Ataul Mujeeb Rashed, Imam Fazl Mosque, London
The subject of the blessed character of our master, the chosen one, the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa is so vast that it is inexhaustible and cannot be fully explained in one article. One of the many excellent qualities he possessed, and which is beautifully manifested throughout his life, is his trust in Allah.
On the one hand, a perfect man and a perfectly devoted servant, the Holy Prophetsa of Islam, sacrificed everything in his life for his Lord, Allah, and submitted all his affairs to Him; and on the other hand, the Omnipotent, Merciful and Most Generous God provided His trusting servant with His special security. At every step of his life, we observe the fulfilment of this Divine promise:
وَاللّٰهُ يَعْصِمُكَ مِنَ النَّاسِ
“And Allah will protect thee from men.” (Surah al-Ma’idah, Ch.5: V.68)
Testimony of the Holy Quran
In the Holy Quran, Allah the Almighty has repeatedly testified to the trustfulness of the Holy Prophetsa. Whose testimony can be more truthful and definite than that of Allah, the All-Knowing? The Holy Prophetsa, due to his instinctive modesty and utmost humility, never desired to publicly express his excellent qualities himself.
The Holy Prophet’ssa trust in Allah has been recorded in various places in the Holy Quran:
قُلۡ هُوَ رَبِّي لا إِلَـهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ ۚ عَلَيْهِ تَوَكَّلۡتُ وَإِلَيْهِ مَتَابِ
“Say, ‘He is my Lord; there is no God but He. In Him do I put my trust and towards Him is my return.’” (Surah ar-Ra`d, Ch.13: V.31)
فَإِن تَوَلَّوْاْ فَقُلْ حَسْبِيَ اللّهُ لا إِلَـهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ عَلَيْهِ تَوَكَّلْتُ وَهُوَ رَبُّ الْعَرْشِ الْعَظِيمِ
“But if they turn away, say, ‘Allah is sufficient for me. There is no God but He. In Him do I put my trust, and He is the Lord of the mighty Throne.” (Surah at-Taubah, Ch.9: V.121)
ذَلِكُمُ اللّٰهُ رَبِّي عَلَيْهِ تَوَكَّلْتُ وَإِلَيْهِ اُنِيبُ
“‘Such is Allah, my Lord; in Him I put my trust, and to Him I always turn.’” (Surah ash-Shura, Ch.42: V.11)
The ultimate trust in Allah
Of all the people to have walked the face of the earth, prophets of Allah are the strongest believers who place their trust solely in God. Allah the Almighty granted our chief and master, the perfect guide, Muhammadsa al-Mustafa the high station of Khatam an-Nabiyyin, thereby making him the Imam of all prophets. Not only did Allah the Almighty bless him with the good qualities of all the prophets, but every excellence appears to be at its peak in his person. The same is true of his trust in Allah which can be seen manifested on various occasions in his blessed life. This is a fact testified by events during his holy life.
As decreed by divine wisdom, he passed through various phases of ups and downs in his blessed life. A study of the character of the Holy Prophetsa emphatically establishes that at every juncture in his life and under all circumstances, he upheld his tradition of trust in Allah, which illuminated every angle of his life.
During the tumultuous thirteen years in Mecca, after prophethood, the terrifying cruelties unleashed against him made his life extremely difficult. Every day was an ordeal. He was personally targeted for hostility and oppression. His beloved and self-sacrificing devotees were subjected to cruel and barbaric treatment before his very eyes. He endured all that whilst staying firm, like a mountain, in his faith and trust in Allah. He continued to counsel his Companionsra to be patient and steadfast and not to get disheartened as these sacrifices would not go to waste and God was certainly with them.
The second phase of his life started after he migrated to Medina when he was compelled to defend the religion against his enemies’ repeated attacks. The invading enemies always outweighed the defenders in numbers, arms and preparedness in every battle. Under such circumstances, for normal human beings, confronting the enemy on the battlefield was akin to asking for certain death. However, even during these discouraging and extremely dangerous situations, the Prophetsa of Islam exhibited such inspiring examples of steadfastness, courage, conviction, and trust in Allah that are unparalleled in the history of the world. The adversaries of Islam, even today, look at these events with amazement and surprise and pay homage to the greatness and eminence of the Prophetsa of Islam.
After these brief remarks about the Holy Prophet’ssa trust in Allah, let us now see the different ways the Prophetsa of Islam demonstrated his trust in Allah and how God rewarded this trusting servant with His special security.
The Prophet’ssa trust in Allah while helping the oppressed
Before he was commissioned as a prophet, Muhammadsa joined Hilf al-Fudul, a special pact that was formed to help the poor and the oppressed. He remained a champion of human rights throughout his life, speaking for and standing with the oppressed.
Abu Jahl, a Meccan chief, would often stir up hostility against the Holy Prophetsa. Once, one of Abu Jahl’s creditors asked him to pay up the debt he owed him. When Abu Jahl refused, this creditor approached the Prophet Muhammadsa for his aid. One person, out of mischief, suggested that he should go to Muhammadsa and invoke the Hilf al-Fudul agreement for his help to get his right. The mischievous person had thought either he would refuse to help out of fear, and thereby breach the agreement, or he would be humiliated by Abu Jahl. The man went to the Holy Prophetsa and requested his help. The Holy Prophetsa immediately stood up in support of the aggrieved person and, whilst placing his trust in Allah, approached Abu Jahl with courage and resolve and told him to pay up the debt. The Holy Prophetsa said this in such a way that Abu Jahl was overawed and made the payment immediately. When people asked about this, Abu Jahl told them that he saw a camel, behind the Holy Prophetsa, ready to attack him and so was compelled to pay up. This event shows both courage and trust the Holy Prophetsa possessed. He firmly stood by the oppressed and aided those in need. (Sirat Ibn Hisham)
Hazrat Umar’sra acceptance and the Holy Prophet’ssa trust in Allah
Through the study of the history of Islam, we observe the Prophet’ssa magnificent display of trust in Allah and divine protection for him on the occasion of Hazrat Umar’sra acceptance of Islam. In one incident, we find that Hazrat Umarra, prior to accepting Islam, drew his sword, set out, and resolved to kill the Holy Prophetsa in order to put an end to the message of Islam. On his way, he was told that his sister and brother-in-law had accepted the Holy Prophetsa and joined the fold of Islam. He immediately changed his direction to their house. The narration of this incident is quite lengthy. Eventually, after reading the first few verses of Surah Ta Ha, Hazrat Umarra was a changed person altogether. With the drawn sword still in his hand, he went to Dar al-Arqam – a house situated at the outskirts of Mecca that served as a centre where Muslims would gather to worship and learn about their faith – where the Holy Prophetsa was staying with the Companionsra. The Companionsra, seeing Hazrat Umarra with a sword feared that his intentions were not good. However, the Holy Prophetsa instantaneously told the Companionsra not to fear and open the door. Umarra entered, holding his sword. The Holy Prophetsa, stepped forward and asked Umar, “What brings you here?”. Umarra replied, “O Messengersa of Allah! I am here to accept Islam.” The Prophetsa exclaimed ‘Allahu Akbar’ loudly and the Companionsra did the same. It is narrated that the whole of Mecca reverberated with their passionate slogans. (Sirat Ibn Hisham)
Another incident of the Prophet’ssa bravery and trust in God
One night in Medina, suddenly there was an uproar as if some army had attacked. These were the days when there was a danger of Muslims being attacked by the armies of Khosrow. Hearing this noise at midnight, the Companionsra prepared to go out and investigate the noise. While they were still planning, they saw the Holy Prophetsa coming to them on a horse. He reassuringly told the companions that there was nothing to worry about and said, “I have assessed the whole situation.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Jihad)
Just imagine that, upon hearing a striking noise at midnight, with a potential chance of danger, the Prophetsa of Islam goes out alone, with nobody accompanying him, to assess the situation. Fearless, he goes out to evaluate the condition, returns, and reassures the Companionsra, who were, at that time, still making preparations to see what happened outside. How tremendous are the Prophet’ssa bravery, courage, and trust in Allah; and what an inspiring display of the saying:
سيّد القوم خادمهم
“The master of the people is their servant.”
The Prophet’ssa fearlessness before kings and rulers
Our mastersa, who was also the greatest preacher, wrote letters to kings inviting them to Islam. He wrote to Khosrow Parviz, the emperor of Persia. Khosrow, after hearing the letter, tore it into pieces out of self-conceited arrogance. When the Holy Prophetsa heard about this, out of righteous indignation and absolute trust in the overpowering support and help of Allah, he said, “Now these people shall themselves be shattered into pieces.” (Seal of the Prophets, Vol. III, p. 203)
Later, Khosrow wrote to the Governor of Yemen to have him send two soldiers to Medina to arrest the Holy Prophetsa. (Adab as-Suhba, Abi ‘Abd ar-Rahman as-Sulami)
As they arrived, they told the Holy Prophetsa to surrender immediately. Without being perturbed at this dangerous juncture, he asked them to stay the night and told them that he would answer them the following day. What supplications did this trusting servant make to his Lord that night? Nobody knows. In the morning, the Holy Prophetsa told the soldiers:
“Go back and tell your master, the Governor of Yemen, that my Lord killed your lord Khosrow last night”. (Al-Khasa’is al-kubra)
Hearing this, they were dumbfounded and went back to learn that Khosrow had, in fact, been killed that very night by his son Sheroe. What the Messengersa of Allah had told, came to pass, word for word. This event is an exemplary illustration of Allah’s Omnipotence, the miraculous security provided by Him, and the Holy Prophet’ssa unparalleled trust in Allah.
Outnumbered, yet with an unshakable faith in God
When the Holy Prophetsa set out for the battle of Badr, an idolator, who was renowned for his bravery and gallantry, met the Holy Prophetsa and expressed his desire to join the Muslim army. It was extraordinary to get the services of an experienced, brave fighter, especially when the Muslims were greatly outnumbered. The Companionsra were pleased to have him join them; however, the Messengersa of Allah had such unwavering trust in Allah that he rejected his offer and said, “I am not prepared to accept help from an idolator, however renowned and experienced he may be, for the supremacy of Islam in this battle.” After a short while, he came back and again sought permission to join, but was rejected again. He came back for the third time and, offering his services, he added, “I believe in Allah and His Messenger.” Hearing this, the Messengersa of Allah said, “If you convert to Islam of your own free will, then there is no harm in you joining us”. (Sahih Muslim, Kitab-al-Jihad)
This event is a brilliant illustration of the great character and the Holy Prophet’ssa trust in Allah; and, at the same time, it serves as an inspiring representation of divine help and security. Being outnumbered, any person would be glad to get help from others. However, the Holy Prophet’ssa unwavering trust in Allah did not allow him to be aided by an idolator.
The Holy Prophetsa unarmed
While returning from a battle, the Holy Prophetsa decided to rest under a tree. The Companionsra were scattered and resting separately. At the same time, an enemy was on the lookout for the Holy Prophetsa. Seeing the Holy Prophetsa alone, the enemy, sword in hand, went and asked him who would protect him if he was to attack him. The Holy Prophetsa was seated under the tree alone with the enemy’s sword dangling over his head. Many brave souls would be unnerved under such circumstances. However, observe the Prophet’s courage, steadfastness, and trust in Allah! In a composed and confident manner, the Holy Prophetsa replied that it was Allah alone who would save him. Hearing this, the man trembled, and the sword fell from his hand. The Holy Prophetsa immediately got up, took hold of the sword, and asked the assailant who would save him. The poor fellow was so dumbfounded and lost for words that he fell at the feet of the Holy Prophetsa. At this moment, the Holy Prophetsa could have done anything; here was a man who attempted to kill him; however, what did the Holy Prophetsa, who was sent as a mercy to all of mankind, do? He let him go free. (Mustadrak al-Hakim)
An incident after the Battle of Uhud
Trust in Allah is a very inspiring feature in the life of the Holy Prophetsa that seems continuous and progressing from one height to the next. In the Battle of Uhud, 70 companions were martyred and almost all the others returned to Medina with injuries. Even the Holy Prophetsa sustained serious injuries; he lost a tooth and had several wounds over his body.
It so happened that the Meccan army, on their way back to Mecca, after the battle of Uhud, started censuring one another for practically returning empty-handed as the grandeur of Muslims was still intact and their leading figures were still alive. Therefore, they resolved to return and exterminate the Muslims completely.
The next morning, the Holy Prophetsa learnt about the evil designs of the Meccan army. The Muslims were in a state of shock because of the loss of Muslim martyrs at Uhud, exhausted with injuries and physically weak. The Holy Prophetsa himself was severely injured. In this position, when he heard of the Meccans’ plan, he made a decision that is unparalleled in history. He called on the Muslims to make immediate preparations to thwart the possible attack by the enemy, with the condition that only those who had participated in the Uhud battle were eligible to participate in the new operation. In addition to his great courage, this was a marvellous psychological war tactic. It created an extraordinary fervour in the seriously wounded companions. The Holy Prophetsa set out from Medina the same day. It is stated that upon the call of the Holy Prophetsa, the resilient warriors of Uhud, most of whom were wounded, came out with the fervour and resolve of a victorious army pursuing a fleeing enemy. After marching for eight miles, they camped at Hamra al-Asad, which is why this battle is called the Battle of Hamra al-Asad.
This move by the Holy Prophetsa was so courageous and extraordinary that it rendered the enemies psychologically depressed. When the Meccan army realised that the Muslims – whom they had thought were wounded, weak, and defeated – had taken up the battlefield with a resolve to lay down their lives, they became so overawed and frightened that they could not muster enough courage to take to the field and eventually proceeded back to Mecca. This great event bears great testimony to the courage, prudence, and trust in Allah, shown by the Holy Prophetsa and is an unmatched example of divine support and security. (Sirat Ibn Hisham)
The Prophet’ssa bravery and trust in Allah during the battle of Hunayn
Similar to the stars in the heavens, incidents of exceptional reliance and Prophet’ssa trust in Allah are countless. These incidents are so unique, history cannot find anything parallel to it.
An inspiring incident took place in the battle of Hunayn. At a critical stage during the battle, the Holy Prophetsa was left with only a few companions on the field who were hard-pressed by the enemies. Arrows were being showered from all directions by the enemy. There was only one narrow passage to safety, through which only a few men could pass at a time. Hazrat Abu Bakrra, with a view toward the Prophet’ssa safety, entreated humbly that the Holy Prophetsa should retreat for a short while until the Muslim army had regrouped. This time, to say the least, was extremely critical. Our chief and mastersa, placing full trust in Allah and His support and security, took such a courageous step that is unprecedented, the likes of which cannot be found in the annals of history. He spurred the mule he was riding on and started to advance towards the enemy. Whilst he charged forward, the Holy Prophet proclaimed loudly:
أَنَا النَّبِيُّ لاَ كَذِبْ اَنَا ابْنُ عَبْدِ الْمُطَّلِبْ
“I am a Prophet, without lie; I am the son of Abdul-Muttalib.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Maghazi)
This daring action under the most dangerous circumstances, with death hovering, is a shining example of his trust in Allah.
Migration to Medina, a sign of the Prophet’ssa unbreakable trust in Allah
Emigration from Mecca to Medina was a significant milestone in the life of our beloved Master, Hazrat Muhammadsa al-Mustafa. The Islamic Hijri calendar starts with this very event. To some, it may seem like an ordinary event; however, it manifested several aspects of the Holy Prophet’ssa trust in Allah. Every day, during the 13 years of the Meccan period, was an ordeal. The disbelievers of Mecca had resorted to extreme atrocities. His self-sacrificing Companionsra were subjected to all kinds of brutality. The Holy Prophetsa, and his Companionsra, maintained a high standard of patience and steadfastness in the face of all persecution. They always looked to the heavens, waiting for Allah’s intervention to deliver them and aid them. Though the situation was worsening in Mecca, Islam was taking root in Medina and developing rapidly. When the Holy Prophetsa received divine direction to migrate, he permitted the Companionsra to emigrate to Medina. Eventually, he was left in Mecca with only a few others. The disbelievers assembled in Dar an-Nadwa and decided to attack at night and kill the Holy Prophetsa. It was decided that representatives from all tribes would participate in the attack so that his murder could not be avenged.
The All-Knowing God informed His Messengersa about the disbelievers’ plan and permitted him to emigrate. Worldly rulers are usually the first to flee when facing such dangerous situations; however, the Holy Prophetsa, on the other hand, sent others first and remained behind in Mecca and did not migrate till he received divine permission to do so. This event is so great that a renowned orientalist, Stanley Lane-Poole, has mentioned in his book:
“Like the captain of a sinking ship, the prophet would not leave till all the crew were safe”. (Studies in a Mosque, 1966, Khayats, Beirut, p. 60)
The writer has paid a great tribute in a magnificent style to the Holy Prophet’ssa courage, steadfastness, and trust in Allah. The fact is that he was the Messengersa of the faith and flag-bearer of the message that was protected by Allah Himself. It was because of his unwavering trust and reliance on Allah, that he remained in Mecca till the last moment with full conviction and composure as an embodiment of courage and steadfastness.
The circumstances in which the Holy Prophetsa migrated, and the way he did it, undoubtedly displays inspiring scenes of his trust in Allah. It is narrated that upon receiving permission to migrate, he set out from his house in the blazing sun, passed through a hostile environment, and reached the house of Hazrat Abu Bakrra, apprised him of the development, settled the plan with him to leave at night and came back. Many brave hearts would be panic-struck with fear and nervousness under such dangerous circumstances; however, the Holy Prophetsa, with his firm faith in Allah, was enriched with composure and conviction. Notwithstanding all the hostility towards him, many Meccans had committed their properties to the trust of the Holy Prophetsa, who was known as Sadiq and Amin. The Prophetsa of Islam handed over all those to Hazrat Alira and instructed him to return them to their owners, so that nobody could point an accusing finger at this unique Sadiq and Amin till the end of days.
The Prophetsa set out while the disbelievers besieged his home. His deadly enemies and bloodthirsty savages were on alert to pounce on him as and when he emerged. This man of God passed before them; however, due to divine intervention, they did not notice him. The Prophetsa passed by safely and peacefully under the protection of the heavenly angels, and nobody could do him any harm. Where else would one find such trust in Allah and divine security?
On the other hand, when the disbelievers learned that the Holy Prophetsa had left Mecca, they went mad and started searching for him frantically. Eventually, it was announced publicly that whoever brought Muhammadsa back, dead or alive, would be given a bounty of 100 red camels. Therefore, hearing of this large bounty, many people set out in all directions. The infidels even hired an expert tracker who led them straight to the mouth of the cave situated at the top of Mount Thaur, wherein the Holy Prophetsa and Hazrat Abu Bakrra were. The man told them that either he was hiding in there or he had flown up to heaven. One can only imagine what was going through the mind of a devoted companion, Hazrat Abu Bakrra, at this juncture. He was not worried about himself as much as he was for his master, the Holy Prophetsa. His anxiety and stress defied description. He could not suppress his emotions. He said that if the enemy peeped inside, they would be captured. Hundreds of thousands of blessings be upon this perfect slave of Allah, Muhammadsa al-Mustafa, who fully realised the criticality of the situation, yet neither fear nor despondency ever crossed his mind. He reassured his companion, saying:
لا تحزن انَّ اللّٰه معنا
Meaning “Worry not, Allah is with us” He then added, “What do you think about the two people, among whom the third is Allah?” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab Fada’il Ashab al-Nabisa)
After spending three nights in the cave, they restarted the journey. The Holy Prophetsa mounted one camel with the guide and Abu Bakrra and his servant on the other. They took the coastal route and moved fast. The quest for the large bounty that had been announced for the capture of the Holy Prophetsa continued to stir many hearts. Suraqah bin Malik set out in pursuit of the Prophetsa of Islam. He saw the Prophetsa and rushed after him like a hunter chasing his prey. At such a critical juncture, even the bravest person would lose heart. However, salute the steadfastness and courage of the Holy Prophetsa who did not show any worry or concern and continued to recite the Holy Quran and did not turn his face to look back even once. It was the result of his trust in Allah that filled his soul with peace and tranquillity. He was convinced that the Lord of the universe was with him.
Suraqah bin Malik stated that when he had reached near the Holy Prophetsa, he could hear the recitation of the Holy Quran. When he was within range to shoot his arrow, Abu Bakrra would turn his face again and again out of fear for the life of his beloved. Even then, the Holy Prophetsa would say:
لا تحزن انَّ اللّٰه معنا
Such utmost conviction and absolute trust in Allah was only granted to the Holy Prophetsa of Islam. During this pursuit, Suraqah fell off his horse and recovered several times. At last, he gave up his intention and called for reconciliation. His horse had its feet driven deep into the sand and was stuck there. It was freed through the blessing of the Holy Prophet’ssa prayers.
The entire experience convinced Suraqah bin Malik that, in the end, the Holy Prophetsa would be victorious. He requested the Prophetsa to write him a guarantee of peace to serve him when he became supreme. He requested the Holy Prophetsa for a written surety for peace. Leter, when Suraqah was about to return, the Holy Prophetsa, after receiving revelation from Allah, gave him the good news:
“What shall be your state when the bangles of the Chosroes shall be on your wrists?” (Usd al-Ghabah, Zikr Suraqah)
Under such circumstances, such a statement was unthinkable and unbelievable. Flabbergasted, Suraqah inquired if the Holy Prophetsa was referring to Chosroes son of Hormizd, the Emperor of Persia; to which the Prophetsa replied in the affirmative. Suraqah’s eyes were left wide open in amazement. A Bedouin of the Arabian desert and the bangles of the Chosroes, Emperor of Persia, he thought.
Little did Suraqah know, the divine decree was going to demonstrate the transformation of a blood-thirsty person who rushed in pursuit of a beloved of Allah, craving for worldly gains, into someone who would one day be proud of being subservient to him. The treasure of faith was to be given to him who had set out for worldly gain. As a sign, he would be given the golden bangles of the then-emperor as a token of worldly wealth. Allah had shown that to His Messengersa in a vision and he declared it there and then with full trust in Allah and with full conviction that it was from Allah and that it would come to pass one day. After 17 years, during the Khilafat of Hazrat Umarra, this prophecy was fulfilled word for word.
This eight-day journey of migration may appear as one single event in the history of Islam; however, it comprises countless inspiring manifestations of the Holy Prophet’ssa trust in Allah and divine security that spanned the whole of his life. The fact is, trust in Allah and divine help were integral parts of the Prophet’s life, his words, and his deeds.
اللّٰهمّ صلّ عليٰ محمّد و علٰي آل محمّد و بارك وسلّم انّك حميد مجيد