One of the hot topics of discussion in Muslim gatherings nowadays is, “how those Muslims back then were so awesome and we don’t even come close”. Such discussions usually end up inflicting gloom and hopelessness in everyone.
Yes, it is true they were very inspiring. They ruled over half of the world. They were leaders in all sorts of skills and disciplines; be it warfare or medicine or banking system. We see the beautiful spider’s web of Muslim history crafted to perfection but we don’t get hold of the end of the thread so we can unravel the root cause. What was the pivot point that kept them going? Any ideas? What does differentiate us from them?
It was their “paradigm”. They shifted their paradigm wholly. They didn’t just read a few words enough to make them Muslim, they made that One God, Allah their focus. We, on the other hand, get distracted very quickly. It’s good to look for answers, to use science as a tool, it broadens the mind, but to rely on it completely? That’s overdoing it.
We know that earthquakes are caused by the moving of the tectonic plates and we hope furiously with our fingers crossed that some new discovery is made which can limit the movement of these plates. We know that eclipses are caused by the moon coming in front of the sun and we’re satisfied. We’re satisfied as long as science can explain how things happen. But this is not enough! Science does explain the ‘how’ part but what about the ‘why’ part?
Looking into that ‘why’ and accepting the first answer that it is the will of the Creator and then looking for other answers is what we’re missing. We rely on science, we rely on our faculties, we rely on what media says, we rely on what the palmists and astronomers say, we rely on anything but on the real source believing on which makes us Muslim. No matter what befell them, they turned to Allah. They knew all good and bad comes from Him alone. They didn’t spend undue time on what the zodiac signs say and what the parrot pulls out of its basket.
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ used to get anxious when strong winds blew or when eclipses happened or when a storm came. He knew these are signs in the creation shown by the Creator of this universe. We should seek Allah’s refuge, remember Him and seek forgiveness from Him when we come across anything strange or out of place.
Our beloved Prophet Muhammad’s ﷺ reaction to such happenings is seen in the books of hadith:
Sahih Bukhari, 3206:
`Aisha said If the Prophet (ﷺ) saw a cloud In the sky, he would walk to and fro in agitation, go out and come in, and the colour of his face would change, and if it rained, he would feel relaxed.” So `Aisha knew that state of his. So the Prophet (ﷺ) said, I don’t know (am afraid), it may be similar to what happened to some people referred to in the Holy Qur’an in the following Verse: — “Then when they saw it as a dense cloud coming towards their valleys, they said, ‘This is a cloud bringing us rain!’ Nay, but, it is that (torment) which you were asking to be hastened a wind wherein is severe torment.” (46.24)
He took guidance from the Quran and what it says about winds.
Similarly, in Sahih Bukhari, 3202:
Narrated `Abdullah bin `Abbas:
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “The sun and the moon are two signs amongst the Signs of Allah. They do not eclipse because of someone’s death or life. So, if you see them (i.e. eclipse), remember Allah (i.e. pray).
This is what we’re supposed to do instead of tweeting and updating statuses on social media. It’s the perspective which needs to change. May Allah guide us all. Ameen.