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).
Historical Context of the Conquests
His Holiness(aba) quoted the historian Allamah Shibli Nu’mani who commented on the various conquests and the expansion of Islamic rule during the era of Hazrat Umar(ra). His Holiness(aba) said that it is important to know about the historical context of these conquests in order to better understand them.
His Holiness(aba) quoted some Western historians who presented various aspects about the Persian and Byzantine rules, which made it inevitable for them to eventually fall to the Muslims. They said that there was a sect which was not accepted but was continuing to grow. They wished to establish things such as equal rights for all including women. When they realised that Muslims were just and granted freedoms to all, they became their supporters. Similarly amongst the Christians, there was a similar sect who saw the Muslims as a means of support, and thus, the Muslims received support from two great factions in their quest.
His Holiness(aba) said that after the demise of Khosroe Pervez, it became difficult to land upon an able person who could lead the Persian empire. As such, there were many changes in leadership, which also played a hand in the weakening of Persia. Furthermore, there were also attacks by the Byzantines upon Persian lands which led to their weakening as well. Despite this however, the Persians were not short of any means, especially those required in war. They were heavily clad in armour and had various weapons at their disposal. The Arabs on the other hand were very ill-equipped, and if they had anything, it was made of leather, as opposed to the iron armour of the Persians.
Why the Muslims Were Able to Overcome Empires
His Holiness(aba) said that as for the question of how the Muslims were able to overthrow such empires, Allamah Shibli Nu’mani says that the primary factor was the zeal and fortitude instilled in the Muslims by the Holy Prophet(sa) which was fostered further by Hazrat Umar(ra). Furthermore, the Muslims were fair and honest, which would turn even those of different faiths in their favour and support. Furthermore, these empires whose leaders were rooted in injustice could never compete against the Muslims, who were instructed by Hazrat Umar(ra) not only to never kill the innocent, but not even to cut down the trees of the opposing side.
His Holiness(aba) said that as for those who say that there are also others in history similar to Hazrat Umar(ra) who have attained such victories, they should be reminded that there is no other example of the compassion and forgiveness shown by Hazrat Umar(ra) even after having conquered great empires. Furthermore, one of the greatest testaments to the leadership of Hazrat Umar(ra) is that those lands that were conquered by Islam remain under the banner of Islam to this day.
The Great Leadership of Hazrat Umar(ra)
His Holiness(aba) further quoted Allamah Shibli Nu’mani who further expressed the great leadership of Hazrat Umar(ra) in these conquests. He said that the zeal of an army can only be of true benefit when they are led by someone with the same zeal. It was thus that the Muslim army was always prepared to follow Hazrat Umar(ra) and whatever he said upon even a mere indication. An even greater testament is the fact that Hazrat Umar(ra) was never physically present during these conquests, yet whatever happened was only after his approval and guidance. Thus, even from a distance, Hazrat Umar(ra) was aptly leading the Muslim army to great victories, all whilst ensuring that the highest standards of justice were maintained.
Narrations in Relation to the Martyrdom of Hazrat Umar(ra)
His Holiness(aba) related some narrations in which the Holy Prophet(sa) foretold the martyrdom of Hazrat Umar(ra). Furthermore, Hazrat Umar(ra) would pray to be martyred in the way of Allah and for it to be in the land of the Holy Prophet(sa). Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad(ra) commented on this desire of Hazrat Umar(ra), who explained the rank of Hazrat Umar(ra), regarding whom the Holy Prophet(sa) said that if there were a prophet right after him it would be Hazrat Umar(ra). He was someone whose selflessness and level of sacrifice was such that it has been lauded by historians and even opponents. Hazrat Umar(ra) prayed for martyrdom in the land of the Holy Prophet(sa) out of his great love and passion. Although it seemed impossible for a disbeliever to infiltrate Madinah and be able to martyr Hazrat Umar(ra), God made it such that even this prayer of Hazrat Umar(ra) was accepted.
His Holiness(aba) related the dreams seen by some other companions as well which indicated the martyrdom of Hazrat Umar(ra). His Holiness(aba) then related that Hazrat Umar(ra) was attacked on 26 Dhul Hijjah 23 A.H., a Wednesday and passed away the next day. He was then buried on the morning of 1 Muharram 24 A.H. His Holiness(aba) said that some historians have varied in the corresponding dates of events.
His Holiness(aba) said with regards to the martyrdom of Hazrat Umar(ra). He was leading prayer when he was attacked and struck by a knife. As the attacker was fleeing, he would attack anyone who was in his way and thus killed seven others as well. He was apprehended and upon realising his fate he passed the knife over his own neck. Then, Hazrat Umar(ra) was informed who his attacker was – the slave of Mughirah. Hazrat Umar(ra) gave thanks that his attacker was not someone who was Muslim. Hazrat Umar(ra) was carried to his home. Hazrat Umar(ra) was given something to drink, but when he would swallow it, it would come out from his wound, and as such, the Muslims realised that his demise was drawing near. Hazrat Umar(ra) also realised this, and sent a message to Hazrat A’ishah(ra) requesting that he should be buried by his two friends [i.e. the Holy Prophet(sa) and Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra)]. She said she had been saving that place for herself, however she gave her consent for him to be buried there. Hazrat Umar(ra) was to make a will and appoint the next Caliph. Hazrat Umar(ra) gave the names of those whom he saw to have attained the pleasure of the Holy Prophet(sa) and said that the next leader should be chosen from among them.
His Holiness(aba) said that when Hazrat Umar(ra) passed away, he was buried according to his desire. Afterwards, the people named by Hazrat Umar(ra) gathered, and the election for the next Caliph took place.
His Holiness(aba) said that he would continue highlighting these events in future sermons.
Commencement of Jalsa Salana Germany
His Holiness(aba) said that today marks the beginning of Jalsa Salana [Annual Convention] of Germany. He prayed for it to be blessed in every respect and that German Ahmadis may be able to benefit from it. It is a two-day convention and His Holiness(aba) said that he would be delivering the concluding address the next day.
His Holiness(aba) said that after the Friday prayer, he would lead the funeral prayers in-absentia of the following members.
Kamruddin Sahib a missionary from Indonesia who recently passed away. He travelled to Pakistan in order to receive religious education. He recited the Holy Qur’an with a very melodious voice. He was very obedient to Khilafat, he treated everyone with respect and enjoined everyone to be loyal to the Community. He was regular in offering pre-dawn voluntary prayers even during his illness. He would always be reciting verses of the Holy Qur’an. He also translated some works of the Promised Messiah(as), and while doing so would recite Arabic poetry written by the Promised Messiah(as) in praise of the Holy Prophet(sa). His Holiness(aba) prayed that may Allah treat him with forgiveness and mercy and elevate his station.
Sabiha Haroon wife of late Sultan Haroon. Her father accepted Ahmadiyyat at the hand of the Second Caliph(ra). She had three sons and three daughters. One of her sons is the son-in-law of the Fourth Caliph(rh). One of her children passed away at a young age, upon which the Third Caliph(rh) assured her that she would have another beautiful son. She was very pious, loved the Community and was extremely loyal to Khilafat. She always advised against back-biting, she was forgiving and even prayed for the guidance of the people who attacked her husband. She gave alms and did so in a manner that no one else would know. His Holiness(aba) prayed that may Allah treat her with forgiveness and mercy and enable her children to carry on her virtuous qualities.
Summary prepared by The Review of Religions.