For the Younger People (The Golden Era of Islam): Prophecies of the Holy Prophet Fulfilled during Umar’s Reign
by Masud Beg Mirza
The Light (Pakistan), 24th June and 1st July 1976 Issue (Vol. 56, Nos. 24–25, pp. 15–17 and 24)
In the previous issue we had narrated a few facts about the battle of Qadisiyah, which completely broke the strength of Persia. After a few months, the Muslim commander Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas marched towards Madain, the capital of the Persian empire. On beholding the palaces of the Chosroes, Sa’d burst out into an exclamation of joy: “Allah-u-Akbar,” he shouted “this day the Prophet’s prophecy has been fulfilled.” He was referring to the incident, when just ten years before, the Holy Prophet and his Companions were engaged in digging a ditch around Madinah to save themselves from an attack in which all Arab tribes had joined to give a crushing blow to Islam. In the course of the excavation, they came to a hard stone which would not break. Taking up a pickaxe the Holy Prophet addressed himself to the task which others had failed to accomplish. He struck hard at the stone which gave way, emitting at the same time, a spark of fire, on which the Prophet, followed by his Companions, raised a cry of Allah-u-Akbar, and said that he saw in the spark that he had been given the keys of the palace of the Syrian King. A second stroke and the stone was split, giving the same spark of light. Once more the Takbeer (Takbir) was shouted, and the Holy Prophet said that he had been awarded the keys of the Persian kingdom. The third attempt broke the stone to pieces and the Holy Prophet announced to have seen the keys of Yemen coming into his possession. Is it not a wonderful phenomenon that in the midst of these dire clouds of misfortune and an hour of terrible consternation, the Holy Prophet’s eye perceives a distant ray of the future power of Islam? Who but the All-Knowing and All-Wise God could reveal such mysteries of the future?
It was undoubtedly a clear sign of Divine Power that a small nation, looked upon with contempt and whose envoy was sent back by the Persian Emperor with a basket of dust on his head, had overthrown a most mighty empire with no more than 30,000 men. Silver, gold and diamonds, the spoils of war, when collected made a big heap. One-fifth, including the Chosroes’ robes and ornaments and a highly precious carpet inlaid with diamonds, was sent to Madinah. Fifteen years before, when the Prophet was running away for his life from Makkah to Madinah and a price was set on his head, dead or alive, a certain man named Suraqah had gone out in search of the precious fugitive. It so happened that every time Suraqah came within reach of the Holy Prophet, his horse stumbled and fell. Seeing that some hidden Power protected the Prophet, the pursuer repented of his conduct and asked for pardon. But he had more than a pardon. “Suraqah”, said the Holy Prophet, “I see the gold bangles of the Chosroes on thy wrists.” And the ornaments that came to Madinah actually included the Persian King’s gold bracelets. So Suraqah was immediately sent for and made to wear the gold bangles, and the joy of the Faithful knew no bounds when they saw another prophecy of their beloved Master come out so literally true.
The Syrian Theatre of War:
Hostilities on the Syrian front had started earlier, and the news of a brilliant victory of the Muslims over the Roman force, 250,000 strong, reached Madinah when Hazrat Abu Bakr was on his deathbed. Cities and towns fell one after the other during the reign of Hazrat Umar, and Damascus, the capital of Syria, was conquered in the year 14 A.H. (After Hijrah). Damascus, also known as “Queen of cities,” and one of the most ancient habitations, is situated in a very fertile valley known for the charm of its natural scenery as the paradise of the world. The famous Muslim general Khalid ibn Waleed laid siege to it, which lasted for six months. The cold of Damascus was very trying for the dwellers of the desert, but they put up with every hardship. One night on the occasion of a festival, when the whole town had given itself up to drinking and merry-making, Khalid took a handful of his bravest men, scaled the rampart, jumped down and killing the guard, flung the gate open. The Muslims rushed in, and the besieged yielded without resistance. The whole town was granted amnesty, and neither prisoners were taken nor spoils of war.
The Caesar felt greatly dispirited at the fall of important centres like Damascus and Hims, and with full enthusiasm he raised a huge army. The Muslim armies under Abu ‘Ubaidah and ‘Amr ibn ‘As rallied at Yarmuk. Their total strength was between thirty to forty thousand. The Romans marched down on them with a large force of two hundred thousand. A bloody battle ensued in which even Muslim women participated. The Muslims were repulsed several times, and once they were thrust back to their encampment from where the womenfolk reproached them and urged them on once more against the enemy. They fought desperately, none caring for his life, each trying to excel in valour and rushing into the very thick of the enemy. The Romans lost their footing and took to their heels. The battle of Yarmuk occupies the same position in the Syrian campaign as the battle of Qadisiyah in the Persian. It was a decisive battle after which all the Syrian towns surrendered one after the other. Many people embraced Islam as a result of the miraculous effect of the teachings of Islam, which aimed at universal brotherhood and even turned inveterate foes into loving brethren. People found in Islam a message of tolerance, peace and mercy which was imported even into the sphere of warfare. No other nation had ever shown such a magnanimity to a deadly foe in a deadly fight as the Muslims had treated their enemies. The Muslim soldiers were possessed of a high standard of morality and did not violate the honour and chastity of the vanquished population, nor did they break a treaty made during the war, and showed the most scrupulous regard for the rights of citizenship for their subjects. At one time when the Muslims had to leave the Syrian town Hims, they returned the whole amount of Jizyah realised from the people in lieu of the protection granted to them, both Jews and Christians actually shed tears and prayed God to bring them back.
The temple at Jerusalem being the sanctuary of the Israelite Prophets, the Muslims respected it as they respected those prophets. It was also venerated as the first Qibla of Islam. When siege was laid to Jerusalem, the inhabitants offered to capitulate on condition that the Caliph Umar came in person to sign the treaty. Hazrat Umar left Madinah in the same simple coarse dress as he always wore, with one slave and a riding beast, which they both rode by turns. When he was about to enter Jerusalem, he was advised to change his attire and ride a horse. He rode a horse for a short while, but did not like the pace of the horse and remounted his camel. When he entered the holy city, the slave was riding and he was leading the camel.
The Christian Patriarch took him round to show him the antiquities of the town. They were in the Church of Resurrection when the time for prayers came. The Patriarch suggested that the Caliph should say his prayers there. But the Caliph declined and said:
“Should we say our prayers here the Muslims might someday claim the right to erect a mosque in this place.”
Look at the toleration preached by Islam! The Caliph wanted to protect the place from violation even at some future time. And the following is the treaty by which Jerusalem was ceded to the Muslims:
“In the name of the most Merciful God. This is the treaty for the people of Aelia. This is the favour which the servant of God, the Commander of the Faithful, grants to the people of Aelia. He gives them the assurance of the preservation of their lives and properties, their churches and crosses, of those who set up, who display and who honour these crosses. Your churches will not be transformed into dwellings nor destroyed, nor will anyone confiscate anything belonging to them, nor the crosses or belongings of the inhabitants. There will be no constraint in the matter of religion, nor the least annoyance …. All that this treaty contains is placed under the alliance and protection of God, and of His Apostle (peace be upon him), and of his successors, and of the Faithful, so long as they pay the tax.” (Muir’s Caliphate, p. 134).