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Shaykh Yusuf da Costa: The sword of Khalid ibn Walid

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During the time of the Khilafah of Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (r.a.), perhaps his greatest military strategist was Khalid ibn Walid (r.a.). Of course, Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (r.a.) was referred to as the Khalifah of Nabi Muhammad (ﷺ). That was his title. Khalid ibn Walid (r.a.) was the same Khalid that fought against the Muslims at the battle of Uhud. I am mentioning his name to you because when he spoke to the enemy about his soldiers, he would say: “They prefer death like you prefer life”. He was speaking about the Muslim men whose preference during these wars was for death and martyrdom. It was not a game they played, because wars at that time was hand-to-hand combat. They were prepared to sacrifice their lives for Islam; not their time or their energy or their money. They also had wives and children and occupations. When it came to Islam and what Islam wanted, they put the demands of Islam first in their lives. They did this, because Allah Almighty was first in their lives. I have said on a previous occasion that I will give my right hand for some of you, because when it comes to working in the Cause of Allah (ﷻ), you always stand first in line. Those soldiers who were killed and died as martyrs are enjoying of the greatest heavenly bliss, because they never hesitated with regard to any matter when the call was made for Jihad.

We do not have anything like that today. Throughout the world, the Muslims allow their brother Muslims in other countries to be slaughtered like animals, such as in Syria and parts of Occupied Palestine, and the rest of the world’s Muslims do very little. There was a time when Khalid ibn Walid (r.a.) and his forces faced the might of the Persian and Roman Empires and they unsheathed their swords. With the rallying cry of “Allahu Akbar” or “Ya Muhammada”, they fought the enemy and Allah Almighty gave them victory. You see, when Allah’s (ﷻ) assistance comes, the victory comes. In the hearts of these soldiers, there was only one destination – their Lord. Their dependence as they faced the might of these empires, was their Lord. Allah (ﷻ) had given at that time a generation to Islam that was prepared to lay down their lives for their Lord. I am sure that in the history of Islam, they were of the greatest Muslims.

I am talking in this letter to those who, in small ways, in very small ways, are imitating the forces of Khalid ibn Walid (r.a.); but I am especially talking to those who are not like them. I sometimes remark that if many of us had to live during the time of Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (r.a.), we would have been hiding under our beds. Allah (ﷻ) favoured us by placing us in South Africa at this time. I am asking many of you to perform very small jobs and it is so difficult. Every time I have to hear from one or other individual in our organisation about the difficulties they have when it comes to many of the murids. Selling a book of vouchers or buying it becomes a major issue. Attending one of our functions is another major issue. There are always major issues; major excuses, major explanations, major dodges, etc. This should never happen in a Tariqah. In our qasidah that we recite every Friday evening, we talk about the sword of Khalid ibn Walid (r.a.). Nabi Muhammad (ﷺ) called that sword one of the swords of Allah (ﷻ). We are not asking anybody to unsheathe their swords. We are only asking people to do small things in Allah’s (ﷻ) Cause and for His sake. Do we wish to be like the rest of the world’s Muslims, people without drive, without goals, with no spines, with no fear of Allah (ﷻ)? What is it that we want? Perhaps one day when I am in the Akhirah, I will know of the secrets in the hearts of the reluctant ones in our organisation. I find some of these things inexplicable.

You know, the first test of the calibre of the first groups of new Muslims, was the Battle of Badr in the heat of the Arab sun during Ramadan, out-numbered and with a very limited number of weapons at their disposal, less than 300 men whipped about 3 000 of the Quraish. They were not hesitant, they were not people with no spines, they were not reluctant to be in the forefront of things because at the forefront death lurked. They raised the banner of Islam and today we can speak proudly of them.

We are only a few people but we are trying to change the religious landscape of this country by taking the remembrance of Allah (ﷻ) and the teachings of His religion to different parts of the country. You are not being asked to unsheathe your swords to face the massive armies of two empires. You are only asked to make a small congregational dhikr in some country town and to meet some of the Muslims. But just as what the Muslim armies did was important at the time; so what you are doing within the present social circumstances in this county, is also extremely important. Allah Almighty uses His people to establish His remembrance and His teachings. Those of us who are in Tariqah are supposed to be His people. Do you think that it is Mawlana that is calling you? The work in the country town is Allah Almighty’s work. Who do you think is calling you to do His Work? What are some of us going to say in the Divine Court the Day when we are going to be asked about His Work? What are the explanations that we are going to give? One individual spoke about saving his marriage. Well … perhaps he will save his marriage, but what will he lose?

I am writing this letter to each one of you, because I want you to start understanding the nature of the Call that had come to us and the nature of the work that that Call is asking us to perform. One of the reasons I am asking you whether you are prepared to do this work or not is because I just want to work with those people who are prepared to work. I am not making any more choices on this matter. The years are passing and the Akhirah for each one of us is at our front doors. Those of us who want to work in the Cause of Islam, want to be in the position of not grieving or not worrying about the future, they know that their Lord’s promises are put into effect and so their hope lies with Him; all the time. Their hearts are for Him, not for this world. That is why, whatever the nature of the task, they are always there. Insha Allah, those of us who are like this will always be in the forefront, not with regard to achievements of this world, with regard to achievements of the Hereafter. Let me repeat what I said in part of this letter. For some of you I will give my right hand. We ask Allah Almighty to let us be of those people who are prepared to unsheathe our swords when we face the tides of disbelief and deviations in our community. We know that success is with our Lord. It is He that grants or takes away. And so we say: “O our Lord, with regard to what is happening in our religion and with regard to what is happening to the people of our religion, we ask Thee to grant us success so that Thy Kingdom eventually rules amongst all of us, amin”.

[Letters to Seekers on the Spiritual Path Vol 2 – Unpublished 2012]

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