Lessons of Wisdom from Hind bint Amr (ra)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAShe was the sister of Abdullah ibn Amr (ra) who was the father of the famous Hadeeth narrator Jabir ibn Abdullah (ra). Her husband Amr ibn Jamuh (ra) was the leader of Yathrib (old name of Madinah) and was from the nobles of the Ansar (the helpers of Madinah).

Conversion to Islam

Hind (ra) converted to Islam along with her sons through the Dawah efforts of Musab ibn Umair (ra). Her husband, like other ignorant leaders, had installed an idol in his house that he used to worship and sacrifice animals for. One day, he purchased a sturdy piece of wood and instructed a woodworker to craft an idol for him. This idol, named Manat, was dressed in fine clothing and pleasantly perfumed.

Like many early Muslims, Hind (ra) kept her conversion a secret. She was waiting for an appropriate time to break the news to her husband. Her sons regularly attended the gatherings of Musab ibn Umair (ra), and later shared the knowledge of the Quranic verses with their mother. Amr (ra) remained unaware of what was happening in his house. He only began to worry when more and more people entered Islam. He then felt insecurity for his family. He instructed Hind (ra) to keep a close watch on their sons that they do not meet the man from Makkah, and get spoilt by his teachings. Hind (ra) assured him to not worry and to keep his heart free from apprehensions about them.

While at one end, the father was instructing the mother to keep a close watch on the sons; on the other end, the sons worried for their father’s faith. Muadh ibn Amr (ra) shared his concerns with a close friend and they plotted a plan to get the father off idol worshipping. It was decided that Muadh ibn Jabl (ra) will help the brothers in throwing the idol in a trash can. Amr (ra) was fast asleep when this plan was carried out. The next day when he woke up, as per his routine, he entered the room where the idol was kept. Not finding it there he vehemently demanded where it was. The mother and the sons replied that they had no idea where it had gone.

Amr (ra) went out of the house and fetched the idol. Seeing it lying on trash, he brought it home, cleaned it and applied fragrance. He vowed to take revenge from the culprit. The mother and the sons looked at Amr (ra) in disbelief- was he really talking to a piece of wood? He was apologising to it while it could neither hear him nor speak.

He then brought a sword and hung it around Manat’s neck. He told the idol that it was for its defence, in case it was attacked again.

When the father had gone to sleep, the sons again, with the help of Muadh ibn Jabl (ra), picked up the idol and threw it in trash. Second time they tied a dead dog to the wooden piece and returned home.

The next day, when Amr (ra) woke up and did not find Manat in its room, he again screamed and shouted and went out to find the idol. When he saw that it was again lying on trash and a dead dog was wrapped around its neck, and that the idol did not defend itself, Amr (ra) conceded that the idol did not deserve his respect. It was content with its own dishonour. He left the idol on the trash and returned home feeling estranged.

She was not only doing Tarbiyah of her sons that they should be respectful towards their father, but also did not spoil the home environment.

Seeing Amr (ra) anguished, the family inquired what the matter was. Amr (ra) did not reply to the question. He sighed deeply and asked the mother if she had been keeping a close watch on the sons. The mother assured him that the sons had acted upon her instructions. However, she quickly added that their son Muadh (ra) had a meeting with the Makkan preacher Musab (ra) and had learnt some things. She suggested that Amr (ra) should call him and inquire what he had learnt.

Amr (ra) at once called Muadh (ra). Muadh (ra) came and the father inquired if he had memorised anything from the Makkan preacher (ra). The son replied in affirmation. The father then asked the son to share something. Muadh (ra) recited the Ta’awuth and Surah Al-Fatihah.

Amr (ra), as if speaking to himself commented that how eloquent, enticing and beautiful the words were. The son was overjoyed by his father’s statement. He affirmed that indeed that Makkan man’s entire talk was elegant, beautiful and exceptional and that Amr (ra) should meet the man himself. To entice the father furthermore, he added that all the other leaders of Madinah had been visiting Musab (ra) and embracing Islam. They had preceded Amr (ra). Hind (ra) also encouraged her husband to meet the Makkan preacher (ra). Amr (ra) said that he needed to take advice from his idols. Muadh (ra) immediately reminded his father if he was to take advice from a dumb and deaf piece of wood. Amr (ra) was offended by his son’s comment, but then admitted that it was indeed the truth. The wood was void of intellect and emotions. He then looked at his family and asked for their views. The family was startled, but quickly agreed that Amr (ra) was right.

Our mistake is that when we meet a person who is committing some wrong, we start our conversation with taunts and criticism

At that moment, Amr (ra) testified the Oneness of Allah (swt) and recited the Islamic testimony of faith (Shahadah). That was a joyous moment for the family. Later that evening Musab ibn Umair (ra) was invited to their home, who then purified the house from the filth of associating partners with Allah (swt).

Lessons to draw

There are several lessons in this story. When Hind (ra) became a Muslim she did not break the news to her husband at once. Despite having the support of adult sons, she waited for an appropriate time to approach Amr (ra). She hoped that he might embrace Islam on his own and the relations between them will not be severed. She was not only doing Tarbiyah of her sons that they should be respectful towards their father, but also did not spoil the home environment.

  • Hikmah of preaching

We need to reflect on our attitudes when we learn something new and how we preach it to others. First, we must gain firmness in what we have learnt and then pass it on to others. Show them by practicing, not by preaching. Melt their hearts first. Give them space to understand. Secondly, “plan” how you are going to preach. Hind (ra) and her sons first sketched a plan that how they could convince Amr (ra) that what he was following was wrong.

Thirdly, when Amr (ra) returned home feeling estranged, the family showed concern and inquired- although they knew it very well what grieved him. They treated him with respect and care- even when he was upset about a wrong matter. Our mistake is that when we meet a person who is committing some wrong, we start our conversation with taunts and criticism. Unless, we show some compassion how can the other person trust our opinion? Gain the support first, so that he can open up his heart to understand what you want to tell him.

Hind’s son did not pick a horrifying verse to abuse or scare the father away. Rather, he chose Surah Al-Fatihah

Another Hikmah of preaching is that Hind’s son did not pick a horrifying verse to abuse or scare the father away. Rather, he chose Surah Al-Fatihah — the Opening Surah of the Quran — that introduces us to Allah (swt). Generally, we invite people to Islam by scaring them with the punishment of the Hereafter. Even to the babies and toddlers, we introduce Allah (swt) by telling them how intense His punishments are; whereas Allah (swt) introduces Himself to us by choosing His attributes of mercy: Ar-Rahman and Ar-Raheem (Al-Fatihah 1:3).

Finally, Hind (ra) respected the leader of the house. When the father asked if she had been keeping an eye on the sons, the mother replied in affirmative and then added that Muadh (ra) had heard something. She then requested the father to ascertain what he had learnt. In a way, she was putting the father in-charge- whether he found it fit for the family or not. She did not say I have checked it and I find it alright. She gave reverence to the husband’s position in the house.

When the parents fail to give respect to one another, the silent observers — the children — grow up disrespecting their parents. Family matters should be dealt with utmost respect and wisdom thinking about the children as well.

(Adapted from the book: Seerat e Sahabiyat k Darakshan Pehlu by Mehmood Ahmad Ghazanfar and the lectures of Dr. Farhat Hashmi: Seerat e Sahabiyat)

Lessons of Bravery from Hind bint Utbah (ra)

Self-masteryHind bint Utbah was the daughter of Utbah ibn Rabiah and Saffiyah bint Umayyah. She was the wife of Abu Sufyan ibn Harb and the mother of Muawiyah ibn Abu Sufyan.

She was a woman of eloquence, zeal, determination, and self-confidence.

A Visionary Mother

Passing by a town with Muawiyah (ra), when someone commented that her son will become a leader of his tribe, she replied, “Only his tribe’s leader? I want to see him as the leader of the entire world.” Her vision for her child was that of splendour.

Lessons to draw: Do we have any vision for our children? What kind of a vision is that? Is it limited to their worldly success or are we also concerned about their eternal success?

Her Husband’s Companion in War and Peace

Hind was both a heroine and a villainess. As an unbeliever, she was determined to wipe out Islam and its followers. She never shied away from voicing her opinion and regularly counselled her husband on the political front.

When she lost her father, uncle, and brother in the Battle of Badr, she did not shed a tear. She had to plot revenge. She picked an expert javelin thrower who seldom missed his target. On the promise of manumission and gold, Wahshi ibn Harb was to kill Hamza (ra). Assigning the task, Hind did not sit back home. Rather, she was present in the battlefield along with some other women, singing and boasting about their family honour and pride. She kept her eye on Wahshi ibn Harb, and as soon as Hamza (ra) was down, she entered the battlefield to proceed with what she had to do.

Lessons to draw: In a society, where only men are seen as guardians, we see Hind as a powerful woman. She did not find herself weak, though she had lost a father, an uncle, and a brother, all at the same time. Instead of wasting her energy or losing her senses wailing over them, she planned her next course of action. While her determination was for a wrong cause, we see a woman who was focused and could not be deterred. She identified the best person for her task and did not sit back home. She made sure her goal was achieved. How determined are we about our goals? And how well-planned are our goals?

Do we have any vision for our children? What kind of a vision is that? Is it limited to their worldly success or are we also concerned about their eternal success?

Conversion to Islam

Abu Sufyan and Hind accepted Islam after the conquest of Makkah.

When Abu Sufyan accepted Islam, he returned to his tribe and invited them to the True Faith. He confirmed that Muhammad (sa) was indeed the true messenger of Allah (swt), and that it is for their own good to embrace Islam. Hind could not believe her ears. How could her husband support their greatest enemy? She called him a traitor and incited her tribe to kill him. Abu Sufyan firmly informed his people that there was no way that they could fight the Muslims now. Their salvation lied in accepting the Truth.

Now that the Prophet (sa) and his followers were settled in Makkah, Hind watched them closely. She was an intelligent woman and did not believe in hearsay. One day, she approached her husband and requested him to take her to the Prophet (sa). She was so impressed by the focused worship of the Muslims that she had no reasons to believe that this was a false religion.

Abu Sufyan, though pleased with his wife’s decision, was worried about her act in the Battle of Uhud. He did not wish to upset the Prophet (sa) by reminding him that his wife had mutilated his beloved uncle. He advised her to take some women from her tribe and visit the Messenger (sa). Hind gathered some women and requested Uthman ibn Affan (ra) to accompany them.

Hind still felt remorseful for what she had done with Hamza (ra). To hide her shame, she veiled her face so that the Prophet (sa) would not recognize her. After testifying and taking her oath of allegiance, she removed her veil. She was a woman of pride and self-respect; she could not hide her identity. The Prophet (sa) made no mention of what had happened at the Battle of Uhud, and welcomed her into Islam. Hind said: “By Allah (swt), there was no house on earth that I wanted to destroy more than your house. Now, there is no house on earth that I so dearly wish to honour and raise in glory than yours.”

The lady who used to sing fierce poetry for the Prophet’s (sa) opponents then recited Quranic verses to keep the morale of Muslim soldiers high

The once vicious enemies of Islam, Abu Sufyan and Hind, then worked for the promotion of Allah’s (swt) religion. The lady who used to sing fierce poetry for the Prophet’s (sa) opponents then recited Quranic verses to keep the morale of Muslim soldiers high. Such is the fruit of guidance!

Lessons to draw: We see how we can channel our energy towards positive endeavours.

Adapted from the book: Hayat-e-Sahabiyat k Darakshan Pehlu and the lectures of Dr. Farhat Hashmi on Seerat-e-Sahabiyat