posted by abu abdAllah Tariq Ahmed
May Allah grant you and yours from the best part of His Mercy today, before the 10 days of Mercy give way to the 10 days of Forgiveness; though His Mercy is always accessible to you, especially in Ramadan, the month of Mercy. May appreciating His Mercy prepare you to seek and bi ‘idhnillah receive His Forgiveness. And a special jazak Allah khayr to Amad who let me rush in this post.
I would prefer for all of you the best guidance, and the best guidance is from Allah and His Messenger. And I wanted to share two things I learned from my 9th night of Ramadan. Subsequently, some corrections and examples have been added among the comments that I encourage any reader of the article to consider, too. And whatever good there is in what I have written is from Allah, and whatever harm is in it was from me. May Allah accept the good of it, and accept my repentance for the harm of it while protecting you from it, too.
Now for advice: learn Arabic, and find the tongue with which to speak to your brothers and sisters. Among many blessings of that day and night, Allah caused me to make iftar on the ninth night of Ramadan with Houston’s Bosnian community though I speak not two words of Bosanski, alhamdolillah alaa kulli haal.
Yet Allah was not only Merciful to me, but His Mercy extended to me a new brother — the masjid’s new imam (FOB Bosnia, mashaAllah) who speaks almost no English. We spoke much of the night in our common language.
Granted his Arabic made mine look as bad as my deficient studiousness deserved, but there’s a stern truth to be had here: confine yourself to English, and you have cut yourself off from the language in which students of knowledge converse. Study Arabic, and bi ‘idhnillah, just like me, you can at least learn from those students that Allah brings your way.
Second, a pearl of Mercy from my ninth night that shone so bright for me that tears flowed freely from my eyes afterwards while I drove home, until Allah sent a police car to make sure I kept my mind on careful late night driving.
Traditional Bosnian taraweeh finishing as quickly as it does, alhamdolillah, I had time to drop off everyone in my minivan and still get to Madrassah Islamiyyah in time to catch the majority of Hafidh Iqbal’s Urdu-language post-taraweeh “dars.” I mention that dars was in Urdu, partially because you non-Desis are just out of luck: this much of the Mercy of Allah you can only get the table scraps from it. And yet if you spoke Arabic, mashaAllah, you would have a language in common with Hafidh Iqbal, too.
By the end of their ninth night of taraweeh, Madrassah Islamiyyah had already finished Surah Tawbah, alhamdolillah. When I arrived in the musallah, the dars was about that surah.
And what brought tears to my eyes was the discussion of three particular sahabat who missed the Battle of Tabouk. In particular the punishment they endured before Allah accepted tawbah from each of them. And it made me think about when I have repented to Allah.
These three sahabah did not cause the battle to be lost. Indeed the Romans fled before ever entering the field of battle with the multitudes who were with RasoolAllah sull Allaho alayhi wa sallam.
These three sahabah were not guilty of any sin that would raise the eyebrows at masajid around the world.
All they did was procrastinate.
They knew about the call of RasoolAllah sull Allaho alayhi wa sallam to the Muslims to come as they were, in all haste, to join his army to defend Islam from the power of Rome. And they were hale and hearty, capable of fighting and without encumbrance or excuse. But things of this world held just enough of their attention that by the time they might have answered the call, the matter was settled on earth as well as in heaven.
And when the munafiqoon of Madinah, who had already been exposed in Uhud for example, gave excuses for their absence to RasoolAllah, not one was punished. And when the infirm and those with excuses to offer had done so, not one was punished.
But these three did what most of us would call a good deed: they admitted their error remorsefully, and offered no lie or exaggeration to save their necks. And what they endured…
First Allah and His Rasool handed down the commandment to the Muslims that they had to boycott these three. Then the boycott became even more firm such that the women of the households of these three had to leave them no comfort. And by the time 50 days had elapsed even the earth on which they walked hated the touch of them.
SubhanAllah, I could not imagine myself surviving 50 days like that for the sins I have done, wAllaho’Alim. Do you understand that they had the benefit of knowing exactly when Allah’s Anger was upon them? And exactly when His Mercy was extended to them? They were companions of the Messenger, sull Allaho alayhi wa sallam, so he delivered the commandment to boycott them, and he conveyed the news of the Mercy of Allah.
We, you and I, we live in silence of a different kind altogether. How often do we make tawbah for any one action that requires it? How much time passes before we let our minds wander from the gravity of what we have done? These sahabah had no such respite.
We know the hadith which teaches that when Allah Loves one of His slaves — may He Love you, and me, too — then He Commands Jibreel alayhis salam to love that slave. And what happens by the end of that hadith? From all creation comes love for that slave, alhamdolillah. SubhanAllah, I say we revel in contemplating this isnad of love.
Those three endured in a physical and emotional fashion the half of the hadith that most Muslims tend to forget. What happens — may Allah save us from it — when Allah Hates from amongst His slaves. That hate manifests from all creation.
And from one point of view their misdeed caused not one single bit of difference. Which point of view? The view of one whose heart is in ghafla, may Allah protect us from that. The heart of one who sins without guilt — that person might look at what transpired before and after Tabouk and say, “no harm, no foul.” That perhaps these three should have protested. After all, the imam of your masjid, the ameer of your local students of knowledge, or your teacher of ilm — have not they ever asked you to do something while you came back on the due date or after with an excuse? SubhanAllah, wastagfirullah, wa ‘attooboo ‘alayh.
Indeed the enemies of Islam thought this period of punishment was the opportunity in which to turn aside one of these three sahabat. And realizing that hurt those sahabat even more: not only does the earth itself despise their touch, but the accursed ones look to them as potential allies?
And after that Allah showed them Mercy.
And it really was the best day of their lives when Allah turned to them in Mercy.
And it only took 50 days.
So, how long should we be patient seeking the Mercy of Allah when we know what we know, each of us, about ourselves? And do we feel the gratitude those sahabah felt when we witness some event in our life that bears testimony that Allah has extended us His Mercy or Forgiveness or both?