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 Gundeshapur
His Holiness(aba) said that one of the battles fought in the time of Hazrat Umar was the Battle of Gundeshapur. This took place in the city of Khuzestan. Battle ensued for some time and both parties persisted in the fight. During this battle one Muslim decided to present a token of peace. So when they saw him, they opened the gates to the ramparts. Straight away the people rushed out having thought that they had been granted security, saying that they will accept to pay the jizyah [tax] and in return they will be granted peace. Having learnt that it was not in fact from the Muslims, and when Hazrat Umar(ra) was made aware of this, he said that Allah Almighty has given great importance to fulfilling one’s pledges, thus, this agreement must be honoured. In this way, this battle came to an end and the Muslim army returned.
The Conquest of Iran
In relation to the conquest of Iran and the motives behind it, His Holiness(aba) said that it was the desire of Hazrat Umar(ra) to put an end to fighting between Iraq and Ahwaz, a place in Iran. Many a time he would express his wish for there to be some sort of barrier between the two to prevent movement in both directions. However, this was not possible due to the regular attacks from the side of the Iranians. In 17 AH, a Muslim delegation from the army came before Hazrat Umar(ra). He asked them why there continued to be violations of the agreements in conquered lands. He said this with the thought that perhaps the Muslims had become a source of trouble for the people there. The delegation replied by saying that this was not the case and the Muslims are fulfilling their oaths. Ahnaf bin Qais of this delegation then said, ‘you have forbidden us to take any further military steps and to remain here. However, the king of Iran still lives and the Iranians continue to combat us. It cannot be that there are two governments coexisting in one place.’ This in fact is proof that the Muslims never conquered lands just to cause warfare, they would merely retaliate to the fighting brought to them from their adversaries.
The Battle of Nahavand
It was only in 21 AH that Hazrat Umar(ra) decided to take action when a large army of the Iranians had assembled and this is when the Battle of Nahavand, also known as the victory of all victories, took place. Having suffered two terrible defeats, the Iranians made a final attempt to gain victory. Nahavand was a city surrounded by mountains. Hazrat Sa’d(ra) informed Hazrat Umar(ra) of the great army being assembled, and thus Hazrat Ammar bin Yasir(ra) was appointed to govern over the matter. During one consultation, Hazrat Umar(ra) stood and delivered a powerful speech and thereafter, the Muslims answered that they were prepared to do whatever he decided; be it remain in Madinah, or go and fight. Hazrat Uthman(ra) advised that he also go to the frontline to fight. Hazrat Umar(ra) sought further counsel. Hazrat Ali(ra) said that the armies should be split into three, so that Madinah may also be protected. In the end, Hazrat Umar(ra) decided that it was appropriate for someone else to be sent, and thus appointed Hazrat Nu’man bin Muqarrin(ra) for this great task.
After Hazrat Nu’man bin Muqarrin(ra) had departed there, he received a letter from Hazrat Umar(ra) to advance with the Muslims. In this letter, he also mentioned who would deputise, should Hazrat Nu’man bin Muqarrin(ra) be martyred. With regards to the Iranian army, historians have written that it was 60,000 strong, or even 100,000. But according to Sahih Bukhari, it was 40,000. When both parties came face to face, the Iranians used foul words against the Muslims, threatening to destroy them completely, and thus both parties prepared for battle. Due to being in their fortresses and by using their ditches, the Iranians would only pick certain times to come out to fight before returning once again, whilst the Muslims were in an open field. One companion made a suggestion whereby the Iranians would think that the Muslims were retreating and perhaps open their gates to chase after them. This is exactly what happened and Hazrat Nu’man bin Muqarrin(ra) made such a powerful speech to the Muslims that left them in tears before they launched an attack upon the enemy. So much blood was shed that even the horses would slip. Hazrat Nu’man bin Muqarrin(ra) also fell from his horse and was martyred. The fighting lasted the entire day, and by night time the Muslims had attained victory over the city.
When Hazrat Umar(ra) received news of this he expressed his gratitude to God Almighty. Then, when told of the Muslims who had been martyred, he wept and prayed for each of them, before saying that God Almighty had granted them the honour of martyrdom in the way of Allah.
His Holiness(aba) said that Hazrat Umar(ra) was told that as long as the Iranians are in power in certain lands, they would continue to cause the same troubles. So Hazrat Umar(ra) granted permission to the Muslims to set out to these lands and bring it to an end once and for all.
The Conquests of Isfahan and Hamedan
Hazrat Umar(ra) handed the banner to Hazrat Abdullah bin Abdillah(ra) for the conquest of Isfahan. He was told to depart for Isfahan, where they were met with an army. After a fierce battle ensued, the enemy retreated. The Muslims advanced and surrounded the city which was then surrendered to the Muslims.
His Holiness(aba) mentioned that Hamedan was also conquered after the battle of Nahavand. But the pact was broken by the Iranians and an army had been put together to combat the Muslims. Hazrat Umar(ra) instructed that a Muslim army be assembled to combat them, and having fought them in battle, the Muslims regained victory over the city.
His Holiness(aba) said that he shall continue to mention further battles in future sermons.
His Holiness(aba) then mentioned some deceased and said that he would lead their funeral prayers.
Muhammad Diyantono Sahib of Indonesia, who passed away on 15 July at the age of 47. ‘Verily to Allah we belong and to Him shall we return.’ He was not born a Muslim but enjoyed going to the mosque and learning about Islam. After accepting Ahmadiyyat, he studied in Jamia and graduated in 2002. Through his preaching, many people had the honour of accepting Ahmadiyyat. He faced much opposition during his time as a missionary. His Holiness(aba) prayed that Allah elevates him in his rank and enable his children to continue his good deeds.
Sahibzada Farhan Latif Sahib of Chicago, who was the great-grandson of Hazrat Sahibzada Abdul Latif Shaheed Sahib(ra). He was always ready to render his services. He is survived by three children and his parents. He was 45 years of age at the time of his demise. His Holiness(aba) prayed that Allah Almighty grant him mercy and forgiveness and enable his children to remain firmly attached to the Community.
Malik Mubasher Ahmad Sahib of Lahore, who passed away on 21 November. He was the son of Malik Ghulam Fareed Sahib. He served in various capacities within the Community. His Holiness(aba) prayed that Allah Almighty grant him mercy and forgiveness.
Summary prepared by The Review of Religions.