The People Of The Ditch
The king asked him, “Who has given you bock your sight?’ The courtier said, “My Lord, Allah!” The king said, “Do you have another Lord besides me?” The courtier sold, “My Lord and your Lord is Allah I” The king got hold of him and kept on tormenting him until he informed him about the boy. So the boy was brought. The king said to the boy, ‘0 boy! Has your [knowledge of) sorcery reached to the extent that you can cure born-blinds, lepers, leucodermic patients and do such and such?” The boy replied, “I do not cure anybody it is only Allah who cures.” Then the king got hold of him and kept on tormenting him till he informed him about the monk. And the monk was brought and it was said to him, “Give up your Religion” The monk refused to turn apostate. Then the king ordered a sow and it was put in the middle of his (the monk’s) scalp and was sawn, till he fell, cut in two pieces. Then that courtier was brought and it was said to him, “Give up your religion I” The courtier refused to turn apostate. So the saw was put in the middle of his scalp and was sawn, till he fell cut in two pieces. Then the boy was brought, and it was said to him, “Give up your religion!” The boy refused to turn apostate. So the King ordered some of his courtiers to take the boy to such and such a mountain, saying, “Then ascend up the mountain with him till you reach its top. Then see if he turns apostate, otherwise throw him down from its top.” They took him, ascended up the mountain, and the boy said, “0 Allaah Save me from them by anything You wish” So the mountain shook and all of them tell down and the boy came walking to the king. The king asked him, “What did your companions do?” The boy said, ‘Allah saved me from them.”
The King then ordered some of his courtiers to take the boy on board a boat into the middle of the sea, saying, “Then if he turns apostate [all well and good], otherwise toss him into the sea.” So they took him and he said, “0 Allah! Save me from them by anything You wish.” So the boat capsized and all the courtiers) were drowned. The boy then came walking to the king. The King said, “What did your companions do?” The boy replied, ‘Allaah saved me ham them.” And he further said to the king, “You cannot kill me till you do what I command” The King said, “What is that (command)?” The boy said, “Gather all the people in an upland place, and fasten me aver the trunk of a tree. Then take an arrow from my quiver and fix it in the bow and say: ‘In the Name of Allah, the Lord of the boy’ and shoot (at me). If you do that, you will kill me.” So the king gathered the people in an upland place and fastened the boy over a tree-trunk, took on arrow from his quiver, fixed it in the bow and said, “‘In the Name of Allah, the Lord of the boy’, and shot the arrow. The arrow hit over the temple of the boy, and the boy put his hand over the temple at the point where the arrow hit and then died. The people proclaimed, “We have believed in the Lord of the boy! We have believed in the Lord of the boy! We have believed in the Lord of the boy!”
The king came and it was said to him, “That is the thing which you were afraid of, by Allah! The thing which you
were afraid of has be fallen you: the people have believed [in Allah]!”
So he ordered for deep ditches to be dug at the entrances of the roads and it was done.
Then fire was kindled in those ditches, and the king ordered that whoever did not turn apostate be cast into the ditches, and it was done. Then there came a woman with her baby.
She nearly retreated back from the ditch [i.e. turned apostate] but the baby [spoke and] said, “0 mother! Be patient, you are on the Truth!” (So she threw herself in the ditch of the fire along with her child, to be with the martyrs in Al-Jannah).” [Saheeh Muslim]
This is the inspiring story of a boy who believed in Allah, remained steadfast against the unbelieving king and gave up his life for the sake of conveying the message of Tawheed to
his people. Appropriately, this story was revealed in Makkah at a time when the Makkan pagans were doing their best to annihilate the Muslims and make them return to disbelief. This Soorah, and the explanatory hadeeth along with it, gave them a timely reminder that the persecutors are not beyond the watch of Allah, and in the end, victory will always be theirs. There are many beneficial points which we too can pick up from this story. It tells us for example, that if someone sincerely seeks the Guidance, then Allah will bestow it upon him, just as Allah guided the boy when he sought Allah’s help in deciding between the sorcerer and the monk. Even though the boy used to admire the teachings of the monk, he did not simply rely on his own personal judgment to decide the important matter of who to take Ilm (knowledge) from. Instead, he beseeched Allah just as we too have been commanded to beseech Allah’s Aid: “You alone we worship and You alone we ask for help.” [Al-Faatihah 5]
So seeking Allah’s help is not only for worldly matters (e.g. passing exams, removing debts etc.], but we should also ask Allah to help us in matters of worship to increase our eemaan, to purify our intentions, to guide us to the best teachers and the best books etc).
Written by Shaykha Sabrah Abbass