True Believers

by Mr. Shahid Aziz

The Light (UK), October 1996 Issue (pp. 1–2)

لَقَدۡ رَضِیَ اللّٰہُ عَنِ الۡمُؤۡمِنِیۡنَ اِذۡ یُبَایِعُوۡنَکَ تَحۡتَ الشَّجَرَۃِ فَعَلِمَ مَا فِیۡ قُلُوۡبِہِمۡ فَاَنۡزَلَ السَّکِیۡنَۃَ عَلَیۡہِمۡ وَ اَثَابَہُمۡ فَتۡحًا قَرِیۡبًا ﴿ۙ۱۸﴾ وَّ مَغَانِمَ کَثِیۡرَۃً یَّاۡخُذُوۡنَہَا ؕ وَ کَانَ اللّٰہُ عَزِیۡزًا حَکِیۡمًا ﴿۱۹﴾ وَعَدَکُمُ اللّٰہُ مَغَانِمَ کَثِیۡرَۃً تَاۡخُذُوۡنَہَا فَعَجَّلَ لَکُمۡ ہٰذِہٖ وَ کَفَّ اَیۡدِیَ النَّاسِ عَنۡکُمۡ ۚ وَ لِتَکُوۡنَ اٰیَۃً لِّلۡمُؤۡمِنِیۡنَ وَ یَہۡدِیَکُمۡ صِرَاطًا مُّسۡتَقِیۡمًا ﴿ۙ۲۰﴾

Allah indeed was well pleased with the believers, when they swore allegiance to thee under the tree, and He knew what was in their hearts, so He sent down tranquillity on them and rewarded them with a near victory. And many gains which they will acquire. And Allah is ever Mighty, Wise. Allah promised you many gains which you will acquire, then He hastened this on for you, and held back the hands of men from you; and that it may be a sign for the believers and that He may guide you on a right path.” (The Holy Quran, 48:18–20)

The1 Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him) and his companions had migrated from Makkah (correct spelling for “Mecca”) to Medina after many years persecution by the Unbelievers. Some years later, the Holy Prophet (peace be on him) saw a vision in which he saw Muslims performing the Hajj [pilgrimage]. He interpreted this to mean that the Muslims will perform the Hajj that year. He ordered Muslims to prepare for the pilgrimage. The time of pilgrimage is the time of peace. Therefore, except for carrying swords for protection, the Muslims did not carry any arms.

Hajj had been performed by people since the Holy Prophet Ibrahim built the Kabah, and it was the custom not to deny any one entry to Makkah to perform the pilgrimage; the Muslims were denied entry to Makkah and the chance to perform the pilgrimage. The Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him) and his companions were the first people to be denied entry into Makkah for pilgrimage. The Ahmadi Muslims are the only other group of Muslims to be denied entry to Makkah to perform the Hajj. We are proud that Allah has chosen us to be the only group of Muslims to follow this sunnah of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him).

A danger then arose that the Unbelievers will attack and annihilate Muslims, knowing that, as Muslims had come for pilgrimage, they would be unarmed. The Holy Prophet (peace be on him) had sent Hazrat Usman (Allah be pleased with him — rta) to negotiate with Makkans. The reason for choosing Hazrat Usman (rta) was that he was from a prominent clan residing in Makkah and, if a clan member was murdered, the whole clan was honour bound to avenge his death. Thus, it was felt that Hazrat Usman (rta) was safe and he would soon return. As time passed, and he did not return, rumour spread that he had been martyred. If this was true, Muslims were under serious threat of annihilation and had to take steps to protect themselves.

At this time, the Holy Prophet (peace be on him) sat under a tree and called together all the Muslims. He then took an oath from all fifteen hundred of them present that, if the need arose, they will lay down their lives for the cause of Islam. This became known as Baiat Ridhwan [Baiat-e-Rizwan] or “The Pledge Under the Tree”. In the same way, the Ahmadis too take a pledge to lay down their lives for the cause of Islam.

The seriousness of the situation may be gauged from that fact that such great companions as Hazrat Abu Bakr (rta), Hazrat Umar (rta) and Hazrat Ali (rta) also swore allegiance to sacrifice their lives. Hazrat Umar (rta) was the first person to take the Muslims to pray openly. When a plot to assassinate the Holy Prophet (peace be on him) was discovered and the Flight to Medina was planned, Hazrat Ali (rta) was the person who risked assassination. He took the Holy Prophet’s place in bed to fool the Makkans into thinking that the Holy Prophet (peace be on him) was still asleep. Hazrat Abu Bakr (rta) was the person who, during the Flight from Makkah to Medina, put his life in danger to protect the Holy Prophet (Peace be on him). He crawled into the cave before the Holy Prophet to make sure that it was free of snakes and scorpions which may harm the Holy Prophet (peace be on him). When the Unbelievers reached to the edge of the cave, even Hazrat Abu Bakr (rta) was afraid. He pointed to the mob outside and asked as there were only two of them how they will fight a whole mob. The Holy Prophet (peace be on him) said,

“No, Abu Bakr, there are three of us. Allah is with us”.

Look at the measure of the Holy Prophet’s (peace be on him) faith in the truth of his mission and Allah’s support that, even when a few feet away from assassins, he is still confident that Allah is going to protect and save them.

It was these people and other companions that the Holy Prophet (peace be on him) asked to pledge their lives for the cause of Islam. Not a single person raised any objection. Compare this to the followers of the Holy Prophet Moses who, when asked to fight for the promised land, told Moses that they were not going to risk their lives for the pleasure of the Lord.

These verses of the Holy Quran were revealed after Muslims had taken the oath at the hand of the Holy Prophet (peace be on him). So pleased was Allah with them that, elsewhere in the Holy Quran, He revealed that those who had taken the pledge on the hand of the Holy Prophet (peace be on him) to lay down their lives, had taken the pledge on the Hand of Allah. Remember, this was not a well-equipped army that had gone out to conquer Makkah. They had left Medina hoping to perform a religious pilgrimage. They were more or less unarmed. Apart from swords for protection, they did not carry any bows and arrows, spears, etc. They were prepared neither physically nor mentally. Yet, when duty called they were not afraid. They obeyed the Holy Prophet without question and without dissent. Had there been a battle with the odds so heavily against the Muslims, the chances of victory were minimal. And, had the Muslims lost, the whole community would have been annihilated. Yet, not a single person asked: “What will happen to our families?”

These are the people who have real faith in Allah. These are the people to whom material things, their lives, possessions, wives and children mean nothing when it came to doing their duty to Allah.

We should be proud that, in this day and age, our members have followed in the footsteps of the Holy Prophet’s companions. Syed Sahibzada Abdul Latif, a noble man of Afghanistan, was offered riches, power and influence to recant his belief that Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was the Promised Messiah. When this failed, he was tortured and finally stoned to death. Yet he remained steadfast. Abdur-Rehman, another Afghan, was also tortured and put to death in a similar manner. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad made a prophecy that the land of Kabul shall run red with blood for these heinous crimes. The crime of the religious leaders being to demand the deaths, that of the political leaders being to carry out the death penalty and the crime of the people being to stand by and cheer as Ahmadis were tortured to death.

We have examples of such steadfastness in our own time. The first time there were riots in Pakistan against the Ahmadis was in 1953. There were many who laid down their lives at that time in preference to recanting their faith. The Government eventually declared Martial Law. No one was allowed out during the hours of darkness. The morning following the declaration of Martial Law, an old man by the name Sheikh Ghulam Qadir, left his house to go to the mosque for Fajr prayers. He was stopped by a soldier who asked him whether he was aware of the Government’s orders that anyone seen outside after dark is to be shot. His reply was simple,

“Your master orders me to stay indoors. Mine orders me to go to the mosque for Fajr prayers. I must do what my Master tells me, you must do what your master tells you.”

The next time the riots took place against the Ahmadis was in 1974. Again, people laid down their lives for their beliefs. To quote one example only, the house in Abbottabad of our current Amir [Head], Hazrat Dr Saeed Ahmad Khan, was surrounded by a mob. They had already burnt down Hazrat Amir’s hospital and the mosque. Now they threatened to burn down his house with its occupants — a few defenceless, mostly aged, men and women. The several hundred well-armed “warriors of Islam” had only one demand of these old men, women and children. Give up your faith and we will let you live. They refused because it is Allah Who has power over life and death, not people.

No one can destroy a people who refuse to give up their faith. This is the obvious lesson to be learnt from the actions of the Holy Prophet Muhammad and his companions. These verses show that these actions have Allah’s sanction.

This incident also teaches us other lessons:

The first lesson is, that, Muslims will only succeed if they obey those in authority. At that time, it was the Holy Prophet. At this time, for Ahmadis, the ultimate authority is our Centre at Lahore.

The second lesson is that Muslims must remain united and be ready to lay down their lives for each other. This readiness was shown by the Holy Prophet and his companions when rumours spread about the death of Hazrat Usman (rta).

Lastly, that nothing, even fear of death, must shake our faith and that we must use all our faculties and resources to propagate our beliefs.

Footnotes:

  1. Based on a khutba [sermon] delivered at Jummah [Friday] on 20th September 1996.

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