Surely None But The Disbelievers Despair…
I just wanted to watch a DVD and chill out for a bit. But half an hour into watching ‘Shawshank Redemption’, I was wondering why on earth I was spending my evening watching scenes of rape, murder and unrelenting cruelty – not exactly relaxing stuff!
But then the real story began to unfold... (I won’t spoil the film for anyone who’s not watched it – it’s the message behind the story that really got me thinking.)
'Shawshank Redemption' is a film set in a prison. But much more than that, it is a film about prisons of the mind.
The real story is about Hope. And the absence of Hope.
“Surely none but the disbelievers despair of Allah’s Mercy.” (Qur’an 12.57)
But it is difficult sometimes to hang on to hope.
When we see a Muslim sister sentenced to 86 years, when it seems her only crime is being a Muslim, then it is hard to hope.
When we see Israel once again literally get away with murder, then it is hard to hope.
And when we see ‘practicing Muslims’ hiding in their mosques and their study circles and not lifting a finger to help the Ummah, then it is hard to hope.
But if we have belief, then we have hope.
We know that Allah has power over all things. We know that Insh’Allah we can change things for the better.
It was one of the bravest leaders of the anti-Apartheid struggle, Steve Biko, who said that 'The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.'
Our enemies seek to convince us to give up hope – to tell us that there is no point in trying. The trick is to make us believe that we will fail, so that this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
And our ultimate enemy is the shaytan. “The sneaking whisperer who whispers into the hearts of mankind.” (Qur’an 114: 4-5).
When our enemies can convince us to give up hope, it is indeed a potent weapon.
But when, in the face of cruelty and oppression, we can hang on to hope – then this faith is the most powerful weapon of all.
Imagine what it must have been like for our Prophet (pbuh) and his companions, when they faced the massed armies of the confederate tribes. The largest force that had ever been assembled by the enemies of Islam, was advancing on Medina, with the aim of annihilating the Muslims and destroying their way of life. Imagine what it must have felt like for them, digging a trench in the desert to defend their homes, their families and their very right to worship Allah.
While they were working to dig the trench, the Prophet (pbuh) spoke about Muslim victories to come – how the Muslims would defeat the Empires of Persia and Byzantium, the superpowers of the time! And within a short time the Muslims fulfilled these prophecies .
That is the power of faith. That is the power of hope.
Or do ye think that ye shall enter the Garden (of bliss) without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? they encountered suffering and adversity, and were so shaken in spirit that even the Messenger and those of faith who were with him cried: "When (will come) the help of Allah." Ah! Verily, the help of Allah is (always) near! (Qur’an 2:214)