The Day of al-Isra wal Mi`raj and the Recapture of al-Quds
After the success of capturing Ascalon (southern Palestine) and the areas around al-Quds, Salahudeen al-Ayubi proceeded to finally take al-Quds itself. Beha ad-Deen recounts that Salahuddeen followed the advice of the Prophet (saw) when he said: “He to whom the door of success has been opened must take his opportunity and enter in, for he knows not when the door may close on him.”
After a brief siege of the holy city, Salahudden recaptured al-Quds on Friday, the 27th of Rajab (2/8/1187), on the anniversary of the night of ascension (al-Isra wal Mi`raj). Beha ad-Deen states: “what a wonderful coincidence! Allah(swt) allowed the Muslims to take the city as a celebration of the anniversary of their Prophet’s (SAW) night journey. Truly this is a sign that this deed was pleasing to Almighty Allah(swt)…” He continues: “Therefore all men learned in the law came to join Salahuddeen, both from Egypt and from Syria; there was not a single well-known doctor but came to the camp. Every voice was raised in shouts, calling upon Allah(swt), and proclaiming his unity and power. On the very day of the capitulation Friday’s prayer was in the city, and the Khatib delivered the sermon.”
It is also narrated that the scholars flocked to al-quds in the hope that salahudden would choose one of them to deliver the Khutba. He chose Muhiyudden ibnu Zakiyudden. The khutbah that he delivered was as follows:
Opening with surat al-Fatiha, he proceeded:
So the roots of the people who did wrong were cut off, and all praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds.
Praise be to Allah, Who created the heavens and the earth, and made the darkness and the light.
And say, “Praise be to Allah, Who has not begotten a son, and Who has no partner in the Dominion, nor any protector from humiliation, (so) magnify Him, with all magnificence!
Praise be to Allah, Who has sent down to His slave the Book, and has not placed therein any crookedness. (He has made it) Straight to give warning (to the disbelievers) of a severe punishment from Him, and to give glad tidings to the believers, who work righteous deeds, that they shall have a good reward. They shall abide therein forever. And to warn those who say, “Allah has begotten a son.”
Say, “Praise be to Allah, and peace be on His slaves whom He has chosen! Is Allah better, or (all) that you ascribe as partners (to Him)?”
Praise be to Allah, to Whom belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. His is all the praise in the Hereafter, and He is the Wise, the Aware.
Praise be to Allah, the Originator of the heavens and the earth, Who made the angels messengers with wings – two or three or four. He increases in creation what He wills. Verily, Allah is Able to do all things.
Praise be to Allah, who honours Islam by His support and victory, who humiliates shirk by His might, who regulates all affairs by His command, who rewards gratitude by continuing his favours, who lures the disbelievers by His plans, who appointed the days by turn (between people) by His Justice, who made the end success for the believers by His bounty, who shades his servants by His Shade, who makes His deen dominant over all other ways of life. He is the Mighty, above his servants, whom none can resist, the Dominant over his creation, whom none can dispute, the Commander of what He wills, whom none can disobey, the Ruler by what he wishes, whom none can oppose.
I praise Him for his victorious assistance, for His honouring of his friends and His aiding those who aid His cause. I praise Him for his purifying his sacred house from the filth of shirk and its pollutions. I praise Him by the praise of one who is truly conscious of inner gratitude and who expresses it outwardly, and I bear witness that there is no god but Allah alone, having no partner, the One, the Eternal, who begets not, nor was He begotten, and who has none like unto Him. Such is the witnessing of him who has purified his heart by declaring the Unity of the Lord, and has pleased Him thereby.
And I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger, the remover of doubt, the refuter of shirk, the dispeller of falsehood, the one taken by night from the Sacred Mosque to this Mosque, al-Aqsa, and the one taken up from it to the high heavens, to the lote-tree of the utmost boundary (sidrat al-muntaha), whereby is the Garden of eternal abode. His sight turned not aside, nor did it exceed. May the peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, and upon his khalifah Abu Bakr, the first to Iman, and upon the leader of the believers Umar ibn al-Khattab, the first to remove from this house the sign of the Christian cross, and upon the leader of the believers Uthman ibn Affan, the one of two lights, the complier of the Qur’an, and upon the leader of the believers Ali ibn Abi Talib, the destroyer of shirk and the breaker of idols, and upon his family, his Companions and upon those who followed them with good.
O People, rejoice at the pleasure of Allah which is the ultimate objective and the highest reward. Rejoice for what Allah made easy for you of recovering this lost possession (al-Aqsa) from the misguided people and returning it to its rightful place under Islam, after it was debased in the hands of the mushrikeen for almost a hundred years. Rejoice at the purifying of this house which Allah ordered to be raised, in which His name is glorified, and at cleansing its paths of shirk after it had spread over it and its rites were established in it. Its foundation was laid on the basis of tawheed, the best basis to build on, and its edifice was erected with His glorification. Indeed it is built on taqwa all over. It is the dwelling of your father Ibrahim and the place from which your Prophet (saw) mounted to the heavens. It is your qiblah towards which you prayed in the beginning of Islam. It is the abode of the Prophets (as), the destination of the friends of Allah (awliya’), the burial-place of the Messengers (as), the descent-place of the revelation and the place where the orders and prohibitions were sent down. It is the gathering place and the land of the resurrection and it is in the sacred land mentioned by Allah in His Book. It is the mosque in which the Messenger of Allah (saw) prayed with the angels nearest to Allah, and it is the land to which Allah sent his slave and messenger, his Word which He bestowed on Maryam, and His spirit Isa’, whom He honoured with messengership and blessed with prophethood, without changing his rank of servanthood; thus Allah said,
“The Messiah does by no means disdain that he should be a servant of Allah, nor do the angels who are near to Him” ; Indeed, they lied, those who said that God had equals, and they erred greatly.
“Allah has not taken any son, nor is there any god along with Him; else would each god have assuredly championed that which he created, and some of them would surely have overcome others. Glorified be Allah above all that they allege.”
“Indeed, they have disbelieved who say, “Allah is the Messiah, son of Mary.”
Al-Aqsa is the first of the two qiblahs, the second of the two mosques, the third to the two sanctuaries. Journeys (to visits mosques) are not begun after the two mosques except to it, and no place is rated higher, after the two cities (Makkah and Madinah) than it. Had you not then been from those chosen by Allah from amongst his servants, and selected from amongst the dwellers of His lands, He would not have chosen you from this great blessing in which you will not have an equal and in the excellence of which you will not have a rival.
So glad tidings be to you for an army on whose hand have appeared the Prophetic miracles, the incidents of Badr, the resolution of al-Siddiq, the conquests of Umar, the armies of Uthman and the battles charges of Ali . You have revived for Islam the days of Qadisiyyah, the fierce battles of Yarmuk, the sieges of Khaybar, the raids of Khalid. May Allah reward you with the best of rewards, and may He recompense you well for the exertion of your souls in fighting the enemies. May He accept from you the blood you shed in getting closer to Him, and reward you with Jannah, the abode of the blissful.
Appreciate then – may Allah have mercy on you – this blessing at its just value, and stand to Allah in due gratitude, for He has great due from you for having conferred on you this honour and electing you for this great service. This is the conquest for which the gates of heaven opened, by whose light illuminated the faces of darkness, by which the angels rejoiced, and the eyes of the Prophets and Messengers found solace. How great a favour that He made you the army upon whose hands bayt al-maqdis was conquered in the latter times, the soldiers who established, with their swords, the signs of Iman after the end of Prophethood. Soon, perhaps, Allah will open other lands upon your hands. Openings at which the people of heaven will rejoice more than those of the Earth.
Is it not the house which Allah mentioned in his Book and explicitly mentioned it in his definitive address, saying,
“Glorified be He (Allah) Who took His slave (Muhammad) for a journey by night from al-Masjid-al-Haram to the Farthest mosque…”
Is it not the house which all the religions honoured, to which the messengers turned, in which the four divinely revealed books were recited? Is it not the house for the sake of which Allah stopped the sun from setting for Joshua, and slowed its pace, so that his conquest would be facilitated? Is it not the house which Allah ordered Musa (as) to command his people to liberate, yet none responded save two men, because of which He sent His wrath upon them, sending them into the wilderness as punishment for disobedience?
Praise Allah, therefore, who strengthened your resolution to what the Children of Israel recoiled from whilst He had favoured them over all others. Praise Allah who prospered you in what the past nations failed. He united your word whilst it was divided, and made a reality what you spoke of as an event of the future. Be proud that Allah has mentioned you to those nearest to Him and has made you of His own troops after you has been troops of your own desires. Rejoice at the coming of the angels sent down to thank you for the sweet scent of tawheed, sanctification and glorification (of Allah) you have gifted this house, and for having removed from their paths the harm of shirk and Trinitarian doctrine and of the insolent, filthy belief.
Now the angels of the heavens make istighar for you, pray for you and send upon you blessings. Preserve therefore – may Allah have mercy on you – this gift you have obtained and protect this favour which you have received, through taqwa, by which those who hold on to it are saved, and those who cling to its rope are protected. Beware of following desires, falling into ruin, returning from the right path, or recoiling from an enemy. Take the opportunity to remove what remains in this land of annoyance. Fight in the path of Allah the true Jihad, and trade with Allah your souls for His good pleasure as he has made you his choice servants. Beware of shaytaan lest he make you slip or lead you to transgression by making you think that this victory was because of your sharp swords, fine horses and steadfastness in battle. Nay! By Allah, the victory is not except from Allah. Verily, Allah is Mighty, Wise.
Beware O servants of Allah – after He honoured you with this great conquest, this abundant reward, and chose you for His clear victory and joined your hands to his strong rope – beware that you commit a grave prohibition or bring forth a great disobedience, thereby becoming like her who undoes the thread which she has spun after it has become strong, or ‘like the one to whom Our signs come but he threw them away, so shaytaan followed him up, and he became of those who went astray’.
Maintain the Jihad, O servants of Allah, for it the most virtuous of your worships, the most blessed of your actions. Help Allah, He will help you. Remember Allah, he will remember you. Be grateful to Allah, he will increase you in good and reward you. Strive hard to remove the disease (of shirk), uproot the enemy, and purify the rest of the land from this filth which angers Allah and His Messenger. Cut the branches of kufr and terminate its roots, for now the days cry out: O for the revenge of Islam and the deen of Muhammad! Allah is great! He conquered and aided! He dominated and subdued! He humiliated those who disbelieve!
Know – may Allah have mercy on you – that this is the opportunity, so seize it. This is the prey, so fight for it. It is the spoil, so hasten to obtain it. This is a most important matter, so put forth your best effort and accomplish it. Send forth your resolution as a battalion lined-up, for indeed the matters are (judged) by their ends, and each merit is by its recompense. Allah has made you victorious over this misguided enemy who were equal in number to you, or even more. So how was it when you were one to twenty? Allah, the exalted, has said,
If there are twenty steadfast persons amongst you, they will overcome two hundred, and if there be a hundred steadfast persons they will overcome a thousand of those who disbelieve, because they (the disbelievers) are people who do not understand.
May Allah help us and you in following His commands, and abstaining from his prohibitions. May He assist us, O Muslims, with the nusrah from Him,
If Allah helps you, none can overcome you; and if He forsakes you, who is there after Him that can help you?
Indeed the most noble speech is that said in the right place, and the most penetrative of arrows is that shoot from the bow of speech, and the best word by which one can tough the intellects is the Speech of the One, the Lone, the Mighty, the Knowing. Says Allah,
So, when the Quran is recited, listen to it, and be silent that you may receive mercy.
I seek refuge in Allah from the accursed shaytan. I begin in the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful,
“All that is in the heavens and the earth glorifies Allah, and He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise. He it is who drove out the disbelievers among the people of the Scripture from their homes at the first gathering. You did not think that they would get out. And they thought that their fortresses would defend them from Allah! But Allah’s (torment) reached them from a place whereof they expected it not, and He cast terror into their hearts, so that they destroyed their own dwellings with their own hands and the hands of the believers. Then take admonition, O you with eyes!”
I admonish you, and myself, with what He ordered of His good obedience, so obey Him, and I forbid you, and myself, from what He forbade of his disobedience, so do not disobey Him, and I seek the forgiveness of Allah, the Mighty, for myself, for you, and for all the Muslims, so seek His forgiveness.
Then He gave a brief second khutbah as per the common practice of khatibs, and then he made du’a for the Imam al-Nasir, the Khalifah of the time. He said,
O Allah, prolong the authority of your servant, humble in your fear, grateful for your blessings, thankful for your gifts, your sharp sword, your shining flame, the defender of your deen, the protector of your sacred land, the firm resistor, the noble master, the helping ruler, the uniter of the word of Iman, the vanquisher of those who worship the cross, the restorer of the world and the deen, the sultan of Islam and the Muslims, the purifier of al-bayt al-maqdis, Abu al-Mudhaffar Yusuf ibn Ayyub, the reviver of the State, the leader of the believers.
O Allah, extend his wide state, make the angels surround his flags, reward him for his service to the true deen, and for his firm resolution and prompt defence of the deen of Muhammad (saw). O Allah, preserve his life for the sake of Islam, protect his dominion for the sake of Iman, and spread his call and authority in all the regions of the East and West. O Allah, just as you have liberated, upon his hands, al-bayt al-maqdis after the people had doubted, and the believers were tested, liberate upon his hands the rest of the lands on the Earth, close and far. Help him to seize kufr by its forelock. Let him scatter their squadrons, disperse their multitudes, and send them, band and band, to join their predecessors (in defeat).
Reward his efforts, O Allah, and let his orders and prohibitions be implemented in the East and West. O Allah, preserve by him the centre and frontiers of the land and all the regions of the dominion. O Allah, humiliate by him the kuffar, and disgrace by him the transgressors, and spread his authority over the great cities (of the Earth), and dispatch the battalions of his troops on the paths of the great regions (of the Earth). O Allah, establish the authority in him and in his successors till the Day of Judgement. Preserve him, his progeny, and the sons of his father, the noble leaders. Strengthen his power by granting them long life, and honour, by your will, his supporters and protectors and theirs.
O Allah, just as you have granted Islam this great favour upon his hand, which shall endure time as the months and years take their course, then grant him the eternal dominion which does not perish in the abode of the pious, and answer his du’a when he says, “My Lord, inspire and bestow upon me the power and ability that I may be grateful for your favours which you have bestowed on me and on my parents, and that I may do righteous good deeds that will please you, and admit me by your mercy among your righteous slaves.”
He finished by making the usual du’a.
Wafayaat al-A’yaan wa Anbaa’ al-Abnaa’ al-Zaman (Ibn Khallikan’s Biographical Dictionary), Abu Abbas Shams al-Din Abu Bakr Ibn Khallikan, Dar Sadir, Beirut, Vol 4, pp. 230-236.