Al-Salam ‘Alaykum, this is Syed Ali Imran – and you are listening to the Forties podcast, brought to you by Mizan Institute.
This is episode 17 – Awe & Fear – A Consequence of Sincerity
عَنْ أَبِي عَبْدِ اللَّهِ ع قَالَ: إِنَّ الْمُؤْمِنَ يَخْشَعُ لَهُ كُلُّ شَيْءٍ وَ يَهَابُهُ كُلُّ شَيْءٍ ثُمَّ قَالَ إِذَا كَانَ مُخْلِصاً لِلَّهِ أَخَافَ اللَّهُ مِنْهُ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ حَتَّى هَوَامَ الْأَرْضِ وَ سِبَاعَهَا وَ طَيْرَ السَّمَاءِ.
قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ص إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَنْظُرُ إِلَى صُوَرِكُمْ وَ أَعْمَالِكُمْ وَ إِنَّمَا يَنْظُرُ إِلَى قُلُوبِكُمْ وَ نِيَّاتِكُمْ.
Hadith #16: Imam Sadiq (a) has said: Everything fears a believer and is intimidated by him, if he was sincere for Allah (swt), Allah will make everything fear him, even the animals and predators of the earth, and the birds of the skies.
The Prophet (p) said: Allah does not look your face and your deeds, rather he only looks at your hearts and intentions.
This narration says that a believer who maintains sincerity in their deeds, their opponents, their enemies, the disbelievers, those who wish only harm for the believe ers, will fear them and be intimidated by them. Early Islamic history has many examples of this principle, especially when we look at some of the battles of the Prophet (p). The companions of the Prophet (p), their sincerity in fighting in the way of Allah (swt) was so great that there it would intimidate and instigate fear in the hearts of their enemies who tried their utmost to finish off the Muslims, or assassinate the Prophet (p). In fact, we know there were times that the Muslims were out numbered by the disbelievers, and yet because God cast fear in the hearts of the enemies, they fell to that pressure and would eventually end up losing the battles to the Muslims. Some of these battles and confrontations were as follows:
1) In the Battle of Badr, we read in the Qur’ān:
إِذْ يُوحِي رَبُّكَ إِلَى الْمَلَائِكَةِ أَنِّي مَعَكُمْ فَثَبِّتُوا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا ۚ سَأُلْقِي فِي قُلُوبِ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا الرُّعْبَ فَاضْرِبُوا فَوْقَ الْأَعْنَاقِ وَاضْرِبُوا مِنْهُمْ كُلَّ بَنَانٍ
[8:12] [Remember] when your Lord inspired to the angels, “I am with you, so strengthen those who have believed. I will cast fear into the hearts of those who disbelieved, so strike [them] upon the necks and strike from them every fingertip.”
It was this very fear that was cast in the hearts of the disbelievers that pushed them away and made them lose to the Muslims.
2) In the Battle of Uhad when the polytheists were returning back from the battle towards Makkah, Abū Sufyān regretted his decision and decided to turn back around hoping to finish off the Muslims completely. When Abū Sufyān turned around with his army, the news of this reached the Prophet (p), upon which he dispatched some of his companions to go threaten and pursue the enemy forces, informing them that the Muslims are fully aware of the enemy’s planning. When Abū Sufyān realized what the Muslims were doing, the following verse of the Qur’ān was revealed:
سَنُلْقِي فِي قُلُوبِ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا الرُّعْبَ بِمَا أَشْرَكُوا بِاللَّهِ مَا لَمْ يُنَزِّلْ بِهِ سُلْطَانًا ۖ وَمَأْوَاهُمُ النَّارُ ۚ وَبِئْسَ مَثْوَى الظَّالِمِينَ
[3:151] We will cast fear into the hearts of those who disbelieve for what they have associated with Allah of which He had not sent down [any] authority. And their refuge will be the Fire, and wretched is the residence of the wrongdoers.
After Allah cast fear into their hears, they decided to turn around and go back to Makkah.
3) The third incident was in the Battle of Banī Naḍīr in the 4th hijrī. They were a Jewish tribe who had a treaty with the Prophet (p) in which they were not allowed to fight with the Muslims, nor assist the enemies of Islam. After the battle of Uhad, 40 people from this tribe broke the treaty and went to Makkah to unite with the polytheists of Makkah and to launch an attack against the Muslims.
The angel Jibra’il was ordered by Allah to go and inform the Prophet (p) of what has happened, and commanded the Prophet (p) to go and launch a pre-emptive attack. When the enemies heard that the Prophet (p) was planning an attack, they escaped to their own castles and forts thinking the Muslims will be unable to break through. The Prophet and his companions surrounded their forts, and the following verse was revealed:
هُوَ الَّذِي أَخْرَجَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ مِن دِيَارِهِمْ لِأَوَّلِ الْحَشْرِ ۚ مَا ظَنَنتُمْ أَن يَخْرُجُوا ۖ وَظَنُّوا أَنَّهُم مَّانِعَتُهُمْ حُصُونُهُم مِّنَ اللَّهِ فَأَتَاهُمُ اللَّهُ مِنْ حَيْثُ لَمْ يَحْتَسِبُوا ۖ وَقَذَفَ فِي قُلُوبِهِمُ الرُّعْبَ ۚ يُخْرِبُونَ بُيُوتَهُم بِأَيْدِيهِمْ وَأَيْدِي الْمُؤْمِنِينَ فَاعْتَبِرُوا يَا أُولِي الْأَبْصَارِ
[59:2] It is He who expelled the ones who disbelieved among the People of the Scripture from their homes at the first gathering. You did not think they would leave, and they thought that their fortresses would protect them from Allah ; but [the decree of] Allah came upon them from where they had not expected, and He cast fear into their hearts [so] they destroyed their houses by their [own] hands and the hands of the believers. So take warning, O people of vision.
For almost 15 days the Muslims had surrounded the forts of the tribe of Banu Naḍīr, when they eventually realized they could not put up any further defense against the Muslims. They became fearful of their fate and decided to take a peace offer by the Prophet (p) on the condition that they leave the vicinities of Medina. Many of them went to Syria while others settled in Khaybar.
4) A fourth incident involved the tribe of Banī Qurayẓah, another Jewish tribe which had a treaty with the Prophet (p). The Banī Qurayẓah broke their part of the treaty during the Battle of Khandaq and joined the enemies to fight against the Muslims.
When the enemies had lost the battle of Khandaq and the enemies had lost all strength, they gave up and began to escape. The Prophet (p) was commanded by Allah (swt) to go and deal with Banī Qurayẓah who had taken refuge in their forts and bring them to justice for their treachery. The following verse was revealed for that occasion:
وَأَنزَلَ الَّذِينَ ظَاهَرُوهُم مِّنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ مِن صَيَاصِيهِمْ وَقَذَفَ فِي قُلُوبِهِمُ الرُّعْبَ فَرِيقًا تَقْتُلُونَ وَتَأْسِرُونَ فَرِيقًا
[33:26] And He brought down those who supported them among the People of the Scripture from their fortresses and cast fear into their hearts….
Allah (swt) placed fear in their hearts, and the Banī Qurayẓah finally surrendered to the Muslims.
All of these events show us that a sincere believer is one who does not fear anyone, they are confident and have trust in Allah (swt), and in fact one of the blessings he or she enjoys is that the enemies and those who wish to harm them are the ones who are fearful, the enemies are the ones who will be intimidated by you and they will be the ones at loss.
In the next episode, we’ll read a narration from Lady Fāṭima al-Zahrā’ (s) in which another positive consequence of maintaining sincerity has been mentioned.
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Sayyid Ali studied in the seminary of Qom from 2012 to 2021, while also concurrently obtaining a M.A in Islamic Studies from the Islamic College of London in 2018. In the seminary he engaged in the study of legal theory, jurisprudence and philosophy, eventually attending the advanced kharij of Usul and Fiqh in 2018. He is currently completing his Masters of Education at the University of Toronto and is the head of a private faith-based school in Toronto, as well as an instructor at the Mizan Institute and Mufid Seminary.