Men of Excellence
After reciting the Tashahhud, Ta‘awwuz, and Surah Al-Fatihah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V (aba) continued his series of sermons on the lives of the Badri companions of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa).
In today’s sermon, His Holiness (aba) narrated accounts in the life of Hazrat Khabbab bin al-Arat (ra) who belonged to the Sa’d bin Zaid tribe. His father’s name was Arat bin Jandalah. According to some, his title was Abu Abdullah, and others are of the opinion that it was either Abu Muhammad or Abu Yahya.
His Holiness (aba) mentioned that in the era of Jahiliyyat [ignorance] Hazrat Khabbab was made a slave. He was the sixth person to accept Islam and was severely persecuted and tortured for openly doing so.
Hazrat Khabbab (ra) was a blacksmith and when his master found out that the Holy Prophet (sa) would meet him, burning coals from his own furnace were placed on the back of Hazrat Khabbab (ra). In another narration, it is mentioned that he was thrown in a fire and forced to lay in the sizzling coal. During the caliphate of Hazrat Umar (ra), he was shown the scars of Hazrat Khabbab (ra), and said that he had never seen such a back as it was completely white with marks of the injuries.
Whilst mentioning how Hazrat Umar (ra) accepted Islam, His Holiness (aba) states that he was on his way to try to kill the Holy Prophet (sa) when Hazrat Umar was told that his sister and brother-in-law had also accepted Islam. When he went to her house, he later heard Hazrat Khabbab (ra) reciting the Holy Qur’an. Having listened to this, he then proceeded to accept Islam.
His Holiness (aba) mentions that after suffering so much at the hands of the slave-owners, they earned so much respect and a lofty status. Hence, during the caliphate of Hazrat Umar (ra), whenever these Muslims such as Hazrat Khabbab (ra) and Hazrat Bilal (ra) etc. would attend a sitting, Hazrat Umar (ra) would instruct that they be sat right at the front, and the children of those chieftains who previously persecuted them, that were sat at the front were ordered to sit further back until they eventually reached near the shoes. They were very disturbed by the sight of the once-slaves being brought forward one after the other in their place. Hazrat Umar (ra) explained that even though they were slaves, they were very much honoured by the Holy Prophet (sa) and so deserve the highest respect from me also.
Hazrat Khabbab (ra) took part in the battles of Badr, Uhud, Khandaq and all other battles alongside the Holy Prophet (sa). Hazrat Khabbab (ra) passed away in 37 A.H. at the age of 73. Once, whilst passing by his grave, Hazrat Ali (ra) prayed for him especially.
Summary prepared by The Review of Religions.