Here we are in September and the beginning of the academic year. This term I am taking a module on Seerah (a study of the life of the Prophet Muhammed peace be upon him) as part of my diploma in Islamic studies with the Islamic Online University.
This module covers the period after the migration of the Prophet Muhammed to the city of Medina where many other Muslims had joined him or travelled there before him after the Muslims of Medina invited them and affirmed their support to Islam and its Prophet.
Listening to the audio on the battle of Badr, that took place in the 2nd year of Hijra (migration), I could not help but swim deeply in the sea of my thoughts.
If you are unfamiliar with what happened in the battle of Badr, you may like to check this Youtube clip.
Qualities of a leader
The Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) was approachable and that’s why when he decided on a camping place, one of the companions did not hesitate to check about the source of that decision, was it a personal choice of the Prophet or a direction from Allah. When the Prophet replied that it was a personal decision, the companion explained that another site, one that places the water well behind them would be strategically better. The Prophet listened, accepted and they moved forwards.
Many of us do have ideas and could offer suggestions. The question is, do we feel that we can voice them? Would we be reprimanded for appearing to question authority?
On a more personal leadership level and in the realm of personal leadership, are WE listening to OURSELVES? Two types of inner communication come to mind. Self Talk, which sadly tends to be negative and self limiting. For some of us this is pretty loud and is a dominating force. Maybe it is time to recognise it for what it is and perhaps entertain the idea that Self Talk could be used as a cheerleader. The other type of inner communication is the way the body feels. How it aches at places, tenses at places and releases and times. All these are clues of our body communicating with us, not to just to inform us of a physical need but also of an emotional need. So listen up to strengthen your personal leadership!
The spiritual means
Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) when he realised that the Muslims are no longer facing a merchant caravan but an army from Quraish and the prospect of a battle became a reality, the Prophet consulted his companions. After all, they did not go out to fight and possibly lose their lives. This group of Muslims chose to fight with courage. The Prophet then prayed. He supplicated and beseeched his lord seeking victory and safeguard for those few and poorly armed Muslims who were with him. Allah rewarded them with an army of angels to support them.
[Remember] when He overwhelmed you with drowsiness [giving] security from Him and sent down upon you from the sky, rain by which to purify you and remove from you the evil [suggestions] of Satan and to make steadfast your hearts and plant firmly thereby your feet.
The Quran (8:11)
Do we go through life with courage and determination? Do we make the most of the physical means and trust in our lord and seek his support? Those are key for the heavenly blessings to descend upon us.
There are many lessons that could be gained from learning about the battle of Badr. Here is one: the far reaching consequences of ecological decisions. The Muslims took 70 prisons at the end of the battle. Those who were wealthy were able to ransom themselves and those who didn’t have the money were given the choice to ransom themselves by teaching 10 of the children of the Muslims how to read and write. I say ‘ecological’ because even providing an alternative option for a prisoner to ransom himself tells me that the captures wanted to release them and thought of ways of doing so within the system they had.
I say ‘far reaching’ because one of those children was the companion Zaid ibn Thabit, may Allah be pleased with him. Zaid ibn Thabit became a scribe for the Quran i.e. wrote the Quran that was verbally recited by the Prophet Muhammed (pbuh); the Prophet could not read or write. Zaid had great flair for languages and learned Hebrew and Syriac languages and wrote and translated the Prophet’s corresponds to world rulers. After the death of the Prophet and at the time of the Caliphate Abu Bakr, Zaid ibn Thabit was assigned the huge task of collecting the Quran in a book as many of the companions who memorised the Quran were travelling outside Madina or dying in battles. Collecting the Quran in a book was a way of preserving the Quran.
Indeed, it is We who sent down the Quran and indeed, We will be its guardian.
The Quran 15:9
I chose to leave this to the end though it was said by the lecturer early on in the audio. I think these are profound words, reflect on them:
If you are defeated from the inside, you have already lost. If you know you are capable of winning, you are half way there.
Dr. Daud Abdullah