By Tariq Mehanna / For my unborn children

“Reverse Osmosis” by Tariq Mehanna

“Before the end of time, there will be years of treachery. In them, the truthful person is disbelieved, the liar is believed, the trustworthy is distrusted, and the treacherous is trusted.”

In this authentic hadith, Allah’s Messenger (sall Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) described our era. Confusion and deception are so prevalent today that it’s difficult for many to accurately assess the world and the people in it.

It’s difficult, but not impossible.

We’re able to distinguish who’s who during tests that are periodically sent our way: {“And I indeed tested those before them, so that Allah would clarify who the truthful are and who the liars are.”} (29:3) ash-Shawkani explained in his commentary on this verse that such tests bring into the open a defining trait in each group that distinguishes it from the others.

One such test is Prophet Muhammad himself. An authentic Hadith Qudsi states that Allah said to him: “Indeed, I only sent you in order to test you, as well as to test others by way of you” – in other words, as an-Nawawi wrote, “to use you to test those I sent you to. Some of them will react to you by exhibiting Iman and sincere obedience. Some will stay away and exhibit enmity and kufr. Others will exhibit nifaq. What’s meant here is that He’ll test people so that these traits are brought out into the open.”

Today, a Westerner will read about the Prophet on the Internet, convert to his religion, and aspire to live in the Dawlah ruling by his Shari’ah with his name printed across its flag, thereby putting himself in the crosshairs of a government that would kill the man himself if he was alive today. The Prophet is very much a polarizing figure, and he always was. The kuffar of his era were likewise furious with him because he “attacked our way of life and divided our society.” When they captured one early convert, they interrogated him by asking: “Wouldn’t you rather have Muhammad here in your place, so that we could strike his neck and leave you to be home with your family?” He replied: “I swear by Allah that I wouldn’t want Muhammad to even be pricked by a thorn where he is now while I’m sitting at home with my family!” After this response, he was executed.

The interrogator commented in awe that “I’ve never seen anyone who loves another person the way Muhammad’s companions love him,” and would himself later convert to Islam. Many today limit themselves to their own frame of reference, and thus don’t grasp this concept (or pretend not to). This loyalty is in fact rooted in logic. Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani explained that “you can comprehend this love through contemplation. This is because your love is apportioned between yourself and others. Loving yourself consists of you wanting to live a life free of problems. This is essentially what people are after. As for loving others, if you think about it, you’ll find that it’s tied in some way to any of the various benefits you attain from them in either the short or long run. If you reflect over the benefit provided to you by Allah’s Messenger – the man who rescued you from the compounded darkness of kufr and brought you into the light of Iman – you’ll realize that it’s because of him that you will experience the eternal bliss of Paradise, and you’ll realize that this benefit outshines all other benefits. This is the benefit that inspires such love. Since this benefit is found with him moreso than anyone else, he thus deserves more of your love than anyone else. But people vary in this love based on their awareness of this or lack thereof.”

In the same passage, Ibn Hajar also said that “this love for the Prophet isn’t limited to simply longing for him. Rather, it extends to aiding his Sunnah, defending his Shari’ah, and checking his opponents.” We now turn to a scholar who did exactly that.

While sitting in a medieval Egyptian prison, Ibn Taymiyyah began writing a book. His mission was to thoroughly elucidate the Shar’i stance on insulting the Prophet. He aptly titled this book ‘as-Sarim al-Maslul ‘ala Shatim ar-Rasul’ (The Slicing Sword Against the Insulter of the Messenger). Despite relying solely on his memory in writing it (he had no reference materials available in his prison cell at the time), contemporary scholars have since evaluated the book and verified that Ibn Taymiyyah made not a single academic error in its hundreds of pages, and the book is now itself considered a reference.

Commenting in the book on a manifestation of Allah’s love for the Prophet, Ibn Taymiyyah wrote that “when someone insults Allah and His Messenger and the believers are unable to retaliate, Allah takes it upon Himself to avenge His Messenger directly. For example, the one-by-one destruction of those who mocked the Prophet is recorded by the scholars of history and Tafsir, and is well-known. They were a small group of leaders of Quraysh, and included al-Walid bin al-Mughirah, al-‘As bin Wa’il, al-Aswadan bin ‘Abd al-Muttalib, Ibn ‘Abd Yaghuth, and al-Harith bin Qays. Another example is when the Prophet wrote to Kisra (Khosrau – the Persian king) and Qaysar (Caesar – the Roman emperor). Although neither became a Muslim, Qaysar respected the Prophet’s letter and treated his ambassador well. As a result, his kingdom remained… As for Kisra, he tore the letter into pieces and mocked Allah’s Messenger. As a result, Allah killed Kisra soon after, his kingdom was likewise torn to pieces, and none of the future kings of Persia had any kingdom to speak of.”

Ibn Taymiyyah then explained that at times, however, Allah retaliates through the hands of a group of Muslims. He related how some Muslims of his era had been laying siege to a Roman encampment on the Syrian coast, and quoted one Mujahid in this army who described that “we were laying siege to some castle or city, unable to penetrate it for over a month. But as soon as we heard its people begin to insult Allah’s Messenger and attack his honor, we were suddenly & miraculously given a quick, easy victory over them. Within a day or two, the gates finally opened, allowing us to launch an intense attack on them. We were extremely happy with this rapid victory after hearing them slander him, despite our hearts being simultaneously filled with rage at what they’d said.”

Such loyalty to the Prophet is the defining trait of his Al. While we commonly translate this term into English as ‘household’ or ‘family,’ the scholars explain that ‘Al Muhammad’ refers to anyone, anywhere, who follows and defends him until the end of time, as the Arabic linguist Nashwan al-Humayri wrote in the following lines of poetry:

The Al of the Prophet are the followers of his creed * Upon the Shari’ah, whether they are non-Arab or Arab;
If his Al was limited to his relatives * One would be invoking salah upon the tyrant Abu Lahab…

This is precisely what Western forces will have in mind once they finally put boots on the ground. In a lengthy, authentic hadith describing the Malhamah, the Prophet explained that once coalition forces enter the town of al-A’maq or Dabiq in northern Sham, their wrath will be focused on their own citizens who believed in him and found their way there, as they’ll demand: “Get out of our way so that we can fight those who were taken from us!” The response will come swiftly from the Mujahidin: “No, by Allah, we won’t let you get at our brothers!” The full text of this hadith can be found in the ‘Kitab al-Fitan’ section near the end of ‘Sahih Muslim.’

Ironically, those converts will then find themselves fighting alongside ‘Isa bin Maryam. Summarizing some authentic ahadith on the topic, Ibn Rajab wrote that “‘Isa bin Maryam will descend upon Sham at the end of time. He’s the one who foretold the arrival of Muhammad, and he’ll now be the one to affirm Muhammad’s religion, rule by it, and reject any other religion from anyone. He’ll break the cross, kill the pig, and abolish the Jizyah. He’ll pray behind the Muslims’ imam, telling him that “the leaders of this ummah are leaders of each other,” implying that he didn’t come to abrogate their religion, but rather to follow it. And at the end of time, Sham will be the land where people are gathered and brought forth. People will be gathered there before the Day of Resurrection from all corners of the globe, and the best people on Earth will migrate there voluntarily.”

The world will continue in this reverse osmosis until, as the Prophet said, “people will be divided into two camps: a camp of Iman with no nifaq, and a camp of nifaq with no Iman.” He then added: “When this is the case, await the arrival of the Dajjal.”

The Dajjal’s name comes from the Arabic root verb ‘dajala’ – “to deceive, dupe, cheat.” The word ‘dajjal’ is defined as “a swindler, cheat, imposter, quack, charlatan; Antichrist.” His defining fitnah is deception. The Prophet gave an example, describing that “he will come with paradise and fire. But his fire is paradise, and his paradise is fire.” The Prophet also commanded us to ask Allah’s protection from his fitnah at the conclusion of each salah. The scholars explained that this is because while the Dajjal himself hasn’t yet emerged, his fitnah of deception already has. The primary source of deception today is the media. Media is defined as “a means of communication,” and the purpose of communication is to influence someone. Words in particular can be quite powerful, to the point that the Prophet once said that “some speech is a form of magic,” which means that what is being conveyed will affect people’s hearts even if it’s a complete lie. The media works to deceive the masses such that “the truthful person is disbelieved, the liar is believed, the trustworthy is distrusted, and the treacherous is trusted.”

But through the tests that continue to come our way, we can recognize a defining trait of the truthful. I can quote a list of verses of the Qur’an, but the great scholar Ibn ‘Aqil summarized the matter in one sentence: “If you want to assess the value of Islam in the hearts of the people of the times, don’t look to their crowding of the entrances of mosques or their shouting to answer the call to Hajj. Rather, look to their confronting the enemies of the Shari’ah.”

Written by: Tariq Mehanna
Wednesday, the 23rd of Rabi’ al-Awwal 1436 (14th of January 2015)
Marion CMU

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