Dua Prophet Muhammad in Distress
حَسْبُنَا اللَّهُ وَنِعْمَ الْوَكِيلُ
hasbunal laahu wa ni’malwakeel
“Sufficient for us is Allah, and [He is] the best Disposer of affairs.”
Surah Al-Imran Ayat 173
- When the large Meccan army of Abu Sufyan was headed for Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) and his small army they were not scared. The Qur’an tells us this only increased them in faith.
- A reminder that whatever the odds may be, whatever hardship or stress you’re experiencing, Allah (swt) is sufficient for you. He is the best disposer of affairs.
- Sometimes we need perspective. If you look at your life as a book, there are many chapters unwritten, your story doesn’t end in this very moment. Project forward and ask yourself this question, what will the end of your book say about you? Will it say that you quit at the first obstacle, that you lost all hope and faith, or will it say that you slipped and tripped but got back up time after time. That you kept your faith and trust in Allah’s plan for you. Whatever it is you are going through, go through it, all the emotions – the highs and the lows. Keep your head held high and your chest out. Do not give up hope and do not lose your faith. Be like one of the soldiers in Prophet Muhammad’s (ﷺ) platoon who only increased in their faith when faced with adversity.
The historical context behind this du’a is that Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) recently suffered a great loss to Abu Sufyan in the battle of Uhud. His army of 700 fought against 3000 Meccan soldiers. The losses of Uhud report 70 Muslims killed and only 22 of the 3000 Medinan soldiers had died. This was a tragic loss as some notable Muslim supporters were killed in battle, to name a few in no particular order:
1. Abd Allah Ibn Jahsh (brother-in-law and Sahabah of Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ).
2. Hamza ibn Abdul-Muttalib (foster brother, member of the Sahabah and paternal uncle to Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ)).
3. Mus’ab Ibn Umayr (member of the Sahabah).
4. Hanzalah Ibn Abi Amir (member of the Sahabah).
5. Thabit Ibn Ad Dahdahah (member of the Sahabah).
6. Anas ibn Nadhar (member of the Sahabah).
The fighting was intense and the Medinan soldiers were able to pierce through the enemies’ front-line early in the battle. Despite being outnumbered it appeared that victory was imminent for Muhammad (ﷺ) and his followers. 40 of the 50 archers prematurely left their post to enjoy the spoils of war. This left an opening for Khalid ibn al-Walid’s cavalry to exploit by flanking the rear of Muhammad’s forces.
“And Allah had certainly fulfilled His promise to you when you were killing the enemy by His permission until [the time] when you lost courage and fell to disputing about the order [given by the Prophet] and disobeyed after He had shown you that which you love. Among you are some who desire this world, and among you are some who desire the Hereafter. Then he turned you back from them [defeated] that He might test you. And He has already forgiven you, and Allah is the possessor of bounty for the believers. [Remember] when you [fled and] climbed [the mountain] without looking aside at anyone while the Messenger was calling you from behind. So Allah repaid you with distress upon distress so you would not grieve for that which had escaped you [of victory and spoils of war] or [for] that which had befallen you [of injury and death]. And Allah is [fully] Acquainted with what you do.” (3:152-153)
This mistake cost them gravely and shifted the momentum of the battle, now the Muslims fought to avoid certain defeat. In a moment of hopelessness during the battle, someone cried out, “Muhammad was killed” and the rumor spread quickly across the entire battlefield. Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) took some heavy blows in the middle of the battle and found himself injured and bloodied. He fell to the ground and in a moment of unconsciousness, the news began to spread.
The believer’s faith in that moments was tested, in Surah Al-Imran ayah 144 it captures this moment,
“Muhammad is not but a messenger. [Other] messengers have passed on before him. So if he was to die or be killed, would you turn back on your heels [to unbelief]? And he who turns back on his heels will never harm Allah at all, but Allah will reward the grateful.”
Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) was a warrior, he eventually regained consciousness and made his way to a safe vantage point. Even though the Muslims suffered a great loss that day, they were able to hold their own against the Meccans and showed themselves as equals despite being vastly outnumbered. The Meccans early withdrawal was a sign of their weakness.
After the battle of Uhud, the Quraysh began marching back towards Mecca. The next morning Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) sent for a small group to chase after the Quraysh and to establish a settlement near Ar-Rawha with many tents and campfires to give an appearance of a larger army. The logic behind this strategy is explained in the Qur’an, “And do not weaken in pursuit of the enemy. If you should be suffering – so are they suffering as you are suffering, but you expect from Allah that which they expect not. And Allah is ever Knowing and Wise.” (4:104) Muhammad (ﷺ) wanted to show of force to intimidate and speed the return of the Quraysh from the Medinan territory and to avoid a continuing assault.
This worked, Abu Sufyan did not engage and chose to retreat to Mecca but before he did, he challenged the Prophet (ﷺ) to another battle in one year and made a promise to wipe out all the Muslims. In the face of these threats we learn about the du’a Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) made in that moment, “Those to whom hypocrites said, ‘Indeed, the people have gathered against you, so fear them.’ But it [merely] increased them in faith and they said hasbunal laahu wa ni’malwakeel, “Sufficient for us is Allah, and [He is] the best Disposer of affairs.” (3:173)
It says, ‘the people have gathered against you so fear them’ and the Muslims had the right to be fearful. They just lost in battle, their spirits destroyed, their leader injured, and they were outnumbered. Yet when Abu Sufyan army was approaching and made these threats it ‘increased them in faith’. Their conviction was made stronger, and they became more firm in their faith as they recited, hasbunal laahu wa ni’malwakeel. The message here is clear, do not give up hope, be steadfast, be patient, those who rely on Allah will see success.