44- Untie the bundle
If an error were to occur at the hands of a group of people, then as a rule they should be advised on the spot. However, sometimes you may need to untie the knot of the bundle. I mean by that to speak to each one of them individually and advise them.
For example, if there is a gathering in your house and you happen to overhear your brother speaking to his friends−who were all his guests.You ﬁnd out that they are planning to travel to a country where most often people become involved in major sins.You decide to advise him, but how should you do so?
You could decide to tackle them all and advise them with a word or two and leave. However, you might not get very successful results. How about if you were to untie the bundle, and deal with it strand-by-strand? Could you do this?
When they have dispersed, sit with the one you think is the most reasonable of them all and say,“O so-and-so, it has reached me that you will be travelling.You seem to be the most intelligent of them all.You know very well that the traveller to this country is not protected from calamities and mishaps. One may even return sick and diseased. How about if you earn their rewards and suggest that they travel to a different country? There they can enjoy the lakes, beaches and amusements without getting involved in any sin.”
No doubt, if he hears this from you in a nice manner, his zeal would be reduced by half.You can then go to the second person and say the same to him, and then the third, etc, without any of them realising what you have already said to his friends.
Thereafter,you will ﬁnd that when they meet up again,one of them would suggest that they should go to a different country, and he would ﬁnd another one who would support his suggestion.This way you would have put an end to an evil in an appropriate manner.
Take another example.If you discover one day that your children are getting together in a room to watch a morally depraved video, or a Bluetooth clip of inappropriate pictures, and so on, then perhaps the best solution might be to advise them individually, so that their egos do not compel them to commit sins.
Is there an example for this from the Prophet’s life?
Indeed, there is.When the discord between the Prophet peace be upon him and the Quraysh became severe, the Quraysh got together and boycotted the Prophet along with all his relatives from Banu Hashim. A declaration was written that none should buy from, sell to, or marry into Banu Hashim.
The Prophet peace be upon himalong with his Companions was conﬁned to a barren valley.The calamity became so severe upon the Companions that they were feeding on the trees. In fact, as one of them once went to urinate, he heard a sound beneath him. He looked to discover a piece of camel-skin. He took it with him,
washed it and roasted it in ﬁre. He then divided it into small portions, mixed it with water and ate it bit by bit over three days!
When Banu Hashim and the Muslims had endured months of hardship, the Prophet peace be upon himsaid to his uncle Abu Talib,who was also conﬁned to the valley with them,“Dear uncle,Allah has sent the wood worm to destroy the Quraysh’s document. It has left in that the name of Allah wherever it occurs in the document, and it has erased all the oppression, boycott and slanders that existed therein.” Meaning, the insect had eaten the Quraysh’s declaration document and nothing was left of it except the phrase, “In your Name, O Allah.”
Upon hearing this,Abu Talib became surprised and said,“Has your Lord informed you of this?”
“Yes”, the Prophet peace be upon him replied.
He said,“By Allah,before anyone comes to you,I will inform the Quraysh of this.”
He then left to see the Quraysh and said to them, “O Quraysh! My nephew has informed me of such and such. Bring your declaration document! If what he said truly happened then you should end the boycott and abandon the declaration. If he has lied then I would leave my nephew to you and you can do what you wish with him!”
The people said,“We are content with this,” and agreed to abide by the suggestion.They then looked at the declaration to ﬁnd it exactly how the Messenger of Allah peace be upon himhad described it. But they only increased in evil. Banu Hashim and Banu al-Muttalib therefore remained in the valley, until they were about to perish.
Amongst the disbelievers of Quraysh there were some kind men. One of them was Hisham bin ‘Amr. He was a noble man amongst his people.He used to load food on his camel and come to Banu Hashim and Banu al-Muttalib in the valley at night.When he approached the entrance of the valley, he would untie the halter of his camel and strike it on the side until it entered the valley.
As days went by, Hisham realised that he was unable to provide them with food every night any longer,especially when there were so many of them. He therefore decided to try to reverse the oppressive declaration.But how could he,when the Quraysh had unanimously agreed to it? He decided to adopt the ‘untie the bundle’ method.What did he do?
He went to Zuhayr bin Abi Umayyah, whose mother was ‘Atika bint ‘Abd al-Muttalib,and said,“O Zuhayr,are you pleased that you are able to eat food, wear clothes and marry women, whilst your maternal uncles are in a state you are aware of? They cannot be traded with nor be married into? I swear by Allah, if they were the maternal uncles of Abul-Hakam bin Hisham…”
– i.e.Abu Jahl, who was the most severe in his enmity towards the believers and a staunch supporter of the declaration – “…he would not have left them in this state!”
Zuhayr said, “Woe be to you, O Hisham! What can I do? I am only one man. By Allah, if I had another man with me, I would have stood up to reverse it.”
Hisham said,“Well, you have found a man.”
“Who is it?” asked Zuhayr.
“Myself,” replied Hisham. Zuhayr said,“We need a third person.”
Hisham said,“OK, but please conceal my affair.”
Thus he went to al-Mut’im bin ‘Adiy, who was an intelligent
person, and said to him, “O Mut’im, are you pleased that two families from Banu ‘Abd Manaf perish, whilst you are not only a witness but also in agreement with Quraysh over this?”
Al-Mut’im said, “Woe be to you! What can I do? I am only one man.”
Hisham replied,“I have found a second person for you.”
“Who is this person?” al-Mut’im asked.
“It is I,” Hisham replied.
Al-Mut’im said,“We would need a third person.”
Hisham said,“I have already found one.”
Al-Mut’im asked,“Who is it?”
“Zuhayr bin Abi Umayyah,” Hisham replied.
Al-Mut’im said,“We want a fourth person.”
Hisham said,“Alright, but please conceal my affair.”
Hisham then went to Abul-Bakhtari bin Hisham and said to him what he had said to his friends earlier.Abul-Bakhtari became eager and asked,“Have you found anyone to help you in this?”
“Yes,” Hisham replied.
“Who is it?” Abul-Bukhtari asked.
“Zuhayr bin Abi Umayyah,al-Mut’im bin ‘Adiy and I,we are all
with you,” replied Hisham.
Abul-Bakhtari said,“We will need a ﬁfth person.”
Thereupon,Hisham went to Zam’ah bin al-Aswad.He spoke to him and reminded him of his relationship and their rights over
Zam’ah said to him,“Is there anyone else with you on this?”
He replied,“Yes. So-and-so…”
They then all agreed with this opinion and decided to hold a meeting at ‘Hatm al-Hujun’ at night at the highest part of Makkah. They gathered there and agreed to stand up against the declaration and get it reversed.
Zuhayr said,“I will start by speaking ﬁrst, and then you can stand up to speak one-by-one.”
In the morning, they went to their gatherings in front of the Ka’bah, where people would meet up to trade. Zuhayr bin Abi Umayyah went forth, dressed in a robe, made seven rounds around the Ka’bah, then turned to the people and said in a loud voice,“O People of Makkah! Do we eat food and wear clothes, whilst Banu Hashim are perishing? They are not able to buy or sell! By Allah,I will not sit until this oppressive declaration is torn apart!”
Upon hearing this,Abu Jahl – who was sitting with his companions – screamed and said,“You have lied! By Allah,it will not be torn apart!”
Then Za’mah bin al-Aswad stood up and said in loud voice, “Rather,you are – by Allah – guiltier of lying! We were not pleased at the declaration when it was written.”
Abu Jahl turned to him to respond, but suddenly, al-Bakhtari also stood up and said,“Za’mah is right.We are not pleased with the declaration nor do we agree with it.”
Abu Jahl then turned to al-Bakhtari,only to see al-Mut’im bin ‘Adiy blaring,“The two of you have spoken the truth and whoever says otherwise has lied! We free ourselves in front of Allah from this declaration and whatever is written therein!”
Then Hisham bin ‘Amr stood up and said the same.
Abu Jahl became surprised. He stood silently for a while and then said,“This was planned overnight and decided elsewhere.”
Al-Mut’im bin ‘Adiy then went to the Ka’bah to tear up the declaration, only to ﬁnd it already eaten up by an insect.The only words written therein were,“In your Name, O Allah!”
The experienced doctor feels the body with his hands and only then chooses an appropriate place to inject the needle.