Umm Mihjan – A True Inspiration

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Atiya Maryam Ahsan

Freelance writer
Atiya Maryam Ahsan was one of the active participants of "She's an Inspiration", a short story writing competition, organized by Hiba Magazine in 2012.

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The story of this woman has inspired me and given me hope on a very personal level. I aspire to meet her someday in Jannah. The following Hadeeth mentions her story:

A woman used to clean the Masjid. The Messenger of Allah (sa) missed her and asked about her. He was told that she had died. He (sa) asked: “Why didn’t you inform me?” (It seemed as if) they (Companions) had considered the matter to be insignificant. Then he (sa) said: “Show me her grave.” When it was shown to him, he offered (the funeral) prayer over it and said: “These graves cover those who are in them in darkness, and Allah illuminates them for the inmates as a result of my supplication for them.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

On the basis of some other narrations, the scholars have a general consensus that the person mentioned in this Hadeeth is a woman known as Umm Mihjan, who used to sweep the Masjid.

Many amazing lessons can be learnt from this Hadeeth. Firstly, it highlights the importance of keeping the Masjids clean and tidy. Moreover, one shouldn’t consider somebody else’s contribution to be insignificant no matter how small their deeds might seem.

The most inspiring element I learned from this short Hadeeth is how this woman was held in such high esteem by Allah’s Messenger (sa). Her story gives me faith for myself and others like me. If Allah (swt) can be pleased with such a small deed of a believer like sweeping the Masjid then it means that there is still some hope left for ordinary Muslims like me, who don’t have a huge list of worthy deeds to their credit.

We, the majority Muslims of today, did not have to struggle like the early reverts to Islam, who were brutally tortured at the hands of the disbelievers or forced to migrate to another land in order to protect their belief. Most of us have never had to make any noteworthy sacrifices like the great Sahabah (companions) of the Prophet (sa).

I am not the first woman martyr of Islam like Sumaya (rta) nor have I memorized thousands of Ahadeeth from the Prophet (sa) like Aisha (rta) or Abu Hurairah (rta).

I even don’t have a title of reverence that I could add as a suffix to my name like ‘the sword of Allah’ for Khalid ibn Waleed (rta) or ‘Tayyar’ (the soaring bird) for Jafar (rta), whom the Prophet (sa) saw as a bird, flying, in the gardens of paradise after he was martyred in a gruesome battle. I have not even contributed to the science of Tafseer as done by the ‘Faqeeh al-Ummat’, Abdullah ibn Masud (rta).

Seeing Abu Bakr ‘Siddiq’s’ utter devotion to the Prophet (sa) that he refused to cry out, though in extreme pain, after being bitten by a scorpion in cave of Thaur simply because he didn’t want to disturb the Prophet (sa) from his sleep, makes me cry. I cry especially when I look at my insignificant deeds which fall way short in comparison to such enormous contributions made by our true Muslim heroes. In fact, I feel like a dwarf, seeing their struggle and efforts just to recite the Kalima: la ilaha illa Allah, while most of us Muslims have taken Islam for granted and most of us have indeed forgotten this great legacy.

So where do I stand? How can I attain that same Jannah with such small not to mention worthless deeds? These thoughts often used to disturb my mind making me gloomy and miserable. However, the day I read about this beautiful lady Umm Mihjan, it changed my perspective completely.

This lady and her simple act of merely coming in quietly and sweeping the Masjid on a regular basis became my great source of inspiration. So utterly unnoticeable was she that even the companions didn’t realize it was necessary to inform the Prophet (sa) of her demise. Though I’ve never come across any other Ahadeeth mentioning her worthy acts, her status is so exalted before Allah (swt) and His Messenger (sa) that he went to offer her funeral prayer even after she had been buried, and made Dua for her.

Reading this narration lights up my face. I smile brightly as I have made a discovery as to how to attain the love of Allah (swt). No matter how trivial or utterly irrelevant a life I might lead in this world, all I need from Allah (swt) is acceptance of my small acts of righteous deeds done on a regular basis with good intentions. One should never look down upon small deeds as said by the Prophet (sa): “The deeds most loved by Allah (swt) are those done regularly, even if they are small.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

In order to inherit a supreme place in Jannah, we need to implement this Hadeeth in our lives. However, we must keep our intentions in check while doing any righteous deed. In the end, I just hope and pray that Allah (swt) illuminates my grave with Noor and makes me enter Jannah, where I meet the Prophet (sa) and all his devoted companions including this remarkable Umm Mihjan, an inspiration for all of us. Ameen!

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