Read Stories from Islamic History Online

Authors: Nayab Naseer

Tags: #history, #islam, #islamic history, #baybars

Stories from Islamic History (14 page)

BOOK: Stories from Islamic History
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In the meantime, the consolidation of a
second Saudi-Wahabi state made the Ottoman state sit up and take
notice. A second Egyptian expedition came in 1253 AH (1837 CE).
Faisal was exiled to Cairo and a puppet from the house
of Saud was installed as the
. However Faisal escaped
and retook Riyadh with considerable ease. He ruled with stability
till 1285 AH (1865 CE). An expedition led by the Sherief of Makkah
to oust him in 1263 AH (1847 CE) was defeated.

The enemies of Ibn Saud and Mohammed ibn
Abdul Wahab now adopted a new strategy – instigation of the petty
chieftains and also fringe family members of the house of Saud.
This had the desired results, for after the death of Faisal, his
sons broke out against each other. From this point till 1309 AH
(1892 CE), one by one the contenders came and went with the support
of one or the other of the small chieftain, until another tribe,
hitherto a Saudi vassal – Al Rashid of Hail gained in strength by
supporting one claimant against another, and eventually captured
Riyadh. The Saudi king Abdul Rahman and the members of his family
were exiled to Kuwait.

Thus ended the second Saudi state.


Among those who accompanied Abdul Rahman to
exile was his teenage son Abdul Aziz, a tall young man who had
already distinguishing himself as a natural leader of men. He
struck up friendship with Mubarak - the half brother of
Mohammed, the emir of Kuwait. Soon Mubarak seized
power from Mohammed and Abdul Aziz grew in influence.

The loss of Najd to the al-Rashids was a
perpetual source of pain to Abdul Aziz, for Najd had been central
to the first and second Saudi states. Mubarak obliged by attacking
Hail in 1319 AH (1901 CE).

While Mubarak sent his army to Hail, Abdul
Aziz set forth from Kuwait, accompanied by sixty three men.
Traveling at night and away from the main caravan routes, he
reached Riyadh on the eve of the 5th of Shawwal (5 January 1903
CE). Abdul Aziz recaptured the heavily garrisoned city on the same

Abdul Aziz swiftly forged alliances with
local tribes, strengthening his grip on Riyadh. Ibn Rashid of Hail,
preoccupied in the counter attack against Kuwait and had no choice
but to reconcile to the loss of Riyadh for the time being. He saw
an alliance with the Turks as the best way to remain independent
from both the Sherief of Makkah and Abdul Aziz.

The battle came soon enough though, in 1324
AH (1906 CE). Ibn Rashid was killed, but Abdul Aziz was not
satisfied. He still had a score to settle with the Turks for their
historic enmity towards the house of Saud.

Abdul Aziz bode his time and consolidated his

The re-establishment of the Saudi state gave
impetus for the Ikwan movement among the Bedouin Arabs. They were
encouraged to abandon their traditional way of life in the desert
and move to an agricultural settlement. Once in such a
– movement from a place of disbelief to a place of belief, the
Ikhwan, as they styled themselves became strict in enforcing the
of the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him
- enjoining public prayer, masjid attendance, gender segregation,
condemning music, smoking and alcohol; and more importantly for
Abdul Aziz, fighting in the way of Allah.

By 1333 AH (1915 CE) there were more than two
hundred such settlements in and around Najd and nearly one lakh
Ikhwan waiting for a chance to fight.

For Abdul Aziz the time had come.

Abdul Aziz first seized the Turkish garrison
at Hofuf, and followed it up by netting the coastal towns of
al-‘Uqayr and Qatif thereby winning control of the Gulf coast. On
the Western front, Saudi control was extended to the outskirts of
Hail. This caused problems with the Ikhwan because, unlike Makkah
and Madinah, Hail had no religious significance and the Al-al
s who controlled the Ikwan had no particular quarrel
with the Rashidi clan who controlled it.

Unlike Abdul Aziz, the Ikwan had no
particular quarrel with the Rashidi clan of Hail, and they were
eager to bypass Hail and complete the takeover of Hijaz. Abdul Aziz
however directed their energies to Hail. Hail was easily taken in
1339 AH (1921 CE). The Ikhwan, however went beyond Hail into
central Transjordan, which brought them into contact with the
imperial British troops for the first time. Abdul Aziz was forced
to rein in his troops to avoid problems with the British. The
British-brokered 1339 AH (1922 CE) Treaty of Uqair defined the
boundaries of Iraq and Kuwait, and was aimed primarily at
containing Saudi expansion into territories ruled by Britain's

Meanwhile in Hejaz, Sherief Ali had inherited
both his father’s reign and his unpopularity. The Ikwan walked into
Hijaz at will and gradually most of the towns and settlements began
to consider Abdul Aziz as their ruler.

The fateful moment came on 3rd
1344 AH (19 December 1925), when Sherief Ali had no
choice but to evacuate Makkah as his writ no longer ran there. Thus
the take over of Makkah and Madinah by the house of Saud was by
default, without bloodshed.

Abdul Aziz was careful not to make more
enemies than necessary and tried to make those enemies he had into
friends. Both his bitter rivals, the al-Rashids of Hail and the
Sherief of Makkah were accommodated in the new dispensation. He
re-established the marriage links that his ancestor, Turki had
first forged between the house of Saud and the house of Rashid by
marrying three of the Rashidi widows into his family. Abdul Aziz
gave the Sherief’s family large tracts of land, enabling them to
stay in the area and prosper. He did nothing to provoke the British

On 12
1350 AH (September 23,
1932 CE), Abdul Aziz bin Saud proclaimed the territories held by
him as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and himself its king.


Prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him had
exhorted his followers in his Farwell sermon “All those who listen
to me shall pass on my words to others and those to others again;
and may the last ones understand my words better than those who
listened to me directly.” Islam also exhorted mankind to travel in
Allah’s wide and spacious earth seeking His bounties. The net
result was that out of the nearly one and a lakh people who
attended the sermon, only less than twenty thousand died in Makkah
or Madinah. The rest spread around the world, either in
or trade.

For those who claim that Islam was spread by
the sword, the popular retort is “Which Muslim army invaded
Malaysia & Indonesia?” By the 8th
century (14th
century CE), Islam made its way through Indian and Chinese
merchants and travelers to South East Asia, and in a matter of time
Buddhist and Hindu influences gave way.

The adage "Actions speak louder than words"
is well embodied here. The Muslim merchants and travelers who came
to these parts were walking advertisements for Islam, for they
lived the saying “Show disinterest in what people have and people
will love you.” Their good manners, piety, honesty,
trustworthiness, sincerity and reliability, all emancipating from
their strong belief in a life after death where one would be
rewarded or punished for deeds done in this world attracted the
masses to Islam.

The new reverts could understand where to
draw the line between Islamic monotheism and local traditions and
customs, for they reverted because they had an understanding of the
religion in the first place. However as the generations passed, the
zeal waned and people got confused as to what was cultural
tolerance and pluralism and what was aping the disbelievers. As
such animistic customs and practices came back to dominance and
began to be considered as a part of Islam.

The slackening of religious zeal also had its
malevolent effect on the affairs of the state. The rulers also
started to be attracted by the goods and desires of this world, and
as such were unable to resist the European colonial powers – the
Portuguese, Dutch, French and English, who came as traders with
“irresistible” goods and offers; and then eventually started
dominating the islands using their military might, in order to
protect “trade interests.”



The pilgrims were waiting for a ship that
would take them to Makkah. One white turban clad
Adat was preaching.

“And so
Mohiyudden rescued me
from the ocean of the believers. So believers, if you want the help
of the ambiyaas, recite the nariya salaat one hundred and one
times, and follow it up with the komalia salat seventy three times.
Also, on the auspicious occasion of the Prophet’s birthday, visit
the grave of
Badaruddin, who two hundred and fourteen
years ago, saw Allah in a dream. Once there recite the formula I
have just told you one hundred and thirty two times and purchase a
turn in the queue for the kauthar…”

The Adat
could not complete his
speech. A group of men virtually lifted him up and threw him

One of the new arrivals, who introduced
himself as Abu Khair climbed up the podium and started a new

“Oh believers, I beseech you to follow the
Quran and the
and nothing else. Do not be fooled by
your ignorant leaders who until now kept you in darkness and
oppression spiritually, so that they themselves could prosper
materially. Know that every innovation in religion is misguidance,
and every misguidance leads to the hell fire. Do not listen to the
mumbo-jumbo of these deviated bunches of ignorant. They speak their
own desires, for they can’t substantiate even a singe one of their
statements from the Quran and

By this time people divided into two groups.
The debate was on.

The Adat
got up from the distant
ground to where he was flung, and his supporters hastily assembled
a podium next to the usurped one. He cried out: “Oh ye agents of
the kaafir Dutch. Didn’t the Messenger of Allah offer prayers in
the graves, none other than Bukhari quoted this. And didn’t Sahi
Muslim report the Messenger of Allah as having said "Visit the
graves, for they remind you of the Hereafter."

Abu Khair remained cool and composed as he
started his reply: “Visits to graves are prescribed in Islam and
are required for the purpose of making
for the dead,
praying for mercy for them, remembering death and preparing oneself
for the Hereafter. Visiting graves for the purpose of calling upon
their occupants, seeking their help, offering sacrifices to them
and making vows to them is a major form of
and takes
people outside of Islam.”

Turning to the people, he continued: “Your
s have misguided you. They have brainwashed you into
believing that by doing such deeds you accumulate good deeds. The
opposite is actually the case. With regard to praying at a grave,
if what is meant is Salaat al-janaazah (the funeral prayer), this
is permissible and is not forbidden. But if what is meant is to
perform any other prayers, compulsory or optional, this is
forbidden and haraam.”

The face of the Adat
lit up. He
sprang up and screamed: “You are twisting words and ignoring the
point. You are saying that we cannot ask for help from the
Messenger of Allah, who is alive in his grave! This has exposed
you. You do not respect our Messenger of Allah, you do not praise

Abu Khair took over nonchalantly:

“The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him is
alive in the sense of the life of al-barzakh, so he enjoys the
blessings that Allah has prepared for him as a reward for his great
good actions that he did in this world. But that life is not like
the life of this world, or the life in the Hereafter. We know that
he died as other Prophets and other people before him died.

Allah says “And We granted not to any human
being immortality before you (O Mohammed); then if you die, would
they live forever?” (al-Anbiya 34).

There are also other verses indicating that
the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him is no longer with us in
this world. In fact the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him
himself said one day that after one hundred years, no one present
in the world at that time would remain!

Moreover, the
, may Allah be
pleased with them washed him, shrouded him, offered the funeral
prayer for him and buried him; if he had been alive in the worldly
sense, they would not have done the same as is done for others who

“See they don’t believe in making
to the Messenger of Allah! Allahu akbar” the noise of the Adat
screamed amidst the speech

Abu Khair continued: “Asking a righteous
person to make
for you when he is still alive is
permissible, because there is hope that his
may be
answered on account of his righteousness. Once a blind man came to
the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, and said: ‘Pray to Allah
to heal me.’ The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him said, ‘If
you wish, I will pray for you, and if you wish, I will delay that,
and that will be better.’ The blind man insisted ‘Pray for me.’ So
the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him commanded him to do
' and to do it well, and to pray two rak'ahs…”

If you call upon a dead person, that means
you think he knows more about your situation, is more able to grant
what you ask and is more merciful towards you. This is ignorance,
misguidance and
. If you know that Allah has more
knowledge and is more able and more merciful, then why do you fail
to ask Him, and instead turn to others?

“There you go, you rogue, putting words into
my mouth. When did we say we cannot supplicate to Allah? And there
are innumerable
which allow us to ask Allah through
pious intermediateries. A man who was lost in the forest exclaimed,
O servants of Allah, help me…”

BOOK: Stories from Islamic History
10.44Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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