Friday, 8 January 2016

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Monday, 24 March 2014

The story of Prophet Yusuf (as)

Allah (swt) revealed the Quran to His beloved Messenger Muhammad (saw) to guide mankind out of disbelief, ignorance and misguidance. Allah says, “(This is) a Book which We have revealed unto you (O Muhammad) in order that you might lead mankind out of the darkness (of disbelief) into the light (of belief in the Oneness of Allah) by their Lord’s Leave to the Path of the All-Mighty, the Owner of all Praise.” [Surah Ibrahim: 1] The Kitab of Allah is full of stories of previous prophets and their nations. A diverse range of stories are narrated with unambiguous details of how many such previous nations perished on account of their rejection of and disbelief in Allah (swt) and His prophets and messengers. One such prophet is Yusuf (as) with a tremendously weighty story, which is narrated to the ummah of Muhammad (saw) through the Quran. This article explores the life of Yusuf (as), the purpose of such prophetic stories, their relevance and the lessons we can derive as individuals and as an ummah collectively. This article will only focus upon the most salient parts of the story of Yusuf (as). Purpose and relevance of prophetic stories Before we launch into the substance of the life of Yusuf (as), it is vital to explore and appreciate the purpose of such narrations in the Quran. Prophetic stories are not mere fairytales and Allah (swt) did not reveal them to Muhammad (saw) as futile irrelevant information. Indeed, being the last ummah, our failure to properly grasp the purpose of such stories would lead us astray and make us of the ignorant. Allah (swt) narrated the events which took place thousands of years ago to Muhammad (saw) so that we as the ummah may draw lessons. None of us, including Muhammad (saw), could possibly have acquired the story of Yusuf (as) had Allah (swt) not narrated it to us. Allah (swt) says, “This is of the news of the Ghaib (unseen) which We reveal by Inspiration to you (O Muhammad)”. [Surah Yusuf: 102] Such revelations transmit lessons and reminders for the ummah to remain on the path of haq (truth) in relation to life’s affairs, whether temporal or spiritual, and avoid the pitfalls of the past nations. These stories are highly relevant to our 21st century life because, save for changes in technology and science, the essence of human life remains the same. Mankind today is engaged in similar evils which previous nations had engaged in. If the ummah fails to lead mankind out of the darkness of kufr, the same fate awaits mankind as those previous nations were subjected to. Therefore, prophetic stories are acutely relevant today. The prophethood of Yusuf (as) The account of the life of Yusuf (as) in the Quran is one of the most detailed and uniquely fascinating stories of all. It illustrates the qualities, which are the prerequisites for success in this life and in the hereafter, whilst demonstrating the blameworthy characteristics in man which lead to his downfall and failure. As Imam Ibn Kathir (may Allah be pleased with him) mentioned in his book, Stories of the Prophets, it is a story “involving both human weaknesses such as jealousy, hatred, pride, passion, deception, intrigue, cruelty, terror as well as noble qualities such as patience, loyalty, bravery, nobility and compassion”. Yusuf’s (as) lineage consist of prophets; he was the son of Prophet Ya’qub (as), his grandfather was Prophet Ishaq (as) and his great grandfather was Prophet Ibrahim (as). Thus, it came as no surprise to his father when it became apparent that Yusuf (as) was destined to receive divine revelation. The story of Yusuf (as) begins with the glad tidings of his prophethood, which then develops into a series of tragic trials and tribulations, and finally ends with success and glory where Yusuf (as) becomes a ruler in Egypt. The story begins with his dream about himself and ends with his interpretation of that dream. The plot to exile Yusuf (as) Yusuf (as), who was the most beloved of his father, dreamt that eleven stars, the sun and the moon were all prostrating before him. He narrated this dream to his father the next morning, whereupon Ya’qub (as) realised that this was a vision from Allah (swt) and an indication of Yusuf’s (as) future prophethood. Ya’qub (as) warned his son not to disclose this vision to his brothers, for he feared that it would cause further jealousy amongst them who were already acutely spiteful of Yusuf (as). Yusuf’s (as) brothers were deeply resentful of their father’s love for Yusuf (as) and his full brother Binyamin. They felt that Yusuf (as) was depriving them of their father’s love. Little did they care that in fact it was Yusuf’s (as) sublime praiseworthy character which endowed this deep love and affection from his father. His brothers thus plotted to remove Yusuf (as) from this position of love and affection so that they could receive their father’s undivided devotion. Thus, after much scheming and conspiring, they concocted a plot to banish and exile Yusuf (as) into a distant land. They cunningly invited Yusuf (as) to go out with them and threw him down a deep well and left him to fend for himself. The brothers then deceitfully told their father that Yusuf (as) was devoured by desert wolves and presented Yusuf’s (as) shirt, which they had soaked in sheep’s blood. Upon receiving this heartbreaking tragic news about his most beloved son, Ya’qub (as) did not believe his sons. Allah (swt) relates to the ummah Ya’qub’s (as) response, “He said, ‘Nay, but yourselves have made up a tale. So (for me) patience is most fitting. And it is Allah (Alone) Whose help can be sought against that which you assert’.” [Surah Yusuf: 18] In the face of such great loss Allah’s Prophet Ya’qub (as) showed us how one should respond. Ya’qub (as) did not despair of Allah’s help, nor dissatisfied with the calamity that befell upon him. Instead, he remained patient and sought refuge in and the help of Allah (swt) alone. There are indeed lessons for us from this episode of the story in Surah Yusuf. Allah (swt) says,“And Allah was the All-Knower of what they did.” [Surah Yusuf: 19] Allah (swt) was fully aware of what was occurring and could indeed have stopped the wrongdoers who harmed Yusuf (as). However, out of Allah’s infinite foresight and wisdom, He (swt) decreed otherwise and allowed it to occur so that His decision of a great future for Yusuf (as) would prevail at the appointed time. Allah (swt) let the wrongdoers have a momentary respite so that eventually Yusuf (as) would succeed and have authority over his nation, not just over his brothers. Lessons for today We have witnessed much bloodshed in the Arab Uprising. Brutal dictators who were darlings of the Western colonialists for decades have been dethroned but at the cost of rivers of blood and countless martyrdom. Allah (swt) is not unaware of what is occurring in the region. Indeed, He (swt) is allowing the wrongdoers to commit these atrocities but will eventually give victory to the believers at the appointed time. The wrongdoers would then be subjugated to the deen of Allah (swt) in due course, just as He (swt) had granted victory to his Prophet Yusuf (as) and His Messenger Muhammad (saw). At the time of the dawah of Muhammad (saw) in Makkah, despite the Quraish’s atrocities against the early Muslims, Allah (swt) had granted victory to His Messenger (saw) over the Quraish and subjugated them to the authority of Islam. For now however, the ummah has no option but to persevere in face of such tremendous trials and tribulations and continue with the efforts of replace these dictators with righteous rulers who would rule by the Kitab of Allah (swt) and the Sunnah of His Messenger (saw). Sincere effort in the path of Allah (swt), obedience to the shari’ah, tawaqquland sabr (patience) are vital for the ummah today. Yusuf (as) taken to Egypt Meanwhile, a passing caravan of merchants came to rest at the well and discovered this young handsome man at the bottom of the well. The merchants rescued Yusuf (as), took him as a slave to Egypt and sold him to the chief minister of Egypt. The chief minister soon realised that Yusuf (as) was no ordinary slave boy and had huge potential in him. He thus ordered his wife, Zulaikha, to be kind to Yusuf (as) and provide him a comfortable life. This was indeed Allah’s plan, as He (swt) says, “Thus did We establish Yusuf in the land, that We might teach him the interpretation of events. And Allah has full power and control over His Affairs, but most of men know not.” [Surah Yusuf: 21] Allah (swt) wanted to take Yusuf (as) out of his homeland in Cannan (which is the area of Palestine, Syria and Jordan) and bring him to Egypt for a great destiny ahead and He (swt) allowed Yusuf’s (as) brothers to commit the evil acts which was all part of Allah’s greater plan. Yusuf (as) languishes in prison The story of Yusuf (as) at this point takes another difficult twist, as the chief minister’s wife, Zulaikha, attempted to seduce Yusuf (as). He was no ordinary man but was blessed with exceptional attractiveness. Allah (swt) informs us that when the women of Egypt saw Yusuf (as), “They said, ‘How perfect is Allah! No man is this! This is none other than a noble angel!’” [Surah Yusuf: 31]. Moreover, Muhammad (saw) said regarding Yusuf’s (as) handsomeness, “He was given half of all beauty”. In the interest of brevity, we will not explore this section of Yusuf’s (as) life in depth. Suffice to say that Yusuf (as) was confronted by another major test, which, by Allah’s help, he overcame. However, it was Allah’s design that Yusuf (as) should end up in prison away from the evils of these lustful women! Once in prison, the story of Yusuf (as) enters its third phase of tests, wherein he continues with his prophetic mission of dawah to his fellow prisoners. Yusuf (as) spent several years in prison (possibly nine years) for a crime that he did not commit. However, there was a greater wisdom behind Yusuf’s (as) imprisonment, which was soon to be unveiled by Allah (swt), the Master of all planners. The Egyptian king’s dream The king of Egypt saw a terrifying dream which frightened him and made him fear for his kingdom. The king desperately sought interpretation of this dream but all attempts at its interpretation failed. The most experienced of his advisors, soothsayers and pundits at the time failed to interpret this dream accurately. It was at this point that a servant in the king’s household remembered Yusuf (as) and his ability to interpret dreams. This man was with Yusuf (as) in prison and had himself benefited from an earlier interpretation by Yusuf (as) of his dream. The king’s officials narrated the dream to Yusuf (as) in prison and he informed them that Egypt would experience seven fertile years followed by seven years of drought. Yusuf (as) advised the king that during these difficult years ahead, a very careful management and distribution of the resources was essential. Yusuf (as) mentioned that after these 14 years, fertility would return to Egypt and resources would again be in plenty. When the king received this interpretation, he felt convinced. The king recognised Yusuf’s (as) virtues, knowledge and foresight and immediately ordered the release of Yusuf (as). However, Yusuf (as) refused to leave prison unless he was exonerated and his innocence declared. The king thereupon investigated the allegations that were made against Yusuf (as) by Zulaikha, which soon proved to be unfounded. The king, recognising the greatness of Yusuf (as), thus ordered his immediate release. Allah (swt) says, “And the king said: ‘Bring him to me that I may attach him to my person.’ Then, when he spoke to him, he said: ‘Verily, this day, you are with us high in rank and fully trusted’.” [Surah Yusuf: 54] Yusuf (as) requested the king to appoint him as the minister of finance of Egypt so that he could assume responsibility for the management of the harvests and storehouses and distribute resources efficiently. The king duly complied because Yusuf (as) was the best person for this task. Thus, Allah’s (swt) plan to catapult Yusuf (as) into greatness came to fruition after years of perseverance in the face of difficult tests. He (swt) says, “Thus did We give full authority to Yusuf in the land, to take possession therein, as when or where he likes. We bestow of Our Mercy on whom We please, and We make not to be lost the reward of Al-Muhsinun (the doers of good)”. [Surah Yusuf: 56] In spite of the immense tests which Yusuf (as) had faced (as aforesaid), Allah (swt) did not allow the patience of Yusuf (as) to be lost in vain and instead rewarded Yusuf (as) with greatness, victory and authority. According to Mujahid, a great early mufassir from the tabi’een, the king of Egypt became Muslim at the hands of Yusuf (as). This prophet of Allah, Yusuf (as), thus ruled Egypt by the laws of Allah (swt). The Quran does not dwell any further into this episode of the life of Yusuf (as). The story then phases into the final episode where Yusuf (as) interacts with his brothers, which we will not explore in this article. Modern slander against Yusuf (as) In order to justify participation in democracy and non-Islamic rule, some Muslims in recent times have alleged that Yusuf (as) participated in non-Islamic rule when he was appointed as the minister in Egypt. They assert that as Yusuf (as) had participated in non-Islamic rule for a necessity, it thus follows that it is permissible for Muslims today to rule by kufr democracy if it becomes necessary. This is indeed a great slander against a prophet of Allah (swt) and a gross misunderstanding. Prophets are immune from sin and are sinless. This is the very point of prophethood. Yes, prophets are human; but they are not capable to sinning. Allah says, “And We sent not before you (as Messengers) any but men, whom We inspired from among the people of townships”. [Surah Yusuf: 109] How can a prophet of Allah (swt) participate in kufr? Such assertion is false because the evidence available do not support such argument. As we have mentioned above, the king of Egypt had become Muslim after the appointment of Yusuf (as) as a minister. It would be a great error to suggest that they both ruled by kufr! Moreover, the shari’ah of Yusuf (as) was unique to his nation. For example, when his parents came to meet Yusuf (as) following his appointment as a ruler, they prostrated before Yusuf (as) on account of the honour and respect Yusuf (as) enjoyed. However, Muslims are not permitted to prostrate before anyone other than Allah (swt). Therefore, whatever Yusuf (as) ruled by was from his shari’ah revealed to his nation and whatever was revealed to Muhammad (saw) is the shari’ah of Muhammad (saw) for this ummah. We cannot conveniently select from the shari’ah of previous nations to suit our twisted agendas. Lessons for the 21st century Allah (swt) informs Muhammad (saw) that in the stories of prophets are lessons for this ummah,“Indeed in their stories, there is a lesson for men of understanding”. 111 Today, the ummah is facing attacks from every angle possible. In the West, Muslims face intellectual attacks, media propaganda and humiliation and draconian terrorism laws that singularly target Muslims. In the Muslim world, Muslims are subjected to oppression and massacres en masse, as is the case in Burma, Syria and Yemen just to name a few. Such depressing circumstances are not new to the believers. In fact, many prophets and previous nations had faced similar trials and tribulations and were successful because they trusted in and relied upon Allah (swt), engaged in righteous good deeds and followed the shari’ah of their time. The ummah today similarly needs to trust in and rely upon Allah (swt), for the victory of Allah is near indeed. As we have seen from this article, Allah (swt) has His plans for the believers and will inevitably grant them success, although He (saw) gives momentary respite to the enemies of Allah and the evil doers. Allah (swt) says, “(They were reprieved) until, when the Messengers gave up hope and thought that they were denied (by their people), then came to them Our Help, and whomsoever We willed were delivered. And Our Punishment cannot be warded off from the people who are Mujrimun (criminals, disbelievers, polytheists).” [Surah Yusuf: 110] The mother of the believers, A’ishah (ra) explained the above verse in the following words, “This verse is concerned with the followers of the Messengers who had faith in their Lord and believed in their Messengers. The period of trials for those followers was long and Allah’s help was delayed until the Messengers gave up hope for the conversion of the disbelievers amongst their nations and suspected that even their followers were shaken in their belief, Allah’s help then came to them.” [Tafsir Ibn Kathir] Allah grants victory when the situation appears hopeless and hardships prevail. This is when believers eagerly await Allah’s help. The ummah today is at a critical juncture whereby a transition is occurring from one phase to the next. The Muslims are required to follow the shari’ah without compromise. Taking shortcuts and pragmatism would not lead to victory. If we learn anything from the prophetic stories, the help of Allah (swt) came when the believers had firmly held onto the rope of Allah (swt) without compromise. We must do the same today and work tirelessly to bring back thedeen of Allah. May Allah (swt) make this Ramadan the final days where the ummah remains without her rightful ruler, the Khalifah. “Indeed, they planned their plot, and their plot was with Allah, though their plot was a great (one, still) it would never be able to remove the mountains from their places (as it is of no importance)”. [Surah Ibrahim: 46]

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Tafsir Surat At Takweer - Sheikh Abu Talha (Part 1)

Sheikh Abu Talha expounds on the meanings of Surah At Takweer which was revealed during the early stages of the dawah in Makkah. In his unique style and presentation he links the message of the Quran into our current scenario and the oppression and obstacles faced by the Islamic dawah carriers which are similar to those faced by the Prophet Mohammed (SAW) and the Sahaba (RA). He also extracts the method to carry the dawah from the way of the Prophet Mohammed SAW and his companions' actions in Makkah.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Moderate Muslim

Who is a "Moderate" Muslim?

On December 18th, 2010 the Toronto Star published an article that advocated the banning of not only the Niqab (face covering) and Burqa (full body covering), but also the Hijab (head covering).

The article stated, "The burqa and niqab represent a tradition that views women as sexual objects, temptresses who, with the flash of an ankle, can bring men (weak creatures incapable of resisting this temptation) to their knees. It's a repugnant value system and I reject it. So should all Canadians who embrace secular feminism. So let's ban the burqa, the niqab, and while we're at it, the hijab."

The article used the term "moderate Muslim" to describe the person who stated that, "The law of the veil is not only humiliating to women, but it is an insult to men."

"Moderate Muslim": An Islamic Measure?
The article gives an opportunity to examine the practice of the media, opportunistic politicians and others who praise some as "moderate Muslims" and denounce other Muslims as "militant," "radical" and "extremist." It can be tempting to present oneself as part of the camp that is not cast in a negative light. However, before using terms such as "moderate Muslims" and "extremist Muslims," we need to understand what each of the terms mean.

What does it mean to be a "moderate Muslim"? Who exactly are the "extremists"?

Some may argue that these words are harmless, and that they are simply a way to distinguish between "good" and "bad" Muslims. CNN labeled Algeria as "extremist" for banning the import of alcohol. Prior to this ban, Algeria was considered "moderate."

To analyze this (or any) issue, we must first refer back to the Qur'an and Sunnah. Did RasulAllah صلى الله عليه وسلم divide the Sahaba (ra) into "moderates" and "extremists"? Did the Sahaba (ra) measure each other by scales of "moderation" or "extremism"? Allah سبحانه وتعالى revealed:

إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ

"Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is he who is the most righteous of you." [al-Hujraat, 49:13]

Therefore, the measure of people is not in how extremist or moderate they are, but rather in their righteousness. Dividing Muslims into "moderates" and "extremists" is an innovation in Islam. It was never professed by the early generation of Muslim scholars, and has been only recently introduced into the Islamic discourse.

Making Islam Look Undesirable
The reality of this discourse is to make Islam look undesirable. The media, think tanks, and politicians denounce Islam as "militant," "radical" and "extremist" so that Muslims feel threatened when they practice their Deen. Some examples include:

Abstaining from Alcohol: Muslims are considered extremist for forbidding Muslims from purchasing alcohol within the Muslim lands! CNN reported: "A surprise vote by Algeria's parliament to ban the import of alcoholic drinks in the moderate Muslim country marks the return of Islamic extremism..." We can see that the media considers consuming alcohol as the hallmark of a "moderate" Muslim. Conversely, one who forbids Muslims from consuming alcohol is an "extremist."

Wearing the Hijab: The Toronto Star - a left-leaning paper in one of the most tolerant cities in Canada - demonized the Hijab and called for it to be banned! The Star article cited earlier praised the "moderate Muslim" for despising the ruling prescribed by Allah سبحانه وتعالى for women to cover their hair, wear the Jilbab (body covering), and for men and women to maintain their modesty when dealing with one another. Allah سبحانه وتعالى revealed:

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ قُلْ لِأَزْوَاجِكَ وَبَنَاتِكَ وَنِسَاءِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ يُدْنِينَ عَلَيْهِنَّ مِنْ جَلَابِيبِهِنَّ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ أَدْنَىٰ أَنْ يُعْرَفْنَ فَلَا يُؤْذَيْنَ ۗ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ غَفُورًا رَحِيمًا

"Oh Prophet! Tell your wives, your daughters and the believing women to draw their cloaks all over their bodies. That will be better, that they should be known so as not to be annoyed." [Al-Ahzab, 33:59]

وَلْيَضْرِبْنَ بِخُمُرِهِنَّ عَلَىٰ جُيُوبِهِنَّ

"And (for women) to draw their head-coverings (khumur) over their necks and upper chests (Juyub)." [An-Nur, 24:31]

Abandoning the Khilafah: A RAND Publication, "Building Moderate Muslim Networks," states: "Whether a political philosophy derives from Western or Quranic sources, to be considered democratic it must unequivocally support pluralism and internationally recognized human rights...Support for democracy implies opposition to concepts of the Islamic state... Muslim moderates hold the view that no one can speak for God. Rather, it is the consensus of the community (ijma), as reflected in freely expressed public opinion, that determines what God's will is in any particular case."

This directly attacks the concept of Khilafah as established by RasulAllah صلى الله عليه وسلم. We are well aware that the Sahaba (ra), who succeeded the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم, established the Khilafah, where the State applied the Ahkam Shar'iah based on the Qur'an, the Sunnah, Ijma-as-Sahaba, and Qiyas. They never implemented laws based on the collective whims of the people.

Therefore, think tanks, media personalities, and certain politicians define a "moderate" Muslim as someone who is willing to abandon the commands of Allah سبحانه وتعالى whenever it conflicts with liberal values that emanate from the secular creed (Aqeedah). On the other hand, a Muslim who abides by the commandments of Allah سبحانه وتعالى is deemed an extremist and someone who should be shunned by society.

Dangers of Compromise
We should also be aware of the dangers of compromise. We may be tempted to curtail our Islamic practices in the hope of being considered moderate. However, Allah سبحانه وتعالى has warned us against such a practice:

وَدُّوا لَوْ تُدْهِنُ فَيُدْهِنُونَ

"They wish that you should compromise (in religion out of courtesy) with them, so they (too) would compromise with you." [al-Qalam, 68:9]

Although this tactic of promoting "moderate Muslims" is recent, it is in actuality nothing new. The colonial powers have been working for centuries to make the Muslims adopt secularism as their sole reference point. This vision to engender a colonized mentality was articulated in 1854 by Mountstuart Elphinstone, who said, "we must not dream of perpetual possession, but must apply ourselves to bring the natives into a state that will admit of their governing themselves in a manner that may be beneficial to our interests..."

Remaining Steadfast
Muslims today have fallen upon severely trying times. We cannot pick up a newspaper, turn on the television or surf the internet without being exposed to accusations and lies leveled against our Deen, our Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, or our Ummah. This pressure has compelled some to explain Islam in a manner that appeases its critics - with the hopes of being considered "moderate" themselves. We must not fall into this trap. Instead, we must first strengthen our ties to Allah سبحانه وتعالى and recall that Allah سبحانه وتعالى has warned us about such trials:

وَلَتَسْمَعُنَّ مِنَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ وَمِنَ الَّذِينَ أَشْرَكُوا أَذًى كَثِيرًا

"You will certainly hear much that is hurtful from those who were given the Book before you, and from the Mushrikin (polytheists)." [al-Imran, 3:186]

أَحَسِبَ النَّاسُ أَنْ يُتْرَكُوا أَنْ يَقُولُوا آمَنَّا وَهُمْ لَا يُفْتَنُونَ
وَلَقَدْ فَتَنَّا الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِهِمْ ۖ فَلَيَعْلَمَنَّ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ صَدَقُوا وَلَيَعْلَمَنَّ الْكَاذِبِينَ

"Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: ‘We believe,' and will not be tested. 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)." [al-Ankaboot, 29:2-3]

And RasulAllah صلى الله عليه وسلم warned us that: "A time is going to come on people when remaining steadfast on Deen will be like holding a burning coal in one's hand." [At-Tirmidhi]

In this climate of Fitna (trial), we must reaffirm our commitment to Allah سبحانه وتعالى, work hard to maintain our Islamic identity, and be confident in that which the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم brought us. Allah سبحانه وتعالى promised us:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِنْ تَنْصُرُوا اللَّهَ يَنْصُرْكُمْ وَيُثَبِّتْ أَقْدَامَكُمْ

"O you who believe! If you support Allah, Allah will support you." [Muhammad, 47:7]

We should also recognize that the real goal of our existence is to attain the pleasure of Allah سبحانه وتعالى and be resurrected amongst the companions of RasulAllah صلى الله عليه وسلم. Consequently, we must endure whatever trial we may be afflicted with and remain steadfast on the duty that we have been entrusted with. A believer is never at loss when he or she endures for the sake of Allah سبحانه وتعالى, as he or she is working for a reward that is eternal: Jannah.

RasulAllah صلى الله عليه وسلم said: "The affair of the believer is amazing! The whole of his life is beneficial, and that is only in the case of the believer. When good times come to him, he is thankful and it is good for him, and when bad times befall him, he is patient and it is also good for him." [Muslim]

If we look to the Sahaba (ra), we will find in them excellent examples of persistence and steadfastness. They were faced with trials similar to ours where the disbelievers used tactics of labelling Islam. The People of the Book attempted to make Islam look crooked in order to create obstacles for the message of Islam. Allah سبحانه وتعالى revealed:

قُلْ يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ لِمَ تَصُدُّونَ عَنْ سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ مَنْ آمَنَ تَبْغُونَهَا عِوَجًا وَأَنْتُمْ شُهَدَاءُ ۗ وَمَا اللَّهُ بِغَافِلٍ عَمَّا تَعْمَلُونَ

"Say: O followers of the Book! Why do you hinder him who believes from the way of Allah? You seek (to make) it crooked, while you are witness, and Allah is not heedless of what you do." [Al-Imran, 3:99]

Quraysh also used propaganda to label RasulAllah صلى الله عليه وسلم and the Sahaba (ra) as extreme elements of society. Although the terminology they used was different, their goal was similar: to put pressure on the Muslims so that they would conform to the Kufr thoughts, emotions, and laws of the Quraysh. For example, Al-Waleed bin Al-Mughirah led the effort to devise a propaganda strategy to isolate RasulAllah صلى الله عليه وسلم. Some ideas (e.g. labeling him a poet, soothsayer, one possessed by Jinn, etc) were rejected because they were unrealistic. They settled on labeling him a sorcerer with words who broke up families.

Despite this climate of Fitna and fear, RasulAllah صلى الله عليه وسلم and the Sahaba (ra) stood firm in their Deen and did not buckle under the pressure. Instead the sahaba (ra) displayed great courage. For example, when RasulAllah صلى الله عليه وسلم and the Sahaba (ra) were living in Makkah (i.e. before the Hijrah), Abdullah bin Mas'ood (ra) said that he would make Quraysh listen to the Qur'an. So, one morning he went to the Ka'aba and read the Qur'an aloud, whereupon the people of Quraysh attacked him. When he returned to the Sahaba (ra), they said: "This is what we feared would happen to you." He said, "Allah's enemies were never more contemptible in my sight than they are now, and if you like I will go and do the same thing again tomorrow."

Allah سبحانه وتعالى eventually made them victorious over their enemies in this world, and granted them His pleasure in the Hereafter:

رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُوا عَنْهُ

"Allah is well pleased with them as they are well pleased with Him." [at-Tawba, 9:100]

If we desire Allah's سبحانه وتعالى pleasure, we must follow the example of RasulAllah صلى الله عليه وسلم and his companions (ra) and, inshAllah, we will be amongst those whom Allah سبحانه وتعالى is pleased with.

May Allah سبحانه وتعالى give us the strength and resolve to endure the tribulations of our times and always be at the forefront of carrying the mission of Islam and returning the implementation of the Deen of Allah to this world. Ameen.

وَلَا تَهِنُوا وَلَا تَحْزَنُوا وَأَنْتُمُ الْأَعْلَوْنَ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ مُؤْمِنِينَ

"So do not become weak (against your enemy), nor be sad, and you will be superior (in victory) if you are indeed (true) believers." [al-Imran, 3:139]

Monday, 5 April 2010

Victory (Nasr)

The True Understand of Victory (Nasr) being from Allah

“Verily those who disbelieve spend their wealth to hinder (men) from the way of Allah and so they will continue to spend it, but in the end will become an anguish for them. They will be overcome and those disbelievers will be gathered in Hell" [TMQ Al-Anfal: 36].

Ibn Kathir in his Tafseer mentions that this verse was revealed during the battle of Badr in particular concerning Abu Sufyan ibn Harb. Moments before the battle it is narrated that Abu Sufyan delivered a speech calling on the Quraish to donate their wealth for the war (harb) and in particular to get rid of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) once and for all.

He also narrates from Ibn Abbas (ra) from Mujahid (ra) that it was revealed concerning Abu Sufyan because he donated his wealth to kill the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam).

Dahhak (ra) said: "This verse was revealed concerning the people of Badr and all those capable of doing (what the ayah mentions). The Sabab an Nuzul (circumstance of revelation) was concerning a specific incident i.e. at Badr. Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) has informed us that the Kuffar will spend their wealth so as to hinder people from following the Tareeqa (path) of Haq (truth), and they spend their wealth for this purpose until they become miserable … they wish to extinguish the light of Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) and to make their word prevail over the word of truth but Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) raises his light although the Kuffar may detest this and He helps his Deen and makes it prevail over all other Deens and this is their humiliation in this life and punishment of hellfire in the hereafter." [Tafseer Ibn Kathir]

This verse is applicable to the current reality where the Kuffar have launched a crusade against Islam and are continuing this during the blessed month of Ramadhan. This verse was revealed during the month of Ramadhan when the Quraish were gathering their forces and wealth in order to quell Islam, which culminated in the famous battle of Badr. Today the forces of Kufr are also attempting to curb Islam by attacking the Muslims of Afghanistan, Palestine, Chechnya, Kashmir and other parts of the Islamic land. They spend their wealth not only to fight the Muslims physically but also to colonise the minds of the Muslims by attempting to sever them from their Aqeedah (belief) and distort the Islamic culture.

Unlike the battle of Badr, the Muslims today do not stand side by side under a single leadership, which implements Islam. Rather since the destruction of the Khilafah, the Muslims have been in the absence of the shepherd, shield and protector whom the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) called the shade of Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) upon the earth.

Al-Tabarani and Al-Baihaqi reported that the Messenger (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: "The Sultan is the shade of Allah on earth".

Without this Sultan, Imam or Khalifah we are exposed to attack from all sides without having a leadership that protects our lives, property and dignity. In this situation it is of paramount importance that we understand the concept of Nasr (victory) being from Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) in the correct manner. It can be noticed, from looking at their statements and behaviour, that some Muslims misunderstand this concept.

Some find it hard to believe that Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) can provide us the victory when we are drowning in a sea of problems and the ship of the Kuffar seems so powerful. They see the heads of Kufr such as America and its modern Ahzab (Alliance or Coalition) as too strong economically, militarily and politically for the Muslims to overcome. They become mesmerised by the spider’s web (Bait al Ankabut) and can’t see through its weak structure. This has led to some being defeated by the current onslaught and has resulted in their inactivity and failure to try to liberate the Ummah from the Fir’awn of the world by standing up and re-establishing the Khilafah. Defeatism should never enter the heart of the true believer who knows that Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) will provide the victory.

Another misunderstanding that people fall into is one of mixing the Aqeedah (belief) and the Ahkam Shari’ah (Shari’ah rules). They believe that Allah Azza wa jall will provide us with victory but they rely on this without undertaking the actions that Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) ordered us with. This error in understanding leads people to remain inactive to change the situation around them and leaves them content in waiting for the victory to come, often the only action they call for is Du’a to Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) and the asking of help from Him (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala). This diseased view is a corruption in the Islamic mentality and can lead Muslims into fatalism and neglecting their Fara’id (obligations). To demonstrate this we can look at the belief in the Rizq (provision) being from Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala). We belief that Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) is Ar-Raaziq (The one who provides) however when it comes to our actions we must follow His commands and prohibitions otherwise we would be violating the Qur’an which he revealed to us as a Furqan (criterion) and we would definitely fall into sin.

It was narrated that Umar bin Al-Khattab (ra) passed by some people, who were known as readers of the Qur’an. He saw them sitting and bending their heads, and asked who they were. He was told: "They are those who depend (al-mutawwakiloon) upon Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala)." Umar replied; "No, they are the eaters who eat the people’s properties. Do you want me to describe who those who really depend upon Allah (al-mutawwakiloon) are?" He was answered in the affirmative, and then he said: "He is the person who throws the seeds in the earth and then depends on his Lord, The Almighty, The Exalted."

Umar bin al Khattab (ra), of whom the Shaytan was afraid, explained to us how depending upon Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) does not mean leaving his obligations and not working to achieve his responsibilities. The Muslim man is commanded by Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) to earn a living for himself and his family although he has the permanent belief that effort is not proportional to Rizq. Hence there is a difference between the matters of Aqeedah and the following of the Ahkam Shari’ah.

Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) once shook the hand of Sa’ad ibn Muadh (ra) and found his hands to be rough. When the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) asked about it, Sa’ad said; “I dig with the shovel to maintain my family.” The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) kissed Sa’ad’s hands and said; “(They are) two hands which The Supreme loves.” The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: “Nobody would ever eat food that is better than to eat of his own hand’s work.”

As Muslims, we know that the Ajal (lifespan) can be only terminated by Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala). As He (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) said,

“And no person can ever die except by Allah's leave and at an appointed term” [TMQ Ale-Imran: 145].

Although our death cannot be avoided the knowledge of this should not lead to us abandoning any cures to illnesses or other means from the reality. Rather we seek cures for illnesses in response to the Hadith, “For every disease there is a cure. So seek the cure.”

Unfortunately we can see contradictions in those who restrict themselves to Du’a when it comes to solving the dire problems the Ummah is faced with like the bombardment of the innocent Muslims of Afghanistan. They would not limit themselves to Du’a when it comes to seeking their Rizq (provision) rather we would find them studying, working and striving in order to achieve it. Nor would we find them leaving their property unattended and their houses insecure even though they believe that Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) is Ar-Raaziq (The Provider). When they are ill we would find them going to the doctor and taking medicine. Then how can it be, when Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) has commanded us to motivate the people of power like the armies in the Islamic world to undertake their duty of repelling the aggressor and crushing the crusaders that they remain inactive praying for the Mahdi to emerge or for the victory to be granted? How can it be that they remain silent when Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) has commanded us to undertake the intellectual and political struggle in order to remove the corrupt rulers in the Islamic land and replace them with the Khilafah? As if we are like a feather in the wind with no accountability.

We must understand that victory is only granted by Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) just as Rizq (provision) is, however we have not been left on this earth without a Shari’ah wandering aimlessly. Rather He (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) revealed the Qur’an in the month of Ramadhan as a guidance for mankind together with the clear proofs of this guidance for us to follow.

The two extremes of defeatism and fatalism are both incorrect and did not exist in the Sahabah (ra). The Muslims in the battle of Badr as in all the other battles understood that Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) is the provider of the victory even if they were outnumbered, so they didn’t become defeated by the difficult reality around them, rather they knew that they were entrusted with the obligation of doing their utmost to defeat the enemy. The example of Badr is sufficient to demonstrate this.

In the second year of Hijrah the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) set out on the 8th of Ramadhan with three hundred and five of his companions mounted on seventy camels - ‘Amr ibn Umm Maktum was assigned to lead the prayer whilst Abu Lubabah was left in charge of Madinah. They rode the camels in turn heading towards a caravan led by Abu Sufyan. As they marched on they sought news of the caravan until they had reached the valley of Dafran where they settled, and news reached them there that Quraish had set out from Makkah to protect their caravan. The whole affair then assumed different proportions for it was no longer simply a raid on a caravan, the question was whether to confront Quraish or not. So Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) consulted the Muslims. Abu Bakr (ra) followed then by ‘Umar (ra) voiced their opinions respectively, then al-Miqdad ibn ‘Amr (ra) arose and said, "O Messenger of Allah! Go where Allah tells you, for we are with you. We shall not say as the children of Israel said to Moses ‘You and your Lord go and fight and we will stay at home’, but you and your Lord go and fight and we will fight with you.""Give me advice O men!" by which he meant the Ansar who had paid allegiance to him at al-’Aqabah. They had pledged to protect him as they protected their wives and children, with the stipulation that they were not responsible to fight with him outside Madinah. When the Ansar sensed that he (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) meant them, Sa’ad ibn Mu’adh (ra) who was holding their banner said, "It seems as if you mean us, O Messenger of Allah." He (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said, "Yes.” Sa’ad said, "We believe in you, we declare your truth, and we witness that what you have brought us is the truth, and we have given you our word and agreement to hear and obey; so go where you wish, we are with you; and by He who sent you, if you were to ask us to cross this sea and you plunged into it, we would plunge into it with you; not a man would stay behind. We do not dislike the idea of meeting our enemy tomorrow. We are experienced in war, trustworthy in combat. It may well be that Allah will let us show you something which will bring you joy, so take us along with Allah’s blessing." The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) was delighted with Sa’ad’s words and said, "Forward in good heart, for Allah had promised me one of the two parties, and by Allah, it is as though I now saw the enemy lying prostrate."

Then the two sides advanced and drew near each other on Friday morning on the 17th of Ramadhan. The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) straightened the ranks and incited the Muslims to fight. The Muslims were encouraged by the words of Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and went forward. The fighting broke out fiercely and the heads of the Quraishi fighters went flying from their bodies, the Muslims becoming stronger all the time chanting ‘Ahad! Ahad!’ (The One, the One). Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) whilst standing in the midst of the confrontation took a handful of pebbles and threw them at Quraish saying, "Foul be those faces!" Then he (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) ordered his companions to charge and they duly obliged until the battle was over, and the foe was routed. The Muslims emerged victorious despite being outnumbered three to one, they slew many warriors and tribal leaders of Quraish and took captive many more. The Quraish fled the battlefield and the Muslims returned to Madinah having achieved a truly great victory.

In these difficult days it is vital for us to have the mentality the Sahabah (ra) had regarding the issue of Nasr (victory). We must believe that Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) will provide it whenever He (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) wishes, we shouldn’t become defeated if we don’t see it, nor should we remain idle waiting for it to come about. We have to do our utmost in implementing all the orders of Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) including those regarding changing the status quo and re-establishing the Khilafah. This life is a test and in pursuit of political change we may face all types of tribulations as the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and the Sahabah (ra) faced.

“Or do you think that you shall enter the gardens of Bliss (al-Jannah) without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you?” [TMQ Al-Baqarah: 214]

Indeed Allah (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) has promised us His (Subhanahu Wa ta’ala) help and victory.

“So do not become weak (against your enemy), nor be sad, and you will be superior (in victory) if you are indeed (true) believers” [TMQ Ale-Imran: 139].

“O you who believe if you aid the cause of Allah he will aid you and make your foothold firm” [TMQ Muhammad: 7].