By: Aang Yulius Prihatmoko
The day before the battle of Badr occurred, Abu Jahal (or Abu Al-Hakam according to the nickname given by polytheists in Mecca) prayed, he said,
اللَّهُمَّ أَقْطَعُنَا الرَّحِمَ وَآتَانَا بِمَا لَا نَعْرِفُهُ فَأَحِنْهُ الْغَدَاةَ
“O Allah, the person who is most keen in breaking silaturrahim between us and the one who brings the weirdest ideas (the most heretical thoughts) that we did not know before, destroyed him tomorrow”.
This is the “Mubahalah” of Abu Jahal. He intended to ask Allah to destroy who was lost, whether his group of Quraysh army or the Muslim group under the leadership of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.
Finally, the history recorded that Abu Jahl was killed in the battle of Badr and the Quraysh polytheists were defeated in the battle.
This story was recorded in Musnad Ahmad, Mushonnaf Ibn Abi Syaibah, Siroh Ibn Hisham, Ar-Rohiqu Al-Makhtum, and the other books of the siroh of the Prophet.
There are several important morals based on this Abu Jahal story. Among them,
First, the meaning of kafir (non-believer) is not limited to people who do not believe in God. Abu Jahal believed in Allah, even prayed to Him. Nevertheless, Allah and His Messenger called him kafir.
Second, the meaning of kafir is not limited to people who are not religious. Abu Jahl was religious, believing in Allah and worshiping Him. One who acknowledges the existence of God and knows and even worships Him for years may fall into disbelief. For instance, the real proof is Iblis. This creature was the type of person who believed in God, knew Him, could even “dialogue” with Him, and worshiped Him for thousands of years. But because of his arrogance and disobedience, God was angry with him and called him kafir.
Third, people who are clearly in error sometimes don’t realize their mistakes. They continue to feel in the truth until their death. Abu Jahal did not feel himself wrong. In fact, very confidently he prayed to Allah to destroy people who were actually in the truth and loved by Allah.
Fourth, stray people have standards of “truth” they believe in and strive for. Abu Jahal’s prayer showed that he believed that breaking silaturrahim is wrong. He also believed that initiating a destructive new idea is disrupting society. He saw that people who converted to Islam sometimes had tenuous relationships with their relatives. Islam, in Abu Jahal’s view, has separated husbands from their wives, parents from their children, and made hostilities between uncles and their nephews, and so on. Muhammad’s “new idea”, according to Abu Jahal, brought disunity, disturbed peace, and caused problems of disintegration.
Fifth, then, how to guarantee ourselves to get the standard of true truth? The Messenger of Allah ﷺ and the Companions were clearly right and blessed by Allah. Abu Jahal and his friends were clearly kafir and wrath by Allah. Therefore, this gives a simple indication that the measure of judging the truth must be returned to revelation. Abu Jahal’s mistake was he did not want to believe in the Messenger of Allah ﷺ, so that standard in judging wrong and right he had was based on his own reason, not on the revelation from Allah. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ and the Companions were in the truth because they believed in the revelation that came down to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ and made it a standard in judging wrong and right.
Sixth, the definition of kafir in the religious context taught by Islam refers to people who do not want to trust the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ as the Messenger of God and do not want to follow him. Abu Jahal was called a kafir not because he did not believe in God, but because he did not want to believe in Muhammad ﷺ as the Prophet and Messenger of Allah. So, all believers of religions other than Islam are called kafir because of this factor.
Seventh, sometimes the debate between people who are in the truth and those who are in error is not finished at the level of the thought dialogue, but is solved by cursing each other or what is called the Mubahalah. At this level, people who believe that they are in the truth have never hesitated to welcome the challenge of Mubahalah.
Eighth, the clash between truth and mischief is not to be expected to stop at the level of thought and dialogue alone. History shows, sometimes the battle between these two thoughts will eventually lead to physical confrontation.
19 Rabi’u Ats-Tsani 1438 H