Men of Excellence : Hazrat Umar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb (ra)
After reciting Tashahhud, Ta‘awwuz, and Surah al-Fatihah, His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad(aba) said that he would continue highlighting incidents from the life of Hazrat Umar(ra).
The Battle of Buwaib
His Holiness(aba) said that another battle which took place during the era of Hazrat Umar(ra) was the Battle of Buwaib, which also took place at Jisr. Buwaib is a river near Kufa. This battle was fought during the month of Ramadan. Kufa was later inhabited after this battle. As was the case with the previous battle, a bridge needed to be crossed. Whilst deciding which side would cross, Hazrat Umar(ra) told the opposing side that they should cross, as the last time it was the Muslims who crossed the bridge. As the ranks were preparing, Hazrat Musanna‘(ra) rode and inspected the ranks, and advised them regarding the battle. A fierce battle ensued, in which it is recorded that 100,000 Persians were killed in defeat. As the remaining Persians were retreating to the bridge, Hazrat Musanna‘(ra) followed them and broke the bridge. Later Hazrat Musanna‘(ra) would express regret for having gone after those who were already retreating and no longer prepared to fight. These were the morals with which Muslims would even go to battle.
His Holiness(aba) said that a short distance away from the battlefield at a place named Qawadis was a camp for the wives and children of those taking part in battle. After the battle, as some Muslims rode back to the camp, the women thought that these were soldiers from the opposing side. Thus they surrounded the children and began pelting stones at them, until they realised that they were Muslims. One of the Muslim soldiers expressed that nothing less would have been expected of the brave Muslim women.
The Battle of Qadisiyyah
His Holiness(aba) said that there was also the Battle of Qadisiyyah. Qadisiyyah is located in current-day Iraq. This was a decisive battle as a result of which, the Persian rule fell to the Muslims. Upon seeing the victories of the Muslims, the Persians began fortifying their palaces and fortresses. Hazrat Umar(ra) instructed that the leaders and chieftains should gather and fight this battle against the Persians. Hazrat Umar(ra) consulted with some elders regarding whether he should accompany the army, and many agreed that he should go and even command the army. However, there were those such as Hazrat Abdur Rahman bin Auf(ra) who said that Hazrat Umar(ra) should not go. Later, Hazrat Umar(ra) held a general gathering, where he said that though he wished to accompany the army, he had been advised against this, and then sought someone who should lead and command the army. Upon recommendation, Hazrat Umar(ra) appointed Hazrat Sa‘d bin Abi Waqas(ra).
His Holiness(aba) said that before sending the army off, Hazrat Umar(ra) gave Hazrat Sa‘d detailed guidance and instructions as to how to tactically carry out this journey and battle. Hazrat Umar(ra) sent four thousand men alongside Hazrat Sa‘d(ra) from Madinah, and on the way to Iran, Muslims began joining the army, and upon arrival, the Muslims army numbered 30,000. The importance of this battle can be understood from the fact that there were 99 companions of the Holy Prophet(sa) who were part of the army.
His Holiness(aba) said that during the journey and battle, Hazrat Umar(ra) would communicate with Hazrat Sa‘d through letters and would ask for updates and developments so that he could properly advise. In fact, he instructed Hazrat Sa‘d(ra) to write to him in such detail, that he would be able to visualise everything that was happening.
His Holiness(aba) said that 14 men were chosen to go to the palace of Yazdegerd in order to invite him to Islam. Upon this, Yazdegard vehemently refused and sent back a basket of dirt with them. The Iranian army, under the command of Rustam, encamped in Qadisiyyah. Rustam asked that a Muslims representative should be sent to him in order to negotiate. Hazrat Ribi was sent to Rustam and he stipulated three options; the first was that he should accept Islam, or he should give tax, and third was that if the Persians initiated an attack, then a battle would ensue. Later, other Muslim representatives went to Rustam, all presenting the same three options. After having met all the representatives, Rustam said that he and his army would destroy the Muslims.
Victory of the Muslims Over the Persians
Thus, a battle would take place. The battle had continued for three days, and on the third night, the Muslims stayed awake, planning their course of attack for the next day, and fought with great valour. On this day, Rustam was killed in battle, upon hearing which, the Persians lost hope and began to retreat.
His Holiness(aba) said that there were some Persians who had prior agreements with Muslims, and so a consultation was held as to what should be done with them. It was decided that if there were Persians who had prior agreements with Muslims and did not join in the battle, then their agreements should be honoured. Similarly, those who did not join in battle, or those who were forced and coerced into joining the battle, then they too would be treated with leniency. Those who had prior agreements but broke them and joined in the battle against Muslims, they were invited to make new agreements, and they were allowed to re-inhabit their lands, at a heightened rate of tax.
His Holiness(aba) said that he would continue highlighting incidents from the life of Hazrat Umar(ra) in future sermons.
Summary prepared by The Review of Religions.