In relation to an incident regarding Hazrat Ali (ra), Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud (ra), states,
“Whenever Hazrat Ali (ra) was confronted with a huge trial, he would pray to Allah the Almighty in the following manner:
يَا كهٰيٰعص اِغْفِرْلِيْ “That is, ‘O Kaf Ha Ya ‘Ain Sad! Forgive me!’” (Tafsir-e-Kabir, Vol. 5, p. 17)
According to a narration of Umm-e-Hani, the meaning of these abbreviated letters, as mentioned by the Holy Prophet (sa), is as follows: Kaf stands for the attribute of Kafi (All-Sufficient), Ha stands for the attribute of Hadi (True Guide), ‘Ain stands for the attribute of ‘Aalim or ‘Alim (All-Knowing) and Sad stands for the attribute of Sadiq (Truthful).”
(Tafsir-e-Kabir, Vol. 5, p. 17)
In other words, he was praying to Allah the Almighty in the following manner that “O Allah! You are the All-Sufficient, the True Guide, the All-Knowing and the Truthful! I implore You by all of Your attributes and ask You to forgive me!”
Then, there is the incident during a battle in which Hazrat Sariyah (ra) fought and how he heard the voice of Hazrat Umar (ra). This incident has been mentioned before, but I will mention it here once again in the context of the acceptance of prayer and the special favours bestowed upon him by Allah the Almighty.
Tarikh al-Tabari states that Hazrat Umar (ra) commissioned Hazrat Sariyah (ra) bin Zunaim to go towards Fasa and Darabgerd. Upon arriving there, he besieged the enemy, who then called their allies for reinforcements. The reinforcements began to gather in the desert to fight the Muslims. When their numbers increased, they surrounded the Muslims from all sides. At the same time, Hazrat Umar (ra) was delivering his Friday sermon when he suddenly said:
يَا سَاريَةُ ابْنُ زُنَيْم الْجَبَلَ الْجَبَلَ
That is, “O Sariyah bin Zunaim, the mountain! The mountain!” In the near vicinity of the Muslim encampment was a mountain, and if the Muslims took refuge there, the enemy would only be able to launch an attack from one front. Thus, they took to the mountain for refuge. They fought against the enemy and were victorious, ultimately obtaining plenty of spoils of the war.
(Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Alamiyyah, 2012], pp. 553-554)
While speaking about this incident, the Promised Messiah (as) has stated that the Companions (ra) demonstrated many such miracles.
(Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya – Part V, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 1, p. 654, Footnote within footnote number 4)
I have read out the complete excerpt of the Promised Messiah (as) in a previous sermon. Thus, if we take the incident related to the River Nile into consideration, it is very possible that it is in fact true, contrary to the belief of some historians.
There is also an incident about a cap blessed by Hazrat Umar (ra) for the Byzantine Emperor. Regarding this, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud (ra) writes:
“During the caliphate of Hazrat Umar (ra), the Byzantine Emperor suffered from severe headaches, and despite all efforts to cure the ailment, he was unable to find relief. Someone suggested to him, ‘You should write to Hazrat Umar (ra) about your condition and request something blessed by him. He will not only send you something blessed but will pray for you as well. Perhaps through the prayer of Hazrat Umar (ra), you will be cured.’
“He sent an emissary to Hazrat Umar (ra). Hazrat Umar (ra) thought to himself that these people were arrogant, and it was very unlikely for them to be inclined towards him, and only due to the Emperor’s anguish had he sent a representative. Hazrat Umar (ra) thought that if he sent a blessed object, the Emperor might think of it as insignificant and not utilise it. For this reason, he thought that he should send something that fulfilled the function of a blessed object and also broke the Emperor’s arrogance. Therefore, as a blessed object, Hazrat Umar (ra) sent an old and ragged hat that had stains all over it and had changed colour due to the accumulation of dirt.
“When the Emperor saw the hat, he was very displeased and did not wear it. However, God Almighty desired to convey to him the message that now he could only attain blessings by means of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa). He suffered from such a severe headache that he was forced to summon his servants and asked them to bring the hat sent by Hazrat Umar (ra) so he could wear it. He wore the hat and his pain began to ease. Because his headache would return every eight to 10 days, it became routine for him to wear the ragged and dirty hat sent by Hazrat Umar (ra) whilst seated in his royal court.”
Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud (ra) further states:
“This sign shown to the [Byzantine] Emperor by Allah the Almighty has another hidden aspect. A companion of the Holy Prophet (sa) had been imprisoned by the Emperor and he ordered for him to be fed the meat of swine.
“He would endure starvation, rather than going near swine meat. Although Islam has permitted that if one is driven by absolute necessity, one can consume swine, but he would say that he was a companion, and thus would not do so. When many days of starvation would pass, and he would be close to death, the Byzantine Emperor would give him something to eat. Then, as he regained some strength, he would again instruct that he should be given swine to eat. Thus, he would not let him die, nor would he let him live in peace. Someone said to him that he was experiencing severe headaches because he had imprisoned a Muslim, and now the only solution was to ask Umar to pray for him, and request him for a blessed object. When Hazrat Umar (ra) sent his hat, and this eased his [Emperor’s] pain, this had such an impact on him that he freed the Companion. Observe how the Emperor had imprisoned a Companion, and as a punishment, Allah the Almighty caused an ailment in his head. Someone then suggested to him that he should seek a blessed object from Umar, and request him to pray for him. Hazrat Umar (ra) sent that blessed object, and the Emperor’s ailment was cured. Thus, Allah the Almighty ensured the means for the freedom of that Companion, while also proving the truthfulness of the Holy Prophet (sa) to the Emperor.”
(Sair-e-Ruhani , Anwar-ul-Ulum, Vol. 19, pp. 536-537)
It is recorded in Tafsir al-Razi that the Byzantine Emperor wrote to Hazrat Umar (ra), saying, “I am experiencing pain in my head and I have been unable to find a cure, so please send me a remedy.”
Thus, Hazrat Umar (ra) sent him a hat. Whenever the Emperor wore the hat, the pain would be cured, and as soon as he removed the hat, the pain would return. This bewildered him, and so he examined the hat, and found in it a piece of paper with the following words written on it:
بِسۡمِ اللّٰهِ الرَّحۡمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ
“In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Ever Merciful.” This has been recorded in Tafsir al-Razi.
(Tafsir Kabir li Imam Razi, Vol. 1, p. 143, Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut)
Ali bin Rabiah narrates that he was in the company of Hazrat Ali (ra) when an animal was brought before him so that he could mount upon it. When he was about to place his foot in the stirrup, he recited, “In the name of Allah” three times. When he sat upon it, he recited, “All praise belongs to Allah” and then recited:
سُبْحَانَ الَّذِيْ سَخَّرَ لَنَا هٰذَا وَمَا كُنَّا لَهٗ مُقْرِنِيْنَ وَاِنَّا اِلٰى رَبِّنَا لَمُنْقَلِبُوْنَ “Holy is He Who has subjected this to us, and we had not the strength to subdue it [ourselves]. And to our Lord surely shall we return.”
(Surah al-Zukhruf, Ch.43: V.14-15)
He recited “All praise belongs to Allah” and “Allah is the greatest” three times. He then recited the following prayer:
سُبْحَانَكَ اِنِّيْ قَدْ ظَلَمْتُ نَفْسِيْ فَاغْفِرْ لِيْ فَاِنَّهٗ لَا يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوْبَ اِلَّا اَنْتَ “Holy is Thou, surely I have wronged my soul, thus forgive me for there is none Who forgives sins besides Thee.”
Thereafter, Hazrat Ali (ra) smiled. The narrator of the tradition states that he submitted, “O Leader of the Faithful, what made you smile?” Upon this, Hazrat Ali (ra) stated, “I saw the Messenger (sa) of Allah do exactly what I just did and I also enquired of the Messenger (sa) of Allah as to why he smiled and he replied, ‘Indeed, your Lord is most pleased by His servant when he says, “O my Lord, forgive me my sins, for there is none Who forgives sins besides You.”’ This is what caused the Messenger (sa) of Allah to smile.”
(Sunan al-Tirmidhi, Abwab Al-Da‘wat, Hadith 3446)
There are a few incidents of Hazrat Umar’s (ra) acceptance of prayer.
Hazrat Khawat (ra) bin Jubair narrates that once, during the caliphate of Hazrat Umar (ra), the people suffered from a severe drought. Hazrat Umar (ra) went out with the people and led them in the prayer of Istisqa [seeking rain], consisting of two rak‘aat [units of prayer]. Then, he placed his cloak on his shoulders, taking the left end and placing it on his right shoulder and taking the right end and placing it on his left shoulder. That is to say, he wrapped the cloak around him. He then raised his hands in prayer and supplicated:
اللَّهُمَّ إنَّا نَسْتَغْفِرُكَ وَنَسْتَسْقِيْكَ
“O Allah, the Powerful and Mighty, we ask of Your forgiveness and supplicate to You for rain”.
Hazrat Umar (ra) had not yet moved from his place following the prayer when it began to rain. The narrator says that some villagers came to Hazrat Umar (ra) and submitted, “O Leader of the Faithful, on such and such day, we were in our desert dwellings when the clouds loomed above us and we heard a voice from the cloud saying ‘O Abu Hafs! Help has been sent to you through this rain. O Abu Hafs! Help has been sent to you through this rain.’”
(Kanz al-Ummal, Vol. 14, p. 8, Hadith 23533, Kitab al-Salah, Bab al-Sabi, Bab Salat al-Istisqa, Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2004)
Hazrat Abu Marsad has narrated a hadith [tradition] from the Holy Prophet (sa) which is mentioned in Muslim and Baghwi. He states:
“I heard the Holy Prophet (sa) saying: ‘Do no sit on graves and do not pray in their direction.’”
(Al-Asaba Fi Tameez Al-Sahaba, Vol. 7, p. 305, Abu Marsad Ghanwi, Da-ul-Kutub Al-Ilmiyyah, 1995, Beirut)
There is also an incident reported about the acceptance of the prayer of Hazrat Umar (ra) in relation to the flow of the River Nile. Before the spread of Islam, the people of the River Nile adopted a ritual to cause the river to flow when it would dry out. Whether the ritual had an effect or not, only Allah knows. However, the spread of Islam brought an end to this ritual. The incident about this ritual coming to an end is as follows:
Qais bin Hajjaj relates that when Egypt was conquered, the local residents came to Hazrat Amr (ra) bin al-Aas on a particular day during a month on their native calendar, and said, “O chief, we have a ritual for the River Nile without which it does not flow.” Hazrat Amr (ra) enquired about what exactly the ritual was. They replied, “When 11 nights of this month have passed, we go to an unmarried girl in the presence of her parents. With the parents’ consent, we clothe the girl in elegant clothing, adorn her with jewellery and throw her in the Nile River.”
Hazrat Amr (ra) replied that this would never be tolerated in Islam and all such traditions that existed before would be discontinued. Thus, they desisted from their practice, but the river had dried up and the people were considering leaving their homeland. Previously, they would throw [girls] into the river in the beginning [of that month].
Finally, when the River Nile had completely dried out, the people decided to migrate and leave their homes. Hazrat Amr (ra) saw this unfolding and wrote to Hazrat Umar (ra) bin al-Khattab about it. Hazrat Umar (ra) replied to Hazrat Amr (ra), saying, “What you have told them is correct. Islam brings an end to all such rituals that came before it.” He also enclosed a small note inside with the letter and instructed Hazrat Amr (ra), “I have enclosed a small note with my letter for you to throw into the River Nile.”
When the letter of Hazrat Umar (ra) was received by Hazrat Amr (ra), he opened the small note which read, “From the servant of God and Leader of the Faithful, Umar bin Khattab, to the River Nile of Egypt. Hereafter, [O Nile], if you flow of your own accord, then, by all means, stop flowing. However, if your flow is decreed by Allah the Almighty, then I pray to Him, the One and Most Supreme, to cause you to flow.”
Thus, Hazrat Amr (ra) put the note into the River Nile one day before the Christian holiday. By the morning, Allah the Almighty had increased the water level in the River Nile by a span of 16 hands in a single night. With this, Allah the Almighty brought an end to the ritual of the Egyptians.
(Jalaluddin Abd al-Rahman bin Abi Bakr al-Suyuti, Tarikh al-Khulafa, Umar (ra) bin al-Khattab, p. 673, Islami Kutub Khana, Lahore, 1999)
Most historical accounts confirm the validity of this incident, but one biographer of Hazrat Umar (ra), Muhammad Hussein Haykal, has denied the fact that such a ritual ever existed.
(Muhammad Husain Haikal, Hazrat Umar Farooq A‘zam [translated] [Lahore, Pakistan: Islami Kutub Khana], p. 413)
Nonetheless, this is one incident.
Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud (ra), whilst narrating this incident, states:
“One night, the Holy Prophet (sa) visited the house of his son-in-law, Hazrat Ali (ra), and his daughter, Hazrat Fatimah (ra), and enquired, ‘Do you offer the Tahajud prayer?’ In other words, the prayer which is offered after waking up in the middle of the night. Hazrat Ali (ra) submitted, ‘O Messenger (sa) of Allah, we try to offer it, but at times, owing to the will of Allah, we remain asleep and miss the Tahajud prayer. The Holy Prophet (sa) stated, ‘You should offer the Tahajud prayer’ and then left to return home and whilst walking back, he kept repeating:
وَكَانَ الْاِنْسَانُ اَكْثَرَ شَيْءٍ جَدَلًا
This is a verse of the Holy Quran, which means that most often, one is reluctant to admit and acknowledge his error and offers all kinds of justifications in order to conceal his faults. In other words, Hazrat Ali (ra) and Hazrat Fatimah (ra) should have said that sometimes they commit the mistake [and oversleep], instead of saying that it is owing to the will of God Almighty that they remain asleep. Why did they attribute their error to Allah the Almighty.”
(Dibachah Tafsir al-Quran, Anwar al-Ulum, Vol. 20, pp. 389-390)
Further explaining this incident, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud (ra) states:
“Hazrat Ali (ra) narrates an incident when on one occasion he responded to the Holy Prophet (sa) in a manner which had a slight tone of contentiousness, but instead of expressing any displeasure, the Holy Prophet (sa) gave such a beautiful response which perhaps Hazrat Ali (ra) continued to enjoy its sweet delight for the rest of his life and indeed the pleasure he derived from this was his right alone. But even now, when one carefully ponders over this expression of displeasure of the Holy Prophet (sa), they are left astounded.
“There is a tradition from Bukhari, in which Hazrat Ali (ra) narrates, ‘One night, the Holy Prophet (sa) visited me and Fatimah al-Zahra (ra), the daughter of the Holy Prophet (sa), and enquired whether we offered the Tahajud prayer. I replied, “O Messenger (sa) of Allah, our lives are in the hands of Allah and whenever He wills, He causes us to wake up.” Upon hearing this, the Messenger (sa) of Allah returned home and did not say anything to me. However, when he stood up and his back was towards me, I heard him say whilst he was tapping his hand on this thigh, “But of all things, man is most contentious.”’
“By Allah, look how beautifully the Holy Prophet (sa) explained to Hazrat Ali (ra) that he should not have responded in the manner he did. Had it been anyone else, firstly they would have responded back by saying that considering his position and rank, he had no right to give a response like that. Or, at the very least, he would have argued that what he had said was incorrect in that a person has no choice and that all of one’s actions are controlled by Allah the Almighty; He does so as He wills, including whether one offers their prayers or not. He would have argued that such a concept of compulsion was against the Holy Quran. However, the Holy Prophet (sa) did not respond in either manner, nor did he become angry or argue with Hazrat Ali (ra) in order to highlight his error. In fact, he turned to one side and expressed his astonishment at the fact that how one is always able to find a justification and becomes contentious. The reality of the matter is that this one statement of the Holy Prophet (sa) was filled with countless lessons and had it been anyone else, they would not have been able to convey a fraction of it even if they had argued a hundred times. From this hadith, we can derive many lessons which shed light on the various aspects of the Holy Prophet’s (sa) morals and it will be appropriate to mention them here.”
Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud (ra) further states:
“Firstly, it reveals just how much concern the Holy Prophet (sa) had for the adherence to religion and faith that he would personally visit the homes of his close relatives in the night and look after their needs in this regard. There are many people, who, although are virtuous themselves and also counsel others to do the same, but the condition of their own home is not in order. They do not have the potential to even reform the people within their own household and the famous proverbial expression, ‘Just below the lantern lies the darkness’ applies to these very people.
“In other words, their example can be likened to a lantern which grants light to its surroundings, but right beneath it remains darkness. Such people counsel others, but have no concern for their own home as to whether the people of their own household are deriving any benefit from their light. However, the Holy Prophet (sa) wished the members of his household to also partake of this spiritual light which he wanted to illumine the world with. For this, the Holy Prophet (sa) would constantly counsel them and regularly enquire from them and assess their condition. The moral training of one’s own household members is such a moral excellence that if the Holy Prophet (sa) did not possesses this, then this invaluable trait would have been devoid from his moral qualities. The second aspect which is evident [from this hadith] is the absolute conviction the Holy Prophet (sa) had in this teaching which he presented before the world. Not even for a single moment did the Holy Prophet (sa) ever entertain a doubt regarding this teaching. People level the allegation that, God-forbid, the Holy Prophet (sa) did not receive any divine revelation and only did all of this in order to mislead the people and thereby establish his own rule. However, this was certainly not the case.
“The Holy Prophet (sa) had such conviction in his prophetood and having been commissioned by God that one cannot find any such example in the world. It is possible that one can put on an act before people in order to prove their truthfulness; however, it is not possible that one would go in the late of hours of the night to the house of their own daughter and son-in-law and enquire whether they offered the prayer which one offers by waking up in the middle of the night and which is not even obligatory, but rather has been left for the believers to decide for themselves based on their circumstances.
“Thus, for the Holy Prophet (sa) to visit the house of his daughter and son-in-law at such a time and to encourage them to offer the Tahajud prayer proves the absolute conviction he had in this teaching which he wanted others to adhere to as well. Otherwise, in the case of a liar, he knows that someone may or may not follow his teaching, but he would never discreetly visit the home of his children and advise them to adhere to this teaching. In other words, whether one follows such a teaching is a different matter, but he would never advise his own children at such a time when no else is around to see.
“This could only be possible when a person’s heart is filled with conviction that without following this teaching, one cannot attain any excellence. (In other words, whether one follows a teaching or not is a different matter. However, to advise someone about this in the night and away from the sight of others can only happen if one has complete conviction that without this teaching one cannot attain the excellences of that faith or its teaching.)
The third aspect which is evident [from this hadith] is the very reason why I narrated this incident in that it shows how the Holy Prophet (sa) would show great patience whilst explaining matters to others and instead of quarrelling, he would make them realise their mistake with love and affection. In this particular incident, Hazrat Ali (ra) responded to the Holy Prophet’s (sa) question by saying that once they had fallen asleep, they had no control over themselves in order to wake up. (A person who is asleep has no control over himself.) Therefore, once he had fallen asleep, he no longer had any knowledge that a certain time had come and he must now do such and such thing. If Allah caused them to wake up, then they would offer the prayer because they had no other choice. (There were no alarm clocks at the time.)
“Undoubtedly, the Holy Prophet (sa) was surprised to hear this response because the level of faith that was instilled in the heart of the Holy Prophet (sa) was such that it would never allow such a thing to happen whereby the time for Tahajud would pass by and the Holy Prophet (sa) remained unaware of it. Therefore, the Holy Prophet (sa) simply turned the other way and said that man never acknowledges his mistake but becomes contentious. In other words, in future, they should not offer an excuse but instead make an effort so that they do not miss the time [for the Tahajud prayer]. Thus, Hazrat Ali (ra) states that from that day on, he never missed his Tahajud prayer.”
(Sirat al-Nabi, Anwar al-Ulum, Vol. 1, 588-590)
What was the standard of worship of the Muslims during the battles? Regarding this, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud (ra) states:
“Everything in the world attains progress gradually. Even the greatest of feats are never accomplished in a single moment. Even in the time of the Holy Prophet (sa), not everyone observed the Tahajud prayer; rather, this habit was being instilled in them gradually and even though it is proven that sometimes the Holy Prophet (sa) would not offer the Tahajud prayer during battle; however, in the era of Hazrat Umar (ra), the Muslims would offer the Tahajud prayer even in the days of battle. It is possible that the Holy Prophet (sa) would also wake up for the Tahajud prayer during the days of battle, but it is proven that on certain occasions, he would not offer Tahajud [during the days of battle].
“However, in the era of Hazrat Umar (ra), the Muslims would offer the Tahajud prayer even in battle. Once, Heraclius decided to launch a sudden attack on the Muslims; however, after much discussion, it was ultimately decided that there was no point to launch a sudden attack because the Muslims did not sleep at night and instead would offer Tahajud. This is another hallmark of their progression which was not found in them in the early days and thus the Holy Prophet (sa) would have to greatly urge and exhort them to offer this but later even those who were weak had developed the habit to offer the Tahajjud prayer.”
(Khutbat-e-Mahmud, Vol. 13, p. 189)
Abu Mijlas states, “On one occasion, Hazrat Ammar bin Yassir (ra) offered the prayer but kept it short. Someone asked him the reason for doing so. He responded, ‘I did not deviate even to the slightest degree from the manner in which the Holy Prophetsa offered his prayer.’”
(Musnad Ahmad bin Hanbal, Vol. 6, p. 262, Ammar bin Yassir, Hadith 18514, Aalam-ul-Kutub, Beirut, 1998)
This narration is further explained by another narration from Abu Mijlas. He states, “Once Hazrat Ammar bin Yassir (ra) led us in a very short prayer which left the people astonished. Hazrat Ammar (ra) stated: ‘Did I not complete the ruku‘ and sujood [bowing down and prostrating in prayer]?’ They responded: ‘Yes, certainly you did.’ Hazrat Ammar (ra) responded: ‘I offered a prayer of the Holy Prophet (sa) in this Salat which is as follows:
اَللّٰهُمَّ بِعِلْمِكَ الْغَيْبَ وَقُدْرَتِكَ عَلَي الْخَلْقِ أَحْيِنِيْ مَا عَلِمْتَ الْحَيَاةَ خَيْرًا لِي وَتَوَفَّنِيْ اِذَا كَانَتِ الْوَفَاةُخَيْرًا لِيْ۔ اَسْأَلُكَ خَشْيَتَكَ فِي الْغَيْبِ وَالشَّهَادَةِ وَكَلِمَةَ الْحَقِّ فِي الْغَضَبِ وَالرِّضَا وَالْقَصْدَ فِيالْفَقْرِوَالْغِنٰي وَلَذَّة النَّظَرِ اِلٰي وَجْهِكَ وَالشَّوْقَ اِلٰي لِقَائِكَ وَاَعُوْذُبِكَ مِنْ ضَرَّاءَ مَضَرَّةٍ وَمِنْ فِتْنَةٍمُضِلَّةٍ۔ اَللّٰهُمَّ زَيِّنَّا بِزِيْنَةِ الْاِيْمَانِ وَاجْعَلْنَا هُدَاةً مَهْدِيِّيْنَ
“O Allah, You are aware of the knowledge of the unseen and Your power encompasses all of creation. I implore You to keep me alive only to the time you think my life is good for me and give me death when it is better for me. O Allah! I seek Your protection from the unseen and that what is visible, and I beg You to grant me the strength to speak the truth when in a state of anger and delight. I beseech You to grant me the ability to adopt the middle way during times of difficulty as well as abundance. I beg You to grant me the delightful sight to witness Your holy countenance and the eagerness and desire to meet You. I seek Your protection from any affliction and mischief that can lead one astray. O Allah! Adorn us with the beauty of faith and make us those from whom people find guidance.”
(Musnad Ahmad bin Hanbal, Vol. 6, p. 262, Ammar bin Yassir, Hadith 18515, Aalam-ul-Kutub, Beirut, 1998)
It is also mentioned in a narration that Hazrat Ammar bin Yassir (ra) would recite Surah Ya-Sin at the pulpit on Fridays.
(At-Tabaqat Al-Kubra, Vol. 3, p. 193, Ammar bin Yassir, Dar Ihya At-turath Al-Arabi, 1990, Beirut)
There are also certain prayers of Hazrat Umar (ra). Amr bin Maimoon relates that Hazrat Umar (ra) would pray:
اللّٰهُمَّ تَوَفَّنِيْ مَعَ الْأَبْرَارِ وَلَا تُخَلِّفْنِيْ فِي الْأَشْرَارِ وَقِنِيْ عَذَابَ الْنَّارِ وَأَلْحِقْنِيْ بِالْأَخْيَارِ
“O Allah, cause my demise to be with righteous people, and do not leave me behind amongst evil people. Save me from the torment of the fire, and include me among the righteous people.”
(Ibn Saad, Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra, Vol. 3, Dhikr Hijrat Umar (ra) bin al-Khattab [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar Ihya al-Turath al-‘Arabi, 1996], p. 177)
Yahya bin Saeed bin Musayyab narrates that when Hazrat Umar (ra) bin al-Khattab was returning from Mina, he stopped his camel in Abtah, and he created a mound of rocks from the valley of Batha. He then placed a corner of his cloak over the mound and lay down on the cloak. Then he raised his hands towards the sky and prayed:
اللّٰهُمَّ كَبُرَتْ سِنِّيْ وَضَعُفَتْ قُوَّتِيْ وَانْتَشَرَتْ رَعِيَّتِيْ فَاقْبِضْنِيْ إِلَيْكَ غَيْرَ مُضَيِّعٍ وَلَا مُفَرِّطٍ
“O Allah, I have lived for a long time and my strength has weakened, while the people under my rule have increased. Cause me to die in a way whereby I am not ruined.” Thus, the month of Dhul Hijjah had not finished when he was attacked and martyred.
(Ali Ibn al-Athir, Usd al-Ghabah fi Ma‘rifat al-Sahabah, Vol. 4, Umar (ra) bin al-Khattab [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2003], p. 162)
Hazrat Ibn Umar (ra) narrates, that during a famine, Hazrat Umar (ra) adopted a new habit which he had not adopted before. After leading Isha [late evening] prayer, he would enter his home and continuously offer prayers until the latter part of the night. Then, he would emerge and would walk to every corner of Medina. One night, at the time of sehri [pre-dawn], he heard him saying:
اللّٰهُمَّ لَا تَجْعَلْ هَلَاكَ أُمَّةَ مُحَمَّدٍ عَلَى يَدَيَّ
“O Allah, let not the nation of Muhammad (sa) be ruined at my hands.” (Ibn Saad, Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra, Vol. 3 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar Ihya al-Turath al-Arabi, 1990], p. 237)
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih I (ra) says:
“One should pray solely for the sake of God Almighty. Then, whether others think of him to be bad or good should not matter. One should not intentionally portray themselves to be bad, as has been forbidden through a prayer of the Holy Prophet (sa) which he taught to Hazrat Umar (ra), and that is:
اللَّهُمَّ اجْعَلْ سَرِيْرَتِي خَيْرًا مِنْ عَلَانِيَّتِي وَاجْعَلْ عَلَانِيَّتِي صَالِحَةً
“‘O Allah, make that which is within me better than that which is apparent, and make my apparent good.’”
(Haqaiq-ul-Furqan, Vol. 4, p. 482)
Hazrat Ali (ra) bin Abi Talib relates that the Holy Prophet (sa) visited him and his daughter, Hazrat Fatimah (ra), one night and enquired, “Do you both not pray?” Hazrat Ali (ra) submitted, “O Messenger (sa) of Allah, our lives are in the hands of God, thus He causes us to awaken from our sleep whenever He wills.” The Holy Prophet (sa) did not say anything in reply and returned.
In other words, the Holy Prophet (sa) enquired whether or not they offered the Tahajud prayer [predawn voluntary prayer]. Upon this, Hazrat Ali (ra) replied that if they did not wake up at the time of Tahajud then that was owing to the will of Allah. And whenever Allah willed for them to wake up at that time, then they would offer the Tahajud prayer. Upon this, the Holy Prophet (sa) remained silent and returned home. Hazrat Ali (ra) relates that when the Holy Prophet (sa) was returning from there, he heard him say whilst tapping his hand upon his thigh:
وَكَانَ الْاِنْسَانُ اَكْثَرَ شَيْءٍ جَدَلًا
That is, “But of all things, man is most contentious.” (Surah al-Kahf, Ch.16: V.55)
(Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Tahajud, Bab Tahrid al-Nabisa ala Qiyam al-Lail wa al-Nawafil, Hadith 1127)
This narration is mentioned in both Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim, but the details of the prayer are not mentioned. However, Imam Tirmidhi has recorded the details of the prayer under the virtues of Hazrat Sa‘d (ra). In this narration, Hazrat Sa‘d’s son, Qais narrates:
“My father used to say that the Holy Prophet (sa) prayed for him in the following manner:
اَللّٰہُمَّ اسْتَجِبْ لِسَعْدٍ اِذَا دَعَا
‘O Allah! Accept the prayer of Sa‘d whenever he prays to you.’”
In Ikmaal fi Asma ir-Rijaal, it is written that the Holy Prophet (sa) prayed:
اَللّٰہُمَّ سَدِّدْ سَھْمَہٗ وَاَجِبْ دَعْوَتَہ
“O Allah! May Sa‘d’s arrow always land on its target and accept his prayers.”
(Roshan Sitarey az Ghulam Bari Saif Sahib, Vol. 2, pp. 67-68)
Owing to this prayer of the Holy Prophet (sa), Hazrat Sa‘d bin Abi Waqas (ra) was known for the acceptance of prayers.
(Al-Isabah fi Tamyeez al-Sahabah, Vol. 2, pp. 324-325, Dar-ul-Fikr, Beirut, 2001)
Once, a person accused Hazrat Sa‘d (ra) of falsehood. Hazrat Sa‘d prayed, “O Allah! If he [i.e., the accuser] is lying, then relinquish him of his sight, may he live a long life and may he be struck with misfortune.” Thus, that individual endured all three of these things.
(Jami‘ al-Ulum wa al-Hakam fi Sharh Khamsin Hadithan min Jawami’il Kalam, Vol. 2, p. 350, Mu‘assisah al-Risalah, Beirut, 2001)
In one narration Qais bin Abi Hazim states:
“Once, I was going to the marketplace in Medina. When I reached Ahjar al-Zaid, I saw a large crowd had gathered around an individual on a mount who was cursing Hazrat Ali (ra). In the meantime, Hazrat Sa‘d bin Abi Waqas (ra) came and stood amongst the people and enquired about what was the cause of the commotion. The people replied that the individual was uttering profanities against Hazrat Ali (ra). The people gave way for Hazrat Sa‘d (ra) to move forwards until he stood right in front of the individual and asked him, ‘Why are you cursing Hazrat Ali (ra)? Did he not accept Islam from its inception? Was he not the first person to offer prayers alongside the Holy Prophet (sa)? Is he not the most pious amongst the people? Is he not the most knowledgeable amongst the people? Did the Holy Prophet (sa) not give his daughter’s hand in marriage to him, thereby granting him the honour of becoming his son-in-law? Was he not carrying the flag during the battles fought alongside the Holy Prophet (sa)?’”
The narrator further states:
“Hazrat Sa‘d (ra) then turned to face the Qiblah, and lifting his hands for prayer, he supplicated, ‘O Allah! If this individual has cursed one of the friends of Allah (i.e., Hazrat Ali (ra)) then make him a sign of Your Power before this crowd disperses.’”
This is a narration of Mustadrak and the narrator is Qais. He states, “By God! The crowd had not yet dispersed when the mount he was riding caused him to fall. It placed its feet on his head and stomped on his head and crushed it, causing his death.”
(Al-Mustadrak Ala al-Sahihain, Kitab Marifatu al-Sahabah, Bab Sa‘d bin Abi Waqas, Hadith 6121, Vol. 3, pp. 571-572, Dar-ul-Kutub Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2002)
There is a similar account of Hazrat Sa‘d (ra) standing guard on the occasion of the Battle of the Ditch just as he spent the night standing guard immediately after the Holy prophet’s (sa) migration to Medina. Hazrat Musleh Maud (ra) states:
“Hazrat Aisha (ra) narrates, ‘The Holy Prophet (sa) had become extremely tired from standing guard and keeping vigilant in the nights. The Holy Prophet (sa) would also stand on guard in the nights along with the other companions. When his body could no longer bear the intense cold temperature, the Holy Prophet (sa) would return and lay down beside me in a blanket and as soon as his body would become warm, he would return to guard the damaged part of the ditch. Having not slept continuously for many days, the Holy Prophet (sa) one day became extremely exhausted and wished some devoted Muslim would come [and relieve him of the physical labour of guarding the ditch in the cold of the night] and he could sleep in ease. Soon he heard a voice. It was Sa‘d bin Abi Waqas (ra). The Holy Prophet (sa) asked him why he had come. “To stand guard for you,” said Sa‘d (ra). “There is no need to stand guard for me,” said the Holy Prophet (sa). “A part of the ditch is damaged. Go and guard it so that the Muslims may be safe.” And so, Sa‘d (ra) went and the Holy Prophet (sa) was able to sleep for a short while.’”
(Dibacha Tafsir-ul-Quran, Anwar-ul-Ulum, Vol. 20, p. 279)