The People of the Garden (True Story)



قال الله تعالى: { إِنَّا بَلَوْنَاهُمْ كَمَا بَلَوْنَا أَصْحَابَ الْجَنَّةِ إِذْ أَقْسَمُوا لَيَصْرِمُنَّهَا مُصْبِحِينَ (17) وَلَا يَسْتَثْنُونَ (18) فَطَافَ عَلَيْهَا طَائِفٌ مِنْ رَبِّكَ وَهُمْ نَائِمُونَ (19) فَأَصْبَحَتْ كَالصَّرِيمِ (20) فَتَنَادَوْا مُصْبِحِينَ (21) أَنِ اغْدُوا عَلَى حَرْثِكُمْ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ صَارِمِينَ (22) فَانْطَلَقُوا وَهُمْ يَتَخَافَتُونَ (23) أَنْ لَا يَدْخُلَنَّهَا الْيَوْمَ عَلَيْكُمْ مِسْكِينٌ (24) وَغَدَوْا عَلَى حَرْدٍ قَادِرِينَ (25) فَلَمَّا رَأَوْهَا قَالُوا إِنَّا لَضَالُّونَ (26) بَلْ نَحْنُ مَحْرُومُونَ (27) قَالَ أَوْسَطُهُمْ أَلَمْ أَقُلْ لَكُمْ لَوْلَا تُسَبِّحُونَ (28) قَالُوا سُبْحَانَ رَبِّنَا إِنَّا كُنَّا ظَالِمِينَ (29) فَأَقْبَلَ بَعْضُهُمْ عَلَى بَعْضٍ يَتَلَاوَمُونَ (30) قَالُوا يَا وَيْلَنَا إِنَّا كُنَّا طَاغِينَ (31) عَسَى رَبُّنَا أَنْ يُبْدِلَنَا خَيْرًا مِنْهَا إِنَّا إِلَى رَبِّنَا رَاغِبُونَ (32) كَذَلِكَ الْعَذَابُ وَلَعَذَابُ الْآَخِرَةِ أَكْبَرُ لَوْ كَانُوا يَعْلَمُونَ } سورة القلم 17-33.


God the Almighty said in Qur’an: {

  1. Verily, We have tried them as We tried the People of the Garden, when they swore to cut the fruits of the garden [harvest] in the morning,
  2. Without saying: Insha Allah (If God will).
  3. So there came upon the garden an affliction [fire] from your Lord while they were asleep.
  4. So the garden became black by the morning, like a pitch dark night (in complete ruins).
  5. As soon the morning broke, they called out one to another,
  6. Saying: “Go early to your crop if you would cut the fruits.”
  7. So they departed, conversing in secret low tones (saying),
  8. “No poor man shall enter your garden today.”
  9. And they went in the morning with determination, thinking that they were capable and had power.
  10. But when they saw the garden, they said: “Verily, we have lost (our way),”
  11. (Then they said): “Nay! Indeed we have been deprived of (the fruits)!”
  12. The best among them said: “Did I not tell you: why do you not glorify God.”
  13. They said: “Glory to Our Lord! Verily, we have done wrong.”
  14. Then they turned, one against another, blaming each other.
  15. They said: “Woe to us! Verily, we have transgressed.
  16. We hope that our Lord will give us in exchange a better (garden) than this. Truly, we turn to our Lord (wishing for good that He may forgive our sins, and reward us in the Hereafter).”
  17. Such is the punishment (in this life), but truly, the punishment of the Hereafter is greater, if they but knew} (Surah 68, verses 17-33).



The Great Scholar Ibn Katheer said in his Exegesis: “                                         

This is a parable that God made for the disbelievers of the tribe of Qureish, who met the great favor and blessing of God upon them of sending Prophet Muhammad to them with denial, rejection and opposition. Therefore God said:

(Verily, We have tried them): Meaning, tested them.

(As We tried the People of the Garden): This refers to a garden containing different types of fruits and vegetation.

(When they swore to cut the fruits of the garden in the morning):

Meaning, they vowed between themselves during the night that they would harvest the fruit of the garden in the early morning so that the poor and the beggars would not know what they were doing. In this way they would be able to keep its fruit for themselves and not give any of it in charity.

(Without (saying: “If God wills.”): Meaning in the vow they made. Therefore, God broke their vow. He then said,

(Then there passed over it an affliction from your Lord while they were asleep): Meaning, it was afflicted with some heavenly destruction.

(So by the morning it became black):  Ibn Abbas said, “Like the dark night.” Al-Thawri and As-Suddi both said, “Like the crop when it is harvested withered and dry.”

(As the morning broke, they called out one to another): Meaning, when it was early morning time they called each other so that they could go together to pick the harvest or cut it its fruits.

(Saying) “Go to your crop in the morning, if you would cut the fruits.”):  Meaning, if you want to cut your harvest fruit.’

(So they departed, and they were whispering): Meaning, they spoke privately about what they were doing so that no one could hear what they were saying. Then God, the All-Knower of secrets and private discussions, explained what they were saying in private. He said,

(So they departed, and they were whispering: “No poor person shall enter your garden”): Meaning, some of them said to others, “Do not allow any poor person to enter the garden today.”  God says:

(And they went in the morning with determination): Meaning, with strength and power, thinking they had power to do what they claimed and what they were desiring.

(But when they saw the garden, they said: “Verily, we have lost (our way).”): Meaning, when they arrived at it and came upon it, and it was in the condition which God changed from that luster, brilliance and abundance of fruit, to being black, gloomy and void of any benefit. They believed that they had taken a wrong way and this was not their garden. This was said by Ibn `Abbas and others.

Then they reconsidered and realized with certainty that it was actually the correct path. They said,

(Nay! Indeed we have been deprived (of the fruits)!): Meaning, `nay, this is it, but we have no portion and no share (of harvest).’

(The best among them said):  Ibn Abbas and others said, “This means the most just of them and the best of them.”

(Did I not tell you, `Why do you not glorify God’): Mujahid, As-Suddi and Ibn Jurayj all said that, this means “why do you not say, `If God wills”.

It has also been said that it means that the best of them said to them, “Did I not tell you, why don’t you glorify God and thank Him for what He has given you and favored you with”

(They said: “Glory to Our Lord! Verily, we have been wrongdoers.”) They became obedient when it was of no benefit to them, and they were remorseful and confessed when it was not of any use.

Then they said:

(“Verily, we have been wrongdoers.” So they turned to one another, blaming each other): Meaning, they started blaming each other for what they had resolved to do, preventing the poor people from receiving their right of the harvested fruit. Thus, their response to each other was only to confess their error and sin.

(They said: “Woe to us! Verily, we have transgressed”): Meaning, `we have transgressed, trespassed, violated and exceeded the bounds until what this happened to us.’

(We hope that our Lord will give us in exchange better than it. Truly, we hope in our Lord.): It has been said, “They were hoping for something better in exchange in this life.” It has also been said, “They were hoping for its reward in the abode of the Hereafter.” And God knows best.

Some of the Scholars mentioned that these people were from Yemen. Sa’eed Ibn Jubair said, “They were from a village that was called Darawan which was six miles from Sana’ (in Yemen). ”

It has also been said: “They were from the people of Ethiopia whose father had left them this garden, and they were from the People of the Book. Their father used to manage the garden in a good way. Whatever he reaped from it he would put it back into the garden as it needed, he would save some of it as food for his dependents for the year, and he would give away the excess in charity.  Then, when he died, and his children inherited the garden they said, `Verily, our father was foolish for giving some of this garden’s harvest to the poor. If we prevent them from it, then we will have more.’ So when they made up their minds to do this they were punished with what was contrary to their plan. God took away all of what they possessed of wealth, gain and charity. Nothing remained for them.” God then says:

(Such is the punishment):Meaning, such is the punishment of whoever opposes the command of God, is stingy with what God has given him and favored him with, withholds the right of the poor and needy, and responds to God’s blessings upon him with ungratefulness (or disbelief).

(But truly, the punishment of the Hereafter is greater if they but knew): Meaning, this is the punishment in this life, as you have heard, and the punishment of the Hereafter is even harder.






Prophet Muhammad – Forgiving and Kind

     قال الله تعالى: { لَقَدْ جَاءَكُمْ رَسُولٌ مِنْ أَنْفُسِكُمْ عَزِيزٌ عَلَيْهِ مَا عَنِتُّمْ حَرِيصٌ عَلَيْكُمْ بِالْمُؤْمِنِينَ رَءُوفٌ رَحِيمٌ} التوبة 128.

      Allah -the Exalted- says: { Verily, there has come to you a Messenger (Muhammad) from among yourselves. It grieves him what you suffer.  He is concerned over you, and to the believers he is kind and merciful} (Surah 9, verse 128).

    عن عَائِشَةَ رضى الله عنها أَنَّها قالت: ( مَا انْتَقَمَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم لِنَفْسِهِ فِي شَىْءٍ قَطُّ، إِلاَّ أَنْ تُنْتَهَكَ حُرْمَةُ اللَّهِ، فَيَنْتَقِمَ بِهَا لِلَّهِ). متفق عليه.‏

            Narrated Aisheh (Wife of the Prophet) -may Allah be pleased with her- said: “Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- never took revenge over anybody for himself, unless the limits of Allah were violated then he would serve justice for Allah’s sake.” Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.


Prophet Muhammad urged the Muslims to show forgiveness and kindness to others.  Not only did he express that in words, but he also accompanied it with action.  If we study the biography of Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him, we see instance after instance of forgiveness and largess.

The most clear instance of Prophet Muhammad’s great forgiveness appears in his treatment of the tribe of Qureish after the Conquest of Makkah.

Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- spent thirteen years in Makkah inviting his people to Islam.  During this period, his tribe Qureish not only refused his invitation but persecuted him and his followers.  Qureish used to worship idols, and vehemently rejected the call to worship one God.  They believed in God, but associated other idols in worship as well.  As the Prophet explained his divine message, and as people saw the true divine and noble nature of his message, many people embraced Islam and devoted their worship to one God only.  However, the chiefs and powerful men of Qureish insisted on their belief, and moreover started harming and torturing those who followed Prophet Muhammad, and employed many methods to make them renounce their religion.

In response to this persecution, Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- allowed his followers to migrate to Ethiopia first, and to Al-Medina later.  Al-Medinah is located around 210 miles north of Makkah, and at the time was populated by a tribe called Al-Ansar.  Beside Al-Ansar Tribe, many Jews had moved to Al-Medinah as they determined it to be the place where the next true prophet would appear.  The Ansar used to worship idols, while the Jews used to worship God.  The Jews often used to warn the Ansar that soon a true prophet will come then they will kill all of Ansar.  Therefore, when some Ansari men heard of Prophet Muhammad, they remembered the warning of the Jews and readily accepted his prophet-hood and believed him in his Divine message.  Finally, Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- migrated to Al-Medinah and the whole town embraced Islam vowing their allegiance to God and His true Messenger.

Qureish had decided to kill Prophet Muhammad by asking each sub-tribe to send a man to participate in killing Prophet Muhammad.  God revealed their plan to Prophet Muhammad and commanded him to migrate to Al-Medinah.  Qureish promised 100 camels for whoever caught the Prophet dead or alive, but he evaded them and reached Al-Medinah safely.

Once in Al-Medinah, the tribe of Qureish organized many military expeditions and armies to defeat the now Muslim Ansar tribe and Prophet Muhammad.  After a number of battles, both sides signed a peace treaty named Al-Hudeibiyah Treaty that favored the tribe of Qureish, but the Prophet looking for peace signed it.  When Qureish violated the treaty, Prophet Muhammad with the permission of God decided to march to Makkah, his birthplace and the starting point of his Divine true message.

The Muslim marched in large numbers to Makkah and overcame the minor resistance they faced.  When they entered Makkah, there were many of idols around Ka’bah in the Great Sacred Mosque of Makkah.  The Prophet had all of them destroyed.

                   The Forgiveness of Prophet Muhammad appeared even before he entered Makkah.  Prophet Muhammad had it announced that whoever stayed in his house or in the house of Abu Sufayn, then no harm will come to him.  Thus, instead of killing and pillaging the tribe that spent every penny opposing and fighting him and his followers, he granted them general amnesty.  The tribe of Qureish, who always fought the Muslims, tortured them, and killed many of them, now could see the real high moral character of Prophet Muhammad and his followers.

    عنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ، أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم عَامَ الْفَتْحِ جَاءَهُ الْعَبَّاسُ بْنُ عَبْدِ الْمُطَّلِبِ بِأَبِي سُفْيَانَ بْنِ حَرْبٍ فَأَسْلَمَ بِمَرِّ الظَّهْرَانِ، فَقَالَ لَهُ الْعَبَّاسُ: يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ، إِنَّ أَبَا سُفْيَانَ رَجُلٌ يُحِبُّ هَذَا الْفَخْرَ فَلَوْ جَعَلْتَ لَهُ شَيْئًا،‏ قَالَ: «‏ نَعَمْ، مَنْ دَخَلَ دَارَ أَبِي سُفْيَانَ فَهُوَ آمِنٌ، وَمَنْ أَغْلَقَ عَلَيْهِ بَابَهُ فَهُوَ آمِنٌ» .  رواه أبو داود.

Narrated Ibn Abbas said (English translation): “Al-Abbas Ibn Abdil-Muttalib (uncle of the Prophet) brought Abu Sufyan Ibn Harb (Leader of Qureish) to Prophet Muhammad just before the Conquest of Makkah.  Abu Sufyan embraced Islam at a place called Marr Adhahran.  Then Al-Abbas said to the Prophet: ‘O Messenger of Allah, Abu Sufyan is a man who likes the common distinction and pride, if you may do something for him.’  Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- said: ‘Yes, whoever enters the house of Abu Sufyan is safe, and whoever closes his house door on himself is safe.’ ”  Related by Abu Dawood.

Then after the Muslims entered Makkah, the tribe of Qureish wanted to know their fate and went to Prophet Muhammad to ask him.

عَنْ أَبِي يُوسُفَ أَنَّ النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ لَقريش حِينَ اجْتَمَعُوا فِي الْمَسْجِدِ: مَا تَرَوْنَ أَنِّي صَانِعٌ بِكُمْ؟ قَالُوا: خَيْرًا، أَخٌ كَرِيمٌ وَابْنُ أَخٍ كَرِيمٍ، قَالَ: اذْهَبُوا فَأَنْتُمُ الطُّلَقَاءُ. رواه البيهقي.

          Abu Yoosuf related (English translation): “After the Conquest of Makkah, the tribe of Qureish gathered in the Great Mosque, so Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- asked them: ‘What do you think I am going to do with you?’  They replied: ‘We only expect forgiveness and pardon from an honorable generous brother, and an honorable generous nephew.’  So Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- said: ‘Then you may go, for you are the freed ones.’ ”  Related by Al-Beihaqi.

          Thus, we see the true moral character of Prophet Muhammad.  He forgave the tribe of Qureish after all their animosity, harm and opposition.  As a result, even his harshest opponents and sworn enemies among Qureish embraced Islam, some reluctantly at first but soon marveled and basked in the peace and justice of the true Divine message of Prophet Muhammad.

In fact, at the time of Prophet Muhammad many people of different religions used to come to see Prophet Muhammad and test his morals and outward actions.  They would set certain moral tests to see if Muhammad is a true Prophet.  Some Christians tested his acceptance of charity, but when he refused they recognized his sincerity and renunciation of the worldly life.  Some Jews tested his knowledge, and asked him deep esoteric questions that only they knew.  Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- answered all of their questions correctly as they stated.  Some pagans tested his justice and judgment, and Prophet Muhammad ruled with justice and avoided any bias.

To the extent that some famous rulers and kings accepted his true message based on his call to moral character and noble personal action.  The King of Ethiopia wept with tears when he heard the Qur’an then embraced Islam.  The Roman Emperor, Heraculius, asked Abu Sufyan (the chief of Qureish) about Prophet Muhammad and then marveled at his moral character, admitting that such moral behavior and justice only indicates a true Prophet of God.  The ruler of Yamamah, Thumamah Ibn Uthal, was captured by the Muslims.  The Prophet kept him for three days and then forgave him, releasing him.  During those three days, he was shown the real moral character of the Prophet and his kind treatment.  After his release, the Ruler of Yamamah declared Islam and then said his famous statement:

‘By God, O Muhammad, there was no face on the surface of the earth most disliked by me than yours, but now your face has become the most beloved face to me.  By God, there was no religion most disliked by me than yours, but now your religion (of Islam) is the most beloved religion to me. And by God, there was no city most disliked by me than your town, but now your town is the most beloved city to me.’

Thus, we see that the high moral code of Prophet Muhammad and his noble action including his great mercy and forgiveness set him apart and give credence to his true Divine Message, for Mercy and Forgiveness are characteristics that God often attributes to Himself.  Righteous people who follow God’s command, not only call for such moral traits but embody them in action as well.  And Allah knows best.


A True Story about Iman or True Faith (1)

      عن ابن عَبَّاسٍ رضي اللَّهُ عنهما، قال: ( دَخَلَ رسولُ الله صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم على عمرَ ومعه أناس من أصحابه، فقال: « أَمُؤْمِنُونَ أَنْتُم ؟»  فسكتوا – ثلاث مرات- فقال عمر في آخرهم: نعم، نؤمنُ على ما أتيتنا به، ونحمدُ اللهَ في الرَّخَاءِ، ونصبر على البلاء، ونؤمن بالقضاء، فقال رسولُ الله صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم: « مُؤْمِنُونَ وَرَبِّ الكَعْبَةِ»).  رواه الطبراني والهيثمي.

      Narrated Ibn Abbas -may Allah be pleased with them- said: “The Messenger of Allah -prayer and peace be upon him- once visited Omar and few of his companions were with the latter, so the Messenger of Allah -prayer and peace be upon him- asked: ‘Are you Mu’minoon (Faithful believers)?’  They kept silent.  He asked three times so Omar replied after the last time: ‘Yes, we believe in the message you were sent with, thank (Allah) during ease, bear patiently during hardship, and believe and accept pre-destiny.’  So the Messenger of Allah -prayer and peace be upon him- said: ‘True believers (Mu’minoon) by the Lord of Ka’bah.’ ”  Related by Al-Tabarani, and Al-Heithami.

   The Trial of the Fire

Narrated Sherhabeel Ibn Muslim said: “When Al-Aswad Ibn Qais Al-‘Ansi, the apostate, the imposter, claimed to be a prophet falsely in Yemen, he sent for Abu Muslim Al-Khawlani.  When Abu Muslim was brought to him, Al-Aswad, the imposter, asked him: ‘Do you testify that I am a messenger of Allah?’  Abu Muslim replied: ‘I can’t hear what you say.’  He asked Abu Muslim: ‘Do you testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah?’  Abu Muslim replied: ‘Yes, I do.’  Al-Aswad repeated the questions, and Abu Muslim replied the same.  So Al-Aswad asked his men to make a great fire and throw Abu Muslim into it.  But the great fire did not harm Abu Muslim (by the will of God).  It was said to Al-Aswad: ‘Send him away, or he will drive away your followers.’  So he asked Abu Muslim to leave.

Abu Muslim went to visit Al-Medinah, while Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- had passed away, and Abu-Bakr -may Allah be pleased with him- was elected as caliph.  Once in Al-Medinah, Abu Muslim left his mount at the door of the Great Mosque of the Prophet, then went inside the mosque and started praying behind a pillar.

Omar saw him, so went to him and asked: ‘Where is the man (you) from?’  Abu Muslim replied: ‘From Yemen.’  Omar asked: ‘Then maybe you are the one whom the imposter threw into the fire?’  Abu Muslim hedged: ‘That was Abdul-Allah Ibn Thowb [Abu Muslim’s real name].’  Omar said: ‘I beseech you by Allah, are you that person?’  Abu Muslim replied: ‘Yes, that is me, by Allah.’  So Omar embraced him, and cried.

Omar then took Abu Muslim to the Caliph Abu-Bakr, and seated him between himself and Abu Bakr -may Allah be pleased with them, and then said: ‘Praise be to Allah Who did not take my soul until I had seen among the nation of Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- a person who was treated the same as Prophet Ibrahim, the close friend of the Most Merciful (Khaleel Al-Rahman).’ ”  Related by Abu Nu’eim in Hilyatul Awliya‘ (The Ornament of the Saints).


A True Story about the Fear of Allah -the Exalted (2)


   عن عَائِشَةَ رضي اللَّهُ عنها زَوْجِ النَّبِيِّ صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم قَالَتْ: ( مَا رَأَيْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم ضَاحِكًا حَتَّى أَرَى مِنْهُ لَهَوَاتِهِ، إِنَّمَا كَانَ يَتَبَسَّمُ. قَالَتْ وَكَانَ إِذَا رَأَى غَيْمًا أَوْ رِيحًا عُرِفَ فِي وَجْهِهِ، قَالَتْ: يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ، إِنَّ النَّاسَ إِذَا رَأَوْا الْغَيْمَ فَرِحُوا رَجَاءَ أَنْ يَكُونَ فِيهِ الْمَطَرُ، وَأَرَاكَ إِذَا رَأَيْتَهُ عُرِفَ فِي وَجْهِكَ الْكَرَاهِيَةُ؟ فَقَالَ: « يَا عَائِشَةُ مَا يُؤْمِنِّي أَنْ يَكُونَ فِيهِ عَذَابٌ عُذِّبَ قَوْمٌ بِالرِّيحِ، وَقَدْ رَأَى قَوْمٌ الْعَذَابَ فَقَالُوا: {هَذَا عَارِضٌ مُمْطِرُنَا}[الأحقاف 24]»). متفقٌ عليه.

   Narrated ‘Aisheh -the wife of the Prophet may Allah be pleased with her- said: “I never saw Prophet Muhammad -prayer and peace be upon him- laugh to such an extent that I could see his uvula; he would only smile.  And when he saw dark clouds or wind, distress could be seen in his face.  I asked: ‘O Messenger of Allah, when people see the dark cloud they rejoice, hoping there will be rain in it.  Yet when you see it, distress is seen in your face?’  The Messenger of Allah -prayer and peace be upon him- replied: ‘O Aisheh, what will assure me that there is no punishment in it? People have been punished by wind. Some people saw the punishment [concealed in a dark cloud] and said: {This is a rain cloud coming to us} (Surah Al-Ahqaf, verse 24).’ ”  Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.

Omar Ibn Al-Khattab:

Narrated Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, narrated Abdul-Allah Ibn Isa said: “There were two black shadowy lines on the cheeks of Omar Ibn Al-Khattab as a result of his weeping (For fear of Allah, the Exalted).”

  Ali Ibn Abi Talib:

It is narrated that when it was the time for prayer, the Caliph Ali Ibn Abi Talib -may Allah be pleased with him- used to shake and become pale. He would be asked: “What is the matter with you, O Leader of the Faithful?” He would reply: “The time has come for a trust that Allah offered to the heavens, the earth and the mountains, but they declined to bear it, but I have carried it.”

   Aishah Bint AbiBakr:

Narrated Al-Qasim Ibn Muhammad Ibn Abu-Bakr As-siddeeq said: “Whenver I went out in the morning, I used to start by visiting the house of Aishah [wife of the Prophet -prayer and peace be upon him- and Al-Qasim’s aunt] -may Allah be pleased with her.  One day I passed by her in the morning and found her praying, making tasbeeh and reciting the verse: {So Allah has been gracious to us, and has saved us from the torment of the Fire} [surah 52, verse 27].  She was praying, and repeating the verse while crying.  I waited for her until I got tired, so I went to the market to get my needs.  When I went back, she was still standing in prayer and crying.”  Thus related in the “Sifetul-Sefweh” (Characteristics of the Righteous).




A True Story about Shyness and Chastity (4)

  عن أبي سعيد الخدري، قال: ( كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم أَشَدَّ حَيَاءً مِنْ الْعَذْرَاءِ فِي خِدْرِهَا، وَكَانَ إِذَا كَرِهَ شَيْئًا عَرَفْنَاهُ فِي وَجْهِهِ).  رواه البخاري ومسلم.

   Narrated Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudri -may Allah be pleased with him- said: “The Messenger of Allah -prayer and peace be upon him- was more shy than a virgin in her private room.  And if he saw a thing which he disliked, we would recognize it in his face.”  Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.

   ‘Suleiman Ibn Yasar and the Bedouin Woman’

It is related that Abu Haazim said: “Suleiman Ibn Yasaar once set out from Al-Medinah on a journey along with a companion of his.  They stopped at a place called Al-Abwa’ on the outskirts of the city to rest.  His companion took the food bag and went to the market to buy supplies, while Suleiman stayed in the tent.  Suleiman was one of the most handsome and wonderful of people.

A Bedouin woman spotted him from the hilltop while she was in her tent.  When she saw his handsomeness and beauty, she came down to him, still wearing her veil (niqab) and gloves.  She came before him and removed the veil from her face, which was as beautiful as the moon.  She said: ‘Take me.’  Suleiman thought she was asking for food, so he got up to give her what remained of the meal.  She said: ‘I do not want that food; I want what a man shares privately with his wife.’  He replied: ‘Satan has sent you to lead me astray.’  He then put his head between his arms and started weeping.  And he continued to weep in earnest.  When she saw that, she veiled her face and left slowly with regret to her tent.

His companion returned after buying their supplies.  When he saw Suleiman’s swollen eyes and hiccups, he asked him: ‘What makes you cry?’  Suleiman said: ‘Nothing, I just remembered my children.’  His companion said: ‘No, there is something else, for you just saw your children three or so days ago.’  He continued to press him until Suleiman told him about the Bedouin woman.

His companion put down the food bag and started himself weeping profusely.  So Suleiman asked him: ‘Now what makes you cry?’  His companion replied: ‘I deserve to cry more than you.’  Suleiman: ‘And why is that?’  He replied: ‘Because I am afraid if I was in your place, I would not have refrained from touching her.’  So they both continued to weep.

When Suleiman reached Makkah, he performed Umrah, then went and sat in Al-Hijr (north part of Ka’bah).  He wrapped his clothes around him, and fell asleep.  He saw in a dream a tall, beautiful, handsome man with nice appearance and good smell. Suleiman asked him: ‘Who are you, may Allah have mercy on you?’  The man replied: ‘I am Yoosuf Ibn Ya’qoob (Joseph son of Jacob).’  Suleiman asked: ‘Prophet Yoosuf, the truthful one?’  He replied: ‘Yes.’  Suleiman said: ‘Your dealing with the wife of Al-Aziz (Potiphar’s wife) was amazing.’  He replied: ‘Your dealing with the Bedouin woman at Al-Abwa’ is more amazing.’ ”  Related by Abu Nu’eim in “Hilyatul Awliya” (The Ornament of the Saints).





A Righteous Woman


    عن عبد الله بن زيد بن أسلم، عن أبيه، عن جده أسلم قال: ( بينما أنا مع عمر بن الخطاب وهو يعس بالمدينة إذ أعيا، فاتكأ على جانب جدار في جوف الليل، فإذا امرأة تقول لابنتها: يا ابنتاه قومي إلى ذلك اللبن فامذقيه بالماء، فقالت لها: يا أمتاه، وما علمت بما كان من عزمة أمير المؤمنين اليوم؟ قالت: وما كان من عزمته يا بينه؟ قالت: إنه أمر مناديه فنادى: أن لا يشاب اللبن بالماء، فقالت لها: يابنتاه قومي إلى اللبن فامذقيه بالماء فإنك بموضع لا يراك فيه عمر ولا منادي عمر، فقالت الصبية لأمها: يا أمتاه، والله ما كنت لأطيعه في الملأ وأعصيه في الخلاء، وعمر يسمع كل ذلك، فقال: يا أسلم: عَلّم الباب واعرف الموضع، ثم مضى في عسسه، فلما أصبح قال: يا أسلم إمض إلى الموضع فانظر من القائلة؟ ومن المقول لها؟ وهل لهما من بعل؟ قال أسلم: فأتيت الموضع، فنظرت فإذا الجارية أَيّم لا بعل لها، وإذ تيك أمها، وإذ ليس لهم رجل، فأتيت عمر بن الخطاب فأخبرته، فدعى ولده فجمعهم فقال: هل فيكم من يحتاج إلى امرأة أزوجه، ولو كان بأبيكم حركة إلى النساء ما سبقه فيكم أحد إلى هذه الجارية؟ فقال عبدالله: لي زوجة، وقال عبدالرحمن: لي زوجة، وقال عاصم: يا أبتاه، لا زوجة لي فزوجني، فبعث إلى الجارية فزوجها من عاصم، فكانت جدة عمر بن عبد العزيز الخليفة رحمه الله).   قال أهل السيرة: فولدت لعاصم بنتا، وولدت البنت عمر بن عبد العزيز.

Abdullah Ibn Zaid Ibn Aslam narrated from his father, who narrated from his grandfather: “One night, I was in the company of Caliph Umar Ibn Al-Khattab during one of his secret night visits to survey the condition of his people. Umar felt tired and leaned against a wall late at night. He overheard a woman saying to her daughter: ‘My daughter, get that milk and mix it with water.’ The daughter replied: ‘My mother, do you not know the resolution of the Leader of the Believers (Amir Al-Mu’mineen, Umar) today?’  The mother asked: ‘What was his resolution, daughter?’  She replied: ‘He ordered his caller to announce: the milk should not be diluted with water.’ The mother said: ‘My daughter, get the milk and mix it with water, for you are in a site where neither Umar nor his caller can see you.’  The girl said to her mother: ‘My mother, by Allah I would not have obeyed him in public to disobey him in private.’

Umar heard all of that, so he said: ‘O Aslam, mark the door and remember the place.’  Umar then continued with his night watch.

When it was morning, Umar said: ‘O Aslam, go to that place, and find out: Who was the speaker?  Whom did she address?  And does she have a husband?’  Aslam said: So I went to the same spot, and found out that the young woman was single with no husband, and the speaker was her mother, and they did not have any male relative.  I went back to Umar Ibn Al-Khattab and told him.

Umar called all of his sons, and asked: ‘Does anyone of you need a wife, so I would get him married?  Indeed, had your father been desirous of women (he was old then), nobody would have superseded him to this young woman.’  So Abdullah (the eldest son) said: ‘I have a wife.’  And Abdul-Rahman said: ‘I have a wife.’  But Aasim said: ‘My father, I do not have a wife, so get me married.’

Umar sent for the young woman and married her to Aasim.  So she was the grandmother of the (fifth) Caliph Umar Ibn Abd al-Aziz, may Allah have mercy on him.”

The historians said: She gave birth to a girl from Aasim, and the daughter gave birth to Umar Ibn Abd al-Aziz.

A True Story of Generosity, Honor, and Forgiveness

Related Shayba Al-Dimashqi: “During the reign of Sulayman Ibn ‘Abd al-Malik (an Umayyad Caliph), there lived a man from the tribe of Bani Asad whose name was Khuzayma Ibn Bishr. Khuzayma was rich and was well-known for his honor, generosity, and help of the needy. He continued to be so generous that one day he himself became needy. As a result, Khuzayma was obliged to seek the aid of his brothers whom he used to help out and do favors. His brothers helped him for some time, but eventually they grew weary of him. When he noticed their change in attitude, Khuzayma said to his wife: ‘O cousin, I see a change in my brothers, and I have decided to stay in my house until I die.’ He then locked his door upon himself, and lived on what he had until it was depleted, and he was bewildered what to do.

Ikrima Al-Fayyad was the ruler of the island, and while he was sitting in his ruling place surrounded by a group of the peers of the city, Khuzayma was mentioned. So Ikrima asked: ‘In what condition is he?’ They replied: ‘He is in the worst of conditions and has locked himself in his house.’ Ikrima refrained from speaking any further on the topic.

When it was nighttime, Ikrima took four thousand Dinars and placed them in a single money pouch. He then went out secretly, disguised, until he stopped at Khuzayma’s door.  He knocked and Khuzayma came out.  Ikrima said to him: ‘Use this to improve your conditions.’  Khuzayma took the pouch and found it heavy, so he caught the reins of his night visitor’s mount and asked: ‘Who are you, may I be sacrificed for you?’  Ikrima said: ‘I did not come out disguised at this time to be recognized!’  Khuzayma said: ‘I will not accept it until you tell who you are.’  Ikrima said: ‘I am Jabir ‘Atharatil-Kiram (the mender of the slips of the honorable).’  He then left.  Khuzayma went inside his house in disbelief, feeling the pouch and the money inside.

Ikrima returned to his house and found that his wife had sensed his absence and had become suspicious. She slapped her cheeks, and when he saw her like that, he asked: ‘What is wrong with you, O cousin?’ She replied: ‘Your mistreatment of your cousin. The ruler of the island does not go out at night secretly without his servants except to go to a wife or a mistress!’ He said: ‘Allah knows that I went out for neither.’ She said: ‘Then tell me why you went out.’ He replied: ‘O woman, I did not go out at the time except that I wanted nobody to know about me.’ She said: ‘You must tell me.’ He said: ‘Then keep it a secret.’ She replied: ‘I will.’ So Ikrima told her the whole story and she said: ‘My heart is at rest now.’

In the morning, Khuzayma paid out his debts and improved his condition. He then set out to visit the Caliph Sulayman Ibn ‘Abd al-Malik. When Khuzayma arrived there, he asked permission to enter. The Caliph Sulayman gave him permission, for he had heard of his honor and generosity. Sulayman asked him about his condition and the reason for his delayed visit. Khuzayma told him about the story of the night visitor, so Sulayman asked: ‘Did you know recognize him?’ Khuzayma replied: ‘No, by Allah, because he was disguised. I only heard him saying his name was Jabir ‘Atharatil-Kiram (the mender of the slips of the honorable).’ Sulayman was eager to know his real name and said: ‘If we come to know him, we will help him for his generosity.’ He then said: ‘Get me a scepter (ruling spear).’ And he appointed Khuzayma as a ruler for the island in place of Ikrima Al-Fayyad. Sulayman gave Khuzayma many gifts and bade him to go back to the island.

Khuzayma went back to the island. When he got close, Ikrima and the peers of the city came out to receive him, and the men all returned together into the city. Khuzayma took lodgings at the ruling house and ordered that Ikrima be questioned and called to account.  Ikrima was accounted for and was found to owe a significant sum of money.  Khuzayma asked him for the amount, and Ikrima replied: ‘I have no access to such an amount.’  So Khuzayma had Ikrima imprisoned.  Khuzayma later called him to pay and Ikrima replied: ‘I am not among those who protect their money at the expense of their honor, so do whatever you wish.’  Khuzayma had him chained in iron and constrained him. Ikrima stayed like that for one month, and the iron chains wore him out and caused him harm.

Ikrima’s cousin–his wife–heard about the trouble, so she called a wise servant girl of hers and said: ‘Go at this hour to the door of this ruler and say: ‘I have advice that I will say only to the ruler himself.’ And when you go inside, ask him secretly: Was this your reward to Jabir ‘Atharatil-Kiram (the mender of the slips of the honorable), that you harm him, imprison him, and put him in chains!’ The servant girl followed through with this procedure.

When Khuzayma heard her words, he said: ‘My shame! My opponent is Jabir ‘Atharatil-Kiram (the mender of the slips of the honorable)?’ She responded in the affirmative. Khuzayma immediately called for his mount to be saddled, rode to the peers of the city, gathered them and then took them all to the door of the prison. Khuzayma opened the prison door and saw Ikrima Al-Fayyad at the bottom of the cell, so different from his normally honorable look and worn out. When Ikrima saw Khuzayma and the peers, he felt ashamed and bent his head. Khuzayma approached him and bent down, kissing his head. Ikrima raised his head and asked: ‘What is the reason for this?’ Khuzayma replied: ‘Your honorable deeds and my ill-reward.’ Ikrima said: ‘May Allah forgive us and you.’ Khuzayma then ordered Ikrima’s chains to be removed and placed around his own feet. So Ikrima asked: ‘Why do you want to do that?’ Khuzayma replied: ‘I want to experience the same harm that you experienced.’ Ikrima said: ‘I swear by Allah on you not to do so.’

They left together until they reached Khuzayma’s house, so Ikrima bade him farewell and wanted to leave, but Khuzayma did not let him. Ikrima asked: ‘And what do you want?’ Khuzayma replied: ‘I want to change the condition in which I see you.’ He then had the washing quarters emptied and they went inside. Khuzayma then himself served Ikrima. He asked him to travel together to see the leader of the believers (Caliph Sulayman) and he agreed.

They set out together until they reached the Caliph Sulayman Ibn ‘Abd al-Malik. Sulayman was worried by the fact that Khuzyama was visiting so soon, and without warning. He permitted Khuzayma to enter. When he did, Sulayman asked before any greeting: ‘What is the purpose of your visit, O Khuzayma?’ He replied: ‘Something good, O leader of the believers. I have found Jabir ‘Atharatil-Kiram (the mender of the slips of the honorable), and wanted to make you happy since I know your eagerness to see him.’ Sulayman asked: ‘And who is he?’ He replied: ‘Ikrima Al-Fayyad.’ So Sulayman gave Ikrima permission to enter. Ikrima entered, and said salam to him. Sulayman had him sit close and said: ‘Your good deed to him was a trial for you.’ Sulayman then fulfilled his needs, and gave him ten thousand Dinars. He asked for a scepter (ruling spear) and appointed Ikrima as the ruler of the island, and of Armenia, and of Azerbaijan. Sulayman then said to him: ‘Khuzayma’s rule is in your hand; if you wish you can let him stay, and if you wish you can discharge him.’ Ikrima said: ‘I would rather let him go back to his rule, O leader of the believers.’ They then left together, and they stayed as rulers for Sulayman during his reign.”

Related by Ibn Hijja Al-Hamawi in his book Thamarat al-Awraq.

Al-Najashi (Negus, King of Ethiopia)

Editor’s note: The post is a follow up on the previous post on Umm Ayman. Both posts illuminate the important role played by black people in Islam’s early years, serving as important reminders for the need of establishing racial harmony and eliminating racism in Muslims.

Narrated Umm Salama Bint Abi Umayah Ibn Al-Mughira, the wife of the Prophet ﷺ: “When we immigrated to Abyssinia (Ethiopia), we were received by the best of hosts, Al-Najashi (Negus, King of Ethiopia), who offered us sanctuary to practice our religion, so we worshipped Allah the Exalted with no harm or hateful objection. But when the tribe of Quraysh heard about the peace the Muslim migrants enjoyed under the protection of Al-Najashi, they made plans to try to extradite them back to Makkah. Quraysh decided to send two powerful men with valuable and much sought after gifts from Makkah to Al-Najashi and to every single member of his clergy.  Al-Najashi used to like tanned leather, so the Qurashites gathered a large quantity of it and sent everything with two men, Abdullah Ibn Abi Rabi’a Ibn Al-Mughira Al-Makhzumi and Amr Ibn Al-‘Aas Ibn Wa’il Al-Sahmi. They explained the mission to the two men thus: ‘First, present to every bishop his special gift before you talk to Al-Najashi, then present to Al-Najashi his gifts, and then ask him to turn over the Muslim group to you without giving him a chance to speak with them.’

The two envoys set out to Abyssinia until they reached Al-Najashi, whose hospitality and security we [the Muslims] were enjoying. The two men first presented every bishop with his special gift before talking to Al-Najashi, and confided to each one of them: ‘Indeed, there have defected to the King’s land some ignorant young people from our tribe, who have renounced the religion of their forefathers and have not embraced your religion, but have come up with a new religion that neither of us recognize.  The noblemen of their tribe have sent us to the King seeking their extradition, so when we speak with the King about that, counsel him to deliver them to us without talking with them, for their own people are more cognizant of them and better acquainted with their beliefs and wrongdoing.’  The bishops agreed to do so.

Abdullah Ibn Abi Rabi’a and Amr Ibn Al-‘Aas then presented Al-Najashi with their gifts, which he accepted. The two men then talked to the King and said to him: ‘O King, indeed there have defected to your land some ignorant young people from our tribe, who have renounced the religion of their forefathers and have not embraced your religion, but have come up with a new religion that neither of us recognize.  The noblemen of their tribe including their parents, uncles, and clansmen have sent us to you seeking their extradition, for their own people are more cognizant of them and better acquainted with their beliefs and wrongdoing.’

Abdullah Ibn Abi Rabi’a and Amr Ibn Al-‘Aas wished for the King to not converse with the Muslim group and hear their speech. So the bishops spoke up and said: ‘They speak the truth, O King. Their own people are more cognizant of them and better acquainted with their wrongdoing, so send them back with the two men who would return them to their country and people.’

Al-Najashi became quite angry at that and said: ‘No, by God, I will not turn them over to these two men and will not dishonor a group of people who are my guests and who have chosen my protection over all others, until I call them and ask them about whatever these two men accuse them. If they are like what these two men have said, then I will hand them over to them. But if they are not so, then I shall offer them my protection and hospitality as long as they wish to remain with me.’

Al-Najashi then sent for the Muslims asking them to come to him.  When the King’s message reached them, they gathered and consulted with one another, asking: ‘What shall you say to the King when you stand before him?’ Others replied: ‘By Allah, we shall say what we know of the truth and of the commandments of our Prophet ﷺ, no matter what.’  When the Companions of the Prophet went to the court of Al-Najashi, they found that he had called his bishops who were seated around him with their Scriptures open before them to ask the Muslims about their beliefs.

Al-Najashi asked the Muslims: ‘What is this religion with which you have renounced the religion of your people, and have turned away from my religion and the religion of other nations?’  Ja’far Ibn Abi Talib acted as spokesperson and said: ‘O King, we were a group of people living in ignorance and immorality (Jahiliyya); we used to worship idols, eat the flesh of dead animals, engage in all kinds of debauchery, sever the ties of kinship, break the rights of neighbors, and the strong among us would take away the right of the weak.

We remained so until Allah sent to us a Messenger from amongst ourselves, whose lineage, truthfulness, honesty, and chastity were already well-known to us. So the Messenger ﷺ called us to worship Allah the Exalted alone and to renounce the stones and the idols that we and our forefathers used to worship besides Allah. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ commanded us to speak the truth, to keep our promises, to keep good ties with relatives, to be kind to neighbors, to avoid all forbidden acts and bloodshed.  He prohibited and warned us against all kinds of debauchery, against false testimony, against taking over an orphan’s property, and against false accusation of chaste women.  He ordered us to worship Allah alone and not to associate anything with Him, to establish the prayer, to give Zakah and to fast the month of Ramadan (he mentioned all pillars of Islam).

So we believed in him, affirmed his message, and followed his commandment. We worshiped Allah alone without associating any partners with Him, we avoided what has Allah has forbidden for us and did what He allowed us to do.  But our people persecuted us, so they subjected us to all kinds of torture to make us recant our faith and return to the worship of idols and the previous condition of immorality. When they subdued and oppressed us, made miserable our lives, and prevented us from practicing our religion, we sought refuge in your land, choosing you over others, desiring your protection and hoping to live in justice and peace under your rule, O King.’

Al-Najashi asked Ja’far: ‘Do you have anything with you that was revealed to your Prophet by Allah?’ Ja’far replied: ‘Yes.’  Al-Najashi said: ‘Then recite it to me.’  Ja’far recited for him the first portion of Surah Maryam which describes the story of Jesus and his mother Mary.

Umm Salama said: By Allah, when Al-Najashi and his bishops heard the verses of Quran, he wept until his tears moistened his beard, and his bishops cried until their tears moistened their Scriptures.  Al-Najashi then said: ‘The message of your Prophet and that of Prophet Moses come from the same lamp and source.’  He then turned to Abdullah Ibn Abi Rabi’a and Amr Ibn Al-‘Aas and said: ‘Go, for by God, I will never turn them over to you and will never bring them any harm.’

But when the two men left the King’s court, Amr Ibn Al-‘Aas said to Abdullah Ibn Abi Rabi’a: ‘By God, I shall return to the King tomorrow and bring up something of their belief that will destroy them completely.’  Abdullah Ibn Abi Rabi’a, who was the kinder of the two men, said: ‘Do not do so, for they are our relatives even if they renounced our religion.’  Amr said: ‘By Allah, I will tell the King that they claim Jesus, the son of Mary, is a servant of God.’  The next day, Amr Ibn Al-‘Aas said to Al-Najashi: ‘O King, the group of the Muslims say a terrible thing about Jesus, the son of Marry. Send for them and ask them what they say about him.’

Al-Najashi sent for the Muslims again asking them what they said about Jesus.  When the King’s message reached the Muslim group, they were apprehensive and gathered to consult with one another, asking: ‘What shall you say to the King if he asks you about Jesus?’ Others replied: ‘By Allah, we shall say what Allah the Exalted has said about him and what our Prophet ﷺ said, no matter what.’

When the Muslims went to the court of Al-Najashi, he asked them: ‘What do you say about Jesus, the son of Mary?’  Ja’far Ibn Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, stepped forward and said: ‘We only say regarding Jesus what has been revealed to our Prophet ﷺ, that Jesus is the servant of God, His Messenger, His spirit, and His word which He cast into Mary the Virgin.’

So Al-Najashi struck the ground with his hand and picked up a small stick then said: ‘Jesus, the son of Mary, is no more than what you said about him except as much as this stick.’ The bishops around him snorted in disagreement, so Al-Najashi admonished them saying: ‘Even if you snort!’  He then turned to the Muslims and said: ‘Go, for you shall be safe and secure in my land. Whoever abuses you shall be punished, whoever abuses you shall be punished, and whoever abuses you shall be punished.  For by God, I would not like to have a mountain of gold while anyone of you should come to any harm.’  Al-Najashi then said: ‘Return these two men’s gifts for I have no need of them.  By God, when Allah returned my reign to me, He did not ask me for ransom, so I will not take ransom for this group, and people did not obey me then so I would not obey them against His pleasure.’

Umm Salama said: So Abdullah Ibn Abi Rabi’a and Amr Ibn Al-‘Aas left the court of the King, humiliated and rejected, while we lived with the King, in the best hospitality and protection.”  Related by Imam Ahmad with a good (hasan) narration.


And it is related that Al-Najashi did testify to the Oneness of Allah and the true message of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.  Therefore, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ performed the funeral prayer on him in absentia, and called him a righteous man, as seen in the following narrations:

عن أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ رضى الله عنه: ( أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم نَعَى النَّجَاشِيَّ فِي الْيَوْمِ الَّذِي مَاتَ فِيهِ، وَخَرَجَ بِهِمْ إِلَى الْمُصَلَّى فَصَفَّ بِهِمْ، وَكَبَّرَ عَلَيْهِ أَرْبَعَ تَكْبِيرَاتٍ)‏.  رواه البخاري ومسلم.

Narrated Abu Hurayra, may Allah be pleased with him: “The Messenger of Allah informed us about the death of An-Najashi on the day he died. He went out with us to the prayer site and we aligned in rows behind him.  The Prophet then led the funeral prayer for An-Najashi and said four Takbirs.”   Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.

وعن جَابِرٍ رضى الله عنه، قَالَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم حِينَ مَاتَ النَّجَاشِيُّ: (‏ مَاتَ الْيَوْمَ رَجُلٌ صَالِحٌ، فَقُومُوا فَصَلُّوا عَلَى أَخِيكُمْ أَصْحَمَةَ).‏ رواه البخاري.

Narrated Jabir, may Allah be pleased with him: “When An-Najashi died, the Prophet said: ‘A righteous man has died today. So get up and offer the funeral prayer for your brother Ashama.’ ”  Related by Al-Bukhari.

What a tremendous honor, to have the Prophet pray funeral prayers on someone despite him not being there! These men and women received such blessings because of their sincerity, struggle, and sacrifice for the truth. May Allah allow us to experience even a small portion of that zeal for faith.

Umm Ayman, Baraka

Editor’s note: Muslim societies today are not free from the sickness of racism. The following post introduces a little known character of Islamic history, whose position in the nascent Muslim community serves as a model for race relations in our contemporary society.

Among the early Muslim women of African origin was Umm Ayman.  She was the nanny of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and took care of him from the time of his birth. The Prophet ﷺ in turn loved her and was very kind to her.  Indeed, he used to praise her in front of his Companions.  It is narrated that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: ‘Whoever desires to wed a woman from Paradise, then let him marry Umm Ayman.’  So Zayd bin Haritha married Umm Ayman and she bore him a son, Usama bin Zayd. (Related by Ibn Sa’d.)  And what greater honor is there than being a woman of Paradise!

When Usama bin Zayd was born, the Prophet ﷺ used to love him so much that he was known as ‘the Beloved of the Prophet’!  No wonder, for his father was Zayd bin Haritha, who was so loved by the Prophet ﷺ that he adopted him, until the command was revealed in Qur’an to attribute everyone to their father. And Usama’s mother was Umm Ayman, who was greatly respected and treated as a second mother by the Prophet ﷺ.  We can see this love in the following authentic narration:

وعن عبدِ اللَّهِ بنِ عمرَ رضي اللَّهُ عنهما، قال: ( بَعَثَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم بَعْثًا، وَأَمَّرَ عليهِم أُسامةَ بنَ زيدٍ فَطَعَنَ بعضُ النَّاسِ في إمارَتِهِ، فقالَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم: « أَنْ تَطْعُنُوا فِي إِمَارَتِهِ فَقَدْ كُنْتُمْ تَطْعُنُونَ فِي إِمَارَةِ أَبِيهِ مِنْ قَبْلُ، وَايْمُ اللَّهِ إِنْ كَانَ لَخَلِيقًا لِلْإِمَارَةِ وَإِنْ كَانَ لَمِنْ أَحَبِّ النَّاسِ إِلَيَّ، وَإِنَّ هَذَا لَمِنْ أَحَبِّ النَّاسِ إِلَيَّ بَعْدَهُ» .  رواه البخاري ومسلم.

Narrated ‘Abd Allah bin ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him and his father):

“The Prophet ﷺ sent an army and appointed Usama bin Zayd as their commander. When some people criticized Usama’s leadership, the Prophet ﷺ said: ‘If you are criticizing Usama’s leadership, then you used to criticize his father’s leadership before. By Allah, he (Zayd) was worthy of leadership and was one of the most beloved persons to me, and now this (i.e. his son, Usama) is among the most beloved to me”  (Bukhari and Muslim).

From Umm Ayman and her family, we see that Islam gives equal status to everyone, and people excel one another by nothing but piety and righteousness.  Indeed, discrimination based on color, race, or gender has no place in Islam.

عن أبي هريرة رضي الله عنه أن رسولَ الله صَلّى اللهُ عليهِ وسلَّم قال: « المُسْلِمُ أخُو المُسْلِمِ: لا يَظْلِمُهُ، ولا يَخْذُلُهُ ولا يَحْقِرُهُ، التَّقْوَى ههُنَا، التَّقْوَى ههُنَا، ويُشِيرُ إلى صَدْرِهِ، بِحْسبِ امْرِيءٍ مِنَ الشَّرِّ أَنْ يَحْقِرَ أَخَاهُ المُسْلِمَ، كُلُّ المُسْلِمِ عَلَى المُسْلِمِ حَرَامٌ: دَمُهُ، وعِرْضُهُ، ومَالُهُ، إنَّ اللَّهَ لا يَنْظُرُ إلَى أجْسَادِكُمْ، وَلا إلَى صُوَرِكُمْ، وأَعْمَالِكُمْ، ولكِنْ يَنْظُرُإلَى قُلُوبِكُمْ».  رواه البخاري ومسلم.


Narrated Abu Hurayra (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet ﷺ said:

“A Muslim is the brother of a Muslim. He neither oppresses him, nor humiliates him, nor looks down upon him.  Piety is here (and while saying so he pointed towards his chest).  It is a serious evil for a Muslim that he should look down upon his brother Muslim.  All things of a Muslim are prohibited for his brother in faith: his blood, his wealth, and his honor. Verily Allah does not look to your bodies nor to your faces and actions but He looks to your hearts.”  (Bukhari and Muslim).

It is well-known that Bilal, the freed African slave, had great status with the Prophet ﷺ.  And now we learn about Umm Ayman, the African nursemaid of the Prophet ﷺ, who had a similar high regard and status with the Prophet ﷺ. Suffice it to say, these examples serve as important lessons for us today in our interaction with others.