Aspects of Glory (معاني العزة)
All praise is due to Allaah, Lord of all the worlds. May peace and blessings of Allaah be upon the noble Prophet, his household and companions.
Brothers in faith! The Almighty Allaah says: “But honour, power and glory belong to Allaah, His Messenger and to the believers, but the hypocrites know not.” (Al-Munaafiqoon: 8).
He also says: “Whoever desires honour, power and glory then to Allaah belongs all honour, power and glory.” (Faatir: 10).
These above-quoted verses contain guidance for all mankind; that they should seek for honour and glory from Allaah alone. Whoever believes in Allaah and the prophet hood of Muhammad should take pride and glory in his faith, have self-dignity, give his allegiance to the religion of Islaam and be distinguished in his dress and manners.
The glory of knowledge and Eemaan is totally different from the glory derived from sin and aggression, for the real glory is the one that is sought from Allaah and not from any human being. As for the mean soul, it is neither useful nor can it bring any good unless it is totally free from its meanness and knows that noble life can never be achieved except by turning to Allaah and sacrificing oneself to please Him.
In order that our life may be full with the real meaning of pride, glory and honour, Islaam makes the words of Athaan begin with “Allaahu Akbar, Allaahu Akbar” (Allaah is Greatest, Allaah is Greatest). Yes, Allaah is greater than everything in magnificence, power and wealth. He is the Great One, the Most-High.
Therefore, let those who ask for glory, honour, life and wealth from the rich people remember that Allaah is richer than all, and let those who seek for honour from great men remember that Allaah is greater than all.
Fellow Muslims! Allaah ordains that when we move from a position to another in Salaah, we say ‘Allaahu Akbar,’ and say, ‘Subhaana Rabbiyal-Atheem,’ while in bowing position and say, Subhaana Rabiyal A’laa,’ (meaning: glory be to my Lord the Most High) while in prostration. No one is higher above the creation except Allaah. This gives you the real meaning of glory and honour with which man knows his worth.
All this is ordained so that the Muslim may have certainty that every arrogant one is actually insignificant. It is as if this proclamation (i.e. Allaahu Akbar) brings people back to their senses, just as the beauties of this world make them heedless and mislead them. Allaah says, “As for ‘Aad, they where arrogant in the land without right and they said, ‘Who is mightier than us in strength?’ See they not that Allaah Who created them is mightier than them? And they used to deny Our revelations! So We sent upon them furious wind in days of evil omen (for them) that We might give them a taste of disgracing torment in this present worldly life, but surely, the torment of the hereafter will be disgracing and they will never be helped.” (Fussilat: 15-16).
Pride, glory and honour can only be achieved through Islaamic education and impressing the Islaamic creed in the hearts. It is actually this creed that convinced the Arab Muslim, who used to patch his garments, repair his shoes and eat only dried dates. Yes, it is through Islaam that the world was governed without being arrogant towards the truth, haughty over falsehood, aggressive in oppression and submissive to lust. Allaah explains the way to glory and honour in the glorious Qur’aan when He says,
“Whosoever desires honour, power and glory, then to Allah belong all honour, power and glory (and one can get them only by obeying and worshipping Allaah alone). To Him ascends all the goodly words, and the righteous deeds exact it.” (Faatir: 10).
Ibn Katheer said, ‘Whoever loves to have glory in this world and the next should adhere to obedience of Allaah, for that will actualize for him this goal and because Allaah is the possessor of this world and the next and all glory belongs to Him.’
Allaah also says, “Say (O Muhammad): O Allaah, Possessor of the Kingdom, You give the Kingdom to whom You will and You take the Kingdom from whom You will. You endue with honour whom You will and You humiliate whom You will. In Your hand is the good. Verily, You are Able to do all things.” (Aal-‘Imraan: 26).
Ibn Katheer in his commentary on this verse said, ‘It means. You are the Giver, the Preventer; whatever You will happens and whatever You do not will does not happen.’
It then becomes clear that real glory and honour are attained by obeying Allaah and following His Messenger and that real ignominy and disgrace are caused by not obeying Him. If, however, what appears to be glory is seen on a sinful person, there are disgrace and ignominy underneath that, which may be known or unknown to him. al-Hasan al-Basree said about sinful people, ‘Even if they ride horses and mules, the ignominy of their sins has overpowered them, for Allaah insists that He will disgrace whoever disobeys Him,’ He said, “And whoever Allaah disgraces, none can honour Him.” (Al-Hajj: 18).
The sinner is disgraced and will be in misery in this life and the next. Allaah says, “But whoever turns away from My Reminder (i.e. neither believes in this Qur’aan nor acts on its orders) verily, for him is a life of hardship and We shall raise him up blind on the Day of Resurrection.” (Taa Haa: 124).
As for people of knowledge and Eemaan, they shall have glory, honour and happiness in this world and the next. They will not be deceived by the apparent beauty of the rich people of this world for they know that the Qaaroon was given of the beauty of this world and that when his people wished for the same, the people of knowledge and Eemaan among them said: “Woe to you! The reward of Allaah (in the hereafter) is better for those who believe and do righteous good deeds.”(Al-Qasas: 80).
Some scholars said,. ‘Whoever obeys Allaah and keeps away from sins, Allaah will give him glory, for there is no act of obedience that is not accompanied by glory and honour and there is no sin that is not accompanied by disgrace; and Allaah has linked glory to acts of obedience and then made it light. He equally linked disgrace to sin and then made it disgrace, darkness and a screen between Allaah and the sinner.’
Brothers in Islaam! Man may be reveling in his physical strength, and then illness comes to him suddenly and wrecks him. He may be reveling in his wealth and then suddenly his wealth becomes a disaster that kills him. He may be reveling in his lineage and then become so helpless as he does not have any lineage. He may be reveling in his knowledge and then be affected by corruption and error. He may be reveling in his wealth, fame and power and suddenly become afflicted with a calamity that will turn him to the meanest and most insignificant person. People’s pride and glorying in all the above is therefore meaningless and that is caused by erroneous thinking.
As for glorying in Allaah that is everlasting. Allaah says, “But honour, glory and power belong to Allah, His Messenger and to the believers but the hypocrites know not.” (Al-Munaafiqoon: 8).
This glory is the powerful protection against those who boast with their wealth, lineage or number or power.
‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab went to Syria and Abu‘Ubaydah was in his company. When they reached a ford, ‘Umar descended from his camel, removed his shoes, placed them on his shoulder and then passed. Abu‘Ubaydah said in astonishment, ‘O Commander of the faithful! You are doing this? I do not wish that the people of this town see you in this condition!’ Umar retorted, ‘O Abu ‘Ubaydah, if other person were to say this saying of yours, I would have made him an example for the Muslims! We were the lowest of all people and then Allaah gave us glory by Islaam, and if we seek glory in anything other that what Allaah has given us, Allaah will disgrace us.’
After the battle of Uhud, when Abu Sufyaan (then the commander of the Makkan army) wanted to leave, he stood on a mountain and proclaimed as loud as he could, ‘Wars are won in turns! This is in return for your victory in the battle of Badr. Up Hubal!’ The Messenger of Allaah said, ‘Rise up, O Umar, and answer him.’ Umar then said, ‘Allaah is rather the Most-High and the Greatest. Our dead are in Paradise, while your dead are in Hell!’
Ibn Is-haaq said, ‘Abu Sufyaan came to the Messenger of Allaah in al-Madeenah and went straight to his daughter Ummu Habeebah bint Abee Sufyaan who was a wife of the Prophet. When he wanted to sit on the bed of the Messenger of Allaah, she removed it. He said in surprise, ‘I do not know; do you prefer me to the bed, or do you prefer the bed to me?’ She answered, ‘It is the Messenger of Allaah’s bed and you are a filthy polytheist and I do not like that you sit on the Prophet’s bed.’ Abu Sufyaan then said in disappointment, ‘By Allaah! You have been afflicted with an evil after me.’
Another example of having pride in one’s faith is the story of Rib’ee bin Aamir with Rustum. Rustum requested Sa’d ibn Abee Waqaas to send him an envoy with whom he could negotiate before the start of al-Qadisiyyah battle and Sa’d sent al-Mugheerah bin Shu’bah. Among what he told Rustum was, ‘We do not desire this world; our desire and concern are for the hereafter.’ Sa’d then sent another envoy to him that was Rib’ee bin Aamir. Rib’ee entered upon him while he was in his court, which had been decorated with gold, silk and valuable pearls, and Rustum himself sat on a golden throne. Rib’ee was wearing a thick garment bearing a sword and shield and riding on a short horse. He rode his horse until he stepped on Rustum’s carpet. He then descended, tied it to a stead and faced Rustum with his sword and shield. Upon being ordered to lay down his arms, he replied, ‘I did not come to you by myself. I came here upon your invitation. If you do not leave me as I am, I will go back.’ Rustum then said, ‘Leave him!’ He then moved forward, reclining on his weapon piercing the rugs with it. He was then asked, ‘What brings you here?’ He answered, ‘Allaah sent us to bring out those He wills from worshipping creatures to worshipping Allaah; from the narrowness of this world to it’s spaciousness; from injustice of other religions to justice of Islaam’. He thus sent us with His religion to mankind to call them unto Him. Whoever accepts that, we embrace him and go back to our land and whoever rejects, we fight him until we attain the promise of Allaah.’ They asked him, ‘What is the promise of Allaah?’ He said, ‘Paradise for those who die while fighting the rejecters of truth and victory for those who survive.’
This honorable companion exemplified glory in its highest form. His honour and glory are nurtured by Eemaan and this world therefore became insignificant in his sight.
The most dangerous problem that affects Muslims these days is self-defeat and weak aspiration that results in degeneration and retrogress. They therefore in seriously need to impress the meaning of pride and glory in the hearts of their youths, so that it becomes part of their personality, reforms their thought, raises their names and encourages them to aim high.
A believer who is always conscious of Allaah will feel a sense of glory that is derived from his servitude to Allaah in his heart, for he knows that Allaah is the Lord, the Provider and the Possessor of all things. Having been aware of all this, he will have no fear of anything besides Him.
Among the meanings of glory is to be compassionate and humble with his Muslim brothers,
Allaah says, “Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah and those who are with him are severe against disbelievers and merciful among themselves.” (Al-Fat h: 29).
Allaah also says, “So do not become weak (against your enemy) nor be sad and you will be superior in victory if you are indeed true believers.”(Aal-‘Imraan: 132).
Allaah does not want a Muslim to be weakened or humiliate himself; He wants him to be always brave, confident and patient.