Lessons of Patience from Umm Sulaym Bint Malhan (ra)

sabrMother’s love for her son

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

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

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

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

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

Umm Sulaym’s (ra) patience

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Personality Development: The Jewels of the Household

diamond_1461404cWe are the nucleus of the family- whether a daughter, sister, wife or mother. We keep the bonds strong. The touch of a loving mother is irreplaceable- who wraps her children in a blanket of love, affection and protection, while tending their needs as well as raising them to be good Muslims and Muslimahs. When she hears the call of the prayer, she sits to worship her loving Creator, Allah (swt) and positions her child next to her on the prayer mat facing the Qiblah. A dutiful daughter aids her mother. A devoted wife propels her husband to the summits of success whilst he goes out to earn the daily bread. Indeed, the following saying is true:

‘Behind every successful man there is a woman’.

In Islam, women are not considered as maids of the households rather it acknowledges women’s equality with men in many aspects. Allah (swt) stated in the Holy Quran,

And among His Signs is this, that He created for you wives from among yourselves, that you may find repose in them, and He has put between you affection and mercy. Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who reflect.” (Ar-Rum 30:21)

Exemplary Muslimah in Islamic history

Throughout the Islamic history, women have played a major role in spreading Islam and our beloved Prophet (sa) has praised the following: his youngest daughter, Fatimah (ra), his beloved wife Khadijah (ra), Maryam (as) and Asiya (as), the wife of Pharoah. These diamonds are core role models and legendary beacons of productivity and balance of how we as Muslim women can divide our time fairly between family, work, home and Islam to reach our ultimate goal- Jannat-ul-Firdous. A place free of pain, hardship and sorrow can be replaced with eternal happiness, relief and ease if we learn from the lives of our role models. One of the prime examples is of, Fatimah (ra).

Who was Fatimah (ra)?

A patient and consistent slave of Allah (swt)

She was a passionate worshipper, who put a hard effort in looking after her home and daily chores. She was both- a dutiful wife and daughter, and had a stance in the community for helping the poor and needy, as well as, good Islamic manners. Often, she would give all her food to the poor and stay hungry. She would never complain, no matter how difficult the circumstances were. Aisha (ra) said:

‘I did not see any one resembling the blessed Prophet (sa), regarding all manners, more perfectly than Fatimah (ra), the daughter of the Messenger of Allah (swt).’

She and her husband, who was the Prophet’s (sa) cousin, Ali ibn Abi Talib (ra) led a simple, but content life and had two sons: Hassan (ra) and Hussain (ra) who were very dear to Prophet Muhammad (sa). They also had two daughters Zainab (ra) and Umm Kulsum (ra). Her relationship with Prophet Muhammad (sa) was very close; and it shone with pure love and affection that he said once:

‘Fatimah is part of me, and he who makes her angry, makes me angry’ (Al-Bukhari)

Immense love and respect for her father

He usually visited her house. Her childhood was a shadow of trials and tribulations as her father underwent hardships spreading Islam in Makkah in the time of ignorance. Thus, she grew up with patience and determination. She courageously protected her father, and wept when she saw him bleed. She comforted her father. Once, the disbelievers sacrificed a camel. At the time, Prophet Muhammad (sa) was praying with his companions. Abu Jahl dared his friends to put the bowels and filth on Prophet Muhammad’s (sa) back. Uqbah ibn Abi Mu’it took up of the offer and piled it on the Prophet’s (sa) back. When Fatimah (ra) heard of this, she ran to her father; she removed the filth with her hands from her beloved father’s back, and scolded the disbelievers due to the brutal treatment they performed towards him. When Prophet (sa) completed his prayer, he lifted his hands to supplicate Allah (swt) to hold Abu Jahl, Uqbah and those involved. The Prophet’s (sa) supplications were answered.

Compassionate servant of Islam

Fatimah (ra) even helped during the battles by nursing the wounded. After her mother’s death, she would devoutly look after her father. When he passed away, she was saddened and lived only a few months after him.

Fatimah was an exemplary Muslimah for every Muslim woman- a woman of courage, piety and righteousness. Her aim in life was to serve Islam. May Allah (swt) allow us all to learn from this jewel of Islam on how to find the right balance between Deen and Dunya. Ameen.

Changing the World at Seventeen

Changing the world at 17

It was 619 AD, when in the garden of Taif, the Prophet (sa), nursing his fresh wounds, prayed to his Lord. Nine years later, the entire Taif embraced Islam. And this is where our story begins.

Muhammad Ibn Qasim was seventeen, when he conquered Sindh. His sword struck the very heart of such false practices as idol worship, which prevailed in that era. He conquered not just a piece of land but an entire people living on the banks of the Indus River. It was his courage and persistent acts of goodness that caused his death – he was imprisoned, tortured and martyred.

He was born in Taif in 695 AD. Growing up in the care of his mother, he soon became a great asset to his uncle Muhammad Ibn Yusuf, the governor of Yemen. His judgement, potential and skills surpassed many experienced officers, thus, he was made the governor of Persia.

Interestingly, the Muslim rule he began was not for such worldly purposes as gaining land, power, or simply for satisfying the awe-inspiring leader inside him. He invaded Sindh for a truly humanitarian act.

In 712 AD, some Arab Muslim families were returning in a merchant ship to their homes to Iraq, including widows and orphans. The ship was intercepted at a Sindh port by some Hindu pirates, who looted the vessel and took the passengers as captives. These were men of Raja Dahir, the ruler of Sindh at the time. Qasim’s uncle wrote to Dahir, demanding the release of the prisoners and the due punishment of the pirates. As expected of a cruel ruler, Dahir refused point-blank. This prompted Muhammad Ibn Yusuf to dispatch his seventeen-year-old nephew to do what was required.

Qasim, of course, took the responsibility seriously. Displaying outstanding courage, he crushed Dahir’s troops. The people of Sindh rejoiced at Qasim’s entry. The cruel reign had ended, because Qasim was a promising ruler of commendable character, efficient administration, and a window into the Islamic system of law and justice, which was so fair and sufficient that it inspired the Hindus. He won both their lands and hearts.

There are two versions of his death. The first and most agreed upon account revisits his preparation for the attack on Rajasthan. Qasim’s father-in-law passed away, and the new governor took revenge against the family of the old governor. The new Khalifa Suleman called upon Qasim and made him captive. This imprisonment led Qasim to an early death. He was twenty, then.

Even his death could not diminish the magnitude of what he had done for the future generations. In 712 AD, conquering the area from its Hindu rulers, he extended Muslim rule to the Indus Valley. Just like Alexander the Great before him, he travelled endlessly and subdued the whole of what is now Pakistan – from Karachi to Kashmir within a matter of three years. He managed to do that with a small force of only around six thousand Syrian tribesmen. Allah (swt) was with him every step of the way.

Muhammad Ibn Qasim is a true inspiration for the leaders of all times. To this day, historians believe that had he lived longer, he would have brought the entire South Asian region into the folds of the Islamic empire.

Interview with Javeria Elahi – A Fashion Designer

Vol 6 - Issue 3 Interview with Javeria ElahiJaveria Elahi is a young, Muhajjbah student of fashion design at one of the private universities in Karachi. “Hiba” got in touch with her to know more about how she intends to pursue her chosen career.

It is very heart-warming to see that a young girl, observing the Islamic dress code, would be interested in the field of fashion. What was the initial response of the interviewers at your fashion school?

Surprisingly, there wasn’t any obvious response from the panel of interviewers to my getup during the time of my admission. However, I did get an apprehensive response from my fellow schoolmates-to-be present at the time of the interview.

I mean they had doubts about me getting the admission in a ‘fashion school’ with “Hijab-n-all.”

Have you had any difficulties with respect to your curriculum and stuff you are required to do to pass a particular course, for example, drawing illustrations, etc.?

No, not really, other than the fact that you feel a little guilty about doing something wrong, like drawing illustrations, which are a necessary part of my studies. They do help in bringing about a clear picture of my designs from a practical perspective. But, so far, it’s the only aspect of my BFD (Bachelors in Fashion Designing) program, which I feel is wrong and feel guilty about, and which I could easily shed with later on. Other than that, I am happy with everything so far. After all, how I use my education later on is what counts.

How have your classmates accepted you with your distinct ideology?

Well, I would say that they pretty much accept me as I was… I mean they act quite normally with me, as long as I don’t preach to them. However, there are a few others, who largely ignore me or act, as if I am not there.

Here I would like to add that I am not the only one wearing Abaya at my institute. There are a few others (very few), who also prefer this getup over trendy fashion – and the number is increasing, Masha’Allah.

Does it become lonely or do you feel isolated at any time or different from others in your class?

Yes, sometimes, although I generally try to be a part of what everyone is doing. However, at times my views differ from others on the basis of what’s right and what’s wrong.

For example, I don’t attend fashion shows (as a backstage helper), as others do to gain experience, because I don’t feel it is right, i.e., volunteering to help out the models and mixing with them. My parents don’t approve of it either. And, late nights are also one of the major reasons.

After graduating from your fashion school, do you see any limitations for yourself career-wise?

No, not really. Fashion is not only about short clothes and body exposure (as is generally perceived), it’s about creativity. It’s a very wide field – one can do a lot in this field within the Islamic perimeters.

Tell us about your future plans as a fashion designer, who intends to present novel ideas in the world of fashion.

As far as my future plans are concerned, I am interested in designing accessories and bed spreads, instead of clothes. We have a lot of designers coming into clothes line, but very few opt for designing accessories and stuff.

Any challenges you have or are facing presently?

No, not unlike what my other fellow students and friends are facing. For example, trying to meet deadlines for different assignments, working late nights, or many a times, working all night to complete them, and of course, there is a lot of clutter at home, for which you inevitably get scolded.

What message would you like to give out to the youth reading this article?

I would like to tell them that nothing is impossible. No field is good or bad; it’s about where you take it. Most importantly, Islamic teachings don’t stop or hinder you from progressing (as some people mistakenly think). One can do anything and everything successfully, within the perimeters set by Allah (swt).