Posted in Miscellaneous, Philosophy, Religion

Battles Within Self

self-actualization-211.jpg

We may have heard the Treaty of Hudaibiyah (Suluh Hudaibiyah[1]) as one of the milestones along the early of Islamic history, particularly the Prophet’s Seerah. This treaty has made an incredible impact on Islam and Muslims, even until today. About the background of this treaty, as well as how the narratives goes, please check the other article: True Purpose of Victory

The terms ‘Treaty” itself was introduced by some Mufasseerun and Muslim Scholars to highlight the treaty (suluh: الصلح) on the Hudaibiyah event. Many of the companions from the very first time, always remembered Hudaibiyah as War or Ghazwat (الغزوة).

عَنْ سَلَمَةَ بْنِ الأَكْوَعِ، قَالَ غَزَوْتُ مَعَ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم سَبْعَ غَزَوَاتٍ‏.‏ فَذَكَرَ خَيْبَرَ وَالْحُدَيْبِيَةَ وَيَوْمَ حُنَيْنٍ وَيَوْمَ الْقَرَدِ‏.‏ قَالَ يَزِيدُ وَنَسِيتُ بَقِيَّتَهُمْ

Salama bin Al-Akwa` said, “I fought in seven Ghazwat along with the Prophet.” He then mentioned Khaibar, Al-Hudaibiya, the day (i.e. battle) of Hunain and the day of Al-Qurad. I forgot the names of the other Ghazwat. (Sahih Bukhari)

Even though there was no real battle with the enemy, companions of the Prophet always remembered that Hudaibiyah was one of the toughest battles they overcome. Psychological battle. Because they went on facing themselves. They were in chaos, couldn’t believe what they were seeing. As if they have lost the battle itself.

Prophet Muhammad s. had with him hundreds of companions. If their emotions were intense, can they be calmed down easily? They were in intense fear before in Ahzab[2] situation, and now they will go to Makkah. Alas, it is fear, anticipation and then rage becomes one when they were in Hudaibiyah. They heard about the murder of Uthman, the assassinations attempt, and now the treaty offered by Quraish, in which the treaty itself seems unfair.

When the treaty was offered by the Quraish, they feel like they are losing mind because of the contents. Yet, the insight for all the scenes in the Hudaibiyah including the treaty was told years later, and the significance impact of this treaty can be seen three years after, it is the Opening of Makkah (Fathu Makkah[3]).

The treaty creates domino effect within the Muslim community and the world surrounding and leads them to Fathu Makkah. But the Opening of Makkah is not the victory itself, although it signifies Muslim’s victory in their early history. There is a certain parameter that Allah has been set for victory.

One narration concludes this set of parameter.

قَالَ تَعُدُّونَ أَنْتُمُ الْفَتْحَ فَتْحَ مَكَّةَ، وَقَدْ كَانَ فَتْحُ مَكَّةَ فَتْحًا، وَنَحْنُ نَعُدُّ الْفَتْحَ بَيْعَةَ الرُّضْوَانِ يَوْمَ الْحُدَيْبِيَةِ‏.‏

Do you (people) consider the conquest of Mecca, the Victory (referred to in the Qur’an 48:1). Was the conquest of Mecca a victory? We really consider that the actual Victory was the Ar-Ridwan Pledge of allegiance which we gave on the day of Al-Hudaibiya (Sahih Bukhari)

The implication of the victory itself actually lies within the companions. The best victory of all is the companions. They were the best results of the Prophet’s teaching. Their discipline has overcome their own fiery rage in order to follow the Prophet’s command. Even when in Hudaibiyah, knowing the treaty that has been signed by the Prophet, they were in chaos. They were anticipating the dream of the day when they can go to Makkah peacefully, and yet they need to ward-off and signing an “unfair” treaty. When the Prophet told them to shave their head and sacrifices their animals which signify the end of their pilgrimage, they were in one period of silence. This is the first time they did not follow the commands as soon as possible. They act until the Prophet shaved his heads and sacrificed his animals. It is amazing that they at least did follow the Prophet after all the fiery moments in Hudaibiyah!

Upon all features happened in Hudaibiyah, the most notable is how the companions react at the end of the day. Their disciplined let them overcome their rage. The victory is not about overcome the city of Makkah. It is all about the companions. The companions itself is the sign of the victory.

notes:

  1. The Treaty of Hudaybiyyah (Arabic: صلح الحديبية) was an important event that took place during the formation of Islam. It was a pivotal treaty between Muhammad, representing the state of Medina, and the Quraish tribe of Mecca in March 628 (corresponding to Dhu al-Qi’dah, 6 AH). [from Wikipedia]
  2. Ahzab (أحزاب) means alliance, parties, particularly this term refers to the Quraish and other tribes who Joint Forces in an alliance attacked the Prophet in Madina in the Battle known as ‘Battle of the Ditch’ (غزوة الخندق) and also ‘Battle of the Joint Forces’ (غزوة الأحْزاب).
  3. Fath Makkah often refers to the victory of the Muslims upon opening the city of Makkah. Fath (فتح) itself literally means to remove a lock so the door can be open. It can also mean a removal of sadness in Arabic phrase.
Posted in Philosophy, Religion, Science

Knowledge is (not) Power

أَفَرَأَيْتَ مَنِ اتَّخَذَ إِلَٰهَهُ هَوَاهُ وَأَضَلَّهُ اللَّهُ عَلَىٰ عِلْمٍ وَخَتَمَ عَلَىٰ سَمْعِهِ وَقَلْبِهِ وَجَعَلَ عَلَىٰ بَصَرِهِ غِشَاوَةً فَمَن يَهْدِيهِ مِن بَعْدِ اللَّهِ ۚ أَفَلَا تَذَكَّرُونَ

Have you seen he who has taken as his god his [own] desire, and Allah has sent him astray due to knowledge and has set a seal upon his hearing and his heart and put over his vision a veil? So who will guide him after Allah? Then will you not be reminded? (QS. 45:23)

knowledge-blue

To the best of our knowledge, modern human has been living for roughly 100,000 years, only a tiny fraction of 4.5 Billion years that the earth has been around, and yet our impact, to a certain extent, is significant. We may conclude for a long period of time, the inhabitants of the earth are mostly unintelligent beings. Thus, some say that we, human are now separated from other species because of this so-called intelligence. In Abrahamic Faith, all of the religion agreed that Adam was given the knowledge of the names. Hence, he know to use terms as implies within names.

Most researchers today believe that all of the human accomplishment such as farming, foraging, creating societies, and so on, were the product of a revolution in Homo Sapiens’ cognitive abilities. What caused these new ways of thinking and communicating? Researchers argue that genetic mutations changed the inner wiring of the brain, and thus enabling them to come up with new ways of thinking and communicate it with a new type of language. This ability showcase what human are capable of.

As implies within the creation of Adam and what is his best feature, we can conclude that the knowledge and its potential lies within every human being, whether you are creationist or evolutionist. But, let’s not discuss that for now.

Human minds progressed and shape our civilization today, the so-called “Scientific Revolution” era. During this period of time humankind has obtained enormous powers by investing resources in scientific research. It is a revolution because the world obtained enormous medical, military, and economic powers.

But, most people in average having problems digesting modern science. College students having difficulties solving their calculus homework, or how to build their science project. Out of billions of people, how many really understand quantum physics, molecular biology, and macroeconomics? Science nevertheless enjoys immense prestige. Leaders of the world may not understand nuclear physics in detail, but they do know what nuclear bomb is and how catastrophic it may become.

In 1602, Francis Bacon published a scientific manifesto titled, The New Instrument. In that manifesto, he argued that ‘Knowledge is Power’. The real use of knowledge is not whether it is true or not, but whether it empowers us or not. Bacon connects science and technology, and this connection flourishes in the beginning of the nineteenth century.

Having all said that, science at the end of the day is unable to set its own priorities and incapable of determining what to do with its own discoveries. It is merely tools to be utilized.

Even one of the pioneer of the scientific method in our era, British philosopher, logician, and Nobel Prize Winner, Bertrand Russell said, “The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge.” Love and knowledge. If having knowledge is considered as having power then it should be accompanied by principle or moral. It might mislead humankind and brought them to an end.

Human desire is at every cause of war and terror that our world has witnessed. Quran (Look up QS 45:23 in the beginning) called that desire or هوي (hawa) with an original literal meaning “to drop, fall, tumble, fall down, sink, etc.” Hence, any people who follow their desire (lust), as in this meaning, will fall or in this case (Quran) let the people blindly go astray with sealing in their ears and hearts. Even for the person with knowledge (علم).

Sometimes we are having difficulties in separating knowledge as in classical text (hard knowledge) and having “knowledge”. Having a lot of Hadith recitation might not be considered as knowledge if the person did not apply it. Having plenty of information about Islam doesn’t make a person wise.

Imam Malik enlighten us with his saying,

“Knowledge does not refer to plenty of information; rather, knowledge is a light that Allah puts into the heart of a true believer.”

Knowledge is depicted as light from Allah, while the light itself symbolizes hope, a guidance, that will guide us in our darkest moments. Interestingly, the word “knowledge” itself, علم (‘ilm/knowledge) is unique. If you flip the last two letters it will become عمل (‘amal/action), and if you flip the word, it will form لمع (lama’/shine, brilliance).

In Islam, this knowledge that you gain needs to be applied, so that you can gain understanding and be able to become a brilliant person with Allah’s help. The light penetrates the heart of the believer so that he aware of his existence and what needs to be done between him and his Master, and thus taking action in which makes the person shine. What is exactly the light that can penetrate the heart? That light, I can argue, is the Quran, sent down from Allah.

Human desire problem is so deep and complicated. Any knowledgeable and wise person might have fallen because of it. Let it be in politics, economics, or sciences. Everyone might succumb.

They must complete the equation that prescribed before. Let the Quran speak and act as a light. Knowledge is a light that illuminates civilization through the heart of believers. Having plentiful information about Islam is not the same as having knowledge. Having scholarly debates sometimes not considered gaining knowledge if they are following their ego and desire.

Let Allah guide us through His knowledge to act as humanity’s beacon of light.  

References

  1. Harari, Yuval Noah., Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, Harvill Secker, 1st edition, 2014
  2. Michio Kaku (videos: on the Evolution of Intelligent)
  3. Mohammed Ghilan excerpt in his videos
  4. Dictionary: ejtaal.net
  5. Quran: legacy.Quran.com
Posted in Philosophy, Religion

Honoring (him)

To most people, their parents and children are the most beloved people to them. If anyone was to try and harm any of them, it is expected that they would get upset and immediately jump to the defense of their honor. We get rushed into action.

For Muslims, the Beloved Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is dearer than anyone else even ourselves. In fact, there are people nowadays that would trade everything just to see him visit them in their dreams. But then, how we honor him?

muhammad-1-white

He is the one who we believe was sent as a Mercy. He is the one who we are indebted to for the message of peace that he came with. Yet, somehow his speech, more notably the hadith has been misused by some people.

People read the Quran and read the hadith, but all too often they read it selectively, taking phrases out of context. People just use it for whatever point they want to make. They come to it with their own mind and look for the verses (ayah) or hadith to confirm what they want to hear.

The Quran was not a shopping list for the good of life. Muslims need to stand back for a panoramic view of the text. Furthermore, hadith, which contains many Prophets speech and action, should not be misused, i.e. taking the phrase out of the real context [1]. These two (Quran and hadith) linguistically are different as a whole.

The Prophet ﷺ speech were used in his specific time, including the language and culture. There is remarkable consistency in his style of speech if we observe closely. One of the research nowadays concludes that Prophet Muhammad ﷺ used certain language which structurally different with the Quran. This research counts specific words that were used in hadith, how the structure is, etc, and later compare these findings with the Quran.

The end result from this research is the two book (Quran and hadith) are coming from two different sources!

Regarding the style of his speech, Prophet ﷺ often used hyperbole in hadith [2]. He used the words best and worst to describe something. “The best deeds are….. The worst from people is….” In each of hadith, the description may or may not the same! This is how Prophet ﷺ said. The possibility is that it depends on the objects, with whom the Prophet ﷺ talked to? Or these things is the most amongst you can do, at least.

Another point of the Prophet ﷺ language is when he making a point, he used the language of Zajr (Rebuking). The Prophet was once said to burn the house for someone who did not come to Masjid, the question is did he burn the house?

لَيَنْتَهِيَنَّ رِجَالٌ عَنْ تَرْكِ الْجَمَاعَةِ أَوْ لأُحَرِّقَنَّ بُيُوتَهُمْ

‘Let men desist from failing to attend the congregation, otherwise, I will burn their houses down.’ (Sunan Ibn Majah [3])

Sometimes also Prophet ﷺ says a thing like, “Whoever does this and that are not amongst us…” Does it mean that kind of activity will remove our Muslim identity? No, of course not.

Muslim scholars define that as Kufr al-Asghar action. It means that only the action itself represents the kufr activity. It is a different term from “Kufr” as in disbelievers. This approach should not be in a literal meaning.

Honoring our Messenger is not only about our action, it is also about our attitude. What is the Quran do to adjust the attitude of believers to the Prophet ﷺ?

The Quran gave him a rank nobody had not been enjoyed, he was honored so much, that there was a danger that people might end up worshipping him [4]. In order to counter that act the Quran needs to say:

قُلْ إِنَّمَا أَنَا بَشَرٌ مِّثْلُكُمْ يُوحَىٰ إِلَيَّ أَنَّمَا إِلَـٰهُكُمْ إِلَـٰهٌ وَاحِدٌ ۖ فَمَن كَانَ يَرْجُو لِقَاءَ رَبِّهِ فَلْيَعْمَلْ عَمَلًا صَالِحًا وَلَا يُشْرِكْ بِعِبَادَةِ رَبِّهِ أَحَدًا

Say, “I am only a man like you, to whom has been revealed that your god is one God. So whoever would hope for the meeting with his Lord – let him do righteous work and not associate in the worship of his Lord anyone.” [QS. 18:110]

In our daily life, when you are close to someone, the more casual you will be. Imagine the life of Prophet ﷺ when he was appointed as The Messenger of Allah. All of the people, including the people who are close to him, is hold respect to him by saying this word: “قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ” not “قَالَ فلنٌ” or any casual saying when narrated his speech. All of these things are recorded as we learn our hadith tradition. This is our attitude in order to honor our messenger  ﷺ.

In conclusion, the nature of our Prophet’s legacy is fiercely contested by a vast majority of Muslim and non-Muslim, each of those sides was impacted greatly.

It is as the famous philosopher in the early 20th century, Muhammad Iqbal says: “You can deny God, but you cannot deny Muhammad.”

It depends on our attitude in honoring him. صل على محمد

Check out this song and its lyrics: محمد نور

Some of its lyrics:
يا ربي بالمصطفى بلغ مقاصدنا واغفر لنا ما مضى يا واسع الكرم
محمد نور محمد نور مديحو زاد فينا سرور
مشي فينا بدرب النور
محمد نور
محمد نور
يا رسول الله سلام عليك يا عظيم الجاه والكرم
References
  1. Power, Carla, If the Oceans Were Ink: an Unlikely Friendship and a Journey to the Heart of the Quran, Holt Paperbacks, 1st ed, 2015.
  2. From one of the lectures of Dr. Jonathan A.C. Brown, author of the book: Misquoting Muhammad: The Challenges and Choices of Interpreting the Prophet’s Legacy
  3. Sunan Ibn Majah Book 4, Hadith 61.
  4. From the history, many prophets and great men being worshiped as God.
Posted in Culture, Religion

Divine Convention: Hajj

hajj

In a summary, Hajj (Pilgrimage) is a celebration and commemoration of sacrificial made by Ibrahim ‘alaihissalam. The culmination of the entire thing in the Rasulullah ﷺ life is actually the liberation of the House of ﷲ. The liberation itself could not be separated with the important role of the Qiblah shifting in which The Muslim community gaining its power! Not so long after the shifting, The Quraish wage war against Muslim, and thus The War of Badr happened. Had not the Quran responded with the ayah regarding the shifting, fighting and fasting, no one knows what will happen with the Muslims community at that time!

By the eight years of Migration of The Prophet, in the month of Ramadan, The House of ﷲ successfully liberated. It is the day of Fathul-Makkah (The conquest of Makkah). The House of Ibrahim then purified once again.

Having said all of the historical events occurred regarding the House of ﷲ. Every year, when we are going to make Hajj, we are continuously living up the victory and the fulfillment of the mission of Rasulullah ﷺ. As a people, we are reminded of the entire life of Rasulullah Muhammad ﷺ and the life of Ibrahim ‘alaihissalam, along with the promise that we, as a people, made to ﷲ that we are going to carry the mission of Islam to the rest of humanity. We rejuvenate that mission for every single year in such divine convention which we called Hajj!

We are wearing typically the same clothes, we are doing exactly the same thing! Millions of people dressed exactly the same way and doing the same thing! The communal message for Hajj is always plain and simple: “Equality”.

Prophet ﷺ says in his last sermon of Hajj, “No Arabs superior to non-Arabs. No non-Arabs superior to Arabs. No Black man superior to Red man. No Red man superior to Black Man. The noblest among of you is the one who has taqwa/conscious of God ()”

That is the communal sense that we should have as an ummah. How about us as an individual? Hajj is the most communal experience you will ever have, but at the same time is the most personal experience you will ever have!

Take a look through this ayah.

ثُمَّ أَفِيضُوا مِنْ حَيْثُ أَفَاضَ النَّاسُوَاسْتَغْفِرُوا اللَّهَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

Then depart from the place from where [all] the people depart and ask forgiveness of ﷲ. Indeed, ﷲ is Forgiving and Merciful. [QS. 2:199]

This is the once in a lifetime opportunity to make Du’a (prayer) that you have never been made before. You have now left everything behind. Practically you have stripped the worldly life (Dunya) out of you. In this particular private-moment, there is nothing left between you and ﷲ.

You are in a place that itself reminds you of death. There is no livelihood in Makkah aside from the miraculous spring of Zamzam. It is barren dessert. Even Ibrahim ‘alaihissalam would describe it as a valley that has absolutely no cultivation whatsoever.

Take a look the last passage of the ayah, interestingly ﷲ use the words إِنَّ. The use of إِنَّ in the ayah signify that ﷲ is giving a kind of guarantee that if we do our Hajj right then ﷲ absolutely will guarantee His forgiveness. He is extremely forgiving and loving.

Hopefully, every time we experience or imagining the remarkable journey of Hajj, our sense of commitment to the work of Ibrahim ‘alaihissalam and the struggle of Rasulullah ﷺ is rejuvenated, and our job as an ummah is refreshed in our heart.

May Allah accept the pilgrims and allow them to return safely to their families. May Allah accept us and answer our prayers and may Allah allow us to go for Hajj in the future years to come.

Happy Eid Mubarak 

Posted in Philosophy, Religion, Science

Lost in Details

While our eyes help to capture images surround us, it is that our visual system as a whole made it work, the eyes and brain that have the all important task of organizing, and making sense of what we are seeing. It turns out that our age affects how we visually interpret information.

There is a tendency for people to visually organize things into groups rather than seeing them as individual objects. It is known as Gestalt Perception [1].

A study in Germany showed that young adults perceive and process images in a different way than other adults. Young adults tend to perceive things in detail, while the older one perceive it as a whole as they got lost in details. This study led researchers to believe that the gestalt perception decline with age.

forest-tree

Young adults or even children are found to be more active in learning as they ask many questions, an important or even dumb question. They fill their life with curiosity and creativity. They will ask many detail questions! As we grow older, our perception to interpret reality becomes limited, and it led many averages of us to routine daily life without any space to explore our creativity.

But the issue is not with that curiosity attitude that we had as children, it is about our attitude nowadays. As a civilized people, we should start by asking the right question. For that question, we should come up with the process of thinking. By means of that process, the so-called philosophy is needed as its purpose is to come up with the right questions  as one of the scholars, Slavoj Zizek, has to say [2].

The beauty lies in the details, some say, but paying attention to many details may lead to disoriented purpose or goal. Asking questions that are not fit in the context may ruin the process of thinking, blurring its purpose!

One day, I read a few arguments regarding someone prayer (salah) and how they should straightening their rows in a perfect and complete rows. It is as The Prophet ﷺ saying, “Straighten your rows as the straightening of rows is essential for a perfect and correct prayer.” [3]

In the other places, he ﷺ says, “Allah and His angels send blessings upon those who complete the rows, and whoever fills a gap, Allah will raise him one degree in status thereby.” [4]

From the look of these sayings, the arguments and debates began. They are all focused on whether someone has close the gap in between people to make a complete and straight rows. There are people who paying attention to very specific details, how people should make the good and complete row in prayer, even they measure the gap in between people when they salah!

It is not that this thing is not important at all. No, please don’t misunderstand my intention. There are nothing wrong with arguing and debates. But sometimes people losing their temper and self-claim their opinions, while they may also losing their logic within their mind. Thus, series of debates began.

Those endless debates may make us disoriented in our own Muslim society. Additionally, this phenomenon showed that we are still not connected as an Ummah. We should pay attention while still in-tact our mindset as one Ummah. We should ask intelligent questions, not for imposing our arguments to win debates, rather for increasing our humility in our prayer and worship. This is how we improve our personal and social life.

Our Ummah may need to renew our faith after series of unfortunate events happened in the Muslim world, especially in the last century [5], it as The Prophet ﷺ  saying, “The people will soon summon one another to attack you as people when eating invite others to share their dish. Someone asked: Will that be because of our small numbers at that time? He replied: No, you will be numerous at that time: but you will be scum and rubbish like that carried down by a torrent” [6]

nine eleven
one of the images taken from 9/11 event

 

This establishment of faith should come first by the process of correct thinking. It is easier for saying than it is to be done in action. As the Ummah keep falling to the degree of a disunite people and falling into endless debates, and on the other hand, there are problems arise, as our young Muslim becomes obsessed with the idea of Islam without a proper scholarship and rushes into judgment.

Maybe it is as the early paragraph described, young adults rather perceive things more in detail than as a whole. But without proper balance as in knowledge, our Ummah has fallen into that trap, and thus we can’t see the whole picture. We can’t process our thinking properly because we are clouded with debates and rather quick judgment to value something or someone!

We should avoid getting lost in details and losing our true purpose!

References

  1. Reference for Gestalt Perception
  2. There is one video done by Slavoj Zizek, one of the great philosophers today, which explained the purpose of philosophy. You can find it here: Zizek video
  3. Sahih al-Bukhari 723 [Book 10, Hadith 117]
  4. Sunan Ibn Majah [Book 5, Hadith 1048]
  5. The series of unfortunate events started with the division within Arab world as in here, and with the falling of the Ottoman Empire, and the rising of Nation-State model, many Muslim places were invaded, especially one of the heart of Muslim World, Palestine. Long story short, in 2001, all the feeling the western had has culminated after 9/11, and now with the conflict rising in Syria, and the appearance of ISIS to black-flag the religion of Islam, worsening the condition.
  6. Sunan Abi Dawud 4297 [Book 39, Hadith 7]
Posted in Philosophy, Religion

Farewell of Ramadan

As the month of Ramadan ended, the Muslim world was shocked because of the series of unfortunate event, killing and bombing attempts, and even happened near the burial place of the Prophet ﷺ as the believers were about to break their fast.

It is obvious that the objective of all of these attempts is to so inflame Muslim public opinion around the Muslim world that the ranks of Terrorist group such as ISIS would be filled up with over-flowing volunteers, especially young people!

As those groups gain their momentum, the media would then might launch their propaganda to convince mankind that Islam slowly becoming a threat! That propaganda will open up a new door for calamities that will make the Mongol invasions of the 13th century look like a joke!

Indeed, as Hamza Yusuf, one of the Islamic scholars in the US said about the problem of youth Muslim this day, it is a plague within our ranks. There is a plague on the horizon, a faith eating plague that spread out in Muslim communities around the globe.

There are young people of Muslim out there who filled our ancient faith with rage in its message. They are young with full of motivation to change the world, and convinced that the way they are doing is the best way to settle and engage! Thus these young people filled up ISIS easily!

These teachings that sprung in those youths rejects the body of Islamic scholarship from our tradition as a whole! With uncontrollable spirit within them, these young Muslims over-flowing all the social media with rage and full of sentiment, some of them even easily put the Kafir terms on other Muslims! Without any hesitation whatsoever.

Our Muslim communities largely packed with these youths. The next generation of Muslim will be under their leadership, and it is our responsibility to guide them. There is a need for counter-measure of this problem.

What we need to counter this plague are the voices of scholars, as well as activists, we can’t just utterly say that this militancy has little to do with religion! It has everything to do with religion: misguided, fanatical and politicized religion. It does, however, nothing to do with the merciful teachings of our Prophet ﷺ.

In one scene of the Prophet ﷺ life, right after he went back to Makkah, and gained victory without even spilling needlessly blood, for those who provoked, opposed and even tortured his companions, Prophet ﷺ only asked how they thought he was going to deal with them. The Quraish people answered, “as a noble brother” that they expected nothing but goodness from the Prophet ﷺ and he would deal towards them kindly. The Prophet ﷺ spoke telling them“I speak to you in the same words of the prophet Yusuf (Joseph) ‘alaihissalam, who spoke to his brothers.” [for full story: True Purpose of Victory]

That is the true nature and goal of Islam, to seek forgiveness. The source of the forgiveness is The Most Merciful One, ﷲ, as the Prophet ﷺ also showing the attributes of that mercy for everyone, even his own enemies.

As Ramadan comes to a close, let us pray for the oppressed and the guidance of the oppressors, for those who have been killed, and for those who lost their loved ones, and most of all, let us answer our Prophet’s call and want mercy for everyone.

 

 

Posted in Philosophy, Religion

The True Purpose of Victory

Victory

What is the purpose of the victory?

Usually in our daily life, we are alluded in kind of idea to achieve something, win the election, graduated from the college, to work in the multi-billions private company, or just be a better person.

The victory usually for many people is the goal itself. But then again, what is the purpose of that particular victory?

One chapter in Prophet ﷺ life might answer that question. As the chapter conclude the answer, it may also explain its relation with the month of Ramadan.

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Several years after The Prophet ﷺ and his companions went through one of the most difficult battles and the most humiliated scene in their life. It was so clear that the dream the Prophet had has been fulfilled, they enter the city of Makkah from every direction. It is though a few years ago, they desperately in anger and confusion.

Prophet Muhammad ﷺ had a dream one day. He has revealed a scene where the Muslims entering Makkah and makes the pilgrimage (Hajj). After years and years struggling in battles against the Quraish, notably after they went on against in the battle of the trench, this vision that The Prophet had, have lifted up their spirit, motivates them to move towards Makkah, ending all the animosity between the two.

After 6-7 years the Prophet ﷺ and his companions settled in Madina, the worst military engagement happened. Quraish leaders successfully convinced all the tribes around the land of Arabs to join an alliance with them marching towards Madina. They were convinced that the real problem is indeed Prophet ﷺ and his companions that reside on Madina.

The Alliance consisting ten to twelve thousand men from multi-factions of Arab tribes surrounds the city of Madina prepared to attack the city and kills every Muslim man and woman inside, annihilate them and take the spoil of wars. But one of the companions, Salman the Persian, advised something that came outside of Arab world, the trench. This scene and how the battles ended is on the surah Al-Ahzab, they were saved by the physical winds, and they went on without even battling the enemies with their swords. Moreover, there are winds that blowing news inside the Alliance that fractured their bond. Thus the battle ended and the Quraish went home.

After they had the worst military engagement, Prophet ﷺ had a dream that he and his companions entering the city of Makkah, without weapons, and do the pilgrimage. This dream revealed only a year after that worst battle happened, and now they will go entering the city of Makkah without any preparation for battle since the dream of the Prophet ﷺ was counted as revelation!

When people do pilgrimage, the tradition is that all the battles or fighting inside are prohibited. So The Quraish sends some of their men to cut off the Prophet ﷺ and his companions journey towards Makkah. Fortunately, the Muslims had their own intelligence to get that information, and made them go for an alternate place and set-up their camps temporarily. They then reached the barren field called Hudaibiya.

Long story short, after a few incidents and assassination attempts to kill Prophet ﷺ, the Quraish now forced to negotiate with the Muslims. If they attack the people who want to make the pilgrimage, the news will spread out that they abandon the sanctity of the pilgrimage and the holy city of Makkah. They will lose their respects in Arab lands.

Finally, after tough and tense negotiation, things all wrapping up, and those two had agreed for a conclusion. The conclusion is very demeaning and made the companions disappointed in many ways. They should go back to Madina, canceling the pilgrimage, and sacrifice the animals outside the city of Makkah. Moreover, any Makkah people that run away from Makkah towards Madina, they should be returned safely to Makkah. But people from Madina that comes to Makkah, they won’t be returned to Madina and becoming their captives.

All of the treaty in that negotiation put disadvantages towards the Prophet ﷺ and his companions! The companions now are in jeopardy and confusion. The level of frustration is very high. They were enraged, especially for Umar!!

Did not the Prophet ﷺ say he had been seeing a dream? Are we the People of Truth? Is he the Prophet? What are we doing here in Hudaibiya!?

As Umar asking over and over to Abu Bakr, The Prophet ﷺ giving commands to all of the companions. They were asking to take off their ihram, shave their hair and sacrifice the animals. Unexpectedly, no one hears the Prophet ﷺ!! This is the first time when they did not obey the commands directly! Prophet ﷺ then go see his wife and asking for advice. Then Prophet ﷺ take off his ihram, shave his hair and sacrifice the animal, then soon followed by the companions. Then they went back home. It seems humiliated.

When they went back to Madina, Umar pulls his horse and move towards Prophet ﷺ hoping he can make a conversation with him but then he was rejected. Three times he was asked and had being rejected. The Prophet ﷺ did not say anything to Umar.

After that scene, Umar was asked by the Prophet ﷺ to see him directly. Umar was afraid and nervous because of the scene before. When Umar came, he saw the Prophet ﷺ smiling with joy and bright face. The revelation has been sent down. He recites the full Surah of Fath.

The Prophet ﷺ says: “Tonight there has been revealed to me a Surah which is dearer to me than that on which the sun shines.”

إِنَّا فَتَحْنَا لَكَ فَتْحًا مُّبِينًا

Verily, We have given you (O Muhammad SAW) a manifest victory. [QS. 48:1]

Umar hears the whole thing, and how is that a victory, he thought himself? But with this revelation the course for all of them had been set.

In all of the incident, they were still heading back, they were still humiliated after the signing of the treaty of Hudaibiya. What is the point of this revelation? The only changes are how ﷲ through the revelation enforced the Muslim to see things differently. Not only action that defines victory, but also attitude and emotion that defines it!

Thus ﷲ defines the victory, not in a human sense, He defines it in the Quranic sense. That’s the Surah is all about.

It is to look at victory from the lens with which the Quran want to see it as opposed to looking at it in a worldly sense.

It is such a powerful lesson of the Quran!

Back to the question in the first paragraph. What is the purpose of the victory?

From the structure itself, beautifully the purpose was explained as the idea of forgiveness scattered all over the Surah! The beginning, middle and end of the Surah, it is all about forgiveness. Victory itself is not a goal! It is all about forgiveness!

لِّيَغْفِرَ لَكَ اللَّهُ مَا تَقَدَّمَ مِن ذَنبِكَ وَمَا تَأَخَّرَ وَيُتِمَّ نِعْمَتَهُ عَلَيْكَ وَيَهْدِيَكَ صِرَاطًا مُّسْتَقِيمًا

That Allah may forgive for you what preceded of your sin and what will follow and complete His favor upon you and guide you to a straight path [48:2]

وَلِلَّهِ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۚ يَغْفِرُ لِمَن يَشَاءُ وَيُعَذِّبُ مَن يَشَاءُ ۚ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ غَفُورًا رَّحِيمًا

And to Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth. He forgives whom He wills and punishes whom He wills. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful. [48:14]

وَعَدَ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ مِنْهُم مَّغْفِرَةً وَأَجْرًا عَظِيمًا

…..Allah has promised those who believe and do righteous deeds among them forgiveness and a great reward. [48:29]

The purpose of the Prophet ﷺ mission was not to gain a territory. The purpose is to liberate the Ka’bah, House of ﷲ built by Ibrahim ‘alaihissalam. The reason he builds the Ka’bah is that so people can worship only ﷲ and earn their forgiveness. The reason the Muslim went on hajj is to earn their forgiveness, and now ﷲ given them the forgiveness anyway because the Quraish has signed the treaty, the Quraish will fall into domino and there is not gonna be a war necessary for them. When that happened (the fallen of Quraish), Ka’bah liberated.

When Ka’bah liberated, people’s door to earning for ﷲ forgiveness is gonna be wide opened, there is gonna be billion and billion people all over the world coming to Hajj so that Allah can forgive. The goal of Islam was to open the door for forgiveness for humanity. That is the goal of the victory of Islam!

As the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and his companions surround the city of Makkah, a few years after the treaty of Hudaibiya and Quraish leaders were convinced that they were overwhelmed. The holy city of Makkah now is opened, conquered without even had a battle necessary.

It is as Sun Tzu says in his Art of War, “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” 

The Supreme art of war, complete victory. But the important thing is not about the victory itself, it is about what is going to happen with the people of Makkah as it continues in the next passage.

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As Ramadan passes by, we are reminded how this month opens up possibilities for ﷲ forgiveness. The last ten days, particularly are the days which ﷲ sent down The Quran, or we usually uses the terms “Lailatul Qadr” or the Night of Qadr (Decree). One narration described several actions that might be the reasons for ﷲ forgiveness; fasting in the month of Ramadan, pray in its night and pray in the Night of Qadr (Decree). So once the month is completed, only then is the believer counted among those who fasted the month and pray it’s nights, thus being rewarded with forgiveness of previous sins.

It is in the same month of Ramadan, that the Fath of Makkah happened, one view says it was on 8 Ramadan that the Muslim march from Madina, and arrived at Makkah on 20 or 21 Ramadan. This blessed month of Ramadan opens up the door of forgiveness as depicted in the Surah of Fath itself.

How should we view this particular forgiveness?

We can look back, and take a look at the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ life. He showed to the people of Makkah the extent of his mercy and forgiveness even though he was exiled from his homeland, being hated and despised by some of the people of Makkah, notably The Quraish. Not forgetting they also did kill a member of his family, tortured his companions, and making his life painful.

In the month of Ramadan, when the Prophet ﷺ and his companions arrived at Makkah with more or less ten thousand men, yet The Prophet ﷺ commanded, “No conflict or battle can take place on that day” and he named it ‘the day of mercy – yaumul marhamah’ not ‘the day of slaughter – yaumul malhamah’.

It is recorded when entering his beloved city; The Prophets head was so low while riding his mount; that his beard was touching the back of his mount in complete humbleness and humility. In praise of his Creator, to thank Him for this peaceful victory. And he recited Surah of Fath along the way.

Now in a position of power, he could take a stand and took vengeance against the people of Quraish. Yet, he asked the people of Quraish how they thought he was going to deal with them, now that he had easy charge over Makkah. They replied, “as a noble brother” that they expected nothing but goodness from him and he would deal towards them kindly. The Prophet ﷺ spoke telling them“I speak to you in the same words of the prophet Yusuf (Joseph) ‘alaihissalam, who spoke to his brothers” and Prophet Muhammad ﷺ recited a passage from the Qur’an relating to the story of Yusuf ‘alaihissalam:

قَالَ لَا تَثْرِيبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الْيَوْمَ ۖ يَغْفِرُ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ ۖ وَهُوَ أَرْحَمُ الرَّاحِمِينَ 

“No blame will there be upon you today. Allah will forgive you, and He is the most merciful of the merciful” [QS. 12:92].

Then he announced to them that they are free now and they may go wherever they please. The Prophet ﷺ granted his forgiveness to his former enemies, those who wanted to destroy his belief, his reputation, his life and his associates not so long ago. He forgave them all men and women that came to him or his companions. So here we see his mercy for mankind, which Muslims can only describe as a gift from the Giver of all things.

These descriptions alluded back to the core of the Surah of Fath, the true meaning of victory. To seek forgiveness.