Issue 107 » March 2, 2001 -
"O you who believe! Remember Allah's Favour upon you; when there came against you armies, and We sent against them a wind and forces that you saw not. And Allah is Ever All-Seer of what you do.
When they came upon you from above you and from below you, and when the eyes grew wild and the hearts reached to the throats, and you were harbouring doubts about Allah. There, the believers were tried and shaken with a mighty shaking."
[Al-Quran- Sura Al-Ahzab 33:9]
HISTORICAL BACKGROUND- BATTLE OF THE DITCH (KHANDAQ)
- These moving verses were revealed after the Battle of Khandaq (Trench) when the enemies of Islam broke their peace treaties and joined forces to kill the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his followers once and for all.
- The superpowers of the time, the Quraysh, gathered over 12000 troops from among the disbelieving tribes and the Prophet (pbuh) only managed to gather 3000 from among the Muslims to fight these Ahzab (Confederates).
- In addition, there were many hypocrites among the Muslims who did not want to go out to fight, claiming they only feared for the safety of their families.
- The Prophet (peace be upon him) and his companions themselves had to dig a trench around the city to prevent the huge armies from overtaking them suddenly and the Muslims were in a state of fear and confusion.
- The Quraysh had even sent spies into the Muslim ranks to further confuse them and boast about the strength of the Kafir armies.
- It is this state of utter weakness that Allah describes: when the eyes grew wild at the sight of the enemy descending upon them from every direction around them, and the hearts were as if reaching to the throats in cold fear, so much so that some even began to doubt Allah!
- The hypocrites when faced with this test said: “Allah and His Messenger promised us nothing but delusions!” but the true believers said: “This is what Allah and His Messenger had promised us! They had spoken the truth” and it only increased them in Iman.
- The decision rested solely with Allah and Allah never abandons His true servants, those who even in the most hopeless of situations put their trust in Him, even while their souls are “shaken with a mighty shaking.”
- It was then that Allah sent down His Command: bitter winds shook the camps and spirits of the enemies of Islam uprooting their very bases and armies of angels descended into the Muslim ranks, strengthening and supporting them, until the Believers were again victorious!
- How often we forget these Sunan (ways) of Allah! It is not the size of the armies, or the power of weapons, or technology, or material wealth or social status that gives victory. It is what is in the hearts of believing men and women that is the final criterion.
- When we see the state
of Muslims around us today, we are faced with the same
options the Muslims around the Prophet (pbuh) were faced
- either we abandon our duties to Allah and His Deen for fear of appearing weak or some material loss or temporary hardship,
- or we realize that these are trials from Allah, the Most-Merciful, to make manifest in this world who are the true Mo’mins (believers) so that in the Hereafter the hypocrites have no excuses that Allah did not give them a chance to prove themselves!
What can YOU do in these Ten Days?
Observe fasting on all or some of these days, particularly on the Day of Arafah. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Whoever Observes fast on the Day of Arafah, I expect Allah to forgive his (her) sins that were committed during the preceding year, and the sins that will be committed in the year after. (Muslim)
Offering the sacrificial animal during the day of sacrifice and the Days of Tashreeq. It is the practice of our father Ibrahim, may Allah exalt him, in commemoration of the occasion when Allah ransomed Ibrahim's son, Ismael, with a large ram. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: "He who has the capacity but chooses not to sacrifice may not approach our prayer place (on Eid)." (Ibn Maajah, Ahmad)
Thought-provoking Bits from Islamic Literature
Reflections on Tazkiya and Self-Development