The virtues of going in the path of Allah excels over other Ibaadahs
Although we should not always compare good deeds with one another-because all of them leads to Jannah-but sahabas used to opt for the most virtuous good deeds when options were available to choose.
As such Hazrat Bilaal r.a., the one whose wouzu and salaah brought his footsteps to Jannah in Mi`raj and was also the official Muazin of Masjid An Nabawi of Madinah Munawwarah, and yet he stepped forward in front to plead for the most virtuous action ever. After the demise of Rasouloullah Swalallahou `Alaihi Wasallam, Bilaal r.a. sat in front of Abu Bakr r.a. to seek permission to go in the path of Allah. : Bilaal r.a. expressed his plead in front of the first Khalifah of the history of Islam: ‘’I have heard the beloved prophet SAW saying that the best action is of believers is to strive in the path of Allah. So I have the intention to go in the path of Allah until I die.’’(Hayatus Sahabah-Kandlewi)
وأخرح الطبراني عن عبد الله بن محمد، وعمر، وعمار إبني حفص عن آبائهم عن أجدادهم قالوا: جاء بلال إلى أبي بكر رضي الله عنهما، فقال: يا خليفة رسول الله، إني سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول: «إن أفضل عمل المؤمنين جهاد في سبيل الله». وقد أردت أن أرابط في سبيل الله حتى أموت. حياة الصحابة
Although some would comment on the narration, but know that the qabr of Bilaal is in Syria and hence this approves that he has wished to die in the path of Allah. This is the judgement of one who was the beloved prophet SAW from early days of Islam. Hence with this move of Bilaal and the testimony of his qabr in Syria, we conclude that going in the path of Allah is mush more virtuous than being a Muazzin or even a teacher in Masjid An Nabawi. Know that hazrat Mu`az bin Jabal r.a. was an approved Mufti from the hand of Nubuwwah and yet he insisted to go in the path of Allah. Hazrat Umar r.a. tried to persuade Abu Bakr r.a. to stop the Grand Mufti Mu`az to go in the path of Allah because Madinah is in need of his fatwas. But Abu Bakr r.a. replied: ‘’I cannot stop a man who is committed to achieve martyrdom in the path of Allah.’’(Ibn Sa`d)
كان عمر بن الخطاب يقول: خرج معاذ إِلى الشام لقد أخلّ خروجه بالمدينة وأهلها في الفقه، وما كان يفتيهم به، ولقد كنت كلمت أبا بكر رحمه الله أن يحبسه لحاجة الناس إليه، فأبى ليّ وقال: رجل أراد وجهاً يريد الشهادة فلا أحبسه ابن سعد
And also read the comparison that the beloved prophet SAW made between Hajj and going in the path of Allah:
حَدَّثَنَا حَمَّادُ بْنُ خَالِدٍ ، عَنْ مُعَاوِيَةَ بْنِ صَالِحٍ ، عَنْ يُونُسَ بْنِ سَيْفٍ ، عَنْ عُمَيْرِ بْنِ الأَسْوَدِ ، قَالَ : قَالَ عُمَرُ : عَلَيْكُمْ بِالْحَجِّ ، فَإِنَّهُ عَمَلٌ صَالِحٌ أَمَرَ اللَّهُ بِهِ ، وَالْجِهَادُ أَفْضَلُ مِنْهُ. مصنف ابن ابي شيبة
The prophet SAW said:’’Take care of doing Hajj, because it is a good deed that has been prescribed by Allah. But Jihad is still better.’’(Ibn Abi Shaibah)
أَجَعَلْتُمْ سِقَايَةَ الْحَاجِّ وَعِمَارَةَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ كَمَنْ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَجَاهَدَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ لَا يَسْتَوُونَ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ وَاللَّهُ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الظَّالِمِينَ
When sahabas had conquered Makkah and now there was competition for khidmat of Hajees and taking custody of the Ka`bah and Masjid al Haram, Allah Ta`ala reprimanded them that these noble initiative they were competing for is far from the reward and importance of going in the path of Allah. Allah Ta`ala clearly favoritised going in the path of Allah than staying home doing `ibaadah. (9:19)
Other ahadiths that you will read in Muntakhab Ahadiths of M Yusuf Kandlewi about spending some time in the path of Allah is worth more than a life time of `Ibaadah. One of them I mention here:
And if you want to know the reward, then know that there is a sahih hadith in Ibn Hibbaan that says:
موقف ساعة في سبيل الله خير من قيام ليلة القدر عند الحجر الأسود صحيح ابن حبان
The beloved prophet SAW said: ‘’The status of the reward of a brief hour in the path of Allah is much more than the reward of standing in salaah during lailatul qadr by the the Hajre Aswad(in front of Ka`bah)!'(Sahih Ibn Hibbaan)
Now imagine days spent in the path of Allah. That is why we find the qabr of Mu`az r.a. in Muta, Jordan. The qabr of Abu Ayyoob Ansari r.a. in Istanbul, Turkey. All of them were of quest of these virtues that could not be obtained anywhere else.
Now we come to the issue whether going in jamaat is Fi sabilillah or not.
Jamaat is an imitation of Hijrah to promote deen in ourself and others. And Hijrah is a way of Allah, Fi sabilillah. Allah Ta`ala considers leaving the house for the sake of deen as fisabilillah:
وَمَنْ يُهَاجِرْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ يَجِدْ فِي الْأَرْضِ مُرَاغَمًا كَثِيرًا وَسَعَةً وَمَنْ يَخْرُجْ مِنْ بَيْتِهِ مُهَاجِرًا إِلَى اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ ثُمَّ يُدْرِكْهُ الْمَوْتُ فَقَدْ وَقَعَ أَجْرُهُ عَلَى اللَّهِ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ غَفُورًا رَحِيمًا
‘‘Whoever migrates in the way of Allah shall find on earth many a place to settle…Whoever leaves his home migrating for the sake of Allah and His prophet, and death overtakes him…’’(4:100)
Over here Allah Ta`ala brings Hijrah as Fi sabilillah or in the path of Allah. Hence although there is no confrontation in jamaat, but the sawaab is equal to that of Fi sabillah.
Also in Surah Yasin, we find that Habib Najjaar has been given a very high status of martyrdom in Jannah. He did not go out to war his people, but he went out in gasht encouraging them to accept Allah Ta`ala and he was killed:
‘’And there came a man rushing from the farthest part of the city. He said O my people, follow the messengers. …Undoubtedly I have believed in your Lord; so listen to me.’’ (thereafter his people killed him) it was said to him: ‘’Enter the paradise.’’ He said: ‘’How it would be good that my people would have known that my Lord have forgiven me and has made me amongst the honoured ones.’’(Sourah Yasin: verse 21-28)
And know that Hazrat Umar r.a. used to make this Du`a:
عَنْ عُمَرَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ اللَّهُمَّ ارْزُقْنِي شَهَادَةً فِي سَبِيلِكَ وَاجْعَلْ مَوْتِي فِي بَلَدِ رَسُولِكَ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ
Hazrat `Umar r.a. used to make this du`a: ‘’O Allah give me Martyrdom in your path and make me die in the city of your messenger Swalallahou `Alaihi Wasallam.’’
Hazrat Umar`s martyrdom was in salaah, but for the sake of Allah. This prove that Sabil of path does not restrict to being confronted in the battle field. Sabil is any effort that will promote the deen of Allah.
That is why it is reported in Bukhari about Umme Haraam r.a. being in the path of Allah in the jamaat to Cyprus and yet she passed away not in the battlefield, but at the time the ship arrived there, then coming out, her horse became out of control and she fell and passed away there. The prophet did not except her from being Fi sabilillah. (Bukhari)
أَنَسَ بْنَ مَالِكٍ يَقُولُ كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَدْخُلُ عَلَى أُمِّ حَرَامٍ بِنْتِ مِلْحَانَ وَكَانَتْ تَحْتَ عُبَادَةَ بْنِ الصَّامِتِ فَدَخَلَ عَلَيْهَا يَوْمًا فَأَطْعَمَتْهُ وَجَعَلَتْ تَفْلِي رَأْسَهُ فَنَامَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ثُمَّ اسْتَيْقَظَ وَهُوَ يَضْحَكُ قَالَتْ فَقُلْتُ مَا يُضْحِكُكَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ قَالَ نَاسٌ مِنْ أُمَّتِي عُرِضُوا عَلَيَّ غُزَاةً فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ يَرْكَبُونَ ثَبَجَ هَذَا الْبَحْرِ مُلُوكًا عَلَى الْأَسِرَّةِ أَوْ مِثْلَ الْمُلُوكِ عَلَى الْأَسِرَّةِ شَكَّ إِسْحَاقُ قَالَتْ فَقُلْتُ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ادْعُ اللَّهَ أَنْ يَجْعَلَنِي مِنْهُمْ فَدَعَا لَهَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ثُمَّ وَضَعَ رَأْسَهُ ثُمَّ اسْتَيْقَظَ وَهُوَ يَضْحَكُ فَقُلْتُ مَا يُضْحِكُكَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ قَالَ نَاسٌ مِنْ أُمَّتِي عُرِضُوا عَلَيَّ غُزَاةً فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ كَمَا قَالَ فِي الْأُولَى قَالَتْ فَقُلْتُ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ادْعُ اللَّهَ أَنْ يَجْعَلَنِي مِنْهُمْ قَالَ أَنْتِ مِنْ الْأَوَّلِينَ فَرَكِبَتْ الْبَحْرَ فِي زَمَانِ مُعَاوِيَةَ بْنِ أَبِي سُفْيَانَ فَصُرِعَتْ عَنْ دَابَّتِهَا حِينَ خَرَجَتْ مِنْ الْبَحْرِ فَهَلَكَتْ
Although she passed away in an accident, the beloved prophet SAW gave her glad tidings of being between the first jamaat fisabillah: Anti minal awwaleen.
So fi sabilillah is not limited to battle fields. Any effort done on the movement towards establishing deen is Fi sabilillah. Wrong to limit Fi sabilillah to only battle fields confrontation.
Jamaat is reviving salaah and doing effort to fill our masjids and hence they are fisabilillah. And hence jamaat enjoys all the virtues prescribed in the beginning of the article. And jamaat is reviving the sunnah of having our qabrs away from home. Following the footsteps of Bilaal r.a., Umme Haraam r.a., Mu`az bin Jabal r.a. and most sahabas, it is important to be in circulation in our era because important is not confrontation, but to spread the message of deen. The beloved prophet SAW prescribed us to first invite to Islam and not to fight. And also in his last Hajj, the beloved prophet SAW prescribed us objectively to propagate his deen to the absent ones. And not to confront them in battles. But if the necessity arise, then definitely islam do not except a military initiative, like any empire of the world.