1) ‘Umar wishes for men like Abu ‘Ubaydah
2) Unique models for manhood.
3) The true meaning of manhood.
4) Two examples of manhood from history.
5) How to instil the qualities of manhood into our children’s personalities.
In one of the houses of Madinah, ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab, may Allaah be pleased with him, was sitting with a group of his companions. He asked them: “Make a wish”, one of them said, “I wish to have as much gold as would fill this whole house, so that I could spend it in Jihaad”; then again ‘Umar asked: “Make a wish”, another man said, “I wished that this house was full of jewels and pearls so that I could spend it all in Jihaad and charity for the sake of Allaah”; ‘Umar asked for the third time: “Make a wish”, his companions said: “We don’t know what to say, O leader of the believers”; Thereupon ‘Umar said, “I wish that this house was full of men like Abu ‘Ubaydah Ibn Al-Jarraah, Mu’aadh bin Jabal and Saalim who works for Abu Hudhayfah in order to use them to spread the word of Allaah”
May Allah have mercy on ‘Umar - the inspired. He definitely knew how true civilizations are established, how great missions succeed and how to revive dead nations!
Although nations and missions need resources in order to be successful, they also need planners and those who have determined hearts in order to fully utilise these resources. In fact the greatest of all needs is that for real men.
O Muslims! Real men are very rare to find, they are as rare as precious minerals and jewels; to illustrate this, the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: “Real men are as rare as a reliable strong camel that can endure the burden of long trips; you can hardly find one in a hundred” (Bukhaari)
Qualified righteous men are the backbone of missions, the spirit for progress and the focal point of reformation. There can be countless factories of weapons and ammunition, but if there are no men to use the weapons being produced, there will be no ability to fight. The finest educational curricula can exist, but it takes real men to implement and teach them; one can create many committees to carry out a project, yet these will accomplish nothing if there are no devoted men on these committees.
History speaks for itself; power is not measured by the amount of weapons possessed as much as it is by the number of strong hearted soldiers. Reformation and successful cultivation can only be achieved by men who experience and live it - and not merely by reading books on the subject. It is only men with zeal and devotion that accomplish projects, regardless of the number of committees that they may be members of. Indeed ‘Umar was wise to wish for high calibre men instead of silver, gold, pearls or jewels.
O Muslims! Sometimes, one fervent man can equal a thousand others; indeed one man can outweigh a nation, as the saying goes: “A devoted man can revive a whole nation”. In a military campaign, Khaalid Ibn Al-Waleed, may Allaah be pleased with him, surrounded Al-Heerah and requested supplies from Abu Bakr, may Allaah be pleased with him, who only sent him Al-Qa’qaa’ Ibn ‘Amr At-Tameemi and said: “An army having men like Al-Qa’qaa’ will never be defeated”. Abu Bakr, may Allaah be pleased with him, also used to say, “The mere voice of Al-Qa’qaa’ in the army is better than a thousand fighters”. When ‘Amr Ibn Al-‘Aas, may Allaah be pleased with him, requested supplies from ‘Umar, may Allaah be pleased with him, during the Islamic conquest of Egypt, he (‘Umar) wrote: “I have sent you (the equivalent of) four thousand men; four men each of whom are equal to a thousand others: Az-Zubayr Ibn Al-‘Awwaam, Al-Miqdaad Ibn ‘Amr, ‘Ubaadah Ibn As-Saamit and Maslamah Ibn Makhlad”
O Muslims! What type of men do we require? Is it anyone with a moustache and beard? If so, then we already have too many! Real manhood is not determined by age. There are many seventy year olds with the mentality and interests of seven year olds. They rejoice at ridiculous and insignificant events and are depressed and saddened by trivial matters; they are nothing but children trapped in the bodies of adults. On the other hand, you may find some youths whose speech, behaviour and intellect reflect maturity and manhood.
‘Umar ibn Al-Khattaab, may Allaah be pleased with him, passed by a group of young boys playing, when they saw him they all ran away except for one. (‘Abdullaah Ibn Az-Zubayr, may Allaah be pleased with him) ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, asked: “Why didn’t you run away along with your friends?” he replied, “O leader of the believers! I wasn’t doing anything wrong in order to be afraid (of you) and the road is not narrow; there is enough room for you to pass’.
A young boy entered into the palace of one of the Umayyid Khalifas to address him on behalf of his tribe. The Khalifah said: “Let an older man come forth to represent your people” the boy said, “O leader of the believers, if leadership was gained by virtue of age, then there would have been many others worthier than you for the Khilaafah”. These are fine examples of maturity despite tenderness of age and we Muslims have many such examples throughout history.
Manhood is not achieved by the mere possession of big and strong bodies. Allaah describes the hypocrites with that which translates to: “And when you see them, their bodies please you…” (Al-Munaafiqoon: 4) and yet He says that which translates to: “… They are as (worthless as hollow) pieces of timber propped up, (unable to stand on their own). They think that every cry is against them” (Al-Munaafiqoon: 4). In an authentic Hadeeth the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: “The sinful man who was huge in size in this life, will not even weigh the weight of a mosquito on the Day of Resurrection” Then he recited: “… And We will not assign to them on the Day of Resurrection any weight.” (Al-Kahf: 105).
‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ood was a frail man, one day his legs became uncovered (revealing how thin they were). Some of the Sahaabah saw this and laughed. Thereupon, the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: “You may laugh about his thin legs, but I swear by Him in Whose Hand my soul is, they will be heavier than Mount Uhud on the scales (on the Day of Judgement)”.
Real manhood is not attained by virtue of age, physical structure, wealth or position. Rather, it is determined by having a firm will and a strong personality. This would elevate a person’s character so that they would only concern themselves with important issues and stay far away for frivolities and trivial matters. Such characteristics would make someone mature despite their youth; it would make them content despite their poverty; strong enough to offer others what they have before asking others for what they have; mature enough to fulfil their duties before asking for their rights; and acutely aware of the responsibility that they have toward themselves, their Lord, their household, their religion and the Muslim Ummah. In short, real manhood is all about reaching high levels of morals, manners and integrity
The best thing which a government can do for its citizens is to do whatever it can with all means at its disposal to raise a generation with these characteristics. Those who are in charge of establishing educational curricula should take note, for there is nothing better to base their ideas on than this. As for other institutes and organisations, (such as schools, masjids and the media) they also cannot do anything more important than propagating and implementing these ideas.
A generation that possesses real manhood and righteousness can only be generated through being cultured on firm belief, strong morals and sound Islamically based customs. A generation that grows up surrounded with destructive doubts, immorality, disbelief and obscenity will never discover real manhood - just as plants will never grow without water, light and air.
The world did not see real manhood in its finest and definitive form except in the unique generation that was nurtured by the great Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. That generation experienced great fear; they were not materialistic; they were not deceived or seduced by temptation; they were not scared by warnings or threats from others; nor were they proud and arrogant after victories and they would never give up after suffering setbacks. Today, colonisation has polluted the environment with infidelity and obscenity; you see many males but you can hardly find any real men.
It is painful and shocking to hear someone who studied the teachings of Islam saying with sorrow: “What a great religion Islam is, if it only had real men to convey it”. This religion that lacks real men has more than one billion followers, but they are as the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam described them: “As useless and powerless as the foam on the surface of a flood” (Ahmad).
O Muslims! What benefit is it to have Muslim men who are only concerned about themselves, controlled by their whims and desires and only do that which fulfils their own self-interests. They are neither sure of themselves, nor do they rely on their Lord. Greed unites them and fear shatters them. I swear by Allaah! It would be much more beneficial and useful for Islaam if Muslims could produce just one man out of every thousand who fulfils the qualities of real men, instead of producing the millions of useless characters that we are surrounded by.
O Muslims! If a person is blessed by Allaah to have firm faith in addition to fulfilling the qualities of manhood, then he can rescue a situation alone. For example, in the story of Moosa, peace be upon him, when he killed the Qibti, Allaah says that which translates to: “A man came from the farthest end of the city” (Al-Qasas: 20) Also, in the story of ‘the people of the village’ Allaah says that which translates to: “And there came from the farthest end of the city a man” (Yaa Seen: 20). In both verses the term used was ‘a man’ - in the singular form. One man rescued the situation; He had firmness of faith and did not feel lonely and vulnerable being the only believer in his family. The man mentioned in Soorah Al-Qasas went to Moosa and informed him about the plot of Pharaoh against him, and gave him a solution to the problem - which was to leave the village he was in on his own. The man mentioned in Soorah Yaa Seen challenged the leaders of misguidance and publicly announced in front of their followers that he supported the messengers – and that they should do likewise.
O Muslims! As important as it is to have collective and institutional projects that focus on enjoining righteousness and alternating the shouldering of collective responsibilities, this does not address the fundamental crisis, which is that in reality we lack the individuals who can carry out missions alone. Such persons are especially needed in this day and age because the Ummah is lost. There is no dedicated authority that discovers talent and distributes duties for the Ummah. In a situation such as this, the need for such men becomes even greater due to the fact a huge shortfall needs to be filled. Perhaps one day, all the current individual efforts will unite on a well studied plan that would deliver the Muslims from the miserable predicament that they are currently in. I do not say this to slight the importance of collective efforts or to belittle the fruitful efforts of group work, it is only to emphasise the importance of individually grasping initiatives.
Slaves of Allaah! Too many people are falling into the error of making luxury and extravagance part of their children’s upbringing, until it affects their personalities. To know the solution for this problem and avoid it in future generations, we must answer the following question: How do we build the qualities of manhood in our children?
This question represents one of the major problems of parenting in this age. The following are some of many Islamic points that will help to solve this problem and develop manhood in a child’s personality:
· Nicknames: Calling the child Abu so and so or Umm so and so is something that increases their sense of responsibility and makes them feel older than their actual age. This will make them feel equal to older people. The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam used to give nicknames to children as Anas bin Maalik, may Allaah be pleased with him, said: “The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam had the finest manners; and I had a brother who was called Abu ‘Umayr who was just weaned; whenever he was around the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam would say: “O Abu ‘Umayr, what did the Nughayr do?” (Nughayr was a small bird he used to play with)” (Bukhaari). Umm Khaalid (the daughter of Khaalid), may Allaah be pleased with her, said: “The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam received some clothes as a gift which included a black silk garment, so he said: “Who do you think I should give this to?” he paused a little then said, “Bring Umm Khaalid” so the people carried her (this reflects how young she was) and brought her to the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam who put the garment on her and said: “Wear it out”. The garment had a green or yellow mark on it so the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said, “O Umm Khaalid, this is Sanah” (Sanah is the word for nice in an African language)” (Bukhaari).
· Taking the child to the gatherings of adults is another thing which develops manhood in their personalities. These gatherings add richness to their understanding and improve their way of thinking. If a child starts talking to older people, he will spend less time playing. This was the practice of the Sahaabah who used to take their children to the gatherings of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. Mu’aawiyah Ibn Qarrah narrated on behalf of his father: “Whenever the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam sat with his companions, each of them would bring his young child who would be behind his father’s back – then his father would seat him in front of himself.” (Nasaa’i).
· Relating to children historical stories, Islamic battles and heroic victories is another way of building courage and bravery in them, which is one of the most important factors of manhood. ‘Urwah Ibn Az-Zubayr said, “Az-Zubayr Ibn Al-‘Awwaam (his father) had two children. He took one of them to some of the battles and the other would play with the battle-wounds on his father’s shoulder (when he returned)”. Hishaam Ibn ‘Urwah the son of ‘Urwah Ibn Az-Zubayr said: “My father accompanied my grandfather in the battle of Yarmook and when the disbelievers were defeated he followed the injured ones who were trying to escape and killed them” (which reflects strength and courage from a young age).
· Teaching children to respect elders also develops manhood in the child. Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said, “The younger ones (should) greet the elders.…” (Bukhaari).
· Respecting them in public. Sahl Ibn Sa’d said, “The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam was brought a cup to drink from and he had a child to his right and elders to his left. After he drank he said to the child, “Do you permit me to give this to the elders before you?” the child replied, ‘I will not give up my right to drink (directly) after (you)’ so the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam gave it to him” (Bukhaari).
· Teaching children manly sports like swimming, horse riding and shooting. Abu Umamah Ibn Sahl, may Allaah be pleased with him, said: ’Umar ibn Al-Khattaab, may Allaah be pleased with him, wrote to Abu ‘Ubaydah Ibn Al-Jarraah, may Allaah be pleased with him, instructing: “Teach your children how to swim” (Ahmad).
· Avoiding things that would soften them up or make them resemble females, like music, dancing, wearing silk or gold and anything else that is feminine.
· Refraining from insulting them publicly, encouraging them to be participative and making them feel important.
· Greeting them with Salaam; Anas Ibn Maalik, may Allaah be pleased with him, said: “The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam passed by a group of children and greeted them with Salaam” (Muslim).
· Taking and valuing their opinions.
· Giving them responsibilities which are suitable for their ability and age and telling them secrets. Anas bin Maalik, may Allaah be pleased with him, said: “The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam came to me while I was playing with other children and greeted me with Salaam, then he sent me on an errand which delayed me from getting to my mother on time. When I finally reached home she asked: ‘What delayed you?’ I replied: ‘The Prophet sent me on an errand’ she asked: ‘What was it?’ I replied: ‘It is a secret’ she said, ‘Do not tell the Prophet’s secret to anyone’” (Muslim). In another narration Anas bin Maalik, may Allaah be pleased with him, said: “The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam came to me while I was with some other children, so he greeted us, then he took me by the hand and sent me with a message to someone while he waited in the shade of a wall until I returned” (Abu Daawood).
Ibn ‘Abbaas, may Allaah be pleased with him, said: “I was once playing with other children, I looked over my shoulder to find the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam approaching, so I thought to myself: ‘The Prophet only came because I am here.’ So I ran to hide behind the door of one of the houses. Suddenly I felt him grab me and gently and playfully slap me on my back. Then he said: “Go and call Mu’aawiyah for me.” Mu’aawiyah used to write for the Prophet, so I ran to Mu’aawiyah and said, ‘The Prophet needs you’” (Ahmad).
· Instilling courage in them by means such as by delivering speeches.
· Attaching great importance to chastity and decency and avoiding fashionable clothes, stylish haircuts, and modern ‘mannerisms’.
· Keeping them away from luxury, laziness, unnecessary rest and idleness. ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattaab, may Allaah be pleased with him, said: “Toughen up, luxury does not last for ever”.
· Keeping them away from sinful gatherings that involve music and other prohibitions because this contradicts manhood and integrity.
These are some points that will develop and increase the qualities of manhood in a child’s personality, which where mentioned in a pamphlet by Shaykh Muhammad Al-Munajjid, may Allaah preserve him.