Last Updated on 2nd November 2020
2 October 2020
Men of Excellence: Ubaidahra Ibn Jarrah
After reciting the Tashahud, Ta‘awuz, and Surah al-Fatihah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa said:
In relation to the accounts of the companions who took part in the Battle of Badr, the companion whose accounts I will narrate today is Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra bin Jarrah.
The name of Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra bin Jarrah was Aamir bin Abdillah. His father’s name was Abdullah bin Jarrah. Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra was more commonly known by his title which was the name of his grandfather, Jarrah. His mother’s name was Umaimah bint Ghanam. He belonged to the Banu Harith bin Fihr tribe of the Quraish. (Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, Al-Isabah fi Tamyiz al-Sahabah, Vol. 3, Amir bin ‘Abd-Allah [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 2005] 475)
With regard to the physical appearance of Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra it is stated that he was tall, slim and had a slender face. Two of his front teeth broke while he was extracting the metal rings of the helmet that were stuck in the blessed face of the Holy Prophetsa at the occasion of the Battle of Uhad. His beard was sparse and he used to dye his hair. (Sheikh Shah Moinuddin Ahmad Nadvi, Siyar al-Sahabah, Vol. 3, Hazrat Abu ‘Ubaidah bin al-Jarrah [Karachi, Pakistan: Dar al-Isha‘ah, 2004] 135)
Hazrat Abu Ubaidah bin Jarrahra married several times but only had children from two of his wives. He had two sons; one’s name was Yazid, while the other’s name was Umair. (Roshan Sitarey az Ghulam Bari Saif Sahib, Vol. 2, p. 41)
Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra was among the ten companions whom the Messengersa of Allah gave glad tidings of paradise during his lifetime, who are known as the Asharah Mubasharah. (Ali Ibn al-Athir, Usd al-Ghabah fi Ma‘rifat al-Sahabah, Vol. 3, Amir bin Abd-Allah [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Fikr, 2003], 22.)
Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra was considered among the honourable, civil and modest people of the Quraish. (Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, Al-Isabah fi Tamyiz al-Sahabah, Vol. 3 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2005) 477.)
Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra accepted Islam through the preaching of Hazrat Abu Bakrra at a time when the Muslims had not yet sought refuge in Dar al-Arqam. He converted before this time. Hazrat Abu Ubaidah bin Jarrahra was the ninth person to accept Islam. (Asharah Mubasharah, Bashir Sajid, p. 798, Al-Badr Publications, Lahore, 2000) (Sheikh Shah Moinuddin Ahmad Nadvi, Siyar al-Sahabah, Vol. 2 [Karachi, Pakistan: Dar al-Isha‘ah, 2004], 124.)
Hazrat Anasra narrates that the Messengersa of Allah said, “Every nation has a custodian [ameen] and the custodian of this Ummah is Abu Ubaidah bin Jarrah.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab Fada‘il Ashab al-Nabi, Bab Manaqib Abi Ubaidah bin al-Jarrah, Hadith 3744)
According to the narrations of Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim, the people of Najran – while according to another narration of Sahih Muslim, the people of Yemen – came to the Holy Prophetsa and said, “Please, send someone with us who may teach us the faith.” In one narration it is mentioned that they said, “Please, send a trustworthy person with us.” Upon this request, the Holy Prophetsa said, “I will certainly send such a trustworthy person with you who will do justice to his duty.” Then, the Holy Prophetsa held the hand of Hazrat Abu Ubaidah bin Jarrahra and said, هَذَا أَمِيْنُ هَذِهِ الْاُمَّةِ (i.e. he is the custodian of this Ummah.)” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab Fada‘il Ashab al-Nabi, Bab Manaqib Abi Ubaidah bin al-Jarrah, Hadith 3745) (Sahih Muslim, Kitab Fada‘il al-Sahabah, Bab Min Fadail Abi Ubaidah bin al-Jarrah, Hadith 2419-2420)
Hazrat Abu Hurairahra narrates that the Messengersa of Allah said, “How excellent are Abu Bakr, Umar, Abu Ubaidah bin Jarrah, Usaid bin Hudair, Thabit bin Qais bin Shammaas, Muaz bin Jabal and Muaz bin Amr bin Jamo.” That is, he praised them all. (Jami‘ al-Tirmidhi, Abwab al-Manaqib, Bab Manaqib Muaz bin Jabal wa Zaid bin Thabit…, Hadith 3795)
The following narration is perhaps related to the gathering in which Hazrat Abu Hurairahra has just referred to. On one occasion, Hazrat Aishara was asked, “If the Messengersa of Allah had appointed a vicegerent after him, who would he have appointed?” Hazrat Aishara replied, “Hazrat Abu Bakrra”. People asked her, “And after Hazrat Abu Bakrra?” Hazrat Aishara said, “Hazrat Umarra”. The people then asked, “And after Hazrat Umarra?” Hazrat ‘Aishara said, “Hazrat Abu Ubaidah bin Jarrahra”. This narration is from Sahih Muslim. (Sahih Muslim, Kitab Fada‘il al-Sahabah, Bab Fadail Abi Bakr, Hadith 2385)
In another narration, it is stated that Abdullah bin Shaqeeq asked Hazrat Aishara, “Who was the dearest to the Messengersa of Allah from among his companions?” Hazrat Aishara replied, “Hazrat Abu Bakrra.” The man asked, “And after Hazrat Abu Bakrra?” Hazrat Aishara replied, “Hazrat ‘Umarra.” He asked, “And following Hazrat Umarra?” Hazrat Aishara said, “Hazrat Abu Ubaidah bin Jarrahra.” He then asked who was after him. However, the narrator says that Hazrat Aishara remained silent thereafter. (Jami‘ al-Tirmidhi, Abwab al-Manaqib, Bab Manaqib Abi Bakr, Hadith 3657)
In Sirat Khatamun-Nabiyyin [The Life and Character of the Seal of Prophetssa], Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahibra states:
“The status and value of Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra in the eyes of Hazrat Aishara was so great that she would say, ‘If Abu Ubaidah had been alive at the demise of Hazrat Umarra, he would have been the Caliph.’” (Sirat Khatamun-Nabiyyin, Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra, p. 123)
In a narration, it is mentioned that at the time of his demise, Hazrat Umarra said, “If Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra was alive today, I would have appointed him as Caliph. If my Lord would have asked me as to why I did so, I would say, ‘I heard Your Prophetsa say that Abu Ubaidah is the Custodian of this Ummah and as such, I have made him my successor.’” (Ibn Saad, Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra, Vol. 3 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2012] 315.)
When Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra embraced Islam, his father tortured him immeasurably. Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra was among the companions who migrated towards Abyssinia. When Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra migrated to Medina, the countenance of the Holy Prophetsa started to glow upon seeing him. Hazrat Umarra stepped forward and embraced him and he stayed at the house of Hazrat Kulthum bin Hidamra; this was not Umm-e-Kulthum, rather at the house of Kulthum bin Hidam. (Roshan Sitarey az Ghulam Bari Saif Sahib, Vol. 2, pp. 11-12) (Ibn Saad, Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra, Vol. 3 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2012] 313.)
Various narrations can be found in relation to the bond of brotherhood established with Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra. According to some, the Holy Prophetsa formed a bond of brotherhood between Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra and Hazrat Salimra, the freed slave of Hazrat Abu Huzaifahra. According to others, the Holy Prophetsa formed a bond of brotherhood between him and Hazrat Muhammad bin Maslamahra. Yet, according to others, a bond of brotherhood was formed with Hazrat Saad bin Muazra. (Ibn Saad, Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra, Vol. 3 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2012] 313.) (Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, Al-Isabah fi Tamyiz al-Sahabah, Vol. 3, Amir bin Abd-Allah [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2005] 476.)
Hazrat Abu Ubaidah bin Jarrahra took part in all the battles alongside the Holy Prophetsa, including the Battle of Badr and Uhud. (Ibn Saad, Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra, Vol. 3 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1990] 313.)
Hazrat Abu Ubaidah bin Jarrah was 41 years old at the time of the Battle of Badr. (Ibn Saad, Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra, Vol. 3 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2012] 316.)
On the day of the Battle of Badr, Hazrat Abu Ubaidah bin Jarrahra entered the battlefield on the side of the Muslims and his father, Abdullah fought on the side of the disbelievers and both father and son encountered one another. His father made him the target during the battle; however, Hazrat Ubaidahra would outmanoeuvre him. That is, he would escape to one side whilst protecting himself.
Nevertheless, his father continued to pursue after him and was intent on killing him one way or another. Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra also had the chance to kill his father, but he avoided him so that he would not have to kill him and at the same continued to evade him.
When Hazrat Ubaidahra saw that his father was not leaving him alone, his passion and honour for the unity of God transcended beyond that for his family ties. Upon seeing that his father was intent on killing him, simply because he had believed in the unity of God, his family relations were reduced to nothing.
Furthermore, it is written in narrations that when Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra saw that his father was not stopping in his pursuit to kill him, his passion and honour for the unity of God transcended all family ties and Abdullah, the father of Hazrat Ubaidah bin Jarrahra was killed at the hands of his own son. Ultimately, Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra was left with no choice but to kill his father. (Sheikh Shah Moinuddin Ahmad Nadvi, Siyar al-Sahabah, Vol. 2 [Karachi, Pakistan: Dar al-Isha’ah, 2004] 124.)
On the day of the Battle of Uhud, Abdullah bin Qami‘ah forcefully threw a rock at the Holy Prophetsa, which injured his blessed countenance and broke his teeth. Upon this, he raised a slogan saying, ‘Take this, as I am the son of Qami‘ah!’ Wiping the blood from his blessed countenance, the Holy Prophetsa said, “May Allah disgrace you!”
The narrator states, “It so happened that God Almighty caused a mountain goat to overpower him, and it continued to strike him with its horns to the extent that he was severed in pieces.” (Al-Mu‘jam al-Kabir li al-Tabarani, Vol. 8, p. 154, Hadith 7596, Maktabat Ibn Taimiyyah, Cairo, 1994)
There is an account of Hazrat Aishara in relation to this incident. Hazrat Abu Bakrra states, “When the Holy Prophetsa was struck in the face with a stone during the Battle of Uhud, he was hit with so much force that two rings of the helmet broke and pierced his blessed countenance.” Hazrat Abu Bakrra then states, “I ran towards the Holy Prophetsa but saw another person making his way to the Holy Prophetsa so swiftly, as though he was flying. Thereupon I prayed, ‘O Allah make this person a means of joy’ (i.e. make the one who was racing ahead a source of joy for the Holy Prophetsa and for them). When we reached the Holy Prophetsa, I saw that it was Hazrat Abu Ubaidah bin Jarrahra who had preceded me. He said, ‘O Abu Bakrra, for the sake of Allah allow me to remove these rings from the blessed countenance of the Messengersa of Allah!’ (i.e. permit him to remove the parts of the helmet that had pierced into his jaw). So I allowed him to do so. Then, Hazrat Abu Ubaidah bin Jarrahra took hold of one of the two rings of the helmet in between his teeth and pulled so hard that he fell to the ground on his back. They had been lodged so deep [into the jaw] that one of his front teeth broke. He then grasped the second ring in his teeth and pulled it out so forcefully that another one of his front teeth broke.”
Hazrat Abu Ubaidah bin Jarrahra was among those companions who remained steadfast alongside the Holy Prophetsa during the Battle of Uhud when others had dispersed. (Ibn Saad, Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra, Vol. 3 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 1990] 313.)
In Dhul-Qa‘dah 6 AH, when the peace agreement was being written during the Treaty of Hudaibiyah, two copies of this pact were written up and a number of esteemed people from both parties penned their signatures as witnesses. Among the witnesses from the Muslims were Hazrat Abu Bakrra, Hazrat Umarra, Hazrat Usmanra, Hazrat Abdur-Rahman bin Aufra, Hazrat Saad bin Abi Waqasra and Hazrat Abu Ubaidah bin Jarrahra. (Sirat Khatamun-Nabiyyin, Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra, p. 769)
The Holy Prophetsa sent Hazrat Abu Ubaidah bin Jarrahra on many saraya – saraya is the plural of sariyah,meaning battles or expeditions.
He was sent on the expedition of Dhul-Qassah in Rabi‘-ul-Akhir, 7 AH. In relation to this, Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad MAra writes in Sirat Khatamun-Nabiyyin:
“In the month of Rabi‘-ul-Akhir, the Holy Prophetsa sent Muhammad bin Maslamah Ansarira to Dhul-Qassah which was located at a distance of 24 miles from Medina, where, in those days, the Banu Tha‘labah resided. When Hazrat Muhammad bin Maslamahra and his 10 companions reached there at night they found 100 young tribesmen prepared for battle. This party was 10 times the numerical value of the companions … Muhammad bin Maslamahra immediately marshalled his troops before the army (if they went with the intention of war, they would never have gone with so few numbers) and there was a war of archery throughout the darkness of the night. After this, the disbelievers marched forward to attack these handful of men and since they were much greater in number, it was not long before these 10 devotees of Islam fell to the ground (i.e. they were martyred). The companions of Muhammad bin Maslamahra were all martyred, but Muhammad bin Maslamahra himself survived, because the disbelievers had left him with the others, thinking he had also perished and stripped him of his clothes. Perhaps Muhammad bin Maslamahra would have died lying there as well, but fortunately, a Muslim passed by and recognising Muhammad bin Maslamahra, picked him up and took him to Medina.
When the Holy Prophetsa was informed of these events, he sent Abu Ubaidah bin Jarrahra who was from the Quraish and was counted among the preeminent of companions to Dhul-Qassah, to seek retribution for Muhammad bin Maslamahra. Moreover, since news had also been received that the people of the Banu Tha‘labah tribe intended to attack the surroundings of Medina, the Holy Prophetsa sent a party of 40 adept companions under the command of Abu Ubaidahra. The Holy Prophetsa ordered that they travel by night and reach there in the morning. In the fulfilment of this order, Abu Ubaidahra reached there punctually with his forces, when it was time for the morning prayer. The enemy were confused by this sudden attack and so after a brief confrontation, they fled, disappearing to the nearby mountains. Abu Ubaidahra took hold of the spoils of war and returned to Medina.” (Sirat Khatamun-Nabiyyin, Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmadra, p. 668)
This expedition was sent to seek retribution against the injustice or perhaps to punish them for their crime.
Another expedition was called Dhat-us-Salasil. The reason for its name is that out of fear, the opponents had chained themselves together so that they could fight together and so that no one could flee. It was also in order for them to fight in a single rank, or remain together in whatever formation.
We also find another meaning for this name is that there was a spring there called As-Salsal. Some are of the opinion that it took place in 8 AH, whilst others believe it was in 7 AH.
When that the Holy Prophetsa received news that people of the Banu Quda‘ah tribe were plotting to attack Medina, the Holy Prophetsa sent 300 Muhajireenand Ansar along with 30 horses, under the command of Hazrat Amr bin al-Aasra to confront them. This place is located at a distance of 10-days travel from Medina. When Hazrat Amr bin al-Aasra reached the land of Banu Quda’ah, he sent a message to the Holy Prophetsa that the enemy were much greater in number and they were in need of reinforcements (i.e. they needed further military support).
As soon as this reached the Holy Prophetsa, he sent 200 Muhajireenand Ansar under the command of Hazrat Abu Ubaidah bin Jarrahra as reinforcements. The Holy Prophetsa instructed them to join Hazrat Amr bin al-Aasra and to not differ (that is to say, whatever they decide to do, they should do it together).
When the latter army joined the battalion of Hazrat Amr bin al-Aasra, the question arose as to who would lead the entire army. Even though Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra was more worthy of being the commander owing to his rank; however, when Hazrat Amr bin al-Aasra insisted on taking command of the entire army, he remained silent and wholeheartedly accepted his leadership. This was also because the Holy Prophetsa had instructed them not to have any disagreements. Thus, under his leadership, they fought the enemy valiantly until they defeated them. When they returned from their victory to Medina, the Holy Prophetsa learnt of the level of obedience displayed by Hazrat Abu Ubaidah bin Jarrahra and said:
رَحِمَهُ اللّٰهُ أَبَا عُبَيْدَه
“May Allah’s mercy be upon Abu Ubaidah, for he has shown such high standards of obedience.” (Talib Hashmi, Rahmat-e-Darain ke So Sheda‘i, [Lahore, Pakistan: Al-Badr Publications Urdu Bazar, 2003] 33.) (Sharh Zurqani ala al-Mawahib al-Laduniyyah, Vol. 2, p. 357, Sariyah Dhat al-Salasil, Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 1996)
Then there was the Sariyah [expedition] of Seif al-Bahr. These saraya are battles, and expeditions in which the Holy Prophetsa did not participate. This specific sariyah was sent in 8 AH [Islamic calendar] towards the sea-shore where the Banu Juhaynah tribe resided.
This expedition is also known as Jaish al-Khabat. The explanation given for this name is that due to a shortage of food, the Companions were forced to eat tree-leaves called Khabat. Khabat also means the falling of leaves.
This expedition is mentioned in Sahih al-Bukhari, Hazrat Jabirra narrates, that the Holy Prophetsa sent 300 companions on mounts, under the leadership of Hazrat Abu Ubaidah bin Jarrahra in order to watch over a trading caravan of the Quraish, there was no intention for fighting. They remained at the sea-shore for half a month and they were in a state of extreme hunger, to the extent that they even began to eat leaves. When an expedition would set out, it would not always be with the intent of war rather they would also be sent with other objectives. Albeit there would be occasions on which they entered battle; in both instances they are deemed as a sariyah, i.e. those expeditions where the Holy Prophetsa was not present.
In any case, they were in a state of such hunger that they would even eat leaves, which is why this army became known as Jaish al-Khabat (the army of leaves). [Hazrat Jabirra continues to narrate] that during this time, the sea cast out an animal for them called “anbar” – meaning the sea washed a dead animal onto shore or it was carried to shore by the sea and was not able to survive on land without water and died. In any case, he narrates that an animal from the sea washed up on the shore, which was a very large fish. They ate its meat for half a month and rubbed its fat on their bodies, until their bodies were restored to their original health. Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra took one of its ribs and propped it upright and had the tallest person among them stand beside it.
In another narration, Sufyan bin Uyaynah relates that he took one of its ribs and propped it upright, then he had a person riding a camel pass beneath it. Hazrat Jabirra also stated that there was a person in the army who slaughtered three camels each day for three days so that others could eat, but after this, Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra stopped him.
Amr bin Dinar says that he heard Abu Saleh Dhakwan telling them that Qais bin Saad told his father that he too was part of that expedition and when they became hungry, Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra instructed that a camel should be slaughtered; and thus he did so. He says that when they became hungry again, Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra said that another camel should be slaughtered, and he did as he was instructed. Then when they became hungry again, Hazrat Abu ‘Ubaidahra instructed that another camel should be slaughtered.
They had riding camels with them which must also have been carrying their belongings, but their condition had become so dire that they had to slaughter them to eat. He continues saying that accordingly, he slaughtered a camel. Qais used to say that they became hungry again, and so Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra again instructed that a camel should be slaughtered. But after that he stopped him saying that no more camels should be slaughtered.
There is another narration in which Hazrat Jabir bin Abdillah relates:
“I set out on the expedition of Jaish al-Khabat for which Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra was appointed as the commander. We were in a state of extreme hunger when the sea cast out a dead fish (it did not come out alive but was already dead) and we had never seen such a fish. (It was a huge fish and judging by the description it must have been a whale), known as ‘anbar’. They ate its meat for half a month; then Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra took one of its bones and a person riding his camel was able to pass beneath it.”
Ibn Juraij related that Zubair also told him that he heard Hazrat Jabir say that Hazrat Ubaidahra instructed to eat the fish despite the fact that it was already dead, saying there was no harm in doing so. When they returned to Medina, they informed the Holy Prophetsa about the dead fish which they found and that they had to use it for sustenance. The Holy Prophetsa said, “You should eat of the provisions which Allah Almighty procures for you. Allah Almighty saw the state you were in and sent it to you and you ate from it – there is no harm in this. If there is any meat left and you have brought it with you, then give some to me as well.” Someone then presented the meat to the Holy Prophetsa and he also ate from it. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Maghazi, Bab Ghazwah Seif al-Bahr, Hadith 4361-4362)
They had brought some of the leftover meat back with them, which the Holy Prophetsa also ate.
Hazrat Syed Zainul Abideen Waliullah Shah Sahibra writes in his commentary [of Sahih al-Bukhari] regarding the Sariyah of Seif al-Bahr, which is also called [Jaish-ul] Khabat:
“This expedition was not sent for the purpose of war, rather this expedition was sent for the purpose of ensuring the safety of a trade caravan. According to Ibn Saad, this convoy comprised of 300 Muhajireen and Ansar. Hazrat Abu Ubaidah bin Jarrahra was appointed as its commander, and this expedition is commonly known as Seif al-Bahr. The route which these caravans used to take was by the Red Sea. A watch-post was established on the shore of the Red Sea – this is why this expedition is called Seif al-Bahr.”
The purpose of this expedition and sending this convoy was to establish a watch-post for the sake of protection, and we will find out further on who they were protecting. “Seif means shore – Ibn Saad has briefly mentioned this under the topic of Sariyatul Khabat – and Khabat means tree leaves. Due to their provisions which ran out, the members of this convoy were forced to eat leaves. Ibn Saad has stated that this expedition took place in Rajab 8 Hijri which was the era of Hudnah, meaning it was at the time when the Treaty of Hudaibiyah was in effect.
Owing to his wisdom and farsightedness, the Holy Prophetsa sent the aforementioned army to Seif al-Bahr to be stationed at the watch-post that was made to ensure the security and safety of passage for the trading caravan of the Quraish that was returning from Syria. The Muslim army wanted to ensure that no one did anything to the caravan of the Quraish lest they find an excuse to claim that the terms of the treaty had been violated. (The Treaty of Hudaibiyah had already taken place, therefore they wanted to ensure that no one did anything to the caravan whereby the Quraish would have an excuse to say that the Muslims attacked them and hence the Treaty of Hudaibiyah should be ended.) This is why the Holy Prophetsa established a watch-post in that area so that they could protect the caravan of the Quraish. He further writes that according to Ibn Saad, the aforementioned location was at a distance of five days travel from Medina.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Maghazi, Bab Ghazwah Seif al-Bahr, Vol. 9, p. 239, Nazarat Isha’at Rabwah)
As I mentioned earlier this expedition was not sent for the purpose of fighting, rather to grant protection to the disbelievers. This was the level of effort made in order to establish peace that the Muslims even afforded protection to the enemy. Since a treaty had been established, they did not want to give any opportunity to the disbelievers to have an excuse to say that the conditions of the treaty were violated. In any case, it was the decree of Allah the Almighty and it was the disbelievers who were the ones to break the treaty themselves and this ultimately led to the Conquest of Mecca.
Hazrat Abu Hurairahra relates that on the day of the Conquest of Mecca, the Holy Prophetsa arrived into the city. The Holy Prophetsa appointed Hazrat Zubairra and Hazrat Khalidra bin Walid to oversee each flank of the army and Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra was appointed as the commander of the infantry and also of those who were entering through the low pass of the valley. (Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Jihad, Bab Fath Makkah, Hadith 1780)
The Holy Prophetsa had entered into a treaty with the people of Bahrain on the condition that they pay the Jizyah [a form of tax levied on the non-Muslims in order to ensure the protection of their rights and safety] and he also appointed Hazrat A‘lara bin Hadhrami as their Governor. The Holy Prophetsa sent Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra to collect the Jizyah. Upon learning of his return, many people attended the Fajr prayer the next morning behind the Holy Prophetsa. When the Holy Prophetsa concluded the prayer and looked back, he smiled and said, “It seems that you have come to learn that Abu Ubaidah has brought something back.” They submitted, “Yes, O Messengersa of Allah.” The Holy Prophetsa stated, “Rejoice and keep hope of that which is better for you. I do not fear that you will be overcome by a state of dependency, rather I fear that the riches of the world will be bestowed upon you and you will instil an intense desire for its acquisition.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Jizyah wa al-Mawada‘ah, Bab Ghazwah al-Jizyah wa al-Mawada‘ah ma‘a Ahl al-Dhimmah wa al-Harb, Hadith 3158)
In other words, the Holy Prophetsa feared that the more they immersed themselves in worldly endeavours and were granted the comforts of the world, they would increase in their desire for it and this could become a means of their ruin – this is what the Holy Prophetsa feared. He did not fear that they would have a scarcity of provisions, instead he feared lest they became embroiled in material pursuits and develop greed for it which could cause their ruin.
This is an admonishment which every one of us ought to be ever mindful of. And we can see this for ourselves that by disregarding this advice, the majority of Muslims, including its leaders who, upon being granted opulence, have developed an intense greed for wealth and worldly desires. Though they verbally proclaim the name of God, but worldly wealth and glory is their primary objective. Thus, we should always assess our conditions in view of the prophecy of the Holy Prophetsa that indeed, we would be granted wealth, but we should not let this be a means of us becoming unmindful of our religious obligations.
On 10 AH, at the occasion of the farewell pilgrimage, Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra performed the Hajj along with the Holy Prophetsa. (Asharah Mubasharah, Bashir Sajid, p. 801, Al-Badr Publications Urdu Bazar, Lahore, 2000)
After the demise of the Holy Prophetsa, a debate ensued amongst the people as to whether the grave of the Holy Prophetsa should be prepared with a bricked hollow cavity inside or without. Subsequently, Hazrat Abbasra sent someone to call Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra bin Jarrah and Hazrat Abu Talhara and decided that whichever of the two came first, he would decide how the grave should be prepared. Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra prepared the graves like the people of Mecca did which was without a bricked hollow cavity inside, while Hazrat Abu Talhara prepared the graves like the people of Medina which was with a bricked hollow cavity. The individual who was sent to Hazrat Abu Talhara was able to find him while the other individual was not able to find Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra and thus Hazrat Abu Talhara came and a grave with a bricked hollow cavity was prepared for the Holy Prophetsa. (Ibn Hisham, Sirat Ibn Hisham, Vol. 2, Hufr al-Qabr [Egypt: Mustafa al-Babi, 1955] 663.)
The incident regarding the disagreement over who should be the Khilafa between the Ansar and the Muhajireen, which took place immediately after the Holy Prophet’ssa demise has been mentioned in Sahih Bukhari. I have previously quoted this whilst narrating the accounts of another companion; however, it is also important to narrate this with reference to Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra.
After the demise of the Holy Prophetsa, the Ansar gathered at the house of Hazrat Saadra bin Ubadah and suggested that one leader should be appointed from among the Ansar and another leader from among the Muhajireen. Subsequently, Hazrat Abu Bakrra, Hazrat Umarra and Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra bin Jarrah went to see them. Hazrat Umarra was just about to say something; however, Hazrat Abu Bakrra stopped him. Hazrat Umarra states, “The only reason I wished to say something at the time was because I had already prepared a speech which I was very happy with and feared that perhaps Hazrat Abu Bakrra would not be able to say something as impactful. However, Hazrat Abu Bakrra delivered his speech in such an excellent and eloquent manner which was far better than any other speech.”
In his speech, Hazrat Abu Bakrra stated, “We, the Muhajireen, are the amirs [leaders] and you, the Ansar, are the viziers.”
Upon this, Hazrat Hubab bin Munzirra stated, “Certainly not! By God, we will never allow for this to happen. There shall be one leader from among you and one from among us.” Hazrat Abu Bakrra replied, “No, we are the amirs and you are the viziers, for the Quraish, according to their lineage and status, have always occupied a higher status amongst the Arabs and it has been this way since ancient times.” Hazrat Abu Bakrra then proposed the names of Hazrat Umarra and Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra bin Jarrah and said that they could choose any one of them as their Khalifa and take his Bai‘at. Hazrat Umarra responded, “No, we will only take your Bai‘at (i.e. referring to Hazrat Abu Bakrra) because you are our leader. You are the best among us and the most beloved of the Holy Prophetsa out of us all.” After saying this, Hazrat Umarra held the hand of Hazrat Abu Bakrra and performed the Bai‘at. Thereafter, everyone else also followed and performed the Bai‘at at the hands of Hazrat Abu Bakrra. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab Fada‘il Ashab al-Nabi, Bab Qaul al-Nabi, Bab Law Kunta Muttakhidhan Khalilan, Hadith 3668)
In any case, this was the status of Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra in the eyes of Hazrat Abu Bakrra whereby he proposed his name for Khilafat. Similarly, it was mentioned earlier that Hazrat Umarra stated, “If Abu Ubaidahra was alive, I would have appointed him as the next Khalifa, because according to the saying of the Holy Prophetsa, he was the custodian [ameen] of this Ummah.”
When the Muslims began to debate in regard to the election of the Khalifa, Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra addressed the Ansar and said, “O Ansar, you are the ones who were the very first to offer their support. Let it not be that now you become the very first to cause a disagreement.” (Sheikh Shah Moinuddin Ahmad Nadvi, Siyar al-Sahabah, Vol. 2, [Karachi, Pakistan: Dar al-Isha‘ah Urdu Bazar] 126-127.)
When Hazrat Abu Bakrra was bestowed the mantle of Khilafat, he appointed Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra to oversee the affairs of the Bait-ul-Mal. In 13 AH, when Hazrat Abu Bakrra sent an army to Syria, he appointed Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra as its commander. Later, when Hazrat Umarra was bestowed the mantle of Khilafat, he removed Hazrat Khalidra bin Walid as the commander-in-chief and replaced him with Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra. (Siyar A‘lam al-Nubala li Imam al-Dhahabi, Vol. 1, p. 15, Abu Ubaidah bin al-Jarrah, Dar al-Risalah al-Alamiyyah, Damascus, 2014)
With regard to the conquest of Syria, it is mentioned that in 13 AH, the Byzantines were attacked from various fronts. One of the commanders of the army was Hazrat Yazid bin Abi Sufyan – one of the sons of Abu Sufyan was Yazid who passed away before [the incidents of discord that occurred in Islam]. He attacked from the east of Jordan. Another commander of the army was Hazrat Sharahbeel bin Hasanah who advanced forward from Balqa. The third commander was Hazrat Amrra bin Aas whose army entered Syria from the direction of Palestine. The fourth commander was Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra bin Jarrah who advanced forward with his army from Homs.
Hazrat Abu Bakrra had issued instructions that when all the armies had gathered in one place, Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra would become the commander-in-chief of all the armies. Each army was made up of 4,000 soldiers, whereas Hazrat Abu Ubaidah’sra army consisted of 8,000 soldiers. When the armies were about to depart, Hazrat Abu Bakrra instructed the respective commanders:
“Do not impose hardship upon yourselves, nor on your fellow brothers. Do not express displeasure towards your people and your fellow men. Consult them, uphold justice and keep clear of any cruelty for one who is unjust can never progress and nor witness any kind of success. When you come up against the enemy, never show your back to them for Allah the Almighty has stated:
“‘And whoso turns his back to them on such a day, unless manoeuvring for battle or turning to join another company, he indeed draws upon himself the wrath of Allah, and Hell shall be his abode.’”
This is mentioned in Surah al-Anfal, verse 17. Hazrat Abu Bakrra then further stated,
“If you are granted victory over the enemy; do not kill any children, the elderly or women. Furthermore, do not kill any animal and nor break the covenants you make.”
Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra conquered the Syrian city of Maab, whose inhabitants entered into a peace treaty on the condition of paying the Jizya. Thereafter, Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra turned towards the direction of Jabiyah and found that a large army of the Byzantines was ready for combat. Upon this, Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra requested Hazrat Abu Bakrra for further reinforcements.
Hazrat Abu Bakrra then instructed Hazrat Khalid bin Walidra – who was already sent for an expedition to Iraq – to leave half his army under the command of Hazrat Musanna bin Harithra and go to assist Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra. Hazrat Abu Bakrra then wrote a letter to Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra saying, “I have appointed Khalidra as the commander. I am fully aware that you are better and of a higher rank than him.” The entire contents of the letter are as follows, “From the servant of Allah, Ateeq bin Abi Qahafah to Abu Ubaidah bin Jarrahra”. Ateeq was the actual name of Hazrat Abu Bakrra and Abu Qahafah was his father’s name. “May the peace of Allah be upon you. I have assigned Khalidra as the commander of the army sent to Syria. Do not oppose him, listen to him and obey him. I have appointed you to oversee the matters. I am aware that you occupy a higher rank than him; however, I feel that he (i.e. Hazrat Khalid bin Walidra) is more skilled in the art of warfare than you. May Allah keep us both on the right path.”
This is the letter Hazrat Abu Bakrra wrote. Hazrat Khalid bin Walidra wrote the following letter to Hazrat Abu Ubaidah from Hira, a city in Iraq, “May the peace of Allah be upon you. Hazrat Abu Bakrra has ordered for me to depart for Syria and ordered me to take command of the armies. By God! I never made this request, nor have I ever desired for such a position. Your position will remain unchanged. I will never disobey you and I will not make a decision without consulting you. You are the leader of the Muslims. We can never deny your eminence nor can we withhold from seeking your guidance.” (Roshan Sitare, Ghulam Bari Saif, Vol. 2, pp. 19-21) (Asharah Mubasharah, Bashir Sajid, p. 804, Al-Badr Publications Urdu Bazar, Lahore, 2000) (Sheikh Shah Moinuddin Ahmad Nadvi, Siyar al-Sahabah, Vol. 2 [Karachi, Pakistan: Dar al-Isha‘ah Urdu Bazar] pp. 457, 459) (Farhang-e-Sirat, p. 110, Zawar Academy Publications, Karachi, 2003)
Such was the level of humility and obedience shown by both companions, which is the hallmark of a believer.
The Battle of Ajnadayn took place in Jumadah Al-Awwal of 13 Hijrah. Ajnadayn was the name of a settlement along the coast of Palestine. A battle ensued here between the Muslims and Byzantine forces, who numbered 100,000. According to the narrations the commander of the Byzantine forces at Ajnadayn was Theodore, the brother of the Byzantine emperor Heraclius. A Muslim army numbering 35,000 defeated the Byzantines and conquered Ajnadayn. (Asharah Mubasharah, Bashir Sajid, p. 805, Al-Badr Publications Urdu Bazar, Lahore, 2000) (Yaqut Ibn Abd-Allah al-Hamawi, Mu‘jam al-Buldan, Vol. 1 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah] 129)
Having gained victory at Ajnadayn, the Muslim army besieged the enemy forces at Damascus. The details of this is as follows:
The Muslims surrounded Damascus – the capital of Syria and one of the oldest cities in the world – in Muharram, 14 AH. This siege lasted for six months after the enemy forces retreated to their forts. As they were in their own area, they retreated to their forts and all five commanders of the Muslim army surrounded the city along with their contingents. Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra was with his army at the Eastern door [of the city], whereas Hazrat Khalid bin Walidra was on the opposite side at the Western door. The remaining three commanders were positioned at various other doors.
At times, the Byzantines would step outside and engage in battle, but would then retreat back into their forts. They had hoped that the Byzantine emperor would send reinforcements; however, the vigilance of the Muslim army ensured their hopes turned to dust.
One night, the people of the city were occupied in festivities. When the guards patrolling the outer wall of the city also joined in the celebrations and became unmindful of their duty, Hazrat Khalid bin Walidra climbed the wall along with a few of his men and entered the city. He then opened the gates and his army entered the city. Upon witnessing this, the people of the city entered into a treaty with Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra, who was on the opposite side of the city. However, Hazrat Khalidra was unaware of this and continued fighting. The people of the city went to Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra and said to save them from Khalidra. The two commanders encountered one another in the middle of the city. When Hazrat Khalidra and Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra met with the people in the middle of the city, they entered into a treaty as Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra had already agreed to a treaty. (Asharah Mubasharah, Bashir Sajid, p. 805-806, Al-Badr Publications Urdu Bazar, Lahore, 2000)
The Battle of Fahl: Fahl is a city of Syria. Having conquered Damascus, the Muslims advanced ahead. They learnt that the Byzantine forces had gathered at Baisan and were preparing to launch an attack on the Muslims. The Muslim army set up camp in Fahl. The Byzantine army sent an emissary to Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra in order to settle into a peace treaty.
When he reached the Muslim camp, he saw that all the soldiers and commanders were seated together without any distinction between the ranks. Eventually he had to ask someone who was the commander of the army. They pointed to a modest and humble man who was seated on the floor.
The emissary approached him and asked, “Are you the commander of the army?” Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra replied in the affirmative. The emissary said, “Turn back with your army and in return each soldier will be given two gold coins, the commanders will receive 1,000 dinars and your Caliph will be given 2,000 dinars.”
Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra refused the proposal saying, “We are not here to collect money nor are we here to accumulate wealth. We have come here to raise aloft the Word of God.” The emissary left while threatening the Muslims. Seeing the behaviour of the emissary, Hazrat Abu ‘Ubaidahra ordered the army to make preparations.
The next morning both armies engaged in battle. Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra was positioned in the middle of the army and would guide the army with wisdom. Despite being outnumbered, the Muslims defeated the Byzantine army, resulting in the Muslims capturing most of the land in Jordan. (Asharah Mubasharah, Bashir Sajid, p. 807-808, Al-Badr Publications Urdu Bazar, Lahore, 2000) (Sheikh Shah Moinuddin Ahmad Nadvi, Siyar al-Sahabah, Vol. 2 [Karachi, Pakistan: Dar al-Isha‘ah Urdu Bazar] 128)
The conquest of Homs; after the victory of Fahl, Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra moved towards Homs, which was an ancient city of Syria and was of great importance both politically and strategically.
On the way they passed by Baalbek, an ancient city of Lebanon located at a distance of three days’ travel from Damascus. This was an ancient city and a centre for the worship of the idol named Baal. Instead of fighting against Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra, the residents of Baalbek wished to form a peace treaty, which was agreed on the condition they pay the Jizya. Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra did not fight with them and accepted the Jizya instead. They were free to follow their religion.
Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra turned to Homs and surrounded the city. Hazrat Khalid bin Walidra was also with him. Since the people of the city were hopeful of reinforcements from the Byzantine Emperor, they made preparations to fight. However, when their hopes faded away, they threw down their arms and requested for a peace settlement, which was accepted. Their lives, wealth, places of worship and properties were all granted protection under the terms of the treaty. Their properties as well as their places of worship were assured protection and they were permitted to follow their own religion. In return they would pay Jizya and Kharaj, which is a form of tax.
The Conquest of Laziqiyyah: after this the Muslim army made way to Laziqiyyah, which was a city of Syria situated on the coast, in the environs of Homs. Nonetheless, they besieged Laziqiyyah. The city had strong fortifications for its defence. The people of the city had ample store of grain, as a result of which they were not concerned by the siege. Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra came up with a new strategy for conquering the city. In the night, he ordered for large trenches to be dug and to be filled with grass. In the morning he lifted the siege and made preparations to head back to Homs.
Having dug the trenches and filled them with grass, they made it seem as if they were lifting the siege and heading back. Upon seeing the siege was lifted, the people of the city and the army rejoiced and opened the gate to the city. Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra, however, returned with his army in the night and hid in the tunnels and trenches they had dug. In the morning when the gate of the city opened, they launched an attack all of a sudden and conquered the city. (Sheikh Shah Moinuddin Ahmad Nadvi, Siyar al-Sahabah, Vol. 2 [Karachi, Pakistan: Dar al-Isha‘ah Urdu Bazar] 128.) (Asharah Mubasharah, Bashir Sajid, p. 809, Al-Badr Publications Urdu Bazar, Lahore, 2000) (Yaqut Ibn Abd-Allah al-Hamawi, Mu‘jam al-Buldan, Vol. 5 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah] p. 6)
There are accounts still remaining and insha-Allah, I will narrate them in the future [sermons].
These days, pray fervently for the Ahmadis in Pakistan. May Allah Almighty safeguard them from the mischief of the maulvis [religious clerics] and the government officials.
There has been another wave of severe opposition there. Those responsible for upholding the law are not only oblivious to justice, they are in fact completely violating it.
Furthermore, these people are ignorantly following whatever the maulvisare saying, perhaps in order to save themselves, with the notion in mind that it will strengthen them politically by doing this. However, this is sheer ignorance on their part. Always bear in mind that this will in fact be the very cause of their downfall.
We have passed through these trials and tribulations before and with the help of God Almighty, we will pass through them again. Nevertheless, if they do not desist from their actions, they will surely meet their destruction. Hence, Ahmadis should pray abundantly that may Allah the Almighty remove these difficulties. Strengthen your bond with Allah the Almighty; especially the Ahmadis in Pakistan and those from Pakistan who have moved abroad, so that we may be granted the succour and support of Allah the Almighty swiftly and the Ahmadis facing these difficulties there may be saved.
(Original Urdu transcript published in Al Fazl International, 23 October 2020, pp. 5-9. Translated by The Review of Religions.)