Saturday, 5 January 2013

The Amin al-Ummah

Amir ibn Abdullah ibn al-Jarrah ibn Hilal al-Fahri al-Quraisy, known as Abu ‘Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah. He was dubbed as the Amin al-Ummah and Amir al-‘Umara (the Custodian of Muhammad’s community). He was born in the year 583 C.E.  in the house of ‘Abdullah ibn al-Jarrah, a merchant by profession. Abu ‘Ubaidah belonged to the Quraishi clan of Banu al-Harith ibn Fihr. Even before his conversion to Islam, he was considered to be one of the nobles of Quraish and was famous among Quraish of Makkah for his modesty and bravery.

Abu ‘Ubaidah was one of the early converts to Islam who endured oppression at the hands of Quraish at Mecca. By 611 C.E.  Muhammad shalallahu ‘alihi wa sallam was preaching the oneness of Allah to the people of Makkah. He began by inviting his closest companions and relatives in secret to the way of Islam. He embraced Islam just a day after Abu Bakr radhiyallahu ‘anhu in the year 611.

He first left to Abyssinia to escape the cruelty from idolaters but later joined the Prophet shalallahu ‘alihi wa sallam as he migrated to Medina in 622 C.E. . When Muhammad shalallahu ‘alihi wa sallam arrived in Medina, he paired off each immigrant (Muhajir) with one of the residents of Medina (Ansari). Joining Mu’adh ibn Jabal with Abu ‘Ubaidah making them brothers in faith. Muslims remained in peace in Medina for about one year before the Quraish raised an army to attack Medina.

Abu ‘Ubaidah took part in the Battle of Badr, the first major battle between the Muslims and the polytheists of Mecca. Amidst the chaos of fighting Abu ‘Ubaidah avoided confronting his father who was fighting alongside the Quraish. Abu ‘Ubaidah avoided fighting with him but eventually his father succeeded in blocking Abu ‘Ubaidah’s path. Abu ‘Ubaidah then attacked him and killed him. The following verse of the Quran was written about this display of character by Abu ‘Ubaidah:

لَا تَجِدُ قَوْمًا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ يُوَادُّونَ مَنْ حَادَّ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَلَوْ كَانُوا آبَاءَهُمْ أَوْ أَبْنَاءَهُمْ أَوْ إِخْوَانَهُمْ أَوْ عَشِيرَتَهُمْ أُولَئِكَ كَتَبَ فِي قُلُوبِهِمُ الْإِيمَانَ وَأَيَّدَهُمْ بِرُوحٍ مِنْهُ وَيُدْخِلُهُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِنْ تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُوا عَنْهُ أُولَئِكَ حِزْبُ اللَّهِ أَلَا إِنَّ حِزْبَ اللَّهِ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ (22)
“You will not find a people believing in Allah and the Last Day making friends with those who oppose Allah and His messenger even if these were their fathers, their sons, their brothers or their clan. Allah has placed faith in their hearts and strengthened them with a spirit from Him. He will cause them to enter gardens beneath which streams flow that they may dwell therein. Allah is well pleased with them and they well pleased with Him. They are the party of Allah. Is not the party of Allah the successful ones?” (Al-Mujadalah:22)

He participated in the Battle of Uhud. In the second phase of the battle, when Khalid ibn Walid’s cavalry attacked Muslims from the rear changing the victory of Muslims into defeat, bulk of Muslim soldiers routed from the battle field and few remained steadfast, Abu ‘Ubaidah was one of them, he guarded Muhammad shalallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam from the attacks of Qurayshi soldiers.

During the Battle of Uhud, he lost two of his teeth for the sake of helping the Prophet Muhammad shalallahu ‘alihi wa sallam. It was within this battle that two of the iron links of the Prophet Muhammad shalallahu ‘alihi wa sallam 's helmet pierced his shalallahu ‘alihi wa sallam blessed head. Abu ‘Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah radhiyallahu ‘anhu pulled them out with his own teeth. His integrity and honesty was unparalleled even amongst the Companions of the Holy Prophet radhiyallahu ‘anhu.

These were the physical good looks of a man whom the Prophet Muhammad shalallahu ‘aihi wa sallam said: "Every Ummah (Nation) has a Trustee; the Trustee of my Ummah (Nation) is Abu ‘Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah radhiyallahu ‘anhu."

His appearance was striking. He was slim and tall. His face was bright and he had a sparse beard. It was pleasing to look at him and refreshing to meet him. He was extremely courteous and humble and quite shy. Yet in a tough situation he would become strikingly serious and alert, resembling the flashing blade of a sword in his severity and sharpness. Of him Abdullah ibn ‘Umar, one of the companions of the Prophet, said:
"Three persons in the tribe of Quraysh were most prominent, had the best character and were the most modest. If they spoke to you, they would not deceive you and if you spoke to them, they would not accuse you of Iying: Abu Bakr as-Siddiq, Uthman ibn Affan and Abu ‘Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah."

When Muhammad shalallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam died, of his succession took place at Saqifah of Banu Sa'ad, Abu ‘Ubaidah was there along with Abu Bakr and Umar radhiyallahu ‘anhuma. Umar radhiyallahu ‘anhu said to Abu ‘Ubaidah radhiyallahu ‘anhu to stretch forth his hand for caliphate but he refused and said to Abu Bakr to sretch forth his hand to take the pledge of alliance.

When caliph Abu Bakr radhiyallhu ‘anhu died, he made Umar radhiyallhu ‘anhu his successor. As Umar radhiyallhu ‘anhu became caliph he relieved Khalid ibn Walid radhiyallhu ‘anhu from the command of the Islamic army and appointed Abu ‘Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah radhiyallhu ‘anhu as the new commander. This was done to dispel the impression that the victories were due to Khalid radhiyallhu ‘anhu. Moreover Khalid radhiyallhu ‘anhu was an overtly generous person who in some opinions would often waste his money in giving gifts to his soldiers as a reward for their bravery in the battles.

Due to different style of commands, there was a slowdown in the pace of operations, as Abu ‘Ubaidah moved slowly and steadily, in contrast to Khalid who is said to rush 'like a tornado from battle to battle', using surprise, audacity and brute force to win his battles. The conquest of Syria continued under the new commander. Abu ‘Ubaida used to rely heavily on the advice of Khalid radhiyallhu ‘anhu, whom he kept with him as much as possible.

Umar ibn al-Khattab went to visit Abu 'Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah. So they told Abu 'Ubaidah. That Umar ibn al-Khattab is outside and he wants to visit him. Abu 'Ubaidah said : “He wants nothing but to inspect my house. That is the only reason why he is visiting me.”

Umar ibn al-Khattab came in, he sat with Abu 'Ubaidah, looked around and there was no furniture. Nothing, all that he saw was a sword, a spear, a bow, and arrows. Umar ibn al-Khattab said : “Bring us some food.” And Abu 'Ubaidah brought a basket that had a pieces of dry bread in it and said : ”This is our food.”

Umar ibn al-Khattab wept and said : “This world has changed us all except you Abu 'Ubaidah. Duniya has taken a toll on every one of us, except for you, duniya did not change you.”

That's why Umar ibn al-Khattab had so much trust in Abu 'Ubaidah, so much love for him because he was the Amin of this Ummah, he was the trustworthy of this Ummah. Anyone would change except Abu 'Ubaidah, duniya would affect everyone but Abu 'Ubaidah. And that's why Umar ibn al-Khattab says when he asked the men with him to make a wish, some of them said we want this room full of gold. Others said we want this room full of pearls to spend it in the sake of Allah.

Umar ibn al-Khattab said : “I want this room to be full of the likes of Abu 'Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah. So I can send them in the way of Allah (Jihad). That's the most valuable thing I have is men like Abu 'Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah. Not my money, but men like Abu 'Ubaidah bin al-Jarrah radhiyallahu 'anhu. One of the ten given the glad tidings of Jannah. Umar ibn al-Khattab said : “If Abu 'Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah were alive, I would have entrusted him with the caliphate, and if Allah asked me about him, I would say, I assigned the caliphate to the trustworthy of Allah and his messenger shalallahu 'alaihi wa sallam, Abu 'Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah.

When Abu Ubaidah was in Syria leading the Muslim forces from one victory to another until the whole of Syria was under Muslim control. It was then that a plague epidemic hit the land of Syria. He passed away in plague in this epidemic in 639 C.E. and was buried at Jabiya.

The Amin al-Ummah died in the land which he had purified from paganism of the Persians and the oppression of the Romans. Today in Jordan lie his noble remains which once were full of life, goodness, and satisfaction. It does not matter if you know where he is buried or not, for if you want to find his grave, you will need no guide. The Fragrance of his remains will lead you to it. May Allah have mercy on his Soul and may Allah be pleased with him. Aameen.

Wallahu ta'ala a'lam


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