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Muhammad (sa): The Great Exemplar

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Incidents From the Life of the Holy Prophet (sa) – The Incident of Bi?r Ma?unah

After reciting Tashahhud, Ta’awwuz and Surah al-Fatihah, His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad(aba) said:

Today, I will speak on about the expedition of Hazrat Mundhir bin „Amr, which is also known as the Expedition of Bi?r Ma?unah. This was a dreadful event which took place in 4 AH. According to some, this took place before the Expedition of Raji?, whilst according to others, it took place after.

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This expedition gets its name from because of a well named Bi?r Ma?unah en route from Makkah to Madinah, and that is where this expedition also took place. The commander appointed to lead this expedition was Hazrat Mundhir bin „Amr, which is why it is also referred to as the Expedition of Mundhir bin „Amr.

All the companions who partook in this expedition were young and well-versed in the recitation of the Holy Qur?an.

Background of the Bi’r Ma’unah Incident

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Pertaining to the background of this expedition, Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad writes:

„The tribes of Sulaim, and Ghatafan, etc. inhabited the central region of Arabia in the Sath-e-Murtafa„ Najd and had allied with the Quraish of Makkah against the Muslims. Slowly but surely, the evil of these mischievous tribes was continuing to grow and the Sath-e- Murtafa„ Najd was continuing to be poisoned with the venom of enmity against Islam. As such, in the days we are describing now, an individual named Abu

Bara? „Amiri, who was a chieftain of the tribe situated in central Arabia known as the Banu „Amir, presented himself before the Holy Prophet(sa) in order to meet him. The Holy Prophet(sa) very gently and kindly conveyed the message of Islam to him and at the outset he also listened to the address of the Holy Prophet(sa) with interest and attention, but did not accept Islam. Albeit, he submitted to the Holy Prophet(sa), “Send a few companions along with me to Najd, who can travel there and preach the message of Islam to the people of Najd. I am confident that the people of Najd will not reject your message.” The Holy Prophet(sa) said, “I do not trust the people of Najd.” Abu Bara? responded, “Do not worry, I guarantee their security.” Since Abu Bara? was the chief of a tribe and was an influential man, the Holy Prophet(sa) took his word and dispatched a party of Companions towards Najd.

This is the narration as it is related by history. It is narrated in Bukhari that a few people from the tribes of Ri„l and Dhakwan, etc. (which were branches of the renowned tribe known as the Banu Sulaim) presented themselves before the Holy Prophet(sa) and claimed to accept Islam. Then they requested that a few men should be dispatched along with them to assist them against those people of their nation who were enemies of Islam (there is no elaboration as to the nature of the assistance they requested – missionary or military). Upon this, the Holy Prophet(sa) sent off this company. Ibni Sa„d has also recorded a narration in support of this, but has not given it preference over the other one. However, unfortunately with respect to the details of Bi„r-e-Ma„unah, even the details as narrated in Bukh?r? have become mixed to a degree, due to which all the relevant facts cannot be identified in full. In any case, however, what is ascertained is that on this occasion, the people belonging to the tribes of Ri„l and Dhakwan, etc. presented themselves before the Holy Prophet(sa) as well, and they requested for a few companions to be sent along with them. One prospect for the reconciliation of both these narrations is that perhaps Abu Bara? „Amiri, chieftain of the „Amir tribe, also came along with the people of Ri„l and Dhakwan, and he spoke to the Holy Prophet(sa) on

their behalf. As such, according to the historical account, the Holy

Prophet(sa) said, “I do not trust the people of Najd,” to which he responded, “Do not worry, I give you the assurance that your companions shall not be harmed.” This indicates that the people of Ri„l and Dhakwan had also come with Abu Bara? and the Holy

Prophet(sa) was concerned on their account.

In any case, the Holy Prophet(sa) dispatched a party of Companions under the leadership of Mundhir bin „Amr Ansari(ra) in Safar 4 A.H. These people were mostly from the Ansar and totaled seventy in number, and almost all of them were Qaris, i.e., they were well-versed in the Holy Qur?an.?

(The Life and Character of the Seal of Prophets, Vol. 2, pp. 367-369)

Another author writes that the Holy Prophet(sa) always desired that Allah?s religion prevails over the whole world, and that humankind becomes united. It is for this reason that he gave so much importance to spreading the message of Islam and offering even the greatest sacrifices in this regard. It is for this reason that despite facing danger from the Arab bedouins, he trusted in Allah and sent a large party of Companions at the request of Abu Bara?. This major step was taken to further the message of Islam and spread it about.

The Holy Prophet’s(sa) Letter to Amir bin Tufail & Martyrdom of Hazrat Haram bin Milhan(ra)

In relation to this expedition, there is also mention of a letter written by the Holy Prophet(sa) to „Amir bin Tufail. The Holy Prophet(sa) gave the large party of companions a letter for „Amir bin Tufail. „Amir bin Tufail was the nephew of Abu Bara? „Amir bin Malik and was an arrogant chieftain among the chieftains of Banu „Amir. In his heart, he had accepted that the Holy Prophet(sa) was true and foresaw that he would prevail over Arabia, however, he also saw dreams of his own conquest. He thought to negotiate with the Holy

Prophet(sa) beforehand. He came to the Holy Prophet(sa) and said, „Perhaps you can rule over the bedouins, whilst I rule over those who dwell in the cities. Or, I could be appointed as your caliph and successor after you are gone. Otherwise, I will fight against you with a force of 1,000 mounts.? He gave three choices, but the Holy

Prophet(sa) rejected them all.

During this expedition, the Holy Prophet(sa) thought it appropriate to give him an invitation to Islam, hence he sent a letter. Hazrat Haram bin Milhan is the companion who delivered the letter. He was accompanied by two Companions, one of which had a leg injury. The three went to deliver the letter, and Hazrat Haram instructed them, saying, „Stay close to me. I will go to them. If they grant me peace, then that is good. But if they kill me, then you should return to our companions.? Following this, he approached „Amir bin Tufail who was sitting amongst his people. Hazrat Haram asked them, „Do you grant me peace so that I may deliver this letter to you from the Holy Prophet(sa)?? They replied in the affirmative.

Hazrat Haram began reading the letter to them. He said, „O people of Bi?r Ma?unah, I have brought the message of the Messenger of Allah (sa) to you. I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and Muhammad(sa) is His servant and messenger. You should accept Allah and His messenger.? Hazrat Haram was in the midst of speaking when one of the people attacked him from behind and martyred him.

According to one narration, „Amir bin Tufail did not bother to receive the letter and killed him right away.

Nonetheless, when Hazrat Haram was delayed upon his return, the Muslims advanced and encountered the same party of people who were on their way to attack them. They surrounded the Muslims, and they were also greater in number. A battle ensued and the companions of the Holy Prophet(sa) were martyred.

Martyrdom of Hazrat Amir bin Fuhairah(ra)

Hazrat „Amir bin Fuhairah?s martyrdom is mentioned in the following manner. He was Hazrat Abu Bakr?s freed slave, and he also has the honour of accompanying the Holy Prophet(sa) and Hazrat Abu Bakr during their migration to Madinah. „Amir bin Tufail, whilst he had not yet accepted Islam, himself related that after Hazrat „Amir bin Fuhairah was killed, he was raised to the heavens. He saw him ascend to the sky, and then come back down. The Holy

Prophet(sa) was informed about what had happened. It was the desire of these martyrs that Allah the Almighty convey news of their fate to the Holy Prophet(sa). This incident has been recorded in Sahih alBukhari.

According to some narrations, „Amir bin Tufail martyred „Amir bin Fuhairah, whilst according to others, it was Jabbar bin Salamah. Hazrat Musleh Maud(ra) recounts the martyrdom of Hazrat „Amir bin

Fuhairah and states that Islam did not attain victory by the sword. Rather, Islam employed a lofty method whereby hearts were conquered and morals were inspired. A companion once said that the reason he accepted Islam when he was a guest to a people who had betrayed and fought against the Muslims. They killed many of those who had memorised the Qur?an. Most of them were martyred, while the remaining gathered on a hilltop. The enemy was large in number in comparison, and also well-equipped for battle. They killed the Muslims one by one, and only one companion remained who also accompanied the Holy Prophet(sa) during his migration, whose name was „Amir bin Fuhairah. They seized him and stabbed him with a spear. As they did this, he involuntary said, „By the Lord of the Ka?bah, I have succeeded.? When the companion heard these words, he was astonished and thought, „This person is far away from his family, his wife and children. He is overcome by this hardship, and a spear has pierced his chest. Yet, upon his death, he said, “By the Lord of the Ka?bah, I have succeeded.” Is this person mad?? He asked around to ascertain why he had said such a thing, and the people told him that he was a Muslim, and Muslims are truly „mad.? When Muslims die for the sake of Allah, they feel that Allah is pleased with him. As a result, this companion decided to visit the Muslims? headquarters and study Islam in greater detail. He came to Madinah and accepted Islam.

Thus, Hazrat Musleh Maud(ra) says that Islam was spread by its excellences, not by force.

The words uttered by Hazrat „Amir bin Fuhairah upon his martyrdom are similar to those of other companions as well. In this regard, Hazrat Musleh Maud(ra) states that according to history, the companions would partake in war with the mindset that death would bring them happiness. If they were caused any pain, they would consider it comfort and delight. Thus, there are many incidents of companions that demonstrate this. For instance, there is the incident where 70 Huffaz [those who had committed the Holy Qur?an to memory] were sent to convey the message of Islam to some Arab tribes. Farhan bin Milhan went to convey this message to their chieftain, „Amir bin Tufail. When he was conveying this message, they signalled a man to attack him from behind, and whilst dying, he said, „Allah is the greatest. By the Lord of the Ka?bah, I have succeeded.? Thereafter, the remaining companions were also surrounded and martyred. Hazrat „Amir bin Fuhairah exhibited the same spirit.

The person who martyred „Amir bin Fuhairah also says, „I heard him say,

“By the Lord of the Ka?bah, I have succeeded.” I wondered why he said these words as I had just killed him. As I thought about this, I encountered a Muslim man and told him about what had happened, asking him what these words meant. I was told that success here meant attaining paradise. The Muslim man also invited me to accept Islam, and I did.?

Only a few companions involved in this expedition survived, whilst most of them were martyred. Not all of their names have been recorded in history, however, there are about 29 that have been compiled. As for those who survived, there were Hazrat „Amr bin Umayyah Damri and Hazrat Mundhir bin Muhammad. According to others, it was Harith bin Simmah instead of Mundhir. They had gone to graze the camels when they saw birds flying frantically in the sky. Upon their return, they saw that the Muslims had been attacked. One of them thought to flee and inform the Holy Prophet(sa), while the other disagreed and joined the battle, and he was ultimately martyred.

There was another companion who survived, known as Ka?b bin Zaid, who had a leg injury. He was attacked and his body was left by the enemy who thought he was dead.

Abu Bara? was very displeased with the way his nephew, „Amir bin Tufail, broke his vow to grant protection and attacked the Muslims. As far as Abu Bara? is concerned, some authors have deemed him to be a Companion, while others have not.

The Holy Prophet’s(sa) Grief After the Martyrdom of His Companions

In this regard, Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad writes:

“The Holy Prophet(sa) and his Companions received news of the incidents of Raji„ and Bi„r-e-Ma„unah at more or less the same time. The Holy Prophet(sa) was deeply grieved by these incidents, to the extent that narrations relate that the Holy Prophet(sa) was never so deeply grieved by anything before or after these events. Undoubtedly, for approximately eighty Companions to be suddenly murdered by deception, especially such Companions who were Huffaz of the Holy Qur?an, and were from a poor and selfless class of people, was no small event, even by standards of the barbaric customs and practices of Arabia. For the Holy Prophet(sa) personally, this news was no different than the loss of eighty sons, rather, even more so. The reason being that for a spiritual man, spiritual bonds are far dearer to him than the worldly relations of a worldly man. Hence, the Holy Prophet(sa) was deeply grieved by these tragic events, but in any case, Islam teaches patience.

The incidents of Bi„r-e-Ma„unah and Raji„ demonstrate the intense level of hatred and animosity which the tribes of Arabia harboured in their hearts against Islam and the followers of Islam, to the extent that they would not even refrain from the most despicable lies, treachery and deceit. Despite the remarkable intelligence and vigilance of the Muslims, due to their thinking well of others, which is the hallmark of a believer, at times they would be lured into their trap. These were Huffaz of the Qur?an and devoted worshippers, who would supplicate during the nights, sit in a corner of the mosque and remember Allah; then they were poor and hunger-stricken people, who were lured out of their homeland by these cruel disbelievers with the excuse of „teaching them religion?; and when they had reached their land as guests, they were murdered in cold blood. Any level of grief suffered by the Holy Prophet(sa) would not have been enough. But at the time, the Holy Prophet(sa) did not employ any military action against these cold-blooded murderers. Albeit, for thirty days continuously, after having received this news, the Holy

Prophet(sa) supplicated while standing in his morning Salat.

(Life and Character of the Seal of Prophets, Vol. 2, pp. 371-373)

The Holy Prophet(sa) was deeply saddened by the outcome of this expedition. Some Companions also say that they had never seen the Holy Prophet(sa) so saddened by anything else. For a period of 30 days, the Holy Prophet(sa) prayed against the people of Ri?l and Zakwan and those involved in this tragic incident.

This concludes the details of the Expedition of Bi?r-e-Ma?unah.

Appeal for Prayers

His Holiness(aba) then reminded everyone to pray for the people of Palestine. They are being killed just as the companions were. They are being deceived. Similarly, the world is hurtling toward great destruction. May Allah the Almighty protect Ahmadis around the world from the negative consequences of the war.

His Holiness(aba) also urged for prayers for the Ahmadis living in Pakistan. May Allah the Almighty show mercy and liberate them from their oppressors.

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