And (recall) when you-SW left your home ...so that you may return thanks.
The enmity and intense hatred harboured by the non-believers against Islam is depicted by the battles in which the Holy Prophet-SW, symbol of Divine Mercy for the entire universe, had to draw his-SW sword. The time is worth a mention when the Holy Prophet-SW left his-SW home and was organizing the Muslims in formations to fight against the non-believers. For a better understanding, it seems appropriate to know more about the events of the war.
These are the events of the Battle of Uhad, which took place in the third year of Hijrah. After receiving a humiliating defeat at Badar in the year 2 AH, the polytheists of Makkah vowed not to sit in peace until they avenged their defeat. Therefore, the entire profit earned by the trading caravan to Syria was diverted to the preparation for the war of vendetta. In collaboration with many of their tribes, they raised a mighty force of three thousand, which was accompanied also by women to boost the morale of the soldiers. This army arrived and camped outside Madinah, near the Mount Uhad.
The Holy Prophet-SW consulted the Muslims on the strategy of war. He-SW himself was in favour of defending the city from inside. And this was the very first occasion when ‘Abdullah Ibn Obayy, outwardly a Muslim, was also participating in the counselling assembly. Some of the spirited Companions-RAU who had missed the opportunity to fight at Badar suggested moving out of the city for the battle. The Holy Prophet-SW went inside his-SW house and returned after having put on an armour.
Household Of Holy Prophet-SW
The expression, “when you-SW set forth from the house,” according to the author of Kashaf, refers to the house of Hadhrat ‘A’ishah-RAU. Imam Razi argues that since the Holy Prophet-SW set out to this expedition from the house of Hadhrat ‘A’ishah-RAU, this Ayah is a clear evidence of the fact that she is a member of the family of the Holy Prophet-SW. The Quranic injunction: “clean women are for clean men and clean men are for clean women” (26:24) proves that Hadhrat ‘A’ishah-RAU was clean and chaste, free of any blemish. Since the son of Prophet Nuh-AS was a non-believer, the Quran declares him as a non-member of his household. It was the case with the wife of Prophet Lut-AS.
The Holy Prophet-SW set out of Madinah with one thousand soldiers but ‘Abdullah Ibn Obayy deserted him-SW on the way taking along his three hundred men. He gave the pretext that his counsel was disregarded so why should they risk their lives? His comrades were also known hypocrites. Now the Holy Prophet-SW was left with seven hundred Companions-RAU, whom he-SW arranged in ranks in the battlefield, with mount Uhad at their back. Mas’ab bin ‘Umair-RAU was assigned the task of guarding the mountain pass in the rear, with fifty men, against any possible enemy attack from behind.
The Holy Prophet-SW presented this strategy of warfare before the world whereas previously the onslaught of the Arabs used to be a careless bravado, relying on sheer might and power. Today the art of warfare is at its zenith. Even then the Holy Prophet-SW’s strategic planning of the war; the importance he-SW attached to the selection of ground, the arrangement of the troops and a stringent discipline are the facts which even the Orientalist has failed to ignore. They have admired his-SW warfare skills in their books.
Archers At Uhad
Soon after the war broke out the Makkans were routed and their army took to heels. Seeing this, the archers assigned at the pass, in excitement of the victory, abandoned their post. Despite their commander Mas’ab bin ‘Umair-RAU’s telling them to hold on, they did not stop as they thought that the war was over and they no longer required to man the post. Only a very small number of archers stayed back. On the other end Khalid bin Walid, commanding enemy cavalry took advantage of the situation. He gathered the fleeing horsemen and attacked the small Muslims group still holding the pass from the rear. Mas’ab bin ‘Umair-RAU and his-RAU men laid down their lives fighting.
The Muslims panicked at this unexpected turn of events. The enemy turned and counter attacked and a chaos followed. The situation worsened when the enemy spread a rumour that the Holy Prophet-SW had been slain. This rumour totally confused the Muslims. Some fought with extreme valour as they saw no charm in living without the Holy Prophet-SW while some were crest fallen thinking what were they to fight for?
The Holy Prophet-SW was wounded with some of his-SW teeth broken and blood flowing from his-SW radiant face. He-SW was left with only ten to twelve Companions-RAU around him-SW, the rest were scattered all over the battlefield. Imam Razi-RUA recounts the names of those who were left with him: Abu Bakr-RAU, ‘Ali-RAU, ‘Abbas-RAU, Talha-RAU and S’ad-RAU and others. (Tafsir-e-Kabir).
Suddenly one of the Ansar spotted the Holy Prophet-SW and announced his-SW presence. Immediately the Companions-RAU rallied around him-SW and the enemy had to flee. Many illustrious Companions-RAU fell in this war, and the sacred face of the Holy Prophet-SW was wounded. In any case, the Army that stands fast in the battlefield is always deemed victorious and the one that flees is considered as vanquished. Some critics assert that the archers posted at the pass had left their post for the sake of collecting the booty. But this cannot be accepted because the booty was always gathered centrally for subsequent distribution among the soldiers. It was never a practice that whatever one can lay his hands on would belong to him. Therefore, this assumption is absolutely unreasonable.
In fact, the archers believed that the battle was won and in excitement, came down to join the other soldiers to celebrate the victory. Although they did not deliberately violate the command of the Holy Prophet-SW but had erred in Ijtehad, yet it did invoke worldly sufferings. Moreover, the devotion of the Companions-RAU was well rewarded and they availed the opportunity of laying down their lives in His-SWT Cause.
Some of the important points derived here are:-
(1) “And when you-SW left your home early” indicates that the Holy Prophet-SW was with his-SW family but as soon as he-SW received the Divine Command he-SW set out for its compliance. In other words, the service to Islam is the first priority and all other relationships are secondary.
(2) The Mother of believers, Hadhrat ‘A’ishah Siddiqah-RAU is a member of the Holy Prophet-SW family and a chaste lady. If anyone doubts this, he shall be a non-believer for denying an injunction of the Quran.
(3) Although consultation is appropriate, yet it is essential to give priority to the opinion of the Holy Prophet-SW. If the Prophet-SW agrees to a point against his-SW wish, though it will not lead to any harm in Din yet it will bring in worldly hardship. The same applies to a seeker that he should not suggest anything against the will of the Shaikh. If the alternatives available appear equally reasonable, the seeker should go for the wish of the Shaikh to avoid temporal loss.
(4) “To post the believers at their positions for the battle” shows that the Holy Prophet-SW systematically arranged them in the battle order, keeping in view the command structure, the tasks and the battle dispositions. This means that an order or system, whether it is peace or war, is essential.
(5) It is very important to abide by the given set-up and its deliberate violation would lead to loss in Din while even naive violation would incur worldly loss.
For seekers of Tasawwuf all the above-mentioned points are of great importance.
Allah-SWT hears and knows everything. Even when the two clans of the believers momentarily lost heart He-SWT was Aware. This was when Bani Salma and Bani Haritha got influenced by ‘Abdullah ibn Obayy’s precept and example. But Allah-SWT protected them against cowardice. “Allah-SWT was their Protector”. This blessing was showered upon them because of the sincerity they had in their hearts and as a manifestation of the Barakah of the company of the Holy Prophet-SW. Although the outward circumstances drove them to think of withdrawal, yet because of their sincerity Allah-SWT protected them and made them steadfast, whereas the hypocrites, lacking sincerity, had retreated and were deprived of this honour. So Wilayah too is based on sincerity and the Aulia, though not innocent, enjoy Divine Protection. Therefore, it is ignorance to take vile persons as Aulia. Besides the believers rely only on Allah-SWT , that is, after employing all available means they leave the results to Him-SWT .
To forsake the means is certainly not reliance; rather a believer must employ all that he has and then have complete trust in the Almighty for the consequences. He-SWT is All Powerful and capable of granting success inspite of limited means, or no means at all. Just as He-SWT helped the believers at Badar inspite of the fact that the non-believers had outweighed them both in manpower and strength. This event took place on 17th Ramadhan 2 AH (17 March 624). Badar is a camping ground and market on route Makkah-Madinah, the arena of the very first clash between the non-believers of Makkah and the Muslims. The former comprised an army of one thousand selected warriors well equipped, with full logistic support. The Muslims were three hundred and thirteen in number, including some young lads and some old men, thoroughly ill equipped and with poor logistics.
The Makkans had arrived first and selected for themselves the best strategic portion of the battlefield, acquiring further strength for their forces. But what to say of Divine Succour, that they received a humiliating defeat at the hands of the believers! Seventy of their renowned chiefs were killed and an equal number captured while only fourteen Companions-RAU fell martyrs in the Cause of Allah-SWT.Apparently it was a small local engagement but its effects reached out to the entire world. According to Hitti, this was the first decisive victory of Islam (History of Arabia).
The sayings of the Holy Prophet-SW further highlight the fact that the foundation of the victory of Islam was placed on this small army and was brought about by his-SW supplication: “O Allah-SWT ! If these people are defeated today, no one shall ever worship You-SWT , as I have brought the entire Islam against disbelief.” Allah-SWT blessed them with such a grand victory that the foundation of an Islamic state was laid on a very sound footing.
The believers are commanded to fear Allah-SWT and observe Taqwa, as this is the correct way of showing gratitude to Him-SWT . The Quran prescribes Taqwa as the solution for all trials and tribulations. Patience, Salat, Gratitude and Zikr have been prescribed at various places in the Quran, which are all, in fact, constituents of Taqwa. Here, gratitude is described as an offshoot of Taqwa. The practical form of gratitude is to exert with full devotion and sincerity in the obedience of Allah-SWT . And this indeed is the essence and derivative of Tasawwuf and Suluk.
When you-SW said to the believers ... they should withdraw in utter frustration.
The Holy Prophet-SW informed his-SW Companions-SW that Allah-SWT would support them with an army of 3000 angels who will especially descend from the heavens for the purpose. Those angels who are already deployed on earth for various duties would not give this support. Rather angels of a specific status will descend to help in the execution of task assigned to the believers. And should the believers remain steadfast on patience and Taqwa they will qualify for even greater Divine Succour. It is obvious that the believers were already adorned with the virtues of Taqwa and patience, which caused the angels to be sent. Now if these attributes were to be practised at a higher degree of excellence the number of angels would also be increased. So even if all the enemy forces push together in attack, an army of five thousand angels mounted on marked horses will be instantly sent for help.
These are various levels and states of Fana Fi Allah-SWT.The more is the nearness to Him-SWT , the more are the Barakah. The angels had no obligation to fight rather it was a task assigned to the believers. But the hearts of these devotees were so engrossed in the Divine Splendour that their task was entrusted to the angels of a special status.
What really happens is, that when a person drifts away from Allah-SWT , his heart becomes void of Divine Lights and becomes a habitat of Satan. As he moves farther away, Satan gets a chance to play his tricks and the darkness deepens. On the contrary, the nearness to Allah-SWT begins with the kindling of the heart, and the light increases as one advances in His-SWT direction. This illumination causes the exalted angels to descend upon the heart as a source of glad tidings, peace and tranquillity. In these Ayat too the reason for the descent of angels is a message of good cheer for the believers as well as for their hearts to be at rest. And at the same time it will also make the devils and the hearts occupied by them restless. Allah-SWT is Omnipotent and the Original Source of all Power and Succour. It is He-SWT Who is the Wisest and the Mightiest. All the Barakah and the angels were sent by Him-SWT to kill some of the non-believers and to humiliate the rest by a disgraceful defeat.
Karamah Of The Companions-RAU
In the battlefield of Badar some the non-believers were done to death by the angels. Some Companions-RAU report that before their swords could reach their targets, heads of the enemy would be chopped off. Similarly some Companions-RAU who were quite frail took very strong the non-believers as captives. The latter were themselves amazed as to how could such weak persons tie them down, forfeiting their power of resistance.
Similarly in the Battle of Uhad many experiences of the Companions-RAU have been noted. Hadhrat Ans bin Nasr-RAU said that he-RAU had felt the fragrance of Paradise coming from the foot of the mountain. He-RAU then hurried in that direction and was martyred. Or upon the Shahadah of Hadhrat Mas’ab bin ‘Umair-RAU the flag held by him-RAU was prevented from falling down by an angel, when the Holy Prophet-SW said: “Mas’ab-RAU move forward” the angel replied, “I am not Mas’ab-RAU.” And the Holy Prophet-SW recognized him as the angel. Hadhrat S’ad bin Abi Waqas-RAU reports that a young man in white robe would bring back the arrows shot by him-RAU at the enemy. These events may be seen in Tafsir-e-Kabir p.33. Imam Razi-RUA writes on p.35 that whoever doubts the seeing of angels is guilty of denying the Quran and the Prophethood. If he is a Muslim such a suspicion cannot even cross his mind. As for the descent of the angels Imam Razi-RUA writes that all the commentators and the historians unanimously agree.
In all these events, the miracles of the Holy Prophet-SW and Karamah of the Companions-RAU are manifest, and are a manifestation of the Barakah of Allah-SWT’s nearness. Besides, a non-Prophet cannot acquire this status of beholding the angels or having a dialogue with them. Moreover if someone attains such a level of Fana then a task receiving his spiritual attention would stand completed by the Grace of Allah-SWT . Similarly the Sufi saints through their Tawajjuh and Ilqa strengthen and enlighten the hearts of the seekers. It is a favour endowed proportionate to their obedience of the Holy Prophet-SW and their personal status.
Naught is with you of the affair ... and Allah-SWT is Forgiving, Merciful.
When the Holy Prophet-SW was wounded during the Battle of Uhad, he-SW was aggrieved and said: “How can a people who injure the face of their Prophet-SW, ever attain salvation, while he invites them to Allah-SWT ”. It was revealed to him-SW that it is a matter between every individual and Allah-SWT over which the Holy Prophet-SW has no control. If it pleases Him-SWT , He-SWT may make them repent or may punish them for their mistakes because they are at the wrong.
So the best thing for the Holy Prophet-SW is to be patient, as the acme of servitude is that a Muslim must be humble under all circumstances, and should not claim any access to the secrets of His-SWT Domain. Ultimately some were blessed with the chance to atone in an exemplary way, for instance, Hadhrat Khalid bin Walid-RAU and ‘Akramah-RAU bin Abu Jahl, who became renowned Companions-RAU and military commanders of distinction, while many died wandering in disbelief. In fact the state of the heart and the intrinsic relationship of an individual with Allah-SWT leads to rewards that are only known to Him-SWT . Whatever lies between the heavens and the earth belongs to Him-SWT and He-SWT Alone is the Administrator. He-SWT may forgive or punish whosoever He-SWT may please. If He-SWT forgives, it is not amazing because His-SWT Mercy overwhelms everything and the cause of punishment as declared by Him-SWT is, that they did wrong themselves.
Shaikh Can Only Give Tawajjuh
It is clear that a Shaikh can give Tawajjuh but it will only yield results if there is a sincere yearning in the seeker’s heart. Allah-SWT knows what is in the hearts, which a Shaikh need not know. And often He-SWT forgives and blesses the hearts with sincerity, but some unfortunate souls are doomed only because of their diseased hearts. May Allah-SWT spare us all from His-SWT Punishment!