Umar Bin Al-Khattab (ra) in the year 636 was the first to do so. Under his command as Khaleefah, the armies of Islam, after their continued expansion outside the Arabian Peninsula, had reached the gates of Jerusalem (Al Quds) and had the city surrounded. Partly because of the city’s immense importance – it is home to Masjid-Al-Aqsa (the third holiest mosque in Islam) and had been the first Qibla for the Muslims – Umar (ra) himself journeyed to the land and oversaw the liberation of this sacred city.
The second to do so was none other than Salahuddin Al-Ayubi in the year 1187 following the brutal period of conquest by the crusading forces from Europe. Western historians themselves account that the streets of Jerusalem flowed knee-deep in Muslim blood when the crusaders overran and ransacked the city. But it was Salahuddin that finally rallied the various Muslim regions together to unite as one army and under one leader that would confront the crusader forces and eventually expel them from the holy land, liberating it and Masjid Al-Aqsa in the process and bringing the area back into the Islamic state’s rule.
But today Masjid Al-Aqsa, and the holy land of Al-Quds it is situated in, again stands subjugated by non-Muslim forces. This has been the case since 1917 when the British took control of the region away from the Uthmani Khilafah, which was then followed by the occupation of the Zionists from 1948 when Israel was formed by the British to be their satellite state in the region. Disturbingly for the Muslim Ummah, this year marks the 92nd year of its occupation, which is now longer than the period for which the crusaders occupied it before Salahuddin liberated the city.
But there will be a third liberation of this land, Insha’Allah, under the command of an individual whose name will rank in history alongside that of Umar (ra) and Salahuddin Al-Ayubi. Whether this military officer originates from the current Pakistan army, Turkish Army, Egyptian army or any other existing Muslim force remains yet to be seen.
Thus explained, in an emotive presentation on the subject, the articulate Sheikh Abu Abdullah visiting from Al Quds, Palestine where he is the Imam of the Beit Safafa Masjid. “What is the best way to visit Palestine in the current climate?” a question was put forward to him. “In a jet fighter” came the humorous reply, but with after slight reflection and with the seriousness the topic deserves, “Don’t come and visit us – come and liberate us”.
This is the clear sentiment expressed by the Muslims of Palestine, for they are living under a brutal occupation by the Zionists who have squeezed ever more and more land and resources away from them, rendering the Muslims to live in little more than the glorified prison camps of Gaza and the West Bank. Literally animals are treated better than these Muslims. Just recently it has been horrifyingly disclosed in the Aftonbladet, a leading Swedish newspaper, that the Israelis are abducting young Muslim men, ripping them open and selling their organs on the international market for hundreds of thousands of dollars. There are standards which are followed when animals are killed for their meat to ensure minimum pain to them etc, but for these young Palestinian Muslims no such standards are observed as they are hunted down and slaughtered in a barbaric manner before their bodies are pillaged and used for commercial profit. Such is the depravity that is currently taking place in the holy land.
No amount of charity will help such Muslims – only by lifting the Israeli state’s persecution will they be saved. So with such horrendous treatment of fellow Muslims, what is stopping the Muslim military men of today in stepping forward and unleashing their armies for the liberation of the blessed land of Al-Quds and its Muslims?
Just before the decisive battle of Hattin in Ramadhan, which preceded the liberation of Al-Quds and in which the Muslim army led by Salahuddin was victorious, Salahuddin’s advisors urged Salahuddin to wait after the month of Ramadhan to engage the enemy. But Salahuddin, after having deeply contemplated the importance of this issue in Islam and the immense duty which fell upon the Muslims to act, disagreed and proceeded with his plan after replying “Man’s lifetime is short, death gives no appointment and leaving the occupiers in the Muslim lands for more than a single day despite the ability to drive them out is an abominable act that I could not bear.”
Today, the Muslim army men in a similar position to act must not only learn from the actions of Salahuddin, but they must also dwell on the actions of our beloved Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم himself. For in Salahuddin’s time the Islamic state still existed, albeit fragmented, and it was Salahuddin who went about reunifying it first before confronting the crusaders. However, Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم had to first struggle to establish this state, and only once done did the battles of Islam begin.
It was during this arduous quest to establish the Islamic state that Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم addressed the seventy odd strong delegation from Yathrib, who would later form the Ansar. During this historic meeting in Aqabah the pledge of material support, or Nusrah, was given by the delegation to Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم, assuring him صلى الله عليه وسلم that the Muslims could migrate to Yathrib and establish the first Islamic state there under their protection and commitment to defend against any external threats.
In return Abdullah bin Rawaha (ra), one of their leading figures, enquired from Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم as to what their incentive would be for such a momentous commitment. Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم explained the tremendous reward that awaited them in the next life in return for such sacrifice, in response to which Abdullah bin Rawaha (ra) replied: “A profitable trade (Ribh ul-bay’)! We will not annul nor ask to be annulled.“
Allah سبحانه وتعالى Himself has endorsed these words forever by incorporating them in the Qur’an in verse 111 of surah At-Tawba:
إِنَّ اللّهَ اشْتَرَى مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ أَنفُسَهُمْ وَأَمْوَالَهُم بِأَنَّ لَهُمُ الجَنَّةَ يُقَاتِلُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللّهِ فَيَقْتُلُونَ وَيُقْتَلُونَ وَعْدًا عَلَيْهِ حَقًّا فِي التَّوْرَاةِ وَالإِنجِيلِ وَالْقُرْآنِ وَمَنْ أَوْفَى بِعَهْدِهِ مِنَ اللّهِ فَاسْتَبْشِرُواْ بِبَيْعِكُمُ الَّذِي بَايَعْتُم بِهِ وَذَلِكَ هُوَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ
“Lo! Allah hath bought from the believers their lives and their wealth because the Garden will be theirs: they shall fight in the way of Allah and shall slay and be slain. It is a promise which is binding on Him in the Torah and the Gospel and the Qur’an. Who fulfilleth His covenant better than Allah? Rejoice then in your bargain that ye have made, for that is the supreme triumph.”
Both these challenges remain today to be fulfilled by the military men of the Muslim world. They must first give their pledge of support to those who are calling out to them to re-establish the Islamic state on the method of Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم, and secondly, under this new leadership, they must set out on the road of liberating the Islamic lands, including Al-Quds.
In order to do so they must put their complete trust in Allah سبحانه وتعالى, cast aside their worldly fears and take that vital step forward knowing that Allah سبحانه وتعالى will make the foothold firm of those who help His cause. They must realise that whatever the fruits have been of the trade that has preoccupied them thus far, these will pale into insignificance when compared with the immense reward that awaits them insha’Allah in the next life for undertaking Allah’s سبحانه وتعالى struggle. This, Allah سبحانه وتعالى says in the Qur’an, is the ultimate success.
At the same time, the Muslim army men who have the capability to take action must not forget that by being neglectful of this duty, they will incur Allah’s سبحانه وتعالى wrath.
Allah سبحانه وتعالى says in the Qur’an in verse 16 of surah Al-Hadid:
أَلَمْ يَأْنِ لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَن تَخْشَعَ قُلُوبُهُمْ لِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ وَمَا نَزَلَ مِنَ الْحَقِّ وَلَا يَكُونُوا كَالَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ مِن قَبْلُ فَطَالَ عَلَيْهِمُ الْأَمَدُ فَقَسَتْ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَكَثِيرٌ مِّنْهُمْ فَاسِقُونَ
“Is not the time ripe for the hearts of those who believe to submit to Allah’s reminder and to the truth which is revealed, that they become not as those who received the scripture of old but the term was prolonged for them and so their hearts were hardened, and many of them are evil-livers.”
Unlike most civilians, who can do little more than look on in helpless despair at the plight of the Ummah today, these Muslim soldiers actually have the capacity of taking the right steps to rectify the situation. For this purpose, they must realise that on the day when mankind will appear drunk with absolute terror before our creator Allah سبحانه وتعالى, they will be in the forefront to be severely accounted for both their actions and inactions in this life.
In short, the time for the Muslim military officers to act has come and they should not delay a single day in giving their material support or Nusrah to those sincere Muslims around them that need it in order to re-establish the Islamic state and wake up the giant of Islam from its slumber, mobilising in the process the millions of Muslims around the globe that are awaiting eagerly to be led forward for this cause. These colonels, brigadiers or generals must look beyond the distractions of this life; the plots they seek to accumulate, the western education they wish to attain for their offspring, the wealth they wish to amass and the lifestyle they cherish to hold on to, for none of these things will accompany them to their graves except their deeds. Today they have the means to enact this noble duty, but tomorrow Allah سبحانه وتعالى may take this away from them without notice, leaving them to forever rue over this missed golden opportunity that could have won them eternal reward and save them from a painful doom.
Allah سبحانه وتعالى says in the Qur’an, in verse 75 of surah An-Nisa:
وَمَا لَكُمْ لاَ تُقَاتِلُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللّهِ وَالْمُسْتَضْعَفِينَ مِنَ الرِّجَالِ وَالنِّسَاء وَالْوِلْدَانِ الَّذِينَ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا أَخْرِجْنَا مِنْ هَـذِهِ الْقَرْيَةِ الظَّالِمِ أَهْلُهَا وَاجْعَل لَّنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ وَلِيًّا وَاجْعَل لَّنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ نَصِيرًا
“And why should ye not fight in the cause of Allah and of those who, being weak, are ill-treated (and oppressed)? – Men, women and children, whose cry is: ‘Our Lord! Rescue us from this town, whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from thee one who will protect; and raise for us from thee one who will help!'”