Adapted from a khutbah by Safi Khan of Dar-us-Salaam
Note: Imam Safi Khan of Dar-us-Salaam has been delivering talks and khutbas on 'yaqeen' – having confidence in Allah – throughout the DMV region over the last few months. The theme of Dar-us-Salaam's upcoming December 15, 2013 annual dinner is 'Yaqeen'. Dar-us-Salaam is working to raise $10 million to purchase and new property in Howard County, Maryland to be used as the new home of Al-Huda School. Besides a massive fundraising effort involving local, national, and international outreach, in-person and online solicitation, multiple events and methods, and institutional grant proposals, Dar-us-Salaam's message to the community is that they key to raising the $10 million is found in one word: yaqeen.
These days, because of the tremendous pressures on the ummah, many people seem to get down. As a whole, the Muslims in America and in our communities and families, it seems when we commit to Islam, things become tough for us. Many people buckle under this pressure. You hear people saying: “Its not practical to live an Islamic lifestyle. How are we ever going to be able to build an Islamic community, it is simply not practical.”
Consider this ayah which is an answer to this attitude for the sincere hearts, those hearts that are filled with yaqeen – the confidence in Allah.
The Prophet Sallallahu 'alyhi wa sallam built a community, and so did the other prophets, and we can also.
Allah says in Surah Qasas talking about the situation of the Muslims under the Pharoah: Listen believers, we want to grace your lives with much blessings to those who are oppressed in the land. Allah says He wants to make them leaders, and wants you to inherit the lands. SubhanAllah, this is a guarantee from Allah for us, so how can we let Shaytaan tell us that it can't happen. Allah says to those who don't have the resources that He will provide what they need, they just need to have the yaqeen – that confidence in Allah.
Allah put this type of yaqeen in the heart of people like Abu Bakr (Allah be pleased with him). Before the Prophet Sallallahu 'alyhi wa sallam passed away, he ordered that an army be sent to confront the Roman empire. This was unheard of at that time, to send a small army of hardly 3,000 to confront a 'super power' army of around 200,000. So, the Prophet Sallallahu 'alyhi wa sallam appointed Usama (Allah be pleased with him) to lead this army just before he passed away. The army had not left yet, and the Prophet Sallallahu 'alyhi wa sallam passed away, and three days later Abu Bakr became the leader and ordered that the army go out as the Prophet Sallallahu 'alyhi wa sallam instructed and all the other companions – all of them, even Umar – disagreed with Abu Bakr's decision. They tried to convince Abu Bakr that this was a wrong move, that the outlying Arab tribes were revolting, that the Muslims are still in sadness due to the passing of the Prophet Sallallahu 'alyhi wa sallam, and other reasons. Abu Bakr said: “The Prophet Sallallahu 'alyhi wa sallam said to do this, and you are telling me not to?” You see, Abu Bakr knew the ayaat of the Quran, where Allah said 'obey Allah and His Prophet, and He will have mercy on you.' So, regardless of the arguments, Abu Bakr's yaqeen said he had to order the army to continue. He gave some parting advice to the army, approaching on foot while Usama – a teenager – was on a camel. Abu Bakr ordered him to stay on the camel although Usama wanted his leader to get on the camel. “No, I also want my feet to get dirty in the way of Allah,” responded Abu Bakr. Although he was already one of the ten who was promised paradise, Abu Bakr still wanted to take some part in this struggle in the way of Allah.
Abu Bakr ordered the soldiers: Do not be treacherous. If there is a promise or truce, to do not violate it. Do not take anything for yourselves from the booty of war unless it is distributed to you. Do not deceive anyone during the battle. Do not mutilate any of the dead, and do not torture anyone. Do not kill children, elders, or women. You can only fight those who are fighting you on the battlefield. In other words, you cannot kill civilians like some misguided Muslims do today. He also said do not destroy or burn the trees and crops, do not slaughter any sheep or livestock except for food. He also said you will pass by some people who have devoted themselves to worship in monasteries (Christian monks), so leave them alone to worship. You will also come across people who bring you food, so if you eat from that food, make sure you mention the name of Allah first. These are the rules of engagement Abu Bakr gave the army of Usamah.
Abu Bakr could have made exceptions to these rules, telling himself that the Muslims were few and lacked resources so they needed some tactical advantages, but this is not the way of the Muslims.
One time Khalid Ibn Waleed was on a campaign where he went into an area of Iraq, and he saw two people worshiping fire. He took out his sword and was about to strike them, but then he remembered the advice of the Prophet Sallallahu 'alyhi wa sallam and also the words of advice Abu Bakr gave the army of Usamah, so he put his sword away. Would you believe that those two people who were there worshiping the fire – one's name was Sirin, and one's name was Nafi' – would you believe that the son of Sirin became Ibn Sirin, one of the most famous scholars in Islam who wrote the famous book on the interpretation of dreams, and that Nafi' later on became the famous general who took the Muslims from Egypt all the way to Morocco. Nafi' is the one who famously addressed the Atlantic ocean and said 'O ocean, if I knew that there was land beyond you, I would go there and share the message of Allah.'
Today, we are on the other side of the Atlantic, in that land that 'Uqbah ibn Nafi' was talking about. This came about because of the yaqeen – the confidence – that the companions had in the guidance and guidelines of the Qur'an and the Sunnah. Even though they did not have the material means, they had Allah on their side, and that was enough.
If you have confidence in Allah, and you move forward in the face of challenges, Allah will grant you success, just like Allah gave success to Prophet Musa 'alyhissalaam when the Pharoah ordered his soldiers to kill all the male babies of the Muslims – the Bani Israel. So Allah inspired Musa's mother to throw him in a box into the river, and Allah promised that He will keep him safe, and make him a leader and messenger. If the mother of Musa did not have yaqeen – the confidence in Allah – she would have argued, saying that throwing her baby in the river is just as bad as letting the Pharoah kill the baby. But she had yaqeen, so she put him in the swiftly running Nile river, and you know the rest of the story. Today, we aren't saying you need to throw your children in the river, we are just saying put them in an Islamic school, a Muslim community. Do we have the yaqeen to do that?
Remember, when Usama's army approached the Roman army, the Roman army fled and did not engage them. When we put our confidence in Allah, nothing can deny us. Allah is watching, don't worry. Today, the future is ours, if we just have the yaqeen, that confidence in Allah.