The Seventeenth Narration
Anas radiya Llahu ‘anhu said:
أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم نعى زيدا وجعفرا وابن رواحة للناس قبل أن يأتيهم خبرهم فقال أخذ الراية زيد فأصيب ثم أخذ جعفر فأصيب ثم أخذ ابن رواحة فأصيب وعيناه تذرفان حتى أخذ الراية سيف من سيوف الله حتى فتح الله عليهم
The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam informed the people about the death of Zaid, Jafar, and Ibn Rawahah before the news of their death reached them.
He said while tearing, “Zaid took the flag and was martyred; then Jafar took the flag and was martyred, and then Ibn Rawahah took the flag and was martyred. Finally, the flag was taken by one of Allah’s Swords and Allah gave them (i.e. the Muslims) victory.”
Imam al Bukhari has recorded this narration. In another narration of the following words appear:
اخذها خالد بن الوليد عن غير امرة ففتح له
Khalid ibn al Walid took it without being appointed and Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala gave him victory. The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam added, “I am not pleased (or they will not be pleased) that they should remain (alive) with us.”
This was in the Battle of Mutah.
Commentary and Lessons Learnt from this Narration:
1. There is great virtue for ‘The Two Winged One’ Jafar ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu. This narration depicts his martyrdom and the crying of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam for him.
2. In the same manner great virtue is attached to the beloved of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, Zaid ibn Harithah radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
3. In the same manner great virtue is attached to ‘Abdullah ibn Rawahah al Ansari radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
4. Khalid ibn al Walid radiya Llahu ‘anhu enjoys much virtue by the following:
a. Being adorned with the title, ‘Sword of Allah’.
b. Having been connected to Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala in this manner.
c. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam informed the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhu that victory was attained through his leadership.
There is a difference of opinion whether an attack was launched against the polytheists that defeated them, or did he simply rearrange and protect the Muslim army which led to their safe return?
Some have opined for the latter whilst others have taken to the former.
Ibn Hajar rahimahu Llah has commented in Fath al Bari that these opinions can be reconciled by saying, “He had defeated a legion of the opposing army. Thereafter seeing the magnitude of the army he safely led the Muslim army back to Madinah.”
Ibn Kathir rahimahu Llah says, “These opinions can be reconciled in the following manner, when he took the flag, he first gathered the Muslim army so they may be safe from the hands of the polytheists. He then restructured the army battalions which the polytheists mistook for reinforcements. After this Khalid radiya Llahu ‘anhu launched an attack which led to the defeat of the enemy.”
5. The narration states that “He is a sword from amongst the swords of Allah”. This choice of words relays the sentiment that this special title is not restricted to Khalid radiya Llahu ‘anhu. One should therefore not be fazed by the comment of Ibn al Mutahhir al Hilli al Shia that, “‘Ali is worthier of this title than Khalid.”
Ibn Taymiyyah has written the following two points in al Minhaj:
- Who has argued against this? Who has said that ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu is not a sword from amongst the swords of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala? The narration established that there are many swords of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala. No doubt ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu is of the greatest. Furthermore, there is none amongst the Muslims that hold Khalid radiya Llahu ‘anhu higher in status to ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
- ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu is greater in status than Khalid radiya Llahu ‘anhu. His status is far greater than branding him simply the Sword of Allah. His status in knowledge, wisdom, faith, and precedence far outweighs his status of being the Sword of Allah. The speciality of a sword is war, whilst proficiency in battle was but a single virtue of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Khalid radiya Llahu ‘anhu on the other hand was renowned for his great aptitude in battle. He does not enjoy the virtue of precedence, nor of great knowledge.
6. This narration further goes to prove the selflessness of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhu in preserving the faith. They were ready to give their lives in furthering the word of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala. Their lives—their most precious possession—was nought in front of their faith. Their love for Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala and his Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was so deeply embedded in their hearts, that they fought for the cause right till their last breath. Ibn ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu says, “We searched for Jafar ibn Abi Talib, only to find him amongst the martyred with ninety-odd wounds on his body.”
7. The above-mentioned narration is a proof of the prophethood of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. He related what had occurred in Mutah before the news reached him.
8. The permissibility of appointing leaders in succession.
9. If the Imam appoints one as a leader and thereafter another after the first, it will be correct and binding. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam did exactly this in the Battle of Mutah. ‘Allamah Badr al Din ibn Jama’ah has explicitly mentioned this in Tahrir al Kalam.
10. The permissibility of crying over the dead.
11. The permissibility of giving news of the death of someone from the pulpit. This will not be regarded as impermissible.
12. The individuals of this ummah should strive to attain excellence in the different fields and sciences, Islamic and secular, as long as it benefits the faith. Amongst these is attaining proficiency in politics and warfare.
13. It is the responsibility of the Imam to protect the Muslim ummah from wars and global opposition, especially when the enemies form a coalition to against the Muslims. This democratic stance of the Imam portrays his political acumen.
14. The narration states, “I am not pleased (or they will not be pleased) that they should remain (alive) with us.” This is due to the great rewards, blessings, and close proximity they had received from Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala.
15. If the position of khilafah becomes vacant and one fit to rule steps up to take the roll, the general populous should pledge allegiance at his hand even though there may be someone of higher status than him. This is to keep the peace and protect the ummah from disunity. Similarly, posts that fall below the category of khilafah, the highest post in the ummah, will follow the same rule.
 Sahih al Bukhari, Hadith: 4014.