LESSON: Keeping an eye on Paradise
If I am living at the time of hijra and I wasn’t from Medina, I would have felt very jealous. They were the ones who made Medina the destination of this great event. They were the ones who asked for it and not the Prophet. They could have accepted Islam but not this huge responsibility. Many tribes did so and many refused. The story I want to present here is the story of a very important event, to me even more important than the hijra itself and the one that lead to it.
It is the event where 75 Muslims from Medina went to Hajj among a few hundreds of their people. They came for one purpose, the purpose of asking the prophet to come and join them in Medina. They met with the prophet during the night at the last night of Hajj where everyone was asleep. Only three people accompanied the Prophet, his uncle Al-Abbas and he was not a Muslim at the time, and his companions Abu Bakr and Ali to guard the roads. His uncle started the meeting by making a statement of how Muhammad was in the protection of his family and except that he had chosen to join them in Medina, his family would not have let him go. He warned them that if they are planning to abandon him in the future, they should not even attempt to take him and it is better to do so now. They could have responded by arguing with him, “What kind of protection you are talking about? He is currently under the protection of someone who is not even from your family. What kind of protection while he was humiliated by his people day and night? What kind of protection while he is going through almost all the tribes in the peninsula to protect him?” But, they have not said any of that. They directed their speech to the Messenger saying, “O Messenger of Allah, choose for your Lord and your self what you want.” He responded saying, “I choose for Allah that you worship Him and associate no partners with Him. I choose for myself that you protect me from what you protect yourselves, your kids, and your women.” They asked him, “What do we get if we do so?” He responded, “You get Paradise.”
“Paradise” was the word. This is what made them agree. This is what made them sacrifice everything to complete this transaction. They rushed to pledge their support to the Messenger agreeing on his conditions. Several of them stopped the process, sometimes by intervening and making comments, and sometimes by even taking the hands of the Prophet away from them. The comments were all about the same subject: “Are you sure what you are pledging for? Don’t you know that you may lose your wealth your lives in this endeavor? If you will regret later and abandon him, it is better to do this now.” None of these attempts, which were made by very wise very supportive companions, were able to make them think twice. They all pledged saying, “It is a successful transaction. We will not abandon this cause nor will we request it to be excused from it.”
That is what made Medina what it was and that is what made the people of Medina who there were. That is what made hijra a remarkable event!
Are we ready to make such a commitment? Do we have our eyes on this reward? Do we consider such a transaction a successful transaction? Is Paradise something that we are working for, longing for, and trying to dwell in?