Lessons of Wisdom from Khawlah bint Thalabah (ra)

lotus109mThe 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. Khadijah (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.

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 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 (swt) with regard to people. Remember! He who fears the threat of punishment in the hereafter realises that death 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).

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 getting close to 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 and the lectures of Dr. Farhat Hashmi: Seerat e Sahabiyat)

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Lessons on Parenting from Umm Ammarah (ra)

flower-blooming-drawing-picture-VFqaA Strong Mother

Umm Ammarah’s (ra) defence of Islam did not end with the Prophet’s (sa) passing away; when the Fitnah (trial) of apostasy emerged, she pledged her support to Abu Bakr (ra). He acknowledged that she was indeed a strong and daring woman; hence, allowed her to join the Muslim forces fighting the apostate Musalymah Kathab.

The Battle of Yamamah was the toughest battle that the Muslims faced. Musalymah had gathered a large army and was confident that he will wipe off Islam. They plan and Allah (swt) plans too, and Allah (swt) is the Best of the planners.

Umm Ammarah’s (ra) son, Habeeb (ra) was captured by Musalymah’s forces. Musalymah asked him if he testified Muhammad (sa) to be the Prophet of Allah (swt). Habeeb (ra) replied in affirmation. Musalymah then asked if he testified that he (Musalymah) was the Prophet of Allah (swt). Habeeb (ra) replied that he could not hear. Again Musalymah asked if he believed Muhammad (sa) was the Prophet of Allah (swt). Habeeb (ra) again replied in affirmation. Musalymah then repeated his question about his being a Prophet of Allah (swt). Habeeb (ra) replied that he could not hear. The show went on for some time and Habeeb (ra) remained firm in his replies.

The Zayd family was not only skilful in the battlefield, but Umm Ammarah’s (ra) son Abdullah (ra), and many of her grandchildren and great grandchildren became the narrators of the Prophetic traditions.

Furious, Musalymah ordered body mutilation. With each limb being cut, Habeeb (ra) was asked the same questions and the heroic boy repeated the same answers until he died.

Musalymah was later assassinated by none other than Habeeb’s (ra) brother Abdullah Ibn Zayd (ra).

The Zayd family was not only skilful in the battlefield, but Umm Ammarah’s (ra) son Abdullah (ra), and many of her grandchildren and great grandchildren became the narrators of the Prophetic traditions. They were equally passionate about acquiring and transferring knowledge, as they were about defending the Prophet (sa) in the field.

Lessons: Abu Bakr (ra) did not oppose Umm Ammarah’s (ra) request to join the army because he had witnessed how skilful she was. When someone does not assign us a role, we blame the person and call him biased. But have we ever assessed our skills? Have we focused on developing ourselves and complaining less about people or our circumstances? A person who is able does not have to beg for attention, his work speaks for him.

Her tranquillity was displayed in her words when the news of Habeeb’s (ra) mutilation reached her, and she said for this day she had raised her sons.

Umm Ammarah (ra) was sixty years old, but not even for a moment did she think of what use she could be. How many times have we limited ourselves or allowed others to restrict our potential? How many excuses do we have for staying behind in the service of Islam? What is our life’s mission?

Umm Ammarah (ra) did not raise her children in comfort and luxuries. She did not reserve the love for Allah (swt) and His Messenger (sa) for herself alone. Rather, she transferred it to her children. It was this upbringing that made her children fearless. The entire family had one common goal: striving in the cause of Allah (swt), no matter what sacrifice it demanded. This was the family that truly lived by the verse: “Verily, my Salat (prayer), my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allah, the Lord of the ‘Alamin (mankind, Jinns and all that exists)” (Al-Anam 6:162)

She did not reserve the love for Allah (swt) and His Messenger (sa) for herself alone. Rather, she transferred it to her children.

When her son got injured in the field, she attended to his wounds, and told him to get up and fight the enemy. When she was attacked, her sons defended her and dressed her wounds. When the news of her son’s disfigurement reached her, she was calm because she knew Allah (swt) had purchased the lives of the believers in exchange for Paradise. She was not attached to the world. She knew their real home was in the hereafter.

Her tranquillity was displayed in her words when the news of Habeeb’s (ra) mutilation reached her, and she said for this day she had raised her sons. How would have we reacted? How do we react to daily news of violence? How are we raising our children?

Umm Ammarah (ra) loved studying the Quran and Ahadeeth, and taught her children the same. Their love for Allah (swt) and His Messenger (sa) was so pure that Allah (swt) chose from them Hadeeth narrators. Do our children know who Allah (swt) is, who the Prophet (sa) was, what his Sunnah is, and how much he cried for us? Is their love for Allah (swt) and His Beloved (sa) apparent in their conduct? Is our Dawah limited to the people ‘outside’ our homes?

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

Lessons of Courage from Umm Ummarah (ra)

rockshoreWe are told the women’s participation in the battles was limited to nursing the wounded and bringing water to the soldiers. Here is a woman who participated in the Battles of Uhud, Khyber, Hunayn, Yamamah and others. She entered the battlefield with no other intention than defending the Prophet (sa).

About her the Prophet (sa) said: “From where can anyone get courage like you, O Umm Ammarah?”

The Battle of Uhud

Umm Ammarah (ra) had entered the Battle of Uhud with her water-skin, undertaking the official duty of serving water to the soldiers. When she saw chaos and Muslims leaving the battlefield, she dropped the water-skin and picked up a sword and shield. She surrounded the Prophet (sa) with her husband and sons ensuring no harm reached him. Had the enemy soldiers not been on horsebacks, Umm Ammarah (ra) would have slain all of them. Their might, however, did not daunt her a bit. When an enemy came closer, she attacked the horse and made the rider fall. She then killed him.

Fighting along with their parents, Abdullah Ibn Zayd (ra) got injured. Umm Ammarah (ra) attended to the wounds of her son without panicking at all. The Prophet (sa) complimented: “From where can anyone get courage like you, O Umm Ammarah?”

The Prophet (sa) complimented: “From where can anyone get courage like you, O Umm Ammarah?”

Umm Ammarah (ra) smiled and turned her attention to the man who had attacked her son. Like a lioness, she assaulted the man and killed him. The Prophet (sa) commented that she was fortunate to have seen her enemy’s downfall right before her eyes. Seizing the moment, she requested him to supplicate for her family. The Prophet (sa) invoked Allah (swt) to make the Zayd (ra) family his companions in the hereafter.

Only a day had passed since the Battle of Uhud and the Prophet (sa) instructed the army to march toward Hamra Al-Asad. Umm Ammarah (ra) readied herself for the fight, but the wounds that she had suffered were deep. She had received thirteen wounds, one of which took a year to heal.

Lessons: The Sahabiyat (ra) inspire us to be courageous. We might not be required to participate in the battlefield, but we are tested every day by life’s challenges and global affairs. What is our reaction? Are we as composed in the midst of a trial as Umm Ammarah (ra) was in the battlefield?

The entire family’s encircling the Prophet (sa) at the same time did not happen by chance. This was the talk that they regularly held at their home. They knew that no matter what happens they had to defend the Prophet (sa), for they had given him their pledge of allegiance.

We are his nation. By being Muslims, we have pledged we will love the Prophet (sa) more than we love our parents. Do our lives reflect our promise? Are we as committed to his Sunnah as we should be? His Sunnah was not limited to a particular dress code. It was his character that touched the hearts.  It was his principles that made him the most dignified. What does our character say about us? What are our principles?

Umm Ammarah’s (ra) story teaches women to learn self-defence skills. This is more important today than it has been ever before. Are we trained to defend ourselves? Or are we the people who get scared of lizards and cockroaches, and feel it is the man’s job to protect us?

Umm Ammarah’s (ra) story teaches women to learn self-defence skills. This is more important today than it has been ever before. Are we trained to defend ourselves?

Umm Ammarah (ra) entered the arena to serve water; but as soon as she recognised that the Muslim army needed more soldiers, she left her water-skin and picked up her sword.

Here is a woman who was present in her mind. Swords were being waged to her left and right, but when the Prophet (sa) complimented her valour, she did not let the moment go by and requested him to supplicate for her family. How attentive are we to our situations?

When we are at work, we are thinking about family problems. When we are at home, we are thinking about office work. Jim Rohn, a motivational speaker, said: “Wherever you are, be there!” He says, “We are so involved in yesterday and tomorrow that we never even notice that today is slipping by.” By not being ‘present’ we make wrong decisions. Let us free our minds from the sorrows of yesterday, and apprehensions of tomorrow. Let us live in our today, and make the right choices right now.

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

Jameelah Umm Saad (ra) and her relationship with the Quran

quill-and-scrollWhile Allah (swt) honoured women, we seem to bring our ladies down by limiting their choices. While Allah (swt) instructs equal treatment, we differentiate between our sons and daughters. One such example is: aspiring for our sons to be scholars of Islam and memorisers of the Book of Allah (swt), but we do not choose the same for our daughters. They are to walk the same, regular, boring path that many women have followed for years.

Today, as many means of acquiring knowledge open up, it is delightful to see women setting up their bars high. Disregarding their age and time constraints, women are taking the initiative to learn the Book of Allah (swt). Taking a step further, some have even dared to undertake the intimidating journey of memorising the Quran. If for some reason they are unable to do it themselves, they are helping and encouraging their daughters to do so.

Hafidha Quran

As per the custom of Arabia, the good friends and close relatives took care of their beloved’s family if he died. Umm Saad (ra), the child that never got to see her father was not abandoned. The daughter of the benevolent servant of Allah (swt) was looked after by another generous man – none other than Abu Bakr As-Siddeeq (ra).

Many parents fear what will become of their children if they die. Stories of the Companions (ra) and the righteous, tell us that if you are a God-fearing person, Allah (swt) will not forsake your children. Entrust your children and your matters to Him, while living a life of obedience and servitude.

Many parents fear what will become of their children if they die. Stories of the Companions (ra) and the righteous, tell us that if you are a God-fearing person, Allah (swt) will not forsake your children.

Growing up under the care of Abu Bakr (ra), Umm Saad (ra) developed love for the Words of Allah (swt). If the Christians would cry hearing the recitation of Abu Bakr (ra), one can only imagine how heart-touching his recitation must be.

It is said that Jameelah, Umm Saad (ra), recited the Quran beautifully. Knowing how to recite the Quran, she was not content with mere recitation. She went a step further, and memorised it.

How did Allah (swt) reward her?

He married her to Zayd ibn Thabit (ra). The Companion (ra) assigned with the task to compile the Quran into a Mus-haf (written book). Zayd (ra) started memorising the Qur’an when he was a young boy in Madinah who had not even met the Prophet (sa). When the Prophet (sa) arrived in Madinah, Zayd (ra) was introduced to him in these words, “O Prophet of Allah (sa)! This child of ours knows by heart seventeen chapters of the Book, and recites them as accurately as they were revealed to you. Besides, he is well-versed in the matters of reading and writing. He wishes to be close to you. Listen to him, if you will.”

The Prophet (sa) listened to the boy’s recitation and found him to be clear and accurate. Witnessing his linguistic talent, the Prophet (sa) instructed young Zayd (ra) to learn Hebrew, thus facilitating the communication with the Jews. Thereon, Zayd (ra) became the official interpreter for the Prophet (sa).

Later, the couple together helped one another and the Companions (ra) in compiling and proofreading the Quran. A service that they will be forever remembered for.

Lessons: We learn how important it is to put our trust in Allah (swt), conform to the teachings and hand over our matters to Him. Apprehensions do not provide solutions, but cause fatigue.

We also learn how important it is to surround ourselves and our children with the right company; people who inspire us. Growing up with the love of the Quran and Allah (swt), one’s faith strengthens and he gets a direction in a life; not only that, but Allah (swt) becomes the Protector and Supporter of such a person. A widow, as Khalada (ra), worrying about her orphaned daughter’s marriage gets one of the best men in town as her son-in-law.

We also learn how important it is to surround ourselves and our children with the right company; people who inspire us.

In the case of Zayd (ra), we see what wonders little encouragement from the adults can do. The elders acknowledged that Zayd (ra) was talented. He was their pride. They were, however, not complacent with his current achievements, they aspired him to go higher and higher. His special skills were not used in chasing the worldly charms only, but for the service of religion as well.

How do we limit our children? Do we acknowledge their special gifts? Do we help them in finding the right direction or do we choose the same, usual path for them? Do we encourage our daughters? Do we encourage them to read, write and teach? Are they confident in their love for Islam and Allah (swt)?

May Allah (swt) allow us to look at our skills, enable us to refine them and use them in His Cause. May He also put blessing in our time and enable us to not waste it. Ameen.

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

Lessons of Eloquence from Umm Maabad (ra)

flower-wallpaper-1The Description of the Prophet (sa) by an Uneducated, Desert Woman

When Abu Maabad (ra) returned with his flock of sheep, he was startled finding a vessel full of milk. He inquired where it came from, since he had not left any animal behind that gave milk. The wife narrated to him the interesting incident that had happened moments ago. Abu Maabad (ra) asked for the man’s description.

Umm Maabad (ra) replied:

“Radiant colour, glowing countenance, beautifully proportioned.

Neither blemished by a protruding belly nor disfigured by an unusually small head.

Deep black eyes, long eyelashes, coarse voice and a long neck.

The pupils of his eyes are very dark while the area around them is extremely white;

Thick eyebrows that meet each other.

Dark, shiny hair.

 

When he is silent, he is stately and composed,

And when he speaks, his appearance is impressive.

He is the most beautiful and striking man from afar,

And the most pleasant and stunning when near.

 

Sweetness in speech, clear and concise;

Neither too little nor nonsense.

Words flowing forth like a perfect string of pearls.

 

Of moderate height-

Neither too tall that it displeases the eye,

Nor too short that the eye does not behold.

 

A branch between two branches

Radiant and beholding to the eye

(Meaning: A stately man in the company of two other stately men. He is the most prominent among them and the most well-respected.)

 

Companions who surround him,

If he speaks, they listen to him attentively.

If he commands, they hasten to honour it.

Well-served and attended;

Neither harsh nor utters Laghw [futile] speech.

Hearing the description of the Prophet (sa), Abu Maabad (ra) cried out that this was the man the Quraish had been looking for. He exclaimed that if he met the Prophet (sa), he would follow him. The couple then went to Madinah, embraced Islam and pledged their allegiance.

Through this description, we can visualize the Prophet (sa). Let us look at our skills, aim to refine them and use them for serving Allah’s (swt) religion and spreading goodness.

Later, when Umm Maabad (ra) was complimented on her beautiful description of the Prophet, (sa) she replied that it was natural. As a woman, she was a keen observer and sensitive. She scrutinized everything in detail.

Lessons to draw: Umm Maabad (ra) was an uneducated and ordinary, desert woman. At her description, the Companions (ra) commented that despite their being close to the Prophet (sa), they could not describe him with such grace and eloquence.

Tongue is a powerful weapon. It can melt hearts or estrange ties. The tongue that could have been occupied in the remembrance of Allah (swt), and spreading goodness- is often found engaged in character assassination and tale-bearing. We return from gatherings, and get busy in gossips and backbiting. Other people’s lives, their clothing, their children, their career choices, and their relationships, are often the topics of our discussion and scrutiny.

Umm Maabad (ra) asserts that she was able to give such an illustrious description of the Prophet (sa) because being a woman she was more observant than men. She saw the Prophet (sa) only once and observed all his distinguishing features. Why is it that when we meet people our focus is on their flaws and not their excellences?

As mothers, it is important that we keep our tongues in check. Our little apprentices who spend most of their early years with us are observing each and every move of ours, and taking a note of the words that we utter. Our grievances, our tantrums, and our opinions about other people or life in general leave a mark on the children. Their opinions are formed based on what they have heard or seen in their early years. While some children get rid of their early opinions, many do not. Let us not be unaware of our conduct.

She saw the Prophet (sa) only once and observed all his distinguishing features. Why is it that when we meet people our focus is on their flaws and not their excellences?

Umm Maabad (ra) has done us a great favour. We have no way of seeing our beloved (sa) other than waiting for Jannah (May Allah (swt) make us from the people of Paradise, Ameen.) Through this description, we can visualize the Prophet (sa). Let us look at our skills, aim to refine them and use them for serving Allah’s (swt) religion and spreading goodness.

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

Umm Waraqah bint Nawfal (ra) and her love for Quran

flower-on-quranAlso known as Umm Waraqah bint Abdullah (ra), her name is ascribed to her grandfather Nawfal. She was from the learned people of the Ansar (the helpers of Madinah). Besides fasting and being an ardent worshipper, Umm Waraqah (ra) had one more distinguishing quality – she had memorised the Quran and was the Imam of the women.

The Lover of the Quran and the Female Imam

Umm Waraqah (ra) was a rich woman having a prestigious lineage. Instead of losing herself in the worldly pleasures, she made herself busy in studying, understanding, reflecting on and memorising the Quran. The Quran was the main focus of her life, by which she lived till her end.

Instead of losing herself in the worldly pleasures, she made herself busy in studying, understanding, reflecting on and memorising the Quran

Preserving Allah’s (swt) Book in her heart, there was no chance that Allah (swt) would not honour her. The Prophet (sa) permitted her to lead the women in prayer in her house. She requested for a Muadh-dhin, and an old man was appointed.

Lessons to draw: Being chosen to serve the Quran is indeed a great honour. We must continuously work on our relationship with the Quran; having studied it once, we must spend time reflecting on its verses, live by them, preserve them in our hearts, and share them with others. We also learn that a woman can lead other women in prayer. We find the examples of Aisha (ra) and Umm Salamah (ra). But in order to lead others in prayers, one must first work on the recitation of the Quran.

The People of the Quran stay awake in the Nights

Being a memoriser of the Quran, we see that Umm Waraqah (ra) sought guidance from the Quran. Quran inspired her to next courses of action.

When she read: “Perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat) from mid-day till the darkness of the night (i.e. the Zuhr, ‘Asr, Maghrib, and ‘Isha’ prayers), and recite the Quran in the early dawn (i.e. the morning prayer). Verily, the recitation of the Quran in the early dawn is ever witnessed (attended by the angels in charge of mankind of the day and the night). And in some parts of the night (also) offer the Salat (prayer) with it (i.e. recite the Quran in the prayer), as an additional prayer (Tahajjud optional prayer Nawafil)…,” (Al-Isra 17: 78-79), she knew that Allah (swt) is speaking to her. From that day onwards, she started getting up for Tahajjud and reciting the Quran. It became a habit.

On his way for the Fajr prayer, Umar ibn Al-Khattab (ra) would hear her reciting the Quran. He would admire this lady for her commitment and love for the Book of Allah (swt). He knew it was indeed a blessing of Allah (swt) to be granted the honour of waking up at Tahajjud and reciting the Quran; not due to a worldly need but purely for the love of Allah’s (swt) Speech. When he would return from the Masjid he would still hear Umm Waraqah’s (ra) voice, reciting the Quran.

Building a strong relationship with the Quran, cleansed Umm Waraqah’s (ra) heart from its diseases. She held no rancour or hatred for anyone. She was a gentle and kind-hearted person which opened up the hearts of others. Neighbourhood ladies would visit her often for the congregational prayer, as well as, the educational gatherings.

Let us express our love for the Book by challenging ourselves to memorise its Surahs and revising them in our prayer

Lessons to draw: Our love for anything is only displayed by our attitude towards it. If we truly love the Quran, then Quran will become the most important thing in our life. The best recitation of the Quran is that which is recited in the prayer. Let us express our love for the Book by challenging ourselves to memorise its Surahs and revising them in our prayer. Let us not remain content with only learning the small ones. We should also encourage our Huffaz to not leave their recitation after memorising the Book. They must show their gratitude to Allah (swt) for the great honour. Little should be our sleep and long should be our nights spent in worship.

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

Umm Haram Bint Milhan (ra) – A Forerunner

First flowers of SpringGlad tiding for the Forerunners

When Allah (swt) commands us to hasten towards all that is good (Al-Baqarah 2:148), it is so that we don’t miss out on the rewards that the forerunners receive.

In a Hadeeth, narrated by Anas Ibn Malik (ra), it appears that one day the Prophet (sa) entered the house of Umm Haram (ra). She provided him with food and started grooming his head. The Prophet (sa) fell asleep and when he woke up he was smiling. Umm Haram asked what made him smile. He replied, “Some people of my Ummah were shown to me (in my dream) fighting for the sake of Allah (swt), sailing in the middle of the seas like kings on their thrones.” Umm Haram (ra), not allowing herself to miss the chance, immediately requested the Prophet (sa) to pray to Allah (swt) to make her one of them. The Prophet (sa) prayed to Allah (swt), and then again went back to sleep. When he woke up, he was again smiling. Umm Haram (ra) again asked, what made him smile. He said, “Some people of my Ummah were shown to me (in my dream) fighting for the sake of Allah (swt).” He said the same as he had said before. Umm Haram (ra) again requested him to pray to Allah (swt) to make her one of them. He replied, “You will be among the first one.”

She had intended to participate in Jihad and when the time came she went with the army. She did not procrastinate or change her mind.

The dream of the Prophet (sa) came true. During the Caliphate of Muawiya Ibn Abu Sufyan, Umm Haram (ra) travelled with the Muslim army by way of the sea. When their ship reached Cyprus, Umm Haram (ra) got off the ship and was getting on her riding animal that she fell down and died of a serious neck injury. She was buried where she died. The people of Cyprus refer to her grave as ‘the grave of the goodly woman.’

Lessons to draw: Umm Haram (ra) desired martyrdom and she was so sincere in her intention that Allah (swt) granted her what she wished for. She had intended to participate in Jihad and when the time came she went with the army. She did not procrastinate or change her mind. She was true to her intention.

“Verily, Allah, With Him (Alone) is the knowledge of the Hour, He sends down the rain, and knows that which is in the wombs. No person knows what he will earn tomorrow, and no person knows in what land he will die. Verily, Allah is All-Knower, All-Aware (of things).” (Luqman 31:34)

A life that began with Shahadah (testimony of faith) ended upon faith. What about our lives? How will our end be?

A life that began with Shahadah (testimony of faith) ended upon faith. What about our lives? How will our end be? Do we make half-hearted intentions or are we really committed to what we seek?

Umm Haram (ra), even after passing away, is a continuous caller to Islam. Whoever passes by her grave asks about her. He is then informed that she was one of the female companions of Prophet Muhammad (sa). What does our being remind people? Does it connect them to Allah (swt)?

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

Lessons of righteousness from Umm Haram Bint Milhan

spring-flowersUmm Haram Bint Milhan (ra) was the sister of Umm Sulaym (ra), and was married to one of the Prophet’s (sa) close companions Ubadah Ibn Saamit (ra). Both the husband and wife were one of the early embracers of Islam.

Like her sister, Umm Haram (ra) dearly loved Allah (swt). She would fast regularly, recite the Quran, and worship and remember Allah (swt) abundantly. This family was really blessed by the mercy of Allah (swt).

Enthusiasm to seek knowledge

When Ubadah Ibn Saamit (ra) returned from the Pledge of Aqabah, Umm Haram (ra) inquired about his meeting with the Prophet (sa) and enthusiastically listened to the details. She wanted to know which of the Ansar (helpers of Madinah) were chosen as the representatives of Islam, and what their responsibilities were.

When the Prophet (sa) migrated to Madinah, Ubadah Ibn Saamit (ra) actively participated in all the battles. He would be in the front, fighting the enemy and defending the Prophet (sa) against their attacks. When the Prophet (sa) would not be participating in a battle then Ubadah Ibn Saamit (ra) would attend his gatherings to learn religion. He would then share the knowledge with his wife Umm Haram (ra).

The couple knew that seeking knowledge is mandatory for both Muslim men and women. Umm Haram (ra), therefore, looked forward to learning about the religion. They were so committed to the Book of Allah (swt), and the teachings of the Prophet (sa) that both Ubadah (ra) and Umm Haram (ra) attained the honour of being Hadeeth narrators. Umm Haram (ra) is the narrator of five Prophetic Traditions which were later narrated by her husband, her nephew Anas (ra), and Ata Ibn Yasaar (ra).

They were so committed to the Book of Allah (swt), and the teachings of the Prophet (sa) that both Ubadah (ra) and Umm Haram (ra) attained the honour of being Hadeeth narrators

Lessons to draw: We see that this family stepped forward in all the good deeds: they were among the early embracers of Islam, they defended the Prophet (sa), they attended religious gatherings, and transferred knowledge to others. They did not wait for others to take the lead, but rather rushed to get their name written in all kinds of good deeds. It teaches us to hasten towards good deeds. And not always wait for us to take the first step.

Standing up for the righteous

When the Prophet (sa) returned to Allah (swt), Ubadah Ibn Saamit (ra) and his wife Umm Haram (ra) grieved his loss. They could no longer meet him. They missed the days that they had spent under his leadership and care. They missed their regular gatherings of knowledge with the Prophet (sa).

Disagreements between the Muslims emerged soon after the Prophet’s (sa) death. When Abu Bakr Siddiq (ra) was chosen as the new leader for the Muslims, many tribes protested his appointment. Umm Haram (ra) and her husband found Abu Bakr’s (ra) conduct in alignment to the Prophet’s (sa) teaching. They did not find anything displeasing in him. Therefore, they pledged their allegiance to him and supported him against those who revolted.

Do we stand with the truth or do we blindly support injustice because of our personal relationship with the unjust?

Lessons to draw: Standing up with the truth requires strength and courage. How strong are we? Do we stand with the truth or do we blindly support injustice because of our personal relationship with the unjust?

In the Quran, Allah (swt) says, “O you who believe! Stand out firmly for Allah as just witnesses; and let not the enmity and hatred of others make you avoid justice.” (Al-Maidah 5:8).

(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 Asma Bint Yazid (ra)

flowerwoodChoice of Friends

Asma (ra) was much older than the Mother of the Believers Aisha (ra), yet she would visit her often to seek knowledge. Their relationship was based on mutual love and truthfulness. Their conversations were generally about issues of jurisprudence, and not gossips about the community.

Lessons to draw: Raise the standard of your friends. Genuinely reach out for people who are better than you in Deen. Respect and benefit from their knowledge. Knowing our time is precious, we must not waste it in Laghw (futile); but rather, look for opportunities to benefit ourselves and others. We must actively seek opportunities that will raise our scales in the hereafter. We should also polish our skills and be a productive member of the society.

Raise the standard of your friends. Genuinely reach out for people who are better than you in Deen.

Blessing in Food

Asma (ra) had a small place for prayer in her courtyard. Sometimes, the Prophet (sa) would go there to pray. One day when he arrived, Asma (ra) presented him food. The Prophet (sa) instructed his accompanying Companions (ra) to join him in the dinner. The Prophet (sa), the Companions (ra) and the family ate from the meal, and much was left over. There must have been forty people who shared the meal together.

The Prophet (sa) then got up and drank water from the leather flask. Asma (ra) preserved that flask and would use it when someone in the family fell ill. When a sick person would be served water from it, he would be cured. It was all because of the blessings of the Prophet (sa).

Lessons to draw: We might not have the Prophet (sa) among us anymore, but we learn that sharing our provision with others always brings more. We must be generous in sharing our food, our skills, our time and our knowledge with others- especially those who need it the most.

To increase the blessing in one’s provision one must also learn and follow the etiquette that our Prophet (sa) taught. Among them some are: it should be Halal (permissible) and Tayyab (pure). Therefore, purify your source of income and thoughts. Do not be greedy and selfish. Have concern for others too. Start every good deed and daily habits such as eating or sleeping with the name of Allah (swt).

We must be generous in sharing our food, our skills, our time and our knowledge with others- especially those who need it the most.

Narrator of Hadeeth

Being a regular student of the gatherings of the Prophet (sa) and Aisha (ra), Asma (ra) attained the honour of being a Hadeeth narrator. Around eighty one Ahadeeth have been narrated from her.

Lessons to draw: We cannot be a Hadeeth narrator, but how many Ahadeeth do we know by our hearts? Let us set up a Hadeeth memorising goal and memorise some.

Participation in Battles

Asma (ra) dedicated the early years of her marriage in tending to her home. When the children grew up and became independent, she used her skills and time for Allah (swt). She participated with the men in the battles. Not only as a nurse attending to the wounded, and supporting the men, but also as a warrior.  She had no weapons of her own and no means to procure one. She took the pole of her tent and killed nine enemy soldiers in the Battle of Uhud.

Around eighty one Ahadeeth have been narrated from her.

She lived up to a ripe age and later moved to Damascus where she died. She was one of the women promised Paradise.

Lessons to draw: We see in the life of Asma (ra) many roles. She was a student, a teacher, Hadeeth narrator, and a warrior. She performed all those roles, while efficiently performing her domestic duties. She felt no humiliation in doing house chores. At one point in her life, she was divorced. But, she continued to benefit herself and others. She did not allow anything to put a blockade in her determination to gather Hasanahs (good deeds) for herself.

Asma (ra) teaches us to raise our scales. She teaches us to prioritise our duties and bring a balance in them. She teaches us to keep moving, despite the challenges that we encounter.

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

Asma Bint Yazid (ra) and the thirst for Knowledge

knowledgeShe was the daughter of Yazid ibn Sakan and Umm Saad bint Khuzaim. Her husband was Abu Saeed Ansari, and Muath ibn Jabal (ra) was her cousin.

Asma bint Yazid (ra) was another woman blessed with eloquence of speech, though she was not a poetess. Because of her well-articulated and convincing statements, she was given the title of ‘the Woman Orator.’ She was sensitive and at the same time daring. She trained herself for the battles and ardently participated in them.

Desire to Learn

Asma (ra) embraced Islam upon the Dawah call of Musab ibn Umair (ra). After embracing Islam, she wasted no time in seeking knowledge. She was a regular participant of the Prophet’s (sa) gatherings, and never hesitated from asking questions. She believed that asking questions increased knowledge. One day, acting as an attorney of women, she asked the Prophet (sa):

“Today, I have come to plead the case for women. Allah (swt) sent you as His Prophet for all mankind – men and women. We women also have had the privilege and honour of swearing allegiance to Allah (swt) and you. We also follow your teachings and your Sunnah. We women live within our houses and fulfil our duties.  We are absorbed in looking after our husbands and fulfilling their needs. We see to the upbringing of our children and to the daily function of the household. Men, however, have more opportunities for earning rewards from Allah (swt) because they can do things which we, as women, cannot do. Men attend the congregational prayers in the mosques, and special Friday prayers. They participate in the funeral prayer; they also have the privilege of taking part in the Jihad. When they go for Jihad we are left at home to protect their property and look after the family. Are we not also equally deserving of reward from Allah (swt)?”

The Prophet (sa) was impressed by her rational plea and asked the Companions (ra) if they had ever heard a better question than Asma’s (ra).

At other occasions, Asma (ra) asked the Prophet (sa) the proper method of Taharah (purification).

Asma’s (ra) asking question reflects her desire to increase her scale in the hereafter.

Lessons to draw: Asma’s (ra) asking question reflects her desire to increase her scale in the hereafter. She was not content with her obligatory duties of home management. She wanted to do more. Single sisters complain that their parents do not allow them to go out. Married sisters complain that their children and house chores do not allow them to contribute in the way of Allah (swt). We sit at home and waste our potential. We see in the lives of the Sahabiyat that they were married women with children and domestic responsibilities, and yet, excelled in their Deen. They never shied away from additional deeds. They knew how to strike a balance between their obligatory duties and voluntary acts. They attended to their domestic responsibilities first, and then turned their attention to what they could do in the way of Allah (swt). They did this voluntarily out of love and dedication and never considered it as a burden.

We see in the lives of the Sahabiyat that they were married women with children and domestic responsibilities, and yet, excelled in their Deen

Asma’s (ra) one reason for asking question was to gain knowledge herself, and also to share it with those who were less knowledgeable. Many sisters after doing their Islamic education courses, either adopt a “holier than thou attitude” or take a back seat and are only content with their domestic duties and their own worship. They do not reach out to others. If one looks at their own newsfeed, many knowledgeable sisters have the time to share jokes, silly quizzes and their check-ins, but when someone asks them a question they reply with: Allahu Alam (Allah (swt) knows best). What was the purpose of your Islamic education, sister? You have the time to share unimportant updates, but not something of the knowledge that you have?

We see people around us distancing away from the Quran, and we feel no pain for them. Let us follow the footsteps of Asma (ra) and gain knowledge to help other sisters in their learning.

(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 Patience from Hind bint Amr (ra)

flowerwiltBurial of Loved Ones

When the light of Islam enters the heart, even an unbeliever becomes convinced to fight in the way of Allah (swt). Amr ibn Jamuh (ra) who took his time to embrace Islam was then determined to fight in the way of Allah (swt). The Battle of Badr was all set to take place. Amr (ra) was also preparing to participate in the fight against the unbelievers. His family, however, feared for his safety. He had a fault in one of his legs, and could not walk properly. They pleaded before him to not participate in the battle. And,, when he did not listen to the family, the family took the case to the Prophet (sa). The Prophet (sa) looking at his condition advised Amr (ra) to stay behind. And so, the determined warrior surrendered before his leader (sa).

When the news of victory at Badr reached Madinah, Amr (ra) was both thrilled and saddened. He had missed his chance to participate in the first battle of Islam.

At one time where the family was concerned about Amr’s faith, Amr (ra) preceded the family in entering Jannah.

As determined as he was, he did not let go of his desire of martyrdom. The Battle of Uhud was around the corner. He again started preparing for it. His family again pleaded before him and recited the verse that excuses the weak from participating in a battle. Then Amr (ra) went to the Prophet (sa) to complain about his family. He shared that he wanted to see himself walking crippled in Paradise. When RasulAllah (sa) noticed his sincere desire, he stopped the family from preventing him from participating in the battle. He said that it might be that Allah (swt) willed martyrdom for him.

Amr (ra) was granted the permission. He entered the battlefield with his sons as a lion surrounded by his cubs. Since his intention was sincere, he was granted martyrdom along with Hind’s brother Abu Jabir ibn Abdullah (ra).

Aisha (ra) narrates that on the day of Uhud, she saw a woman leading two camels that were carrying some load. Aisha (ra) asked her what the news was. The woman replied that everything was alright. Allah (swt) had granted victory to His Messenger (sa) and the believers, and some people of the faith were granted martyrdom. Saying this, the woman started weeping. It was Hind (ra) carrying the bodies of her husband Amr (ra) and brother Abu Jabir (ra).

Hind (ra) did not immediately say that she was carrying the bodies of her loved ones, rather she said that Allah (swt) had granted victory to the believers and martyrdom to some.

Hind (ra) spent the rest of the days of her life in fasting and worship, until eventually she met her Lord (swt).

Lessons to draw: We learn that we should never underestimate the power of one’s goodness. At one time where the family was concerned about Amr’s faith, Amr (ra) preceded the family in entering Jannah. Moreover, we are again reminded of watching our tongues when we lose someone or something. Hind (ra) did not immediately say that she was carrying the bodies of her loved ones, rather she said that Allah (swt) had granted victory to the believers and martyrdom to some. Here was a woman clear in her mind about the reality of this life. She knew eventually all of us will leave this Earth. She continued performing her duties as life for her did not end.

(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 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 Umm Sulaym Bint Malhan (ra)

A fort in Khyber.

A fort in Khyber.

Umm Sulaym’s (ra) participation in the battles

The Muslim men and women equally participated in the defence of Islam. While the men fought the enemy with their swords and arrows, the women looked after the wounded. Umm Sulaym (ra) participated in the Battle of Uhud, the Battle of Khyber, and the Battle of Hunain under the leadership of the Prophet (sa). While her husband shot the enemy with his bow and archer, Umm Sulaym (ra) attended to the injured and served water to the thirsty soldiers. When the leather flask would get empty she would rush to get it filled.

Umm Sulaym (ra) carried a dagger with her. The Prophet (sa) inquired what she planned to do with it. She replied that she would attack the enemy if he approached her.

Lessons to draw: We see Umm Sulaym (ra) is always prepared to defend Islam. She was aging but she remained active. She did not stay behind in wars. She attended to the tasks that the women performed in the battles. We should never sit back when there is an opportunity to gather Khair.

We see Umm Sulaym (ra) is always prepared to defend Islam. She was aging but she remained active.

The woman of Paradise

We know about the ten male companions who were promised Paradise in their lifetime. But, not many of us know about the women promised Paradise in their lifetime. To name a few, they were: Prophet’s (sa) first wife Khadijah bint Khawalid (ra), Prophet’s (sa) beloved daughter Fatimah (ra), Aasiya (as)- the wife of Pharaoh, Mariam (as), Umm Ruman (ra)- the black woman who suffered from epilepsy and so on.

Umm Sulaym (ra) was a truthful woman, steadfast in her religion, recognising the rights of her Lord and His creation, obedient to the Prophet (sa), strong against the unbelievers and hypocrites, and an example for the generous.

Anas ibn Malik (ra) narrated that the Prophet (sa) said: “When I entered the Paradise, I heard someone’s footsteps. I asked who it was. The angels replied that it was Ghameesa bint Malhan.” (Muslim). Another narration states that he was informed that it was Bilal (ra).

Islam does not discriminate between men and women. Women have many opportunities to raise their scales in the Books of Allah (swt)

Umm Sulaym (ra) also has the honour of narrating Prophetic traditions. From her many other companions passed it on to others including Anas ibn Malik (ra), Abdullah ibn Abbas (ra), and Zaid ibn Thabit (ra). Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim also recorded Ahadeeth from her.

Lessons to draw: Islam does not discriminate between men and women. Women have many opportunities to raise their scales in the Books of Allah (swt). Let us balance our worldly life with seeking eternal pleasures of the hereafter, Insha’Allah.

(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 Patience from Umm Sulaym Bint Malhan (ra)

sabrMother’s love for her son

The Prophet (sa) would often visit Talha’s (ra) family; he would not go to any other home besides his wives’. The scholars explain that Umm Sulaym (ra) and her sister Umm Haram (ra) were maternal aunts of the Prophet (sa) either through breastfeeding or blood. Hence, they were Mahram.

One day, when the Prophet (sa) came, Umm Sulaym (ra) presented him with dates and Ghee (purified butter). The Prophet (sa) informed that he was fasting. He, then went in a corner, and offered two units of voluntary prayer. Anas (ra) and his mother joined him, as well. The Prophet (sa) prayed for Umm Sulaym (ra) and her family. Umm Sulaym (ra) then requested the Prophet (sa) to pray for her dear son Anas (ra). The Prophet (sa) said, “O Allah (swt)! Give him wealth and children, and bless him.” This Dua was accepted by Allah (swt). Anas (ra) grew up to be wealthy and there were many children from his lineage.

Lessons to draw: We see that Umm Sulaym (ra) misses no chance to seek the best for her son. When her husband rejected her, she dedicated herself to Anas’s upbringing. When Anas (ra) grew up a little, she sent him to the Prophet (sa) to serve him and to learn directly from him. When the Prophet (sa) visited their home, she requested prayers for her dear son.

We see that Umm Sulaym (ra) misses no chance to seek the best for her son. How attentive are we to the many opportunities around us?

How attentive are we to the many opportunities around us? How enthusiastic are we in seeking lasting goodness for our children?

Umm Sulaym’s (ra) patience

Umm Sulaym’s (ra) exemplary patience and strength at the passing of her son is an incident that she is most known for.

Allah (swt) blessed Umm Sulaym (ra) and Abu Talha (ra) with a beautiful son Abu Umair. He was the apple of their eyes. One day, Abu Umair fell sick and he died. Abu Talha (ra) was away on a business trip. Umm Sulaym (ra) instructed everyone not to send the news to her husband. She wanted to inform him herself.

When he returned home, Umm Sulaym (ra) served him and allowed him to rest. She then informed the father of their son’s passing away. She said, “O Abu Talha! What is your opinion if some people have trusted you with something, and then they demand to take it back? Should their property not be returned to them?”

Abu Talha (ra) replied that it was their right to claim it back. Umm Sulaym (ra) said, “See our son was Allah’s (swt) Amanah; today, He has taken back His Amanah. Our son has passed away.” She then advised him to be patient.

The next day when Abu Talha (ra) informed the Prophet (sa) about the night’s incident, the Prophet (sa) supplicated for the family.

When Allah (swt) tests someone and they clear their test, He rewards them with something better. After the passing of Abu Umair, Umm Sulaym (ra) and her husband were blessed with another little boy. The Prophet (sa) named him Abdullah ibn Abu Talha and gave him Tahneek.

When the child is taken back, the mother advises the father to be patient. Generally, it is the woman who seeks consolation from others, but here we see that the woman is giving comfort to the man.

Abdullah ibn Abu Talha lived a long life and had many sons – each of them a memoriser of the Quran. This was all because of the Prophet’s (sa) supplication for the family, and their admirable patience and generosity for the sake of Allah (swt).

Lessons to draw: People are inflicted with trials to ascertain their conduct. How are they going to react? Are we going to complain while we do not own anything in this world? All that we enjoy are special favours of Allah (swt). A couple cannot have a child, unless Allah (swt) wills. When the child is taken back, the mother advises the father to be patient. Generally, it is the woman who seeks consolation from others, but here we see that the woman is giving comfort to the man.

(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 Fortitude from Umm Sulaym Bint Malhan (ra)

shell_in_the_sand_1600x1200When someone is loved by their dear ones, they are called by many nick names. Same was the case with Umm Sulaym (ra). Though widely known as Umm Sulaym, some of her other names were: Sahlah, Ghameesa, Rameesa, Rumaylah and Mulaykah.

She was the daughter of Malhan ibn Khalid. Her first husband was Malik ibn Nadhr, from whom she had Anas ibn Malik (ra) and Barah (ra). She later married Abu Talha (ra). She was a woman blessed with beauty, intellect, good character, fortitude and independent thinking. Her distinguishing trait, however, was her love for Islam and its defence.

Conversion to Islam

Umm Sulaym (ra) is one of the forerunners who embraced Islam as soon as the message reached her. Her husband was not in town. When he learnt that his wife had converted to Islam, he asked her if she was a Sabi (without any religion). Umm Sulaym (ra) replied that she had not left religion. Rather, she had embraced faith and followed the truth. Her husband threatened her. But Umm Sulaym (ra) remained calm. Her heart was filled with the love of her Creator (swt) and His Messenger (sa).

(Note: Umm Sulaym (ra) remained married to an unbeliever because at that time the verses that prohibit such a marriage were not revealed.)

We blame our families for our mediocre adherence to religion. Umm Sulaym (ra) teaches us courage to find our own way to build a strong connection with Allah (swt)

Lessons to draw: Umm Sulaym (ra) knew her salvation in the hereafter did not depend on her husband. She was a woman of independent thinking. She submitted to the commands of Allah (swt) and did not allow her husband to dissuade her. When our family does not support us in the way of Allah (swt), we take that as an excuse for not excelling in religion. We blame our families for our mediocre adherence to religion. Umm Sulaym (ra) teaches us courage to find our own way to build a strong connection with Allah (swt), and not depend on people to connect with Him. She also did not fear that if her husband left, what will become of her.

How strong are we in the path of Allah (swt)?

Paying attention to the necessary

Umm Sulaym (ra) did not engage herself in conflicts and arguments. She directed her energies to that which actually mattered – the upbringing of her son Anas (ra). She started with the basics and taught him the words of Adhan (call to prayer). One day, little Anas (ra) was memorising La ilaha illa Allahu Muhammad ur Rasulullah, when his father saw him. Furious as he was, Malik ibn Nadhr confronted his wife for spoiling their son and warned her to stop. Umm Sulaym (ra) again calmly replied that she was not spoiling their son, but educating him.

Arguments became a norm in Malik’s house. Malik threatened his wife that if she did not leave her religion, then he will have to leave her. Umm Sulaym (ra) remained undeterred. Understanding that his wife would not give up the religion that she so dearly loved, Malik left the house and was killed by an enemy.

Lesson to draw: Dawah begins from home. Many people are seen practicing religion, but when one meets their children – they are quite the opposite. While it is a test from Allah (swt), one cause of their detachment from Deen is that the message did not reach them. The parent had been attending or delivering religious lectures and classes, while not transferring the knowledge to those at home. This is also one reason why families are different.

Do not ignore your family, your parents, your spouse and children. Your first responsibility is towards them. Also do not get disheartened when your Dawah is not welcomed

Do not ignore your family, your parents, your spouse and children. Your first responsibility is towards them. Also do not get disheartened when your Dawah is not welcomed. Again, it is a test from Allah (swt). When the father (Nadhr) rejects the religion, the son (Anas) embraces it. Continue your efforts and seek reward from only Him.

(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 Reliance from Hawa bint Yazid (ra)

stream-rocks-longshawInna Ma’al Usre Yusra

As per the custom of that time, the Mushrikeen visited the Kabah for Hajj. On one such instance, Qais too joined the delegation. The Prophet (sa), despite being in the minority, would promote his religion to the strangers. He would make efforts, and take out time to meet the people who had come to Makkah for Hajj.

He met Qais and presented Islam to him. Qais attentively listened to the Prophet (sa), and acknowledged that what he was being presented was a glorious religion. He asked for time to contemplate conversion. The Prophet (sa) desired that the husband of a devoted religious woman embraced Islam as well, therefore, he prolonged his dialogue with Qais. Qais, however, kept asking for more time to consider. The Prophet (sa), then asked Qais about his unkind treatment towards his wife. He instructed him to fear Allah (swt), and to promise him that he will never say anything to his distressed wife. Qais promised that he would do as the Prophet (sa) instructed and would never again be cruel to his wife.

Do not delay the opportunity to do good. You might miss the chance.

When Qais returned to Madinah, he informed Hawa (ra) about his meeting with the Messenger of Allah (sa), and his promise to him. He assured her that from then onwards he would never torment her. Hawa (ra) was relieved to hear that.

Verily, with the hardship, there is relief (i.e. there is one hardship with two reliefs, so one hardship cannot overcome two reliefs).” (Ash-Shath 94:6)

Hawa (ra) could then freely practice her religion. She openly declared her faith because she had no one to be fearful about. After a little time had passed, the Prophet (sa), being a true leader and well-wisher, asked about Hawa (ra) and her husband’s treatment. He was informed that she lived in peace.

People teased Qais about his wife’s conversion. He informed them of his promise to the Prophet (sa) and his will to honour it.

Qais had honoured his promise to the Prophet (sa). However, he kept waiting for the right time to embrace Islam, and missed his chance. Qais was killed as an idolater. He saved Hawa’s life in this world and the hereafter, but could not save his own hereafter.

Hawa (ra) attended his gatherings, learnt the religion and taught it to her son Thabith ibn Qais. She strove hard in religion and attained the status of being a Hadeeth Narrator.

Lessons to draw: Do not delay the opportunity to do good. You might miss the chance. Because Hawa (ra) only depended upon Allah (swt), He helped her in a miraculous way. With every difficulty there is ease, strengthen your faith in Allah (swt).

Life as a Widow

When the Prophet (sa) migrated to Madinah, Hawa (ra) attended his gatherings, learnt the religion and taught it to her son Thabith ibn Qais. She strove hard in religion and attained the status of being a Hadeeth Narrator. This is how Allah (swt) honours those who are willing to remain steadfast in their trials, and give precedence to religion over anything in the world.

May Allah (swt) also make us of those He honours. Ameen.

Lessons to draw: When you have taken the step to draw closer to Allah (swt), He will test you. He will put you through trials to separate the wheat from the chaff. How truly dedicated and honest are you in your service and commitment to Islam? Be brave. Don’t let Shaytan weaken your resolution.

(Click here to read ‘Lessons in Faith from Hawa bint Yazid (ra)’)

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