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Beyond the Call of Duty​

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During the year 2 A.H., Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) received information that a trade caravan, under the leadership of Abu Sufyaan (who was not yet a Muslim at the time), was returning from Syria to Makkah Mukarramah. Since the Muslims and the Quraish were at war with one another, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) announced his intention to attack the caravan.

The Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) immediately responded and prepared to set out. As the trade caravan comprised of a meagre thirty to forty men, just 313 Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) set out with Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). Furthermore, they did not prepare for a full-scale war as they did not expect to encounter considerable resistance from the small caravan. Hence, their weapons and even their conveyances were few in number.

After travelling some distance, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) received information that the Quraish had learnt of his expedition and had set out from Makkah with approximately one thousand men, armed to the teeth, to fight the Muslims and defend their caravan. At this crucial juncture, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) turned to the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) and consulted them, asking them whether they were prepared to proceed ahead and fight the Quraish, who vastly outnumbered them and had superior arms and equipment.

Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) first stood and pledged support to fight. Thereafter, Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) stood and also pledged support to proceed and engage with the Quraish. Then, Sayyiduna Miqdaad bin Aswad (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) stood and exclaimed the following, “Proceed ahead for that which Allah Ta‘ala has shown you, as we are with you! By Allah! We will not say to you as the Banu Israaeel said to Nabi Moosa (‘alaihis salaam). They said to him, ‘You and your Rabb go and fight, we will remain seated here.’ Rather, (we will say), ‘You and your Rabb go and fight, we will certainly fight with you.’ We will fight on your right, on your left, in front of you and behind you.” Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was extremely pleased with the response of Sayyiduna Miqdaad (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), to the extent that his blessed face shone with happiness and he made du‘aa for Sayyiduna Miqdaad (radhiyallahu ‘anhu).

Nevertheless, these three Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) who had spoken were all from the Muhaajireen, and Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) wished to ascertain the response of the Ansaar. The reason was that the Ansaar formed the majority of this group which had set out. Additionally, when Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) had performed hijrah to Madeenah Munawwarah, the Ansaar had pledged to protect him in the blessed city. However, on this occasion, they were out of the city, and thus the promise of the Ansaar to fight with Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) did not apply. It was for this reason that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) asked again, “Give me your opinions, O Sahaabah!”

On this instance, the Ansaari Sahaabi, Sayyiduna Sa’d bin Mu’aaz (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), who was the leader of the Aws tribe, addressed Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and said, “By Allah! It seems as though you are addressing us (the Ansaar in specific), O Rasul of Allah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)!” When Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) responded in the affirmative, Sayyiduna Sa’d (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) said the following:

“O Rasul of Allah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)! Perhaps you fear that the Ansaar will not feel it incumbent on themselves to assist you unless you are in Madeenah Munawwarah. I am speaking on behalf of all the Ansaar and I am answering for them when I say, ‘Proceed to wherever you wish! Ally yourself with whoever you wish and sever ties with whoever you wish! Maintain peace with whoever you wish and take as an enemy whoever you wish! Take from our wealth whatever you wish, and that which you take from us is more beloved to us than that which you leave for us! Whatever command you issue, we will completely comply with it and follow it. Proceed, O Rasul of Allah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), for that which you wish, as we are all with you. I take an oath by that Being who deputed you with the truth! If you have to take us to the ocean and dive into it, we will all dive into it with you, and not a single one of us will lag behind! We are not reluctant or displeased for you to encounter the enemy with us!’”

Hearing this response, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) became immensely pleased and happy.

(Saheeh Bukhaari #3952, Seerah Ibni Hishaam vol. 2, pgs. 606-615 and Seerah Halabiyyah vol. 2, pg. 150)

Lesson:

When the news arrived that the Quraish had set out with a powerful army to fight the Muslims, the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) could have responded in many ways. They could have complained that they had only set out to attack the caravan – not to fight a full battle against the finest fighters of Makkah. Similarly, they could have expressed reluctance to fight due to being under-equipped and vastly outnumbered. Likewise, the Ansaar, who formed the majority, could have excused themselves and explained that they had never agreed to fight out of Madeenah Munawwarah. However, the manner in which the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) responded set the standard for the entire Ummah to follow. They responded with complete trust in Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), obedience before him, love for him and submission before his command and the command of Allah Ta‘ala. They put their personal reasoning, interests and wishes aside and made it their sole purpose in life to please Allah Ta‘ala and Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), as is glaringly evident from their response in the incident above. In essence, when it came to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and Deen, they went beyond the call of duty and were prepared to make any sacrifice necessary. This is the challenge which we face on a daily basis – the challenge of giving preference to Allah Ta‘ala and Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) over our own wishes.