Hudhayfah ibn al-Yaman – His life and his encounter with hypocrites Part 2 (Final)

Hudhayfah’s special qualities were made use of by the Prophet, peace be on him, at various times. One of the most testing of such occasions, which required the use of Hudhayfah’s intelligence and his presence of mind, was during the Battle of the Ditch. The Muslims on that occasion were surrounded by enemies. The seige they had been placed under had dragged on. The Muslims were undergoing severe hardship and difficulties. They had expended practically all their effort and were utterly exhausted. So intense was the strain that some even began to despair.

The Quraysh and their allies, meanwhile, were not much better off. Their strength and determination had been sapped. A violent wind overturned their tents, extinguished their fires and pelted their faces and eyes with gusts of sand and dust.

In such decisive moments in the history of warfare, the side that loses is the one that despairs first and the one that wins is the one that holds out longer. The role of army intelligence in such situations often proves to be a crucial factor in determining the outcome of the battle.

At this stage of the confrontation the Prophet, peace be on him, felt he could use the special talents and experience of Hudhayfah ibn al-Yaman. He decided to send Hudhayfah into the midst of the enemy’s positions under cover of darkness to bring him the latest information on their situation and morale before he decided on his next move.

Let us now leave Hudhayfah to relate what happened on this mission fraught with danger and even death.

“That night, we were all seated in rows. Abu Sufyan and his men – the mushrikun of Makkah – were in front of us. The Jewish tribe of Banu Qurayzah were at our rear and we were afraid of them because of our wives and children. The night was stygian dark. Never before was there a darker night nor a wind so strong. So dark was the night that no one could see his fingers and the blast of the wind was like the peel of thunder.

“The hypocrites began to ask the Prophet for permission to leave, saying, ‘Our houses are exposed to the enemy.’ Anyone who asked the Prophet’s permission to leave was allowed to go. Many thus sneaked away until we were left with about three hundred men.

“The Prophet then began a round of inspection passing us one by one until he reached me. I had nothing to protect me from the cold except a blanket belonging to my wife which scarcely reached my knees. He came nearer to me as I lay crouching on the ground and asked: ‘Who is this?’ ‘Hudhayfah,’ replied. ‘Hudhayfah?’ he queried as I huddled myself closer to the ground too afraid to stand up because of the intense hunger and cold. ‘Yes, O Messenger of God,’ I replied. ‘Some thing is happening among the people (meaning the forces of Abu Sufyan). Infiltrate their encampment and bring me news of what’s happening,’ instructed the Prophet.

“I set out. At that moment I was the most terrified person of all and felt terribly cold. The Prophet, peace be on him, prayed: ‘O Lord, protect him from in front and from behind, from his right and from his left, from above and from below.’

“By God, no sooner had the Prophet, peace be on him, completed his supplication than God removed from my stomach all traces of fear and from my body all the punishing cold. As I turned to go, the Prophet called me back to him and said: ‘Hudhayfah, on no account do anything among the people (of the opposing forces) until you come back to me.’

“‘Yes,’ I replied.

“I went on, inching my way under cover of darkness until I penetrated deep into the mushrikin camp and became just like one of them. Shortly afterwards, Abu Sufyan got up and began to address his men:

“‘O people of the Quraysh, I am about to make a statement to you which I fear would reach Muhammad. Therefore, let every man among you look and make sure who is sitting next to him … ‘

“On hearing this, I immediately grasped the hand of the man next to me and asked, ‘Who are you?’ (thus putting him on the defensive and clearing myself). Abu Sufyan went on:

“‘O people of the Quraysh, by God, you are not in a safe and secure place. Our horses and camels have perished. The Banu Qurayzah have deserted us and we have had unpleasant news about them. We are buffered by this bitterly cold wind. Our fires do not light and our uprooted tents offer no protection. So get moving. For myself, I am leaving.’

“He went to his camel, untethered and mounted it. He struck it and it stood upright. If the Messenger of God, peace be on him, had not instructed me to do nothing until I returned to him, I would have killed Abu Sufyan then and there with an arrow.

“I returned to the Prophet and found him standing on a blanket performing Salat. When he recognized me, he drew me close to his legs and threw one end of the blanket over me. I informed him of what had happened. He was extremely happy and joyful and gave thanks and praise to Hudhayfah lived in constant dread of evil and corrupting influences. He felt that goodness and the sources of good in this life were easy to recognize for those who desired good. But it was evil that was deceptive and often difficult to perceive and combat.”

He became something of a great moral philosopher. He always warned people to struggle against evil with all their faculties, with their heart, hands and tongue. Those who stood against evil only with their hearts and tongues, and not with their hands, he considered as having abandoned a part of truth. Those who hated evil only in their hearts but did not combat it with their tongues and hands forsook two parts of truth and those who neither detested nor confronted evil with their hearts, tongues or hands he considered as physically alive but morally dead.

Speaking about ‘hearts’ and their relationship to guidance and error, he once said:

“There are four kinds of hearts. The heart that is encased or atrophied. That is the heart of the kafir or ungrateful disbeliever. The heart that is shaped into thin layers. That is the heart of the munafiq or hypocrite. The heart that is open and bare and on which shines a radiant light. That is the heart of the mu’min or the believer.

Finally there is the heart in which there is both hypocrisy and faith. Faith is like a tree which thrives with good water and hypocrisy is like an abscess which thrives on pus and blood. Whichever flourishes more, be it the tree of faith or the abscess of hypocrisy, wins control of the heart.”

Hudhayfah’s experience with hypocrisy and his efforts to combat it gave a touch of sharpness and severity to his tongue. He himself realized this and admitted it with a noble courage: “I went to the Prophet, peace be on him and said: ‘O Messenger of God, I have a tongue which is sharp and cutting against my family and I fear that this would lead me to Hellfire.’ And the Prophet, peace be upon him, said to me: ‘Where do you stand with regard to istighfar – asking forgiveness from Allah? I ask Allah for forgiveness a hundred times during the day.’

A pensive man like Hudhayfah, one devoted to thought, knowledge and reflection may not have been expected to perform feats of heroism in battlefields. Yet Hudhayfah was to prove himself one of the foremost Muslim military commanders in the expansion of Islam into Iraq. He distinguished himself at Hamadan, ar-Rayy, ad-Daynawar, and at the famous Battle of Nihawand.

For the encounter at Nihawand against the Persian forces, Hudhayfah was placed second in command by ‘Umar over the entire Muslim forces which numbered some thirty thousand. The Persian forces outnumbered them by five to one being some one hundred and fifty thousand strong. The first commander of the Muslim army, an-Numan ibn Maqran, fell early in the battle. The second in command, Hudhayfah, immediately took charge of the situation, giving instructions that the death of the commander should not be broadcast. Under Hudhayfah’s daring and inspiring leadership, the Muslims won a decisive victory despite tremendous odds.

Hudhayfah was made governor of important places like Kufa and Ctesiphon (al-Mada’in). When the news of his appointment as governor of Ctesiphon reached its inhabitants, crowds went out to meet and greet this famous companion of the Prophet of whose piety and righteousness they had heard so much. His great role in the conquests of Persia was already a legend.

As the welcoming party waited, a lean, somewhat scrawny man with dangling feet astride a donkey approached. In his hand he held a loaf of bread and some salt and he ate as he went along. When the rider was already in their midst they realized that he was Hudhayfah, the governor for whom they were waiting. They could not contain their surprise. What manner of man was this! They could however be excused for not recognizing him for they were used to the style, the pomp and the grandeur of Persian rulers.

Hudhayfah carried on and people crowded around him. He saw they were expecting him to speak and he cast a searching look at their faces. Eventually, he said: “Beware of places of fitnah and intrigue.” “And what,” they asked, “are places of intrigue?” He replied: “The doors of rulers where some people go and try to make the ruler or governor believe lies and praise him for (qualities) he does not possess.”

With these words, the people were prepared for what to expect from their new governor. They knew at once that there was nothing in the world that he despised more than hypocrisy.

(s) Companions of the Prophet Volume 2, MELS

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Hudhayfah ibn al-Yaman – His life and his encounter with hypocrites Part 1

“If you wish you may consider yourself among the Muhajirin (those who emigrated from Makkah to Madinah) or, if you wish, you may consider yourself one of the Ansar (those whom were already living in Madinah). Choose whichever is dearer to you.”

With these words, the Prophet, peace be upon him, addressed Hudhayfah ibn al-Yaman when he met him for the first time in Makkah. How did Hudhayfah come to have this choice?

His father, Al-Yaman was a Makkan from the tribe of Abs. He had killed someone and had been forced to leave Makkah. He had settled down in Yathrib, becoming an ally (halif) of the Banu al-Ash’hal and marrying into the tribe. A son named Hudhayfah was born to him. The restrictions on his returning to Makkah were eventually lifted and he divided his time between Makkah and Yathrib but stayed more in Yathrib and was more attached to it.

This was how Hudhayfah had a Makkan origin but a Yathribite upbringing. When the rays of Islam began to radiate over the Arabian Peninsula, a delegation from the Abs tribe, which included Al-Yaman, went to the Prophet and announced their acceptance of Islam. That was before the Prophet migrated to Yathrib.

Hudhayfah grew up in a Muslim household and was taught by both his mother and father who were among the first persons from Yathrib to enter the religion of God. He therefore became a Muslim before meeting the Prophet, peace be upon him.

Hudhayfah longed to meet the Prophet. From an early age, he was keen on following whatever news there was about him. The more he heard, the more his affection for the Prophet grew and the more he longed to meet him.

He eventually journeyed to Makkah, met the Prophet and put the question to him, “Am I a Muhajir or am I an Ansari, O Rasulullah (Messenger of Allah)?”

“If you wish you may consider yourself among the Muhajirin, or if you wish you may consider yourself one of the Ansar. Choose whichever is dearer to you,” replied the Prophet. “Well, I am an Ansari O Rasulullah,” decided Hudhayfah.

At Madinah, after the Hijrah, Hudhayfah became closely attached to the Prophet. He participated in all the military engagements except Badr. Explaining why he missed the Battle of Badr, he said:

“I would not have missed Badr if my father and I had not been outside Madinah. The disbelieving Quraysh met us and asked where we were going. We told them we were going to Madinah and they asked whether we intended to meet Muhammad. We insisted that we only wanted to go to Madinah. They allowed us to go only after they extracted from us an undertaking not to help Muhammad against them and not to fight along with them.

“When we came to the Prophet we told him about our undertaking to the Quraysh and asked him what should we do. He said that we should ignore the undertaking and seek God’s help against them.”

Hudhayfah participated in the Battle of ‘Uhud with his father. The pressure on Hudhayfah during the battle was great but he acquitted himself well and emerged safe and sound. A rather different fate, however, awaited his father.

Before the battle, the Prophet, peace be on him, left Al-Yaman, Hudhayfah’s father, and Thabit ibn Waqsh with the other non-combatants including women and children. This was because they were both quite old. As the fighting grew fiercer, Al-Yaman said to his friend: “You have no father (meaning you have no cares). What are we waiting for? We both have only a short time to live. Why don’t we take our swords and join the Messenger of God, peace be on him? Maybe, God will bless us with martyrdom beside His Prophet.”

They quickly prepared for battle and were soon in the thick of the fighting. Thabit ibn Waqsh was blessed with shahadah at the hands of the mushrikin. The father of Hudhayfah, however was set upon by some Muslims who did not recognize who he was. As they slayed him, Hudhayfah cried out: “My father! My father! It’s my father!”

No one heard him. The old man fell, killed in error by the swords of his own brothers in faith. They were filled with pain and remorse. Grieved as he was, Hudhayfah said to them: “May God forgive you for He is the most Merciful of those who show mercy.”

The Prophet, peace be on him, wanted diyah (compensation) to be paid to Hudhayfah for the death of his father but Hudhayfah said: “He was simply seeking shahadah and he attained it. O Lord, bear witness that I donate the compensation for him to the Muslims.”

Because of this attitude, Hudhayfah’s stature grew in the eyes of the Prophet, peace be on him. Hudhayfah had three qualities which particularly impressed the Prophet: his unique intelligence which he employed in dealing with difficult situations; his quick wittedness and spontaneous response to the call of action, and his ability to keep a secret even under persistent questioning.

A noticeable policy of the Prophet was to bring out and use the special qualities and strengths of each individual companion of his. In deploying his companions, he was careful to choose the right man for the right task. This he did to excellent advantage in the case of Hudhayfah.

One of the gravest problems the Muslims of Madinah had to face was the existence in their midst of hypocrites (munafiqun) particularly from among the Jews and their allies. Although many of them had declared their acceptance of Islam, the change was only superficial and they continued to plot and intrigue against the Prophet and the Muslims.

Because of Hudhayfah’s ability to keep a secret, the Prophet, peace be on him, confided in him the names of the munafiqin. It was a weighty secret which the Prophet did not disclose to any other off his Companions. He gave Hudhayfah the task of watching the movements of the munafiqin, following their activities, and shielding the Muslims from the sinister danger they represented. It was a tremendous responsibility. The munafiqin, because they acted in secrecy and because they knew all the developments and plans of the Muslims from within presented a greater threat to the community than the outright hostility of the kuffar.

From this time onwards. Hudhayfah was called “The Keeper of the Secret of the Messenger of Allah”. Throughout his life he remained faithful to his pledge not to disclose the names of the hypocrites. After the death of the Prophet, the Khalifah often came – to him to seek his advice concerning their movements and activities but he remained tight-lipped and cautious.

‘Umar was only able to find out indirectly who the hypocrites were. If anyone among the Muslims died, ‘Umar would ask:

“Has Hudhayfah attended his funeral prayer?”

If the reply was ‘yes’, he would perform the prayer. If the reply was ‘no’, he became doubtful about the person and refrained from performing the funeral prayer for him.

Once ‘Umar asked Hudhayfah: “Is any of my governors a munafiq?” “One,” replied Hudhayfah. “Point him out to me,” ordered ‘Umar. “That I shall not do,” insisted Hudhayfah who later said that shortly after their conversation ‘Umar dismissed the person just as if he had been guided to him.

Five Heads Of Taghut

Shaykh Muhammad ibn Abdul-Wahhāb rahimahullāh said:

The word Tāghūt is general. So everything that is worshipped besides Allāh تعالى, while being pleased with this worship, whether it is something worshipped, someone followed, or someone obeyed in the absence of obedience to Allāh تعالى and His Messenger, then that is considered Tāghūt. The Tawāghīt are many, but their heads are five:

• The First: The Devil who calls the people to worship other than Allāh تعالى. The proof for this is Allāh تعالى’s saying:

“Did I not command you O children of Aadam, that you should not worship the Devil. Verily, he is a plain enemy to you.” [Sūrah Yā’Sīn āya 60]

• The Second: The tyrannical and oppressive ruler who changes Allāh تعالى’s rulings. The proof for this is Allāh تعالى’s saying:

“Have you not seen those (hypocrites) who claim to believe in that which has been revealed to you, and that which was revealed before you, and they wish to go for judgement (in their disputes) to the Tāghūt, when they have been ordered to reject them? But the Devil wishes to lead them far astray.” [Sūrah An-Nisā āya 60]

• The Third: The one who judges by other than what Allāh تعالى has revealed, and the proof for this is Allāh تعالى’s saying:

“And whoever does not judge by what Allāh تعالى has revealed, then they are the disbelievers.” [Sūrah Al-Mā’idah āya 44]

• The Fourth: The one who claims to have knowledge of the Unseen, apart from Allāh تعالى. The proof for this is Allāh تعالى’s saying:

“He alone is the All-Knower of the Unseen, and He does not disclose His Unseen matters to anyone.” [Sūrah Al-Jinn āyat 26-27]

And He says: “And with Him lie the keys to the Unseen, no one knows them but He. And He knows whatever there is in the land and in the sea; not a leaf falls except that He knows about it. There is not a grain in the darkness of the earth, nor anything fresh or dry, but that it is written in a Clear Record.” [Sūrah Al-Ana’ām āya 59]

• The Fifth: The one who is worshipped apart from Allāh تعالى, while being pleased with being worshipped. The proof for this is Allāh تعالى’s saying:

“And whoever amongst them says: ‘Verily, I am a God besides Him (Allāh تعالى)’, then this person’s recompense will be the Hellfire. That is the way we recompense the wrongdoers.” [Sūrah Al-Anbiyā āya 29]

And know that man will never become a believer in Allāh تعالى unless he rejects and disbelieves in the Tāghūt. The proof for this is Allāh تعالى’s saying:

“There is no compulsion in the Religion. Verily, the right path has become distinct from the wrong path. So whoever disbelieves in the Tāghūt and believes in Allāh تعالى, then he has taken hold of the firmest handhold, that will never break. And Allāh تعالى is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.” [Sūrah Al-Baqarah āya 256]

The “right path” here refers to the Religion of Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم ), while the “wrong path” refers to the Religion of Abu Jahl. The “firmest handhold” refers to the testimony that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allāh تعالى (Lā Ilāha Illa Lāh). This testimony consists of a negation and an affirmation. It negates all types of worship from those worshipped besides Allāh تعالى, while affirming all types of worship done for Allāh تعالى alone, free from any partner.

[Ma’anā at-Tāghūt wa Ru’ūs Anwā’ihi]

Evil Scholars

Imam Al-Dhahabi رحمه الله , said in regards to the characteristics of the wicked and harmful scholar who causes loss and damage to the religion he represents:‏

علماء السوء يُحسِّنون للأمراء ما يقتحمون به من الظلم، ويَقلبون لهم الباطل، أو يسكتون مع القدرة على بيان الحق

“Evil scholars are those who persist (supporting and) doing good towards the umara’ [ruling authorities] by protecting (and appeasing) them – even when they are unjust (and oppressive). This way, they cause them to alter their outlook into falsehood, or by remaining silent when having the ability to manifest the truth.” [Siyar A’lam An-Nubala’, 7/125]

Ibn ‘Uthaymeen رحمه الله said in his, ‘Liqa’ Bab al-Maftooh’, 9/112:

‏أكثر العلماء اليوم إما علماء دولة وإما علماء أمة، وقل من يكون من علماء الملة

“Many scholars of today are either scholars of state, or scholars of the ummah; and lesser still are the (real) scholars of the millah [i.e. Deen].”

He further elaborates these categories in his highly beneficial commentary, ‘Sharh Riyadus-Saliheen’, 4/307:

ليس كل عالم يكون ثقة، فالعلماء ثلاثة: علماء ملة، وعلماء دولة، وعلماء أمة. أما علماء الملة – جعلنا الله وإياكم منهم – فهؤلاء يأخذون بملة الإسلام وبحكم الله ورسوله صلى الله عليه وسلم، ولا يبالون بأحد كائناً من كان. وأما علماء الدولة فينظرون ماذا يريد الحاكم، يصدرون الأحكام على هواه، ويحاولون أن يلووا أعناق النصوص من الكتاب والسنة حتى تتفق مع هوى هذا الحاكم، وهؤلاء علماء دولة خاسرون، وأما علماء الأمة فهم الذين ينظرون إلى اتجاه الناس، هل يتجه الناس إلى تحليل هذا الشيء فيحلونه، أو إلى تحريمه فيحرمونه، ويحاولون أيضاً أن يلووا أعناق النصوص إلى ما يوافق هوى الناس

“Not every scholar is considered trustworthy. The scholars are of three type: scholars of the millah [Deen], scholars of state, and scholars of the ummah. As for the scholars of the millah – may Allah make you and me from them – They receive and take the Deen of Islam and rule according to what Allah and His Messenger ﷺ command with, not caring for who anyone else is. As for the scholars of state, they see what the ruler wants and they make judgments according to his desires. They try to blindly approach the texts of the Qur’an and Sunnah so that it conforms and agrees with the state ruler’s edict. And such scholars of state are the real losers.

As for the scholars of the ummah, they are those who look at the orientation (and trend) of the people; considering if the people will allow and permit this thing in their favour, or prohibit it as impermissible? These scholars also try deafly wrapping the divine texts to what the people agree with, and so conform to what they like.”

Refuting the Deviants: Imam Ahmad “If I were to remain silent, how would the ignorant masses know the truth from falsehood?”

Shaykh uk Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (d.728H) rahimahullah said:

When some people asked Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal that they felt uneasy about critisizing people, He replied:If I were to remain silent, how would the ignorant masses know the truth from falsehood? those who Introduce heretical writings which oppose the Qur’an and the Sunnah and those who Innovate In matters of worship, then it is obligatory that they be exposed and that the Musllms be warned against them by unanimous agreement of the Muslims Scholars. In fact, when Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal was asked about a person who fasted, prayed and secluded himself In the mosque for worship, if he was dearer to him than a person who spoke out against Ahlul bidah (the innovators). He replied:When he fasts and prays and secludes himself, then he does so for the benefit of his own self. However when he speaks out against the innovators. He does so for the benefit of the Muslims In general, and thus Is more virtuous.

So It Is clear that openly opposing the innovators is of general benefit to the Muslims and is considered one of the types of Jihad in the path of Allaah, Since purifying the religion of Allaah and defending It from their attacks Is a collective obligation as is agreed upon by the Scholars. For Allaah did not raise up some people to oppose the innovators, then the religion would suffer harm, corruption and deviation. Indeed, this type of corruption Is even greater then the corruption resulting from the disbelievers conquering the Muslims. Since when the disbelievers conquer the Muslims, they do not corrupt their hearts, nor their religion, except after some time. Whereas the Innovators corrupt the hearts from the very beginning.

[Majmoo Fataawa [28/231-232)]

Seek consultation and hold discussions

Seek consultation and hold discussions, for discussion is the partner of consultation. One should sit in a gathering to exchange ideas, then each person comments on the opinions put forth by the others, or puts forth a new opinion, and at the end of the gathering the correct opinion will become clear. Allah (ta’ālā) said, {And consult them concerning the matter} [Āl ‘Imrān: 159]. Allah has directed His Prophet to consult those under him despite the Prophet’s prudent intellect. So what about you?

And as was reported, “One who seeks consultation will have no regret, and one who prays istikhārah will not go wrong.” And it’s been said, “He who relies exclusively on his intellect will go astray, and he who is content with his own opinion will slip up, and he who consults intelligent men will take the correct path, and he who seeks the help of a man with insight will attain what is hoped for.”

But do not consult a person who has a certain need that he is seeking to fulfill, nor a person whom you sense desires to be consulted, nor a person who doesn’t think his opinions through, for it’s been said, “Leave your opinion until it ripens.” It was reported that ‘Alī said, “The opinion of an elder is better than the view of a young man,” meaning with regards to battle. And don’t consult anyone unless he’s alone, meaning that you should consult him in private, for this ensures more secrecy and is a greater deterrent to anyone who might otherwise disclose the issue.

It is true! “Consultation and discussion are two doors to mercy, and two keys to blessings. No opinion that’s been reached with the help of these two things will go wrong.”

Beware of only consulting a person who always agrees with your opinion, and beware of bad company. Get accustomed to being patient with any advisers who disagree with your opinion, and swallow the bitterness of their words and their criticism. But don’t be casual in that regard except with people who are virtuous, intelligent, chivalrous, senior in age, and trustworthy with secrets.

When the Backbiting is permitted?

Praise be to Allah.

The scholars have stated that gheebah is permitted in certain situations:

1-

Complaining. It is permissible for the one who has been wronged to complain to the ruler or judge and others who have the authority or ability to settle the score with the one who wronged him.

2-

Seeking help to change evil and bring the sinner back to the right path, so he may say to the one who he hopes is able to do something: “So and so is doing such and such; tell him not to do it.”

3-

Seeking advice or a fatwa (religious ruling), by saying to the mufti (scholar), “So and so/my father/my brother has wronged me by doing such and such, does he have the right to do that? How can I solve this problem and ward off his harm from me?”

4-

Warning the Muslims of someone’s evil, such as highlighting the weakness of some reporters or witnesses or authors. That also includes seeing someone buying faulty goods, or someone keeping company with one who is a thief or adulterer, or giving a female relative of his to such a man in marriage, and the like. You should tell them about that by way of sincere advice, not with the aim of causing harm and spreading mischief.

5-

If a person openly commits evil or follows bid’ah (innovation), such as drinking alcohol and seizing people’s wealth unlawfully, it is permissible to speak of what he is doing openly, but it is not permissible to speak against him any other way, unless it is for another reason.

6-

For identification, if someone is known by a nickname such as the dim-sighted one, or the blind man or the one-eyed or the lame one, it is permissible to identify him as such, but it is haraam (impermissible) to mention that by way of belittling him, and if it is possible to identify him in some other way, that is better.

It says in Fatawa al-Lajnah al-Daimah li’l-Ifta: Speaking about a person in his absence is permissible in certain situations as indicated by shar’I Islamic legal) evidence, if there is a need for that, such as if someone consults you about arranging a marriage to him, or entering into a business partnership with him, or if someone complains to the authorities to put a stop to his wrongdoing. In that case there is nothing wrong with saying things about him that he may not like to be said, because there is an interest to be served by that. One of the scholars summed up in two lines of poetry the situations in which it is permissible to talk about a person in his absence, and said:

Criticizing is not gheebah in six (cases) – complaining, identifying, warning,

When the person is committing evil openly, when advice is sought, and when one is asking for help in removing an evil.

End quote.

And Allah knows best.

Can you backbite a kaafir?

Praise be to Allah.

Firstly, it is not a Muslim characteristic to speak rudely. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “The Muslim does not slander, curse, speak obscenely or speak rudely.” [al-Tirmidhi]. Whoever does a thing a lot, it will become his habit, so the Muslim should keep away from all the ways that lead to evil, whether minor or major. Whoever drives his sheep near the enclosure of the king is bound to cross the line.

Secondly, backbiting about a kafir (non-Muslim) by mentioning his physical defects, such as his having a long nose or a big mouth, etc., then do not do this, because this is making fun of the creation of Allah. If it means talking about his bad characteristics which he flaunts openly, such as zina (adultery) and immorality, or drinking alcohol, and warning against him, there is nothing wrong with that. There follow some of the comments of the scholars on this topic:

Zakariya al-Ansari said: “Backbiting about a kafir is haram (impermissible) if he is a dhimmi [a non-Muslim living under Islamic rule], because that puts them off from accepting the jizyah (type of tax) and it is going against the treaty of dhimmah (agreement between non-Muslim subjects and the Islamic state) and the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). ‘Whoever makes a snide comment to a dhimmi has earned Hell.’ [Ibn Hibbaan in his Saheeh]. It is permissible (to backbite about a kafir) if he is a harbi (one who is at war with the Muslims), because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to command Hassan to lampoon the mushrikeen (pagans).”

(Asna al-Mutaalib ma’a Hashiyatihi, vol. 3, p. 116)

Ahmad ibn Hajar al-Haythami said in al-Zawajir ‘an Iqtiraf al-Kabair: “Al-Ghazali was asked about backbiting about a kafir. He said: with regard to a Muslim, it is forbidden for three reasons: causing offence; criticizing the creation of Allah, for Allah is the Creator of the deeds of His slaves; and wasting time in something that is of no benefit. The first is haram, the second is makrooh (disliked), and the third is not the best thing that one can do. With regard to the dhimmi, he is like the Muslim as far as not harming him is concerned, because the Lawgiver protects his honour, blood and property. It was said in al-Khadim, the first view is correct. Ibn Hibban narrated in his Saheeh that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, ‘Whoever makes a snide comment to a Jew or a Christian deserves Hell.’ The meaning of making a snide comment is to make someone hear something that will cause offence to him. There is no stronger evidence than this, i.e., it is haram. Al-Ghazaali said: with regard to the harbi, the former is not haram, and the second and third are makrooh. With regard to one who commits bid’ah (innovation), if he becomes a kafir thereby, then he is like a harbi, otherwise he is like a Muslim, but speaking of him with regard to his bid’ah is not makrooh. Ibn al-Mundhir said, concerning the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), “It is your mentioning about your brother that which he dislikes,” – this indicates that in the case of one who is not your brother, such as a Jew or a Christian or a follower of any other religion, or one whose bid’ah has put him beyond the pale of Islam, there is no backbiting in his case.” .

And Allah knows best.

When Adaan was called in Caesar’s court

Abu Muhammad bin Qutaiba narrated, quoting Abu Ibraheem:

“Ameer Mua’wiyah suffered from insomnia as he grew older. When the church bells rang at night, he would wake up and, no matter how hard he tried, could not fall asleep again. One morning he asked his people,

‘”O Arabs, can anyone of you do what i bid him to do? I will give him equivalent to three times the blood-money before he performs this task and twice the blood-money when he comes back.'”

“A young man from Ghassan stood up and said, ‘I will do it, O Commander of the Faithful.”

“Ameer Mua’wiyah said,

‘Carry my letter to the king of Rome and when you reach his court, say the call to prayer (Adaan).’” “The Ghassanid youth inquired, ‘What do I do next?”’

“Ameer Mua’wiyah said, ‘That’s all.'”

The Ghassanid youth said,

‘You entrusted to me a small task and gave (in exchange) a lot.’

The youth set out for Rome. When he arrived there, he saw the Roman court in its full splendor. The ministers and advisers gathered around the king, a detachment of soldiers stood guard, a carpet was rolled out, and there was a glitter of gems and jewels. An interesting topic was under discussion when the young man of Ghassan arrived. He entered the court without hesitation, crossed the rows of guardsmen lined up, and announced the Adaan(prayer-call). His voice was heard by the courtiers and the king:

‘Allah is Great, Allah is Great, Allah is Great, Allah is Great; I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of being worshipped except Allah, I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of being worshipped except Allah.’

Ameer Mua’wiyah’s messenger announced the call to prayer in full and filled the hearts of the courtiers with awe. The soldiers and the guards unsheathed their swords and advanced to slay this Muslim who, by his actions, had insulted their king.”

“But suddenly the king said, ‘Stop! Stay where you are. Sheath your swords.’ The king went to the Muslim messenger, bent down and sat down in front of him. Then the king addressed the courtiers,

‘Do you know the rights of Jesus on you and you on him’?’ (Perhaps the king wanted to calm his courtiers and tell them that the actions of the envoy were not against the teachings of Jesus).

“When they had calmed down. the king went to his throne, stood up, and said. ‘Mua’avivah has grown old. When a person grows old, he suffers from insomnia. The church bells trouble him. So he wanted this man to be killed and then, in retaliation, he would kill those who ring bells in his country. By God, his messenger will return to him, contrary to what he has planned. ‘ ”

“So the king of Rome gave him a gift of garments and other presents, transport, and sent him away with honor.’

When the young man returned, Ameer Mua’wiyah inquired,

‘Have you come back to me, safe and sound?’

“The young man said, Not by your grace.”

“It is said that in those times the Muslim caliphs were matched in intelligence and statesmanship by their Roman counterparts.”

“During the reign of ‘Umar bin al-Khattab (May Allah be pleased with him), the king of Rome was a very clever statesman. He built a diwan for the public and subdued those who conspired against him. Similarly, the king of Rome during the reign of Ameer Muawiyah was as smart as his counterpart.”

(See Akhbaar-ul-Azkiya by Ibn al-Jawzi p. 147)

Syrian widows forced to give naked pictures to aid worker

Copied from

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/syrian-widows-forced-to-give-naked-pictures-to-aid-worker-jtt05d3x8

This article is subject to a complaint from SKT Welfare

Aid given by British donors has been handed out in Syria by a man known to elicit sexual favours from poor widows, The Sunday Times can reveal.

Clothes donated to SKT Welfare, a UK-registered charity based in Dewsbury, were unloaded from a truck in Syria and given to aid recipients by a local NGO worker who regularly traded humanitarian aid for sexual favours.

In a series of messages seen by The Sunday Times, Ayman al-Shaar, a Syrian aid worker based in the western Aleppo countryside, begged women to send him naked pictures in return for food baskets. Some agreed after negotiating the amount of aid. Others refused, and the conversation was quickly cut off — leaving the women, mostly widows, without humanitarian assistance.

“I have three big food baskets for you. Each one needs two men to carry it,” he wrote to one widow after asking for, and receiving, explicit pictures, many with children’s toys in the background. Another woman agreed to send him pictures in return for aid.

There is no suggestion that SKT Welfare was aware of Shaar’s activities and there is no evidence that any SKT aid was used by Shaar to obtain sexual favours. The charity said it has “absolutely no relationship with Mr al-Shaar or al-Ahbab [Shaar’s organisation] whatsoever and never has had”.

In a message to The Sunday Times, Shaar denied that he had requested sexual favours in return for aid and said one of the women in the messages was his fiancée.

Photos published online last December by al-Ahbab show the charity worker handing out aid bearing the former’s logo. Photos published by SKT show him appearing to take part in aid distribution. Figures published by the Charity Commission show that SKT in 2016 had an income of £4.4m.

Other photos appear to show Shaar working in partnership with Qatar Red Crescent. The organisation did not respond to requests for comment.

Women who have lost their husbands in the seven-year civil war are, say locals, “easy prey” for unscrupulous aid workers, who exploit their vulnerability and desperation to provide for their children. According to a UN report, in some areas “sex for aid” was assumed to be so widespread that women who received assistance were stigmatised by their communities.

SKT Welfare said it had its own distribution network in Syria and did not engage other local agencies to work on its behalf. “All of our employees are extensively trained, including on our detailed policy on sexual exploitation and abuse prevention.” It said it did not know of al-Ahbab or the photograph until last week.

The charity said: “An individual working for al-Ahbab opportunistically taking a photograph beside one of our aid trucks for its own publicity purposes does not evidence a relationship between us or even that al-Ahbab was in fact engaged in distributing any of our aid on that specific occasion.”

Death – A Call from Sweden.

One day, the telephone rang:

“Assalaamu ‘alaykum. Can l talk to Mr. Ahmed?” the person asked.

“We ‘alaykum us-Salaam. Yes, I am Mr. Ahmed”, l replied.

The man continued:

“Shaykh, I am a trainee doctor. I study in Sweden where I’m calling from at the moment. For five years or so, I have been working in a hospital here in Malmo. Whenever any medical cases arrive to our hospital from which the patient is terminally and seriously ill beyond cure, the doctors give painkillers in

which they place poison to the patient as medication without the patient’s knowledge. At the most, the patient survives for two or three days and then dies. The relatives proceed with their family member’s death thinking that it was natural. Infact, he was killed! Today, when I was in hospital a patient was admitted who was Muslim. He was also suffering from a fatal disease. Just now, the doctors have

transferred him to the incurable patients ward.

Shaykh, what should I do? Should I tell the relatives of the patient about the reality of his situation and what goes on with these doctors?”

One by one, he recounted to me the sad stories of patients who were killed in the same manner. He was a very sentimental and emotional man who was shocked and unsettled by all of this. He told me many real-lite stories. Here, I became lost in my own thoughts.

I pondered:

“What is the meaning of life for these cruel people? Is it merely just pursuit of beautiful women, sensation-seeking and a cozy bed? And if a man is unable to live in luxury and total satisfaction then do they think that life is not worth living anymore?Why should he live?”

In fact they do not know how important the life of a patient is, even if he is on his deathbed. Because of illness, Allah raises his level and causes him through these tests to attain a position in paradise that he couldn’t have achieved with health, Allah is indeed the Most Knowing, Most Wise:

“He whom Allah intends good, He makes him to suffer from some affliction.”

Every prayer, praise and remembrance of Allah is charity and of those deeds which are vast in benefit and reward:

“Wudhu is half of Salah, the utterance of Alhamdulillah – All praise is due to Allah – fills the scales; the utterance of Subhanallah walhamdulillah -. Glory be to Allah and praise be to Allah fills the space between the heavens and the earth..

A Muslim will be rewarded for any and every calamity big or small. Even if he is pricked by a thorn his sins are wiped off and the sins fall off him as dirt is cleansed from a pure white garment or leaves shed from a tree:

“Never is a believer stricken with a discomfort, an illness, an anxiety, a grief, or mental worry, even the pricking of a thorn, except that Allah will expiate his sins on account of his patience.”

So many people enter paradise through illness. A true Muslim is tested through difficulties till he is left with no sins. Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, may Allah have mercy on him, said:

“If there were no difticultics and calamities then on the Day of judgement we would have been left with no good deeds.”

So let us take heed in the point that life is to be lived, for better or for worse. No person is given what is beyond his scope as Allah has said in His Book. We should also ponder over the reality that Allah is intending good for us, raising our level, washing away our sins and preparing us to return to him with as few sins as possible. If one is afflicted severely let him follow this advice of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him:

“Let not one of you wish for death because of a misfortune which befalls him. If he cannot help doing so, then he should say: ‘Oh Allah, keep ine alive as long as You know that life is better for me, and cause me to die when death is better for me.”

Taken from book

For those who seek a cure.

Notes on sultan Aurangzeb of India (Part 1)

Sultan Aurangzeb’s full name was Abu’l-Muzaffar Muhiy ad-Deen Muhammad Alamgir, Sultan of the Moghal kingdom in the Indian subcontinent and environs. He was one of the descendants of Tamerlane (Timur Lang), the famous Mongol tyrant. He was born on 15 Dhu’l-Qa‘dah 1028 AH/24 October 1619 CE, and died on 28 Dhu’l-Qa‘dah 1118 AH/20 February 1707 CE. 

The meaning of the name Aurangzeb in Farsi is “adornment of the throne”. Aurang means “throne” and zeb means “adornment”. The meaning of the title Alamgir in Farsi is “conqueror of the world”. He was the son of Sultan Shah Jahan, one of the greatest sultans of the Muslim Moghul state in India; it is he who built the famous Taj Mahal tomb; which is considered one of the wonders of the world, in which to bury his wife who is known as Mumtaz Mahal, the mother of Sultan Abu’l-Muzaffar (Aurangzeb), with whom he was deeply in love. Because of the severity of his grief for her, he was no longer fit to rule, so his son, Sultan Abu’l-Muzaffar seized power whilst his father was still alive, after fighting battles with his brothers. 

Sultan Aurangzeb was not like the other Moghul sultans; rather what is known from his biography is that he was a scholar, a devoted worshipper, an ascetic, pious and a poet. He followed the Hanafi madhhab with regard to minor issues, so he was not like the other Moghul sultans; rather he was better than all of them. 

Among his great deeds is that he fought against innovations and myths. He stopped listening to music and singing – even though he was skilled in both – and he abolished idolatrous and innovated celebrations. He also abolished the customs of bowing and kissing the ground, which were done before rulers and kings before him. He issued orders that people should greet him with the greeting of Islam, as-salaamu ‘alaykum (peace be upon you), and perhaps this is what made some writers who hated Islam describe him as a fanatic. It may be this that made some people regard him as a “salafi” – and in all these matters he was undoubtedly a “salafi” – but in fact he (may Allah have mercy on him) was a Hanafi in terms of madhhab, and what is well-known about the Hanafis in that land is that they are Maturidis in terms of beliefs (‘aqeedah). Many of those who have written biographies of him stated that he was a Sufi. Allah knows best about him and his beliefs. There is nothing that we know about that for certain. What is most well-known in his biography is his deeds and his qualities such as his devotion to worship, asceticism and commitment to religion. His biographers have mentioned many good things in that regard. If we add to that his fighting innovations and myths, and his putting an end to Raafidi statelets, and his banning of innovated and idolatrous celebrations, it will become clear that he was a ruler who is deserving of respect and honour, and of supplications for good. What he (may Allah have mercy on him) did was a practical application of the methodology of the salaf in his rule, and he was what one of the literati – namely Shaykh ‘Ali at-Tantaawi (may Allah have mercy on him) – called a “remnant of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs.” He wrote an important biography of him in his book Rijaal min at-Tareekh (p. 277-237), which he concluded by saying: 

Allah guided him to do two things which none of the Muslim rulers before him had done: 

Firstly, he did not give any scholar a stipend or salary but he required him, in return, to do some work, such as writing books or teaching, so that the scholars would not take the money and become lazy, thus combining two evils, namely taking money undeservedly and withholding knowledge. 

Secondly, he was the first one to compile shar‘i rulings into a single book, to be taken as a law. So the fatwas were compiled for him, on his instructions and under his supervision and care, and were written in that book. Hence the book was called al-Fataawa al-Alamgiriyyah, after him, and became well known as al-Fataawa al-Hindiyyah, one of the most famous books of rulings in Islamic fiqh, and one of the most well organised of works. 

Rijaal min at-Taareekh (p. 236) 

One of the Sultan’s biographers who lived closest to his own time – and he described him as a Sufi – was Abu’l-Fadl Muhammad Khaleel ibn ‘Ali al-Muraadi (may Allah have mercy on him), who died in 1206 AH. He said in his biography of him: 

Ruler of India in our time, the ruler and leader of the believers, the pillar and guardian of the Muslims, the mujaahid who strove in Allah’s cause, the great scholar, the Sufi who had gnosis of Allah, the king who supported and defended the faith, who destroyed the disbelievers in his land, subduing them and demolishing their temples, and weakened their polytheism, and supported Islam and raised its banner high in India, making the word of Allah supreme. He collected the jizyah from the disbelievers of India, whereas previous Muslim rulers had not done so because of the strength and large numbers of the disbelievers. He carried out great conquests and did not cease launching campaigns against them; every time he headed towards a territory he would conquer it, until Allah took his soul whilst he was engaging in jihad. He spent all his time serving the interests of the faith and worshipping the Lord of the Worlds, by fasting, praying at night and doing other acts of worship; most people would not be able to do even some of what he did. That was by the grace of Allah that He bestows on whomever He will. He made good use of his time, allocating separate time for worship, time for teaching, time for military affairs, time for listening to complaints from people, and time for reading books and reports that came to him every day and night from across his kingdom. He did not mix one activity with another. 

To sum up, he was one of the shining stars of history; no one equalled him in administration of his domain, or even came close. Lengthy books were written about his rule and biography in Farsi and other languages; whoever wishes may read them. 

Silk ad-Durar fi A‘yaan al-Qarn ath-Thaani ‘Ashar (4/113) 

Then after that he said: 

He took power in 1068 AH, and Allah willed good for the people of India. He abolished wrongdoing and unjust taxes, and his dawn rose from the Indian horizon as he emerged from among the offspring of Tamerlane; his reign was magnificent and glorious. He took as prisoners most of the famous kings of India, and their country submitted to him. Wealth was collected for him and lands and people came under his domain. He continued striving in jihad and never returned to the seat of his kingdom after he left it. Every time he conquered a new territory, he would move on to another. His troops were innumerable, and his greatness and strength cannot be described in words. All sovereignty belongs to Allah alone. He established in India a state that was based on knowledge, and he went to extremes in showing respect to people of knowledge until people came to him from all directions. 

To sum up, he had no equal among Muslim rulers of his time in terms of good conduct, fear of Allah, may He be glorified, and striving in worship. 

He instructed the Hanafi scholars of his land to collect in his name, fatwas that dealt with shar‘i rulings according to their madhhab, and compile them in one book, which was called al-Fataawa al-‘Aalamgiriyyah. This book became famous in the regions of the Hijaz, Egypt, Greater Syria and Anatolia. The benefit of this book became widespread and it became a reference book for those who issue fatwas (muftis); it remained so until he died in Ahmednagar in the sacred month of Dhu’l-Qa‘dah 1118 AH, and was buried in the graveyard of his forefathers. His reign lasted for fifty years, may Allah have mercy on him. 

Silk ad-Durar fi A‘yaan al-Qarn ath-Thaani ‘Ashar (4/113) 

For more information on his biography, please see what was written by Professor ‘Abd al-Mun‘im an-Nimr in his book Tareekh al-Islam fi’l-Hind (p. 286-288) 

And Allah knows best.

The signs of a good end(Death)

There are many signs of a good end, which the scholars (may Allaah have mercy on them) have derived from the texts which speak of that. These signs include the following: 

1 – Uttering the shaahadah (testimony of faith) when dying, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “A person whose last words are Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah [there is no god but Allaah] will enter Paradise.” Narrated by Abu Dawood, 3116; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood, 2673. 

2 – Dying with sweat on the forehead, because al-Buraydah ibn al-Husayb (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: I heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say, “The believer dies with sweat on his forehead.” Narrated by Ahmad, 22513; al-Tirmidhi, 980; al-Nasaa’i, 1828. Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi

3 – Dying on the night or day of Friday, because the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “there is no Muslim who dies on the day of Friday or the night of Friday, but Allaah will protect him from the trial (fitnah) of the grave.” Narrated by Ahmad, 6546; al-Tirmidhi, 1074. al-Albaani said: When all its isnaads are taken into consideration, this hadeeth is hasan or saheeh. 

4 – Dying as a fighter for the sake of Allaah, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“Think not of those as dead who are killed in the way of Allaah. Nay, they are alive, with their Lord, and they have provision.

They rejoice in what Allaah has bestowed upon them of His Bounty and rejoice for the sake of those who have not yet joined them, but are left behind (not yet martyred) that on them no fear shall come, nor shall they grieve.

They rejoice in a grace and a bounty from Allaah, and that Allaah will not waste the reward of the believers”

[Aal ‘Imraan 3:169] 

And the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever is killed for the sake of Allaah is a martyr, and whoever dies for the sake of Allaah is a martyr.” Narrated by Muslim, 1915. 

5 – Dying of the plague, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The plague is martyrdom for every Muslim.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 2830; Muslim, 1916. 

It was narrated that ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her), the wife of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), said: I asked the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) about the plague, and he told me that it is a punishment that Allaah sends upon whomsoever He will, and that Allaah has made it a mercy for the believers, for there is no one who stays in his land at the time of a plague, bearing that with patience and seeking Allaah’s reward, knowing that nothing will befall him but that which Allaah has decreed for him, but he will be given a reward like that of a martyr.” 

Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 3474. 

6 – Dying of a stomach disease. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “… and whoever dies of a stomach disease is a martyr.” Narrated by Muslim, 1915. 

7 – Dying because of being crushed by a falling wall or by drowning, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The martyrs are five: the one who dies of plague, the one who dies of a stomach disease, the one who drowns, the one who is crushed by a falling wall, and the one who is martyred for the sake of Allaah.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 2829; Muslim, 1915. 

8 – If a woman dies as a result of childbirth, or when she is pregnant. The evidence for that includes the hadeeth narrated by Abu Dawood (3111), according to which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “A woman who dies with child is a martyr.” al-Khattaabi said: What this means is if she dies with a child in her womb. ‘Awn al-Ma’bood.

 And Imam Ahmad narrated (17341) that ‘Ubaadah ibn al-Saamit said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) told us about the martyrs and mentioned among them, “A woman who is killed by the child in her womb attains martyrdom, and her child will drag her by his umbilical cord to Paradise.” Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Kitaab al-Janaa’iz, p. 39.  

9 – Death caused by burning, pleurisy and tuberculosis. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Being killed for the sake of Allaah is martyrdom; the plague is martyrdom; drowning is martyrdom; dying of a stomach disease is martyrdom; and the woman who dies in childbirth, her child will drag her by his umbilical cord to Paradise.” (Abu’l-Awaam, the custodian of Bayt al-Maqdis added: and burning and tuberculosis). Al-Albaani said: Hasan saheeh. Saheeh al-Targheeb wa’l-Tarheeb, 1396. 

10 – Dying to defend one’s religion, one’s wealth or one’s life, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever is killed defending his wealth is a martyr; whoever is killed defending his religion is a martyr; whoever is killed in self-defence is a martyr.” Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 1421. 

Al-Bukhaari (2480) and Muslim (141) narrated that ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: I heard the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: “Whoever is killed defending his wealth is a martyr.” 

11 – Dying guarding the borders of Islam for the sake of Allaah. Muslim (1913) narrated that Salmaan al-Faarisi (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Guarding the borders of Islam for one day and one night is better than fasting and praying at night for a whole month, and if he dies (whist performing this duty), he will go on receiving the reward for this great deed and his provision (continually), and he will be spared the questioning in the grave. ” 

12 – One of the signs of a good end is dying whilst doing a righteous deed, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:  

“Whoever says Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah, seeking the Countenance of Allaah thereby, and that is the last of his deeds, will enter Paradise. Whoever gives charity and that is the last of his deeds will enter Paradise.” Narrated by Imam Ahmad, 22813; classed as saheeh by al-Albani in Kitaab al-Janaa’iz, p. 43. See Kitaab al-Janaa’iz by al-Albaani (may Allaah have mercy on him), p. 34. 

These are the good signs which point to a good end, but despite that we cannot be certain that a specific person is one of the people of Paradise unless the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) testified that he will go to Paradise, such as the four khaleefahs. 

We ask Allaah to grant us a good end.

The Shiite Minister who made deal with Mongols to kill Caliph and Muslims.

O you who believe! Take not as (your) Bitanah (advisors, consultants, protectors, helpers, friends) those outside your religion (pagans, Jews, Christians, and hypocrites) since they will not fail to do their best to corrupt you. They desire to harm you severely. Hatred has already appeared from their mouths, but what their breasts conceal is far worse. Indeed We have made plain to you the Ayat if you have sanity. Here you are! You are the ones who love them but they love you not, and you believe in all the Books [i.e. you believe in the Taurt (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel), while they disbelieve in your Book, the Qur?an]. And when they meet you, they say, “We believe”. But when they are alone, they bite the tips of their fingers at you in rage. Say: “Perish in your rage. Certainly, Allah knows what is in the breasts (all the secrets).” [Qur’an, 3: 118-119]

The Story of Ibn Al `Alqami

Ibn Katheer mentions in his famous book, Al-Bidaayah Wan-Nihaayah:

“Al Musta’sim billah used to have a minister called ibn Al Alqami.”

Ibn Al Alqami was a Raafidi Twelver Shiite (the Shi`ah who curse the Sahabah). He was severely corrupted but used to show the people that he was a man of Prayer and piety. However behind the shadows, he was the one who wrote letters to the Mongol barbarian Hulagu Khan. In one of the letters he wrote,

“I am willing to help you conquer all of Baghdad on the condition that you remove the Khilafah(Caliphate) of the Muslims”

While the Caliph was upon the way of the Sunnah as both his predecessors, Ibn Al-’Alqami was a Raafidhi Shee’ah. He had staged his plans for the destruction of the Sunnah Abbasid and the establishment of a Shee’ah state.

He had thought that by allowing and helping the Mongols to do so, he would get rid of the Sunnis in Iraq and establish a Shi’ite state. For example, he would go to the Caliph and advise him to make redundant 15,000 soldiers from the army. He claimed that it was costly and not necessary to retain them and insisted until the Caliph agreed, and ordered 15,000 soldiers of the Abbasid Caliphate to return home. After a few months, Ibn al-’Alqami returned and advised him to release another 20,000 soldiers. The Caliph agreed to take on his “expert” advice to the pending doom of the caliphate.

After the Caliph had done according to his wishes, ibn Al Alqami personally chose from the best of the soldiers, took away their weapons and sent them home. The 20,000 soldiers that he had made redundant were equivalent to a million of the Tatar army because they were brave, ready to fight and die in the path.

By way of his being a minister in the government, and the Caliph being heedless of him, ibn Al-’Alqami tried his utmost to deregulate the armies of the Caliph and hinder enrollment in the army. In his days, the army had reached around one hundred thousand soldiers, some of their commanders having the power and respect of kings. Yet he continued to deregulate the armies until the number of soldiers came down to about ten thousand. He changed the posts of the remaining soldiers from the front lines to other less meaningful positions, such as guards for the marketplace and door attendants at the Masjid.

Once he had completed his conspiracy, he wrote to Hulagu and informed him how Baghdad had no more than 10,000 soldiers. He encouraged him to overtake the land, describing it as easy and telling him the reality of the government and its forces. He instructed Hulagu to come from the north of Baghdad and divide the army to all other fronts in the south and the east.

So when the armies of the Tatar overtook Baghdad under the leadership of their chief Hulagu Khan, he brought with him his comrade At-Toosi, and the first to go out and meet them was the minister Ibn Al-’Alqami. After meeting with Hulagu, he returned to the Caliph.

Ibn Al-’Alqami suggested to the Caliph to go out and meet with Hulagu, and to lower himself in front of him, for the welfare of the nation, and to offer him one half of all the land taxes collected yearly in Iraq. He continued to convince the Caliph until he went out to meet Hulagu in the presence of over 700 judges, scholars, and prominent figures.

So when they came close to the house of Hulagu, they drew back from the Caliph and all but 17 people entered with him. As far as those who stayed back, as soon as they came down from their horses, they were killed. The Caliph met with Hulagu and then returned to Baghdad in the company of At-Toosi, ibn Al-’Alqami as well as others. The Caliph then returned to Hulagu and brought with him much gold and jewels.

As soon as the Caliph returned, the order was given to kill him, and it is said the one who gave the suggestion was Ibn Al-’Alqami himself along with At-Toosi.

They went to the tent of the Caliph, had him surrounded by the army and hit him with their shoes until his bones were broken. After that, they let loose the horses to jump onto him until the Caliph was killed.

Ibn Al-’Alqami was the one who betrayed and used all means to destroy the Muslims from within. Hulagu then entered Baghdad early in the morning and started to kill the women, the children, the elderly. They raped and mutilated much from the Muslims.

It was the biggest massacre of Iraq, similar to the massacres of Fallujah and Basra today.

Ibn Katheer then says, “After the Caliph was killed, they went and stormed through the country, killing everyone they were able to from men, women, and children, old and young, sick and healthy. Many people hid inside wells and gardens, hiding for days so as not to be found, or ran to the hills and mountains.

The Tatar continued their rampage, killing the people even on the roofs of their homes and inside the Masjid, until the streets ran of blood like rainwater in a valley. No one was safe from them, except the Jews, Christians and those that took refuge in the home of Ibn Al-’Alqami, the same one who set this trap up for the Muslims. The killing continued until it was said that the number of dead reached one million eight thousand bodies.”

They did not leave anyone alive and continued killing and burning everything for 40 days until nothing was left. Ibn Kathir described Baghdad as being full of bodies until the smell made it difficult to breathe and diseases had spread causing many more people to die.

Then it was declared that Baghdad was under the control of the Tatars. It was complete chaos and nobody could recognise their own brother or mother because all the bodies were so badly mutilated and rotten.

But after this Hulagu called Ibn Al-’Alqami. Hulagu was shrewd and he knew that the hypocrite was not trustworthy. He said,

“I do not see anything that you deserve for your co-operation with me except to kill you in a very bad way.”

That is how the hypocrite’s fate was sealed. Hulagu had him hung from his legs and let everyone cut his body into pieces. This ultimately was the end of the Shii’te minister and hypocrite.

A Tour to Masjid Al Aqsa

Masjid al-Aqsa. The first Qiblah for the Muslim Ummah, the second Masjid built on earth, and the only place on earth where all the Messengers of Allāh (ʿalayhim al-Salām) prayed together, led by our beloved Prophet Muḥammad (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam).

This most sacred of Islamic sites has, over the recent past, become in great danger of being brought to dust by those who have illegally seized control of this most blessed land. As a result of the reputation that this brutal and bloodthirsty regime has created for itself, the number of Muslims that visit this beautiful and historical Masjid has slowly dwindled, such that the Masjid and its people are at risk of being the forgotten jewels of our Ummah.

Protecting the historical legacy of Masjid al-Aqsa and reviving the love of it in our hearts is therefore something we must all seek to act upon collectively as an Ummah, before we potentially despair at losing such a valuable part of our religious heritage.

A visit to Masjid al-Aqsa is something more accessible than most would perceive. A short flight to ‘Tel-Aviv’ airport or a flight to Jordan with an aim to cross the King Hussein Bridge leaves a one hour coach drive to the holy Aqsa sanctuary in the heart of the Old City of Jerusalem. Arrival to either point of entry means having to deal with Israeli customs officers. Unfortunately, as a Muslim, this means the process may be time-consuming. But it is important to appreciate that one of the aims of this process is merely to frustrate you and to put you off coming again. However, if one stays patient and exercises self-restraint, despite the understandable frustration, then this process can be dealt with easier than one may have thought. Often travelling as part of an official group, or with families, can help to facilitate this process and quicken things up.

The level of security presence, in the form of armed soldiers from the Isreali Defence Force (IDF), is something that dawns upon the new visitor very quickly. Armed soldiers patrol most streets, and their numbers are generally higher in the Old City around the Aqsa complex. It really makes one wonder that if these invaders felt their presence was legitimate, then why would they need to impose themselves in such an intimidating manner? Perhaps it is a manifestation of their internal recognition of being illegal occupiers, and thus they feel compelled to behave this way.

On reaching the Old City, one can really begin to sense the great history of this blessed land. After settling in the hotel, the final mental and spiritual preparations are completed before setting out on the final stretch of the journey towards the great Masjid al-Aqsa. A short walk through the narrow paths of the Old City follows which are lined by the small quintessential shops and markets. And, finally, the entrance to the al-Aqsa sanctuary awaits, all the while flanked by the ever-present IDF soldiers.

Finally the visitor arrives to Masjid al-Aqsa. Allāhu Akbar! The Masjid mentioned by name in the Holy Qur’ān. The land over which the Angels have spread their wings and the chosen land of Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā). The land which is referred to nearly 70 times in the Qur’ān. The land where the Prophet Muḥammad (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) was taken to by Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) at night from Makkah, where he led all the Prophets (ʿalayhim al-Salām) in prayer and then was ascended up to the Heavens. Eyes are fixed upon the sacred Masjid al-Aqsa. Directly opposite the Masjid is the magnificent Dome of the Rock Masjid, with its historic and unmistakably recognisable golden dome. Immediately the heart is filled with awe and veneration for this sacred land, and all thanks and praises are for Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) who allows those fortunate ones from His slaves to be guests of this blessed and noble Masjid.

As Salāh time approaches, the most beautiful Athān is called, resonating in both the hearts as well as the ears. Indeed, it is about these callers to prayer that the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said, as was narrated from al-Bara’ ibn ‘Aazib (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu), that:

“Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) and His angels send blessings upon the [people who pray in the] front row, and the muezzin [caller to prayer] is forgiven as far as his voice reaches, and whatever hears him, animate or inanimate, confirms what he says, and he will have a reward like that of those who pray with him.”[1]

On setting foot into this great Masjid, one cannot help but feel overwhelmed by the great sense of history. Legendary names like ʿUmar (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu), Nurudīn az-Zinki, Salāḥuddin al-Ayūbi, Ibn Qudāmah al Maqdisi, Sulaymān the Magnificent and Imām al-Ghazāli amongst others come to mind (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhum). Standing on the same land, in the same Masjid, where these shining lights of our Ummah and where all the Prophets stood together, fills the heart with humility, reverence and a feeling of being from amongst the most fortunate of people. It really is an indescribable feeling.

The fortunate visitor then prepares to raise his hands in prayer. However, these two units of prayer are not like any other prayer on entering a Masjid. The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said,

“The reward of a prayer in Masjid al-Haram (Makkah) over other Masājid is equivalent to 100,000 Salāh (in reward), a prayer in my Masjid (Madīnah) is equivalent to 1000 Salāh and a Salāh in Bayt al-Maqdis (Al-Aqsa) is equivalent to 500 Salāh.”[2]

We also learn from our Prophet Muḥammad (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) that when the Prophet Sulaymān (ʿalayhi al-Salām) built Masjid al-Aqsa, he asked Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) for three things:

1) Judgement that was in harmony with Allāh’s judgment (and he was given that).

2) A dominion that no one after him would have (and he was given that).

3) When he finished building the Masjid he asked Allāh, the Mighty and Sublime, that no one should come to it, intending only to pray there, but he would emerge free of sin as the day his mother bore him.[3]

What a huge reward for praying in this great Masjid! Allāhu Akbar! If one were to keep just this immense reward at the forefront of his mind during his journey to Masjid al-Aqsa, then he surely would be able to be patient enough to deal with any obstacles that may be placed in front of him.

Time spent in Masjid al-Aqsa is blessed, filled with Barakah and peace. Despite the somewhat unpleasant atmosphere created by the illegal occupiers that make their presence felt in the most intimidating of manners, Masjid al-Aqsa remains a sanctuary of tranquillity and Khair for Muslims.

Its unique history, numerous virtues, and importance in our Islām’s legacy make this Masjid a place that cannot be forgotten by our Ummah. We cannot let ourselves forget our brothers and sisters who strive day and night to protect the sanctity of this Holy Land, and we cannot turn a blind eye to the oppression that continually happens there. Rather, Masjid al-Aqsa should be frequented, throughout the year and not just in Ramaḍān, by Muslims from all over the globe, who desire to benefit from the blessed land about which Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) Himself says;

سُبْحَانَ الَّذِي أَسْرَىٰ بِعَبْدِهِ لَيْلًا مِّنَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ إِلَى الْمَسْجِدِ الْأَقْصَى الَّذِي بَارَكْنَا حَوْلَهُ لِنُرِيَهُ مِنْ آيَاتِنَا إِنَّهُ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْبَصِيرُ

“Glorified be He (Allāh), Who took His slave (Muḥammad) for a journey by night from Al-Masjid-al-Haram (at Makkah) to the Al-Masjid al-Aqsa, the area where We have blessed, in order that We might show him (Muḥammad) of Our signs. Verily, He (Allāh) is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer.”[4]

Masjid al-Aqsa invites you, dear Muslim, to be its honourable guest. Do not let this most noble of invitations pass you by.

May Allāh (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) protect our beloved Masjid al-Aqsa, liberate it from the hands of the oppressors, and allow us to visit there frequently and support our resilient families there. Āmīn.

Notes:

[1] Narrated by al-Nasā’i, 646

[2] Sunan al Bayhaqi classes Saḥiḥ by al Albany

[3] Narrated by al-Nasaa’i

[4] Al-Qur’ān, 17:1

The 22 yr old sultan who conquered Constantinople

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The month of February is one which stands out in history as one which witnessed Muḥammad al-Fātiḥ’s ascension to the throne in the house of Uthmān, ‘The Ottomans’, following the death of his father Sultan Murad II in Muharram 852 A.H., February 1451A.C. At the age of 19 he became the 7th Sultan of the Ottomans.

The Early Years

Sultan Muḥammad was born on 27th Rajab 835A.H, 30th March 1432. He was brought up under the close supervision of his father, Sultan Murad II who prepared and trained him to shoulder the responsibilities of the position of a Sultan. It is stated that Sultan Muḥammad memorised the entire Qur’ān, learnt the Prophetic narrations, Islamic jurisprudence, mathematics, astronomy and the skills required for war. He was multi-lingual being fluent in Arabic, Persian, Latin and Greek. He joined his father in his battles and conquests.

He was raised with an Islamic upbringing under the tutelage of a number of scholars of his age such as Shaykh Aḥmad b. Ismāʿīl al-Kourani and Shaykh Ak Shamsuddin, one of the scholars who played a role in developing the personality of Sultan Muḥammad and who is attributed as instilling in his heart the spirit of Jihād and the desire to be a person with high ambition.

At the age of 12, a young Muḥammad was driven by a particular ḥadīth of the Messenger of Allāh (sallAllāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) that profoundly affected him and impacted his life, changing his destination and that of the course of history. The ḥadīth was as follows:

“Verily, Constantinople shall be opened. Its commander shall be the best commander ever, and his army shall be the best army ever.”[1]

Much like Salāh ad-Dīn before him in his quest to liberate Jerusalem, his ambition overwhelmed him to the extent that he would not talk about any subject except for the conquest of Constantinople. Having now become the Sultan on the death of his father at the age of 22, Muḥammad set about fulfilling his ambition in liberating and conquering Constantinople and seeking to be the one whom the Messenger of Allāh (sallAllāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) had prophesied about.

Constantinople is a very unique city in Europe as it is located in a very strategic geographic location, between two major continents, Asia and Europe. At the North, it is bordered with the Black Sea while Russia and Iran are at the South. From the East side, it is bordered with Syria and the Mediterranean Sea whereas at the West sit Bulgaria, Greece and Aegean Sea. Constantinople was of course the capital city for the Roman Empire (753-476) and the Byzantine Empire (610-1453). Napoleon was quoted as saying, “If the Earth were a single state, then Constantinople would be its capital”. It was at that time regarded as one of the most fortified cities in the world.

The Masterful Strategy

Sultan Muḥammad realised that the attempt to open Constantinople was not an easy task as Muslim armies from as early as the time of Muawiyyah (radiyAllāhu ‘anhu) had attempted to besiege this city but it consistently failed on each occasion – the closest to achieving the aim was Sultan Beyazid but, qadralllāh, his attention was forced elsewhere with the emergence of the Mongols. Hence, Sultan Muḥammad knew that his attempt needed to be well-planned and meticulously strategised.

One such strategy was to build the navy. He put together a formidable armada of more than 100 ships for the conquest of Constantinople. To ensure victory, he sought to equip his army with the latest artillery in warfare – a new technology which had not been owned by any other country was bought from a Hungarian engineer, Orban. The technology came in the form of giant cannons capable of tearing down the wall of fortresses surrounding Constantinople.

As a further preparation for war, Sultan Muḥammad ordered the building of fortresses close to the region about to be attacked. The function of this was clear: to station the army and, at the same time, provide logistical sites for uninterrupted war supplies. These fortresses were built in a few months. He knew that Emperor Constantine XI would have noted his movements and it was rumoured that the Hungarians and Venetians were on their way to support Byzantine, as such, Sultan Muḥammad was in a hurry.

Sultan Muḥammad personally supervised the training of the huge army for the conquest to ensure that they were of the highest standard physically and, more importantly, spiritually. He would often remind them of the ḥadīth about the liberating of Constantinople hoping that they might be the ones referred to. Also, it is reported that on one occasion Sultan Muḥammad entered the markets in disguise to purchase a number of items. He went to one of stalls whose owner, not knowing who the buyer was, informed him that, praise be to Allāh, he had made enough sales for the day and the remaining items should be purchased from another stall nearby. When Sultan Muḥammad went to the stall nearby, having purchased one of the items he needed, again the owner informed him that he too had made enough sales and therefore his remaining item should be purchased from the stall near to him. On seeing this, Sultan Muḥammad knew that he had amongst him a righteous group of believers with which to undertake the momentous task, much like Salāh ad-Dīn before him who once stated that he knew the time had arrived to liberate Al-Aqsa when he witnessed that the size of the congregation for the morning prayer was as large as the Friday prayer.

With his ships all prepared and fortresses built, Sultan Muḥammad set off with a force of 250,000 mujāhids to Constantinople on 6 April 1453 (875 AH). Sultan Muḥammad had terms of surrender sent to Emperor Constantine XI as per Islāmic custom before engaging in battle. He invited him to surrender peacefully and be spared everyone’s life and property, with the security that whoever wanted to remain would be safe. However, the Emperor refused and with this began the siege of Constantinople.

The Muslims became frustrated however with Byzantine’s famous barrier chain in the sea. Made of giant wooden links that were joined by immense nails and heavy iron shackles, the chain could be deployed in an emergency by means of a ship hauling it across the Golden Horn. Securely anchored on both ends, with its length guarded by Byzantine warships at anchor in the harbour, the great chain was a formidable obstacle and a vital element of the city’s defences. The Ottoman fleet tried many times to get into the city by sea, but they faced numerous failures. The soldiers even tried to secretly break the chain which was 4 to 5 feet below sea level, but they were killed in the process.

Nevertheless, Sultan Muḥammad was one of the great generals who used one of the most outstanding, daring military approaches and strategy in military history. He ordered his army to bring up the naval ships on land and pulled them over the hills at the eastern side of Constantinople. Over 70 ships were pulled on rails made by wood from the trees surrounding the hills and animal grease spread on the wood to facilitate the transport of the ships. This intelligent and seemingly impossible task was completed by his soldiers disguised by the cover of darkness over a lengthy distance in only one night.

The next morning, the people of Constantinople awoke to the sounds of the Takbīr, “Allāhuakbar”, and they were shocked to see the Ottoman ships lined in front of their fortified fortress causing a huge psychological blow. The Muslims now began bombarding the walls day and night with the cannons.

The Conquest and Liberation

On 27 May 1453 (857 AH), Sultan Muḥammad commanded his army to purify themselves and to intensify their worshipping and devotion to Allāh so that He may ease the siege. That night, scholars such as Shaykh Shamsuddin reminded the army of verses from the Qur’ān and reminded them of great men who died trying to liberate the city such as the great Sahābi (Companion), Abū Ayūb al-Ansari (raḍiy Allāhu ʿanhu), who was martyred just outside the city walls at the age of 90. The soldiers spent much of the night uttering the Tahlīl (“Alḥamdulillāh”) and Takbīr (“Allāhuakbar”) and making supplications. Again, there is much parallel with Salāh ad-Dīn who too was known to encourage his soldiers to engage in much worship and to supplicate to Allāh. It is said that on one occasion, Salāh ad-Dīn received news of Crusader ships sailing toward them with reinforcements, he retired to the masjid and spent the night in prayer, beseeching and begging Allāh’s assistance. In the Morning Prayer, he told a pious man to supplicate for them. The person replied, “Don’t fear, O Salāh ad-Dīn, verily the tears of the night have drowned the enemy ships.” A short while later news was received that the ships had indeed sunk.

In the morning (Day 54 of the siege), Sultan Muḥammad delivered his final battle speech in which he instructed the soldiers not to attack the Churches and places of worship, sparing the priests, the weak and those unable to fight in line with the Prophetic injunctions. It is said that the speech had a profound impact on the army as the speech indicated that victory was within their grasps. Later that day, one part of the wall became weak enough for the infantries to rush into the city. The people of Constantinople saw the flag of Islām flag being flown for the first time and the liberation was then completed with Sultan Muḥammad aged 22.

Sultan Muḥammad entered the city on his horse along with his army – his commanders congratulated him whilst he said to them: “You have become the liberators of Constantinople, about whom the Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) informed us”. He then dismounted his horse and fell in prostration praising Allāh for this prestigious honour and supplicated for the brave Mujāhidīn who were martyred along the way.

He then headed towards the one of the greatest churches in all of Christendom, the Aya Sofia. Inside were many priests to whom Sultan Muḥammad showed kindness and mercy and gave reassurances for the lives and possessions of all in the city on account of which many were said to have become Muslim from witnessing the justice and tolerance of Islām. Sultan Muḥammad gave instructions for Aya Sofia to be transformed into a Mosque as soon as possible in preparation for the Jummuʿah (Friday prayer) that was approaching in the coming days. Accordingly, Aya Sofia was cleansed of any crucifixes and idols, all images were covered up and a mimbar (pulpit) was built. When the blessed day of Jummuʿah arrived, Shaykh Shamsuddin was honoured with delivering the first sermon in what was now and forever from that day forward, the Aya Sofia Mosque. Again, this is very similar to the liberation of Al-Aqsa by Salāh ad-Dīn who entered the city on a Friday and immediately began the cleaning of the Mosque in readiness for the prayer and he too showed justice to the Christians where no house was exposed to plunder and no individual was harmed. His soldiers, acting on instructions, patrolled the streets and gates, preventing any aggression to which the Christians might be exposed and the release of his captives, even at his own expense.

In the meantime, Sultan Muḥammad continued to meet the heads of the various religions and sects reassuring them all that they would each receive their religious rights with each having their appointed leader, own schools and places of worship – such was the tolerance of Islām in contrast to the barbaric Crusaders and their treatment of Jews and Muslims in Palestine and Al-Andalus, Spain. Sultan Muḥammad also sent letters and gifts to all the rulers of the Islamic World, in Egypt, the Arabian Peninsula, Persia and India to inform them of the great victory which he claimed not just for himself and the Ottomans, but for all of Islām and Muslims.

His Death

Sultan Muḥammad Fātiḥ continued to spread Islām in the Conquest of Serbia (1454–1459); Conquest of Morea (1458–1460); Conquests on the Black Sea coast (1460–1461) Conquest of Wallachia (1459–1462) wherein he famously defeated the Dracula; Conquest of Bosnia (1463); Conquest of Karaman (1464–1473); Conquest of Albania (1466–1478); Conquest of Genoese Crimea and the alliance with Crimean Khanate (1475).

Not being content on fulfilling one of the sayings of the Prophet (sallAllāhu ‘alayhi wasallam), Sultan Muḥammad Fātiḥ sought to now conquer the heart of Christendom, Rome for indeed the Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said that the Muslims would liberate Rome.[2] However, whilst marching with the Ottoman army to the campaign, he became ill. After some days, he died on 3 May 1481, at the age of 49 – Allāh has destined this to be achieved at the hands of another great noble individual.

Points to Note:

The liberation of Constantinople paved the way for Islām to enter Europe. The conquest remains one of the great events in not just Islamic history, but that of world history. The liberated city was from here on forever to be referred to as ‘Islāmbul’, meaning the “City of Islām”. It should be noted that it was only during the secularisation process of Ataturk where it took on the name of ‘Istanbul’ which has no relevant meaning. Incidentally, there are coins in the British Museum from 1730 where the name of the city, Islambul is clearly imprinted.[3]

Many factors played into the hands of the Muslims which made the liberation of Constantinople ripe, for example, crusading nations such as France and England were exhausted from ‘The Hundred Year War’, Germany had internal affairs to deal with whilst Spain were busy waging war against the Muslims in Andalusia.

I have made many references to the similarities between Sultan Muḥammad al-Fātiḥ and Salāh ad-Dīn to highlight that what they achieved was not just by mere chance but that there is a similar thread with respect to their noble characteristics as a result of which Allāh enabled victory and honour to be achieved at their hands.

We also learn that neither god-conscious leader, nor brave liberator emerges, except that there is a group of pious scholars around him to teach and guide him and to also themselves participate in the battles leading by example. There are many such examples in history such as the role played by Shaykh Bahā’ ad-Dīn b. Shaddād with Salāh ad-Dīn, Shaykh Shamsuddin with Muḥammad al-Fātiḥ as seen here, as well as the ‘Shaykh of Scholars’, Al-`Izz b, Abdis-Salām alongside Saif-ad-Din Qutuz.

Today our youth are motivated to become footballers or celebrities which is in sharp contrast to the young Sultan Muḥammad who desired to be a blessed leader mentioned by the Prophet of Allāh.

Perhaps the greatest accolade with respect to this noble warrior is that for both Muslims and non-Muslims alike, he was forever to be known and remembered as Muḥammad al-Fātiḥ (Muḥammad the Conqueror) – establishing a direct link to the one prophesised by the Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) – liberator of Constantinople and defeater of the Romans. Finally, his army should also not be forgotten as they too were prophesised about as the best army ever.

Notes:

[1] Ahmad

[2] Muslim

[3] http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=3011455&partId=1

http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_image.aspx?image=k146828.jpg&retpage=17475

Sultan Muḥammad al-Fātiḥ, Dr ʿAli Muḥammad al-Salābi;

The Ottomans in History and Civilisation, Muhammad Harb

Double Standards & Trials.

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After 13 years of persecution, the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) was finally given permission to fight.[1] He (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) sent out military and exploratory campaigns and expeditions against the pagans of Quraish. The scholars of history are generally agreed that a “Ghazwa” is a campaign which was led by the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) whilst a “Sarriya” is an expedition which he would be absent from.

During the year in which permission to fight back was given, the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) had led four expeditions and organised four others. It is one of these expeditions that forms our topic of today; later named as Sarriyatu Nakhla (palm tree)” or the Sarriyah of ʿAbdullāhi b. Jahsh.”

In the month of Rajab, two years after the Hijra, the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) sent the companion ʿAbdullāhi b. Jahsh on a Sarriyah and sent with him another eight men. Before they had set off, not knowing the purpose of their mission, the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) gave ʿAbdullāh a letter and commanded him to leave it unopened until he had traveled for two continuous days. He also told him that when you read it, do not force any of the eight men who are with you to continue. The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) was sending these men on an undercover mission deep into the territory of the pagans and thus he command them not to open the letter until only after two days worth of travelling had elapsed, so that they do not become dissuaded from traveling the remaining distance.

After traveling for two days, ʿAbdullāh opened the letter and it said the following:

“If you have looked into this letter, then continue traveling until you reach a palm tree which is situated between Mecca and At-Tā’if. When you get there, I want you to spy on the people of Quraish and obtain their information.”[2]

So the purpose of this expedition was not a military one but an investigative one, a potentially life threatening investigate mission, for should they succeed in obtaining information, they will need to get very close to the pagans. Should their cover be blown however, what will nine men do against an entire city?

Upon reading the instructions, the very first words of ʿAbdullāh were:

“We hear and obey.”

This was the slogan of the companions and motto in life! The messenger commands and they would obey, he would request and they would fulfil. Thus they were successful. Allāh says:

“The saying of the true believers, when they are called to Allāh and His messenger (i.e. the Qur’ān and Sunnah) to judge between, is that they say: “we hear and we obey” and they are the successful ones.”[3]

Upon displaying his unconditional obedience to the Prophet’s instructions, he turns to the blessed men who had accompanied him and fills them in on the news. He said:

“So whoever of you desires martyrdom so let him come and as for he who dislikes this, let him go back. As for myself, I am off to fulfil the task of the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam).”

So what was the outcome of this presentation? Not a single one of them stayed behind, may Allāh be pleased with them all. They continued travelling until they reached the stated palm tree and as they rested, a trade caravan belonging to the pagans of Quraish passed by, one that was loaded with food, material and wealth.

The companions held an emergency meeting, for this was a golden opportunity to deliver yet another economic blow to the pagans and to raid this caravan whereby they could reclaim some of the many goods that had been ransacked from them during their time in Makkah! But there was a major obstacle. This happened to be the last day of the month of Rajab and we know that Rajab is one of the four holy months of Islām in which fighting is prohibited! Stuck in two minds, they said to one another:

“If we wait any longer, then this trade caravan will enter the holy city of Makkah and thus we will not be able to raid it. But

should we choose to launch an assault, we would have done so in a holy month!”

They hesitated but then agreed that the opportunity is not to be missed. Courageously, the Muslims launched the attack and killed one of the four pagans who were guarding the caravan, ʿAmr b. Hadrami. Another two pagans, ʿUthmān b. ʿAbdilLāh and Al-Hakam b. Kaysan were taken as captives and the fourth managed to escape.

The operation was of seemingly groundbreaking success. The Muslims returned back to Madina, carrying with them the products from the trade caravan, accompanied by the two captives until they approached the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam). Upon hearing about what happened, the words of the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) were not what they expected and they fell onto their ears like a thunderstorm. He said to them:

“I did not command you to fight in the holy month.”

This is the Prophet Muḥammad (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam), a man who respected agreements, who upheld sanctities, who was the most faithful of all people.

The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) refused to take anything from the products and the hearts of these brave men shattered into pieces. As for Quraish, they would waste no time in taking full advantage of the situation, capitalising on the mistake of the Muslims. They said:

“Muḥammad and his companions have breached the sanctity of the holy month! They shed blood, stole money and have taken captives!”

As you can imagine, this was a very awkward time for the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) and the stress was mounting, for the pagan press was almost literally on fire, exploiting the Muslim breach to the very max! The image of Islām was being heavily maligned whilst the fate of ʿAbdullāhi b. Jahsh and his companions was distressingly unclear.

After much suspense, verses of Qur’ān would finally arrive to comment on the matter and to straighten out crooked understandings. Allāh mentions:

“They ask you concerning fighting in the holy Months (i.e. 1st, 7th, 11th and 12th months of the Islamic calendar). Say “Fighting therein is a great sin …”

Yes, the Muslims had committed an error that Allāh described as ‘great’ but the verse does not end here. Rather, Allāh then makes mention of the matters that led up to this mistake which are far worse than what the companions had engaged in. In this, we see the fairness of Allāh. Condemnation is given where due but He would not single out the acts of the Muslims in condemnation but rather placed it within its wider context.

The verse continues,

“…but a greater sin with Allāh is to prevent mankind from following the way of Allāh, to disbelieve in Him, to prevent access to Al-Masjid-Al-Haram at Makkah, and to drive out its inhabitants, and Al-Fitnah (driving people out of their faith) is worse than killing!…” [4]

Heart-warming verses that contextualised the entire episode, as if they were being told,

“O pagans! You have been reviling, ransacking, torturing and killing the Muslims for over thirteen years! You have also driven them out of their home city, prevented them from accessing Makkah and actively pushed them to apostate! These matters are far worse than killing! Furthermore, you have been perpetrating these crimes during every holy month of the calendar and within the holy city of Makkah itself! Now, that the Muslims commit a single error, you unjustly exploit it to your advantage and all of a sudden, these four month are very holy and sanctified to you.”

We are very often told about the injustices of the few Muslim countries that have banned women from their right of education yet rarely does the media make any mention of the Muslim women in France who are unjustly banned from their right of education simply because they wear Hijāb.[5]

A French court injunction banned a Jesus based clothing advert mimicking Da Vinci’s Last Supper. The display was ruled “a gratuitous and aggressive act of intrusion on people’s innermost beliefs”, by the French judge.[6] As for the cartoons that satirised the Prophet Muḥammad (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) in the most demeaning of ways, the courts of France and Europe were unmoved.

The Daily Telegraph recently published a report with regards to the academic and economic underachievement of “Muslims”,[7] whereas underachievement in other communities is never attributed to their religion, but to deprivation, investment and other societal factors.

Muslims are labelled as discriminatory, regressive, sexist and backward for wishing to segregate between the sexes at university lectures but in March 2014, when 50,000 orthodox Jews demonstrated in New York, men were completely segregated from women and it was described as “keeping to tradition, with men and women in separate groups.”[8]

The use of double standards and fraudulent coverage is as old as mankind. For Allāh said:

وَيْلٌ لِلْمُطَفِّفِينَ (1) الَّذِينَ إِذَا اكْتَالُوا عَلَى النَّاسِ يَسْتَوْفُونَ (2) وَإِذَا كَالُوهُمْ أَوْ وَزَنُوهُمْ يُخْسِرُونَ (3) أَلَا يَظُنُّ أُولَئِكَ أَنَّهُمْ مَبْعُوثُونَ (4) لِيَوْمٍ عَظِيمٍ (5) يَوْمَ يَقُومُ النَّاسُ لِرَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ (6)

“Woe to the defrauders, those who, when they take a measure from people, take in full. But if they give by measure or by weight to them, they cause loss. Do they not think that they will be resurrected? For a tremendous Day – The Day when mankind will stand before the Lord of the worlds?”[9]

As for ʿAbdullāh and the eight brave men who accompanied him, verses were revealed which spoke in their praise and, as for the captives, the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) returned one of them back to Makkah. But what about the other? He would remain in Madina as he had embraced Islām. Al-Hakam b. Kaysan would not only embrace Islām but would dedicate his life in service of Islām until he would attain martyrdom in Bi’r Ma’oona! Who would have thought that this could happen?! Who would have imagined that any light could emanate from such an episode?

Regardless of the difficulty at hand and the many odds which Muslims seem to be up against, whether it pertains to their lives, land or image, one must ensure that hopes in Allāh remain sky high, for you and I have absolutely no idea how Allāh plans for and aids His Deen just as He (subḥānahu wa taʿālā) plans for and aids you as a practicing Muslim individual.

Hamza, the uncle of the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam), would embrace Islām after hearing the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) being insulted. Similarly, At-Tufail b. ʿAmr would embrace Islām and would be the cause behind the Islām of his entire tribe, “Daws”, which included Abū Huraira, after hearing the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) being insulted!

Furthermore, if it was not for trials, anguish and trauma, Prophet Yūsuf (ʿalayhi al-Salām) would have remained within the arms of his father, but through trials, anguish and trauma, he became the ʿAzīz of Egypt

Had baby Mūsa (ʿalayhi al-Salām) not been separated from the arms of his mother and united with the turbulent waves of the river Nile, his upbringing would not have been within the palace of the Pharaoh.

As Muslims, both individually and collectively, our affair is just as the poet once said,

فـلربـما كان الـدخولُ إلى العـلا ***** والـمـجد من بوابـة الأحـزانِ

“For it may be that the entry to heights and glory are arrived at through the doorways of sorrow.”

Notes:

[1] Al-Qur’ān 22:39

[2] Seerat Ibnu Hisham

[3] Al-Qur’ān 24:51

[4] Al-Qur’ān 2:217

[5] http://www.mintpressnews.com/france-ban-hijab-headscarves-universities-islamophobia/166675/

[6] http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4337031.stm

[7] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/immigration/11409181/British-Muslims-integration-and-segregation-are-about-economics-not-values.html

[8] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2577015/Patriotism-persecution-Thousands-Orthodox-Jews-swarm-NYC-streets-protest-Israeli-armys-proposal-draft-young-men.html

[9] Al-Qur’ān 83:1-6

Short Intro on Battle of al-Qadisiyyāh (636)

The Sassanid Persian Forces led by Rostam Farrokhzād were crushed by the Rashidun Caliphate Forces led Sa’ad ibn Abi Waqqas (رضي الله عنه).— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
The Sassanid army was destroyed, most of their commanders killed or captured, opening the way to conquer Mesopotamia (Bīlad ar-Rafidayn), and later conquer Persia and destroy the Sassanid Empire.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
This battle is a turning point in the Middle East, it changed the balance of power in the region, by changing the balance of power in the region, the Arabs took the advantage over the great empires of the region that are Persia and the Byzantine Empire (because yes the Byzantines will be crushed in Yarmouk, the same year), and Islam gained power in the region. The battle is a huge traumatism for Persians. Just think about it, Arabs poorly armed, no better than goat farmers, countrymen ! crushed one of the most powerful armies of the time ! (admittedly weakened because of the conflicts against Byzantium and internal problems).
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
The battle is also one of the reasons of the assassination of Umar ibn al-Khattab (رضي الله عنه) by a Persian slave captured during the Persian Conquest. — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
In Iran, The battle of al-Qadissiyah is still seen as an humiliation and a huge traumatism even today.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
By the way, it still has an echo that resonates until today ex: Qadisiyyah has been associated with Arab nationalism and was used by Saddam Hussein as a propaganda tool in his war against Iran in the 1980’s when he built his famous Victory Arch (or Swords of Qadisiyyah) in Baghdad.

#copied

Intellect is your weapon!

Back in Abbasid times, there was an old man who worked as a tailor. He also happened to be the local mu’adhin, or caller to prayer. One night he woke up in the middle of the night, unable to sleep. As he awaited the first light, he heard a struggle. He saw a man grabbing a woman and forcing her into his home. Because the mu’adhin was so old and frail, he knew he could do nothing to stop this. But Allah endowed the human being with something greater than strength: intellect. The old man climbed atop the mosque and called the adhan, even though it was before the time. When the people came out to pray, he directed them to the man’s home, telling them there was a woman inside being assaulted. Because he was the mu’adhin, they trusted him and proceeded to bang on the man’s door. As soon as he opened it, they yanked him out, beat him to a pulp and released the woman.

After the sun rose and the day began, it was discovered that the assailant was a military officer. The news reached the Caliph and he summoned all those involved. He exectued the soldier on the spot. Then he called on the old man: “What made you think of calling the prayer early?” He replied, “I realized I was too weak to face that man myself. But I knew people would come out soon, since Fajr was almost in. Then I calculated that calling the adhan too early was a lesser harm than allowing a woman to be attacked. So I called it early.” The Caliph rewarded him, and used to grant him an audience whenever he wanted thereafter.

This story is recounted in the histories of Baghdad.

Ramadān: the Month of Victory

“O Allāh!  Should this group be defeated today, You will no longer be worshipped.”

These were the words of the Messenger of Allāh (sallAllāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) as he stood before his Lord one Friday night with his hands raised in the air, his palms wide open, weeping, whilst supplicating for victory for the Ummah.  So troubled was the Messenger of Allāh (sallAllāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) that his tears did not cease, his supplications did not end, until his cloak fell off his shoulders and Abū Bakr (radiyAllāhu ‘anhu), his closest companion, assured him that Allāh would not reject his prayer.  But this was no ordinary night and this was no ordinary place.  This was the 17th night of Ramadān and this du’ā’ (supplication) was being made in the valley of Badr, on the eve of the battle of Badr, the most important battle ever to be fought by the Muslims. Completely outnumbered by a much better equipped army, the Prophet (sallAllāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) and the Muslims did all they could physically do and made du’ā’ before, during and after the battle.  Out of His infinite mercy, Allāh granted them victory against the odds that would never be forgotten where 313 men, 2 horses and 70 camels defeated an army of 1000 men, 100 horses and 700 camels. Such was the measure of this victory that the cries of “Allāhu Akbar” and “Ahad, Ahad” (God is One) reverberate right to this very day and the ripple effects of the victory continue to shake the ground from beneath us. The timeless reminder of this victory is preserved for us in the Glorious Qur’ān when Allāh jalla wa’alā states:

“And indeed Allāh assisted you at Badr when you were weak, so be observant to your duty to Allāh so that you may be of the thankful ones. When you said to the believers ‘Does it not suffice you that your Lord should assist you with three thousand angels sent down’.” [1]

The battle of Badr strengthened the faith of the Muslims and was a decisive victory that shattered the forces of the enemy and firmly established the new State in Madīnah as a powerful spiritual, political and now, military force. It should not be forgotten that such was the importance of that decisive battle, that were it not for the courage, sacrifice, loss of limb and life of those noble and blessed companions on that day, we would not be here today to bear witness of Allāh.

Such was the month of Ramadān in the time of the Prophet (sallAllāhu ‘alayhi wasallam). It was a time of purification, enjoining the good, forbidding evil and striving hard with one’s life and wealth to make the Word of Allāh the highest. The Prophet (sallAllāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) and his Companions (radiyAllāhu ‘anhum) passed through approximately nine Ramadāns together after the Hijrah. Those Ramadāns were filled with decisive events that shaped the course of history.

The Opening of Makkah

We should know that it was in this blessed month of reward, on the 20th of Ramadān, in the 8th year AH that the Prophet (sallAllāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) returned to Makkah not as the ruled, but as the ruler in the opening of Makkah (Fath Makkah), when he took it under the authority of Islām for the first time in the history of Islām. Makkah was conquered without a battle. He entered Makkah and treated the people justly. He personally went to the Ka’ba, pointed to the idols with his stick and recited the verse:

“The Truth has come and the falsehood has passed away; verily falsehood is sure to pass away.” [2]

After that, all the idols which the Quraysh used to worship collapsed on their backs, one after the other, and then they were burnt, broken up and disposed of. Thus, Makkah was completely liberated and the age of worshipping idols such as al-’Uzza, Suwā’ and Mannāt therein were over forever.

After the death of the Prophet (sallAllāhu ‘alayhi wasallam), Muslims carried this Sunnah on and Allāh the Majestic used the believers to affect the course of history. Logic might tell you that battling whilst fasting is to result in a loss, but faith and reliance on Allāh transcends such flawed logic, it is greater than that. And so you find that rarely has a month witnessed so many battles for fighting for the sake of Allāh and the achievement of great conquests and victories of Islām like the month of Ramadān.

Al-Qādisiyyah

In the year 636CE corresponding to 15AH in the month of Ramadān, the Muslim army led by Sa’ad b. Abī Waqqās (radiyAllāhu ‘anhu) consisting of 30,000 among which there were more than 700 sahābah and more than 70 veterans of Badr, set out to meet the Persian army in Qādisiyyah after the Muslims had made great strides into the Persian kingdom – this battle was set to pave the way for the demise of the Persian empire. The Persian army was very imposing, numbering around 100,000 and had within its ranks, huge elephants wearing coats of mail with their tusks wrapped in silk and velvet. The Muslim army looked less impressive but what they lacked in resources, they made up for in their faith and unshakable conviction and thus, the ground was set for the spectacle of battle between two formidable armies.

After an early setback, a great sahābi, Qa’qa’ (radiyAllāhu ‘anhu) entered the fray having previously been posted in Syria. He joined the battle with a rousing cry of “Allāhu Akbar” which immediately uplifted the Muslims for they knew Qa’qa’ was a man as good as an army and a man about whom Abū Bakr (radiyAllāhu ‘anhu) stated “No army can be defeated if in its ranks is the likes of this man”.  Qa’qa’ brought down the great elephants and following this, the great Persian commander, Rustum was erased from the pages of history. The blood on the plains of Qādisiyyah had not yet dried when Sa’ad wrote a letter to the Khalīfah, ‘Umar (radiyAllāhu ‘anhu) stating:

“Lo, Allāh has given us victory over the Persians… The Muslims met numbers chroniclers have not heard of but their numbers were of no avail to them and Allāh gave their possessions to the Muslims.” [3]

Greece

In the Ramadān of 31AH, the Muslims, under the leadership of Mu’āwiyah (radiyAllāhu ‘anhu), conquered the Christian islands of Rhodes, destroying the biggest idol in the world at the time, the Colossus of Rhodes (named after the Greek god named Helios), a statue 110 feet tall that sat on a 50-foot high pedestal of white marble near the harbour entrance of the city. This battle was known to be so ferocious that it is said that had a bird sought to fly over the plains of this spectre, it would not pass to the other side without being cut into a thousand pieces from the meeting of the swords and the volley of arrows.

Spain

By 92AH, Islām had spread across North Africa, Persia and Shām. Al-Andalus (Spain) was under the tyrannical rule of King Roderic of the Visigoths who persecuted, oppressed and imprisoned the Jews and Christians alike. According to the chronicles of history, a Christian chief called Julian who had fled Spain called upon the Muslims across the shores for help.[4] The Umayyad governor of North Africa, Mūsā b. Nusair, responded by sending his courageous General at the head of 12,000 troops who landed at a point close to the huge rock which dominates the entrance to the Mediterranean. In Ramadān of that year, they were confronted with an army led by Roderic himself amounting to 90,000. There was an aura of fear and scepticism amongst the Muslim flanks; upon knowing which, the General ordered his loyal men to burn all the ships that had carried them here and were their only source of a safe journey back home. That man, that fearless leader was called Tāriq b. Ziyād. Once all of the ships were burnt, Tāriq addressed his soldiers and said:

“Brothers in Islām! We now have the enemy in front of us and the deep sea behind us. We cannot return to our homes, because we have burnt our boats. We shall now either defeat the enemy and gain victory or die a coward’s death by drowning in the sea. Who will follow me?”

The army burst with great enthusiasm to meet the enemy and Allāh manifested a clear victory over the forces of tyranny and oppression and they conquered Spain. The place where he landed was named Jabal al-Tāriq by the Muslims, later twisted to what we know today as Gibraltar. That little name is a reminder of our glorious past and the heroic man who rose to the heights of courage on wings of faith and self-belief.

The Crusades

A divided Islāmic world offered feeble resistance to the Crusaders who had invaded and consolidated their hold on the lands surrounding al-Quds containing Islām’s third holiest site, Masjid al-Aqsa. The warring Muslim parties did not take the Crusader invasion seriously at this stage. After almost 100 years of occupation, in the words of Imām al-Dīn al-Khatīb: “Allāh renewed Islām after it had declined and strengthened it after it had grown weak” through Nūr al-Dīn and then by the man of the hour, perhaps the most celebrated of Muslim soldiers in the history of Islām, Salāh al-Dīn Ayūbi, who threw down the gauntlet to the invading Crusaders.

After a number of battles, the decisive battle once again, as many times previously, took place in the blessed month of Ramadān in the year 582AH at the battle of Hattīn. Leading up to this battle, one of the crusader kings, Renaud treacherously attacked a Muslim caravan during a period of truce. He seized these people, put them to torture, threw them into pits and imprisoned some in dungeons. When the prisoners objected and pointed out that there was a truce between the two peoples, he remonstrated: “Ask your Muhammad to deliver you”. The battle of Hattīn which then followed, is considered by many to be the key to all the Muslim conquests against the crusaders and represented the period that the crusader tide began to recede which eventually resulted in the liberation of al-Quds on the 27th of Rajab, which was said to have coincided with the Night Journey of the Prophet (sallAllāhu ‘alayhi wasallam).

The very first jummu’ah khutbah (Friday Sermon) delivered in Jerusalem following its liberation has been preserved for us until this very day began with a verse which was indeed apt for the magnanimous occasion:

“So the people that committed wrong were eliminated. And all the praises and thanks be to Allāh, the Lord of the worlds”. [5]

One of the names and attributes of Allāh is al-Rāfi ‘The One who raises’ and it was in the blessed month of Ramadān in the battle of Hattīn that Allāh raised Salāh al-Dīn’s status among the greats of this noble Ummah. And thus, Salahaddīn fulfilled the saying of someone who once said to his mother while she was pregnant with him that “in your womb there is one of the weapons of Allāh”.

The Mongols

Fierce mounted warriors swept out of Mongolia, laying waste to every city that refused to surrender. In 656 AH, they unleashed their fury against Baghdād and breached its walls. They murdered and pillaged for a week – some estimates say that as many as 1,800,000 were killed. The whole IslāmIc world trembled in fear of the Mongols. This was such a decisive blow that for the first time since the very early stages of the faith at the time of Badr, there was a real fear that Islām and Muslims could be wiped off the face of the earth.

Amongst all this doom and gloom and when Muslims were in a real position of weakness, fear and apprehension, Allāh raised for the Ummah His servant, Saif al-Dīn Qutuz who was a Mamluk (Mamluks had served as soldier-slaves for the Ayyubid sultans of Cairo). He united the Muslims, prepared them to fight, raised the necessary money and the army was mobilised to engage in the battle to defend Islām, its followers and lands, and to fight the usurping aggressor. Amongst the many renowned scholars who had encouraged the Muslims to unify behind Qutuz and prepare for the battle was the great scholar, al-‘Izz b. ‘Abd al-Salām.

Lying between Qutuz and the Mongols, however, was another enemy of the Muslims—the crusader forces that had come to Palestine to reclaim the “Holy Land” for Christendom. From them, Qutuz sought safe passage and the right to buy supplies in order to engage the Mongols in war in Palestine. The crusaders consented. Qutuz, after all, was the only hope the crusaders had of ridding the area of the Mongols, who were as much of a worry to them as they were to the Muslims. As a result, the stage was set for a decisive clash between the Muslims and the Mongols. In the month of Ramadān, on Friday the 25th in 658 A.H was the infamous battle of Ain Jālūt.

Qutuz told his army to wait until they finished the Jummu’ah Salāh, “Do not fight them until the sun passes the middle of the sky, the shadows appear and the winds stir, and the preachers and people start to implore Allāh for us in their prayers,” and thereafter, the fighting began. Among the army of Qutuz was his General, Beybars, who would in time carve his own name into the honorary roll of warriors. By the Grace of Allāh, they achieved their victory. The invaders were defeated and the whole of the world sighed in relief and stood in awe at the remarkable achievement of these noble sons of Islām. This was the first Mongol defeat since they had launched their westward thrust out of Mongolia 43 years earlier. Never again could they return with such thrust as they had done and in time, their descendants converted to Islām and began another glorious chapter in the history of Islām.

Conclusion

This was the spirit of Ramadān that enabled our righteous forefathers to face seemingly impossible challenges. It was a time of intense activity, spending the day in the saddle and the night in prayer while calling upon Allāh for His mercy and forgiveness.

We see that the history of Islām is replete with lessons that illuminate the road of the believers where kingdoms and nations rose and fell, armies marched west and east and still the sun of Islām did not set on the world but rather it continued to shine.

Today, the Muslim world is faced with imperialist occupation, military aggression, widespread corruption and oppressive rulers. In such times, we ask that Allāh raises a group of believers who walk in the footsteps of our beloved Prophet (sallAllāhu ‘alayhi wasallam), the illustrious Sahābah, Tāriq b. Ziyād, Qutuz, Salāh al-Dīn and the other countless heroes of Islām who dazzled the world and changed the course of history.

We have seen that history bears witness to the fact that the power of Ramadān is that reputations are torn up and transformed, legacies are gilded and legends are born. It is easy to witness the current state of the suffering of Muslims as we have seen recently everywhere, but let the above stories serve as a means of hope. May Allāh make this Ramadān a turning point in the Islamic history and make it join the months of victory. Āmīn!

Notes:

1.Al-Qur’ān 3:123 -124

2.Al-Qur’ān 17:81

3.Tabari, Vol 3

4.http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/islam/history/spain_1.shtml

5.Al-Qur’ān 6:18

Ramadan!

“The month of fasting has now come to shade and shelter you,

Do not transform it also into a month of sinning.

Recite the Qur’an and glorify [God], with diligent assertion.

Indeed! It is a month for glorification and the Qur’an.

Deny your bodily appetites, seeking your soul’s salvation.

Eventually, the earth will consume the body.

How many deceased people have you known who fasted?

Amongst your family, neighbors, and brothers.

Death has erased them, leaving you behind.

Get serious [about your religion], for the living are quite close to the dead!

You take delight in the ‘Eid outfits being cut out now for the festival.

But soon they will be your burial shrouds.

How long will the person be happy with his worldly home?

Knowing that his ultimate home is the grave.”

-Ibn Rajab al Hanbali, from ’Lata’if al-Ma’arif’