The companion ‘Abdullaah Ibn ‘Abbaas, may Allaah be pleased with him, narrated that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: “Five matters result when five things happen: If people break their covenant with Allaah, He will send an enemy against them; If they rule by other than the Law of Allaah, poverty will spread among them; If they become deceptive in trade, Allaah will deprive them of crops and they will be struck with famine; And if they withhold the payment of Zakaah, they will be struck with drought.” (Tabaraani). In another narration he sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: “If they break the covenant of Allaah and His Messenger, Allaah will send an external enemy against them who will seize some of their possessions; If they do not rule by the Book of Allaah, nor attempt to implement everything in it, Allaah will spread enmity among them.”
This is a comprehensive clarification of the conditions for victory and the causes of defeat for the Muslim nation. Breaking the covenant of Allaah and His messenger, or in other words, disobeying Allaah and His messenger, is one of the reasons for its defeat and being subjugated by its enemies. Likewise, ruling by other than the rulings of Allaah is the reason for the poverty, disunity and conflict which is occurring among the Muslims.
Conversely, obeying Allaah and His Messenger sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam is the source of victory. Allaah says that which translates as: “O you who have believed, if you support Allaah, He will support you [by giving you victory].” (Muhammad: 7).
Sa’d Ibn Abi Waqqaas, may Allaah be pleased with him, was checking on his army during the battle of Qaadisiyyah. He passed by the tent of one group of soldiers at night and found the men inside praying Qiyaam, or voluntary night-prayer, and remarked: ‘Victory comes from such a tent’ then he passed by another tent and found the men inside sleeping and remarked: ‘Defeat comes from such a tent.’ This was despite the fact that the men who were sleeping only missed a recommended prayer and not an obligatory one; yet Sa’d considered missing this recommended act to be a reason for defeat.
Qutaybah Ibn Muslim, who was a great Muslim conqueror, was the leader of Khurasaan when it was being attacked. He passed by Muhammad Ibn Waasi’, who was one of the Taabi’een, or the generation that followed the Sahaabah, while Muhammad had his finger raised towards the heavens supplicating to Allaah. Thereupon Qutaybah remarked: ‘That finger is dearer to me than thirty thousand soldiers’.
How can the Muslims expect Allaah to grant them victory while they are discarding prayers, refusing to pay Zakaah and dealing in interest? What can they expect when alcoholic drinks and nightclubs become prevalent in their lands? What happens when evil becomes widespread?
The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam was once asked: “Would we be punished by disasters which befall us while we have righteous people amongst us?’ he sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam replied: “Yes, if evil becomes widespread.” Allaah says that which translates as: “And fear an affliction which will not strike those who have wronged among you exclusively, and know that Allaah is severe in penalty.” (Al-Anfaal: 25).
Therefore, if Muslims truly wish for victory, then they must change what is in themselves as Allaah says that which translates as: “…Indeed Allaah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves …” (Ar-Ra’d: 11).
A Muslim must not feel despair and lose hope in Allaah, as He may grant Muslims victory due to some of the oppressed or weak righteous people amongst them who cannot defend themselves. The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: “You are provided for and granted victory due to the weak amongst you”.
It is a fact that the leaders and rulers of the Muslims will be as unjust and oppressive as the Muslims are amongst themselves and their leaders will be dealt with as they deal with their subjects. Imaam Ibn Al-Qayyim said:
‘Reflect on the wisdom of Allaah when the Muslims are subjugated by their enemies as a result of the powerful amongst them (Muslims) oppressing the weak and denying the rights of the oppressed. Due to this, Allaah will send those who will dominate these Muslim leaders and deal with them exactly as they dealt with the weak, an eye for an eye. This is the way of Allaah from the time history began to when it will end.
Look how Allaah has given the Muslims exactly the types of rulers that their own deeds and actions deserve. It is as though their actions are manifested in the form of their leaders and rulers. Therefore, whenever people are just among themselves, their rulers will be just to them; whenever people defraud and cheat each other, their rulers will do likewise to them; and if the people fail to fulfil the rights of the Allaah, then their rulers will fail to give them their rights.
A man asked ‘Ali ibn Abu Taalib, may Allaah be pleased with him: “Why have difficulties and hardships arisen during your time, while this was not the case at the time of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar?” he replied to him: “‘Umar and Abu Bakr were leaders over people like myself while I am a leader over people like you’.
O Muslims! One of the major signs of abandoning the religion is to forsake prayers. This is done by either not praying at all, or by only praying the Jumu’ah prayer and neglecting the rest of the daily prayers. The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: “The bonds of Islaam will be broken one by one; the first of which will be the implementation of Islamic legislation and the last of which will be prayers” and he sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam also said as narrated by Jaabir, may Allaah be pleased with him: “What lies between a man and disbelief is the abandonment of prayers.” (Muslim). He sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam also said: “Prayer is the backbone of the religion, he who establishes it has established his religion and he who does not establish has abandoned faith.”
Praying is the first thing that one will be held accountable for on the Day of Judgement and it was among the final things that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam strongly emphasised on before his death. Allaah described the believers with that which translates as: “…Those who [carefully] maintain their prayer.” (Al-Ma’aarij: 34) and also that which translates as: “Indeed, prayer has been decreed upon the believers at specified times.” (An-Nisaa’: 103).
The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam also informed us that there will come after him rulers who will abandon prayers or delay their performance when he sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallamadvised us to: “Pray on time, then pray with them as an optional prayer.”