Path towards Enlightenment (944)
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 from our explanation so far of Surah Fat’h or Manifest Victory, which God Almighty describes the Prophet’s Treaty of Hudaybiyyah with the pagan Arabs of Mecca, several Bedouin tribes who claimed to be Muslim but whose hearts were devoid of Islam, disobeyed Divine commandments and resorted to lame excuses, lies, and hypocrisy for their failure to accompany the faithful, since their main concern was booty and not faith, even though the All-Merciful readily forgives those who repent and reform.
We continue from where we left you in our last episode a week ago and here is Ayah 17 of Surah Fat’h:
“There is no blame on the blind, nor is there any blame on the lame, nor is there any blame on the sick; and whoever obeys Allah and His Prophet, He will admit him into gardens with streams running in them, and whoever refuses to comply, He will punish him with a painful punishment.”
If you might recall, last Friday in our explanation of the previous Ayahs of this Surah, we said Divine mercy precedes Divine wrath, and it is only our deeds that bring us reward or punishment. We also said that among the characteristics of the hypocrites is that they are opportunistic. They leave the scene at the time of danger by resorting to various pretexts, but when there are easy gains, they want to have the major share in them. Nevertheless, the door of repentance is wide open for sinners and disbelievers, as part of Divine Mercy.
The Ayah that we recited to you now was revealed when on the call for Jihad the disabled approached the Prophet to enquire about their duties and were told there is no sin upon the blind, the lame, and the ailing if they do not participate in active duty at the fronts. It is evident that not just armed battles, but these benign laws of exemption of the disabled applies to all obligations in Islam, provided the belief is firm in their hearts, since the bliss of Paradise and its bounties is for those who obey God and the Prophet, while the deviant will be severely punished. On the contrary, the able-bodied persons who fail to fulfill their obligations on various pretexts and lame excuses, despite claiming to be believers, are considered disobeyers deserving of punishment.
It is worth noting that Ayah 286 of Surah Baqarah, explicitly says, “Allah does not task any soul beyond its capacity.” For instance, among the conditions of the daily ritual prayers is to stand while performing it, but a sick or disabled person is allowed to sit and pray, and if bedridden can perform the prayer while reclining. Likewise, sick persons and mothers suckling babies, are exempted from keeping the fasts of the month of Ramadhan.
From this Ayah we learn that:
- Islam pays special attention to the sick and disabled persons and has exempted them from certain religious obligations including participation in armed battles.
- What is important for a true believer is faith in God and obedience to the Prophet’s instructions, though the duties of each person alter according to his/her physical conditions and capacities.
Now let us listen to Ayahs 18 and 19 of this Surah:
“Allah was certainly pleased with the faithful when they swore allegiance to you (O Prophet) under the tree. He knew what was in their hearts, so He sent down His composure on them, and requited them with a victory near at hand.
“And abundant spoils that they will capture and Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.”
These Ayahs refer to the allegiance pledged by Muslims to the Prophet under a tree at the place called Hudaybiyyah near Mecca in order to test the degrees of their faith, before conclusion of truce with the pagan Arabs. This is known in Islamic history as “Bai’at ar-Redhwan” or Oath of Submission to Allah, which means the oath-breakers do it to their own detriment.
Here, God Almighty, aware of the degrees of sincerity of each and every person’s pledge of allegiance to the Prophet, reminds them of the composure or tranquility he had sent upon their hearts at that critical moment, and gives glad tidings to the true believers of the victory in the forthcoming armed encounters, along with the material benefits they will achieve.
It is worth noting that in Islam, the oath of allegiance to the lawful and legitimate leader is a religious obligation, since religion is not separate from politics and social issues; hence the pledge-breakers are considered guilty and disobedient to God.
These Ayahs teach us the following points:
- In Islam, expression of faith is not limited to acts of worship such as prayer or fasting, but covers active participation in social, political, scientific and all other fields.
- The Almighty Creator is All-Aware of our intentions and the thoughts that flash across our minds, and will consequently grant suitable reward, though the All-Merciful does not punish those who harbour unhealthy intentions unless that evil deed is committed.
- Faith in God results in peace of mind and tranquility of heart, while lack of faith breeds anxiety.
- Loyalty towards the Prophet and assisting him against the enemies leads to Divine bounties both in the transient life of the world and in the Hereafter.
Now let us listen to Ayahs 20 and 21 as the concluding Ayahs of this episode:
“Allah has promised you abundant spoils which you will capture. He has expedited this one for you, and withheld people’s hands from you, so that it may be a sign for the faithful, and that He may guide you to the straight path.
“And other [gains] which you have not yet acquired: Indeed Allah has comprehended them, and Allah has power over all things.”
These Ayahs refer to the Divine favours for the faithful in the forthcoming encounters including the expedition to Khaibar, which Israelite tribes had turned into a stronghold for plots against Islam and were conspiring with the pagan Arabs to attack Medina. On God’s commandment, the Prophet marched towards Khaibar and after liberating a series of forts, laid siege to the strongest of them, named Qamous, which under the leadership of the Jewish warlord Marhab beat back the Muslims. The Prophet then called for his cousin and son-in-law Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS), who was suffering from eyesore, and after miraculously curing him of the ailment, gave him command of the Muslim army. The Imam dashed forth and in a fierce duel dispatched Marhab to the bowels of hell. He then assaulted the heavily guarded fort and in a feat of remarkable strength pulled down the iron gateway, enabling the Muslims to enter and conquer it, along with its rich spoils.
Thus the Divine tidings of victory in Ayah 20, which also alludes to the fear gripping the hearts of the enemies, as a sign from God for the faithful in order to guide them to the straight path.
Ayah 21 refers to more Divine promises of victory, such as the surrender of Mecca to the Muslims without a fight, as a firm answer to the doubts about the Prophet in the hearts of Muslims of weak faith following the truce of Hudaybiyyah. “Other gains” could also mean the prevalence of Islam for all ages as a moral and spiritual influence in the human society till the end of the world.
These Ayahs teach us the following points:
- God has promised victory to the Muslims if they are firm of faith.
- The rewards are both spiritual and material in the world, in addition to the bounties of Paradise for the true believers.
- Among God’s Favours are the confidence of the faithful and their awe in the hearts of the opponents.
- The God-given strength of Imam Ali (AS) and the remarkable feats he performed with the twin-bladed sword, the Zulfeqar, to grant victory to Muslims, almost single-handed in many an armed encounter imposed by the enemies, is among the proofs of the truth of Islam.