Ok, so since a lot of things don’t seem worthy of writing about now; and there are a lot of things my heart can’t bear reading, let alone writing, about, I felt I should share a story I heard from a halaqah (a religious circle) I attend.
At the time of the Prophet (sala Allahu ‘alayhi wa salaam), the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) would send out armies of men for conquests, thereby spreading Islam. One of these conquests/campaigns is known as the Campaign of Mu’tah; sparked by the murder of one of the Prophet’s* messengers.
When in battle, the Muslim army would look to the Prophet’s* banner as a sign that they should continue and it stood as a constant reminder of what they were fighting for. The Prophet* knew the importance of the banner and had assigned Zaid bin Haritha to carrying it, and in the case of Zaid’s (radi Allahu anhu) fall, Ja’far bin Abi Talib would take over, and then Abdullah bin Rawaha was assigned as the third person. Unfortunately, the opposing armies were also aware of the banner’s importance and aimed for the man waving the flag.
Allah (subhana wa ta’alaa) granted the Prophet Muhammad* with visions so that he would be able to see the battle. The Prophet* sat with his Companions (ra) around him reporting each moment to them, live.
Zaid bin Haritha marches onto the field; the enemies attack him; and he (ra) is martyred; Allahu Akbar, the Prophet* sees Zaid in Jannah.
Ja’far bin Abi Talib immediately lifts the flag; the enemies cut off his right arm; so he puts the flag in his left; they cut off his left; so he attempts to carry any other way he can; the enemies murder him; Allahu Akbar, the Prophet* sees him in Jannah.
Then Abdullah bin Rawaha, encouraging himself with verses, lifts the banner of the Messenger of Allah*; the enemies attack him; Allah Akbar, Abdullah is a martyr and the Prophet* sees him in Jannah.
Now, the Prophet* speaks to his Companions of these three men in Jannah. He* says he sees Zaid bin Haritha at a level in Jannah; and he sees Ja’far bin Abi Talib at the same level, but instead of human arms, he (ra) has wings in their place, and has come to be known as Ja’far at-Ta’yar (Ja’far the one who flies). Both Zaid and Ja’far being Companions from Mecca, the Companions of Medina gather closer around the Prophet* to hear of their own Abdullah bin Rawaha, who was from Medina. The Prophet* sees Abdullah bin Rawaha in Jannah, but at a level lower than the others.
Why one man lower than the rest? Did he not die as a martyr holding the banner of Islam?
The Prophet* described it as simply as a hesitation of a moment (a fraction of a second). Before Abdullah (ra) lifted that banner he hesitated for not even a split second. After being moved by the verses he read:
“0 Soul, I have sworn that you will fight in battle deliberately, or that I shall force you to fight. When people assemble and shout the war cry, why do you not advance with them? Or do you hate to enter Paradise?”
he then could lift the flag.
So we wonder…if a man as pious as Abdullah bin Rawahah (ra), a man who died truly fisabilillah, a man who took up a task that he knew would result in his demise, was taken down a level in Jannah because of this moment of hesitation; how much do all of our hesitations and moments add up to? How can we continue to let time pass us by…we don’t know when our time in this dunya is up…and we can’t keep hesitating.
“If you do not act today and do not derive lessons from your past days, you will say on the Last Day: ‘Return us to our previous life and we will do good deeds,’ and it will be said to you: ‘O fool, it is from there that you have come.'” (Imam Al-Ghazali)