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Be Careful with Muhammad SallAllahu alayhi wa sallam


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By Khalid Baig

The crowd was growing in size by the minute. They were beating drums, singing, dancing, and shouting in joy. Pagan Makkah was about to kill Khubaib bin Adi Ansari RadiAllahu anhu, who had been captured through a sinister and treacherous plot, then sold in the slave market so the buyers could exact their vengeance.
 
It started when some tribesmen from Uthul and Qara went to Madinah and requested Nabi SallAllahu alayhi wa sallam, to send some teachers with them who could educate their fellow tribesmen about Islam. The request was granted and about ten Companions were sent with them. When the group reached Raji, two hundred armed men were lying in wait for them. Khubaib and Zaid bin Adathna RadiAllahu anhuma, were captured alive, while the others were martyred. Then they were sold in exchange for a hundred heads of camel. Both had fought in the battle of Badr and their swords had killed some pagan soldiers. Now the relatives of those killed in war wanted to get even. Of course, Arab traditions did not allow revenge for war like this. But their opponents were Muslims. Then, as now, the pagan world was ready to violate its own rules and traditions when the victims were Muslims.
While facing death, Khubaib, Radi-Allahu anhu, said a poem that has been recorded by history. It includes these lines: “They say if I renounce Islam, my life will be spared. But it is better to die with belief than to live with unbelief.”

At the last minute, the pagans asked him: “Don’t you wish that you were spared and Muhammad SallAllahu alayhi wa sallam got this punishment? Would not you like that you were resting comfortably in your home, while he was killed in your place?” From the man who was about to die because he had accepted the Message brought by Muhammad SallAllahu alayhi wa sallam, came this reply: By Allah, I cannot even imagine that a thorn should prick the foot of Muhammad, SallAllahu alayhi wa sallam, while I rest in my home.”

Abu Sufyan, an unbeliever at the time, remarked to his associates: “See, the love of the companions for Muhammad SallAllahu alayhi wa sallam is unparalleled and unprecedented.” At another time, a similar observation was made by another Quraish leader Urwah ibn Mas’ud al Thaqafi: “I have seen Ceasar and Chosroes in their pomp, but never have I seen a man honored, as Muhammad is honored by his comrades.”
 
The biographies of the Companions are full of stories that show their extraordinary love and devotion for the Prophet, SallAllahu alayhi wa sallam. The Qur’an itself attests to this. “The Prophet is closer to the believers than their own selves.” [Al-Ahzab 33:6]
 
The following two Ahadith, from among the many on the subject, clarify this point further. “None of you can be a believer unless he loves me more than his parents, his children, and all the people.” [Bukhari and Muslim]
 
“There are three signs that indicate that a person has tasted the sweetness of faith. 1) That he loves Allah and His Prophet more than anything else. 2) He loves everyone solely for the sake of Allah. 3) After accepting Islam he hates going back to unbelief as much as he hates going into the fire.” [Bukhari and Muslim]
 
Our relationship to Nabi SallAllahu alayhi wa sallam, is at the core of our entire religion. He is human, not divine, but he is our connection to the Deity. He relays to us the Word of Allah and he explains what the Word means. He sets a personal example that we look at not just for admiration but emulation. Our relationship to him is legal as well as personal; moral as well as spiritual; intellectual as well as emotional. Allah chose him to guide us, educate us, inspire us, and purify us — and we remain indebted forever!
 
As the Persian poet said, “You may take liberty with God, but be careful with Muhammad SallAllahu alayhi wa sallam.”
 

Jamiatul Ulama (KZN)
Council of Muslim Theologians

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