Dare to be Different! An Essay by

‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Abbas said that the Prophet Muhammad said:

“Whoever sticks to my Sunnah (my way, my path, my practice, my teachings) when my Ummah becomes corrupt, will receive the reward of 100 martyrs.”

What is the corruption mentioned in this Ayah? It is explained by the previous statement, “Whoever sticks to my Sunnah” — implying that the rest of the Ummah will have abandoned the Sunnah of their Messenger, hence, have fallen into corruption and misguidance. So yes, no doubt, all types of corruption, in all areas. Definitely! But particularly, abandoning the Sunnah (practice, way, teachings, guidance) of the Prophet Muhammad, and instead following other paths and other figures.

So, “the keeper of my Sunnah at that time” – the one who sticks to, holds firmly to, adheres strictly to, abides by, the Prophetic Sunnah – will have tremendous rewards with Allah. The reward of 100 martyrs.

Why? Because, we have to realize here the difficulty of the situation of such a person. He is going against the flow. It’s like all the traffic is coming in one direction and you try to go against the current! Impossible.

Many Muslims will be telling him, “No, what are you doing? You extremist. We’re in the 21st century. That doesn’t apply for now. That was for the old days – back in Arabia 1400 years ago. We’re in the modern world now. Those practices were for back then! Stop being an extremist!” And of course, the non-Muslims will also have their own onslaught of attacks, “You weirdos. You terrorists. You backwards people. You this and you that.”] And as the Prophet  himself stated in an authentic Hadith, that the one who will be patiently holding on to his/her religion at this time, will be like “someone who is holding onto ember (a burning piece of coal).”

The pressure to stop following the Sunnah of the Prophet to stop practicing Islam as he brought it will be very very great. Tremendous! And hence, the reward will also be very very great and tremendous for those who,  despite all the pressure, stick to his Sunnah.

So that is the question that I ask you now: Are you gonna stick to the Prophet’s Sunnah despite the pressure to compromise a little, despite the onslaught of attacks? Are you gonna dare to be different? Or are you gonna buckle under the pressure and give in? If you dare to be different, then I give you the glad tidings that the Prophet Muhammad gave to such people, who would come after his death & would not have seen him, nor seen any miracles, and would only find the Book of Allah in front of them and they would read & study it and believe it, and then adhere to the Prophet’s Sunnah despite the pressure and despite the fact that they would be looked at as “strangers” and “weirdos”. The Prophet said about such people, that they are his ‘brothers’ & he cannot wait to meet them! They will believe in him and firmly adhere to his Sunnah though they never saw him

(It’s origin is in Saheeh Muslim, and then there are other wordings elsewhere. Shaykh Al-Albaani has authenticated this hadeeth in Saheeh Ibn Maajah, Saheeh An-Nasaa’ee, As-Silsilah As-Saheehah, etc).

And he gave such “strangers” tremendous glad tidings and good news, and something to uplift their spirits in the times of darkness, depression and gloominess.

On one occasion – ‘Abdullaah Ibn ‘Amr Ibn Al-‘Aas narrates – when the Companions were all sitting with the Prophet, he said: “Toobaa (Paradise; a special tree in Paradise) is for the strangers (those who are looked at by the people as strange and weird)! Toobaa is for the strangers! Toobaa is for the strangers!” And he said it thrice.

So they asked him, “Who are these ghurabaa’ (strange people) that you’re referring to, Messenger of Allah?” And he replied:

“Righteous people who are few in number, and who are amongst evil and misguided people who are so abundant and overflowing in number. Those who are against them (these righteous people) will be more than those who follow them and support them.” (Authenticated in Musnad Ahmad by Shaykh Ahmad Shaakir, and in Saheeh Al-Jaami` & Saheeh At-Targheeb by Al-Albaani.)

And our Prophet also described them on another occasion saying,

“Certainly, Islam began as something strange (in the eyes of people). And (one day) it will return to being strange just as it began. So Toobaa is for the ‘strangers’!” So he was asked, “Messenger of Allah, who are these ‘strangers’?” He replied: “They are those who will rectify the corruption and deviation of the people after me, with regard to my Sunnah.”

So hang in there, don’t you ever buckle under the pressure! Dare to be different!  Be proud of your way of life, and don’t be afraid or shy of the creation, for surely Allah, their Creator as well as yours, is more deserving of you fearing Him and feeling shy before Him.

I am a Muslim, and I do not walk alone. I fear no one, but the One above the Throne.

Notes

1. Though some Hadeeth scholars have said that the Hadith which the article is about is very weak, such as Shaykh al-Albaani, the Hadeeth was graded Hasan by Ibn Hajar Al-`Asqalaani in Hidaayah Ar-Ruwaah, and Al-Mundhiree said about it in At-Targheeb wat-Tarheeb, “Its isnaad is saheeh or hasan or something close to them.”

2. The following hadeeth was authenticated by Shaykh Al-Albaani (he graded it “hasan” in Sahih Al-Jaami`) from ‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood, that the Prophet said:

اَلْمُتَمَسِّكُ بِسُنَّتِي عِنْدَ اخْتِلاَفِ أُمَّتِي, كَالْقَابِضِ عَلَى الْجَمْر

“The person who sticks tightly to my Sunnah, at the time when the rest of my Ummah will be in a state of discord & disunity — will be like one who is holding on with his bare hands to ember.”