Hadhrat Thawbaan, one of the freed slaves of the Prophet (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam), narrated that the Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa)’s Messenger (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) said:
يوشك الأمم أن تداعى عليكم كما تدعى الأكلة إلى قصعتها , فقال قائل: و من قلة نحن يومئذ ? قال: بل أنتم يومئذ كثير و لكنكم غثاء كغثاء السيل و لينزعن الله من صدور عدوكم المهابة منكم و ليقذفن الله في قلوبكم الوهن , فقال قائل يا رسول الله و ما الوهن ? قال حب الدنيا و كراهية الموت۔۔
“Nations are about to unite and call each other to set upon you, just as diners are invited to a plate of food.”
It was said: “Will it be because of our few in numbers that day?”
He said: “Rather, you will be many on that day, but you will be like froth and scum that carried down by a torrent (of water). And Allah will take out the fear of you from the breasts (hearts) of your enemy and cast Wahn into your heart.”
It was asked: “O Messenger of Allah! What is ‘Wahn’?”
He said: “Love for the Dunyaa (this mortal world) and hatred for death.” (Abu Daawood and Ahmad)
In attempting to contemplate on the meaning of the Prophet (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam)’s words in the above Hadeeth (and indeed on any of his noble sayings), one quickly comes to appreciate the Prophet (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam)’s statement: “I have been given words which are concise, but comprehensive in meaning.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
The Messenger (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) was blessed with the profound ability to utter several words which whole volumes could then be written about. In this striking Hadeeth, the Prophet (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) describes the situation of the Muslims with great accuracy, and also prescribes a remedy for the ailment.
Now let us try to explore the Hadeeth in effort to make it easier to be understood even by the person with least understanding capabilities.
1. When diners set upon eating, they do not merely take one bite of the food; rather they will taste a variety of food on offer and finish the plate. And this is what we find today, wherever we look in the Ummah, attempts are being made to undermine Islam and Muslims, to make it difficult for Muslims to practice Islam in individual and collective lives, to dismantle Da’wah efforts and to thwart any sense of religious revival within Muslim majority and Muslim minority communities.
Shortly after the fall of the Khilaafah (Caliphate), the Muslim world was broken down into many different states by the Jewish-dominated Christian powers of western world, with each of them eyeing the rich resources that Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) has blessed the Muslims with.
For this very purpose, they introduced their own secular education curriculum and teaching system in their so-called freed colonies. Also they first get appointed their own puppets as the ruler in those countries and installed a system that replaces the same type of ruling elites one after the other.
Hence neo-colonization and corruption shortly followed in those lands, where the seeds of tyrannical, despot regimes were planted. Now, with the Ummah divided and each government primarily concerned with its own interests, the enemies of Islam are free to attack each region like wild animals attack their prey — Palestine, Kashmir, Chechnya, Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan, etc.
2. The Sahaabah could not fathom that their condition would change from one of strength and dominance to one of weakness and subjugation – due to anything other than numerical disadvantage. Thus they asked if this ability of the enemies will be because we will be small in numbers. The Prophet (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) assured them of quite the opposite.
The Muslims were victorious at the Battle of Badr, where the disbelievers outnumbered the Muslims three to one. They were also victorious at Yarmuk, where the Romans outnumbered the Muslims seventy to one. The current situation is almost opposite. The Muslim population is more than a billion and is rapidly growing. Yet, these phenomenal numbers are of little consequence when the masses of the population are essentially slaves to the West, herded mindlessly like cattle according to the whims of their masters.
3. Muslims seem to harbor a false sense of pride in their increasing global population. This despite their weakness as an Ummah and their inability to unite nor safeguard their interests nor indeed influence major affairs on the world stage that effects them.
“…but you will be like froth and scum that carried down by a torrent (of water)” Here is another image! This extraordinary description carries heavy meaning beneath its exterior if one considers the characteristics of the “froth and scum”.
Firstly, the froth overlies the water beneath, suggesting a sense of pride and self-confidence. Secondly, the froth is almost weightless and with little substance, such that the slightest breeze can destroy it. Thus, the pride and self-confidence is ill founded and in reality, should not exist. It is only a product of self-delusion. Thirdly, the foam and scum is not in control of its path – that is, the role of the water flowing beneath. All it does happily flow along to its destination while intoxicated with its imaginary position.
4. According to ‘Lisaan al-Arab’ وهن means (any type of) weakness. It can denote weakness in one’s deeds; and the inability to commanding the good and forbidding the evil – in other words, physical as well as mental weakness. It is also used to describe the weakness of bone and how much easy it is to break, once it erodes.
The more people increase in comfort and luxury and the more they open up before the people (with the Dunyaa), the more evils will open up before them.
It is also described as fatigue, a debilitating disease, (self) oppression – All of which apply to the one who loves the Dunyaa, because he will inevitably becomes weak chasing its mirage. And the love of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) and love of Dunyaa cannot exist in one’s heart equally.
“…And Allah will take out the fear of you from the breasts (hearts) of your enemy and cast Wahn into your hearts.” There were days when the forces of the Muslims were dreaded by all those who opposed them, when people from all over the world would travel to the lands of the Muslims to receive education, and when Arabic was the language of success. These days are all but gone. Muslims and Islam are generally looked down upon. Why? The Prophet (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) said it is because of Wahn. Technically, it means a dull lifelessness and enervation. However, the Prophet (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) explains what this word really means: Ponder over the word “Wahn” as explained by the Prophet (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam): “Love for the Dunyaa (this mortal world) and hatred for death.”
5. ‘Love for the Dunyaa and hatred for death’ is described as a major weakness. This is because love for the Dunyaa weakens one’s Imaan, such that it leads to neglecting the Aakhirah (Hereafter) and what is required of him in terms of his religious obligations, thus becoming complacent. Hatred for death usually arises from one’s attachment and excessive love for the Dunyaa; and it also arises from the accumulation of sins and / or feeling the loss of hope for the Mercy of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) – both of which are blameworthy and lead to inevitable loss and misery.