Source: As-Sabiqoon Monthly Magazine Issue 9 Sept 2006
Before you is a concise step-by-step guide about surviving at Uni! All I write is based upon my very own experience which has advice in dealing with it life at Uni. It’s worth noting that (as I write) I am a first year and in no way have I experienced all the problems, and due to the nature of the problems mentioned, my advice is not the only advice available. I recommend you to stick to the advice of the scholars and students of knowledge; in other words, it’s just an introduction into surviving the first year! It’s split into two main sections: general advice (which includes advice on handling the workload itself) and Islamic advice, which highlights the main problems faced by every Muslim what to do should in these positions.
Step1: know your role!
The first step is to actually understand why you are at Uni and what you want to get out of it. Whether you want to go to Uni or you’re being forced to go, make sure you have aims and objectives and actually work towards it. Have an idea of what field (roughly) you wish to go into. Carefully study the course description and individual module description so that you know what to expect and what you should achieve at the end. If you don’t like it, it’s not too late to switch courses or individual modules. Many students switch within the first semester (term) and the Universities expect this.
Step two: your surroundings!
As soon as you start Uni, it’s important that you have a good circle of pious Muslim friends- also maybe non-Muslim friends whom you can give Da’wah to. SubhanAllah, this is so important as you’ll find within a few weeks the majority of non-muslim students heading to the pubs and clubs drinking a few pints and then heading off to the library to do some work. Alhamdulillah many Unis have an ISOC and a dedicated prayer room where you’re more then welcome! In fact, ISOCs have a dedicated group to bring people to the prayer rooms and also start off their talks and Jumua’h Khutbah with short and sweet Naseeha (advice) regarding surviving Uni. The prayer room should be your refuge without distracting you from your purpose to work; so make sure you have good friends, be a regular prayer room user and have a separate place to study.
Step three: do your work!
It’s really easy to be distracted from doing your work. Many students suffer from the whole Uni-cliche lifestyle of going out, partying, having ‘fun’ and plenty of brothers and sisters organise events or invite you to eat with them at restaurants. It’s very easy to just give up and leave your work for later and join them, though quite frankly, if you don’t do your work, you will fail! Uni is very independent and it’s up to YOU to commit yourself. I found that dedicating the day for work and evening for maybe extra/remaining work and going out worked best; make a schedule try stick to it!
Step four: Do your best
Be sincere in what you do; do it to help Muslims climb the society ladder so that we can have an impact on the world again. Be the best (or one of the best thereafter) in your class so that you have good prospects and also so that you can use your position to give Da’wah. And it’s not that hard! A few words here and a few there, people will automatically flock to you to ask for help. Just do your best and remember the results is with Allah (swt):
‘Be mindful of Allah, you will find Him before you. Get to know Allah in prosperity and He will know you in adversity. Know that what has passed you by was not going to befall you, and that what has befallen you was not going to pass you by. And know that victory comes with patience, relief with affliction, and ease with hardship.’
(Imam Tirmizi, Imam An Nawawi’s 40 Ahadith)
Step 5: make the most of it
If you have any problems with your work, go to your lecturers and ask for help. Don’t be afraid to ask during or after the lectures and don’t pretend to understand! If something is explained to you and you still don’t get it, tell them – pound them till you finally get it. If it’s the lecturer you can’t understand then find a PhD student or someone in the same or year above and ask- there’s plenty of them in the Prayer Room.
Use the library, Internet, lab sessions, revision classes, etc. Find a few brothers and sisters who have been through the course who can help and sell you their books for proper discount prices. I bought a 40 pounds book off a brother for just 10 pounds…bargain!
Uni is literally buzzing with Fitnah, from the people who go there to some of the buildings and books in the library. It’s used as an excuse to propagate false ideas and brainwash the masses…so there must be a few things to beware of:
1. The prayer room
Although (generally) the ISOC is not the problem, the prayer room is always buzzing with people with twisted views and next ideologies. You meet Muslims from many different countries and backgrounds which have influenced the way they think and many of these sects and named-groups operate in the prayer room. Some even call to their beliefs and love to argue and will spark the argument with everyone and anyone. Despite this, you meet the most amazing and sincere people you’ll ever meet who really help you in everyway possible. Not everyone who has a slight difference in mentality to yourself is your enemy and Uni is a good platform to verify all the slander you hear about these groups. If you really want to know what they’re upon… just ask them!
2. The debates
Just as we’ve mentioned, there are those who really love debating, whether it’s about Islam or worldly things. Some named-groups and sects even debate over things that are not only out of their own capabilities of understanding as a layman, but also in matters that a Muslim must not go into whether a layman or the greatest scholar. Therefore, it becomes necessary for you to learn your Deen from trusted sources and be sincere in gaining that knowledge. Learn with evidences from the Qur’an and Sunnah as this not only increases your general understanding of Islam but also creates certainty and it certainly eradicates doubt.
Also, beware of speaking without knowledge. It’s easy to fall into Shaytan’s trap of disagreeing with someone based upon the fact that they belong to one of these groups or sects and not because you yourself know that. You might be arguing on an issue in which they are correct about and you are wrong.
Seeing as everyone in Uni (especially Muslims, sociology, history and philosophy students) begin to act like philosophers they will be more open to ideas. Alhamdulillah this is a great platform to give Da’wah especially collectively, like writing for the student magazines or entering writing competitions and relating it to Islam, its merits and Muslims and their positive impact upon the world. Many Muslims do this and win essay competitions and have their articles publicised; it really does work!
3. The Pubs, etc
Don’t be fooled by the fact that some Muslims hang-out in the pubs staying away from drinking alcohol only playing pool, snooker, table-football and other such activities. Stay away from the pubs and clubs otherwise there’s no doubt that eventually you will either start to ‘loosen up’ in established matters of Islam or maybe even reject it and commit Kufr (disbelief).
4. The library
The more philosophical the subjects are at your Uni are, the more ‘random’ the library materials are. Recently I found the whole set of Salman Rushdie’s books including ‘Satanic Whispers’ and even more recently I found a shockingly western-biased account on Islamic Spain. Much of the books and History are anti-Islamic although we are now seeing a slow emergence of Muslim writers being recognized in the west and having their works published and put into the bookshelves of Universities. Know your religion with certainty; make sure you are grounded in Islam if you bother with such books.
I hope that this advice helps but again I recommend you to the advice of the people of knowledge and the Islamic Societies. They know how to help and go out of their way to do so. You can also go Uni for the lectures and do your work at home. Make the most of all that’s available to you and enjoy your time there. It really does open up your mind and isn’t as bad as some people say.
May Allah (swt) raise your rank and bless you in this world and the next and may He (swt) change our condition for the better and allow us to be the forerunners in this blissful task, Ameen!
On one Friday, Rasulullah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “O Muslims! Allah Ta’ala has made this day a day of eid . So have a bath on this day, whoever has perfume should apply it, and use the miswaak. ” (Ibn Majah)
Tariq ibn Ziyad was sent by Musa ibn Nusayr in the year 711 AD as a chief commander to conquer Andalus. His men numbered 12000-17000. On his journey he decided to take some rest and sleep. It is said whilst sailing across the sea, which separates Africa from Andalus, he saw in his dream the prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) surrounded by arabs of the Muhajiruun and Ansaars, who with unsheathed swords and bended bows stood by him. They also heard the prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) say ” take courage, O Tariq! and accomplish what you are destined to perform. ” On hearing this, he looked around him and saw the messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) and his companions entering Andalus. Tariq immediately awoke from his sleep with a smile, and from that moment on he never doubted victory. Tariq advanced towards a small mountain in the sea which later became known as Jabal Tariq (Mount Tariq) derived from which is the modern name: Gibraltar. Here Tariq and his army disembarked into the darkness of the night. He then set fire to his fleet and in his determination to conquer Andalus he told his army ” I have now burnt the ships, and now there is no return for us and here we will conquer or die fighting.”
The king of the time, King Roderick, heard about the seizure and immediately prepared his army which numbered 100,000. King Roderick set off with confidence that they will make each and every Arab his prisoner. Roderick took his army to Cordova to attack Tariq and his armies.
Before the battle, Tariq gave a speech which portrayed his valiance, determination and ideology regarding the life after death. In this speech he also mentioned his desire to kill King Roderick with his own hands. After his influential speech, Tariq and his army with their white turbans and spears in their hands proceeded towards the battlefield. When Tariq reached the battlefield he saw his ambition and aimed his arrow towards him and killed him. He had now fulfilled his long felt desire and gained victory for the Muslims. It is said in the confusion that followed the defeated Christian soldiers fled for their lives, the body of King Roderick had also disappeared. The Muslims had a zeal for knowledge, they were advanced in architecure and were masters in science.
When Tariq and his army conquered a large portion of Spain in 711-718 AD, which mainly consisted of the Moors who were a Muslim tribe from North Africa, they immediately implemented Islamic law ( Shariah ) with Caliphates. the muslim ruled with islamic law for over 800 years. However when the Muslim government of Spain collapsed during the early 1000s due to the fighting amongst the groups of Moors, the country split into many small Moorish states and independent cities. This was not the only reason for the downfall of a nation which ruled for many centuries. This was due to the fact that the leaders did not rule according to the Islamic law and chose an un-islamic life.
Below is an extract from the hadith. Abdullah ibn Umar narrates ; “The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) came to us and said O muhajiruun, you may be afflicted by five things, may Allah forbid you live to see them, if leaders do not govern according to the book of Allah, you should realize this will not happen without Allah making them into groups and making them fight another. ” ( Ibn Majah, Kitab al Fitan, 4019,2/1332 ) you can see from this small extract how the Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) had advanced knowledge of the future and how correct his prophecies were to be.
One fine day, a bus driver went to the bus garage, started his bus, and drove off along the route. No problems for the first few stops – a few people got on, a few got off, and things went generally well.
At the next stop, however, a big hulk of a guy got on, six foot eight, built like a wrestler, arms hanging down to the ground. He glared at the driver and said, “Big John doesn’t pay!” and sat down at the back.
Did I mention that the driver was five foott three, thin, and basically meek?
Well, he was. Naturally, he didn’t argue with Big John, but he wasn’t happy about it. The next day the same thing happened – Big John got on again, made a show of refusing to pay, and sat down. And the next day, and the next.
This grated on the bus driver, who started losing sleep over the way Big John
was taking advantage of him. Finally he could stand it no longer and so he signed up for body building courses, karate, judo, and all that good stuff.
By the end of the summer, he had become quite strong; what’s more, he felt really good about himself.
So on the next Monday, when Big John once again got on the bus and said,
“Big John doesn’t pay!” The driver stood up, glared back at the passenger,
and screamed, “And why not?”
With a surprised look on his face, Big John replied, “Big John has a bus pass.”
MORAL / LESSON:
The moral of this incident/story is quite self evident. However, it is a lesson that many of us seem to overlook and disregard in the many activities and chores of our life.
We learn from this incident that a person should not be hasty in making assumptions and judging a situation or an individual from what seems to be the apparent.
It is essential that a Muslim assumes the best of his fellow being and gives him the benefit of the doubt. If possible, one should allow the fellow being to explain himself as to clear any doubts one may have.
Our Nabi صلى الله عليه و صلم has stated that being hasty is from Shaytaan whilst steady composure is from Allah سبحانه و تعالى.
In the same manner ‘Ulamaa have stated that if there is a single reason for doubt in a matter relating to a person then that doubt should have an effect on the decision that is made.
In conclusion, one should take all factors into consideration and avoid hastiness in judging an individual. Instead, one should try to make the matter clear as to avoid placing false accusations on anyone.
Jazakallah to Maulana Zain for writing up a moral for the story.
During heavy rainfall if a person was to complain that he has not managed to collect water, then all present would conclude that this was because of his sheer negligence and laxity.
Likewise in Ramadhan only the extremely negligent remain deprived because the Mercy and Forgiveness of Allah ta’ala descends in torrents.
Shaykh Saleem Dhorat – www.idauk.org
A man from a respectable background came to Balkh in Iran, accompanied by his wife and daughters. Shortly after their arrival the man fell ill and later died, leaving his wife and daughters. Without his support they became poor and suffered. So fearing the mockery of enemies, she fled Balkh with her daughters to another town.
On the day she arrived the weather was very cold, so she left her daughters in a mosque and went out in search of food. She passed by two groups of people. One was gathered around a Muslim who was the Sheikh and the other group around a Zoroastrian (Majusi) who was the security officer of the city.
She first went to the Sheikh and described her situation saying, “I am a woman of a respectable family, with daughters whom I have left in the local mosque, I have come in search of food.” He asked her, “Bring me proof that you are from a respectable family.” She replied, “I am a stranger in this town and therefore do not know anyone to testify for me.” She departed from him broken hearted.
She then went to the Zoroastrian and explained her situation to him, telling him about her noble background and her orphaned daughters who were, waiting her return. She also mentioned to him how the Sheikh had treated her. The Zoroastrian stood up and sent some womenfolk to bring her daughters and took all of them to his house. There he showered them with honour and generosity. He fed them fine food and clothed them in rich garments.
That night the Sheikh saw in a dream the Day of Resurrection and the banners were unfurled around the Prophet (Peace be Upon him). Ahead of him, was a green palace made of emeralds, its balconies of pearls and rubies and domes of pearls and corals. He asked the Prophet (Peace be Upon him), “Messenger of Allah, for whom is this palace?” The Prophet (Peace be Upon him) replied, “For a Muslim.” The Sheikh replied, “I am a Muslim!” The Prophet (Peace be Upon him) said, “Prove to me that you are a Muslim?” At that, the Sheikh was dumbstruck. The Prophet (Peace be Upon him) then said, “You asked a woman to produce proof of her respectability, and therefore my question to you, is can you produce proof that you are a Muslim?” At this point the Sheikh felt remorse about his treatment towards the woman and her orphaned daughters.
In the morning, he immediately set out to find the woman. He learnt she was staying with the Zoroastrian and so called for him. When the Zoroastrian arrived, the Sheikh requested that he sends the woman and her daughters to him. The Zoroastrian replied, “Under no circumstance! I have received great blessings from her.” The Sheikh said “Take a thousand dinars from me and bring them to me.” He shouted, “Impossible! The one who showed you the palace in your dream has made it (the palace) for me. Are you surprised because I am not a Muslim? By Allah, I did not sleep last night, before I and my family accepted Islam at that noble woman’s hand, and I dreamt something similar to what you dreamt; the Messenger of Allah (Peace be Upon him) asked me, “Is that noble woman and her daughters with you?” I replied: “Yes, Messenger of Allah.” The Prophet (Peace be Upon him) said, “This palace is for you and your family. Allah created you a believer in pre-eternity.”
At that the Sheikh remained sorrowful and grieved for the missed opportunity of earning a lofty position in Paradise, due to his neglect of the widowed woman and her daughters.
Allah’s Messenger (Peace be Upon him) has said, “The one who strives on behalf of the widow and the needy is like a warrior in the path of Allah”. (Bukhari and Muslim,)
May Allah guide us to what is right for indeed, He is Generous, the most Kind, the most Merciful!
“If you wish you may consider yourself among the Muhajirin or, if you wish, you may consider yourself one of the Ansar. Choose whichever is dearer to you.” With these words, the Prophet, peace be upon him, addressed Hudhayfah ibn al-Yaman when he met him for the first time in Makkah. How did Hudhayfah come to have this choice’? His father, al-Yaman was a Makkan from the tribe of Abs. He had killed someone and had been forced to leave Makkah. He had settled down in Yathrib, becoming an ally (halif) of the Banu al-Ash-hal and marrying into the tribe. A son named Hudhayfah was born to him. The restrictions on his returning to Makkah were eventually lifted and he divided his time between Makkah and Yathrib but stayed more in Yathrib and was more attached to it. This was how Hudhayfah had a Makkan origin but a Yathribite upbringing. When the rays of Islam began to radiate over the Arabian peninsula, a delegation from the Abs tribe, which included al-Yaman, went to the Prophet and announced their acceptance of Islam. That was before the Prophet migrated to Yathrib. Hudhayfah grew up in a Muslim household and was taught by both his mother and father who were among the first persons from Yathrib to enter the religion of God. He therefore became a Muslim before meeting the Prophet, peace be upon him. Hudhayfah longed to meet the Prophet. From an early age, he was keen on following whatever news there was about him. The more he heard, the more his affection for the Prophet grew and the more he longed to meet him.
He eventually journeyed to Makkah, met the Prophet and put the question to him, “Am I a muhajir or am I an Ansari, O Rasulullah?” “If you wish you may consider yourself among the muhajirin, or if you wish you may consider yourself one of the Ansar. Choose whichever is dearer to you,” replied the Prophet. “Well, I am an Ansari. O Rasulullah,” decided Hudhayfah. At Madinah, after the Hijrah, Hudhayfah became closely attached to the Prophet. He participated in all the military engagements except Badr. Explaining why he missed the Battle of Badr, he said: “I would not have missed Badr if my father and I had not been outside Madinah. The disbelieving Quraysh met us and asked where we were going. We told them we were going to Madinah and they asked whether we intended to meet Muhammad. We insisted that we only wanted to go to Madinah. They allowed us to go only after they extracted from us an undertaking not to help Muhammad against them and not to fight along with them. “When we came to the Prophet we told him about our undertaking to the Quraysh and asked him what should we do. He said that we should ignore the undertaking and seek God’s help against them.” Hudhayfah participated in the Battle of Uhud with his father. The pressure on Hudhayfah during the battle was great but he acquitted himself well and emerged safe and sound. A rather different fate, however, awaited his father. Before the battle, the Prophet, peace be on him, left alYaman, Hudhayfah’s father, and Thabit ibn Waqsh with the other non-combatants including women and children. This was because they were both quite old. As the fighting grew fiercer, al-Yaman said to h is friend: “You have no father (meaning you have no cares). What are we waiting for? We both have only a short time to live. Why don’t we take our swords and join the Messenger of God, peace be on him? Maybe, God will bless us with martyrdom beside His Pr ophet.”
They quickly prepared for battle and were soon in the thick of the fighting. Thabit ibn Waqsh was blessed with shahdah at the hands of the mushrikin. The father of Hudhayfah, however was set upon by some Muslims who did not recognize who he was. As they flayed him, Hudhayfah cried out: “My father! My father! It’s my father!” No one heard him. The old man fell, killed in error by the swords of his own brothers in faith. They were filled with pain and remorse. Grieved as he was, Hudhayfah said to them: “May God forgive you for He is the most Merciful of those who show mercy.” The Prophet, peace be on him, wanted diyah (compensation) to be paid to Hudhayfah for the death of his father but Hudhayfah said: “He was simply seeking shahadah and he attained it. O Lord, bear witness that I donate the compensation for him to the Muslim s.” Because of this attitude, Hudhayfah’s stature grew in the eyes of the Prophet, peace be on him. Hudhayfah had three qualities which particularly impressed the Prophet: his unique intelligence which he employed in dealing with difficult situations; his quick wittedness and spontaneous response to the call of action, and his ability to keep a secret even under persistent questioning. A noticeable policy of the Prophet was to bring out and use the special qualities and strengths of each individual companion of his. In deploying his companions, he was careful to choose the right man for the right task. This he did to excellent advantage in the case of Hudhayfah. One of the gravest problems the Muslims of Madinah had to face was the existence in their midst of hypocrites (munafiqun) particularly from among the Jews and their allies. Although many of them had declared their acceptance of Islam, the change was only superficial and they continued to plot and intrigue against the Prophet and the Muslims.
Because of Hudhayfah’s ability to keep a secret, the Prophet, peace be on him, confided in him the names of the munafiqin. It was a weighty secret which the Prophet did not disclose to any other off his companions. He gave Hudhayfah the task of watching the movements of the munafiqin, following their activities, and shielding the Muslims from the sinister danger they represented. It was a tremendous responsibility. The munafiqin, because they acted in secrecy and because they knew all the developments and plans of the Muslims from within presented a greater threat to the community than the outright hostility of the kuffar. From this time onwards. Hudhayfah was called “The Keeper of the Secret of the Messenger of Allah”. Throughout his life he remained faithful to his pledge not to disclose the names of the hypocrites. After the death of the Prophet, the Khalifah often came- to him to seek his advice concerning their movements and activities but he remained tight-lipped and cautious. Umar was only able to find out indirectly who the hypocrites were. If anyone among the Muslims died, Umar would ask: “Has Hudhayfah attended his funeral prayer?” If the reply was ‘yes’, he would perform the prayer. If the reply was ‘no’, he became doubtful about the person and refrained from performing the funeral prayer for him. Once Umar asked Hudhayfah: “Is any of my governors a munafiq?” “One,” replied Hudhayfah. “Point him out to me,” ordered Umar. “That I shall not do,” insisted Hudhayfah who later said that shortly after their conversation Umar dismissed the person just as if he had been guided to him.
Hudhayfah’s special qualities were made use of by the Prophet, peace be on him, at various times. One of the most testing of such occasions, which required the use of Hudhayfah’s intelligence and his presence of mind, was during the Battle of the Ditch. T he Muslims on that occasion were surrounded by enemies. The seige they had been placed under had dragged on. The Muslims were undergoing severe hardship and difficulties. They had expended practically all their effort and were utterly exhausted. So intens e was the strain that some even began to despair. The Quraysh and their allies, meanwhile, were not much better off. Their strength and determination had been sapped. A violent wind overturned their tents, extinguished their fires and pelted their faces and eyes with gusts of sand and dust. In such decisive moments in the history of warfare, the side that loses is the one that despairs first and the one that wins is the one that holds out longer. The role of army intelligence in such situations often proves to be a crucial factor in determin ing the outcome of the battle. At this stage of the confrontation the Prophet, peace be on him, felt he could use the special talents and experience of Hudhayfah ibn al-Yaman. He decided to send Hudhayfah into the midst of the enemy’s positions under cover of darkness to bring him the latest information on their situation and morale before he decided on his next move.
Let us now leave Hudhayfah to relate what happened on this mission fraught with danger and even death. “That night, we were all seated in rows. Abu Sufyan and his men – the mushrikun of Makkah – were in front of us. The Jewish tribe of Banu Qurayzah were at our rear and we were afraid of them because of our wives and children. The night was stygian dark. N ever before was there a darker night nor a wind so strong. So dark was the night that no one could see his fingers and the blast of the wind was like the peel of thunder. “The hypocrites began to ask the Prophet for permission to leave, saying, ‘Our houses are exposed to the enemy.’ Anyone who asked the Prophet’s permission to leave was allowed to go. Many thus sneaked away until we were left with about three hundred men.< P> “The Prophet then began a round of inspection passing us one by one until he reached me. I had nothing to protect me from the cold except a blanket belonging to my wife which scarcely reached my knees. He came nearer to me as I lay crouching on the ground and asked: ‘Who is this?’ ‘Hudhayfah,’ replied. ‘Hudhayfah?’ he queried as I huddled myself closer to the ground too afraid to stand up because of the intense hunger and cold. ‘Yes, O Messenger of God,’ I replied. ‘Some thing is happening among the people (meaning the forces of Abu Sufyan). Infiltrate their encampment and bring me news of what’s happening,’ instructed the Prophet.
“I set out. At that moment I was the most terrified person of all and felt terribly cold. The Prophet, peace be on him, prayed: ‘O Lord, protect him from in front and from behind, from his right and from his left, from above and from below.’ “By God, no sooner had the Prophet, peace be on him, completed his supplication than God removed from my stomach all traces of fear and from my body all the punishing cold. As I turned to go, the Prophet called me back to him and said: ‘Hudhayfah, on no a ccount do anything among the people (of the opposing forces) until you come back to me.’ ‘Yes,’ I replied. “I went on, inching my way under cover of darkness until I penetrated deep into the mushrikin camp and became just like one of them. Shortly afterwards, Abu Sufyan got up and began to address his men: ‘O people of the Quraysh, I am about to make a statement to you which I fear would reach Muhammad. Therefore, let every man among you look and make sure who is sitting next to him…’
“On hearing this, I immediately grasped the hand of the man next to me and asked, ‘Who are you?’ (thus putting him on the defensive and clearing myself). “Abu Sufyan went on: ‘O people of the Quraysh, by God, you are not in a safe and secure place. Our horses and camels have perished. The Banu Qurayzah have deserted us and we have had unpleasant news about them. We are buffered by this bitterly cold wind. Our fires do not ligh t and our uprooted tents offer no protection. So get moving. For myself, I am leaving.’ “He went to his camel, untethered and mounted it. He struck it and it stood upright. If the Messenger of God, peace be on him, had not instructed me to do nothing until I returned to him, I would have killed Abu Sufyan then and there with an arrow. “I returned to the Prophet and found him standing on a blanket performing Salat. When he recognized me, he drew me close to his legs and threw one end of the blanket over me. I informed him of what had happened. He was extremely happy and joyful and gave thanks and praise to Hudhayfah lived in constant dread of evil and corrupting influences. He felt that goodness and the sources of good in this life were easy to recognize for those who desired good. But it was evil that was deceptive and often difficult to perceive and comba t. He became something of a great moral philosopher. He always warned people to struggle against evil with all their faculties, with their heart, hands and tongue. Those who stood against evil only with their hearts and tongues, and not with their hands, he considered as having abandoned a part of truth. Those who hated evil only in their hearts but did not combat it with their tongues and hands forsook two parts of truth and those who neither detested nor confronted evil with their hearts, tongues or hands he considered as physically alive but morally dead.
Speaking about ‘hearts’ and their relationship to guidance and error, he once said: “There are four kinds of hearts. The heart that is encased or atrophied. That is the heart of the kafir or ungrateful disbeliever. The heart that is shaped into thin layer s. That is the heart of the munafiq or hypocrite. The heart that is open and bare and on which shines a radiant light. That is the heart of the mumin or the believer. Finally there is the heart in which there is both hypocrisy and faith. Faith is like a tree which thrives with good water and hypocrisy is like an abscess which thrives on pus and blood. Whichever flourishes more, be it the tree of faith or the abscess of hypocrisy, wins control of the heart.” Hudhayfah’s experience with hypocrisy and his efforts to combat it gave a touch of sharpness and severity to his tongue. He himself realized this and admitted it with a noble courage: “I went to the Prophet, peace be on him and said: ‘O Messenger of God, I have a tongue which is sharp and cutting against my family and I fear that this would lead me to hell-fire.’ And the Prophet, peace be upon him, said to me: ‘Where do you stand with regard to istighfar – asking forgiveness from Allah? I ask Allah for fo rgiveness a hundred times during the day. ” A pensive man like Hudhayfah, one devoted to thought, knowledge and reflection may not have been expected to perform feats of heroism in battlefields. Yet Hudhayfah was to prove himself one of the foremost Muslim military commanders in the expansion of Is lam into Iraq. He distinguished himself at Hamadan, ar-Rayy, ad-Daynawar, and at the famous Battle of Nihawand.
For the encounter at Nihawand against the Persian forces, Hudhayfah was placed second in command by Umar over the entire Muslim forces which numbered some thirty thousand. The Persian forces outnumbered them by five to one being some one hundred and fifty thousand strong. The first commander of the Muslim army, an-Numan ibn Maqran, fell early in the battle. The second in command, Hudhayfah, immediately took charge of the situation, giving instructions that the death of the commander should not be broadcas t. Under Hudhayfah’s daring and inspiring leadership, the Muslims won a decisive victory despite tremendous odds. Hudhayfah was made governor of important places like Kufa and Ctesiphon (al-Madain). When the news of his appointment as governor of Ctesiphon reached its inhabitants, crowds went out to meet and greet this famous companion of the Prophet of whose piety a nd righteousness they had heard so much. His great role in the conquests of Persia was already a legend. As the welcoming party waited, a lean, somewhat scrawny man with dangling feet astride a donkey approached. In his hand he held a loaf of bread and some salt and he ate as he went along. When the rider was already in their midst they realized that he was Hudhayfah, the governor for whom they were waiting. They could not contain their surprise. What manner of man was this! They could however be excused for not recognizing him for they were used to the style, the pomp and the grandeur of Persian rulers.
Hudhayfah carried on and people crowded around him. He saw they were expecting him to speak and he cast a searching look at their faces. Eventually, he said: “Beware of places of fitnah and intrigue.” “And what,” they asked, “are places of intrigue?” He replied: “The doors of rulers where some people go and try to make the ruler or governor believe lies and praise him for (qualities) he does not possess.” With these words, the people were prepared for what to expect from their new governor. They knew at once that there was nothing in the world that he despised more than hypocrisy.
Seven centuries had passed since afore said Zubaydah canal was created and now it was in its worst with the passage of time despite being looked after by the subsequent rulers. Almost all the wells and springs had gone dried and dead and Zubaydah canal was filled with shifting sand and stones and its concrete wall was broken here and there and water was no more once again. It was the year 965H (1557 A.D) when all those days had returned which had urged Zubaydah to come to the rescue.
Fortunately another Zubaydah had come in to the world in the shape of the Turk princess Fatimah Khanum, daughter of the great ‘Uthman ruler Sultan Salim. When the things came to her knowledge, she under took to solve the problem once for all. She assigned the task to her trusted aide Ibrahim ibn Takrim to restore the canal and extend it to Makkah to bring it in to the easy reach of every Makkan and the pilgrims.
The repair of the canal proved not very difficult and it was done positively with the help of Egyptian, Syrian and the Yemenite engineers and the masons. But ahead, a huge rock whose length was not less than two thousand feet and the width more than fifty had stopped their advance.
Ibrahim, the chief of the project lost his heart, as it looked quite impossible to turn aside or to break through the gigantic rock. Fatimah Kanum was informed of the failure. But the resolute princess stood to her previous order. She reprimanded her assignee and told him in clear words that nothing could hamper the human courage and determination.
The inspiring order of the princess invigorated the entire arena. In those days neither the dynamite was invented yet, nor were the titanic machines of today, which blow out the sky rising mountains. The only method to cut the stone was to heat them up to a very high degree and then cut them with sharp tools.
It took hundreds of workers long ten years to make a break through, after having been burnt millions tons of fuel and spending thousands of arduous days and nights. It came at last that auspicious day when in 979H (1571 A.D) the proud rock was conquered which, years before looked duly insurmountable.
The water began to flow up to Makkah. No one could imagine the delight of the Makkans that day. The event was celebrated fervently with the participation of the government and the masses. All, the bigs and smalls of the project were rewarded beyond their expectations. The Princess came to be called empress Zubaydah Thani (the second).
(Monthly Al-Hasanat, Rampur – India)