God's Way, Lesson in Humility, Submission
Issue 594 » August 13, 2010 - Ramadan 3, 1431
Hud (Hud) Chapter 11: Verse 19
God's way is a straight path that has been established by Him. What human beings must do is to know this path well in all its aspects and principles, and to infer new rules in the secondary matters of law, which are subject to change in parallel with the change of time and place, according to the main, unchangeable principles of this path. But those who do not believe in it, and the hypocrites, have always wished that this path were crooked, in accordance with their desires, and in order to serve their interests. So, to attempt to make changes in this path (Islam) or to make it appear different from what it really is so that its enemies may approve of it - such attempts, however intensive or extensive, have always been in vain - amounts only to a betrayal of the path.
"The Quran: Annotated Interpretation in Modern English" - Ali Unal, p. 450
Lesson in Humility
In the eleventh year of Hijrah, the Prophet (peace be upon him) decided to send an expedition to the north, near Mutah and Palestine, where a few years earlier Jafar, Abdullah, and Zayd had been killed. To everyone's surprise, he gave the command to young Usamah, Zayd's son, who was only twenty years old, though this three-thousand-strong army included such men as Umar and other experienced Companions. This choice gave rise to much criticism, but the Prophet reacted very promptly and put an end to all arguments when he proclaimed: "You criticize the choice of Usamah to command the army, as you had formerly criticized that of his father Zayd. Usamah is truly worthy of the command I entrust him with, as his father was before him." [Ibn Hisham]
In the past, some Muslims had reacted to the choice of Zayd because they still considered him as a slave, though he had been freed; now some opposed the choice of his son, perhaps because of his father, but mostly because of his young age. By confirming his choice, the Prophet informed them that neither a man's social origin nor his age should prevent him from exerting authority and power if he possessed the spiritual, intellectual, and moral qualities required. One had to show discernment by offering the most destitute in society real equality of opportunity and trusting the young so that everybody could express their skills and talents.
On a general level, this was a fine lesson in humility addressed to older Companions: they were to experience the inner, greater jihad of obeying a man who could have been their son, and in so doing remember that their time was limited, like any man's. By that choice, the Prophet taught them that time naturally erodes one's energy, and one must be wise enough to learn to step aside, to delegate authority to those who are young and strong enough to create and build.
"In The Footsteps of The Prophet" - Tariq Ramadan, pp. 200, 201
Belief in God and His providence offers a feeling of security which cannot be made up for with anything else. Submission to God does not imply passivity as many people wrongly believe. Obedience to God excludes obedience to a human being. It is a new relation between human being and God and, therefore, between one person and another.
Submission to God is also a freedom which is attained by following through with one's own destiny. Our involvement and our struggle are human and reasonable and have the token of moderation and serenity only through the belief that the ultimate result is not in our hands. It is up to us to work, the rest is in God's Hands.
Therefore, to properly understand our position in the world means to submit to God, to find peace, not to start making a more positive effort to encompass and overcome everything, but rather a negative effort to accept the place and the time of our birth, the place and the time that are our destiny and God's will. Submission to God is the only human and dignified way out of the unsolvable senselessness of life, a way out without revolt, despair, nihilism, or suicide. It is a heroic feeling not of a hero, but of an ordinary human being who has done his duty and accepted his destiny.
Islam does not get its name from its laws, orders, or prohibitions, nor from the efforts of the body and soul it claims, but from something that encompasses and surmounts all that: from a moment of cognition, from the strength of the soul to face the times, from the readiness to endure everything that an existence can offer, from the Truth of submission to God. Submission to God, thy name is Islam!
Islam: The Way of Revival,"Submission to God" - Alija Ali Izetbegovic, p. 63