Ka’b added, “While I was walking in the market of Medina, suddenly I saw a Nabati (i.e. a Christian farmer) from the Nabatis of Sham who came to sell his grains in Medina, saying, ‘Who will lead me to Ka’b bin Malik?’ The people began to point (me) out for him until he came to me and handed me a letter from the king of Ghassan in which the following was written:
‘To proceed, I have been informed that your friend (i.e. the Prophet) has treated you harshly. Anyhow, Allah does not let you live at a place where you feel inferior and your right is lost. So join us, and we will console you.’
It was the 9th year Hijra. The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ had ordered that the Muslims to march out to Tabuk. It was very difficult for them to comply with this order because it was hot and to go out in hot desert really required a lot of courage and sacrifice. Ka’b ibn Malik and two others were not able to comply with this order and when the Prophet ﷺ came back, Ka’b confessed that he did not have any reason for not marching out in the way of ﷲ . The given extract is from the narration where Ka’b narrates the story so that the people can take a lesson from it. The following are some of the reflections and lessons from the story:
- History of Ka’b: Ka’b ibn Malik (May Allah be pleased with him) was a sahabi who had never missed a battle with the Prophet ﷺ. This really shows that a person’s history does not really secure him from making a mistake and even though he may have a spotless background, lineage etc, it will not save him from slipping. One needs to be always careful about the deeds of the present and not become arrogant and proud about the acheivements in his life. It can also be said that he was a pious sahabi and a very truthful one because he himself is the who who is narrating this story. It takes a lot of courage to admit one’s mistakes. Moreover, we see from the narration that the one who is narrating this hadeeth is his son, which really shows the relationship which he had with his family.
- His Procastination: The evils of Procastination can easily be seen in his story. It was not that Ka’b didn’t want to go but it was just that he kept on procastinating the preparations for the battle. He faced no obstacles in terms of health and provisions, but he was in his best state. The only reason which caused him to not join the battle was pure delay and trivialising the task at hand. Procastination is a leading factor which pulls one away from superior goals and it hinders productivity to a great extent. It is one of the biggest tricks of Shaitan and he wants us to procastinate everything which leads to worhispping ﷲ and towards righteous deeds. We must beware from procastinating things or else we will only end up in regret.
- Honesty: Once the army had gone and he had no way to catch up with them, Ka’b realized that the only people who were left behind were either the elderly or the disabled people and the ones who were known to be hypocrites. He seriously reflected on this and was very regretful of his actions. After the Prophet ﷺ came back, Ka’b did not lie nor did he give any flimsy excuse and he spoke the truth and was sincerely repentant. So the Propeht ﷺ told him to wait for Allah’s decree and he ordered that he and along with two others were to be boycotted by the people of Madinah. Hence, we must not make excuses in front of ﷲ and try to justify our sins, since this is the act which was done by Iblees, while admitting the sin and the mistake is the only thing which will lead us to the forgiveness of ﷲ like Adam (peace be upon him).
- The Oppurtunists: While Ka’ab was going through the boycot and he was really suffering because he was being treated like a stranger in his own land, by his own people, he received a letter from the King of Ghassan. We cleary see that the King and his minions like other disbelievers who bear a malice towards muslims, are always looking for an oppurtunity to divide the Muslims and to make muslims leave their faith. They want to harm the muslims and weaken the stronghold of Islam by disrupting one of the most important facet of a muslims community which is unity. Moreover, the purpose for them to send the letter to Ka’b was to make him a spy and it would be a great benefit to the King if he gets a Sahabi in his control, so that he could destroy Islam and the muslims by getting the inside information from a him, first hand.
- The Language of the Letter: It is quite surprising to see the tone and the language of the letter. No one could have phrased it better. We see a tone of friendliness and sweet talk, so that Ka’b should not get defensive and not listen to them. Moreover the Prophetﷺ is menioned as “your friend” , which shows that the letter has been phrased quite meticolously. They also mentioned ﷲ and used religion and tawheed to gain a soft corner from Ka’b. The Small steps of Shaitan are similar where he makes the evil thing pleasing and he brings the sins and kufr in a decorated way which caan make any strong person to slip.
- Identification of Test: Going through the tests of ﷲ with patience is itself very difficult and only the ones which ﷲ guide are the ones who will succeed, while what is more difficult is identifying that it is a test from ﷲ. As soon as Ka’b read the letter, he identified that it is a test and he was sincere towards his faith. It can be said that since he spoke the truth, he could have got away easily with his mistake, but ﷲ wanted him to sincerely repent and thus he was made to go through a severe test, which Ka’b passed with flying colors. He could have taken the letter to his home, contemplated upon it and the made the decision, because the King had not asked to abandon his faith, but he did not do so, and burnt it, after a quick identification of the test.
- Hardship after Repentance: The main lessoin to be learnt from Ka’b’s story is that one must make a sincere repentance to ﷲ , and we must not be troubled by the problems which might come along with it, because sometimes, like in his story, ﷲ puts a servant to test his servitude, whether he will continue to sin or leave that sin for his sake. Turning back to ﷲ only brings good and Shaitaan will come to a person and say that the only reason he is facing hardship is because his repentance was not accepted. However, that might not be the case and one must continue to repent to Allah and do righteous deeds.
Hence, it can be seen that the story of Ka’b is filled with lessons and reflections and it is a very important reminder for each and every Muslim. May Allah protect us from procrastination and may he enable us to make sincere repentance to him.