By Tariq Mehanna

The Best Arrows | Part II

He described that “people were utterly terrified of them, to the point that if just one of them entered a part of a city and faced a hundred men, not a single one would step forward to face him. He would then proceed to kill these men, one by one, until he had killed them all, and none of them would raise a finger to defend himself. He would then plunder the entire area by himself. One of their women even dressed up as a man, entered a home, and killed everyone in the home by herself.”

They had so completely destroyed everything in their path that it was said that a horseman could ride long distances behind them and not stumble over anything. As we know, this path of destruction soon reached Baghdad. Baghdad was significant because it was at the time the capital of the Islamic state, and the seat of the khilafah. Ibn Kathir said: “People differed over how many Muslims they killed in Baghdad. Some said 800,000. Others said 1,800,000. Others said the number of killed reached two million.” In any case, once they entered, the Mongols went on killing in Baghdad for forty straight days. Ibn Kathir again: “At the end of those forty days, Baghdad was nothing more than ruins. Nobody, except for the rare exception, was seen walking anywhere. Dead bodies were piled up in the streets like small hills. Rain began to fall on them, and the bodies began to rot. The stench of rotting corpses began to permeate the city, to the point that the air itself was affected. A severe plague then emerged and spread, and the foul air made its way to Syria. Many people died due to this air.” The dead included Shaykh Muhi ad-Din Yusuf, son of the great scholar Ibn al-Jawzi. But more significantly, the khalifah al-Musta’sim had been executed by the Mongol leader Hulako. For the first time in the history of the Ummah, it had no khalifah.

The Mongols wanted to continue westward. So, they built bridges to cross the Euphrates River and made their way to the gates of Aleppo, Syria. Ibn Kathir described that “they laid siege to it for seven days, then gave its people a promise of security. They betrayed that promise, conquered the city, and killed so many of its people that none knows the numbers except Allah. They plundered their wealth, enslaved their women and children, and did to them almost exactly what they had done to the people of Baghdad.”

Here, Ibn Kathir mentioned that an individual by the name of Sayf ad-Din Qutuz once had a dream. Qutuz said: “I saw the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) in a dream, and he said to me: “You will rule the lands of Egypt, and you will break the Mongols.” Qutuz had this dream when he was only a child. Indeed, when he grew into a man, he found himself ruling Egypt at the time the Mongols were right next door laying waste to Syria. Upon learning that their next intended stop was Egypt, he decided to go to them before they came to him. So, he gathered his troops in Egypt and set out for Syria to face the Mongols and teach them a lesson. On Friday, the 25th of Ramadan, Sayf ad-Din Qutuz confronted them at a place in Syria called ‘Ayn Jalut. The fighting was extreme and intense. Qutuz was so brave that, as Ibn Kathir described, even when his horse was killed, he remained standing on foot in the middle of the battlefield. The other commanders later asked him: “Why didn’t you just take someone else’s horse? If the enemy saw you, you would’ve been killed, and Islam would have perished because of you!” He replied: “As for me, I would’ve gone straight to Paradise. As for Islam, it has a Lord Who will never abandon it.” Qutuz and his army then began to “chase the Mongols, killing them everywhere. They followed them into Aleppo, and some of them fled Damascus. This occurred on Sunday, the 27th of Ramadan, on the morning of the victory at ‘Ayn Jalut that they had glad tidings of. The Muslims of Damascus began chasing the Mongols, killing and capturing them, reclaiming their wealth, and freeing those they had taken captive.” The battle was over, and the Mongols were expelled from Syria.

After Sayf ad-Din Qutuz had put a stop to the Mongol expansion into the Muslim world, he turned around and headed back to Egypt.

* Over five hundred years later, the French were back, this time headed by Napoleon Bonaparte. From those who headed the fight to liberate Egypt from Napoleon’s grasp was the governor of Alexandria, Muhammad Kurayyim. But he was eventually captured by the French and taken to a prison in Cairo. A ransom was demanded for him that was so high that it was impossible to pay. Napoleon then had him executed.

* While occupying Egypt, Napoleon had built a prison: the notorious Liman Turah. A little over a century and a half later, a frail, middle-aged man found himself in the depths of this prison. His body still scarred from the abuse by his torturers, the man sat up in his cell and began to write. The words which flowed from his pen over the following decade sitting in that prison changed the world outside its concrete walls, continued to do so through the following decades, and still do so today. That man was Sayyid Qutb…

* The Friday 10/9/1434 (8/16/2013) edition of ‘al-Quds al-‘Arabi’ contains an article by Hibah Zakariyya titled ‘Cries of Joy Elevate Upon Claiming the Victims of Rab’iah al-‘Adawiyyah.’ The article begins as follows: “The road between Rabi’ah al-‘Adawiyyah and the al-Iman Mosque – which has become a morgue for roughly 350 bodies – is not very long. The families of the victims walked it to claim the bodies of their sons. The road told some of the details of the bloody story, as cigarette butts lay scattered among spent ammunition from weapons that included automatic rifles. When the families gathered at the entrance of the mosque/morgue, one saw a variety of faces and heard a variety of accents – from Egypt’s far south to its far north. But they were all joined by the same pain: the pain of losing a loved one, whether a son, daughter, brother, or husband.” The article then mentions four stories of Muslims who were killed by the secularists:

“…From the stories of this group which most affect those who hear it is the story of Umm ‘Abd ar-Rahman, who let out a cry of joy upon seeing the body of her son, and kept repeating: “He was supposed to get married tomorrow! But we express joy for him today.”” The article then details that her son’s full name was ‘Abd ar-Rahman Muhammad as-Sayyid, was 22 years old, and was to have his wedding the next day. His mother continued: “My son got his hair cut for his wedding, and when I asked him why he was doing it so early, he replied: “O mother! I want to be ready for the wedding.” When I pulled back his shroud to look at his face, I saw the beautiful face of a groom who was prepared to meet the Hur al-‘Ayn.”” His mother continued describing ‘Abd ar-Rahman, saying that “he had memorized the entire Qur’an. He would break his fast at home each night in Ramadan – and had fasted the six days of Shawwal – then he we would go to the Nahdah Square or Rabi’ah. In his last phone call to me, he said: “Tell Dad that I’m on the way home. Don’t lie to him and tell him that I’m already home just to reassure him.”” Finally, she described how she learned that he had been killed: “My friend’s son – who was also the friend of ‘Abd ar-Rahman – was killed there. So, I posted the news on Facebook. Suddenly, people began posting responses informing me that my son had also been killed.””

The article then shifts to another: “With her simple black village clothes, she frantically searched the bodies laid out on the floor of the mosque, while repeating in her village accent: “Where are you, ‘Imad? Where did you go, my son? Where did you go and leave me all alone?” She is the mother of the 15-year-old child ‘Imad Hamdi, from the province of Fayyum (southwest of Cairo). She was unable to identify which body was her son’s due to the dozens of bodies that had been burned beyond recognition.” The article continued: “Between her screams, she said: “He was camped out at Rabi’ah Square for the past month. He was the one supporting the family after I had separated from his father. In our last phone conversation, he said: “Take 100 pounds ($16) from the money I have saved up and spend it on the family.”” ‘Imad’s mother was finally able to identify her son’s body with much difficulty, as most of it had been charred. As she pointed him out, she described him as possessing beautiful manners and a sense of responsibility, and as being the one responsible for spending on the family.

As for Mahmud Muhammad ‘Abbas, his sister Su’ad spoke of him between contained sobs, while congratulating his young wife: “Mahmud graduated from law school in 2011, and worked for a real estate firm. His wedding was on ”Id, but I express my joy for him today because he will meet the Hur al-‘Ayn.”” She then described how she learned that he had been killed: “I called him on the phone, as I always did. I found a voice answering the phone, saying “The owner of this phone has been martyred.” He had just sent us a text message two hours earlier saying that he was safe, except that a bullet had hit him in the head.”” She continued: “My father died two months ago, but I feel like an orphan only now,” adding that her brother wanted to become a martyr after the events of the Republican Guard (soon after the coup), and that this feeling only intensified after several of his friends had become martyred at al-Minassah the previous month, in which many of the demonstrators at Rabi’ah al-‘Adawiyyah were killed.”

Finally, the article describes Ahmad Jum’ah, “a 34-year-old husband, and father of two daughters – one-month-old Hafsah and two-year-old ‘A’ishah. He had gone to Rabi’ah the previous morning. His father said that he had found a picture of him on the Internet in which he was carrying a baby girl to safety to protect her from the gunfire, and another picture of him after he was martyred in which he had been shot. In none of these pictures had he been disfigured or burned. But when he went to claim his body at the al-Iman Mosque, he found the body partially burned.” The article ends with his father describing his son: “Ahmad never caused anyone to be angry with him. He was the one who would wash the bodies of the dead in our town.”

For thousands of years, the land of Egypt has hosted such people, and it will continue to do so until the end of time. This is not mere speculation. Rather, in a lengthy hadith detailing the signs of the Hour reported in ‘Sahih Muslim,’ the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) described that when ‘Isa bin Maryam returns at the end of time, Allah will send forth Ya’juj and Ma’juj. And He will tell ‘Isa exactly where he should situate himself: “I have brought forth slaves of Mine against whom nobody can fight. So, gather My worshippers and take them to Mt. Sinai.”

Written by: Tariq Mehanna
Monday 12th of Shawwal 1434 (19th of August 2013)
Terre Haute CMU

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