The Vanguards of Islam
After the Prophets-AS the most exalted amongst mankind are the two groups of believers namely the Muhajirin and the Ansar. The former have been specified by the Holy Prophet-SW himself as those who migrated to Madinah before the Conquest of Makkah. The latter include the Companions-RAU of Madinah who deep-heartedly welcomed the former and made them partners in their possessions. This sacred fraternity was honoured both in peace and in war. Both fought side by side for the prevalence and enforcement of Islam.
Although the learned scholars have tried to determine this group of leaders and pioneers, that is, the Vanguards of Islam, from various angles yet the simplest explanation is as given above. Apart from them, all other Companions-RAU fall into the third group of followers mentioned by the Ayah under reference. All of them are, however, blessed with the honour of Companionship and are promised Allah-SWT's Pleasure and Paradise. All Muslims starting from Taba'in down to the devoted believers to come until the Final Day are included into this third group according to their status. In nut shell, these three groups are: (1) The Muhajirin (2) the Ansar and (3) those who follow in their foot steps with sincerity and devotion. There is no room for the existence of any fourth group.
The Reality of Fana fi Rasul-SW
The first two groups have been blessed with such an optimum level of Barakah that all the rest have been instructed to follow them with sincerity, this being the only road to salvation. Although only a Prophet-AS is the one to be obeyed or followed because he is innocent of sin and no one else enjoys this status, yet from amongst the Companions'-RAU of the Holy Prophet-SW the first two groups were blessed with such Barakah whereby they attained the highest level of Fana fi Rasul. The hallmark of this level is that one's personal opinion and choice becomes extinct and all thoughts revolve around the wishes of the Holy Prophet-SW. Some critics have even raised a finger on the illustrious Caliphs-RAU of the Holy Prophet-SW who can rightfully be termed as the leaders of the Vanguards of Islam. The critics rely solely on the accounts of the Shi'ite historians, which carry no weight against the Quranic injunctions. These Ayat declare in no uncertain terms that Allaah-SWT is pleased with all the Companions-RAU and has promised them Jannah. Therefore, denying their exalted status is indeed denying the Quran, which is pure infidelity. The fact is that the Companions-RAU are indeed the Quran's exemplar) Muslims.
Thus the three groups who enjoy Allah-SWT's Pleasure are the Muhajirin, the Ansar and those who follow them with devotion. So it is imperative for the mankind to follow the Companions-RAU and thus enroll itself in the third group. This can be done by emulating those exalted souls in beliefs and in practices, with a sincere heart. Sincerity is a prerequisite as declared in this Ayah: "those who followed them with Ehsan' (sincerity of heart)". Some ignorant ask that some of the Companions-RAU had also committed mistakes so should they be copied in their errors too? This is an unreasonable question in the first place, for if the Companions-RAU had erred, they by Allah-SWT's Grace never persisted on it and repented in an exemplary way. So in case of errors their mode of repentance is to be followed. And this is also revealed in the Quran that when a believer commits a mistake, he repents and never makes it a habit.
It is added that the devoted followers of the Muhajirin and the Ansar shall be blessed with Allah-SWT's Pleasure and so many rewards that they, too, will be pleased with their Provider, that is, they will have nothing more to wish for. For them has Allaah-SWT created the Jannah with streams flowing beneath where they shall abide forever. This indeed is a great triumph and a successful end to this phase of life.
Hypocrites Exposed During the Holy Prophet-SW‘s time
It must be kept in mind that when any group of people prospers and has an access to worldly gains, a band of hypocrites always joins them pretending to be sincere with their ideology. This is the reason that no hypocrite joined the Muslims in the Makkan period because that involved great risks and demanded sacrifices. But the situation had changed in Madinah. An Islamic State was emerging with bright prospects, so there were people who embraced Islam in pursuit of temporal gains. Their sole aim was to acquire material benefits while they were not Muslims at heart. Therefore, it was revealed that majority of the hypocrites are uncivilized bedouins with very poor perception and intelligence. They cannot comprehend the real worth of Divine Code of Life while some of them are simply unfortunate to be afflicted with hypocricy. Even if the Holy Prophet-SW does not know them and they do succeed in bluffing him-SW they can never deceive Allah-SWT, for He-SWT knows them too well. He-SWT shall punish them twice; firstly they shall never succeed in their evil designs, and secondly they will be disgraced when exposed. Allaah-SWT revealed their identity to the Holy Prophet-SW and prohibited him-SW from offering their funeral Salat. Obviously, he-SW must have been guided as to who they were. These hypocrites, having lived a life plagued with anxiety and fear will experience severe punishments of Barzakh once they enter their graves. And finally, on the Day of Judgement, they shall be condemned to Hell. So they were not really hidden in the time of the Holy Prophet-SW and through the times of the Companions-RAU, they also lived in disgrace, both in worldly as well as in eternal aspects. Even now the same punishment of hypocricy prevails and a hypocrite neither experiences peace of heart nor has any respect, even as the Head of a State. The coming to power of hypocrites indicates general negligence towards Islam by the common Muslims. If they follow in the footsteps of the Companions-RAU, no hypocrite can ever impose himself on them.
There also were some sincere Companions-RAU who were really devoted, but took a decision similar to that of the hypocrites and did not join the Holy Prophet-SW in the expedition to Tabuk. Four categories of people have been mentioned. Firstly, those who promptly responded to the call for Jihad and got ready. Secondly, those who were slightly reluctant but given Allah-SWT's Support they decided to go. Thirdly, those who were not believers but hypocrites and stayed back on one pretext or the other. And fourthly, those who were genuinely unable to join the Jihad contingent. Then there existed a fifth category' of people who had no physical or financial restraints and could have easily gone but either out of sheer laziness or because of being influenced by the hypocrites failed to go along. They immediately realized their mistake and presented themselves before the Holy Prophet-SW, ashamed. In fact some of them even tied themselves to the pillars of the Holy Prophet-SW‘s Masjid saying that until Allaah-SWT forgave them, they would not let themselves free. When the Holy Prophet-SW was informed about them he remarked that they shall now be untied only by Allah-SWT's Command. Three CompanionsRAU who had not tied themselves but were extremely ashamed of their conduct, were boycotted by the rest under the Holy Prophet-SW's orders. No one conversed with them; even their wives separated from them and refused to cook their meals. When this Ayah was revealed in acceptance of their repentance, those who had tied themselves were freed and the boycott was also called off. This was because these men had many noble deeds to their credit and had previously participated in all the collective matters with sincerity and enthusiasm. They had, nevertheless, erred by not joining the expedition to Tabuk. However, they confessed their guilt and humbly presented themselves before the Most Merciful, Who-SWT accepted their repentance, for He-SWT Alone can be reverted to for forgiveness.
So the Holy Prophet-SW was asked to accept their charity for they had offered all their belongings after their repentance were accepted, saying that it was this wealth which had been a barrier to their participation in Jihad. So the Holy Prophet-SW accepted one third of it in accordance with the words of the Ayah: "to take some portion from their wealth in charity."
Collection and Proper Spending of Charity-Duty of a Muslim Ruler
The scholars agree that although the aforesaid Ayah was revealed on a special occasion yet its applicability is general and universal. The door to repentance is open for a Muslim who has gone astray. Rather, this Ayah has provided the erring Muslims the opportunity to bask in Allah-SWT's forgiveness. Simultaneously, it carries direction for the Muslim rulers to collect Zakat and charity and arrange spending judiciously for the right cause. This is why Jihad was undertaken against those who refused to pay Zakat. These people were of two kinds. Firstly, those who simply refused and turned apostate. Secondly, those who presented a pretext that the order was applicable only to the Holy Prophet-SW's era and after him they will not pay Zakat to the Government or to the ruler. Hadhrat Umar-RAU asserted that since the latter group does not deny Zakat but only differs in the explanation of the Ayah, they should not be treated as non believers and apostates. But the Caliph, Hadhrat Abu Bakr Siddiq-RAU asserted that one-day people would present the same pretext for Salat as the orders for Salat and Zakat often occur together in the Quran. Therefore, whoever discriminates between the two injunctions shall be subjected to Jihad; This was the second consensus of the Ummah after nomination of Hadhrat Abu Bakr Siddiq-RAU as Caliph.
It was revealed to the Holy Prophet-SW that his receiving the obligatory as well as the voluntary' charity from the repentants will purify their souls and possessions. In other words, it will remove ill feelings or doubts from their hearts and enlighten them. Moreover, Barakah shall attend their possessions and the Holy Prophet-SW must also pray for them.
Effects of Prayer of Noble Souls
This also proves that serving the noble people enhances prosperity and their prayers are a source of both eternal and worldly success. Whereas it is not proper for a noble person to expect any worldly thing from anyone, rather it is his duty to educate all his students indiscriminately. However, the students must voluntarily try to take care of their mentor financially, as this will serve them well both here and in the Hereafter. For a Shaikh and a Muslim Head of State, it is obligatory according to some scholars and desirable according to others, to specifically pray for the seekers and the subjects respectively. The prayer of the Holy Prophet-SW in favour of his-SW devotees is a source of peace and tranquillity for them. It is not to remind Allah-SWT, because Allaah-SWT Knows everything but is symbolic of the Holy Prophet-SW's approval of someone. And this very approval is an endorsement of eternal and worldly salvation.
People must know that it is Allaah-SWT Who accepts the repentance of His-SWT servants and it is He-SWT Who has enjoined that the affluent must pay alms from his wealth. It is He-SWT indeed Who accepts the charity. The act of alms giving demonstrates that the real owner of the possessions is Allah-SWT, while a believer is only a temporary custodian. Thus he must spend according to the wishes of the true owner. Therefore, it is not appropriate to consider paying alms or Zakat as a ransom or burden or to be sarcastic that it is a tax levied upon the believers similar to Jizyah. Besides, the prayer of the Holy Prophet-SW, which is subject to his-SW obedience, is a source of extrinsic as well as intrinsic happiness and satisfaction in both the worlds. And it is the hallmark of Allah-SWT's Grace that whenever a wrongdoer repents over his follies, He-SWT accepts his repentance.
Besides, the real trial is the practical life. Therefore, tell them O' Prophet-SW that emphasis should not be on mere verbal expression of repentance but its practical demonstration. Action indeed displays the state of one's heart. Allah-SWT, in any case, is well Aware of it, but the desirable is that the Holy Prophet-SW and his-SW followers also be witnesses to the practical lives of the repentants.
Opinion of the Virtuous also carries Weight
It is proved that if the nobles consider a person good, it is an endorsement on his practical life. It also explains the sayings of the Holy Prophet-SW that the assembly of forty believers in a funeral is sufficient for the salvation of the deceased, or that the merits of the deceased must be recounted as an evidence in his-SW favour. Hence it is very important to respect the believers and establish good relationship with them. Eventually, all the matters will revert to Allah-SWT, Who is well Aware of the hidden and the manifest, the present and the absent. And even if a person forgets his own neglects He-SWT will certainly remind him. In other words, His-SWT Knowledge does not depend on the evidence provided by anyone. Nevertheless, He-SWT is so Munificent that He-SWT may forgive a person testified as noble even if he is not, only to honour the word of the true believers who had testified.
Masjid built to harm Islam (Masjid-e-Zarar)
Action is based on intention. If the intent is malafide, the act inspite of being outwardly noble is not only rejected but also earns disgrace both here and in the Hereafter. Take the example of the masjid built by some of the intriguers with the intention of establishing a base to operate against the Muslims and store weapons therein. The illustrious Companion Hadhrat Hanzala-RAU, is famous for the incident that he was given bath by the angels at his Shahadah, thus given the name “One bathed by Angels”. His father Abu Amer had converted to Christianity during the Era of Ignorance. On the raising of the Holy Prophet-SW he came to him-SW but could not really open up his heart to receive his-SW Barakah. He left saying that he would always oppose the Holy Prophet-SW. Thereafter, he always used to conspire against Islam. After the conquest of Makkah he fled to Syria and played a major role in convincing the Caesar to attack Madinah. At the same time he sent a word to the hypocrites of Madinah to organize a group and also set up a firm base wherefrom to support the invading forces of Caesar. They obliged by laying the foundation of a small house in Qaba under the pretence of a masjid.
There already existed the famous Masjid of Qaba where the Holy Prophet-SW had stayed on his-SW’s arrival in Madinah, also known as the First Masjid of Islam. The hypocrites came to the Holy Prophet-SW and said that since there was only one masjid in the vicinity and it was inconvenient for the elderly and the sick to attend congregational Salat, so they had built another masjid. They requested him to consecrate the masjid by leading one Salat in it. They Holy Prophet-SW was busy in preparations for Tabuk so he told them that he would consider their request on his return. In the meantime these Ayat were revealed and the Holy Prophet-SW deputed some Companions-RAU who razed it to the ground and set its contents ablaze. And the hypocrites not only failed but were also disgraced.
These Ayat highlight the intention with which they had built the so-called masjid. It was built to put Muslims in distress, to create conflict amongst them and to give refuge to the infidels at war with Allaah-SWT and His-SWT Prophet-SW .To cover it up they swore that their intention is purely to serve Islam. But Allaah-SWT bears witness that they are the liars and, therefore, the Holy Prophet-SW must never step in it.
The Land used Against Islam is Accursed
The piece of land on which the structure was erected was also affected by the evil impact of the house and the conspiracy woven therein. A needy Companion-RAU built a house there with permission of the Holy Prophet-SW but remained childless. Whenever at all, his wife conceived, the infant died soon after birth. Rather, it is said that even animals never tried to inhabit, nor did any bird ever lay eggs there. This piece of land lies barren todate opposite to the Masjid of Qaba. The Holy Prophet-SW was forbidden to step inside such an inauspicious place. It also proves the merit of those places where he walked about. The words fail to express the sanctity of his-SW Holy Tomb located on a piece of land off the Jannah and the enviable kismet of those who rest beside him-SW in his Tomb. Praise be to Allaah-SWT !
Which Masjid can be termed as Masjid-e-Zarar?
Even today if a masjid is built with the intention of (I) Harming Islam and Muslims (2) Creating conflicts amongst them and (3) Providing shelter to the enemies of Islam, it shall qualify to be termed as Masjid-e-Zarar. However, the aforesaid three objectives must all be present in it. If only one of the above is found in a masjid, for example, it is built to divide the Muslims, or only to lessen attendance in another masjid, which is a usual case, it shall not be treated as Masjid-e-Zarar. Of course, it is a grave sin to build a masjid with such intentions and it is the responsibility of the Government to ensure that this does not happen. However, Salat offered in such a masjid will be valid. It is also not commendable to pass verdicts on masaajid for petty reasons. It is a warning for those who promote sectarianism amongst Muslims, which is typical of hypocrites.
Compared to that cursed structure, the masjid raised on the foundations of Taqwa from the day one is far more worthy of being graced by the Holy Prophet-SW's visit. He-SW may stay in this masjid, and lead Salat for those who like cleanliness both hidden and manifest. Allaah-SWT indeed likes them. According to a Hadith, the Holy Prophet-SW once enquired from the Companions-RAU attending the Masjid of Qaba as to what was the kind of cleanliness they observed which had led to the revelation of this Ayah? They disclosed that they used to wash themselves with water after attending to the call of nature. Thus where only cleanliness is called for and not the formal ablution, the aforesaid practice will be sufficient.
The Influence of Pious People
Besides, not only does the company of the virtuous carry Barakah, but the masjid wherein they offer Salat also benefits its other attendants. Because each individual enjoys a personal level of Divine Nearness and receives blessings proportionately. Therefore, the more exalted a person is, the more blessings he is bound to receive and transmit to those around him. It is easy to see that a building erected on the foundations of piety and Taqwa with a view to attaining Allah-SWT's Pleasure is far better than the structure built on the verge of Hell, which may fall into it with all its dwellers any time. Yet such a simple fact cannot be conceived by the wicked and the wrongdoers because certain sins strip the Qalb of its inborn capacity to discern the truth.
Consequences of Opposing Islam and Muslims
Some of the sins cause such a strong and everlasting impact on the Qulub of the sinners, that even if their hearts are torn apart they shall still remain afflicted with malice and suspicion. In other words, to be a.sinner without opposing Islam and to accept one's sins is a separate issue. But to practically oppose Islam and the Muslims is such a grave crime that as a punishment, hypocricy is permanently embedded in the hearts. This is being revealed by Allah-SWT, Who is the Wisest and All-Knowing.