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LIFE BEFORE ACCEPTANCE OF ISLAM
Hadrat Uthman (R.A.) belonged to a noble family of Quraish in Mecca. His ancestral pedigree joins with that of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘Alaihi wa Sallam) in the fifth generation. He was from the “Umayyah” family of Quraish, which was a well reputed and honourable family of Mecca during the pre-Islamic days. In the famous battle of “Fajar” the Commander-in-Chief of the Quraish army, Harb bin Umayyah was from the same family. The descendants of this family are known as “Banu Umayyah” or “Umawwin”.
Hadrat Uthman (R.A.) was born in 573 A.C. His patronymic name was “Abu Amr” and father’s name was “Affan bin Abul-As”. He was known by the name “Uthman ibn ‘Affan”. Hadrat Uthman was one of the few persons of Mecca who knew reading and writing. When he grew up, he started business in cloth which made him very rich. He used his money in good ways and always helped the poor. Uthman (R.A.) was a soft natured and kind hearted man. He did not hesitate to spend any amount of money on seeing a man in trouble in order to remove his misery. For his noble qualities the Meccans had great respect for him.
ACCEPTANCE OF ISLAM
Hadrat Uthman (R.A.) accepted Islam when Abu Bakr (R.A.) preached to him. He was one of those Muslims who accepted Islam in its very early days. Though “Banu Hashim” (the Holy Prophet’s family) was rival to “Banu Umayyah” (Hadrat Uthman’s family), and the latter was in power at that time, yet Uthman (R.A.) did not hesitate to acknowledge the prophethood of Hadrat Muhammad (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) which meant authority and supremacy over “Banu Hashim”. This was one of the reasons why Quraish leaders, belonging to Banu Umayyah (like Abu Sufyan) were opposing the Holy Prophet(Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam). Thus acceptance of Islam in such a position shows the clear-mindedness of Hadrat Uthman (R.A.). When he accepted Islam, the Quraish who once loved Uthman became his enemies. Even his relatives like Hakam (one of his uncles) began to rebuke him and chastised him severely.
One of the daughters of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam), Hadrat Ruqayyah (R.A.) was married to one of the sons of Abu Lahab (an arch-enemy of Islam). When the Holy Prophet(Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) started to preach Islam, Abu Lahab asked his son ‘Utbah to divorce her. Then the Holy Prophet married her to Hadrat Uthman (R.A.)
EMIGRATION TO ABYSSINIA
When life in Mecca became hard for the Muslims, he went to the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu’alaihi wa Sallam) and sought permission to take refuge in Abyssinia along with other Muslims. The permission was granted. Hadrat Uthman(R.A.) and his wife crossed the Red Sea with other Muslims and migrated to Abyssinia. At the time of his migration the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu’alaihi wa Sallam) remarked: “Uthman is the first man of my Ummah to migrate (for sake of Allah) with his family.” He stayed there for a couple of months and came back to Mecca when he was wrongly informed by somebody that the Quraish had accepted Islam.
UTHMAN (R.A.) GETS THE TITLE OF “DHUN-NURAIN”
Hadrat Uthman (R.A.) migrated second time with other Muslims to Medina. He could not participate in the first battle of Islam against non-believers of Mecca at Badr, because his wife was very ill. She died before the Muslims returned from Badr after the victory. The Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) gave him glad tidings that he would get the same reward as though he had participated in the battle. After the death of Hadrat Ruqayyah (R.A.), the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) married his next daughter, “Umm Kulthum” with him and he was given the title of “Dhun-nurain” i.e., the man with two lights.
HIS OTHER SERVICES FOR THE CAUSE OF ISLAM BEFORE CALIPHATE
He was a very prominent Muslim to serve Islam by all means. He participated in almost all the battles with the non-believers in which the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) had also taken part, except “Badr”. At the time of the “Treaty of Hudaibiya” he was sent to Mecca to negotiate with the non-believers. Then the Muslims were wrongly informed about his murder by the non-believers of Mecca. It is for this reason that the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) sought a pledge by the Muslims to fight with the non-believers in revenge of his murder. That pledge is known as “Bai’at al-Ridwan” (the Pledge of Ridwan). For Uthman’s pledge, the Holy Prophet(Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) put his left hand (representing Uthman’s hand) on his right hand.
When the Muhajirin (Emigrants) from Makkah came to Madinah, they had great difficulty in getting drinking water. Hadrat Uthman (R.A.) bought a well named “bi’r-i-Rumah” from a Jew for twenty thousand dirhams for free use of Muslims. That was the first trust ever made in the history of Islam. The Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) gave him the glad tidings of Paradise for this act.
When the number of Muslims increased, the Prophet’s mosque became too small to accommodate the increasing population, it was Uthman (R.A.) who responded to the Prophet’s call and bought land for its extension. When the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) went to the expedition of Tabuk, Hadrat Uthman bore the expenses for one third Islamic army (i.e., about 10,000 men). He also gave one thousand camels, fifty horses and one thousand Dinars (gold coins) to support the rest of the army. The Holy Prophet (Sallallahu’alaihi wa Sallam) remarked on this, “Nothing will do any harm to Uthman from this day, whatever he does.”
Hadrat Uthman (R.A.) was one of the scribes of the “Wahy” (Revelation) and also used to write other documents (letters and messages etc.) of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘Alaihi wa Sallam).
At the time of the election of Hadrat Abu Bakr (R.A.) Hadrat Uthman (R.A.) was present in the Assembly Hall of Medina. During the caliphate of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar (R.A.), he was a member of the “Shura” (Advisory Council). He occupied a prominent position in the affairs of the Islamic State during that time.
HADRAT UTHMAN (R.A.) ELECTED AS THE THIRD KHALIFAH (CALIPH)
Before his death, Hadrat ‘Umar (R.A.) appointed a panel of six men to select a “Khalifah” from amongst themselves and then sought his approval through Bai’at (Pledge of loyalty) by Muslim Public. He also instructed them to make the nomination within three days. The panel included Uthman,’Ali, Sa’d bin Abi Waqqas, Talha, Zubair and ‘Abdur Rahman bin ‘Auf (Ridwanullah-i-‘Alaihim) as the members.
The panel could not arrive at any decision even after long meetings. Then, Hadrat ‘Abdur Rahman bin ‘Auf proposed somebody to withdraw his name in order to decide the matter. When he got no response, he withdrew his own name. The remaining members agreed that he could take a decision. He consulted each member individually except Hadrat Talha (R.A.) who was not present at Medina. It so happened that Hadrat Uthman proposed ‘Ali’s name and Hadrat ‘Ali proposed Uthman’s name for the post of Khalifah. But Zubair and Sa’d (R.A.) were more in favour of Hadrat Uthman than Hadrat ‘Ali. After more consultations with other companions and thinking over the problem during the third night, Hadrat ‘Abdur Rahman bin ‘Auf(R.A.) gave his decision in the morning of the fourth day in favour of Hadrat Uthman (R.A.).
First of all Hadrat ‘Abdur Rahman bin ‘Auf(R.A.) took Bai’at at the hands of Hadrat Uthman and then all the Muslims present in the Mosque followed suit and took Bai’at (pledge of loyalty) at the hands of Hadrat Uthman(R.A.). In this way, Hadrat Uthman (R.A.) was declared to be the third Khalifah. When Hadrat Talha (R.A.) returned to Medina, Uthman (R.A.) requested him either to accept the post of “Khalifah” (as he was among the persons proposed by Hadrat ‘Umar for the post) or to acknowledge him as Khalifah by taking Bai’at. Hadrat Talha declined to be the Khalifah and took pledge of loyalty at his hand, saying “How can I object to your being the Khalifah when all the Muslims have agreed upon you.”
ADMINISTRATION OF SYRIA
During the time of Hadrat ‘Umar (R.A.), Amir Mu’awiya (R.A.) was the governor of Damascus controlling a part of Syria. Hadrat Uthman after combining three provinces viz. Syria, Palestine and Jordan into one, appointed Amir Mu’awiya (R.A.) as the governor of the whole Syria. During the late period of Hadrat ‘Umar (R.A.) Heraclius, the Emperor of Byzantium died at Constantinople in 641 (A.C.) and his son, Constans (641-668) after some confusion became the Emperor of Byzantine Empire which was reduced to Antalya (now a part of Turkey) & Asia Minor besides some states in the Eastern Europe, with Constantinople as its capital.
The Romans (Byzantines) were having a covetous eye on the parts conquered by the Muslims, specially Syria and Alexandria (in Egypt). They again started raising a big army against Muslims and incited the people to rebel against the Islamic Government after the death of Hadrat ‘Umar (R.A.).
ROMAN INVASION OF ALEXANDRIA
In the year 25 A.H. (645 A.C.) there was a big rebellion in Alexandria, and in 26 A.H., the Roman army took possession of the city after a fight with the Muslims. Hearing this Hadrat Uthman (R.A.)directed ‘Amr bin al-‘As(R.A.) to crush the rebellion and beat back the Roman invasion. Hadrat’Amr (R.A.) again attacked the city and drove the Romans out, and recovered the port city of Alexandria.
ADMINISTRATION OF EGYPT
During the time of Hadrat ‘Umar there was no full pledged governor in Egypt. The powers of the governor were divided. Hadrat’Amr bin al’As was the Commander-in-Chief of the forces and Hadrat’Abdullah bin Sarah (R.A.) was in charge of Revenue. But Hadrat’Amr (R.A.) had more say in the matters of administration. There arose a dispute between Hadrat’Amr and Hadrat Sarah in the year 27 A.H. Hadrat Uthman investigated the case and found that Hadrat ‘Amr was not right; so he recalled him to Medina and Hadrat ‘Abdullah bin Sarah was appointed as governor of Egypt. Hadrat ‘Amr was not pleased with the decision. During the time of Hadrat ‘Amr (R.A.) the annual amount of taxes was two million dinars. Hadrat’Abdullah raised it to four million dinars annually.
CONQUEST OF ANTALYA AND CYPRUS
Constan 11, the Byzantine Emperor tried to take over Syria and ordered his army to march on the Muslims. Seeing the Roman invasion, Hadrat Amir Mu’awiya (R.A.) led an army to Asia Minor where the Romans were gathered. He defeated the Romans and took over the city of Amuria. Within a short period of time he conquered a vast part of Asia Minor.
Following these victories Hadrat Amir Mu’awiyah (R.A.) turned his attention to Mediterranean. The island of Cyprus was very important from the defence point of view. He sought Uthman’s (R.A.) permission for sea-fighting. The Khalifah approved his plan. For the first time in the history of Islam, a naval force was built and in the year 28 A.H. Hadrat Mu’awiya sent a fleet of 500 ships under the command of Hadrat’Abdullah bin Qais Harthi. After some fighting, the island of Cyprus was occupied and the inhabitants of the island agreed to pay the same tribute to Muslims as they did to the Romans.
Later on in the year 33 A.H. (653 A.C.). Hadrat Amir Mu’awiya also conquered the great fort of Antalya (also known as Anatolia). He also attacked Constantinople (now Istanbul), the capital of Byzantium in the year 34 A.H. (654 A.C.) but was not successful in conquering it. (It was really in the lot of Sultan Muhammad Fatih who conquered it on 20 Jumadiul Awwal 857 A.H. i.e. 29 May 1453 A.C.).
ADMINISTRATION OF IRAQ
During the time of Hadrat ‘Umar (R.A.) Iraq was governed by the governor at Kufa. Hadrat Sa’d was the governor whom Hadrat ‘Umar (R.A.) recalled to Medina on some minor complaints. But at his death bed Hadrat’Umar desired reinstatement of Hadrat Sa’d (R.A.). Hadrat Uthman fulfilled his desire and appointed Hadrat Sa’d as the governor of Iraq. In the year 26 A.H., there arose a dispute between Hadrat Sa’d and Ibn Mas’ud (R.A.) who was the Treasury officer of Kufa. Ibn Mas’ud complained to the Khalifah. Hadrat Uthman enquired into the matter and found that Hadrat Sa’d was not right, therefore Hadrat Sa’d was again deprived of the governorship and Hadrat Walid bin ‘Uqbah was appointed as the new governor. In 30 A.H. Hadrat Walid bin ‘Uqbah was accused of drinking liquor for which he was not only dismissed but was also whipped in accordance with Islamic law. According to some historians Hadrat Walid bin ‘Uqbah was wrongly accused by some conspirators but Hadrat Uthman had to punish him because of the evidence given against him. Then Hadrat Uthman appointed Hadrat Sa’d bin al-‘As as the governor of Kufa. Again rowdy elements of Kufa plotted against their governor in the year 34 A.H. When Hadrat Uthman received a number of complaints against Sa’d bin al-‘As he replaced him by Hadrat Abu Musa Ash’ari (R.A.).
REBELLION OF AZERBAIJAN AND ARMENIA
Azerbaijan and Armenia were conquered during Hadrat ‘Umar’s time. There arose a rebellion against Islamic Government after his death. Hadrat Uthman ordered Hadrat Walid bin ‘Uqbah (who was the governor of Kufa at that time) to crush the rebellion. He sent Islamic forces and regained the territory taken over by the rebels. This happened in the year 26 A.H.
During the same period, Hadrat Amir Mu’awiyah(R.A.) sent an army to Armenia to face the Romans. The Islamic army was under the command of Habib bin Muslimah. He occupied some of the forts but Constans II sent a huge army of 80,000 men to face the Muslims. Seeing the situation, Amir Mu’awiya (R.A.) wrote to Hadrat Uthman for reinforcement. He ordered Walid Bin ‘Uqbah. He received Khalifahs order when he was returning from Azerbaijan after taking it over from the rebels. He immediately sent an army of eight thousand men under the command of Salman bin Rabi’ah to Armenia. The two armies conquered the whole region of Armenia after defeating the Roman forces. They also conquered some more parts of Asia Minor including Aran and Garjastan. Thus by the end of the 26 A.H. the territory up to Caucasus Mountains (now in the U.S.S.R.) came under the sway of Islam.
ADMINISTRATION OF IRAN AND CONQUEST OF AFGHANISTAN
Iran was under the administrative control of the governor of Basrah. Hadrat Abu Musa Ash’ari (R.A.) was the governor of Basrah when Hadrat ‘Umar (R.A.) died. The People of Basrah complained against him and wrongly accused him of partiality for the Quraish. At last Hadrat Uthman (R.A.) recalled him to Medina and appointed Hadrat ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amir (R.A.) as the governor of Basrah.
As stated before whole of the Persian Empire was conquered during the time of Hadrat ‘Umar (R.A.) and the Persian Emperor, Yedzgird had ultimately fled to Balkh (a place in Afghanistan). After the death of Hadrat ‘Umar(R.A.), the exiled Emperor tried to instigate a rebellion in the frontier region of the Empire against the Islamic rule. To crush this rebellion Hadrat Uthman (R.A.) appointed Hadrat’Ubaidullah bin Ma’mar but he was not successful and was martyred in a battle. Then Hadrat Uthman asked ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amir, the newly appointed governor to deal with the rebels. He crushed the rebellion and conquered some more parts viz. Hisraf, Gazna, Herat and Kabul. He also took over Balkh, thus the whole of Afghanistan was conquered. Then he took over Samarkand, Tashkent, Sajestan, Arghiyan and Turkmennistan (all these places are now part of the U.S.S.R.).
CONQUEST OF KHURASAN AND TABRASTAN
In the year 30 A.H. Hadrat Sa’d bin’As, newly appointed governor of Kufa, marched towards Khurasan with an army in which some prominent figures like Hadrat Hasan, Husain, ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abbas,’Abdullah bin’Umar etc. (Rid. A.) were also included who had returned from North African expedition. At the same time Hadrat’Abdullah bin’Amir (the governor of Basrah) also marched there. Before Hadrat ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amir reached, Sa’d bin ‘As conquered a number of places including Tabrastan and Jarjan.
In the year 31 A.H. Hadrat’Abdullah bin’Amir again marched there after hearing the news of rebellion. Then he conquered the remaining part of Khurasan.
In the meantime, Yedzgird, the exiled Persian Emperor reached the north in Turkmennistan and tried to collect an army but was again defeated by the Muslims at Sistan and fled. Thereupon one of the Turk chiefs and Naizak Khan invited him. While he was going to meet him he stayed in a village. There some body killed him while he was asleep for his precious garments and cash. In this way the last Emperor of the vast Persian Empire passed away
CONQUEST OF NORTH AFRICA
For the defence of Egypt it was necessary to drive away the Byzantines from North Africa. Tripoli (now the capital of Libya) was a stronghold of Byzantium. When Hadrai ‘Abdullah bin Sarah was appointed as a full-rank governor of Egypt, he took permission from the Khalifah to advance into the northern territory. During Hadrat ‘Umar’s time. Amr bin al-‘As (R.A.) had penetrated into the coastal part of North Africa for some distance.
After his appointment as a governor of Egypt. Hadrat ‘Abdullah bin Sarah (R.A.)
received permission from the Khalifah to penetrate deep into North Africa. In 27 A.H. he went with an army to conquer Tripoli, the main Byzantine fort of North Africa at that time. Hadrat Uthman (R.A.)also sent a reinforcement from Medina which included men like Hadrat Hasan, Husain,’Abdullah bin’Umar,’Abdullah bin Zubair,’Abdullah bin ‘Amr bin al-‘As, and ‘Abdur Rahman bin Abi Bakr etc. (Ridwanullah-i-‘Alaihim). After some fight the inhabitants of Tripoli agreed to enter into a settlement and promised to pay “Jizya” (Indemnity) equal to 2’/2 million Dinars annually.
After the conquest of Tripoli, Hadrat ‘Abdullah bin Sarah spread his armies around Tripoli. Near a city named Yaquba he faced a huge Byzantine army, under the command of a famous Byzantine general named Jarjir. The battle began and the Byzantine commander announced a reward of one hundred thousand Dinars (gold coins) and the hand of his beautiful daughter, to the person who struck off the head of Hadrat ‘Abdullah bin Sarah, the Muslim Commander. Hearing this Hadrat’Abdullah bin Zubair requested Hadrat ‘Abdullah bin Sarah to announce a reward of one hundred dinars and the hand of Byzantine Commander’s daughter (the princess) for the person who brought the commander’s head. The reward was announced and the same day the commander was slain but nobody claimed the reward. However the princess recognised the man who had slain her father. He was no other than ‘Abdullah bin Zubair (R.A.). The princess was married with him and he also got the reward of one hundred thousand dinars.
This victory cleared the way for advance of Muslims in North Africa and soon they captured Tunisia and Morocco and a part of Algeria.
SECOND INVASION OF ALEXANDRIA BY ROMANS
In the year 31 A.H. (651 A.C.) Constantine sent a fleet of 500 ships to invade Alexandria. The Muslims got ready to beat back the enemy. Hadrat Muawiya (R.A.) the governor of Syria, also ordered his fleet to sail from there to face the Romans. Hadrat’Abdullah bin Sarah advanced with his fleet and faced the Romans in the mid sea. That was the first big naval battle in the history of Islam. Though the Muslims were not experienced in naval battles, yet they did not find it difficult to beat back the enemy. The retreating Romans took refuge in the island of Sicily and the Muslims returned victorious.
INVASION OF SPAIN
After the conquest of North Africa, Hadrat Uthman gave orders for the invasion of Spain. He appointed ‘Abdullah bin Nafai’ as the Commander of Muslim army under the chief command of ‘Abdullah bin Sarah, the governor of Egypt. ‘Abdullah bin Nafai’ conquered some part of Spain but soon returned and was not successful in his mission. (Spain was, as a matter of fact, in the lot of Tariq bin Ziyad who conquered it in the year 92 A.H. i.e. 711 A.C.).
A BRIEF REVIEW OF THE CONQUESTS DURING HADRAT UTHMAN’S CALIPHATE
Thus we see that during the caliphate of Hadrat Uthman (R.A.) the Muslims conquered a number of new areas. They took over Antalya and Asia Minor in the west including Cyprus. Afghanistan, Samarkand, Tashkent, Trukmennistan, Khurasan and Tabrastan in the East and North East; and Libya, Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco in North Africa. In this way Muslims were ruling over a vast part of Asia and Africa viz. Afghanistan, Turkmennistan, Uzbekistan, Persia or Iran, Iraq, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Cyprus, Syria, Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, and of course Arabia (now Saudi Arabia) and Yemen including the Gulf states. All these countries and places were under one flag, and the Islamic state was far bigger than any one of the past mighty Byzantine or Persian Empires. Islam as a religion was also prevailing in Abyssinia (now Ethiopia) and in some parts of East and Central Africa though these places were not under the direct control of the Caliphate.
INTERNAL DISORDER: INTRODUCTORY NOTE
The first half of Hadrat Uthman’s caliphate was very peaceful. During this time the Muslims gained many victories as described above, and the caliphate extended to a vast area of the then known world. But the later part of Hadrat Uthman’s caliphate was marred by a terrible civil war which ultimately led to the murder of the caliph himself. Hadrat Uthman (R.A.) was a very gentle and soft-hearted person. The people who wanted to create chaos among the Muslims took advantage of his soft nature. Hadrat ‘Umar’s stern hand had kept away the undemocratic and non-Islamic customs, and the practices that prevailed in the courts of Persian and Byzantine Empires. But HadrAt Uthman (R.A.) sometimes overlooked the faults of the governors and other officers in various provinces, though he himself totally and completely followed the ways of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) and the first two caliphs. His compassionate nature made the provincial governors bold as a result of which unrest in the provincial capitals grew and ultimately it engulfed the whole Islamic State.
The enemies of Islam were in search of a suitable occasion to work against Islam and the Muslims. They got the desired opportunity for this and sent out their men to disturb the peace and to spread false news. Only the main events that happened during that time would be discussed in the following lines.
CONSPIRACY OF ‘ABDULLAH BIN SABA
‘Abdullah bin Saba, a clever Yemenite Jew who had accepted Islam only for self-interest and to destroy peace of the Islamic state, took the leading part in the agitation against Hadrat Uthman (R.A.). He was having a number of followers who had accepted Islam only to create disharmony among the Muslims.
He invented quite a few beliefs and started to preach them. He based his beliefs upon the love of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) and his family (Ahli-Bait). Some of the beliefs invented by Abdullah bin Saba were
(1) Every prophet left a “Wasi” (administrator) behind him, and the “Wasi” was his relative. For example Prophet Musa (Moses) made Harun his “Wasi” (administrator). Consequently the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) must have a “Wasi”, and his “Wasi” was Hadrat ‘Ali (R.A.) Being the “Wasi”, Hadrat ‘Ali (R.A.) was the only rightful man to be the “Khalifah”. He went to the extent of declaration that the “Khilafat” (caliphate) of Hadrat Abu Bakr,’Umar and Uthman (R.A.) was unlawful. The only way to redress matters was to remove the then Caliph, Hadrat Uthman(R.A.).
(2) He said that it was strange for the Muslims to believe that Jesus (‘Alaihis Salam) would descend from the heaven to follow Islam and to fight for Muslims against non-believers, and not to believe that the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) would not come back. So he believed that the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) being superior to Jesus as the Last Prophet and the Leader of all prophets, would also come back.
(3) He started to give wrong commentaries of various verses of the Holy Qur’an and twisted their meaning in favour of his beliefs.
He preached his false self-coined beliefs secretly and selected the main headquarters of Muslim military power, Kufa, Basrah, Syria and Egypt as centres of his activities. He picked up a number of newly converted Muslims who lent an easy ear to what he said. Some simple Muslims who were having certain complaints against various governors also joined him. It was the real cause of all the troubles.
First of all he visited Medina to note the internal conditions of the capital. He pretended to be a very pious Muslim but could not get much followers over there. Then he came to Basrah and started to preach his beliefs and incite the public against Muslim officers. At that time Hadrat’Abdullah bin ‘Amir was the Governor. Hearing about his activities, he called him and made certain enquiries because of which he was frightened and left Basrah leaving his followers and workers over there under the supervision of Hakim bin Hublah, one of the opponents of the governor.
From Basrah ‘Abdullah bin Saba moved to Kufa and found it more suitable for his destructive activities. He pretended to be a very pious Muslim and because of his show of piety, a number of simple Muslims started to respect him. Then he preached his beliefs. Soon the governor of Kufa, Hadrat Sa’d bin al-‘As was informed about him. He called him and warned him against his false beliefs and the damage he wanted to cause to the Muslim community. For this reason he left Kufa as well but made Ashtar as his deputy with instructions that the mission should be carried on secretly. From there he also went to Damascus but was not successful because of the strict control of Amir Mu’awiya (R.A.).
At last he selected Egypt and went there. The governor of Egypt, Hadrat’Abdullah bin Sarah was busy in the battles against Byzantine forces in North Africa and could not pay much attention to Ibn Saba’s activities. He continued correspondence with his followers in Basrah, Kufa and other places from Egypt, and gave them directions for creating disorder and rivalry among the Muslims.
His followers, most of whom were pretending to be Muslims, used various techniques to increase their strength. They made a great show of piety and posed to be very pious worshippers. They incited people to forge complaints against the governors, various officers and the Khalifah as well. A new campaign against most of the officers was started by calling them irreligious, non-practical and bad Muslims. They sent forged letters from place to place which talked of injustice and unrest in the place from where they were posted. Such letters were usually sent to Sabaites (the followers of ‘Abdullah bin Saba) who read them out to as many people as possible. These forged letters also showed that Hadrat’Ali, Talha, and Zubair (Rid. A.) had full sympathy with them and with their mission and they disliked the “Khalifah”, Hadrat Uthman (R.A.). These were the three leading Companions in Medina at that time. Thus the people of various places began to believe that there was a widespread unrest and that the leading Companions wanted to remove the “Khalifah”.
The Sabaites also worked throughout the state against various governors. They were the real cause of their removal from time to time. Sabaites were the main figures behind the removal of Hadrat Abu Musa Ash’ari from the governorship of Basrah at the time when their mission was not so popular. They spread rumours against Hadrat Walid bin ‘Uqbah, governor of Kufa, and wrongly accused him of drinking liquor, and provided false witnesses against him because of which the “Khalifah” punished him. When he was punished they accused the “Khalifah” of punishing innocent Muslims. When Hadrat ‘Abdullah bin’Amir (R.A.) was appointed as the governor of Basrah to replace Hadrat Abu Musa Ash’ari they incited the public against him and against the Khalifah that he was related to the Khalifah because of which he was given the governorship in his young age.
On one side they incited the people against the governors and on the other they accused the Khalifah. On the basis of complaints when Hadrat Uthman (R.A.) removed the governors they criticised him to be unduly kind to his relatives by appointing them to big posts.
ALLEGATIONS AGAINST HADRAT UTHMAN
(1) Hadrat Uthman belonged to the family Banu Umayyah of Quraish. Before Islam there was rivalry between Banu Umayyah and Banu Hashim, the family of the Quraish to which the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu’alaihi wa Sallam) and Hadrat ‘Ali (Allah be pleased with him) belonged. In Medina the Sabaites incited Banu Hashim against Banu Umayyah, actually against Hadrat Uthman, by saying that he was removing Hashmites from the big offices in order to support Umayyads and that he was unduly considerate to his family.
(2) They alleged that Hadrat Uthman (R.A.) was extravagant and gave away money to his relatives, thus squandered the “Baitul Mal”. The allegation was absolutely false. Hadrat Uthman (R.A.) was one of the wealthiest merchants in Arabia due to which people called him “Ghani” (The Richman). His liberal contributions towards the cause of Islam during the life of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu’alaihi wa Sallam) have been mentioned in the preceding pages. His generosity continued in the same way during his caliphate. He spent his own money to help the poor, and also his relatives but never took anything wrongfully from the “Baitul Mal”. Not only this he did not accept any allowance from the “Baitul Mal” for his services as Caliph. Through his addresses and speeches he clarified his position several times and gave satisfactorily explanations to the false accusations against him. Once he promised to give one fifth of the booty of Tripoli, the state share, to Hadrat’Abdullah bin Sarah, the then Governor of Egypt, for his invaluable services and the bravery he showed in the battles that took place between the Muslims and the Byzantine forces in North African territories. But the general public disapproved his view and he asked ‘Abdullah to return that share.
(3) One of the allegations, levelled by Sabaites against Hadrat Uthman was that he had burnt some copies of the Holy Qur’an. The fact was that Hadrat Uthman (R.A.) sent copies of the Holy Qur’an, written by Hadrat Zaid bin Thabit by the order of Hadrat Abu Bakr during his caliphate, to various places of the state and asked the governors and other officers to burn all those copies of the Holy Qur’an which were incomplete and were not in accordance with the Holy Qur’an compiled by Hadrat Zaid bin Thabit. This was done in order to avoid confusion between the Muslims because there were some copies of the Holy Qur’an at that time in which the order of the Surahs (Chapters) was not like that which was proposed by the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) in accordance to Hadrat Gabriel instructions as commanded by Allah. Moreover, some of the copies existing at that time at various places other than Medina were lacking in some chapters, and were incomplete. For this reason Hadrat Uthman (R.A.) got copies made from the standard Book compiled during the time of Abu Bakr (R.A.) and sent them to various places. Differences had also arisen due to differences in handwritings so he also standardised the way of writing the Holy Qur’an. This has been considered as one of the greatest services of Hadrat Uthman (R.A.) rendered to Islam for which he has been given the title of “Jami’ul-Qur’an” (The Compiler of the Qur’an) although the Holy Qur’an was compiled in a book form by Hadrat Abu Bakr (R.A.) on the insistence of Hadrat ‘Umar (R.A.).
(4) At this place I would like to mention something about Hadrat Abu Dharr Ghifari(R.A.) because this allegation is concerned with him. He was a well-known and pious Companion of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) who always kept aloof from the world and its riches. He was not in favour of accumulation of money and saving it. As regards the “Baitul Mal”(Public Treasury), he held the view that all the money should be spent for the welfare of Muslims as soon as it came through taxes etc. In Syria he started to publicise his opinion and a number of people followed him. Seeing this Hadrat Amir Mu’awiya wrote to Hadrat Uthman who recalled Hadrat Abu Dharr to Medina and then he retired to a village named Rabdhah near Medina.’Abdullah bin Saba tried to gain favour of Hadrat Abu Dharr(R.A.) when he was in Syria but he rebuked Ibn Saba and told him that the beliefs she was preaching were foreign to Islam and that his aim was to create chaos among the Muslims.
When Hadrat Abu Dhar (R.A.) had retired they started accusing Hadrat Uthman that he forced him to live in a village. Not only this but they also accused him of ill treatment of other recognised Companions like Hadrat ‘Ammar bin Yasir and Hadrat ‘Abdullah bin Mas’ud (R.A.) But all of these accusations were false.
(5) One of the allegations against Hadrat Uthman was that he called Hakam bin’As to Medina who was exiled by the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu’alaihi wa Sallam). However this step of Hadrat Uthman was not too wise. Not only this but he also appointed Hakam’s son Marwan as his chief secretary which was not liked by some prominent Companions and also by the Muslim Public.
The forthcoming discussion on this point would reveal that Marwan became the main cause of insurgents’ existent who ultimately assassinated the Khalifah. It is alleged that he wrote to Egypt’s governor Hadrat ‘Abdullah to kill Muhammad bin Abi Bakr whom Hadrat Uthman had appointed the governor of Egypt in place of Muhammad bin Abi Bakr when the insurgents pressed Hadrat Uthman to do so but this, too, was false. The letter was sheer forgery.
There are some other false allegations which were levelled by Sabaites to defame the Khalifah. Since most of them are purely theological in nature and not political, they are not been mentioned here.
CONFERENCE OF THE GOVERNORS
When the unrest caused by Sabaites went on growing in all parts of the State, the news began to pour in Medina. The leading Companions asked Hadrat Uthman to take steps against them. So he called a conference of the governors in Medina in the year 34 A.H., just after the Hajj. All the governors attended the meeting. Hadrat Uthman (R.A.) enquired from them about the growing unrest in the State. They told him that it was due to some mischief-mongers who wanted to overthrow the government. They suggested that such persons must be punished and those who were the leaders must be put to sword. But Hadrat Uthman disliked the suggestion and told them that without just cause he would never shed even a single drop of Muslim blood. Hadrat Uthman (R.A.) was not willing to take stern action against such persons because he did not want that hundreds of men should be massacred for his interest. Instead, he sent a mission of four persons: Muhammad bin Muslimah, Usamah bin Zaid,’Ammar bin Yasir and ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar(Rad. A .)to tour the provinces.
After the governors’ conference was over Hadrat Amir Mu’awiya (R.A.) suggested that he should leave Medina and should pass some time in Damascus but he said, “I would not leave Madinah even though people kill me.” Then Amir Mu’awiya (R.A.) requested Hadrat Uthman (R.A.) to allow him to send an army to Madinah for his protection but Hadrat Uthman did not agree to even that.
TOUR OF THE MISSION
The mission sent by Hadrat Uthman toured various places and talked with the people. Three of them returned to Medina and reported to Hadrat Uthman that the conditions were normal. The fourth member of the mission Hadrat ‘Ammar bin Yasir (R.A.) did not return. He was sent to Egypt where ‘Abdullah bin Saba and his followers coaxed him and he started to live with them instead of returning to Medina.
SABA GETS FRIENDS
‘Abdullah bin Saba was in search of some important men who were having some influence over the Muslims. At last he won over three important figures. One among them was Hadrat ‘Ammar bin Yasir, described above. The other two joined Ibn Saba before Hadrat ‘Ammar. They were Muhammad bin Abi Hudhaifah and Muhammad bin Abi Bakr. Muhammad bin Abi Hudhaifah was an orphan and was brought up by Hadrat Uthman along with some other orphans. When he grew up he desired some big post. Hadrat Uthman (R.A.) did not consider him fit for that. So he left Medina and went to Egypt and ultimately joined Ibn Saba. Muhammad bin Abi Bakr(R.A.) was in debt. The creditor complained to the “Khalifah” who decided the case impartially in favour of the creditor as a result of which Muhammad bin Abi Bakr left Medina and came to Egypt and ultimately joined Ibn Saba.
PLAN OF THE SABAITES
The Sabaites were planning to cause a general rising when the Governors were away to attend the conference. However the plot could not be carried out.
Kufa was the main centre of the Sabaites besides their headquarters in Egypt. The hooligans of Kufa tried to carry out the plan and did not allow the governor to enter the city when he returned from the conference. They demanded that Hadrat Musa Ash’ari should be appointed as the governor in place of Sa’d bin’As. Their request was granted and Hadrat Uthman (R.A.) sent Hadrat Musa Ash’ari to Kufa.
Then they chalked out another plan and decided that their ring leaders should meet at Medina. This plan had to serve double purpose. On the one hand they wanted to study the situation for future course of action, and on the other hand they wanted to show to the public that they put their grievances before the “Khalifah” but he did not pay any attention to them.
According to the plan three delegations came, one from Egypt, the second from Kufa and the third from Basrah. Hadrat Uthman was informed about their plan but he accepted it quietly. When these Sabaites entered Medina some Companions suggested to Uthman (R.A.) to kill them but he told that without sufficient legal grounds no man can be executed, and that he would try to remove the misunderstandings. He told them, “I would be kind to them and if kindness failed to work I would rather sacrifice myself for Allah’s Will.”
Hadrat Uthman (R.A.) listened to them and gave a long address in which he replied to all the charges which were put against him. Some parts of his historical address are quoted here
“I have been accused of loving my kinsmen and to be unduly kind to them. It is not a sin to love one’s relatives but I have never been unjust to other people because of my love of my relatives. Whatever I give them that is from my own pocket. I never spent anything on my relatives and kinsmen from public funds ……”
“It has been said that I have appointed comparatively young men as officers. I did it only because I found them abler for the cause of Islam. Nobody could deny their honesty and the work they rendered for the cause of Islam and the Muslims. The appointment of Usamah as the commander of the army by the Holy Prophet is proof that youth is no disqualification.”
“…. It has been alleged that I gave the whole booty of North Africa as reward to the governor of Egypt. It is true but when I learnt the public objection to it, I took back the money from the governor and deposited it in the “Baitul Mal”…..”
“It is said that I have reserved the public pastures for my personal use. I swear by Allah that I never did it. In public pastures only those animals graze which are the property of the “Baitul Mal” (Public Treasury). All of you know that when I was entrusted with this office (i.e. caliphate) I had more animals than any one in the whole of Arabia but now I have only two camels that are to serve me at the time of Hajj. How could I reserve the public pastures for my personal use?……”
“People accuse me of sending copies of the Holy Qur’an. The Holy Qur’an is Allah’s book sent down to His Prophet. The Companions who wrote it under the direct supervision of the Holy Prophet are still alive. I have sent only that copy of the Holy Qur’an which was compiled by those Companions..”
“It is said that I called Hakam to Medina who was exiled by the Holy Prophet. Actually the Holy Prophet exiled him from Mecca to Taif. Then the Holy Prophet had allowed him to live at Medina on my request. I only put into force the permission granted by the Holy Prophet himself….”
In this way Hadrat Uthman gave satisfactory explanation to all the allegations put against him by the Sabaites. In the end of his address he asked the audience
“Tell me if all what I have said is not correct.”
But the aim of these ring leaders was to create mischief. They returned to their places and instead of telling the truth told them that the “Khalifah” was not ready to set things right. Then they planned to send strong contingents from places like Basrah, Kufa and Egypt for the forthcoming Hajj. The parties were to leave their places pretending to perform Hajj but there aim was to go to Medina and decide the matter with the sword i.e. to change the “Khalifah” by force. Though the “Khalifah” knew about this plan from before hand but he did not want to use force. He was determined to win over his enemies with love and compassion.
MARTYRDOM: INSURGENTS (SABAITES) ENTER MADINAH
As the time of Hajj in the year 35 A.H. (656 A.C.) came near they started to put their plans into action. In the month of Shawwal 35 A.H. they started coming in small groups from various places. In all about three thousand Sabaites came, one thousand from each place viz. Basrah, Kufa and Egypt. The groups from Basrah stayed at DhiKhashab, and those from Kufa stayed at A’was while the Egyptians stayed at Dhi-Murwah. All the three places are near Medina. All of them wanted Hadrat Uthman to step down but there was some difference of opinion regarding the next “Khalifah”. Because of Ibn Saba, the Egyptians wanted Hadrat ‘Ali (R.A.), but Kufites preferred Hadrat Zubair while Basrites were in favour of Hadrat Talha. The Egyptians came to Hadrat ‘Ali and requested him to accept the “Khilafat”. Hadrat ‘Ali replied, “The Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) has told us that the parties of Dhi-Khashab, Dhi-Murwah and A’was are cursed. Every pious Muslim knows about it. I can’t co-operate with you. Go back to your places.” The insurgents from Kufa made the same request to Hadrat Zubair who also gave the same reply. The Basrites approached Hadrat Talha who also refused.
When Hadrat Uthman heard about the insurgents he sent some of the leading Companions including Hadrat ‘Ali to them. Hadrat ‘Ali assured the insurgents that their complaints would be listened to. They put certain demands including the dismissal of the governor of Egypt and appointment of Muhammad bin Abi Bakr as the new governor. Hadrat Uthman acceded to their demand without any question. Then he gave a short address in which he said, “By Allah, for the cause of truth, 1 am ready to obey even a slave. I promise to fulfil your demands.” Saying this tears rolled down the eyes of Hadrat Uthman, and the audience also wept.
Hadrat ‘Ali (R.A.) then again assured the insurgents and they seemed to be satisfied and started to go back. All the Muslims at Medina thought that the trouble had ended.
THE SIEGE OF KHALIFAH’S HOUSE
A few days later the Medinites were surprised to hear shouts of “Revenge”, “Revenge” in the streets of Medina. Hearing the shouts Hadrat ‘Ali came out to enquire about the matter. The insurgents showed a letter to him under the seal of “Khalifah” and signed by Marwan bin Hakm, the chief secretary of Hadrat Uthman (R.A.). The letter was being carried to the Governor of Egypt by a special messenger whom they intercepted on the way. The letter said; “Uqtul Muhammad bin Abu Bakr” (i.e. Kill Muhammad bin Abu Bakr) instead of “lqbil Muhammad bin Abu Bakr” (i.e. Accept Muhammad bin Abu Bakr as governor).
Note: It seems that the “Nuqtab “(dot) of Arabic letter “Ba” was wrongly placed at the top giving it a letter similar to another letter “Ta” due to which the meaning was totally changed. But according to most of the historians the letter was intentionally written by Marwan about which Hadrat Uthman did not know. While some others say that was a plot of insurgents and they produced a forget letter. For the reason given in the Glorious Caliphate by Athar Husain the letter was a clean forgery.
Hadrat’Ali tried to pacify them but they did not listen to him and went straight to Uthman, saying: “We do not want Uthman (R.A.) to be the Khalifah. Allah has made his blood lawful for us. You should also help us.” Hadrat ‘Ali said, “By Allah, I have nothing to do with you. It seems that you have hated a plot and are trying to carry it out.”
When the insurgents went to Hadrat Uthman (R.A.) he took a solemn oath that he knew nothing about the letter. But they did not believe him and said, “Whether you wrote it or not, you are unfit to be the Khalifah and you must abdicate.” They threatened to kill him on which Hadrat Uthman (R.A.) replied, “I do not fear death, but I do not want to shed Muslim blood.”
When Hadrat’Ali saw that the insurgents were not in control and Hadrat Uthman did not want to use force against them, he left for Ahjar, a place few miles away from Medina, because his position was becoming difficult as the insurgents wanted to drag him in the dispute.
Afterwards the insurgents demanded Hadrat Uthman (R.A.) to give up the “Khilafat”. He rejected their demand and said, “I can’t take off the robe of honour with my own hands that Allah has bestowed upon me.” Consequently the insurgents laid a siege to his house and did not allow him to come out except for offering Salats in the Masjid. But later on they did not allow him to come out even for the Salats. The siege went on for forty days. During the last few days they also stopped supply of water. Some brave Muslim youths like Hadrat Hasan, Husain, Muhammad bin Talha, ‘Abdullah bin Zubair (R.A.) were guarding the gate of the house so that nobody among the insurgents could enter the house. Beside Hadrat Uthman and his wife, Nailah, Marwan bin Hakam was also in the house. He did not allow any person to fight with the insurgents although a fight took place between Hadrat Hasan, Husain and Marwan and the insurgents when they did not allow Umm-ul-mu’minin Hadrat Habibah (R.A.) to supply meals to Hadrat Uthman. Hadrat Hasan received minor injuries but Marwan was seriously hurt. However the insurgents did not fight with Hadrat Hasan and Husain because of the fear of Hashmites. During the siege Hadrat Uthman sent Abdullah bin ‘Abbas to Mecca to lead the Hajj and also to inform people about the insurgents. He also sent messengers to provincial governors.
When hardship grew, some eminent Companions like Hadrat Mughirah bin Shu’bah requested the “Khalifah” to take action against the insurgents and said that all the people of Medina were ready to fight for him but he did not agree to shedding of blood of Muslims. Then they proposed that he should leave the house through the back door and either go to Mecca or to Damascus where he would be safer but he accepted neither of the proposals. The things got worse day by day, and at last the crisis arrived.
MARTYRDOM OF HADRAT UTHMAN (R.A.)
The only weapon with Hadrat Uthman was his kindness and soft nature. He addressed several times the insurgents from the roof of his house and reminded them about his family relations with the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam), and the services he had rendered to Islam but they never listened to him.
The insurgents were afraid that the Hajj was coming to an end and after the Hajj a number of supporters of the “Khalifah” would come to Medina. They decided therefore to assassinate him without delay. As stated before, they did not want to fight with Hashmites like Hadrat Hasan, Husain and ‘Abdullah bin Zubair who were standing guard at the main gate of Hadrat Uthman’s big residence. The reason not to fight with Hashmites was that they had incited a number of people against Banu Umayyah (Hadrat Uthman’s family) in favour of Banu Hashim (Hashmites). So the insurgents climbed the back walls of the house and entered the room where Hadrat Uthman (R.A.) was reciting the Holy Qur’an.
On seeing Hadrat Uthman, one of the insurgents hit his head with an axe while the next struck him with a sword. His wife, Nailah tried to shield her husband but she also got several wounds and her fingers were chopped off. Chronicles record that Muhammad bin Abu Bakr was the leader of the assassins. He got hold of Hadrat Uthman’s beard and pulled it. On this Hadrat Uthman remarked, “0 my dear nephew if your father (Abu Bakr) were alive you would not have done this.” The remarks of Hadrat Uthman cut him to the quick and he turned back and did not take part in the assassination.
After giving severe injuries to Hadrat Uthman, one af insurgents, an Egyptian named ‘Amr bin Hamq cut off Khalifah’s head.
Hadrat Uthman (Radiallahu ‘Anhu) was assassinated on Friday, the 17th Dhul-Hijjah, 35 A.H. (the 17th July, 656 A.D.).
A GREAT MARTYR
Hadrat Uthman was a great martyr as prophesied in the following Hadith quoted by Bukhari and others
Hadrat Anas (R.A.) narrated that the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam), Abu Bakr,’Umar, and Uthman went up Uhud (the mountain near Medina) and when it quivered because of them the Holy Prophet kicked it with his foot and said, “Keep steady, 0 Uhud, for there are a prophet, a Siddiq and two martyrs on you.”
In the above Hadith, Hadrat Abu Bakr had been said as the Siddiq (friend) while ‘Umar and Uthman (R.A.) had been prophesied as the martyrs.
THE NEWS OF MARTYRDOM
The news of Hadrat Uthman’s cruel assassination shocked everybody. Hadrat’Ali (R.A.) received the news when he was returning from Ahjar to see Hadrat Uthman. He was stunned on hearing the assassination of Hadrat Uthman and exclaimed, “0 Allah, You know it, I am free from any blame.” He rebuked his sons Hasan and Husain (R.A.) and others who had stood guard at the gate for not being more alert.
After assassinating the Khalifah, the insurgents virtually took over charge of Medina. They also looted the “Baitul Mal”. Medinites were afraid of them and did not come out of their houses. The corpse of the “Khalifah” could not be buried for two days. At last some Muslims in succeeded getting into the house and carried out the burial service. There were only 17 Muslims who participated in the ‘Burial Prayers”. Hadrat Uthman (R.A.) was 82 years old at the time of his assassination and remained in the office of “Khilafas” for about 12 years. His words “I do not want to spill Muslim blood to save my own neck”, will be remembered for ever in the history of Islam. He sacrificed his life to save Muslim blood.
CONSEQUENCES OF ASSASSINATION
The assassination of Hadrat Uthman (R.A.) was unparalled in Islamic history and it had far reaching effects. Hadrat Hudhaifah (Rad.A) the secret keeper of Holy Prophet’s prophecies remarked on hearing the assassination of Hadrat Uthman, “Ah, the assassination of Uthman has divided the Muslims till resurrection, they would never be united again.” It proved to be true because just after the assassination civil war started and continued up to the tragedy of Karbala. At that time the Muslim community was divided into four groups
(i) Uthmanis: The Syrians and Basrites were in favour of capital punishment of the assassins. Syrians thought Hadrat Mu’awiyah the most suitable person to punish the assassins while the Basrites wanted the Khalifah from any of these two Talha or Zubair, as they were included in the panel appointed by Hadrat Umar to select the Khalifah.
(ii) Shi’an-i-‘Ali: These people did not think Hadrat Uthman (R.A.) fit for “Khilafat” and called themselves as the “Shi ‘an-i-‘Ali” i.e., the friends of ‘Ali. Kufans and some Egyptians were in this group. According to Sunni historians, the assassins were from amongst this group.
(iii? Murhibah: These were those people who were busy in “Jihad” (Holy Wars) at the time when Hadrat Uthman was assassinated. They said: “Neither we are with Uthmanis nor with Shi’as. We want to keep aloof from their differences.”
(iv) Ahl-i-Sunnah wal Jama’ah: These were the bulk of the Companions and the Muslims of various parts of the Islamic state including Mecca, Medina and other parts of Arabia. They said, “We love both Uthman and ‘Ali and consider them as righteous and pious Companions. We do not curse any of the Companions and the righteous Muslims. If any of the Companions committed a mistake it was due to his “Ijtihad” (his disciplined verdict based upon the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah of the Holy Prophet) and he would not be questioned for it. We follow the Sunnah (ways) of the Holy Prophet and the Sunnah (ways) of his righteous jama’ah (i.e. the group of ail the Companions).
The first and the third viz. Uthmanis and Murhibah proved to be temporary political groups but the other two viz. “Shi’as” and “Ahli Sunnah wal Jama’ah” or Sunnis took the shape of permanent theological groups and still exist.
Hearing the news of Hadrat Uthman’s assassination Hadrat ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abbas (R.A.), a prominent commentator of the Holy Qur’an remarked “Allah might have stoned us as He stoned the people of Lot if majority of the Muslims supported the assassinations of Hadrat Uthman.”
Thamamah bin ‘Adi (R.A.) the governor of Yemen started to cry and weep hearing the news of the assassination of Hadrat Uthman. Hadrat ‘Abdullah bin Salam (R.A.), well versed in the past scriptures, said: “By Allah, the power of the Arabs has finished now.” Hadrat ‘Aisha (R.A.), the most beloved wife of the Holy Prophet, said, “Ah, Uthman has been assassinated most cruelly. His record of deeds is shining like a well washed cloth.”
Hearing the news of the assassination Hadrat Abu Hurairah and Hadrat Zaid bin Thabit (R.A.) started to weep continuously and their tears did not stop for a long time.
The shirt of Hadrat Uthman, which was spotted with his blood, and the cut fingers of his wife, Nailah, were carried to Hadrat Amir Mu’awiyah (R.A.), the Governor of Syria, in Damascus. When they were shown to the Muslim public the whole gathering started to cry and shouted, “Revenge”, “Revenge”.
Mr. Joseph Hell, a Western historian says: “The assassination of Uthman was a signal for civil war.” Mr. Wellhausen, a German historian says, “The murder of Uthman was more epoch-making than, almost any other event of Islamic history.” Philip Hitti has remarked: “With Uthman’s death the political unity of Islam came to an end. Soon Islam’s religious unity was divided. Islamic society entered upon a period punctuated with schism and civil strife that has not yet ended.” A Muslim historian, Prof. K. Ali, writes, “Unity of Islam which was maintained by the first two “Khalifahs” was lost and serious dissensions arose among the Muslims.”
The assassination of Hadrat Uthman was followed by great civil wars and battles between the Muslims, the details of which would come later. The system of centralised government initiated by Hadrat ‘Umar and developed by Hadrat Uthman was shattered and a number of internal movements started of which the Kharijite’s movement was the most serious.
Hadrat Uthman’s reign constituted a glorious period in the history of Islam. The territories of Islamic state (caliphate) were immensely extended. Though the conquests during his time were not so much in number as during the time of ‘Umar, nevertheless they were not few. He ruled over a vast part of the then known world, right from Kabul (Afghanistan) to Morocco. He put down the rebellions with an iron hand.
During Hadrat Uthman’s period Muslim naval force was developed and Muslims started naval victories. The victory over the huge naval force of Byzantine Empire comprising 500 ships has been termed as the Grand Victory.
After the capture of North African territories by Muslims and gaining full control over Mediterranean, the mighty power of Byzantine and Roman Empire had collapsed. Actually Islam was at the zenith of its glory during the period of Hadrat Uthman.
OFFICIAL MANUSCRIPT OF THE HOLY QUR’AN
One of the magnificent services to Islam done by Hadrat Uthman (R.A.) was to safeguard any possible change in the codex of the Holy Qur’an. After the conquests by the Muslims hundreds of thousands of non-Arabs, whose mother tongue was not Arabic, accepted Islam because of its teachings. Hadrat Hudhaifah (R.A.), one of the prominent Companions of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam), went for “Jihad” (Holy War) during that time and noticed many differences in the manner of recitation (Qira’t) of the Holy Qur’an. The Syrians recited in a way different from that of Kufis while the Kufis differed from Basris and so on. As a matter of fact these differences were due to the differences in the way of writing Arabic. Seeing this condition Hadrat Hudhaifah reported the matter to the Khalifah on his return from the “Jihad” and suggested that the Medinese codex should be regarded as authentic, i.e. the Holy Qur’an, which was written and compiled in Book form during the time of Hadrat Abu Bakr (R.A.) and was kept with Ummul-mumminin Hadrat Hafsah (R.A.). Hadrat Uthman (R.A.) took that Book from Hadrat Hafsah(R.A.) and canonised the Medinese codex. He asked Hadrat Zaid bin Thabit (R.A.), the person who wrote it during the time of Hadrat Abu Bakr, to make copies of the same with the help of some other Companions like Abdullah bin Zubair and Sa’d bin ‘As etc. Then he ordered all other copies, beside the Medinese codex, to be burnt and destroyed throughout the State. Those people who earned their living in the provinces as the receptacles and expositors of the sacred text were not pleased with this act. It has been discussed before that such persons criticised Uthman for burning unauthentic texts. However for this great service Hadrat Uthman (R.A.) is famous as the “Jami’ul-Qur’an” (The compiler of the Qur’an).
EXTENSION OF THE MOSQUE OF THE HOLY PROPHET(sallallahu alaiyhi wasallam)
The mosque of the Holy Prophet was too small for the increasing Muslim population. He bought a big plot of land in the neighbourhood of the mosque, but some of the persons living in the nearby houses did not want to leave their places even for reasonable compensation. For four years no new construction was built. One day he gave an effective lecture after Friday Salat and the people agreed to donate their places. Then the mosque was extended in the year 29 A.H.
Hadrat Uthman (R.A.) spent a lot of his time in preaching to the prisoners of war. Many of them accepted Islam because of his efforts. He also taught Islamic law to the Muslims. Once he himself demonstrated the correct method of making wudu before a large gathering of Muslims.
He took special care to send missionaries to various places and appointed teachers to teach Islamic law, the Holy Qur’an and Hadith. Persons were appointed to make the rows (Saffs) of worshippers straight during a congregational Salat specially on Fridays when the congregation was quite large.
CONSTRUCTION OF BUILDINGS, BRIDGES, ROADS AND EMBANKMENTS
A number of new buildings were constructed for offices at various places. Rest houses were constructed on various high ways, and guest houses were built in various cities like Kufa.
For the welfare of the general public new bridges and roads were constructed, and general condition of various roads was improved. The roads leading to Medina were given special attention. He got tanks made, and wells dug up along many roads to supply water to the travellers.
Medina was not safe from floods. Sometimes the building of the Prophet’s mosque was in danger. Hadrat Uthman constructed a strong embankment along that side of the city which used to get flooded. This was known as the Embarkment of Mahroz.
UTHMAN (R.A.) AS A GREAT SCHOLAR
Hadrat Uthman had a beautiful handwriting because of which the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘Alaihi wa Sallam) appointed him as one of the scribes of the “Wahy” (Revelation).
His style of writing was well recognised among the Companions. Arabic knowing persons can recognise the fluency of his writings specially of the letters and the orders he sent to various officers during his Khilafat. Though he was not an orator but his way of lecturing was very effective. His addresses and lectures can be seen in history books.
Hadrat Uthman was a great scholar of the Holy Qur’an and was a “Hafiz”(i.e. the one who commits the whole Holy Book to memory). He was well versed in “Shan-i-Nuzul”i.e. the chronology of revelation of various verses and the chapters of the Holy Qur’an, and was considered an authority in this respect. He was one of the few Companions who excelled in deriving laws from the verses of the Holy Qur’an.
Although he was not a great jurist like ‘Umar and ‘Ali (R.A.) nevertheless he was well qualified in this respect. His verdicts and judgements have been mentioned in books. He was considered an authority on the laws of Hajj. Even ‘Umar (R.A.) asked Uthman about that during his time.
CHARACTER AND PIETY
Hadrat Uthman (R.A.) was a very pious Companion and a man of high character. He was the most modest of all the Companions. Once the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘Alaihi wa Sallam) was sitting with some of his Companions and the shin of this leg was not covered. In the meantime somebody informed him about the arrival of Hadrat Uthman (R.A.). The Holy Prophet (Sallallahu’Alaihi wa Sallam) immediately covered it and remarked: “Even the angels have regard for the modesty of Uthman”
He was a strict follower of the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘Alaihi wa Sallam). Somebody asked him the reason for smiling after wudu. He replied he had seen the Holy Prophet smiling after making wudu, so he smiled to follow him. Once he demonstrated to Muslims the correct way of making wudu according to the sunnah of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘Alaihi wa Sallam).
He used to fear Allah very much. Tears used to roll down his face because of Allah’s fear. Whenever the consequences to be faced in the grave were described before him, he used to weep so much that his beard could get wet with tears. Sometimes he wept and cried seeing a corpse or a grave because of fear of Allah. He used to say, “Grave is the first stage among all the stages of the Hereafter. If a person is successful there, he would be successful on the Day of Judgement too. If a person faces difficulty in the grave, other stages would also be difficult for him.”
He used to do household work although he was one of the wealthiest persons in the whole of Arabia. He would not wake his slave to take any help from him when he got up to perform “Tahajjud” Salat.
Hadrat Uthman was very soft spoken. If any person talked to him in a harsh tone he always replied gently. Once he was delivering “Khutbah” of Jumu’a Salat, a person shouted during the Sermon: “O Uthman, repent for Allah’s sake and keep away from going wrong.” He immediately turned his face towards the Qiblah and exclaimed, “0 Allah, I am the first to repent before Thee and to turn towards Thee.”
He never took any allowance from the “Bait ul-Mal” for his services as a Khalifah. Hadrat ‘Umar got 5,000 darhams annually as an allowance from the Public Treasury, thus Hadrat Uthman contributed 60,000 Drahms after his 12 years service, towards the Public Fund.
Examples of his generosity have already been given. He was the most generous among all the wealthy Companions and never hesitated to spend his money for the cause of Islam and Muslims. His house was one of the biggest in Medina which he built near the mosque of the Holy Prophet. He established a library in the back of his house for the education of the Muslims.
WIVES AND CHILDREN
Hadrat Uthman was first married to the Holy Prophet’s daughter, Hadrat Ruqayyah (R.A.) who died in Medina while the Holy Prophet was away on the expedition of Badr. Then he was married to the younger daughter of the Holy Prophet whose name was Hadrat Umm-i-Kulthum. She also died in the year 9 A.H. His first wife, Hadrat Ruqayyah bore him a son, Abdullah, who died at an early age. He had no child from Umm-i-Kulthum (R.A.).
After the death of his second wife Hadrat Umm-i-Kulthum, he married, the following ladies from time to time: Fakhtah bint Walid; Umm-i-‘Amr bint Jundah; Fatimah bint Shaibah; Umm-i-Banin bint’Uwainah; Ramlah bint Shaibah; ‘Aishah; Umm-i-Aban; and Nailah bint Farafsah, his last wife whose fingers were chopped by the insurgents.
Eleven sons were born to him from different wives. Some of them died at an early age. One of his sons, Aban became famous and held high positions during the Umayyads. He had six or seven daughters.
ADMINISTRATION OF HADRAT UTHMAN (R.A.)
Hadrat Uthman observed the same principles in his government as were laid down by Hadrat ‘Umar (R.A.). In the following lines some of the main features of his government would be described in brief.
“SHURA” (COUNSEL OF ADVISERS)
He maintained the Council of Advisers “Shura” in the same way as was maintained by the first two caliphs. The main members of his “Shura” were Hadrat ‘Ali, Zubair and Talha. General councils for consultations were also called from time to time. All the prominent Companions, governors and prominent officers were present in the general council (conference) held in the year 34 A.H. to consider the internal condition of the state.
ADMINISTRATION OF THE PROVINCES
Hadrat Uthman (R. A.) divided the state into various provinces according to a new plan. Before him, there were three provinces in the region of Syria viz. Syria, Palestine and Jordan. Hadrat Uthman combined all the three provinces into one — Syria and put it under the control of a single Governor — Mu’awiyah (R.A.). This was necessary and important from the point of view of defence. Hadrat Mu’awiya (R.A. ) was a good and intelligent administrator and was able to control the whole region in a better way. He also separated the post of Governor from that of the commander of the armed forces in various provinces. Separate officers were appointed for both the posts who were under the direct control of the Khalifah. However, in some cases this rule was not observed due to lack of suitable persons.
Though Hadrat Uthman was a soft natured gentleman, yet he did not condone the mistakes of his officers including the Governors. The details have already been mentioned in the preceding pages. On various occasions he sent commissions of enquiry.
On Fridays he used to come to the mosque long before the “Khutbah Adhan” to listen to the complaints of Muslims and to remove their difficulties. On the occasion of every Hajj he used to listen to the public about their difficulties and complaints against officers.
Following were the Officers (civil) at the time when Hadrat Uthman (R.A.) was assassinated in 36 A.H.
1. Mecca — ‘Abdullah bin Hadrami
2. Ta’if — Qasim bin Rabi’ah Thaqafi
3. Yemen (with San’a as its capital) — Ya’la bin Munabbah
4. Syria — Hadrat Amir Muawiyah.
Following places were under the direct control of the governor of Syria. Each place was under the charge of an administrator
(a) Jordan — Abul A’war al-Salimi
(b) Hims (Homs) — ‘Abdur Rahman bin Khalid bin Walid, who was also the administrator of Jazirah (Mesopotamia).
(c) Palestine — ‘Alqamah bin Hakim.
5. Egypt—- ‘Abdullah bin Sa’d, who was also in charge of North African territories each of which was having its own administrative officer, under the governor of Egypt, Tripoli, Algeria and Morocco etc.
6. Basrah — ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amir, who was also in charge of all the territories in Eastern Persia, each of which was having its own administrative officer, under the governor of Basrah: Balkh, Kabul, Herat, Samarkand, Sajistan, Arghiyan, and Turkmennistan etc.
7. Kufa — Abu Musa Ash’ari, who was also in charge of all the territories in Western Persia, each of which was having its own administrative officer under the governor of Kufa: Khurasan, Tabrastan, Azerbaijan (with Ash’ath bin Qais as the Administrative officer), Isfahan (with Sa’ib bin Aqra’y as the administrative officer), Hamdan (with Nasir as the administrative officer).
8. Qansirin (Asia Minor) — Habib bin Muslimah Fahri, who was also in charge of
Armenia, and Antalya etc.
Hadrat Zaid bin Thabit was the Qadi of Medina and Hadrat ‘Uqbah bin ‘Amir was the Treasury officer in Medina.
ADMINISTRATION OF THE ARMED FORCES
Hadrat Uthman (R.A.) kept the armed forces on the same pattern as was laid down by his predecessor. During his time there was a notable increase in the number of armed forces. Not only he increased the military power of the Islamic State (Caliphate) but also connected various military units with each other. For example when Hadrat Mu’awiyah (R.A.) needed reinforcement to face the Romans, the armies in Iran and Armenia were immediately moved to Syria. Hadrat Uthman established a number of new cantonments at Tripoli, Cyprus, Armenia and Tabrastan. Besides the central cantonments there were a number of small cantonments as well in various districts.
He had made arrangements for breeding and raising of horses and camels. Large pastures were reserved for the animals used for military purposes. The pasture at Rabdhah, near Medina was ten miles long and about nine miles wide. Another pasture near Medina at Darbah was six miles long. He built ponds near the pastures and houses for the caretakers. Number of camels and horses had immensely increased to meet the needs of the armed forces. There was 40,000 camels in one pasture alone at Darbah. The number of animals kept all over the vast Islamic State was stupendous.
He took special care of military personnel and increased their allowances. The civil departments were separated from the military departments.
One of the remarkable features in the development of military power during the period of Hadrat Uthman was the establishment of naval force. The Muslim navy was expanded and very well equipped. Amir Mu’awiyah (R.A.) played a very important role in this respect. He is the man who worked for the development of Islamic Naval force. Under his command the first naval battle took place in the history of Islam.
ADMINISTRATION OF PUBLIC TREASURY AND REVENUE
During the time of Hadrat Uthman the revenue of the State was greatly increased. The Kharaj of Egypt alone was two million Dinars annually during the time of Hadrat Umar but it increased to four millions annually during Uthman’s period. Hadrat Uthman (R.A.) used the entire public funds for the general welfare of the public. He increased the allowances given to various people and the poor. Not only this he also arranged for free distribution of food stuffs and cooked meals to the poor and disabled persons, during the month of Ramadan. He used a major part of the revenue in construction of bridges, roads, barrages, and mosques etc. He also fixed salaries for the Muadh-dhins (i.e. the persons who call Adhan) which had not been done by Hadrat Umar (R.A.).
NO USE OF FORCE AGAINST CIVILIANS
Hadrat Uthman (R.A.) showed an exemplary tolerance against the insurgents. By not using force against the civil public, he set the first example of the highest democratic rule in human civilisation. If studied from this point of view, it would be noted that Uthman (R.A.) was at the peak of modern democratic principles. It is unfortunate that the masses at that time were not trained for that highest form of democracy. They have had experienced in the past of the tyranny of Persian and Roman Emperors and their officers. However the base elements took advantage of the Islamic democratic principles and incited some of the Muslim population against the Khalifah. Hadrat Uthman used all the democratic principles, now prevailing in the modern society, to satisfy the insurgents. He gave before the public, full explanation of all the allegations brought against him, and the public was fully satisfied with his explanation. He acceded to the demands of the insurgents by appointing Muhammad bin Abi Bakr as the Governor of Egypt. But he did not resign because the majority of the Muslims were in his favour and only a few were the mischief-mongers. His words: “I do not want to spill Muslim blood to save my own neck” would be remembered for ever.
LIFE BEFORE ISLAM
Umar (R.A.) belonged to “‘Adi” family of Quraish tribe. In the 8th generation, his lineage joins with the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam). Abu Hafs was his patronymic name and “al-Faruq” his title given by the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam). He was born in 583 A.C., about forty years before the great Hijrah. The early life of Hadrat Umar is not known in detail. In his youth he was a famous wrestler and orator, and a spirited person. He was one among the few people in Mecca who knew reading and writing before Islam. His main occupation was business.
When the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) got revelation and invited people to Islam, Umar became the sworn enemy of Islam and the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) and did not hesitate to harm the Muslims and Islam at every opportunity.
UMAR(R.A.) ACCEPTANCE OF ISLAM
It was the sixth year of Holy Prophet’s mission when Quraish leaders called a meeting and asked a volunteer for the assassination of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) Umar offered himself for this job and everybody in the meeting exclaimed that he was the right person for it. While he was on his way with a sword in his hand he met Sa’d bin Abi Waqqas who enquired of him about his destination. Umar told him that he was going to murder the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam). After some discussion Sa’d said, “You had better take care of your own family first. Your sister and brother-in-law both have accepted Islam”. Hearing this Umar changed his direction and went straight to his sister’s house. When Hadrat Umar knocked at the door, they were studying the Holy Qur’an from Hadrat Khabbab (R.A.). His sister Fatimah was frightened on hearing Umar’s voice and tried to hide the portion of the Holy Qur’an she was reciting. When Umar entered the house he enquired about their Islam and on finding that they had accepted Islam, he first fell upon his brother-in-law and beat him severely. When his sister intervened he smote her so violently on her face that it bled profusely. On this his sister burst out: “Do whatever you like, we are determined to die as Muslims”. When Umar saw his sister bleeding, he cooled down and felt ashamed. He loved Fatimah very much but could not tolerate her conversion to Islam. However, deeply moved, Umar asked her to show the pages on which the Holy Qur’an was written. But she was, after all, Umar’s sister and told him straight, “You can not touch it unless you take a bath and make yourself clean” He washed his body and then read the leaves. That was the beginning of Surah Ta Ha (Chapter 20 of the Holy Qur’an). When he came to the verse:
“Lo! I even I, am Allah, there is no god save Me. So serve Me and establish Salat for My remembrance”. (20:14)
Umar exclaimed, “Surely this is the Word of Allah. Take me to Muhammad (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam)”.
On hearing this Hadrat Khabbab (R.A.), who had hidden himself in the house, came out from inside and said, “0 “Umar! Glad tidings for you. It seems that the prayer of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) which he said last night has been answered in your favour. He had prayer to Allah: “O Allah, strengthen Islam with either Umar b. Khattab or Umar b. Hisham whomsoever Thou pleaseth”.
Umar then went to the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam). On seeing him, the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) asked him, “Umar! what brings you here”? He said, “I am here to accept Islam”. Hearing this the Muslims shouted with joy, “Allahu Akbar”(Allah is the Greatest) and the sound rent the air of Mecca. As a matter of fact, Umar’s conversion to Islam was a terrible blow to the morale of the disbelieves. ‘Abdullah bin Mas’ud, a great Companion, says, “Umar’s conversion to Islam was a great triumph, his emigration to Medina a tremendous reinforcement and his accession to Caliphate a great blessing for the Muslims”. In some history books there are more details in this connection. I have followed the version of Shaikh Muhammad Zakariya (Damat Barakatuhu) given in his book ” Hikayat-i-Sahabah”.
UMAR (R.A.) GETS THE TITLE OF “AL-FARUQ”
Conversion of Hadrat Umar (R.A.) strengthened Islam. Hitherto, Muslims had lived in constant fear of disbelievers, and most of them were concealing their faith. The Muslims were now able to offer their Salat publicly. When Hadrat Umar (R.A.) became a Muslim he declared his faith openly before the Quraish Chiefs. Though they stared at him but could not do any harm to him. Then he requested the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) to offer Salat in the Ka’bah. On getting the consent of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam), Hadrat Umar led a party of the Muslims to that place. Hadrat Hamzah, who had accepted Islam a few days before Umar (R.A.) carried another party of the Muslims to Ka’bah. When all the Muslims gathered in the Ka’bah they offered their Salat in congregation. The Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) led this first public Salat in the history of Islam. For this courageous and bold action of Hadrat Umar (R.A) the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) gave him the title of “al-Faruq” i.e., the one who makes a distinction between the “Right” (Haqq) and the “Wrong” (Batil).
MIGRATION TO MADINAH
When the Muslims were ordered to migrate to Medina, most of them left Mecca quietly and secretly, but Hadrat Umar (R.A.) declared it openly. He put on his arms and first went to the Ka’bah. After performing the Salat he announced loudly: “I am migrating to Medina. If anyone wants to check me, let him come out. I am sure that his mother would cry for his life”. There was no man in Mecca to accept the challenge of Hadrat Umar (R.A.). Then he migrated to Medina boldly.
UMAR’S SERVICES TO ISLAM BEFORE HIS KHILAFAT (CALIPHATE)
Hadrat Umar (R.A.) had great love for Allah and the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam). He participated in almost all the big battles: Badr, Uhad, Ahzab, Khaibar, Hunain etc. In the expedition to “Tabuk” he gave half of his wealth in the path of Allah. He was next to Hadrat Abu Bakr (R.A.) to sacrifice his belongings for the cause of Allah.
The Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) also had a deep love for him. Once he remarked, “were a prophet to come after me, he would have been Umar”. In another Hadith mentioned in Bukhari, Hadrat Abu Hurairah (R.A.) narrated that the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu’alaihi wa Sallam) said, “In Bani Isra’il (Israelites) there were people who were not prophets but talked to Allah. Were anyone in my Ummah (people) like those persons, he would be Umar”.
The death of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) was a great shock to him, and he could not believe it until Hadrat Abu Bakr (R.A.) reminded him of a clear verse of the Holy Qur’an on the subject. He then went to the Council Hall along with Hadrat Abu Bakr (R.A.) where the people of Medina had assembled to select the First Caliph. Hadrat Umar (R.A.) was the first person to pledge loyalty(Bai’at) at the hand of Hadrat Abu Bakr(R.A.), and then helped him throughout the duration of his rule.
HADRAT UMAR (R.A.) AS THE SECOND CALIPH OF ISLAM
As described in connection with the life of Hadrat Abu-Bakr, during his illness he consulted the “Shura” about the next “Khalifah” and then gave his decision in favour of Hadrat Umar (R.A.) who took the charge of Caliphate after the death of Hadrat Abu Bakr (R.A.) on 22nd of Jamadi-uth-Thani 13 A.H. (23rd Aug. 634 A.C.).Umar (R.A.) followed fully the ways of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) and the policy of his predecessor with his characteristic zeal and vigour. It was his strict adherence to the “Sunnah” of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) which helped him to subdue the mighty empires of Persia and Byzantine. His caliphate marked the “Golden Age” of Islam. I would like to discuss only main events which took place during the Caliphate of Hadrat Umar (R.A.) in brief.
FALL OF PERSIAN EMPIRE
During the time of Hadrat Abu Bakr (R.A.), Hadrat Khalid bin Walid conquered part of Persian Empire, known as the Kingdom of Hira. Then he was ordered by Hadrat Abu Bakr (R.A.) to join the expedition to Syria.
At the time of his departure, he appointed Muthanna bin Harith as the commander of the Islamic army. The Persians became furious at the loss of the kingdom of Hira and the Emperor sent a large army under the command of a very famous General, Rustam the Commander-in-Chief of Persian armies. In view of the growing pressure of Persians, Muthanna requested Hadrat Umar (R.A.) for reinforcement. At that time there was a large gathering of Muslims in Medina to take pledge of loyalty (Bai’at) at the hand of the new Caliph (Hadrat Umar). He put the matter before the Muslims but did not get any response in the beginning. Then Hadrat Umar (R.A.) in his sermons stressed the importance of Jihad and a large number of Muslims volunteered to help Muthanna against the Persians. Abu’Ubaid ath-Thaqafi was appointed as the commander of the Islamic army comprising five thousand men. In the meantime Persians attacked the places conquered by Muslims and they lost some of them. In the early stage of the battles Rustam sent his subordinates to face Muslims.
THE BATTLE OF NAMARIQ
When Abu’Ubaid had reached there a battle took place at “Namariq” and the Muslims won it. A number of famous generals of Persians army including Jaban, right hand of Rustam, were killed in the battle. Then some small battles also took place at Kaskar etc.
THE BATTLE OF THE BRIDGE
The defeat of Persians startled Rustam and he gathered a huge army to face the Muslims. The army met the Muslims on the other bank of the Euphrates under the command of Bahman, a famous Persian warrior. Bahman asked Hadrat Abu Ubaid whether Persians should cross the river or the Muslims. Hadrat Abu’Ubaid was over-confident and chose to cross the river, although some of the Muslim generals like Muthanna did not like to cross the river, and preferred to let the Persians come. The Islamic army crossed the river but lost the battle. Hadrat Abu ‘Ubaid was also martyred and Muslims fell one after the other. Muthanna took over the command and ordered rebuilding of the bridge which had been destroyed. The elephants of the Persian army caused considerable damage to the Muslim army. However Muthanna could save only 3000 men out of an army of 9000.
THE BATTLE OF BUWAIB
Hadrat Umar (R.A.) was shocked at the defeat of the Muslim army. He sent special messengers to various tribes and exhorted the Muslims to prepare for the Holy War against Persians. A new reinforcement was sent to Muthanna’s army. In this army a number of Christian Arabs were also included.
The Persians also gathered a huge army. This time Rustam, the Commander-in-Chief of the Persian armies, appointed Mehran Hamdani as the Commander because he had travelled Arabia and knew the Arabian way of fighting. The Muslim army, under the command of Muthanna, met the Persians at a place called Buwaib (where “Kufa” is situated). The Muslims invited the Persians to cross the river and they accepted it. The number of Muslim army was a little more than 20,000 while the Persians (Iranians) several times larger in number, were estimated as two hundred thousands. A fierce battle took place. Muslims fought desperately and after a grim fight, the Persians were defeated. They could not find the way to cross the river Euphrates because the bridge built by them was destroyed by the Muslims. There was a total disorder in the Persian army. The commander of the army, Mehran was slain in this battle and not less than a hundred thousand men lost their lives in the field. As a result of this victory the whole of western part of Persians Empire (now Iraq) fell into Muslim hands.
CHANGE OF PERSIAN RULER
The great defeat at Buwaib shocked the Persian Empire. It was not only a cause of great disturbance to the rulers but to the public as well. For the first time they realised the strength of Muslims. The news of loss of one hundred thousand Persians and only few hundred Muslims was received with great surprise. At that time a woman, Puran Dukht was the Empress. The Iranians (Persians) replaced the Empress by a young 21 year old Emperor, Yezdgird. The new Emperor reorganised the army and strengthened the frontier defences. There arose a number of rebellions in the places conquered by Muslims as a result of which Muslims again lost some of the parts which they had conquered.
When Hadrat Umar heard this news he asked Muthanna to call the border tribes and to return within safer borders till reinforcement reached him. He himself declared “Jihad” all over the land and sent emissaries to collect an army for the Holy War. An army of 20,000 Muslims was collected. Hadrat Umar (R.A.) himself wanted to lead the army this time but the “Shura” (Advisory Council) did not agree to it. The name of Hadrat Sa’d bin Abi Waqqas (R.A.), a great warrior and one of the uncles of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) was proposed to lead the army to which Hadrat Umar (R.A.) agreed. The army was having 70 of those Companions who had participated in the first battle of Islam at Badr. When the army was leaving Medina, Hadrat Umar (R.A.) gave instructions to Hadrat Sa’d bin Abi Waqqas (R.A.). Some of those are as under
“Allah does not repel evil with evil but he repels evil with good. All men high and low are equal before Him. One can win Allah’s favour only through devotion to His service. Remember that the “Sunnah”(the Way) of the Holy Prophet is the only correct way of doing things. You are going on a heavy mission which you can discharge only by following the Truth. Inculcate good habits in yourselves and in your companions.”
This advice clearly shows that the aim of Muslims was to proclaim Allah’s message — ISLAM, rather than to fight. The sword was used to clear the barriers in the way.
In the meantime Muthanna died and his brother Bashir joined Hadrat Sa’d (R.A.) with an army of eight thousand. Hadrat Sa’d was in direct contact with Hadrat Umar all the time who was constantly giving instructions about the movement of the army from place to place. Finally Hadrat Umar (R.A.) sent instructions to it to encamp at Qadisiya and to send an envoy to the Persian Emperor, Yezdgird, with the Message of Islam and peace.
Following the instructions of the Caliph, Hadrat Sa’d encamped at Qadisiya. The Muslims had to wait there for about two months for the Persian armies. In the meantime Hadrat Sa’d sent an envoy to the Emperor Yezdgird.
Yezdgird held his court to receive Muslim envoys. The court was a mirror of the worldly pomp and glory of the Persians. Hadrat Nu’man bin Maqram invited the Persians and the Emperor to Islam and told them about the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam). He said: “0 Persians, we call you towards the path of peace, i.e. Islam. If you accept it, you are our brothers and we will leave Allah’s Book. the Holy Qur’an, for your guidance to follow His, commandments. If you reject this sacred message, pay us the “Jizra”(Defence Tax). The third alternative is the sword in case you reject the first two offers, so that we may take our own course to spread this message.”
Yezdgird who was very proud of his power and army, lost his temper on hearing this and insulted the envoys. He got a basket full of earth and put it on the head of the leader, Hadrat ‘Asim (R.A.). When Hadrat ‘Asim carried the earth to Hadrat Sa’d (R.A.), he took it as a sign for victory. The ill-treatment of the Persian Emperor hastened the war.
The Emperor sent an army of one hundred thousand men. This time Rustam, the Commander-in-Chief, was himself leading the Persian army. Other famous commanders of the army were Jalinus, Mahran bin Bahram Razi and Harmuzan. Rustam was afraid of Muslims and hesitated to face them. He took six months to reach Qadisiya from Mada’in, the capital. He wanted to negotiate with the Muslims in the first instance. Therefore he asked them to send a delegation. The Muslim delegation went to Rustam’s camp at the head of Hadrat Rabi’ bin ‘Amir (R.A.) There took place much discussion but no decision was reached. Hadrat Rabi’ (R.A.) gave the message of Islam boldly and put the same three conditions which were put before the Emperor by Hadrat Nu’man. On the second day Rustam again asked Hadrat Sa’d (R.A.) to send the delegation. This time he sent Hadrat Hudhaifah (R.A.) who also put the same three conditions and told him if he did not accept them within three days, the third alternative i.e., the use of sword would remain and would be acted upon. Third day Rustam again requested Muslims to send an emissary and this time Hadrat Mughirah bin Shu’bah (R.A.) went. Rustam tried to negotiate in terms of money by saying: “I think you are poor and hungry. We would give you so much of wealth that would be sufficient for the whole of your life.” Hearing this Hadrat Mughirah (R.A.) angrily replied, “Of course we were hungry and poor but Allah sent His Messenger to us because of whom our fate changed and Allah nourished us. He asked us to obey only One God and to spread His message. If you follow His message (Islam) you are our brothers, we will never fight with you. If you don’t, then let us spread His Kalimah and you pay to us “Jizya” (Defence Tax) otherwise the sword will give the final decision.” Hearing this Rustam got furious and vowed to kill all the Muslims as soon as the sun rose the next day. Hadrat Mughirah (R.A.) returned to the Muslim camp saying: “La haula wala quw-wata illa billahil’Azim” (There is neither any power nor any might besides Allah, the High).
THE BATTLE OF QADISIYA
As soon as Hadrat Mughirah left the Persian Camp, Rustam asked his army to prepare for the attack in the morning. There was a canal between the two armies. He ordered building of a bridge over it. Next day in the morning he crossed the canal to attack the Muslims. When both the armies were ready to fight, Hadrat Sa’d bin Abi Waqqas (R.A.) told Rustam through an epistle: “Rustam! There are people with me to whom death (in the Path of Allah) is more attractive than is wine to the people in your army.”
At last the battle started at Qadisiya in the month of Muharram, 14 A.H. (June, 637). Hadrat Sa’d was sick and directed the operations from the sick bed. This battle was hotly contested and lasted for three days. Muslims were about 28,000 in number while the Persian army was estimated at 120,000 (four times bigger than Islamic army). Rustam displayed great skill in arraying his troops. On the first day the battle started amidst loud cries of “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is the Greatest). Though the Muslims displayed great valour and skill but the Persian elephants played havoc with the Muslim cavalry. The Arab horses were not trained to fight in a battle having elephants. However Muslim archers and lancers rained arrows and spheres and knocked down many elephant riders. The battle ended without reaching a final decision on the first day. The following day the battle again ended without a victory for any of the two armies. On the third day Muslims wrapped pieces of cloth round the bodies of their camels to frighten the Persian elephants. The plan worked out successfully. Moreover a number of Muslim archers pierced the eyes of the elephants and cut their trunks. The blind elephants ran towards the Persian army and destroyed their ranks. The battle continued to the fourth day. Now the blind elephants played a havoc with the Persians themselves. Then some of the Muslim warriors from among the chief of the clans rushed towards Rustam and destroyed the special battalion around him. The canopy of Rustam was blown in the air and he himself tried to flee. He was detected by the Muslims and was slain. Seeing their slain Commander, the Persians started fleeing for their lives. Thousands of Persians were slain. There were about six thousand Muslim casualties while the number of the Persians killed was thirty thousand.
The battle of Qadisiya proved to be decisive in the history of Islam. It shattered the strength of the Persian Empire. Hadrat Umar (R.A.) received the news with great joy. The Muslims gained immense booty which was distributed among the troops according to the Islamic law and a fifth portion was despatched to the Baitul Mal.
Following the victory at Qadisiya, Muslims chased the Persians. They captured Babal and Kutha and then laid siege to Bahrah Sher, a very important and strong fort at the outskirts of the Persian capital, Mada’in (Ctesiphon). The siege went on for two months and ultimately Muslims captured the fort. The next step was to conquer Mada’in, the capital itself.
FALL OF MADA’IN (CTESIPHON), THE CAPITAL OF PERSIAN EMPIRE
The City of Mada’in was situated on the east bank of river Tigris and was almost surrounded by it. After a rest of few months, Hadrat Sa’d took permission from Hadrat Umar (R.A.) to invade the Capital. When Hadrat Sa’d (R.A.) marched, the Persians destroyed the bridge on the river. The river was deep and turbulent but the determination of Muslims was not affected. They were having full faith in Allah, Almighty, the Creator of the Universe. It has been recorded in some books of history that on finding the destruction of the bridge by the Persians Hadrat Sa’d said: “Allah made a way in the Red Sea for Moses and his followers, He will surely help us who are following His Last Prophet, Hadrat Muhammad (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam).” He consulted the generals of his army and then ordered the Muslims to go across. First of all sixty horsemen plunged themselves in the river and crossed it. Then the whole army crossed the river as if it was walking on the ground. Seeing the Muslims crossing the river the Persian archers rained arrows on the Muslims. Hadrat Sa’d had already appointed six hundred archers on a nearby hill. They assaulted the Persians who ran away saying: “Dev amdand, Dev amdand”(i.e., “The giants have come! The giants have come!”). The Muslims crossed the Tigris without any severe loss. Yezdgird and his ministers had already fled and the capital was captured without any opposition. With this victory the whole of the territory between the Euphrates and the Tigris came under the possession of the Muslims. The prophecy of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) came true: “A group of Muslims will capture the White Palace of the Persian Emperor”.
Both Hadrat Umar and Hadrat Sa’d (Radiallahu anhuma) thanked Allah for this great victory. When the rich booty from the White Palace of Yezdgird reached Medina, tears came out in the eyes of Hadrat Umar (R.A.) and he remarked, “I am weeping because riches are often the cause of enmity and mutual bitterness. Those people who have such evils, ultimately lose respect”.
THE BATTLE OF JALULA
The Persian Emperor took shelter in Hulwan and started preparation for a big assault on the Muslims. Now Kharzad, brother of Rustam was the Commander-in Chief. He gathered a huge army to avenge the past defeats. After consultations with Hadrat Umar (R.A.) Hadrat Sa’d bin Abi Waqqas (R.A.) sent an army under the command of Hashim and Qa’qas to face the Persian army at Jalula. Again a fierce battle was fought and ultimately the Persians were defeated who fled further north.
The Muslims advanced ahead and captured Qaka and finally Hulwan where Yezdgird, the Emperor was staying. He fled to Khurasan and settled down in Mery. The last big battle was fought in the month of Muharram, 19 A.H. (642 A.C.) at Nihawand in which the Persians were completely defeated. Then a number of small battles took place and the Muslims conquered Hamdan, Azerbaijan and Armenia by the year 21 A.H.
MUSLIM RULE OVER THE PERSIAN EMPIRE
The Persian Emperor fled to Isphan, then to Kirman and from there to Balkh. The Muslims chased him everywhere. Ultimately the whole of Persia came under the sway of Islam, by the year 23 A.H. The Muslims marched as east as Sind (the Indian territory, now Pakistan). They captured Makran and Baluch. But Hadrat Umar (R.A.) stopped them who were under the command of Hakam at that time. He did not want to extend his frontiers at the price of Muslim blood. Thus Makran was the last place in the east under the rule of Muslims during the caliphate of Hadrat Umar (R.A.). After the capture of Persian Empire, Hadrat Umar (R.A.) remarked: “Allah has destroyed the Persian Empire, now they cannot harm the Muslims. O Muslims, if you do not follow the Straight Path, Allah would take this power from you and hand it over to whom He likes”.
It must be clarified here that at no place Muslims forced non-Muslims to accept Islam. Islam spread because of its teachings and because of the practical life of Muslims. Some western scholars have accepted this fact. R.A. Nicholson writes in A Literary History of the Arabs, “It must not be supposed that the followers of Zoroaster and Christ in these countries were forcibly converted to Islam. Thousands embraced it voluntarily.”
The conquest of the Persian Empire provided the Muslims with unlimited resources. At the same time it also brought Muslims into touch with luxuries and as time passed they gave up their simple living and fell prey to some vices prevailing in those days Hadrat Umar had feared.
THE CITIES OF BASRA AND KUFA
Muslims established two military cantonments one at Basra and the other at Kufa in 638 A.C. Later on these cantonments became big cities. Basra was established at the Shatt-ul-Arab and was important because it guarded the passage from the Persian Gulf to Mesopotamia. Kufa was founded at the bank of the Euphrates. Afterwards these cities became important centres of Islamic culture and civilisation.
CONQUEST OF SYRIA
The causes of the war between the Muslims and the Byzantines (commonly called as Romans) have already been discussed. During the time of Hadrat Abu Bakr (R.A.) the Muslims had defeated Romans on the Syrian front and captured a number of cities like Busra and Ajnadain. They laid siege to Damascus when Hadrat Abu Bakr (R.A.) passed away. After his death they captured Damascus, Hims and Qansrin. In all the three battles Hadrat Khalid bin Walid played an important role. Hadrat Umar (R.A.) recognised Khalid’s merits and said, “May Allah bless the soul of Abu Bakr, he put Khalid in the right place”.
The fall of these important cities made the Byzantine Emperor, Heraclius, furious and he sent a huge army to fight with the Muslims. In order to face this big army, Muslims left some of the places, occupied by them and returned to safer border. When the Islamic armies were leaving the conquered places they paid back the “Jizya” (the Defence Tax) received from the non-Muslim inhabitants of those places saying: “Since we cannot protect you, we are returning it.” This was a unique example in history. The people of those places were greatly impressed by the Muslims’ treatment. It is given in some books that the people of those places cried when Muslims left their places.
THE BATTLE OF YARMUK: (Rajab 15 A.H./636 A.C.)
After the fall of Damascus, Hims and other places, the Romans fled to Antioch where Heraclius was staying and was thinking of moving to Constantinople, his permanent capital. They appealed to Heraclius to help them against the Muslim armies. He held this court at Antioch and to beg an raising a huge army against the Muslims to wipe them out of Syria.
The Muslims had already gathered at Yarmuk to face the Roman Byzantine army. The Romans were several times larger in number than the Muslims. In the beginning the commond was in the hand of Hadrat Khalid bin Walid (R.A.) but during the battle he received the letter of Hadrat Umar deposing him from the post of Commander-in-Chief. Hadrat Umar (R.A.) appointed Abu ‘Ubaidah bin Jarrah (R.A.) as the Commander-in-Chief. A fierce battle was fought on the 20th Aug., 636, and at the end the Romans lost the field. The cavalry fled and the infantry was put to sword. Theodorus, the Commander of Roman army himself fell and his entire army was turned into a fleeing, panic-stricken mob. According to Tabari, about one hundred thousand Romans were killed in this battle. Muslim causalities were three thousand.
The battle of Yarmuk was a turning point in the history of Byzantine Empire. The power of Byzantine was crushed in the battle. The fate of Syria was decided and it fell in the hands of Muslims for ever. Hearing the defeat at Yarmuk, Heraclius left Antioch and fled to Constantinople saying: Farewell, O Syria! and what an excellent country this is for the enemy”
(Note: According to some historians it was the 2nd battle of Ajnadan and not the battle of Yarmuk which took place in 15 A.H.).
REMOVAL OF HADRAT KHALID (R.A.) FROM THE COMMAND
Hadrat Khalid bin Walid (R.A.) was a successful and powerful general of Islam. He occupied a unique position in the history of heroism, and devoted his whole life to the cause of Islam. Hadrat Umar (R.A.) always appreciated his services. But there were certain complaints against him, especially for being extravagant, when he awarded 10,000 dinars to a poet. Hadrat Khalid could not give satisfactory explanation to Hadrat Umar (R.A.) hence he was removed from the command. But Hadrat Khalid proved to be a very true Muslim and fought like an ordinary soldier in the army. As narrated above, he was deposed when the battle of Yarmuk was going on. The Caliph’s order was delivered to Khalid but it had no effect on him. He went on fighting as fiercely as before. After the battle was over, his dismissal became known. When somebody asked him why the news did not damp his spirit at all, he said, “I was fighting for the cause of Allah.”
According to those historians who hold the opinion that the Battle of Yarmuk took place before the fall of Damascus, Hadrat Khalid was deposed in the early part of Umar’s (R.A.) caliphate, while some think it took place around 17 A.H. because according to them the battle of Yarmuk took place after the fall of Damascus.
Regarding the removal of Hadrat Khalid some of the Muslim historians say: “He (Hadrat Umar) had deposed Khalid from the government, not because of tyranny or fraud, but because he deemed it essential to admonish the people, who were inclined to put their trust in an arm of flesh, instead of looking to the Giver of all victory”
FALL OF JERUSALEM
Hadrat Amr bin al-‘As was in the beginning leading the army in front of Jerusalem. After the capture of Antioch and other key cities of Byzantium, Hadrat Abu’Ubaidah also joined him along with Hadrat Khalid bin Walid (R.A.) They laid siege to the great city of Jerusalem, surrounded by a huge wall. Since the people of Jerusalem had already seen the defeat of Byzantine forces they offered a peaceful truce provided the “Khalifah” came in person to sign the treaty in their presence. The proposal was passed over to Hadrat Umar (R.A.) at Medina and after consultation with the “Shura” he accepted the offer.
HADRAT UMAR AT JERUSALEM
Hadrat Umar (R.A.) appointed Hadrat’Ali (R.A.) as his deputy and went to Jerusalem with his slave. They were having one camel on which each of them rode by turn. When Hadrat Umar (R.A.) was entering Jerusalem it happened to be the slave’s turn to ride on the camel. Though the slave offered his turn to the “Khalifah” but Hadrat Umar refused and remarked: “The honour of Islam (i.e., being Muslim) is enough for all of us.” He entered Jerusalem holding the rope of the camel on which was riding his slave. His clothes were dirty and there were several patches on them. Hadrat Abu ‘Ubaidah, Khalid bin Walid and other commanders came some distance to receive him. They were wearing costly garments. This made Hadrat Umar (R.A.) angry. He threw some pebbles at his generals (to show his anger) and said, “Have you changed so much in just two years? The only way for the success is the way of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam).”
Then Hadrat Umar (R.A.) signed the treaty under which the inhabitants of Jerusalem were granted complete security of their life and property. Their places of worship were secured and remained intact. All the people were allowed to follow their religion freely.
The gates of the city were then opened and the Muslims entered the Jerusalem in the year 16 A.H. (i.e., 635 A.C.) According to some history books the date given on the treaty signed by Hadrat Umar (R.A.) falls in the 17th year A. H. It is possible therefore that the Muslims conquered it early in 17th year A.H.
Hadrat Umar (R.A.) visited the city. The time of the “Salat” had reached. The Christians allowed the Muslims to perform Salat in the big Church but Hadrat Umar declined to do so that it might not be an excuse for the future generations to take over the Church from them. He offered the Salat with the Muslims on the steps of the Church. Even then he gave in writing to the Bishop that the steps would never be used for congregational prayers or for the Adhan in future.
UMAR’S MOSQUE AT JERUSALEM
Hadrat Umar (R.A.) laid the foundation of a mosque at a place known as “Sakhra” proposed by the Bishop, where Allah sent revelation to Prophet Yaqub (Jacob or Israel, ‘Alaihis-Salam) and where the great temple of Solomon was built. He himself worked like a labourer for building the mosque. That mosque is known as the “Umar’s Mosque”
CONQUEST OF JAZIRAH MESOPOTAMIA
After the conquest of Jerusalem the Romans (Byzantines) tried to regain Syria. The Muslims did not want territorial expansion, they were fighting either to protect the birth-place of Islam, Arabia or in self-defence. Their aim was only to proclaim Allah’s message and to preach Islam freely. Whenever they were allowed a free passage to show the right path no fighting took place as it could be noticed in the case of Jerusalem. Never, in the history of Islam any nation was forced to forsake its religion and to accept Islam.
The people of Jazirah (now North western part of Iraq) plotted to oust the Muslims from Syria. Heraclius, the Emperor of Byzantine sent his army to help the people of “Jazirah”. They invaded Hims, a fort which had been conquered by the Muslims under the command of Hadrat Abu ‘Ubaidah (R.A.). The Muslims fell upon the enemies and beat them off. Under such conditions Hadrat Umar (R.A.) ordered the Muslim forces to occupy Jazirah. After its conquest Jazirah (Mesopotamia) was put under the Governor of Homs (Home). Jazirah was conquered under the command of ‘Ayad bin Ghanam (R.A.).
THE SEVERE FAMINE & PLAGUE
In the year 17-18 A.H., Hijaz (Northern Arabia) and Syria were faced by a severe famine and drought. Hadrat Umar (R.A.) took steps to get food supplies from Egypt, part of which had been conquered by Hadrat’Amr bin al-‘As (R.A.). He sent three big ships of grains to Medina which were unloaded in the presence of Hadrat Umar (R.A.). He himself distributed the grains among the needy. Hadrat Umar (R.A.) did not take any delicacy (butter etc.) during the famine period. When he was requested to take care of his health he said, “If I don’t taste suffering, how can I know the sufferings of others?”
When the famine became intolerable he prayed to Allah in a big gathering of Muslims. It has been narrated that the prayers had not even finished when rains started to pour down.
About the same time plague spread in most parts of Iraq, Syria and Egypt and it caused great havoc not only to civilians but also to the Muslim armies. After the plague Hadrat Umar went to Syria to inspect the losses caused by the plague. Three important figures Abu ‘Ubaidah, Mu’adh bin Jabal and Yazid bin Abu Sufyan (R.A.) had passed away. He appointed Mu’awiyah bin Abi Sufyan as the Governor of Damascus in place of his brother Yazid bin Abi Sufyan.
THE CONQUEST OF EGYPT
Being a powerful province of Byzantine Empire and having the strong base of Byzantine navy at Alexandria, Egypt was a great danger to the security of Hijaz (Northern Arabia). The Romans were busy in plotting against the Muslims to regain the territories conquered by the Muslims and to attack them through Egypt. Obviously it was necessary from the point of view of defence to drive back the Romans (Byzantines) from Egypt. Therefore, towards the close of 17 A.H. (638 A.C.) Hadrat ‘Amr bin al-‘As (R.A.) who had collaborated in the conquest of Palestine, repeatedly urged the Caliph to authorise him to lead a campaign against the valley of the Nile. He got the necessary permission from the Caliph and set out from Palestine for Egypt at the head of four thousand men. (Note: According to a number of historians it took place in the 18th year A.H. i.e., 639 A.D. All of them agree that a part of Egypt had been conquered before the great famine which happened in 17-18 A.H. If it is true, the date of invasion by ‘ Amr bin al-‘As must be before 18 A.H.).
Hadrat ‘Amr bin al-‘As entered Egypt by the route of Wadi al-Arish and after attacking some small towns laid siege to one of the strongest forts of Romans in Egypt at Fustat (which later became Cairo). The fort was conquered after some time.
The fall of Fustat gave a severe blow to Roman might in Egypt. Constanstine II, the Byzantine Emperor, hearing the news of the fall of the fort near Fustat, got furious and sent a big army to Alexandria. Hadrat ‘Amr bin al-‘As therefore set out for Alexandria from Fustat. He got reinforcement from the Caliph. Alexandria was the strong hold of the Romans in Egypt. They could easily send reinforcement and supplies to Alexandria by sea. It was really a difficult task to conquer it. Hadrat ‘Amr bin al-‘As laid siege to the city but no result came out for six months. Seeing this condition Hadrat Umar (R.A.) wrote to Hadrat’Amr bin al-‘As (R.A.)
“I am afraid that the Muslims have not been acting fully upon the teachings of the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah (ways) of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam). The only way to get victory is to follow strictly the ways of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam). They should therefore be more and more strict on it….. Then try to give final blow to the enemy”.
Hadrat ‘Amr (R.A.) read the letter before the Muslims. Umar’s orders were at once carried out and at last Alexandria was conquered after a heavy engagement. According to some Western historians it was conquered in 642 A.D., while some of the Muslim historians say that Alexandria was conquered in 640 A.D. (20 A.H.). After the conquest of this great city, one time a glory for the’ Romans, Hadrat ‘Amr wrote to the Caliph, “I have captured a city from the description of which I shall refrain. Suffice it to say I have seized therein 4000 villas with 4000 baths, 40,000 poll-tax-paying Jews and 400 places of entertainment for royalty”. Philip Hitti writes, “The Caliph entertained his general’s messenger with bread and dates; they all joined in a thanksgiving service in the Prophet’s mosque”.
Afterwards Hadrat ‘Amr (R.A.) captured the remaining fortresses in Egypt and it came under the full sway of Islam. Local Christians and Jews were given freedom of religion; various taxes imposed by the Romans were abolished and the general condition of the country improved. The Egyptians had never enjoyed such a period of prosperity and peace before.
A very inhuman custom was prevailing in Egypt at that time. The Egyptians used to sacrifice a beautiful maiden every year to please the river Nile so that it may bring more water. After the victory the matter was reported to Hadrat Umar (R.A.) who prohibited this. By chance the same year the Nile had very little water and a condition of drought seemed to prevail over there. Hadrat’Amr (R.A.) wrote to Hadrat Umar (R.A.) to seek his advice. He wrote the following letter and asked Hadrat ‘Amr to throw it in the Nile
“From Umar, the servant of Allah and “Amir”(Leader) of the Muslims to the River Nile of Egypt. O Nile! If you flow of your own desire, we do not need you. If you flow by the order of Allah, we pray to Him to keep you flowing”.
The letter was thrown into the Nile and it over-flowed that year. In this way Egyptians were stopped from an un-Islamic practice. This had a very good effect. The Egyptians realised the spiritual power of Islam, and entered its folds.
MARTYRDOM OF HADRAT UMAR (R.A.)
The glorious rule of Hadrat Umar (R.A.) came to an end with his death on Wednesday the 27th of Dhil Hijjah, the year 23 A.H. (643 A.C.) when he was 61 years old. There was a Persian slave of Hadrat Mughirah bin Shu’bah, named Abu Lu’ Lu’ Firoze. One day he complained about the burden his master had imposed upon him. The complaint was not genuine, hence Hadrat Umar (R.A.) ignored it. Next day, early in the morning when Hadrat Umar (R.A.) went to Masjid to perform Fajr Salat, the slave who was hiding in a corner, attacked him with a dagger and stabbed him six times. People overpowered the assassin but he slew himself with the same dagger.
The injuries were so serious that the Caliph died the next morning.
Before his death the Muslims asked him about his successor, he appointed a panel of six persons, Hadrat ‘Uthma Zubair, Talha, Sa’d bin Waqqas and ‘Abdur Rahman bin ‘Auf (R.A.) to select a “Khalifah” from amongst them within three days after him.
He requested Hadrat Aisha (R.A.) for permission for his burial by the side of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam). Though she had reserved that place for herself but on Umar’s request she gave it to him where he was buried.
UMAR’S (R.A.) PERIOD WAS THE GOLDEN AGE OF ISLAMIC HISTORY
Thus we see that Hadrat Umar’s period was the Golden Age of the Islamic history when Islam was practised in its true form. Hadrat Umar (R.A.) Initiated 41 good practices during his period, which were based upon the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu’alaihi wa Sallam). These are known as “Awliat-i-Umar (the Initiations Of Umar). The details can be seen in the books of Islamic History like Tabari, Ibn-i-Athir, and Tarikh-i-Khulafa etc.Actually Hadrat Umar (R.A.) was the founder of ISLAMIC DEMOCRACY based upon the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam). The words of the Holy Prophet are very true
“IF THERE WERE TO BE A PROPHET AFTER ME HE WOULD HAVE BEEN UMAR IBN AL-KHATTAB.” (Tirmidhi)
“AMONG THE NATIONS BEFORE YOUR TIME THERE HAVE BEEN INSPIRED PEOPLE (WHO WERE NOT PROPHETS), AND IF THERE IS ONE AMONG MY PEOPLE HE IS UMAR”. (Bukhari and Muslim)
NAME AND PARENTAGE OF HADRAT ABU BAKR(R.A.)
Hadrat Abu Bakr, as-Siddiq, (R.A.) was born in 573 A.D. at Makkah. Thus he was two years younger than the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam). He belonged to a respectable and noble family, the Bani Tamim, a branch of Quraish Tribe. His lineage joins with that of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) six generations before. His name was Abdullah. Abu Bakr was his patronymic name (or Kuniyah) which became so famous that most of the people did not know his real name. After his conversion to Islam he received the title of “As-Siddiq” (The Truthful). His father’s name was ‘Uthman who was known by his patronymic name, Abu Qahafah. His mother’s name was Salma but she was also known by her patronymic name, Ummul Khair.
LIFE BEFORE ISLAM
Since his boyhood, Hadrat Abu Bakr(R.A.) was a quiet and sincere man. He was very honest and truthful. Because of his sterling character he was the closest friend of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) since his youth and, the friendship proved to be life-long. He was a soft hearted man and keenly felt others sufferings and miseries. He used to help the poor and the needy, the distressed and the downtrodden. Even before embracing Islam he did not like most of the customs of the days of ignorance and never drank any liquor.
His main profession was trade. He also accompanied the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) in some of his trade missions. Because of his honesty people trusted him and often kept their money as a trust with him. His nobility and truthfulness soon made him a rich trader. Actually these qualities were soon to serve the noblest cause of Allah.
FIRST MAN TO ACCEPT ISLAM
Hadrat Abu Bakr(R.A.) was a firm friend of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) and knew him better than any other man. His honesty, nobility, truthfulness and trustworthiness, had great attraction for Abu Bakr. When the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) disclosed to him secretly about the revelation of Allah, Abu Bakr accepted it immediately without having the slightest doubt. In this way he was the first adult free man to believe in the Holy Prophet’s Mission, and became his confidant. The Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) once spoke about this, “When I invited people towards Allah, everybody thought over it and hesitated, at least for a while, except Abu Bakr who accepted my call the moment I put it before him, and he did not hesitate even for a moment.” When he accepted Islam, the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) was very pleased.
DA’WAT (INVITATION) TOWARDS ALLAH
As soon as he had accepted Islam he started the work of Da’wat (Invitation towards Allah) first secretly and then openly when it was so allowed by the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam). First he went to ‘Uthman, Talha, Zubair and Said (Ridwanullah ‘alaihim ‘Ajma’in). They accepted Islam on his preaching. Next day he went to ‘Uthman bin Maz’un, Abu’Ubaidah, Abdur Rahman bin ‘Auf and some other prominent Quraish. They also accepted Islam at his hands. In the first instance eight prominent figures accepted Islam at the hands of Hadrat Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (R.A.). Among them was Hadrat Uthman, the third Caliph of Islam. In this way he was the first Muslim, after the Holy Prophet, to preach Islam and to invite people towards Allah in a very fruitful way. The main reason for his success was his popularity among the Meccans because of his honesty, nobility, trustworthiness, good morals and fair dealings.
HARDSHIPS FOR DA’WAT (INVITATION) TOWARDS ALLAH
Even though he was so much respected yet he was not spared, and disbelievers of Mecca did their best to harass him.
When the number of Muslims reached 39, Abu Bakr (R.A.) asked the permission of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) to invite people openly. On his persistent request the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) gave his consent and all of them went to Haram (the Holy Mosque or Ka ‘bah) for Tabligh (Preaching). Hadrat Abu Bakr (R.A.) gave a Khutbah (Sermon) which was the first ever delivered in the annals of Islam. Hadrat Hamzah accepted Islam the same day. When disbelievers and idolators from amongst Quraish heard it they fell on the Muslims from all sides. Abu Bakr (R.A.) despite the fact that he was considered to be the noblest of all the people in Mecca, was besmeared with blood. He was kicked, thrashed with shoes, trampled under feet and handled most roughly and savagely. He became unconcious and half-dead. This is the place to observe his extreme love for the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) that when he gained consciousness and opened his eyes in the evening he first enquired. “How is the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam)?” His deep love for the Holy Prophet, really, was the main cause of his success. His love and respect for the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu’alaihi wa Sallam) was unbounded.
On another occasion the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu’alaihi wa Sallam) was offering his Salat in the Ka’bah, Abu Jahl came and put a sheet of cloth around his neck and twisted it hard in order to strangle the Holy Prophet to death. Hadrat Abu Bakr saw this, he at once came and pushing Abu Jahl aside took off the piece of cloth around the neck of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam). He then said, “Do you want to kill such a gentle person who is a Messenger of Allah and declares Allah as the Cherisher and Sustainer.” Then Abu Jahl and other enemies of Islam fell upon Abu Bakr and beat him severely.
MISCELLANEOUS SERVICES FOR THE CAUSE OF ISLAM IN MAKKAH
Hadrat Abu Bakr served Islam in numerous ways. The Quraish cruelly persecuted a number of slaves who had accepted Islam and made life difficult for them. Muslim slaves were the worst sufferers at the hands of non-Muslim masters. Hadrat Bilal (a negro), one of the best known in the galaxy of Companions of the Holy Prophet, was one among such slaves. His master Umayyah bin Khalf lashed him at night and made him lie on the burning sand during the day because of Bilal’s conversion to Islam. Hadrat Abu Bakr bought him freedom and Bilal became a free Muslim. Other Muslim slaves who were bought by Hadrat Abu Bakr (R.A.), and made free were, ‘Amir bin Fuhairah, Nazirah, Nahdiah, Jariah, Bani Momil and Bint Nahdiah etc. (R.A.).
Before Hijrah Hadrat Abu Bakr spent lot of money on new converts.
When he found himself hard pressed by disbelievers he asked the permission of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) to migrate to Abyssinia in the 5th year of the Mission with other Muslims. The Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) permitted him but in the way he met Ibn-ud-Daghna, the chief of another tribe, Qara. On his enquiry Hadrat Abu Bakr told him about the persecution of Quraish and his intention to migrate to Abyssinia. Ibn-ud- Daghna did not want him to leave Arabia and declared to the people of Mecca that Abu Bakr was under his protection. Then nobody dared to harm him.
ABU BAKR(R.A.) GETS THE TITLE OF AS-SIDDIQ
The Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) had Mi’raj (Ascension) in the IOth year of his Mission. He narrated his Ascension to the people in the morning. Some of them came to Abu Bakr and said, “Have you listened to your friend (the Holy Prophet)? He is claiming that he visited Jerusalem and the Sublime Throne in the heavens last night and talked with Allah Almighty. Would you believe it?” Hadrat Abu Bakr (R.A.) immediately replied. “If he said so then it is an absolute Truth”. They again said, “Do you believe that he visited all these places and came back within a small part of night?” He again replied. “Of course I believe in it and I believe in the things which are farther than it, i.e., the news of Hell and Paradise”. For this the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) named him as-Siddiq i.e., the most Truthful and sincere person in Faith not having even slightest doubt. Of course Abu Bakr’s faith was so strong that nothing could shake it.
ONE OF THE TWO IN THE CAVE
When the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam decided to migrate to Medina, Abu Bakr was the only companion with him. He carried all his money, about five to six thousand Darhams, and started in the night with the Holy Prophet. They lay hidden in the cave of Thaur for three days. The Holy Qur’an describes it as follows
“When the disbelievers drove him out; he had no more than one companion. They were two in the cave. And he said to his companion: “Have no fear for Allah is with us”. Then Allah sent down His peace upon him”. (9:40)
Abu Bakr’s slave ‘Amir bin Fuhairah tended the flocks of goats near the cave during the day and supplied them fresh milk in the night. After three days when Quraish stopped the search of the Holy Prophet, ‘Amir bin Fuhairah (Abu Bakr’s slave) brought two she-camels and both started for Medina. Thus, of all the companions, Abu Bakr (R.A.) had the honour of accompanying the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) in the most critical days of his life. He proved to be most trustworthy on all occasions.
HADRAT ABU BAKR(R.A.) AT MADINAH
He reached Quba (a place near Medina) with the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) and stopped there. The Medinites were anxiously waiting for the Holy Prophet. At Quba there was a warm welcome. The Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) stopped at the place of Bani ‘Amr bin ‘Auf at Quba. Multitudes of people came there to see the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) and most of them mistook Hadrat Abu Bakr as the Holy Prophet. On seeing this Hadrat Abu Bakr stood up and spread a sheet over the head of the Holy Prophet to protect from him the scorching rays of the hot sun. Then the Medinites recognised the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam).
On reaching Medina he fell ill because of the change of climate and got high fever. The Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) prayed for him and he was restored to health. At the time of establishing brotherhood bond between an immigrant from Mecca and a Medinite Muslim the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) took into consideration the position in the society of the two persons. Hadrat Abu Bakr (R.A.) became the brother of Hadrat Haritha bin Zubair, a noted and respected Medinite.
BUILDING OF THE PROPHET’S MOSQUE
There was an urgent need for building a mosque at Medina and a house for the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu’alaihi wa Sallam) and his family. The land which was selected for this belonged to two orphans. Their guardians wanted to give the land for the mosque free of charge but the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu’alaihi wa Sallam) did not accept their offer and asked Hadrat Abu Bakr to pay the price of the land. Thus Hadrat Abu Bakr became the first Muslim to spend most of his money for the cause of Allah at Medina. He participated in the construction of the mosque like an ordinary labourer with other Muslims.
PARTICIPATION IN THE HOLY WARS
He fought in almost all the battles along with the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam). In the first battle of Islam at Badr he was with the Holy Prophet like a shadow. His own son, who had not embraced Islam by that time, was fighting on the side of Quraish. After he accepted Islam he said to Abu Bakr one day, “Dear father! I found you twice under my sword at Badr but I could not raise my hand because of my love for you”. “if I had got a chance”, Abu Bakr replied, “I would have killed you”. It was Abu Bakr’s suggestion on which the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) decided to release the prisoners of war after taking ransom.
In the battle of Uhud when some of the Muslims were running away, Abu Bakr was firm and when the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu’alaihi wa Sallam) was brought on the mountain after being injured, he was with him.
Hadrat Abu Bakr (R.A.) was the first companion to accept the peace plan of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) without any hesitation at Hudaibiyah when all the Muslims insisted upon fighting. Even a Muslim like Umar (R.A.) hesitated to accept the treaty with the non-believers of Mecca but Hadrat Abu Bakr fully supported the Holy Prophet’s decision.
On the occasion of Tabuk expedition Hadrat Abu Bakr (R.A.) brought everything that he possessed. When the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) asked him, “What did you leave for your family?” Abu Bakr (R.A.) said, “I have left for them Allah and his Prophet”. Even Hadrat Umar (R.A.) admitted that he could never hope to surpass Abu Bakr (R.A.) in his sacrifice for the cause of Allah and Islam.
AMIR (CHIEF) OF AL-HAJJUL-AKBAR (9 A.H.)
It was the 9th year of Hijrah when the first Haj took place. The Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) had then returned from Tabuk expedition but he was so busy that he could not himself attend the Hajj pilgrimage. He sent Hadrat Abu Bakr as-Siddiq as his deputy to lead the Hajj caravan to Mecca. Among others in the Hajj caravan were Hadrat Sa’d bin Abi-Waqqas, Jabir, and Hadrat Abu Hurairah (R.A.). The Holy Qur’an calls this Hajj pilgrimage as “Al-Hajjul-Akbar” (The Great Hajj) because it was the first ever Hajj in the history of Islam and was the beginning of a new era of Islamic period and constitution. Hadrat Abu Bakr taught the people the Hajj rites and rituals and gave a historic sermon (Khutbah) on the Sacrificial Day before the congregation. Hadrat ‘Ali followed him and proclaimed severance of all connections with the heathen world. It was announced: Non-believers should not approach the Ka’bah; no person should perform Hajj naked (as was observed before Islam); and all the treaties with pagan world would cease to operate after four months. The Holy Qur’an mentions it as follows
“An announcement from Allah and His Apostle, to the people (assembled) on the day of the Great Pilgrimage (Al-Hajjul-Akbar), that Allah and His Apostle dissolve (treaty) obligations with the Pagans. If, then, you repent, it is better for you (0 Pagan), but if you turn away then you mind it that you cannot frustrate Allah. And proclaim a grievous penalty to those who reject Faith”. (9:3)
IMAM OF HOLY PROPHET(Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam’s) MOSQUE
Since his arrival at Medina the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) himself led the Salats at his mosque all the time. This was really a high office and was not given to anybody in the presence of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam). A few months after his return from the Farewell Pilgrimage (AI-Hujjatul-Wida’) in IO A.H., the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) fell ill. A time came when he was unable to move and could not go to the Mosque to lead the Salat. He had to appoint someone as the Imam and this honour fell to the lot of Abu Bakr. Abu Bakr’s daughter, lady ‘A’isha (Radiallahu Anha) was one of the most beloved wives of the Holy Prophet Sallallahu’alaihi wa Sallam). She knew that Hadrat Abu Bakr was a soft hearted man and it would be rather hard for him to replace the Holy Prophet(Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) in the Salat. So she pleaded with the Holy Prophet (Sallailahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) to excuse Hadrat Abu Bakr from this duty but the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) did not change his decision even though he was requested three times.
During those days once Abu Bakr was not present at the time of congregational Salat. Somebody asked Hadrat Umar to lead the Salat. The Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) after hearing the voice of Hadrat Umar enquired about the Imam and when he found that Abu Bakr(R.A.) was not leading he was annoyed and said, “Nobody will lead the Salat besides Ibn Abu Qahafa (i.e. Hadrat Abu Bakr)”. Then Abu Bakr (R.A.) was called but by that time Hadrat Umar had completed the Salat. The Salat was repeated by the order of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) and Abu Bakr (R.A.) led it.
During his sickness, the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) once felt some relief and went for Zuhr Salat, supported by Hadrat ‘Ali and Hadrat ‘Abbas (R.A.). His face beamed with joy and full satisfaction on seeing Abu Bakr leading the Salat. Sensing the presence of the Holy Prophet, (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) Abu Bakr wanted to step back but the Holy Prophet stopped him and sat down by his side. After the Salat the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) gave his last address: “Allah offered one of His servants the choice of the life on this earth and a life with Him. But the servant accepted the latter”. Hearing this tears came out of Abu Bakr’s eyes and rolled down to his beard. He thought of the inevitable separation from his Beloved Master (the Holy Prophet). Most of the people did not understand the meaning of Holy Prophet’s address and they were surprised at Abu Bakr’s crying.
Early in the morning of the last day of his life, the Holy Prophet’s condition became suddenly better for a while. As the apartment was just adjoining the Mosque, he raised the curtain and observed the Muslims busy in Salat under the Imamat (leadership) of Hadrat Abu Bakr (R.A.). A smile lit up the pale face of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam). Seeing the sign of the Holy Prophet’s recovery the people in the Mosque lost control over themselves in sheer delight. They might have fallen out of the file but the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) asked Hadrat Abu Bakr to lead the Salat and he went inside and let the curtain fall.
NEWS OF THE DEATH OF THE HOLY PROPHET (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam)
When Hadrat Abu Bakr (R.A.) found the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) in a better condition in the morning of the last day of his life, he went a few miles outside Medina to meet his wife Hadrat Kharjah bint Zuhair (Radiallahu anha). After hearing the news of the death of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam), he immediately returned and saw great rush at the gate of the Mosque. He did not talk to anybody and went straight to Hadrat ‘ A’isha’s apartment where the Holy Corpse was lying. After taking permission he entered the apartment and kissed the Holy Face, tears rolling out of his eyes. Then he remarked, “May my parents be sacrificed for you. I swear by Allah that death will never come twice to you. You have tasted the death which was destined for you and now you will get no other.” He covered the Holy Body with a sheet and came to the Mosque.
A multitude of people was crying in the Mosque. Hadrat Umar (R.A.) was in a strong emotional state and was shouting that the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) had not died. Hadrat Abu Bakr (R.A.) tried to calm him but Umar did not pay any attention to him. Noting the delicacy of the situation, Hadrat Abu Bakr stood in another corner of the Mosque and gave his most effective and historical address. All the people gathered around him. He said:
“O People! If any one of you worshipped Muhammad (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) he should bear in mind that Muhammad is dead. But those who worshipped Allah should know that He is Alive and will never die. Allah says in the Holy Qur’an: “Muhammad is only a Messenger of Allah. There came down a number of Messengers before him. Then would you turn back from Islam, if he dies or is killed?”
The address of Hadrat Abu Bakr touched the hearts of the people. Hadrat Umar also cooled down. Hadrat ‘Abdullah says, “It seemed that the verse of the Holy Qur’an to which Abu Bakr referred was just revealed, although we had recited it several times in the past”
ABU BAKR(R.A.) CHOSEN AS THE FIRST KHALIFAH
The Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) did not nominate his successor and left the choice of his deputy or viceroy (Khalifah) to his Ummah (followers). There were two groups of Muslims in Medina viz., Muhajirin (the Immigrants from Mecca), and Ansar (Helpers i.e., Medinites). After the death of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam), Ansar (Medinites) gathered in a big Hall of Medinah known as “Saqifah-i-Bani Sa’idah” to discuss the appointment of a Khalifah. Hadrat Abu Bakr and Hadrat Umar with other prominent Muhajirin (Immigrants) were in the Mosque. When they were informed about the gathering of Ansar, Hadrat Abu Bakr and Umar also went there accompanied by a number of eminent Muhajirin like Hadrat Abu ‘Ubaidah bin al-Jarrah. Since Hadrat ‘Ali and Hadrat Zubair (two prominent figures among Muhajirin) were not present at the spot, they could not go to the gathering.
Much discussion was going on in the gathering of the Ansar about the selection of a Khalifah. Some of the leading Ansar wanted a Khalifah from amongst the Ansar. When Hadrat Abu Bakr heard it, he said. “We acknowledge the sacrifices of Ansar for Islam. You really deserve to have a Khalifah from amongst yourselves, but Arabs will not agree on any “Amir” (Chief of other than a person from the Quraish.” Hearing Hadrat Abu Bakr another Ansari, Khabab bin Mundhar stood up and said, “Let there be two Amirs (Khalifahs) then, one from amongst Quraish and another from amongst Ansar.” On this Hadrat Umar stood up and said, “This is not at all possible. There would be great confusion because of two Amirs.” Hadrat Khabbab bin Mundhar did not agree with Umar and there was a hot talk between them. Hadrat Abu ‘Ubaidah tried to cool them down. Then another Ansari Hadrat Bashir bin an-Nu’man (R.A.) stood up and said, “The Holy Prophet belonged to the Quraish tribe. Quraishites have preference over others. All the Arabs would agree on them. Therefore a Khalifah must be from amongst them. We do not want any dispute with Muhajirin in the matter of Khilafat. We the Medinites are Ansar (Helpers) and we would prefer to remain Helpers of Allah and His Holy Prophet (Sallaliahu’alaihi wa Sallam).” Another Ansari Hadrat Zaid bin Thabit (R.A.) also supported this view and said, “There should be a Khalifah from amongst Muhajirin (Quraishis). We Medinites were Ansar (Helpers) of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) and would remain Ansar (Helpers) of his Khalifah as well.” A number of Ansar then supported this view, and there was general satisfaction in the council over the selection of a Muhajir (Quraishi) Khalifah. Seeing this Hadrat Abu Bakr (R.A.) stood up and said, “I propose the name of Umar and Abu’Ubaidah bin al-Jarrah for this post. Select anyone of these two men as your Khalifah.” But both of them refused and Hadrat Umar said, “Abu Bakr is the best of all of us because Allah has mentioned him in the Holy Qur’an saying: “The one amongst two in the cave” (9:40). He further said, Abu Bakr excelled at every occasion during the life of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam). He deputised the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) in leading Salats, he was appointed the Chief of Haj caravan. As such he is the fittest person to be the Khalifah.” Hadrat Abu Bakr still hesitated but Umar (R.A.) and Hadrat Zaid bin Thabit Ansari held his hand and took pledge of loyalty (Bai’at). Then Hadrat Abu ‘Ubaidah bin al-Jarrah and Hadrat Bashir bin an-Nu’man Ansari also took pledge of loyalty at his hands. Seeing this people from all the sides rushed to pledge loyalty to Abu Bakr (R.A.) as the first successor of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu’alaihi wa Sallam).
Next day a general pledge of loyalty (Bai’at) was taken by the Muslims in the Mosque of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam). Thus Hadrat Abu Bakr assumed the greatest office, after the office of prophethood, and became the first Khalifah of Islam. He gave his first address as a Khalifah in the mosque after the general “Bai’at””0 people! I have been selected as your Trustee although I am no better than anyone of you. If I am right, obey me. If I am misguided, set me right. Of course truth is honesty and a lie is dishonesty. The weakest among you is powerful in my eyes until I do not get him his due, Insha-Allah (If it should please Allah). The most powerful among you is the weakest in my eyes until I do not make him pay due rights to others Insha Allah. Allah sends down disgrace on those people who give up Jihad in the path of Allah. Allah surely sends down calamities on such people who indulge in evils.
“I ask you to obey me as long as I obey Allah and His Messenger (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam). If I disobey Allah and His Messenger you are free to disobey me. Now come and offer Salat.”
In his short address, Hadrat Abu Bakr showed the role of an exemplary Khalifah of Islamic Government. No doubt Islamic Government means: “Government of Allah and His Prophet, by His obedient servants for the benefit of the people in this world and in the Hereafter.”
About thirty three thousand people took pledge of loyalty (Bai’at) at the hand of Hadrat Abu Bakr in the mosque. The selection (or Election) of Hadrat Abu Bakr is a pointer towards Islamic Democracy and furnishes example for selection of a Leader for Ummat-i-Muslimah (Muslim Community) till the Day of Judgement.
Hadrat ‘Ali took pledge of loyalty a few months later because he was busy in collecting various parts of the Holy Qur’an. Some other reasons have also been given for his delay in “Bai’at” which are ignored here.
PROBLEMS FACED BY HADRAT ABU BAKR AS-SIDDIQ AS A CALIPH
After the death of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam), the Arabs were on all sides rising in rebellion. Apostasy and disaffection raised their heads. Christians and Jews were filled with unrest. Some Muslim tribes refused to pay Zakat to the Caliph for “Baitul Mal” (the Public Treasury). Some disbelievers declared themselves to be prophets. There were many problems and much confusion. Hadrat Abu Bakr (R.A.) faced all these with unparalleled courage and the highest degree of Iman (Faith) which is the characteristic of a “SIDDIQ”. At this place I would like to point out that “SIDDIQIAT” is the highest stage of Iman (Faith) and “Tawakkul” (Trust in Allah) after prophethood as pointed out in the following verse of the Holy Qur’an
“All those who obey Allah and the Prophet are in the company of those upon whom Allah has shown favours – of the Prophets, “Siddiqin” (The Sincere), “Shuhada” (The Martyrs), and “Salihin”(The Righteous Muslims): Ah! What a beautiful company.” (4:69).
In the following lines I would like to mention the main problems faced by Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (R.A.) in brief.
The freed slave of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) and his adopted son, Hadrat Zaid bin Harith (R.A.) was martyred at the hands of Syrians (Romans) at Mautah in 8 A.H. A few weeks before his death the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) appointed Hadrat Usamah (R.A.), the son of Zaid to lead an expedition against Syrians in order to avenge the death of his father, Zaid. When Hadrat Usamah was about to leave, the news of the demise of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) came and the departure of the army was postponed. After being chosen as Caliph, the first task before Abu Bakr (R.A.) was to send out this expedition. As a matter of fact, it was the most critical time in the history of Islam. The entire peninsula was in a state of unrest and disorder. Some of the new converts thought Islam would come to an end with the Holy Prophet’s life. Many of the tribes had entered the fold of Islam only a short time before and were not firm in Islam. About this the Holy Qur’an has already predicted
“The wandering Arabs (Bedouins) say: We have (firm) faith. Say (to them O Muhammad): You believe not (firmly), but rather say “We submit”, for the Faith has not entered into your hearts.” (39:14).
At the same time news came to Medina that apostates under the command of some false prophet were planning to invade the town. Hadrat Abu Bakr(R.A.) was really facing a difficult situation. In the circumstances, the companions approached him to withdraw the expedition of Hadrat Usamah bin Zaid. In their opinion it was unwise to send troops out of Medina because they were needed at home.
Here was the test of Abu Bakr’s (R.A.) faith in following the ways of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam). He got through in his test and proved to be the most firm among all of his companions including Hadrat Umar. Abu Bakr (R.A.) said he could never alter the decision taken by his master (the Holy Prophet). He firmly replied to his companions, “How can I fold up the flag which was unfurled by the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu’alaihi wa Sallam) himself?” When Muslims saw that Hadrat Abu Bakr was firm they requested him to change the command of Hadrat Usamah because he was too young and inexperienced — not yet twenty, thus was not fit to lead the expedition. Hearing this Hadrat Abu Bakr was much annoyed and said, “Do you want me to dismiss a man appointed by the Messenger of Allah?”
At last the army led by Hadrat Usamah left after three weeks of Holy Prophet’s death. Hadrat Umar (R.A.) was also included in the army. Hadrat Abu Bakr sought Usamah’s permission to leave him in Medinah, and he agreed. Hadrat Abu Bakr himself bid him farewell and went to some distance out of Medina. The young commander of the army was riding a horse and the great Caliph was walking by his side. After forty days Hadrat Usamah returned to Medinah with a great victory, the victory of Abu Bakr’s (R.A.) firm Faith.
The success of Usamah’s expedition also opened the eyes of those who thought Islam was dying out after the demise of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam). Some of the tribes again came back to Islam which they had left.
Some disbelievers declared their prophethood and started revolt. Four of those were main figures among such false prophets. A brief account of them is given here.
He rose in Yemen and was known as ‘Ansi, “the Veiled prophet” because he put veil on his face all the time. After collecting a big army he stood up in open revolt against Islam. He was killed by Qais bin Makshuh and his followers scattered.
He belonged to the tribe of Bani Asad in northern Arabia. Just after the death of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu’alaihi wa Sallam) he rose in open revolt. Hadrat Abu Bakr sent Hadrat Khalid bin Walid to crush the rebellion. After a fierce fight Tulaiha’s army was defeated and he ran away to Syria. Afterwards he again accepted Islam.
SAJAH BINT AL-HARITH IN SUWAID
She belonged to the tribe of Bani Tamim. After the death of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) a number of chiefs of this tribe including Malik bin Nuwairah repudiated Islam and Sajah declared her prophethood. Four thousand people including some of the chiefs gathered around her to march to Medina. She also forced those who did not co-operate with her to follow. On her way to Medinah she was informed about the Islamic army led by Khalid bin Walid who had crushed the rebellion of Tulaiha. Hearing the news of Islamic army she was frightened and wrote a letter to Musailimah al-Kadh-dhab (the Liar) seeking his co-operation. Musailimah had also declared his prophethood. A mutual understanding was reached in the beginning but later Sajah married Musailimah and accepted his prophethood.
In the meantime Hadrat Khalid bin Walid reached the headquarters of the tribe of Bani Tamim. After the marriage of Sajah with Musailimah most of the people belonging to Bani Tamim had already re-entered Islam. Hadrat Khalid did not say anything to such persons but fought with those who were still apostates and defeated them.
After crushing the rebellion of Bani Tamim he turned his attention to the notorious false prophet Musailimah al-Kadhdhab (the Liar).
MUSAILIMAH AL-KADH-DHAB (THE LIAR)
Musailimah belonged to a tribe of central Arabia. His tribe did not want to follow the “Prophet of Quraish” (the Holy Prophet), so they accepted him as a prophet. According to some historians he declared his prophethood during the later period of the Holy Prophet. However he openly did so after the death of Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam). Hadrat Abu Bakr As-Siddiq (R.A.) sent Shurahbeel bin Hasnah and ‘Ikrimah (R.A.) to crush the rebellion. Later on Hadrat Khalid bin Walid (R.A.) also joined them.
Musailimah was commanding an army of forty thousand Bedouins. Some of them joined only to support their tribe although they did not believe in Musailimah. The Islamic army of thirteen thousand men was under the command of Khalid bin Walid (R.A.). A fierce battle was fought. A number of prominent Companions were slain in the fight. In the end Musailimah’s army was defeated. He himself was killed by Wahshi, (R.A.) the same person who was responsible for Hadrat Hamzah’s martyrdom in the battle of Uhad at a time when he was not a Muslim.
In this battle about 800 Muslims were martyred among whom were 360 Companions of the Holy Prophet. A number of Huffaz. (i.e. those who committed all the Holy Qur’an to memory) were also martyred.
Musailimah’s defeat raised the standing of Muslims once more in the whole of Arabia. Thus in a short period the false prophets and their followers were wiped out by virtue of firm Faith and Wisdom of As-Siddiq al-Akbar. But there were still a number of problems to be solved.
The new converts had not learnt the spirit of Islam. For centuries, the Arabian tribes knew no authority. Islam disciplined them and put them under certain moral obligations. Drinking and gambling of pre-Islamic days had been prohibited. Their wild spirit rebelled against this moral control. They wanted a chance which they got after the death of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam), and considered it the right time to throw off the yoke of Islam. That was the time when virtually the whole of Arabian peninsula was under the grip of civil war. It was the firm determination of As-Siddiq al-Akbar which permanently quelled the rebellions. Professor Hitti says: “The short khilafat of Abu Bakr was mostly occupied with the so-called Ridda (apostasy) wars”. “The Arabs, throughout the peninsula,” says another historian W. Muir, “were relapsing into apostasy”. But As-Siddiq al-Akbar did not lose heart and faced the situation with utmost courage and Iman.
The rebellion started with the refusal of the tribes to deposit Zakat fund in the Baitul Mal (Public Treasury) as was done during the days of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam). Hadrat Abu Bakr called a meeting of his “Shura” (Advisory Council) and sought its advice. Most of the Companions did not consider it advisable to take action for the time being because of the wars against false prophets and major revolts. But Hadrat Abu Bakr was firm on taking strong and prompt action so that others may have a lesson. He therefore declared, “I swear by Allah I will fight alone, if others do not support me, against everybody whosoever refuses a single kid due on him in Zakat.” He launched a big campaign without delay. He collected the troops in Medina and divided them into eleven battalions, each under the command of an experienced commander, and sent them out to different parts of Arabia. His instructions for them were to call rebels to Islam first, and if they failed, to fight them. Some of the rebel tribes submitted to Islam without fighting. Wars were waged against those who remained adamant.
With the help of these battalions As-Siddiq al-Akbar crushed all the forces of rebellion, disorder and apostasy. He actually showed wonderful courage and ability in suppressing the movement. The apostasy movement which affected the whole of Arabia besides Mecca and Medina, was totally suppressed within a year and Islam was once again the only religion of the Peninsula. When the rebellion was subdued and Islam was re-established, As-Siddiq diverted his attention towards outside Arabia. Hadrat Khalid bin Walid (R.A.) was considered to be the fittest and most suitable commander for the external expeditions, which would be described later.
THE REBELLION OF BAHRAIN:
Bahrain is a small state in the north-east side of the Arab Peninsula by the Persian Gulf. The people of Bahrain accepted Islam in the lifetime of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam). Soon after the Holy Prophet’s demise the Muslim governor of Bahrain died and there was disorder in the province. As-Siddiq al-Akbar sent a battalion under the command of ‘Ala bin al-Hadrami who defeated the rebelled tribe, Banu Bakr of Bahrain. The other tribe of Bahrain, Banu ‘Abdul-Qais, was loyal to Islam and helped the Muslims against the rebels.
There were other rebellions as well in the adjoining small states like Oman, Mahra, Hadarmaut and Yemen. All these were also suppressed and crushed.
START OF ERA OF CONQUEST
The Arabian Peninsula was surrounded by the two great Empires of that time. On its north-eastern side was the border of Persian Empire. At that time Iraq was under the control of the Persian Empire. The Northern part of the Peninsula was bordered by the Byzantine Empire (the Eastern Roman Empire). It consisted of Syria, Palestine and Egypt. Byzantine was a Greek city on the Bosphorus and Byzantines were named after this city. It was made the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire in 330 B.C. by Constantine, the Great. The name of the city was changed later on to Constantinople after the name of Constantine, the Great. (Now it is known as Istanbul in Turkey).
After suppressing the rebellions of internal tribes and adjoining small states, Abu Bakr(R.A.) turned his attention to the adjoining territories who were doing a lot of damage to Muslims and Islam and were continuously conspiring against Muslims. The Aim of as-Siddiq was not only to suppress their conspiracy against Muslims but, as a matter of fact, to spread the universal message of Islam. As we will see later, each expedition was advised first to invite the enemy towards Islam in a peaceful way, if they accepted the Message Of Allah, they were treated as brothers otherwise Muslims had to accept their challenge. The sword was used as a last resort for self-defence. Some of the main expeditions would be discussed in the following lines in brief which took place during the time of Hadrat Abu Bakr.
EXPEDITION TO IRAQ (PERSIAN EMPIRES)
There was a lot of confusion during those days in the Persian Empire. A child, Yezdgird, was ruling over the Empire under the supervision of a lady, Puran Dukht. The Persians helped the rebels of Bahrain and had done all they could do to crush Islam. There were certain Arab Tribes living near the border. Some of them accepted Islam while others were Christians. Muthanna, the chief of a border tribe (Wa’il) accepted Islam.
Since the bordering Arabs tribes of Iraq (Persia at that time) were the main target of persecution by the Persians, Muthanna and his companions took advantage of the internal conflict of Persian Empire and started small fights. In order that the Persians may not wage a full scale war against Muslims Hadrat Abu Bakr permitted Muthanna to go ahead with his scheme. But later Muthanna came to Hadrat Abu Bakr (R.A.) and sought his permission for a regular fight. The Muslims were endangered by the Persian Empire which wanted to wipe out the increasing power and might of Muslims. Moreover they were not pleased with the help given by the Persians to the Bahrain rebels. Abu Bakr (R.A.) after consulting his “Shura” (Advisory Council) permitted him to start full scale war on the condition that first he must invite Persians to Islam peacefully. Since Muthanna was not much experienced, Hadrat Abu Bakr ordered his great general Hadrat Khalid bin Walid (R.A.) to proceed immediately to reinforce Muthanna’s army. It was the first month of the year 12 A.H. (633 A.C.). Hadrat Khalid met Muthanna’s army at Ubullah.
BATTLE OF CHAINS
Hafir was the place where the first battle between Muslims and Persians took place. Persians were under the command of Hurmuz, a famous Persian general.
According to the Islamic practice and advice given by the Caliph, Hadrat Khalid invited the Persians to Islam and wrote to them: “We have brought for you the Message of Allah, Islam. Our aim is not to fight. Accept Islam, the peaceful way, and you will be safe. If not then clear our way to the people so that we may explain this beautiful way of life to them. If you accept Islam you will have to pay Jizya (Defence Tax) to the Caliphate. If you do not agree to any of these conditions then the only alternative is the use of sword. Before deciding on the third alternative you should keep in your mind that I am bringing against you a people who love death more than you love your life”. Hadrat Khalid (R.A.) was right in telling that Muslims loved death in the path of Allah more than life loved by non-believers. When a Muslim dies in the path of Allah he is a martyr and gets into Paradise before his blood falls on the earth.
Persians were too proud and paid no attention to Hadrat Khalid’s invitation. A battle took place at Hafir and Persians were defeated and routed. In order not to run from the battlefield the Persians soldiers had tied themselves to one another with chains. Due to this the battle is known as the Battle of Chains. But it proved fruitless because of the effective attack of Muslims. Even the commander of the Persian army was killed in this battle.
After the Battle of Chains at Hafir some other small skirmishes took place at Madhar, Walja & Ullis etc. Each time the Muslims fought with a new force several times bigger than them but they defeated the Persians not because of their number and weapons but due to the power of Iman and trust in Allah.
THE FALL OF HIRA
Hira was a famous fort of Persians. After fighting the small battles described above Hadrat Khalid besieged the city of Hira. Persians resisted in the beginning but later on they surrendered to Muslims. Hadrat Khalid imposed Jizya (Defence Tax) on them. Then he captured other places including Dumatal-Jandal. Some frontier Arab chiefs also submitted to Khalid. The last battle of this expedition of Hadrat Khalid took place at Firad. A huge force of Persian Arabs (residing in Iraq) and Syrians who joined Persians in that battle crossed the river Euphrates. A fierce battle was fought on the l5th Dhul Qa’dah, 12 A.H. Hadrat Khalid routed the enemies and conquered the place. By this victory whole of South and most of the North Iraq were conquered. Then Hadrat Khalid returned to Hira.
HADRAT KHALID BIN WALID, SAIFULLAH (THE SWORD OF ALLAH)
Hadrat Khalid bin Walid (R.A.) proved to be the most successful general of Islam. With a handful of troops he was able not only to overcome all internal rebellions but also to make Arabia safe for Islam. Then he proceeded to Iraq and gained victory after victory. It was for his abilities, which were foreseen by the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam), that Khalid was given the title of “Saifullah” i.e. Allah’s Sword.
As-Siddiq al-Akbar was quick to recognise Khalid’s (R.A.) ability he put him incharge of the Iraqi campaign. Hadrat Khalid’s performance in this campaign has no parallel in history. With an army of a little more than ten thousand men, Khalid (R.A.) overcome a major part of Iraq and brought it under the banner of Islam. At many times he defeated enemies twenty times larger than his own army. Hadrat Khalid (R.A.) knew that success did not lie in the hands of majority or minority, it lies in the hands of Allah Almighty. He declared many times that they were not fighting for the sake of land or fame, their aim was to proclaim Allah’s Kalimah (Allah’s message). When Allah was with them they did not fear any power. Once he wrote a letter to a commander of Persian army near Hira
“All praise is due to Allah who humbled your pride, and dis-united you, and destroyed your might. Accept Islam you will be in peace; or pay Jizya (the Defence Tax) and let us spread Allah’s Message. If you do not accept any of these conditions then listen I have brought with me such people who love death more than you love life”.
In Iraq Hadrat Khalid fought fifteen battles and won complete victory in all of them.
Hadrat Khalid was not only a great general and conqueror but also a great administrator. He appointed a deputy and a Qadi (Judge) at every place which he conquered. Some Muslim teachers were also left to teach Islam to the converts and to preach to non-Muslims by peaceful means. Seeing the character of these noble souls and the natural beauty of Islam, most of the time, entire population entered the folds of Islam. It is a fact that by sword or force only tongues could be won not the hearts. It was really the character of Muslims in those days that won the hearts of entire population where they lived. This is a clear proof that Islam never spread by sword or force. Sword was used to clear the way for preaching this truthful way of life, and when people realised its value, grandeur and significance they went all out for it. Iman (Faith) is the affirmation of the heart not of the tongue, and the heart could never be won by sword. Character has greater force than sword and this force was, of course, with the Muslims.
Unlike most of warriors Hadrat Khalid, the Saifullah (R.A.), was an extremely kind-hearted man. He had given strict orders to his army to follow all the principles of Islam. They were not allowed to do any harm to farmers and other civilians. The army treated the civilians with kindness and respect. This was a surprise for the conquered people. Instead of molesting the women they found the soldiers worshipping and crying before Allah all night. This was something new for them. This was something new for them. It was said about Muslim conquerors of the time: “They rode on the back of horse during the day (to fight in the Path of Allah) and on the back of Mussalla (the piece of cloth used for prayers) in the night (to worship Allah). “The word by word translation is given here to put emphasis, it actually meant that they fought in the path of Allah throughout the day and worshipped Allah throughout the night. Of course even during the day they were punctual in obligatory Salats.
As mentioned above the month of Dhul-Qa’dah, 12 A.H. marked the end of Hadrat Khalid’s campaign in Iraq. He then returned to the headquarters at Hira. After resting for a while he took a few men with him and came to Mecca for Hajj and returned to Hira after performing the Hajj. On hearing about Khalid’s presence at the Hajj, Hadrat Abu Bakr was amazed but he forbade him not to leave his army alone in future.
EXPEDITION TO SYRIA (BYZANTINE EMPIRE)
It has been stated in the life of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa -Sallam) that the envoy of the Holy Prophet, Dihya al-Kalbi, was killed by Syrians in 6 A.H. while he was on a mission to Roman Emperor. As a result of which there was the battle of Mu’tah. Later the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) himself marched with 50,000 men to Tabuk (a border post of Syria) when he heard about the invasion plan of Syrians (then known as Romans because Syria was a province of Eastern Roman Empire, the Byzantine at that time). Since Syrians did not turn up to fight, the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) and his Companions returned without any fight. Again there was a danger of Syrian invasion and the Holy Prophet appointed Hadrat Usamah bin Zaid (R.A.)as the commander of the army which was later sent by Hadrat Abu Bakr(R.A.) when he assumed the office of the Caliphate. It has been mentioned before that Hadrat Usamah (R.A.) returned victorious after about forty days.
Afterwards Hadrat Abu Bakr (R.A.) was informed about the clashes at: Syrians border and about the plan of invasion by Romans (i.e. Syrians). This was the time when Heraclius was the Emperor of Byzantine Empire, with Constantinople (Istanbul) as the Capital.
When Hadrat Abu Bakr(R.A.)found that the Romans (Byzantines) began to conspire against the Muslims in co-operation with the Bedouins of the Syrian frontier, he consulted the “Shura” (Advisory Council) and decided to save the frontiers. As mentioned before, the aim was never to conquer other places. The blame totally lay upon the foreign powers who always encouraged the rebels and by sending them reinforcements attempted to shatter the nascent power of Muslims. Even Western historians like Sir William Muir admit that the Muslim leaders were not responsible for the wars with Persia and Byzantium. A famous Muslim historian, M.M. Siddiqi writes in his book, “Development of Islamic State and Society”: “These (the wars) were not started by the Muslims, nor was there slightest attempt on the part of the Islamic leaders to impose their own way of life on the foreign peoples. True, Islam was a missionary religion and an expanding force. The Prophet himself had invited the ruling monarchs of the surrounding countries to accept Islam. But he had never, by word or deed, tried to trespass their domains”
To take strong action against Romans (Byzantines) was also necessary keeping in view the Arab trade with Syria as the border clashes made the trade routes dangerous. So in the year 13 A.H. he raised a big army and divided it into four battalions. Each battalion was put under the command of an experienced general. They had to march in different directions. Hadrat Abu ‘Ubaidah bin al-Jarrah(R.A.)had to march on Hims; Hadrat Amr bin al-‘As(R.A.)on Palestine; Yazid bin Sufyan on Damascus; and Shurahbeel bin Hasnah on Jordan (which was a part of Syria at that time). The army was divided into many companies so that the enemy may not hit with full force on any one of the battalions. The total number of men was 27,000.
At the time of departure of the army Hadrat Abu Bakr(R.A.)gave some valuable advice to each commander. A few of them are as under
(1) Always fear Allah because He knows what the hearts conceal.
(2) Treat your subordinates well.
(3) Honour the representatives of your enemies.
(4) Always be truthful.
(5) Keep away from untruthful men and be intimate with those who are truthful and faithful.
(6) Do not be dishonest in any way.
(7) Do not disturb saints and worshippers of other religions.
(8) Do not destroy places of worship.
(9) Do not kill a woman, an old man and children and those who are not fighting with you.
(10) Do not cut flowering trees.
(II) Do not ruin any populated place.
(12) Do not kill goats, camels and cattle besides what you need to eat.
(13) Do not burn gardens.
(14) Do not be dishonest in booty.
When Heracleus heard about the Islamic armies, he also sent four armies to face them. Each of those armies was several times bigger than the total Islamic army. The Muslim commanders informed Hadrat Abu Bakr about the situation and sought reinforcement. They also informed him about their proposal to merge the four armies under one command. Hadrat Abu Bakr(R.A.)approved the proposal of merger and sent the following message to Hadrat’Amr bin al-‘As(R.A.), one of the commanders
“As-Salamo ‘alaikum! (peace be unto you)I am in receipt of your letter in which you have mentioned about the huge Roman armies. Listen! Allah has not given us victories because of a magnitude or scarcity of numbers when we fought in the company of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam). Sometimes we fought with him in such a condition that there were not more than two horses in the whole army, and travelled on the back of one camel turn by turn……. Muslims can never be defeated because of small numbers. 0 ‘Amr! the most righteous among us is the one who keeps away more from sins. Therefore obey Allah and ask your companions as well to obey Him (completely)….you would be successful.” (quoted by Tabrani).
He further wrote
“I have sent orders to Khalid bin Walid (in Iraq) to join you immediately. When he joins you give him due regard. Do not impose your superiority over him and do not try to solve your problems without consulting him, and do not oppose him”. (Quoted by Ibn Sa’d).
On receiving orders from the Caliph, Hadrat Khalid handed over the charge of affairs in Iraq to Muthanna bin Harith, and hastened to Syria at the head of ten thousand Hadrat Khalid (R.A.) faced some resistance at many places on his way to Syria and conquered many cities and forts including Irak, Rahit, and Busra. Busra was a city in Syria, thus Hadrat Khalid conquered the first place in Syria before he joined the allied Islamic forces. At last he reached Ajna-dayn in the month of Rabi’uth-Thani 13 A.H. (according to some historians he reached in Rabi’ul-Awwal).
THE BATTLE OR AJNADAYN: RABI’UL-THANI, 13 A.H. or 31st July 634
When Hadrat Khalid reached Ajnadayn he called a council of all the commanders of Islamic armies whose total strength was between forty and forty five thousand. The first proposal put before them by Hadrat Khalid was to appoint a commander-in-chief. He suggested that one of them should act as the commander-in-chief turn by turn each day. The chief command for the first day was given to Hadrat Khalid (R.A.). He divided the army into several sections and put each section under the command of a commander.
The Romans were about two hundred fifty thousand in number while the Muslims were little more than forty thousand. When the Islamic and Roman armies faced each other somebody among the Muslims remarked: “How numerous is the Roman army!” Hadrat Khalid said, “The number of people does not matter. It is the final outcome which is important”. At last the battle started. In the beginning the Romans put pressure upon Muslims. Seeing this ‘Ikrimah bin Abi Jahl took pledge of some Muslims that they would not give the field to the enemy and would fight unto death. The Roman army was headed by Theodore, brother of Heraclius, the Emperor but there was not that type of discipline in their army as Muslims demonstrated. A fierce battle was fought. The Roman horsemen could not bear the brunt of Muslim attack, and started to flee. Roman cavalry was totally discomfited. Then Muslim forces fell on their infantry and dispersed its ranks. Thus Romans were badly defeated and I took shelter in the trench but were chased and slaughtered in large numbers. Three thousand Muslims were martyred in this battle. Defeat at the battle of Ajnadain was a great shock to Byzantium.
After the victory at Ajnadayn the Muslim armies marched forward and laid siege to Damascus.
In the meantime Hadrat Abu Bakr(R.A.) fell sick. He received the news of the victory at Ajnadayn when he was confined to bed.
Note: There is a controversy between historians regarding the battle which took place at Ajnadayn in 13 A.H. According to some historians this was the battle of Yarmuk, while others say that the battle of Yarmuk took place after the fall of Damascus
ILLNESS OF HADRAT ABU BAKR(R.A.) AND UMAR’S(R.A.) NOMINATION
It was the 7th Jamada-ul-Akhira, 13 A.H. that As-Siddiq al-Akbar fell ill. He had a severe fever. When the illness took a serious turn he called the “Shura” (Advisory Council) to consult about his successor, the second Caliph. Since he had seen some confusion after the demise of the Holy Prophet for the selection of a Caliph, he preferred to let the Muslims decide the matter in his presence. Following were the leading figures present in the Shura:Umar, ‘Uthman,’Ali, ‘Abdur-Rahman bin ‘Auf, Mu’adh bin Jabal, Ubaiy bin Ka’b, Zaid bin Thabit (Ridwanullah ‘alaihim Ajma’in) and other leading Muhajirin and Ansar. According to some historians he first consulted some of the most prominent Companions before calling the meeting of the General Shura about this. Among these persons were ‘Uthman,’Abdur rahman bin ‘Auf and Usaid bin hadir (R.A.) etc.Hadrat Abu Bakr(R.A.)put his proposal for Hadrat Umar(R.A.)to be the second Caliph. All of them agreed with the proposal except for an objection by some of the Companions about his strictness. That was the only ground on which Hadrat’Ali and Talha (R.A.) also did not agree with Hadrat Abu Bakr(R.A.). But Abu Bakr(R.A.) rejected their plea on the ground that the burden of Caliphate would make him milder. Since there was no opposition to Hadrat Abu Bakr’s view, Hadrat Umar was declared to be the next Caliph and all the Companions, including Hadrat’Ali (R.A.) and Hadrat Talha (R.A.), agreed to it.
At this point I would like to point out that the decision of Hadrat Abu Bakr (R.A.) for the selection (or election) of Hadrat Umar (R.A.)in his presence during his life was purely based on his “Ijtihad” (Personal Judgment of a Jurist) as explained by him after his nomination of Umar (R.A.) was recorded. As a matter of fact it was the need of the time and Hadrat Abu Bakr (R.A.) was totally right in his “Ijtihad”. The proof of this is also the “Ijma'” (Agreement) of the Companions on his proposal to select a Caliph while he was still alive.
Although the appointment (election) of the Caliph did not take place in the same way as it happened with Hadrat Abu Bakr (R.A.), it was not un-democratic in the sense that the nomination of Hadrat Umar took place after fair consultation with the “Shura”. Hadrat Abu Bakr never wanted anything which would make Islam weak after him. He knew what had happened after the death of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) the repetition of which was to be avoided. The strength of the Muslim community lay in unity and that had to be preserved at any cost. For these reasons Hadrat Abu Bakr(R.A.) wanted an agreed person to be nominated as his successor in his presence. Therefore he took a decision by “Ijtihad” for the nomination of a Caliph after due consultation.
After the “Shura” (Advisory Council) had agreed on Hadrat Umar, Hadrat Abu Bakr asked Hadrat ‘Uthman (R.A.) to write the will
“Bismillah-irrahmanir-Rahim (In the name of Allah, most Gracious, most Merciful)–This is the declaration which is made by Abu Bakr bin Abi Quhafah while he is about to leave for the next world. At this time even a non-believer starts to believe, and even a great sinner returns to faith, and a disbeliever begins to trust in Allah. I appoint Umar bin Khattab as the Caliph (Khalifah). You must follow his orders and obey him. I have done everything good for the sake of Allah, for His Holy Prophet and for the welfare of His Religion and Muslims and for myself in appointing him (Umar as the Caliph). I hope that he would be honest and just but if he changes his ways, and becomes unjust, I would have no responsibility, as I do not have the knowledge of the unseen. Everybody is responsible for what he does.”
Afterwards he went up to his balcony with the help of some persons and addressed a big gathering of Muslims: “O my brothers! I have not appointed any of my relations or brothers as a Caliph, I have chosen the best person among you. Do you agree on this’? All of them replied in the affirmative. Then he called Umar (R.A.) and talked with him for a long time and gave him words of parting advice. Some of them are as under
“O Umar always fear Allah. An optional deed is not accepted unless the obligatory deed is done. The weight of your goodness would be heavy on the day of Judgement if you followed the Right Path in this world. The deeds of the persons who followed wrong Path in this world be having no weight on the Day of Judgement. They will have a terrible time. Make the Holy Qur’an and Truth your guide for success. Umar if you follow the path I propose for you, I will surely be by your side……….”.
AS-SIDDIQ AL-AKBAR PASSES AWAY
After a fortnight’s illness, As-Siddiq al-Akbar passed away at the age of 61 on Tuesday, the 22nd Jamadal-Akhira, 13 A.H. (23rd August 634 A.D.). Before his death he said to his daughter Lady ‘A’isha (Radiallahu ‘Anha), “Do not use new cloth for my shroud. Wash the sheet in my use and wrap my corpse in it”. His wish was acted upon. His next wish was to pay all the money he got as salary for Caliph from “Baitul Mal” (The Public Treasury) after selling his garden. He said, I did not like to take anything from the “Baitul Mal but Umar pressed me to accept some allowance so that I would be relieved of my occupation and devote my full time to the duties of the Khilafat (Caliphate). I was left no choice but to accept the offer”. After his death ‘A’isha asked Hadrat Umar to take over that garden as desired by her father. Umar remarked: “May Allah bless him. He left no chance for any body to open his lips against him”.
Hadrat Abu Bakr (R.A.) was a rich merchant before his Khilafat. After he was selected as Caliph, Hadrat Umar and some other Companions put pressure on him to leave his business and accept some allowance from the Baitul Mal. He took the least possible amount which was hardly sufficient for him and his family. Once his wife wanted to prepare some sweet dish, and somehow saved something after one month. When she brought to him the money to make purchases for the sweet dish, Hadrat Abu Bakr said, “It seems that we have been over-paid, beyond our needs”. He then deposited the saving in the Baitul Mal and she was not able to prepare the sweet dish. Not only this he got his allowance cut down for future by the amount saved by his wife.
As-Siddiq al-Akbar left behind a noble example of selfless service. He lived and worked for the sake of Islam to his last breath, but sought no reward.
WIVES AND CHILDREN
His first wife was Qatilah bint ‘Abdul ‘Aziz who bore to him ‘Abdullah and Asma (R.A.). His second wife, Umm-i-Ruman gave birth to Lady ‘A’ isha (R.A.), the most beloved wife of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam), and ‘Abdur Rahman (Rad A.). Besides these two he also married Asma’ and Habibah (R.A.).
(i) Ummul-Mu’minin Hadrat ‘A’isha (R.A.)
(ii) Asma, and
(iii) Umm-i-Kulthum, born to Habibah after his death.
(ii),’Abdur Rahman and
ABU BAKR, A SAVIOUR OF ISLAM
As-Siddiq al-Akbar took the office of Caliphate (Khilafat) at the most crucial and critical moment of Islamic history. He gave Islam a new life after the death of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam). Islam, in its infant stage, when he was entrusted with the responsibility to Caliphate, was threatened by rebellions, rise of false prophets and apostasy movements. He crushed all the futile powers because of his unshakeable faith. No amount of difficulties could make him deviate from the Sunnah (Path) of the Holy Master. He brought unity among the Muslims and crushed all the rebellions. In view of his great service for the cause of Islam at that critical moment when there was a lot of confusion, Abu Bakr (R.A.) may rightly be called the Saviour of Islam.
It was in the time of Abu Bakr that Islam started to cross the Arabian borders. A major part of Iraq came under his rule and Muslim armies had captured many important cities of Syria. Thus Islam, the religion of whole mankind, started to be a world religion in his period.
COLLECTION OF THE HOLY QUR’AN
One of the greatest services rendered to Islam by Abu Bakr (R.A.) was the collection of the Holy Qur’an. There were hundreds of Huffaz (i.e., those who committed the whole Holy Qur’an to memory) among the Companions during the life-time of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu’alaihi wa Sallam) but it had not been compiled in book form though its memorisation continued even after the death of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam). In various battles which took place against rebels and false prophets, a number of Huffaz Companions were martyred. In the battle against Musailimah al-Khad-dhab about seventy Huffaz had died.
It then occurred to HadratUmar (R.A.) that necessary steps should be taken to preserve the Holy Qur’an intact in its original form against every kind of danger and it was not wise to depend exclusively upon those who had learnt it by heart. Therefore, he urged Hadrat Abu Bakr (R.A.) to put it in black and white in the form of a book. Other Companions also agreed with Umar’s opinion but Hadrat Abu Bakr hesitated in the beginning because it was not done by the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam). However after some discussion he agreed to it and appointed Hadrat Zaid bin Thabit (R.A.) for this work who was hesitant at first but later, he changed his mind and started the work. Hadrat Zaid bin Thabit was the best qualified person for this work because he had acted as an amanuensis to the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam), and was one of the Companions who had learnt the Holy Qur’an directly from him. Moreover, he was also present on the occasion when the Holy Prophet recited the whole of the completed Holy Qur’an to angel Gabriel. Hadrat Zaid bin Thabit adopted the same order of the various chapters of the Holy Book as was revealed to the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam). In the compilation of the Holy Book a number of prominent Companions assisted him. The compiled copy of the Qur’an was kept in the house of Umm ul-Mu’minin, Hadrat Hafsah (Radiallahu ‘Anha) who was one of the wives of the Holy Prophet and daughter of Hadrat Umar. It was proclaimed that anyone, who desired, might make a copy of it or compare with it the copy one already possessed.
The collection of the Holy Qur’an in a book form was not an act against the Sunnah (Ways) of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam), because the Holy Qur’an declares itself “A BOOK” at a number of places e.g., in the very beginning it says
“This is the Book………” (2:2)
During his caliphate Hadrat ‘Uthman sent copies of the same compilation of the Holy Qur’an, collected during the period of Hadrat Abu Bakr (R.A.), to various places of his caliphate.
In this way we see that Hadrat Abu Bakr (R.A.) kept doing the great work of his Holy Master (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam). With unshakeable faith and full courage he had struggled to the utmost. Islam is for ever grateful to its greatest hero, the next to prophets, for the great services he rendered to it.
Hadrat Abu Bakr’s caliphate lasted for only two years, three months and ten days (according to Islamic calendar).
CHARACTER AND PIETY
Hadrat Abu Bakr As Siddiq al-Akbar (R.A.) was the most distinguished figure of Islam after the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam). He was mild and gentle but stern when necessary. He was the true embodiment of Islam. Being diligent, wise, full of wisdom and a great statesman, he occupies a unique place in the history of Islam. His name would remain for ever in the minds of Muslims.
Hadrat Abu Bakr was the most pious Companion of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam). He never took unlawful meal. Once one of his slaves brought for him some food to eat. He took a morsel out of it but afterwards he learnt that the slave got it as a result of soothsaying. He then remarked, “Ah! you would have surely killed me”. He tried to disgorge it and when he did not succeed he drank water and then vomited the whole thing out. He never spoke any obscene language in any situation. Once he said a harsh word to Hadrat Umar (R.A.) which he realised later and asked him to forgive him. Hadrat Umar delayed in excusing him. He was so much perturbed that he went to the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu’alaihi wa Sallam) who asked Umar (R.A.) to excuse him.
Hadrat Abu Bakr (R.A.) used to fear Allah most of all. Once he went to a garden where he saw a bird. He sighed deeply and said, “0 bird! you are lucky indeed! you eat and drink as you like and fly but do not have fear of reckoning on the Day of Judgement. I wish that I were just like you”. Sometimes he said, “I wish I were a blade of grass whose life ended with the grazing of some beast; or a tree that would be cut and done away with”.
He was a great worshipper. It is said that Hadrat Abu Bakr (R.A.) used to perform Salat similar to that of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam). He was the one who spent all of his belongings for the sake of Allah and His Prophet (Sallallahu’alaihi wa Sallam).
The Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) gave him the glad tidings of Paradise in these words: “Abu Bakr’s name shall be called out from all the gates of Paradise and he will be the first person of my Ummah (people) to enter it”.
DEMOCRATIC WAY OF HIS GOVERNMENT
Hadrat Abu Bakr(Rad. A,) gave the first lesson to whole mankind of ‘government by the people’ when nobody knew about it. On every occasion he decided matters after due consultation with eminent companions, He used to say: “I am but the Khalifah (deputy) of the Prophet of Allah”(i.e. I have to follow only the ways of the Holy Prophet).
Many a time he told the people: “I swear by Allah, I never liked to be a “Khalifah”. I even never thought about it, nor desired it either secretly or openly. The yoke of Khilafat has been put on my neck by force. I wish to transfer this trust to a more suitable person”. Once some Muslims complained to him about the strictness of Hadrat Umar (R.A.) and said, “He is behaving in such a way as though he is the “Khalifah” instead of you”. Hadrat Abu Bakr told them, “Of course, he is the fittest person to be the “Khalifah”. I am but a humble servant of Almighty, who has been forced to take charge of this high office”.
“SHURA” (COUNCIL OF ADVISORS)
Hadrat Abu Bakr always decided matters of state after consultation. There was a special “Shura” (Council of Advisors) for this purpose. Although the selection or the election of such council did not take place after public voting, but the prominent figures included in the “Shura” were the most popular persons in the public. If an election, as we know it today, had taken place at that time, all of them would have won it without any exception. The membership of the “Shura” was not based upon colour, race, wealth or worldly power; it was based upon services rendered to Islam, closeness to Allah and His Prophet (of course the closeness to Allah was demonstrated by the closeness to His Prophet).
Ibn-i-Sa’d has recorded that whenever Hadrat Abu Bakr(R.A.) faced a problem, he called eminent Muhajirin, and Ansar and the following people (i.e. following people were the permanent members of the “Shura”). Hadrat Umar, ‘Uthman, ‘Ali, ‘Abdur Rahman bin ‘Auf, Mu’adh bin Jabal, Ubaiy bin Ka’b and Zaid bin Thabit (R.A.)” On special occasions common consultation took place in which all the prominent Muhajirin and Ansar (i.e. Companions) were called besides the above mentioned personalities. But generally only the above mentioned Companions were called for consultation.
APPOINTMENT OF OFFICERS
For public offices Hadrat Abu Bakr(R.A.) did not choose his own sons or family members, but gave the chance to people of high merit.
Whenever he appointed an officer, he advised him and explained his duties. On the appointment of ‘Amr bin ‘As and Walid bin ‘Uqbah as the collector of the Zakat from the tribe of Quda’ah, he advised them as follows
“Fear Allah openly and secretly. Whosoever fears Allah, He provides him sustenance from such source about which he never thought. Whosoever fears Allah, Allah forgives his sins and gives him double reward. No doubt to have good will for the people is great piety. You are on such a way that you may go beyond the prescribed limits very easily. Stick to the rules prescribed by the religion and that would save you from all evils”.
When he appointed Yazid bin Sufyan as the governor of the conquered part of Syria he gave him following advice
“O Yazid! you have relations in Syria, do not try to give unlawful benefits to your kins. Of this I am afraid of my officers. The Holy Prophet said: If a Muslim officer appoints his kins on big posts which they do not deserve, he will be cursed for that by Allah and Allah will not accept any of his excuses or apology for that until he enters Hell.”
SUPERVISION OVER OFFICERS
He was a strict administrator and never allowed any of his officers to behave in an irregular manner. Whenever he found any officer amiss, he immediately warned him. Once on some mistake he wrote to Hadrat Khalid bin Walid: “You are enjoying, and the blood of Muslims is flowing nearby your tent”.
OFFICERS OF HIS GOVERNMENT
The Capital of the State was Medina where Hadrat Umar and Hadrat’Ali (R.A.) were the Qadis (Judges) and Abu ‘Ubaidah bin Jarrah was the treasury officer. Besides performing the duties of a Qadi and Mufti (Jurist), Hadrat’Ali also acted as the secretary to Hadrat Abu Bakr. Hadrat ‘Uthman (R.A.) was the chief secretary and used to write various ordinances for the Khalifah.
The governor of Mecca was Hadrat ‘Utba bin Usaid. He and Hadrat Abu Bakr died the same day. Governors of other places were as under
Ta’if — ‘Uthman bin al ‘As
San’a — Muhajir bin Umayyah
Hadramaut — Zaid bin’Ubaid
Kholan (a part of Yemen) — Ya’la bin Ubaid
South Yemen — Abu Musa al-Ash’ari
Janad (a part of Yemen) — Mu’adh bin Jabal
Bahrain — ‘Ala bin al-Hadrami
Dumatul-Jandal (Iraq) — ‘Iyad bin Ghanam
Iraq — Muthanna bin Harith
Najran — Jarir bin ‘Abdullah
Near the end of his reign, Hadrat Abu Bakr had appointed following commanders of Islamic armies in Syria: Abu ‘Ubaidah bin al-Jarrah, Yazid bin Abi Sufyan,’Amr bin al-As ‘and Shurahbeel bin Hasnah. Hadrat Khalid bin Walid (R.A.) was the commander-in-chief and the greatest general of Islam during the time of Hadrat Abu Bakr (R.A.)
BAITUL MAL AND REVENUE ADMINISTRATION
During the time of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) and also during the period of Abu Bakr there was no separate department for revenue. Zakat, Sadaqat and other taxes (Kharaj) and booty used to come to Medina for Baitul Mal which was under the charge of Abu ‘Ubaidah bin Jarrah (before his departure to Syria as the commander of an army). Whatever funds came in the Baitul Mal were distributed among the needy and the poor immediately.
During the later period of his Khilafat Hadrat Abu Bakr built a house for Baitul Mal but at no time money or any other thing accumulated in it. Once somebody asked Abu Bakr to take care of the Safety of Baitul Mal, he said that one lock was enough for that because mush was not allowed to lie in it.
During the first year of his Khilafat he gave ten Dirhams as a stipend to each adult in Medina whether he was a free person or a slave, next year when the income had increased he distributed twenty dirhams to each person. In this way he gave the same status to a slave as that to a free person because in human needs all were equal. After the death of Abu Bakr (R.A.) when HadratUmar checked the Baitul Mal in the presence of Hadrat ‘Abdur Rahman and Hadrat Uthman (R.A.), he found only one dirham in it, he exclaimed, “May Allah bless Abu Bakr”. Then he called the treasury officer and asked him, “How much money did come in revenue for Baitul Mal?” He replied, “Two hundred thousand Dinars”. (Note: Dirham was a silver coin in those days while Dinar was a gold coin).
Following were the main sources of revenue: Zakat, Ushr (special land tax on lands), Jizya (Indemnity tax), and Booty.
ARMY AND ITS ADMINISTRATION
There was no regular Islamic force during the time of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam). Hadrat Abu Bakr also followed his example. However, when any army departed during his time, he divided it into various battalions. Each battalion was put under the command of an officer, who was under the control of the commander of the whole army. Moreover, he also appointed commander-in-chief of various armies. The commander-in-chief of the four armies sent to Syria was Hadrat Khalid bin Walid (R.A.), who was also known as “Amir-ul-Umara”, as mentioned in some books of history.
He took particular care for the moral training of the military personnel. When he sent armies to Syria, he gave the following instructions to them:-
“During your expedition you would find some people who devote themselves exclusively to worship of their Creator. Don’t disturb them and leave them in their sanctuaries. I give you the following advice
(i) Don’t kill any woman, child or old person;
(ii) Don’t cut any flowering tree;
(iii) Don’t destroy any inhabited place;
(iv) Don’t kill camels or goats except when you need them for your meals;
(v) Don’t burn an oasis;
(vi) Don’t be dishonest in booty;
(vii) Don’t be coward in the field”.
He reserved a part of the revenue for purchase of arms and for the maintenance of forces. Special pastures were reserved for horses and camels used in the battles. One of such pastures was situated in Baqi’ and another was situated at Rabadha.
He also used to inspect army camps. There were no permanent cantonments during his time. Once an Islamic army was encamped at Jarf, Hadrat Abu Bakr (R.A.) himself went to inspect the army of Banu Fazarah. Seeing him all the men stood up in his honour and he said, “God bless you”. Some of them said, “0 Khalifah (Deputy) of the Prophet of Allah! We have brought healthy horses and mares, and we are very good riders. Please give us a big standard”. Hadrat Abu Bakr said, “I can’t give you a big standard because it has already been taken by Banu’Abs”.
PREACHING OF ISLAM
As the Khalifah (Deputy) of the Prophet of Allah, he paid special attention towards preaching the right way of life. Because of his efforts the whole of Arabia once more and forever re-entered Islam.
He gave strict instructions to all the armies to call at first, the enemy to Islam. Invitation to Islam was usually given for three days before the start of a battle. A number of tribes in Iraq and other places accepted Islam without any battle when Hadrat Khalid and other commanders preached. Once a Christian bishop of Hirah accepted Islam after seeing the good conduct of the Muslims.
THE DEPARTMENT OF JURISTS (MUFTIS)
Besides the Judiciary in which Qadis (Judges) used to decide the cases, there was a special department of Muftis (Jurists) whose duty was to solve various problems of Muslims in the light of the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah (Practices) of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam). Following were the Muftis (Jurists) in Medina: HadratUmar, ‘Ali, ‘Uthman ‘Abdur Rahman bin ‘Auf, Mu’adh bin Jabal, Ubaiy bin Ka’b, and Zaid bin Thabit. No other person besides them was entitled to give verdict or to lay down rules of Islamic Law to Muslims in the light of the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah.
The judiciary was totally separate from the executive. The judges appointed by Hadrat Abu Bakr were HadratUmar and Hadrat’Ali (R.A.) in Medina. Being a great Jurist Hadrat Abu Bakr was also a judge and gave decisions on various cases.
He used to give punishments as prescribed in the Holy Qur’an or told by the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam). He did not establish any police force or any department for it. However, he appointed Hadrat ‘Abdullah bin Mas’ud as the Sentinel to take care of crimes. He also laid down such punishments which were given in the Holy Qur’an or the Sunnah. For example he fixed punishment of forty lashes for drinking liquor.
He also paid special attention to the safety of highways and various parts of the state. He gave severe punishments to robbers and persons committing breach of peace.
DIVISION OF ARABIAN PENINSULA INTO VARIOUS PROVINCES
Hadrat Abu Bakr Siddiq divided the Peninsula into various provinces for convenience of administration. In his time following were the provinces of Arabia: Medina, Mecca, Ta’if, San’a (North Yemen), Yemen (i.e. South Yemen), Najran, Hadramaut, Bahrain and Dumatul-Jandal. Every province was under the control of a governor who was the chief executive officer of that region. He did not change the governors or the officers appointed by the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) during his time.
He devoted his full energy to the administration of the new born Islamic state. Hadrat Abu Bakr’s reign was short and full of rebellions, still his administration was very sound. He followed the footsteps of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) faithfully and to the fullest possible extent and kept strict watch over the affairs of his government. Hadrat Umar (R.A.) always helped him in administration and justice and fulfilled the promise made by him at the time of the election of Abu Bakr (R.A.).
He laid down the foundation of a true Islamic republic upon democratic principles. His strong Faith and Trust in Allah were reflected in his administration. A Western historian, Sir W.Muir writes: “His reign was short, but after Muhammad (Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa Sallam) himself there is none to whom the Faith was more dear.”
Abdullah Ibn Masood رضى الله تعالى عنه was of the tribe of Banu Huzail and was also the sworn ally of Banu Zahra. When Abdullah Ibn Masood رضى الله تعالى عنه was still a youth, not yet past the age of puberty, he used to roam the mountain trails of Makkah far away from people, tending the flocks of a Quraish chieftain, Uqbah Ibn Muayt. People called him ‘Ibn Umm Abd’, the son of the mother of a slave. His real name was Abdullah and his fathers name was Masood.
The youth had heard the news of the Prophet whom had appeared among his people but he did not attach any importance to it both because of his age and because he was usually far away from Makkan society. It was his habit to leave with the flock of Uqbah early in the morning and not return until nightfall.
One day while tending the flocks, Abdullah Ibn Masood رضى الله تعالى عنه saw two men, middle-aged and of dignified bearing, coming towards him from a distance. They were obviously very thirsty and tired. They came up to him, greeted him and said, ‘Young man, milk one of these sheep for us that we may quench our thirst and recover our strength.’
‘I cannot,’ replied the young man. ‘The sheep are not mine. I am only responsible for looking after them.’
The two men did not argue with him. In fact, despite their thirst, they were extremely pleased at his honest reply. The two men were the blessed Prophet himself and his companion, Abu Bakr Siddiq. They had gone out on that day to the mountains of Makkah to escape the violent persecution of the Quraish.
The young man in turn was impressed with the Prophet and his companion and soon became quite attached to them.
It was not long before Abdullah Ibn Masood رضى الله تعالى عنه became a Muslim and offered to be in the service of the Prophet . The Prophet agreed and from that day, the fortunate Abdullah Ibn Masood رضى الله تعالى عنه gave up tending sheep in exchange for looking after the needs of the blessed Prophet . He was the sixth man to accept Islam. Abdullah Ibn Masood رضى الله تعالى عنه remained closely attached to the Prophet . He would attend to his needs both inside and outside the house. He would accompany him on journeys and expeditions. He would wake him when he slept. He would shield him when he washed. He would carry his staff and his Siwak (toothbrush) and attend to his other personal needs. It was for these reasons that the Sahabah took to calling him Saheb-e-Siwak (bearer of the siwak), Saheb-e-Nalaen (bearer of the slippers), Saheb-e-Mutahara (bearer of the water) and also Saheb-e-Wisadah (bearer of the bedroll).
Abdullah Ibn Masood رضى الله تعالى عنه received a unique training in the household of the Prophet . He was under the guidance of the Prophet , he adopted his manner and followed his every trait until it was said of him, ‘He was the closest to the Prophet in character.’ Abdullah was often mistaken as one of the Blessed Household. Abu Musa Ashari رضى الله تعالى عنه says, ‘When we came from Yemen, we thought for some time that Abdullah رضى الله تعالى عنه was a member of the Blessed Household, because Abdullah رضى الله تعالى عنه and his mother were constantly coming and going in the Prophet presence. Furthermore, the Prophet once said to Abdullah, “O Abdullah, you do not need permission to enter my house. You are always welcome.”
Abdullah Ibn Masood رضى الله تعالى عنه was the best at reciting the Qur’aan among the companions and he understood it better than them all. He was therefore the most knowledgeable on the Shari’ah. Nothing can illustrate this better than the story of the man who came to Umar Ibn al-Khattab رضى الله تعالى عنه as he was standing on the plain of Arafat and said: ‘I have come, O Amir al-Mumineen, from Kufa where I left a man filling copies of the Qur’aan from memory.’ Umar رضى الله تعالى عنه became very angry and paced up and down beside his camel, fuming. ‘Who is he?’ he asked. ‘Abdullah Ibn Masood,’ replied the man. Umar’s anger subsided and he regained his composure. ‘Woe to you,’ he said to the man. ‘By Allah, I don’t know of any person left who is more qualified in this matter than he is. Let me tell you about this.’ Umar رضى الله تعالى عنه continued: ‘One night the Messenger of Allah was having a conversation with Abu Bakr رضى الله تعالى عنه about the situation of Muslims. I was with them. When the Prophet left, we left with him also and as we passed through the mosque, there was a man standing in Prayer whom we did not recognise. The Prophet stood and listened to him, then turned to us and said, “Whoever wants to read the Qur’aan as fresh as when it was revealed, then let him read according to the recitation of Ibn Umm Abd.”
After the Prayer, as Abdullah Ibn Masood رضى الله تعالى عنه sat making supplications, the Prophet said, “Ask and it will be given to you. Ask and it will be given to you.” I said to myself, I should go to Abdullah Ibn Masood رضى الله تعالى عنه straight away and tell him the good news of the Prophet’s ensuring acceptance of his supplications. I went and did so but found that Abu Bakr رضى الله تعالى عنه had gone before me and conveyed the good news to him. By Allah, I have never yet beaten Abu Bakr رضى الله تعالى عنه in the doing of any good.’ In another Hadith, the Prophet said, ‘Learn the Qur’aan from four people, Abdullah Ibn Masood رضى الله تعالى عنه , Salim Maula Abi Huzaifah رضى الله تعالى عنه , Ubayy Ibn Kaab رضى الله تعالى عنه and Muaz Ibn Jabal رضى الله تعالى عنه .’ The Prophet has also said, ‘Read the Qur’aan in the same manner as Abdullah Ibn Masood teaches.’
Note: The most popular and widely read Qiraat is that of Imaam Hafs. He relates from Imaam Aasim Kufi and he in turn relates from Abu Abdur Rahman Abdullah Ibn Habib As-Sulmiyi, who relates from Uthman Ibn Affan, Ali Ibn Talib, Abdullah Ibn Masood, Ubayy Ibn Kaab and Zaid Ibn Thaabit. They all, in turn, relate directly from the Prophet .
Abdullah Ibn Masood رضى الله تعالى عنه attained such a knowledge of the Qur’aan that he would say, ‘By Him besides Whom there is no Allah, no verse of the book of Allah has been revealed without my knowing where it was revealed and the circumstances of its revelation. By Allah, if I know there was anyone who knew more of the Book of Allah, I will do whatever is in my power to be with him.’
Abdullah Ibn Masood رضى الله تعالى عنه was not exaggerating in what he said about himself. Once Umar Ibn al-Khattab رضى الله تعالى عنه met a caravan on one of his journeys as caliph. It was pitch dark and the caravan could not be seen properly. Umar رضى الله تعالى عنه ordered someone to hail the caravan. It happened that Abdullah Ibn Masood رضى الله تعالى عنه was in it.
‘From where do you come?’ asked Umar رضى الله تعالى عنه . ‘From a deep valley,’ came the reply, using the Qur’aanic expression – fajj amiq.‘And where are you going?’ asked Umar.‘ To the ancient house,’ came the reply, using the Qur’aanic expression – al-bayt al-atiq. ‘There is a learned person (alim) among them,’ said Umar and he commanded someone to ask the person, ‘Which part of the Qur’aan is the greatest?’ ‘Allah. There is no Deity except Him, the Living, the Self-subsisting. Neither slumber overtakes Him nor sleep,’ replied the person answering, quoting the Ayat al-Kursi (the verse of the Throne). ‘Which part of the Qur’aan is the most clear on justice?’ ‘Allah commands what it just and fair, the feeding of relatives,’ ‘What it the most comprehensive statement of the Qur’aan?’ ‘Whoever does an atoms weight of good shall see it, and whoever does an atom’s weight of evil shall see it.’ ‘Which part of the Qur’aan gives risk to the greatest hope?’
‘Say, O my servants who have wasted their resources, do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. He is the Forgiving, the Compassionate.’ Thereupon Umar asked, ‘Is Abdullah Ibn Masood among you? ‘Yes, by Allah,’ the men in the caravan replied.
The Prophet had always desired to make Ibn Masood رضى الله تعالى عنه a leader of men, as it is clear from the following words of the Prophet , ‘If I was to make anyone a leader over someone without consulting anyone, I would make Ibn Masood a leader.’
Abdullah Ibn Masood رضى الله تعالى عنه would refrain from narrating Hadith in fear of mistakes. However when he did narrate a Hadith, he was very particular and precocious in what he attributed to the Prophet . He would turn pale and quake in fear whenever he accidentally attributed something to the Prophet , even though the Prophet has said, ‘Whatever Ibn Masood narrates to you, believe him.’ Whenever he gave a verdict, he would attribute it to himself, saying that it was his own opinion and that it was from Allah if it was correct and that it was from himself and Satan, if it was incorrect. For this reason, many Fatwahs have been attributed to Abdullah instead of the Prophet .
Imaam Nisai writes in his Sunan: ‘A man married a woman, then he passed away before he could consummate his wedding or set a dowry for his wife. When the issue was placed before the Sahabah, they advised them to go to Abdullah. When they came to Abdullah, he tried to avoid them and told them to ask someone else. Finally he relented and said, “The woman will receive Mehr-e-Mithl. If the verdict is correct, it is of Allah. If it is incorrect, then it is of Satan and I. Neither Allah and the Prophet are responsible for it.” A Sahabi by the name of Maakal Ibn Al-Ashjai was also present and he said, “I swear by Allah, you have given the same verdict that the Prophet gave in the favour of Broan Bint Washile Al-Ashjai. Your verdict is in accordance with the Prophet.” On hearing this, Abdullah rejoiced as he had never rejoiced before. The majority of Fatwahs of Iraq and the Hanafi Fiqh are based upon the Fatwahs of Abdullah Ibn Masood His authority in Fiqh was such that the other Sahabahwould refuse to give a Fatwah during while he was still alive. They would always refer any seeker to him. Students who wanted to enter his service and gain knowledge from him were always constantly petitioning him.
Khatima Ibn Abu Subrah once went to Madinah and prayed for a pious companion. Hurraira was Allah’s reply. Abu Hurraira asked Khatima where he had come from. He replied that he had travelled for two days from Kufa. Abu Hurraira said to him, ‘Is not Saad Ibn Malik, who is Mustajab-ul-Dawat amongst you? Is not Ibn Masood, who was the bearer of the Prophet slippers and ablution water amongst you? Is not Huzaifah, who was privy to the Prophet thoughts amongst you? Is not Amar amongst you, who Allah granted refuge from Shaytaan through the Prophets tongue amongst you? Is not he who knows the two Divine Books (the Qur’aan and the New Testament), Salman Farsi amongst you?’ Coincidentally, all the Sahabah . who Hazrat Abu Hurraira mentioned were in Kufa at that time.
Hazrat Saad narrates, ‘Once there were six of us in the service of the Prophet . Besides me were Abdullah Ibn Masood and Bilal Habshee. Some pagans of Makkah came before the Prophet and began to say, “Remove these people first, then we shall talk.” The Prophet was still considering whether sending us out would win over their hearts and make them more receptive to Islam, when the following verse was revealed: ‘Send not away those who call on their Lord, morning and evening, seeking His Face.’ (Q6:52)
Saad proudly states, ‘This verse was revealed for us.’ Who can match the status of those who are praised by Allah? The whole point of the worship of Allah is the pleasure of Allah. These six attained the glad tidings of Allah in their lifetime that Allah was pleased with them.
As anyone who has taken an in depth, study on the knowledge of the Sahabah will tell you, the knowledge of the Sahabah climaxed in two people, Ali and Abdullah.
On one hand, we have Allah, the Prophet and his Sahabah who sing the praises of Abdullah Ibn Masood’s excellence in knowledge and character. On the other hand, we have a sect of narrow-minded and totally unqualified people who, ironically, call themselves Ahl-e-Hadith (the people of the Hadith), better known as the Ghair-Muqalids (the leaderless), saying that Abdullah Ibn Masood was uninformed regarding the Prophet Salaah. Wasn’t Abdullah Ibn Masood the one who the Sahabah would mistake as one of the Blessed Household? Wasn’t he the constant companion of the Prophet for thirty years? But then, according to the Ghair-Muqalids, Ali and Saad were also uninformed of the Prophet Salaah, and that all three of these great Sahabah were in reality, non-entities.
Abdullah Ibn Masood was the first man to recite aloud the words of the Qur’aan before a gathering of the Quraish. The companions of the Prophet were together one day in Makkah. They were still few in number, weak and oppressed. They said, ‘The Quraish have not yet heard the Qur’aan being recited openly and loudly. Who is the man who could recite it for them?’ ‘I shall recite it for them,’ volunteered Abdullah Ibn Masood. ‘We are afraid for you,’ they said. ‘We only want someone who has a clan who would protect him from their evil.’ ‘Let me,’ Abdullah Ibn Masood insisted, ‘Allah shall protect me and keep me away from their evil.’ He then went out to the mosque until he reached Maqam Ibrahim (a landmark situated a few meters from the Kabah). It was dawn and the Quraish were sitting around the Kabah. Abdullah began to recite Surah Rahman. The Quraish looked at him intently and some of them asked, ‘What is Ibn Umm Abd saying? Damn him! He is reciting some of what Muhammad brought!’
They began to slap his face but he continued reciting. When he concluded his recital, his face was covered with welts and blood. ‘By Allah,’ said Abdullah, ‘the enemies of Allah are more uncomfortable than I am at this moment. If you wish, I shall return tomorrow and do the same.’ ‘You have done enough,’ they said. ‘You have made them hear what they dislike.’
Abdullah Ibn Masood did Hijrat three times, twice to Ethiopia and once to Madinah. He participated in every Gazwah. It was he who beheaded Abu Jahl in Badr. It was to him that the Prophet presented Abu Jahl’s sword as a share in the booty. The Caliph Umar sent Abdullah Ibn Masood to Kufa to educate the people and to take charge of the Bait-ul-Maal. When Umar fixed salaries for the Sahabah, he offered Abdullah a salary too. Abdullah refused and said, ‘Why do you try to turn me to the world.’
Abdullah Ibn Masood lived to the time of Caliph Uthman. It was during this era that he retired from his post and returned to Madinah. When he was sick and on his death-bed, Uthman came to visit him and said, ‘What is your ailment?’ ‘My sins.’ ‘And what do you desire?’ ‘The mercy of my Lord.’ ‘Shall I not give you your stipend which you have refused to take for years now?’ ‘I have no need of it.’ ‘Let it be for your daughters after you.’ ‘Do you fear poverty for my children? I have commanded them to read Surah al-Waqiah every night for I have heard the Prophet saying, “Whoever reads Al-Waqiah every night shall not be afflicted by poverty ever.”
That night, in either 33 or 34 A.H, Abdullah Ibn Masood رضى الله تعالى عنه passed away to the company of his Lord, his tongue moist with the remembrance of Allah and with the recitation of the verses of His Book.