Men of Excellence
While mentioning the status of the Companions (ra), the Promised Messiah (as) stated at one occasion that, “The revered Companions, may Allah be pleased with all of them, are a clear proof of the character of the Holy Prophet (sa…Thus, only that person can truly respect the Holy Prophet (sa), who respects his revered companions. One who does not esteem the revered Companions, he can never ever truly esteem the Holy Prophet (sa).’ Now, I will narrate some accounts of some of the Companions.
Abu Dujana Ansari was a Companion. He accepted Islam, before the migration of the Holy Prophet (sa) to Medina. He was a resident of Medina. He also had the honour of participating in the Battle of Badr along with the Holy Prophet (sa) and he exhibited the virtue of most excellent bravery. Likewise, he also had the opportunity to participate the in Battle of Uhud. After the turning point during the battle – that is, when the Muslims were first gaining a victory and then the battle took a turn, because the disbelievers attacked again due to the designated place being abandoned and thus the battle turned against the Muslims – among those Companions, who remained the closest to the Holy Prophet (sa) at that time was also Hazrat Abu Dujana (ra). And he sustained many wounds, while defending the Holy Prophet (sa). However, he did not retreat despite those wounds.
When the Holy Prophet (sa), at one occasion, raised his sword and asked, “Who will put this sword to its rightful use, today?” It was Hazrat Abu Dujana Ansari, who came forward upon hearing this. He said that I promise to fulfill the right of this sword. The Holy Prophet (sa), seeing his passion, handed his sword over to him. Then, he gathered the courage once again and asked, “O Messenger of Allah (sa)! How shall the right of this sword be fulfilled?” The Holy Prophet (sa) replied that this sword shall not cause the bloodshed of any Muslim, secondly, the enemy from among the disbeliever shall not escape from it and it is only to be used against those enemies from among the disbelievers who seek to wage war against the Muslims. Hazrat Abu Dujana (ra) was martyred whilst fighting Musayilimah Kazzab during the battle of Yamama. Once when he was ill, he said to his companion that perhaps Allah the Exalted will accept two deeds of mine. Firstly, that I do not indulge in any vain discourse, nor speak behind anyone’s back. Secondly, I do not hold any grudge or malice in my heart against another Muslim.
Then, we find the mention of Hazrat Muhammad Maslamah (ra). Muhammad bin Maslamah (ra) also took part in the battle of Uhud and remained by the side of the Holy Prophet (sa) with great resolve and steadfastness. One of his distinctions was that a prophecy of the Holy Prophet (sa) was fulfilled in his person. On one occasion, whilst handing him his sword, the Holy Prophet (sa) said that as long as you fight the idolaters, you should continue to fight them with this sword. However, when the time comes when Muslims start fighting with one another, you should break this sword and stay at home until someone attacks your or death overcomes you. He acted in accordance with this guidance and he did so following the martyrdom of Hazrat ‘Uthman, may Allah be pleased with him. In order to safeguard himself from the disorder at that time, he went into isolation and used to say that until the disorder is not resolved, I intend to spend my life in isolation.
Today, we observe that the internal disputes between Muslims have exceeded all bounds. Furthermore, another prophecy of the Holy Prophet (sa) has been fulfilled that following an era of darkness, when the time of light approaches, when the time of the Promised Messiah dawns, you should accept the Promised Messiah and join his community, as all blessings lie in this.
One of the very early companions was Hazrat Abu Ayyub Ansari (ra). He was fortunate to have received the honour of hosting and receiving the Holy Prophet (sa) during the initial days of his time in Medina. The house had two floors. Abu Ayyub Ansari (ra) stayed in the upper floor and the lower floor was presented to the Holy Prophet (sa). Abu Ayyub Ansari (ra) was on the upper floor one night, when a vessel or pot of water broke. Abu Ayyub Ansari (ra)and his wife spent the entire night drying it with their covers. The following day, he related the incident that transpired the previous night to the Holy Prophet (sa) and requested the Holy Prophet (sa) to stay on the upper floor. The Holy Prophet (sa) accepted his requested and stayed with him for approximately six or seven months. He tried his level best to fulfil his duties and responsibilities of hospitality. Hazrat Abu Ayyub Ansari (ra) participated in all the battles in which the Holy Prophet (sa) was also present. During the Battle of Khaibar the Jewish leader was killed. When his daughter, Hazrat Safiyya was married to Holy Prophet (sa), the morning after, when the Holy Prophet (sa) came outside to lead the prayers he saw Abu Ayyub Ansari (ra) stood watching guard. The Holy Prophet (sa) then prayed for him in the following manner, “O Lord! Keep Abu Ayyub always under Your protection just as he readily stayed the whole night protecting me!” Hazrat Abu Ayyub Ansari (ra)also participated in the battle of Rome despite his old age. He only participated in order to witness (the fulfilment of) the prophecy of the Holy Prophet (sa) regarding Constantinople. Nevertheless he also fell ill in that duration. When he was asked as to what his final wishes were his reply was to convey his greetings to every Muslim and for his grave to be as far as possible within the land of the enemy. Henceforth, after his demise during the night his coffin was taken to the furthest possible point in the land of the enemy where he was buried. Even today his grave is present in Turkey and it is said that whatever one prays for at his grave, those prayers are accepted.
Then we have the companion of the Holy Prophet (sa), Abdullah bin Rawahah (ra) who was a renowned poet of Arabia and was also known by his title of the Poet of the Messenger (sa). After the battle of Badr had ended he was the one who delivered the message of victory to the people of Medina. Once the Holy Prophet (sa) was challenged by Abdullah Bin Ubayy ( a strong hypocrite) after he preached the message of Islam openly, he said, ” So return to where you came from and tell this message to only those who come to you”. Hazrat Abdullah bin Rawaha (ra) h , who was also sat there said ‘O Messenger of Allah! You may come to our gatherings, we would very much love this. This was the sense of honour and love which Abdullah bin Rawahah (ra) overwhelmingly expressed for the Holy Prophet (sa) and did not care one bit for the chiefs.
There is one account in which ‘Urwah bin Zubair narrates that the Holy Prophet (sa) appointed Zaid bin Haritha (ra) as the army commander. He stated that if Hazrat Zaid (ra) is martyred then Hazrat Ja’far bin Abi Talib (ra) will be the commander. If he too is martyred, then Hazrat Abdullah bin Rawahah (ra) will assume control. If Abdullah (ra) too is martyred, then the Muslims should appoint whoever they desire as commander. When the time came to see off the army Hazrat Abdullah bin Rawahah said that by God I have absolutely no love nor any desire for the world. However, I heard the Holy Prophet (sa) speaking with regards to the Quranic verse: ‘And there is not one of you but will come to it. This is a fixed decree with thy Lord.’ Saying that every man must face the fire once. Hence, after having treaded this delicate path i.e. the day of reckoning, I do not know what my state will be. During the battle of Mota the Holy Prophet (sa) said regarding the army commanders that I have seen them in paradise seated on thrones of gold. Thus, these were the people who fulfilled their objectives.
Hazarat ‘Abdullah bin Rawahah (ra) demonstrated great gems of sacrifice in the battlefield. After the martyrdom of Hazrat Zaid (ra) and Hazrat Ja’far (ra), Hazarat ‘Abdullah bin Rawahah (ra) came to the front lines. A spear struck him, and a stream of blood gushed forth. He raised his hands and caught this blood and rubbed it on his face and fell down in the middle of the army lines of the enemy and the Muslims. However, he continued to encourage the Muslims as their army general until his last breath. While motivating the Muslims in a very effective and passionate manner he sought their help and said: “Look O Muslims! Your brother’s body is lying in front of the enemy. Come forward and push the enemy away from this path and drive them out.” Hence, the Muslims fiercely attacked the enemies at that moment and continued to do so recurrently. In this manner, Hazrat ‘Abdullah also attained martyrdom.
His widow shared one of his great attributes. She said: “Hazarat ‘Abdullah bin Rawahah (ra) would never leave the house without offering two raka’at (units) of voluntary prayers. Similarly, the very first thing he would do after entering the house was, after performing ablution he would offer two raka’at (units) of voluntary prayers.” These were the people who would remember Allah Almighty in every condition and at every moment. There is a narration about his standard of obedience. Hazrat Abu Lailah (ra) narrates: “Once the Holy Prophet (sa) was delivering a sermon during which he said: ‘People should sit down.’ Hazarat ‘Abdullah bin Rawahah (ra) was about to enter the mosque to listen to the sermon but he sat right then and there. The Holy Prophet (sa) addressed him and stated: “‘O ‘Abdullah bin Rawahah! May Allah increase your passion of obeying Allah and His Messenger.'”
What were their standards of organizing religious gatherings, engaging in purposeful conversations, fulfilling the due rights of each other? Abdullah bin Rawahah (ra) used t say to Hazrat Abu Dardaa’ (ra) ‘O Abu Dardaa! Let go and sit down together to reinvigorate our faith. Let’s talk about faith.’ The Holy Prophet (sa) said about these gatherings: ‘May Allah have mercy on ‘Abdullah bin Rawahah (ra). He is fond of such gatherings which the angels also take pride in.”
Then from history we learn about the remarkable bravery and courage of two young brothers; Hazrat Ma’az bin Harith bin Rifa’atah and Hazrat Mu’aviz bin Harith bin Rifa’atah. They were present during the Battle of Badr and also were responsible for killing Abu Jahl. In the Battle of Badr, the fighting was intense. The Muslims saw an army in front of them that outnumbered them by three to one and was fully equipped with all forms of weaponry. They entered the battlefield with intent to wipe out the name of Islam. The feeble Muslims were fewer in number. With respect to their basic provisions (and weaponry) they should not have survived more than a few minutes. However, they were so focused with the task at hand and the love of the Oneness of God and for their Prophet had made them so bold that nothing in this world could have made them any stronger. It was their thriving faith that granted them extraordinary strength. In that battlefield they set an example of serving one’s faith, the likes of which was had not been witnessed before. Abdur Rahman bin Auf (ra) relates: “When the fighting began, I looked to my left and right and saw none other than two youths from among the Ansar. When I saw them my heart sank, since it was normal practice in battle to rely on the fighters to the left and right. I was engulfed in the thought as to how these two (youths) can protect me, when one of the youths whispered in a manner as to conceal from the other (youth) ‘Sir! Who is Abu Jahl; the one who would cause pain to the Holy Prophet (sa) in Makkah?’ The youth then said: ‘I have made a pledge with God Almighty that I will kill him’ or he said: ‘I will die trying to achieve this’. Abdur Rahman says: “I had not yet answered when the other youth quietly asked me the same question. The level of their bravery took me aback since Abu Jahl was essentially the General of their army and was surrounded by experienced fighters. I pointed to Abu Jahl.” Abdur Rahman further says: “As soon as I pointed towards him, the two youths darted like an eagle, cutting up the enemy lines until they reached that very spot and attacked Abu Jahl with such speed that his other commanders were left stunned and Abu Jahl fell to the floor.”
Thus, these young boys had honour for their faith. It was the deep love for the Holy Prophet (sa) that had made them fearless in that they wished to finish off that enemy of Islam. They were not like the so-called Jihadists who radicalise youths and say to them to fight for Islam. Rather, they had a purpose; that since the enemy do not permit them to live in peace even after they had migrated; in that instance they were prepared to offer every sacrifice to establish peace and to stop injustices. These days, in order to overthrow governments, youths are kidnapped and then radicalised. In those days, if wars were carried out in the name of Islam and people readily sacrificed their lives, then it was only carried out to safeguard religion and to establish peace in the world. Therefore, there is a colossal difference between those who carried out Jihad and the Jihadis of today.
The Promised Messiah (as) states about companions: “in essence, it is our duty to remain in search for attaining God Almighty’s pleasure and consider this to be our ultimate objective. All our efforts and struggles should be to seek the pleasure of God Almighty, even if it be by experiencing difficulties and hardships. The pleasure of God Almighty is better and far superior than the world and all its desires.”
May God Almighty enable us to achieve this.
After the Friday prayers, I will lead a funeral prayer in absentia of respected Al-Haaj Ismail BK Addo Sahib. He was a Ghanaian Ahmadi and passed away on 8th March at the age of 84. Surely to Allah we belong and to Him shall we return. He was a renowned politician, who gave up his political career to be near the Khilafat e Ahmadiyya in London. He was a born Ahmadi. His father was a Christian and took the Bai’at in 1928 and entered the Jama’at. He worked as a teacher here while in the UK. He had a deep love for Khilafat and demonstrated great love, affection and obedience to every Khalifa. A committee was once formed by Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IV (rh) to compile a book in order to respond to Salman Rushdie and he was also appointed as a member of this committee. He also played an outstanding role in the field of Tabligh, preaching. In 1986, when Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IV (rh) established the PAN African association, he was appointed as its first president. He was also elected as the first president of the Peckham jama’at. In 1994, after the inauguration of MTA, he was one of the prominent students of the Urdu Class programme. He tried his utmost in trying to learn Urdu and was famously known as “Bara Bacha”. He was the Ghanaian man that everyone knew. He had two wives. The members of his family have mentioned that he was very regular in offering the Tahajjud (predawn voluntary) prayer and he would not miss it even if he was ill. He would recite the Holy Quran in a very melodious tone and with great passion. In 2005 he had the opportunity to do the Hajj with both of his wives. He was a very joyful and simple person. May God Almighty elevate his status and grant him His forgiveness and mercy.