By reviewing the books of Islamic history, one finds narrations about heroes of this great Ummah that affirm the saying of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, «مَثَلُ أُمَّتِي مَثَلُ الْمَطَرِ لَا يُدْرَى أَوَّلُهُ خَيْرٌ أَوْ آخِرُهُ» “My Ummah is like a rain; it is not known if the first of it is good or last of it” (Tirmithi).
Goodness has emerged many times since the Prophethood, throughout the Islamic era until today, where the Ummah has faced extreme situations, followed by goodness that had been growing and developing, until the Ummah returned to the level that is befitting for it. In this context, the present armies of Muslim lands have great lessons from the Muslim commanders in history. It is good to highlight some of the best Muslim commanders, based on their achievements and contributions to the expansion of the mighty Khilafah State.
- Hamza Ibn Abdul Muttalib (RA):
Ḥamzah ibn ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib was a foster brother, companion and paternal uncle of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. He was martyred in the Battle of Uhud on 22 March 625 (3 Shawwal 3 AH). He was nicknamed Asadullah (Lion of Allah) and Asad al-Jannah (Lion of Heaven), and the Prophet ﷺ gave him the title Sayyid ash-Shuhada. «سيد الشهداء حمزة بن عبد المطلب ورجل قام إلى إمام جائر فأمره ونهاه فقتله» “The master of the martyrs is Hamza ibn Abdul Mattalib, and a man who stands (in front of) an oppressive ruler and enjoins the good and forbids the evil and so is killed for it.” (Hakim)
He (ra) entered in to the fold of Islam in 612. The Muslims had gained a great deal of strength when Hamzah ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib embraced Islam. The Messenger ﷺ organized the first raid against Quraysh under the leadership of Hamza (ra) to the seashore in the neighborhood of Al-‘Is at the head of thirty riders from the emigrants. Hamzah met Abu Jahl ibn Hisham with three hundred riders on the shore and was about to fight him when Majdi ibn ‘Amr al-Juhani intervened between them, causing the people to separate without fighting.
Hamza fought at the Battle of Badr. He always used to have a distinctive ostrich feather on his chest which made him highly visible in the battlefield. He killed Utbah ibn Rabi’ah in single combat and helped Ali to kill Utbah’s brother Shayba. Later, Hamza carried the banner of Islam in the expedition against the Banu Qaynuqa.
- Khalid Ibn Al-Waleed (RA):
This notable commander was one of the best commanders in the Islamic Khilafah, born in 592 and died in 642 AD. He converted to Islam roughly at the age of 35. He was feared by the enemies of Allah (swt) and he was ferocious, thereby he was nicknamed ‘Saifullah’ [Sword of Allah], because in his whole life he never lost a single battle. His successes include the Riddah wars against the fake prophets, the conquests of Iraq, part of Syria, Yamamah, and more than hundred other battles. Khalid Ibn Al-Waleed (ra) was also a great military strategist, whose tactics are still used today. Khalid bin Waleed (ra) said, whilst he was on his death bed, “لقد شهدتُ مائة زحف أو زُهاءَها، وما في جسدي موضع شبر إلا وفيه ضربةٌ أو طعنة أو رَمْية، ثم هأنذا أموت على فراشي كما يموت العَيْر، فلا نامت أعين الجبناء” “I’ve fought in so many battles seeking martyrdom that there is no spot in my body left without a scar or a wound made by a spear or sword. And yet here I am, dying on my bed like an old camel. May the eyes of the cowards never rest.”
He (ra) was a soldier that deserved to be called the Sword of Allah, the sword that was raised in the face of the Kuffar and the enemies of Islam and Muslims.
- Abu Ubaydah Ibn Al-Jarrah (RA)
He embraced Islam at the age of 18. His military successes include the conquests of Damascus, the conquest of the Levant as well as the holy city of Jerusalem. Also he took part in campaigns in Armenia and Anatolia. He was the one, whose teeth was broken whilst protecting the Prophet ﷺ in the battle of Uhud. He was truly blessed, because the prophet ﷺ called him: ‘The custodian of the Ummah’ and he was also one of the ten promised Jannah [Asharathul Mubashareena Bil Jannah].
- Tariq Ibn Ziyad
Greatest commander in the 8th century CE known famously as Conqueror of Spain. By the orders of the Muslim Khalifah, at the age of between 35 or 42, Tariq was sent with 10,300 men against the army of Visigothic tyrant, King Rhoderic who had 1,00,000 men. Tariq was known for his bravery. When he hit the shores of Gibraltar, he burnt all his ships because he was certain that he would be victorious. King Rhoderic was defeated by Tariq’s army and was killed. The people of Spain were delighted to see their new rulers after the tyranny they faced.
- Muhammad Bin Qasim Ath- Thaqafi
In 711, Muslim traders sailed across the Indian Ocean from Ceylon near the coast of Sindh, but their ship was looted and they were taken prisoners. The news reached the capital of the Khilafah, when the Khalifah was Al Waleed bin Abd al-Malik. He sent a letter to Hajjaj bin Yusuf, the governor of Iraq, requesting him to ask the rulers of Sindh to apologise for this act and mobilize to liberate the captured Muslims. Thus, Hajjaj sent an army under the leadership of one of the Ummah’s best commander. His name occupies a prominent place in the hearts of Muslims, especially those of the Indian Subcontinent. He took responsibility for leading the army of the Islamic Khilafah to a foreign land. He was Muhammad bin Qasim al-Thaqafi. He belongs to family of pious men. At the age of 15-17, he conquered Sindh. In three years, i.e. by 714 CE, the entirety of Sindh and southern Punjab were opened to the rule of the Islamic Khilafah. With the opening of the north-western part of the Indian Subcontinent, the Islamic Army brought idol-worshippers from darkness to the light of Islam.
- Qutaiba Bin Muslim
He is also one of the best commander of Islam, who hasn’t mentioned a lot. He was first started as the Governor of Khorasan, soon making his way up as an outstanding commander. His successes include suppressing the revolt against the Khaleefah, conquest of Tokharistan, Bukhara, Khwarizm and the conquest of Transoxiana. These places corresponds to present day Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Krygyzstan and Kazhagstan.
- Muhammad Al- Fatih
Our Beloved Messenger ﷺ, surrounded by his Companions who would transcribe for him, was asked, أَيُّ الْمَدِينَتَيْنِ تُفْتَحُ أَوَّلًا قُسْطَنْطِينِيَّةُ أَوْ رُومِيَّةُ؟ “Which of the two cities will be opened first, Constantinople or Rome?” He answered, «مَدِينَةُ هِرَقْلَ تُفْتَحُ أَوَّلًا يَعْنِي قُسْطَنْطِينِيَّة» “The city of Heraclius will be opened first,” meaning Constantinople. [Reported by Ahmed]
He ﷺ also foretold, «لَتُفْتَحَنَّ الْقُسْطَنْطِينِيَّةُ فَلَنِعْمَ الْأَمِيرُ أَمِيرُهَا وَلَنِعْمَ الْجَيْشُ ذَلِكَ الْجَيْشُ» “You will open Constantinople. Its Amir is the best Amir, and the best army that army will be.” [Reported by Ahmed]
These words, authenticated and transmitted from generation to generation, echoed throughout the history of the Ummah, inspiring hope, ambition, and sincere effort in some of the greatest leaders, warriors, and scholars to have ever emerged in our Ummah. The honor of being described as the best Amir and the best army was desired by every sincere Muslim. It wasn’t until 857 years after the Hijrah (AH), on the 20th of Jumada al-Awwal, that the 21 year old Muhammad ibn Murad gained his title, Al-Fatih (the Conqueror) by fulfilling the prophecy of Allah’s Messenger ﷺ by liberating Constantinople. He renamed the city ‘Islambol’ (the City of Islam), protected its Christian residents, and went on a campaign of redeveloping the city to even greater heights than the Byzantines had achieved. He commissioned the improvement of the city’s sanitation system, utilized clean sources of water for its citizens, opened kitchens for the hungry, and ordered the building of many of the Masajid and universities that we can still see today. He ensured that non-Muslims were protected under the contract of Dhimma, and even made Istanbul the capital city of his rule. Conquering Constantinople was no easy task. Muhammad Al-Fatih had to account for the punishing winter in planning his siege of the city; he had to build “state-of-the-art” technology for that time, and he had to pull off feats of logistical brilliance in record time.
- Salahuddin Al-Ayyubi:
A divided Islamic world offered feeble resistance to the Crusaders who had invaded and consolidated their hold on the lands surrounding al-Quds containing Islam’s third holiest site, Masjid al-Aqsa. The warring Muslim parties did not take the Crusader invasion seriously at this stage. After almost 100 years of occupation, in the words of Imam al-Din al-Khatib: “Allah renewed Islam after it had declined and strengthened it after it had grown weak” through Nur al-Din and then by the man of the hour, perhaps the most celebrated of Muslim soldiers in the history of Islam, Salah al-Din Ayubi, who threw down the gauntlet to the invading Crusaders. After a number of battles, the decisive battle once again, as many times previously, took place in the blessed month of Ramadan in the year 582AH at the battle of Hattin. The battle of Hattin which then followed is considered by many to be the key to all the Muslim conquests against the crusaders and represented the period that the crusader tide began to recede which eventually resulted in the liberation of al-Quds on the 27th of Rajab, which was said to have coincided with the Night Journey of the Prophet ﷺ.
- Saifuddin Qutuz
Fierce mounted warriors swept out of Mongolia, laying waste to every city that refused to surrender. In 656 AH, they unleashed their fury against Baghdad and breached its walls. They murdered and pillaged for a week – some estimates say that as many as 1,800,000 were killed. The whole IslamIc world trembled in fear of the Mongols. This was such a decisive blow that for the first time since the very early stages of the faith at the time of Badr. There was a real fear that Islam and Muslims could be wiped off the face of the earth.
Amongst all this doom and gloom and when Muslims were in a real position of weakness, fear and apprehension, Allah raised for the Ummah His servant, Saif al-Din Qutuz (Mamluk of Egypt). He united the Muslims, prepared them to fight, raised the necessary money and the army was mobilised to engage in the battle to defend Islam, its followers and lands, and to fight the usurping aggressor. Amongst the many renowned scholars who had encouraged the Muslims to unify behind Qutuz and prepare for the battle was the great scholar, al-‘Izz b. ‘Abd al-Salam. And finally in the month of Ramadan, on Friday the 25th in 658 A.H was the infamous battle of Ain Jalut, where the Mongols were defeated.
- Tippu Sultan
As for Tipu Sultan, he was born in November 1750 and achieved martyrdom on 4 May 1799. Tipu was the ruler of Mysore and is famously known as ‘The Tiger of Mysore’. He is also known by many other titles, such as ‘Sultan Fateh Ali Khan Saheb,’ ‘Tipu Saheb,’ ‘Sultan Bahadur (Brave) Khan Tipu,’ ‘Fateh Ali Tipu Sultan Bahadur.’ These titles lend to a clear picture of the personality of this man, a personality of the one of valor, warrior and conqueror. He employed the use of rockets in warfare. At age 15, he accompanied his father against the British in the First Mysore War in 1766. He commanded a corps of cavalry in the expansion at age 16. From the age of 17, Tipu was given independent charge of important diplomatic and military missions. He was martyred on the battlefield, whilst defending the Muslim Lands from the invasion of the hateful British kuffar, having struck fear deep into their arrogant hearts, through his cunning, bravery, creativity and ingenuity.
It is enough for us to read the brief letter written by Sultan to the ruler of Hyderabad, Nizam Ali Khan, in which Tipu Sultan sought for him to unify with him in confronting the colonialist Englishmen. He wrote, “I want you to be powerful and dominant for Muslims in India and I wish to sacrifice my soul and wealth in the way of Allah and in the way of Islam. My greatest concern is to integrate the unity of Muslims and so Muslims must help me in this without backing Kuffar.” It is clear from this letter that he was a ruler and army commander whose concern was Islam and Muslims.
Oh Armies of the Muslim World!!! Oh Ansar of the future Khilafah State!!!
This was the position of the best Ummah and their leaders that is ever to be brought forth for Mankind. You must take lessons from our great history. The examples of these commanders of Islam must be the model for the military leaders in the Muslim world. You must not be of those who take crusader leaders as their models to learn from their teachings.
The military leaders must work according to our predecessors like Khalid bin Waleed, Salahuddin al Ayyubi, Tariq bin Ziyad, Saifuddin Qutuz, Tipu Sultan etc….which is to unify the Ummah on the Word of Tawheed and fight in the Way of Allah (swt) to make the Word of Allah (swt) highest, whilst making the words of America, Jews, Christians, Hindus, Bhuddists and the crusader alliance lowest. The unity of Muslims upon the word of Tawheed and their fighting in the Way of Allah (swt) will never happen under the agent rulers of the West, such as our rulers today. This is only if a military commander from amongst the military commanders of the Muslim lands, with a sense of honour and lofty principles, eradicates colonialism by overthrowing its agents and replaces them with a ruler, who is like Khalifah Abubakr as Siddique or Khalifah Umar al-Farooq, by establishing the second Khilafah (Caliphate) on the Method of Prophethood.
This is how we will restore the glory that we have lost, which our rulers still refuse to restore; otherwise, we will never restore our rightful position. Are the wombs sterile of the birth of such an awaited commander, or are there many, but they are in need of someone to ring a bell?! We are confident that the descendants of Khalid bin Waleed are many in Shaam, descendants of Salaahuddin al Ayyubi are many in Egypt, descendants of Muhammad bin qaasim are many in Pakistan, descendants of Muhammad Al-Fatih are many in Turkey and that this matter is just a matter of time. And it is a matter for those who are foremost in goodness, for such will be the foremost in Jannah and achieve honour in the Dunyah. Allah (swt) said, سَابِقُوا إِلَى مَغْفِرَةٍ مِنْ رَبِّكُمْ وَجَنَّةٍ عَرْضُهَا كَعَرْضِ السَّمَاءِ وَالْأَرْضِ أُعِدَّتْ لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا بِاللَّهِ وَرُسُلِهِ ذَلِكَ فَضْلُ اللَّهِ يُؤْتِيهِ مَنْ يَشَاءُ وَاللَّهُ ذُو الْفَضْلِ الْعَظِيمِ “Be foremost in seeking forgiveness from your Lord and a Garden whose width is like the width of the heavens and earth, prepared for those who believed in Allah and His messengers. That is the bounty of Allah which He gives to whom He wills, and Allah is the possessor of great bounty.” [Surah al-Hadeed 57:21]
O Armies of the Muslims! Stand up for Islam and Muslims! It is enough of ostentatious exercises for you for the sake of the corrupt rulers, puppets of disbelieving colonizers! You are Muslims! Refuse Taghut service! Support the call of Hizb ut Tahrir for the revival of the Second Righteous state of the Khilafah (Caliphate) on the method of Prophethood! Become Ansars! Become valiant Mujahideen like the righteous predecessors who spread Islam around the world! And may Allah help us!
Hence, the military leaders in the Islamic world should uproot the current secular system in the Islamic Lands and give Nussrah to Hizb ut Tahrir. Allah (swt) said, فَسَتَذْكُرُونَ مَا أَقُولُ لَكُمْ وَأُفَوِّضُ أَمْرِي إِلَى اللَّهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ بَصِيرٌ بِالْعِبَادِ “And you will remember what I [now] say to you, and I entrust my affair to Allah. Indeed, Allah is Seeing of [His] servants.” [Surah Al-Ghafir: 44]
مِّنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ رِجَالٌ صَدَقُوا مَا عَاهَدُوا اللَّهَ عَلَيْهِ فَمِنْهُم مَّن قَضَىٰ نَحْبَهُ وَمِنْهُم مَّن يَنتَظِرُ وَمَا بَدَّلُوا تَبْدِيلًا
“Among the believers are men true to what they promised Allah. Among them is he who has fulfilled his vow [to the death], and among them is he who awaits [his chance]. And they did not alter [the terms of their commitment] by any alteration” [Surah Al-Ahzab, 33:23]
Hameed Bin Ahmad