It was Shawwal 7th 625. Fifty archers were placed on a hill on Jabal Aynayn. And they were ordered: “Don’t ever leave your position under any circumstances!” However, the majority of those fifty archers found themselves collecting booty on the battlefield once they looked at the battlefield with the physical eyes rather than through the eyes of the one who gave that order.
A small but important team had abandoned their duties at the Battle of Uhud. They were heedless to the command of the Messenger of Allah. The condition of ‘under any circumstances’ was forgotten due to the ‘intelligence’ of mind. Their commander Abdullah ibn Jubayr’s reminding and warning were not enough to change the situation. As a result, the Islamic Army was defeated and the Messenger of Allah (asw) was wounded along with many of his companions (ra).
When I read this incident once again, humans and especially Muslims visualised in my mind. I realized that each one of us is looking at life with the two physical eyes on our head placed on a body and two feet. In other words, we are on Aynayn – we are, each one of us, like the soldiers on that hill of archers. Actually, time does not matter; because each of us is the ummah of the same Prophet (asw). We are the caretaker of the same trust.
“My ummah is a blessed community. Whether its beginning or its end is better is unknown.” (Tirmidhi)
This hadith joins the two ends and says: Yes, you are the ummah of the same Prophet (asw). You are the bearers of the same trust; the guards of the same trust.
I wonder whether we are living that day of Uhud these days again!? While our eyes on our head announce victories, are we in fact – with a dark heedlessness – afflicted with the disease called ‘worldliness’? Are we rolling into the vicious circle of “being able to appreciate the true value of what we have but not adopting them” just for the sake of becoming civilized, modern, advanced, and possessing (things)?
Or – May Allah forbid – are we becoming like the ones mentioned in the verse as “These (are the ones) who (willingly) prefer the worldly life to the hereafter.” (14:3)
Our master, Muhammad (asw), had his companions emigrate to Medina as a result of the troubles in Makka and then he also emigrated himself. He had migrated from Makka, the city of Kaaba, to Madina so that Islam would grow and the truth would manifest.
For a while, he had moved away from people worldliness. Despite the wrath that the ignorance of polytheists revered, he turned towards the friendly welcome of the blessed Ansar of Madina. Perhaps, by the way, the polytheists would also have the opportunity to listen to themselves with absence of the Muslims in the city.
In the geography of the earth, bent and twisted at the clamp of the time, human being has both cities – Makka and Madina – inside. One side of us is Madina, the other side is Makka (of the time). Good and bad, evil and beauty are so intertwined that in the geography of the earth no Madina has been left to escape to and take shelter.
Well, while everywhere has become Uhud and we are the archers of Aynayn hill, where will we take refuge in as the people of today’s earth? Until things settle downs, who will welcome us and help us be otherworldly? In order to make our Makka mihrab, at which Madina’s minbar will we be educated?
The most blessed guest of Madina, our master, Muhammad (asw), said: “True emigration is abandoning evil,” and “The real immigrant is someone who escaped from things Allah has forbidden and left them.” By inviting us to look at ourselves, he invited us to the Madina in us. He called on us to get rid of the materialist worldly view, to win the true sincerity, and to obey the command of Allah.
As a matter of fact, the world is very attractive at the present time. It has become very easy to lose sincerity due to this attraction. If we look at things with only our physical eyes and try to have an opinion about them, let’s be sure that our self deceives us. It makes us find “reasonable” excuses. It can show every worldly matter as if it is a job just done for Allah.
So what’s the solution? The solution is to remain on a right course as we have been commanded. It is to have a strong faith. It is to be able to evaluate events without forgetting what we are, where we are and why, and where we are going. If we forget these for a moment, what we perceive and what we do at that moment can be wrong.
Therefore, we should be aware of our duty by obeying the condition of “under any circumstances” totally. We must stay away from deeds that will harm that condition. Now that we are a Muslim, we are among the ummah of Muhammad (asw), then – no matter in which century we are living – we must act without getting worldly. We must strive to improve our understanding of Islam and our Islamic consciousness, and to make the world a springboard for our happiness in the hereafter.
We should not forget this: Islam is not something lived in the past and finished; it is permanent till the doomsday. We cannot say that the sufferings of the past are over. The test of life continues and is everywhere in the world where people exist. In this difficult century we need determination like that of the companions. Like them, we have to be conscious and purified from the world in the name of Allah; however, we also have to know the world best and use it in the best way for the sake of Allah and for the hereafter.
Our responsibility is to be aware of ourselves and the world, and to remain on a right course as we have been commanded. In other words, we must be aware that we are like soldiers and civil servants and must act according to the orders of Allah with sense of mission. Our responsibility is to evaluate the world and events, not with the eyes of head that entered into service of self, but with healthy mind that acts under command of the heart.
With the prayer that our century becomes like the Age of Bliss and that we become brothers and sister of the blessed companions (ra). Amin.