بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
In the Name of Allah (swt), the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful
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Abu Hurairah narrated: “The strong believer is more beloved to Allah than the weak believer” (Muslim)
The Messenger of Allah used to say: “O Allah I seek refuge in you from gloom and sorrow; from inaction and laziness; and from cowardice, stinginess and old age, and I seek refuge in you from the punishment of the grave” (Bukhari – Muslim)
Notice that the Messenger of Allah combined between seeking refuge in Allah from gloom and sorrow. For gloom is the fear of what is coming while sorrow is sadness on what has already passed. So the Muslim should not feel sorry for the past nor fear the future. And he combined between inaction and laziness for inaction is the state of the heart while laziness is the state of the body. He combined between stinginess and cowardice for stinginess is the unwillingness to give wealth for Allah while cowardice is the unwillingness to give the soul for Allah.
How to overcome fear:
Cowardice is the opposite of courage. Courage is the firmness of the heart. The heart is the essence of every good deed. The heart cannot be firm if the mind isn’t sound. If the heart is weak it leads to cowardice, and if the heart is too strong it leads to recklessness.
The coward needs to cure cowardice by eliminating its cause. If it is caused by ignorance then ignorance is cured by learning. The cause could be fear of the unknown and that is cured by experiencing situations. We find that the beginner in public speaking experiences fear in the beginning but after experience this fear is overcome. We find that when a person first meets a king they might fear the occasion and their tongue would be tied and their posture would change.
That is due to the anxiety of facing a new experience. But if that occasion is repeated many times the fear is eliminated. Original nature can be changed. It is sufficient as proof to see a Hawa child (children trained to care for snakes) grabbing a large snake that would make a brave man tremble while this same child could fear a frog because he is not exposed to frogs. Taming animals is a process of changing their original nature and it is done through training. A wolf could play with a sheep, a cat with a mouse, and a dog with a cat if they are conditioned to do so even though that is contrary to their original nature. Now if animals can change their characteristics can’t humans do the same?
Having a strong heart leads to victory. Ali was asked: “How do you defeat your enemies?” He said: “When I would meet my enemy I would believe with firm conviction that I would defeat him while he believes that I would defeat him so both myself and his self support me against him”.
Some have advised: “Believe in victory, you will be victorious”
Others say: “If you fear your enemy you have allowed an army to be sent against your heart”
We have found that the ones who died because of their fear are more than the ones who died due to their courage.
Al Tartooshi says: Courage is of three types:
1. A man who stands in front of the army asking for a challenger from the enemy to come out and face him.
2. A man who remains calm, concentrating, tranquil while the battle is ragging. And when others are succumbing to fear he has not lost his orientation and is not confused and acts in a way that proves he has control over himself.
3. A man when everyone else is defeated and is retreating remains firm calling them, and encouraging them to continue the fight.
Al Tartooshi says that the third man possesses the greatest form of courage.
- Amongst the Courageous of this Ummah:
In Bukhari and Muslim Anas bin Malik narrates: “The Messenger of Allah was the best of people, he was the most generous and the most courageous.”
Ali said: “When the ferocity of combat would reach its limit and the eyes would turn red we would seek refuge next to the Messenger of Allah. He would be the closest of us to the enemy.” (Muslim)
A man asked al Baraa bin Aazib: “Did you run away during the life of the Messenger of Allah?” He said: “We did. But he didn’t.” (Bukhari – Muslim)
In Uhud Ubayy bin Khalaf, riding his horse, charged towards the Messenger of Allah. Some Muslims wanted to get in the way to protect the Messenger of Allah but he told them to move aside. The Messenger of Allah picked up a spear and threw it at Ubayy who was covered in iron armor from head to toe. Nothing appeared from him except his eyes and a small opening in his neck. The spear hit him right in the neck and he fell off his horse. Even though the spear only caused a minor bruise in his neck due to the protection of the armor, Ubayy rushed back screaming: “Muhammad has killed me!” The people of Quraish checked him and said we don’t find any major injury. You are fine! He said: “Muhammad claimed he would kill me, therefore it must come to happen!” Ubayy latter died on his way back to Makkah.
The courageous of this Ummah are too many to count. On top of the list are the Sahabah whom Allah praised in Quran:
“Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah; and those with him are forceful against the disbelievers, merciful among themselves.” (Al Fath 29)
0000000001) Abu Bakr:
The courage of Abu Bakr was witnessed by the hero of the Ummah Ali bin Abi Talib.
When he was the Khalifah Ali asked: “Who is the bravest of men?” They said: “You are,” He said: “I have never dueled anyone and lost. But the bravest man is Abu Bakr. During the battle of Badr we built a shed for the Messenger of Allah and we asked who would be the bodyguard of the Messenger of Allah therein. Abu Bakr came carrying his sword and defended the Messenger of Allah for the entire day. In Makkah the disbelievers attacked the Messenger of Allah: One would pull him, the other would beat him and they would say: “Have you made the gods one God?” No one dared to go near the Messenger of Allah save Abu Bakr. He went and started fighting them and would say: “Are you going to kill a man just because he says: “Allah is my Lord!”““ Then Ali asked: “Who is better Abu Bakr or the believer of the family of Pharaoh? (His story is mentioned and praised in Quran)” The people remained quite. He said: “Why don’t you answer? In the name of Allah, one moment in the life of Abu Bakr is greater than the entire earth full of the likes of the believer of the family of Pharaoh! The believer of the family of Pharaoh was a man who concealed his faith while Abu Bakr was a man who proclaimed his faith”
Abu Bakr is the bravest man of this Ummah after the Messenger of Allah. One can note the strength of his heart during the battle of Badr, Uhud, the trench, al Hudaybiah, and Hunain. It is enough to note his steadfastness, firmness, and strengthening of the entire Ummah when the greatest disaster of all befell us: The death of Muhammad (saaws). That was when the hearts deviated, and the nation was shaken. When all the hearts where trembling the heart of the Siddeeq was firm. If the heart of Abu Bakr were placed on one side of the scale and the hearts of all the Ummah on the other, his heart would outweigh them all. The courage of Abu Bakr in his decision to fight the apostates if distributed over the hearts of the cowards on the entire face of the earth, it would be sufficient to make them brave.
It is sufficient to point out that the courage of Umar was sufficient enough to make Shaytaan avoid him.
The Messenger of Allah told Umar: “O son of Khattaab: In the name of whom my soul is in His hands whenever Shaytaan sees you taking a route, he would take another” (Bukhari – Muslim)
His Islam brought strength to the Muslims. Abdullah bin Masood said: “We used to not be able to pray next to al Kaabah publicly until Umar became Muslim.
He was the lion of this Ummah. He never missed a battle with the Messenger of Allah except Tabook because the Messenger of Allah appointed him over Madinah in his absence. During the battle of Khaibar the Messenger of Allah said: “Tomorrow I will give the banner to a man who loves Allah and His Messenger, and Allah and His Messenger love him. He does not turn his back away in battle and Allah will make opening occur on his hands” All of the Sahabah desired that honor. The next day the Messenger of Allah called Ali and gave him the banner.
Musaab al Zubairi said: “Ali was very cautious in battle. He was swerve terrifically from his enemy and whenever he charges his enemy he would protect all his sides and when he retreats back from his charge he would be even more protective of himself. No one could get to him.
His shield was one sided. It only protected him from the front. When asked: “Don’t you fear an attack from behind?” He replied: “I never give my enemy the chance to attack me from my back”
0000000004) Talhah bin Ubaidillah:
He is one of the ten given the glad tidings of Paradise. During Uhud he shielded the Messenger of Allah with his own body causing over 70 injuries in his body. Whenever the Messenger of Allah wanted to look at the disbelievers Talhah would plead with him not to do so and would shield him with his body.
0000000005) Al Zubair bin al Awwaam:
He is also one of the ten given the glad tidings of Paradise. He was the first Muslim to draw out a sword. During the early days of Islam in Makkah a rumor spread that the Messenger of Allah was kidnapped. Al Zubair drew out his sword and went looking for him. He ran into the Messenger of Allah who asked him: “What’s wrong with you Zubair?” He said: “I heard that you were kidnapped so I came out to fight them!” The Messenger of Allah prayed for him.