Aleppo: A sign of hope
As Muslims, viewing the atrocities of Aleppo has been difficult and heart wrenching. We’ve witnessed the slaughter of thousands of Muslims by the bloody hands of Bashar Al-Assad and his forces as the world does nothing except watch the spectacle unfold, while Muslim rulers continue in their treachery and deceit and to refuse to send their armies to aid the Muslims of Syria. Aleppo has been stark reminder of the hardship and tyrannical oppression that the believers endure daily and this is easy to forget. As Muslims we cannot wait for another Syria, Palestine or Burma to occur before our concern for the Ummah is heightened but we must bear it and we must continue to feel the problem just as the Messenger of Allah ﷺ did.
Allah (swt) says: “There has come to you a messenger from amongst you, he finds it difficult to bear your hardships. He is ever eager for you and to the believers he is kind and merciful.” [9:128]
This is a Sunnah of the best of creation ﷺ which has never been more needed; the Sunnah of unreserved concern, worry and love for the Ummah. The Messenger of Allah’s ﷺ concern for his Ummah was always at the forefront of his mind, irrelevant of circumstances and not for just those around him but even for those yet to come i.e. us. As Muslims, this apprehension that overcomes us is not based on seeing the massacre of innocent Muslim lives; it is an idea which is central to our belief and must become the driving factor to raising awareness and creating change. The hardship of the believers must remain as a constant thought to which we are always connected to no matter how helpless we may feel.
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “Allah has given one Dua to every single prophet and every single messenger that he has guaranteed that He will respond to. And every single prophet has used up this Dua for himself in this world, except for me. I have saved it and I have not used it and I will not use it in this life. I have kept it for my Ummah and I will use it for them on the day of judgement. And my Dua will be, O Allah, forgive my entire Ummah.” [Narrated in Muslim]
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ had forsaken his own hardships, he refused to use this Dua to ask for victory or for Allah (swt) to give him and his companions ease in their trials against the disbelievers. This is the level of love and concern he had for us and our affairs. We must remind ourselves of this so that we do not forget the struggles of the believers of Syria, Kashmir, Burma or any other place where the Muslims are enduring persecution and however bleak the situation may seem, Aleppo is and should be a sign of hope for this Ummah. The Muslims have demonstrated their relinquishing resolve to Allah (swt) and his Messenger ﷺ. Their martyrdom epitomizes and embodies standing for the truth.
As we see more and more Muslims in the east and west standing up to oppression and seeking change we must remind ourselves of what the Messenger of Allah ﷺ reminded the companions of at the battle of Khandaq.
Imam az-Zuhri said: “In studying the battles (of the Prophet) lies knowledge of this world as well as the Akhirah.”
The battle of Khandaq took place in Shawwal 5 AH, in which Madinah underwent a 27-day-long siege. The disbelievers gathered an immense army consisting of tribes throughout the Arabian Peninsula, numbering more than 10,000, with the intention to annihilate Islam once and for all. The Muslim army numbered a mere 3000 and therefore, in order to neutralise the threat of the enemy army, the Muslims dug trenches around the perimeter of Madinah on advice from Salman Al-Farsi (ra) who used his previous knowledge of Persian strategy. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ accepted his advice ordered the believers to rush towards digging the trenches.
We must remember this was a time of great distress and anxiety for the Muslims. On one hand the Muslims has an enemy army on its doorstep which was more than three times its size, on the other hand the Jews of Banu al-Quraidah violated the terms of their treaty with the Muslims and were planning to attack Madinah from the rear leaving them vulnerable putting women, children and the elderly in immense danger accompanied with harsh winter conditions and being weary of the hypocrites in the Muslim ranks. The Muslims had never felt so hopeless and so overcome by the situation they found themselves in. This is how we can feel when see current predicament of the Ummah today, filled with pessimism, cynicism and despair. However, while digging the trenches in preparation for impending battle something remarkable happened.
Al-Bara’ (ra) narrates, “On Al-Khandaq there stood out a rock too immune for our spades to break up. We therefore went to see the Messenger of Allah ﷺ for advice. He ﷺ took the spade, and struck the rock uttering, ‘Bismillah, Allahu Akbar the keys of Ash-Sham are mine, I swear by Allah, I can see its palaces at the moment.’ On the second strike he ﷺ said; ‘Allahu Akbar, Persia is mine, I swear by Allah, I can now see the white palace of Madain.’ And for the third time he struck the rock, which turned into very small pieces, he ﷺ said; ‘Allah is Great, I have been given the keys of Yemen, I swear by Allah, I can see the gates of San‘a while I am in my place’” [Ahmad & An-Nasai]
Despite the impending battle and despite the hardship the Muslims were going through, the Messenger of Allah ﷺ gave them a vision to remind them not to be shortsighted. This vision of glory for the Muslims put in to perspective their current struggles bringing serenity to their hearts. Seeing the situation of Aleppo should be a stark reminder that the times of ease and glory of Islam are yet to come and so we should not be disheartened by what we see. No matter the difficulties, there is always hope because Allah (swt) is with us as He (swt) is with the people of Ash-Sham. Therefore, we must continue to work for change and trust in Allah (swt)
Allah (swt) says: “O you who believe! Remember the grace of Allah, on you when there came down on you hosts (to overwhelm you). But we sent against them a hurricane and forces that you did not see. But Allah sees (clearly all that you do)” [Al-Ahzab: 9].
Finally, we must remind ourselves that Allah (swt) promised the Messenger of Allah ﷺ that his Ummah will please him; and that this situation will change by Allah’s permission; and Allah (swt) will re-establish His Deen on this Earth.
Abdullah ibn ‘Amr (ra) reported that once Messenger of Allah recited the verse in which Ibrahim (as) said: ‘O my Rabb, indeed they have misled many people, whoever followed me is from me…’ Thereafter he recited the verse in which Isa (as) said: ‘If you punish them, then they are surely your bondsmen. And if You forgive them then You are indeed most Forgiving, most Merciful.’ Then the Messenger of Allah ﷺ raised his hands, cried and said: ‘O Allah! my Ummah, my Ummah!’ When Jibril (as) came, he was informed of the reason. Allah said to Jibril (as): ‘O Jibril! Go back to Muhammad ﷺ and tell him we shall please you, and not displease you regarding your Ummah.’ [Narrated in Sahih Muslim]
We pray Allah make us of those who the Messenger of Allah ﷺ is pleased with.
The Sealed Nectar by Safi-ur-Rahman.
The Noble Life of The Prophet ﷺ By Dr Ali Muhammad As-Sallaabee