Concise principles to understand the crises the Ummah is going through
If we understand the role that Allāh سبحانه وتعالى has created for the Ummah of Muhammad (sallAllāhu ‘alayhi wasallam), it will totally transform how we approach and react to the crises and conflicts that befall the Ummah. When Allāh and His Messenger (sallAllāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) have so eloquently guided us on this matter, what better recourse than to tell this story using their statements?
1. Allah sent Muhammad (sallAllāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) for the entire humankind. His mission was to change the world to become a better word through worshipping Allah alone—the most difficult job in history. Allah says,
الر ۚ كِتَابٌ أَنزَلْنَاهُ إِلَيْكَ لِتُخْرِجَ النَّاسَ مِنَ الظُّلُمَاتِ إِلَى النُّورِ بِإِذْنِ رَبِّهِمْ إِلَىٰ صِرَاطِ الْعَزِيزِ الْحَمِيدِ
“Alif, Lam, Ra. [This is] a Book which We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], that you might bring mankind out of darknesses into the light by permission of their Lord – to the path of the Exalted in Might, the Praiseworthy.” [14:1]
2. The Ummah of Muhammad (sallAllāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) is the inheritor of this job and mission. Hence, they are responsible for humanity. They should free humanity from slavery and servitude to all types of idols and tyrants including desires, materialism, rulers or unjust systems. They should take them to the real freedom: the servitude and worship of their Creator alone.
هُوَ الَّذِي أَرْسَلَ رَسُولَهُ بِالْهُدَىٰ وَدِينِ الْحَقِّ لِيُظْهِرَهُ عَلَى الدِّينِ كُلِّهِ وَلَوْ كَرِهَ الْمُشْرِكُونَ
“It is He who has sent His Messenger with guidance and the religion of truth to manifest it over all religion, although they who associate others with Allah dislike it.” [9:33] [61:9]
3. This role of leadership granted by Allah to the Prophet and his ummah after him was summarised in the following verse.
وَكَذَٰلِكَ جَعَلْنَاكُمْ أُمَّةً وَسَطًا لِّتَكُونُوا شُهَدَاءَ عَلَى النَّاسِ وَيَكُونَ الرَّسُولُ عَلَيْكُمْ شَهِيدًا ۗ
“Thus We have made you (Muslims) the best nation, that you be witnesses over mankind and the Messenger (Muhammad SAW) be a witness over you (on the day of resurrection)…”[2:143]
If we testify concerning other nations as to whether the prophets conveyed messages to them, this means that we have a leading role for them in this life, as well the Prophet having a leading role over us.
4. Our leading position is confirmed in numerous Quranic verses.
كُنتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ ۗ وَلَوْ آمَنَ أَهْلُ الْكِتَابِ لَكَانَ خَيْرًا لَّهُم ۚ مِّنْهُمُ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَأَكْثَرُهُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ
“You are the best nation produced [as an example] for mankind. You enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and believe in Allah.” [3:110]
وَجَعَلْنَا مِنْهُمْ أَئِمَّةً يَهْدُونَ بِأَمْرِنَا لَمَّا صَبَرُوا ۖ وَكَانُوا بِآيَاتِنَا يُوقِنُونَ
“And We made from among them leaders guiding by Our command when they were patient and [when] they were certain of Our signs.” [32:24]
Likewise the Prophet (sallAllāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said
‘A group of my ummah will continue victoriously adhering to the truth until the Last Hour begins.’
5. Although this is a potential honour for us, it comes with grave responsibility and test. Paying the price of honour is part of the test Allah created this life as. Allah says,
الَّذِي خَلَقَ الْمَوْتَ وَالْحَيَاةَ لِيَبْلُوَكُمْ أَيُّكُمْ أَحْسَنُ عَمَلًا ۚ وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْغَفُورُ
“[He] who created death and life to test you [as to] which of you is best in deed – and He is the Exalted in Might, the Forgiving.” [67:2]
6. Being killed or dying does not mean defeat; it is but part of the repertoire of tests before a victorious end. Some Muslims were killed in Makkah during the time of the Prophet (sallAllāhu ‘alayhi wasallam). Ammar b. Yasir’s mother, brother and father were tortured to death in cold blood. The Prophet’s beloved uncle Hamza was killed with him in the battle of Uhud.
وَلَا تَهِنُوا وَلَا تَحْزَنُوا وَأَنتُمُ الْأَعْلَوْنَ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ
“So do not weaken and do not grieve, and you will be superior if you are [true] believers.” [3:139]
He did not interpret a loss as a defeat.
7. Allah can give us easy victory over our enemies but this is against his Divine wisdom. He delays earthly victory for number of benefits among which is to test other Muslims to see whether they will honour the high and noble status that Allah has granted them, and tested them with.
ذَٰلِكَ وَلَوْ يَشَاءُ اللَّهُ لَانتَصَرَ مِنْهُمْ وَلَٰكِن لِّيَبْلُوَ بَعْضَكُم بِبَعْضٍ
“But if it had been Allah’s Will, He Himself could certainly have punished them (without you). But (He lets you fight), in order to test you, some with others.” [47:4]
8. Among the benefits of tests is preparing Muslims to be competent enough and deserving the honour Allah has chosen them for.
إِن يَمْسَسْكُمْ قَرْحٌ فَقَدْ مَسَّ الْقَوْمَ قَرْحٌ مِّثْلُهُ ۚ وَتِلْكَ الْأَيَّامُ نُدَاوِلُهَا بَيْنَ النَّاسِ وَلِيَعْلَمَ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَيَتَّخِذَ مِنكُمْ شُهَدَاءَ ۗ وَاللَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ الظَّالِمِينَ
وَلِيُمَحِّصَ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَيَمْحَقَ الْكَافِرِينَ
“If a wound should touch you – there has already touched the [opposing] people a wound similar to it. And these days [of varying conditions] We alternate among the people so that Allah may make evident those who believe and [may] take to Himself from among you martyrs – and Allah does not like the wrongdoers. And that Allah may purify the believers [through trials] and destroy the disbelievers.” [3:140-141] [dividers]
9. The tests and the calamities that befall believers also serve as a means to strengthen their relationship with their Creator, Allah. It is a recurring feature for the people whom Allah loves.
وَلَقَدْ أَرْسَلْنَا إِلَىٰ أُمَمٍ مِّن قَبْلِكَ فَأَخَذْنَاهُم بِالْبَأْسَاءِ وَالضَّرَّاءِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَضَرَّعُونَ
“And We have already sent [messengers] to nations before you, [O Muhammad]; then We seized them with poverty and hardship that perhaps they might humble themselves [to Us].” [6:42]
10. The struggle between truth and falsehood is an eternal and global struggle. Allah decreed that Satan will continue misguiding people and allying with the enemies of Allah until the Day of Resurrection.
قَالَ رَبِّ فَأَنظِرْنِي إِلَىٰ يَوْمِ يُبْعَثُونَ – قَالَ فَإِنَّكَ مِنَ الْمُنظَرِينَ
“He, the Satan, said,”My Lord, then reprieve me until the Day they are resurrected. [ Allah ] said, “So indeed, you are of those reprieved.” [15:36-37]
11. Until we receive victory, we might suffer many losses but never defeat.
وَلَنَبْلُوَنَّكُم بِشَيْءٍ مِّنَ الْخَوْفِ وَالْجُوعِ وَنَقْصٍ مِّنَ الْأَمْوَالِ وَالْأَنفُسِ وَالثَّمَرَاتِ ۗ وَبَشِّرِ الصَّابِرِينَ
– الَّذِينَ إِذَا أَصَابَتْهُم مُّصِيبَةٌ قَالُوا إِنَّا لِلَّهِ وَإِنَّا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ
– أُولَٰئِكَ عَلَيْهِمْ صَلَوَاتٌ مِّن رَّبِّهِمْ وَرَحْمَةٌ ۖ وَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُهْتَدُونَ
“And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient. Who, when disaster strikes them, say, “Indeed we belong to Allah , and indeed to Him we will return. Those are the ones upon whom are blessings from their Lord and mercy. And it is those who are the [rightly] guided.” [2:155-157]
12. The struggle in Syria, Iraq, Burma or elsewhere will not be won overnight. It is part of this global and eternal struggle and hence it will last for years. Victory is not easy and not near for any party.
13. Emotional reactions have their place yet they will not provide solutions for the problems of our Ummah. In fact, some emotional reactions are counterproductive and have caused a lot of harm for the Ummah. Allah teaches us an important principle concerning this,
وَلَا تَسُبُّوا الَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ فَيَسُبُّوا اللَّهَ عَدْوًا بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ ۗ
“And do not insult those they invoke other than Allah, lest they insult Allah in enmity without knowledge. [6:108]
Allah prohibited us from insulting the idols of the disbelievers—even though some emotions may breed that—if that will lead to a greater harm, such as insulting Allah. Likewise we have seen rhetoric and actions generated by emotions such as hatred or zeal lead to many problems for the rest of the Ummah.
14. Gaining victory is conditional upon three requirements: (i) Taqwa, God consciousness; (ii) Positive patience; and (iii) Unity.
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا لَقِيتُمْ فِئَةً فَاثْبُتُوا وَاذْكُرُوا اللَّهَ كَثِيرًا لَّعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ
– وَأَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَلَا تَنَازَعُوا فَتَفْشَلُوا وَتَذْهَبَ رِيحُكُمْ ۖ وَاصْبِرُوا ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَ الصَّابِرِينَ
“O you who have believed, when you encounter a company [from the enemy forces], stand firm and remember Allah much that you may be successful. And obey Allah and His Messenger, and do not dispute and [thus] lose courage and [then] your strength would depart; and be patient. Indeed, Allah is with the patient.” [8:45-46]
15. The Qur’an combined between patience and taqwa in many places and linked them to success. For example,
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اصْبِرُوا وَصَابِرُوا وَرَابِطُوا وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ
“O you who have believed, persevere and endure and remain stationed and fear Allah that you may be successful.” [3:200]
إِن تَمْسَسْكُمْ حَسَنَةٌ تَسُؤْهُمْ وَإِن تُصِبْكُمْ سَيِّئَةٌ يَفْرَحُوا بِهَا ۖ وَإِن تَصْبِرُوا وَتَتَّقُوا لَا يَضُرُّكُمْ كَيْدُهُمْ شَيْئًا ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ بِمَا يَعْمَلُونَ مُحِيطٌ
“If good touches you, it distresses them; but if harm strikes you, they rejoice at it. And if you are patient and fear Allah, their plot will not harm you at all. Indeed, Allah is encompassing of what they do.” [3:120]
16. The difference between passive patience and positive patience is that the positive one entails doing as much one can to achieve one’s goal. Allah called this “thabat”.
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ حَرِّضِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ عَلَى الْقِتَالِ ۚ إِن يَكُن مِّنكُمْ عِشْرُونَ صَابِرُونَ يَغْلِبُوا مِائَتَيْنِ ۚ وَإِن يَكُن مِّنكُم مِّائَةٌ يَغْلِبُوا أَلْفًا مِّنَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا بِأَنَّهُمْ قَوْمٌ لَّا يَفْقَهُونَ
“O Prophet, urge the believers to battle. If there are among you twenty [who are] steadfast, they will overcome two hundred. And if there are among you one hundred [who are] steadfast, they will overcome a thousand of those who have disbelieved because they are a people who do not understand.” [8:65]
17. Unity is a requirement for any success.
وَأَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَلَا تَنَازَعُوا فَتَفْشَلُوا وَتَذْهَبَ رِيحُكُمْ ۖ وَاصْبِرُوا ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَ الصَّابِرِينَ
“And obey Allah and His Messenger, and do not dispute and [thus] lose courage and [then] your strength would depart; and be patient. Indeed, Allah is with the patient.” [8:46]
The Prophet (sallAllāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said, “Allah’s Hand is with the Jama’ah.”
18. If we analyse any historical or contemporary defeat of Muslims, we find that it goes back to deficiency in one of those conditions; Taqwa, Positive patience and/or Unity.
19. The recent loss Muslims witnessed in Eastern Aleppo goes back mainly to the disagreements and disunity between the Mujahidin. Reports confirmed that some of them where fighting among themselves even when they were surrounded by their enemies.
20. These three conditions for victory—Taqwa, Positive patience and Unity—must be achieved through both short-term and more importantly long-term strategies.
21. Short-term strategies are to help in winning battles but do not help in ending conflict in the long run. Solutions should take into account all fronts of conflict; political, legal, media, social and ideological. I will be speaking about the long-term solutions shortly, inshaAllah.
 Recorded by Tirmithi