“If he was to die or be killed, would you turn back on your heels?”: Ibn al-Qayyim

Ibn al-Qayyim, while speaking about some of the events of the Battle of Uhud, mentions the following points of great benefit:

ومنها : أن وقعة أحد كانت مقدمة وإرهاصا بين يدي موت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ، فثبتهم ووبخهم على انقلابهم على أعقابهم إن مات رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أو قتل ، بل الواجب له عليهم أن يثبتوا على دينه وتوحيده ويموتوا عليه أو يقتلوا ، فإنهم إنما يعبدون رب محمد ، وهو حي لا يموت ، فلو مات محمد أو قتل لا ينبغي لهم أن يصرفهم ذلك عن دينه ، وما جاء به ، فكل نفس ذائقة الموت ، وما بعث محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم ليخلد لا هو ولا هم ، بل ليموتوا على الإسلام والتوحيد ، فإن الموت لا بد منه سواء مات رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أو بقي ،

And from the benefits: That the Battle of Uhud was like a precursor and prelude before their very eyes of the (actual) death of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ). So Allah fortified them (for that eventually), and rebuked them for their having turned back on their heels in the event that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) had died or been killed. Rather, it was obligatory upon them to remain firm upon his Deen and his (message of) tawheed and for them to die or be killed upon that. For verily they were only worshipping the Lord of Muhammad, and He is alive and does not die. So if Muhammad died or was killed, it is not appropriate for that to change them from his deen. And he did not come for that, for every soul will taste death, and Muhammad (ﷺ) was not sent to remain alive forever – neither he nor they. Rather, in order that they could die upon al-Islaam and al-Tawheed, for death is inevitable, whether it is the death of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) or anyone else.

ولهذا وبخهم على رجوع من رجع منهم عن دينه ، لما صرخ الشيطان إن محمدا قد قتل ، فقال : ( وما محمد إلا رسول قد خلت من قبله الرسل أفإن مات أو قتل انقلبتم على أعقابكم ومن ينقلب على عقبيه فلن يضر الله شيئا وسيجزي الله الشاكرين ) [ آل عمران : 144 ] ، والشاكرون هم الذين عرفوا قدر النعمة ، فثبتوا عليها حتى ماتوا أو قتلوا ، فظهر أثر هذا العتاب ، وحكم هذا الخطاب يوم مات رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ، وارتد من ارتد على عقبيه ، وثبت الشاكرون على دينهم ، فنصرهم الله وأعزهم ، وظفرهم بأعدائهم ، وجعل العاقبة لهم .

And it was for this reason that Allah reproached them for the fleeing of those among them who fled from his deen when the Shaytaan cried out (during the battle), ‘Verily Muhammad has been killed!’. So Allah said, “Muhammad is not but a messenger. [Other] messengers have passed on before him. So if he was to die or be killed, would you turn back on your heels [to unbelief]? And he who turns back on his heels will never harm Allah at all; but Allah will reward the grateful,” [3:144]. And the grateful ones are those who knew the value of the blessing (of Islam), so they remained steadfast upon it until they (either) died or were killed. The impact of this reproach and the wisdom of this address was made clear on the day that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), and those who apostatized apostatized, turning back on their heels; and the grateful ones remained firm on their deen, so Allah supported them and honored them, and made them victorious over their enemies, and made the good ending (i.e. Paradise) for them.

[Zaad al-Ma’aad 3/224]


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