ärˈtikyələt

│Azril Mohd Amin's personal views

Lesson in Humility

In the eleventh year of Hijrah, the Prophet (peace be upon him) decided to send an expedition to the north, near Mutah and Palestine, where a few years earlier Jafar, Abdullah, and Zayd had been killed. To everyone’s surprise, he gave the command to young Usamah, Zayd’s son, who was only twenty years old, though this three-thousand-strong army included such men as Umar and other experienced Companions. This choice gave rise to much criticism, but the Prophet reacted very promptly and put an end to all arguments when he proclaimed: “You criticize the choice of Usamah to command the army, as you had formerly criticized that of his father Zayd. Usamah is truly worthy of the command I entrust him with, as his father was before him.” [Ibn Hisham]

In the past, some Muslims had reacted to the choice of Zayd because they still considered him as a slave, though he had been freed; now some opposed the choice of his son, perhaps because of his father, but mostly because of his young age. By confirming his choice, the Prophet informed them that neither a man’s social origin nor his age should prevent him from exerting authority and power if he possessed the spiritual, intellectual, and moral qualities required. One had to show discernment by offering the most destitute in society real equality of opportunity and trusting the young so that everybody could express their skills and talents.

On a general level, this was a fine lesson in humility addressed to older Companions: they were to experience the inner, greater jihad of obeying a man who could have been their son, and in so doing remember that their time was limited, like any man’s. By that choice, the Prophet taught them that time naturally erodes one’s energy, and one must be wise enough to learn to step aside, to delegate authority to those who are young and strong enough to create and build.

Compiled From: “In The Footsteps of The Prophet” – Tariq Ramadan, pp. 200, 201

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This entry was posted on August 16, 2010 by and tagged , , , , , , .

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