Men of Excellence
After reciting the Tashahhud, Ta’awwuz, and Surah Al-Fatihah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V (aba) stated:
In the previous sermon I was narrating incidents from the life of Hazrat ‘Utbah bin Ghazwan (ra), I will continue further details about him.
In 2 AH, the Holy Prophet (sa) sent an intelligence expedition to Nakhlah under the leadership of Hazrat ‘Abdullah bin Jahsh (ra). Hazrat ‘Utbah (ra) was also part of this expedition. I will mention some brief details of this expedition. The Holy Prophet (sa) sent a party of eight migrant companions from all different clans and gave their leader a sealed envelope to open and read for further instructions after having travelled for two days. When they had journeyed a distance of two days from Medina, ‘Abdullah (ra) opened the instructions of the Holy Prophet (sa) which commanded the party to seek intelligence about the Quraish and report back. Any companions not willing to continue with the mission was to be returned to Medina without any reservations. When asked, all the companions were happy to take part in the mission and this party proceeded to Nakhlah. Sa‘d bin Abi Waqqas (ra) and ‘Utbah bin Ghazwan (ra) lost their camels en-route, and were separated from their companions and the party was now left with only six people. They arrived at Nakhlah and became engaged in their work…” i.e. to seek information and intelligence about the movements and intentions of the disbelievers of Mecca, in case they planned an attack against the Muslims. They worked in secrecy but unfortunately came face to face with a party of Quraish, who could recognise them. They were very close to the outskirts of the Ḥaram and if the Quraish party was not dealt with there and then, they would have entered the Ḥaram on the following day, the sanctity of which was definite. Therefore, Muslims launched an attack, and as a result, one man of the disbelievers was killed, and two were taken captive. However, the fourth individual unfortunately escaped. Thereafter ‘Abdullah bin Jahsh (ra) and his companions swiftly returned to Makkah with the spoils to avoid any escalation. When the Holy Prophet (sa) found out that the Companions had attacked the caravan, he was extremely displeased. As such, it is narrated that when they presented themselves before the Holy Prophet (sa) and informed him of the entire account, the Holy Prophet (sa) was extremely displeased and refused to accept the spoils. Upon this, ‘Abdullah (ra) and his companions felt extreme remorse and shame. On the other hand, the Quraish also raised a huge hue and cry, that the Muslims had violated the sanctity of the Sacred Month and began to prepare for an attack upon Medina with even greater zeal and uproar. The Holy Prophet (sa) released both captives for a ransom.
Hazrat Utbah bin Ghazwan (ra) had the honour of participating alongside the Holy Prophet (sa) in the Battle of Badr and all the battles thereafter. Hazrat Utbah bin Ghazwan (ra) was among the elite archers of the Holy Prophet (sa). Hazrat Utbah (ra) passed away at the age of 57. He was tall and a handsome man.
The next companion who I will mention is Hazrat Sa’d (ra) bin Ubadah. Hazrat Sa’d (ra) bin Ubadah belonged to the tribe of Banu Saidah, which was a branch of the Khazraj tribe of the Ansar. His father’s name was Ubadah bin Zulaim. Hazrat Sa’d (ra) bin Ubadah was a leader of his people and extremely generous. He participated in all the battles and held the flag of the Ansar. Hazrat Sa’d (ra) bin Ubadah was honourable and among the leaders of his people in Medina and he was regarded for his leadership by his people. During the era of ignorance prior to the advent of Islam, Hazrat Sa’d (ra) bin Ubadah knew how to write in Arabic, even though very few people in that time could write. He was also very skilled in swimming and archery. Anyone who possessed these qualities would be known as “Kamil”. Hazrat Sa’d (ra) bin Ubadah accepted Islam during the second pledge at Aqabah.
The Second Pledge at Aqabah took place, as almost 70 people sought a meeting with the Holy Prophet (sa) in private for the reasons of security. The time of the meeting was set in the middle dates of the month of Dhul- near the middle of the night. For their security, the Holy Prophet (sa) ordered the Anṣar to arrive in pairs rather than groups and not to wake the sleeping and not to wait for the absent. Therefore, when the appointed date arrived, during the night, when about a third of the night had passed, the Holy Prophet (sa) left his home. He took his uncle ‘Abbas along with him, who was still an idolater, but loved the Holy Prophet (sa) and was a chieftain of the Hashim dynasty. To the gathered group, the Holy Prophet (sa) recited a few verses from the Holy Qur’an and described the teachings of Islam in a brief address and took an oath of allegiance. This is called ‘The Second Bai‘at at ‘Aqabah’.The Holy Prophet (sa) appointed twelve leaders of this party. A member of the Quraish, who was hiding listening to all this, called out some derogatory remarks about the Holy Prophet (sa). This voice startled everyone but the Holy Prophet (sa) remained completely calm and advised Muslims to leave in pairs. The Quraish followed the party of captured Sa‘d bin ‘Ubadah (as), who was assaulted on the stony streets of Makkah. They dragged him here and there by the hair on his head. Finally, when Jabir bin Muṭ‘im and Ḥarith bin Ḥarb who knew Sa‘d, received news of this, they saved him from the cruel Quraish.”
There are further incidents relating to Hazrat Sa’d bin Ubadah (ra) which will be narrated in future sermons, God Willing.