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16 June 2019 CE | 13 Shawwal 1440 AH
Explanation below

Hadith Explanation

No Might nor Power Save with Allah

Suhayb (radi Allahu anhu) said: The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam), when he led the Salat, said something softly which I could not make out and he too did not tell us about it. He asked us if we wished to know what it was that he had said and we confirmed that we did wish to know.

He (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said, “I suddenly remembered a prophet of the prophets who was given a large army from his people and he said, ‘Who can match them?’ Or he said, ‘Who is there that can survive against them?’ Or he said something else to the same effect. He received a revelation from Allah. He was told to choose one of three things for his people (on whom he had felt proud.) 1. Another people should subdue them, or 2. They should suffer hunger, or 3. They be put to death.

“He consulted his people about the choice and they told him that he was the prophet of Allah and he was authorized in every affair and so may select what he chose for them. The prophet stood up for Salat as it was their habit to stand up for Salat whenever they were confronted with a problem. He stood in Salat as long as Allah willed and then made a supplication to Him. He said, ‘My Lord! As far as subjecting them to an alien people is concerned, do not do that. Also, do not let the severity of hunger seize them. However, as for death, let it overcome them.’ So they were put to death and seventy thousand men died.

“The words that I spoke softly and you heard were that because of this event I made this supplication: ‘O Allah! I fight with Your help. I attack with Your support. And there is no might nor power save with Allah.’” [Tirmidhi]

There are several important lessons to be extracted from this hadith:

1. A prophet may commit an oversight. But they engage in such extraordinary repentance and seek forgiveness with such sincerity that through it Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) raises their ranks.

2. The higher the rank of the person with Allah, the more they are reprimanded on the slightest mistakes. Thus, when this prophet had a thought occur to him that was not pleasing to Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) he was immediately alerted by Him.

3. Allah reprimanded the prophet because He dislikes that we forget the source of victory. Victory is not dependent on numbers or material resources but Unseen help from Allah. “How often a small party has overcome a large party by Allah’s leave.” [Quran 2:249]

4. Why were these three options given? Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) alone knows best but these three kinds of punishments are such that they weaken the collective strength of people and they are disgracing. Thus, we should be very careful not to let anything bring about an impression of superiority in our minds lest we need to be cleansed by such punishments.

5. Death is a preferable option than to be subjugated by an enemy because when one is overpowered by the Kuffar, one’s Deen becomes vulnerable to distortion and corruption. Many people then choose to compromise with the Kuffar than suffer hardship and deprivation. Hunger is also less preferable to death because it too causes great hardship and weakness allowing one’s enemy to overpower one. Death, on the other hand, each person must undergo sooner or later anyway.

6. Although 70,000 people died in one day they will hopefully become the approved people of Allah (subhana wa ta’ala). Their ranks will rise for they met death at the command of their Lord and out of respect of His prophet.

7. True leaders summon their followers to the path of Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) and shun egoism, pride and arrogance. In our era however, leaders boast about their strength and numbers but do not bother to correct the character of their followers. They do not even exhort them to act by the commands of Allah (subhana wa ta’ala).

8. This hadith also teaches us to stand up for Salah when we are faced with a distressing or worrying situation. Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) commands us to do the same in the Quran: “O you who believe! Seek help in perseverance and prayer.” [2:153]

9. In times of war and difficulty, the leaders and people should make the Dua (supplication) taught in this hadith, and place their trust and hope of victory in Allah’s Might and Power.

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