هُمُ الَّذِينَ يَقُولُونَ لَا تُنفِقُوا عَلَى مَنْ عِندَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ حَتَّى يَنفَضُّوا وَلِلَّهِ خَزَائِنُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَلَكِنَّ الْمُنَافِقِينَ لَا يَفْقَهُونَ
“They are the ones who say, 'Spend nothing on those who are with Allah's Messenger, to the end that they may disperse (and leave Medina).' But to Allah belong the treasures of the Heavens and the Earth; but the hypocrites understand not.”1
يَقُولُونَ لَئِن رَّجَعْنَا إِلَى الْمَدِينَةِ لَيُخْرِجَنَّ الْأَعَزُّ مِنْهَا الْأَذَلَّ وَلِلَّهِ الْعِزَّةُ وَلِرَسُولِهِ وَلِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَلَكِنَّ الْمُنَافِقِينَ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ
“They say, 'If we return to Medina, surely the more honorable (element) will expel from there the meaner.' But honor belongs to Allah and His Messenger, and to the Believers but the hypocrites know not.”2
Economic embargos and acts of injustice can be used to subdue movement or an active minority group. Influential individuals of society sanction groups that they deem harmful. They make the minority group kneel to the ground, and they stop these groups from following the path that they were taking.
Revolutions and social advancements almost always start from the few, the weak and the poverty-stricken. In order to silence and disperse such a group, the influential members of society need only stop all sources of funding from reaching them. By doing this, hunger and poverty will prevail, and the minority group will be forced either to relinquish their or to forget completely their goals and ides.
The polytheists of Mecca used this political tactic in a most severe and dreadful way at the beginning of Islam. They forced the Muslims to live in Sh‛ib Abu Talib for three years. During this time the Muslims lived in extreme poverty and were faced with unbearable hunger. The leaders of the Quraysh, at the beginning of the prophetic mission posted an announcement on the Ka‛ba. This announcement forbade all kinds of business transactions and legal rights for Bani Hashim.
Everyone, either out of fear or personal choice, cut off all economic and business ties, even small transactions, with the family of the Prophet. The family of the Prophet was put under a tremendous economic embargo. The cries of their children from hunger were heard at night until the sanctions were nullified.3
The leaders of many countries do not have a positive outlook on religion; they see religion as an imposing barrier, keeping them away from their goals. Because of this they deprive believers in various religions of certain social, political and cultural rights, so that the next generation will not show this same inclination to religion and so that the people of faith will leave their ways.
The leader of the hypocrites, ‛Abd Allah bin Ubay, made the following two plans to destroy Islam. He wanted his companions to act upon these plans:
Forbid all kinds of transactions with the Muhajirin and all those who are with the Prophet (S), so that they will leave him because of severe hardships.
The citizens of Medina who own land in Medina should expel the Muhajiin from their land, so that the Prophet (S) will also leave. The leader of the hypocrites mentioned this plan when an argument erupted between two members of the Ansar and Muhajirin. The following explains certain events found in history books and certain verses found in the Qur’an.
Bani Mustalaq4 surrendered to the Islamic army after losing ten soldiers. The war ended in favor of the Muslims. After the war, two Muslims, one from the Muhajirin and the other from the Ansar began arguing over water. Both parties sought help from their respective tribes. Both sides were on the verge of a battle which would culminate in losing the peace that was achieved after years of work. The Prophet (S) became aware of the situation and thought the cries of both sides were unfounded. He (S) said: “The age of ignorance has not yet left your hearts.” He then separated the two sides.
‛Abd Allah bin Ubay (the leader of the hypocrites who pretended to accept Islam out of fear of public opinion) tried to use this opportunity to his advantage. He told those around him: “We are to blame for the calamity that has befallen us. We, the people of Medina, gave the Muhajirin shelter in our land. We protected them against their enemies. Our situation is now like the famous saying: 'Train your dog and he will kill you.' I swear by Allah, if we return to Medina, we must cut all economic ties with those who follow the Prophet so that they will leave our land. The strong and the honorable must expel from their land those who are weak and ignoble.”
The man instilled hatred for the Muhajirin in the hearts of some Muslims by provoking arguments between the Muhajirin and the Ansar. Luckily, there was an intelligent young man sitting amongst that crowd. He answered ‛Abd Allah bin Ubay's statement in the following way: “I swear by Allah that you are despised and wretched. You are the one who has no place in your own family. Muhammad is beloved by the Muslims. Their hearts are filled with compassion and love for him.”
He went to the Prophet (S) and informed him of ‛Abd Allah's poisonous statements. This young man proposed to execute ‛Abd Allah. But the Prophet (S) said: “This action would never be correct because the people would say that Muhammad killed his friends after he came to power.”
Asid came to the Prophet (S), consoled him, and said: “Bear with ‛Abd Allah. He is a low man. Islam has taken away his social status in Medina. Islam toppled his government, his dictatorship which was about to come into existence.”
The Prophet (S) gave the order for the Muslims to march in harsh circumstances so that the two sides would forget what had happened and abandon their satanic thoughts. He did not allow any rest in an entire twenty-four hour period, except for during prayer-time. On the second day, the weather was so hot that no one could walk. The order was given to the Muslims to dismount their horses. Then they fell into such a deep sleep that all of the bitter events that had happened in the territory of Bani Mustalaq were forgotten. Later, all traces of this event were forgotten.5
Hypocrites claim that the sustenance of humans is in their own hands. But they are neglectful of the important principle that the sustenance of humans is under the control of Allah. Allah, who gives sustenance to his enemies, would never let His own friends remain in a state of hunger and difficulty. All of the treasures of the earth and the skies are under the control of Allah.
This great system of life, where sustenance is granted to everything on every corner of the world is wisely controlled by Allah. People of faith will be relieved from economic hardships through resistance and strong belief. Only impatient groups will fall and eventually yield to the deviant ideas of influential people.
Righteous people, with the strength that comes from faith and patience, make their enemy understand that eventually economic embargos will be lifted and that they will have to change their minds. This reality was made apparent in the very beginning of Islam, through the events of Sh‛ib Abu Talib.
The hypocrites claimed that honor and strength came from possessing land and water. They thought that the Muhajirin were despised and wretched because they possessed less land than the Ansar.
They were unaware of the fact that sometimes these possessions result in despicableness, helplessness and being despised by others. In reality, both honor and dishonor come from the inside. What is meant here by “inside” is the faith that carries man from the depths of wretchedness to the peak of honor. For this reason, the Qur’an says that honor is for the believers; it belongs to those who have faith.
A person of faith, one who believes in human principles, ethical values and the Day of Judgment, is not fooled by many of the world's tricks. The possibility of worldly gain cannot lure him into falling for such tricks. He would rather die protecting his honor and his pure soul than live a life of dishonor. He believes dying honorably is nobler than liven dishonorably. He deems an honorable death to be a victory, while he deems a dishonorable life to be a form of imprisonment.
The Commander of the Faithful (a) has alluded to this point by saying: “To die is to be truly alive. Real life, a life of honor, is martyrdom.”
Everyone witnessed how the Prophet (S) and the believers behaved during the events surrounding Bani Mustalaq. Fourteen centuries have passed, and still Muslims mention the prophet's and the believers' names with the utmost respect. But ‛Abd Allah bin Ubay and his followers lived the rest of their lives in dishonor. This dishonor became so intense that his own son was ready to execute him, but the Prophet did not allow him to do that.6