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 battles that took part during his era. His Holiness(aba) said that today he would mention the Conquest of Damascus, which was the last battle that took place during his era.
His Holiness(aba) said that Damascus was the capital of Syria. It used to be a center for idolatry but later Christianity became more prevalent. It was also a central location for trade and many caravans would pass through. Damascus was also a well fortified city with high walls and tranches surrounding the borders, making it difficult to enter.
The Siege of Damascus
His Holiness(aba) said that when Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) sent various armies to Syria, he sent Hazrat Abu Ubaidah(ra) with an army to Homs, which was near Damascus. Later, Hazrat Khalid bin Walid(ra) was instructed to arrive at Damascus and along with other Muslims armies encircled Damascus. The people of Damascus would climb atop the walls of their fortress and throw rocks and launch arrows at Muslims, who would defend themselves with leather shields. This went on for 20 days, without any result. The people of Damascus within the fortress were facing difficulty as there was a shortage of sustenance without anything being able to go in. In the meantime, the Muslims learned that Heraclius had formed a large army nearby in Ajnadain. Hazrat Khalid(ra) initially thought they should combat that army, however Hazrat Abu Ubaidah(ra) advised that since the people of Damascus were in straitened circumstances, they should not leave just yet. Hazrat Khalid(ra) agreed and ordered the Muslims armies to launch a fierce attack.
Hazrat Dhirar(ra) Sent to Combat Forces of Heraclius & Valiant Fighting of Hazrat Khaulah(ra)
His Holiness(aba) said in the meantime, Heraclius was seen bringing his army to help the people of Damascus. Hazrat Abu Ubaidah(ra) suggested that a battalion should be formed to go out and combat Heraclius. Hence, Hazrat Dhirar(ra) was appointed with 500 riders who set out to combat Heraclius and his army. They were initially apprehensive because the opponent was large in number, however Hazrat Dhirar(ra) encouraged them by saying that they should not fear due to their numbers, and no one should flee from Jihad. Hence, the Muslims fought fiercely. During the battle, Hazrat Dhirar(ra) was captured and despite attempts, the Muslims were unable to free him. When Hazrat Khalid(ra) learned of this he was greatly saddened. Hazrat Abu Ubaidah(ra) told him that he should make arrangements for the continued siege of Damascus, and then he could go to combat Heraclius and his army.
His Holiness(aba) said that Hazrat Khalid(ra) set out to try and free Hazrat Dhirar(ra), and if they had already martyred him, then they would take recompense. There was a person at the front of the Muslims army who was valiantly fighting against the opponents, clad in armour, however he did not recognise them. This person went into the enemy ranks and would strike down anyone in their way. Hazrat Khalid(ra) asked this person who they were, and after hesitating initially, the person admitted that she was in fact a woman; Khaulah, the sister of Hazrat Dhirar(ra). Thereafter, the Muslims launched a united attack and defeated the Byzantines, granting security to those who sought it. Hazrat Khalid(ra) asked them about Hazrat Dhirar(ra) and was told about his whereabouts. Hazrat Khalid(ra) appointed Hazrat Rafay(ra) to go and free Hazrat Dhirar(ra). Hazrat Khaulah(ra) also requested permission to accompany them.
His Holiness(aba) said that upon arriving, the Muslims found Hazrat Dhirar(ra), the Muslims launched a fierce attack and ultimately were able to free Hazrat Dhirar(ra).
His Holiness(aba) said that in the meantime, the siege of Damascus continued. By this point, Hazrat Abu Ubaidah(ra) agreed that the Muslims should go to Ajnadain to combat the army of Heraclius. As the Muslims were travelling, a person named Boolis attacked the Muslims from behind with an army of 6,000 riders. The Muslims prepared for battle, and as Boolis arrived, he launched an attack. The Muslims fought valiantly, and in the meantime, Hazrat Khalid(ra) sent reinforcements. Boolis was ultimately captured, and out of the 6,000 riders, no more than 100 remained alive.
His Holiness(aba) said that the Byzantines had captured some of the Muslim women, including Hazrat Khaulah(ra). Hazrat Khaulah(ra) had gathered the Muslim women who were imprisoned and urged them to defend themselves and attack their captors. Hence, they each took a wooden pillar from the tent, and set out towards the Byzantines. 3,000 people circled the Muslims women, but if anyone tried to advance, the Muslims women would attack and kill them. In the meantime, Hazrat Khalid(ra) arrived with his army and defeated the Byzantines.
Muslim Army Returns to Demascus after Defeating Byzantines in Ajnadain
His Holiness(aba) said that after this and having defeated the Byzantines who had gathered at Ajnadain, the Muslims army returned to Damascus. In the meantime, the people of Damascus had stocked up on various supplies, in case the Muslims lay siege for a long time once again. The leader of Damascus at the time of Taumah, who ordered a fierce attack against the Muslims. Hazrat Aban(ra) was martyred during this attack, and later, his newlywed wife Umm Taumah returned to the very place where her husband had been martyred. Many Byzantines were killed at her hands. She then targeted the person protecting Taumah, who was carrying a cross. Umm Taumah launched an arrow as a result of which the cross fell from his hand. She then targeted Taumah and launched an arrow at his eye, due to which he was never able to see from that eye again. As a result, the Byzantines were forced to regroup.
His Holiness(aba) said that the Muslims were prepared for a long siege, and as such would carry out various investigations to find out the best way to defeat and conquer Damascus. As a result of these investigations, Hazrat Khalid(ra) found the perfect moment to cross the trench, scale the walls and thus, the Muslims army entered Damascus. The Muslims took control of the Eastern entrance, and so the people of Damascus went to Hazrat Abu Ubaidah(ra) who was at the western entrance requesting to form a treaty. Hazrat Abu Ubaidah(ra) agreed and the Muslims outside the fortress were let into the fortress.
His Holiness(aba) said that by the time news of this victory reached Madinah, Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) had passed away.
His Holiness(aba) said that this completed mention of the battles during the era of Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra). He would continue highlighting other aspects of his life in future sermons.
His Holiness(aba) said that he would lead the funeral prayers in absentia of the following deceased members.
Umar Abu Arqub
Umar Abu Arqub who had been serving as the President of the Community in northern Palestine. He learned about the Community in 2010 through MTA and after praying accepted Ahmadiyyat. He was patient through any difficulty. He loved Khilafat a great deal. He had dedicated the lower portion of his home for the Community, where members would come to offer prayers and conduct various meetings. Despite being urged by opponents to leave Ahmadiyyat, he remained steadfast and in fact would debate with them to the point that they would not have any answer. In his final illness, he advised his son not to be sad. He was a beloved person. He is survived by his wife, three sons and four daughters. His Holiness(aba) prayed that may Allah enable the rest of his family to accept Ahmadiyyat, and may He treat the deceased with forgiveness and mercy.
Sheikh Nasir of Mithi Tharparkar. He was the first Ahmadi there. He was regular in offering prayers, hospitable, and loved Khilafat a great deal. Many people accepted Ahmadiyyat through his preaching efforts. He faced a great deal of opposition especially at the times of his children’s weddings. The Fourth Caliph(rh) praised him saying that if there was a Nasir in every centre then we would be successful. He is survived by two sons and four daughters. His Holiness(aba) prayed that may Allah elevate his station.
Malik Sultan Ahmad
Malik Sultan Ahmad who was a former local missionary under Waqfe Jadid. He learned from the Fourth Caliph(rh) when he was the head of Waqfe Jadid. Later he was sent to serve in various areas. He had a passion for propagation. He was regular in offering prayers, hospitable and beloved by all. He is survived by his wife, three sons and two daughters. His Holiness(aba) prayed that may Allah treat him with forgiveness and mercy and elevate his station.
Mahboob Ahmad Rajiki
Mahboob Ahmad Rajiki of Mandi Bahauddin. He is survived by two sons and a daughter. He was the son of Hazrat Ghulam Ali Rajiki and the nephew of Hazrat Maulvi Ghulam Rasool Rajiki(ra), who were Companions of the Promised Messiah(as). He was devoted to prayer, to the Holy Prophet(sa) and the Promised Messiah(as) and loved Khilafat. He was wrongfully imprisoned three times. He would always try to offer prayers in the mosque even when he was ill. Many non-Ahmadis have attested to the acceptance of his prayers. His Holiness(aba) prayed that may Allah grant him forgiveness and mercy and elevate his station, and enable his progeny to carry on the legacy of his virtues.
Summary prepared by The Review of Religions