The behaviours of the believers at the time of victory are always moderate and considerate. They do not taunt the enemies in the felicity of the moments nor harass them in the name of showing the world that they have got upper hands, against their rivals. They are a people who do not close the border of alliance tomorrow for being on top of the opposition today!
Their disposition to those at the other camps are of patience when they tango in fight; patience when they are oppressed or overpowered and patience when they overcome those who fight them. To them, the essence of fighting the opposition, whether in a battle, contention for leadership or in an election for the headship of a government, is not for material gains but rather, a call to service so as to better the lots of man and his society which is guilded by divine love.
Justice in Islamic understanding is not limited to the one a friend extends to his friend or the one people who are not in war extend to one another alone, but it extends to the one an enemy extends to his enemy when he has an upper hands whether in war or in peace. This is the notion of justice in Islam which the believers of the past had tried to internalize among themselves and their arch-enemies!
To them, to do justice and act righteously in a favourable or neutral atmosphere is meritorious enough, but the real test comes when you have to do justice to people who hate you or to whom you have an aversion! This is the reason they are warned in the glorious Qu’ran whenever they are victorious and seemed to gain upper hands against their enemies to deal with them justly, to be magnanimous in winning and lenient in power ! We read these verses concerning that as follows:
” O you who believe! Remember the favour of Allah on you when certain men formed the design to stretch out their hands against you, but Allah held back their hands from you: So fear Allah ( after you had won) . And on Allah let believers put all their trust” _ Qu’ran 5:11
Yusuf Ali ( 1986) while commenting on the verse above says that:
” In the life-time of the prophet ( salla-llahu alehi wasalam), it happened again and again that the enemies of Islam stretched out their hands against him , his people , and his teaching. The odds were, from a worldly point of view, in their favour, but their hands were rendered inert and powerless because they were fighting against the truth of Allah. So does it happen always, now as it did then. True faith must take heart, and at the same time humbly recognize Allah’s favour and mercy and afterwards, be grateful!”
In another verse we read:
” Remember when you were a small band , deemed weak through the land , and afraid that men might despoil and kidnap you; but He provided a safe asylum for you, strengthened you with His aid, and gave you good things for sustenance: that you might be grateful” _ Qu’ran 8: 27.
Yusuf Ali ( 1986), again comments on the verse above:
” On the immediate occasion the Muslims were reminded that they were a small band in Makkah despised and rejected ; living a state of insecurity for their persons, their lives, their property , and those of their dependants , persecuted and exiled and how by the grace of Allah they found a safe asylum in Madinah; how they found friends and helpers, how their many needs were cared for, and how at length they gathered strength and numbers enough to defeat the forces of godlessness, injustice and oppression”.
The imports of the two verses and many others which are guilding the behaviours of the believers at the time of victory are all about the needs to show gratitude to Allah for His security on them despite being less fierce and powerful compared to the enemies; the needs to be considerate with the enemies and the oppositions after the battles or contests have been won and the needs to use the power gained with leniency and consideration, for greater things in the worship of God and the elevation of the mankind.
This is the reason the believers when they are victorious in anything or battles of life do not talk carelessly , behave arbitrarily and allow the joy of the moments to misled them into seeing their winning as the ends of all things.
Winning A Contest Is Not The End Of It…
Winning a Contest in the estimation of the believers in God, has never been the end of it rather it is the begining of other battles to be prosecuted before they can be said of winning the battle indeed. Since they have been made to understand that an enemy today can be a friend tomorrow and in other way round, this has equipped them to use the occasion of the winning to address the populace so as to intimate them of some of the things they have in minds for them to achieve when they finally assume power.
This has been exactly what the first and second rightly guided caliphs who had assumed the heads of leadership of the Islamic nations then had done. Abubakir Siddiq and ‘Umar Farruq, the first and second rightly guided caliphs respectively, had used the occasions of their nominations by other Sahaba to the headship of the Islamic world to address the masses on the shapes their leaderships would take instead of being unnecessarily joyous or giving to taunting the enemies or those that had opposed their nominations!
The Inaugural Address By Abubakir Siddiq ( Radiya-llahu anhu) When Assuming Office As The Caliph In Islam
” You have elected me to be your first caliphs and I am not the best of you!. If I do well, help me, and if I do wrong, redress me. Truthfulness is loyalty and disregard for truth is treason. ”
” The weak among you shall be strong in my regards until I have restored their rights, if God pleases, and the strong among you shall be weak in my sight until I have wrested from him the rights of others, if God pleases;
” If any group of Muslims cease the holy war ( where necessary) , Allah will afflict them with humiliation. If adultery spread among people, surely Allah will enfold them with troubles”
” Obey me as long as I obey God and His messenger. But if I disobey God and His messenger, you owe me no allegiance. Arise for the prayer, God mercy upon you”.
We can see from the speech of Abubakir Siddiq above that the occasion of winning a contest or an election on the part of the believers is not a merry-making event rather, it is an opportunity to set the ethos of their governance in earnest . We can glean from Abubakir’s speech rendered above, the humbleness in his kinder spirit to recognize that despite being elected as the president of the nation, he was not the overall best man for the position among his people but rather he had been elected by the grace of God and the goodwill of others.
Furthermore, it shows that the gauge of his government would be his performance in the position; if he does well with competency, knowledge and good governance, he should be respected and helped the more in doing more but if otherwise, he should be redressed, set straight and advice right as he had set truth up for himself as the only occasion that can earn his government or the peoples’ loyalty.
Finally, the speech shows that the thrusts of his governance would be the care of the weak and the protection of the strong; the abandonment of evils and the embracement of the good. Records abound in libraries of the world the many good things about the good governance Abubakir Siddiq had brought to the Islamic nation then. The same thing can be said of ‘Umar Farruq ( Radiya-llahu anhu) who had succeeded him after. His inaugural speech is as followed :
The Speech Given By ‘Umar ( Radiya-llahu anhu) When He became Caliph
It was reported that two days after ‘Umar was appointed as caliph, the people started talking and saying how worried they were about his harshness in punishment, so ‘Umar realized that he had to clarify the matter himself. He ascended the rostrum ( Minbar) and addressed them as follows:
” I have been appointed as your leader, O’people, so understand that this harshness has become less, and it will only be applied to wrong-doers and oppressors. I will not permit anyone to oppress anyone else or to transgress the rights of others, but I will put his cheek on the ground until he submit to the truth.”
” In contrast, that for the harshness of mine, I will lay my own cheek on the ground before those who are humble and modest. O People! I make promises to you, which I will mention so that you will hold me to them. I promise that Allah grant to you except in the proper manner;
” I promise you that whatever I take, I will not spend it except in the proper manner. I promise you that I will increase your stipends, if Allah will, and I will protect your borders. I promise you that I will not throw you into dangerous places or keep you away from your families for a long time in order to guard the borders. When you are away in military campaigns, I will be responsible for your children until you come back!”
” Fear Allah O’ slaves of Allah, and try to help me by keeping your evil away from me and by enjoying what is good and forbidding what is evil and by giving me sincere advice with regard to the way I am running your affairs. I say these words of mine and I ask Allah to forgive me and you” ( Majdalawi, 1998)
Assuring the followers and the masses of leniency in the new leader’s rule is one of the virtues of the believers whenever they assume the head of affairs of a people. They don’t allow the rumour or the object of fear of the masses to continue without addressing it and give assurance as much as they can for its redress. One can see clearly from the speech of ‘Umar Farruq above, that that was his first concern.
Although, ‘Umar’s harshness was not borne out of tyranny or cruelty on his part but his nature of correcting the bad and enjoying the good. Despite that, he had assured the masses of turning a new leaf and channelling his harshness to more fruitful things without deploying it to harass the innocent!
Another things he had done through his inaugural address are barring oppression from the land, helping the humbled and the righteous, being prudent with the public treasure, protection of borders and concertedly being concerned with the welfare of the army and their children and enjoying what is good and forbidding what is bad!
How Well Had ‘Umar Discharged His Promises Afterwards?
In the words of Shabaro ( 1995), ‘Umar was an expert jurist and is best known for his justice, in the same way for Muslims and non-Muslims. This value earned him the title of Al-Farruqiy (the one who distinguishes between right and wrong).
He was the first Caliph to be nominated as “Prince of the Believers”. He is the one who founded the Lunar Calendar (Hijri), (i.e. according to the date of Prophet Mohammad’s migration to Medinah). In his era, Islam gained a great position, as the Islamic empire expanded at an unprecedented rate ruling the whole Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Tripoli, Persia, Khurassan, Eastern Anatolia, South Armenian and Sajistan.
‘Umar is the first Islamic leader who conquered Jerusalem to be within the Muslim Empire, as it is the first Qiblah and the third holiest city in Islam. Thus, the Islamic Empire ruled the whole Sassanid Persian Empire and more than two thirds of the Eastern Roman Empire. His attacks against the Sassanid Persian Empire resulted in the conquest of the Persian Empire in less than two years. His political wisdom and administrative ability were demonstrated in protecting the unity of the state in spite of its growing scope and the increasing population of varied ethnicity.
And Salaudin Al-Ayyubi ( Rahimahu llahu Rahmatan wasi’a) Was An Highest Model In Being Considerate With The Enemy At The Time Of Victory
Islam had set a beautiful example in how to be considerate with one’s enemy at the time of victory in many of her examples. Among this is the exemplary disposition of one of the Muslim leaders during the excruciating pain inflicted on them by the christians during the Crusade!
Mustapha Muraad (2010) in his book :” Khulqul-Muhmeen ( The Character Of A Believer) narrated the story of Salaudin Al-Ayyubi that when he was walking in the streets of Jerusalem after God had won the land for the Muslim one day, he was approached by a Christian monk who was in his full religion regalia thus :
” O you the leader of the Muslims, the good Lord had decreed for you that you would conquer Jerusalem and you had conquered it but what had befallen you that you did not deal decisively with your enemies afterwards? And you know in truth that they had come to you with many outrageous things, looted the wealth of the Muslim, killed their women, children and men altogether, when they had been victorious previously, when they had conquered Jerusalem?”
Salaudin Al-Ayyubi ( Rahimahu llahu Rahmatan wasi’a) had replied the monk thus:
” O you Sheikh, it is my religion which has prevented me from doing so while my mind has dissuaded me from dealing mercilessly with them as they had done to us hitherto and I can never do the way they had done !”
The Monk ( Sheikh) asked again surprisingly: ” O you the leader of the faithful:” has your religion indeed prevented you from dealing mercilessly to a people that had started the evil in the first place with you and those who had punished your people with so many forms of punishment? ”
Salaudin Al-Ayyubi ( Rahimahu llahu Rahmatan wasi’a) replied him as follows:
” Yes! Indeed our religion has warned us against behaving as our enemies had done in their outrageousness while it has instead commanded us to be people who make good of their promise; to be people who pardon the foibles of others with us and forgive those who had wronged us at the time of victory!”
Then the Monk enthused thus :
” What a best religion you profess! Praise be to the one who had shown to me what lies therein good for me ! O you the leader of the Muslim, what will one do when one aspires to embrace your religion?”
Salaudin Al-Ayyubi ( Rahimahu llahu Rahmatan wasi’a) said :
” It is incumbent on him to believe that God is one without partner and that Muhammad ( Salla-llahu alehi wasalam) is God’s apostle in truth; to follow what God Has commanded him to and to forbid what He Has warned one to desist from!”
Afterwards, the Monk embraced Islam and many from his congregation also did so.
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