Are You Ready For Islaam?- AL-GHURABAA’ -THE STRANGERS
The Arabic word “Ghurabaa`”, is the plural of the word “Ghareeb” which is a derivative of the word “Gharaba” – which means, “to go away, depart, absent o.s., withdraw (from), leave (s.o., s.th.)”. The word “Ghareeb” means, “strange, foreign, alien, extraneous” (see Hans Wehr Dictionary).
It has been reported from the Messenger of Allah SAW, which has been authenticated by al-‘Allaamah al-Muhaddith al-Albaani in his Sahih al-Jami’ as-Sagheer – that he SAW said:
“Indeed Islaam began as something strange. And it will return as something strange the way it began. So give glad tidings to the strangers”.
Indeed this is the promise of the Messenger of Allah SAW who…
“… does not speak from his desire. It is only a Revelation revealed…”
This Hadeeth from the blessed tongue of Muhammad SAW shows us the true nature of the Islaamic revival. The Islaamic revival that took place over 1400 years from now in the Arabian Peninsula had this nature of “strangeness” and indeed, the revival we are witnessing in our time also has the very same nature. This is so because the history is the proof that the people who rejected faith in Allah and disobeyed Him usually outnumbered those who were loyal to Allah and His Messenger SAW. Those who confirmed to the oneness of Allah were always in the minority and thus became the “Strangers” in the community for going against the current of the society they were living in.
Sheikh Jamaalud-Deen Zarabozo outlines this in “The Friday Prayer Part III” p.62:
“Allah says in the Qur’ân: ‘And most of the mankind would not believe even if you desire it eagerly’ (Qur’ân Yusuf 103).
Allah also says: ‘But most of Mankind refuses [the truth and accepts nothing] but disbelief’ (Qur’ân Al-Isra 89)
In yet another verse, Allah states: ‘Indeed we have brought the truth to you but most of them have a hatred for the truth’ (Qur’ân al-Zukhruf 78).
In these verses and, in fact, in numerous other places in the Qur’ân, Allah has told us that the majority of mankind refuses to follow the truth. Indeed, a hadeeth in Sahih Muslim describes that all of mankind, nine hundred and ninety nine out of every one thousand will be in the Hellfire.
This means that the true believers will always be in minority. As they look around themselves they will see the majority of mankind turning their backs on the teachings and guidance of Allah. They prefer disbelief and disobedience to faith and obedience to Allah.
The believer will look like a stranger in their midst. His beliefs, actions and way of life will be completely different from theirs. The disbelievers may even do their best to make him feel like a stranger, someone who does not belong, someone with strange ideas and practices. They may be ridiculed. Psychological pressures may be put upon them. The media may attack them and so forth.”
“Indeed Islaam began as something Strange…”
This strangeness is not something new with this Ummah in particular, rather it existed amongst all the others Prophets and Messengers before Muhammad SAW. From amongst them was the great messenger, Nooh, who gave Da’wah to his people for 950 years and they rejected and mocked him. Lut gave da’wah to his people but the Kuffaar in response mocked him and tried to exile him and attacked his honour. Ibraaheem called his people to Allah by which he went against the norm of his community and consequently stepped on people’s feet, for which he was persecuted, and thrown into the fire. Moosa also called the Fir’awn and his people to worship Allah alone, where the former rejected his call from the first day and was destroyed, and the latter ones, in the absence of Moosa began to worship a calf besides Allah. ‘Isa ibnu Maryam called the people to worship Allah alone and he had to pay the price just like his predecessors, by being persecuted and mocked by his own people, so Allah raised him up and he is alive until this day of ours and will return before the Day of Judgment.
Then how may one forget the most noble of the sons of Adam – Muhammad ibn ‘Abdillah – may Allah’s Salaah and Salaam be upon him. His entire biography from the beginning till the end shows us how he stood up with the call of Tawheed on the methodology of the Prophets who went before him. How his own people turned against him and mocked him and how this “truthful” and “trustworthy” person was overnight labeled as a magician, a poet, a mad man, ‘the one who seeks power’ and so on. So the Muslims in the early stages were in a state of “Ghurbah” – Strangeness, as the Messenger of Allah SAW said,
“Indeed Islaam began as something strange…”.
“… and it will return as something strange the way it began…”
This indicates that the return of Islaam is a fact and that it must take the same route and methodology, and must go through the same phases of difficulties and hardship that the early Muslims went through. This is why Imaam Maalik – May Allah have mercy upon him – said “That the latter part of this Ummah will not be corrected except by what corrected its earliest part” Therefore it is inevitable that this path of Islaamic revival must consist of firm faith in all that Allah has sent down. Likewise it is inevitable that the Muslims will have to go through hardship, endless struggle, persecution, exile and all that the first part of this Ummah went through due to their correct faith.
So we noticed the decline of Islaam as the time went until the Muslims were left without Khilaafah, and Kufr and Shirk began to creep into the Muslim ranks in its various forms, from grave worshipping to secularism. The people of innovations and desires were at last set free to spread their diseases throughout the Muslim lands. The aggressive Kuffaar invaded Muslim lands and enforced their religion of Kufr over the Muslim people. Even when they left, they installed a person with a Muslim name who implemented the same Kufr as his predecessors. This caused Islaam to nearly fade away from the lives of the Muslims.
In the midst of this calamity, Allah raised amongst this Ummah various personalities amongst the scholars, the du’aat (those who call to Islaam), intellectuals, thinkers, authors and the Mujaahideen in order to help and aid His Deen. The appearance of these personalities is not something new in this century; rather these people appeared through out the Islaamic history. It is the promise of Allah, by the tongue of His Messenger SAW, that there will always be a party amongst this Ummah, which will hold the flag of Tawheed high up, as the Prophet SAW said:
“There will never seize to exist a group from my Ummah being apparent on the truth, those who forsake them will not be able to harm them.” (Muslim).
They will cure this Ummah of the diseases and corruption and will act as shields against foreign beliefs, ideologies and innovations that steal away the beauty of Islaam. These people are indeed very few in number, so consequently they will become the victims of strangeness. As the Prophet SAW said about them that they are…
“Those who are righteous when the people have become corrupt.”
(Ahmad and Ibn Hibbaan and others. Sahih by supporting evidences, see “The Friday Prayer” by Jamalud-Deen Zarabozo)
Or in another narration:
“A small group of pious people in a large group of evil people. Those who disobey them are more than those who obey them.”
(Ahmad and Ibn Hibbaan and others. Hasan, see “The Friday Prayer” by Jamalud-Deen Zarabozo)
Today by the grace of Allah we can see the return of Islaam in front of our very eyes, by the return of the youth to Islaam and Jihaad. Many of us who started practicing this Deen most probably went through the early stages of strangeness. When a person merely begins to take interest in Islaam, and the materialistic society around him/her begins to view this person as a stranger. When this interest leads a person to increase his knowledge in Islaam, this person becomes more of a stranger by actually spending some of the time reading so-called ‘religious’ books, where as the time could have been spent reading some fiction-novel. Then this individual puts the knowledge to practice by making Wudoo and establishing Salaah five times a day, giving Zakaah, fasting in Ramadhaan and making Hajj. If this person is a brother then he grows a beard and if this is a sister, then she wears the Islaamic Hijaab and thus becomes even more of a stranger in her own household! Then this person takes on the duty of spreading the Message of the Messengers on his/her shoulders, by either speaking to the lost sheep of this Ummah on one-to-one basis, writing articles or giving lectures. Thus becoming a stranger amongst those practicing Muslims who practice the basics of Islaam but do not take the responsibility of taking it to others. Then this person goes a step further and devotes his/her life either seeking knowledge of Islaam, or living his entire life on a mountain in some trench writing the history of Islaam with his blood. This person becomes even more of a stranger amongst those practicing Muslims who take this message to others, but could not devote their lives to seeking knowledge or making Jihaad in His way.
These are the strangers who are the torchbearers of Tawheed, those who restore the honour of this Ummah and bring back to her the peace and security she once enjoyed.
These are the strangers who were given the glad tidings of the Paradise, as in the last part of the Hadeeth the Prophet SAW said:
“So Toobah for the Ghurabaa`”.
“…So Tooba for the Ghurabaa`”
The word “Tooba” is the name of a tree in Paradise that is promised to the strangers in this world. Regarding the word “Tooba”, Sheikh Jamaalud-Deen Zarabozo said the following in his work, “The Friday Prayer Part III” p. 66.
“The Prophet SAW has given the glad tidings of a tree in Paradise for those who have to live as strangers because the people are deviating from the teachings of the Qur’ân and sunnah. What is the characteristic of this tree in Paradise? The Prophet SAW explained that also when he said,
“Tuba is a tree in Paradise. The time it takes to transverse it is one hundred years. The clothing of the inhabitants of Paradise are taken from its sheaths.”
[Sh. Al-Albaani called it Hasan in Silsila al-Ahadeeth as-Sahihah, v. 4 p. 639]
This glad tiding of the tree of Tuba for the strangers should make us all wish, strive and aspire to be from among the strangers in this time in which Islaam has truly become strange again.”
May Allaah make us from the strangers in this world and the inheritors of Tooba in the Hereafter – Aameen.