Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Abu Ubaidah bin Jarrah

Abu Ubaidah bin Jarrah

A handsome, pleasant, well-spoken man with a tall, slim physique and bright sharp eyes, he was an image of dignity and grace. These were his physical good looks. By character and nature he was humble and modest. Among his friends he was gentle and soft as silk; when it came to a war between good and evil he was as hard as iron. He had lost his two front teeth in the Battle of Uhud. Two of the iron links of the Prophet's helmet had pierced his head and he had pulled them out with his teeth. He was unparalleled for his integrity and honesty among the Companions and the Prophet had given him the distinguished title of 'Trustee of the Ummah'. His real name was 'Amir bin 'Abdullah bin Al-Jarrah, but he became famous as Abu 'Ubaidah bin Al-Jarrah . 'Abdullah bin 'Umar says that among the tribe of the Quraish there were three personalities whose appearance, mien, manners and modesty excelled all others. They also had the gift of eloquent and gentle speech. If people looked towards them they wished to keep on looking. In his opinion the three people were:
· Abu Bakr Siddiq
· Abu 'Ubaidah bin Al-Jarrah
· 'Uthmgn bin 'Affgn
Abu 'Ubaidah bin Al-Jarrah was among those very first distinguished Companion who had accepted Islam. He pledged allegiance to Islam just the day after Abu Bakr Siddiq who had invited him to accept it.
Abu 'Ubaidah bin Al-Jarrah, 'Abdur-Ralmgn bin 'Auf, Arqam bin Abi in the company of Abu Baltr Siddiq went into the presence of the Prophet and recited the pledge:


"None has the right to be worship but Allah and that Muhammad is His Messenger."
Doubtless these great people who were the foundations on which the castle of Islam was constructed. Abu 'Ubaidah bin Al-Jarrah & passed every trial and test with flying colors. The difficult situations created by the Quraish were met with courage, patience and fortitude. During this period of hardship sufferings they remained constant and firm. Every single moment they sincerely and honestly recognized the authenticity and truth of the Prophet as the 'Messenger of Allah. They never give any sine of despair or hopelessness; the test that was faced at the Battle of Badr was so critical that it is beyond human comprehension.
What happened in the Battle of Badr, Abu 'Ubaidalh bin Al-Jarralhah advanced ', tearing his way into the middle of the enemy ranks? Thus bold move of his created havoc and the enemy started to run helter-skelter. He was going around fearlessly in the middle of the enemy as if death was of no consequence and there was absolutely no danger.
His casual attitude frightened the Quraish. As soon as he came face to face with an enemy on horseback, the man would give way to him. But there was one man among them who would stand in front of him to challenge him and try to attack him with his sword. Abu 'Ubaidah bin Al-Jarrah would try to avoid him and retreat. But the man would insist on coming face to face to oppose him, and Abu'Ubaidah bin Al-Jarrah would always give him free passage and get out of his way. During the battle a stage came when the man had him trapped. There was no way that Abu 'Ubaidah bin Al-Jarrah could turn to avoid him; he could neither move toward front nor could he move back; all avenues were closed to him. Absolutely ensnared, he was forced to attack him on the head with his sword; his skull broke into two and in a moment he lay dead at his feet. Can you guess who this slain man could be? Doubtless the trial of faithfulness faced by Abu 'Ubaidah bin Al-Jarrah was extremely critical, few people are forced into such a situation. When he realized that the dead man was his father he was stunned. The fact was that the man he had killed was to all appearances his father, but in reality it was the standard-bearer of evil he had killed.
Fulfilling this exemplary role he had made it clear that in the balance it was Allah Almighty and His religion of Islam which outweighed all other considerations and even familial bonds. The love of Allah takes priority and is superior to all other bonds. Every moment the objective is in sight and of paramount importance (the glory of Islam).
"You (0 Muhammad %) will not find any people who believe in Allah and the Last Day, making friendship with those who oppose Allah and His Messenger (Muhammad g),even though they were their fathers or their sons or their brothers or their kindred (people). For such He has written Faith in their hearts, and strengthened them with Ruh(proofs, light and true guidance) from Himself. And He will admit them to Gardens (Paradise) under which rivers flow, to dwell therein (forever). Allah is pleased with them and they with Him. They are the party of Allah. Verily, it is the party of Allah that will be the successful." (59:22)
What better fate could one ask for than praise for one's deeds in the radiant Verses revealed in the Noble Quran? The depth of their belief in Allah Almighty gave them the certitude that the being who had created them would also provide for them; the Almighty Allah for Whose cause they had stepped out into the battlefield would provide ample means of sustenance for them, and He did provide something which had never even entered their minds.
The fighting was at its most intense in the Battle of Uhud. The sound of the clanging of swords was deafening, there was so much shouting and yelling that one's hair stood up on end. Both armies were equally matched. And then the enemy began to retreat, and the Muslim forces chased them right up to their tents; the archers too leapt down from their positions. Khalid bin Waleed surrounded them and the rest of the enemies too turned back. At this stage in the battle Abu 'Ubaidah bin Al-Jarrah was in the front ranks and surrounded, but realizing that the Prophet was in danger and breaking through the dangerous encircling enemy cordon, he reached him. The Prophet was lying down bleeding from his injuries and cleaning up the blood from his wounds. He was saying sorrowfully:
"How can those people prosper who have bloodied the face of their Prophet, though all he was doing was to invite them to their Creator and Sustainer?" Painting a picture of this painful scene, Abu Bakr Siddiq RA says: "The Prophet was injured in the Battle of Uhud. A couple of links from his own helmet had pierced through his forehead, which was bleeding. I ran towards him, and then suddenly, what I should see but a friend running towards him from the east. He reached him before me, and I saw that it was the self-sacrificing Abu 'Ubaidah bin Al-Jarrah RA. He requested that I should give him the honor of removing the links of the helmet. Then with great care, but at the same time with great force he held on to the links with his front teeth. He pulled out one link, but lost a tooth in the process. Then without bothering about the pain he must be suffering, again he held on to the other link with his teeth and exerted force. As the other link came out, he lost another tooth as well. Thus two of his teeth were sacrificed, but his beloved Prophet was relieved and found comfort. It seemed as if he looked even more handsome and graceful than before with the loss of his two front teeth, because it was all done for love of the Prophet g PBUH. All the other Companions of the Prophet used to look at him with envious eyes.
The Prophet loved Abu 'Ubaidah bin Al-Jarrah, his self-sacrificing Companion, deeply and often gave him preference over others. In the year 9th Hijrah delegation from Yemen came to meet the Prophet &. Instead of accepting Islam they wished to pay the Jazyah.
They very respectfully requested the Prophet PBUH that he should send someone trustworthy with them. When he heard their request he said he would send with them a person whom he trusted deeply and who would fulfill his obligations and his duty. Thus sentence he repeated three times. Each of the Companion present who heard this very complimentary sentence repeated by his beloved and respected Prophet PBUH , wished he would be the one chosen to fulfill the s trust.
'Umar Farooq & says: "I had never deeply wished to occupy any position, but when I heard this sentence repeated by the Prophet PBUH, I wished that I should be the object whom this praise was showered. I hurried for the noon prayers to the mosque. After having led the prayers, the Prophet looked to his left and to his right. I stretched my neck in order to attract his attention. He kept glancing at all the people who had assembled for the prayers.
Finally, his eye fell on Abu 'Ubaidah bin Al-Jarrah . He called him and told him to accompany the delegation and do what was just and right in fulfilling the contract with them. Abu 'Ubaidah bin Al-Jarrah went with the delegation to Yemen and according to the instructions received from the Prophet PBUH, fulfilled his duty. The laudatory sentences, the phrases of praise expressed by the Prophet became his life-savings for Abu 'Ubaidah bin Al-Jarrah . This was a unique honor for him, not shared by any of the other Companions.
In the wars of Badr, Uhud, Khandaq, Banu Quraidhah, and in the battles of Salasal, Dimashq, Fahal, Hamas and Yarmook and in many other less important battles, Abu 'Ubaidah bin Al-Jarrah proved his courage and daring. He was present at the signing of the Treaty of Hudaibiyah; in fact he was one of the signatories to it. He also accompanied the Prophet on Hajjalzt-ul-Wida'a (the last pilgrimage).
When the Prophet PBUH passed away, the Companions were heartbroken and lost. Every one of them had tears in his eyes and felt as if he was adrift and rudderless. The question was who should be the next Caliph was a very big problem. At this critical juncture Abu 'Ubaidah bin Al-Jarrah ; played a very significant role, in trying to calm down both the Ansar and the Muhajreen. Abu Bakr Siddiq addressed all the troubled Companions and said that they had the choice. 'Umar Farooq was among them; the Prophet had said about him that All Almighty had given predominance to Islam through him, then there was Abu 'Ubaidah bin Al-Jarrah . The Prophet had said that every religion has a safe-keeper, and that Abu 'Ubaidah bin Al-Jarrah was the repository of the Muslim Ummah's trust. He asked them to choose any one of them, but both these distinguished Companions move forwards and pledged allegiance to him.
Seeing this all the Muhajireen and Ansar also crowded around him and swore allegiance to him; all differences were resolved, and everyone breathed a sigh of relief. Thus, in a very simple yet well-planned manner he resolved a situation which was of critical significance for the Ummah. Abu 'Ubaidah bin Al-Jarrah was known to be a very successful General, but he was also known as a perceptive diplomat and skillful negotiator who could find peaceful solution for potentially violent and problematic situations and skillful negotiator who could find peaceful solutions for potentially violent and problematic situations. This was the reason why advantage was taken of this dexterity and skill of his in difficult situations to the very end of his life. The Prophet gave him the title of Amin-ul-Ummah (Trustee of the Ummah), Abu Bakr Siddiq offered him the first Caliphate and 'Umar Farooq said he would have made him Caliph if he had been alive.
After conquering the famous key city of Hamas in Syria General Abu 'Ubaidah bin Al-Jarrah, leading the Muslim army, moved on. He appointed 'Ubadah bin Samit look after Hamas. All the settlements on the way were conquered. Lazaqiah was a fortified town, this was besieged but it did not look like it would be easy to conquer it. Here the master strategist, General Abu 'Ubaidah bin Al- Jarrah planned a different modus operandi which amazed both friends and enemies. He ordered the Mujahideen to dig trenches in the open fields near the city. Once this was done he ordered his troops to end the siege. When the siege was lifted and his army withdrew, the people of the city were overjoyed. They thought all their problems had been solved. When the army withdrew and was no longer visible the people came out of the city. The whole day there was the usual hustle and bustle in the town, doors were left open and people kept moving in and out of the town. As soon as the sun set, the doors of the city were closed. He then asked his men to hide in the trenches they had dug, taking advantage of the darkness of the night. When morning came the doors of the city were opened and the people of the city went about as per their routine, moving in and out of the city.
Suddenly the Mujahideen came out of the trenches and entered the city and very easily conquered it. On the battlefront digging of trenches is today an accepted part of military strategy. It was Abu 'Ubaidah bin Al-Jarrah who first introduced these tactics in a battle.
Yarmook is the name of a river, which meets the river Jordan and about thirty miles further up the river Yarmook makes a circle and flows on. From here it flows into a huge plain. The famous war that was fought here during the Caliphate of Abu Bakr Siddiq came to be known as the war of Yarmook. It was the Roman army, consisting of two hundred thousand men, which fought here against the much smaller force of the Mujahideen consisting of forty thousand men only.
When Khalid bin Waleed reached here after a very long and tedious journey from Iraq, he was worried to see the scattered forces of the Muslims under several different leaders. Among them were different troops under Abu 'Ubaidah bin AI-Jarrah , Yazid bin Abi Sufysn, Sharjeel bin Masana and the fourth one under 'Amr bin 'Aas , KhAlid bin Waleed gathered everyone together and addressed them sorrowfully. He said that the enemy had entered the field very well-prepared and also outnumbered them by several times.
If they opposed them, divided into so many groups, they had no hopes of winning. In his opinion they should agree to hand over the command each day to a different leader; thus the Muslim army would present a picture of unity, oneness and understanding, and move rapidly towards victory. The command on the first day could be handed over to him, and one by one the other four could take over on the following days. The whole army was relieved and happy to hear this. After having been given command on the first day Khalid bin Waleed trained the Mujahideen in the light of his experiences. The two armies faced each other and there was very heavy fighting. The Romans lost more than a hundred thousand men on this very first day. The clanging of swords and the shouts and screams of the men could be heard from all sides. The Muaihideen were busy trying to wipe out the Romans, and advancing under the leadership of Khalid bin Waleed when a messenger arrived from the capital, Al- Madinall with a hand written message which he gave to Abu 'Ubaidah bin Al-Jarrah . He put it in h s pocket and did not tell anyone about it. When the Muslims had won convincingly and Khalid bin Waleed , was standing in the field as the victorious General of a victorious army, he handed over the message very respectfully to him.
Khalid bin Waleed was deeply moved as it carried the news of the passing away of Abu Bakr Siddiq &;. He said:
"To Him All we belong and to Him we return."
Further he was informed that 'Umar Farooq as the new Caliph, and thanked Allah Almighty for this. After this he read the shocking news that he had been removed from his command and Abu 'Ubaidah bin Al-Jarrah had been appointed Commander of the Muslim army. He immediately handed over command and expressed his willing desire to fight under him as an ordinary soldier and said:
"Abu 'Ubaidal, may Allah shower His Blessings on you; why did you not tell me as soon as you received the letter?"
The Amin-ul-Ummah, Abu 'Ubaidal replied: "He did not like to disturb him in the battlefield and stop h s advancing steps. We do not want the power of this world; neither do we work for this world. We are all brothers in working to please Allah Almighty."
Displaying exemplary patience and fortitude in this situation, Abu 'Ubaidah bin Al-Jarrah proved that the training and nurturing of the Prophet had left very deep-rooted and pleasant effects on him. He was not affected or elated by having been given command of the army. His heart had only one desire - the glorification of Islam.
After the conquest of Damascus Abu 'Ubaidah bin Al-Jarrah informed the Caliph 'Umar Farooq that the people of Damascus were very eager to see you and wanted to present you the keys of the city. As soon as he heard this 'Umar Farooq set out for Syria. He asked the people waiting to receive him about the whereabouts of his brother. The people were surprised and asked him, who brother was. He answered that he was asking about Abu 'Ubaidah bin Al-Jarrah . Then they pointed out that he was just approaching. 'Umar Farooque went forward and embraced him warmly and then accompanied him to his house. When he saw the very austere lifestyle of Abu 'Ubaidah bin Al-Jarrah, he was very surprised. There were no worldly goods in the house, nothing but his weapons - a sword, bow and arrows, and his saddle. 'Umar Farooq was amazed that a man of such high status had chosen to live such a simple life. He said: "Abu 'Ubaidah, it is very surprising that even though you have been appointed to such a high office, you have not made anything for yourself."
Abu ‘Ubaidal bin Al-Jarrah answered that what he had was sufficient for him. 'Umar Farooq answered that this was exactly what he had expected from him, that he would remain true and constant to the norms of trust worthiness.
Abu 'Ubaidah bin Al-Jarrah was performing h s duties of commanding the Muslim forces in Syria and conquering vast territories very rapidly; the whole of Syria had been conquered and Islamic empire had spread far and wide and graph of victories was at its peak. What transpired was that at this time the fatal disease of plague spread in the city, as it never had before. People were effected prey to it very rapidly. When 'Umar Farooq came to know of this he sent a messenger with a letter for Abu 'Ubaidah bin Al-Jarrah .
He wrote in the letter that he had some important business with him, and wanted him to make preparations and immediately set out for Al- Madinah to meet him. He was not to delay; if the letter reached him at night, he should set out before morning; if it reached him in the morning, he should set out before night fell.
When Abu 'Ubaidah bin Al-Jarrah read the letter he said sorrowfully that he knew what was the urgent and important work that 'Umar Farooq , had for me. He wanted to keep alive a man who was not born to live in this world forever. Then he wrote a letter to the Caliph 'Umar Farooq . After greeting him he said he knew what work he had for me. He was in the Muslim army and at that time the Muslims were involved in severe problems; he could not leave them alone at that critical phase, nor could he separate himself from them, unless it was Allah Almighty's Will to decide about their fate and his.
He appealed to the Caliph to consider him helpless to obey his commands in this matter and requested him to give him permission to stay with the Mujahideen of Islam.
When 'Umar Farooq received this letter and read it his eyes brimmed with tears. The Companions sitting around him were surprised to see this and asked him if here was some tragic news, and if the Commander of the Muslim forces, Abu 'Ubaidah bin Al-Jarrah had died. He answered:
"No, but death is very near him now."
And his guess, turned out to be correct, a few days later Abu 'Ubaidah bin Al-Jarrah was struck by the deadly plague.
Mu'adh bin Jabl stood up and told the people with quivering lips and a trembling voice: "Brothers in Islam! You are sunk in grief today for a man who was a better hearted than any of us. He had a pure heart free from malice or envy; and he was a man who loved the Hereafter and was the well-wisher of each one of us. He was a man who was given the title of 'Amin-Ul Ummah' and during his very lifetime on this earth he was given the glad tidings that he would go to Paradise by no less a person than the Prophet himself. He was a very lucky man indeed! Let us all pray that his position in Paradise ever exalted. May ALLAH shower his Blessings on him?"

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