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)

Marriage – On the Edge

Photo credit: Dave-a-roni (Dark Spot Photography) / Foter / CC BY-NC

Photo credit: Dave-a-roni (Dark Spot Photography) / Foter / CC BY-NC

No doubt, marriage was one of the most life-turning moments in my life. What an extraordinary instant it was, when the arrival of one person in my world revolutionized my life. When all of a sudden, I started to relish every gratifying moment to the highest degree of utmost sweetness and endless delight. I began to surf through the tempting waves of perfect life which nobody could ever even dream of. A weird joy became my consistent companion throughout the day, and a chain of sweet dreams followed me to get me through the night. It was the immaturity of my teenage mind or innocence of my child-like nature, that by neglecting the entire world, I started to visualize my universe in one single human being. Quietly, roots of constant thoughts about her started to deploy in my brain, moved slowly towards my heart being established as my permanent caretaker.

It all began, when I abruptly woke up in the dead of the night and started gasping for air, like density of the air had increased by many folds. I realized that it was just a nightmare. One of those nightmares which take forever to end and after waking up, it is still hard to believe that the trance has finally been broken and we have returned back to reality.

I didn’t remember the beginning, but I was able to visualize the fragmentary end. “I was under a million layers of seawater. A yearn to break away from this imprisonment and breath in fresh air took birth in my heart. The more I struggled to get out of the sea, the more endless it became. I reached to a point of no return. I started to die out of thirst inside the water- a drastic thirst of air. Somehow, I managed to touch the shore and I survived. After getting in my senses, I found burned ashes of a paper, partially buried in sand of the beach and a page with something written in an elegant script inside a green bottle floating over the crystal clear swallow water.” That was all I could remember. Weird thoughts kept haunting my mind throughout the night.

I calmed down as I found the most precious soul right next to me. It was beyond science and logic that how some relations create more sense and stability in one’s life.

October 20, 2009

Life cannot be any darker than this day. As I dropped her at the Islamic University (Islamabad) for her class and went to my university. At that point, I saw hell emerging from the heart of heaven. It was really queer that how one moment changed me and my heavenly life. Terrorism attack! Five students killed from her university… unfortunately, she lost her bets with life.

“O Lord, although I have vowed to consider your wills; my destines

Yet, lost enigmatic lament is echoing inside me for eternities.”

Disheartened I wrote a stanza on a blank page. Crumpled the paper in shear regret and tucked it inside my pocket. I tried to use ‘writing poetry’ as catharsis: sprinkling it over my bleeding wounds. I might have been able to stop the bleeding, but my eye’s tear sacks were still betraying me. I remember those depressingly devastated nights, tears’ wet spots on my pillow and staring cluelessly at the textured ceiling. When each second of life seems to be longer than eternity and you start to believe this life and pain will never end.

After the funeral, again I was having the same nightmare and when I woke up shivering with fear, this time I was able to remember another thing than usual about that dream. I saw a hand burning the stanza I wrote few weeks back. As the face of the day was about to be unveiled, I rushed somewhere, somewhere I was supposed to be. There was an eternal voice, getting louder and louder as I was running towards its direction; as I reached at the source of the voice, it mystically vanished as if it never existed.

I laid down on cold sand of beach and let the sand absorb the heat from my body. I started waiting for the sun to rise. While waiting, I picked up a handful of sand and grasped it firmly. No matter how hard I tried, it still slipped through the narrow gaps in my grip. Drop by drop, grain after grain, all of it slipping and being blown away by the wind. In the end all, I was left up with was emptiness.

One action and entire phenomenon of life was explained. I realized no matter how hard you try, you will end up at having what you are destined to have. Our so called ‘logical and fair’ planning can divert cosmos into universal chaos. I took out that crumpled piece of paper from my pocket and tore apart a blank part from it. Started to write what I felt few seconds ago.

As I lifted up my pen after completing the stanza, miraculously, I found the missing piece of my nightmare puzzle in my subconscious mind. Now I clearly remember that I was drowning in the ocean of my own tears. A smile appeared on my face – either a result of relief from a pain, or a sense of victory for getting answers to my mysterious nightmares. I took the wrinkled page of a stanza which I had written few nights back, tore it into pieces, burned and buried the ashes deep in the sand. I packed the newly written one in a green unlabeled bottle and threw it in the sea. As the bottle landed on the water, twilight started to caress on my face from the edge of the horizon. I followed the bottle, glittering in the bright light of the sun, with my eyes hoping that one day someone somewhere in need of this ‘nightmare’ will be bestowed with it to seek guidance about life.

Many people live their dreams, but very few are those who are lucky enough to live through their nightmares. Fortunately, I lived through my worst one; and then learnt the key to live happily ever after. It inspired my spectrum of thinking to invade the new levels of truth, faith and philosophy.

You might be wondering, what the stanza inside the bottle was. It read:

“Joys and despairs in love are just states of mind.

Everything that happens, there is a reason you find!”