At the age of 20, the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam witnessed a war known as al-fijjar or the sacrilegious war. It was named so because it took place in the month of Thul-Qaddah. We have mentioned earlier that even before the advent of Islam the sanctity of the four months: Thul-Qaddah, Thul-Hijjah, Muharram and Rajab was observed. It was absolutely forbidden to fight in these months unless in retaliation.
In this war, Quraysh and Kinana fought against Qays and Ghayallan.
It is said that when the war started the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was 15 or 16 years old but it lasted for four years. In this war, the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam did not directly participate. Rather, his role was to gather arrows and hand them to his uncles.
The war resulted in a lot of bloodshed. Eventually it was decided to end the war and reconcile. Since qisas [law of equal retribution] was not exclusive to Islam, the pre-Islamic Arabs too practiced it. Upon reconciliation it was decided to count the murdered and whichever party had lost more men would receive blood money for every extra man killed. This brought the war to an end and removed their mutual animosity.
From the life of the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam we learn that no matter what his age, he lived an active life. At the age of four, he was leading a herd of sheep. At age twelve, he accompanied his uncle on a trade journey to Syria. He did not take that as a vacation but he was assigned responsibilities such as taking care of the luggage. He witnessed the first war while he was still in his teens. At that time too, he did not stay behind so as not to get hurt or killed but he was in the battlefield along with his uncles, and helped them in whatever way he could.
He was a productive person right from childhood.
An article published at brainpickings.com says, “It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it. Life is long enough, and a sufficiently generous amount has been given to us for the highest achievements if it were all well invested. But when it is wasted in heedless luxury and spent on no good activity, we are forced at last by death’s final constraint to realize that it has passed away before we knew it was passing. So it is: we are not given a short life but we make it short, and we are not ill-supplied but wasteful of it…Life is long if you know how to use it.”
Do we know how to use our life? In what endeavors do we spend our time? What if we were to make a daily task list, what will it tell us about our routines?
The Pact of Al-Fadhool
The Urdu speakers might read this as the word fazool (useless/bay-kaar) especially if you read from the book, however, please note that this is not fazool but the plural of the word Fadhl or Fazl.
After the Battle of Fijjar, the five Quraysh tribes met and signed a pact. The names of the tribes were: Banu Hashim, Banu ‘Abd al-Muttalib, Banu Asad, Banu Zahra and Banu Tayyam.
What led the Quraysh tribes to sign a pact was that a Yemeni man brought some trading items to Makkah. ‘Aas ibn Wael purchased the things from him but did not pay the price. The Yemeni trader pleaded to Banu ‘Abd al-Daar, Banu Makhdhoom, Banu Jumhah, Banu Sahm and Banu ‘Aadi but no one paid any attention to him. Remember that at that time the Arab tribes only helped their own. Even if they knew that their own was unjust they would still support him. This was an evil that Islam came to eradicate. In Islam, we are encouraged to not live our lives as bystanders but to step forward and help the oppressed even if it means standing up against our own blood. Islam believes in justice and equality.
Disappointed by the Arab tribes, the Yemeni climbed the mountain of Abu Qubais (the first ever mountain on earth) and sang words of poetry narrating his ordeal. He called the people to help him in getting his due right.
When Zubair ibn Abu Talib heard the man’s plea he stepped forward to help him. The Arab tribes gathered at the house of ‘Abdullah ibn Juddan and made a pact that they will help all the oppressed, be it a native Makkan or an outsider. No unfair dealings were to be made and no one would be allowed to take advantage of another. And so, they got the Yemeni man his due right from ‘Aas ibn Wael.
The Pact of Al-Fadhool was reputed the most fair and honorable pact reached among the Arabs. It is also said that it was named so because in this pact many people in the attendance were named Fadhl. Again, we learn about the virtues of keeping good names.
This meeting was also attended by the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam along with his uncles. After the Prophethood, he would say:
“I witnessed in the house of ‘Abdullah ibn Juddan a pact that I wouldn’t have exchanged for the choicest herd; and if it had been suggested after Islam, I would have responded positively to it.”
As Muslims we know that the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was a righteous man even before Prophethood came to him. He would stay away from the evil and hasten to help the poor, the widows and orphans. These are not stories for us to be in awe of but these should be an inspiration for us to follow the footsteps of our Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.
Today, there is no place in the world that is free from oppression and people not giving each other their due rights. There is widespread injustice and sometimes it is happening right under our nose, in our homes, at school or at our workplaces. But we choose to remain silent so as not to taint our image. Like the saying goes: ‘Why jump into someone else’s fight,’ or that, ‘it is none of my business.’
Being sensitive to others’ pain, compassion and consideration are the traits of a fine character. Elegance does not come from wearing designer wear but through manners and etiquette. We should have the compassion and courage to help others, and not just sit on the fence watching the show.
We should also remember that good deeds and emaan go hand in hand. We should not take pride in calling ourselves Muslims when our hearts do not hurt for others; when we can sit in our comfortable homes, enjoy a fancy meal while many around us go to sleep hungry and live on streets without proper shelter or clothing. It also tells us that if someone does good deeds but they do not believe in Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and everything that Islam entails, then such person’s goodness will not benefit him.
In Surah Al-Kahf it appears:
“Say, [O Muhammad], ‘Shall we (believers) inform you of the greatest losers as to (their) deeds? (They are) those whose effort is lost in worldly life, while they think that they are doing well in work.’ Those are the ones who disbelieve in the ayaat of their Lord and in (their) meeting Him, so their deeds have become worthless; and We will not assign to them on the Day of Resurrection any importance. That is their recompense – Hell – for what they denied and (because) they took My signs and My messengers in ridicule.” (18: 103-106)
It is reported that ‘A’ishah radhi Allahu ‘anha asked the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam about ‘Abdullah ibn Juddan. ‘Abdullah ibn Juddan was the person whose house was used as the place of meeting where the pact of Al-Fadhool was made. He offered his resources to benefit others but he did not believe in Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. About him the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: His deeds would not benefit him because he never said, ‘O my Lord! Forgive me on the Day of Judgment (meaning that he did not believe in the Hereafter).
One should not help others for the worldly recognition but only for the pleasure of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. We should always keep the end in our minds. Politicians and other public figures who help others and then take their pictures to “prove” that they have helped someone should be ashamed of their conduct. Likewise, those ordinary people who pose next to Ka’abah, take their picture on prayer mat or while prostratiing or making d’ua, should ask themselves why is there a need to take a picture of this event? Who are they showing off to? When you help someone is it for the sake of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala or to be liked by people?
Ikhlas and emaan are the pillars that we need to strongly hold on to; and stay away from all major and minor forms of Shirk. May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala allow us to become a just nation that helps the oppressed, rises up for those who have been wronged and for whom justice is a virtue not cowardice, aameen. May all our deeds be sincerely for Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and not for what people think of us or how people want us to be, aameen.