Sad Ibn Abi Waqqas

“O Sad! There is no connection between God and anyone except obedience to Him. In the sight of God all people whether nobleman or commoner are the same. Allah is their Lord and they are His servants seeking elevation through taqwa and seeking to obtain wh at is with God through obedience. Consider how the Messenger of God used to act with the Muslims and act accordingly…”

Umar thus made it clear that the army was not to seek conquest for the sake of it and that the expedition was not for seeking personal glory and fame.

The three thousand strong army set off. Among them were ninety nine veterans of Badr, more than three hundred of those who took the Pledge of Riffwan (Satisfaction) at Hudaybiyyah and three hundred of those who had participated in the liberation of Makk ah with the noble Prophet. There were seven hundred sons of the companions. Thousands of women also went on to battle as auxiliaries and nurses and to urge the men on to battle.

The army camped at Qadisiyyah near Hira. Against them the Persians had mobilized a force of 12O,OOO men under the leadership of their most brilliant commander, Rustum.

Umar had instructed Sad to send him regular despatches about the condition and movements of the Muslim forces, and of the deployment of the enemy’s forces. Sad wrote to Umar about the unprecedented force that the Persians were mobilizing and Umar wrote to him:

“Do not be troubled by what you hear about them nor about the (forces, equipment and methods) they would deploy against you. Seek help with God and put your trust in Him and send men of insight, knowledge and toughness to him (the Chosroes) to invite him to God… And write to me daily.”

Sad understood well the gravity of the impending battle and kept in close contact with the military high command in Madinah. Although commander-in-chief, he understood the importance of shura.

Sad did as Umar instructed and sent delegations of Muslims first to Yazdagird and then to Rustum, inviting them to accept Islam or to pay the jizyah to guarantee their protection and peaceful existence or to choose war if they so desired.

The first Muslim delegation which included Numan ibn Muqarrin was ridiculed by the Persian Emperor, Yazdagird. Sad sent a delegation to Rustum, the commander of the Persian forces. This was led by Rubiy ibn Aamir who, with spear in hand, went directly to Rustam’s encampment. Rustam said to him:

“Rubiy! What do you want from us? If you want wealth we would give you. We would provide you with provisions until you are sated. We would clothe you. We would make you become rich and happy. Look, Rubiy! What do you see in this assembly of mine? No doub t you see signs of richness and luxury, these lush carpets, fine curtains, gold embroidered wails, carpets of silk…Do you have any desire that we should bestow some of these riches which we have on you?”

Rustum thus wanted to impress the Muslim and allure him from his purpose by this show of opulence and grandeur. Rubiy looked and listened unmoved and then said:

“Listen, O commander! Certainly God has chosen us that through us those of His creation whom He so desires could be drawn away from the worship of idols to Tawhid (the affirmation of the unity of God), from the narrow confines of preoccupation with this w orld to its boundless expanse and from the tyranny of rulers to justice of Islam.

“Whoever accepts that from us we are prepared to welcome him. And whoever fights us, we would fight him until the promise of God comes to pass.”

“And what is the promise of God to you?” asked Rustum.

“Paradise for our martyrs and victory for those who live.”

Rustum of course was not inclined to listen to such talk from a seemingly wretched person the likes of whom the Persians regarded as barbaric and uncivilized and whom they had conquered and subjugated for centuries.

The Muslim delegation returned to their commanderin-chief. It was clear that war was now inevitable. Sad’s eyes filled with tears. He wished that the battle could be delayed a little or indeed that it might have been somewhat earlier. For on this particul ar day he was seriously ill and could hardly move. He was suffering from sciatica and he could not even sit upright for the pain.

Sad knew that this was going to be a bitter, harsh and bloody battle. And for a brief moment he thought, if only… but no! The Messenger of God had taught the Muslims that none of them should say, “If…..” To say “If…..” implied a lack of will and de termination and wishing that a situation might have been different was not the characteristic of a firm believer. So, despite his illness, Sad got up and stood before his army and addressed them. He began his speech with a verse from the glorious Quran:

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