Mother’s Sacrifice for Her Orphan Son
Umm Sulaym (ra) grieved for her unbelieving husband, for they had spent many years together under the same roof despite their differences. She turned her attention to little Anas (ra) and said, “I will re-marry when my son Anas allows.” She nourished him with the Qur’anic verses and the Sunnah of the Prophet (sa) until Anas (ra) grew up into a trustworthy young man.
Blessed with intellect and wisdom, it struck Umm Sulaym (ra) to request the Prophet (sa) to accept Anas (ra) in his service. The mother desired the best for her son. What could be better than learning directly from the Prophet (sa) while also serving him? The Prophet (sa) accepted this young man who grew up with the Qur’an and Sunnah.
Lessons to Draw: When being tested people leave whatever good they are doing and devote their time to mourning over their loss and in depression. Umm Sulaym (ra) teaches us to rise up in the face of calamity. She focused her attention on the other blessings of Allah (swt) that she enjoyed – her son. She had him to be thankful for, look after and nurture.
What is our attitude in affliction? What has Allah (swt) given us that we are ignoring?
While at one point Umm Sulaym (ra) says she would not re-marry (that is separate herself from her son) until her son permits, she later gives her beloved boy to the Prophet (sa). She knew she could give him love, but she could not raise or educate him better than the best of mankind. She picked the best teacher for her son and endured this temporary separation for his betterment. We must pay attention to our children’s education. If they are not being homeschooled, what kind of school have we chosen for them? Who are their teachers? Do they instil the love of Allah (swt) in their little hearts along with education? What kind of education are they being delivered?
The Best Dowry of All
One of the richest men from the Ansar (the helpers of Madina) had heard of Umm Sulaym’s admirable virtues. Her integrity and her courage, appealed to him. When he learnt that she was now a widow he decided to marry her. Being affluent, he had no qualms about the dowry. He had decided he would present her with as much gold and silver as she desired. He was confident that his proposal would certainly be accepted. Umm Sulaym (ra), however, surprised him.
When this man approached her, the woman of Taqwa said, “A man like you cannot be refused, the problem is that you are an idol worshipper. It does not befit me to marry a polytheist.” The man requested her to re-consider and offered to present her with as many jewels as she desired. Umm Sulaym (ra) replied, “My dowry is Islam. Accept Islam. I will marry you. Upon your becoming a Muslim I will not demand any other dowry.”
She then talked about his idols. The gods that he worshipped were crafted by people with their own hands. When they required firewood they would throw their idols into fire and cook meal. The man agreed that it was indeed true. Umm Sulaym (ra) continued and asked him if he did not feel embarrass to prostrate to a wooden piece that grew from the Earth. A wooden piece that could not help its own self could not solve his problems either.
The man held his head low and did not utter another word. Umm Sulaym (ra) again presented her proposal to him that if he agrees to embrace Islam, she will accept his marriage proposal. The man asked for some time to think and then accepted Islam. Anas (ra) was called and instructed to arrange the nikkah of his mother with Abu Talhah Ansari (ra).
Abu Talhah (ra) then approached the Prophet (sa) and inquired about the unique dowry that he had been demanded. The Prophet (sa) accepted ‘Islam’ as Umm Sulaym’s dowry and conducted their nikkah.
Lessons to draw: Allah (swt) replaced an unbelieving, unkind husband with him who was much better in many ways. One person abandoned her Allah (swt) sent another to take care of her. We keep complaining to people that they are not giving us our right or not helping us, but we don’t ask Ar-Razzaq – He who provides all kinds of provisions. Umm Sulaym (ra) did not remain undeterred because of a grudge. Her sacrifice was for her religion. She loved Allah (swt) more. He who loves or hates someone or something for the sake of Allah (swt), his sacrifices are never ignored by Him. The only condition is the standard of our eman (faith). How sincere are we?
Have tawwakal on Allah (swt) if future appears bleak today, it would not remain so forever. Allah (swt) will bring relief to us when He thinks it is right for us with what He chooses for us.
We also see that Umm Sulaym (ra) gives no attention to financial standing of Abu Talhah (ra). She rejects him on the basis of his faith. Many a times, we put the faith behind thinking we can work on it later and go ahead with the marriage. When later arrives, girls have either fallen to a lower level of faith or marital conflicts have emerged. Umm Sulaym (ra) proved that to her faith mattered. Through her dawah abilities she convinced the man to come to the truth ‘before marriage’ not later.
(Adapted from the book: Seerat e Sahabiyat k Darakshan Pehlu by and the lectures of Dr. Farhat Hashmi: Seerat e Sahabiyat)