I discovered when I covered

Blumen - DekorationI was not ready to wear Abaya at all; it seemed quite outmoded and I loved to doll up.
For me Abaya was not less than a prison. My vision shadowed by the basic concept of stereotypes. The idea of Purdah came up with the image of women who swathed themselves in veils, hiding in the inner most recesses of their homes.

I was not raised in a very religious family, but I had seen my mother being a very composed Muslimah. She is the one who made me learn and understand the basic concept of Deen. But there was and there still is a void- I could feel it.

The feeling of emptiness made me curious for what was lacking.
Hijab was my first step towards a contented and perfect living; there was no inspiration behind- it was just a promise I made to myself and Allah (swt).

Later on, my heart found its way, and I started to gain knowledge; but then Abaya was something I never thought of wearing.

And one day, my mother asked me to wear it, and somehow, I reluctantly agreed. In the beginning, I found it real hard and the worldly imperfections attracted me. It still does attract- but now, I have finally decided not to let this precious thing get away from me ever.

This Quranic verse is my favourite; and it is the only thing which inspires me to be pious for Allah (swt) Who is closely watching us, “Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that will make for greater purity for them; and Allah is well acquainted with all that they do, and say to believing women that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what appears thereof.” (Surah Nur 24: 30-31)

I feel more confident and secure in my Abaya; it’s like a Harry potter’s cloak to me which makes me disappear in front of all evil eyes and protects my grace. Moreover, Abaya is a real blessing for girls- whether in T-shirt or Pyjamas- just get up wear your Abaya and you are gracefully ready to go.

May Allah (swt) grant us utmost righteousness. Ameen.

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)

The truth behind my Niqab

female-silhouetteI have been wearing the Niqab for a little more than 5-five years, and found many blessings through that. It has served as an aid and as a essential support in my efforts to reach the most important goals in my life.

What does Niqab signify?

The main “keywords” that come to mind regarding the Niqab are protection, self-respect and nearness to Allah (swt).

The most important evidence for the practice of covering the face of a woman in Islam is the fact that the wives and female companions of the Prophet (sa) used to do that; hence, this is the way we can show our respect to the practice of these immensely great women, as well as, our determination to emulate them in every aspect possible.

I have noticed Allah’s (swt) special Nur on the faces of those women who have chosen to cover their faces in the presence of non-related men- it is similar to the light of faith that radiates from the heart. Such a face is protected from the unwanted, idle, curious or even hateful glances of people around.

Niqab gives one an opportunity to be in a sacred, blessed solitude even while being in a crowd of people; opportunity to smile exclusively and purely for the sake of Allah (swt); thanking Him for the blessings He has bestowed upon us; opportunity to whisper to oneself words of Allah’s (swt) remembrance; all of that without fearing to attract unwanted attention and causing perplexity to others.

Niqab is a sign of that what one aspires for: true spiritual inwardness and superiority of the spiritual aspect of our being over the physical aspect. A sign of aspiration to draw closer to Allah (swt), in opposition to what allures majority of people (and especially in the case of women – beautifying oneself in order to show off to other people, to butter up one’s selfishness and ambition). This tendency to turn away from the highest aim and waste our efforts for the sake of different ephemeral trifles is present in all of us, and everything that helps to counteract it is to be valued.

Niqab is a sign of turning away from the world-  a place of mundane entertainments without the awareness of the Divine Presence; away from the hustle and bustle that strive to take over our minds, and turning to Allah (swt) instead of all that. While being outside the house, it is a constant reminder of the goal, helping in different circumstances- not to forget towards where I have decided to direct my steps. Niqab is a sign of limiting the individualism and personal whims for the sake of a higher, over-individual goal, as well as, keeping aloof from everything that is base and fake in this world; thus, protecting one’s inner space from such influences.

On a symbolic level niqab points to the feminine, hidden aspect of Allah (swt)- not to Allah (swt) in His masculine aspect, as the Creator; but to Allah (swt) as the Infinite and the Incomprehensible; the black colour, on the other hand, indicates to the primeval state of being before the Creation, before the beginning of manifestation. The covering of the face, on its part, corresponds to Allah (swt) hiding His infinite, inexpressible Beauty behind the veils of the created things – those veils that only a few are able to see through, although everyone yearns for that, even though mostly not being aware of that themselves.

Biased attitude towards Niqab

It is not uncommon to hear that this attire reminds about the Christian nuns, and on a certain level we can agree with that; because, although in a different manner, their clothes speak about total devotion to Allah (swt), and leaving aside everything that may hinder that: if not as a state has been already attained but at least as a goal that one has put for oneself. This attests that it is possible for the society to accept the outward signs of an inner religious determination without any detriment for its totality. It might well be that not everyone feels fully comfortable at a certain point to see something that reminds them about the possibility to move in a different direction than the majority of the society does; but this in no way means that because of one person’s evanescent, by-passing inconvenience we should destroy other person’s opportunity to draw nearer to the highest aim of life. If in the case of Christianity such an expression is generally accepted and – in most cases – respected, why could that not be true in the case of Islam as well?

If somebody would argue that such a practice increases the quandary and hatred of people, it should be said that hatred is a problem of a person’s inner attitude, and it is clear that if it does not find one occasion to discharge itself, it will search for and definitely find another one that by accident will come in its way. Similarly as, reading the Quran, everyone reads there his/her own self, the attitude of people towards the attire of the Prophet’s (s) wives demonstrates to them what is hidden inside themselves, what are their hearts filled with: be it hatred, contempt and arrogance or cordiality, generosity and respect for the human being and his/her highest aspirations and yearnings.

The society blues against Niqab

Undoubtedly, in the basis of the society’s equivocal attitude also lies lack of knowledge and understanding, tightly holding on to prejudices that have been formed in the past, self-righteousness ‘I know better’ when one knows just nothing about the issue at hand, indisposition to lend an ear that is too close to actual deafness; even more deeply there lies hidden inner insecurity, sense of being endangered, lack of self-confidence that pushes one to ‘the best’ solution that actually does not solve anything: banning-mocking-waving aside-out of my sight!-destroying-forgetting.

Regarding safety issues – after all, the possibility to verify person’s identity in case of need is not lost in case of a person wearing the Niqab; it must be understood that no one asks people who pass by on the street every day to show their passports in order to compare the photo with the actual face, and absolute majority of the faces that we see passing by on the street we have already forgotten after just a few minutes. It is difficult to understand how a possible prohibition to cover one’s face could hold someone back from criminal acts he/she intends to perform. Therefore, it should be asked, what exactly is it that is so valuable that the society would gain in case wearing the Niqab would be banned, so that it outweighs the suffering of those members of society whom such a ban would influence the most?

Some months ago unfortunately I happened to be in Brussels for a while, where I was forced to take off the Niqab, and I have to say that it felt like being forced to undress and remain in that state just because of a certain whim of some people, although it is crystal clear that there is no real necessity for that. It would seem that everyone is able to imagine how humiliating and absurd such an experience must be.

There is no doubt that our society is in need of knowledge and an effort must be made in order to explain those – as well as many other Islam-related – issues. Therefore, a discussion in this regard is definitively to be welcomed; however, if this discussion will result in the habitual lack of true listening and eventual adopting of prohibitions for the sake of ‘overall convenience and comfort’, I am more than sure that all the involved sides will have to be counted as losers.

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)

Jameelah Umm Saad and the Rights of Women

women powerNamed Jameelah, Umm Saad was the daughter of Saad ibn Rab’iah (ra). Saad ibn Rabi’ah (ra) is the generous Companion who divided everything that he owned into two for his emigrant brother Abdur Rahman ibn Awf (ra). Saad (ra) was a man of a big heart; such that when he helped someone, the person never witnessed poverty again. He was not content with petty favours. When we help someone do we contemplate self-sufficiency?

Honoured by the Quran

Umm Saad (ra) was one of the few honoured women like Mariam (as), Asiya (as), Aisha (ra) and Khawlah (ra) about whom verses were revealed.

Umm Saad’s (ra) father was a soldier who fought for Islam. He was martyred in the Battle of Uhud. Being rich, he left behind much property. As per the custom of the days of ignorance, his property was seized by his brother depriving the women of their share.

Saad (ra) was a man of a big heart; such that when he helped someone, the person never witnessed poverty again.

Umm Saad’s (ra) mother, Khalada (ra) complained to the Prophet (sa) about her brother-in-law. The Prophet (sa) appeased her by saying that Allah (swt) would judge her matter. Comforted by his words, the grieving widow returned home. She knew that Allah (swt) was the Most Fair. He did not commit injustice. In a Hadeeth Qudsi it appears: I have forbidden oppression for Myself and I have forbidden it among you, so do not oppress one another.

Allah (swt) then sent His verdict:

“There is a share for men and a share for women from what is left by parents and those nearest related, whether, the property be small or large – a legal share. And when the relatives and the orphans and Al-Masakin (the poor) are present at the time of division, give them out of the property, and speak to them words of kindness and justice. And let those (executors and guardians) have the same fear in their minds as they would have for their own, if they had left weak offspring behind. So let them fear Allah and speak right words.

Verily, those who unjustly eat up the property of orphans, they eat up only a fire into their bellies, and they will be burnt in the blazing Fire!

Allah commands you as regards your children’s (inheritance); to the male, a portion equal to that of two females; if (there are) only daughters, two or more, their share is two thirds of the inheritance; if only one, her share is half. For parents, a sixth share of inheritance to each if the deceased left children; if no children and the parents are the (only) heirs, the mother has a third; if the deceased left brothers or (sisters), the mother has a sixth. (The distribution in all cases is) after the payment of legacies he may have bequeathed or debts. You know not which of them, whether your parents or your children, are nearest to you in benefit, (these fixed shares) are ordained by Allah. And Allah is Ever All-Knower, All-Wise.” (An-Nisa 4: 7-11)

Umm Saad (ra), who was still in her mother’s womb when her father passed away, became the cause of the revelation of the verses of inheritance.

Lessons to draw: Before we listen to the propaganda against Islam, or the women’s rights in Islam- we should know how Allah (swt) has honoured us. Women bring their complaints to the Prophet (sa) and they cause revelation to come. Whenever someone reads these verses, they will be reminded of the women, people’s conduct toward them, and how Allah (swt) answered on behalf of the women.

It all comes down to our reliance on Allah (swt), and what opinion we hold about Him. If we think good about Allah (swt), He will prove us that He is indeed good.

When they are wronged, they take their cases to Allah (swt). They are more inclined toward resolving the matter than plotting revenge.

These women also teach us not to take our battles in our own hands, or to respond to oppression with oppression. When they are wronged, they take their cases to Allah (swt). They are more inclined toward resolving the matter than plotting revenge.

May Allah (swt) reform what is wrong in us, and allow us to have Tawakkal (reliance) on Him, as it befits His Majesty, 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)

Lessons of Hospitality from Umm Maabad (ra)

tent-in-desertHer real name was Atiqah and she was married to a man called Abu Maabad.

Umm Maabad (ra) lived with her husband on the outskirts of Makkah in an inhabited place. Her husband was a shepherd; their livestock was their only source of livelihood. Living in a deserted area, Umm Maabad (ra) and her husband served the many caravans travelling on this route. Little did they know that one day Allah (swt) will reward this unknown couple in a way that many would wish that it was them.

The Prophet (sa) had secretly escaped Makkah with his trustworthy companion Abu Bakr (ra). In order to keep their migration covert, they were to travel a path that was unknown to the Makkans. Leaving the Cave of Thawr, they entered a barren valley. The desert sun was at its peak and the arduous journey had exhausted them. There were no houses or places to rest. Far in the distance, they saw a tent. The Prophet (sa) walked a little further until he reached it.

An elderly but strong woman was sitting outside. The Prophet (sa) asked her if she had any meat or milk that they could buy from her. The woman replied if she had any she would have served them. The Prophet (sa) saw a goat tied next to the tent and inquired about it. The woman replied that the goat was frail. It could not go for grazing, and was therefore, left behind. He asked if it gave any milk. The woman expressed her sadness for the goat’s condition. She said it was too weak to give any milk. The Prophet (sa) asked if he could milk the goat. The woman permitted him to try his luck.

He then caressed the goat, recited Allah’s (swt) Name and touched its udder. A big vessel was brought that instantly got filled with milk. The Prophet (sa), his companions and Umm Maabad (ra) drank the milk to their fill. The Prophet (sa), once again milked the goat, and left the filled vessel with Umm Maabad (ra).

Let us pause here, and talk about the beautiful etiquette of our beloved (sa).

She did not look at what little means she had – the famine, or the goat that gave no milk

First, he sought the woman’s permission to touch her goat. He did not consider it his privilege to go around someone else’s property, and touch their belongings. Many people visit others’ homes, and start touching their belongings without seeking their permission. Second, he was the last one to drink the milk. He said: “The server drinks the last.” He teaches us the etiquette of serving – the one serving eats last. Third, when he was done fulfilling his need, he was courteous enough to think about the family and leave some milk for them. He also teaches us that if we begin any task by reciting the name of Allah (swt), then He will bless it.

May He allow us to remember these etiquette and teachings in our day-to-day matters, Ameen.

Lessons to draw: Why did Allah (swt) honour Umm Maabad (ra) with this rare and one-time opportunity of serving the Prophet (sa)? It was because she and her husband were engaged in serving Allah’s (swt) creation. We read in the Quran that he who wishes to do good, the path to goodness is made easy for him. She did not look at what little means she had – the famine, or the goat that gave no milk. Upon being asked for food, she could have shouted: “Go away! We don’t have anything.” She was rather polite. What is our attitude both in poverty and prosperity?

When you are not in a position to help someone, don’t say: “I can’t do anything,” rather, make an intention to serve. Many people are blessed with wealth and position to help someone- yet, they are unable to serve; the intention is missing. Ask Allah (swt) to allow you to be a source of goodness for others.

Umm Maabad (ra) was poor, lived on a barren desert and her livestock was weak and unproductive. She had all the reasons to nitpick. She could have started the conversation with tales of her sufferings, but she made no mention of it.

She had all the reasons to nitpick. She could have started the conversation with tales of her sufferings, but she made no mention of it.

Recall the story of Prophet Ibrahim (as) when he travelled to Makkah many years later, and met Ismail’s (as) wife for the first time. When asked how she had been doing, the woman unloaded her bag of complaints. That was her first meeting with the stranger, and she began the conversation with complaints. After that (unpleasant) meeting, what advice did Ibrahim (as) give to his son? He instructed Ismail (as) to divorce her.

Let us reflect on our conversations. What impressions do we leave in our first meetings? When someone asks us how we have been doing, do we bombard them with tales of our sorrows or do we respond gracefully?

Umm Maabad (ra) had little, yet she was content. Be patient with your trials. Things never remain the same. While at one point, the goat did not give any milk; later, the same goat continued to give milk for as long as it was with the family. While once, nobody knew who Umm Maabad (ra) was or in what circumstances she lived; later, the Companions (ra) continued to deliver her fixed ration- even after the Prophet (sa) passed away. Don’t look at your deprivations, rather ask Allah (swt) for gratitude and contentment.

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

Inspiration from the Life of Umm Sulaym (rta)

flowerblueSaheeh Muslim recorded that the Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: “I entered Paradise and heard footsteps. So I said, ‘Who is this?’ and they told me, ‘It is al-Ghumaysa’ (rta), the daughter of Milhan, the mother of Anas ibn Malik, (rta) (Umm Sulaym (rta)).”Umm Sulaym bint Milhan (rtf) is known by several names: Sahlah, Rumaylah, Rumaythah, Maleekah, Ghumaysa and Rumaysah. But her most popular name is Umm Sulaym. She was the maternal aunt of the Prophet (sa), either through ties of Rada’ah (breastfeeding) or through ties of blood. Umm Sulaym (rta) was amongst those who pronounced the Shahadah in the early days of Islam. She was an Ansari woman married to Malik ibn Nadr. They had a blessed son by the name of Anas bin Malik (rta). When he was just ten years old, Umm Sulaym took him to the Prophet (sa) so that he could be with him and serve him.

Marital life

At the time Umm Sulaym (rta) came into the folds of Islam, her husband was still a disbeliever. Umm Sulaym (rta) separated from her husband when Malik refused to accept Islam despite constant invitations to the truth. Later, Malik left Madinah and settled in Syria, where he breathed his last. After the demise of her husband, Umm Sulaym (rta) was proposed to by Abu Talha Al Ansari (rta). This was at the time when Abu Talha (rta) was still practising polytheism. Umm Sulaym (rta) invited Abu Talha (rtam) to monotheism. She said to him: “I have embraced Islam, and I do not want any bridal gift (Mahr) other than your acceptance of Islam.” Abu Talha (rta) contemplated for some time and finally returned, only to declare his Shahadah. Thus, Umm Sulaym (rta) became the first Muslim woman whose Mahr was not in the form any worldly object; rather, her Mahr was the acceptance of Islam by the one who had proposed to her. Not only did she find a noble companion, but also succeeded in guiding a person into the folds of Islam.

Woman with an exemplary patience and wisdom

Umm Sulaym (rta) and Abu Talha (rta) were blessed with a son. It so happened that the child fell ill and one day, by the will of Allah (swt), the child departed from this world. Abu Talha was away from home at the time. Umm Sulaym (rta) gave her son his final Ghusl and covered him up. When Abu Talha (rta) returned home, he inquired about their son’s condition. Umm Sulaym (rta) replied: “O Abu Talhah, from the time he fell sick, he has never been as calm as he is now, and I hope that he is resting.” She did not wish to upset her husband so soon after arriving home. When she said that he was calm, she meant the calmness that one attains after being relieved from the pains of sickness. Upon hearing these words, Abu Talha (rta) assumed that his son was on the road to recovery. Consequently, he peacefully had a meal with his wife and took a nap. It was after Abu Talha (rta) had rested, that Umm Sulaym (rtaf) said to him, “O Abu Talhah, do you think that if some people lent something to some others, then they asked for it back, do they have the right not to give it back?” He said, “No.” She said, “Allah (swt), may He be glorified, lent your son to you, and now He has taken him back, so seek reward with Him and have patience.”

The first time I heard this story and these words, I just could not accept it to be true. I thought no mother could ever exhibit such patience at the time of her child’s death. I was wrong. I was wrong because I did not realise what faith actually means – faith in the promises of Allah (swt) for those who bear trials of this life with patience; faith in Allah (swt) that whatever He ordains, there is definitely some good in it for us; faith that this life is transitory – good or bad everything shall pass eventually; therefore, it is the Hereafter that we need to focus upon.

Muhammad Ahmed, my son, moved on to the next world at the age of two-and-a-half months after spending three days in an intensive care unit. Sharing the news of his death with his older siblings was challenging. Challenging in the sense that the manner in which they were to be informed about the departure of a loved one from this world would determine their outlook about life and its trials, as well as, determine their relationship with their Rabb. Alhumdulillah, this beautiful example of Umm Sulaym (rta) gave me the strength that I never knew I possessed. Wa ma Yaufeeqi illa billah.

Concept of grief in Islam

Islam is a Deen upon Fitrah (nature). It does not expect a person to do things beyond their ability. Patience in the face of calamity does not mean that you bottle up your feelings and live your life deprived of emotions. If that was the case, then our beloved Prophet Muhammad (sa) would not have cried at the time of his son Ibrahim’s death. It is recorded in the Saheehain that at that difficult time, when Prophet (sa) was asked about his tears, he had replied: “The eyes tear, the heart is in pain. But (with my tongue) I will only say that which is pleasing to Allah (swt). And we are indeed sad at your departure, O Ibraheem.”  If crying was prohibited, then Yaqoob (as) would not have cried at the separation of his son Yusuf (as) to the extent that he lost his eye-sight. It is normal and acceptable to feel grief and pain in one’s heart over the loss of a blessing. What is not acceptable is our failure to recognise that it was an Amanah which had to return to its Owner.

It is recorded in Tirmidhi that Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: When a man’s child dies, Allah (swt) asks His angels: “Have you taken the life of the child of my slave?” And they say: “Yes”. Allah (swt) then asks: “Have you taken the fruit of his heart?” And they say: “Yes.” Allah (swt) then asks: “What did my slave say?” The angels say: “He praised you and said ‘Inna Lillahi wa Inna Ilaihi Rajioon’.” (We are all Allah’s (swt) property, and we will all surely return to Him.) And then Allah (swt) says, “Build a house for my slave in Jannah and name it Bait Al Hamd (The House of Praise).”

Umm Sulaym (rta) earned Jannah for herself in return for her total submission to Allah (swt). May Allah (swt) be pleased with her, and may He guide us through her example. Ameen.

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)

The First Step to Heaven

hijabgreenSalams! I am Zamiya, eleven years old. I pour love from my heart and soul into everything I write.

I never thought I would actually cover my head until, what, eighth grade? To me, it seemed like a tiny, unnecessary part of my life, not an actual purpose. My mother wore the headscarf, and at school, hardly any girl was wearing the Hijab. I thought I would stand out, like neon yellow in a darkened background. I never thought it really was obligatory to wear it at all- until the day I found a special book.

Books are important to me. Writing is my heart and soul, and is not a passion, but a mechanism of survival. I needed it in my life- so of course, when I read that particular piece of art, I could not help, but become mesmerized. It told about a seemingly simple girl from the United States of America, who was struggling with keeping her headscarf – covered head high – she was strong, fiery, and fearless in the eyes of God. Along the way, she was faced with uncountable challenges – her scarf had been forcibly removed, Fitnah, discrimination, and a lot more. When I realized how indifferent she was, even with the Hijab – and that putting it on after reaching puberty was necessary.

I finally went up to my mother one fine day, my thoughts clashing with each other. You don’t need to wear it. You look better with your hair all styled up. Don’t do it for yourself or for others; you must look best in the Eyes of Allah (swt). I went up to her as she typed an article and told her my final decision.

“Mom, I have finally decided to wear the Hijab from the first day of school,” I anxiously announced. It turned out that she was overjoyed, gave me a hug, and took the whole family out for lunch the very next day. She styled my Hijab with pretty pins and a cool outfit, and we all went out. Even though my hair fell out quite a bit due to forgetting an under cap, all went well. Since it was my first time trying out the headscarf, I took a Polaroid picture to remember it. I did not wear it for the rest of the summer vacation, though. However, I did keep my promise for the first day of school!

When I went to school on the first day, my specially-bought blue Hijab wrapped around my head and my eyes sparkling with determination, I felt unbeatable – but also a bit nervous. However, it seemed to be totally okay. Loads of girls complimented me on the style and how well it suited me (even though some were plain snarky); the older girls and teachers congratulated me – and three other girls had worn the wonderful headscarf, too! By the end of the day, the three other Hijabis and I were discussing how we decided on wearing the Hijab. My mother took me out as some kind of celebration after school as well.

When I went to school on the first day, my specially-bought blue Hijab wrapped around my head and my eyes sparkling with determination, I felt unbeatable – but also a bit nervous

Now, it has been almost three months since I put on the scarf and strode with pride. I am now encouraging and doing Dawah, representing how a good Muslim girl should behave in public – but at the same time, being the same old silly girl I always was, striving for good grades, crying over anything and being all smiley the next moment, and being just the same person I was. Nothing has changed during this time. I am sure that when I go to non-Muslim countries like the United Kingdom or the States, I will be faced with puzzled looks and fierce remarks. Still, I will never take off my scarf Insha’Allah. Instead, I will show all of them what a Muslim is, and hopefully change the minds of even the most ignorant ones with the help of Allah (swt).

My journey has just begun. I have a lot more to do – to influence the world with my talents, give them my earned knowledge, and much, much more. After all, I am still a little girl who has a lot more to learn about this world. I pray that our Ummah improves more and converts into something legendary- something so extraordinary that generations will praise us and we are in good books everywhere. Wearing the Hijab was only the first step of the stairway to Jannah – and I profusely hope, with all my heart, that I step upon each and every one of them, and that I eventually reach the glowing gates of the ineffably beautiful place all Muslims hope to reach one day: heaven. I will keep on climbing up to the next level of my Iman, Hijab on my head and eyes determined – being the same girl I always was.

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)