By: Kamoru Sodiq, Osun
Fellow brethren, I am sure you will be wondering on what the logic and choice of my title is all about. Please, calm down! The second-coming of Jesus is not now and today and the end-time is still far from imagined. In fact, I’m not bringing any abracadabra or metaphysical arguments on the table. Be that as it may, let me publicly express my open and secret wonderment about our dear beloved Islam. Right from the prophetic genesis, Islam has remained intact and well-rounded. It has built men of uncanny faith and impeccable track record. It has raised and watered spiritual and terrestial empires on the earth surface, with the motto “in justice and truth we stand.” This ummah of Islam has dashed-out the best of mankind, the grundnorm of laws, the lasting world order, the untouchable book and the greatest civilization to humanity.
In order to situate the phenomenon in a proper perspective, a little historical highlight will be necessary. Don’t forget, all the civilizations started in east before west. We have the Phoenician civilization, the Persian civilization, the Babylonian civilization, the Chinese civilization and lots more others. Later, power changed hands, it shifted all the way down to west, during the days of the Greek philosophy and the legislation of Romans. Diametrically, it returned back to the east during the Arabian Islamic civilization that established the state of justice and charity and led the whole world with faith and science. The civilization taught the world how a revolution and reformation should be, that it is about giving and not taking, it is about sacrifice and not benefit. Remember, this sillicon valley (civilization) was midwifed by men and not spirits.
Also, the first and finest Islamic community was established by the prophet Muhammad and his companions in Medinah in 622 A.D. In Islamic history, we have three pre-eminents eras. The generation of the prophet (the companions) topping the ranking-ladder, with the first generation after them (the tabii) and the second generation (the tabii) following closely and successively in descending order. As it is maintained by the prophet in his word ” the best people are those living in my generation, then, those coming after them, then, those coming after (the second generation).” So, the companions founded our pristine community and laid-down the master-plan for future perfection. Prophet Muhammad was thus the commander-in-chief of the community. And I want to believe you that, it is trite introducing who prophet Muhammad is, even, to the heavenly creatures!
In case, you are still living past your time or debating who he is, it was the British philosopher by the name Thomas Carlyle- I deliberately used a non-muslim, who won the Noble Prize for his book ” The Heroes ” who wrote: ” It is a great shame for anyone to listen to the accusation that Islam is a lie and that Muhammad was a fabricator and a deceiver. We saw that he remained steadfast upon his principles, with firm determination, kind and generous, compassionate, pious, virtuous with real manhood, hardworking. Besides all these qualities, he was lenient with others, tolerant, kind, cheerful and praiseworthy and perhaps he would joke and tease his companions. His face was radiant as if he had light within him to illuminate the darkness of nights; he was a great man by nature who was not educated in a school nor nurtured by a teacher as he was in need of any of this.” Those of you saying Muhammad is a dictator, perish the thought. Muhammadan law is barbaric and inhuman, it is a sheer balderdash!
Anyway, let’s not blow too much grammar and go straight-away to the business. The reason I’m flexing muscle like a pugilist is that, I intend to pay my perfunctory visit to the companions and goad them job-weldone! For starters and most nominal Muslims, what he/ she understands by the companions are the four rightly guided khalifas (leaders). Featuring, Abu Bakr Siddiq, Umar Ibn Khattab, Uthman Ibn Affan and Ali Ibn Abu Talib. And if you ask me, it is a CAPITAL NO! The companions were even more than eight hundreds! Are you shocked? And the length and breadth of this piece can never exhaust their list, thus, logic dictates that, some parts be used to represent the whole. But, they are duely and behoovely recognized in their collective capacity as a generation. The price of gratitude is heavy and the tank of recognition is unlimited. I’m precisely crossing-out five out of them which represent important pillars in lslam, spanning from martyrdom to knowledge, ascetism, hadith (prophet’s tradition) and the Holy Quran.
Just around Ramadan this year, the Nigerian Muslim community was greatly perturbed and rattled by the spate of deadly criticisms and vicious attack launched against the companions of the prophet. (More particularly Abu Hurairah, the uncommon general in charge of hadith), you don’t have to wonder about my fast-generalization, injury to one is injury to all. The tsunami eruption was exploded by one rambunctious Islamic cleric, together with his carpetbaggers and bootlickers in their road to self-annihilation. To him, he believes Abu Hurairah must be destroyed totally and instantly. They never acknowledged him for anything good. He never stops there, he bullied every Sunni adherents calling them wailing-wailers and such nonsense. Such is the way of man’s inhumanity against man, but when Allah is with you who can be against you? They have vigoriously and rigoriously searched every corners looking for any trash to splash at him but the stains have been rather laughable and nothing indelible.
Thanks to the voices of truth who rose up for defense. We must salute the intervention and epic response brokered by the likes of Sheikh Sarumi from Ilorin, Sheikh Abdul-Mojeed Imran Eleha from Lagos and others. We must never forget the influencial roles played by various Islamic groups in the country. “The Right Path Islamic Organization” in Ilorin took more than cursory interest. They designed and stagged two powerful and epoch-making public enlightments programmes in Ilorin which attracted Islamic Leading lights from different parts of the country, to give the aristocratically spoilt child a bitter lesson of his life. Anyhow, that is a topic for another day.
Back to the terrestrial angels, I think in all honesty, equity demands that whatever legendary that befits the prophet overtly befit the companions. The secret is simple and straightforward, it is a simple elementary logic principle. They were the one who went all out in their collective wise and mights to campaign and suffer for Islamic movement. It then naturally follows that, they must take credit for whatever success the prophet achieves and face the public odium for any error of ommission or commission. God forbid they failed! They disgrace will be too monumental to bear. So, they win together and fail together. Western-style!
I know you will agree with me that, for any ideology to germinate and blossom into full-blown system and civilization, a lot of water must have passed under the bridge. Soul lost, homes forsook, effort exerted, power sacked, future sacrificed and lots unspoken tragedies. I believe this is the situation our beloved prophet Muhammad and his companions have found themselves. They are two gifted phenomenon. One supporting the other. We saw that, the companions have traveled by sea and air in search of the proverbial Golden fleece (Islam), they have fought tooth and nail to midwife the possibility of Islamic civilization against the acidic and acerbic challenges. They have seen the prophet in good times when he was soaring like an eagle and in his topsy-turvy state, when the ruthless hand of faith has dealt some fatal blows on him. A day was a day in Tai’f! No matter what the prophet accomplishes, the companions hold the copyright to his authentic story. And They are the authors of life who have seen him when no one else was with him.
Little wonder, in our own wit, if we want to carry out a super-project and want the best result. We approach and select the best brains available. The selection of companions for the prophet was a similar fact and even more in credibility. Definitely, the companions are brain-blazers and super-technocrats. They got better than them for that historic assignment. On a personal note, I have reasoned hither and tither to challenge fate and always undergo a stream of consciousness at supersonic speed. Where their selection? Why can’t us make the list? Why can’t the glorious message of prophet Muhammad be in our time? What can we do to avert history? What can we do to meet them for good and for better? I was in this interior monologue lest I saw the hand of fate in it and that was it, God has spoken and no one ever appeals the cases he has decided already.
Whether in the flight of fancy or in broad-day reality, it is now beyond argument that, the companions are extral-terrestial being and have accorded the Rock star status in history. And don’t ask why, they are the star-studded who accelerated Islamic civilization into the super-league, changed the world beyond recognition and lay the golden egg of life (Islam). Contrary to the singsong and worn-out impression created by Western-powers that Muslims did not parade laurels. Muslims continue to make great feats in history cue Prophet Muhammad, Abubakr Siddiq, Umar Ibn Khattab, Uthman Ibn Affan, Ali Ibn Abi-Talib, Umar Ibn Abdul-Azeez, Ibn Sina, Ibn Khaldun, Salauhudeen Al-Ayubi; the Great, Sheikh Hassan Bana, the Martyr and others, that the world will continue to bemoan their absence till tomorrow. Rather than importing ideas, principles and mentors who are themselves fraudulent from east or west, Muslims should borrow leave from this generation with records yet to be surpassed anywhere anytime in history as the world collapses in stages.
Back to the mystical companions, the little am projecting here is just like a mini-atom in a mighty ocean. Maybe you don’t know, ABDULLAHI IBN ABASS IBN ABDUL-MUTTALIB IBN HASHIM, the prophet’s uncle, stands tall in Islamic world as the the scholar of this nation and the young leader of the elderly. It is gratifying to state that this epithet does not come on a platter of gold, it was in tandem with his vast knowledge and enlightened mind. And the real secret behind his intellectual tango was by means of a questioning tongue and reasoning mind. As for Ibn Abass, he dazzles men’s heart whenever he talks, his brilliance and intelligence is extremely blistering, his argument is as bright as sunlight, his gentleness and humility is staggering, in fact no exaggeration of him was regarded as excessive. At this turning, let the Islamic future scholars come around and have their takeaway! Despite the rock of Gibraltar status of Ibn Abass in knowledge, he never considered his discussion and conversation as a battle of intellects. On the contrary, he considered it as a straightforward path to visualize and realize truth. Period!
And now pave the way for this legend. Come to us all people of faith, come to us all lovers of highness, and you too, come in anyway you can and strive your utmost, come hurrying and submitting! come and see how Allah’s religion built men. Come and see the commander-in-chief of the martyrs! His name is KHUBAIB IBN ADIY, a bold warrior and daring fighter. He belongs to the Aws tribe in Medinah. One day, he was set-off on an expedition by prophet Muhammad along side ten others led by AASIM IBN THAABIT, in order to know the movements and preparations of the Quraish for a new battle. The leader with eight others was wounded and died as martyrs. Khubaiab and Zaid Ibn Ad-Dithinnah was tricked and tied up. They were later sold to the polytheist in Makkah. The name of Khubaib reached everyone’s ear and those who had lost their fathers and leaders in the Battle of Badr competed in purchasing him in order to take their own pound of flesh.
They moved in spite and hatred. He was eventually sold and hell was let-loose. At the clmax of it all, he was taken to a place called “At- Taniim” where he would be crucified. During this trying moments, Khubaib’s faith was like sun in strenght, rock in firmness and burning in braveness. Perhaps, this was the first of its kind in Arab history to crucify a man and then kill him on a cross. Not far away from the scene, birds and buzzards were flying around as if waiting for the butchers to end their task and do their own part by approaching the fresh body to have a sumptuous meal. The group of Malicious polytheist retired to their dens in Makkah while the dead body of the martyr stayed there sorrowfully guarded by a group of Quraishi spearmen. His life is as superstitious and mysterious as his death.Till today, no one knows where Khubaib’s grave lies. Farewell to the hero on the cross, a martyr to the end as he disappeared into the cold night of death…
The banquet of recognition takes turn at the garden of asceticism and the Honeywell of piety, and the uncanny protagonist is UMAIR IBN SA’D, the matchless and a saint per excellence even in the trial of power and authority. A believer in whose backbone and ribs ran faith rather than blood. The toga of his ascetism is uncommon. He sleeps and dream faith. He is always running-away from the light of fame and withdrawing into the calmness of shadow. You hardly find him in the front rows except in prayer (solat) or in jihad, hoping to be one of the martyrs. He is the toast of all the companions. He is the delight of their eyes and the darling of their hearts. For you to know him the better, just as we know that Umar Ibn Khattab chose his governors as cautiously and delicately as if choosing his destiny. He appointed Umair as the Governor of Homs and later re-appointed him, and could you imagine believe, he repudiated the golden offer with complete composure saying ” Those were old days, I won’t work for you or anyone else!”
It was a candid Umair Ibn Adiy who summed up the courage and gave an historic food-for-thought for any would-be local and international certified critics of Islam and Muslims when he was the governor of Homs. Tellingly he said: ” Islam is a well-fortified wall and a firm gate. As for the wall, that is justice, and the gate is truth. If the wall is torn down and the gate destroyed, then Islam looses its protective strength. Islam remains well-fortified as long as its reigns is mighty. The mighty of Its reigns cannot be realized by killing with swords or by slashing with whips; rather by the fulfilment of truth and justice!” Overtly apt!
Just as they usually say, those who own extral-ordinary gifts often pay the price at a time when they should receive a reward or thanks. Nothing describes this noble companion than this proverbial saying. Welcome on board to the world of hadith, the envy of all eyes and the memory of the Revelation Era! It is the planet of ABU HURAIRAH. The greatest memorizer and reporter of hadith in Islamic history. He could give any of the companions a ride with his gift of life or put bluntly, God-given endowment. This great school of hadith went to the prophet in 7 A.D. to embrace Islam. Amazingly, he only spent four years with prophet Muhammad before his death. But this four years was loaded and full of virtuous. During this time, he would not part from the prophet except to heed the call of nature.Meanwhile, he was neither the prophet’s scribe but only learned by heart.
Before his coming to Islam, there were many war-heroes, propagators of faith, living-martyrs, jurisprudents, teachers of ascetism among the companions. But for Abu Hurairah,believing that he came too late, he was ready to pay for whatever he had missed and lacked with his assets. He picked the gauntlet and took the burden of keeping the legacy of Islam to heart and transmitting it to the coming generations. This was the role his talent permits him to play and he played it to the fullest without sagging. During the agonizing times, in order for him to accompany the messenger of Allah, he suffered more than church rats and battered with hunger like nobody else, because he was a poor man. So, this is Abu Hurairah, a latecomer and a great achiever. This is a fountain of hope and lesson for all that never say never!
If you hold the Holy Quran with your hands and concentrate your eyes upon it and you go on page by page, remember someone did the hard and dirty job. Right now, I wish to categorically and with all emphasis at my command present to you the savvy drammatis personae, the compiler and drafter of the Holy Quran, venerable ZAID IBN THAABIT. When roses of honour are scattered on all who deserves an hype of a rarefied eldorado for the compilation and preservation of the Holy Quran, Ibn Thaabit’s equity will be stupendous! He was the one destiny employed with the most noble task in Islamic history. He was an Ansaar from Medinnah. He embraced Islam at the age of eleven years old. He is the proud secretary to the Prophet and represent honour and respect among the companions.
If you can recall vividly, the Holy Quran was revealed for good twenty-three solid years in piecemeal as the circumstances dictate to serve as a guide for the new nation built in reality, Zaid Inn Thaabit follows this historical trajectory of the compilation of the Holy Quran from the time of the prophet Muhammad to Abubakr Siddiq, Umar Ibn Khattab and finally Uthman Ibn Affan when the Holy Quran was standardized, sealed and mass-circulated wide and far Islamic clime as we have it today untouchable, intact and stunning. May Allah bless the soul of the sculptor of Holy Quran, Zaid Ibn Thaabit and reward him just as he did for the Holy Quran. It is no a hidden fact that I’m a ubiquitous admirer and die-hard advocate of anything about the prophet’s companions. May Allah’s mercy continue to be upon them all.
My dream is for Islamic community to reture to those hacylon days. But unfortunately and tragically, the legacies of this righteous predecessors are now in their various stages of dilapidation and disfiguration. With all intent and purpose, the past is a store of advice. But as Muslims nowadays, we are wasting time and life in a way that has surpassed foolishness to idiocy. After being accustomed to leading the world, we are now paying toll at the backsit! Of course, this is not an acceptable way of life for Muslims especially in this DISCOVERY ERA where major powers compete to utilize every seconds in the seas and in space.
For me , I believe it is not too late to attain that tall dreams. Believe me, there is no doubt that we have many first-class hands and minds in excess but most of them have refused to fly, because they are scary of imaginary wolfs where none exist. And our Ummah is too nebulous and bold to be controlled by a timid sailors. We need eagles who can fly north and south. We must beg our Ummah to wake up from its deep slumber. We have had enough defeat under this current war of attrition that has thrown the Islamic formidability into total oblivion and stark directionless.
This is it. Our righteous predecessors who produced a firmly established and fruitful civilization. Who flaggered the standard of Islam victoriously and proudly. They are loyal to their conviction, tick to their faith and intelligent to boot. The wait is over. The spirit of Islam has set-down from the bottomless reservoir of faith, knowledge and heroism. Sing it, lick it, remember it and mass-circulate it! It is an honour for anyone belonging to Islam, for any sect, living in any era. They deserve more than a standing ovation!
Dedicated to the companions of the noble prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). The greatest generation on earth. The highest shareholders in heaven!
Kamoru Sodiq wrote via his e-mail email@example.com