Men of Excellence : Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra)
After reciting Tashahhud, Ta‘awwuz and Surah al-Fatihah, His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad(aba) said that he would continue highlighting the life of Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) and the expeditions during his era against the rebels.
Expedition to Combat Aswad Ansi
His Holiness(aba) said that the eleventh expedition was to combat the rebellion in Yemen which was sent under the leadership of Muhajir bin Abi Umayyah(ra). He was sent to combat the army of Aswad Ansi. At the time, there were two groups in Yemen; those who were native to Yemen and those who were of Persian background and were called Abna. For some time, Yemen was under the rule of Chosroes and thus much of its government officials were of the Abna. Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) instructed him to address the rebellion in Kinda.
His Holiness(aba) said that Hazrat Muhajir(ra) was the brother of Hazrat Umm Salamah(ra), wife of the Holy Prophet(sa). He took part in the Battle of Badr, but on the side of the disbelievers. Later when he had accepted Islam, Hazrat Muhajir(ra) had been unable to take part in the Battle of Tabuk which displeased the Holy Prophet(sa). Hazrat Umm Salamah(ra) expressed her sadness over this and when an opportunity arose, she sent for her brother who came and presented his explanations for being unable to take part in the battle, which the Holy Prophet(sa) ultimately accepted. The Holy Prophet(sa) then appointed him as the governor of Kinda, but due to his health at the time, Hazrat Muhajir(ra) was unable to immediately fulfil this duty. Later, when his health was restored, Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) kept him at this post as governor.
Revelation about False Claimants to Prophethood
His Holiness(aba) said that the first rebellion which arose during the time of the Holy Prophet(sa) was in Yemen under the leadership of Aswad Ansi. He claimed to receive revelations and that he would receive news of all enemy attacks beforehand. The Holy Prophet(sa) had already been informed beforehand that two false claimants to prophethood would arise. He saw in a dream that he was wearing two bangles, and he was instructed by God to blow on them, upon which they disappeared. He took this to mean two false claimants to prophethood that would arise against him, and they manifested in the forms of Musailimah Kazzab and Aswad Ansi.
Governor of Chosroes Accepts Islam & Aswad Ansi’s Growing Influence
His Holiness(aba) said that when the Holy Prophet(sa) sent a letter to the Persian Emperor Chosroes inviting him to Islam, he became incensed and instructed one of his governors Badhan, who was the governor of Yemen, to kill the Holy Prophet(sa). Badhan sent two people to the Holy Prophet(sa), who said that God had informed him that their king would be killed by his son who would then take his father’s throne. He sent a message to Badhan inviting him to Islam, promising that he would remain governor of Yemen. When Badhan heard this, he also found out that in fact, Chosroes had been killed by his son who had assumed his throne. Upon seeing the words of the Holy Prophet(sa) being fulfiled, he accepted Islam.
His Holiness(aba) said that when Badhan passed away, the Holy Prophet(sa) appointed various companions and custodians of different parts of Yemen. Aswad Ansi lived in the northern part of Yemen. He was a soothsayer and was influential in his speech. As more people became swayed by him, he claimed to be a prophet, saying that an angel would come to him and inform him of everything including his enemies’ plots. He also declared that Yemen belonged to the natives of Yemen, thus inciting the sentiments of many who proceeded to accept him out of pride for their nation. The Holy Prophet(sa) instructed the Muslims appointed as custodians in Yemen to combat the uprising of Aswad Ansi.
His Holiness(aba) said that Aswad Ansi first attacked Najran, then San’a and then other parts of Yemen, during which time many Muslims were martyred and he gained power over many parts of Yemen. The Holy Prophet(sa) sent a letter to the Muslims of Hadhramaut instructing them to combat the forces of Aswad Ansi, for which Hazrat Mu’adh bin Jabal(ra) stood at the forefront. Initially the task of combating Aswad Ansi seemed insurmountable, however the Muslims learned that Aswad Ansi was at odds with a person named Qais bin Abd Yaghuth. He had initially become apostate but then later reverted to Islam. When the Muslims invited Qais to Islam and gave him the message of Islam, he immediately accepted and similarly, other chieftains also began accepting Islam and the force against Aswad Ansi grew. The Holy Prophet(sa) had also written to the people of Najran about combating Aswad Ansi. When Aswad Ansi learned of this, he started realising that his end was near.
Bringing an End to the Rebellion of Aswad Ansi & Rise of Another
His Holiness(aba) said that someone also went to Aswad Ansi’s wife, the widow of Badhan whom Aswad Ansi had killed before marrying his wife. When she was informed that it was Aswad Ansi who had killed her husband and other members of her family, she was ready to help in defeating Aswad Ansi. Ultimately, it was with her help that one night in his fortress, Aswad Ansi was killed. Hence, this rebellion which lasted for only three or four months was brought to an end.
His Holiness(aba) said that by the time news of this victory and the killing of Aswad Ansi was sent to the Holy Prophet(sa), he had passed away before it reached him. However, according to some narrations, it is reported that God informed the Holy Prophet(sa) of this on the very night that Aswad Ansi was killed and the Holy Prophet(sa) even informed some companions the next morning.
His Holiness(aba) said that after Aswad Ansi was killed, a Muslim government was established once again. However, when news of the Holy Prophet’s (sa) demise reached Yemen, another rebellion arose. This was under the leadership of Qais, who became distant from Islam once again. He was always opposed to the Persian rule and plotted to eliminate the Abna from Yemen. As this was happening, a letter was sent to Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) requesting for help. Hence, the last expedition sent by Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) was that of Hazrat Muhajir(ra) towards Yemen.
His Holiness(aba) said that Amr bin Madi and Qais bin Abd Yaghuth were the primary proponents of the rebellion against Muslims during the era of Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra). When the people of Yemen learned of the large army being led by Hazrat Muhajir(ra) that was approaching them, they became fearful wondering how they could possibly face this army. Meanwhile, a dsipute arose between Amr bin Madi and Qaid bin Abd Yaghuth and rather than focusing on fighting the Muslim army, they became occupied in trying to harm each other. Amr bin Madi decided to join the Muslims and capture Qais. When Qais was captured, Amr bin Madi was also imprisoned and both were presented to Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra).
His Holiness(aba) said that Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) asked Qais whether he had rebelled, brutalised and killed Muslims. Qais denied everything, and because no substantial evidence could be produced to prove his guilt, Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) did not order for him to be killed. Similarly there was no conclusive evidence against Amr bin Madi, thus Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) admonished him, but ultimately let him go. Hence, on the basis of their great knowledge, both were freed and subsequently, both realised their wrongdoings and wholeheartedly accepted obedience to Khilafat.
His Holiness(aba) said that he will continue narrating incidents from the life of Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) in future sermons.
Summary prepared by The Review of Religions