Friday Sermon – Khalifatul Masih V – Mirza Masroor Ahmad – Year 2021
Allah is the Greatest Allah is the Greatest Allah is the Greatest Allah is the Greatest I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah I bear witness that Muhammad (sa) is the Messenger of Allah
I bear witness that Muhammad (sa) is the Messenger of Allah Come to Prayer Come to Prayer Come to success Come to success Allah is the Greatest Allah is the Greatest There is none worthy of worship except Allah Peace and blessings of Allah be upon you.
I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah. He is One and has no partner. and I bear witness that Muhammad (sa) is His Servant and Messenger. After this I seek refuge with Allah from Satan the accursed. In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful.
All praise belongs to Allah, Lord of all the worlds. The Gracious, The Merciful, Master of the Day of Judgment. Thee alone do we worship and Thee alone do we implore for help. Guide us in the right path – The path of those on whom Thou hast bestowed Thy blessings,
Those who have not incurred displeasure, and those who have not gone astray. On one occasion, whilst speaking on the subject of Tabligh in one of his addresses, Hazrat Musleh Maud (ra) mentioned accounts from the life of Hazrat Umar (ra) and stated,
“In the battles which were fought after the demise of the Holy Prophet (sa), “the Muslims were mostly in the minority. “During the battle in Syria, there was a great shortage of soldiers. “Hazrat Abu Ubaidah sent a letter to Hazrat Umar (ra) saying
“that the enemy was in far greater numbers and requested to be sent reinforcement. “Hazrat Umar (ra) took an assessment of the situation “and found it impossible to form another battalion “as the young men of the tribes in and around Arabia “had either been killed or were already part of the army.
“Subsequently, Hazrat Umar (ra) organised a gathering to seek consultation. “People from various tribes were invited and this matter was put before them. “They suggested that there was one tribe where some men could be found. “Hazrat Umar (ra) instructed one of his officers to immediately go there
“and gather the young men of that tribe. “He also wrote to Hazrat Abu Ubaidah stating “that he was going to send six thousand men “to support him and they would reach him in a few days. “Hazrat Umar (ra) stated that three thousand men would reach him from such and such tribe
“and he was sending Amr bin Ma’di Karib as an equivalent of the remaining three thousand.” Hazrat Musleh Maud (ra) further states, “If one of our youths was sent to confront three thousand men, “he will say that this was a completely illogical thing “and will say that has the Khalifa lost his senses?
“Can a single person confront three thousand men? “However, how strong was the faith of those individuals! “When Hazrat Abu Ubaidah received the letter from Hazrat Umar (ra), “he read it and told his soldiers to rejoice “as Amr bin Ma’di Karib would be reaching them the following day.
“The following day, the soldiers welcomed Amr bin Ma’di Karib “with great passion and raised slogans. “The enemy thought that the Muslims were perhaps reinforced by an army “of a hundred or two hundred thousand men and that is why they were rejoicing so much. “However, it was only Amr bin Ma’di Karib by himself.
“Following this, the battalion of three thousand men reached them as well “and the Muslims defeated the enemy. “For a single person to confront three thousand men “in a battle with swords is virtually impossible.” Hazrat Musleh Maud (ra) further states, “During a debate, “a single man can convey his message to several thousands.
“However, these people gave such importance to the words of the Khalifa of the time “that when Hazrat Umar (ra) sent Amr bin Ma’di Karib “as an equivalent of three thousand soldiers, “the soldiers did not raise any objection “as to how a single person could confront three thousand men.
“Rather, they considered him to be equivalent to three thousand men “and welcomed him in an excellent manner. “As a result of this welcome of the Muslims, “the hearts of the enemy were filled with fear “and they believed that perhaps an army of a hundred or two hundred thousand men
“came to reinforce the Muslims. “As such, they were defeated during battle and fled.” Hazrat Musleh Maud (ra) says, “At present, we must comfort our hearts in this manner as well.” This incident was narrated by Hazrat Musleh Maud (ra) in relation to how to do Tabligh in Europe; in Spain and Sicily, etc.
Now I shall mention the conquests that took place in Egypt. Among those was the Battle of Farama. Farama was a well-known city of Egypt which was situated to the east of the Mediterranean Sea and Paluzi, which was one of the tributaries of the River Nile and was situated on the mountain.
According to Allamah Shibli Nu’mani, after the victory at Baitul Maqdis (Jerusalem), upon the insistence of Hazrat Amr bin al-Aas, Hazrat Umar (ra) sent Hazrat Amr bin al-Aas with an army of 4,000 towards Egypt, but with the instruction that they must return if they receive his letter prior to reaching Egypt.
They reached Arish when the letter from Hazrat Umar (ra) was received in which he instructed them not to advance any further. However, seeing as the instruction was conditional, Hazrat Amr said that since they were within the confines of Egypt, therefore they would advance from Arish to Farama.
There is a book called Al-Iktifa which covers the Muslim battles. It is written therein that Hazrat Amr bin al-Aas received the letter of Hazrat Umar (ra) having reached a placed called Rafa, but he did not take the letter from the messenger out of fear
That it would contain the instruction from Hazrat Umar (ra) to return. So instead, he continued marching forth until he reached a small village between Rafa and Arish, and enquired about the village. He was told that this was within the confines of Egypt.
He then asked for the letter to be brought and read it. It was written that he and the Muslims accompanying him should all return. And so he asked his companions, “Do you not see that this is Egypt?” They replied in the affirmative.
He then said, “The Leader of the Faithful (Hazrat Umar (ra)) instructed “that if I receive the letter prior to reaching Egypt I should return, “but I have received it having entered the land of Egypt. “So let us go forth in the name of Allah.”
It is also mentioned in another narration that Hazrat Amr bin al-Aas (ra) was in Palestine and he advanced with his companions to Egypt without permission. Hazrat Umar (ra) was displeased with this, so he wrote a letter to Hazrat Amr bin al-Aas (ra) and he received this letter when he was close to Arish,
But did not read it until he had reached Arish. It was written in this letter: “Umar bin al-Khattab to Amr bin al-Aas, “Thereafter, you certainly will have been going to Egypt with your companions. “There is a large army of the Byzantines there whilst you are few in number.
“I swear that it would have been better had you not taken them with you, “so if you have not yet reached Egypt, you must return.” On the way to Farama, the Muslim army did not encounter a single Byzantine soldier, and in fact, the Egyptians welcomed them in various places,
And it was in Farama that the very first confrontation took place. There are various narrations (with reference to Hazrat Amr bin al-Aas), but the one that seems correct is that letter was received after having reached Arish, which is situated within the border of Egypt.
It cannot be that he continued to make excuses and to only open the letter after reaching Egypt. Nevertheless, since they had already reached Egypt, the only option was to advance forward as the believers do not retreat. The Byzantines received news that Hazrat Amr bin al-Aas (ra) was coming with a small army
With insufficient preparation and could not lay a siege for too long. The Byzantines thought that since they were better prepared and in a greater number, therefore they would easily defeat them. The Byzantines secured themselves in their fortress. Hazrat Amr bin al-Aas (ra) had come to know of the military power of the Byzantines
And that they were much greater in weapons and in number. He therefore made plans to either seize Farama whereby they would launch a surprise attack, have the rampart doors opened, or to then remain patient in their besiegement until the residents ran out food and come forth out of desperation.
So they laid siege (to the city). On one hand, the Muslims were tightening their siege, and on the other, the Byzantines were stubborn in their persistence. As such, the siege continued for many months. Sometimes the Byzantine forces would emerge for a few skirmishes but would then retreat.
The Muslims would always prevail in these skirmishes. One day, some Byzantine forces came forth in combat against the Muslims and the Muslims prevailed over them. When the Byzantines retreated to their fort in defeat, the Muslims swiftly pursued them. Some Muslims beat the Byzantines to the rampart gates and opened them,
Clearing the path to a clear victory. The conquest of Bilbeis and the circumstances in which it happened are as follows. After the conquest of Farama, as Hazrat Amr bin al-Aas was setting out for Bilbeis, he was intercepted by Byzantine forces.
Bilbeis is a city located approximately 30 miles from Fustat, en route to Syria. The Muslims were intercepted to prevent them from reaching the fort of Babylon. In ancient terminology, the land of Egypt was referred to as Babylon, particularly the region where Fustat was settled. The Byzantines intended to fight there.
Hazrat Amr bin al-Aas told them not to be hasty and to hold off until they had heard his proposal so that there would be no excuses or evasions later. Hazrat Amr bin al-Aas also said for them to send Abu Maryaam as an emissary to represent them.
Thus, they deferred the battle and sent the two emissaries. Both these delegates were priests from Bilbeis. Hazrat Amr bin al-Aas presented them with the options of accepting Islam or paying Jizyah, and along with this, recounted the words of the Holy Prophet (sa) about the people of Egypt.
The Holy Prophet (sa) said, “You will conquer Egypt, “a land where the unit of Qir’at is used (to measure). “When you conquer that land, “treat its people kindly because they have a right over you and are among your kin.” Or he stated, “They have a right over you and you share ancestral fathers.”
Upon hearing this, the two emissaries said that this is a very distant relationship that can only be fulfilled by prophets and asked to leave and deliberate on their decision, upon which they would return. Hazrat Amr bin al-Aas told them that he would not be fooled
And that he would give them a period of three days to carefully contemplate on the matter. Both the emissaries asked for an additional day for deliberation, so they were given one additional day. The two of them then returned to Muqawqis, the leader of the Copts,
And Artabun (Aretion), the governor of Egypt appointed by the Byzantine Emperor, and presented them with the proposal from the Muslims. Artabun denied the proposal and was bent on war, and he launched an assault on the Muslims overnight. The forces of Artabun are recorded to have been 12,000 in number.
A great deal of Muslims were martyred in this conflict, while the Byzantines lost 1,000 soldiers to the battle and another 3000 were imprisoned. Artabun fled the battlefield, while some say that he was slain in this very battle. The Muslims continued to prevail over Artabun’s forces until they reached Alexandria.
Historians agree that the Muslims remained in Bilbeis for a month, during which time the battle continued and, ultimately, the Muslims were victorious. Historians, however, debate over whether or not this was an intense battle. During this battle, an incident took place that is a testament to the sagacity and moral superiority of the Muslims.
When Allah the Almighty granted victory the Muslims to conquer Bilbeis, the daughter of Muqawqis was imprisoned, whose name was Armanoosah. She was his favourite and beloved daughter whom he planned to marry off to Constantine, the son of Heraclius.
She was not content with this marriage and took an excursion to Bilbeis with her maid. When the Muslims had imprisoned her, Hazrat Amr bin al-Aas gathered the noble companions (ra) and recited the following words of Allah the Almighty: “Is the reward of goodness anything but goodness?” (Holy Qur’an 55:61) Then, in reference to this verse, He reminded them by stating, “Muqawqis sent a gift to our Holy Prophet (sa). “I am of the opinion that his daughter should be returned to him “along with her entourage and servants and all the wealth that was seized.” Everyone was in agreement with Hazrat Amr bin al-Aas (ra).
Accordingly, Hazrat Amr bin al-Aas sent Armanoosah to her father with great honour and dignity; along with all her jewellery and accompanying women and servants. On their journey back, one of Armanoosah’s maids remarked that they were protected in every direction by Arabs. Armanoosah replied to her,
Saying that she feels safe for her life and honour in the tents of the Arabs, but does not consider her life to be safe in her father’s fortress. When she reached her father, he was very pleased with how the Muslims had treated her.
Then, there is mention of the conquest of Umm Dunayn (Tiandonias). After the conquest of Bilbeis, Hazrat Amr bin al-Aas (ra) was advancing along the desert’s perimeter when he reached a place close to Umm Dunayn, which was located on the Nile River at the source of Trajan’s Canal.
This canal was close to Suez and joined Egypt City and the Mediterranean Sea, where Azbakeya, a district in Cairo, is located today. Umm Dunayn was located at this very place during that time, which the Byzantines had fortified. In the near vicinity were the riverbanks of the Nile, where many boats were ported.
This area was to the north of Babylon, which was the largest fort of Egypt City. In this way, Umm Dunayn could be considered the foremost defensive outpost for guarding this precious region, which the Egyptians cherished as the centre of operations for many past pharaohs. The Muslims set up camp near Umm Dunayn.
The Byzantines sent their finest soldiers to their fort in Babylon and heavily reinforced their fort in Umm Dunayn as they prepared for battle. According to information received from the reconnaissance, Hazrat Amr bin al-Aas estimated that his forces were not enough to conquer Fort Babylon or to besiege it.
He sent a messenger with a letter to Madinah detailing the circumstances of his journey to Egypt, intelligence on the enemy forts and the need for reinforcements in order to attack them. He also announced to his forces that reinforcements would join them shortly. Following this, he advanced toward Umm Dunayn and laid siege,
Cutting the fort’s supply of food and military equipment. The Byzantines in Fort Babylon didn’t even consider coming out because they had witnessed Artabun’s outcome in Bilbeis and realized that they could not combat the Arabs in an open battlefield.
The forces of Umm Dunayn would periodically emerge for a skirmish but would retreat in failure. Many weeks passed like this. At the same time, news arrived that the first reinforcements from the court of Khilafat were on their way and would arrive very soon.
These glad tidings greatly supplemented the strength and resolve of the Muslims. Hazrat Umar (ra) had sent 4,000 soldiers as reinforcements for the Muslim forces. He also appointed a leader for every 1,000 soldiers. Those leaders were, Hazrat Zubair bin al-Awam, Hazrat Miqdad bin Aswad, Hazrat Ubadah bin Samit and Hazrat Maslamah bin Mukhallad.
According to one narration, Kharijah bin Huzaifa was made the Amir in place of Hazrat Maslamah bin Mukhallad. Along with sending reinforcements, Hazrat Umar (ra) wrote a letter to Hazrat Amr bin al-Aas saying, “Now you have 12,000 soldiers with you. “They will never be defeated on account of being small in number.”
The Byzantine set out along with the Copts to fight the Muslims. A fierce battle ensued between the two sides. Hazrat Amr bin al-Aas devised a strategy whereby he divided the army into three parts; one was near Jabal-e-Ahmar, the second was by the Nile River at a place called Omdurman,
And the remainder of the army set out to battle the enemy. As the two armies were engaged in fierce battle, the army hiding by Jabal-e-Ahmar came out and attacked from behind, which scattered the ranks of the opposing army and they fled towards Omdurman.
There, the second part of the Islamic army was waiting and stopped their path. Thus, the Byzantine army was trapped between the three Muslim armies as a result of which the opponents suffered defeat. It is mentioned regarding various other conquests that after the victory at Omdurman,
The first place where Hazrat Amr bin al-Aas conquered was Fayum and the chief of that area was killed in this battle. Then, the Muslims faced the Byzantines in Ain al-Shams. Before this, reinforcements of 8,000 soldiers came and met Hazrat Amr bin al-Aas.
Hazrat Zubair bin al-Awwam was the commander and Hazrat Ubadah bin Samit, Hazrat Miqdad bin Aswad and Hazrat Maslamah bin Mukhallad were also part of this. The Muslims were also victorious in this battle. Later, the Muslims gained victory over the entire area of Fayum.
One part of the Muslim army gained victory in two cities of the Manoofiya region; Isreeb and Manuf. It is recorded regarding the victory over the Babylon fort or Fustat that after gaining victory at Omdurman, Hazrat Amr bin al-Aas marched towards the Babylon Fort and laid siege to it.
Now this area is known as Fustat. The reason for being called this is that in Arabic, tents are called, “Fustat”. After successfully conquering the fort, Hazrat Amr bin Aas commanded to leave, and it so happened that a pigeon made a nest in Hazrat Amr’s tent.
When he saw it, he instructed that the tent should remain there and upon returning from Alexandria, he had a city established near the tent; and it subsequently became known as Fustat. It is estimated that the protective forces inside the fort was around five or six thousand and they were armed in every way.
Hazrat Amr began the siege of the Babylon fort. After Alexandria, this was one of the strongest forts and had been built with cement blocks. It was surrounded by water from the Nile River. Since it was located on the Nile River, boats and ships would go straight to the door of the fort,
And so it was essential for important work. The Arabs were not properly equipped to attack such a fort nor were they ready for this. And so first and foremost, Hazrat Amr began making preparations to lay siege. Muqawqis, the ruler of Egypt, had already reached the fort before Hazrat Amr bin al-Aas
And was preparing for battle. Hazrat Zubair rode his horse around all four sides of the ditch and would appoint the necessary number of soldiers to a given area. This siege continued for seven months straight, and the determination of victory or defeat could not be made.
During this time, sometimes the Byzantines would come out of the fort to fight but then would go back inside. During this time, Muqawqis would send his envoys to Hazrat Amr bin al-Aas in attempts to reconcile and strike fear. Hazrat Amr bin al-Aas sent Hazrat Ubadah bin Samit for reconciliation with three conditions;
Either accept Islam or pay Jizyah, otherwise there will be a war. He said that a treaty should not be reached based on any other condition apart from these. Muqawqis agreed to pay Jizyah, and went himself to Heraclius to seek permission. However, Heraclius did not accept this
And in fact became quite angry and expelled him from the land as a result. When victory at the Babylon fort seemed to be delayed, Hazrat Zubair bin al-Awwam said, “I am going to present my life as an offering in the way of Allah.
“I am hopeful that this will allow the Muslims to become victorious.” Upon saying this, he took an unsheathed sword, and using a ladder, scaled the wall of the fort. Some other companions supported him as well. Once they had scaled the wall they raised slogans along with which the entire army raised slogans
Which caused the floor of the fort to vibrate, as it were. The Christians realised that the Muslims had entered the fort, upon which they aimlessly ran. Upon coming down from the wall, Hazrat Zubair opened the door to the fort, and the entire army came inside, and after some fighting, they conquered the fort.
Hazrat Amr bin al-Aas assured them security on the condition that the Byzantine army would take some provisions with them that will last them a few days, and that they would leave the treasures and armour in the Babylon fort untouched as they were the spoils of the Muslims.
Afterwards, Hazrat Amr bin al-Aas broke the domes and fortified walls of the fort. After conquering the Babylon fort, the Muslims gained various victories in different places and forts, of which, the most prominent was Tarnut, Naqyus, Sultais, Kiryon. As for the conquest of Alexandria, it is stated that after the conquest of Fustat,
Hazrat Umar (ra) granted permission for the conquest of Alexandria. There was a large battle with the Byzantines at a place between Alexandria and Fustat called Kiryon, which the Muslims eventually won. After that, the Byzanitines did not come forward until Alexandria. Muqawqis wished to pay the Jizyah and establish peace,
However the Byzantines pressured him, as a result of which Muqawqis sent a message to Hazrat Amr bin al-Aas saying that he and the Copts would not be taking part in the battle, and so they should be left unharmed. The Copts remained separate from this and instead supported the Muslim army
And began clearing paths and fixing bridges for the Muslims. During the siege of Alexandria, the Copts would provide the Muslims with provisions. The significance of Alexandria can be gauged by the fact that when the Muslims conquered Alexandria, the city was considered as its capital city.
After Constantinople, this was known as the second largest city of the Byzantine rule. Furthermore, this was also the world’s first trading city. The Byzantines knew very well that if the Muslims were to conquer this city, it would pose dire consequences.
It was out of this fear that Heraclius said that if Muslims overtook Alexandria, the Byzantines would be ruined. Heraclius started preparing to fight the Muslims himself but died during his preparations, and his son Constantine succeeded him as the ruler. Alexandria was unique to its prominent structures, large forts, location,
And large number of guardians. The siege of Alexandria continued for nine months. Hazrat Umar (ra) was worried and wrote a letter saying, “Perhaps you have become driven by luxuries there “otherwise obtaining victory should not have taken this long.
“Along with this message, deliver a speech to the Muslims about Jihad and then level an attack.” After reading out this letter from Hazrat Umar (ra), Hazrat Amr bin al-Aas called Hazrat Ubadah bin Samit and handed him the flag. The Muslims carried out an intense attack and thus conquered the city.
Hazrat Amr dispatched a messenger to Madinah with instructions for him to ride as fast as he possibly could to convey this good news to the leader of the faithful. The messenger mounted the she-camel and traversed the landscape until finally arriving in Madinah. It was afternoon and the messenger, thinking it was resting time,
Avoided going straight to the Khalifa’s residence and instead headed to the Prophet’s mosque (Masjid Nabwi). Coincidentally a female servant of Hazrat Umar (ra) was passing by and asked the messenger who he was and where he had travelled from. “From Alexandria” replied the messenger.
The servant rushed and immediately informed Hazrat Umar (ra) and on returning said, “Come, the Leader of the Faithful calls for you.” Hazrat Umar (ra) was already about to head there himself and was arranging his shawl, when the messenger arrived.
Hazrat Umar (ra) received news of the victory and fell down into prostration in gratitude to Allah. He then got up and went to the mosque and made an announcement that “As-Salat ul Jami”. All of Madinah heeded to this call and arrived. The messenger informed all of the details of the victory.
Thereafter, the messenger went with Hazrat Umar (ra) to his residence and the messenger was presented with a meal. Hazrat Umar (ra) enquired from the messenger, “Why did you not come directly to me?” The messenger explained, “I thought you would be resting at the time.”
Hazrat Umar said, “How did you misconceive this about me? “If I rest during the day then who would bear the responsibility of the station of Khilafat?” With the conquest of Alexandria, all of Egypt was defeated. Through these battles a large number of prisoners of war were captured.
Hazrat Umar (ra) gave the following directives in a letter to Hazrat Amr regarding these prisoners: “Summon all of them and tell them they may choose to become Muslim should they wish to, “or they may choose to remain upon their existing religion.
“If they accept Islam they will be granted all those rights the Muslim have been afforded. “Otherwise, they would have to give the Jizya, which is given by all non-Muslim subjects.” When this announcement was read before the prisoners, many chose to become Muslim, whilst many others chose to keep their existing faith.
Whenever anyone amongst them decided to embrace Islam, the other Muslims would all raise chants of “Allah is the Greatest”. Whenever anyone amongst the prisoners professed to continue their belief in Christianity, the other Christians would sing tributes of praise, leaving the Muslims feeling sorrowful. The incident of the burning of the Library of Alexandria
Is often cited with fervour by various orientalists. But what really occurred? An allegation is raised regarding the victory of Alexandria by the opponents of Islam, in particular by Christians, that Hazrat Umar (ra) allegedly ordered for the great library in Alexandria to be burnt down.
This allegation is an attempt to create the perception that the Muslims, God forbid, were opposed to literacy, education and knowledge. It is alleged that the Library of Alexandria was burnt for six months continuously. In truth, from a logical standpoint and on the basis of the narrations, this allegation is entirely false and fictional.
Indeed, this is a religion whose founder taught: That is, “it is obligatory for every Muslim to seek knowledge.” And he also stated: That is, “seek knowledge even if you have to travel to China.” Further, the Holy Qur’an in numerous verses teaches Muslims to ponder, reflect and study. To allege against a religion with the aforementioned teachings that it advocates the burning of libraries and books, is clearly contrary to logic and reason.
Aside from this, many academics and researchers, including European and Christian researchers, disprove this allegation and provide evidence that supports the notion that the allegation of Muslims burning the Library of Alexandria is nothing more than a fabricated and false account. Thus, an Egyptian academic, Muhammad Raza,
Has written in his biography of Hazrat Umar Farooq (ra) that the Library of Alexandria being burnt is an allegation cited by Abul Farj, in a book called Mukhtasir Duwal. The author was born in 1226 CE and passed away in 1286 CE.
He writes that, “A person by the name of Yuhanna Al-Nahwi, known by the Muslims as Yahya, “was a Coptic priest from the Jacobite sect of Christianity “and later on moved away from the concept of trinity. “He had requested Hazrat Amr bin al-Aas for some books of knowledge and wisdom
“from “Khazain-e-Malukiyyat” (The library of Alexandria). “Hazrat Amr bin al-Aas responded that “he would give an answer only after seeking guidance from Hazrat Umar (ra). “(This is a completely made-up account, “(but I am relating it so that its rebuttal can also be presented.) “Hazrat Umar (ra) (according to this) wrote back,
“‘If the contents of the books you have requested are in concordance with the Book of Allah, ‘then the Book of Allah is sufficient and the books requested serve no purpose. ‘And if the contents of the books you have asked for are contradictory to the Book of Allah,
‘that such literature is useless to us. Thus, you should get rid of such books.’ “Hazrat Amr bin Al-Aas sorted these books in Alexandria and burnt them in a furnace. “Over the course of six months they were fully burnt.” This account is neither found in the history by Al-Tabari, nor in Ibn al-Athir,
Nor by Yaqubi and Al-Kindi, nor by Ibn Abdul Hakam, nor Al-Baladhuri, nor by Ibn Khaldun. This has only been cited by Abul Farj without any source, in the middle of the 13th century CE, corresponding to the beginning of the 7th century Hijri. Professor Butler has carried out research with regards to Yuhanna Nahvi
And has written that he was not even alive in 642 CE, when the incident relating to the burning of the Library of Alexandria is mentioned. Encyclopaedia Britannica has written that Yuhanna lived at the end of the 5th century and the beginning of the 6th century,
Whereas we know that the conquest of Egypt occurred at the outset of the 7th century. On this basis, Professor Butler is correct to state that Yuhanna had already passed away by then. Further, the person whose reference is being given to support this fabricated incident
(even if for argument’s sake it is taken as true although it is false), this individual in question passed away well before the alleged incident. Further, Dr Hassan Ibrahim Hassan, on the authority of Professor Ismail, in his book “The History of Amr bin al-Aas” writes,
“The Library of Alexandria did not even exist at the time, because in 47 BC, “the armies of Julius Ceaser had, without reason, burnt down one of two major parts of it. “The second part of the library had also disappeared soon after.
“This occurred on the behest of the bishop Theophlius in the 4th century AD. “Professor Butler writes that the narrations of Abul Farj, “from a historical standpoint, are mere conjecture and absurd. “If the books really had to be burnt (by the Muslims) “they would have burnt it at one time or in one go.
“If it had taken six months then many of the books would have been stolen during this time. “The Arabs were not known to let such material go to ruin. “Gibbon has asserted that Islamic teachings prove contrary to this account
“for Islam teaches to not burn the books of Jews and Christians obtained during wartime. “In terms of Islam’s stance on knowledge, philosophy, poetry, sciences, “and other branches of wisdom separate to religious teachings, “Islam encourages to avail of these. “In the lands the conquered by the Muslims,
“they never harmed the Churches and associated artefacts, “and in fact allowed the non-Muslim subjects to continue practicing their faith. “On the basis of all of this, can logic or reason conclude “that the leader of the faithful would ever have instructed “the Library of Alexandria to be burnt down?”
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih I (ra) has replied to this allegation in his book, “Tasdiq Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya” by stating: “(It is alleged that) Upon the request of Philoponus Hakeem and Fazal Ajal, “the Muslim commander-in-chief, Amr bin al-Aas enquired “about what to do with the library to the Second Khalifa, Leader of the Faithful,
“so the Khalifa replied stating it ought to be burned down immediately “and that this furnace burnt continuously for six months.” This is what the people allege. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih I (ra) then states, “This allegation is a result of spite on part of the priests and has no truth behind it.
“If the people ponder over this, “firstly, if this was part of the Islamic injunction (i.e. to burn books) “then during the blessed era of Hazrat Umar’s (ra) Khilafat, “he ought to have ordered the burning of Christian and Jewish holy books, “because it was these two religions with holy scriptures
“that were the primary addressee of Islam. “Then, Islam ruled over the Magians, “but there is not a single instance in history that mentions the burning of their books. “If this was the practice of the Khalifas of Islam, “then the means of this act ought to have been found in Islam,
“and also nothing would stop Islam from doing this.” Hazrat Khalifatul Masih I (ra) further states, “Secondly, if burning of religious books was the practice of Muslim sovereigns “and the Muslim people, “then it would be impossible to find books on Greek philosophy, “Greek medicine, and Greek sciences in the Arabic language.
“Thirdly, if the burning of books was the habit of Muslims, “then the one refuting Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya “(Hazrat Khalifatul Masih in this book “ought to have presented an example from his own country. “He would not need to across the sea to Alexandria to find an example. “Which books were burned in India? “Fourthly, Islam ruled in India for over 700 years; “during this time and even until today the Bhagavad Gita, Ramayana, Mahabharata,
“and other renowned religious books such as Linga Puran and Markandeya still exist today “and are considered to be their holy scriptures. “Has anyone ever heard about the burning of any of them? “In fact, some of these books have even been translated. “It is a wonder therefore, just how did the Hindus assume
“that the Muslims would burn their holy books? Ponder over this with justice.” In “Tasdiq Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya”, Hazrat Maulana Abdul Karim Sahib has also written a note in reply to this allegation. He writes, “It is true that until a time when this incident had not been investigated
“and the actual events had not come to light, “this allegation was levelled against the Muslims. “However, today, there are very few scholars who are just “and adhere to the truth and still level this allegation against the Muslims. “This allegation is mainly levelled owing to prejudice or being ignorant of the events.
“And even when this allegation was raised they had no proof, “i.e. regarding the ones who fabricated this incident “were two historians born some 580 years after this alleged incident took place, “but even then they did not have any previous source. “Saint Carieh, who has written countless books about the libraries of Alexandria
“has outright rejected this incident to be false. “It seems that these books were burnt during a battle with Julius Caesar. “Thus, Plutarch writes in ‘Life of Caeser’, “that fearing being captured by the enemy, Julius Caesar burnt his boats. “This fire spread to the extent that it burnt down the great library of Alexandria.”
In his book “Dictionary Relating to All Ages”, Haydn has not only rejected this incident, but has also written a note, “This incident is highly doubtful. “The Muslims have not accepted this narration “in which Hazrat Umar (ra) is reported to have ordered the burning of all “that are contrary to Islam.
“Some have attributed this incident to Theophilus of Alexandria, “who lived around 391 CE and others have attributed this to Cardinal Jimenez, “who lived around the 15th century CE.” Haydn further writes, “Our distinguished personality, “Dr Laitz has mentioned this erroneous account in his book “Sinnin Al-Islam”,
“and regrettably the honourable Doctor has erred in his research.” In his famous book, John William Draper has mentioned this incident with the false narrators, but later he accepts that this incident was fabricated. He writes, “In truth, these books were burnt during a battle with Julius Caesar.
“Now it can be said with full conviction that this incident is baseless and a mere tale. “If there is an incident worth lamenting over, “then that would be the true incident in which the bigoted Cardinal Jimenez, “burnt 80,000 Arabic manuscripts in the plains of Granada.”
When the Christians took control of Spain from the Muslims, they burnt 80,000 books from the Library of Granada. This is something to truly lament over, as opposed to raising allegations against Islam. See “(History of the) Conflict Between Religion & Science” where this reference can be found.
Nonetheless, this was the incident about burning of the library on which allegations are raised. Then there is the conquest of Burqa and Tripoli. After conquering Egypt and establishing law and order there, Amr bin Al-Aas headed west so that the conquered lands would be safe from threat from this side.
There were some Byzantine forces based in Burqa and Tripoli and were ceasing an opportunity so that they could incite the people and subsequently attack the Muslims in Egypt. The area between Alexandria and Morocco was known as Burqa. Many towns and settlements existed in this region.
Thus, in 22 AH Amr bin Al-Aas marched with his army towards Burqa. The land from Alexandria to Burqa was very lush and fertile and was densely populated. For this reason, until they reached there, they did not face any schemes of the enemy.
When they reached there, the people agreed to a treaty on the condition of paying the Jizya. Subsequently, the people of Burqa would themselves go to the governor of Egypt and pay the Kharaj and the Muslims would not need to go to collect it themselves.
Among the people in this region, they were the most simple. They did not instigate any discord or rebellion. Amr bin al-Aas left here and headed towards Tripoli, which was a city protected by forts. A large Byzantine army was stationed there. When they learnt of the approaching Muslim army,
They retreated to the forts and were forced to put up with the siege by the Muslims. This siege lasted for one month, but the Muslims did not attain much success. From the rear, the sea was connected to Tripoli and there was no wall between the sea and the city.
The Muslims became aware of this secret and a few Muslims entered the city via the sea. They loudly raised the slogans of “Allah is the Greatest”. The opposing army was left with no other option but to take shelter in their boats.
When they ran, Amr bin Al-Aas launched an attack and killed most of them, except the ones that escaped on their boats. The equipment and wealth in the city were captured by the Muslims as spoils of the battle. After this, Amr bin al-Aas spread his army in the surrounding areas.
His intention was that after attaining victories in the direction towards the West to then head towards Tunisia and Africa. And so, he wrote a letter to Hazrat Umar (ra), however Hazrat Umar (ra) at the time was reluctant to send the Muslim army to any new battlefront,
Particularly at a time when he was not convinced (of complete peace and security) in the lands which had been conquered from Syria to Tripoli in such a short space of time. Thus, he instructed the army to remain stationed in Tripoli.
During the era of Hazrat Umar’s (ra) Khilafat, the Islamic empire expanded far and wide. The Islamic empire established itself on the world map in the form of a single country, stretching from the River Gihon and the Indus River in the east to the Sahara desert of Africa in the West
And similarly stretched from the Northern Anatolian Mountains and Armenia in the North to the Pacific Ocean and Nubia in the south. Nubia is an expansive and vast area of land which is situated in the south of Egypt. People of various nations, religions and cultures all lived in peace and security
Under the shade of justice and mercy established by the Muslims in the entire land that was under their control. Islam granted people their full rights and honoured the sanctity of their lives despite those people greatly opposing their beliefs, manner of worship, culture and way of life.
What was the standard of worship of the Muslims during the battles? Regarding this Hazrat Musleh Maud (ra) states, “Everything in the world attains progress gradually. “Even the greatest of feats are never accomplished in a single a moment. “Even in the time of the Holy Prophet (sa) not everyone observed the Tahajjud prayer.
“Rather, this habit was being instilled in them gradually and even though it is proven “that sometimes the Holy Prophet (sa) would not offer the Tahajjud prayer during battle, “however in the era of Hazrat Umar (ra) “the Muslims would offer the Tahajjud prayer even in the days of battle.
“It is possible that the Holy Prophet (sa) “would also wake up for the Tahajjud prayer during the days of battle, “but it is proven that on certain occasions “he would not offer the Tahajjud prayer (during the days of battle). “However, in the era of Hazrat Umar (ra),
“the Muslims would offer the Tahajjud prayer even in battle. “Once, Heraclius decided to launch a sudden attack on the Muslims, “however after much discussion it was ultimately decided “that there was no point to launch a sudden attack “because the Muslims did not sleep at night and instead would offer the Tahajjud prayer.
“This is another hallmark of their progression which was not found in them in the early days “and thus the Holy Prophet (sa) would have to greatly urge and exhort them to offer this “but later even those who were weak had developed the habit to offer the Tahajjud prayer.”
Whilst mentioning the battles which took place during the era of the Khulafa-e-Rashideen (The Rightly Guided Caliphs), Hazrat Musleh Maud (ra) states, “Islam has not only given the command to challenge (the aggressors) “but owing to certain wisdoms and reasons it has also commanded to endure the injustices. “Hence, where Allah the Almighty grants permission
“that if one receives a slap, he can slap in return, “however if one feels that it would be wise not to retaliate then one ought to remain quiet “and not retaliate in the same manner. “Thus, this argument which is generally presented in these instances (of battle) “refutes the allegation levelled by the enemy
“against Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra), Hazrat Umar (ra) and Hazrat Usman (ra). “It is clear that Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) did not commit any injustice, “rather it was the Byzantine Emperor who committed injustice; “Hazrat Umar (ra) did not commit any injustice, “rather it was Chosroes who committed injustice;
“Hazrat Usman (ra) did not commit any injustice, “rather it was the tribes dwelling in Afghanistan and Bukhara and the Kurds, etc., “who committed injustice. “However, we do not find any argument or reason as to why Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra), “Hazrat Umar (ra) and Hazrat Usman (ra) did not forgive them.
“When (Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra)) left for battle, he could have said to the Byzantine Emperor “that a certain commander had committed an error “and if their government apologised for it then they would forgive them “and if not then they would proceed for battle. “He did not say to the Byzantine Emperor
“that he or one section of his army had committed an injustice on a certain occasion, “but since their teaching also states that one can forgive their enemy “therefore if they sought an apology then they were ready to forgive. “In fact, as soon as he committed an injustice,
“the Muslims were ready to challenge them in battle and continued to challenge them. “Similarly, when the soldiers of Chosroes attacked at the border of Iraq, “a battle between the companions and Chosroes was politically justified and lawful, “but nonetheless Hazrat Umar (ra) could have said to Chosroes
“that he himself may have not given an instruction to attack, “but the soldiers did this of their own accord, “therefore the Muslims were willing to overlook this attack providing they apologise “and show remorse over their action, however Hazrat Umar (ra) did not do this. “Again, in the era of Hazrat Usman (ra),
“he did not say to the enemy that though they had committed an injustice, “but since their religion also teaches to forgive one’s injustices “therefore they will forgive them. “In fact, he immediately stood to challenge them and sent his armies “and fought against them and continued to battle against them.
“After all what was the reason for this?” Hazrat Musleh Maud (ra) further continues, “If we ponder over this, we find that there was no other reason “for this except for the fact that Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) knew “that whenever the external danger subsides, internal conflict will begin.
“He felt that it wasn’t the Byzantine emperor who launched an attack but was in fact God, “so that through this trial the Muslims would reform themselves “and instil in them a new life and bring about a transformation in themselves. “Hazrat Umar (ra) knew that it wasn’t Chosroes who launched the attack
“but it was in fact God Who did so lest the Muslims became neglectful and indolent “and immersed themselves in material pursuits, “rather they should always remain vigilant and ready. “Hazrat Usman (ra) knew that it wasn’t the various tribes who launched an attack on the Muslims,
“in fact it was God, so that the Muslims become vigilant “and instil a new life and spirit within themselves.” Hazrat Musleh Maud (ra) mentioned this in one of his sermons. On the basis of this, Hazrat Musleh Maud (ra) then advised the Jama’at, that one has to go through trials and difficulties,
So that they can progress in spiritualty. If we wish to uphold this principle even today then remember that these trials and difficulties ought to bring us closer to God Almighty and it is this that then becomes a means of attaining success and victories. If out of fear we show reluctance in these matters
And do not pay focus towards our reformation then success cannot be attained. And when success is achieved and difficulties come to an end even then we should continue to maintain our bond with Allah the Almighty. However, in these days particularly, we ought to pay greater attention towards Allah the Almighty
And towards our spiritual betterment and progress. Hazrat Musleh Maud (ra) has stated that if we fail to grasp this point then we have not understood anything at all. Hence, this is a point which every Ahmadi must try and understand these days. All praise is due to Allah
We laud Him, we beseech help from Him and ask His protection; we confide in Him, we trust Him alone and we seek protection against the evils and mischief of our souls and from the bad results of our deeds. Whomsoever He guides on the right path, none can misguide him;
And whosoever He declares misled, none can guide him onto the right path. And we bear witness that none deserves to be worshipped except Allah. We bear witness that Muhammad (sa) is His servant and Messenger. O servants of Allah! May Allah be merciful to you.
Verily, Allah commands you to act with justice, to confer benefits upon each other and to do good to others as one does to one’s kindred and forbids evil which pertain to your own selves and evils which affect others and prohibits revolts against a lawful authority. He warns you against being unmindful.
You remember Allah; He too will remember you; call Him and He will make a response to your call. And verily divine remembrance is the highest virtue.