Last Updated on 4th July 2020
27 July 2018
Men of Excellence
After reciting the Tashahud, Ta‘awuz, and Surah Al-Fatihah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa stated:
In this series of narrating accounts of the lives of the Companions [of the Holy Prophetsa], I will speak about two other Companions today.
The first is Hazrat Munzir bin Muhammad Ansarira. Hazrat Munzir bin Muhammadra belonged to the Banu Jahjabah tribe. Upon migrating to Medina, the Holy Prophetsa established a bond of brotherhood between Hazrat Munzir bin Muhammadra and Hazrat Tufail bin Harithra. (At-Tabaqat Al-Kubra, Vol. 3, p. 248, Munzir bin Muhammad, Dar Ihya At-turath Al-Arabi, 1996, Beirut)
When Hazrat Zubair bin Al-Awwamra, Hazrat Hatibra bin Abi Baltah and Hazrat Abu Sabrahra bin Abi Ruham migrated to Medina, they stayed at the home of Hazrat Munzir bin Muhammadra. (At-Tabaqat Al-Kubra, Vol. 3, p. 55, Zubair bin Al-Awwamra, p. 61, Hatib bin Abi Baltah, p. 251, Abu Sabrah bin Abi Ruham, Dar Ihya At-turath Al-Arabi, 1996, Beirut)
Hazrat Munzirra participated in the Battles of Badr and Uhud. He was martyred during the incident of Bi‘r-e-Ma‘unah. (At-Tabaqat Al-Kubra, Vol. 3, p. 248, Munzir bin Muhammad, Dar Ihya At-turath Al-Arabi, 1996, Beirut)
The incident of Bi‘r-e-Ma‘unah has been mentioned before a number of times in relation to other Companions. I will briefly mention it once again. A detailed account of the martyrdom of Hazrat Munzirra has been covered in Seerat Khataman Nabiyyeen [Seal of all the Prophets], written by Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahibra. In this book it is written, “The Holy Prophetsa dispatched a party of the Companions under the leadership of Munzir bin Amr Ansari in Safar 4 AH. These people were mostly from the Ansar and totalled seventy in number, and almost all of them were Qaris, i.e., were well-versed in the Holy Quran. They would collect wood from the jungle by day to make ends meet and would spend a better part of the night in worship. When these people reached a place known as Bi‘r-e-Ma‘unah, which was named due to a water well, an individual named Haram bin Milhan, who was the maternal uncle of Anasra bin Malik, went forward with the message of Islam to Aamir bin Tufail, who was chief of the Aamir tribe and paternal nephew of Abu Bara Aamiri. The rest of the Companions remained behind. When Haram bin Milhan arrived to meet Aamir bin Tufail and his followers as an emissary of the Holy Prophetsa, at first, they warmly welcomed him in their hypocrisy; but after he had been fully seated and made to feel at ease, and began to preach the message of Islam, a few evil ones from among them made a signal to someone, who struck this innocent emissary with a spear from behind and killed him instantly. At the time, the following words were on the tongue of Haram bin Milhan:
اَللّٰهُ اَكْبَرُ فُزْتُ وَرَبِّ الْكَعْبَةِ
i.e., ‘Allah is the Greatest. By the Lord of the Ka‘bah, I have attained my objective.’ Aamir bin Tufail did not suffice upon the murder of this emissary of the Holy Prophetsa alone. As a matter of fact, after this, he incited the people of his tribe, the Banu Aamir, to attack the remaining party of Muslims as well, but they refused and said that they would not attack the Muslims due to the guarantee of Abu Bara. Upon this, Aamir collected the Banu Ri‘l, Dhakwan and Usayyah, etc. from the tribe of Sulaim”, the same tribes who, according to the narration of Bukharai, had come to the Holy Prophetsa as a delegation to request a party, to be sent so that they may preach to them, “and attacked this small and helpless community of Muslims. When the Muslims saw these bloodthirsty beasts racing towards them, they said, ‘We have no quarrel with you. We have only come with an assignment from the Holy Prophetsa; we have not come to fight,’ but they did not listen to a word and murdered them all. Among the Companions who were present at the time, only one individual was spared, who had a limp, and had managed to climb to the top of a mountain. The name of this Companion was Ka‘b bin Zaid.” His account has already been given. “From various narrations it is ascertained that the disbelievers attacked him as well, due to which he was wounded. The disbelievers left him for dead, but in actuality there was still life in him and he survived.
“Two individuals from among this community of Companionshad separated from the group at the time in order to graze their camels, etc., and their names were Amr bin Umayyah Damri and Munzir bin Muhammad. When they looked towards their camp, lo and behold, they sighted flocks of birds flying about overhead. They understood these desert signs…” When birds gather in such a manner, it means that there is some provision of food for them underneath. “They immediately deduced that a battle had taken place. When they returned, this atrocity of carnage and massacre perpetrated by the ruthless disbelievers lay before their eyes. Upon sighting this scene from afar, they consulted one another as to what they should do. One suggested that they should escape immediately and reach Medina in order to inform the Holy Prophetsa. The other one, however, did not accept this proposal and said, ‘I shall not flee from where our Amir, Munzir bin Amr has been martyred.’ Hence, he proceeded forward and was martyred in battle.” (Seerat Khatam-un-Nabiyeen, Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahibra, pp. 518-519)
Hence, Munzir bin Muhammadra, who had gone away in order to graze the camels also confronted the enemies and attained martyrdom. This martyrdom took place on the 4 AH.
The second companion is Hazrat Hatibra bin Abi Baltah. He belonged to the tribe of Lakhm. Hazrat Hatibra bin Abi Baltah had a treaty with the Banu Asad. His title was Abu Abdullah and it is also mentioned as Abu Muhammad. Hazrat Hatibra bin Abi Baltah was originally from Yemen. Asim bin Umar narrates that when Hatibra bin Abi Baltah and his servant, Sa‘d, migrated from Mecca to Medina, both of them stayed with Hazrat Munzir bin Muhammadra bin Uqba. The Holy Prophetsa formed a bond of brotherhood between Hazrat Hatibra bin Abi Baltah and Hazrat Rukhaila bin Khalid. In one narration it is mentioned that the Holy Prophetsa formed a bond of brotherhood between Hazrat Uwaimra bin Sa‘idah and Hazrat Hatibra bin Abi Baltah. Hazrat Hatibra bin Abi Baltah participated in all battles alongside the Holy Prophetsa, including the Battles of Badr, Uhud and Khandaq [the Trench]. The Holy Prophetsa gave him a letter for the purpose of conveying the message of Islam and sent him to Muqauqis, King of Egypt.
Hazrat Hatibra was among the archers of the Holy Prophetsa. It is also mentioned that during the era of ignorance, Hazrat Hatibra bin Abi Baltah was among the elite horsemen and poets of the Quraish. Some say that Hazrat Hatibra bin Abi Baltah was the slave of Ubaidullah bin Hameed and that he gained his freedom from his master by way of a written agreement and he paid the sum of this agreement on the day of the conquest of Mecca. (Usdul Ghaaba, Vol. 1, p. 491, Hatib bin Abi Baltah, Dar-ul-Fikr, 2003, Beirut), (At-Tabaqat Al-Kubra, Vol. 3, p. 61, p. 242, Dar Ihya At-turath Al-Arabi, 1996, Beirut), (Al-Asaaba fi Tamyeez Al-Sahaba, Vol. 2, pp. 4-5, Hatib bin Abi Baltah, Dar-ul-Kutub Al-Ilmiyah, Beirut, 1995).
Hazrat Umm-e-Salama narrates that the marriage proposal she received from the Holy Prophetsa, following the demise of her husband, was sent through Hatibra bin Abi Baltah. (Sahih Al-Muslim, Kitaab-ul-Janaaiz, Hadith. 1516, Noor Foundation)
In a narration it is mentioned that Hazrat Anasra bin Malik heard Hatibra bin Abi Baltah say, “On the day of [the Battle of] Uhud, the Holy Prophetsa turned towards me and was in considerable pain. This was after the battle had ended when the conditions improved to some extent. Hazrat Alira was holding a bowl of water in his hand and the Holy Prophetsa was washing his face with it. Hatibra asked the Holy Prophetsa as to who did this to him. The Holy Prophetsa said that Utbah bin Abi Waqas struck his face with a stone. Hazrat Hatibra said, ‘I had heard a voice shout that Muhammad had been killed. Hearing this, I have come here in a state as if my soul has left my body, rendering it lifeless.’ Hazrat Hatibra then asked the Holy Prophetsa, “Where is Utbah?” The Holy Prophetsa pointed in a particular direction and said that he is there. Hazrat Hatibra went in that direction. He [i.e. Utbah bin Abi Waqas] was hiding, but Hatibra was able to capture him. Hazrat Hatibra struck him with his sword and severed his head. He then took his decapitated head, his belongings and his horse and brought them to the Holy Prophetsa. The Holy Prophetsa gave all of these items to Hazrat Hatibra and prayed for him. The Holy Prophetsa said, ‘May Allah be pleased with you. May Allah be pleased with you.’ He repeated this twice.” (Kitab Al-Sunan Al-Kubra lil-Behqi, Pt. 6, p. 504 Hadith no. 13041, Maktabat-ul-Rushd Nashrioon, 2004)
Hazrat Hatibra bin Abi Baltah passed away in Medina at the age of 65 in the year 30 AH. Hazrat Usmanra led his funeral prayer. (At-Tabaqat Al-Kubra, Vol. 3, p. 61, Dar Ihya At-turath Al-Arabi, 1996, Beirut)
Among the details of the letter, which the Holy Prophetsa sent to Muqauqis, we find that Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahibra has mentioned it to be the third letter which was sent to the different kings (Seerat Khatam-un-Nabiyeen, Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahibra, p. 818), whereas, Hazrat Khalifat-ul-Masih IIra has said that it was the fourth letter (Debacha Tafsir-ul-Quran, Anwar-ul-Uloom, Vol. 20, p. 321). Nevertheless, one of the letters sent to the rulers and kings in order to convey the message of Islam, was sent to Muqauqis, the ruler of Egypt. He was the ruler of Egypt and Alexandria under the command of the Caesar. In other words, he was a hereditary ruler and followed the religion of Christianity, like the Caesar. His personal name was Jurayj bin Mina. He and his subjects belonged to the Coptic nation. The Holy Prophetsa sent a letter through his companion, Hatibra bin Abi Baltah and the words of this letter were as follows:
بِسْمِ اللّٰهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ۔ مِنْ مُحَمَّدٍ عَبْدِ اللّٰهِ وَرَسُوْلِهٖ اِلَي الْمُقَوْقَسِ عَظِيْمِ الْقِبْطِ۔ سَلَامٌ عَلٰي مَنِ اتَّبَعَ الْهُدٰي۔ اَمَّا بَعْدُ فَاِنِّي اَدْعُوْكَ بِدِعَايَةِ الْاِسْلَامِ اَسْلِمْ تُسْلَمْ يُؤْتِكَ اللّٰهُ اَجْرَكَ مَرَّتَيْنِ۔ فَاِنْ تَوَلَّيْتَ فَعَلَيْكَ اِثْمُ الْقِبْطِ۔ يَا اَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ تَعَالَوْا اِلَي كَلِمَةٍ سَوَائٍ بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَكُمْ اَنْ لَّا نَعْبُدَ اِلَّا اللّٰهَ وَلَا نُشْرِكَ بِهٖ شَيْئًاوَلَا يَتَّخِذَ بَعْضُنَا بَعْضًا اَرْبَابًا مِنْ دُوْنِ اللّٰهِ فَاِنْ تَوَلَّوْا فَقُوْلُوا اشْهَدُوْا بِاَنَّا مُسْلِمُوْنَ۔
“I write this letter in the name of Allah, Who is the Gracious, and who grants the best reward of one’s deeds. This letter is from Muhammad, the servant of Allah and His Messenger, to Maqauqis, Chief of the Copts. Peace be on him who follows the guidance. After this, O Ruler of Egypt, I invite you to the guidance of Islam. Embrace Islam and accept the peace of God, for this is the only way to salvation. Allah the Exalted shall grant you a double reward. But if you reject this invitation, (in addition to yourself), the sin of the Copts shall be on your shoulders as well. O People of the Book! Come to a word equal between us and you – that we worship none but Allah; and that we associate no partner with Him in any case, and that some of us take not others as our Master and Lord. But if they turn away, then say, ‘Bear witness that we are followers of the One God and obedient to Him.’”
This was the letter, which the Holy Prophetsa sent to the king.
When Hatibra bin Abi Baltah reached Alexandria, he met with an attendant in the royal court, and after gaining access to Maqauqis, he presented the letter of the Holy Prophetsa to him. Maqauqis read the letter and in somewhat of a teasing tone, said, “If your master is actually a Prophet (i.e. the Holy Prophetsa) of God then (instead of sending me this letter), why did he not supplicate to God that He should make me subservient to him?” (In other words, so that God would enable the Holy Prophetsa to become his ruler.)
Hatibra responded, “If this objection is valid, then it falls upon Jesusas as well, because he did not supplicate against his opponents in this manner.” Then, by way of advice he said, “You should contemplate in a serious manner, because prior to this, in this very country of yours, there has been a person (i.e. the Pharaoh) who claimed that he was the lord and ruler of the entire world, but God seized him in such a manner that he became a lesson for all subsequent generations. I sincerely submit to you, therefore, that you should take a lesson from others, and not become one from whom others take a lesson.” Seeing that he is responding in a courageous manner, Maqauqis said, “The fact is that we already have a religion, therefore, until we find a more superior one, we cannot leave our faith.” Hatibra responded, “Islam is a religion which relieves a person from the need of all other faiths (it is the final religion and incorporates all other religions within it); however, it surely does not require you to relinquish your belief in the Messiah of Nazareth. As a matter of fact, it teaches belief in all the truthful Prophets of God. Just as Mosesas gave glad tidings of the advent of Jesusas, so too, Jesusas gave glad tidings of the advent of our Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.” At this, Maqauqis began to contemplate and took to silence. However, sometime thereafter, in another sitting when several high dignitaries of the church were present as well, Maqauqis enquired of Hatibra, “I have heard that your Prophet was exiled from his homeland. Why did he not pray against those who drove him out, so that they would be destroyed?” Why did the Prophetsa not curse those that drove him out of his home in Mecca, so they would be destroyed and the Prophetsa could live in peace? Hatibra responded, “Our Prophet was only forced into exile from his homeland, but your Messiah was actually apprehended by the Jews, who attempted to bring his life to an end on the cross; yet, he was unable to pray against his enemies and destroy them.” Maqauqis was very impressed and said, “You are undoubtedly a wise man, and have been sent as an emissary by a wise man.” After this, he said, “I have reflected upon what you have said about your Prophet, and have found that he has not taught anything evil, nor has he forbidden anything good.” Then he placed the letter of the Holy Prophetsa in an ivory box, sealed it and handed it over to one of his responsible female servants.
Nonetheless, Maqauqis honoured the letter of the Holy Prophetsa. After this, Maqauqis summoned a scribe who was well-versed in Arabic, then he dictated the following letter addressed to the Holy Prophetsa and handed it over to Hatibra. The text of the letter read:
“In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful. This letter is from Maqauqis, Chief of the Copts, to Muhammadsa, the son of Abdullah. Peace be upon you. I have read your letter, understood its contents, and pondered over your invitation. I knew that a prophet was to appear, but I thought that he would be raised in the country of Syria (not in Arabia). I have treated your emissary with honour, and send two girls, who are held in high esteem by the Copts. (These girls belong to noble families.) I also send you some garments and a mule so that you may ride upon it. Peace be upon you.”
He then signed it. This letter demonstrates that Maqauqis of Eygpt treated the emissary of the Holy Prophetsa with reverence, and to some extent, he took an interest in the invitation of the Holy Prophetsa as well. However, he did not accept Islam. It is ascertained by other narrations that he passed away as a follower of the Christian faith. By the manner of his speech, it seems that although he took an interest in religious matters, he did not possess the serious nature that was required in this respect. For this reason, apparently, even though he acted respectfully, he dismissed the invitation of the Holy Prophetsa. The two girls sent by Maqauqis were named Mariyah and Sirin and they were both sisters. As Maqauqis stated in his letter, they were both from the Coptic nation, which was the same nation to which Maqauqis belonged to. These girls were not ordinary people, rather, according to the letter of Maqauqis, they were “held in high esteem by the Copts.”
Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahibra says, “In actuality, it seems that an ancient practice among the Egyptians was that they would present girls who belonged to their own families or were nobles of the nation to such revered guests with whom they desired to foster stronger ties.” He then further writes, “As such, when Abrahamas went to Egypt, the Chief of Egypt presented a noble girl (i.e., Hagar) to him as well for marriage, who gave birth to Ishmaelas, and through him, became the mother of many other Arabian tribes. In any case, when the two girls sent by Maqauqis arrived in Medina, the Holy Prophetsa married Mariyah, the Copt, himself, and gave her sister Sirin to the renowned poet, Hassan bin Thabitra in marriage. Mariyah is the same blessed lady who gave birth to Hazrat Ibrahim, the son of the Holy Prophetsa, who was the only child born to him during his era of prophethood. It is also worthy of mention that due to the preaching of Hatibra bin Abi Baltah, both these girls had become Muslim even before reaching Medina. The mule sent to the Holy Prophetsa on this occasion as a gift was white in colour. The Holy Prophetsa would often ride on it and in the Battle of Hunain, the very same mule was used by the Holy Prophetsa. (Seerat Khatam-un-Nabiyeen, Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahibra, pp. 818-821)
Hazrat Musleh Maudra elaborates further regarding the letter that was sent to Maqauqis, “This letter including the wording of it is exactly the same which was written for the King of Rome. The only difference was that it read: “If you do not accept it, the burden of sins of the Roman people will be on your shoulders” and the other letter read: “…the burden of sins of the Coptic people will be on your shoulders.”
When Hatibra arrived in Egypt, Maqauqis was not in the capital, rather he was in Alexandria. Hatibra went to Alexandria where the King had arranged for a gathering along the seashore. (It is possible that this location was on an Island) and he may have taken a boat to get there. Since there were stringent security measures in place, Hatibra raised the letter up above and raised slogans. The King instructed that this person should be presented before him.”
He further writes: “Hatibra also said to Maqauqis, ‘By God, Mosesas never prophesied about Jesusas as Jesusas did regarding Muhammadsa. So we call you to Muhammadsa in the same way as you call the Jews to Jesusas.’ He then said that every prophet is sent to a nation and it is their duty to obey him. So as you have witnessed the era of this prophet whom God Almighty has sent for the whole world, it is your duty to accept him. Furthermore, our faith does not restrict you from following Jesusas the Messiah, rather we call others to believe in him as well.” (Debacha Tafsir-ul-Quran, Anwar-ul-Uloom, Vol. 20, p. 322)
Thus, these were the people who preached their faith with great courage and wisdom. They had no fear of whoever was before them, be they a governor, a ruler or a king.
With regard to the incident of the woman taking a letter from Medina to the Meccans, it was the same Hatibra bin Abi Baltah who sent the letter with her and informed of the impending arrival of the Holy Prophetsa. It is narrated that when the Holy Prophetsa set off to Mecca with the army to conquer the city, one companion, Hatibra bin Abi Baltah sent a letter with a woman to the Quraish of Mecca. According to the commentary of Bukhari by Hazrat Syed Zainul Abideen Shah Sahib, he has written that Imam Bukhari quoted the following verse of the Holy Quran prior to narrating the details of this incident:
لَا تَتَّخِذُوْا عَدُوِّيْ وَ عَدُوَّكُمْ اَوْلِيَآئَ
“O ye who believe! Take not My enemy and your enemy for friends”.
Hazrat Alira relates, “The Holy Prophetsa, Zubair, Miqdad bin Aswad and myself, with the instruction that we must go and when we reach a place called Rawdah Khakh, there will be a woman on camel and she will have a letter which we must take from her, we departed with our horses galloping at full speed. When we reached Rawdah Khakh we saw that there was a woman on a camel. We asked her to produce the letter. She replied that she did not have any letter. We then said that she would show us the letter otherwise we would have to remove her clothes to find it. Upon this she took out the letter from the bun of her hair and we took that letter back to the Holy Prophetsa. When it was opened, we learnt that it was from Hatibra bin Abi Baltah addressed to the idolaters of Mecca informing them of the intentions of the Holy Prophetsa. The Holy Prophetsa summoned Hatibra bin Abi Baltah and enquired regarding this. He replied, ‘O Messenger of Allah, do not make haste in your decision regarding me. I was a man who came and met the Quraish. I am not from among them, whereas the other Muhajireen [emigrants] who were with you have relatives in Mecca through whom they have been able to safeguard their possessions and wealth. It was my desire to confer a favour upon someone in Mecca as I have no relatives there, so perhaps as a result of this favour they might take care of me and I did not do so out of disbelief or apostasy. (Neither have I denied you, nor have I become an apostate and left the fold of Islam). I did not do it for this reason because after accepting Islam I could never desire to return to disbelief, I assure you.’ When the Holy Prophetsa heard this, he said that he had spoken the truth. Hazrat Umarra who was present at the time said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, allow me to kill this hypocrite.’ The Holy Prophetsa answered, ‘This man fought in the Battle of Badr; little do you know that God Almighty has witnessed what the people have done during the Battle of Badr, and no matter what they do, He Has forgiven their sins.’” (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Kitab-ul-Jihad, Hadith no. 3007, Commentary by Hazrat Syed Zainul Abideen Shah Sahib, Vol. 5, pp. 350-352, Nizarat-e-Isha‘at)
Hazrat Waliullah Shah Sahib writes under the explanation of a Hadith in Sahih Al-Bukhari that according to another Hadith, this woman was called a disbeliever and those sent to find her were Hazrat Alira, Hazrat Abu Marsad Ghanawira and Hazrat Zubairra. Similarly, he writes that this woman was riding the camel. Regarding her hiding the letter, he writes that in another narration it states that when she saw that it was a grave matter, she turned to the cloth tied on her back, took out the letter and placed it before them and they then brought this woman to the Holy Prophetsa.
Hazrat Umarra said that he [Hatibra] had betrayed the Messenger of Allah and the believers and said, “O Messenger of Allah, allow me to kill him.” The Holy Prophetsa answered “Was he”, Hatibra bin Abi Baltah “not among those who fought in the Battle of Badr?” He then said, “I am sure that God Almighty has witnessed what happened in Badr and has stated Paradise has been decreed for them and their sins have been forgiven and they may do as they please.” When Hazrat Umarra heard this he wept saying, “God Almighty and is Messenger know better”. (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Kitab-ul-Maghazi, Hadith no. 3983, Commentary by Hazrat Syed Zainul Abideen Shah Sahib, Vol. 8, pp. 53-54, Nizarat-e-Isha‘at)
Hazrat Abu Bakrra also sent Hazrat Hatibra to Maqauqis in Egypt and agreed on a peace treaty which lasted between the two parties until the attack of Amr bin Aas on Egypt. (Al-Isti‘ab, Vol. 1, p. 376, Hatib bin Abi Baltah, Dar-ul-Kutb-ull-Ilmiyya, Beirut, 2002).
It is mentioned regarding Hazrat Hatibra that he had a good strong build, a light beard, a lowered neck, had a short stature and had stubby fingers.
Ya‘qub bin Utbah relates that on the day of Hatibra bin Abi Baltah’s demise, he left behind 4000 Dirhams. He sold grain for a living and left his inheritance in Medina. (At-Tabaqat Al-Kubra, Vol. 3, p. 61, Dar Ihya At-Turath Al-Arabi, 1996, Beirut)
Hazrat Jabirra relates that once the servant of Hazrat Hatibra went to the Holy Prophetsa to make a complaint. He came to complain about his master i.e. Hazrat Hatibra. The servant said “O messenger of Allah, Hatib will surely go to hell.” He either reproached him or said something severe. The Holy Prophetsa replied, “You have lied, he will never enter the Fire as he participated in the Battle of Badr and Sulah [the Treaty of] Hudaibiyyah.” (Sunan Al-Tirmadhi, Abwaab-ul-Munaaqib, Hadith no. 3864)
As it has been mentioned, Hazrat Hatibra was a trader and would sell his produce at the markets. What is the Islamic injunction with regard to selling goods and setting prices? Hazrat Musleh Maudra in reference to him said, “Since the time of the Holy Prophetsa, the Islamic government in Medina has had control over the prices of goods. (That is to say that the price of good sold in the market would fixed by the Islamic government). Hence, in one Hadith we read that Hazrat Umarra was walking through a market in Medina and saw that a man named Hatibra bin Abi Baltah had two sacks of dried grapes, or in other places it is written raisins. Hazrat Umarra asked about the rates to which he replied 2 mudd [unit of measurement] for a Dirham, i.e. for one Dirham one would receive 2 mudd. This rate was lower and cheaper than the average rate in the market, so Hazrat Umarra ordered him to sell them at his home as it was very cheap and would not allow him to sell at such low rates in the market, as this would disrupt the rate of the market and the people will begin harbouring ill-thoughts and doubts about the vendors. People would say to those who had higher rates that they were selling to them at a wrong price.”
Hazrat Musleh Maudra writes, “The Islamic jurists have greatly debated about this topic. Some have presented such narrations where later on Hazrat Umarra changed his mind on what he previously believed, but whatever the case may be the scholars have accepted Hazrat Umar’s view as a principal to be practiced upon and they have written that it is the duty of the Islamic government to set the rates of the markets, otherwise there will be a change in the morals and integrity of the people. But one should always bear in mind that only those commodities are mentioned which are brought to the market and sold openly. Those goods which are not brought to the market and sold on an individual basis are not mentioned here. Thus, with regard to those goods which are brought to the market and sold, the clear Islamic injunction is that the rate should be determined in order to prevent the vendors from increasing and lowering the prices. Furthermore, the scholars have written some narrations and Ahadith which give support to this.” (Khutbat-e-Mahmood, Vol. 19, pp. 307-308, Friday Sermon 10.06.1938)
Another duty of the Islamic government is to provide grazing fields and to dig wells to provide water. In this regard, the Holy Prophetsa once appointed Hazrat Hatibra for this task. According to one narration on the return from the Battle of Banu Mustaliq, the Holy Prophetsa passed by a placed called Naqee. He saw a very large plain of land and grass. The land was very vast, vegetation was everywhere and there were many wells. The water of the land was also very clean. The Holy Prophetsa enquired about the water in the wells and in reply it was said “O messenger of Allah, the water is very good, but whenever we praise these wells the water diminishes and remains at the bottom.” The Holy Prophetsa hence instructed Hazrat Hatibra bin Abi Baltah to dig a well and to make Naqee the grazing land, i.e. the official grazing land which would be under the rule of the government.
Hazrat Bilalra bin Harith Muzni was appointed to oversee this work. Hazrat Bilalra said “O Messenger of Allah, how much of this land should I make the grazing land? It is a very vast land, so how much of it should be for grazing?” The Holy Prophetsa answered, “Before the sun rises at Fajr, have a man with a loud voice (the voice at night reaches very far) stand on the hill named Mukammal (a small mountain there), then as far as his voice can be heard you should make the land for the horses and camels of the Mujahideen to graze.” This too was a measure used. There is no mention of feet or miles, rather, they were to appoint people in different directions and the furthest person to whom the voice reached would mark the boundary of the grazing ground and the grazing ground was to be for such horses and camels of the Muslim Mujahideen so that they could continue the work of Jihad through this. The ground was public treasury and property of the state and the horses and camels of those Mujahideen who would go out for battle were to graze there.
Upon this Hazrat Bilalra asked, “O Messenger of Allah, what is your verdict regarding the grazing animals of ordinary Muslims?” There were many grazing animals of ordinary Muslims that grazed in open fields and grazing grounds. He sought his opinion and verdict regarding them. The Holy Prophetsa replied, “They will not enter it; this is only for those people who prepare their animals for jihad.” Hazrat Bilal asked, “O Messenger of Allah! What is your verdict regarding those weak men and women who have small numbers of cattle and are unable to move with them for grazing?” Certain poor people had very small numbers of sheep and goats. They were unable to even obtain milk from them and they could not go anywhere else as they were very feeble, elderly or were women. Upon this, the Holy Prophetsa replied, “Let them graze.” (Subul-ul-Huda Wa Al-Rishaad, Vol. 4, pp. 352-353, Dar-ul-Kutub Al-Ilmiyya, Beirut, 1996)
The feeble and weak were permitted to let their cattle graze from the state grazing grounds. Thus the national treasure should be used for the for the benefit of the nation; however, if a poor person is in need of it for a personal matter then they can also benefit from it.
Speaking of the high morals of Hazrat Hatibra bin Abi Baltah, the author of Sirat Al-Sahaba has written, “Loyalty to the utmost level, beneficence and truthfulness were his outstanding qualities. He would take care of his friends and family. At the conquest of Mecca, the letter that he sent to the idolaters of Mecca”, through the help of lady which I have already mentioned, “was due to affection and love that he had for his family. The Holy Prophetsa also took his good intention and truthfulness in consideration and overlooked this” and forgave him. (Sirat Al-Sahaba, Vol. 2, pp. 411-412, Islami Kutub Khana)
May God Almighty enable us to adopt the high qualities of the Companions and may Allah continue to elevate their status.
(Translated by The Review of Religions)