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)

[Revert Story] Guided by Recitation

quran-2The stories of reverts to Islam are always full of inspiration. But not only that, whenever I hear a story, I unwillingly find myself thinking about the ways Allah (swt) uses people to guide others to Islam. I think of it, because my own reversion to Islam was influenced by numerous people, who might not even have the slightest idea they had anything to do with it. They were instruments in the hands of Almighty, without being aware of it.

As we were sitting and listening to the reading of Ahadeeth in a revert Muslims Halaqah, a young and fragile looking girl entered to join our circle. She quietly sat down along with us to benefit from the reading. Later we found out that she had come, because she was ready to take her Shahadah, which she did, Alhamdulillah. I was curious to hear her story, as finding Islam in a country, where Muslims constitute barely 1% of the population, is a miracle in itself. Her story proved to be an amazing illustration of the beautiful ways Allah (swt) can guide people.

This girl had become a student at a local university and was living in student housing. Shortly after moving into her room, she noticed that in early mornings a beautiful sound of recitation was coming from behind one of her room walls. The recitation was so beautiful that day after day she kept wondering what it was. Finally, she mastered enough courage to go and see, who the reciter was. It turned out to be an international student from some Muslim country, who in early morning hours was doing his Quran reading. Subhan’Allah! She got to know the young man and learned about Islam from him, which later led to her reversion to Islam. Just imagine – even recitation of the Quran in solitude of your own room may become a guiding light on someone’s way to Islam!

my own reversion to Islam was influenced by numerous people, who might not even have the slightest idea they had anything to do with it.

We never know how Allah (swt) chooses to use us in opening the hearts of people. I was inspired by several strong and confident Muslims, who were not afraid to speak their mind, even if at the time I felt they challenged me to the edge. I thank the Muslim student from Africa, who had enough courage to tell me that he would never ever for anything in the world leave Islam. Even though his boldness took me aback, I kept on thinking about the strength of his faith. I thank the ladies of a Pakistani family, who answered my questions about women in Islam in a matter of fact manner, impressing me by their confidence in their lifestyle. I thank my friend from Yemen, who challenged my beliefs about trinity in Christianity. And I thank the Australian revert sister, who in our first and only meeting boldly invited me to accept Islam with deep belief in her heart that this is the best thing that can ever happen to me. It didn’t happen on that day. But it did happen eight months later, Alhamdulillah.

My message to my Muslim brothers and sisters – do not be afraid to talk about your faith. Take pride in being Muslims and be confident about it. You may become that one much needed building brick on the way to somebody’s Shahadah!

Witness to a Shahadah (Declaration of Faith)

By Umm Usman 

“Would you like to come in tomorrow? A woman is taking Shahadah,” my son’s teacher asked me. My son is studying in an Islamic school in America. I had never actually seen a non-Muslim embracing Islam, so I said I would like to join them. I am glad I did, as it turned out to be a highly enriching experience.

I got there a little early to set up the snacks. I did not know the sister, who was going to take the Shahadah, except that she was a student’s mother. Whenever a woman came in, I thought may be she was the one?

Soon entered an African sister, and by the way she walked in, unsure, yet smiling, I knew she was the one. The teacher ran to greet her and asked her to join us. We tried to make her feel at ease, as she seemed elated and perplexed at the same time.

I wondered what was racing through her mind? What made her decide to revert to Islam?

We sat down on plastic mats on the floor, the sister in our midst. The school children stood around us. A Muslim man associated with the school came in and sat on a chair facing the sister.

He spoke about believing in One God and His Prophet (sa), about the responsibilities of a Muslim, and the pillars of Islam. The sister listened very intently as did everyone else. He then asked her a few questions about the basic message of Islam.

Then, she slowly repeated the words of the Shahadah after the brother.

“Ash hadu an la ilaha ill Allah wa ash hadu anna Muhammadar Rasul Allah.”

“I declare there is no god but Allah (swt) and I declare that Muhammad (sa) is the Messenger of Allah (swt).”

It was pure joy to hear her significant words! I felt a very palpable peace enveloping the room. “The angels surely are surrounding us,” was a thought that came to my mind.

I felt blessed to be witnessing a soul being carried into the safety of Iman. We take for granted being born in Muslim families, whereas here was a woman, who had been through disbelief and was choosing to become Muslim with Allah’s (swt) Mercy.

I also felt a deep yearning for what she had gained here.  All her sins before entering Islam had been erased and forgiven by Allah (swt). She was sinless at this very moment and had a fresh start.

Our hearts filled with love for the new Muslimah. It was amazing, how we felt an instant bonding with this stranger, as soon as she became a sister in Islam. This is also one of Allah’s (swt) bounties that Muslims can feel an immediate attachment with other Muslims.

With moist eyes, we congratulated her, and all the women hugged her. The teachers hugged her son, who beamed happily at his mom, who was now cheerful and calm.

Each one of us gave her gifts, including books of basic Islamic guidance, such as Wudu, Salah, and Fasting. She said these were the things she has many questions about. There were also scarves, CDs of Quran, and sweets.

Chatting over snacks, she said that her Muslim husband put their son in this Islamic school, where she got the opportunity to observe and interact with so many Muslims for three years. This helped her to make up her mind about reverting to Islam.

May Allah (swt) keep her and all of us steadfast in faith till our last breath. Ameen.