In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
How Do We Approach The Affair of The Nations of The Past
Allaah [The Most High] said:
قَدْ خَلَتْ مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ سُنَنٌ فَسِيرُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ فَانْظُرُوا كَيْفَ كَانَ عَاقِبَةُ الْمُكَذِّبِينَ
Many similar mishaps [troubles, problems] of life were faced by nations that have passed away before you, so travel through the earth, and see what was the end of those who disbelieved. [3:137]
Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “Indeed, there were nations like yourselves before you, so look to their evil end. You have to know that the reason behind their evil end was due to their disbelief in the revelations of Allaah and disbelief in Allaah’s Messengers. They were the forefathers and you are the descendants. The main affair that connects you to each other is your disbelief and the ruling on that disbelief is destruction”. (1)
Imaam Muhammad Bin Saaleh Al-Uthaymeen [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “If it is said, “What is the benefit in narrating to us the stories of the destroyed nations despite the fact that this Ummah will not be completely destroyed in a manner similar to the destruction of the previous nations before it?” The Answer: Indeed, this has two benefits: The first benefit is a clarification of Allaah’s blessings upon us that the occurrence of a complete destruction is removed from us, and that were it not for Allaah’s Benevolence we would have been deserving of it. Second, the likeness of the punishment they received may occur in the hereafter for the one who did what they did, if punishment was not received in the worldly life. And this may be understood from the statement of Allaah: “Such is the Seizure of your Lord when He seizes the population of towns while they are doing wrong. Verily, His Seizure is painful and severe. Indeed in that (there) is a sure lesson for those who fear the torment of the Hereafter.” So what is apparent from this Aayah is that what is similar to the punishment they received will happen in the Hereafter, and Allaah knows best. (2)
Reviving The Traditions of The Disbelievers
The Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] said, “The most hated people to Allaah are three: a person who deviates from right conduct [i.e. an evil doer] in the Haram [sanctuaries of Makkah and Medeenah], a person who seeks that the traditions of the Pre-lslamic Period of Ignorance should remain in Islam and a person who seeks to shed somebody’s blood without any right”. [Saheeh Al-Bukhaari 6882]
Al-Allaamah Zayd Bin Haadee Al-Madkhalee [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “These three deeds are from the major sins. The first major sin is Al-Ilhaad Fil Haram [i.e. deviating from right conduct in the sanctuaries of Makkah and Madeenah]. Ilhaad means to deviate from the truth (and enter into) falsehood, and supporting falsehood in order to obliterate the truth. Allaah [The Mighty and Majestic] censured the Mulhideen Fil Haram [i.e. those who deviate from right conduction in the sanctuaries of Makkah and Madeenah], saying:
[وَمَن يُرِدۡ فِيهِ بِإِلۡحَادِۭ بِظُلۡمٍ۬ نُّذِقۡهُ مِنۡ عَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ۬ – And whoever intends evil actions therein or to do wrong (i.e. practice polytheism and leave Islamic Monotheism), We shall make him taste a painful torment]. [Surah Al-Hajj. Aayah 25]
Allaah promised them (a severe punishment) due to the mere fact they intend evil actions therein [i.e. in the sanctuaries of Makkah and Madeenah], then how about perpetrating such deed! Indeed that would be a more severe sin, a more frightening state and a more severe punishment. This is a proof regarding the virtue of the sanctuaries of the Haram- that it is a sacred land chosen by Allaah and He made it a place where virtuous acts of worship are performed, (such as) the Hajj which is one of the pillars of Islaam. Allaah gave this place virtues that cannot be enumerated, such as the increased reward attached to good deeds [performed in Makkah and Madeenah] and gave this land virtue over all other lands of the earth.
The second major sin is committed by the person who wants that the pre-Islamic traditions should remain in Islaam, as if he gives precedence to the pre-Islamic traditions – the evil customs that were followed during that period and the misguided deeds- over the Islamic practices, Eemaan, Ihsaan, their virtue and virtue of the Sunnah. He is guilty of committing a major sin, and this includes giving precedence to religious innovations over (the authentic) Sunnah that guides to the straight path.
The third major sin is to seek to shed somebody’s blood without any right – meaning: seeking to shed the blood of a Muslim without right and doing so based on oppression and animosity. Shedding the blood of a Muslim is a great crime, just as the Prophet said, “The extinction of the whole world is less significant to Allaah than killing a Muslim [i.e. unlawfully]”. And he [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] stated regarding the rights of the Ka’bah, “How great you are and how great is your sanctity! But the sanctity of a believer is greater than yours in the sight of Allaah”. It is not permissible to transgress against the Muslims and the believers – males and females- in the sanctuaries of [Makkah and Madeenah] or in other places due to the great sin and punishment which results from that. (3)
Praiseworthy And Blameworthy Rejoicing
Allaah [The Most High] said:
قُلۡ بِفَضۡلِ ٱللَّهِ وَبِرَحۡمَتِهِۦ فَبِذَٲلِكَ فَلۡيَفۡرَحُواْ هُوَ خَيۡرٌ۬ مِّمَّا يَجۡمَعُونَ
Say: “In the Bounty of Allah, and in His Mercy; -therein let them rejoice.” That is better than what (the wealth) they amass.’’ [Surah Yonus. Verse 58]
[قُلۡ بِفَضۡلِ ٱللَّهِ -Say: In the Bounty of Allaah]- Meaning: the Qur’aan, which is the greatest blessing and favour, and a conferment by way of which Allaah preferred His [believing] slaves [over others]; [وَبِرَحۡمَتِهِ -And in His Mercy]-Meaning: The Religion [of Islaam], Eemaan, worship of Allaah, love of Him, and knowledge and awareness of Him; [فَلۡيَفۡرَحُواْ- Therein let them rejoice]; [هُوَ خَيۡرٌ۬ مِّمَّا يَجۡمَعُونَ – That is better than what they amass] of the enjoyable things of the worldly life and its pleasures.
The religion- the bounty that will bring about happiness in this life and the next- cannot be compared to all that is in this worldly life, [because these things of the worldly life] will vanish and come to an end very soon. Rather Allaah [The Most High] commanded [us] to rejoice in His Bounty and Mercy because it is that which will make the soul happy, thankful to Allaah, gives it a strong desire for an increase in knowledge and Eemaan. This is a praiseworthy rejoicing as opposed to rejoicing in the desires of this worldly life and its pleasures, or rejoicing in falsehood, for indeed that is blameworthy, as Allaah [The Most High] stated about a group amongst the people of Qaaroon that they said to him: [لَا تَفۡرَحۡۖ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ ٱلۡفَرِحِينَ- Do not be glad (with ungratefulness to Allah’s Favours). Verily! Allah likes not those who are glad (with ungratefulness to Allah’s Favours)] [Soorah Al-Qasas: Ayah 76].
And as Allaah [The Most High] said about those who rejoiced in what they possessed of falsehood in opposition to that which the Messengers came with: [فَلَمَّا جَآءَتۡهُمۡ رُسُلُهُم بِٱلۡبَيِّنَـٰتِ فَرِحُواْ بِمَا عِندَهُم مِّنَ ٱلۡعِلۡمِ -Then when their Messengers came to them with clear proofs, they were glad (and proud) with that which they had of the knowledge (of worldly things)] [Soorah Ghaafir: Ayah 83] (4)
We ask Allaah to protect us from misguidance.
[Ref 1: Source: I’laam Al-Muwaqqi-een: 1/181]
[Ref 2: Source: Al-Muntaqaa Min Fawaa-idil Fawaa-id 123-124]
[Ref 3: Source: At-taleeqaat Al-Maleehah Alaa Silsilah Al-Ahaadeeth as-Saheehah. Vol 1. Pages 429-430. Slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 4: An Excerpt from ‘Tayseer Al-kareem Ar-Rahmaan Fee Tafseer Kalaam Al-Mannaan). slightly paraphrased]