Friday, November 16, 2012

Reviving Humanity's Role Models: The Sahaba

Salam Maal Hijrah and greetings everyone!
Alhamdulillah, I manage to make full use of my Deepavali holidays attending the Heroes Conference titled "Reviving Humanity's Role Models: the Sahaba." During this conference, 9 speakers had delivered powerful talks with regards to the life of the companions of Rasulullah saw and how we should make them as our role model. Before I write further, why don't you watch this montage first:




GREAT LEADERSHIP: LEARNING  FROM THE GIANTS by Nisar Nadiadwala



"Before Islam shines in Arab, the Arabs were nomads. They were barbarians. Even the two strongest empire in those times: the Persians and the Romans, were not willing to conquer the Arabs because they are difficult to handle," said bro Nisar (I'm paraphrasing here).

Bro Nisar told us that the Sahabah are no different from us in terms of their jobs. Some are shepherds, some are labourers. But how is it we are so different from them in terms of deen (religion)? He also spoke about Abu Bakr, Umar al Khattab and Ibn Abbas. In terms of Abu Bakar and Umar al Khattab, bro Nisar elaborated that they are leaders who serve the people, not leaders whom people are serving. As for Ibn Abbas, he is a person who knows between the good and the better. It is important he said, to not only know between the good and the bad, but also between the good and the better.

The difference between us and the Sahabah are two: tawheed, character and the impact of Quranic verses. The Sahabah's tawheed is so perfect in comparison to us. Nowadays, when we have problems, ALLAH is not our first place in asking help. Instead, we will automatically asks our friends and families. The Sahabah too are willing to sacrifice for the sake of ALLAH. In comparison to us, even waking up for Subuh prayer is a hard thing. But for the Sahabah, reciting the Quran at night and waking up in the day for jihad is a routine for them. And lastly, bro Nisar had asked us how many verses of the Quran that have changed us? How many verses of the Quran that has made our hearts tremble?

So, these three points: tawheed, character and the impact of Quranic verses are what made the Sahabahs giants in terms of deen.

INHERITORS OF THE PROPHETS: OUTSTANDING SCHOLARS AMONG THE SAHABA by Sheikh Ibrahim Nuhu



First and foremost, Sheikh Ibrahim Nuhu told us about the importance of knowledge. According to a hadith, those who come out of their houses to seek knowledge, ALLAH will make the path for Jannah easier for him/her. Even when Rasulullah saw calls everyone for jihad, there must be some Muslims staying for he/she must teach knowledge to others. Plus, the scholars are the inheritors of the Prophet saw.

Among many of Rasulullah saw's companions, Sheikh Ibrahim Nuhu talked about Muaz bin Jabal, Abdullah Ibn Mas'ud, Abu Hurairah and Aisyah..may ALLAH be please with them. Muaz bin Jabal is so knowledgeable that when he leaves Madinah, people will say, "knowledge is leaving Madinah". As for Abdullah ibn Mas'ud, Rasulullah saw has said that if anyone wants to learn the Quran, learn with Abdullah ibn Mas'ud. Abu Hurairah on the other hand, although he is poor and destitute, he still strive for the sake of knowledge. Lastly, Abu Bakar and Umar bin Yusuf would sent people to Aisyah to seek knowledge.

To conclude, Sheikh Ibrahim Nuhu had emphasis on the knowledge about ALLAH, the prophet and the deen for all of these will be question to us in the grave. Also, Sheikh had said that we should follow the Sunnah and not any other Muslim sects.

FROM ZEROES TO HEROES: THE AMAZING RISE by Sheikh Zahir Mahmood



In his speech, Sheikh Zahir told us how Rasulullah saw who doesn't even know how to write, was able to change the Arab barbarians into amazing people. He had change the Arabs into respectable and knowledgeable persons. Rasulullah saw had transformed them from zeroes into heroes.

Sheikh Zahir had also reminded us of a hadith saying:


“The People will soon summon one another to attack you as people when eating invite others to share their food.” Someone asked, “Will that be because of our small numbers at that time?” He replied, “No, you will be numerous at that time: but you will be froth and scum like that carried down by a torrent (of water), and Allah will take the fear of you from the breasts (hearts) of your enemy and cast al-wahn into your hearts.” Someone asked, “O Messenger of Allah, what is al-wahn?” He replied, “Love of the world and dislike of death.” [An authentic hadith recorded by Abu Dawud and Ahmad]

Thus today, the reason why we can't be like the Sahabah is because of al-wahn.


MAKING IT COUNT: KNOWLEDGE AND ACTION by Sheikh Yawar Baig




Basically, Sheikh Yawar Baig explains about how knowledge and action interacts. He said that in the days of Rasulullah saw, the people who separates knowledge from action is called Munafiqun. He also emphasized that it doesn't mean that when a person has the correct knowledge, he will automatically has the correct action. The question is actually not about what we know, but how do we act upon what we know to enter Jannah (heaven).

Sheikh then elaborates on information versus knowledge. Information is different from knowledge. According to him, information was what iblis had while knowledge was what Adam as had.


For example today, Muslims point out that these certain Muslim will surely enter hell. "But it is not for us to determine this certain people enters hell or heaven," Sheikh said. Plus also today, people will always question the imam's tajweed when they should question themselves on why the words of ALLAH doesn't touch their hearts at all. Sheikh said Muslims must ask the right questions, not the wrong ones.


BEYOND BARRIERS: THE BONDS THAT BIND FOREVER by Nisar Nadiadwala and Shah Kirit


Shah Kirit
Note from author: This session was a combination of talk by the speakers and questions from the audience. For simplicity, I will combine these combinations into one.

Bro Nisar and bro Shah Kirit told us that there are many barriers among us. There is a barrier of race, nationalities, political ideologies and even barriers between states. The one that can unite all of these differences are our akidah. Same goes in politics. Bro Nisar then said that we are good in condemning our leaders but how many of us make do'a for them so that the leaders can lead righteously?

In terms of the atrocities happening in Syria and Palestine, governments from many countries have different opinions about these two countries. The Muslim countries can't even unite to address these atrocities effectively. When an audience asked about this, Bro Shah Kirit said that we as an individual right now must do what we are capable in doing. Then Bro Nisar added saying that if we rectify our faults first, Syria and Palestine will be saved insyALLAH. 


Apart from that, bro Shah Kirit had spoke about a hadith that says, "Love for your brothers what you love for yourself". And Bro Shah Kirit said that some ulama's are of the opinion that the brothers that is referred to in the hadith are also the non Muslims. Hence, if we don't spread Islam to the non Muslims, it means that we do not have love in our hearts.


Lastly, Bro Shah Kirit said that being united does not mean that we got to have the same opinion. At least, we should agree to disagree. Ponder upon the verse below:


"O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise (each other)..." (Surah al Hujurat:13)


LIVING IT THE SAHABAH WAY: LIVIN' IT HALAL by Asst. Prof Dr Zaharuddin Abd. Rahman


Dr Zaharuddin urges us to not belittle the halal and haram things; even if it is a small matter because this was what being practiced by Rasulullah saw and their companions. For example, when the verse on the prohibition of alcoholic drinks came down, the companions who had just drank some moments before the verse came, vomited the drink back out. Although actually they are not at the wrong because at the point of time of drinking, it is not yet prohibited. But since they do not belittle this matter, they spat it all out.

Next, Ustaz Zaharuddin tells us the story of Abdul Rahman bin Auf. This sahabah was a very charitable person. He had donated hundreds of horses and camels for jihad. In order for us to appreciate this Sahabah's act of charity, Dr Zaharuddin had told us that the price of the cheapest camel nowadays is RM50,000 while horse the cheapest is RM5000. So can you now imagine how wealthy and charitable Abdul Rahman bin Auf is? Then there's the story of Zainab bt Jahsyi who was also charitable. "Therefore, give out charity," ustaz said. However, according to ustaz, if you are poor, remember that the best charity is when a person has very little wealth, but he/she is still able to give. Also, in relation to Abdul Rahman bin Auf and Zainab bt Jahsyi, they can be so charitable because they can see the Jannah in front of them. We should be like this too.


After that, ustaz Zaharuddin emphasized on zakat. He said that, before you give out charity, you MUST give out zakat. Also, ustaz strictly advised us to stay away from riba' for ALLAH and Rasulullah saw will wage war against those who practiced riba'.


Lastly, ustaz Zaharuddin said if we had engaged in any of this, repent straight away and cleanse our wealth.


MEN & WOMEN: PARTNERS IN THE JOURNEY TO ALLAH by Sheikh Daood Butt



In his talk, Sheikh Daood had spoke about Uthman bin Affan. Uthman bin Affan is called "Dzul Nurain", meaning "the one with the two lights" for he married the two daughters of Rasulullah saw which are Ruqayyah and Umi Kulthum. "Uthman is a very shy, calm and patient person," Sheikh Daood said. An example of his patience was when Rasulullah saw ordered Uthman to stay instead of following to jihad. Ruqayyah was very ill, you see. Uthman's heart aches to go with Rasulullah saw but since he is very patient, he stayed and watch over Ruqayyah. However soon after, Ruqayyah died. Rasulullah saw then marries Uthman to his other daughter which is Umi Kulthum. But some time after, Umi Kulthum died too.

For a father nowadays, if his two daughters got married to the same person and died, the father will be suspicious of his son in law. But not Rasulullah saw. So what can be taken from the story of Uthman bin Affan is that, Rasulullah saw trusts him and likes him. Meaning that, a father actually loves a guy who is shy, calm and patient. As for trust, Sheikh says that today, the father and mother in law can't really trust completely their future son in law. Only after marrying their daughter and after sometime, the trust will be built. Another lesson that can be learn here is that, man must not be afraid to ask the woman's father for his daughter's hand in marriage. "If Uthman, a shy person can do it, surely we can too," he said.


Lastly, Sheikh Daood told us that if we can't afford to get married, make fast. If fast doesn't help, busy ourselves.


Note from author: I think the organizers include the topic about marriage in this conference because by marrying, half of the deen is already solve. We now need to only strive for another half. Plus, marriage completes you. So, in most cases, it is far more easier to follow the footsteps of the Sahabah and thus achieving ALLAH's pleasure by marrying. Anyway, just an assumption ^^

ABC OF SUCCESS: THE BEST FRIEND, THE BEST DEED & THE BEST WEAPON by Sheikh Zahir Mahmood

In Surah Ali Imran verse 110:
"Ye are the best of peoples, evolved for mankind, enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong, and believing in Allah.If only the People of the Book had faith, it were best for them: among them are some who have faith, but most of them are perverted transgressors."

As is stated in the above verse, ALLAH says that the Muslims are the best of people. But today, the condition in  becoming the best of people is to have big structures like beautiful mosques. This idea is wrong. Unlike today, the mosque in the time of the Prophet saw was very modest. According to Sheikh Zahir, when people stand inside the mosque those days, their heads will brush the ceilings and when they prostrate and sit back up, their foreheads will have sand. And unlike today, the people that were born from these mosques were impressive people such as Khalid al Walid and Bilal bin Rabah.

The reason why Khalid al Walid, Bilal bin Rabah and other Sahabahs are men and women of success is because they are willing to sacrifice. But we? Even the small sacrifices seem so huge. 

HAPPINESS - EVER AFTER by Sheikh Yawar Baig

In this talk, Sheikh Yawar Baig spoke about return on investment (ROI). This is not the usual ROI that we learn in class but is actually far more important. He was talking about our akhirah investment. The true investment. The true happiness.

In order to get this happiness, Sheikh Yawar said we need to have the same picture like the Sahaba had. We need to view this world like them. We need to learn how to act and think such that the promises of ALLAH will come true for us and we also need to learn the Quran by heart.

He too had admonished us. Sheikh Yawar said that today, many of us are story tellers and story listeners..we do not take any actions.

AMAZING FAITH FROM DARKNESS TO LIGHT by Sheikh Shareef El Arbi



Sheikh Shareef invited us to think about how the Sahaba had managed to change the landscape of history. Sheik Shareef said that they have the knowledge. The knowledge that they had planted firmly in their hearts that had led to fruits of action.

We on the other hand, are so unlike them because our tawheed and akidah is shaky. Our foundation is not strong. Our heart is not strong. So in order to strengthen this we need to seek reference from the revelation and creation of ALLAH. Learn the names of ALLAH and contemplate nature. Lastly, we need to hold firm to the sunnah of Rasulullah saw.


But is it simply knowledge and conviction? If it is then, iblis has it too. Actually, different from iblis, we confirm our conviction with our tongue and act upon it. 




So the above are the content of the Heroes Conference 2012. But actually, I left out one other speech. This speech was given by bro Tawfique Chowdhury's son (written by his father) since bro Tawfique couldn't make it to the conference. His son is of around 11 to 13 years old. Bro Tawfique's words were simple, concise and easy to grasp. To me, these words gave the biggest impact on me that day. Let me paraphrase:

"It does seem hard to follow the Sahaba's footsteps. But then again, maybe it is not. We just need to be ourselves. Read and ponder the Quran. Then think. Find out your strength..and determine on what you really want to do in life. Once you have that, do it!" 


Thank you for reading everyone ^^ Before I end this post, let me give you some of the advise that's been given to us during the 'Closing Remarks' session:

"Gandhi says be the change that you want to see in this world. But the Sahaba says: be like us! This is not arrogance. But indeed it is the reality for they are promised Jannah."