By Jawwad Ahmed
Maybe you recently came across the #MyUmmah hashtag on facebook, and you were curious. Or maybe, you went to the “Age of Fitnah” last weekend, and you were inspired. Or maybe, you were really really disturbed when Israel was bombing Gaza to bits. Maybe you shed a tear or two as well. The maulvis were saying let’s all make Dua – that’s the least we can do; and you were saying why should we settle for the least – we should do more.
But you never really figured out what to do. You do own the Ummah – you have at least some level of relatedness with Muslims throughout the world, but you realize that this is a nation at its nadir. You understand the need for change, and you are wondering how you can contribute. In all honesty, if this is your dilemma, I have no solution for you…because that’s still mine as well. What I can give you, though, is a guideline.
One of the aspects of the revolution that spawned at the dawn of Islam was how – despite the unwavering faith in Allah – the companions of Allah’s Messenger (SAW) learnt to take practical steps in doing what they were supposed to do. The Sahabah could have chosen the pray-fast-make-dua lifestyle, but they didn’t. Each one understood – under the tutelage of Allah’s Messenger (SAW) – his or her context, realized his or her own talents, and put them to good use. All in the best interests of the Ummah.
Here are a few examples for us to contemplate our context and our abilities, and to put them to good use thereafter.
He was one of those turned back from Badr (and then from Uhud) because he was too young to fight. So, instead of sitting back, he – along with his mother – went back to the drawing boards. His case was soon presented to Prophet (SAW) as a teenager who had memorized a few Surahs of the Quran, and could read and write. The Messenger of Allah took a little test, saw the potential, and set him a little task – to learn the language of the Jews.
He mastered Aramaic in a fortnight! At the instructions of the Prophet (SAW), he would also soon learn Syraic, and came to perform the function of an interpreter when Prophet (SAW) had to communicate with non-Arabic speaking people. He was Zaid bin Thabit (RA) – one of the scribes of revelation and scholars of Islam.
‘Your orator versus our orator’, said the delegation from Banu Tameem. So it was agreed. Utarid bin Hajib got up for Banu Tameem, and said what he had to say. At the behest of Messenger of Allah (SAW), Thabit bin Qais (RA) stood up.
“Praise be to God Whose creation is the entire heavens and the earth wherein His will has been made manifest. His Throne is the extent of His knowledge and there is nothing which does not exist through His grace…”
I cannot grasp what aura he would have left after the complete discourse in his thunderous voice. The delegation, though, was forced to admit that this orator was better than their own.
Why the Messenger of Allah sent Amr bin al-Aas (RA) to Oman to convey the message of Islam had always perplexed me. Amr (RA) had accepted Islam only recently at that time. Surely, there was a Sahabi at Madina better trained for Dawah than him.
But Amr (RA) had grown up in nobility. He would have the tact to talk to noblemen and leaders. Additionally, he had the intellectual arguments and the courage. He is the guy who told Musailmah the Liar, on his face, while Amr (RA) was himself in a state of disbelief, “Verily, you know that I know that you are lying!”
The list is endless, and one or two pages aren’t enough to do justice to the idea of how the Companions turned their individual potential into collective reality, that was at the foundation of the 800 years of Islamic golden age.
You are a member of the same Ummah of whose were Zaid bin Thabit (RA), Thabit bin Qais (RA), Amr bin al-Aas (RA), Khalid bin Waleed (RA), Abu Hurrairah (RA), Hubbab bin Mundhir (RA) and Umar bin al-Khattab (RA). The question is: what are YOU doing, in your context, with your talents?