By Shaikh Omar Suleiman – Member, ICNA Shariah Council and Instructor, Al Maghrib Institute, Canada
In this day and age, the success of a marriage rests upon the material comforts that one provides to his spouse. However, these soon fade away. The bond of love created for the sake of Allah (swt), with the success in the hereafter at heart, is what really strengthens a nuptial bond.
This is a very touching story about one of the great companions of Prophet Muhammad (sa) called Abu Darda (rtam). Let me introduce you to Abu Darda (rtam). He was a man with abundant knowledge of Islam. His love to disseminate this treasure and to seek more of it took him far and wide. Being highly enthusiastic, he wanted to share this valuable treasure with all and sundry. He used to relate Ahadeeth about the virtues of knowledge.
When the Prophet (sa) and his companions migrated to Madinah, every Ansari hosted one of the immigrants, the people who were expelled from Makkah. The Prophet (sa) paired every migrant with an Ansari brother, thus strengthening the ties of love and brotherhood between them. Who was the brother of Abu Darda (rtam)? Salman Farsi (rtam). Was Salman Farsi (rtam) an immigrant? Yes. He did migrate but not from Makkah. He was from Persia and had been going to places looking for Prophet Muhammad (sa), whom he finally found in Madinah. The Prophet (sa) paired him with Abu Darda (rtam).
Whenever Salman (rtam) would enter the house of Abu Darda (rtam) (and this was before the verse on Hijab was revealed), he would see Umm Darda (rtaf) wearing a cloth with patches and stains all over it. He asked her why she was dressed that way, and she replied that Abu Darda (rtam) is not interested in the luxuries of this world. She had blisters over her hands but she never complained. She was always smiling with contentment, as all their efforts and prayers were directed to attain success in the hereafter.
One day, Salman (rtam) came to Abu Darda’s house. Abu Darda served him a meal and said to him: “(Please) eat for I am fasting.” Salman (rtam) said: “I am not going to eat, unless you eat.” So Abu Darda ate. When it was night, Abu Darda (rtam) got up (for the night prayer). Salman (rtam) said (to him): “Sleep” and he slept. Again Abu Darda (rtam) got up (for the prayer), and Salman (rtam) said (to him): “Sleep.” When it was the last part of the night, Salman (rtam) said to him: “Get up now (for the prayer).” Both of them offered their prayers and Salman (rtam) said to Abu Darda (rtam): “Your Lord has a right on you; your soul has a right on you; your family has a right on you; you should give the rights of all those who have a right on you.” Later on, Abu Darda (rtam) visited the Prophet (sa) and mentioned that to him. The Prophet (sa) said: “Salman (rtam) has spoken the truth.” (Bukhari)
Since Abu Darda (rtam) was always keen to please Allah (swt) and his Messenger (sa), he changed his ways. However, his financial situation was not that sound. Umm Darda (rtaf) was someone who used to be around the Prophet (sa) from a very young age. When she was a little girl, she used to play in the Masjid. She grew up loving and following the tenets of Islam. She was always in search of more knowledge about this beautiful religion. Both Abu Darda (rtam) and his wife were pious and God-fearing – they spent their lives in service to this great religion. They never tasted the sweetness or strove for the treasures of this world. Hence, he was not a rich man. They both lived to achieve the true success in the hereafter.
When the time of death came near for Abu Darda (rtam), his wife was with him. She said to her husband: “When you proposed to me in this world, you asked my father for my hand and I accepted it. Ask Allah (swt) for me to be your wife in the hereafter as well. I want to be your wife in paradise.”
One might think that she said this out of emotion and love, when her husband was leaving this world, but that is not so. She was truly in love with her husband for the sake of Allah (swt) and wanted to be with him in paradise after death.
Later on, when she got a marriage proposal from Muawiyah (rtam), who was the caliph of the Muslims, she refused saying that she is engaged to Abu Darda (rtam) in paradise. Muawiyah (rtam) was a man with wealth and status. Despite all these facts, Umm Darda (rtam) refused him. Unbelievable, Subhan’Allah!
This illumines her thoughts and her mission in life. Even though her marriage and life with Abu Darda (rtam) did not have all the material things of this world, those that in today’s time and age we consider important to make a union successful, it had the ingredient that cannot be taken away by any economic crisis or aging process – love of Allah (swt).
Transcribed for “Hiba” by Nazia Wahab Khan.