Wednesday, 10 February 2010

“And for women are rights over men similar to those of men over women.” (2:226)

Diraar radiy Allah `anhu, Khawlah bint al Azwar
The debate over the role of women is long, tedious, complicated, and plainly-put embarrassing! In Islam, women’s roles (not to mention the role of men) are clear-cut and have been so for 14 centuries. You would expect them to be very different from the roles of men, but actually they are not. In Islam, there is absolutely no difference between men and women in their relationship with Allah; each soul has to account for its deeds individually on the Day of Account. Women and men have the equal rights to receive reward for good conduct as well as receive punishment for evil conduct.

“And for women are rights over men similar to those of men over women.” (2:226)

There is no battle between the sexes, for both inherit the same duty to do good and strive to gain Allah’s pleasure thus gaining the ultimate reward—Paradise.

“For Muslim men and women, for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for true men and women, for men and women who are patient and constant, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in charity, for men and women who fast, for men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in Allah's praise, for them has Allah prepared forgiveness and great reward.” (33:35)

Notice the expression of equality of men and women in the lines of the Qur’an; men and women are aligned conjointly expressing their equal duties, rights, virtues, and merits. Compare that with the long–held belief of Christian fathers that the woman is to blame for seducing Adam into eating the apple and thus falling from Grace, as well as take into account woman’s “inherent evilness” affording her the ‘punishment’ of childbirth. In Islam, each person is held accountable for his or her own sins and not the sins of others nor the alleged false sin of his or her mother Eve.

Any act or deed that leads an individual, man or woman, to do good to others, to their own selves, and to their Lord is accounted as part of their role on this Earth. Do good to yourselves by purifying yourselves with acts of worship and acts of charity. Do good to others, first to your parents, your family, and your children. Don’t be accounted on the Day of Reckoning for being negligent of others; give what you have--charity, time, and du’a to others in the community-- Muslim and NonMuslims as well as to those around globe that are in need. Respond to the calling of Your Lord; in obeying him do you recognize His Supreme Authority and Power over you. All these and more are in line with fulfilling an innate core of our roles as Muslims.

 Diraar bn al Azwar radiy Allah `anh.

“I swear by Allah, I will fight in the path of Allah and I will follow those people that turn to Allah. My Lord will never see me turn my back and flee from fighting. If I turn back then I will be disobeying Allah and then I will be from the sinful.”

With this, Diraar bn al Azwar radiy Allah `anhu, saying the takbeer, jumped into the midst of the Roman soldiers and attacked.

Hearing the takbeer, the other Muslims followed suit, and the takbeer echoed on the battlefield and tore the hearts of the Kuffar with fear and ru`b. Diraar radiy Allah `anhu was fighting with such fervour and passion that he struck dead all that came in his way until he came to an enclosure at which the main soldiers were standing around.

He understood that this meant that Darwaan (the general of the Roman army) was going to be here. Knowing this, he charged at the group of soldiers. First he attacked the flag bearer and pierced him with such a blow that he fell there and then. Suddenly his eyes fell on Darwaan. He went towards him.

Near Darwaan was a soldier who was holding a prized ornamental cross. Diraar radiy Allah `anh struck him with a lance which tore his side apart and the cross fell on the floor.

Darwaan on seeing this, sensed his last. He could not but interpret the falling of the cross as a sign of the destruction of him and his army. He got up from his horse, intending to pick the cross up but instantly some Muslims who were nearby got down from their horses to pick it up and encircled Darwaan.

Diraar radiy Allah `anh was still occupied in fighting but when he saw the happenings he said, ‘O group of Muslims, nor is the cross my right, or your right. Hence have no desire of picking it up. When I finish with this Roman dog and his army, I myself will pick it up’.

Darwaan understood Arabic, and when he heard these words he thought of fleeing the battle but his main army officials saw him escaping and said angrily, “Where are you fleeing?”

He replied, “I am fleeing from the fear of this Shaytaan (indicating towards Diraar radiy Allah `anh). He is such a frightful person, why have you ever seen such a repulsive fear-provoking person?”

Diraar radiy Allah `anh sensing that Darwaan was attempting to flee immediately called upon the Muslims. He straightened his spear and with his horse went directly towards him. The Romans also heard his cry and all turned their horses towards him in order to enclose him.

At that moment he was saying, “Death is real, where can I flee from it? Jannah is better than Jahannam. This is my shahaadah, O those who are present, be my witness, and all my efforts and work is only to please my Lord.”

With these words he attacked the Romans that were coming towards him. He finished them and then went further into the enemy lines to find Darwaan.

Some of the Roman soldiers came behind him and slowly slowly they surrounded him from all four sides. He resisted attacks from all sides and whichever soldier his sword fell on, it decreed the death for him. In this way he put to sword many of the bravest and courageous warriors from the Roman army. Then he called to the Muslims, “Surely Allah loves those who fight in His path in ranks, as if they were a solid structure.”

Until now the Muslims had not been aware that Diraar radiy Allah `anhu was surrounded by the Romans, and now they went towards him quickly. Hamraan bn Wardaan reached him and struck him with a spear. It struck Diraar radiy Allah `anh on the right arm. His hand fell to his side, numb in pain.

Like an injured lion, he sprang up again, regaining his composure, he attacked with his spear. Diraar radiy Allah `anh struck at the chest and cleaved his body into two.

When he tried to takeout the spear, as the blade of the spear had gone right through the bone, it came out without the blade. When the Romans saw that his spear was bladeless, they quickly surrounded him, and imprisoned the lion of Islam.

When the Sahaaba radiy Allah `anhum saw this, their grief knew no bounds. They attempted another attack to try and free him but it was of no avail. Now, some of the Muslims lost heart and tried to flee but Raafi` bn `Umayrah Al Taa’ee radiy Allah `anh stopped them saying,

“Where are you going? Do you not know that whosoever flees from the enemies of Allah he will be under the wrath of Allah. Many of the doors of Jannah are opened for the Mujaahideen and for those who are patient. O elevators of the deen, be patient and remember that if one of your soldier, or your leader gets captured, Allah is still alive and He is watching.”

With this, the Muslims rose to fight eagerly and put to sword many of the leaders of the Roman army.
When Khaalid bn al Waleed radiy Allah `anh, found out about Diraar radiy Allah `anh and the shahaadah of the many Muslims, he was very remorseful. He asked, “How many Romans are there?”, “Twelve thousand” was the answer. He replied, “By Allah, I did not know that the number of the enemy was so large, or else I would never have sent the people to their destruction to fight them.” He further asked, “Who is the commander of the army?” It was answered, “Darwaan, the governor of Hims, and Diraar (radiy Allah `anh) had killed his son Hamdaan,” Khaalid radiy Allah `anh said, “There is no might or strength, except of Allah’s, the High and the Great.”

He then sought the advice of Abu `Ubaydah ibn al Jarraah radiy Allah `anh, who told him that he should carry on fighting the Romans. His advice was to keep part of the army with a trustworthy commander whilst Khaalid radiy Allah `anh should go with the rest of the army to fight the Romans. He took heed of the advice and made Maysarah ibn Masrooq radiy Allah `anh, the commander with a thousand soldiers under him and told him not to move from where his contingent was positioned.

Thereafter, addressing his army he said, “Leave your reins free and sharpen your arrows and when you attack the enemy then attack jointly together. It is likely that we will free Diraar radiy Allah `anh if he is alive and then we will be successful. However, if it so happens that the enemy act in haste and make him a shaheed, then inshaa’aAllah al `Azeez, we will surely take revenge and I am sure that Allah Ta`aalaa will not give us grief in regards to him (i.e. they would find him alive).

“Today is the day when truth will reach its goal. When death comes then one does not fear it. I will quench the thirst of my spear with the blood of the eye. Helmet and shield, I will tear apart all. What those that have passed before have achieved, I too will achieve tomorrow.”

Saying this, Khaalid radiy Allah `anh pressed forward when suddenly he saw a rider dressed in black, face covered, on a short necked chestnut brown horse of tall stature. In the riders hand was a long glistening spear, and the style and behaviour indicated towards bravery and valour, and this was apparent from every part of the rider. The rider had on a green `imaamah whose ends were wrapped round from the back and positioned around the chest and was spurring onwards at the forefront of the army.

When Khaalid radiy Allah `anh saw this rider, he said, “O that I knew who this rider was, I swear by Allah, it looks like a brave and valiant person.”

As the rider was going on forward ahead of everyone else, towards the army of the non believers, the Muslim army followed behind.

Raafi` ibn `Umar Al Taa’ee was fighting with the enemies with great perseverance and was confronting them with immense bravery, when he saw Khaalid radiy Allah `anh bringing in his reinforcement and join in the attack. Then suddenly his eyes fell on the rider.

The rider was falling upon the Romans as a falcon would a sparrow and was creating unprecedented panic amongst the Romans. Any soldier that came in the way was slain and in this way the rider advanced more and more inside the core of the Roman army.

Like a flash of lightening was the rider, and in an instant a couple of heads would be put to the sword. A number of soldiers were reduced to ashes and fell on an already large number of fallen Romans and due to this the place stood out from the rest of the battlefield.

When the riders sword would come out from its usage in the army, it was dripping in blood, which caused great anguish and uneasiness in the hearts of the Kuffar and the distress and hopelessness felt by them was obvious.

As the rider was in a difficult position, the rider turned and then came back again with a daring attack. The rider struck and slew the Romans and caused great commotion in the ranks of the most brave of the Roman warriors. Thereafter the rider retreated from the Romans and then went out of sight but the anguish and distress was still felt by the Romans and the attack of the rider had evidently left a mark on the Romans.

Raafi` ibn `Umayrah Al Taa’ee and his soldiers thought that this was Khaalid as who could fight with more valour and courage than him? They were all sure of this until in front of them appeared Khaalid bn Waleed radiy Allah `anh. Raafi` radiy Allah `anh exclaimed loudly, “Then who is this person who is giving his life in the way of Allah without fear and is killing the Kuffar in such numbers?” Khaalid radiy Allah `anh replied, “I swear by Allah, I myself am amazed by the bravery that this person exhibits.” Diraar (not ibn al Azwar) said, “O Ameer, this is surely a strange person who goes right in the midst of the roman army and from right and left kills the soldiers.” Then Khaalid radiy Allah `anh said, “O Muslims, come together and prepare for another attack.”

All the Muslims got their weapons ready and put their spears in place and straightened their rows. Khaalid radiy Allah `anh was in the vanguard. His intention was to make an attack on the Romans when suddenly the rider who was drenched in blood and whose horse was drowning in sweat, appeared going in the direction of the Roman army.

If any Roman soldier got anywhere near the rider then the rider would fight with such bravery that resulted in the death of the Roman. The rider alone and single handedly was fighting with a number of the soldiers. Seeing this, Khaalid radiy Allah `anh and the rest of the soldiers launched an attack and saved the rider from the Roman soldiers who were attacking ‘him’ and this was how the Muslim army and the rider met.

The Muslim army looked at the rider pensively as if ’it’ was a red petal of a rose which was coloured in blood. Khaalid radiy Allah `anh spoke loudly and said, “O person, you have given your life in the way of Allah, and have vented out your anger on our enemies, may Allah give you your due reward. It would be better if you opened up your face so that we may know who you are.”

The rider took no notice of these words of Khaalid radiy Allah `anhu and before he had even finished his statement was trying to get away from him. The Muslim army surrounded the rider and said, “O slave of Allah, the ameer of the Islamic army is talking to you and you are not taking heed and ignoring him and fleeing from him. With all due respect you should go to him and tell him your name and lineage so that your status can be raised.” But the rider gave no answer.

When Khaalid radiy Allah `anhu could get no information from this rider, he himself went close to the rider. He said, “It is with great remorse that all the Muslims and I are restless to know more about you and you are totally unconcerned. Who are you?”

At this the rider spoke. It was a female voice that spoke.

“O Ameer, I was not intending to disobey you, when I did not answer you, but I was too shy to answer as I am of those who wear hijaab and live life in hijaab. However, I came here because of the pain in my heart and the grief which rose to the point that it brought me here.”

Khaalid radiy Allah `anh said, ‘Who are you?’

She replied, “I am the sister of the imprisoned Diraar: Khawlah bint al Azwar. I was sitting amongst some women from the tribe of Mazhaj when I found out about the imprisonment of my brother, Diraar. Instantly, I got on to my horse and I reached this place and whatever I have done, you have seen it.”

Listening to this, Khaalid bn Waleed’s heart rose. He started weeping and said, ‘We should all do a joint attack and I am hopeful, Allah willing, that we will reach to where your brother is and we will free him, and we will surely be successful.

Khawlah answered, “I too will participate in the attack, Inshaa’aAllah.”

Diraar radiy Allah `anhu was eventually freed.

"…And whoever fears Allah, He will make for him a way out (from every difficulty). And He (i.e. Allah) will provide for him from where he does not expect. And whoever relies upon Allah then He (i.e. Allah) is sufficient for him."

[Quraan, 65:2-3]

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