‘…But you were slow!’

From ‘Abdullah ibn al-Mubarak’s ‘Kitab al-Jihad’ :

‘When the people came to the door of ‘Umar (radhiallahu `anhu), there was from amongst them Suhail ibn ‘Amr as well as Abu Sufyan ibn Harb and other chiefs of Quraysh. So he (‘Umar) went to let the people in, and he began to give permission to the people of Badr first, to the likes of Suhaib, Bilal and others from Ahl al-Badr. By Allah, he himself was a Badri (partook in the battle of Badr), he loved them and advised others regarding them. So Abu Sufyan said, ‘I have never seen the like of today before! He gives permission to slaves like these while we sit here and he does not even look at us?!’

So Suhail ibn ‘Amr said, ‘O people, by Allah I can see what has come over your faces. If you are angry, then only be angry over your own selves. The people were called (to Islam) and you were also called, they hastened to respond but you were slow. By Allah, what they have preceded you in of virtue, in matters that you don’t know, is more of a loss than your competition here in front of this door.’

Then he said, ‘O people, these people have succeeded you in what you can see, and so by Allah, there is no way for you to attain what they have succeeded you in. Look to this matter of Jihad and adhere to it so that perhaps you may be granted martyrdom.’ Then he took hold of his garment and went off to al-Sham (Greater Syria).

Al-Hasan said, ‘By Allah he was truthful. Allah will never allow a slave who hastens to Him, to be equal to a slave who is slow.’

[Kitab al-Jihad, narration #100, pg. 32]
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