How the Prophets and Sahabah dealt with Islamophobia
By Nadira Ansari
Islamophobia is defined as the dislike or prejudice against Muslims and Islam as a whole.
Looking back at human history, we will find that when injustice and inequalities started to develop within society, Allah swt sent down Prophets to guide the people to the right path. These Prophets brought with them revelation and miracles so that the people may turn away from social ills. Whenever the Prophets called the people towards the path of righteousness, they had to face many hardships and difficulties. Prophet Noah a.s. spent a long 950 years to correct his people, Ibrahim a.s was thrown in the fire, Musa a.s faced many trials among of which was being lost in the desert, and throughout history all the Prophets fought against the ‘Firons’ of their time. When the final messenger Muhammad s.w. brought forth the Quran to teach his people in Makkah, they refused to listen and when he went to Madina, the enemies made it as difficult for him as possible. These people went as far as to start wars and spilling of their own blood, but through Allah’s decree, Muhammad s.w. was successful. But even after Nabi s.w., his followers faced many difficulties, numerous trials and tribulations as they continued the mission of Islam and that is how we find ourselves as Muslims today. Islam did not end after Muhammad s.w, but even after 1436 years the mission is still ongoing, and through resources of Quran, hadiths and fiqh the message of Islam is still preserved and present in full.
When we ponder over it, we find out that the followers of this message faced many difficulties, but the weapons they used to combat them are theww.
- Strong faith and patience towards the deen,
- Steadfastness and perseverance towards the truth and,
- Making Dua to the All mighty Creator.
They also did not compromise on the laws given by Allah and His Messenger. The motto they lived by was to give up their life over them rather than make changes to these laws. If they were going to live a life, it would only be for the continuation and preservation of what Rasul Allah lived his life for, and they would rather earn the status of a shaheed than to compromise the teachings of their Nabi.
We find many examples of this in the lives of the Sahabah. The following are two examples:
Tufail ibn Amr Ad-Dausi r.a. was the leader of his tribe. During the early stages of Prophethood, he decided to go for Umrah in Makkah. Since he was a well-known leader, the Quraish did everything in their power to prevent him from meeting Muhammad s.w. They claimed that Muhammad was a magician, he was breaking up families, and after listening to him, wives separated from husbands and sons from their fathers. They convinced him to a point where he felt the need to plug his ears with cotton so that he may not even accidently hear the terrible magic. Tufail decided to go for tawaf early in the morning, and he saw a man praying in a very heartfelt and passionate manner which made him stop and listen. What he heard sounded like poetry to him, Tufail was a man literate in the art of poetry, he thought to himself, if what he is reciting sounds like something bad for him he will ignore it and if his message is good he will accept it.
After the man finished his prayer, Tufail followed him and asked him to recite again, the man recited to him the verses of Surah Al-Falaq and Surah Al-Ikhlas, the man who recited these verses was none other than Muhammad s.w. The ayats had such a powerful effect on his heart, Tufail took shahadah immediately after.
Tufail decided to stay in Makkah to learn more about Islam. Before leaving back to his people Tufail asked the Prophet s.w. to make dua that Allah give him a miracle to take with him to help him with dawah. When the Prophet s.w. made the dua, Tufail’s forehead became visibly shining with noor. On his way he thought to himself that his people might think he was infected with a skin disease, Allah swt, then made the top of his weapon he carried to illuminate instead. When Tufail returned only his immediate family accepted Islam, the only other person was Abu Hauraira r.a. When he came back to Makkah, he requested Rasul Allah s.w. to make dua for his tribe. By the time he returned back the second time, their hearts had warmed and softened towards Islam and many people accepted Islam. We learn from the history of Islam that even after the difficult circumstances and so many of the kuffar working against the Muslims, with time most of them ended up accepted the invitation towards Islam. Indeed Dua is a powerful instrument.
Abdullah bin Hudzafa was from the tribe of As-Sahm. During 6th hijri, when the Prophet s.w sent different delegates to rulers around the world, he sent Abdullah to Kisrah the emperor of Persia, the second super power of its time.. Abdullah entered the palace wearing plain clothes; Kisrah looked at him and asked his servants to get the letter from him. Abdullah refused to give it to the servant and told him that the Prophet s.w. asked him to personally deliver it in his hands. When Kisrah agreed, the first sentence which was read to him was: “This letter is from Muhammad RasulAllah to the great emperor of Persia”. Upon hearing the sentence he got furious that his name was not addressed at the beginning, he then tore up the letter and ordered Abdullah to leave the palace immediately. When Abdullah returned and told RasulAllah s.w., he told Abdullah that Allah has told him that his empire would crumble into pieces and not long after that is exactly what happened.
During the 19th hijri when Abullah went to visit the roman emperor Kaiser, he was sent by Hazrat Umar ibn Khattab during his khilafah. Abdullah was sent with a large army. During the time, Emperor Kaiser knew that Muslims were truthful, brave and did not care about their lives in battle. Kaiser ordered his guards to capture some men and bring them to him; one of them was Abdullah who was brought to his palace. The emperor told him to convert to Christianity, but he told him he would rather die than convert. Then he offered him a big position in his palace, when Abdullah refused, Kaiser threatened to execute him. Kaiser then ordered his men to hang him on a cross and told his guards to shoot arrows near his hands to scare him. After they started shooting arrows, he asked him again to convert, he refused. The guards then started shooting around his legs, and Abdullah still refused. Finally Kaiser ordered a large tank of boiling oil and threatened to drop him in there. He took one of the prisoners and threw him in the burning oil, and told Abdullah that he would be thrown as well, but he still refused. Kaiser became frustrated and ordered his guards to throw him in. As the guards brought Abdullah close, he started shedding tears. Kaiser became pleased that he was finally able to get through to him, and asked him why he started crying. Abdullah replied by saying, “I am not weeping because I am afraid, I am crying because my life is only singular, for the sake of Allah I wish I could die a 1000 more times.” Kaiser became awe-struck by his reply, he told Abdullah to kiss him on the forehead and he would let him live, Abdullah told him he would only do it if all of his Muslim brothers were released. Kaiser agreed to let the prisoners be free. When Abdullah returned to Madinah to report back to Umar r.a., after finishing his story, Umar r.a. leaned and kissed his forehead, and told all the Muslims to kiss Abdullah and honor him for his bravery.
What we learn from Abdullah’s story and many other Sahabahs is that we should remain strong in our faith, and remain faithful towards our ummah. We should learn to counteract hatred from the ones who do not believe. There have been acts of discriminations and prejudice throughout history not only towards Muslims but every group of people, and even to this day we should fight against it through patience and steadfastness.
Our duty as Muslims is to change the views and perceptions about Islam and combat the Islamophobia which is present. Abu Huraira has reported: “By the one who has my soul, you will not enter paradise until you believe and you will not believe until you love one another. Shall I point out to you something which will make you love another? Make the greetings of peace widespread among you.” (Muslim)