Fiqh in Islam is now commonly understood as rulings and regulations. Its root word however, means comprehension, understanding and the critical analysis to come to the correct conclusion in the right context, according to the rulings of Allah SWT. It was later that this word evolved to mean the rules and regulations for Islam.
The early scholars used to say that if Allah ordains goodness for you, He will give you fiqh, meaning comprehension, of the deen. In Surah An Nisa, it is said:
Wherever you may be, death will overtake you, even if you should be within towers of lofty construction. But if good comes to them, they say, “This is from Allah “; and if evil befalls them, they say, “This is from you.” Say, “All [things] are from Allah.” So what is [the matter] with those people that they can hardly understand any statement? (Al Qur’an 4:168)
The ability to comprehend the message, coupled with the implementation of that message, is in itself a form of victory.
Conversely, the disbeliever cannot hear or comprehend, because the soul is arrogant and corrupted. This is why the various communities of the Prophets and Messengers repeatedly failed to understand the message. The arrogance in their hearts sealed them from the ability to understand any of what their Prophets and Messengers were saying. These people were defeated.
The ultimate victory associated with the Qur’an is to convey the message within it. History is witness that it is the implementation of the message that grants victory to the believer, and from that victory, the sphere of influence then extends to the ability to create their own kingdom, which is governed and ruled by the laws of Allah.
The highest level of elevation on earth, and the highest level of victory was given to the Messengers and Prophets. Their job was to believe in Allah, and their sole mission in life was to spread the message. Of all the tasks, spreading the message of Islam is the most noble.
However, victory is not reserved for Prophets and Messengers alone. It can also be attained by having the characteristics of behaviour that will merit oneself with the honour of being addressed as a man or a woman (rather than just a male or a female) by Allah Himself. Part of these characteristics is to stand up for the truth as a believer, live by that principle and have dignity for what you believe in. It is when you carry these marks that Allah’s support and victory will be granted to you.
These is illustrated by the following verses:
Indeed, We will support Our messengers and those who believe during the life of this world and on the Day when the witnesses will stand (Al Qur’an 40:51)
O you who believe! If you help (in the cause of) Allah, He will help you, and make your foothold firm. (Al Qur’an 47:7)
In the above, Allah’s message to us is that He is the One who grants victory to us. With Allah’s support, victory is imminent.
In order to appreciate the meaning of victory, we need to understand that it is not always immediately visible. There is no award ceremony or press release to mark the occasion when one is victorious. However, a Muslim knows in his heart when victory has been achieved.
Asiyah AS was the wife of the Pharaoh, and as a queen, was one of the most powerful women in ancient Egypt. When she embraced Islam at the invitation of Musa AS, her husband stripped her of her status and tortured her until she died. By some scholarly accounts, she was hung by her hair and her flesh was sliced from the body by a blade.
From an earthly perspective, she was defeated and her husband had triumphed. Yet, in the eyes of Islam, when one attains such faith that he has nothing in his heart except Allah, he is victorious. This is because he has lived his live with dignity, entered the grave with dignity, and will enter paradise with the ultimate dignity and victory from Allah.
In the case of Asiyah AS, while she was dying, she was shown her palace in Paradise beside Allah. She died as a martyr. What better victory than that?
The Qur’an and Hadith recount other tales of those who apparently died in defeat. The boy from the People of the Trench (or People of the Ditch) was executed after he led his whole village to embrace Islam. The People of the Cave died for their belief before they even reached manhood. The man from Surah Ya Seen was murdered by his community merely because he was imploring them to listen to the message of the Prophets and Messengers sent to them. We will elaborate later, insha Allah, but suffice to say, none of them lived glamorous lifestyles. However, Allah has honoured them by permanently positioning their stories in the Qur’an, and they will serve as reminders to us until the end of time.
If you are trying to live the message and you don’t see any result, this does not mean that you are defeated or weak. Allah’s wisdom is beyond imagination. If we work for Him and live the message, He will elevate us in His own time. Sometimes, this elevation can happen during our lifetimes. Sometimes, like in the case of the people mentioned above, the elevation occurs after death.