Saad Bin Abi Waqqas RaziAllah Unho The Great Commander of Islamic Forces
Saad Bin Abi Waqqas was a tall tanned sturdily built youth with broad shoulders and curly hair; he was a picture of devotion to Allah Almighty. He led an austere and pure life, kept awake at nights in worship, and was courageous and yet forbearing. This fortunate Companion had received the glad tidings that he would go to Paradise, from the lips of the Prophet PBUH himself. He had also prayed to Allah Almighty that the supplications of Sa'd bin Abi Waqas should be answered and that his arrow should always find its mark. Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas had been a member of the group of Companion who had pledged loyalty to Allah Almighty and His Prophet PBUH at what came to be known as the Bai'at-al-Rizwan.
These Companions are mentioned in the Noble Qur'an and Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas was one of them. He was one of those brave soldiers who took part in the Battle of Uhud and were known for their fearlessness. In this battle this experienced archer had rained his arrows on the enemy and the Prophet PBUH had been so pleased with him that he said to him
"Saa'd shoot your arrows; May my mother and father be sacrificed for you." Saa'd bin Abi Waqqas became a Muslim at the age of seventeen. He was educated and trained in the Dar e Arqam
and was with the Prophet PBUH at the Shebe Abi Talib,' bearing with patience and fortitude the difficulties and hardship of the siege.
In the famous place called Jasr in Iraq he opposed the Iraqi army. They came on to the battlefield looking very warlike and arrogantly clapping their breasts. There was very heavy fighting and the attack of the enemy was so very forceful and severe that four thousand Mujahidin were martyred in a single day. The Caliph, 'Umar Farooq was very sad to hear this tragic news, and decided to go to Iraq and lead the Muslim army himself. He ordered that 'Ali bin Abi Talib be put in charge of affairs at the capital, Al-Madinah, and with some Mujahidin reinforcements set out for Iraq. When 'Abdur-Rahman bin 'Auf came to know that 'Umar Farooq was on his way to Iraq, he was very upset and set out to stop him. He caught up with him just a short distance from Al-Madinah and persuaded him not to leave the capital, as the situation was critical. He tried to convince him that his presence was essential in the capital, as the Muslims were facing a difficult and delicate situation. The Muslim Ummah needed his services very badly, and there were plenty of experienced strategists, and courageous lions, who could be sent to crush the kuffar.
He suggested it would be better to entrust the military leadership to an experienced and fearless General. These arguments convinced 'Umar Farooq and he summoned ‘Ali;
and some other prominent Companion to a meeting; they all agreed that 'Umar Farooq -
should return to the capital, and an experienced commander be chosen to lead the Muslim forces in Iraq. Giving in to the collective opinion of the Companions, 'Umar Farooq Razi Allah Unho returned to Al-Madinah. All the Companion started considering various possibilities, when 'Abdur-Rahman bin 'Auf suddenly called out that he had got just his right man; upon being asked for the name by 'Umar Farooq ,
he said the best man to handle the situation would be the lion-hearted youth, Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas RA the entire Companion were happy to approve of his choice. And 'Umar Farooq sent Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas to Iraq as Commander of the Muslim forces.
The Prophet had prayed to Allah that,
He should grant acceptance to the entreaties of Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas. After this whenever Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas prayed to Allah Almighty, his prayers and supplications would be answered. All other Companion used to value him highly.
His son narrates how one day he heard a man grumbling; when he listened closely to what he was saying he realized he was abusing 'Ali, Talha and Zubair h
e told him to stop, but he would not listen and continued. Finally, Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas lost his temper, and said if did not control his tongue he would put a curse on him. Arrogantly the man told him that lie was arrogating powers to himself and he asked him if he thought he was a Prophet PBUH. Listening to the man's bitter words, he merely turned away. He went, made his ablutions for prayers and offered two supererogatory units of prayer. Then he entreated Allah Almighty "0
Allah you know that this man is abusing men of purity, with whom You Yourself are Pleased because of their goodness. Surely you will not approve of these abuses. May this man be a lesson for such other men?" He had barely done with his supplications when people saw that a raging she-camel had broken away from the rope which tethered her, and leaving her home had entered in the midst of a crowd of people. It seemed as if she was looking for a particular person. In seconds she had the head of a person in her bloodthirsty jaws and was shaking it violently from side to side. Finally his neck broke and in no time he had become the prey of death. People were stunned into silence. The dead man was none other than the one who had been abusing the noble Companions a few minutes earlier, and against whom Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas had appealed to Allah Almighty.
When the Prophet went on his Farewell Pilgrimage he accompanied him and happened to fall ill. When the Prophet went to nurse him, he told the Prophet that he owned a lot of property and had only one daughter who would inherit it. He said that he wished to give away as charity in the Name of Allah two-third of it. The Prophet told him this was too large a proportion. Then he asked if he could give away one half, the Prophet said
even this was too much. Then again he asked if it would be all right to give away one third. The Prophet said even this was a bit too much though it was all right. He asked him to remember that it was better to leave one's heirs in a good financial position; it was not good to leave them in a situation where they would have to around asking others for help. Allah will reward the person who spent anything at all in charity for Him. The sickness of Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas was getting more and more complicated day by day. He loved Al-Madinah deeply and he wanted to die there. When the Prophet saw his restlessness and desire to be in his favorite city, he put his blessed hand on his breast and supplicated to Allah Almighty thrice to cure him. These supplicated phrases uttered by the Prophet acted like a magic cure for Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas. He got well and lived to a ripe old age. After he recovered from his illness, he made many time married and had about thirty-four sons and daughters.
'Umar Farooq was very impressed by the strength of his faith and the firm and truthfulness. He could never forget that incident which depicted the degree of his devotion to Islam. He had accepted Islam as a young boy; his disturbed and saddened his mother very deeply because he had given up the faith of his fathers and forefathers. She tried in many ways to bring him back into the fold of Kufr.
When nothing worked she used the last resort of mothers to emotionally blackmail her obedient and loving son. This is something, which makes their determination falter and their resolutions fail. She went on a hunger strike and declared she would not eat until her son came back to the religion of his forefathers. She vowed that rather die than see her son become a Muslim. Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas
was unnerved when he saw her stubbornness, but pure faith had taken strong roots in his heart, so his strong feet, as a person who was destined to go to JANNAH
(Paradise) firmly planted in Islam, did not totter. His mother was close to death by starvation and thirst. Displaying strong determination and courage he said to her:
"Dear mother if you had a hundred lives within your body, and each one of those hundred lives were to leave your body in front of my eyes, even then I would not recant and give up my faith, in Islam. It is your wish whether you want to eat or not; as for myself, I will not leave my Prophet.” Seeing that it was of no use and her son was stubborn as a rock, she finished her hunger strike. This resolution and determination of Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas has been made immortal:
"But if they (both) strive with you to make you join in worship with Me others that of which you have no knowledge, then obey them not; but behave with them in the world kindly, and follow the path of him who turns to Me in repentance and in obedience. Then to me will be your return, and I shall tell you what you used to do." (31:15)
For the Battle of Quddisiyah, 'Umar Farooq RA
appointed Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas Commander-in-Chief of an army of a hundred thousand experienced, fearless and courageous Mujahiddin
but he selected only
Thirty thousand of the most formidable from among them. They carried weapons in their hands and their hearts were filled with the radiance of their faith and the burning desire to be martyred for Allah
and Islam . At Qadisiyah both the armies clashed and fought. During the battle Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas received a letter from Umar Farooq which he said: "Remember the importance of Qadisiyah, which is a historic place. If the battle is won then the whole of Iran will be at your feet. Qadisiyah is the central door to Iran. Do not be lost in arrogance because you are related to the Prophet.
Do not forget that one's status and position in the eyes of Allah depends on one's obedience and loyalty to him. Allah Almighty is the Supporter and Sustainer of all and you are his slave. Keep bequeathed to us when he left this world." At the end of the letter he told him to keep me informed about all the latest developments. How would he enter the battlefield? Where would he camp? At what distance was the enemy at that time? In other words, he wanted detailed information about what was taking place every moment, as if he were able to see him. Sad bin Abi Waqqas
fulfilling his duties, kept the government at the center informed regarding every detail to the extent that he kept Caliph 'Umar Farooq informed
in exhaustive detail about the welfare and activities of each Mujahiddin.
He also wrote to him regarding the individual and collective assignments given to each Mujahid.
Iran also mustered an equally strong force and commoners and reached Qadisiyah; no similar incident can be found in their history prior to this. The two armies met at Qadisiyah posturing proudly. Iran's famous and dangerous General, Rustam, was commanding his men. Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas wrote to 'Umar Farooq that
Rustam had come with a very well equipped army and gigantic elephants could also be seen. An equal number of civilians had also accompanied them into the battlefield and it looked like it was going I to be a very tough encounter. Under these circumstances he was waiting anxiously to know how they should advance. Umar Farooq replied that he should not fear and let the Iranians enter the battlefield. He should remember always that total power lay in the control of Allah Almighty. He should concentrate on entreating
Allah Almighty and offering supplications to Him for assistance and depend on Him every moment. Secondly, send a delegation consisting of the most excellent, most experienced, most intelligent and most eloquent Mujahiddin
to the Iranian Empire. They should talk to learn about Islam and invite them to pledge allegiance to it. He wanted Sad bin Abi Waqas to report to him in detail about how the delegation was received by the Iranian Empire; further it was extremely important that he be kept fully informed about each and every development. Finally he prayed that Allah Almighty be his Supporter and Helper.
Following the orders of 'Umar Farooq , Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas selected the most eloquent, diplomatic, skilled, perceptive and dignified people from those serving under him to form the delegation and sent them to the Iranian Empire. The delegation went to the court of the Empire in the very simple attire of those who are indifferent to worldly pomp and show. Looking at their simple dress yet regal and majestic manners the whole court seemed to tremble and quake. The head of the delegation addressed the Iranian Empire and said that Allah Almighty had selected them, so that they should take out mankind from the filthy morass of idol worship and guide them to the clear fountain of the adoration of the One True Allah. He wanted them to lead people from the darkness of ignorance to the brilliant light of knowledge. The common man had to be freed from the oppression of tyrants and taken into the fresh open air of Islam to enjoy the blessings of the justice of Islam. All those who accept this invitation would be welcomed and nor would their territories be annexed. They would be given total control of the organization and governance of their lands. But if anyone opposed them and refused their invitation, then they would declare war against them, and this war would continue until the Law of Allah Almighty was established on this earth and His Promise was fulfilled.
The Iranian empire asked in amazed tones: “What Allah Almighty had promised them?" They answered that He had promised them Paradise after death and an exalted status for those who lived on. And very proudly they added that if he did not accept Islam this land of his would very soon be under their control, he would lose his throne and crown and all his pomp and power would become a story from the past. The Iranian Empire felt that each phrase of theirs was a poisoned arrow hitting the target - his heart. With smoldering eyes and a thundering voice he called out to his man. The man came forward and asked what his command was. He asked him to go out and get some soil immediately. The man went out and quickly brought a basket filled with soil, continuously threw it at the delegation. Asim bin 'Umar picked up the basket put it in his robe and took it to Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas,, and said: "Congratulations! The Iranian Empire has himself given us his land."
The delegation informed Sa'd bin Abl Waqqas
of all that had transferred; they said that war could not be avoided as the Iranian Empire would understand no other language. The dispute could be settled only the arena of war. The eyes of Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas filled with tears when he heard the courageous dialogue of his Mujahidin.
He wished this war could have started some days earlier or some days later.
The fact of the matter was that when the delegation declared that war was inevitable, Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas was sick. He had sores all over his body and he suffering from sciatica. It was very difficult for him to walk or even to sit down. And as for riding, it was just impossible. He was in a dilemma and just did not know what to do. Suddenly it occurred to him that he should never have used the words 'if only' or 'I wish'. The Prophet PBUH had told Muslims never to use these words.
After the address he led the army in the noon prayers. Then the army got ready and the men armed themselves. Famous poets and popular orators started delivering speeches. This roused the men's passions.
When their fervor had reached its highest point, Sa'd bin Abi Waqss shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’
and asked the Mujahidin
to fall upon the enemy. Following the tradition of those days before the whole army fought, the warriors came out to fight on a one-to-one basis. The fighting started. A very strong youth of the Iranian army, wearing an armor made of silk came out to the battlefield. To oppose him 'Amr bin Ma'di Karb came out
. The Iranian took careful aim and shot his arrow, but 'Amr dodged it and rode his horse hard and fast towards him and in seconds his sword with a clean powerful stroke cut off the enemy's head, which rolled far away:, As was the tradition many individuals now confronted each other, one by one, each one displaying his skill and mastery.
Finally both the armies came out on the battlefield and intense fighting broke out. Iranian brought their elephants. The horses of the Mujahidin
started to panic and rear up in fear when they saw the elephants Sa'd bin Abi Waqas was sitting in the terrace and watching these painful proceedings. When he realized that if things continued in the same way it would be disastrous for the Mujahidin,
he ordered young men of the tribe of Banu Asad to show their mettle
. The great General of the tribe of Asad, Talitah trying to inspire his men saying: "Advance 0
youth of Banu Asad, Sa'd bin Abi Waqas has called you acknowledging your greatness. Today is a test of your military experience and courage; get ready to sacrifice your lives for the glory of Islam and to confound the enemy. Move forward and clash with the mountainous looking elephant. With a kick from your feet even mountains have been known to crumble."
The youth of Banu Asad steeped in the passion of Jihad,
with spears in their hands, attacked the elephants. Even the gigantic elephants could not stand up against their bravery and resoluteness of purpose. First they rained arrows on the soldiers riding on the elephants, who fell off their mounts like ripe fruit from trees. Some of the youth cut off the trunks of the elephants with their swords; this caused a stampede among the elephants rapidly retreated in panic-stricken terror, Crushing their own army. Some few Mujahidin
lost their lives, but the victory on that first day belonged to the Muslim army. This first encounter in the Battle of Qadisiyah helped to impress the enemy with the might and power of the Muslim army.
When the sun rose the next day the bodies of the martyrs were buried and arrangements were made for treating the wounded. The Mujahidin
were ordered to form ranks for the battle. Before the actual fighting began the reinforcements sent by Abu ‘Ubaidah reached the battlefield under the Command of Hisham bin 'Utbah. Amr was the commander of every advance guard. At first the individual warriors of extra army came on the battlefield. The experienced commander of the Muslim army, Qa'qa' bin 'Amr, slew The commander of the Iranian army, Behmen. And the famous warrior of the Iranian army, A'wan bin Qatbah was also killed. The most excellent heroes of the Iranian army were slain. When the fighting was at its most intense, and both sides were attacking each other furiously, Qa'qa bin 'Amr, in order to startle the horses of the enemy, draped his camels with black robes and let them loose on the battlefield. The horses, on seeing this terrifying scene, went on a rampage and could not be controlled by their riders. There was total chaos, and shouting and screaming in the enemy ranks. Action on the battlefield was at its most intense.
On the second day as well the Mujahidin
triumphed over the enemy though it was not a decisive victory. The third day too it seemed as if the war was not going to end. The Iranian Empire continued to send in fresh troop every day.. But the Iranian Empire and his famous General, Rustam, were not prepared to admit defeat. They stuck stubbornly in the battlefield. The army had been positioned on the left and right of the elephants to protect them.
Qa'qa' bin Amr' of armed a special division of ace riders and leading them himself, he advanced towards the Iranian General, Rustam. He was, seated on his throne directing his men to fight. With one intense attack, he succeeded in reeling the throne of the Iranian General. He jumped down from his throne and tried to fight against them for some time, but when he saw it was futile, he fled. When all saw a stream in front of him, he jumped into it to save himself; one of the Mujahidin.
Hilal, who was chasing him jumped in after him and got stranglehold on him. He pulled him out of the stream by his legs, and chopped off his head with his sword. It was then announced that the Iranian General had been killed. When the Iranian soldiers heard this they lost the hope, and started to scamper from the field of battle. The Mujahidin
chased them for a long distance and the battlefield was left empty. Thus, the Muslim army won.
Though Sa'd bin Abi Waqaas did not take an active part in the battle because of his illness, he was continuously issuing orders, and for all practical purposes, commanding the forces. He was sitting on one of the balconies of the fort and could view the whole battlefield, the positions of the various divisions and the movements of the two armies.
Next the Muslim army faced the Iranians in Madyan. In this battle the Iranians came very well equipped and armed to the teeth. One major problem for the Muslim forces here was that the river Dajlah lay between them and the Iranian army. The Iranians had deployed their army along the banks of the river and adopted a defensive position. Further, in order to protect themselves, they had destroyed all the bridges on the river. In order to have a decisive encounter it was necessary that the Muslim army make the first move and advance.
General Sa'd bin Abi Waqis was in a dilemma. How should he cross the river? Even if they did succeed in crossing the river, it was very possible the enemy would launch an attack even before they reached the other bed of the river. In that case the enemy would be at an advantage, because the Muslim army would still be in the river.
After a lot of thought and planning he decided to form two armies. He ordered one segment to cross the river under the command of 'Aasim bin ' Amr 4;.
He ordered the other segment of the army to cross the river some distance away; this second section he placed under the Command of Qa'qa bin 'Amr.
The purpose of his strategy was to keep the enemy busy and involved with the first section of the army reaching the bank. The other section of the army would start crossing after some time had elapsed, and make a deadly attack on the enemy as soon as it reached the shores. This strategy was so successful that it stunned people and aroused their admiration with its ingenuity. Sa'd bin: Abi Waqass had created military history with his novel tactical move. With full faith in Allah Almighty he had asked his men to step into the river. Their lips were busy with the incantation of the Name of Allah Almighty. They were reciting the ayah:
"Allah help and Support is enough for me."
The Mujahidin had stepped into the deep waters of the river Dajla fearlessly. The world saw that they were chatting with each other as if they were casually strolling on dry land. Salman Al-Farsi was also a soldier in this army. He expressed beautiful inspiring thoughts on this occasion, which deserves to be written in letters of gold in the annals of history. He said: "Islam is a religion which is perfect and descended from the heavens. I swear by the Almighty Allah, for the believers of Islam, the river is as negligible as the desert. I swear by the Being in Whose Power lies my life that as many Mujahidin will step out safely from the river as those who stepped into the river. The deep waters of the river can harm them in no way."
History is witness to the fact that not even a rope was lost by the mujahidin, when
they crossed the river. A cup fell from the hand of one Mujahid.
He asked his companions to help him find it; and what should they see but that the cup came floating towards them on a wave. All Praise is for Allah! Allah is Great! Seeing this fearful awe-inspiring sight, the Iranian started screaming that giants had come to swallow them up and fled in panic. Their General, however, remained resolute. A few scattered men stood by him, but the Iranians faced a total rout. They were decimated the very first day and the important city of Madyan with its royal palaces was occupied. The Iranian Empire had already fled to Yazdagar. All the goods and treasures taken from Madyan were sent to Al-Madinah.
When Sa'd bin Abi Waqaas entered the city of Madyan at the head of his army, he found the city totally deserted in deadly silence. He was so deeply moved that he recited the following Verses: "How many of gardens and springs that they left behind. And green crops (fields) and goodly places. And comforts of life wherein they used to take delight. Thus (it was)! And We made other people inherit them ( i e We made the Children of Israel to inherit the kingdom of Egypt)." (44:25-28)
As soon as Madyan was captured the whole of Iraq came under the sway of the Muslims, The Islamic government declared a general amnesty, and people who had fled their houses out of fear were asked to return; and settle in their homes. As soon as people heard this announcement they came back and their homes, their wealth and their honor were protected.
After Iraq came under the complete control of the government, Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas was appointed governor of the country. It is as difficult to organize a government and run the country as it is to conquer it. Sa'd bin Abi Waqss had
impressed people with his military skill and courage; now as Governor and administrator, with his excellent planning and organizational skills, he made Iraq an ideal and exemplary state in a short time.
He informed Caliph 'Umar Farooq RA that the climate of Iraq did not suit the Mujahidin
and they were falling ill. 'Umar Farooq RA replied that a new town should be built at a more suitable and healthy place,
Suitable housing should be provided for the Mujahidin.
So a new location was chosen and the city of Koofah was inhabited. It consisted of as many colonies as there were tribes in the Muslim army. Each tribe was given its own colony and a huge mosque was constructed in the heart of the city. Forty thousand people could offer prayers there at a time. Because of excellent administration the whole of Iraq prospered and the people lived in peace and prosperity.
The sense of justice and fair play, the magnanimity and good treatment of all people made the people happy and contented. But some of the Koofis who were stubborn trouble mongers complained to the government at the center that their governor did not conduct prayers in a proper manner and displays laxity in devotions.
As soon as Caliph 'Umar Farooq RA, received the complaint he sent for Sa'd bin Abi Waqaas when he reached Al-Madinah, the 'Umar asked him about the complaint. Sa'd
laughed spontaneously and told him that he conducted the prayers in the manner of the Prophet PBUH. The first two Rakaah
were long in comparison to the next two Rakat.
Having satisfied himself, the Caliph asked him to return to Iraq. But Sa'd RA smiled and asked him if he would like him to go to a place where the people were unhappy and are compiling that he did not conduct the prayers in a proper manner. He said he would like to live the rest of his life in Al-Madinah and requested him to give the responsibility to some other person. So 'Umar Farooq appointed his deputy as the permanent governor.
23rd Hijrah a Persian fire-worshipper slave made a fatal attack on 'Umar Farooq RA while he was in the act of praying. He could not recover from this attack. While he was in his death though his attention was drawn to the problem of succession .He was asked to nominate a suitable successor. He did not name any one particular person, but formed a board of six eminent Companions of the Prophet PBUH and suggested they appoint any one of them to succeed him. Sa'd bin Abi Waqaas was one of these six noble men he had on the board. The Caliph also said that if he, had the power to nominate the Caliph, he would have nominated Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas RA. However, he said it was the right of the Muslim Ummah
to choose their leader. He also recorded a last statement that if Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas was not selected, the person who was elected to that high office should take advantage the services of this illustrious Companion. After he passed away and was buried, on the basis of a majority vote 'Uthman bin 'Affan,as a chosen Caliph.
He kept himself aloof from the tragic events of the Battles of Jamal and Safeen. He had instructed his family members not to tell him anything about these arguments and infighting, because it hurt him deeply. It was terrible, he said, that the swords of the Muslims were chopping off the heads of brother Muslims. There were people worthy of respect on both sides, he said, and even in his wildest imagination he could not think of lifting up arms against any one of them. In 54 Hijrah, he received the summons of death. His son, describing his last days, saying: "My father's head was in my lap, his eyes were losing their focus. I started to cry. He asked me why I was crying; and asked me to be at ease, as he was sure that Allah almighty would not give him any punishment in the Hereafter. Insha’Allah (
God willing). He said that he would go to Paradise, as he had heard these glad tiding from the Prophet PBUH
himself. Then he pointed to a cupboard and it was opened for him. There was an old sheet lying in it and he had it taken out. He said he had worn it during the Battle of Badr, and preserved it very carefully. He said he wanted that sheet to be used as his shroud; no matter if it was old, it was a blessed and historic sheet which he wanted to take into the grave with him. And soon his soul soared towards heaven."