Narrations About the Future of Islam
By: Shaikh, Imam, and Mujaddid (Reviver of Islam), Muhammad Nasir ad-Din al-Albani
(The Levant [Bilad ash-Sham])
Our Shaikh, Imam al-Albani, may Allah have mercy on him, was one of the most optimistic people about the victory and strengthening of this religion, that is because optimism strengthens one's resolve and seriousness, it helps and an individual reach his goals despite hardships, evil consequences, and difficulties which are placed in the path of the Ummah of Islam. Shaikh al-Albani showed his optimism in his lectures, classes, books, and letters. He began his great book, Silsilat al-Ahadith as-Sahihah, with an article he named, The Future is for Islam.
What follows is the speech of the Shaikh:
The future belongs to Islam. Allah said,
“It is He Who has sent His Messenger (Muhammad SAW) with guidance and the religion of truth (Islam), to make it superior over all religions even though the Mushrikoon (polytheists, pagans, idolaters, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah) hate (it).” [9:33]
This ayah gives us glad tidings that the future belongs to Islam, through its rule, strong appearance, and dominance over all other religions. Some assume that these goals were achieved during the Prophets time, and during the time of the rightly guided caliphs and righteous kings. This, however, is not true. What was achieved during those times is only a portion of this truthful promise.
This is proven through the statement of the Prophet, “The night and day will not end until al-Lat and al-`Uzza are worshiped again.” `Aisha said, “O Allah's Messenger, I thought that when Allah said,
“It is He Who has sent His Messenger (Muhammad SAW) with guidance and the religion of truth (Islam), to make it superior over all religions even though the Mushrikoon (polytheists, pagans, idolaters, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah) hate (it).” [9:33) that it means [that pagan idols will be shunned] completely.” The Prophet said, “They will be worshiped in the amount that Allah Wills.”
Other ahadith have been narrated about the level of Islam's superiority and how far it becomes widespread. All of these narrations leave no doubt that the future belongs to Islam, by Allah's Will and Help.
I will mention some of these narrations, so that they might act as an encouragement for those who work for Islam, and a proof against those who feel despair and are reliant on others.
The Prophet said, “Allah gathered the earth for me until I could see its east and west. My Ummah will have its empire reach all that I saw.”
Another hadith which is clearer and more general is when the Prophet said, “This matter (Islam) will reach where the night and day reach, and Allah will enter it into every home, even if they were made from mud or hair by the might of those who are mighty and the disgrace of those who are disgrace#; with glory that Allah glorifies Islam, and disgrace that He will disgrace disbelief with.”
There is no doubt that this spread of Islam cannot be achieved except by Muslims become strong again in their morals, materials, and weapons, so that they can overcome disbelief and tyranny, and this is mentioned to us in a hadith.
Abu Qubail said, “We were with `Abdullah bin `Amr bin al-`Aas when he was asked, 'Which of the two cities will be conquered first, Constantinople (Istanbul) or Rome?' So `Abdullah called for a box that had a lock and it, and took a book out of it. He then said, 'When we were sitting with Allah's Messenger writing, he was asked, ' Which of the two cities will be conquered first, Constantinople or Rome?' He said, 'The city of Heraclius will fall first.' Meaning, 'Constantinople.'”
Constantinople was conquered by Muhammad al-Fatih, the Ottoman Caliph, as is known, and that happened 800 years after the Prophet prophesied the conquering. The second conquering – of Rome – will come by Allah's Will, without a doubt, and you will come to know of it soon.
There is no doubt that the conquering of Rome will bring the Islamic Nation the rightly guided caliphate. This is prophesied in the hadith where Prophet Muhammad said, “The prophethood will remain in this Ummah for as long as Allah Wills, then Allah will raise it when He Wants, then there will be a caliphate on the methodology of the Prophets, it will remain as long as Allah Wants, and then Allah will raise it when He Wills. Then there will be a kingship that is tyrannical, it will remain for as long as Allah Wants, then He will raise it when He Wants. Then there will be a dictatorship, it will remain for as long as Allah Wants, then He will raise it when He Wants. Lastly, there will be a caliphate on the methodology of the Prophets. Then he remained silent.”
In my view, this hadith cannot be interpreted to make `Umar bin `Abd al-`Aziz, because his khilafah (caliphate) was very close in time to the rightly guided caliphate, and neither the tyrannical kingship nor dictatorship had passed yet.
Another narration which gives glad tidings to the Muslims that strength will return to them, and that they will put the earth in good use which would help to achieve their goals, and that they have a bright future, even economically and agriculturally, is the hadith, “The hour will not come to pass until the lands of the Arabs will become rivers and grasslands again.”
At this occasion we should mention where the Prophet said, “There will not be a time except that what comes after that is worse, until you reach your Lord.”
This hadith must be understood according to its correct meaning – which has been mentioned, and others such as the ahadith of al-Mahdi, and the descent of `Isa – and it is that this hadith is not understood in its generality, but it is specific in indication.
It is not permissible to teach the people that the hadith is understood on its generality, lest they fall into the despair, and that is not permissible for the believer to fall in, as Allah said,
"Certainly no one despairs of Allahs Mercy, except the people who disbelieve.” [12:87]
I ask Allah to make us true believers in Him.
Islam Encourages that the Earth be Utilized and Cultivated
There are many ahadith about this, I will mentioned only some.
Anas reported that the Prophet said, “There is not a Muslim who plants a seed, or farms, and then a bird, human or animal eats from it, except he will have a sadaqah from it.”
Jabir narrated that the Prophet said, “There is not a Muslim who plants a seed, except that he will have a charity for every time a person eats from it, and every time something is stolen from it. Whatever a beast eats, he will have a sadaqah, whatever a bird eats, he will have a sadaqah, and there is not a person who utilize the plant in any way except that he has a sadaqah until the Day of Resurrection.”
Anas reported that the Prophet said, “If death comes and one of you has a small palm tree in his hand, let him plant it before he dies starts if he is able to.”
These ahadith all show how Islam encourages utilization of the earth, and especially the last one, which tells us to use even the last chance you have in life to plant something beneficial to those who will live after you, and you will be rewarded and every time it is benefited from you get the reward of a charity, until the Day of Resurrection.
Imam al-Bukhari placed the statement, “Chapter: The istinaa` of Wealth” at the heading of this hadith in his book, Al-Adab al-Mufrad, then he narrated from al-Harith bin Laqit who said, “One of us used to take his colt or foal and kill it, saying, 'I am not going to live to ride this.' Then the letter of `Umar reached us wherin it said, 'Keep what Allah has given you in good shape, because there is plenty of time remaining [in life].'” This is authentic.
Al-Bukhari also collected with an authentic chain of narration from Dawud who said, “`Abdullah bin Salam said to me, 'If you hear that the Dajjal has appeared, and you are about to plant a tree, then do not be hasty, and make sure it is in good shape, because there will be people after you who will live.'”
Ibn Jarir narrated from `Ammarah bin Khuzaimah bin Thabit who said, “I heard `Umar bin al-Khattab said to my father, 'What prevents you from farming your land?' My father said, 'I am an old man and will die soon.' `Umar said, 'I implore you (a`zimu `alaika) to farm it.' So I saw `Umar bin al-Khattab planting it with his own hands, he along with my father.”
That is why some of the Sahaba used to view that a man working to cultivate his land is one that is working in Allah's Sake.
Al-Bukhari narrated in, al-Adab al-Mufrad, from Nafi` bin `Asim who heard `Abdullah bin `Amr say to his nephew who exited a place of land called, al-Waht, “Are your workers working?” He replied, “I do not know.” `Abdullah said, “If you were educated, you would know what your workers are doing.” `Abdullah then looked at us and said, “If a man works with his workers in his home (or in his wealth), he will be considered among those who work in Allah's Cause.” The chain of this narration is acceptable, inshaAllah.
Al-Waht mentioned literally means an orchard, and this one in specific was a large piece of land belonging to `Amr bin al-`Aas in at-Ta'if, and it was 3 miles of sweet calamus. It appears that he left it for his children as inheritence.
Ibn `Asakir collected in his book, At-Tarikh, with an authentic chain from `Amr bin Dinar who said, “`Amr bin al-`Aas entered in a garden of his called, 'Al-Waht', which has a million pieces of wood, which he purchased for a Dirham a piece.”
The pieces of wood were used to keep the olive trees sturdy and upright.
Al-Bukhari has placed as a heading for the first two Ahadith (from Jabir and Anas), “Chapter: The Virtue of Farming if it is Eaten From.”
Ibn al-Munir said, “Al-Bukhari alluded to the fact that farming is allowed, and that it is only prohibited if it distracts a person from war, and other important things.
This is how we should understand the hadith of Abu Umamah which is the next hadith mentioned in this chapter by al-Bukhari.”
Greed for the Worldly Life Brings About Humiliation
I mentioned some of the narrations encouraging farming the earth, and there is no doubt that this is something that was legislated for the Muslims, and they were encouraged to do so.
Now we will mention some ahadith that some people with weak intellects or sick hearts may interpret as being in contradiction to what we have mentioned, when in fact they are not contradictory at all, as long as they are understood correctly and ones soul is free from being ruled by his desires.
Abu Umamah al-Bahili saw a plow and some other farming tools and said, “I heard Allah's Messenger say, 'These tools do not enter the homes of people except that Allah will enter humiliation into that home.”
The scholars have showed how these ahadith are not in contradiction, but rather in harmony, from two different standpoints:
First: What is meant by humiliation is the taxes which are forced on them by the rulers, such as ...
Al-Munawi said in, al-Faidh, “This is not a censure of farming, because farming is praiseworthy and is reward worthy, due to the fact that many living things eat from it, humiliation in life does not necessarily mean to be deprived of the reward of specific actions (such as planting in this case).”
Ibn at-Tin said, “This is from among the prophesies of the Prophet, since now we see that most of the injustice is geared towards farmers.”
Second: It can be understood that he becomes overly obsessed with farming, which distracts him from doing the obligatory actions, such as war and otherwise. This is what al-Bukhari believed when he put as the chapter heading for this hadith, “Chapter: What Warns from the Outcomes of Farming, or Going Overboard in Farming.”
It is known that going overboard in trying to seek sustenance distracts an individual from obligatory actions, and makes him have greed for the worldly benefits, desire to remain on earth, and abandonment of Jihad, as is seen from many rich folk.
What supports this view is when the Prophet said, “When you indulge in al-`Eenah transactions, you follow the tails of cows, you become satisfied with farming, and you abandon Jihad in Allah's Path, Allah will put humiliation on you and will not remove it until you return to your religion.”
So ponder on how this hadith specified the generality of the hadith of Abu Umamah which was just mentioned. It shows that humiliation is not placed on a people for mere farming, but only when it is joined with wishing to remain in farming for a lifetime, and abandoning Jihad in Allah's Path. This is the meaning of the hadith; as for farming which is mentioned that is not coupled with any of those bad things which were mentioned, then we understand them according to the ahadith which have been narrated which show encouragement in farming, and there is no contradiction between the ahadith.
Notice: From among the things which made me write this article is that there is a German orientalist who made the allegation – and he said this to a Syrian student there in Germany – that Islam warns from taking the mediums for farming! He used the last hadith as proof, and he said, “It is in al-Bukhari”, but he was totally blind to what the meaning that al-Bukhari himself alluded to when placing the heading for the last hadith mentioned.
The Prophet also said, “Do not acquire farming estates, lest you become overly indulgent in this life.”
Al-Qurtubi said, “This hadith is understood in light of the other texts, and that this hadith means over indulgence, and disregard of Islamic needs. Also, this hadith does not apply to those who utilize what they posses in benefit of the Muslims, and to benefit from its produce.”
What also proves this understanding is that this hadith has been narrated with another wording, from Ibn Mas`ud, which mentions overindulgence and overdoing it.
This overindulgence which causes disregard of the other Islamic obligations such as Jihad in Allah's Path, it is what was meant when Allah said,
“Do not throw yourselves into destruction.” [2:195]
This is the reason the ayah was revealed, contrary to what many think!
Aslam Abu `Imran said, “We traveled from Madinah to go to war in Constantinople, and `Uqbah bin `Amir was the leader of the Egyptian soldiers, and `Abr ar-Rahman bin Khalid bin al-Walid was the general of all the troops. The Byzantines constantly had their backs to the walls of the city, and one of us was start fighting through the lines of the enemy, so it was said, 'mah mah# La Ilaha Illa Allah! He is fighting recklessly and throwing himself into destruction!' Abu Ayyub al-Ansari refuted them saying, 'You recite this ayah and understand it to mean that a man selflessly fights wishing and hoping for martyrdom. In fact, this ayah was revealed regarding us, the Ansar, when Allah gave victory to His Prophet, and we began to say, 'Let us now focus on our wealth and make it better.' Allah revealed,
'And spend in the Cause of Allah (i.e. Jihad of all kinds, etc.) and do not throw yourselves into destruction.' [2:195]
So throwing ourselves into destruction in this verse means to indulge in our wealth and fixing it up, and abandoning Jihad.'”
Abu Ayyub continued, “Abu Ayyub continued to fight in Allah's Path, until [he was martyred and] he was burried in Constantinople.”
 Al-`Eenah is when a person (#1) sells something for a certain price, then gives the item to the buyer (2#). He then buys it back from that person for a smaller price, thus the seller (#1) makes a profit off the item. Shaikh al-Islam Ibn Taimiyyah said, “This, along with the agreement, nullifies both transactions, because it is fraud.”