Ali threw his school bag on the sofa and plopped himself in a chair with an angry frown. Mom walked in and greeted him cheerfully: “Assalamu Alaykum! My, my I can sense tension in the air. Why the glum face? Did anything happen at school?”
Ali burst out: “I hate my coach! Do you know what he did today? He replaced me as the captain of our school cricket team! And if that wasn’t enough, he chose Ahmed over me. That loser doesn’t even know how to hold a bat properly! Huh!”
Mom stared sombrely at Ali for a moment, then broke into a smile. She sat beside him and said gently: “Let me tell you a favourite story of mine. It has a lot to do with your case.”
“Mom!” Ali protested.
Ignoring him, Mom continued: “In Makkah, 593 AD, a young boy called Khalid bin Waleed was born. He was fearless, energetic, popular and rich, but he was also a disbeliever. Allah (swt) brought him to Islam and the same boy who had earlier fought against the Muslims earned the ranks of the only undefeated Muslim commander. Prophet Muhammad (SA) gave him the title of Saifullah (Allah’s [swt] sword) for his bravery and excellent military strategy. Abu Bakr (rtam) appointed him as the commander of the entire Muslim army and appreciated him, saying: ‘O Quraish! Your lion (referring to Khalid) attacked another lion and overpowered him. Women can never again bear a son like Khalid (rtam).’”
“This man, who struck terror in the enemy’s hearts, won 41 battles in just 11 years. But when Abu Bakr (rtam) died and Umar (rtam) became the second caliph, he replaced Khalid (rtam) with Abu Ubaidah (rtam) who was another learned companion of the Prophet (SA). Khalid (rtam) was demoted and asked to serve under him. Khalid’s (rtam) soldiers could move mountains for him; they obeyed him to the extent that if Khalid (rtam) had refused the caliph’s orders, it could have caused mutiny in the army and divided the Ummah. But Khalid (rtam) was Allah’s (swt) soldier. For him, it was important to win every battle against evil, whether he fought it in command or as an ordinary soldier.”
“Not only did he humbly step down from his esteemed position, but he also supported Abu Ubaidah (rtam) in every battle. Abu Ubaidah (rtam) also greatly depended on Khalid’s (rtam) military advice. The Battle of Yarmuk was practically won as per Khalid’s (rtam) war strategy.
Imagine that Khalid (rtam), after his death, left his only belongings that included his horse, some weapons and a slave to Umar’s (rtam) custody, the same caliph who had deposed him. This was the level of obedience that early Muslims had for their leader or Imam.”
Ali silently bit his lip. After a pause, he said: “Well, Ahmed is better than me. I was wrong to say that he is a loser. I guess if I love cricket that much, I should also play for the team. It doesn’t really matter if I am replaced. I can still help my team win matches, Insha’Allah!”
Mom smiled again. “Yes my dear. Allah (swt) tests us with ups and downs. I am happy that you are going to face yours bravely, Insha’Allah.”