A deep study of the Noble Qur’ān and Hadīth reveals that in the world of religion, there are two main adversaries of the upright religion, i.e., Islām. They are Judaism and Christianity.
During the time of Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam, we find that it was these very same religions that fought and battled (the Muslims) and the ahādīth teach us that in the future, battles will rage against them too. The following verse of the Noble Qur’ān reveals the enthusiasm of these two religions:
«They say, “Be Jews or Christians [so] you will be guided.” Say, “Rather, [we follow] the religion of Ibrāhīm, inclining toward truth, and he was not of the polytheists.”»
The Noble Qur’ān explained the ‘straight path’ (in Sūrah al-Fātiha) to be the path of ‘the favored’ and the lost are those ‘upon whom His wrath is’ and ‘the astray’. The method adopted by the Noble Qur’ān in its explanation is that the complete understanding of ‘the path of those He has favored’ cannot be fully grasped without explaining what the path of the lost and astray is.
Muslims recite the du’ā’ in Sūrah Al-Fātiha on a daily basis during the five obligatory prayers. This indicates that the most amount of danger lurks for those who adhere to Hanīfiyyah, i.e., the straight path of Islāmic monotheism.
A study of the Sīrah books reveals that although Judaism and Christianity were divinely revealed religions, they had established and maintained brotherly bonds with the polytheists. The moment Islām set foot in the world, it was the Jews and Christians that stood in opposition to it together with the polytheists, whereas the demand of sharing the status of being a divinely revealed religion was that they fully help and support the Hanīfī faith. Instead of turning towards polytheism, they should have inclined towards Islām.
However, as Islām progressed, the Jews and Christians increased in their opposition, to the extent that when Makkah Mukarramah was conquered, the polytheists of Arabia laid their arms down and they were satisfied and pleased with the pure sharī’ah. The following announcement was clearly made:
‘Shaytān has become despondent from Musallīs from ever worshipping him in the Arabian Peninsula.’
However, the flags of Judaism and Christianity continued to wave in opposition to Islām and there was hardly a moment that passed in peace for the Muslims. This continued to the final breath of Sayyidunā Muhammad sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam. In fact, one of the final bequests he made was:
‘Remove the Jews and Christians from the Arabian Peninsula.’ [Bukhari, Muslim]
The result of this opposition and the continuous battle was that when Hanīfiyyat acquired authority in the world and Judaism and Christianity were overpowered, and when Judaism and Christianity sometimes acquired authority, then Hanīfiyyat had to remain overpowered.
At this point, it remains clear that despite Judaism and Christianity being totally deformed, Islām gave these religions and their adherents a great deal of consideration, based on these religions being divinely revealed.
Subsequently, before the conquest of Makkah Mukarramah, Islām would give preference to coinciding and agreeing with them, i.e., the divinely revealed religions, when guidance was not yet revealed for new matters that arose. However, even after this, their hearts did not soften. Hence, it was proven that the malice, enmity, and hatred for Islām were not going to leave their bosoms. Therefore, the instruction was given to oppose them and for the future, the Ummah was warned and informed about all those places from where danger could arise from Christianity and Judaism for Islām.
In aspects like fasting, salāh, dressing and appearance, greeting and prayer, wherever the limits of Islām were seen to be similar to those of Judaism and Christianity, the Hanīfiyyah circle was warned to maintain their own limits. Despite this, the foresight of Sayyidunā Muhammad Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam informed that the opposition will one day overpower and the followers of Hanīfiyyah will follow in the footsteps of the Jews and Christians. The following report of Sahīh Bukhārī draws a picture of this:
‘You will definitely follow in the footsteps of those before you, to the extent that even if one of them had to enter the hole of a lizard, you will also follow them into it.’ We, i.e., the Sahābah radiyallāhu ‘anhum, said, ‘O Messenger of Allāh, do you refer to the Jews and Christians?’ He said, ‘Who else?’
In other words, the extent of the insane levels of desire to follow them is such that if any of them had to openly commit adultery with their mothers, then there will be some amongst this Ummah that will do the same.
As long as Islām remained weak, this kind of enthusiasm to follow the Jews and Christians remained in the hearts of the newly reverted.
Abū Wāqid Laythī says:
‘On one occasion we left with Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam towards Khaybar. We had recently embraced Islām. The polytheists of the area had specific and certain tree to hang their swords. We saw this and said, ‘O Messenger of Allāh, stipulate a tree like this for us.’ Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam uttered the takbir in surprise and said, ‘This is similar to what the Banī Isrā’īl said, ‘O Mūsā, make a deity for us like they have.’ Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam then said, ‘You will definitely follow the Jews and Christians.’
However, as Islām gained power and strength, this kind of feeling and enthusiasm diminished, to the extent that after a short time, the situation became very different. This is seen in the following narration,
Sayyidunā Miqdād Ibn Aswad radiyallāhu ‘anhu said at the time of preparation for the Battle of Badr, ‘O Messenger of Allāh, we shall not say to you what the nation of Mūsā ‘alayhi as-salām said, ‘O Mūsā, you and your deity go and fight.’ We shall fight on your right and left, in front of you and behind you.’
Now, compare the two forms of enthusiasm displayed. You will understand that the desire to emulate and follow during a time of weakness – as uttered involuntarily – was extremely hated and lowly at the second juncture, i.e., the time of strength and power. However, the drawing point and focus of the emulation at both junctures was the Banī Isrā’īl.
During the time of weakness, the enthusiasm to follow the Banī Isrā’īl returned and the emulation and imitation of the Banī Isrā’īl that was lowly and hated now became desirous and worthy of envy once again. The ahādīth discussed above explain that whatever was astonishing in the past, that would become the inevitable in the future, to the extent that if a Jew or Christian had to commit incest with his mother, then this Ummah will follow such shamelessness in time to come too.
From this desire to emulate and imitate the Jews and Christians, it follows that when this Ummah will follow them in everything – whether rational or irrational – then definitely whatever deviation had set into the Jews and Christians – the Muslim Ummah will do the same. The result of this is that whatever deviated groups came about amongst the Banī Isrā’īl, they will come about in the Muslim Ummah too.
RELATED: The Secularization of Judaism
However, what is cause for regret is that when something high falls, then it drops to the lowest ebb. Therefore, when the Muslim Ummah was high during the time of advancement and progress, then during the time of their fall, they will be extremely low. Hence, we find that in the quality of being divided and split, the Muslim Ummah has gone even further ahead than the Jews and Christians. In conclusion it is said that those who hold the highest position, i.e., A’lā ‘Illiyyīn, when they are deprived of faith and good deeds, then they will fall to the lowest of the low, i.e., Asfal As-Sāfilīn.
May Allāh Ta’ālā save us from falling to such lows, and may He keep us steadfast upon īmān and Islām until our final moments. Āmīn
Adapted & Translated from: Tarjumān-us-Sunnah vol.1 pp. 27-30
Follow Mufti Abdullah on Twitter: @MuftiAMoolla