Friday Sermon: Men of Excellence

June 7th, 2019

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

From today, I will resume relating the accounts of the lives of the Badri companions, i.e. those companions who took part in the battle of Badr.

The name of the first companion that I will mention today is Hazrat Abdullah (ra) bin Tariq, who participated in the battle of Badr. Hazrat Mua’ttib (ra) bin Ubaid was the stepbrother of Hazrat Abdullah (ra) bin Tariq, they both were born to the same mother. The mother of Hazrat Abdullah (ra) bin Tariq belonged to the Banu Kahil branch of the tribe of Banu Uzra. Hazrat Abdullah (ra) bin Tariq and Hazrat Mua’ttib (ra) bin Ubaid participated in the battles of Badr and Uhud. Both of the brothers were martyred during the incident at Raji’. Hazrat Abdullah (ra) bin Tariq was among the six companions, whom the Holy Prophet (sa) sent to the tribes of Azl and Qarah towards the end of 3 AH so that they may introduce them to Islam and teach them about the Holy Qur’an and the Islamic sharia. When these people arrived at the place called Raji’, the people of the Huzail tribe transgressed, besieged these companions and waged war against them. Some companions were martyred at the spot and Hazrat Abdullah (ra) bin Tariq was martyred on the way to Mecca. His grave is situated in Zahran. The incident at Raji’ took place in the 36th month after the Hijrah, during the month of Safar.

I have previously already mentioned the incident of Raji’ in relation to other companions. A more detailed account can be found in the book by Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahib.

The second companion to be mentioned today is Hazrat Aqil (ra) bin Bukair. Hazrat Aqil (ra) bin Buqair belonged to the tribe of Banu Sa’d bin Laith. Hazrat Aqil (ra) was previously named Ghafil (the ignorant). However, when he accepted Islam, the Holy Prophet (sa) changed it to Aqil (the wise). According to one tradition, the Holy Prophet (sa) formed a bond of brotherhood between Hazrat Aqil (ra) and Hazrat Mujazzir (ra) bin Ziad. Hazrat Aqil (ra) was martyred on the day of the Battle of Badr at the age of thirty-four. The Holy Prophet (sa) recommended his family to marry their sister to Hazrat Bilal (ra). The Holy Prophet (sa) further stated, “what is your opinion about a person, who is among the dwellers of paradise?” Upon this, they agreed to marry their sister to Hazrat Bilal (ra).

The name of the next companion to be mentioned today is Hazrat Zaid (ra) bin Haritha. Hazrat Zaid (ra) belonged to the tribe of Banu Quza’ah, which was a most respected tribe in Yemen. Hazrat Zaid (ra) was abducted as a child and sold as a slave to Hakeem bin Hizam for four hundred dirhams. Subsequently, Hakeem bin Hizam presented Hazrat Zaid (ra) to his maternal aunt, Hazrat Khadija (ra) bint Khuwailid. Following this, Hazrat Khadija (ra) gave Hazrat Zaid (ra) to the Holy Prophet (sa) along with all of her other slaves.

The father of Hazrat Zaid (ra), Haritha, was extremely upset over losing him. A short while later, some men from the Banu Qalb tribe came to Mecca in order to perform Hajj. There, they recognised Hazrat Zaid. Hazrat Zaid asked them to tell his family that he is living with a respected family of Banu Mu’ad near Khana Ka’abah. Therefore, they do not need to worry. The people of Banu Qalb went to his father and informed him about this. So Harithah (Hazrat Zaid’s (ra) father), left for Mecca with Hazrat Zaid’s (ra) paternal Uncle. In Mecca, they arrived before the Holy Prophet (sa) and offered Fidya (expiation) in order to acquire the freedom of Hazrat Zaid (ra). The Holy Prophet (sa) called for Hazrat Zaid (ra) and sought his opinion regarding this matter. Hazrat Zaid (ra) refused to return home with his father and paternal uncle. Further details of this incidence have been explained by Hazrat Musleh-e-Mau’ud (ra).

The details of this particular incident are mentioned in Sirat Khatamun Nabiyyin. It states that when Zaid’s father and uncle came to take him, the Holy Prophet (sa) said to him: “If you wish to leave with them, I gladly give you permission to do so.” “I shall not leave you on any account,” answered Zaid, “to me, you are far dearer than my own uncle or father.” Zaid’s father responded with great anger and grief, “What? Do you give preference to a life of slavery over that of freedom?” “Yes,” responded Zaid, “for I have witnessed such virtues in him as now, I can give preference to none above him.”

When the Holy Prophet (sa) heard this response he immediately stood up and took Zaid to the Ka‘bah and announced in a loud voice, “O People! Remain witness that as of this day I free Zaid and make him my son. He shall be my heir and I shall be his.” When Zaid’s uncle and father observed this sight, they were astounded. They happily left Zaid with Muhammad (sa). Since then, Zaid bin Harithah became known as Zaid bin Muhammad. However, after the Ḥijrah, God revealed a commandment that it is unlawful to take an adopted child as an actual son. Upon this, Zaid was once again given his original name, Zaid bin Harithah. Nonetheless, the loving conduct of the ever-loyal Muhammad (sa) remained unaltered with this ever-sincere servant, rather, it increased day after day. After the demise of Zaid, the Holy Prophet (sa) extended the same graciousness and love to his son Usamah bin Zaid (ra). In addition to the honourable distinctions of Zaid (ra), one is that among all the companions of the Prophet (sa), only his name is specifically mentioned in the Holy Qur’an.”

With regards to Hazrat Jablah – the elder brother of Hazrat Zaid (ra) there is a narration. Hazrat Jablah – who was older than Zaid – was once asked who from among the two brothers was older? Hazrat Jablah replied, “Zaid is older than me, but I was born before him.” He meant that since Hazrat Zaid (ra) had accepted Islam before him, therefore he held a greater rank.

Hazrat Ali (ra) narrates, “Hazrat Zaid (ra) bin Harithah, who was the freed slave of the Holy Prophet (sa), was the first from among the men to accept the Holy Prophet (sa) and offered prayers.

When the Holy Prophet (sa) began the propagation of his mission, the first to believe was Ḥaḍrat Khadijah (ra), who did not hesitate, even for a moment. There is a discord among historians in reference to who the first convert among the men was after Ḥaḍrat Khadijah (ra). Some name Hazrat Abu Bakr Abdullah bin Abi Quhafah (ra) while others say Hazrat Ali (ra), whose age, at that time, was only ten years. Others assert that the freed slave of the Holy Prophet (sa), Hazrat Zaid bin Harithah (ra) was the first one to embrace Islam. However, to us, this argument is useless. Hazrat Ali (ra) and Zaid bin Ḥarithah (ra) were among the house-folk of the Holy Prophet (sa) and lived with him as his own children. They were to follow whatever was said by the Holy Prophet (sa), as a matter of fact, no verbal declaration was necessary. Thus, their names need not be included. Among the rest, Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) is unanimously accepted as the first and foremost in his acceptance of Islam.”

In other words, he was the first to accept Islam amongst those who were of a mature age. In fact, the standard of considering one intellectual and wise which is generally perceived today, even the children of those days were of this level, mashAllah. However, Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) was the first to accept Islam amongst those of a more experienced and mature age. The four individuals who accepted the Holy Prophet (sa) first were Ḥazrat Khadijah (ra), Hazrat Abu Bakr Abdullah bin Abi Quhafah (ra), Hazrat Ali (ra) and Hazrat Zaid bin Harithah (ra); they hold a lofty rank. In regards to this Hazrat Musleh Maud (ra) states,

“Hazrat Zaid (ra) accompanied the Holy Prophet (sa) during the journey to Taif. Taif is a city situated approximately 36 miles south east of Mecca. It is an area extremely rich and lush in its vegetation and raisins of a very high quality grow in that area and the people of the Thaqif tribe lived there. After the demise of Hazrat Abu Talib, the Quraish once again began to perpetrate cruelties against the Holy Prophet (sa). The Holy Prophet (sa) travelled to the area of Taif and was accompanied by Hazrat Zaid bin Harithah (ra). This took place in 10 Nabwi towards the end of the month of Shawal. The Holy Prophet (sa) stayed in Taif for up to ten days and during this time, he met all the leaders of Taif, but no one accepted his message. However, when they feared that perhaps the youth and the general public may accept the Holy Prophet’s (sa) message, they said, ‘O Muhammad [sa]! Leave our town and live in the area where your message has been accepted.’ Thereafter, they incited some of the mischievous youth of the area to go after and attack the Holy Prophet (sa), who began to pelt stones at the Holy Prophet (sa) and both his feet began to bleed profusely. Hazrat Zaid bin Harithah (ra) would try and put himself in front of the stones that were aimed at the Holy Prophet (sa) and sustained several wounds to his head.”

Further details from the life account of Hazrat Zaid (ra) shall continue to be narrated in the next sermon, inshAllah.