There is a very famous incident where Abu Sufyaan goes to Jerusalem and Abu Sufyaan was not yet a Muslim and when he arrived in Jerusalem, shortly after the treaty of hudaybiah, where the Prophet ﷺ entered into a truce with the people of Makkah, Abu Sufyaan continued on the traditional route of the Makkans to greater Syria and that included Palestine and Jerusalem and they were held up up by Heracal, who had just received the letter from The Prophet ﷺ inviting him to Islam. So, he is standing with Abu Sufyaan in front of him and he put the companions of Abu Sufyaan behind him and he said,
“I want you to answer the questions I have for you, but I want you to do so in all honesty, and if your companions say that you have told a lie, then I am going to kill you right now.”
So, he was basically forcing Abu Sufyaan into saying the truth about the Prophet ﷺ even though he wasn’t a muslim at that time.
So, two of the questions he asked Abu Sufyaan
- I asked you about the followers of the Prophet ﷺ , are they growing in number or are they decreasing? Meaning that with all the persecution that you are inflicting upon them, are they increasing or decreasing in number? Abu Sufyaan had to admit that they are increasing
- When these people enter into their faith, does anyone leave the faith after they embrace it out of displeasure with the faith? Abu sufyaan said no, when people become muslim, they don’t leave it out of displeasure with the faith. Heracal then said, “That is the reality of Imaan and true faith. Once it enters into the heart of someone, there is no way a person will abandon that.”
There are a few very important things to point out from this Hadeeth
Hearacal understands that Islam comes with persecutions at the time as well as new restrictions. So, When Islam came, the followers were persecuted because of it and things that were previously open to them was made forbidden and they are still not leaving the faith because of it. Were there people leaving the faith? Yes there were.
Allah says, “There are people that worship Allah on an edge” When good things happen to them then they stay within, when bad things happen, they jump off the cliff.
There were people who accepted islam , well kind of accepted Islam and as soon as something bad happened, they were just like, ‘Forget this faith, good things aren’t happening to me.” But Heracal is saying thats someone who dives deeply into the faith and imaan enters into the heart, there is no way that that person will give that up. Now are there exceptions to the rule? of course, you you do see people leave islam. A lot of people leave islam for reasons other than islam, but they attribute it to islam.
People often leave due to ignorance. They don’t have the sufficient knowledge and so, when they were challenged from a knowledge perspective, the were unable to answer the questions that they were asked, even the questions they ask themselves. Sometimes people leave when they don’t achieve benefit. People equate faith with prosperity in this world, so if I became Muslim or if I start to embrace faith and bad things start happening to me then I am one of those people who worships Allah on an edge.
Sometimes people leave out of hypocrisy, they accepted Islam with a bad ulterior motive in the first place. Allah makes mention of these people who are insincere in the Qur’aan. “And when they meet those who believe[d], they say, “We believe[d].” But when they are alone with their evil ones, they say, “Indeed, we (are) with you, only we (are) mockers.” (2:14) Sometimes people leave faith because they have never experienced what it is like to be away from Allah. Umar رضي الله عنه has said. “Islam will not be lost by people who revert to Islam , Islam will be lost when people are born into Islam and they have never experienced ignorance or being away from Allah.”
People that have never experienced distance before coming to Allah will take their faith for granted. They won’t taste the sweetness of Imaan, it will become routine and part of their upbringing but they will ditch it because they don’t know what it is like to be away from Allah and that is why we see that people who have come from a dark past love Islam and love faith so much more because they had to strive and struggle for it and when faith settles in your heart despite that journey, you have already beat the temptation of wealth and the temptation of fame.
You have sacrificed relationship and wealth, not because you wanted to, but because people left when you became Muslim. You sacrificed all the barriers that prevent you from tasting the sweetness of Imaan even before you got to Imaan.
So Umar رضي الله عنه is saying that Islam will be lost when people are brought up in faith, but they don’t really appreciate it and faith doesn’t truly enter their hearts, rather they are born with all of these restrictions and cultures in their family and that’s when they start to have an insecurity in their faith and start to look in other places for happiness
May Allah enable us all to be pleased with the faith and may Allah never allow something out of our faith to take the faith out of us.
Transcribed from Sheikh Omar Suleiman