Part 28 By Maulana Habibur Rahman Usmani ex-Rector Darul Uloom, Deoband
Translated by: Hifzur Rahman Qasmi
A strange event mesmerizes all
Uqba ibn Nafye Fahri was appointed as the governor of Africa by Emir Mu’awiya. Uqba conquered most of the African regions. The Berbers were the original inhabitants of the region. Most of their tribes had reverted to Islam. They also participated in the conquest of Africa under the command of Uqba. Yet Muslims had no permanent cantonment where they could permanently stay. It could necessarily result in breaking of pledge by the newly converted Berbers and killing the Muslims staying there after the governor come back from there.
Pondering over this point, Uqba ibn Nafye thought of constructing a permanent military station at a suitable place where the Muslim force could be available every time; and this way West Africa could be declared a province.
But the place which was selected for this purpose was a quagmire and had so thickly grown woods that even a snake could feel difficult passing through it, let alone any human being or big animal. It was a home to beasts and dangerous animals. Not to speak of living at such place, even passing through it was not out of danger. But the intention of every Companion was based on the inspiration from Allah. Their vison reflected the signs of acceptance. Whatever they did was solely based on trust in Allah.
When Muslims explained the possible dangers on adopting this place as a cantonment for Uqba ibn Nafye, he, in response, explained to them the benefits which it could fetch. Muslims were convinced by the explanation of Uqaba, and therefore his opinion was given preference.
Eighteen soldiers of this army were the blessed Companions of the Prophet (saws). Uqba, the commander, called upon the soldiers and took them to the place earmarked. Thereafter, he addressed the beasts and animals and said : We are the companions of Allah’s Messenger (saws), (sent to) beasts and insects. So you leave from here. We want to stay here. We will kill anyone found here after this (announcement). (Al-Kamil Fi al-Tarikh: v. 3, p. 230, Tarikh Tabari: v. 6, p. 134)
One wonders what effect this voice would have on the animals and beasts but they felt themselves in a strange situation. They all got ready to leave the jungle. They began getting out in groups. The lions holding their babies, wolves with their babies and snakes catching their babies were taking their own way out of the forest. This was truly a terrifying and strange scene which was neither seen before, nor was it imagined. (ibid)
It is sure that when beasts and snakes left the place in this manner, no one can dare even staying near it, let alone thousands of people standing there to have a look. But all of them knew that all the beasts and animals were under the command of the All-Powerful Entity. Others cannot have any fear from them, while they themselves feared for their lives. Therefore, thousands of people were observing this sight with their naked eyes.
The Berbers, the original inhabitants of the region and fully aware of the condition and dangers of the forest, were also observing the situation. Was it possible for them to remain with their falsehood even after seeing such a bright proof of the truth of Islam? Thus, thousands of Berbers converted to Islam at that very moment and devoted themselves to its cause. (Al-Kamil Fit Tarikh: vol. 3, p. 230, Tarikh Tabri: vol. 6, p. 134)
This is a historically authentic event which can be denied only by the person who is unaware of the facts of history which has come down to us in correct and authentic detail. of Muslims, This can only be disbelieved by those willing to destroy the world history without any sound reason.
The world philosophers, physics and geology experts and those who discuss the relationship between “cause and effect” can exercise their whole mental power, but they can never explain the effect of Uqba’s voice and what was the reason that all the beasts and animals got ready to leave the forest as soon as they heard this voice. The reason for it can only be explained clearly by the person who is well aware of the relationship between Almighty Allah and His creatures and the reality of this relationship and who knows that all the causes and effects are under the will of the Supreme Power and work by His commandment. The relationship between the Almighty Creator and His creatures is greater than that between a master and his slave.
A slave may possibly disobey the commandment of his master, but a creature can never disobey the commandment of his Creator, as the creature is always in need of his Creator throughout his life. Those who discuss the cause and effect theory and confine themselves only to the apparent causes forgetting the Real Cause must consider this relationship between the creatures and Almighty Allah. As the Companions were completely free from the base desires and selfish inclinations, their attention could be diverted to nothing except Allah. They had crossed all the stages of nothingness. Thus their commandment also exerted the same effect as Allah’s commandment does.
No tool yet has been invented to know and perceive this relationship. This is rightly perceived only by those who crossed all the difficult stages of the soul’s purification and attained the true peace and calmness of heart. It is also known, in an indirect way, to those who sincerely follow them, through all kinds of trials and tribulations.
In short, this was the merit of Islam and the characteristics of Muslims which established the truth of Islam and strengthened the Muslim rule even in unfavorable circumstances. Can anyone say that even the beasts and animal left their old abodes by the force of sword; or thousands of people who converted to Islam after seeing this event were forced to do so by Muslims? No, not at all.
The story of building the grand mosque in Kairouan
Nevertheless, this area became free from beasts and animals so that even a single snake was not seen in this whole area for the next forty years. When the Muslim army got satisfied that there were no dangers from wild aniamals, they began the work of preparing the huge ground for inhabitation. First of all the assembly house was built and all around it all Muslims built their houses. Apart from that, Uqba laid the foundation of the grand mosque over there. But he was much confused about the direction of ka’ba. So, he was hesitant in constructing the wall facing the Ka’ba.
It is necessary that the direction of the Ka’ba should be correct to the greatest degree for salah. It is accepted that only facing one side of the Ka’ba suffices when he prepares for prayer. This is the reason why the Companions had so far been offering salah facing the direction of Ka’ba based on their conjecture.
But building a grand mosque, which is a symbol of Islam, in the head quarter of the Islamic government, was not a minor event. He thought that if he just constructed the wall facing the Ka’ba based on his conjecture, it might be wrong and if the grand mosque was not facing the direction of Ka’ba properly, it might create doubts in the minds of Muslims.
One night, lost in thought, Uqba heard a voice saying him to enter the mosque the next morning. He would hear a voice of takbeer. He was directed to follow the direction given by the voice. The place where the voice stops shall be the true direction of Ka’ba he was told. He was instructed to mark the place and build the wall on the same place. This would be the wall facing the direction of Ka’ba which has been chosen for Muslims by Allah forever. Everything happened so. He entered the mosque early in the morning. He heard a voice and followed it. At a certain place, the voice stopped sounding. He marked it and all the mosques of Kairouan were built on the same direction. (Mu’jamul Buldan: p. 124)
This was the Divine assistance guiding Muslims not only in the Arabian Peninsula and Asia, but crossed its borders to reach even in Africa and Europe. These are facts which made the way for Islam easier in all the cities and areas where they entered triumphantly and unfurled the flag of Islam.