La Tahzan: Do Not Grieve; Indeed Allah is With Us
Author : T Arif Ali

Transcribed from a speech delivered on 1st October, 2022

Innallaha Ma’ana – Allah is with us. This has to be our path. This is a time of tests and challenges. In Allama Yusuf al Qaradawi’s book, he quotes the Qur’an (3:140) – “We make such movements to men in turn so that Allah might mark out those who are the true men of faith and select from among you those who do really bear witness (to the Truth).” Allah constantly makes changes and causes shifts in power in our world. For example, leadership has always swivelled between the West and the East; within a span of 500 years, these changes keep happening. The current time is one of hardship for us, admittedly.


“If you do not aid the Prophet – Allah has already aided him when those who disbelieved had driven him out [of Makkah] as one of two, when they were in the cave and he said to his companion, “Do not grieve; indeed Allah is with us.” And Allah sent down his tranquillity upon him and supported him with angels you did not see and made the word of those who disbelieved the lowest, while the word of Allah – that is the highest. And Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.” (9:40, The Holy Qur’an)

“La Tahzan” (Do Not Grieve) is not merely the subject matter of a speech. It is a Momin’s (believer’s) fundamental belief and the principled centre point of his existence. It is his strategy and policy towards life. It was spoken aloud by the Prophet (saw) at a very important turning point in history. That is what is clearly mentioned in the above verses.

The Context Of The Verse:
The Prophet and his Companion Abu Bakr Siddiq (RA), during the journey of the Hijra, were in the Cave of Thawr (Jabal al Thawr). At that point, Abu Bakr (RA) saw the feet of his enemies appear in his line of vision.

He said – “Look, if these people look down, they will find us!” In reply, the Prophet (saw) said two verses: “What is your opinion about two people, O Abu Bakr? The third in such a situation is Allah swt. Do not be sad; Allah is with us.” The Prophet said these sentences; but Allah swt quoted them. When did Allah quote them? In Surah at-Tawbah, when the Expedition of Tabuk, also known as the Expedition of Usra was being referred, Allah swt quoted these sentences uttered by the Prophet (saw). These verses have therefore been given a great place in the lives of believers. They shape their attitude towards life.

What happened after this is also mentioned in the quoted verses – Allah caused His tranquillity to descend upon him and supported him with hosts you did not see (special forces that protected and helped the two people in the Cave of Thawr). It was a turning point. It was inevitable at that point that sadness or grief would occur. Imagine the situation. The Prophet (saw) was forced to leave his home, besieged by the Quraysh on all four sides – the same Quraysh who were the leaders of the Banu Hashim, who would call him Al-Ameen (The Trustworthy) and were fond of him, the same Quraysh who supported him were now surrounding him. The people who had once loved him, were now ready to kill him and punish him. Every man had a sword in his hand.

The Prophet (saw) left this situation. Instead of going to Madinah, the Prophet (saw) and his Companion rushed to the other end, climbed up a huge mountain and made a small place for themselves. Abu Bakr (RA) entered the Cave first, took a look around. There were holes riddling the place, so Abu Bakr (RA) took some rags and blocked them, and for the remaining holes, he blocked them with his own limbs. Then, he invited the Prophet (saw) inside. At that point, imagine the depth of their grief. Then, the Quraysh had surrounded the Cave. Had they moved an inch, they would have spotted the two men taking refuge. At this point: La Tahzan.

Do not grieve.
The journey began from this turning point. Allah swt said: “He humbled the word of the unbelievers. As for Allah’s word, it is inherently uppermost.” These verses delivered tranquility and a corroboration, and a blow to the words of the disbelievers, firmly establishing them as the lowest of the low. Allah’s words were firmly established as the most superior. These were the consequences of the words uttered by the Prophet (saw).

Two Mighty Scholars Pass Away…

Two mighty leaders of our times have passed away in recent times and returned to their Creator – firstly, Allama Yusuf al Qaradawi, a leader beyond compare and an exemplar of moderation. Most of the scholars we look up as reference points passed away in the previous century itself. But he was blessed with the opportunity to witness the 20th and the 21st centuries. In Ummatuna Bayna Qarnayn – 20th and 21st Centuries – he wrote an expansive treatise covering the two centuries he had witnessed. His argument was in the 20th centuries, the Muslim community was spiritually and psychologically dead – pointing to the stagnation of ijtihad. He refers to the closing of the doors of the ijtihad in the 3rd or 4th century, which many other scholars have referred to.

The backbone of the Muslim ummah – the Khilafath – was corrupted and finally put to an end by the British imperial forces, which also meant ruining the system of zakat. Zakat has become a mere way of helping poor people at an individual level. The collective force behind Zakat has been eroded completely. It has become reduced to the tokenistic form of rich people offering some crumbs to their poorer counterparts.

This was the sorry state of affairs of the Muslim Ummah in the 20th century. It was effectively colonised by the Western forces, lacking any substantive freedom. But the turn of the century witnessed a great change. At the beginning of the 21st century, there was a new light of Islamic reform and movement. Youth began to re-enter the mosques with renewed energy. You could see the community deeply immersed in worship, particularly during the month of Ramadan. In the sphere of the educational arena, Muslims began to enter at lightning speed, particularly among women. The change among women has been extraordinary. This shift started within the Muslim Ummah in the last decade of the 20th century – the 1990s. The fall of the Soviet Union meant that in all the areas where the erstwhile Soviet Union had control, the Islamic movement began to spread with rapid speed and energy. The former enemy of America, the Soviet Union, had effectively vanished after its collapse; but now it needed a new external enemy – and it found Muslims. They started spreading Islamophobia.. This has been summarised in Allama Yusuf al Qaradawi’s book mentioned above.

The other person we have lost in these past few weeks is Maulana Syed Jalaluddin Umari. I will quote him – “We often say in our speeches that Islam is facing many challenges. This is wrong – Islam has no challenges. In reality, for America, for Europe, and for the alleged ‘modern world’, Islam is the biggest challenge.” To finish the challenge, all conspiracies are being hatched. This is the true reality of this world. Look at what all happened at the beginning of this century: the kind of state secularism that was imposed in Turkey in the previous century was challenged after the emergence of the Islamic leadership of Necmettin Erbakan and then, Recep Taiyyab Erdogan. Today, Islam is free in Turkey. The sight of hijab wearing women in Turkey’s public sphere is now common. Wherever there was dictatorship, the Arab Spring spread – Tunisia, Algeria, Syria, Iraq, Egypt etc. This proves that Islam must always break through the imposition of dictatorship and emerge. Whether it is Zionism or American imperialism, they wish to oppose this surge of freedom. In India, Islamophobia has been deployed by the ruling class and government. This is not new – but goes back a 100 years. In 1948, after the assassination of Gandhiji, there was a lull in the activities of these reactionary forces, but they re-emerged with a vengeance to take control over all the state institutions, including the fourth state and civil society. The 2014 elections were a result of that. The extraordinary break away from secular parties to the current dispensation was repeated in 2019 and commentators indicate that 2024 does not look very different. The steps taken in NDA-2, like the triple talaq verdict, the 370 abrogation, the Babri judgement, all of them had made people very sorrowful. We kept trying to point out the flaws in these decisions. We had hoped that decisions would come in the favour of the community. I am sure that the youth was fuelled with grief and sadness. To top it off, came CAA. It is a chain of events.

A Reminder in Testing Times

Innallaha Ma’ana – Allah is with us. This has to be our path. This is a time of tests and challenges. In Allama Yusuf al Qaradawi’s book, he quotes the Qur’an (3:140) – “We make such movements to men in turn so that Allah might mark out those who are the true men of faith and select from among you those who do really bear witness (to the Truth).” Allah constantly makes changes and causes shifts in power in our world. For example, leadership has always swivelled between the West and the East; within a span of 500 years, these changes keep happening. The current time is one of hardship for us, admittedly.

A Persian adage, also made popular by people like Abraham Lincoln and in some Indian textual sources refers to someone who asks a wise man for a sentence that would offer him some patience and respite in times of grief, and some moderation in times of excess happiness. That wise man said, “This too will pass.” I want to repeat this to you all as well – this too shall pass. The period of tests are not very long. Allah swt has given us many such examples to this end – such as that of Yusuf (AS). His life story is called Ahsanul Qasas – it is the best of stories, full of everything that makes a good story. But it is not Ahsanul Qasas for these reasons of its literary quality. It is thus because it shows how to survive and move forward from the most difficult of periods. A teenage boy thrown in a well, taken to jail, and finally emerging as the ruler himself. This is the quintessential journey of a human – Ahsanul Qasas. And the Quran says about Fir’awn – “Indeed, Pharaoh exalted himself in the land and made its people into factions, oppressing a sector among them, slaughtering their [newborn] sons and keeping their females alive. Indeed, he was of the corrupters” and then immediately after, “And We wanted to confer favour upon those who were oppressed in the land and make them leaders and make them inheritors.” After summing up his character in one verse, Allah swt follows up immediately with the recompense – the oppressed became the inheritors (wariseen).

Who are the people who continue to dwell in grief and sadness? The ones who have nothing to do, no work to do. If we have a lot of work to do, we cannot afford to be sad. Similarly, if there is a lot of work, there is less chance for hopelessness or grief. What is the work?

Beyond Fascism?
Fascism will come to an end, but what will be your share in Hindustan after the era of fascism? How will you and your subsequent generations live here? If you think about this, you have work. You know about the New Education Policy. It is an attempt to break the love people have for Prophet Muhammad (saw), their scope to ponder about the Hereafter and their basic religious beliefs. Therefore, there is a lot of work to be done. When the Partition was done, two things were preserved by the Muslim community which maintained Islam in India: mosques and madrasas. Had the ulema not done this, Islam might not have been preserved. Now, the right wing has their gaze firmly on these two things. But beyond this, our work has to go to the smallest unit of society – family.

What Is To Be Done?
Our children have to be brought up with the fundamentals of tawheed (monotheism). They have to imbibe tawheed with its soundness intact. This belief should be so firm in their hearts that no school or college education should dilute. Women have a lot of responsibility on this front. Every mother must instill these lessons in her children right from the start. They should teach them love, affection and hope of Allah; how to be suffused with the nur (light) of Allah’s teachings within them, instead of only scaring them, saying Allah will throw you in the fire. This is the way that Islam has continued to flourish in the debris of the Soviet Union, or in Turkey after 70 years – see how a vast number of Huffaz e Quran are there. This is because mothers have inculcated this into their children. This is the first work.

The second one – to work for the development of the Muslim community, for its education, for the spread of education in every single family. You must acquire so much education that no one can deny you anything or snatch your rights.

The third is to economically develop ourselves. We know about Assam; how 20-30 lakh people were excluded from the NRC. Some were later included. There is little clarity on the exact numbers now. What happened there in reality? There is a lack of education there and very little contribution to India’s GDP. The government treats them like a burden on the country. If a community does not contribute to the country’s GDP, they will be treated similarly. Therefore, we have to be economically and financially sound; earn well and pay tax. There has to be our contribution in making this country strong. No one should be able to deny our share. We have to engage continuously with the Indian community at large, developing brotherhood and introducing Islam and Muslims to them and presenting the best character that a Muslim is supposed.

Not the End of History
Fascism will be erased, one day or the other. But what after? Our generations have to sustain beyond that as well and stake claim to a weighty share in our country. We have to make efforts in that regard. There is no time for sorrow, grief or even reactionary behaviour. We have to be positive and develop positive energy and the youth have to further inculcate this, re-shaping their immense energy in positive streams of work. This is not the end of history. This is what the Quran said – another time will come. Be ready for it. While you fight fascism at the short-term level; do not forgot the long term goals. La Tahzan, Innalaha Ma’ana. Allah SWT was with Yusuf (AS), with Prophet Muhammad (saw), with Musa (AS) and the same Creator is with us as well.


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