The first Jahiliyah (benightedness) and the Jahiliyah of this age

In the Name of Allah the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

Dear brothers, it is a new lesson about Fiqhsera ( legal rulings drawn from the Prophet’s biography), we will proceed today to the very essence of the Islamic Message brought by Prophet Muhammad -may Allah bless him and grant him peace- to Mekka, and the reactions it caused among his fellow countrymen.

The great truth with which the prophets came:

O brothers! If we wanted to express the Message of Islam, which is a Revelation from Allah, in one word, we would have to say: Islamic religion is equivalent to tawheed (monotheism, i.e. belief in the existence of One God-Allah). There’s only One God, Who created the Universe. He is the Lord of Alamin (the Worlds). He is the Irresistible, the Doer, the Provider, the One Who Resurrects, The One Who Causes Death, The Supporter, the One Who Increases, the One Who Decreases (your provision), the Giver, the One Who Prohibits, the One Who Grants you wealth, and the One Who Causes your poverty. He is the One Who bestows health, or deprives you of it, causing illness. When you believe that every single issue is in the Hand of Allah (i.e. is subjected to Allah’s Will), then and only then will you realize the truth of the Islamic Message. The din of Islam, the din of tawheed (monotheism), has been revealed to a pagan community, in which people used to worship several idols which their own hands had made.

(He said: “Do you worship that which you (yourselves) carved?)

[As-Saffat, 37:95]

Those idols could bring no good to them; neither could they prevent harm. They could neither revive nor cause death. They even used to worship an idol made of dates, and ate it when they were hungry.
The ayaat stated directly that there is no other True God apart from Allah, Who has no partners, and thus Allah the Almighty, and only Allah, must be worshipped. No other god whether visible or invisible, should be worshipped along with Allah. The absolute tawheed is the crucial issue, the very basis of the message of all Prophets. Once again, our din of Islam is the din of tawheed (monotheism), and the slaves have never been taught anything better than that.

(Not a messenger did We send before you without this inspiration sent by Us to him: That there is no god but I, therefore worship and serve Me)

[Al-Anbiya, 21:25]

Dear brothers! Fear, worry, hypocrisy, transgressing in order to earn a living, and psychological unbalance are all related to tawheed (monotheism) being weak.
If a child’s temperature goes up, and we take him to a pediatrician who only prescribes a tablet to reduce the child’s high temperature, we could say that this person should not be a doctor as high temperature is a symptom of an infectious disease. Unless the doctor investigates, and reaches the origin and the real cause of the child’s temperature, he cannot be called a doctor.
Similarly, the current problems in the Islamic World are countless. Some people think that they are related to social problems but in fact they have nothing to do with them. Rather, they are symptoms of the disease caused by being away from Allah and weak monotheism. Why on earth should a human being disobey Allah to earn a living? Because their tawheed (monotheism) is weak, the fact which makes them believe erroneously that their livelihood is in the hands of a human being. Why does a person slip? Why does a person become a hypocrite? Why does a person constantly fear? The answer to all these questions is: because of the weakness of this person’s tawheed (monotheism). Again, the slaves have never been taught anything better than Monotheism.
Thus, in numerous ayaat of the Noble Qur’an verses Allah has mentioned briefly the message of every Prophet:

(Worship Allah! You have no other god but Him)

[al-Mu'minun, 23:32]

O brothers! The Quraish worshipped, among others, Lat and Uzza. They used to put their idols in the Haram (the Noble Ka’aba ) in Makkah, the legacy of Ibrahim, peace upon him. The Quraish worshipped idols, objects which could cause no harm or good; could not provide, revive, or cause them to die.
Moreover, human being is meant for Allah only. As we know, the earth is for plants, plants are for animals, animals are for mankind, and mankind is for Allah alone. Allah says in a hadiz qudsi:

O my slave I have created the heavens and the earth for your sake. Never did I feel tired of creating them. Would I ever get tired of providing you with your daily bread? You are obliged to fulfill your duties and obligations towards Me, and I am obliged to provide for you. Nevertheless, if you disobey and abandon your obligation towards Me, I shall not cease to provide for you. By My glory and Sublimity, unless you feel satisfaction with your destiny, I shall cause you restless in pursuing the affairs of this life, running after them just like the jungle beasts run while chasing their prey. Then, you shall never gain more than what is destined for you, and I shall not care; and you shall be totally disowned. You want, and I want. So, if you submit to what I want, I suffice you for what you want. However, if you don’t submit to what I want, I will cause you tiredness and exhaustion in what you want, and thus only what I want will happen

[Mentioned in the tradition]

Its projection in your daily life is that you cannot feel happy unless you are a monotheist. Likewise, you will not be mighty and strong unless you are a monotheist. You will not be brave and strong unless you are a monotheist. You will not feel the value of your human condition unless you are a monotheist.
When Imam Hasan Basri made his scholarly opinion known, proclaiming publicly the truth about Hajaj, a mighty and oppressive ruler. Hajaj, of course, was told what Imam Hasan had said about him. So, he made up his mind to kill the Imam and said to his associates: “O cowards! I’ll quench your thirst of his blood.” And he sent his guards to summon the Imam. This they did, and everything was ready for the execution. As soon as Imam Hasan had entered the palace, he realized what was going on. He realized the reason why he had been brought there. He hurried on then to supplicate Allah the Almighty, saying: “O my Consoler in loneliness! O my Shelter in hardship! Turn his severe anger into coolness and safety just as you made the fire cool and safe for Ibrahim, peace upon him.” No sooner had he said these words than Hajaj said to him, using his nickname: “O Abu Sa’eed! Come here.” He kept telling the Imam to come closer until he made him sit next to him. He also asked Imam Hasan some questions, perfumed him, and accompanied him to the door. Some swordsmen hurried after the Imam Hasan and asked: “O Aba Saeed! What has happened? You haven’t been brought here to be treated in this kind and gentle way.” Imam Hasan then told them about his supplication.
Take into consideration the important fact mentioned by the Noble Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace:

The worshipper’s heart is between two fingers of Allah the Merciful

[Narrated by Muslim from Abdullah Bin Amr]

Why did the Noble Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, describe the worshippers’ hearts as being under the control of Allah? In order to reassure you and relieve your worries, so that you can rest assured that X’s heart, whom you feel afraid of, is under Allah’s control.

(They (Musa and Harun) said: “Our Lord! Verily we fear lest he should hasten to punish us or lest he should transgress all bounds. He (Allah) said: Fear not, verily I am with you both, I hear and see everything)

[Taha, 20:45-46]

The Pharaoh said:

(I am your lord, most high)

[An-Nazi'at, 79:24]

And he said:

(No god do I know for you but myself)

[Al-Qasas, 28:38]

And yet, in spite of all his oppression and haughtiness, he could not convince his wife to worship him and abandon worshipping Allah. Why didn’t he kill her? What prevented him when it was very easy for him to kill anyone he wanted? Everything is in Allah’s hands, everything is under His control. And furthermore, the truth doesn’t affect your provision nor does it bring your death closer.

What is the concept of true monotheism?

O brothers! What I’m saying is that the concept of tawheed (monotheism) is clear and easy to understand. However, great effort is necessary to activate it in your life, to live it. In other words, the greatest thing is to see no-one but Allah, to realize that Allah is the only Doer in this Universe. Also to realize that:

(The Hand of Allah is over their hands)

[Al-Fath, 48:10]

And also:

(Not for you (but for Allah) is the decision)

[Al-Imran, 3:128]

And also:

(They have no protector other than Him, nor does he share His Command with any person whatsoever)

[Al-Kahf, 18:26]

And also:

(To Him goes back every affair (for decision). So worship Him, and put your trust in Him)

[Hud, 11:123]

And also:

(What Allah out of His mercy bestows on mankind none can withhold: what He withholds, none can grant, apart from Him: and He is the Exalted in Power, Full of Wisdom)

[Fatir, 35:2]

And also to realize that:

(Know, therefore, that there is no god but Allah)

[Muhammad, 47:19]

And that :

(It is He Who is God in heaven and God on earth; and He is Full of Wisdom and Knowledge)

[Az-Zukhruf, 43:84]

What is the invisible shirk?

O brothers! Believe me, about 95% of Muslims don’t appreciate the fact that the whole matter is in the Hands of Allah. They imagine that the matters are under X’s or Y’s control; they believe X can give them, or Y can prevent them from going nearer or farther, going up or down. Thus, even though such people are Muslims, they indirectly worship other gods apart from Allah. That’s what the Noble Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, stated in the hadiz qudsi when he said:

I’m indeed alarmed that you might fall into an invisible shirk (association of other powers with Allah). I don’t say that you’d worship an idol or a rock, but you may worship invisible desires and deeds which are not for the sake of Allah

[Mentioned in the tradition]

Imam Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, said:

Shirk is something more imperceptible than the steps of a black ant on a solid rock in the darkness of the night

Could any one ever perceive the sound of the steps of a black ant on a solid rock in the darkness of the night? Certainly they make no sound. Shirk is more unperceived than this black ant.
The most common example that can be given as regards this issue is a wealthy relative you may happen to have. Even though you know he is a tyrant, you just like him because whenever you visit him, he gives you precious gifts and serves you the best food. Moreover, if you accompany him on a trip, he spends a lot of money on you. This shows that you are committing shirk.

Monotheism in short:

Concentrate on this: There’s no other true god beside Allah. The deeper you analyze this concept, the more profound you find it. No wonder that there are bad people in this world, lethal weapons, viruses and fatal diseases:

(Say: “I seek refuge with (Allah), the Lord of the Dawn, from the evil of what He has created)


However, be careful, it is Allah Who has created all these creatures:

(Allah is the Creator of all things, and He is the Guardian and Dispose of all affairs)

[Az-Zumar, 39:62]

Through His hands, if He wants, these creatures can reach you. But if He wants, He can keep them away from you. So, your true relation should be with Allah, not with those scary creatures.
The deeper you go into tawheed, the more security your heart is filled with:

(Which of (us) two parties has more right to security? (Tell me) if you know. It is those who believe and mix not their belief with wrong that are (truly) in security, for they are on (right) guidance)

[Al-An'am, 6:39:62]

The deeper you go into tawheed, the more you seek support from Allah. The deeper you go into tawheed, the more self-satisfaction you feel. The deeper you go into tawheed, the more self-esteem you feel.
The Noble Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said:

Ask for things with self-esteem, as matters happen according to fate

[Reported by Abdullah bin Busr from Tammam and Ibn Asaker]

The shock that surprised Quraish:

Let us go back again to the tribe of the Quraish. When the Noble Prophet started delivering his Message, they were stunned on hearing about tawheed. Since they were used to idol-worshipping, they were shocked to learn that the essence of the Message brought by Prophet Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was the Oneness of Allah. They used to believe that:

(There is nothing but our life in this world!)

[Al-Mu'minun, 23:37]

And that there was nothing beyond this life:

(We shall die and we live! But we shall never be raised up again)

[Al-Mu'minun, 23:37]

They were shocked to hear the Noble Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say: No, the After Life is the real life, the After Life is eternal. It involves what the eye has never seen, nor has the ear heard. It is beyond human imagination. The basis of the Other Life is honoring.

(There will be for them therein all that they wish, and there is more with us)

[Qaf, 50:35]

The Hereafter involves no fatigue, no tiredness, no illness, no poverty, no bad wife, no ungrateful son, no nosy neighbor, no oppressive person. It is eternal bliss. Allah’s says in the hadith qudsi:

I have prepared for my righteous worshippers, pay attention to this, what the eye has never seen, nor has the ear heard; what a human being has never imagined

[Narrated by Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmithi, Ibn Mayah andAhmad; reported by Abu Hurairah]

That’s why they refused to believe.

(There is nothing but our life in this world! We shall die and we live! But we shall never be raised up again)

[Al-Mu'minun, 23:37]

Questions who don’t believe in the Hereafter ask:

O brothers! I swear that if we venture for a single while to ignore the Other Life, millions of questions arise. Why is X wealthy and Y poor? The value of somebody’s tap may be equivalent to the value of another person’s house! Does is make any sense? The tap in question is made of solid gold. Why X has a 400-square-meter house while Y has not even a hut and thus cannot get married? Why can somebody issue an order to annihilate entire people and why do other people die due to oppression? Thus, if you look in the Noble Qur’an, you’ll find out that tawheed and the Resurrection Day usually go together. On this particular day, the Resurrection Day, accounts will be settled and the oppressors will have to re-establish the rights of the oppressed.

The method used by the prophet to clarify an idea:

Dear brothers, the scope of seeing is limited –you may have visited some cities in the world. The scope of hearing is wider –you can easily listen to the news from 200 cities. However, the scope of thought is unlimited –you may think of a real thing or an unreal thing.
The Noble Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used in his discourse the figurative language. How else could he show them the difference between this worldly life and the Hereafter? Try to visit a coastal city, Latheqeiah for example. Go on a ride in a boat and take a needle with you. Dip it in water. When you pull it out, observe the quantity of sea water on the needle. The Noble Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said:

The life of this world resembles the Afterlife as little as the amount of water on a needle you have just dipped in the sea

[Narrated by Tabarani from Mastoor]

Allah the Creator of the Universe tells you:

(Say: Short is the enjoyment of this world)

[An-Nisa', 4:77]

(As to these (disbelievers), they love the fleeting life of this world, and put behind them a Day (that will be) hard)

[Al-Insan, 76:27]

(And indeed the Hereafter will be better for you than the present. And soon will your Guardian Lord give you (that wherewith) you shall be well-pleased)

[Ad-Duha, 93:4-5]

Who was given worldly life and what has Allah given those who love Him?

A righteous person was accused by someone of backbiting him. He replied: “And who are you for me to backbite? If ever I were to backbite someone, this person would be either my mother or my father, as they deserve from me more good than you do.” This is because on the Day of Resurrection the person you have abused will take, in compensation, from the account of your good deeds.
Thus, beside the belief in the Oneness of Allah (tawheed), there’s the belief in the Resurrection Day. Thus, the Quraish were doubly shocked. Firstly, that their idols had no real origin whatsoever, and then that this worldly life was of no value. Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, said:

Let a person think deeply about and try to visualize the fact that Allah has indeed honored our Noble Prophet Mohammed, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, when He kept this worldly life away from him

Our Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, didn’t see Europe or visit America. He didn’t see any of those nice cities or civilizations. His life was simple and hard. His room was so small that his wife couldn’t lie down when he was praying. So, whenever he intended to pray, she had to move away from the praying place.
Well, let a person think deeply and try to visualize that Allah has indeed honored our Noble Prophet Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, when He kept this worldly life away from him. If someone said that in this way Muhammad has been dishonored or insulted, such a person would be lying. And if someone said that Allah had honored him when He kept the worldly life away from him, then it means that other people were dishonored by making this worldly life alluring and easy for them. Allah gives this worldly life to those whom He doesn’t like. For instance, He gave it to Qarun and to Pharaoh. And what has He given to his beloved ones? The answer is:

(When he reached full age, and was firmly established (in life), We bestowed on him wisdom and knowledge; for thus do We reward those who do good)

[Al-Qasas, 28:14]

Are we able to realize the value of the word “great” in Quran?

O respectable brothers! I exhort you to inquire into the influence this verse may have on you. If, for example, a child told you I had a great amount of money at my disposal, the child would probably mean something like 200 Syrian pounds. But, when an official at the Pentagon says that their war budget in Iraq is indeed great, and the figure mentioned is also 200, this cannot mean 200 Syrian pounds. It must be 200 billion US $. So, the same word, “great”, has more than one reading. Thus, the same is true for this word as used by Allah, the King of kings, the Creator of Heavens and Earth:

(And taught you what you knew not (before). And great is the Grace of Allah unto you)

[An-Nisa', 4:113]

The real benefit is to get to know Allah Who said in a Qudsi hadith:

O son of Adam, appeal to Me and you will find Me. And if you find Me, you then find everything. And if I miss you, everything else misses you, and I am more lovable to you than anything else

[Mentioned in the Tradition]

Quraish society before the prophet’s mission, and their reaction:

So, back to the Mission of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, in Mekkah. It calls for tawheed, belief in the Resurrection Day , and its third stage is regulations and restrictions.
As is well known, the life of the Quraish before Islam had no restrictions or regulations. Drinking alcohol was not forbidden, and there were many kinds of adultery. One kind of adultery was that a husband would ask his wife to go to X, an intelligent man, and have sex with him in order to get pregnant with an intelligent child. It was possible for a woman to have 10 husbands, and if she ever got pregnant and delivered a child she was free to decide which one was the child’s father. Kinds of licentiousness in the pre-Islamic period had no limit. Nor did abuse. We are talking about adultery, usury, drunkenness. The revealed din forbade drinking alcohol, adultery and usury
That’s why they were shocked by the new din. Imagine the effort the Noble Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, had to make while carrying out his mission, and what he had to bear in order to deliver it.
To worship One God (tawheed) was for those pagans something bizarre. So was the belief in the Resurrection Day and the belief in the Hereafter, so were the prohibitions and the equality of people. This din drove them mad, them who used to prevent people from tawaf around Ka’aba with their clothes on. They actually used to order people to take off their clothes and to go round the Ka’aba completely naked. This is very similar to the attitude of one of the social poles in our modern world.
Another new concept was that the weak received a right to their money:

(And those in whose wealth there is a recognized right. For the (needy) who asks, and him who is deprived (for some reason from asking))

[Al-Ma'arij, 70:24-25]

They couldn’t bear the thought of a restriction being imposed on their lives. They proposed to attend the meetings with the Noble Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, on condition that the lower classes –the poor, the slaves, the underprivileged, should sit at the back, and that they, being wealthy and influential, should sit in the front rows. The idea, if implemented in our daily life, would mean that a member of the upper class would refuse to sit next to somebody lower, due to their pride. Thus, from the very start, they refused to attend the meetings with the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, because of the low social status of those who followed him:

(Nor do we see that any follow you but the meanest among us, and without thinking)

[Hud, 11:27]

Then they suggested that the lower classes should have separate meetings on different days. Then, they accepted that the lower classes should sit at the back. At that time, it was revealed to the Noble Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace:

(Send not away those who call on their Lord morning and evening, seeking His Face. In nothing are you accountable for them, and in nothing are they accountable for you, that you should turn them away, and thus be (one) of the unjust)

[Al-An'am, 6:52]

This din is the din of equality, the din of fitra. An Arab is not better than a Persian, unless in piety. A white man is not better than a black man, unless in his piety.
Once, in a moment of forgetfulness, a Companion of the Noble Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said to a Negro:

O son of a black woman!

The Noble Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, got visibly angry. In order to satisfy the Noble Prophet, this Companion insisted on putting his head on the floor and demanded the black man to step on it. This is Islam. There are no classes. No man is better than another, unless he has more piety.

(Verily, the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is Well Acquainted (with all things))

[Al-Hujurat, 49:13]

In was narrated that Abu Sufian, one of the Quraish chiefs and leader of his tribe, was waiting to receive the permission to see Umar, the Caliph at the time, whereas Bilal and Suhaib would enter and leave whenever they wanted. When Abu Sufian was eventually admitted, he complained: “I’ve been waiting at your door for your permission to enter, and Bilal and Suhaib entered without permission.” Umar replied: “Do you think that you are like them? It’s a different society.”
I swear by Allah, unless we go back to these values, we won’t gain victory. Unless we apply the verse “verily, the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you”, we won’t deserve triumph. In our societies there’s a hidden class. We should know that the human being is the work of Allah and whoever destroys this work is damned.

The essence of Islamic religion:

O brothers, what we all should know is that this Message is based on tawheed, belief in the Resurrection Day, obligations and prohibitions. That is Islamic instruction. In Islam there are obligations (fardh, wayib), strong sunnah (muakkadah), weak sunnah (gairu muakkadah), the recommended (halal), the permitted (mubah), disdained mishap (makruh), prohibited mishap (makruh tahrini), and the prohibited (haram). The essence of Islam is that there is only One God (tawheed), that there is the Day of Resurrection, obligations and prohibitions, that people are equal like the teeth of a comb, and the poor have a legitimate right to the wealth of the rich. However, this essence was in total contradiction with the people of Mekkah at the beginning of the mission of the Noble Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.

Is there any difference between the first Jahiliya and the Jahiliya of this age?

The most dangerous thing in the life of a Muslim is concealed shirk. The second dangerous thing is that less than 5% of Muslims consider the Resurrection Day as regards their conduct. They pay lip service, saying: “I do believe in the Resurrection Day”. However, their conduct contradicts this statement, and this is obvious in that they earn their livelihood in an illicit way, they deal unjustly with others, even if outwardly they are nice and kind. Thus, if we truly believe in Allah, we should be restricted to the straight path and apply Allah’s orders.
The Jahiliah that accompanied the revelation of Islam was called by Allah “the first jahiliah “. This contains an indication that there is such a thing as “second jahiliah”, with which we are faced nowadays. Bear in mind:

This din came as a stranger, and it will be a stranger again, just like at the beginning. Hence, blessed be the strangers, the righteous among a lot of the wicked

[Narrated by Ahmad]

O respectable brothers, in the next lesson, we shall continue, insha-Allah, to talk about this pure prophetic biography. We shall also discuss the rules which help us achieve safety and happiness in this life. There’s only one truth.

Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds

Prepared by: Noora Al Sharabi




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