The status of the People of Badr

Ibn Qayyim al-Fawaid,  “The Status of the People of Badr”

 

“Many people have misinterpreted this hadith, for the obvious meaning is that everything has been allowed for them and that they can do whatever they want. But, this in fact is not the case. According to a group of people, among whom is Ibn al-Jawzy, “By this statement it does not mean that their future sins are included, but what are meant are the past sins. That is to say, “I have forgiven every bad thing you did before.” He (Ibn al-Jawzy) said “and there are two things that prove that: If it was supposed to mean future sins, the answer would have been: I will forgive you. The second thing is that it would have been a sort of freedom to commit sins, and there is no reason for that.

 

The true meaning of this response is: I have forgiven your previous sins because of this battle. But it is a weak argument in two ways:

 

Firstly, because the statement, ‘Do whatever you like, I have forgiven you.’ And the statement ‘I have forgiven you.” Does not necessarily mean ‘I will forgive you” in order to include future sins, for the statement ‘I have forgiven’ is a confirmation that there will be forgiveness in the future, just like the following statements in the Qur’an which means: “The qiyama (event) ordained by Allah will come to pass” and that which means “and your Lord comes” and so on.

 

Secondly: the hadith itself replies to him, for the cause of it is the story of Hatib (ra) and his spying on the prophet (saw), and that is a sin that was committed after (6 years of) the battle of Badr and not before it, therefore, the second opinion is definitely correct.Allah knows best, but we think that this is a statement about people that Allah knew would not leave their religion, and that they would die in the state of Islam. He also knew that they might commit some sins like other people do, but He would not leave them to persist in them, but would make is easy for them to turn to Him with sincere repentance, seek His forgiveness and do righteous deeds that wipe out the trace of their sins. And this would be specified for them only and not for others.

 

This is because their truthfulness has been proven and so they have been forgiven. It can also be that they were granted forgiveness because of these reasons, and it does not mean that they should stop performing religious duties, because of having been forgiven, and if that happened without fulfilling orders, they would not have needed to pray or fast or perform pilgrimage or pay zakat or do jihad.

 

Just because someone is certain to be forgiven, it does not mean that repentance should be delayed. This point is mentioned in another hadith. Abu Hurairah (ra) narrated that: “I heard the prophet (saw) saying, If somebody commits a sin and then says; O my Lord! I’ve sinned, please forgive me! And his Lord says, My slave knows that he has a Lord who forgives sins and punishes for it, I therefore have forgiven My slave (his sins). Then he remains without committing any sin for a while and then again commits another sin and says, O my Lord, I’ve committed another sin, please forgive me, and Allah says, My slave knows that he has a Lord who forgives sins and punishes for it, I therefore have forgiven My slave (his sin). Then he remains without committing any sin for a while and then commits another sin (for the third time) and says, O my Lord, I have committed another sin, please forgive me, and Allah says, My slave knows that he has a Lord who forgives sins and punishes for it, I therefore have forgiven My slave (his sins), he can do whatever he likes.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

 

This does not mean that this person is allowed to do forbidden things, but it means that as long as the person repents, whenever he commits sins, Allah will forgive him.

 

And the reason this servant has been distinguished with this is because it is known that he does not insist on a sin, and that whenever he commits a sin he repents. It is just as certain for this servant as it is for the people of Badr, as well as anyone the messenger of Allah (saw) gave the good news of entering Paradise or told him that his sins had been forgiven. It was not understood from him or any of the companions that the person is free to commit sins and neglect religious duties. In fact these people were even busier in exerting more effort and feared more after they received the good news than before. This applies more to the ten people who were given the good news of entering Paradise. Abu Bakr (ra), for instance was known to be even more cautious and he feared Allah a great deal. Likewise, Umar (ra) believed that this good news limited by its conditions, and so remained constant in piety until his death. Obviously, Umar (ra) continued to avoid anything that was forbidden. None of them understood that they were given absolute permission to do whatever they wanted.”

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