After reciting Tashahhud, Ta‘awwuz and Surah al-Fatihah, His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba) said that he would continue mentioning the hardships which presented themselves after Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) became the Caliph.
Dealing With the Grief From the Demise of the Holy Prophet (sa)
His Holiness (aba) said that the first difficulty was the grief resulting from the demise of the Holy Prophet (sa). Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) was perhaps his closest companion and knew him from his childhood. He was extremely loyal and faithful and loved the Holy Prophet (sa) a great deal, thus he truly experienced this grief as well. Yet despite this grief, he stood strong, and even when many were unwilling to accept that the Holy Prophet (sa) had passed away, he gave them solace and helped them realise the reality.
His Holiness (aba) said that Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) quoted the Qur’anic verse:
‘And Muhammad is only a Messenger. Verily, all Messengers have passed away before him. If then he die or be slain, will you turn back on your heels? And he who turns back on his heels shall not harm Allah at all. And Allah will certainly reward the grateful.’ (The Holy Qur’an, 3:145)
In this way, Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) not only helped give solace to the Muslims, but he also reaffirmed the unity of God.
Addressing the Matter of Caliphate
His Holiness (aba) said that the second difficulty was uniting the Muslims with regards to the Caliphate. Initially, it seemed that the Ansar [natives of Madinah] were unwilling to accept a Caliph from the Muhajireen [migrants to Madinah], nor were the Muhajireen willing to accept a Caliph from the Ansar. However it was through the eloquence of Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) that the Muslims became united upon the matter of Caliphate.
Decision Regarding the Army Sent With Hazrat Usama (ra)
His Holiness (aba) said that the third difficulty was regarding the departure of Hazrat Usama’s (ra) army. The Holy Prophet (sa) had sent this army to Syria in preparation to battle the Romans, for fear that they may attack the Arabs. Thus, Hazrat Usama (ra) was sent along with his army two days before the demise of the Holy Prophet (sa). The Holy Prophet (sa) instructed that if they gained victory, then they should only remain there a short while, and that he should send informants ahead of the envoy. The Holy Prophet (sa) also granted Hazrat Usama (ra) a flag. The army assembled outside of Madinah, and all Companions including the elders were called to join. Some complained that a younger person was being appointed as the leader of elders. When the Holy Prophet (sa) learned of this, he addressed the Muslims saying that people had also questioned the appointment of Usama’s (ra) father as a leader, yet both were capable of leadership, and were among the most beloved people to the Holy Prophet (sa). Despite his weak health, the Holy Prophet (sa) insisted that the army should proceed. As the army prepared, Hazrat Usama (ra) would visit the Holy Prophet (sa) but due to weakness he would not be able to speak, and would place his hands on Hazrat Usama’s (ra) head so as to signal that he was praying for him.
His Holiness (aba) said that when the Holy Prophet (sa) passed away, this army returned from just outside of Madinah where they had been preparing. Then, After Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) was elected as the Caliph, he said that the mission of this army should continue as planned. However, after the demise of the Holy Prophet (sa), people were becoming apostates and the Jews and Christians perceived the Muslims to be weak and fewer in numbers. People said to Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) that this was due to the fact that they thought the army of Hazrat Usama (ra) was all that was left of the Muslims, who numbered around 3,000. Thus, it would be better not to send this army forward. However, Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) remained resolute in his decision. He said that his first act as Caliph could not be to call back the army which had been commissioned and sent by the Holy Prophet (sa) himself. He said that even if he faced grave danger, he would stand by this decision. Thus, he upheld the decision made by the Holy Prophet (sa) and said that all those who had been instructed by the Holy Prophet (sa) to be part of this army should return to the army.
His Holiness (aba) said that when the army reassembled outside of Madinah, Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) went and inspected the army. He requested Hazrat Usama (ra) to leave Hazrat Umar (ra) with him in order to assist him in various matters. Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) then advised the army of ten things; not to be dishonest, not to steal from the spoils, not to break their oaths, not to mutilate bodies, not to kill children, the elderly or women, not to cut or burn date or fruit trees, not to sacrifice animals except to eat them, and if they came across any priests or monks then they should leave them be. If they were offered food by others, they should take the name of God and eat it. Then he said that they would come across people who had shaved their heads from the middle and had hair on the sides of their heads – these were not priests but Christian leaders. Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) said that they should be taken to task. Then Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) advised Hazrat Usama (ra) to do exactly as he had been instructed by the Holy Prophet (sa).
His Holiness (aba) said that the army went forth and were eventually victorious. Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) was extremely pleased upon their return to Madinah, which is said to have taken place after 40-70 days. It is recorded that the flag bestowed by the Holy Prophet (sa) remained in the home of Hazrat Usama (ra) until he passed away.
His Holiness (aba) said that upon seeing the amazing impacts of the victory achieved by this army, even those who had initially opposed the idea of this army being sent realised the great wisdom and foresight in the decisions made by a Caliph.
The Issue of Those Refusing to Pay the Zakat
His Holiness (aba) said that the fourth challenge faced by Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) was that of those who were opposed to Zakat. It is recorded that people from various tribes were reverting from Islam after the demise of the Holy Prophet (sa). When the Muslims of Quraish saw this, they began wavering in their faith. Hazrat Suhail bin Amr (ra) advised them that they had been the last to accept Islam and should not be the first to become apostates, assuring them that in the end, Islam would always remain victorius. This reaffirmed the faith of the Quraish and remained resolute.
His Holiness (aba) said that people were becoming apostates for different reasons and in various ways. Some completely abandoned the faith, some accepted false prophets, some rejected matters such as prayers and Zakat while others rejected either prayers or Zakat citing these things to have been limited to the time of the Holy Prophet (sa).
His Holiness (aba) said that with regards to those who opposed Zakat, Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) conferred with some of the elder companions regarding whether action should be taken against them. Some advised to include them among the apostates, some advised to take strict action against them, while others advised to try and make them understand so that they begin giving Zakat again. Hazrat Umar (ra) said that the Holy Prophet (sa) had been instructed to fight until people declared that there is no God but Allah, after which their lives and wealth would be safe, except that which is due. Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) said that he would fight against those who withheld Zakat as that is rightful wealth which is due. Upon this explanation, Hazrat Umar (ra) accepted and agreed with Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra).
His Holiness (aba) said that he would continue this topic in future sermons.
A Lesson for Muslim Nations in Light of the Current Situation of the World
His Holiness (aba) once again drew attention to prayers for the current state of affairs in the world. His Holiness (aba) prayed that may governments see reason and avoid bloodshed. His Holiness (aba) said that Muslims should learn from the current state of the world and how, in light of recent events, the world has become united, yet Muslims are still unable to unite despite declaring the same creed. Countries such as Iraq, Syria and Yemen are facing destruction at the hands of others, yet the Muslims are unable to unite. His Holiness (aba) prayed that the Muslim world may be able to unite, which can only happen when they accept the Imam of the Age. His Holiness (aba) prayed that Muslims should reform themselves and pray for the rest of the world so that it may be saved from warfare.
His Holiness (aba) said that he will lead the funeral prayer in absentia of the following deceased members:
Syedah Qasirah Zafar Hashmi wife of Zafar Iqbal Hashmi of Lahore. She resided in various places after marriage. She served the Community in Lahore. She possessed many virtuous qualities and was at the forefront of presenting financial sacrifices. She is survived by her husband, five sons and a daughter. One of her sons is currently a prisoner in the way of Allah in Pakistan. His Holiness (aba) said that the state of affairs is such that an Ahmadi who is imprisoned is not even allowed to offer funeral prayers, whereas people charged with heinous crimes are granted permission. His Holiness (aba) said that one of her grandsons Asim Iqbal Hasmi is serving as a missionary in the UK. His Holiness (aba) prayed that may her progeny carry on her virtues, and may Allah grant her forgiveness and mercy.
Summary prepared by The Review of Religions