Prophetic Optimism

By Adil Hussain

The battle was over. On that solemn day, the Ummah of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (may the peace and blessings of God be upon him) was decreased by about seventy of some of its greatest members. The Prophet (may the peace and blessings of God be upon him) lost not only many of his close companions, but his precious uncle as well. Hamza (Allah’s blessings be on him), who supported the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of God be upon him) during his difficult years in Makkah, aided and protected him on and off the battlefield, and was a close mentor and friend, was martyred. Hamza (Allah’s blessings be on him), one of the dearest people to the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of God be upon him), was killed on the battlefield by Wahshi Ibn Harb, an Ethiopian slave. Years later when Wahshi would become Muslim, the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of God be upon him) accepted him, but asked him to stay away, as the memory of his uncle continued to remain too painful to bear. This illustrates the deep love the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of God be upon him) had for Hamza (Allah’s blessings be on him), and how difficult the loss must have been for him.

When anyone of us is faced with such a dismal condition, it becomes exceedingly difficult to remain optimistic. We all know that optimism is highly encouraged in our deen. We are told to remain hopeful until the very last breath for the mercy and forgiveness of Allah. It is easy to be optimistic during times of blessing and plenty, but during times of hardship and distress, optimism is the last thing on one’s mind. However, it is during times of misfortune that being optimistic really bears its fruit.

The Prophet (may the peace and blessings of God be upon him) was a master of remaining optimistic during times of difficulty. No matter how troubling the situation was, he would always find a way to encourage his companions to look at the bright side. After the Battle of Uhud,  during this difficult moment in the Prophet’s (may the peace and blessings of God be upon him) life, one would expect perhaps an inkling of negativity, or of hopelessness. However, when Abu Sufyan climbed over the mountain after the dust of the battle settled and shouted, “The luck of war alternates. One wins today (referring to the Muslim victory at Badr), one wins tomorrow. Show your superiority, Hubal!,” The Prophet (may the peace and blessings of God be upon him) swiftly responded, “Allah is the most High and Majestic. We are not the same. Our dead are in the Garden of Paradise and your dead are in the Fire!” SubhanAllah, even at this dreary moment in his life, the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of God be upon him) used his optimism to completely turn the tables on the Quraysh. What would have perceived to any onlooker as an obvious loss to the Muslims, the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of God be upon him), with the right frame of mind, turned into a clear victory.

Optimism is therefore a picture of the state of one’s mind. No matter what happens in the outside world, it cannot harm or hurt you, if you have the right mindset. That is exactly what optimism is all about; to have a positive outlook during any occurrence in life, and the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of God be upon him) was the master of staying optimistic. If he had not remained so, there was no way that his companions could have had the everlasting willpower to continually beat the odds and spread Islam all across Arabia and beyond.

This lesson from the life of the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of God be upon him) can be applied to our lives every single day. Whenever Allah tests us with some calamity or hardship, always remember that at the end of the day, alhumdulillah, you are Muslim, and that’s really all that matters. This is what the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of God be upon him) did when faced with those who stated that he and his companions were defeated. He knew that despite their passing, they were believers, and as such, their reward is in the Hereafter, whereas the survivors amongst the Quraysh may live for a while longer, but would then suffer the eternal punishment of the Hellfire. He did not view the outcome of Uhud as having lost seventy of his companions in this life, but as gaining seventy companions to be with him in Paradise.

We should be encouraged to constantly stay positive in the light of any circumstance that may come our way. It reminds me of another beautiful hadith of the Prophet (may the peace and blessings of God be upon him): “Wondrous are the affairs of a believer. For him there is good in all affairs, and this is so only for the believer. When something pleasing happens to him, he is grateful, and that is good for him; and when something displeasing happens to him, he is patient, and that is good for him.” (Muslim). Therefore, no matter what happens in your life, whether perceived as good or bad, in the end it is good, if you hold fast to your Islam and remain a firm believer in Allah and His Prophet (may the peace and blessings of God be upon him).

You just have to be optimistic.

© Adil Hussain, Rabi’ al-Awwal 1433/February 2012

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