ACTIVISM AMONST THE COMPANIONS OF THE PROPHET (SAWS)
The Prophet (SAWS) was a strong proponent of leadership development. The sharia supports a broad range of Islamic work and activism, in organization, leadership, follow-ship, accountability, delegation of authority, fealty, contractual agreements, treaties, military, and governance.
That was the way of the Arabs even before Islam and of most cultures, and peoples of the world. Muslim America cannot be just about Imams, debating issues and one upmanship over one another on social media, it has to be about everyone who is able, doing their part to build, protect, and empower our domestic ummah here in the United States.
The Prophet (SAWS) never sanctioned lawlessness, absence of leadership, or absence of followship amongst the Muslims, not ever. Early companions of the Prophet (SAWS) and those that followed them, helped shape and codify the law of revelation into an operable system that could function in people’s everyday lives.
They achieved this by dutifully attending to the various aspects of Muslim civilization and to the affairs of the Ummah, either by teaching, serving in the military, building, maintaining, and populating the masaajid, diplomacy, scholarship, collection of zakat, conducting the hajj, giving water to the hajjis, expansion of the two sacred sanctuaries, building masaajid, policing the cities and villages, prosecuting criminals, or serving in the capacity of government, public service and da’wah.
They were not all sitting around quoting hadith. When they had discussions about fiqh, it was usually pertinent matters that were taking place in real time. Debate was pursuant to actionable conclusions.
For example, they debated about the burial place of the Prophet (SAWS) and ended up burying him in Aisha’s apartment. They debated about whether to go to war against Musailama the false prophet, or going to war with the deniers of zakat, and they chose going to war with the deniers of zakat first.
Young companions of the Prophet (SAWS) went on to serve the ummah in monumental ways. Ibn Abbas had barely reached puberty by the time the Prophet’s death (SAWS), however, in addition to collecting and narrating hadith of the Prophet and teaching hordes of people the Quran and the Sunna, he went on to be a member of Umar’s shura amongst the veterans of Badr. He also served as the Governor of Basra and helped negotiate a truce between the Caliph Ali and the khawaarij who were at war with him.
The Caliph Ali, years before had been a boy in the care of the Prophet (SAWS) and was amongst the first persons to accept Islam.
Another example of activism is Mu’adh ibn Jabal. He was a major scholar amongst the companions of the Prophet (SAWS, and still served and led in the wars, was was a governor of that we know today as Bahrain and a Governor of Syria before he died of the plague in hijri year 18 AH.
Abu Huraira did not convert to Islam until later and only spent about two and a half years with the Prophet (SAWS), yet he was amongst the major scholars and narrators of hadith in Medina and spent a short time as a governor of Bahrain under the Caliph Umar and served as a Governor of Medina during the Umayyad rule. Abu Huraira married one of his daughters to Sa’eed ibn al-Musayyib, who was born during the Caliphate of Umar, was a favorite of the companions of the Prophet (SAWS) because of his zeal for knowledge and grew up to be called the Imam of the taabi’een. Abu Huraira lived to be 78, dying in the year 59 of the Hijrah.
Most, and nearly all of the companions that were close to the Prophet (SAWS) were veterans of wars and the battlefield. The veterans of Badr had the highest distinction. After the Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattaab conquered Persia, he put all of the remaining “Bad’riyoon” (veterans of Badr) on yearly pension.
I cannot stress enough the importance of leadership development, generational continuity of our faith, cooperation and committed activism on behalf of our ummah, in what is left of our communities in Black Muslim America. Find where you fit in.
Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad
Imam Abu Laith Luqman Ahmad
Shaykh Luqman is Associate Imam and Resident Scholar at the Toledo Masjid al-Islam in Toledo Ohio. He is the author of two books on marriage; ‘Killing Marriage in Black Muslim America’, and ‘One-hundred Advices About Marriage’. Both available on Amazon
He can be reached @ Imamabulaith@yahoo.com