Umm Haram Bint Milhan, a Sahabiya, (a companion of the Prophet) was married
to Ubadah Ibn as-Samit Ansari. Along with her husband, she undertook several
trips to foreign countries. Now her grave is in Cyprus, and is called the grave
of the pious woman (Hayat As-Sahaba 1/592). The grave of Khalid Ibn al-Walid,
who was born in Makkah, is in Hims (Syria).
The same is the case with the majority of the Companions of the Prophet. At the
time of the Prophet’s demise, his companions numbered more than one hundred
thousand. However it is worth noting that if you go to Makkah and Madinah, you
will find only a small number of graves there. The reason for this is that these
companions left Arabia and spread to various countries far and beyond its
borders. The majority of them breathed their last in various Asian and African
countries, where their graves still exist.
Why did this happen? It was because during his last days the Prophet gathered
his companions together in the mosque in Madinah and addressed them in these
words: God has sent me as his messenger for the entire world. So you do not
differ with one another. And spread in the land and communicate my message to
people inhabiting other places besides Arabia. (Seerat Ibn Hisham 4/279).
It was this injunction of the Prophet that led to the Sahabah (companions of the
Prophet) settling in foreign lands. In those countries either did business or
earned their living by hard work, all the while communicating to their
non-Muslim compatriots the message of monotheism which they had received from
the Prophet. Every one of them thus became a virtual ambassador of Islam. This
resulted in Islam spreading across the globe. Its evidence can still be seen in
the inhabited world of that time.
I feel history is repeating itself in modern times. New circumstances, produced
in the wake of industrial revolution, have resulted in Muslims leaving their
homelands to spread all over the world. Today, whichever part of the globe you
visit, you will find Muslims there. Mosques and Islamic institutions have come
up everywhere. Muslims have settled in these countries either for work or for
business. However, in respect of their religion, their actual position is that
of Islam’s representatives. It is as if each one of them is an ambassador of
God. Now the need of the hour is to awaken the missionary spirit in these
Muslims settled in foreign lands, so that they may effectively communicate the
message of Islam—a task of universal magnitude made incumbent upon them by their
new sets of circumstances.
By: Maulana Wahiduddin Khan