Friday Sermon: Usman bin Maz'oon (ra); Men of Excellence

April 26th, 2019

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

In the previous sermon, while narrating the account of the life of Hazrat Usman Bin Maz’oon (ra), I concluded by saying that he was the first person to be buried in Jannatul Baqi’. The following details have been found regarding the foundation and establishment of Jannatul Baqi’:

At the time of the arrival of the Holy Prophet (sa) in Medina, there were many graveyards belonging to various tribes and Jews. Among other graveyards, there was the graveyard of Banu Sa’aadah, Baqi-ul-Gharqad was the oldest and most famous amongst all these graveyards. Baqi-ul-Gharqad used to be called Baqi-ul-Kahbkhabah in those days. It had countless Gharqad trees and wild bushes growing within. It had an abundance of mosquitoes and other insects and when the mosquitoes rose, due to the muddy land or the jungle, it seemed as if clouds of smoke had covered it from above. In Arabic Baqi is a place in which there is an abundance of trees. This place was known in Medina as Baqi-ul-Gharqad as the Gharqad trees there were plentiful. Apart from that it was rich in wild-growing bushes. It was also called Jannatul Baqi. In Arabic, the word Jannat carries the meaning of a garden or paradise. For this reason, it was better known among the non-Arabs as Jannatul Baqi. Another name given was Maqabirul Baqi, and this was more commonly referred to by the Bedouins. Once the Holy Prophet (sa) chose it as the graveyard of the Muslims, it has since had a unique and prominent position, which remains till today and shall always do so.

The first person to be buried there, as has already been mentioned, was Hazrat Usman bin Maz’oon(ra). The Holy Prophet (sa) placed a stone at head of the grave as a marker saying, ‘He has preceded us’. Thereafter, whenever someone passed away, people would ask the Holy Prophet (sa) where they should be buried. The Holy Prophet (sa) would answer, “Near Usman bin Maz’oon, who has preceded us”. When the son of the Holy Prophet (sa), Ibrahim, passed away, the Holy Prophet (sa) said: That is, “May you join the company of the pious individual, Usman bin Mazoon, who has passed away.”

Hazrat Umme ‘Alaa, who was amongst the ladies from the Ansar and had pledged allegiance to the Holy Prophet (sa), narrated. , When Hazrat ‘Usman bin Mazoon passed away, she paid her respect to him and stated that I bear witness that Allah has certainly honoured you.” She repeated this in front of the Holy Prophet (sa). When the Holy Prophet (sa) heard this, he enquired, “how have you come to know that God Almighty has most certainly exalted him?” She responded, “O Messenger (sa) of Allah! May by parents be sacrificed for your sake, I am not certain about this, but this is how I felt. Hence, I was expressing my feelings.” Upon this, the Holy Prophet (sa) responded, “As far as Usman (ra) is concerned, he has passed away and I hope for his prosperity (and that may God Almighty honour him). However, by God, even I do not know what will happen to Usman.” When Hazrat Umme Alaa stated: “This made me sorrowful and I fell asleep in this state. At night I saw in a dream that there is a flowing fountain which belongs to Hazrat Usman (ra).” She states: “After seeing this dream, I visited the Holy Prophet (sa) and narrated my dream to him. The Holy Prophet (sa) responded, ‘Such was his actions.’” Meaning that God Almighty showed the flowing spring to inform her that he is in paradise and his actions are a part of that fountain. Hence, this was the Holy Prophet’s (sa) way to train others that one should not claim with such confidence and belief that Allah Almighty has forgiven someone. God Almighty has granted them a lofty station, may God continue to elevate their status, and may we emulate their example as well.

The next companion whom I shall mention is Hazrat Wahab bin Sa’ad bin Abi Sarah (ra). His father’s name was Sa’ad and he belonged to the Banu Aamir bin Lowi tribe. Hazrat Wahab was the brother of Abdullah bin Wahab bin Sarah. His mother’s name was Mahana bint Jabir and she belonged to the Asha’ari tribe. The Holy Prophet (sa) had established a bond of brotherhood between Hazrat Wahab and Hazrat Suaid bin Amr. Hazrat Wahab participated in the battles of Badr, Uhud, Khandaq, Hudaibiyyah and Khaibar and he passed away in Jamadi al-Oola 8 A.H. in the Battle of Mautah. He was 40 years of age on the day of his demise. What was the Battle of Mautah and what were the causes behind it? This has been mentioned in Tabaqaat al-Kubra.

This battle took place in Jamaadi-ul-Ula, in the 8th year after the migration. The Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa) sent Harith bin ‘Umair with a letter as a messenger to the King of Busrah. When they reached the place called Mautah, they met with Shurahbeel bin Amr Ghassaani, who was one of the governors of Syria appointed by the roman emperor, this is according to Seerat-ul-Halabiyyah. He stopped them and martyred them. Other than Harith bin ‘Umair, no other messenger of the Prophet Muhammad (sa) was martyred. When news of this tragedy reached the Prophet Muhammad (sa), it bore heavily on his heart and he was aggrieved on account of his demise. The Prophet called upon the people to gather for battle. The people gathered, and the total number of the army was 3000. The Prophet Muhammad (sa) declared that the leader of this group would be Hazrat Zaid bin Haritha, and after preparing a white flag and handing it to Zaid, the Prophet advised, “Go to the place where Hazrat Harith bin ‘Umair has been martyred and invite the people there to Islam. If they accept it, then fine, but if they do not, then seek Allah’s help against them and engage with them in battle.” The Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa) appointed Hazrat Zaid bin Haritha during the expedition of Mautah as their leader, and said that “if Zaid is martyred, then Ja’far will be your leader, and if he is also martyred, then ‘Abdullah bin Rawaahah shall take his place.” This group of men was also known as the Infantry of Leaders. A Jew who was sitting nearby, heard what the Prophet Muhammad (sa) had just said and approached Hazrat Zaid and said to him that “if Muhammad (sa) is true then none of the three of you shall return from the battle alive.” At this, Hazrat Zaid replied, “whether I return from this battle alive or not, this is an incontrovertible fact that the Prophet Muhammad (sa) is a true Messenger and a truthful Prophet of God.” The information about the martyrs of this battle was conveyed through divine revelation to the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa). Regarding this there is a narration, in which Hazrat Anas bin Malik (ra) relates that the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa) stated, “Zaid took up the holding of the flag and he was martyred, after which Ja’far took hold of the flag and he, too, was martyred, and after this, ‘Abdullah bin Rawaahah took hold of the flag and he was also martyred.” While telling this to the people, tears were flowing from the eyes of the Holy Prophet (sa). After this the Prophet (sa) went on to say, “after this, Khalid bin Waleed took hold of the flag without being a leader and they were granted victory.” May Allah the Almighty continue to raise the spiritual status of these companions of the Holy Prophet (sa). After having mentioned these companions, I shall now mention some deceased ones whose funeral prayers I shall also be leading today.

The first funeral is of Respected Malik Muhamad Akram Sahib, who was a missionary of the community. He passed away yesterday – 25th April – in Manchester; to Allah we belong and to Him shall we return. His funeral is present here and after the prayers, God Willing, I will lead his funeral prayer outside [the mosque]. He was born on 2nd April 1947, in Malkwaal in the district of Gujrat. In 1961 he performed bai’at [pledge of allegiance] and entered the Jamaat. His elder brother, Master A’zam Sahib had accepted Ahmadiyyat prior to this and Akram Sahib also performed the Bai’at after him. After completing his BA, he received his Shahid degree and also Maulvi Fazal degree. He was assigned as a Missionary in 1971. In 1970, Hazrat Khalifatul Mashi III (rh) led his nikah which was settled with Amatul Kareem Sahiba, daughter of Maulvi Abdul Basharat Ghafoor Sahib. Akram Sahib had the opportunity to serve as a missionary in different places in Pakistan as well as countries outside of Pakistan. He served in various Jamaats across the UK for approximately thirty years: Oxford, Manchester, Glasgow and Cardiff. His total service spans approximately 48 years. In the UK he served as Naib Afsar Jalsa Gah for many years.

From 1971 to 1973 he served in various places throughout Pakistan. From 1973 to 1977 he served in The Gambia. From 1977 to 1979 he served in Karachi, Pakistan after which he served in Rabwah in Wakalat-e-Tabshir from 1979 to 1980. Between 1980 and 1983, he served as the Principal of the Missionary College in Hilaro, Nigeria, after which he returned to Pakistan and stayed in Rabwah until 1989. From 1989 until 2018 he had the opportunity to serve in the UK. Initially in 2007 he reached the official age of retirement but was re-employed in February 2007 and had the opportunity to serve until 2018. Although a Waqf-e-Zindagi always remains in his capacity as a life devotee, however recently due to illness he was unable to actively carry out his duties and therefore he retired. Nonetheless, we can say that he only spent a few months without being in active service and in this way, he served until his last breath. Huzoor (aba) read out many tributes offered to his excellent qualities. He was very hard working, obedient and had a pleasant nature. “Akram Sahib was a man of principle and possessed many qualities. He was very pious, honest and an extremely loyal Ahmadi. He was a passionate Missionary who would work diligently. He was a servant of the Community who displayed the highest levels of obedience for Khilafat. May God Almighty continue to elevate his status, shower His forgiveness on him and grant his loved ones steadfastness and courage to bear this loss. His funeral is present, as mentioned earlier, I will go outside to lead his funeral prayer.

The second funeral prayer is of Chaudhry Abdul Shakoor Sahib who was a Missionary of the Community. He was the son of Chaudhry Abdul Aziz Sahib Sialkoti. He passed away on 12th April, to Allah we belong and to Him shall we return. He was born on 10th November 1935 and was an Ahmadi from birth. His paternal grandfather pledged allegiance in 1901. Respected Abdul Shakoor Sahib completed his FA [Intermediate] examinations, after which he completed his Shahid and Maulvi Fazal and dedicated his life in 1956. Prior to this, he worked in the Railway Division as a typist. In 1962 he passed his Maulvi Fazal Examination and in 1963 he graduated from Jamia Ahmadiyya with a Shahid Degree. In July 1963, he was appointed in Wakalat-e-Maal Thani after which he had the opportunity to serve in various offices in Rabwah. In 1964, he was sent to Sierra Leone for the propagation of Islam and he served there until 1968. From December 1970 to December 1973 he remained in Ghana. From 1975 to 1978 he served in the Gambia. From February 1980 to April 1986 he served in Liberia. In these countries, the deceased had the opportunity to serve as Ameer [National President] and Missionary In-Charge. In 1990, he was appointed as Naib Wakeel-e-Tabshir. In addition to this he served as Naib Wakeel-ul-Maal Thalith, Secretary Committee Abaadi and Naib Wakeel-ul-Maal Thani. After retirement in 1995, he continued to work until 2004. Owing to pain in his eyes due to glaucoma, he retired in 2004. The deceased was a Moosi [part of the institution of Al-Wasiyyat]. Aside from his wife, he is survived by two daughters and three sons. May God Almighty elevate his status.

The third funeral in absentia is of respected Muhammad Saleh Muhammad Sahib, who was a Muallim of Waqf-e-Jadid. He passed away according to the will of Allah on 21 April 2019 – Inna Lillah Wa Inna Ilahi Rajioon. His great grandfather was Malik Allah Bakhsh Sahib, who was a companion of the Promised Messiah (as). He witnessed the sign of the solar and lunar eclipse and travelled by foot to Qadian from Lodhran and had the honour of doing the Bai’at at the hands of the Promised Messiah (as). His father, respected Ghulam Muhammad Sahib, was also a Muallim and in fact he was from among the early Muallimeen. These early Muallimeen in the area of Sindh rendered great sacrifices and endured those conditions. Thus, they first travelled long distances to gather the water and sand, thereafter they would mix it and prepare bricks from it and then they themselves built a room from it for them to live in and did not make any demands from the Jama’at. He always reminded his children to offer their five daily prayers. He regularly offered the Tahajjud prayer and even on the day he passed away, he offered the Tahajjud prayer and also woke my mother to pray as well. He was extremely courteous and showed great love to people. If anyone wronged him, he would bear it with patience and would never respond. He was also very good at making connections with people and was very well-known amongst people. He was very trustworthy, and people would trust him with their possessions and leave them with him. If there was any discord amongst the members of the family, he would always seek to reconcile. The deceased was a Musi and leaves behind his wife, three sons and three daughters. One of his sons, Mubarak Ahmad Munir Sahib is currently serving as a missionary in Burkina Faso and therefore could not go back to Pakistan upon the demise of his father. May God Almighty elevate his station and grant him His mercy and forgiveness. May He also enable his progeny to serve their faith with the same passion and spirit of sacrifice.

The fourth funeral prayer in absentia is of respected Maushai Jummah Sahib of Tanzania. He passed away on 13 March. Inna Lillah Wa inna ilahi rajioon. He was born in 1933-34 in Morogoro Region of Tanzania. He joined the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in 1967. After accepting Ahmadiyyat and right till his demise, his every action demonstrated his deep love for Khilafat. He also showed great respect towards the missionaries and office-bearers of the Jama’at. He strictly followed the Nizam-e-Jama’at. He had great passion for Tabligh and would never let any opportunity for Tabligh go to waste. He was at the forefront of those who paid their Chanda. In fact, he would always be thinking about giving Chanda whenever he would receive any money. He would often say that this world is temporary and has no value. He was a Musi and would also urge others to join this blessed scheme. He was exemplary in regard to prayers and would offer the five daily prayers and also urged his children and grandchildren to offer their daily prayers. He offered the Tahajjud prayer with great passion. He had memorised many of the prayers of the Holy Prophet (sa) and had great passion to read the books of the Promised Messiah (as). His son, Shamoon Jummah sahib, who is a teacher at Jamia Ahmadiyya Tanzania, writes, “from 1987 to 1990, all three of us brothers studied in Jamia Ahmadiyya Tanzania (they teach the Mubasher course there). I recall that once during the holidays we decided that one of us brothers would leave Jamia studies and return home and help our parents in their daily chores. When we mentioned this to our father, he was extremely displeased with this.” Shamoon Jummah Sahib writes, “I can never forget that day. My father became very passionate and he told us that we should place our trust in God Almighty and continue with the Jamia studies and to not leave.” Thus, he instilled a spirit of serving the Jama’at in all three of his children.

May God Almighty grant him His mercy and forgiveness and elevate his status. May He enable his progeny to also become true servants of Islam. As I mentioned that after the prayers, I shall lead their funeral prayers. One of the funerals is present here of Malik Akram Sahib. I will go out of the mosque to lead the funeral prayer and members should remain in the mosque and join the prayer from here.