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Deception

حدثنا قتيبة حدثنا الليث عن عقيل عن الزهري عن ابن المسيب عن أبي هريرة رضي الله عنه : عن النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم أنه قال لا يلدغ المؤمن من جحر واحد مرتين

Narrated by Abu Huraira:

The Prophet Muhammad (saw) said, "A believer is not stung twice (by something) out of one and the same hole." (Al-Bukhari Al-Adab 83, Muslim Zuhd 63)

Abu Azza did not know that he was in the presence of a prophet who was not only merciful but also smart, alert, an attentive army commander and a head of state. The Messenger of Allah (saw), someone who stood by his word for the duration of his life, and was even described by the polytheists as Muhammad al-Amin, the trustworthy, commanded that Abu Azza be punished for war crimes as "A believer is not stung twice (by something) out of one and the same hole."

Abu Azza was a satirical poet, who struck Muslims with his words and was described as being a carrier of firewood to hell. At Badr he supported the polytheists of Mecca; used his words as arrows and shot them at the Muslims. As well as losing this battle, the polytheists lost seventy people to the war, and another seventy were caught as prisoners. Abu Azza was also held captive and he had neither property to save him nor any wealthy relatives to pay his ransom of four thousand dirhams. His only hope was to meet the Prophet (saw) and use his skills of speech to explain his situation.

Abu Azza showed humility and explained his situation. The Messenger of Allah (saw) listened to him with great care, and it was clear that he sympathised with him. However, he was apprehensive about Abu Azza reciting poems which are antagonistic to Islam after being set free. The Messenger of Allah (saw) said that he would allow him to be set free on one condition; after that date he would not take part in any activity against Muslims and that he would not recite satirical poems about Islam. The poet made his promise. In fact with that joy he recited a qasida (eulogy) which praised the Prophet (saw) . "You are Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah. You are such a person that invited people to righteousness and the true path with the help of Allah." The way he recited the poem; it was almost as if he was a Muslim! The Messenger of Allah (saw), who based his whole life on righteousness and trust believed his words and allowed him to be freed.  There are some who say that after he returned to Mecca, he stood by the promise he made to the Prophet (saw) while there are others who say that upon his return he continued his satirical poetry about Muslims. However, what we know for certain is that Abu Azza took sides with the polytheists of Mecca at the Battle of Uhud. Once again he was exhilarating the enemies of Islam with his poetry, provoking the disbelievers with his words. It had come to such an extent that the polytheists were so blinded by their anger that they did not refrain from deforming the bodies of Muslim martyrs.

When the battle was over, and it was not yet clear who had won, Abu Azza was amongst a group of polytheists trying to escape. When he was brought to the Messenger of Allah (saw), he looked at Abu Azza’s face as though he was reminded of the promise that he had made. However, Abu Azza was the same Abu Azza. As if it was not enough that he had betrayed his promise, he lined up a series of gilded phrases. Abu Azza did not know that he was in the presence of a prophet who was not only merciful but also smart, alert, an attentive army commander and a head of state. The Messenger of Allah (saw), someone who stood by his word for the duration of his life, and was even described by the polytheists as Muhammad Al-Amin, the trustworthy, commanded that Abu Azza be punished for war crimes as "A believer is not stung twice (by something) out of one and the same hole."

It would be unthinkable for the Messenger of Allah (saw) to show tolerance out of his mercy towards someone who committed treason. With his stance, he exemplified what the limitations of our pity and compassion should be. The Prophet, who never sought revenge for personal reasons, never shied away from doing what was required of him when it came to those who broke the prohibitions of Allah and were enemies of Islam. He also acted in the same manner during the Banu Qurayza incident and when the Meccan polytheists broke their peace treaty. In both cases those who broke the treaty payed the price for not standing by their word.

The Prophet (saw) never shied away from doing what was required of him when it came to those who broke the prohibitions of Allah and were enemies of Islam. He also acted in the same manner during the Banu Qurayza incident and when the Meccan polytheists broke their peace treaty. In both cases those who broke the treaty payed the price for not standing by their word.

Ironically, in the history of civilisation, deception began in heaven and from that day on, humankind has been endlessly deceived due to countless reasons. It is related in the Torah that Adam and Eve were tricked by Satan, who had taken the shape of a snake. Satan had sweetly spoken to them, convincing them that once they ate from the forbidden tree’s fruit they would become angels and reside in heaven forever. Although Allah accepts the deep regret and repentance of our forefathers, the place we reside is the earth, not heaven. Humankind comes face to face with Satan, who vowed to deviate believers from the right path until the Day of Judgement, in a battle ground, so to speak. Thereafter, Satan works for humans to enter hellfire, while humans work to return to paradise once more.

The Prophet (saw), who never sought revenge for personal reasons, never shied away from doing what was required of him when it came to those who broke the prohibitions of Allah and were enemies of Islam. He also acted in the same manner during the Banu Qurayza incident and when the Meccan polytheists broke their peace treaty. 

The dark holes snakes hide in on earth are rather numerous and also bewitching.  Our souls are more than willing to be deceived and their reasons are also quite convincing; sometimes the love of property and goods, sometimes position and status, sometimes family lineage, sometimes spouses and children are what prompts us to stretch out our hand towards the snake’s hole. One by one, the boundaries set by Allah by sending books and prophets which warn against crossing these boundaries are surpassed. The sins are various, open and hidden, ones that lead to disbelief and ones that do not, small and large, ones which include the rights of other human beings and ones that do not…

Satan, who sets ornate traps against those who believe in Allah, shows the bad things that are forbidden as being good. Because they are not punished immediately for the sins they have partaken in, they immediately find courage from this and continue walking on wrong paths. Those who forget that Allah is not being negligent, but rather granting a delay, who only take into account his mercy, forgetting that he is just and the settler of accounts are falling into a great delusion. Our Holy Book lets us know that the situation of those who do not learn lessons from the mistakes they make, who persevere with the same sins, who do not feel remorse, who stick their hands into one snake hole into the next will be tragic. Of course, our Lord knows that humans cannot be sinless. What is becoming of a believer is to feel remorse and seek repentance for mistakes they make, never return to them. When this is done, heaven will be made closer to them. On that day, who would ever want to be on the receiving end of the question: “O mankind, what has deceived you concerning your Lord, the Generous?”

 

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