After reciting Tashahhud, Ta‘awwuz and Surah al-Fatihah, His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba) said that in the previous Friday Sermon, he had been mentioning the great expression of love for the Holy Prophet (sa) shown by Sawad bin Ghaziyyah (ra).
Expression of Love of the Companions for the Holy Prophet (sa)
His Holiness (aba) quoted Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad (ra) who writes regarding this incident:
‘It was Friday the 17th of Ramadan 2 A.H. or the 14th of March 623 A.D., according to the Christian calendar system. In the morning, Salat was first offered and then these worshippers of divine unity fell into prostration before the One God, in an open field. After this, the Holy Prophet (sa) delivered an address on Jihad. When light began to appear, the Holy Prophet (sa) began to arrange the Muslim ranks with the indication of an arrow. A companion by the name of Sawad (ra) was standing somewhat ahead of his row. The Holy Prophet (sa) used his arrow to indicate that he should move back in line. It so happened, however, that the wooden part of the arrow belonging to the Holy Prophet (sa) touched his chest, whereupon he boldly protested, “O Messenger of Allah! God has sent you with the truth and justice, but you have unjustly poked me with your arrow. By God, I insist upon retribution.” The companions were shocked, as to what had gotten into Sawad (ra). However, the Holy Prophet (sa) stated with extreme affection, “Alright Sawad, you may poke me with an arrow as well,” and the Holy Prophet (sa) lifted the cloth upon his chest. In his immense love, Sawad (ra) stepped forward and kissed the chest of the Holy Prophet (sa). The Holy Prophet (sa) smiled and inquired, “Why did you devise this plan?” He responded with a trembling voice, “O Messenger of Allah! The enemy is before us. There is no telling whether I shall live to return or not. It was my desire, therefore, to touch your blessed body before my martyrdom.”’ (The Life & Character of the Seal of Prophets (sa), Vol. 2, pp. 143-144)
His Holiness (aba) said that the Second Caliph (ra) narrated a similar incident but not from the time of the Battle of Badr but closer to the time of his demise. He states that the Holy Prophet (sa) asked his companions that if he had ever caused them any sort of pain, they should express it and seek its recompense in this very world. One can only imagine, due to the amount of love which the companions had for the Holy Prophet (sa), how difficult this must have been for them to hear. And certainly it was, as upon hearing this, tears began flowing from the eyes of the Companions. However, one companion did stand and say that during a battle, as the Holy Prophet (sa) was arranging the army ranks, the Holy Prophet’s (sa) elbow struck his back as he was walking by. The companions were furious at the fact that this person had expressed this. However, the Holy Prophet (sa) turned around and said that he could take recompense and strike him with his elbow. The man said that when the Holy Prophet’s (sa) elbow had struck him, his back was bare. Hence, the Holy Prophet (sa) asked his companions to hold up his shirt from his back. Upon this, the man kissed the Holy Prophet’s (sa) back. He said that how can such an insignificant servant take revenge from the esteemed personage of the Holy Prophet (sa)? He said that upon learning that the Holy Prophet (sa) said his time for departing from this world was near, he wished to kiss the Holy Prophet (sa) and used this merely as an excuse. Otherwise what harm could an elbow cause when he had sacrificed his entire being for the sake of the Holy Prophet (sa). The companions who had initially been furious at this man became furious at themselves for not having thought of such an idea.
The Holy Prophet’s (sa) Instructions in Battle
His Holiness (aba) said that during the Battle of Badr, the companions had various titles. The Muhajirin would be called ‘O Banu Abd al-Rahman’, the Khazraj tribe would be called ‘O Banu Abdullah’, while the Aus tribe would be called ‘O Banu Ubaidillah’. Furthermore, the Holy Prophet (sa) gave his horse riders the title of Khailullah [horse riders of Allah]. According to another narration, the Ansar would recognise each other by saying Ahad especially at night or during the course of fierce battle.
His Holiness (aba) said that the Holy Prophet (sa) gave various instructions for battle. After arranging the ranks, the Holy Prophet (sa) instructed that the Muslims should not attack until he instructed so and that if the enemy advanced, they should cause them to move back by shooting arrows at them. He also said that their swords should not be swung until the enemy was in very close proximity. The Holy Prophet (sa) said that patience during hardships leads Allah to remove one’s worries and saves them from sadness.
His Holiness (aba) said that during the battle, the Holy Prophet (sa) forbade the Muslims from killing certain people. He instructed the companions that the Banu Hashim and some others had been forced to come to the battle against their will, and so, if the Muslims came across them, they should not kill them. Among these people was Abbas bin Abi Muttalib. Upon this, one companion expressed that if they were to kill their own family members in battle, then he could not leave Abbas. He said that if he came across them, he would surely strike him with his sword. Upon learning of this statement, the Holy Prophet (sa) asked Hazrat Umar (ra) whether his uncle would be killed. Hazrat Umar (ra) asked for permission to strike that companion with his sword for such hypocrisy. Hazrat Hudhaifah (ra), the companion who said this, later expressed regret for having said so.
His Holiness (aba) quoted Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad (ra) who writes:
‘The Holy Prophet (sa) addressed the companions and said:
“There are some people among the army of the Quraish who have not come to participate in this campaign with pleasure; rather, they have only come along under the pressure of the chieftains of the Quraish. Similarly, there are also such people in this army, who in our time of hardship, dealt with us generously when we were in Makkah. It is our obligation to repay their benevolence. As such, if a Muslim subdues any such individual, he should not cause him any harm.”
Among the first category of people, the Holy Prophet (sa) specifically mentioned the name of ‘Abbas bin ‘Abdil-Muttalib and in the second category of people, he mentioned the name of Abul-Bakhtari, and forbade their killing. However, the course of events took such an unavoidable turn that Abul-Bakhtari could not be spared from death. Nonetheless, prior to his death, he found out that the Holy Prophet (sa) had forbidden his killing.’ (The Life & Character of the Seal of Prophets (sa), Vol. 2, pp. 149-150)
The Holy Prophet’s (sa) Prayers in Battle
His Holiness (aba) said that the Holy Prophet (sa) prayed, ‘O my God! Fulfil Your promises. O my Master! If today, this party of Muslims is destroyed, then after today there shall remain none who would worship You.’
His Holiness (aba) said that the Holy Prophet (sa) stepped out of his tent as he recited, ‘The hosts shall soon be routed and will turn their backs in flight. Aye, the Hour is their appointed time; and the Hour will be most calamitous and most bitter’ (The Holy Qur’an 54:46-47). The Holy Prophet (sa) saw that the Makkans numbered 1,000 while the Muslims numbered 313. The Holy Prophet (sa) faced the direction of the Ka’bah and prayed to Allah, ‘O Allah, fulfil Your promise to me. O Allah, grant me what you have promised. O Allah, if You destroy this party of Muslims, then You will not be worshipped on this earth.’ The Holy Prophet (sa) was praying with such fervour with his hands raised that his cloak fell from his shoulders. Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) picked it up, hugged the Holy Prophet (sa) and said that Allah would certainly have heard his entreaties. Upon this, the following Qur’anic verse was revealed:
‘When you implored the assistance of your Lord, and He answered you, saying, “I will assist you with a thousand of the angels following one another.’ (The Holy Qur’an 8:10)
His Holiness (aba) quoted Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad (ra) who writes:
‘After this, the Holy Prophet (sa) retired to his tent, and became engaged in supplications once again. Ḥaḍrat Abū Bakr (ra) also accompanied him, and a party of the Ansar under the command of Sa‘d bin Mu‘adh (ra) were stationed around the tent to stand guard. After a short time, there was an uproar in the field of battle, which indicated that the Quraish had launched a full attack. At that time, the Holy Prophet (sa) was weeping profusely and supplicating before God with his hands extended. He would say with extreme anguish: “O my God! Fulfil Your promises. O my Master! If today, this party of Muslims is destroyed in the field of battle, there shall remain none who would worship You on the face of this earth.”
At this time, the Holy Prophet (sa) was in a state of such agony, that sometimes he would fall into prostration, and at times he would stand up to call upon God. The mantle of the Holy Prophet (sa) would repeatedly fall from his back, and Hadrat Abu Bakr (ra) would pick it up and place it on the Holy Prophet (sa) again and again. Hadrat ‘Ali (ra) relates that during the course of battle, whenever the Holy Prophet (sa) would come to mind, he would run towards his tent, but whenever he went there, he found the Holy Prophet (sa) weeping in prostration. He also heard that the Holy Prophet (sa) would constantly repeat the “O my Ever-Living God! O my Life-Giving Master!”
Hadrat Abu Bakr (ra) was greatly disturbed by this state of the Holy Prophet (sa), and at times would spontaneously say, “O Messenger of Allah! May my mother and father be an offering. Do not worry, Allah shall definitely fulfil His promises.” However, the Holy Prophet (sa) remained constantly engaged in his supplications, weeping and wailing, according to the following proverb:
‘The wiser a saint, the greater his fear.’’ (The Life & Character of the Seal of Prophet (sa), Vol. 2, pp. 150-151)
Valiant Display of the Muslims Strikes Fear in the Hearts of the Quraish
His Holiness (aba) said that the above incidents were all before the actual battle; hence it was not that the Holy Prophet (sa) did not partake in the battle. In fact, the Holy Prophet (sa) was leading the army and even instructed that no one should advance unless he was in front of them. Hazrat Ali (ra) states that the Holy Prophet (sa) fought more valiantly on that day than all others.
His Holiness (aba) quoted Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad (ra) who said:
‘Now the armies had lined up before one another. However, at this time, a strange spectacle of Divine power manifested itself. The standing arrangement of both armies was such that the Muslim army appeared to be more than, rather, double its actual number in the eyes of the Quraish. Due to this, the disbelievers were struck with awe. On the other hand, the army of the Quraish appeared lesser than their actual number in the eyes of the Muslims. Due to this, the Muslims were fortified with great confidence. The Quraish attempted to discern the correct figure of the Muslim army, so that they could console such hearts which had begun to sink. For this purpose, the chieftains of the Quraish dispatched ‘Umair bin Wahb to ride his horse around the Muslim army, so as to gather its actual number, and whether it was supported by any hidden reinforcements. Hence, ‘Umair mounted his horse and circled the Muslims, but he witnessed such awe, determination and fearlessness in the face of death on the countenances of these Muslims, that he returned immensely awe-stricken and addressed the Quraish saying:
“I have not been able to spot any hidden reinforcements, but O company of the Quraish! I have witnessed that in the Muslim army, it is not men who ride upon the saddles of these she-camels, rather, death is seated upon them. Destruction is mounted upon the backs of the she-camels of Yathrib.”
When the Quraish heard this news, a wave of anxiety rippled through their ranks. Suraqah, who had come as their guarantor, was so awe-stricken, that he fled upon his heels. When people attempted to restrain him, he said: “I see that which you do not.”
When Hakim bin Hizam heard the opinion of ‘Umair, he frantically came to ‘Utbah bin Rabi‘ah and said:
“O ‘Utbah, after all, it is the retribution of ‘Amr Ḥaḍramī that you seek from Muhammad (sa), because he was your confederate. Would it not do if you were to pay the blood money to his heirs, and turn back along with the Quraish? You shall be forever known by a good name.” ‘Utbah, who was frightened himself could not ask for anything better, and he immediately said:
“Of course! I agree; And after all Hakim! These Muslims and we are relatives. Does it seem right for a brother to raise his sword against his brother, and father against his son? Go to Abul-Hakam (i.e., Abu Jahl) and present this idea to him.” Then, ‘Utbah mounted his camel and began to convince people of his own accord that:
“It is not correct to fight against relatives. We should turn back and leave Muhammad (sa) to his devices and let him settle his matter with the tribes of Arabia himself. We shall see what happens, and after all it is not such an easy task to fight these Muslims, because even if you call me a coward, although I am not, I see a people who are eager to purchase death.”
When the Holy Prophet (sa) noticed ‘Utbah from afar, he said, “If there is anyone from among the army of the Quraish who possesses some nobility, then it is certainly in the rider of that red camel. If these people listen to his advice, it would do them good.” However, when Hakim bin Hizam approached Abu Jahl, and presented this proposal to him, could it be expected that this Pharaoh of the people would be talked into such a thing? He instantly retorted, “Well, well, now ‘Utbah has begun to see his relatives before him!” Then he called upon ‘Amir Hadrami, the brother of ‘Amr Hadrami, and said, “Have you heard what your ally, ‘Utbah says? Especially, when the retribution of your brother is in our grips!” The eyes of ‘Amir began to gorge with blood in rage and according to the Arab custom, he tore off his clothes becoming naked and began to shout:
“Woe to ‘Amr! My brother is not being avenged! Woe to ‘Amr! My brother is not being avenged!”
This desert cry, enflamed a fire of enmity in the hearts of the Quraish and the furnace of war began to burn in full force.’ (The Life & Character of the Seal of Prophets (sa), Vol. 2, pp. 146-148)
His Holiness (aba) said that he would continue narrating these incidents in future sermons.
Summary prepared by The Review of Religions