Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Thousand Months of Umayyad Rule (Sura 97: 3)


بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

والعاقبة للمتقين

 
A critical aspect of the Book of Allah - the Holy Qur’an - which many Muslims overlook is its prophetic theme. Nothing in the Qur’an is arbitrary or coincidental, its every word and phrase requires deep reflection and study. Such is the example of the proceeding Ayah:
 
لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ خَيْرٌ مِّنْ أَلْفِ شَهْرٍ۝
 
The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months
(Sura 97: 3)
 
To the unaware, mention of a ‘thousand months’ is simply for emphasis and there is no other significance of that peculiar amount of time. However, the truth is that there is nothing random or arbitrary about Allah Most High saying a ‘thousand months’. The Prophet’s grandson Imam Hassan b. ‘Ali (Allah be pleased with him) narrated the reason for the revelation of this blessed Ayah and its true significance. He states that the Prophet Muhammad had a vision in which he saw the Umayyads upon his pulpit. This greatly perturbed the Prophet and so to console him Allah revealed to Him the aforementioned Verse, which according to Imam Hassan b. ‘Ali, means:
لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ خَيْرٌ مِنْ أَلْفِ شَهْرٍ ‏يَمْلِكُهَا بَعْدَكَ بَنُو أُمَيَّةَ يَا مُحَمَّدُ
“The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months in which Bani Umayya rules after you, O Muhammad ” (Jaami al-Tirmidhi; Hadith 3350)
One of the narrators, al-Qasim b. al-Fadl al-Huddani, comments:
فَعَدَدْنَاهَا فَإِذَا هِيَ أَلْفُ شَهْرٍ لاَ يَزِيدُ يَوْمٌ وَلاَ يَنْقُصُ
“So we counted them, and found that they were one-thousand months, not a day more nor less.”
Meaning that the duration of Umayyad rule was exactly one thousand months when they calculated it. The Umayyad dynasty began with Mu’awiya b. Abi Sufyan in 661 CE, after his peace agreement with Imam Hasan and ended with Marwan b. Muhammad b. Marwan (or Marwan II) in 750, when the Umayyads were decisively defeated by the Abbasids. The period of Umayyad rule (89 years) is therefore little over a thousand months. The Umayyad rulers in chronological order including their period of rule is as follows:
 
1. Mu’awiya b. Abi Sufyan (661 - 680)
2. Yazid b. Mu’awiya (680 - 683)
3. Mu’awiya b. Yazid (683 - 684)
4. Marwan b. al-Hakam (684 - 685)
5. Abdal Malik b. Marwan (685 - 705)
6. al-Walid b. Abdal Malik (705 - 715)
7. Sulayman b. Abdal Malik (715 - 717)
8. Umar b. Abdal Aziz (717 - 720)
9. Yazid b. Abdal Malik (720 - 724)
10. Hisham b. Abdal Malik (724 - 743)
11. al-Walid b. Yazid (743 - 744)
12. Yazid b. al-Walid (744 - 744)
13. Ibrahim b. al-Walid (744 - 744)
14. Marwan b. Muhammad (744 - 750)
 
Some people may question the authenticity of the Hadith reported in Tirmidhi’s collection. However, the Salafi Muhaddith, Zubair Ali Zai, has stated that except for a slight problem in the narration of Yusuf b. Sa’d from Imam al-Hassan, the rest of the Sanad is ‘Hasan’ (sound), and that Imam al-Hakim al-Nishapuri authenticated it. (Anwar al-Sahifa p. 291)
 
In conclusion, we can see how Allah in the Holy Qur’an has cited the dynastic rule of the Umayyads as the ‘thousand months’, and that Lailat-al-Qadr (‘the Night of Decree’) is better than it. We can therefore infer that by ‘Night of Decree’ Allah is actually speaking of the Prophetic period, since He goes on to say ‘the Angels and the Spirit descend therein by the permission of their Lord’ (the period of revelation to the Prophet Muhammad )
 
And Allah knows best.

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