“I bear witness that Muhammad is NOT the last messenger of Allah.” I imagine it was something along these lines that Ammar bin Yasir was forced to say after the torture he saw his parents face. Ammar saw a lot of hardship in his life. He was tortured relentlessly, until he was screaming out in pain, reaching his breaking point much later than many of us would. Despite this, for some reason, it seems to me what hurt most were those words he was forced to utter. Like Ammar Muslims from the beginning of time have gone through hardships because of their faith, yet when things get hard, it’s not people they turn to, but Allah they approach. People like the Prophet , Bilal , and Mus’ab went through so much loss and hardship in this life for their religion, yet remained steadfast.
The Prophet was a good man. We know this from Seerah, he was honest, trustworthy, patient, and kind. From the very beginning people saw something special in him. When he turned 40 years old, and the Qur’aan was revealed for the first time, everything he knew about his life was turned around. His good character and nature had him patient, but he was terrified, as anyone would expect him to be. He ran to his source of comfort, scared that he was seeing things, straight into the arms of his wife, Khadeejah . While Khadeejah was his comfort, his support was his uncle, Abu Talib. The man who raised the Prophet fought on his behalf many times. Even though he was not a Muslim, he suffered through the boycott and stood firmly by his nephew. These people, the ones whom the Prophet would spend the rest of his life missing, were taken away in the early years of prophethood. The pain that the Prophet had already gone through losing his father and mother early in life, built up because now he felt alone. It was during this time, a year named specifically named the year of sorrow for the incredible losses endured, that Allah comforted his Messenger with prayer, five times daily, an opportunity to have a conversation with the creator of this world. The Prophet ’s hardship was eased.
As the hot sand burned his back in the unbearable desert sun, a boulder pressed tightly on his chest, tears forming in his eyes, a young African slave whimpered, but refused defeat, insisting on, ‘ahad, ahad, ahad”. Bilal a story we have never skipped during discussion of hardships in Makkan Seerah. His master was a cruel person who was less than pleased his slave was a part of the following of Muhammad . He out him through physical torture so severe, it makes me cringe just thinking about it. Bilal may as well be the definition of the word perseverance, as through it all, he never gave up his faith. After he was freed by Abu Bakr , Bilal went on to become an important part of the Muslim ummah. We know him today as the Prophet ’s favorite mu’adhin. We know him as the man whose footsteps the Prophet heard in Jannah in front of his own. Bilal turned to Allah, he did not beg his master for mercy, he did not even ask to be freed, simply, he turned to Allah, and for that reason we mention his name to this day.
They say when Mus’ab bin Umair passed by, you could smell his perfume there for three days. His robes would reach well past his ankles, and he was in other words, filthy rich. Mus’ab bin Umair to many people may have been living the life. He had everything a person who valued the world could ask for. Money, status, and of course, good looks. It’s hard to imagine this same man being someone who they could not find enough cloth to bury his body in. Mus’ab bin Umair suffered in the name of his religion, maybe not exactly like Bilal or Khabbab , but suffered nonetheless. Everything he loved about his life was gone in a matter of days as he bore witness to a truth we utter to this day. He faced rejection from the very people who claimed to love him, and everything he ever knew to be true, everything he thought he was, was gone. Today, we acknowledge his sacrifices from more than a thousand years ago. Because when he lost everything and everyone, he turned directly to Allah . The Prophet used Mus’ab’s charm and charisma later on to make him the first ambassador of Islam. And once again, when he chose Allah over everything else, he fixed his place in history.
Courage, perseverance, and resilience perfectly embody the three incredible men mentioned in this essay. Their true help in this world was simply Allah . Even when things got unbearable, and the pain was piercing, they got back up, asked for help from the only one who could help them. The Prophet through pain and loss did not give up his mission to spread Tawheed. Bilal , through physical scars and torture did not give up that very Tawheed. Mus’ab , through loss of wealth and status, maybe even identity, did not give up his faith. There are many thing I have learned from these incredible men. I have learned that despite how bad things may look in this world, Allah is the one in charge of making it better so it’s to Him I should turn to. I have learned that despite the losses others see in embracing Islam and holding onto it, it’s never really a loss, because we have no idea what Allah has planned for us in the future. Lastly, I learned that the true value of people is judged when they are in hardship, who they look to, and ask for help from shows character. I hope I embody these lesson in my life whenever things look difficult.