The right to defend yourself and being smart in the fight for your rights

The right to defend yourself and being smart in the fight for your rights

Might is not everything needed in a fight

In Surat al-Hajj there are many verses to reflect on, including the verse in which the oppressed are given permission by Allah to fight back:

أُذِنَ لِلَّذِينَ يُقَـٰتَلُونَ بِأَنَّهُمْ ظُلِمُوا۟ ۚ وَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ عَلَىٰ نَصْرِهِمْ لَقَدِيرٌ

Permission ˹to fight back˺ is ˹hereby˺ granted to those being fought, for they have been wronged. And Allah is truly Most Capable of helping them ˹prevail˺. (22:39)

The importance of timing

This verse was revealed in Madinah. In Makkah the situation had been different, as the Muslims were in a tiny minority and they were not allowed by Allah, in His infinite and ultimate wisdom, to defend themselves, despite the fact they were tortured and persecuted and oppressed. Had they been permitted to fight back, it would have meant that the outnumbered Muslim believers would not have been able to defeat the hostile majority and the existence of Islam would have been under threat. They were expelled from their houses for their belief. and they spent three years under siege with nothing to eat but the leaves of the trees, but Allah knew when would be the best time for them to fight.

ٱلَّذِينَ أُخْرِجُوا۟ مِن دِيَـٰرِهِم بِغَيْرِ حَقٍّ إِلَّآ أَن يَقُولُوا۟ رَبُّنَا ٱللَّهُ ۗ وَلَوْلَا دَفْعُ ٱللَّهِ ٱلنَّاسَ بَعْضَهُم بِبَعْضٍ لَّهُدِّمَتْ صَوَٰمِعُ وَبِيَعٌ وَصَلَوَٰتٌ وَمَسَـٰجِدُ يُذْكَرُ فِيهَا ٱسْمُ ٱللَّهِ كَثِيرًا ۗ وَلَيَنصُرَنَّ ٱللَّهُ مَن يَنصُرُهُۥٓ ۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَقَوِىٌّ عَزِيزٌ

˹They are˺ those who have been expelled from their homes for no reason other than proclaiming: “Our Lord is Allah.” Had Allah not repelled ˹the aggression of˺ some people by means of others, destruction would have surely claimed monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques in which Allah’s Name is often mentioned. Allah will certainly help those who stand up for Him. Allah is truly All-Powerful, Almighty. (22:40)

Allah Almighty said they could defend themselves after 13 years, when faith (imaan) had settled firmly in their hearts and the fledgling Muslim community had finally become established. These are stages of development. This is the concept of gradualism.

You need to wait for the right time. You should never give up fighting for your rights and those of others in all possible legitimate ways – use the community, use social media and the media, advocate, and raise your concerns with those in authority.

Today’s fight is not about how strong you are physically or your military capability, as we are seeing in Russia and Ukraine – you can win on the ground, but lose the battle for hearts and minds. You might have poor communication which turns everyone against you. This is why Allah Almighty gave the permission to believers when He did, and the believers have to be smart how they use this permission. They must not incur more harm than benefit.

Factors in securing victory

Timing is one of the ingredients, as is understanding the reality of the situation, and how power structures work. Above all, have a strong link with Allah. During the first battle, which took place in Badr, on paper, they should have lost, yet because of their reliance on Allah, Muslims believers were victorious.

Having brute strength or massive force is not everything; you certainly need it, but it is not the only determining factor to gain victory. You need a strategy (including using the media), resilience, mental strength and reliance on Allah Almighty. Then inshallah Allah will give victory to those fighting for their rights.

Shaykh Haytham Tamim – Tarawih 7

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Shaykh Haytham Tamim is the founder and main teacher of the Utrujj Foundation. He has provided a leading vision for Islamic learning in the UK, which has influenced the way Islamic knowledge is disseminated. He has orchestrated the design and delivery of over 200 unique courses since Utrujj started in 2001. His extensive expertise spans over 30 years across the main Islamic jurisprudence schools of thought. He has studied with some of the foremost scholars in their expertise; he holds some of the highest Ijazahs (certificates) in Quran, Hadith (the Prophetic traditions) and Fiqh (Islamic rulings). His own gift for teaching was evident when he gave his first sermon to a large audience at the age of 17 and went on to serve as a senior lecturer of Islamic transactions and comparative jurisprudence at the Islamic University of Beirut (Shariah College). He has continued to teach; travelling around the UK, Europe and wider afield, and won the 2015 BISCA award (British Imams & Scholars Contributions & Achievements Awards) for Outstanding Contribution to Education and Teaching.