Muhammad (sa) : The Great Exemplar
Friday Sermon delivered at Masjid Mubarak, Islamabad, Tilford, UK
Incidents After the Battle of Badr
After reciting Tashahhud, Ta`awwuz and Surah al-Fatihah, His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad(aba) said that he had been mentioning incidents that took place after the Battle of Badr. Not only do these incidents give us a window into the history of the Holy Prophet(sa), they also shed light on certain historical aspects, and also elucidate inauthentic narrations, which some have taken as the wrongful image of Islam. The opponents of Islam use such things to counter Islam, whereas extremists use such accounts to support their actions.
The Incident of Umair bin Wahb
His Holiness(aba) said that the first incident pertains to Umair bin Wahb. After the battle, he wished to avenge the loss suffered by the Makkans, and so he travelled from Makkah to Madinah with the intention of killing the Holy Prophet(sa). However, God’s decree was such that he ended up accepting Islam instead. One day, Umar and another man Safwan were sitting near the Ka’bah and discussing the loss suffered by the Makkans and the prominent chieftains that had been killed. Umar’s son was also held captive by the Muslims. Safwan incited Umair to go to Makkah and kill the Holy Prophet(sa), vowing to take the responsibility of paying his loans and looking after his family.
His Holiness(aba) said that Umair dipped his sword in poison and headed to Makkah. Once, there he came across Hazrat Umar(ra), who immediately suspected his ill intentions. Hazrat Umar(ra) immediately informed the Holy Prophet(sa), however the Holy Prophet(sa) invited Umair into his home. Still remaining vigilant and holding the handle of Umair’s sword, Hazrat Umar(ra) escorted Umar in. The Holy Prophet(sa) instructed Hazrat Umar(ra) to let go of Umair’s sword, and then instructed Umari to come closer. The Holy Prophet(sa) asked him why he had come, to which Umair responded that he was there to free his captive son. The Holy Prophet(sa) asked why he had brought this unsheathed sword. Umar made som excuse, saying that the sword meant nothing as it had not proved useful before (referring to the Battle of Badr). However, the Holy Prophet(sa) was not satisfied with this answer. The Holy Prophet(sa) said to him, that one day he and Safwan had been sitting near the Ka’bah speaking about those who had been killed at the Battle of Badr, and at that time Umair expressed to Safwan that if he did not have loans to repay and a family to tend to he would go and kill the Holy Prophet(sa), however Safwan took this responsibility upon himself so that Umar could go and kill the Holy Prophet(sa). Hearing this, Umair got up and attested that the Holy Prophet(sa) was surely the Messenger of God, for he received news from the heavens, as on that day, there was no one nearby other than him and Safwan. Thus, there could have been no one other than God who informed the Holy Prophet(sa). Thus, Umair accepted Islam, and the Holy Prophet(sa) instructed the Companions to teach him the faith and free his son.
His Holiness(aba) said that Umar expressed how he had always tried to extinguish Islam and cause as much difficulty as he could to the Muslims. However, now he wished to return to Makkah and spread the light of Islam. In the meantime, Safwan had been telling the Makkans that something was about to happen that would make them very happy. However, after finding out that Umair had accepted Islam he became extremely displeased. Umair returned to Makkah and professed his faith in Islam.
His Holiness(aba) quoted Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad(ra) who writes about this incident as follows:
‘After the battle of Badr their hostile efforts took on a more practical and dangerous state. The Jews of Madīnah were also startled and became vigilant. Another threatening outcome of Badr was that the disbelievers of Makkah, who until now were fighting on the basis of apparent force and arrogance, now began to incline towards secret conspiracies, after facing defeat by the Muslims in an open arena. Hence, the following occurrence, which took place only a few days after Badr, is categorical evidence of this threat. As such, it is written that a few days after Badr, ‘Umair bin Wahb and Ṣafwān bin Umayyah bin Khalf who were influential among the Quraish, were sitting in the courtyard of the Ka‘bah mourning the casualties of Badr. Suddenly, Ṣafwān addressed ‘Umair saying, “Life is no longer worth living.” ‘Umair understood this hint and said:
“I am prepared to put my life in danger, but the thought of my children and debts restrains me. If it were not for this, going secretly to Madīnah and putting an end to Muḥammad (sa) would be a minor thing. I also have an excuse to go there because my son is a prisoner there.”
Ṣafwān said, “I take responsibility for your debts and for your children. You must go and carry out this work in some way.” Hence, this plan was settled and ‘Umair took leave of Ṣafwān. Upon reaching home, ‘Umair boiled a sword in poison and set out from Makkah. When he reached Madīnah, Ḥaḍrat ‘Umar(ra) who was very intelligent in such matters, became apprehensive. He immediately went to the Holy Prophet(sa) and informed him that ‘Umair had come and that he was apprehensive in this regard. The Holy Prophet(sa) instructed him to bring ‘Umair. Ḥaḍrat ‘Umar(ra) went to bring ‘Umair, but before leaving, he told the Companions that he was going to bring ‘Umair in order to meet the Holy Prophet(sa), however, he doubted his intentions and they should go and sit with the Holy Prophetsa, and remain vigilant. After this, Ḥaḍrat ‘Umar(ra) brought ‘Umair and arrived in the presence of the Holy Prophet(sa). The Holy Prophet(sa) kindly asked ‘Umair to sit next to him and inquired, “How have you come ‘Umair?” ‘Umair responded, “My son has been made a prisoner at your hand. I have come to obtain his release.” The Holy Prophet(sa) said, “Why then have you hung this sword upon your shoulder?” He responded, “What do you ask of the sword? Did the swords do us any good at Badr?” The Holy Prophet(sa) urged, “Tell me the truth as to why you have come.” “As I have just mentioned,” he said, “I have come to obtain the release of my son.” The Holy Prophet(sa) said, “Well then, in other words, you have not hatched a conspiracy with Ṣafwān in the courtyard of the Ka‘bah?” ‘Umair was thrown aback, but managed to regain himself and said, “I have made no such conspiracy.” The Holy Prophet(sa) said, “Did you not conspire to kill me? But remember, God shall not afford you the ability to reach me.” ‘Umair went into a state of deep reflection and said:
“You speak the truth, we did in fact conspire as you have mentioned. It seems however, as if God is with you, Who has informed you of our intentions. For there was no third individual present among us, when Ṣafwān and I were discussing this matter. Perhaps Allāh brought about this plan of ours in order to make me believe. I believe in you with a sincere heart.”
The Holy Prophet(sa) was pleased of the acceptance of ‘Umair and said to the Companions, “Now he is your brother. Instruct him in the teachings of Islām and release his prisoner.” Therefore, ‘Umair bin Wahb(ra) became a Muslim and it was not long before he progressed distinctly in his faith and sincerity. Ultimately, he became so captivated by the light of truth that he urged the Holy Prophet(sa) to permit him to go to Makkah, so that he could preach to the people there. he Holy Prophet(sa) granted him permission and upon reaching Makkah, he secretly converted many people through his fervent preaching. Day in and day out, Ṣafwān, waited anxiously to hear news of the assassination of the Holy Prophet(sa), and would tell the Quraish to prepare for good news. However, when he witnessed this sight, he lost his mind.’ (The Life & Character of the Seal of Prophets (sa), Vol. 2, pp. 170-172)
The Hypocrite Abdullah bin Ubayy bin Sulul
His Holiness(aba) said that after the Battle of Badr, there were also those who apparently accepted Islam but were in fact hypocrites. For example, there was Abdullah bin Ubayy bin Sulul. Regarding this, Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad(ra) writes:
‘Until now, many people from the tribes of Aus and Khazraj still stood firm upon polytheism. The victory of Badr resulted in a movement among these people and upon witnessing this magnificent and extraordinary victory, many people from among them became convinced of the truth of Islām. Thereafter, the element of idol worship began to diminish very rapidly in Madīnah. However, there were also some in whose hearts this victory of Islām had sparked a fire of rancour and jealousy. Finding it unwise to oppose openly, apparently they accepted Islām, but from the inside they sought to uproot it and joined the party of the hypocrites. The most prominent among the latter class of people was ‘Abdullāh bin Ubayy bin Sulūl, who was a very renowned chieftain of the Khazraj tribe. Due to the arrival of the Holy Prophet(sa) to Madīnah, he had already suffered the shock of having his leadership taken from him. After Badr, this individual became a Muslim at the outset, but his heart was satiated with malice and enmity towards Islām. He became the leader of hypocrisy and secretly began to hatch a series of conspiracies against Islām and the Holy Prophet(sa). As such, it shall become evident from events, which unfolded hereafter that on certain occasions, this individual became a means of creating very delicate situations for Islām.’ (The Life & Character of the Seal of Prophets (sa), Vol. 2, pp. 172-173)
Expedition Towards the Banu Sulaim
His Holiness(aba) said that a few days after the victory at Badr, the Holy Prophet(sa) came to find out that the people of Banu Sulaim and Banu Ghatfan were gathered at a place called Qartaratul Kudr and were plotting an attack on Madinah. The Holy Prophet(sa) decided that the Muslims should themselves go to put and end to these plots and so, along with an army of 300 Muslims, the Holy Prophet(sa) set out towards the Banu Sulaim. The Banu Sulaim and Banu Ghatfan had not been expecting the arrival of the Muslims, and in their shock, they fled to the mountains. As such, the Muslims did not come across a single person from among the enemy. The Holy Prophet(sa) remained there for three nights, or according to some narration for ten nights. The Muslims took possession of all that which the Banu Sulaim and Banu Ghatfan had left behind in their haste as spoils, seeing as they had set out with the intention of war.
His Holiness(aba) quoted Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad(ra) who writes about this in the following words:
‘After the migration, the Quraish of Makkah toured the various tribes of Arabia and turned many of them into deadly enemies of the Muslims. Among these tribes, with respect to strength and number, the most noteworthy were two tribes residing in the central region of Arabia, known as Najd. Their names were Banū Sulaim and Banū Ghaṭafān. The Quraish of Makkah had especially tied these two tribes to themselves and incited them against the Muslims. As such, Sir William Muir writes:
“The Coreish now turned their eyes towards this territory [i.e., Najd], and entered into closer bonds with the tribes inhabiting it. Henceforth the attitude of the Bani Suleim and Ghatafân, especially of the former, became actively hostile towards Mahomet. Incited by the Coreish, and by the example of Abū Sofiân, they now projected a plundering attack upon Medîna.”
Thus, when the Holy Prophet(sa) returned from Badr, it had only been a few days1 since his arrival in Madīnah, when he received news that a large army consisting of the tribes of Sulaim and Ghaṭafān were assembling in Qarqaratul-Kudr with the intention of attacking Madīnah.2 The arrival of this intelligence so promptly after the Battle of Badr demonstrates that when the army of the Quraish set out from Makkah with the intention of attacking the Muslims, at the very same time the chieftains of the Quraish must have relayed a message to the tribes of Sulaim and Ghaṭafān, urging them to attack Madīnah from the opposing front. It is also possible that when Abū Sufyān slipped away and escaped with his caravan, by means of an emissary, etc., he may have urged these tribes to go forth against the Muslims. In any case, the Holy Prophet(sa) had only just arrived in Madīnah after becoming free from the Battle of Badr, when the horrific news was received that the tribes of Sulaim and Ghaṭafān were about to wage an onslaught against the Muslims. Upon receiving this news, as a preemptive measure, the Holy Prophet(sa) immediately assembled a force of the Companions and set out towards Najd. However, after undertaking an arduous journey of many days, when the Holy Prophet(sa) reached the Qirqirah, (i.e., the desolate plain) of a place known as Al-Kudr, he found that upon receiving news of the imminent arrival of the Muslims, the people of the Banū Sulaim and Banū Ghaṭafān had taken refuge in the nearby mountains. The Holy Prophet(sa) dispatched a detachment of Muslims in search of them and proceeded to the heart of the valley himself, but no trace of them could be found.3 Albeit, they were able to find a large herd of camels grazing in the nearby valley, which belonged to them, and according to the laws of warfare, the companions seized it; thereafter the Holy Prophet(sa) returned to Madīnah. The shepherd of these camels was a slave named Yasār, who had been taken captive along with the camels. This person was so deeply influenced by the company of the Holy Prophet(sa) that after a short period of time he became a Muslim. Although according to custom, the Holy Prophet(sa) freed him as an act of benevolence,1 he still did not leave the service of the Holy Prophet(sa) until his last breath.’ (The Life & Character of the Seal of Prophets (sa), Vol. 2, pp. 277-279)
First Eid al-Fitr
His Holiness(aba) said that the first Eid al-Fitr was celebrated at the conclusion of Ramadan 2 AH. The Holy Prophet(sa) said that the days of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha were better than the two days which the Makkans celebrated during the era of ignorance. The Holy Prophet(sa) instructed that on those days no one should fast rather they should eat and celebrate. Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad(ra) writes in this regard,
‘At the end of Ramaḍān, after the fasting of Ramaḍān had been ordained, the Holy Prophet(sa) issued the injunction of Ṣadaqatul-Fiṭr, according to divine command. Every Muslim who possessed the capacity to do so, was enjoined to contribute one Sā‘1 of dates, grapes, barley or wheat, etc., per person on behalf of himself, his family and dependents, as charity prior to ‘Īd. This charity was distributed among the poor, needy, orphans and widows, etc., so that this may serve as an expiation for any lapses which may have occurred during the worship of fasting and a means of aid may be arranged for the poor on the occasion of ‘Īd. As such, according to the command of the Holy Prophet(sa), prior to every ‘Īd at the end of Ramaḍān, Ṣadaqatul-Fiṭr was formally collected from every young and old Muslim man and woman, and distributed among the orphans, poor and needy.
It was in this very year that ‘Īdul-Fiṭr began as well. In other words, the Holy Prophetsa ordered that upon the completion of the month of Ramaḍān, the Muslims should celebrate ‘Īd on the first of Shawwāl. This ‘Īd was in the joy that Allāh the Exalted had granted them the ability to offer worship in Ramaḍān. However, it is immensely fascinating that even for the expression of this joy, the Holy Prophetsa prescribed a worship. As such, he ordered that on the day of ‘Īd, all the Muslims should congregate in an open space and offer two Rak‘āt ofṢalāt. Then, after this Ṣalāt, the Muslims should of course, express their outwardly joy as well, because when the soul experiences joy, it is a right for the body to partake of it as well. In actuality, Allāh the Almighty has placed an ‘Īd at the end of all those significant forms of worship which are observed collectively. The ‘Īd of the Ṣalāt is the Friday Prayer service, which arrives after the observance of Ṣalāt for one week. This has been referred to as the most superior of all the festivals of ‘Īd. Then, the ‘Īd of fasting is ‘Īdul-Fiṭr, which arrives at the close of Ramaḍān. The ‘Īd of Ḥajj is ‘Īdul-Aḍḥā, which is celebrated on the second day of Ḥajj. All of these festivals of ‘Īd are a form of worship in themselves. Therefore, the festivals of ‘Īd in Islām possess a wonderful magnificence, and substantial light is shed upon the reality of Islām. One receives an opportunity to contemplate as to how Islām wishes to bind every action of the Muslims to the remembrance of Allāh. I am compelled to digress from history, otherwise I would elaborate as to how Islām has leavened every movement, statement and action of a Muslim, with the remembrance of God. This is to such an extent that even in daily tasks of minor importance, such as standing and sitting, moving about, sleeping and awakening, eating and drinking, bathing, changing one’s clothes, wearing shoes, leaving and entering the home, leaving or returning from a journey, selling or buying something, ascending or descending from a height, entering or exiting the Mosque, meeting a friend, encountering an enemy, seeing the new moon, approaching one’s wife, thus, in one way or another, the commencement and completion of every single task has been tied to the remembrance of Allāh, – even upon sneezing and yawning. In such a state of affairs, if the idolaters of Arabia referred to the Holy Prophetsa, (who brought this teaching, but with regards to whom, the disbelievers thought that he had crafted this teaching of his own accord), as having gone mad in the love of God, then this was not surprising. It is true that for a worldly man, these things would appear to be nothing but madness. However, a person who has understood the reality of his own being, knows that this is the very essence of life.’ (The Life & Character of the Seal of Prophets (sa), Vol. 2, pp. 113-114)
His Holiness(aba) then said that there are two incidents that are recorded around the time of Badr, however it is clear that these incidents are fabricated. The first is the killing of Asma bint Marwan. There are narrations saying she would incite people against Islam and use foul language. Thus, some narrations assert that Umair bin Adi killed her. There are varying accounts of this supposed incident. Whereas some books of history, it has not been mentioned anywhere in any of the six authentic books of traditions. On all accounts, this incident is clearly a fabrication. His Holiness(aba) said that the second fabricated incident would be mentioned in the future.
Summary prepared by The Review of Religions