Lessons of Gratitude from Umm Ayyub Ansaria (ra)

datetreeHosts of the Beloved (sa)

When the news of the Prophet’s (sa) migration to Madinah reached the city, the entire Madinah came out of their homes to catch one glance of the beloved Messenger (sa). This was a sight never witnessed before. Every heart desired that they host the Messenger (sa) at their house. But Allah (swt) had decided something else.

The Messenger (sa) instructed the crowd to leave the she-camel Qaswa alone, and let her follow the Divine command. The she-camel treaded slowly as if deciding at whose house she should stop. Suddenly, she halted in front of the house of Abu Ayyub Ansari (ra). The forerunners were chosen by Allah (swt) to host His beloved (sa). Witnessing this blessed moment, Umm Ayyub’s eyes welled up with tears. She could not believe this beloved being (sa) was to stay at their home. She ran inside to fix the Prophet’s place for resting and to cook a meal for him. This was the greatest honour that anyone could attain.

when a person swings between this and that, there is a possibility that the chance to do a good deed is snatched from him.

Following his wife, Abu Ayyub (ra) rushed forward to grab the Prophet’s luggage and to carry it inside. The Prophet (sa) stood at the entrance thanking the people who had come out to welcome him in this new city.

Lessons to draw: A person should not procrastinate in the matters of goodness or what am I to gain from this. Because, when a person swings between this and that, there is a possibility that the chance to do a good deed is snatched from him. We should be the ones who say: we hear and we obey and not miss the opportunities of goodness that we are offered. May Allah (swt) make us from the Sabiqoon bil Khairat — those who are foremost in doing good deeds. Ameen.

“…and of them are some who are, by Allah’s Leave, foremost in good deeds. That (inheritance of the Quran), that is indeed a great grace.” (Fatir 35:32)

Respect for the Messenger (sa)

Abu Ayyub (ra) lived in a double-storey house. Arrangements for the Prophet (sa) had been made on the upper level. The Prophet (sa), however, chose staying downstairs. He argued that since the people would be coming in to meet him, it would disturb the family if he stayed upstairs. The family could do nothing, but agree with whatever the Prophet (sa) chose. They went upstairs and stayed awake until sunrise. It was unacceptable for them to be at a level higher than the Messenger (sa). The next day, they again requested the Messenger (sa) to go upstairs as they did not want to cause him discomfort by their footsteps or movements above.

The Prophet (sa) stayed with the family till the time the Prophet’s Mosque was built. The family was upset that the Messenger (sa) would be leaving them. Their hearts were put to rest when they were assured of his house being close to theirs.

Gratitude by Limbs

Having the Prophet’s (sa) Mosque next door was considered a blessing by both Umm and Abu Ayyub (ra). Whenever they heard Bilal (ra) gave the call to prayer, the couple expressed their joy, not just by their tongues, but also by their limbs. Umm Ayyub (ra) actively participated with her husband in the worship of Allah (swt). She kept up with the voluntary worship along with the obligatory duties. She slept less at night and worshipped Allah (swt) more. She fasted on days outside Ramadan seeking the pleasure of Allah (swt).

Abu Ayyub (ra) would share with his wife whatever he learnt from the Prophet (sa) from the Quran.

To her, her greatest heir was the Quran. She regularly recited it and also memorised some portion. On some days, she listened to the Quran from her husband too. Abu Ayyub (ra) would share with his wife whatever he learnt from the Prophet (sa) from the Quran. Taking Quran as a beloved companion, Umm Ayyub (ra) would often reflect on its content. This reflection softened her heart and she was motivated to help others. Her purpose in life became looking after the needs of the poor and the needy.

The couple was not only active in their worship, but they were also the narrators of several Prophetic traditions.

Lessons to draw: One must not just talk about the worldly matters, but also share beneficial knowledge with their family. A constant reflection of the Quran reminds us of the reality of this life and our purpose here. It also softens the heart and develops compassion for others.

(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