Down but not out!

Jul 10 - The Prophet's saw concern for taharah

There have been many, many companions of the Prophet (sa), who were considered to be among the less privileged in terms of financial matters. However, in terms of morals and manners, they were the elite. One of them was Umair ibn Sad (rtam). He grew up in the household of Julas ibn Suwayd (rtam), his mother’s second husband. Julas (rtam) gave him an excellent upbringing.

During the Battle of Tabook, Umair (rtam) saw the large amount of booty, along with a bag of one thousand Dinars that Usman ibn Affan (rtam) handed over to the Prophet (sa). Although he was in great financial need at the time, he did not utter a single word of request to the Prophet (sa). And this is how he was. He was among the three companions of the Prophet (sa) known to be Zahid (practicing Zuhd), along with Abu Ad-Darda (rtam) and Shaddad ibn Aws (rtam).

During the Caliphate of Umar ibn Al-Khattab (rtam), Umair (rtam) was appointed as the governor of Homs. When he walked towards Madinah from Homs to meet the Caliph, Umar (rtam) asked: “Didn’t any of the Muslims offer you a ride?”

He replied: “They neither offered it, nor I requested it.”

Umar (rtam) responded: “How indifferent have the Muslims become!”

Umair (rtam) admonished him: “O Ameer-ul-Mumineen! Allah (swt) has forbidden backbiting.”

When Umar (rtam) later asked him about the distribution of war booty and collection of Jizyah, he replied: “I have spent all the wealth, wherever it is most needed.”

Later, when Umar (rtam) sent to him one hundred Dinars through a messenger, Umair (rtam) summoned the children of those who had been martyred in different battles, and distributed the entire amount among them. He did not keep a single Dinar for himself, though he did need money at the time.

Indeed, this companion’s life is a role model for all of us in these materialistic times!

Adapted (with permission) from “Sunehray Huroof” published by Darussalam. Translated and compiled for “Hiba” by Umm Ibrahim.

Generosity wins!

Generosity

Muslim ibn Sabeeh Koofi narrated the following incident from his father:

A handsome, young Arab (whose name is unknown) and Mugheerah ibn Shubah (rtam), a companion of Prophet Muhammad (sa), sent a proposal of marriage almost simultaneously to a woman. She gave a similar reply to both of them: “You have proposed to me, but I cannot answer any of you, unless I meet you and talk to you. If you really want to marry me, come to me at such-and-such time so that I can reach a conclusion.”

Both men arrived at the stipulated time. The lady requested them to take a seat in a place from where she could observe them and hear their conversation. They had no idea, however, that she was over-hearing them.

Mugheerah (rtam) felt rather envious of the young man, who was obviously well-groomed, attractive and eloquent. He was beginning to realize that he didn’t stand a chance against such a formidable candidate, as the lady would obviously prefer the young man as her husband. He asked him: “You are quite good-looking and well-spoken. Do you have any other positive qualities?” The young man brightened up and replied proudly: “Yes, I possess such-and-such qualities, too…”

He went on praising himself and his personality for a while. Then, there was silence. Mugheerah (rtam) asked him: “How responsible and accountable are you in (personal) financial matters?”

He answered: “I am very, very particular about finances. I track each and every penny meticulously.”

“I do things a little differently,” explained Mugheerah (rtam). “I keep a certain amount of money in a designated place in my house. My family members are free to spend from it as they like. I don’t expect them to account for their expenses incurred using that money. I find out they need more only when that amount has finished.”

The lady was listening closely to the conversation. When she heard Mugheerah’s (rtam) way of handling his finances, she declared: “By Allah! I think this man deserves the most to be my husband! I don’t want to marry the young Arab who, I am sure, is going to be after me to account for every single penny that I spend.”

The woman then married Mugheerah ibn Shubah (rtam).

Adapted (with permission) from “Sunehri Kirnain” published by “Darussalam”. Translated and compiled for “Hiba” by Umm Ibrahim.

The Slave’s False Claim

slave

Once, a man came to Caliph Mansoor. He complained about another man who, he alleged, was hoarding wealth and weapons for Banu Ummayah.

The Caliph ordered his chief of police to set out and arrest the offender. The police did as told, and soon, the offender was standing before the Caliph.

“We have been informed that you are hoarding wealth and weapons, entrusted to you by Banu Ummayah. We order you to present all the wealth and weapons before us, and turn them over to the state treasury.”

The man calmly asked the Caliph: “Ameer Al-Mumineen! Are you one of the inheritors of Banu Ummayah?”

The Caliph replied in the negative.

The man inquired: “Have Banu Ummayah left a will, saying that you should inherit their wealth and weapons?”

Again, the Caliph answered no.

“Then why are you asking me about their wealth and weapons?” the man queried.

Caliph Mansoor bowed his head. Finally, he said: “Look, Banu Ummayah committed many atrocities against the people and usurped their wealth unlawfully. I only want this wealth, which was confiscated illegally in the first place, to be handed over to the state treasury.”

“Ameer Al-Mumineen!” The man explained. “You need more solid evidence to prove in the court of law that the wealth and weapons, which have been entrusted to me, are indeed the same ones which were confiscated illegally. You do know that Banu Ummayah had personal wealth as well.”

Caliph Mansoor thought for a while and then addressed his chief of police: “This man is absolutely right. We have no authority to take away the wealth which was entrusted to him.”

He turned to the man and said: “If you have any need, speak up.”

The man requested: “I want to see those who complained to you about me. By Allah, I do not have anything belonging to Banu Ummayah – they never entrusted any wealth or weapon to me.”

Caliph Mansoor ordered for the complainant to be presented. When he arrived, the ‘offender’ exclaimed: “This is my slave! He borrowed five hundred Dinars from me and then ran away. I have written proof of this transaction.”

When Caliph Mansoor glared at the complainant, he admitted: “Yes, I am his slave, and I ran away after borrowing the Dinars. Then, I conspired against him and complained to you. I wanted him to be arrested and executed. But Allah (swt) made all my plans unsuccessful.”

“I have gifted the five hundred Dinars to him,” said the man. “And I give him five hundred more for coming here.”

The Caliph appreciated this gesture and both men left. Caliph Mansoor would later remember this man and the way he successfully argued with him.

Adapted (with permission) from “Sunehray Huroof” published by “Darussalam”. Translated and compiled for Hiba by Umm Ibrahim.

The Best Witness

best witness

By Abdul Malik Mujahid – General Manager, Darussalam Publishers and Distributors

The following story was narrated by the Prophet (sa) to his companions. It was transmitted to us through a Hadeeth narrated by Abu Hurairah (rta), recorded in Sahih Bukhari.

There was once a man in Bani Israel, who requested a fellow Israeli for a loan of one thousand Dinars. The creditor said: “Please bring two or three men with you, who can witness this transaction, and I will give you the loan.” The debtor said: “Allah (swt) is the best witness.” The creditor again said: “At least bring one responsible person, who can give your guarantee.” The debtor said: “Allah (swt) is the best of those who guarantee.” The creditor admitted: “You are right.” Thus, he gave him the loan which was to be returned within a specific period of time.

The debtor went overseas and spent the money on his needs. Thereafter, he started looking for a ship for his return journey. He wanted to return and repay the loan. However, he was unable to find any means of transport.

Finally, he took a piece of wood and made it into a box with a lid. Opening the lid, he kept one thousand Dinars along with a letter. Then, he sealed the box, stood on the shore and said: “O Allah! You know very well that I took a loan of one thousand Dinars from so-and-so. He asked me to bring witnesses or serve a guarantee. But I trusted You as the best witness, and he ultimately agreed with me. You know I have tried very hard to find some means of transport for my return journey, but have been unable to do so. Now, I am entrusting You with this Amanah. Do take it back to him only.”

With these words, the debtor put the box in the sea and saw it being carried away by the waves. Then, he turned back and resumed his search for a ship to take him back.

When the period, for which the loan had been granted was over, the creditor set out towards the sea. He thought the debtor might arrive through a ship or send it through a passenger. Suddenly, he caught sight of a wooden box. He picked it up and took it home, thinking the wood might come useful to light a fire. When he came home and sawed the wood, he saw the letter and the money.

After some time, the debtor came to the creditor with the money (since he didn’t know whether or not he had received the amount sent earlier). He said to the creditor: “By Allah, I was constantly in search for transport so that I could return you your money. However, I could not find any ship in time.”

The creditor asked: “Had you sent anything for me?”

The debtor replied: “That’s what I am trying to explain. I could not find any transport to arrive here on time.”

The creditor then informed him: “Allah (swt) made sure that the money you had returned reached me safely. There is no need to give me these additional one thousand Dinars. You have already repaid your loan.”

Adapted (with permission) from “Sunehray Huroof” published by “Darussalam”. Translated and compiled for “Hiba” by Umm Ibrahim.

Generous! Oh Really?

A Loser’s Gain

By Abdul Malik Mujahid – General Manager, Darussalam

Muan Ibn Zaida was a very wealthy man during the period of the Ummayads. He was also very well-known for his generosity. When the Abbasids took over from the Ummayads, he was forced to go into hiding. The following incident happened, while he was in hiding.

He was on his way out of Baghdad in disguise, when he realized that a man was following him. That man pursued him and caught up with him in a deserted area outside the city. He took hold of the camel’s reins and forced himself on its back. Once he was on the camel, he grabbed Muan with a knife in his hand.

Muan pleaded: “Why have you grabbed me? What do you want?” The man replied: “You are Muan! Ameer ul-Mumineen Mansoor is looking for you.”

Muan pretended to be surprised: “Me? Muan? You must be mistaken. I am an ordinary man.” The man snapped: “Don’t try to be smart. I know you very well, and you can’t run away. See my knife?” Muan begged him to let him go, but to no avail. Finally, he took out an expensive necklace from one of his concealed pockets and said: “What will Mansoor give you when you take me to him? This necklace is much more valuable than any prize he will give you. Take this and let me go.”

The man took the necklace and examined it. Then, he declared: “It does seem that this necklace is very expensive. However, I will not take it.” Muan asked: “Why?” He shook his head and said: “Let me ask you a few questions. If you answer correctly, I will let you go.” Muan agreed: “Ok, what do you want to know?”

The man asked: “You are known to be very generous. Have you ever given your entire wealth in charity?” Muan replied: “No, that has never happened.” The man asked: “Have you ever given half of your wealth in charity?” Muan answered: “No.” The man queried: “How about one-third?” Muan said: “No.” The man kept on decreasing the amount till it came to one-tenth. At that point, Muan was so frustrated that to shut him up, he said yes, he has given one-tenth of his wealth in charity. However, he was also feeling extremely ashamed of himself: he was known to be extremely generous but had not even given half of his wealth in charity.

The man continued: “This is nothing to be proud of. Listen, I am an ordinary man. I don’t own horses; I do not have piles of Dinars and Dirhams. I get twenty Dirhams from Caliph Mansoor on a monthly basis. Without doubt, the necklace you have given me is worth around twenty thousand Dirhams.” Saying this, he returned the necklace. “I spare your life and your necklace. I will not hand you over to Caliph Mansoor. This is only because you are known to be generous. Remember: never be proud of the fact that you are charitable. This is because there are people who are more benevolent than you. Consider your charity to be ordinary, regardless of the amount you give. Also, never abandon your generosity.” With that, he got off the camel and started to walk away.

Muan called him back: “You have drowned me in a sea of embarrassment. It would have been easier to get killed, rather than listen to what you have just said. Take this necklace.” The man laughed: “Do you want me to go back on my word? By Allah, I will not take this necklace. I will not seek the reward for my good deed in this world.” Taking huge steps, he went away.

Muan later admitted: “I always remembered that man and his wisdom. When Caliph Mansoor pardoned me and I recovered my wealth, I searched for him to repay him in kind. However, I was unable to locate him. In any case, I remembered his Ihsan to me that day, especially his Naseehah that I should remember that there are people who are more generous than me.”

Adapted (with permission) from Sunehray Huroof published by Darussalam. Translated and compiled for Hiba by Umm Ibrahim.

Dealing with Innovators

Dealing with Innovators

Three men – Abu Bakr, Abu Bakr Al-Admi and their friend – went for Hajj together. After they had performed all the rites of Hajj, they decided to visit Madinah.

One day, in Madinah, the friend came to Abu Bakr and said: “There is a blind man in the mosque of the Prophet (sa). He is narrating fabricated incidents and weak Ahadeeth to a large audience. We really should go and stop him from doing so, as he is misleading the public.”

Abu Bakr pondered for a while and then replied: “I really do not think that people will listen to us and disregard the more interesting details that the blind man has to tell them. After all, this is not Baghdad. We are well-known there and so is our credibility. Here, we are merely travelers. No one knows us, and if we try and argue with him, no one would support us. We will have to think of another way to handle this.”

Suddenly, an idea occurred to him. He realized that Abu Bakr Al-Admi recites the Quran beautifully. All three of them went to the mosque of the Prophet (sa). There, Abu Bakr Al-Admi was requested to start reciting the Quran in a loud voice.

When he began to recite, people automatically began to gather around him. Attracted by his voice and Qirat, the people attending the blind man’s study circle also got up and came here instead. Soon, there was no one around the blind man.

He sighed and asked his assistant to lead him home, saying: “Blessings are taken away in a second.”

This story contains an important lesson for all of us in these times. Instead of fighting over our differences, it is always a good idea to think of more creative and peaceful ways to resolve those differences, such that the right prevails over the wrong.

Adapted (with permission) from Sunehray Huroof published by Darussalam. Translated for “Hiba” by Hafsa Ahsan.

Avenge me!

July 11- Avenge me

The caliphate of Umar Ibn Khattab (rta) is considered to be the golden era of Islamic rule. Umar (rta) was settled in Madinah, from where he commanded and guided the companions. He had instructed to inform him immediately, if any new state or land was captured by the Muslim army, so he could give directions for implementing further strategies.

Ahnaf Ibn Qais (rta) was one of the best men in Basra. He had earned the credit of bringing many areas under the Islamic rule. He reports:

“Once, we had news of a great victory that we wished to share with the Amir-ul-Mumineen. He inquired: ‘Where have you stationed your army at the moment?’ Upon reaching the designated location, he observed the camels we had used for our journey. After extensive travelling and hunger, they appeared to be weak and languished. Umar Ibn Khattab (rta) immediately admonished: ‘Are you not afraid of Allah (swt) concerning your mounts? Why did you not let these camels rest a while during your journey, allowing them to graze and replenish their energy?’

We clarified: ‘O Amir-ul-Mumineen! We couldn’t contain our joy over our triumph. We wanted to reach you as fast as we could to share with you the news of our great victory.’

The Caliph returned after hearing us out and we accompanied him. Instantly, a man appeared with a complaint: ‘So-and-so has been cruel to me. Please, help me against him!’

Amir-ul-Mumineen raised his whip and hit the man on his head. He retorted: ‘Why don’t you approach me with your complaints in my spare time? When I am occupied resolving important affairs of the community, you approach and insist to help you right away!’

The man, who had brought the complaint, left. Amir-ul-Mumineen almost immediately ordered for the man to be called back. When the complainant returned, Umar (rta) threw his whip before the man and said: ‘Avenge me!’

The man replied: ‘No, I do not wish to avenge you; instead, I will forgo the matter for Allah (swt) and for you.’

The caliph said: ‘No! Either you pardon me and seek a reward for the same from Allah (swt) or you can avenge me.’

The man chose to pardon the Caliph for the pleasure of Allah (swt).

After that, Umar (rta) left and headed to his house. He offered two Rakahs of prayer and addressed himself: ‘You were an ordinary man, and Allah (swt) granted you a respectable status. You were stumbling in the darkness, and Allah (swt) guided you to light. You were a man of low stature, and Allah (swt) elevated you with a sound reputation and reward. Then, He appointed you as a ruler over people. But when a man, who had been wronged, came to you to seek justice against the wicked, you whipped him. Now, explain: how will you face your Lord on the Day of Recompense, when you are questioned regarding this matter?’

Ahnaf Ibn Qais (rta) states: “While the Amir-ul-Mumineen was reprimanding himself, we were certain that he was the best of men at that time among all of us.”

Adapted (with permission) from Sunehray Faislay published by Darussalam. Translated for “Hiba” by Rana Rais Khan.

The Value of the Oppressed

Apr 11 - The value of the oppressed

Caliph Umar Ibn Abdul-Aziz was the nephew and son-in-law of Caliph Abdul Malik Ibn Marwan. His mother Umm Asim was the grand daughter of Umar Ibn Khattab (rta). His father Abdul-Aziz governed Egypt for twenty-one years. Waleed appointed Umar Ibn Abdul-Aziz as the governor of Madinah. In 99 Hijri, upon the death of Caliph Sulaiman Ibn Abdul Malik and as per his will, Umar Ibn Abdul-Aziz was appointed as the succeeding Caliph.

During his caliphate, Umar Ibn Abdul-Aziz had arranged for the plundered property to be returned to its rightful owners, ensured the effectiveness and operation of the state treasury and restored the integrity of Caliph Ali (rta), who was earlier slandered in sermons.

In 101 Hijri, with the assistance and wicked scheming of some influential men, Umar Ibn Abdul-Aziz was poisoned and killed. But his short reign of two years is considered to be a historic one with regard to his achievements, success and popularity as a capable ruler.

Following is one of the many stories of the caliph’s sense of justice that won him people’s hearts.

Once, Caliph Umar Ibn Abdul-Aziz was roaming in the market of Hamas. Suddenly, a man adorning a striped wrap approached him. He said: “O, Amir-ul-Mumineen! You have commanded the oppressed to come to you for justice!”

Umar Ibn Abdul-Aziz replied: “Yes! Indeed.”

The man continued: “Hence, a man who has been wronged has come to you travelling from a faraway land.”

Umar Ibn Abdul-Aziz questioned him: “Where is your family?”

The man replied: “Further from the province in Yemen.”

Umar Ibn Abdul-Aziz responded: “By Allah! Your family is far from the family of Umar.” And he climbed down immediately from his mount. He further inquired: “How have you been oppressed?”

The traveler answered: “A man has illegally occupied my land, on which I used to grow grains, and evicted me.”

After listening to the man’s complaint, Umar Ibn Abdul-Aziz wrote to Urwa Ibn Mohammad that he should pay heed to the man’s complaint, and when he would be proved right, Urwa should ensure that the man’s land was rightfully returned to him. Umar Ibn Abdul-Aziz placed a seal on his letter, finalizing his orders.

When the stranger prepared to leave, Caliph Umar Ibn Abdul-Aziz questioned him: “Wait! Since you have travelled from far, what expenses did you have to incur for your journey or how much did you have to pay for your ride and how many clothes did you change?”

When an estimate was prepared, it came to approximately 15 Dinars. Umar Ibn Abdul-Aziz paid the traveller his money and set him off for his journey back home. Subhan’Allah!

Adapted (with permission) from “Sunehray Faislay” published by Darussalam. Translated for “Hiba” by Rana Rais Khan.

The Storm

Jan 11 - The storm

By Abdul Malik Al-Qasim

These were the most exciting days of my life; the countdown to my wedding. Everything had been prepared a week earlier than the wedding date. I was now engrossed in blissful dreams. I started spending some quiet time at my new home, envisioning my life there with my wife.

One day, as I was having tea and reading a newspaper at my new home, I came across an article, which highly recommended a full medical examination for those, who were about to get married. I decided to give it a try.

The first step was inevitably a blood test to ascertain that everything was alright. I gave my blood and then went back to collect the results three days later. I was quite sure that this whole exercise had been a waste of time. I was beginning to wonder what had possessed me to undergo the medical examination, when I realized that the doctor was looking at me gravely. He said: “You have blood cancer.”

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Shock and denial was written all over my face. “Don’t fear anything, it’s just a suspicion,” said the doctor. “We’ll just repeat this test.” I couldn’t move. The doctor helped me stand, but I collapsed and started breathing heavily, unsure whether I was still alive.

The doctor examined me and tried to assure me that everything depended on the results of the second test. But I was no longer listening. I was overwhelmed with misery and worry. As I was driving my car home, I stopped at the side of road and closed my eyes. I thought about myself, my family and… her. What will I tell her? If the tests confirmed my ailment, should I tell her or stay silent? Sooner or later, I would have to decide, whether there should be a wedding or not. Inevitably, I couldn’t sleep that night.

In the morning, I headed towards the lab and gave another blood sample. Maybe it was all a mistake, I thought. But a nagging feeling told me there was something terribly wrong.

The next three days were the longest in my life. I cared about nothing but the results of the test. Those I met said: “Your face has changed. Is this a face of a groom? It looks like you are over-anxious about your wedding. Are you scared? It’s going to be ok!”

They all seemed in a world utterly different from mine. I cancelled my visits and appointments. I even ceased buying what remained of the furniture for my new home. I didn’t want to see anyone. Whenever I saw my mother, I would think of the tears she would shed at my funeral. Whenever I saw my father, I would grieve.

On the third day, I had calmed down and made some crucial decisions. If I have blood cancer, I will disclose it to my fiancé and call off the wedding.

I reached the clinic well before time. Finally, the results arrived and I was summoned by the doctor. He opened the envelope and started to read. I had started to shiver, as if it was freezing winter. Yet, I sweated profusely and tried to catch my breath. The doctor finished reading, looked up and congratulated me. I was stunned and requested him to read the report again. It was all a mistake. I was alright! The wedding could go ahead as planned!

I came out exhilarated, greeting everyone I met. I went home quickly. Winter was still inside me and the sweat on my forehead was very obvious. Reaching my family’s home, I hugged and kissed my mother. She noticed my exhaustion and joy and curiously asked: “What’s the matter with you, son?”

I handed them the envelope that explained everything. “You didn’t tell us anything,” mocked my brother.

I smiled…

Man is weak but is a proud tyrant.

A small virus, a microscopic organism can knock him down.

He fears death but does nothing for it.

Gets very happy at his health and well-being

But never gets benefit out of it.

Time goes on and he is subjected to several trials, but…

He always in the end… dies.

But you, my dear,

You are sent back to life.

Every morning, when you are up from bed,

You are sent back to life.

But someday you are to die, too.

Here, look! There is still time.

Therefore, go and do something for it,

Before it’s too late.

Translated for “Hiba” by Tasneem Rajab