18 December 2020
Men of Excellence: Hazrat Alira
After reciting Tashahud, Ta‘awuz and Surah al-Fatihah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa stated:
I have been relating accounts from the life of Hazrat Alira. The service rendered by Hazrat Alira to the Holy Prophetsa during his final illness has been mentioned in a narration in Bukhari as follows:
Ubaidullah bin Abdillah has related that Hazrat Aishara used to say, “When the Holy Prophetsa became ill and his illness intensified, he sought permission from the rest of his wives for me to take care of him in my home; hence, they granted him permission. Following this, he left the house with the support of two men, whilst his feet were leaving a trail on the ground [as a result of the weakness in his body]. He was being supported by Hazrat Abbasra and another individual.”
In other words, he was already in the home of Hazrat Aishara at the time and left her house with the support of two men in order to go to the mosque. Ubaidullah narrates that he mentioned what Hazrat Aishara had narrated to him to Hazrat Ibn Abbasra, upon which he enquired whether he knew the individuals whom Hazrat Aishara mentioned. Ubaidullah replied in the negative and Hazrat Ibn Abbasra stated that she mentioned Hazrat Abbasra and the other individual, who she did not name was Hazrat Alira bin Abi Talib. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Azan, Bab Hadd al-Marid yashhadu al-Jama‘ah, Hadith 665)
Hazrat Abdullahra bin Abbas relates that one day, Hazrat Alira bin Abi Talib came out of the house, in which the Holy Prophetsa was staying during his final illness prior to his demise. People enquired, “O Abul-Hasan! How is the Holy Prophet’ssa health this morning?” Hazrat Alira replied, “Alhamdolillah [all praise belongs to Allah], he is feeling better this morning.”
Upon this, Hazrat Abbasra bin Abd-il-Muttalib took hold of Hazrat Ali’sra hand and said “By God! You will be under the guardianship of someone else after three days because, by Allah, I can see that the Holy Prophetsa will soon pass away owing to this illness. The reason for this is that from my experience, I can tell when the people of the Banu Abd-il-Muttalib are near to their demise simply by looking at the condition of their faces. Come, let us go the Holy Prophetsa and ask him who will be entrusted with this matter now”, i.e. Khilafat, “and whether it is granted to someone from amongst us or to someone other than us; in either case we will find out and the Holy Prophetsa will impart us with some guidance in relation to it.”
Hazrat Alira replied, “By God! If we ask the Holy Prophetsa about this and he does not grant us this honour, then people will also not grant it to us following his demise. By God! I will certainly not ask the Holy Prophetsa in relation to this.” This narration is also taken from Bukhari. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Maghazi, Bab Maradh al-Nabisa Wafatuh, Hadith 4447; Translation by Hazrat Syed Zain-ul-Abidin Waliullah Shahra, Vol. 9, pp. 337-338)
The Arabic words which are mentioned in this narration of Bukhari are as follows:
أَنْتَ وَاللّٰهِ بَعْدَ ثَلَاثٍ عَبْدُالْعَصَا
[By God! In three days, you will be under the guardianship of someone else.]
In relation to this, Hazrat Syed Waliullah Shah Sahibra has added the following note in his book:
“To say that he shall fall under the guardianship of someone else after the demise of the Holy Prophetsa has in fact been used to indicate that the Holy Prophetsa would pass away after three days.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Translation by Hazrat Syed Zain-ul-Abidin Waliullah Shahra, Vol. 9, p. 337)
Hazrat Amir relates that following the demise of the Holy Prophetsa, Hazrat Alira, Hazrat Fazlra and Hazrat Usamara bin Zaid washed the body of the Holy Prophetsa and these same individuals lowered the Holy Prophet’sra blessed body into the grave. In another narration, it is mentioned that Hazrat Abdurra Rahman bin Auf was also among these individuals. (Sunan Abi Dawud, Kitab al-Jana‘iz, Bab Kam Yadkhulu al-Qabar, Hadith 3209)
There are varying narrations in regard to Hazrat Alira pledging allegiance [bai‘at] to Hazrat Abu Bakrra because according to some narrations, Hazrat Alira did not immediately and wholeheartedly pledge his allegiance to Hazrat Abu Bakrra, whereas others state the contrary.
Nevertheless, Hazrat Abu Saeed Khudrira relates that when the Muhajireen and the Ansar had pledged their allegiance to Hazrat Abu Bakrra, he stood at the pulpit and looked towards the people, but was unable to find Hazrat Alira among them. Hazrat Abu Bakrra then enquired about Hazrat Alira.
Some men from the Ansar went and brought Hazrat Alira with them. Addressing Hazrat Alira, Hazrat Abu Bakrra said, “O paternal nephew of the Holy Prophetsa and his son-in-law! Do you wish to destroy the strength of the Muslims?”
Hazrat Alira replied, “O Khalifa of the Messengersa of Allah! Do not rebuke me for this.” Following this, he pledged initiation to Hazrat Abu Bakrra. (Sirat Amir-il-Momineen Ali bin Abi Talib Shakhsiyyatuh wa Asruh, p. 119, Vol. 2, Ali bin Abi Talib fi Ahd al-Khulafa al-Rashidin … Dar al-Ma‘rifah, Beirut, Lebanon, 2006) (Ibn Kathir, Al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah, Dhikr E‘tiraf Saad bin Ubadah bi Sihhat Ma Qalahu al-Siddiq Yaum al-Saqifah [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2005], 693)
In Tarikh al-Tabari, it is mentioned that Habib bin Abi Thabit relates that Hazrat Alira was in his home when an individual came to him and informed him that Hazrat Abu Bakrra was about to take the pledge of allegiance. Hazrat Alira was wearing a loose upper garment at the time. He immediately left the house, in a state where he was not wearing a waist-wrapper or his cloak, in fear of being delayed by this. Hence, he pledged allegiance to Hazrat Abu Bakrra and sat down beside him. Following this, he sent for his clothes and got dressed, but remained seated in the company of Hazrat Abu Bakrra. (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 3, Hadith al-Saqifah [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Fikr, 2002], 257)
Allama Ibn Kathir says that Hazrat Alira pledged allegiance to Hazrat Abu Bakrra the very next day or the second day after the demise of the Holy Prophetsa. This indeed is the reality as Hazrat Alira never stopped his support of Hazrat Abu Bakrra, nor did he ever abandon offering his prayer behind Hazrat Abu Bakrra. (Ibn Kathir, Al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah, Dhikr E‘tiraf Saad bin Ubadah bi Sihhat Ma Qalahu al-Siddiq Yaum al-Saqifah [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2005], 694)
In regard to Hazrat Alira, the Promised Messiahas states:
“Hazrat Alira initially held back from taking the bai‘at of Hazrat Abu Bakrra. However, upon reaching home, only Allah knows what thought crossed his mind that he immediately left without even putting on his turban and simply covered his head with a cap and came to perform the bai‘at. It was only later that he called for his turban to be brought. It seems that he deemed this to be a grave sin and thus left in such a hurry that he did not even tie his turban.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 10, p. 183, 1984 Edition)
In other words, he did not even fully dress and came at once.
In other narrations, it has been mentioned that Hazrat Alira did not perform the bai‘at of Hazrat Abu Bakrra until after the demise of Hazrat Fatimahra. For example, in the narration of Bukhari it states that Hazrat Alira did not perform the bai‘at until after the demise of Hazrat Fatimahra. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Maghazi, Bab Ghazwat Khaibar, Hadith 4240)
However, many ulema [Islamic scholars] have expressed varying opinions on this narration of Bukhari. Imam Bayhaqi in Sunan al-Kubra has commented on the narration of Imam Shahaab-ul-Din Zuhri in which it states that Hazrat Alira did not perform the bai‘at of Hazrat Abu Bakrra until after the demise of Hazrat Fatimahra. The translation of this is that Imam Zuhri’s narration in which it states that Hazrat Alira did not perform the bai‘at of Hazrat Abu Bakrra until after the demise of Hazrat Fatimahra is munqati‘ [the chain of narrators is incomplete]. On the other hand, the narration of Hazrat Abu Saeed Khudrira is more authentic wherein it states that Hazrat Alira performed the bai‘at at the hand of Hazrat Abu Bakrra after the initial bai‘at had been taken in Thaqifah [meeting place of the Banu Saidah]. (Imam al-Baihaqi, Al-Sunan al-Kubra, Kitab Qism al-Fai‘ wa al-Ghanimah, Bab Bayan Musrif Arba‘ah Ikhmas al-Fai‘ ba‘d Rasulillahsa, Hadith 12732)
Other scholars have sought to reconcile these two narrations by stating that the second bai‘at [i.e. after the demise of Hazrat Fatimahra] was a pledge of reaffirmation. Perhaps these scholars thought that in light of the fact that this narration has been recorded in an authentic book like Bukhari and therefore it must have some significance, hence [these scholars] felt the need to give this second pledge a particular name. However, it is not necessary that all the narrations in Bukhari are completely accurate.
For example, Dr Ali Muhammad Salabi in his book, Sirat Amir-il-Muminin Ali bin Abi Talib Shakhsiyyatuh wa Asruh writes that according to Allama Ibn Kathir and many other scholars, Hazrat Alira once again performed the bai‘at and reaffirmed his pledge of allegiance after the demise of Hazrat Fatimahra. (Sirat Amir-il-Momineen Ali bin Abi Talib Shakhsiyyatuh wa Asruh, p. 121, Vol. 1, Ali bin Abi Talib fi Ahd al-Siddiq, Dar al-Ma‘rifah, Beirut, Lebanon, 2006)
Thus, this bai‘at was named as “The Pledge of Reaffirmation”. Hazrat Alira had initially taken the bai‘at, but after the demise of Hazrat Fatimara, he once again reaffirmed his pledge of allegiance. Allama Ibn Kathir writes that after the demise of Hazrat Fatimahra, Hazrat Alira decided to pledge his allegiance at the hand of Hazrat Abu Bakrra once again. (Ibn Kathir, Al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah, Dhikr E‘tiraf Saad bin Ubadah bi Sihhat Ma Qalahu al-Siddiq Yaum al-Saqifah [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2005], 694)
The Promised Messiahas states in his book, Sirr-ul-Khilafah – this book was originally written in Arabic; however, its Urdu translation is as follows:
“Even if we assume that the most truthful person …” i.e. Hazrat Abu Bakrra, against whom these people level allegations and claim that Hazrat Alira should have been the Khalifa first. Clarifying this matter, the Promised Messiahas states:
“Even if we assume that the most truthful person [i.e. Hazrat Abu Bakrra] was one of those who prioritised the pleasure of this world and its temptations and that he usurped the right of another, then we are forced to admit that Ali, the Lion of Allah, was a hypocrite (God-forbid) and did not cast aside his worldly desires and wholly devote himself to Allah and that he was beguiled by the world and desirous of its attractions and charms as he did not leave the company of ‘the apostates and disbelievers’”. These are the extremely harsh words they say in regard to Hazrat Abu Bakrra, for example that he was a disbeliever. “But instead, he adopted hypocrisy and chose taqiyya for approximately 30 years.
“If, in the eyes of Hazrat Ali, may Allah the Almighty be pleased with him, Al-Siddiq Akbar [i.e. Hazrat Abu Bakrra] was a disbeliever and had usurped his right, then why did he agree to pledge allegiance to him? Why did he not migrate from the land of oppression, tribulation and apostasy? Was not Allah’s earth vast enough for him to emigrate as has been the practise of the righteous?
“Look at the example of Abraham, who fulfilled the commandments;how powerful he was in bearing witness to the truth; when he saw that his father erred and had gone astray and his people worshiped idols instead of the Supreme Lord, he turned away from them. He was not afraid, nor did he care about the consequences. He was thrown into fire and yet he did not choose to conceal his faith out of fear of the evildoers.
“This is the way of the righteous. They do not fear swords or blades. They consider taqiyya to be a grave sin and an immoral and unjust act. And even if they were to commit an iota of such a despicable act, they turn to Allah seeking His forgiveness.
“We are amazed at how Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, swore allegiance to Al-Siddiq and Al-Faruq [i.e. Hazrat Abu Bakrra and Hazrat Umarra] despite ‘knowing’ that they had ‘renounced Islam and usurped the rights of others’. Moreover, if he” i.e. Hazrat Alira “was aware of their alleged ‘corruption, disbelief and apostasy’, then why is it that he continued to spend among them a wholelifetime and followed them sincerely and devotedly. He did not tire or become weary, nor did he show any resentment, nor did he let any other reason become a hindrance in this, including his high level of righteousness.
“Moreover, there was nothing stopping him, nor was he held as a prisoner in that he could not go to the other Arab tribes. Thus, in such an instance, it was his duty to migrate to some other part of Arabia, to its east or to the west.”
If the circumstances had become so dire, then there was nothing stopping Hazrat Alira from migrating. The Promised Messiahas states that not only should he have migrated, but then also incited others to fight against them for they had become apostates and disbelievers. The Promised Messiahas continues:
“[He should have left] in order to urge people to fight and incite the Bedouins to battle. He should have aroused them with his eloquent words and then fought the rebellious apostates.”
The Promised Messiahas further states:
“About one hundred thousand Bedouins joined Musaylimah Kazzab. However, Alira was more deserving of this support than anyone else. Therefore, on what basis did he follow ‘the disbelievers’” i.e. the first three Khalifas, against whom these people level the allegation that they were disbelievers, “and why did he display his loyalty to them? If he was appointed as the leader, then why did he sit idly like the indolent and not rise like those who strive [in the cause of Allah]? What had prevented him from standing against them if he had seen the signs of his honour and high rank by Allah? Why did he not go forward to war in support of the truth and to call others towards this mission? Was he not the most eloquent among the people, the most articulate in speech and the one who could breathe life through his words? Thus, he could have gathered people around him within an hour or even less due to the strength of his speech and oration, which would have affected the listeners and attracted them. If people could gather around an imposter and liar [i.e. Musaylimah Kazzab], how is it that the Lion of Allah could not do the same while he was supported by Allah and was the beloved of the Lord of the Worlds?
“Above all else, the strangest thing is that Hazrat Alira did not only pledge allegiance to Hazrat Abu Bakrra and Hazrat Umarra [Sheikhain], but he also observed every Salat behind them and never missed a single prayer or turned away like those who harbour doubts.
Moreover, he participated with them in mutual consultation and believed in their claim. He helped them in every matter with all his effort and capacity and was not of those who remained behind. Thus, carefully ponder, is this how an oppressed one behaves? Look how he followed the so-called ‘liars’, despite his knowledge of their lies and slander, as if truth and falsehood were alike for him. Did he not know that those who trust in The Powerful never choose the way of hypocrisy, even if they are cast into the fire? Indeed, they do not leave the truth even if by upholding it they are cast into ruin and destruction.” (Sirr-ul-Khilafah, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 8, pp. 349-351, Urdu Tarjumah of Sirr-ul-Khilafah, pp. 86-91, Nazarat Ishaat)
Thus, the Promised Messiahas has clearly explained that Hazrat Alira never opposed any of the Khulafa before him; in fact, he pledged his allegiance to them. And those who claim that Hazrat Alira did not pledge his allegiance to Hazrat Abu Bakrra commit a disservice to the honour of Hazrat Alira as opposed to honouring his status.
What services did Hazrat Alira render during the era of the three Khalifas before him? After the demise of the Holy Prophetsa, many of the Arab tribes became apostates and the hypocrites of Medina also began to grow bold in their opposition. Many people from among the Banu Hanifah and Yamamah joined with Musaylimah Kazzab, whilst many others from among the Banu Asad, Tayy and various other tribes joined with Tulaiha Asadi. Just like Musaylimah Kazzab , Tulaiha Asadi also declared to be a prophet. Disorder became widespread and the situation became increasingly grave. In such circumstances, Hazrat Abu Bakrra sent an army under the command of Hazrat Usamara and thus very few people were left behind with him. Subsequently, many of the Bedouins thought of capturing Medina and began to plot an attack. Hazrat Abu Bakrra appointed guards at the various entrances into Medina, who along with their men, would guard Medina at night. Amongst those who were assigned to oversee these guards was Hazrat Alira bin Abi Talib, Zubairra bin al-Awam, Talhara bin Abdillah, Saadra bin Abi Waqas, Abdur Rahmanra bin Auf and Abdullahra bin Mas‘ud. (Ibn Kathir, Al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah, Vol. 7 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2001] 307-308)
Thus, even during this time, Hazrat Alira was appointed to oversee this section of the army which was assigned to guard Medina.
When news of the Holy Prophet’ssa demise spread, many of the Arab tribes became apostates and refused to pay the Zakat. Hazrat Abu Bakrra decided to fight against them. Urwah relates that Hazrat Abu Bakrra took the Muhajireen and the Ansar along with him and left Medina. When he reached a lake which was situated opposite the mountainous area of Najd, the Bedouins had fled from there along with their families. In actuality they did not completely become apostate, but still claimed to be Muslims and yet refused to pay the Zakat. Thus, it was for this reason that Hazrat Abu Bakrra decided to fight against them and not because they had become apostates.
When these Bedouins fled from there, it was suggested to Hazrat Abu Bakrra that he should return to the women and children left behind in Medina and appoint someone as the commander of the army in his place. Upon the persistent suggestions from others, Hazrat Abu Bakrra appointed Hazrat Khalidra bin Waleed as the commander of the army and said to him, “If they wish to accept Islam and pay the Zakat, (in other words, reaffirm their pledge of allegiance), then if anyone from among them wishes to return, then they can do so.” After this, Hazrat Abu Bakrra returned to Medina. (Jalauddin Abdur Rahman bin Abi Bakr al-Suyuti, Tarikh al-Khulafa, p. 61, al-Khalifa al-Awwal Abu Bakr Siddiqra, Fasl fi ma Waqa‘a fi al-Khilafah)
Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra states:
“It is proven from historical sources that during his era of Khilafat, Hazrat Umarra appointed Hazrat Alira as the amir of Medina in his absence on certain occasions when he would have to travel somewhere. For example, in Tarikh al-Tabari it states that during the incident of Jisr, whereby the Muslim army suffered a huge setback from the Persian forces, Hazrat Umarra decided upon consulting with various people that he would go with the Muslim army to the frontier region of Iran. On this occasion, Hazrat Umarra appointed Hazrat Alira as the governor of Medina.” (Haqq al-Yaqin, Anwar al-‘Ulum, Vol. 9, pp. 282-284)
Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra, in another place, states:
“One of the biggest and harrowing defeats faced by the Muslims was during the Battle of Jisr. A very strong army of Muslims had been sent to fight against the Persian forces. The Persian forces had set up their trenches on the opposite side of the river and were sat in wait.
“When the Muslim army approached, they attacked the Persian forces with great intensity and went right through them. However, this was the ploy of the commander of the Persian army. He then sent another contingent from the side, who took control of the bridge and then launched an attack against the Muslim army.
“The Muslims planned to move back, but noticed that the bridge had been seized by the enemy, they anxiously moved to another side, but came under a fierce attack from the enemy and many of the Muslims were left with no choice but to jump into the river and died. This was such a dangerous loss suffered by the Muslim army that its news left Medina in shock.
“Hazrat Umarra gathered the people of Medina and stated, ‘Now there is nothing that remains between Persia and Medina. Medina has become completely exposed and it is possible that the enemy may reach here in just a matter of days. Therefore, I wish to go myself as the commander of the army.’
“Everyone agreed to this suggestion; however, Hazrat Alira stated, ‘If, God-forbid, you were to be martyred, the unity of the Muslims will end and they will be dispersed. Therefore, you should not go but send someone else instead.’ Upon this, Hazrat Umarra wrote to Hazrat Saadra, who at the time was engaged in battle against the Byzantines in Syria, and stated that he should send however many people he could because Medina was left completely exposed. If the enemy was not stopped immediately, they would eventually take control of Medina.” (Majlis Khuddam-ul-Ahmadiyyah ke Salana Ijtima … Mein Aham Hidayat, Anwar al-Ulum, Vol. 22,pp. 56-57)
When the rebellion and dissension began during the Khilafat of Hazrat Uthmanra, Hazrat Alira would offer sincere advice in order for it to be quelled. On one occasion, Hazrat Uthmanra asked Hazrat Alira what the real reason was behind the revolt and rebellion and also how it could be quelled.
With utmost sincerity and in a candid manner, Hazrat Alira stated that all the unrest and turmoil was due to the dishonesty and injustices committed by his governors. Hazrat Uthmanra stated, “When choosing my governors, I looked to the same qualities that Hazrat Umarra was mindful of. Yet I do not know why there is a general aversion to them?” Hazrat Alira stated, “This is correct; however, Hazrat Umarra kept the final verdict under his command and he was so firm in this that even the most rebellious camel in all of Arabia would cry out of anguish” i.e. he would oversee matters stringently. “In contrast, you are overly lenient and your governors take advantage of your leniency and act however they please. They ensure that you remain unaware of their actions. The people think that the governors are simply fulfilling the commands issued by the Khalifa. For this reason, you become the focal point of the reaction to these injustices [committed by the governors].”
When the Egyptians had besieged Hazrat Uthman’sra house, they acted so severely that they cut off all supplies of food and drink to his home. When Hazrat Alira became aware of this, he went to those who laid the siege and said, “The manner in which you have sieged this house is not only un-Islamic, but it is also inhumane. When the disbelievers capture Muslims, even they do not deprive them of food and drink. What harm has this man caused you that you are treating him in such a cruel manner?” The ones who laid the siege took no notice of Hazrat Ali’sra appeal and outright refused to ease the severity of the siege. Hazrat Alira became furious and throwing down his turban, he left. (Sheikh Shah Moinuddin Ahmad Nadvi, Siyar al-Sahabah, Vol. 1, Amir al-Momineen Hazrat Ali al-Murtadara [Lahore, Pakistan: Islami Kutub Khana Urdu Bazar], 207-208)
The people had besieged Hazrat Uthman’sra house and cut off his water supply. Hazrat Uthmanra peered from above and asked the people if Alira was among them? They replied that he was not. Hazrat Uthmanra then asked if Saad was present? To which they replied in the negative.
Hazrat Uthmanra paused briefly and then said, “Is there anyone among you who can deliver my message to Alira that if he can bring us some water.” When Hazrat Alira became aware of this he sent three water bags to Hazrat Uthmanra; however, the rebels intercepted them and would not allow them to reach the house of Hazrat Uthmanra. In an attempt to deliver these water bags to Hazrat Uthmanra, many slaves of the Banu Hashim and Banu Umayyah were injured. Eventually, they managed to provide Hazrat Uthmanra with this water.
When Hazrat Alira learnt that there was a plan to murder Hazrat Uthmanra, he ordered his sons – Imam Hasanra and Imam Husainra – to go with their swords and stand guard at Hazrat Uthman’sra door. He warned them that no rebel should get anywhere near them. Upon seeing this, the rebels fired a burst of arrows towards Hazrat Uthman’sra door, which severely injured Hazrat Hasanra and Muhammadra bin Talha.
During this time, Muhammadra bin Abi Bakr and two accomplices quietly jumped into Hazrat Uthman’sra house from the side of an Ansari companion’s home and then martyred Hazrat Uthmanra. When Hazrat Alira heard this news, he came to see for himself and learnt that he had indeed been martyred. He then asked his sons, “How could Hazrat Uthmanra be martyred whilst you two were on guard?” Upon this, Hazrat Alira slapped Hazrat Hasanra, struck the chest of Hazrat Husainra and rebuked Muhammadra bin Talha and Abdullahra bin Zubair and returned home filled with anger. (Jalauddin Abd al-Rahman bin Abi Bakr al-Suyuti, Tarikh al-Khulafa, pp. 123-124, Dar al-Kutub al-Arabi, Beirut, Lebanon, 1999)
Shaddad bin Aus narrates, “On the ‘Day of Dar’ when the siege of Hazrat Uthmanra became severe (the ‘Day of Dar’ is the day when the rebels surrounded Hazrat Uthman’sra house and martyred him mercilessly.) Hazrat Uthmanra peered over and said, ‘O servants of Allah!’”
The narrator states:
“I saw that Hazrat Alira was leaving his house and he was wearing the turban of the Holy Prophetsa and was carrying his sword. Ahead of him was a group of Muhajireen and Ansar among whom was Hazrat Hasanra and Hazrat Abdullahra bin Umar. They attacked the rebels and managed to move them away from there. They then entered Hazrat Uthman’sra house, after which Hazrat Alira said, ‘O Leader of the Faithful! May peace be upon you! The faith was strengthened and elevated to lofty heights when the Holy Prophetsa, along with his Companions, fought against those who stood in opposition to him. By God! I see that these people will certainly kill you. Thus, grant us permission to fight against them.’
“Upon this, Hazrat Uthmanra said, ‘Whosoever believes in Allah and considers that I have a right over them, I implore them in the name of Allah not to shed anyone’s blood for me, even the amount that is spilt in the practice of bloodletting, nor should they spill their own blood for my sake.’ Hazrat Alira then made the same request again, but Hazrat Uthmanra gave the same reply as before.”
The narrator then states:
“I then saw Hazrat Alira departing from Hazrat Uthman’sra house and was saying, ‘O Allah! You are a witness that we exhausted all our efforts in this cause.’ He then went to Masjid al-Nabawi and it was time for prayer. The people said to Hazrat Alira, ‘O Abul Hasan! Proceed forward and lead us in prayer.’ Hazrat Alira stated, ‘I cannot lead you in prayer whilst the Imam is under siege. I will offer prayers on my own.’
“Thus, he offered prayers on his own and then left. Hazrat Ali’sra son came to him and said, ‘O my father! By God, the enemy has attacked Hazrat Uthman’sra house.’ Hazrat Alira said:
اِنَّا للهِ وَاِنَّا اِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُوْنَ
“‘[Verily to Allah we belong and to Him shall we return.] By God, they will kill him!’ The people asked where Hazrat Uthmanra would be” i.e. after his martyrdom. “Hazrat Alira stated, ‘I swear by God, he will be in Paradise.’ The people then asked, ‘O Abul Hasan! Where will those people be?’” i.e. the ones who martyred Hazrat Uthmanra. “Hazrat Alira answered, ‘I swear by God, they will be in the Hellfire.’ He repeated this three times.” (Riyad al-Nadirah fi Manaqib al-Asharah, Vol. 3, pp. 68-69, Chapter 3, Fi Manaqib Amir al-Momineen Uthmanra bin Affan, Chapter 11, fi Maqtalih wa ma Yata‘alaq bih, Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 1984)
Mentioning the conditions when the rebels had besieged Medina, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra states:
“The Egyptians went to Hazrat Alira. At the time, he was outside of Medina and was commanding one part of an army [against the rebels] and was preparing to crush the rebellion. When they reached Hazrat Alira, they said, ‘Due to Hazrat Uthman’sra poor administration, he is no longer fit for the position of Khalifa. We are here to depose him and hope that you will accept this office after him.’ Upon hearing these words of the hypocrites, Hazrat Alira responded with the honour he had for the faith that was befitting for a man of his rank and eminence and shunned them with full vigour, saying, ‘All righteous people know that the Holy Prophetsa spoke about the people camping at Dhul Marwah and Dhu Khushub (the places where the rebels were camping) and cursed them. (Ibn Kathir, Al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah, Vol. 7 [Beirut, Lebanon: 1966] 174)
“‘May God ruin you! Go back to where you came from.’ Hearing this they said, ‘Very well, we shall return’, and so they left.” (Islam Mein Ikhtilafat ka Aghaz, Anwar al-Ulum, Vol. 4, p. 299)
I have previously spoken about Hazrat Uthman’sra martyrdom and Hazrat Ali’sra election as Khalifa in detail, but I will briefly mention it again. When Hazrat Uthmanra was martyred, everyone rushed towards Hazrat Alira, among whom were the Companions as well as others. They unanimously proclaimed that Hazrat Alira was the “Leader of the Faithful”. They came to Hazrat Ali’sra house and wished to perform the bai‘at. They asked Hazrat Alira to extend his hand for the bai‘at as he was most worthy.
Hazrat Alira responded, “This is not your job to decide; rather, this is a matter for the Companions of Badr. Thus, the Khalifa will be the one whoever the Companions of Badr choose.”
All of the people gathered around Hazrat Alira and said, “We do not see anyone more worthy than you for this office. Therefore, extend your hand so we can pledge allegiance.”
Hazrat Alira enquired of the whereabouts of Talhara and Zubairra. The first person to verbally pledge allegiance was Hazrat Talhara and the first person to pledge allegiance at the hands of Hazrat Alira was Hazrat Saadra. Subsequently, Hazrat Alira headed towards the mosque and stood up on the pulpit. Hazrat Talhara was the first person to climb the pulpit and pledge allegiance to Hazrat Alira, followed by Hazrat Zubairra and the other companions. (Ali Ibn al-Athir, Usd al-Ghabah fi Ma‘rifat al-Sahabah, Vol. 4, Dhikr Ali bin Abi Talibra [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2008], 107)
Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra has explained the events after the martyrdom of Hazrat Uthmanra in the following manner:
“When Hazrat Uthmanra was martyred, the rebels looted the treasury and announced that whosoever challenged them would be put to death. People were not permitted to congregate anywhere (people were not allowed to gather in groups and they had imposed a restriction similar to Section 144 that is imposed these days) and Medina was under complete siege, with no one allowed to leave, (or similar to the curfews that are imposed nowadays) to the extent that Hazrat Alira – whom the rebels claimed to love – was prevented from leaving, all the while the rebels ransacked Medina.
“On the other hand, the stone-heartedness of the rebels was such that they did not stop at having murdered a pious individual such as Hazrat Uthmanra – whom the Holy Prophetsa greatly praised – rather, they went even further and for three or four days, they prevented the body of Hazrat Uthmanra from being buried. Eventually, some companions went out at night and buried him secretly. Alongside Hazrat Uthmanra, some servants were also martyred. They too were prevented from being buried and their corpses were fed to the dogs.
“Having perpetrated this act against Hazrat Uthmanra and his servants, the rebels granted respite to the people of Medina as they did not have any dispute with them. At this time, the Companionsra began to leave Medina. For five days, Medina remained without a ruler. The rebels wished to appoint a Khalifa of their choosing so that he would carry out their demands. However, no one from among the Companionsra of the Holy Prophetsa could ever imagine becoming the appointed Khalifa of those who had murdered Hazrat Uthmanra.
“The rebels went to Hazrat Alira, Talhara and Zubairra in turn and asked them to become the Khalifa, but they all refused. After hearing their refusal, the rebels knew that whilst these three individuals were alive, the Muslims would never accept a Khalifa who was not from among them, therefore they decided to resort to coercion in this matter as well. They thought that if a Khalifa was not appointed soon, they would face a great storm of opposition throughout the Islamic world. They announced that it would be wise to choose a Khalifa within two days, otherwise they would kill Alira, Talhara, Zubairra and all other prominent persons. At this, the people of Medina became fearful that the people who killed Hazrat Uthmanra would leave no stone unturned in their mistreatment of their families and children. They went to Hazrat Alira and pleaded with him to become the Khalifa. He refused and said, ‘If I become the Khalifa, everyone will assume that I had Uthmanra killed and I cannot bear such a burden.’ Hazrat Talhara and Hazrat Zubairra also gave the same response. Whoever from among the Companionsra was asked to become the Khalifa, refused.
“Ultimately, everyone went to Hazrat Alira again and said that he ought to take up this burden. Eventually he agreed on the condition that everyone should gather in the mosque and accept him. Thus, the people gathered in the mosque and pledged allegiance to Hazrat Alira. Some, however, refused to accept any Khalifa until those who killed Hazrat Uthmanra were punished, while others, albeit very few in number, said that a Khalifa should not be chosen until the opinion of the people outside of Medina was ascertained. Hazrat Alira accepted the proposal to become the Khalifa in such circumstances, but the events unfolded just as he had feared and people throughout the Islamic world began to allege that Hazrat Uthmanra had been murdered on the order of Hazrat Alira.”
Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra writes:
“If we put all of Hazrat Ali’sra attributes and qualities to one side, in my opinion, for him to accept the office of Khilafat in such precarious times was an extremely brave and courageous step and is worthy of immense praise and admiration. For the sake of Islam, he did not care at all about himself nor his honour and instead took upon himself a burden of such magnitude.” (Waqi‘at Khilafat Alwi, Anwar al-Ulum, Vol. 4, pp. 635-637)
Then, with regard to the incidents following the martyrdom of Hazrat Uthmanra, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra states at another instance:
“For about a day or two [after Hazrat Uthman’sra martyrdom] pillaging and looting was rampant; however, when the rebels’ emotions subsided, they began worrying about their fates and were fearful for what would happen next. Hence, some thought that since Hazrat Muawiyahra was a great man, he would surely seek retribution [for the martyrdom of Hazrat Uthmanra].
“Hence, they set out towards Syria and upon reaching there, they began lamenting over the martyrdom of Hazrat Uthmanra and the fact that no one was seeking retribution for it. Other rebels ran towards Mecca and met with Hazrat Zubairra and Hazrat Aishara and said, ‘How grave it is that the Khalifa of Islam was martyred, yet the Muslims remain silent.’ Then there were others who ran towards Hazrat Alira and said, ‘This is a time of great adversity and we fear that the Islamic rule may collapse. Therefore accept our pledge of allegiance so that people’s fear may dissipate and peace and security may be established.’
“The Companionsra who were present in Medina also unanimously advised that it was best for Hazrat Alira to take on this responsibility [of Khilafat] for it would prove to be a source of great blessings and attaining the pleasure of God. Seeing as he was being compelled from all sides – though he refused many times – he finally conceded and accepted this responsibility, after which he allowed others to pledge allegiance to him. There is no doubt in the fact that this decision made by Hazrat Alira was full of wisdom; had he not taken bai‘at from the Muslims, then even more harm would have come to Islam than that which befell it as a result of the war between him and Hazrat Muawiyahra.” (Anwar al-Khilafah, Anwar al-Ulum, Vol. 3, pp. 197-198)
This was the conclusion reached by Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra. Then he further states, “It should be remembered that it is wrong to say that after pledging allegiance to Hazrat Alira, Hazrat Talhara and Hazrat Zubairra broke their oaths.”
Some say that they pledged allegiance to Hazrat Alira with ease; however, it was not so simple. Hazrat Musleh-e-Mauudra writes in detail and addresses this notion that they went to Hazrat Aishara after breaking their oath and fought against [Hazrat Alira]; he writes:
“[Such a notion] is wrong and is proof of being unacquainted with history. This was not the case. History unanimously bears testament to the fact that Hazrat Talhara and Hazrat Zubairra did not willingly pledge allegiance to Hazrat Alira; rather, they were compelled to pledge allegiance.
“Thus, it is related by two narrators in al-Tabari – Muhammad and Talha – that when Hazrat Uthmanra was martyred, the people consulted amongst themselves and decided that the next Khalifa should be appointed swiftly so that peace may be established and disorder may be done away with. Eventually, people went to Hazrat Alira and requested him to accept their pledge of allegiance. Hazrat Alira said to them, ‘If you wish to pledge allegiance to me, then you must remain obedient to me at all times. If you are willing to accept this, then I am prepared to accept your pledge of allegiance to me. If not, then you should appoint someone else as the Khalifa and I will remain obedient to whoever it is; in fact, I will be more obedient to the Khalifa than any one of you.’
“They replied by saying that they were willing to remain obedient to him. Hazrat Alira said, ‘Think about it once more and consult amongst yourselves.’ Thus they consulted one another and decided that if Hazrat Talhara and Hazrat Zubairra were to pledge allegiance to Hazrat Alira, so too would everyone else. If they [Hazrat Talhara and Hazrat Zubairra] did not pledge allegiance to Hazrat Alira, then peace could not be fully established. Thus, Hakim bin Jabalah, along with a few other men, were sent to Hazrat Zubairra, while Malik Ashtar along with a few men were sent to Hazrat Talhara. Both wielded their swords and called on them to pledge allegiance (meaning they drew their swords and stood before them saying that they must pledge allegiance to Hazrat Alira, otherwise they would attack them). And so they [Hazrat Talhara and Hazrat Zubairra] were compelled to accept after which the two parties returned. The next day, Hazrat Alira stood at the pulpit and said, ‘O people, yesterday you sent me a message, to which I replied that you should ponder over it. Have you pondered over it? Are you still willing to accept what I said yesterday? If so, then remember that you must always remain obedient to me.’ Upon this, they went back to Hazrat Talhara and Hazrat Zubairra and forcefully brought them. It is clearly mentioned in the narration that when they went to Hazrat Talhara and told him that he must pledge allegiance, he replied:
اِنِّىْ اِنَّمَا اُبَايِعُ كَرْهًا
“‘I am being forced to pledge allegiance, I am not doing so willingly.’ Similarly when a party went to Hazrat Zubairra and told him to pledge allegiance, he replied in the same manner, saying:
اِنِّىْ اِنَِّمَا اُبَايِعُ كَرْهًا
“‘You are forcing me to pledge allegiance; I am not pledging allegiance wholeheartedly.’
Similarly, Abdur Rahman bin Jundub narrates on account of his father that after the martyrdom of Hazrat Uthmanra, Ashtar went to Talhara and told him to pledge allegiance. He replied, ‘Give me some time as I wish to see what others decide.’ However, Ashtar did not accept this and:
جَاءَ بِهٖ يَتُلُّهٗ تَلًّا عَنِيْفًا
‘Harshly dragged him along the ground just as one drags a goat and brought him back with him.’” (Khutbat-e-Mahmud, Vol. 18, pp. 300-302)
Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra further states:
“When the companion of the Holy Prophetsa, Hazrat Talhara, stood against Hazrat Alira due to a mutual conflict and when he realised that he himself was at fault, he left the battlefield.”
Now this is the account of when Hazrat Talhara stood against Hazrat Alira and did not pledge allegiance to him. Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra explains that initially, he was forced to pledge allegiance and later on, there was a dispute which ensued in a battle. However, when he realised that Hazrat Alira was in the right, he left the battlefield. Regarding this, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra writes:
“He was returning home when a wretched person, who considered himself to be from the army of Hazrat Alira, killed him. Then, seeking a reward, he went to Hazrat Alira and said, ‘I have good news for you; I have killed your enemy Talha.’ Hazrat Alira replied, ‘On behalf of the Holy Prophetsa, I give you the glad tiding of Hell. I heard the Holy Prophetsa say that Talha would be killed by a person who is Hell-bound.’” (Khutbat-e-Mahmud, Vol. 26, p. 385)
With reference to the same incident, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra states in another instance:
“Hakim has narrated that Thaur bin Majza told him, ‘On the day of [the Battle of] Jamal, I passed by Hazrat Talhara while he was nearing his final breath’”; the injuries inflicted on him left him on the brink of death, “‘and he asked, “Which party do you belong to?” I informed him that I was from the part of Hazrat Alira, the Leader of the Faithful. Then Hazrat Talhara said, “Extend your hand so that I may pledge allegiance [to Hazrat Alira] at your hand.” Thus he pledged allegiance at my hand after which he passed away.
“‘I then went to Hazrat Alira and narrated the entire incident to him, upon which he said, “Allah is the Greatest! God has proven the words of the Holy Prophetsa to be true. Allah Almighty did not will for Talha to enter Paradise without having pledged allegiance to me. He was one of the Ashra Mubasharah [ten companions given the glad tidings of Paradise].”’” (Al-Qaul al-Fasl, Anwar al-Ulum, Vol. 2, pp. 318-319)
Though he had initially pledged allegiance out of compulsion, but as I stated earlier, he pledged allegiance wholeheartedly before his demise. He was pious and virtuous and had also been promised by Allah the Almighty that he would enter Paradise; thus Allah Almighty did not will for his end to come at a time when he was outside the fold of allegiance to the Khilafat and so, he was granted an opportunity and he pledged allegiance to the Khilafat [of Hazrat Alira]. These accounts are ongoing and insha-Allah, I will continue to mention them in the future.
Today, I would again like to make an appeal for prayers, for the Ahmadis of Algeria as well as Pakistan. May Allah Almighty keep them safe.
The conditions for Ahmadis in Algeria continue to worsen. There is a state lawyer who continues to file false charges against Ahmadis. Similarly in Pakistan, Ahmadis are being made to face worsening conditions.
May Allah Almighty make an example out of those who are creating these hardships or raising various forms of opposition and may He swiftly improve the conditions for Ahmadis who are facing hardships and create ease for them.
At the same time, I will also add that Ahmadis, especially in Pakistan, are not focusing on prayer as they should be. They must pray now more than ever before, that Allah the Almighty may alleviate them of these hardships swiftly and create ease and enable them to freely spread the true message of Islam not only in Pakistan but to every corner of the world.
After the prayers, I will lead some funeral prayers in absentia.
The first is of Dr Tahir Ahmad Sahib of Rabwah, who was the son of Chaudhry Abdur Razzaq Shaheed, the former amir of District Nawab Shah. The deceased passed away on 4 December at the age of 60 due to a heart attack:
اِنَّا لِلهِ وَاِنَّا اِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُوْنَ
[Surely to Allah we belong and to Him shall we return.]
He was medical doctor who worked for the government. He suffered his first heart attack in 1995, yet despite his ill-health, he transferred to Mithi, Pakistan so that he may also serve at the Al-Mahdi hospital, which operates under Waqf-e-Jadid.
Doctor Sahib was an eye specialist and he would tend to eye patients in the Al-Mahdi Hospital every evening as well as on Sundays; he would even spend his day off at the Al-Mahdi Hospital. He regularly took part in medical camps and at times, would perform operations throughout the day. He was well-liked by Ahmadis and non-Ahmadis alike in Tharparkar and was much loved by everyone.
He underwent a heart bypass operation and fell critically ill a few times in his final years; despite this, however, he continued his work in Tharparkar. He served the community in Mithi for about 15 years. He was extremely caring of the poor, hospitable, and held profound respect for Khilafat and the nizam of the Jamaat.
By the grace of Allah, he became a musi during his youth. He was at the forefront of taking part in all the financial initiatives of the Jamaat.
May Allah Almighty grant the deceased His mercy and forgiveness and elevate his station and may He enable his children to follow and continue his virtuous deeds.
The second funeral is of Habibullah Mazhar Sahib, son of Chaudhry Allah Dittah Sahib. Habibullah Mazhar Sahib was also imprisoned in the way of Allah. He passed away at the age of 75 on 24 October.
اِنَّا لِلهِ وَاِنَّا اِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُوْنَ
[Surely to Allah we belong and to Him shall we return.]
His father accepted Ahmadiyyat and took the oath of allegiance at the hand of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra. Chaudhry Habibullah Mazhar Sahib worked in different roles in the governmental departments and retired as the director of one governmental department. His services to the Jamaat span over a period of more than 50 years, in which he served as the qaid majlis, zaeem Ansarullah, sadr jamaat and in various other roles as well.
The first ever death penalty case against an Ahmadi under the 295 Blasphemy Law was filed against Chaudhry Habibullah Mazhar Sahib on 29 October 1991 at the Shahdara Police Station. In this regard, historically, he is the first Ahmadi to have the honour of enduring the difficulties of being imprisoned in the way of Allah, under this law.
Even though the Session Court delivered the verdict in his favour, upon the appeal of the opponents in the High Court, the High Court Justice, Abdul Majeed rejected his bail in this case under the Blasphemy Law and made every effort to punish him. The opponents made as far-ranging efforts as were possible in that time [against him]. They distributed pamphlets in English and Urdu and used very foul language against him. Nevertheless, Chaudhry Habibullah Mazhar Sahib endured the hardships of prison with great courage, bravery and whilst remaining content with the will of God. Then, within a few months, God Almighty brought about the means for his release.
He was regular in offering the Tahajud and daily prayers. He continued to admonish his children to remain regular in offering their prayers, right until his last breath. He was extremely hospitable, sympathetic and humble and truly devoted to the institution of Khilafat.
He regularly listened to sermons and addresses. In fact, he would gather the whole family to leave whatever they were doing, sit and to listen to the sermon when it was on and he would personally ensure that everyone would listen to it. By the grace of Allah, he was a musi and had written his will at the rate of 1/9.
He is survived by his wife, Ruqayyah Begum Sahiba, his five sons and one daughter. One of his sons, Haseeb Ahmad Sahib, is a missionary and serves in the English Desk of the Fazl-e-Umar Foundation. May Allah grant forgiveness and mercy to the deceased and may He enable his children to continue his good deeds.
The next funeral is of respected Khalifa Bashiruddin Ahmad Sahib who passed away at the age of 86 on 30 November.
اِنَّا لِلهِ وَاِنَّا اِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُوْنَ
[Surely to Allah we belong and to Him shall we return.]
The deceased was born in the city of Firozpur, India. He was the son of Dr Khalifa Taqiyyudin Sahib and the grandson of Hazrat Dr Khalifa Rashiddudin Sahibra. Dr Khalifa Rashiddudin Sahib was the father of Hazrat Umm-e-Nasir, the first wife of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra.
The Promised Messiahas spoke very highly of the financial sacrifices of Hazrat Dr Khalifa Rashiddudin Sahibra, and Khalifa Bashiruddin Ahmad Sahib was of his progeny.
He took part in Jamaat work and would invite non-Ahmadis to his home to preach to them. He lived in different places before moving to Sweden in 1998 and in 1999; he had suffered a heart attack there. After returning to good health, he would again go and engage himself in mosque activities. He also served as the tabligh [outreach] secretary. Every year, he would come with his wife and children to attend the UK Jalsa.
He is survived by his wife, three daughters and two sons. His wife is an English woman who converted from Christianity and she dresses very modestly and observes the purdah [veil] very well. She lives very simply and modestly; she has great zeal to learn about her faith and she makes every effort to act upon it.
May Allah the Almighty increase her in her faith and belief and enable Khalifa Bashiruddin Ahmad Sahib’s children to continue his good deeds. May Allah the Almighty grant forgiveness and mercy to him.
The next funeral is of respected Ameena Ahmad Sahiba, wife of Khalifa Rafiuddin Ahmad Sahib. She passed away on 19 October:
اِنَّا لِلهِ وَاِنَّا اِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُوْنَ
[Surely to Allah we belong and to Him shall we return.]
The deceased was from Guyana. She was born in 1940 to a Muslim family, who were well-known and owned a business. She accepted Ahmadiyyat during her studies in London and in that same period, she married RD Ahmad Sahib, who was the son of Dr Khalifa Taqiyyuddin and from the progeny of Hazrat Khalifa Rashiduddin Ahmad Sahibra.
Ameena Ahmad Sahiba was a compassionate, caring and hospitable woman. She was regular in offering her prayers and she would always remain conscious of her prayers. Despite her health having deteriorated, she would continue to offer the Tahajudprayers. She would recite the Holy Quran on a regular basis.
In spite of her ill-health and suffering from cancer, she would travel to the UK almost every year to attend the Jalsa. She had firm conviction in prayers and supplications; she had a bond of loyalty and devotion with Khilafat and whenever she would meet me, she would do so with great humility and always requested for prayers.
May Allah the Almighty grant her forgiveness and mercy and enable her children to remain firmly attached to the Jamaat.
(Original Urdu published in Al Fazl International, 8 January 2021, pp. 5-10. Translated by The Review of Religions.)