Ataul Mujeeb Rashed, Missionary-in-Charge UK
Undoubtedly, our guide and leader, the perfect man, Muhammad Mustafasa was granted the character that encompassed the greatness, eminence and depth of every moral, all at the same time.
The best example of this is the incident that took place shortly before the Battle of Badr and is worth being written in golden words in human history – it bears an eloquent testimony that he had absolutely no inclination towards breach of contract and going against his words.
When the Messengersa of Allah reached Zafran on the way to Badr, he told the Companions that according to reports, they were going to face a mighty army numbering 1,000 and asked for their advice.
The background to this consultation was that when the delegates of Ansar from Medina met the Holy Prophetsa in Mecca, not only did they invite him to Medina, but also vowed to protect him if Medina was attacked from outside and to participate fully to defend against the enemy.
The situation then was that the confrontation was going to take place about 50 miles away from Medina, not inside Medina. The Messengersa of Allah, who was the flag-bearer of safeguarding the real spirit of covenants, did not want to obligate the Companions for anything more than what they had covenanted or charge them with a responsibility they were not prepared for.
It is worth noting these sacred ideas of the Holy Prophetsa, on the one hand, and the love and devotion of the Companionsra, on the other. Hazrat Abu Bakrra and Hazrat Umarra responded with beautiful speeches and re-iterated their resolve for devotion and self-sacrifice. Then Hazrat Miqdadra bin Aswad stood up and representing the younger generation, said:
“O Messengersa of Allah! Go ahead with what you were ordered. We are with you. We will never do as Bani Israel did to Moses and say, ‘Go, you and your God, and fight. We will stay here’. O Messengersa of Allah! We are your devout servants. We will fight on your right and on your left, in front of you and behind you and the enemy will only get to you over our dead bodies.”
The face of the Holy Prophetsa glowed with joy on seeing the resolve of Hazrat Miqdadra.
Nonetheless, the Holy Prophetsa asked for advice again. In fact, he felt so strongly about the finer aspects of fulfilment of covenants that despite passionate expression by the Muhajireen (Muslim migrants to Medina), he wanted to hear the opinion of the Ansar of Medina.
However, he was so modest that he did not address the Ansar directly lest they felt pressurised into it.
On the other hand, the Ansar, despite their devotion and sincerity, were holding back their views because the invading army included near relatives of the Muhajireenwith whom they had long standing connections.
There was a state of strange emotional struggle on both sides. Then Hazrat Saadra bin Muaz most respectfully said:
“O Messengersa of Allah! Are you referring to us?”
The Holy Prophetsa nodded in affirmation.
Hazrat Saadra bin Muaz,representing all the Ansar of Medina, said:
“O Messengersa of Allah! We have covenanted with you that we will listen to you and obey you. O Messengersa of Allah! March forward, for we are with you. By He Who has sent you with the truth! There is this sea before us; if you tell us to jump into it, we will do that without hesitation and none among us will remain behind. We are patient in war and sincere in fighting against the enemy. May Allah allow you to witness from our efforts what comforts your eyes.”
The Messengersa of Allah, on hearing this inspiring statement, decided to march forward. One with profound insight, studying this grand incident, will know full well how our Mastersa delved deep into the finer details of the contract and keeping in mind its real spirit, fulfilled it perfectly in such a way that it is a guiding light for the whole world.
It is a common observation that during war, the covenants are not generally adhered to. Compliance with any law or covenant is not considered necessary during war.
Under these circumstances, if somebody enters into a covenant with opponents in his personal capacity, it is not considered to be binding on his party as a whole under any code of moral conduct. And if that covenant was forced on that person, then it has no significance whatsoever and question of its fulfilment does not arise.
This is the state of worldly people who regard themselves as very civilised and are not tired of bragging about their high moral standards. However, let me tell you the real greatness of morals and how the contracts are fulfilled under most extraordinary circumstances.
Hazrat Huzayfa ibn Al-Yamanra, explaining why he missed the Battle of Badr, said:
“When I set out with my companion to participate in the battle, the disbelieving Quraish met us on the way and asked whether we intended to join Muhammadsa to fight against us. We denied that and insisted we only wanted to go to Medina. They allowed us to go only after they extracted from us an undertaking that we would not participate in fighting against them.
“When we came to the Holy Prophetsa, preparations were underway for the battle. We had an upsurge of desire to join in, but the Holy Prophetsa did not grant us permission and told us to go back and abide by our undertaking [to the Quraish]. He added, ‘We only seek Allah’s help, and His help we rely upon’.”
What a beautiful example of commitment to a contract, never seen by anyone! Just imagine the scenario. Preparations were under way for the battle. 313 ill-equipped and inexperienced Companionsra were going to take on an army of 1,000 well-armed and experienced soldiers.
In that situation, every soldier was needed. Right at that time, two self-sacrificing persons offer their services. Their participation would have reinforced the Muslim army.
It is worth noting that the enemy at war had extracted the undertaking by putting them under duress. As such, it was not binding according to any known code of conduct. However, the greatest flag-bearer of fulfilment of covenants, the Benefactor of Mankind, Hazrat Muhammad Mustafasa, despite all these considerations, did not permit the two companions to join the Muslim Army.
Despite the utmost need in the battlefield, suffering loss and courting risk, who would abide by, and make others abide by, covenants other than Muhammadsa? However much one may ponder, this is a wonderful incident, in the chapter of fulfilling covenants, which represents the pure emotions and feelings of the heart of Muhammadsa.
There are innumerable events of fulfilment of covenants in the life of Hazrat Muhammad Mustafasa that have a peculiar charm in them with regard to freshness and variety. Every event has individuality and attractiveness in it.
The next episode is also from the Medinite period. A caravan of traders came to Medina and camped outside the town. The Holy Prophetsa happened to pass by and struck a bargain for a red camel, got hold of its reins and came back to Medina.
Strangely, he did not pay for it, nor did anyone demand payment. After the Holy Prophetsa had left with the camel, the traders, who were not acquainted with him, got worried for having handed over the camel to a stranger without receiving its price.
There was a lady in the caravan. She reassured the traders that they would not lose their money as the person who had taken away the camel would pay for it. The people were surprised and asked, “How can you say that”. She replied. “In the whole of my life, I have never seen anyone with a face so bright; his face was shining like the full moon. Believe me, a person with such a luminous face can never be a cheat. He will definitely pay the price that has been agreed upon.”
How can you do justice to the discernment of that lady for making a good observation, arriving at a sound conclusion and stating it most eloquently! The testimony by that intelligent lady proved to be accurate. Our Master, Muhammad Mustafasa sent not only the amount that was agreed upon but gave some extra.
How great is this example of fulfilment of contract! An agreement was made verbally; there was nothing written down; there was no witness; there was nobody who could recognise the Holy Prophetsa and approach him in Medina to make the demand. However, these are essentials in a setting where virtues like honesty and fulfilment of covenants are lacking.
Here we are talking about a person who was the teacher and guide for everyone in the field of commitment to, and fulfilment of, compacts. How watchfully he fulfilled his promise and treated them graciously. When did the caravan last see such a buyer who was committed to contracts and gracious like him?
The apparent sense and meaning of the terms “commitment to covenants” and “fulfilment of contracts” and “compacts” that have been used repeatedly in this article are simple and easily understood.
It is obvious to a common man that when one makes a covenant, one should not violate it and when one makes a promise, it should be fulfilled.
Compared to this simple meaning, when we look at the holy life of the perfect guide, Hazrat Muhammad Mustafasa and study the instances involving him, we discover such profound and insightful meanings of commitment to covenants and fulfilment of contracts that are far beyond the understanding of a common man.
Whenever Huzoorsa made a verbal or written covenant, or during a conversation said something that comprised an element of covenant and responsibility in it, he always fulfilled it. He never differentiated friends from foes in this regard and honoured every covenant; whether the covenant was made privately or publicly; whether it was made before or after he was invested with prophethood; whether the circumstances were the same or had changed since the covenant was made, whether the other party abided by it or not.
Notwithstanding, this model of the chief of all creation, Hazrat Muhammad Mustafasa is matchless and unprecedented in the history of the world in that he abided by all his promises, covenants and words in letter and spirit and never violated it to gain some benefit or to avoid any loss.
He courted danger and offered big sacrifices but never breached a covenant, nor permitted any of his Companions to do so. The worldly people resort to hair-splitting of the words of covenants to find an escape route, while there are others who totally forget the real spirit of the covenants under the cover of its literal interpretation.
However, we do not see such an example in the blessed life of our beloved master, Muhammadsa. On the contrary, we see instances when he abided by the import (of the covenant) that was not mentioned in so many words but, honestly speaking, could be regarded as part of the covenant written between the lines.
Going into such minute details, abiding by the covenants in their letters and spirit and acting upon all its details and sections in accordance with the real and true spirit of the covenants; it can be asserted, without fear of being refuted, that this blessed example is seen only in the life of our beloved master, Hazrat Muhammadsa.
We invoke God’s blessings and peace on that King of Mecca and Medina who presented an excellent model in the field of moral values that will always serve as a guiding light for mankind.
During the Treaty of Hudaibiyah, the polytheists from Mecca wanted to include the clause that if any Meccan went to Medina after accepting Islam, he would be returned to Mecca. There was a lot of controversy about this clause and the final decision had not been reached, nor was the writing completed, when the son of Suhail bin Amr (the envoy of Mecca), Abu Jandal, reached there helter-skelter, shackled and handcuffed and begged the Messengersa of Allah not to send him back. The Muslims were shocked to see his dire condition. They were in a strange emotional state. This was a severe ordeal.
The treaty was not yet finalised, but the Meccan disbelievers insisted that this clause be accepted and acted upon immediately. On the other hand, a victimised brother was showing his wounds and begging most painfully that he had converted to Islam; he did not want to be sent back to those barbarous people.
At this critical juncture, our Master, Muhammadsa, magnificently upheld the real spirit of fulfilment of contracts. He directed Abu Jandalra to go back to Mecca and said compassionately:
“O Abu Jandal! Be a bit more patient and expect its reward from Allah. There is no doubt that the Almighty Allah will create a way out for you and for other weak Muslims. We have discussed [a] peace treaty with these people. We cannot break our promise to them.”
Undoubtedly, these words of the Prophetsa should be written in gold. In the context of commitment to covenants and safeguarding their real spirit, we cannot find such an example in history.
After the Treaty of Hudaibiyah, when he returned to Medina, he was faced with another situation like that. Abu Baseerra managed to escape from the prisons of the Meccans and reached Medina; they demanded that he be sent back. The Holy Prophetsa directed him to go back immediately.
Abu Baseerra begged distressingly, “These Meccans will torture me and they will try to drive me away from Islam?” The Holy Prophetsa who was a trustee of truth and flagbearer of guarding covenants said, “Come what may, we cannot go back on the agreement that has been made.”
Abu Baseerra, on hearing this, returned with those people. However, on the way, he managed to escape from their clutches. He came to the Holy Prophetsa and said, “O Messenger of Allahsa, you have fulfilled your covenant by handing me over to the Quraish. God has saved me from them again. Now you have no obligation concerning me”.
Anybody else would have accepted this. However, the Holy Prophetsa would not approve of breach of covenants and promises, whether overt or covert. He rejected the excuse and did not allow him to stay in Medina and upheld the sanctity of fulfilling covenants.
Another clause of the Treaty of Hudaibiyah was Muslims shall perform their Umrahthe following year, but they would not stay in Mecca for more than three days. Accordingly, the Holy Prophetsa went for Umrah the following year accompanied by all those companions who were with him at Hudaibiyah.
Before the end of the third day, Abu Sufyan and other chiefs of Mecca started saying that the deadline was approaching and they should start preparing to leave. The Companions were irritated at this unjustified and premature demand and some of them indicated that they would leave when they willed.
At this juncture, we saw another manifestation of the excellent character of our beloved Mastersa. He exhorted his devoted Companions to show restraint and forbearance. On the other hand, he sent a message to the Quraish that they did not need to worry and assured them, “We will abide by the covenant and will not overstay a moment after the deadline”. As such, he departed from Mecca, along with the Companions, right at the sunset.
The Treaty of Hudaibiyah was an important event in the blessed life of the Prophetsa. Following the treaty, we observe inspiring scenes of fulfilment of promises and covenants at every step. And how well did Allah, the Lord of the Throne, reward His beloved servant, who was always true to his promise. Within two years, Allah fulfilled His glad tidings:
اِنَّا فَتَحْنَا لَكَ فَتْحًا مُبِيْنًا
“Verily, We have granted thee a clear victory.” (Surah al-Fath, Ch.48: V.2)
The Prophetsa entered Mecca victoriously with 10,000 holy men. Undoubtedly, the victory of Mecca was a reward and sweet fruit for his fulfilment of promises and covenants.
Articles about the life of the Holy Prophetsa are published in Jamaat newspapers and magazines and speeches are delivered on this topic in our Jalsas not merely to narrate some events from the life and character of the Holy Prophetsa and experience the feeling of being in the presence of the guide of the worlds, Muhammad Mustafasa, and refresh our faith by listening to these sacred events. All these objectives are valid and justified, but we should not lose sight of the ultimate purpose; on hearing and reading narratives about excellent character and pure nature of our most beloved master, Muhammad Mustafasa, when we are filled with religious zeal, our hearts should erupt spontaneously with songs of durood and salaam and we should imprint our hearts with these sacred events in such a way that our character and practice reflects the excellent character of our Mastersa.
We must not be contented with just hearing speeches and reading articles on on his life, we must continue to review ourselves to see if we reflect these high moral qualities that the Prophetsa radiated. Are we trying to follow the footsteps of our Mastersa?
In the context of fulfilment of covenants and promises, we should remember that having joined the Jamaat we, Ahmadi Muslims, have made certain compacts that we must abide by; at the time of bai‘at and renewal of bai‘at, for example.
In the name of Allah, we put our hands in the hand of the divinely appointed Khalifa and make a pledge to abide by the 10 conditions of bai‘at.
It is our duty to fulfil all the requirements of the 10 conditions and abide by these honestly. If we are true in our claim of love and obedience, we should fulfil our pledge of bai‘at diligently and faithfully so that fruits of righteous deeds develop on every branch and every tree of the Garden of Ahmadas is laden with fruit.