Every person in this world has the desire to live ‘happily ever after’. We keep searching for ways and means through which we can fulfil this dream of immortal peace and comfort. Some give their lives while searching for it. But alas, we do not know that no matter how much happiness we attain in this world, it’ll all be left behind when death, the unavoidable, overpowers us.
This world was not made for us to be ultimately happy in. It is temporary and full of strife. True and everlasting happiness is only to be found in Paradise. The place that no one is guaranteed to go to, no one has a surefire one-way ticket in hand. Everyone awaits to see the results of their attempt after the chance of attempt has been taken away from them.
But there were those in the past who were given the ‘ticket’ of Paradise during their lifetime. They were told that Paradise would be their ultimate abode. One wonders in amazement, “why were they so special?” “What did they do to deserve that?” And then, “if only I was given that ticket, I’d breathe in relief and spend the rest of my life in peace of mind and comfort”.
But surprisingly, they did not! They strove a lot more than you and me, before being given the glad tidings of Paradise and after being given them. They did not stop. And Allah knew that about them already. If we really want Paradise, then they are our role models, we have to follow in their footsteps.
One such person who was guaranteed Paradise was Zubair bin Al-‘Awwam.
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Every prophet used to have a Hawari (i.e. helper), and my Hawari is Az-Zubair bin Al-`Awwam.”
[Sahih Al-Bukhari, Book 62, Hadith 68]
The Prophet (ﷺ) himself praised him and gave him a title of honour. But this was not merely a title of honour bestowed on him out of love rather a title that had history of bravery and sacrifice behind it. And this is how those people were who were given the glad tidings of Paradise. They had huge sacrifices, stories of great bravery, they stood up when no one else did. It wasn’t easy. It took courage and sincerity that we can only think of. Nothing good is ever achieved without a hefty price. They gave their blood, sweat and wealth to earn Allah’s pleasure and Allah rewarded them with His Mercy and Bounties and promised them Paradise.
Why was he entitled such?
One of the great battles fought at the time of the Prophet (ﷺ) was the Battle of Confederates*. Many groups came together and surrounded the City of Medina, where the Muslims lived, from all sides. It was a tough time for Muslims. They were less than half of their enemy in number and their resources were quite meagre as compared to their opponents. At such a delicate moment, the allies of Muslims who were supposedly protecting them from one side, turned against them slyly. It was a time of unrest, exhaustion, bleak prospects apparently, and one demanding huge courage and sincerity.
At that time, the Prophet (ﷺ) called out for volunteers for a dangerous task.
On the day of Al-Ahzab (i.e. clans), Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, ‘Who will bring us the news of the people (i.e. the clans of Quraish infidels)?” Az-Zubair said, “I.” The Prophet (ﷺ) again said, “Who will bring us the news of the people?” AzZubair said, “I.” The Prophet (ﷺ) again said, “Who will bring us the news of the people?” Az-Zubair said, “I.” The Prophet (ﷺ) then said, “Every prophet has his Hawari (i.e. disciple, special helper); my helper is Az-Zubair.
[Sahih Al-Bukhari, Book 64, Hadith 157]
At such an occasion, Az-Zubair rose, not once but thrice. His coming forward despite the risk of his life and honour was what earned him this title of honour. And indeed, he deserved it.
Today, we might not have to go to the battlefield or act as a reconnoitre at great risk. But we do have our own tough situations to deal with. Each one of us has their own test. We have one battle or the other raging in our hearts and in our lives, and defeating the enemy of our own self, our desires, our doubts, our thoughts, our laziness, defeating the enemy Shaytan might demand the greatest courage and sincerity of all. These are our battles and our sacrifices at these times is what would be counted. Our big or small efforts and struggles is what will earn us Paradise or make us lose it. Because indeed, Allah does not look at the result only rather He considers the efforts and sincerity.
May Allah give us the courage and opportunity to face our troubles and overcome them, and may He bless us with a sincerity that makes our efforts pure for His Pleasure alone. Ameen.
*Read about the Battle of Confederates on Pg. 156: http://www.kalamullah.com/Books/Ar-Raheeq%20Al-Makhtum.pdf