In Allah’s Protection

A group of Muslims migrated to Abyssinia, on the advice of the Holy Prophet (s), to save themselves from being persecuted by the polytheistic Quraysh of Mecca. They always had their ears open for any news confirming the end of persecution and polytheism in Mecca, but in vain. After some years, a rumour was heard that all the Quraysh of Mecca had given up their ignorant ways and beliefs and accepted Islam. The Muslims tried to confirm those rumours, but could not. However, some of them who were more homesick than the others, decided to go home to learn the truth. Among them was Usman ibn e Maz’oon. Later, he became one of the close companions of the Holy Prophet (s).
When he reached the outskirts of Mecca, he realized that what they had heard was false. Persecution was at its height and the Muslims were suffering badly. He was in a dilemma. He could neither return, for it was far across the sea; nor enter Mecca, for fear of greater persecution. Suddenly, an idea struck him. If he managed to get the protection of an influential person, he would be safe, according to the Arab custom.
He entered Mecca in the darkness of the night and went straight to the house of Walid ibn e Mughayira Makhzoomi, his cousin, who was an elite Quraysh. He requested his protection and got it. Next day, Walid took Usman to the precincts of the K’aaba and announced that Usman was in his protection from that moment onwards. Anyone who harassed him would, in fact, be harassing Walid. Usman resumed his life peacefully in Mecca, his homeland. He attended the various functions organized by the citizens of Mecca and was treated with respect.
However, his conscience pricked him when he saw his fellow Muslims being treated so cruelly in public and private, while he was living comfortably, just because he was protected by an elite. When he could no longer rest in peace, he went to Walid and said, ‘I am extremely grateful to you for providing me with protection. But, I want to be with my brothers-in faith and share their ordeals with them.’
‘Dear nephew,’ he said, ‘Probably my protection did not meet your expectations.’
Usman replied,‘You were most kind and truly fulfilled your pledge. The truth is that I do not want to live in the protection of anyone but Allah, anymore.’
‘If that is what you want, then come with me to the same place, and renounce my protection before everyone.’
‘You are right, let’s go.’
They both reached the outer precincts of the K’aaba and waited for the chiefs to gather there. Then, Walid proclaimed, ‘Usman has come here with me, today, to renounce my protection,’
Usman said, ‘He is right. I must admit that he fulfilled his pledge most honorably and gave me no reason to complain. However, I am renouncing his protection because I do not wish to live in the protection of anyone, besides Allah.'
Thus, Usman started to live unprotected by anyone other than Allah. He noticed that nobody harassed him and life continued as before. He attended the discourses and gatherings of the Quraysh as before. Those days, the famous Arab poet, Lubaid ibn e Rabee’a, had come to Mecca. He had been invited to read his latest poem in one of the huge gatherings of the Quraysh. This poem was extremely popular and considered a masterpiece of Arab literature. Lubaid, one night, addressing a huge audience began:
All, besides the Creator of the universe, is false, the only truth is One
(The Holy Prophet (s) praised this verse as the truest verse written by the Arabs)
Before Lubaid could recite the second line, Usman, sitting among the crowd, applauded loudly, ‘Brilliant! True! Most true! Everything besides God is false’
Lubaid,elated, recited the second line:
All, everything is mortal, all blessings are perishable
Usman was heard again, loud and clear, ‘False! This statement is true for this world only. The blessings of the Hereafter are eternal.’
The crowd was annoyed by Usman’s interruptions. They were amazed how a person, who was living in someone’s protection a little while ago, dared to express his faith by contradicting a renowned poet in the middle of his elocution, in such a large gathering. Besides, it was customary to remain silent in the presence of the Elders. No one dared to speak without permission. They wondered at the audacity of Usman to interrupt and criticize their guest speaker and renowned poet while belonging to a severely oppressed minority. They all looked at him angrily, deprecatingly. They then asked Lubaid to repeat his verses.
Lubaid repeated the first line, and Usman cried, ‘True! Most true!’
Lubaid repeated the second line, and Usman repeated, ‘False! The blessings of the hereafter are eternal.’
This time it was Lubaid’s turn to get angry. He addressed the crowd, looking very grim,
‘O members of the Quraysh tribe! By god, never before did such insolent and uncouth people disrupt your functions and literary gatherings. What has happened now? Where have these people come from?’
One angry member of the audience tried to placate him. He said.’ You continue with your rendition and pay no attention to him. He’s a fool, and not the only one in Mecca. A few other fools, who have cropped up in our midst, are his brethren-in-faith. They have been thrown out of our religion and chosen a new faith.’
Usman harshly rebuked him. The angry man could tolerate no more. He turned around and gave Usman a resounding slap on his face. Usman’s eye started bleeding. Another man from the audience cried out, ‘Usman, you did not value the protection of a good man. Had you stayed with him, your eye would not be bleeding today.’
Usman said, ‘The protection of Allah is the best and strongest. His protection is accompanied by contentment and dignity. As for this eye, it has gained a status that the other eye longs for.’
Walid came forward and said, ‘Usman, I’m willing to offer you my protection again.’
‘But I have decided to never place myself in the protection of anyone besides Allah,’ replied Usman.