Translated by Ammar Alshukry
From the sīrah
The sīrah of the Prophet gives us consolation in these turbulent times.
The Prophet was an orphan, and so it was ordained that orphans be respected after him in every land, and under every sky.
When the Prophet experienced Mecca, and experienced the weakness there, and fear, and when the people of Mecca plotted against him such that they would kill him while he slept. And that the responsibility of his blood would be shared amongst the Arab tribes. When he left that night, leaving the land that was most beloved to him, he did not think that he would return in eight years, victorious, at the head of 10,000 companions.
From the Story of Yousuf
“That has ever been in the book inscribed.” (Al-Israa: 58)
Recognize that the hand of Allāh works in Its own way. When Yousuf [alays] was imprisoned, reflect on that, Yousuf is imprisoned! When The Prophet was asked who is the most noble of the people, he responded that Yousuf, the son of Ishaq is the most noble as he is the noble, the son of the noble, the son of the noble, the son of the Khalil of Allāh. Yet no earthquake came to shake open the doors of the prison, rather a dream was sent to the king…
“And [subsequently] the king said, “Indeed, I have seen [in a dream] seven fat cows being eaten by seven [that were] lean, and seven green spikes [of grain] and others [that were] dry. O eminent ones, explain to me my vision, if you should interpret visions.” (Yousuf: 43)
So reflect on how the hand of God was working. That no one would be able to interpret the dream of the king except the one whom He had taught the interpretation of dreams.
They said, “[It is but] a mixture of false dreams, and we are not learned in the interpretation of dreams.” But the one who was freed and remembered after a time said, “I will inform you of its interpretation, so send me forth. [He said], “Yousuf, O man of truth…” (Yousuf: 43-45)
From the Story of the Sacrifice of Ibrahim
When Ibraheem was laying Isma'eel on his forehead, so that their eyes would not meet. For, if Ibrahim were to lay him on his back and the eyes of his son were to meet his that might cause him an internal earthquake. And so that son, recognizing the love of his father, told his father to lay him down on his front, and said, “Oh my father due what you wish, you will find me in sha Allāh from the patient”. Did it occur to Ibrahim in his wildest imagination that as he was placing his son to be slaughtered, that in that moment, a ram was being prepared in Jannah for him to slaughter instead?
“…and we called out to him Oh Ibraheem…” (Saafaat: 104)
When he removed from himself all ego, all personal want and desire, all love of everything else..
”Indeed, I will make you a leader for the people.” (Baqarah: 124)
“And [mention, O Muḥammad], when Abraham was tried by his Lord with commands and he fulfilled them.” (Baqarah: 124)
“And [of] Abraham, who fulfilled [his obligations]” (Al-Najm: 37)
You will find in the book of your Lord, that which will give you much consolation for these times.
From the Battle of Uhud
After the battle of Uhud verses were revealed that gave the believers much consolation.
“So do not weaken and do not grieve, and you will be superior if you are [true] believers.”
They are coming back from a battle in which 70 of them were killed, many of them were injured yet Allāh is saying they are superior. Superiority is not just in material means alone, but superiority is also that you be firm upon your īmān and steadfast upon the truth.
“If a wound should touch you – there has already touched the [opposing] people a wound similar to it.” (Al-Imran: 140)
They are wounded as well, but your wounds are not like their wounds.
“If you should be suffering – so are they suffering as you are suffering, but you expect from Allāh that which they expect not. And Allāh is ever Knowing and Wise.” (Al-Nisaa: 104)
If you are equal in the wounds, if you are equal in the suffering, you are not equal in your expectations from Allāh. You are expecting and hoping for reward, and they are not expecting anything. We are between two best things.
Say, “Do you await for us except one of the two best things while we await for you that Allāh will afflict you with punishment from Himself or at our hands? So wait; indeed we, along with you, are waiting.” (At-Tawbah 53)
The believer is always in a state of goodness…
When Ibn Taymiyyah was jailed, and the guard shut the door, he recited,
“And a wall will be placed between them with a door, its interior containing mercy, but on the outside of it is torment.” (Al-Hadeed: 13)
And then he said, “What can my enemies do to me, my paradise is in my īmān, and my īmān is in my chest, my imprisonment is solitude with my Lord, my expulsion is tourism and my execution is martyrdom. So what can they do to me?”
On Servitude & Hardships[Ibn Taymiyyah] experienc[ed] the beauty of servitude in all of his conditions. The believer transforms from one manifestation of servitude to another. The station of servitude is never altered but its manifestations do.
Some of those who lived in Egypt in the 1970's lived in constant oppression and persecution. And when that environment changed they began to belittle their worship, so much so that they deemed insignificant their actions and their ṣalāh.
They did not feel that their worship was worth anything in such ease. However, the changing of environment allows the believer to transform from one manifestation of servitude to another, servitude is not only manifested in being persecuted and besieged for your belief.
Allāh requires servitude from His slaves in their times of ease just as He requires servitude from His slaves in their times of difficulty.
So when Allāh places a slave in ease, that allows for them to experience other colors of servitude; seeking knowledge, teaching others, recitation of the Qurʾān, learning a new language that when your life's journey takes you to interact with a people they find you able to speak their tongue and articulate to them the message that you carry!
When Bad Times Come
Sometimes when times are bad, people begin to direct blame at each other.
The Prophet said, “Prepare food for Jafar's family for today they are beside themselves with grief.”
This is not the time for blame, not at all. It is not the time, when a father has lost his daughter, a mother is grieving her son, that blame be cast. The companions used to find in the words of The Prophet that which would bring them ease, comfort and consolation. The Prophet left the family of Ja'far to mourn for three days and then came to them saying, “Do not mourn my brother after today.” The mother of Ja'far's children complained to The Prophet of their being orphans. Look at what The Prophet responded to her, look at the beauty of his consoling when he said,
“Do you fear them being orphans when I am their custodian (wali) in this world and the next?”
The first generation used to live these beautiful values.
It's not about personalities. Don't tie yourself to them.
Of the lessons is also that it's not about any particular person, no matter how great. The sahabah learned that lesson at the battle of Uhud as well.
“Muḥammad is not but a messenger. [Other] messengers have passed on before him. So if he was to die or be killed, would you turn back on your heels [to unbelief]? And he who turns back on his heels will never harm Allāh at all; but Allāh will reward the grateful.” (Al-Imran: 144)
On the Wisdom behind the Rumors of the Rasul's Death
During the battle of Uhud a rumor began to spread that Rasul Allāh was killed. That rumor was a divine remedy to cure souls that were exhausted and defeated.
“So Allāh repaid you with distress upon distress so you would not grieve for that which had escaped you [of victory and spoils of war] or [for] that which had befallen you [of injury and death]. And Allāh is [fully] acquainted with what you do.” (Al-Imran: 153)
The first distress: The loss of life, wounds, loss of spoils of war and loss of victory.
The second distress: The rumor that The Prophet was killed. How is this a divine remedy?
The first distress was an overwhelming distress, the distress of 70 companions martyred and so many injured, as well as the loss of victory and spoils of war, however Allāh sent them a rumored distress, not an actual one, that totally eclipses the first distress. The sahabah could not imagine living in a world that was not beautified by the breath of the Prophet amongst them. Hence, when Allāh lifted the second (and greater) distress from them, the first distress no longer seemed overwhelming.
“Then after distress, He sent down upon you security [in the form of] drowsiness, overcoming a faction of you, while another faction worried about themselves, thinking of Allāh other than the truth – the thought of ignorance, saying, “Is there anything for us [to have done] in this matter?” Say, “Indeed, the matter belongs completely to Allāh.” (Al-Imran: 154)
Then after that distress, He gave them security in the form of drowsiness. Drowsiness in the environment of a battlefield is from Allāh, and drowsiness in ṣalāh and gatherings of dhikr are from shaytaan. And then some of the munafiqoun, as if criticizing the leadership of The Messenger of Allāh , criticizing the outcome of the battle, criticizing the loss of life and injuries, saying:
They say, “If there was anything we could have done in the matter, some of us would not have been killed right here.” (Al-Imran: 154)
Maybe some of them were of those who had advised The Prophet that he should not have met the mushrikeen at Uhud in open battle. But Allāh belies them saying,
“Say, “even if you had been inside your houses, those decreed to be killed would have come out to their death beds.” [It was] so that Allāh might test what is in your breasts and purify what is in your hearts. And Allāh is Knowing of that within the breasts.” (Al-Imran: 154)
The affair of the believer is always good.
The Prophet said,
“How amazing is the affair of the believer. There is good for him in everything and that is for no one but the believer. If good times come his way, he expresses gratitude to Allāh and that is good for him, and if hardship comes his way, he endures it patiently and that is better for him.” (Muslim)
And so the believer always journeys between the two manifestations of servitude; patience and thankfulness.
“So be not in doubt about it.” (Hud: 17)
Do not doubt for a moment that you are upon the truth. And know that Allāh says,
“And We made from among them leaders guiding by Our command when they were patient and [when] they were certain of Our signs.” (As-Sajadah 24)
So leadership, imamah, in the religion is acquired with the two ingredients of patience and certainty.