Jumuah khutbah delivered by Mowlana Syed Aftab Haider on 22 July 2016 at the Ahlul Bait (a.s) Islamic Centre, Ottery, Cape Town
The month of Shawaal reminds us of a great incident that occurred which served as a turning point in the History of Islam and that is the Battle to Uhud. This was the second Battle in Islamic History after the Battle of Badr.
In the Battle of Badr, Almighty Allah granted the Muslims with a great victory while very few people participated from the side of the Muslims in that Battle.
After fleeing back to Mecca, the kuffaar, under the leadership of Abu Sufyaan devised a plan to take revenge for their defeat in Badr.
He managed to gather an army of almost 5000 soldiers and collected huge resources to buy weapons and returned to attack the Islamic capital in Madina and attempt to kill Prophet Muhammad (sawa) himself.
Abbas who was the uncle of the Prophet (sawa), while not being Muslim at the time but still having great respect for Prophet Muhammad (sawa), informed Prophet Muhammad (sawa) about this plan.
After confirming the reality of the impending attack, the Prophet (sawa) also prepared the Muslims for this challenge.
From the Muslim side, Prophet Muhammad (sawa) managed to gather an army of 1000 people. He went out of Madina and selected a strategic position from which it would be ideal to face the army of the kuffaar. This very fact also demonstrates the military skills of the Prophet (sawa).
This strategic position was at the Mount Uhud as it provided protection from behind and it was thus ideal to make your base camp at the foot of the mountain so that your main focus was only from the front direction.
However, there was another hill on the one side of this open field which was a bit problematic as the enemy could hide behind this hill and attack you from that position. The Muslims thus had to plan to protect themselves from this vulnerable position.
The Prophet (sawa) thus deployed a large number of arrow snipers to protect the position on that vulnerable hill to ensure there is no infiltration from there.
The first phase of the war was thus successful and the kuffaar retreated and left behind their belongings.
At this point the companions started collecting these spoils of war. However, the Prophet (sawa) insisted that those who were protecting the vulnerable hill should not move from their position. But when they saw that the war appeared complete and that the spoils of war were being gathered, they felt that they should also go to claim their share or else thought they might lose out.
Unfortunately they left this vulnerable hill once again open and exposed the Muslims to a counter attack. And the enemies pounced on the opportunity under the leadership of Khalid Ibn Walid.
Chaos ensued. The scene of victory changed to one of defeat. And at that point Islam lost great personalities like the Uncle of the Prophet (sawa) called Hamza (Leader of the Martyrs) who was brutally killed.
As well as Mus’ab Ibn Umayr was killed. This person was young and extremely handsome in appearance and came from a very wealthy background, but was expelled from his family after accepting Islam and even left naked.
In the early days, when the people of Madina requested that the Prophet (sawa) sends them a formal teacher to teach them Islam, he sent Mus’ab Ibn Umayr due to his great knowledge of Islam. He is the one who prepared the ground for the subsequent arrival of the Prophet (sawa) in Madina.
In the Battle of Uhud even the Prophet (sawa) himself was injured and many other things occurred like the rumour that the Prophet (sawa) was killed which require analysis.
When the rumour spread that the Prophet Muhammad (sawa) was killed, many of the Muslims started fleeing from the battlefield.
And the Quran responds to this fleeing of the Muslims from the battlefield when it says in Surah Aali-Imraan Verse 144:
وَمَا مُحَمَّدٌ إِلاَّ رَسُولٌ قَدْ خَلَتْ مِن قَبْلِهِ الرُّسُلُ أَفَإِن مَّاتَ أَوْ قُتِلَ انقَلَبْتُمْ عَلَى أَعْقَابِكُمْ وَمَن يَنقَلِبْ عَلَىَ عَقِبَيْهِ فَلَن يَضُرَّ اللّهَ شَيْئًا وَسَيَجْزِي اللّهُ الشَّاكِرِينَ
“And Muhammad is not but only a messenger before whom messengers have already passed away. Therefore, if he dies or be killed, will you turn back (in creed) upon your heels? And whoever turns back upon his heels will by no means do harm to Allah in the least; and Allah will reward the grateful.”
This verse is questioning their very motive for becoming Muslim.
In this situation, very few people remained behind to protect the Prophet (sawa). Among them was Imam Ali (a.s) whose own sword was broken and the Prophet (sawa) gave him his own sword. At this point a voice was heard from the Heavens calling out:
“There is no warrior like Ali, there is no sword like Zulfiqar.”
The outcome of this Battle caused grief and a loss of courage among the Muslims.
KEY LESSONS FROM BATTLE OF UHUD
1. Obedience to leadership
This is something that must be maintained at any price. The people who protected the hill were not supposed to leave out of their own accord – but they did – with disastrous results. Even the greatest leader like Prophet Muhammad (sawa) cannot save a people if there are not obedient to him. Victory is dependent on the leader AND the followers.
2. Love of worldly possessions is the source of all problems
The Muslims left the battlefield due to this very reason. It was their concern for losing out on the spoils of war that caused them to leave their position on the hill.
3. Being Muslim by itself is no guarantee for victory
Your character, akhlaaq and action are criteria for victory. Even those early Muslims who were very pure in their commitment and who were successful in Badr when they were few in number – that background was no guarantee of victory. Their larger numbers and better equipment did not help either as it was accompanied by over confidence instead of being humble before their Lord.
4. No limit to revenge
In the Battle of Uhud, Wahshi Ibn Harb was the one who brutally killed Sayyidina Hamza and mutilated his body to chew his organs. This incident reflected a reality that when taking revenge, some people have absolutely no limit in expressing their revenge. The death of someone was not sufficient for them.
This spirit of Jahiliyya is still alive during our time. We saw during this week how terrorists killed an 11 year old boy and danced with his head in their hands afterwards. This was supposedly due to the boy being the son of a Palestinian who supports President Assad. And this act was not done by ISIS but a supposed moderate group who are openly supported by the USA and Arabs.
After the conquer of Mecca, Wahshi escaped to Taif as he was scared of possible revenge by the Prophet (sawa). When he was informed that he should simply pronounce the formula “there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is His Servant and Messenger” and he would then be safe, he came to the Prophet (sawa) to do so.
Prophet (sawa) recognised him and confirmed by asking him whether he was Wahshi, the killer of Hamza (r.a), and he confirmed this.
The Prophet (sawa) even asked him to explain in detail how he killed Hamza (r.a). Even though the Prophet (sawa) forgave him and saved his life, he expelled him from the Holy cities and told him to go live elsewhere out of sight.
And history narrates that Wahshi never came close to the Prophet (sawa) ever again.
But some people even consider this murderer to be a hero!!
Ibn Hajar Askalani, a famous Sunni scholar and others like Ibn Kathir have narrated that he remained a drunkard even after becoming Muslim. Even during the time of the second Khalif Umar, he found Wahshi drunk and punished him for this and cut his monthly state allowance.
So why do people consider him a hero? Because apparently Wahshi is recorded to have said “I am someone who killed the best of people and someone who killed the worst of people” – the best of people he referred to was Hamza (r.a) and the worst of people was his claim of killing Musaylima, the false prophet.
The Battles of Badr and Uhud are the two Battles that are referred to the most in the Quran and the above mentioned lessons are evergreen and remain relevant to us today.
SITUATION IN TURKEY
We might not agree with the policies of Turkey and its leader, Erdogan, but he is the democratically elected head of the country and that MUST be respected.
To remove a regime through the means of a coup and dirty tricks cannot be condoned as much as one can be critical of the Turkish regime.
Let me add the tweet of the Iranian Foreign Minister when he highlighted that the world should know that there is no place for coups in the region.
Who is behind the coup is another question.
But the situation after the failed coup is critical to analyse. How is it that the Turkish government immediately started a wholesale cleansing process of wiping out virtually ANY opposition?
Thousands of soldiers, judges, teachers, academics, etc. have simply been suspended, dismissed or arrested and no academic is even allowed to travel outside Turkey at the moment.
We do not agree with Fathulleh Gulen either, but when examining the action of Erdogan in one short week and comparing it on a like basis to Bashar al-Assad in Syria, we don’t seem to see much difference. Assad is branded a killer and must be removed, but Erdogan can do as he pleases!
SITUATION IN BAHRAIN
As previously reported, the situation in Bahrain deteriorates and the world is silent. The political parties are disbanded and their assets are frozen while leaders are continually arrested and all opposition is silenced.
SITUATION IN KASHMIR
The latest news in Kashmir is also horrific wherein we witness the worst atrocities being committed by the Indian army against the people of Kashmir. We as South Africans have some responsibility in this regard as we welcomed the Indian Prime Minister recently to our country and showered him with medals and portrayed him to be a human rights hero yet his army is responsible for the killing of thousands of Muslims.
He has also been portrayed as an heir of Ghandi, yet in action has little relation to Ghandi.