Story of the Bull
Notes from a Khutbah by Imam Anwar al-Awlaki
Praise be to Allaah, we seek His help and His forgiveness. We seek refuge with Allaah from the evil of our own souls and from our bad deeds. Whomsoever Allaah guides will never be led astray, and whomsoever Allaah leaves astray, no one can guide. I bear witness that there is no god but Allaah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.
“O you who believe! Fear Allâh (by doing all that He has ordered and by abstaining from all that He has forbidden) as He should be feared. [Obey Him, be thankful to Him, and remember Him always], and die not except in a state of Islâm (as Muslims) with complete submission to Allâh.” (Aali Imran 3:102)
“O mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person (Adam), and from him (Adam) He created his wife [Hawwa (Eve)], and from them both He created many men and women and fear Allâh through Whom you demand your mutual (rights), and (do not cut the relations of) the wombs (kinship. Surely, Allâh is Ever an All*Watcher over you.” (An-Nisa 4:1) “O you who believe! Keep your duty to Allâh and fear Him, and speak (always) the truth.” (Al-Ahzab 33:70)
Umar ibn Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) asked Ubbay ibn Ka’ab (may Allah be pleased with him), “What is the meaning of Tawqa?” Ubbay ibn Ka’ab said, “O Amir ul Mu’minin, have you walked on a field that had a lot of thorny plants?” Umar said, “Yes” Ubbay ibn Ka’ab said, “So what did you do?” Umar replied, “I lifted up my clothes and I was very careful,” Ubbay ibn Ka’ab said, “That is Taqwa.”
We are walking on a field that is full of thorny plants. Shaytan and his followers will try to seduce you and invite you to Evil. So having Taqwa in Dunya is lifting up your clothes and being careful, so that you would not touch this evil. And that is the definition of Taqwa and we ask Allah to make us of those of al- Muttaqeen.
Dear Brothers and Sisters, there’s a famous Story (parable) that I will go through, you may have herd it before, but there are some very important lessons we can learn from it. The story goes like this:
“There were four Cows. One of them was white and the
other three were black. They used to live in a dangerous area surrounded by
wolves. The way they protected themselves was that they were always together,
they would stick together, watch out for each other, everyone was keeping an
attentative eye, and they survived, even though the area was surrounded by wild
But the three black cows had a meeting one day. And they said, “This white cow is giving us away. When we try to hide at night, because we are black no one can see us, but the enemy is able to see the white cow, so why don’t we just let him go. The three of us will be together and let’s just let the white cow go away because he is just too much trouble.” So now from that day on, the three black cows would be on one side and the poor white cow is alone. They boycotted the white cow.
Now the wolf is very intelligent. He was able to detect the disunity that was amongst these cows. So he made his move and he attacked the white cow, and while he was devouring his flesh, the three black cows were doing nothing. They were watching it, while their brother was being torn into pieces!
But the following night, the wolf attacked the three black cows, why? Because now there were one cow short. So they were not as strong as they were the day before. Because they let down their brother white cow, now the wolf attacked them and was able to snatch away one of the black cows. And now we only have two left.
So the following night, it was an even easier thing for the wolf because only two are left, so he ate one of them. And then on the final night there was only one cow left and the cow was trying frantically to run away from the wolf, but now the cow has no supporter and no helper. So the wolf is pursing it with confidence and he knows this cow will get tired and fall down, there’s nothing the cow could do. Nobody to help him, so the wolf is walking around very happily with confidence, and he pounced at the cow and grabbed him by the neck, and while he did that and the cow was pronouncing his last words, he made a very important statement, a statement that is a great lesson that we can learn from. This black cow said, (while he was dying), “I was eaten, the day the white cow was eaten. I had signed on my execution form, the day I allowed the white cow to be eaten, that’s when I died. I didn’t die now, I didn’t die today…I died when I allowed the wolf to eat the white cow”
Now brothers and sisters I’m sure some of you have already derived some lessons out of this story. I will now go through some of them Insha’Allah
Lesson 1: The Ummah
This story is a good representation of the situation of the Muslim Ummah today. This is exactly what is happening. We are watching one Muslim nation fall one after another, and we are watching, sitting back, doing nothing. When Palestine was taken, we did nothing. And then one nation after another is falling into problems; you have Kashmir, you have Chechnya, the Muslims in the Philippines, and now we have Iraq, and the Ummah is doing nothing. The Ummah is watching, while Iraq is being devoured. It’s not going to end there, because it’s going to spill over to other countries like Syria and only Allah knows who is next! So those nations weren’t taken today, they were taken along time ago. When we allowed a Muslim nation to fall down, we have allowed the same thing to happen to each and every one of us.
Lesson 2: Unity
This shows us the consequences of having disunity. When these cows didn’t stick together, when the allowed the enemy to snatch one of them away, this is what happened to them, they were all defeated. Dear brothers and sisters, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) had given an analogy of the Ummah, Nu'man b. Bashir reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: “The similitude of believers in regard to mutual love, affection, fellow-feeling is that of one body; when any limb of it aches, the whole body aches, because of sleeplessness and fever.” [Sahih Muslim, Book 032, Number 6258]
The Prophet (peace be upon him) is saying, if your finger is injured or your foot is injured, any part of the body is injured and you feel that pain, you cannot sleep! And your body develops a fever because your body is trying to fight the bacteria inside the infection. It’s trying to fight the enemy so the whole body gets involved in that process. That is the description the Prophet (peace be upon him) gave of the Ummah.
So if a Muslim, in the East, or in the West, or South or North, whether if it’s in the centre of the body or the tips, where it’s on the finger or the toes, you should feel the same pain as if it is happening to you own family. If you are only concerned about your own safety and the safety of your direct family, then there’s something wrong. You are not really part of the body. The Prophet (peace be upon him) is saying the Ummah is one body, it doesn’t matter if they are split into different political states or if they are in different groups, or if they belong to different Madhahabs, as long as this person is a Muslim; and a Muslim is a person who has a sound belief in Allah, somebody who is not deviant, that’s a Muslim.
The thing is that sometimes we look at it as, “Only me and my group are Muslim”, Why? Because he doesn’t follow my Jamaa’h, he’s not following my way. As long as you cannot prove that that Muslim is a Kaffir, he’s a Muslim. As long as you don’t have evidence, that such a person is a Murtad (Apostate), he is a Muslim; whether he belongs to the same Madhhab or the same group or the same country, it doesn’t make a difference.
Now we all talk about the importance of having Unity. If we talking about having Unity in terms of having one Group and just abandoning all these different Jamaa’ts and we get ride of all of these different Madhahabs and we’ll all just be copies of each other, that’s an impossible thing to have. What we mean by Unity is that even though your approach to Islamic work might be different, the Madhhab that you follow might be different, however, you are there to help you brother when your brother is in need, that is Unity. You could have different approaches to work, you could be doing different things, because we need different things, the Ummah needs everything today. We have a short coming and deficiency in each and every area, therefore we need Muslims to fill those posts, and therefore our approach would be different. Some people are into Da’wah, some people will be into seeking ‘Ilm (Islamic Knowledge), some people will be into ‘Ibadaah (Worship), people are different. Not everybody can be a copy of everyone else.
People have different abilities. Some people make good scholars, some people make good Imams, some people make good teachers and some people make a good advisor. People are different. Some people, they are good at doing work, they are not really into talking and theory, they are good at doing the daily work that the Muslims need. Everybody is fulfilling a role. And we need to appreciate that. So what is ment by Unity, it means when your brother is in need, you jump to help him, that is Unity. Regardless of what his ideology is as long as he is a Muslim. That is Unity.
So we have to fulfil the meaning of the hadith, that the Ummah is, “…one body; when any limb of it aches, the whole body aches…” You need to feel the pain and suffering when you see what is happening to your brothers and sisters in other parts of the world. You need to be concerned about what is happening in Palestine and Iraq. You need to be concerned with what is happening in Kashmir, even though it is not you country. And some of these Muslim countries have problems among them, they have wars, they have political problems, but as a Muslim, it shouldn’t make a difference to you. These governments are having problems with each other, but that nation, the Muslims in there are my brothers (and sisters). That’s how you should look at it. So we should have that concern for the Muslim Ummah. The one that is not concerned about the Muslims doesn’t belong to them.
Narrated 'Abdullah: The Prophet said, "Everyone will be with those whom he loves." [Sahih Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 73, Number 189] You will be with the people you love on the day of Judgement. If you have love for the Muslims, you will be with the Muslims on the day of judgement. If you have love for the Kuffar, you will be with the Kuffar on the day of Judgement, that’s how it works. That’s the Justice of Allah. Somebody who loves the Muslims, will be with the Muslims, and will follow them wherever they will go. And that’s why on the Day of Judgement, the Prophet (peace be upon him said, “Allah will tell the people, ‘Follow the Gods you used to worship.’” So whoever used to worship the cross will follow the cross, and whoever used to worship an idol will follow that idol. Allah is telling them, if you didn’t worship me, you can’t expect me to give you the Rewards. Go to your gods and tell them to reward you on this day. And then Allah will take all of the false gods and throw them in Hell fire, and there people will have to follow them. Because Allah is just, u did it for Him, He will reward you, but if you did it for somebody else, you go and ask the reward from the other god. And there is No god besides Allah.
Lesson 3: The consequences of betrayal. The consequences of forsaking a Muslim.
Narrated 'Abdullah bin Umar: Allah's Apostle said, "A Muslim is a brother of another Muslim, so he should not oppress him, nor should he hand him over to an oppressor. Whoever fulfilled the needs of his brother, Allah will fulfill his needs; whoever brought his (Muslim) brother out of a discomfort, Allah will bring him out of the discomforts of the Day of Resurrection, and whoever screened a Muslim, Allah will screen him on the Day of Resurrection . " [Sahih Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 43, Number 622 and Volume 9, Book 85, Number 83; Sahih Muslim, Book 032, Number 6250] The three cows in the story handed the white cow over to the enemy.
Now by doing this, they thought they are securing themselves. They thought they would be safe if they handed over this white cow. This white cow was out spoken, it was causing a lot of trouble, it was being accused of being a terrorist, so let him go, we don’t want anything to do with him. Let him go to jail. But the thing is they don’t realise that it will come to you next. You will be next in line. So brothers, if you want to protect yourselves, now we are not talking about doing anything for your brothers that are down, if you want to protect yourself you need to stop that. You need to stop such things from happening, because as soon as you allow one Muslim to be taken, Allah does not help you anymore. You loose the assistance of Allah. “…Whoever fulfilled the needs of his brother, Allah will fulfill his needs; whoever brought his (Muslim) brother out of a discomfort, Allah will bring him out of the discomforts of the Day of Resurrection…”If you work to help your Muslim brothers who are in need, Allah will help you when you are in need in the day of judgement.
Now all of us know that we cannot make it alone. Without the help and assistance of Allah, we cannot go anywhere. If you want the assistance of Allah to be on your side, Jump to the assistance of your brother. That’s how you will protect yourself. If you let him (your Muslim brother) down, don’t think that will please you enemy, no! It won’t! They enemy will carry on. Take it as a rule, Shaytan will never be satisfied, will never be happy, until he is able to destroy the entire Ummah. Nothing will satisfy Shaytan. If you try to please him by all means, it’s not going to work. He has been our enemy since the time of Adam and he will carry on being our enemy until the time of the Day of Judgement. Don’t think that you will please him and keep him quiet, by feeding him one of your brothers. No! His hunger is never satisfied. His thirst is never quenched.
If we betray or forsake a Muslim who is in need today, be assured that Allah will forsake us tomorrow. And brothers and sisters, for you who are living in the west, you are living in a dilemma, your children are brought up in a non-Islamic environment and you’re not going to be around, you’re going to die…one day you are going to die and leave them behind. And only Allah knows what their fate will be, possibly they could grow up and become non Muslims, that’s a possibility. We ask Allah that none of our children go astray from the Straight Path, but the thing is that you need to invest for the future of your children. You need to invest something for them, to ensure they will carry on, on the straight path. You don’t want to be held accountable on the Day of Judgement and Allah is telling you, ‘You are the ones who brought your families to this Land, therefore you are responsible for what they do in the future. And you will be responsible for generations after generations that come.’ So you want to invest for your children. And the way you do that, is by standing up for your brother who is in need of help. Allah will be there for you and will be there for your children.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said in the hadith of Ibn Abbas, “If you take care of the command of Allah, Allah will take care of you (and you will find Allah with you).” And how does that happen? Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali explains the hadith. He says:
i) If you take care of Allah, Allah will take care of you by keeping you away from vain desires and doubts in Imaan (Belief);
ii) If you take care of the commands of Allah when you are young, Allah will take care of you in you old age;
iii) If you take care of the commands of Allah, Allah will take care of your children.
And Ibn Rajab gives an example of the Last one. He talks about the Story of Musa and al-Khidr. [The full story can be found here : [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] Allah says in Quran, “Then they both (Musa and al-Khidr) proceeded, till, when they came to the people of a town, they asked them for food, but they refused to entertain them. Then they found therein a wall about to collapse and he (Khidr) set it up straight. [Műsa (Moses)] said: If you had wished, surely, you could have taken wages for it!"” (Al-Kahf 18:77) Then Al-Khidr explains why he fixed the wall for free, "And as for the wall, it belonged to two orphan boys in the town; and there was under it a treasure belonging to them; and their father was a righteous man, and your Lord intended that they should attain their age of full strength and take out their treasure as a mercy from your Lord. And I did it not of my own accord. That is the interpretation of those (things) over which you could not hold patience." (Al-Kahf 18:82)
So Allah took care of the orphans because there father were righteous. These orphans were not old enough to be held accountable, so we could not have known if they were going to be righteous or not, but the reason why Allah put the treasure there was because their father was a righteous man. And the father had already passed away, so Allah was taking care of that mans kids. And Allah sent al-Khidr all the way just to fix that wall, why? This was because their father was a righteous man. So not only will take care of them when you are alive, but he will take care of them after you pass away, what’s better then that?! Therefore we need to be taking care of the Commands of Allah, and don’t think by ducking down you will be safe, you will not, you will be next.
Now dear brothers and sisters, we talked about this issue in general, however some specific in you city, in your own neighbourhood, we are not talking about things that are happening in Iraq or Palestine or somewhere else. In your own city and this country, many Muslims have been arrested. You know when you talk about Guantanamo bay and all that stuff; there is a Guantanamo bay in this country. There were 524 Muslims who were arrested under the new laws and only 2 of them have been charged. You have over 520 Muslims who are locked up in Jail, and are left to rot in there, and they haven’t committed any crime and there no charges brought against them. They are left there in just months on end, to rot there in the prison cells. What have you done for them? Your North African brothers who have nobody to help them in this country, and the Muslim community is not doing anything for them and they are left there, years at end.
One brother was telling me about the conditions of his family; these are poor brothers and sisters, their families are left without any caretakers, and they are suffering poverty, and no one is doing anything for them. And recently there have been some British citizens who were arrested; later on they were released because there was nothing against them. And one of them, he was beaten up by police, when they arrested him, and he did not resist at all, he raised up his hands and the police came in and started beating him up. And then what did they do? After he was bleeding and had a black eye and blood was coming from his ears and urine, the police put him in the posture of sujood and they told him, ‘Where is you God now?’ Insult to Islam, insult to our religion, insult to our Ummah, you need to do something; you can’t just sit there and watch. This is an insult to our religion, it’s not just an insult to the brother, and it’s an insult to Islam. You putting someone in sujood and telling him where is you god? Allahu Akbar, you are trying to challenge Allah? Allah is Just and Allah will revenge for himself. Allah does not need us. But the thing is that we can’t allow such things to happen and we watch.
You just sit there watching and doing nothing. Thinking by ducking down and being quiet, we will be safe. If you don’t stop it now, it could happen to you, it could happen to your wife, it could happen to your own daughter. You need to stop it in its tracks before it grows. So you need to do whatever you are capable of doing. It’s a responsibility that’s hanging on your neck, its something that you owe to your Muslim brothers, you owe to the Ummah and you owe to Allah. You know you don’t think that our religion is just you talk about theoretical things and we stay away from what is happening to the Ummah. That is why the Muslims in Spain, lost Spain. Al-Makari, who was a classical Muslim historian, said (and this was while the Muslim towns were falling down) , “The Muslim towns were being invaded by the crusaders by town after another and they were falling one after another and you can walk into the mosques of Andalus and you can hear nothing about what’s happening to the Muslims. Nobody talks about it in the Khuthbah, no body talks about it in the lessons, nothing! The scholars are talking about theoretical things and they are leaving the Ummah, and the Ummah is being betrayed.”
Ibn Hazm al-Andalusi, the famous scholar from Andalus, was so frustrated and fed up of the situation of the scholars and the imams of al-Andalus, he said, “Do not be deceived by these Fusaaq (corrupt people), who claim to be scholars while they are wearing the skins of sheep on hearts of wolves.” He said what are they doing? They are doing nothing for the Ummah. The Ummah is falling down, the Ummah is being fought against, and the land of al-Andalus is being invaded and they are talking about some other issues.
So we need to stand up, we need to immobilise, we need to unify, we need to stand up and make our voice herd and this is an Ibadaah; it is an Ibadaah you are doing. You are worshipping Allah by assisting your brothers. And Allah will save it for you, in Dunya and you will be rewarded in Akhira (the Hereafter). And you are going to need it because the Ummah is going through fitan (Trials and Tribulations), each and every one of us is going through fitan. We ask Allah to protect us, to protect our families, and to protect our descendants…Ameen
And It is Only Allah Who grants success. May Allah Exalt th mention of His slave and Messenger Muhammad, and render him, his household and companion safe from Evil.