History is like a ship which has accommodated within itself the caravan of mankind. During its long journey it comes across some sensational moments which are called the turning points of history in the sense that during transition from one condition to another, which is a prerequisite of its journey, the movement of time, on some particular occasions, undergoes a special change and evolution, and this change manifests itself in an attractive and delicate form. Appearance of such a condition is the consequence of contact with such a turning point.
Undoubtedly the most sensational summit of history and its most subtle turning point was the moment when the elders of the tribe of Quraysh made an offer to the Prophet of Islam, the greatest leader of mankind, saying, "If you desire status, ruler ship, wealth and luxurious life we are willing and ready to place all these things at your disposal, provided that you don't malign our gods, don't interfere with our traditions, regulations and beliefs; and abandon the call which you have commenced."
When this offer was made, the Prophet (S) remained silent for a moment and then replied: "If you place the sun on my right hand and the moon on my left I will not forsake the mission which has been entrusted to me".
During that moment when the Prophet (S) paused and was preparing himself to give a reply history came to a standstill. Time then suspended its journey and was relieved of its responsibility. It waited for the Prophet (S) to give a reply so that it might learn about its duty. However, as soon as a categorical reply emanated from his sacred lips history became aware of its duty and commenced its new journey.
As a result of this a new world and a new history came into being. After a few years the city of Makkah was conquered, the flag of Islam began to fly, and that sacred city was purified and cleansed of the taint of polytheism and ignorance. The Prophet (S) declared: "O people, beware! The period of ignorance has come to an end and a new era has commenced!"
History tells us that with the dawn of Islam the period of oppression, transgression, polytheism, infidelity, materialism, hero-worship, and ignorance came to an end, and an epoch then commenced of justice, brotherhood, equality, monotheism, knowledge, wisdom, education and utilization of hidden human talents without which civilization carries no meaning.
In short, light and luminosity replaced darkness and turbidity, and in this way a new era commenced. One of the features of this new era which is a requisite for such a great change was that with the advent of Islam the history of mankind underwent a change.
Islam practically crossed out the names of the former dignitaries of history in the sense that till that time the title of 'the dignitaries of history' was given to those persons who developed the habit of oppressing the people and transgressing upon their rights, left behind themselves bloody events as their memorials in the pages of history and passed away, but after the establishment of Islamic Government truth and justice came at the helm of affairs, unknown persons like Bilal of Ethiopia, Suhayb of Greece and Salman of Iran rose from the hidden corners of society and became the dignitaries of history instead of the Alexanders, the Caesars and the Khusros, and the pages of history were adorned with their names .
Dr Muhammad Iqbal, the world-renowned thinker has explained this matter in the following words in his Urdu poem entitled "Tulu'i Islam" (Dawn of Islam):
The real object of nature and the secret of being a Muslim means universal brotherhood and abundant love.
Break the idols of colour and race and get absorbed in one single unity. Don't make any difference between the Turk, the Iranian and the Afghan.
How long will you waste your time hearing the melodies of the birds of the garden? Your arms possess strength to fly like a falcon.
The faith of a Muslim in the society is like the flame of a candle in the hut of a hermit in the desert.
Just look into history. What was the thing which destroyed the despotism of Kaiser and Kisra? Then compare it with the strength and devotion of Haider (Imam ‘Ali), the abstemiousness of Abu Dharr and the truthfulness of Salman Farsi.
Just see how the so-called leaders of the nations have, with their pomp and pelf, crushed the people! Hundreds of people who have remained captives for centuries are looking at them through the prison bars!
In this world the firmness and survival of life depend on firm faith, because it is confirmed that the Turk has proved to be stronger than the German in the field of life.
Just look at this creature of dust! It is due to his inner fire (of faith) that it he has been provided with the wings of the Archangel Gabriel to fly on.
Yes, since the singularity of human being is not breakable, and similarly, virtue is not the speciality of any nation, wherever and with whomsoever virtue is found it is respectable and its owner deserves to be honoured; whether he be a Turk, an Iranian, an Arab, a non Arab, an African, a European or an Asian.
Furthermore, by whosoever the lamp of virtue may be kindled it is necessary that one should utilize the rays of its light. It may be added that great and virtuous persons belong to the entire human race and their rank and status is much above that they may be associated with a particular nation especially in the present age, when fortunately the weak brawls of nationalism have gradually changed into the slogans of internationalism.
The extensive horizon of humanity and its beautiful sight have become the object of the wishes of all human beings under the protection of a common thinking and a specified and unvaried ideology, and the thinkers of every creed and school support this lofty human ideal. And on account of the principles of the compulsion of history, and the survival of the fittest, this desire of the suffering humanity will however become a reality one day and the mandatory command of the Qur'an to the effect that Mankind, you are one single nation, (Surah al-Anbiya, 21:92) will be accepted by all the human societies, and the universal government and fraternity will be established under the auspices of monotheism; except which there is no alternative.
One of the distinguished historical personalities is ‘Ammar ibn Yasir, the esteemed and renowned companion of the Holy Prophet (S) who shone like a luminous star in the atmosphere of humanity in the darkest periods of history, and was recognized, on account of the glow of the light of truth, to be the model of training and learning, and an excellent specimen of freedom and justice.
‘Ammar is one of the seven earliest supporters of the sacred movement of Islam, and one of the greatest personalities of whom human history will always feel proud. He will always shine on the crown of humanity, because he was one of the most active and sincere followers of Islam, and one of the devoted servants and builders of the new history of humanity, and as a result of his continuous effort in the path of godliness till the age of ninety-two years, when he met martyrdom in the service of Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the Faithful.
He did not rest from seeking and saying the truth. He enjoyed such an enviable position that an unparalleled personality like ‘Ali shed tears while mourning for him, recited a painful elegy on having been separated from him and prayed to Allah for his own death after the martyrdom of this great companion of the Holy Prophet.
Originally this book was written with the title of Halif al-Makhzum by Sadruddin Sharafuddin, one of the greatest literary and educational personalities of Arabic language. It consists of detailed biography of ‘Ammar Yasir. It is hoped that the readers will enjoy reading it and will also benefit from it.
The greatest distinction of this unmatched literary and historical monument is that besides depicting a minute picture of the shining face of ‘Ammar with great dexterity, it explains many delicate and important points and mysteries of the luminous history of Islam up to the end of the Battle of Siffin, with an enchanting pen, in a manner that is beyond praise and makes the facts of history available to us with clarity.
The contents of this excellent treatise are not only confined to the correct narration and explanation of the events; the comparison between the two forces of truth and falsehood, clash of the interests of different individuals and groups and hypocritical political games which have prevailed in all times and ages, but it also contains lessons from philosophy of history based on psychology and has conducted minute analysis of social problems and drawn conclusions from events on the basis of the latest principles of psychology.
It has assessed and studied with the most exact measures and standards of sociology all the events of the earliest days of Islam in an unprecedented manner, with thorough research and has recorded by utilizing the sources of Ahlus Sunnat wal Jama'at which may be utilized by all classes.
The study of this valuable treatise will be especially instructive to the enlightened and godly young men of our society, who are keenly devoted to the service of the society under the auspices of the sublime teachings of Islam. This distinguished group will acquire valuable examples from the history of the dignified life of this magnanimous personality of the history of mankind, and will point out to others that the path of truth and of securing human prosperity, is not more than one, and that is the path which the Holy Prophet (S) opened for the misguided caravan of mankind in compliance with the Command of Almighty Allah. It was under the auspices of his guidance, that people like ‘Ammar ibn Yasir, who is reckoned to be the best specimens of humanity were trained and became excellent examples for mankind.
After having realized the fact that unknown persons like ‘Ammar ibn Yasir were recognized in the human society as 'dignitaries of history', and their personalities crossed out and annulled the names of Caesars, Alexanders and Khusros, it may be said with perfect frankness that this blessed and auspicious path is always open to the followers of Islam and those trained in the school of the Prophet of Islam.
We Muslims should, therefore, endeavour to discharge the duty entrusted to us by Almighty Allah and should take lesson from ‘Ammar ibn Yasir in the present day intellectual and moral crisis, which has engulfed the entire world. We should also remember that he was not an Imam or an infallible person, but a staunch believer, who had been trained in the school of Islam and was recognized, on account of his godliness, perseverance and devotion, to be the embodiment of truth.
One point must, however, be mentioned here that experience shows that the only factor, which can purify us of the contaminations of the present age, is undoubtedly our benefiting from the Islamic reserves which are all manifested in the school of Ahlul Bayt, the progeny of Prophet Muhammad (S).
Moreover, the old and rotten slogans of nationalism are now out of date. Hence, keeping in view the fact that Islam has always ensured our deliverance we should also endeavour with all our strength, at this sensitive stage of history as well to gain vigour and strength from the same source and should benefit from the guidance of the descendants of the Holy Prophet (S).
We will soon publish a book on the lives of more than 250 companions of the Holy Prophet of Islam.