Blessings of Khilafat

BLESSINGS OF KHILAFAT (Waleed Ahmad) Ever since the beginning of the mental maturity of human race, Allah has provided guidance for mankind through his prophets. The advent of these prophets constitute a great manifestation of Divine mercy and a source of numerous1 blessings. When they pass away, Allah provides another manifestation of His mercy by blessing the world with the grand institution of Khilafat. The office of Khilafat is unique for it is a Divinely established institution and because a Khalifa is elected by God. This means that a Khalifa is .not only the perfect leader of his time both intellectually and spiritually but also commands the highest moral position of his age. It is for these reasons that a Khalifa and the office of Khilafat become sources pf so many blessings for the community. This phenomenon has been amply displayed by the Khilafat that followed the Holy Prophet Muhammad, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. When the Holy Prophet passed away, Islam was in a critical position. Firstly, many false prophets in the form of Mussailama, Tulaiha, Aswad Anasi, Sajjah and others were creating chaos among the Muslims outside Medina. Secondly, many so-called Muslims around Arabia refused to pay the Zakat and were poised to attack Medina in defence of this point. Finally, the Romans were causing all kinds of problems and were threatening to make war on Islam on the Syrian frontier. The Holy Prophet, before his death, had already arranged for an army to be sent to this frontier in order to curb the aggression of the Romans. But when the Prophet’s illness changed for the worse, the commander of the force, Usamah by name, had to postpone the departure of his army. When Hazrat Abu Bakr was elected Khalifa, he directed that the Holy Prophet’s last command must be carried out and ordered Usamah to proceed. Some people became alarmed at this. The whole of Arabia was in a state of unrest and disorder. To deprive Medina of the army protection, they argued, might tempt the enemy to fall upon the capital itself and put an end to Khilafat. Hazrat Abu Bakr was adamant however. ‘Who am I to withhold the army that the Prophet of God himself ordered to proceed’, he replied. ‘Come what may,’ he added, Medina may stand or fall, Khilafat may live or die but the Prophet’s last directive must be fulifilled.’ In this way Hazrat Abu Bakr resolved to send BLESSINGS OF KBQDLAFAT 7 the army to its destination and bade it march with the following words: ‘I advise you to bear in mind these commands and never break them. You shalj not be dishonest nor shall you steal. Never break your word. Mutiliate not the enemy dead. Spare the aged, the children and the women. Neither cut down nor burn the palm-trees nor any plant bearing fruit. Slaughter not the camels and cattle except as much as you require for food. You will come across people who have retired to worship in their churches. Leave them alone. You will come across people who will bring you presents of different kinds of food. Eat thereof in the name of Allah. March now in the name of God. May He guard you against the spears of the enemy and against the plague. With the departure of this army Medina was left apparently defenceless. The city was exposed to grave danger. Some tribes, before attacking the city, sent their agents to beg the Khalifa to abolish the Zakat. Leading Companions advised Abu Bakr to agree to the terms. They thought it would do no good ,to be so strict towards the tribes. Medina was not in. a position to come’into open warfare with the.rebels. But Abu Bakr thought differently. He said: By Allah, if they refused to give me a piece of string that they gave the Prophet, I will fight with them for that piece of string. This bold stand of Hazrat Abu Bakr brought his extraordinary force of conviction into the open. Their leader’s example could not but inspire Muslims with daring and the handful of them left behind undertook the defence of the capital. All manpower available in Medina and its suburbs was mobilised and preparations were made to meet the approaching armies of the rebels. Abu Bakr rode at the head of the army and defeated them at one point. After night-long preparations, he again attacked the enemy before dawn. Taken by surprise, the rebels were routed. It seems that Abu Bakr’s firm stand against the rebels bad taught them a lesson and many of them started to pay the Zakat again. Soon afterwards, Usamah returned from his Syrian expedition and the Khalifa was in a position to deal with the rest of the rebels. By the end of his Khilafat, all the forces of disorder and revolt in Arabia had been crushed and the Muslims were unified under one Khalifa. This was no mean achievement and was due entirely to the blessings that emanated from Hazrat Abu Bakr’s leadership. After Hazrat Abu Bakr, Hazrat Umar became the second Khalifa of Islam. It is related that when Hazrat Abu Bakr was on his deathbed he called Hazrat Umar and gave him the following advice: 8 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS . 0 Umar! always fear God and work constantly for the good of Islam and Muslims. 0 Umar, some duties.of Allah relate to the day; He will not accept them at night. Some duties of Allah relate to the night; He will not accept them.during the day. 0 Umarl when you read in the Holy Quran about the people’of heU, pray to Allah not to put you among them and- when you read of the people of Paradise, pray that He-may put you among them.’ ; It seems that Hazrat Umar newer forgot this advice and his entire Khilafat was permeated with instances of his extraordinary devotion to his duties and the welfare of his people. He considered no piece of work too low for him or beneath his dignity and attended in person to the meanest affairs of the state. If the camels belonging to the state were sick, there was the Khalifa with his own hands applying treatment. If one such camel was lost, there again was the Khalifa searching for it in person. When famine broke out in Arabia, it was on his own back that the Khalifa carried sacks of corn to the starving people. At night he himself visited the houses of the famine stricken bringing them flour and helping them in the preparation of their food. . Oh one nocturnal visit, he found a woman cooking something. Her small children sat by crying. Umar enquired of her the reason. She said that she had had no food for several days and that she was boiling plain water just to console the children. Deeply grieved by this sight, the Khalifa ran back to Medina, some three miles away, and, shortly afterwards, returned with a sack of flour; on his own back. When someone offered to carry the load for him, he simply replied: ‘In this life you might carry my burden for me, but who will carry my burden on the Day of Judgement?’ It is no wonder that the Muslims enjoyed so many blessings under the Khilafat of such a humble and righteous leader. Indeed, Hazrat Umar’s Khilafat represented a golden period in the history of Islam. It was during his Khilafat that .the two mighty Roman and Persian empires, which were at one time threatening to put an end to Islam, were destroyed. Islam spread far and wide as Palestine, Syria and Egypt came under Muslim rule. Hazrat Umar introduced many schemes for the welfare of the Muslims. It was, for instance, under his instigation that education was made compulsory for boys and-girls. The.weak and disabled were granted allowances from the public treasury. Further- more, the system .of old age pensions, now prevailing in the West, was first introduced by Hazrat Umar and children without guardians were brought up at the-expense of the state. BLESSINGS OF KHUAFAT 9 Hazrat Umar always encouraged his armies to adhere to the teachings of Islam and show tolerance, justice and kindness to all peoples that came under Muslim rule. This is illustrated by the treaty that was signed at Jabia, after the conquest of Palestine. The treaty reads: This guarantee is given to the people of Palestine by the servant of Allah, Umar, Commander of the Faithful. Their lives, property, churches and crosses shall be protected. The sick, the healthy and followers of all religions are included in this guarantee. It is promised that their prayer houses will not be taken over nor pulled down. There will be no meddling with their religious affairs and none will be harmed… Allah, His Prophet, His Khalifas and all the faithful are behind this guarantee provided these peoples pay the tax. Khalid bin Waleed, Amr bin Al-as, Abdur Rahman bin Auf and Muawiyah bin Abu Sufiyan are witnesses to this deed.’ The rights embodied in this treaty are typical of those enjoyed by everyone under Muslim rule. Such kind and humane attitude of the Muslims was immensely appreciated, so much so that it is related that when the Muslims had to withdraw temporarily from the town of Hims, the Christians and the Jews of the town actually sheded tears and prayed to God to bring the Muslims back. It was this tolerant treatment by the Muslims inspired by the instructions of their Khalifa that led a Christian Bishop to write: These Arabs to whom God has accorded in our days the dominion are become our masters; but they do not fight the Christian religion; much rather they protect our faith; they respect our priests and our holy men; and make gifts to our churches and our convents. In addition to the many conquests, the Khilafat of Hazrat Umar yielded many other blessings. With the advent of his Khilafat people grew in prosperity. Hazrat Umar displayed a unique genius in organising the civil administration of the Muslim Empire. Every country was divided into provinces; measurement of land was made; census was taken; offices were established; a police force was organised; canals were dug; public treasuries were started and the Muslim calendar of Hijra, which has been a great help in the preservation of history, was introduced. These, then, were some of the blessings that the Muslims were bestowed through the Khilafat of Hazrat Umar. After the demise of this 10 – REVIEW OF RELIGIONS . great personality of Islam Hazrat Uthman was elected as the third Khalifa. He, like his two predecessors, proved to be an admirable leader and guide. No sooner had he assumed the Khilafat than a general wave of revolt and invasion swept the empire. Syria was invaded as was Egypt by both land and sea. However, by the sheer Grace of Allah, and as a result of the blessings of Khilafat these rebellions and invasions were promptly quelled. Hazrat Uthman made many contributions in the cause of public welfare. For example,he supervised the erection of many new buildings and roads, and many bridges, mosques and guest houses were constructed in different towns under his direction. The Khalifa, himself, was a simple man being content with a plain dress and simple food. Although during his reign worldly wealth found its way to the Muslims in great abundance, Hazrat Uthman’s integrity, honesty, chastity and piety wavered not so much as a hair’s breadth. Yet despite these sublime qualities, some so-called followers sought to stain his pure character with absurd allegations and accusations that were totally unfounded. Hazrat Uthman urged them to desist from their evil designs but to no avail. On one Friday, after prayers, Uthman warned the rebels in the following words: ‘0 enemies of Islam, fear God. All the citizens of Medina know that the Holy Prophet has cursed you. Repent therefore and wash your sins with good deeds. For God does not remove sin except through acts of virtue.’ Muhammad bin Muslim Ansari and Zaid bin Sabit supported Uthman and rose to speak but the rebels forced them to sit down. Then one of them snatched the staff of the Prophet from the hands of the Khalifa and broke it into two pieces. Next the rebels started to throw stones at the mosque and at the Companions. Hazrat Uthman was hurt and was carried home unconscious. The mosque in which this despicable incident took place was none other than the Prophet’s mosque. Later, the mischief-makers blockaded his house and made plans to kill the Khalifa. Then on 17th June, 656, a few of the rebels entered, the Khalifa’s house and confronted him with their swords. Hazrat TTthman was reading the Holy Quran at the time. He warned them again by saying: ‘By God, if you kill me today, the Muslims will never unite in prayers till the end of days.’ Even these words failed to make any impression on his assailants, and Ghafqi and Sudan bin Hamman from among them callously murdered the Khalifa with their swords and iron rods. BLESSINGS OF KHILAFAT 11 The wise Umar once wrote (in a letter to the Governor of Basra), ‘People have an aversion to their rulers and I trust that you and I are not overtaken by it.’ It seems that this fear of Hazrat Umar was realised only too well under the Khilafat of Hazrat Uthman as these rebels tried their utmost to disrobe Uthman of his God-given leadership and having failed in this attempt resorted to kill him in this horrific manner. The death of Uthman is undoubtedly one of the saddest chapters in the history of Islam. It seems that as those infamous weapons struck the Khalifa of Allah, the prophetic words issued from his lips just before his death were to make an indelible mark on the future events of Islam. Unity among the Muslims was shattered and harmony and accord between them was lost forever. Internal feuds became the order of the day as Muslim turned against Muslim. The Khilafat of Hazrat Ali that followed was beset by such disruption and disarray. Hazrat Ali tried to pacify the Muslims but it seems that the anti Khilafat disease that had set in was incurable. Civil wars broke out and the whole fiasco culminated in the assasination of Hazrat Ali. With this assasination, Khilafat, that brilliant beacon of guidance and unity… that glorious fountain of blessings and mercies, was lost. Muslims had discarded the robe of Khilafat and with it all its countless blessings. It was only 1300 years later that as a result of Divine mercy, Allah sent the Promised Messiah to reinstate the office of Khilafat and bestow upon the world its numerous blessings. We, as Ahmadi Muslims, are therefore extremely fortunate to have the precious gift of Khilafat made more precious by the fact that this Khilafat will last till the end of time. It is clear that all progress for Islam is vested in this Khilafat. Thus if we wish to share in the future triumphs of Islam and anticipate to receive similar blessings to those attained by the early Muslims, then it is incumbent on us to hold fast to this institution of Khilafat. This can only be achieved if we accord to the Khalifa the high degree of respect and obedience he deserves, and learn the vital lessons from the mistakes that led to the termination of the early Khilafat. Let us make no mistake about it that a Khalifa is in no way dependent on us either individually or as a community to fulfil the work of Allah. On the contrary, we are totally dependent on him for this opportunity. In other words, if we were to discard the Khalifa, God forbid, then as indicated by the first Khalifa of Ahmadiyyat, Allah will simply bestow on him another Jama’at to carry on his work. It is therefore incumbent on us to realise the importance of 12 REVIEW OF RELIGIONS Khilafat and inculcate- this importance in our children. Only then will we be able to play a role in the future triumphs of Islam and reap the infinite blessings of Khilafat. May Allah help us do this. *#*=M=*********************** RELIGION OF TRUTH He it is Who has sent His Messenger with the guidance and the Religion of Truth., that He may cause it to prevail over all religions even if those who associate partners with God hate it. (Quran 61:10) IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENTS 1. American Readers. In order to save time our American readers are requested to contact and correspond about any relevent problem on the following address, as the Review of Religions is sent in bulk by air to: The General Manager The Review of Religions, P O Box ‘C Cbino, CA 91708 U S A . 2. U K Subscribers. Invoices for the arrears of subscription were sent last month. Kindly expedite the payment in the name of the Review of Religions, before June 30, 1989 and oblige. Managing Editor.