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The Strangers

Based on Rasaa'il Al-Ghurabaa
By: Shaikh Al-Awdah
The Friday Report Vol V No 6

Prophet Muhammad , was sent with the message of Islam to a world full of darkness and corruption. People at that time believed in idols and were following their desires. Prophet Muhammad wanted to bring the people back to the worship of Allah. Alone, he was like a stranger in a corrupt society. He believed however that Allah will strengthen him in conveying the message of Islam to the world. So he worked with his companions to spread Islam. Although they were at first weak in their own country and strangers among their own people, the Prophet and his companions strived hard till they established the first Muslim state in Medinah, and later on included the whole Arabian peninsula.

Muslims today experience the strangeness of Islam and need to learn from the life and seerah of the Prophet the means to repell the strangeness of Islam and to revive strength in the body of the Muslim Ummah.

Abu Huraira narrated that the Messenger of Allah, said: "Islam initiated as something strange, and it would revert to its old position of being strange, so good tidings for the strangers." (Recorded by Muslim, Attirmidthi, Ibn Majah, and Ahmad) This hadith shows that Islam started weak and strange, then became strong and will then, at certain times and places, go through a second state of weakness. Muslims who then stick firmly to their religion will have many dissenters and only few supporters. The believers at that time become like strangers or aliens even if they are in their own country. In this series, we will follow Shaikh Salman al-Awdah's exposition of the types, symptoms and causes of this strangeness, the qualities of the 'strangers' and their ways of overcoming the strangeness of Islam.

There are two types of strangership that Muslims are going through today:

1 - The first is the alienation of Muslims from the followers of other religions.

Abdullah Bin Massud narrated: "While we were in the company of the Prophet in a tent, he said: 'Would it please you to be one fourth of the people of paradise?' We said: 'Yes'. He said: 'Would it please you to be one third of the people of paradise?' We said: 'Yes'. He said: 'Would it please you to be one half of the people of paradise?' We said: 'Yes'. Thereupon he said: 'I hope that you will be one half of the people of paradise, for none will enter paradise but a Muslim soul, and you people, in comparison to the people who associate others in worship with Allah, are like a white hair on the skin of a black ox, or a black hair on the skin of a red ox.' (Related by al-Bukhari)

This hadith shows that the conflict between the Muslims and the disbelievers never stops and that this conflict did not prevent the Prophet and his companions from spreading Islam.

2 - Second type of alienation is the alienation of the followers of the Sunnah from the other sects of Muslims.

This type is harder than the first. When a Muslim adheres to Sunnah, his strangeness increases. He gets many opponents and less supporters. He is a traveler on a long path with few companions. When he reaches a higher stage, some of his companions withdraw from him until a very limited number of them remain to continue the journey.

The followers of the Sunnah should spread the right creed, the correct methodology for the interpretation of the Qur'an and Sunnah; and the right Islamic manners. They should call non-Muslims to Islam so that they do not fall prey to the innovations and the prejudices.

The strangeness of Islam might be a strangeness of principles, place or time. The strangeness of principles means that some principles like jihad (struggling or striving) and enjoining good and forbidding evil become strange. The strangeness of place is when Islam becomes alienated in one place but strong in another place. The strangeness of time is when Islam becomes strange everywhere at a certain period of time. However, there always exists a group of victorious followers of the Sunnah who are not influenced by those who oppose them.