‘Abdul Malik bin Marwaan was a famous leader of the Banu Umayyah. Four of his sons, viz. Waleed, Sulaimaan, Yazeed and Hishaam had succeeded him in ruling the Muslim empire. However, the son that was worthiest for the position was Maslamah bin ‘Abdil Malik. He possessed many noble characteristics and was the leader of the Muslim army. Such was the number of his expeditions and conquests, and his firm determination and military expertise, that he could be regarded as the Khaalid bin Waleed (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) of his time. (Siyaru Aa’laamin Nubalaa vol. 5, pg. 241 and Al-Bidaayah wan Nihaayah vol. 10, pg. 38)
On one occasion, Maslamah bin ‘Abdil Malik laid siege to a fortress. The Muslim army underwent a great deal of difficulty in trying to make a breakthrough, but they were unsuccessful. There was a small opening in the wall, so Maslamah urged the Muslims to enter through it (and open the door of the fort for the Muslim army to enter). However, no one was prepared to enter, (due to the great risk and almost no chance of survival). Then, Allah Ta‘ala afforded them victory when a common man from the army came forward and entered it (leading the way for the rest of the army to enter the fortress).
After they had achieved victory, Maslamah announced, “Where is the person who entered the small opening?” When nobody came forward, he repeated the announcement a few times and also added, “I have commanded the guard to allow him to enter as soon as he comes, and I insist on him that he comes.” After these announcements were made, a person came forward and asked for permission to meet Maslamah. So the guard asked him, “Are you the person who entered the small opening?” The person replied, “I will give you information regarding him.”
The guard came to Maslamah and sought permission for the person to enter. Upon entering, he said to Maslamah, “The person who entered the small opening wants three assurances from you:
1. You do not mention his name when corresponding with the khaleefah.
2. You do not instruct that any reward be given to him.
3. You do not enquire as to which family he belongs to.”
When Maslamah agreed to the conditions, this person testified, “I am that person (who entered the small opening).” He thereafter disappeared and was never to be seen again. Such was the impact of this person’s sincerity that from that day onwards, Maslamah bin ‘Abdil Malik would make du‘aa after every salaah, “O Allah! Grant me companionship (in the Hereafter) with the person who entered the small opening.”
(Taareekh Ibni ‘Asaakir vol. 58, pg. 36 and ‘Uyoonul Akhbaar vol.1, pg. 262)
1. The soldier risked his life for the cause of Deen and to please Allah Ta‘ala, not for the applause of people. Therefore, he tried his level best to conceal his identity and also refused to accept any remuneration for this great feat of his, so that he may not spoil his reward of the Hereafter. This quality of sincerity and doing good actions only for the pleasure of Allah Ta‘ala, adds value to ones actions and is extremely dear to Allah Ta‘ala. Hence, when Allah Ta‘ala recounts the qualities of his pious servants who will enjoy the pleasures of Jannah, he also mentions, “They give food out of their love for Him to the needy, the orphan and the captive, (saying to them,) ‘we feed you only for the sake of Allah Ta‘ala; we have no intention of (receiving) either a return from you or thanks.’” (Surah Dahr v8 & 9) One should therefore endeavour to conceal his good actions and humanitarian efforts, and not publicize and advertise them, so as not to jeopardize the great rewards that are in store for him in the Hereafter.
2. Despite Maslamah bin ‘Abdil Malik belonging to the royal family and also being the commander in chief of the army, which obviously meant that he enjoyed abundant material possessions, he understood that in the court of Allah Ta‘ala, material will be of no benefit, rather good values and qualities such as sincerity will be the means for a person’s salvation and acceptance. Therefore, he was consumed by the desire of being in the company of that ordinary and unknown soldier in the Hereafter.
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