Men of Excellence: Hazrat Ali r.a. (27 November 2020)

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Last Updated on 30th December 2020

Friday Sermon

27 November 2020

Men of Excellence: Hazrat Alira

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

Today, I will speak about the Khulafa-e-Rashidin [Rightly Guided Caliphs] and begin with Hazrat Alira bin Abi Talib. [His full name was] Hazrat Ali bin Abi Talib bin Abdil Muttalib bin Hashim. 

Hazrat Ali’sra father was Abd Manaf, who was known by the title of Abu Talib. The name of his mother was Fatimah bint Asad bin Hashim. He was born 10 years prior to the advent of Prophet Muhammadsa

With regard to the appearance of Hazrat Alira, it is mentioned that he was of average height, had dark eyes and was of a heavy build with broad shoulders. (Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, Al-Isabah fi Tamyiz al-Sahabah, Vol. 4, Dhikr Ali bin Abi Talib [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 1995], 464) (Ali Ibn al-Athir, Usd al-Ghabah fi Ma‘rifat al-Sahabah, Vol. 4, Dhikr Ali bin Abi Talib [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2003], 87, 88) (Ibn Abd al-Barr, Al-Isti‘ab fi Ma‘rifat al-Ashab, Vol. 3, Dhikr Ali bin Abi Talib [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2002], 218)

Hazrat Ali’sra mother named him after her father, Asad. Abu Talib was not at home at the time of his birth. When he returned, he changed his name from Asad to Ali. 

Hazrat Alira had three brothers: Talib, Aqeel and Ja‘far, and two sisters: Umm-e-Hani and Jumanah. Aside from Talib and Jumanah, all of them accepted Islam. (Tarikh al-Khamis, Vol. 1, pp. 295-297; Vol. 2, p. 421, Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2009)

Hazrat Ali’sra titles were: Abul Hasan, Abu Sibtain and Abu Turab. (Ali Ibn al-Athir, Usd al-Ghabah fi Ma‘rifat al-Sahabah, Vol. 4, Dhikr Ali bin Abi Talib [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2003], 87, 88) (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Salah, Bab Naum al-Rijal fi al-Masjid, Hadith 441) 

In a narration of Sahih Bukhari, Hazrat Sohailra bin Saad relates that the Holy Prophetsa went to the house of Hazrat Fatimahra, but did not find Hazrat Alira at home. The Holy Prophetsa enquired, “Where is the son of your paternal uncle?” Hazrat Fatimahra replied, “We had an argument. He was upset with me and left and did not take his siesta at home either.” 

Upon this, the Holy Prophetsa instructed someone to look for him. This individual returned and said, “O Messengersa of Allah! He is sleeping in the mosque.” The Holy Prophetsa went to the mosque and found Hazrat Alira lying there. His back was slightly uncovered as result of which it had some dust on it. The Holy Prophetsa wiped away the dust and said, “Get up, O Abu Turab! Get up, O Abu Turab!” Since then, he started being called by the title of Abu Turab [the Father Dust]. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Salah, Bab Naum al-Rijal fi al-Masjid, Hadith 441) 

In relation to how he came under the guardianship of the Holy Prophetsa, Mujahid bin Jabr Abul Hajjaj relates: 

“The Quraish were faced with a great hardship, but Allah the Almighty ensured that this hardship was a blessing and good fortune for Hazrat Alira. Hazrat Abu Talib had a large family, hence the Holy Prophetsa went to his paternal uncle, Hazrat Abbasra, who was among the more affluent people of the Banu Hashim and said, ‘O Abbas! Your brother, Abu Talib, has a large family. You are aware of the circumstances the people are facing due to the famine.’” There was an outbreak of famine at the time. “‘Let us go and help reduce the burden with regards to his family.’ The Holy Prophetsa said to Hazrat Abbasra, ‘I will take one of his sons and you should also take one. In this way, we will look after them to ease the burden from Abu Talib.’ 

“Hazrat Abbasra agreed to this. Both of them went to Hazrat Abu Talib and said, ‘We wish to reduce the burden of your family, until a time when the circumstances faced by the people improve.’ Hazrat Abu Talib replied, ‘You may do as you please, but leave Aqeel with me.’ Hence, the Holy Prophetsa included Hazrat Alira as part of his family and Hazrat Abbasra took Ja‘far and included him as part of his family. Hazrat Alira stayed with the Holy Prophetsa until Allah the Almighty appointed him as a prophet. Hazrat Alira affirmed his belief in the Holy Prophetsa, accepted his message and testified to his truthfulness. Hazrat Ja‘farra stayed with Hazrat Abbasra until he, i.e. Hazrat Ja‘farra, accepted Islam. Following this, Hazrat Abbasra released him from his guardianship.” 

This narration has been taken from Tarikh al-Tabari. (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2, Dhikr al-khabar amma kana min amr Nabi Allahsa… [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Fikr, 2002], 225)

Mentioning the same incident, Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahibra has presented it in the following manner: 

“Abu Talib was a very respectable man. However, he suffered from poverty and would just about survive of what he had. Particularly as a result of the drought in Mecca during those days, Abu Talib was the victim of great suffering. When Muhammadsa noticed the anguish of his paternal uncle Abu Talib, he approached his uncle Abbasra and proposed, ‘O Uncle! Your brother Abu Talib lives in a state of difficulty. Would not it be worthy if from his sons you took one to your home and I bring one to my home.’Abbasra agreed to this proposal and both of them went to Abu Talib and presented this proposal. Among his children, Abu Talib dearly loved his son Aqeel, hence he said, ‘Leave Aqeel with me and if you wish, you may take the others into your care.’ Therefore, Ja‘far was taken into the guardianship of Abbasra and Alira was taken by Muhammadsa. Hazrat Alira was approximately six to seven years of age and from that day he remained in the blessed guardianship of Muhammadsa.” (Sirat Khatamun-Nabiyyin, Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra, p. 111)

In relation to Hazrat Ali’sra acceptance of Islam, Ibn Ishaq relates that Hazrat Alira bin Abi Talib came to the Holy Prophetsa a day after Hazrat Khadijahra had accepted Islam and she was now offering prayers alongside the Holy Prophetsa. The narrator states that upon observing the Holy Prophetsa and Hazrat Khadijahra offering prayers, Hazrat Alira enquired, “O Muhammadsa, what is this you are doing?” The Holy Prophetsa replied, “This is the religion of Allah which He has chosen and has established it through His messengers. Thus, I invite you to Allah and His worship and to denounce Lat and Uzza [idols of the Meccans].” 

Upon this, Hazrat Alira stated, “This is something which I had never heard of till this day. However, I cannot say anything until I have mentioned it to Abu Talib.” The Holy Prophetsa did not wish for this matter to be disclosed before his formal announcement of prophethood. And so, the Holy Prophetsa stated, “O Ali, even if you do not wish to accept Islam, keep this matter to yourself.” 

That very night, Allah inspired the heart of Hazrat Alira to accept Islam and so, the next morning he presented himself before the Holy Prophetsa and submitted, “O Muhammadsa, what is it that you called me towards yesterday?” The Holy Prophetsa stated, “To testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah. He is One and has no partner. And to denounce belief in Lat and Uzza and express your aversion to those who are held as partners of Allah the Almighty.” Hazrat Alira gave testimony and accepted Islam. 

Fearing Abu Talib, Hazrat Alira would discreetly visit the Holy Prophetsa and kept his acceptance of Islam hidden from others. (Ali Ibn al-Athir, Usd al-Ghabah fi Ma‘rifat al-Sahabah, Vol. 4, Ali bin Abi Talib [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2003], 88-89) 

According to the narrations, Hazrat Alira was already staying in the house of the Holy Prophetsa, but nonetheless, this is how it is narrated in Usdul Ghabha

After Hazrat Khadijahra, Hazrat Alira was the first to accept Islam. At the time, he was 13 years of age and according to other narrations, his age has been reported as 15, 16 and 18. (Ibn Abd al-Barr, Al-Isti‘ab fi Ma‘rifat al-Ashab, Vol. 3, Dhikr Ali bin Abi Talib [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2002], 200)

Those who have compiled the biographies have also discussed at length as to whether it was Hazrat Abu Bakrra, Hazrat Alira or Hazrat Zaidra who was the first among the men to accept Islam. Some have reconciled this matter by stating that Hazrat Alira was the first to accept Islam amongst the children, Hazrat Abu Bakrra was the first amongst the elders and Hazrat Zaidra was the first amongst the slaves. 

In relation to this, Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahibra presents his view. He writes:

“There is a discord amongst historians in reference to who the first convert among the men was after Hazrat Khadijahra. Some name Hazrat Abu Bakrra Abdullah bin Abi Quhafah, while others say Hazrat Alira, whose age at the time was only 10 years. Others assert that the freed slave of the Holy Prophetsa, Hazrat Zaidra bin Harithah was the first one to embrace Islam. However, to us, this argument is futile. 

“Hazrat Alira and Zaidra bin Harithah were among the house-folk of the Holy Prophetsa and lived with him as his own children. They were to follow whatever was said by the Holy Prophetsa; as a matter of fact, no verbal declaration was even necessary. Thus, their names need not be included.” Whether the Holy Prophetsa issued a declaration or not, it was the same; they did not need any verbal declaration to accept Islam. “Among the rest, Hazrat Abu Bakrra is unanimously accepted as the first and foremost in his acceptance of Islam.” (Sirat Khatamun-Nabiyyin, Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra, p. 121)

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra states:

“Prophet Mosesas had to supplicate to Allah the Almighty to be granted a helper; however, the Holy Prophetsa holds such a lofty  status that he was granted a helper without even having to ask for it.” 

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra here is referring to Hazrat Khadijahra and is explaining how she became a helper to the Holy Prophetsa

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra further writes: 

“The Holy Prophetsa holds such a lofty status that he was granted a helper without even having to ask for it; in other words, his wife, whom he loved dearly and who was the first to accept Islam. 

“Everyone is free to adopt whatever religion and belief they wish to and no one can compel anyone to believe in something. Thus, it was possible that when the Holy Prophetsa informed her about receiving his first revelation from God Almighty, she would not have supported him and may have wanted to take her time to think about her decision. But this was not the case. Without any kind of hesitation or reluctance, Hazrat Khadijahra immediately stood in support of his claim and the Holy Prophet’ssa concern that Khadijahra may not accept him was removed and she in fact became the very first person to profess belief in the Holy Prophetsa

“At that time, God Almighty, from the heavenly throne, was stating: 

أَلَيْسَ‭ ‬اللّٰهُ‭ ‬بِكَافٍ‭ ‬عَبْدَهٗ

“‘O Muhammad[sa]! You have great love and affection for Khadijah and you feared that perhaps Khadijah may leave you and were concerned as to whether or not Khadijah would profess her belief in you. However, did We not fulfil your need?’” 

After this Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra further continues: 

“After this, when the conversation regarding the divine revelations took place in the home [of the Holy Prophetsa], Zaidra bin Haritha, who was a freed slave and lived in their home, came forward and submitted, ‘O Messengersa of Allah! I profess my belief in you.’ 

“Hazrat Alira, who at the time was 11 years old and only a child, was stood by the door and listened to the conversation taking place between the Holy Prophetsa and Hazrat Khadijahra. When he heard that the Holy Prophetsa had received a message of God and realised that now was the time for his passion to truly manifest; now was the time for the nurturing of his emotions and sentiments that were hidden within; when he saw that God was now calling him towards Him, the young Alira – who was a talented and intelligent child; who had piety rooted in his nature; whose passion to perform virtuous deeds would reinvigorate every now and then but was yet to reach its full perfection; who had such strong sentiments and feelings but were still deeply concealed within; whose disposition had been ingrained to accept belief in Allah the Almighty but had not yet found the opportunity to do so – in his state of deep anxiousness nervously and shyly went forth and submitted, ‘O Messengersa of Allah! I also affirm belief in that which my aunt and Zaid have also accepted.’” (Rasul-e-Karim ki Zindagi ke Tamam Aham Waqi‘at, Anwar al-Ulum, Vol. 19, p. 127)

It is written in Tarikh al-Tabari that whenever it would be time for prayer, the Holy Prophetsa would go towards the valleys of Mecca without letting anyone else know, including his uncle, Abu Talib, or any of his other uncles. Hazrat Alira would also join him and they would both offer their prayers and would return in the evening. This practice continued until one day, Abu Talib witnessed them both praying and said, “O my nephew, which religion is this which you have adopted?” 

The Holy Prophetsa replied, “O my Uncle! This is the religion of Allah and that of His angels, messengers and the religion of our father, Abrahamas” or perhaps something to this effect. The Holy Prophetsa also stated, “Allah the Almighty has sent me to mankind with this religion. O my uncle, you have the greatest right that I exhort you about it and invite you towards this guidance and also in regard to the matter pertaining to my acceptance and support.” Or perhaps he said something to this effect. Upon this, Abu Talib replied, “O my nephew, I do not have the strength to abandon  my faith and the faith of my ancestor’s. However, until I am alive, I swear by Allah that nothing will happen to you which displeases you.” (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2, Dhikr al-Khabar amma kana min Amr Nabi Allahsa… [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Fikr, 2002], 225)

Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahibra relates this incident as follows: 

“Once, the Holy Prophetsa and Hazrat Alira were offering their Salat in a valley of Mecca, when suddenly Abu Talib passed by. Until then, Abu Talib was completely unaware of Islam; thus, he stood there and observed this spectacle with great amazement. 

“When the Holy Prophetsa completed his Salat, he asked, ‘What religion is this, which you have adopted?’ The Holy Prophetsa responded, ‘Uncle! This is the religion of God and the religion of Abraham.’ Then, the Holy Prophetsa briefly presented an invitation to Islam before Abu Talib, but he brushed it off saying, ‘I cannot forsake the religion of my forefathers.’ But with that, he also addressed his son, Hazrat Alira, and said, ‘My son, you are free to, support Muhammad[sa], for I trust that he shall call you towards nothing but goodness.’” (Sirat Khatamun-Nabiyyin, Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra, p. 127)

There is an incident of the Holy Prophetsa admonishing his close relatives in accordance with the commandment of Allah the Almighty. Hazrat Baraara bin Azib relates that when the following verse of the Holy Quran was revealed to the Messengersa of Allah: 

وَأَنْذِرْ‭ ‬عَشِيْرَتَكَ‭ ‬الْأَقْرَبِيْنَ

“And warn thy nearest kinsmen” [Ch.26: V.215] the Holy Prophetsa instructed Hazrat Alira to prepare one saa of food and also a leg of a she-goat and according to another narration, it was one mud instead of a saa. There are four mud in one saa which is approximately 2.5 seir or 2.5 kilograms. It also states here that in Kufa and Iraq, the measurement of one saa is equal to eight mud, which is approximately 4.5 seir. But regardless of whether it was 2.5 seir or 4 seir, the Holy Prophetsa instructed for the food to be prepared in this small quantity and also instructed for a bowl of milk to be prepared and to then gather the people of Banu Abdil Muttalib. 

Hazrat Alira stated, “I did exactly as I was instructed and approximately 40 people gathered. The Holy Prophet’ssa uncles, Abu Talib, Hamzah, Abbas and Abu Lahb were also present. I presented the large tray of food before them. The Messengersa of Allah took a small piece of meat and broke it with his teeth and placed its pieces on the edges of the tray in order to bless the food. The Messengersa of Allah then invited them to eat in the name of Allah and everyone ate to their fill. 

“I swear by Allah, the food I presented before them was sufficient only for one person. Thereafter, the Holy Prophetsa instructed me to give everyone something to drink. I brought the bowl of milk and they all drank from it to their fill. And I swear by Allah that the amount I presented was only sufficient for one person to drink. When the Holy Prophetsa decided to address everyone present in the gathering, Abu Lahab quickly interjected and said, ‘Look at how your fellow tribesman has cast a spell upon you all.’ Upon this, everyone dispersed and the Messengersa of Allah was unable to address them. 

“The next day, the Messengersa of Allah, stated, ‘O Ali, prepare the same food and drink as you had prepared yesterday.’ I did just that and gathered everyone and the Messengersa of Allah blessed the food in exactly the same manner as he did the previous day. Everyone then ate and drank to their fill. Thereafter, the Messengersa of Allah stated, ‘O Banu Abdil Muttalib, I do not know of any young man from among the Arabs who has conveyed a better message than what I bring to you. I convey to you a message regarding this world and the Hereafter. Who will assist me in this regard?’” 

Hazrat Alira further states, “Upon hearing this, everyone fell silent. I then submitted, ‘O Messengersa of Allah, despite the fact I am younger than everyone present here, I will be your helper.’” (Mustafa Abd al-Wahid, Subul al-Huda wa al-Rashad fi Sirat Khair al-Ibad, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 1993], 324) (Lughat al-Hadith, Vol. 2, p. 648, zair-e-lafz “sa”)

In regard to this incident, Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahibra states in the Sirat Khatamun-Nabiyyin

“The Holy Prophetsa instructed Hazrat Alira to make arrangements for a feast and invite Banu Abdil Muttalib so that the message of truth be delivered to them. Hence, Hazrat Alira made arrangements for a feast and the Holy Prophetsa invited all of his immediate relatives, who at that time, more or less, amounted to 40 people. 

“When they finished their meals, the Holy Prophetsa attempted to make an address, but the wretched Abu Lahab said something which caused everyone to disperse. Upon this, the Holy Prophetsa said to Hazrat Alira, ‘We have lost this opportunity, but arrange for another feast.’ Thus, the Holy Prophetsa gathered his relatives once more. This time the Prophetsa addressed them saying:

“‘Look here O Banu Abdil Muttalib! I have brought unto you the like of which has been brought to no other tribe by any man. I call you to God. If you pay heed to my call you shall become the inheritors of all the bounties of religion and this world. Now tell me, which of you shall be my helpers in this cause?’

“Complete silence had overtaken the gathering, when suddenly, a feeble 13-year-old boy stood up with tears in his eyes and said, ‘Although I am among the weakest and youngest of all, I shall support you.’ 

“This was the voice of Hazrat Alira. When the Holy Prophetsa heard these words of Hazrat Alira, he turned to his relatives and advised, ‘If you but knew, listen to the voice of this child and believe.’ When the participants saw this spectacle, instead of taking a lesson from it, they burst into laughter and Abu Lahab stared at his elder brother Abu Talib, ‘Lo! Muhammad [peace and blessings of Allah be upon him] orders you to follow your son!’ Then these people left mocking the weakness of Islam and the Holy Prophetsa.” (Sirat Khatamun-Nabiyyin, Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra, p. 128-129)

Mentioning this incident Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra has written: 

“Hazrat Alira was 11 years old when he stood up in support of his faith.” Children ought to listen to this in particular. “When the Holy Prophetsa received divine revelation, he organised a feast in which all the prominent chieftains of Mecca were invited. After the meal, the Holy Prophetsa stood up and said, ‘I would like to speak about my claim [of prophethood]’, but all of them stood up and swiftly left the gathering. 

“Witnessing this, Hazrat Alira came to the Holy Prophetsa and said, ‘O my brother! What did you do? You are aware that these people only care for worldly things; you should have spoken to them first and then presented them with food. These wretched people ran away as soon as they finished the meal because they were only interested in the food. If you spoke to them first, then even if you spoke for two hours, they would certainly have remained sitting and then we should have given them food.’ 

“Thus, the Holy Prophetsa invited them again, but this time, he first spoke to them and then presented them with food. He then stood up and said, ‘O people! What I mentioned to you were the words of God. Is there anyone among you who will assist me and help with this task.’ All the elders remained seated, but Hazrat Alira stood up and said, ‘My dear cousin! I shall assist you.’ 

“Thinking that he was a mere child, the Holy Prophetsa stood up again and said, ‘O people! Is there anyone among you who will assist me?’ Again, all the elders remained seated, but that 11-year-old child stood up and said, ‘My dear cousin! I am with you and I shall assist you.’ The Holy Prophetsa then realised that in the eyes of God, the only courageous man is this eleven-year-old child and instead all the elders are like children (devoid of any strength; only this child is wise). 

“Thus, Hazrat Alira joined with him and remained by his side until the very end. It was the same Alira who later became a Khalifa and further strengthened the foundations of the faith. Similarly, God Almighty blessed him with pious progeny and 12 Imams were born from his progeny for 12 consecutive generations.” (Iftitahi Taqrir Jalsa Salana 1955, Anwar al-Ulum, Vol. 25, pp. 187-188)

Whilst mentioning Hazrat Alira, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra, at another instance, stated:

“When Hazrat Alira accepted Islam, he was only a child, but he professed belief knowing full well that he would have to endure every hardship and difficulty for the sake of Islam”, although he was only a child, but he professed belief and understood that he would have to make sacrifices, “to the extent that if necessary, he would even have to sacrifice his life for God Almighty. 

“From the ahadith, we learn that in the early days of his prophethood, the Holy Prophetsa organised a feast in which Banu Abdil Muttalib were invited. They were informed about the divine message [of Islam] during this gathering in which many of the relatives of the Holy Prophetsa were present. When everyone had eaten, the Holy Prophetsa wished to deliver an address, but Abu Lahab made everyone leave and they all left without hearing what the Holy Prophetsa had to say. The Holy Prophetsa was astonished that these people did not even listen despite eating the meal. Nevertheless, the Holy Prophetsa was not disheartened by this, in fact he instructed Hazrat Alira to prepare another feast for them. Thus, they were all invited once again. 

“When they had eaten to their fill, the Holy Prophetsa stood up and said, ‘Consider how much Allah the Almighty has favoured you by sending His Prophet from among your people. I call you towards God; if you pay heed to my words, then you will become the recipients of both spiritual and worldly bounties. Is there anyone among you who will assist me in this task?’ 

“Upon hearing these words, a deafening silence descended over the gathering, but then all of a sudden, a young child stood up and said, ‘Even though I may be the weakest and youngest of all those gathered here, but I will assist you.’ This child was Hazrat Alira, who, at such a time, announced his support for the faith.” (Tafsir-e-Kabir, Vol. 7, pp. 24-25)

We find in narrations how Hazrat Alira offered sacrifice during the Holy Prophet’ssa migration. It is stated that when the Meccans had unanimously agreed to kill or capture the Holy Prophetsa, they gathered around his house. The Holy Prophetsa was informed about this plot of the enemy through divine revelation. Allah the Almighty permitted the Holy Prophetsa to migrate to Medina and thus he made the necessary preparations. He instructed Hazrat Alira to sleep in his bed for that night. Hazrat Alira slept in the same red hadrami sheet that the Holy Prophetsa would use to sleep in. (Ibn Saad, Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra, Vol. 1, Dhikr Rasul-Allahsa … [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 1990], 176)

In the morning, when the group of idolaters that were waiting in ambush entered the home of the Holy Prophetsa, Hazrat Alira was getting of bed. When they moved nearer to him, they realised who he was and asked where his friend was – i.e. they asked the whereabouts of the Holy Prophetsa. Hazrat Alira replied, “I do not know where he is; am I his guardian? You ordered him to leave Mecca and he did as you ordered him.” The idolaters rebuked Hazrat Alira and beat him. They took him to the vicinity of the Ka‘bah and detained him for a while, but then released him. (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2, Dhikr al-Khabar amma kana min Amr Nabi Allahsa … [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Fikr, 2002], 256)

In another biography of the Holy Prophetsa, it is stated that Hazrat Alira remained in Mecca for three days in order to return the possessions and belongings the Meccans had left with the Holy Prophetsa for safe keeping. He then migrated and met the Holy Prophetsa when he was staying with Kulthum bin Hidam in Quba. (Ibn Kathir, Al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah, Bab Hijrah al-Rasulsa [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2001], 348) 

In relation to the aforementioned incident which took place during the time of migration, it is written in Sirat Khatam-ul-Nabiyyin:

“In the darkness of the night, the cruel Quraish from various tribes had besieged the home of the Holy Prophetsa with their bloodthirsty intentions. They were waiting for dawn, or for the Holy Prophetsa to come out of his home, so as to launch a sudden assault and assassinate him. 

“Various trusts belonging to the disbelievers were still with the Holy Prophetsa, for despite their extreme enmity, many people would often entrust their belongings to the Holy Prophetsa on account of his truthfulness and trustworthiness. Therefore, the Holy Prophetsa explained the accounts of these trusts to Hazrat Alira, and instructed him not to leave Mecca until these trusts were returned. Then he instructed, ‘You lie on my bed,’and assured him that no harm would come to him. He lay down and the Holy Prophetsa covered him with his red-coloured mantle. After this, the Holy Prophetsa invoked the name of Allah, and left his home. 

“At that time, the besiegers were present in front of the Holy Prophet’ssa door. However, since they did not anticipate that the Holy Prophetsa would leave his home so early in the night, at that time, they were in such a state of unawareness that the Holy Prophetsa left right through their midst, leaving them in their ignorance, and they had not a clue. 

“Now, the Holy Prophetsa was silently, but quickly, passing through the streets of Mecca, and it was not long before he reached the outskirts of the town and started towards the Cave of Thaur. The entire matter had been pre-settled with Hazrat Abu Bakrra, who also met the Holy Prophetsa en-route. 

“The Cave of Thaur, which is remembered as a sacred memorial, due to this very occurrence, is situated to the south of Mecca. In other words, to the other side of Medina, at a distance of about three miles atop a wild and abandoned mountain, the Cave of Thaur is situated at a substantial height. Its trail is also very difficult to cross.” It is not in the direction of Medina, but is in the opposite direction. “Arriving there, Hazrat Abu Bakrra squeezed in first and cleaned the area, and then the Holy Prophetsa also entered.

“On the other hand, the Quraish, who had besieged the home of the Holy Prophetsa, would peer through after short intervals and upon seeing Hazrat Alira, who was in fact lying in the place of the Holy Prophetsa, they would find comfort. 

“But the next morning, they found out that their prey had slipped their hands. Upon this, they franticly ran here and there, searched the streets of Mecca, looked in the homes of Companions, but nothing was to be found. In their rage, they took hold of Hazrat Alira and beat him somewhat.” (Sirat Khatamun-Nabiyyin, Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra, pp. 236-237)

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra has written about this sacrifice by Hazrat Alira in the following manner:

“When the Holy Prophetsa was leaving, he instructed Hazrat Alira to lay down on his charpoy. In those days there was no custom of using charpoy [traditional woven bedstead used in the subcontinent]; in fact even today, it is not commonly used in Mecca. In some narrations, it has been incorrectly mentioned that the Holy Prophetsa asked him to lie down on his charpoy. This referred to the place where they would usually sleep as there were no proper beds as such. 

“At night, when the Holy Prophetsa passed by those people, some of them even saw him but thought that it was someone else who had come to meet Muhammadsa and was returning home. The reason for this was that the Holy Prophetsa left his home in the most courageous manner whereby he was not fearful in the slightest. The enemies thought Muhammadsa would never dare to leave his home in such a brave and bold manner. Indeed, it could only be someone else who came to visit him. Then to reassure themselves that he was still there, they peaked through the gap of the door and upon seeing a person sleeping they thought that it was Muhammadsa. Thus, they stood watch over the house the entire night. 

“When they thought the time was right, they entered the house. Perhaps noticing the person laying down they became suspicious that it did not seem like Muhammadsa. When they removed the cloak from his face, or perhaps the face was uncovered, they realised that the one sleeping was Alira and not Muhammadsa. They then discovered that Muhammadsa had safely departed and for them there was nothing left but to live with this defeat.” (Tafsir-e-Kabir, Vol. 8, p. 510)

In another place, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra states: 

“Allah the Almighty enabled Hazrat Alira to make a great sacrifice. On the night of the migration, when the Holy Prophetsa was departing his home, he instructed Hazrat Alira to lay down where he would sleep, so that if the disbelievers peered inside, they would see that someone was sleeping there and to prevent them leaving to search for him. At that time, Hazrat Alira did not say, ‘O Messengersa of Allah! The house is surrounded by carefully chosen youths of the Quraish with swords in hand. If in the morning they discover that you have left, they may kill me’; instead Hazrat Alira calmly laid down in the place of the Holy Prophetsa without any hesitation. The Holy Prophetsa placed his sheet over him. 

“In the morning, when the Quraish realised that Hazrat Alira was the one sleeping [in the house] instead of the Holy Prophetsa, they became enraged. They even hit and beat Hazrat Alira, but what more could they have achieved by doing this? Divine decree had come to pass and the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa had safely left Mecca. At that time, little did Hazrat Alira know as to what he was going to receive in return for his level of faith. Indeed, Allah the Almighty knew that in return for this sacrifice, He was not only going to honour Hazrat Alira, but in fact Hazrat Ali’sra progeny would also be granted honour. 

“Thus, the first grace Allah the Almighty bestowed upon Hazrat Alira was that he had the honour of becoming the son-in-law of the Holy Prophetsa. The second blessing Allah the Almighty bestowed upon him was that He instilled so much love in the heart of the Holy Prophetsa for Hazrat Alira that the Holy Prophetsa praised him on countless occasions.” (Tafsir-e-Kabir, Vol. 7, p. 25)

Nonetheless, this is the same incident that I have presented from several different sources. In essence, the incident is the same, but it has been explained in different ways. The reason why I mention all of them in detail with further explanations is so that one can learn new things from it or it is presented in a different manner that sheds further light from a different angle. 

Furthermore, it highlights the different aspects of their personality or the personality of the companion, who in this case is Hazrat Alira. One can learn of each companion’s relationship with the Holy Prophetsa

Thus, it may seem like the same incident is being repeated again, but the way it has been mentioned is different and for this reason, I mention them all. 

Similarly, thorugh the various narration, we find different aspects of Hazrat Alira. Nonetheless, his accounts are remaining and I will narrate them in the future, insha-Allah.

Now I shall speak about some deceased members and also lead their funeral prayers [in absentia]. 

The first is of a martyr, Dr Tahir Mahmood Sahib, son of Tariq Mahmood Sahib of Marh Balochan, in the district of Nankana. Last week, after offering the Friday prayers on 20 November 2020, the opponents of Ahmadiyyat shot him as a result of which he was martyred.

اِنَّا‭ ‬لِلّٰهِ‭ ‬وَاِنَّآ‭ ‬اِلَيْهِ‭ ‬رَاجِعُوْن

[Verily to Allah we belong and to Him shall we return.] 

According to the information, Dr Tariq Sahib went with his family members on 20 November to offer the Friday prayers at the home of his uncle, Respected Muhammad Hafeez Sahib. After offering the Friday prayers, they left at approximately 2:30pm. When they made their way on to the street, a 16-year old youth named Mahd was armed with a pistol and shot Dr Tahir Mahmood Sahib, as a result of which he was martyred. 

اِنَّا‭ ‬لِلّٰهِ‭ ‬وَاِنَّآ اِلَيْهِ‭ ‬رَاجِعُوْن

[Verily to Allah we belong and to Him shall we return.] 

Dr Tahir Mahmood Sahib was 31 years of age. His 55-year old father, Tariq Mahmood Sahib, who is the finance secretary and former sadr [of the local area], was severely wounded in this attack and received a bullet to the head. He is currently undergoing treatment in hospital. 

Saeed Ahmad Maqsood Sahib, the 60-year old uncle of Dr Tahir Mahmood Sahib, who is the sadr of the [local] jamaat and Tayyeb Mahmood Sahib, 26 years of age, who is the [local] zaeem Khuddam-ul-Ahmadiyya were also injured in the firing and received treatment in hospital for a short while. They have now recovered but the father of the martyr suffered severe injuries. 

The assailant had fired two magazines and was about to load the third when he was apprehended. As it were, the enmity of the people there has taken another form whereby they are inciting young boys to carry out their attacks so that later in court, they can claim that they are juveniles, so the punishment should be lessened or even pardoned. Hence, they are pursuing new avenues. 

On the one hand they claim to have no complaint [against us] and that they are not perpetrating any kind of cruelty or injustices against Ahmadis, but on the other hand, martyrdoms are continuing and some government officials are forcibly filling [false] lawsuits. 

May Allah Almighty enable these people to understand and if they are not [to understand], may Allah seize them Himself. 

Ahmadiyyat was introduced to the family of the deceased through his paternal grandfather, Hakim Muhammad Ibrahim Sahib, who pledged allegiance along with some other family members when he was 13 years old during the Khilafat of Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra. The deceased attained his FSC from Islamiyyah College Lahore. Thereafter, in 2013, he completed his MBBS degree from Moscow, Russia. Currently, he was preparing for the PMC examinations. He also worked for some time in the Fazl-e-Umar Hospital.

The deceased possessed many excellent qualities. He had unbounded love for Khilafat. He was extremely respectful to office-bearers of the Jamaat and to guests. Whenever he was asked by the Jamaat to carry out a task, he would immediately offer his services. He served as qaid Khuddam-ul-Ahmadiyya. 

On several occasions, he would use his own car to transport patients who were unwell to the hospital. He was always at the forefront in rendering his services and he had a great rapport with people outside the Jamaat. Many compassionate non-Ahmadis have expressed their sorrow after this incident. 

For a long time, this family has had to endure severe opposition. In 1974, the opponents set his grandfather’s shop on fire. In 2006, his father, Tariq Mahmood Sahib, was targeted in a barbaric attack. Just a few days ago, an opponent of Ahmadiyyat spat at his father as he was passing by the market. They were regularly targeted by these people. Nevertheless, they remained steadfast.

Sadaqat Ahmad Sahib, missionary of St Petersburg, Russia, writes:

“The deceased spent a long time in Russia for his studies in Kazan, Tatarstan and returned to Pakistan having become a successful doctor. During the time he spent here for his studies, Dr Tahir Mahmood Sahib remained extremely dedicated to the Jamaat. He was regular in offering the Friday prayers and in giving alms. 

“In spite of the fact that his hostel was quite a distance away from the mission house, he would attend Jamaat programmes and participate wholeheartedly. He was considered among the most intelligent among his group of medical students. Even though the teaching was in English, due to his personal effort and passion, he became quite fluent in Russian also. He had told all those in his hostel in Kazan that he was an Ahmadi and so he also had to endure persecution because there were other Pakistani students who were bitter opponents of the Jamaat. Despite this, when the opportunity arose he would preach to them also.”

He further writes, “I went to Pakistan and met him. He told me that the persecution in Marh Balochan had increased severely and so he wished to move to Rabwah and even had a house constructed there.”

Fareed Abragemov is a Russian Ahmadi from Kazan, Tatarstan. He says that Dr Tahir Mahmood Sahib learnt Russian very quickly. He was very cheerful and pious. His smile always be illuminated. 

Dr Tahir Mahmood Sahib is survived by his father, Tariq Mahmood Sahib, his mother, Shamim Akhtar Sahiba, his brother, Qasim Mahmood Sahib who lives in Germany, and his sister, Faiza Mahmood Sahiba, wife of Naseer Ahmad Sahib of Germany. These are [family members] he has left behind. 

May Allah Almighty elevate him in his rank, grant him a lofty place in Paradise. May He grant health to those injured and a complete recovery. May He protect them all from any type of complications from their injuries. May He continue to shower His blessings upon all of Dr Tahir Mahmood Sahib’s relatives and close ones. 

The next funeral is of Jamaluddin Mahmood Sahib who served as the national general secretary in Sierra Leone. He passed away on 3 November due to a heart attack.

اِنَّا‭ ‬لِلّٰهِ‭ ‬وَاِنَّآ‭ ‬اِلَيْهِ‭ ‬رَاجِعُوْن

[Verily to Allah we belong and to Him shall we return.] 

He served as the national general secretary for the last 16 years. By the grace of Allah, he was a musi [part of the institution of Al-Wasiyyat]. 

The Missionary-in-Charge [of Sierra Lone], Saeed-ur-Rahman Sahib, writes:

“Among all the excellent qualities he possessed, one that stands out was that he practically strived his utmost to save all Ahmadis of the world from nationalism and to unite them as one family. He worked with great wisdom and sincerity. Approximately 2,000 people attended his funeral and burial. On this occasion, two government ministers, the chief of army staff Sierra Leone, several members of parliament, paramount chiefs and scores of high government officials were in attendance.” 

The Secretary of Nusrat Jahan, Mubarak Tahir Sahib writes: 

“Jamaluddin Mahmood Sahib was a very sincere and devout person who served the Community with all his heart. He had the honour of serving as the national general secretary for a long time and he was also the deputy manager of the Ahmadiyya Printing Press in Sierra Leone.”

Jamaluddin Mahmood Sahib was originally from Ghana. Mahmood Sahib’s father, Ibrahim Kojo Mahmood Sahib, was sent by Hazrat Maulana Nazir Ahmad Mubashir Sahib to serve in the line of education in Sierra Leone. 

Mubarak Tahir Sahib writes:

“Jamaluddin Mahmood Sahib resided with me in Rokupr for 13 years” – his father sent him there to gain education. “He was inclined towards religion from an early age. He was regular in offering prayers in congregation and was at the forefront in rendering his services to the Jamaat. He would carry out tabligh activities with the Khuddam of Rokupr.”

The in-charge of the Raqeem Press Sierra Leone, Uthman Taleh Sahib, says, “Jamaluddin Mahmood Sahib served for a long time before me as the in-charge. I spent 12 years working with him. In that time, he never expressed that I was younger and more inexperienced than him in any way; rather, he would always show respect and say, ‘You are a missionary and you have been appointed by Khalifatul Masih.’ Not once did he ever disobey me in any matter. 

“He exemplified obedience and humility to such a degree that if ever he was asked to do a task, he would begin right away and would exhaust every avenue in his attempts to complete it.” 

He further says:

“During this time, I learnt a great deal from him. He offered the Tahujud prayer on a daily basis and was particular about offering Salat in congregation. The manner in which he prayed was so wonderful that it was worthy of envy. He always prayed with great fervour, humility and concentration. He had a profound love for Khilafat and would intently listen to every Friday Sermon.”

He further writes:

“According to the culture of Sierra Leone, Jamal Sahib gave many children a place to stay in his home and afforded them an education at his own expense. Now, [having grown up] many of them are employed in good jobs and remember him with great respect and fondness.”

Naveed Qamar Sahib, who is a missionary, writes:

“Jamal Sahib would be at the forefront of taking part in the various financial schemes of the Jamaat. He would make exceeding contributions to the Tahrik-e-Jadid and Waqf-e-Jadid schemes on behalf of his parents and other elders of his family. Whenever he visited his family village of Rokupr, despite being busy, he would ensure to reach the mosque in time for prayers. 

“Often, he would utilise the time between the Maghrib and Isha prayers to educate people about the teachings of the Jamaat. He would especially expound upon, in a beautiful manner, the importance and blessings of Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya and the need for remaining attached to it.” 

He further writes:

“Jamal Sahib had a loving and affectionate relationship with everyone. Upon the news of his demise, Ahmadis and non-Ahmadis alike shed tears. This was the very reason why there were so many people present at his funeral, not only from nearby, but also those who had travelled great distances to be present.”

The deceased had two wives. He had separated from his first wife; however, all of his children were from her, which include two daughters and two sons. One of his daughters is married and lives in Australia. Aside from her, two of his children are studying in Ghana and one is studying in Sierra Leone. He does not have any children from his second wife. 

May Allah Almighty grant the deceased His mercy and forgiveness and elevate his station and enable his children to continue his virtuous deeds.

The next funeral is of Amatus Salam Sahiba, wife of the late, respected Chaudhary Salahuddin Sahib of Rabwah, who was formerly the nazim jaidad and musheer-e-qanooni. She passed away on October 19: 

اِنَّا‭ ‬لِلّٰهِ‭ ‬وَاِنَّآ‭ ‬اِلَيْهِ‭ ‬رَاجِعُوْن

[Verily to Allah we belong and to Him shall we return.]

Her husband Chaudhary Salahuddin Sahib was the grandson of companions of the Promised Messiahas, Hazrat Chaudhary Abdullah Khan Sahibra and Hazrat Hamnah Bibi Sahibara; both his paternal grandfather and grandmother were companions. 

Amatus Salam Sahiba’s son, Naeem-ud-Din Sahib writes:

“One of the everlasting imprints which my mother left on me was the attention she drew towards offering prayers; this was the thing she was most firm on. She was strict in ensuring this and was very firm in this course of action. Our home practically served as a hostel as many relatives would live with us due to their studies and would stay for many years. 

“My mother made sure that every single relative was regular in offering their prayers under all circumstances. She taught all of her children the recitation of the Holy Quran herself and appointed a tutor for the elder children. The other trait which left a lasting impact on me was the fact that she always strove to ensure the comfort and ease of everyone staying in her home. If the house workers took a day off, she never hesitated to wash the clothes of all the children, whether her own or the others [staying in her home]. 

“Both sides of the family often visited Rabwah, while my father would often be out of Rabwah owing to his responsibilities in the Community. My mother was always hospitable to all of the guests and would take care of all matters. I was the eldest son; thus, she trained me to be hospitable and to never fall short in doing so.” 

He further states:

“Our paternal great grandmother, paternal grandmother and maternal grandmother would often stay with us for extended periods of time. By the grace of God, we were six siblings and many other children of our extended family would stay in our house due to their studies. However, despite all this, she would serve these three elderly ladies all year round in an exceptional manner. 

“On the occasion of Jalsa Salana, without any exaggeration, the number of guests would reach 80 or 90. Tents would be pitched outside the house in order to facilitate their accommodations and food, while beds would be arranged from the village. Both my father and mother would oversee all of this together with great love, affection and openheartedness. Every relative, without exception, has expressed how loving and hospitable she was.”

One of her nephews writes:

“I stayed at her home during my studies; never once did she give us the same food cooked in the morning for dinner, nor did she ever give the food cooked in the evening for breakfast, rather she would always make fresh parathas [flat unleavened bread made in butter or oil] and provide fresh yogurt for breakfast.” 

This was the degree to which she cared for the children of other family members who were staying with them due to their studies. This was in spite of having many children of her own. 

“She displayed exemplary love and obedience for the Khulafa. She instilled the same sentiments for these respectable and honourable personages in them so that love for them was fully engrained within them.” 

Her daughter-in-law, Nabila Naeem Sahiba, says: 

“The deceased possessed many virtuous qualities. She was regular in offering prayers, reciting the Holy Quran and offering the Tahujud prayer. She was very patient and grateful. She never complained even during times of hardship. She would always be content with the will of God Almighty. She took care of the poor and could not bear to see anyone in pain and was ever ready to help them. She was at the forefront of obedience and loyalty to Khilafat.” 

May Allah the Almighty instil these same qualities in her children and her progeny. May He grant her forgiveness and mercy and elevate her station. 

The next funeral is of respected Mansoora Bushra Sahiba, who was the mother of Dr Latif Qureshi Sahib. She passed away on 6 October at the age of 97. 

اِنَّا‭ ‬لِلّٰهِ‭ ‬وَاِنَّآ‭ ‬اِلَيْهِ‭ ‬رَاجِعُوْن

[Verily to Allah we belong and to Him shall we return.]

She was from the progeny of companions of the Promised Messiahas; she was the maternal granddaughter of Hazrat Munshi Fayaz Ali Kapurtahlwi Sahibra and the paternal granddaughter of Hazrat Sheikh Abdur Rashid Sahibra – both were companions [of the Promised Messiahas]. 

When she was young, she had a close relationship with Hazrat Amma Janra. Though the deceased’s memory had weakened, she never forgot to offer prayers. She also regularly listened to the Friday Sermon on MTA. She was pious and faithful; by the grace of Allah the Almighty, she was a musia

As I mentioned earlier, she was the mother of Dr Latif Qureshi Sahib; Qureshi Sahib and his wife Shaukat Gohar Sahiba also passed away recently. Before their demise, they both took great care of her. Both passed away during her lifetime. 

Her granddaughter, Ismat Mirza, writes: 

“My grandmother was a true believer. She truly loved Ahmadiyyat and Khilafat. I have never seen anyone who worshipped more and revered the Holy Quran more than she did. She was quiet and simple by nature.” 

May Allah the Almighty grant the deceased forgiveness and mercy and elevate her station. After the Friday prayers, I will offer the funeral prayers of all the deceased members, insha-Allah.  

(Original Urdu published in Al Fazl International, 18 December 2020, pp. 5-10. Translated by The Review of Religions.)

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