The Lessons of Badr
A-úthu billáhi minash shaytánir rajeem. Bisilláhir rahmánir raheem.
My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Islam,
It has been suggested that one should visit the past in order to know the present. So let us cast our minds back to Friday 17th of Ramadhan of the 2nd year after Hijra. The place is Badr, named after a well established by someone called Badr, some 150 km outside Al Madinah towards Mecca. A small army of about 300 men, ill equipped, only 70 of whom were mounted; the rest of them had trekked that distance on foot. This was the camp of Tawheed and Justice facing an army of between 900-1000 men armed to the teeth – the camp of shirk and falsehood.
Before the Divine Command to leave Mecca and emigrate to Al-Madinah was received by the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, Muslims had endured many years of persecution on the hands of the mushriks of Quraish, which ranged from verbal and physical abuse to torture and murder not forgetting the most infamous and most cruel weapon of all, the embargo which Quraish imposed on the Muslim community. During all these years of hardship and suffering, the Muslims remained steadfast exercising patience and taqwa. With them, suffering like the rest of them, having forgone a very comfortable style of life and position of honour and leadership, (which the mushriks of Quraish had offered him) for the sake of Allah was this leader Mohammed, peace and blessings be upon him. The position of the servant of Allah and Messenger was of far greater value to him than being king. Instead he remained with the oppressed and those perceived to be weak exercising a unique style of leadership – an inspired and inspiring leadership. Although he was like the shepherd providing direction, maintaining the flock and meeting individual need, neither did he, nor do we even today, refer to those who were with him as followers. They are always referred to as companions. He, peace and blessings be upon him, was the first companion; for everyone of his companions was a leader in his own right and he was a leader of leaders. That is how he wanted them to be. They obeyed him willingly – not out of fear because he was a leader by example. He would not ask them to do anything that he would not willingly do himself.
Allah, theExalted, saw in His Most Infinite Wisdom, that the only fitting worldly reward for such men was a spectacular victory, and a spectacular victory it was. The mushriks of Quraish suffered a humiliating defeat losing 70 of their highly regarded men dead and a similar number captured with scores of wounded. They withdrew to Mecca licking their wounds and leaving behind their belongings that were shared amongst the Muslims as spoils of war. The Muslims lost 14 martyrs.
“When your Lord inspired the angels (saying): I am with you. So make those who belive stand firm. I will throw fear into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Then smite the necks and smite of then each finger.” 8:12
This was the immediate response from Allah, Most Exalted is He, to the supplication of the Muslims as stated in ayah 9 of the same Surah recited at the beginning, the meaning of which reads: “When you sought help of your Lord and He answered you (saying): I will help you with a thousand of angels, rank on rank”.
And just as Allah answered the prayers of these men at Badr, He, the Almighty, promised all Muslims to answer their prayers. But let us remind ourselves of the ayah and note the condition attached to this promise:
“And when my servants question you concerning Me, (then) I am surely near. I answer the prayer of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them hear My call and let them turn unto Me in order that they may be led aright.”
Today is not that much different from the days preceding Badr. Although Muslims are many in numbers nowadays, they are still suffering from oppression, injustice, poverty, diseases, illiteracy and ignorance etc. What the Ummah in general needs is another Badr at three different levels.
The first and perhaps the most important level is the individual – ourselves. When Muslims turn away from their Deen, Allah will turn away from them until they return to Him in repentance. We must realise that unless and until we sincerely repent and return to the true Deen of Allah, we have no hope of overcoming the other obstacles.
The second level is the internal problems of each individual country. These are usually associated with the government of the country. Most, if not all Muslim countries have rulers rather than leaders at the head of the state. Such rulers shall not become leaders in the mould of the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, and his khulafa’a, may Allah be pleased with them all, until they see themselves as performing a function not holding a position or rank. They should rely on their authority of knowledge, wisdom and charisma to gain respect of their fellow countrymen. One western thinker stated that:
“Leadership in its most sublime touches the human spirit and includes the power to transcend ourselves for the common good to the extent of laying down our lives. Such an experience breeds in men a sense akin to humility in a leader, it deepens respect, trust and love. Such a leader would look upon leadership as a privilege in itself not a passport to privileges…”
It is perhaps ironic that western political observers should recognise such leadership in existence in a country that has possibly never experienced true democracy for decades.I am referring to Iraq and the English writer is talking about tribal leaders in the Euphrates region.
“…the Beduin tribe is the purest form of democracy to be found in the world…”
“… the Bedu sheikh has no paid retainers on whom he can rely to carry out his orders. He is merely the first among equals in a society where every man is intensely independent and quick to resent every hint of autocracy. His authority depends in consequence on the force of his personality and his skill in handling men.”
Unfortunately at national level rulers find it better to be feared than loved. But as long as the seeds of true leadership remain alive, there is hope for true muslim leaders to emerge from amongst ourselves, by the Grace of Allah.
Once these two levels are set firmly in the right direction, the Ummah can turn to dealing with the third level – the external threats. The Ummah can then expend all its energies and resources to become economically powerful and militarily strong. All this is, by the Grace of the Most Gracious, achievable but the following must be borne in mind:
” Allah changes not the condition of a folk until they, first, change that which is in their hearts,”
“Verily in the messenger of Allah you have a good example (to follow).”
“Victory comes only with the help of Allah”.
Ameen! Aqeemus salaah!