Maintaining Focus in Calamity

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وَمَا مُحَمَّدٌ إِلَّا رَسُولٌ قَدْ خَلَتْ مِن قَبْلِهِ الرُّسُلُ ۚ أَفَإِن مَّاتَ أَوْ قُتِلَ انقَلَبْتُمْ عَلَىٰ أَعْقَابِكُمْ ۚ وَمَن يَنقَلِبْ عَلَىٰ عَقِبَيْهِ فَلَن يَضُرَّ اللَّهَ شَيْئًا ۗ وَسَيَجْزِي اللَّهُ الشَّاكِرِينَ ﴿١٤٤﴾‏ وَمَا كَانَ لِنَفْسٍ أَن تَمُوتَ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ كِتَابًا مُّؤَجَّلًا ۗ وَمَن يُرِدْ ثَوَابَ الدُّنْيَا نُؤْتِهِ مِنْهَا وَمَن يُرِدْ ثَوَابَ الْآخِرَةِ نُؤْتِهِ مِنْهَا ۚ وَسَنَجْزِي الشَّاكِرِينَ​

Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) is but a messenger (Rasul of Allah Ta‘ala). There have been messengers before him. So, if he dies or is killed, will you turn back on your heels? The one who turns back on his heels can never harm Allah in the least, and Allah will soon reward the grateful. And it is not (possible) for one to die except by the permission of Allah at a stipulated time. Whoever seeks a reward in this world, We shall give him out of it, and whoever seeks a reward in the Hereafter, We shall give him out of it. We shall soon reward the grateful. (Surah Aal ‘Imraan v. 144-145)

Every Muslim possesses love for Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) in his heart, and indeed love for Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) is a demand of imaan.

The Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) – those special personalities who were blessed to remain in the company and service of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) – had attained such deep love for Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) that their love for him is unparalleled by love for any other personality in history. Such was their love for Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) that Abu Sufyaan (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) mentioned, whilst he was a disbeliever, “I have never seen one person loving another (so sincerely and selflessly) as the companions of Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) love Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam).” The Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) always gave preference to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) over themselves, and were prepared to sacrifice their wealth and even their lives for his comfort.

The verses above were revealed on the occasion of Uhud. After the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) were routed by the attack of the disbelievers, which seized them unawares from the rear, they suffered a momentary defeat, after initially enjoying victory. Thereafter, while trying to recover from this setback, in which many Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) were martyred, the rumour spread that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) had been killed.

In these trying circumstances, in light of the intense love that the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) possessed for Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), it is difficult to even imagine the extent of the grief that must have gripped their pure hearts. Hence, with many of their comrades falling around them, and with the rumour that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) had also fallen, a few of them were so overcome by such grief that they stopped fighting for some time.

Thus, in these verses, Allah Ta‘ala reminds the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) is also a human, and he must also meet his demise one day. If not today, then certainly at some point in the future. When the moment of death is predestined, then it cannot be averted or avoided and is ultimately inevitable. Hence, even if Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) passes away, the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) should not lose courage and give up hope, as they are striving for Allah Ta‘ala, and He is Ever-Living. He will continue to reward them for their striving and endeavours.

On the sorrowful occasion when Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) passed away, many Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) were seized by such grief that it was difficult for them to come to terms with the reality of what had transpired. On that occasion, Sayyiduna Abu Bakr Siddeeq (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) recited the above verses before the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum), and on being reminded of these verses, they found the courage to deal with their great loss and grief.

These verses are extremely relevant and pertinent to those who lose their loved ones. The precise moment of every person’s death has already been decreed and is inevitable. Whether today or twenty years from now, it has to come to pass. Thus, we should not allow ourselves to become consumed by grief and drown in sorrow while losing focus of Allah Ta‘ala. Instead, we should remain focused on attaining His pleasure and striving for the rewards He has kept in store for us.

Our hearts may grieve, but we will remain committed to Deen, will exercise sabr (patience) over our loss, and will accept the decision of Allah Ta‘ala without any objection or complaint.