30 March 2018
Men of Excellence
After reciting the Tashahud, Ta’awuz and Surah Al-Fatihah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa stated:
Hazrat Jabir bin Abdullah was a companion of the Holy Prophetsa. He was the son of Hazrat Abdullah bin Amr bin Haram. Abdullah bin Amr bin Haram was the same companion about whom I narrated in a Friday sermon a few weeks ago that upon his martyrdom the Holy Prophetsa stated, “God Almighty asked him what his wish was, so He may fulfil it?” He replied, “O Allah! My wish is to be granted life again and to be returned to the world, so that I may attain martyrdom again for Your cause.” Since this was against the established practice of God Almighty, He said, “I cannot do this, for the dead cannot be returned to the world.” (Sunan Al-Tirmidhi, Abwab Tafseer-ul-Quran, Hadith No. 3010)
“Tell me if there is anything else.” Nevertheless, this narration highlights his standard of sacrifice and his exceptional treatment by God Almighty.
Hazrat Jabir bin Abdullah was the son of a great companion. He had performed Bai‘at [Oath of Initiation] at the occasion of the Second Pledge of al-Aqabah, when he was a young child. (Usdul Ghabah, Vol. 1, p. 492, Dar-ul-Ilmiyya, Beirut 1996).
With regards to the narrations about Hazrat Abdullah bin Amr bin Haram, it is mentioned that he said to his son, “For the debt, which I owe to one of the Jews, you should sell the fruits from the orchard and return it to him upon my martyrdom.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Kitabul Janaiz, Hadith No. 1351) Thus, in line with this narration, he paid it back accordingly.
Moreover, it was the custom in those days that people would borrow money against the assurance to pay it back through the potential yield of orchards and crops. Thus, Hazrat Jabir also used to borrow money in order to cover his expenses.
We find one detailed narration regarding how he once said to a Jewish man at the time of paying back his debt, that since the profit from the orchard had been poor or that it was expected to be low due to a poor yield that year, thus, he should be lenient regarding paying back the debt. He should take some of it now and the rest in the coming years. However, the Jewish man was not ready to grant any respite.
During these difficult circumstances, Hazrat Abdullah bin Jabir went to see the Holy Prophetsa or the Holy Prophetsa found out about it himself. The Holy Prophetsa appealed to the Jewish man, but he did not agree. The narration then recounts how the Holy Prophetsa showed kindness to this companion with regards to paying off his debt and prayed for him and also how God Almighty bestowed His grace upon him.
I would like to point out that some people are of the opinion that this narration is in connection with the aforementioned narration in which it was said that Hazrat Abdullah bin Amr, the father of Hazrat Jabir, advised his son to pay back the debt that he owed. Nonetheless, as I mentioned earlier that the yield was poor and it was difficult to pay back that debt and this was brought to the attention of the Holy Prophetsa.
However, the narration found in Sahih Al-Bukhari indicates that this particular incident occurred much later. Nevertheless, whatever the case may be, it illustrates the kindness of the Holy Prophetsa towards his companions and shows the miraculous nature of his prayers.
Hazrat Jabir bin Abdullah narrates, “There was a Jewish man residing in Medina who used to loan me some money until my orchard of dates had produced the next yield. This land of mine was situated on the way to a well, named Roma. Once, a whole year had passed but it bore little fruit and even they were not fully ripe. During the harvest season, the Jewish man, as was his custom, came to acquire repayment of the loan taken from him. However, I had not harvested any fruit that year.” He further says, “I requested respite from him for another year, but he refused. He intended that perhaps in this way the entire orchard would fall into his possession. When the Holy Prophetsa was informed about this incident, he said to his companions, ‘Let us go to request respite from the Jewish man on behalf of Jabir.’”
He then says, “The Holy Prophetsa along with a few companions, entered my orchard and spoke to the Jewish man. However, he said ‘O Abu Qasim! I will not give him any respite.’ He addressed the Holy Prophetsa in this manner. Observing this conduct of the Jewish man, the Holy Prophetsa walked around the date palms once and again spoke to him. However, he refused again. During this time, I took some dates from the garden and presented them to the Holy Prophetsa, which he ate. Following this, he said ‘Jabir, where is the canopy (where one takes rest), which is commonly found in orchards?’ I informed the Holy Prophetsa of its location, upon which he said, ‘Lay down a mat for me there so that I may rest for a short while.’”
He then continues the narration, “I acted in accordance with this guidance. The Holy Prophetsa fell asleep. When he woke up, I once again brought him a handful of dates, from which he ate a few. He then stood up and spoke to the Jewish man once again. Yet, he still refused. The Holy Prophetsa walked around the garden again and said to me, ‘Jabir, harvest the dates and pay off the loan taken from the Jewish man’. I started to harvest the fruit and in the meantime, the Holy Prophetsa stood among the date palms. I harvested the fruit and repaid the entire loan taken from the Jewish man, yet even then some dates were left over. I informed the Holy Prophetsa of this good news to which he replied, ‘I bear witness that I am the Messenger of Allah.’” (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Kitabul At’amah, Hadith No. 5443).
(This miraculous event transpired because God Almighty hears my prayers and blesses my endeavours.)
Thus, from this incident where we observe the kindness and the acceptance of the prayers of the Holy Prophetsa – as a result of which the fruit was blessed – at the same time we also witness the eagerness of the companions in relation to paying off their debts. This spirit should be the distinctive characteristic of a true believer. At times, we see in our society that despite calling ourselves Ahmadis, we do not pay any heed towards this and prolong the matter of paying off debts. Sometimes years pass by in which the lawsuits are ongoing. Therefore we should always be mindful of this and also remember the words of the Promised Messiahas where he stated that having taken the oath of allegiance with him, one should adopt and follow the examples of the companions. Only then can that beautiful society be established, which was destined following the advent of the Mahdi and the Messiah. (Malfuzat, Vol. 7, p. 413)
There is another narration by Hazrat Jabir in relation to the importance of paying off debts. However before I relate this, I will mention another incident. In some narrations it is stated that when Hazrat Umarra learnt that the debt had been paid off, he also arrived at the same place. The Holy Prophetsa said to Hazrat Umarra to ask Hazrat Jabir about the incident that had just occurred. Hazrat Umarra replied, “There is no need for me to ask. The reason for this is that when you walked around the garden once, I was certain that his entire debt would now be paid off. Furthermore, when you walked around the second time, this certainty grew even stronger.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Kitabul Istiqraaz, Hadith No. 2396)
As I mentioned previously, an account in relation to the importance of paying off debts is narrated by Hazrat Jabir. Once, a companion passed away in a state whilst he was in debt of two Dinar and the Holy Prophetsa refused to personally offer his funeral prayer. Upon hearing this, another companion took the responsibility of paying off his debt, as a result of which the Holy Prophetsa led his funeral prayer. The following day, the Holy Prophetsa enquired from the companion who took this responsibility upon himself whether or not he had paid off the debt of two Dinar. (Masnad Ahmad bin Hanbal, Vol. 5, pp. 104-105). Thus, this is the importance of paying off debts and the concern one should show in this regard.
There is another narration by Hazrat Jabir in which the Holy Prophetsa stated, “Whatever a believer leaves in terms of wealth and property, it is inherited by his family and relatives. Moreover, if he leaves behind a debt and his property and the wealth he leaves behind are not sufficient in order to pay off the debt, or in the case that he leaves behind children without any means of support, his orphaned children and the payment of the debt will be taken care of.” (Sahih Muslim, Kitabul Jumuah, Hadith No. 2005)
In other words, the government and those in authority will take the responsibility for this. The upbringing of orphans and making arrangements for their expenditures have greatly been emphasised in the Holy Quran. Hence, for this very reason the Holy Prophetsa said that this is the responsibility of the government.
It seems as if these are two separate narrations. On the one hand, the Holy Prophetsa refused to offer the funeral prayer of a person who was in debt of two Dinars but on the other hand, he said that it is the responsibility of the government. These are referring to two different occasions. The first incident highlights the importance of debts to those that take loans unnecessarily and also urges their relatives and those left behind to take the responsibility of paying off their debts.
In the second account, the Muslim government has been made responsible for the upbringing of orphaned children and if the property left behind by the deceased person does not suffice in order to pay off the loan, the government should take the responsibility for its payment. This is the guidance by the Holy Prophetsa as to how Muslim governments, should care for its citizens. It is a great misfortune that within Muslim countries, the rights of their citizens are mostly usurped.
There is another account in relation to the kindness of the Holy Prophetsa towards Hazrat Jabir. The person relating the account says, “I approached Hazrat Jabir bin Abdullah and said to him to narrate whatever he had heard from the Holy Prophetsa. Hazrat Jabir replied, ‘I was once accompanying the Holy Prophetsa on a journey.’” The narrator says that he was unaware whether this journey was in relation to a battle or Umrah [non-mandatory, lesser form of pilgrimage]. “Nevertheless, when we returned to Medina, the Holy Prophetsa said that whoever wished to return to his family sooner may do so.” Hazrat Jabir said, “Upon hearing this, we quickly departed. I was riding on one of my camels, which was khaki in colour without any marks. People were following behind me. I was riding ahead when all of a sudden, the camel came to a complete halt and despite my efforts, refused to move any further. The Holy Prophetsa saw this and said to me, ‘O Jabir! Sit firmly on the camel’. Following this, the Holy Prophetsa tapped the camel with his stick, as a result of which the camel jumped from its place and started to walk briskly. The Holy Prophetsa asked, ‘Are you willing to sell this camel?’ I replied ‘Yes, I am willing to sell it.’ When we reached Medina, the Holy Prophetsa entered the mosque with several of his companions. I also went with him and tied the camel in a corner on the stoned floor in front of the mosque. I said to the Holy Prophetsa, ‘Here is your camel.’ The Holy Prophetsa came outside and walked around the camel. The Holy Prophetsa then said, ‘This camel now belongs to us.’ The Holy Prophetsa then sent several gold coins and stated, ‘Give this to Jabir.’ He then said, ‘Have you received the payment in full?’ I responded, ‘Yes, I have received it.’ The Prophetsa said, ‘This payment and the camel is yours.’” (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Kitabul Jihad, Hadith No. 2861) Very affectionately, the Holy Prophetsa returned the camel and paid for it as well.
One possible reason for this could be that according to one narration that camel was used to transport water and Hazrat Jabir’s uncles and relatives would also use it for that purpose. So perhaps they had objected as to why it was sold and how would they now transport the water. (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Kitabul Jihad, Hadith No. 2967). Nevertheless, such was the affection of the Holy Prophetsa towards his Companions and the children of those Companions who offered great sacrifices.
May Allah Almighty elevate the status of these Companions. I often share various incidents such as these; may He enable us to continue in their virtues and apply them in our own lives.
After this short sermon, I shall now speak about two sincere individuals [of the Jamaat]. First is Respected Bilal Adalbi Sahib from Syria. He sustained severe injuries as a result of a car accident a few days ago. He passed away on 17 March 2018 at 1:30am due to heart failure – “Surely, to Allah we belong and to Him shall we return”.
Bilal Sahib was born in 1978. When the deceased was 17 years old, an Ahmadi friend found him work with Dr Mousallam Aldroubi Sahib’s company. There he was introduced to the Jama’at and Ahmadis and took the Bai’at a short while thereafter. Doctor Sahib says, “Since 2010, we have been performing prayers in different Ahmadi homes in Syria. This year after returning from Qadian, I began to offer prayers with the group that would go to Bilal Sahib’s house for prayers. Bilal Sahib welcomed me very warmly due to the fact that he had accepted Ahmadiyyat through me. Hospitality was among his characteristics, but he was especially grateful to me and would say, ‘I found the way to Ahmadiyyat through you,’ and he would always extend great kindness to me.”
The Local President writes about him, “Bilal Sahib owned a shop that sold sports garments. He would assist all those in need by donating clothes, even to the extent that if he did not have any clothes in his shop, he would purchase them from elsewhere and provide for them. He was a man of great honour and could not bear seeing any Ahmadis in a state whereby they did not have anything to wear. If he noticed anyone experiencing hardship, he would strive to cater for all their needs. He would take great care of his children and enrolled them in the best schools.”
He further says, “We were offering prayers at his home two days prior to his demise. The finance secretary informed us that Bilal Sahib had paid all due payments towards Wasiyat, Tehrik-e-Jadid and Waqf-e-Jadid. In fact, he had purchased a new piece of land which he also included in his Wasiyat. He regularly paid his chanda [obligatory contribution] and kept a record of it. He served others, was regular in his observance of prayers and worship. He had a deep attachment with Khilafat and would listen to every sermon.”
Furthermore, the Local President writes, “When I used to present the summary of the Friday Sermon the following week, he would be weeping whilst covering his face and would always say that it seemed as if the Khalifa of the time was talking about him or he was talking directly to him.”
He leaves behind an eleven-year-old son and a twelve-year-old daughter. His elder brother is an Ahmadi and lives in Germany, but his other two brothers and a sister are not Ahmadis and therefore, he faced a lot of opposition from them. However, God Almighty influenced them in such a way that at the time of the funeral prayer, his brother said, “You Ahmadis can offer the funeral prayer and you can offer it inside our mosque – there is no restriction.” He [the Local President] states. “Thus, by the grace of God Almighty many people offered his funeral prayer behind us.”
The second person who I shall mention about is Salima Mir Sahiba, the former President of Lajna Imaillah Karachi. She was the wife of Abdul Qader Dar Sahib. She also passed away on 17 March 2018 at the age of 90. Her father was a companion [of the Promised Messiahas], Mir Ilahi Bakhsh Sahib from Sheikhupura, Gujrat. He performed the Bai’at in 1904. Her mother, Mariam Begum Sahiba was educated from Madrasatul Khawatin, Qadian. She had great passion for the study of the Holy Quran.
Salima Mir Sahiba got married in 1946 and after the partition of the Subcontinent, she moved to Karachi. In 1961 they moved to Iran where there were a few Ahmadi households and they made arrangements for the Friday prayer and other gatherings. Her husband passed away in 1964 and she returned to Karachi and stayed with her brother, Mir Amanullah Sahib. While bringing up eight children, she also continued to pursue her studies and completed her studies up to Bachelor level. Alongside this, she started to work in the Lajna office. She started working by replying to letters and then served in various other roles for the Lajna in Karachi.
In 1981 when the Muntazima Committee was formed, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIIrh appointed her as President of the Committee. Regarding this she said, “When Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIIrh announced my appointment as President of the Committee, I was left in a state of complete shock as to how I would be able to fulfil this responsibility. On the one hand there was the obedience to the Imam, but on the other hand I had the realisation of being unworthy for this and also my inexperience to undertake such a huge task. I began to fervently pray to God Almighty. However, I started the work and quickly organised the meetings with Majlis Amila [Executive Committee] and began visiting the local Jamaats. I spoke to them all about the importance of obedience and attachment with the Nizam, [administrative system of Jamaat], adopting true Islamic morals, to strive against harmful innovations and to completely refrain from levelling allegations.”
Some people have the habit – especially women, but even men now are guilty of this – of raising unnecessary allegations against the Nizam. However, she said that no kind of allegations should be made in their Majlis. She also reminded them to remain profusely engaged in seeking forgiveness. She would also write letters to Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIIrh. She states, “God Almighty’s blessing were such that the Lajna of Karachi began to progress.”
She started her work for Lajna in 1961 from Iran and then Pakistan. In 1986 when Lajna Karachi were re-joined with the central Lajna, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh appointed her as President of the Lajna for Karachi. She served as President for Lajna Karachi from 1986 to 1997. During her tenure, a lot of work was done in regards to publication of books and during her time as President, 60 books and two magazines were published. Classes were initiated for Da‘in Ilallah [preaching about faith] were started. Upon this Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh expressed great happiness and stated, “By the grace of God Almighty, you are doing an excellent job and my heartfelt prayers are with you. May God Almighty bless you with long-life, health and happiness. And may He greatly reward you and your helpers, in this world and the next.”
There are many accounts in regards to her work and Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh and Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIIrh greatly admired her work. In one letter, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh wrote:
“I received your report for Lajna Karachi along with your sentiments of great devotion. I honour your expression of devotion and sincerity from the core of my heart. I am always praying to God Almighty for your success. May He cause those days to return with even greater glory, the memories of which are very dear to me.”
Salima Mir Sahiba became a widow at the age of 36. Her daughter says that she never heard any kind of words of impatience and ungratefulness expressed by her. She would remain grateful to God Almighty in all circumstances. She would always think positively and also wanted to see this in her children. Her daughter says, “My husband fell ill and it was a terminal illness. My mother, Salima Mir Sahiba was with me and the first thing she gave me was a copy of the Promised Messiah’s sayings, Malfuzat. She then said, ‘After your father passed away, I have spent my life with this Malfuzat and left everything with God.’ She would also say that the love of God should be superior over all other relationships of love.”
Her daughter further says, “When my husband was nearing his last moments, the doctors asked me to sign [paperwork] but I could not control myself and began to cry and whilst crying my voice became louder. My mother also heard this and at the time I was extremely distressed.”
Salima Mir Sahiba was also sitting there as the husband of her daughter was nearing his death. The daughter was extremely distressed due to this. She says, “When I was about to leave the hospital, I went to my mother, Salima Mir Sahiba, and in a very strong tone she said, ‘You are my daughter and my daughter cannot show such impatience. So why did such a loud cry come from you?’ She then said that the patience displayed at the very first instance is true patience because everyone displays patience thereafter.”
Her daughter further states that she then told her, “Your husband belongs to God. He is the one Who gave him to you and He is the One Who has taken him back.”
After having four daughters she gave birth to her first son, but a short while later he passed away. She would say with great forbearance that he was the trust of God and now He had taken him back. She would pray all the time. Her children said that she would always give this advice in Punjabi, “Never detach yourselves from the Khalifa and always hold fast to the institution of Khilafat”. She would pay great attention to observing purdah [veil]. Wherever she would see a shortcoming in terms of purdah, she would explain in a wonderful manner that others would not be offended.
One of her daughters says, “My younger sister received a marriage proposal. However, the suitor said that he wished to see the girl before they began discussions. We told our mother to permit her to wear a headscarf, instead of the niqab when going before him.” The proposal was for her daughter and so she immediately replied, “Whether or not this marriage takes place, she will not go without the niqab.”
One of her daughters had a driving test in London in which it was conducted by a male instructor. Due to this, Salima Sahiba sat with her saying that she would not allow her to go alone with a man. People mocked her for this, however, she did not pay any attention to what they said.
She would always encourage others to wear the headscarf or the niqab. There is a book published by Lajna titled, “Aurhney Valiyon Keliye Phool” [flowers for those who cover themselves] which contains all the instructions of the Khulafa. So she would say that if you wish to buy a flower then you must also buy an Aurhni [a garment used to cover oneself]. The flower is for the one who covers up.
One of her granddaughters says, “When I was about to get married, my grandmother handed me the book of Hazrat Nawab Mubaraka Begum Sahiba, underlining the advice regarding the Rukhsati [ritual of formal departure of the bride from her parents’ home to the bridegroom’s] and told me to read it again and again.”
She further states, “My grandmother did not like unmarried women attending any function that ran late into the night. During our college days whenever there was a function at a friend’s house, she would also come along.” Nowadays many girls write to me saying they wish to spend the night [at their friend’s house]. This is absolutely wrong and our young women should avoid doing so.
She further states, “If ever we missed the Fajr prayer, our grandmother would not speak to us the whole day and this was her biggest punishment for us.
“On one occasion she travelled to Chicago for a function. One of the ladies turned on some music and stood up in a manner as if she was about to dance. She approached her from behind, held her and said, ‘Turn the music off! Do you not know what is said about those women who dance?’”
She brought up a young Christian girl and taught her prayers, various moral codes, in fact she would say, “I have become half Ahmadi.”
Amatul Bari Nasir Sahiba says,
“God Almighty enabled sister Salima Mir Sahiba to serve Lajna Karachi for a very long time. Though she no longer remains in this world but those who have been trained by her and are serving Lajna in various parts of the world will keep her name and works alive. Her name can now be associated as a model of doing excellent work. She would carefully oversee the work and also teach them how to do the work. She was not concerned about her own name being praised, rather she wanted those working with her to be trained in how to carry out their work. She greatly encouraged her team when they were working for the publication of the books.
“She would often have to travel abroad in the latter part of her life and therefore in order for it not to impact the Jamaat work, she herself wrote to the headquarters and requested for another president to be appointed. She then called a meeting in an excellent fashion and put flowers around the newly appointed president, Mrs Bhatti Sahiba, and seated her on the main chair and delivered a beautiful address regarding her services and told everyone to show complete obedience to her. Thus, she took leave from her responsibility in a very dignified manner.”
She further writes, “What a wonderful way it was to leave an official post.”
This is a lesson for those who sometimes get removed from a particular office or their names are not approved and subsequently they start to criticise. If one receives an official post they should say Alhamdolillah, that all praise belongs to God, and if they do not, even then they should be grateful to God Almighty and search for other ways to serve the Jamaat. However, it should not be the case that one only serves the Jamaat if they receive an official post.
She [Amtul Bari Nasir Sahiba] further writes, “She would deal with all matters rationally and quietly. If one would confide in her about something personal, one would never be afraid of it being disclosed. She would keep matters confidential.”
Amatul Bari Nasir Sahiba then writes, “She managed to keep all confidential matters to herself and this was a great attribute of hers.”
This is something that is found less and less today even amongst men.
Amatul Noor Sahiba from Karachi writes, “Salima Mir Sahiba was an affectionate and selfless woman. She had a poised sense of character and would always keep herself in the background, and instead promote the works of others. She was always smiling and was a cheerful person. Alongside a beautiful countenance, God Almighty bestowed her a beautiful and gentle heart.”
She further writes, “When I was appointed as Sadr [Local President], I said that this area is vast and I do not have any experience, nor do I have any conveyance. She said to me, ‘Do not worry. My daughter lives nearby so whenever you wish to carry out visits, simply inform her and she will send her car. Alternatively, you can inform me. You do not have to worry about anything at all.’ She was very humble and would work alongside her other team of workers.”
One of the secretaries of Ishaat [publications] of Karachi states, “I have had the opportunity to work with Sister Salima Mir Sahiba since 1986. I always found her to be someone who would look after the poor and always had a balanced temperament. On one occasion, a passionate female worker who had distanced herself from the Jamaat for a particular reason fell critically ill. She came to know that this lady had a few precious relics of the Jamaat in her possession. With the prayers and instructions of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh, Salima Sahiba supervised the process of contacting the lady with great wisdom. However, before they could obtain any of the relics, that lady passed away. Salima Sahiba contacted one of the relatives of the lady and said, ‘If you find any items of such description, then we would be willing to pay any price in order acquire them’. This was because they were artefacts with great historical importance belonging to the Promised Messiahas. Later on, a large storage box was found which contained hand written letters of the Promised Messiahas and also some writings of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Ira. Contained within was another box which held great historical importance which Salima Sahiba obtained with great wisdom from that lady. During the whole process Salima Sahiba also arranged for the medical care of the lady who had become distanced from the Jamaat.”
Every person who has written about her has said the same things, that she was a very honourable lady who always demonstrated a great resolve and patience. She was a model of excellent morals who had a strong connection with Khilafat and always encouraged others to also establish a connection with Khilafat. She would carry out virtuous deeds and advise others to do the same. She would advise everyone in the same manner, whether they were close associates or others. It was not the case that she would only advise her own children. She always guided her daughters in all matters and had firm belief in God Almighty. She was someone who was always content with the will of God Almighty. May God Almighty elevate her status and may He enable her children – her daughters – to further advance her virtuous deeds.
I will lead both of their funeral prayers in absentia after the Friday prayers.
(Translated by The Review of Religions)