The past few months presented a great affliction unto the Muslims. Amidst already existing challenges such as the Patriot Act and the War on “Terror”—or rather, the imperialist war on innocent Muslims to advance political and economic interests in their lands while supplying a justification to those who are too heedless to realize the truth around them—there came a new attack on the Muslims.
This time, it wasn’t the unlawful imprisonment or murder of brothers and sisters in many occupied regions worldwide. This time, it wasn’t the deportation of many community leaders and loved ones within the Muslim community as a means of attempting to strike fear in the hearts of Muslims. This time, it wasn’t the desecration of the Holy Qur’an—the book by which Muslims worldwide turn to as a source for not just religious inquiries, but a total, complete way of life—as if desecrating the Qur’an wasn’t bad enough. This time, it was a direct attack at the core and fundamental beliefs in Islam—an attack on the very proclamation of La Ilaha illa Allah Muhammad ar-RasuluLlah (There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is His Messenger).
Our beloved Prophet Muhammad, salla Allahu `alayhi was sallam (peace and blessings be upon him), was the center of the latest attack on Islam after despicable caricatures depicting him were published in various newspapers and magazines, and publicly presented in many “academic” gatherings for “educational” purposes. (See Expelling the Myths, page 10.)
These attacks on Islam and on the Prophet (saws) are a direct test to those who Believe. Allah, subhanahu wa ta`ala (the Exalted and Glorified), reminds the Believers in the Qur’an, “You will surely be tested in your possessions and in yourselves. And you will surely hear from those who were given the Scripture before you and from those who associate others with Allah, much abuse. But if you are patient and fear Allah – indeed, that is of the matters [worthy] of determination” (3:186).
We are reminded of such tests numerous times in the Qur’an: “Every soul will taste death. And We test you with evil and with good as a trial; and to Us you will be returned” (21:35); “Do the people think that they will be left to say, ‘We believe’ and they will not be tried? But We have certainly tried those before them, and Allah will surely make evident those who are truthful, and He will surely make evident the liars” (29:2-3); “And that Allah may purify the Believers [through trials] … Or do you think that you will enter Paradise while Allah has not yet made evident those of you who fight in His cause and made evident those who are steadfast?” (3:141-142).
The recent attacks on the Prophet (saws) are also a diagnostic by which we are able to judge ourselves. What was our reaction upon witnessing such attacks? Were we angry? Were we afraid? Did it not bother us at all?
Thawban, radi Allahu `anhu (may Allah be pleased with him), one of the companions of the Prophet (saws) and a freed slave, narrated a hadith (prophetic saying) of the beloved Prophet (saws). He related that the Messenger of Allah (saws) said, “The nations are about to call each other and set upon you, just as diners set upon food.”
It was asked, “Will it be because of our small number that day?”
The Prophet (saws) answered, “Rather, on that day you will be many, but you will be like foam, like the foam on the ocean. And Allah will remove the fear of you from the hearts of your enemies and will throw wahn (weakness) into your hearts.”
Someone then asked, “O Messenger of Allah! What is Wahn?”
He replied, “Love of the world and the hatred for death” (Abu Dawood 4297).
This hadith illustrates a great weakness which would befall the Ummah (global Muslim community), resulting from an inclination to, and love of this world; it is this preoccupation with worldly matters that has invited others to bestow such attacks upon the Muslims, and on Prophet Muhammad (saws). Allah (swt) however, Makes clear the status of the Prophet (saws) and of all the Believers in the Qur’an: “… And to Allah belongs all honor and to His Prophet and to the Believers but the hypocrites do not know”(63:8).
Let us look into our hearts and attempt to uncover what it is we yearn for. Is it a love for worldly matters? Or is there a sincere love for our Creator (swt) and for our beloved Prophet Muhammad (saws)? Let us aspire for true iman (faith) and work towards changing ourselves, so that we may grow closer to Allah (swt) and stronger as an Ummah. For indeed, “Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves. And when Allah Intends for a people ill, there is no repelling it. And there is not for them besides Him any patron” (13:11).