The most important goal a Muslim aims to achieve in his or her life is the pleasure of Allah. Whatever comes on our path in life, achieving this goal is what is on our mind when dealing with trials and tribulations. The Quran provides many examples of difficulties people before us, have been through. These stories can help us understand what is expected of us when confronted with such extreme troubles.
One story, which comes to mind when witnessing the severe trials the Ummah is going through, is the story of the People of the Ditch. When confronted with difficult pictures of the burning bodies of our brothers and sisters in Rohingya, which have been thrown in ditches filled with fire by evil Buddhist mobs this story actually seems to come alive. Also the burning bodies of Syrian children laying under the rubble of their homes after being bombarded by Russian airstrikes or the burning bodies of Muslim brothers set alight by angry Christian mobs in CAR are all proof that the story of the People of the Ditch is still very relevant for all of us.
It is a story which clearly explains to us what the fate will be of the believers and what the fate will be of the tyrants. Allah (swt) makes the fate of the tyrants very clear when He says:
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ فَتَنُوا الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتِ ثُمَّ لَمْ يَتُوبُوا فَلَهُمْ عَذَابُ جَهَنَّمَ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابُ الْحَرِيقِ
“Those who persecute the Believers, men and women, and do not turn in repentance, will have the Penalty of Hell: They will have the Penalty of the Burning Fire.”
What also is made clear in the same surah is what the believers need to do when confronted with such tyranny and what their fate will be with Allah.
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ لَهُمْ جَنَّاتٌ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ الْفَوْزُ الْكَبِيرُ
“Indeed, those who have believed and done righteous deeds will have gardens beneath which rivers flow. That is the great attainment.”
(Al Buruj 85:11)
So in worldly terms we can say that our brothers and sisters have experienced the greatest evils one can face in this life. Looking with an Islamic mind-set gives us a different perspective and that is that if our brothers and sisters have remained steadfast on His path they will achieve the actual goal of this entire life and that is attaining His pleasure and thus Jannah.
So a more vital question we should be asking ourselves is what is OUR role and responsibility, as witnesses of these atrocities and as part of the Ummah. What is expected from us, so that we are able to achieve the pleasure of Allah (swt)?
And naturally Allah (swt) has informed His creation of what is expected when He said,
كُنتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ ۗ وَلَوْ آمَنَ أَهْلُ الْكِتَابِ لَكَانَ خَيْرًا لَّهُم ۚ مِّنْهُمُ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَأَكْثَرُهُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ
“You are the best of the nation raised up for mankind because you enjoin what is right and forbid the wrong and believe in Allah.”
or when He (swt) said:
وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتُ بَعْضُهُمْ أَوْلِيَاءُ بَعْضٍ يَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَيُقِيمُونَ الصَّلَاةَ وَيُؤْتُونَ الزَّكَاةَ وَيُطِيعُونَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ أُولَٰئِكَ سَيَرْحَمُهُمُ اللَّهُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ
“The believers, men and women, are awliya (helpers, protectors, friends) of one another, they enjoin the ma’roof and forbid the munkar and they establish the salah.”
He (swt) also informed us through our Prophet ﷺ what would happen if we refrain from taking on this responsibility. The Prophet ﷺ said:
«وَالَّذِي نَفْسِي بِيَدِهِ، لَتَأْمُرُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَلَتَنْهَوُنَّ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ، أَوْ لَيُوشِكَنَّ اللَّهُ أَنْ يَبْعَثَ عَلَيْكُمْ عِقَابًا مِنْهُ، ثُمَّ تَدْعُونَهُ فَلا يَسْتَجِيبُ لَكُمْ»
“(I vow) by the One in Whose hands my soul rests, you have to enjoin right and forbid the wrong, otherwise Allah will be about to send upon you a punishment from Him, then you would pray to Him (ask Him) but He would not answer you”.
Also Abu Bakr narrated:
مسند أحمد مسند العشرة المبشرين بالجنة مسند الخلفاء الراشدين مسند أبي بكر الصديق رضي الله عنه المحدث أحمد شاكر خلاصة حكم المحدث إسناده صحيح
He heard the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, say:
«إن الناس إذا رأوا الظالم فلم يأخذوا على يديه أوشك أن يعمهم الله تعالى بعذاب منه»
“Verily, if the people see an oppressor and they do not seize his hand, then Allah will soon send punishment upon all of them.”
So Allah (swt) is very clear in what the role of the believers is when confronted with Evil (Munkar). They need to hold strongly against, in this case, the hand (power) of the tyrant (zalim) until he gives up his zulm.
Since the leaders of the Muslims are failing their role in this task, it becomes obligatory upon all Muslims to take them to task. To also work to change this reality of having such leaders who don’t run the affairs of the Ummah by Islam. We should do this as an Ummah, as a party and as an individual. And we will be sinful when remaining silent, or when we leave forbidding the wrong or when we aren’t working to change this reality. May Allah (swt) allow us to fulfil this duty towards Him so we also become the inhabitants of Jannah with gardens beneath which rivers flow.
إِنَّمَا وَلِيُّكُمُ اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا الَّذِينَ يُقِيمُونَ الصَّلَاةَ وَيُؤْتُونَ الزَّكَاةَ وَهُمْ رَاكِعُونَ * وَمَن يَتَوَلَّ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا فَإِنَّ حِزْبَ اللَّهِ هُمُ الْغَالِبُونَ
“Verily, your Wali (Protector or Helper) is none other than Allah, His Messenger, and the believers, – those who perform As-Salat, and give Zakat, and they are Rakiun (those who bow down or submit themselves with obedience to Allah in prayer). And whosoever takes Allah, His Messenger, and those who have believed, as Protectors, then the party of Allah will be the victorious.”
Member of the Central Media Office of Hizb ut Tahrir