The Two Knocks Of Iman
Shawwal 24, 1430 A.H, October 14, 2009
Impart unto us O Mother Hajar
Of how the feeling of Iman conquered
The burning feeling of jealousy and fear
O Companions who dug the trench
Could you formulate unto us in even a rhyme
Of how the reasoning of Iman shot up far beyond
Surpassing the supportable reasoning of pretense (munafiq)
The three mortals were crossing over a valley. Empty, dry, hot, wild and uninhabited. No animals in sight, no plants. They consisted of a man who began to come in to old age and a woman who carried a newly born baby. The feeling of tiredness made them stop. And the hungry baby started to breastfeed on the mother.
But the man, the righteous husband, suddenly walked heading towards the north. There were tears welling in his eyes. He kept on walking. The wife then realized that she and her baby were being left by the man. She thus ran after him, trying to catch up. She trotted with her still reddish baby shaking inside the carrier.
“Why are leaving us O Ibrahim?” she cried, full of questions.
That man, Ibrahim, did not answer. He stopped for a while, took a deep breath and withheld his tears.
“Why are you leaving us O Ibrahim?”
Ibrahim was still quiet. A thousand and one feelings raged in his heart. He, who had been waiting for the apple of his eye for decades. He, who had been spending his nights with doa, begging for a little cry that could break the silence in his house. Now Allah had given that gift, Isma’il. And now, Allah suddenly asked him to leave Isma’il and his mother in this lifeless land. He would feel lonely again. He would be struck by a feeling of worry that has no limits. But what power does a slave has? And why should he think bad of Allah? Yes, he is pleased with His command. Only that, he could not afford to answer Hajar. The watery layers in his eyes started to suffuse. It was raining within.
“Is this an order from Allah?” suddenly Hajar changed her question.
Ibrahim instantly felt crushed. He stopped for a second, and then turned back. He looked straight into Hajar’s limpid and teary eyes. Both his arms clutched Hajar’s arms. “Yes,” he said. He took a long and deep breath. “This is Allah’s order.”
It was a moment of serenity. They embraced each other. “If this is Allah’s order,” Hajar whispered at her husband’s ear, “He would never disappoint us at all.”
“O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring to dwell in a valley without cultivation, by Thy Sacred House; in order, O our Lord, that they may establish regular Prayer: so fill the hearts of some among men with love towards them, and feed them with fruits: so that they may give thanks.” (Qur’an 14:37)
That was the way it all played out. The way of love of the strugglers always demand us to crown love with shining iman. Ibrahim, Allah’s beloved, proved his love. The same goes with Hajar, his wife. Her words became an illustrious proclamation of iman of all time. “If this is Allah’s order, He would never disappoint us at all”. This is the feeling of the heart that flares up to become a determination. The feeling that places one’s reliance upon the Creator, Most High, until it goes beyond the boundary of emotions. This is iman.
Surely, we could imagine that it would be very human for Hajar if she could not accept to be deserted just like that in a hot wilderness without vegetations, without food, without friends. Or if jealousy had overcome her and thus said, “Oh, so you are leaving us here because the barren Sarah is jealous of me?! So we are being let down while you would be enjoying with your other wife?”
Subhanallah. Of course, Mother Hajar was far from such an akhlaq. But let us use the “If” word here to show that what Hajar had done was not an easy thing. Not easy at all. And if her carnal feeling of hesitation were to be obeyed, we certainly would not know about Zamzam, there would surely be no Sa’i between the hills of Safa and Marwa, there would surely be no casting of stones at Jumrah and no ibaadah of sacrifice. And we would perhaps fall short of adding our utterance of salawat to the Prophet with, “…Kamaa sollaita ‘alaa Ibraahiim, wa ‘alaa Aali Ibraahiim..”
Or have we ever imagined another version to the story of Hanzhalah, who had been washed by the angels? The call for jihad was surely very startling for the couple who had just gotten married during the day. Now, what if the wife sulked on the first night and said, “Darling.. This is our first night. Surely Allah and His messenger acknowledge it and give you the exemption..” Hanzhalah, the companion of Rasulullah was really glorious on that of his first night. Being together with the wife and meeting up with the houris with shaheed, all at once. Then, the angels washed his body as he had not the chance to shower after being together with the wife.
“Darling.. This is our first night. Surely Allah and His messenger acknowledge it and give you the exemption..” Subhanallah, how extraordinary the power of these words are. Yes, because these words are so proper, so natural and so human. Let’s play the “If” game again, we would see that what Hanzhalah and his wife had done was not an easy thing. Not easy at all. If Hanzhalah failed to crown his love with iman, there would certainly be no story about a janaza being washed by the angels!
The Mu’meenah who were left by their husbands to go for jihad at the battle of Tabuk were also made to face the test of iman. This is the Jaishul ‘Usrah, the forces with full of hardships. Leaving the families behind in uncertainties, fierce weathers, as well as very poor stocks and provisions. The women of the munafiqeen then came as if female devils full of love and care.
“Ma’am… how could your husband have the heart to leave you behind in a situation like this. The weather is fierce, the harvest is uncertain, the situation is difficult and the kids are still young. Uh, that’s how men are. But you yourself are willing to be left behind? If I were you, I wouldn’t want to be left in such a difficult situation as now..”
“Innama dzahabal Akkal,” the Mu’meenah plus solihah answered, “Wa baqiya Ar Razzaq.” Ah, very apt indeed. For the munafiqeen, sharp words must be used, qaulan baliigha. In our language, approximately what the Sahabiyyah said was, “Ma’am.. those who are gone only know how to eat. If they stay, they would only finish the rations. The Provider is with us.” Didn’t they love their husbands and did they really feel liberated from the burden when the men are gone? Not at all. Their love was as deep as the canyon. Only that, no matter how difficult, no matter how bloody, they managed to cross over and pass through it in order to grasp the pleasure of the Lord.
This is the iman of the emotion. The iman that moves surpassing every other emotion of the heart.
In a similar rhythm, iman could also sing from a different beat. If Hajar taught us about iman rooted in emotions, the Prophet’s companions taught us about the reasoning of iman. Al Barra’ ibn Azib narrated the days of hardship during the excavation of Khandaq. “When digging the trench, we were impeded in a few places by a very hard ground which could not be dug with a hoe. We reported it to Rasulullah SAW. He came, took the hoe and said, “Bismillah,” he then struck the hard ground in one strike until sparks flickered out of it.”
“Allahu Akbar! I am given the keys to Sham (Syria). By Allah, I am truly witnessing its palaces which are red in color now.”
He then struck another hard ground, and again said, “Allahu Akbar! I am given the land of Persia. By Allah, I could see the palaces of Mada’in which are white in color from this position.”
And for the third time, he said, “Allahu Akbar! I am given the keys to Yemen. By Allah, from this position, I could see the arches of San’a!”
This was a supreme promise when the companions were gripped by an extremely awful trepidation. The Quraish, Ghathafan, Jews, and all other pagan tribes in the Arab peninsula were united to become one powerful might to crush Madinah. In an agonizing hunger that entwined into the very pit of the stomach, they must quickly dig the trench before the arrival of the enemies. “The soldiers of Khandaq,” Anas ibn Malik said, “were given two handfuls of wheat. The wheat was then mixed with oil and heated, then poured into palms of everyone. The sahabahs were in a very hungry state at that time, whereas the food they had could only give a bit of smell and warmth in the throat.”
At last, the forces of the federation arrived with all its jahiliyyah arrogance and might. The dignitaries of the mushrikeen were looking for a gap that they could use to cross and penetrate the Muslim’s defense. There was one narrow point that was quite unattended. ‘Ikrimah ibn Abi Jahl, Naufal ibn ‘Abdullah Al Makhzumi, Dhirar ibn Al Khaththab, Hubairah ibn Abi Wahb and ‘Amr ibn ‘Abdi Wudd manage to infiltrate though they could not take their horses across.
‘Amr ibn ‘Abdi Wudd who challenged to a duel was instantly met by ‘Ali. “By Allah, my nephew,” he said, “I don’t want to kill you.” ‘Ali replied, “But by Allah, I want to kill you!” ‘Amr, the dreadful duel ace was belted by ‘Ali in a few blows. He fell. Naufal ibn ‘Abdullah, who retreated in fear fell into the trench, hit the rock and died. The rest ran away helter-skelter chased by ‘Umar ibn Al Khaththab and Zubair ibn Al ‘Awwam. But attacks after attacks from every side of the trench kept on coming. So incessant. Not to mention the news about the betrayal by the Jews in Madinah. Madinah was surrounded from all sides. All ways out and supply routes were shut. Everything felt distressingly suffocating.
“Behold! they came on you from above you and from below you, and behold, the eyes became dim and the hearts gaped up to the throats, and ye imagined various (vain) thoughts about Allah.” (Qur’an 33:10)
The insistent and unrelenting attacks from the morning until the middle of the night forced everyone to hold out in their posts, without even having time to break, answer the call of nature, or even solat. Zohr, ‘Asr, Maghrib and ‘Isya’ had to be combined into one (jamak). “The Mushrikeen,” thus the Prophet said exasperatedly, “are making us leave the solat al-wustha (the middle prayer). May Allah fill up their throats and graves with fire.”
How ironic was what they faced now with what the Prophet promised the other day. Conquering Sham, Persia and Yemen. Ah, felt like the dream was too high-sounding. The munafiqeens could not contain themselves anymore. “Our Prophet is too far-fetched!” they said. “How could he be talking about the faraway Sham, Persia and Yemen when we can’t answer the call of nature in our own houses?” But what happened to the men who have faith? They soared even higher with their iman, distancing their souls from the munafiqeen who wallowed in the bog of doubts.
“When the Believers saw the Confederate forces, they said: “This is what Allah and his Messenger had promised us, and Allah and His Messenger told us what was true.” And it only added to their faith and their zeal in obedience.” (Qur’an 33:22)
The question is, where does this great faith come from? A Mufassir (Ones who makes the Tafseer of the Qur’an) believes that Allah has endowed tawfeeq (Divine-help) to the believers to take lessons from the alternation of the night and day. 7 O’clock in the evening, the surroundings is already dark. But 10 O’clock at night, it must be darker. And 2 O’clock after midnight, it must be even darker. But the darker it gets means, the nearer it is to dawn.
They also felt the same way. The Battle of Badar had already felt very painful for them. How could they engage in killings and violence with their own fathers, sons, kins and relatives. Extremely agonizing. But the Battle of Uhud was even more agonizing. They felt the bitter taste of defeat after winning initially, hearing the news about the death of the Prophet, knowing that 70 of the best sahabahs were martyred and the Prophet suffering wound, bleeding and even his teeth were broken. Yes, extremely agonizing. And now the Battle of Khandaq was even more unbearable. There is some truth in what the munafiqeen had said, “We can’t answer the call of nature in our own houses.”
The grim atmosphere and grip of fear felt by the believers were the same as what the munafiqeen felt. But the ‘ibrah is different. The munafiqeen said, “We don’t even have time to answer the call of nature in our own houses. Now, we are talking about conquering Sham, Persia and Yemen. C’mon!” Whereas the Mu’mineen said, “Wow, it’s getting darker. Insha Allah we are getting nearer to the dawn. Allahu Akbar!”
This is the way of love of the strugglers (Mujahideen), where the feeling of iman moves sweeping over all the other emotions of the heart. This is the way of love of the strugglers, where the reasoning of iman works overcoming every logic of ignorance (jahiliyyah).
Adapted and translated from the book “Jalan Cinta Para Pejuang” (The Way Of Love Of The Strugglers) by Salim A. Fillah
Submitted by a Mujahid