Legendary Muslimah Success Secrets (Unveiled) – Umm Fadl (ra)

flowerinsnowThe daughter of Harith ibn Hazan and Hind bint Awf, Umm Fadl was the wife of the Prophet’s (sa) uncle Abbas ibn Abdul Muttalib (ra). Her sisters Maimoona, Salma and Asma bint Umays (ra) were all married in the Prophet’s (sa) family as well.

Today, when raising one or two children has become troublesome for some women, Umm Fadl birthed seven. Her motherhood skills can be best assessed by looking at her children. Her son Abdullah ibn Abbas (ra) is one of the greatest scholars of Islam, an authentic Hadeeth narrator, and also the Quran translator. Her son Ubaidullah was a jurist. She is also the foster mother of the Prophet’s grandson Hasan (ra).

Her real name was Lubaba bint Harith, but the birth of her first son Fadl gave her the title of Umm Fadl. She is also the narrator of approximately thirty Ahadeeth.

She did not wait for others to tell her what she must do. She did not worry about what people are going to say.

The Lady of Goodness

Umm Fadl (ra) was the leader of the women of her tribe. She enjoyed great status and honour. When she heard the message of Islam, she readily accepted it. By this virtue, she became the second woman after Khadijah (ra), who embraced Islam. This shows the goodness of her character. She did not wait for others to tell her what she must do. She did not worry about what people are going to say. She followed her heart and accepted the path that Allah (swt) called her towards.

Lessons to draw:

The forerunners are distinctively mentioned in the Quran. They are those who rush to do the good deeds. They are few in number and appear strange to others. But, they do not worry about the people. They are only concerned with pleasing Allah (swt). We too should let go of our procrastination and laziness and hasten towards the path of goodness.

Strength, Courage and Physical Energy

Conversion to Islam brought along many hardships upon her and her family. They belonged to the weakest and the most helpless segment of their society. Gifted by Allah (swt) in valour and physical energy, Umm Fadl used these characteristics for the service of Islam and the defence of the Prophet (sa). She would stand up against Abu Lahb and his wife Umm Jameel, the ferocious enemies of the Prophet (sa).

We can begin by helping out our domestic helps and giving them a direction in life.

Her servant Abu Rafeh narrates an incident after the conquest of Badr. He was sitting in his den making bowls, when Abu Lahb came strolling. Someone shouted, “Abu Sufyan,” and Abu Lahb signalled him to come and share the news of Badr. Abu Sufyan began by telling, how the Muslims overcame them. He shared how horsemen dressed in white would not let anything stand in their way. Hearing this, Abu Rafeh jumped and screamed in joy, “By Allah! They were angels.” Abu Lahb slapped him violently. He got on top of him and started beating. Abu Rafeh, a feeble man, could not fight back. Umm Fadl, who was also sitting in the den, got up and hit Abu Lahb on the head. She said, “Did you consider him weak? Did you attack him because his owner is not here?” Badly bruised and humiliated, Abu Lahb left for home.

Lessons to draw:

We learn that women should reflect on what skills and traits Allah (swt) has blessed them with, and how best they can use them for the sake of Allah (swt). We also learn one must stand up and defend the weak and the oppressed. We can begin by helping out our domestic helps and giving them a direction in life, Insha‘Allah.

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

What Constitutes Manhood?

12 manhoodBy Majid ibn Abdur-Rahman – Writer 

What type of men would you like to see in our Ummah, the community of Prophet Muhammad (sa)? What constitutes a man? Is it the moustache or the beard? There are so many who have both.

Manhood does not depend upon years. We can often see a seventy-year-old man with the heart of a child: he rejoices over trivial entertainment, sheds tears over petty issues, covets what he does not possess, and greedily clenches whatever falls into his small hands, so that others would not play with it. He simply is a small child with a moustache and beard.

However, by the grace of Allah (swt), there are children who, despite their young age, can be extremely manly in their words, deeds, thoughts, and noble behaviour.

Who is Truly Strong?

truly strongBy Irada Mirzamagomedova – Writer

Strength. Power. What comes to mind when we hear these words? Someone may imagine a muscular athlete with a stern face, while someone else may think of the power of a thought or a word.

So who, in your opinion, is truly strong? Is it someone who can bend iron rods or pull a truck on his own? Yes, such people are ‘strong’ in the physical sense of this word; we cannot argue over this. However, how can we identify a person with a strong spirit? Here intuition will be of no help as a person with a strong spirit can only be identified through his deeds and his words. Have you ever heard the statement: strong is not the one who beats, but the one who can tolerate the beating? It is a fact that no special talent is needed to hurt someone. However, helping another person or finding enough strength within oneself to refrain from replying to an offender in kind is something that is in decline today.

It is not always true that those who possess willpower – which characterizes them as a strong person – are able to live through the hard times and trials of life without collapsing and falling in the eyes of the society as well as close ones. Often, the reason behind all the troubles of a ‘strong’ person is his inability to accept his own weakness. Unwilling to admit this, such people swing from one extreme to another as they seek a way out of difficulties, making use of means which exceed the limits of morality and conscience. Today, we witness such cases in our society more and more often.

Who is the strong one today, according to the standards of society? Is it someone who has power, money, and beauty?

Translated from Latvian to English by Laila Brence

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As Miraculous as a Sincere Dua

ray-of-hope-marcel(This story is one of the entries received  as part of the story writing competition 2014)

“Mariaaam,” bellowed my mother-in-law from the lounge. Wiping off my tears, I folded the prayer mat, preparing myself for another exhausting session of criticism, wondering about my recent mistakes and asking Allah’s (swt) help, as I left for another spiteful session.

Past two years were no less than a dreadful nightmare for me. Back in Karachi, I belonged to a well known family and had completed my studies at a reputable university. I would never have imagined the acute misery and anguish that was coming my way.

In the elite society, to which I belonged, I was known for my elegance, intelligence and sense of style. There were many high class proposals awaiting my approval, but I chose my former college fellow Sufiyan.

My post marital life was going quite smoothly, until the day, when I received the news from Sufiyan’s office that he was stuck with a paralysis attack; I felt my whole world falling apart. None of the expensive medications and supremely qualified doctors would offer a cure for this disease.

My in-laws forced us both to live with them, which became the beginning of my torment.

Entire responsibility of Sufiyan’s personal care was now lying on my shoulders. He was in a state, where he could perceive all that went on around him, but could not speak. All his limbs became immobile. I could not bear my once dominating husband being utterly indigent. It was breaking me apart from within.

This strain was further accompanied by vicious treatment from my in-laws. My mother and sisters in-law burdened me with the responsibilities of house-cleaning and cooking. I sometimes speculated over the sudden transformation of my lifestyle: from a woman, who never stepped a foot into the kitchen, I had turned into a nurse and maid, also, being accused callously for her shortcomings.

My circumstances denied me from escaping this locality, as I could not return to my parents for Sufiyan’s sake. The walls of darkness were closing in on me, until one day in the hospital’s waiting area I heard a beautiful recitation and translation of the Quran being played on the television: “Is not He Who responds to the distressed one, when he calls Him, and Who removes the evil, and makes you inheritors of the earth, generation after generation. Is there any god with Allah? Little is that you remember.” (An-Naml 27:62)

These verses immediately grasped my attention and I reflected upon my current state. Speculation upon my destitution and contrasting that with the motivated effect of this verse brought tears into my eyes. I had never been close to the basic requirements of Islam, let alone ever become a staunch Muslimah. I had spent my entire life according to my own will and sternly followed the norms of the society.

However, after hearing this, feelings of repentance suffocated my heart for days. The love and mercy my Allah (swt) had always had for me never meant anything to me – I kept steadfast on my distorted way of life. I knew that it was me, who was responsible for all this mess, and then I prayed to Him to let me out of this. I started offering five daily prayers, which was a rare routine for me before. I began exploring the Quranic messages, and I firmly believed then that only Allah (swt) could grab me out of this situation. The verses like below kept me hopeful.

“And (remember) Ayub (Job), when he cried to his Lord: Verily, distress has seized me, and You are the Most Merciful of all those who show mercy. So We answered his call, and We removed the distress that was on him, and We restored his family to him (that he had lost), and the like thereof along with them, as a mercy from Ourselves and a Reminder for all who worship Us.” (Al-Anbiya 21:83-84)

Although all potential solutions offered by the doctors showed no progress, I prayed with conviction in Allah’s (swt) power that He could seize me out of this ordeal. The words of the Quran changed me from within. I promised my Lord I will only keep moving forward in His path and my faith won’t waiver. I was optimistic and kept on calling for His assistance. I knew He was listening to me, and sooner or later His “Amr-e-Kunn” would arrive.

My life was based upon tending to my husband, his family and seeking for Allah’s (swt) help. I conversed with my Lord in loneliness and complained to Him about my exhaustion. I knew He was close to my jugular vein and He was listening to my whispers.

A ray of hope arose when one day I received a call from Sufiyan’s doctor – they were conducting a series of trial experiments and were willing to include him in the experiment. The doctors assured me that there was an 80% chance for this drug to work well.

After a thorough discussion with his family and with the doctors, it was decided that he will participate in this trial. I prayed to Allah (swt) that everything goes right. I called on Him in my sleepless nights. The trial lasted for about two months. My mind went crazy with distress during this period and I begged to my Allah (swt) for His help every second.

During these two years, my husbad’s limbs slowly began to move, and he progressed to a stage, where he could walk himself to bed. I believed that Dua could do miracles, and I was not wrong.

Allah (swt) helped me and my husband, and the day came, when he could speak and walk around with no difficulty. All his limbs started working as they used to. I used to thank my Lord with each step of progress Sufiyan made. But I could not thank Him enough.

He showed me the purpose of my life, and I developed complete faith in His supremacy. He is our Sustainer and He ought to be given His designated value in our lives. I understood His working and I vowed to be a parable of His favourite slaves. I know He is always listening to our calls, and He has a right time for everything.