-Arabi, Beirut, Lebanon, 2002)

In relation to Hazrat Saad, there is another narration in which it is stated that he pledged allegiance to Hazrat Abu Bakrra. Hence, in Tarikh al-Tabari, it is stated:

وَاتَّبَعَ الْقَوْمُ عَلَى الْبَيْعَةِ، وَبَايَعَ سَعْدٌ

Meaning, one by one, the entire tribe pledged allegiance to Hazrat Abu Bakrra and Hazrat Saadra also pledged allegiance to him. This is a reference from Tarikh al-Tabari. (Tarikh Al-Tabari, Vol. 3, p. 266, Dar-ul-Fikr, Beirut, 2002)

Nevertheless, as I mentioned earlier, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra has presented various aspects as to why it is important to pledge allegiance to Khilafat, what is the status of Khilafat and what is the significance of this act of Hazrat Saadra. Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra states in one of his Friday sermons:

Qatal also refers to severing one’s ties. After the demise of the Holy Prophetsa, the companions began to differ in who should be appointed as the Khalifa; the Ansar were of the opinion that it was their due right for Khilafat to remain within them as they were the natives of that area. They said that at the very least, if there was to be a Khalifa from among the Muhajireen, there should also be one from among the Ansar, that is there should be two Khalifas. Banu Hashim were of the opinion that Khilafat was their due right as the Holy Prophetsa belonged to their family. Although the Muhajireen were of the opinion that the Khalifa ought to be from among the Quraish, as the people of Arabia would never obey anyone who did not belong to the Quraish, they did not suggest anyone in particular, rather they wished to leave the matter of appointment to an election; i.e. whoever the Muslims chose would be considered the appointed Khalifa of God Almighty. When they expressed this opinion, the Ansar and Banu Hashim agreed to this. However, one companion could not comprehend this matter. This was that very companion, whom the Ansar wanted to elect as the Khalifa. Perhaps he considered this to be an insult to him or he may not have been able to truly understand this matter. (In any case, whatever the reason was,) he said that he was not prepared to pledge allegiance to Hazrat Abu Bakrra.

“In certain books of history, a saying of Hazrat Umarra is recorded in which he said:

اُقْتُلُوْا سَعْدًا

meaning to ‘kill Saad’, however, Hazrat Umarra did not kill him, nor did anyone else. Some expert linguists have said that in his statement, Hazrat Umarra only meant to sever ties with Saadra. In other historical sources, it is also stated that Hazrat Saadra would regularly go to the mosque, but would offer his prayers separately and then leave, and no other companion would speak to him. Thus, one interpretation of the phrase ‘Kill Saad’, is to sever ties with him and for everyone to disassociate with him.” (Khutbat-e-Mahmud, Vol. 16, pp. 81-82 – Friday Sermon, 1 February 1935)

Further writing about this incident of Hazrat Saadra bin Ubadah, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra states in the extract from the sermon I have just quoted:

“In a previous sermon, I mentioned regarding an Ansari Companion and that after the demise of the Holy Prophetsa, some of the Ansar Companions believed that the Khalifa ought to be chosen from among the Ansar. However, the Muhajireen – especially Hazrat Abu Bakrra – explained to them that this choice would not be beneficial for the Muslim Ummah, because the Muslims would never accept this, i.e. for a Khalifa to be chosen from among the Ansar. Subsequently, the Muhajireen and the Ansar gathered together and mutually agreed that everyone ought to perform Bai‘at [Pledge of Allegiance] at the hands of someone from the Muhajireen. Eventually, they unanimously agreed that this person ought to be Hazrat Abu Bakrra.”

It was not possible for everyone to unanimously agree upon one particular individual from among the Ansar. Hazrat Abu Bakrra as well as other Companionsra explained that this decision would not be beneficial. Nonetheless, it was decided that the Khalifa ought to be chosen from among the Muhajireen and thus, it was unanimously agreed that this should be Hazrat Abu Bakrra.

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra then further states:

“In that sermon, I said that when Hazrat Saad showed reluctance to perform the Bai‘at, Hazrat Umarra said:

اُقْتُلُوْا سَعْدًا

meaning to kill Saad, however, neither did Hazrat Umarra kill Hazrat Saadra nor did any other Companionra, in fact, he remained alive until the Khilfat of Hazrat Umarra.” As mentioned in one of the previous extracts, Hazrat Saadra remained alive until the Khilafat of Hazrat Umarra and passed away in Syria. “Hazrat Saadra migrated to Syria and passed away there. Scholars of the past have concluded from this that the meaning of Hazrat Umar’sra statement was not to physically kill Hazrat Saadra, rather it only meant to sever ties with him. Furthermore, in the Arabic language, qatal – to kill – has many other connotations as well. Despite the fact that in the Urdu language, qatal only means to kill someone, however, when Qatal is used in the Arabic language, it has many other meanings, among which one is to sever ties with someone. From the statement of Hazrat Umarra, the grammarians have inferred that Hazrat Umarra did not mean to kill, but rather to sever ties, keep a distance and not to speak with him. Otherwise, if from this he meant to kill him, then why did Hazrat Umarra – who possessed great zeal – not kill Saad himself? Or why did anyone from among the Companions not kill him? Hazrat Umarra did not kill him and even though Hazrat Saadra remained alive until his Khilafat, he was not killed. According to some narrations, Hazrat Saadra remained alive even after the Caliphate of Hazrat Umarra and no Companion lifted a finger against him.”

Nonetheless, it is evident from this that the meaning of “kill” was only to sever ties and not carry it out in its literal sense. Even though this Companion remained in seclusion away from the other Companions – Hazrat Saadra moved away from everyone – but nobody attacked him.

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra further states:

“I presented the example that if one sees a dream in which a person is killed, the interpretation of that dream could be of severing ties or boycotting that individual.” Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra is referring back to one of his previous sermons. Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra further continues:

“After the sermon, one of our members mentioned to me that although Saadra did not perform the Bai‘at, yet he was included in all matters of consultation,” i.e. the individual claimed that despite not performing the Bai‘at, Hazrat Abu Bakrra sought his advice on different matters. Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra then says, “There could only be two reasons why this individual said this regarding Hazrat Saadra; either he wished to refute my interpretation (i.e. he rejects the lexical meaning of qatal as mentioned by Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra and hence assuming that the companions did not sever ties with him), or he thinks that refusing to pledge allegiance to Khilafat is not a significant crime.” The second reason of the aforementioned statement by this individual could be that according to him, refusing to pledge allegiance to Khilafat was not a significant matter, because although Saadra did not perform the Bai‘at, he was still consulted on different matters.

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra states:

 “A poet once stated:

تَا مَرْد سُخَن نَگُفْتَہ بَاشَد

عَيْب وہُنْرَشْ نَہُفْتَہ بَاشَد

meaning a person’s flaws and faults are concealed only until they remain silent.” At times when a person speaks, they unveil their shortcomings. As long as they remain silent, their faults remain concealed, but on occasions they speak ignorantly, thereby uncovering their own shortcomings. Harzat Musleh-e-Maudra further states,

“The statement of this person, (i.e. the one who inferred that Hazrat Saadra was included in matters of consultation and commented on the sermon of Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra) indicates that either he wishes to diminish the significance of pledging allegiance to Khilafat, or he wishes to exhibit his knowledge. However, both of these matters are incorrect; to exhibit one’s knowledge will not prove beneficial, because this statement is so far from the truth, that upon hearing this, a wise person would simply be amused. With regard to the lives of the Companionsra, there are three well known books of Islamic history; any event pertaining to the history of the Companionsra can be found in these books and they are: Tahzeeb al-Tahzeeb, Al Asabah and Usdul Ghabah. All three of them mention that Saad lived the remainder of his life away from the Companionsra and after migrating to Syria, he passed away there. Furthermore, some lexicons have referred to this incident while discussing the meaning of the word qatal.”

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra then states:

“The fact of the matter is that there were sixty or seventy Companions with the name Saad. Among them one of them was Saadra bin Abi Waqas, who was one of the Asharah Mubasharah [ten companions who were given glad tidings of Paradise by the Holy Prophetsa], and appointed as Commander and Chief by Hazrat Umarra and was included in all matters of consultation. It seems as if the person who raised this allegation (with reference to the sermon of Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra,) did so out of his ignorance and hearing the name ‘Saad’, he failed to distinguish as to which Saad was being referred to. Instead he immediately passed remarks about my sermon. I was not making reference to Saadra bin Abi Waqas, who was a Muhajir [those who migrated from Mecca], rather the companion I was referring to was from among the Ansar [Muslims native to Medina]. Aside from these two, there were many other Companions with the name ‘Saad’; there were approximately sixty or seventy such Companions. The Saad I was referring to was Saadra bin Ubadah. In actuality, the Arabs used a limited number of names; often in the same village there would be many people with the same name. If someone wished to find a person, they would call them by his father’s name. For example; they would not use the name Saad or Saeed, rather they would say Saadra bin Ubadah or Saadra bin Abi Waqas. Similarly, if they were unable to locate the person based on their father’s name, they would refer to the person by their rank or status and where this was not possible still, they would then use the name of the individual’s tribe.

“Therefore, among the circles of historians, there has been an extensive debate as regards one particular individual with the name Saad as his name was similar to many other companions by that name. Hence, whenever historians have referenced this name, they have written that they are referring to the ‘Ausi Saad’, or the ‘Khazraji Saad’ [i.e. referring to their tribes]. It is evident from this individual (i.e. the one who criticised or passed these remarks) has misunderstood the different individuals with the same name and has thoughtlessly raised this allegation. Such comments do not serve to increase understanding, rather it serves as a means of unveiling ones ignorance.”

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra further writes:

“The status of Khilafat is such that one cannot gain any honour after detaching from it.” Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra then says referring to the mosque from where he was delivering this sermon – which perhaps was Masjid Aqsa – “I heard Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Ira saying, ‘Do you know who the enemy of the first Khalifa was?’ Answering this question himself, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Ira says, ‘Read the Quran and you will come to know that the first enemy was Iblis. Allah the Almighty appointed Adam as the Khalifa (vicegerent) and his enemy was Iblis.’ Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Ira then said, ‘I am also a Khalifa, and whoever is my enemy is [a manifestation of] Iblis.’”

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra then says:

“There is no doubt that a Khalifa is not a ma‘moor. However, it is not necessary that this should always be the case in that he is not a ma‘moor . Hazrat Adamas was in fact a ma‘moor and also Khalifa. Hazrat Daudas was a ma‘moor and also a Khalifa. The Promised Messiahas was a ma‘moor  and also a Khalifa. Every prophet is a ma‘moor as well as being a Khalifa of God. Just as every individual is a Khalifa from one aspect, similarly, prophets are also Khalifas. Although there are also some Khulafa who are not ma‘moor, however there is no difference between them and the prophets in respect to demonstrating obedience towards them.  It is necessary to display obedience in the same way to the Khalifa as it is shown to a prophet. Indeed, there is a clear distinction in the obedience shown to both, and that is one must show obedience to a prophet because he is the focal point of Divine revelation and purity However obedience to a Khalifa is not for the reason that he is the focal point of Divine revelation and purity [in the same rank as a prophet]. Obedience is necessary to a Khalifa because he is the one who has been appointed as a focal point to disseminate and further propagate the revelation brought by the prophet. (i.e. a Khalifa is the one who propagates the revelation of a prophet and to further the system established by the prophet). This is why the wise have said that Prophets receive Ismat-e-Kubra whilst the Khalifas receive Ismat-e-Sughra.”

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra then says:

“From this very pulpit in this very mosque, on a Friday (where Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra was delivering the sermon at the time in Qadian) I heard directly from Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Ira who said, ‘You cannot disobey me based on any personal fault you find in me (if one were to find a fault in a personal matter that does not mean that one can disobey the Khalifa). This can never be the case. You can never turn away from the obedience Allah the Almighty has ordained essential for you to display. Indeed, the task for which I have been appointed is something else; and that is to establish and uphold the Nizam, and thus obedience to me is necessary and obligatory.’ It is the Divine Way that the Prophets do have natural human weaknesses, and this was done to differentiate between God’s Unity and Prophethood and God does not interfere with that. This was necessary also for the training of the people, for instance, take the example of the sajda-e-sahav, which one performs if they inadvertently make a mistake [in prayer]. Thus, through this, the practical application of the sajda-e-sahav was demonstrated before the Ummah. Therefore, this is such a mistake which even prophets can make. The Holy Prophetsa also made an inadvertent error

[during prayers]

and then performed the sajda-e-sahav.”

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra further states:

“All the actions of Prophets are safeguarded by Allah the Almighty. With regard to the Khulafa, Allah the Almighty safeguards all their actions which they perform to progress the system established by the Prophet. A Khalifa will never make such a mistake that will harm the Jamaat or which will convert victory into defeat for Islam. Or if they ever do commit such a mistake they will immediately rectify it and will not continue with it. Allah the Almighty demonstrates His support and protection to all those actions of the Khalifa which are done to further Islam and strengthen the nizam established to achieve this progress. Even if the Khalifa ever commits an error, Allah the Almighty has made it His own responsibility to rectify it. In short, the Khalifa is not responsible for his actions in relation to the nizam, rather God Himself is responsible. This is why it is said that Allah the Almighty appoints the Khalifa Himself. However, this does not mean that the Khalifa cannot make a mistake. What this signifies is that Allah the Almighty rectifies any mistakes through the person of the Khalifa. Or, alternatively Allah the Almighty ensures that no negative effect results from any error made by the Khalifa. If through God’s Wisdom a situation ever arises where apparently the Khalifa commits an error which may be harmful to the Jamaat and there is a threat that it could lead to decline instead of progress, Allah the Almighty manifests hidden means and He converts any potential harmful effects into means of progress and success. This unseen wisdom would become manifest as to why the Khalifa inadvertently erred in the first place. Prophets, however, possess both forms of protection, in other words Ismat-e-Kubra and Ismat-e-Sughra. Prophets are the centre of the system of spreading the message of God, the perfect reflection of Divine revelation as well as the perfect embodiment of righteousness. From this one should not infer that it is not necessary for every Khalifa to be the perfect embodiment of righteousness, and although it is possible that in terms of righteous deeds their status can be below that of other saints of God but even then it is only in a particular aspect of a righteous deed. Thus, where it is possible that there are such Khalifas who are the perfect embodiment of righteousness as well the centre of spreading the message, there may be Khalifas who are lesser in status than others in righteousness [but only in relation to a particular aspect of a righteous deed] but higher in rank in administrative capability and running the system of spreading the message. In any case, it is necessary in all circumstances to obey them because the system is linked to the siyasat of the Jamaat.”

Some people will immediately be startled when hearing the words “Siyasat [politics] of the Jamaat” and would be curious as to what this infers. What does the term siyasat [politics] mean in this context? In our general use of the word, we refer to “politics” in a negative connotation. This is partly caused by politicians who have caused the word “politics” to hold a terrible reputation. It has come to signify causing havoc, damage, harm or to not work in an honest manner. In truth the lexicons describe the word “politics” to mean to properly administering a system. Another meaning is to employ reason and wisdom when implementing something, to ensure a system is in place to prevent evil is another connotation, to use reason and wisdom to carry out something, and to have the ability to solve international matters in the correct manner are included in the connotation of “politics”.

In short, this word holds all manners of positive meanings, however as I have said, regrettably we have forgotten its true meanings due to the misconduct of politicians and instead derive negative meanings from this word due to our misdeeds. In any case, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra used the word ‘politics’ for its positive connotations here. It signifies the wisdom, understanding, intelligence, acumen and capabilities required to properly operate a system.

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra further says:

“Since the nizam [administrative structure of the Jamaat] is closely associated with the implementation of Jamaat principles, that is why one of the foremost attributes of the Khulafa is that they uphold and implement the administration.”

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra then further elaborates:

“At the same time, it is necessary that they ensure the establishment of faith and to spread its understanding.” The Khalifa is responsible for running the administration of the Jamaat as well as ensuring the principles that strengthen and establish the faith are implemented. For this reason, where God Almighty has mentioned the institution of Khilafat in the Holy Quran, He has stated the following:

وَلَيُمَکِّنَنَّ لَھُمْ دِيْنَھُمُ الَّذِي ارْتَضٰي لَھُمْ

That is God Almighty will surely establish for them their faith and ensure it prevails throughout the world. Thus, the manner in which the faith is presented by the Khulafa is safeguarded by God Almighty, however this is Hifazat-e-Sughrah.”

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra states:

“They [i.e. the Khulafa] can err in minor and supplementary matters relating to faith and Khulafa can disagree with one another, however they are relating to extremely inconsequential matters. For example, in some matters Hazrat Abu Bakrra held a different opinion to Hazrat Umarra …” and in fact, up to this day, the Muslim Ummah cannot agree upon some of these matters. “This disagreement is relating to minor and supplementary matters of faith. There can never be any disagreement regarding the fundamental principles of faith. On the contrary, they – i.e. the Khulafa – will always unanimously agree on such principles as they are the guides and leaders who bestow light to the world.

Thus, if one believes that a person who has failed to do the Bai‘at can be of the same rank as the one who has done the Bai‘at, then such an individual has not truly understood the significance of the Bai‘at nor the nizam. In regard to seeking consultation, one must remember that it is possible that one can seek consultation from an expert in their respective field, who does not share the same faith as them. The Promised Messiahas appointed an Englishman as his lawyer during a trial. However, this certainly does not mean that he sought consultation from him in matters regarding prophethood. On the occasion of the Battle of Ahzab, the Holy Prophetsa took advice from Hazrat Salman Farsira and asked what the people of his country did at times of battle. Hazrat Salman Farsira replied that in their country they would dig a trench. The Holy Prophetsa found this to be an excellent advice and thus a trench was dug, which is why the battle is famously known as the Battle of the Ditch. However, despite his advice, we cannot say that Hazrat Salman Farsira had greater skill and knowledge than the Holy Prophetsa in the art of battle. There is no comparison to the feats and achievement of the Holy Prophetsa and those of Hazrat Salman Farsira, in fact he was never appointed as the commander-in-chief of an army during any era of the Khulafa, even though he lived to an advanced age. Therefore, there is no harm in seeking advice from an expert, even if they belong to a different religion.”

Speaking about himself, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra states, “Once I was ill and consulted some English doctors, however this does not mean that I seek advice from them in matters pertaining to Khilafat, or that I consider them to be of the same rank as the Companionsra of the Promised Messiahas. Indeed, I consult the Companionsra, however this certainly does not mean that seeking advice from a non-Muslim is of equal significance as taking advice from the Companionsra. In fact, the Companionsra hold a much loftier rank.”

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra further states:

“Seeking advice from them [i.e. the doctors] was only in relation to matters of medicine. (Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra took advice from them in regard to a particular field of study or in regards to a specific matter.) Therefore, even if it were proven that Saadra bin Ubadah was consulted in regard to a secular matter in which he held expertise in, however even then it cannot be said that he would be part of the consultations. No authentic narration can be found regarding him in which it states that he was involved in consultations. In fact, majority of the narrations state that he migrated from Medina towards the region of Syria. In the view of the Companionsra, he had completely detached himself from the Markaz [headquarters of Islam]. Hence, it is mentioned that the Companionsra would state that the angels or the Jinn had caused him to die and from this it seems that the Companionsra did not describe his demise in a positive sense because although every soul is taken by angels, however for them to specifically mention angels and the Jinn in this manner signifies that God Almighty caused his demise owing to a particular Divine Decree of His so that he could not be the cause of any division or discord.”

In other words, he was among the Badri Companionsra after all and so was caused to die, lest he would be guilty of hypocrisy, opposition or any other such act which would consequently dishonour his status. In any case, he separated himself from the others.

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra further mentions:

“All of these narrations reveal that the Companionsra no longer held him with the same esteem and honour as they previously did due to the rank that he had once attained. Moreover, it also shows that the Companionsra were not happy with him, otherwise why would they say that the angels or the Jinn had caused his demise? In fact, upon his demise they used even stronger words than this which I do not wish to repeat. Therefore, to claim that one can maintain their rank and status without performing the Bai‘at of the Khalifa and adhering to the nizam of Islam is completely contrary to the events [from the history of Islam] and the teachings of Islam. Those who entertain such thoughts have in fact completely failed to understand the true concept of Bai‘at.” (Khutbat-e-Mahmud, Vol. 16, pp. 95-101 – Friday Sermon, 8 February 1935)

Hazrat Saadra bin Ubadah passed away in Horan in Syria, almost two and half years after Hazrat Umarra had been elected as the Khalifa. According to Allama ibn Hajjar Asqalani, he passed away in Busra, a town situated in Syria and was the first town conquered by the Muslims in Syria. There is another narration which states how the people of Medina learnt about his demise. It states that in the intense heat of the afternoon, some of the boys who were jumping into the wells of Bi‘r-e-Munabbeh or Bi‘r-e-Sakan, heard someone say:

قَدْ قَتَلْنَا سَيِّدَ الْخَزْرَجِ سَعْدَ بْنَ عُبَادَہ

وَرَمَيْنَاہُ بِسَھْمَيْنِ فَلَمْ نُخْطِ فُؤَادَہ

“We have killed Saadra bin Ubadah, chieftain of the Khazraj. We shot two arrows aiming for his heart, which did not fail to strike their target.”

The boys became frightened and could never forget that day. The people found his body the very same day he passed away. Saadra was sat answering the call of nature when he was killed and died straight away.

Hazrat Saadra passed away during the Khilafat of Hazrat Umarra, however there are varying opinions regarding the exact year of his demise. According to some, he passed away in 14 AH while others state 15 AH and 16 AH as well. Hazrat Saad’sra grave is located in a village called Manaiha which is situated in the southern area close to Damascus. This reference is from Al-Tabqat-ul-Kubra. (Al-Tabaqaat-ul-Kubra li ibn Saad, Vol. 3, p. 423, Saadra bin Ubadah Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, Lebanon, 2012) (Al-Isaba Fi Tamyeez Al-Sahaba, Vol. 3, p. 56, Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2005) (Al-Isti‘ab Fi Ma‘rifat Al-Sahaab, Vol. 42 p. 164, ar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, Lebanon, 2002)

I shall now mention some details about two deceased members and will also lead their funeral prayer [in absentia], God willing.

The first is of Respected Syed Muhammad Sarwar Shah Sahib, who was a member of the Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya Qadian. He passed away on 8 January at the age of 85.

اِنَّا لِلّٰہِ وَاِنَّا اِلَيْہِ رَاجِعُوْنَ

“Verily to Allah we belong and to Him shall we return.”

He was suffering from cancer for a while but endured this illness with great strength, patience and steadfastness and right till his demise, he continued to fulfil his duties in an excellent manner. He never let his illness become a hindrance in any way.

The deceased belonged to a very devout Ahmadi family from Mauza Sungarah situated in the province of Odisha. The deceased’s great maternal grandfather, Hazrat Syed Abdul Rahim Sahibra, was a companion of the Promised Messiahas and his maternal grandfather, the late Respected Maulvi Abdul Aleem Sahib, was a great scholar and poet. Upon his birth, his father requested his father-in-law to name the child and he stated that he had seen in a dream that Syed Sarwar Shah Sahib had come to their house, therefore he should name his son Syed Sarwar.

The deceased acquired his primary education from the district of Katak and then after acquiring a BA, he worked as a headmaster in a private school. Thereafter, he worked as an assistant in the High Court of Odisha and then worked in the audit office. In 1995, after taking retirement from employment, he dedicated his life to serve the Jamaat. In 1996, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh entrusted various responsibilities to him and also made him oversee them. The deceased also had the opportunity to perform Umrah. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh also appointed him as the auditor and also to serve as a one-man commission. He served as the auditor right until his demise. The deceased also had the opportunity to serve as the president of the Qaza Board for nine years. Similarly, he also had the opportunity to serve as the president and as a member for many central committees. He also had the opportunity to be a member of the Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya till his demise. He had great administrative skills and as I mentioned earlier, he had the opportunity to serve for many years as the central auditor. Hazrat Khalifatul Maish IVrh once wrote in a letter to him stating, “You are working in an excellent manner – Jazakumallahu Ahsan al-Jaza. I admire your devotion which you demonstrate without any fear. Masha-Allah, you have great observation of very fine and important matters. You should continue to work like this according to your programme and no one shall stop you. May God Almighty grant you a healthy and long life.” Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh then also prayed for his health and long life.

The Nazim of Dar-ul-Qaza, Qadian states:

“He had a very loving relationship with all the workers of the Qaza department in Qadian. He would try his utmost to quickly resolve the case and issue a decision on the case being dealt by the department. The deceased would very carefully go through the case and would make every effort to ensure the decision was based on justice. He possessed a very sound opinion in delicate and sensitive matters and would always seek help from Allah the Almighty when dealing with such sensitive and delicate issues.”

His son-in-law, Dr Tariq Sahib, who is a senior medical officer at the Noor Hospital in Qadian, states, “He was very regular in offering his Tahajud prayers. He would always be punctual in offering his prayers and would offer them in Masjid Mubarak. When his hands and feet became extremely weak, he would take support of others and go to the mosque. He would always go on time for the Friday prayer and sit in the first row. He would remain in the mosque after the Maghrib prayer until the Isha prayer and would spend the time in offering Nawafil, supplication and remembrance of Allah the Almighty.”

The nazir-e-ala of Qadian has also written that he possessed many excellent qualities – he was very friendly, very hospitable, extremely hard-working, kind to the poor and very obedient to officer-bearers. He had a deep bond with Khilafat and would also urge others to remain firmly attached to Khilafat. By the grace of Allah, he was a Musi [part of the Al-Wasiyyat scheme] and all his sons and daughters are at the forefront in serving the Jamaat. His youngest son, Syed Mahmood Ahmad is serving in the Noor Hospital, Qadian as a pharmacist. Both of his sons-in-law, Tanveer Ahmad Sahib and Dr Tariq Ahmad Sahib are life devotees and serving in Qadian. Likewise, his youngest son-in-law, Syed Hasan Khan continues to serve the Jamaat as a volunteer even after his retirement.

Whilst the late Sahibzada Mirza Waseem Ahmad Sahib was serving as the Nazir-e-Ala, Syed Muhammad Sarwar Shah Sahib would work with great dignity in the audit department and would ask him any question in this regard. He would always say, “There is no one more loving in the whole of Qadian than Mian Sahib.” He lived in Darul-Masih and Hazrat Mian Sahib took great care of him. At times, Shah Sahib would even burst into tears when thinking about the love and affection showed by Mian Sahib. He had great reverence for the Darweshan-e-Qadian and himself led a very humble and simple life. He also had great affection for Jamia students and would show utmost respect to the scholars. May Allah the Almighty elevate the rank of the deceased and enable his progeny to follow in his footsteps.

The second funeral is of Respected Shaukat Gohar Sahiba who was the wife of Dr Latif Ahmad Quraishi Sahib of Rabwah and daughter of Maulana Abdul Malik Khan Sahib. She passed away in Rabwah on 5 January at the age of 77.

اِنَّا لِلّٰہِ وَاِنَّا اِلَيْہِ رَاجِعُوْنَ

“Verily to Allah we belong and to Him shall we return.”

By the grace of Allah, she too was a Musia. She was born in Agra and in those days, her father, Maulana Abdul Malik Khan Sahib was appointed as the missionary in that area. Thereafter, she moved with her parents to Hyderabad Deccan.

After the partition, she moved to Karachi, where she received her primary education. She showed great aptitude in her studies and would always achieve a notable position [in class]. She had a passion for serving the Jamaat from a young age, and she served as the Nasirat Secretary in Karachi, where she managed to bring the Karachi Nasirat to first position. In 1961, when her Nikah was settled with Dr Latif Quraishi Sahib, at the time he was studying in Medical College. When her husband moved to the UK, she also went with him [after their marriage]. After completing his studies in the UK, Dr Sahib wrote to Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIIrh who replied stating he should return to Pakistan and then appointed him in the Fazl-e-Umar Hospital. She too returned to Rabwah and worked alongside her husband with great enthusiasm. She also had the opportunity to serve the Jamaat extensively and worked for Lajna. During her time, everyone living in Rabwah, every woman and I believe even the young girls were aware of her services. 

When my mother, Sahibzadi Nasira Begum Sahiba, served as the Sadr Lajna in Rabwah, she appointed Shaukat Sahiba as the General Secretary in her Amila [committee]. She continued to offer services in this role for 15 years and it was from her that she received her training. She served with wonderful administrative capabilities and then also served as a Secretary in the Markazi Amila [Central Committee]. Thereafter, I appointed her as the General Secretary Markaziyya of Pakistan, where she rendered great services for six years. Due to her ill health, she had to leave her Lajna responsibilities but she would continue to give services, whenever the opportunity arose, and in whatever capacity possible. She served the Jamaat in different capacities for 50 years and all the women and girls who worked with her only have words of praise for her. Being kind to neighbours, taking care of the needy, being hospitable and paying her Chanda at the first available moment were some of her distinct qualities. In fact, when the announcement was made this year to donate towards Waqf-e-Jadid, she made a donation there and then. This was a few days prior to her demise on 5 January and the announcement for the new [Waqf-e-Jadid year] was made on 1January.

Dr Quraishi Sahib writes that in the 50 years they spent together, she was most exemplary in her conduct as a wife, mother, sister and daughter and fulfilled all her obligation. One thing Dr Sahib has not written or perhaps has been left out, is that she was also an exemplary daughter-in-law. Perhaps he forgot to mention this. She lived with her mother and father-in-law, and in fact her mother-in-law is still alive and despite her illness, Shaukat Sahiba continued to serve her mother-in-law and take care of her like her own mother. Thus, she departed this world after living an exemplary life. She was unwell for a long period of time, but despite that she remained mindful of her responsibilities around the home and would complete all of them. Even in sickness, she would never complain and would bear the illness with great patience. She had a deep bond with Khilafat. Among those she leaves behind are her husband, Dr Latif Quraishi Sahib, three sons and two daughters. Two of her sons and one of her daughters are doctors, and one son is an engineer; all of her children all well-educated. She taught them in very difficult circumstances. One of her daughters once asked why she never wore jewellery or had fine clothes made for herself, to which she replied that whatever money she saved would go towards their education. She also said the only type of jewellery and nice clothes she desired was for her children to attain an education, become valuable individuals for the Jamaat and be able to take care of themselves.

She often saw true dreams and visions. Her children have written that many of her dreams came true. At the time of her daughter’s entry to college, Shaukat Sahiba informed her daughter that she would be accepted by such and such medical college, as she had seen it in her dream, which then was fulfilled as stated. There are many other similar dreams [which were fulfilled]. By the grace of Allah Almighty, she was a very pious woman and took care of her sisters and others. Her son Abdul Malik has written that she was selfless in her services to the Community. She would walk in the extreme heat from the Lajna Office to Darul Ulum, but not once did she complain. On the day of Eid, she would always make a sweet dish at home and send it to her neighbours, whether they were immediate neighbours or lived at a distance. She would always say that if we remain attached to our religion, then God Almighty will never abandon us.

One daughter who lives in the US, writes, “After marriage and when I had children, she would advise me that in order to keep them away from the bad influences and environment of while living in the US and other such countries, I ought to have a loving and friendly relationship with my children. Also that I ought to make the environment of the home such that they remain content at home and for them to spend more time at home rather than outside of the house.”

The same daughter then says, “Once, in medical college, other girls began to oppose me and boycotted me as I was an Ahmadi Muslim. I called my mother and began to cry on the phone, however, she gave me wonderful advice, stating that there is no reason to cry, as this was the case with all prophets and that I had an opportunity to follow in their practice. She also said to note her advice that if I ever suffered pain in the way of Ahmadiyyat, then God Almighty would never let me go to waste and that I shall also be successful in my examinations.” She then states, “I not only passed my exams, but each one of the mischievous girls failed theirs.”

May Allah the Almighty elevate the rank of the deceased and enable her children to follow in her footsteps. May they become pious, righteous, servants to their faith and may they always have a firm and loyal bond with Khilafat.

As I mentioned earlier, after the prayers I shall lead the funeral prayers in absentia of the two deceased members.

(Original Urdu published in Urdu in Al Fazl International, 7 February 2020, pp. 5-9. Translated by The Review of Religions.)

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