Sunday, July 6, 2008

Examples of Hardships Undergone by Companions (Al97abah)

Abdullah Ibn-Masood, a companion who was very weakly built, decided to make Quraysh listen to the Qur’an. He went to the K’aba and started to recite ayahs from Surat Ar-Rahman as loud as he could. Day after day the disbelievers gathered and beat him up, yet he did not stop, until the Prophet PBUH advised him to do so. The message is that we must not be shy to stand up for what is right.

One day ten men from Quraysh gathered around the Prophet PBUH and assaulted him. Abu-Bakr, who is "the bravest of all men", according to Ali (RA), defended the Prophet PBUH. Consequently, the gathered disbelievers left the Prophet PBUH alone and started to attack Abu-Bakr. He was brutally beaten on his face until he fainted and they thought he was dead. After being taken to his house, he awoke at night asking about the Prophet PBUH. Exhausted as he was, he asked his mother and Fatima bintul-Khattab to take him to the Prophet so as to be re-assured. This is the real love for the Prophet PBUH.

Many companions underwent severe torture. For instance, Belal was left by the disbelievers in the hot weather of Makkah’s desert wearing iron shields, and on his body the would put extremely heavy stones. The youth, Al-Zobeir Ibnul-Awam (16 years old) was tortured by his uncle. The latter used to wrap him up in a piece of cloth and hang him above a fire, so that only the hot smoke would reach him. Young as he was, Al-Zobeir suffered a serious lung disease.

Another example is given by Saad Ibn-Abu-Waqas, who used to be quite rightful to his mother. Nonetheless, when he embraced Islam, his mother threatened him to stop eating and drinking, so that he might change his belief. In effect, she starved herself and became very ill after three days. However, he firmly told her that he is adamant on his belief. Ayahs were revealed to the Prophet PBUH, telling Sa3ad to be more merciful, “And We have enjoined upon man the fair (companionship) to his parents; and in case they strive with you to make you associate with Me that whereof you have no knowledge, then do not obey them" (TQM, 29:8).

Complete families and household also suffered. This is illustrated in the story of the family of Yasser. The wife, Somaya Bintul-Khayat, a slim, weak, 60 years-old woman, was often tortured by Abu-Jahl, until she died. She became the first Muslim martyr. It is noteworthy that the first Muslim after the prophet was a woman, the first to support the messenger of Allah was a woman and the first martyr was also a woman. Reflecting on this issue, I think the message is: this should boost all men to work hard and strive for the cause of Islam. Two days later, Somaya’s husband, Yasser died, leaving behind the young, Ammar Ibn-Yasser, who suffered greatly, as well. Ten years later, when Abu-Jahl was killed in the Battle of Badr, the Prophet PBUH summoned Ammar to tell him the Allah avenged his mother.

Amr Khalid says that these examples are not meant to tell us that we have to undergo the same suffering. The point is that we have to carry the message so forcefully and relentlessly as the prophet’s companions did. We may take pigeons as an example. Pigeons so much value there message that they fly very high, despite all rain or heat, so as to avoid hunters and they do not stop for food, in order to deliver their message safely. Why don’t we indeed take the pigeons an example to follow!