Picture Perfect : Etiquette of visiting a Graveyard

Educating the visitors about the Etiquette of visiting a Graveyard, Uhud in Madinah.

Friday Khutbah : The Battle of Uhud: Victory – Not Defeat

Friday Khutbah : The Battle of Uhud: Victory – Not Defeat
- by Imam Al-Madinah Al-Munawarrah ‘Abdul Muhsin Ibn Muhammad al-Qasim
from the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah, on Rabee’uth-Thaanee 1, 1422 (June 23, 2001)

The Transcript:

All praise is due to Allah. May peace and blessings be upon His prophet Muhammad.

Fellow Muslims! Fear Allah as He should be feared for the fear of Allah increases one in blessings and removes calamities.

The Almighty Allah sent our prophet Muhammad to mankind after a break in the series of messengers at a time when the world was immersed in a deep darkness of ignorance. The Prophet and his companions started spreading the religion and the disbelievers challenged his message and unsheathed their swords to fight him. The Muslims faced them in the battle of Badr and realised a great victory by Allah’s command. The flag of Islam was raised high and the disbelievers returned to Makkah disgraced, everyone mourning the killing of his relative and lamenting over his misfortune.

The defeat was so painful for the disbelievers that they resolved to confront the Muslims again. They spent a whole year amassing as many weapons and men as they could to fight the Muslims. They left Makkah for Madinah in the third year of Hijrah in order to avenge their defeat during the Battle of Badr.

Upon reaching Madinah they camped at mount Uhud. Meanwhile some men among the Muslims who were unfortunate enough not to have participated in the Battle of Badr and were enthusiastic about Jihad advised the Messenger of Allah to go out and meet the enemy. The Prophet agreed and all the Muslims likewise were determined to go out and meet them.

After performing Friday Prayers, the Prophet entered his house, and emerged wearing an armoured breastplate, and declared,

“It is not appropriate for any Prophet who has once put on his armour to take it off again until Allah has judged between him and his enemy (by granting one victory over the other).”

The Prophet then set out in the company of one thousand men, one third of whom turned back home after travelling part of the way towards Mount Uhud under the influence of the head of the hypocrites; Abdullah bin Ubay. The Prophet proceeded with the remaining men until he camped at the trail of Mount Uhud putting the mountain behind him and facing the idolaters. He assigned some fifty archers under the command of Abdullah ibn Jubair to man a small strategic foothill and commanded them not to leave their position under any circumstances.

On the morning of the following day, the Prophet mobilized his army, inspected their armour, paraded the youths, sent back those of them who were still too young to fight and approved the participation of others. Among those he allowed to participate were Samrah ibn Jundub and Raafi’ ibn Khadeej; they were then but fifteen years old.

The Quraysh, meanwhile, also got ready for the battle. They were three thousand strong; among them were two hundred horsemen led by Aboo Sufiyan. Their intention was to put out the light of Allah and mislead His slaves, and the intention of the Muslims – who numbered only seven hundred men – was to attain victory from Allah or achieve martyrdom.

The Messenger of Allah urged his companions to fight and encouraged them to be patient and enduring.

The two armies then confronted each other with unsheathed swords, and a plethora of spears and arrows. Allah then gave permission to His Messenger to fight and the battle commenced in earnest. The Muslims initially gained the upper hand and Allah made them victorious. The disbelievers were exposed. Their standard fell and they turned their backs and fled.

When the archers saw the disbelievers defeated, they thought that there was no way they could make a comeback, and some of them left the position which the Prophet had commanded them to man in search of booty. Their leader reminded them of the Prophet’s order but his reminder fell on deaf ears and they left that strategic foothill.

Khalid bin Waleed – who was still a kaafir at that time – emerged from behind the mount where the Prophet had positioned the archers; realising that most of the archers had left that strategic position; and killed the remaining ten archers. Thus the Muslims were surrounded by the unbelievers: by their cavalry from behind and their infantry in front. So they encircled them, and a group of the Muslims were defeated while the rest were scattered in disarray. The unbelievers recovered from their initial defeat, returned to their fallen standard and began to cause a disturbance among the broken ranks of the Muslims. And aught befell them but that which was the Will of Allah; and He blessed whom He willed with martyrdom. The Prophet boldly held fast while most of his companions fled away from him while he called to them to come and reap the blessings of the hereafter. Some returned and regrouped around him. The disbelievers too made for the Prophet wanting to kill him. They gashed his face, smashed his teeth with a stone and ruined his helmet, and he fell down into a trench made by Aboo Aamir Al-Faasiq (the Godless). Ali ibn Abi Taalib took him by the hand and Talhah ibn Ubaidillah embraced him, and Mus’ab ibn Umayr was killed defending him.

The disbelievers drew nearer to him, but a group of Muslims numbering about ten protected him valiantly until they were all killed. Then Talhah ibn Ubaidillah fought them courageously until he drove them away but his hand got amputated in the process. Aboo Dujaanah also shielded the Prophet with his back and though arrows were raining down on him he did not move. Then Satan proclaimed at the top of his voice that Muhammad had been killed. This proclamation made the Muslims lose heart and many of them began to turn away. The Prophet then drew near to the Muslims and when they saw him, they gathered around him and followed him to the mountain path where he camped.

Ali ibn Abi Taalib washed the blood from the Prophet’s face and poured water upon his head. When his daughter Fatimah saw that the water only increased his bleeding, she took a piece of straw mat, burnt it and put it on the wound and the bleeding stopped.

The Prophet was so overstrained that when he wanted to mount a rock, he could not until one of his companions aided him. The Muslims became concerned about their fallen brethren, so the Messenger of Allah went to see the martyrs and found that many had been impudently mutilated. He looked for his uncle Hamzah, and found him lying in the wadi (dry river bed), disembowelled with his nose and ears cut off.

The disbelievers also went back to their mounts with their injured and dying victims. Thus was the Battle of Uhud brought to an end, leaving behind seventy martyrs among the Muslims and twenty two perished among the unbelievers; with our victims going to paradise and theirs going to Hell.

Dear Muslims! The Battle of Uhud was a victory for us, not a defeat. The battle is full of lessons and admonitions. Its events are a bright legacy that Muslims inherit generation after generation. Sixty verses were revealed concerning the events of this great battle and they had a great impact on the mind of the Prophet and he continued to refer to them even upon his deathbed.

This religion was only able to reach us as a result of the great and bitter struggle of the Companions and our righteous predecessors. These people underwent huge difficulties and trials for the survival of this religion. Anas ibn An-Nadr was wounded eighty times in this battle and the enemy so mercilessly mutilated him that only his sister could identify him by his fingertips. Sa’d ibn Ar-Rabee’ was stabbed seventy times with spears and arrows. In light of this, stop and think: What have you done for our religion?

The noble companions were by no means the best of this Ummah by virtue of their being the first to embrace Islam, but rather by virtue of their companionship and courage. They sacrificed their lives and bodies for this religion until it reached us in its complete form; some returned with amputated limbs, others with badly torn up bodies, and yet others returned not, leaving behind widows and orphans. Therefore give them their due estimation, thank them for their efforts and invoke Allah’s pleasure on them, for their Lord has expressed His love for them; He is pleased with them and they are well pleased with Him.

Brothers in faith! Acts of disobedience to Allah turn glory into disgrace. Many souls were lost during that battle because of a misdeed. Adam was expelled from Paradise because of a single sin and a woman was condemned to Hell because she starved a cat to death. Therefore obey Allah and worship Him, you will get relief from hardship and do not do any act that may turn your enemy’s weapon against you.

In this decisive battle, Samrah and Raafi’ took part in it and were martyred while they were only fifteen years old. That is an indication that Islam prevailed and has been made great on the strength of the blood of such youths among the companions, and not by wasting time and running after lustful desires. The parents of these admirable youths strove to guide them, and they reaped the fruits of their efforts. But what about us: what have our youths done for their religion? What are their ambitions? What are their concerns? To what do they aspire? How can we attract them to Islam and avert them from bad company? – Those friends who fail you when you need them the most. They pretend to be your friends when you are in prosperity and turn into your enemies when you are in hardship. An prime example of this is how the hypocrites deserted the Sahabah during their most trying period before the Battle of Uhud. Rather, keep the company of good people, for they guard you in your presence and absence, they strive for your benefit and defend you. Never despair of the reform of your society for success belongs to the righteous. Also do not despair of the mercy of Allah, for the Prophet endured persecution and injury until people entered into the religion of Allah in groups.

The end of all matters is in the hands of Allah; so always pray to Allah. The guidance of mankind is solely in the hands of the Creator of mankind. Consider the case of Aboo Sufiyan who was the standard bearer of the kuffar in the Battle of Uhud and yet was seen during the conquest of Makkah saying the Kalimah. Similarly, Wahshee, who killed Hamzah (the Prophet’s Uncle), soon after embraced Islam and later went on to kill the notorious false Prophet Musaylamah the Liar. Be afraid of Allah, lest you be misled, for mankind’s hearts are between two of Allah’s fingers and He turns them about as He likes. Pray to Him for continued steadfastness and strength of heart.

Be also aware that whenever a man falls into sin, repentance always remove them regardless of their multitude and magnitude. Consider the case of Khalid ibn Al-Waleed who led the disbelievers’ cavalry during the Battle of Uhud and by whose hand many honourable companions were martyred. When Allah opened his heart to Islam, he came to the Prophet and said,

“I make one condition: That you forgive me all my past misdeeds.” The Prophet replied him thus: “O Khalid! Do you not know that Islam negates all that precedes it, and that repentance erases whatever sins one might have committed before?”

Therefore free yourself, my dear brother, from the mire of sins, and repent for good deeds remove the evil ones. Also hold fast to this religion for much blood has been shed in its cause. Further, a man is sometimes tested through his close relations, but one must be patient with whatever they may do, for it was the Prophet’s relatives who came to Madinah to kill him and they did what most of the other unbelievers would never do by mutilating the Muslim martyrs. Yet, the Prophet forgave them during the conquest of Makkah. Therefore emulate the Prophet, be kind to your kith and kin and overlook whatever they do to you.

Beware also of dissention and controversy for they cause defeat, and do not dispute with one another lest you lose courage and your strength departs and be patient. When ever you are in prosperity do not be lulled into a false sense of security when you commit sins; for sorrow may be disguised beneath a façade of enjoyment. Consider the case of the archers who were delighted when they saw the booty and left their positions in order to get their share of it, hence making the whole army suffer a near defeat as a consequence. No condition is permanent. Therefore be patient in difficulties and thank Allah when you are in contentment.

Prophets were only human beings who suffered just as their fellow human beings suffered; they should not be raised above the position of servitude to Allah so as not to diminish their position. The Messenger of Allah wore his armour, fought along side his companions and Angels Jibreel and Meekaaeel fought for him, and even so his face was cut open and his teeth broken. Allah alone commands all that happens by His Divine Will. Had the Prophet possessed any power for himself then surely not a drop of his blood would have been spilt. Direct all your acts of worship to Allah alone. Humble yourself before Him; He will make your affairs easy for you.

Moreover, Uhud is just a mountain, blessings should not be sought from its soil and pebbles should not be picked up. It was at its side that seventy Muslims were martyred and the Prophet injured. If it had possessed any special benefit, what happened would not have happened. Leave your affairs to Allah, trust Him and take refuge with Him during times of hardship.

It is an ideal of manhood and generosity to appreciate the services rendered for the cause of religion. The ideal was exemplified by the Prophet when he kept the valiant deeds of the Uhud martyrs fresh in his memory until he died. On his deathbed eight years later, he prayed for them as if he was bidding them farewell. So always honour the great men of this religion. Aboo Sufiyan said,

“I have never seen a person love another person as the companions of Muhammad loved him.”

Allah says,

“If it had been Allah’s will, He himself could certainly have punished them (without you). But (He lets you fight) in order to test some of you with others. But those who are killed in the way of Allah, He will never let their deeds be lost. He will guide them and set right their state. And admit to Paradise which He has made known to them.” (Muhammad 47: 4-6)

Fellow Muslims! The only way to attain Heaven is through hardship and toil; the road to it is long and tortuous, filled with trials and difficulties. Only through being humble to Allah during trials does Allah grant one victory. Whenever Allah wants to honour a slave of His, He tests him and He raises his rank according to his humility and submission to Him. Allah has prepared for His believing slaves positions in His Abode of Honour, that can not be attained except through undergoing trials and He has also prepared for them means that can lead them to those positions through different tests. Submit yourself to the will of Allah, and be pleased with what He decrees for you.
One of the righteous predecessors said,

“If it were not for trials and calamities (that we have in this world) we would arrive on the Day of Judgement bankrupt.”

Each day of our lives is different, our conditions are always changing; a day of victory and another of defeat; a day of glory, and another of disgrace; a day of good health and another of sickness; a day of wealth and another of poverty. Make use of your worldly blessings to achieve prosperity in your hereafter and know that whoever gives precedence to this world over the hereafter has ruined his chances of success in both of them.

Ramadan : The Mountain of Uhud

The Mountain of Uhud in Madinah at night during month of Ramadan. Photo Courtesy : Kenan Hodzic

Narrated by Abu Dhar:

“Once, while I was in the company of the Prophet, he saw the mountain of Uhud and said, “I would not like to have this mountain turned into gold for me unless nothing of it, not even a single Dinar remains of it with me for more than three days (i.e. I will spend all of it in Allah’s Cause), except that Dinar which I will keep for repaying debts.” Then he said, “Those who are rich in this world would have little reward in the Hereafter except those who spend their money here and there (in Allah’s Cause), and they are few in number.” Then he ordered me to stay at my place and went not far away. I heard a voice and intended to go to him but I remembered his order, “Stay at your place till I return.” On his return I said, “O Allah’s Apostle! (What was) that noise which I heard?” He said, “Did you hear anything?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “Jibreel came and said to me, ‘Whoever amongst your followers dies, worshipping none along with Allah, will enter Paradise.’ ” I said, “Even if he did such-and-such things (i.e. even if he stole or committed illegal sexual intercourse)” He said, “Yes.””

[Sahih Bukhari, Book #41, Hadith #573]

Talking of Madinah

Talking of Madinah

- By Shaykh Abu ‘l-Hasan ‘Ali al-Nadwi

Friends have invited me to give a talk on Madinah, describing what I saw there, and I have readily agreed. As a Persian poet has said: “To talk of the beloved is no less pleasant than to meet him.”

I do not know when I first heard of Makkah and Madinah. Like all Muslim children, I was brought up in an environment in which Hijaz (Arabia) and Makkah and Madinah were household words. I, distinctly, remember people saying Makkah, Madinah together as if these were the same. When they took the name of one of them, they, generally, mentioned that of the other as well. I, thus, came to imagine that Makkah and Madinah were not two different places, but one, and learnt to appreciate the difference only as I grew up. It, then, became clear that these were two different towns separated from each other by over 300 kilometers.

In my childhood, I had heard people talking about Arabia and the two towns with the same fervor and enthusiasm as they did about Paradise and its joys and comforts, and it was from that time that I was seized with the desire to attain Paradise and visit Arabia.

Soon I realized that it was not possible for anyone to see Paradise during his lifetime, but he could, of course, go to Arabia. Parties of Hajjis (pilgrims) were visiting it regularly. So, why could I, also, not make a visit to that ‘Paradise of Faith?’

Days rolled by and I grew in age. My old eagerness was revived when I read books on the life of the Holy Prophet (upon him blessings and peace) and studied the history of Islam, and the urge to perform the Hajj and make the pilgrimage to Makkah and Madinah became so strong that I was never without it.

Then, it so happened that I did reach the place where neither the grass grew nor rivers flowed. Only barren mountains stood on all sides of it like sentinels. Yet, as famous Pakistani poet Hafeez Jullundri has said:

Neither grass grows here nor flowers bloom,
Yet even heavens bend themselves low to meet it.

As I saw the apparently unattractive stretch of land, I felt how devoid of scenery that town was. At the same time, however, I thought what a great favor it had bestowed upon mankind. Without it, the wide world would have been nothing more than a golden cage, and man, a prisoner. This was the town that took man out of the narrow confines of the earth and made him acquainted with limitless possibilities of development, and restored to mankind its glory and freedom. It relieved humanity of the heavy load under which it was groaning and broke the fetters unjust rulers and ignorant lawgivers had put around its feet.

As I reflected over what the world would have been without this town, I thought of comparing it with the bigger towns of the world and seeing what would have been the loss of human race and civilization had the latter not come into existence. One by one, all those towns came to my mind, and I felt that they were flourishing merely for the sake of a handful of men and had made no notable contribution to human progress and happiness. On the contrary, they had been guilty of various sins against man, at various stages of history. For selfish gain, one town had razed the other to the ground, and one country had ravaged the other countries.

Civilization would have been none the poorer without those cities. But without Makkah, humanity would have, certainly, remained unblessed with truths, beliefs, ideals and sciences that were its pride today. It was owing to it that the world regained the imperishable wealth of Faith and rediscovered the true knowledge that lay buried under a thick crust of conjecture and speculation. It got back the dignity and nobility that had been trampled under the feet of cruel oppressors. In fact, humanity was reborn at Makkah, and history turned a new leaf.

But what am I saying? What do I mean when I ask: What would the world have been like had there been no Makkah? It had remained asleep, until the 6th Century, with its dry mountains and huge sand dunes, even with the House of Kaabah and the Well of Zam Zam, while humanity was caught in the clutches of death. Surrounded by its mountains and sand dunes, it went on leading a secluded life as if it had nothing to do with the larger human family, and was not a part of, but apart from the world that lay around it.

I should, therefore, not be enquiring what would have been the state of the world without Makkah, but without its illustrious son who turned the scales of history and showed a new path to mankind.

As I reflected on it, a few scenes emerged on the landscape of my mind. It appeared as if the leader of the Quraish was circumambulating around the House of Kaabah, alone and by himself, and people were jeering at him and passing sarcastic remarks, but he was carrying out the circumambulation with supreme indifference to all hostility and opposition.

On finishing the circumambulation, he wants to go into the House of Kaabah, but the key-bearer, ‘Uthman bin Talha checks him with a firm hand. The leader of the Quraish bears it, too, with exemplary fortitude, and says: “Oh ‘Uthman! What will it be like on the day when the key will be in my hand and I will give it to who I please?” “Will all the Quraish be dead on that day?” asks ‘Uthman in anger. “No”, he replies. “On that day, they will attain real respect and honor.”

I, then, see the same leader circumambulating around the House of Kaabah, on the occasion of the Victory of Makkah, and his Companions who had sacrificed their all for his sake gathering around him like moths. He sends for the keeper of the key, and says to him: “‘Uthman! This is your key. Take it. Today is the day of showing kindness and keeping the promise.”

As history tells, the celebrated son of Makkah did not only become the owner of the key with which he could open the door of the House of Kaabah, but, with him, also, was the key with which he could open the locks of humanity no seer or philosopher had been able to do till then. It was the Quran that had been revealed to and the Apostleship that had been bestowed on him.

After performing the Hajj, I flew towards Madinah on the wings of eagerness. The hardships of the way seemed to be a blessing to me, and before my eyes was drawn the soul-stirring image of the earlier traveler whose camel had passed through the same route.

The first thing I did on reaching Madinah was to offer two raka‘ats of salat and express my sincerest gratitude to the Almighty for granting me the good fortune to be there. After it, I betook myself into the ‘presence’ of the Holy Prophet (upon him blessings and peace). How boundless was his favor upon me, really! I could never give thanks to him as was his due. I offered durood and salam, and affirmed that he had conveyed the Message of the Lord to the world, proved true to the trust He had placed with him, showed the Straight Path to the Ummah, and strove till the last breath of his life in the way of God.

I, then, made the salutation to both the trusted friends of his whose selfless devotion was without a parallel in history. No one had discharged the duties of companionship or fulfilled the obligations of succession as they did.

From the Prophet’s Mosque, I went to Jannat al-Baqi. What a priceless treasure of truth and purity, of love and dedication is buried in this small plot of land! Asleep here are those who had sacrificed the life of this world for the life of futurity. These are the men who willingly abandoned their hearths and homes in the way of faith, and preferred to spend their lives at the feet of the sacred Prophet (upon him blessings and peace) than with friends and relatives.

“Among the Believers are men who have been true to their covenant with Allah.” [Surah Al-Ahzab 33:23]

Thereafter, I visited Uhud where the most spectacular drama of love and fealty was staged. It was here that the world saw living models of faith and steadfastness; it was here that it learnt the true significance of courage and constancy. On reaching there, it seemed that I heard Hadrat Anas bin Nadhr, may Allah be pleased with him, say: “I feel the sweet smell of Paradise coming from the side of Uhud.” Or that on hearing the news of the martyrdom of the Holy Prophet (upon him blessings and peace), Sa‘d bin Mu‘adh, may Allah be pleased with him, was saying: “What is the joy of fighting and Jihad when the Apostle of God is no more?” And Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, interjecting: “What is the joy of living after him?”

It was here, again, that Abu Dujana, may Allah be pleased with him, had made his back serve as a shield for the Prophet (upon him blessings and peace) arrows pierced his flesh, but he flinched not. Sayyiduna Talha, may Allah be pleased with him, in the same way, had taken the arrows aimed at the Holy Prophet (upon him blessings and peace) on his hands until the arms were paralyzed. Hadrat Hamza, may Allah be pleased with him, was killed on this very battlefield and his body was cut to pieces, and Hadrat Mus‘ab bin ‘Umayr, may Allah be pleased with him, was martyred in such a state that even a shroud could not be provided for him, and he was buried in a blanket which was so short that if the head was covered, the feet became bare, and if the feet were covered, the head became bare.

Would that Uhud gave something of its treasure to mankind! Would that the world got a small particle of the faith and steadfastness of those glorious times!

Friends say: “You took us to Cairo and acquainted us with its important personalities; you have told us about Damascus and its people, and introduced us with its scholars; you have taken us round the Middle East. Now, tell me something about Hijaz and its distinguished sons.”

But what am I to do? To me Hijaz stands only for one man about whom I can go on talking forever. It is because of him that Hijaz is Hijaz, and the World of Islam is the World of Islam.

Our honor, indeed, is by Mustafa’s name!

Source : Ilmgate


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