Friday Sermon: Men of Excellence

May 3rd, 2019

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

The name of the first badri companion that I will mention today is Hazrat ‘Ubaid (ra). His full name was Hazrat ‘Ubaid bin Abu ‘Ubaid Ansari Ausi (ra). According to Ibn Hisham, he belonged to the Banu Umayyah clan of the Aus tribe. Hazrat ‘Ubaid participated in the Battles of Badr, Uhud and Khandaq alongside the Holy Prophet (sa).

The name of the next companion is Hazrat ‘Abdullah bin Nu’man bin Baldama (ra). Hazrat ‘Abdullah bin Nu’man (ra) belonged to the Banu Khunaas clan of the Khazraj tribe of the Ansar. He had the honour of participating in the Battles of Badr and Uhud.

The name of the next companion is Hazrat ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umair (ra). Hazrat ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umair (ra) belonged to the tribe of Banu Jazaarah. He participated in the Battle of Badr.

The name of the next companion is Hazrat ‘Amr bin Harith (ra). Hazrat ‘Amr (ra) belonged to the tribe of Banu Harith. Hazrat ‘Amr (ra) accepted Islam in the early days in Mecca. He participated in the second migration to Abyssinia. He had the honour of participating in the Battle of Badr.

The name of the next companion is Hazrat ‘Abdullah bin Ka’ab (ra). Hazrat ‘Abdullah bin Ka’ab (ra) belonged to the Banu M’azan tribe. Hazrat ‘Abdullah bin Ka’ab (ra) participated in the Battle of Badr. The Holy Prophet (sa) appointed him as the supervisor over the spoils of war at the occasion of the Battle of Badr. He further enjoyed the honour of being appointed as the supervisor over the khumus [spoils of war] during other occasions. Hazrat ‘Abdullah bin Ka’ab (ra) participated in all the battles alongside the Holy Prophet (sa) including the Battles of Uhud and Khandaq. Hazrat ‘Abdullah bin Ka’ab (ra) passed away in Medina during the caliphate of Hazrat Usman (ra) in 33 AH. His funeral prayer was led by Hazrat Usman (ra).

The name of the next companion who I shall mention is Hazrat ‘Abdullah bin Qais (ra). Hazrat ‘Abdullah bin Qais (ra) belonged to the tribe of Banu Najjar. Hazrat ‘Abdullah bin Qais (ra) participated in the battles of Badr and Uhud. He was martyred during the battle of Uhud, however, according to another tradition, he was not martyred during the battle of Uhud; and participated alongside the Holy Prophet (sa) in all battles and passed away during the caliphate of Hazrat Usman (ra)

The name of the next companion is Hazrat Salama bin Aslam (ra). Hazrat Salama bin Aslam (ra) belonged to the tribe of Banu Haritha bin Harith. Hazrat Salama bin Aslam (ra) participated alongside the Holy Prophet (sa) in all battles, including the battles of Badr, Uhud and Khandaq [the ditch]. Hazrat Salama bin Aslam (ra) was martyred during the caliphate of Hazrat ‘Umar (ra) in the battle of Jisr, which was fought at the river bank of the Euphrates river. It was a fierce battle fought between the Muslims and Persians. It is called Jisr, which means bridge, because a bridge was constructed over the river and the Muslims used it to cross into the opposing territory. In this battle the Persians used elephants that were trained for war. Nevertheless, both sides suffered heavy losses during the battle, especially the Muslims. Considering the different narrations in relation to his demise, it is stated that he was approximately thirty-eight years old at the time of his demise. In Sharah Zarqani and Dala’il-e-Nubuwwat, it is written that on the day of Badr, the sword of Hazrat Salama bin Aslam (ra) broke and he was left without any weapon. The Holy Prophet (sa) gave him a branch and told him to fight with it. Upon this, it turned into an outstanding sword, which remained with him until he was martyred on the day of Jisr. The Holy Prophet (sa) appointed Hazrat Salama bin Aslam (ra) as the leader over two hundred men; the battalions that had gathered under these various flags. Hazrat Salama (ra) and Hazrat Zaid bin Haritha (ra) were assigned the duty of guarding Medina and continuously reciting Takbeer [saying Allahu Akbar – Allah is the Greatest] aloud. The reason for this was that the children were kept in the area of Banu Qurayza for safety reasons and this place was susceptible to an attack.

An attempt was made to assassinate the Holy Prophet (sa). Abū Sufyan hired a trained professional killer, gave him a swift camel and sent him to Madinah, after he was sworn into secrecy. He travelled at night and arrived at Madinah, as soon as he entered the mosque and the Holy Prophet (sa) noticed the man approaching him, he said, “This man has come with an evil intention.” Upon hearing these words, the companions over-powered him and discovered his hidden dagger. When he was subdued, the Holy Prophet (sa) inquired of him, “Tell me truthfully, who are you and with which intention have you come?” He said, “If my life is spared, I will tell you.” The Holy Prophet (sa) said, “Yes, relate the entire account truthfully and you shall be forgiven.” Upon this he related the entire story to the Holy Prophet (sa) from beginning to end. He also told the Holy Prophet (sa) of the reward which had been promised to him by Abū Sufyan. Thereafter, this individual stayed in Madīnah for a few days and then out of his own will became a Muslim, and thus, started a life in the service of the Holy Prophet (sa).

This conspiracy of Abū Sufyan made it even more incumbent than before, to remain vigilant about the future similar attempts. The Holy Prophet (sa) sent Salamah bin Aslam (ra) and another companion towards Makkah to investigate any such scheming. When they arrived at Makkah, Makkans became alerted of their presence and thus Salamah bin Aslam (ra) and his colleague, fled for their life. On their way back, they found two spies of the Quraish. Perhaps they sent these two individuals to try and kill the Holy Prophet (sa). These spied were attacked and one spy was killed while the other was taken prisoner and brought back to Madīnah.

The next companion to be mentioned is Hazrat Uqbah bin Usman (ra). He belonged to the Banu Zuraiq tribe from among the Ansar and had the honour of taking part in the battles of Badr and Uhud. It has been reported in various books of history that when the battle of Uhud intensified, Hazrat Uqbah bin Usman (ra) and his brother fled temporarily from the battlefield and took refuge for three days on a mount opposite Ahwaz. Ahwaz was an area situated a few miles from Medina. When he and his brother returned and presented themselves before the Holy Prophet (sa) and informed him about this, the Holy Prophet (sa) said: “You both ran towards an open plain.” In any case, the Holy Prophet (sa) forgave them and overlooked their error and did not investigate this matter any further.

The next companion to be mentioned is Hazrat Abdullah bin Sahl (ra). Hazrat Abdullah bin Sahl (ra) belonged to the Bani Za’orah tribe who were confederates of the Bani Abdil Asha’al tribe. It is also reported that he was Ghassani [i.e. belonged to the Ghassan tribe]. Hazrat Abdullah (ra) was martyred during the Battle of Khandaq when an individual from the Banu Awaif tribe caught him with an arrow. Hazrat Abdullah (ra) participated in the Battle of Badr and also took part in the pledge that took place at Aqabah.

Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V (aba) related a faith-inspiring account of Hazrat Abdullah’s (ra) participation in the Battle of Hamraa-ul-Asad, which is situated around eight miles from Medina:

“Hazrat Abdullah bin Sahl (ra) and Hazrat Rafi bin Sahl (ra) were two brothers from the Banu Abdil Asha’al tribe. Upon returning from the Battle of Uhud, they were both severely injured, however Hazrat Abdullah (ra) had sustained more injuries out of the two. When they heard about the Holy Prophet (sa)’s instruction to go for the Battle of Hamraa-ul-Asad, one of them said to the other, ‘By God! We shall be greatly deprived if we are not able to take part in this battle alongside the Holy Prophet (sa).’ They had no transport, so decided to walk on foot. Hazrat Abdullah (ra) said to his brother, ‘come along, we shall walk slowly and head in the direction of the Holy Prophet (sa).’ Thus, they both set off, staggering along the way. They walked, at times, they had to carry each other because of extreme tiredness and illness, but they continued to walk in this way until they reached the Holy Prophet (sa) in the evening. At the time, the companions (ra) had camped for the night and were lighting a fire. They both came before the Holy Prophet (sa), who greeted them and gave them a glad tiding of a great reward for this struggle and sacrifice.

What was the Battle of Hamraa-ul-Asad in which these companions followed after the Holy Prophet (sa)? After the battle of Uhud ended and the army of Quraish returned to Makkah. This night was a night of great fear in Madīnah, because the Muslims feared that this maybe the strategy of the Quraish and they may suddenly return to attack Madīnah. Hence, on this night an arrangement was made for security in Madīnah (for safety concerns owing to this apprehension) and the Companions particularly stood guard all night long at the residence of the Holy Prophet (sa). The next morning, the Holy Prophet (sa) received news that the army of the Quraish had stalled a few miles from Madīnah and a heated debate was taking place amongst the chieftains of Makkah, to return back, attack Madinah and annihilate Muslims. Ultimately, the Quraish prepared to set back to Madīnah. When the Holy Prophet (sa) was informed of these events, he immediately announced that the Muslims should prepare, but along with this he also ordered that except for those people who had participated at Uḥud, no one else should set out with them. As such, the warriors of Uḥud, most of whom were wounded, dressed their wounds and betook to the company of their Master. It is written that on this occasion, the Muslims set out with such joy and zeal, as if they were a triumphant army which sets out in pursuit of the enemy. After travelling a distance of eight miles, the Holy Prophet (sa) reached Ḥamra’ul-Asad, where the dead bodies of two Muslims were found. Upon further investigation, it was discovered that these were the two spies whom the Holy Prophet (sa) had sent in the footsteps of the Quraish. Upon finding an opportunity, the Quraish had executed them. The Holy Prophet (sa) instructed that a single grave be dug, and both martyrs were buried together. Now that it was evening time, the Holy Prophet (sa) instructed that camp be set up at this very location. He further instructed that fires be lit at different places throughout the plain. As such, in no time, 500 fires were lit in the plain of Ḥamra’ul-Asad, which struck awe into the heart of any spectator from afar. (so that people going past would assume that it was a vast army which had set up camps at different places).  Most probably, on this occasion, an idolatrous chief of the Khuza‘ah tribe named Ma‘bad presented himself before the Holy Prophet (sa) and offered his condolences for those who had fallen at Uḥud, where after he continued on his way.

On the following day when he reached Rauḥa’, (this is a place which is situated approximately 40 miles from Medina) lo and behold, he found the army of the Quraish encamped there and that preparations were underway to return to Madīnah. Ma‘bad went to Abū Sufyan at once and said: ‘What are you about to do? By God, I have just left behind the army of Muḥammad[sa] at Ḥamra’ul-Asad, and never before have I seen such an awe-inspiring army. They are so passionate due to their regret for the defeat at Uḥud that they shall reduce you to ashes on sight.’ Abū Sufyan and his followers were so awe-struck by these comments of Ma‘bad, that they abandoned the idea of returning to Madīnah and made haste to Makkah at once. When the Holy Prophet (sa) received news that the army of the Quraish had fled in this manner, he thanked God and said, ‘This is the awe of God, which He has struck into the hearts of the disbelievers.’ After this, the Holy Prophet (sa) remained in Ḥamra-ul-Asad for another two or three days, and after an absence of five days, he returned to Madīnah.”

The next companion to be mentioned is Hazrat Utbah bin Rabeea (ra). There are varying opinions by the historians in relation to which tribe Hazrat Utbah (ra) belonged to. The name Utbah bin Rabeea is found among the names of those Amirs [leaders], who gathered for the Battle of Yarmouk. The details of the Battle of Yarmouk are that upon returning to Medina from Hajj in 12AH, Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) sent the Muslim armies towards Syria in the early part of 13AH. Initially, Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) appointed Khalid bin Sa’d as an Amir but later replaced him with Yazid bin Sufyan (ra). They left for Syria with an army of 7,000 men and the various Amirs took their armies towards Syria. Heraclius himself marched to Homs and prepared a large army from the Byzantine forces. He appointed a leader for each of the Muslim leaders. Then, it was decided that all of the Muslim armies would gather at Yarmouk. Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) sent a message saying, “Even though you are fewer in number; you will never be defeated if you remain faithful and united because you are fighting in the cause of God Almighty… Therefore, safeguard yourselves from sins, purify yourselves, become united and fight together in Yarmouk. Every single Commander from among you should offer prayers with their infantry.” The Muslims encircled the Byzantine army from Safar 13 Hijri until Rabee’ul Thani, but they were not successful. Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) then ordered Hazrat Khalid bin Walid (ra) to travel to Yarmouk from Iraq as reinforcement. Hazrat Khalid bin Walid (ra) was the Governor of Iraq at the time. Before his arrival, all the Commanders were fighting on separate fronts alongside their respective battalions. Upon his arrival, Hazrat Khalid (ra) advised the Muslims to elect one Ameer [Leader] to lead them. Subsequently everyone chose Hazrat Khalid bin Walid. It is stated that the total number of soldiers for the Byzantine army was between 200,000 and 240,000 as opposed to the Muslim army which was between 37,000 and 46,000. In comparison, the size of the Muslim army was almost one fifth of the opposing army. Hazrat Khalid (ra) divided the Muslim army into groups of 36 to 40 men, but everyone was fighting under one Commander.

Hazrat ‘Utba bin Rabee’a (ra) was the leader of one of these groups. Hazrat Khalid (ra) realised that the Muslim army was fewer in number, however, owing to this tactic, to the enemy it would appear that the Muslim army was greater. Nonetheless, the Muslims remained steadfast and fought valiantly until the evening, at which point the Byzantine army began to flee. In this battle, over 100,000 Byzantine soldiers died compared with a total of 3000 Muslim casualties. Among those martyred was Hazrat Ikramah bin Abu Jahl. At the time, the Byzantine Emperor was staying in Homs. As soon as he became aware of the defeat, he immediately fled from there. After the victory at Yarmouk, the Muslim army quickly spread throughout Syria, capturing Canisarein, Antakya, Juma, Sarmin, Tezein, Korus, Tal A’zaz, Zaluk and Raban, among other places.

The mention of the Companions comes to close for today and perhaps they will resume now after Ramadan, God Willing, as Ramadan will begin from next week.

After the prayers, I will lead a funeral prayer of Respected Sahibzadi Sabeeha Begum Sahiba, who was the maternal granddaughter of Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahib, son of the Promised Messiah (as). She was the eldest daughter of Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahibs eldest daughter, and Hazrat Mirza Rasheed Ahmad Sahib, who was the son of Hazrat Musleh Maud (ra) and Hazrat Umme Nasir (ra). She passed away on 30th April at the age of 90 whilst at the Tahir Heart Institute. To Allah we belong and to Him shall we return. In relation to me she was my maternal aunt. Sabeeha Sahiba was the elder sister of Hazrat Sayyidah Asifa Begum Sahiba, wife of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IV (rh).

Sabeeha Sahiba was trusted by her parents owing to her insight and intelligence, and in turn, she always repaid that trust. She looked after her younger siblings and she tried her best to ensure they had a good upbringing. She was a very simple person who would always look after the poor and was always ready to help everyone. She would always care for those in need and would show compassion to the poor. She was a friend to destitute and upon hearing the issues faced by those in need, she would be moved to tears. She would help them to the best of her ability.” There is no exaggeration in this and indeed these were her qualities. She would show kindness to all those that worked for her. She is survived by three daughters and one son. She was also a Moosia [part of the institution of Al-Wasiyyat] and after her funeral yesterday, she was buried in Bahishti Maqbarah. May God Almighty enable her children to continue her pious deeds and may they live happily with one another. May they always remain attached to the Jamaat and Khilafat.