Alhumdulillah, it’s a blessing and a privilege to teach young adult students who are consistent in their Islamic studies and can engage in higher level thought.
We talked yesterday about the words Ja’far (radhiAllahu ‘anh) when he went to speak with Najashi.
“O King, we were a people in a state of ignorance and immorality, worshiping idols and eating the flesh of dead animals, committing all sorts of abomination and shameful deeds, breaking the ties of kinship, treating guests badly and the strong among us exploited the weak. We remained in this state until Allah sent us a Prophet, one of our own people whose lineage, truthfulness, trustworthiness and integrity were well-known to us. He called us to worship Allah alone and to renounce the stones and the idols which we and our ancestors used to worship besides Allah. He commanded us to speak the truth, to honor our promises, to be kind to our family, to be helpful to our neighbors, to cease all forbidden acts, to abstain from bloodshed, to avoid obscenities and false witness, not to appropriate an orphan’s property nor slander chaste women. He ordered us to worship Allah alone and not to associate anything with him, to uphold Salat, to give Zakat and fast in the month of Ramadan. We believed in him and what he brought to us from Allah and we follow him in what he has asked us to do and we keep away from what he forbade us from doing. Thereupon, O King, our people attacked us, visited the severest punishment on us to make us renounce our religion and take us back to the old immorality and the worship of idols. They oppressed us, made life intolerable for us and obstructed us from observing our religion. So we left for your country, choosing you before anyone else, desiring your protection and hoping to live in Justice and in peace in your midst.”
SubhanAllah, even a cursory reflection on this famous speech shows us the utmost importance of ethics in our deen. Our Ummah today has many who fast and pray, give charity, and make Hajj/Umrah alhumdulillah, but when it comes to human relations and dealings, we seem to have have serious ethical issues. From large-scale problems like corruption, warfare, and public slander, to interpersonal issues like dishonesty and gossip, etc., there is a disconnect in our understanding of what our Rabb expects from us across all aspects of our life and dealings if we isolate morals from ethics.
Another lesson we can gain from this part of the Seerah is that for the Sahaba (radhiAllahu ‘anhum), the Qur’an was their language. When Najashi asked him to share something from the Qur’an, Ja’far (radhiaAllahu ‘anhu) immediately began reciting from Surah Maryam, moving Najashi to tears. He had the foresight and wisdom to select a part of the Qur’an that would not only interest his listener, but one that would supplement the listeners’ understanding of what he already knew about Maryam and ‘Esa (alayhis salaam), given his Christian background. Making the Qur’an the language of our conversations is a goal each of us should have.
When the early Sahaba travelled to Abyssinia, their purpose kept them grounded and determined to give da’wah to a majority Christian society. They did not forsake their purpose and values by assimilating into the Abyssinian culture in ways that would have deviated them from their mission. Today, we live in very confusing times where some who came from their countries decades ago to settle in the west, but for one reason or another, had challenges in conveying the deen to their children. Consequently, some Muslim children are growing up in assimilation to values contrary to Islam, whereas our predecessors demonstrated so clearly that it is possible to live in a society, benefit from it, and bring benefit to it, without compromising your values.
May Allah (swa) be pleased with Ja’far (radhiAllahu ‘anh) and grant us the strength of character and Iman he had, ameen. The sense of responsibility in his tone, clarity in speech, humility in his expression provide many lessons to learn and implement.
Allahummaj’al fi qalbi nuura, wa fi lisaani nuura, wa fi sam’i nuura, wa fi basari nuuran…”
“O Allah, place light in my heart, and place light on my tongue, and place light in my ears, and place light in my sight..”