Rafed English

Tenacity and Victory

A leader's iron will and tenacity of purpose can bring about a sudden change in the course of events and mobilise the masses in a wonderful manner. The resoluteness of such men in the way of their goal removes great obstacles from their path, as if there were something iron-like within them. At times their courage and alacrity often averts dangerous crises when the smallest delay and uncertainty would cause them and others to perish.

At the time of the conquest of Spain by Islamic warriors, Musa ibn Nadir was the chief commander of the Islamic armies in north Africa. For the conquest of Europe, he dispatched his slave Tariq ibn Ziyad towards Spain to gather intelligence concerning the enemy forces and to report to the chief commander. When Tariq arrived with his small force at the point of his assignment and made a reconnaissance of the position of the enemy, he found that it was an opportune time to attack. He thought that if he were to report to the headquarters and wait for orders, the enemy would be alerted and prepare for battle. The moment of decision had came.

In order to make his soldiers abandon all thoughts of possible retreat, he ordered all ships with which he had crossed the sea to be burnt. When the ships were burnt down, all hopes of retreat disappeared. In answer to those who were dismayed by his action and were critical of it he said: "The Muslim is not a bird to have a nest of its own." Then standing at the foot of the mountain known today as 'Jabl al-Tariq" (Gibraltar) and facing the roaring waves of the sea, he delivered a speech. He said:

O People! There is the roaring sea behind your backs and the enemy's army in front of you. The stores of the enemy are full of weapons and food supplies while you have recourse to nothing except what you may seize from the enemy with your iron will. You do not have access to any weapon except the swords that you carry. Now there you are and the strong enemy!

This fiery and impassioned speech of Tariq gave the soldiers the resoluteness and courage for a decisive battle. Then with appropriate tactics, he launched a terrible offensive and fought unflaggingly until victory.

Adapted from: "Ethics and Spiritual Growth" by: "Sayyid Mujtaba Musawi Lari"

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