Islam and the Countries
Hojjat al-Islam Hashmi Rafsanjani
Former President of Islamic Republic of Iran
In sharp contrast to these crimes, Islam's treatment towards other peoples and nations can be highlighted. By no means Islam allows a country to harass other nations and peoples, to loot their resources, and thus provide itself in the name of a conqueror or of a superior race. This is regarded as one of the most indecent deeds in Islam, even if the country consists of disbelievers. I will mention one or two points with regard to this kind of treatment. In future discussions, we will deal with this subject with more documents and proofs to enlighten the world as to the justice which will rule over human society, if one day the Islamic civilization, in its true sense, sways the world. During the lifetime of the Prophet (S), there are two points which have not as yet been studied in detail. I will present it as a proof and, Allah (SWT) willing, it will then be elaborated. During and after the conquest of Makkah, in the Battle of Hunayn, there are some facts which the historians at times encounter, but fail to give reasoning. Of course, some of them give certain hints.
The general pardon and forgiveness which the Holy Prophet (S) performed in Makkah and he distribution he made of the booties after the Battle of Hunayn is very interesting considering the fact that Makkah was one of the most troublesome areas during the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah as they troubled him so much, as long as the Holy Prophet (S) lived in Makkah. Even when the Holy Prophet (S) migrated to Madinah and established it as the centre of Islam, Makkah still served as the focal point for opposition to the Holy Prophet (S). All the intrigues took their shape in Makkah. The people of Makkah used to instigate the tribes and the people, and fan the flames of battles against the Holy Prophet (S)
The Pardon Granted to Makkah
When the Holy Prophet (S) conquered Makkah, the entire Arab Peninsula expected a total destruction of Makkah and the plundering of the people of Makkah. They also felt that the people of Makkah should pay the price for the crimes they perpetrated against the Holy Prophet (S) for the past twenty years. The Holy Prophet (S), however, did not treat the people of Makkah as a conqueror would do. Read the history of wars in the world. Study the history of battles of that time, and then also go through the accounts of the battles fought by the Holy Prophet (S). At that time, it was the rule and custom of warfare that the defeated forces used to become slaves and servants of the conquerors. Their entire property belonged, without exception, to the conquerors and the latter acted in any way it pleased them.
Madinah, which had spent for Islam its entire resources all over these eight years, and which felt that the source of all these troubles and losses rested in Makkah, should have taken vengeance when it conquered Makkah. It should have retrieved the money it had spent and replaced its lost soldiers with' them. But amidst the amazement of all those who were present, the Holy Prophet (S) did not permit the slightest encroachment upon the honour and property of the people of Makkah. After the conquest of Makkah, two tribes by the names of Hawazin and Thaqif which were rich and had wielded great authority in the region deceived Banu Sa`d which had foster-relationship with the Holy Prophet (S). These three tribes rebelled against the Holy Prophet (S). Thirty thousand soldiers with great facilities came outside Makkah, pitched camps, and became ready to fight. Up to that time, such an army had never confronted the Holy Prophet (S). The Holy Prophet (S) mobilized a troop of twelve thousand warriors. The Holy Qur'an says the following about the Holy Prophet's troops:
"Certainly Allah helped you in many battlefields and on the day of Hunayn, when your great numbers made you vain, but they availed you nothing and the earth became strait to you not withstanding its spaciousness, then you turned back retreating (9:25)."
The Holy Prophet (S) went to fight with them. In the Battle of Hunayn, he at first suffered a defeat for a brief period due to hiding and running away of some of his disciples. Immediately, the Messenger (S) of Allah commenced a new offensive and defeated them. The heads of the enemy troops escaped to Al-Ta'if and elsewhere yet their entire belongings including six thousand prisoners of war, twenty-four thousand camels, more than forty thousand sheep, a large quantity of silver, and household goods, i.e., a huge amount of booties fell into the hands of the Holy Prophet (S). Such a wealth had never come into the hands of the Prophet (S) in all other battles.
At this point, the Holy Prophet (S) encountered the issue in a way which was criticized at that time by those close to him. In Banu Sa`d there was a lady by the name of Halimah hint Abi Dhu'ayb As-Sa`diyyah who had suckled the Holy Prophet (S) in his childhood. The daughter of sister of Halimah As-Sa`diyyah, who was called Shayma' and was the foster-sister of the Holy Prophet (S), made an appointment with the Messenger (S) of Allah and went to see him. When the Holy Prophet (S) recognized that she was his foster-sister, he stood up in her honour, spread his al- `aba' (gown) on the floor, requested her to sit on al- `aba', and showed great courtesy to her. Some history books point out that Shayma' became their intercessor. In some sources it is stated that a group of people from Al-Ta'if went to the Prophet (S) and interceded with him to treat them in a compassionate manner.
The Holy Prophet (S) expressed willingness to pardon them. He asked whether they wanted to retrieve their property or their men (taken captive). They chose their men to be released. The Prophet (S) said: "I condone my share and that of `Abdul-Muttalib." The Muhajirun (the immigrants who migrated from Makkah to Madinah along with the Prophet Muhammad (S) and Ansar (the inhabitants of Madinah who helped Prophet Muhammad (S) also condoned their shares, so did the other tribes. But some tribes did not do so.
The wars and booties of wars of the early periods of Islam were not handled like the present time. People who fought in the wars used to pay the expenses of the war themselves, the arms belonged to themselves, and each person or several people together paid the money, or contributed swords and armour. In short, the wars were totally administered with the help and power of the people. The wealth and consequently the booties also belonged to the people. The government only took one-fifth of the war-booty and the rest, according to the Islamic jurisprudence, was divided among themselves.
The Holy Prophet (S) had decided not to take these booties to Madinah. When one now looks at this issue, he sees an interesting point in it. If these properties were to be used, these should have been given to the people of Madinah who had for seven or eight years spent all their wealth in the cause of Islam, who had no work or business or savings, and who had spent whatever they earned in the defensive wars of Islam. They really deserved to take some part of these booties and compensate for these expenses already incurred. When the Holy Prophet (S) distributed the war-booty, he gave nothing to the Ansar who were his closest disciples. This was like an explosion in the camp of the Prophet (S) and in the entire area. The Prophet (S) distributed the booty among the Arab tribes on the basis of the Islamic Principle:
"And those whose hearts are made to incline principle (to truth)." (9:60)
The main point behind this matter was that the Holy Prophet (S) did not want the property and wealth of the tribesmen and people of these poor towns be collected and used for the development and welfare of another area. The Prophet (S) did not take anything of these booties. Neither he gave anything to the Ansar who were from Madinah. Nor did he keep this booty in the public treasury. He returned these properties to the people of the same place. One of the friends of the Holy Prophet (S) came to him and said: "Something bad is happening and people are talking about it. Some tell their families that you have not even brought a needle for them." Because the Prophet (S) had asked one of his men who had given a needle to his wife to sew his clothes to return that needle to the public treasury. The Prophet (S) was so meticulous.
The Prophet (S) said: "Gather all the Ansar."They gathered the Ansar in a place and the Messenger of Allah delivered a sermon to them saying: "Do you remember that you were misled and I guided you. You were under oppression and I freed you. You had differences and grudges and I united you." He also explained whatever Islam had done for them. They all said: "These things are true." Then the Holy Prophet (S) stated: "I know that there might be questions in your minds. You will tell me: `You were banished and we gave you refuge. You were devoid of shelter and we supported you. You had been defeated and we assisted you. And today you have become victorious over the entire region.' You would be right if you say so. I was also like this and you helped me."
The Holy Prophet then said: "If the entire world is put on one side and the Ansar on the other, I am with you. Do not think hat I will separate from you."
After thanking them, the Messenger of Allah said: "Would you like the people to return with the property and you to return with the Prophet? You do not want the other people to go to their own regions with sheep and camels but you yourself go with your Prophet?"
After hearing the statements of the Holy Prophet (S), they cried so much that tears made their beards wet. They said: "We are taking the best share and we are happy to submit in this way."
Thus, the Holy Prophet (S) took no wealth in the midst of an ocean of wealth at a time when wealth was extremely necessary for the people of Madinah and at a time when many people of Madinah had no homes, no means for their marriage, no camel, mount, or sword for fighting or for travelling, so much so that when the Messenger of Allah wanted to go to battle (read the account under Suratut-Tawbah of the Holy Qur'an), he did not have means of warfare and transportation for those who wanted to take part in the battle. And because there was no means of transportation to take them to the battle, these individuals used to cry and return. That is to say, the Prophet (S) was short of even military facilities.
Yet despite all these matters, the Holy Prophet (S) did not allow to take the wealth of Hawazin and Thaqif tribes from Makkah and give this wealth to Medinah. He did not permit he development of Madinah at the expense and the destruction of Makkah. The Holy Prophet (S) did not approve of this form. This is a very sublime point. Of course, I have not seen any statements from the Holy Prophet (S) in the historical documents explicitly referring to this point. But one can realize that surely one of the secrets behind this act of the Holy Prophet (S) was not to allow a region to become poor at the cost of another area; even though the properties belonged to him and to the warriors. In this way, the Holy Prophet (S) motivates and satisfies the Ansar. Through this approach, he created difference inside his own camp for the sake of a justice, however, lest the rights of the people of a region would be trampled because Islam had gone there.
Taqwa of Governments
Now these pretentious Europeans are giving the world of Islam the lesson of justice and human rights. I will further delve into the matter in future khutab (sermons) as to how they did not observe any norms for the colonies, wherein they committed all sorts of crimes. They transferred to their own country whatever attracted them. In the European museums you can now see all precious documents and signs of honours of the people of the colonies. You can see the signs of the wealth of the people of the colonies in the streets, shops, mines, factories, deserts, jungles, and seas of Europe.
These people want to give the Muslims the lesson of justice. They assume the right of savagery vis-a-vis the Muslims who bear such signs of civilization and humanity. Then they consider themselves as the pioneers of the world. From the vantage point of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and as the interpreter of Islam, and as the one conveying the message of Islam, we want to address the modern world. The country which wants to serve humanity, which claims a universal government, which to a great extent has freed itself of ethnic, racial, cultural, and lingual prejudice, and which moves on the basis of humanity and the basic principles of creation which are equal for the entire humanity, is the government of Islamic Republic of Iran. Its centre is the House of Imam Khumayni, the Majlis (Islamic Consultative Assembly), and the Council of Guardians. With this combatant and struggling population, we give vent to the call of Islamic justice all over the world.
A reference to observing taqwa by the governments is quite appropriate to this part of my discussion, not that of individuals. It is the taqwa of governments, the taqwa of the school of thought, and the taqwa of the dominant system which must be careful not to wrongly use its power, rule, sovereignty, facilities, and influence in perverting and undermining the peoples under its rule. We observe this taqwa in Islam and among the true leaders of Islam. So our neighbouring countries, and those who think that if one day the Islamic Republic of Iran finds more elbowroom, it will plunder those areas, can rest assured that such a taqwa exists in our society, army, and Islamic Guards Corps which does not give us the power of oppression, injustice, dictatorship, and pillage of the property and honour and facilities of other nations. Rather in the light of the teachings of the Prophet (S), we are ready to spend for you those of our resources, which our people allow, and to strive for your salvation as the people of Iran did.