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 incidents from the life of Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) and the armies he sent towards Syria in order to stop the enemy.
Army Sent to Syria under Leadership of Hazrat Amr bin Aas(ra)
His Holiness(aba) said that the fourth army he sent was under the leadership of Hazrat Amr bin Aas(ra). Seeing as Hazrat Amr(ra) had played a pivotal role in stifling the rebellion that had arisen, Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) gave him the option of either remaining in Khuza’ah or going to Syria to help fortify the Muslims. Hazrat Amr(ra) replied that he was an arrow for the sake of Islam, and Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) should fire him in whichever direction he deemed best. Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) ultimately decided to send him to Syria. Hence, Hazrat Amr(ra) went to Madinah so that an army could be formed. Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) instructed him to set up camp outside of Madinah so that people could join him.
His Holiness(aba) said that before sending him off, Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) gave some guidance to Hazrat Amr bin Aas(ra), saying that he should listen to the opinions of the senior members who were accompanying him, for there was no telling whose advice could prove to be a means for success. It is recorded that Hazrat Amr’s(ra) army numbered six to seven thousand and set out towards Palestine. Hazrat Amr(ra) formed a battalion of a thousand Muslims to go forward and battle a Syrian army, which they did and proved victorious. When they returned with some prisoners, Hazrat Amr(ra) questioned them and learned that the Syrians were planning an attack against them. Hence, Hazrat Amr(ra) prepared his army and when the Syrians attacked, they were able to stop them and utterly destroy their army, causing them much damage.
His Holiness(aba) said that after sending these armies, Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) took a breath and was certain that Allah the Almighty would grant the Muslims victory over the Syrians through these armies. He was content because these armies comprised a thousand Muhajireen(migrants) and Ansar (natives of Madinah), who had proven their loyalty and steadfast devotion, including some of those who had participated in the Battle of Badr.
Heraclius’ Attempts to Incite Against the Muslims
His Holiness(aba) said that when Heraclius learned of the Muslims’ preparations and advancements, he gathered various chieftains and incited them with passionate speeches to fight back and combat the Muslim armies. After inciting the Palestinians, Heraclius travelled around and incited people to fight against the Muslims in a similar manner. There are some other narrations which record that initially Heraclius had said that they should form treaties of peace with the Muslims, however his people did not agree with this, and so he gathered them and took them to Homs where he began forming an army. He intended to form the same number of armies as the Muslims had in order to combat each one.
His Holiness(aba) said that Hazrat Abu Ubaidah(ra) heard that Heraclius had formed a large army to combat his forces in Antakya. Hence, Hazrat Abu Ubaidah(ra) wrote to Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) to seek guidance as to further steps. Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) replied saying that despite the large numbers of the Romans in Antakya, they were destined to lose and the Muslims destined to win. He was confident because the Muslim army loved death just as much as the enemy army loved life. Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) also informed him that he would be sending reinforcements and so there was nothing to worry about.
Hazrat Abu Bakr’s(ra) Reminder to Place Trust in Allah
His Holiness(aba) said that Hazrat Amr bin Aas(ra) had also written a letter to Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra). Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) replied that the victories which had been granted to the Holy Prophet(sa) were not due to his being greater in number. In fact, during the Battle of Uhud, the Muslims only had a single horse, upon which the Holy Prophet(sa) rode. Yet, despite limited numbers and means, God would help the Muslims and grant them victories. He reminded Hazrat Amr(ra) that the greatest followers of God are those who despise disobedience. Hence, he should remain obedient to God.
His Holiness(aba) said that Hazrat Yazid bin Sufyan(ra) had also written a letter to Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra), to which he replied saying that God had promised victory to the Muslims despite their small numbers. He also reassured him that he was sending further reinforcements so that he wouldn’t feel the need for more soldiers.
His Holiness(aba) said that Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) gathered troops under the leadership of Hazrat Hashim bin Utbah(ra) who he was going to send to reinforce the Muslims. He gave them a speech in order to encourage them, and when the army numbered one thousand, he sent them off. Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) advised Hazrat Hashim(ra) that any hardship which they bore along this journey would translate into the equivalent of good deeds on their part. Hazrat Hashim(ra) either said that he would continue fighting until he was martyred, or that he wished to keep fighting and be continuously martyred.
Hazrat Bilal’s(ra) Desire to Participate in Battle
His Holiness(aba) said that Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) was preparing another army and he decided to make Hazrat Sa’eed bin Amir(ra) its leader. Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) instructed Hazrat Bilal(ra) to make an announcement and gather people to form an army. Hazrat Bilal(ra) requested Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) to also allow him to be part of this army, since he had freed him so that he may be of service. Hazrat Bilal(ra) said that if Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) would remain with him, however Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) said that he did not wish to hold Hazrat Bilal(ra) back from his desire of Jihad. Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) said that they may not meet again until the hereafter, and so he encouraged him to continue doing good works so long as he remained alive and he would receive an excellent reward for this. Hence, Hazrat Bilal(ra) joined Hazrat Sa’eed(ra) and his army set off.
Army Sent under Leadership of Hazrat Hamzah bin Abi Bakr Hamdani(ra)
His Holiness(aba) said that another army was formed under the leadership of Hazrat Hamzah bin Abi Bakr Hamdani(ra) which numbered one thousand. Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) instructed him to join any one of the armies which had already been deployed. Hence, he joined Hazrat Abu Ubaidah(ra). As such, armies would continue to arrive in Madinah, and Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) would send them to help reinforce the Muslim armies.
His Holiness(aba) said that ultimately, Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) also instructed Hazrat Khalid bin Walid(ra), who had been in Iraq, to lead the forces in Syria. Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) wrote to Hazrat Abu Ubaidah(ra), informing him that he had now appointed Hazrat Khalid bin Walid(ra) to lead the entirety of the Muslim forces, due to his esteemed prowess in warfare. Upon Hazrat Khalid bin Walid’s(ra) arrival, all the Muslims gathered in Busra and laid siege, as a result of which the people agreed to the terms of Jizyah in exchange for security and peace.
Fierce Battle with the Romans Ensues in Ajnadayn
His Holiness(aba) said that then there were the events of Ajnadayn. After the victory at Busra, Hazrat Abu Ubaidah(ra) set off towards Palestine in order to aid Hazrat Amr(ra). Hazrat Amr(ra) wished to meet the Muslims army, however the Romans were following him and attempting to incite him to fight. When the Romans heard of more Muslims arriving, they went to Ajnadayn. Then, Hazrat Amr(ra) met with the Muslim armies, upon which the Muslims proceeded to Ajnadayn and formed their ranks in front of the Romans. On the way from Damascus to Ajnadayn, Hazrat Abu Ubaidah(ra) was attacked from behind by the army from Damascus. He fought valiantly against them, and upon hearing of this, Hazrat Khalid(ra) also turned back to help him defeat the enemy. In the meantime, more Roman forces gathered in Ajnadayn, and Hazrat Khalid(ra) also instructed all Muslims to gather in Ajnadayn.
His Holiness(aba) said that the Romans proposed to give some gifts of clothes to the Muslims in order to avert them, as they saw the Muslims to be poor and without means. Hazrat Khalid bin Walid(ra) took offence and strongly refused, saying that they would eradicate the Romans. Hazrat Khalid(ra) organised the Muslim ranks and ultimately a fierce battle ensued. The Romans were suffering defeat, and so they sent a messenger to Hazrat Khalid(ra) in order to discuss terms of peace. Initially, the Romans did this with plans of a secret attack. However, the messenger they had sent told Hazrat Khalid(ra) about this plan. Hence, when Hazrat Khalid(ra) went to speak with the Roman Emperor, Roman soldiers took hold of him. However, as the Muslims were prepared for this, when they heard this happening, they came forward and attacked, which resulted in the Roman Emperor’s death. There had been about 100,000 Romans and 30,000 Muslims in this battle. 30,000 Romans were killed and upon suffering defeat, many others fled to various cities. Hazrat Khalid(ra) sent a letter to Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) informing him of this victory, upon which Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) expressed great happiness and joy.
His Holiness(aba) clarified with regards to the timing of this battle that there were two battles at Ajnadayn; once during the era of Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) in 13 AH, and another time during the era of Hazrat Umar(ra).
His Holiness(aba) said that he would continue narrating these incidents in future sermons.
Summary prepared by The Review of Religions