9 October 2020
Men of Excellence: Ubaidahra Ibn Jarrah
After reciting the Tashahud, Ta‘awuz, and Surah al-Fatihah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa said:
In the previous sermon, I was relating the accounts from the life of Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra. Today, I shall present the remaining accounts from his life
There was a battle that took place which is known as the Battle of Yarmuk. The reason why it was called “Yarmuk” is because Yarmuk is the name of a valley that lies in the outskirts of Syria.
One of the most major battles in Syria was fought in 15 AH on the plains of Yarmuk near the banks of the Yarmuk River. The Byzantine army, led by Bahan, brought close to 250,000 soldiers onto the battlefield, while the Muslims numbered around 30,000 which also included 1,000 companions of the Holy Prophetsa, 100 of whom had participated in the Battle of Badr. Upon mutual consultation, the Muslims temporarily withdrew their forces from Homs. They said to the Christians of Homs, “As we are temporarily withdrawing our protection from you, your jizya — i.e. the taxes collected from you — is being returned to you as we are unable to fulfil the obligations for which the jizya was levied.” Hence, that jizya was returned to the people of Homs, which amounted to hundreds of thousands.
When that amount was being returned, the Christians would cry on account of the honesty and justice of the Muslims and would pray from rooftops, “O merciful Muslim rulers! May God bring you back again.” When the Muslims withdrew from Homs, the Byzantines were further encouraged and they arrived at Yarmuk with a large army and camped there to fight the Muslims. However, in their hearts, they were afraid of the strength the Muslims drew from their faith. So, they also wished for some diplomatic resolution and tried to form a treaty. Hence, the Byzantine commander Bahan sent a Roman emissary named George to the Muslim army.
When he reached the Muslim army, they were offering the Maghrib prayer at the time. Upon witnessing the Muslims prostrating before God with great humility, it left a deep impression upon him. He asked some questions to Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra, one of which was, “What is your view of Jesus?” Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra recited the following verse of the Holy Quran:
یٰۤاَہۡلَ الۡکِتٰبِ لَا تَغۡلُوۡا فِیۡ دِیۡنِکُمۡ وَ لَا تَقُوۡلُوۡا عَلَی اللّٰہِ اِلَّا الۡحَقَّ ؕ اِنَّمَا الۡمَسِیۡحُ عِیۡسَی ابۡنُ مَرۡیَمَ رَسُوۡلُ اللّٰہِ وَ کَلِمَتُہٗ ۚ اَلۡقٰہَاۤ اِلٰی مَرۡیَمَ وَ رُوۡحٌ مِّنۡہُ ۫ فَاٰمِنُوۡا بِاللّٰہِ وَ رُسُلِہٖ ۚ۟ وَ لَا تَقُوۡلُوۡا ثَلٰثَۃٌ ؕ اِنۡتَہُوۡا خَیۡرًا لَّکُمۡ ؕ اِنَّمَا اللّٰہُ اِلٰہٌ وَّاحِدٌ ؕ سُبۡحٰنَہٗۤ اَنۡ یَّکُوۡنَ لَہٗ وَلَدٌ ۘ لَہٗ مَا فِی السَّمٰوٰتِ وَ مَا فِی الۡاَرۡضِ ؕ وَ کَفٰی بِاللّٰہِ وَکِیۡلًا
“O People of the Book, exceed not the limits in your religion, and say not of Allah anything but the truth. Verily, the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, was only a Messenger of Allah and a fulfilment of His word which He sent down to Mary, and a mercy from Him. So believe in Allah and His Messengers, and say not ‘They are three.’ Desist, it will be better for you. Verily, Allah is the only One God. Far is it from His Holiness that He should have a son. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth. And sufficient is Allah as a Guardian.” [Surah al-Nisa, Ch.4: V.172]
Thereafter, he read the following verse:
لَنۡ یَّسۡتَنۡکِفَ الۡمَسِیۡحُ اَنۡ یَّکُوۡنَ عَبۡدًا لِّلّٰہِ وَ لَا الۡمَلٰٓئِکَۃُ الۡمُقَرَّبُوۡنَ
“Surely, the Messiah will never disdain to be a servant of Allah, nor will the angels near unto God.” [Surah al-Nisa, Ch.4: V.173]
When George, who had come as a representative of the opposing army, heard these teachings of the Holy Quran, he said indeed these were the qualities of the Messiahas. He also said that their Messengersa was true and thus accepted Islam. Subsequently, he did not wish to return to his army. However, Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra said that the Byzantines would think that the Muslims had broken their pact, therefore he should return. Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra advised that he could return the following day with the emissary that was to be sent from the Muslim army to them. Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra called the Christian army towards Islam and presented to them the Islamic teachings of equality, brotherhood and morals. The following day, Hazrat Khalidra went to them. However, his visit was not fruitful and preparations for a battle commenced. Muslim women were at the rear of the army, who gave water to the soldiers, tended to the wounded and encouraged the soldiers during the battle. Hazrat Asma bint Abi Bakrra, Hazrat Hindra bint Utbah, who accepted Islam on the occasion of the conquest of Mecca and was the wife of Hazrat Abu Sufyanra and also Hazrat Umm-e-Abanra etc. were among these women.
Addressing the Muslim women prior to the battle, Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra said, “O mujahidaat [female soldiers]! Pull out the pegs from the tents and take them into your hands. Fill your cloaks with rocks and stones and give encouragement to the Muslims to fight. Tell them that today is the day of combat and they are not to turn their backs. If you see the Muslims gaining victory, remain seated in your places and if you see the Muslims retreating, strike their faces with these pegs and pelt them with stones and send them back into the battlefield. Lift your children up and tell them to go and sacrifice their lives for their families and for the sake of Islam.” Following this, Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra addressed the men in the following manner, “O servants of Allah! Come forward in support of God as He will help you in return and grant you steadfastness. O servants of Allah! Be patient as this is the very means of becoming pure from any form of disbelief, the means of pleasing God and the means of washing away one’s stain of humiliation. Do not break your ranks; do not be the ones who instigate the battle; raise your spears; secure your guard and remain engaged in the remembrance of God so that He may fulfil His will.”
They were instructed that they must not be the ones who initiate the fighting, but once the battle commences, they should not turn their backs from it. The opposing army placed a golden cross at the front of its army and their glistening armour was reflecting into the eyes of the Muslim army. They were covered in iron from head to toe; that is, they were fully clad in armour. On that day, they also wore chains around their ankles so that they could not retreat; thus they would either kill or be killed. Their priests were reading extracts from the Gospel to arouse their emotions. The army of the disbelievers advanced like waves of the ocean. Theirs was an army of around 200,000 to 250,000 soldiers, whereas the Muslims were only 30,000. Nevertheless, the battle commenced.
At first, the Byzantines had the upper hand and started to push the Muslims back. The Christians had secretly received information as to who among the Muslim army were companions of the Holy Prophetsa. They positioned some of their skilled archers on a hill and instructed them to specifically target the companions with their arrows. They knew that once the prominent men were killed, the remaining army would subsequently become disheartened and they would flee from the battlefield. As a result of this, several companions were killed and some lost their sight.
Seeing this, Ikrimahra, the son of Abu Jahl, who had accepted Islam at the time of the conquest of Mecca and who said to the Holy Prophetsa on that occasion to “pray that Allah enables me to atone for my previous sins.” In other words, may Allah enable him to atone for his past deeds.
He then went with some of his companions to Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra and said, “The Companionsra [of the Holy Prophetsa] have offered great sacrifices. Allow us who joined the fold of Islam later to also partake in the blessings. We will attack the core of the army and kill the Christian generals.” Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra replied, “This is a very dangerous assignment. Whichever soldier goes to attempt this will be killed.” Ikrimahra said, “This is true; however, what other choice do we have? Would you like for us young men to stay safe and for the Companionsra to be killed?” Since he had accepted Islam, he was instilled with a passion and yearning to sacrifice his life for the sake of Allah the Almighty. Ikrimahra repeatedly asked for permission for him and 400 other fighters to attack the core of the enemy army. Eventually, Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra granted permission upon the insistence of Ikrimahra. Thus, they attacked the core of the army and were successful; however, the majority of those assigned for this task, were martyred in this attack.
The Muslims managed to push the Byzantine forces back towards the trenches they had dug. Since they had shackled themselves together lest anyone ran away, the Byzantine soldiers fell in the trenches in large numbers. If one would fall, they would take 10 others with them. Whilst retreating, 80,000 of the disbelievers drowned in the Yarmuk River, whereas 100,000 Byzantine soldiers were killed in the battlefield. 3,000 Muslims were martyred. This was the Battle of Yarmuk. (Roshan Sitarey az Ghulam Bari Saif Sahib, Vol. 2, pp. 21-25) (Tafsir-e-Kabir, Vol. 10, p. 181) (Yaqut Ibn Abd Allah al-Hamawi, Mu‘jam al-Buldan, Vol. 5 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah] 497)
With regard to the Battle of Yarmuk, with particular focus on its conclusion, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra writes:
“When the battle finished, the Muslims went in search of Ikrimahra and those with him [who launched the attack]. They discovered that 12 of them were severely injured including Ikrimahra. Upon seeing the grave condition of Ikrimahra, one of the Muslim soldier said to him, ‘O Ikrimahra! I have a water bag with me, drink some water from it.’ Ikrimahra turned his head and saw that Hazrat Fazlra, the son of Hazrat Abbasra, was lying injured near to him. Ikrimahra said to the Muslim soldier, ‘My honour would not permit me to quench my thirst and live, whilst those people and their progeny, who assisted the Holy Prophetsa at a time when I was his staunch enemy to die of thirst.’” He was invigorated with a new passion to sacrifice for others; “‘Therefore first give the water to him (i.e. Hazrat Fazl bin Abbasra). If there is any left, then bring it for me.’
“The Muslim soldier then went to Hazrat Fazlra, but he indicated that another injured Muslim ought to be given water first, as he was more in need than he was. The Muslim soldier then went to him, but he also stated that another injured Muslim was more in need of water, therefore he ought to go to him first. Accordingly, whichever injured soldier he would go to, they would send him to the next person and none would drink the water. When the Muslim soldier went to the last of the injured soldiers, he had already passed away. He then went to the next injured soldier and eventually returned back to Ikrimahra, but by then they all had passed away.” (Har Ahmadi Aurat Ahmadiyyat ki Sadaqat ka ik Zinda Nishan hai, Anwar al-Ulum, Vol. 26, pp. 230-231)
The people of Syria belonged to different religions, spoke different languages and were of various ethnicities. Hazrat Abu Ubaidah bin Jarrahra upheld justice and established equality between them. Peace and order was restored and each citizen was granted religious freedom. He established the essence of the Islamic teachings by telling them, “You are all the children of Adam and are brothers to one another. Therefore, as humans, everybody is equal.” A common allegation that is raised is that people were compelled to accept Islam; however, this is incorrect. Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra granted religious freedom to the Romans. He ensured each tribe was given their due rights and established law and order. Owing to the conduct of Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra, the Arabs of Syria, who were Christians, accepted Islam. As mentioned earlier, they accepted Islam due to the preaching or upon seeing the good conduct of the Muslims and not through compulsion. Aside from this, the Romans and the Christians also accepted Islam owing to Hazrat Abu Ubaidah’sra high morals.
A few days prior to the victory at Yarmuk, Hazrat Abu Bakrra passed away and Hazrat Umarra was elected as the Khalifa. Hazrat Umarra appointed Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra as the governor of Syria and as the commander of the army. When Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra received these instructions from Hazrat Umarra, the battle was at its peak intensity and owing to this, Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra did not mention about the letter.
Up until then, Hazrat Kahlid bin Walidra, who was the commander and chief of the army and when he came to know of this, he asked Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra why he did not disclose the instructions [of Hazrat Umarra]. Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra replied, “We were in the midst of a battle and I did not wish to cause you any distress.” When the Muslims gained victory at Yarmuk and Hazrat Khalid’sra army was preparing to depart for Iraq, Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra kept Hazrat Khalidra with him for a while. When Hazrat Khalidra was about to depart, he said to the people that they should rejoice that an ameen [Custodian] of this Ummah had been placed as a governor over them, i.e. referring to Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra. Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra responded, “I have heard the Holy Prophetsa say that Khalidra is a sword from among the Swords of God.” Thus, both commanders departed on a note of mutual love and respect. (Roshan Sitarey az Ghulam Bari Saif Sahib, Vol. 2, pp. 26-27)
This is the level of righteousness of a true believer in that they never had any desire for fame or glory, nor did they wish for any position or office. They only wished to attain the pleasure of Allah the Almighty and to establish God’s Sovereignty on the earth. Thus, these people are excellent models for us. Every office-bearer, in fact every Ahmadi, ought to bear their example in mind.
The conquest of Jerusalem is also linked to Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra. The Muslim Army advanced towards Palestine under the command of Hazrat Amr bin Aasra. When he conquered the cities of Palestine, he reached Jerusalem and besieged it. Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra also joined him with his contingent. The Christians had retreated into their forts, but becoming frustrated by this, they wished to settle into a treaty on the condition that Hazrat Umarra would come himself for this treaty. Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra informed Hazrat Umarra about the demands of the Christians. Thus, in Rabi al-Awwal of 16 Hijri, Hazrat Umarra left Medina and appointed Hazrat Alira as the Amir in his absence. He reached Jabiyah, which was a settlement in the peripheries of Damascus. Upon his arrival he was greeted by the commanders of the various contingents of the Muslim army. Hazrat Umarra asked, “Where is my brother?” The people asked, “O Leader of the Faithful! Who are you referring to?” He replied, “Abu Ubaidahra.” He was informed that he was on his way. Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra arrived on his camel, he offered the greeting of peace and enquired about Hazrat Umarra’s wellbeing. Hazrat Umarra then requested everyone else to leave and he set off with Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra to his residence. When he reached his home, he saw that apart from one sword, a shield, a mat and a bowl, the house was empty. Hazrat Umarra said, “O Abu Ubaidahra! You could have acquired some provisions for you home.” i.e. that he ought to have some things at home. Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra replied, “O Leader of the Faithful! Then one could be inclined towards comforts.” Meaning that he could have acquired some commodities, but then one would be inclined towards comforts and luxuries, which is why he did not wish to acquire any.
On this occasion, an extraordinary incident took place which was regarding the Azan of Hazrat Bilalra which has been narrated before as well. After the demise of the Holy Prophetsa, Hazrat Bilalra stopped calling the Azan. During one occasion, when the time for prayer approached, the people repeatedly requested Hazrat Umarra to instruct Hazrat Bilalra to call the Azan. On the instructions of Hazrat Umarra, Hazrat Bilalra called the Azan and everyone was overcome with emotion. People began to weep and from among them, Hazrat Umarra wept the most because the Azan reminded him of Holy Prophet’ssa time. (Roshan Sitarey az Ghulam Bari Saif Sahib, Vol. 2, pp. 28-30) (Yaqut Ibn ‘Abd Allah al-Hamawi, Mu‘jam al-Buldan, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah] 106)
With regard to the Byzantine attempt to recapture Syria, it is written that in 17 AH, the Byzantine forces launched a last attempt to recapture Syria. The Christians, Iranians, Bedouins and Kurds residing in the areas of northern Syria, Al Jazira, northern Iraq and Armenia, went to the Heraclius [Byzantine Emperor] and appealed to him for help against the Muslims. He sent an army of 30,000 soldiers for this task. Even though Hazrat Saad bin Abi Waqasra had conquered most of the Al Jazira region; however, up until then, he did not have rule over the Bedouins. Furthermore, the Byzantine Emperor still had a strong naval presence. Seizing the opportunity, he sent a large naval fleet to attack whilst the Bedouins raised a large army and besieged Homs. Some cities in northern Syria also rebelled. Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra sent a letter to Hazrat Umarra asking for reinforcements. Hazrat Umarra immediately ordered Hazrat Saad bin Abi Waqasra to send reinforcements from Kufa. Hazrat Saad bin Abi Waqasra sent an army from Kufa under the command of Qa‘qa‘ bin Amr; however, despite all this, the Muslim army was heavily outnumbered as compared to the Byzantine forces. Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra delivered a passionate address before the soldiers of the army saying, “O Muslims! Whoever remains steadfast today and lives to see the light of day will be granted victory and wealth. But whosoever is killed will be granted the fortune that is martyrdom and I bear witness that I heard the Holy Prophetsa say that whoever dies in a state whereby he is not an idolater, will certainly enter paradise.”
Subsequently, a battle ensued between the two sides. After a short while, the Byzantine army suffered losses and retreated to Marj al-Debaj, which is the name of a mountainous region in the frontier area of Syria, situated approximately 10 miles from the town of Masisa. Following this, the Byzantine Emperor never managed to launch another attack to capture Syria. (Asharah Mubasharah, Bashir Sajid, pp. 816-817, Al-Badr Publications, Lahore, 2000) (Sheikh Shah Moinuddin Ahmad Nadvi, Siyar al-Sahabah, Vol. 2 [Karachi, Pakistan: Dar al-Isha’ah, 2004] 131) (Yaqut Ibn Abd Allah al-Hamawi, Mu‘jam al-Buldan, Vol. 5 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah] 118)
The Plague of Amwas; Amwas is a name of a valley which is six miles from Ramla in the direction of Jerusalem. According to the books of history, it was named as the Plague of Amwas because the outbreak of the plague started from here. Countless deaths occurred in Syria as a result of this plague; according to some there were around 25,000 deaths. The details of this incident are found in a narration of Bukhari.
Hazrat Abdullah bin Abbasra relates that when Hazrat Umarra reached Saragh … (Saragh is the name of a village near the valley of Tabuk, which is situated near the borders of Syria and Hijaz and was at distance of approximately 13 days of travel from Medina. In old historical sources [the distances] were given like this; however, it equates to approximately 1,000 miles). When Hazrat Umarra reached Saragh, he met the commander of the armies, Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra and his fellow companions. They informed Hazrat Umarra that there was an outbreak of a plague in Syria. In order to seek counsel on the matter, Hazrat Umarra first and foremost invited the Muhajireen to present their suggestions. However, there was a difference of opinion amongst the Muhajireen. Some of them were of the opinion that they should continue on with their journey and not turn back, whilst the others suggested that the noble Companions of the Holy Prophetsa were present in the army and therefore it was not appropriate for them to be taken into an area where there was a plague and it was better to return. Hazrat Umarra then told the Muhajireen to leave and invited the Ansar to present their suggestions. Just like the Muhajireen, the Ansar also had a difference of opinion. Hazrat Umarra then invited the elders of the Quraish, who had accepted Islam at the occasion of the conquest of Mecca and then came and settled in Medina. All of them unanimously expressed their opinion of taking everyone back and that there was no need to enter an area where there was an outbreak of the plague. Accepting their suggestion, Hazrat Umarra announced to return.
Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra then asked whether it was possible for one to escape from what God had decreed. Replying to Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra, Hazrat Umarra stated, “O Abu Ubaidahra! I wish it was someone else who had uttered what you have just said. Indeed, we are moving away from one decree of God to another.” (They were moving away from one decree but towards another decree of God.)
Hazrat Umarra further stated, “Say you have some camels and you reach a valley which has two sides; one is a lush green area full of vegetation, while the other is a dry and barren land. Now, would it not be in accordance to the decree of God if you were to take your camels to graze in the area with lots of vegetation and on the other hand, would it not also be according to the decree of God if you decided to take them to the dry and barren land?”
The narrator of the tradition states that in the meanwhile, Hazrat Abdur Rahman bin Aufra came, who was not present earlier owing to some other work he was engaged in. Hazrat Abdur Rahman bin Aufra submitted, “I have the answer to this issue. I once heard the Holy Prophetsa say that if one learns about the outbreak of a disease in a certain area, they should not travel there. And if the disease has emerged in an area which one resides in, then they shouldn’t leave the area in order to escape from it.” Upon hearing this, Hazrat Umarra expressed his gratitude to Allah the Almighty and returned from there. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Tibb, Bab ma Yudhkaru fi al-Ta‘un, Hadith 5729) (Yaqut Ibn Abd Allah al-Hamawi, Mu‘jam al-Buldan, Vol. 4 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah] 1771-178) (Yaqut Ibn Abd Allah al-Hamawi, Mu‘jam al-Buldan, Vol. 3 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah] 239)
In regard to the Plague of Amwas, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra states:
“When Hazrat Umarra travelled to Syria, he was welcomed by Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra and the Muslim army. At the time, the plague there, which is known as the the Plague of Amwas, became widespread and the Companions suggested that since there was an outbreak of a plague, therefore he should return. Accepting their suggestion, Hazrat Umarra made the decision to return. When Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra, who would tend to accept things as they were, came to learn of this decision, he stated:
أَتَفِرُّ مِنَ الْقَضَاءِ
“‘Are you running away from the decree of God?’
“Hazrat Umarra replied:
أَفِرُّ مِنْ قَضَاءِ اللّٰهِ اِلٰي قَدَرِ اللّٰهِ
“‘I am going from one Divine decree to another.’
“In other words, there are two types of Divine decrees; one is specific and the other is of a general nature, both decrees are divinely decreed. Thus, Hazrat Umarra stated that he was not running from the decree of God; rather he was going from one divine decree to another. It is mentioned in historical accounts that when Hazrat Umarra learnt of the outbreak of the plague, he gathered people in order to seek counsel from them and asked what the people of Syria did when there was an outbreak of the plague as this was a common occurrence in the area. They told him that when the plague spreads, people disperse here and there which subsequently weakens its impact.” In other words, they would move to open areas instead of staying in the city.
“In relation to this suggestion, Hazrat Umarra stated that God Almighty had established a general law, i.e. one who leaves an area where there is an outbreak of plague and travels to an open area is saved. Thus, since this was also in accordance with the divine law, therefore he was not violating any law of God, rather he was moving from one decree to another. That is, he was moving from a specific law to a general law of God Almighty. Hazrat Umarra stated that thus, it could not be said that he was running away from the divine decree, rather he was moving from one law of God to another. (Tafsir-e-Kabir, Vol. 5, pp. 170-171)
Although Hazrat Umarra returned to Medina; however, he was extremely concerned as the plague was continuing to spread. One day, Hazrat Umarra wrote a letter to Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra stating that he required some important work from him; therefore upon receiving the letter, he should return to Medina immediately. Furthermore, Hazrat Umarra stated that if he received this letter at night, he should not wait for the morning, and if he received the letter in the morning, he should not wait for night to fall.
When Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra read the letter, he said, “I know the reason why the Leader of the Faithful needs me. May Allah bestow His mercy upon Hazrat Umarra for he wishes to extend the life of that that which is no longer going to remain.” In other words, Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra understood why Hazrat Umarra was concerned. In reply to the letter, Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra stated, “O Leader of the Faithful! After reading the letter, I have understood what you desire, but please do not call me back and allow me to remain here. I am one of the soldiers from among the Muslim army. Whatever has been decreed will come to pass, but how can I abandon them.”
When Hazrat Umarra read the letter, he began to cry. At the time, Hazrat Umarra was sitting amongst the Muhajireen and they submitted, “O Leader of the Faithful! Has Abu Ubaidahra passed away?” Hazrat Umarra replied, “No, but there is a possibility that he may.” (Siyar A‘lam al-Nubala li Imam al-Dhahabi, Vol. 1, pp. 18-19, Abu Ubaidah bin al-Jarrah, Mu‘assisat al-Risalah, Beirut, Lebanon, 1996)
Hazrat Umarra wrote another letter to Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra and instructed him to take the Muslims out of that area to an area more conducive to their health. Whenever any Muslim soldier would pass away and attain the status of martyrdom as a result of dying from the plague, Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra would cry and pray to Allah to grant him martyrdom. According to one narration, it states that at the time, he would pray as follows, “O Allah, is there no share in this for Abu Ubaidah to partake?” i.e. to attain martyrdom.
One day, a small boil developed on Hazrat Abu Ubaidah’sra finger and he prayed, “I hope that Allah shall bestow His blessings through this small affliction. When something is filled with blessings, even if it is small, it becomes immense.”
Irbad bin Saariya relates, “When Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra fell ill as a result of the plague, I went to Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra and he stated to me, ‘I have heard the Messengersa of Allah say that one who dies as a result of the plague is a martyr; one who dies from illness of the stomach is a martyr; one who dies as a result of drowning is a martyr; one who dies as a result of being crushed under a roof that falls through is also a martyr.’”
In the final moments of his life, Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra said to the people:
“I impart upon you one piece of advice and if you adhere to it, you will greatly benefit from it: observe the Salat, pay the Zakat, keep the fasts of Ramadan, continue to give Sadaqah, perform the Hajj and Umrah, urge one another to do good, treat your leaders well and do not seek to deceive them and do not allow your wives to become a reason for you to neglect your obligations.
“If a person remains alive for a thousand years, even then they will one day have to depart from this world just as I am departing from this world. Allah has decreed death for every person. Everyone shall taste death, however wise is he who is ever ready for death and continues to make provisions for that day. Convey my Salaam to the Leader of the Faithful [Hazrat Umarra] and let him know that I fulfilled all my trusts.”
Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra then stated, “In accordance with my decision, bury me here.” Thus, the grave of Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra is situated in the valley of Baisan in Jordan.
According to some narrations, Hazrat Abu Ubaidah bin Jarahra was travelling from Jabiyah towards Jerusalem to offer his prayer when he passed away during the journey. And according to another narration, he passed away in Fahl, which is in Syria and his grave is in an area near Baisan.
During his final days, Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra appointed Hazrat Muazra bin Jabal as his representative. When Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra passed away, Hazrat Muazra bin Jabal said:
“O People, I have never seen anyone more pure-hearted, free from malice, loving and compassionate individual than the one who has passed away from among us today. Pray that may Allah bestow His mercy upon him.” (Yaqut Ibn Abd Allah al-Hamawi, Mu‘jam al-Buldan, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah] 31-33) (Siyar A‘lam al-Nubala li Imam al-Dhahabi, Vol. 1, pp. 22-23, Abu Ubaidah bin al-Jarrah, Mu‘assisat al-Risalah, Beirut, Lebanon, 1996)
Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra bin Jarrah passed away in 18 AH and he was 58 years of age at the time. (Ibn Abd al-Barr, Al-Isti‘ab fi Ma‘rifat al-Ashab, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2010] 343)
Once, Hazrat Umarra sent Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra 4,000 dirhams and 400 dinar and told his emissary to take note of what Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra did with that wealth. And so when this emissary took the wealth and gave it to Hazrat Abu Ubaidahra, he distributed it all amongst the people. The emissary narrated the entire event to Hazrat Umarra and he stated, “We are thankful to Allah for He granted Islam people like Abu Ubaidahra.”
On one occasion, Hazrat Umarra asked his companions to express their desire for something. One of them replied, “I wish this house be filled with gold, so I could spend it in the way of Allah as Sadaqah.” Another one stated, “I wish this house be filled with pearls and rubies, so I could spend it in the way of Allah as Sadaqah.” Hazrat Umarra then asked them to further express what they desired. They submitted, “O Leader of the Faithful, we do not understand as to what it is that we should desire?” Hazrat Umarra stated, “I wish that this house be filled with people like Hazrat Abu Ubaidah bin Jarahra, Hazrat Muaz bin Jabalra, Salimra, freed slave of Abu Huzayfara and Hazrat Huzayfa bin Yamanra.” (Al-Mustadrak ala al-Sahihain, Vol. 3, p. 252, Kitab Marifat al-Sahabah, Dhikr Manaqib Salim Maula Abi Huzayfa, Dar-ul-Kutub Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2002)
Thus, how fortunate were these people, who attained the pleasure of Allah the Almighty in this world and in the Hereafter. Hazrat Abu Ubaidah’sra account come to an end here.
I will lead some funeral prayers [in absentia]. The first is of a shaheed [martyr] who was martyred only a few days ago; Prof, Dr Naeemuddin Khattak Sahib, son of Fazal Din Khattak Sahib of the Peshawar district. On 5 October, at half past one in the afternoon, opponents [of the Community] fired at him and he was martyred:
اِنَّا لِلّٰهِ وَ اِنَّاۤ اِلَيۡهِ رٰجِعُوۡنَ
[Surely to Allah we belong and to Him shall we return]
At around half past one, after teaching his lesson at the Superior Science College, where he taught, he left and was on his way home, when two people riding a motorcycle drove by and shot him and he was martyred on the spot:
اِنَّا لِلّٰهِ وَ اِنَّاۤ اِلَيۡهِ رٰجِعُوۡنَ
[Surely to Allah we belong and to Him shall we return]
He was 56 years old at the time. He was associated with the teaching profession for 25 years. He completed his MPhil from the Quaid-i-Azam University after which he travelled to China on a scholarship and obtained his PhD in micro environmental biology. After this, he served in the Islamiyah College University. He also taught at Peshawar University. He was a member of the panel which interviewed those students who had applied for PhDs. Various academic institutions across Pakistan would invite him to deliver lectures. He was mostly involved in academia.
Ahmadiyyat was established in his family through his paternal grandfather, Ruknuddin Khattak Sahib, who was from the Karak district, as well as his paternal grandmother, Bibi Noor Namah Sahiba, who also accepted Ahmadiyyat. Her father’s name was Sher Zaman, who was a companion of the Promised Messiahas. He was given a kurta [shirt] as a gift by the Promised Messiahas upon returning from Qadian and this tabraruk remains in the family’s possession to this day.
[Naeemuddin Khattak Sahib’s] father, Fazal Din Sahib, was a livestock veterinary doctor and retired as a deputy director. He was also a well-known poet. His mother, Mahboobatur Rahman, was the deputy director of the education department and continued to serve at this post till her retirement. This family faced opposition for many years. The shaheed’s father-in-law, Bashir Ahmad Advocate, who was the President of the Chini Payan Jamaat in Peshawar was kidnapped in 2019 and his whereabouts remains unknown even to this day as he was never located.
The shaheed possessed many great virtues. He would offer services to the Jamaat – though he was a well-learned person, he would always be available to perform security duties. He was particularly known for his hospitality. He was compassionate, helped the poor and had a loving relationship with every member of his family.
His focus was education and would constantly advise Ahmadi children to obtain education. He also ensured that his own children were well educated. His wife, Sadia Bushra Sahiba, says that one week before his martyrdom, the shaheed went to Rabwah and when he visited Bahishti Maqbarah, he expressed his desire of being buried there, but with this, he also stated that perhaps he was not worthy of this desire to be fulfilled. However, Allah the Almighty fulfilled this desire of his in such a way that he was buried in Rabwah.
Naeemuddin Khattak Sahib’s brother-in-law, Dr Munir Ahmad Khan, who currently serves at the Tahir Heart Institute [in Rabwah] says that Naeemuddin Sahib told him that there was a professor who was opposed to the Jamaat and he would show pictures of Naeemuddin Sahib and his children to opponents of the Jamaat and would encourage these opponents to kill them. Banners inciting opposition were also put up outside his home. His brother-in-law says that when Naeemuddin Sahib came to meet him a week before his martyrdom, he invited him to sit and eat with them; however, he said that he would eat from the langar [kitchen of the Promised Messiahas], for the delight and blessings in eating from the langar of the Promised Messiahas could not be found anywhere else. [He said that] he would eat with them another time.
Naeemuddin Khattak Sahib is survived by his wife, Sadia Naeem Sahiba, three daughters and two sons. One of his daughters is married, while the other two are still studying. One of his sons is an engineer and the other is studying in first year [of higher education]. Their names are Kaleemuddin Khattak and Nooruddin Khattak; Nooruddin Khattak is studying in first year and Kaleemuddin is an engineer. One of his relatives, Naveed Ahmad Sahib, who is serving as the Amir Jamaat Peshawar and is his brother-in-law.
May Allah Almighty grant the deceased His forgiveness and mercy and grant his family the strength to remain patient.
The second funeral is of Usama Sadiq, who was a student of Jamia Ahmadiyya Germany; he was the son of Muhammad Sadiq Sahib. A few days ago he drowned in the Rhine River in Germany and passed away:
اِنَّا لِلّٰهِ وَ اِنَّاۤ اِلَيۡهِ رٰجِعُوۡنَ
[Surely to Allah we belong and to Him shall we return]
He was 20 years of age at the time of his demise. His family was from Chak Sikandar Gujrat, Pakistan. He was the youngest amongst his siblings; he is survived by five sisters and one brother along with his parents.
From his father’s side, Ahmadiyyat was introduced in the family during the time of Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra when his grandfather and his two brothers accepted Ahmadiyyat. Later, the two brothers left Ahmadiyyat; however, his grandfather remained steadfast in Ahmadiyyat.
From his mother’s side, Ahmadiyyat was introduced through his great grandfather, Hazrat Shah Muhammad Sahibra and his father Hazrat Langar Muhammad Sahibra, who were companions of the Promised Messiahas. They pledged allegiance at the hands of the Promised Messiahas in 1903 in Jehlum.
In 1989, conditions for the Jamaat in Chak Sikandar became very dire and there were many riots against Ahmadis. The deceased’s parents were also made to face a great deal of opposition. His mother was also attacked and his father was tried with a false lawsuit which continued for seven years. Later, they moved to Germany; [Usama Sadiq] had obtained his primary education in Pakistan and then after coming to Germany he entered Jamia and he had just completed his third year. However it was ordained by the decree of Allah the Almighty that he be called back to Him.
His father says that no matter how much he compliments him, it will not be enough, for he achieved a great deal in the span of a short life. Along with being a student, he was a model child; much of his time was devoted to his studies.
“Due to the coronavirus, he spent the last six months at home. Along with offering Salat in congregation, he also kept all the fasts in Ramadan and would lead the congregational Tarawih prayers as well. After the holidays, he was preparing to return to Jamia; however, he passed away.”
His mother says, “He possessed innumerable virtues. He was extremely responsible in his work and aimed to finish it quickly. He was of simple nature; he was quiet and spoke only when necessary. He was very obedient to his parents and was resolute in whatever he intended to do. He was very disciplined and farsighted. He tried to become proficient in various languages and was thus particularly focusing on Arabic, Persian, English and German.”
The National Secretary for Tabligh in Germany, Farid Sahib, writes, “Usama possessed many virtues, one of which was his passion for participating in Tabligh activities [propagating the message of Islam].
“Two days before his demise, he had finished travelling to East Germany for three consecutive days for flyer distribution. Whenever he was asked to distribute flyers, he never refused and would participate enthusiastically.”
Suhaib Nasir Sahib, a missionary who graduated from Jamia Germany, says that although Usama Sadiq was four years junior to him, he was an example for him in worship. “Usama Sadiq would often sit in the first row of the mosque and would often arrive in the mosque before the start of prayer and offer nawafil [voluntary prayers]. Then, even after the prayer, he would occupy himself in the remembrance of Allah. He was one of those students who would be the first to enter the mosque and the last to leave. Similarly, he would sit in the front row for Friday prayers as well. He was very serious about his studies in Jamia.”
May Allah Almighty grant the deceased His forgiveness and mercy and elevate his station. May He grant his parents and siblings the strength to remain patient.
The next funeral is that of Salim Ahmad Malik Sahib. He was associated with the teaching profession and taught in various educational institutions and official departments. And after his retirement, he served as a teacher in Jamia Ahmadiyya [UK].
He passed away at the age of 87 on 24 September:
اِنَّا لِلّٰهِ وَ اِنَّاۤ اِلَيۡهِ رٰجِعُوۡنَ
[Surely to Allah we belong and to Him shall we return]
His grandfather, Hazrat Malik Nooruddin Sahibra, and his father, Hazrat Malik Aziz Ahmad Sahibra, were both companions of the Promised Messiahas.
Salim Sahib’s mother narrated an incident of his father, that once, many family members on the paternal side of Malik Sahib had passed away due to a certain illness, and so his mother (i.e. the grandmother of Saleem Malik Sahib) informed Hazrat Maulvi Hakim Nuruddin Sahibra about the state of her child. Hazrat Maulvi Hakim Nuruddin Sahibra immediately went to their home to see him and said that the likelihood of the child’s survival was very low and only prayers could now save him. Thereafter, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Ira went to the Promised Messiahas and made a request for prayers. It was at the stairs of Masjid Aqsa that he met the Promised Messiahas and made the request. Thereupon, the Promised Messiahas said, “Let us go now and see the child.” Hence, the Promised Messiahas went to his house and after entering, he placed his hand on the child’s forehead, saying, “Insha-Allah, this child will be fine.” Thus, it was the miracle of the prayers of the Promised Messiahas that the child recovered, and he i.e. the father of the deceased, lived to the age of seventy.
Salim Malik Sahib gained his primary education in Qadian and after the partition, he moved to Sialkot where he studied in college. Thereafter he moved to Karachi where he pursued his studies in the field of science. He moved to the UK in 1960 and was a professor of geological chemistry for many years at Reading University.
He had the honour of serving in various departments from the very early days of the Jamaat in the UK. He was appointed as the national talim and tarbiyat secretary; he served many years as the Umur-e-Kharijah secretary and he also rendered great services in the department of the Jamaat for international relations. He twice had the opportunity of going to Pakistan and preparing the report along with the Human Rights Committee that investigated the state of affairs of Ahmadis. Every year, a large-scale expo is organised in different countries. Salim Malik Sahib had the opportunity to set up and organise the stall [in this expo] about the Jamaat in the UK and Spain in 1992.
When Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh formed a committee in 1997 with regard to establishing Jamia Ahmadiyya [in UK], he also included Salim Malik Sahib in it. Likewise, he was also part of various committees prior to the commencement of Jamia Ahmadiyya UK.
When Jamia Ahmadiyya UK was established, he was appointed as the chief administrator and he served in this capacity until 13 November 2005. He had the opportunity to teach English and history to the Jamia Ahmadiyya students, which he continued up until his demise.
When Islamabad was purchased, upon the instruction of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh, Salim Malik Sahib had the opportunity of setting up a library there. He was very devout to his faith, regular in offering prayers and in fasting, extremely loving to others, eloquent in speech, a caller unto God, hospitable and a pious man who was an ardent lover of Khilafat, with a real bond of loyalty and sincerity.
He is survived by his wife, three daughters and many grandchildren. His nephew, Mian Abdul Wahhab Sahib, says that Salim Sahib told him that when he moved to London in 1960, his father Malik Aziz Ahmad Sahib, who was unwell, gave some advice to his son. Firstly, to never lose his connection with the Jamaat. Just because he was going to the UK, it did not mean that he should immerse himself in all its attractions. Secondly, to always pay chanda [monetary contribution] on time and at the full rate, for this is also necessary in purifying the soul. Thirdly, if anyone asked him for help, he should never refuse, no matter how much difficulty it left him in.
Salim Sahib said that he always acted upon this advice of his parents. His nephew further writes that although the deceased did not mention this himself, but he later found out that once, one of his friends was in need of a large sum of money, so Salim Sahib sold his house to fulfil the person’s needs. Later, God Almighty then blessed him with an even bigger house.
Academically, he was a very knowledgeable person. When I met him at the beginning when I was not yet acquainted with him, I thought he was perhaps an ordinary Ahmadi who taught English as his English language was good. But later I realised that he greatly excelled in his sincerity and devotion, that he was prepared to serve the Jamaat at all times and that he had an extraordinary bond of love with Khilafat. In terms of his knowledge, he was a walking encyclopaedia. He had a grasp on every subject, history in particular. Similarly, he had a keen interest in both English and Urdu literature, but he would never boast about his knowledge. He would always encourage others to increase their religious, worldly, political and secular knowledge. He also had many connections within the Pakistani community, which he always put to use for the benefit of the Jamaat.
When Salim Malik Sahib was serving as the external affairs secretary [of the UK Jamaat] he maintained a strong relationship with Lord Avebury and it was through him that a rapport with the Jamaat was established. Furthermore, Salim Malik Sahib played a key role in my first visit to the Houses of Parliament.
Marwan Sarwan Gill, the missionary in Argentina says:
“Salim Sahib was well-respected among all Jamia students, including myself, owing to his academic character. It was only after graduating that a personal relationship was established. When I was appointed in Argentina, he was extremely pleased and would tell me, ‘You are a pioneer missionary, so you have a lot of work to do. You have to illuminate the Jamaat’s name, preach in an excellent manner, but most importantly, learn the local language. You should learn it to the level where your articles are published in newspapers.’” He had a very keen interest in this on an academic level.
Likewise, Jamia students and missionaries, including Marwan Sahib, have written that he would often invite his students to his home and then take them to his personal library. He would then say, “As a gift for coming to my house, you can take any book you please. That is my gift to you.” He would always say that Jamia Ahmadiyya was no ordinary institute and the Khalifatul Masih has many expectations from it. Therefore, the Waqifeen-e-Zindagi [life devotees] who have an association with this institute ought to attain an extraordinary level of knowledge.
Marwan Sahib also writes, “Before I left for Argentina, Salim Sahib gave me advice that I should master the language to the extent that my articles in Spanish get published [in newspapers]. He also told me to continue writing letters to him and if I ever became lazy in doing so, he would contact me himself.”
May Allah grant the deceased forgiveness and mercy and enable those he leaves behind – his children and his progeny – to maintain the same bond of dedication and sincerity with Khilafat and the Jamaat.
After the prayer, I shall lead their funeral prayers in absentia.
(Original Urdu transcript published in Al Fazl International, 22 October to 3 November, pp. 5-9. Translated by The Review of Religions.)