During his Caliphate, 'Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, once set out for Ash-Sham (Damascus) and with him was Abu 'Ubaydah. They came upon a deep creek which they needed to cross. So 'Umar took off his sandals and carried them on his shoulders. Then he took the reign of the camel and began ploughing through the water. Abu 'Ubaydah - seeing the Leader (khalifah) of the Muslims in this state - felt saddened and said, "I fear that the people of the village will think you without any honour." 'Umar said:
"Oh Abu 'Ubaydah, if only someone less knowledgeable then you made such a statement! We were of the most disgraced of people and Allah granted us honour with Islam. Now, whenever we seek honour in other than that which Allah honoured us with, Allah shall disgrace us (once again)."
Dear brothers and sisters, we hear often that the victory of Allah is something promised and very near. However, some of us do not really believe in our hearts that Allah will grant victory to Islam. Some of us may think that this victory that Allah speaks about is only for a certain 'star-status' group of believers, or that the victory was only for a certain time in history, or that it's not a promised victory, just a miraculous will of God ...
We must understand that it is not anyone who is promising this - it is Allah the Lord of the Heavens and the Earth. And it is not just a promise of the Hereafter but it is promised in this life as well. Allah says:
"Indeed, we will grant victory to Our Messengers and those who believe in this life of the world and on the day when the witnesses will stand."
We can only hope for victory when we surrender our loyalty to Allah and His Messenger and to the believers - and no one else! Allah says:
"And whoever is an ally of Allah and His Messenger and those who have believed - indeed the party of Allah will be the victors."
Honour and victory come only from Allah. Nothing awaits whoever seeks it from other than Allah but disgrace. Allah says:
"Give glad tidings to the hypocrites (munafiqin) that there is for them a painful punishment - those that take disbelievers as allies instead of the believers. Do they seek with them honour ('izzah)? Rather, to Allah indeed belongs all honour!"
And when someone thinks that this victory and honour that was promised to the righteous is only a delusion, they are in fact recycling the statements of the hypocrites before them. Allah recorded their scoffing:
"And (remember) when the hypocrites and those in whose hearts is disease said, 'Allah and His Messenger did not promise us anything more then delusion.'"
Was the promise of victory just a delusion? Let the Qur'an speak to us the outcome - dear brothers and sisters - of that battle of Al-Ahzab! Allah tells us:
"And Allah repelled those who disbelieved, in their rage, not having accomplished any good. And enough was Allah for the believers in battle, and ever is Allah Powerful and Exalted in Might."
Ibn Kathir said:
"Whoever wants a place of honour in this life and the next, let him hold firmly to the obedience of Allah - his goal will be realised. This is because to Allah belongs this life and next and all honour is His. Allah says (3:26), 'Say, 'O Allah, Owner of Sovereignty, You give sovereignty to whom You will and You take sovereignty away from whom You will. You honour whom You will and You humble whom You will. In Your hand is (all) good. Indeed, You are over all things competent.'' "
King, prince, duke, marquise, earl, viscount, baron, baronet, and knight - these were the names the English used to appropriate nobility amongst themselves. Humans want to be honoured in this life and so they set out in search of things that will grant them this honour.
Some search for it in money - but when a stock market crashes and they lose everything, they commit suicide or live in humility. Some search for it in degrees - but those same degrees may be their citation for arrogance over others. Some search for it in military might or leadership position - but when the tables turn on them they become the most humiliated.