Friday Sermon: Men of Excellence

August 30th, 2019

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

In continuation of the accounts of the Badri companions [those companions who took part in the Battle of Badr] the first companion that I will mention today is Hazrat Utbah (ra) bin Mas’ood Huzali. The title of Hazrat Utbah (ra) bin Mas’ood Huzali was Abu Abdullah. He belonged to the tribe of Banu Makhzoom. Hazrat Utbah (ra) bin Mas’ood was a confederate of the tribe of Banu Zuhrah. His father was Mas’ood bin Ghafil and his mother’s name was Ummi ‘Abd bint Abdi Wudd. Hazrat Abdullah (ra) bin Mas’ood was his brother. He was also among the first converts to Islam in Mecca. He was among those who participated in the second migration to Abyssinia. Hazrat Utbah (ra) bin Mas’ood was among the Ashab-e-Suffah.

Explaining Ashab-e-Suffah, Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad (ra) explains that they were a group of devoted, destitute, homeless, Muhajir (immigrant) Muslims who lived a corner of the Prophet’s Mosque. They spent their lives in the company of the Holy Prophet (sa) day and night, performing worship, and reciting the Holy Qur’an. These people possessed no means of permanent subsistence. The Holy Prophet (sa) would take care of them personally and whenever the Holy Prophet (sa) would receive a gift, etc., or there was something available at home, he would especially separate their share. As a matter of fact, at times, the Holy Prophet (sa) would himself starve and send whatever was in his home to the Ashab-e-Suffah. The Ansar would also remain engaged in their hospitality in as much as possible, despite all this, they lived in a state of adversity and had to starve frequently. This state continued for many years until some found work, due to the expansion of Medina, and others began receiving support from the National Baitul-Mal. In short, these Ahl-e-Suffah were astonishingly devoted people. They spent their days and nights in worship as well as learning and teaching the Holy Quran, therefore, most of them were called Qaris [people who recite the Qur’an]. A Mu’allim [religious teacher] had been appointed for them. They were sent to various places to spread the message of Islam. Later on, many of these companions were appointed to many important offices meaning that the Ashab-e-Suffah did not continue to remain sat there, in fact they were appointed to important offices. Hence, Hazrat Abu Huraira (ra) served as the governor of Bahrain and Medina. Hazrat Sa’d (ra) bin Abi Waqqas served as the governor of Basra and he laid the foundation of the city of Kufa. Hazrat Salman Farsi (ra) served as the governor of Mada’in. Hazrat ‘Ammar (ra) bin Yasir also served as the governor of Kufa. Hazrat Ubadah (ra) bin Jarah served as the governor of Palestine. Hazrat Anas (ra) bin Malik served as the governor of Medina. Hazrat Zaid (ra) bin Thabit was appointed the supreme judge during the Khilafat of Hazrat Umar (ra).

The Holy Prophet (sa) stated about the Ashab-e-Suffah, ‘There are Glad tidings for this group of poor Muhajireen! For on the Day of Judgment, you shall enter paradise with a perfect spiritual light half a day before the wealthy people and this half of a day is equivalent to 500 years.’

The Promised Messiah (as) states, “The people of Suffa in time of the Holy Prophet (sa), were extremely honorable and firm in their faith. Their example of sincerity and devotion is a model [for everyone to follow]. Allah the Almighty has also revealed to me that He shall also grant me individuals like them.”

Hazrat Utbah bin Mas’ood passed away in 23AH during the Khilafat of Hazrat Umar (ra) bin Khattab and subsequently, Hazrat Umar (ra) led his funeral prayer.

The next companion that I will mention is Hazrat Ubadah (ra) bin Samit, who was an Ansari Companion. Hazrat Ubadah bin Samit’s fathers name was Samit bin Qais and his mother’s name was Qurratul Ain bint Ubadah. Hazrat Ubadah was present during the first and second pledge at Aqabah. He was the leader of the Banu Auf bin Khazraj clan of the Khazraj tribe of the Ansar. Hazrat Ubadah (ra) took part in all the battles alongside the Holy Prophet (sa) including the battles of Badr, Uhud and Khandaq. Hazrat Ubadah (ra) passed away in Ramla, Palestine, in 34AH. He was a brave and valiant soldier. He and his companions had many conquests and he was the group of five people who collated the Holy Quran during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet (sa).

There are many more details and narrations in relation to Hazat Ubadah (ra) which I will inshAllah continue to share in the next Friday Sermon as they are quite lengthy and require more time.

I will now mention about a deceased and will also be leading his funeral prayer – the funeral is present here. The funeral is of respected Tahir Arif Sahib, who passed away in the UK on 26th August after enduring a very difficult and testing illness – “Surely to Allah we belong and to him shall we return.”

He was suffering from cancer and endured this illness with great patience and steadfastness. He initially worked as a government official and served at a very high post. However, after his retirement, I appointed him as the President of the Fazl-e-Umar Foundation a few years back. Thus, these days he was serving as the President of the Fazl-e-Umar Foundation and rendering his services for the Jama’at. Respected Tahir Arif Sahib was born on 13th February 1952. His family was originally from Sialkot, however they later moved to Sargodha. Respected Tahir Arif Sahib’s father, respected Chaudhry Muhammad Yaar Arif Sahib, was a missionary of the community. His father had the opportunity to serve in the UK as a missionary and served as the Deputy Imam of the London Mosque and also as the Naib Wakil-ul-Tabshir in Tehrik-e-Jadid, Rabwah. Maulana Muhammad Yaar Arif was an excellent debater and considered among the top scholars of the Jama’at.

Tahir Arif Sahib was a very intellectual person and had a great passion for learning. He was a very experienced writer and also a poet. He authored several books and two books containing a collection of his poems are widely popular; one in the Urdu language and the other in Punjabi. In addition, there are two other notable books, the first is in English on the life of the Holy Prophet (sa) and the other book is about Pakistan, titled, “Pakistan Manzal Ba Manzal”. He attained an MA in Economics from the Punjab University and also did his LLB as well from there. Thereafter to further pursue higher studies, he came to the UK. He acquired his LLM from the London School of Economics and by the grace of God Almighty, he had the honour of attaining a Mark of Honour from the London University. After completing his education in London, he returned to Pakistan and passed the CSS and began working as a civil servant for Pakistan. By the grace of Allah the Almighty, he continued to progress in this field and reached the post of Inspector General of the Police. To attain this position even after the laws had been enacted against Ahmadis in Pakistan, indeed testifies to his extraordinary abilities. Apart from serving in Pakistan’s police department, he was also appointed in the FIA [Federal Investigation Agency] and in the Immigration Intelligence Bureau. When he was living in the UK in order to seek education, upon the instruction of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IV (rh) he also had the opportunity to assist Chaudhry Rashid Sahib, who authored several books for children in English. He assisted him greatly in this work.

By the grace of Allah the Almighty, he had a great passion to read the books of the Promised Messiah (as), and there would always be a book of the Promised Messiah (as) which he would keep as part of his regular reading. However, he did not merely just read the books, but would also take notes and would then discuss the subject matter with his friends and colleagues. He regularly recited the Holy Qur’an and would ponder deeply over its meanings. Although no one from among his relatives have written this but once during the course of a conversation with him, I found out that he was very regular in waking up for the Tahajjud prayer.  Wherever he stayed during the years of his employment in Pakistan, he was always ready and willing to serve the Jama’at. He was an extremely courageous person and as I mentioned that by the grace of Allah the Almighty, he was extremely well-read, in both religious and secular studies, and was very intelligent. He greatly benefited from this knowledge and would share his thoughts in matters related to the Jama’at which would be extremely beneficial. He was a person who possessed very sound opinion and thought.

He had a great sense of honour for Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya and was a very sincere and courageous Ahmadi. All his life, he strived to remain as a Sultan-e-Naseer [a great helper] of Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya and serve the Jama’at with utmost loyalty. I have seen that God Almighty, out of His grace, enabled him to succeed in this effort. He was also my class fellow and I knew him from my days of college. By the grace of Allah the Almighty, he had a passion for knowledge even then and was also a very skilful debater and would take part in the debates held in college. I had noticed that even at that time he had a lot of religious knowledge. Another quality of his which is worthy of mention is that he had great love and respect for those who served the Jama’at and the life devotees. Moreover, he would always be ready and willing to help Ahamdis who had a genuine need. He held a very high post, therefore he tried to help other Ahmadis, who genuinely were in need, as much as he could.

His service for the Fazl-e-Umar Foundation started in 2014 when I appointed him as its director. After the demise of Chaudhry Hameed Nasrullah Khan Sahib in 2017, who was then serving as the President of the Fazl-e-Umar Foundation, I appointed Tahir Arif Sahib as its new President. As I mentioned, by the grace of God Almighty, he continued to serve in this capacity till his demise. Prior to coming to the UK for his treatment, around 3-4 months ago, he continued to fulfil his duties for the Fazl-e-Umar Foundation with great effort. He would attend all the meetings and take great interest and during his tenure, a lot of progress was made.

He leaves behind his wife, Anisa Tahir Sahiba and a son, Asfandyaar Arif Sahib and three daughters, Tayyiba Arif, Aziza Aauj and Binaa Tahir Arif. Two of his daughters are married and one of his daughters and son are not married yet.

He counted that great honours of his life were that he was an Ahmadi and a class fellow of the Khalifa of the time which he said was a great honour for him. During student life, one can become quite informal with one another and also exchange light hearted comments amongst each other, however when Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IV (rh) appointed me as Nazir-e-A’la, he showed me great respect and courtesy and after I became Khalifa, his level of sincerity and loyalty increased even greater than before by the grace of Allah the Almighty.

May Allah the Almighty grant him His forgiveness and mercy and elevate his station. May He also enable his progeny to also remain attached with the Jama’at and Khilafat whilst displaying perfect loyalty. Many of his relatives and friends have written various accounts about him and they all mention the fact that by the grace of Allah the Almighty, he was extremely humble and a scholarly person.

After the Friday prayers, I shall lead his funeral prayer. The funeral is present here, therefore after the prayers, I will inshAllah go out and lead his funeral prayer and you all are requested to form the rows for the prayer inside the mosque.