Friday Sermon: Men of Excellence

January 18th, 2019

After reciting the Tashahhud, Ta’awwuz, and Surah Al-Fatihah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V (aba) stated:

Today, I will give an account on the life of Hazrat Amir Bin Fuhairah (ra). His title was Abu Amr and he belonged to the tribe of Azad. He was an African slave of Tufail Bin Abdullah Bin Sakhbarah, who was the stepbrother of Hazrat Ayesha (ra). The term used here means for stepbrother means that he was her brother from the same mother, but they had different fathers. He was among those who were the first to accept Islam. He had accepted Islam before the Messenger of Allah (sa) went to Darul Arqam. Many a hardship was inflicted upon him by the disbelievers after he accepted Islam. Later on, Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) bought and set him free.  He used to graze the goats of Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) during the time of the Migration to Medina. When the Messenger of Allah (sa) and Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) were in hiding in the cave on Mount Thaur, during emigration to Madinah, he used to graze the goats all day long and then take the goats of Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) close to the cave on Mount Thaur, so that they can milk the goats themselves. Later Hazrat Amir Bin Fuhairah (ra) would wipe all footsteps so that they could not be traced. When the Holy Prophet (sa) and Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) came out of the cave on Mount Thaur and proceeded to Medina, Hazrat Amir Bin Fuhairah (ra) also accompanied them on the camel. At that time, a mushrik from the tribe of Banu Adi was navigating the way for them.

After the Migration, the Holy Prophet (sa) established a bond of brotherhood between Hazrat Amir Bin Fuhairah (ra) and Hazrat Harith Bin Aus Bin Mu’az. Hazrat Amir Bin Fuhairah (ra) participated in the Battles of Badr and Uhud. He was martyred during the incident of Bi’r-e-Ma’unah at the age of 40.

Hazrat Ayesha (ra) states that one day she was at her home with Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddique (ra) one afternoon, when the Holy Prophet (sa) arrived at our home at an unusual time. The Holy Prophet (sa) explained to him in private that by Divine revelation, he is instructed to emigrate from Makkah. At which Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) said, ‘O Prophet (sa) of Allah! Please take me with you. May my parents be sacrificed for your sake.’ Upon this, the Holy Prophet (sa) said, ‘indeed, you should come with me.’ The Holy Prophet (sa) accepted the offer of Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) to take one of his camels by paying its price.

Hazrat Ayesha (ra) further narrates: “Hence, we quickly prepared and packed their items. We prepared some provisions for them and packed them in a leather bag. The daughter of Hazrat Abu Bakr, Hazrat Asma’, cut a piece off her waistband and tied the bag with it. For this reason, she is known as Zat-un-Nitaq [the one with the belt]. Following this, the Holy Prophet (sa) and Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) arrived at a cave in the mountain of Thaur and remained hidden there for three nights. Hazrat Abdullah bin Abi Bakr used to go and spend the night with them.” He would return to Mecca before dawn, so that others would think that he was in Mecca all night. During the day, he would spend time in Mecca to learn about their schemes and plots about the Holy Prophet (sa). The Holy Prophet (sa) and Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) hired an extremely able navigator from the tribe of Banu Deel in order to show them the way. The Holy Prophet (sa) and Hazrat Abu Bakr, both trusted this individual even though he was a disbeliever and brought up by the Quraish. Nevertheless, the Holy Prophet (sa) trusted him, handed his camels for the journey to him and took this promise from him that he would arrive at the cave of Thaur in the morning after three days. ‘Amir bin Fuhairah and the guide accompanied them. The guide took the three of them on a path along the seashore.” This is a narration from Bukhari.

Suraqa bin Malik bin Josham said: “The messengers of the disbelievers of Quraish came to us, who started to fix the blood money for anyone who would either kill the Holy Prophet (sa) and Hazrat Abu Bakr or capture them. Suraqa bin Malik received some intelligence about the siting of the Holy Prophet (sa), publicly I dismissed this possibility as I wanted to get all the reward money to myself. Later, I got on my horse and galloped to the place of sighting. I saw them and galloped further, when suddenly the horse stumbled, and I fell off the horse.  I stood up, lowered my hand into my quiver, took out an arrow and took an omen. I received an omen I did not desire. (That is, the omen was not in my favour and indicated that I would not be able to capture them).”

He then says: “I mounted my horse again and against my omen made a further effort to capture and kill the Prophet (sa) by galloping ahead, I reached so close that I could hear the Holy Prophet (sa) recite the Qur’an. The Holy Prophet (sa) did not turn to look around, but Hazrat Abu Bakr would continuously turn around. My horse fell again in the soft sand and I got down to take out another omen on my arrows. I once again received an omen that suggested no success. At that moment, I called them that you are safe. I shouted and said to the Holy Prophet (sa) that you are now safe. Upon this they stopped” He says: “Seeing the hurdles and hindrances that I faced in trying to reach them a feeling emerged in my heart that the Holy Prophet (sa) would certainly prevail. I said to the Holy Prophet (sa) that your nation has fixed blood money for you, and I informed him of everything that people intended to do to him.” That is, he informed him of the details of all of the evil intentions of the disbelievers. He then says: “I presented my provisions to them and said since you are setting out on a journey therefore here is some food for the journey. However, the Holy Prophet (sa) did not accept saying that they did not require it, and nor did he ask for anything else apart from saying: ‘Do not tell anyone about our journey’” Meaning that do not tell anyone about the route we are on. He then further states: “I requested the Holy Prophet (sa) to write something for me which may serve as a treaty/pact to live in peace. The Holy Prophet (sa) said to Aamir bin Fuhairah (ra) ” (who was a slave from Ethiopia but was now freed, and he was also travelling with the Holy Prophet (sa)). “The Holy Prophet (sa) instructed him to draft this document. So, he wrote it down on a piece of leather after which the Holy Prophet (sa) carried on.”

Then Huzoor (aba) narrated the emigration from the cave of Thaur to Medinah and setting up of the mosque of the Prophet for Bukhari.

Hazrat Musleh Maud (ra) has explained about the Migration [of the Holy Prophet (sa)]. He has written the account in his own style; therefore, I shall read out some of the details. He writes: “When the Meccans learnt of the Prophet's (sa) escape, they collected and sent a force in pursuit. Led by a tracker, they reached Thaur. Standing at the mouth of the cave in which the Prophet (sa) and Abu Bakr (ra) sat hiding, the tracker said that Muhammad (sa) was either in the cave or had ascended to heaven. Abu Bakr (ra) heard this and his heart sank. "The enemy has nearly got us," he whispered. "Fear not, God is with us, we are not two in this cave. There is a third—God" Meccans ridiculed the tracker's judgement. It was too open a cave, they said, for anybody to take shelter in, for with snakes and vipers it was none too safe. If they had but bent a little to look, they could have sighted the two. But they did not, and dismissing the tracker, they returned to Mecca. For two days the Prophet (sa) and Abu Bakr (ra) waited in the cave. On the third night, according to the plan, two fleet camels were brought to the cave, one for the Prophet (sa) and the guide; the other for Abu Bakr (ra) and his servant, ‘Amir bin Fuhairah (ra).

Hazrat Musleh Maud (ra) has written the whole incident previously mentioned, as narrated by Suraqa (ra). Hazrat Musleh Maud (ra) then further writes: ‘The Prophet (sa) asked ‘Amir bin Fuhairah (ra) to write Suraqa (ra) a guarantee, and he did. As Suraqa (ra) got ready to return with it, the Prophet (sa) received a revelation about the future of events concerning Suraqa and said, "Suraqa (ra), how wilt thou feel with the gold bangles of the Chosroes on thy wrists?" Amazed at the prophecy he asked, "Which Chosroes? Chosroes bin Hormizd, the Emperor of Iran?" The Prophet (sa) said, "Yes". Sixteen or seventeen years later the prophecy was literally fulfilled. Suraqa (ra) accepted Islam and went to Medina. The Prophet (sa) died, and after him, first Abu Bakr (ra), and then ‘Umar (ra) became the Khulafaa’ of Islam. The growing influence of Islam made the Iranians jealous and led them to attack the Muslims but, instead of subjugating the Muslims, they were themselves defeated by them. The capital of Iran fell to the Muslims who captured its treasures, including the gold bangles which the Chosroes wore at State functions. When the spoils of the war with Iran were placed before ‘Umar (ra), he saw the gold bangles and remembered what the Prophet (sa) had told Suraqa (ra) (Umar saw it all before his own eyes). He, therefore, sent for Suraqa (ra) and ordered him to put on the gold bangles. Suraqa (ra) protested that the wearing of gold by men had been forbidden by Islam. ‘Umar (ra) said that this was true in that men have been forbidden to wear gold, but that the occasion was an exception. The Prophet (sa) had foreseen Chosroes' gold bangles on his wrists; therefore, he put on the bangles and Muslims saw the grand prophecy fulfilled before their very eyes.’

Hazrat Amir bin Fuhairah (ra) was martyred during the incident of Bi’r-e-Ma’unah. When a group of 70 unarmed Muslims were deceptively called to Bi’r-e-Ma’unah to be attacked by well-armed, trained Quraish soldiers, some of them had climbed a hilltop whilst others stood ready to combat. As the enemies far outnumbered the Muslims, who were unarmed and defenceless, they overpowered the Muslims, killing them one by one. In the end, only one Companion remained, who had accompanied the Holy Prophet (sa) in the migration and was the freed-slave of Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra), whose name was Amir bin Fuhairah (ra). It took many of the enemies to bring him down and one of them thrust a spear through his chest. As the spear penetrated, he spontaneously uttered the words [Arabic] “I swear by the Lord of the Ka’bah, I have prospered.” This expression of triumph at the time of a helpless and violent death at the hands of enemies amazed Aamir bin Tufail, one of the assailants.  Aamir bin Tufail asked the others, why does he think this is a success? They replied to him, little do you know that these Muslims are indeed mad. When they die in the way of Allah Almighty, they believe God is pleased with them and they have attained their goal. At this, Aamir bin Tufail was inspired to learn more about this great religion and he later accepted Islam.  Hazrat Musleh Maud (ra) has mentioned that such expressions of triumph were uttered by many other Companions as well. Whilst mentioning this, Hazrat Musleh Maud (ra) states: “From reading history, we find that the Companions would go into the battles with the belief that attaining martyrdom was indeed a source of comfort and joy for them. If they ever experienced any kind of sorrow during the battles, they would consider it a source of solace for them. Thus, we find numerous incidents in history wherein they considered being slain in the way of God as a source of comfort. For instance, when Hazrat Haram bin Milhan (ra) was attacked during a meeting, which non-believers called on the pretence of learning about Islam, when falling after the attack, Haram bin Milhan spontaneously uttered the following words: Allaho Akbar Fuztu Wa Rabil Ka‘bah meaning, ‘God is great. The Lord of the Ka‘bah is my witness, I have attained my goal.’

These incidents, therefore, illustrate the fact that death was a source of joy for the Companions instead of any kind of sorrow. Thus, these Companions were so fortunate, particularly Amir bin Fuhairah (ra) who also had the opportunity to serve Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra). He also had the opportunity to serve the Holy Prophet (sa) and accompanied him during his migration. He would also provide food to the Holy Prophet (sa) while he was in the cave of Thaur. In those days, the food was the milk from the goat, and it was Amir bin Fuhairah (ra) who was assigned with this task. For three days, without fail, he would take the goats there and would provide them with its milk. He also had the honour of writing a letter for a pact of peace with Suraqa on the instruction of the Holy Prophet (sa). Then, as a result of the prayer he made, the Holy Prophet (sa) also received the news of martyrdom even though he was far away. He was an embodiment of loyalty who demonstrated his loyalty at every occasion; may God Almighty continue to go on elevating his status.