“And the servants of the Most Gracious are those who walk gently on earth and who, whenever the foolish address them, reply with peace” – Forqan 63
You might find in some translations that instead of “gently”, it is “humbly”… and at first glance you would think that the servants of the Most Gracious are to be passive and weak. But this is very far from the truth.
Omar (RAA) goes against this superficial understanding of the verse. Al sayidah Aisha (RAA) narrates how when he walked he would walk quickly and with purpose; how when he talked he would be heard; how when he hit it would be felt.
When walking, our father Adam (PBUH) is described to be walking as if down hill. He walked with such intent.
The prophet Mohamad (PBUH) when he walked, he walked quickly.
So the correct understanding of this verse is that man passes swiftly over dunya, humble in his attachment to dunya – in accordance with the hadeeth of the Prophet (pbuh) where he advises us to be like strangers in this dunya.
… So that when the foolish try to sway us from our intent and when they try to argue with us to waste our time, we remember our cause and our intent… we pass by swiftly giving them no ammunition to further waste our time.
When David was to fight Goliath… Allah describes how David informed those that were with him (verse 249, surat al baqarah) that they would cross a river and that they were not allowed to drink from it, except one scoop.
It’s the same principle. To pass through dunya swiftly, to detach oneself from it.
Why were they fighting ?
Some were fighting for dunya and this test was a nice filter – they left.
Some were fighting for akhirah and this command not to drink from the water consolidated that.
So those that drank a maximum of one scoop were allowed to proceed, but as they get to the battle, many of them thought that they had no strength and so they also pulled out.
They miscalculated. They thought that to acquire akhirah, they had to use the calculations and measurements of dunya – that tired people don’t win… and they sought dunya over akhira in the process – they failed. They weren’t humble with their attachment to dunya.
A minority – just as tired as those that pulled out – asked Allah to grant them patience and make their feet sturdy… they realised that strength didn’t come from dunya, but that Allah granted strength.
The people who pass over dunya swiftly… the likes of Ali (RAA) when defending Islam from attack, when someone he was about to overpower spat on his face. He pulled back. Ali didn’t bring his sword down.
Ali (RAA) is of the servants of the Most Gracious. He passes swiftly and when the foolish address him (spit as the case is here) he replies with peace.
Ramadhan the teacher of patience. Ramadhan the bringer of Mercy. Ramadhan the educator.
When you come to break your fast, will you re-attach to dunya ? Will you stuff your face ? Will you eat till it becomes difficult to stand in prayer ?
Or will you ‘take a scoop of water’ and carry on ? Practice before Ramadan comes so that you can excel when Ramadan does come.