The Life of Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ)
THE MOST IMPORTANT EVENTS
FROM THE CONQUEST OF MAKKAH
UNTIL THE DEMISE OF THE PROPHET
THE BATTLE OF HUNAYN
After Allah (ﷻ) enabled His Messenger and the Muslims to conquer Makkah, and the resistance of Quraysh, which had lasted for twenty- one years from the beginning of his mission, collapsed, then Hawaazin gathered to fight the Messenger (ﷺ) and the battle of Hunayn took place, details of which are mentioned in Seerat Ibn Hishaam.
The following lessons may be learned from this battle:
1. The stubbornness of Maalik ibn 'Awf, and his failure to listen to the advice of Durayd ibn as-Summah because he was too keen to lead and believed that he was right, and he was too arrogant to allow his people to say that he -a young, strong leader -had listened to the advice of an old man whose strength was spent. If he had heeded the advice of Durayd, his people would have avoided that great loss of their wealth and the great shame of having their women captured. But arrogance and pride in leadership lead the subject peoples to doom and destruction, and hasten their loss. His pride made him refuse to submit to the strength of Islam to which the proud Quraysh themselves had submitted after such a long and bitter struggle. He thought that with the men and wealth that he had, he would be able to defeat the new strength of Islam. His arrogance also made him insist on bringing out his people's womenfolk and wealth with them, so as to prevent their defeat, and he ignored the advice of Durayd who told him that when a person wants to flee, nothing can stop him. He ignored the fact that the Muslims whom he was going to fight were not depending in their hope for victory on wealth, numbers or weapons, rather they were depending on the power of Allah, the Almighty, the Compeller, and His promise to them of victory and Paradise. It was not fear for their womenfolk and wealth that prevented them from being defeated, but rather their desire for the reward of Allah and fear of His punishment, as He warns of a painful punishment and harsh vengeance for those who turn their back in the battlefield:
“And whoever turns his back to them on such a day -unless it be a stratagem of war, or to retreat to a troop [of his own], - he indeed has drawn upon himself wrath from Allah. And his abode is Hell and worst indeed is that destination!"(Qur'an 8: 16)
So Maalik and his tribe of Hawaazin, and those who were with him, were defeated. The consequences of his arrogance did not befall him alone, but they befell all of his people, because they obeyed him in that. When he warned them that if they did not obey him he would fall oil his sword, they hastened to obey him. If they had followed the advice of their experienced older leader, and ignored the arrogance of their young leader, what befell them would not have happened. They feared the anger of their leader, but if they had asked themselves, what would happen if they made him angry, the answer is that they would have lost their leader, and what was so terrible about that?
What would be so awful about the loss of an arrogant, selfish leader who wanted to keep the glory of battle for himself and not share it with those who were more able and more experienced than him in the ways of battle? Is the life of one person equal to the life of a tribe or nation? Allah has warned us in the Qur'an about the consequences of such submission of societies to the whims and desires of rulers and leaders. Allah says, in the story of Moosa's dealings with Pharaoh:
"Thus he [Fir'awn (Pharaoh)] befooled [and misled] his people, and they obeyed him. Verily, they were ever a people who were Faasiqeen [rebellious, disobedient to Allah]. So when they angered Us,
- by their turning away from the truth and following their false rulers -
We punished them, and drowned them all. And We made them a precedent [as a lesson for those coming after them],
- an example of punishment -
and an example to later generations. "(Quran 43: 54-56)
2. The Prophet (ﷺ) borrowed one hundred coats of chain mail and whatever weapons he needed from Safwaan, who was a mushrik. Apart from the fact that it is essential to make complete preparations to fight the enemy, this also demonstrates that it is permissible to buy or borrow weapons from the kuffar, so long as that will not give them the upper hand or enable them to cause harm to the Muslims in any way. The Messenger (ﷺ) borrowed weapons from Safwaan after the Conquest of Makkah, but Safwaan was weak and insignificant, and was not in a position to dictate conditions to the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ). This is indicated by what he said to the Messenger when he asked him for the weapons. He said, "Are you taking them by force, O' Muhammad?" The Messenger (ﷺ) replied, "No, rather it is a loan and a trust, until we bring them back to you. "
This event also gives us an example of the noble ways in which the Muslims dealt with their defeated enemies. If the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) had wanted to take the weapons by force, he could have done so, and Safwaan would not have been able to say anything. But this was the way of the Prophet (ﷺ) in victory and in dealing with the vanquished: he would not touch their wealth after the battle had ended and weapons had been laid down. We have never heard of anyone doing such a thing before Muhammad (ﷺ) or after him. What we have seen of how victorious armies treat the vanquished and take over their wealth, honour and rights serves to reinforce what we have said.
" ... But Allah says the truth, and He guides to the [Right] Way" (Quran 33: 4)
3. When the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) went out to fight in this battle, there were twelve thousand with him. Ten thousand of them were those who had come out with him from Madeenah and had been present at the Conquest of Makkah; they were the Muhaajireen and Ansaar, and the tribes who lived in the vicinity of Madeenah or on the route from Madeenah. The other two thousand were people who had become Muslims after the Conquest, and in most cases Islam was not yet firmly established in their hearts. Some of them had entered Islam only after their hopes of resisting and overcoming it had been dashed. In this army, there were sincere believers who had pledged themselves, heart and soul, to fight for the sake of Allah to make His religion prevail, and there were those whose religious commitment was weak, or who bore grudges and had become Muslims reluctantly; they were resentful about the victory of Islam. So the army was not all on the same level of strong will and faith in the aims for which it was fighting, and there were those who simply wanted the spoils of victory. Hence, the initial defeat is something which should come as no surprise, and when the Prophet (ﷺ) saw how many people were with him, he said, " We will not be overcome today because of small numbers,"(7) i.e., such a large army as this can be defeated only because of the characteristics and morale of individuals in its ranks, that have to do with their faith, strength of spirit, sincerity and readiness to make sacrifices. Thus, the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) set out an important principle for us, which is that victory does not depend on large numbers or on having weapons, but rather it is the matter of morale in the hearts of the fighters which motivates them to make sacrifices. The Qur'an confirms this in more than one place, as Allah says:
" ... How often has a small group overcome a mighty? host by Allah’s Leave. And Allah is with As-Saabireen [the patient]" (Qur'an 2: 249)
This is clearly indicated by the verses which were revealed after this battle was over:
(7) It has not been proven that the Prophet (ﷺ) said this. It was narrated by Ibn Ishaaq in his Maghaazi but there are breaks and unknown persons in its isnad. It was said that the one who said it was Salamah ibn Salaamah ibn Waqsh, or Abu Bakr as-Siddeeq, or Al-'Abbaas, or a man from Bani Bakr.
“Truly, Allah has given you victory on many battlefields, and on the day of Hunayn [battle] when you rejoiced at your great number but it availed you naught and the earth, vast as it is, was straitened for you, then you turned back in flight. Then Allah did send down His Sakeenah [calmness, tranquility and reassurance] on the Messenger [Muhammad], and on the believers, and sent down forces [angels] which you saw not, and punished the disbelievers. Such is the recompense of disbelievers.” (Qur'an 9: 25-26)
4. On the way to the battle, some of the believers said to the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ): "O' Messenger of Allah, make for us a Dhaat Anwaat(8) like theirs." The Messenger (ﷺ) replied,
" By the One in Whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, you have said something like that which the people of Moosa said to Moosa: 'They said:
“O' Moosa [Moses]! Make for us an ilah [a god] as they have aalihah [gods].' He said: 'Verily you are a people who know not”. (Qur'an 7: 138)
This is the same attitude, you are following in the footsteps of those who came before you.’”
(8)Dhaat Anvaat: This was a great tree to which the pagan Arabs would come each year and hang their weapons on it, offer sacrifices beside it and devote themselves to it for a day. (Seerat Ibn Ishaaq). (Translator)
Here the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) indicated what this ummah would do, namely imitating the nations that came before it. This is a warning against doing that, and an indication that no one does that except one who is ignorant. For the nations which know what is good and what is evil, what brings benefit and what causes harm, follow what is good and cling to it, and turn away from evil and flee from it; they refuse to follow any path that leads to harm, even if that is what all the other nations are doing. If they imitate others blindly and without caring about the consequences, then they are doing the wrong thing. This is the ignorance of which Allah says:
" ... Verily, you are a people who know not." (Qur'an 7: 138)
The nation which has confidence in itself, is proud of its identity and is at peace with the truth and goodness that it has, will refuse to follow behind others in matters that will harm it or which go against its principles. If it imitates others, this is a sign that it is weak in character, confused in its thinking, giving in to whims and desires, and falling into weakness and decline. This is the jaahiliyah (ignorance) from which Allah has saved us through His Messenger, His Book and His shari'ah. In the view of calls for reform, the words knowledge and ignorance do not refer to literacy and illiteracy, rather they refer to guidance and misguidance, awareness and stupidity. For the nation that is aware of what will benefit it and what will harm it is the nation that has knowledge, even if it is illiterate, and the nation which does not follow the path of goodness is an ignorant nation no matter how many branches of science it knows or how learned it is.
What causes a nation to decline -no matter what nation it is - is when the feelings and desires of its people are controlled by ignorant concepts and ideas. Let us ask history: did the civilization of Greece and Rome collapse for any reason other than the ignorant concepts and ideas that prevailed over them?
Those who imitate others are ignorant, no matter how much they know; they are children, no matter what age they reach, and they will remain ignorant children until they are set ree.
5. During this battle, after the Muslims were defeated in the beginning, and they ran away and let the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), Shaybah ibn 'Uthmaan wanted to take revenge on the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), because his father had been killed during the battle of Uhud. Shaybah later said, "But when I got close to the Messenger of Allah and wanted to kill him, 1 saw something coming at me until it overpowered me, and I could not bear it. Then I realized that he was being protected from me."
Similar events took place throughout the Prophet's life. It happened with Abu Jahl, and with others in Makkah, and in Madeenah. All of these incidents indicate that Allah had surrounded His Messenger with an atmosphere of fear which terrified those who conspired to kill him. This indicates that the Prophet (ﷺ) was speaking the truth when he claimed to be a Messenger, and that Allah had decreed that His Prophet was to be protected From all plots and was to remain alive until he had conveyed the message and fulfilled the trust, until the Arabian Peninsula was saved from its ignorance and its sons were sent out into the world to teach, educate and save the nations. Were it not for Allah's protection of His Messenger, the mushrikoon would have ended his life at the beginning of the call, and the religion and blessing would not have been perfected and completed; the light, guidance and mercy of the message would not have reached us, the course of history would not have been altered and mankind would not have been freed from blindness and misery by the spread of Islam; there would have been no end to the tyrannical rule of kings and rulers who based their control of people's affairs on oppression and persecution, and prevented people from feeling honour or avenging their oppression. All of this was achieved by virtue of Allah's protection of His Messenger, so that the trust was rendered in full.
Undoubtedly, the blessings that Allah bestowed upon His Messenger were great indeed.
" ... And Ever Great is the Grace of Allah unto you [O' Muhammad]" (Qur'an 4: 113)
And the favour that His Messenger did to mankind was also great:
"And We have sent you [O' Muhammad] not but as a mercy for the Aalameen [mankind, jinn and all that exists]". (Quran 21: 107)
Undoubtedly, the saving of the one who calls people to the truth from the plots and schemes of his enemies is a continuation of that great blessing which started with Allah's protection of His Messenger.
The daa'iyahs must always -after taking proper precautions -turn to the protection of Allah and seek the protection of His glory and might. They must have faith that Allah is with them and helping them, that they have a protector, and that whoever Allah wants to save from the plots of the enemies of true guidance will be saved, no matter how strong their power and no matter how great the plots, conspiracies and crimes they are capable of, for this protection and help and humiliation of the enemies come from Allah, Whose decree and command are forever executed.
"If Allah helps you, none can overcome you... "(Quran 3: 160)
No matter how great the plots of a human evildoer, the help of Allah, the Just, is far greater and more powerful, so no daa'iyah or reformer should feel afraid, and no one who believes in Allah should hesitate to do his duty, with confidence that Allah will help and support him.
“...and as for the believers, it was incumbent upon Us to help [them]” (Quran 30: 47)
"Those who oppose Allah and His Messenger [Muhammad], they will be among the lowest [most humiliated]. Allah has decreed: 'Verily it is I and My Messengers who shall be the victorious.' Verily, Allah is All-Powerful, All-Mighty" (Qur’an 58: 20-21)
This does not mean that the enemies of Allah may not sometimes succeed in attacking and killing some of the leaders of the call for reform, or harming them. For death is real, and it is the inevitable lot of the son of Adam. If it is decreed that a person should die at the hands of the wrongdoers, this is something with which Allah has honoured him, and a blessing that He has bestowed upon him, for every death for the sake of Allah or injury suffered for the sake of the call of truth is an honour, every trauma suffered for the sake of reform is a means that leads to eternal life.
" ... That is because they suffer neither thirst nor fatigue nor hunger in the Cause of Allah, nor they take any step to raise the anger of disbelievers nor inflict any injury upon an enemy but is written to their credit as a deed of righteousness. Surely Allah wastes not the reward of the Muhsineen." (Qur'an 9: 120)
6. The Muslims were caught unaware at the beginning of the battle, when they were ambushed by their enemies. This led to confusion in the Muslim ranks, so they split and ran away from the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), and only a few of them stood firm with him. Then the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) started to call out, "To me, O' people! Come back to me! I am the Messenger of Allah, I am Muhammad ibn 'Abdullah." But the people could not hear his voice, so he asked Al- 'Abbaas, who had a loud voice, to call out to the people, "O’ Ansaar, O’ comrades of the acacia tree!" They replied, "Here we are, here we are." A man would try to turn his camel and would not be able to do it, so he would take his chain mail and throw it on its neck, then he would take his sword and shield and get off his camel and let it go on its way, and make for the voice until he reached the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), until one hundred of them had gathered around him. Then they faced the people and fought until they achieved victory.
From this event, there is a number of lessons which those who call for truth should pause and study at length. For the defeat of the da’wah in battle may be caused by weakness in the belief of some of its followers, and lack of sincerity towards the truth and a lack of readiness to make sacrifices for its sake. By the same token, if the leader of the da wah is steadfast at times of crisis and is courageous, having faith in Allah and believing in His support, that will have a great effect in changing defeat into victory, and in strengthening the weak and hesitant among his followers. Those who are steadfast and sincere among the supporters of truth, who rally behind their brave and sincere leader, also have a great effect in changing defeat into victory. Those who stood firm with the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) after the initial defeat at the beginning of the battle, and those who responded to the Prophet's call were no more than one hundred. Then the course of the battle changed and the support of Allah came to His believing slaves, and their enemies started to be defeated and fear filled their hearts and their ranks. The more the leader of da’wah and his troops remember that they are following the truth, and that Allah is with the sincere believers, the stronger their morale becomes, and the more prepared they become to make sacrifices.
The fact that the Prophet (ﷺ) said, "I am the Messenger of Allah " - or according to another report, other than the report of Ibn Hisham, he said, " I am the Prophet and no lie, I am the son of 'Abdul-Muttalib" - indicates that the Prophet spoke the truth in his claim to be the Messenger of Allah and that he was confident of the help of his Lord. This is how the leader should also be in moments of hardship; he should have confidence in himself and he should turn to his Lord with certain faith that He will help and support him, and that He cares for him. If the leader has confidence in his goals and aims and mission, that will have a great effect on his success and on rallying the people behind him; it will reduce the hardships that he feels and will help him to bear difficulties with tranquility.
7. The attitude of Umm Sulaym bint Milhaan (ؓ) is a source of pride, one of many among the early Muslim women. She was present at the battle with her husband Abu Talhah (ؓ) and she was wearing a striped girdle and was pregnant. She had Abu Talhah ' s camel with her and she was afraid that it would be too much for her to handle, so she put her hand in its nose ring of hair along with the nose rein. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) saw her and said, "(Are you) Umm Sulaym”? She said, "Yes, may my father and mother be sacrificed for you, O’ Messenger of Allah! Kill those who run away from you as you kill those who fight you, for they deserve death! " The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, " Rather Allah will save me the need, O’Umm Sulaym." She had a dagger with her, and her husband Abu Talhah asked her why she had it with her. She said, "It is a dagger I took with me so that if any of the mushrikeen comes near me, I can rip him up with it! Abu Talhah admired her and draw the Prophet's attention to what she had said.
This is how the Muslim women were, and this is how the Muslim woman should be, playing her role in the battles to defend Islam by being there herself, so that if there is a need or if the enemy comes near her, she can repel his aggression herself, so that she will not be taken prisoner. The Muslim women in the early days of Islam have a glowing history of sacrifice, struggle and bravery, which is a slap in the face to those bigoted Orientalists and other westeners who tell their people that Islam despises and looks down on women and does not let them play a role in society that is suited to the mission for which they were created. Indeed, they go even further and say that in Islam there is no room for women in Paradise, and a woman will never enter it, no matter how many acts of worship and piety she does!
In addition to the clear texts of the Qur'an and Sunnah, this lie can be refuted by examining Islamic history itself, which has recorded the efforts made by women to spread Islam and call people to it, and the sacrifices that they have made for that purpose, efforts which are unknown on the pail of women in all other religions. What Umm Sulaym did in this battle (the battle of Hunayn) is just one of hundreds of similar examples. We are not concerned about responding to the bigoted enemies of Islam regarding this subject, so much as we are concerned about leaning a lesson from the story of Umm Sulaym that encourages us to call on Muslim women to play their natural role once again in serving Islam, raising the new generation according to its teachings and principles. Muslim women nowadays are either righteous and devout, contenting themselves with praying, reading Qur ' an and keeping away from hamam (forbidden) things, or they are deviant and misled, following western ideas, neglecting the guidelines of Islam for western ways, neglecting the attitude of the Muslim Arab woman for the attitude of the western woman, which brought doom and misery to herself, her family and her society. Although there are some people who have undertaken the mission of tempting Muslim Arab women away from the attitude and characteristics for which she is known and which raised the best generations in history to the noblest and most sublime level of manners and achievements, Islam and its history -especially the history of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) -urges women today to come forward once again to serve Islam and the Muslim society within the limits of their natural role and mission and the fine attributes of nobility, chastity, modesty and shyness. I wonder, will our religiously committed Muslim girls relive the history of Khadeejah, 'Aa'ishah, Asma', Al-Khansa’, Umm Sulaym and their like? Will they bring back to life for us today the history of these great believing women who shine like bright stars? Is it too difficult nowadays to find among them dozens like Khadeejah, ' Aa'ishah, Asma' and Umm Sulaym? Not at all, because correct teaching and strong awareness and faith guarantee that and more. Who will start the new page for the Muslim Arab woman in our times, and not care about the calls of the misguided or the mockery of those who poke fun, those enemies of goodness, truth, virtue and Islam?
8. During this battle, the Messenger of Allah passed by the body of a woman who had been slain by Khaalid ibn al-Waleed (ؓ), and the people were crowding around her. He said, "What is this?" They said, “A woman who was killed by Khaalid ibn al-Waleed.,, The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said to some of those who were with him: " Catch up with Khaalid and tell him, The Messenger of Allah forbids you to kill any child or woman or hired worker.”
Undoubtedly, this prohibition on killing the weak or those who are not taking part in the fighting -such as monks, women, old men and children -or those who have been forced to fight, such as peasants and hired workers - is something that is unique to Islam in the history of wars throughout the world. Such laws which are filled with mercy and humanity were never known before Islam or since, even nowadays. It was the custom and the norm, among all peoples that in war, the nations who were fighting were allowed to kill all groups among the enemy nation, with no exceptions. Even in modem times, when human rights have been proclaimed, and when the largest international body has been set up to prevent wars and to help oppressed peoples, as they say, the conscience of humanity has not reached such a sublime level that they declare it is forbidden to kill these groups of people. In the First and Second World Wars, we have seen cities destroyed along with their inhabitants; we have seen how it is regarded as allowable to slaughter them in mass killings. We have also seen the colonialists, wars against the popular uprisings in which the people demanded their rights to life and honour, when the imperialists regarded it as allowable to put down these rebellions by destroying towns and villages, and killing their inhabitants by the thousands and tens of thousands, as the French did more than once in Algeria, and as the English did in more than one of their colonies, and as the Portuguese are doing now in their colonies in Africa.
We know of no nation in history, whether ancient or more recent, that forbade killing hired workers and peasants who were forced into fighting. But fourteen hundred years ago, Islam expressly forbade killing them, and the matter was not limited only to forbidding that in law, but that is also what in fact took place. In the battle of Hunayn, we see the Prophet (ﷺ) himself, the one who conveyed the shari'ah from Allah to the people, getting angry at the slaying of a woman, and sending word to some of his commanders not to harm women, children and hired workers. When he was preparing the army of Usaamah to fight the Byzantines -a few days before his death - some of the orders that he issued were not to kill women, children, old people and monks who were not fighting or helping the fighters. The caliph Abu Bakr as-Siddeeq (ؓ) did the same when he sent out the army of Usaamah, and when he sent out the armies to fight for the sake of Allah and for the sake of truth, goodness, guidance and justice. The "Sword of Allah" Khaalid ibn al-Waleed (ؓ) did the same in his battles in ' Iraq; he did not harm the peasants who were devoted to tilling their land. This became the way of the Muslim armies in all places and at all times, following these noble humane principles which no army in history had ever known before. We can see how keen the Muslim armies were to adhere to these principles from the way in which Salaah ad-Deen (Saladin) dealt with the Crusaders after his victory over them, when he took Jerusalem back from them. He gave safe passage to old men, clergy, women and children, and even to the fiercest fighters. He sent them to join their people under guard of Muslim troops, and he did not harm them at all. In contrast, when the Crusaders conquered Jerusalem, their treacherous, ignoble and bestial nature was made manifest. The Crusaders promised the Muslim inhabitants of Jerusalem that their lives and property would be safe if they raised a white flag over Al-Masjid al-Aqsa. So the Muslims who were deceived by this promise gathered in the mosque. But when the Crusaders entered Jerusalem, they slaughtered everyone who had sought sanctuary in the mosque and the number of people slain reached seventy thousand, including scholars, ascetics, women and children. A Crusader scribe sent news of this conquest to the Pope and boasted that the Crusaders ' horses waded up to their knees in the blood of the slain in the streets.
We are not saying this in order to boast about our conquests and commanders and armies of which Le Bon says,
"History has never known any conqueror more merciful and more just than the Arabs."
Rather we are saying this in order to draw attention to the fact that we were more merciful and more kind to humanity than these westerners in the twentieth century, and that when these westerners speak to us of human rights, the Day of the Child and Mother 's Day, pointing to the sublime nature of their civilization, they are not deceiving us, rather they are deceiving the foolish and simple-minded, those who have lost hope in their ummah and their history, who claim to belong to us and to be our educated elite.
We want our new generation to be aware of these plots and to have confidence in their religion and their noble heritage, so that they will not succumb to these westerners like a poor man succumbing to a rich man, and they will not rush to study their culture without distinguishing between what is good and what is bad, like a moth falling into the flame that will burn it.
Science has proven that Islam is the best of religions, the closest to man's innate nature, the most in tune with man's best interests. History proves that the wars of Islam were the most merciful wars, the least traumatic and the best and noblest in purpose. Every day we see further proof that Islam is the religion of Allah, and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and that the true Muslims are the best of the slaves of Allah, better than all other people.
“We will show them Our Signs in the universe, and in their own selves, until it becomes manifest to them that this [the Qur'an] is the truth. Is it not sufficient in regard to your Lord that He is a Witness over all things?" (Qur'an 41: 53)
9. After the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) and the Muslims chased those of Hawaazin who led to Thaqeef in At-Taa'if and besieged them for several days without being able to conquer them, he returned to Madeenah, and m the way he divided the spoils from the battle of Hunayn. There were six thousand women and children, and countless numbers of camels and sheep. He gave a large share of them to the nobles of the Arabs, to soften their hearts towards Islam, and he gave a lot to Quraysh, but he did not give anything to the Ansaar. Some of them spoke about feeling upset that they had been deprived of this booty, and some of them even said, “Now the Messenger of Allah has met his own people, and he will no longer think of us now that Allah has granted him the conquest of Makkah and Quraysh have submitted to Is am. " The Messenger of Allah gathered the Ansaar together and addressed them. After praising Allah he said,
"O' Ansaar I have heard what you are saying. Do you think ill of me in your hearts? Did I not come to you when you were erring and Allah guided you, poor and Allah made you rich, enemies and Allah softened your hearts?" They said, "Yes indeed, Allah and His Messenger are most kind and generous." Then he said: "Why don't you answer me, O' Ansaar?" They said, "How shall we answer you? Kindness and generosity belong to Allah and His Messenger.” He said, "Had you so wished, you could have said -and you would have spoken the truth and have been believed -You came to us discredited and we believed you; deserted and we helped you; a fugitive and we took you in; poor and we comforted you. Are you disturbed in mind because of the insignificant things of this life by which I win over a people that they may become Muslims, while I entrust you to your Islam? Are you not satisfied that men should take away flocks and herds while you take back with you the Messenger of Allah? By the One in Whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, but for the migration I should be one of the Ansaar myself. If all men went one way and the Ansaar another, I should take the way of the Ansaar. May Allah have mercy on the Ansaar, their sons and their sons' sons." The people wept until their beards became wet, and they said, "We are satisfied with the Messenger of Allah as our lot and portion."
There is a number of things which we may comment on here.
Firstly: The issue of booty as part of the system of war in Islam. This has been taken by our enemies as a means of attacking Islam by claiming that there is a materialistic motive for declaring war in Islam, and an effective means of motivating the Muslim troops to sacrifice themselves, and this is why the Muslim soldiers rushed to collect the booty after the battle ended, as in the case of this battle. No doubt any fair-minded person would reject this claim, for the motives for war in Islam are spiritual, aiming to spread the truth and ward off enmity and aggression. This is clearly stated in many unambiguous verses and ahaadeeth. It is very strange to suggest that a man would sacrifice his life and place his family's future in jeopardy for the sake of material gains, no matter how great. The desire for material gains cannot lead to such great acts of heroism as were seen on the part of the Muslim warriors at the beginning of Islam, and it cannot lead to the astounding results that were the outcome of the Muslims' battles with the Arabs during the lifetime of the Prophet (ﷺ) or the battles with the Persians and Byzantines after that. The enemies of Islam are not themselves free of the desire for materialistic gains, for they stand to gain the wealth of the Muslims and to enslave the Muslim people if they defeat them. The Muslims are not the only ones who shared out the wealth of their enemies and enslaved them when they defeated them; this is what happens whenever two armies meet in battle. So why did the desire for materialistic gains not produce the same outstanding results for the enemy as among the Muslim soldiers and in the wars of Islam? In the wars of Islam, we can see definitive proof that material gain was not the primary motive in the mind of the Muslim soldier. In the battles of Badr, Uhud, Mu'tah and others, the Muslim heroes went forth to battle hoping to gain the honour of martyrdom and the delights of Paradise. One of them threw aside the dates that he was eating, when he heard the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) promising Paradise to the martyrs, and he went forth into battle saying, "Fine, fine! There is nothing standing between me and admittance to Paradise but these dates! By Allah it is a long distance!" Then he kept fighting until he was killed. One of them came out to fight the enemy, saying, "Paradise! Paradise! By Allah I can smell its fragrance near Uhud. "That was at the battle of Uhud.
During the battles with the Persians, when Rustum offered to give the Muslims money or clothing if they would change their minds and go back to their own land, the response of the leader of the Muslim delegation was: "By Allah, this is not what we came out for. Rather we want to save you from the worship of human beings and turn you to the worship of the One, the Subduer. If you become Muslim, we will go back and your wealth and your land will remain yours, and we will not fight you for any of it. "Is this a response of a group that went out in pursuit of booty, hoping to seize land and wealth?
But for those who make these false claims to cite how the spoils were divided after the battle of Hunayn, when a lot of the fighters were hoping for some of the spoils and when the Ansaar felt upset because they were not given any, this is ignoring what happened in the battle and the quality of the fighters. All of those who hoped for the booty were new Muslims in whose hearts the teachings of Islam were not yet firmly established, as they were in the hearts of those who had become Muslim before them. Hence, people such as Abu Bakr, ' Umar, 'Uthmaan, 'Ali, Ibn 'Awf, Talhah and Az-Zubayr, the senior Sahaabah who had become Muslim before, did not hope for the booty. What happened in the case of the Ansaarwas the view of some of them, who thought that preference was being given to some fighters over others in the way the spoils were shared out on that day. This happens to most people in every time and place; this is what any person would feel under similar circumstances.
Nothing is more indicative of the fact that the Ansaar were seeking the pleasure of Allah and Paradise, and to obey His Messenger, than the way they wept when the Prophet (ﷺ) addressed them. One of the things he said to them was, "Are you not satisfied that men should take away flocks and herds while you take back with you the Messenger of Allah?" If people prefer to have the company of their Messenger and to have him with them, living among them, rather than to have wealth and worldly gains, can it be right to say of them that they were striving for the sake of wealth and worldly gains?
It makes no sense to ask why Islam allocates the spoils of war to the fighters and does not allocate it to the state as happens nowadays? Because to say such a thing is to ignore human nature and the customs of warfare in those days. The Muslim army was not the only army that shared out four-fifths of the spoils among its troops; this was the way of all armies, including the Persians and Byzantines. If a scholar were to suggest today that the spoils of war be given to the state, that would not be too far from the principles and spirit of Islam.
Secondly: Giving a lot to those who were new in Islam is a sign of the wisdom of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), and his understanding of his people's nature and his far-sightedness in his handling of affairs. For these people who had done wrong by fighting the Messenger of Allah and refusing to accept his message until after the Conquest of Makkah, some of whom had expressed joy when the Muslims were defeated at the beginning of the battle, needed to have their hearts softened towards Islam, and needed to be made to feel that their entering the religion was a good thing from a materialistic point of view, which had been the motive for their fighting Islam. Because in fact when they fought it, they were the leaders among their people and wanted to stay that way, so they were protecting their material interests. So when Islam defeated them and weakened them at the Conquest of Makkah, it was possible that they may have harboured resentment against this victory in their hearts, grieving for their defeat and loss. But Islam is the religion of guidance, and it is not sufficient for it simply to impose its rule by force, as many systems do which rely for their existence on force without any response from people ' s hearts and minds. Rather it is essential that hearts be opened to Islam, so that people accept its guidance and love its principles and ideals. So long as giving will influence some people and open their hearts and take away their enmity, it is perfectly wise to give them something so that they will be content, as the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) did.
Allah knew that His call, which ultimately prevailed over the Arabian Peninsula, had to spread throughout the world, to the east and west. So it was essential to prepare all the Arabs to bear this message and to make sacifices for its sake. The hearts of their nobles could be won over through these gifts, and subsequently opened to the light of true guidance and prepared to carry the burden of da'wah, and this is what happened. For after the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) had softened the hearts of these leaders, all their resentment towards Islam and its message melted away. When the Muslim armies advanced far and wide throughout the earth, spreading the principles of Islam and bringing the people forth from darkness into light, the Arabian Peninsula was prepared for this great historical effort. These leaders whose hearts had been softened were amongst the most enthusiastic and motivated participants in the struggles for liberation. History proves that many of them achieved great things in the Islamic conquests, and that many of them were leading figures in the establishment of Islam outside the Arabian Peninsula, running the administration of the Muslim state and leading its armies as they advanced in all directions.
The fact that when they first became Muslims, these mujaahideen (holy fighters) were among those whose hearts had to be softened towards Islam or whose entering Islam was delayed until after the conquest of Makkah should not matter. Often those who come later catch up with those who went before, and the weak catch up with the strong, and the deeds of those who were not sincere in the beginning gradually become sincere. Al-Hasan (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “We sought this knowledge for a purpose other than for the sake of Allah, but it insisted on being for the sake of Allah." And someone else said, "We sought this knowledge and we had no proper intention, then the intention came to us later on.” It is sufficient for the latecomers that Allah has promised them the best reward, as He (ﷻ) says:
“ ... Not equal among you are those who spent and fought before the conquering [of Makkah, with those among you who did so later]. Those are higher in degree than they who spent and fought afterwards. But to all Allah has promised the best [reward]. And Allah is All-Aware of what you do." (Qur'an 57: 10)
Thirdly: The way in which the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) gathered the Ansaar together and tied to reassure them and pacify them after they had not been given any of the booty is indicative of his diplomatic approach and his kind attitude. For when he heard what some of them were saying about the booty, he wanted to reassure them and he gathered them together for that purpose, and he spoke those wise words to them, even though he knew that they loved him and were obedient to him, and that they had been willing to give up their lives and their wealth for the sake of Allah. He was not worried about them doing something that would undermine their faith or incur the wrath of Allah and His Messenger, but he wanted to dispel the misunderstanding that some of them had about this matter. This is a good example which the leaders should follow when dealing with their supporters and followers, for the enemies are always waiting for any event or word which they can exploit to weaken the attachment of the followers to their leader. The Shaytaan (Satan) is evil and crafty, so the leaders should not neglect to reassure their followers no matter how much they trust them.
Moreover, let us look at the wise and moving way in which he (ﷺ) reassured them and convinced them of the wisdom of what he had done. He mentioned their efforts in support of Islam and of its Messenger, how they had hastened to believe in him when his own people had rejected him and driven him out. Then he reminded them of the blessings of Allah to them, how He had saved them from misguidance, division and enmity, so that it would be easier for them to forget about the things of this world that they had missed out on when they compared it to that blessing and guidance. In this manner, he confirmed two things for them: that he was not going to rejoin his people and forget these Ansaar as some of them thought, and that when he did not give them any of the booty, he wastrusting the strength of their religious commitment, deep faith and great love of Allah and His Messenger. There was no more eloquent way of reassuring those righteous people who had been among the first to support the call and who believed in it sincerely without expecting any reward or thanks (from people). May Allah send blessings and peace upon him. How true are the words of Allah (ﷻ):
"And verily, you [O' Muhammad] are on an exalted [standard of] character" (Qur'an 68: 4)
Fourthly: The attitude of the Ansaar after they heard his words is the most sublime example of sincere faith, softness of heart and remembrance of Allah' s blessing of guidance and piety. For they realized that all favours belong to Allah and to His Messenger with regard to the support, help and jihad that they offered. Were it not for Allah, they would not have been guided; were it not for His Messenger, their hearts would not have been filled with light; were it not for Islam, Allah would not have brought them together after they had been divided, protected their blood after it had been shed, saved them from the domination of the Jews and their exploitative neighbours, and caused them to prevail by virtue of Islam. Then they announced that they preferred the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) to all the wealth and joy that may exist in this world. When the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) prayed for mercy for them, their children and their children' s children, their tears flowed out of joy at the Prophet ' s care for them and his prayer for them that would inevitably be answered. Is there any stronger evidence of their sincere faith? Is there any love deeper than this love? May Allah be pleased with them and make them pleased, may they ever be remembered throughout the world, and may He cause us to join them in the Paradise of delight, with His great and beloved Messenger, and those on whom Allah has bestowed His favour of the Prophets, siddeeqs, martyrs and those who are close to Him.
Finally, this attitude, and what happened between the Messenger of Allah and the Ansaar, are things that should be remembered by every daa'iyah and memorized by every seeker of knowledge, for they increase faith and stir up feelings of love towards the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) and his Companions, may Allah be pleased with them all.
THE DESTRUCTION OF THE IDOLS
Ibraheem (Abraham) (عليه السلام ) (may Allah's peace be upon him) -who was the father of the Prophets after the Prophet Nooh (Noah) (عليه السلام) - was one of those who fought idolatry among his people, and his people even tried to bum him in the fire, as the Qur'an tells us. When he came to Makkah, he left his son Ismaa'eel (Ishmael) (عليه السلام) there with his mother, and when Ismaa'eel grew up they built the Ka'bah together to be a House at which Allah would be worshipped and to which people would come on pilgrimage. Ismaa'eel had many descendents, who were the musta 'rab (Isma'eels' Arab descendents) Arabs, as the historians call them, and they continued to know nothing of the worship of idols and rocks (9). Then their worship became such that no man would travel from Makkah without taking a stone with him from the sanctuary, out of veneration towards the sanctuary and love towards Makkah. Wherever he went he would put it down and circumambulate it as they circumambulated the Ka'bah,
(9) Idols (asnaam) refers to objects of worship in the form of statues. Rocks (ansaab) refers to rocks which were worshipped and at which sacrifices were offered.
seeking blessing thereby and out of love and longing for the sanctuary. This state of affairs continued until ' Amr ibn Luhayy introduced idol worship among them, ive hundred years before the Prophet's mission began, as they say. He was the first one who changed the religion of Ismaa'eel ( ). He took custod, of the Ka'bah ater expelling Jurhum from Makkah and its envirens, then he became very ill. Someone told him that in Al-Balqa' in Syria there was a hot spring (hammah) - in the place that is known as Al- Hammah nowadays -and that if he went there he would be cured. So he went there, bathed in the waters and was cured. He found the people there worshipping idols and said, "What is this?" They said, "We pray for rain through them, and we seek victory over our enemies through them.” He asked them to give him some of them, which they did, and he brought them to Makkah and set them up around the Ka'bah (10). After that, idol-worship spread throughout the Arabian Peninsula, until each household in Makkah had an idol that they would worship in their house; whenever a person wanted to travel, the last thing that he would do would be to touch it for blessing, and when he came back the first thing that he would do when he entered his house would be to touch it for blessing.
The Arabs became very fond of idol-worship. Some of them took structures for worship, and others took idols for worship. Those who could make neither an idol nor a structure would set up a rock in front of the Ka' bah or in some other place that seemed good and then circumambulate it as the people circumambulated the Ka' bah. When a man traveled and made camp, he would take four stones, choose the best of them and take it as a god, and use the other three to rest his cooking pot on. When he moved on he would leave them behind, and when he made camp again he would do the same thing again. (11)
(10)Al-Asnaam by Hishaam ibn Muhammad ibn as-Saa'ib al-Kalbi, p. 8.
(11) Al-Asnaam by Al-Kalbi, p. 33.170
The Arabs had three major idols which they venerated, to which they went on pilgrimages and offered sacrifices. The oldest of them was Manaat, which was set up on the coast near Al-Mushallal in Qadeed, between Madeenah and Makkah. All the Arabs used to venerate it, and the most devoted to it were Al-Aws and Al-Khazraj. When the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) went out to conquer Makkah in 8 AH, he sent ' Ali (ؓ ) to destroy it and take what belonged to it, and he brought it to the Prophet (ﷺ). The things that he seized included two swords which had been presented to it by Al-Haarith ibn Abi Shamar al-Ghassaani, the king of Ghassaan. This Al-Haarith was the one who killed Shujaa' ibn Wahb al-Asadi (ؓ ) when he gave him the letter of the Prophet (ﷺ), calling him to Islam. He was the only envoy of the Prophet (ﷺ) who was killed.
The second great idol was Al-Laat which was in At-Taa'if. This was a square rock which was venerated by Quraysh and all the Arabs. When the delegation of Thaqeef came, after the Prophet (ﷺ) had returned to Madeenah after the Conquest of Makkah, they asked him to leave Al-Laat for them and not destroy it for three years, but he refused. They kept on reducing the time they asked for and he refused, until they asked him for one month, and he still refused.
Ibn Hishaam said: "It seems that they wanted to be safe from the anger of the fools among them and of their women and children; they did not want to traumatize their people by destroying it until they had entered Islam. But the Messenger of Allah insisted on sending Abu Suyaan ibn Harb and Al-Mugheerah ibn Shu'bah to destroy it. When Al-Mugheerah started to strike it with a pickaxe, the women of Thaqeef came out bareheaded and wailing, reciting in verse, "We grieve for the one who used to protect us against our enemies and ward off calamity from us. The mean-spirited cowards have allowed it to be destroyed; they did not defend her or fight with the sword for her sake."
The third idol was Al-'Uzza which was to the right of anyone who traveled from Makkah to Iraq. Quraysh were the only ones who venerated it. When the Qur'an came down, reviling this and other idols, that was hard for Quraysh to take. When Abu Uhayhah - otherwise known as Sa' eed ibn al- ' Aas ibn Umayyah ibn 'Abd Shams ibn ' Abd Munaaf-fell sick with the illness that would be his last, Abu Lahab came to visit him and found him weeping. He asked, "Why are you weeping, O' Abu Uhayhah? Is it because of death, which is inevitable?" He said, "No, but I fear that Al-'Uzza will not be worshipped after I am gone." Abu Lahab said, "By Allah, she was not worshipped during your lifetime for your sake, and she will not cease to be worshipped after you are gone” Abu Uhayhah said: "Now I know that I will have a successor," and he liked the fact that Abu Lahab was so keen to worship it.(12)
In the year of the Conquest, the Prophet (ﷺ) summoned Khaalid ibn al-Waleed, and commanded him to go and destroy it. When Khaalid came to it, its custodian Daybah ibn Harmi ash-Shaybaani spoke in verse, saying,
"O' 'Uzza, make an annihilating attack on Khaalid. Throw aside your veil and gird up your train. O' 'Uzza, if you do not kill this man Khaalid, Then bear a swift punishment or become a Christian."
Khaalid said, "O' 'Uzza, I disbelieve in you and I do not seek your forgiveness. I see that Allah has humiliated you."
It was said that she was an Abyssinian woman with unkempt hair, putting her hand on her shoulder in the tree that Khaalid had chopped down. She came out in this manner and he struck her, splitting her head open. Then she turned to ashes. When he told the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) that he had fulfilled his mission, he (ﷺ) said: "That was
(12) Al-Asnaam by Al-Kalbi, p. 23.1 72
Al-'Uzza and there will never again be any 'Uzza for the Arabs; she will not be worshipped ater this day. "These were the most famous of the Arabs' idols during the Jaahiliyah, and these are the ones mentioned in the Qur'an where Allah says:
"Have you then considered Al-Laat, and Al-'Uzza [two idols of the pagan Arabs]And Manaat [another idol of the pagan Arabs], the other third?" (Qur'an 53: 19-20)
When the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) entered the Sacred House on the day of the Conquest of Makkah, he saw images of the angels and others, and he saw a picture of Ibraheem (عليه السلام) depicted with azlaam (arrows for seeking good luck or help in decision making) in his hand, as if he were casting them. He said,
"May Allah curse them! They depict our shaykh casting azlaam arrows. What would Ibraheem want with azlaam arrows? "
“Ibraheem [Abraham] was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but he was a true Muslim Haneefan [Islamic Monotheism - to worship none but Allah Alone] and he was not of Al-Mushrikeen." (Qur'an 3: 67)
Then he ordered that all of those pictures be erased.
Ibn 'Abbaas said: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) entered Makkah on the day of the Conquest, riding his mount, and he circumambulated the Ka'bah riding. Around the Ka'bah there were idols fixed with lead. The Prophet started pointing to the idols with a stick in his hand, saying,
"Truth [i.e. Islamic Monotheism or this Qur'an or Jihad against polytheists] has come and Baatil [falsehood, i. e. Satan or polytheism] has vanished. Surely, Baatil is ever bound to vanish. "(Qur'an 17: 81)
When he pointed to an idol's face, it fell backward, and when he pointed to an idol's back it fell on its face, until there was no idol let that had not fallen.
Not many months after the Conquest of Makkah, all the idols of Arabia had fallen from their thrones and their erstwhile worshippers had rejected them. Those who had previously worshipped them felt ashamed of their foolish beliefs and of the fact that they had worshipped stones that could neither bring benefit nor cause harm, and which offered no protection whatsoever.
When the message of Islam began to revile these idols and criticize those who worshipped them, and called them to the religion which is in accordance with man's nature, namely the worship of Allah, the Creator of the universe and the Lord of the Worlds, the Arabs, foremost among them Quraysh, resisted this call and found it odd.
"Has he made the aalihah [gods] [all] into One Ilaah [God -Allah]? Verily, this is a curious thing" (Qur'an 38: 5)
The Arabs came together to fight this new religion. They tried to bury it alive and to do away with its Messenger by all possible means, but victory finally came to the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) after a struggle that lasted for twenty-one years, and he conquered the capital of74 The Most important Events idolatry, destroying its gods and defeating its army and the plots of its leaders. Can anyone believe that this could have been achieved in such a short period of time, when there was no one with the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) when he began his call, if it had not been for the guidance and support of Allah?
" ... And you [Muhammad] threw not when you did throw, but Allah threw..." (Qur'an 8: 17)
Thus Muhammad ibn 'Abdullah put an end to the intellectual crisis of the Arabs that had lasted for five hundred years or more, and he freed the Arab mind from the chains of idolatry and its myths. He rescued the Arabs ' dignity from the humiliation of idolatry and opened the doors of fame and glory for the Arabs to enter once and for all. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) indeed spoke the truth when he said: " There will never again be any 'Uzza for the Arabs; she will not be worshipped after this day." The Arabian Peninsula bade farewell forever to idolatry' and the Arab mind reached maturity; it would never again return to its childhood, a childhood of idolatry which made them put their foreheads at the feet of dumb rocks. After the death of the Prophet, there were wars and tribulations, and false prophets, and attempts to match the Qur'an, but we do not hear of a single Arab who contemplated returning to idolatry. That is because a mature adult cannot go back to being a child. All of that was achieved through Muhammad (ﷺ) and his message; until the end of time, his is the virtue of having saved and liberated every Arab, and of spreading the message of guidance to the peoples of the world, whether they followed his guidance or turned away from it. Allah says:
" He it is Who sent among the unlettered ones a Messenger [Muhammad] from among themselves, reciting to them His Verses, purifying them [from the filth of disbelief and polytheism], and teaching them the Book [this Qur'an, Islamic laws and Islamic jurisprudence] and Al-Hikmah [As-Sunnah: legal ways, orders, acts of worship of Prophet Muhammad]. And verily, they had been before in manifest error. "(Qur'an 62: 2)
THE BATTLE OF TABOOK
A brief discussion of the most important lessons to be learned from it:
Firstly: The reason for this battle was that the Byzantines had amassed a huge army in Syria, and Heraclius had paid them a year 's salary in advance. They had been joined by the Arab tribes of Lakhm, Judhaam, Ghassaan and 'Aamilah. Then their vanguard reached Al- Balqa', between Syria and Wadi al-Qara. When news of that reached the Messenger (ﷺ), he told the people to set out for Tabook; he ordered them to prepare themselves for battle, and he ordered the rich to spend money for that purpose.
This demonstrates to us the nature of war in Islam; it is not aggressive or provocative, rather war is waged in defence of the religion and the country, to ward off aggressors and prevent them from causing harm and doing damage. This is what is stated clearly in many verses of the Qur'an. We have spoken of the reasons for which war is prescribed in Islam, its aims and means, in the first year (of our syllabus). The fact that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) set out for Tabook after the Byzantines had gathered supports what we said before.
The fact that some Arab tribes joined the Byzantine forces against the Muslims indicates that they were far from having any understanding of Islam and its message of liberation for mankind in general and the Arabs in particular. If they had understood that, they would not have helped the Byzantines against their own people, the Muslim Arabs.
Secondly: The Messenger's call to prepare for war came at a time of great hardship and heat, and at the time of the harvest. The sincere believers hastened to respond to the Messenger's call without paying any attention to hardship, but the hypocrites stayed behind and started making all kinds of excuses. Thus, at times of difficulty, those who are sincere becomes distinguishable from the hypocrites and pretenders. Allah (ﷻ) says:
" Alif-Laam-Meem. [These letters are one of the miracles of the Qur'an, and none but Allah (Alone) knows their meanings.] Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: 'We believe', and will not be tested. And We indeed tested those who were before them. And Allah will certainly make [it] known [the truth of] those who are true, and will certainly make [it] known [the falsehood of] those who are liars, [although Allah knows all that before putting them to test].” (Quran 29: 1-3)
The ummah can only rise when it is able to rid itself of hypocrites and pretenders. None can stand firm at times of hardship except those who are sincere, of strong resolve and deep faith. Those who are weak in faith or are merely making an outward of faith often impede the progress of reform movements in the ummah, and prevent them from attaining victory, or they delay it, if only for a while. The army that set out for Tabook rid itself of these elements after their weakness of faith and lack of resolve was exposed. An army that is united and consolidated in its ranks, strong in its faith and sincere in its purpose is more beneficial to the ummah -even if it is small in numbers - and is more likely to attain victory than a large army whose thoughts, strength and steadfastness vary.
"How often a small group overcame a mighty host by Allah’s Leave? And Allah is with As-Saabireen [the patient]” (Qur’an 2: 249)
Thirdly: The fact that the wealthy Sahaabah, such as Abu Bakr, ' Umar, 'Uthmaan (may Allah be pleased with them all) and others, hastened to spend is indicative of the effect that faith had on the hearts of the believers, making them hasten to do good and resist the whims and desires of the self. This is something that every nation and every call needs in order to ensure victory over its enemies and to secure the financial support that it needs. This is what our ummah is in the greatest need of today, for our enemies are many and our burden is heavy; the battle is frightening and our enemies are strong and crafty. We cannot prevail over them unless we become more prepared to sacrifice our wealth and our lives, and give up our whims and desires. That can only be achieved through sincere commitment and proper understanding of Islam, that motivates people to spend and strive hard for the sake of Allah, and hope for his reward.
The best thing that reformers and leaders of revivals can do is to implant the religion properly in the hearts of people. Every kind of resistance to the religion, or calls for liberation from it, or belittling it, is a crime against the nation, which leads to the worst consequences and most serious results. This is what Allah tells us and is what history has proven in the past and is what experience is showing us at present. Every denial of this fact is a mistake to which no one would resort except those who are not sincere towards the truth and whose hearts are not open towards goodness.
Fourthly: Some people came to the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) asking him to take them with him for jihad, but he refused because he had no mounts for them, and they turned away with their eyes brimming with tears for being deprived of the opportunity to wage jihad with the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ). This story, which Allah tells us in His Book, is one of the most eloquent examples of the miracles wrought by faith. For human nature is such that man rejoices when he is spared danger and is far away from war, but these sincere believers wept because of that, and they thought of themselves as missing out on a great share of the reward of Allah and opportunity to achieve martyrdom for His sake. What principle could have such an effect on people as faith had on these men? What loss befalls the ummah when it is devoid of such people?
Fifthly: In the story of the three who stayed behind and did not go for jihad, preferring ease to exhaustion, shade to heat, staying home to travelling, even though they were sincere believers, is an important social lesson. Faith stirred in their hearts shortly thereafter, and they realized that by staying behind and not going with the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) they had committed a great sin. But despite that, they were not excused from punishment, which was severe and intended as a deterrent. They were totally excluded from society, and the people - even their wives -were forbidden to speak to them. When Allah knew that they had repented sincerely, and that their regret and sorrow had reached their ultimate limit, Allah accepted their repentance. When they were given the glad tidings of that, their joy knew no bounds; one of them even gave up all his wealth and clothing out of gratitude to Allah for the blessing of His pleasure and forgiveness.
Such lessons should prevent the believer who is sincere in his faith from holding back from any effort that is dictated by a sense of duty or in which he would prefer ease when the people are working hard, or comfort when they are suffering. This is the nature of faith, that you always feel that you are part ofa group, and that whatever befalls the group befalls you, what benefits the group benefits you, and that comfort means nothing if the ummah is suffering, and there is no joy in ease if people are struggling and exhausted. You realize that holding back and not doing what is necessary is a lack of faith and a shortcoming in religious commitment, a sin of which one must repent.
This story also teaches us that 'aqeedah (faith) comes before family ties, and that implementing the system prescribed in shari'ah comes before fulfilling individual whims and desires; family ties are of no avail in protecting one from the anger and wrath of Allah.
" ... And let those who oppose the Messenger's [Muhammad's] commandment [i.e. his Sunnah legal ways, orders, acts of worship, statements] beware, lest some Fitnah [disbelief, trials, afflictions, earthquakes, killing, overpowered by a tyrant] should befall them or a painful torment be inflicted on them" (Qur'an 24: 63)
THE FAREWELL PILGRIMAGE
The Farewell Pilgrimage was the only Hajj which the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) performed after his mission began. When the people heard that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) was going for Hajj that year, they came to Hajj from all parts of the Arabian Peninsula, and their numbers reached one hundred and fourteen thousand, according to the estimates of some historians. This is only an approximate figure.
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) delivered his famous sermon which should be memorized by every seeker of knowledge because it is a proclamation of the basic principles of Islam, and it was the last sermon of the Prophet (ﷺ). In it he said:
"O' people, listen to my words, for I do not know if I will ever meet you again in this place after this year. " - This was one of the miracles of the Messenger of Allah (i.e., his foretelling his own death) - "O' people, your blood and your wealth are sacred until you meet your Lord, as sacred as this day of yours and this month of yours. You will surely meet your Lord and He will question you as to your deeds. I have conveyed (the message to you). He, who has a pledge, let him return it to the one who entrusted him with it. All usury is abolished, but you have your capital. Wrong not and you will not be wronged. Allah has decreed that there is to be no usury and the usury of 'Abbaas ibn kAbdul- Muttalib is abolished, all of it. All bloodshed during the Jaahiliyah (days of ignorance, i.e., pre-Islamic period) is to be left unavenged. The first claim on blood that I abolish is that of Ibn Rabee' ah ibn al-Haarith ibn ' “Abdul-Muttalib” - who was nursed among Bani Layth and killed by Hudhayl. This is the first bloodshed during the Jaahiliyah that I deal with.
O’ people, the Shaytaan despairs of ever being worshipped in your land, but if he can be obeyed in anything short of worship he will be pleased, in matters you may be disposed to think of little account, so beware of him in your religion.
O' people, postponement of a sacred month is only an excess of disbelief whereby those who disbelieve are misled; they allow it one year and forbid it another year that they may make up the number of the months which Allah has made sacred, so that they permit what Allah has forbidden and forbid what Allah has allowed. Time has completed its cycle and is as it was on the day that Allah created the heavens and the earth. The number of months with Allah is twelve, four of which are sacred, three consecutive and the Rajab of Mudar, which is between Jumaada and Sha’baan.
O' people, you have rights over your wives and they have rights over you. You have the right that they should not let into your house anybody you hate, and should not commit a clear sin. If they do that, then Allah allows you to forsake them in their beds and to hit them, but not with severity. If they refrain from these things, then they have the right to food and clothing according to what is reasonable. Treat women kindly, for they are prisoners with you, having no control of their persons. You have taken them only as a trust from Allah, and you have the enjoyment of their persons by the words of Allah.
So understand my words, O' people, for I have conveyed (the message) to you. I have left with you something which, if you hold fast to it, you will never fall into error, a plain indication: the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Prophet. O’ people, listen to what I say and understand it. Know that every Muslim is a Muslim's brother, and that the Muslims are brethren. It is not lawful for any man to take from his brother anything but that which he gives willingly, so do not wrong yourselves. O' Allah, have I conveyed (the message)? "
The first thing to be noted with regard to the Farewell Pilgrimage is the huge number of people who attended with the Messenger from different parts of the Arabian Peninsula, believing in him and his message, obeying his commands. Only twenty-three years earlier, they had been idolaters and polytheists, rejecting his principles, finding his call to Tawheed (monotheism) strange, hating his condemnation of their idolatrous forebears and his belittling of their reasoning. Indeed, many of them had taken a hostile stance towards him, laying in wait to do him harm, plotting to kill him, inciting the people against him and fighting him with swords and spears. How could such a miraculous turn-around happen in so short a time? How could he turn these people from ignorance, abysmal ways and division of idolatry to belief in Allah alone (Tawheed), knowledge of His attributes and unity of word and purpose? How could he earn the love of their hearts after they had bone such hatred towards him and when they were known for their toughness, harshness and hostility? No matter how brilliant and clever a man may be, no matter how strong his character, it is impossible to achieve such a thing in hundreds of years. We have not heard of such a thing among the earlier or later generations; undoubtedly this is nothing other than the sign of a truthful message with divine support. This is the miracle of this perfect and comprehensive religion with which Allah completed His favour to His slaves, and with which He concluded His message to mankind, through which He wanted to put an end to the misery of a nation which was lost in this life, subject to whims and desires and tribalism, and to guide it to the path of guidance so that its eyes would be opened and it would become a leader of other nations, changing the course of history, ending man's humiliation and replacing it with wisdom and the Book as a guidance and a reminder to people of understanding.
One hundred and fourteen thousand people who disbelieved in him, then they believed in him; who fought him, then they began to submit to him; who hated him, then they began to love him; who were rebelling against him, then they began to obey him - all of that within twenty-three years. Undoubtedly this happened through the support of Allah. Exalted be Allah far above all that they associate with Him. His Messenger is above all that the atheists say about him. Glory be to your Lord, the Lord of Glory, above all that they attribute to Him. And peace be upon the Messengers. Praise be to Allah the Lord of the Worlds.
The second thing to be noted about the Farewell Pilgrimage is this eloquent and precise sermon which the Messenger of Allah addressed to all the people. The principles which he proclaimed after the completion of his mission and the success of his leadership confirm the principles which he proclaimed at the beginning of his call, when he was alone and persecuted, when his followers were few in number, weak and oppressed. These principles are firmly established and do not change, regardless of whether the number of believers is great or small, whether there is war or peace, defeat or victory, whether the world accepts the message or turns away, whether the enemy is strong or weak. In contrast, we know that the leaders of this world constantly alter their beliefs and principles, depending on whether they are strong or weak, changing their means and goals, displaying outwardly something other than what they conceal inwardly, proclaiming something other than that which they really believe, appearing at times of weakness in the guise of monks and at times of strength in the form of wolves. That is because they are no more than messengers of their own interests, in contrast to the Messengers of Allah. There is a great difference between one who scavenges for carcasses and one who swims in an ocean of light, between those who strive for the sake of their own selves and those who strive for the sake of humanity, between the close friends of the Shaytaan and the close friends of the Most Merciful.
"Allah is the Wali [Protector or Guardian] of those who believe. He brings them out from darkness into light. But as for those who disbelieve, their Awliyaa' [supporters and helpers] are Taaghoot [false deities and false leaders], they bring them out from light into darkness. Those are the dwellers of the Fire, and they will abide therein forever." (Qur'an 2: 257)
THE SENDING OF USAAMAH TO PALESTINE
The last thing that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) did to spread and protect the call of Islam, and to repel the aggression of those who wanted to attack the new state and put an end to it was to prepare an army to go to Syria under the leadership of Usaamah ibn Zayd. He commanded him to take his army to the border ofAl-Balqa ' and Ad- Daroom in the land of Palestine. This army was composed of both Muhaajireen and Ansaar, as well as Muslims from the areas around Madeenah, and no one stayed behind. When the army was outside Madeenah, prepaing to set out, the Messenger ofAllah fell ill with what was to be his final illness. The army hesitated to set out, waiting for the Messenger to recover and hoping to receive his instructions and advice, but the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) died a few days later; Allah chose him to be with Him, after he had discharged the trust and conveyed the message, and prepared the entire Arabian Peninsula to carry the banner of Islam and spread its culture and teachings throughout the world, after the army (which would shoulder the burden of this great trust that would change history) and the soldiers (who were fit to fight these battles) and the great men (who were fit to administer its state) had been made ready. May Allah send blessings and peace upon His Messenger, and reward him greatly on our behalf and on behalf of all mankind. Were it not for him and his loyal troops who fulfilled the trust after him, we would now be far astray.
Allah honoured His Messenger in a way that He had never honoured any previous Prophet. For He kept him alive until he had seen how the fruits of his da’ wah and struggle encompassed all ofArabia, and cleansed it of idol-worship forever; and made those who smashed the idols with their own hands rejoice in the blessings of Allah Who had saved them from misguidance. For they had previously worshipped idols, making their faces dusty by prostrating to them and seeking to draw closer to Allah through them, and now these same people were preparing to go everywhere on earth, bringing to people the light of guidance with which Allah had blessed them. A single generation that had worshipped idols and lived in ignorance, wasting their talents, was the same generation that smashed the idols and established the first Arab Muslim state in the history of Arabia, bearing the message and having clearly-defined goals, approaching the powerful neighbouring nations with the attitude of a teacher and saviour, proud of the message of guidance, light and goodness that it carried, feeling pity for the state of ignorance, wrongdoing and promiscuity to which the other nations had sunk, whereas before Islam, the Arabs had held those nations in high esteem, feeling inferior to them on the political, intellectual and social levels. The sending of Usaamah was no more than the manifest result of this blessed mission.
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) gave the command of this army to Usaamah ibn Zayd even though he was a young man of twenty years of age; and the leading shaykhs of the Muhaajireen and Ansaar, such as Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, 'Uthmaan and ‘Ali, those who had been the first to enter Islam and made such great sacrifices for its sake, elders who were of high status, all marched under the leadership of Usaamah. This is one of the splendid ways in which Islam sought to erase the differences in status, age and virtue that exist between people, and of giving a task to the one who is most qualified for it, regardless of his age or status. The fact that these great men, the like of whom history has not seen since, agreed to fight under the command of the young Usaamah is indicative of the level of refinement that their attitudes had reached by virtue of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) and his guidance, training and teaching.
The fact that Usaamah was given command over men like Abu Bakr, 'Umar, 'Uthmaan and 'Ali set a great precedent that no nation had ever seen. This indicates that it is essential to open the field to the brilliance of qualified youth and enable them to take charge of affairs if they are fit and able for that. This is a great lesson which, if only the Muslims had continued to pay heed to it, they could have avoided many disasters and calamities throughout history which shook the Islamic state to its core and weakened it. What the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) did was supported by revelation from heaven, blessed with wisdom, insight and farsightedness such as no previous Prophet and no great man in history, before or since, had been blessed with. May Allah be pleased with the young man Usaamah, for the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) had confidence in his ability to lead and his sincere resolve and good commitment to Islam. May Allah be pleased with him and make him an example to our Muslim youth.
THE DEATH OF THE MESSENGER OF ALLAH (ﷺ)
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) died when he knew, via the revelation, that his death was approaching. He bade farewell to the people during the Farewell Pilgrimage. The Sahaabah were worried that the death of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) was at hand, but Allah grants respite to none when his appointed time (death) comes (cf. Qur'an 63: 11). When word spread that the Messenger of Allah () had passed away, the Sahaabah were all shaken and confused, and many of the greatest Sahaabah, those who had been among the first to become Muslim, lost their minds with grief. Some of them were unable to speak or move. One of them - 'Umar - drew his sword and forbade the people to say that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) had died, claiming that he had simply gone away and would come back to them. Abu Bakr was the only one who remained steadfast. He went close to the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), who lay covered with a sheet on his bed, kissed him and said to him, "May my father and my mother be sacrificed for you, O' Messenger of Allah! How good you are in life and in death. You have tasted the death which Allah has decreed for you, and you will never suffer any other death. O' Messenger of Allah, remember us before your Lord."
Then Abu Bakr went out to the people and addressed them saying, "O' people, whoever used to worship Muhammad, Muhammad is dead, but whoever used to worship Allah, Allah is alive and will never die”. Then he recited the verse:
“Muhammad is no more than a Messenger, and indeed [many] Messengers have passed away before him. If he dies or is killed, will you then turn back on your heels [as disbelievers]? And he who turns back on his heels, not the least harm will he do to Allah; and Allah will give reward to those who are grateful " (Qur'an 3: 144)
When Abu Bakr recited this verse, they came to their senses, and it was as if they had never heard it before. Abu Hurayrah said that ‘Umar said: ''By Allah, when I heard Abu Bakr recite these words I was dumbfounded so that my legs would not carry me and I fell to the ground. Then I knew that the Messenger of Allah was dead."
Here there are two important lessons for us to learn:
The first is that the Sahaabah were devastated by the death of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), so much so that it was as if death could not come to him, even though death is the end that must come to every living being. That was only because their love for the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) was so deeply ingrained in their being. The sense of devastation felt when losing a loved one is commensurate with the degree of love. We see how those who lose a child or a father will remain for several days unable to believe their loss, but what love in this world can match the love that these righteous Sahaabah felt for the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), through whom Allah had guided them and brought them forth from darkness into light, changing their lives, opening their minds and their eyes, raising them to the level of great leaders? During his life, he had been their teacher, judge and guide, to whom they had turned at times of calamity, seeking his guidance with regard to the events that befell them and leaning from him the revelation of Allah, and listening to his teachings. When the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) died, all of that came to an end. What loss could be greater?
The second lesson we learn is that the attitude of Abu Bakr demonstrated that he was a person who could remain calm and steadfast at times of calamity, and that this was a quality which none of the other Sahaabah shared. This is what made him the most suited among the people to be the successor (khaleefah) to the Messenger of Allah This trait of Abu Bakr's was further borne out during the apostasy movement in Arabia.
Note: Here ends the summary of the lectures that I delivered on the Prophet's biography to the second-year students. There remain four further chapters of this syllabus, but I have not had time to write out the rest of the chapters, as mentioned in the Introduction. I hope that Allah will enable me to write the rest of this syllabus.
And the close of our request is, Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds