The Prophet (sa) gave glad tiding to Khawlah (ra) and communicated to her the words of Allah (swt). As relieved as she was, Khawlah (ra) replied that the ransom could not be paid by her husband. He was too poor to free slaves or feed sixty needy people, and his age did not allow him to fast every day for sixty days.
As they were waiting for a solution, a big basket of dates was presented, Khawlah (ra) said: O Messenger of Allah (sa)! I would like to present this basket of dates on behalf of my husband. The Prophet (sa) appreciated her kindness and complimented that it would be her favour on Aws (ra).
Lessons: We hear tales of husbands helping their wives, relieving them of their financial burdens, but little is heard of women helping their husbands. Khadija (ra) was one such woman who helped her husband when he was not financially sound, and she did so beautifully. She made no condescending remarks and was generous with her money.
- We see the same in the story of Khawlah (ra). While no mention is made of how she bought the basket of dates, but assuming she had the financial strength she did not hesitate to spend money on behalf of her husband. Many a times, women are dependent on their husbands. Our excuse for not giving in the way of Allah (swt) is that our husbands do not allow or we do not have enough to give. Yet, when it comes to buying an item of home décor or when the new lawn season arrives we successfully extort money from our husbands.
Khawlah (ra) teaches us the etiquette of handling dispute. It is not compulsory that the one who has wronged must be the one who fixes it. The grieved party too can make amends.
A Wise Woman
Khawlah (ra) was a wise woman. We learn this not only from how she handled her trial, but also from the advice that she gave to Umar ibn Al-Khattab (ra).
One day she met Umar (ra) in a marketplace. He greeted her and asked about her well-being. Khawlah (ra) replied to his greeting and reminded him that she knew him since he was a young boy who grazed sheep. Allah (swt) favoured him and appointed him as the Leader of the Faithful.
She then advised him, “O Umar! Fear Allah with regard to people. Remember! He who fears the threat of punishment in the hereafter realises that it is not far away, and the one who fears death is afraid of wasting time in this life. He who is certain about accountability remains fearful of punishment.”
The person standing next to Umar (ra) reminded her that she was speaking to the Leader of the Faithful. Umar (ra) stopped the man and said that he was speaking to the woman whose plea was heard in the heavens above. How could he not hear her while being on earth?
Lessons: One thing that continues to inspire me about the Seerah is the etiquette of the Prophet (sa) and his Companions (ra). They had not been to any elite schools or travelled extensively, yet they were equipped with etiquette. The parents ensured their toddlers attended the study circles so that they could be groomed. One tip for gaining wisdom is to sit with the wise. Abdullah ibn Abbas (ra) and Abdullah ibn Umar (ra), both young lads at the time of the Prophet (sa), were the wisest men of their time. They were not deprived of the company of the adults because of their age; rather the elders encouraged their participation.
As we are concerned about finding the best schools for our children and all the best things of this world, let us not forget the Adaab (etiquette). Education and etiquette go hand in hand.
In her advice to Umar (ra), Khawlah (ra) reminds us to not lose our focus – the success in the hereafter. It is the success in the hereafter that truly determines who is successful. In our roles and responsibilities, we must fear Allah (swt). We should avoid negligence as well as tyranny. The fear of accountability should keep us grounded and in check. The fact that each day we are nearing our death should motivate us to not waste our time.
May Allah (swt) reform our matters and allow us to adopt beautiful etiquette, ameen.
(Adapted from the book: Seerat e Sahabiyat k Darakshan Pehlu by and the lectures of Dr. Farhat Hashmi: Seerat e Sahabiyat)