You have perhaps heard of the account of Ikrimah. It was he who was the mastermind behind the misfortune at Uhud. His father was Abu Jahl, but ultimately it was the example of the Companions of the Holy Prophetsa which put him to shame.
It is my belief that extraordinary happenings did not leave as lasting an impression on the people, and did not astonish them, as much as the pure model of the Companions of the Holy Prophetsa and the change that they witnessed in them. The people were amazed to see the heights that their relatives had attained.
Ultimately, they were forced to accept that they were in the wrong. There was a time when Ikrimah waged an attack against the very person of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, but then came a time when he annihilated the army of the disbelievers.
Therefore, today we can present with pride – in the form of arguments and signs – the model which the Companions exhibited during the era of the Holy Prophetsa. As such, take the example of Ikrimah. In his days of disbelief, he was prey to disbelief, and other ignoble traits such as conceit etc., and it was his utmost desire to expunge Islam from the face of the earth.
But when the grace of God Almighty embraced him and he was blessed with Islam, he developed such lofty morals that not even the slightest traces of arrogance and conceit were left in him and he became so humble and meek that his humility became a conclusive proof in favour of Islam and an argument in favour of the truth of Islam.
On one occasion, there was a battle with the disbelievers and Ikrimah was the general of the Muslim army. The disbelievers waged a powerful onslaught to the extent that the Muslim army had almost drowned in defeat. When Ikrimah saw this condition, he dismounted from his horse and the people asked, “Why have you dismounted? Your horse will help you when the time comes to move swiftly.”
Ikrimah responded, “At this hour, I am reminded of the time when I would fight against the Prophet of God, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. It is my desire to lay down my life as an atonement for my sins.”
Now just observe the heights to which this person reached, where, time and again, he is remembered with praise. Remember that the pleasure of God Almighty is with those who endeavour to gather it within themselves. In countless places, Allah the Exalted has referred to these people as, “Those with whom Allah was pleased”.
I advise each and every one of you to adopt these morals.
(Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas, Malfuzat, Vol. 1, pp. 144-145)