There are momentous times in the history of all peoples and all nations. Momentous days, weeks and months. The Muslims are no exception. Islamic history overflows with events and occurrences worthy of the mention, and indeed worthy of remembrance. These events have always left lessons to reflect upon and to tread the path to success. Many such events befell in Rajab, which can be reflected upon in today’s time to restore the confidence of Muslims in their deen and to encourage them to fight against oppression and to be steadfast.
It is well-known that the holiest of mosnths in the Islamic lunar calendar is Ramadan. In any absolute analysis nevertheless, all the Islamic months have their unique significance. Out of all the months Allah swt has made 4 months sacred.
Abu Bakarah reported that Muhammad (saw) said:
“The year is 12 months of which 4 are sacred, the 3 consecutive months of Dhul-Qadah, Dhul – Hijjah and Muharram, and Rajab mudar which comes between Jumadah and Shaban.
Ibn Abbas said: “Sin in these months is more serious and good deeds bring a greater reward.”
Here we look at one such month, which races towards us, in this, the 1442th year after hijra. That month is Rajab, apart from its spiritual significance it is also indeed a month which carries a momentous history. In particular, Rajab saw four events in Islamic History which belong in the category of those which changed the course of history. All these four events highlights the key elements of success and defeat and hence the name of the topic given to RAJAB – THE PATH TO SUCCESS.
• Al Isra wal Miraj
• Conquest of Tabuk
• Liberation of Jerusalem
• Destruction of Khilafah
AL-ISRA WAL MIRAJ:
It was in Rajab of the 10th year of Prophet hood (620 CE) that al-Isra wal-Mi’raj occurred. In one night the Prophet (saw) went from Makkah to Jerusalem, then to the heavens and beyond. The spiritual significance of Prophetic journey is only matched by the importance of its timing with regard to the Prophetic mission .RasoolAllah (saw) was onto his 10th year of prophet hood, still conditions around were not favourable for his mission. Situations around were turning tough. He was suffering at every step. Having lost his uncle Abu Talib who served as a parent to him, supported his call and protected him from the beginning of his call, the Muslim ummah along with Muhammad (saw) were exiled and boycotted. Very soon after 2 months he saw lost his beloved wife Khadija (ra), the one who believed in him when no one else did, the one who comforted him when everyone ridiculed him . She stuck to the prophet (saw) in thick and thin. She was the mother to the prophet’s girls. In the same year he had gone to taif to seek Nusrah and suffered terrible rejection. That year was named as “the year of sorrow.” The Prophet saw was in a very dejected state.
It was in this dire situation, at the height of the struggle between Islam and Kufr, that Allah decided to show his chosen servant some of His greatest signs, to refresh him, restore hope in him that victory will be from Allah and to show His mercy for real, taking him in one night, nay a part thereof, to the sacred mosque in the sacred lands of Jerusalem and from thereon to the highest heavens. Only one way journey to Jerusalem would take a month, back then. This entire journey in a part of night, Miracle of Allah.
He along with gabriel flew on buraq to Jerusalem whose one leap would cover the horizon. He landed at bait ul maqdis and saw all the prophets from Adam (as) till the last one before him waiting for him to lead the prayer. He led them. Then he (saw) was taken up to the heavens – the Miraj. At every heaven he met a prophet, he was shown hell and heaven and ultimately the arsh. Allah (swt) spoke to Rasool Allah (saw) directly. Blessed him with the gift of Salah, 5 times a day but reward equivalent to 50 prayers. All the commandments of ibadah were revealed through revelation on the earth, but this ibadah of Salah was granted by Allah directly to Muhammad (saw) on the Heaven. The gift that deserved to be cherished and well taken care of.
When Muhammad (saw) returned, his bed was still warm. In the morning when the news reached everybody about the journey of RasoolAllah (saw), the fasith of early reverts was shaken. New Muslims found it hard to believe, so hard that some abandoned the deen. Kuffar made a deal out of it to mock and ridicule Rasool Allah (saw). The kuffar asked mockingly to Abu bakr (ra) whether he believed in the story. He did not know about the isra wal miraj until then. When they told him, his answer to them, brought the whole of city to peace. His answer serves as a guidance to all who try to make Islam palatable to the world, who act apologetically to the commandments of Allah swt, who try to modernize Islam and evolve the commandments.
“If he said so, I believe in him. Because I believe in something much greater than that. I believe in the one who has created the heavens and the earth. For Him this is not difficult.”
RasoolAllah (saw) after this incident gave the title of ‘Siddique’ to him.
Allah (swt) since time immemorial made Makkah and Jerusalem His sacred places. But these places and their mosques were under kuffar – the idolators (the Arab pagans and the Christians) . These places were by default considered to be taken under Islamic rule. Muhammad (saw) after establishing a state in Madinah, in the 8th hijri liberated Makkah from kufr and purified it from idols and idolaters. His expansion of the state was in reference to the following aayat:
“And We have not sent you but as a mercy for the mankind”
Allah swt has referred to him (saw) as a lamp luminating light, which would transfigure the world from darkness into light. Hence rasoolAllah (saw) went on expanding his state, Challenging the superpowers of the world back then – Russia and Persia, fighting ferocious battles with them.
THE INVASION OF TABUK:
This takes us to another glorious and a momentous event that took place in Rajab which saw the entire Arabian Peninsula come under Islamic rule – The battle of Tabuk, which occurred in the 9 AH, and marked the completion of Islamic authority over the whole Arabian Peninsula.
The Messenger of RasoolAllah (saw) was killed by the Byzantines who was carrying the message from RasoolAllah. This act by them was considered an act of war and thereupon declared a battle against him (saw). When RasoolAllah (saw) made up his mind for the battle, he ordered his companions to get ready for the war and sent for the Makkans and the other Arab tribes asking for their assistance.
The Muslims gave in readily and raced to give from their wealth and property to support his invasion. Uthman (ra) kept contributed over 900 camels and a 100 horses, 200 ounces of gold as charity and a 1000 dinars. Abu Bakr brought in all the wealth he had leaving nothing for his family except Allah and His messenger. Umar ra paid half his wealth. The line goes on. Women too shared in this competition by giving their things, such as musk, amulets, anklets, earrings and rings. Notwithstanding the intense heat and the long journey to al-Sham from Madinah, an army of 30,000, Muslim moved relentlessly towards al-Sham. The Roman armies were encamped at Tabuk ready to raid the Muslims, but when they heard of the size and strength of the Muslim army coming towards them despite their high number (200,000) and that it is the army who love to sacrifice their lives for Allah than to survive and the army who had kept everything at stake and that the army is being led by Muhammad (saw) himself, they were terrified and rushed back into the interior of al-Sham to the safety of their fortresses. This left the Messenger (saw) with an easy task of occupying Tabuk without a fight. He stayed there for a month dealing with other minor resisting forces and also sent letters to the leaders and governors under Roman control in the area, who made peace with him and agreed to pay the Jizyah.
By this the entire Arabian peninsula came under Islamic rule. But the mission did not stop here, it was never meant to be. Allah swt says:
“They wish to extinguish Allah’s light with their mouths but Allah will not allow but that His light should be perfected, even though the unbelievers may detest it.”(At-Tauba: 32)
With the battle of tabuk, it was clear that he intended to grow the Islamic borders beyond Arabia and this would eventually connect to Al-Aqsa because of its sacredness in Islam (it was under the Byzantines). The message of Islam is to be spread. It did not come to restrict it within your hearts, or your communities but to prevail over all other religions, ideologies and way of life and to dominate the world. This is the message of Islam.
This vision and mission takes us to the third most historic and glorious event in the history, i.e. the Re-Conquest of Al-Aqsa by Salahuddin Al Ayyubi.
RE-CONQUEST OF JERUSALEM BY SALAH – UD- DIN:
Muslims gave the Byzantines another blow in the battle of Yarmouk in 13th hjri, and the following year, Umar’s army marched into Jerusalem, thereby capturing it without any resistance, without any fight, without any harm. The keys of the city were handed to Umar. The glorious position of Al-Aqsa being under Islamic state continued for over 462 years. Then the fate of Al Aqsa darkened, it was taken by the European crusaders in 1099, taking back the holy land and Masjid Al Aqsa.
It transpired a huge massacre, it was a period of bloodshed, vandalism and destruction. Not judst Muslim but even the Jews were massacred. Masjid Al Aqsa was used as dumping ground and toilets. The laws of Allah were suspended; where RasoolAllah (saw) led prophets and messengers in prayer. This brutality continued for over 88 years until on the 27th of Rajab 583 years after hijra (corresponding to 1187 AD), On the Anniversay of Al-Isra Wal Mi’raj, Salah Ud din Al Ayyubi marched into Jerusalem with his army liberating the city from the clutches of the European crusaders.
It was merely not the re-conquest of Jerusalem but rather a disaster for European crusaders and a turning point in the history. A dream that couldn’t even be dreamt. A task that no one could ever dare to even think.
Salah ud din faced many problems like what we face today. The ummah was divided. There were corrupt oppressive rulers, who were supported by weak scholars. The Islamic state had lost some of his states to the crusaders, including the city of Al Aqsa. The shariah was being diluted. 88 years hold of the crusaders over Jerusalem. It seemed impossible to take it away from them.
But Allah is the best of Planners. Salahuddin changed the entire scenario. He was able to deal with all the issues and hence for the first 10 years he cleaned up all the mess and focused on unifying the ummah and kept the ummah busy with Jihad to prepare them for the greatest battles to follow against the crusaders. Salahuddin faced criticisms that we face today,
The ummah is not ready yet, The enemies are too strong to fight. Use hikmah, let’s sit down and compromise and see what we can achieve, the blood of ummah has already been spilled, let’s stop it But Salahuddin understood the hadith.
“A Muslim is the brother to other Muslim, he does not oppress, nor does he leave him to the harm of others.”
This was his view and this brings us to the 4th significant, a momentous event in the history in Rajab. The event not worthy of praise but certainly worthy of remembrance.
DESTRUCTION OF THE KHILAFAH
Centuries later, in 1342 AH (1924 CE), the month of Rajab again brought a historic event upon the Muslim Ummah. On the 28 of Rajab, Marked as the 100th year of the destruction of the khilafah.
On 3rd of March, the Khilafah was officially abolished at the hands of Mustafa Kemal Pasha. The institution which united the Muslims and implemented Shari’ah was abolished. That establishment which for centuries had played out its role of being a shield for the Muslims came to an end.
Muslims, their resources and their lands were no more than war booty to the colonialists, who had been pulling the strings to make sure that the Khilafah was eradicated and replaced by secular rule. The khilafah did not merely just dissolve or wither away nor was it despised by the ummah. It was destroyed under a well schemed plan by the enemies of Allah via the ideological, political and military campaigns. Slowly and steadily.
The missionary invasions for 200 years in the Muslim lands, where they sought to uproot the basic tenets of Islam from young minds across the Muslim countries, sowed the seeds of nationalism, and attacked concepts of Jihad, shariah and lured the ummah with their new ideas and laws which bridged the gap between the religion and this contemporary life.
The crusades never ended as we thought so. The British General Allenby when entered Jerusalem after WW1 said:
“Now the crusades have ended.” And French General Guro who entered Damascus, kicked the tomb of Salah Uddin and said, “Wake up Salah Uddin, We are here.”
Muhammad (saw) said
“Verily the Imaam is a shield behind whom you fight and behind whom you are protected.”
Because of the absence of this shield, We are in this state today. The ummah till today is under siege, Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Bangladesh, Somalia, Myanmar, Burma, India. The river of Muslim blood flows down the streets. Over 100 years of oppression, subjugation, humiliation.
These four events in Islamic History are indeed momentous events. All of these events give us an element for success and in its neglect is our downfall. All the victories in Rajab highlight Radical and comprehensive implementation of deen. It is this deen that clutched them out of the darkness into the light. It is this deen that gave them honour and made them leaders over the world.
As we enter another Rajab, we should familiarise ourselves with our great history, and take the opportunity to do the above things with pure sincerity to Allah (swt) and with the sole motivation of seeking His pleasure. To acknowledge the sacredness of Al-Aqsa for which Allah (swt) took RasoolAllah (saw) from Makkah to Jerusalem al-Isra wa ‘l-Mi’raj and should acknowledge the enormous sacrifices made by the companions at Tabuk.
We should acknowledge the efforts of Salah al-Din’s liberation of Jerusalem and that the holy city is occupied yet again and has been so for over fifty years.
We must acknowledge that as long as the our faith is missing, the khalifah is absent, the enemies of Allah will always have an upper hand. Lastly, acknowledge that truth and falsehhod will never meet until the day of Judgement.
Allah (swt) says :
“And never will Allah grant to the disbelievers triumph over the believers.”
They are events which set the course of history in a specific direction. They are events worthy of our remembrance and commemoration. Not a Western commemoration, but an Islamic one. We commemorate not by partying the night away, nor by extravagant marches and trumpet-blowing, nor by building statues and monuments of men. Rather our commemoration is in turning to Allah in worship and contemplation: praising Him for his great favours, and seeking forgiveness for our shortcomings. Our commemoration is in reciting the Qur’an and making extra dhikr. Our commemoration is in reflecting upon our situation today, as individuals and as an Ummah, and assessing it in light of our Islamic obligations. Our commemoration is in resolving our will to fulfill our obligations towards our Creator to the best of our ability.