Maulana Wahiduddin Khan | Islam in Life | Al-Risala December 1987

While the Battle of Qadsia was raging, Abu Mehjan Thaqafi, one of the bravest soldiers in the Muslim army found himself chained up, a prisoner in his own tent, because his Commander, Sa’ad ibn Abi Waqqas had been constrained to punish him for his indulgence in Iiquor. The Muslims were having difficulty in resisting the determined attacks of the Persians. Abu Mehjan was beside himself when he discovered that Sa’ad was wounded and heard him issuing instructions to the army from a vantage point near his tent. It was then that he conceived the idea of sending a message to Sa’ad’s wife to have his chains removed and to let him have Sa’ad’s horse and weapons. With the promise that if his life was spared, the moment the battle was over, he would immediately put on his chains again. She agreed to this and so Abu Mehjan was able to charge out into the battle, valiantly fighting enemy soldiers while Sa’ad ibn abi Waqqas looked on in wonderment at the feats of this intrepid horseman. The Muslims finally emerged victorious, and Abu Mehjan, true to his promise, returned Sa’ads horse and sword and went back into the confinement of his tent. When Sa’ad went home he remarked to his wife that it was a man – sent by God – ­riding on a spotted horse who had saved the day. ‘If I hadn’t trussed Abu Mehjan up in chains, I would have thought it was he, for only he can charge in that way!’

Sa’ad’s wife then told him the whole story, with the result that Abu Mehjan was promptly released from his chains and Sa’ad made a pledge to him never again to punish him for drinking. For his part, Abu Mehjan Thaqafi promised never to drink again. (Sunan Sayeed Ibn Mansoor, Vol. 2, p. 235)

The true Muslim does not need to be punished to make him refrain from misdeeds. Faith produces a positive response to the merest hint or reminder about defaulting. Only one who is totally devoid of these qualities will be deaf to entreaties and insensitive to rebuke.