Narrated by ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar: The Prophet took hold of my shoulders and said, “Be in the world as if you were a stranger or a wayfarer.” Ibn ‘Umar used to say: “When you survive till the evening, do not expect to be alive till the morning; and when you survive till the morning do not except to be alive till the evening; (Do good deeds) when you are in good health before you fall sick, and (do good deeds) as long as you are alive before death strikes.” (Al-Bukhari)
Narrated by Muslim (145) that Abu Hurayrah (R.A) said: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: “Islam began as something strange and will revert to being strange as it began, so give glad tidings to the strangers.”
عن أبي هريرة رضي الله عنه عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم أنه قال: بدأ الإسلام غريبا وسيعود غريبا كما بدأ فطوبى للغرباء
What does this hadith mean?
Al-Sindi said in Haashiyat Ibn Maajah:
“Strange” refers to the small number of its adherents. The basic meaning of ghareeb (a stranger) is being far from one’s homeland. “And will revert to being strange” refers to the small number of those who will adhere to it’s true teachings even though it’s followers are many.
“So give glad tidings to the strangers” means – those who follow Islam’s commands and become strangers in their society due to this; these people have glad tidings of paradise or heaven from Allah. “Tooba (glad tidings)” has been interpreted as meaning Paradise or a great tree in Paradise. This shows that supporting Islam and following it’s commands may require leaving one’s homeland and being patient in bearing the difficulties of being a stranger, as was the case in the beginning.
In Sharh Saheeh Muslim, Al-Nawawi quoted al-Qaadi ‘Iyaad as saying concerning the meaning of this hadeeth:
“Islam began among a few individuals, then it spread and prevailed, then it will reduce in numbers until there are only a few left, as it was in the beginning.”
The hadith implies that only a handful of Muslims are truly on the right path, whilst the rest have deflected and strayed from it; picking and choosing what they want to follow whilst criticising others for being ‘too extreme’ or ‘wrong’. I can’t help but think of how the Sahaba; the true followers of Islam which every Muslim should look up to, were persecuted and killed by Quraish for following and preaching a new religion which was ‘strange’ to them. And how now this same persecution, oppression and ‘silencing’ has been taking place, and still is taking place in society today. Muslims all over the world are being persecuted for what they believe. We saw this in Syria, in Egypt, in Tunisia, in America, in England.. everywhere.
This post is not supposed to highlight the plight of Muslims around the world, nor incite any type of ‘victimising’ feelings amongst Muslims who read this, but rather to show how History repeats itself, without us even realising. And how the prophet’s words have never been truer than they are today. Long gone are the days of the Umayyads, Abbasids, Fatimids, Mamluks and Ottomans; where Islam prevailed, whether in the wrong way or right way, it doesn’t matter, what matters is that the notion of Islam was there, it was prevalent, and it definitely was not ‘strange’, alienated or demonised as it is today.
Strange indeed has Islam become, strange have the followers of Islam become, and strange I am in a world full of difficulties, corruption and chaos.
I will write up a blogpost in the future inshallah explaining how this hadith relates to me directly.
May Allah guide us all, and keep us on the right path which will lead us both to success in this world, and success in the hereafter. ‘Ameen.
غرباء … غرباء … غرباء … غرباء
غرباء ولغير الله لا نحني الجباه
غرباء وارتضيناها شعارا للحياه
إن تسل عنا فإنا لا نبالي بالطغاه
نحن جند الله دوما دربنا درب الأباه
نشيد غرباء بصوت سوري حر