Seven years after migrating to Madinah, the Prophet was facing a variety of plots and conspiracies, especially from Jewish tribes in the fertile stronghold of Khaybar. During a military expedition to that region, the Prophet announced to his Companions, “Tomorrow I will give the banner to someone who loves Allah and His Messenger, and Allah and His Messenger love him.”
The point is not to love but the real point is to be loved. It is easy to profess love. But you should think about it on a daily basis: Is Allah really pleased with me? Does he love me and what I do?
That night, no one slept out of the desire to be that person.
In the morning, the Companions gathered, standing on their toes in anticipation The Prophet asked for ‘Ali. ‘Umar eagerly cried out, “He’s not here, he’s sick.” One person eliminated. But the Prophet insisted for him to be brought forth, and prayed for him and he was cured of his eye ailment. Then the Prophet told him something, in the face of the spoils and tremendous riches that were at stake in Khaybar. Now you should remember the state of the Companions at this point.
o Once the Prophet left his house in the middle of the night. Abu Bakr saw him and asked if there was a problem. He replied: “By Allah, the only thing that made me come out was hunger!”
o Aisha remarked once, “The Prophet was dying in my house and I don’t even have oil to light the lamps to check on him!”
o The Companions would tie stones to their stomachs to reduce the pangs of hunger.
In this absolute state of destitution, and before the impending riches of Khaybar which were about to be opened up, the noble Prophet gave this advice to ‘Ali: “I swear by Allah, if Allah were to guide one single person to Islam through you is better for you than the best riches of the world!”
It’s all about da‘wah. That was their life and work. That was their passion. It was never about riches or material wealth. Even when they were in dire need of them.
Aisha asked the Prophet once, “What was the hardest day in your life?”
Reflecting on the seerah, what would you think was the hardest day in his life?
Was it the day he was finally forced to migrate from his beloved city of Makkah, after years of efforts to bring Islam to the people and the people to Islam, and he left with great emotions, saying, “By Allah, you are the best and most beloved land to Allah, and had I not been forced to leave I would never have left.” [Tirmidhi 3860, Ibn Majah 3099, Ahmad 17966, al-Darimi 2398; also in another context in Tirmidhi 3861]
Was it the day he saw the disemboweled corpse of his own dear uncle Hamza, or the bodies of his best companions in the aftermath of Uhud, many of them still bleeding? In that instance, he prayed to Allah, “O Allah forgive my people for they know not what they do.” [Bukhari]
Was it the time when he and his early Companions, including his beloved wife Khadijah, were confined to the Valley in an economic and social boycott and facing slow starvation?
No. That wasn’t it. The hardest time in his life, by his own words, was his da‘wah trip to Ta’if, where he went with great hopes and aspirations, and exerted tremendous efforts in the da‘wah. Yet he failed so miserably, with not a single person listening to him, and was driven out so cruelly, that he was bleeding from head-to-toe., and fell into a ditch at Qarn al-Tha‘ālib (Qarn al-Manazil).
Why was that day so hard? No one died, as on other occasions. The Prophet was hurt badly, but he was hurt more so in Uhud, where he lost some teeth and almost died. What was the secret?
It was an emotional pain. The pain of rejection of his da‘wah! That was why, when Jibreel came down with the Angel of the Mountains to crush these people, the Prophet, still bleeding from their rejection, stopped them immediately and said those Golden words of mercy and optimism, “No! I have hope that from their progeny will be those who worship Allah!”
What a Merciful Prophet! How intense with his love for humanity, and how earnest his desire to save each and every one of us from the Fire?
o “My example and yours is like a fire in the desert, with insects falling into it. My role is to protect you from that fire.”
o When he heard of a boy he knew who was dying, he immediately left everything and ran to his house as quickly as he could. When he arrived, he gave him the da‘wah and was able to extract the shahādah just before he died. The Prophet then left the house, with flowing tears, saying, “Praise Allah who saved this person from the fire!” Ask yourself: What benefit was this dying boy going to bring to the community?
o The Qur’an confirmed this passion of the Prophet and instructed him to say, “Say, this is my way, that I call onto Allah . . .” The Prophet’s way was da‘wah.
[For a khutbah, based upon this, click here]
Live from Houston, Ilm Summit 2008, day 9