After reciting Tashahhud, Ta‘awwuz and Surah al-Fatihah, His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad(aba) said that in the last sermon he delivered on the life of Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra), he presented references which proved that Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) did not punish people for their apostasy, rather he punished them on account of their rebellion.
His Holiness(aba) said that the Hakam (judge) and Adl (just arbiter) of this age, the Promised Messiah(as) has also affirmed that the apostates during the time of Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) had taken up rebellion. The Promised Messiah(as) described that dangerous and turbulent time that had transpired due to this open rebellion, in the face of which Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) remained brave and resolute. Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) was very saddened by what had become of these people and would weep in prayer. His daughter Hazrat A’ishah(ra) describes that Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) witnessed all kinds of rebellion and insurrection at the outset of his Caliphate, such that if the same burden had been placed upon mountains they would crumble. However, with the help of God Almighty, Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) stood firm as he eradicated all of the threats which had presented themselves.
His Holiness(aba) further quoted the Promised Messiah(as) who said that when Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) was bestowed the mantle of Caliphate, the Muslims were in an extremely fragile state, yet God pulled the Muslims out from the deep depths of darkness through Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra), such that afterwards, people would constantly praise and congratulate Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) and were prepared to obey him in any matter. This was all due to the truthfulness and steadfastness of Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra).
His Holiness(aba) said that during this wave of rebellion, Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) deployed various envoys. There were those who had turned apostate and refused to give Zakat, but then there were also those who became apostates, then also adopted rebellion and had started killing Muslims. Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) decided to obtain intelligence regarding the movements of this group, and so he gathered the Muslim army and set out from Madinah. Hazrat Ali(ra) requested Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) that rather than accompanying that army himself, he should send someone else in his stead for fear of something happening to him during battle. Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) accepted this suggestion and instructed the army to go forth as he returned to Madinah.
His Holiness(aba) said that Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) divided the Muslim army into eleven battalions with appointed leaders each assigned their own flag. They were sent to various places where rebels including those under the leadership of false claimants to prophethood were rearing their rebellion. Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) also instructed each battalion to leave some strong Muslims behind in the areas to which they were being deployed in order to ensure security was maintained in the region. Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) was constantly informed and kept up to date with the movements of each of these battalions and would know whenever these battalions were victorious. The rebellion had only started three months prior, and because the rebels thought that they had the upper hand and would be able to erase the Muslims in no time, they were not at all prepared for the organised Muslim army which they were made to face, and were thus defeated.
His Holiness(aba) explained that this distribution by Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) established an excellent system whereby the Muslim army remained in constant communication with each other, even when battalions were sent to various areas. Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) also kept a portion of the army in Madinah in order to protect the headquarters and also maintained a group of elder companions for consultation on various matters. Thus, under the leadership of Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra), a systematic governmental system was established.
His Holiness(aba) said that during this time, Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) penned a letter for all those residing in Arabia, stating that he believed in that which was brought by the Holy Prophet(sa), and all those who deny that message are disbelievers. He said that the Holy Prophet(sa) was sent to this world with truth as a bearer of glad tidings and as a warner. Those who accepted him were bestowed the divine light of guidance. Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) then explained through verses of the Holy Qur’an that after fulfilling his responsibilities, the Holy Prophet(sa) was to pass away just as everyone must pass on, so too would he. For example, God Almighty states:
‘We granted not everlasting life to any human being before thee. If then thou shouldst die, shall they live here for ever?’ (The Holy Qur’an, 21:35)
‘And Muhammad is only a Messenger. Verily, all Messengers have passed away before him. If then he die or be slain, will you turn back on your heels? And he who turns back on his heels shall not harm Allah at all. And Allah will certainly reward the grateful.’ (The Holy Qur’an, 3:145)
His Holiness(aba) said that Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) said that whoever worshipped the Holy Prophet(sa) should know that he has passed away. Those who worshipped God should know that He is still alive and always will be. Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) said that he enjoined everyone to believe in God and the message brought by the Holy Prophet(sa). He said that only those can attain guidance upon whom it is bestowed by God Himself. Furthermore, the good deeds of people would find acceptance in the sight of God once they accepted God and His faith.
His Holiness(aba) said that this letter was sent with each of the leaders appointed to the different battalions, and Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) informed the people that he had instructed the armies not to fight, but to invite people to accept the message delivered in this letter. However if they refused and persisted in their ways that the armies would have no other choice.
His Holiness(aba) said that Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) also wrote a letter addressed to each one of the leaders assigned to the eleven battalions. He enjoined them to adopt righteousness and that they should not fight upon reaching their assigned destination. First they should invite them to the faith and to fulfil their duties. However, if they saw that the people were bent on rebellion and fighting then they should not hesitate to take up arms in order to bring the injustices and cruelties which they had been perpetrating to an end. His Holiness(aba) re-emphasised the fact that these were not merely apostates but people who had been perpetrating heinous crimes and cruelties, and so they were dealt with according to the commandment of the Holy Qur’an, which states that the recompense of a crime should be the like thereof. His Holiness(aba) said that there is a narration which states that the instruction was given to burn the rebels. This was not a general instruction, because as the Holy Prophet(sa) has stated it is only for Allah to punish with fire. In this instance, this commandment was only given because those people in question had set Muslims on fire, and hence this instruction was given as a form of just and equal retribution.
His Holiness(aba) said that there may be sermons on other topics forthcoming during the month of Ramadan, but he would continue on this topic whenever he delivers the next sermon on the life of Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra).
Summary prepared by The Review of Religions
After reciting the tashahhud, ta‘awuz and Surah al-Fatihah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V(aba) said:
Accounts from the time of Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq(ra) were being narrated two sermons ago, and various references were given which prove that the apostates were not punished by Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq(ra) on account of their apostasy, rather, it was in response to their rebellion and waging war. In relation to this the Just Arbiter of this age, the Promised Messiah(as) has also connected the apostasy during the Khilafat of Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq(ra) to rebellion and insurgence. Whilst mentioning Hazrat Abu Bakr’s(ra) level of courage and bravery, the Promised Messiah(as) states:
“It is no secret to historians that the Caliphate of Abu Bakr was a time of fear and trials. A host of trials and difficulties befell Islam and the Muslims after the demise of the Holy Prophet(sa). Many hypocrites became apostates and the apostates became bold in their speech. One group made a claim to prophethood and many bedouins flocked around them, to the extent that Musailimah, the liar, amassed nearly 100,000 ignorant and wicked people around him. Trials erupted, afflictions increased, calamities engulfed all near and far, and the believers were shaken severely. All of the people were tried in that time, and a dreadful and shocking set of circumstances had developed. The believers were so helpless that it seemed as though brands of fire were lit in their hearts or as though they had been slaughtered with a knife. At times, they would weep due to their separation from the Greatest of Creation(sa), and at other times, due to the trials which had emerged in the form of an intense burning fire. There was not even the slightest hint of peace. The mischief-makers had spread all over like plants sprouting on a pile of dirt. The fear and concern of the believers had increased manifold, and their hearts were completely filled with dread and restlessness. During such a time, Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) was appointed the leader of the time and the Caliph of the Seal of the Prophets(sa). Witnessing the behaviour, conduct and ways of the hypocrites, disbelievers and apostates caused him to drown in sorrow and grief. He would weep like a continuous downpour of rain, his tears would flow like a running fountain, and he would supplicate to Allah for the betterment of Islam and the Muslims.
“It has been narrated by Hazrat Aisha(ra), ‘When my father was appointed as Khalifa and Allah granted him leadership, right from the outset of his Khilafat he was faced with the upsurge of disorder from every direction, the efforts of the false claimants to prophethood and the rebellion of the hypocrites and apostates. The number of calamites he had to face was such that if they were to befall upon a mountain it would cause it to immediately crush and crumble to the ground. However, he was granted patience like that of the prophets.’”
The Promised Messiah(as) states:
“Eventually Allah the Almighty bestowed His succour and the false claimants to prophethood and apostates were killed. The disorders and dangers were put to an end, the situation was resolved and the institution of Khilafat was firmly established. Allah the Almighty saved the believers from the calamity, transformed their state of fear into peace and established for them their religion, He established the entire land upon the truth and utterly humiliated those who sought to create disorder. Allah fulfilled His promise and granted support to His servant, Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq(ra) and destroyed the leaders of the rebellion and their idols. The hearts of the disbelievers were completely overawed and they ultimately repented. This indeed was the promise of Allah, Who is the All-Powerful and Most Truthful. Thus, ponder how all the characteristics and hallmarks of Khilafat were fulfilled in the person of Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq(ra). I pray to Allah the Almighty that may He enlighten your heart for this endeavour.”
“Ponder over the conditions of the Muslims when Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) became the Caliph. Owing to the trials faced at the time, Islam was in a fragile state, just like that of a person who has been burnt to the core. But then Allah the Almighty established the might of Islam once again and brought Islam out from the depths of a deep well. False claimants to prophethood were killed by a grievous punishment and the apostates were destroyed like cattle; the believers were like corpses owing to their fear, but Allah removed this fear and bestowed peace upon them.
“After this trial had been averted, the believers rejoiced and went to congratulate Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq(ra), exclaiming ‘bravo’ when they would meet him. They would praise him and beseech the court of the Master of all masters for him. They would be eager to express their praise and honour for him. The love they had for him was rooted firmly in the depths of their hearts. They would follow him in all matters and were grateful to him. Their hearts became illuminated and their faces glistened. They increased in their love and affection, and they strived to their utmost in their obedience to him. They considered him to be a blessed individual and one that had been granted support and succour like that of prophets. All this was as a result of the truthfulness of Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq(ra) and his unwavering conviction.” (Sirrul Khilafah, [Urdu translation], Nazarat-e-Isha’at, pp. 47-51)
This [excerpt] is the Urdu translation of the Promised Messiah’s Arabic book, Sirrul Khilafah.
Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq(ra) sent various expeditions to subdue the apostasy and rebellion. As has been mentioned earlier that following the demise of the Holy Prophet(sa), almost the entire Arab Peninsula became apostates. Among them were some who only refused to pay the Zakat and the action taken against them by Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq(ra) has been mentioned previously. The second group were those who not only became apostates, but also rebelled and killed the Muslims. With regards to this group it is mentioned that Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) firmly resolved to contend against them. It is recorded in Bidaya Wa al-Nihaya that after Hazrat Usamah’s army had taken some rest, Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) mounted his ride in Medina and with his sword drawn out, lead the Muslim army to Dhul Qassah, which was at a distance of one night and one day’s travel from Madinah. This duration is according to the mode of transport in those days. The noble companions, among whom was Hazrat Ali(ra) as well, were insisting that Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) should return to Medina and send another courageous individual to fight against the Arabs in his stead. Hazrat Aisha(ra) relates:
“With his sword drawn and whilst mounted upon his ride, my father departed. Hazrat Ali bin Abi Talib(ra) came and took hold of the reins of his camel and submitted, ‘O Khalifah of the Messenger(sa) of Allah! I say to you what the Messenger(sa) of Allah stated on the day of Uhud which was, ‘Why have you drawn out your sword?’ Do not bring upon us the tragedy of your death.’ Hazrat Ali (ra) stated to Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra), ‘Do not bring upon us the tragedy of your death. By God, if we are afflicted by the tragedy of your demise, the administrative structure of Islam shall cease to exist.’ Upon this, Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) returned and sent the army ahead.” (Al-Bidaya wa’l-Nihaya, Vol. 3, pp. 311-312, Dar-ul-Kutub Al-Ilmiyyah)
When Hazrat Usamah(ra) and his army had taken rest and their mounts had fully recovered and the wealth from Zakat also began to be received in abundance, which was more than sufficient for the needs of the Muslims, Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) divided the army and assigned 11 flags. One of the flags was given to Hazrat Khalid bin Walid and he was instructed to go and fight against Tulaiha bin Khuwailid and after finishing from there he was instructed to go forth and fight against Malik bin Nuwairah in Butah. These were all apostates who sought for war.
Butah was the name of a well situated in the area belonging to the Banu Asad. Hazrat Khalid bin Walid(ra) was sent towards them. Another flag was assigned to Hazrat Ikrimah(ra) bin Abi Jahl and he was sent to fight against Musailma. The third flag was assigned to Hazrat Muhajir bin Abi Umaiyyah(ra) and he was ordered to fight against Ansi’s army. Qais bin Makshooh was sent to Yemen to help the people of Abnaa, whom the Yemen’s were fighting against. Abnaa were the progeny of a tribe that belonged to Persia and were dwelling in Yemen and had married amongst the Arabs. He was instructed that after finishing from there, he was to go to Hadramaut to fight against Kindah. Hadramaut is also an area in Yemen. The fourth flag was assigned to Hazrat Khalid bin Saeed bin Aas(ra) and he was sent towards Hamqatain, which was at the border of Syria. The fifth flag was assigned to Hazrat Amr bin Aas(ra) and he was instructed to fight against Quda’ah, Wadiya and Harith. The sixth flag was assigned to Hazrat Hudhaifah bin Mihsan Ghalfani(ra) and he was sent to fight against the people of Daba. Daba is an ancient and famous city in Oman in which there was a marketplace belonging to the Arabs. The seventh flag was assigned to Hazrat Arfajah bin Harthamah(ra) and he was instructed to go to Mahrah. Mahrah is the name of an area in Yemen. Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) instructed both of them to join forces once they reached there, but each of them was to govern their respective areas. Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) then sent Shurahbeel bin Hassana to follow after Hazrat Ikramah(ra) bin Abi Jahl and instructed him to go to Quda’a after finishing from Yamamah. He was told that he would remain as the commander of his army whilst fighting against the apostates. The ninth flag was given to Hazrat Turaifah bin Haajiz(ra) and he was ordered to fight against the Banu Sulaim and Hawazin. The tenth flag was given to Hazrat Suwaid bin Muqarrin(ra) and he was ordered to go to an area in Yemen called Tihaamah. The eleventh flag was given to Hazrat Alaa bin al-Hadrami(ra) and he was instructed to go to Bahrain. Thus, these commanders departed towards their respective destinations from Dhu Al-Qassah. (Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2, p. 257, Dar-ul-Kutub Al-Ilmiyyah, Lebanon, 2012), (Syedna Abu Bakr Siddiq(ra), Shakhsiyyat Aur Karnaame, p. 288, Maktabatul Furqan, Muzaffargarh Pakistan), (Mu’jamul Buldan, Vol. 1 p. 527, Vol. 2, pp. 270, 311, 496), (Mu’jamul Al Wasit)
Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) instructed each commander of the army that whichever areas they travelled through, they ought to gather with them some of the strong Muslims of that area and leave some of them behind to guard their areas. (Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2, p. 257, Dar-ul-Kutub Al-Ilmiyyah, Lebanon, 2012)
Whilst mentioning this division of the army by Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra), an author writes:
“Dhu Al-Qassah was the designated military headquarters. From here, the organised Muslim army set out to different areas to crush the wave of apostasy. From this military operation one can gauge Hazrat Abu Bakr’s superior intellect and deep understanding of the geographical terrain. The way Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) divided the contingents and the area they were assigned to shows his deep understanding of the geographical area. He was well acquainted with landmarks, various settlements and the routes across the Arabian Peninsula. It was as if the model of the entire Arabian Peninsula was before his very eyes, just as is the case in military command centres of today, which are equipped with the latest technology. Whosoever ponders over how these armies were dispatched to various areas, regrouped and then sent off once again after they had regrouped, would know that this entire plan was peerless in all of the Arabian Peninsula and based upon sound judgement.
Furthermore, the communication with the army was exceptionally fast. Abu Bakr(ra) always knew where the army was at all times. He was well aware of their movements and all their matters, including what victories they attained and what was the plan for the following day. Communications were so effective and quick that the reports from the battlefield were constantly reaching Abu Bakr(ra) in Medina, the command centre. He could communicate with all of the armies at all times. Among the messengers going between the battlefield and Medina, the noteworthy names include Abu Khaithamah Ansari, Salama bin Salamah, Abu Barzah Aslami and Salama bin Waqsh.
The armies sent by Abu Bakr(ra) were well-organised and this was one of the triumphs of the Caliphate; among the ranks of the army, aside from skilful leaders, there was discipline as well. In addition to this, they were already experienced in warfare. Through the expeditions and battles fought during the time of the Holy Prophet(sa), they had gained excellent experience in military tactics. The military strategy of Abu Bakr’s reign was superior to all other military powers in the entire Arabian Peninsula. The commander-in-chief of the entire army was Khalid bin Walid(ra), ‘The Unsheathed Sword of Allah’, whose genius played a unique role in Islamic victories and against the wave of rebellion. The military division of the Muslim army proved to be highly effective, because the apostates were scattered in far off areas and were not organised. They had not yet grouped in order to face the Muslims. Large tribes were scattered across distant regions. Therefore, there was not enough time for them organise themselves, because the wave of apostasy had only begun some three months earlier. Secondly, they were unable to gauge the threat posed to them by the Muslims. In their own estimation they thought that they would wipe out the Muslims in a matter of months. For this reason, Abu Bakr(ra) sought to launch a sudden attack and quash their strength and power before they managed to gather support for their false doctrine. Hence, Abu Bakr(ra) dealt with them before the dissension could grow, and did not permit them to raise their heads or speak in a way that would cause the Muslims harm.” (Syedna Abu Bakr Siddiq(ra), Shakhsiyyat Aur Karnaame, Dr Muhammad Ali Sallabi [Urdu translation] pp. 288-290, Maktabatul Furqan, Muzaffargarh Pakistan) Whilst narrating various aspects relating to the appointment of different military commanders, an author writes:
“Firstly, it was ensured that there was constant communication and co-operation between the various contingents of the army. Despite the fact that they were dispatched to different locations in several directions, they were all linked together and on the same page. They regrouped and then departed once again for the same purpose. Even though the Caliph was residing in Medina, the absolute control of all affairs of the army was in his hands. Secondly, Abu Bakr Siddiq(ra) kept one contingent of the army behind to safeguard Medina, the capital of the Caliphate. Furthermore, in order to seek counsel with regards to matters of administration, he kept a party of the eminent companions behind. Thirdly, Abu Bakr(ra) knew that among the areas afflicted by apostasy, there were strong Muslims present there. He became worried lest these Muslims suffered the wrath of the idolaters. For this reason, the commanders were ordered to join those Muslims with them who possessed strength, and also appoint some people for the protection of those areas. Fourthly, with regards to the war with the apostates, Abu Bakr(ra) adopted with saying:
They would show their intent towards a certain destination, but they intended to travel elsewhere. He took the utmost care and precautionary measures, lest their plans were discovered. Thus, under the leadership of Abu Bakr(ra), political expertise, deep insight and knowledge, and swift victory and support were all manifested.” (Syedna Abu Bakr Siddiq(ra), Shakhsiyyat Aur Karnaame, Dr Muhammad Ali Sallabi [Urdu translation] pp. 297-298, Maktabatul Furqan, Muzaffargarh Pakistan)
On this occasion Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) sent out two letters; one addressed to the Arab tribes and the other contained instructions for the commanders of the armies. (Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) Ke Sirkari Khutoot, Khurshid Ahmad Farooq, p. 22)
With regards to this letter, the same author, Dr Ali Muhammad Sallabi, writes:
“After the Muslim army was organised and ready to set off, we see that there was official correspondence which played a vital role. He penned an official letter which contained a concise message. Prior to sending off the army to confront the apostates, Abu Bakr(ra) sent this letter to the apostates and to those Muslims who remained steadfast and ensured it was spread officially to everyone. He sent messengers to every tribe and ordered them that when they reach there, they ought to read out this letter to every gathering. Similarly, every person who heard the letter was ordered to convey the message to all those who had not yet heard it. In this letter, Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) addressed the elite and common folk alike, whether they were steadfast upon Islam or whether they had become apostates.”
(Syedna Abu Bakr Siddiq(ra), Shakhsiyyat Aur Karnaame, Dr Muhammad Ali Sallabi [Urdu translation] pp. 290-291, Maktabatul Furqan, Muzaffargarh Pakistan)
The letter of Abu Bakr(ra) to the tribes has been mentioned in most detail in al-Tabari. The Promised Messiah(as) has also mentioned about this letter in his book, “Sirrul Khilafah”. The Promised Messiah(as) states:
“It would be appropriate for us to mention that letter which Abu Bakr Siddiq(ra) wrote to the tribes of Arabia. Those who read this letter will progress in their faith and insight and learn how Abu Bakr Siddiq(ra) upheld the sanctity of the commands of Allah and how he defended all aspects of the practices of the Holy Prophet(ra).”
The Promised Messiah(as) then mentions the letter, which begins as follows:
“In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, Ever-Merciful. This letter is from the Caliph of the Messenger(sa), addressed to all people; whether they are of the elite or ordinary citizens; whoever it may reach, whether they have remained steadfast upon Islam or have abandoned it. Peace be upon all those who did not revert to misguidance and ignorance after having attained guidance. I praise Allah before you, besides Whom there is none other worthy of worship. I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, He is One, and has no partner, and I also bear witness that Muhammad(sa) is His servant and His messenger. We accept the teachings brought by the Holy Prophet(sa) and we deem anyone who rejects them to be a disbeliever and will carry out Jihad against them.
“After this, let it be clear that Allah the Almighty sent the Holy Prophet(sa) with the truth from Himself and sent him to His creation as a bearer of glad tidings, a warner, a caller unto Allah by His command and as the enlightening sun so that he may warn the living and so the disbelievers may meet their fate. Allah the Almighty guides those with truth, who accept the Holy Prophet(sa). As for those who turned away from the Holy Prophet(sa), he fought with them until they either entered Islam willingly, or were left with no other choice. Then the Holy Prophet(sa) passed away after he had established the decree of Allah, oversaw the well-being of the Ummah and had fulfilled the responsibility given to him. Allah the Almighty elucidated this matter in His revealed Book. He states:
اِنَّکَ مَیِّتٌ وَّاِنَّہُمۡ مَّیِّتُوۡنَ
“meaning, ‘Surely, thou wilt die, and surely they (too) will die.’ [39:31]
“He also states:
وَمَا جَعَلۡنَا لِبَشَرٍ مِّنۡ قَبۡلِکَ الۡخُلۡدَ
“‘We granted not everlasting life to any human being before thee.’
اَفَا۠ئِنۡ مِّتَّ فَہُمُ الۡخٰلِدُوۡنَ
“‘If then thou shouldst die, shall they live (here) forever?’ [21:35]
“God further says to the believers:
وَمَا مُحَمَّدٌ اِلَّا رَسُوۡلٌ ۚ قَدۡ خَلَتۡ مِنۡ قَبۡلِہِ الرُّسُلُ ؕ اَفَا۠ئِنۡ مَّاتَ اَوۡ قُتِلَ انۡقَلَبۡتُمۡ عَلٰۤی اَعۡقَابِکُمۡ ؕ وَمَنۡ یَّنۡقَلِبۡ عَلٰی عَقِبَیۡہِ فَلَنۡ یَّضُرَّ اللّٰہَ شَیۡئًا ؕ وَسَیَجۡزِی اللّٰہُ الشّٰکِرِیۡنَ
“‘And Muhammad is only a Messenger. Verily, all Messengers have passed away before him. If then he die or be slain, will you turn back on your heels? And he who turns back on his heels shall not harm Allah at all. And Allah will certainly reward the grateful.’ [3:145].”
Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) further wrote:
“Those who used to worship Muhammad(sa) should understand that Muhammad(sa) has passed away. Those who worshipped Allah, the One, Independent and without partner, should know that He is near; He is living, existing and eternal – He shall never die. Slumber seizes Him not, nor sleep. He protects His works Himself and takes recompense from His enemies and punishes them. I urge you to adopt the fear of Allah and obtain your fortune and destiny that He has decreed and to implement the teachings which were brought to you by the Holy Prophet(sa). You should attain guidance from that which was brought by the Holy Prophet(sa) and hold fast to the faith of Allah because anyone who is not guided by Allah has gone astray. Anyone who is not saved by Him will be faced with difficulty and anyone whom He does not help will remain helpless. Hence, only those are rightly guided who are guided by Allah and those whom He deems to be bereft of guidance will remain astray. Allah the Almighty states:
مَنۡ یَّہۡدِ اللّٰہُ فَہُوَ الۡمُہۡتَدِ ۚ وَمَنۡ یُّضۡلِلۡ فَلَنۡ تَجِدَ لَہٗ وَلِیًّا مُّرۡشِدًا
“‘He whom Allah guides is rightly guided; but he whom He adjudges astray, for him thou wilt find no helper or guide.’ [18:18]”
Abu Bakrra further stated:
“None of the deeds carried out by such people in this world will be accepted until they believe in the religion of Islam, nor will any compensation or expiation be accepted from them in the Hereafter. I have come to learn that after having accepted and practiced Islam, some of you have tried to deceive Allah, have adopted ignorance, been swayed by Satan and thus have become apostates from your faith.
“Allah the Almighty states:
وَاِذۡ قُلۡنَا لِلۡمَلٰٓئِکَۃِ اسۡجُدُوۡا لِاٰدَمَ فَسَجَدُوۡۤا اِلَّاۤ اِبۡلِیۡسَ ؕ کَانَ مِنَ الۡجِنِّ فَفَسَقَ عَنۡ اَمۡرِ رَبِّہٖ ؕ اَفَتَتَّخِذُوۡنَہٗ وَذُرِّیَّتَہٗۤ اَوۡلِیَآءَ مِنۡ دُوۡنِیۡ وَہُمۡ لَکُمۡ عَدُوٌّ ؕ بِئۡسَ لِلظّٰلِمِیۡنَ بَدَلًا
“‘And remember the time when We said to the angels, “Submit to Adam,” and they all submitted. But Iblis did not. He was one of the Jinn; and he disobeyed the command of his Lord. Will you then take him and his offspring for friends instead of Me while they are your enemies? Evil is the exchange for the wrongdoers.’ [18:51]
God also states:
اِنَّ الشَّیۡطٰنَ لَکُمۡ عَدُوٌّ فَاتَّخِذُوۡہُ عَدُوًّا ؕ اِنَّمَا یَدۡعُوۡا حِزۡبَہٗ لِیَکُوۡنُوۡا مِنۡ اَصۡحٰبِ السَّعِیۡرِ
“‘Surely, Satan is an enemy to you; so take him for an enemy. He calls his followers only that they may become inmates of the burning Fire.’ [35:7]”
With regards to this letter, Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) stated, “I have appointed such and such person as the leader of an army of Muhajireen, Ansar and the Tabieen, who followed to the best of their ability. I have commanded him not to fight with anyone until he has conveyed God’s message. Whoever accepts this message and adheres to it, reforms their ways and does virtuous deeds then this will be accepted from them and they will help such a person in this cause. As for those who reject this message, I have given him the command to fight with them on account of this and not to spare anyone they seize. They should either burn them or kill them by any other means, take the women and children as captives, and accept nothing less than Islam from anyone. It would be better for them to follow this and those who reject this cannot frustrate Allah. I have given my representative the command to read my letter aloud in every one of your gatherings. The Azan [call to prayer] itself is a declaration of Islam; therefore, when the Muslims call the Azan, they too should call the Azan, thereafter they should not be attacked. If they do not call the Azan then be swift in attacking them. If they call the Azan, seek from them their duties which are due; and if they refuse, then be swift in attacking them. If they adhere to this, then it should be accepted from them.” (Sirrul Khilafah, [Urdu translation], Nizarat-e-Isha‘at, pp. 190-194, footnote)
Nonetheless, the details and reason why the war was waged against them and why they were treated in this way was because they waged war against the Muslims and forced the Muslims into battle, and not only did they wage war, but they inflicted cruelties upon the Muslims. The unarmed and defenceless Muslims that lived in their regions were subjected to their brutality.
The second letter written by Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) was to the 11 army commanders who have already been mentioned. The letter is as follows:
“In the name of Allah, the Gracious the Merciful. The following order is written from Abu Bakr, Khalifa to the Messenger(sa) of Allah, addressed to so and so, who has been dispatched along with an army of Muslims to fight against the apostates (in other words, the names of the specific commanders were written on the letter). Abu Bakr orders the commanders to fear Allah in every matter. As much as his strength permits, he is commanded to strive and endeavour in the cause of Allah and perform Jihad against those who have turned their backs to Allah and have deserted Islam to fulfil satanic aspirations. Firstly, he should give them conclusive proof and invite them to Islam. If they accept the message, then he should cease his fight against them. However, if they do not accept the message, then he should attack them swiftly so as to cause them to surrender. Then, he should inform them of their rights and obligations, collect from them what is due and give to them what has been assigned to them. He should not give them any respite (in other words, such respite that would enable them to regroup and attack the Muslims) such that the Muslims are prevented from fighting against their enemies, and if the Muslims feel that the people will not desist and are desirous of war, then they should not be stopped from battle (this commandment was given to leaders from that region who were more apprised of the situation). Thus, whoso accepts the commandment of Allah the Almighty and obeys Him, then he should accept this and should be helped in an appropriate manner. War should be waged only against those who accepted what had come from Allah and then rejected it thereafter. If such people accept our invitation, then there shall be no blame upon them and Allah will hold them accountable for what they conceal thereafter. And whoso does not accept the message of Allah, war should be waged against them and they should be killed wherever they are found, no matter how wealthy they may be. No offering shall be taken as ransom from anyone except that they accept Islam. Thus, whoso accepts Islam and testifies to it, then this should be accepted from them and they ought to be taught the teachings of Islam. And whosoever rejects it (in other words, those who became Muslims and then took to apostasy and then resorted to war, they are acting in defiance of the teachings of Islam and should be told about the truth of Islam and the fact that they cannot war against the governing authority after having testified to being Muslim) should be engaged within battle. If Allah grants him victory over them, then they should be killed brutally with weapons and fire. Thereafter, the spoils of war granted by Allah from them should be distributed except for the Khums (a fifth of all spoils of war dedicated for Allah and His Messenger(sa)). This should be delivered to me. The commander should prevent his companions from haste and discord and should not permit a foreigner to enter their ranks until he ascertains who they are (in other words, to be careful not to just accept anyone who could be a spy, and to first investigate and duly evaluate before accepting anyone), lest they turn out to be a spy and create chaos for the Muslims. During travel, he should treat the Muslims with kindness and moderation and should care for their wellbeing. He should not command one section of the army to join the other with haste. He should treat Muslims with kindness and be gentle in his speech when he addresses them.” (Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2, pp. 258-259, Dar-ul-Kutub Al-Ilmiyyah, Lebanon, 2012)
There are some aspects that require elaboration; however, no elaboration has been given. As a result, sometimes, people hold misconceptions against Islam. I have elaborated upon this matter in my previous sermon, that these apostates in question were all belligerents, and not only that, but were subjecting Muslims who lived in their regions to brutal treatment; they killed and burnt them, and burnt down their homes as well as burning them. It was for such people that Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) declared that revenge should surely be sought, and that they should be punished in the same manner [they had employed], as has been quoted by the Promised Messiah(as) from this letter as well. This is what has been commanded by Allah the Almighty in the Holy Quran, that when it is necessary to take revenge, then the punishment should be the same as what was done by the offender. However, an author has elaborated on this matter in one place; the same Dr Ali Muhammad Sallabi, writes:
“It has been mentioned that the treacherous apostates should be burnt. It is not permissible to punish someone by burning them. Even the Holy Prophet(sa) has said:
[Arabic] That is, ‘to punish with fire is only for Allah.’ However, here, the commandment to punish them with fire has been given because those wicked people employed this method of punishment on the believers, therefore, this would be considered Qisas (lawful retribution).” (Syedna Abu Bakr Siddiq(ra), Shakhsiyyat Aur Karnaame, p. 293, Maktabatul Furqan, Muzaffargarh Pakistan)
In the same book, while referring to the letter of Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) mentioned earlier, it is recorded, “Those who refuse to return to the Muslim ranks and are adamant in their sentiments of apostasy are considered warmongers, and it is imperative that they are attacked, killed, or burnt.” (Syedna Abu Bakr Siddiq(ra), Shakhsiyyat Aur Karnaame, pp. 294-295, Maktabatul Furqan, Muzaffargarh Pakistan)
Allah the Almighty has stated this in Holy Quran as well, that if you are made to face difficulty on account of someone, then punish them in the same manner you were subjected to. The rebels, as I have mentioned in my previous sermon and at this moment as well, committed the crime of burning Muslims and killing them in a most heinous way; they burnt them, burnt down their houses, burnt their small children and mutilated them all. Hence, Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) commanded for those who were involved in this to be killed using the same method they employed to kill Muslims.
Nonetheless, there will be more mention of this in the future, God willing. Perhaps during Ramadan, there may be sermons on other topics and so it may be after some time, however, the next sermon on this topic shall contain more details.
Official Urdu transcript published in Al Fazl International, 6 May 2022, pp. 5-8. Translated by The Review of Religions