Hadhrat Abu Ubaidah Bin Jarraah (radhiyallahu anhu), the Commander-in-Chief of the Muslim army despatched by Ameerul Mu’mineen Umar Bin Khattaab (radhiyallahu anhu) to conquer the Land of Shaam (Syria), had, on the plea of the governor of Qinnasreen principality, entered into a peace pact for one year.
The boundary of Qinnasreen was marked by a statue of Heracleus, the Roman emperor. By virtue of the peace treaty, the Muslim army was not to go beyond this limit. One day a group of Sahaabah from the army ventured near to the border area. The statue was guarded by Roman soldiers. The Sahaabah were intrigued by the statue. With their horses they went around the statue. Hadhrat Abu Jandal (radhiyallahu anhu) was holding a large spear. As his horse neared the statue, the spear accidentally pierced its eye.
The Roman guards reported the incident to the governor of Qinnasreen, who flew into a rage. He sent a thousand horsemen, all clad in gaudy silken apparel, with a golden cross to complain to the Muslim commander, and to demand compensation for the desecration of the statue of Heracleus.
The head of the Roman delegation of a 1,000 horsemen was instructed to protest to Hadhrat Abu Ubaidah, and say: “You have acted treacherously with us. You have violated your pledge. You have shirked your responsibilities. Those who commit treachery will be humiliated.”
Istakhar, the chief of the Roman delegation arrived with his men at the Muslim camp, holding aloft the golden cross. When the Muslims saw the cross aloft in their camp, they advanced towards the Romans and pulled down the cross. Hadhrat Abu Ubaidah (radhiyallahu anhu) appeared and said to the Christians: “Who are you? Why have you come?”
Istakahar: “I am the emissary of the governor of Qinnasreen. I am here to protest against the treachery you people have committed.”
Abu Ubaidah: “Who committed treachery and in which manner?”
Istakhar: “Your man who had damaged the eye of our emperor’s statue has violated the treaty.”
Abu Ubaidah: “I take oath and say, I am unaware of this. I shall immediately investigate the matter.”
Hadhrat Abu Ubaidah (radhiyallahu anhu) announced:
“O people of Arabia! Whoever has damaged the eye of the statue should report to me.”
Hadhrat Abu Jandal (radhiyallahu anhu) stepped forward and said: “I had accidentally committed the deed.”
Hadhrat Abu Ubaidah (radhiyallahu anhu) said to Istakhar: “Undoubtedly, our man did it, but not deliberately. It was an accident. State your demand for compensation and it shall be fulfilled.”
The Roman said: “We shall be satisfied only when we pierce the eye of your king in the same way.”
Hadhrat Abu Ubaidah said: “Fine! I am at your service. Do with me whatever was done to your statue.”
Istakhar: “No, not you. We want to pierce the eye of your king who is the ruler of entire Arabia.”
Istakhar demanded the eye of Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu an hu). But Hadhrat Abu Ubaidah (radhiyallahu anhu) rebuffing him said: “It shall never be so.”
When the Muslim army heard the insult levelled against Ameerul Mu’mineen, Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu), they became enraged and were about to settle the issue with their swords. However, Hadhrat Abu Ubaidah prevented them from any action.
The Muslims said: “We shall sacrifice our lives for the honour of our Ameer, Umar Bin Khattaab, the Khalifah of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). As compensation for the eye of your statue we are prepared to offer our eyes.” The insult to Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) was intolerable to the Sahaabah who were prepared to offer any other sacrifice to compensate for the eye of the Christian’s statue.
When Istakhar observed the state of the Muslim army and the attitude of the Sahaabah, he said: “My intention was not the actual eye of your king. Our intention is to make a statue of your King and desecrate it in the same way as your man had desecrated the statue of our emperor.”
The Muslims retorted: “Our companion did not deliberately damage your statue. It was an accident whereas you contemplate doing so by deliberate design.”
Hadhrat Abu Ubaidah (radhiyallahu anhu) addressing the Muslim army said: “Let us conclude this dispute. If they are satisfied with making a statue and desecrating it, I shall grant their request. I am averse to any charge of treachery being levelled at us. I do not wish them to have the opportunity of claiming that we had committed treachery. These people are great ignoramuses.”
He then gave the Romans permission to make his statue and desecrate it. The Romans made a statue and one of their horsemen advanced towards the image and pierced its eye with his spear. In this manner they avenged the ‘desecration’ of their statue.
After executing this task, Istakhar reported to the governor who commented: “It is on the basis of such attributes that these people are so victorious in their mission.”
There is more than adequate lesson in this episode for the Muslim protesters who went on rampage against the insulting cartoons. Our success and victory over the kuffaar are embedded in emulation of the life pattern of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and his noble Sahaabah. There is nothing but defeat, failure and humiliation in emulating the cultures of the aliens.