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Gaza and Badr – how we can draw parallels

umm Abdillah, Radio Islam Programming

 

No doubt the current onslaught on the innocents of Gaza during the holy month of Ramadan has raised optimistic parallels with the battle of Badr on the 17th of Ramadan 2AH. As our ummah invokes a semblance of hope, the lessons gleaned from Badr feature prominently. We are proactive ummah. Dua has always being accompanied with sincere taubah first, and then followed with action. Seeing that Badr; the Conquest of Makkah and the equally decisive battle at Ain Jaloot took place in the month of Ramadan, is proof enough that circumstances colour every season. For some it may be the season of al Shaafi’ee and Abu Hanifa who read 60 Quraan khatm’s during the month of Ramadan. For others it may be a literal matter of life and death. As Allah Almighty says: And so are the days (good and not so good), We give to men by turns. This is so that Allah may test those who believe, and that He may take martyrs from among you. And Allah does not like the Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers). [Quran – 3:140]

How do were persevere? How do we still find hope in the mercy of Allah? How do we ignore the murders of innocent children in a targeted bloodbath ignored by the world powers? How do we assert revised conviction in our prayers?

Firstly, let us turn to the Quran, as it is the month of the Quran.

The Quran says: Allah has promised those who have believed among you and done righteous deeds that He will surely grant them succession [to authority] upon the earth just as He granted it to those before them and that He will surely establish for them [therein] their religion which He has preferred for them and that He will surely substitute for them, after their fear, security, [for] — they worship Menot associating anything with Me. But whoever disbelieves after that – then those are the defiantly disobedient. [24:55]

 

This is loud and clear in its announcing victory; authority and being a vicegerent granted to those who are obedient to Allah. Have we endevoured to make a firm pledge to Allah in his regard? Our brothers and sisters in Gaza await this commitment from us. Another verse verifies [8:25] — And fear a trial that will not strike those who have wronged among you exclusively, and know that Allah is severe in penalty.

 

Allah is calling us back to Him. He is giving us reasons to revert to Him and plead, even if we are generally stonyhearted due to excessive sinning.

Secondly, let us consider where are seeking deliverance. Cursing the UN and Israel; ranting at the mass media for biased reporting; invoking all the broken UN resolutions; boycotting the White House iftar, Twitter storming etc. may well create considerable awareness and uproar. However, remember the incident concerning Umar and Abu Ubaydah bin Jaraah (r), poignant and fitting since it is when Umar (r) went to collect the keys of the city of Jerusalem. The Siege of Jerusalem was part of a military conflict, which took place in the year 637 between the Byzantine Empire and the Rashidun Caliphate.

The Muslim conquest of the city solidified Muslim control over Palestine, control which would not again be threatened until the First Crusade in the late 11th century. Thus, it came to be regarded as a holy site by Islam, as well as by Christianity and Judaism. Only through this Muslim conquest, and the subsequent pact by Umar (r) were Jews were once again allowed to live and practice their religion with freedom in Jerusalem, a whole 8 years after their massacre by the Byzantines and nearly 500 years after their expulsion from Judea by the Roman Empire.

Abu Ubayda joined Amr bin al-As and Khalid bin Waleed (ra) in laying siege to Jerusalem in 636-637 CE. The ruler of Jerusalem offered a peaceful truce, provided that the Khaleef came in person to sign the treaty. So Umar (ra) left Medina for Jerusalem. As Umar (ra) was entering the city, it was his slave’s turn to ride the camel. His slave offered his turn to the Khaleef, but Umar (ra) remarked: “The honour of Islam (being Muslim) is enough for all of us.”

Thus, when Umar (ra) entered Jerusalem, he was holding the rope of his camel leading it; his clothes were patched and, having gone through a muddy patch, were also dirty. His generals, including Abu Ubayda (r) suggested that he change his clothes so that the people of Jerusalem, accustomed to the pomp of kings and emperors, were not dissuaded from handing the keys of Jerusalem over to him. He hit Abu Ubayda the chest, pushing him back, and reminded him:

فقال عمر : أوه لو يقول ذا غيرك أبا عبيدة جعلته نكالا لأمة محمد – صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم – إنا كنا أذل قوم فأعزنا الله بالإسلام فمهما نطلب العزة بغير ما أعزنا الله به أذلنا الله .

– “We were a disgraced, obscure nation of people. Nothing but Islam elevated us; and should we seek honour from anything else, anything aside from Allah, Allah will they cause us debasement and failure.” [Source]

This is a very important lesson for us. Seeking honour through lecture engagements; public rallies, television appearances; speaking gigs; our books and novels, opinions – clothes, wealth, degrees and pats on the back from those in power is nothing but disgrace for us, if we don’t return to the path walked by the Messenger of Allah (S) and seek Help from Allah, together with our obviously needed worldly efforts.

Thirdly, remember we are proactive, optimistic ummah – whatever the odds, however large the challenge.

On the occasion of Badr when the Messenger of Allah heard that the Quraysh had set out from Makkah to annihilate the Muslims he consulted his Companions. He informed them of the gravity of the situation and explained that it was necessary to fight the Quraysh or else they would easily take over Madinah and destroy the Muslims. He asked the Sahabah for their advice.

The Muhajir’s assured him of their support, but he consulted the Sahaba a second time, and then a third time. The Ansar understood the reason why – they understood the Prophet (s) was concerned about where the Ansar stood. Sa’d bin Muadh spoke up and then Miqdad (r):

‘We will not say to you what the people of Musa (Bani Israeel) said to Musa: “Go forth you and your Lord and do battle. We will be waiting here. “(5: 24). We will do battle on your right and on your left and in front of you and behind you.’

When the Messenger of Allah heard this, his face shone with happiness. Their loyalty to the Nabi (s) and their tawakkul in Allah compared to the ingrate and ignoble Banu Israeel!

We may not be able to physically follow the Prophet (s) in the same way today, but we can certainly do our best to emulate his teachings and example. Remain optimistic. Remember the greatness of Allah. Remember that our reaction to every test, is a test too. Don’t give up on our duas and physical efforts. Most of all, don’t give up on Allah.

Wa billah at-taufeeq.

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