وَالسَّمَاءِ ذَاتِ الْبُرُوجِ
By the heaven, holding the big stars.
And by the Promised Day (i.e. the Day of Resurrection);
And by the witnessing day (i.e. Friday), and by the witnessed day [i.e. the day of Arafah (Hajj) the ninth of Dhul-Hijjah];
قُتِلَ أَصْحَابُ الْأُخْدُودِ
Cursed were the people of the ditch.
النَّارِ ذَاتِ الْوَقُودِ
Fire supplied (abundantly) with fuel,
إِذْ هُمْ عَلَيْهَا قُعُودٌ
When they sat by it (fire),
وَهُمْ عَلَىٰ مَا يَفْعَلُونَ بِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ شُهُودٌ
And they witnessed what they were doing against the believers (i.e. burning them).
وَمَا نَقَمُوا مِنْهُمْ إِلَّا أَن يُؤْمِنُوا بِاللَّـهِ الْعَزِيزِ الْحَمِيدِ
They had nothing against them, except that they believed in Allah, the All-Mighty, Worthy of all Praise!
الَّذِي لَهُ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۚ وَاللَّـهُ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ شَهِيدٌ
Who, to Whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth! And Allah is Witness over everything.
[Surah Al-Burooj (85) : 1-9]
In the ayaat (verses) above, Allah mentions the story of the People of the Ditch and mentions that they burnt believers to death, subhan Allah.
Who were these people exactly?
Well, the following story is generally believed to be about them.
عَنْ صُهَيْبٍ، أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ “ كَانَ مَلِكٌ فِيمَنْ كَانَ قَبْلَكُمْ وَكَانَ لَهُ سَاحِرٌ فَلَمَّا كَبِرَ قَالَ لِلْمَلِكِ إِنِّي قَدْ كَبِرْتُ فَابْعَثْ إِلَىَّ غُلاَمًا أُعَلِّمْهُ السِّحْرَ . فَبَعَثَ إِلَيْهِ غُلاَمًا يُعَلِّمُهُ فَكَانَ فِي طَرِيقِهِ إِذَا سَلَكَ رَاهِبٌ فَقَعَدَ إِلَيْهِ وَسَمِعَ كَلاَمَهُ فَأَعْجَبَهُ فَكَانَ إِذَا أَتَى السَّاحِرَ مَرَّ بِالرَّاهِبِ وَقَعَدَ إِلَيْهِ فَإِذَا أَتَى السَّاحِرَ ضَرَبَهُ فَشَكَا ذَلِكَ إِلَى الرَّاهِبِ فَقَالَ إِذَا خَشِيتَ السَّاحِرَ فَقُلْ حَبَسَنِي أَهْلِي . وَإِذَا خَشِيتَ أَهْلَكَ فَقُلْ حَبَسَنِي السَّاحِرُ . فَبَيْنَمَا هُوَ كَذَلِكَ إِذْ أَتَى عَلَى دَابَّةٍ عَظِيمَةٍ قَدْ حَبَسَتِ النَّاسَ فَقَالَ الْيَوْمَ أَعْلَمُ آلسَّاحِرُ أَفْضَلُ أَمِ الرَّاهِبُ أَفْضَلُ فَأَخَذَ حَجَرًا فَقَالَ اللَّهُمَّ إِنْ كَانَ أَمْرُ الرَّاهِبِ أَحَبَّ إِلَيْكَ مِنْ أَمْرِ السَّاحِرِ فَاقْتُلْ هَذِهِ الدَّابَّةَ حَتَّى يَمْضِيَ النَّاسُ . فَرَمَاهَا فَقَتَلَهَا وَمَضَى النَّاسُ فَأَتَى الرَّاهِبَ فَأَخْبَرَهُ فَقَالَ لَهُ الرَّاهِبُ أَىْ بُنَىَّ أَنْتَ الْيَوْمَ أَفْضَلُ مِنِّي . قَدْ بَلَغَ مِنْ أَمْرِكَ مَا أَرَى وَإِنَّكَ سَتُبْتَلَى فَإِنِ ابْتُلِيتَ فَلاَ تَدُلَّ عَلَىَّ . وَكَانَ الْغُلاَمُ يُبْرِئُ الأَكْمَهَ وَالأَبْرَصَ وَيُدَاوِي النَّاسَ مِنْ سَائِرِ الأَدْوَاءِ فَسَمِعَ جَلِيسٌ لِلْمَلِكِ كَانَ قَدْ عَمِيَ فَأَتَاهُ بِهَدَايَا كَثِيرَةٍ فَقَالَ مَا هَا هُنَا لَكَ أَجْمَعُ إِنْ أَنْتَ شَفَيْتَنِي فَقَالَ إِنِّي لاَ أَشْفِي أَحَدًا إِنَّمَا يَشْفِي اللَّهُ فَإِنْ أَنْتَ آمَنْتَ بِاللَّهِ دَعَوْتُ اللَّهَ فَشَفَاكَ . فَآمَنَ بِاللَّهِ فَشَفَاهُ اللَّهُ فَأَتَى الْمَلِكَ فَجَلَسَ إِلَيْهِ كَمَا كَانَ يَجْلِسُ فَقَالَ لَهُ الْمَلِكُ مَنْ رَدَّ عَلَيْكَ بَصَرَكَ قَالَ رَبِّي . قَالَ وَلَكَ رَبٌّ غَيْرِي قَالَ رَبِّي وَرَبُّكَ اللَّهُ . فَأَخَذَهُ فَلَمْ يَزَلْ يُعَذِّبُهُ حَتَّى دَلَّ عَلَى الْغُلاَمِ فَجِيءَ بِالْغُلاَمِ فَقَالَ لَهُ الْمَلِكُ أَىْ بُنَىَّ قَدْ بَلَغَ مِنْ سِحْرِكَ مَا تُبْرِئُ الأَكْمَهَ وَالأَبْرَصَ وَتَفْعَلُ وَتَفْعَلُ . فَقَالَ إِنِّي لاَ أَشْفِي أَحَدًا إِنَّمَا يَشْفِي اللَّهُ . فَأَخَذَهُ فَلَمْ يَزَلْ يُعَذِّبُهُ حَتَّى دَلَّ عَلَى الرَّاهِبِ فَجِيءَ بِالرَّاهِبِ فَقِيلَ لَهُ ارْجِعْ عَنْ دِينِكَ . فَأَبَى فَدَعَا بِالْمِئْشَارِ فَوَضَعَ الْمِئْشَارَ فِي مَفْرِقِ رَأْسِهِ فَشَقَّهُ حَتَّى وَقَعَ شِقَّاهُ ثُمَّ جِيءَ بِجَلِيسِ الْمَلِكِ فَقِيلَ لَهُ ارْجِعْ عَنْ دِينِكَ . فَأَبَى فَوَضَعَ الْمِئْشَارَ فِي مَفْرِقِ رَأْسِهِ فَشَقَّهُ بِهِ حَتَّى وَقَعَ شِقَّاهُ ثُمَّ جِيءَ بِالْغُلاَمِ فَقِيلَ لَهُ ارْجِعْ عَنْ دِينِكَ . فَأَبَى فَدَفَعَهُ إِلَى نَفَرٍ مِنْ أَصْحَابِهِ فَقَالَ اذْهَبُوا بِهِ إِلَى جَبَلِ كَذَا وَكَذَا فَاصْعَدُوا بِهِ الْجَبَلَ فَإِذَا بَلَغْتُمْ ذُرْوَتَهُ فَإِنْ رَجَعَ عَنْ دِينِهِ وَإِلاَّ فَاطْرَحُوهُ فَذَهَبُوا بِهِ فَصَعِدُوا بِهِ الْجَبَلَ فَقَالَ اللَّهُمَّ اكْفِنِيهِمْ بِمَا شِئْتَ . فَرَجَفَ بِهِمُ الْجَبَلُ فَسَقَطُوا وَجَاءَ يَمْشِي إِلَى الْمَلِكِ فَقَالَ لَهُ الْمَلِكُ مَا فَعَلَ أَصْحَابُكَ قَالَ كَفَانِيهِمُ اللَّهُ . فَدَفَعَهُ إِلَى نَفَرٍ مِنْ أَصْحَابِهِ فَقَالَ اذْهَبُوا بِهِ فَاحْمِلُوهُ فِي قُرْقُورٍ فَتَوَسَّطُوا بِهِ الْبَحْرَ فَإِنْ رَجَعَ عَنْ دِينِهِ وَإِلاَّ فَاقْذِفُوهُ . فَذَهَبُوا بِهِ فَقَالَ اللَّهُمَّ اكْفِنِيهِمْ بِمَا شِئْتَ . فَانْكَفَأَتْ بِهِمُ السَّفِينَةُ فَغَرِقُوا وَجَاءَ يَمْشِي إِلَى الْمَلِكِ فَقَالَ لَهُ الْمَلِكُ مَا فَعَلَ أَصْحَابُكَ قَالَ كَفَانِيهِمُ اللَّهُ . فَقَالَ لِلْمَلِكِ إِنَّكَ لَسْتَ بِقَاتِلِي حَتَّى تَفْعَلَ مَا آمُرُكَ بِهِ . قَالَ وَمَا هُوَ قَالَ تَجْمَعُ النَّاسَ فِي صَعِيدٍ وَاحِدٍ وَتَصْلُبُنِي عَلَى جِذْعٍ ثُمَّ خُذْ سَهْمًا مِنْ كِنَانَتِي ثُمَّ ضَعِ السَّهْمَ فِي كَبِدِ الْقَوْسِ ثُمَّ قُلْ بِاسْمِ اللَّهِ رَبِّ الْغُلاَمِ . ثُمَّ ارْمِنِي فَإِنَّكَ إِذَا فَعَلْتَ ذَلِكَ قَتَلْتَنِي . فَجَمَعَ النَّاسَ فِي صَعِيدٍ وَاحِدٍ وَصَلَبَهُ عَلَى جِذْعٍ ثُمَّ أَخَذَ سَهْمًا مِنْ كِنَانَتِهِ ثُمَّ وَضَعَ السَّهْمَ فِي كَبِدِ الْقَوْسِ ثُمَّ قَالَ بِاسْمِ اللَّهِ رَبِّ الْغُلاَمِ . ثُمَّ رَمَاهُ فَوَقَعَ السَّهْمُ فِي صُدْغِهِ فَوَضَعَ يَدَهُ فِي صُدْغِهِ فِي مَوْضِعِ السَّهْمِ فَمَاتَ فَقَالَ النَّاسُ آمَنَّا بِرَبِّ الْغُلاَمِ آمَنَّا بِرَبِّ الْغُلاَمِ آمَنَّا بِرَبِّ الْغُلاَمِ . فَأُتِيَ الْمَلِكُ فَقِيلَ لَهُ أَرَأَيْتَ مَا كُنْتَ تَحْذَرُ قَدْ وَاللَّهِ نَزَلَ بِكَ حَذَرُكَ قَدْ آمَنَ النَّاسُ . فَأَمَرَ بِالأُخْدُودِ فِي أَفْوَاهِ السِّكَكِ فَخُدَّتْ وَأَضْرَمَ النِّيرَانَ وَقَالَ مَنْ لَمْ يَرْجِعْ عَنْ دِينِهِ فَأَحْمُوهُ فِيهَا . أَوْ قِيلَ لَهُ اقْتَحِمْ . فَفَعَلُوا حَتَّى جَاءَتِ امْرَأَةٌ وَمَعَهَا صَبِيٌّ لَهَا فَتَقَاعَسَتْ أَنْ تَقَعَ فِيهَا فَقَالَ لَهَا الْغُلاَمُ يَا أُمَّهِ اصْبِرِي فَإِنَّكِ عَلَى الْحَقِّ ” .
Suhaib (radiallahu anhu) reported that Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) thus said: There lived a king before you and he had a (court) magician. As he (the magician) grew old, he said to the king: I have grown old, send some young boy to me so that I should teach him magic. He (the king) sent to him a young man so that he should train him (in magic). And on his way (to the magician) he (the young man) found a monk sitting there. He (the young man) listened to his (the monk’s) talk and was impressed by it. It became his habit that on his way to the magician he met the monk and set there and he came to the magician (late). He (the magician) beat him because of delay. He made a complaint of that to the monk and he said to him: When you feel afraid of the magician, say: Members of my family had detained me. And when you feel afraid of your family you should say: The magician had detained me. It so happened that there came a huge beast (of prey) and it blocked the way of the people, and he (the young boy) said: I will come to know today whether the magician is superior or the monk is superior. He picked up a stone and said: O Allah, if the affair of the monk is dearer to You than the affair of the magician, cause death to this animal so that the people should be able to move about freely. He threw that stone towards it and killed it and the people began to move about (on the path freely). He (the young man) then came to that monk and Informed him and the monk said: Son, today you are superior to me. Your affair has come to a stage where I find that you would be soon put to a trial, and in case you are put to a trial don’t give my clue. That young man began to treat the blind and those suffering from leprosy and he in fact began to cure people from (all kinds) of illness. When a companion of the king who had gone blind heard about him, he came to him with numerous gifts and said: If you cure me all these things collected together here would be yours. Be said: I myself do not cure anyone. It is Allah Who cures and if you affirm faith in Allah, I shall also supplicate Allah to cure you. He affirmed his faith in Allah and Allah cured him and he came to the king and sat by his side as he used to sit before. The king said to him: Who restored your eyesight? He said: My Lord. Thereupon he said: It means that your Lord is One besides me. He said: My Lord and your Lord is Allah, so he (the king) took hold of him and tormented him till he gave a clue of that boy. The young man was thus summoned and the king said to him: O boy, it has been conveyed to me that you have become so much proficient in your magic that you cure the blind and those suffering from leprosy and you do such and such things. Thereupon he said: I do not cure anyone; it is Allah Who cures, and he (the king) took hold of him and began to torment him. So he gave a clue of the monk. The monk was thus summoned and it was said to him: You should turn back from your religion. He, however, refused to do so. He (ordered) for a saw to be brought (and when it was done) he (the king) placed it in the middle of his head and tore it into parts till a part fell down. Then the courtier of the king was brought and it was said to him: Turn back from your religion. Arid he refused to do so, and the saw was placed in the midst of his head and it was torn till a part fell down. Then that young boy was brought and it was said to him: Turn back from your religion. He refused to do so and he was handed over to a group of his courtiers. And he said to them: Take him to such and such mountain; make him climb up that mountain and when you reach its top (ask him to renounce his faith) but if he refuses to do so, then throw him (down the mountain). So they took him and made him climb up the mountain and he said: O Allah, save me from them (in any way) You like. The mountain began to quake and they all fell down and that person came walking to the king. The king said to him: What has happened to your companions? He said: Allah has saved me from them. He again handed him to some of his courtiers and said: Take him and carry him in a small boat and when you reach the middle of the ocean (ask him to renounce) his religion, but if he does not renounce his religion throw him (into the water). So they took him and he said: O Allah, save me from them (in any way) You like. The boat turned over and they were drowned and he came walking to the king, and the king said to him: What has happened to your companions? He said: Allah has saved me from them, and he said to the king: You cannot kill me until you do what I ask you to do. And he said: What is that? He said: You should gather people in a plain and hang me by the trunk (of a tree). Then take hold of an arrow from the quiver and say: In the name of Allah, the Lord of the young boy; then shoot an arrow and if you do that then you would be able to kill me. So he (the king) called the people in an open plain and tied him (the boy) to the trunk of a tree, then he took hold of an arrow from his quiver and then placed the arrow in the bow and then said: In the name of Allah, the Lord of the young boy; he then shot an arrow and it bit his temple. He (the boy) placed his hands upon the temple where the arrow had bit him and he died and the people said: We affirm our faith in the Lord of this young man, we affirm our faith in the Lord of this young man, we affirm our faith in the Lord of this young man. The courtiers came to the king and it was said to him: Do you see that Allah has actually done what you aimed at averting. They (the people) have affirmed their faith in the Lord. He (the king) commanded ditches to be dug at important points in the path. When these ditches were dug, and the fire was lit in them it was said (to the people): He who would not turn back from his (boy’s) religion would be thrown in the fire or it would be said to them to jump in that. (The people courted death but did not renounce religion) till a woman came with her child and she felt hesitant in jumping into the fire and the child said to her: 0 mother, endure (this ordeal) for it is the Truth. [Sahih Muslim, Hadeeth No. 7148]
Awesome story, isn’t it?
There’s another narration of this story and it contains some additional details:
عَنْ صُهَيْبٍ، قَالَ كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم إِذَا صَلَّى الْعَصْرَ هَمَسَ – وَالْهَمْسُ فِي قَوْلِ بَعْضِهِمْ تَحَرُّكُ شَفَتَيْهِ كَأَنَّهُ يَتَكَلَّمُ فَقِيلَ لَهُ إِنَّكَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ إِذَا صَلَّيْتَ الْعَصْرَ هَمَسْتَ قَالَ . ” إِنَّ نَبِيًّا مِنَ الأَنْبِيَاءِ كَانَ أُعْجِبَ بِأُمَّتِهِ فَقَالَ مَنْ يَقُولُ لِهَؤُلاَءِ فَأَوْحَى اللَّهُ إِلَيْهِ أَنْ خَيِّرْهُمْ بَيْنَ أَنْ أَنْتَقِمَ مِنْهُمْ وَبَيْنَ أَنْ أُسَلِّطَ عَلَيْهِمْ عَدُوَّهُمْ فَاخْتَارَ النِّقْمَةَ فَسَلَّطَ عَلَيْهِمُ الْمَوْتَ فَمَاتَ مِنْهُمْ فِي يَوْمٍ سَبْعُونَ أَلْفًا ” . قَالَ وَكَانَ إِذَا حَدَّثَ بِهَذَا الْحَدِيثِ حَدَّثَ بِهَذَا الْحَدِيثِ الآخَرِ . قَالَ ” كَانَ مَلِكٌ مِنَ الْمُلُوكِ وَكَانَ لِذَلِكَ الْمَلِكِ كَاهِنٌ يَكْهَنُ لَهُ فَقَالَ الْكَاهِنُ انْظُرُوا لِيَ غُلاَمًا فَهِمًا أَوْ قَالَ فَطِنًا لَقِنًا فَأُعَلِّمُهُ عِلْمِي هَذَا فَإِنِّي أَخَافُ أَنْ أَمُوتَ فَيَنْقَطِعَ مِنْكُمْ هَذَا الْعِلْمُ وَلاَ يَكُونُ فِيكُمْ مَنْ يَعْلَمُهُ . قَالَ فَنَظَرُوا لَهُ عَلَى مَا وَصَفَ فَأَمَرَهُ أَنْ يَحْضُرَ ذَلِكَ الْكَاهِنَ وَأَنْ يَخْتَلِفَ إِلَيْهِ فَجَعَلَ يَخْتَلِفُ إِلَيْهِ وَكَانَ عَلَى طَرِيقِ الْغُلاَمِ رَاهِبٌ فِي صَوْمَعَةٍ ” . قَالَ مَعْمَرٌ أَحْسِبُ أَنَّ أَصْحَابَ الصَّوَامِعِ كَانُوا يَوْمَئِذٍ مُسْلِمِينَ قَالَ ” فَجَعَلَ الْغُلاَمُ يَسْأَلُ ذَلِكَ الرَّاهِبَ كُلَّمَا مَرَّ بِهِ فَلَمْ يَزَلْ بِهِ حَتَّى أَخْبَرَهُ فَقَالَ إِنَّمَا أَعْبُدُ اللَّهَ ” . قَالَ ” فَجَعَلَ الْغُلاَمُ يَمْكُثُ عِنْدَ الرَّاهِبِ وَيُبْطِئُ عَلَى الْكَاهِنِ فَأَرْسَلَ الْكَاهِنُ إِلَى أَهْلِ الْغُلاَمِ إِنَّهُ لاَ يَكَادُ يَحْضُرُنِي فَأَخْبَرَ الْغُلاَمُ الرَّاهِبَ بِذَلِكَ فَقَالَ لَهُ الرَّاهِبُ إِذَا قَالَ لَكَ الْكَاهِنُ أَيْنَ كُنْتَ فَقُلْ عِنْدَ أَهْلِي . وَإِذَا قَالَ لَكَ أَهْلُكَ أَيْنَ كُنْتَ فَأَخِبِرْهُمْ أَنَّكَ كُنْتَ عِنْدَ الْكَاهِنِ ” . قَالَ ” فَبَيْنَمَا الْغُلاَمُ عَلَى ذَلِكَ إِذْ مَرَّ بِجَمَاعَةٍ مِنَ النَّاسِ كَثِيرٍ قَدْ حَبَسَتْهُمْ دَابَّةٌ ” . فَقَالَ بَعْضُهُمْ إِنَّ تِلْكَ الدَّابَّةَ كَانَتْ أَسَدًا قَالَ ” فَأَخَذَ الْغُلاَمُ حَجَرًا قَالَ اللَّهُمَّ إِنْ كَانَ مَا يَقُولُ الرَّاهِبُ حَقًّا فَأَسْأَلُكَ أَنْ أَقْتُلَهَا . قَالَ ثُمَّ رَمَى فَقَتَلَ الدَّابَّةَ . فَقَالَ النَّاسُ مَنْ قَتَلَهَا قَالُوا الْغُلاَمُ فَفَزِعَ النَّاسُ وَقَالُوا لَقَدْ عَلِمَ هَذَا الْغُلاَمُ عِلْمًا لَمْ يَعْلَمْهُ أَحَدٌ . قَالَ فَسَمِعَ بِهِ أَعْمَى فَقَالَ لَهُ إِنْ أَنْتَ رَدَدْتَ بَصَرِي فَلَكَ كَذَا وَكَذَا . قَالَ لَهُ لاَ أُرِيدُ مِنْكَ هَذَا وَلَكِنْ أَرَأَيْتَ إِنْ رَجَعَ إِلَيْكَ بَصَرُكَ أَتُؤْمِنُ بِالَّذِي رَدَّهُ عَلَيْكَ قَالَ نَعَمْ . قَالَ فَدَعَا اللَّهَ فَرَدَّ عَلَيْهِ بَصَرَهُ فَآمَنَ الأَعْمَى فَبَلَغَ الْمَلِكَ أَمْرُهُمْ فَبَعَثَ إِلَيْهِمْ فَأُتِيَ بِهِمْ فَقَالَ لأَقْتُلَنَّ كُلَّ وَاحِدٍ مِنْكُمْ قِتْلَةً لاَ أَقْتُلُ بِهَا صَاحِبَهُ فَأَمَرَ بِالرَّاهِبِ وَالرَّجُلِ الَّذِي كَانَ أَعْمَى فَوَضَعَ الْمِنْشَارَ عَلَى مَفْرِقِ أَحَدِهِمَا فَقَتَلَهُ وَقَتَلَ الآخَرَ بِقِتْلَةٍ أُخْرَى . ثُمَّ أَمَرَ بِالْغُلاَمِ فَقَالَ انْطَلِقُوا بِهِ إِلَى جَبَلِ كَذَا وَكَذَا فَأَلْقُوهُ مِنْ رَأْسِهِ فَانْطَلَقُوا بِهِ إِلَى ذَلِكَ الْجَبَلِ فَلَمَّا انْتَهَوْا بِهِ إِلَى ذَلِكَ الْمَكَانِ الَّذِي أَرَادُوا أَنْ يُلْقُوهُ مِنْهُ جَعَلُوا يَتَهَافَتُونَ مِنْ ذَلِكَ الْجَبَلِ وَيَتَرَدَّوْنَ حَتَّى لَمْ يَبْقَ مِنْهُمْ إِلاَّ الْغُلاَمُ ” . قَالَ ” ثُمَّ رَجَعَ فَأَمَرَ بِهِ الْمَلِكُ أَنْ يَنْطَلِقُوا بِهِ إِلَى الْبَحْرِ فَيُلْقُونَهُ فِيهِ فَانْطُلِقَ بِهِ إِلَى الْبَحْرِ فَغَرَّقَ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ كَانُوا مَعَهُ وَأَنْجَاهُ فَقَالَ الْغُلاَمُ لِلْمَلِكِ إِنَّكَ لاَ تَقْتُلُنِي حَتَّى تَصْلُبَنِي وَتَرْمِيَنِي وَتَقُولَ إِذَا رَمَيْتَنِي بِسْمِ اللَّهِ رَبِّ هَذَا الْغُلاَمِ . قَالَ فَأَمَرَ بِهِ فَصُلِبَ ثُمَّ رَمَاهُ فَقَالَ بِسْمِ اللَّهِ رَبِّ هَذَا الْغُلاَمِ . قَالَ فَوَضَعَ الْغُلاَمُ يَدَهُ عَلَى صُدْغِهِ حِينَ رُمِيَ ثُمَّ مَاتَ . فَقَالَ أُنَاسٌ لَقَدْ عَلِمَ هَذَا الْغُلاَمُ عِلْمًا مَا عَلِمَهُ أَحَدٌ فَإِنَّا نُؤْمِنُ بِرَبِّ هَذَا الْغُلاَمِ . قَالَ فَقِيلَ لِلْمَلِكِ أَجَزِعْتَ أَنْ خَالَفَكَ ثَلاَثَةٌ فَهَذَا الْعَالَمُ كُلُّهُمْ قَدْ خَالَفُوكَ . قَالَ فَخَدَّ أُخْدُودًا ثُمَّ أَلْقَى فِيهَا الْحَطَبَ وَالنَّارَ ثُمَّ جَمَعَ النَّاسَ فَقَالَ مَنْ رَجَعَ عَنْ دِينِهِ تَرَكْنَاهُ وَمَنْ لَمْ يَرْجِعْ أَلْقَيْنَاهُ فِي هَذِهِ النَّارِ فَجَعَلَ يُلْقِيهِمْ فِي تِلْكَ الأُخْدُودِ . قَالَ يَقُولُ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى : (قتِلَ أَصْحَابُ الأُخْدُودِ * النَّارِ ذَاتِ الْوَقُودِ ) حَتَّى بَلَغَ : (العَزِيزِ الْحَمِيدِ ) ” . قَالَ ” فَأَمَّا الْغُلاَمُ فَإِنَّهُ دُفِنَ ” . قَالَ فَيُذْكَرُ أَنَّهُ أُخْرِجَ فِي زَمَنِ عُمَرَ بْنِ الْخَطَّابِ وَأُصْبُعُهُ عَلَى صُدْغِهِ كَمَا وَضَعَهَا حِينَ قُتِلَ
Suhaib (radiallahu anhu) narrated: “When the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) had performed Asr, Hamasa (he began mumbling)” – and Al—Hams according to some of them, is moving the lips as if he is speaking – “It was said to him: ‘O Messenger of Allah! After you performed Asr, you were mumbling?’ He said: ‘There was a Prophet among the Prophets, he was amazed with his people, so he said: “Who can stand against these people?” Then Allah revealed to him, that they must choose between some of them suffering from wrath, and between enemies of theirs assaulting them. They chose the wrath. So death was inflicted upon them such that seventy-thousand of them died in one day.’”He said: And when he would narrated this Hadith, he would also narrated another: “There was a king among the kings, and that king had a fortune-teller (Kahin) who would see for him. The fortune teller said: ‘Search for a boy for me, he must be understanding” or he said: “clever and quick, so that I can teach him this knowledge of mine. For verily, I fear that I shall die, and this knowledge will be removed from you, and there will be no one among you who knows it.” He said: “They looked for a boy fitting his description. (After finding one) they ordered him to tend to that fortune teller, and to continue visiting him. So he began his frequent visits, and on the boy’s route, there was a monk at his hermitage.” – Mamar said: “I think that during that time, the people at the hermitage were Muslims.” – He said: “They boy began asking that monk questions each time he passed him, and he would not leave him until he informed him, so he said: ‘I only worship Allah.’” He said: “So the boy began spending more time with the monk and arriving late to the fortune-teller. The fortune-teller sent a message to the boy’s family saying: ‘He hardly ever attends me.’ The boy told that to the monk, so the monk said to him: ‘When the fortune-teller asks you where you’ve been, tell him: “I was with my family.” And when your family asks you where you’ve been, then tell them that you were with the fortune-teller.’” He said: “One day, the boy passed by a large group of people being held back by a beast.” Some of them said, it was a lion. He said: “So the boy took a rock and said: ‘O Allah, if what the monk says is true, then I ask you to kill it.’” [He said:] “Then he threw the rock, killing the beast. The people began asking who killed it and some of them replied: ‘It was the boy.’ They were terrified and said: ‘This boy has learned a knowledge that no one else has learned.’” He said: “A blind man heard about him so he said to him: ‘If you can return my sight, I shall give you this and that.’ He said to him: ‘I do not want this from you. However, if your sight is returned to you, would you believe in the One who gave it back to you?’ He said: ‘Yes.’” He said: “So he supplicated to Allah, and He returned his sight to him, and the blind man believed. His case was conveyed to the king, so he sent for him to be brought before him. He said: ‘I shall kill each of you in a manner different than his comrade was killed.’ He called for the monk and the man who used to be blind. He placed a saw upon the forehead of one of them and killed him. Then he killed the other one by a different means. Then he gave orders for the boy, he said: ‘Take him to this or that mountain, and throw him from its peak.’ They brought him to that mountain, and when they reached the place from where they intended to cast him off, they began tumbling off of that mountain, and all of them fell down until none of them remained except for the boy.” He said: “Then he returned and the king ordered that he be brought out to sea and cast into it. So he was brought out to sea, but Allah drowned those who were with him, and He saved him. Then the boy said to the king: ‘You will not kill me until you tie me to the trunk of a tree and shoot me, and when you shoot me, you said: “In the Name of Allah, the Lord of this boy.’” He said: “So he ordered that he be tied, then when he shot him, he said: ‘In the Name of Allah, the Lord of this boy.’ The boy placed his hand upon his temple where he was shot, then he died. The people said: “This boy had knowledge that no one else had! Verily we believe in the Lord of this boy!” He said: It was conveyed to the king “Your efforts have been thwarted by the opposition of these three, now all of these people have opposed you.” He said: “So he had ditches dug, then fire wood was filled into it and a fire was lit. Then he (the king) had all of the people gathered and he said: ‘Whoever leaves his religion, then we shall leave him. And whoever does not leave, we shall cast him into this fire.’ So he began casting them into that ditch.” He said: “Allah, Blessed is He and Most High, said about that:
قُتِلَ أَصْحَابُ الْأُخْدُودِ
النَّارِ ذَاتِ الْوَقُودِ
‘Cursed were the People of the Ditch. Of fire fed with fuel…’
until he reached:
‘…The Almighty, Worthy of all praise!’” [Surah Al-Burooj (85) : 4-9]
He said: “As for the boy, he was buried.” He said: “It has been mentioned, that he was excavated during the time of Umar bin Al-Khattab, and his finger was at his temple, just as he had placed it when he was killed.” [Sunan At-Tirmidhi. Hadeeth No. 3340. Graded “sahih” (authentic) by Al-Albani. Please note that there are two different narrations in this story (the first one about the Prophet and the second one about the boy) and Shaikh Al-Albani graded both of them as being “sahih”. Also, the “he says” throughout the story seems to be Mamar, one of the narrators. And Allah knows Best.]
Look at what these people went through yet they NEVER gave up their religion. They were even willing to get burnt to death for it.
We think that we go through so much today but compared to what the early generations faced, it’s really not that much. This is something that we really need to think about.
Of course, we all have problems and difficulties. And interestingly enough, an amazing way to overcome difficulties is mentioned in this story, in the first narration (the one in Sahih Muslim).
What is it? Well, it’s the dua (supplication) that the boy said when he was in trouble. He said:
اللَّهُمَّ اكْفِنِيهِمْ بِمَا شِئْتَ
O Allah, save me from them (in any way) You like.
He said that twice. The first time, he was on top of a mountain. Right after he said this dua, this is what happened:
فَرَجَفَ بِهِمُ الْجَبَلُ فَسَقَطُوا
The mountain began to quake and they all fell down.
The second time, he was on a boat (hence the picture at the beginning of this post). Right after he said the dua, this is what happened:
فَانْكَفَأَتْ بِهِمُ السَّفِينَةُ فَغَرِقُوا
The boat turned over and they were drowned.
You know what this means? It means that this is a really powerful dua, probably because it leaves the way out up to Allah.
When I first came across this story, I didn’t realise there was a dua in it. I only found that part out when I came across it in Hisnul Muslim (The Fortress of the Muslim), the famous little dua book. In it the author, Shaikh Saeed ibn Wahf Al-Qahtani (may Allah reward him greatly for compiling such a fantastic, useful book) mentions it under Chapter 39: What to say if you fear people may harm you.
Don’t all of us at some point or the other have this fear? It could be at home or at work or in school or at university or at the airport, or even in cyberspace. We could fear our parents or our spouses or our bosses or our teachers or even the goverment.
Rather than just getting stressed out, we should rely upon Allah and call upon Him with this dua. And believe me, from personal experience, this dua is really powerful. As I keep running into nutjobs all the time (I have no clue why, really), I need to say this dua a LOT. And by the Mercy of Allah, it always works.
No, the mountains don’t shake and boats don’t turn over in my case, because I’m just an average joe. What does happen though is that the trouble that I expect from these people either doesn’t happen or is very minimal.
So, I would recommend everyone to memorise this dua and to remember to say it when the need arises. You’ll then see for yourself how powerful it is.
Here’s the dua again along with a rough transliteration:
اللَّهُمَّ اكْفِنِيهِمْ بِمَا شِئْتَ
Allaahummak-fineehim bimaa shita.
O Allah, suffice (i.e. protect) me against them however You wish.
The audio can be found on this page.
So, make sure to use this dua when needed (which in today’s fitnah-filled world is probably all the time), and PLEASE do not say “Oh, it won’t work for me because I’m not pious enough.” That’s the wrong attitute. Do you know the ayah (verse) that comes after this story?
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ فَتَنُوا الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتِ ثُمَّ لَمْ يَتُوبُوا فَلَهُمْ عَذَابُ جَهَنَّمَ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابُ الْحَرِيقِ
Verily, those who put into trial the believing men and believing women (by torturing them and burning them), and then do not turn in repentance, (to Allah), will have the torment of Hell, and they will have the punishment of the burning Fire. [Surah Al-Burooj (85) : 10]
A sister in a lecture once mentioned an amazing thing about this ayah. She pointed out that it says “did not turn in repentance” which means that if these people had repented – even after burning so many believers to death – their repentance would have been accepted! Subhan Allah, isn’t that incredible?
Imam Ibn Kathir in his explanation of this verse has an incredible quote from an early scholar:
“Al-Hasan Al-Basri said, “Look at this generosity and kindness. These people killed Allah’s Awliya (close friends) and He still invites them to make repentance and seek forgiveness.”
So no matter how bad you think you are, the door to Allah’s Help and His Pleasure is not closed for you. It’s as simple as that. So, don’t think that you are not good enough to get the Help of Allah, but rather believe that you ARE good enough for that.
Finally, the ayah after this then reminds us what this struggle is all about:
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ لَهُمْ جَنَّاتٌ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ الْفَوْزُ الْكَبِيرُ
Verily, those who believe and do righteous good deeds, for them will be Gardens under which rivers flow (Paradise). That is the great success. [Surah Al-Burooj (85) : 11]
That’s what it’s all about. Paradise. Because that is the REAL victory. Not money, not marriage, not children, not education, not fame, not status, not health, not beauty, not intelligence, not a mansion, not a Mercedes, not the amount of twitter/facebook/instagram followers. Just Paradise.
The real winners are those who make it to Paradise. The biggest losers are those who will spend eternity in Hell. Make Allah us from the former group and not the latter.
For those who want to read more about this story, you may refer to Dr. Bilal Philips’ Commentary of Surah Al-Burooj.