Path towards Enlightenment (940)
Welcome to another episode of our weekly series titled “Path towards Enlightenment” which is an endeavour to make you and us familiar with an easy and fluent explanation of God’s Final Scripture to all mankind, the holy Qur’an, which was revealed to the Last and Greatest of all Messengers, Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny).
As you know, a fortnight ago we completed the explanation of Surah Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny), and from this Friday onwards we embark on explanation of the next Surah, that is, “Surah Fat’h”, which is 48th in the serial order of compilation of the holy Qur’an. It has 29 Ayahs and was revealed in the year 6 AH following conclusion of the truce with the pagan Arabs of Mecca at a place called Hudaybiyyah.
The Surah opens by acclaiming the Manifest Victory or Triumph of Islam that God accorded His Prophet in the truce agreed with the pagan Arabs who blocked the path of Muslims to Mecca. It takes its name from the opening Ayah wherein “fat’h” or victory is promised. The Surah makes reference to the occasion when the Prophet had a vision that he and his followers would be performing pilgrimage to the holy Ka’ba in Mecca. Accordingly, the Muslims set out in the month of Zi’l-Qa’dah to perform the Umrah or the Minor Pilgrimage, but the pagan Arabs, who had been defeated in all the armed encounters they had imposed on the Prophet, now decided to bar their entry at a village called Ḥudaybiyyah. Discussions followed and in the end the Prophet signed a treaty that he and the believers would not enter Mecca this year, but would do so the next year. The Prophet, seeing the long-term significance of this treaty in the interests of peace agreed to a truce, even though some hypocrites amongst the Muslims viewed it as a setback for Islam.
Throughout the Surah the Prophet is assured by God of a great breakthrough the treaty has opened for the believers, who are reassured that their self-restraint and obedience to Divine Commandments will ensure eventual victory for them. The Surah condemns both the hypocrites of Medina (in Ayah 6) and the idolaters of Mecca (in Ayahs 6 and 26) and closes by praising firm faith of the true believers in Ayah 29. In short, the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah proved to be the greatest victory for Islam – moral, social, and political – as a result of the cool courage, devotion, faith and patience of the Prophet and the true believers. By virtue of this treaty every individual, each family, clan or tribe was given freedom of choice to join the Prophet in his mission, to profess Islam and to convince others to come into the fold of the religion of Allah without any risk of persecution from the disbelievers.
Now let us listen to Ayahs 1, 2 and 3 of Surah Fat’h:
“In the Name of God, the All-Compassionate, the All-Merciful
“Indeed We have initiated for you a clear victory;
“That Allah may forgive your (community) what is of their past faults and what is to follow; and that He may complete His Favour to you and guide you on the Straight Path;
“And Allah will help you with a mighty help.”
The significance of the Treaty of Hudaybiyya lies in the fact that it served as a prelude to remarkable triumphs including the peaceful surrender of Mecca to the Prophet two years later in 8 AH. Thus, the promise of God Almighty of manifest victory is always true.
The All-Merciful God forgives the faults and sins of those who repent and showers them with blessings and guidance towards the Straight Path. In other words, what God Almighty bestows is the most praiseworthy, the most manifest, and the best. He grants perfect bounties, guidance to the Straight Path, and invincible power.
Indeed Allah granted the Prophet a mighty help, since the truce opened the path of propagation of Islam and tidings of ultimate victory. Real success and triumph springs from Divine Support rather than our thoughts, schemes, and material power. Although Muslims were barred from performing the rituals in Mecca, the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah ensured that that there would be no armed encounters for ten years and performing the pilgrimage would be unimpeded; hence the manifest triumph for Muslims. Another important point to note is that the Prophet succeeded in eradicating the superstitious customs of the era of ignorance, as the laws of Islam made everyone equal before God by doing away with discriminatory social class system of the Arabs of Jahiliyya.
From these Ayahs we learn that:
- Piety, patience, and prudence, along with political acumen are instrumental in paving the ground for victory and of course, which is not always through armed encounters, but at times through Divinely-inspired diplomacy.
- If believers fulfill their duties without fear of any consequences, God will indeed provide the conditions for success and the desired result.
- All actions of the Prophet, whether the need for armed defence or entering into treaties for peace, are on the basis of Divine commandments.
Now let us listen to Ayah 4 of this Surah as the concluding one of this week’s episode:
“It is He Who sent down tranquility into the hearts of the believers so that faith is increased to their faith; to Allah belong the hosts of the heavens and the earth, and Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.”
The Treaty of Hudaybiyyah made some of the Muslims sad in failing to perform the pilgrimage to the Holy Ka’ba, the symbolic House of the Unseen but Omnipresent God. The revelation of this Ayah, however, filled their hearts with tranquility and strengthened their faith in God’s Promise of victory for the Prophet and Islam. The Arabic word “sakina” means tranquility, serenity and calm, and whoever is granted such Divine Favours shall enjoy success. The one who puts trust in God, never feels saddened even in case of setback, or will not become proud and boastful in case of success, since everything is based on Divine Will. In other words, true believers will never disobey Divine Commandments and will not be affected by people’s respect or indifference, or for that matter, fame or obscurity, and poverty or affluence.
A glance at the states of believers and disbelievers shows that the latter suffer from permanent anxiety and concern, whereas the former enjoy unequalled peace of mind as a consequence of which they fear no one but Allah. Consequently, believers are not supposed to stay at one stage of faith, but they need to ascend to more elevated stages through self-purification through knowledge and practice.
It is narrated from Imam Ja’far as-Sadeq (AS), the 6th Infallible Heir of Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny): “There are ten degrees to faith in the same manner that one ascends the steps of a ladder.”
Thus, everything in the universe is in the control of the Almighty Creator, which means believers will never feel frustrated.
This Ayah teaches us the following points:
- Among Divine Favour is bestowing peace of mind and tranquility of heart to the believers, in contrast to the disbelievers who are always trapped in anxiety and fear.
- Faith has degrees, and believers ought to strive to perfect their faith by attaining higher ranks of belief.
- Everything belongs to God Almighty, and hence we should put complete trust in Divine Will.